Cool young designers: Scrapile

Every so often I take a break from what’s happening in Israel and highlight a product line from abroad.  Today I shine a light on this pair of young designers from “Scrapile“, not only are they eco friendly; they are also innovative and oh so cool. 

What I like about Scrapile’sproducts is their method of acquiring materials.  They are a pair of “dumpster divers”  who reclaim discarded wood in the new York area and turn it into furniture.  Their technique of piecing together different types of wood highlights the materials color and texture. 

Scrapile’s product line mimics recent furniture trends that use tropical woods like Bamboo and Coconut ; but instead they use good old Plywood.  Plywood is one of the most economical building materials available and most of the time it looks like it.  I think these products look high end and refined. 

Hat’s off to Scrapile for their innovative thinking in furniture design.

The new IKEA catalog is out

I look forward to IKEA’s new catalog every year. Even if I’m not in love with the construction of their furniture, few places can beat IKEA when it comes to original design on the cheap. This year, however, some of their designers seem to be… well… not their usual brilliant selves?

Not everything new was horrible, mind you. Much of it was of the usual brilliant ilk that they are so famous for. But pink sofas? Horrible, no – make sense? No.

You could say that the pink sofas are in the same direction as the granny flower pattern of a few years ago (which they still have in their repertoire). The thing is, flower patterns hide stains. Solid light pink sofa covers don’t bleach as easily as the white ones and don’t hide stains. Never mind that the color will alienate most men even if they will wear a pink oxford with a suit and tie. Pink is for accessories, not main pieces. It’s the type of thing that would be darling in a girls room, but how much of a market is that? How many little princesses out there even have a big enough room to hold a sofa? And if they had a room that big – how many of their parents bother with IKEA? This color choice makes no sense to me. Pink will not be the next mint green of interior design. It just won’t.

(Yes, you will be allowed to remind me of this if I am wrong. I won’t be though – just wait.)

The new Klippan sofa, however, has got to be one of the ugliest patterns ever created.

It’s the worst of the eighties. The colors don’t mix, the black background clashes with the bright forefront. Only people with mullets will buy this sofa. The pattern designer has no taste and needs to be stuffed back into their boombox and made to go away. (And yes, I really do feel that strongly about this sofa. I actually gasped in horror when I was looking at the catalogue.)

On the other hand, I like the new Karlstad pattern. The colors are great, the pattern will help hide stains, and the contrasting olive green adds something. This is a great pattern. Organic. Fluid. It’s still going out on a design limb, but no so far out that it doesn’t make sense.

The new Smart lamp (yes, that is really what they named it) falls under the ‘what were they thinking’ category. Pebbles painted on plastic. Yes, that is exactly what I wanted on my side table. Thank you. It’s not offensive, but it does leave you with your head tilted slightly to the right and a perplexed look on your face.

Or at least, that’s what it does to me.

House Tour: Erin and Tim’s retreat of nirvana

Erin met Tim in India a few years ago while travelling with her son. He went back to the US and she returned to Israel. Then life happened and they lost touch. Until they didn’t.

He moved here to be with her a few months ago. She teaches yoga and is a massage therapist (highly recommended, BTW – been to her and she’s brilliant). Tim is working on a book. They live in my neighborhood in Zichron.

The mustard yellow in the dining room contrasts well with the bright turquoise chairs. The tablecloth and the Indian art on the wall pulls all of the colors together.

I have to admit I find all of this color in Erin’s home rather funny. When I first met Erin she was anti-color. Her entire house was different shades of ivory and taupe. It was gorgeous and calming, mind you, but so different from what she has today. Now her decor has color bursting at the seams.

The kitchen is a classic old style kitchen, painted. The turquoise in the kitchen is close to the color of the chairs, but not quite (they do match though…)

Shelves on each side enhance the usability of the kitchen and create storage space in the hallway.

Erin’s treatment room. The bar at the top is so she can balance when walking on someone’s back (this is for people much bigger than me) and the swing looking thing is to stretch your back. The Milega cushion is actually so you can sit back and watch TV (on the opposite wall covered by a sari – see below).

The other wall of the treatment area (for when it’s not in use for treatments.)

What I love about Erin’s taste is the way she combines the momentos she has collected from around the world. Nothing is overdone, but it isn’t spare either. Plus it is all original – these aren’t tchochkes picked up from the Indian/Indonesian import shop in Osefiya (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Design Styles: Mediterranean

Mediterranean style draws influesces from twenty-one countries that lie along the coast of this sea, think villa, outdoor gardens and luxurious living.

The main places to look for Mediterranean style are Italy, France, Greece, and Morocco with nuances from many smaller countries in between.  Even though each one of these countries has its own unique style, a strong connection can be seen linking one to the other.

The stucco walls, colorful textiles and added accents of wood furniture in this villa bedroom are all telltale signs of Mediterranean style.

Many Mediterranean homes are surrounded by lush herb and flower gardens, this Spanish bedroom’s bright green wall reflects what lies outside.  Elements of nature are added throughout Mediterranean style homes and can be seen reflected in many other design accents.  Rustic wood furnishings, antiqued metal vases and village art are all a part of this decor.


Greek Mediterranean style is a bit more minimalistic, this rustic wood bench paired with a blue and white striped seat cover add a touch of color to this otherwise subdued room.  The pillows and painted plates help tie it all together.

Notice the layered wall paint, this added texture enhances a display of brightly colored dishes.

French eloquence shines through in this sitting room, I love the red tile floor with the flowing green chartreuse curtains.  This is a good example of a balanced Mediterranean color combination.

Mediterranean accents take their cue from outdoors, the bright blue sky, shining sunlight and nature all paly a part in this show. Mediterranean design accents pop up in all sorts of places, like this blue gated window in Tunisia.

Don’t forget to look down when visiting a Mediterranean styled home, you may miss what is underfoot; like these unique Italian marble tiles.

or these red mosaic tiles…

There are many other design elements that depict Mediterranean style, here are a few more:  Terra-cotta tiles, pine armories and cabinetry, wrought iron furniture, painted pottery and potted herbs. 

Decorating tips for adding touches of Mediterranean style to you home:

1) Add some color: Stucco, layered paint and ceramic tiles will all add Mediterranean flair.

2)  Add some Texture:  Woven rugs, colorful textiles, pillows and  rustic wood furniture will all add texture.

3)  Add some tchochkes:  Potted herbs, painted pottery and collections of paintings hung in groups as shown below are a definite must.

Decorating with mirrors

Mirrors are truly magical when it comes to decorating.  They can make a small space appear larger, a dark space seem brighter and they can even disguise walls that are not in good condition.  I use a lot of mirrors in my work as a Feng Shui consultant and find that they always add light and life anywhere that they are placed. 

The first mirrors were made of metal sheets from Bronze, Tin and Silver back in 3500 BC. These metals were highly polished to achieve their most reflective qualities.  Mirrors as we know them today were first created by Justus Von Liebig in 1835, as a German chemist he invented the technique of silvering.

Justus Von Liebig

Here is a modern day example of  a polished metal mirror in the public bathrooms on Allenby and Shenkin streets.  The reflective qualities of these mirrors are inferior to the ones that are silver  backed but their function in this space is fine for what it’s worth.

Along with their function as a popular interior design accessory, mirrors add practical beauty.  It is important to consider the reflected image when hanging a mirror, be sure that it is something worth reflecting into the space.

This mirror is in my Living room, it is placed so that it reflects the greenery of the trees outside.  If you are looking for nice decorative tile mirrors like the ones shown below, ”Rotem” at 89 Sokolov Street in Ramat HaSharon has many to choose from. 


Here is another resource in Tel Aviv, Dali Zaggagim at 161 Ben Yehuda street sells mirrors of all shapes and sizes and also does custom work. 

5 Decorating tips:

1) Mirrors add light to a space through their reflective qualities.

2) Mirrors can make a room seem larger.

3) Mirrors are a great focal point when added to a room.

4) Mirrors make a major decorating statement.

5) Mirrors can be used to hide wall blemishes and minor imperfections.

Store Review – Hederim

If I had to choose a single store to decorate my entire home it would be Hederim. Their style is casual, warm, and cozy – the Israeli version of modern country home. I’ve reviewed them before, but I didn’t have any pictures. This time I brought my camera (so much more helpful).

I took an obscene number of pictures because I just couldn’t help myself. Hederim doesn’t have a site, you have to go to south Tel Aviv to be able to shop there. Also, they used to be open on Saturday, but when we went there was a sign announcing that this would be stopping soon.

The brown sofa would be dull without the rose embroidered cushions. The rough hewn table is aged design (in other words, it’s new – it just looks old). Some design blogs are predicting the death of this style of design – and maybe it will happen eventually, but I don’t think it will be any time soon. People who like country home tend to keep their furniture constant and change up the design by changing the accessories.

Continue reading

Store review: Himalaya


Himalaya, located in Moshav Udim specializes in ethnic furniture and home accents.  Adding ethnic accents to a rooms decor can give a room  that decorators touch.  This is not a new trend but a lasting one, interior decorator Vicente Wolf  is famous for adding ethnic accents to modern interiors.  I personally love this style, it is a pleasant combination of comfort with a decorators attitude to boot.

Me and my Plasma…

It seems like every corner I turn there is the question of “where do I put the plasma”?  The plasma AKA flat screen television is one popular item these days.  Personally I would throw every one of them out a five story window but this is just me.  Most people love the idea of integrating a plasma into their home.  The one shown above is isn’t bad, it looks like this piece of furniture was designed to hold up the television set. 

This plasma is set into a freestanding wall that is centrally located.  I don’t get it… How can you watch this television?  From the photo below it looks like the living room is right off of the kitchen, this is the worst design ever.  The noise from the kitchen (pots, banging etc.) make it hard to hear the television so the user keeps raising the volume, my parents have a floor plan similar to this one so I know for a fact that this is a big don’t.   

Is that the old television set in the foreground? 


This solution drives me crazy,  I can’t imagine hanging a television above a fireplace.  Like oil and vinegar don’t mix, neither do televisions and fireplaces.  My advice to these folks would be to do without it.

And this is the second solution that makes me insane, a television in the bedroom is one of the most popular decorating don’ts.  Look how this one is wedged into the corner of what looks like a large space… hanging the television in this fashion reminds me of a hospital room.  This is a popular practice in Israeli homes… you got me on that one.

This option is nicer esthetically but then there is the curtain hanging down in front of the set.  Ultimately, I would not suggest a television in the bedroom.  Bedrooms are for resting and rejuvenating the body and the spirit, televisions are an overstimulating element to place in this room.

If possible, the best place for a plasma is in a room away from the main living space.  If you don’t have an extra room then I suggest enclosing it in a cabinet made just for this purpose.   

Yes, this is a church in Lakewood, California and that is Jesus on the big screen.  This is not a plasma but an actual 240″ motorized projection screen.  

For more~

Stay tuned for “Life Wall” unveiled by Panasonic at the 2008 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, this wall size screen is the mother of all Plasmas. 

Design with symbols: Lotus flower

The lotus flower is an graceful symbol of purity and peace.  It’s day job is as a Water Lilly is routine, it emerges each morning from the depths of lakes and pools; only to go back under water each night and start fresh the next day. 

As a meaningful symbol, it has touched Indian, Egyptian, Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese cultures through art and design.  The Chinese eat it as an herb and use it as an art subject , the ancient Egyptians have been known to build Phoenician capitols…

This is the Lotus Temple of Bahapur in India.  The archetecture was inspired by the lotus flower with its layered petals reaching up to the light. 

Hindu god krishna and goddess standing on a lotus flower

Lotus ball wall lamp.  This contemporary interpretation of lighting depicts the lotus flowers delicacy, this room is all about the light fixture. 

Lotus flower wall paper.  Something about this pattern makes me want to wallpaper a room.  I love the color and the pattern.

This lotus bean bag chair is wonderful, it can be a chair or on its own; a piece of art!

With these examples you can see how the lotus flower has touched many areas in home furnishings and architectural design…  Beauty inspires beauty.

Store review: Goldies Antiques

I haven’t even started this post and I’m already feeling guilty. The woman who owns Goldies Antiques in Jaffa souk is so lovely and sweet, she really doesn’t deserve to have anything even remotely negative written about her shop. And the thing is, if you’re into dolls, then this shop could be quite cool.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking of the Bride of Chucky.

Honestly, you need to go to this store for it’s creep value alone. If you aren’t freaked out by dolls made to look like life like babies or miniature people then you should go in for it’s kitch value. I mean, there’s just so much of it in such a small space.

Goldie, as I’m sure you have sorted out by now, features antique dolls and all of the accoutrement’s that go with them. Porcelain tchochkes (doll figurines – I know, shocker), lamps in lady form, and pictures. Oh, the pictures…

She had two of this one. The other wasn’t in quite as good condition. I’m kind of shocked they had two, I didn’t realize this was such a famous piece…

I could imagine it in, well – a bordello in Texas?

Who decorates with dolls? I suppose you could put them in a girls room if you want to terrorize her like the clown in Poltergeist, although one might find such a thing rather cruel. These would look good in a grandmothers flat along with the miss-matched china and the doilies. Do grandmothers like that exist anymore?

The words escape me. A must see, for so many reasons and on many different levels, Goldies Antiques.