House of Worship in the middle of downtown

Dwarfed by Tel-Aviv’s downtown skyscrapers this little house of worship still manages to thrive.

The Ohel Moed synagogue was part of the Houses from Within tours that I was at the beginning of May.

In 1925 Joseph Berlin was commissioned to design a synagogue for the Yemenite Jewish community. Founded and funded with the help of Adeni Jews, it became the largest Sephardi synagogue of Tel Aviv.

Today the building is used for daily prayers by employees of the Electrical Company who work nearby and some 15 regular worshipers who come on the Sabbath.  The place is kept alive thanks to an entrepreneur who operates it as a trendy family occasion hall. Continue reading

Product review: Loyallux, a paper house for cats

Pets deserve the best when it comes to every whim… makes sure that a cat has a home with it’s paper house designed especially for those felines that like shelter.  My visit to the ICFF this past Sunday was a much needed blast of inspiration from some of today’s young designers.  This small but mention worthy product was such an inspiration.

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ICFF 2010: Everything’s Illuminated

The 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair has come and gone, and it was a complete overload of spectacular color and innovative design. While there were a few things my cohort and I deemed “same thing, different colors,” the majority of the show offered a uniquely original perspective on the modern home. And one thing that particularly caught my eye was the fantastic lighting that was showcased. So while I finish processing everything that’s bouncing around in my head, here are a few pieces that were, for me, love at first light.

Eugenio Menjivar ICFF 2010 Loto pendants

Salvadoran designer Eugenio Menjivar’s breathtaking Loto lamp series—organically inspired by the lotus flower and crafted from recycled plastics—is best described by his statement on the collection: “An eco-experimental body of work that transforms discarded household materials into precious objects, allowing plastic to be reborn to educate consumers about sustainable design.” Be sure to check out his website, a whimsical work of art in itself.

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Color Tip of the Week: Camouflage color, gray

Photo by Bizrate

What’s not to like about a color that hides dirt, dust and almost every unattractive substance that could come your home’s way? Gray is the color of your dreams when it comes to hiding unsightly business around the house.  I recently installed a gray rubber floor in my basement and it is an outstanding choice.  Between the “Kitty Vomit” and the outdoor track that comes in through the garage, I am one happy camper!

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Outdoor patio options

Photo by Fliker

The outside is my passion these days and all I can think of is my yard.  The next big project is designing an outdoor space that is inviting, and doing the research before hand is integral for a successful outcome .  What I really want is an area where I can host and entertain guests with food and drink comfortably.  This means that by day, there must be a shade source and by night, a light source.  The photo above seems like a good start.

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Color Tip of the Week: Stain it

My Deck

I am a paint advocate, but sometimes stain is a nice alternative.  Stain achieves a natural finish that seals the surface and highlights texture, especially when it is used on certain woods that have pronounced grain patterns.  I recently stained my deck in a color called “Cedar”, a popular color on the Cabots   stain chart. 

Stain not only replenishes a surfaces natural beauty,  it protects the wood and prolongs its life.  My deck had not been treated for over ten years and after re-finishing,  it looks like a new build. 

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It’s Almost Time: ICFF 2010

Anglepoise lamp

By this time next week, my friend Mandy and I will be on a plane bound for the Big Apple—plenty of shopping, visiting an old friend and hitting the 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Billed as “North America’s singular showcase for contemporary design,” the four-day extravaganza of furniture, flooring, lighting, textiles and accessories will feature products from over 500 exhibitors from more than three-dozen countries. And in addition to all of that, there’s also the ICFF Studio featuring up-and-coming designers, the Materials Matter showcase of new materials, technology and production processes (something that completely fascinates me), and a juried exhibition of work by undergrad and graduate students from six of the world’s most prestigious design schools, including Parsons and the Pratt Institute.

There are also loads of programs, parties and awards to hand out, but then there’s the reason we’ll need an extra suitcase to get home—the ICFF Bookstore run by renowned NYC independent bookstore Archivia Books, which specializes in art, architecture, design, garden and interiors books from around the world. And rounding out the shopping portion of our trip, the designboom Mart, a global bazaar-style market where designers sell one to three products each—with stock limited to 100 pieces per stall—at prices ranging from $10 to $100. Did I mention we’re going to do all of this in two days?

I can’t wait to report back on what is sure to be a complete creative overload. But if you want to see it all for yourself, the last day of ICFF is open to the public, with tickets available for $50.