Apartment Becomes Art Space

I spent most of my free time in the last month cleaning up a long-neglected apartment in south Tel Aviv with a group of fellow artists. We patched the many craters in the crumbling walls, hauled away mountains of trash left by past tenants, painted everything white, and built a dividing wall in the kitchen.

Salame 97 Before



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Home Sweet Home: 3D

My graphic designer hubby is always finding cool stuff for me to obsess over. The latest? Sweet Home 3D, a free interior design program that lets you create floor plans, add walls, and place windows, doors, fixtures, cabinets…everything. And after you’ve set up your new home, just drag and drop furniture and accessories for every room, and take a virtual tour through the space.

Example floor plan from Sweet Home 3D

If you’re handy with 3D imaging, you can even create your own pieces to import into the program. Luckily, there are also plenty of 3D images—from cribs and coffee tables to iPods and clocks—created by Sweet Home contributors, and are available for download under the 3D Models section of the site.

Sweet Home 3D is a very intuitive program, and while I haven’t gotten to putting together the entire house, after 10 or 15 minutes of playing around I put together a rough plan of the bathroom as it is now. And once I have specific measurements for the replacement tub, toilet and sink, I’ll be able to start rearranging the virtual space into what I hope will soon become reality.

My first attempt

The software is free to download for both Mac and PC, and is available in several languages. Have fun!

If in doubt, swap it out


A challenging economy routinely brings creativity to the forefront, new ideas on how to save money are popping up everywhere.  Home themed swap parties are a smart way to purge the old and welcome the new without spending a dime.  I recently got my feet wet hosting a cookie swap over the holidays and now I am considering a home themed swap. 

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Good customer service saves the day

A few “Color Tip of the Weeks” ago, paint primer was my beef.  I had picked up a can of Lowes brand primer and did not have a satisfying experience.  A representative from Valspar, the name brand paint for Lowes spotted my post and rectified the wrong by issuing a full refund  for the primer (three weeks to the day of my first post).  This professional gesture restored my opinion of the brand and I am truly impressed with the customer service department for Valspar.  Although I stick to the comments as stated in my previous post, the fact that the company stood behind their product really left me with a positive impression.

The lesson for today:

*  There is much to be said for good customer service.  

Reader write in: Using the 60-30-10% decorating rule

Many readers have come back to ask questions about the 60-30-10% rule for decorating a room.  If you are curious as to what this is you can read my earlier post  on the subject.  The following  readers cry for help could not be ignored. 


  I found this duvet by Ralph Lauren (Millbrook in case you wanted to take a peek) and have decided to use this as the headboard fabric instead.  It has navy blue as a base color with red, hunter green and yellow/gold as accents; the print is kind of paisley.  The room walls and carpet are still tan. I also have a wooden futon that I am using.  So, I was thinking of using the blue as my 30% and red as my 10%.  But here’s where I’m getting stuck: my furniture (side tables, dresser) are white and the desk and futon are cherry wood.  I was thinking of painting a blue trim around the drawers of the dresser and a painting a navy stencil on the side tables also. My futon covering is also going to be navy blue.  The white and cherry furniture is throwing me off; would these colors count for the 60-30-10 rule?  I am also trying to keep the room as light as possible because the room is tan and the fabric is dark.  I am having trouble with picking curtain colors, a rug color, and trims for picture frames and mirrors.  Hope you can help with this ordeal… my head is about to explode. 

Thanks so much Patti. 



Millbrook Duvet by Ralph Lauren

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DIY Cushion Covers from a Man’s Shirt

I’ve had this idea for quite some time now, wanting to make cushion covers from shirts. The idea is, not to throw out more clothes and to spend time being creative and making something that you enjoy using or looking at.

A friend of mine heard that I was into all sorts of recycling projects and so he gave me some of his old shirts and some boxes and all sorts of fun stuff that is piling up in my little apartment. So finally I got around to doing something with these old shirts and realized how much fun it is and how easy it is to do.

So, here is the result:

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Covering an unsightly window or two

Classic problems call for simple solutions.  This old barn building is a great example for one of these situations.  The windows look out onto a street with high volume foot traffic and the owners wanted to conceal their belongings from the public.  The problem is solved by painting a whimsical pictorial in each window.  Not Only does this hide what’s within it gives the folks on the street something to talk about.


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Color Tip of the Week: Use the best primer

Painting is a great way to freshen up a living space on a tight budget.  Paint is relatively inexpensive if you compare it to the cost of a major renovation.  With this said, it is in your best interest to prime a space before painting.  Primer is an extra step but well worth the, money, time and effort.

Kiltz Primer, photo Wikki


The job of primer is to “cover over” everything and anything that is in its path.  Finding the best primer available in your area is an important step to a successful end product. 


Go with ”top of the line” paint brands even if it costs a bit more.  These primers are full bodied with good “hide” and will cover over everything on the wall the first time around. 

I speak from experience.  Having just finished a job in my basement where I used Lowes “Valspar” brand and was so utterly frustrated with the product.  From now on it’s 100% Benjamin Moore for me. 

Different Primers