Designer review: Shine Home

Shine is the creative outlet for Susan Hornbeak Ortiz, the co-owner and designer. The style of Shine is very Southern Califiornia slick. Like Palm Springs during the rat pack years when Courrèges was king.

Shine_Lola Chair_1

And the furniture reminds me a lot of movies from that era as well – with a twist. The fabric of the piece above with the traditional fabric tacked edges is very mid-60′s – but the cut out from the top of the back is something different. An Asian influence in shape.

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The Search is Over…For Now


A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with my bestest pal Mandy, who is the art director at the magazine where I used to work. She showed me the November issue, which finally had the feature on Arkansas architect Marlon Blackwell and his finally finished home. We seriously started chasing the story not long after I started there in 2002, so I was delighted to see it finally happen. (The house was actually featured first in Met Home, but Mandy obviously styled it way better.)

Anyway. As I was perusing the layout, I saw them. These fabulous yellow and gray floral silk pillows on the Blackwells’ sofa. “THESE! I WANT THESE!” I cried. And when Mandy told me they were from DwellStudio’s line from Target, I declared her a liar. No way did that fabulously modern house designed by this amazing architect (and his amazing architect wife) have some damn pillows from Target decorating the living room sectional. I know the pros love to mix high and low like anyone else, but still.

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Bench, Please!

As far as multipurpose furniture goes, you can never go wrong with a bench or two. The location possibilities are almost endless—put one at the foot of the bed or in front of a window, create communal-style seating at the dining table or group a few together for a modular conversation pit. Today’s offerings are more stylish than ever, with clever storage, unexpected materials and silhouettes to fit every decor.

CognitaQuite possibly the most brilliant piece of furniture ever, the Cognita bench designed by BluDot for Herman Miller is equally at home in the office or in the bedroom. The upholstered seat lifts to reveal ample space for files or extra linens, while the hard section (which is the perfect spot to place a cocktail, by the way) opens to a removable tray with organizing compartments for smaller bits. A pair of drawers completes this smart instant classic.


Used indoors or out, Arktura’s laser-cut Coral table is bound to leave a lasting impression. Made from bent steel, the bench has soft lines, and is eco-friendly thanks to its no-VOC powder-coated finish. And the mesmerizing pattern is “algorithmically-generated,” which involves math.

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Home tour: Somewhere in Israel, part 1

By request of the owners of this home I’m restricted from using their names or location – but I can show my pictures – so I’m good with that. As such, for this post I’m calling the woman W and the man M. Yes, I know, original.

From the moment you get to the iron gate blocking their front door from the backyard you can see that this is no ordinary home.


They have a gnome watching out for them. However, whatever expectations the gnome gives you for their home – I doubt you would expect this…


I took so many pictures (over 160) this post will be continued on Wednesday and Friday this week.

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The Thrill of the Find (Or, “About That Sofa Last Week…”)

Hey, remember last week when I wouldn’t shut up about the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget)? Well, it is totally the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget), but after a shopping trip this weekend, I got the most perfect black leather sofa ever (on my budget). Herewith, the long version…


Saturday afternoon—following the measuring-for-new-kitchen-flooring debacle (I’m looking at you Home Depot)—my husband Matt and I headed to Cost Plus, an enormous furniture warehouse that has awesome deals and no air conditioning. We got our last couch there, and it was fine. It still is; it was perfectly fine when Civitan Services hauled it away to the donation shop this morning. But every piece of furniture in our living room is just brown, so replacing that anchor piece was the first big step. It also became a glorified dog bed. Seriously, I get up every morning to Bailey on one end, Ceili on the other, and they both have their heads on a couch pillow:


Bailey's last morning with the old couch. Hard life.

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Man of the House


From the runway to the entryway, classic menswear continues to influence everything from women’s clothing (like Alexander McQueen’s luxe houndstooth creation above) to the way we dress our homes. I began noticing this not only from my over-consumption of fashion and interior design mags, but also when I embarked upon my search for the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget). Then I got obsessed.
And luckily, unlike say, the return of neon, these looks are timeless, not trendy.


First things first. The most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget). West Elm’s Goodwin collection includes the sofa in two lengths, a sleeper sofa, chair and ottoman. It’s also available in chocolate brown or something, but whatever, because this was the charcoal sofa of my dreams. Can’t wait to check it out (at the cash register) at the Dallas store in October.


You just cannot go wrong with a pair of x-base stools. Everyone makes a version and they fit with almost any decor. This Italian leather and chrome pair from Williams-Sonoma Home hits the perfect balance of modern and dapper.

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Home tour: Architect Dan Troim’s Apartment

Welcome to a place of elegance and simplicity on Dubnov Street. Architect, Dan Troim, bought a 2 and a half room apartment two years ago and transformed it into an elegant bachelor pad by tearing down most of the walls and creating one lovely large rectangular space. Dan is known for the stylish restaurant interiors that he does, though he also designs apartments and other projects.

His own apartment is airy and gives one a wonderful sense of space. There is a lot of white and he uses different textures on the walls for some variation on the white theme. Dan added many large windows which means that there is a lot of natural light streaming into the apartment. Unfortunately you don’t see these types of windows often in Israel. This apartment really appeals to my Zen side.

Here is the entrance hall and workspace:

Interior design - Entrance
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Furniture by Innovation: Modern and Practical

My husband and I found out about this Danish furniture company nearly a decade ago when we lived in Pittsburgh and bought one of their beds from a shop there. We have since replaced the original mattress once but we still have the frame, which we brought from Pittsburgh to Washington DC and then to Tel Aviv where we live now. We like it so much we also purchased two sofa-beds for our place when we got here. Innovation is distributed globally, and we found a dealer in Israel via the Innovation website.
Oz sofa bed in black leather textile 582 _ front view Continue reading