Hot seat of the week

How cute are these scoop-back chairs from West Elm? I could see two or four of them placed around a dining room table for a modern, hip look. The best part is they're relatively inexpensive - $99 for one, $179 for a set of two, and $349 for a set of four.


New art every day

If you dig the grown-up gig posters look, chances are you might be feeling the new book from Gig Posters entitled "Gig Posters Volume I: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century." The book includes 101 (!) perforated, ready-to-frame 11" x 14" posters, so you can change up your wall art on a whim. A cluster of three or four prints, or even just one or two on a narrow part of the wall would look stunning. Several of my favorite poster designers contributed to the book, including Strawberryluna and The Small Stakes.

The book is just $40 at Gig Posters and will be available in April 2009. What a deal!


The little things

Last night my husband and I had some friends over and showed them what you can get for the money in our city. They're thinking of moving here, and seeing as how we did plenty of apartment hunting last year, we kind of consider ourselves experts. We know which complexes have washing machines, which ones are notorious for parties, and the ones that house some major creepos. Around here, you either live in some corporate-owned apartment complexes or rent a house or apartment from independent owners. We do the latter, and I'm so glad we did.

Back in February of last year, we were on the waiting list for a top-floor place with a vaulted ceiling in a corporate-owned apartment, but none were available yet. As our previous lease was nearly up and we couldn't go month-to-month, we decided to just go for a small, one-floor apartment in the same complex that was located on the bottom floor -- meaning, practically in the basement. We had horrible feelings about it, but felt there was no place else to go.

Luckily, a gorgeous townhouse popped up downtown and we went for that instead. Our little "complex" was built and is owned by a local family and features several little details that you just can't get in the square, beige boxes that make up corporate housing. I love our spacious and airy lofts in the bedrooms, and am crazy about our shiny, real wood floors. Best of all, our bathroom and kitchen features real tiles (an upgrade from the pock-marked linoleum we endured in our last place) and the bedrooms feature carpeting that is free of curious stains.

Now we're thinking that our friends will show us up with an even better apartment, and we'll be jealous. Well, at least I'm appreciating the little things I love about this place!

Dear Internet,

Would you rather have an incredible apartment with all of the amenities you want in a not-so-nice neighborhood, or a sub-par apartment in a nice area?


Storage solutions for your jewelry

Did you ever notice that you can always find interesting things when you're not looking for them? Urban Outfitters has several cheap, super-cute jewelry boxes and hangers that I'm coveting and would probably purchase if I didn't already have a jewelry box. But I know the next time I'm seeking out some jewelry storage options, I won't be able to find anything.

So, if you're in need of a place to stash or display your baubles (isn't that word awful?), do yourself a favor and check out Urban Outfitters' selection.

Clockwise, from left:
Cherry blossom jewelry box, $36
Lace pedestal jewelry stand, $18
Feather jewelry stand, $24
Landscape trinket box, $32
Little birch jewelry stand, $24
Mini coat rack jewelry stand, $18

There's plenty more, too, so do check it out -- especially if you're a bird aficionado!

Five fun vases

Cute vases can be inexpensive and add more beauty and depth to your room. But don’t go featuring that ultra-traditional, textured-glass vase you took home as part of a free wedding centerpiece. The best way to achieve a stylish look is to choose vases in modern or classic shapes that don’t look like they’re straight of out the 80s. But you already knew that!

Clockwise from left:
notNeutral Flora vase set - $24.00, 2 Modern.com
Reiner vases - $19.95-$24.95, ZGallerie.com
vases - $1.99, IKEA
Izzy vase set - $34.95, Crate & Barrel
Carton vase - $6.95, CB2

There's so much you can do with these. Split up the "flora" vase set and put one on an end table or a bookshelf. Put an empty "Reiner" vase in the center of the dining room table for a simple, minimalistic look. Cluster the white IKEA bud vases on a mantle or shelf and give yourself bonus points if the wall behind them isn't white. The "Izzy" vase set would look ultra-cute clustered together or spread throughout the house. You can also buy just one if you're not into sets. Finally, for those looking for more whimsical decor elements, go for the cute little carton vase.

Now buy some flowers (or coerce someone into buying them for you) and you’re all set!


Fashion detour: clothes that match your decor

I just bought this shirt at Old Navy yesterday:

I'm loving the fabric, which kind of reminds me of the graphic patterns I usually see on cute throw pillows and curtains (because who doesn't want to match the drapes? Ha!). I've also got my eye on several other items with similar patterns (like these!). Now can spring get here already so I can wear them?

Homemade cream cheese

I'm on a major food kick right now. But not just any food -- I only want delicious meals made in my own kitchen! (Although I don't feel like making them.) Perhaps a week of traveling will do that to you.

So perhaps that's why I'm drooling over this recipe for homemade vegetable cream cheese over at the Homemaker's Habitat. You don't have to actually make the cream cheese part; you just grind up a bunch of fresh vegetables and dump in an already prepared tub of low-cat plain cream cheese. Can you say YUM-O?


FLOR tiles

I'd like to splurge on a new area rug for our living room. Trouble is, I'm looking for something big, cushy, and pretty--and those don't come cheap. As an alternative, I'm considering FLOR tiles.

FLOR tiles are small squares of carpet that can be clustered together to create any size area rug you wish. The best part is you can arrange the tiles this way and that to create interesting textures and patterns. They've got a great selection of designs, and you can even mix and match to achieve the look you want.

Each tile usually goes for about $11, so even a large rug is not too much of a burden on your wallet.

However, they soft and plush ones are bit more expensive and a little too plain. Perhaps I'll order a sample of each and check them out.


Coveting: Orla Kiely line at Target!

This is bad news for my wallet, but great news for anyone looking for great style on the cheap: Orla Kiely has designed a line of housewares for Target! The mugs, canisters, and table and kitchen linens are all on my list. Visit Apartment Therapy for more details.


Coveting: Jill Rosenwald ceramics

My new favorite designer is Jill Rosenwald. All of the items featured on both her personal website and Poppytalk are just incredible. The subtle stripes around the base of the lamp (above) and the beautiful pattern on the ceramic dishes (below) fit in perfectly with my design aesthetic. It's just too bad most of the prices are a bit out of my budget. Well, I can dream...


Affordable art: the work of Matte Stephens

This print by Matte Stephens has been on my mind for a while. I'm not typically into animal art prints, but I am strangely drawn to his work, which often features birds, foxes and bear monsters.

Perhaps I am drawn to his color choices? I think everything my husband and I own is brown, green or blue -- including clothes! I am also a big fan of this particular style. In any case, this print is going on my 2009 wish list. See more of Stephens' work here.