Category Archives: Design Hacker

Bento Box: Bring Your Lunch to Work

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As an interior designer, I realize I am always on the go and don’t have time to stop. I realize there is a design aesthetic in everything visually I see. My aesthetic reaches from home into whatever I do which includes what I carry my food in I thought if I get a really neat looking lunch box I can pack what I want and always stop for a cup of tea and eat my lunch. Then I discovered these wonderful, colorful, well designed bento boxes. I think the brown bag gets a modern makeover with the bento box, a clever twist on the Japanese lunch box. These reusuable containers are the ideal format for lunch at the office, picnics and TV dinners, just plain being on the go.

All the parts

All the parts

A bento box is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
“Bento” originates from the Southern Song Dynasty slang (pinyin), meaning “convenient” or “convenience.”

Minimal Tote

Minimal Tote

In a nod to its inspiration, this minimal tote resembles nigiri sushi tied up with seaweed. It includes two airtight containers that compartmentalize your meal and stay shut with intermediary lids. Hectic commute? Fear not: an elastic strap holds it all together for easy, shift-free transport.

Consisting in two airtight containers, an adjustable separator and a wide elastic strap, foods stay in place and arrive intact. Made in stronger high-quality plastic with a “soft-touch” finish, the new lunchbox combines sturdiness and style.

Traditional Styled Bento Box

Traditional Styled Bento Box

 

Traditional Styled Bento opened

Traditional Styled Bento opened

 

All the parts of this traditionally styled bento

All the parts of this traditionally styled bento

Inspired by Japan’s traditional plum blossoms that flower in spring, CasaBento designed and created a new range. The colors display the wonderful art of bento with the hand painting skill lovingly passed down from generations to generations of bento artisans in Japan. The intricate golden plum blossom details are enhanced by the black base color and the elements of the bento box are designed to create a luxurious effect.

Compact Pastel Bento

Compact Pastel Bento

 

Opened Bento

Opened Bento

 

Wonderful pastel options

Wonderful pastel options

The Bento Box have been in production since 1925. All made in Japan, these bento boxes are durable, vibrant, and timeless. With a wide variety of glossy colors and sizes, people of all ages will be pleased to show off these crafty food solutions. Our attention to detail, design, and innovation provides you with nothing but the highest quality products. The side catches hold the airtight lid perfectly closed.


I am an Interior Designer Looking for Cool Wine Holders

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Archithings Wine Rack

Archithings Wine Rack

As an interior designer I am always looking for cool wine holders and of course being in NYC, space and storage are always issues. I like the holders to have an architectural feeling. As spring arrives the entertaining season begins with guests bringing bottles of wine.
As a rule of thumb one must keep wine in cool, dry spot to facilitate the aging process. Make sure the bottles lie on their sides because you don’t want the cork to dry out and as I am told also so the sediment settles properly. There should be no sunlight exposure and no heat, with a little humidity of approximately 60 to 70 percent.
You have probably heard from both friends and experts many times that any wine you like is a good wine. This is true if simply enjoying wine is your goal. You don’t have to do more than take a sip, give it a swallow and let your inner geek decide “yes” or “no.” The end. Of course I know there is a lot more to it but that is all my very limited knowledge on it.
All you Oenophiles (lover or connoisseur of wine) — (Yes I had to look it up!) definitely put thought into how you store your wine. If you see wine as art take advantage of the creativity and thought that has gone into the design of these variety of functional cool wine racks. They do function as storage and display
As wine lovers, there will always come a time when we have to decide between splurging on your wine selection or on your wine storage systems Gather some friends and enjoy your favorite vintage stocked gracefully in your cool wine racks.
As W.C. Fields said “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” or as George Carlin said “What wine goes with Captain Crunch?”

Luxtica Wine Rack

Luxtica Wine Rack

Wine Rack 4

So sleek and cool looking by Nambe

So sleek and cool looking by Nambe


Tips for Feng Shui in Your Home Infographic

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FS infographic Marcela copy By Marcela De Vivo Incorporating Feng Shui into your interior design helps bring good fortune into your home and your life. It’s more than just picking pretty furniture and colors for the walls, or adhering to an all-Asian interior design theme with bamboo and Buddha statues. Feng Shui can be easily incorporated into most design styles by simply focusing on balancing various elements and improving energy flow to achieve happiness. Carefully arranged furnishings and accessories, thoughtfully chosen color combinations, and adaptable light levels can make a significant difference in the “qi” or energy of the room. By incorporating Feng Shui principles into your home you can improve the energy in your house and bring luck to your life, while adding the decorative flairs and touches that gives your home personality. Meld your personal sense of style with the Feng Shui-friendly decorating suggestions by following this Soothing Walls infographic below. This helpful guide shows you colors and design elements needed to enhance the energy of each space and will help you improve the positive energy in your home. Whether you need to unblock some aspect of your life, or just need helpful design ideas, this infographic has the right tips to get you started!


Apartment Therapy Design Evenings

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How fun is it that I got to be there and transcribe for these three great evenings at ABC Carpet sponsored by Apartment Therapy!
Presentation14

1. Designing with Farmers Saving Land & Growing Food in the Modern World
Scott Chaskey of Peconic Land Trust/Quail Hill Farm, and Amanda Merrow and Katie Baldwin are the founders of Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York

2. Interview with Christine Lemieux Dwell Studios

3. Interview with Annie Selke of home-textile companies Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert Rug Company as well as licensed fabrics collection Annie Selke Home.


Postcard Rooms

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Ever have all these postcards with kool pics you don’t want to throw out?

Ever go visiting museums, galleries, historical places and buy all these kool postcards in the gift shop? Then you think now what do I do with all of them? How do I display them?

Here’s a really kool idea. Use them as wall paper. Take a whole wall or walls and wallpaper paste and glue them to wall.

postcards 1A

 This one woman decided to take all of her postcards; old and new and paste them on her bedroom walls. You can see it gives it a very cozy feeling in the room and when you can’t sleep just gaze at your marvelous art you created.

 Postcard 3A

This couple decided to put a wall of postcards behind their couch in their living room. Its such a conversation starter. It can bring up memories or just a piece of art you happened to like and wish you could afford to buy. I just think this is such a fun, kool concept.  Think of mingling in photographs or whatever else you’d like to add into your wall. Placement doesn’t have to be percise, just have fun with it!

postcard 2A


Tara “Gone with the Wind”

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Did you ever wonder where “Gone with the Wind” was filmed and what house they really used they called Tara?

Gone with wind pic copy

In the early 1900’s, a Wall Street financier named William Fuller decided to build a country estate on an expanse of property that spanned from the water line of the Hudson River to the top of a beautiful hill in Briarcliff Manor, NY. The estate would be his home for retirement—place where he would devote his time to family, farming, and elegant country living. He named the estate “Haymount” after the town in North Carolina where he was born.Over the years, Haymount enjoyed a colorful history. The estate was profiled in a variety of architectural magazines.

Front view good copy

The Haymount house in Briarcliff Manor, NY was used for the cotton plantation in Georgia that was named “Tara” in scenes from the 1939 American classic film “Gone with the Wind,” which is supposed to be set in the 19th-century American South. The film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara played by Viven Leigh, and her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Haviland), and her marriage to Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War Reconstruction era, the story is told from the perspective of white Southerners.

This then was even home to a Dutch industrialist named Bernard Van Leer who lived on the property with members (both human and animal!) of the Holland Classical Circus. A fire famously occurred near the stables where Van Leer kept four world-famous elephants. The elephants survived…but the east wing of Haymount did not! The west wing was later torn down to retain symmetry. The house still had the original fireplaces with original painted pictures.

Mirror fireplace copy                                Pic on top mirror copy

Fast forward to today. After fifty years as a French restaurant, and quite a few years in disrepair, Haymount—which we now like to call “Haymount House”—has been restored to her original splendor. In our restorations, we made sure to allow the original architectural details like marble fireplaces and wrought iron doors to speak for themselves and flow seamlessly into our classic yet modern design.

Fireplace dining area copy

In April 2012, Haymount House opened as a gracious celebrations venue and a farm to table restaurant, which is now called Hudson at Haymount House.

dining fireplace copy  dining room copy

 

 

 

 

 

 


Antiquing

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I meandered over to Rye, NY to go to the Charity Antique Shop called Twig Antiques. They are very unique because they carry commissioned pieces from estates and pieces from Furniture Sharehouse which they donate proceeds back to Sharehouse. (pay it forward link to my page here). As an interior designer I find it really fun to look for that unusual find.

 Twig blog Outside

I saw 3 pieces that struck my eye because I was volunteering at the Sharehouse when they came in all banged up and the worse for wear. I was really struck at the potential they would have if they were given love, refurbished, cleaned up, restained and painted.

This antique turning shelf came out amazing with the all the different sections for your bowls, knick knacks. The inlaid top was all sanded and stained to its original design. The fact that it turns makes it so much more appealing to be able to reach your dishes or special pieces. You can display different views on different days.  Just think you can keep all your ingredients ready to go to enjoy martinis when your friends pop by!

Twig blog Turning Shelf

This old ornate hand blown crystal glass and painted metalwork with ornate tiny details of hand cut crystal. Have it over your dining table, in your bedroom or entry way for drama. How fun would that be to have this unusual piece.

Twig blog hand blown chandelier

This antique hand painted tray table is actually very old and had to be stripped and sanded on the flat black area, it was in really bad shape. All the flowers along the edges were in pretty good condition. The legs had to be cleaned up. We also found this great Quan Yin lamp that came in all dirty but we cleaned her up and rewired the lamp for use. It is a really great piece for decorating with feng shui design.

Twig blog hand painted tray table

Quan Yin is known as the Goddess of compassion and healing. She is one of the most poplular deities in all of Asia. Her name translates as The One Who Hears the Cries of the World. Her mantra is “Om Mani Padme Hum” which means “Hail the Jewel in the Lotus.”

You never know what a piece that looks all ratty can maybe turn out to be your jewel!. Start cleaning it up, let it speak to you and go for it!!

 

 

 


Antiquing

I meandered over to Rye, NY to go to the Charity Antique Shop called Twig Antiques. They are very unique because they carry commissioned pieces from estates and pieces from Furniture Sharehouse which they donate proceeds back to Sharehouse. (pay it forward link to my page here). As an interior designer I find it really fun to look for that unusual find.

 Twig blog Outside

I saw 3 pieces that struck my eye because I was volunteering at the Sharehouse when they came in all banged up and the worse for wear. I was really struck at the potential they would have if they were given love, refurbished, cleaned up, restained and painted.

This antique turning shelf came out amazing with the all the different sections for your bowls, knick knacks. The inlaid top was all sanded and stained to its original design. The fact that it turns makes it so much more appealing to be able to reach your dishes or special pieces. You can display different views on different days.  Just think you can keep all your ingredients ready to go to enjoy martinis when your friends pop by!

Twig blog Turning Shelf

This old ornate hand blown crystal glass and painted metalwork with ornate tiny details of hand cut crystal. Have it over your dining table, in your bedroom or entry way for drama. How fun would that be to have this unusual piece.

Twig blog hand blown chandelier

This antique hand painted tray table is actually very old and had to be stripped and sanded on the flat black area, it was in really bad shape. All the flowers along the edges were in pretty good condition. The legs had to be cleaned up. We also found this great Quan Yin lamp that came in all dirty but we cleaned her up and rewired the lamp for use. It is a really great piece for decorating with feng shui design.

Twig blog hand painted tray table

Quan Yin is known as the Goddess of compassion and healing. She is one of the most poplular deities in all of Asia. Her name translates as The One Who Hears the Cries of the World. Her mantra is “Om Mani Padme Hum” which means “Hail the Jewel in the Lotus.”

You never know what a piece that looks all ratty can maybe turn out to be your jewel!. Start cleaning it up, let it speak to you and go for it!!

 

 

 


Organize and Transform

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As a designer, I look at how people organize their homes and sometimes I just give a deep sigh of boredom and think “really?”.  Aren’t we all tired of the gray steel cumbersome file cabinets, the black or white plastic trays, the humdrum brown storage boxes?  I know you may not have a choice in an office workspace but to have to submit to the corporate dull decor, but that doesn’t mean your home office storage should be the same. It’s time for a transformation!
I found some fabulous replacements for the typical storage choices. As seen below, instead of the usual wood desk and leather accessories , I found these wooden desk accessories covered with antique mirrored glass from Horchow.
Desk accessories Horchow
Every office needs a file cabinet, but do they have to be plain Jane?! Look at this Greek Key double drawer file box which adds so much character to the traditional two-drawer file cabinets. How chic is this? Let me know if you agree too!
Greek file box 1