Last week real estate blog, Curbed, celebrated small-space living with the first-ever Micro Week - a week full of stories and articles featuring some of New York's tiniest apartments. With housing costs on the rise, many New Yorkers are accustomed to sharing small spaces, and need creative solutions to the challenges of crowded city life. With urban dwellers in mind, NYFU aka "New York Functional Furniture" just opened a brand new showroom on 18th street in Chelsea. The company was founded a few years ago by a group of international designers who all ended up living in New York City. They've put together a unique line of furniture with lots of creative, multi-functional pieces. The sofa beds are streamlined and modern, and come in a range of color options. Shipping is free in New York and New Jersey, and items can be delivered in 48 hours! Keep reading to see pics from my visit to the brand new showroom, and a few of my favorite pieces:Read More
Have you guys heard about Blue Apron? It's a pretty cool service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to your home. Each week you receive a box of groceries with everything you need to make 3 delicious meals for 2 (or 4) people. I paid $59.94 for 1 week - which works out to $9.99 per meal, per person. Not bad considering these turned out to be super yummy, restaurant-quality meals. Plus, I usually ended up with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
I was pretty impressed by the tastiness of the meals I whipped up, especially since my cooking skills are fairly remedial. I tried a bunch of new foods, and picked up a lot of different cooking techniques. It's more work than I care to handle every week, but you can cancel as often as you like. Once a month is ideal for me. My biggest concern is the amount of plastic packaging used for all the individual ingredients - supposedly it's all recyclable, but I hope Blue Apron will look into less wasteful packaging options for the future.
Overall, the concept is pretty mind-blowing to me, and it's especially helpful for busy New Yorkers - who know how grocery shopping in the city can be an epic task. I'm really bad at meal planning and grocery shopping, but Blue Apron makes it easy to cook new things. Want to know what I ate? Keep reading for the full scoop.Read More
The final step in Lisa's Bedroom Mini Makeover was to give her nightstands a little style refresh. Accessories are often overlooked, but these are the finishing touches that bring warmth and personality to your space. Shopping at a local thrift store or flea market is a great way to find really unique pieces without spending a fortune. For Lisa's room, I used a combination of items she already owned, and mixed in a few new items from the Park Slope Flea Market, Build it Green!, and Housing Works Thrift. Keep reading for all sourcing details, and I'll reveal the grand total costs for this 4 step bedroom makeover.Read More
A few weeks ago I showed you my sister Lisa's 4 step bedroom makeover. Today I'll be talking about Step 3 - DIY Lamp Shades. This is a super quick and easy way that you can customize your lamp shades with a little craft paint. I followed the instructions from this great blog "P.S. - I made this". A subtle ombre effect is a great option because it looks sophisticated, but it's hard to mess up. I'm not a particularly gifted crafter, but this requires minimal supplies and is totally doable. If you already have some shades to work with, it only costs about $5 for the paint and brushes. I did a pretty turquoise color, but there are lots of options that could look cool - sunset pink, golden yellow, or deep blue indigo. Have fun with it and make it your own! Keep reading for more details, pics, and instructions.Read More
We're gearing up for a huge blizzard in NYC tonight! Stay safe and warm, New Yorkers. Last week I showed you this 4 step makeover for my sister Lisa's bedroom. Today I'm focusing on Step 2 - Building a Better Gallery Wall. My sister Lisa is a phenomenal photographer, and she wanted her room to showcase the work of some of her super talented photographer friends. Gallery walls are a great way to make a bold statement, and display a variety of images. You can fill a large wall with a bunch of smaller pieces to create a striking and dramatic effect. We put this gallery wall together using a few of her existing frames and 10 new ones from IKEA for a total of $127. Keep reading for my tips on how to create a quick and easy gallery wall.Read More
It's 2015, can you believe it!? The new year is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and give your home a design refresh. I helped my sister Lisa decorate her bedroom over 7 years ago, but after years of wear and tear, it was definitely in need of an update. She didn't want to go crazy with a major overhaul, so I suggested a 4 step mini-makeover to upgrade her look. Keep reading to see how we transformed this cute, but tired bedroom into a bright, and stylish showpiece.Read More
Happy New Year, friends. Now that 2015 is in full swing, it's time to start planning your next escape! I spent the most wonderful week in Tulum, Mexico over the holidays, and this tropical paradise is definitely worth a visit. This eco-chic beachfront community is filled with charming resorts, natural wonders, and ancient ruins. It is located a 1.5 hr drive from the Cancun airport. You can walk, bike, or taxi along the Tulum beach strip, but you'll need a car to explore the surrounding areas. I hunted the Airbnb listings for Tulum, Mexico, and spotted a few options that would be great for a winter getaway. Keep reading to see full details, pics, and pricing for 4 awesome places to stay in Tulum.Read More
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I've been having a wonderful time celebrating the season with friends and family in New York City and Minnesota this year. Check out some highlights from my holiday adventures.Read More
My roommate, Rose Hoang, is a phenomenal chef. I feel like I live in a five-star restaurant because she is always experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up something delicious. In today's post, Rose is going to show us how to make a delicious Miso Orange Glazed Chilean Sea Bass. I know it looks and sounds complicated, but you'll be surprised how easy it is! I'm not even a big fan of mushrooms, but the sauce was so tasty I ate them all and loved every bite. The salty-sweet marinade has notes of Japanese flavor and tastes sooooo good! Rose was inspired by this recipe, but expanded on it with a touch of citrus, fresh mushrooms, and veggies. This recipe serves 2 people, and would be great for an intimate romantic dinner.
Rose Hoang is a self-taught chef who grew up in San Jose, California. Her parents are Vietnamese immigrants, and she learned to cook from her mother, often using fresh ingredients from their backyard garden. While Rose's cooking has a strong Asian influence, she loves to cook all types of food, mixing flavors and trying new things. You can follow her cooking adventures on Instagram. Keep reading this post for step-by-step instructions and pictures.
While I love the holiday giving season, choosing the rights gifts for your friends and family can be an arduous task. When in doubt, I like to stick with items that are useful, classic, and beautiful. Take a look at my picks for some items that will make any home feel cozy and warm this winter:
1. RyuMei - Kamakurabori Red Wave Tea Canister - $9.99
For all your tea-loving friends, this gorgeous tea storage canister is decorated in a traditional Japanese Kamakurabori style. Complement this gift with some organic green tea or macha powder.
2. Wind & Willow Home - Wooden Mixing Spoons (Set of 3) Fall Harvest - $32
Minnesota-based home goods company Wind & Willow Home is known for it's simple, yet modern housewares which are internationally recognized for their bold colors, bare woods, and organic textures. These charming wooden spoons will come in handy for all your brownie-baking needs this winter!
3. Small Spells - Black Crescent Moon Small Planter with Plate - $42
Rachel Howe of Small Spells is an artist and ceramicist based in Brooklyn, NY. I love her quirky line of mugs, planters and more. This adorable moon planter is made to order, and will arrive in 4-6 weeks.
4. Jayson Home - Branch Brass Servers - $75
Add a little sparkle to your life with this elegant brass serving set. Everyday meals feel like a fancy affair when you bust out these beauties.
5. CB2 - Inner Peace Wreath - $49.95
This oversize, rustic peace wreath was designed for CB2 by Robert and Cortney Novogratz. I used to work for The Novogratz, and I know for a fact that they are literally "the coolest"! This was inspired by the giant wreath they put up at their country house every Christmas, and it is one of my favorite items from their prolific product collections.
6. Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. - Buffalo Plaid Fringed Throw - $120
This 100% wool blanket will be sure to keep you warm during the chilly winter months. Buffalo Plaid is super classic, and will stay in style for a very long time. Perfect for your guest room, or movie night on the sofa.
7. Coalition for the Homeless - Any amount
Sadly, due to skyrocketing living costs, homelessness in New York City is on the rise. This year nearly 60,000 people, including more than 25,000 children will be spending the holidays in a homeless shelter. The Coalition for the Homeless provides emergency food and clothing, permanent housing, job training, and special programs for homeless youth. Please consider making a donation this year to help make the holidays a little more comfortable for those in need.
8. Thymes Frasier Fir Candle - $28
Thymes Frasier Fir Candle is hands down my favorite holiday candle! It has a rich, earthy scent that smells just like a Christmas tree, and instantly fills your home with holiday cheer. I've tried other similar candles that have a mild, artificial scent, but Thymes Frasier Fir the real deal. It smells amazing and lasts a long time.
9. Brooklyn Slate Co. - Slate Cheese Board (multiple sizes) - $28 and up
Serve your cheese and appetizers like a real grown-up with these beautiful, natural cheese boards made of slate from a family quarry in Upstate New York.
Today's post is all about kitchens! A few weeks ago I showcased some black kitchens, and I recently highlighted the growing trend of painted cabinets and brass hardware. Whether your style is classic or contemporary, a white kitchen is a timeless look that feels light, bright, and airy. Keep reading to see some examples of white kitchens that range from crisp and modern, to elegant and ornate. Which one is your favorite?Read More
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing holiday weekend. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom, my sister, and my boyfriend's family on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It was an international affair with friends and family from Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and the US.
In case you missed it - a few weeks ago I was featured in an interview on Wayfair.com with some tips on small space living:
"Most of us don't live in a tiny apartment for a long period of time, but that's no reason not to bring a bit of personality into your space. Laura Weatherbee of L. Weatherbee Design Studio is an expert in helping people transition (and love!) their small spaces. Lucky for us, she's dishing about organizing, her small living must haves, and making the most of a petite home."
You can check out the full post here.
If you are looking to buy handmade goods, Etsy is a great place to shop. There's a lot of good stuff on Etsy, but there's also a lot of random and not so great stuff too. The site is growing every day, and new shops pop up all the time. You can find a little bit of everything on Etsy - from dining tables made with reclaimed wood to fabulous leather poufs. Today I wanted to highlight a few shops that caught my eye - selling really cool furniture and home decor items made right here in New York City. Keep reading for more details about each of these 4 shops:Read More
I can't believe this November marks my 11th year living in the Financial District of Manhattan! I've been here so long, I sometimes forget how crazy city life can be. I was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Minnesota - spending most of my life in spacious suburban homes. Now I share a 2-bedroom apartment with a roommate, and I have about 8 million neighbors. It's funny how people live in cities - stacked on top of each other in little boxes piled high into the sky. While New York is a complex city with challenging problems, it's still one of the most incredible places on earth, and I'm grateful to call it home.
The new transportation hub at Fulton Center opened recently, and it's just one of many new futuristic development projects that are changing the landscape of lower Manhattan. With the the 76-story Gehry skyscraper at 8 Spruce St, the PATH Pedestrian Tunnel, and the recently opened One World Trade Center, the "new" New York is starting to look like something out of The Jetsons. It's both exhilarating and terrifying. Personally, I find the gleaming new architecture to be out-of-this-world, and awe-inspiring. It feels like the future is unfolding, and I'm lucky to have a front row seat.
In contrast to New York's new space-age developments, this is the suburban house in New Jersey where I was born. I loved growing up in the suburbs, but I'm not sure where I see my own family in the future. While I dream of having a big yard and ample space for messy projects, I can't imagine life outside of a big city. I love the density, diversity, and excitement of urban life. I love the energy of 8 million people packed into 300 square miles.
As the world population increases, I see more and more people moving into urban areas. And like it or not, if we are going to fit more people on this planet, we'll have to get accustomed to living with less space. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. We all need to let go of some of the "stuff" that clutters our minds and homes.
One major drawback of high-rise living is the lack of greenery when you look outside. I can see why many people find the matrix of glass and steel to be cold and soulless. From my 7-story window, the seasons look more or less the same - like bricks and concrete covered in soot. But I like to imagine that the cities of our future will get greener, with integral parks and gardens built all around the sides of buildings. Check out the jaw-dropping renderings below, designed by WOHA architects, for the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition. Even though these are just imagined views, they make me optimistic and excited about all the possibilities. While I can't say for sure what the future will look like, I'm pretty sure it will be nothing like the past.
Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? Before European settlers arrived in the 15th century, North America was home to a rich and culturally diverse population of indigenous people. Today, although Native Americans make up only 1.7% of the US population, there are over 500 federally-recognized tribes, each with its own unique culture and heritage. Although I am not of Native American ancestry, I wanted to celebrate this month by featuring some beautifully crafted items made by Native artists. While there is a lot of Native American "inspired" stuff out there, authentic work by Native American artists is much harder to find. Thankfully, Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe, author of the blog "Beyond Buckskin" has compiled a list of resources where you can buy products that support economic development in Native American communities. I checked out some of her recommendations, and highlighted a few of my favorite items that would make a great addition to any home.
1. Awoken Loon and Moon - $132.35
I love the crisp lines and colors on this woodland style painting by artist Derek Harper, who is Oji-Cree from Keewaywin First Nation in Ontario. The loon is a really cool bird with a hauntingly beautiful call, and it's also the state bird of Minnesota, my home state. This framed painting is 8.5"W x 11"H.
2. Arctic Flower Birch Bark Drum - $85
This lovely birch bark drum was made by Dolly Metchooyeah, a Dene from Chateh, AB. The gorgeous flowers are made of moose hair tufting, an intricate decorative technique used for centuries by the Dene people.
3. Cedar Basket w/Canoe - $200
Hand-woven by Violet Riebe, of the Hoh tribe from the Pacific Northwest, this basket depicts four canoes with four birds flying above.
4. Hand Coiled Acoma Pottery - $650
The Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico is known for its distinctive, geometric-patterned pottery. This beautiful vase was made by award-winning potter, Shawna Garcia-Rustin. The black-and-white design is a great complement to any color scheme.
5. Di Dream Catcher - $130
Dreamcatchers have a sculptural beauty that adds three-dimensionality to a space, and they look great on the wall or over your bed. Plus, they filter out nightmares while you're sleeping! This caribou-hide piece was made by George Chocolate, Tlicho from Behchoko, NT.
6. Eagle and Bear Paddle - $352.12
Hand-carved paddle by Gelineau Fisher, an Ojibwe artist from the Longlac 58 First Nation. This paddle would look awesome displayed on the wall horizontally or vertically. It is decorated with a painted eagle and black bear.
If you aren't familiar with Chairish yet, then I definitely recommend you take a look! Chairish is a really great website that makes it super easy to buy and sell vintage and used furniture. It's kinda like Craigslist, but without the hassle. The website is very easy to search and shop, and they have a well-curated selection of vintage furniture and decor - so you don't have to search through a bunch of junk. You can find some really great deals, especially since many interior designers use Chairish to unload high-quality furnishings. If you're looking to update your home, be sure to check out the site before you buy new. Vintage furniture adds richness and character to a space that you can't get with all-new everything. Plus, buying pre-loved items helps to keep perfectly nice furniture out of the landfill. For today's post, I've pulled together some items for a classy-chic bedroom that's fit for a queen! Keep reading for more details:Read More
Halloween is right around the corner, and it's my favorite holiday of the year! This year I'm dressing up as the demon-possessed girl from the Exorcist - it's gonna be super scary. Since I'm feeling a little goth lately, today's post is all about black kitchens. From classic and elegant, to hip and modern, there are so many ways to rock a black kitchen. Keep reading to see some more examples of this super sophisticated style.Read More
There's nothing quite like fall in New England, when the leaves turn gold and the hilly landscape becomes a fiery blaze of autumnal color. I enjoyed a hike along the Appalachian Trail with some friends this weekend, and felt so inspired by the magnificent beauty of this season. Several months ago, in the heat of summer, I designed a living room inspired by A Day at The Beach. My how things have changed since then! This week I'm creating a room inspired by this gorgeous photo by my sister Lisa. It really captures the magical air of a New England fall - the bright and joyful array of colors combined with a hint of melancholy - a reminder of the winter to come. I love the natural, golden color palette, and I'm obsessed with that rich patch of deep green on the left! Let's see how we can use these colors to design a room:Read More
A few weeks ago I told you I signed up for the Awaken Your Health cleanse by my friends Amanda and Jackie of Crafted Wellness. Well it's been a little over a week since I completed the cleanse, and I wanted to tell you how much I loved it! This cleanse totally changed the way I eat, and think about food. I felt nourished and energized throughout the cleanse, and I really noticed a difference in the way my body felt after eating healthy foods. I was surprised to discover how tasty healthy foods can be, and I had a lot of fun shopping for and preparing wholesome, nutritious meals. I highly recommend this cleanse to any friends looking to feel good and give their eating habits a boost! Making a commitment to the cleanse really helped me stick to it, and the daily support from Amanda and Jackie made it feel communal and fun. This cleanse changed my eating habits for life, and I'm so glad I tried it. Keep reading to learn more, and see pics of some of the foods I ate.Read More
I went to a family wedding in Pennsylvania this weekend, and on the drive back to NYC we discovered this amazing historic pottery studio - The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. The sprawling concrete structure was designed in the style of a Spanish Mission, and stands out dramatically against the backdrop of country barns and farmhouses in the area. When I spotted this unusual structure on the side of the road, I definitely had to stop and check it out. As it turns out, the building is a National Historic Landmark built in 1898 by Henry Mercer, a wealthy artist, writer, and leader in the turn-of-the-20th-century Arts and Crafts movement. This working history museum is open daily for tours, and it's definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. Keep reading to learn more, and see pictures of this incredible space.Read More