Archive for August 2010

Designer to Watch-Erin Martin

We stumbled upon the work of Erin Martin the other day and we think we're in love! 

Her work is organic in a very sophisticated way.  The words "organic" or "sustainable" get thrown around a lot these days but very few people get it right.  We love her use of natural materials, muted colors and texture variety.

Her designs seem very original too-as no two houses are alike.

Here is a sample of her work:

To see more of her work, visit Erin Martin Design.

Cool Upholstered Bed

A couple of our favorite things for the day:

1) Laced up boots from Nine West ($209)
2) Modern Upholstered Bed from Brownstone (appx $1800 for queen, $2000 for king-COM)

Thom Felicia Rug for Safavieh

Interior designers are like movie stars.  When they are hot you see them everywhere.  Then a few years later they just disappear.

Thom Felicia is definitely hot now.  He has a wide range of licensed products as we've mentioned in previous post--ranging from Kravet fabrics to furniture for Vanguard and now rugs for Safavieh. 

His rug collection is actually very affordable.  Very young and hip too.  A 6 x 9 rug is about $600.  Very reasonable don't you think?

Here are some samples:

To see the rest of the collection, please click here. You can find pricing and product information in our modern rug section.

Vogue September Issue-A True Economic Indicator

If you watch the news and read the papers, you can get reallly confused. One day the housing index is up, the next day it's down. One day the stock market roars for some weird reason, the next day it tanks for other weirder reasons.

And you know what the best economic indicator there is?

The Vogue September issue.

We just got it today and it's nice and fat again. True, you have to flip through hundred of ads to get to some flimpsy content, but the nice part about that is, advertisers are spending money again! Which can leads to all kind of good things.

And we don't know about you, but we are having this frugality fatigue, big time. Enough already with all this self-deprivation.  Sure, the way we spend money is forever changed, but if you really really want those Channel clogs and you don't have to cut into the rent to pay for it, why the heck not...

So here's to Vogue, and to better times ahead!

PS There's a lovely feature on an art-filled apartment.  Click here to see the slideshow.

Source:  Vogue

Java Junkie of the Month - Edward Raymond (or Ed)

by Julie Patrick

Ed doing the cheesiest pose he could for his Java Junkies photo - as requested by Jefferson.

Ed works just up the road at Health Grades as a QA Engineer, and first found out about Read, Write & Brew while on one of his lunchtime walks. "I saw the 'Opening Soon' signs painted on the windows, and couldn't wait for you guys to open. I think the first time I came in you guys were only open about a week or so".
Ed comes in almost daily, usually sipping his favorite beverage, our Sugar Free Vanilla Latte. As I interviewed him today, he instead chose one of our $5 lunch specials; sandwich, chips and a can of Diet Dr Pepper. I interrupted his lunch to interview him for our blog, but he was a good sport about it and didn't seem to mind.
Julie: What book are you reading at the moment?

Ed: 'The Black Couldren' by Lloyd Alexander. Actually, I bought it from here.

Julie: What's it about?

Ed: Not sure, I haven't started it yet, but it's a Fantasy novel.

Julie: So is that your favorite genre, fantasy?

Ed: Yeah, science fiction or fantasy. The spirit of Pulp Fiction, in its hey day.

Jefferson: Hey, how's that website going that you're working on?

Julie: Website? What Website?

Ed: It's not finished yet, but it's called Ink Dweller. It's basically an online writers group for Pulp Fiction, or short stories. Writers can submit their short stories on the website, and the best stories will get published in the Ink Dweller Magaine, which is yet to be launched.

Jefferson: Want us to plug the website for you on our Blog?

Ed: Sure. It's not finished yet, but the website is

Julie: Writers Group hey? Did you know we're hosting a 'Meet the Authors Event' on September 11th with the Evergreen Foothills Writers Group?

Ed: Yeah, Jefferson told me about it. I'm coming to that for sure.

Julie: How long have you been writing short stories?

Ed: I'd say about 5 years or so.

I have grown to love interviewing our regulars for our monthly Java Junkie posts. I've discovered things about the people that come into Read, Write & Brew that I otherwise would never know about them. Take Ed for example. You yourself have probably seen him tapping away quietly on his laptop on the counter, not realizing he's creating such an awesome opportunity for other short story lovers like himself to share their ideas, stories and opinions on the Ink Dweller website.

I jumped onto to have a looksie, and read his personal hypothesis on the difference between a writer, author and storyteller. Very interesting stuff. If you're into short story writing, be sure to have a looksie for yourself. While you're there, if you like what you see, why not log on and register? It's free and a great way to network with others who are also interested in Pulp Fiction and short story writing.

Julie: So when you're not Quality Assuring at Health Grades, or writing Pulp Fiction and short stories, what else do you like to do?

Ed: I like to play chess. I used to play in a club and in tournaments as part of the U.S. Chess Federation, but now I just mostly play with friends.

Julie: Into strategic games, huh. So, do you like playing Poker too?

Ed: Yeah, Texas Hold 'Em.

Julie: Hmmm... short story writing, chess, Texas Hold 'Em. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?

Ed: Oh yeah, I'm a total introvert. Even down to playing Dungeons and Dragons, but don't put that part on the blog.


Thanks Ed for being our August Java Junkie. We hope you enjoy your $10 store credit, and good luck with Ink Dweller.
See ya on the 11th of September!

Pretty Chinoiserie Wallpapers and Prints

A while back we fell in love with a vendor called Jardins En Fleurs.  We probably blogged about it once.  They make beautiful, beautiful Chinoiserie paintings and accessories.  The problem was, it was so expensive it was impossible to sell.  The company closed down shortly after--a victim of the 2008-09 economy, evidently.

Anyway, we get this email the other day from Belle Chasse home and it has a very similiar look and feel.  Alas, we found out it was found by the same founder of Jardins en Fleur.  He has great taste, we must say.

The line is more affordable now.  If you are looking for pretty Chinoiserie prints, it's a nice choice.

Here are some samples:

For product and pricing information, visit Belle Chasse (beautiful hunt)'s web site.

Decorating in White

It's hard to believe summer is almost over.  Here in LA it's scorchingly hot, but stunningly beautiful as well.  There's nothing like driving down the Pacific Coast Highway late in the afternoon, with the blue ocean on one side and the mountain on the gorgeous, it makes us so happy to be alive.

But we're getting off track here...

If you are a reader of this blog, you probably know we're crazy about white.  Especially when it's hot outside.  White has such as an amazing cooling effect, and it's so neutral too...

Here are some of our favorite white interior photos from photographer Per Gunnarson:

So simple and pure.  Don't you think?
To see more of his work, click here.

Crazy for Stripes...

We're so in the mood for stripes lately. It's modern.  It's striking.   It's fun.  It makes your eyes pop.

Here are some great designs using stripes with either wallpapers,  fabrics or paint:

Images from Elle Decor

Images from MyHomeIdeas

Some pretty striped wallpapers:

Source: Matthew Patrick Smyth Wallcoverings for F Schumacher wallpapers.

Fabulous Beatles Chairs from Andrew Martin

Have you seen the work of Andrew Martin?  An UK -based designer, he has that really cool, quirky, crazy English taste that we love.

Here are some new fabrics that just came out for Lee Jofa.   Wouldn't they be fabulous as pillows too?

Love them!

PS We apologize, we don't have the pricing for these yet as they are so new.   We'll be posting them on our Lee Jofa Fabric section as soon as they are available.  In the mean time, if you need it right away, drop us a line.  To see more of Andrew Martin's products, click here.

A great source for interior design pictures...

With so many decorating magazines closing lately, we find ourselves starving for pictures of amazing rooms.  A good alternative is interiors designers' and photographers' web sites.  Often you can view their portolios as a source of inspiration.

Below is one of our favorites, Pieter Estersohn.

PS For more pictures, visit DiggingDecor-it's full of interior design pictures (well, not quite full yet, but it's on its way :)   It's a social community network for people who love to decorate. The site is new so we'll need all the contributors we can get!   If you love decorating, come join so you can show off your portfolio, share resources and make some friends.

We hope to see you there...

Fabulous Black and White Chair

We're loving these side chairs.  Upholstered in black and white, it really adds some jazz to an otherwise neutral room.

Images via Traditional Homes.

The fabric on this chair is from F Schumacher--it's a little expensive, let us warn you.  Fortunately for a small chair like this you should only need 3-4 yards.   The pattern is called Gordian Weave and it comes in three different colorways.  It is a little bumpy though, as the knot pattern is raised quite high.

You can find it in our F Schumacher fabric section.

Meet the Authors Event - September 11th 2010

Click on the image for an enlarged version of the flier.

Thom Felicia Fabrics for Kravet

Thom Felicia is one of our favorite designers, mainly because his designs are very liveable and very approachable.  

Here is a fabric collection he did for Kravet that we thought are quite nice.  The prices are not too bad either (about $99/yard but you usually can get it for much less).

To see the rest of the collection, click here. Pricing and production information can be found on our Kravet Fabric section.

Inviting Home ideas

Creating an Inviting Home

We Have Everything You Need to Make Your Home an Inviting Home

You are a unique individual; there is no one else just like you. Your style of dress, your hobbies, your choices in art, music, and films all help to define who you are, how you view yourself, and how others view you. You are the artist of your own reality; drawing inspirations and creating your very own unique lifestyle. We at Inviting Home recognize your uniqueness, and remind you that your home is an extension of you: it is a canvas with unlimited potential.

Perhaps you're buying your first home. Perhaps you are building your dream home. Or maybe you've lived in your home for years, but are plagued by decorator's block; this nagging sense that something is missing from your decor. You've bought scores of accessories, dressed your windows in custom treatments, finished your hardwood floors to a brilliant gleam, but still you are not satisfied. Your home never feels complete.

At we believe that your home should be a testament to your individuality. The overall presence that your home projects must come from a sound base framework that is as uncompromising in construction as it is gorgeous to behold. By incorporating our detailed wood carvings into your home you add interest and character to your decor, lending a presence to your home that is as unique as you are.

Investing in such carved wood details as our crown molding, wood brackets, or wood newels and balusters not only add architectural interest, but elegance and refinement to your rooms. Our wood rosettes are beauties of pure symmetry when mounted on either side of your doorways, windows, or fireplace mantel. And nothing says opulence like our carved wood panels, gracing the faces of your kitchen cabinets, doors, or library walls. Our wood carvings are so much more than embellishments; you will find that they are critical elements playing an important role in your house. By their very nature, they turn a house into a home.

Mini Makeover Ideas-kitchen

Mini Makeover Ideas For Your Kitchen

If you dream of an updated, upgraded kitchen, don’t feel guilty about it. Kitchens sell houses, as any real estate expert will tell you. They’re also the heart of the home, where we spend most of our time, studies show. So improving this important living space is a sound financial investment, and an investment in your family’s happiness.

You don’t need to spend a lot to create a dramatic difference in your kitchen. A mini-makeover may be all that you need to turn that blah kitchen into the showpiece of your home.

“When people think of kitchen renovation, they usually think of the expensive ventures, like replacing cabinets, countertops and appliances,” says Dan Auer of, a leading online retailer of decorative home products. “But starting small - with easy yet dramatic changes that can be done in a weekend - can make a big difference in the appearance and value of your kitchen.”

Auer offers a few tips for getting started on your kitchen’s mini-makeover:

- First, pick up some home magazines or visit some model homes in your area to get ideas. Pay close attention to the projects that will make the most impact but will be easy to accomplish, like wall color, sinks and faucets, lighting fixtures, cabinet knobs and accessories.

- Forego the frustration of home improvement stores, where what you want may not be in stock, or where you can spend hours looking for someone to answer questions or get the product you want. Take advantage of online resources, like, where you can see exactly what’s in inventory, and shop by style, finish brand or price range from a selection of more than 50,000 sinks, faucets and accessories all with just the click of a mouse.

- A new faucet can vastly improve the look and usability of your kitchen. Installing a new one is a basic improvement within the abilities of the average homeowner. When choosing your new faucet, keep in mind both the look you want to achieve and how you will be using the faucet.

For example, if you’re often trying to regulate water temperature with one hand (while the other handles 10 other tasks), a single-hand faucet offers easy control. If you’re creating a traditional or period-style look, consider a two-handle faucet. Serious cooks may consider adding a pot-filler faucet, which mounts on the wall near the range to allow you to fill a pot that’s already on the stove.

- “Sinks are an important factor in a kitchen’s overall appearance, yet many people overlook them completely,” Auer says. Stainless steel, cast iron, single bowl, double bowl or even triple bowl – kitchen sinks now come in styles, sizes, colors and features to fit virtually every d├ęcor and work space.

The number of bowls you’ll choose will depend on your personal preferences and how you use your sink. Heavy food prep use may call for two or even three bowls, while use as a rinsing station may require only one bowl. The material you choose should complement the overall look of your kitchen. If you need help deciding which sink is right for you, offers a Kitchen Sink Buying Guide.

- Next, look up – at your lighting. While kitchens in some high-end new homes may already be decked out with the latest in lighting, chances are if you’re in an older home you have some very basic overhead lighting. While this lighting might be functional, it’s not always visually attractive. Fortunately, it’s an easy job for a do-it-yourselfer to replace a basic overhead fluorescent fixture with something equally bright but more visually appealing. Under-the-counter task lighting is also a must for a well-lit modern kitchen. And a few artfully placed pendant lights over a breakfast bar or kitchen island can impart elegance and practicality.

Kitchen Decor Spices

Kitchen Decor Spices Up Any Home

"The kitchen is the heart of a home".

It is where meals are prepared, friends gather to chat and children finish their homework. But if you have a kitchen that you do not love, it can be a dreaded dismal place where very little gets accomplished. Good kitchen decor can cheer up even a small kitchen and make it more warm and inviting.

One of the best ways is to open your kitchen up is to literally tear down the wall between your kitchen and living room. Join these two gathering places into one open one. Most newer homes are being built with this concept of open space already incorporated.

Even if you only tear down a window-sized area to be able to view the kitchen from the living room, it will open it up and make it seem larger and more inviting. The kitchen no longer has to be completely hidden from the living room, as it seems to be in older homes.

But if you can’t tear down a wall, there are other options for your kitchen decor:

Glass cabinetry – use clear glass panes in your cabinetry. Show the depth of your kitchen. As a warning, though, you will not just be showing the depths of your kitchen, you will also be showing off any mess you may have previously hidden behind those opaque cabinet doors. Consider only installing glass panes in a few of your cabinets, allowing you to display your beautiful pottery and dinnerware, not your cereal boxes and messy spice rack. A few stained glass inserts can also really make your cabinets stand out.

Lighting – the right lighting can make all the difference, even in the kitchen. If you are using just one light fixture located in the center of your ceiling, it is definitely time to add to and change how you light your kitchen. One fairly easy thing to do is to install under-cabinet lighting. An affordable alternative to hard wiring these lights into the exisiting electrical box in the kitchen is to use the ‘tap’ lights currently available. If your cabinets do not reach to the ceiling, you can even install above-cabinet lighting,. For the above-cabinet lighting, you can use Christmas rope lights. Be sure to have good task lighting over important work areas like the kitchen sink and stove. Modern track lighting and pendant lights can add a nice touch.

Bright and warm colors – if you have a small kitchen and want your kitchen to seem larger, do not use dark colors on the walls. Instead, open it up by using warm whites and yellows or other colors that invite light. Also consider light-colored appliances and cabinetry. You can still add a splash of color here and there in your accessories. Use a bright red dishtowel; sink mat, fruit bowl, recipe box, etc. Hang up some brightly colored photos or drawings of Paris cafes or food, etc. You can still have fun with your kitchen decor. And, in fact, if you use subtler, lighter colors on your walls, your decorations will stand out much more.

These are only a few ideas to help you improve your decor and make the gathering spot of your home feel fresher and larger and even more inviting. Just look around your kitchen and think about what you could change to make it feel more welcoming.

Interior Decorating Accessories

Guide for Interior Decorating Accessories

When decorating the interiors of your home, the main objective must be to make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible. First of all, you need to decide on a theme for each room in your home. Try visualizing the look after the decoration is complete and if you like the look, then start the interior decoration project at once. Decide what kind of mood you want to set in each room - do you want it to be romantic, casual, friendly, or soothing and relaxing. You must also consider your lifestyle and plan your interior decoration project accordingly.

Your home is a reflection of your personality so you must take care to choose the interior decorating accessories according to your taste. But before rushing to buy the decorating accessories, decide on the overall theme of your home. This is the key to making your accessories work for you. Finalize a decorating style for your interior decoration -- modern, contemporary, traditional, country, eclectic or rustic. Knowing your decorating style will help you in selecting suitable accessories that match with that particular decorating style.

Do not run to shop for expensive home decor items and accessories just to fill empty spaces and corners of your home. Consider buying unique and beautiful second hand accessories and antique pieces which are surprisingly very inexpensive. Always remember the theme you have chosen for your home and make your selection considering the theme or look you want to project. You can use accessories such as glass jars, bottles, flower vases, pillows, baskets, candle stands, pots, decorative mirrors, artwork, plants, clocks, picture frames, old tin or wooden toys or collectables, waxed fruits, paper weights, stuffed animals, dolls, wall hangings, lamps and lamp shades and lighting to improve the looks of your home. You can find these items from garage sales, flea markets, charity auctions and yard sales where these items are available at heavily discounted rates.