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Global Seed Vault

Beautiful (and slightly disturbing, for some reason).
I know the purpose of the structure is for a noble cause... so is it wrong that I am wishing it was my vacation home?

Read here.

With plant species disappearing at an alarming rate, scientists and governments are creating a global network of plant banks to store seeds and sprouts, precious genetic resources that may be needed for man to adapt the world’s food supply to climate change.

Longyearbyen is in Norway, 600 miles from the North Pole. This week, the flagship of that effort, the Global Seed Vault near here, received its first seeds, millions of them. Bored into the middle of a frozen Arctic mountain topped with snow, the vault’s goal is to store and protect samples of every type of seed from every seed collection in the world.

As of Thursday, thousands of neatly stacked and labeled gray boxes of seeds — peas from Nigeria, corn from Mexico — reside in this glazed cavelike structure, forming a sort of backup hard drive, in case natural disasters or human errors erase the seeds from the outside world.

Descending almost 500 feet under the permafrost, the entrance tunnel to the seed vault is designed to withstand bomb blasts and earthquakes. An automated digital monitoring system controls temperature and provides security akin to a missile silo or Fort Knox. No one person has all the codes for entrance.

The Global Vault is part of a broader effort to gather and systematize information about plants and their genes, which climate change experts say may indeed prove more valuable than gold. In Leuven, Belgium, scientists are scouring the world for banana samples and preserving their shoots in liquid nitrogen before they become extinct. A similar effort is under way in France on coffee plants. A number of plants, most from the tropics, do not produce seeds that can be stored.

For years, a hodgepodge network of seed banks has been amassing seed and shoot collections in a haphazard manner. Labs in Mexico banked corn species. Those in Nigeria banked cassava. Now these scattershot efforts are being urgently consolidated and systematized, in part because of better technology to preserve plant genes and in part because of the rising alarm about climate change and its impact on world food production.

“We started thinking about this post-9/11 and on the heels of Hurricane Katrina,” said Cary Fowler, president of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a nonprofit group that runs the vault. “Everyone was saying, why didn’t anyone prepare for a hurricane before? We knew it was going to happen.

“Well, we are losing biodiversity every day — it’s a kind of drip, drip, drip. It’s also inevitable. We need to do something about it.”

This week the urgency of the problem was underscored as wheat prices rose to record highs and wheat stores dropped to the lowest level in 35 years. A series of droughts and new diseases cut wheat production in many parts of the world. “The erosion of plants’ genetic resources is really going fast,” said Dr. Rony Swennen, head of the division of crop biotechnology at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who has preserved half of the world’s 1,200 banana types. “We’re at a critical moment and if we don’t act fast, we’re going to lose a lot of plants that we may need.”

The United Nations International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, ratified in 2004, created a formal global network for banking and sharing seeds, as well as for studying their genetic traits. Last year, its database received thousands of new seeds.

A system of plant banks could be crucial in responding to climate crises since it could identify genetic material and plant strains better able to cope with a changed environment.

Here at the Global Vault, hundreds of gray boxes containing seeds from places ranging from Syria to Mexico were moved this week into a freezing vault to be placed in suspended animation. They harbor a vast range of qualities, like the ability to withstand drier, warmer climate.

Climate change is expected to bring new weather stresses, as well as new plant pests into agricultural regions. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions will produce not just global warming but an increase in extreme weather events, like floods and droughts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded.

Already three-quarters of biodiversity in crops has been lost in the last century, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Eighty percent of maize types that existed in the 1930s are gone, for example. In the United States, 94 percent of peas are no longer grown.

Seed banks have operated for decades, but many are based in agricultural areas and few are as high-tech or secure as the Global Seed Vault. They have often been regarded as resources for hobbyists, scientists, farmers and others rather than as a tool for human survival.... (more on

Domino Book of Decorating available for pre-order.

Speaking of books... I can't wait for this one. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

I couldn't possibly have been the first to place a pre-order, but then again, Amazon doesn't show a sales ranking, so who knows.

Pre-order here.

If you want to read more about it, Habitually Chic has the scoop here.

Does anyone know if this is still on track for March?

The L.A. House (56 pages of porn!!! I cannot wait.)

I hope so.


You can pre-order here, at Ye Olde Amazon Bookstore.

Designer Tia Zoldan offers FREE fabulous design advice right here on Decorno:

Well... I guess I just never know who is reading this blog, do I?

If you read this post, you can see that Decorno reader Michelle wrote in to ask for advice on a big blank wall (and naturally, we all chimed in and redecorated not just the wall, but the whole room... aren't we a bunch of little brats...).

The brilliant part is that Michelle commented that she loved designer Tia Zoldan's place (above). Tia saw this and chimed in with all kinds of great advice for Michelle.

So check it out for yourself right here.

Tia - you rock.

Off the market.

This foxy babe is the reason I have a blog that anyone bothers to read. She linked to me first and now I just kind of orbit in her blogging world.

Congratulations to Megan on her impending nuptials. Men everywhere must weep to know she's off the market.


Megan, when your life settles back down, we'll start on our book. :)

Glamour Shots for the Narcissistic Homeowner Set?


THERE has always been a certain status attached to owning a home that is featured in a magazine. And a certain pleasure, for a homeowner, in leaving the evidence lying casually on the coffee table.

After Julia and Malcolm Butler renovated their 1852 town house in Savannah, Ga., left, they commissioned a photographer to shoot it, “much in the way you might have portraits of your children taken,” Ms. Butler said.
But now there’s another way to flaunt the importance of your house, and your affection for it: hire a well-known photographer yourself to immortalize it. To some, that’s even better than a magazine photo spread, because the results can be displayed in entry halls and over fireplaces, just like any piece of art, or bound in a book.

“We fetishize homes now, in a way that we never used to,” said Todd Eberle, a photographer whose work appears in Vanity Fair and in prominent museums. He has been hired by many celebrities, including Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton, to document their homes and offices. His clients, he said, want him both to memorialize their homes as they really are, and at the same time to “take it to a different level, and somehow improve upon the reality.”

...One client is Laura Bohn, 67, an interior designer with offices in New York. She hired Mr. Kaufman to photograph her country house in Pennsylvania and two apartments in New York, and said she regrets not having her homes photographed sooner. She and her husband have moved eight times, and though pictures of many of her homes have been published in design magazines, she said it’s not the same because a magazine doesn’t have the staying power, or the beauty, of a glossy hand-bound book.

“Ultimately, I’d love to have one big coffee table of all my homes, divided into chapters,” she said. “It preserves that moment in time and in your life, and it’s a way to keep those memories alive.”


Reader Decorating Dilemma: The Blank Wall Edition

Oh, I love these. We've had fun with a blank wall in a dining room before, and a bunch of you had excellent suggestions. But here we have one very large expanse of wall and a reader who needs advice, stat.

She writes:


I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and now include
a visit as part of my daily decorno diet. Yummy!

This very-blank wall (not so yummy) has been haunting
me for two years now. Perhaps my inertia is related
to something I have refered to as post-downsizing
disorder, but I'm ready to get over that and would be
oh-so-grateful for a home remedy or two from you and
your readers.

Any possible cures?

Thank you,

I have to go get dinner started, so I will have to mull it over while cooking for my people, but I am sure readers will get a jump on this in the meantime.

Michelle - can you email in a photo of the rest of the room? You will probably want suggestions that will tie that wall back to the rest of the room...

Michelle responded:

Yeah! Help is on the way!!

Here's 3 shots of the little room. Poor thing! It's
like the ugly step-sister, getting by with hand-me
downs and trying it's best to look pretty and pulled
together. I'm going to click my heels three times
and when I wake-up, hopefully there will be remedies
galore-o, via decorno.

(btw...I know the floral chair has to goooo!)

I promise to send pictures of the new and improved!


Well, well, well. See? Glad you sent in more photos because I don't think that the blank wall is our first order of business. And the reason I say this is that you've got a lot going on in the room (and that's not necessarily a bad thing).

So, my first thought is forget about your wall for a moment. I know that the leather sofa positions you to look directly at it, but avert your eyes for the time being.

Second, I am not usually a big fan of florals, however, I will say this... I don't think your floral chair has to "gooooo" (as you say) quite yet. I think you first need to talk about your sea of brown. Brown sofa, brownish rug, brown floors, brown chair in the corner. Brown, brown, brown. I mean, I am a friend of brown, but I think you could edit the room a little and make a few quick changes to offer up more contrast. Even if the colors generally stayed neutral, you could add greens or reds or sisal rug to add some dimension and punch to the room for not much cash at all. I think you deserve some happy color in there even before you attack the wall that happens to be driving you nuts.

Decorno readers? What do you think?

Also - - what DO we do with the wall? Michelle graciously puts her room at your mercy, so try to keep the recommendations affordable.

Michelle - thanks for the photos! This should be fun.

Michelle mentions this room by Tia Zoldan in the comments section, so I thought I would post it here for reference.

I don't even know what it smells like, but with a bottle like that, I already know I want it.

Although only 31, I think I am already in training to become one hell of an old lady.

Why? Well, I like STRONG perfume, vintage fur, big-ass cocktail rings, stiff drinks, bitchy heels, and cutting people out of wills (ok, not that last part... but if I could I would! It sounds so... soap opera.)

I think this perfume might give Jil Sander No. 4 a run for its money as my frangrance of choice.

Aedes says:

"The hanging gardens of Babylon were built to please the Queen Amyitis. The feeling of being in balance with yourself and nature, unburdened and peaceful, inspired Mona di Orio to create this fresh green fragrance. Like a walk in a magical garden where the colors and the perfumes are sublimated. Topnotes of caraway, savory, green leaves. Heartnotes of iris, violet, gaiac wood and cedar. Basenotes of saffron, opoponax, moss and amber. PRE-ORDER TODAY FOR COMPLIMENTARY SHIPPING! FRAGRANCE WILL SHIP MARCH 10TH 2008!"

Click here to go get it.

Speaking of perfume - - what's your favorite? Do you have some you wear for boys and some for girls? For myself, it's Jil. Too strong for my fiance, I think. I wear Hermes Kelly Caleche. I also love Banana Republic Modern. (Yeah, I said it. Ain't no shame in that game...) I just wish they would be brave and make more than a $30 perfume... one that's substantial enough to wear for more than 30 minutes, you know?

Marc Jacobs, H&G Nov 2000

I'd been looking for this issue and literally found it in a stack of H&Gs under my bed - yes, like porn hidden away from the children.

Cannot tell you how much I love his old place.


Robbed of Best Actor when nominated for Before Night Falls, I was delighted that my future 2nd husband, Javier Bardem, fetched himself a little statue last night at the gay superbowl.

In other news, I lost. I think I only got about 7 right. My fiance was counting and didn't bother rigging it for me which might have pissed me off except that he fronted my $10 for the betting pool, so I guess I didn't really lose anything after all. Oh well.

Did anyone else have an Oscar party? Aren't we so glad the strike is over? And how cute were those two from Once?

I love me some Oscars.

Most wanted.

If you're a Vogue whore, you already know, but these are Sergio Rossi and they will be mine. They are so hot, I can't even stand it. A "painterly" trend was seen all over the place for spring, but if you don't want to don a dress that looks like bad art-student work, you could just slip these on for the most literal interpretation of the trend. There is something a little whore-y about these. Me likey. I am trying to cultivate the dirty secretary look, after all.

I was just at the shoe show and I would like to report back to you on an important issue:

The most beautiful women were wearing skirts that were very 50s and lady like - no pencil skirts, just a lot of skirts cinched at the waist and then poofing out a bit June Cleaver style. The best dressed list didn't see a single tunic-y dress. BUT, walking to the cab line at my hotel in Vegas, I saw - no joke - two groups of women, maybe 18 in all, ALL in their whoring best (it's Vegas after all) and every single one of them had a short little tunic-y mini dress on and together they put the final nail in the coffin for that trend. They looked a little ridiculous.

Also, I saw a woman in head-to-toe Tory Burch, low-heeled mid-shaft boot and all. Too much of mod/70s color block explosion for my taste. Just too formulaic. I know people love Tory, but please people - one item at a time. It's not Garanimals. You can't just buy the shirt that goes with the pants that goes with the shoes that goes with the enamel bracelet. It's not a costume.

Caulfield Parcel

Lately more and more people are sending me things to check out - products, art, whathaveyou (is that one word? It's such a hillbilly word. I love it...) like, for review or something. I kinda love it. I helps me maintain this sense that I am some kind of (totally unqualified) arbiter of taste and style. Which I am not, but it's fun to pretend, no?

So I got this little note below and I was suspicious because I am always worried some kind of hand-stitched ric-rac Etsy explosion blow up my in-box if I click on certain links, but what do you know? It's fabulous! Lucky me. And now, lucky you.

Check it out:

We wanted to send a quick email in regards to our 1st collection of cards...we’re big fans
of your blog, we especially enjoyed the “Bourgeois Dictionary" post. originally from the Midwest ourselves the whole “Pop vs. Soda” debate is always a controversial issue.

Hope you enjoy.
Thanks Again for making us laugh...

Heather Calugaru
Ryan Giles

Heather is a senior art director for a luxury accessories company and Ryan works on the web side of a men's lifestyle magazine. Their design-y (and busy) selves

Heather says, "Our goal for Caulfield Parcel is to rethink stationery and create a strong brand identity focusing on design. We started our stationery business because we could never find cards we liked. Our cards are timeless, not trendy. Our inspiration for this collection came from the fashion pages of Vogue (“ The Nines,"), everybody’s favorite past time (“Paint by Numbers”), old mundane order forms (“The Forms”) and the great 80’s Magnum P.I. television show (“Private Eye”).

We’re in the process of creating a second collection along with other items like sketch books, and journals."

If you're a retailer, you could be one of the first to get in on the action. Their minimum order is 5 units/boxed sets per collection ($50 wholesale). Contact information for orders is on their site.

Domino responds again... this time it's the editor.

Deborah Needleman, as you design freaks know, is the editor in chief of Domino. Domino was her brainchild. She was gracious enough to email me to let me know she read all of our comments. More on that in a moment.

When I wrote the open letter to Domino, I seriously had no idea that this blog would see its highest traffic ever and that the posts would generate about 130 comments total. Something hit a nerve with all of you, clearly.

As much as we love our magazines, the challenge is that it's just paper. You can't talk back. Sometimes it seems that publications aren't having the conversation with you that you want them to have. Blogs are the conversation. When it's quiet on the comment front, I can tell that you guys don't give a rats ass about, say, my latest recommendation of The Twilight Singers album. But when a post is good, holy hell, you people respond fast and furiously. The feedback loop is very, very clear.

Deborah's home. My kind of porn. Love it. Photo from NY Mag.

I wasn't sure if Domino was getting the feedback. (How can we ever be sure? The don't even publish reader letters.) Lucky for us, they were listening.

Here's the good news.... as one reader commented, "We're all saying the same thing... and that's reassuring. The magazine's diagnosis is pretty clear."

And luckily, the diagnosis merely calls for baby aspirin, not major surgery. The comments focused on about 4 things people would like to see removed from the magazine or tweaked. But overwhelmingly, what I heard was that most people still love Domino. They just want more of what made us love it in the first place.

I am going to exchange a few emails with Deborah with some burning questions and hopefully, she will be comfortable having me post some of her thoughts here soon. Generally, though, there isn't much more I can say that you all haven't already said. Your comments and suggestions were great; some very funny, some just fiesty, all very entertaining to read, so I thank you for taking time to post them.

Parents choose furniture over children.

Ok, only half kidding....

Skim this article and then get right to the fiesty comments (which I know all of you decornophiles love, after all...)

Read comments here.

Highlights from the article:

"I’m pretty sensitive aesthetically, and it does something for me when I look at a pretty room,” Ms. Cherney said. “Looking at what the room used to be was the visual equivalent of listening to Bach or Mozart. Now it’s the visual equivalent of listening to Barney.”

“We spent years collecting meaningful, quality pieces,” he said. “Getting those kinds of pieces — the handmade silk pendant lamp, the teak Danish sideboard — it’s a huge project. Basically each room was finally done, and then it all got blown apart.”

"They put down cork tiles throughout, as protection for glassware and other breakables, including the children themselves, and they set up a 500-square-foot play area in the basement, with a trade-off that some parents would consider draconian: 'They can play with a toy in the main living area, but it has to go away when they’re done,' Ms. McLean said. 'I’m very concerned with what’s in my visual space. When people come into the house, I very much do not want them being bombarded with toys.'"

She also refused to babyproof furniture when the children were younger. She was “never one of those mothers” who put safety corners on coffee tables, she said. “That stuff is just gross, and I don’t feel you have to sacrifice living space to that degree.” And she decided not to install wire railings on the open side of the floating walnut staircase Mr. Stratton designed to connect the first- and second-floor living spaces. “We couldn’t bear it,” she said. “It was too ugly. So basically what we did was we trained the kids to hold onto the handrail, and it’s worked. No one’s ever fallen off."

Have fun with this one, kids.

Domino needs to hire Mayer Rus!

Yes!!!! A reader made this suggestion in response to the last post and it's so fucking brilliant I can hardly stand it.

You know I love him if you've read EVERY SINGLE POST EVER (don't you love it when bloggers somehow assume you all read every post of ours like our lives are serialized in the most exciting and un-missable way?).

For the 99% of you who didn't see it, here is my ode to Mayer Rus:

The Testy Tastemaker

(Love how I drone on about how much I adore H&G and then - POOF! - they kill it. I so didn't see that coming... don't let me read your fortune OR give you a stock tip.)

Domino responds:

So, if you have been reading, you know I posted an open letter to Domino with some gentle (ok... not so gentle) feedback about the issue.

Good news - - Domino has responded:

I'm Catherine Halley, the web editor at domino. Thanks for your honest remarks. I'm so sorry to hear that so many of you were disappointed in this issue. I will make sure everyone around here sees this discussion.

If there's anything you'd like to see on the website, feel free to let me know. You can post something here or on my blog and I'll see what I can do.

Catharine, thanks for responding, especially since the readers of Decorno have helped make this blog a place where we can all be particularly honest about trends and publications, and some of the comments probably weren't as pleasantly delivered as they would have been if, say, we had run into you at a cocktail party.

Nevertheless, I do think the message was clear: we love Domino. Domino is my PORN, no question. I think everyone who reads this blog feels his/her heart race a bit when we see the new issue in our mailboxes or on the newsstand. It's a great publication that we expect to continue to get even better.

So... where does this leave us? What would you like to see more of? What should Domino feature? What kinds of homes and trends would you like to see?

Now that we know they are listening, this is your chance to tell them what you're willing to keep paying to see.

Here are some suggestions:
I *love* reading about stores. I would like to see expanded city-guide sections ("Destinations") with more photography of these stores. I think a lot of readers are avid travelers and would like this.

What about manufacturers? I would like to see a feature on Oly designers, or makers of Bungalow 5. I think that the internet has taken down the wall between consumers and producers of goods and it would be cool to know more about the designers behind the scenes.

More home features, especially funky homes (like Diallo's) that really reflect a collected-cool kind of style. Something achievable and not too Elle Decor-ish.

Features about what to buy when you're starting out... this blog had an interesting reader discussion about how to furnish your first place. In many respects, people still have a lot of their "first apartment" furniture when they are in their 30s and 40s. It would be great to have a recurring feature on what to collect & when and feature people who made interesting design investments (even if it was a $50 flea market chair) when they were younger... something about avoiding reaching age 35 with nothing more than a house full of Ikea. I would love to see profiles on stylish people who have made a point of decorating with great finds NOT picked up at their local Poverty Barn.

What else do you guys want to see? Here's our chance.

Look ma, no David Hicks:

I blogged about it last month after seeing this happy photo on her blog, but now you can see a full-blown house tour courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

So haute.

A new blog debut, So Haute, features the style, travel, and decor faves of a fashion publicist.

I really love her feature here - a who's who of the many fashion industry types The Sartorialist has been shooting outside the tents and Bryant Park.


PS - This is Domino's fashion director pictured above... maybe our new blogger friend can let Lauren Goodman know that I have a certain post she needs to read below...

Open Letter to Domino Magazine

**Update: If you are coming to this page off a link from the Washington Post or the Apartment Therapy forum you may also want to check out the follow up post HERE and HERE for the final installment, which includes an email exchange with Deborah Needleman.**

Dear Domino,

There's no one else quite like you. That's why I'm devoted. But I don't need another beauty magazine. If I wanted that, I would buy Allure... I would buy Allure and say, "Well, gee, that's great. Thanks for reminding me once again as every other beauty & fashion magazine does that Maybelline Great Lash Mascara is the best mascara out there."


Please don't spend any more time on beauty. In fact, don't spend time on fashion either. About 100 other magazines cover each to mind-numbing exhaustion and I do not need to add you to the list. I want you to do more of what you do best.

For a magazine as popular as you are, can you please invest in MORE content about homes and home furnishings?

While we are at it, as much as I adore Ms. Marian McEvoy, her columns haven't taught us anything we don't already know. In the current issue her thesis is essentially, "Make your guests comfortable. Don't go overboard, don't be showy, but do try to make enough of an effort to show them you care." I believe most readers get this already and you took an entire page to tell me something I already know when you could have been giving us more decorno.

Also, no more "day-in-the-life" profiles, please. These seem to be of interest to the PR agencies who must set up these blind dates with Domino, but I don't get much from these. I don't want to know what moisturizer some jet set person uses on the plane. I would like you to use that page for a feature on - you guessed it - home and furniture design.

Domino, your lovely magazine is nothing but HOME PORN. Like Playboy, we are trying to get to the centerfold. We want to wipe drool off the pages of a Paul Costello photo spread. We are not exactly reading Domino "for the articles" - - unless those articles directly relate to your spreads on design, fabrics, furniture, home accessories, shopping for said products, other other info that will satisfy your design-hungry audience.

More porn please.


P.S. I do *love* the now semi-regular "Destination" spread. Lucky's version of these has guided me to excellent shopping in Paris, Buenos Aires, and New York, and I am now saving Domino's "Destinations" for future trips as well. So kudos for that feature. Keep it up.

Bourgeouis Dictionary

It must be something about my zip code, but some people have taken to calling their babysitters nannies.

These people do not have nannies. The college girl you employ does not live with you. She is not the defacto custodian of your children. She alone is not potty training your kids. She shows up in your middle class neighborhood and hangs out in your middle class house with your kids and she makes them lunch, she takes them to the pool or whatever and then she leaves for the day. She is your sitter while you are at work and the kids are not in school. She doesn't help run their lives. She makes sure they aren't dead by the time you get home.

I find this kind of vocabulary inflation incredibly grating. It's a little like having a detached garage and a garden shed and suddenly proclaiming that you live on an estate.

Other offenders:

1. West coast folk calling vacation "holiday." We do not go on holiday. I rarely hear this, thankfully. In fact, I could count on one hand the time I have, so it's probably not worth mentioning. But it is eggregious. However, I did hear it once from someone who pronounced a small timber town called Aberdeen as "Aaaaah-ber-deen. It's Aaa is in apple. Nothing fancier than that.

2. Residents of the Northwest who replace "pop" with "soda." This incredible transformation usually happens in college. I am guilty - so fucking guilty - of this one. In fact, today I will get back to my down-heel roots and get back on the "pop" bandwagon. I'd like a pop, please. Hey honey, we're all out of pop. Honey, you drank that last cold pop and didn't put any back in. Practice makes perfect.

3. The pronunciation of pajamas. Say it like "jam" or "pah-jahh-mahs"? Ditto the soda thing. College will corrupt you. Where I come from, your aunt is your "ant" and just like the fruit spread you slather on your toast, you say pa-JAM-ahs. Simple as that.

Back to the nanny thing. It's worse than how the hell you pronounce your drink or the outfit you wear to bed. It strikes me as far more about striving and being something you're not. It's about trying to telegraph to the world with a jackhammer that you're more than you are. Ick.

What else do people say now that drives you insane?

I must need a vacation.

The view from my hotel, as I write this, is the Newark, NJ airport control tower. The only pretty thing in sight is my latest copy of Domino (which I happen to subscribe to, but in an effort to totally piss off their most loyal readers, I saw it at the airport before the publisher managed to deliver it to my home. Go figure.). If you read this blog regularly, you know that I travel frequently for work. I am really tired of it.

So, I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize; trying not to think of weekends I am giving up for work right now. One thing that is helping is my new Sohum Coconut & White Peach lotion which smells like a only slightly more grown-up version of that coconut oil smell of those tanning oils our mothers used in the 80s to help them really burn their skin into a leathery tan. (God I love the smell!)

Mmm... can't you smell that hot-sun-and-sweaty-coconutty-goodness! Proud sponsor of decades of skin cancer and premature aging.

It makes me think of beachy scenes and riviera-esque umbrellas. I am counting the months (only four!) before I can spend my weekends at Denny Blaine beach, a tiny strip of sand and shore here in Seattle that seems to be known only to hipsters who have decided it's ok to sunbathe topless as long as you have interesting tattoos and smoke cloves. It's a great beach mostly because there are no screaming children present.

Spring & summer just can't come soon enough for me - especially as I sit here in lovely Elizabeth, NJ.


Isn't this a happy little sofa.

Image from Living Etc mag. Photo by Paul Massey.

Bad Decorno.


I have been a bad blogger lately... the posts have not been frequent enough and I am late on a few assignments. I have a good excuse.

1) I am sick again. It's pathetic to even admit. I think I need to start crumbling up Flintstone vitamins and sprinkling them on my morning donut to enhance my... health.

2) Work. Dammit people, I have a real job. I just can't sit here and blog for you all day long (as much as I would like to). Work has been superbusy and I think I am traveling half the month on business, so it's been a heady mix of packing, unpacking, dry cleaning, Powerpoint presentations (I hate powerpoint... I would rather communicate with PlayDoh presentations... they require more ingenuity... but I digress) and just general breathing of unhealthy airplane air (yum!).

So, what I owe you next week is the promised interview with John Tusher of Velocity Art and Design. I also owe you the playlist of the custom CD winner. Both will be awesome, I promise.

*V-Day sponsired by Ridge Three Valleys wine. Holy god, this was tasty.

Meet Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge right here in Seattle.

Grace Bonney, the woman behind the massively successful blog Design*Sponge emailed me to tell me about a great event she's hosting in Seattle on Feb 28th at Design Within Reach.

Grace runs a national series of meet-ups designed to connect women running their own design-based businesses. Her series aims to provide womens with free advice on public relations, marketing, legal and business issues, wholesaling advice and tips on the day-to-day aspects of running their own businesses.

At the Seattle event this month, she will showcase local experts John Tusher of Velocity Art & Design and Fumi Watanabe of Alkemie Design as well as a local business and legal adviser who will speak about those aspects of running your own company. Grace will speak about PR and marketing.

If you're in Seattle and you've even *thought* about breaking out on your own, this sounds like a great event to attend and rub elbows with other like minded design-y and entrepreneurial sorts. Your pal Decorno will most definitely be there.

Here are the deets:

Biz Lady Meet Up
Seattle, WA
February 28, 2008 — 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Design*Sponge will be hosting a Biz Lady Meet Up at DWR

Date: Thursday, February 28th
Time: 7-9pm
Location: DWR First Avenue

Please RSVP to:

Grace will be discussing small business concerns, marketing/PR, real life designer success stories and retailing/wholesaling.

Please bring a snack or drink with you if you can.

Are you bracing for recession?

Remember last year, all those magazine reports of huge and excessive NY parties that seemed to echo the dot com days, pre-burst? I remember thinking, oh boy... we're just ASKING for karma to kick our asses.

Seems that the recession is here, although depending on how well situated you are this may or not be of concern. However, I don't feel like I am helping the cause. I think I am in an ok spot, but I am starting to pull back on spending. Snapping up a pair of Louboutins was an "investment" in my wardrobe just 3 months ago and now I am like, "Hmm... wonder if 9 West has a version of this." (Another telling sign was that I had been eyeing a gorgeous giant clam shell on ebay for a ridiculous price (let's just say more than the Louboutins I splurged on...yikes.) but I decided to pass. Instead, I bought a much smaller $20 version which I think I might plant with bulbs and moss. This is Decorno's way of cutting back on home splurges. Good, no?)

What about everyone out there? They always say you should have 3 - 6 months in savings in case of emergency. Do you feel ready for 9 - 12 months of a downturn? Do you feel like you have been cutting back? If so, how? Are you skimping on hair cuts & color? Holding off on planned renovation projects?

I am curious to know how everyone else is reacting to the somewhat gloomy headlines.

Country Living makes me feel dirty on the inside.

Why does buying Country Living at the airport make me feel like the guy who buys Jugs magazine and The Economist just to cover up Jugs?

Country Living makes me feel dirty and shameful. The problem, first, is the name. Nothing makes me want to vomit doilies like that name. And then the content is a tricky because you stand there flipping through and there is usually one amazing feature in every issue where some design-y fab person gets some version of casual living totally right. No doilies. No toile. No evidence of Rachel Ashwell having visited the premises.

Below you can see two features that make the magazine worth reading. Artist Sandy stone reuses cast-off and vintage fabric in insane ways, and even if you don't like her country-ish aesthetic, look at that room with the green lamp. It's certainly fun. If a friend invited me over for margaritas and this was her place, I would think she's the coolest kid on the block. I mean, that zipper creation on the ottoman? Hysterical. Too much going on for me to live with, but it's punchy.

For the record, I do not approve of the star over the bed, above.

An then Caroline Keith's place is the kind of result you get when you are flea market obsessed (something I know too well). I like the effect, especially that dresser and mirror.

Moral of the story... you can't judge Country Living by its cover. But you SHOULD buy something to wrap around the cover so that no one thinks you are shopping for doilies.

Don't you want to adopt them all?

Photo from Pottering About.

Soon you will be mine, little chairs:

Just as soon as she deals with her cat's bladder infection and goes to the caucus today (not much of a Saturday, if you ask me), a nice older woman is going to sell these chairs to me and it will be my first adventure in the magic of getting things reupholstered in a fabric of my choosing. Also, we have kind of a big extended family that lives nearby (I love it!) and when we have everyone over for a birthday or a movie night, we hardly have enough seating. PLUS, we have this long wall in the dining room with a long-ish console table, but it's still not enough to kind of fill the space properly, so I think one of these chairs can kick it against the wall and be called up for extra-seating-duty on short notice next time we have all of our people over.

If you click here and here you can see a related post with some inspiration for this project, along with estimates for the job from Queen Anne Upholstery plus excellent advice from readers (I like how I call you people "readers" like this is some kind of major publication...). The second link are chairs I love done up in unusual ways.

I also found this link which talks about reupholstering chairs -- although, I should tell you, I don't plan to do this myself. I can't be trusted with nail guns and hot glue. My ass would be stapled to the chair and my hands would be stuck to the tools in no time. I just don't have mad crafting skills.

Here are some links to blogs that have posted a few DIY reupholstering projects: Enjoy:

Danish chair in graphic b & w print.

Modern green chair.
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