Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sex and the City-Fashionable Interiors

“I’ve been cheating on fashion with furniture,” quips Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, at the beginning of Sex and the City 2. A sequel to the smash TV show and its successful cinematic spin-off, the movie finds Carrie growing up, learning how to share a new apartment with now-husband Mr. Big (Chris Noth), and extending her passion for all things fashionable to the world of interior design.

“Carrie is trying to make a new apartment for the two of them, not just for her,” says Jeremy Conway, the production designer for the TV series and both films. To that end, Conway, along with set decorator Lydia Marks of Marks & Frantz, created a space that blends masculine elements, such as linear midcentury furnishings and dark woods, with feminine accessories, including whimsical rugs and cheerful botanical-themed fabrics.

But the stylish settings aren’t reserved for the married couple. The movie features a mix of inspiring interiors, from the familiar spaces of Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) to a brand-new Times Square office for Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and even a luxurious, Moroccan-themed hotel.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

All about Bamboo Fabrics

The use of bamboo as a building and fabric material has really taken off in recent years as we have faced the increasing threat of deforestation. Bamboo gets its eco-friendly reputation from its naturally earth friendly properties. It can grow approximately 75 feet in 45 to 60 days, making it the fastest growing plant on earth. Despite its height, bamboo is actually considered a grass, not a tree.

Farming bamboo is not harmful to the environment nor does it require pesticides, fertilizer or chemicals to grow. It is totally degradable and regenerates on its own. Bamboo consumes a lot of nitrogen, which can help with pollution. It is a crucial element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A grove of bamboo releases 35 percent more oxygen than an equivalent grove of trees; therefore, planting bamboo is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and fight global warming.

Bamboo is softer than most cottons, and it drapes so smoothly and elegantly that it can be used as an alternative to silk. It is also hypoallergenic, and can be anti-microbial when manufactured mechanically.

There are two ways of processing bamboo into fabric: mechanically and chemically. Using the mechanical process, the plant is crushed and natural enzymes are added to break down the woody pulp, which is then converted to a thick liquid called “slurry.” A machine combs out this compound so it can be spun into yarn. It is truly an eco-friendly process, but it’s also labor intensive and costs more, so it is rarely used.

In chemical processing, the bamboo is “cooked” in chemicals. These chemicals turn the bamboo into a solution that is reconstructed into cellulose fiber for weaving into fabric, which is commonly known as bamboo rayon. This process is not eco-friendly, but it is much more common than mechanical processing.

So, where does this leave us? The growth and cultivation of bamboo is very much organic; however, the manufacturing process is definitely not green. The reality is that most of the products we consume, even the eco-friendly ones, have some negative environmental impact. It is important to educate yourself about the best products for you and your family if you’ve made a commitment to being more “green.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DIY:::Gorgeous Grain Artwork

With a little paint and a couple of shelves, unassuming plywood becomes an unexpected work of art.

Step 1: Select a piece of 2’ x 2’ plywood  that has an interesting and pattern with contrasting light and dark wood. Sand the most interesting side using fine-grade sandpaper.

Step 2: Add water to any water-based, white paint (one part water to one part paint) and paint the lighter grain in the wood using the water/paint solution. Apply multiple coats to add more contrast. Let dry.

Step 3: Apply two coats of Minwax Polycrylic . Let dry.

Step 4: Cut a 1” x 3” x 6’ pine  into two pieces to use as shelves (14-inches and 10-inches)
Step 5: From behind the plywood, use 2- 1 1/2-inch screws to attach the 14-inch shelf 4 inches from the bottom and 3 inches from the right edge. Attach the 10-inch shelf 7 1/2 inches from the bottom and extending 2 1/2 inches from the right edge.

Step 6: Attach 2 D-Rings to the back of artwork. Locate them 2 inches down from the top and 2 inches from the side. Hang in desired spot.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DIY:::Modern Metal

Learn how to transform aluminum sheet metal into sophisticated votive shades, in five simple steps.

1. Determine the desired height and circumference of the shades. Add 1 inch to the width so that the edges will overlap.

2. Using tin snips and wearing protective gloves, cut a sheet of decorative aluminum, found in a hardware store, to the desired dimensions.

3. Using utility scissors, cut strips of metal repair tape  in half lengthwise. (You can find metal repair tape in the paint department.) Cover all edges of the cut sheets with tape.

4. Shape each sheet into a cylinder, overlapping the edges and securing them with a dot of hot glue. Hold or clamp the edges together until the glue sets.

5. Cover the overlapped edges with tape. Place the shade over a votive glass candleholder.