Welcome to Homegirls. You'll find a sassy sampling of décor and design tips, frank conversation about everything from holidays and homekeeping to home improvement and our picks and pans of new products, stores and events.
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It was worth the snowy drive last night to get an early peek at "Make Room," the inspired room vignettes at the American Craft Council show (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/202743811.html), opening today in St. Paul.
Ten interior designers each chose a favorite item of fine craft -- a handwoven rug, a piece of handcrafted furniture or an art piece -- .then created a "room" to complement their find.
The idea was to put craft in context, and encourage visitors to fall in love with a piece, then imagine how they might bring that piece home and incorporate it into their decor.
Here are just a few examples of the diverse and intriguing designer "rooms" on display at RiverCentre through Sunday, April 21:
The graphically geometric room at right was designed by Lucy Penfield of Lucy Interior Design
This room (below) , inspired by the "well-traveled collector," was created by Andrew Flesher, Andrew Flesher Interiors
A colorful handwoven rug by fiber artist Kelly Marshall inspired this room, below, by Lisa Ball, Design By Lisa
Greg Walsh, Walsh Design Group, drew inspiration from multiple craft artists to create the organic, moden room below:
Robb Whittlef of Historic Studio describes the room below as "Eccentric Minimalism." Check out the retro 1960s floor tile, recently removed from Liberace's last house in California, which Whittlef is helping to renovate
Ever seen this flower before? Here's a hint: You're not likely to find one blooming in a local back yard.
It's a chocolate cherry orchid, one of the many tropical plants on display at this year's annual Macy's Flower Show.
The theme is "The Painted Garden." A team from Bachman's has spent many months planning and growing exotic plants, followed by nine full days of installation, to transform Macy's eighth-floor auditorium into a Southeast Asian-inspired garden getaway. Think of it as a passage to India without the airfare.
This year's show is a kaleidoscope of brilliant color, designed with color-block plantings that take their cue from sets painted to celebrate Indian architecture.
The centerpiece of the show is a giant Asian elephant statue covered with a blanket of dried and fresh plants and flowers and bearing a howdah (Indian carriage) filled with dozens of tropical blooms.
Bachman's designers Karen Ortiz and Leah Schmidt used 20 different kinds of plant material to create the blanket alone.
You can experience this year's flower show firsthand starting Sunday, March 24, when the show opens for its two-week run. (For information on hours and related special events, including classes and the Bouquet of the Day, visit www.macys.com).
In the meantime, if you need your flower fix, look for a video tour of this year's show that will be posted Saturday on startribune.com.
And if you know your stuff when it comes to plants, see how many of the 20 plants you can identify in the elephant's blanket.
Consider me inspired. I spent some time yesterday wandering the Home & Garden Show, always a fertile place for ideas on the home front. I had spring fever, so I lingered in the display gardens, where this year's theme is classic TV shows.
A garden inspired by "I Dream of Jeannie"? Yep. And "Miami Vice" and "Gilligan's Island." The nine TV-inspired gardens are a blast to stroll through. Don't miss 'em!
But even if you're not planning something that elaborate for your own landscape this year, you'll still find plenty of ideas and resources for beautifying your home, both inside and out.
Greengirls, the Star Tribune's garden bloggers, will be at the show to dish the dirt.
Want to be in the know on what's new? Tonight at 6 p.m., you can learn about the hottest garden trends, from edible landscapes to the latest water features, presented by Greengirls Connie Nelson, Mary Jane Smetanka and Helen Yarmoska -- on the Lifestyle Stage.
Stick around after the presentation for free seed packets and gardening calendars, which will be handed out between 7 and 8 p.m. in the garden area.
If you can't make the show tonight, the Greengirls also will be making the show this weekend, handing out free sees and gardening calendars, and answering your toughest garden questions. On Friday, March 1, 5:30-6:30 p.m., the Greengirl of the day will be Helen Yarmoska. And on Saturday, March 2, 11 a.m.-noon, it's Martha Buns.
Come say "Hi," pick up your free seeds, and check out a garden fit for a genie -- or a shipwrecked castaway.
I was at the paint store last night, struggling to find the right color to complement my countertops without overpowering my cabinets, when I overheard a conversation between another customer and the guy behind the counter.
The customer was stumped. He was trying to find the perfect gray for his project. He'd tried several shades already, but nothing was quite right. One gray was too cool. Another was too muddy.
I know the guy at the paint store isn't alone with this color conundrum. Gray has been the "It" neutral for several years, showing up increasingly in chic shops and magazine spreads.
Now it appears the rest of us have gotten the memo -- and fallen madly in love with gray. The latest evidence comes from the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which recently released its 2013 style report (www.nkba.org).
"Gray color schemes have witnessed a dramatic escalation since 2010, particularly over the last year," according to the NKBA. Gray was used in 55 percent of kitchens and 56 percent of bathrooms during the last quarter of 2012, up from 9 percent of kitchens and 12 percent of bathrooms just two years earlier.
White and beige are still the top colors in both rooms, but gray is coming on strong, while browns are in decline.
Choosing colors is always tricky, but gray is especially so. The wrong shade can make a room feel chilly and dreary. But adding undertones to warm it up sometimes pushes the gray into purple territory once it's splashed on a wall. That's a good look in some rooms, but definitely not all.
The design/decor website Houzz has some good tips on how to pick the right gray (www.houzz.com/ideabooks/454963/list/Choosing-Paint--How-To-Pick-the-Right-Gray)
How about you? Have you caught gray fever? And if you have, what gray did you choose -- and what did you pair it with?
I was wasting time online Sunday, wandering aimlessly through cyberspace, when a headline caught my eye: "What your sofa color says about you." I'm a sucker for stories like these -- (Hey, I minored in psychology) -- so I clicked the link.
It took me to a website called Homesessive (www.homesessive.com), from AOL-Huffpost Home. The color revelations weren't exactly earth-shaking. If your couch is red, you're probably confident and full of energy. If it's yellow, you like to have fun. Blue, you're a traditionalist. White? You're looking for new beginnings.
I trolled some more and found another sofa-color analysis, this one on Modern Sensibility (www.modsensibility.blogspot), a blog published by a Canadian furniture store of the same name.
According to this blog, black conveys an air of "power and sophistication," and choosing it for your sofa suggests you are "confident, self-aware and enjoy the finer elegant things in life."
Gray, "the new beige," is chosen by those who are conservative, knowledgeable, "know their worth but don't feel the need to brag or boast about it." (As opposed to those confident people who like to throw their high-energy red and powerful black in our faces, I guess.)
Then there's brown. It's the most popular sofa color, according to Modern Sensibility, because it's practical, offering stability and blending into just about any color scheme. It's also a good choice for those who like to entertain because it creates a "comfortable, inviting atmosphere" that will automatically make guests feel closer to you, because you will be seen as a warm, approachable person.
Well! I had no idea my sofa was sending out so many signals. (It's mostly brown, by the way, but it has a pattern, which may or may not mean I'm more -- or less -- inviting and approachable than those who choose the solid color. Neither of the blogs ventured into the psychological significance of patterns.)
In my world, sofa-color choices are less about personal expression and more about finding something that works with what you've already got. The fabric we settled on was one that harmonized with our carpet and woodwork, without clashing too badly with our chairs.
To me, a white sofa says you don't have kids or pets. A pink sofa may be "playful" (Homesessive), but it also suggests there's no man of the house -- or if there is, that you're trying to keep him from hanging out in that room watching football games.
So what color is your sofa? Why? And does it sum up your personality -- or not?
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