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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I feel like a shallow guy at a college party. I’m in love with an HGTV sweepstakes home for its beauty, not its brains.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the HGTV Dream Home giveaway. This spring, HGTV is awarding the first Smart Home - in a smart part of the country climate-wise - Jacksonville Beach, Florida. And only five blocks from the beach. (Go to www.hgtv.com to see photos and enter the contest. Deadline is May 31.)
You’d never guess that the old-fashioned shingle-style cottage with a beadboard ceiling front porch is wired with a whole-house automation system. I’d just be happy with the fabulous vaulted living room decorated in animal and Floridian prints and a giant blue sailfish. I’d love sitting in those bamboo leaf stools in the beachy blue kitchen.
But right off the kitchen is a “launch port” that looks like something out of “Star Trek.” With two smart tablets, the homeowner can control the security systems; heating and cooling, lighting, whole-house audio system, and energy monitoring. Heck, you even can program the raising and lowering of window shades and built-in seat warmers on the toilet.
It’s not quite the Jetson’s -- - where’s Rosie the Robot to make dinner and sort laundry? But I’m guessing that the HGTV Smart Home is foreshadowing the typical home of the future.
But do we really want to be plugged into our abode 24/7? Or is monitoring daily email, Facebook and texting on your Smart phone enough?
Photos by HGTV.
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
We're all starving for a little color after this exceedingly long gray winter.
I'm already dreaming of the palette for this year's containers flanking my front door. Will I go dramatic, with orange-red blooms and some black foliage to set them off? Or more fresh and springy, with bright pink and lime green?
Maybe I'll even paint my boring brown door a fun new color. I tried that once on my first house, after admiring a taupe-and-mulberry color scheme on another house in the neighborhood. But the color that looked mulberry on the little paint chip ended up looking bright purple once it covered my whole door. I grew to like my purple door, but the next owner painted over it immediately. Back to boring brown.
If you're curious how a bold color might look on your front door, check out this gallery at Curbly, the St. Paul-based DIY website (http://www.curbly.com/users/diy-maven/posts/10559-eye-candy-6-colorful-front-doors)
Color can do a lot to perk up and unify a landscape, as well as the house itself. One of last year's Beautiful Gardens contest winners used bright cobalt-blue containers to create a unifying color scheme in her garden. Even a vintage clothesline pole, used as a trellis, got a coat of cobalt spray paint.
If you could use some help with your exterior color scheme, considering entering the "Shake It Up" Exterior Color Contest now underway via DaVinci Roofscapes, a Kansas City-based roofing company. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash grand prize to help add color to the home exterior.
To enter, you can "Like" the DaVinci Facebook page and submit a digital photo of your home's exterior, along with a brief description (250 words or less) of how you want to "shake up" the exterior of your home with color. (Deadline is April 21). A color expert will choose five finalists, then work with an artist to create renderings and product lists showing how the five finalists could transform their home exteriors. Then the five photos and artist renderings will be posted on the contest site from May 13-26 for online public voting, with the cash going to the home with the most votes.
What color are you craving this spring? And how do you plan to use it on the home front?
I was on my way home from church, and the time was closer to noon than to "happy hour." But after I visited a home on the Remodelers Showcase tour, I felt like popping a cork and pulling up a chair.
It was a wine cellar, maybe the cutest, coziest wine cellar I've ever been inside. With barrel-vault ceilings, stone walls and a granite tasting table, built-in racks, a wine-glass "chandelier" and even a stained-glass window, it was an oenophile's dream hangout.
Tucked into the corner of a walkout basement in Eden Prairie, in a former toy-storage space, the wine cellar was just one part of a much larger remodeling project by Murphy Bros. Design Build (www.mbros.com) and designer Cherie Poissant. The new kitchen, mud room and master suite were beautiful, too, but the wine celler was the spot that I most coveted.
It wasn't climate-controlled, so it's not a cellar for a serious wine connoisseur and collector, who wants to age and preserve valuable vintages.
But for the casual wine afficionado who just wants a fun place to sip with a few friends, it was perfect.
I've never seriously considered adding a wine cellar -- I was trolling for master-bathroom ideas -- but a spot like this is now on my home fantasy wish list.
Move over, Tuscan. There's a new ethnic style influence emerging in fashion-forward showrooms and home interiors. Think tribal masks, zebra stripes and all things African.
African-inspired decor was recently identified as a top trend for 2013 by Freshome, a design and architecture blog. (http://freshome.com/2013/01/29/top-10-interior-design-trends-for-2013/) The style is considered "dynamic and exotic ... bringing warm colors and animal-skin imitations back into the eclectic interiors of fashion enthusiasts." We'll be seeing more wooden furniture decorated with carvings or wrought iron, sculptures and handmade decorations in the months ahead, according to Freshome.
It makes sense. The bold graphic patterns and rustic elements we associate with African style marry well with the simple, modern aesthetic that is also trending upward.
I don't see a lot of African-influenced decor here in frozen Minnesota, but I did see a spectacular example recently: an entire house designed to reflect a local couple's love for their favorite place. Watch for a story and photo gallery in an upcoming edition of the Sunday Homes section.
In the meantime, what do you like best about African style? Were you ahead of the curve, with African influences already incorporated into your home's decor?
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