Customized, Cushionized Couch

The Cushionized Couch by Christiane Hoegner caught my attention for these 4 reasons:

1. It’s pliable and adjustable, pills making it uber-comfortable looking.

2. The color options are playful. Reminds me of something straight out of a fairytale. Princess and The Pea, vcialis 40mg anyone?

3. While my couch aesthetic is generally simple and leans towards the more neutral lines of natural linen, troche I’ve lusted after the wildly hip and colorful Mah-Jong Sofa from Roche-Bobois for years. The Cushionized Couch is reminiscent of this multi-cushioned iconic sofa.

4. So many DIY possibilities for creating mix and match handmade cushions from eco-friendly fabrics, beautiful sheets or vintage curtains, abound in this inspirational Cushionized Couch.

But...and there’s a big BUT...Could you live with this?

Photos: Cushionized Couch, Home Rejuvenation, Mah-Jong Sofa, Roche-Bobois

DIY Magazine Stool

Someone in my house hoards magazines. When she left for college a few years ago, I found magazines in every nook and cranny of her room. Oops, just outted her...Hope you are OK with that, Sweetie?

Since the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in my nest, I will take total responsibility for the magazine-stockpiling gene. I’ll also foot the blame for being the enabler – I did not punish her when she stole my Vogues... Sorry hon!

Can you tell the parental guilt is just killing me?

Anyway, when I stumble across an ingeniously designed product that screams out DIY PROJECT, I just have to share. This is another one of those easy inspired ideas, like the felted sleeve cozy. This stool may even help you make less trips to the recycling center!

DIY Magazine Stool

You'll need two extra-large leather straps or belts. They should be adjustable to make it easy to sneak a few mags into your collection. Scrap wood for the base and a magazine-sized cushion. That's it.

Don’t want to make one? Then you can fork over the $185 here.

Credit: via SwissMiss

Sawkille Co.

"That is best which works best…Beauty rests on utility…Simplicity is the embodiment of purity and unity" ~ Shaker Designers

I recently visited the Sawkille Co. showroom for Chronogram magazine and was dazzled by the simplicity of the designs…

Well-crafted objects enhance the experience of creating a home. The furniture and home décor items of Sawkille Co. are simplistically refined in their celebration of Hudson Valley artisan crafts. The Sawkille showroom in Rhinebeck, purchase NY draws visitors into a comfort zone that comes from an uncluttered space. The warmth of the handmade solid wood furnishings, with their down-to-earth style, conveys an airy and primitive aesthetic. The modern rusticity of the Sawkille’s handcrafted conceptual pieces are beautifully functional, and honestly durable. Large handcrafted wood dining tables created by co-owner Jonah Meyer mingle with hand-forged wall hooks crafted by Tivoli artist John Corcoran. Inspired wall art complements the showroom’s casual and curated displays, giving each piece the breathing space and consideration it deserves.

“We design and build work that will improve with time and use. We hope to add something lovely to an environment that you cultivate, to inspire and nurture yourself or someone you know,” says Jonah Meyer.

Meyer implements traditional wood joinery and finishing techniques with his adept handwork that seamlessly blends the mixed local woods with finely detailed industrial metalwork. His time-honored woodworking skills combine classically formed furniture, creating heirloom quality pieces with an understated elegance. Each table, chair, and storage unit is a functional work of art. Meyer calls this style “Farmhouse Modern.” He explains, “I’m attracted to old, finely crafted American furniture, and I like supermodern. I steal from both disciplines.”

As a RISD-schooled multidimensional artist, Meyer moved to the Catskills where he continued to create art - pottery and sculpture. Along with his wife and business partner, Tara Delisio, Meyer first opened a showroom outside of Woodstock that displayed small-production designs. Delisio, who grew up in Woodstock, runs the website and a delightful accompanying blog that provides a peek into the lifestyle of Sawkille’s inner world.

Some might consider Sawkille Co. a showroom, and others may approach the space as a gallery. But Meyer says, “I’m not in the business of selling art, and this is not a gallery.” While Meyer’s furnishings command center stage at Sawkille, there’s a collaborative artistry at work as well. The careful curation of handmade objects from other fine Hudson Valley artisans blends well with Meyer’s larger hardwood pieces create a cohesive shopping experience.

Drawing from the rich heritage of the Hudson Valley, Sawkille embodies many of the touchstones of sustainable living. All of the wood is local and the furnishings are finished and hand rubbed using beeswax or Danish oil. Low-impact elements give Sawkille a green edge. A local potter is provided sawdust to fuel his firings, and leftover stumps of waste trees are upcycled into gorgeous seats or tables. These zero-waste essentials are the types of monuments to eco-friendly living that make a simple home simply delightful.

Credits: Sawkille Co.

Furniture: Forest-Friendly

Last month, Chronogram asked me to cover a story about the Wickham Solid Wood Studio in Beacon, NY. I just love sinking my teeth into this kind of assignment. Not only is Jessica Wickham's handcrafted furniture local and heirloom quality, it is sustainable in ways that give back without harming our at-risk forests. Jessica’s furniture has the ability to teach us how to tread carefully with our natural resources, and still create stunning products. Jessica possesses a rare combination of skills. She can look at a downed tree in the forest and see its inherent potential. From an ecological perspective, a responsibly-sourced tree becomes the perfect green building material. When I met Jessica, I was inspired by the respect she has for the rich wood grain and the natural shape of trees. With minimal processing (low or no-VOC stains), traditional joinery, and natural finishing techniques reminiscent of both Japanese traditions and Shaker sensibilities. Jessica has found just the right mix of  "process, poetry, and patience". Her functional pieces could be considered the exact opposite of the glut of mass-produced furniture we see in stores.

The woods around my property (left) may seem like a tree mecca, but a quick understanding of how forests have suffered, can illuminate the importance of sustainable forestry.

Since I’ve been brushing up on my earth science (haven’t used that term since my kids were in middle school) for my posts for the EDF's Moms Clean Air Force, I’ve learned that deforestation caused by air pollution, acid rain and other environmental hazards aids in the erosion of our forests. This has become a leading contributor towards the loss of biodiversity. Intact eco-systems provide an intricate web that controls floods, conserves oxygen, soil, insects and creates diverse habitats. While forests do regrow, when older forests decline they eventually lose more carbon to the atmosphere than they absorb, thus fueling climate change.

Whew, science lesson over. My husband Ted is an environmental planner, so I generally leave these types of granular discussions to him. But, I’m digging in and exercising my brain, as I discover the depth of environmental issues our children will inherit.

Once again, I’m noticing that if there is one thing that will get us beyond the planet's sustainability woes, it will be an eco-enlightenment that includes a lifecycle analysis of everything. With style and sustainability, artisans like Jessica Wickham are leading the way.

Credit: black walnut bench and headboard, Wickham Solid Wood Studio

Knit...Purl Your Home

This weekend brings to town my favorite knitting event, The New York State Wool and Sheep Festival. I just drove past the fairgrounds and there's a flurry of pre-event activity. The vendors were setting out their wooly wares, the farmers were hauling hay to the sheep stalls, and a stray Border Collie was eagerly looking for work. If you happen to be in the vicinity of the Hudson Valley this weekend, I highly recommend checking out the Sheep and Wool Festival. Just thinking about all that luscious yarn has inspired me to write a knitting post...

Did you know that I love to knit and shower my family and friends with warm and fuzzy handknitted goodies? This post is not about wearable items, it's about a trend that I’ve noticed in the home décor world.

Over the years, I have observed the popularity of knitting go up and down. At the moment, the pendulum seems to be in a full upward swing, and knitted items are showing up in some unexpected and unusual places.

The latest trend in knitting, along with knitting small items (knitted bags, fingerless gloves and cowl neck scarves - the latest rage), and the subversive act of yarn bombing, are knitted chair coverings and functional knitted items for the home. These decorative knitted and felted pieces are bumping up against the soft edges of design with their intricate stitches and contoured shaping. The Wall Street Journal recently covered the Milan Furniture Fair and targeted a designerly group of haute-knitted items for the home in this article, A Gripping Yarn.

So, without further adieu, sit back and enjoy some eco-chic handknitted home décor, and a creative and simple DIY project that will knock the Kitchener Stitches right off your cabled cashmere socks!

Knitted Stools

Knitted Pendant Light

Knitted Poufs

Knitted Slipcover

DIY Sweater Chairs

Eco-crafter and author, Danny Seo recovered his IKEA chairs with cozy cashmere and wool sweaters that he scored at Goodwill.

He explains the simple DIY process: “It was easy: just unscrew the seat cushion, wrap a sweater over the cushion, staple gun into place underneath, trim off excess, screw back on and voila!  Sweater chair.”

Photo Credits: Sweet and Lowdown Lounge Chair, Knitted Stools, Knitted Armchair Slipcover, Knitted Pendent, Knitted Poufs, Sweater Chairs, Knittted Trashcan