There are a few catalogues that I look forward to receiving. Mostly they are related to home, decorating or objects of interest. Every once in a while I receive a catalogue that stands out. The first time I got one from Sundance, I had so many pages dogged eared, I might as well have said – I want everything and anything in this! Anthropologie is another one that I love to thumb through over and over again. This season I received one from uncommon goods. Talk about some unique and cool items. Since I have been shopping for the holidays these last several weeks, I thought I would share some the items I found interesting. Perhaps some that might be appropriate for your home. I have limited my selections to home goods, they offer so much more! I have kept the product descriptions as quoted from the catalogue because I thought they were appropriate. Please go to their website to view the following as well as many more items. www.uncommongoods.com
“Old wine barrels can be used for lots of things, like these sturdy Vintner’s benches, which are made from reclaimed wine barrel staves (the bent planks that make up the barrel’s sides). Perfect for the mud room, porch, or back-door entrance, each bench is handcrafted and uniquely aged and patinaed. No two are alike. Handmade in Texas.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Add a kick of street style to your home with this sturdy, compact seat that features a creative reuse of of roughed-up skateboards. Broken boards are byproducts of skate culture and decks are usually destined for the landfill once they’re cracked. Inspired by the consistent way many skateboards were busted, artist Jason Podlaski collects shattered skateboards from skateshops and skateparks in the US and Canada and turns both deck and truck into a hybrid, high-quality piece of furniture that’s built tough. The scrapes and scars on the decks create a beautiful veneer of use over the original graphics. Every deckstool is meticulously built, reinforced and finished by skilled craftsmen in Pennsylvania.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Lovingly reclaimed and refurbished by hand, this Adirondack-style chair was once an industrial storage pallet. Each sturdy, one-of-a-kind piece is handmade from repurposed pine and oak with rare earth neodymium magnets that transform its design into a functional modular piece.
Embedded magnets allow the chair to collapse back into an easy-to-store pallet shape. Naturally endowed with a gorgeous patina, each piece is made to play elegant host to backyard soirees for years to come. Handmade in Ventura, CA of reclaimed wood, glue, neodymium magnets, paint, VOC compliant exterior varnish & sealant.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“You won’t have to tread lightly around storage with this industrial tote, hand-sculpted from scraps of recycled tires in Milwaukee. Ideal for multi-purpose storage, its tough and roomy road rubber frame was born to haul it all–from firewood to fresh-picked fruit. A natural bin for your home or garden, this basket goes the extra mile: All one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade in a job skill workshop by people with disabilities or limiting conditions. Handmade in Wisconsin.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Whether or not the wine born from this wine barrel had an earthy flavor, this side table has an earthly quality. Made from recycled white oak wine barrels – they’re usually discarded after a few years – the side table has a shelf and splendid iron accents. Handmade in Georgia.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Add a burst of life to your table setting with this curvaceous candlestick. Designer Paul Loebach gives his creation its unique twist by using state-of-the-art technology: from computer design to special 3D printers to the final result, these whimsical candelabras are the embodiment of delight, pure and simple.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Each candle takes the shape of a bold, nearly two-dimensional shape with a textured surface, and rests in a brushed aluminum stand. But in spite of their futuristic aesthetic, the process of making them is decidedly old fashioned. They are entirely handcrafted, from the forming of the molds, to the trimming of each wick, and every detail in between. The candles are made from 100% triple-pressed palm wax, an environmentally friendly, renewable material. Palm wax melts with little or no dripping, and its high melting temperature ensures they will maintain their shape as they burn. The candles are unscented, so you can enjoy them at dinner without overpowering your meal. Handmade in Bloomington, IN.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Celebrate those dearest to you with elegant 100% recycled glass globes, featuring an interior glass trunk that branches out to support vibrant splashes of color. Handmade in Canada by artist Stephen Kitras. To make these pretty globes, artist Stephen Kitras first has to receive a shipment of broken glass from a supplier in Seattle that makes windows for cars, homes and offices. They send their broken shards to Kitras, who then melts them down in a furnace for 12 hours before creating his signature pieces. Globes come with a plastic hang tag that is designed to be used for hanging the globe, either on the display stand specifically designed for the globe or from a different location.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“This embroidered pillow piles the whole family onto the couch without cramping your style. The ultimate creature comfort, featuring customized figures for all the characters under your roof. Handmade of cotton and flax by Mary and Shelly Klein in Grand Rapids, MI.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Your guests are sure to be impressed with this eye-catching glass sushi or cheese tray. Artist Orfeo Quagliata designed this vivid colored tray using his own handcrafted opaque glass that he creates in his glass studio in Mexico. Striking, sturdy and versatile, this tray can be used as a modern centerpiece or to showcase your scrumptious hors d’oeuvres or sushi.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Since he was a kid, Graham Bergh has been making things out of found objects. After getting his Master’s in Economics and Environmental Policy, he wanted to become an innovative recycling professional when he got a flat tire on his bike and said, “Hmmm…interesting material…” So he got to building creations by hand out of recycled bicycle parts, and soon gathered a team of artists to come up with new ideas and assemble the ideas they had. The results are distinctive accents like this bike chain bowl, which is perfect for keys, change and more. Handmade in Oregon.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Show me your ways… teach me your paths… guide me in your truth.”
~ Psalm 25 (engraved on bottom of bowl)
“Symbolic of a spiritual journey and personal discovery, this beautiful labyrinth bowl encourages you to contemplate your own path through life. For a calming and contemplative practice, hold the cool pewter in your palm and gently run your finger tip down the path from the outer edge, trace the path to the center and then back out again. Handmade in California by Cynthia Webb. Lead-free pewter.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Made from dried Mexican papaya, this parchment bowl is a stunning centerpiece and guaranteed conversation piece. Artisan Margaret Dorfman hand builds each fragile bowl out of parchment made from slices of papaya through a 12-day process that includes curing, pressing and aging each piece. Place a glass votive candle inside the bowl for a warm orange glow or fill it with fragrant potpourri. Handmade in California. Each is one of a kind and will vary.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“More flip for your flop, these colorful doormats are made of scrap foam rubber from sandal factories in the Philippines that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Float-ropes are used by lobstermen to tether their lobster traps. Unfortunately, float-rope entangles Northern Right Whales (an endangered species) which swim in the same waters. In order to protect these whales, lobstermen are now required to turn in their old float-ropes and switch to sink-ropes instead. 300,000 pounds of float-rope was destined to go to landfills and burning facilities in Massachusetts before it was re-purposed for projects such as this.
Extremely durable, these doormats can handle the toughest weather conditions and are resistant to mold, mildew, salt water and sun. They do not absorb water or harbor insects. To clean, just give it a good shake. Handmade in Maine of 100% recycled materials. Includes card about the project.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“This multicolor hand blown recycled glass is so gorgeous, you may decide to display it au naturel. Of course, it also looks great filled. Try your hand at a centerpiece of daffodils, colored marbles or even jelly beans. The possibilities are endless thanks to the generous splashes of color. A unique gift since no two vases are exactly alike. Handmade by Canadian artist Stephen Kitras.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Enjoy a moment of Zen with the handmade Buddha Bowl. Nestled naturally in your palm, this bowl allows you to enjoy rice, soup, cereal and hot cocoa with ease. Its comforting shape washed in soothing color, this dish brings a touch of tranquility to your daily routine. Who knows-maybe you’ll find enlightenment in your morning latte. Available in many colors: olive, pacific, aubergine, black bean, tofu, and butter. Created by Flavour Design. Sold individually. Handmade in southern California.” (uncommon goods, 2011)
“Bring nature and relaxation to your life with this engaging bonsai garden kit. More than just a potted plant, this is a grove of miniature trees that you foster along, from seedling to sprout to bonsai forest.
These tiny trees are actually ancestors of the giant California redwood. Called Dawn redwood, they were thought to be extinct until the 1940s when one was discovered growing in a rice field in central China. And even though its towering relative is an evergreen tree, the Dawn redwood is one of only two known deciduous conifers. In the fall its leafy needles turn from green, to yellow, to copper, bringing the pageant of the changing seasons to your desk or kitchen window.
Kit includes: tree and moss seed, recycled steel seedling training pots, seed starting wafers, growing medium, bonsai scissors, rake with spade, river stone, and directions. Handmade in the USA” (uncommon goods, 2011)
All of the above items can be found at uncommon goods. www.uncommongoods.com
Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season – here’s to a Happy and Prosperous 2012! As always, if you have any design queries, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978.335.1140.
I grew up in a home where my parents enhanced our interior living spaces by bringing in the vibrancy of our outdoor gardens. My father had built a rock bed in our family room to have the cluster of potted plants sit in (although I think it was also meant for catching the bird droppings from our caged finches). I wish I had an image to share, I don’t recall the names of the plants, I just remember tree-like plants, cacti, and seasonal flowering plants and perhaps a fern or two or maybe it was a spider plant that made me feel – even in the dead of a Rochester, NY winter – the life, color and warmth that these plants provided.
When I moved to my first apartment with my husband, we incorporated all of his plants that he had collected from his places of residence, including some from his parents home. I do remember that we had many spider plants, they were indestructible! Once we acquired our first cat that decided the dirt in the base of the planters would make a perfect liter box, we removed live plants from our living environments. We didn’t have plants until we owned a home – and those were outside in the gardens! (We still do not have any interior plants, only the occasional vase of flowers on the table) Currently, between the design of our home and the lack of direct sunshine on the first floor and the additional two cats and dog – we maintain exterior garden beds for our flowering plants, shrubs and enjoy the sugar maple trees that line our property.
I got a call from a client the other day asking me if I had any advice about bringing in the plants they had maintained throughout the summer on their back deck and front porch and creating a space for them inside of their home. It got me to thinking… I can name only two clients in the past ten years that have plants in their homes! Again, an occasional vase of flowers or a small counter top plant may have been spotted, but nothing like the “jungle” that I was familiar with in my childhood home. I had never been asked to design for or with interior plants. I wasn’t quite sure how to guide them. Here are some of my thoughts that I shared with them.
I first gave them the name of an old acquaintance to contact: Susan Harvey of Susan’s Interior Plantscaping, Inc.. I had met Susan about 9 years ago at a networking meeting. She has a great business and I mostly thought of her as a resource for commercial clients. Corporate office, lobbies, restaurants, hotels and such. I had been in touch with her several years ago when I was contacted for services of redesigning a large corporate lobby. But now, I thought she also might be able to provide some guidance for this client. She could be consulted to assist my client with the variety of their existing plants and the needs of each plant in an interior setting. To be honest, my main thought was that the plants might need to be repotted into coordinating planters to match the interiors I had designed for them.
I now am planning to share with my client the article I came across this past week while reading my Natural Home & Garden magazine: Living Design: How to Decorate with Plants. (click on the title of the article and it will bring you to the article on-line) My take away from the article was:
I also consulted a book I had purchased a few years ago entitled: Homes That Heal and those that don’t by Athena Thompson. She speaks about research that NASA had conducted in the early 1980’s about indoor air quality and how plants can affect this. There are several plants that can be used in our environments that can clean the air in a sealed space containing pollutants of ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene. These are products that are often found in our cabinetry, carpeting, flooring and wall coverings. Below is a list of the top fifteen houseplants recommended by NASA:
1. Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’, heartleaf philodendron
2. Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron
3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’, cornstalk dracaena
4. Hedera helix, English ivy
5. Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
6. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig’, Janet Craig dracaena
7. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii’, Warneck dracaena
8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
10. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’, peace lily
11. Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
12. Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
13. Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
14. Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant
15. Dracaena marginata , red-edged dracaena
Here is Athena’s top ten houseplant recommendation:
I also realized that I have seen many interior photographs of kitchens with potted herbs growing on the window sills. Were those plants placed in that location just for the photo or can one really grow herbs on a window sill? Again, I turned to my Natural Home & Garden magazine and there was an on-line article regarding herbs. Four Easy herbs To Grow for an Indoor Garden. Not all herbs can survive let alone grow next to the chill of a pane of glass. This article shares which are the hardiest as well as some recipes.
I am not an expert on interior plants, but I do know that plants can greatly improve our indoor air quality as well as add significant texture, color and visual stimuli to our interiors. If this blog encourages you to purchase some interior plants, please choose organic and locally cultivated varieties. As always, if you have any thoughts or questions you can email me at email@example.com.