Happy Holidays!

‘Tis the season…

for us to close up shop while we spend time baking, wrapping, singing (off key), and generally making merry.  We will return, renewed and reinvigorated, on January 3rd.

Until then…  Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rachel & Emerald

P.S.  The holiday eggnog image above is courtesy of 12 Bottle Bar.  If you’ve never tried real, grown-up eggnog you are SO missing out!  Give their recipe a try and then try and tell me it isn’t DELICIOUS!

Working Wednesday – The HGTV Effect

I disappointed a client yesterday…

It wasn’t intentional.  It was due to what I like to call “the HGTV effect”.

You see, this client had watched several shows on HGTV.  The type where the designer swoops in, cases the joint, says “I can make it beautiful”, then come back a few minutes later (in TV time) with lovely project boards covered in colors, fabric, and even renderings of the final result.  Then, after a couple of days of painting, moving around furniture, a moment of angst, and some sort of crafty project, viola!  A spectacular transformation, HGTV style.

Problem is, it doesn’t really happen that way in the real world.  Projects take time, a lot of back and forth on the details with clients, and actual skilled labor to make them work right. Read the rest of this entry »

Katra Chair

Todays’ post is brought to you by the letter h.

Kidding.  It’s a chair.  Shocking for a design blog to write about a chair, right?

But this isn’t just any chair.  It’s the Katra Chair by Aparte Studio of France, and it is made from a very interesting material. Read the rest of this entry »

Company Profile – Unearthed Paints

Go to the local – or chain – hardware store and take a stroll to the paint section, where rows upon rows and literally thousands of color choices may await customers. What’s in that paint?  In many cases, that information can be more than difficult to unearth.

In the vast majority of cases the base material is latex, supplemented by a witch’s brew of chemicals to achieve consistency, color, and so forth, produced with petro-chemical or synthetic ingredients.  The result, whatever the formula, is often toxic.  Who wants that?

Florian Speier and Jessica Pfohl are among those looking for something more.  Out of frustration at the “greenwashing and lack of ingredient transparency in the paint industry,” the husband and wife team founded Unearthed Paints with the determination to help change the industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Travel Thoughts

Two of the things I most love to do in the world are travel, and see new and exciting design.  That’s why I’m thinking seriously about packing a bag this spring and heading for Milan.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is calling to me.  Loudly.

Anyone else thinking of going?


Miss Wool Lamp

I must have this…


Think of it… a lampshade you wouldn’t look half bad in if you party just a little too much during the holidays!

The lovely Miss Wool knitted lamp, with that charmingly feminine bow, is from Italian design company Doimo Decor.

Read the rest of this entry »


This little jewel is already creating buzz, but, in case you haven’t seen the Plantini yet, be prepared to be charmed.

Okay, so I’m a sucker for the Victorianesque.  But isn’t it exquisite?  Thanks to the collaboration of Glasgow architectural model makers Finch & Fouracre and the folks at Another Studio for Design in London, U.K., one needn’t have a grand estate in order to own a beautiful Victorian hothouse… in miniature, that is. Read the rest of this entry »

Corque Design

Funky.  Crazy.  Creative.

The work of Corque Design is all of these and more.

This Portuguese company offers an interesting range of furniture & accessories, all crafted with cork taken from the Sobreiro (cork oak indigenous to the southern regions of Portugal).  Unlike wood, the harvesting of cork does not involve felling but merely the periodic gleaning of bark from the trees, which are left to continue growing in good health.  In addition to being a renewable resource, cork is recyclable, non-toxic and durable.  The bark is extracted manually, which involves no damage to the living tree, while the proceeding manufacturing process involves little waste and a low usage of resources.

But what really sets Corque Design apart from many environmentally-conscious companies is the sheer whimsy and versatility of its product line. Designers have lots of room to play.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fireclay Tile

What do post-consumer porcelain, empty glass bottles, and post-industrial process granite dust have in common?

No, it’s not their presence in a landfill.  Not if Fireclay Tile has any say in the matter.

Since its founding in 1986 the San Jose, CA, company has striven to minimize its environmental impact.  The product is hand-molded from extruded clays using recycled materials, unprocessed stoneware clays, and minerals, so each tile has its own natural character.  Glazes are mixed in-house and never contain any lead material.

Fireclay recycles its kiln heat, water, and all manufacturing waste, which is then re-used in other parts of the business.  99% of all scrap clay is recycled back into new tile and 80% of all glaze over-spray is collected and recycled.  Waste not, want not.

In particular they produce two tile lines to which I’d like to draw your attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Nailed It!

Equal parts ethereal and threatening, this prickly looking lamp is by Amsterdam based product designer company Ilias Ernst.  By using magnetic fields to attract and hold nails to the lamp, the configuration of pendant can be easily manipulated, resulting in a completely unique piece every time.

I’m just not quite sure I would want to stand under it, you know what I mean? Read the rest of this entry »