ABYU Lighting

Meet Jerry the pig.

Jerry used to be a detergent bottle but now he’s gained new life as a kid’s nightlight… or, perhaps, as a whimsical conversation piece owned by an adult who hasn’t forgotten how to be a kid.  Isn’t he great?

Steven Wine created Jerry and his menagerie of companions as a diversion from his regular work as lighting designer for ABYU (And Bob’s Your Uncle) and its partner company, BNO Design.

Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find of the Week – Recycled Sweater Blankets

Recycled wool sweaters are a definite trend right now (hmmm, next Trending post?), and I’ve seen lots of cute pillows, stuffed critters, and the like made from them, but this is the first time I’ve seen an entire blanket!

Created by Michelle Christman from LovelyJustLovely, this blanket is made up of 8 different thrift store sweaters that were then felted, pieced, and then sewn together with a tight zigzag stitch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stella Bleu Designs

William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

 And 19th-century architect Louis Sullivan proclaimed that “form ever follows function,” an idea that vastly influenced the modernist movement in design.

One can find much to uphold both maxims in the work of Stella Bleu Designs, where the creations of Mississippi-born designer Katie Katzenmeyer are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, elegant and sturdy.  In a word, useful.

On view at her website (along with her Etsy shop, here) are shelves and garment racks made from industrial steel pipe, reclaimed wood, and other salvage materials gleaned from local, family-owned salvage yards and demolition sites.  Everything is made from scratch in house. Read the rest of this entry »

Trending – Foxes

Owls, deer, butterflies, songbirds of every sort,… even octopus!  All have become trends in graphics and interiors over the last few years, and for good reason.  Between the renewed interest in all things outdoors, and the surge in handcrafted artisan goods, it was inevitable that people would want to populate their homes with their own personal totem (or just animals they think are cool looking).

So, get ready to meet the “new” critter on the block…

Whether the Fantastic Mr. Fox, dapper in his regal orange coat, or the clever and magical Japanese kitsune, the big ears and clever ways of the fox capture our imagination.

So go ahead.  Get a little foxy with your home!

To see more images, inspiration, and sources for some of these great fox finds, check out my Trending – Foxes board on Pinterest.

Thanks for visiting!


Trending – Art Deco

The Roaring Twenties. The Jazz Age. The Silent Era.

Whatever you call it, the time that gave birth to the Art Deco was one of opulence and optimism. Skyscrapers were going up, speakeasies were going underground, and the whole world was giddily coming out of a period of war.

(click on image to see full size)

Today, Art Deco is quietly, but firmly making a reappearance.  The bold geometric patterns that characterize the style were everywhere on the runways this year.  The costumery and interiors of Boardwalk Empire and The Artist have reintroduced a younger generation to the strong black and (almost) white palette.  The graphics for modern day posters are harkening back to the days of Art Deco and its curvealicious  cousin, Streamline Moderne.

Want to introduce a little Art Deco to your project?  Try borrowing from the simple but potent color combination of black, cream, and gold.  Lots of gold.  Then give it a feminine touch by adding coral or shell pink.  Or why not find an old club chair, with upswept arms and deep, cushy seats?  Perhaps some pillows with Art Deco inspired fabric.   Don’t forget the silk, the pearls, and the cocktail shaker.

You can mix Art Deco in with so many other styles.  Modern, Arts & Crafts, Mid-Century, traditional Japanese, Chinese….  the list goes on and on.  The key is to mix it in, not let it dominate, because you would quickly start to feel like you were living in a museum or a movie set.  That is, unless you WANT to live in a movie set.

As an aside, I love researching and writing these Trending posts, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of them from now on.  As an interior designer, I’m drawn to trends like a magpie, and I bet you are too.  Right now, I am playing around with ideas for how to make the trending articles even more relevant and useful, such as shopping lists, additional resources, and how to recreate the trends while sticking to sustainable practices.  If you have ideas on how they could be more interesting or useful to you, please let me know in the comments below.

As always, I have made a Trending – Art Deco board on Pinterest with even more images and inspiration.

Thanks for visiting!


Merida Meridian

In interior design furniture, textiles, and light fixtures tend to steal the show but flooring – alas, often of less glamour – is equally essential. When one gets up in the morning and paddles through the house, it’s good to know that the comfortable carpet underfoot matches one’s ethics as well as it matches one’s furniture.

The idea of low- or no-VOC paint or finishes seem to have seeped into the public consciousness enough that the former are commonly found at big box home improvement stores.

Low-VOC carpet? Not so much.

So it was pleasant to discover these flooring options by Merida Meridian: carpet patterns which can not only contribute to LEED points but which are, according to the company, “Green-Label Plus certified”.

So what does that mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find of the Week – St Patrick’s Day Edition

St Patrick’s Day holds a special place in my heart, ’cause, well, it’s my birthday day too.  So in celebration of all things green and Irish, here is a little St Patrick’s Day round-up, Etsy Style.

Looking for a little good luck?  How about this Lucky Horseshoe?

This recycled burlap pillow has (Irish) Whiskey stamped all over it.

Love this sweet little felt bunting made from a recycled wool sweater.

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The Future’s So Bright…

I don’t know about you, but for me, 2012 has been great so far!  Everything seems to be falling into place, and I haven’t enjoyed work and life this much in years.  The only downside is that I’ve been so busy getting all my ducks in a row (The Mighty Marching Mallards, coming to your town soon – ha!), that I have been sadly neglecting this poor little blog.

Now, I’ve never liked it when bloggers continually post about how sorry they are that they aren’t continually posting.   However, I thought it might be worth it to let you know that this situation should soon change.  While Emerald continues to keep you up to date on cool new products and artisan makers, I’ll be developing some new features, reorganizing the old, and preparing content that really calls to me.  Sort of a spring cleaning and future planning combined into one.

So sit back and stay tuned.  This year has “awesome’ written all over it!

Thanks for visiting!


Ariele Alasko of Brooklyn to West

The ear-jarring purr of a chop saw… the unmistakable scent of freshly cut wood and sawdust…  Oh, yeah.  Bring it on.

There are special properties to wood that remain hidden unless one physically works with it, gets one’s hands dirty, breathes that dust, learns that grain, that temperament, that joy…

Ariele Alasko, of Brooklyn to West, understands.  This New York City-based artist – furniture maker, photographer, sculptress, blogger, cook – takes salvaged wood & reclaimed “junk” into her Brooklyn home and out of those castaways makes this delightful stuff.  Her work is a living example of why home furnishings should be hand made. Read the rest of this entry »

Trending – Book P*rn

Sometimes trends are so strong, they get their own names.  Names that are likely to get this blog some odd traffic, but hey, I gotta call ’em like I see ’em.  So, today’s trending topic is,… book porn.

Now, mind you, I’m not talking about books ON porn.  No, I’m talking about a sensual love for books that borders on the obsessive.  That passion for the smell, texture, history, and intellectual contents of a stack of bound paper with a title.

In quantities great…

and small…

books have a unique place in our interiors.

Sometimes a fairly unique place, but a place nonetheless.

Of course, you are probably wondering why on earth I consider books to be a trending design element.  After all, they have been around for centuries, and larger houses have had entire rooms devoted to maintaining private libraries.  Why do I think books are an emerging design trend?

One word – e-reader.

Have you been to a book store lately?  A Barnes & Noble perhaps, or one of the few independent shops that managed to survive the rise of Amazon?   What did you see when you were there?   I’ll tell you what I saw, the ever increasing creep of games, toys, and other non-book paraphernalia into the space once occupied by books.   Sales of books in their physical form are tanking.  Between the relative cost of purchasing a new book vs. downloading it, and the ability for e-readers to contain entire libraries in a very small “container”, the era of the printed page is fading.

Mind you, I think there will always be a desire for books, but I foresee a return of the boutique bookstore (yay!), filled with the works of smaller, artisan presses.  Books created for the enjoyment of the physical form, not so much the need for the information contained within.

So now books are becoming a bit nostalgic.  A reminder of a time when we could sit still for awhile and enjoy the words without the beeping, and the blinking images, and the distraction.  That sensory experience of musty, glue bound paper, crinkling in your hands as you turn the page.  Books give atmosphere to a room, and pleasure to the reader.

Want to indulge in a bit of book sensuality yourself?  Check out my Book Porn Pinterest board for ideas and images to inspire.

Thanks for visiting!


image sources and credits can be found on Pinterest