Inspiration Album



Bringing kitsch souvenirs home from a trip is sometimes a gamble; you could end up with an interesting conversation piece, a someday-family heirloom or just a cheesy mistake that ends up in storage. What if you live in a city chock full of kitschy souvenirs? Can you bring them into your home and call them art? We've been trawling the Cat Street Market off of Hollywood Road since moving to Hong Kong as a thrifting alternative. It offers a pleasant diversion on a busy day, watching tourists look at antique knock-offs and home d├ęcor items that we see everywhere. We've been returning to a vendor who seems to specialize in Chairman Mao sculptures, drawn to the colours and variety of poses in which he is modelled. We've only actually purchased one, and he stands proudly waving at us in our living room, dressed in what seems to be his dressing gown. Usually a souvenir gains interest once removed from the thousands of exact replicas with which it mwas originally displayed - we think Mao works best en mass, waving at us from as many angles as possible.

Large country kitchen

Q: I was hoping to get some suggestions on a backsplash for my kitchen. I have dark granite countertops, shaker style maple kitchen cabinets with under cabinet lighting. I've contemplated the white subway tile with dark grout lines but would consider something more unique. Any feedback from you or the readers would be much appreciated. Editor: Leave your suggestions for Chanan in the comments - thanks! Got a question? Email yours with pic attachments here.

Open plan dining room and kitchen

This stylish storage solution might be worth checking out for those of us resolving to be more organized in the new year. These two open bookcases can be placed in a corner or even act as a room divider. Originally retailing for $175 each, this seller is pricing each bookcase at $89 a pop.

Country kitchen

When Elise and Ben bought their Mount Washington house, the kitchen looked like this. They used this sad kitchen for five years until they finally updated it. The end result is modernized, but still captures the spirit and integrity of the storied older house. Using IKEA cabinets to keep the costs down, they were able to upgrade and personalize the look with Calcutta marble and Schoolhouse Electric hardware for all the cabinets. Removed a wall between our tiny kitchen and mud room to make one larger kitchen and create a peninsula for the kids to sit and eat. Replaced two louvered windows with one awning window. The surprise that Elise found during renovation was unreal.


If I were to use my wardrobe as room inspiration, this summer it would be colorblocked with cyan, magenta, and yellow. I've been steadily scooping of fun neon pieces to add to my closet, and the bright primaries of printing turn just as many heads in a room as they do on the street.

Country kitchen

Looking for a unique kids' rocking chair? This one is both handmade and affordable. It would make a nice addition to a reading nook or other quiet spot or put it on the porch for some summertime rocking. 'The chair is made from unfinished 3/4' plywood making it lightweight and ready for your finish, paint or decoupage. The chair is handmade by Etsy seller Amryn and only costs $35. Find them here.



Kitchen with island

Nicola's living room if full of deep, dark colors, funky textures and the sort of textiles and fabrics you just want to snuggle up and get cozy. With a fun mix of thrifted and new purchases, the space has a ton of personality that complements the Victorian architecture of the home. All of the elements work together to make a perfectly welcoming family living room. From Nicola: This room is my favorite room in the house. It retains many of the original victorian features including the original fireplace and cornicing. It is decorated in a dark grey, Downpipe by Farrow and Ball and my favorite item in the room is my green cotton velvet sofa from, which is large enough for all four of us to snuggle down and watch movies on a Sunday afternoon. A lot of what I own in the room is vintage or thrifted, I like nothing better than searching for one-off items or restoring old and unloved furniture. Of course I add new items to the mix and I am a particular fan of Abigail Ahern and Rockett StGeorge in the United Kingdom. Wall Colour is Downpipe by Farrow and Ball Sofa is Scott Sofa in green velvet by Rug is a Berber Rug by Covet Ilkley Lighting, overhead and mantlepiece by RockettStgeorge Plants and Flowers are faux and from Abigail Ahern.


These kitchen cabinets are such a refreshing change from stainless steel - they're painted silver. While we're pretty sure that the owner of this apartment doesn't have such concerns, what a great way to freshen up a kitchen without spending a bundle.

Narrow kitchen

One thing we've always needed in our own bathroom is natural light. We know that it's considered a luxury in a city like San Francisco... but we just can't give it up. We also know that living in such cramped quarters sometimes means you sacrifice privacy with a bathroom window. A curtain, some Emma Jeffs adhesives... those are all great solutions. We fell in love when we saw this photo of a recently built San Francisco dwelling. It provides you with wonderful and beautiful natural light, but without the hassle of needing privacy.


A friend sent us this home office image, knowing we love the science-lab aesthetic, and we can't help admiring how perfectly organized and decorated this space is. The only thing we'd change are the task chairs; those two would quickly bring the 'URGHH!' in 'Ergonomics'.

Round kitchen

In our minds, this image embodies what we strive for in decorating our home.... Not orderly or super spare, the space feels used and lived-in without feeling chaotic. We imagine that every element has some story...some reason for being. We especially love the seemingly casual snap-shot feeling of the photographs and their simple display. Just a reminder that simple and casual can be as powerful as clean and fancy....phew.... Image: Elle Decoration, Germany.


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a lounger! It's a table! It's P'kolino's Play Table. Upon first glance, the P'kolino Play Table looks like a playground climber of some sort but then you discover that it is so much more - and when you're short on space, any multi-function item is a welcome addition. The P'kolino Play Table is a multiple-use modular wonder, made with bent maple wood and soft foam which can transform itself into a desk and table set, a climber and a sleek lounger. Flip the table over and children can use it as a rocker. We love how the pieces fit together, like a puzzle, for compact and easy storage.

Country kitchen

We love the post on 'On Simplicity' entitled, 'How to Use Big, Dramatic Pieces to Simplify Your Home and Wardrobe.' Her point is that you don't have to stick to all neutrals to be a minimalist.... 'Here's the fun of going a bit minimalist: it's actually an excuse to indulge your wildest tastes. Who knew, right? The trick is that you just have to do it in moderation. What does that mean? It means that you just need to find one big, bold item to build an entire room or look around.' We couldn't agree more and think this is a great way to approach the nursery as well. A minimalist room really does allow you showcase a great piece of art or a bold color on the wall. We rounded up a few of our favorite nurseries that have that minimalist touch while maintaining a sense of style and individuality.

Minimalist kitchen

It's good to also be reminded that taking a room from neutral to bright doesn't mean that the overall design 'Story' of the room needs to change. A long ago featured home from Domino illustrates this perfectly.... No matter which version of the room you prefer, I think you will agree that on a basic level, the design of this sitting room works in both incarnations; whether quietly interesting or colorfully playful. The overall good design of the room rings true in both instances thanks to the basic strong design decisions and details that are maintained. The firmly mid-20th century style chandelier in a room that architecturally echoes a much earlier era is good touch, independent of the color story - it works in both schemes because it is a strong decor concept, well executed. This room has a basic sofa that clearly works in both rooms - the light neutral upholstery color is part of the reason it functions in either case, but that is only part of the story. What is more important is that a) It is the right size for the room, b) it is in a good location, and c) it is clean lined enough to work with whatever decorative accents you throw at it. Both the highly textured fur and leather accessories in the neutral room and the bright pillows in the colorful room are at home on the sofa - adding flair to the room without competing with the sofa.

Contemporary large kitchen

Sometimes we could all use just a little more space. Whether it be to hold your extra appliances, or another work/prep station, a cart or kitchen island can be the ideal solution. We love this kitchen work table/appliance cart unit for several reasons: 1. It's on casters so you can roll it wherever you need it. The main reason, is that it has a fold out attatchement to become a dining table for two- AND you can store the stools underneath. There's also a convenient towel holder bar on the side!