kate spade charm braceletWhat is it about charm bracelets? I’ve been fascinated by them for years, ever since I found my mom’s own bracelet from the ’60s. It was a great chunky gold bracelet with so many good charms, like a scottie dog, the state of Indiana, and a sparkly letter M for Mary. The clasp was broken though, so I never wore the bracelet. Instead I just jealously hoarded it in my room.

My husband has apparently taken note of my charm bracelet obsession, because this year he gifted me one of my own. The charms are from Kate Spade, and I think it’s a brilliant intro on their part. I am part of the Pokemon generation, so I WILL collect them all. Bravo, Kate Spade, bravo; or as they say on the internet, shut up and take my money.

Kate Spade Link Charm Bracelet / Ladybug Charm / Initial Charm / Pearl Charm / Anchor Charm

yes to… blue and white

blue and white decorBecause of my schedule, we aren’t able to take a vacation this winter, a fact I am sorely lamenting. Going someplace warm, even for just a few days, makes the January/February doldrums so much more bearable. While New York hasn’t gotten the much-hyped blizzard of the century, it’s been damn cold and well, that’s enough!

In lieu of beaches, I’m making do with classic blue and white, hoping the palette will usher spring along. Certainly the weather, sensing my clump of empty blue-and-white vases, will warm up so that I can get some daffodils and tulips going. I’m pretty sure that’s how seasons works.

Yuyuan Garden Stool – Pier 1 / Shanghai Lotus Candle – Design Darling / Reese Salad Plates – Pottery Barn / Ceramic Drip Vase – Williams-Sonoma / Indigo Chevron Pillow – Furbish

favorite mags

mag subscriptionsFor the past month, all of my subscription renewals for magazines have been rolling in, prompting me to decide what to cull from my herd. Harper’s Bazaar, my lone fashion magazine, I subscribe to mostly for its layouts and, since it’s only $5 a year, I see no reason to quit. As for my shelter titles, I’m on the fence about Elle Decor and Veranda–I’ll probably keep them because the subscriptions are fairly inexpensive ($15/year), but not every issue blows me away.

You know who is killing it in my book though? House Beautiful. I am so, so tired of black and white everything, so the fact that at least one interior in every issue will have color on the walls (the horror!) is refreshing. Plus, the market editors there strike a good balance between aspirational and attainable.

I’m toying with trading my Elle Decors/Verandas for World of Interiors. It’s a monster of a subscription, over $100/year since it’s an English title, but the issues that I’ve seen are gorgeous. Bloggers do a pretty good job of sharing notable photos from the other mags, and World is just so special.

So I’m curious: what are your favorite mags, or do you find blogs enough for inspiration?

the hallway

pink hall runnerWhen we bought our co-op, we received a list of house rules. Some were relics of the 1920s, like the rule forbidding packages or groceries being taken up the stairs (dumbwaiter only!). Others were more relevant, like the rule for 80 percent of the floors being covered with rugs.

While we’re on the top floor of this building, we have been on lower floors in the past, and know how irritating stompy neighbors can be. And we have pets, pets that love running down this hallway together. A runner was a necessity.

Finding a runner long and narrow enough, however, was hard. So instead I ordered Flor carpet tiles. They’re definitely pricier than buying a regular runner, but I love them. They stay put and can be replaced individually, and better yet, they perfectly fit in the hallway.

For lighting, I used the tole chandelier from our last apartment. The chandelier combined with the pink runner makes what is a bleak hallway a bit more cheerful.

I still have plans to wallpaper the entry, and I think I’d like to extend that wallpaper down the hall as well. The long blank wall drives me batty, and I don’t think any amount of art alone would fix it. But in the grand scheme of things, I no longer have a hole in the hall ceiling and all of the doors are painted, so I’ll survive with an annoyingly blank wall for a while.

kitchen renovation notebook: linoleum

After much budget crunching, wine drinking, and Pinterest stalking, we’ve decided to go ahead with our kitchen remodel this year. We’re going to attempt to do as much as we can ourselves (with the help of my electrician dad), and then fill in with the pros where needed. We’ll be on a tight schedule with my dad, so the goal over the next few months is to make design decisions, start working on orders with long lead times, and basically try to have everything on site at the start of the project. (You can cackle at my naivete now).

I have a clear idea for the cabinets, counters, and the backsplash. Floors, however, leave me a bit stumped. Currently we have ceramic tile, which can be a hard thing to stand on for long periods. Not to mention the fact the tile is at least an inch higher than the rest of the apartment floors. New thing I learned: old homes typically have hardwood subfloors, except in the kitchens, where it’s probably plywood. So you need thin flooring if you want everything flush. Not tile.

That leaves us with vinyl or… linoleum.

Yes, linoleum. Period-appropriate, durable, eco-friendly, and affordable. I always associated linoleum with vinyl flooring, but I’ve learned they are two vastly different categories. Linoleum is made from renewable resources, is biodegradable, and it’s been in use in homes since the late 19th century. A sheet of plastic, it is not.

The cool thing about linoleum is it comes in planks, squares, and sheets. With that kind of flexibility, you can create graphic patterns or just do a mega-dose of solid color, like the orange linoleum in the above room of a working horse ranch, no doubt meant to remind you of Hermes orange.

For our utilitarian galley kitchen, linoleum makes a fairly compelling case. Any other linoleum lovers out there, or at least linoleum-curious?