the many alluring stoves of smash

Perfectly timed to sweep up my attention now that Downton Abbey is nearing its end, I am pretty smitten about the new show Smash on Monday nights. I love good New York City melodrama, and this one is far more fun than an old lawyer or police detective type of show. You may know that all New Yorkers are required to comment to on the apartments of fictional New Yorkers, usually by saying things like, “A magazine writer could never afford an apartment that size.” In Smash, the onscreen dwellings are pretty accurate, and one detail I couldn’t help but notice is the prominently placed stoves in several scenes. You can totally tell a character’s place in life by the type of stove they own. The single, gay composer’s apartment (top) is pretty sweet. His stove is a stainless steel Viking. But his partner, who is married and lives in a West Village townhouse, has a professional style, double-fuel Wolf stove. The struggling actress, bottom, has a basic white one in her rental. If stardom means owning a dreamy Viking or Wolf, I say, it’s time to practice, practice, practice!

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steal this idea: gutter gardens

Can you tell that we have spring on the brain? There’s still frost on the ground in the morning, but we are already plotting our gardens for springtime, and herbs are on our the top of our must plant list. We spotted this idea the other day on gutter gardens! We’re not sure how we’d attach this to the house, but the elevated position would be great to prevent ground critters from nibbling, and new puppies from digging. What do you think? Could you rock these sprouts?

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love! improv diary’s low budget marimekko curtains

Shelterrific reader and fellow blogger, Debra Immergut from sent over this amazing idea. It’s taking some scrap Marimekko fabric and using it as base for some darling curtains. As Debra explains:

I had an orange, yellow, pink, and green floral Marimekko bedspread when I was a kid in the seventies. I’ve had an incessant desire for this Scandinavian-designed gorgeousness ever since. Thanks for getting me hooked on the expensive stuff, Ma!

I really can’t bring myself to spend the full 4o to 60 bucks a yard that Marimekko fabric usually costs. So to get my fix, I drop by the “clearance” section at Textile Arts, a fantastic online fabric shop that specializes in Scandinavian goods. Every so often, excellent Marimekko bits and pieces are to be found there, often for less than $20 a pop. It’s one of my most treasured secrets, but now I’m spilling the beans to you, darling blogosphere!

My collection of Marimekko pieces are all in odd sizes. Some are big enough to tack on the wall, and I do that. Some are just folded in a drawer, and occasionally I just take them out and admire them. One day, I realized I could use two of the scraps to dress up some bland white bathroom curtains. And so I did…

Click on over to Improv Home for the complete how to and a few other Marimekko scrap ideas!

From our partners

zero-waste kitchen: could you live like this?

A friend of ours posted a link to this Sunset magazine video on her Facebook page this week and we’ve been thinking about it non stop. It’s a tour of a zero-impact kitchen by Béa Johnson’s (her whole house is like this but it’s the kitchen that is most inspiring). Not only is it clean, modern and and bright but every drawer and cabinet is filled with smartly-used glass jars filled with locally-grown food. I love the idea of no-impact living, but I think it’d be really hard to pull off unless you lived in the right place. My dear friend Henny tries to maintain an uber green lifestyle and is constantly pulling out re-used produce bags from her backpack when we’re in stores. I oblige when she’s with me, but on my own I only remember our grocery totes about half the time. We bring them in and then forget to put them back in the car! What about you? Could you imagine living a no-impact life? Or perhaps just having a zero-waste kitchen? Here are some tips from Béa’s Sunset feature, below:

1. Get rid of your trash can. Everything goes either into the recycling bin, or it gets turned into compost. If you can’t do one of those things with it — eat it!

2. Pillow cases work in the freezer. This Californian buys a week’s worth of baguettes, cuts them in half and freezes them in pillow cases for the week.

3. Make your own orange juice. We can do this. We have a juicer we never use!

4. No more plastic containers from the store. Bring glass jars, hit the salad bar and bulk aisles, and stock up. Granted, cashiers at Whole Foods might do this, but I can’t imagine our local grocery store pulling it off.

P.S. Béa has a blog!
P.S.S. If you feel a little insecure after watching this video, and after recently learning that French women are better moms than us, you’re not alone. Sigh.

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meet catherine nolin: our etsy artist of the month

As part of our newly freshened up Shelterrific design, we are going to be featuring an artist a month on the site and in our header. This month’s artist is Massachusetts-based Catherine Nolin, whose work we fell in love with via her Etsy shop. With ornately decorated rooms, wallpapers, patterns, and fancily-dressed ladies, they conjure up fantasies of tea parties in grand estates. Our favorite, however is Tree of Life, which you see on our header, with its exotic birds and flowers.

We asked Catherine to tell us a little about her work, and her where her sense of decorating flair comes from.

Your work features a lot of elaborately decorated rooms. What inspires them?
When my parents did a big living room makeover it made a big impression on me as a 8 year old. I remember being involved in the process looking at swatches of fabric, carpets, and paint colors. When it all came together it was quite a thing. When I create an interior I am pulling together all those elements and I just love it.

What’s your favorite room in your house?
My favorite room in my house is the living room. We painted the walls a dark olive which was risky but turned out to be the perfect backdrop/ canvas for all the eclectic furnishing we have collected over the years.

How would you describe your painting style?
I don’t quite have a name for my style although some have said contemporary realism.  I am very inspired by Matisse, Vermeer and Hopper to name a few. I learn something everyday when I paint.

For more information about Catherine Nolin and her work, visit her website and Etsy store.

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