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Tip Jar: Stay Excited in the Bedroom and Beyond!

West Elm, you are so square!
IKEA, you're just not meant for long-term.
Crate and Barrel, you are so predictable.
Restoration Hardware, for the 100th time, I am not Ernest Hemingway.

There is a lot to say about cherishing and nurturing your One True Love in relationships, but falling in love with just one furniture store or one furniture style, that is the definition of uninspired.

So, if you're feeling a little bored with your old IKEA kitchen and your so-yesterday West Elm living room, this tip's for you.  The cure to that worn-out relationship is to spread the love.  Mix it up. Try adding something new and unusual to your current collection of furnishings.

Two of my favorite furniture styles are Bauhaus and Danish Modern. You can take the Euro-Utility style of IKEA and mix in a statement piece from Restoration Hardware to create an unexpected and exciting feel in any room. Or, put a curvy decorative cocktail table next to the straight lines found in either a Bauhaus armchair or a simple design from West Elm.

The sky is the limit but for those that need a few pointers, here are a few of the tips that can help you get started:

1) Choose and or identify the one main style furniture you currently have or want in the room. For example: Some people have mostly antique furniture or mostly furniture from IKEA.

2) The easiest thing to do is to tie most of your furniture styles together by repeating one dominant color. For example, you may have different styles of furniture but they are all in the brown and beige family.

3) Always use the element of contrast to create a focal point or to add interest. That might be contrast in stye, a pop of color , or the use of texture.

Which furniture styles do you like to mix?


Size Does Not Matter When You Are in Love


450 square feet, 2 cats and madly in love. That pretty much describes Chris and me back when we first met. I think we were so love struck that we did not even notice the tight quarters we endured. Chris's skiis were on top of the kitchen cabinets, the bike was a permanent peice of furniture which doubled as a coat wrack and extra seating. The bedroom living room, dining room, office, and study were one space! Get the picture? Things were tight.

We adored those days in the 450 sq ft Studio Condo in Old City. Looking back, it is amazing how small that place really was! But gosh, what great times all 4 of us had. That old studio condo came to mind when I was NYC earler in January and was introduced to an ingenoius furniture vendor that is perfecting the art of transforming small spaces.  Clei's built in furniture designs fold, flip, tuck, and slide much like the Transformers on the big screen but much more sleek. Hide away beds and desks can disappear out of site in a flip of the wrist. Very cool.

For you folks lucky enough to live in huge homes with formal rooms for all of life's individual activities, you may not understand the studio life style but you can certainly appreciate the brilliant design concepts being explored by this Italian furniture company.

Here are a few pictures from their catalogue:

Size Does Not Matter When You Are In LoveSize Does Not Matter When You Are In Love

Size Does Not Matter When You Are In Love Size Does Not Matter When You Are In Love

As you see these rooms are pretty cool. Though do not let the title of this blog throw you. The size of your condo may not matter when you are in love but the size of your wallet certainly does if you want to buy one of the 40 custom built transformable ensembles. So, save your money all of you lovers out there and enjoy your small spaces.

If you are interested in purchasing a small space condo in Philadelphia, contact us today!

For more information about the furniture in this post, please visit

[images via clei]


Designers, Developers, and Decor Addicts: Don’t Miss DesignPhiladelphia

Design. It's right there in front of us when we're buying a home. It's at the very front of our minds when we're trying to develop, remodel, or sell. And it certainly deserves a celebration and reflection all its own, right here in Philadelphia. We've posted about tomorrow evening's kick-off party at West Elm for DesignPhiladelphia, which runs from October 7 - 17.  But we also wanted to mention a couple of other events that jumped out at us.

There are so many designers and experts in the city with exciting ideas and exhibits. If you are attending this year, which events are you going to?

IDA – Interior Design Awards, October 7th, 11:00am - 3:00pm, Liberty Place, 16th and Chestnut Street

We always stress how important interior design and staging can be and it'll be interesting to see the winners for this year and how they are innovating the industry.

Re(New)Purpose, October 13th, 5:00pm - 7:00pm, 7:30pm - 10:30pm, Front & Palmer, 1750 North Front Street

Somebody can always turn your junk into a gem. And then make you wish you had thought of that. There's an entire exhibit dedicated to furniture and art that has been re-cast  as covetable items.

Food and Design, October 9th, 10:00am – 2:00pm, Teknika Design Group, 225 Race Street

Are you  building your dream kitchen? This showcase may be of interest, as experts of kitchen design will be on hand with advice on how to stay within your budget when upgrading your kitchen.


West Elm and InLiquid Pair Up for DesignPhiladelphia

[photo via robin miller]


West Elm and InLiquid Pair Up for DesignPhiladelphia

Are you ready to kick off DesignPhiladelphia 2010?  Do it at West Elm! The contemporary furniture store has paired up with InLiquid and they are celebrating the first day of DesignPhiladelphia at the Center City West Elm. We are huge fans of West Elm (see our Dream Bedroom Makeover) AND InLiquid, as we are strong advocates for art and artists (Stephanie is an artist) in Philadelphia. So in our Northern Liberties home, you will find plenty of both - West Elm furniture and artwork.  We always knew the two belonged together!


Invest in your Nest with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

We meet a lot of people in our business. Everyone is in a different place in their lives when we are helping them sell or buy a home. Some folks are just moving into Center City, others are moving out. But every once in a while, we are absolutely blessed, meeting people who become our friends.

We want to introduce you to two such people, Mindy and Richard. Mindy just invited us to her brother-in-law Mitchell Gold's book party, which they are very excited about. The Comfortable Home: How to Invest in your Nest and Live Well for Less is a decorating book from Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, of the luxury furniture store. We wanted to extend the invite to you. Here are the details...


Own a Piece of Aunt Anna’s Unique Furniture Collection

You've read all about my Great Aunt Anna and her rules of life in Good Girls Never Drink Beer From a Bottle. Now you can own all or part of her collection.

I have several unique selections that are available for sale! Click this link for a slide show of some of the furniture that is still available:

$1,000 for bedroom set including armoire, dresser, mirror, headboard.

$1,700 for all items including dining set, chandelier and dishes. A la carte selections (or best offer)

Furniture: Armoire, Dresser, Mirror, Headboard, Dining set, Chandeliers, China, and more...


Armoire- $500
Dresser 6 drawer- $500
Mirror- $30
Headboard- $150

$1,000 for all

Wrought Iron Dining Table w/ glass top, 4 matching chairs, hand painted yellow and red- $900

2 Chandeliers- $20 each
6 “Rose Tattoo” cup & saucer set with matching “biscuit plates” in bone white, dusty rose and green - $30 for entire set
Black Crystal Lenox Goth Goblets, set of 9 (9 dessert goblets, 9 wine goblets, 9 water goblets) - $50


Good Girls Never Drink Beer From a Bottle

Amber Lynn of Amberella Gallery

Aunt Anna loved all things feminine, all things shiny, and gold. She had 2 hard and firm rules about decorating and life: 1) All things look better with tassels and 2) “Good girls never drink beer from a bottle”.  She lived over eighty years with those values.

Aunt Anna (may she rest in peace with her one and only love, her late husband Harry) was like a 1950’s version of Amber Lynn Thompson (of the Piazza's Amberella Gallery) dipped in gold, dipped in white chocolate, and dipped in gold again. In her later years she retired her leopard print handmade outfits and would wear all white from head to toe. She began to resemble a nun or robed monk, minus the big jewelry, metallic slippers, and salon frosted hair, of course.

For those of us who were lucky enough to know her, we were enveloped by her regal attitude that would have been completely off putting except for a deep sense of loneliness that she simply could not hide since the passing of Harry. Their home was like a menagerie within a fairy tale castle furnished with such things as life-size Nubian statues, pink marble, leopard skin, and mirrors. So many mirrors!

Anna’s style was decadent and bold. Her look was one-of-a-kind. With all of this said in her honor, I introduce to you a very unique opportunity for you to emulate originality, a la Anna style. Imagine inserting a splash of the unexpected in your very own home, work space, studio, or gallery. I have FOR SALE, several eclectic furniture selections that you will not find anywhere.

Below is an example of how I personally repurposed (recycled) 3 pieces of Anna’s marvelous furniture for my own home.

Stay tuned for the list of items that I have for sale!

WARNING: the photos and slideshow below are NOT for the faint of heart, nor the color sensitive, and certainly not suitable for girls who drink beer from a bottle : )

I have several more unique selections that are available for sale! Click this link for a slide show of some of the furniture that is still available:

Check out the items for sale!

[image via Amberella Gallery]


A Visit to Carter Studios in Port Richmond

Carter Studios

We're amazed by artisan power couples, so after meeting Mike and Jess Carter of Carter Studios, we knew we wanted to work with them on our interior design project with Voila Design. (Just wait until you see the makeover they've given us).

Mike gave us a quick tour of the Carter Studios workspace in Port Richmond near Tacony. The couple works, lives, and plays in the colossal second floor space in the Globe Dye Works building with their dog Old Bill. They make furniture and refinish objects, many of which can be spotted all around their home - an eclectic mashup of both of their talents and styles.

Deck Furniture

Mike set to work on the patio table and chairs that we dropped off for him, which were taken from a blah black to a fresh off-white. He coated the bedroom tables with white paint, hiding the limey green that just wasn't working with our scheme. He also painted a curio cabinet for the bathroom, a blue shade that gave new life to the furniture.

If you need benches, handrails, fixtures, or other small details to be imagined or re-imagined for your home or office, contact the Carters to see what they can do for you. We love the results - with a local artist, you can be more involved in the design process and have something exceptional and unique that you and guests will remark on that isn't a cookie-cutter, factory-made solution. You would be surprised at just how many artists there are in neighborhoods like Kensington and Port Richmond that are hard at work crafting stunning installations and special pieces for Philadelphia homes.


Lanterns, Tables, and Chairs from Kensington’s Woodworking Genius

[photo credit: Carter Studios]


Your Future Bed Awaits at Hollandia International in Old City

Hollandia International Sanctuary BedThe future of beds is coming to Old City. Starting this Friday, June 4, you can shop at Hollandia International, a new bed and furniture store on 3rd Street. Stop by for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 am and get a look at the PLATINUM-LUXE™ Advanced Sleep System.

What is so cutting edge about this bed system? The Hollandia latex mattress and adjustable base have all of the comforting features that you could want in a bed - a soft side and a firm side to suit your preference, antimicrobial and hypoallergenic material, a sturdy bed frame with pneumatic controls and 12 massage programs, and more. The futuristic-looking beds are something you must check out, whether you are shopping for your next bed or you're just a design geek.

Hollandia will also stock bedding, pillows, space-saving solutions, and recliners.

Welcome to the 3rd Street Corridor, Hollandia International.

Hollandia International
149 N 3rd Street

[photo credit: Hollandia International]

Explore more about Life in Old City. Ready to search for Old City properties?


Take a Break from Modern Life and Go Antiquing in Northern Liberties

Architectural Antiques Exchange

I walk by Architectural Antiques Exchange in Northern Liberties nearly every day. On some days, the door is open and I grab a little peek of what is beyond. Mysterious artifacts and bar furniture beckon a closer inspection.

It wasn't until this week that I dropped by to see what they had in stock. I was hunting out a bar to rent for an event with Eclatante Design, and they suggested we walk over to check things out. Inside the dimly lit space, we wandered through, amazed by the antique bar counters and canopy pub bars. It felt like being transported to a bar in a much earlier period. What if my great grandpa had sat at one of these bars over a stiff drink?

There wasn't just bar equipment.  The place is huge. There are several floors of discoveries to be made and it feels like a bit of a maze. There were dozens of lamps, light fixtures, glassware, serveware, statues, chairs, tables, and assorted items. If you are looking to outfit your space in a specific vintage time period, you can do no better in the city than shop at Architectural Antiques Exchange. If you happen to be staging an event or need to rent an item for your theme party or show, the fantastic pieces can be yours for a brief moment. Maybe you're building a unique home? You can find antique doors and mirrors, and other details that you could work into the design.

Much of the furniture is in excellent condition and there are items that can be repaired or finished should you choose to rent or buy them. Architectural Antiques Exchange will deliver and set-up whatever you choose.  Then you get to experience the 1930's, and until a time machine is invented, this is the way to do that. We found exactly what we were looking for.

Architectural Antiques Exchange

Architectural Antiques Exchange

Architectural Antiques Exchange

Architectural Antiques Exchange
715 N 2nd Street

Monday-Saturday: 10 am - 5pm


Phone: 215.253.6818