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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Designer Picks: Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

Posted by Beth on September 17, 2009

Back in the dark ages (or, say, 5 years ago), it was nearly impossible to find things that were sustainable, beautiful, and affordable. Thankfully, now that even certain mass retailers have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon, there’s no reason to sacrifice style for environmental responsibility. To prove my point, I asked LEED-certified interior designer Sarah Barnard, whose practice focuses on healthy living and green design, to go on a virtual shopping spree for eco-friendly home accessories that cost less than a Franklin. Check out the cute stuff she came back with:

Ferm Living Thistle Kitchen Tea Towel

Ferm Living Thistle Kitchen Tea Towel

“I love the gorgeous peacock blue color and the graphic thistle pattern—it’s so fresh and pretty for a kitchen,” says Sarah of this 100% organic cotton towel from Ferm Living ($19). I adored it, too, so I went poking around to find more products from Trine Andersen, the talented Danish designer behind Ferm Living. On her website, you can see the latest collections of pillows, wallpaper, and wall stickers, including these:

Ferm Living Skeleton Key Wall Stickers

Ferm Living Skeleton Key Wall Stickers

Given my slight obsession with skeleton keys, you can bet I will be buying these the minute they go on sale.

West Elm Organic Cotton Knit Throw

West Elm Organic Cotton Knit Throw

These chunky knit blankets from West Elm ($49 each) in soft, natural shades are also 100% organic cotton. “I totally want to snuggle up in my favorite chair with one of these,” says Sarah.

Viva Terra Pear Terrarium

Viva Terra Pear Terrarium

“These super low-maintenance plants create an instant mini-landscape,” says Sarah. The pear-shaped terrarium ($79), made of recycled glass, comes with sand and four air plants.

Sarah Cihat Rehabilitated Salad Plates

Sarah Cihat Rehabilitated Salad Plates

“I’m crazy in love with this recycled dishware,” says Sarah. “The designer buys up discarded plates from thrift shops, then reglazes them, adding fun and funky designs.” Each salad plate is $44 at roseandradish.com. (For the New Yorkers out there, you can also find Sarah Cihat’s work at Clio, The Future Perfect, and Matter.) I think these plates are too cool to gather dust in a cupboard—instead I’d group a collection of them on a wall.

Graham Bergh Tealight Holders

Graham Bergh Tealight Holders

“I’m drawn to things that have a mechanical vibe, and these sprocket-like tealight holders (2/$25) would make a great visual statement against a backdrop of organic shapes and textures,” suggests Sarah. You can find these candle holders, designed by a cyclist who creates products out of salvaged bike parts, at ecoartware.com.

Urchin EcoArt Organic Pillow

Urchin EcoArt Organic Pillow

This throw pillow from Bean Products has an organic cotton twill cover printed with soy-based ink, but what really excites Sarah about it is the insert. “I go for the kapok filling, a natural fiber harvested from seedpods in the rainforest, because it promotes the preservation of the trees,” she explains. ($64 for cover and kapok insert.)

To see some of Sarah Barnard’s inspiring design projects, head on over to sarahbarnard.com.

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Limited-Edition Boutiques: Merci Gap and Areaware Design to Go

Posted by Beth on September 16, 2009

I’m not sure who pioneered the “pop-up shop” trend, but I think it’s a genius idea—a store that’s open for just a few weeks creates that limited-time-only urgency that gets people in the mood to spend. While I’ve been on a self-imposed shopping ban, I couldn’t resist heading to midtown yesterday to check out two such stores (all in the name of research, of course): Merci Gap and Areaware’s Design to Go.

Merci Gap, 5th Avenue and 54th Street

Merci Gap, 5th Avenue and 54th Street

Merci Gap opened at the end of last week, right next door to the Gap’s flagship. The ubiquitous retailer partnered with Merci, a fashion and home design boutique in Paris’ Marais district, to bring a taste of the store to American shores. Inside this super-chic shop is a mix of vintage and modern accessories, clothing, and housewares. There’s no utilitarian vibe here; the only hint that Gap is involved are a few T-shirts on a table and a selection of jeans, customized by artist Laurence Amelie, hanging on the wall. Like the original Merci, all profits will go to charity.

This adorable mural covers one wall of the shop.

This adorable mural covers one wall of the shop.

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Above: A selection of items for sale, including Droog wall straps in several colors ($25), candy-colored bamboo plates (6/$25 to $35), notebooks and journals ($7 and up), heavy white porcelain plates with pewter rims ($69 and up), and a collection of hand-blown glass items. You’ll also find extra-large linen shopping bags ($39) and linen tablecloths ($129) in gorgeous, muted shades, black rubber vases ($25 to $35), sturdy bistro wine glasses ($6 each), and Annick Goutal candles—her perfumes will be in stock later this week. Some items incorporated into the store’s displays are also for sale, including chairs, shelving units, and some very cool pendant lights made from recycled glass ($125 each). The friendly saleswoman couldn’t resist telling me that Kelly Klein had just been in to scoop up a few of them. Merci Gap will be open through October 4.

Areaware Design to Go, on 8th Avenue and 41st Street

Areaware Design to Go, on 8th Avenue and 41st Street

I trekked west through hordes of commuters to get a peek inside this shop, located in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, before it closes its doors. (It opened last month, and closes September 26.) Areaware, known for its edgy housewares and accessories from a number of young designers, created this travel supply-meets-souvenir shop with the goal of promoting both local designers and alternative transportation. Inside, it felt temporary: most items were simply displayed on tables supported by sawhorses. While there were travel journals, folding bikes by Strida ($700 and up), a few pieces of carry-on luggage, and Oboe headphones (good for tuning out obnoxious seatmates), not much else fit the travel theme. Most items were from Areaware’s own inventory, but there were also pieces from Kiosk in Soho and The Future Perfect in Williamsburg. Here are a few of my favorites:

Droop Light, $180

Droop Light, $180

Silicone Key Keychain, $19

Silicone Key Keychain, $19

Bank in the Form of a Pig, $190; Grans Candlestick, $45 each

Bank in the Form of a Pig, $190; Grans Candlesticks, $45 each

Elephant Pico, $24

Elephant Pico pillow, $24

"Seconds" Dessert Plates, 4/$90

"Seconds" Dessert Plates, 4/$90

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