The Home

Reusing plastic spoons, sweaters

What you can do, if you’ve got time and some plastic spoons or an old sweater…

Making Room: New York’s Ideas for Small Spaces

Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers

Team MJ, no stranger to small spaces, looks to New York for inspiration on how to organize micro-studio apartments into comfortable and cozy living areas. With the help of the Museum of the City of New York, we present you their design solutions for single dwellers with limited apartment space.

Although we can’t be there personally to view the Museum’s exhibit on Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers, here are some of their innovative ideas. These include the winning submissions to New York City’s adAPT competition, a call for developer/architect teams to design a building of micro-units for small households, meaning one- to two-people.

The new designs emphasize transformable furniture, such as sofas that convert into beds, or beds tucked into walls, and hidden mechanisms that allow compact tables to pull out for expanded seating. Lighting is a big factor in creating the illusion of space, and this is achieved through huge plate windows and well-chosen lamps and bulbs. High ceilings contribute to this effect, while floor-to-ceiling shelves and wardrobes provide an efficient way to hide clutter. It is clear, however, from the photos below that to maintain the sense of spaciousness in a limited space, you should really keep clutter to a minimum.

Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers

In this example, the wall on which the TV is mounted can be moved to the side to reveal hidden storage behind it. The orange stools are actually convenient yet eye-catching storage units. The shelves mounted high on the wall provide a visual focus as well as keep gewgaws and other trinkets off the floor.

Read on for more space-saving design ideas.

Holiday gift idea: Gear beer bottle markers from Wicked Matter

Gear beer bottle markers from Wicked Matter, P200 at ZALORA Philippines Home and Living

Project: Crafty charging station for your gadgets

charging station - BHG.COM

Oh the inconveniences of our digital lifestyle. We plug in our three, four, or more gadgets at night to charge, and they’re either spread out all over the house, or too close together that the wires are tangled up and a health/fire hazard. Glad we could count on creative, crafty people to make this all nicer and better.

Visual pegs for your home charging station:

Source: via Jesse on Pinterest

More charging station ideas inside this post!

Cool ways to display photos at home

If you’ve got hundreds of photos in an online image site and none in your home (like us!), check out these cool DIY photo display ideas. Weekend project!

Where the heart is: Staying home on Valentine’s Day

Where the heart is: Staying home on Valentine’s Day

They say home is where the heart is. The longer my husband and I have been married, the more we find this to be true… especially on Valentine’s Day. When most couples are out on the town, braving the gridlock to go to a special dinner or concert, we’ve found ourselves heading the opposite direction. That means staying in when everyone else is heading out.

We all crave something special, and Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to share that something special with each other. Dinners and concerts are supposed to be special, and they can be. Lately, however, part of me doesn’t feel very special when I see legions of other people doing the exact same thing.

So here’s a proposal: why not stay in and show your home some love? The romance of a “Valentine’s night in” lies in privacy, in intimacy, in something unique that nobody else can share. Our homes are unique, and so are the lives we share within their four walls. Besides, I find there’s absolutely nothing romantic about traffic, so why deal with it at all when you can simply retreat into your own little world?

Review: “Decorate” by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick

"Decorate" by Holly Becker

Holly Becker’s blog Decor8 is one of the most successful home and design blogs in the blogosphere today, and one of my regular sources of inspiration. After five years of creative, pretty and inspiring posts, Holly (with co-author Joanna Copestick) launched her own book, simply titled Decorate, last year.

I love Holly’s blog, so I was chuffed when she came to Amsterdam to launch her book last spring. And I was even happier when both my husband and I got have a bit of a chat with her before she signed my copy of her book.

Stealing style: fab finds from an Istanbul apartment

Stealing style: fab finds from an Istanbul apartment

I discovered apartment stays during my first visit to New York—which was the first time I used Airbnb, a site that lets travelers find accommodation with locals around the world. Living in a funky East Village apartment owned by two cat-loving graphic designers immersed me in the lives of real New Yorkers —- Ugly Betty filming around the corner, 2 a.m. shouting matches, steep stairs and all. With real New York living for half the price of a hotel room, I was hooked.

Saving money appeases my inner bargain hunter, while the design voyeur in me is delighted with the access to a Parisian, Roman, or İstanbullu home—and the little details that it can observe and appropriate for future use.

Suzan’s charming apartment in Istanbul gave my inner design voyeur lots to be happy about. From the chic striped bench, to the embossed silver tray on the coffee table, to the caramel wing chair in a traditional Maltese balcony, every detail pointed to a relaxed, eclectic style that I wanted to nab for myself. But… how?

Be a “celeb chef” in your own home by reorganizing your kitchen

Do cooking shows like Masterchef, Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen make you long for your own beautifully designed kitchen? Here are some tips for bringing some of that TV style to your home:

Consider the layout of the basic elements of a kitchen: the preparation and washing area (sink), the cooking area (gas/electric range and oven), and the storage area (refrigerator).  These three elements are ideally spaced out in a triangle (what we call a “work triangle.”)  Make sure there is ample space for working and walking about the kitchen.  Ideally, walking distance around the kitchen should not exceed 6 meters. This will ensure efficiency in “producing” meals as if you were in your own cooking show.

Tips for cozy dining rooms

In the previous article we talked about the living room and how to quickly and easily give it character. So how do we go about decorating the room usually adjacent to it? Here are some more ideas to make a room “pop,” this time for the dining room. Think about the functionality of the space.