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Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Love Vintage!

Get the Look Decor: Pieces of the Past

This weekend’s Get the Look Decor is inspired by the Tennessee home of Kari Beth where she lives with her husband and family dog, Maggie. Kari Beth and her husband built their home from the ground up in the rolling country hills just north of Nashville where Kari Beth spent her childhood. Her family’s history blends beautifully with Kari Beth’s taste for antique furnishings and she enjoys how each and  every piece in her home tells a story of the past.
Check out Kari Beth’s home on Flickr or visit her blog for more creative decorating inspiration. Stop by her Etsy shop KariBethfor one-of-a-kind jewelry made from reconstructed vintage accessories.
Briefly describe your home decorating style.
My home is a layered collage of whimsical vintage and antique flea market finds. I don’t really have any rules. If a vintage item piques my interest, I will usually snatch it up without knowing where it’s going to be showcased. But, each piece seems to find the perfect place, where it looks like it was meant to be! After all, an antique paint-chipped outdoor glider made its way into my living room as a sofa, and a vintage rusted and paint-splattered ladder stands in as a side table.
Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
Even as a child, decorating my space was something that meant a lot to me. I haven’t always been drawn to vintage, but after years of flea marketing on the weekends with my family, vintage things became more and more meaningful. Today, my home is decorated with the vintage finds that I have collected and continue to collect from flea markets, antique malls, estate sales, and the like! Things are often switched and swapped throughout my house as my collection grows larger, and I love it!

What inspires you when it comes to decorating?I’m inspired most by the antique pieces that I fall in love with and have no idea how they will fit into the decor of my home. It’s those pieces that inspire me most to really think outside the box and push the boundaries of using traditional things in a non-traditional way.

What is your favorite part about your home?
I love that my home is filled with history, but comforting and not stuffy like a museum. The items in my home each have a history, and it’s interesting to think of the who/what/when/where/why of their past.

Does your home hold any strong memories?
The land that my home is built on is the land that I grew up on as part of my family’s farm. The house was built by my family’s hands, including my husband and me. We have the memory of the process from start to finish, laying the foundation to tiling the roof. It’s also the home that my husband and I had our first family dog, Mister. She lived an incredible life, and now she’s buried in front of the barn in which she loved to hunt and explore. It’s the same barn that inspires me as I look out my studio window every day. I’m sure that there will be many, many more memories to come!


Looking for more styles and interiors? Check out our video series, There’s No Place Like Here, where creative types show us their unique spaces — infused with their aesthetic and filled with the treasures they collect. Get involved and show us your amazing space in this Flickr pool.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Love This Idea of Unconsumption!

Noted: What It Means to Unconsume

As a kid, shopping with my father always ended in defeat. Such a consumer failure was no fault of mine — my dad’s frustration stemmed from his inability to find unbranded clothing. He’d pick up a shirt, shake his head and ask, “Do they have to put this Polo logo on the front?” Little did he know it would only get worse; once just a small detail, company logos are now over-sized decorative elements. I can only hope my father hasn’t seen Ralph Lauren’s new Big Pony Collection, in which the famous Polo logo has grown exponentially. Yet a look into almost any of our closets reveals something quite astonishing — we are overly branded. Sweatshirts emblazoned with “Gap,” Victoria Secret pajama pants with “pink” scrawled across the derri√®re and baseball caps bearing the famous Nike swoosh crowd our shelves. Sometimes, our eyes need a little visual rest; that’s when it’s time to unconsume.
Out of the dearth of unbranded goods comes Rob Walker, author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are and creator of Unconsumption, a Tumblr where creative reuse is encouraged and celebrated. Walker coined the term “unconsumption” back in 2006 when he wrote a column in which he wondered if getting rid of stuff will ever feel as good as getting it. In exploring how to build excitement around repurposing our old belongings, Walker realized that, for now, branding is the way we add value to our objects. In other words, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. “Branding has been one of my main subjects as a journalist, and for a few years I’ve pondered if there’s a way to borrow some of the tools of brand-making to advance an idea, but without actually creating products,” Walker said in an interview with Craft. With that in mind, Walker went to Clifton Burt, who designed the Unconsumption logo; the over-turned shopping cart, almost anthropomorphized through it’s wheel-eyes, is the logo of The Uncollection, or as Walkers puts it, “the first-ever line of goods consisting entirely of stuff people already owned.”
China repurposed and branded with the Unconsumption logo.
Created under Creative Commons license, the Unconsumption logo is available for download and Walker invites everyone to contribute to The Uncollection via their Facebook page. It is a brand without products, one that represents a desire to make the world a better place, each repurposed object at a time. Through branding our upcycled goods, we can reintroduce an object to the world as something newer and better.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Fun

The Halloween Wonder Years

If fall truly is a time of year when reinvention is possible, no day is this more tangibly evident than on Halloween, that annual event for which tons of children literally re-imagine themselves as someone (or something) completely different. Halloween provides intrepid young minds with the opportunity to let their fantasies run wild in a way that would normally be frowned upon by adults. When else are kids given the freedom to dress however they’d like and run manically through the neighborhood, gobbling up candy from strangers? It’s like a childhood goldmine.
And it doesn’t last very long. The years between when a child recognizes the gift of Halloween for what it is and when he or she grows “too old” to trick or treat are few and fleeting. I remember the year I walked from house to house — dressed as a pretty awesome dragon, I might add — realizing I was older than all of the other children I saw in the neighborhood. I felt more like Godzilla, terrorizing the neighborhood kids and making all of the adults give me that grow up look. That realization is one of those dark markers of a childhood ending, similar to discovering that your mom is really the one eating the cookies left out for a certain jolly fat man.
Which is why it is bittersweet to watch Miles enter the age when he can begin to revel in the holiday. This year he’s going to be a fireman, which he’s very excited about, having spent the better part of the year with fire trucks as a favorite toy of choice. But next year he’ll begin choosing his own costume, and the transformative power of Halloween will be in full effect.
The question for us will be: How do we maximize the wonder and imaginative potential that Halloween provides for those few short years? As the holiday approaches, I’ve been giving it more thought, and I think there are two things we’ll want to focus on for Miles (and any subsequent children).
First, I want to extend Halloween to be more than just a day. I want to carve pumpkins, put up fun decorations, and get him thinking about what he wants to be early. Some families choose not to put much of a focus on extending Halloween’s magic, but why shouldn’t it be? Christmas gets the seasonal treatment — rightly deserved for its emphasis on selflessness and togetherness. But there’s something gloriously personal (and, let’s be honest, selfish) about choosing your own identity and eating tons of sweets that deserves to be celebrated in its own way.
Then I want to help Miles think outside the box for his costume. If he wants to be a character from his favorite television show, he of course will have the freedom to do so. But I think it’s so much more fun to come up with your own ideas for who you want to be. When I was a dragon, it was just because I loved dragons (geeky, I know). It was a homemade costume, one that was unique from every other kid on the block. Similarly, I want to encourage Miles to have fun coming up with his own ideas from his own imagination.
What are some of the crazy imaginative things that your kids do on Halloween?
Caleb Gardner is an amateur father and husband who writes at The Exceptional Man and dabbles in photography, design, and music. When listening to the cacophony of modern-day America, Caleb prefers a side of Scotch. He calls Chicago home, and in winter, less-nice things.