#2 Hanging generic art on your wall

Art is one of the most important things in the final look of any space. Think of it like a nice pair of shoes, a hat, or a great watch, that goes to complete and elevate your entire look. After working for a bit over a year here in Czech Republic I could not help but notice art is one of the most undervalued things when putting together an apartment.

What does "generic art" mean exactly? In this post I will show you the most common examples of bad generic art that you can easily avoid, and then will suggest great alternatives for that same style.

So, where to start?

1. BAD AND CHEESY TYPOGRAPHY

We like at times some typography thrown in the mix in a gallery wall, but do we need to hang on the walls constant reminders that the beach life is great, or that we should watch the sunset? No, i don't think so. 

So what's the secret for doing typography right? I think they can be a lovely way to remind yourself of something – as long as it’s poignant, funny or compelling in SOME WAY. A good rule of thumb would be if it makes you smile or makes you think, then it’s worthy for the walls. But if it’s just a random quote or word… maybe skip it.

Here some we love:

(clockwise) 1. ETSY "HA" photo print, from €18 / SCHOOLHOUSE "Ask More Questions" print, €94 / SCHOOLHOUSE "Work Hard" print, €265 / URBAN OUTFITTERS "It's Ok" banner, €85

2. MASS PRODUCED PHOTOGRAPHY

The Tour Eiffel, Time Square, the Big Ben... It's something that belong on the walls of your college room rather than in your grown up apartment. There are so many outlets for good photo prints at affordable prices. Try to pick something interesting that can stimulate a reaction, a feeling of some sort.

Here some good and affordable options:

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(clockwise) MINTED "Going for a Swim", from €20 / GREY MALIN "St. Tropez Nude Beach Vertical", from €235 / TAPPAN "Nike", from €104 / QUEEN FOR DINNER "Roll With Me", from €28

3. GENERIC PRINTS OF FAMOUS WORKS

I know we often hung print of paintings in our projects but there is something extra cheesy about a print of a masterpiece that everyone knows is a print. There are some exceptions though, if you have, for example, a vintage poster of a gallery opening or one of a famous work being re-shown then that’s ok. But if it’s just a cheap print of a old-world master? Just take it and kiss it goodbye.

So what do you buy instead? Hone in on what you loved about that particular piece – that could mean that it’s a pretty landscape, a calming floral or an interesting portrait. A print of a super famous work feels redundant and reductive, whereas a print of a lovely contemporary painting feels fresh and respectful. 

Here below for example of art done well:

If you want to shop for art but nothing above tickles your fancy, then stay tuned because we are about to make a big announcement next week!

Styling your entryway on a budget

Have you heard the saying, "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression?" We bet you have. Perhaps that is why entryways are so critical to a home's style statement. It is in the entryway that you greet your guests with warm embraces and wipe your pet's paws after playing outside. A home's entrance sets a tone for both those who live there and their guests.

There are a million ways you can style an entryway, but certain fundamentals are important to stick to. Getting the right piece of furniture, and then styling it with art, mirrors, lighting, trays, and decor pieces are all key to something that looks pretty, but also works for your space. Blending design and function is key to this busy area in the home, so here are some tips to master how to style your entryway!

TIP #1:  TAKE A SEAT 

Entry consoles are the perfect place to tuck away extra seating. Vanity stools, garden stools, or an upholstered bench are options that not only dress up your entryway but serve as additional seating for . This tip is especially handy in a small place when you might need extra seating for entertaining that you don’t want out all the time.

TIP #2:  START WITH THE STAPLES

If you are lost as to where to start with your entry console, look first for a table lamp and mirror, the main staples of a welcoming entryway. This is the first and last space you see as you come and go from your place – make it beautiful! Sconces and candles are great lighting alternatives if table lamps feel a bit too heavy.

TIP #3:  MAKE IT WORK

Your entry console should be just as functional as it is beautiful. Don’t be afraid to make it look as though you actually live in your home. Storage baskets for shoes or extra blankets fit perfectly under a console. Trays, bowls, or plates can serve as unique accents while allowing your console to be a landing strip for keys, mail, and sunglasses.

Inspired to up your entryway game yet?  If not, check the graphic below for all the details on how to set up your entryway on a budget.

Ikea Console Table, 799Kc / KARE Mirror, 3250Kc / XXXLutz Lamp, 1999Kc / H&M Home Basket, 799Kc / Ikea Runner, 699Kc / H&M Home Grey Vase, 199Kc / H&M Home Black Vase, 149kc / Rizzoli "Irriverent" Book / Ikea Orchids (x3), 799Kc / Ikea Vessel, 399Kc

TOTAL 9092Kc / 336.50

Go slowly. Find the pieces that complement your tastes and echo the aesthetic of your home. Once you’re there, you can say hello to elevated style, tidiness, and the peace of mind that you’ll never lose your keys again.

Pantone® Color of the Year 2017: GREENERY

Meant to revitalize and refresh, the coming year's official color has already been spotted in interior design, on fashion runways and even covering luxury cars.

The Pantone Color of the Year represents a certain rejuvenation. It is the annual announcement that wipes this year's color slate clean and forecasts what shade will refresh the design world in the year ahead. Incidentally, that's exactly what the 2017 Color of the Year represents: refreshment, rejuvenation and rebirth, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. 

"This shade of green is different from what we've ever done as color of the year before," says Eiseman. "We love that feeling of newness, of realigning yourself and revitalizing yourself. A really important aspect is that the color has vibrancy and a little bit of brightness."

Despite its yellow-green brightness, however, Greenery serves as an unexpected universal base for a plethora of other colors. "There's an understanding, now, that you can use green as a neutral color, just as mother nature does," says Eiseman. "With any flower that pops out of the earth, you never say, 'Oh, that can't go against green'."

Greenery has had a fascinating history throughout the 19th century and, now, the 20th century. According to Eiseman, the spirited shade first debuted in the 20s, when women started making more daring fashion choices and Greenery appeared on the cover of a Vogue pattern book. The hue disappeared when the United States went into recession in the '30s, followed by war in the '40s, a time when resources for colors were sent away for use in the military. It wasn't until the '60s that bold colors returned with a splash, and after the publication of "Silent Spring" by Rachel Charleston in 1962, bright green was heralded as beacon of environmental friendliness into the '70s.

Because of its inherently neutral traits, Greenery can be used in large or small doses, with or without other neutrals, and as an accent or a foundation for other color schemes. Not ready to go all-out green? Try touches of greenery in throw pillows or, in the truest spirit of greenery, by adding a lush plant to your space.

Dating back to the ’90s, Pantone has released a Spring 2017 Color Report - or a selection of 10 trending colors - each September during Fashion Week. Though the color of the year isn’t always included in the 10, Greenery made it into this year's selection, which was crafted based on a theme of nature, as well.

“(The 10 colors) fully capture the promises, hope, and transformation that we yearn for each Spring,” Leatrice Eiseman, said of the Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report in the press release.

Ultimately, Greenery calls to mind the ‘re-’ words: refresh, revive, restore, renew, replenish, regenerate, rejuvenate, reinvigorate, re-oxygenate. Design is an outlet for all of these fresh beginnings. And the yellow pigment in Greenery references the sun, the symbolic light that people need in these times.

For more information check www.pantone.com

#1 Hanging curtains the wrong way

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A beautiful room with poorly hung curtains is like a handsome elegant man wearing way-too-small trousers. It makes everything else cheap, stands out awkwardly, and everyone around feel uncomfortable. Curtains complete a room. they help control the light, lend privacy and warmth, and add texture and color. Maximize their benefits with these simple rules and make your window treatments the most they can be. 

RIGHT

WRONG

We all done it at some point in our lives... Hanging the curtains just above the window frame. The higher the rod, the taller the window and the room will appear, so fix your curtain rod closer to the ceiling than the top of your window. The rule of thumb is that they should sit 15-20cm above the window frame. 

RIGHT

WRONG

The most common mistake is also the most painful to look at... The "too-short curtain". This does exactly what pants that are too short do... It cuts off your room (leg) in a really jarring way, making it look stubby and awkward. A little puddling can be nice if you want a romantic feel but if you don't want to worry about them dragging and getting dirty, then stop the fabric just before they hit the floor - a little under 2cm is good.

RIGHT

WRONG

Another common mistake is not having the rod wide enough, on both sides of the window, so that your curtains are forced to be hanging partially in your window, blocking light and making the window look smaller (thus making your room feel smaller. Extend the rod at least 20/30cm on either side of the window frame so that when the curtains are pushed open you can see almost all of the window.

If you have a big window make sure to have double wide panels on both sides of the frame. Let's say your window is 2.50m wide and your curtain panels are 1.50m wide (standard), surely will technically block the light when they are closed, but they won't have any softness in them. Additionally when the curtains are open they will look dinky and disproportionate to your big window. You may have to buy four panels (2 on each side) and have your tailor sew them together or just hang them as-is and often you can't see the break because they will be so full and billowy.

You may have to invest in longer curtains or even more panels if you have a larger window, but otherwise hanging a curtain the right way actually costs the same as the wrong way. So please, follow this guide and save yourself (and all your friends) the discomfort of the "too short", "too low", "too thin" and "too narrow" curtain.

Decorating with nature

We are often asked by our clients what are the best indoor plants to use, easy to care and very hard to kill. This is a tricky question because as much as we love greenery in a room I don't have what you can call a "Green Thumb" and have been responsible for murdering a fair number of house plants. More often than not, I hear of friends and clients committing plant murder, and rarely can a man (or me) make them last for any length of time. It's tough to remember what I need to do to take care of myself let alone remember what my plants require. How much water, how much light, what temperature they prefer... 

Fortunately, I have killed enough in my life to figure out what kind of plants are (nearly) impossible to kill and what kind of plants are a real pain to care for. If I can make them survive, ANY other man can!

Here are our top 8 houseplants we like to use regularly in our projects:

1. Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica Robusta) / 2. Zee Zee Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) / 3. Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) / 4. Heart Leafed Philodendron (Philodendron Scadens) / 5. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata) / 6. Split-Leafed Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa) / 7. Succulents / 8. Stag Horn Fern (Platycerium)

Fifty shades of blue (jeans)

"Searching for faith and hope (soap)", denim on denim,  122cm x 50cm

"Searching for faith and hope (soap)", denim on denim,  122cm x 50cm

At first glance, many believe that Ian Berry’s work are blue toned photographs or indigo colored oil paintings. This is not only when viewed online or in print, when much of the depth and detail is lost, but even up close. Even at touching distance, many viewers don’t realize that they are looking at many layers, and shades, of denim jeans.  
But of course it is testament to his work that it is not all about it being made in old jeans that makes it special. It is simply his medium for seeing the world, his paint, and what a material to use in this modern world; with all its symbols and dualities, as well as being such a common item of clothing that unites many around the globe.

"The Prince", denim on denim, 70cm x 40cm

"The Prince", denim on denim, 70cm x 40cm

To see them up close, you become aware of the depth and texture and see how each small piece of denim has been considered and crafted out of jeans with washes, and fades, which help create that painterly tone. 
This is no gimmick. To create a shiny metallic surface or a polished bar top out of denim, it is staggering to see. He creates melancholic urban scenes, often depicting a lonely or less glamorous side of city living. He says denim is now such an urban fabric, after having such rural origins. What better way to capture everyday urban life.

"Debbie Harry" (detail), denim on denim, 240cm x 130cm

"Debbie Harry" (detail), denim on denim, 240cm x 130cm

"The Gently Revolving Drum Goes Quiet" (detail), denim on denim, 122cm x 50cm

"The Gently Revolving Drum Goes Quiet" (detail), denim on denim, 122cm x 50cm

It is hard to believe that this all started by one simple observation. Noticing a pile of old jeans and noticing the contrasting shades of blue. Some scissors and glue later he soon became one of the most talked about young artists. While he acknowledges that it started out as an experiment, while working with denim he started to realize his own connection with jeans – and especially other people’s.  A material that we feel so comfortable with. He had found his way to communicate and then soon became written about as a leading top 30 artist under 30 in the world. His success has caught many eyes and while the works are painstaking to make he had been able to take a few commissioned portraits; Debbie Harry, Jennifer Saunders, Giorgio Armani and Lapo Elkann and Brazilian model Giselle. To name a few. His most well known though, was one made of another Brazilian, Ayrton Senna, using his family's jeans and in support of the institute in his name.

"Subjects", denim on denim, 70cm x 40cm

"Subjects", denim on denim, 70cm x 40cm

His work has been seen in many countries, giving a chance for people to see the work in person. With a number of sell-out solo shows in London and Sweden, he has also shown across Europe and the States, including the home of the modern jean, San Francisco. It has been written about in major media in all corners of the globe.

For more check out www.ianberry.org

"City Living", denim on denim, 90cm x 90cm

"City Living", denim on denim, 90cm x 90cm

"A Desirable Location", denim on denim, 90cm x 90cm

"A Desirable Location", denim on denim, 90cm x 90cm

Last minute gift ideas for the "STAG" in your life

Boys and Girls, the holiday season is in full swing and if you are anything like us at Stag Pads, you probably are too busy jetting between the myriads of Christmas dinners and parties, that you have been too busy to even think what to give to the man in your life.

So, to help you all and to give you a little bit of last minute inspiration, Stag Pads' founder and design director Daniele Federico Melilli has put together a handful of amazing items for the home that a discerning and stylish man would absolutely love.

So, if you are still on the hunt for the perfect gift for your man keep scrolling! Now grab a big cup of hot cocoa (yes you can put cream on it too), turn on your favorite holiday tunes and enjoy.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Stag Pads International!

IKEA explores craft through minimalism

Designer Ingegerd Råman holding a pitcher from her Viktigt collection for Ikea

Designer Ingegerd Råman holding a pitcher from her Viktigt collection for Ikea

After a few maximalist and pattern heavy collections, Swedish giant IKEA returns to focus on Scandinavian minimalism. The company's new limited-edition Viktigt collection, overseen by texture-loving Swedish ceramicist Ingegerd Råman, features pared down objects that focus on the barest essentials. Designed in Sweden and crafted in Vietnam, Indonesia and Poland, the collection will hit stores at the end of May.

While Ikea is perhaps best known for its mass-produced, flat-pack furniture, the Viktigt items are all made by hand from a limited palette of materials: glass, ceramic, bamboo, and woven fiber. The line's subdued set of colors is as limited as its material palette. Everything is black, white, rattan, or glass.

"Pieces made from natural fibers are as far from standardized design as you can get," explained Ikea designer Nike Karlsson. "It’s handmade. Every chair and basket is different." For more information www.ikea.com

The Fantastic Landcarpets of Florian Pucher

Drawing inspiration from the view of lands from the airplane, Austrian-born and Hong Kong-residing architect and designer Florian Pucher, started designing his "Landcarpet" rugs collection back in 2009 together with his business partner, graphic designer, Sophia Liu Bo.

To create his designs, Pucher takes aerial images and then redraws them, focusing on the typical characteristics of the area the image depicts, using for example warm green and brown colours for images depicting Europe, more earthen tones for Africa and so on. The different ‘fields’ of colour seen in these carpets feature different tuft sizes which adds an element of depth as well as a realistic feel to them, whilst each ‘Landcarpet’ rug is hand-tufted and requires approximately five weeks to produce each one, using superior quality New Zealand wool.

In 2013, Pucher made a more elaborate and limited-edition ‘Landcarpet’ piece depicting the Kowloon West Coast of Hong-Kong, which is now in the permanent design collection of the city’s Museum for visual culture, M+.

LANDCARPET Bahamas, photo © Florian Pucher

LANDCARPET Bahamas, photo © Florian Pucher

LANDCARPET Arizona, photo © Florian Pucher.

LANDCARPET Arizona, photo © Florian Pucher.

LANDCARPET Yunnan (detail), photo © Florian Pucher.

LANDCARPET Yunnan (detail), photo © Florian Pucher.

LANDCARPET Bahamas (detail), photo © Florian Pucher.

LANDCARPET Bahamas (detail), photo © Florian Pucher.

For more information check www.florianpucher.com

10 Questions with Sean Alan of Sean Alan Designs

Intuition is a mighty powerful beast. Just ask Canadian-born Sean Alan: approaching his work with an individual sensitivity, the talented woodworker lets his instincts lead the way in his collection of walnut and red oak wood home-wares and bespoke furniture. We sat down with Sean and had a chat about his passions and his work.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?

Well My name is Sean, I was born in the North, I love all animals and the color purple. I moved to NYC about 10 years ago working in fashion, during my time here my interest has progressed into designing and building things out of wood.  

Furniture design/making isn’t something people commonly get in to, what’s your background and how did this became your passion, and ultimately job?  

As a child i was always somewhat handy, but ultimately It all started when I had down time in NYC and decided to open a restaurant, a really small one (12 seats), with a friend. The concept was to build everything in it out of reclaimed and salvaged wood from Bushwick, the restaurant's neighborhood, that's when it all came together. 

In your creative process what comes first - the materials or the design idea?

That is tough to say. Sometimes i look at a piece of wood and get the idea. Some other times I’m just laying in bed and start coming up with different ideas.  

What would you say are your main influences when conceiving a piece of work?

NATURE

How do you choose your materials?

Usually is what pleases my eye.  

What part of the process excites you the most?

Each piece's development and putting that puzzle together; and then applying that first coat of oil.

You live in Brooklyn, NY. Are there any elements of New York/Brooklyn that inspire you?

Hahaha, no, honestly not.

What advice do you have for someone that wants to get in to furniture making?

For sure my advice would be: W.T.F. - Watch Those Fingers!

Check more works at www.seanalandesigns.com