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Beauty Lies in the Body of a Refrigerator!

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I’m not going to be mean to refrigerators. I don’t think they’re particularly ugly, but they can look drab if the rest of your kitchen is spectacular. Seeing all the different ideas people have used to camouflage the refrigerator makes me aware that I’m not the first one to go down this road. I do have my reservations on many such ideas though. A popular way to make a refrigerator vanish seems to be to build it into your cabinetry (click here to see what I’m talking about). So the same laminate that’s used for the the cabinets is stuck onto all the doors of your inbuilt fridge to make it look like just another cabinet. Here’s my problem with it. Your kitchen cabinets are very likely to outlive your fridge. Will refrigerators be the exact size, say, 10 years down the line? A salesperson at a modular kitchen store told me that the standard sizes of refrigerator  have, in the past, changed by a few inches. So when you do buy a new fridge later, it’s either going to make room for dust if the fridge is a tad smaller, or it might just not fit into the space dedicated for the fridge. And will you still have extra laminate lying around? Even if you do, since your existing cabinets have been out in the open for a while, they’re definitely going to be a few shades darker (or dirtier) than the laminate that’s going to be stuck on the new fridge.

I’m also averse to the concept of an under-counter refrigerator. It makes your fridge disappear, alright, but the convenience you’re trading off is simply not worth it. You will not only have to bend to reach out for the vegetable pan, but for everything else too! And a full-fledged under-counter fridge would necessarily mean that you have three or four separate fridge units. When you can’t remember where you’d kept that bowl of lasagna, you’re going to have to open all of those units to find it. And of course, under-counter fridges are definitely more expensive than the regular ones. I’d be happy to pay a premium on an innovation that makes my life easier, but that definitely isn’t the case here.

So today’s post stays clear of ideas that involve structural alterations to your kitchen. I’m just focusing on the fridge! Can’t there be ways of prettifying your fridge instead of tucking it away somewhere?  Of course, there are! If you can draw fairly well, then you should definitely think about sketching on your fridge with a permanent marker. And it’s not as risky as drawing on a wall or using paint. A swoosh of thinning solution or a nail-polish remover is all you need to wipe away your mistakes and start all over. This one’s the most amusing fridge sketch I have seen!

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Another option is to turn your fridge into a sophisticated chalk board. I love this idea for so many different reasons. Chevron stripes on my fridge is like a dream come true! The dull colors are just right if you don’t want to draw attention to your fridge. And when someone does notice it, you’re sure to be flooded by compliments! If you like the idea, click on the photograph to check out step-by-step instructions on how to make this your fridge!

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Now, this fridge sticker has given me a sketching idea that I’m giving a very serious thought to.  If you like an organized fridge, then you probably have a floating idea of what kind of food goes into which row in the fridge. How about drawing that out on the fridge door to make it easier for the hubby and kids? I’m talking about drawing three rows of food art. So let’s say you draw a milk carton, bread, cheese, and desserts on the top row. Fish and meats on the second. Salads and pasta on the third. You not only have an artsy fridge, but written instructions for the rest of the family to follow when they’re putting things back in! Two birds with one stone, I say!

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If you can’t sketch or paint for nuts, then look towards full-size sticker! There are shops and people selling fridge stickers, and you might find interesting ones like these!

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I haven’t ever lived with wallpaper, so I’m not sure if it’d be very high-maintenance around food. You don’t usually make much contact with any part of the fridge besides the door handles, a food stain from a spill doesn’t seem far-fetched. But wallpaper definitely throws open a whole world of decorative patterns and prints for your refrigerator.

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With all that I can do to beautify my fridge, I am convinced never to go in for an inbuilt or under-counter fridge. For anyone who thought fridge art is just about fridge magnets, I hope this has been an eye-opener! But, sure, you could have art and fridge magnets too! Fridge art will surely need a touch-up at some point of time. But if it’s just about darkening a sketch with a permanent marker, how hard can it be? So what’s stopping you from grabbing that permanent marker?!

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High Tea Platter

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High Tea Platter

This is probably the most gorgeous platter that I have ever laid eyes on. People will tell you that mango wood is cheap and inferior wood, but don’t listen to them! I love the deep grains that are characteristic of mango wood, and I’m yet to see more beautiful ones in any other kind of wood. Imagine how awesome this platter would look against a white or gray counter top! Simply splendid!

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The Wall of Frame!

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Every house should have a memory wall. A wall filled with photos that make memories come pouring back in. We’ve had one for a while now, and believe me, we never get bored of looking at it. They’re time machines that transport you back to a day you never thought you could revisit. There’s always an expression in the photos that puts a stupid smile on your face. They make you count your blessings and be thankful for them everyday. And of course, every once in a while, you notice things that you had never before in all those years.

You’d never believe how these photographs have been made to hang. From a curtain rod. Yes, a curtain rod! Isn’t that delightful? Not only can you avoid drilling nails into your beautiful walls, but you can rearrange them like furniture when you think you need a change. I also like how every photo frame overlaps another – it makes it so engaging and mildly mysterious. And I think they’d look just as nice with photographs of people and places.

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This one’s more like a corner of frames rather than a wall full of it. It’s nevertheless an unusual way to create a corner stand and to display photographs at the same time.

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This is a project that I definitely want to give a try. I suspect that the right placement for each of the twelve photographs would be a matter of simple 7th grade geometry that I have long forgotten! I doubt I’d have the patience or skill to try this entirely by myself, but if I ever do, I’d definitely first try my hand at making a small, regular-size DIY clock.

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And now for some (unprecedented) mushy stuff. I wouldn’t hang it around the living space for the fear of guests turning diabetic with all that sweetness. But I’d sure love to have one of these made to hang within the privacy of my bedroom.

ImageCan a photo frame turn left at a junction? Apparently, they can! I love it! It reminds me of how those kids in the Matrix bend spoons with their minds! And just like that bit of science fiction, I haven’t really figured this one out either! Are there two glass slabs on each frame or are there none? Is the photo cut or is it just folded? You can almost be sure that the edge or corner of the wall can distort a face pretty badly, so you’re probably better off avoiding close-up photographs with these frames.

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 A wall of photographs is also a fabulous way of making a corridor look longer or to break the monotony of plain walls with a personal touch. And they’re perhaps the only conversation starter that you never get tired of!

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Just Another Milk Bottle

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Just Another Milk Bottle

Product design is usually all about combining functionality with aesthetics. On rarer occasions, it offers the designer a chance for some tease and mischief. They say that opportunity comes knocking at our doors in all forms, and clearly, even in the form of a humble milk bottle. With some etching cream and a stencil, this would now be a fairly simple DIY project. But I continue to be awed by the kind of ideas and thinking that go into these products the first time they’re rolled out. I sometimes envy the deviously creative minds, and I wish I could rent it from their owners just once in a way!

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How to Sneak In A Toilet!

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Some time back, I’d made a post on why it’s important to have a sink console near your dining table. Now I’m willing to go a bit further than that. I realize it’s hard enough to tidy up the living room and kitchen before you invite guests over for drinks and dinner. I’d hate having to clean the bedrooms too, just because a guest might want to use a toilet in there. So wouldn’t it be nice to have an unattached toilet, close to where you’re  entertaining? It’s no mean feat trying to find space for that extra toilet, considering how much space you’d expect it to occupy. But what if you could shrink the toilet? What if it occupied just a little more space than your refrigerator? Here’s what I found when I was hunting for toilets under the stairs.

I doubt I’d feel guilty about turning a seemingly dead space under the stairs into a functional toilet. I cannot think of a more space-saving design for a toilet, which still has the space for everything you’d possibly need. I did initially think that it’d be a bit awkward and inconvenient to use a sink that’s right above the pot. But I watched videos of people doing that without a problem, and I realized that my apprehensions were just a mind-block against an unconventional design.

This is one of my favorite discoveries ever. ‘Retrofit’ is a term I came across for the first time not so long ago. It refers to fitting a product with new components to improvise, upgrade or increase the efficiency of the original product. And I don’t think there’s a better term to describe Sink Positive’s patented invention that you see below. All that it involves is a ten-minute installation to change the lid of your tank. Do that, and you have a wonderful sink over your toilet. But this is no ordinary sink! When you flush, the faucet automatically releases clean water to wash your hands with.  The soapy water that leaves your hand is then saved for the next flush. And no, dirty water does not come out of the faucet. So let’s weigh the benefits here. You have a touch-free faucet. Every flush mildly cleanses your commode with soapy water. You save water. And you save another precious thing called space. What’s not to love about it?

Had I seen this a bit earlier, I would definitely have featured it as an Earth Day Special! But that’s alright. Because, whether you like it or not, every day is Earth Day for us, earthlings!

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Mexico For Acapulco!

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I have a picture in my mind. A picture about having breakfast outdoors when weather permits. There’d be eggs, bacon, tropical fruits, a pot of tea and, of course, newspapers! A large balcony, terrace or lawn is just the kind of venue I have in mind, and so all that’s needed is some furniture. I wanted low-maintenance outdoor chairs that I could actually leave outside, rain or shine. Ordinary plastic chairs disgust me, and plain wrought-iron ones look, well, just rotten. My latest discovery is the Acapulco chair that’s named after a famous beach town in Mexico, where I believe these chairs first rose to fame. These chairs have a metal skeleton while the weave is PVC. Although I haven’t ruled out other outdoor seating options as yet, today is dedicated to Acapulco chairs!

The original Acapulco chairs aren’t of the shape that you see below, but let’s start with these. Designs often take inspirations from nature, and I can’t help but wonder if these Acapulco chairs took theirs from a peacock spreading its feathers. I love yellow, but I have never really experimented much with it. And these Acapulco chairs make me want to, right away!

Yellow was really nice. But I’ve confessed before that I have a weakness for blues and aquamarines. So here’s a possible middle path!

Bright colors don’t always match with existing themes and decor. But thankfully, the beauty of Acapulco chairs lies deep within its intricate design. Furniture that’s so beautiful by design doesn’t really need much color to make it look good. If you take a closer look at the previous photograph, you’d notice how beautiful the mere shadow on the floor is. Also when you see the photographs below, you’ll probably see my point about the design being supreme.

Here’s another great example of neutral-colored Acapulco chairs. You might also notice how the shape of the chairs below is a tad different from the earlier ones. Acapulco chairs, I read, were originally pair-shaped like these, but the round ones seem to be more popular now.

Considering how long Acapulco chairs have been around, it should come as no surprise that it’s inspired designers to give the original a twist. This one’s my favorite “re-invention” of the Acapulco chair, as it’s a drastic deviation in design, but still manages to capture the essence of the original chair. I like how the blue weave was intentionally placed away from the center to make the design vertically asymmetrical.

Here’s an Acapulco chair with the original shape, but combines three different weave colors. I’ve never been to Mexico, but I can bet you’ll find shops there that will custom-make chairs to suit your color preferences!

It’s not just the colors and the skeletal shape that can be changed, but also the weave. The source of inspiration here is clearly a spider web.

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And these are my favorite at the moment because they just seem to fit perfectly into that picture in my head!

I know of the impact that movies have on people’s travel and tourism choices. The Da Vinci Code, The Life of Pi and Eat, Pray, Love saw a sudden surge of tourists in the places where these movies were shot. I know of photographs in the National Geographic that have inspired people to travel half way across the world. And now I’m beginning to believe that a blog on beautiful things could have the same impact. Well, at least on me,  it has! I often look up the country of origin of my personal favorites from the posts that I put up. And when I’m desperate, I even check if they have international shipping options – that’s invariably disappointing because  shipping usually costs more than the product! So now I’ve developed this habit of making a mental note of the things I should pick up if I ever visit certain countries. And sometimes I even think of going on a holiday to those places with the ulterior, secret agenda of buying the things I’ve longed for!

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The Indoor Gardener!

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I’m lucky to have the sun shine right through my home. We got greedy with windows, and sometimes greed really does pays off! It’d be a pity not to have indoor plants with all the sunlight pouring in. Even if you have pockets of sunlit space in your home, indoor planters are a great way to decorate and oxygenate your home. However, no matter how great they look, I wouldn’t bother with planters without a drain hole; my experience is that plants will soon rot and turn smelly as the water has no place to go (even if it’s fitted with a sponge).

I’ve had my eye on these leather-strapped hanging planters for a long, long time. Aren’t they just fabulous? They don’t occupy much space and can be hung next to almost any window. Their shape reminds me of half-boiled eggs that have been bonked hard on the head!

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These wooden herb planters can’t be too hard to get made. What I particularly like about them is that each planter seems detachable. That’s very handy if you’re growing  plants that need the occasional trimming and pruning.

And another favorite! Combine wood, ceramic and rope, and you have the perfect planter. You could give it a nice twist by painting the pots in your favorite colors. Better yet, you could paint the rim of the pot (that’s above the wooden slab) with one color, and paint the rest in another!

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Remember floppy disks? Those extinct storage devices that would always crash when you needed them? These are definitely not the prettiest planters around, but they (and whoever made them) did put a big smile on my face. Well, they were the totally unreliable storage devices, no doubt, but they seem to have found their true calling as DIY planters!

Here’s a better DIY project that just needs a couple of jars, pipe hangers and wooden slabs. Mason jars are definitely one of the best things around the house to up-cycle, but I’m not sure if or how a hole can be drilled into a glass jar. So I  would substitute them with plastic jars that I can easily nail a hole into.

Not all plants like being home-grown; a lot of them need direct sunlight and just won’t adapt inside. You’ll find a lot of material online on the kinds of plants that can be grown indoors, but my advice would be to verify independently if these plants grow well in your climate and soil conditions. Go local, experiment a little and happy gardening!

Too Wood To Be True?

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I like too many wash basins, and that’s a bad thing. It makes me wish for a house with just bathrooms! No bedrooms, living room or kitchen! Just bathrooms! 🙂 And here’s a sink console from Stone Forest to add to the collection! I can’t think of any better way to show of a beautiful slab of wood. Everything about the ensemble feels just right. The wash basin is neat and sleek, but doesn’t divert your attention from the wood. The tap and knobs are understated, just as it ought to be.

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But where’s all the ugly plumbing gone? Well, that’s a bit of a wonder. I’m just hoping it’s not too good to be true!

Coaster Crush!

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This post was inspired by ants. A troop of affectionate ants who thanked me for sharing my coffee with them this afternoon. Well, that’s how best I can glorify today’s stinging bug attack. My coaster went missing – somewhere between a mountain of files – and I was too occupied to go hunting. So what I had on my desk was a week of coffee rings, and of course the ants came marching. A few stinging ant bites that itch for days, or some ugly, brown stains on your favorite furniture is probably where the seeds of a coaster crush are sown!

Moroccan designs are so versatile. With the right colors, they can make almost anything look good. Isn’t it amazing how those cork rims complement the white-and-blue prints? I don’t think I’d ever get tired of seeing these lovely coasters on my breakfast table everyday. And believe it or not, this a DIY project!

Diy Cork Coasters Decorated With Contact Paper

 I’ve been laying off paisley designs for a while now; I was seeing too much of it everywhere. But I think I’d be ready to embrace them once again if I could make these mine!

I guess things that you’re really passionate about never leave you; they just find a way of coming back to you in different forms. I once loved collecting and pressing ferns, and used them everywhere. Bookmarks. Greeting cards. Wall frames. They all had ferns. And now that they’re back, I realize I still love them just as much!

Who says coasters can’t be multi-functional? Look at these swirly coasters. You can use them as one coaster. Or two separate ones. If you can use the same coaster for two cups of coffee or together for a single cup, I say that’s multi-functional! Yea, I know. I’m stretching definitions a bit here!

And now for some fun! I love my scrabble set, and I wouldn’t destroy it for the sake of a coaster. But I suppose I might one day, when it’s time for a new one. Wouldn’t it be a fun challenge to find four four-letter words that make sense not just when read horizontally (like in the photograph below), but also vertically? Well it’s only fair to play by scrabble rules even when the game is about a coaster!

 Scrabble tiles not for you? How about Cadbury blocks? I would never buy this. I think I eat too much chocolate already. Just staring at this coaster everyday would be enough to make me diabetic in a year or two! I wonder why the chocolate conglomerates don’t give these out as gifts and prizes!

No chocolates, please. But I could sure do with some toast! I can’t help but grin at this streak of brilliance: using cork as a look-alike for brown bread!

If words can do magic, these surely do. I just love everything about these letterpress coasters.

And what’s written there is a reminder to self today. Dream big. Create. Enjoy life. Make things. Be passionate. We could all probably do with a coaster that reminds us everyday to do just that!