Blog Posts by Elle Decor
The actress shares her must-haves with ELLE DECOR
Photo: Michelangelo Di Battista/Management + ArtistsAct, cook, write, sing: Gwyneth Paltrow famously loves to do it all. So it comes as no surprise to hear that she is also a serious design buff. Last year, she and her husband, rocker Chris Martin of the band Coldplay, combined two London townhouses with the help of his architect brother, Al Martin.
They restored the period details and added such funky touches as a rumpus room for the couple's two children and a skull-and-crossbones motif on the library's mantel. Paltrow-whose lifestyle website GOOP will release iPad and iPhone apps this fall-may one day design her own furniture and tabletop collections. "That's kind of the dream," she says. "Maybe when the kids are older."
See some of Gwyneth's favorites here, more on ELLE DECOR and make sure to check out the September issue of ELLE DECOR, on newsstands August 16.
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Read More »from What Gwyneth Paltrow Can't Live Without
Designers share what they love about blue and how they like to use itRead More »from How to: Decorate with Blue
Written by Tim McKeough
They don't call the stocks of America's biggest and most powerful institutions blue chips for nothing-the color blue signifies strength, wealth, and dependability. However, in skilled hands, blue can just as easily be used to create a casual atmosphere-think blue-and-white nautical stripes at the classic seaside beach house. No matter how you use this powerful color, the result is always clean and fresh. We asked a few designers to show us how they've used blue in all its forms, from powdery shades to royal hues to brighter options like teal.
How to: Decorate with Gold
Photo: Courtesy of Matthew-Patrick Smyth
"Blue is strong and provides a nice clean statement," says New York designer Matthew Patrick Smyth. "It's very reassuring. There are also so many shades, from dark blues to something with silver-it has such a range. I did this library in a really strong electric blue for a client who loves color. It was an old paneled room,
Today's sacred spaces take an adventurous turn
Written by Laura Regensdorf
Notre Dame, the Parthenon, the Hagia Sophia-the history of architecture is studded with groundbreaking structures erected in the name of religion. Proof that today's sacred buildings are no less innovative and inspiring, a new book catalogs nearly one hundred 21st-century creations. It's a diverse lot, including a tiny Vermont meditation chapel, an imposing steel-clad church in Vienna, and a portable Finnish sanctuary shaped like a triangle. And inside a baroque Czech Republic church, there are even Verner Panton chairs, customized with crosses and reimagined as pews. Here's a look inside.
See: 6 Chic Gray Rooms
Credit: By Baladrón & Grass from Closer to God, Copyright Gestalten 2010Junquillos Chapel: Junquillos, Biobío, Chile
Design: Baladrón & Grass
Credit: By Vesa Oiva from Closer to God, Copyright Gestalten 2010Lilja Chapel of Silence: Portable chapel, Finland
Design: Vesa Oiva
Inspiring Historical Houses
Credit: By Merkx + Girod from Closer to God, Copyright Gestalten 2010
Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore: Maastricht, Netherlands
Design:Read More »from High Design Houses of Worship
Foolproof instructions for creating perfect painted floors
Written by Tim McKeough
Photo: Simon Upton
Although it's relatively uncommon to see painted wood floors today, as clear-coated hardwood has become the preferred option for most homeowners, they were once a staple of interior design. From decorative patterns, some of which mimicked parquetry, to monochromatic schemes, painted wood floors were in widespread use in American homes by the late 1700s. Popular colors included white, yellow, red, and green. But it wasn't just about aesthetics-paint also helped protect the wide-plank pine floors of the time.
After taking a backseat to carpet and clear coats for decades, painted floors are now making a comeback, in both historic and contemporary homes. John Lahey, founder of Fine Paints of Europe, is a big fan. Painted floors "are dear to my heart," he says.
Lahey has plenty of advice forRead More »from How to Paint a Wood Floor
A manufacturer of luxury table football games adds women to the mix
Written by Laura Fenton
With the Women's World Cup in its sixth year, it's high time for the world of table football-better known in the U.S. as "foosball"-to play fair. The Spanish company RS Barcelona recently introduced "Ella," the first female foosball player to hit the field. Cut with the same proportions as a traditional table football player-though with a few additional curves-the new feminine kickers function exactly as the company's male ones do. Customers can choose a table for an all-women match, pit men versus women, or create mixed teams. In addition, RS Barcelona is now offering their classic RS#2 steel table in a decidedly feminine shade of pink.
RS2 Foosball Table, $4,365; rs-barcelona.com
Photo: RS Barcelona
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Five designers offer solutions for the square-footage-challenged
• "A generously scaled sofa, mirror, chair, rug, or piece of furniture will trick the eye," notes designer Mariette Himes Gomez, who placed a large Gothic bookcase in a small alcove of her Manhattan apartment, pictured.
• "Always make sure each piece is multiuse," says decorator Alessandra Branca. "A drop-front secretary provides a bookcase, desk, and chest all in one, and a desk or table can be great for both dining and working."
• Interior decorator Alex Papachristidis recommends creating a glamorous jewel box: "Use larger patterns on the fabrics. Stencil the floors and upholster the walls. With a small room, think grand-I always do."
Photo: Scott Frances/Esto
• Designer Suzanne Kasler says: "Add a wall of mirrors. Immediately the space will seem exponentially larger."
• According toRead More »from Small-Space Decorating Tips
What do more than twenty summers in the French countryside add up to? A beautiful new book-and some sage advice on being a good guest
When designer Kathryn Ireland first spied La Castellane, a rambling 19th-century farmhouse in the unspoiled French countryside, she felt immediately at home. "La Castellane was easier to buy than a pair of shoes," she writes in her newest book, Summers in France-a scrapbook-style account of her 20-plus summers spent restoring the house, shopping at nearby markets, entertaining hundreds of houseguests, and watching her children (now grown) play, all against the backdrop of the magnificent French countryside.
Summering at La Castellane taught Ireland everything she knows about design and a lot about the art of entertaining, and in turn, about how to be a good guest.
In her many summers hosting houseguests (La Castellane has a whopping 10 guest rooms), Ireland has learned that there are good guests and bad guests. Just in time for summer visits,Read More »from Be the Best House Guest
The smartest tools for a cutting-edge kitchen
Oakland, California-based kitchen consultant Mark Stech-Novak has equipped restaurants for some of the world's top chefs, from Thomas Keller to Alain Ducasse. Here, Stech-Novak's guide to the latest status gear for kitchen obsessives:
1. The Smoking Gun This handheld food smoker adds flavor at the last minute and is great for delicate foods like seafood. cuisinetechnology.com
2. The Anti-Griddle A unit that freezes sauces and purees on contact. Stech-Novak uses it to make granita "à la minute" or frozen fruit gels that he wraps around mascarpone. cuisinetechnology.com
3. Sous Vide Sous-vide circulators-essential for any chef worth his molecular-cuisine salt-are coming down in price. Try: Sous Vide Professional, cuisinetechnology.com; SousVide Supreme, sousvidesupreme.com
4. Rotary Vacuum Evaporator San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson introduced Stech-Novak to this futuristic contraption, which extracts herb aromas andRead More »from A Kitchen Expert’s Favorite Gadgets