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The No-Rules Approach
to Interior Design
by Christiane Lemieux 



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GIVEAWAY: Granite Cheese Board

Do you love to entertain? I do, and one of the things I enjoy the most is looking for different ways of presenting my hors d'oeuvres. These one-of-a-kind granite boards, created by Roman Borisenko in North Carolina, are a great and unique way to serve them. Being an environmentally conscious guy, Roman uses repurposed pieces of beautiful and unused granite slabs with his growing collection of wine corks to create these very special cheese platters. The cool thing about a granite board (no pun intended), is that it will keep your cold appetizers chilled for a longer period of time — especially if you refrigerate it before using it.

(Drum roll) Roman is graciously giving one fortunate reader the chance to win one of his lovely granite boards (pictured above). He is also offering a 15% discount to all of you when purchasing any of his boards at his Etsy shop and entering the special code DESIGNER15OFF. So let's give Roman, and his wife Aleksandra, a round of applause for this fantastic freebie. Thanks guys!

Sorry, but entries for this giveaway are no longer accepted.

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Effortless Elegance

This 1930s flat in Bilbao, Spain, was redesigned to open up the space and create a more flexible layout. One of the owners' main goal was to maximize the light throughout the entire apartment and take advantage of the panoramic views of the city. Integrating the original style of the apartment with the newly designed space became one of the challenges since the designers wanted to avoid harsh contrasts. In order to make it work, they resorted to the use of white in the walls, floors and woodwork. The interior designers Fran Ugarte and Iñaki Cuesta created a contemporary and informal look by employing a loose mix of styles and materials: solid wood, iron and stone. Based on a successful marriage of odd pieces with remarkable taste, vintage furniture, heirlooms and classic mid-century pieces live happily together in this space. I can't get over the effortless look and casual feeling of this charming pad, and no doubt, with a definite personality

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Recyclable Sophistication

Earth-conscious products have come a long way when it comes to design. What used to be very basic and generic-looking items like disposable plates, are now beautiful paper tableware. Thanks to the Wasara Collection, there is no excuse for not having a stylish table when you don't want to deal with dirty dishes. This line of single-use, biodegradable pieces is made with the aesthetics and sensibility of Japanese design. All 14 pieces in the line are sturdy and suitable for cold or hot (though not boiling) foods and beverages, and are oil- and water-resistant. In order to minimize environmental waste, Wasara uses tree-free renewable and fully biodegradable materials such as sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and reed pulp, representing their spirit of living in harmony with nature. There is no doubt that this graceful and irresistible collection of disposable tableware (that you can buy here) will add special sophistication to any casual gathering. Picnics and barbecues will never be the same.

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And The Icelandic Sheepskin Goes To...

Before I announce the lucky winner of this gorgeous Icelandic Sheepskin, I would like to thank all the readers who entered this fab giveaway. I also want to express my gratitude to Black Sheep (white light) for partnering with TheDesignerPad to bring you this contest. As a consolation prize, they have put the shorn white Icelandic Sheepskins on sale on their web shop — saving you $20 off the regular price until the end of this week.

Ok, so now to the moment you've been waiting for... has picked comment number 13 to be the lucky number, making LUIS from New York, the lucky person to be taking the eco-friendly Icelandic Sheepskin home. Luis feels “it would look great on his couch, especially now with the new slip cover. It would add that special touch”. Congrats, Luis and good luck with your new sheepskin. BTW, for those who weren't lucky this time, you'll have another chance to win another fab freebie later this week... Stay tuned!


Lost City Found

If you're a Mid-Century design aficionado, Lost City Arts is a recently found treasure to drool about. Established in 1982, this mod emporium is recognized internationally as a leading source of restored and original 20th century design furniture, lighting and accessories. Its owner, James Elkind, travels around the globe in a hunt for dashing gems to sell in his Manhattan shop. Named “Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture” by New York Magazine, the fabulous “City” is truly the place to discover unique and rare pieces. I really had a blast navigating throughout their fantastic collection. So here's a sampling of what you can expect to find in their impressive showroom.

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New Destination: Eataly

Having people in from out of town always gives us a chance to explore a little deeper the wonders NYC has to offer. They usually come with a list of things to do, and for us its quite the opportunity to finally take the time to visit new places we've always wanted to check out (but didn't have the time to go). Our second stop of the day was Eataly (clever name, right?), the city's ultimate destination for food lovers to shop, taste and savor everything Italian. The 50,000 square-feet paradise houses several restaurants, a year-round rooftop beer garden, a cooking school and a retail market offering 700 exclusively Italian wines, 400 diverse varieties of regional Italian cheeses, the best fresh and dry pasta, fresh produce and many, many, many more yummy Italian delicacies. So if you're planning to pay this city a visit, I highly recommend putting Eataly on top of your list of places to go to. Or if you're a local, this is one of the new hits in town where to enjoy some great Italian delights. Of course, after having a wonderful lunch in La Pizza & Pasta restaurant, I couldn't stop myself and bought a divine Panettone and an exquisite Burrata cheese. Simply delish! Here is a mouth-watering sneak peek... Enjoy.

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Distorted Percerption

This weekend is quite special since we have the pleasure of having family visiting from out of town. And of course, we've been running around showing them some new cool places. The first spot on the agenda was this über fun coffee shop (that I had heard about) inspired by the nearby New York Public Library at Bryant Park and designed by Nemaworkshop. As we walked in D'Espresso, it felt as if we were in the middle of the set of the movie Inception or Alice in Wonderland as the place gives the impression of being turned on its side. The finish materials were inverted: the herringbone-patterned oak "flooring" becomes a wall, the bookshelf-printed tiles become the floor and ceilings and the lights on the "ceiling" protrude horizontally out from the wall behind the counter. The owner of the 500-square-foot coffee shop is planning to open other locations around Manhattan and other major cities, and the next one will be designed upside down. I can't wait to see how they manage to do that. Stay tuned for other new cool finds in the big city. BTW, the coffee was also worth the visit.

Would you like to win a fab Icelandic sheepsking? Go here.

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The New Man Cave

My, my, talk about shoebox living. When I came across this article in The New York Times, I couldn't help but share it with you. I was amazed by these tiny structures built by Derek Diedricksen, a former comic book writer who makes a living doing carpentry in Stoughton, Massachusetts. He builds these micro structures in his backyard using discarded materials like shipping pallets, castoff storm windows and scrapped kitchen cabinets from his neighbor, keeping his budget to under $200. “The $100 Homeless Hut” was the first structure he built to see if he could build a homeless shelter for under $100 (It measures a mere four sq. ft. at its base and is four feet tall). These are very unique alternatives for a man cave. Now, if you want to read the whole story on Derek and his wonderful microhouses, go here. BTW, if you haven't already done so, enter this week's giveaway here. You can win a beautiful eco-friendly Icelandic sheepskin. Happy Friday:)

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