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The No-Rules Approach
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by Christiane Lemieux 



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Entries in Gray (31)



A few months ago I was hired to stage this spacious 2-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The look they were going for was modern, urban and sophisticated. That wasn't hard as the inspiration was right in front of me: the breathtaking views of Manhattan seen from every room in this pad. My mission was bring the urban scape inside and citify the mood of the decor. Hence my restrained color palette of black and soothing shades of gray—one of my favorite color combinations. My challenge was to make these tones (which many people consider severe) iook inviting and serene. As a matter of fact, this palette automatically makes any room look modern and sleek. The trick is to play with textures, patterns, volumes and the right accessories to add interest and soften the whole look. Ah, and don't forget to add a little touch of metallic to brighent up the space, it works like magic.

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The phoenix is a mythical bird that has always been a symbol of renewal for its ability to be reborn from its own ashes. Believe or not, this gorgeous hotel in Portugal has a lot in common with this famous creature, as it was revived after a fatal fire almost burned the original building to the ground. Casa do Conto, or House of Tales, was fully rehabilitated after that unfortunate event giving rise to this unique hotel. During its rehabilitation, the architects tried to save as much as they could from the original structure, keeping some of the historical features intact. Some of the hotel's most unique features are the various texts engraved on the ceilings of some of the rooms, transforming an architectural element frequently neglected into focal points and great pieces of art. I wish more beautiful things like these would emerge from tragedies.

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Shades of Beauty

Who said gray is boring? To the contrary., it is an elegant and versatile color that's making waves in the decorating world. If you find you're intimidated by color, but would like to get away from those generic white walls, gray is an ideal transitional color. However, it can be rather stressful choosing the right shade. It all depends in the kind of mood you're looking to set in the room. A neutral color by nature, gray is the perfect backdrop for any other color pop. Here are some stunning images by Swedish photographer Petra Bindel for inspiration. Have a super duper weekend!!

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Cool and Dry

Nowadays, dishwashers are a common household appliance, but that's not the case for small-space dwellers. That's when a dish rack comes in handy and a necessary staple in the kitchen. However, there is no need to settle for a sad-looking one, when you can get the stylish and innovative Arena Self-Draining Dish Rack by Studio17 Design. Its compact design provides lots of space for draining and storing plates, bowls, cups, glasses and utensils. Unlike other dish racks, it has flexible ribs that hold crockery securely in place preventing chips and scratches while drying. The distinctive, concentric design and sloping base, channels water away quickly and efficiently, and the integrated spout enables it to be drained directly into the sink.

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Contemporary Modernista

There is a new trend in travel that focuses on the lodging experience. A concept that's all about staying in places that make you feel stylishly pampered yet at home. Barcelona's El Palauet Living embodies these fine qualities offering their guests a cool and unforgettable stay. All six exclusive flats, each with 1600 square-feet, are decorated in a 'Contemporary Modernista' style that consists of reproducing decorative features of the building in handcrafted Corian furniture that appears to be retro-illuminated. Although each suite is uniquely decorated, they all merge the old and new beautifully, helped by the calm palette of white, cream and grays. To top it all off, there is a private spa on the rooftop terrace for the exclusive use of the residents with splendid views of the Catalonian city. Triple sigh!

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I Scream For Style

There's nothing better than a delicious gelato cone on a hot summer day. It always brings me back to the days when my parents would take us for this yummy treat every Sunday afternoon, of course, given we were good that week. But things have changed since. Ice cream parlors are no longer what they used to be. Some are now trendy and sophisticated spots like the gorgeous Podka Gelato in London, offering a special gelato experience. The branding company Vonsung was responsible for the ultra minimalist and monochromatic space where all the color and taste comes from the luscious gelato. Isn't this a rather stylish way of bringing these frozen treats back into our lives? I absolutely think so.

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Soothingly Neutral

Images by William Waldron and Magnus Anesund (below)

From the Fall/Winter 2010 Pantone color report, Oyster Gray is one of the few neutral hues that made the list. This cool, clean and contemporary shade is ideal for home decor since it creates a relaxing and serene ambiance. Be confident when using gray. It works best when keeping a simple palette and restraining the use of contrasting colors. Soft pastels are great compliments, but bright primaries not so much.

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