How To: A Romantic Vanity

A vanity is the one place where it's fun to be as girly and feminine as it gets. Even if the rest of your house is stark, modern or just generally chaotic, a romantic vanity is your own corner of the world. Here are a few ways to create the look: Start with something a tall jewelry holders to add height and structure. I liked this mannequin holder, made with wood and french linens.

Pair it with a unique faded turquoise resin hand covered with wild flowers and Parisian scripts to hold bracelets and rings. Etched glass dishes, decorative soap dishes and lovely trays are also a simple way to catch jewelry.

Add decorative glass bottles and decanters filled with lotions and potions, fragrant votive candles and decorative tins to hold soap or treasures.

Add a gorgeous antique mirror and fresh flowers and a few well-placed scarves, and your vanity will look like a Parisian boudoir.


Timothy Gray Clock

I love this clock-hanging-a-chain look. It's both functional and pendant-like. The sepia-toned face is surrounded in a tarnished silver frame and strung from a chain. link hanger for texture and dimension. It's a welcome relief from LED clocks and glowing numbers.
@ Ballard Designs, $75.

Hanging Mango Wood Trays

These hanging trays are meant to hang in a patio and evoke tropic isles, while keeping things within reach. I think they'd be pretty handy hanging in a bathroom, entry way and maybe even a bedside table in cramped quarters. Great idea if you need floor space. The large is 13"x18" and the small runs 12"x15"
@ Pottery Barn, $89/set of 2. Internet only.


Copenhagen Style

This home in an 18th century Copenhagen apartment building was designed by Danish design team Alfieri & Grand, who run a studio/antique store called Indenfor & Udenfor (Interior & Exterior). I love the controlled explosions of bright, cheerful color -- on pillows, textiles, dishes and doors throughout the house. Seems especially appropriate for this time of year, when we're finally starting to see color explosions outside as well.


Spring Garden Knobs

If you're craving a spring makeover, here's a simple, cheerful solution.
Ten bucks + five minutes and a screwdriver = blooming flowers, indoors and out.
@ Anthropologie, from $8


Birds on Branches

Got spring fever? These birdies are a quick, affordable way to brighten a room and, in the right setting, they'd offer a lot of visual interest. I'd like to see them against a flowery wallpaper print.
@ Modern Dose, $29/set of 4


Outdoor Room Ideas

House Beautiful has a nice slideshow on outdoor rooms. Since, My patio needs an update, I've been deconstructing pix to find affordable, easy-to-duplicate ideas that could work in an average garden.
* Pair bright, eye-catchy pillows with rustic furniture.

* Hang a simple candle lantern in a covered patio or porch.

* Emphasize prominent garden foliage, such as an ivy-covered wall and if the house has clean lines, choose furniture with the same.
* Hang an overscale sign or thrift-store piece, especially if a garden lacks color or a strong focal point.

German Silver Etched Tables

It's fair to say that these are German, by way of India. A classic Indian paisley motif is lightly etched on the surface of these gleaming tables. The effect is both contemporary and lovely. Very pretty, indeed.
@ Wisteria, from $279


Ceramics by Vika Mitrichenka

I love these pieces done by Minsk artist Vika Mitrichenka, who seems to specialize in Franken-tea sets. I can't find many details on her work, but suspect we'll see more from this young talent in the years to come.


Big Jars by Elizabeth Lyons

The playful scale -- the oversized stopper and organic shapes -- of these Big Jars creates such a unique, modern shape. But the knockout factor comes colors -- from opaline (yay!) to deeply saturated clear glass and that ceramics. The jars are handblown by artist Elizabeth Lyons at her Rochester, N.Y. studio and each dazzling piece is one-of-a-kind.
@ Elizabeth Lyons

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