Everything old is new. Happy 2015!

With the new year, somethings are to be expected: Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel in Sunset Harbour on Miami Beach are backed. Gwyneth Paltrow is doing a cleanse. And Miami’s craving for real estate development, home renovation and fine design is unquenched. Really, the city is still filled with cranes and Maison et Objet is slated to launch its first America’s show right here on Miami Beach. Take that, Basel!

But another trend is emerging: a curiosity and fascination with good old traditions and – dare we say – pragmatism. Not in the hokey, hipster, “authentic” Brooklyn inspired way of wearing flannel or men shaving with straight-edge razors (or not shaving, see also #beardos), but something more subtle. Yes, this flies in the face of all things Miami, where everything is bigger and practicality and good sense are often left by the wayside (see also, #boobjobs, #overdevelopment, #Miamicarculture)

The good-old fashioned Blackberry is making a comeback with its well-named Blackberry Classic. The phone taps into the Amazon app marketplace for those of us who have moved on since our brick breaker days, but according to tech reviewers, its old-school email capabilities make us think many of the hedge fund types seen at Basel will be picking these up soon.

And a move toward practicality is emerging in home design as well: well designed pieces that offer storage as well as good looks are on our radar. Art that brightens your home as well as your mood. Multitaskers. Good design, or as Martha would say, good things.

Here’s to a new year of good things.

Those in glass showers…

There’s no doubt that glass shower doors are de riguer, but living on Miami Beach, we have terribly hard water. Mineral buildup is gross. What to do?

I’ve researched this for longer than I cared to admit, and I’ve tried CLR, Lime Away and a number of products that do little. A bimonthly scrub down with Bon Ami has been my only solution and it’s a daunting task – even for our small shower.

Today I stumbled upon a blog post from back in May 2011 (truly, this is a timeless challenge) that gave this quandary nearly-scientific, or at least very methodical scrutiny.

Without stealing the punchline, I want to refer anyone who has ever dealt with this issue – certainly this means everyone living on Miami Beach with beautiful glass showers – to this post.

Shower scum, solved. Happy 2015 everyone*!!

*Spoiler alert (for those who haven’t clicked that link): since 2011, the world has brought us many advances, including a spray version of out tester’s winning product. Hurray progress!!

Back to Business: Part Deux

For my latest office project, we’re devising clever ways to maximize use of space beginning with how to create a kitchenette in a space without plumbing and without…really a kitchen of any kind.  Using our sleek palette, we’re outfitting a full-height IKEA Pax unit with everything needed for coffeemaking, water service and light cooking. But the catch is that everything needs to fit inside. Some necessary equipment:

papertowelikeamagholderhooks41IIBH1IqNL._SL500_SS100_Everything’s consistent in our color scheme, and our goal of using every inch as efficiently as possible.

Stay tuned!

How to free up floor space + make your space bigger

Since most of my residential remodeling projects have involved 1 bedrooms, where every square foot matters, the #1 reason for bringing in a professional designer is what I call “spatial strategy.” Obviously you know how important closets are in maximizing storage in small spaces, and thinking creatively about every piece you bring into your home, but to maximize use of space and the illusion of largess, here’s a favorite secret of mine: sconces..

Sconces free up counter and shelfspace for decorative elements, and lighting generally opens, brightens, and makes every nook and cranny useable.

Here’s how to make a bedroom brighter, and give each partner reading light, freeing up nightstands for charging stations, books, etc.:

Perfect Bedroom Sconce w Reading Light

Another way to start your search for sconces perfect for the living room, dining room, bedroom or reading nook is to checkout models by George Kovacs. He sells a wide variety of modern sconces that can work in a variety of styles. Serge Mouille’s abstract, Calder-inspired spidery chandeliers and sconces are having a moment, but for resale value I’d advise mode versatile pieces.

What sconces inspire you?

 

Back to Business

Now that summer is officially over, it’s apropos I’m taking on an office design project. Aside from fundamental basics of offices, I get a little wiggle room to play with considering that my client is none other than an international ad agency. So I’m mixing a little of office necessity with a little James Bond office chic: stark black, white, and gray palette.

My inspirations: Tom Ford, Mad Men, and yes, even a Helmut Newton-worthy terrace overlooking midtown Manhattan.

Stay tuned!

Helmut Newton as Interior Inspiration

In a city of fabulous faces full of this stuff, it’s hard not to become more superficial over time. Sunset Harbour is where hotties stroll from Flywheel to Green Monkey Yoga and pick at their PubBelly Sushi and tapas at Barceloneta.

I’ve always been enamored with Helmut Newton, and because his work is most famous for supermodel nudity, his photography is a form of art warmly embraced in Miami. Just as I briefly obsessed with the Beverly Hills Hotel’s “Martinique” banana leaf wallpaper, a recent visit to The Forge on Miami Beach got me thinking about Newton as an interior inspiration. After all, we’ve had the baby sumo book featured under our glass-box coffee table since forever. And with my new camera, I’m absolutely fixated on all things photography.

What do you think? I think this would be amazing for a woman’s wardrobe dressing area, or nightclubby commercial space. 

Footer note: I’m not knocking Groupon deals – quite to the contrary. On occasion, The Forge has great deals on Groupon and other group buying sites, though my favorite way to experience the Forge is on Veuve Cliquot Fridays. It’s magical – just go. You won’t be disappointed by the deal or the scene.

Timeless, Best-Bet Weddings Gifts

Nowadays, most couples register for their wedding. Some don’t, which is often a clear sign of cultural or personal preference for the best gift of all: cash.

Still, for so many wedding-related events, or affairs where you’re closeness to the couple makes you unsure how much to give, here are a few timeless, no-fail wedding gifts no one will refuse:

 

Miami Beach for Cyclists: Best Buys for Beach Biking

Life in Miami Beach lends itself well to walking…along Lincoln Road, around town, or down the beach. But when you really need to get around, cycling is a great way to pick up the pace without the hassle of parking and crazy traffic we’re currently facing.

For a sport typically dominated by MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra), monthly events like Critical Mass are helping grow a legit Miami Bike Scene with a hip culture and life of its own. Since I’m based in Sunset Harbour and I work and play mostly on Miami Beach, I strongly recommend beach cruiser bikes for their stability, utility (in carrying groceries, etc.) and general cuteness. But I fully recognize my little Linus is far from “legit” in the eyes of most cyclists on Miami Beach or elsewhere in the city.

Regardless of what bike you might ride, the importance of bike safety and security can’t be understated. No, really. Here are some favorite bikes and bike accessories for Miami Beach:

  Here, a red lock adds a great pop of color!

  

And don’t forget basic bike safety: stock up on proper lights to combat treacherous Miami Beach traffic!

 

B-B-B-Breakin’ The Law: Garbage Disposals and Condo Living

Technically, in most condo and apartment environments, garbage disposals are outlawed by management and/or condo boards for the higher likelihood of serious clogging and pipe damage they cause.

…but, owing to what some might call the contradiction of “Universal Exceptionalism,” owners often see such disposals as an amenity, even in teeny tiny kitchens like mine. We’re toying with the idea of installing an “illegal” garbage disposal, and according to our contractor, we’ve learned that any enforcement of these anti-disposal rules is basically unheard-of. After a final municipal plumbing inspection, your disposal is your business.

We’re hoping this isn’t a lesson we learn the hard way…what do you think of a mini-Badger In-Sink-Erator disposal, versus their competitor “Waste King?” I’m sure WK makes viable products, but I just don’t want the brand name lining the chrome of my beautiful new sink. Irrational? Yes.

…Update: turns out “Waste King”‘s products don’t have the brand name emblazoned on the sink trim. And their user reviews far surpass those of In-Sink-Erator. Game Changer. I think we’re going with the King