Make Over The Media Room; Been putting off organising home entertainment central? Maybe it’s time!

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Home entertainment equipment organisation

Organizing Home Entertainment Central

Make Over The Media Room; Been putting off organising home entertainment central? Maybe it’s time!
TECH EQUIPMENT gets cheaper by the year. Take Blu-ray players – they give razor-sharp movie images and super sound and can now be bought for under $150. And the humble DVD player? Why, you can pick one up for 20 bucks! Other items become more and more feature-packed while increasing in quality but reducing in price. 3D televisions, for instance. Two years ago you’d have been mad to buy one, but the latest models have significantly improved 3D picture quality and can be very affordable.

Home entertainment equipment organisation

Home entertainment equipment organisation

Many TVs now also let you stream content (like pictures and video) wirelessly from equipment such as computers and movie cameras, and access web content, such as Skype and YouTube. You can even record shows from some TVs by simply inserting a USB stick. And some makers (LG, Samsung) have teamed up with providers such as Telstra BigPond and Yahoo to deliver on-demand movies, etc. Continue reading

Christmas ALL Wrapped Up; It’s celebration time! We’ve put our heads together and come up with a Santa-sackful of ideas to help you celebrate this festive season

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Make it beautiful

Krafty Proposal

So simple, so effective. We made our kraft paper Christmas tree by cutting out identical triangles from two rolls of 15m kraft paper and sticking layers of them on the wall using Blu-Tack. For the stars, we used dress-pattern paper from Spotlight. After cutting out the star shapes we pinned several layers together and attached them to the tree with double-sided tape. The trunk was made with an inner cardboard tube from a roll of cling wrap, and stuck to the wall with Blu-Tack. Presents – wrapped in kraft paper and dress patterns – were scattered at the tree’s base. Scissors, paper tree! Beachy Nautical

Make it beautiful

Make it beautiful

What better typifies an Australian Christmas Day for many than a visit to the beach or a run around in the boat? We’ve brought the colours of the sun, the sand, the surf and the sea into the living room with our neutral and natural decorating palette, and added a touch of the nautical with our anchor decorations – painted white – and the smart blue and white striped cushion covers.

Our colour scheme has been offset with a splash of traditional Christmassy red. And in true laidback Aussie style, we’ve casually strung – across the doorway and window – a length of ribbon, on which we’ve hung a selection of greeting cards. Christmas has never looked so relaxed!

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Holiday At Home; Head outdoors on Christmas Day and take your furniture – and family – with you! Check out our themed outdoor rooms and get the party started

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moving your indoor furnishings outside

WHEN THE SUN is shining there can be nothing better than enjoying a festive lunch or afternoon soiree outdoors. Taking the celebrations outside doesn’t have to mean a barbie on the beach or a picnic in the park. We’ve found three creative ways to transform your backyard or balcony into the perfect alfresco entertaining area – from a relaxed Moroccaninspired lounge, to a cool and contemporary cocktail party. But before you grab the cocktails and canapes, it’s time to get creative!

exotic GARDEN PICNIC

Create a luxurious garden lounge by moving your indoor furnishings outside! Our elegant oversized sofa, Persian-style rug, and assortment of ottomans give this outdoor space a laidback Boho vibe with a Moroccan twist. A scattering of comfy floor cushions come in handy as extra seating and work well with the theme. We added a little festive flair with large red letters spelling out the word “NOEL”.

moving your indoor furnishings outside

moving your indoor furnishings outside

For a twist on tradition the Christmas pine tree was swapped for a palm and its branches decorated with lengths of ribbon (see “Make”, left). The decorative ribbon drapes not only create a striking shady spot to sit under, but it gives the outdoor room a lovely whimsical feel as the evening sun glimmers through the streamers.

A wicker basket comes in handy as a spot to store gifts, while accessories like the ornamental birdcage give our garden lounge a real “room” feel. Of course, no gathering would be complete without food – or friends. So grab a platter of tasty nibbles, a bottle (or three!) of wine and enjoy a leisurely garden picnic with friends and family. Cheers!

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Classic Christmas in Atlanta style Home

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Design a livable space for a house

A mixture of antique and reproduction furniture

During their 1963 honeymoon, which included days at Colonial Williamsburg, Rosemary and Harold Youmans say they took more photographs of architectural details than they did of each other. Their interest in 18th-century, style is today as strong as it was then. Rosemary, a former schoolteacher turned full-time homemaker, and Harold, an insurance agent, live in a one-and-one-half-story brick Georgian-style house in Vinings, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, with their son, David. Their home is decorated with a mixture of antique and reproduction furniture. At Christmas, heirloom ornaments bedeck the Christmas trees and toys from David’s childhood add to the festive look.

mixture

In 1992, Harold heard through a friend about a new development of 18th-century-style homes being built in Vinings. “We already had a Williamsburg-style home outside of Atlanta, but Vinings just seemed the perfect place to build a dream home,” says Rosemary. The location offered easy access to the Chattahoochee River and several Civil War sites of interest to the Youmans. Called Highgrove, the development is set on three-and-one-half acres lined with pin oaks, with a small commons at the center. Each of Highgrove’s 12 homes features a different, but traditional, architectural style.

Specific vision for a house

The couple worked closely with the builder, Cornerstone Associates of Atlanta, and the firm’s residential designer, William T. Baker, who specializes in historic American architecture. “They had a specific vision for their house and were inspired by Williamsburg’s George Wythe House and the Red Lion Tavern,” says Baker. Details such as narrow dormers, a pair of end chimneys, six-over-six windows. and a wood shingle roof were modeled after the restoration’s houses.

The couple’s house is built on what Rosemary describes as a “postage-stamp” lot, 65 feet wide and 117 feet deep. The structure was designed to accommodate a formal garden in the back. The Youmans maximized the landscaping by planting flowering shrubs in the backyard and adding a rose arbor, based on one at Williamsburg, along the side of the house.

Rosemary did all the decorating, mixing 18th-century reproduction furniture with Colonial Revival and earlier pieces. She relied on William Baker for specific 18th-century-style interior woodwork details.

“We put in cornice moldings in the first-floor rooms and wide heart-pine flooring throughout the whole house,” says Baker. The arched niches in the living room are exact copies of Williamsburg models, down to the height and width of the shelves. During their many trips to Colonial Williamsburg, the couple was impressed with the varied color palettes of the interiors. Notes Baker of the pair: “They knew the right colors to use for the period and weren’t afraid to break away from white.

Livable home space design: a challenging part

“The other challenging part of the project was the Youmans’ request to make the basement as livable as the first-floor space,” explains Baker. The designer put in large windows at the back of the house, which is built on a steep slope. A concrete floor was scored to look like expensive tile. “You can get a rich look without spending a lot of money and it looks just like tile,” Baker says.

Design a livable space for a house

Design a livable space for a house

Rosemary and Harold still enjoy collecting antiques. “When we went on our honeymoon, we had very little money, but we bought a dainty fruitwood chair in Tennessee for $20,” says Rosemary. “That was really when our collecting began.” They are always on the lookout for early 19th-century English porcelain, tole, and have begun collecting Staffordshire figures. The couple also enjoy decorating their home for Christmas. “It’s probably when we are closest as a family, and it’s a joyous time of year,” says Rosemary. She specializes in making 18th-century-style garlands, cones, and table arrangements with pomegranates, pineapples, and other fruits. “It’s the time of year when I want to entertain and share our home with friends and family,” she says.

Tai and Rosita: designing Missoni for the future

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How did furniture design change?

Furniture Design: How did it change?

We had no responsibility in the beginning,” Rosita Missoni remembers, her tone leaving it uncertain whether she thinks those times better than these. She is watching her husband Tai, who is at the other end of the long dining table in their home on the family compound at Sumirago, Italy, playing with the couple’s first grandchild, Marguerite.

How did furniture design change?

How did furniture design change?

“Much of the business is being taken over by machines,” she continues, as if musing about the passing of the horse-drawn cart. But, regaining her focus, “the creative part of it is still in our hands.”

Over the past 30 years, Tai and Rosita Missoni–Italian fashion’s George and Martha Washington–have seen their knitwear business grow from five workers and three hand looms to a $30-million-a-year business. Now, they have responsibility.

Creativity is still in our hands

In the beginning it was something else altogether. The Missoni story reads like the most hopelessly romantic Harlequin novel. Ottovio (Tai, for short and for always) was born the son of a sea captain and a Dalmatian countess. He fought in the great battle of El Alamein during World War II, and was captured and kept in an internment camp until the end of the war. Ever the athlete, Tai placed first in Italy in the 400 meters hurdles race and went on to the London Olympics of 1948, where he placed as a finalist. It was during the games that Tai met Rosita, an Italian studying in London. They were married five years later.

computer creates a difference

computer creates a difference

Somewhere in all of this hazy romanticism, they began to produce knitwear. Tai Missoni had begun his fashion career producing wool track suits and athletic uniforms, and he even outfitted the Italian light athletes, football and basketball squads for the London Olympics. With his marriage to Rosita, the focus changed to women’s knitwear.

But all that was in the beginning. And even though Tai and Rosita may look backwards with fondness at those early years, they are calculatedly taking their company into the computer age. Video and computer technology are next.

As a harbinger of things to come, their spring/summer women’s collection shown in Milan in October treated press and retailers to a look at the future: From behind a backdrop with the Missoni name carved out, a bank of 50 video monitors projected blowups of the fabric being shown on the runway.

Luca, the couple’s 27-year-old son, is the Missoni’s master of computer wizardry. “Years ago, it took at least three days to try a design,” Luca explains, warming up his terminals and video monitors in one of the factory’s design studios. “Now we can program a design into the computer, and the tape can be read by the looms. You get instant design and it is easy to make a modification.”

Furniture design with computers

Furniture design with computers

Luca demonstrates with a pattern from the current collection, changing colors and even drawing new patterns simultaneously on top of the old. Luca becomes totally immersed in his gadgetry and mumbles to himself, “maybe it’s better with more blue.”

Do-it-yourself decorating

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Make it beautiful

Introduction

Topiaries, pyramid-shaped Christmas decorations, originates from the early 18th century when European hostesses used them for their centerpieces. Carmine Marotta, a floral designer who specializes in topiaries, gives instructions on how to create the Christmas decoration.

Decor your home for Christmas

Decor your home for Christmas

Decoration

Cone- or pyramid-shaped decorations, such as the topiaries in the center of the dining table on page 46, have graced American tables for nearly 300 years. Their origins go back to the tall centerpieces popular with fashionable European hostesses in the early 18th century.
For a dignified and sumptuous presentation, the main dish was elevated above the rest of the offerings. For the dessert course, fruits, berries, or sweetmeats were arranged in elaborate pyramids and presented on fancy platters. To make the sweets even more enticing, they often were adorned with spun sugar, flowers, or bits of gilt paper. A stylish and well-appointed table could include one such centerpiece or a group of them.

Gradually, the vogue for these pyramids crossed the Atlantic and housewives with more modest budgets adopted the idea for special occasions. Plates arranged in descending order of size were placed between layers of large fruits to give stability and a symmetrical structure. Other typical designs used sweetmeats or berries held together with icing and molded in a tin cone to achieve the desired shape or apples interspersed with evergreens piled in a conical figure and topped by a pineapple. Today, nail-studded wooden forms, chicken wire, or styrofoam cones may be used to create these traditional designs.

Select crafts for decor

Select crafts for decor

The floral-and-fruit topiaries in the New York City apartment featured on these pages were created by Carmine Marotta, a Manhattan-based floral designer. A former Franciscan monk, Marotta nurtured his love of plants and flowers by constructing inventive holiday decorations from the natural foliage growing on the monastery grounds. Today, some of his favorite and most-requested decorations are his Christmas cones. He makes hundreds of custom-designed pieces every holiday season but notes that they are adaptable to different themes and may be used for decorating throughout the year. Fresh greens, ribbons, ornaments, toys, shells, pinecones, gilded fruits, and dried or fresh flowers are just some of the materials he uses.

How to decor

A few basic supplies are needed and can be purchased at hobby and craft shops for approximately $30. An 18-inch-tall Styrofoam cone, floral picks (thin pieces of wood with one blunt end and one sharp end used to affix trimmings to cones), greens, pinecones, fruits, and flowers are the principal elements in the topiaries on these pages. Either fresh or dried flowers may be used: fresh ones have extra vibrancy and depth of color; dried flowers will last indefinitely. Fresh, firm fruits, such as apples, oranges, or lemons also are bright and vivid options. Small fruits and berries tend to shrivel and Marotta advises the use of their “faux” counterparts. Beginning at the base of the cone, materials are layered from bottom to top. Building from the bottom up helps ensure that the piece will retain its conical shape. Fresh evergreens should always form the first layer; Marotta’s favorites are pine, holly, and juniper. The greens are inserted directly into the Styrofoam core.

From the first bed of greens, materials are alternately layered up the cone. Silk or dried flowers, fruits, pinecones, and small ornaments are attached to the cone form with wired floral picks. The wire, which is attached to the pick’s blunt end, allows the pick to give flimsy or bulky materials the rigidity needed for insertion into a base. Marotta recommends using floral picks rather than a glue gun because glue often does not hold up as well, sometimes melting from the heat of a room. When using fresh flowers, stems should be placed in floral tubes and inserted into the foundation.

Make it beautiful

Make it beautiful

Marotta can assemble a floral cone in about an hour, but he estimates that it would take a novice three or four hours. Finished crafts should be kept indoors and will last about a month. They may be used as centerpieces, on the mantel, or even as miniature Christmas trees if space is at a premium. He suggests topiaries as a wonderful family project for a winter’s afternoon. The possibilities for materials and themes are limited only by your imagination.

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