Author Archives: Melanie Jones

Vintage Heaven


I wish I could say I discovered this site all on my own, but the truth is, a friend (who I didn’t think was even remotely interested in interior design) turned me on to it a couple of months ago. This Is Not Ikea opened lat year to provide “a place where cool, unique and vintage furniture is available to people at an IKEA price.”
Mission totally accomplished.

Divided into tons of categories, including colors, styles, rooms and more, TINI is the ultimate treasure hunt, a place where you can (and I have) spend hours browsing everything from mirrors and tables to lamps and chairs. I love that the products are so well-organized that I can easily pick out something specific to look at, like a random selection of ashtrays my parents weren’t cool enough to have back in the day.

Love this orange retro ashtray and lighter set!

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Quick Fix: Easy Lamp Makeover


I’ll be the first to admit that I hardly did anything productive whatsoever over the Labor Day weekend. Even if it hadn’t been my birthday weekend, I still wouldn’t have done much. But the one thing I did manage to accomplish was making over this boring lamp my husband brought home from Target seven or eight years ago during our/my Arts & Crafts phase.


It’s a perfectly decent lamp, but with that whole “everything’s brown” issue I’ve been dealing with, it quickly became the first to fall victim to Mel and her trusty can of spray paint.

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The Thrill of the Find (Or, “About That Sofa Last Week…”)

Hey, remember last week when I wouldn’t shut up about the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget)? Well, it is totally the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget), but after a shopping trip this weekend, I got the most perfect black leather sofa ever (on my budget). Herewith, the long version…
Saturday afternoon—following the measuring-for-new-kitchen-flooring debacle (I’m looking at you Home Depot)—my husband Matt and I headed to Cost Plus, an enormous furniture warehouse that has awesome deals and no air conditioning. We got our last couch there, and it was fine. It still is; it was perfectly fine when Civitan Services hauled it away to the donation shop this morning. But every piece of furniture in our living room is just brown, so replacing that anchor piece was the first big step. It also became a glorified dog bed. Seriously, I get up every morning to Bailey on one end, Ceili on the other, and they both have their heads on a couch pillow:

Bailey's last morning with the old couch. Hard life.

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Man of the House

From the runway to the entryway, classic menswear continues to influence everything from women’s clothing (like Alexander McQueen’s luxe houndstooth creation above) to the way we dress our homes. I began noticing this not only from my over-consumption of fashion and interior design mags, but also when I embarked upon my search for the most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget). Then I got obsessed.
And luckily, unlike say, the return of neon, these looks are timeless, not trendy.
First things first. The most perfect gray sofa ever (on my budget). West Elm’s Goodwin collection includes the sofa in two lengths, a sleeper sofa, chair and ottoman. It’s also available in chocolate brown or something, but whatever, because this was the charcoal sofa of my dreams. Can’t wait to check it out (at the cash register) at the Dallas store in October.
You just cannot go wrong with a pair of x-base stools. Everyone makes a version and they fit with almost any decor. This Italian leather and chrome pair from Williams-Sonoma Home hits the perfect balance of modern and dapper.

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I’ll Have the No. 3 Combo

corner ebb
If everything goes according to my evil plan, the husband and I will be having our bathroom remodeled. Although it’s the only full bath in the house, I wouldn’t call it the master, because frankly it’s not the master of anything…except pink and blue granny tile (with mauve accents for good measure).

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Clear & Present

louis ghost
Before 2002, when anyone mentioned the word Lucite, the only things that came to mind were stripper heels or a tacky ’80s bachelor pad. But then Philippe Starck put his madman/genius spin on a 19th-century icon, creating the Louis XV Ghost Armchair for Kartell. It became an instant classic, and the reason we all decided a little injection-molded polycarbonate wasn’t such a bad idea after all, as long as it was used in moderation.
As cheeky as it is elegant, Suzan Fellman’s Orphee is a postmodern parlor chair with an Alice in Wonderland vibe.

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Public Displays of Adler

One of the highlights of my Chicago trip was trekking through the rain to the Jonathan Adler shop on North Wabash, where I picked up a couple of vases from the colorful new Lacquer collection, as well as some coordinating Lozenge plates from the Okura tabletop collection.

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Home Tour: Smart Home: Green + Wired


Photos by JB Spector, Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago is no stranger to amazing architecture and fabulous design, and the Smart Home: Green + Wired, Powered by ComEd exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry marries these elements in a stylish, eco-friendly way. Designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All American Homes, this 2,500-square-foot modular home features three levels of sustainable living, from reclaimed and recycled materials to a home automation system and occupancy sensors that turn off lights, television and music when no one is in the room.
I toured the Smart Home a couple of weeks ago, and while I really could have done a better job with the tour than our guide, I was impressed at how well the home showcases a green life that is accessible to almost anyone. (I was also impressed at how eco-smart the little kids in my tour group were, it gives me hope!)

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