"We bought a house.
    Your mother made it a home."
    --My dad
    Architecture, decor, neighborhood--all these play a part in turning a house into a home.  But, of course, what matters most are the people inside. That's something my dad taught me a long time ago.  For Carl, the septuagenarian main character of Up, that realization comes only after a flight halfway across the world and many many thousand balloons--and thank goodness, because we get to be a part of his poignant journey in this remarkable and deeply touching movie.

    DIVA DVD:  Up.  Teaser trailer via RawkusBixhu on For the official Disney/Pixar trailer click here.  And don't be fooled by the animation and animals--this movie is really for adults.
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    Style Maniac has been on a bit of a building spree lately.  The first addition, now ready for visitors:  Style Maniac's Facebook Page.  If this blog is the heart and soul of Style Maniac--the living room, if you will--the new Facebook page is like the guest room of our virtual home.  Come visit for awhile, meet and make friends who are crazy about style; contribute your own photos, finds, links and events; check in for style alerts and local happenings; and let me know of any suggestions you have for the Facebook Page or the Style Manic Blog.Source URL:
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    Same inspiration (Versace Medusa Red china) as the previous post, same living room, but a deeper, warmer variation for winter.  This translation is more about the luxe richness of the pattern than the actual colors.  For winter, the velvet fabric becomes a slipcover for the cream sofas and the jewel-like silk replaces the tropical pattern pillows.

    Photo by Doreen Creede Source URL:
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Sophisticated and Playful

Miranda Kerr


    Where does the inspiration for decorating a room come from? Once you understand how you live and choose the type of space you want to live in how do you narrow down your selection from the still infinite choices available?

    For me it always begins with color and pattern. In the case of a yet-to-be-realized concept for my own home, the basis of inspiration were the colors and patterns of my extensive china collection (have I confessed to my china addiction yet?).  On my first floor, an open living/dining/kitchen space, my Versace Medusa Red china inspired two palettes. In the "summer" palette, shown above, the bold colors of the china translate into a bold color scheme of cream accented with black, red and gold.

    Photo by Doreen CreedeSource URL:
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Looking French

White Christmas

GUEST POST: Architect Karen Krauskopf's Tips On Choosing A Home

    Karen Krauskopf and I met our first semester of college and have shared a passion for design, style and spirited conversation ever since.  I thought it would be wonderful to add some architectural expertise and perspective to our Thoughts On Home this month and I am delighted that Karen agreed to contribute this guest post to Style Maniac.

    ONE | First – and above all else: Understand how you live.
    Private or public? Formal or informal? How do you entertain? What are your hobbies, and how often do you pursue them? These questions greatly influence the collection of rooms and the relationships that create a pleasing experience in your home. If you only use a formal living room once a year for the family photo, you do not have to have it in your home just because your mother did. On the other hand, if you use it every day – perhaps it is the one quiet place in the house with great light where you can curl up with a book or there is a budding pianist in the family, by all means include it. Honor and embrace what makes you and your family happy, and communicate that to your architect or real estate agent. 
    The client in the above photos lives a "public" life. Double height windows and terraces face the street and allow the homeowner’s wonderful sculpture collection to be visible to and enjoyed by passersby. (PHOTO: MC2 Architects)

    TWO | Understand where you live.
    Since a home is permanently situated, understanding its place is paramount. Here on the Southern Gulf Coast, we raise our homes off the ground in order to ventilate them from underneath and also keep them from flooding. We have deep porches to shade us from the harsh sunlight and to channel breezes through the house. The same house – if built in Pennsylvania or New England – would be painfully cold and dark, no matter the level of insulation.  Take a look at the houses in your area built before the advent of central heat and A/C. These homes were built for performance as well as aesthetic beauty.

    THREE | Choose quality of design over quantity of square feet.
    Quality of design involves room sizes and proportions, ceiling height, window and door locations, views and connection to the outdoors, natural light; and details such as the craftsmanship of stair railings, built-in casework, window selections, trim and connection details, lighting selection and design.  Thoughtful attention to these details increases the per-square-foot construction budget, but give a space character. In most every case, a smaller, detailed home is preferable and more livable than generic largesse.
    I love this little house and its contrast of  scale - the small, small footprint (20' x 20') with huge glass doors and windows. It really connects this tiny space to its surroundings while creating a warm, sheltering refuge. The house is intricately detailed with industrial metal materials offset by warm wood.  The large wheel is more than just decoration--it operates the steel shutters which protect the home from harsh conditions. (PHOTO: Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects)

    FOUR | Consider all three dimensions of your home.
    I have heard countless horror stories from friends who focused intensely on adjusting the floor plans of their dream homes – not realizing the volume implications until the home was well under construction and changes prohibitively expensive. Think vertically. How will the home look standing on the building site?  In open floor plans, do the interiors have height variations that create intimate spaces?
    Note how the partition walls in this home stop short of the ceiling, allowing light into and out of that room to penetrate other areas; and how the bridge breaks up the double height space.  Without the connecting bridge the vast volume would be a generic echo dome. (PHOTO: Stern Bucek Architects)

    I find the most beautiful and cohesive homes those in which there is a clear connection between the exterior form and the interior layout.  (SCHEMATIC ELEVATION: Karen Krauskopf)

    FIVE | Consult a professional.
    This is not shameless self-promotion.  Whether you are shopping for an existing home or a lot on which to build, consult an architect or interior designer. Ask your real estate agent for a second showing and bring your team in for feedback. We are trained to evaluate the assets and liabilities of existing spaces and building sites, local renovation and construction codes and restrictions, and we are definitely trained to “see” possibilities. Of all the professionals involved in buying or building your home, these two are the only ones whose sole interest is representing you and finding that unique home design that is the balance of your dreams, aspirations and of course your budget.

    Karen A. Krauskopf
    kakrauskopf@gmail.comSource URL:
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Power House

Back To The Future

Backstage: Victoria Secret 2009


    For Part One of this story see Location, Location, Location.

    "Hi!" said Flat Lauren as she popped out of her envelope. "Phew, I'm so happy to be out of that thing." She gave the envelope a good kick. "It was hot and stuffy and I'm starving!"

    "Oh," I said. Somehow I hadn't imagined that Flat Lauren would be able to ... talk. "Well, we have lots of great places to eat here. Welcome to Philadelphia, by the way." I took a peek inside the envelope. It did look hot and stuffy. But there was a pretty letter inside. "So, I see you've thought of some things you'd like to do."

    Flat Lauren smiled at me sweetly. "Oh yes. And we can do all of them, right?"

    "Sure." I glanced over the letter. "There's great places to shop here. Tons of choices for dinner. Oh, I love movies, too! And--hmm, that's interesting ... an amusement park ... an amusement park in the city...."

    Was it my imagination or did Flat Lauren have a gleam in her eye?

    "Well, let's get started." I tucked Flat Lauren in my purse and off we went to the bookstore up the street. But I soon heard Flat Lauren's stomach growling so I whisked her to the Italian Market, where the guys at DiBruno Brothers fed us samples of food. And more samples. And more samples. (For a flat girl she sure could eat a lot.)
    Although it wasn't one of her requests I felt I had to show my goddaughter some of Philadelphia's famous sites, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

    And then some not-so-famous ones, like the Singing Fountain, which we danced around for awhile; and the Lucky Fortune Cookie Factory, where we bought a freshly made bag of cookies as big as Flat Lauren.  We wandered into a nearby Asian supermarket and saw so many delicious things we decided to buy some for dinner.

     "Which kind of noodles do you like?" I asked.

    "Mwhartl blrrs thlsh."

    "What?" I looked inside my purse to find Flat Lauren with a mouth full of fortune cookies."Wow, you really like those."

    Flat Lauren swallowed hard. "Oh, yes, they are simply delicious!"

    "Good. Now I have another treat for you. Right around the corner is a lovely park with a carousel and a miniature golf course and a playground. It's sort of like an ..."

    "An amusement park!" Flat Lauren leapt out of my purse and twirled along the grocery shelf. "Let's go!"

    So off we went to play mini-golf amongst replicas of famous Philadelphia landmarks. Flat Lauren beat me easily."Don't feel bad," she consoled me as we strolled home. "Kids play lots more putt-putt than grown-ups."

    That night we cooked a dinner so yummy we completely forgot to take pictures of it. Then, tired from walking all day, we curled up on the sofa and watched a movie.

    The next day Flat Lauren had to go back home. We both felt very sad.

    "Oh, there's so many other fun things to do here," I told her. "Promise me you'll come back to visit? And bring your brother and sister and mommy and daddy."

    "Promise," Flat Lauren replied and hugged me tight.

    Then I packed her into a priority mail box with a new bag of fortune cookies to share with her classmates. I wonder if there will be any left by the time she arrives at school?

    Artwork by Lauren. Photos by Doreen. Extra help from Kevin.
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