Tuesday, October 30, 2012

6 Fresh Halloween Decorations Ideas


Getting fresh ideas for doing Halloween decorations at home every year is a problem. You need to come up with innovative concepts every year to entertain the kids. While the traditional things like pumpkin carving and costumes have to be kept alive, there is need for a fresh perception for Halloween decorations. That why you need to improvise on the existing ideas and come up with something new.

Even something as common as pumpkin carving can be given a new twist. While teaching your kids to carve pumpkins, you can come up with a new Halloween decoration idea. Place electric bulbs inside the carved pumpkin and wire it accordingly. Now mount some bats on it and turn it into a proper lantern.

Halloween cookies too are a tradition from the past. But what is stopping you from making interestingly designed cookies? Bake cookies that go with your table decoration on Halloween. You can decorate your table in the period-drama style. Bring out the candle stand that belonged to your grandmother and have an actual candle light dinner.

Your yard and garden become very useful during Halloween. If you don't want to invite the scary spirits into your home, you can always do up your backyard and garden in the Halloween spirit. Use the discarded costumes and props from the previous years to decorate your outdoor space.

Did you ever think that toys could be used as props for Halloween decoration? Toys do make excellent decor item for a scary theme. You can look to movies like the Toy Story series for inspiration. The Joker or a demented looking doll will look really scary on Halloween. You can also use the 'scarecrow' to scare people on this festival.

Here 6 innovative ideas for Halloween decorations that you may not have used yet.

  1. Snow White's Home

    Place lots of pumpkin's in your front yard. While pumpkin's symbolise Halloween, they also remind of the fairytale carriage in Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs.

  2. Scare-crow

    There is scare in the name itself; so the scarecrow can be made to look pretty scary.

  3. Pumpkin Lanterns

    Make real electrical lanterns with pumpkins. It could be your kid's next physics project!

  4. The Skeleton

    The stringy skeleton is quite a common theme for Halloween. This time, turn the skeleton into a balloon to cheer up your kids.

  5. Halloween Cookies

    Make pumpkin shaped Halloween cookies and top them up with scary looking bats.

  6. Collage Of The Years Gone By

    Assemble all the props that you have accumulated from the previous Halloweens. Then decorate a path down memory lane in your yard as a tribute to those years.

KLC Interior Design Day with Livingetc

Discover the secrets of decorating, lighting and styling on the Livingetc KLC School of Design one-day course on 30 November


Learn the tricks of styling a modern home Interior Design on our exclusive one-day course, held by KLC School of Design at its studios in London's Chelsea Harbour. Hosted by KLC's expert tutors, the course comprises short, focused lectures and practical workshops designed to develop the skills you need to decorate with confidence. With industry insiders on hand, you'll pick up plenty of tips to help you make the most of your space.

BOOK NOW! Tickets cost £130 per person and include a buffet lunch. To book, call the credit card hotline on 020 7376 3377. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-served basis.

ABOUT KLC: KLC School of Design offers full-time, part-time, short and distance-learning courses. It is the only design school accredited by both the British Accreditation Council (BAC) and the Open Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC). For more details, contact KLC School of Design, 503 Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 OXF. (020 7376 3377, klc.co.uk).

THE DATE: Friday 30 November 2012


  • 9.30am Arrival and coffee
  • 10am The Decorative Scheme: an introduction to the decorative scheme and its impact on the interior
  • 11am Break
  • 11.15am Decorative Scheme workshop
  • 12.30pm Lunch
  • 1.30pm How To Create A Lighting Scheme: a lecture on the basic principles of lighting your home
  • 2.15pm Lighting workshop
  • 3pm Break
  • 3.15pm Styling lecture
  • 4pm Close

Terms and conditions: Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. KLC will refund course fees paid (less an administration charge of 10 per cent of the course fees paid) for cancellations made four weeks or more prior to the course start date. We regret that we are unable to refund fees under any circumstances for any cancellations made less than four weeks prior to the start of the course. Livingetc and KLC reserve the right to change the format without notice, and accept no liability if, for any reason, events are varied, relocated, postponed or cancelled.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interior Design : Private home becomes a museum

Interior Design : http://english.eastday.com/e/121019/u1a6932222.html

A PRIVATE museum about traditional Shanghai life opened officially yesterday at a shikumen home filled with old items and traditional decorations.

The three-story shikumen (stone-gate) house hidden on Yongkang Road in Xuhui District is open to public every Saturday while reservations are required on other days, said Da Shiping, the owner of the house who turned it into a museum. There is no admission charge.

"The museum especially welcomes foreigners to show them a traditional Shanghai home and how people lived," said Da, 58, who also teaches Chinese to foreigners at Shanghai Normal University.

The house, built in 1925, has been owned by Da's family since 1942 and four generations of his family have lived there. They moved out in 2003 after learning the house would possibly be demolished for an urban redevelopment project.

The government later changed its plan, opting to preserve the block. Da then decided to turn it into a private museum.

"The furnishing and decoration inside remain the same as when my family lived here," Da said.

Exploring different rooms inside the museum is fun given Da's rich collection of everyday items from a bygone era.

In the bedroom on the second floor, Da opened the wardrobe, where his aunt's old qipao hangs in immaculate condition.

An old-fashioned copper hot water bottle used by Da's parents is on the bed.

Da's parents wrote and drew a picture book to celebrate the 1950 Marriage Law. It is considered the most precious exhibit as famous painters Chen Shifa and He Youzhi contributed pictures for the book.

Da said it was not easy to run the museum, especially after the official opening, as he acts as a guide for visitors.

The district cultural heritage authority offered 100 yuan (US$16) per person a day for Da to recruit staff to help maintain the museum, but Da said it was a bit inadequate for the non-profit museum.

"I have to recruit some more volunteers from universities to help out," he said.

Private museums emerged in the city in the mid-1980s and thrived in the 1990s.

More than 200 family-run museums have appeared in the city, but amid soaring rents and labor costs they have met harder times since 2000 and half have shut their doors, said the Shanghai Collection Association.

"Tight budgets, lack of successors and relocation to rural areas in the urban construction campaign caused the closure of private museums," said Wu Shaohua, director of the association.

Address: 35 Yongkang Rd, Lane 38

Tel: 1891 608 4112 (Da Shiping)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interior design : Five-star abode


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Star Apartments, on Moon Street in Wan Chai, offers residents a private and cozy dwelling with modern interior design, making it an ideal home for busy Hongkongers.

Featuring white walls and brown timber finished floor, the apartment is fully furnished with a spacious double bed, an elegant comfortable sitting area, spacious bathroom, as well as a well- equipped open kitchen.

The wooden furniture, along with the mood lighting, creates a warm and comfortable feeling in which to relax.

Most of the lighting is carefully concealed behind shelves to provide a cozy ambience.

The apartment is fully furnished and comes with large windows which bathe the room in plenty of light. The full height mirror beside the bed is a build- in wardrobe which provides plenty storage space.

Located in the midst of a bustling city center, the apartment is ideal for young professionals who long for a simple yet cool lifestyle or for those who simply want a comfortable home.

The apartment is conveniently located just three minutes from Admiralty MTR station, and bus stops are within walking distance.

The well-known Pacific Place mall is only a few minutes' walk from the building and is an ideal place to unwind after a hectic day at work.

For those who wish to have a night out in one of the fine restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, Star Apartments is conveniently located in Wan Chai.

With monthly rent of HK$15,500 including government rent, rates and management fee, broadband in

ternet, NOW TV and free local telephone calls, this apartment is yours for asking.

Star Apartments

Address Moonful Court, Moon Street, Wan Chai
Price HK$15,500 a month
Tel 2918-4057/2918-4052
E-mail living@starapartments.com.hk
Website www.starapartments.com.hk

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Q&A: Interior designer Johnsrud draws on childhood dreams


Interior designer Ann Johnrud lives in Melbourne. / RIK JESSE/FLORIDA TODAY

Ann Johnsrud grew up sitting at her father's drafting table, daydreaming over the blueprints at his architectural firm. After years in advertising design and visual merchandising, she finally returned to her first love — interior design.

Question:How does your experience in advertising contribute to your interior design capabilities?

Johnsrud: I have spent my entire career in one design field or another, and all the same basic principles apply. Paying attention to scale and proportion, creating balance and using repetition of colors are all keys to a great design, as well as creating little "aha" moments or focal points.

Q: What is your favorite room of a house to design?

Johnsrud: I love to space plan and enjoy putting my drafting or AutoCAD skills to use designing kitchens and bathrooms, puzzling over how to make the best use of a space, then adding natural elements and lots of bling in the tile and finishes.

Q: You're often called upon to design window treatments as well. What are the latest styles?

Johnsrud: Overall, I find window treatments have cleaner lines and are more streamlined than in the past. My designs tend to rely on a mix of textures and patterns to create interest, rather than using volumes of fabric. Even a traditional style window treatment can look fresh and new with the right fabrics.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

Johnsrud: My favorite place to find inspiration is often from something my client already owns and loves. If I design a room based on the style or color palette in a client's favorite painting, I'm confident they are going to feel right at home. I'm currently working on a beachside condo for out-of-town clients, and at our first meeting, the client presented me with a gorgeous box of potpourri. Well, that was a first for me, but their home is coming along so well, and we are able to capture all the subtle shades of blues, browns and greens, even the pop of lime green.

Q: How do you help homeowners who can't seem to agree on a style?

Johnsrud: I'm currently working on a project for a couple who just got married and is in their pre-retirement years. The husband has several large antique pieces of furniture in dark rich wood tones, and his new bride loves cooler, more beach-inspired décor. I saw an opportunity to bring both styles together in a British West Indies design by painting walls in sea glass colors and bringing lots of texture in woven Abaca and rattan woven furniture.

Q: If you could give only one piece of decorating advice, what would it be?

Johnsrud: Start with a plan. A great furniture layout is essential to any well-functioning room and allows a project to stay on a clear design path as your budget and energy allow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DIY home decorating takes root in Taiwan

Publication Date:09/30/2012
Source: Taiwan Today
By Rachel Chan

When it comes to creating a dream living space of one's own, there is a rather unusual trend in Taiwan—almost everyone prefers hiring an interior designer to mastermind the project.

These designers are viewed as one-stop solutions to a homeowner's every request, from contracting construction jobs such as tearing down partition walls and rearranging the floor plan, to offering opinions on furniture and buying decorative art.

Jerry Tsai, founder of Taiwan's first online home decor community, DECOmyplace, told Taiwan Today May 15 that interior design in Taiwan is entirely different from the practice in Western countries, as it combines design, renovation and interior styling.

In Western countries, he said, interior design comes with an emphasis only on planning the functional design and effective use of space. The service can be very costly so Westerners tend to remodel their residences using all kinds of do-it-yourself techniques, resulting in a strong personal touch.

Against this backdrop, there are hundreds of thousands of European and North American home decor websites, such as Apartment Therapy and Stylizimo. Taiwan lacked such websites until Tsai launched DECOmyplace in 2009 as a platform for sharing all kinds of home styling and DIY ideas, as well as examples of decor to help renters and homeowners find inspiration and develop a better understanding of what they want to do with their own places.

It quickly distinguished itself from other Taiwan interior design pages that are full of "professional work," according to Tsai.

"People have great expectations for turning their homes into ideal living spaces, but there are several prevalent myths, including the belief that designers have better taste and style," the 32-year-old said. "The truth is that often householders end up spending a lot of money on overly designed and unnecessary things."

According to Tsai, the most common examples include patterned ceilings, as many custom-made storage cabinets as possible, and a "washitsu," or Japanese-style study room.

In terms of style, one may be asked to choose from American country, contemporary, European classic, minimalist or Scandinavian, Tsai said, while as a matter of fact Finns, for example, would never describe their homes as being in "Finnish style."

"A few pieces of good furniture with decorative textiles used in strategic places are all it takes to create an aesthetically pleasing living space without having to spend a lot of money."

In keeping with this spirit, Tsai created a fully fitted living room with bookshelves, sofa, TV stand and floor lamp from the Swedish home product company Ikea.

He turned a 190-centimeter-long wooden dining table into a desk and added bright accents to the room with smart choices of colored fabrics such as area rugs, drapery, throw pillows and upholstery.

A large checkered cloth used as an alternative for wallpaper creates another focal point in the space, Tsai said, adding that the total cost of decorating his living room was no more than NT$40,000 (US$1,350).

To make a statement about his fun personality, Tsai displays his hundreds of "Star Wars" and Japanese cartoon character toys, which he has been collecting since elementary school, on the expandable Ikea bookshelves.

"Changing fabrics is the simplest remedy for dull walls and dreary furniture and the quickest way to update a room to a seasonal look," he said. "In many countries, home decoration and furnishing have developed into mature industries while in Taiwan they are still in the initial stages."

Tsai, who used to work in advertising, said he sees house decorating as a niche market with great potential in Taiwan, which is why he invested NT$1 million in setting up DECOmyplace.

Over the past three years, the website has grown at a steady pace and now has more than 20,000 registered members and averages 10,000 hits per day, Tsai said, adding that it has gathered posts from 120 countries and become the largest home decor website in Taiwan.

Evidence of the site's popularity includes good reviews from its users. Nicole Huang, a 26-year-old teacher, said she was glad to find such a helpful website in Taiwan where she can search for ideas for sprucing up her newly bought apartment.

"Browsing the site is like rehearsing for what I'm going to do with my place. In particular, I was enlightened by how others can work around problems in an apartment and make the place look unique and fun," Huang said.

Tori Yao, a young interior designer, said the website is very useful as there are interesting decoration ideas and a variety of styles posted by foreigners for her to learn from. "I also advise my clients to visit the site to get a better idea about their own preferences."

According to Tsai, all of the website's revenues come from advertising by clients such as Ikea and home improvement retailing company B&Q. He estimated income at NT$2 million this year and NT$3 million to NT$5 million in 2013. Looking ahead, he is planning to expand the site through collaboration with household appliance and real estate companies, which usually have big budgets for advertising and marketing.

He also hopes to make the website more attractive and easier to use, so it will function better as a social network where members are friends sharing their dreams.

"There is no shortcut to creating a dream home. It can be a grueling process, but with a great sense of achievement at the end," Tsai said. "With the right tools, everyone can become an interior designer since who else knows your taste better?" (THN)

Write to Rachel Chan at ccchan@mofa.gov.tw