Salvaging the Past for the Present

I think one of the most exciting home decor/furniture/construction trends to have come about in recent years is the Salvaged Materials Movement. Side note: I’m not sure if this is really a movement, or if anyone actually calls it this, but it’s my blog and that is what I’m calling it, in fact I’m even going to give it an acronym SMM…now it’s official, right? Anyway there is nothing I love more than other people’s junk. I dumpster dive on a regular basis, you wouldn’t believe the awesome stuff people in NYC just toss out. With a little vision and ingenuity you can really transform the unwanted into the coveted.

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BIG NYC Center in Brooklyn, photo from www.bignyc.org

Here in Brooklyn (and in Queens) there’s this wondrous place that has been down with the SMM since 2004, its called Build It Green! NYC and for anyone with vision it is a damn goldmine! It’s a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. They have everything from stained glass windows saved from an old church to gorgeous light fixtures and claw foot tubs to lumber and live edge slabs of wood. I mean when I walked in there for the first time my mind went a mile a minute, I was bursting at the seams with ideas and inspiration. It is safe to say that BIG NYC gave me some serious GirlWood (you had to have seen that coming). But of course living in a shoe box limits my ability to buy everything in sight…I really need to look into renting a storage unit.

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My very own live edge Ash slab…isn’t she beautiful?

So I focused on a single project (not an easy task for me) that I’ve been wanting to do, to make a writing desk using live edge wood. At the Brooklyn location in Gowanus I found a beautiful slab of Ash that was the perfect size for my desk and it only cost $205! It was love at first site. I took her (yup it’s a girl!) home to my parents place in Massachusetts and planned on working on her while home during Christmas, however plan got derailed when I spent my entire Christmas break sick. But I think about her everyday and I’m itching to get back up there soon to start. I will definitely take lots of photos during the process and there will be a follow up post for those that are interested in seeing this beauty live up to her full potential.

Not only does Build It Green! NYC have two amazing reuse centers, but they also support local environmental initiatives like the NYC Compost Project, BIG!Compost, BIG!Millworks, BIG!Blooms and BIG!Gives Back. For more information on Build It Green NYC and the environmental projects they support check out their website www.bignyc.org You can also follow them on Instagram @builditgreen

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Interior of Build It Green! NYC in Astoria, Queens photo from www.bignyc.org

And if you live in the area do yourself a favor and just go visit either location, Gowanus or Astoria, because all the pictures in the world cannot do this place justice.

xoxo

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Fall in Love with Your Bed All Over Again

There is something about a new year that makes me want to completely makeover my apartment. But then I look at how much I splurged over the holidays on gifts (many for myself, I am very good to me) and I rethink this plan. Notice I said I rethink this plan, not toss the plan out the window. So in order to satisfy the urge to get rid of everything I own and buy all new stuff I make small tweaks here and there until I achieve the look I want. This means starting in one room and focusing on one area at time. Last week I focused on my bed. It is the focal point in my room, a blank canvas, and my home base. What I decide to do with it will help me determine what I end doing with the rest of the room.

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Stonewashed Belgian Linen Sheet Set from Restoration Hardware

In most cases if I can afford to go all out and splurge on something fantastic and timeless I will. There are, however, times where I am not able to, or times where I don’t think it is truly worth it. So let’s cuddle up and chat about beds. A good mattress is priceless so definitely splurge. Good pillows are also totally worth it, I mean you can’t put a price on a good nights sleep, ever.

Sheets. Sheets are one of those things that are worth a splurge (if you can swing it), but if you shop around you can find fantastic sheets at amazing prices. And remember if you are a real adult you need at least two sets. If I could afford the stonewashed Belgian linen sheets at Restoration Hardware, without feeling guilty, I would have them in a few colors. However, I know I can find really amazing Egyptian Cotton sheets at stores like HomeGoods and T.J. Maxx without forgoing food for the next few weeks.

So what’s the deal with thread count and this Egyptian Cotton I speak of? Well without getting too technical people seem to obsess over the thread count, which is both important but also not…let me explain. The thread count is often used as a way to gauge the durability and smoothness of the sheets. However this measurement of threads woven into one square inch of fabric isn’t always accurate or reliable. And it usually boils down to the quality of cotton that is used. So thread count is important, but the quality of the cotton is typically more important.

And which cotton is the best of the best? Well 100% Egyptian Cotton of course! Why? Well Egyptian Cotton’s fibers are long and produce sheets that are both thin and luxurious, but also strong and durable. Second best is 100% Pima Cotton or also known as Supima. If the label on the sheets just reads 100% Cotton it’s safe to assume that these are made from American upland cotton, which has shorter fibers and produces a rougher weaker fabric.

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White Linen Duvet and Pillow Shams at H&M Home

Now let’s talk duvets, quilts, comforters…to be honest I am not a fan of those bed in a bag comforters of any kind. I either choose a beautiful quilt or a duvet. Duvets are nice because you can easily change the look of your bed with simply buying a new one and most don’t cost that much at all. What goes inside the duvet is another story. Down comforters or down alternative comforters come in a range of prices and weights. It is best to read reviews before buying and really think about what you are looking for in terms of warmth.

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Currently I have a duvet, I was really obsessing over the linen duvets and shams at both Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, but then I just happened to pop by H&M Home at the flagship store here in NYC and found a beautiful white linen duvet with the shams for only 50 bucks! If you haven’t checked out H&M Home you must, and if you don’t live in NYC check them out online! Now is it as luxurious as the RH version? Probably not. But for right now while I am trying to decide in which direction I want to take my bedroom it will do just fine.

The picture above is of my bed all decked out in H&M dark gray linen pillow shams, throw pillow, white linen duvet, and a light gray king sized blanket. And of course every cozy bed needs a good book on hand, I suggest Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, it’s amazing.

Now layer up and go get yourself some new bedding. Then run home make-up your new comfy bed, get cozy, and never leave…because it’s going to be a long winter.

xoxo

2015…The Year I Write More and Get Lost… Abroad

 abstract-bkgrd-holiday-lights-twinkleWell it is 2015. No flying cars, no hover boards, and my world is not all voice activated and scanned finger prints. But that is ok, too many technological advancements are not good for the soul. Technology is great don’t get me wrong, but there is fine line between being helpful and being completely dependent on technology. The moment you stop distracting yourselfI find that my smart phone, my tablet, and my laptop can often cause a great deal of distraction and noise in my life. And I am the last person that needs more distractions. In an effort to limit the noise and distraction in my life I got rid of Facebook. I also force myself to unplug completely at least once a month for at least 24 hours. I live in NYC and it is constant chaos and noise all the time, but I find that spending a day wandering around alone with no agenda, no cell phones, no tablets can be very therapeutic. It is just you, your thoughts, and this big beautiful city.

Most people don’t usually like being alone, it is hard for most folks to just be quiet and introspective, but I swear to you it is the best thing you can do. The moment you stop distracting yourself and filling the void with mindless chatter is the moment you actually begin to hear yourself and others. You will begin to understand people more, but best of all you will begin to understand yourself more. You will start to discover parts of you that you didn’t even know existed. The moment you stop distracting yourself

But I digress. Back to the point at hand, it is 2015 and there is just enough technology out there to keep me as connected as I want to be. So the other day I was sitting alone during one of my unplugged moments and thought about resolutions. I am not a fan. I feel like most resolutions are setting yourself up for failure, and really nobody needs that. Usually the resolutions people fail at most often are the ones born from self-hate, like losing weight. I am over that. I am me and I love me, all of me. Still there is something to be said for making a promise to make the new year productive, to achieve something. So I made a resolution to blog more. Girl Wood is about what gets me excited, it’s about all the stuff I love in design and decor; why wouldn’t I want to write more about that stuff? In the past I’ve let one too many distractions get in the way of something I truly enjoy, but not anymore.The moment you stop distracting yourself My other resolution is to take my first solo trip abroad. It is one thing to hang around my neighborhood solo and unplugged, but it is quite another to do this in a different country. I am ok being alone, but I think this is definitely going to push me out of my comfort zone, which is something I think we all need from time to time. I am both nervous and excited, but mostly I am just looking forward to spending some quality time with me.

Here’s to a 2015 full of writing, new projects, solo trips and self discovery!

xoxo