Interior Design on Your Own Time

Archive for October 2009

Last week I penned an article about 5 inappropriate uses for appliance pulls, which really gave me a chuckle (and I hope it had the same result for my readers).  Inspired by the goofiness as well as the suggestion that some of my favorite home accessories can be recycled for other uses, I decided to share with you my ideas for alternate uses for towel rings.  Unlike other things I’ve suggested on this blog, these suggestions are made in jest, but the ideas could theoretically be done- if you’re adventurous!

1-      Towel rings as exercise rings.  My kids love climbing on the rings on their monkey bars.  Imagine how classy they’d feel swinging on their own oil rubbed bronze towel rings!  Sturdier than plastic, bronze towel rings can truly create a classier and safer swinging experience.

2-      Towel rings as door knockers.  If you’re tired of those hideous lion faces that hold a door knocker, maybe it’s time to consider using towel rings instead.  Simply screw them into your door and have them knock against the door instead of forcing your guests to bruise their knuckles in search of entrance to your palace.

Home 6 3/4'' Towel Ring Brushed Chrome,

3-      Towel rings as the base for crib mobiles.  I don’t know about you, but the mobiles that I’ve attached to my kids’ cribs have fallen, shifted, and come precariously close to crashing down on my little angels.  It would be better if crib mobiles could be suspended from the ceiling so that they were more secure and wouldn’t fall when grabbed by children.  Imagine screwing a towel ring into your ceiling and then tying strings with toys or bells down to your desired height above the crib.  Not only would the added height create a dramatic centerpiece for any room, but it would provide the extra security that every parent wants for their new baby.

If you’re feeling as frisky as I am right now, I’d love to hear your ideas about how you’d use towel rings to enhance your home in creative ways.


I love my house.  Really love it.  The problem is, we live on a mountain, and we have such a tremendous wind exposure that when someone opens the front door, if there is ANY other window open in the house, it creates a cross-breeze reminiscent of the tornado in the Wizard of Oz.  You can see in the picture below that a floor-to-ceiling height closet door literally got ripped off of its hinges last week when I opened the front door for barely a second.  So what’s a girl (with 4 little kids) to do?

Our Damaged Coat Closet

Our Damaged Coat Closet

After consulting with various contractors, engineers, decorators, and just generally smart people, the solution that we came up with would be to install an external glass door that will buffer the wind so that it won’t be as damaging inside our house.  With the help of a very talented neighbor, Marc Gottlieb, I designed a fantastic stained glass door, which I thought would really make a statement when guests arrived.  Unfortunately, such a masterpiece was WAY above my budget (if you want to see the design though, you can email me!).  So I took a stencil design offered by my contractor for a fraction of the price.  Does that sound like a cop out?  Or a decent way to save money while still springing for something relatively decorative, instead of just plain glass?  Curious to hear your opinions.

old front door Our new glass front door enclosure

If you have an ugly house, you’re probably not alone.  And I’m not going to pussy-foot around the issue- sometimes someone has an ugly house because that’s how they bought it (and maybe they paid less for the privilege of living in a hideous home), and sometimes a house is unsightly because the homeowner has bad taste.  And if that’s you, you may not even be aware that others don’t appreciate your design choices.  So, how can we fix this situation so that your house is beautiful both to you and to your family members and guests?  Here are some quick ways to evaluate whether you have an ugly home and make instant changes.

The first thing to do is to listen to what others are telling you.  If you spouse and/or children are constantly mentioning your revolting couch, your dreadful armchair or your nasty dining room table, TAKE THE HINT.  And make sure to listen even if they’re not as blunt as I am.

Next, approach your house objectively.  What are the things that bother you the most?  Can a coat of paint help the situation?  Can removing the unattractive items fix your space?  Your home doesn’t need to transform from the ugly duckling to a swan overnight.  Changing one thing at a time will enable you to enjoy the novelty of each new addition, to moderate your budget accordingly, and to make well-thought-out decisions that will truly help.

If it’s your friend or relative who has an ugly house, be gentle.  Make suggestions of ways that you think your friend can improve their space without sidestepping the issue entirely.  Also, consider whether your friend will heed your advice.  While he or she may not be willing to part with a hideous African sculpture, you may be able to separate him from a tattered La-Z-Boy.

And, of course, another way to inform your friend that his house is ugly is to kindly suggest some helpful design articles or blogs that you’ve come across recently (including yours truly, of course!).   Even one useful suggestion can go a long way.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @decorexpert and Facebook at Sari Holtz, and tell your friends- my daily tips may provide just the inspiration that your friend needs to overcome his ugly house!