Saturday, December 31, 2011


Finding a great upholsterer has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. It's great to find things, but to find things and make them WAY MORE AWESOME through the magic of refinishing is where the real fun is. I had these re-done in a heathered charcoal gray cotton velvet/mohair that reminds me of a classic gray flannel suit or felted wool, and the solid tapering legs were re-done in a warm honey tone.

There's something almost Shaker-esque in the simplicity and color palette. I've never seen a pair of chairs that I wanted more than these. And they looked so perfect against my worn old Persian rug, I had to remove them to the warehouse immediately or I knew they'd never leave.

So here they are, better than new and in the shop now.

A really special Danish case piece, ideally proportioned, featuring some of the best craftsmanship I've ever seen on a piece of furniture:

Shop for them here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

RECAP (and obsession confession)

A reader/friend said I was starting to sound like an extreme couponer with all this travel hacking talk of late. Oh heck no. Finding stellar deals or strategizing to travel for free is one thing. Carrying an accordion binder of 30 cents off coupons in my purse is a whole different ball of crazy wax.

But....I do have a slightly extreme confession to make.

Don't hate. I didn't share this offer here because I didn't know if it was any good. Also because I don't want you guys to think I'm an extreme couponer.

American Express ran a "Gift Chain" promotion recently. You registered your AMEX cards, spent $25+ at any of several online stores, and each purchase won a "gift" ranging from a $5 statement credit to $50 American Express gift cards, to 50,000 AMEX points (transferrable to airlines and hotel programs).

I have never, ever participated in these kinds of things, assuming as per my mom's cynical life-training that they're all just "the man trying to screw you." But I've been a lot more points-conscious lately. So I enrolled my cards and promptly forgot all about it. Purely by coincidence I made two purchases that qualified, and within a couple minutes I got "you received a gift from the Gift Chain" emails. One was a $5 credit at Zappos (lame) and one was a $25 credit at Zappos (less lame).

I wasn't falling all over myself to get more of these "buy something, get something gifts" since they basically work to make you spend more money (man=screwing you). But, due to my diligently obsessive research, I found out there was a no-purchase way to enter (write your name, address, email on an index card and mail it in). I had a bad cold, so while I sat around in bed one night I filled out ten entries each for all six of our American Express cards and mailed them in. What? I don't do relaxing.

I was a little shocked as the results started pouring in via email.

Total gifts:

$530 in American Express gift cards

$122 in American Express statement credits

$128 in credits at Zappos

(plus some other stuff I won't really use, like small credits at Pottery Barn, etc)

A little bit better than 30 cents off a jar of Ragu, I think.

Also, did I just beat the man at his own game?

Next time, I promise to share. Unless you're not interested?

Has anyone else done their "stay"?

At first I was a little irritated with myself. Had I gotten carried away? Had I just paid real dollars to get in on some points action that I might not really need? Were we going to have to suffer a cheesy, run-down hotel stay just to get our points?

Nah. It was a perfect weekend.

The hotel was SO MUCH better than I expected. Sort of retro on the outside and "swanky corporate" on the inside. We were upgraded to the executive floor/executive room without asking, and the wi-fi, parking, and coffee was free. No "forced" incidental costs.

We slept (way) in and had peach cornmeal pancakes and Mexican eggs benedict here.



Then we caught an insanely good exhibit of experimental California art from the 60s and 70s at one of my favorite little museums, the OCMA.


We wandered around for a few hours, completely alone, until we were done with thinking (and being frightened by the 60s). Then we headed across the street to Fashion Island...probably the least offensive mall I've ever been to. It's pretty, has ocean views, and some interesting indie-type shops that I actually want to shop at.


We watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie in a theater that served alcohol and had massive leather recliner seats.

We hung out and talked over margaritas the size of my face.

And the next day we woke up early and drove out to meet our family at some desert hot springs.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Travel Hack-MOVE FAST!

Do you like status? How about gold? Then you will love GOLD STATUS!

This travel hack is too easy and I forbid you to ignore it. You can get gold status for a full year at Hilton, which means free upgrades (possibly to suites!), free breakfasts, free wi-fi, access to the locked upper floor executive lounge with drinks and food, free parking, etc. (depending on the property).

Hilton Rome it's not the Ace, but it's a place to crash

Oh, I KNOW, you stay at the Ace almost exclusively. Fine. But people do crazy things to attain gold status at Hilton and this is an opportunity to get it with a mouse-click. If you DO find yourself staying at a *GASP* chain hotel at any point this year, you'll be glad you did this. And Hilton foreign properties are amazing and often in cool historic buildings, so it's not such a "corporate experience" abroad.

"Hello, I have gold status thanks to MODERNHAUS. Keys to the executive lounge overlooking the Vatican, please!"

If you don't have a Hilton HHonors account, get one here. Takes a second.

Not the Ace Swim Club. Try to cope.

Then click here and enter the number "411945" into the "Visa" box. Then your HHonors member number and below that, the pin code Hilton gave you. You should get instant gold status.

It's a weird loophole that Hilton will probably close...very soon. Bon chance!

*FOR SOME THIS IS WORKING INSTANTLY AND OTHERS ARE GETTING AN ERROR MESSAGE. If you get an error message, clear your cache and and try it again. It WILL work!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The Chesterfield that makes all other Chesterfields ashamed

Sitting on it makes men more manly and women's hair stronger and thicker

It makes your children smarter

Your friends funnier

Your food taste better

It will get you the job of your dreams

It has all the answers

And it's on sale in the shop for the next two days

All one hundred sexy inches of it

Thursday, December 15, 2011

MODERNHAUS pretends to be a travel blogger, part II

Furniture and hipster jokes are still my "wheel house" as the husband would say. I didn't plan to write more about travel today, but I think this deal is kind of super good and it's expiring soon AND it doesn't involve opening lines of credit, so everyone can do it! So I feel obligated, nay driven, to share. Civic duty is my middle name. And Eve. That's also my middle name. You wanna make something of it?

Gratuitous furniture link here.

Gratuitous hipster link here:

And now the fun stuff:

I never paid attention to hotel rewards, because I mostly hate chain hotels and they're the only ones running these programs. I like renting apartments. It makes me feel cosmopolitan, and also I have to keep coffee close to me at all times. Needing to put on mascara and go outside somewhere and speak a foreign language after an eleven hour flight just to get a thimble of coffee (WHY don't other countries make bigger coffees???) is NOT my wheel house.

"Hola, bonjour, si, I would like 24 of your tiny coffees, poured into your biggest soup bowl please." Spoken in my best loud English. (I don't REALLY do fact, before I go anywhere I learn how to order wine, beer, and coffee in the native language. "Kava, prosim." That's Czech!])

But for a short stay, renting an apartment is not very cost-effective (apartment rentals charge less per night for a week stay, and usually have a hefty cleaning fee that only makes sense amortized over a week...yes, amortized). And there are some places, I'm sure, where AirBnB has no apartments. Cuzco, where we're planning to go soon, for instance.

Also, free nights at some ritzy Paris hotel? Yeah, wheel house. Read on.

Bear with me, 'cuz you're gonna think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind for a moment.

-Use this link to join TGIFridays. OMG, I know. Just close your eyes and do it.

-Then use this link to join Club Carlson, and enter your TGIFridays account number to get 4,500 extra points.

-Then register your Club Carlson account in this promotion.

-Make your spouse/travel partner/trained monkey assistant do the same. Or just do it for them, b/c stealing the identity of one you love is legal.

-Then book ONE NIGHT EACH at the cheapest Radisson hotel you can find before December 30. Book it through the Radisson website, not a secondary booking site. Don't worry...the lowest prices are available on their site so you're not overpaying. It has to be a Radisson, too. Not one of their other properties.

*Oh my gosh you guys, UPDATE: Book using this link for 25% off lowest rate at Radisson, and it qualifies for the promotion!!

(Make sure you and your partner book one night each, using each of your Club Carlson numbers)

Ideally, you actually NEED a hotel room in the next two weeks, but if not, just call it a spontaneous getaway or pretend it's your gift to the love of your life instead of what it really is: greedy, brilliant points hoarding.

Some crazy hoarders actually book the rooms and check in, but don't even stay. It's called a mattress run. People do this.

Net points: 100,000 + 9,000 bonus points for that TGIFriday thing = 109,000

Seriously. 109,000 points that you can redeem to stay at any of their hotels (not just Radissons) anywhere in the world, and redemptions start at 9,000 per night. That's TWELVE FREE NIGHTS if you don't mind "slumming it" at a basic hotel. Most people use these mega bonuses for two nights at really fabulous hotels they could never otherwise afford. Your call.

We are staying at the Radisson Newport Beach in a few days to get our bonuses. It was something like $79 a night with tax. So, for around $160 we get a two-night getaway in a really upscale beach town, AND up to twelve future nights free. That's fourteen nights for $160. According my calculations that translates to $11.42 per night.

You can squeeze way more value out if by using your free nights to stay at some of their $500-700/night properties around the world. That would mean that a $1400 hotel stay would only cost you $160. Also not shabby.

The best part may be that you never actually have to eat at TGIFridays. Bonus!

So, what do you think? Are you going to do it?

*Note: I am NOT being sponsored by Chase, TGIFriday, Radisson, Club Carlson, or the words "wheel house."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I want you all to travel for free

Aside from getting lots of great things into the shop, lately I've been obsessed with accruing frequent flyer miles. I've learned a lot and thought some of you might be interested in, oh I don't know, TRAVELING FOR FREE?!?

SO, drop your credit cards. Right now. Put them down and don't charge another iTunes,, or Zappos purchase until you finish reading this post. Actually, don't even buy a head of lettuce until you finish reading. I was once like you. If I needed something, I found the best price (sometimes) and bought it. With my debit card.

I can't believe how naive I was. Unless you're so off the grid that you're bartering for tomatoes, there is absolutely no reason you can't take one or two (or more) free trips this year based on your normal spending. The one caveat is this: if you're not disciplined about credit card use, you might be better off just saving cash and finding the cheapest deals for travel. I wrote a detailed post about that method here. There are some non-credit card methods of earning points that you can take advantage of as well, and I'll cover some next week.

For the rest of us, swiping cards is part of our daily life, and as long as you're swiping, you might as well swipe your way to your next vacation.

The following is my basic, beginners advice meant for those that need an intro to the world of points-hoarding. You may already be well beyond this, and there are lots of sites for more advanced frequent flyers. I'm no expert, but I wanted to share what I know in the event that it helps you.

The first thing you need is your first good miles card, with a nice fat bonus and really flexible redemptions. For instance, if you open a US Airways card, you can only redeem for flights on US AIrways and their affiliates. Too much information? I thought so. Just do this:

Apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Charge $3000 on it within the first three months. Get 50,000 bonus miles. You can use these bonus miles on just about any airline.

Have your spouse/travel partner/significant other apply for their own card.

Net points: 100,000

You now have enough points for two round-trip tickets to Central or South America (Jamie!), and approximately 30,000-40,000 points left over to redeem for hotel stays and/or car rental. Or two off-season round trip tickets to Europe. And the list goes on.

But wait! Because you have a Chase Sapphire card, you now have access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall. It sounds like a tacky place with bad lighting and Cinnabons, but it's not! It's a place where your normal spending is rewarded with massive points! Yay, you!

Before buying ANYTHING online, always link to the site THROUGH Chase Ultimate Rewards. Recently you would have earned 10 points per dollar spent at Apple. Bought an iPad? That would have earned you 6000 extra miles. Bought a Macbook Pro? 20,000 bonus miles (almost a full domestic airplane ticket!) There are hundreds of other stores in the Rewards Mall, and chances are you've shopped at many of them in the past few weeks.

Technically, you could stop at this point and be way ahead of the game. For now, managing one card and working out how to redeem your huge stash of points might be enough. It's a lot to absorb. You'll have some questions. You can ask me and I'll try to answer them.

If you're ready for more information, I'll post next about the second card I think you should have in your wallet.

*Important to know: if you apply for the Chase card and don't get instant approval on-line, call their reconsideration line IMMEDIATELY. Chase is stingy with credit, BUT nearly everyone gets approved by making this call. You might want to read this short tutorial before calling them.

So, I want to know. Do you play the points game? Or does it seem too complicated, or even too good to be true? Do you have any questions about how it works?

If you're dying for more information, you can find a super-extensive beginner's guide here, from my favorite miles blogger. This is where I started and still go when I need a good, clear explanation of something.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Percival Lafer and other things you should buy

The following is a paid announcement for things I want to sell you in my shop starting this Thursday evening.

I have to admit that several years ago I thought Lafer sofas looked really weird. The way all those hunks of leather were flaccidly draped all over giant logs of wood...I really didn't get it.

I guess this is not making the best case for why you should buy my sexy Lafer sofa?

But after years of looking at lots of furniture, and lots of furniture starting to look all the same to me, I have totally jumped on the Lafer train.

They look edgy, sexy, mysterious. And they throw off a room in a good/unexpected way. In a way that the expected, sterile, anemic Nelson-style sofas could never do.

What do you think? Do you "get" Lafer? This one is like a sexy leather butt-cocoon.

This pair of Mid Century Italian chrome sling chairs has a similarly exotic, edgy flair.

I really want to see them upholstered in distressed, deep brown leather.

But the original flame stitch fabric is in perfect condition and Kelly Wearstler would totally approve. I'll ask her when she comes over next week. I imagine she'll be hungry and wearing awful shoes as per usual. I hope she doesn't try and crimp my hair again. That was a disaster.

If I didn't already have a 90-drawer dresser that doubles as a guest room, I would totally be shoving this set into my bedroom.

I like the handsome, architectural lines. The circular insets. The tall legs that make these big pieces seem almost ergonomic. And I find that walnut is the most pleasing and classic of all the bedroom woods. Don't you?

This sexy thing looks like it's had one too many. Look, I'm not the Annie Liebovitz of furniture photography, ok?

And here are the dresser's soul mates:

These pieces, along with some others, will be available in the shop tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:30 pm PST.

UPDATE: I've added an super-duper, gift-worthy, mint condition, vintage HUDSON'S BAY 6-point multi-stripe blanket to the line-up, with no reserve. Cold, anyone??

Friday, November 25, 2011


Once upon a time I bought a beautiful house and claimed a room in it as my office. This room was not large, and the dumb old antique glass doorknobs always fell off when I slammed the door shut and yelled, "Be quiet! I'M WORKING!!!" Sometimes they fell off on the outside, which meant eventually someone had to come and let me out. This still happens in the master bath, and so, if you haven't seen me in a while, please check there first.

But it was my room. OK, so I shared it with the ironing board (taunting me always) , a guest sofa, several friendly guitars, and enough amplifiers to recreate the Who's WALL OF SOUND. Yet, when I said the words, "I'll be in the office," I wasn't referring to a blanket fort under the dining room table. You didn't have to follow the extension cord until it ended at me, sitting on the floor in the stair landing, typing furiously. It was a room with a door, and it was mine. Occasionally my family was even kind enough to leave a pen or half-chewed pencil there for me to use.

Fast forward a few phases of child development, and it became necessary to give our sons their own rooms. Among other things, the top bunk was being used to investigate certain laws of physics. Growing up in a house full of girls, it had never occurred to me to see if I could pee on ANYONE'S head from the top bunk. There is simply no way to prepare for certain things about parenting.

There followed a whole year where my "office" was an old desk three feet from the blissful marriage bed, from which my husband would lovingly glare at me, turn over, sigh loudly, and bury his head in three pillows. I felt great about it. I was also able to conserve nearly all my calories, since my commute for the day was: roll out of bed onto rolling chair, push self off wall over to desk. Never had gaining weight been so easy, so automatic!

I decided to rejoin the living by sharing the family computer upstairs. Commence six months of wondering, was it just me or did everyone in my family chew food/breathe so loud that I could not focus on what I was doing? (It was me)

This is my long, I'm-sick-in-bed-so-I'm-going-to-tell-you-my-life-story, way of saying we are turning the garage into an office and I painted an old campaign desk Kelly green. Behr's "Mint Sprig" green to be exact. The rug and the chair look a little awful with it, but nothing says "These would be perfect for mom" like random things dug out of the basement. I selfish materialism knows no bounds.

SO, come visit me in the new office. We can hold important meetings and try and ignore that the garage door was just sprayed by a skunk. I hope you like centipedes and mice as much as I do! Of course, if you don't find me there, it's possible that another family need has forced a relocation of my office. Look for an extension cord. Follow it. There are a few spots we haven't yet tried as my office. There's a crotch in the tree out back I may be able to use...


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