February 08: Design, living and trends for home and garden

February 08: Design, living and trends for home and garden

Behind closed doors

Cleanin’ out the closet is more than a now-sort-of-passé Eminem song. The yearly act of actually purging one’s closet hasn’t gone anywhere, and now—with outdoor tasks at a minimum—is the time to do it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see some empty hangers in the closet?

Daunted? If you begin with a clean room and divide your closet into separate sections, the process will become almost effortless. (Almost.) Start by labeling boxes or plastic containers as “Garbage,” “Charity,” “Keep,” and so on. That way, after examining each garment you can place it in a designated box.

Then attack your closet section by section. When you are deciding what stays and what goes, look for items that are too small, stained and just plain old. Also, remember the 12-month rule: If you haven’t worn it in the past year, it must leave the premises.

Charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are always looking for donations. During the winter months, they naturally need jackets, hats, gloves, and other warm things, said Timothy Burke, thrift store manager for the Salvation Army. “We never have a problem of too much. We take most all of the clothes that come in.”
As for the best music to accompany your closet shuffle? See above.—Shayna Strang

White on

February seemed like a good month to track down a trend we’d heard about: white. Yep, good old white is in for furniture, accessories and walls. Sharon Manering, owner of Downtown boutique Quince, tells us that even parents of young kids are asking about white—slipcovers, that is, which can be bleached clean. She also showed us paint and fabric samples to illustrate the surprising variety of shades that qualify as “white,” from subtle taupes to the palest blue tints. The good news? Various whites can work together for a minimal look. We were especially fond of this slatted photo frame in a characterful finish, white on white.—Erika Howsare

House in a frame

Doubtless your house has subtle characteristics that only emerge—maybe from an ordinary façade—after you’ve looked at it, and lived in it, for a while. A group of Susan Patrick’s artworks showing at Angelo have that quality, too—appropriate since they are themselves images of houses.

Susan Patrick’s house images memorialize old homes in a subtly emotional way.

Patrick’s “Houses and Neighborhoods” look iconic at first glance, like the simple shapes we all drew as kids. A house is a box with a triangle on top, and a neighborhood is four such houses in a grid. But look longer and you’ll begin to appreciate the individuality contained in each frame. One house leaps toward you with bold lines and stark shadows; its door seems to jump off the hinges. Another house is serene, balanced, with a flat roof like the stucco structures of the Southwest.

Patrick conceived the works as “memorials to abandoned and demolished houses,” inspired by one she saw destroyed in Nelson County. The show is on view through February 28.—E.H.

What’s on your browser?: Mix to match

This month’s surfer: Kelly Howard, designer at local interiors firm Alana’s

What’s on her browser: kravet.com

What it is: The homepage of an 88-year-old New York-based business dealing in fabrics, furniture, trimmings and carpet. The main attraction is an extensive search function leading to everything from the Cosgrove Oval cocktail table to black Joseph Abboud tassel fringe.

Why she likes it: “It’s good for those customers who like to do their homework. You can search for fabrics or search for trims; if you were searching for a red toile fabric, you could go through and highlight the things you’re looking for and it will pull those up.” Bookmark the winners and start building a look for your parlor redo.


“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”—William Morris, British designer and originator of the Arts and Crafts movement