in the background | a moment for walls

Did you catch this article about artist Pia Jensen a few months back on Design Milk?  I came across it again recently and it had me thinking about walls.  The majority of homes/apartments I see with no real design direction all suffer from the same base problem: its occupants don’t know how to use their walls.


Think of your space as a flat piece of art from every angle.  When you walk around, you want to draw your eye around the room and highlight its best features.  That requires thought about art placement, orientation of the furniture, where to put accent colors (etc, etc, etc) and then how they all relate to each other.

Of course, there are more dramatic ways to use your walls – like making your wall the art itself!  Now, if you’re one of the many commitment-phobes out there (or if you’re renting your place like most New Yorkers), this will be a challenge.  Wallpaper, for example, is no picnic to remove, but if you’re in love with a timeless print (that won’t be out of style in the next 5 years), I say go for it.  Otherwise, paint can always be painted over.


I’m a fan of abstract and geometric prints, but there is a whole world of wallpaper out there to fit your style.





This map wallpaper will be in my home one day.


Option 2: TILE

This can create a natural, soothing look or something bold and fun.




Option 3: Use your BRICK.

Exposed or painted, it’s makes for a pretty, textured backdrop.




Option 4: Play with PAINT.

Add a chair rail, give it a washed look, paint on a chalkboard…the options are endless.




And some other fun looks, like 3D wallpaper (yes, this is flat paper)…


…wallpaper tiles…


…textured walls…


…or a personal favorite:

Era flashbacks in timeless patterns, like this Vintage Collection by Hemingway below.  The Art Deco-inspired print (hint: it’s the 2nd one) is just plain awesome.

19.  20.


Of course, I haven’t even covered painting with stencils, wall decals, wallpaper tiles, texture painting techniques and so on.  Wanna give some of these a try?  Here’s a wallpaper how-to to get started.

What’s on your walls?



1 | 2 | 3 | 4, 14 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19, 20,21


loving lately | dream a little dream

this camera strap.


these prints.



high noon


palazzo print

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

this bookshelf.birch

this book.


this pillow.SONY DSC

these louboutins.  (HINT: If you’re a fellow New Yorker, Strawberry is selling a $20 version – I have a silver pair and a black pair, and my roommate went to buy 3 herself they’re so perfect!)


What are you loving lately?



fashion friday | women’s retreat

Hello readers!  If you haven’t noticed (or you follow me on Reader/Feedly), Cityclectic got a bit of a makeover.  It felt like time to lighten things up.  What do you think of the design?  I’d love your comments below!

In the spirit of fresh thinking, I’ve decided to make some random feature posts a bit more regular.  That said, here’s your first FASHION FRIDAY!

Why fashion on Friday, do you ask?

Reason #1:  If your weekends are booked up months ahead of time like mine (and somehow your week nights fill up, too), then you gotta plan ahead.  (In this case, planning ahead means knowing what you’re wearing before you wake up on Saturday morning.)  So, I’ll be posting a weekend-inspired outfit for whatever I have on my calender.  Hopefully, this feature will end up being a nice little collection of ensembles/packing lists to reference when you have similar events of your own.

Reason #2: I’m a little bit addicted to Polyvore.  Phew!  Glad I got that off my chest.

Reason #3: Well, fashion and Friday both start with F.  (That counts, right?)

OK, back to the feature.  I’m going on a women’s retreat this weekend!  I’ve been looking forward to this little woodsy escape from the city for weeks.  Here’s what’s in my bag.

women's weekend retreat
What would you wear on a women’s retreat?

coffee break | adventures edition one: nyc

One of my favorite things to do with my free time is to go on an adventure.  To me, that means doing just about anything I’ve never done before, even something as simple as trying a new coffee shop and strolling through a city neighborhood I haven’t seen yet.

My theory is that you can add even more joy to something simple just by attributing a positive or fun label to it.  Think about traditions your family has, for example.  Stringing lights on a tree isn’t exactly a picnic by itself, but add some eggnog and family company and you’ve got yourself a tradition you look forward to every year (or at least, I do, because I’m the one on Christmas-tree-light duty).

Living in New York – and on a budget – has forced me to be creative with my weekends in order to experience the city.  So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite free/affordable NYC “adventures”.  Enjoy!


Pick a neighborhood and create a mini itinerary of spots to see within walking distance.  This one is the easiest to do (with a little research) and can be conducted pretty much anywhere.  Recently, I took S on Midtown West/Greenwich Village adventure.  We: went to The Roasting Plant for really, really good coffee; strolled through the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, visited a super cool photography exhibit “Darkened Cities” at Danziger Gallery; walked through the Chelsea Highline (a must-do at least once a year), and had dinner/drinks at Art Bar.   That doesn’t even include the Auto Show and live music* we squeezed in (though the day would have been plenty full without them).  *Sidebar: Rockwood never fails to provide better than average (more often darn good), free live music!

Wanna plan your version?  Check out a few accessible sites like NY Mag, Time Out, and nycgo (or for the trendier folk, Sosh or Thrillist) to see what’s happening now.  Then Yelp a coffee shop, bar and/or restaurant nearby and make a journey out of it!  The best part of this adventure is avoiding the typical tourist traps and experience the real New York City.  If you’ve checked off the basics, this adventure is for you.

New_York_Thierry Cohen


Visit the Botanical Gardens.  One of S and I’s early dates was to see the Holiday Train Show, but all of the exhibits throughout the year are worth checking out.  While you’re there, make sure to stroll through the grounds!

nybg 1_cityclectic design

nybg 2_cityclectic design

nybg 3_cityclectic design


Take the air tram to Roosevelt Island.  For the same cost (and ease – just swipe your MetroCard) as a subway ride, get a unique view of Midtown East and the Queensboro Bridge by floating across the East River on a wire.  The destination is just as neat with pretty parks and more Manhattan views.  This one is impossible to beat for $5.50.  Photographer’s bonus: There are lots of ledges to set up some awesome self-timer shots on (see S dipping me below)!

Roosevelt Island 1_cityclectic design

Roosevelt Island 2_cityclectic design

Roosevelt Island 3_cityclectic design

Roosevelt Island 4_cityclectic design

Roosevelt Island 5_cityclectic design

What’s your perfect adventure day?



All photos (except “Darkened Cities”) by me and not for reuse without credit.