Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Decorating with No Strings Attached

Here is a quick inexpensive project that yields an elegant result.  I recently went into Restoration Hardware.   Many of you know I avoid mall shops and chain stores almost as a religion.  But, I was waiting to meet a friend and drifted into RestHard to try and shake the Humbug in me....

Xmas lites off

 I found these fabulous little petite battery powered LEDs.  They are raw and wonderful and come in a variety of lengths:  5', 10' and 20'.  Very reasonably priced and the longer lengths even come with a timer if you can believe it!

                                                                                                             Xmas lites on

So, here is my seasonal Ms. Marfa  (check that!  from now on we are Miss Nancy!) handy dandy craft project.  Cheap.  Easy.  Elegant. and Fast!  No comments necessary, but Enyoy!

 This is the battery pack.  It takes 3 AA batteries.  It has a convenient on/off button.  The overall size is so small, I was able to hide it in a planter.  HINT:  If you are using real fresh greens and shame on you if you do not, wrap this in a small sandwich bag and rubberband so it does not corrode.

This is boxwood cuttings.  Very inexpensive.  You can probably get a bunch of these at the local market and most certinly at your local nursery. Alternately you can use any potted plant you desire, but, of course, I have to do things from scratch and make myself crazy!!!  I took the cuttings and supported them in a wet medium, then wedged the battery pack into the pot allowing for access to the on/off button and covered with a dried moss.  Below is a result:

And next you will see as a center piece, flanking an antique silver serving platter and Jeffrey Pinecones.

It is so cool to have lites on the table embedded in live greens, with no wires/strings attached!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Welcome to the world of Smart Textiles

When you last went clothes shopping, you probably only noticed the fabric of a shirt or pants’ color, and texture.  Perhaps a price tag and maybe washability caught your interest too.  But, it's all about to get a lot more technical.  Clothes don't just look good, they're starting to think for you as well.
Fabrics have become an arena for competition for scientists all around the world. The race is on to be the first to develop new fabrics that will not only keep you warm but also cool, dry, moisturized and free of bacteria, odor and stains while measuring your heart rate. Welcome to the world of Smart Textiles.

The fundamental job of clothes is to keep us warm or cool, so it's no surprise that many of the smart textiles entering the market look to regulate ones body temperature as opposed to creating a barrier between ourselves and the environment.
Called phase-change fabrics, heat-modifying textiles are mostly seen in outdoor gear and pro sports gear.
Remember the swimsuits made with water repellant nano textiles which were so controversial during the last  summer Olympics?
You are most likely also familiar with Keflar, the textile now most commonly used for creating bullet proof clothing.  But, the technologies of Nano Textiles are growing exponentially and the applications are far and wide. 

*Fabrics which conduct electricity are also springing up as well as electrical insulating fabrics.
*In Europe you can buy jackets that are wired up to monitor your body temperature and also listen to your inbuilt mp3 player. 
*A sensor system for cut-protection clothing Is now available that will make working with power tools safer and more comfortable.

Nano-Textiles or Smart Fabrics also have a wide range of potential applications within the medical and healthcare related fields too.  Textiles that can be individually loaded and regenerated with drugs and medicines are common and on the rise.  Nicotine patches are a great example.  Even hospitals and medical labs are now seeing Smart Fabrics as essential and are commonly integrated within the design of hospitals and medical labs and other ‘clean rooms’. New nano-treated textiles which will kill the MRSA superbug have been developed for the purpose of being used in hospital drapes, bed linens and upholstery.

Maryland Institute College of Art is already world reknown for its Fiber Arts Department and has recently been cited as a leader in the Nano-Textile R&D in further development of Smart Fabrics, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University.  Together, they are  blurring the lines between the Science and Art of Smart Fabrics:  Exploring new innovative and creative applications for these materials:

“ranging from high fashion to medicine and the military. The military has a vest for soldiers in combat where it is directly connected with the Internet and computers so if a soldier gets shot, information is given about where he was shot and what kind of injury it is. It is communicated with a physical computer in a hospital. There are also sports bras and T-shirts where there is a flexible heart-monitoring device, so it gives you your heart rate as you exercise."

The students recently showcased their final projects in a Wearable Technology Fashion Show in China in conjunction with the Fashion Department at Donghua University in Shanghai, China, and will exhibit at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, with a full collaboration beginning in September.

For more info, follow these links.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Warming Trends: Report from NY International Gift Fair

So it’s that time of year again when only the intrepid schleppers and divas of interior design and decorative world brave winter’s cruelty and gather at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in NYC for the Winter NY Gift Show.

The day was gray and in anticipation of a forecasted epic ice storm, this year’s winter show proved to have something of a spotty mid-week attendance, which, while most likely frustrating for the exhibitors, made exploration of coming trends, colors and textures and product somewhat easier to take in.

That said, this years show at Pier 94 did not reveal too much in the way of coming trends, but rather offered views into how existing design trends are being extended and expanded with new color palates and more sophisticated uses of existing materials:

The neutral color palate is enriched with accents of orange and saturated pastels.

Burlap is now a very strong and dominant trend.  For those of you who have known me and my design sensibilities over the years ( and those of you new to yours truly), I have always had an affinity for this material.  It takes me back to my childhood, as I remember my father painstakingly wrapping shrubbery each late autumn with burlap and wee little Nancy, wondered in childlike amazement how a simple fabric could somehow magically protect a boxwood from the perils of winters deadly frost.  

Despite the rough utilitarian appearance, burlap will always possess magical properties.  As an interior designer I have taken that fascination forward;  realizing new interpretations and applications for this and other rough industrial materials and textures.  Burlap can be dressed up or down.  So, just like adding a wonderful piece of jewelry to casual attire,  a table setting can be dressed up with with a fantastic mix of chargers, candles, flowers, particulary when the ‘canvas’ you set the table upon is a burlap or raw textile and interesting scale iis employed, creating additional drama to the most neutral or utilitarian landscape, table scape or room escape.

Likewise, burlap upholstery can be  dressed up when accented with jute trim or copper oversized nailheads.   This ottoman from EcoAccents can be made with a variety of hand applied decorative motifs or simply left plain.  It has a very firm support and can be eaily used as a small table perhaps with an antique serving tray or left as a foot rest.

Also, I noticed at the gift show the elaboration and expansion of the “industrial chic” trend we have seen for several seasons.  A softening with subtle touches of Victorian curiosities and, of course, ‘green’ trending with the sophisticated –reuse of unusual materials.


Shells were also in abundance at the show, perhaps in anticipation of the coming warmer seasons.  I saw so many interesting ‘new and improved’ presentations of shells both as decorative motifs and as functional household objects:

Decorative trip lever for toilet.  Functional Fine Art has many different decorative bathroom accessories in a variety of finishes complimenting all styles of bathroom design.

Decorative linen seashore motif pillows from
Ox Bow Decor and the

Elizabeth Lucas Companies


Finally, a lighting design trend I have been drawn to for quite some time is the use of simple geometric shapes in hanging light fixtures.  I am particularly fond of the suspended cubes and spheres.  The pure  geometry of these designs are nearly constellation in their nature

Low Country Originals

Lovely when created using both rustic materials such as this Solaria light fixture and equally as intriguing when presented with a highly polished metal.
Solaria Lighting

All in all, the take away from this years Gift Show in NYC was that scale and proportion are key to any successful interior space design, and that a re-interpretation of classic elements will always remain timeless.

For more information regrdining any of the home d├ęcor items featured in this article, please contact:

Oasis Home
c/o  NLM Design Interiors

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn Days


The flower yields.

The humble leaf stimulates our senses. We hear its crunch. We walk.

Leaves gently hide our paths,

Casting spells

with new colors

we scarcely knew existed

Just one short green month ago.

A time of transition when we instinctively

Re-align our soul.

These are Autumn Days.

Lyrics by
Nancy Leffler Mikulich

At Oasis Home, part of NLM Design Interiors, we are inspired every day nature.  Right now, we are enjoying the sights, the sounds, the flavors of Autumn.

Like transitioning our wardrobe for each season, we can also find inspiration for our homes when we rediscover the shapes and colors of the Fall leaves as they shed and reveal the beauty of wood.  

Finally, we begin to trend to a new "greener" approach to interior design.  Autumn is the perfect time to let nature inspire.  Turn your house into an
Oasis HoMe 
Sense of Space, Sense of Place, Come to your Senses...™

 Wonderful Art Deco Seating from the 1940's

A Minimalist Interpretation of the Humble Leaf

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

The vibrancy of autumn's colors as revealed in Suzani textiles rugs.

"Here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."
 - Oliver Wendell Holmes

These wonderful new fabrics from Kravet fabrics highlight leaf patterns, textures and earthy colors of the season and are neutral enough to use all year round. Contact us and see how we can create a wonderful peaceful home environment using these and many other lovely textured fabrics.

One of the very first master craftsmen who truly revered the beauty of wood and nature was George Nakashima. His creative expression did not lie within himself, but rather he let the medium (i.e. the wood) dictate the final design.

Our online shop is now featuring

  ...Home Accessories Inspired by Autumn...

 Available for Purchase from the 

Oasis Home Collection

NLM Design Interiors


Rod Iron Branch Wall Art

This unique decorative wall element is also the perfect size for a twin bed headboard. 


This wall art as featured in NLM Design Interiors Award Winning Wine Cellar at the Twin Maples Show House.

Ceramic Foliage Decorative 9" Plates

Set a lovely table or use as cascading wall art as shown.

$25.00 each
(a)   Set of 7 Acorn Candles
(b)   Wooden Acorn Garland
1 1/4" W x 12" L
(c)   Crate of Wooden Acorns
Trio of 3 hand Hammered Copper Candlesticks

$ 118.00
Tea Light Logs

 Small (3-Candle) $25.00

Medium (4-Candle) $30.00

Pinecone Tea Lights
Set of 6 - $13.50
As inspired by George Nakashima 
a sofa table / Console as designed by 
A custom piece
24"w x 60"l x 30"h
Cherry Slab Top, ebonized maple base.