Social Butterflies

Remember the 1970s conversation pit, all sofa and no chairs? Well, in the newest spin on ‘social-able’ furniture arrangements, there’s nary a sofa to be found. Rather, designers are placing four beautiful chairs around a conversation-starting cocktail table or ottoman, like the revolving lazy Susan-style, black-lacquer tray shown here, which can be removed for serving or dinner on your lap. The advantages of this decidedly unconventional living room setup? In addition to the fact that you won’t see it in every house you visit, it really does encourage relaxed conversation, while eliminating a lot of the placement problems often encountered with the traditional sofa and two chairs. You simply float this one in the middle of the room and voila: instant, unexpected chic. So lose the sofa, and pull up a chair!



Jonathan Adler Wall Decals Make Stylish Décor Simple

Design guru Jonathan Adler has dedicated himself to bringing vibrant, modern style to the home. Famous for penning his own Design Manifesto, Adler believes minimalism is a bummer, colors can’t clash, and Palm Beach style still rocks (especially Louis chairs, Lilly Pulitzer, chinoisserie and The Breakers circa 1972). If you agree or just like the sound of it all, you’ll want to check out Adler’s WallPops, which capture his signature ‘happy chic’ style. WallPops are removable, reusable and repositionable wall decals. Adler also designs a full range of furniture, bedding, fabrics and accessories.


Never Set the Table the Same Way Twice with Placemats of the Day

Plat du Jour has introduced a line of paper placemats inspired by the classic French bistro phrase, plate of the day. The fresh, modern paper line includes in a variety of patterns and colors to suit your various moods. The placemats are perfect for everyday use on the kitchen table, TV or bed tray, as well as intimate luncheons—and even dinners at a formal dining table. Patterns range from tongue-in-cheek graphics and minimalist silhouettes to classic chinoisserie. Stock up and you’ll never have to set the table exactly the same way twice.


Better Eating Through Design

While we’re on the topic of dining…Plate sizes have been increasing in the U.S. in the last 50 years. In the 1960s—before the advent of super-sizing—the average plate was 9 inches. Today, it is 12 inches. On top of this, research shows that people clean their plates more than 90 percent of the time—no matter how much food is offered and even if they are no longer hungry. The World Health Organization has linked our staggering portion sizes, which exceed the FDA’s guidelines by a whopping 200 calories per day, to the equally staggering expansion of the American waistline.

The solution is simple and obvious, according to Harvard MBA and Slim & Sage Founder Tatyana Beldock, who has developed an almost invisible three-part, luxury plate design that helps diners assimilate the latest nutritional science. Her line features geometric patterns set within luxe 9-inch plates that hide the proportions needed to construct a sensible diet: one quarter for lean protein, one quarter for whole grains, and one half for vegetables.

“I collaborated with leading experts at Harvard and Stanford, leveraged my background in health care, and drew upon my passion for creative design to create a new line of products to make slimming down safe, credible and healthy—and yet also feel effortless, discreet and luxurious,” Beldock says.

If you still think the idea behind the plate’s portion-control design is too simplistic to be credible, consider the following:

•A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine divided 130 patients with identical diets into two groups: one which used conventional plates and one which used portion-controlled plates. Those using the portion-controlled plates lost 94 percent more weight than those who did not.

• Google decided to introduce smaller plates in its cafeterias. The result: Google employees lost an average of 10 to 15 pounds without ever committing to a formal diet.

• The American College of Cardiology estimates that 90 percent of weight loss is achieved by reducing food intake, while just 10 percent is achieved by increasing physical activity.