{FOF Featured Blog} Concrete Jungle

FOF Heather Chapple has a Thai for design. Twelve years ago the Canadian interior designer uprooted her husband and her children from their home in Southern France and moved to Phuket, Thailand, where Heather felt her kids could get a better education.

“Finding a home that would accommodate our heights and our giant container of goods was a challenge,” Heather said in an interview with Phuket Tatler Magazine. “So I realized from the outset that I would have to build a house to accommodate our family and collection of paintings, books and furnishings.”

From the ground up and the inside out, Heather designed her “Oasis” according to the design principles of her favorite French architect, Le Corbusier. She also made unique use of polished concrete throughout the home, hence her blog’s name, Concrete Jungle.

“The island and area is full of fabulous, original and interesting design ideas,” writes Heather. From instructions on how to use polished concrete in decorating, to musings on tropical living, to a post that translates the colors of Thailand to real rooms anywhere, Concrete Jungle has truly caught our Thai…er…eye.

{Makeovers} Out-of-control closet makeover

Compulsive hoarding may affect up to 2 million people in the United States according to an article from WebMD.

And while not everyone qualifies as a hoarder, many FOFs admit to having pack-rat tendencies. A few months ago, when FOF ran a closet makeover giveaway, we got hundreds of responses from members who were desperate to clear the clutter.

FOF Myra Garber won the closet edit with style expert and organizer extraordinaire, Ali Barry. Here’s her winning response to our question: “What is one item from your closet you can’t part with?”

“I can’t part with an orange/yellow harlequin sweater that my grandmother made for me when I was 12. When I wear it, I remember her.” Myra’s winning response was one many FOFs can relate to, the difficulty of parting with an item that is attached to significant memories or an important person in their lives.

When Alli visited Myra’s home in Wantagh, N.Y., she still hadn’t parted with the sentimental harlequin sweater she wrote about… and 50 other sweaters that spanned three decades.

“I probably have sweaters I could get rid of,” said Myra. “I recently retired from my full-time job as a teacher, but I still have theme sweaters I wore with the kids. I have ones with animals, figures, a Halloween sweater, and one with bears I wore when we took the students on a nature trip upstate. It’s probably time to get rid of some.”

Alli and Myra conquered her closet with this 5-step plan that Alli says will work for even the most persevering pack-rat.

*To find an organizer in your area, visit the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) website.

Take a look at a few of the sweaters Myra and Alli sorted through. Tell us, would you keep, donate or re-purpose each? Then see what Alli and Myra decided.

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What Alli and Myra decided: Re-purpose them. Myra hadn’t worn these sweaters in years, but thought maybe she’d wear them when visiting her grandchildren. “You’re crafty and like to knit,” Alli said to Myra. “Why not cut out the mermaids, starfish buttons and other embellishments and re-purpose them into gloves or a scarf for your grandchildren? This way they won’t take up valuable real estate in your closet if you aren’t wearing them.”

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Alli and Myra’s decision: Donate it. “The arms were too big, pattern is a bit dated, and the color didn’t do much for her,” says Alli.

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Ali and Myrna’s decision: Keep it. “It fit her well and the color is neutral. It would go well with jeans, black pants or leggings,” says Alli.