I discovered decorative speaker covers, including faux books and clocks, in the November 2007 Traditional Home. In a bathroom tile ad, I saw some beautiful green-lined bars of soap. Btw, I pick up handmade soap at arts & crafts fairs whenever I can. They're beautiful, smell good (such a variety of scents!), and they're perfect for guest soaps; I store them in my clothes drawers 'cause I love the smells, and I use them myself.
I also saw a lovely makeup trunk in that issue; it costs $1,200.00, and I don't use that many cosmetic products (my cosmetic cabinet holds most of mine), but it was beautiful at the end of the countertop (granite or marble, I think) that was covered with cosmetics.
For curb appeal, you can use Clopay's Garage Door Visualizer (cards with two or three garage doors to a card); I spotted these in an ad. I love the carriage house garage door, btw.
An interesting tip in this issue was that glass cabinet doors in your kitchen don't absorb odors or emit toxins. Good point. And use a low-VOC paint. A wallpaper ad (Chesapeake Wallcoverings) mentioned that their wallpapers are made with "environmentally friendly fibers and water-based inks. The pre-pasted coverings contain no vinyl, PVC, or VOCs ..., and they are 'breathable,' inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew. ...[they] pull cleanly from the wall--no steaming and scraping." I have spent hours steaming and scraping. This is fantastic!
In a kitchen photo in the magazine, I saw monogrammed dish towels hanging on the oven door handle. Monogrammed dish towels! Don't do it, people! It's silly!! (I got over the urge to monogram linens when I was still a kid.)
Another photo--of a bedroom--shows a six-foot-tall painting of a horse over a bed; it's very impressive. This home also has a lot of Indonesian/Balinese art, which is beautiful and yet unpretentious.
In The Ultimate Kitchen (2002, Publications International, Ltd.), there's a glass-block island--lit from within. Very impressive. It looks like it has a glass top, which is something I avoid. In another kitchen in the book, a Mexican-style adobe stove squats at the end of a cupboard run. It looks like a fireplace. Maybe it's for heating? Not very attractive there, and I love adobe fireplaces.
In a home supplement of the local paper are floor maintenance tips:
Carpet requires regular vaccuuming and annual professional cleaning. Protect hardwood floors with mats at doorways. Laminate needs regular sweeping, dry mopping, or vaccuuming. [No scrubbing?!] Ceramic tile needs vaccuuming and damp mopping.
And in an e-zine (NY Metro Parents.com), a parent suggests taking kids to a farmer's market, giving them money to spend, and pointing out fun vegetables like purple carrots and candy-striped beets. [I know there are different colors of potatoes and radishes too.]