Monthly Archives

April 2006


$500 Room Makeovers [book of the week]

April 11, 2006

I love books, especially design books. There are so many that I’d like to share with you that I thought it would be nice to start featuring a book of the week for decor8 readers to check out. The book cover will appear in the left column, simply click on the image for more information from, where I purchase most of my books. Amazon offers great prices on new and gently used copies, they ship worldwide, and orders arrive quickly.

If you have any book suggestions, please email me. I’m looking for good books relating to architecture and design, as well as DIY books relating to home design, great coffee table books, and your personal favorites.

Books will update on Monday. :)

Objects, Rooms, Shopping + Products, Travel

Clarissa Hulse

April 11, 2006

Just in from decor8 reader Julie… “I don’t think I’ve read where you’ve mentioned Clarissa before. She is a UK based designer. Great stuff. She just recently released her 2006 line online. You can also find her lampshades, etc. at Heal’s. Anyway, I thought her designs might make a good article for your blog. I just returned from a trip to the UK and her stuff is even more impressive in person.” – Julie

Clarissa HulseJulie you couldn’t be more spot on! With her new line of lampshades, wallpaper, photo albums, pillows and throws, I couldn’t be more excited to share Clarissa Hulse with all of you. Show of hands, how many of you have been to London? I don’t want to sound like a travel snob when I say this, but I’m been about 15 times because I’m a total travel geek/anglophile – I love all things British. I nearly went broke traveling as a single girl, so it’s nothing I can brag about too much. I lived on ramen noodles for a period in my life just so I could afford airfare. Seriously. My obsesssion began back in 1996 during my first British encounter. Got a moment? There’s a story to all of this…

A friend of mine in Boston (Matt) was into this tall lanky girl (Katrina) who was from Wendover Bucks in England. They were in touch here and there, but nothing serious except for the major crush he had on her and of course, her amazing accent didn’t help matters any. Matt said she had a cute brother, which sparked my interest because I also was into cute accents (still am). Weeks went by, Matt was still in touch with Kat, and I was hearing all these stories about her cute brother who was also a BA flight attendant. That interested me because how could knowing a man that has a free pass to venture the globe be a bad thing? Unbeknownst to me, Matt slipped Kat my phone number to give to her brother who was soon to visit Boston.

I was going about my life as I always had until my roommate slipped a note beneath my bedroom door. It read:

“Jo called from London. He’ll call you later. He’s in Boston. Cute accent”

That picqued my interest faster than you can say ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod! It was, I think, 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning (summer 1996) and I was sleeping in again as I always did on Saturdays after being out with my friends the night before. Scrambling around my room with note in hand, I raced to my wardrobe to pull out something cute and headed for the showers, tossing a thank you into the air as my roommate stood there amazed to see me surface so quickly after waking me only a second earlier. Cute accent just may call back, I thought. I must be prepared. Shower. Shave. Perfume. Viola!

The call never came. A few hours passed. My shoulders slumped. Forget it, I thought. This is dumb.

I laced up my inline skates and went outside for awhile. After skating to complete exhaustion, I pulled myself up the stairs to my apartment and heard the phone ringing. Must. Find. Key. As a fumbled around trying to fit the key into the lock, hands shaking like a drunk needing vodka, I pushed open the door and raced to the phone. It had stopped ringing. A few words sprang out of my mouth that I won’t repeat here as flopped down on the sofa thinking of how pathetic I’d become waiting for mystery brit to call. I noticed my roommate had gone for the day, so I cranked up the stereo and started stretching to work out my leg cramps. As I stretched, visions of Hugh Grant raced through my head. Would this boy behind the accent be tall and willowy with that ever so stylish floppy brown hair falling into twinkly brown eyes? As I fast forwarded, envisoning a wedding in England (yeah, I told you already, pathetic) the phone rang again. Nearly breaking both legs, I grabbed it and instantly transformed my voice from out of breath skater girl to husky 900 number babe. “Hello, this is Holly”, I meowed.

Long story short, caller was young Brit, we had a thing for a few years that amounted to nothing, but I racked up some serious frequent flyer miles to the UK, had the time of my life in England and France with him, and had the opportunity to meet a lot of great friends through it all. What does this story have to do with Clarissa Hulse? Absolutely nothing and somewhat a lot at the same time. Although the story has nothing Clarisa about it, the experience of being in London, shopping, taking in the culture, exploring the city… All of these images pop into my mind whenever I post about British designers. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to them. When you have experienced a culture and made friends there, you have a certain connection to the land. If you’ve had the chance to travel, you know what I mean. I connect everything I post to some part of my life.

I hope to visit London again, maybe this year, and if I do I promise to share the adventure with you, only this time it will exclude boys and include toys. Home decor to be exact. But for now, we can drool together online as we browse websites showcasing gorgeous products from Londontown, like Clarissa Hulse.

p.s. I’ve added a lot of London links to the shopping column this week, so don’t forget to browse those for more fab shopping.

Clarissa Hulse
(photos from clarissa hulse)


DIY Project: Look Book How To

April 11, 2006

DIY Project: Look Book How To
It’s time to have fun with this little DIY project that I’ve pulled together for you. All you need is a book, adhesive, scissors and plenty of clippings!

If you’re getting ready to renovate a space, compiling a book like this (also known as a ‘look book’) before you throw yourself into a design project will help you pull the process together. It’s also fun to simply create these books to inspire you and pull you out of that occasional design rut.

Step One: Locate an artist’s notebook – something spiral bound and thick with pages measuring at least 8.5″ x 11″ (bienfang is good). You can use one book per room (i.e. living room inspiration), or you can divide one book into sections for each room in your house. My books have everything thrown together, however I’m soon to begin working on new ones that will be organized according to room. must. get. organized.

Step Two: Purchase a good pair of scissors. I use a standard pair of Fiskars with the typical orange handle. I like the ones with the micro tip for trimming those pesky edges. Pay attention to how you clip – pretend you are laying out a magazine page. Make it look pretty, not clunky. Make sure what you’re pasting fits the pages, you don’t want to close your book and see clippings sticking out everywhere. No, no!

Step Three: Avoid using a glue stick, they’ll give your pages the bubble effect. Instead use my favorite, Tombow mono-adhesive. You can find these online or at your local craft store. They are more expensive at craft stores, so unless you have a coupon for your local craft emporium, purchase them online. Order 6-12 at a time. I know it sounds like a lot, but these little guys go fast. (I suggest shopping at Dick Blick and Charette.)

Step Four: Cut and paste, baby! Scour magazines, catalogs, books, or even online (blogs!) to find things that you know you’ll want to refer back to again and again. If you find something in a blog, simply print it out in color, trim, and paste it into your book. You can add articles that you enjoyed, quotes, ads, fabric swatches, paint chips, pretty business cards, font styles you like, stamps – get creative and have fun with it. No one is going to grade or judge your book, this is your personal space. You can even doodle on your pages and add handwritten comments describing why you like something you’ve pasted – these all lend a personal touch.

When it’s time to renovate, you can refer to your books as your guide since they’ll assist you throughout the decision making process. Something so visual will most definitely pick you up when you’re feeling stuck in a design rut – you’ll have your trusty look book to turn to, it will get you back on track!

Before I consult with clients, I always ask them to pull together a folder of clippings that define their design style. I’m often so surprised when I meet with them and they pull out spiral bound notebooks stuffed with articles and clippings that they’ve collected for me. They always remark how grateful they are that I gave them homework because it helped them to pinpoint their design style. It also helps them to better communicate their vision with me because it’s easier to express personal style on paper than through words. At least for most of us.

I hope you have fun with your look book, and if you you’d like to send me a photo of yours, I’d be happy to post your book so we can all have a look.

(photo: 3 of my look books shown above. Copyright decor8 2006)



April 11, 2006

Thanks Jena for the letter!

I just love your blog, I read it as daily inspiration and motivation to start/keep up on my own blog! Speaking of my blog, I’d love it if you would check it out, Modish.It’s a fashion/shopping blog featuring ALL indie designers and handmade goods.It’s still in it’s infancy, but I’m trying to build up traffic and get the word out to help support all the independent business I’ve featured so far, and hope to feature in the future. – Jena

I love Jena’s mission:

We ignore the stale, the overdone. We are not interested in the mass-produced, mass-marketed or overindulgent.We are for the independent craftsperson, designer, shopper, creator and artist.We show you the goods that are made by hand, created with attention and intention.Modish is about style the indie way- the way it was meant to be.

(photos and quotes from Modish)


Jane + Jenni

April 10, 2006

Jane + Jenni
After visiting Brookdale yesterday, I came home with a few things from the gift shop that I’m quite fond of, most of which are from a cutie pie company called Jane + Jenni. Quirky and fun, zesty bold graphics proudly displayed on mugs, pins, coasters, luggage tags, magnets, charms, keychains…even sweet little packages of breath mints – love at first bite!

Jane + JenniJane + Jenni

(photos: top two from jane + jenni. bottom photo, Copyright decor8 2006)

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