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decor8 reader spaces: Tour Rachel’s Happy Home in Louisiana

Rachel Stuart-Haas is a decor8 reader that isn’t shy about color. She took some photos of her home so you could step inside today to see what she’s done to the place. She’s an artist based in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a baby on the way!

Living Room and view of Dining Room

The crisp white french doors are lovely, that white brick fireplace gives the room cozy charm, and of course, the organized simplicity of the space is most impressive. I love the use of a fully saturated color, like sassy red, in the dining room. That is such a popular color for dining rooms right now, by the way. The pear and cream in the adjacent rooms softens the red a bit, gives the space a fruity feel – like a fresh plucked apple or strawberries with whipped cream. The space is very fresh and energetic, at least, to me. I also like the overall flow of her space, her furniture seems to be in the right spot, but beyond furniture placement, the house has a nice layout (lucky for the homeowner!).

Dining Room (view from living room and from the kitchen)


Do you see the little black kitty in the house? What a cutie! The kit kat clock in her kitchen (meow! the baby will surely love it) is almost an image of her beloved pet, in retro plastic! So many of us long to be that organized.

Kitchen + Bedroom


Are those amazing glass kitchen cabinets (with the perfect little silver hardware) original, Rachel? I’ve wanted cabinets like this in my kitchen for many years now, but rentals seem to gut original kitchens and replace everything with particle board or wood cabinets that are absolutely blah, but ‘modern’. Glass cabinets like Rachel’s are a rare find, but oh so beautiful! Most of us take such care to purchase glassware and dishes, I dislike hiding them behind solid closed doors. I don’t mind hiding food, but I like to see dishes and cups arranged neatly in glass cabinets.

Baby Room + Screened in Porch

The wall color in the nursery is so pretty, and how many of us wouldn’t kill for a screened in porch like this one? It reminds me of my childhood home in South Carolina, all the kids had one, which we used as a room for most of the year to play in, eat dinner, etc. Rachel must love using that space on summer nights… Ah, what a great home. Thank you for sharing this with us. Real homes lived in by real people. Imagine that, what a simple concept, but so much fun! I’m loving these home tours though, and I home you are enjoying them as well. As long as submissions keep coming in, I’ll keep this as a weekly feature on the blog. 1-2 homes per week would be nice, don’t you think?

My only question for Rachel is: I don’t see your paintings around the house, do you not install them for a reason? I have artist friends that leave their walls blank because it helps them think and be more creative. Just wondering about that, but then again, I can’t see the entire space in these photos… Perhaps Rachel has her art around but I cannot see it. Either way, the space sings!

Readers: What do you think about Rachel’s space and use of color? Do you have any questions for her? If so, fire away in the comments section below. She’d love to hear from you!

(images from rachel stuart-haas)

Posted in Home Tours on August 30, 2006

Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona Bound – Ideas Anyone?

decor8 reader Samantha from San Diego wrote in. Prepare to be very green with envy, because Samantha and her friend are jet setting off to Europe in September for 25 days! She says, “We’re stopping in Berlin, Paris and Barcelona. I was wondering if you or any of your fellow readers have any suggestions (food, sights, shops, anything).”


Okay here goes. Readers, feel free to chime in anytime, I know lots of you are globe trotters with your own fabulous suggestions.

For Berlin and Paris, check out the decor8 shopping links, provided in the column to your right (organized by city). Barcelona isn’t listed because I’ve not been, although Time Out Barcelona may be a good start for you. They’re online, so you can do your homework. These are listed under the Berlin links (yet), but I think they are worthy stops while in Berlin (and don’t miss Time Out Berlin):

Ausberlin – Everything funky in this handcrafted boutique, from home products to fashion, even chocolate! Designers hang out at this well-known Berlin establishment.

Design + Handwerk Plattform (no website, so here’s the address: 4th floor, Stilwerk
Kantstrasse 17 Tel: +49-303151-5620). An exquisite retail environment with furniture and accessories by German and International artists, most fresh from college. You can find modern white, s.wert design, ninelives, and others featured here. This shop is situated near the design centre Stilwerk.

Tausche – A unique shop that features the Taushe bags (and accessories), many can be altered simply by zipping on a new cover. This brand is Berlin-based, so even more fun to shop there! I love their bags, and the site is in English, so when you arrive back in the states, you can shop them online for new covers.

Refer to the Berlin links for other shops, like the amazing KaDeWe. If you’ve ever visited Herrod’s in London, it’s somewhat similiar. In addition to fashion and home, they have an amazing food emporium, I loved browsing and eating in there. Another must-see is P van b. Very posh little shop with decorative and slightly erotic wallpaper and accessories (like t-shirts).

Berlin tips: I love shopping in Germany, stores have a different vibe, a bit more serious than the states, that’s for sure! Store owners and sales staff usually keep to themselves unless approached. You shouldn’t enter a store, touch everything, expect them to speak English, giggle and linger with friends, etc. We tend to make shopping in the states a ‘retail therapy’ thing. We shop for ideas, inspiration. We bring our friends a long. We touch everything. In the end, we often buy little at these smaller establishments. In northern Germany, store owners are very prideful and expect you to respect their wares. Constant pawing annoys Germans. Small store owners treat you almost as though you are a privledged guest, so behave and enjoy the experience. Be careful that you place objects in the correct spot in which you picked them up. (I’ve only shopped Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, and Hannover (northern region), so it may be different in southern Germany.) You’ll find that as you travel in Europe, retail shopping is very unique from place to place. The wares, the customer service, pricing, and if you don’t speak Spanish, French, or German, you’ll have to wing it a lot with the staff because you’ll find that not many speak English, especially in Berlin boutiques (yes at larger stores like KaDeWe though). But, that’s half the fun of shopping far off places.

I’ll be in Berlin in October, so I’ll have more Berlin finds to report here on decor8 then. For now, those are my Berlin tips.

For Paris, don’t miss French Touche for a quaint shopping experience and of course, the big guys like Galeries Lafayette (gorgeous!), and Bon Marche, too. Time Out Paris and the New York Times can point you in the right direction to, they both have great guides to Paris.

Anyone else have suggestions for Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona must-sees?

(image from tausche)

Posted in reader questions, shopping, travel on August 30, 2006

decor8 Contest: Coming Soon!

A sponsor here at decor8 wants to give away some prizes to decor8 readers. Interested in learning more? As soon as I iron out all the details, I’ll let everyone know how they can get involved.

Big Hint: You’ll have to show us your work space, the top 3 coolest spaces will win. It can be on the job (maybe you have a cool cubicle), or your home office or art/craft room. As long as it oozes your personality and charm, you’re in! So, if you haven’t cleaned up your mess lately… Maybe this is a great time to get started!

Stay tuned…

Posted in uncategorized on August 30, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {aug 30 ’06}

It’s nearly September, eek! Where does the time go? Sure, summer may be slipping through our fingers, but with the promise of Fall soon to come, there’s no need to feel sad. Smile! We have an excuse to perk up our interiors. With each new season, we can edit our space, organize things a bit, and give our homes a deep cleaning to restore that good-as-new glow. When the air starts to cool, I slowly remove summer magazines, add an extra layer of bedding for warmth, rotate (along with vacuum) my mattress, replace a few throw pillows, reconfigure displays, and move furniture (first to clean beneath, but this routine usually results in a new floor plan, I’m sure you can relate). I also like to shuffle my books around to give the bookcase a new look, purchase a few great CDs (music is so important in the home), grab a soy-based candle with a lovely scent for Fall… Or better yet, start baking on the weekends. I also like to heat apple cider on the stove (vs. the microwave) so the entire house smells like baked apples. Mmmm.

How do you approach a new season in your home? Any spruce up tips?

For me, color introduced through art, textiles, paint, these are all ways that I enhance rooms that I either work in or for touching up my own little abode. I also like to use music (or a water feature if you have room for a small fountain) and of course, scent. I think decorating should be performed in several layers so the overall design doesn’t appear superficial or so on-trend that it lacks warmth. Walking into a well-arranged space is always a treat, but for me, decorating needs to take on more.

Like our own appearance, it’s not enough to just wear a nice outfit. Adding a fresh scent (perfume, after shave, lotion, oils) is important, as well as having a pleasing personality, tone of voice, words that are interesting and make for a pleasant interaction, etc. Same with a room, for me, it needs to stimulate all the senses. It needs to have depth. It needs to have a life.

Bringing nature indoors is important, too. It’s fun to venture outdoors to collect pretty things for a simple arrangement – adding what you’ve collected to a simple glass vase for the coffee table, for instance. Pine-cones, twigs, and acorns (I love their petite berets) are perfect for this. Bring along your trusty camera, too. You need not be a pro to take a beautiful photo that means something to you. Head into the forest or if you’re in the city, the local park. Snap whatever moves you. It can even be something as simple as a lone park bench. You could put your handbag on the bench, or a scarf, and step back and take a few photos of it. Think about lighting, composition, color. Perhaps you can ‘stage’ the shot to include other things you’ve brought with you, as well. Print out and frame your favorite shots, an inexpensive personal touch to your space.

Another way to enhance your living space for the season – add in spicy rich hues. A little dab of gold, orange, red, teal, chocolate, or shots of black, perhaps. Maybe goldenrod (a lovely yellow) or eggplant? Speaking of eggplant, I also like big bowls of seasonal veggies in the kitchen along with mini pumpkins with stems tied with a simple velvet ribbon and placed upon a shelf – the white mini pumpkins are my favorites.

Are you into art? If it’s color you crave, and you’d like to add a beautiful painting to your home, I think you’ll love artist Rachel Stuart-Haas who is based in Shreveport, Louisiana and not only has amazing art, but a beautiful little house full of sensational color. Rachel would like to give us a mini tour of her home with hopes that we’ll all be inspired to infuse our space with color. Another decor8 reader mini tour, coming up!

(images from rachel stuart-haas)

Posted in uncategorized on August 30, 2006

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Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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