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Viva Terra – Organic Beauty for the Home

Viva Terra is a serene haven on the web for selecting the most beautiful, tactile, organic wares collected from all over the world. Products that are so completely captivating that it’s hard to narrow down your list from what you want, to what your budget actually allows for you to have. Since I love to shop online, and particularly find Viva Terra to be an exquisite experience all around, I’ve collected a few of my favorites to share with you.

I’m so attracted to succulents, aren’t you? My grandparents have them clustered in rock gardens all over their farm in Rhode Island, and I even have a few here in my backyard. We didn’t have them when I was growing up in South Carolina, the closest we had were the towering spiny aloe vera plants, hardly a cute little succulent. I enjoy looking at succulents up close, their distinctive patterns, colors, and textures – some smooth, some with peach fuzz, and all pleasingly plump. Viva Terra now stocks a succulent wreath that is hand-assembled into five groups succulents in shades of green-gray, burgundy and silver. I’ve not seen anything like this before, I really love it! This living wreath is not only eco-friendly, but enchanting. Just add water every six to eight weeks and viola! a wreath that will love you long time, $89. Next, a relaxing lamp caught my eye, the light in the forest lamp with tall reeds that dance delicate light throughout your space, $298. Also, did you see these whimsical twig letters for $89? A bit pricey, but certainly a nice addition to warm up a room.

As a pottery lover, I’m always looking for interesting wares that are more modern and clean than the ones I find at the folksy craft fairs here in New England. That’s why I’m really drawn towards the hand-formed dipping set with it’s soft sensual curves, in clean white, for $65. For the bathroom, why not gift a friend with the root bowl & organic soaps set, with 100% organic soaps displayed in a small bowl carved from the roots of a discarded Chinese fir tree, $49. Who can resist a handbag? Although this isn’t an item for the home, I can’t turn away from this cozy red tufted alpaca handbag, a hand-crocheted beauty with seasonally shed horn carved handles, in red or chocolate. $259. With jeans and a charcoal ribbed turtleneck, this red bag would add a relaxed elegance to your ensemble, and hipify it a bit, too. If it’s entertaining you love, the slate tray + petal servers will serve you right. Petal-shaped ceramic bowls mix with smooth slabs of natural slate, sold in a set of four, with chalk, $49-69

Finally, two more considerations for your Viva Terra shopping list. The driftwood trivet from natural sculptor Josh Harris, who combs the coasts of Northern California to collect driftwood to assemble into primitive art trivet (how cool is that?), $45. I’m seeing these ladders everywhere lately, and for the price, I think it’s a worthwhile object to use in your home. This bamboo towel ladder can display your towels, or you can use it to air dry them. Take it out of the bathroom and use the rungs to drape your favorite magazines in your living room or home office. $129

Do you have any favorites? Can you incorporate more of the outdoors into your indoor space? How do you do it currently (plants, driftwood, flowers, shells, stones, etc.)?

(images from viva terra)

Posted in uncategorized on August 25, 2006

decor8 reader spaces: Tour Archana’s Vibrant Home in India

I was so excited when an email arrived from decor8 reader Archana Srinivas who lives in Bangalore, India. She wants to share her colorful space with us here today on decor8! Here’s what she writes:

“I don’t know if you have received any mails from India. I am a regular reader of your wonderful blog. I agree with Danielle from the Netherlands that by showcasing homes from all over the world you get to see how people design their homes & what really goes into it.”

Archana continues, “India is a land of contrasts, culturally rich & very colourful. I live in Bangalore, India with my husband and my beautiful 4 year old daughter. We live in a 3-bedroom 1500 sq.ft house. Here you will find an amalgamation of traditional old-world charm with modern day luxury. The colours used are yellows & oranges. We have used a lot of antique chests, brass lamps & wood to create the effect.”

“The centre table in the living area is actually an old swing used for babies. We turned it upside-down and converted it into a table. We have used bright yellow ceramic tiles on top. The center of interest is the cluster of nine terracotta tiles which I hand-painted with poster colours. The antique door in the living room has been restored from an old demolished house. The triangular space on either sides has been created for placing lamps. (This is usually the practice in south Indian villages.)”

Living Room

“The motifs on the walls in my daughter’s room has been hand painted & also the lamp. The drawers store her toys and also doubles up a sitting area,” Archana says.

Daughter’s Bedroom

She continues, “The dining area has a crockery cabinet which we use as a mini bar for entertaining. The kitchen door has been cut into half to keep my daughter out while I cook and to give a feeling of space.”

Dining Area

“The 3rd bedroom has been converted into the study where we have a tiled love-seat with vibrant red upholstery and you can also see my workstation which is a huge antique writing table.”


If you have any questions for Archana about her home, please ask in the comments section below so she can reply. If you’d like to share your home, or have a design dilemma, please write to me at decor8blog[at]yahoo[dot]com. I hope you’re enjoying this new feature on decor8 – touring reader spaces!

Posted in Home Tours on August 25, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {aug 25 ’06}

It’s the weeeekend! Happy Friday everyone, hope you have lots of fun plans on the agenda and that, if you have time, you’ll pop in over the weekend to see what new things I’ve posted here on the blog. We have our first ever contest scheduled to premiere here next week, so stay tuned for that because it’s always fun to win free stuff!

Here are some pretty images from Cath Kidston today. Back in 2001, I was a Kidston addict, I had everything from lampshades to oilcloth chair covers and pretty homemade cafe curtains in my butter yellow kitchen. I’ve changed my decor since then, moved into a new abode, but I always remember my crush on Cath. In fact, I still love to sip tea from her mugs or use them to collect pencils on my desk.

Do you have any designers or particular styles that you tend to stick with? Or that, like me, you were really into and then, you started to form a new love for a different look altogether? Care to share your story?

(images from cath kidston)

Posted in uncategorized on August 25, 2006

ask decor8: Courtney Needs Your Help!

Courtney from Two Straight Lines has such a beautiful home, as I’m sure you’ll agree. But, like any homeowner, she is having a bit of a design dilemma. Recently, she wrote in looking for some help from decor8 readers. Here’s her issue:

“I am having an awful time with window treatments in my eat-in kitchen. It is on the west side of the house so it gets blasted in the afternoon with a terrible glare. I live in Michigan and the light here is glaring because it is often overcast.”

She continues, “So here’s the deal: I made little cafe curtains for the “cute French kitchen effect,” but they really don’t suit the purpose too well, because they block out half of the light all of the time, and don’t do anything for the afternoon glare. I’ve considered bamboo shades, or possibly wide wood shades with a colored twill tape. My island is sort of charcoal, so I though it might be nice to make these charcoal, since most of this room is cream and khaki, with teal and red accents. I am a big fan of stripes, so maybe a pinstripey look in a bamboo shade would work. I also have considered the striped solar shades like these, from Smith and Noble, but worry that they may look to “officey”, although we do have bronze colored ones in our home office and den. Solar shades are nice because they block the glare, but you can still see the yard, which is one this side of the house. I like the curtains over sink, but could layer a shade under them as well, but I would also be willing to lose them altogether. Here is a link to my flickr account with additional photos.”

Okay Courtney, I’ll start off this discussion with my tips: I suggest bringing in some pattern and texture into the space, and since you like to keep things neutral, add some visual interest by incorporating a bit of texture, like bamboo. Since you are open to stripes, opt for something along the lines of these natural woven shades with a multi colored stripe trim, maybe something that brings in a little of the rust I’m seeing in your living room, along with the cream, beige and charcoal that is currently in your kitchen. Since your island has a dark base, and your floors are hardwood, the colors that run through the bamboo would be a nice tie in. The Saga Solar fabric is a good option for the stripe lover in you.

Now, I’m turning this discussion over to decor8 readers, do you have any advice for Courtney?

Want to show off your space? Have a design challenge? Send your photos, with details to decor8blog[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Posted in Objects, Reader Questions on August 24, 2006


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