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West Elm: Mirrors!

Yeah! New items posted on the West Elm website today (lots of green!), but I’m especially fond of this faux bois mirror ($249) because it’s large and in charge, but not intimidating or over the top. Doesn’t it look stunning in this room?

I also have a crush on their new round leather mirror ($149), it looks so much like the one I’ve had a crush on for ages from BDDW, only without the leather hanger (which is easy enough to add to the West Elm version).

Even though I like seeing affordable options for those that cannot afford the high end designs, who doesn’t like a deal, I sometimes wonder what all of this really means in a big picture kind of way. I shop sometimes at West Elm, and often see items that seem to be inspired by a more expensive designer item. Meg over at Designer’s Library notices to, and actually spoke to this point on her blog not to long ago, click here to read her thoughts.

West Elm
BDDW

Perhaps this just means that imitation is flattery? Fu (or Foo) dogs are popping up all over, created by various companies, as are Zebra rugs, Chinese ceramic stools, wire chairs… Could it simply be that a single, great design is launched into the world and becomes such a must-have item that it gets recreated in many versions (even nearly duplicated one to one), making it into what becomes a timeless classic?

What do you think? I wonder what the designers, the BDDW’s in the world, think about this. Are they flattered? Does this actually generate more interest, and business, in the end?

(images from west elm and bddw)

Posted in round-up, walls on March 20, 2007

Shop Girl: What Can Shop Owners Do To Attract Loyal Customers?

For the next few months, decor8 will feature a Shop Girl series, posts that randomly pop up from time to time about shop ownership – brick ‘n mortar and online stores – to gather the perspectives of both owner and customer alike. The goal is to collect ideas that will help small business owners stay afloat which will make our shop experience as customers, a richer, more interesting one that fills more than just our bags, but may even help us meet new people in our community, learn about interesting artists, and walk away feeling refreshed and inspired.
The response from Shop Owners How Do You Stay Alive?, blogged on March 13th, resulted in some informative comments that extend beyond the typical ‘great post!’ that you usually see on blogs. If you haven’t already, please read the comments, enlightening to say the least. Shannon, from the blog Make It, brought up an interesting point that I’d like to get your opinion on.

Shannon said, “I love hearing of small businesses that also hold art/craft exhibits. Doe and Rare Device are two stores that do this very well and not only do they get great publicity from it, they support small artisans and give people another reason to visit their shop, even if they don’t feel like shopping. Small businesses need to think of creative ways to get people into their stores (classes, book signings, cocktail hour). Here in Boston, Magpie just reopened in a larger storefront with a temporary art exhibit as well.”

So readers, shoppers, friends of independent boutiques… What do you think? How can shop owners attract a loyal following? If you owned a shop, what creative ideas would you use to attract customers? What would you like to gain from your shopping experience?

(images from doe, dear, and rose + radish)

Posted in small business on March 20, 2007

Bodo Sperlein

When I was in Germany last year, I discovered Bodo Sperlein and blogged about them here. Smitten by their work, I was encouraged by an email I received today from Maguelone, a blogger in France, to check out their latest collections. Thanks, Maguelone! I instantly fell for this porcelain ring, designed by Bodo Sperlein for Lladro. Isn’t it absolute perfection? I love seeing something so fresh like this, I’d never seen anything quite like it before. And the lighting. Porcelain delicately formed into gorgeous blooms and placed on glass…. One word. Wow.


(images from bodo sperlein)

Posted in ceramics, lighting on March 20, 2007

Pippa Caley + Not on the High Street

Pippa Caley is a lady whom I’d love to meet. Pippa is interesting and stylish, her embroidered and screen-printed cushions and wall papels speak volumes about just how cool she is. Outside of her work, I found her inspiration board imaginative and colorful, a glimpse into her world.

Pippa’s inspiration board

You can learn a lot about a person when you ‘see’ what they’re thinking. People that are highly visual give you an immediate glimpse into their soul. Just a glimpse though, not much more. :) Knowing a creative type is such a pleasure, so satisfying, instant gratification in a sense, don’t you think? You need not spend hours in conversation, you may never even meet them in person. Just looking at their photography, their inspiration board, their work – you can learn so much about what makes them tick. My husband calls this ‘Alternate Words’, it’s a way of hearing a story, learning about someone, through an alternate means. Often through the eyes, but also through smell, touch, or sound (music, not the spoken word). Telling a story without using words (spoken or written), can impact the soul and spark the imagination. Unlike a novel or movie where most of the details are laid before you, photography, art, and other highly visual forms of expression gives the viewer a lot of creative freedom – you can tap into your imagination, pull new ideas, and as a result, walk away inspired. Whatever the case, Pippa and her body of work, certainly accomplishes this.

As a graduate of the Royal College of Art, her collection of textiles for the home really speak to me. I love that she’ll take your vintage photographs and create a bespoke product exclusively for you to enjoy. This actually reminds me a lot of Michelle Caplan and her mixed media artwork, someone I’ve been purchasing art from since ’05. I love seeing vintage photography used so creatively, especially since surrounding yourself with photos of those that have been a guiding force in your life is such a positive addition to your home, and certainly is a less traditional approach to showcasing your favorite photos. It’s almost visual storytelling… A glimpse of your past.

You can also shop the Pippa Caley collection online at Not on the High Street, an amazing treasure chest of a store with goods from so many talented artists, mostly based in the UK.

Psst: Ms. Caley even has some really cute tea towels too. :)

(images from pippa caley)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, textiles on March 19, 2007

Books:

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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