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New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide

While the thrill of the hunt is invigorating, the thrill of the blindly stumbled upon can sometimes delight even more. Over the winter while browsing the local Barnes & Noble, I found a $13 book that spoke to me on every level in the most unexpected place – the nobody-loves-me-anymore bargain section. How a new release ended up there, I’ll never know. Call it fate. New Decor, written by London-based designer and writer Elizabeth Wilhide and photographed by Lisbett Wedendahl, is packed with gorgeous imagery and decorating tips.

It embraces that European urban bohemian style we love, referred to as Modern Euro Country in some magazines, but I’m beginning to think I should call it Bohemian Euro and leave it at that, it’s quicker to say and gets to the core of this most appealing look.


As a side point, New Decor appears to have different covers and titles in other parts of the world, so it’s easy to get confused. The ISBN is 978-076078-944-5 in case you want to find it in a store where you live. In Germany, it’s titled Inspiration, and in the UK, it has a totally different cover look altogether.


I have to admit that upon first glance, I wasn’t impressed by the colors on the cover (something about violet and beige combined, but that’s just me), so I walked by it a few times. But the more I looked over at it, it kept calling to me — almost batting it’s eyelashes with the giant discount sticker slapped on the front. One cannot at least look into a bargain, right? But the bait that really lured me in was the border shown on the cover, something about it felt familiar and I had to investigate further, so I satisfied my curiosity and read that it’s wallpaper designed by none other than Ms. Orla Kiely herself for Habitat’s VIP collection in London. Ah-ha! The second I saw her name this rush of excitement ripped through me, for anything involving Orla Kiely must be good. And this book is very good. Drool-inducing pages of gorgeousness, one after another. I felt as though I’d discovered gold that day in the middle of big box bargainville.


I refer to New Decor regularly for ideas and inspiration. It has opened my eyes to color and pattern, and I was already confident (or so I thought) in using both and thought I was pretty open-minded about design until New Decor entered my life. It’s a great reminder that when it comes to design, I’ve only just begun! I need to continue to develop my eye by experimenting more, leaning less on what I know to guide me (comfort) and more on what I do not know to steer me in exciting new directions (exploration, going beyond what’s comfortable). Yes, a mere design book with pretty picture can do that.


Beyond imagery though, it’s packed with topics spanning everything from monochromatic color schemes to brightly-colored wallpaper, there’s truly something for everyone including display techniques, window treatments, how to mix a variety of patterns in a space, and tips on paint selection. There’s even a how-to guide in the back and a stocklist. I’ll try to look through that later today and share some of those with you here, as a few of the resources cited do not sound familiar to me. I need to comb the stocklist to locate these curtains below because I want to buy them for an upcoming project I’m involved in. It’s called decorating my new city apartment. More on that in months to come. :)


I seriously suggest that you purchase a copy and find a cozy chair immediately, it may open your eyes to a few non-traditional approaches to design too.

(images from new decor and holly becker)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration on August 08, 2007
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Psst: We’re up to 90! Click here to view all of the decor8/Fabulous Stationery contest entries. If you’d like to enter, read this post for submission guidelines. Deadline: August 10th. :)

This is entry #86 from Gisela Pozzetti, a textile designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

(image from gisela pozzetti)

Posted in uncategorized on August 07, 2007

decor8 Reader Question: Curtain Help Anyone?

A question arrived from decor8 reader Jonis, she needs window treatments in her new home. Her walls are painted Lancaster Whitewash by Benjamin Moore and the furniture is chocolate brown velvet. This is a snapshot of her formal living room, and because it’s formal she’s perfectly fine with dressing up the windows a bit and investing in fabric and quality rods.


Jonis is considering a double rod with sheers in the back (for light) and panels in the front, but isn’t sure as to what color or neutral would work well with the walls and furniture. She wonders about a raw silk in cream with brown threads that she came across, but is concerned that it may be too dull. (My thought immediately: When in doubt, do without!). Can anyone help Jonis? Here are some things to consider before posting your ideas:

-Jonis mentioned that Roman shades are not an option because there isn’t enough depth to the windows to mount them on the inside of the molding. I have a thought on this below…

- She’s happy to find fabric and have them made, but would love suggestions on style if you can think of something. Or a textile that you suggest.

-Repainting the walls is not an option.

- Not into pattern or a lot of color. She wants to keep things somewhat neutral and not too trendy. She’d like to introduce color mostly through art and pillows.

Jonis promises to send in After photos, so see what you can come up with, decor8 readers! I’ll chime in my $.02 below. I see a few options here. These are my thoughts:

First Jonis, if you aren’t into pattern or bold color, think about introducing texture to the room because that will warm things up and make the space look finished (now it’s a bit lonely in there!). Consider adding some pattern in small doses, perhaps neutral-toned panels with a patterned trim (something geometric like a greek key motif). Trim introduces a little action to the room without overpowering it. You can then add a bamboo blind peeking through for privacy at night so you don’t have to worry about opening and closing the curtains constantly. The wood would look nicely with your furniture and bring in texture. You can find great blinds at Target for a low price and you’re in luck because they can be installed outside of the window frame (drapes hide that anyway) so you don’t need them to be sized to fit.

You can also opt for drapes with patterned or solid trims (where you will introduce a color) along the bottom instead of the sides. To give you a quick visual, refer to the image below of Ann Brashares and Jacob Collins?s NYC bedroom for example. And notice how the rods are installed as close to the ceiling as possible, perfectly okay to do and adds height to the room. You have gorgeous crown molding so I’d install them just below that (if your drapes do not have a ruffle) and on the window frame if there is a ruffle.

Notice that the rod selected above is the same color as the molding, another great idea to pick up as it blends in with everyone else perfectly. If it were black or wood the result wouldn’t be as calming and subtle. If you want to add some pattern to the room, look for cream rods with a pretty finial, an acorn, artichoke, or pineapple (for instance) also in cream. That way, there’s a little texture being introduced. And trim on the bottom is subtle despite being red, which is repeated on the bed. I’d shy away from roller shades, cornices, lambrequins, valances, swags, and scarves. Pinch pleats would look nice. If you stick with a solid neutral and no trim, opt for making the curtain itself more decorative, try smocked or smocked with a ruffle (keep in mind that the ruffle will sit above the rod so the rod will need to come down a little. I suggest two equal panels with trim either on the sides or the bottom though with

(image from Jonis and NYTimes)

Posted in reader questions, textiles on August 07, 2007

fourLOGS Discount (for decor8 readers)

fourLOGS made their rounds in the blogosphere months ago, but they’re still quite fresh and appealing to me because I find that very few apartments in Boston have working fireplaces in rental units. So you have an ornate mantle to display pretty things on but below it there’s only white space… An unattractive plaster filled hole flush with the wall where a fireplace once warmed cool Autumn nights. Drat!


I think this is why filled fireplaces need the cleverly designed fourLOGS, they’re whimsical (as if you are saying “Who needs a working fireplace anyway, $%?# landlords!”), modern, and c’mon people – faux bois, that popular woodgrain motif, any questions!? And for the thousands of us that don’t have fireplaces or even a hint of one, you can use them to decorate the walls or add them to other areas of the home where a little visual interest is needed. I’m thinking even in the bathroom, they’d be cute and quite unexpected there.

If you aren’t sold already, then this may help. fourLOGS is giving decor8 readers a discount until August 15th. Take 20% off of your total purchase if you use Paypal. Once you checkout and pay for the order (please put DECOR8 in the notes section), fourLOGS will reimburse you for 20% of the order total before shipping via Paypal. So money out – money back in! You’ll have faux logs near the faux fire within a few weeks.

But caution: don’t put them near an actual burning fire because they’ll light up the room. The goal is decoration, not fireplace screen. :)

(images from fourlogs)

Posted in discounts on August 07, 2007

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