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Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays

For Take Five Tuesday this week, I’d like to introduce you to a few more stores that I’ve been browsing a lot lately, ones with such pretty things that I think you’ll agree that they’d make for very thoughtful gifts. {Although today is Wednesday, I started writing this yesterday so blogger still has it dated for Tuesday.}

UK ceramicist Emma Litten from White Doll Arts creates things for the kitchen that are so pretty, you’ll want to take tea five times a day. And her vases with the delicate lines are a delight for displaying branches, flowers, or handmade paper flowers. If you love cupcakes, don’t miss her ceramic bun trinket pot, it’s a favorite of mine from her shop. I find the pale pastels and organic forms shaped by human hands quite calming and lovely.

If you need some cards that feel a bit Boston, a bit like something you’d find in your grandmother’s desk drawer, and with a slice of the deep south perhaps Beau Ideal is the stationery shop for you. I’m draw in by the unique patterns and what I like to call, happy colors that remind me of sunny Florida. Her dogs are darling too, and if you want to join a card club, she has a fun “Paper Guild” that you can sign up for. via: Oh Joy!

A former full-time graphic t-shirt designer, Sasha Loots now works from home doodling beautiful girls and producing prints. I was going to save her for next Tuesday, but after seeing her work on Bloesem’s beautiful gift guide recently, I knew I’d better get to her before she’s all over the web. What gorgeousness.

First up are the hand painted, handbuilt glazed porcelain from k g + a b, a Brooklyn artist who, by day, works on window displays but by night… She produces these lovely trays with lots of swirls and animal silhouettes.

And finally, I adore Christina’s. She creates the sweetest little things, and I’m sorry, but I have a thing for softies – they melt my heart – and these puppies have to be the cutest things ever. They remind me of larger versions of those little dogs you took to school for all the kids to autograph. Remember those?

Did you miss last week’s edition of Take Five Tuesdays? No worries, click on the hyperlink below.

(images from the etsy sellers linked in this post)

Posted in Etsy Faves on December 12, 2007

Boston Locals: Biz Lady Meet Up Tonight!

Don’t forget! Tonight is the Boston Design Salon business lady meet up! The BDS was formed by local ceramist Jill Rosenwald. Their goal is to gather local business women to mingle and talk shop, or whatever it is that you do for a living. Their next meeting is tonight, Tuesday, December 11th @ 7:00 pm and the guest speaker will be Jill Shah of SoLUXE who will cover Network Marketing. The event will be hosted by Kelly Smith Harris of Etcetera Media at The Pink Comma Gallery. The location is 81B Wareham Street and it’s on the block between Harrison and Albany in the South End. Please call 617.833.0330 if you need directions.

Details here.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Jill Rosenweld: mcrae2 AT aol DOT com.

Posted in uncategorized on December 11, 2007

Raumformplan {Germany}

I hope you’re ready to learn about some clever new products out of Europe and take a little shop tour with me to view them. The store we’ll be visiting together today is called Raumformplan, owned by Architect Janin Pr?pper pictured below, and it is located in Hannover (S?dstadt), Germany. These photos were taken when I visited Janin in her store last month.

This is Janin Pr?pper, Dipl. Ing. and shop owner of Raumformplan.

Janin is the most welcoming and sincere lady, very friendly, and I appreciate that she took a lot of time to show me around her space and introduce me to many great product lines. Janin is a very creative woman, she gives her store such a warmth through her arrangements, but she goes above and beyond in more ways than through careful displays. Janin offers her customers affordable design help. She’ll visit the home of her client and taking into consideration their needs and the size of their space, along with their budget, she’ll pull together a few options for them in CAD and present them with practical solutions.

Great light fixture in the window, don’t you think? It’s called “Orbit”
and is available in yellow or white. It arrived flat packed so you can arrange
the circles in any fashion, creating an orbit that is uniquely your own.

The best part about her consulting service is that she gives the client options – they can either purchase through her or on their own – she’ll suggest products, carpenters, painters, and everything that they need to complete the project. Her service is under 300,- Euro per room, which is very affordable considering the standard rates most designers and architects charge. Janin does this because she is focused on providing exceptional customer service and since Raumformplan is a design store, offering clients affordable help is quite useful to them. I viewed her portfolio and was blown away by her renderings – Janin does exceptional work. So if you live in northern Germany and you need a great Architect, do not hesitate to contact her.

I think this metal “oh deer” coat/accessories holder from Swiss company Pulpo is fantastic. You can order it in black and I think silver too, but white is my favorite. I wanted to take it with me, but sadly couldn’t fit another thing into my suitcase. Those cute animal felted keyfobs are from Parkhaus Berlin.
The same company carries the best felt collection, they have seat cushions for Eames chairs in a variety of gorgeous colors (shown above) for only 42,- Euros each. Below you can see more Parkhaus Berlin items made for the kitchen.

More great hooks with atlers from Pulpo, you can purchase
them for around $20 USD
right here.

In case you haven’t noticed, Raumformplan’s focus is on clean, modern design from mostly European designers, a good amount of them from Germany. She also likes to mix in some vintage pieces to warm up the look. I noticed a lot of metal and felt being used in new and exciting ways, such as felted keyfobs, placemats, and wrapped around candle jars (shown below, Janin makes the candle jar felted wraps herself, they are beautiful).


I just heard the great news that next year, this shop will relocate from S?dstadt over to the Lister Meile area to a larger storefront. This is exciting news, but I do love her current space because she really knew how to use the small space effectively. In the back is where she works on her design projects during times when the shop is quiet.


This shop also showcases art in a revolving gallery within these four walls. An artist is selected and given space throughout the shop to display their work for a period of time, and then new work arrives from another artist. A surprise to me, but I learned that it’s not a common practice yet for shops to also function as mini galleries in Germany, but it’s becoming more and more popular there just as it is here in America.

Multiholk? Birdhouses are from a company based in the UK called Wildlife Garden. You can also see a yellow one in front of the shop when you arrive. (Did you notice it in the 2nd image from the top?) The pillows are from a Hannover designer, Annette Meurer.

Towels (above) and pillows (below) by S Wert Design of Berlin.
The tea light on the shelf may look familiar to you, it’s by
Ingrid of YippieYeah.


If you’d like to inquire about any of the items you see, you can either visit the online shop (in German only), or you can contact Janin directly (mail AT raumformplan.de) because she speaks perfect English and can assist you in case your German is as bad as mine. It was so nice to be able to visit her store, I hope that you enjoyed this mini tour and some of the fresh new products out of Europe shown here.

Thank you Janin! :)

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Shop Tours, Shopping + Products, Travel on December 11, 2007

Collections {we love ’em}

I’m excited to talk about collections today for a simple reason – they’re everywhere! Most of my friends and the design shops that I visited over the weekend down in Boston are moving far away from the “less is more” decor and embracing the pack rat within, but in a more organized fashion – through gorgeous groupings – and I love seeing it.

Decorating that bends the rules and reaches deep into the soul, pulling out your story, dreams, and emotions, and placing objects that reflect these things in your space is empowering. I love being around things that make me feel positive and motivated, and sometimes certain objects do this for me. Combining like items, or objects that relate to one another somehow, create order. This is something we all strive to attain – a sense of order and balance while showcasing parts of our unique personality. Most neat freaks and minimalists disregard scattered objects as useless clutter or little piles of chaos, opting for a more streamlined design. They claim there’s no time to clean around tons of tiny things piled all over. And I see the point. But life in a perfect model home isn’t for me either, so I’d rather hire someone to clean my collections for me or do what I currently do – block out time on a Saturday afternoon to clean my home. But I agree that rooms can appear chaotic and be a nightmare to clean when objects are bursting from every surface.

That’s why I’m a big fan of collections – placing things together instead of scattered randomly all over. Collections work best for a variety of personality types and design styles – from those who favor streamlined interiors to others who embrace a cozy lived-in decor. Why? Because all can achieve harmony and order by placing a careful collection, or two, or ten, in various places in the home depending on how much you’d like to show.

This is a collection of embroidered works that Esther from Mokka bags pulled together to form a gorgeous rug. Do you see something interesting here? A collection doesn’t need to be something sitting idle on a shelf – it can be a grouping of things you love put to good use!

This is an usual way to display a collection – on the floor! I loved it the second I read about this rug on the Style Files today.

For some, if you like very little on display, a collection to you may mean three 3 items on a single floating shelf over a sofa. And that’s it. For others, a collection gives them them the chance to fill every shelf with something exciting to gaze upon. I’ll leave how far you go with the amount of collections up to you — ultimately it’s your home and my preferences here aren’t important. But I can point you to some good tips that I’ve used to make those collections do what you’ve intended for them – to showcase objects in a creative way that is visually interesting.

Collections add dimension to a room in ways both seen and unseen. Pattern, color, or texture are introduced to let you know about the person living there. These curiosities add warmth, make guests feel at home, and give the space character – yours! On an otherwise boring white bookcase flanking a fireplace, group a special collection to add pattern there, for instance, instead of filling it with books that you never read simply because you reason that bookcases need to be filled with books, right? Ha! No way!

Lorena Siminovich, a talented artist from San Francisco, shows us the importance of a balanced collection using her bookcases. She knows when “enough is enough” and she’s got a great handle on symmetry – because her bookcases flank her fireplace, Lorena needed to balance each one so they relate to one another, have the right amount of “stuff” on each or else one side would look heavier than the other, and all this while still being creative and showcasing the things she loves without things appearing textbook perfect.

Lorena’s results are beautiful while still maintaining her authentic style.

How do I get started on a collection, you ask? Easy. Look for themes already in your home in the many objects you already have. You may see milk glass in random spots, maybe in your bathroom, a few items in your kitchen, and a beautiful piece displayed on your credenza. Would you like to create a collection displaying all of these arranged together? No? Okay, let’s leave the milk glass alone and look at other repeat objects in your home. Are those prints from Etsy I see stacked in a small pile on your dresser? Hmm… Perhaps you can start there.

Here’s a practical solution to showing off your growing collection of art. Purchase a few picture ledges, mount two (one directly over the other) to a free wall, and buy a series of white frames or frames that are all very similar in size and color. Take all of your prints, frame them, and arrange them on the ledge in various order to see what suits you. Step back. Admire. If you get tired of their order, move them around. If you tire of a specific print, purchase another or make something yourself using photos or a scrap of your favorite wallpaper, scrapbook paper, or fabric, and swap it out. Maybe you could include that cute drawing your baby cousin sent to you? That’s personal and gives your collection a great conversation piece.

Mixed media collage artist Michelle Caplan has a rotating gallery in her home. Using a simple bench, she displays her favorites pieces of the moment.

When I think of collections done right, Lisa Congdon comes to mind. Whenever I peek in on her, I notice she enjoys artful arrangements around her San Francisco home. She seems to always have something new and she does a beautiful job pulling in all the objects that relate to a particular theme that she’s working on. Here’s her recent plate collection, and another of vintage photos on her wall. See what I mean?

For a real treat, visit Lisa’s pool of creative collections. You’ll look at everything in your home differently after checking out her photos.

For a successful collection, there needs to be a theme behind it. I don’t necessarily mean that it has to be object-related – only owls or only white pottery, although these are both common and pretty ones, just as deer, mercury glass, feathers, plates, silhouettes, vintage cameras, globes, clocks, are other popular collections. But a collection can be based around an emotion using a variety of objects to show the emotion.

You can also have collections centered around a theme, such as a season, color, or designer. Some love to collect white pottery only from the pot-king himself, Jonathan Adler. Others collect objects from outside and group them together to show more of a seasonal display of objects (acorns, leafs, seed pods, etc.). Still others are looking to group items together that radiate a certain feeling – this display created by Creature Comforts, who is a highly creative blogger and shop owner by the way, shows us an example of this.

Creature Comforts’ displays many different objects that relate somehow, through various tones of white, along with clear glass, mercury glass, and milk glass, to show us what Winter means through her eyes. A refreshing mix, isn’t it? The reflective surface of the mercury glass adds a festive spark.

Then you have Brooklyn designer Lena Corwin, a lady that many of us are keenly interested in because she has such a great eye for color and pattern, and she shows this through even the most “mundane” objects, things that no longer seem so everyday when she comes in contact with them.

Lena’s way of displaying objects is very appealing. Take her vintage collection of mugs on a simple shelf.

Of course, not all objects on display are ones you can pick up and examine, as we saw early with that beautiful embroidered rug. Some are meant to be enjoyed from a few steps back, like art. In blogger Victoria’s home, you see an example of an inexpensive art collection grouped over a simple white sofa accented by pillows that pick up the pattern and colors in the art.

This is a great example of a collection done right – art displayed in a casual way, although Victoria confesses to spending time on this arrangement to get things right. But the end result is laid back bohemian, a style of living that this California lady embraces.

You can also build collections based on a season or holiday, as we’ve mentioned already, but here’s an example to ground the fact that seasonal decor doesn’t have to be tacky or purchased in one single trip to some big box store. The very word collection means “something that is collected; a group of objects or an amount of material accumulated in one location, esp. for some purpose or as a result of some process”. Notice it doesn’t say “collected from one location” rather “accumulated in one location”. Big difference. Collecting is all about taking time to build something and enjoying the process so that the gathering of things in one location, be that a credenza, cabinet, or wall, means something very personal to you.

This is a good example of a collected group of seasonal delights that evolved over time. These dazzling vintage tree toppers owned by Mindy from Retro Clean. Mindy tells us, “These vintage tree toppers are my Christmas decorating obsession. I have 39 of them on display and a few more that I didn’t put out. I can’t pass one up when I see them at a sale. Most have been obtained at yard sales or estate sales.”

Here is a collection of little trees from Stephanie Barnes, also known as one half of the 3191 blogging duo, mixed in with some other objects. When I look at Stephanie’s collections, I imagine that she is trying to tell a story or convey a feeling through her displays. You almost have to peer closely and use your imagination to figure out her displays, and that is really fun I think.

This is a collection of goodies from Nina van de Goor, who has the most gorgeous photos of things she is inspired by right here. This grouping seems to be pretty random, but shows that a collection doesn’t need to be planned out or guided by one specific item. You may find random items at flea markets or gifts from your friends that just seem to work together and after some arrangement, it just works. Perhaps it has to do with the balance she’s created in the harmony of blue and red?

I’d really like to see what you’re collecting lately, and hope that you’ll jump in and share either through a comment or via photos (email me!). I’ve created a flickr group called Creative Collections if you’d like to add your photos there. I hope you’ll join! I’ll be using some of them here on decor8 throughout the week to talk more on the topic.

(images linked above to their photo bugs)

Posted in Inspiration, Trends on December 10, 2007

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