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The Sitting Room {chart crush}

Yup. I still have a crush on these charts that many of us sat around staring at for most of our youth in an effort to memorize for the next pop quiz. (I mean, we can’t all be like Lilly, although I do clap for myself on occasion just like she does). Then when you’re an adult and a chart no longer represents fear, sweating, and the difference between getting into the next grade or not, suddenly we find them quite appealing. At least I do. So while reading Vanessa’s blog recently (you must check out the huge sale she’s having – 40% off everything until 12/31), I discovered The Sitting Room located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.


Upon closer inspection of the beautiful room Vanessa posted of Heather’s shop (which doubles as her home), I noticed a gorgeous vintage-inspired map over the dreamy apple green velvet sofa (also for sale, $3,610). See it? Oh yes…


And of course you recall these posts about Deyrolle and Jung-Koch-Quentell? So you know about my fascination with these things and that they’ve held my attention for nine whole months, so that means I really like them. Of course, I had to learn more about the chart hanging so nicely there above that sofa, so I wrote to Heather to get the scoop on it and discovered that she carries more – they sell for around $75 USD each.

Please contact Heather via email (heather AT thesittingroomhome DOT com) for dimensions, shipping, and etc. She carries several botanical charts in addition to the maps and more are expected to arrive in her shop soon, so please contact her if you’re interested in adding a chart to your home. Oh-la-la~!

(images from the sitting room)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, walls on December 04, 2007
decor8 great.ly shop

Meet John Trosko {aka Mr. Organization}

Hollywood (and its many housewives) call him when they want to get organized. Imagine that. John Trosko and his company, OrganizingLA works with clients who have lost touch with their possessions (perhaps they cannot find them?), and encourages them to downsize, organize, and pursue long forgotten hobbies and passions once the clutter is clear. Because organization is constantly on my brain, which I blame on my mother along with Martha Stewart, and Real Simple magazine, I thought John was the perfect go-to guy to talk to about organizing the home since this is the time of year when the pack-ratting begins. Along with John, I’ve contributed a bit by adding some of my favorite products for getting organized – at least half of which I own and use on a an (almost!) daily basis.

Audrey Patton bag and Slicker tote, Fashionable clipboard sets,
Smart storage jars, Lorraine plate rack (organizing never looked
so pretty – paint in a bright color or go with crisp white).

decor8: Hi John! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and enjoy the many topics you share there on organization. So tell us, how do you help your clients figure out what part of their home should be organized first?

John: All of my meetings start with a ?kick-off? session where I tour a space, meet the family, pitch the value of my service and resources, and come up with a rough timeline to get the work done. I also work to ?size? up the client to make sure we?re a good fit in personality and they have the time to devote to making decisions. In other words, I only want to work with clients who want to ?finish? their project.

decor8: What are the common “problem” rooms?

John: I start in any space that is causing the most frustration, which is usually an office or a kitchen?wherever they spend a lot of time. Unfortunately, these areas are mountainous, and can take lots of time. So if people are hesitant about the road ahead, we may choose a smaller, more confined space like a pantry, dresser or coat closet. That way, the client can gain some confidence, get some decision skills going and learn to keep up the space without me constantly on them. Then, we can finally move onto the next location. The areas of the home that need the most attention are the routine areas, entry ways, bathroom vanities, magazine storage, mail deposits, nightstands?any space you use everyday. Those areas need rather simple systems, but require almost daily maintenance.

decor8: What are your observations when it comes to all these tools we buy — are they helping?

John: The whole organizing supplies industry is exploding. People want to keep the volumes of stuff they already own, but they want it all labeled, containerized and inventoried for use later. I avoid having a discussion about products until a client downsizes and we are both confident what we have is what we need. I have to tell you, most clients have a MOUNTAIN of unused organizing supplies in their homes and offices These include bins, baskets, drawer boxes, racks, hooks, suede letter dividers left sitting around, enough to fill a small shop The only issue with this is that things rarely match. I suggest these items get located in one area and we try and reuse and recycle what is possible. The rest gets donated. Every client gets a conversation about not only buying, but actually using what they buy. The entire process is self-reflective, slightly intrusive, but ultimately rewarding. It should feel like a visit to the dentist and not like a colonoscopy.

decor8: Can you share with us your ten commandments of organization?

John: Certainly. Thou shall not directly worship the Container Store Goddess. The purity of organizing products does not preclude you from clearing your clutter, first. The Organizing ?Secret? is no secret at all; keepith space available brings you untold fortune. Thou shall not commit adultery (however, ?tis honorable to ask for organizing helpith during Spring Fling.) Devote thy days to mess maintainence, but thou nights to wine and dine. Honor thy elders. Thou shall not nag if items are in wrong place; put them back without saying anythingth. Getting thyself organized is easier then staying organized. Avoidith keeping clutter as a yardstick of thy achievements. Thou must not give false evidence against thy neighbor. Stop chasing thy paper chase; lose thy ?to file? box and handle immediately by putting it away in its rightful place. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor?s goods. Thy grass may be greener around thy neighbor?s lawn mover shed, but inside may be a dark surprise. Eat, drink and be merry. Organizing thyself is reflective, but should be funneth.

decor8: I like those but I have to add one – only buyith large bins for attic storage that are clear or else you forgetith what’s inside. Okay, so once a space is organized, let’s use the home office as an example, what are some effective ways to maintain that?

John: The term I use is called ?backsliding.? It?s sort of like a diet. You decide you need to lose that extra 10 pounds before the big party, and you workout like crazy and eat next to nothing for the next 2 weeks. Sure the big party comes, and you look great, but then you drift back into unproductive habits until the next time you need to lose the same weight. So the value in getting organized is not in the act of doing the work to get there, it?s in the act of ?staying? organized. It?s the habit of maintenance that will prove your overall success.

decor8: Okay, we hear you, maintenance. Can you share some expert tips?

John: Keep it simple; don?t make your systems too complicated. Store items where you need them. Storage should be accessible, with one or two motions to open/close. Try not to stack things. Place your everyday accessible items in plain, open view, and the seldom used items on lower shelves or cabinets. Label everything, even if it?s obvious.

decor8: What if you live with (cough, cough) others that aren’t so neat (complete slobs)?

John: Be very careful about critiquing others in the house who haven?t subscribed to your organizing euphoria. If things are out of place, reinforce your new system by putting things back without complaining. The concept here is to peacefully stress the importance of the system, without alienating your beloved. Do not think that the time you spend summoning your husband over and scolding him will be an investment. It will only alienate them. If you follow your simple systems and put things back several times each week, you will develop a new ?habit? that will last and last and last. Much longer than that ?diet? crash program.

Large document box, Wicker storage basket, Desktop file,
magazine boxes, Hable Construction storage boxes.
I swear by these Hable storage boxes for storing bottled water
in the kitchen or magazines by your desk.

decor8: In my family, my husband is always after me, he is extremely neat and organized down to his sock drawer. Okay, so we buy some containers, downsize, and organize. Now for motivation. Any advice there?

John: The value of my service is about strategy and execution. It?s easier to let items pile up instead of taking the time to make ?discard or retain? decision, right? Most clients have a disconnect between where they are today, and where they want to be next month. This is because they have no action plan to get anywhere. Develop that action plan using your resources, so you will have a coherent approach to managing the execution of your organizing plan. This is why rewards are so important. If you hit a milestone (desk cleared, closet purged, donations leaving the house and at the charity thrift store), give yourself a reward. Because if you don?t reward yourself, who will? ?If I keep the entry way from my front door cleared and maintained for a week, I?ll go buy those flowers, get a manicure, or snag that design book I?ve been hearing about.?

Thank you John for sharing your insights with us. If you have any questions for John, please leave a comment below and he’ll address those for you right here. John’s blog is a great source for organizational how-to. Check it out!

(images from retailers mentioned in above links)

Posted in interviews, workspace on December 04, 2007

Hostess with the Mostess {giveaway}

Seems the Hostess with the Mostess teamed up with the girls over at Yum Sugar and they’re throwing a little web party that all of us can join in on! They’re offering over $7,000 in prizes in case you’d like to win something wonderful… Like this Jonathan Adler tea pot perhaps?

Click here for the full scoop.

(image from hwtm)

Posted in contests on December 03, 2007

Meet YIPPIEYEAH {Germany}

I can’t wait to introduce you to the lovely Ingrid in Hannover, Germany, her products, and her home. I found the sweet things she makes sprinkled throughout stores in Hannover and knew I had to learn more, so I googled her which landed me on her website. From there, a few emails were exchanged, and we met at her spacious and sunny city flat/atelier where we chatted over homemade chocolate muffins and hot chai. (p.s. I love my “job”!)

Where our discussion took place, Ingrid’s flat that she shares with her husband.

Meeting with Ingrid gave me this genuine feeling of community – that there really is a global community and spirit that exists out there amidst those who write, or who craft, sew, anything that involves either making or promoting arts and crafts – and it reaches far beyond the internet – there are creative independent artists in even the smallest cities located all over the world – we’ve only been exposed to a glimpse of all the goodness out there.

I find it fascinating and motivating to know that we all share a special bond and a common vision – to promote unique and beautiful items (that aren’t mass-produced), where the artist has almost full creative control and no one higher up to go to for approvals, a small business that can be designed and executed on the living room floor or in a lofty studio – it doesn’t matter where because in the end, the designer decides and no one else. And these are just a few of the reasons why we celebrate the handmade lifestyle.

Entering Ingrid’s home, I was welcomed with her warmth and positive energy, the smell of chocolate, flickering candles, and beautiful ethnic music from Morocco. And look at me, I haven’t even mentioned all the beautiful products that she shared, from handbags to mouse pads and everything in between. It was heavenly. You have to meet her.

Ingrid in her living room with the tray of delicious
things that she made for my visit.

With that, allow me to introduce Ingrid Duvenhorst of YIPPIEYEAH made with love. Would you like to join us while we discuss her business, motivation, and how she deals with copycats amongst other topics? Come have a seat…

decor8: Hi Ingrid! I’m so pleased to introduce you to my readers and show them what you do. First, can you tell us where you and your business are based?
Ingrid: For two years I’ve been back here in Hannover, Germany where I was born. In between, I took several job-related “detours” such as W?rzburg, Paris, and Berlin.

decor8: How long have you been around design and when did you launch YIPPIEYEAH?
Ingrid: It’s been 8 years now since obtaining my degree in textile design. I’ve been working for both industries and agency clients as a trend consultant. Two years ago I started my own label. Looking back, I believe that I started this “business” when I was 11 years old, when I pleaded with my Belgian grandmother to buy very expensive interior design magazines for me. Which most of the time she did. :)

More views of her living room. I like the mostly white aesthetic in her
home with subtle shots of color and texture. Ingrid prefers a lot of white
space, so she adds no art to her walls. She adds purple and red tones as accents.
I fell in love with this cabinet in her kitchen, she acquired it in Berlin – it was almost thrown out by previous tenants and she knew she had to have it so she painted the brown cabinet white and viola! treasure rescued!

decor8: In regards to the availability of YIPPIEYEAH, do you sell in America or are you looking to? Are you on Etsy or Dawanda at all?
Ingrid: Not yet, but I would love to sell in America at stores. No, I don’t sell on Etsy or Dawanda, but Raumformplan carries some of my products in their web shop.

A YIPPIEYEAH paper lantern made to fit around a
glass candle holder for use with tea lights.

decor8: I’m assuming here that decor8 readers know what you do – how silly of me! Why don’t you tell everyone about your product line.
Ingrid: Sure. I design and make by hand home and fashion accessories like cushions, lampions, lightchains, lampshades, bags, talismans, sachets, screen-printed T-shirts, magnets, stickers, patches, table mats, mouse pads, brooches, necklaces, buttons, knitted scarves, tattoos, greeting cards and whatever pops up in my mind in this regard.

More corners of her home including the library/hallway,
bedroom, kitchen, and her workspace where the YIPPIEYEAH
collection comes to life. Notice the lighting? Paper lanterns,
cascading cut-out florals, illuminated branches, a charming
chandelier – Ingrid certainly has an eye for subtle beauty.

decor8: Oh my goodness – your line is more extensive than I thought! Do you make everything in your studio or do you outsource?
Ingrid: So far everything is made in my studio, sometimes I outsource to my husband who helps me out when I am sick. :) No, seriously, I’m considering outsourcing parts of my range due to the good response from the shops I am selling to.

decor8: Yes, you are quite popular here in Hannover! How did you get started, you mentioned that you launched your line two years ago – what lead up to that point?
Ingrid: I was thinking of forming my own label when I was designing silly prints for a huge fashion company. But the time was not right. I needed to go through some detours to finalize the idea and get the self-esteem and courage to go solo. In 2005 everything fell into place. I started with a small batch of risk-free little objects and items for selected shops I am befriended with. Over these two years I had good experiences developing the product range. My time working for the industry and trend agencies certainly helped to get me started.

decor8: What are the main characteristics of your work?
Ingrid: A fusion of inspiring materials, techniques, patterns and colors. Everything is (hand)-made with love, unique and produced in a limited amount.

More views from the YIPPIEYEAH home.

decor8: What are your personal skills?
Ingrid: I think rather than technical skills, or special material knowledge, my intuitive feeling for colour, texture and pattern. I tend to see coherences and trends all around me that I put into my designs. Overall, I’m inclined to decent aesthetics.

decor8: What inspires your work and motivates you to keep going?
Ingrid: Nature, Animals, foreign countries, curiosity what happens next. It’s a beneficial process to stay in touch with my creative resources. And it is great fun to combine colors, material, patterns.

Coasters and mouse pads in gorgeous colors.

decor8: What was your first success?
Ingrid: Depending on how you define success. The first product that went well were buttons specially designed in the YIPPIEYEAH fashion. My first success personally was to acquire new customers apart from my friends. Feeling like a hawker, I told myself to not to go home unless I had three customers, which I achieved in two hours time. My husband fell in love with me because of a romantic and smart memory card set I created for him. So that’s a success, too, I guess.

decor8: What difficulties arise as a small business owner and how do you overcome these?
Ingrid: Everything is handmade, including the packaging. This takes a lot of time and effort. The prototype building is very inspiring and exciting on the one hand, but it can become incredibly boring to produce items in higher volumes. I overcome this with extreme discipline and my iTunes library — lots of music. And producing these products have some meditative effect on me. On the cost side, it is hard to compete with low-cost products from abroad. Pricing and profitability need to be monitored.

Talisman for hanging and pretty iron-on patches
for jeans, t-shirts, pillows, anywhere you’d like them!

decor8: What about problems with copycats, have you encountered much of this?
Ingrid: Of course, it is scary and menacing that your very asset (creative idea) can be stolen and reproduced by some factory in the shortest time period. I personally consider myself a step further on my way than a copycat. If I spend my time guarding myself from copycats I can’t be open for any creative dialogue. And I guess, everybody gets inspired by somebody else’s inspiration and there is an abundance of beautiful things in the world.

decor8: What is the most important advice you can give to small business owners?
Ingrid: Have fun and be authentic, that means love what you do and be content with what you have. But to think big anyway. :)

decor8: What projects do you have in mind for the future?
Ingrid: Bring the label on a higher level in terms of productivity whilst keeping the “made with love” spirit.

decor8: What about personal goals?
Ingrid: Have children, dogs, cats, a fireplace, a sauna, live in a Mediterranean country most of the time. Travel to Tibet and the rest of the world with my husband. Practice more yoga and meditation to keep the inner light glowing.

decor8: What are you listening to these days?
Ingrid: Ch?ying Drolma, Gentleman, The Dears, Wilco, DJ Shantel, Decemberists, Nouvelle Vague, And you will know us by the trail of dead, Habib Koite, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, and Gravenhurst.

decor8: And finally…. What websites, blogs, magazines do you read?
Ingrid: I browse through quite a lot of trade publications such as Elle Decoration, Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idees, Form, View…and many websites.

Thank you Ingrid for sharing YIPPIEYEAH with us. I’m so happy that we were able to meet up and look forward to seeing you again real soon. Spending time with you, your husband, and in your home viewing your products up close and personal made my stay in Hannover extra sweet. :)

(images taken by holly becker for decor8 with the exception of the top photo from Ingrid)

Posted in Home Tours, interviews on December 03, 2007

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