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Reader Q: Lantern Help!

Reader Diana from New York City wrote in looking for the lantern pendant shown below. She’s hoping that one of us can point her in the right direction. At first glance it looks like fabric vs. paper so I’m thinking it’s a gauze lantern from China. Asian Ideas, Good Orient, Luna Bazaar, Party Lights, and ebay are good places to start for gauze and paper lanterns, but I think Asian Ideas may be the perfect fit, although the shape isn’t exact. I included the others just in case. ;)


Diana have you tried Chinatown since you live in the city — perhaps Pearl River?

Or if you’re looking for something a little more unique, you can order a lantern from Orike Muth, I met her and viewed her handmade lanterns in person – they’re beautiful and very well made. She design textiles and lighting out of her studio in Hanover, Germany.

(image from orike muth, top image submitted by reader without source.)

Posted in lighting, reader questions, shopping, travel on January 29, 2008
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The Unsinkable Color Brown

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer.

Ah, good ol? brown. Woodsy, earthy, dependable. It?s not actually a spectral hue, but a dark version of orange. All the same, rustic, wholesome brown is a staple in interior design and deserves its moment of glory.

via: LivingEtc.

What words come to mind when you think of brown? Snuggly, rich, comfy, natural, soothing, luxurious and warm may be a few. It?s also a safe choice, if red shouts, then brown is a soft hum. Brown’s pale sibling, beige, is a very popular wall color here in the states. No wonder IKEA targeted us with their popular “Be Brave, Not Beige” campaign including a fun website dedicated to encouraging the infusion of saturated color into the home, especially the ‘typical’ American one. While I believe strongly in the use of color in a space, I?m not entirely against beige and its milky cohorts. From buff to burgundy, rust to wheat, brown can give you a huge range of looks and whether understated or bold, it’s often a terrific canvas to work from.

Subdued colors shown here in Laura’s Bohn soothing
living room via the New York Social Diary.

Soft and cozy via: LivingEtc.

via: House to Home UK.

These neutral tones can work quite in supporting roles: to provide a backdrop to accent pieces, or maintain continuity between stronger tones. The warm mushroom chaise lounge works wonderfully here as a counter-balance to the soft grey wall.

Here, deep brown paint provides weight and a sense of depth in this sitting area. Chocolate also look lovely in smaller spaces, such as an entry, kitchen, or bathroom. via: Homes and Gardens UK.


Wood floors are a basic component of most homes. And wood furniture. Most people stop there, concluding that since wood is brown all wood furniture must match. Right? Have you ever considered that each variety, while still ?brown?, has a different undertone? Cedar, pine, oak, cherry wood tones range from red, to orange, blonde or even blush. via: Flooring Express.

Chocolate bread pudding cupcakes with toasted walnuts, homemade
toffee, and cream by Cheryl Porro, recipe here.

Think of the food craze for a moment, chocolate and coffee. Ranging from milky caf? au lait to triple shot espressos, cupcakes, and cookies. Not only does chocolate taste great, but it can create a genuine sense of warmth and security, while stirring up your appetite. No wonder that it’s called Comfort Food. (Now I?m hungry!)

Speaking of food, aren?t these walls below simply edible? Brown is an excellent choice when you want to set off a more saturated hue. Think about contrast – dark against light, muted against bright. Brown and orange, or turquoise, or pink…

Think Martha Stewart brown and the baby blue craze via Domino magazine.

via GV Interiors.

How?s this for a decadent feeling Kelly Wearstler-esque space?
via Domino magazine.

All grown-up in this variation with cerulean blue seating
and textured walls. via: LivingEtc.

Here?s a nod to the brown and pink fad. via: Zia Priven Lighting.

A passion for purple? This unexpected combination really
works in this space. Warm brown is rustic, while purple adds
a modern playful touch. Love it! via: The Rug Company.

You can also go light and airy with a touch of vintage.
This seems to be all the rage at the moment. via: LivingEtc.

via: LivingEtc.

Or you can try brown with a little navy and lilac, a bit more masculine
and sophisticated while still providing relaxation and comfort. via: LivingEtc.

via: West Elm.


via: Domino magazine.


Texture and pattern are important considerations when you?re mixing monochromatic (one color) elements. To dabble in brown, start with accent pieces: a throw pillow or piece of artwork. Amenity Home has a beautiful range of textile pieces to bring nature inside.

By combining lights and darks, and layering different textures together, basic brown spaces can become anything but boring. Do you like using it in your space? I bet you have more of it around than you realize!

[To read more of Rachel's posts on decor8 about color, click here. Thank you Rachel for stopping in today, with chocolate lining all the aisles of stores, your timing is great!]

(images all linked above to their source.)

Posted in Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips, guest bloggers on January 28, 2008

Vanessa Arbuthnott Fabric

I’m constantly on the prowl for beautiful fabric and apparently so is graphic designer Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely, who turned me on lately to the work of Vanessa Arbuthnott. Vanessa’s prints are quite country so I guess for all you non-country fans I should write this with a warning: Arbuthnott may not appeal to everyone. Even I had to draw the line at the rooster and check prints because it’s not really my style. But I’m a firm believer in keeping an open mind so I don’t pass by anything without digging first, often the most amazing finds are from the least expected places – like finding something that is so you in a store that caters to a style you don’t find appealing. Vanessa Arbuthnott’s linens, cottons, and oilcloths (along with her collection of rugs and wallpaper) call to mind a charmed life in the English countryside peppered with cozy cottages, winding roads through green pastures, garden parties with afternoon tea.


Of course it’s only reasonable to assume that not everyone prefers country prints in their home but again, keep your mind open because some of these would fit nicely in a mid century or a bohemian modern home too – like the little leaf in gray, duck egg denim, or any of the pie in the sky colorways (my favorite pattern). They’d look great transformed into roman shades, chair cushions, bench slipcovers, quilts, duvets, or trim on the bottom of solid drapes.


Want to try before you buy? If you’d like a few free samples, click here where you can order up to five at no charge. Yay for free!

And thanks Nicole for the fab tip…

(images from vanessa arbuthnott)

Posted in textiles on January 28, 2008

Meet Interior Stylist Selina Lake

Loads of color and pattern — there’s no better way to kick off a new week! I recently came across Interior Stylist Selina Lake, a fresh young talent who has already at age 26 accomplished so much – including a book soon to be released in April called Bazaar Style. Based in the charming countryside of Leicestershire, England with regular visits to London for work, her job is one many express an interest in so I thought it would be fun to interview her. Perhaps some of her words may stick and encourage other budding stylists out there to go for it! Her portfolio is certain to stimulate your creativity today so let’s meet Selina Lake, shall we?

From Living Room shoot, Photographer Andrew Boyd.

decor8: Hi Selina! The first question I have is pretty basic but can you tell us how you came to be an stylist?

Selina: With lots of self-PR — a lot of hard work and perseverance! In the beginning I posted letters, had postcard business cards printed, sent loads of emails and made hundreds of phone calls. I basically bombarded magazine editors until I got my first styled shoot commissioned.

decor8: For those who aren’t familiar with what a stylist does, can you tell us about a normal workday for you…

Selina: Everyday is different with this job, ahead of a shoot a lot of prep work is done before hand. I work from home calling in products, organizing couriers and booking the locations. On the days when I’m shooting it usually involves arriving early at the location, after making a flower stop on the way. Then I get set up, sometimes I have a set builder to do any wallpapering, painting etc. I then work with the photographer to produce the best possible shots ? this involves lots of tweaking, plumping, polishing, ironing, flower arranging, pinning, sticking, etc.!

From Summer Room shoot, Photographer Andrew Boyd.

decor8: In England, what is the difference between an interior designer and a stylist?

Selina: I imagine all designers and stylists have a slightly different opinion on this, my understanding is an Interior Designer tends to design residential and commercial properties. They come up with designs, which meet their client’s specific requirements. An Interior stylist’s role is usually to produce images, which are used to sell products, and to inspire magazine and book readers.

decor8: What formal training do you have or if self taught, how did you learn?

Selina: I trained as a Surface Pattern designer, which was a good base to start. I learnt styling skills through assisting other stylists when I first started out. I worked on shoots for Elle Decoration, LivingEtc and Ikea Home magazine. I think a lot about being a stylist is instinctive as well you can?t be taught what looks ascetically pleasing its just in you, however I picked up lots of useful tips from the stylist I assisted.

decor8: Who are some of your clients?

Selina: I work for many UK editorials Inc: Marie Claire, Real Homes, Ideal Home, and House Beautiful. I also style advertising shoots for the Next Directory; on the last shoot I was styling the children?s bedlinen/furniture section. Plus the publishers for my new book Ryland Peters & Small.

Cover and images froom Bazaar Style.

decor8: Impressive client list! Did I hear you say earlier something about a new book? Can you elaborate? :)

Selina: Yes, my new book Bazaar Style published by Ryland Peters & Small releases in April 2008 and is about real homes furnished with intriguing pieces from different eras and cultures, which mix and match color, patterns and designs. The Bazaar look is so achievable because anything goes, in the book you discover an inspiring mix of vintage and retro influences, flea market finds and pieces inspired by a French brocante market or a Moroccan bazaar. The book will appeal to magpies who have an eye for a hidden gem on a yard-sale table or in a thrift store, so its ideal for collectors. I shot the book with photographer Debi Treloar, who has taken beautiful photographs for many Ryland Peters & Small books including: Flea Market Style and Cheap Chic. The writer I worked with, Joanna Simmons is a regular writer for Country Living UK and contributing editor for LivingEtc magazine.

decor8: That sounds fantastic, especially since Flea Market Style and Cheap Chic are two of my favorite books. Lots to look forward to. So if someone reading this interview is interested in becoming a stylist, how do you suggest they get started?

Selina: Well, I started by contacting magazines and offering (begging) to do work experience. I think that?s the best way, although there are now college courses in styling so that could be another option.

decor8: Do you blog?

Selina: No, but I?m loving looking at and reading all the lovely blogs I keep coming across. Including decor8!

decor8: Since you’re not a blogger, how do you network online?

Selina: My website has recently gone live and so far I have had lots of positive feedback and interest in my work from all over the world ? which I?m thrilled about!

decor8: Let’s talk about where you work, which I imagine is a mix between home and on location…

Selina: I?m often out propping for shoots, attending meetings or researching locations so I don?t spend all my time at home, and when I do I?m usually so busy the time whips away. When I was shooting Bazaar Style I got to travel to Amsterdam and Morocco which where both amazing!

decor8: Tell us about your workspace at home.

Selina: Sure. I work from home when I’m prepping for an upcoming shoot or when I’m writing copy. I have a large old desk (painted white), with shelves on the wall above which is storage for brightly colored hand painted Indian woven boxes, filled with old magazines, catalogues and press releases. I also have a large pin board for pinning up inspirational pictures and reminders ? it?s decorated with pink fairy lights. I use a decorative Chinese lantern as the main light shade in the room, which gives off a pink glow, and a retro desk lamp, which actually gives decent light when I?m working. Oh and I sit on a chair which I bought from village bazaar for a ?1 and painted bright pink.

decor8: Sounds lovely. Any advice for others who want to work from home but have never done it before – what keeps you focused and on track?

Selina: I feel like I?m always thinking about work? with ideas popping into my mind at anytime. My best advice would be to have a notebook to hand to scribble down notes and ideas to explore, when you?ve put that load of washing in or when the dinners cooked! My job doesn?t really feel like work, because I enjoy it so much, I think if your doing something you enjoy it?s easy to stay focused. (It works for me until I have a day of doing my accounts anyway!)

decor8: Where do you find your inspiration for design?

Selina: From all over the place, often a fabulous new product or flea market find can spark an idea for a shoot. I also love looking at my contacts photos on Flickr.

decor8: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Selina: My Mum and Dad always told me to smile, be myself and try my best, and these gems of wisdom have served me well so far!

decor8: Describe how you feel about your work…

Selina: I LOVE my job I feel really lucky to be doing something I enjoy so much and make a living from it too.

decor8: And finally Selina, if you weren’t a stylist you would be a…..

Selina: Shop owner. I?d have my own boutique, which would sell all the bits and bobs I love, if I could bring myself to part with any of the treasures that is!


Thank you Selina for visiting with us here on decor8 today. Readers if you have questions for Selina please ask by posting your question below. Selina will do her best to answer them for you. Yay! This was fun, thanks again for your visit Ms. Lake!

(images all from selina lake showing her styling work)

Posted in interviews on January 28, 2008

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