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e-Decorating – Your Thoughts?

There’s a new crop of decorators out there offering what is called e-decorating that may well be the next big thing in design. I took on some e-clients a few years ago, I met them through decor8 and offered them consulting (for a fee) via email and telephone. It was so much fun but quite time consuming so I decided to step back for a bit. I’m still trying to figure out if it is something that I would like to do again, I see so much value in it as I love the idea of being available to all — not just greater Boston. I also completely ‘get’ that people have busy schedules and a limited budget and need to connect to someone for decorating help via the web – fast and easy. I think many would love to tap into the brains of some of our favorite decorators (or bloggers!) for their personal opinions about our space or for much more… help in pulling together a complete room simply through email. Someone to look at our photos, review our floor plan, make suggestions, send us a few mood boards to select from, and email lots of product links our way. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?

Well this service exists and it’s called e-decorating. Did you know that the Betsy Burnham offers a similar service called Instant Space (I’ve heard that it is amazing)? It is still out of reach for most when it comes to pricing, it’s not something all can fit into their budget since prices range from $895-1,495 per room. Of course, hiring Burnham’s firm to design in real time would cost way more than her through-the-mail decorating service, so it is a great way to save money if you look at it from that perspective. And c’mon. It’s Betsy Burnham. I would hire her in a second just for the tips as I’m sure she could teach me a thing or two, or ten thousand.

Then there are other amazing designers out there who are a lot more affordable like Vanessa De Vargas who runs the LA-based design firm Turquoise. You know Vanessa because she writes here on decor8 from time to time. She just launched an e-decorating service that is doing quite well. Everyone loves Vanessa. The girl is just contagious, from her personality to her style and ability to connect to ‘real’ people on budgets. I love that about her. She doesn’t refer her clients to $700 lamps, if they want something from IKEA she’ll find them a $30 pendant and because she knows how to pull a room together, that $30 light will rock like it’s $700. Her rates range from $450-500 per room. Considering the time and energy it takes to do this work, she is keeping it real without losing money herself. I think her prices are quite good.

I simply cannot mention e-decorating and not highlight the lovely Elfya Van Muylem, lead designer and founder of NYC-based Home Refiner. This lady is amazing on so many levels. I blogged about her diy videos back in February if the name sounds familiar. Above is a photo of a package she sent over that usually goes to her prospective virtual clients. I had a phone conversation with Elfya a few months ago and she was enthusiastic, professional, and extremely knowledgeable. I thought her presentation via mail was just great, and the package contained client worksheets and questions so she could better understand personal tastes and needs. I’m not exactly sure of her rates, but I heard she is within reach. And you know something that is totally unrelated but shows how classy Elfya is? Her website. You have to click here, turn up the sound, and listen to the gorgeous music. I’ve been listening the entire time of writing this post, I think you’ll really like it. It shows me that she has layers to her personality, she’s emotional, warm, connected, I like that. And her taste in music is great.

So ladies and gents, what do you think about e-decorating? Is it something you’d consider? What would you call an ‘affordable’ per room fee? What do you expect as a client?

(photography by holly becker)

Posted in real talk on June 10, 2008

Print Your Own Fabric at Spoonflower

This is sure to appear on every design blog known to mankind, and I hope it does because we have to spread the word! The second I read about Spoonflower on Whip Up I thought about the many designers who write in asking for help in bringing their patterns to fabric. I wish I had clear cut answers for everyone, but often I just don’t know what to say since I was not trained in textiles and have very little knowledge of that industry as a whole. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if someone who is in the business, including teachers, could give us some feedback because there are so many out there hoping to turn their designs into textiles. Do you know much about how one can get started?


Until we know for sure, if you aren’t looking to become the next Hable Construction and want to print your designs in smaller runs, Spoonflower in NC is certainly an option. I’m so excited about this company. They’ve launched a site where you can upload a pattern or image of your choice and they will print it onto 100% cotton fabric and have it delivered within a week from ordering. AWESOMENESS. During beta, you can only order up to 5 yards (this may increase in the future) and the best part is that you can request an 8×8″ sample swatch for $5 or a 21×18″ fat quarter for $11 before you commit. The fabric is $18 per yard.

Spoonflower also helps when it comes to figuring out how to create a repeat pattern in their FAQ section. BIG HELP. You can view a slideshow on the entire process here.

What do you think about this?

(image from spoonflower)

Posted in DIY, Objects on June 10, 2008

Domino Features Etsy Furniture Finds

My latest Etsy slide show just went live over at Domino, this time I’ve focused on furniture instead of prints since few think to look to Etsy for say, a new coffee table. I hope that you enjoy it!


I am so pleased that the magazine supports independent design as much as they do, it is very encouraging to all who operate a small business out there. I remember pre-Domino, it was rare that you’d find indie design featured in a popular shelter magazine. It is easy to forget how America was before say, 2005 when the great indie boom really started to hit on a national level and now a few years later small time design sits with the big names in stores and magazines. This is a very huge accomplishment, something to be proud of. I heard that at the National Stationery Show this year, small companies sat in the same section as the large ones like American Greetings, no longer in their own section. The huge growth and popularity of small business in our country proves how a passionate group who desire change can make it happen if they are consistent and push through the initial rejection. It doesn’t just happen in the movies. These small business owners found a way to get themselves out there. This movement we’re seeing is nothing short of amazing, confirmation that if you can see it you can be it.

If you’ve missed past Etsy picks that I’ve gathered for Domino magazine online you can click here to catch up if you’d like.

(image from domino)

Posted in Etsy Faves, Objects on June 10, 2008

DIY Project: Succulent Terrarium

Lindsay Thompson created a gorgeous and inexpensive succulent terrarium this weekend and asked if she could share it with decor8 readers. Um… Let me think about it Lindsay… JA! This is so nice, I couldn’t refuse. She outlines all the details over on her blog, but here’s the quick and dirty version.

Step No. 01 | Purchase Supplies: Glass container, rocks, horticultural charcoal, cactus soil, plants. Details about each on Lindsay’s blog.

Step No. 02 | Create: Layer rocks and charcoal, add soil, plant your succulents. Details on how to create a succulent terrarium that doesn’t suc, here.

Step No. 03 | Add stuff, embellish. Ribbon, a garden marker, tiny plastic animals, whatever you want.

Step No. 04 | Label it if you plan to give it as a prezzie. Label shown above reads: How to care for your Succulent Terrarium. No. 01: Don’t over water. No. 02: These succas like it hot! (full sun). No. 03: Love on them & enjoy.

You know you wanna make one now, don’t you? I do! If anyone else has a good DIY that they’d like to submit to decor8, please contact me at decor8blog AT yahoo DOT com. Thank you Lindsay, this is great!

(images from lindsay thompson)

Posted in DIY on June 10, 2008

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