I know, I know enough Amy Butler already. But I really do fancy her work and now that she’s released eco paper products including gorgeous gift wraps I thought it couldn’t hurt to at least tell you about it… :)
I know… How pretty. Wrapping paper can be used for so many DIY projects it’s simply the best for adding pattern to almost anything on a budget. I like an idea I saw recently in Country Living Home magazine where art director Matthew Mead used wrapping paper to create a mat for a framed picture of a family member. It looked great and what an inexpensive and easy project. You can knock something like that out in under 15 minutes.
(images from amy butler design)
It’s fun to get inside the mind of a creative type! We’re curious to learn about the lives of strangers but learning more about those we feel we already know through the media … Well that’s totally exciting, right? We love learning about their favorite artist, who inspires them, where they shop, even what they eat and where they like to go on vacation. But how much is enough?
Part of me wishes that more decorators and designers would author blogs revealing such things, at least here in America where it still seems that blogs for the most part are divided into two main groups. In my opinion the groups are a.) the unknowns who are out there making a name for themselves and due to their taste level and uncensored opinions, are drawing in a crowd of fans going from unknowns to better knowns and b) the shining stars in the design industry who are household names (at least to design enthusiasts) and then decide at some point to blog or shall I say, sorta blog. They delegate the task to their staff or secretary or who blog but they aren’t really all that engaged or uncensored — you can tell every word is guarded and there is a strong leaning on pushing and promoting themselves and their product (if they happen to have products). Where are their inspirations? Can’t they share? Why don’t they tell us how they really feel about design instead of feeding us what they know we want to hear or what their publicist told them to write? Is there a danger for them if they cross that line?
I still see the guard up amongst stylists, decorators and designers, at least in America. I wonder if this will ever change and the guards will come down, or at least, lower a bit. Not just through blogs, but in everyday conversation. Try asking a peer where they found something for a client that you admire and most of the time they’ll reply, “My secret source”. So many avoid sharing their insider sources, favorite shops, and how they work. Not because they are just being modest, it’s mostly about fear and protecting what one feels they found that should be kept secret. In design school I attended a workshop given by a NH Designer. Instead of having it in a classroom, she invited us to her home just outside of Concord. She revealed to us all of her tricks and tips when it came to how she pulled together her gorgeous farmhouse and then she told us to grab our pens and take notes because she was going to reveal her local favorites, even the ‘secret’ ones. I was completely in awe of this woman and today I still think of her as a confident leader, a woman secure and willing to share. She had no fear when it came to revealing her sources. Years later, she is still in business and doing well. Revealing her sources didn’t ruin her career.
But that’s an isolated case and not everyone is willing to open up so freely.
Just when you think all you need to know is already out there you realize it’s really not, the images you see in magazines are merely the results of all of the scouting, styling, photographing… The end result. What about sharing the process involved in all of that. Would it be so wrong? I’m still waiting to see more. The end result isn’t enough for me and I think that most of you will agree. We want details, step-by-step instructions, we want to truly tap in. Will enough ever be enough though?
That’s why I think that Shannon’s blog, the Aussie celeb-decorator I wrote about earlier, is a good example of what I’d like to see more of in America. We aren’t there yet. Will we ever be? That is the question I ask myself most. Shannon is a lady who has books, appears on television, and has her work in magazines and yet her blog is so natural. She muses about this or that visit to an event, who she met there, what she learned, it’s all very unfiltered and authentic. I wish more ‘celeb’ designers in America would go for it and do the same. I understand time is an issue but reaching out to their fans in this way would be such a refreshing change. Why hide what you love and have passion for? Ah yes, the fear of others stealing your ideas, tapping into your sources. Well honestly if you are secure and have built a name for yourself I doubt there is much to fear. Anyone who owns a shop with a regular celeb designer visiting has already told all of their friends anyway and it will eventually end up on some blog so nothing is really all that secret.
I wonder if the design world will always remain somewhat untouchable? Are celeb designers sharing enough? Who would you love to find out authored a blog? Are there dangers in sharing too much? Feel free to relate this to art and crafts as well.
Shannon Fricke wrote to me about her beautiful blog and as I scrolled down the page I found myself seeing many new things, then realizing why – Shannon is lives and works in Australia. Shannon is a decorator and I fully embrace her design philosophy, “I believe that the way you decorate your home can influence the way that you feel about your life and so I love to inspire people to create a home that suits their individuality”. Right on, Shannon!
I cannot figure out if these are windows to another room or mirrors.Then I thought if they are mirrors then this look is easy to duplicate with full length mirrors sold at any big box store. I don’t think I would have thought to arrange so many together on a single wall like this…
In addition to her blog, she has a lovely website containing a plethora of images that surely will inspire you this morning. Seems she makes regular television appearances, conducts decorating workshops, and has a series of books (that I want just when I thought I was all set with book purchases for the next few months). Here are some images from her blog so you are able to get a sense of the style Shannon gravitates towards, much like that of my own – laid back, natural meets bohemian with lots of natural elements in the mix. There is a cottage meets the sea feel with a dash of urban through in to make things feel a bit edgy.
Note: I don’t believe that these are rooms that Shannon has styled or anything but are sources of her own inspiration taken from various places that I found on her blog.
Thank you Shannon for sharing a glimpse of your world, I’ll be turning into your blog regularly now that is for sure!
(images from the blog of shannon fricke)
I’d like to share a few products today to pretty up the office that, to borrow the expression from my pal Steven, make my heart go boom, boom, boom! And this isn’t just for the work-at-home crowd… Even when I worked in corporate I decorated my offices and cubicles over the years. Of course, I had to maintain a professional workspace and exercise more restraint, but I still had things around that made the space fit my personality. Like you, I’m a very visual person so I require color and pattern to get through the day. It’s perfectly fine to carve out a little spot that has your style written all over it, even in a sea of cubicles you don’t have to conform to their vanilla little world… Throw in a little YOU! (What is UP with most American office design anyway? Ugh. Yuck.)
I love seeing all of the Fall stuff slowly making its way into stores and Kate Spade already has her 09 desk calendars available (thanks Jon for the tip). I’ve always wanted one so just maybe I will order it for next year.
So! On with pretty things… Looking to make your office a nicer spot to hang out in? Here are some of my favorite things…
Cheri memo cube, White Cherish Labels for labeling jars, file folders, etc., report covers, Shemergency Survival Kit (not shown), and SusyJack anything… That girl is on fire, did you see her weekly paper clips and pencil cup holders?
The 2009 Kate Spade desk calendar, TokyoMilk perfumes (smelling pretty is always nice), Nacre Butterfly Knobs (Square is a good change to dress up the drawers), a girly Garden Glimpse Vases for your desk, graphic decorative file folders, and piles of paper organizing clips (love these things!).
And if you’re pulling together a home office remember to build on the basics. I like to keep all of my office furniture the same color, my home office is white. This makes it easy for me to add or subtract color. Colors are layered in through fabrics, wallpaper, lighting, desk accessories, a throw rug, and art on the wall along with an inspiration board. My favorite affordable chair out there is the CB2 Surf chair and the parsons desk from Overstock looks just like the West Elm one but is a lot more affordable. If you want something different for the walls try sticking on these 3-d floral wall decals. Not pictured, but a nice find worthy of a mention is the new anglepoise-ish floor lamp in orange or white for $68 at Anthros. If you are looking to make your own curtains or cover a bench or chair, try the Inger fabric (new).
What is your favorite thing in your office? What product out there are you loving right now for the office? Comment with a link so we can all see! :)
(images linked to sources above)