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Ashley Thomas = Swoon!

Surface pattern designer Ashley Thomas wrote to me last month (I know, I’m a little behind on my email) to tell me about her designs so I vowed to myself that today would be the day that I would share them on decor8. Ashley thank you for your patience with me! :)

Ashley is a freelance designer and illustrator based in England and her work is both feminine and edgy, a combination of hip city and a day in the country wearing a frilly dress. Her work reminds me of a lot of illustrative, graphic styles coming out of Berlin right now. I was quite surprised when I learned that Ashley is in the UK as upon first glance I would have guessed Berlin without question.

I am completely smitten by her wallpaper and pillows… lovely with a capital LOVE! I want Larry and Joey wallpaper in my entryway! :)

(images from ashley thomas)

Posted in designers, textiles, walls on October 06, 2008
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Brightening Up The Day at Lillehus

Working from home here in Germany has been a real nice experience since back in New Hampshire I live in the country and do not have easy access to a city there. Here I live in the city so I can take quick breaks throughout the day (without the hassle of a car) to grab tea with friends, walk through the forest (2 blocks from my house, it’s about 10x the size of Central Park), or go find inspiration by roaming a museum or visiting a small shop. A few minutes ago I needed a break, I was feeling sort of crabby and instead of giving into the bad mood I decided to shut off my laptop and visit a new design/kids store one block away. I thought that maybe this new store was feeling the same way because her shop had its grand opening today but the weather is gray and a bit draining. I imagined that maybe this shop owner, a lady I’d never met before today by the way, was sitting in her shop waiting to meet those in our little neighborhood here. I thought maybe this lady was alone and wondering if anyone would support her shop today. Then I imagined how I would feel if in her shoes. That thought motivated me to get out of my house and go welcome her to our hood. I live here now, I should treat this as my home and be a good neighbor. And not to sound like Little Miss Goody Two Shoes, but I remember my mom always taught me that when I’m in a bad mood the best thing to do is imagine someone else out there who may also be feeling bad or lonely and actively seek them out and do something kind for them.

When I walked in to Lillehus (located at De Ha?n Platz 10 in Hannover List), the owner Susan was sitting at a little desk writing (seated as I imagined! too funny!) and I was the only customer so immediately I introduced myself (in English) and she started speaking to me in English (always a treat!) and soon we were chatting and laughing and having a really nice time. She thanked me many times for coming in and seeing her, she said it was a wonderful welcome to the neighborhood.

I think I can say that mom is always right because once again, her advice taught to me as a child worked. And it worked in another way too…

See this light…

It was designed by Hannover-based textile artist Orike Muth. She is someone I really look up to, I think her aesthetic is gorgeous and so original, she screenprints by hand all of the papers that she uses for her lamps and lampions, and all of the textiles she incorporates into her potholders, pillows, etc. I’ve been looking for a table lamp from her for the entire 8 weeks that I’ve been here and could not find the one that I was looking for. I saw the perfect light on her website but she sold out and she is currently working on her new line so there was a good chance that I would not find one before I leave here in December.

The lamp I spotted on Orike’s website… I think I will add some trim to the bottom of mine with beads to dress it up a little.

When I walked into Lillehus today and saw THE light sitting on a table I nearly passed out. It was perfect! It was what I’d been roaming this city for, one design shop after another, hoping to find and never could find. And now it was sitting before me on a pretty white table. Not only did I buy it but Susan (the store owner) took 20% off of the price as a grand opening day present to her customers. Just another way that doing good to others always results in something good – not always a material object, often just a good feeling — but today I received both a happy mood and a pretty light. Not only am I back to myself again, but I met a nice small business owner and found the lamp I’ve been desiring for quite awhile. What you put out into the world comes back to you. Always. Don’t you believe that too?

As corny as it sounds, whenever I look at this lamp I will remember today and the happy memories along with it. And please, if you live in or around Hannover pay Susan at Lillehus a visit. She is so, so sweet and a bonus for expats is that she speaks great English. The shop is mostly for kids; she stocks lots of Maileg products from Denmark (my mushroom is above on my kitchen cabinet only 5,- Euros each!) and cute stuff from a few indie designers in Berlin. She is soon to expand into clothing for women and cute rain boots too.

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in lighting, shopping, travel on October 06, 2008

Kindergallery

I found such a lovely website via decor8 reader Fiona Lang called Kindergallery and you know with my love of all things artsy and craftsy, of course I cannot resist talking about this lovely find! Kindergallery is a gallery-style website that focuses primarily on art for the little ones but adults can shop for their homes regardless of whether kids live there or not – I know I certainly would (and do!). I think an adult can add softies or ‘youthful’ art to their home – why not?

Lots of lovely soft creations by Tamar Mogendorff.

Of course, if you do happen to be a parent Kindergallery is perfect for you because the curator of this online shop, Angela Westerman, does the most beautiful job of scouring the globe for her favorite artists and adding their things to her collection. I love that she does all the work for parents, her eye is great!

The work of Yung Ok Yoo is perfection…

I love this watercolor (original work) by Meredith Gaston.

And for the young at heart, Kate George.

Based in Sydney with a second home in Berlin (oh the life!) Kindergallery is a treasure trove of beautiful finds that you’ll notice the moment you visit the site. The work of Binth, Isak, Lorena Siminovich, Ida Pearle, and Binth can also be found there. Beautiful shop, Angela!

(images from kindergallery)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Decorating Tips, kids, walls on October 06, 2008

Decorating Updates

I had a really successful Sunday on eBay Germany, look what I found for my living room and kitchen! I’m over the moon happy and just had to share these finds with you today. First up, this retro light.

This light is an original from the 1950s in pastel green and gold and I won the auction at $281.00. It was quite a battle to win it as I was up against 19 aggressive bidders. It was a little over my budget but since my pendant light in the same room is from IKEA and I paid under $5 for it, I was able to justify the expense of the floor lamp. And hey, it’s vintage, it’s cute, and I’ve been combing the internet for something just like this for several months so it is money well spent.

The next item that I won is a Max Bill Bauhaus Design clock and kitchen timer all-in-one. It’s white and I really like the design. It was $50.00 so definitely a good buy. I think it will look perfect in my kitchen.

I was also able to put some art up over the weekend, here are some prints I’ve placed above my television. They all came with me on the plane from New Hampshire, they look nice here in Germany I think. Everyone that visits me is amazed by this art as it’s rare to find anything like this here where I live. It’s fun to see the reactions of my friends and family who are all wanting their own prints and paintings now from independent artists. I added my vintage 1930′s gold swallows to the wall as well. The idea was to make the art look at though it was flying and floating away. The birds also came with me in my luggage, I picked them up 4 years ago at a New Hampshire flea market for $1 or something like that – el cheapo! You can find them all over sites like eBay in case this arrangement inspires you to do something like it in your own home (here’s a cute pair of pink ones or some love birds). I’m considering adding one more small print to the top left closer to the ceiling but have yet to decide which one.

Now I’m on the prowl for another item I badly need for my living/dining room – a vintage Kilim rug. I’m dying for something along these lines… Also for the bedroom.


Have you had any successful eBay wins lately? Care to share? You can link to photos of your eBay wins in the comments section below if you’d like. We’d all love to see. :)

(images from eBay and holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Decorating Tips, vintage, walls on October 06, 2008

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