Monthly Archives

March 2009

Designers + Stylists

Home Office & Living Room Redesign

March 16, 2009

Ready to see a fresh, modern home office space? How about a living room with lots of pattern for a busy family with pets? Interior Designer Vanessa De Vargas who owns Turquoise, a Los Angeles-based furniture and interior design business wrote in to share a recent project with us and after viewing the space, I thought I’d ask her a few questions and share her answers here today as it’s always fun to get inside the mind of a designer. Let’s check out this office and living space, shall we?

First of all, what inspired this fab office space? First let me say that before I started to decorate the room it was very dark. The walls were dark brown, the desk was dark and there was a dark brown mirror that hung above the desk. When I first met with my client she basically said to me, “Please, I don’t want any dark colors — I want pink accents, a mirrored cabinet, and a Venetian mirror, can we do that?”, and I thought hey, if that’s what you want, lets decorate it that way!

How did you decide on the wallpaper given that there are thousands to choose from on the market these days? I researched tons of papers and when I came across the silver and white circular one, I knew that was it. I honestly didn’t even show her any other wallpapers. So to answer your question my client was the inspiration, she told me what she wanted and based on her wants I then took my design expertise and made the office come to life!

Where did you find a majority of your furnishings and accessories? The desk she already had so that was a newer purchase including the custom cabinet we had made at a local furniture store and the desk chair. The lamp and accessories are from Jonathan Adler and the desk lamp, Moroccan table and bamboo chair (with the Lulu DK Chant fabric) were all re-vamped vintage pieces. The rug was from West Elm.

Is the silhouette on the wall of anyone in particular? No that’s actually a vintage silhouette that she purchased from me.

Where is that amazing task chair from? The chair is a reproduction Eames task chair that we had reupholstered in outdoor paisley fabric from Sunbrella.

Next up, the living room:

In the living room, what made you go with a neutral, darker palette? The living room is also the TV room. My clients have 3 kids and 2 dogs so I made sure the furniture pieces where either dark in color, had a pattern or were upholstered in outdoor fabrics. They also loved the color royal blue so we incorporated that in the custom tufted chair, custom benches and accent pillows. I also thought that having a nice neutral background (meaning the walls) was a great way to have the furniture pieces pop.

There’s a lot of pattern but it’s subtle, any tips on how to use a lot of pattern in a space without going overboard? That is a good question Holly, this was really the first time I used many different patterns under one space. I think that if you stay in the same size family of each of the patterns and stay consistent in the colors palette, you can use a few patterns at once. I noticed that when I pulled other patterns that were bigger in size they either over powered the look or made it look too busy.

What in this space belongs to the client that you were able to keep in the mix?The only thing that was there was the built in TV unit. Everything was new that we brought in. Including all the accessories on the shelves and the trays in the rooms.

Thanks Vanessa for the show and tell!

Psst: If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to network with designers and other creatives, Vanessa leads a popular design pow wow called Designers Networking Group (DNG) which is held monthly giving all a chance to network, enjoy some eats and drinks, and best of all — no charge! Just attend, bring those business cards and enjoy an evening out. More information here.

If you have a questions for Vanessa, please comment below and she’ll stop by to answer, thanks!

(images: vanessa de vargas)

Arts + Crafts

Inspired by Gustavo Aimar

March 16, 2009

I came across the most talented artist today and I can’t stop clicking around on both of his blogs ( I LOVE his blog La mesa de trabajo the most because it’s filled with photographs documenting his process of creating and I tell you, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of… I love seeing work in progress, don’t you? It’s emotional and raw, I like that.

Gustavo was born in Buenos Aires but now lives in scenic Patagonia. In 2008 he was selected along with 31 illustrators to exhibit in the Fair of infantile Libro (children’s book fair) in Bologna, a true honor. You can learn more about Gustavo by reading an interview with him in Spanish here (which you can easily translate through any translation website). I wish he had a shop online, I could go a little bit crazy there, but perhaps in the future he will sign up with or something. If any gallery owners are reading this post you have to get your hands on his paintings and show them locally, I’d love to see his work in person. I’m smitten! What a great way to kick off a new week. Thank you so much Ez for posting about this guy!

(images from gustavo aimar)


Happy Weekend!

March 13, 2009

I’m signing off for the weekend friends, I have so much work to do as I’m pulling together chapter outlines for my agent since I am working on a book (yay!). Honestly, I’m scared to death and though I’ve been back and forth with my agent for months, embarrassing to admit, I finally am ready emotionally to wrap my head around what a book will mean for me, my life, and of course my career and future. I want to be an author, I have so many ideas for books — not only around the topic of decorating and creative living but also children’s books too. I’ve been so busy writing over the past three years between this blog and my magazine and newspaper articles that my little fingers are starting to hurt from all of the typing that I do, but I’m a determined girl and have goals and dreams and despite this economy I am pushing forward. My husband and I also have some big plans in the works concerning our family and home, so I am diligently working on everything all at once but wow, am I excited, scared, tired, and drinking more red bull and tea than ever before in my life.

I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend, I look forward to meeting you again here on Monday with more fun posts and ideas to share together as friends. Thank you for hanging out with me this past week, I hope you’ve been enjoying my posts and the work I put into making my blog a cozy, encouraging space for all of us to mingle and relax.

xo, Holly

(Images from the lovely stylist, Lucyina Moodie. Check out more here.)

Shopping + Products

Giveaway Time at Elsewares!

March 13, 2009

Ready to win some fabulous gift certificates from my friends over at!? I’m trying to do giveaways a little more frequently, at least this month, because I sense that lots of you are in need of a pick-me-up right now. I’m so pleased to announce that Elsewares is giving three (3) decor8 readers the chance to each win a $75 gift certificate to be used on their website where they sell lots of independent art and design for men, women and children at affordable prices.

If you would like to win all you have to do is leave a comment below (one entry per person, per household please) with 3 things that you would love to own from the Elsewares website. Please link the item name, no links, UNLESS you shorten the URL using Thank you!

On Thursday, March 19th three winners will be selected and announced on decor8 Friday, March 20th. Have fun everyone!

(images from elsewares)

Arts + Crafts, DIY

Amble Through Bramble Crepe Flowers

March 13, 2009

Morgan Levine grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and moved to Brooklyn to study industrial design at Pratt Institute where she graduated in ‘04. It was during her first freelance job at Martha Stewart when she was assigned to create bunches of crepe paper daffodils that a love for crepe paper was born. She started to experiment with turning it brooches and barrettes. Today, she is making paper goodies for her company Amble Through Bramble. My mother and I made a ton of crepe flowers for my wedding in ‘01 so I have a very special spot for paper flowers which is why I think I love knowing about Morgan and her beautiful work.

Morgan makes her own double sided crepe paper, hand cuts each petal, assembles each blossom, and then preserves it in a durable resin. The overgrown roses are made using double sided German crepe paper. In addition to Amble Through Bramble her day job is an enviable one — she’s an editorial assistant at Martha Stewart Living and writes on their new crafting blog. Morgan was once a design assistant to design rock star Jonathan Adler so she has been around some of the best which has no doubt had a positive influence on her crafting skills.

Custom orders are available upon request. Wouldn’t these be amazing for a bridal party or as favors?

Learn how to make your own crepe flowers right here with a step-by-step tutorial.

(images from morgan levine)

Arts + Crafts, Home Tours

Domestic Candy

March 13, 2009

My good friend Anne, who I hang out with when I’m based in Germany, just told me about her creative friend Kerstin who is a product and interior designer based in Hannover too. I’m really looking forward to meeting Kerstin in person when I’m back in Germany this year. She owns a new DaWanda shop called Domestic Candy that I really like, her things are so sweet that I have to share them with you today. I’m also including a peek inside of her craft room because I just love the space and the light in there.

Aren’t these things just delightful? Don’t you love the windows in her apartment? This is so common in Hannover to have big, huge windows — I just love it!

(images from domestic candy)

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