Monthly Archives

April 2009


What Are You Craving?

April 6, 2009

How was your weekend everyone? Mine was very busy but since I slipped in some fun along with my projects the result was refreshing and today I woke up ready and excited to meet you all here and begin a new week together. I’ve been a bit tied up today since my e-course, Blogging Your Way, officially kicked off and I’ve been working on some last minute deets around that but I’m excited to report that the class is up and running and I love my first day as a virtual instructor — especially on a topic I hold near and dear — blogging! I like to have my hands in multiple projects simultaneously, as long as they’re all linked together somehow, so teaching online for the month of April really works for me. Of course, my new role as part-time teacher will not interrupt business as usual on decor8 so I’ll still be hanging out here with you each day! With that said, let’s move on to decorating and pretty things now, shall we?

{Above: Mini tear drop lamps and mini recycled glass tealight lanterns, ceramic solstice hurricanes and because I love ikat, this sunshine ikat outdoor pillow — all products from West Elm.}

There is so much out there currently that I want to own but I’ve been exercising TONS of self control or else my home would look like a warehouse of stuff — but it has been very hard to hold back! Truth is, I love all of the Spring fashion (minus the zipper trend that I had hoped expired in ‘85 along with MC Hammer “harem” pants), the great product packaging popping up in the most unexpected places like the white rice bags at Trader Joe’s (with gorgeous birds and a forest scene, have you spotted those — eek! cute!), and of course all of the home stores are bursting with beautiful colors and patterns.

What are you seeing currently that has you swooning? What about color combinations? Any that make your heart beat a little faster? I’m hooked on… greens and blues with gold accents, orange, red, pink and yellow with black accents, and green and white with silver accents.

(images from west elm)


Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

April 6, 2009

I’m so excited to share a brand new office renovation from my dear friend in Morocco, Maryam Montague. You may know Maryam from her fabulous award-winning blog My Marrakesh or perhaps you’ve heard of the gorgeous oasis/boutique hotel that she and architect hubby are building, Peacock Pavillions, that will officially open to guests on November 15, 2009. Would you like to see where Maryam works in her newly decorated, ultra sophiticated, home office? It may surprise you to know that Maryam did a lot of the work you see herself — including the stenciling, painting, even the bookcase is handmade!

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

I thought I’d ask Maryam to complete a few questions so please follow along, words and photos to inspire – I guarantee! My words are boldface and Maryam’s answer follow italicised.

My name is Maryam but I’ve always loved the first name Lilly but, oh well.

I live in Marrakech, Morocco but would love to live part-time in Santorini or maybe Zanzibar.

My home has 12 rooms (including a tiny 3-floored tower — the top room is my office) was built in the year 2009 (and 2007 and 2008 – we are still building it in fact. Sigh).

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

The architectural style of my home is modern Moroccan. My husband is an architect — I’m more clever than I look.

I would describe my personal style in three words: Bohemian, organic, and a little quirky.

My office design was inspired by the olive grove in which I live, mixed in with a little glam chic.

I am a human rights and democracy specialist for a living but wish I was taking a sabbatical to work on my current book on Moroccan interior design for a US publisher instead. (eek! Deadline fast approaching.)

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

In my house I love to play ping pong and badminton with the fam, romp with the dog, and decorate at least in my imagination on the weekends and during my free time.

My real passion is scouting out sources for ethnic design.

My favorite cleaning tips are: To Do files, To Sort boxes (okay, I know this is cheating), and cleaning my office every single day for 5 minutes so it stays tidy.

My favorite objects in my home are most definitely my global textile collection and antique Tibetan furniture.

In this house I live with my husband and 2 rascally children, as well as a dog and 3 cats, one of whom is named Lilly (ahem, well if I couldn’t have that name…).

My favorite place to hang out in my home is in the nomadic Berber wool tent because I’m really a hippie at heart.

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

This house is different from other places I’ve lived because it has a domed great room with peep holes – makes me feel much more fabulous than I am in real life.

My decorating philosophy is mix it up, be true to yourself, and have at least one grand gesture in every room to amp up the space.

I stay organized by having a walk-in closet with designated spaces for everything, including my jewelry, shoes, and handbags. (I channeled Martha Stewart and built most of it myself! No IKEA in Marrakech, baby.)

If you visit my house, these are my only rules: Please take off your shoes before walking on my Moroccan Beni Ourain carpets.

I plan to live in this house for well, forever! Now I just need to finish it.

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

Amazing Moroccan Office in Marrakech

My tips for renovating on a budget: Make it yourself! (I built my desk and bookcase – so thrifty!) or commission it to spec from budget-friendly sources (my porcelain pods and desk sculpture were commissioned from Caroline Douglas), stencil it (I stenciled my floor, boxes, magazine holders, and office threshold myself – check out Royal Design Studio), and always be willing to paint it if it doesn’t look right.

(images from maryam montague)

Designers + Stylists

Inspired By Lula

April 6, 2009

Lula is a multi-disciplinary art and design studio in Sweden that I discovered just this past weekend. On the site you can find styling, graphic design, patterns, photography and illustration from well known Swedish designers like Elisabeth Dunker (the other half of Studio Violet) along with Karolina Eriksson, Moa Edlund, Anders Söderberg, Albert Sjöstam, Fredrik Simson, Åsa Dahlbäck, Hanna Backman, Sara Blohmé and Pernilla Andersson. I spent at least an hour on this site looking through all of the portfolios, love it!

Since Elisabeth is a personal favorite of mine, I’ve focused on some of her styling work and designs here. Her patterns and colors make me happy!

(images from lula)


How Much For This Room?

April 3, 2009

I promised that today we’d feature two different homeowners in How Much For This Room?, first we drooled together viewing a sunny balcony and dining room in a New Zealand home and now we’re going to Newburgh, New York (one hour north of Manhattan) to check in on the brand new bathroom designed by graphic designer Anna Dorfman who authors the popular home blog, Door Sixteen. Anna and her husband have a 7 room, 2 bathroom home circa 1885 and she shares the renovation, in detail, on her blog. I suggest that before viewing the “after” images below, that you take a moment to check out what the room looked like before renovations here. Ready to see Anna’s bathroom?

What inspired the design of this room?/How did you decide upon the colors & overall style?
The architecture of my house is the base inspiration for everything I do within it. As a Modernist living in a Victorian-era house, I try to be very respectful of its original structure and character while still moving forward and not trying to create a faux-Victorian look. This attitude toward renovation (particularly when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms) is quite prevalent in Scandinavia, but in this country there is a still a tendency to try to make newly renovated spaces look “old”, and unfortunately the result is usually more of a pastiche than anything.

That said, I have tried very hard with both of my bathroom renovations to not make them look too “new”, either! The last thing I want anywhere in my house is for someone to open a door and immediately know that a particular room was recently renovated. My house is full of quirks and imperfections, and I have deliberately carried them into this space. This bathroom was added to the house sometime in the 1930s or ’40s (the space it’s in was originally a pass-through pantry connecting the entry hall to the kitchen at the back of the house), and I elected to keep the cast iron corner tub that was installed at that time. The old toilet was very cute, but it was terribly inefficient — rather than replace it with a “faux-old” toilet, though, I prefer the honesty of a very contemporary-looking one-piece.

But back to the question, you could say that every design decision I make in my house is inspired by Modernism, Industrialism, honesty of materials, and contrasts between old and new. – Anna

What is your favorite thing about this space? The floor. The effect of the monochromatic matte black penny tiles and black grout is very subtle, but in the light it shimmers in the most beautiful way. It feels wonderful underfoot as well. This was one of the very first things I decided on for the bathroom, and I’m so glad I never had second thoughts.

I need to give an honorable mention to the black paint, too. The bathroom is only about 5×6 feet, but the ceiling is more than 10 feet high! By carrying the white paneling and wall tiles to a uniform 8 foot height and then painting the upper portion of the walls and ceiling black, I was able to give the room a greater feeling of width and space. It’s an illusion that really works. I can’t believe how much more spacious the room feels now! – Anna

At what point did you know when to quit? Because my husband and I did the entire renovation (excluding the plumbing) ourselves, we were bound by our own limitations of what we could devote in terms of skills and time. We are both willing to read, ask questions, watch, and learn, but we know when to reign ourselves in (most of the time!). We spent about six months on this renovation, and it really took up almost every moment of our free time for the duration. When we were in the planning stages, we had all kind of ideas (like turning the space into a fully-tiled shower room) that we had to nix in favor of reality. As far as finish work goes, I’m pretty good at knowing how much is enough. I look at rooms the same way I look at 2D print design — I include enough to achieve balance, but remove extraneous materials that aren’t essential functionally or visually. For example, I had initially considered using a very bold Marimekko print to make a shower curtain, but after painting the ceiling, I decided to let the impact of the black against the angles of the white walls be the “stunner” of the room — even unbleached linen ultimately proved to be too overwhelming as a shower curtain! I ultimately went with a classic white waffle-weave, which recedes nicely while still adding a different texture to the room.

It’s all in the details…


Plumbing: $1,495 — Toilet: $425 / TOTO Eco-Supreme Sink: $80 / IKEA ÅNN (not online) Tub: $0 / semi-original to house, Sink faucet: $80 / IKEA ÅNN Tub faucet and trim: $675 / Kohler Purist. Shower wall tile: $100 / 3×6 gloss white, American Olean, Floor tile: $310 / matte black penny rounds, Nemo Tile Plywood subfloor: $50, Underlayment: $70 / Easymat. Tiling supplies (grout, caulk, thinset, tools, etc.): $270. Sconces: $200 / Truman, Schoolhouse Electric. Ceiling light: $130 / Alabax, Schoolhouse Electric. Towel radiator: $500 (eBay, 1/2 price) / Omnipanel, Runtal. Electrical supplies (outlets, Romex, etc.) Cement board: $50, Sheetrock: $15, Insulation: $35. Construction adhesive: $20, Joint compound: $10, Vapor barrier: $20, Tongue & groove wood paneling: $120, Wood trim:$80, Wood shelving: $32, Saddle: $12, Screws, nails, etc: $50. Miscellaneous building materials: $200. Primer: $20 / Zinsser Bulls Eye, Ceiling paint: $20 / Olympic Knights Armor (eggshell), Wall/trim paint: $100 / Benjamin Moore Simply White (satin), $40. Painting supplies (brushes, rollers, etc.): Shower curtain rod: $170 / Vintage Tub, Shower curtain liner (2): $20 / Target, Shower curtain: $50 / Bed Bath & Beyond, Shower curtain rings (2): $22 / Bed Bath & Beyond,Shower caddy: $40 / Simple Human, Trash can: $249 / Vipp, $105, Bath towels: $20 / IKEA BÅVAN, Hand towels: $7 / IKEA ADMETE, Bath mat: $18 / West Elm,, Mirror: $0 / family antique, Towel hooks: $0 / original to house, Toilet paper holder: $5 / IKEA GRUNDTAL,Medicine cabinet:$20 / IKEA FÖRHÖJA Square vase: $6 / IKEA REKTANGEL, White vases: $18 / IKEA SALONG, Fresh tulips: $7 / Adams Fairacre Farms, (painted), Basket: $6 / IKEA BÖLSNÄS, Radio: $220 / Pal, Tivoli Audio, Tealight holder: $2 / West Elm (not online), Painting of Hudson River: $1 / junk shop.

GRAND TOTAL: $5,745.00 USD (plus 6 months of weekends!)

Thank you so much Anna for sharing your beyond beauiful bathroom with us. Great work!

(images from anna dorfman of door sixteen)


Giveaway Time From Serena & Lily!

April 3, 2009

If you’re an expecting parent or know of one, you’ll love this special giveaway sponsored by Serena & Lily, a manufacturer of bedding and furniture for both baby and child based in Sausalito, California. They are offering THREE (3) prize packs to decor8 readers, each prize is valued at nearly $150! Here’s what each winner will receive: One (1) stylish Market Sling (valued at $109-129 each) and a signed copy of their new book ($29.95), Nursery Style, published by Chronicle Books.

Both functional and fabulous, the market sling allows you to hold your baby close in style — some even offer hand embroidered details! The book is a brand new, inspiring guide to help you find your personal style and create a very special nursery. Each chapter will show you how to implement your theme with color, fabrics and accessories, 144 pages, hardcover, signed by the authors.

“Nursery Style does a great job of giving us permission to break the rules. I only wish it had been written just a few years earlier!” – Kate Spade

To enter this giveaway, please visit Serena & Lily and list 3-5 things that you love on their site (include the link using and also tell us why you deserve to win this prize! Are you a soon-to-be mother? Is your best friend expecting? We want to know!

Note: You can enter only via the comments section below. Contest ends Thursday, April 9 at 5pm EST. Entries after that time will not be considered. Winners will be selected and posted on decor8 Friday, April 10th. One entry per household only.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for their free catalog!

(images from serena & lily)


Happy Weekend!

April 3, 2009

It’s time to say goodbye and wish you a nice weekend! It is hard to believe that another week is coming to a close — where does the time go? I hope that what plans you have over the next few days involves a little rest & relaxation and brings you some joy and maybe even a dab of inspiration. Thank you so much for hanging out with me this week — I hope you enjoyed yourself here as much as I enjoyed writing and sharing. Until I see you again on Monday, here are some fun linky links for your enjoyment. Hugs everyone!

Euphorian Chic prints, gorgeous ceramic bowls from LM London, new work by Pepperminte, great bowls for dipping from ceramicist Jill Rosenwald in Boston, City Chic Country Mouse who makes ironing board covers that are far from boring (or ordinary) and lovely Mexican dresses for bohemian girls by Aida Coronado! Oh and I cannot forget jewelry by Hannah Maigh Chandler (who is also a lovely photographer!).

See you on Monday, friends! xo, – Holly

(images linked to sources above)

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