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Studio Violet Gemütlichkeit

Studio Violet is such an inspiring little nook on the web, isn’t it? Camilla and Elisabeth are both so attentive to details and those tiny things that so often many overlook, a quality about them that I cherish the most I think. They are also masters, in my opinion, at capturing natural light and emotion in their photographs. Very cozy. Their prints, shown below in situ, look so gorgeous amongst cherished possessions in the home, don’t they? A nice touch to modernize this setting I think. You have a vintage bunny, old portraits and then a modern element to merge old with new effortlessly as so many of us adore. The marriage of what we loved 20 years ago alongside with what we love today is so meaningful, I think, to have around in our living space. Especially in this somewhat disposable, fast-paced world we live in.

Studio Violet

Sometimes I gaze upon rooms with only objects purchased recently – furniture, art, rugs, all of it – pretty much all brand new – and this “showroom” decoration doesn’t nothing for me on an emotional level. It feels cold and makes me not want to enter. It does not feel cozy at all. I’m studying German and so I’ve found a bunch of favorite words and one of them I’d like to share is Gemütlichkeit (Ge moot leesh kite) and after you read this definition below from Wikipedia you’ll quickly understand why.

Gemütlichkeit is a German abstract noun that has been adopted into English. Its closest equivalent is the word “coziness”; however, rather than merely describing a place that is compact, well-heated and nicely furnished (a cozy room, a cozy flat), Gemütlichkeit connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time.

By my definition the word means this: A room or setting that feels like you’ve just had someone walk up to you as you’ve entered, plant a kiss on both cheeks, wrap you in a warm plaid blanket, and grab you by the hand inviting you to sit at their table with cake, coffee and candles. And it’s not put on, in fact there is no vanity in it whatsoever. It’s completely natural.

Studio Violet

I think that is what I love so much about Europe, at least to the northern countries where I’ve traveled. There is this Gemütlichkeit that I feel in restaurants, cafes, lounges, and in the homes of my friends and family. For example, when we go for lunch, dinner or to simply order a coffee the staff does not “harass” us with frequent visits to the table. Even while shopping, most offer a simple “May I help you?” and then shuffle off to go about their business. There is no “riding” customers, “up-selling” of products, loud music that one cannot hear themselves think over, etc. In fact, things here in most situations while out dining or shopping can feel quite cozy and charming. At least in my city I feel this way. And this is so, so valuable to me and one of the main reasons why I decided to relocate here — I like to linger… I love not feeling rushed to pay my check and leave so as to free up the table for the next guest. I love sitting outside at a cafe in the Autumn with a blanket on my lap and candles on the table, which is common here.

Same when I visit friends, their homes are very casual and cozy, you feel like more than a guest, and it’s special – a special that is very hard to define. I think the Danish use the word Hygge, right? It’s that feeling. I wonder what the Swedish equivalent is? Anyone know?

(images: studio violet)

Posted in uncategorized on September 17, 2009

Flowers: Would You Try This?

Flowers that do not peep out of the tops of vases… Hmm… What do you think? It seems to be a bit of a trend in floral design, my floral designer friend back in the states is fond of this look and has used it at some weddings. It looks like the French are on to it as well, this image is from French decoration magazine 100 Idees Deco (which I regularly pick up as I can get it at the train station). I’ve seen it here and there around the web on wedding blogs, too.

100ideesdeco

Here, 100 Idees Deco has tried the look out using carnations. It comes across very no-frills, a simple, casual arrangement, don’t you think? Would you try this at home? Do you see this as an everyday arrangement or reserved for special events only, like a wedding or dinner party?

(image: 100 idees deco)

Posted in uncategorized on September 17, 2009

Submissions Needed: Calendar Round Up 2010!

Spread the word to all your friends who create calendars! decor8 is accepting submissions… Yahoo! It all began in 2006 when I posted my first ever calender round up in the autumn and then ’07 came and artists contacted, and again in ’08 and so now in ’09 I’m continuing tradition by organizing yet my 4th calender round up – the post with all of my picks for 2010 will go live on Friday, October 17th. I started receiving submissions for this great round up already (thanks everyone!) but I’d love it if you have been featured here in the past if you’d please contact me with your 2010 calendar (images, in situ, etc) so that I can include your work again this year – I don’t want to overlook anyone if I can help it. If you’ve never been featured and would like to be, you may also submit. I can’t promise to include everyone but I’m hoping to make this the largest round up ever so if you are doing a cally this year (and you think decor8 readers would like it and that it would fit the overall vibe of decor8), send in your shop name, link, and images!

Submit your calendar for 2010!

Submission Deadline: Monday, October 12th.

Guidelines: In the subject please type CAL SUB

Images: Make sure they aren’t too large — 500-900 pixels wide is perfect. No larger, please. Shots need to be clear, bright, and shot in natural daylight (no flash).

You can reach me by email at holly at decor8blog.com.

The post will go live on Friday, October 17th! Stay tuned!

New to decor8 and not sure what a calendar round up is? This should help.

(image: be happy now)

Posted in uncategorized on September 17, 2009

Elle Decoration South Africa

I’m on a magazine kick today, right? I can’t help it. Once I get on these topic rollercoasters I have a hard time breaking free. My current fascination is with Elle Decoration South Africa because Heather Moore, an editor on their blog (thanks, Heather!), sent me an issue. I love it, especially this particular one shown on my table below with the cherry blossoms in all their glory on the cover. Flowering branches in the home, outside of rosemary and olive topiary trees and peonies, are my favorite things to put on display — though very hard to always find since they are seasonal and not all flower shops carry them even when they are in season. So when I cannot have real cherry blossoms, I will casually lay my pretty magazine on the coffee table to bring in these beautiful blooms.

Elle Decoration South Africa

This magazine is not only gorgeous on the outside but the guts of it are ever so tasty! It’s too good to pass up. Elle Decoration whether in SA or other countries, are all quite amazing publications. Nothing at all like Elle Decor (US) which is beautiful as well but on a very different level, much more high society I think. Elle Decoration, on the other hand, feels more creative and approachable to all income levels in my opinion, like a lot of the things you see you could almost reproduce yourself if you had the right color of paint or the patience to hand create something that inspired you.

Here’s a peek of ED South Africa Spring 2009 (current issue) below, these are my low res scanned copies but hey it’s some bait to entice you. To enjoy the full high res beauty and perfect photography on every page you’ll need to purchase a hard copy or visit their website. I particularly LOVED the home of stylist Tracy Lynch, the dresser below is her magical creation. Of course I love the use of doilies over the bed and all of the butterflies. It reminds me of the decor8 blog logo/template if interpreted into decor. :)

Elle Decoration South Africa

Elle Decoration South Africa

Elle Decoration South Africa

Elle Decoration South Africa

Now let’s talk about magazines in general for a moment because like you, I’m addicted to them and I want to talk about why and what we can all do to keep magazines in circulation. First of course, to really help magazines we need to be careful about how much of their content we show on our blogs. If we scan in every page then no one will buy a hard copy, right? Though, I know this won’t sit well with some of you, but I had to say it. Think about it when you blog though. It matters.

And next, I must confess that when it comes to magazines I prefer print over digital sometimes because I think there is nothing better than holding a book and reading it or sitting on the sofa listening to your favorite music with a mag in hand that you’d saved for that exact moment.

Online, I have blogs and online mags that I go to for inspiration — but it’s a different medium and a different feeling altogether. Not better or worse, different. It’s like saying Italian food is better than Thai food. How can you say this if you love both equally. And that feeling of blog/online mag love is often centered around the fact that what I find online is often of-the-moment and so this often fuels my need to know about the best and latest. As a writer, I need to know these things to stay on top of what’s what in order to produce interesting content. Print publications, due to schedules and such, cannot generate content as quickly which is why most of your popular magazines have blogs with experienced editors writing about those must-have items that didn’t make it into the magazine.

But a print magazine is a bit of history in your hand, you can reference it at anytime in the future as long as you keep your copy in good shape. And the smell of paper, yum. Same goes for books. I could never get into reading books online or even on handheld devices kindle (sorry, kindlers out there) because I love the paper smell so much, holding something vs. scrolling through, and of course you cannot read everything online because not all you find it fact-checked, verified, or even true. Plus, it’s not always good for your vision to only read from your computer. Plus there is something long lasting about a book. You cannot (oops!) delete a book but you can delete a blog post by accident as I’ve done many times in the past – then that content is gone for good. You cannot fry a magazine but you can fry your harddrive. Things like that make me cherish print stuff in addition to the digital goodies.

I think blogs and books and magazines call all live happily together in the same universe though. I don’t think one needs to push out the other. Currently publishers are battling over this topic and some are really upset that blogs exist, others still don’t understand the fascination with blogs, and still others just want nothing to do but work with bloggers because they know that we have a powerful position here on the web with all of us pulling together to form this great big community of friends and colleagues. But I say both magazine and blog and digital mag can live in harmony.

To illustrate: People still go to the movie theater despite that they know in a few months the same film will release on DVD, which they can show in their home with their pimped out audio/visual system for a lot less money than a movie night out. But they still go see movies just the same. It’s a different experience — the crowds, the smell of popcorn, the sounds of others reacting to the picture before you. I love that moment when you enter your favorite newsstand and spot the latest issue of the magazine you anticipate each month. It’s a fleeting moment, but a moment just the same that matters and brings a burst of joy. I’m all about these mini bursts and love to feel excited over something now and then. That’s why I still love to see a movie on opening weekend vs. a month later. Of course, we’re all so different in this respect but this is how I see it.

Free Wallpaper

(download this as wallpaper here.)

But I’ll say it again and again on this blog, print magazines will always remain one of my favorite purchases to make and I’m very brand loyal to several ones out there. Which is why when Domino crashed and Blueprint fell apart, then all the others afterwards, I almost felt like there was something lost in the design community in the states that once drew us all together. There was, and still is I think, a HUGE hole that nothing else is filling with some of our favorite magazines gone. Whether that will change or not still remains to be seen. But certain movements or feelings or things, I believe, cannot be replaced and one just has to move on. Perhaps that whole Domino/Blueprint era was only a stepping stone. But it’s still sad. Often when my friends here ask me what magazines I miss the most from the states I cannot point to very many because most of my favorites folded. I want to encourage you to continue buying and supporting magazines you love even though you read tons of blogs. Print is really good, print is your friend. :) Sure, you can flip through them at the library or magazine stand, but if you really love and want to see your favorites stay around, buy them and encourage your friends to buy them too. A world without magazines would be a world that I hope I never have to live in! We have to work to make sure that this never happens.

Okay, I’m off for the day… I’ll spiral no more down into my rabbit hole of thoughts and dreams of what ifs and how cans. I’ll simply go out and buy a coffee and then, a magazine. :)

(images: holly becker scanned images from elle decoration south africa for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration on September 16, 2009

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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