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September 2009

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English Muse: Favorite Things

September 3, 2009

As promised, I have a few more guests joining me here on decor8 this week with their favorite things… so I’m going to let them have the floor and talk to you about their cherished possessions and what inspires them. First up today is the English Muse. Enjoy!

Hello from Pasadena, California. I’m Tina from English Muse and I’m very happy to be visiting the lovely decor8. I live with my husband, my daughter, two cats and a little mutt dog in a small English Tudor style house on the edge of the San Gabriel Mountains. I have many favorite things gathered from years of prowling the flea markets and raiding my father’s art studio. They form a colorful hodgepodge in every room in the house. Many of my parents’ friends were artists–their homes filled with folk art, pottery, hand-carved furniture, Chinese antiques and bookshelves lined with English literature. Stepping into their haciendas was like wandering through a magical paradise of erudite pursuits. It’s a sensibility I love, which is why I wanted to start my blog. Beauty comes in all colors and from all cultures.

English Muse: Favorite Things

Everyone needs a favorite chair. This one is mine: an old club chair covered with an antique suzani from Uzbekistan. (Bought on eBay). The fabric is soft after years of wear, faded to a deep rose-red. The swirling, colorful embroidery is so beautiful, made with thick strands of silk. At the moment, this chair is stacked with magazines and catalogues — as are many of the flat surfaces in our house. My plans to get organized continue….

English Muse: Favorite Things

My elderly father has been very sick lately, so my most cherished possessions are his gorgeous paintings and watercolors. With their colors of blue and green, they form mini-galleries in various places in our house. I especially like this collection, lit by a skylight in a long hallway.

English Muse: Favorite Things

Of course my most favorite things: The people and animals who live with me in this little house.

English Muse: Favorite Things

I hated the idea of keeping all my Polaroids in a box. I put together this art installment of sorts on the refrigerator. The picture of my daughter in the bunny ears is my favorite. There’s also a picture of my husband with one of his funny grins. It makes me laugh.

My inspiration: I grew up in New Mexico where the sunsets are purple and pink, the furniture and doorways are often painted blue, and the mountains are named for the color of the soil: Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ.) I’m convinced that a beautiful home is all in the little details: A pretty perfume tray, textiles from locals around the globe, whimsical things like a bouquet of colorful umbrellas, weekend papers spread across the floor for reading, art with deep grooves of oil paint, dried flowers on a dressing room table. Thank you for letting me visit! – xo Tina

(images: english muse)






Rooms

Timeless Paper {save 20%}

September 3, 2009

How imaginative these place cards are from Timeless Paper in Philadelphia! I’ve never seen butterflies gently resting on the rims of glassware before as a place card but now that I do well, I’m in love! They have birds, shrimp (yes, really), peacocks, dragonflys, leaves and more! I want to throw a party right now just to show my guests these fluttery accents.

Timeless Paper {save 20%}

Timeless Paper {save 20%}

Timeless Paper {save 20%}

Timeless Paper {save 20%}

I also like the napkin rings with the sweet button accent. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking up all sorts of variations of this idea and how much I love how imaginative Timeless Paper is!

Psst: This shop is part of a weekend Etsy sale so you can save 20% off of your order total if you write in the message to sellers box the code “weekend deals”. This sale is valid from Thursday, September 3, through Monday, September 7.

(images: timeless paper)






Arts + Crafts, Rooms

ABC Cuteness From Enna

September 2, 2009

My cutie friend Anne who lives nearby to me here in Hannover just launched the sweetest new poster available for order at DaWanda. Isn’t this so cute? And it’s only 10.00 €! If you look closely you’ll find a Yeti. My favorite part. And a dachshund. My second favorite.

ABC Cuteness From Enna

I love alphabet posters and honestly, there are so many out there that I love that I just don’t know how parents settle on one design! But if I had a nursery and needed color I’d buy this one from my dear Anne. This is also perfect for kindergarten or pre school in case you’re a teacher or a mom looking to give the teacher a present. :)

Psst: Anne will ship worldwide and she has an etsy shop, so if you want one convo her on Etsy and ask her to special list it for you.

(image: enna)






Rooms

Schtickers

September 2, 2009

I just heard from Emily over at Schtickers who told me about two new products — blackboard & whiteboard wall Schtickers. She said that she loves to cook and thinks these would be a cute “specials board” in a kitchen or a wine and cheese list for a party. I have to agree, cute idea! You can also use them on doors, helpful for those while you were out messages.

Schtickers

Schtickers

Schtickers are easy to apply, just press them onto any smooth surface, and you can unstick and reuse them elsewhere if you move or decide to schtick it in another room. :)

(images: schtickers)






Arts + Crafts

Marie Desbons Illustrations

September 2, 2009

I came upon the fabulous, in fact beyond fabulous, illustrations of Marie Desbons today via a facebook friend of mine, Apple Eve. I am so intrigued by Marie’s work, I can’t stop looking at the characters and patterns, wow – so intricate and fresh. And her blog, don’t get me started… you will spend so much time scrolling through and drooling! And now I want one of the children’s books that she has illustrated, they look darling.

Marie Desbons Illustrations

Marie Desbons Illustrations

I love so many of the French styles of illustration, don’t you? So talented! You can find some of her lovely postcards at La Marelle

Watch this little animated short she created with her whale character… it’s breaking my heart with cuteness!

(images: marie desbons)






Home Tours

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

September 2, 2009

I have such a lovely apartment to share with you today! I was contacted by research scientist (neuroscience, molecular and cell biology) Morgane Rouault who lives in Berlin and asked if she could share her place with us on decor8. Why, of course! I’m always interested in how people live, especially in big cities, and being that I’m so close to Berlin I’m even more intrigued to “meet” new people living nearby. Morgane lives in a district of the city called Prenzlauer Berg/Mitte which is one of my favorite spots because there are some beautiful old buildings there and lots of funky, hip design and cafes to hang out in. Morgane is originally from Brittany in France, she spent four years in Brooklyn and now she’s in Berlin. In her free time she loves to decorate (obvious from her beautiful flat that she’s also quite good at it!), sew and craft things which she sells in her little etsy shop. I asked her a few questions about her style and impressions of Berlin so let’s see her apartment and have a chat with her today, shall we?

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

How many rooms is your rental apartment? The apartment used to be a 4 rooms plus a kitchen and bath but some walls have been broken down and there is now a huge open space, the kitchen opens on the living room that is only separated from the living room by a wall opened on both sides. It has windows everywhere, spacious and full of light.

What do you love about being back in Europe after living in Brooklyn? One exciting thing about moving to Berlin, apart from being back to Europe, was the possibility to have a big and relatively cheap apartment. Well, we had to fight for it, but I had a dream apartment of 95 square meters, in the middle of the city, with a huge terrace and on the last floor of an old but renovated building. When we moved in, the apartment was freshly painted, the wood floor had been renovated and the kitchen was empty. We were therefore free to chose everything we wanted.

How long have you lived in Berlin? We moved in this apartment in May (only a few months ago!), but I can easily imagine myself living here for several years, Prenzlauer Berg, the neighborhood is absolutely wonderful, active, green and also quiet and calm. It feels very good to live here.

What inspired your color palette and selections? Our former apartment in Park Slope had an old very dark (therefore beautiful) wooden floor. I think I was first inspired by the amazing light that is constantly in the apartment. I wanted to have color themes for the rooms, but with a dominant of white.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The entrance door arrives directly between the living room and the kitchen, so we only placed there a bench with coat hangers. We bought that bench in Brooklyn, it was built in an Amish community following Amish traditions. The shelf is actually used to hold hats during mass, I used it to put books and my garden box. I made two pillows with fabric I bought at a local wonderful shop called Frau Tulpe.


Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The kitchen was custom made by a local artist, Minim. We wanted something functional, original and simple. The poster is one of our few obvious souvenirs of the big apple: the MTA Coney island poster. Above from the kitchen table are three colorful frames, one drawing is from Underneath My Tree, a polaroid picture of beautiful Brooklyn taken by me, and a tree in the wind watercolors painting that Imade few years ago.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Because the kitchen is entirely made of birch wood, I wanted to have plenty of color as a contrast. We therefore bought colorful appliances And I painted frames and added several colorful tea boxes.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

For the living room, I think one important element of this room is the Adirondack rocking chair that we bought on Cape Cod 3 years ago (for $60), I was thinking about painting it white but changed my mind. The green lazure paint is starting to fade because we are sitting on this chair so much and I didn’t want to erase those traces of time. We chose a green sofa that we purchased here in Berlin, it is from a Sanish company called Softline. The huge coffee table is from Habitat, but I purchased it very long ago, when I was a student in a tiny antique store on Hudson Street in Manhattan. It was dark red, so I had to sand 2 or 3 layers of paint before I was able to paint it white. Now it holds a terrarium, some glassware I had from my previous laboratory and a table lamp I bought at the flea market, and I created a brand new shade. Most pillows from the living room were made by me and I bought the fabric at the local wonderful shop called Frau Tulpe (Editor’s Note: they also have an online store). We chose to organize our books by colors, it is definitely more beautiful.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The big cloud frame is one of my favorite object in the apartment. We found it on the side walk of 3rd Avenue while the Urban Outfitters store was getting rid of some furniture. We were lucky enough to be there at the right time. It was yellow, we painted white and frame one of our cloud picture in it. This picture inspired the color of the dining room, all pillows and pictures are blue. Some pillows in the dining room were made by a local very cute store on Choriner Strasse in called Rosenrot. All chairs were found in local flea markets and painted in white. The bench is an Amish bench bought in Brooklyn (that I already talked about above) and the huge wonderful table is from IKEA.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The wall between the dining room and the living room is a little empty by choice, after living for 3 years in 35 square meters, we chose to have more space, meaning less furniture and less frames everywhere on the wall. I found theses 4 identical frames at a flea market in Vienna (I had to clean them and to paint them white). The vase is from the Conran shop and I made the white frame hosting two lovers on a bench few years ago.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The “rue pont du lindin” is a beautiful street in my home town in France, it happened to end up in my hands when I was a teenager, since then I try to have it in all my apartments. It didn’t make it to NYC so I was very happy to find it back after few years. All ceramics on this side are handmade by me. When I was in Brooklyn, I was a student at Choplet Studio in Williamsburg.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The bedroom is full of color but maybe with a dominant glimpse of orange. When we enter the room, this is where we can find a mannequin that I got from a clothes store clearance, maybe 15 years ago, I bought it 50 francs! The frame is also handmade with dried flowers we collected on one of our trip to Fire Island.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The chest of drawers is fom IKEA, except that I changed all handles, I bought them all at Anthropologie, it was a lot of money but was definitely worth it. It changed the entire design of the chest of drawers and made it absolutely unique. On top of the chest of drawers is a collection of found stones and seashells from all over the world.


Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Our side table is an vintage Sunkist orange box that I bought in an antique store in Kansas.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The wall facing the chest of drawers is filled up with beautiful art framed in antique frames: from left to right, little house (from me), lavender bouquet (from my dear friend Pascaline), dragonfly postcard (I forgot where it’s from), a cypress tree (from Persian Garden), a Polaroid painting (by Michelle Maule), a flower birdhouse (from Not Too Pink), a postcard from Kate’s Paperie, and a raindrop parade print (from Underneath My Tree).

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

The rocking chair at the corner of the bedroom is from IKEA, I made two of the three pillows that are here, the other one is from Rosenrot. I purchased the painting above the chair at the Giant Robot in the east village, after the Dan-ah Kim exhibition last winter. It is so beautiful that it has to be by itself on one wall.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

On the other side of the hallway, there is the workshop/guest room… a nice space for our creations and our friends. The garland is standing on top of the guest bed and I was inspired by a DIY tutorial from creature comforts, I made slight personal changes, like the additional felt balls. The printed silk elephant is from India and was beautifully framed by my mother. And here stands the space I was dreaming for many years, a drawing table, a workshop cart, a basket full of papers, a sewing machine, a dremel, an enlarger, and enough space to use all of them freely… it still makes me dream.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

On the other side of the room, there is an arrangement of art of all kinds, a street sign from Spain (I use to collect them all with the complicity of my father), a homemade drawing, a picture of Brooklyn, a photo/enlarger montage made by me, a grass symbolic frame from 2006, and an amazing drawing from Japanese artist Yummee Kyang bought in Williamsburg.

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Beautiful Berlin Apartment

Last but not the least, the Terrasse, where we grow aromatic plants, tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers. It is big enough to have a barbecue and a colorful table with four colorful chairs.

Where do you shop for your home decorating items? Flea markets, Etsy, DaWanda, Outside in the forests and on beaches, local art supply stores and anywhere that something catches my eye!

Where do you go in Berlin for inspiration? Berlin is so rich for inspiration, this question is impossible to answer! I would say that the local design is so vast that there are numerous tiny stores that are inspiring. Just walking down the street and passing by some of them can bring inspiration. However, here are some that are crossing my mind right now are Rosenrot, Frau Tulpe, flower stores like Frau Rose, all flea markets, I particularly like the one at Boxhagener Platz, Cremer Cremer in Schoeneberg, and all the tiny galleries in the Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrischain and Kreuzberg districts.

What do you love about living in Berlin? The open space, riding my bike everyday (although I did this in Brooklyn too, but it is definitely better here), the way people here enjoy life simply, the overwhelming history, the constant presence of the wall although it has been destroyed 20 years ago, being close to France, and to so many places in Europe, the cheap rent, the low cost of living, our terrasse, the fact that my friends come to visit me for a weekend with a week notice, or sometimes less — the not too warm Summer…. discovering a new country and a new city.

What would you like to see change there? I would like thing not to change so much, it is impossible to do anyway as Berlin is in constant evolution. I would just like to speak better German!

What five must-see stops do you think all visitors to Berlin should see and why? 1. The Berlin wall documentation center, 2. Friedrischain (around Boxhagener Platz), 3. The Club der Visionaere in Kreuzberg (and everything around it), walk the Berlinmauerweg (but not the crowded Brandenburger Tor-Potsdamer Platz section) along the Spree from Nordbahnof, 4. Enjoy a Sunday in Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg, with the Museum Insel and the crowded flea market at the Mauer Park, 5. The Karaoke at the Mauer Park. Oh and a 6th! Last but not the least, just wander in the little streets of the city, enjoy the creative Berlin street art, the local design stores and the amazing bakeries.

Thank you so much Morgane for writing to me and sharing your lovely apartment, certainly an inspiration to us all!

(images: morgane rouault)






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