Monthly Archives

September 2009

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Happy Weekend!

September 25, 2009

I’d like to take a moment before signing off for the weekend to thank you for visiting me here on decor8 this past week and for all the wonderful comments you’ve left that I enjoyed reading so very much! I’ve had a great week and I hope you have enjoyed the content that I’ve presented as much as I have. There is more in store for next week, so I’ll return again on Monday with a new batch of posts and experiences to share.

Happy Weekend!

But before we part, I have a few things to share with you that I’ve been enjoying. First, these vintage bottles from the local pharmacy, they used them years ago and recently sold 4 to me for 2- euros each. I use them to place beads inside, also for flower stems and other miscellany. I added Japanese masking tape because you can barely see them otherwise. But just for today. Tomorrow they may hold a few stems of wild flowers instead. The pharmacy has additional larger ones available too. I am so tempted… If only the had the space!

Happy Weekend!

Next, this design store in Hannover that I visited on Tuesday called Jöhrenshof. Part florist, part garden center and gift shop with home furnishings, bedding and more. The store is grouped into rooms and is just the most beautiful shop ever). They have wonderful bath products. I love my new home!

Happy Weekend!

And finally, fresh heather for my mother-in-law’s patio. :) It’s in bloom here and grown in the state where I live so you can find it everywhere for around 2,50- euros per pot. Oh and these handpainted soup bowls are ones I just took out of my china cabinet this afternoon for the hot homemade soup that Thorsten made for me since I seem to have caught a cold since last night… He made veggie soup and it was divine — as is everything he cooks. He is very Nigella in the kitchen and so no recipes are used and only fresh ingredients are chopped, peeled and placed into a hearty broth – all with love.

So I will go now with my bowl of steaming hot vegetable soup and get on with my weekend. I’m wishing you a wonderful few days until we meet again — be safe, be happy, and most of all, be creative in some small way if you can!

(images: holly becker for decor8)






Books + Magazines

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

September 25, 2009

Time for a little book review of a most glorious decorating book that would do any coffee table proud: Perfect English Cottage by best selling author Ros Byam Shaw with photos by one of England’s most sought-after photographers, Jan Baldwin. Ros Byam Shaw is a freelance journalist and writes for design magazines in addition to being the author of a bestseller. A former Features Editor at The World of Interiors and Deputy Editor of the British edition of W magazine, she lives in a restored Elizabethan manor in Devon, England where she penned this inviting and informative book. Care to sit next to me on the sofa and flip through with me today? Oh good! Because you have no choice. :)

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

The publisher of this title, Ryland Peters & Small sent me a copy and not only did I fall in love instantly, I was so hungry for English that I read most of it too! I don’t review all the books sent in because I will not review just any title — if something doesn’t fit my taste or interest (no matter if it is free or not), I don’t bother. But this one — well it’s special — I had to share because it’s quintessential Britain. Whenever I’ve visited England, I always enjoyed strolling around the charming villages mostly for the ambiance — stone homes and pathways, rolling hills, traditional thatched roofs, and wooden floors… Along with the cozy, inviting rooms and rustic fireplaces. The perfect vacation spot in the Autumn is to break free from the modern conveniences of city life (or inconveniences, however you see it) and head to a cottage of any kind really, but an English one is like a big, warm hug. It’s where you go for a few weeks to roll out dough, bake apple pies and curl up under plaid woolen blankets with a mug of cocoa or hot mulled wine. No diets. No laptop. No television. That is what Perfect English Cottage feels like in book format – a big cozy vacation space meant for dreaming.

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

So, what do I like about this book? Nothing. I was so disappointed! Ha ha! No seriously, it is fabulous and I won’t at all be surprised if it becomes the authors next bestseller. For one, it’s huge and the photographs are inviting and vivid. For $22 (at least at Amazon), it’s a steal because I think it’s worth $50 due to book size and the amount of photographs inside. I love a good coffee table book. Photos are not used over and over again on different pages throughout the book, either. Each page is different from the last, each photo new and beautifully shot – the mood of the space reaches out from the pages and pulls you in like cookies beckoning you from the oven. And it was published, in my opinion, during the perfect time of the year (it just released) because it fits the weather and how I imagine England as I’ve only been there in the Autumn months.

I also like it because it  features real homes, 18 of them, and all categorized so you have rustic, whimsical, historical and cottages by the sea to name a few, all styled with absolute perfection. It is divided, by style, into five key chapters: Character, Holiday, Romance, Simplicity and Elegance. It reminds me so much of some of the homes I’ve either lived in or visited when I lived in New England back in the states, which is another reason why I love this book so much — it’s a reminder of a bit of where I’ve been and experiences I’ve had. The medley of patterns, prints, colors and textures in each room lures you in and holds your attention — and one theme I see through the photographs is simplicity, creating a retreat, layering experiences and years into the home decor, and infusing rooms with character while still using careful restraint so as to not overwhelm the space or yourself with too much clutter. These rooms are edited beautifully.

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Book Review: Perfect English Cottage

Bottom line: If you love a good English cottage, take it from me — this is a great addition to your decorating library.  This book won’t disappoint!

Please note: As most of you know but I’ll say it again… all book links to the title are associated with my Amazon store and will link to Amazon where you can purchase it. If you purchase the book, I earn 6% of the book total ($3.85 USD before tax).

(images: holly becker for decor8)






uncategorized

Martha, Where Art Thou?

September 25, 2009

It’s funny to live in a country where you cannot find Martha Stewart anywhere. It’s like, kind of weird, surreal, strange… no problematic but just odd because she is everywhere in the states. I don’t see her publications on newsstands (only one that I know of in the train station carries random issues of Weddings, but they haven’t had one since I arrived so perhaps they’ve discontinued selling it), I don’t see her products in stores, nothing. The average housewife/mother/other here, I’m guessing, doesn’t even know who she is. Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, and Nigella Lawson are known and esteemed but try to find a Martha book and you’re up a creek without a mint green paddle. It really floors me. I guess I just assumed she was big over here.

Martha, Where Art Thou?

Why isn’t Martha in Germany? Is she in France? The UK? Martha Martha, where art thou Martha? I don’t get it, truly. I think Germans would love her. She is everything they admire — she’s a perfectionist, she’s organized, and she’s an exceptional cook and homemaker. Europe would love her (I’m assuming she’s not a household name in the surrounding countries as well after a quick google search), right? And in a country where modern crafting is starting to really take shape, she could dominate the market here. Germany needs you, Martha Stewart. Or do they? It’s a lot to think about. And for selfish reasons, I need to see your face a little more because seeing you on the internet just doesn’t cut it. It’s not the same as holding your products in my hand or watching your show where you invite rappers to dish and comedians to dine. In fact, I don’t see a “celeb” culture here when it comes to crafting and decorating… Hmmm.

(images: martha stewart)






Books + Magazines, Inspiration

All In The Details…

September 25, 2009

I have a few lovely pages to share with you sent in by Melinda, designer/owner of Dandi in Australia, who recently assisted Wedding Style Guide (leading Australian bridal magazine that looks divine) with some gorgeous products and ideas for a wedding theme. People generally don’t think of a wedding magazine as anything they’d pick up unless they are getting married or helping to plan one, but I refer to them constantly as a source of decorating ideas and for color palette and pattern inspiration in addition to styling ideas for parties. I find some of the most exquisite color medleys in bridal magazine spreads so I insist on finding a good bridal magazine and subscribing to it because it can really help train your eye and develop your own personal style and creativity. I believe the more you look at beautiful, well edited and carefully styled things, the more you are training your eye for good design and you may even start to see your own wardrobe, home and even food preferences improve. I notice that after several years in this profession, my taste (which was a bit all over the place when I started), finally developed into a coherent style that fits me and my personality and lifestyle perfectly.

All In The Details...

I always had good taste in things like most of you, but I needed to refine and trim and work out exactly what my own personal style statement really was so that when I shop or flea market or anything else, I’m not carrying home things that I liked in-store but that do not work in my home. Some people are always very surprised at how I am able to do this but it comes from years of training in addition to being born with a certain fascination for decorating that became evident to my family when I was a very young girl who was obsessed with decorating and constantly flea marketing and shopping at my mother’s side — trading in trips to amusement parks and waterslides to accompany her instead or sitting by her side watching her patiently sew for hours — everything from shower curtains to drapes to the clothes that I wore. My mother was a domestic goddess and I was happy to be in-training by her side. She also loved to landscape and was known in our neighborhood for having the best yard ever. When I’d go outside to look for her, it wasn’t uncommon to find her chatting up the neighbors, giving them planting tips on on her knees in their yard showing them how to arrange and plant things. She was also trained in her twenties as a floral designer, so we had flowers in our home at all times. I was also very keen on the neighborhood paper goods shop and would blow my entire allowance every Friday on Japanese “Sanrio” products from pencils to smelly erasers and diaries. Then I’d head to the bookshop to buy books and magazines. Hey, it was the 80s.

In fact, all I ever wanted when I was really young was to have my own home one day – I didn’t think about having babies, playing mommy and I gave little thought back then to having a husband or even a career as much as I thought about how fun it would be to have an entire house to decorate and “play” in. I’m sure many of you can recall your own memories of when you were very young, before you had external influences to tell you to be “this or that” profession, when all you loved to do was play “house” or be a mommy. It’s fun to think about how those days influence who you are now and what you like. As I grew older, my preferences remained strong on decorating and moving the furniture all over the house, but then I learned how to read and write and would spend hours (after decorating and cleaning and perfectly arranging everything in my room) writing in my journals or making my own little books with my horrible illustrations. I learned early on that I would not be an illustrator, but I still loved to try. And because I hated doing homework, the only way I could do it was to “teach” it before my class of stuffed animals lined up on my bed with name tags. It’s no surprise that I still love all of these things. Blogging, in particular, has helped me immensely when it comes to getting in touch with what I loved to do as a child. In school, particularly high school and college, I lost touch with who I really was deep inside because I just needed to get a job, pay the bills, and work. And I did this for many years until I decided to get back in touch with my first loves, I guess you could say. And from there, things have gone so well. I find that once you do what you were sorta created to do in life, things just flow… And you start to really figure stuff out. Like personal style. You wouldn’t believe how greatly personal joy and happiness affects your ability to get in touch with your personal style and to know yourself. Now what does all this have to do with an Australian wedding magazine? I’m getting there…. :)

Decorators, designers, stylists and people with good taste in general train this by carefully choosing, knowing their style, and often carrying with them swatches from things in their home so that when they shop there isn’t a bad decision made that one pays for later. There is not much more of a secret to shopping than that – honestly. To know thyself… this is the way to avoid picking up things that you don’t like when you get home. So! This is why I always encourage people to surround themselves with things and places and even people that inspire their own creativity, happiness and help them to train their eye so that there is a greater sense of peace when at home amongst all these “things” collected out in ones journey. And having a good solid collection of books and magazines that reflect YOUR vision is vital to all this as well. So next time you see a beautiful bridal magazine with a focus on tabletop decorating, floral arrangements, favors, etc. don’t pass it by discarding it as not applicable. It is! It is! If you’re not convinced, head to a magazine rack and see if you can be swayed… Check out wedding blogs too (they’re magnificent resources with often über creative authors) Or simply view these shots within this post. I particularly love the styling but also the colors (yellow and aqua, which has to be one of my favorite color combos) and ideas in general. Have a look, I think that Melinda did a beautiful job.

All In The Details...

You can visit the Wedding Style Guide website for more goodies and thank you Melinda for sending me these gorgeous images to share here today!

(images: wedding style guide)






Shop Tours, Travel

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

September 25, 2009

Happy Friday to you! I hope you’re ready for the weekend, I sure am! But first, I have a shop tour to share from Sweden. And… well I hope to do a lot more of these again in the future so if you have a lovely shop that you’d like to show off, and you want thousands of eyes to see it outside of your local neighborhood, please contact me (holly at decor8blog dot com) with a few preview photos so I can see your shop! Don’t be shy, it’s a great way to share your passion and a good way to market yourself at no charge — something small businesses really need to do in order to stay afloat. You can’t sit behind the cash register thinking some magazine editor will find you, in this day and age you have to get online and share your store with blogs. I’ve had many magazine editors connect with those I’ve featured on this site — and those are the people you want to get in front of and this is often impossible so please, take this opportunity to share your shop! Really! AND if you are an indie designer, scroll to the bottom of this post…

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

I cannot share all shops that are submitted but I can tell you this: I’m looking for stores that are unique, interesting, creative and one that you can imagine seeing on this blog — fitting within the aesthetic and mood here. I think the shop I’m about to show you is a great example of what I’m looking for — small, local, unique, with strong attention to detail when it comes to visual merchandising and overall layout. I also love the way these were photographed in natural sunlight vs. harsh overhead lighting or worse, with flash photography. I hope my submission guidelines don’t come across as too snobby, but I’m very dedicated to sharing beauty on this site and great decorating ideas that inspire so I have to maintain a few house rules. But, I’m very open to sharing and connecting people so if you are too and want to show us your retail shop, please have it photographed or do-it-yourself and send them to me so I can schedule you in. If I receive enough submissions, I’ll turn this back into a regular weekly “event” here on Fridays and revive Shop Talk along with it – a column I once ran where we talked about small business related topics. I think it’s more important than ever to share the small retail establishments that give so much to a community because we want them to thrive and stick around. Here in my city, more and more small stores are opening and I’m so happy to see this growth. Go indie!

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

With all that said… here is a special shop in Malmö, Lutterlagkage, that I’ve been dying to share with you, owned by Stine Holm Weirsoe originally from Denmark. She JUST opened, so these photos were just submitted to me by Stine this morning. Hot off the press! With the photos, I’ve asked her a few questions so please join us today as Stine and I have a chat about her new storefront. Please click on these images to see the details.

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

Good morning Stine! Tell us, what do you sell in your new shop? I mainly sell children’s clothing and accessories. The shop is centered on my own designs sold under the name “lutterlagkage.dk” I have added some of my favourite brands in children’s wear like Swedish “DUNS” and Danish “Milibe”. I focus on sustainability and great design with character. What I really want with the shop is to create a place that is brimming with colour, joy and creativity. A place where you can let your hair down and have fun. That is why I also sell interior details such as handmade vintage fabric cushions, vintage wallpaper silhouettes and handmade porcelain jewellery, all products to help spark the lutterlagkage lifestyle.

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

What are some of your favorite things about this space? One of the favourite things is that I have a big window which is great for displays and for being in touch with the world! Being at home with only the website to showcase my things has been fine but I missed the part where you put your things on display and enjoy them and feel proud because they work as well as you had imagined. I also love the white floors, the fact that I have three rooms – one for the retail space, one for offices space and storage and then a workshop in the back. And I love to be out there, in the real world!

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

Did you DIY anything we’re seeing here as far as the design of the space goes — and if so, what? I basically DIYed everything with the help of friends and family. I painted, put up the wallpaper tree, a design from Holland that I carry in the shop, put up shelves and wallpaper, mounted the lamps, assembled numerous IKEA items…

I noticed the clothes rack is floating from the ceiling, so that’s something you also did yourself? Yes! My friend Katrine came up with the idea of a rack hanging from the ceiling. It proved to be so much harder than we thought ;) But I think it looks great.

Okay, I am dying to know… what does Lutterlagkage mean? Lutterlagkage is a Danish manner of speaking used to express that all is well, that you are happy with something and that you think that everything is crème de la crème! The English equivalent is “peaches and cream”. In Danish we often use the term in its negative form, saying that this or that is NOT “lutterlagkage” and that is said very often about life. But I insist! Life IS lutterlagkage! There is another catch to the phrase; lagkage is the traditional birthday cake, the notorious three-layer-cake. What could be better suited for bright, bold and colourful design than that?

And lastly, what inspired your overall design? My design is very much inspired by my clothing design. I wanted surroundings that  communicated the basic values I have built my brand upon; fun, retro eclectic style with a clear inspiration from childhood memories (yes, those were from back in the early seventies :)) and an obtainable DIY-edge. I also wanted my shop to ooze of that Danish design aesthetics well known abroad. That is why I went for classic Verner Panton FlowerPot pendants (reproductions from the 60s) and classic vintage desk lamps, known in Denmark as “architects lamps”. I also wanted the design to reflect my focus on recycling, up-cycling and sustainability so I made sure to use what I had and what was there as a starting point (the counter and the hand was left by former tenants), I had the lamps and the display table and some of the shelves. That is always my starting point because I like that warm welcoming ambiance that comes with beat-up furniture and miss-matched item – if it’s done cleverly and stylishly. I wanted my shop to have that lived-in ambiance that makes you go “ahhhh” and makes you want to stay and visit again

Shop Tour: Lutterlagkage in Sweden

Stine you’ve done a beautiful job with your shop – thank you for sharing it with us today on decor8!

Shop address: Online and Hyregatan 7, 21121 Malmö, Sverige.

Indie Designers: Stine is offering a few spots for other indie designers with similar design aesthetics and feel to sell in the shop on commission. Contact Stine for more information: stine AT lutterlagkage.dk

(images: Stine Holm Weirsoe)






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