Monthly Archives

October 2009

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Happy Friday, Friends!

October 23, 2009

So! It’s the weekend and I’m officially signing off as I have an illustration exhibition to attend and a very messy china cabinet and closet to organize tomorrow! I also have tons of material to read – my subscription to Australian design magazine Real Living just arrived today, and the gorgeous German magazines Living & More and Living & More Country are here too. I can’t forget VTWonen from Yvonne, which she so nicely included in my order as a housewarming present. Combined, these mags really nail my aesthetic and I think many of yours too — cozy, nature-inspired, relaxed decor. I also have a pile of design books to consider for possible review, friends to visit, and I need to prep a few things for the arrival of our 82 boxes this coming week. Yup. All that stuff that I can’t remember packing…

Happy Friday, Friends!

I’ll be taking off a day or two next week to unpack and organize, so I’ll meet you back here on Monday and in the morning on Tuesday (for Etsy Take Five) but on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be consumed in the task of unpacking and organizing my flat. If I find any of it at all blog worthy or inspiring in some way, I’ll certainly share it with you as I go. I can’t believe that between this post and today, my relocation is finally about to wrap up. I’m so, so happy and I can’t wait to get my printer, computer and everything else back – it took three months but I think having that time allowed me to settle in here with ease – I can’t imagine landing on fresh turf and having all that stuff arrive the same day or even the same month. There is so much to take in when you leave your country for a new one. And though I love it here and plan to stay for quite some time, I still have so many adjustments to make.

Happy Friday, Friends!

And on another topic… gee thanks you guys for opening up in the post about blog content. As a result, over 100 of you poured out your thoughts and feelings on the topic and it left me feeling really proud of all of us in this community of bloggers who so passionately and openly share bits of our world with one another. As a result, I will have a weekly column starting on Thursday, November 5th called, “Talk It Out” and each week I’ll take a question via email (send your question to me and I’ll try to answer as many as I can in the weeks to come) and I will post it on decor8 and we’ll talk it out. I’ll share my views and then, all of you can participate and hopefully we can continue to inspire, build, motivate and encourage our community of men and women online who are blogging and sharing. Sound good? When you send me a question, make sure it is one that you think would benefit not only you, but the community involved in the discussion.

Happy Friday, Friends!

What my weekend looks like. :)

For instance, questions pertaining to your blog specifically (like, “What should I change about my blog?”) won’t really work  – but a question about an issue you’ve had, or a concern or anything else having to do with authoring a blog or having a small business may work. Perhaps you’ve wondered how bloggers find their material. Or maybe you’ve wondered how to get out of a creative rut. Maybe you need to know how to market your new shop, or anything else. Perhaps it’s related to an idea you had for your brick and mortar store and you wonder if it would work. Or you want to learn how to approach store owners with the things that you make. The questions can be on a variety of topics, I don’t mind, as long as they fit the overall theme of decor8: creative living, decorating (no room design tips will be given, however, so please do not send in photos) independent design, small business, blogging and community. I won’t assign the column to anyone else, nor will I ask anyone to participate in advance — it will be more of a community approach where we all are equals. We’ll ALL toss out our ideas and such to see where they land. I know other blogs have these kinds of columns in place  but Talk It Out will be different because I’m going to personally answer each question and post it here so that you can answer it too and it will be our column.

See you on Monday! And send in your questions for Talk It Out, okay?

(images: top 2 – lagerlings via design evolution, bottom: holly becker)






Handmade

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

October 23, 2009

It’s always fun to hear from my peeps back home so when Jill Rosenwald told me about her studio and recent open gallery event, I was excited for her and to see her space. It’s very inspiring, often I find the process of something more fascinating than the end result though in this case, both process and finished product are equally lovely. Jill is a ceramicist, one I’ve told you about a few times before, who not only creates and sells to stores but also maintains an etsy shop. Here is a glimpse of her world, a day in the life of Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio located at 369 Congress Street in Boston — a studio for both Jill Rosenwald and her husband, Lawrence McRae.

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Switch/Jill Rosenwald Studio: Boston

Doesn’t this environment inspire you to make something? How about this weekend… if you can set aside time to make just one thing, why not give it a whirl? A cake, a small painting, a sketch, anything really…

(images: jill rosenwald)






Shop Tours

CONTAIN Gallery

October 23, 2009

I recently had a chat with Ioanna Paraskeva from the newly opened design shop in Cologne, CONTAIN Gallery, and thought I’d share our conversation with you since my goal is to spotlight more unique, independent and small galleries and stores out there. If you don’t know Ionnna, she is the wife of Markus Gogolin who is the founder of online design portal, DESIGNSPOTTER, also based in Germany. (Yes, they clearly have a thing for uppercase!) She has worked with him for three years thus far and was responsible for communications and marketing and co-organized three large shows at the International Furniture Fair imm cologne. Wow! These two live and breathe design!

CONTAIN Gallery

Holly: Hello Ioanna and congrats on your new store. Quick first question to get us started today… how did you decide on the name?

Ioanna: I like the association of containing/comprehension/accommodation; at the same time a container protects precious goods and transports them from one place to another. That’s what I liked most: The idea that I wanted to form a physical location to show international pieces of design and transport their message and meta-ideas to the people around.

Holly: Okay, I get it. It’s part shop, part gallery. How do you define it?

Ioanna: A forum for young and modern design – this is CONTAIN Gallery’s mission statement. Alternating topical exhibitions, presenting international up-and-coming artists and their exclusive prototypes, progressive design concepts and limited editions. Carefully selected pieces will also be available in the Gallery Shop.

CONTAIN Gallery

Holly: What gave you the idea to open a shop?

Ioanna: A step back is a step forward – Digitally dealing with design on a day-to-day basis led me to desire to give design talents and their products an opportunity to become permanently touchable and come alive in sophisticated surroundings. I took a conscious leap from a breathless digital world right into the decelerated, clear spaces in Cologne’s Aachener Str 29.

Holly: What goals do you have there (shows, workshops, etc.)?

Ioanna: My ultimate ambition is to discover young international design talents and newcomers who have big creative potential. I want to give them advance and claim them simultaneously. My main work as a curator is to cultivate contacts, to communicate in a target-orientated way and to multiply media attendance for the designers I represent. Also, I plan to participate in some exciting international art/design shows – but first of all I have to establish my location here in Cologne.

CONTAIN Gallery

Holly: How do you plan to market your shop so that word gets around?

Ioanna: As I have a lot of experience in public relations and marketing and furthermore collected a huge amount of designer and press contacts within my work for DESIGNSPOTTER, I already started the PR tsunami :-)

Holly: Who are some of the designers that you currently feature?

Ioanna: Frank Plant (USA/Spain), Bram Geenen (The Netherlands), Zeitgeist Toys for KPM (Germany), Platform/Iker (UK/Poland), Design Apparat (Belgium), Stephan Roller (Germany) and Per Emanuelsson/Bastian Bischoff (Sweden). You can view them all here and read their profiles.

CONTAIN Gallery

Holly: Why did you select these designers, what spoke to you about their work?

Ioanna: The current exhibition’s theme is „Utopie jetzt! or in English, utopia now!“ and is reflected in the creations of young international designers. Utopia is an idea of an allegedly refined society – contradicted by a cross-section of modern urban lifestyle and it occasionally collides with a constantly growing examination of one’s sensitivities and responsibilities. The scope of exhibited products reaches from Barcelona to Bulgaria, from vehement weapons to enlightened surveillance. What these products have in common are the juxtapositioning of realities. Manga figurines in golden and platinum hand-painted porcelain clothes; a super-sized Kalashnikov in admonishing red; a floor lamp with surveillance cameras as shiners. All these and lots of other exciting designs formulate an international interpretation of meaning, value and use. Objects and their meta-concepts float free, sometimes provocatively, sometimes ironically. In any case they animate the viewer to give some thought to own ideas on how to improve the world we live in.

Holly: Are you accepting new product submissions or do you prefer to approach artists and designers personally?

Ioanna: I am very open minded so anyone can feel free to contact me!

So nice to meet with you today Ioanna and to see your space – thank you for sharing it with us here on decor8!

(images: contain gallery)






Rooms

Niki Jones

October 23, 2009

Interior designer Maha recently talked about creative director and shop owner Niki Jones on her blog (here) and I fell instantly in love with this online store in Scotland. I love the ethnic prints and patterns and the strong contrasts, especially all of the white and black. Does white and black ever go out of style? It doesn’t seem to be the case, it’s such a classy, seductive palette. It’s good and evil brought together to form a passionate dance, one trying to lead, but neither succeeding because the balance is the beauty of their dance. That is why I think that the collection of Niki Jones is so stunning. And it’s not all about white and black, there are other colors brought in to add spice like purple and red. Those strong jewel tones that are so popular this time of the year.

Niki Jones

So, who is Niki Jones you ask? Niki trained at the Scottish College of Textiles and the Royal College of Art in London before working at Habitat as textile designer and style coordinator. She then got into ceramics and worked as a design director at Wedgwood. Moving out of London, she went to Scotland where she started her own brand of household goods because she couldn’t find well designed and well crafted pieces that were special, online or even in London as she says that she, “became aware that there was a real lack of choice (in London) if you were looking for something a bit different and special.”

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

Niki Jones

In her line, you can find Uzbek textiles, knitted and felted goods from countries like Iceland, furniture with bone inlay, mirrors, rugs, French antiques, optical patterns, embroidery and hand knotting – details she insists on and that give the home personality and style. I love that black silhouette chair, is that not stunning?

Okay and the kitty… I wish I could order that sweet little creature! :) Meowwww!

(images: niki jones)






Shop Tours

London Anthropologie Visit

October 23, 2009

I mentioned recently that Anthropologie in London will soon open its doors, today in fact, as the first Anthro in Europe. I decided that since so many of you showed interest wondering what it will look like and such, I asked one of my friends if she’d play roving reporter and share her impressions from the store. Susannah Conway, from the lovely blog Ink on my fingers, attended a press event there a few days ago and has pulled together a quick review for all of us who haven’t yet been to the new store. Would you like to see a peek? Susannah tells us about her visit below….

London Anthropologie Visit

Hi everyone, Susannah here. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the new Anthropologie store on London’s Regent Street and, in all honesty, I’m still swooning. The 10,000 square foot store lies over three floors, each filled with so much eye candy you could happily spend a whole afternoon sampling every morsel. I’d been to the Anthropologie store in Seattle back in 2006 so I had an idea of what to expect, but their first European store still managed to surprise and delight.

London Anthropologie Visit

London Anthropologie Visit

The store has a full-time team of ‘visual artists’ who look after the windows and in-store merchandising, and judging by what I saw yesterday, those talented souls must truly love their jobs. While each floor has its main focus – textiles, home accessories, apparel – it’s all mixed together so artfully you can easily envision everything in your own home. It was vintage-inspired bohemian chic at its best – a look I adore – so I danced around the store with my camera(s)…

Even if you don’t plan on spending a penny, the store is a must-visit for anyone yearning for some visual stimulation; there were so many colours and textures to take in, with old sofas and dressers displaying floral china and jewel-coloured glassware, patchwork wool cardigans and embroidered peasant dresses, and, of course, the bedcovers, blankets and a huge rail of the most adorable aprons (seriously!).

London Anthropologie Visit

London Anthropologie Visit

The store mixes British and European designers with their own in-house designs so you’ll find new discoveries among the Anthro staples of scented candles and quirky ceramics. I loved the use of whimsy throughout the store: an octopus rug on the wall, a huge papier mache narwhal hanging from the ceiling and the truly amazing living wall, a 200 square metre wall made entirely from living plants, all watered with rainwater collected from the roof.

London Anthropologie Visit

London Anthropologie Visit

London Anthropologie Visit

I think it’s safe to say that London shoppers will welcome Anthropologie with open arms; I’m already planning my return visit. – Susannah Conway.

Anthropologie, 158 Regent Street, London W1

Thank you Susannah for giving us a peek at the store! Readers, you can see more impressions over on her blog right here. :) Also my other English blog friend Bowie, who also attended this press night (from the Print & Pattern blog) took tons of photos – you can see them on her blog. Now no one has to feel left out because they’re not in London! :)

(images: susannah conway)






Blogging

Is Your Life All About Blog Content?

October 22, 2009

Would you like to participate in a little conversation with me today, because I would love your personal opinion on this topic since I never thought much about it until recently when reader Rose Deniz left a rather intriguing question on my more personal blog, Haus Maus. I will answer her question below but would love your thoughts on this too if you’d like to share.

Is Your Life All About Blog Content?

“Do you feel like sometimes even your alone time is not really 100% alone because you talk about it on your blog? Sometimes I feel like I am not truly by myself unless I do something quiet and unspoken. Just curious if this affects how you view your alone time at all, while enjoying it you might be thinking about it being material for a blog post. It’s not really a criticism, just a curiosity because these days life is so transparent with blogging, although I think you do a great job about talking about the personal without revealing everything.” Rose Deniz, Turkey.

Rose, thank you for this great question. When I first started blogging, I was constantly searching for blog content. Yes! I was obsessed with finding something new and fresh, something that may not have been seen or heard about before. Then, as the number of blogs grew, I quickly realized that there were thousands of other roving reporters out there and that I needed to find balance. So, instead of constantly looking for the next topic or product to blog about, I decided to not function solely as a content provider and to actually add my own personality, life and interests to my blog while still highlighting the work of those who inspire me. So instead of hunting down stories, I tried to think of ways to make my own life better so that I could lead by example. I want people to respect me as a person, and to know me as a real person, so this meant being 100% myself. My friends in real life who read my blog tell me that it is just like having me in their office whenever they read it, it feels and reads just like me. And this is the highest complement one could ever give me. I want my blog to reflect my authentic voice and passion. That way, if you ever meet me someday, you won’t be disappointed! :)

But you want to know how I’m able to have a life outside of blogging and if I do certain things merely to blog about them. Yes and no. Yes, in that I have a life outside of my blog. There are many things that I am involved in that I do not share publicly on my site, whether it be a cause I’m passionate about, a charity or project I’m involved in that does not relate to decorating, etc. I don’t share everything on my blog or through other social networking channels because it’s vital to me to keep part of my life between my family, close friends and I. Whenever I feel like blogging about something I did during my personal time, and if it involved a friend or family member, I always ask them for their permission to use their name on my site and if they are comfortable with me sharing it or sharing a photo or two from the event. For instance, I wouldn’t attend a friends’ wedding and then blog about it showing all of the photos that I took without first asking for permission from the couple. But then again, I doubt I’d blog that anyway because I want some things in my life to be between me and those closest to me. I view my readers as friends, yes, but I also know that there are some out there who are not my friends and who may not at all care about my personal health and welfare and I’m cautious to not expose every detail about my life since those people lurk and it is them who I don’t feel should have access to certain parts of my life. Not my loyal readers though, and if I were in a room with any of my readers I would share even more freely, but being on the web I have to be somewhat careful.

And no, I don’t do things in my life solely because I want to have something to blog about but I do think it’s okay when people do that because we all need motivation and blogging can be a real motivating source. But, I’ve been known to do this at times when I felt like I needed some motivation to do something. I’d blog that I planned to do this or that and then, because I told thousands of people I felt accountable to do it. Like clean out my china cabinet, which I plan to spend this Saturday on since I finally have room in my schedule to do it. Yeah I know, I told you guys I’d do this two weeks ago. Sigh. I love this about having a public space to write, there is accountability and it feels good. We all need to feel accountable, knowing people are waiting to see something we’ve promised to deliver is a huge push to actually do it.

To wrap up, is your life all about blog content? And is that okay, if it is? Or do you sometimes feel stressed out? For instance, do you do things just so you can blog it? I think in many ways this is healthy but I can imagine some scenarios where it may not be. What are your thoughts? Does having a blog help you to own up to your life? Does blogging make you feel stressed sometimes because you think you’re not as good as those blogs you follow who seem to have incredible homes/jobs/ etc.? Do you sometimes exaggerate the truth on your blog in order to impress readers? Where do you draw the line on your blog when it comes to sharing your personal life?

(image: holly becker for decor8)






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