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.
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.”
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)
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….
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.
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!).
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.
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)
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.
“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)
CG Creative Interiors is a full-service design firm based in Atlanta owned by the talented Caryn Grossman. I met Caryn recently on Facebook and after seeing images from her home, I decided to share it with you today thanks to Caryn who so nicely sent a slew of beautiful photos to me. Her home reminds me a movie set, it feels very southern and like the homes I visited growing up whenever we went on field trips to Charleston. Her home, a converted telephone factory with an original concrete floor, is very charming and glamorous unlike it’s roots, and there is genuine personality here. The texture and pastels mixed with jewel tones looks very pretty and in Caryn’s creative home, it all really, really works. I can see that she is very creative but also artistic, and her home seems to be an ever evolving series of art installations almost like a theater, gallery or retail space — I love that. And in a way, it almost does function this way as she frequently holds art events in her home. Nice!
In addition to seeing her space, I thought I’d ask her a few questions about her business and inspirations. Would you like to sit in on our chat?
Holly: Have you always been a designer? What got you interested in design as a profession?
Caryn: I’ve always been entrepreneurial, working for myself since I was in my 20s, but my first round of business was in marketing and communications. I would concept, write, and act as art director and creative director for all of my client’s campaigns. I specialized in architecture and design firms, and somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I was far more intrigued with what they did, than what I did. I took some additional courses in design, and loved it so much I asked the chair of the interiors department if I could join his program. That was more than 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back!
Holly: Who are some great people who have influenced your work along the way?
Caryn: I’m inspired by just about everything visual, and love designers who take risks, who aren’t afraid — whether it be film, fashion, interiors… I am wholly inspired by Javier Mariscal’s animated brilliance, Nani Marquina’s whimsical designs, Philippe Starck’s often sarcastic style and Ingo Maurer who makes it all look like play. Closer to home, Clint Zeagler, inspires me in all forms fashion and style, while Christopher Moulder, a sculptor who plays with light, helps to ignite my own creativity.
Holly: What is your design philosophy?
Caryn: Awhile back, when I was first finding my own style, a friend gave me a book called ‘Breaking the Rules’, and I guess I have been, ever since. I believe that spaces are meant to come alive, to express, to evoke. They should have meaning, resonance, for all who pass through. Great spaces render emotion; they comfort, they enliven, they convey. I believe that good design is magic, that each space tells a story.
Holly: How would you describe your style?
Caryn: Each of my projects is decidedly different, yet each tells a story. I think that’s the common denominator, the story, rather than a particular look or style. For my own personal space, I’ve created what feels, to me, like a Paris apartment, full of salvage and vintage finds, set within the stark walls of an old industrial surround. I love the play of contrast, the opulence of silk taffeta drapes, pooled on a concrete floor. Prior to that I lived in an old bungalow, where the focus was on color, rhythm and flow. There’s a Japanese theory, Shakkei, where there are three views, the immediate, the one that’s beyond, then the one that’s beyond that. My little bungalow was all about those views, one room leading into another, and then the view beyond.
Holly: Do you gravitate towards a specific palette and if yes, what colors and why?
Caryn: My palette changes with each client, with the feelings we are trying to convey. For an ad agency, we chose a deep red and mustard, lively bold colors, while for a residence the palette was pale — blues and lavenders, very soothing, very relaxing.
Holly: If you could design a room for anyone, who would it be, which room and why this particular person?
Caryn: Goodness, that’s a hard one. I think it would be for a fashion designer, like Coco Chanel, her dressing room perhaps.
Holly: What things inspire you as a creator?
Caryn: Everything! I love fashion, tiny opulent touches, silhouettes and contrast. I love the way music can fill a space, the way a certain refrain ‘feels’ like a particular color or scene. I love when, even in discord, there is an absolute harmony. I’m also tremendously curious. I love the creative process, even more than the result.
Holly: Can you suggest some of your favorite design books that may inspire decor8 readers?
Caryn: Just about any book published by Phadion inspires me — I love the way they put the books together, the binding, the pace of the pages. Taschen is another great publisher. Books of botanicals, with arrangements of glorious colors and textures. As for titles, I can’t really say. It’s rare that it’s an interior design book that inspires me; rather its books on fashion, industrial design, graphic design.
Holly: And finally Caryn, what is your most cherished possession in your own home and why?
Caryn: Teacups passed from my greatgrandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Each one is different, like notes in a melody.
Thank you Caryn for connecting with me on Facebook, and for accepting this interview – it has been a pleasure to get to know you better.
Oh and readers…. I have to comment on this: don’t you LOVE the idea of having your home function as a space in which you hold events that are centered around art, design and good music? Oh yes, I love this idea. And I vow today that if I happen to find a larger flat here I will host some events and invite whoever will come because seriously, what a nice way to get to know others and share with them some of your favorite things!
(images: cg creative interiors)
Nuevo Estilo Magazine, or “New Style” in English, is a design magazine out of Spain that also has a website where they share some beautiful rooms and decorating tips, all in Spanish of course. This particular home in Madrid is one such home and it was flawlessly pulled together by interior designer Raúl Martins. I love how purple and yellow were used to brighten up an otherwise neutral palette, don’t you?
And of course, the neutrals here aren’t completely flat and boring, but there is texture and a variety of materials used to make this space cozy and warm. This is such a good way to bring to life a room that may be a bit blah in your own home. Introduce two complementary colors (colors directly opposite of one another on the color wheel) to your neutral palette and see what beautiful things can result. Complementary colors are useful when you want to make a point: when you want something to really stand out.
Lovely work by Raúl Martins… and I cannot seem to locate a website for this talented designer so if you know, please comment with the link below!
(images Nuevo Estilo Magazine)