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Happy Weekend (+ some sad news)

Thank you for spending some moments here on decor8 with me this week… it was certainly nice to have you and for those who took the time to comment, thank you very much! I read and approve all comments (yes, even the 1,500 that came in this week for the Pottery Barn contest) so I can assure you that I enjoy hearing your many expressions. I don’t know about you but I’m so glad it is time for the weekend, I am ready to relax tomorrow after I finish my errands because rest & relaxation is so good for the soul — especially for the creative juices which flow freely when one is not stressed out and running like a crazy person! My week has been a lot of everything all at once ranging from absolute joy to crushing pain…

Jackie Rueda

I’m busy now as you know, I’m currently working with the publisher to find a talented interiors photographer who is not booked this summer — but also who can really nail this project because a decorating book is so reliant on outstanding photographs. Sadly most of my personal favorites are booked, and one that I really wanted is pregnant and not traveling at the moment, so the search will continue into next week. I must have looked at 300 portfolios this week alone. Next week will be very busy as I will work on the flat plan that Joanna has put together (and it looks great, I’m so excited to “see” it coming together) and so  my ‘job’ is to now give some idea as to where the homes that I know we want to shoot will fit and where. It’s exciting to work on this project — and I assume it will become more real to me once we have our photo meeting in London next month. But for now, it’s all a bit of a blur, a “is this really happening”, and of course, even like a big bubble as so much is being conducted online at the moment. I can’t wait to meet with people face-to-face and really dig into this project offline as well.

Jackie Rueda

In spite of the wonderful book, I’ve been a bit blue this week for a few reasons — and all I can say is thank goodness for this book right now because it’s a giant lifesaver for me to cling too — it gets me out of my own head. But yes, the first blue moment is one most of you know about as I mention it from time to time but yes… it’s from living in such tight, small quarters and living in limbo. We cannot find a larger space to live in and this tiny apartment is making me feel a bit closed in plus all of my things (80 boxes, recall?) are still boxed in the cellar and I want to get into my things and use them – like my clothes, sewing machine, books, kitchen gadgets and more. I have been living like this since August and so naturally I’m starting to feel a bit frustrated.

But the next blue feeling is absolutely painful and tragic news, something out of my control completely, and I wasn’t even sure if I should tell you… I found out this week that my father has cancer — it was heart-breaking naturally because I love him and maybe you didn’t know this, but I’ve not seen him since I was 18 when my parents divorced. He left and decided to begin a new life – with a new family – and that was the end of our relationship even though I wanted him in my life. I don’t judge him for this as we all have decisions to make and perhaps he had reasons for what he did, and he did tell me at that time that his decision had nothing to do with me because I was always a good daughter… but it took me years to get over his absence — nearly ten years in fact. By the time I was in my late twenties I had learned to manage the often hard emotions which came with all that. When I called and asked him to walk me down the aisle and he declined, I remember the feeling of knowing that the relationship between us must really be over. And it was hard to accept this! When I walked alone towards my husband on my wedding day, I felt amazingly peaceful and not at all sad — I knew at that moment that I had moved forward and have felt at peace ever since. But now I must admit that hearing of his cancer made me feel sad for him and so while working on my book provides a great “high” for me, knowledge of his cancer is still difficult though I will firmly press forward — he knows I love him and that I am always here so I simply need to keep calm and carry on for lack of better words.

I am so thankful for my job, family and friends as all are my safety net and catch me during times when I feel unsure — and this is such a blessing to have — these networks and resting places. And I include all of you when I say my friends. And so, with the good, there is the bad, but in the end growth will occur and such experiences make us stronger and bring life into clearer focus and so, rather than feel heavy at heart I am going to approach these things with confidence that situations can and will improve and if not, then the experience will provide for an opportunity to grow and hopefully become a better person, some way, somehow. But isn’t it hard to realize these positive things when we’re in the midst of hard times? But I guess strength of character isn’t measured by our being able to endure good times but in our ability to navigate the difficult challenges.

But enough about me… how was your week? Are you doing well?

(Images: Jackie Rueda whom I wrote about this morning over at Real Simple.)

Posted in uncategorized on April 16, 2010

Happy Video via Amy Butler Design

Watching this Amy Butler video today makes me happy. Very happy. It’s fun to watch stylists and photographers work their magic behind the scenes…

Amy Butler Design

Amy Butler Design

Pretty colors – so bright and happy! I have a chair in my home covered with Amy Butler fabric… it was made by Spruce in Austin and shipped to me on a bus!!! This is what it looked like in my former home in New Hampshire, taken after we painted the house white again before we moved… It’s still in storage here in Germany, but as soon as I can unpack the 80 boxes in my cellar that await me for when we find a bigger place to live — I will set up my pretty Amy Butler chair and enjoy it all over again…

(images: david butler)

Posted in Objects on April 16, 2010

Toast + Vintage Tiles

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for vintage tiles — especially blue and white ones but I’m open to other colors as well. Remember the home of Myrte de Zeeuw in Belgium that I shared with you last year? I’d even like to have tile like hers in my home, too. I think it’s quite sad that in many of the apartments and homes that I look at vintage flooring is often removed and replaced with standard white or gray tiles lacking in both charm and personality but also history – such a shame!


To me, there is nothing better than vintage tile floors (or even repros) in the wet areas of a home — even the entryway or balcony looks beautiful with them. And so seeing this image above in the Toast catalog I was reminded once again of my love of old tiles, particularly those from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Europe in general and Turkey — though Germany has some beautiful ones too. And speaking of Toast, you must check out their linens, rubbish bins, towels and their lovely pillows.


We all have dreams of the perfect interiors… My dream is to someday live in a pretty apartment with lots of sunlight and blue and white tiles on the wall in the kitchen — vintage ones… And old windows, and tons of transom windows… and a built in bookcase, a fireplace with a mantle, high ceilings, wood floors (herringbone would be ideal)… And a bathroom with a large clawfoot soaking tub with a huge window. And a balcony overlooking something very pretty — like a courtyard or garden. I know… realistic, right!? :)


I have been thinking about this and seeing it in my mind for so many years but never can I find it. Ha! I wonder why!? But oh yes, I must say that I need not have all of those features — even just a few would be grand. But of course, a place with vintage blue and white tiles in the kitchen would be a dream come true for me. I’m thinking that perhaps I can put them up someday if I buy a home of my own. What a happy thought this is!

What is your dream when it comes to something you imagine having in your home that you do not currently?

Psst: Looking for some travel and interiors inspiration? You simply must visit Toast Travels. (images: toast)

Posted in Decorating Tips on April 16, 2010

Life Without The Web

Could you live without the web? How long could you totally unplug? Do you want to? Do you long for the days before email and social networking? Recently on Facebook a friend (thanks, Alex!) shared an article that she read over at Slate written by By James Sturm called Life Without The Web. It’s about the resolve of one man to sign off for four months to see how it changes his life — work, family, etc.

Real Talk: Life Without The Web

I think most of us can relate to James when he confessed, “The question I’ve been wrestling with lately is whether it’s all going by so fast because…of the way I’ve been living my life. Specifically, I’ve started to wonder whether that feeling might be connected to all the time I spend online. Too often I sit down to dash off a quick e-mail and before I know it an hour or more has gone by.” I found his perspective interesting, you may too — you can hop over here to read it and then pop back to leave your impressions below because I think as a community we could have a pretty neat discussion about it today if you’d like. I wonder if you can relate to any of his “issues” with being online a lot.

Perhaps you can relate to James on this point, “Over the last several years, the Internet has evolved from being a distraction to something that feels more sinister. Even when I am away from the computer I am aware that I AM AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER and am scheming about how to GET BACK ON THE COMPUTER.”

After reading the article and his resolve to completely sign offline for four months I came to this conclusion: Part of me understands James’ decision to go offline. I totally get it. But another part says it’s like anything else — it’s a self control thing, not an internet thing. If someone has an addiction to the internet they need to figure out why and how to change and then take the necessary steps. I don’t think that cold turkey will help long term because eventually he’ll be back online and then the pattern will most likely emerge all over again. I think it’s more important to learn balance and practice self control in everything we do — even healthy things can be bad for us if we over-indulge. If you remove a vice without first learning self control you will only replace the vice with something else like television and book reading. And what really is the difference – watching television and reading books can be done online so doing them offline doesn’t accomplish much.

So my questions are this: could you totally unplug for four months like James? Would you want to? Do you wish you could unplug completely long-term? Do you think self control plays a part in all of this and that the web can become an addiction turning an otherwise healthy activity into something unhealthy? How do you balance your life online with your life offline — any tips for other readers who may also be a bit frustrated by all of the time they spend plugged in?

(image: holly becker for decor8)

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Bloggers on April 15, 2010


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