David Stark For West Elm

October 29, 2010

What is gray and white and metallic all over? This has been in stores since the beginning of October so perhaps you’ve seen it in person… but tell me, what do you think about the winter collection from David Stark for West Elm? I love the whole handmade take — it’s very much what I’m used to seeing over here in Europe this time of year and what those of us online have been seeing for years now thanks to the influence of independent artists and crafters who have been sharing their garlands, handmade flowers and other paper crafts on their blogs and in their online shops.

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

To see our world go a bit mainstream is somewhat surreal — it’s great that people are catching the crafty bug, including those at the top like those who run these large retail companies. I love how much our online community has helped influence this trend. Plus, this kind of handmade, uncomplicated decoration is something you can use all winter long not just for 6 weeks during the Christmas season. For instance, I’d use most of this stuff until Spring and beyond — I even use garlands in the Spring and Summer (mine are from Lobster & Swan on Etsy who started making them ages ago with recycled paper).

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

To think, there was a time when table settings and decorations such as these would not have been offered simply because craft was regarded as something mom’s did with their kids and certainly not elevated enough to be sold to the public or even seen as a trend by top designers. I love that people are getting “real” in design more and more — that the guard is dropping slowly and decorating is evolving into being a bit more personalized, cozy, tied in to the lifestyle of the family, budget-conscious… Sure, there is always room for high end (and their should be, mixing high and low can result in a gorgeous space and if you have the money then why not spend it) but I remember a time in design not very long ago when handmade and DIY was not considered an option unless you were flat out broke or you didn’t confess that you’d actually covered your headboard yourself — you did that in college but once you were grown up you hired out or bought it finished.I remember growing up with a mom who made our curtains, shower curtains, roman shades, you name it — people looked down on her sometimes for it! Nowadays I think if you told someone that you made your roman shades yourself they’d think you were quite amazing and want to know how you did it so that they could try it too!

I love how the handmade movement has given so many the green light to do as they wish. Lots of us did it long before we were told we could, but it’s just nice that the rest who may not have had the courage to DIY can suddenly feel like it’s cool to craft. Good. It’s about time.

I love these table settings and pretty decorations so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for a little inspiration for decorating your nest this coming season! Yay to David Stark for his lovely collection, too. He’s such an inspiration to so many…

(images: west elm)


  • Reply Brooke H October 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I love it, saw it in person a few weeks ago. However I feel like if your going to go for this look you should really buy from Etsy and support the artist who inspired it.

    • Reply decor8 October 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Brooke – GREAT point! I mentioned Lobster + Swan in the post as every time I see these paper garlands I think of her. ;)

  • Reply jenn October 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I’m glad you featured these! I just saw them the other day, and I too am completely excited that West Elm took on a *handmade* Christmas theme. Some of these ideas are very similar to how I decorate, and how I am planning on expanding my Christmas decor this year. So of course I love seeing that it’s *cool* this year ;). The only one minor change, from my perspective, is I wish there was a touch more color. I love color at Christmas, and it would be nice to see a pop of red or green in some of these decorations.

  • Reply Andreia October 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Great post! It encourages us to continuing our crafts and diy projects.

  • Reply Rebecca October 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I love all of these! This whole spread makes me want to redecorate my whole apartment.

  • Reply Centsational Girl October 29, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I love the handmade crafty trend when done in good taste, way to go West Elm. And ditto your sentiment on DIY ~ as an incurable DIYer myself, it’s nice that design is getting more real.

  • Reply Kiran October 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I agree with Brooke H. Something so artsy and handmade like that needs to be supported through Etsy. After all, its’ a community filled with chic and talented people :)

  • Reply Cheryl October 29, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I grew up in a somewhat poor home, so if we did not make it ourselves, we didn’t get it. My mom was raised to make her own clothes, even when times were good; lots of people did that back in the 50s and 60s. I have great respect for handmade things and the people that make them, but that can also lead to an “I can make that myself” attitude, which doesn’t go a long way towards supporting local artisans. However, you simply can’t make everything, and having a wealth of great talent to choose from means we will never lack for choice when we decorate our homes.

  • Reply Monica Lee October 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I think you are right about how when our mothers made curtains, that it wasn’t something she shared with everybody and dismissed if you tried to send a complement their way. I am an Army brat and my mother could decorate and entire house out of a couple of king sized flat sheets! I recently made the valances in my bedroom and people stand with shock and awe…funny how times change….

  • Reply eireann October 29, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    The thing that makes me uncomfortable about stuff like this (and, frankly, even about some of the ways in which handmaking sometimes entails this too) is the question of production. So the garlands are supposed to look like vintage pages, or recycled paper. But are they? Or is paper printed just for this? I love when handmade objects really use what’s around to make something more beautiful. But I wonder about the ethics of a handmade or a pseudo-handmade where part of the deal is going out and actually buying a lot of stuff to make what you’re making, or where special materials are produced to give the effect of care (without the personal care that does go into a handmade thing).

    That’s not to say these aren’t pretty (they are). Just some of the questions that accompany things like this–for me.

  • Reply Sara @ House Bella October 29, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I adore these – thank you so much for sharing! I hadn’t seen them. I particularly like those stemmed flowers with the typed paper and the metallics. So. Cool.

  • Reply Afi October 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    What a wonderful use of text paper for those leaves! Love the combination of silver, gold and grey…so chic!

  • Reply Lisa October 30, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Hi Holly! Thanks so much for sharing this — haven’t been to West Elm in ages and I think it’s time I went! I was thinking somewhat along the lines of eireann too — wondering if that is recycled paper or if it was made just for this. Either way I think it’s still pretty cool and so great to see handmade going mainstream — but bonus points if it’s truly recycled!

    I happen to have a bunch of circles that a friend punched out for me from old books, going to have to stop hoarding them and make a garland now :)

  • Reply Lisa October 30, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Major kudos to West Elm! Just found this on their site — yay!


    Many pieces in the 2010 David Stark Holiday collection for west elm are made from natural and recycled materials. For example, the pages of a vintage garden book are printed on recycled paper and then turned into everything from garlands to flowers to modern holiday trees. This is holiday decorating at its most charming and chic. Rejoice!

  • Reply Mariela October 30, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Everything looks great.

  • Reply Karen M. Andersen October 30, 2010 at 2:31 am

    This is SO great to see! Australia is catching on too, FINALLY! I think that “Real Living” mag and “Frankie” mag are responsible for growing the trend here, and I couldn’t be happier because, honestly, it makes me feel like less of a freak :) I wouldn’t pay the exorbitant prices that high-end shops charge for their garlands though…I’drather make it myself :)

    Holly, I am LOVING your calendar round-up again this year! I bought the pretty illustrated calendar by fellow Aussie Catherine Campbell (of My Folk Lover). I can’t wait to get it! I have some of her prints on my christmas wishlist also…her work is amazing and I have loved it for a very long time.

    Karen xx

  • Reply Saioa October 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Yesterday, talking with my friends, we complained about how much we abused the planet, the people and the animals by consumerism in which we are immersed. I told them that one of the alternatives for this Christmas is to buy handmade products that benefit individuals, not a network of manufacturers and distributors who do not contribute to the final product. For them it’s an unknown world and I think many people are in the same situation, they don’t like thing like they are but they don’t know any alternatives.

    Happy weekend! :)

  • Reply Jem October 30, 2010 at 10:43 am


    It really is great to see! My Mum, Grandma and Nannie have always been very ‘make do and mend’ so I suppose I inherited my crafty side from them, but it is suprising how few people felt able to have a go themselves until recently. I think there is always a place for shop bought but it is lovely to be able to whip up your own creations as they add so much to making your space distinctive and reflect something more of who you are :-)

    Jem x

  • Reply laura trevey October 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    The hand made garland is simply adorable… so fun!
    Yay for the handmade movement!!

  • Reply Piper October 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    It really is cool to see it starting to be featured! Hopefully it helps pave the way for all the great indie artists out there to be seen by more people. It’s amazing the talent that is out there!

  • Reply shari October 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Brilliant! I’ve already started decorating for the holidays in this way…. my mom was always big on the paper arts growing up, so we did Christmas chains that i would drape on my canopy bed, and take one off each day until CHRISTMAS!! One of my cherished memories!!

    This is a lovely post. I’m also glad that crafting and home arts have collided in this beautiful way….

  • Reply Seth October 30, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    How wonderful it is to see such DIY-like elements highlighted in a mainstream store and catalog. And these look to be quite well done too.

  • Reply Florence October 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    WOW? I love this, the handmade look is great, very different! I love the flowers especially.

  • Reply Megan {Honey We're Home} October 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Holly, you are so right on with this. It’s true that in years past the thinking was that homemade was somehow “less than” now, it’s a skill to be admired and often envied. I, too, have loved your calendar roundup- I found my next calendar – the Dizzy Wizzy one – and will be ordering soon! Thinking of getting a couple extra as gifts.

  • Reply Penny Patten October 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Love it, it looks very elegant and pretty!

  • Reply Erica Cooper October 30, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I do agree that it’s wonderful there is a growing appreciation for this hand-made craft, as it certainly provides more attention to the craft, yet I am just as disappointed that the retail stores commercialize it and mass produce something that really should be honored as a handmade art. That can actually hurt local artists and creators of the handmade movement.
    I just hope those that desire this look will seek out pieces that actually are handmade, not just reproduced to look handmade. We need to honor the career of “artist and crafts-person” even if it costs our pocketbook more. True creativity comes from within and shows in a handmade original. ;)

  • Reply annamaria October 31, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Great stuff! Yay for handmade indeed! Loved reading your thoughts about handmade and some of the comments above. Placing value on handmade : my grandparents were all about handmade and they took great pride in everything they made, my parents thought machine -made was best, now the tide is turning again. Of course, beyond cultural movements we now have issues of sustainability as well…
    One thing about the photos- I would definitely go wild on colour. Vancouver can be grey and colour indoors is a must have!!
    And thank you for mentioning the Etsy shop.
    Happy Halloween!

  • Reply Brigid October 31, 2010 at 2:02 am

    I always LOVE to see organic things made from inorganic materials. Those flowers and birds are phenomenal. They appear to be made from recycled metal (maybe some paper too?). Love em, love em. Very clever ideas that make me want to start working on my own flock & garden.

  • Reply Karena October 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Very interesting, I love white w gold and silver accents!!\

    Come and join my giveaway from Metis Linens!

    Art by Karena

  • Reply Vicky October 31, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I saw the collection and adored the design. It is wonderful that a beautiful DIY inspired collection is being offered and costly but lovely ($16 for one handcrafted flower) pieces are being put in front of a main stream audience.

  • Reply Frida på Trendenser.se October 31, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Interesting with all the origami decorations popping up all over the world .

  • Reply erin flett October 31, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I love this post and your take on the hand crafted movement that is happening all around us. I think it is so powerful to have pieces in your home that speak to you and are heart felt and human. I love that…thank for the great perspective…as always. e

  • Reply Diane October 31, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Interesting colour palette. We’re about to embark on decorating our home having moved in 18months ago. It’s a new property and we just wanted to kind of “sit and wait” until we started “personalising” and decorating. Hubby wanted a grey, soft beige, gold colour palette after we saw a lovely grey sofa at Ikea. I didn’t like the idea but the colours are growing on me and your post has really helped. Inspirational. Thank you.

  • Reply Anastasia November 1, 2010 at 3:20 am

    i think when things are made by hand there is so much care and love put into an item and even though it might not be perfect it still has lots of charm and quirkyness – when something handmade inspired is mass produced in most probably Chinese factories by people who are paid very low hourly rates and then offered at high prices then I find it a little off putting.
    ive seen it happen more and more – the large retail stores are inspired by the whole crafty/handmade movement but it just not the same!

  • Reply kalanicut November 1, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Oh thank you for sharing these. So lovely. I am crazy about the flowers and garlands. Such perfect inspiration for this season of the year.

  • Reply Merissa November 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I wish I could’ve seen this in person! I love the handmade look and how nicely it works with the rest of the decor. Makes me wanna take out my scissors and snip away at newspaper! Cool!

  • Reply Abby @ a delightful design November 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    You are right on with this post. There is nothing better than mixing hand made with the fancy. I love the silver leaf garland.

  • Reply jessa November 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    It funny that you feature this today, I just saw a paper mache bird by David Stark on the West Elm website the other day and I am getting ready to make it today. The new collection is a great source of inspiration, and it’s affordable enough that if I feel lazy I can run to the store and buy it!

  • Reply thedoodlegirl November 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    It certainly is beautiful! So pretty with all of the handmade elements!

  • Reply juliette November 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    In response to Annette: for every up there is a down. I think it’s also a sign of the times; America is coming up for air after a recession, so I think the attention to handmade style is timely in so many ways. I remember reading an article about Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic’s founder. She was saying her first wave of success way back when was also due to the country emerging from a recession. I think this can be such a great thing (a silver lining) and I’m glad to witness another big step forward for the handmade movement. Will the big guys make a profit? yes, but they’re not the only ones!

    Finally: Holly, I love the color combos you featured in this post. I’m helping my parents redo their bedroom in these colors, so the post was timely! Walls and trim are done, but we’ve been discussing frames and lamps, etc. =)

  • Reply Chloe C November 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I have to say I am agreeing with Erica (26) and Annette (34) above.
    The pieces are lovely. Buying them at West Elm seems contrary to the idea of decorating with heart and human feeling. Kind of like buying happiness.
    It also reminds of the ‘handmade’ flood of quilts from China.
    Yes, they have been handmade. But at what cost? How much has been lost along the way when designers and product developement people troll Etsy and craft sites to see what is popular and cheap and easy to reproduce?
    Previously, if you had a papercraft thing,http://www.flickr.com/photos/chloe-and-ivan/4331813483/in/photostream/ decoration, whatever, it could be assumed it was somehow personal.
    Putting products like these into production sucks the soul right out of them.

  • Reply Heather November 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    This West Elm collection is charming indeed. Looks like David Stark and West Elm went straight to Etsy for inspiration for this collection. You are right Holly that these types of garlands and recycled paper designs have been seen in the independent crafter/designer world for quite some time now. Thank you for making that very clear point in your post Holly. Wouldn’t it be nice of these larger companies like West Elm shared the profits with the independent designers they are so heavily influenced by?

  • Reply hena tayeb November 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    this is fabulous.. so imple and lovely.. i love the plates and the flowers

  • Reply PriscilaPetersDecor November 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I love West Elm. Very interesting

  • Reply cathie November 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Brilliant fun! I like the white, silver/grey, gold tones verses the traditional red and green. My holiday decorating scheme tends to be bright and whimsical, so I think I might use this idea with pinks, apple green, orange and polka dots!

  • Reply Bobbi November 2, 2010 at 12:42 am

    this post is so right on! I remember feeling such a sense of relief when DIY and craft started becoming popular. I felt like I could finally come out of the craft closet!

    I’m also wanting to go glue glitter on something now….

  • Reply Kelsey November 2, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Does anyone have any suggestions about where to find the fantastic antiqued gold mirror photographed on the mantle and against the blue wall? It is beautiful and unfortunately NOT from West Elm!


  • Reply janis - pinecone camp November 2, 2010 at 2:23 am

    Oh, the design world has changed! I’ve always loved hand made things but it certainly has become all the rage. I just hopes it doesn’t become over saturated with big companies jumping on the band wagon.

  • Reply Bekah Mae November 2, 2010 at 4:25 am

    I love how graphic, yet organic those plate designs are . Plus, a little silver/goldish shimmer never hurt anyone.

  • Reply Diann Weckbacher November 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    West Elm::::: Notorious COPIERS.Mass manufactured items made to look “handcrafted ” are insulting. Buy from the REAL hand-crafters,or make them yourself. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just featured some hand-crafted items to enhance their manufactured items in the catalogs.
    Pottery Barn,West Elm,and Restoration Hardware have killed the charm of so many styles ,trends and ideas that have come from real people.I thought RH’s latest catalog was the silliest piece of crap I had seen in a long time….this one ,WE’s take on handcrafts, is even worse.

  • Reply patricia November 4, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Hear, hear for the DIY decor! I saw this in person just the other day and interestingly it felt strange. I think it may have been the fact that it was something commercialized on a grand scale vs buying for an indie artist. By I am definitely glad that this trend is now more ‘mainstream’—and the fact that I’m totally partial to paper has nothing to do with it! :)

  • Reply jacqui November 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Just got all my fave ideas for Christmas!

  • Reply Leigh A Lepore January 6, 2011 at 5:07 am

    I have an Etsy shop and continue to be inspired by West Elm. They are the only retailer I have found, thus far, that partners with Etsy to promote individual Etsy shop owners on the West Elm site. That’s pretty cool. Of course, West Elm still will partner with more known designers but they are doing a pretty good job of balancing both worlds, at least in comparison to most other retailers.

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