Yearly Archives

2010

Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

April 13, 2010

I was flipping through the latest issue of e-magazine Lonny yesterday when I came across the New York apartment of Michelle Adams who is one of the founders of Lonny magazine (along with Patrick Cline) and is the designer behind the brand Rubie Green whom I’ve featured here before. Michelle recently renovated her city apartment to be a bit more eco-friendly and since I love yellow and white her place really sang to me.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

I asked Michelle if she’d give decor8 a further look into her apartment so although these images appear in Lonny they’re larger and without text so you can see all of the little details. Plus I’ve asked her for some decorating tips so that you can walk away from this post with more than visual inspiration but also with a few clever ideas on how to make your space more “green” from the lovely Michelle who calls her new look, “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper.” Okay so Michelle will take the wheel from here…

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Living room notes: Decorating was a challenge because my apartment is in a post-war building with NO CHARACTER, and it resembled the gross high-rise buildings that make me cringe. So I knew I had to inject some serious charm into it fast! I didn’t have much money to spend on the re-do, so I decided to use the ostrich wallpaper (which I’m OBSESSED WITH!) on the main wall in my living/dining room to not only tie the space together and create a strong focal point, but to also ensure that I didn’t need to hang much on my walls! Rather than buying a bunch of art for above my sofa, the busy paper allowed me to simply hang a vintage mirror (another obsession- $20 at the flea market!) flanked by two sleek sconces. And that’s it! The curtains were custom made from my Rubie Green Bryn fabric, and I had them finished with grommets to keep the look laid back and beachy. The fabric itself reminds me of an outdoor canopy, and I chose the yellow because it’s unexpected and it pulls out the little bit of yellow in the ostrich paper (where he’s sticking his head in the sand).

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

The TV is sort of an unexpected shout-out in the sense that I’m obsessed with it (who is obsessed with a TV?!) because: it has a built-in DVD player, which means there’s only one cord and no ugly components! Plus it’s white. The federal mirror was another amazing find- $40 from the same vendor who sold me the bamboo mirror! It was originally a gross brown and used to be hanging in a bar (there’s seriously a beer advertisement underneath the mirror, which i discovered while painting it!) so I took my leftover Benjamin Moore Natura paint (zero VOCs) and slopped a few coats on and voila! The 20×200 photo of the girl in the city is a favorite that I first saw in Victoria Thompson’s apartment when we shot it for the last issue of Lonny! It was $50, and when paired with an oversized Pottery Barn “thin metal gallery frame” it’s suddenly a large and strong enough piece to anchor the whole table. The other two frames on that wall are also from this same collection, and one has an old IKEA post card in it of a David Downton illustration, and the other a magazine tear out that I’ve had for years and am in love with. The huge silver lamp is by Arteriors and I love it because it would work equally as well in a bachelor pad, sleek modern home, girly retreat or even a child’s room! I look for versatile pieces like this that can be reinterpreted in each apt I move to (and eventually HOME!). The West Elm stump side table is awesome – I cannot emphasize how cool it is that a mass corporation has taken on the green movement and truly MEANS IT. This piece was cut from naturally fallen cypress trees and then boxed and shipped! Nothing more! So it literally smells like a cypress tree, and it makes my home smell fresh and natural :)

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

My obvious obsession in this room is my vintage credenza! I went to Furnish Green looking for a vintage desk, and stumbled upon this beauty and practically screamed! It’s huge and elegant without feeling pretentious, and since it’s over 100 years old I love imagining the other women who must have owned it, and what they used to fill it with. On top is some of my favorite art that I’ve collected over the years at the flea market. The black framed line drawing on the upper left corner is an original piece that I found for $60 at the flea market underneath a pile of DVDs! So when I stumbled upon the white line drawing (in the middle, white frame) of the Flat Iron Building years later, my jaw dropped. It’s from a local Brooklyn artist and I love how it’s elegant but totally relaxed. The oil painting above it (far top right) is also from the flea market, as is the gold framed watercolor next to it, a mere $40 at Elephant’s trunk market in CT. Lastly, the two photos of shoes and a Polaroid are some that Pat and I took together over the years! We sell a lot of our work on etsy. Lastly, the candle hurricane is one that I’ve been in love with for years and finally received as a gift a few weeks ago! It’s from Ralph Lauren and I first spotted it in domino Editor at Large Tom Delavan’s home. It’s timeless, and elegant enough that it sort of gives credibility to my otherwise hodgepodged art collection.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

My dining table is a West Elm parsons that I found on Craigslist! The previous owner had purchased it two months before selling it, because it didn’t fit in her apt, so I was able to save it from a landfill and also save myself half the cost. The chairs are from Ballard Designs and I’m obsessed! They’re totally classic, and I know I’ll have them forever. Since Ballard does custom work, I had them upholstered in my Rubie Green Capri Stripe fabric, which reminds me of Paris! The framed photo of Paris is one that Pat and I took from the top of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris when we traveled there last fall for Lonny! The horses were shot in New Jersey on a little farm that we stumbled upon.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

I had the headboard custom made a few years ago by the Furniture Joint and upholstered in my Marilyn fabric! Pottery Barn has a really similar one right now called York. The headboard fabric itself was inspired by a vintage napkin that I bought for $2 at a flea market when I was in college! The bamboo armoire is one that I found at Housing Works (an NYC thrift shop) for $365! When I found it I literally wrapped my body around it and begged my assistant to take my credit card to the cashier so nobody else would buy it in the meantime – ha ha. Lastly the sofa is from Williams Sonoma Home and I’m obsessed with it too – the scale is so petite and sophisticated, yet the natural linen fabric keeps it from feeling fussy and I love that the frame is made from sustainably harvested wood. The rug is awesome too — it’s a 9×12 PB Essential Jute rug (Pottery Barn) and it’s made from jute and finished with fire rather than chemicals! I love this one in particular because it’s soft underfoot- it almost feels like wool, and since I couldn’t afford wall to wall sisal carpeting, the huge size was the perfect alternative.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Ways to “green up” your living space:

1. Do your homework: Ask questions and read product descriptions to find out exactly how products are really made. If you’re unclear about something, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call customer service to ask. Companies that make the effort to truly manufacture earth friendly items will be happy to tell you all about them.

2. Start with a clear inspiration in mind: Rather than looking for eco products and buying them simply because they’re earth-friendly, figure out what style you’re hoping to achieve and select your furnishings accordingly. In my own apartment, I decided early on that my inspiration was “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper,” so I searched for items that were bold (i.e. Dorothy) yet still charming, relaxed and natural. My wallpaper is clearly a bold statement, as the birds are large and highly repetitive, yet when you look closely they are delicately drawn and very feminine. I tried to look for these sorts of juxtapositions in every piece that I brought into my home. Since I’m fascinated by flea markets, I also wanted to inject a bit of history into my decor, with pieces that have been around for decades.

3. Make the easy switches: If eco-chic design feels a bit overwhelming, start with the basics. When painting your walls or furniture, opt for paints with zero VOCs. There are so many easily accessible options on the market that you won’t have to hunt whatsoever (Benjamin Moore, Home Depot, etc.) and you can rest assured that your walls won’t be emitting toxic gases that you and your family will breathe in. When choosing rugs, always buy an eco-friendly rug pad and look for rugs made with natural fibers. Be sure they aren’t finished with a chemical coating (this is key!) and look for certification stamps like RugMark and Goodweave to ensure that you’re buying pieces which were not created with child labor. For furniture, look for pieces made from reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, and when cleaning your home you can make the simple switch to natural and biodegradable products. (Which honestly smell better than chemically produced ones anyway!)

4. Embrace vintage: By buying vintage, you’re saving products from ending up in a landfill, and also reducing the demand for new products to be manufactured. Often times you’ll find that vintage furniture is much less expensive than new, and absolutely packed with character! Don’t be afraid of a cheesy looking antique mall – that’s often where you’ll find the best deals on furniture and accessories ;)

5. Spread the word: If you make the effort to go green, be proud of it and share it with your friends. The more people who pick up on the movement, the better our planet will be as a result.

If you’d like to see more images from Michelle’s apartment, or if you’d like to read Lonny online, please click here. Lonny magazine was founded by Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline who is a photographer also residing in New York.

(Photography: Patrick Cline)






Books + Magazines

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

April 12, 2010

I must show you my new favorite book but first, I’m embarrassed to make this confession… You see, before my copy of The Homemade Home by Sania Pell arrived this morning I had never heard of this talented lady before. How could this be, she is so amazing and I’m always online and reading everything I come across! Oh well, I am so grateful that this has changed because Sania Pell is my new obsession. In fact, I just spent the past hour researching everything I could find online about her. I also snapped a few glimpses of her new book, The Homemade Home, that is available now to order on Amazon. Published by CICO Books, this gorgeous 192 page full-color book features 50 stylish and affordable projects that show you how to customize your home on a budget. All 300 photographs are by Penny Wincer, a favorite photographer of mine, so I knew the moment I saw her name on this book that I’d love the visuals. And I do — so, so much.

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

This book makes me happy! Do you own such books — ones that you open and immediately all is better in the world? The Homemade Home is my happy place because it embraces what I’m all about — sharing ideas and inspiration that are both accessible and give all an opportunity to inject individuality into our space to avoid that familiar catalog-feel that we want to avoid. Let’s look at some more of this book together, shall we?

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

There isn’t one photo I don’t like, and not one project I wouldn’t try in this book — I really like how many projects encourage you to use things that you already have – upcycling and recycling them into new items. Author and stylist Sania Pell lives and works in West London where she is married with two children. Her degree is in textiles from the Edinburgh College of Art when, after graduating, she worked for one of London’s top textile studios where her designs were brought to prestigious fashion labels such as Marks & Spencer, The Gap, Monsoon, Armani and Laura Ashley.

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

The Homemade Home by Sania Pell

After 7 years in that field, Sania decided to join Elle Decoration magazine to train as a stylist and now she works for publications in England including The Sunday Telegraph and The Mail On Sunday in addition to her work as a visiting lecturer at the Edinburgh College of Art. The Homemade Home is Sania’s first sole book (congratulations Sania if you read this review)– here’s to hoping there is a second and third… I could flip through books like this all day long.

Bottom line: This book is one of my new favorites. It’s imaginative without being over-the-top,  handmade without being kitschy and tacky, and it’s a book that will encourage crafty beginner’s without frustration while equally challenging advanced creatives with new and rewarding projects.

Psst: I’m an Amazon affiliate so the links in this post to Amazon are part of my affiliate program.

(images: holly becker for decor8)






Inspiration

Stylist Maria Grossmann + Career Hopping

April 12, 2010

My friend Ingrid told me about German stylist Maria Grossmann who lives in Hamburg and who works mainly in Europe. Her website is so cool. Seriously. Check it out and make sure when you do that you drag the arrow around the screen to explore all that is there. Maria began her career as a photographer but realized that she was more interested in creating a scene to photograph than the actual art of photography itself so she switched careers and began her path as an interiors and food stylist. I find this quite common with creative types — we tend to embark on one thing but ultimately land on another. Why is this? Thoughts?

Stylist Maria Grossmann + Career Hopping

Perhaps it’s just how the creative mind works — seeing no boundaries, the thrill of exploration, the excitement of “what if”… I personally experienced this myself. I started off studying interior design and ending up writing for magazines, websites and this blog along with my current book. I realized that designing from start to finish with clients wasn’t for me as I had thought. I’d much rather do consulting work — walk into someone’s home and tell them how the space could work differently, how to organize it better, colors that they may want to add, and ideas for furniture and accessories. I then like to leave them with a POA – plan of action – and point them to all of the resources needed to get the work done and then leave and that’s that. Not that I didn’t like seeing a project through to completion but I think my idea of design and what decorating and design mean to me personally have evolved with this blog and I’ve come to realize that I’m an “editor” which applies to all things. I can edit anything – words, wardrobes, bookshelves, rooms, you name it. And I’m quite good at it. But what I don’t enjoy is starting with a blank slate where I am asked to do something entirely for someone else. I don’t enjoy working 100% for people — I enjoy working with people. The only exception to this is to create my own work. I do enjoy starting at zero and building something up on my own. But with others I like to show them how to do things better but not how to do things entirely. I like to show others how to fish, not give them the fish. “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”.

Stylist Maria Grossmann + Career Hopping

And so as I evolve personally and professionally speaking, I can relate to Maria with her decision to switch paths. I also think it’s great that she did because her body of work testifies to her magnificent talent. Of course it’s good to note that having the photography experience no doubt makes Maria a skilled stylist. I think this is evident in her work. I believe that this is true in many, many cases and so if you fear a career change perhaps look at this perspective: you can no doubt apply many of the skills acquired in your current profession in your new one. Even professions that appear on the surface to not relate at all. I never thought my past life would be even remotely linked to my current career but daily I find more and more links to my former career. No doubt Maria does too. I’m willing to bet you do as well.

I feel so proud to highlight some strong leaders in Germany when it comes to interior photography and styling. I’ll share a German photography today as well. I often thought all of these talented creative types lived only in select cities and countries — at least it seems this way when we flip through magazines and books. Almost as though you must live in Paris to be hip or in London to be stylish. But this is absolutely not the case. There is a lot of untapped talent in this world. Or in the case of Maria, not untapped just not widely known due to mostly language differences. Who would really know about her in America when her work is primarily featured in publications abroad — especially in German ones? This is why I try to show little blips of  what’s happening in Germany and everywhere else in the world as I find people who interest me or as they find me and write in. I like to be a global scout and have my eye all over the world without feeling limited to specific culture or country.

Stylist Maria Grossmann + Career Hopping

This is the beauty of blogging with the world as my demographic so to speak. I want to reach out to English speaking people who live everywhere — Americans, Swedish, Germans, Japanese — and show the things that make this global art and design community so enriching and lovely — like a patchwork quilt. I also love to escape through my work, as you love to escape through blog reading, and so part of my intent lies in my interest to explore without jet lag and lost luggage. With a blog you can go everywhere!

So back to my earlier question as I got carried off a bit… why do you think it is that creative types seem to jump around more often when it comes to work? Do you? What drives this?

(images: maria grossmann)






Inspiration

Petrina Tinslay Photography

April 12, 2010

Pink and black is a stunning, sensual color combination don’t you think? Together it can be so many things – moody, sexy, girly, happy, energetic, melancholy… Here are a few examples of this taken from the portfolio of pro photographer Petrina Tinslay whose work has appeared on Vogue Living and more. Along with pink and black, you can also find a striking color combination by combining white and black, red and black as well as neutral colors and bold patterns with black. And of course, pink can support itself quite nicely even without the presence of black…

Petrina Tinslay Photography

Petrina Tinslay Photography

Petrina Tinslay Photography

And people say pink is for little girls! Not! I really enjoy Petrina’s work, she sees beauty in things the common person would pass by. Like the black fish in it’s lovely globe – how many would even give this a second glance? I’m so glad that Petrina did — it’s beautiful, the fishy silhouette floating so peacefully there, it’s exotic and serene. To view more of Petrina’s work visit her portfolio online. You may also learn more about her via her biography here.

(images: petrina tinslay)






Rooms

Blik + DIY Decal Headboards

April 12, 2010

Good morning and happy Monday + new week to you! Let’s jump right in – head first – and get inspired by some decorating ideas shall we? What do you see when you try to imagine a vinyl wall decal of a headboard? Do you see something as cool as these from Blik? I personally love this idea but I may change things up though because it’s fun to customize and get creative! After checking out these images together I’ll give you some creative ideas on how to use them, below.

Blik + DIY Decal Headboards

Decorating idea: Okay so I’m thinking that it would be really fun to buy one, install it, and then with a pencil trace around it and then remove it. Now you can handpaint, apply fabric or wallpaper or do whatever you would like now — you can use the vinyl as a giant stencil of sorts. You could also use Nessa in a pretty cool way — trace the outline very lightly (the inner edges not the outer) and remove the decal. Paint only the inner section of the silhouette in your favorite color or even wallpaper it in a fun pattern. Once everything is all set and dry, put the decal back up. Viola! Wouldn’t that be sweet?

Blik + DIY Decal Headboards

Blik + DIY Decal Headboards

Blik + DIY Decal Headboards

All of the above photos show vinyl decals but you must know that all decals are available in a range of colors so if those shown down appeal to you then click here to see more. The Nessa in yellow is my favorite. What design appeals to you?

(images: blik)






uncategorized

Happy Weekend!

April 9, 2010

Thank you for joining me this week on decor8 — it’s been nice to mingle with you sharing decorating ideas and inspiration. I thought for this Friday I’d change things up a bit with a weekly recap to quickly highlight the five most popular (measured by tweets + comments) posts in case you’re just tuning in… and I have a special contest to announce below that will kick off on Monday — details are below!

Happy Weekend!

Five most popular decor8 posts this week:

Oh and yes, there’s yet another post that still generates a ton of interest because in our creative community it happens to us (sadly) at one time or another — being copied! This post has nearly 200 amazingly insightful and often helpful comments and is called: DIY Is Not Duplicate It Yourself.

I’m heading out to see another flat — the hunt is still on! And then I have a full weekend ahead so I’ll meet you here again on Monday when I post a contest that I’ve put together with Pottery Barn to give away $100 gift cards to 5 lucky decor8 winners – stay tuned!

(image: holly becker for decor8)






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