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Histor Paints + Missing Our Past Life

When you’re an American living abroad in Europe, you have so much to learn in addition to a new language and culture — you also must learn about things like curtain installation and the best paint suppliers. Even if you’re an American living in another city or state, you have much to adjust to. When I relocated, I didn’t give much thought to not being able to walk into a home store and know exactly what everything before me was made to do. When I walk into German stores, especially the big DIY chains equivalent to Lowe’s, it takes me five times the effort to locate exactly what I’m looking for because the brands are so unknown to me.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

I’m not complaining, it is quite fun when I carve out the time to take a trip to a home improvement store because I often find things that I never knew existed. For instance, I recently discovered some amazing curtain rods that effortlessly clip into the frames of your windows so you don’t have to put a single hole in the frame or wall. Genius!

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Beige on walls with crisp white trim is becoming more and more popular, I see it frequently in German design magazines. I love this look.

The one thing I’m not finding in Hannover so far is really good paint. I understand that my city is quite small compared to the giants like Berlin and Hamburg so naturally I won’t have the same access to products as larger cities… I sometimes wish we had a Flamant in Hannover because their paints are amazing and we could use a little more diversity. (Which reminds me, I really need to visit Cafe Flamant again, that is such a great place to chillax after a long day of shopping.) We have plenty of paint in local home stores but the colors don’t wow me as they did when I rummaged through the thousands of paint chips at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I am a big Benjamin Moore fan and had many of their colors committed to memory because I knew they’d always work – my “no fails” as I referred to them.Without Ben Moore and other brands that I relied on for years, I am forced out of my comfort zone and you know what? I’m okay with that. Sometimes. Certain days I’m not so okay because I’m human, but then I think of what a privilege I have to simply be living on an entirely different continent exploring new things and I feel embarrassed for getting annoyed by things like the lack of Target, Method products and owning a car (my choice).

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Speaking of paint, I also love Farrow + Ball colors, which we can get but not so easily and they are very expensive. That is why when I came across two brands from the Netherlands recently – PTMD (which I purchased in Hamburg last week) and Histor, I had to learn more. I’m hoping Histor has presence in Germany so I have to do some research… but I find lots of great colors on their website and in their magazine which you can see scattered throughout this post.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Martha Stewart Living paints always captured my interest but you won’t find them in Germany. But again, that’s okay because I want to explore and find some great stuff on this side of the pond. I don’t believe in living in the past or pining for what I left behind — what’s the point!? Sometimes I miss certain things because I learned to rely on them and knew what I was buying, there were no hidden surprises, but the past is a different life, right? It’s important when you live outside of your home country that you really embrace what you DO have and to also go on a wild and crazy search for more because there is plenty to unearth that may even be better than what you had before. I think I told you this before, but I attended a meeting last Autumn for women who live here in Hannover that are from all parts of the world and the group leader asked everyone to write down what they love about their expat life in Hannover because she said expat groups can quickly become negative because people automatically start talking about what they miss, not what they have.

This made me think, what is it about human nature that nudges us to see the bad before the good? To compare things that shouldn’t even be compared in the first place? How can we manage these feelings whether we are living in another town or another country — missing what we had? How do you deal?

(images: histor paints)

Posted by decor8 in diy on January 21, 2011

Your comments...

  1. Evie commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:12pm

    I sympathize with you as I went through that when I lived in Florence. But then there are compensations like finding basements full of beautiful really old furniture. I bought some dining chairs which have labels underneath saying they were the property of Florence Town Hall – they’ve had wormwood with holes to prove it, now they look great painted a soft blue.

    I must say that I love that mix of beige, white and dove grey – I find that all white can be a bit too stark!
    Evie´s last blog post ..Vintage Finds

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  2. Satakieli commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:35pm

    I’m British originally, married to an American. I’ve lived away from my “home” for over 4 years now, the first 2 of those years spent in the US and second 2 in Germany.

    While living in England, I was never particularly patriotic. Now that I am away I really find a lot of comfort in loving the country that I am from a whole lot more than I ever used to.

    I listen out for familiar accents, occasionally running into fellow Brits while running errands, shopping and suchlike. Despite my usually shy nature I find myself edging towards them and striking up conversation, I usually find that they’re just as pleased as me to hear a familiar accent.

    I also take a lot of comfort in the familiarities, even little things like being able to use the same brand of laundry soap here in Germany that I could use in England. I try not to accentuate the differences that I am less fond of in either the States or Germany. I adore a lot of differences with living in Germany, and felt the same way about a number of things Stateside too but I think there will always be some part of me that longs for the ultimate familiarity of “home”, no matter how long I’ve lived away.
    Satakieli´s last blog post ..Frankfurt

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  3. san commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:43pm

    “expat groups can quickly become negative because people automatically start talking about what they miss, not what they have.”

    This is so true, Holly. I am glad you’re pointing this out.

    I am a German Expat in the US and it’s very easy to go down the path of negativity if you miss things from home…. but you should really consciously try to embrace all the new things that you find while living abroad! :)
    san´s last blog post ..Things I love Thursday

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  4. elisa commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:44pm

    i’ve found a great line of chalk paints by annie sloan here in the uk, they are amazing, very non-toxic, they require very little prep as they stick to anything, and allow our old cottage walls to breathe. they’re perfect for french painting antiques, which is what i’m doing right now. http://www.anniesloan.com/
    i wonder if you can get them in the eu?
    x
    elisa

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  5. elisa commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:45pm

    i meant to say, when i lived in germany i found the same thing, i thought i would be able to buy face cream and shampoo when i arrived but it took me ages just to figure out what was good! living in london we could get anything, but it is still part of the long process of getting over culture shock. i do adore exploring the specificity of a place too x

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  6. lisa h. commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 4:51pm

    I agree, that beige with white trim looks great. I wonder if beige as a wall color is hard to get right? I assume that, as with other neutrals, not all beiges are created equal.

    I live in NYC now, which is very very very (very!) different from other places in N. America that I’ve lived in, and it can be an overwhelming place for me at times. I try to take advantage of the great, unique things in the city that I know I wouldn’t be able to experience anywhere else, whether it’s an unusual shop or bookstore, a museum, the theater, or whatever. That seems to help me feel better about things. Fortunately, the city has a hell of a lot to offer.
    lisa h.´s last blog post ..Years end

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  7. Shanon{MyFineGarden} commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:04pm

    I’m thinking about your last question… “what is it about human nature that nudges us to see the bad before the good?” I think maybe it is because something perceived as “bad” registers with us first because it’s something that is making us uncomfortable in some way and our system recognizes this so called interference and immediately starts looking for solutions to get us back into our steady comfortable place. So I think it’s natural to see these things first because they are just different, and that’s okay. Everything is about our brain trying to process and isn’t it funny that often these things that seemed “bad” actually wind up being good when we give them a chance?

    Happy Friday Holly! =)
    Shanon{MyFineGarden}´s last blog post ..Habits

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  8. Kim B commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:23pm

    do tell! curtain rods that snap into window frame getting rid of the need to drill holes? where? what brand?

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  9. Monica Lee commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:30pm

    I know when I traveled as an international flight attendant I couldn’t even manage a decent blow dry (plugs, bad dryers…) in my hotel room (SO annoying), I had to focus on the cultures that would rather sit in cafes and talk rather than watch reality TV! I also focused on the fact that Europeans don’t seem to be rushing through life the way Americans often do….of course some of that may translate into lack of convenience but OH WELL!

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  10. Aimee commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:34pm

    How do I deal? Well, some days I don’t. I just simply sit down with my hot cuppa’ whatever, peruse images (be they from books, blogs or websites) that inspire and make me happy (because, let’s face it — us “visual people” need pictures) and quietly sulk for the better part of an hour.

    But MOST days, I remind myself that I will no longer live on foreign soil; and the adventure of going ANYWHERE and being surprised by the most mundane items will no longer be available….(“Oooh, look! It’s French peanut butter!) It’s a sobering thought to a person who loves adventure, I tell ya. So, they may not have my beloved fabric stores……but what is lacked by quantity over in these parts — is certainly made up for in quality. The rare. The beautiful. The odd. The history. Call it a forced way of thinking — but it has never failed to keep my glass half full. :)

    Love what you do. :)

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  11. Jillian commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:39pm

    Holly, do they not do paint matching there? If they do and you are interested in the Martha colors, I could send you a stack of chips. When I started picking colors for the house, I had samples from MS and Sherwin Williams. The MS colors are just gorgeous. I was looking for a soft gray that changed in the light – Sandpiper was perfect. I found all of her colors had that depth and personality that is so difficult to find.
    Jillian´s last blog post ..Something Like Progress

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  12. notabilia commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:51pm

    “…she said expat groups can quickly become negative because people automatically start talking about what they miss, not what they have.”

    Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. I’ve been lucky to have found a wonderful group of expat AND local friends here in Singapore. (I feel so blessed.)
    notabilia´s last blog post ..Visit to Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator

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  13. Syd commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 5:59pm

    My first thought is that it has to be so much more exciting to use the paint over there! For example, I would love a can of Emery et Cie, but have no idea where to get it in Calif. Isn’t AFM a German brand? I know that Bioshield paints in New Mex are actually made in Germany. Also, I would be excited not about paint, but the fact that people understand & use plaster and washes over there (which is just beginning to catch on over here). They must have fantastic eco milk paint and lime washes over there?

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  14. juliette commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:24pm

    Have you tried color matching at Obi or similar stores? I found our local Obi to be quite good at color matching when I took in fabric samples for them to ‘copy’. I have to say we went with latex b/c I can’t stand the low durability, texture, and visual of the standard paint here. We also have a few private paint shops (check under Farben) offering color mixing with better-quality (higher priced) paints, but we’re holding off until we’re reading to commit to an apt for the long haul. I also think color is less ‘done’ here in Germany compared with the States, leading to lower demand/selection.

    I know what you mean about attitude. I would say that’s human nature, even a ‘sin’ nature we all have in us. I find it to be manifested when I don’t get what I want, when I want. As an expat, I find this to be a more in-my-face struggle than in the US. It’s as though -for me at least- I find comfort in comforting my Self. Selfishness can be comforting to oneself, but usually isn’t the best way to go (on so many different levels). I find talking about it with close friends and family to be the best solution, praying and re-aligning myself with what’s really important, and sometimes a trip to McDonald’s for fries and a McFlurry -which I never ate in the US, ha! Somehow a pit stop at gross old McD’s every couple of months satiates some sort of missing-America tastebud I didn’t know I had, lol.
    juliette´s last blog post ..Homemade tea party- DIY Table linens part 1

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  15. Cat commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:33pm

    If you’re looking for paint in Hannover (I used to live there myself) take the 4 or 5 tram to Kantplatz. There’s a paint shop on Kirchrode that opened a couple years ago. I’ve never been inside, but it’s devoted entirely to paint, so you might be able to find what you’re looking for!

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  16. Stephanie commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:51pm

    Don’t feel so bad, I would miss Target too! I really love the white/beige trim in the 2nd pic! I may have to try this! We have textured ceilings (not the cottage cheese type from the 70s thank goodness!) and it’s just maddening to not have a perfectly straight line between wall & ceiling. This would totally fix that AND give the wall depth!
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..Style Parade 12111

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  17. Linda commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:51pm

    I know the feeling! Especially frustrating when it’s DIY stuff I find… My solution is to have a cup of tea (hey I live in the UK now *wink*) write down things I appreciate about where I am now -and particularly things I have learnt or areas where I’ve had to step out of my comfort-zone and grown as a result of moving! So much experience I would not be without!

    :)

    I love the dusky green in the last photo!
    Linda´s last blog post ..Baby food

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  18. Frida at Trendenser.se commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 6:53pm

    I love “greige” on walls and textiles. So calm!

    Can’t be easy to live in Germany, its quite a difficult language. Hate the grammatics. However I love the German “ordnung” :-)
    Frida at Trendenser.se´s last blog post ..Nobis here I come!

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  19. Ashley commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 7:29pm

    I use to live in Germany I completely understand when you say it takes 5 times longer to find something! I think living overseas is half the reason I became so good at googling! You have to have a plan if you want to find something specific!
    Ashley´s last blog post ..How many men does it take to put in a ceiling fan

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  20. Daniela Menezes commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:18pm

    I’m a brazilian designer. fashion and some packaging. I’m going to Frankfurt with a client to visit Paperworld next week. Just wondering if you knew any design and decor shops worth visiting.
    Always here visiting your blog, love it!

    Thanks a lot,
    Daniela
    danidemenezes [at] gmail [dot] com

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  21. Anca commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:30pm

    Hi!
    I’m also an expat, living in Munich right now, for about 8 months.
    I also was very thrilled about the curtain rods..I have them on my living room and bedroom.
    As I am from Europe (Romania) there is less difference between the culture and brands here and back home, still sometimes I find myself missing all the options back home..But, as you said, I try to embrace the German culture and way of life..see how it fits.

    Hope you’ll soon find the perfect color! :)

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  22. Holly W commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:37pm

    Are Germany’s larger home improvement stores able to color-match their paints like Lowes or Home Depot? If they do, you can always order Benjamin Moore’s color book online, then bring it in and have them match their paint to the color you want.
    Soon you’ll be finding stores and resources over there that you won’t know how you lived without in your “past life”.
    Have fun exploring!
    Holly W´s last blog post ..CHILI YOU DONT HAVE TO EAT ALONE

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  23. mrs.m commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:46pm

    Wow…this post really rings true for me. Living in France has been amazing and what an incredible opportunity that I would not change for anything. Funny because when we left the US and moved to the UK, I thought it was tough as there were many things that I missed…..well hello rural France…..and what was I thinking about missing things in the UK!!!!!!! It’s the adventure of everything that keeps me going here….some things should not be such an adventure, but I take those with stride. As I make really long journeys looking for a fabric shop or an antique dealer that I read about, there is always some breath taking view or chateau that creeps up unexpectedly and in an instant is it no longer a chore jut an adventure! On another, entirely different note, we regularly bring Farrow & Ball back from the UK and would be happy to ship it for you from France if you like!
    mrs.m´s last blog post ..Little girls growing up

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  24. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:49pm

    @Frida – The language is challenging but quite easy in some ways because many words are so similar to English. Plus, Germans (at least in Hannover where I live) are SO nice when I speak English as it’s obvious I’m not from here with my accent. They always smile and help me with words and many smile and say “ohhhh süß” and they mean it in the nicest way. Lots of them want to “practice” their English with me, especially the younger ones, so I use a little German and English whenever I go out. BUT that being said, it is a hard language with the der or die or das!

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  25. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:50pm

    @Cat – THANK YOU I will go there!

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  26. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:52pm

    @Syd – I have to find out about eco paint and washes… I bought milk paint from a company in Groton, MA a time or two and really liked it…

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  27. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:53pm

    @Jillian – I don’t know if they do color matching, though an earlier comment by Juliette indicates that some stores may — which is exciting because that eliminates a huge problem for me. The stores I’ve been to did not, but I will check some of the larger ones outside of the city. :)

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  28. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 8:59pm

    @Aimee – What a GREAT point. I get excited over the same mundane stuff. I find that because I am so curious by nature, and a bit childlike at times, that this whole relocation has been emotionally very satisfying for me. I’m wondering now if what you said isn’t the whole reason why I’m able to handle it whereas some of my American friends in Europe (whether it be France, Italy, Germany…) all want to run back to the states screaming. Now that I think about it, they’re not that visual or interested in exploring which could be the reason. I was in a local grocery store the other day and found this whole French section and nearly dropped to my knees to bow before the great French things. ha ha. I brought some home and enjoyed them immensely, then I realized, “Wait, I can get on a train anytime and go to France, Germany BORDERS France for goodness sake!” and I laughed because sometimes I still feel like I’m SO FAR from these places when I’m not.

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  29. decor8 commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 9:00pm

    @Kim B – I have NO idea because I threw away the packaging. I found them in two places — Galleria Kaufhof in the curtain section and this hardware store that I forgot the name of. I’m sorry, I wish I knew.

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  30. Penny Patten commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 9:09pm

    I really like the soft color’s, very pretty and calming. In my house I probally would have color like these in some rooms, and then probally go wild in one or two other rooms.
    Penny Patten´s last blog post ..Bird Watching

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  31. Vanessa Elizabeth commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 9:43pm

    When I relocated outside of the US I experienced so many of those things! I think it’s a fundamental fear of uncertaintly and not immediately recognizing something as familiar that leads us down the unfortunate road of irrational behavior. It’s a big hurdle to overcome, but I think once you do you know that you can make your life wherever and totally thrive. And that is something that is irreplaceable.
    Vanessa Elizabeth´s last blog post ..Oscar de la Renta Fabric Collection

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  32. Traveling Mama commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 10:59pm

    I have to admit that when we lived in Spain I struggled with my attitude, so when we moved to Morocco I was determined not to degrade the culture, pick fun, or constantly compare it. If I wanted Morocco to be like America then I should just go home… well, that was my attitude at least, because going home is not always an option! Life in Morocco was very difficult and there were a steady stream of obstacles to overcome, but we were happy there and I think a lot of that came from our determination to enjoy every day.

    After living in Morocco, Denmark feels like a breeze. I know moving to another country, even a European one, can be hard, but keeping at attitude of thankfulness has made the transition so much easier. Even after 7 months here, I still turn on the shower and I’m amazed that hot, steamy water comes out in a steady flow!
    Traveling Mama´s last blog post ..sending hugs

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  33. Sticky Penguin commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 11:03pm

    Those are some really great neutral shades… it can be so very hard to find ones with the right nuances and not too much brightness, harshness or murk. But the thing that really caught my eye was that gorgeous photo with the white turned-leg table and the wooden chair… so very simple indeed, and just perfection!

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  34. Tinkie commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 11:20pm

    I would like the name of the dutch magazine that you posted images of. i myself live in Florida and am Dutch. I love the images and colour schemes in the pictures you posted.

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  35. Tinkie commented
    January 21st, 2011 at 11:24pm

    please disregard my question and comment. i apologize. i found the images on the histor website. thank you anyway.

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  36. Katrina commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 12:07am

    “the past is a different life,” stop thinking negatively about the things you miss from the past and focus on the good things in your present life.

    I need to accept this as my current mantra! I’m not going through a relocation but after almost 6 months I’m still trying to cope with my breakup with my former fiance. I think some of the ideas in this post can be applied to many life changes, and I thank you for influencing me to think more about the positive and really focus on my past as a “different life”!

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  37. Monica commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 12:19am

    You will definitely find somewhere to color match paint. Our painter used paint from Brillux and I gave him a Benjamin Moore sample (which he lost, luckily after the paint was matched). The color was perfect and I can recommend the paint. I did a quick check and there is a Brillux store in Hannover/Doehren, Ziessstrasse 13. Another paint that I have had good experience with is Krautol. These paints are a bit pricier than the ones you will find in an Obi, Bauhaus but definitely worth it (kind of like the difference between Glidden paint and Benjamin Moore).
    The expat thing is kind of funny for me because I am sort of an expat in Germany, but also in the States (American born and raised in Germany). I moved to the states when I was 22, “expat” in my own country. Then I moved back to Germany when I was 35, expat in the country I grew up in.
    Monica´s last blog post ..10-10 -10 1st Day

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  38. Wrenaissance Art commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 1:25am

    The really cool thing about lumberyards and hardware stores in other countries are all the completely different and unique tools that are sold for tasks that are universal, revealing the unique approach to the world that each culture has. For example, in Norway, mops are a squeegee with a metal clip to hold your mop rag, kind of like a window wiper here in the US. Every Norwegian I have known regards sponge-on-a-stick American mops to be extremely unsanitary. :-)

    In my experience, the trailing spouses who indulge the most in negativity and whining about the limitations of the host country are the ones who were not totally on board with the move when their partner accepted the transfer. Often the reservations about the transfer are for good reasons–not wanting to interrupt their career; being overwhelmed with a newborn; elderly parents left behind. For bi-national couples who have moved to one spouse’s home country, there can be a lot of stress for the trailing spouse if his/her new in-laws are not compatible to him/her. All of this can make it really difficult to tackle the challenge of enjoying the new country.
    Wrenaissance Art´s last blog post ..Tomorrow is International Sketch Crawl Day!

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  39. Dagmarette commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 2:03am

    Ah, this post takes me back to when I first moved to London… I was so confused about everything from ‘toilets’ to ‘aluminium’ and the fact there was no target, or one stop shop for everything. But now that I’ve moved back state side, I find myself missing the local shops and the accents… Definitely embrace it!

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  40. Jodie commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 2:46am

    I don’t agree that we as humans necessarily see the bad before the good. I believe some things create reactions and garner attention. It could be a negative or a positive reaction that will claim mental real estate space. Most likely as you acclimate, you will have less and less reaction to things.

    Now in terms of comparing, I think we make things mean something when we shouldn’t. I try hard to not interpret or to not make meaning out of things which cause me to compare. I try to have an “It is what it is” attitude.

    So……do tell…….what are your BM “go to” colors?

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  41. deneise bucko commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 5:19am

    I lived in Spangdahlem for four years, so I do understand. I love Germany, the simple life. I would come home to the United States and think, it’s so busy, everything is so fast, I notice the litter we seem to decorate our streets with and no one seems to really stop and enjoy life. I did wrap my arms around the easy going life of Germany and you get used to not having everything in a minutes reach. I loved how Sundays you could do no manual labor, how many neighbors would take pride in sweeping their sidewalks and everyone would always be out walking…………. the days of enjoying the simple life!

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  42. Leonie commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:31am

    Big Obi and Bauhaus stores usually do colormatching, and speaking from my own experience do it quite well. I also second the tip about Brillux paint (for walls), it is of superior quality to the usual stuff at the hardware store. Since nearly all colorful wall paint is mixed in the store, I find there is too much choice! They hand you a book of painchips with virtually 1000 of colours! But since they are only grouped by colour and not colour scheme, it is a bit overwhelming. (And I would love to have “names” like the colours of American brands have. Here, you only get a boring number).
    Concerning paint for wood, I just discovered a type of paint from Rubbol, which is marketed as “extra matte”, will try it in a future project. If you are interested, I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Good luck with painting! Colourful walls rock! (…writing from my magenta kitchen…)

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  43. Aimee commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 11:47am

    I had to chuckle. I have done my fair share of bowing, that’s for sure. Ridiculous the things that get me a’twitter. I try to file those moments away for ready-access when I’m about to pull my hair out because there’s only ONE home deco/Lowe’s store here!

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  44. Laura Gaskill commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 1:23pm

    Beautiful paint colors – I especially love the look of beige + white trim, it actually makes me want to repaint my own home, so I will be saving that image for future reference!

    As for the issues with finding things abroad, as you & another reader mentioned in a comment above, it should be part of the fun! I have never lived overseas myself (though it is a dream & goal for me) but my husband & I were lucky enough to spend a month traveling in Europe for our honeymoon and I just loved doing something as simple as wandering the aisles of a grocery in Switzerland, wondering if a certain tube was lip balm or diaper rash ointment (believe me, if you saw the packaging you would be confused too!) The unfamiliar brands, the lack of certain products and appearance of new mysterious ones keeps life fresh and new and exciting!

    Have a great weekend Holly! xo
    Laura Gaskill´s last blog post ..2011 Lolalina Survey

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  45. Lelanie commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 4:16pm

    You guys are all so right and so very inpsirational.

    I am a South African and origionally from Johannesburg, which is a very lively and bustling metropolis. 9 Months ago my husband and I relocated to Cape Town- and it’s a whole different kettle of fish. It’s much prettier, but also slower and has a very different culture. And seeing that South Africa is so big, my family and friends are now also very far away.

    Yet, this experience has possibly been the most positive an dliberating of my life! It has afforded me the opportunity to view my life and myself in a new way. It is as if I have been given a new lease…

    I have made use of these ‘lonely’ months, by attending creative writing and other creative classes. This has opened my mind to start blogging, something I would never have considered before. It has been such a fresh start, that at the end of the month I am starting a diploma in interior design, which I in turn hope to combine with my journalism degree to propel me into the next phase of my life.

    Being away from all you know is very hard at first. But if you know how to be positive and seek opportunity, it can become a very rewarding and life changing experience.

    I am still lonely at times, but Cape Town is turning out to be just the place for us.

    So, here’s to the future.
    And to all you inspirational ladies.
    xxx

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  46. jennifer commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 4:20pm

    hi holly!
    Ok, I’m in the process of repainting my entire house and I want to know what your “no fail” Benjamin Moore colors are! Please share!!!

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  47. Nicole commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 6:49pm

    I was at a DIY store called Hornbach today, (apparently they have one in your area too) they had hundreds of color chips and the guy in the store said they mix them while you wait. We were looking for a silver gray and had about 60 options in varying shades. They are a more commercial/builders grade of store and are the best of the biggest names like OBI and Toom.

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  48. aneyefordetail commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:32pm

    Re. those curtain rods: they are all over France too! But no, I didn’t get the brand or packaging…I saw them at BHV in Paris, but also mainly hardware stores in Avignon and Apt. I’m guessing they are a stock item in most European countries…and yes, they are great!
    aneyefordetail´s last blog post ..REDAND MORE RED

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  49. Nicki commented
    January 22nd, 2011 at 10:34pm

    Haha, I know how you feel, I’m German and used to live in the US for a while … it starts to really suck when you get used to the products abroad and then move back home. I have to order my skin care products from the US because I don’t like the German kinds any more!

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  50. decor8 commented
    January 23rd, 2011 at 12:02am

    @Nicole – This is great news, I can take the train to Hornbach, it’s about 30 min away. Thanks for the tip!!!

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  51. Ariana commented
    January 23rd, 2011 at 12:28pm

    I have been surprised by many of the things that are not available to me, living in a very small town in Bavaria, but when I think about the big things that I enjoy here, it’s just not a big deal. For example, I love being able to buy wild venison each week from a vendor at our open market, and all of the incredibly high-quality items available at the little discount market a few doors down from my apartment. Every view is beautiful, and my life here is aesthetically gorgeous. So, it’s not such a big deal to have to hunt for the things I took for granted before. Also, having an Amazon Prime membership has been incredibly useful– I can find so many items online that would take forever to source locally!
    Also, when I begin to get negative, I remind myself that I had the option of choosing my location, and how wonderful it is to be able to decide– many people are simply stuck! I AM one of the lucky ones in this world…
    Ariana´s last blog post ..The Realities of Choosing an Unconventional Lifestyle

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  52. Monique commented
    January 24th, 2011 at 9:39am

    It’s always much easier to use what you know but when you explore you will find new nice things. Maybe you can check out http://www.flexa.nl/# also from the Netherlands. I am not sure if it’s sold in Germany. Flexa also has the VTwonen paint in their collection (from the home-decorating magazine http://www.vtwonen.nl )

    Another one is http://www.sikkens.nl/nl/actueel/Documents/colour_futures_2010_dutch.swf

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  53. Franzi commented
    January 24th, 2011 at 10:39am

    Hi Holly!
    And in the Hornbach store they do that scanning of Photos or other colour samples and matching the same colour as well. I even tried this with a sheet of a magazine I found. Good luck for you renovating process.

    And yes, please, post about the “no fail” Benjamin Moore colors !!
    Best wishes!

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  54. Emma commented
    January 24th, 2011 at 2:19pm

    It’s really interesting to hear about your experiences with home decor in a foreign country. I’ve traveled a lot, but it’s always been for vacation and I’ve never had the experience of every day living anywhere else but the US. I feel like I’m living vicariously through you. :o)

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  55. Anna commented
    January 24th, 2011 at 2:50pm

    Hey Holly, Max Bahr does colour matching and scanning too – and there seem to be two stores in Hannover. Good luck! Und viel Spaß :-)

    http://www.maxbahr.de/maerkte/hannover/vahrenheide/#service

    “Farben mischen” is what you are looking for :-)

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  56. Lauren L commented
    January 27th, 2011 at 7:54pm

    LOVE! your blog big time.

    I also love Beni Moore paints, would you share your list of no-fail colors? I love color but fail too often…

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  57. Chantal commented
    February 1st, 2011 at 4:50pm

    I understand you, I have moved countries as well and I after 7 years I am sometimes astonished the fact that there are so many diffrences between countries even I am still in europe. You must expect that countries more and more have the same stuff and brands, but it isn´t always so.
    I have the luck my parents come to visit me a few times a year by car and bring me over furniture that I had bought in the netherlands.
    I love your country and you have great blogtalent.
    All the best

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  58. Nike Wehmann commented
    February 20th, 2011 at 6:19pm

    Every German “Baumarkt” (Obi, Bauhaus, Praktiker…) will mix any color you desire. Just bring them a sample. They scan it and make it for you. I painted 80 square metres with some paint that was inspired by obe of Farrow&Balls shades of grey…

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