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Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

How about a little dose of touchy-feely, tactile imagery today? Few do cold weather better than the Scandinavians, don’t you agree? From an outsider’s perspective anyway, it seems they fully embrace it and take whatever northern light they have and use it to their advantage. When I read Danish design magazine, BoligLiv, I am aware of just how lovely interiors can be when you let a little winter in. These images are from the home of designer Kim Samson from a recent issue. Samson graduated from the Danish Design School in 1991 and went on to work for IKEA and to form the design firm Harrit-Sørensen + Samson and now she designs lighting as a freelancer for Le Klint in Copenhagen.Anyway, these photos below are from her gorgeous home. (Don’t tell her that I want to kick her out and move right in, okay?)

When it comes to lousy weather, I adore this attitude of, “Let’s make this work!” as so many “hate winter”, “wish it would end” and “dread this time of year”. I understand why, and I complain like everyone else, but let’s try to be more positive about it and create our own winter mood at home, in our yards, with our families that is filled with twinkle lights, comfort food, mugs of hot cocoa and really cute mittens and hats to keep us warm.

Bolig Liv

Maybe you can try to create a welcoming winter vibe in your home by bringing in more tactile objects — knitted pillows, leather, wool throws, velvet drapes, a handsome throw rug to add texture, a branch collected from a walk that you’ve placed in your favorite vase — decorate it with small artwork from your children or something you make by hand — your jolly old tree may have been taken away after xmas but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate a branch to give you good cheer. I’m in the mood for this kind of thinking… Why be miserable until March? It’s been so dark for the past few days and after a dose of warm weather and sunshine last week I feel a bit fooled by mother nature! Instead of feeling annoyed and down, I’ve decided to embrace these dreary days and enjoy the pause that a gray day can bring. Looking at gorgeous rooms from homeowners who embrace winter give us clues as how they’re using winter as inspiration in their decor.

Bolig Liv

Earlier today, I asked some of my twitter friends what they do on dreary days and here is some of the advice that I received…

twitterfriends

Now back to beautiful things that make gray days good. Sometimes all you need is great lighting, a little warmth, and a cozy spot to curl up with your favorite book, person, pet – or all three if you are lucky!

Bolig Liv

Bolig Liv

Bolig Liv

What is your recipe for joy on an otherwise dreary day?

(images: kristian septimius krogh via kool and kreativ.)

Posted in inspiration on January 19, 2011
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Murdoch Books To Publish Decorate in Australia!

If you follow me on Twitter then you already know about this great news since I tweeted it yesterday… But in case you missed it… In addition to my upcoming book, Decorate, being published by Jacqui Small in the UK (March 2011), Chronicle in the US (May 2011) and Callwey in Germany (September 2011), Murdoch Books will publish Decorate in Australia in April 2011!Here is a spread from Decorate below as seen on their website. Yay!

Spread from my book...

I’ve been waiting so patiently for the green light so I could make the official announcement so I am very excited to share this especially since I have lovely Australian readers and I was concerned that it would be difficult for them to get the book otherwise. Australians always tell me how they usually get everything super late down there but not this time Australia, April is mere months away and I’m so excited to hear what you think of it.

I am very honored to be part of Murdoch’s line-up because they publish gorgeous books and do a great job promoting their authors so I’m hoping that you will be able to find your copy locally at a favorite store. If you are a shop owner and would like to order Decorate for your store, or inquire about where it will be sold in Australia, please contact Murdoch directly — their contact information is here.

Update: Some have sent emails regarding how to purchase it for your stores in the US, UK + mainland Europe. You may direct your inquires to me (holly at decor8blog.com) with the subject title “Decorate Sales” and I’ll hook you up with the appropriate sales director that you need to speak to according to where you are located. Thank you so much for your interest!

(images: debi treloar/jacqui small publishing)

Posted in Books + Magazines on January 19, 2011

Caroline Swift

The other day I showed some fantastic painted spoons and many of you loved the idea to paint stainless steel with matte paint to use as  decorative objects in the home. Then, reader Leigha from Elle Oh commented about Caroline Swift and her gorgeous bone china spoons and of course, I had to learn more. Caroline studied industrial design in Scotland and spent nearly twenty years designing knitwear as head of knitwear design for Benetton which took her to England, Italy and New York City. During her travels and work there, she became curious about design in other areas such as ceramics and interiors. She was also interested in further exploring her culinary passions. What was she to do with all of this curiosity as an accomplished knitwear designer? While most wouldn’t take a risk after so many years in a secure role Caroline felt she was being called to explore her interests further… and she did.

caroline swift

Taking time off can help one to decide whether or not a newfound interest is fleeting or more grounded, so Caroline did just that. She paused and listened to what her authentic voice, the one we all have inside that you can only hear if you listen beyond the noise of the day-to-day. After her break, she went to England to develop concepts and ideas for a food book that she decided to take on. Then a challenge arose. She felt frustrated that she was unable to source the props she needed for her images, the ones she imagined in her mind’s eye and she thought more about this. Caroline spotted what she refers to as an, “intriguing relationship between food and tableware and how they influenced each other.” This led her to design her own line of tableware that is natural, pure, beautiful and that has integrity.

As you can see, one thing often leads to another. What you set out to do can change along the way. Allow the lack of something out there be a catalyst for you to drive change – perhaps if you don’t see something you can create it. Frustration, if channeled in a positive way, can lead to your next great adventure.

Caroline is now creating gorgeous ceramics, most of the work is unglazed to highlight the beauty of the bone china. About the process Caroline explains, “This is an uncompromising and time consuming choice as the pieces must be dry-sanded, at a very delicate stage, to an egg shell finish before being placed in the kiln for the final firing. Bone china is without exception the most challenging ceramic material to work with but it’s colour, beauty and strength after the final firing is unprecedented and allows it to be worked so thinly, whilst still retaining its strength.” Heart and soul clearly goes into her creations.

Clearly, her career change was a good one for her. Today she is producing her gorgeous work by hand out of her studio in Barcelona, Spain. I imagine that many stylists inquire about these gorgeous pieces because they would be perfect for magazines and books as props. Displaying and using them at home would be equally nice, I imagine them in my dining room and when I do, I smile. Not only because they are beautiful but because one women took a chance on her passions.

Owning a piece of Caroline’s work would inspire me to push ahead because I know her background and feel inspired by it. Shouldn’t some of the things in our home inspire us somehow? We cannot afford to buy everything handmade with a unique story, I know, but even a few pieces can go a long, long way. Isn’t this why we buy handmade in the first place, or at least from businesses that were started by people with traits we esteem – like good old-fashioned gumption — to inspire us? A beautiful home doesn’t mean simply aesthetically pleasing but should mean emotionally fulfilling as well. The objects we display can be so much more than pretty, they can be visual reminders of the values and dreams we hold most dear.

(images: caroline swift)

Posted in ceramics on January 19, 2011

Photographer Emily Anderson

I found some lovely interiors that have clean lines and are quite organized to inspire you today. Or perhaps I’m hoping to become inspired by them after spending 6 hours organizing the front four rooms of our apartment and it feels like the mess has only just begun! These gorgeous photographs are from the portfolio of photographer Emily Anderson, who specializes in weddings, and is based in New York City and will travel the world for her clients. I invite you to visit her site and see her many photos for yourself.

Photographer Emily Anderson

We have a floor-through unit in the city, it is around 2,300 square feet, with four rooms in the front, two in the middle along with two bathrooms and two small rooms for storage (one is my laundry closet), and three rooms in the back but that’s not all, there are also two wintergartens (three season porches you would call them in the states) and a balcony. I haven’t lived in a place this large since I was with my parents so I don’t know what to do exactly with all of this space yet but I’m sure I’ll get my groove on and figure it all out soon enough. I’m an expert at organizing small spaces and 1 bedroom apartments but I feel a bit like a goldfish in the ocean in here and I’m not sure exactly where to begin because there are so many rooms and options for storing things. But so far, so good — I am doing well and making progress. My new sofa arrived today after waiting for three months. Now I have to hunt for a sofa table. The sofa is a lovely color, it’s grey-brown and a very modern with slim metal legs — I’m happy with it. My husband and I selected it together, which was important to me that we make design decisions together in this space just as we did before in our New Hampshire home.

My white IKEA sofa is now in my sitting room, but I will retire it altogether when I find another to replace it because it was never meant to be with us for long and it isn’t good for my back. It was only used in our vacation apartment three months per year. I’m ready to let it go, it’s been good to us for three years but I’m ready to let someone else love it now. :)

Photographer Emily Anderson

What about you? Are you decorating or organizing your home lately? Are you seeing any changes in your color choices? I’m still a big fan of white, but I’m getting bored with my home looking like everyone else’s that I see these days so I want to be different and try some new ideas. I am feeling creative and ready to take on some new looks for my home while still being true to myself. And you? Where do you stand with your interiors lately? I believe that we evolve, and as we evolve, we have to allow our homes to evolve with us. Sure, you aren’t going to toss all of your furniture for a complete redux but you can work in some new pieces to reflect who you are today and that is often a good thing.

Remember to check out Emily Anderson’s site and I nearly forgot to tell you… she authors a lovely blog that you may enjoy browsing, too.
(images: emily anderson)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 18, 2011

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