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Gardener & Marks + Noticing The Details

I’m a huge Lyn Gardner fan so naturally, I love browsing her decorating portfolio over at Gardener & Marks. Their business is so intriguing to me, Gardener & Marks, because it’s a full service decorating and props firm in Australia and I think their work comes across as very relaxed and personal yet also with such care over the details that you want to examine everything you see.

What I admire so much about Lyn, aside from her wild and very big hair and quirky personal style is her decorating work — she is a very detail-oriented person and I love that. I delight in the details, I can get so hung up on them though! Are you keen on the little bits and pieces? The photos throughout this post are from Gardener & Marks and show homes that they’ve decorated, Lyn and her partner Amanda Hendersen-Marks (please read their bio here). So pretty!

By the way, have you heard of The White House Daylesford? It’s Lyn’s amazing property that you can use as a location home OR you can vacation there — it’s quite drool inducing — you simply must check it out here. As you are browsing, notice bedroom two with that gorgeous black and white toile wallpaper and hints of emerald green around the room – so pretty.

It’s funny, because I’m very big picture which is why I was once a project manager. But I’m also creative and imaginative — I’m big on details and I notice every little corner and creation whether I’m shopping, staying in a hotel, riding on a train… I see it all. My friends often say that this is the writer in me – to notice things that most people breeze right by. And it’s true. I can be with friends and they’ll be chatting or zoning out on their iPods and I’m chatting and on the iPod too yet I’m also scanning the room, noticing every detail of what each person there is wearing – stripey socks, cuffed jeans, man who looks bored, woman who has lost an earring, boy with a chipped tooth.

You’ll laugh at this, but do you remember that scene with adorable Matt Damon in the first Bourne film when he is in a roadside diner in France with German supporting actress Franka Potenta and he tries to “prove” that he isn’t normal so he immediately starts to recite each detail about their environment while looking straight into her eyes – and he gets all of the facts right – he had memorized everything including how many people were in the room? Okay so he’s an assassin, I’m not (ha ha), but I can relate to that scene so well as I can do the same thing when it comes to noticing everything around me. I don’t always remember things that were said, I’m more visual I think, but I do remember things that I see or words that I can see on paper… In fact, that is what is helping me to learn German — not to hear it but to see it on signs and in textbooks.

When I shop, it’s the same. I think lots of us creatives notice the details, from the Lyn Gardeners of the world to everyday people like me who love to decorate and write for a living. Perhaps you too? I see everything and often can scan an entire section, zoom in on what I’m interested in and disregard the rest — I’m not one to waste time as I know right away whether or not I’m attracted to something. I often got annoyed with this personality trait, to see everything, to notice the good and the bad, to be able to “weed out” things that I don’t like or need almost instantly. In some ways, I had to get it under control in order to live a productive life. What I mean is that by noticing everything I’d often return home feeling absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer stimulation of it all. Or I’d be so overwhelmed by what I’m looking at in a store that I’d leave empty handed.

It took me years to modify my behavior so that I could use this sensitivity of mine to my own advantage, and now that I’m older I definitely can see a huge improvement and my life is so much better now that I can edit and sort ideas, sensations, emotions, external data, all of it — quite efficiently without draining myself. I have noticed that one of the best ways to curb over-sensitivity is to simply acknowledge it first of all and then use it only in situations when you really need it. I use it when it comes to projects, work-related tasks, etc. I’ve learned to ignore it (sometimes to forcefully ignore it) when I’m in the train and everyone around me seems to be drunk or acting obnoxious which I find often on the train when I’m riding at night. I have to forcefully flip the “off” switch whenever I see things that cause me pain, annoyance or anger – those are the details in life that I’d rather not pay attention to.

A darker side to this though is that I pay attention to details but I also miss other things as I’m so intently focused on something else that the other important thing slips off my radar. My husband laughs, I have a short attention span, I am like a golden retriever in some ways — I can be running after a stick and the moment I notice a cat off in the distance, I start running towards the cat forgetting all about what I was retrieving in the first place.

I wonder, do any of you notice the details, even to a fault, and how have you managed this? Luckily, I’ve managed well over the years and now I feel very confident to speak about it publicly and to use it in areas of my life where paying attention to details matters, like decorating and writing. Please share your views, I’d love to learn more about you and creatives out there in general who are very detail-oriented and how you edit, sort, disregard some date, absorb others, etc. It’s a fascinating topic I think!

(images: gardener & marks)

Posted in Decorating Tips, real talk on April 27, 2011

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

Yes, it is Wednesday and my dear friends I am late again with my Etsy picks for the week. What is my problem, right!? Truth is, these round ups take hours and I often feel like I’m running out of time with the many projects that I’m involved in both on and offline lately (especially offline). I’m currently styling a quilting book for a Berlin-based author originally from England, working on the proposal for my next book, planning my US book tour (yeah!), revamping the template for decor8 and preparing a new website for Blogging Your Way, and preparing for the big Meet The Blogger event and book signing in Amsterdam on June 25th, planning a 10 year anniversary getaway with my husband, working on some writing projects, answering lots of emails, writing on Real Simple, Haus Maus, and decor8 and… I’m soon traveling up to Hamburg as I was hired as a consultant for one of Germany’s top magazines to teach my Blogging Your Way e-course in-person before their staff in just a few weeks! I’m writing everything out and organizing my ideas — I can’t wait to share all that I’ve learned about blogging with this magazine and look forward to it very much as it’s my first official “job” in Germany since I relocated here. Yay!

Okay so enough about me and what I’m up to — how are you? Are you ready for some Etsy stores to enjoy for this week? Great, me too! Let’s see who I found this week, shall we?

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

Everything from Every Eskimo melts my heart, especially these vintage chunky XO rubber stamps – fun! I love her handmade animals too.

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

More vintage goodness, this time from Sadie Olive – books, antlers, vintage photographs, everything and anything all curated expertly.

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

I’m loving House of Chintz! Okay, some of you may question my taste on this one but I’m seriously mad about these quirky lampshades designed by Kate Boyce, a surface pattern designer in England. To me, they look very Liberty London – I can picture them being sold there among all of their other quirky interiors items and furnishings.

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

How fun is Draw City? I love that you can even request custom illustrations of your favorite things. These are such cute prints, the tea tin is my favorite.

Etsy Take Five Tuesday

Lovely illustrated goodies in gorgeous colors from Jessica Swift, formerly the Jessica Gonacha shop but she got married (congrats!) and changed her name. I think her goal and intention kit is brilliant, I have to buy one and use it!

Did you enjoy today’s picks!? Hope so! See you in a moment with more things to inspire you today…

(images linked to their source above.)

Posted in etsy, Etsy Take 5 Tuesday on April 27, 2011

Contest Winners: Decorate Book!

I was thrilled and honored when nearly 1,200 decor8 readers entered to win a signed copy of my new book, Decorate (UK version)! A big hug and a mighty thank you to everyone for participating. As promised, there are 3 winners and I’d like to share those names with you now. You will be contacted today with a request for your complete mailing address so that your book can be sent. Please allow up to a few weeks for it to arrive, depending on where you live.

UK jacket/book

T H E     W I N N E R S    A R E

#1006, Krystal Schroder

#221, Krissy

#11, Jorissa van Ginkel

Many, many thanks for entering this contest — for those who didn’t win, here is a list of many large retailers worldwide who stock the book, however lots of smaller shops carry it too. I am waiting for Chronicle, Murdoch and Jacqui Small Publishing to send me lists of where it is sold so I can give all of the shops a huge shout out on decor8 so when I have those lists I will share the stocklist with you. If you want a signed copy, Liberty online carries a few and Selfridges in London (in their book section on the lower floor has a few left) along with both London Anthropologie locations who carry signed copies for a limited period so visit their stores in London for those.

I appreciate all of your love and support regarding my first book, this was a huge step for me but the love and support in this community has been overwhelming and delightful — you’ve made it such a special time of my life and a great way to always remember this blogging era as I refer to this period when we are all online, blogging, connecting and meeting up. Who knows where blogs will be in twenty years, but personally this book will forever mark this time period as I’m sure it will for you as well. When you author a blog, so much is read and enjoyed but then forever stored in the archives — I have thousands of posts that some of you may never find as they are buried and long forgotten. That is why this book is such a special collection of my thoughts, tips, Joanna’s ideas, Debi’s gorgeous images that I love — and it’s all in one place so that others who like decor8 can have a little slice of it in book form.

Oh I have to thank you — I sooooo appreciate the many reviews that you are leaving on your blogs, amazon, other websites, etc. about Decorate — I’m linking all of them on the Decorate fan page on Facebook but if I’ve not seen or linked yours there yet, please run over and link it on that page and also on the decor8 fan page so everyone can see what you wrote!

I love my book :)

And again — a big warm congratulations to Krystal, Krissy and Jorissa! I hope that you will enjoy your signed copy of Decorate from me to you. It is the UK version, so it will be in British English with the cover showing designer/writer Rita Konig’s New York City living room with her gorgeous sofa (shown in photos above). I hope that you enjoy it!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

(image: holly becker)

Posted in Books + Magazines, contests on April 27, 2011

Farmhouse Style at Dreamy Whites

Ah, farmhouse living. It’s both Rachel Ashwell (did you hear that she just opened a B&B?) and Atlanta Bartlett but it’s also online shop Dreamy Whites owned by Californian mother, decorator and blogger, Maria, who lives on a ranch (her husband is a horse trainer!) and has 5 children. I admire how she still manages to maintain her beautifully white home – where all of her product shots for her store were taken and shown below. Amazing, inspiring, OMGosh! How does she do it!? Lots of patience, bleach and a good bar of soap, no doubt.

Let’s talk about farmhouse style for just a bit, okay? To me, farmhouse style can range — it can be loaded with dark reds, navy blues, piled high with geometric quilts in primary colors and topped with plenty of dark brown wood furniture, carved or rustic with clean uncomplicated lines. The farmhouse that Maria at Dreamy Whites promotes though is the more French country style. Farmhouse style can be both country cottage and coastal chic, French and American (or any other country for that matter), white with pastels or whites with blues and reds come to mind when I think of farmhouse colors. The Farmhouse style that fans of Dreamy White love though is the more romantic, faded look that resembles what Rachel Ashwell pioneered with Shabby Chic and later with decorators like Atlanta Bartlett– the palette is mostly white, pale minty green, pinks, blues, in other words lots of unapologetic love for pastels and for all things worn, used, salvageable, repurposed and slightly chipped or with some patina (think old vintage mirrors or wooden tables with a faded old coffee ring here and there.



Also with farmhouse style you can find lots of floral prints (think dainty blooms laying next to larger scale roses for instance) and stripes (like ticking). Linen and canvas lay next to soft brushed or voile cottons that drape beautifully and feel like butter. Enamelware, French bed linens, pillowcases that tie, a slightly battered French wooden chair that folds… Flooring ranges from hardwood floors (the older the better), subway tile in white, penny tiles, old faded Belgium tiles in the entryway, wood floors painted in glossy white or gray. Furniture can include everything from white leather sofas with clean lines and slim legs to overstuffed white cotton canvas (very Shabby Chic). Vintage wooden dressers lined with faded vintage wallpaper, large wooden French cupboards painted in soft blue, benches stacked with blankets and pillows. Lighting runs the gamut as well — everything from ornate crystal chandeliers to clean almost industrial-style lighting and even the occasional punched tin lantern from Morocco — all have their place in the farmhouse these days as farmhouse style has evolved to allow in some elements of Asian decor, few but some — like large white leather or silvered leather pouffes for example.

If any of these things resonate with you, then you have to definitely check out blog and online shop Dreamy Whites. I definitely like some of the things shown above, like the lavender vintage glass bottles (my husband has a collection of them on his windowsill in his office) and I used them in my book to display flowers in Leslie’s studio in the “Attention To Details” section of Decorate. I also like all of the field flowers, so casual and uncomplicated, displayed in various vessels — mostly ones that were not originally created as vases like jars and tea tins… I also love the old French tin shown in the first photo above, it has gorgeous color and pattern, doesn’t it? I could imagine using it on a shelf in my office to hold business cards or extras like tape or staples.

It’s amazing to think about farmhouse style and all that it encompasses, isn’t it? What comes to mind when YOU think of farmhouse style? I often wonder how the perception varies according to where on lives. If you could mention where you live and then highlight some hallmarks of Farmhouse Style in your part of the world, that would be great! :)

(images: dreamy whites)

Posted in Decorating Tips on April 26, 2011

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