Colorful + Quirky Living

May 6, 2011

I am seriously digging this colorful, quirky home in a major way. From the painted ceilings to wall hangings and full-on saturated hues as accents and some as focal points, I can’t stop looking at the details! After a week of being sick in bed, this is just the interiors inspiration that I needed to come across today. It also didn’t hurt that my book made it on the bestseller list over at the Wall Street Journal at #2, Eek! I am so happy (thank you guys so much!). Between that extraordinary news of now authoring a best selling book and this fab home that I stumbled across below, I’m in 7th heaven (no reference to the kitchen ceiling at all, ha ha!). But I’m not here to brag about my book, or simply show a few photos and be on my way. Oh no. I want to talk about this amazing home and some memories from my past that I want to share because these photos took me back to a very special farm… a special place in my childhood. And I want to somehow spark your memories in the process.

Colorful + Quirky Living

The moment I spotted this home on the Room and Serve blog and found out that it is actually from Vårt Nya Hem (Swedish) magazine, I had to dig deeper into their website to see what else they have featured that I might want to have a look at. I also tried to figure out why it felt familiar to me and then memories of the large farmhouse belonging to my great, great grandmother came flooding in and suddenly I was transported to another time and space.

One thing that admire about this particular home shown in Vårt Nya Hem magazine is that, even with all of the color and pattern, each item seems to have been carefully curated and restraint was shown in both the floor plan and overall styling so it doesn’t end up looking like a massive interiors heart attack. I admire people who are this stylish, it’s quite amazing really and I’d love to linger in this space with the homeowners and really get to know the story behind each piece as I’m sure they have delicious stories to tell of travel, adventure and even a bit of danger. I love that the floor above appears to be stenciled. How grand (and doable!).

But yet, when I look at the kitchen I see a story from the pages of my own life. I’ll tell you it, if you have a moment. You see, when I look at this kitchen I see the farmhouse that my Polish great grandmother owned in southern Rhode Island in the countryside. She had very ornate floral wallpaper, vinyl and tile flooring, art nouveau touches, extremely colorful everything… and the layout was the same with the old-fashioned style of cabinetry and such.

She moved from Warsaw in the late 1800s to American to make her life in Rhode Island where she gave birth to my grandfather, raising him on a huge farm. Then, when he was in the military stationed in Chicago, he met and married my Irish/Scottish/Russian/Polish grandmother who was a cabaret singer there, and they made their life on the same farm in a coverted barn nearby where my mother was born and raised. I grew up visiting my grandparents on their farm, affectionately called “Baby Farm”, as my mother’s large extended family stayed there in the summers and someone always ended up getting pregnant – including my mother, with me! My grandfather’s sister married an Italian man and so the farm went from being Polish to Polish-Italian so I remember how this mix of culture affected life on the farm. I also remember braiding bread for my grandmother and rolling out dough and baking pies in a kitchen much like the one shown above. I remember thinking that my very Polish great grandmother, who only spoke Polish to my grandfather when she didn’t want us to know what she was saying (which was often), was extremely “different” because her decorating style was wayyy over-the-top. She didn’t have the typical country farmhouse – it was vibrant and filled with antiques from Poland that she brought over and of course flea market finds as my grandfather loved going to them religiously on the weekends. I also remember him taking me to massive flea markets along with my mother. I think that’s why I enjoy them so much today and am always on the prowl for a unique find.

Growing up I remember loving my great grandmother’s crazy farmhouse and enjoyed all of the color, pattern, massive floral wallpaper, taxidermy (oh yes), patterned floors, farmhouse sinks, minty green tiled bathroom, stacks of mismatched china in white cabinets with glass doors and the way the home smelled in the warmer months when all of the flowers were in bloom and the breeze drifted their heavenly scent through the home, usually through the kitchen where I was usually hanging out with my grandmother and great grandmother, and yes, my mom too. She lived to nearly 100 years old so I remember her in my life until I was 22 years old. I was lucky.

Colorful + Quirky Living

Colorful + Quirky Living

Colorful + Quirky Living

Maybe you’ll find some inspiration over at Vårt Nya Hem to motivate you on a home project this weekend? Or to connect you to bits and pieces of your past life or how you would someday like to live? It’s important when you find photos that inspire you to then pinpoint WHY you are connecting to them. What is it? Perhaps a window to your past? Or simply the colors? The style? The casualness? Think about this whenever you pin an inspiring image to your moodboard – it’s a great way to refine your personal style!

(images: vårt nya hem)


  • Reply Eva Ricci May 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    OHHH WOW…what a dream place

  • Reply tinajo May 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I love your story – fascinating how things can trig our memories! :-)

    Further more, I LOVE these pics – they make me happy by just looking at them so I can´t imagine how I´d feel if actually living there. Just magnificent and vibrant! :-)

    Great post! :-)

  • Reply strikk May 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    great article – you have a fantastic way of writing about design and i see what you mean about restraint even in the riot of colour and design.
    beautiful home.
    wonderful story.

  • Reply Genevieve Gail May 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    What a fun house! Love all of that color… And a big CONGRATS on your book success!

  • Reply Tracey Chalk May 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    That ceiling?! Not sure i would want it in my house but it is awesome!

  • Reply Virginia May 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    What fun memories and heritage! Beautiful pictures as well. I’m trying to learn to mix prints well. ;)

  • Reply cafenoHut May 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    When I saw this post. Colors and patterns has been called to my mind Frida Kahlo’s paintings.
    Very vividly .

  • Reply Shari May 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    It seems like you and I both have been having memories brought up about grandparents! I posted something yesterday, or the day before, about my grandma because I was reminded of spending a couple of my summers on their farm with them. They had a barn, too, but we stayed in the main house. Shelling peas on the porch, going blueberry picking in the woods, visiting my great aunt Anni & uncle Arvi next door… which was a 10-15 minute walk away!

    These interiors are lovely! I love the way color is used. It feels colorful without being overwhelming. The subtle variations in tones are really nice. Love it!

  • Reply anita schytte May 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Holly – Let me join and try to get hold on blogging… small steps :-) I have no blog myself yet but dreaming of creating one – yours is wonderful.. and so thorough! Love it

    Lot of love from sunny Denmark

  • Reply janis - pinecone camp May 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I love the story about your great grandmother. The image, 2nd to last, is so inviting to me. I’d love to step right into this picture.

  • Reply Mitzi Curi May 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    You’re right on, Holly, I totally love those colorful, quirky rooms! The Asian influence in wonderful, and from now on I’m going to pay much more attention to my ceilings!

  • Reply Evelyn May 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    beautiful home pictures!

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold May 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Loved you incerdible story and also the fact that how a chance sighting of an image somwhere triggered your lovely walk down the memory lane..thankyou so much for sharing it here..congratulations on your book’s success as well! have a lovely weekend, holly! xx meenal

  • Reply christine {bijouandboheme} May 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Congratulations on the best-selling book- so so amazing- what an utter dream come true! I love all of these shots- the painted ceiling and chinoise panel (2nd to last) are beyond incredible!!

  • Reply Anca May 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    What a beautiful story! And that house..oh, my! It is simply gorgeous!

    Also, congrats on your book success! :)

  • Reply Helena ROOM and serve May 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm


  • Reply Amelia@ Wind Chimes May 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    This one is quirky indeed especially the one with the Asian painting and the Orient-themed bedroom. It has nice touch and blend of colors though.

    I would love to try the Vårt Nya Hem project this weekend. I’ll just see if my daughter can help me out.

  • Reply Patia May 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    What a wonderful story of your family. I love family histories. Do you have any photographs of your great-grandmother’s farm? (Oh, and this place is lovely.)

  • Reply Christina Hargrove May 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Gasp! I LOVE this house. The contrast between the fancy old European details of the building and the bright, casual, India-inspired fabrics is amazing. Did you notice they left the old wood floors unpolished? To me, that plays up the old-ness of the building, and keeps it from looking too gaudy.

  • Reply Barbara May 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Holly,thank you for sharing such beautiful images, such a beautiful magazine and above everything such a beautiful story. My grandpa used to bring me and my cousin often to visit a farm who was just next to their house (they lived in the countryside) and I have happy memories of picking up black cherries and strawberries from their garden with my cousin and their sons and daughters. So,even not so in details, I do understand a bit the joy of growing up near a country enviroiment.
    Back to pictures, the Asian style is remarkable. The silver panel on the next to last picture is stunning.

  • Reply ArticulateArt May 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    The space looks awesome with an oriental/Chinese touch to it~

  • Reply flockofteacosy May 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Such refreshing looking interiors — and what a great eye you have for collecting these together. I have a weakness for floral prints, but perhaps that just these glorious spring days and the return of our gardens…. ;)

  • Reply Angie May 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    A little over the top for my taste, but boy do I have a crush on this house :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Penny Patten May 9, 2011 at 3:39 am

    What a great house, love the ceiling and all the great colors through out.

  • Reply FIDM Fashion Club May 9, 2011 at 6:45 am

    The bright colors in this room are so uplifting and great eye candy! I love to see decorating influences from different parts of the country and just to see other people’s ideas is very inspiring. BTW, congrats on the book!

  • Reply Coco May 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    My sofa (a brown leather, corner sofa) is almost an exact copy of my mothers old cognac leather corner sofa :)
    after i bought the sofa i searched to old photographs remembering we had some kind of sofa that looked like this one! Of course, its more modern but i’m so in love with it… it makes me feel totally comfy.

  • Reply Rina May 10, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Holly, I saw this home in Feb-March 2011 issue of Elle Decor India and it is located in Germany! It is the home of two artists and is located in the district of Harvestehude in Hamburg.

    • Reply decor8 May 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

      @Rina – Really?! Do you know their names? I have to look them up – it is a brilliant home. I’m going to Hamburg in a few days in fact, it’s one hour north of here. Thank you for commenting!

  • Reply Rina May 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Holly, yes the article does mention their names- Lili Nalovi and Jesko Willert. Both are painters and their travels to India, Indonesia, Cambodia and Burma have inspired their paintings as well as their home (I am paraphrasing from the article!).
    This is the only article I saved from that issue of the magazine- it is a beautiful home.

  • Reply Matt Evans May 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Oh my, simply gorgeous. Starting to think that “modern white” wasn’t the way to go with my living room. I particularly love the floral mural on the wall and the purple sofa/bed. Amazing.

  • Reply Christina May 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I actually blogged just the kitchen from this home a while back. I am subscribed to Vart Nya Hem’s website. They have some great stuff! If I recall correctly, the article said that the owner’s did in fact hand-stencil the kitchen floor. Pretty awesome!
    ~ Christina

  • Reply Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis May 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Wow, this a so amazingly beautiful. I especially love the room in the last picture. All that color and texture has me drooling. And the architecture, I am in love with that molding.

  • Reply Stephanie May 14, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Such a fun home! So personal and I love all the details!

  • Reply Dave May 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I love the flooring in every room. In the first picture, there is an area rug covering the floor, but I think beneath it is a green floor? Is that painted wood, or some tile?

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