Yearly Archives

2011

uncategorized

Happy Long Weekend!

July 1, 2011

I’d like to wish each and every reader out there, well friend really, a wonderful long weekend! I say long because in the U.S. it is our 4th of July holiday and though I live abroad I still keep very much to the holiday schedule back home so for me this means a long weekend. I’ll be back to blogging again on Tuesday, July 5th.

Happy Long Weekend!

Happy Long Weekend!

I wish you a lovely weekend – I’ll be playing around in my craft studio, decorating my work room, and taking some photographs for Dutch magazine 101 Woonideeën who will publish photos of my work room in an upcoming issue along with a four page interview about my life and book that one of their editors just had with me while I was visiting Amsterdam. I’m very excited to see how it comes out and I can’t wait to show you. A big thanks to Janneke Romijn for setting this interview up in the first place.

UPDATE: The Decorate Blog Book Tour is in full swing. Here is a list of all of the blogs my book has visited with this week and surprise, Chronicle is so generously giving away copies of the book so below you can find a list of all of the places online where you can win a copy RIGHT NOW by simply commenting and being a little bit lucky. You can enter on all of the blogs if you like to increase your chances, but you can only win once!

  • Oh Joy! – No giveaway but a lovely review from one of my favorite bloggers ever.
  • TomKat Studio – Giveaway and review right here – 232 entries so far!
  • Chronicle Books – Giveaway on their blog – 178 entries!
  • Plush Palette – No giveaway but a fab review from Rue’s own Crystal Gentilello.
  • Bloesem – Another favorite blogger giving away Decorate, thanks Irene so much! 166 entries so far!
  • Tulips & Flight Suits – A lovely, heartfelt review and a giveaway of the book – 21 entries so far!
  • Hooray Another beautiful review and a chance to win Decorate – 23 entries so far! Go, go, go everyone, win some books!

Oh this makes me so happy, seeing all of these blogger collegues of mine on this book tour with me. Thank you Hooray and everyone for your participation this week!

See you on Tuesday!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Small Business

Junkaholique Sheds

July 1, 2011

It seems like whenever I read a success story some idea was formed in a shed or a garage. Have you noticed that? It’s a riot. From computers to candles, I imagine garages and sheds all over the world with this glow around them and little light bulb moments by the millions happening every second. I was telling my husband just yesterday that I need a shed! And we had a good laugh about that. But it’s so true, when one has a space of their own to go a bit wild in from a creative standpoint, so many cool things can result.

Junkaholique Sheds

I guess that’s why I love what Artemis Russell and her husband Nao Utsumi have done to be creative at home. Nao is from Japan but has lived in England since he was 18 and his wife, Artemis, is from the Isle of Wight. They live in England and write the lovely blog Junkaholique but that’s not all…  They spend their days collecting and gently restoring vintage things from the UK and France to sell in their online shop (THE BUCKET TREE) but they also make gorgeous jewelry that they also sell online (RUST) — all created in their individual workspace – sheds! Not one but two sheds! Artemis sews and weaves and makes things in her crafty shed and Nao does his work in his cool shed too. I mean, hello – how inspiring is this?

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

In our home, my husband has his own creative workshop – it’s a room where he has his computer, instruments, photo equipment, collections, books, everything he loves is in “his room”. And then I have “my room”, a large light-filled workspace with a massive table for spreading things out, crafting, hosting girly nights, stuff like that. And then we have our bedroom and other common areas where we mix and share the space. I am a big believer in sheds, garages, attics, basements or spare rooms (even corners of rooms) where a person carves out their own space that their partner doesn’t interfere with – so in my husband’s room I don’t influence any decorating decisions and I certainly let him have his privacy and I never touch his collections – I never walk in without knocking first – it’s his space and I respect it. As a result, he is very creative and happy and in there he composes music, takes photos, writes and then of course does his “day job” as well. It works so nicely.

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

Junkaholique Sheds

When we are little children, if we don’t share bedrooms with our siblings, we normally have our own bedroom. That’s where we dream, create, work, explore, imagine. Then we grow up and get married or partnered up and we’re expected to merge everything into one space and it’s hard! We do it because it’s part of being adults we reason, and because the more rooms you have the more expensive it costs to live, but often there is one partner who really wishes that they had their own space and from the homes I’ve worked in on decorating projects, it’s usually the guy who sacrifices so his partner can have her sewing room. This is very generous, and though some guys just don’t care to have their own “zone” I think many wish they did — and I imagine it’s really hard to not have a room to be creative in especially if a person is naturally curious and creative.

Everyone has different needs, of course, but it’s good to see if your partner has those needs for a corner or room to use just for them because it’s assumed, sadly, that, “Most men just don’t care” and I believe some really do – at least most men I’ve met love the idea of having a media/computer room or a place to display their collections, etc. An “escape” from the rest of the family is good sometimes!

In my house, we both need our space. We had to pay more to find a place to live in with enough rooms to accommodate both of our needs for creative workspace, but it’s worth every penny because we both get so much more done than if we didn’t have these rooms to work and dream in. In our rooms we even invite over our friends and often my friends hang out in my room and vice versa, he’ll have the guys over a few times a week and they hang out in his room and watch films, talk, listen to music, etc. which is nice for me because then I have the whole house to myself. I think this comes from how we were raised though, my grandparents always had their own space. My grandmother had her room with her piano and my grandfather had his photography room upstairs. My other grandparents had their own space too, my grandfather converted an area below his barn for his projects and my grandmother had her room for sewing, etc.

I love when couples have their own space to be creative if they require it – and I’m all for using whatever you have to make it work, even if that means building little sheds in your backyard or carving out a spot in the basement or even in a closet like Gregory Han has in LA. It’s really important to do whatever you can to be creative and to make space for that. Creative people who are involved in making, creating, doing work they enjoy – even hobbies after work – are some of the happiest people on earth.

See more photos of Artemis’ shed here.

Photos of Nao’s shed.

Their jewelry shop and their Japanese blog (so cool).

Their vintage wares shop.

Do you and your partner share workspace or do you each have your own nook? How does it work for you? Does your partner ever express a need to have their own space to do things they love? Thoughts?

(images: Artemis Russell)

Arts + Crafts

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

July 1, 2011

I talked about Luci Everett awhile ago but I’m so in love with the work of dear Luci in Melbourne, Australia that I have to share what she does over and over again. Do you know this amazing lady? If not, I totally think you should because she never ceases to amaze and inspire with her gorgeous drawings, collages, graphics and watercolors. I totally dig her use of color, too. She uses all of my favorite tints and tones.

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

Her blog is filled with wonderful things and she sells some of her work in her big cartel shop called Paper Soup. Watercolor illustrations are all the rage at the moment, have you noticed? They’re a big trend and I can’t get enough. I love how Luci does lots of band and event posters, I think they are so attractive… I wish more bands put thought into their gig posters, sometimes it’s so depressing how ugly some can be. But not Luci’s posters – they must sell tickets because even if I’ve not heard of a band before, if they put this much effort into their promotional materials I’d reason that they’d have to be worth checking out. Same goes for events, especially handmade markets and art fairs. If the posters look good (or flyers, website, etc.), I’m so there.

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

I especially love this party book below which was part of a small project that Luci worked on which is, “A handmade, french-folded book playfully exploring the theme of party”. Oh swoon…This is so whimsical, feminine, detailed and just charming!

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

Illustrator + Graphic Designer Luci Everett

This is such a special piece to me (the book above) that I’d love to see in person – it seems so precious (in a good way). Books never go out of style when they’re so thoughtfully created, do they?

(images: luci everett)

DIY

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

June 30, 2011

You’ll love this IKEA hack! Elena Ferrer, aka Meisi, is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Alicante, Spain on the Mediterranean coast and is quite a crafty lady! She recently took her tired brown Leksvik IKEA cabinet, fixed the broken door and then thought that if she just emptied the cabinet, painted it in a gorgeous shade of aqua, and stenciled the door that perhaps she could make something that nobody notices in her home a thing of beauty and function. In a single day, she transformed her unloved dark brown “boring” cabinet into something personal in a style that reflects her taste and style. After the paint dried, she decorated her cabinet with favorite things, including her collection of books, fabrics and yarn.

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

IKEA Leksvik Buffet Before + After

I like that Elena printed the stencil for the doors onto paper, cut out the motif and then used paint and a sponge to apply the paint in a pale beige. See the cabinet BEFORE here. What a change, right!? It’s so inspiring to see how far a can of paint and some creativity can go!

Thank you Elena for writing to me to share this with decor8 readers today.

(images: elene ferrer)

Books + Magazines, uncategorized

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

June 30, 2011

When food stylist, photographer and writer, Mowie Kay, showed up at my book launch at Liberty in London just to give me a hug and wish me well with my new book I knew that this was a guy that I wanted to work with someday. He was charming. And social. And I liked him. I just didn’t know how we’d ever cross paths again because we are in two completely different circles with me in interiors and him being an over-the-top foodie. Well, kismet has its way and after the party Mowie told me about his magazine idea and that he’d like to shoot me cooking in London and have me pull together an article featuring some of my favorite recipes. Gulp. Well…

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

I was flattered, but I don’t cook a single meal that is so amazing that it deserves to be in print (!) and I’m completely fine with admitting it because I’m not a foodie and tend to admire the whole food craze from afar. I’m perfectly content to press forward with my often fusion style cooking as Julia Childs and Nigella feel simply unreachable to me. I love to eat out, once a week (sometimes more), at foodie types of places though along with those ethnic eateries that are complete hole-in-the-walls but have drop dead amazing meals. Tony Bourdain is my food idol and there is nothing styled up about what he eats. And I have a ton of cookbooks, though I am first to admit that I buy them for mostly their design and photographs though I have most recently experimented with the Ottolenghi cookbook gifted to me by Leslie. I read food blogs, but I don’t really read them, I scan to see the pretty photographs because I can’t imagine making the things that I see.

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

I often feel like it’s a patience thing. But it’s also a free time thing. I don’t have hours to spend on meal planning, preparation, cooking and clean up each day and some of the meals I see would take an unskilled cook such as myself quite awhile to whip up, never mind to be photo worthy. Long story short, I’m not the perfect candidate to contribute to a beautiful foodie magazine! I don’t fit the profile, my piece of cake on a plate looks like a piece of cake on a plate, not artful or overly styled at all.

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

My goal with food is to make it with love, from my heart, and then put it in surroundings that make it look so much more enticing. So I thought about Mowie’s offer and was tempted to kindly turn him down… But then I thought, “Hey, I love to style tabletops and I adore entertaining, and I do know how to create a good mood around food… So perhaps there’s my angle for a story in a food magazine”. And so, with shaky knees, I pitched to Mowie an alternate idea and since I know Mowie loves pink, I tried to make it as close to his aesthetic as possible without compromising my own. Ah, a story was born and he accepted my idea! You can find my story on pages 61-73!

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

I spent a day prop shopping (mostly in my own china cabinet), making things by hand, ironing linens, and then I went to work during day two to pull it all together and photograph it and now it’s in Mowie Kay’s beautiful premiere issue on computers everywhere – click here to view the entire magazine and to read my story beginning on page 61. I also give lots of tips in my story on how to make a tabletop come alive on a budget and I’ve included a luncheon playlist on page 73. I hope that you enjoy it. The tabletop was definitely a spin off from the one Leslie, Sania and I did for Liberty in London – for my table at home, I was able to use stuff I had already and channel some of that Liberty inspiration into it as well.

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

In the article, I mention my friend Anne Wendlandt (above on page 69), you can see more of her work on her blog since she’s not linked in the article (sorry, Anne).

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

There’s even a nice page in the magazine where Mowie interviewed me (that was fun!) and he is giving away 3 copies of Decorate, thanks to my London-based publisher, Jacqui Small. If you would like to win a copy of Decorate just comment on his blog HERE and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 copies. :)

My Work In Mowie Kay Magazine

Thank you Mowie for including me in your premiere issue and I wish you loads of success with your e-magazine!

(images: holly becker for mowie kay)

uncategorized

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

June 30, 2011

I’m not sure about how trendy this is in your part of the world, but realistic wallpaper seems to be a growing trend where I’m at so I thought I’d share a few with you and then give you 10 ideas as to what you can do with them if you decide to pick up a roll for your home. But first, what I mean by realistic wallpaper is wallpaper that looks like something but when you touch it, you realize that your eye was playing tricks on you! For instance, faux bois — these papers have many different looks and finishes along with wallpaper that looks like tile, leather, stone, concrete or brick. I’ll show you the wood varieties that I like, mostly the scrap wood variety, along with a few concrete versions and a tiled wall that isn’t really tiled at all. Surprise!

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

Photo: Frank Jensen for Piet Hein Eek

As I see these wallpapers emerging again and again in magazines and design shops and showing at fairs around Europe I am not sure exactly where I stand really. I find them oddly fascinating though because I remember a time when brick was coveted in Boston brownstones, everyone wanted a brick wall, but then the trend died and people opted to hide it by tossing up a wall. Same goes for concrete, everyone wanted a loft with concrete walls but then that trend sort of came and went. But now people want that tactile, earthy vibe in their home all over again. And though red brick walls didn’t come back in style, people are painting them white, gray or black and that seems to be a big trend now though once you paint brick, well, it’s impossible to change it back so make sure you are certain before slapping white paint on your brick walls if you happen to have them in your home.

Trends in interiors have started to lean towards casual, natural, relaxed, less fussy decorating than in times past when most US and UK magazines directed everyone towards a very proper looking, professionally designed, home. That changed in 2005 and continues to change as I type this. In my opinion, you always need guidelines in decorating, even loose ones, because even a home that appears to not have been fussed about, I can assure you, really was if it is beautiful and functional. Most people out there (not us bloggers and blog readers, we know the scoop) think rooms in books and magazines really look that in real life – in fact, I once thought that myself until I started working for magazines and now, having done a book on interiors myself, I can assure you that very few homes look exactly as they are shown in a photograph before the stylist and photographer showed up.

There is definitely an art in making a home look casual and non-fussed about, but it’s still work and talent and it’s still very much decorated because someone has to have a good eye to make it work. Basic design rules are followed to make that casual beauty shine regardless of how effortless it all appears. I think it’s freeing to know this because it’s easy to look at your own home with too critical of an eye as you wonder why you can’t toss a magazine on the arm of your sofa with a teacup on the side table and have it look effortlessly chic when you take a picture of it for your blog. Well, I’ll tell you why. The color of your sofa doesn’t complement the tea cup and the dainty tea cup doesn’t work with the modern lines of the table because the size is all wrong… and you forgot to put actual tea in the cup, so it looks staged, and the magazine on the arm needs to be looser, not so perfect, so fan out some of the pages… And the cushions need to be squished a bit, they look too crisp… See what I mean? There is a science behind it all, a sort of smoke and mirrors magic, and so those effortless looks that people try to promote as super attainable are attainable, sure, but are also done by skillful stylist who know how to make a room look effortlessly chic.

If you really want your home to look casual and chic, study images. Really STUDY them. Look at what is working in the photo. Count objects on shelves, normally you’ll find odd numbers vs. even ones. Notice on shelves how objects are not all lined up perfectly but often set at different levels to add dimension, some objects closer to the wall while others more towards the center of the shelf and a few near the edge. This could be a book in itself – there is so much practice and training involved. I suggest you clean off an entire bookcase, find a photo you love, and try to mimic how that bookcase was styled in your own home, piece by piece. It won’t look the same because you have different items and your books have different spine covers, but practice. Stand back. Pull away what doesn’t work. And most importantly, photograph it and look at it on your computer. See what doesn’t work – photographs reveal things your naked eye just can’t. This is why most interiors photographers and stylists shoot tethered these days – they can pick out the flaws in a photograph while styling it as they see it on the computer screen, not on the camera. We shot tethered for my book, it was the only way to get chair legs looking right and bed linens to appear smooth and inviting.

And so now back to this trend, to have rooms looking casually chic and absolutely amazing without any thought to decoration, floor plan or function. I’m all for it, I’m a very casual decorator myself. Though in reality, in your own home, it’s pretty hard to achieve without the house looking like a chaotic mess so don’t ditch the grid paper yet – sketch up floor plans, do mood boards, consider what you are doing to your room before you actually do it to avoid costly mistakes. And most of all, have fun and personalize as much as you can – paint furniture, line drawers with wallpaper, paint furniture legs in contrasting colors to surfaces, personalize and re-purpose as much as you can and definitely “shop” other rooms in your home, even storage rooms, for things that may work better elsewhere.

I imagine these wallpapers suit current trends in interiors because of how casual they appear — how effortless to have faux scrap wood on your walls vs. installing the real thing – I mean, this is anything but high end and fussy. And I like it, I think it’s cool and in the right home, can absolutely work. Faux surfaces are really hot at the moment if you aren’t lucky enough to have the real thing and this “realistic” wallpaper is definitely part of that faux movement. Check out some more photos and links below and see what your eye is attracted to (if any at all).

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

Shown above: Wall + Deco in Italy. I think these are my favorite two papers from the bunch shown in this post, though the neutral one from Studio Ditte is second runner up for me along with scrap wood from Piet Hein Eek.

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

Shown above: Faux Concrete Wall – Norway

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

Shown above: Studio Ditte in The Netherlands.

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

10 Ideas For Realistic Wallpapers

Shown above: Piet Hein Eek in The Netherlands (buy his scrapwood wallpaper collection here at Bodie & Fou.). I love these too, I saw them at DR Wonen in Amsterdam on Hartenstraat 27 over the weekend and really liked them in person, too. It’s a fun trend, I wouldn’t do an entire room but I can certainly see these working in a variety of settings used in different ways.

Now for some ideas for using “faux-paper” as I call what I’ve shown above. Put some thought into this, you may find some very clever ideas of your own!

1. Apply faux wood wallpaper to a slim piece of plywood and lean it against the wall as a room accent. You could even lean one on each side of the bed and mount a light to them, running the cord through the back. Or use one in a living room as a reading light. How cool would that be?

2. Use “wood” wallpaper and apply it to the back of a china cabinet so it peeks through your dishes.

3. Try the concrete papers as a backsplash in the kitchen behind the sink and stove, just beneath the cabinets and paint the rest of the kitchen in grey or black for an edgy, industrial vibe.

4. Take a simple wallpaper table or IKEA table and wallpaper the top of it in a concrete or scrap wood pattern, and apply a thin, durable sheet of glass to fit on top. Try this on a coffee table you no longer like, too.

5. Decoupage these papers onto furniture, stools, cabinets, doors.

6. Only use it “inside” of doorways, so paint a door bright yellow on both sides and then, inside of the door frame, paper it with scrap wood paper for an interesting contrast. I saw something like this in an amazing wallpaper ideas book years back by Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith that I loved and never forgot it, only they used a patterned paper but I think a scrap wood paper would be the coolest to try!

7. Apply a chair rail to the walls in a bathroom and paper the bottom in scrap wood and paint the top a solid color, like a neutral scrap wood paper for the bottom and then paint the top above the chair rail in a mushroom color, for instance. Would look gorgeous in a bathroom with a big white clawfoot tub.

8. Apply your favorite fauxpaper to wood or something durable that will take the paper without it peeling up, and then apply it to the wall over the sofa as a piece of art.

9. OR you can apply it to a big piece of plywood, maybe something long and slim like the size of a full length mirror, and apply it to the wall (horizontal), and then on it put your artwork or favorite photos, framed, to create a cohesive and pretty display for art.

10. Wallpaper the ceiling and paint the walls a solid color – how pretty would that be to have scrap wood on the ceiling and neutral color walls with a gorgeous pendant light in the center, like the Moooi Paper Chandelier (my favorite light in the world).

Other sources not shown: Nobilis from France and faux wood wallpaper inspiration in the U.S., on Design Press.

Do you have any creative ideas of your own to share? How would you use scrap wood wallpaper, concrete paper, tile paper, etc.? Are realistic wallpapers hot or not?

(images linked to their sources above.)

Top