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Corners of My Home

I was thinking about what to blog today and all of a sudden I thought that perhaps you’d be interested in seeing a few of my favorite things that are in my work room and living room, which are two rooms near to one another, in my home. I love seeing the details in the spaces of others and know that you do to so perhaps you want to see a little glimpse into my life. These were not styled or shot very well as the lighting in here is rubbish with a storm brewing outside, but they are a genuine reflection of how I live and so I hope that you like them.

Corners of my home

Okay so first, remember this post about looking for storage? Well, after posting that I decided to just buy the dream cabinet that I really wanted instead of settling on something that I didn’t want only because it was a few hundred dollars cheaper. In the end, I’ll end up selling or replacing the one I don’t love so it will cost me more long term so I decided to buy a piece that I will have for the rest of my life. I contacted Lys Vintage and to my surprise, they still had the vintage cabinet from France in the lovely grey-brown that I like so much and even better news – they had a driver who could deliver it the next day. Talk about good timing.

Corners of my home

Corners of my home

Corners of my home

Corners of my home

When I got it home, I put lots of our favorite things in it that my husband and I collected over time. I asked him if I could use some of his antiques to display and he was very willing to share his prized collections, including many antique books – some handwritten dating back to the early 1600’s in which he is very fond. I love all of his collections, combined with mine, and that I have some temporary space for some of my favorite design books. I’ll move my design books into a larger cabinet with all the others still boxed up, but for now at least I have access to the best of the best.

Corners of my home

The first door that you see tilted out slightly is a door and a window leading to the balcony. The other double door leads to a second room as large as this one but I’ve shut the doors because I don’t want you to see the boxes that lurk there. I’m still furnishing my home, it’s taking me forever, but at least I have some corners of my home together while I decide on what to fill all of this space with.

Corners of my home

I wish I could say I cleaned up for your visit today, but I didn’t. I have magazine files on the floor from a project I was working on and on the table, stacks and stacks again of paperwork and things. This room doubles as my dining room currently but we usually eat in here when we have guests, otherwise we eat in our other dining room. Yes, we have three places to eat in our home – a kitchen table in the kitchen, a dining area outside of the kitchen in our very wide hallway and then this room which is a formal dining room. I have to make roman blinds for this room shown above, and get a pendant for over the table, and get some new chairs… but you know, it is what it is and I’m not making excuses for it. I like my home. My windows are not as dirty as they look by the way, though our window cleaning guy is coming over on Monday (thankfully) so they’ll be crystal clear soon enough. :)

Corners of my home
Stacks of magazines and stacks of Japanese craft and interiors books… on an antique Swedish bench that I want to paint, I think I may paint the top a minty green and the legs a matte gray, and then do something else but that is a surprise. When I finish I will show you. My makeshift lighting is a vintage green glass jar from the flea market filled with odd bits because I’m quirky like that… and inside are some Christmas lights because I really like how they look at night.

Corners of my home

I showed you my first wintergarten in this post, here is my second one above. I did very little to it, I have plans… I’ll show you once I set those plans into motion. But for now, at least there is something in there so it doesn’t look lonely. I always try to put something in a room until I am able to do what I really want to do in there because at least I can enjoy it for now.

Corners of my home

I have lots of little stacks in my house – books and ceramics mostly – things that I’m obsessed with!

Corners of my home

Above is a piece of furniture from IKEA that I have in my work room – it’s going to have a facelift though as I’m bored with how it looks and I want to paint it and do something fun, including new “knobs” because the ropes are cute but I’m not in love with them as they are.

SO those are some imperfect corners of my home that I thought I’d share today. I love my home, I’m happy here and cannot wait to get it finished but as it is for now is okay with me until I can furnish it and do the curtains, etc. I can’t wait to show you more as I continue to work on things!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

 

Posted in Home Tours on May 26, 2011

An 1850’s Converted American Farmhouse

As an American living in Germany, I’ve noticed that the longer I’ve lived outside of my home country (it will be two years in August), the more American architecture stands out to me as being, well, really American. I finally “get” what my friends once said to me when they traveled to the states and swooned over every New England style farmhouse that they saw on the way from the airport to my converted circa 1875 carriage house in Hollis, New Hampshire where I lived. And I finally get exactly why they loved my little converted home set on a huge apple orchard complete with a backyard pond. It really was the quintessential New England home but at the time, it was just a cute little house where I lived – I didn’t see it as being so charming…

American Farmhouse

Truth is, New England villages with their farmhouses, carriage houses and dairy farms are quite gorgeous and very, very American and now that I’ve distanced myself from all of that I do see it as very charming, too.

Then you have the gorgeous farmhouses in New York, especially the as you drive north out of Manhattan and just keep going… the land gets greener and more beautiful with each mile. I’ll never forget the summers and winters that I once spent at my friends farmhouse in Granville, New York and also in another small town outside of Lake George, I cannot remember the name of at the moment, but it was so nice there. It’s such an amazing part of the country.

It’s funny, daily sightings become so mundane to us — even here as I am surrounded by gorgeous Jugenstil villas and some buildings that are hundreds of years old, I often forget how amazing the local architecture really is. I guess that’s why I want to share this 1850’s American farmhouse in Rhinebeck, NY submitted to me by photographer Emily Gilbert for Rue today. For one, I felt a wave of nostalgia for the American farmhouse the second I saw it and the second reason is because I know that so many Americans dream of living abroad, especially in Europe, but America has so many beautiful things that you’d eventually miss if you relocated elsewhere so I guess you really have to stop and smell the roses. There is so much beauty just around the corner… Take for example this lovely countryside gem…

If this house looks familiar to you, it’s in the current issue of Rue magazine though they gave me a bunch of extra shots to blog about (thanks, Rue!) because they ran out of space to cover the entire house. I’m so happy that they sent this farmhouse for me to publish on decor8 because I think it’s lovely and I really like all of the details inside from the tufted gray chaise to the Madeline Weinrib rug beneath the dining room table, the golden XO stencil detail on the wooden door layered behind the headboard, the adorable dog jumping in to many of the photos (what a little super model!), the painted minty-green legs on the table, the cocktail styling on the credenza complete with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire (a good stylist always uses one bottle of the blue stuff in a shot!) and the basket full of towels in the bathroom — I love the details and the stylist, Meagan Camp, did such a beautiful job in making this home feel cozy and casual.

About the home: This 160-year farmhouse has only had four families living in it – including the current Camp family — since it was built. The previous residents raised six children and, “were host to grand parties that have since become local legend,” says owner Lisa Camp. Lisa found the home in 1999 but sadly the home was near collapse as it had been inhabited, not by people for several years, but by raccoons, snakes and termites. Still, Lisa had vision and recognized it’s potential, especially since, “It reminded me of a house that I grew up in,” she explains. Since her husband, Rod, then living in California, left the house-hunting up to her, she chose the run down farmhouse and got to work. For eight months, the Camps and their three children had to live in the guesthouse on the property during construction but in the end, as you can see above in the gorgeous photos, it was worth the short term inconveniences.

What a lovely home! Do you spot any decorating details that you’d like to try at home?

(images: emily gilbert)

Posted in Home Tours on May 25, 2011

Rowen & Wren

I found out about this superb little online shop called Rowen & Wren that I know you’ll just love… there are pretty things for the home inside their virtual doors to enjoy and purchase. In addition to great finds, I really like how they style their items – they make you want them in your home which should be the goal of every online retailer… to make you want to shop!

Such sweet things… and styling. Things I would like to own: The button-backed chair, these candlesticks, this floor lamp, this mixed bulb pendant and two of these tables for my living room. I’m dying for some new end tables – I’m currently using one from my old vacation apartment that has a bit of a Moroccan vibe in white and another is a vintage table I found on the street that, while nice, isn’t nearly as big as I need it to be. I want my living room to be finished since I plan to have a big anniversary party at home in July for our 10th anniversary and currently my house isn’t where I want it to be for welcoming guests so I’m working hard on it!

(images: rowen & wren)

Posted in shopping on May 25, 2011

So, You Want To Write a Book? (+ book tour update)

Hello everyone! How are you doing today? I’m going to gush a bit first but then I want to talk to the dreamers out there who want to write a book. But first, this week has been awesome for me because I’m working with Chronicle Books on the Decorate Book Tour for the US and it’s all coming together now! I can’t believe they are sending me on a tour around the states so I’m going to visit as many places as I can in 10 days to meet lots of you! I’m traveling alone and feeling a bit shaky kneed about it but how many times in life does your publisher send you on a book tour!? So I’m going for it with a huge smile, my camera to record the entire adventure, and I can’t wait to meet you guys because it’s going to be so rad to hug so many that I’ve only tweeted and emailed up until now. I also plan to adopt some of you as dinner and lunch pals so I hope you don’t mind. After the official US book tour, I’ll return to the states to be a keynote speaker along with Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare at The Creative Connection in St. Paul on September 15th (come if you can!) and I’ll be doing a book signing there on the 16th as well so if you can’t catch me on my little book tour this summer then I’ll be back in September in St. Paul!

Gee lilacs are pretty

Once Chronicle has everything carved in stone (we’ve been working on this for months so it feels good to be nearly finished) I will announce the dates on decor8 and also on the Decorate Facebook fan page. And a huge by the way… I’d like to thank all of you for supporting Decorate, making it a Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2, and for keeping it in the #1 spot since it pre-ordered back in early March on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. I mean, hello! This is some kind of wonderful. I know my publishers are still shaking their heads as I think they knew the book would do well but not “sell-out” well, because it sold out in the US online and the reprints won’t arrive until the beginning of June. It’s also being reprinted in the UK. Insane, right?!?

Decorate #2: Wall Street Journal Bestseller List!

Decorate – A Wall Street Journal Bestseller at #2 – because of YOU.

So now for the dreamers in the house who want to write… Well first, you have been so supportive of me and as a result, I feel invigorated and so positive — you guys have shown the world that a blogger can go from “just” a blogger to a best selling author thanks to readers who truly care to make that possible. I was told by a friend once that a publisher told her that the readership a blog has wouldn’t translate to book sales. I’ve been told that bloggers who write books can fail miserably and that people who blog may not have the skill to author a book because blogging is so much different from “real” writing. While all of that can be true, I refused to believe it. After all, I’m the girl back in 2005 who was pitching story ideas to shelter magazines about blogging and had them turn me down flat saying, “Blogs will never amount to anything, don’t bother.”

Well it looks like all of us who are blogging, the little engines who could, are the big engines who DID. And that sorta rocks when you think about it. We as the blogging community are out there voicing our opinions, planning events, being invited to big time events, being seen in major publications and on television, getting book deals… I guess the saying is true that, “if you build it they will come.” It’s wonderful to have so much faith in something and to stick through it (in good and in bad times) only to see that the something you invested so much of your energy in actually paid off – and for me and so many of you who are blogging, all of the time and energy we’re spending building so many important connections has paid off – immensely.

 

8 Pages in Red magazine!!!8 Page Spread about me and Decorate in Red magazine, UK.

I’ve heard some publishers and so many others say discouraging things about bloggers who want to write a “real” book and about the collapsing publishing market in general, that it would have been easy to not bother pursuing my dream to be a published author. Despite the negativity I decided that I would do it anyway because brick walls aren’t always there to stop us but to see how badly we truly want something, right? Plus, I had this feeling in my heart that it was the right direction for me to take and that if I jumped, the net would appear – and that net was you, so my new saying is,

“Jump and then the interNET will appear.”

I believe that like never before. I want you to believe it too.

And the result of going for it… Well, I wrote a book – yes that’s true – but YOU did the most important part, you bought it, are still buying it, and are showing so much support that I wake up each day feeling luckier than the day before. love you guys, thank you for making this whole book thing so worthwhile for me. I’ve had hundreds of blogs write about the book (see here) and 5 star reviews online at various stores, Decorate is being talked about in huge publications from InStyle, Canadian House & Home, Good Housekeeping to Livingetc and and 8 page spread in Red magazine (shown above).

Another unexpected perk, since the end of last year my daily readership has swelled to over 45,000 unique visitors each day. I cannot believe how many people are finding me through word-of-mouth online thanks to all of you in addition to the help of my fabulous publishers Jacqui Small/Aurum Press, Chronicle Books and Murdoch Books for sharing my book in advance at the big fairs and book events in New York and London. I’m so happy to welcome new readers to decor8.

Decorate is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life, outside of getting married, so thank you all for giving me some pretty amazing moments and for accepting my gift to you who follow decor8 as loyally as you despite the billions of other things you have to see and do online these days. Decorate is a gift from me that you can hold and enjoy for years to come and since you’ve accepted it with such enthusiasm and support then I’m ready to not only go out there and meet you guys but I think I’ll continue to write and blog and think of even new things to get involved in to inspire and encourage you — because I love knowing that something I’ve done is out there making a difference, making you feel inspired and making you feel part of this community of design blogging because you are – we are all a part of it and it’s so, so special. I will forever remember this “blog era” as some of the best days of my life.

So in the end, I want you to believe in your dreams because sometimes good stuff can and does happen and you often have to just believe in your dream and act on it and see what results. Sure, it’s a risk but I believe that the greater risk is to not try at all and to never know if your dream could have come true.

What do you think?

I’ll be back in a moment with a gorgeous home with a country modern touch, so stay tuned..

[images: holly becker (top), wsj (middle), red magazine (bottom).]

Posted in Books + Magazines on May 25, 2011

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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