Yearly Archives

2011

Decorating Tips, DIY

Renovating Done Right

January 21, 2011

I heard from reader Manfung Cheung yesterday who runs Dutch design blog Inrichting Huis in Rotterdam because he wanted to share with you the renovations that he and his partner Lydia La recently completed in their city apartment. They decided to buy their first home — a two level flat in an old mansion that desperately needed renovation and their personal touch.

Renovating Done Right

You can see all of their before photos here, which I think is a great way to begin this post — to see where they started because oftentimes we approach a big project and it can seem daunting and we wonder if it is really worth the effort or not.  Manfung and Lydia prove that a little elbow grease goes a long, long way. These photos are of their beautiful new space which is light and bright — a requirement for some who want to avoid winter blues and even depression in cities that are known to be rainy and gray, as Rotterdam doesn’t have the best weather — it’s not Hawaii!

Renovating Done Right

Renovating Done Right

Renovating Done Right

Renovating Done Right

Manfung knows that it is vital to live in a home that fully supports you and allows for personal growth — he calls it a, “necessary foundation for happiness and success in life”. Large amounts of money and tons of space are not required to be happy — that is a bonus — the only requirements to make a house YOUR home is to find inspiration, connect to resources, get creative, tap into your personal style and be motivated enough to get up and do something about it! Kick your own butt! ha ha!

What a great house – thank you Manfung for writing in and sharing your space with us, especially before the weekend as many jump on DIY projects over the weekend — your home inspired me to work on my own tomorrow after I go to the flea market. I particularly love your collections, your wood floors, that darling mini blue SMEG and the Never Grow Up poster.

So tell me, when you start a renovation project, or even a decorating project, what are some of your fears? What often stands in your way? If you have any projects that you’re putting off, why? Perhaps together we can inspire one another to get a move on like Manfung did. Maybe even Manfung can help you with some of your dilemmas, so please comment below.

(images: inrichting huis)






Inspiration

Louise Lemaire Photography

January 21, 2011

Do you want to see the photo that sent me down the rabbit hole dying to find more beauty like this from photographer Louise Lemaire?

Louise Lemaire Photography

Yes, you are right — that is lovely, especially for a kid’s room. When I was teaching in Morocco, I noticed that Leslie had it in her inspiration folder during the class I taught. It was pretty funny to see that image in her collage because right before I flew to Morocco I had pulled the same photo from an issue of VTWonen and posted it on my wall. There is sometimes this magic out there like that, don’t you agree? Where you find a particular thing quite inspirational and then you discover a dear friend was on the other side of the world (Leslie lives in Los Angeles) adoring the same thing. Gotta love kindred spirits.

Louise Lemaire Photography

Louise Lemaire Photography

Louise Lemaire Photography

Louise Lemaire Photography is a photo studio based in Amsterdam led by Louise Lemaire who shoots interiors, lifestyle, stills and food photography for a number of magazines like a favorite of mine, VTWonen. Few magazines inspire me lately because they all feel repetitive and ad heavy, but VTWonen is different because they show lots of fresh spreads that I’d not seen before and they don’t seem to buy in the same articles that are in the English language design magazines that I read from other countries so the images feel current and fit the aesthetic of their magazine so perfectly each and every time.

Louise Lemaire Photography

Louise also shot the home of talented Ingrid from Wood & Wool stool, the two images above are of lovely Ingrid. It hardly seems fair that she is so gorgeous and talented, does it? In addition to her beautiful crochet-covered wood stools, I wish she’d sell boots like the ones she wears! I would love a pair and the Dutch girls I meet seem to love their western cowgirl boots.

Oh Louise, your photos inspire me so much and if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I’m a big fan of your work and spend lots of money on magazines because of you! ha ha! I’m so honored to share your work on decor8 today!

(images: louise lemaire)






Inspiration

Stylist Tara Sloggett

January 20, 2011

I was reading the fresh new issue of Real Living earlier this week and bookmarked a home that I was particularly fond of owned by stylist Tara Sloggett. I did some digging online to see if Tara had a website and she does — and it’s lovely!

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Seems this talented lady gets around too, she has produced many beautiful lifestyle, food and interiors spreads for magazines and will no doubt continue to do many more as her work is quite good. You have to see the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Real Living magazine for photos of her home, I don’t feel comfortable scanning them in and showing you here, but here is her home somewhat unfurnished (it is also used as a location house) to whet your appetite. It is located in South Africa and has such charm.

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Stylist Tara Sloggett

Tara talks a little about her life and work on her gorgeous website, “New beginnings three years ago took me from London to Cape Town and now that the dust and the heart has settled I’m here to stay. Specialising in styling, art direction, prop sourcing and production for international and local editorial shoots and commercial clients, I’m lucky enough to do what I love, with amazing people, in a beautiful, inspirational country I’ve come to call home.”

Now that sounds like a happy lady doing what she loves!

P.S. If you live outside of Australia like me, you can still subscribe to the magazine. In fact, I order my subscription from Magshop and get my issues here in Germany before some of my Australian friends see it on the newsstand in Sydney! It is quite a speedy service and I highly recommend this magazine — managing editor Deborah Bibby does an outstanding job on each issue, I think that you would really enjoy it no matter where you live!

(images: tara sloggett)






Inspiration

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

January 19, 2011

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.

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

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.

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

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…

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

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!

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

Dreary Day Inspiration: How Do You Cope?

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

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






Books + Magazines

Murdoch Books To Publish Decorate in Australia!

January 19, 2011

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!

Murdoch Books To Publish Decorate in Australia!

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)






Handmade

Caroline Swift

January 19, 2011

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)






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