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Inspiration Is Everywhere!

I recently came across the work of 27-year-old graphic designer and photography Julia Dávila in Madrid. Julia is so talented and I love how she finds inspiration everywhere – from her travels, on the streets where she lives and in the subtle way she uses flowers and other objects to tell a story in her home. Julia is a contact of mine on Flickr and I find her photographs quite transporting and so I asked her if I could share them with you today to inspire you.

I think it’s important to be on the look out for inspiration no matter where you are. The details are there, you just have to look for them and if you have a camera or even a camera phone, capture them somehow and see where those captures lead. Perhaps after seeing these photographs you will feel motivated to take more photos. I have to make a point of it more myself so today I plan to go out and grab a few bouquets from the farmers’ market for myself so that I can photograph them at home tomorrow. I’m dying to see what is selling at the market now that spring has sprung!

Julia told me that her source of inspiration comes from the changes in nature as the seasons unfold with new flowers and colors in the nature environment around her. She is also inspired by the many marvelous photographers out there who, “Capture the wonders of nature with great finesse,” and their work plays an important role in the progress of her own. Julia dreams to someday cover the walls of her home with her own photographs and also put flowers of all kinds on her walls (I must admit that sounds quite avant-garde and intriguing) as part of a beautiful installation to inspire her work further which instantly made me think of this photo showing tons of silk flowers in a dining area.

Beautiful!

(images: julia dávila)

Posted in inspiration on March 24, 2011

Get Organized With Manostiles Boxes

This weekend is my big Spring cleaning weekend and it’s funny but I can’t wait to get started! I’m ready to donate a bunch of clothes and buy some plants for my balcony and get my home ready for the season. Also, my goal for Spring is to get a better system in place when it comes to organization. Today I was in touch with Manostiles, a Danish company that designs home items, and found their boxes to be quite lovely and perfect for storage. The key to good organization is to have specific places for everything and if you are using boxes like these, to have a good labeling system so you know what is inside of them. I have a few boxes similar to what you see below that are covered in Indian prints and I think Leslie and some others online have similar boxes too — I’ve seen them around the web in mostly people’s home offices, so they seem to be a storage solution that many enjoy. I guess it’s hard to resist pretty boxes with things tucked inside!

If you would like to order these great boxes, you can purchase them online at Cahetu, they ship worldwide and I imagine rates would be okay since these boxes are very lightweight and many can fit inside of other ones… Manostiles will begin selling them on their website in April if you want to order directly from them.

I personally love the magazine holders and the clear shoe storage boxes that could store anything really. I particularly like seeing the clear ones stacked in a work room or above, as shown by a bed doubling as a bedside table which is clever and budget-friendly. But back to those magazine files, I can never get enough of gorgeous magazines and since I refer back to them so frequently, having them tucked away in pretty holders nearby my desk is practical and inspiring. I love to be surrounded by things that spark my creativity!

(images: manostiles)

Posted in shopping on March 24, 2011

Corners of Home: From Bosnia With Love

What do you think about when you imagine how people are decorating in Sarajevo, Bosnia? Perhaps photographs of this gorgeous apartment in Sarajevo with decoration inspired by the city may give you a fresh impression. This apartment belongs to blogger Sabina Cudic who says, “This corner of the world has not been covered (in the world of decorating) and I hope this little submission serves to change that.” Yes, it will! In addition to her blog, Sabina teaches Political Science and International Relations at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. She is also an avid former competitive debater, is passionate about photography, fashion, interior decorating and of course politics and international affairs.

I asked Sabina about the design scene in Bosnia and she wrote such a great reply that I didn’t want to water it down by revising it or turning it into my own words so I’ll let you read her reply. It’s fascinating!

About design in Bosnia: “Decorating resources in Bosnia are, as you can expect limited. There is not a single major/international furniture chain present (the closest IKEA is more than 400 kilometers away and majority of on-line shops shipping policies tend to avoid Bosnia), however I still wouldn’t consider it to be a deprivation – and would go as far as to argue that this type of “isolation” encourages organic creativity!” I have to agree with her on that point, having fewer options does lend to finding creative alternatives.

About her apartment: “My boyfriend and I purchased a 60m2 apartment several months ago and having spent our entire budget on basic renovations, we are left with nothing more than creativity for decorations. This means that we used mostly our old furniture which we upholstered in new (and I have to admit, very cheap and sold by kilogram) natural and neutral fabrics. I purchased the doted fabric which we used for chairs on a major sale at an IKEA in Germany, together with other couple of decorating details which I could “smuggle” back to Sarajevo. Stubbornly setting my mind onto something also means that I sometimes spend an entire flight back home holding a lamp shade in my lap, or a ceramic deer that I cannot live without. This also means that on more than one occasion I chose “luxury” over necessity, clearly indicated by the fact that we still do not own a TV or furnished bedroom (Bosnians are known for, here and there, acting on emotions and not reason.) But it also encapsulates my home decorating policy of ensuring that we are surrounded by things we love and cherish and that necessities will eventually take care of themselves.” I like that as I can relate — it’s better to decorate with what you love than to just buy something for the sake of filling a room.

Her decorating style: “The palette we chose for the apartment is neutral with decidedly white walls everywhere but in the bathroom which we cozied up with the shades of cream and gray and stone tiles. As the entire apartment is facing south and is on the eighth floor, we enjoy the enormous amount of sunlight and prefer serenity of whites, creams and natural wood, adorned with objects and pictures we collected over time, instead of explosion of colors.” To that I say, beige is not boring!

What makes Sarajevo special: “There are several aspects that make home decorating in Sarajevo a pleasant challenge: there is a great number of extremely talented artisans whose work is unfortunately severely undervalued. Beautiful carpets and rugs, fabrics and upholstering, as well as hand made furniture are among the cheapest and least discovered in Europe. For those with a curious, patient and creative mind Sarajevo can be a heaven.”

Where do you shop for the home in Bosnia?“There are several shops and artists whose work I would highly recommend: A nearly hundred year old family business called Rukotvorine from a small town of Konjic in Hercegovina and Artisan from an even smaller town of Tesanj. Rukotvorine’s work is rooted in Bosnian tradition – it’s sideboard called the Wave is poetry and needs to be felt by hand to be fully appreciated. Artisan is more influenced by the Dutch and Danish schools of design, and offers equally beautiful, Bosnian solid wood hand made pieces. There are of course plenty of other artist and designers whose work unfortunately cannot be found online.” It sounds like there are many untapped treasures there…

Why does Sarajevo inspire you? For those with a less ambitious budget several antique stores offer a variety with an occasional true gem in a form of a beautiful carved wooden storage boxes, mid century pieces or glass kitchen cabinets. Naturally, peaking into elderly neighbors’ apartments can be equally exciting and a habit that Bosnians with their laid back neighborhood relations do not mind. This leads me to the ways in which this city inspires my decorating – Sarajevo is a place where friends and family knock on your door unannounced and the interiors often reflect that. Comfort, gracefulness, surrounding ourselves with people and objects that mean something to us and unpretentious entertaining is what inspires me in decorating and making sure that there is always an extra pillow and a blanket. Considering that my boyfriend is from Kosovo, I look forward to incorporating those cultural influences in our home. Having lived in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany I can also trace those aesthetics in my decoration daydreaming. So if and when in Sarajevo decor8 readers should feel free to wave and stop by, and perhaps we can give you a little tour!” Oh, how sweet you are, Sabina!

I don’t know about you dear readers, but I took so much away from this interview, but mainly the value of using what you have and appreciating what makes a house a home – family, friends and meaningful objects with meaning. Thank you Sabina for visiting us today!

(images: Sabina Cudic)

Posted in Decorating Tips, Home Tours on March 24, 2011

Budget Bedroom in Fresh Green and White

Love green and white? Need bedroom decorating inspiration? Looking to give your sleeping quarters a spring makeover? I have a great budget bedroom to share with you today that decor8 reader Marlise Kast-Myers wants to share with you. She wrote in from San Diego to tell me about her recent decorating project — her five bedroom home! When you think about decorating such a large space, you instantly imagine investing thousands of dollars and going wayyyy outside of your budget, don’t you? Think again…

Marlise was determined to stay within budget so she was smart about it — she did a lot of her own work alongside her husband, graphic designer Benjamin Myers. Together, they installed floors from Lumber Liquidators, made their own light fixtures, Benjamin made the framed art and the work above the bed. They also handcrafted their bed frame and headboard and sourced for furniture at antique/vintage shops and craigslist. For a personal touch, because every room decorated from scratch needs a few items that connect you with cherish people or memories, Marlise incorporated a special trunk given to her by her parents to serve as both functional and beautiful storage. The entire renovation of their five-bedroom home was under $4,000 and their bedroom was less than half of that!

Going for a vintage modern vibe, Marlise explains her jumping off point for her bedroom, “Our inspiration came from the boutique hotels we have visited around the world. Ben is naturally artistic so sometimes it is difficult for me to see his vision until it all comes together. I sort of go along for the ride! He loves the clean fresh look of white with only a splash of one other soft color so we tried to keep the room somewhat minimal so that the design could speak for itself.” It’s not surprise that Marlise has stayed in a lot of hotels — she has co-authored several travel books including many Fodor’s guides!

One her favorite pieces in the room is the mint green metal steamer trunk that carried her grandparent’s belongings when they migrated from Africa to the United States, you can see a peek of it above. I love the patina. The antique tiered dresser is gorgeous too and I like how they cleverly used vintage printing press drawers as statement art over their bed. Her husband is a fan of green so he opted to paint some of the squares in the drawers in green to tie in with the trunk. An old metal fan, other shabby worn trunks with handwriting on them in black ink, sheep skins from IKEA, candles, and soft flowing drapes give the room a warm, tactile feeling. The various tones of white that are used range from pure white to cream so the room is not at all stark but warm and inviting. This budget bedroom looks lovely and proves that you don’t have to sacrifice style to stay within your budget. Beautiful!

(Images: dna wylie photography)

Posted in bedroom on March 22, 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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