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My Dining/Work Room Progress

Okay so I’m decorating our new dining room at the moment as you may know- today, it will be painted in Farrow & Ball’s “Dimpse” (shown here) and I bought this vintage Moroccan rug from Pink Rug Co. (here), so I wanted to add a new pendant light to the mix with a very casual yet classy vibe. I also didn’t want anything weighty but light and airy… I currently have a white shade with a gold interior in this room but have decided to put that elsewhere so I needed a new, large pendant to replace it. After spending hours sourcing stuff, I kept coming back to the Z1 Cotton Lamp By Nelson Sepuvelda on the Bodie & Fou website. It was the only light that spoke to me that also spoke to my wallet so I just bought it from Karine Kong at Bodie & Fou. Here’s my new dining room light…

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And how it looks in an actual space… Not my space, but a space in general…

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And my quickie mood board which helped me to imagine how everything will work together with my current furniture… I’ve had the HAY table, HK Living white wooden cabinet and the 6 eames chairs with wooden legs for several years already…

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Click above image to enlarge

This redux means I only need to add the rug, wall color and pendant to the current mix and move two cabinets from another room into this one.  I want to bring in more black and gray through other elements and then, add in metallics, natural wood and some color depending on the artwork I end up installing here. I want it to be Nordic Feminine, a style term that is all my own (ha ha). I’m very excited to see how it will come together and to show you when it’s finished! I may paint the white cabinet, though I have another cabinet (not shown) that is white that Leslie and I painted the hardwood black and the doors chalkboard black for our book. I will drag it into the room to bring out the black in the rug into other parts of the room. I need to first move into the new space and see what ends up feeling like a good mix as I unpack and shuffle things around. It’s important to get a feeling for a space before decorating it!

Once the room is pulled together, I’ll share it with you on my blog! Which will most likely be in January after we move in. The move date is during the first week of January and the baby due date is January 25th so here’s hoping my energy levels work in my favor – eek!!!!

Are you doing anything new to your home at the moment?

(image: 1st image: En Ny Lampa, next 2: bodie and fou, all others linked to sources.)

Posted in Decorating Tips on November 28, 2013

Painting With Farrow & Ball

Hi everyone! Aside from rugs, I’ve been dreaming about pale gorgeous paint colors lately that let in and bounce around a ton of light. Yesterday, my Farrow & Ball order arrived and tomorrow, it will go up on some of the walls in my new place. I truly cannot wait. Here are the colors I’ve chosen for my dining room (which doubles as a teaching space when I hold classes), kitchen and our baby’s room. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with our hallway so if you have any paint suggestions I’d be tickled to learn more because it’s the one space in the new apartment that I can’t seem to envision. I have this vision of every other room except the hallway.

Okay so Dimpse (pale gray) will be the color of my dining room/teaching studio.

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Cabbage White (greenish) will go into the nursery…

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And Borrowed Light (blueish though it looks green below, I know) is the paint color I’m undecided on. I was going to put it in my kitchen but when I opened the can, it looked way more baby blue than gray blue so I’m frightened but I want to rebel a little anyway and just go for it! I imagine it will look great with white tiles and black accents along with our shiny white kitchen cabinets and natural wood countertops. I’ll test it tomorrow on the wall and let you know… My current kitchen is Elephant’s Breath and I love it but wanted to try something new this time.

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Now for the hallway. Here is a photo I snapped a few days ago… I plan to get a radiator cover for the heater.

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The painters told me to paint the hallway pure white, which is fine, though I wanted to wallpaper the left wall to give the hall something a bit unexpected, but they told me it will not look good and I didn’t feel like battling them because I wasn’t convinced myself. Then they suggested wallpapering one strip, painting one strip, wallpapering one strip, painting the other… So alternating between wallpaper and paint, and I stood there and thought, “What the huh!?”. No way. So only paint will go up on the walls because I don’t have time to order wallpaper since they need to paint it this weekend. I don’t think pure white is the answer here but I’m undecided… It tends to not be a very bright hallway, and I love light and joy in my home, so I’m thinking the color really needs to be uplifting, understated and give the hallway a little impact. I almost wonder if Borrowed Light should go in the hallway instead so it doesn’t go to waste if it’s not looking right in the kitchen…Or a lovely pale stone color… Hmmm.

We are installing industrial white pendants down the hallway that we already own and don’t plan to get rid of, and they’ll just disappear into the whiteness of the walls. Unless I spray paint them! The floors, by the way, will be new Acorn hardwood with a matte finish and be installed sometime in early December.

So much work, but so rewarding… I will keep sharing photos as we go along so you can follow our progress.

Hope my friends in America enjoy Turkey Day! I’ll be dreaming of being at my mom’s house for turkey and stuffing…

(photos: farrow & ball, bottom: holly becker)

Posted in Decorating Tips on November 27, 2013

How To Regain Creativity

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about inspiration and creativity and how to regain it. I’ve thought about the importance of refueling and recharging so we have something left to give. Not only to ourselves but to others. Especially to others. I’ve also been thinking about how we typically go about it. We surf the internet, pin on Pinterest, buy stuff, zone out on fluff television. But are those things really going to help or add any value to our life? Hmmm. What do you think?

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Growing up in the south, I heard lots of advice from friends, family and neighbors over the years. I remember being told often as a child, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back”. This is not just a biblical teaching but also happens to be a common belief in Buddhism and many other cultures have shared similar advice. No matter how religion seems to divide people these days, such very basic teachings often unite and are handed down from generation to generation. They hold so much truth and weight. I was thinking about this the other day, the idea of giving, because I haven’t felt that inspired in a few months. I had a really hard pregnancy the first 18-20 weeks which left me bed-ridden and sick all summer. It’s hard to feel anything when your body isn’t responding to food, a good film, a sunny day… I felt nailed to the bed. This really hurt my creativity. The world seemed to be passing me by as I stared at the bedroom ceiling and in a way, it was.

Which gets back to the thought on practicing a giving spirit. I’m currently teaching my online class about blogging, styling and photography, which began on November 1st. We have hundreds of students and a very vibrant, lovely classroom filled with eager students who work hard and want to blog their best. They want to inspire themselves and others just as much as the next blogger. I wondered, when I started teaching at the beginning of the month if I was biting off more than I could chew. I have so much going on in my life, I was feeling rather selfish. Like I just wanted to conserve my energy and withdraw and not bother teaching until next Spring. As emails kept rolling in asking me, “When is your next class, I’ve been waiting for you to announce the dates”, and “Holly you have to teach again, I need my Holly fix!”, my first thought was to take care of ME first and postpone until after the baby arrives. I didn’t want to give. I wanted to save my energy and even go out and find friends and family members who could give me some of their energy and encouragement.

But I didn’t.

I thought about each email that came in and though I felt exhausted, I pushed myself to just do it. You may say, “Of course you did it, you earn a living this way”, but honestly, that’s not entirely the motivation. I teach a few classes a year and can schedule them anytime I want. So whether I did this class in November or April wouldn’t matter financially. It’s the same money. What mattered was my intention.

I intended to stop feeling sorry for myself and to go teach.

That’s where the giving and receiving took place. This Friday ends the class and I feel like a completely different person than I did this time last month. My personality is back, my energy is back and I am ready to take on the world. I want to learn more about Photoshop, Lightroom and photography in general thanks to my students and co-teachers. They all became like medicine to me. They didn’t realize it, but by encouraging them by hosting the class and motivating myself to give, they in turn encouraged me and my cup became full once again. Reading through their comments in the forum, interacting with them through the materials, etc. put aside my feeling of being so self-absorbed and turned my direction to others. Giving. Receiving.

I know that lots of people suffer during periods when no creativity or joy seems to be found. Let me reassure you that there is hope during times when you have hit a creative rut and feel there’s nothing left in your heart to give.

Give what little you have. Give anyway.

Because what you give may seem so small to you but to the next person, it can be so great. And through this interaction alone, things change. Clouds part. Sunshine and light stream back in and before you know it, you are glowing, radiant.

And then you can decorate, work better than ever, whip up a beautiful meal, arrange a stunning bouquet and enjoy your life, your home, your job, your kids all over again. The veil lifts.

So when you feel like giving up, don’t.

Instead of giving up, just give.

Find someone who needs you and give.

How have you dealt with periods when you felt like your creativity was at an all time low? I’d love to know your tips!

(image: holly becker)

Posted in real talk on November 27, 2013

Wool On Canvas: Artwork by Jane Denton

I love unique artwork that isn’t on everyone else’s walls, don’t you? That’s why I’m so drawn to original works from artists and also those random vintage paintings found at flea markets – they really become your own. When I heard from Jane Denton recently, a textile artist and designer from New Zealand, I fell in love with her contemporary, colorful artwork which predominantly uses wool on canvas. It’s so happy!

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If you are interested in inquiring about her work, you can contact Jane directly or work with either Allium Interiors or Small Acorns. If you worry about shipping expenses, I’m sure she can send pieces unframed and flat packed for international post so then you simply need to have your lovely piece framed locally. Easy!

To learn more about Jane, you can read a fab interview on The Design Chaser here.

Such lovely and unique work! I particularly love seeing a grouping above a sofa – don’t you?

(Photos: Kirsty Gibson Photography)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on November 27, 2013

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.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!