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Shop Tour & Interview with Shelter 7

Hi again! Next, I want to share this incredible homewares shop called Shelter 7 that I found through Tara Pearce, a brilliant photographer who wrote in earlier this week about Shelter 7, since she recently shot it and hoped I’d be open to sharing it on decor8. Of course, I said YES!

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Styled by Sami Johnson, this shop shoot came out so nice! I thought though that I’d go above and beyond sharing her amazing visuals and so I made contact with the shop owners to learn more about who they are and what they do. I’ve included my interview the Shelter 7 founders, husband and wife team Rebecca and Terry Meyer, below.

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For a jumbo-sized view of the above image, click here.

First of all, where are you located?
S7: We’re at 131 Ryrie Street, Geelong, Victoria Australia

How did you come up with the name Shelter 7?
S7: The name took a long time to come up with. We wanted an original name to capture the essence of where we live, so we went back to basics and came up with Shelter 7.

Can you tell us about your shop – the inspiration behind it?
S7: The shop is very much an extensions of mine and my husband’s love of unique and inspirational pieces. A combination of travel and vintage pieces sourced across the globe and some unique and very clever Australian designers.

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For a jumbo-sized view of the above image, click here.

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Describe your style in a few words:
S7: A combination of old, new, unique and well designed.

What are some popular brands in your shop?
S7: Pony Rider, Kip & Co, and La De Dah Kids for children’s toys.

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For a jumbo-sized view of the above image, click here.

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For a jumbo-sized view of the above image, click here.

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Tell us about La De Dah Kids because I heard that this is also your company. What do you design?
S7: La De Dah Kids is our toy and kids accessories brand and our own unique designs. We design two ranges a year with the aim to design quirky and unusual pieces, with an ever-present emphasis on both affordability and quality. For our niche product range, we use old school making techniques such as knitting and crocheting. Our products are all made from the finest 100% cotton yarn and produced ethically in the comfort of our producers homes enabling them to work around their family needs such as child care etc. Our La De Dah Kids products are not only our own unique designs but are also made with love. They are tailored towards both children and the child at heart, lovers of the quirky and unusual, and anyone who reaches out to the amazing world with imagination, wonder and creativity.

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The bicycle print over the stairs – can you tell us more about that?
S7: This is created by Australian designers Pony Rider. They create versatile and inspiring pieces that look great thrown across your sofa, bed or hung as an artwork in the home.

Can you tell us about the shop space – it looks old and interesting. Did you have to renovate?
S7: The space had amazing light – but needed a huge amount of work to bring it back to life. It previously had been a costume shop for about 10 years. After a long 3 months of renovating and many late nights we found that we had uncovered the beauty and old character of the building. This gave our collection of sourced products the perfect home.

What challenges do you face as a shop owner?
S7: The work life balance is a big one and something that we have to constantly reassess.

How?
S7: We know that whilst the business is in it infantile stages this is difficult to overcome. So being aware of these problems and planning ahead the best we can.

What advice to do you have for others who want to launch a shop, whether online or brick and mortar?
S7: Ensure that you have a strong product line and strong and unique imagery that sets you apart from all your competitors.

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Can you tell us more about the candles with the rifles on them? I want one!
S7: These are amazing aren’t they? This is a beautiful boutique brand in Sydney called Pigeon and Weasel. Their Triple scented soy wax candles are hand poured here in Australia into recycled glass beer bottles that the two co-founders collect from there local drinking hole. The scents are beautiful.

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Can you tell us about the textiles on the hooks and the pillows? I’m in love!
S7: These are created by the very talented local Australian girls Kip & Co. They make the most beautiful bedlinen, towels and now rugs. Their designs are very unique and inspired by unique, wild, and brave art and nature, soaked up on their backpacking adventures around the globe.

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Who makes the big pillow shown above?
S7: Again this is another of the lovely Pony Riders designs. These cushions are perfect for lazing around on a slow sunday afternoon.

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Where do you source products for your store?
S7: We source products all over — from local designers here in Australia. We produce our own kids range and next year we will launch our adults line of homewares under the Shelter 7 brand.

Where do you go online for inspiration?
S7: Pinterest, photographers and decorating blogs are my biggest inspiration for the home.

Do you find blogs helpful in promoting your work and shop and if so, why?
S7: Blogs are very helpful in promoting our work on a global platform and also for finding shops. I know before I go on holidays I often research my favourite blogs for the “go-to” places and bloggers definitely do a great job of keeping us up to date on new and interesting places to visit.

Thank you so much, especially for sharing your gorgous shop and tips on new and inspiring products, with us today. Have a great weekend!

(images: tara pearce with permission)

Posted in interviews, Shop Tours on November 08, 2013

Blog Tip: About Page Photo Idea

I have a blogging tip that I think may help those of you looking to pretty up your About page on your blog while also keeping things comfortable from a privacy perspective. I am currently immersed in teaching my online class, Blogging Your Way, and my students are keeping me on my toes for sure! It’s amazing to me how C R E A T I V E my brain becomes when I’m surrounded by curious students – their questions challenge me and for this I am grateful. It’s so easy once you been doing something like blogging professionally for 8 years to stick with what you know.

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For instance, one student recently asked about online privacy. She wants people to see what she looks like but isn’t entirely comfortable posting her photo on her blogs’ About Page (bio). I totally get it. You may want to grow your readership and you know to do this, readers enjoy seeing you in some form – even if you’re not looking straight into the camera, because it helps build trust and credibility online. So, how do you maintain a bit of anonymity while still fostering an environment of trust if you’re going to show your photo – doesn’t that sorta blow it? One way, as I explained to her, is to work with an illustrator to create a fun sketch to show who you are without filling in all of the details. It could be watercolor, pencil, whatever… As long as it matches your blog template and overall vision. You are still sharing your identity but also, in a way, you’re not. And that can feel really good for some people and I respect that.

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These examples are illustrations that are both affordable and not super-detailed that I think could work, by Todd Borka. Based in Lyon, France, he creates the sweetest custom portraits and ships worldwide so you can frame them, etc but also you can talk to him about obtaining a small digital file that you can use on your blog. In his Etsy shop, you can see the images each of his illos are based on which I also liked and helped me to see that though they are close matches, they’re not identical so most likely, your blog cover wouldn’t be blown since an illustrated version of you is not the same as the real deal.

What do you think, do you like this blog tip? Have you already done something similar that you’d like to share? If so, leave the link to your About page in the comments section so everyone can have a peek.

Happy Friday!

(images todd borka)

Posted in blogs on November 08, 2013

Meet Stylist + Author Emily Chalmers

Hello friends! Today I have a special interview with London-based stylist and author Emily Chalmers. But first, I hope that your day is going well for you. We just signed on our new apartment about an hour ago and the renovations begin next week (already!), so I’m living fast and crazy at the moment. The baby is doing so well too – I’ve entered my third trimester and my 29th week begins on Monday. I heard his heart beat again today at my appointment and he’s kicking as I type this, so he’s a feisty and strong little fellow. Pregnancy feels fun (finally) and though I still deal with nausea, I’m over the hard part so I’m living more normally again. Yay for that! Ok, so let’s get started shall we? Let’s meet Emily Chalmers!

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I recently had a friendly little convo with London-based stylist, shop owner and book author, Emily Chalmers and you are invited to listen in below. Her books and life in general are so interesting to me, and she became a first time mom not too long ago and this made me want to chat with her even more – to see how she’s managing everything! Since she had her baby, she’s been traveling with her little bundle to some really inspiring places like Japan, so I wanted to tap in to her energetic and bohemian mother goddess self. I still feel quite clueless about the road ahead with my baby due and so many people tell me that you have no life once you have kids but I want to think that I still can have my own identity so chatting with women like Emily make me feel very positive and encouraged! Let us begin…

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Hi Emily! Okay, so you recently moved – where are you living in London these days?

Emily: We’ve lived in the same area of London for years now – we love the East End! After 8 1/2 happy years in an old warehouse space in central Shoreditch we’re now just 3 years in to a “proper” house (with internal walls and central heating this time!) very near Columbia Road area, a few minutes walk from the old place. I love this spot – we have parks and a city farm near by, the canal’s not far away, and excellent transport links to anywhere else we might want to go. We’re also under a minute away from the vibrant market that takes place every Sunday on Columbia Road itself. Live music, good food, bric-a-brac and masses and masses of fresh flowers and plants. What a treat!

You also closed up shop but I understand you reopened it at home or? And how are your running it, by appointment only?
Emily: In the year following our house move I was due to move the Caravan shop premises as our lease had come to an end on Redchurch Street and the building was due for extensive renovation. I’d known this was coming up, of course, and had kept an eye out in the locality. Coincidentally I’d seen an available space very near our future new home and for some reason I kept going back to it – it was smaller than the previous shop and in a very different sort of location, tucked away under a block of flats in a much quieter area on the outskirts of Shoreditch and very near Columbia Road. We’d only been in our new home for a few months when I discovered I was expecting a baby. Suddenly everything fell into place and the premises around the corner became the perfect spot for Caravan! That Spring I secured Caravan’s next home – it hadn’t been used as a shop for a long time and with the help of a trusty builder we stripped it out and created a light and airy simple open space to make room for the 3 floors-worth of bits I’d managed to accumulate at Redchurch Street. I spent the following months editing stock and turning my attention to our online store. Baby Bunty arrived that winter and I then gradually built up a shop floor again whilst getting to grips with my new life as a mother too.

How is shop ownership with a toddler working out?
Emily: It’s been an interesting time, Bunty has moved from pram to playpen to playhouse in the shop next to me each day and it’s an extension of home to her now. We’re only a few steps away from our front door and always going back and forth, a good server system and a trusty laptop allows me to work from any location – it’s this flexibility that has allowed me to enjoy my time with the baby while keeping the business running. Customers visited by appointment while I was working out of the new space piled floor to ceiling with boxes. Even though we’re more organised now, this system still works best as I can remain hands-on in every aspect of the business and we can plan around Bunty’s schedule too. Seeing customers by appointment also adds a far more personal touch – it’s like having a visitor every time someone pops by and means I can be prepared for them.

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What kinds of things do you sell?
Emily: The Caravan inventory has always been a mixed bag! We sell mainly home decoration, cushions, candle holders, wall sconces, mirrors, lighting, etc. alongside eclectic and unusual ornaments and gifts, such as little knitted dogs, baby shoes and tea towels. We also offer a few pieces of jewellery and some very lovely gold and silver leather clogs, so there are things to wear too. Our signature pieces are our vintage fabric covered cushions, vintage silk scarf drapes and a beautiful pineapple wall sconce that is produced especially for the store.

You still have an online shop, are you running that mostly full-time now?
Emily: The online shop continues 24/7 and is an area of the business that fits in very well with family life. I can pack parcels any time of the day and night – and often do! I am an established interiors author and stylist and I’ve always continued to produce features for magazines alongside running the shop. When I was fitting out the shop floor I made sure everything can be moved easily – I’ve kept the space very flexible too so that we can shoot there and work on other projects.

What are some current decorating trends that you’ve spotted in London lately?

Emily: We are surrounded by decorating trends here in London, especially in the area I live. There seem to be so many trends around – it’s lovely to see that everything goes nowadays. What I have noticed is that everything seems very much more considered than it did a few years ago. It’s as if people are just more aware of interiors generally. I’ve always been a fan of a more eclectic bohemian approach and this is definitely still a strong look generally.

What other things are you involved in – do you do styling jobs on the side or is your daughter and shop enough at the moment?
Emily: I do manage the odd styling job on the side and it tends to be in my shop or home. Bunty and Caravan are probably enough to be getting on with, but much of what I do crosses over, so it all works out somehow.

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You are a new mom, how old is your daughter and what has motherhood taught you?
Emily: Bunty will be 2 years old next month. In a strange way, time has flown by but I’ve also managed to savour every moment. Ooooh, motherhood has taught me so much – I don’t even know where to begin with this question! Motherhood has helped me appreciate my life more too, it has helped me to simplify things and concentrate on what works best for me at this point in time. It is full of challenges and then, of course, of achievements. I love it!

Do you think that having a child changes a woman, and if so, how has it changed you?
Emily: Yes, I do think having a child can change a woman. Perhaps not every woman though, it depends on how you approach it. Like everything in life! I’m not sure how it has changed me but it has certainly developed me.

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Have you noticed whether or not your daughter has a creative knack yet like you do and if so, in what ways?
Emily: Children are incredibly imaginative. I see this in Bunty and it’s a joy to nurture that quality and create a safe and secure environment so you can stand back, give enough space, and allow it to grow. Seeing Bunty setting out her little tea set in her playhouse in the shop is wonderful! The other day she gathered up three crows (we sell ornamental crow figures at Caravan), set them down in a neat row and put little pots in front of them and then said “crows having water” – I thought that was particularly creative seeing as she’s not even been on this earth for 2 years yet!

You author a few of my most precious and beloved books – you have really inspired me over the years. Do you have plans to do more books?
Emily: What a wonderful thing to say, thank you Holly, to hear my books have inspired is the highest compliment. I will definitely be doing more books in the future and I should imagine they will always be decorating related in some way – that’s my raison d’être!

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What do you love about living in London and where are your favorite, inspirational haunts from cafes to shopping?
Emily:
I love living in London – I love the spirit and vibrancy here and how you can find whatever you need or want, somewhere. I love the cultural mix and the creative energy, the fact that new things pop up all the time, alongside the good established, old things. I love the shopping opportunities and most of all the markets – there are many around London but those in my home area never cease to keep me interested and inspired – Brick Lane, Columbia Road, Spitalfields Antiques Market, Broadway Market and so on. There are some great cafes around – my local favourites have to include the Towpath Cafe on the Regents Canal and a new local favourite is Stories on Broadway Market where they won my heart by giving Bunty her own tiny fruit shake in a little milk bottle with a straw, when I’d only ordered one for myself and was planning to share it. It’s the extra thoughtful touches like that that make a place more special.

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And finally, tell us where you go online for inspiration – who do you read, where do you shop for things, etc.?
Emily: I go online for inspiration far less than I’d like to say I do. I’m surrounded by inspiration in my busy day-to-day life so any extra found digitally is always a treat! Having Bunty has allowed me to discover the wealth of and occasionally dip into beautiful online shops for children. I also enjoy finding things on eBay for her. What I tend to do is miss the daily reads and instead I catch up with favourite blogs from time to time. Running a business around a little one means more often than not I spend my evenings working though occasionally I’ll plan an early night and will find time to have a proper blog surf, going from one to another, catching up on what you’ve been up to at decor8 and pouring over sites like Etsy too. What joy!

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Some of my favorite things from Emily’s online shop are shown above: 1. LouLou 2. Trunk jug set 3. Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers 4. Metal storage box 5. Ceramic container 6. Gold beakers 7. Ceramic bell lamp 8. Poodle lamp.

Thank you Emily for sharing your world with decor8 readers, it’s a pleasure to meet with you!

(Top 4 photos: Debi Treloar, all others: Emily Chalmers)

Posted in interviews on November 07, 2013

Lowe’s Deck The Halls – With Bloggers!

Hello decor8 readers, it’s Jessica Senti, Holly’s assistant. I’m visiting to tell you about an event that I attended on Holly’s behalf called, Lowe’s Deck The Halls and Walls and All. Lowe’s brought together 7 talented bloggers, who used items you can find at your local Lowe’s, to turn a Manhattan loft into a Holiday home complete with all the trimmings. They also brought in Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins. Holly couldn’t be a part since she’s pregnant and in her third trimester already, so she sent me instead to act as a roving reporter – and it was a lot of fun! Lowe’s was great to work with!

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The front entry and yard was put together by Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom. She said she was inspired by Scandinavian design. The front door was painted a bright red, which was really fun against the white exterior and black trim. All of the lights she used were clear and she embellished many of the store bought items to spruce them up a little bit. The wreath on the front door was just a simple wreath with lights that she added leaves and a burlap ribbon to. It was stunning up against the bright red door.

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In the yard, Gabrielle used great natural-looking trees and animals. Then she styled a cute little bench with pillows and a fur blanket. Probably my favorite detail was the trio of Hunter boots that she had filled with little beautifully wrapped presents. It was inspired by a European tradition I hadn’t heard of where they fill shoes instead of stockings Christmas morning. Holly said in Germany this is common around St. Nicholas’ Day which is celebrated in early December around the 5th or the 6th. Such a cute idea if you don’t have a fireplace or even if you do!

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The foyer was bursting with DIY inspiration! Jenny Komenda from the Little Green Notebook pulled out all the stops. This space had so many lovely details. When you walked into the room your eye was immediately drawn to three oval mirrors that she framed with a mixture of different metallic Christmas ornaments. On the credenza under the mirrors there was a pair of lamps that were filled with small nutcrackers that she painted a minty teal color. She then styled the rest with a variety of store-bought little trees and a couple of bouquets of flowers, which added a nice organic touch. On an entry table she had another beautiful bouquet of flowers and a mixture of silver trays used to display holiday cards. She also tied in another nutcracker that was painted all white. I loved the way she styled the wall the front door was on. She had two white trees on each side of the door adorned with ornaments that were dipped in paint to create and ombre Christmas tree. She said she used a paint chip to select several colors from the same palette. Then she took a mixture of different white glass ornaments and dipped them in the paint creating the dark to light ombre effect. I absolutely loved this! It made such a big impact on the space. Another cute little detail were the four framed silhouettes with santa hats that surrounded the door.

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When you walked through the foyer you landed in the kitchen, put together by Brit Morin from Brit Co. The first thing you saw was the brightly lit Cheers marquee she created using cardboard letters and a string of globe Christmas lights. Something I really enjoyed about her design was the use of everyday red objects. She brought out items that you might usually have tucked away to style the space, like red pots and pans, canisters, mixing bowls, etc. It was a nice way to show that you don’t necessarily have to run out and buy a bunch of stuff to decorate for the holidays. I also really liked her use of various tapes. She had a band of washi tape running along the edge of the counter top and used white duct tape to create candy cane legs on the chairs. On the counter she filled snowflake nesting bowls with various holiday candies and a large gold bowl with ornaments. She also styled all of the space above the cabinets.

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Next to the kitchen was the dining room designed by Brittni Mehlhoff and Gabriel Cabrera from Curbly. Their space was styled in fall harvest colors, and this space, like the exterior of the house, was also inspired by Scandinavian design. The table was a simple white farm table, and they used a mixture of chairs and a bench for seating. The main wall was painted black and they added DIY wood boxes to the buffet to create an interesting focal point. The boxes were a variety of sizes and were painted all white except for the backs, which were painted in a palette of harvest colors. They used a lot of natural elements to style the space. The votive holders were made out of birch logs, and succulent pots were made out of pvc pipe pieces that were painted to match the room. They also had pumpkins scattered throughout the space. The table was set with simple white dishes with black bands, and coffee mugs were used as vases for the table arrangements.

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Next up was the living room which was designed by Erica Domesek the author of the PS I Made This books. She is such a bubbly happy girl, and you really felt this throughout her space. She painted the walls a deep cobalt blue and created inlays with molding that she covered with wallpaper. She then used this space to hang all of the art. She used a lot of metallic accents throughout the space, which always make a person think of the holidays. Some of the details that really stuck out to me in this space were the DIY silver and gold painted nutcrackers, the chalkboard paint used inside the fireplace with chalk flames, and the giant scissors she used as a topper on the tree. I also really loved the pom trim she used to spruce up these everyday curtains.

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Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

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The two final rooms, the guest bathroom and bedroom, where put together by Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day. The bathroom was really classic and simple. Jordan styled the space in the same manner and it was perfect. She used a simple white vase filled with red berry branches on top of the toilet, and then she draped a red bead garland around the mirror. The red was such a lovely pop in the all white space. She also had some great ideas for organization in this space, making everyday objects and supplies part of the decor. In the bedroom, she used black chalkboard paint on all of the walls. Again, she kept it really simple with the styling using the same berry branches beside the bed and beaded garland on the shelf. She also put some red candy canes in a cloche on the shelf, which was a really cute little touch, and a vase of white flowers that really popped off the black wall. Probably the most eye catching element in the room was the Happy Holidays chalk drawing on the large wall. It made for the perfect art above a mixture of gorgeous plants, which are a nice way to bring a little life to a room in the middle of the cold winter.

With all of this amazing holiday inspiration, I can’t wait to get started transforming my home. Hopefully this inspired you all to do the same! Thank you Holly for giving me this opportunity and for having me on today!

So readers, which space do you like and why?

(images: Patrick Schneider for Lowe’s)

Posted in Decorating Tips on November 07, 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!