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Homes With Heart: Nordic Simplicity Meets Lighthearted Dutch Design

Hi guys! Would you like to see another home tour I’ve shot this month for decor8? It’s Holly Marder and I’m back with my Homes with Heart installment. Did you love last month’s black and white home? Well this time around, I have more Nordic interior inspiration, with a touch of colour dotted throughout. I hope you enjoy touring the home of Jessica Peters, the owner of the online interiors boutique DesignLemonade. Let’s go!

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After a long and tiring house hunt, Jessica Peters and her husband Olivier Tardieu fell in love with the historical appeal of their 92m2 Amsterdam home. Majestic, authentic door frames leading out to an elegant closed verandah with quaint window frames and original stained glass were some of the details that caught the couple’s eye, just enough for Peters to see through the uninspiring wall colour, lack of flooring and less than ideal kitchen and bathroom. “It was so basic that there was room to make it ours – and the moment I saw the house I thought, ‘this is perfect.’”

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The fine art black and white photograph perched on the fireplace is a personal favourite, displaying a set of open windows. “It feels as though it gives the room an open, airy quality. It is very hard to find authentic, easy, simple pieces to put on your walls, so I’m glad I found it,” she says.

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The couple began renovating the home in stages, starting with the kitchen. They wanted a live-in kitchen central to the main living area to bridge the living and work spaces. Offsetting their home’s historical architecture, they chose a sleek, minimalistic kitchen with plenty of storage in the centre island so that the walls would be free of cabinets and the space would remain open. Being a classic ‘Pijpenla’ home (which means a narrow drawer-like home typical to Amsterdam), the middle of the house is very dark but large windows infuse each end with light, so keeping the kitchen as sleek as possible was important to ensure the natural light in the space was not compromised.

“I wanted the kitchen to be a real piece of furniture in the living room. We chose an elegant design. Everything is very slender, which I feel corresponds with the stained glass, narrow window frames of the verandah, and the original details.”

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In the space of three months the couple changed the entire layout of their home to end up with the current design. In the initial layout, the bedroom was where the bathroom now is, and the kitchen is what is now the bathroom. Rethinking the layout and centralising the kitchen meant the couple had gained the space for a large family bathroom, which they realised three years into owning their home. “We were young and were on a very limited budget as I began studying shortly after we bought the house,” Peters says.

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Posted in Homes With Heart on March 29, 2014

Micro Trend: Creative Floors Combining Wood and Ceramic Tile

There is so much going on in the field of flooring! Hi this is Gudy and I’m here with another trend post for the month of March. Let’s talk about floors. I have seen beautiful ceramic tiles for floors that have become a highly valued option with the much seen white subway tiles, beehive or hex shapes and the herringbone pattern. If you are much more into a material that feels and looks cosy, you’ll probably go for parquet but for those who want to try something new, mixed flooring options such as ceramic tiles AND wood are really trendy now.

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Est Magazine | Paola Navone

I started seeing this material combo last year when Paola Navone’s residential project in Italy was published. Still until now there is no other space I have seen that beats it. The color and shape remind me of a sea of clouds where the wooden tiles are perfectly cut to fit into the ceramic pieces. The contrast of the warm wood and cooler colors chosen for the tiles is really working here.

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Here’s another look (above) shown over at 41zero42 in Italy that I love, it’s a beautiful look in a kitchen/dining space. What I like about this trend is you are defining your own style. Combining the two materials in a single room creates a customized look where you can work your design skills and get a unique look & feel. You decide on the shape, colors and pattern.

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Kitchens and bathrooms are ideal locations to combine hardwood and ceramic flooring because the materials are durable and easy to match to counters and cabinets. And it looks great!

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And then you have the ‘high traffic’ areas. Hallways and entryways receive traffic that can wear down natural hardwood floors over time. Plus, many times your wipe your (wet) shoes of in this area. It is not just a question of trend but a practical solution for certain areas in your home too.

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Posted in Top Trends, uncategorized on March 29, 2014

Birth Announcements + Baby Update

Hello friends! Today Aidan is 6 weeks old so I thought I’d write a little post to tell you how it’s been with a new baby in our life. But first, would you like to see the letterpress birth announcements that I worked with Tara Hogan from Ink+Wit to design? I’m so proud of them! They’ll be sent to close friends and family and I plan to frame one for his bedroom, but for now I’ve posted one on the inspiration board in my office. It thrills me whenever I look at it since it brings me back to a most precious beginning and a beautiful day on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The day our little guy came into our life and things truly haven’t been the same – and never will be. Thank God.

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In addition to the announcements, I took a few photos of him this afternoon on his changing table to share with him for this little update post. I know, not the best place for a photo shoot (where we change his diapers!) but I had to take a few photos because the poor little guy HATES the changing table. I mean, he hates it. He screams the moment we put him on it, unless he is sleepy, then he’s really chill. That’s why I wanted to capture his chillin’ out on the changing table moment today since it’s so rare, I had to capture the sheer bliss of it all.

As  mentioned, today marks 6 weeks since he was born but it’s truly felt like 6 months because days are so much longer with an infant, there is so much more to live for, and there is SO MUCH TO LEARN and a lot of care and troubleshooting involved that keeps you on your toes initially, especially when you are first time parents and don’t have a CLUE or a mother living nearby to bail you out. My mom is in Boston and if she were living locally this would be so much easier. She’d be cooking, cleaning, rocking, singing, and loving her way into Aidan’s heart. She just be so ON this grandmother thing. Thankfully, she’s coming to spend a month with us this summer so that will be a real treat. And I must mention that aside from the whole newness of being first time parents, we had a kink along the way when Aidan lost 500 grams the first week and we had to really work hard to get him to regain the weight. Our midwife has been an angel and after 4 weeks of following her wisdom, he was back to his birth weight and now he’s above it by about 300 grams, so that’s wonderful.

Had he not had the weight loss issue, which then lead to him becoming extreme colic-y (we finally realized yesterday that he DOES NOT have colic but allergies), it may have been world’s easier during his first 6 weeks instead of being super fussy, crying on and off from morning until night with extreme bloat/gas pains in his stomach, etc. Some days have been nonstop D.R.A.M.A. around here, though I have a sense of humor and patience so I’m able to handle everything well though I can’t say I haven’t been dying for a glass (bottle!) of wine now and then but I’m breastfeeding and caring for him through the nights so I have to abstain so I can stay on my game (plus wine makes me super tired, I may be putting his diaper on his head or putting him down to sleep in the bathtub instead of his cot).  Humor aside, mothering him has come very naturally to me and I love it – nothing gets under my skin because the moment I start feeling irritated I tune out the cries and tap into the whole induction/hospital drama and how just having a healthy baby was all I wanted during those labor moments. The reality check keeps me positive.

I must also report that I take a shower each day! I am below my pre-pregnancy weight already! I wear makeup! I even curl my hair! Yes, really. And our house is neat and clean, laundry done, I’m grocery shopping, prepping meals, showering and getting properly dressed each morning, and this has been since day one. I’ve even rented a few movies on iTunes and keep up with pinning, blogging and work stuff. We also take the baby out 3 times a week currently for a few hours each time. We have friends over every few days since he was born – and I have been getting out now with friends to shop and eat so I feel like balance is returning to my life (I am someone who really needs my girl time). Looking at how we’re doing so far, I am proud to say that we’re actually doing really well as first time parents. BUT. The first 6 weeks of his little life have been hard because his symptoms were such a big mystery and I incorrectly self-(and internet) diagnosed colic, but he doesn’t have colic but as I said, allergies. Also since he is young, he never wants to leave our arms so I’m going to start wearing a baby sling this week so my hands can be free. Though I still cannot manage to not want to hold him every second because I really love it when he falls asleep on my shoulder as he does so many times each day. I snuggle him and kiss his soft cheeks and I melt and feel incredibly loved and completely, fully happy. If you are a parent, you must get this. It’s sublime.

On the flipside of the alleriges, there has been something positive to gain. I was telling my husband that had he not been so fussy, we may not be pouring over him so much, giving him 24/7 care… In fact, maybe if he did sleep all day or was extremely quiet like some babies are, we may just put him in his bouncy seat while we work, or handed him over to grandma to babysit, or perhaps we would have let him lay in his crib and play with his toes or something while I work, travel, teach, write… Perhaps we would have not spent so much time with him. Perhaps these 6 weeks would have flown by. But truth is, they haven’t – they’ve been the longest 6 months of my life and every moment (even the hard moments) have done something to my heart that words cannot explain. I keep telling everyone that having a child closed the circle for me – I’d always felt a gap that I tried to fill with everything else, but the baby has closed the gap and I finally feel the restlessness gone from my heart and head. I feel peace like never before and more creativity and joy than ever before. No kidding. Having Aidan forced me to reach DEEP into my soul, the very unselfish part, the INTERNET CAN WAIT and THE CAREER CAN WAIT part, and it’s made me love and value our son even more. Even those times when he’s a red-faced screaming pterodactyl. Yes, this little guy below definitely goes there. In fact, he can go from sweet to screaming in seconds as I scramble through the WHAT COULD BE WRONG list until I hit what it is, address it, then BOOM – silence. And this is what that looks like in photos. Golden moments indeed.

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So yes, today our little boy has turned 6 weeks and I’m more in love with him than I ever imagined and I can’t wait to learn more about him, address his needs and continue to care for him, and watch his continue to gain weight and grow into a beautiful little boy. So that’s my baby update. I’ll write more about him in about 6 weeks again in case of you would like these mini updates. :)

By the way, have you ever dealt with a baby who has allergies? Or colic-like symptoms? Or colic in general? How did you deal with it? What did you do to help your baby?

xo, Holly

(images: holly becker)

Posted in real talk on March 23, 2014

Enter To Win: Blogging Your Way e-course!

Hello everyone and happy Friday! Today is my birthday, our book releases in the UK (and it’s already #1 on Amazon!), and we’ve just opened enrollment for our super fab e-course that kicks off in April for four weeks called Blogging Your Way. March is also a special month because I celebrate FIVE years of teaching Blogging Your Way since we launched this time in 2009! I can’t believe I’ve been teaching the web’s first e-course on blogging for so many years, an honor and delight to me. For each course, I invite different co-teachers and for the next one, we have Tina Fussell teaching alongside of us and she’ll cover everything from how to write a DIY post that gets shared to travel and fashion/lifestyle posts that will definitely get your readers attention. For the complete curriculum, click here.

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To celebrate all of this, I thought I’d host a lovely giveaway! To enter, all you need to do is tweet this post and say,

“I’ve entered to win a FREE seat in the Blogging Your Way e-course for Spring! You can too! http://tinyurl.com/bywcontest #bywstudents @decor8

If you don’t have a twitter account, this is a good chance to create one for free – twitter is such a terrific tool for bloggers to stay in touch. After you’ve tweeted, comment below to let me know that you’ve tweeted and also leave your twitter handle and mention why you want a seat. I will giveaway 3 FREE SPOTS ($149 value each) to the upcoming class (outlined here). These are not transferrable or redeemable for cash. If you’ve already registered and paid for this class, and you win, you will receive a full refund.

By the way… The above photos are from Tina, and are a great way for you to see just how talented she is (her blog is her own content – she styles and shoots it all!). I can’t wait to have her sharing her secrets with all of us. In this special class, Tina will give you a video tour of her studio space in Copenhagen. (first ever online!), too. If you love her blog and her style, you will LOVE learning from her in this class as she’ll show you how to create blog posts that range from travel to fashion and lifestyle. Space is limited, so if you want to register, please do so here.

I’m taking the day off, but I’ll see you all again on Monday with more Blogger’s Favorites posts, a new mommy update from me, a few of my favorite things and so much more! The winners of this contest will be announced on April 1st! Once it sells out, you won’t be able to register so please don’t delay. And remember, if you win this contest and you’ve registered already, you will receive a full refund.

Have a wonderful weekend!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. WINNERS ANNOUNCED HERE >CLICK<

(images: tina fussell)

Posted in blogs on March 21, 2014

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!