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Stella Im Hultberg

By: Christine Liu, decor8 contributor

The ink sketches and watercolour paintings by Stella Im Hultberg perfectly exude the sad, sophisticated energy of the postmodern ingenue. Women pout with seductively disillusioned lips; limb-entwined couples wait in silence for a sadder truth. Every character is shadowed, stained, and soiled with glamour.

Working as an artist in New York City, Stella features her work in galleries (view her work at the current exhibition at thinkspace gallery, running from now to September 3) and sells her prints online at her momomoogie shop. Trained in industrial design and toy design, she currently applies her creative energy to her print works. Treat yourself to the delicious darkness of her online sketchbooks and portfolio.

Stella broadcasts art updates at her livejournal, and her daily report covers all sorts of life’s delight from green tea soba salad to a mottled seashell collection.

In addition to the prints for sale on momomoogie, she boasts a design collection of wallets and shirts at art-collective-vinyl-wallet company Poketo. Plus, you can purchase her oh-so-precious my favorite mirrors at Art Star Philly.

In Stella’s world, the city self-reflects with beauty and sorrow alike.

Your thoughts on Stella?

(images from Stella Im Hultberg)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, guest bloggers on August 18, 2006

ask decor8: Stencil Resources?

After reading my post yesterday about wallpaper and the DIY squiggle idea, decor8 reader Christina Sachtleben wrote in to share a photo of her very own DIY wallpaper project – just add paint and a good stencil and viola! fauxpaper, as I call it (see below photo). I think Christina did a great job, and of course, she gave me permission to post her work for all of you to enjoy and to hopefully become inspired by! Maybe there’s a space in your home where you can create your own fauxpaper?

Christina is looking to take on another DIY project in her home, so she’s wildly combing the web for more stencil resources, this time, plaster stencils. I tried to do some digging for her, and I found the following stencil and/or plaster stencil resources. Some of these places are great, I am really surprised at how easy it is to dress up your walls on a budget. When I think of stencils, visions of apples and chicken borders race through my head. Time to think OUTSIDE of that very small box. Stenciling goes way beyond farmhouse folk art and shaker styles…

Stencil 1 – Sheesh, this place is total coolness. Scroll down the entire page, so many fun designs, I really love the sparrows (see top photo). Deers, skulls, stars, great stencils for gals and guys.

Modello Desgin – Classy place for gorgeous stencils. These people embrace ceilings as being the fifth wall and glam them up to the max. (They even sell kits to create antique mirror effects.)

Stencil Planet – Lots of everything. I really like this idea, only I’d add glass to the top to dress it up a bit more.

Victoria Larsen
– Plaster stencils + more!

Stencil Library – Great source for stencils from Japan to Art Deco and Modern Design.

Henry Donovan Motif – UK based, super selection, unique designs. Isn’t the water chrysanthemum stencil beautiful?

My Stencils
– These folks tend to carry more of the folksy stencils, but the damask stencils they have are gorgeous – so check them out!

Royal Design Studio – Another great site with lots of stencil designs to choose from. I really like the Swedish Florals. After I emailed Christina last night with these resources, she is going with the Swedish Florals as her next DIY project. Hopefully she’ll send in some more photos…

If you have a quick design question, need help finding that special something, or if you’re looking to share photos from a project you’ve completed, please send me an email.

Christina’s DIY Fauxpaper Project – Good job!

(images: Top: Stencil Planet, Stencil 1, and My Stencils. bottom: Christina Sachtleben)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, reader questions, tips, walls on August 17, 2006

Country Living: Before/After in a City Apartment!

Did you catch Country Living magazine for August yet? I was tickled to see their city apartment freshen up, Two-Day Decorating Makeover (pages 32-40).

For one thing, it’s rare to see Country Living (or any of the home magazines that feature primarily the cottage/farmhouse style) spotlight a city apartment with, what appears to be a single girl, at the helm of a makeover.

The best part about the makeover?

That’s hard to narrow down. Although I loved that they show an IKEA bag in one of the photos filled with pillow inserts for the renovation project and, hold your squeals of delight, a Saarinen table. Yes, in Country Living. This is a breakthrough moment, people.

The bones of this apartment are stunning, it resembles one you may spot in an east coast city, soaring 10+ foot ceilings, hardwood floors, prewar details, huge windows. The color palette for the apartment is simple: blue, gray, silver, white, beige – very subdued, on the cool side, with a somewhat Scandinavian slash London apartment vibe going on. With before and after photos, a cool stencil idea for the walls (don’t stress, this really is a hip stenciling project using a baroque floral pattern and silver paint against Ben Moore’s Regal Aquavelvet, eggshell finish, Sapphire Ice). The room was pulled together on a budget too, another strong point of the article.

Surprise bonus: There wasn’t a dog, husband, picket fence, cooing baby, or massive 4,000 square foot midwestern farmhouse home in sight. Not that I have anything against those things, but it’s nice to see a country living magazine step into the concrete jungle for once. Not everyone in the city dreams of monochromatic loft spaces, nor do they shop at high end Italian contemporary stores. Country Living is catching on, and I’m liking it.

If you’re not a big Country Living fan, grab the August issue and see what you think. Seems they may be interested in appealing to a broader demographic, and this article in particular has a very Domino feel to it with the fonts, arrows connecting tips to photos, and the style in which it’s written.

What would I change about this makeover? Hmm. First, I’d purchase a real sofa for the living room (vs. the twin bed with bolsters) and a much larger rug. The rug selected for the living area is to small. I’d also paint the walls to the ceiling, although above the molding I would have went a few shades lighter for the paint (they stopped at the crown molding about 20″ from the ceiling leaving the top half of the room white, which is standard. I’m not a standard girl). I believe that if you have high ceilings, don’t try to minimize them. I’d also highlight all of the fabulous picture and crown moldings in either white (for a crisp look) or two shades lighter than the Sapphire Ice (more subdued, yet still highlighting the gorgeous details of the molding). I think the stenciling idea over the eating nook could have been repeated in the living room, as well, confined within the boundaries of the picture molding.

The bedroom was very serene, I can’t see much about it that I would change except for the bed – I would bring in a crisp navy/white Scandinavian floral print and add a touch of butter yellow or lilac somewhere in the room – a vase or fresh tulips would suffice. I’d like to see some clean white ceramics displayed on a shelf, too. Ones that have a very organic feel with lots of detail, all of them in white.

In the end, I’d say the makeover is a great success on a budget, and with it’s vintage modern appeal, I’m a big fan.

If you’d like to check out this renovation, pick up the August copy of Country Living and turn to page 33 (pull out this section and save for your look book). For quick candy, you can view the renovation online, too.

Psst: Love what they’ve done to this vintage suitcase – so girly!

Your comments on this renovation?

Related posts: My DIY Look Book Project, 4.11.06

(images from country living)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, bedroom, diy, inspiration, walls on July 28, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {july 21 ’06}

The book and blog of the week are up! Yippee! I have an interview with Marilyn (blogger featured) coming up soon, as well as my review of In Stitches by Amy Butler (Chronicle sent me an advance copy, I’ve already had it for a few months). All I can say is BUY THE BOOK. It’s great and you know, although it reads a little more for the skilled sew queen, there are so many beginner projects that you can take on a few things and work your way up to the bigger things.

This sounds very Betty Crocker, I know, but every modern woman should pack mad skills at the Singer. I’m serious, and I know it’s totally opinionated of me, but sewing is like cooking, you really should try to have it under your belt. When it comes to cooking, I can throw down like the rest of them, but usually the end result isn’t much different from the other 10 things I can cook – I tend to use the same ingredients over and over (and over!) and stick to ‘comfort’ recipes that are easy. My husband is happy, we haven’t died yet, and I guess the meals are somewhat tasty because I haven’t yet heard a horrific gasps from the table when I serve (refer to bridget jones’ diary deux, table scene, blue string soup as point of reference).

Sewing, let’s face it, isn’t a required skill for survival. Centuries ago, yes. Nowadays, no. Cooking, you sorta need to learn the basics at least to sustain life and live healthy. I think that’s why so many of us don’t learn how to sew – there’s no need with your friends Lord + Taylor and Target. Plus, everyone is way too busy to sew these days. I still think it doesn’t hurt to learn. You live a bit more freely and take charge of your decor a little more. No more leaving stores in frustration because you can’t find the right color throw pillow. You can also save crazy money.

I’m a total beginner when it comes to sewing (embarrassing to confess since I started as a child, but I still kinda suck), but I made curtains for my living room in 3 hours over the winter because I was sick of never finding what I wanted and refused to pay a seamstress a grand to give me what I wanted. So, off to the fabric store where I purchased quality textiles (the cutter, after giving her the window size, gave me the exact amount of fabric that I needed. Thank goodness because math isn’t my strong point). I brought the fabric home, cut to size, and merely hemmed all four sides of each panel and added clip hooks (from Target) to the top and viola! insta-panels. Anyone can do that. No rod pockets, no pleats, no lining, no no nonsense. Sure, I wouldn’t sew for my clients and sell them my work (gasp!), but what I do sew works for me so I’m happy. My guests don’t seem to know the difference. To a professional seamstress, my work would be considered absolute rubbish, but I’m happy with it so I don’t care. Just like I’m happy making basic meals at night.

Point is, cooking and sewing gives you freedom to move around a little in your own head. You grow in a creative sense. It’s also emotionally very rewarding, at least after you have the basics down. Saying “I made it” is also a huge self esteem boost.

Back to the Amy Butler book. It’s inspiring and packed with patterns and directions, along with photos of each finished project, so you really can’t go wrong, everything is completely mapped out for you. I’ll be back with photos of the book so you can see it for yourself. Until then, stick around because I have a slew of fresh finds to post for you today…

(image from smart ass cookie; it totally made you laugh, didn’t it?)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on July 21, 2006


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