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The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

Isn’t it inspiring to see how people live in other parts of the world? If you hop on the train near my house and travel for 90 minutes just east from here you will be in Berlin and I’ve said it a million times already but that city is nothing short of inspiring. The many apartments and homes there blow my mind too because the old buildings ooze with character because all of the original details that make me so happy from ceramic-tiled stoves to herringbone wooden floors and original ceiling medallions (not the plastic press and stick kind!) are delightfully intact.

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

I first introduced you to interiors blog/website Freunde von Freunden when they launched but they’ve since published a book based on their site that I flipped through in their cafe and thought it was nice and definitely a great way to give the creative community in Berlin a platform to show how they live, work and decorate there. Love it! I visit Fvf a few times a month for inspiration and comb their wonderful stories and videos for inspiration yet I always find myself back on their Berlin-based properties which are cleverly cool though admittedly mismatched, wonky, undecorated, edgy, unedited, yet still super appealing, charming and a delight to behold. Berlin style is very laid back, lived-in and personal and I find that alone incredibly inspiring.

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

The Homes of Freunde von Freunden

Fvf has recently expanded their views outside of Berlin to include studios and homes in places like New York City and London. I selfishly hoped they’d venture further to explore places like Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, Russia and even more German cities but it doesn’t look as though I’ll get my wish anytime soon as the more popular locations (London, NY)  seem to be calling their creative hearts.

I believe strongly though that whoever starts venturing into the lesser-known spots (not just the recognizable design meccas – too easy!) to find inspiration and shoot homes that they could OWN a completely uncharted market — especially in cities that you barely see in glossy mags and books. It takes risk and courage but I’d love to see someone do something that hasn’t been done yet. Most publications here and especially in the UK and US simply don’t have the budget to run to Warsaw for a shoot so I wonder why Fvf doesn’t just jump in and go for it? They have a wonderful platform for this and are evidently very creative and not geographically challenged at all – Berlin is only a trade ride away from the often unexplored east. If I had a crew of people and the budget for it, I’d do an entire book centered on creatives living and working in cities like Moscow, Budapest, Bucharest, Warsaw, Prague and yes, Berlin (of course). Just a few thoughts…

Homes shown in this post are from Magnus Reed in Berlin-Schöneberg, Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel in Berlin-Mitte and Silke Neumann in Berlin-Moabit. Such beautiful light-filled spaces and gorgeous classical details!

(images: Fvf)

Posted in Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, travel on January 20, 2012
decor8 great.ly shop

ONE by Victoria Alexander

As I sit here cross-legged on my sofa with a cup of lavender earl grey tea and Jo Malone’s Grapefruit candle providing the perfect ambiance, I’m reminded of one simple truth:  Moments of solitude can be the most soul-stirring and magical touch points in life.

ONE book review

I love my living room where I am writing this because it’s the one place in my home where I can truly live and do all of the things that I take pleasure in – entertaining, writing, reading, watching films, even taking an occasional cat nap, exercising, dancing or enjoying nothing more than tea and Amy Winehouse on my stereo. Just a few moments ago I was engrossed in answering a reporter’s email when the bell rang and I accepted a package of books I had ordered — All 11 V&A Pattern Books that I’ve been dying to own arrived along with a jaw-droppingly tactile new book I mistakenly spotted (and so glad I did!) called “One” by Victoria Alexander published by Murdoch Books. One? What’s that? Here is a show following by a tell.

ONE book review

ONE book review

ONE book review

Pages with ruffled edging (oh my!), a few lovely inserts like an envelope here, a small card there… Gorgeous matte paper with a lovely weight to it, lots of snappy travel photos, quotes throughout, layered elements of papers, maps, fabrics… It’s stunning from a visual perspective and though I’ve just begun to read it, I am certain I’ll finish this book because it’s the perfect combination of self-help and visuals.

I must admit, I barely read self help books, not because I don’t need to (ha ha!) but because I don’t like to read them. Too much text, too much blah blah. Often a writer can take an entire chapter and edit it down to two pages because we don’t always need the full scoop. I’m happy to get half a scoop with photos allowing me to explore the missing half, the half that I can search and find on my own. I like books that allow me to come to my own conclusion in the end. If a book that talks about the journey of someone’s life — what they’ve learned, where they’ve been and how they approached then solved their many issues allow the way — and combines those words with photography throughout I am absolutely going to pick it up and give it a good solid flip through. If I read a few sentences and the word “I” is used ad naseum, the book returns to the shelf but on the other hand, if it captures my heart through text and imagery from the very first page then its love at first sight and it will be on its merry little way to the cashier’s desk clutched tightly to my chest. I know a gem when I spot it.

One – Living As One and Loving It is such a gem.

About this book the publisher says, “One is a celebration of individuality and life. Author Victoria Alexander writes with humour and wisdom about the importance of believing in and valuing ourselves. She reminds us to trust in ourselves, try things on for size, take risks and ask for what we want – after all, we might just get it. At its heart, this beautifully layered collection of stories, quotes, reflections and evocative images is about the power of choice and about enjoying life, with all its shifts and changes. Its message is universal: accept who you are and who you can be, whether you live alone, or whether you are one of many. ” I can’t wait to explore more about this book, to dig more deeply and to find out more about a book that is meant for everyone – from those living alone to those in relationships, as I think we all can feel very alone at times whether in a huge family or simply as a party of one in our little cottage by the sea.

Do you have a copy of One? What do you think of it? Isn’t it sumptuous?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on January 19, 2012

The Styled Project

I recently heard from Victoria Hudgins who wrote in to tell me about a bi-weekly project that she has initiated in order to combine her passion for blogging and her love for magazines into one abbreviated, curated place called Styled.

Styled

Styled

Styled is an e-mag delivered every two weeks and each article in the magazine can also be found as a blog post by following the link in the magazine so it can be easily shared with others in blog form, too. She even produced a sweet little video conveying how both magazines and blogs can work together.

Styled magazine will feature new product guides, blogger interviews, party tips and more. All the best, Victoria!

(images: styled)

Posted in blogs, Books + Magazines on January 18, 2012

Gatherings e-mag: White Issue

The latest issue of Gatherings digital magazine from blogger Heather Thompson went live last night, the inaugural White Issue! If you love white, this one’s for you!

Gatherings Magazine

Gatherings Magazine

It was so nice to see Tina’s Copenhagen apartment and her gorgeous Moroccan wedding blanket on her bed that I suspect she got while living in Morocco. Pretty!

(images: heather thompson)

Posted in Books + Magazines on January 18, 2012

Books:

Available now on Amazon

Further editions available include: Portuguese, Danish, Czech, Slovak, French

Courses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way for Beginners
e-course, April 17 – May 15, 2014
Find out more and sign up now.

Styling With Holly Becker
London, May 2014 (Date TBD)