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A Forest House in East Sussex

I was happy to see this beautiful home we shot for Decorate Workshop, which belongs to a friend of a friend of mine (how I found out about it in the first place), pop up as a location for hire today over at Light Locations. I loved working in this home. In fact, you can take your copy of Decorate Workshop and compare the photos we took with those on this page and then you can clearly see what a little before and after styling fun – you can see what I did to bring in a little Holly style to the mix.

Today on decor8

Today on decor8

Today on decor8

Today on decor8

Some homes require little styling, some way more, but this one kept me busy as it was very spare so I needed to really collect from other rooms and rearrange things, including furniture, in order to make it feel more lived in since it was only a summer house. Working in this home for a day was a dream come true, I wanted to move right in, I never connected to a home as much as I did this one. It was in the middle of nowhere – in a forest about an hour or two outside of London and we got SO lost getting there but once we arrived, I didn’t want to leave. In fact, I barely missed my flight home that night. I remember the two buckets of flowers we loaded into the car that I bought earlier that morning in Chiswick before we ventured out and how excited I was when I arrived on location – I hadn’t seen the home previously – only a few rooms and vignettes, so I wasn’t sure what was in store for me but wow, it was a pristine gem of a place. It made me so happy “playing house” for the day – and the best part was that the home owner wasn’t around so the photographer, Debi Treloar, and I could really relax and go at our own pace.

I love when homeowner’s are around to, don’t get me wrong, but I find it less tense when they’re not – I always worry about moving things and rearranging stuff in front of the person who lives there and they can easily get offended or worried you will drop something or they can also spend a lot of time explaining where this or that object came from and while those bits of history are wonderful, it takes so long to shoot a home like this one. This house was massive on two levels so it took some time to work through. Also, when the homeowner is there, you usually are asked to stop and break for lunch and Debi and I like to work straight through so we can get everything done and leave before the light is gone. We were shooting late winter, so we had to wrap up by 3:00 – and it takes about an hour to clean the house after, put everything back into place, back up the photos and pack the car, so you get a lot more shots when no one is home. This was such an enjoyable shoot… I remember the fresh country air, the singing birds and that feeling like this home would look extra gorgeous in my book and well, it did. Here is one shot from my book below – to see more, I guess you have to get the book (wink). :)

Today on decor8

To the lovely lady, Emma, who owns this home, thank you. I loved working there for the day and pretending it was my own!

(images: light locations)

Posted in Books + Magazines on May 02, 2013

By Nord + Book #3

Light and bright, gotta love light and bright! I’ve talked about By Nord before but when Cozy Living sent over press access to their images, I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favorite new products with all of you. I love their shower curtains, really pretty, and of course their cushions and the darling bread apron on their cute male model (wink). Everything looks so rustic and natural – and coastal but not your typical coastal style – very graphic, modern, clean and tactile. I don’t decorate with navy blue at home, but against white it all looks fresh and bright enough – not depressing and heavy. I also love seeing navy with blush pink, a terrific combination.

By Nord

Today is the first of May and is a holiday here in Germany, so I’m taking off to clean up my balcony, repot 24 geraniums, prune and re-pot several indoor Dronning Ingrid geraniums, and decorate my little outdoor city oasis. I love creating a green space for myself, and since the balcony is located off of my work studio, I can use my ipad and laptop out there in the summer and still link in through my wifi which is a bonus – so I can work from home, but outside in the sunshine. Are you thinking about your outdoor spaces now too? A patio? Porch?

I have two wintergartens in the back of my apartment facing the backyard and gorgeous pear tree, and the front balcony faces the street, so I have 3 spaces to spruce up for summer in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to pulling them together – my friend Leslie Shewring will be here soon and we’ll begin shooting for our upcoming book, so I have only a few weeks before she arrives to get the house together for our shoots. I can’t wait because now we can get moving on our project and start to really SHOW you some peeks as we go and tell you more about our book. What I know right now is that it will release Spring ’14 and we’re doing a North American book tour, along with hitting London and Germany and maybe a few other countries over here! In each of our stops, one of us will be teaching or, if we’re together, we’ll both be teaching, so no matter where you find us prepare to have fun and learn and walk away super inspired and happy. Before all of that can even happen though, we have to shoot and write the book! So that’s our mission between now and mid-summer since that our editor has now finished the flat plan and we fed through all of our ideas to her and the publishers, and the book designer and I had a lovely call so she’s on board and ready to go, too. We have to turn the book in October 1 so it can be printed and ready for all of you in the Spring and we plan to take vacation time this summer to be with our families, so we have to get moving! I can’t wait until I can tell you more about the project, reveal the title, etc. You will (hopefully) swoon and feel happy about it. We want our love for this project to beam through the pages, we are putting so much love and effort into it, so let’s see what it looks like in the end – we hope, a really lovely, creative book!

I was going to go on a big North American tour for Decorate Workshop this month with West Elm, but since Leslie is coming and we have tons of work to do for our book, I sadly had to postpone the book tour and just combine it with the tour for book #3 in the Spring so I can see everyone then – you can bring Decorate Workshop to any signing next year for our book and I’ll happily sign and dedicate your copy. I won’t be coming to America this year for Decorate Workshop (big frown), and I know a lot of you were excited about getting together, I was too, but balance is so important to me! You just can’t tax yourself out when you are writing a book – your energy and love needs to really flow into it and that can’t happen when you are burnt out, stressed or rushing the project. Good ideas take time and great ideas take more time so this summer, it is all about our book. But let me tell ya, when I’m back on American soil next Spring with book #3 touring with Leslie, we will see all of you and hit as many cities as possible thanks to Chronicle Books and West Elm and hopefully, we can grab some of you as helpers, guest speakers, co-teachers, etc. so stay tuned for that! We want to include as many bloggers as we can so the events are really inspiring.

By Nord

By Nord

By Nord

By Nord

By Nord

By Nord

By Nord

Now back to the ByNord and their gorgeous products. Enjoy the peek above – you can see more here and, BONUS, they’re having a big sale in their web shop. Nice!

(images: bynord)

Posted in Books + Magazines, design on May 01, 2013

Flow Spring Book

There is a Dutch magazine called Flow that I really love, though I cannot understand a word of it. They recently introduced an English version (order here) and I ordered it and wow, that lifted a huge veil! Did you know that Flow also has seasonal books, too?

gift2Flow Book

I didn’t either until December when I taught a blogging workshop at my home and Dutch student, Louise, gave one to another student as a present. Yes, we did a gift exchange. I never saw it done before at a blogger event, but the idea was for each blogger to bring a gift – something from their country that they really love – so that when they arrive at the workshop and were introduced to their partner-in-crime for the weekend (we paired up teams), they both could exchange gifts. The bloggers, as a result, loved the idea soooo much! And I loved it because I could watch everyone unwrapping and saying ahhhhhh a lot! One gift struck me as so amazing that blogger, Louise, asked if I wanted a copy too and I said YES YES ohhh YES and a month later, I paid her and it was in my mailbox.

Flow Book

Flow Book

Flow Book

Flow Book

Now, with the spring edition out, Louise asked me if I wanted the latest copy and I was so happy she offered, so I bought another copy from her. I tell ya, it’s magic when there are people so nice as to do things like this. Today, the spring Flow book arrived and though it’s in Dutch (boo hoo), I still love looking at it. The layouts, the colors, the freebies (cards and planners and posters, oh my!), it’s all so inspirational and nice. I wish it were available in English – I’d be totally in love. But for now, I love it as it is – so thank you Louise and thank you Flow for creating something so inspirational in print. When I see stuff like this I know for a fact that print is here to stay as long as publishers GET CREATIVE!

Flow Book

And don’t you love how Louise wrapped it in brown paper, gift wrap paper and washi tape? So pretty – thank you Louise!

mood board

Here are the freebies on my pinboard – I wanted to show you what everything looked like. There is a poster, 5 postcards and a weekly planner. I also added Louise’s pretty wrapping paper. Love!

Are you a Flow fan?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on April 02, 2013

German Wedding Book

It’s wedding season, think spring! Maybe if we all wish for it hard enough it will appear because today we got more snow!? So I decided to pull out this wedding book for a little inspiration and to practice my German as I try to make sense of it all. I am in total wedding mode recently, especially with the release of a new magazine I just discovered (more about that in the next post) and now, this super girly German wedding book, Einfach heiraten! just published here in Germany and it is as pretty as it is practical and full of DIY ideas and advice. Here is a peek below!

German wedding book by my friend

I have several beautiful wedding books by other great bloggers on my desk, but I never cover wedding books on decor8 (especially in a foreign language) but because Steffi is my friend, I made an exception because I found it so thoughtfully done and I remember all of the work Steffi put into it while she was writing, writing, writing! On one occasion, I was with my friend Charlotte in Hamburg having a meeting and decided to introduce her to Steffi so we met up and she came looking like her mind was in the clouds. She had that typical author’s glaze, like you just knew the poor lady was up until the wee hours perfecting her recipe – this book! It’s a hard job to write but even more, to get your publishers to get on board with your vision and to respect your viewpoint.

I haven’t asked Steffi about that process but from the looks of this book, it really looks like the work I remember her doing during her days at Brigitte magazine, one of Germany’s top lifestyle magazines for women. I think the book really reflects her love for magazines because it feels very magazine-like. Whenever I meet with my publishers, they always tell me that I have a very magazine approach to books and I often felt really bad about that because I want to have a “book” approach but I always go back to a magazine approach. Steffi’s book goes beyond wedding tips and ideas (I am already married after all) so I don’t need a wedding how-t0, but as I flipped through it my point became clear to me all over again that bringing a magazine approach to books does really work. My first book, Decorate, was written with the idea of making it feel more like a magazine with lively layouts and bites of info and all of the quotes that we used, and the same with my second book, which was also part workbook. Steffi and I are on the same page with this – books that feel more interactive and fresh work!

More and more, I really believe that when it comes to how readers interact with printed publications is how they interact online –  they want more bite-sized chunks of text around images, everything should be laid out really beautifully with main points highlighted and feature in-depth expert advice combined with a more personal feeling… Not like some big shot author sitting there telling you what to do in 50 million words, but a chatty knowledgable friend, guiding you as to what steps to take next. It’s so important to stick to your vision and plow forward and I’m glad to see that Steffi did this.

WeddinGerman wedding book by my friendg book by my friend

German wedding book by my friend

German wedding book by my friend

I really like the outcome of Steffi’s ideas – but I must say that photo directly above melted my heart. I really loved it so I had to show you. I found it to be so relaxed and inviting.

Seeing the finished product, this book, was a joy for me. I pre-ordered it on Amazon last year the second that it was available! When it arrived, I felt proud because it’s packed with lots of great things that I know brides, especially in Germany, really need to know. While there are tons of wedding books in America loaded with beautiful visuals and amazing ideas, we just don’t have German authors writing incredible wedding books that feel current. For this market, this book REALLY stands out.

SO readers, let me ask you, what do you look for in books these days? What makes you buy them? 

(images: Holly Becker for decor8)

Posted in Books + Magazines on March 29, 2013

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