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London Style Guide By Saska Graville

July 25, 2012

Love London? Visiting soon? This post is for you! Last night I stumbled across a most curious travel book while perusing Amazon called the London Style Guide authored by Londoner Saska Graville and published by Murdoch with photography by Jessica Reftel Evans & Martin Reftel of Amorfo Photography. It looked like such a lovely guide and definitely not ‘typical’ so I snapped it up in jiffy, ordering before retiring to bed.

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

To my surprise, this lovely guide arrived a few moments ago and as I flipped through it I couldn’t contain my excitement. Finally someone wrote a shopping, eating and sleeping guide for London that speaks 100% to my aesthetic and is free of blah blah tourist-y stops and those all too familiar recommendations that every book suggests. This guide is stylishly laid out (props to the book designer!), meticulously curated and beautifully, and I mean beautifully, shot. I love the “Meet the Londoner section” with 18 interviews of shop and cafe owners, showcasing their favorite things to see in London.

I highly suggest picking up a copy because if you intend to go to London anytime soon, you simply MUST own this guide. Even if you don’t intend to go, this book is still a lovely one to own because through it you can feel like you’ve traveled and there are all sorts of lovely things to see and read along with links to places you can look up online. It is available for download here or you can buy a hard copy in the UK here or in the US here. There is even a digital version available on iTunes which I’m going to investigate because having this guide on my iPhone would totally rock for my next trip back to London. Would you like to take a quick look with me?

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

London Style Guide By Saska Graville

About the author: Saska Graville has worked as a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers for 20+ years in London and Sydney. She was former editor of New Woman magazine in Australia then the features editor of The Sun-Herald newspaper in Sydney. Later, she relocated back to her native London as deputy editor of Red magazine and currently is a UK travel correspondent for The Sun-Herald.

Now I’m more excited than ever to return to London this Fall!

(images: holly becker for decor8)






Books + Magazines

Flower Power & Inspired Weddings By Matthew Robbins

July 17, 2012

Last weekend we celebrated our anniversary at home with our family and my husband surprised me with this beautiful and very unique arrangement of flowers from a local florist called Indigo. I found it so unusual, I had to photograph it and share it with you. It’s pretty cool, right!?

Flower Power & Inspired Weddings By Matthew Robbins

Even though I’ve lived in Germany for nearly three years, I’m still surprised by how often I stumble upon things that still feel so new to me. I’ve never seen an arrangement like this before and find the way that some German florists create arrangements to be so fascinating and not at all typical. It’s fun to see such creativity and inspires me to experiment more too and to venture outside of the box.

Speaking of flowers, I was recently sent a copy of Matthew Robbins’ new book, Inspired Weddings, and am completely smitten by it. Everything about his work and his book make me tingle from top to bottom. It’s a masterpiece. Good work, Matthew – you really nailed it and gave us what was missing out there.

Flower Power & Inspired Weddings By Matthew Robbins

Flower Power & Inspired Weddings By Matthew Robbins

If you love party planning, color, flowers and are in need of a fresh perspective then I highly suggest picking up a copy of his book which is currently available on Amazon. Wow, what an unbelievable book, really!

(images: top: holly becker, all others, from Inspired Weddings)






Books + Magazines

Sweet Paul in Germany

May 30, 2012

I am on the run today but simply have to shout out my blogger friend Paul Lowe who not only has the English edition of his magazine in Anthropologie stores across the United States, BUT he now has his magazine in German and is sold over here – I found this copy on the newsstand around the corner from my house and snapped a few photos for you with my iPhone. Check it out…

Sweet Paul in Germany

I am SO PROUD of Paul but equally proud that Germany is so keenly interested in lifestyle publications more than ever and are really embracing foreign publications more and more – we even have Martha Stewart Living magazine in German now since the beginning of this year.

Sweet Paul in Germany

Sweet Paul in Germany

Sweet Paul in Germany

Sweet Paul in Germany

It’s so inspiring for me, an American living in northern Germany, to see some of my favorite people from the states over here. It makes home not feel so faraway now. CONGRATS PAUL on this amazing adventure you are on! I wish you massive success with you, your brand, all of it.

Sweet Paul magazine is sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on newsstands everywhere so make sure you pick up a copy!

(images: holly becker)






Books + Magazines

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

May 27, 2012

I currently have a crush on stylist and author Hans Blomquist and wanted to drop in for a moment to give his work a shout out and point you over to his book, The Natural Home, published by Ryland Peters & Small in London. Hans is a stylist after my own heart, giving rooms a very casual lived-in touch with heart. Nothing in his new book looks overly styled or fussed with and I admire that.

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

I own a few of the books that he has directed and styled for IKEA, but The Natural Home is unique in that it is his vision from cover-to-cover and is completely independent of IKEA so he was able to really go for it and scout spaces for the book that spoke to his aesthetic AND he didn’t have to worry about including specific products so he used what was in people’s homes to tweak as he worked. There are so many beautiful photos in this book which was photographed by Debi Treloar whom I’ve worked with on two books.  I can really see Debi working with Hans more in the future, they seem to really click – you can always tell that about a book I think – the relationship between the stylist and the photographer. Debi told me that Hans would deliberately mess things up when styling for a shot – and from what I can see in his book, he did a brilliant job doing that — the wrong somehow looks very, very right when done by his expert hand.

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

From Amazon, “The Natural Home is a place where natural materials and motifs are the key elements of a decorating style that is a joy to live with and a joy to behold. Influential art director and stylist Hans Blomquist starts off by exploring the essence of his style. In Texture, he revels in the textures and patinas of natural materials. Still Life reveals Hans’ passion for creating displays that showcase treasured pieces, while Plants and Flowers celebrates the beauty of nature and the cycles of the natural world. Color presents his favorite earthy, natural color palette, which provides the perfect backdrop for hits of brighter natural hues. In the second part of the book, Homes, through a series of case studies, Hans explores houses and apartments that showcase the beautiful simplicity and elegance of the natural look.” As a bit of a bonus, I’ve included some photos from his portfolio below so you can see his other work…, Hans is represented by Agent Bauer and you can find more information about him here.

The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist
The Natural Home by Stylist & Author Hans Blomquist

Bottom line… If you love the idea of living naturally in a relaxed environment filled with vintage finds, texture, industrial touches, old meets new and natural earthy colors you will adore The Natural Home. It’s stunning and a current fave of mine!

(images: top 6: holly becker, all the rest: portfolio of hans blomquist )






Books + Magazines

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

May 6, 2012

Prepare to feast your eyes! Last year I announced the launch of What Liberty Ate, a gorgeous digital magazine based in Romania founded by talented blogger and foodie Gabriela Iancu. Today she has released issue two and I simply had to pop in on a Sunday to bring this inspiring issue to you because I know you’ll enjoy it. Gabriela brings heaps of passion and love for cooking into this magazine that you can’t help but fall in love. Together with her contributors who are based all over the world, this magazine has a genuineness to it that I appreciate so much. Here are a few of my favorites below – from the layouts to the interviews and recipes, it’s altogether yummy!

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

I love this understated spread, no photos, just a gorgeous smattering of pink watercolor. It’s a really nice visual break.

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

An interview with food blogger Aran Goyoaga.

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

What Liberty Ate: Issue TwoThe array of type in this magazine is gorgeous.

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots”. – Frank Howard Clark. So true!

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

An interview with food blogger and now book author, Béatrice Peltre.

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

What Liberty Ate: Issue Two

“In the second issue you can read gorgeous interviews with Aran Goyoaga and Béatrice Peltre and you will find here affordable recipes with focus on seasonal ingredients and inspiring photography with emphasis on home feeling. Equally, you will discover enthusiastic Romanian food blogs, such as Just love Cookin’, Alison’s trials, Gatherings of the World, and their vision about food and photography. We also featured a wonderful haute couture house found in Bucharest by the curious team of Designist. The art and joy of the perfect tea has been presented to us by Miss Babacilu, a costume jewelry designer.” Great job Gabriela, nicely done and so inspiring for all!

(images: what liberty ate)






Books + Magazines

Big News! My Second Book!

April 28, 2012

Oh boy, this is going to be a long post – I can feel it. I was chatting with a reader lately and she asked why I’d not been writing on decor8 like a mad woman as per my usual. I told her that my book was taking all of my time and she replied, “Didn’t Decorate release one year ago, what else is there to do?” and it was in that moment that I realized something. I may have hinted at it or mentioned it in passing here and there but I never wrote an official post to tell you my exciting news and though I have no clue why something SO IMPORTANT slipped my mind I have to tell you — I’m writing my second book and it will be called the Decorate Notebook! The cover you see here is not the final cover, but it’s already on Amazon and ready for pre-sale.

Big News! My Second Book!

In case you’ve not seen me on decor8 as frequently, that is why. I promise to pick up the pace again soon, but I’m on deadline until mid May so my schedule will be upside down for a few more weeks before posting is back to normal. Thing is, I’ve been working since January on it and lately the deadlines have been keeping me up late at night and robbing me of time, showers, family gatherings, you name it – I’m under the gun and working hard to deliver a book that you will love. It’s a labor of love, tears, pacing the hallway, scribbling notes all over the house, late nights writing until the wee hours… It’s a very passion-filled adventure, for sure!

After Decorate I had to really think about whether or not I wanted to write another book. The last thing I wanted was write one after another after another – I’m not interested in doing books just to do books, you know? I had to give a lot of thought to what was REALLY missing out there in the sea of decorating books and it dawned on me the moment I did one thing and I encourage you to do the same when you are trying to develop a new idea. I asked what I would want out of a decorating book. That’s what you have to do, right? Ask what is missing, and what you would like to see. This applies to almost everything. I got busy with a pen and for weeks I created list after list. After listing, I found my answer and while I knew that I would have my work cut out for me I felt ready to write book #2 and put my heart and soul into it. I trusted my instincts, put my ideas into a proposal and pitched it to my publisher and a deal was struck over a period of months as the pitch was delivered shortly after Decorate released. My vision with this book is to create an approachable guide written in my own blogging voice that you can learn from but beyond giving you tips and ideas, it will be a book that makes you really THINK about your own ideas, style, and to really dig deep and explore what makes you tick and how to translate all of that into ideas that work.

In February, March and April, I scouted locations that put me on flights and trains in both the US and Europe. I met so many lovely homeowners and had a lot of fun with photographer Debi Treloar who shot Decorate with me in 2010. Last week, we did a shoot here in my own home so you can see how I live and work because doesn’t it make sense to share that in my own decorating book? So in book #2 you will see my home.

Blogging has brought me so much. It has helped me to make some of the most wonderful friends and to build an entirely new career from the ground up. It has helped me to build my confidence, develop courage and to really pinpoint exactly what I’m good at and how I can use my talents to make a bigger contribution – to my family, my friends, my readers and beyond. I want you to know that I am forever grateful to your love, support and encouragement. I’m not one of those bloggers who gets a book deal or becomes a success and forgets where she came from – my roots are always close and dear to me. When I first started decor8, I was a cocktail of passion and fear, a younger version of who I am today who had just left behind her career to embark on the unknown. Fear aside, I knew back then that I would have had huge regrets for not trying so I went for it not knowing where blogging would lead me. I gave up the great job and benefits and threw myself into blogging and decorating under the name of my little decorating practice called decor8. Over 7 years have passed and my life has changed so much. I’m still scared at times, especially now because Decorate is a very hard act to follow but you know what, I have decided that I don’t need to be scared – that I need to simply trust my gut and do my best work from the heart. In the end, isn’t that all any of us can do? Our best?

Last week I spent the day in London – I literally flew in for a meeting with my publisher that lasted from 10-6 pm, jumped back on a plane at 8pm and flew 50 minutes home. It was a whirlwind day, in fact I’ve had a lot of whirlwind days since beginning my second book but I am determined and look forward to taking you with me for the ride – as we finalize everything over the next few weeks including the text (there is no co-author this time, only me), font decisions, layout ideas, cover ideas… It’s been a really complicated and emotional process to say the least. Like all authors who work on very visual books, I’m very attached to the overall design and feel of the book – aside from the words in it – I want it to be pretty and special and to offer something different. That is why, and I’m so happy to be able to finally tell you this, that each book (at least the UK copy, unsure about the US) will come with a special surprise. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I’m guessing you will really like it. I’ve never seen it used in a decorating book before so I’m hoping it will set a trend and that other authors will include something like it in their own books in the future, too.

Some of you who do know about the book have asked about another tour. I’m not sure if I’ll do a book tour with this one, it depends on sponsorship and ideas and who really wants me to come to their shop to present my book, teach a class, I’m open but also just unsure at the moment! My first book tour was sponsored by Anthropologie and Chronicle Books but we’ve not discussed a tour for this book yet so I’m unsure as to whether or not it will happen and when, how, etc. I’m thinking to have a launch party in London again (Liberty did the Decorate launch for me along with my publisher, Jacqui Small)  when the book releases in the UK and who knows, maybe I’ll have a launch in America too. I want to see everyone again, the first tour was so great – 20 cities total in both America and Europe – I would love to visit some of you again so I’ll definitely keep you posted. I hope to tour + teach again as I did the last time but we’ll have to wait and see…

BUT SERIOUSLY….I haven’t even thought through all of that yet, because in addition to this baby (my book) I am also trying to create a real baby! I finally felt the baby urge and though it’s a little later than I hoped, I’m just happy that I’m finally ready to have children and hope that I’ve not waiting too long. I’m staying positive though and so who knows, if I do go on another book tour or have a launch party, I may show up with a baby in my hands (my book) and another in my belly. Fingers crossed, that will be the case! But for now, one baby at a time — first, the book which will be born in October… Then, who knows? :) Maybe decor8, jr.?

So, I will end my little post with this. THANK YOU because I am so happy that I can finally really TALK about my book on my blog and I hope to share the news of it as it comes along.

(photo: holly becker)






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