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Decorating Tips

Decorating Tips

Stylist Olga Naiman

October 31, 2011

Brooklyn-based stylist and event planner Olga Naiman from Aparat has an impressive client list and a gorgeous online portfolio that you’ll no doubt love viewing today. I’m liking the overall vibe here…

Stylist Olga Naiman

I’m particularly drawn to the strong colors and patterns in these spaces though lately pink and red aren’t doing it for me nearly as much as petrol blue which is that gorgeous greyish blue tinted with green that lots of magazines are flaunting at the moment. I particularly love it paired with goldenrod. But I digress… Despite my petrol + goldenrod admiration, these lovely red tones are total headturners– especially as December draws nearer and nearer and I see red everywhere. I find these rooms quite intriguing… And I’m totally digging chevron – still. You too?

Stylist Olga Naiman

Olga Naiman has worked with clients such as Domino, Anthropologie, Real Simple, People magazine, BBC and more. She currently works as a freelance stylist creating gorgeous rooms in CB2 catalogs and for Crate & Barrel along with West Elm, too. Nice job!

Stylist Olga Naiman

I love her educational background too – no doubt her BA in Clinical Psychology from Tufts University combined with her MA in Scenography/ Installation Art from St. Martin’s helps her a great deal to create events and catalog pages that speak to people… Styling is so much about getting in touch with all of the senses and understanding how people think but also for telling stories visually. Her styling work has a very easygoing, imperfectly perfect charm about it that makes me feel as though a person is nearby and will soon re-enter the room to get back to what they were doing before they left. Her rooms really look alive and have soul to them, don’t you think? For me, that’s what makes a great stylist – the arrangement of objects that feel like there is a beating heart behind it all.

What do you think makes a stylist great?

(images: from the site of olga naiman)






Decorating Tips

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

October 21, 2011

Have you heard of Finnish photographer, stylist and product designer Riikka Kantinkoski? I love her home in Finland and the beautiful photos that she takes for magazines, but also the snaps of her own house that she shares on her beautiful blog called Weekday Carnival.

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

I found her work through Susanna Vento’s site and I’ve been in awe of Riikka ever since – especially of the things that she sells in her Big Cartel shop. Wow, I love it all, but especially her jewelry and these wooden knobs. Her soft color palette with shots of black definitely resonates with me as I love soft colors, too. Check out these images from her home. I especially love how she incorporated a West Elm comforter into her Finnish home – gorgeous!

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Inspired By Riikka Kantinkoski

Another version of her kitchen before she decorated it in shots of pink and black – this one is from a few months ago and will appear in a Paumes book about Finnish homes very soon.

I’m so inspired by the way that Riika decorates but also of the wares in her very special online shop. What a creative and clever lady!

What do you like about these spaces above?

(images: riikka kantinkowski)






Decorating Tips

Authentic Interiors

October 21, 2011

Hello everyone and a very happy Friday to you! I’m back from Munich and had the best time. I won a reader’s choice award from Myself magazine (Conde Nast), which was a real honor for me – I had my red carpet moment and everything. A big thank you to Myself magazine and their readers for presenting me with that award. I especially loved meeting German television personality and singer, Barbara Schöneberger, who interviewed me and gave me the award and I want to thank the very special and talented team who shot the video for the awards show of me and my work studio here in Hannover, especially the video art director and German actor Lutz Winde. So! I’m back home working now and have so many blog posts to write.

Authentic Interiors
Candimandi

First though, have you recently visited the decor8 Interior Styling group on Flickr? With nearly 3,500 members and over 6,500 photographs, it is quite an inspiring and very international place filled with authentic interiors that are spontaneous and casual. I encourage you to visit and join (it’s free!) if you’d like to share the corners of your home.Real decorating, real homes — that’s what I love the most because that’s what I’m all about.

Authentic Interiors
Candimandi

Authentic Interiors
1Lisbeth

I recently met up with a friend in Frankfurt at the book fair and you know what was funny about our conversation?  He was convinced that all homes in America were huge and gorgeous because each time he sees them in films, books and magazines, they always look that way. I laughed, not trying to be rude of course, but my natural reaction was, “You must be joking!”, which was exactly what I said. In a very serious voice he replied, “Um no, I’m serious. Americans have the best homes ever.” I grinned because I was unsure of how to break it to him. You know, tell him the truth because for the most part we sorta don’t live as large as the rest of the world thinks. Or as posh. We are real people with real homes just like every other country and we make the best out of whatever it is that we have in our own way. In fact, the trend for interiors is leaning more and more towards authenticity and less bent on looking constrained and artificial.

Authentic Interiors
kootoyoo

Authentic Interiors
debee{art & emma lamb

Authentic Interiors
Makingchickensalad & Deva

Authentic Interiors
IvyStyle33

Authentic Interiors
Danielle T

Authentic Interiors
Danielle T

It’s easy to assume that the homes in our favorite books and magazines are perfect and that’s usually because they are. What do I mean? Most homes featured are styled for the photograph and there are even times when furniture is brought in to make the space look more like the magazine’s aesthetic. Yes, really. But of course, to be fair, lots of homes are just plain gorgeous and some people REALLY DO LIVE LIKE THAT. Like JLo and Will Smith and big name designers – yes, they do live that way for sure. Even creative types who are in the business of fashion or interiors, you can expect that they’d live quite lush. Then you have people who are just really into design and hire professionals to make their homes look perfect. So yes, these gorgeous jaw-dropping homes do exist but reality! check! that’s only a fraction of the population.

Authentic Interiors
Yvestown

Authentic Interiors

Citrus and Orange

Authentic Interiors

irideeën

To be fair, some countries do tend to be more “in tune” with style than others, like those amazing Danes, and even we Americans do have our radars more in tune than some countries that don’t place a priority on a good table runner. I don’t know if that’s a great priority, but yeah, some of us do put a lot of time into how our homes look. As an American though I can say we are a pretty big country with a ton of people who have never heard of an Eames chair or who know (or care) about “design blogs”. That’s not being critical, that’s being perfectly honest. As for those gorgeous New York apartments in every chick flick out there? That’s not our reality. Most of my German friends are convinced that all New Yorkers have giant lofts with shiny concrete floors or massive pre-war apartments. Yeah, those secretaries in Manhattan, the ones who star in our films at least, can afford those penthouses but not the rest of us.

Authentic Interiors
1Lisbeth

Authentic Interiors

1Lisbeth

Most of the homes that belong to my friends are not magazine – ready or film – worthy. Does that mean Americans have no style? Or that all Americans possess amazing style? No and No. It’s just that we’re real people like the rest of the world and some of us care about decorating and some could care less. Some of us care but can barely afford what we want and some of us have way too much money and way too little taste. Those who care about design are always trying to influence the could-care-less crowd and the could-care-less crowd, though some do cross over to the bright side of decorating, usually are found wagging their heads wondering why the h-to-the-ell we bother spending weeks to research the best wallpaper options when we could simply drive out to the hardware store and pick from the 25 options on display – like that pretty vinyl floral pattern in peach, for instance. But to be fair, didn’t most of us go to stores like that 10+ years ago to select our wallpaper?

Authentic Interiors
debee{art
Authentic Interiors
debee{art
Authentic Interiors
debee{art

Only recently have we been introduced to so many options. The ability to order wallpaper from websites or even better, from cool places like London, transformed us. Options do that I guess. But we’re still just real people decorating our very real homes. A majority of us dislike more about our home than we love but we do our best. I’m inspired by all of it. The most amazing home on the beach to the carefully renovated on a budget one bedroom in Detroit – they are all special. I like to see how those interested in decorating show their personality at home and in how they select and then arrange, their things. It has always fascinated me and groups like Interior Styling continue to fuel my excitement when it comes to such spaces. I love watching how others have trained their eye and then work magic on their space. All of the photos above are from many contributors to my interior styling group and are from all over the world – and are excellent decorators with amazing style and talent. I’ll take that over those carefully arranged, extremely expensive and almost snobby looking interiors any day.

I don’t want decorating that is contrived, I want authenticity in interiors.

Do we all live in the perfect home? For most of us, no way. But style isn’t a state of the wallet, it’s a state of mind, right? Doing the most with the least is a challenge but one that can be met and in the end, it’s exciting to see what creativity can do to even the simplest of homes.

(images: linked to their sources above.)






Decorating Tips

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

October 11, 2011

I’m so smitten by the Paris apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas that has been in numerous decorating magazines over the past few years – I spotted it in Maire Claire Maison first where these images are from below. This home is totally Palm Springs mid century meets Paris, right!? HOW FUN.

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

The decorating idea that I’m taking away from these photos is the painted firewood shown above. Brilliant. I really, really love it. I’d like to try it in 80’s neon hues. Fab!

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

Gorgeous Paris Apartment of Jean-Christophe Aumas

You have a bit of pink, black, grey, red, teal and eye-catching acid green. If you don’t know Jean-Christophe, he is a talented art director who has worked for such high end labels as Chloé, Diptyque, and John Galliano. He obviously has an amazing eye and the bones of his flat are splendid. His collection of art and furniture is impressive. When can I move in?

(images: marie claire maison)






Decorating Tips

Fun Idea: Clipboards On The Wall

September 6, 2011

Isn’t this a fun idea? I’ve seen clipboards-as-art and storage before but in this setting, it really speaks to me.

Fun Idea: Clipboards On The Wall

Would you try this at home?

You could display:

  • Work
  • Monthly calendar
  • Only B/W photos
  • Family photos
  • Art
  • Etsy prints you love
  • Wallpaper the clipboards then clip favorite things to them
  • Favorite fabrics

via A Design for Life via Trendenser.

(image: trendenser)






Decorating Tips

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

August 12, 2011

Are you ready to get inside the mind of a professional stylist today? I thought I’d interview the very talented Meagan Camp in Northern California today, but this isn’t your typical interview… What I’ve done is I’ve selected imagery from her portfolio that she styled and then asked her to explain the thought process behind each shot. I love her answers and think you’ll find Ms. Camp most inspiring… so let’s get started!

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Hi Meagan! Can you tell us how you got into styling?
I laugh to admit that it all started with a Barbie “Dream House”! But I do remember intensely studying design books, magazines and catalogs and carefully observing how the items in each image were laid out, lit, and arranged. I had no idea what a stylist was at that time but I was always creating vignettes. As a kid, my bedroom was my design studio and I still vividly remember “casually tossing” a straw hat at the end of my bed over and over again trying to make it look effortless. It wasn’t until attending college at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York that I figured it out. My major was Display and Exhibit Design, but I was most energized while helping classmates prop their photo shoots.

What is the difference between styling and decorating?
A Decorator creates spaces that are livable, functional and intended to endure a longer amount of time for specific needs of their client. A Stylist works with a photographer to develop set-ups intended for photography. At times styling can be “smoke-and-mirrors” — we’re taping, pinning, and rigging items for the photo. That one shot is to create a “moment in time” within a beautiful image and not necessarily for real life.

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Do you take photos or only style for them?
In addition to Display and Exhibit Design, I also studied Photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC so that I could learn the technical aspects of the industry — a huge part of styling is lighting, composition and exposure. But studying photography was only to gain the knowledge of the medium and I never intended to be a photographer. I did have one professor who told me to stop wasting my money and to “go get a book on photography” Nice guy, huh? Having knowledge of the photographic process helps me technically visualize an image and allows me to have an educated conversation with the photographer on what I’m trying to achieve stylistically.

What are you trying to create when styling for Fashion? For Products? For Interiors?
I think it’s the same for all projects, to create a visual conversation between the viewer and image. It’s a bit tougher when Product styling because it’s less about a “moment” and more about selling a certain item. But as long as I can get someone to look twice and be intrigued with the image, I’ve done my job!

Can you give some advice to budding stylists to help them get started?
My advice is simple: Do now, think later. As artists and visual people, we have a natural tendency to second-guess ourselves and to hold off on putting our work and ourselves out there until just the right moment. You can’t get work unless you have work to show. It’s an evil-circle but you have to start somewhere. Shoot with as many people as you can, work with as many people as you can, and get involved with as many projects as you can. Cold-call emails don’t hurt either!

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

If someone wants to be a stylist but lives in the most boring town in the world, how can they still begin locally? Should they practice at home? In a local shop doing windows? Thoughts?
About a year ago I moved from New York to a small town in Northern California, all the while thinking it was career suicide. If you spoke to me during that time I would have told you that being in a city is crucial to being a stylist, but that may have been the New Yorker inside of me speaking! And you know what? Moving out of a city wasn’t career suicide; moving and changing directions in life allowed me to see the world differently and quite possibly gave me another perspective on my work. One of my favorite quotes is Anais Nin‘s, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” and styling just like any other art, is going to come out of you no matter where you live. We also have the opportunity to benefit from a changing industry with a strong online presence. Having a blog, being on twitter and most importantly, having an online portfolio essentially means you can live wherever you choose!

Where are stylists generally needed?

There’s a need for this profession everywhere, be it styling for parties, events, weddings, creating window displays and installations for stores, designing tablescapes and centerpieces for restaurants and hotels, to helping home owners and real estate agents in staging and beautifying homes and properties. You may have to work harder at selling yourself and your skills rather than being in a city where people come directly to you, but there is no lack of respect for the benefits a stylist can bring to a variety of different projects.

What is your favorite – fashion, food, products/still or interiors and if you could be known as “the Best ___ Stylist”, what would that ____ be? Why?
Going back to my “roots” as a young girl with piles of design magazines and catalogs, my true love is creating beautiful Interior-based imagery. Understanding a sense of light, pattern and color realized through props comes naturally to me, it’s my happy place and when I’m on set and in the zone, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Who are some of your favorite names working today?
Prop and Interior stylists who can tread the line between perfectly undone and overly messy constantly fascinate me. There’s beauty in the everyday and a good stylist knows how to bring that out. Sibella Court, Lili Diallo and Olga Naimen are constant inspirations; their work has an element of quirkiness and whimsy that I’m always trying to re-create in my own styling.

What inspires you when it comes to the work of your peers?
There’s nothing more inspiring to me than a photograph which makes me want to jump into that photo and live vicariously in that image. When styling, I’m constantly thinking about how to achieve more than just a pretty picture, but a world in which viewers can become a part. To me styling with a sense of life, trueness, and often times something being a bit “off,” is far more interesting than everything looking too perfect and “just so.”

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp

Three B/W Photos above: Andrew DeFrancesco

What do you think will be the next trend – seems all the rage is on food styling these days…
I’m excited to see an emergence of “real life” incorporated into photography, be it with food, people, or a more casual approach to styling. I’m not sure if it’s due to the economic downfall, Architectural Digest’s newly appointed Editor Margaret Russell’s quest to bring life back into the pages, or perhaps it seems fresh and current, but it’s a challenge I’ll gladly take on!

There are many ways to approach a styling job depending on the client. If it’s a magazine, you need to plan ahead. For interiors, it’s often very different with less preparation. What is the more challenging scenario?
For most jobs I’ve found that the client usually sets the tone for the shoot. Whether the client is a publication, a design company or a “real” person, each job comes with a unique set of challenges and triumphs. Pulling items months in advance, unpacking, then packing them back up again is certainly a big task; you have to think about upcoming trends, upcoming seasons, and the date in which the project goes live… not to mention the labor involved with moving a bunch of boxes around! I think the most challenging jobs are those that require shooting in someone’s home. Whenever you enter someones personal space, there’s a level of respect you must uphold — it’s a very vulnerable thing to let a team of people into your home. On these types of jobs, I think about how to best showcase the beauty of the space while also keeping in mind the specific requirements for the client, the whole time I’m aware that I’m also a guest in someone else’s home.

My job is to create a one-dimensional image for a photograph, and in many cases, I’m helping to tell a story through these images. It may be multi-layered or highly edited, but what may look like too much (or too little) in person comes across as a styled image ready to be captured by the camera. I often find myself educating the client about this process and instilling trust that my job is to make everything look good!

In these four photos below, can you explain the following:

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp
Image One: Photography By Jamie Beck

1. Why the cabbage?
This image was part of a stylized editorial based on the Dutch still life paintings for Rue Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2011 issue. These paintings depicted stylized vignettes of flowers, fruit, vegetables and bugs with the idea that all life has an ending and must go through a deodorization process. We shot at a beautiful and historic Estate in Rhinebeck New York that was built by Dutch immigrants in the late 1600’s and the interior architecture and lighting had the same feeling as these paintings. I loved the idea of recreating this ripeness and replicating these Dutch Master’s work in a modern way.
2. You have a lot going on but yet it doesn’t feel cluttered – why is that?
I think creating tightly stylized vignettes and overlapping objects helps to unify all the pieces. There’s also a visual flow to this image with the weight in the center (the stack of books) and lightness on all four corners: the lampshade, the highlight on the cabbage and shells, the open book and the framed butterfly. The repetition of color, white and cobalt blue, is also key in balancing the image.
3. Did you bring these props in or did you use what the homeowner had? Did the homeowner already have everything in place and you tweaked or did you create this look on your own?
Many of the family’s items were removed as the estate was up for sale, and except for a few larger pieces, most of the props were brought in. Because this shoot had a very distinct concept, each item needed to have a connection to these Dutch paintings.

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp
Image Two: Photography By Shanna Ravindra

1. What was this shoot for?
The photographer had access to a dilapidated mansion on Long Island and the team was eager to shoot and then see what happens. We spent the day shooting all over the house and ended up creating some really beautiful work for our books.
2. What was the mood you were going for?
The concept of the shoot was about a young girl who was trapped in this huge, run-down house, the state of the house consuming her. It was to feel mysterious, dark and a bit creepy. This specific shot was held in the attic that had beautiful light streaming in through the only window. I gave the model a fake crow to hold (one of my favorite Halloween props!) and there was a moment when she was adjusting the bird and then, boom, it all just worked.

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp
Image Three: Photography By Jamie Beck

1. I notice the same butterflies that you used in the first image – what is your thought on reusing props for the same shoot in different rooms? How can a props stylist reuse things without it being obvious?
I think reusing props is fine if it continues the visual story of the shoot. The butterflies were part of the overall concept and using some of the same elements for each shot allowed for an overall consistency. In a more abstract way, these butterflies could have easily “flown” into each of the shots, where something inanimate like a pillow or book should probably remain in one set-up or it may seem like the stylist ran out of props to use.
2. When photographing candles, wicks used or new? I say used but I’ve seen some stylists use new ones.
I like to use old wicks, or at least burn them for a bit to look used. Even if you never use the candles and they’re only for display, burning them adds an understated elegance to a room.
3. What was the mood you were going for with this windowsill still life?
There’s a quiet sensibility in this photo, a feeling of a world gone by. The whole shoot had this feeling, similar to the paintings that inspired the shoot. I also wanted to highlight the deep windowsills indicative to an old Dutch house.

Explore The Mind of Stylist Meagan Camp
Image Four: Photography By Jamie Beck

1. What mood were you going for – I love all of the things that you’ve used!
Thank you! It was a lot of Anthropologie pieces mixed in with vintage. When styling Tableau’s I love the messy yet an artfully arranged composition and wanted this shot to feel casual yet elegant. The light pouring in through the window illuminated each object with the shiny pieces seeming to pop off the rustic wooden table.
2. Did you make the veggie arrangement and if so, do you have tips on using cabbage indoors?
As this shoot was inspired by the Dutch still life paintings, I wanted to create a modern take on the flower arrangements that were so often painted. I stuck dowels in the vegetables and used dried hydrangeas and herbs that I imagine would be in a Dutch home circa the 1600’s. I added some tulips and of course, a few little butterflies! I was constantly spritzing this arrangement throughout the shoot with water to keep it fresh, although I don’t know how much longer it would have lasted beyond shooting. The elements of life depicted in these paintings were symbolic of fleeting beauty and I wanted this arrangement to look almost “too” ripe.

Wow Meagan, this has been a most inspiring interview for me and I’m sure decor8 readers have loved getting inside of your head for a bit. Thank you so much for being very generous with your explanations — you explained something that can sometimes be a very hard subject to explain, so well.

(images: andrew defrancesco, jamie beck and shanna ravindra.)






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