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Decorating Tips

Decorating Tips

David Stark For West Elm

October 29, 2010

What is gray and white and metallic all over? This has been in stores since the beginning of October so perhaps you’ve seen it in person… but tell me, what do you think about the winter collection from David Stark for West Elm? I love the whole handmade take — it’s very much what I’m used to seeing over here in Europe this time of year and what those of us online have been seeing for years now thanks to the influence of independent artists and crafters who have been sharing their garlands, handmade flowers and other paper crafts on their blogs and in their online shops.

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

To see our world go a bit mainstream is somewhat surreal — it’s great that people are catching the crafty bug, including those at the top like those who run these large retail companies. I love how much our online community has helped influence this trend. Plus, this kind of handmade, uncomplicated decoration is something you can use all winter long not just for 6 weeks during the Christmas season. For instance, I’d use most of this stuff until Spring and beyond — I even use garlands in the Spring and Summer (mine are from Lobster & Swan on Etsy who started making them ages ago with recycled paper).

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

David Stark For West Elm

To think, there was a time when table settings and decorations such as these would not have been offered simply because craft was regarded as something mom’s did with their kids and certainly not elevated enough to be sold to the public or even seen as a trend by top designers. I love that people are getting “real” in design more and more — that the guard is dropping slowly and decorating is evolving into being a bit more personalized, cozy, tied in to the lifestyle of the family, budget-conscious… Sure, there is always room for high end (and their should be, mixing high and low can result in a gorgeous space and if you have the money then why not spend it) but I remember a time in design not very long ago when handmade and DIY was not considered an option unless you were flat out broke or you didn’t confess that you’d actually covered your headboard yourself — you did that in college but once you were grown up you hired out or bought it finished.I remember growing up with a mom who made our curtains, shower curtains, roman shades, you name it — people looked down on her sometimes for it! Nowadays I think if you told someone that you made your roman shades yourself they’d think you were quite amazing and want to know how you did it so that they could try it too!

I love how the handmade movement has given so many the green light to do as they wish. Lots of us did it long before we were told we could, but it’s just nice that the rest who may not have had the courage to DIY can suddenly feel like it’s cool to craft. Good. It’s about time.

I love these table settings and pretty decorations so I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for a little inspiration for decorating your nest this coming season! Yay to David Stark for his lovely collection, too. He’s such an inspiration to so many…

(images: west elm)

Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips

Feelin’ Blue!

October 13, 2010

Blue is one of my favorite colors, it’s so versatile and soothing but when paired with red or orange it can take on a whole new level of energy. Paired with green it feels quite natural. If blue is teamed up with sunny yellow, it makes you feel happy. When blue is mixed with darker shades of brown, it can become very dressy and classy. Here are some of my favorite blue tones in some great rooms from Style At Home magazine. Style At Home is a Canadian decorating magazine that I wish I had access to here in Germany because it looks just great! Their website is amazing and packed with great information no matter where you live in the world…

Feelin' Blue!

Feelin' Blue!

Feelin' Blue!

Feelin' Blue!

Feelin' Blue!

What comes to mind when you think of the color blue? What thoughts or feelings do you associate with it? Do you use blue in the home?

(images: style at home)

Decorating Tips

Amazing Rooms But Why?

October 12, 2010

Oh Livingetc, what you do to me! These images from their gorgeous magazine make me feel like floating off into these enticing, welcoming spaces to cook, entertain and relax.

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Amazing Rooms But Why?

Yes, these rooms are all amazing but why exactly? Try to pinpoint your reasons for each winning room. Do you see one or two above that inspire you? If so, why? What speaks to you about the spaces that you see here?

(images: livingetc)

Color Inspiration, Decorating Tips

Colorful Home – Could You Live Here?

October 8, 2010

Wow! Did you check out this, “neglected Federal-style schoolhouse in the Catskills transformed into a glamorous and chic home”, today on the Country Living website? Oh my goodness this is a color and pattern explosion — and it totally works! I love all of the paint, wallpaper, collections and patterns. Yowser!

Colorful Home - Could You Live Here?

It’s so funny how some people have the natural ability to pull this off so simply yet others struggle with using so many bold patterns and colorways in a home. Why do you think this is? I think the harder it is to decorate using a certain scheme then one is either over-thinking things or trying to decorate with colors and styles that they don’t really like or connect with. For me, if something doesn’t come natural for me to do in my own home, if I have to really force myself to use a color or pattern, then I skip it and go with what feels good for me. Sometimes I’ll throw in something that doesn’t come so naturally just to challenge myself to make sure my views are narrowing too much… but still — I know what I like and so I try to use only things that I really click with in my home.

Perhaps this is why I never liked to incorporate tons of pattern and color in my home, I just can’t bare the strength of it all because my inner world is so colorful and alive that I always felt like all of these layers surrounding me at home would compete with me. I love the home shown above but for this reason, I could never live there though I’d love to find a bed and breakfast like this and spend a long weekend. :)

I was just thinking… and I’ve said this in the past, but red in the home stresses me out unless it is used as a small accent combined with a calm, soft blue or pink. Do you have a “trigger” color that stresses you out in the home? Could you live in this space above?

(images: country living)

Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips

House Beautiful + Expat Thoughts On Decorating

September 23, 2010

There are some lovely rooms to be inspired by over at House Beautiful, do you visit them regularly online? Reading magazine websites really help to keep you plugged in to the world of design and decorating — no matter where I live I always feel like I know what’s going on in America which is great because that’s where I’m from.

House Beautiful + Expat Thoughts On Decorating

It’s a nice feeling to have such resources at our fingertips, don’t you think? I’m an expat and now more than ever before I see the value in reading magazines online that I once could find at the local newsstand. It has been a huge source of comfort at times when I wonder what’s happening or what’s new — I just go online to sites like House Beautiful and feel instantly plugged in.

If you are also an expat, you must find this super helpful to you, too. I often think about what it was like many years ago before planes and the internet when people left their homeland on a boat and traveled many miles over the sea to a new country — I can’t imagine what being a foreigner was like back during such times! Once you left your country back then, you were truly cut off and could only carry your home in your heart and then, try to recreate it a bit in your new surroundings. Even in the 80s and early 90s before the internet really took off — how did foreigners cope I wonder? I think it took a lot more gumption to make a success of yourself  as an expat back then – much more than now even – don’t you?

House Beautiful + Expat Thoughts On Decorating

Many of my friends in the states admire me for selling most of my belongings and moving to Europe, but I don’t think I’m that courageous at all – I have it easy with the internet, international shipping, i-Tunes (for TV shows), DVDs so I never miss the films I long to see, cheap flights, cheap long distance (or skype), fast snail mail (I get most letters from the states within 3 days – when I was dating my husband writing him letters by hand back in 1999 it took around 10 days for them to arrive in Germany from Boston), I personally don’t feel like moving took much courage at all. When my family came over on boats through Boston back in the day arriving from Europe, that took way more strength than my move to Germany.

House Beautiful + Expat Thoughts On Decorating

These photos are so nice to look at, aren’t they? One thing I notice since moving to northern Germany over a year ago is how very American things look to me suddenly! I never noticed or really thought about how American design looked to those in other parts of the world but living abroad has really given me an alternate view and that is something that I cherish immensely. When I see certain styles, whether it be in fashion, interiors, product packaging, trends… I immediately can tell whether or not it originated in the states. House Beautiful reminds me of the differences between decorating trends and styles in Europe and those sought after in the U.S. and it is quite fascinating to consider.

House Beautiful + Expat Thoughts On Decorating

If you are an expat, can you comment on what differences you see in design/decorating in your new country vs. your home country? I’d love to hear your thoughts, no matter where you live in the world – it’s a fascinating topic I think!

(images: house beautiful magazine)

Decorating Tips

Simple Flower Arrangements

September 22, 2010

I love casual flower arrangements. I don’t feel comfortable fussing with things too much. In fact, the more I fuss the worse things usually look anyway because then my original vision gets lost. I’ve learned to just go with my first instinct and to be happy with what comes the most natural to me. I tend to like flowers in a variety of containers and I enjoying mixing blooms so that there is plenty of texture and color, even if I’m using mostly pink flowers I find that the many tones give such depth and personality to an arrangement.

Simple Flower Arrangements

I also like white carnations and find that they get such a bad rap for no reason, a carnation is a feminine flower with lovely ruffled layers. I think the carnation is a tricky bloom though, it doesn’t play well with others and looks best when it’s paired with other carnations and in my opinion, looks best with others the exact color — a carnation can suddenly look so sophisticated bunched together. In addition to flowers, I also love flowering branches in my home and recently I’ve been getting more and more into plants like olive and rosemary topiary trees and succulents. What about you, do you like simple flower arrangements or do you tend to spend a lot of time putting yours together?

Simple Flower Arrangements

One lady in blogland, Constança Cabral, does such a nice job arranging casual bunches and displaying them in her home. She just may inspire you — her many lovely photos are shown above. She is from Lisbon but currently living in England where she has an apartment in the countryside with a small garden where she picks most of her lovely stems. Constança makes things by hand and sells them in her etsy shop and she also blogs quite frequently so if you like flowers you will love her blog.

(images: Constança Cabral)

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