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NEW! Bolaget Inspiration

I have a hugely inspiring website to tell you about that JUST launched that hasn’t hit the blogosphere yet (not English blogs anyway) called Bolaget Inspiration based in Sweden and oh my! It’s delightful! I have my lovely blog collegue Frida to thank for sharing it with me today via email. Thanks, Frida!

Bolaget Inspiration

Bolaget is managed by a dedicated team in Malmo, Sweden. It is the mission of Bolaget to find and sell some of the best properties in Malmo, and thanks to their team of interiors professionals, they can evaluate your property and decorate it (also known as home staging) in order to boost the value of your home. They have gorgeous places for sale, you simply must check it out but more than that, they just launched an inspiration site for those who want to see past properties.

Bolaget Inspiration

Bolaget Inspiration

Bolaget Inspiration

Bolaget Inspiration

By the way, if you don’t know what home staging is, also referred to in the UK as property styling, it is defined this way by wikipedia, “Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want.” This is a smart approach to selling homes and has been around for years now, but Bolaget has a very nice touch that sets them out from the pack.

Bolaget Inspiration

Bolaget Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but this is the type of home staging that I love. I’m not so keen on the ordinary staging that I see out there and I’m sure you know what I mean, the cookie cutter look that almost always includes a stack of books with a shell on top or overly home staged to look like a model home or catalog spread. Bolaget seems to have a real knack for styling in a lovely, appealing way that feels fresh, casual and livable. I like that. These homes speak to me — I want to buy and live in them because they feel inspiring, eclectic, and perfectly imperfect.

What about you? How do you feel about the typical “staging” work you see where you live? Is it still popular where you live or not?

(images: bolaget)

Posted in Decorating Tips on February 01, 2011

A Alicia + Styling Ideas

I was out in twitterland chirping from my nest when I heard a distant tweet from blogger Erin at Kind and learned about A Alicia Handmade. This eco fashion and home brand is small and sweet, and though I’m not turning into a fashion blogger anytime soon, I do love to share what inspires me outside of home decor from time to time because so much of this fuels my passion for interiors even more.

a alicia

The things I see in the fashion world tend to creep into my home in other ways, for instance a skirt may inspire an idea that I have for a patterned shower curtain in my bathroom or the trim on a sweater makes me think of how I should add some trim to my guest towels. I would love to execute more of my creative ideas at home for this year, it is part of my resolve as the clock struck twelve on January 1st. So far, so good — I made a curtain for my office out of Liberty fabric and I am soon to wallpaper my hallway. I also bought a ton of beautiful beads from my last two trips to Morocco and Turkey and now they are displayed on gorgeous hooks on the wall because jewelry so beautiful shouldn’t be hidden away in a drawer and most of these necklaces I won’t wear on a daily basis (especially the large felted beads from the medina in Marrakesh).

Displaying fashion and accessories in the home is also a huge trend in styling and has been for a long time now. You must notice the occasional flowy dress hanging from a closet door or the beads on hooks in some of your favorite books and magazines? Of course, a handbag over a chair and high heels on the floor are common styling tricks of the trade as well.

Why?

Because they warm up interior photographs and bring a certain feeling of home to a shot. You frequently see these tricks more in magazines than in books though but they’re still there and if styled casually they can add warmth and life to a room. If styled perfectly however, they can make a shot seem lifeless because then the room looks like a catalog or the focus can be on the items and not the room, giving the appearance of a product shot.

You see, styling is an art just like anything else and though I do not consider myself an expert in this area I did learn quite a bit last year while I was traveling around styling rooms for my book. One thing I learned is that to make a room come to life — well, it requires a special awareness in my opinion at least — for instance, when you style a room for a book you have to not only think of the editorial angle but also what feeling you want to bring to the reader while still making sure that home reflects the personal style of its inhabitants. You have to consider the senses and how you can help the reader to tap in to some of them. Food stylists know the art of making the viewer’s mouth water because they introduce certain elements to a shot — steam, the bubbles in foam, drips, smears, all done expertly to make you crave what you see. You have to capture that same craving with the photos that you style for interiors — the viewer should want to live there.

But back to fashion and accessories to use in the home as decor. Yes, it’s a great idea and an affordable way to change up a room – your coat rack in the hallway, if better organized, could serve as a beautiful display of coats, bags and scarves in addition to providing a practical storage space. Why not pretty up functional storage areas in your home so that these otherwise mundane areas can look nice and inspire you?

Now back to the talented A Alicia. About A Alicia her bio says, “Anna Alicia took a round-about route to accessory design, via a degree in Art History at the University of Kent and an MA in Fine Art at Central St Martins, London. Her background in Art History and her practice as an artist play a huge role in inspiring her collections, as do the travels of her childhood, and the buzz of living and working in London. Alongside these influences, Anna Alicia also explores a fascination with historical craft and particularly Japanese craft and design. Ethical and environmental concerns are central to her collections – all A Alicia accessories are made by hand in Anna Alicia’s London studio, using fair trade organic cotton and vintage elements wherever possible. Far from finding it restrictive, Anna Alicia feels that working with limited materials inspires her to make the most of their possibilities.”

Psst: She has a second shop for wedding accessories and she is on Etsy.
(images: Anna Alicia)

Posted in Decorating Tips, fashion + accessories on January 26, 2011

Renovating Done Right

I heard from reader Manfung Cheung yesterday who runs Dutch design blog Inrichting Huis in Rotterdam because he wanted to share with you the renovations that he and his partner Lydia La recently completed in their city apartment. They decided to buy their first home — a two level flat in an old mansion that desperately needed renovation and their personal touch.

Manfung's House

You can see all of their before photos here, which I think is a great way to begin this post — to see where they started because oftentimes we approach a big project and it can seem daunting and we wonder if it is really worth the effort or not.  Manfung and Lydia prove that a little elbow grease goes a long, long way. These photos are of their beautiful new space which is light and bright — a requirement for some who want to avoid winter blues and even depression in cities that are known to be rainy and gray, as Rotterdam doesn’t have the best weather — it’s not Hawaii!

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung knows that it is vital to live in a home that fully supports you and allows for personal growth — he calls it a, “necessary foundation for happiness and success in life”. Large amounts of money and tons of space are not required to be happy — that is a bonus — the only requirements to make a house YOUR home is to find inspiration, connect to resources, get creative, tap into your personal style and be motivated enough to get up and do something about it! Kick your own butt! ha ha!

What a great house – thank you Manfung for writing in and sharing your space with us, especially before the weekend as many jump on DIY projects over the weekend — your home inspired me to work on my own tomorrow after I go to the flea market. I particularly love your collections, your wood floors, that darling mini blue SMEG and the Never Grow Up poster.

So tell me, when you start a renovation project, or even a decorating project, what are some of your fears? What often stands in your way? If you have any projects that you’re putting off, why? Perhaps together we can inspire one another to get a move on like Manfung did. Maybe even Manfung can help you with some of your dilemmas, so please comment below.

(images: inrichting huis)

Posted in Decorating Tips, diy on January 21, 2011

Photographer Emily Anderson

I found some lovely interiors that have clean lines and are quite organized to inspire you today. Or perhaps I’m hoping to become inspired by them after spending 6 hours organizing the front four rooms of our apartment and it feels like the mess has only just begun! These gorgeous photographs are from the portfolio of photographer Emily Anderson, who specializes in weddings, and is based in New York City and will travel the world for her clients. I invite you to visit her site and see her many photos for yourself.

Photographer Emily Anderson

We have a floor-through unit in the city, it is around 2,300 square feet, with four rooms in the front, two in the middle along with two bathrooms and two small rooms for storage (one is my laundry closet), and three rooms in the back but that’s not all, there are also two wintergartens (three season porches you would call them in the states) and a balcony. I haven’t lived in a place this large since I was with my parents so I don’t know what to do exactly with all of this space yet but I’m sure I’ll get my groove on and figure it all out soon enough. I’m an expert at organizing small spaces and 1 bedroom apartments but I feel a bit like a goldfish in the ocean in here and I’m not sure exactly where to begin because there are so many rooms and options for storing things. But so far, so good — I am doing well and making progress. My new sofa arrived today after waiting for three months. Now I have to hunt for a sofa table. The sofa is a lovely color, it’s grey-brown and a very modern with slim metal legs — I’m happy with it. My husband and I selected it together, which was important to me that we make design decisions together in this space just as we did before in our New Hampshire home.

My white IKEA sofa is now in my sitting room, but I will retire it altogether when I find another to replace it because it was never meant to be with us for long and it isn’t good for my back. It was only used in our vacation apartment three months per year. I’m ready to let it go, it’s been good to us for three years but I’m ready to let someone else love it now. :)

Photographer Emily Anderson

What about you? Are you decorating or organizing your home lately? Are you seeing any changes in your color choices? I’m still a big fan of white, but I’m getting bored with my home looking like everyone else’s that I see these days so I want to be different and try some new ideas. I am feeling creative and ready to take on some new looks for my home while still being true to myself. And you? Where do you stand with your interiors lately? I believe that we evolve, and as we evolve, we have to allow our homes to evolve with us. Sure, you aren’t going to toss all of your furniture for a complete redux but you can work in some new pieces to reflect who you are today and that is often a good thing.

Remember to check out Emily Anderson’s site and I nearly forgot to tell you… she authors a lovely blog that you may enjoy browsing, too.
(images: emily anderson)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 18, 2011

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