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Interior Styling Favorites

Good morning friends and happy new week to you! Guess what? My UK publisher will host a press conference for me in London in just two weeks, I just saw the official invitation this morning and am quite excited and very nervous — shaky knees for sure! :) I heard that some journalists and bloggers will be there to talk about Decorate and to view the book in person, which releases in the UK during the same week as my birthday in March. Oh my goodness you guys, what will I wear!?

Ohhhh Mhhh….

I’m very excited to see the book in two weeks myself — I keep wondering what it will feel like to hold it in my hands and flip the pages… I’ve been reading decorating books since I was a child so it’s still a very surreal feeling for me to have my own book and I am feeling very emotional about it. Lots of my friends tell me to “work it” and “have fun” and all I want to do is praise all of you for making this happy because I’m smart enough to know that it is through your support that I got a book deal in the first place. It’s such an honor for me to create a book for you, and when I have a copy I will make sure to give you a preview in a few weeks. Speaking of decorating…

I thought that it would be fun to share a few photos from my Interior Styling group on Flickr each Monday, a few highlights along with some links to Flickr members that you may or may not follow yet. The reason I selected Monday for this is because at the dawn of a new week lots of us need inspiration and ideas to carry us through the work week.

The Interior Styling group on Flickr has some lovely images submitted by members of the group and so there are always lots of photos to enjoy of real homes decorated by people all over the world who just love to decorate and possess a real knack for it. I curate the group to ensure a cohesive look and feel and to make sure that no odd submissions leak through (I sort through plenty of questionable content that’s for sure) so you can be sure that the images will be inspiring and diverse to fit many tastes. Members of this group also know that if they submit their photo to the group that I just may use it on decor8 because good work needs to be shared!

Interior Styling Group Inspiration

Pops of red and yellow with white and gray… Top left: Lillian Day knows that a little bit goes a long way. |  Top right: i l’aria brightens up her white bedding with a vibrant patchwork quilt and colorful crochet pillow cover giving this room a handmade feel. |  Bottom left: Nest decorating adds a bold floor rug to her kitchen making it a strong focal point in her Vermont farmhouse.  |  Bottom right: maedchen style lifts a mostly neutral palette with shots of country red in checks, dots and stripes.

Gorgeous workspace that looks soooo inspiring by ishtar olivera in Spain.

Super organized and a beautiful, nature-inspired theme by Dora iz Londona.

Interior Styling Group Inspiration

Top left: ninaaribena1 mixes several bold black and white patterns (a risk) but placement and scale is key and she gets it right. |  Top righti l’aria makes a crochet lampshade to give her otherwise pastel decor some energy which is always nice in winter months.  |  Bottom left: ish & chi is never afraid to take a risk. She is a very courageous women in more ways than one. Vivian, you go girl! |  Bottom right: Ninaribena1 painted her front door with black and white stripes for a bold, graphic statement. You can really have fun in small rooms like this so why not mix and match?

Elsa’s shelf of vintage and vintage-inspired notions makes me smile and feel creative just by looking at it. Isn’t this how it is sometimes? Even when we do nothing with our little crafty bits, it still makes us feel more creative just by collecting them and having a few around to jump start our creativity now and then… Plus lots of crafty things look extremely sweet when used as decoration in the home, don’t they?

This living space by lakbdesign is so inviting in blue tones and tactile elements (wood sculpture above fireplace, coffee table and natural sisal rug) but surprise, there is a gorgeous lime green table in the corner to introduce playfulness to this otherwise sophisticate decor. This look is very relaxing and inviting. The curved armless sofa is divine.

Look for “Interior Styling Favorites” each and every Monday on decor8 going forward where I’ll pick my weekly faves from the group and share right here. Enjoy!

(images: linked to their sources beneath each image above.)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 17, 2011

Vintage Industrial Decorating Tips + HKLiving

Is vintage industrial a style that interests you? If so, you’ll like this find. I found out about HKLiving just yesterday after buying an industrial pendant light from them at Die Wohngeschwister in Hamburg. HKLiving is a home collection offering everything from lighting to furniture and interior accessories and is owned by Dutch designer Emiel Hetsen along with his partners Saskia Wesselius and Sander Klaver. Emiel launched his company in 2008 and along with product design, he also has a background in selling antique and vintage furniture and by the looks of his collection, his background resulted in a strong, cohesive collection. HKLiving has appeared in several European design magazines, you can see a few spreads below from VTWonen and Skona Hem.



What do you think of this look? These products are not offered yet in the US, though I’m sure you can find similar products at stores near you and I can bet that you’ll be seeing this look more and more in the states — the vintage industrial look is a big trend here.

If you like vintage industrial but want to mix some elements of it in with your own style to create a look, you can go a few ways with it, try these ideas:

* Go clean and graphic — Minimalistic with bold black as an accent, a large metal initial on the wall, chalkboard paint in the dining room, industrial stools at the bar in your kitchen. This look is mostly black and white with a shot of bold color if you wish. Orange is a nice accent and can be brought it by placing a bright orange metal chair at your desk or an orange vase on your table. Floors can be painted white, black or if you are lucky, natural hardwood that is original and a bit rough around the edges. Polished concrete is another option.

* Go country by bringing in pinstripes in black and white for your fabrics along with creamy white (with a yellow tone) mixed with your bright whites (which often have a blue or gray. Add some pastel color – a pale mint wooden cabinet for instance. Mix in original vintage elements like an old wooden farmhouse table, a farmhouse sink for the kitchen, etc. along with your faux vintage pieces. Style with fresh flowers (pink roses, white peonies or lavender for instance), layer blankets on your bed and mix the patterns of your linens, buy a comfy sofa (brown leathers or white linens work nicely), and add wicker baskets as storage for that pile of magazines near your favorite chair.

* Go bright and have fun by adding in patterns (try gray stars or petite floral prints) and bright colors like red, blue and pink. You can bring in a pink Smeg fridge and colorful Cath Kidston wallpaper. Add a vintage industrial light over your dining table in bold yellow. Paint a crate bright red and use for storage.

* Go the natural route by bringing in lots of warmth and texture with reindeer furs and cow hides (cruelty-free or faux), driftwood and branches in vases. Think “rustic” and natural. Mango wood tables, a whitewashed coffee table, comfortable seating that you can sink into, vintage industrial furniture like black metal lockers for storage or crates on wheels as a bedside table. This is purely optional, but you can bring in some ethnic accents into this look — silver Moroccan poufs, a white wooden tea table with silver metal tray, etc.

There are other ways to use vintage industrial items in a way that suits you. You can even mix and match some of these ideas above, for instance the natural and rustic style can work nicely combined with the country look. With clean and graphic, you can add in some country elements to make it a bit French flea market-esque.

Note: Don’t only go faux or else your home risks becoming a Faux Chateau, a slang term right up there with McMansion that my friend Laurie uses to describe the interior of a home that has all reproduction pieces in it and nothing genuinely vintage or antique. Mix your faux pieces that are beautifully made and look very authentic, like those at HKLiving with those that are actual vintage pieces that you found at a flea market for best decorating results. This is what I do and it works for me and hopefully can work for you, too. :)

What about where you live, do you see this look creeping in or is it already popular?

(images: hkliving + herzlich wohnen)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 13, 2011

Freunde von Freunden

My friend Jeannette reminded me of this great interiors/lifestyle site based in Berlin called Freunde von Freunden that I’ve been meaning to tell you about for months. If you’re curious to see how lots of creative people live and work in Berlin, this site is for you. There are interviews (some of them in English), video, and most importantly — lots of inspiring interiors to enjoy. I think you may like seeing what old German city apartments look like — at least in the altbau buildings (photos of them are here thanks to Google images) – which basically means “old building” in English but goes a bit beyond that as I’ll get into below…

Freunde von Freunden

The altbau is typically very charming as many are Jugenstil dating back to around the 1900′s; I live in an altbau and some of the features in my building include huge windows, a balcony, soaring ceilings and original wood floors — some of us are lucky to have the herringbone hardwood floors which are quite handsome. Also the building entryways are typically grand and very large. Unfortunately, just like old buildings in the states, landlords tend to modernize them by removing the beautiful old details to install more “functional” and very typical things like boring bathroom tiles (replacing the gorgeous old tile), but if one is lucky enough they can still find an altbau apartment that has many of the original details still intact.

Freunde von Freunden

I laughed when I saw this bathroom above. These windows are so typical here in most of the government buildings, law firms, doctor’s offices, museums, etc. I guess that this could be only in the big cities, but in my city many old buildings are occupied by businesses. The bathroom above looks just like the one where I had to go to sign off on some paperwork recently. I don’t know, I love these bathrooms. Whenever I am in old buildings I want to photograph the bathrooms. Strange hang up of mine. Perhaps I should do it? Hmmm…

Freunde von Freunden

I totally love this kitchen. It’s feminine but not too much… Someday I will have either vintage Belgium or Portuguese tile in my kitchen OR hardwood floors. Help me to get rich and famous so I can fulfill my dying wish, please? Thank you. :)

Freunde von Freunden

Oh I like the built-in shelving in this kitchen above and that print, yes, that is a great one. Did you notice the detailing on that antique cabinet? I bet a husband somewhere just about died when his dear frau painted that cabinet white, but honestly I’ve seen them in their original state (regular wood) and they just don’t have the same sex appeal. I know, I know, antiques lovers everywhere are cringing as I speak…

But back to Freunde von Freunden, it’s a terrific site founded by Berliners Frederik Frede and Tim Seifert with beautiful photographs taken by Ailine Liefeld. Some say it is like The Selby, but I don’t see that — I find it to be a different experience entirely. FvF focuses on featuring those who are creative and working in creative industries and not so much on hipsters or how edgy one can be…  or how racy even… Though I love The Selby it really does focus on the uber hip which is why we love it whereas FvF tends to tap more into real people and they dig deep into the world of those featured, capturing some of their life through video (not all, but some) and it is Berlin-focused so the local content is especially nice for those who are either living elsewhere but are Berlin-curious or who live in Berlin or nearby, like me, and have no clue who really works and lives in Berlin because like any big city, it’s often hard to find other creative types and typically you either find them at parties, exhibitions or online — at least that is how I find others who are working in creative industries.

Freunde von Freunden

Freunde von Freunden

Freunde von Freunden

You can ask anyone in my life and they’ll tell you that I have wanted a black Kit Kat clock (I call it a Felix clock) since I was 18 years old and saw one in the home of my friend in Boston. I can’t believe I still don’t own one. This photo above sent me over the edge, I may just have to hunt one down… I wish someone would buy the rights and reproduce them in ceramic (the one above is plastic) without the jeweled eyes (the vintage ones are ceramic with jeweled eyes).

There are so many amazing people who live in this fascinating city and because it is still so affordable, it continues to draw artists and dreamers from all over the world which is exciting because it’s rare to find a city that has beautiful property left that is also in good neighborhoods and affordable! Plus, Berlin is great for families and lots of the apartments are quite large so there is room to spread out a bit. I like that for many of the FvF interviews, they show the workspace of the person interviewed, which often means showing two separate spaces — the living space and the office or atelier. They recently interviewed an American artist living in Berlin, Kelsey Brookes, and I found the way he got into art so fascinating and since the interview is in English, I encourage you to read it here because it’s pretty inspiring how this guy found his calling.

Freunde von Freunden

Freunde von Freunden

I want glass domes and a mirror like that, don’t you?

Freunde von Freunden

The photos throughout this post are some of my personal favorites, though you really need to dig in and spend time on Freunde von Freunden because it is a great way to blow off a few hours. :) I am now a regular Freunde von Freunden reader and look forward to seeing who will be featured next.

P.S. This site made me realize that the author of those Japanese Paumes books need to do a Berlin interiors book, huh? I mean, there is none for Berlin yet and why? I haven’t the slightest clue… Especially after visiting this site!

(images: Freunde von Freunden and Ailine Liefeld)

Posted in Decorating Tips on January 06, 2011

Decorating Ideas + Ist Option

I wrote about London locations company 1st Option today over at Real Simple, though as I scoured their website I started to think about why some of my favorite rooms in their portfolio worked and so I thought I’d share a few quick decorating tips along with their gorgeous locations… One thing I have learned over the years is to dissect everything and really ask yourself WHY? a lot when it comes to what you naturally are drawn towards.

1st Options

Why does this work? What do you like?

1st Options

If this appeals to you, what exactly lures you in? The mirror? The many tones of white? Do you simply like the no-frills feel? Maybe it is old books that you love? Is it the white walls and floors?

1st Options

1st Options

1st Options

I try to avoid rushing through magazines and blogs but instead, I take time to really look at the images that attract me. I think about what exactly is pulling me in, and I ask, Why does this or that work? I made little notes above on these images to illustrate my point. After looking at them I was able to pinpoint why these arrangements appealed to me. I also ask when viewing images that I like, What do I like about it? Why is the room appealing? And if I cannot seem to figure it out I won’t let myself walk away until I’ve identified exactly what drew me to it in the first place. This type of thinking if very active and “in touch” — I don’t do it every single time I pull out my favorite magazine (I often zone out and relax without thinking much as I look at images, too), but spending extra time to really pick apart what you love is so rewarding in the end because you train your eye, figure out your taste and style, and learn a lot about yourself in general but also about interior decorating and what themes or objects that you see repeated in some of the best rooms that designers are using today — and then you can try doing something like it in your own home.

We learn through observation and also through imitating what we see — it starts when we are infants and we watch our parents, often copying their behavior — but after some time, we mature and desire to no longer copy but to try to make something we saw personal to us or to improve it somehow. That is always the goal when we find inspiration — to either figure out how we can do something similar but with our own personality in the mix or how we can change it up a bit (or completely) and make what we saw even better in our own eyes.

Do you like to pick rooms apart and figure out what works, too?

(images: 1st option)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 24, 2010


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