Hello everyone! Yesterday I took a break from posting because I was so busy with some other projects that I felt like I was being stretched in every direction! But today is better, so I want to spend some time with you to share some recent inspirations.
The day for me started off very nicely because I went to view a potential home for the book (thank you Tinna!) I’m working on and it was very beautiful so I took some quick snapshots and sent it off to the publisher. We’re trying to coordinate everything as we want to begin shooting locations this summer which is only a few months away but I’m not stressed as I know we’ll be able to organize everything just fine. I’ve learned that stress only complicates things and most of the time, everything works out in the end anyway so why stress over it! Okay so enough about me, let’s get inspired by some talented people today, shall we?
One is a company called Sofie Lawett in Sweden run by creative duo Sofie Anderrson and Marcus Lawett. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Everyone in Sweden must be so stylish!” and yes, I think you just may be right as it does seem this way because there certainly is a lot of talent there! Sofie Lawett provides interior design and styling since 2006 for both residential and commercial clients with tasks that range from 3D design to building environments for styling, sketches, and decorating spaces.
These photographs, taken by Marcus Lawett, shows only some of their work. You will need to visit their online portfolio to see more. Some of their clients include Hus & Hem, Elle Interior, VTWonen and IKEA to name a few.
(images: marcus lawett)
I’ve talked about window films before and I’ll talk about them again and again because I think they’re fantastic! I was so pleased when Emma Jeffs contacted me yesterday to share some of her latest designs which are now available on Emma’s website for UK and EU customers and over at 2Jane in the USA. Would you like to see how nice they look installed?
Whether you have a terrible view of a dumpster or some freaky peeping Tom neighbor, window films (also known as window vinyls or stickers) can be a great solution to hide from the ugly, cruel world. Ha. Kidding. But let’s get real here — sometimes urban living isn’t what Hollywood movies make it out to be with sweeping views of Central Park so one needs to have a practical solution to hide the fire escape and views of panties drying in the wind on the neighbors balcony and window films can be a good one. They’re also helpful if you need some privacy (in a bathroom, for instance) but would like to still let in the light OR if you simply want something decorative to spruce up your space — these come in some pretty patterns that look great without drawing too much attention — which I like in a window film — simple, understated, modern, white.
Would you consider adding these to your windows? Have you ever used this product before, or something similar? Where else in the home can you see using them other than windows? I picture them on interior transom windows and glass cabinets and doors — like those large IKEA closets with frosted glass sliding doors. They are so versatile!
(images: emma jeffs)
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for vintage tiles — especially blue and white ones but I’m open to other colors as well. Remember the home of Myrte de Zeeuw in Belgium that I shared with you last year? I’d even like to have tile like hers in my home, too. I think it’s quite sad that in many of the apartments and homes that I look at vintage flooring is often removed and replaced with standard white or gray tiles lacking in both charm and personality but also history – such a shame!
To me, there is nothing better than vintage tile floors (or even repros) in the wet areas of a home — even the entryway or balcony looks beautiful with them. And so seeing this image above in the Toast catalog I was reminded once again of my love of old tiles, particularly those from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Europe in general and Turkey — though Germany has some beautiful ones too. And speaking of Toast, you must check out their linens, rubbish bins, towels and their lovely pillows.
We all have dreams of the perfect interiors… My dream is to someday live in a pretty apartment with lots of sunlight and blue and white tiles on the wall in the kitchen — vintage ones… And old windows, and tons of transom windows… and a built in bookcase, a fireplace with a mantle, high ceilings, wood floors (herringbone would be ideal)… And a bathroom with a large clawfoot soaking tub with a huge window. And a balcony overlooking something very pretty — like a courtyard or garden. I know… realistic, right!? :)
I have been thinking about this and seeing it in my mind for so many years but never can I find it. Ha! I wonder why!? But oh yes, I must say that I need not have all of those features — even just a few would be grand. But of course, a place with vintage blue and white tiles in the kitchen would be a dream come true for me. I’m thinking that perhaps I can put them up someday if I buy a home of my own. What a happy thought this is!
What is your dream when it comes to something you imagine having in your home that you do not currently?
Psst: Looking for some travel and interiors inspiration? You simply must visit Toast Travels. (images: toast)
I was flipping through the latest issue of e-magazine Lonny yesterday when I came across the New York apartment of Michelle Adams who is one of the founders of Lonny magazine (along with Patrick Cline) and is the designer behind the brand Rubie Green whom I’ve featured here before. Michelle recently renovated her city apartment to be a bit more eco-friendly and since I love yellow and white her place really sang to me.
I asked Michelle if she’d give decor8 a further look into her apartment so although these images appear in Lonny they’re larger and without text so you can see all of the little details. Plus I’ve asked her for some decorating tips so that you can walk away from this post with more than visual inspiration but also with a few clever ideas on how to make your space more “green” from the lovely Michelle who calls her new look, “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper.” Okay so Michelle will take the wheel from here…
Living room notes: Decorating was a challenge because my apartment is in a post-war building with NO CHARACTER, and it resembled the gross high-rise buildings that make me cringe. So I knew I had to inject some serious charm into it fast! I didn’t have much money to spend on the re-do, so I decided to use the ostrich wallpaper (which I’m OBSESSED WITH!) on the main wall in my living/dining room to not only tie the space together and create a strong focal point, but to also ensure that I didn’t need to hang much on my walls! Rather than buying a bunch of art for above my sofa, the busy paper allowed me to simply hang a vintage mirror (another obsession- $20 at the flea market!) flanked by two sleek sconces. And that’s it! The curtains were custom made from my Rubie Green Bryn fabric, and I had them finished with grommets to keep the look laid back and beachy. The fabric itself reminds me of an outdoor canopy, and I chose the yellow because it’s unexpected and it pulls out the little bit of yellow in the ostrich paper (where he’s sticking his head in the sand).
The TV is sort of an unexpected shout-out in the sense that I’m obsessed with it (who is obsessed with a TV?!) because: it has a built-in DVD player, which means there’s only one cord and no ugly components! Plus it’s white. The federal mirror was another amazing find- $40 from the same vendor who sold me the bamboo mirror! It was originally a gross brown and used to be hanging in a bar (there’s seriously a beer advertisement underneath the mirror, which i discovered while painting it!) so I took my leftover Benjamin Moore Natura paint (zero VOCs) and slopped a few coats on and voila! The 20×200 photo of the girl in the city is a favorite that I first saw in Victoria Thompson’s apartment when we shot it for the last issue of Lonny! It was $50, and when paired with an oversized Pottery Barn “thin metal gallery frame” it’s suddenly a large and strong enough piece to anchor the whole table. The other two frames on that wall are also from this same collection, and one has an old IKEA post card in it of a David Downton illustration, and the other a magazine tear out that I’ve had for years and am in love with. The huge silver lamp is by Arteriors and I love it because it would work equally as well in a bachelor pad, sleek modern home, girly retreat or even a child’s room! I look for versatile pieces like this that can be reinterpreted in each apt I move to (and eventually HOME!). The West Elm stump side table is awesome – I cannot emphasize how cool it is that a mass corporation has taken on the green movement and truly MEANS IT. This piece was cut from naturally fallen cypress trees and then boxed and shipped! Nothing more! So it literally smells like a cypress tree, and it makes my home smell fresh and natural :)
My obvious obsession in this room is my vintage credenza! I went to Furnish Green looking for a vintage desk, and stumbled upon this beauty and practically screamed! It’s huge and elegant without feeling pretentious, and since it’s over 100 years old I love imagining the other women who must have owned it, and what they used to fill it with. On top is some of my favorite art that I’ve collected over the years at the flea market. The black framed line drawing on the upper left corner is an original piece that I found for $60 at the flea market underneath a pile of DVDs! So when I stumbled upon the white line drawing (in the middle, white frame) of the Flat Iron Building years later, my jaw dropped. It’s from a local Brooklyn artist and I love how it’s elegant but totally relaxed. The oil painting above it (far top right) is also from the flea market, as is the gold framed watercolor next to it, a mere $40 at Elephant’s trunk market in CT. Lastly, the two photos of shoes and a Polaroid are some that Pat and I took together over the years! We sell a lot of our work on etsy. Lastly, the candle hurricane is one that I’ve been in love with for years and finally received as a gift a few weeks ago! It’s from Ralph Lauren and I first spotted it in domino Editor at Large Tom Delavan’s home. It’s timeless, and elegant enough that it sort of gives credibility to my otherwise hodgepodged art collection.
My dining table is a West Elm parsons that I found on Craigslist! The previous owner had purchased it two months before selling it, because it didn’t fit in her apt, so I was able to save it from a landfill and also save myself half the cost. The chairs are from Ballard Designs and I’m obsessed! They’re totally classic, and I know I’ll have them forever. Since Ballard does custom work, I had them upholstered in my Rubie Green Capri Stripe fabric, which reminds me of Paris! The framed photo of Paris is one that Pat and I took from the top of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris when we traveled there last fall for Lonny! The horses were shot in New Jersey on a little farm that we stumbled upon.
I had the headboard custom made a few years ago by the Furniture Joint and upholstered in my Marilyn fabric! Pottery Barn has a really similar one right now called York. The headboard fabric itself was inspired by a vintage napkin that I bought for $2 at a flea market when I was in college! The bamboo armoire is one that I found at Housing Works (an NYC thrift shop) for $365! When I found it I literally wrapped my body around it and begged my assistant to take my credit card to the cashier so nobody else would buy it in the meantime – ha ha. Lastly the sofa is from Williams Sonoma Home and I’m obsessed with it too – the scale is so petite and sophisticated, yet the natural linen fabric keeps it from feeling fussy and I love that the frame is made from sustainably harvested wood. The rug is awesome too — it’s a 9×12 PB Essential Jute rug (Pottery Barn) and it’s made from jute and finished with fire rather than chemicals! I love this one in particular because it’s soft underfoot- it almost feels like wool, and since I couldn’t afford wall to wall sisal carpeting, the huge size was the perfect alternative.
Ways to “green up” your living space:
1. Do your homework: Ask questions and read product descriptions to find out exactly how products are really made. If you’re unclear about something, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call customer service to ask. Companies that make the effort to truly manufacture earth friendly items will be happy to tell you all about them.
2. Start with a clear inspiration in mind: Rather than looking for eco products and buying them simply because they’re earth-friendly, figure out what style you’re hoping to achieve and select your furnishings accordingly. In my own apartment, I decided early on that my inspiration was “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper,” so I searched for items that were bold (i.e. Dorothy) yet still charming, relaxed and natural. My wallpaper is clearly a bold statement, as the birds are large and highly repetitive, yet when you look closely they are delicately drawn and very feminine. I tried to look for these sorts of juxtapositions in every piece that I brought into my home. Since I’m fascinated by flea markets, I also wanted to inject a bit of history into my decor, with pieces that have been around for decades.
3. Make the easy switches: If eco-chic design feels a bit overwhelming, start with the basics. When painting your walls or furniture, opt for paints with zero VOCs. There are so many easily accessible options on the market that you won’t have to hunt whatsoever (Benjamin Moore, Home Depot, etc.) and you can rest assured that your walls won’t be emitting toxic gases that you and your family will breathe in. When choosing rugs, always buy an eco-friendly rug pad and look for rugs made with natural fibers. Be sure they aren’t finished with a chemical coating (this is key!) and look for certification stamps like RugMark and Goodweave to ensure that you’re buying pieces which were not created with child labor. For furniture, look for pieces made from reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, and when cleaning your home you can make the simple switch to natural and biodegradable products. (Which honestly smell better than chemically produced ones anyway!)
4. Embrace vintage: By buying vintage, you’re saving products from ending up in a landfill, and also reducing the demand for new products to be manufactured. Often times you’ll find that vintage furniture is much less expensive than new, and absolutely packed with character! Don’t be afraid of a cheesy looking antique mall – that’s often where you’ll find the best deals on furniture and accessories ;)
5. Spread the word: If you make the effort to go green, be proud of it and share it with your friends. The more people who pick up on the movement, the better our planet will be as a result.
If you’d like to see more images from Michelle’s apartment, or if you’d like to read Lonny online, please click here. Lonny magazine was founded by Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline who is a photographer also residing in New York.
(Photography: Patrick Cline)
One favorite pastime of mine lately is to browse the submissions from over 1,600 members who belong to my Interior Styling group on Flickr. I am constantly amazed by the talent there and thoroughly enjoy it and think that you may too. Here is but a glimpse of some of the most recent submissions, these spaces are so nicely arranged — there’s nothing like the authenticity of a “real” home that hasn’t been fluffed and groomed to perfection. They are perfectly imperfect, with heart and personality, and this is so inspiring to me. Have a look…
You can pick up so many ideas for decorating your own space from regularly visiting and participating in this group. We even have monthly challenges to keep it fun and interesting. To view more inspirational photos taken by members of their own homes, or to join (it’s free!), please visit Interior Styling on Flickr to view over 2,000 submissions!
(images: linked to their source above.)