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H&M Home Collection {New!}

Frida from Husmusen told me last week that Swedish apparel giant H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) will soon launch a home line (window coverings, comforters, sheets, pillows, towels and accessories) due to an large demand for home textiles from their customers. The collection will include several items grouped by theme, here are a few that the lovely Frida has grouped together for a quick peek:

Nature (love those button cushions!)

Design (bold graphics, black and white)


Bright Colors (featuring work from Liselotte Watkins, blogged here before)

and Classic (Marine blue, “New England style”)

These collections will start to sell online in February 2009, but not in America, only in Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Nordic countries. They want to start selling online and through catalogs first to see how things go and then see what they want to do from there. Perhaps America could be next? Stay tuned!

Out of the collections shown above, do you have a favorite? Why? Anything that you’d like to see that is currently missing when it comes to affordable home items? I think the world could use more of a selection when it comes to shower curtains and affordable patterned curtains personally.

(images from frida and H&M)

Posted in Decorating Tips, shopping on December 04, 2008

Real Spaces {Share Your Thoughts}

Let’s talk about decorating and have a little discussion about it today, shall we? I’ll start and then you can pick up with your own thoughts in the comments section. Ready? Okay. When I was a little girl, I would beg my mother to take me on night walks around our neighborhood so I could see what homes looked like inside. I really loved to catch glimpses of the magical places where people lived, and though I didn’t press my nose against any windows, I certainly loved admiring the many homes from the sidewalk as we strolled by. I particularly liked to see what was in the window. Sometimes a little cat relaxing on a blanket, or I’d notice plants and flowers in pretty pots, stained glass, and window decorations like glass animals or paper mobiles. It was always a treat to take night walks and today nothing has changed. Whenever I’m in Boston, I like to walk around the Back Bay (especially in early December) to see the twinkle lights and to catch peeks of the gorgeous brownstones that line the streets.

via Candi Mandi. She made her own headboard with fabric paint creating the word, Love.

In Germany, my vacation apartment is in a small city the size of Boston in a neighborhood with many gorgeous Jugenstil style buildings from the 1800’s. Our night walks here are always a delight, from sparkling store displays to a glimpse of someone’s apartment, even if only their window decorations. Many of you are the same, it’s not so unusual to enjoy seeing how real people live. That is why I love Flickr. I find so many homes there of some pretty creative people who live all over the world, and I never tire of viewing them because I see so many things I like and feel inspired by.

via Nestled In who has a lovely blog too.

When you view the magical world of interior design magazines it can often be a double edged sword. On one side you can become seriously inspired. On the other, if you take what you see too seriously, you may find yourself depressed, feeling as though your life will never be as glamorous, wondering why ‘they’ have it and you don’t (and let’s face it some of us will never live in a posh flat in London or on the beach in Malibu). I call these rooms “smoke and mirrors decorating”. Sure, these places are real in most cases but it’s important to remember that they are often designed by pros, styled to perfection by pros, photographed by pros, with some of the most expensive and luxurious products and furnishings on the market, and then presented as though this “perfect” home is absolutely normal and attainable — like we should all live in the rooms that the magazine presents as ‘the’ lifestyle. In America it’s often sold as the “American Dream”. In this economy some of us may need to learn to appreciate what we have and not lose our joy focusing too much on what we do not have. Goals are good to have, but many who become obsessed with trying to mimic what they see in a magazine are often disappointed with the end result because they forgot that what is in a decorating magazine (in most cases) is much like what you view in a fashion magazine, it’s a “model” of what part of society views and the other part should be viewing (in other words, what we are being sold to believe as the perfect body, the perfect room, the perfect products to buy, etc.) as completely normal, the lifestyle we should all be aiming for. Am I making sense yet? I’m trying… I’m trying… :)

The work studio of Lovely Design in Vancouver.

I think that it’s obvious when you read certain magazines or even blogs, sometimes it’s as though everyone is decorating in somewhat the same way and professing to be unique and not “mainstream” yet they are all unique in exactly the same way, you know? I’m guilty of this as well, I often fall into seeing something on a blog or in a magazine and hopping on the wagon incorporating a look into my home that isn’t really “me” but because I saw it elsewhere I decided that I should try it out. I’s normal to do this and certainly nothing wrong with it, but it’s important to remember that no one should be given the authority to tell you what is “good” decorating and what is “bad” decorating, just as with art it is open to personal interpretation (to a certain degree of course, skill is something you can measure to a certain extent but that is an entirely different conversation). There are those naturally born with very good style and this translates into their home and by good style I mean that they possess the knack of pulling things together in a way that is visually appealing. Like the home owners featured in this blog post, they’re all extremely talented with such a gift in my eyes. I think though that it’s important to keep in mind that the most commonly accepted style is usually considered the ‘best’ style but it doesn’t mean it is truly THE BEST, it’s just the most commonly accepted style during a certain period of time.

Nicole – A habitat of being, also a blogger.

In the end I’m simply trying to say to create a home, a room, a corner of your home, any space that belongs to you (even half of your dorm room) into a space that has your fingerprint on it — something personal and special, a place that supports you, the invigorates, refreshes, inspires. If you like it, that’s what matters the most. The homes that I enjoy most are those real spaces that I recall seeing as I strolled hand in hand with my mother many years ago, the rooms I see as I walk at night now with my husband, and the homes I see of my friends, family, clients, and those on sites like Flickr. Warm, lived in, special places where there is a sense of pride, history, present, and future. It’s hard to describe in words so the photos I’ve placed in the post are a visual interpretation of what I’m trying so hard say.

Moline, aka Yvonne, a neighbor of mine here in Germany who lives about 30 minutes to the north. Her home is utterly breathtaking. More here and here.

From Christianna’s Earthly Delights.

From ZAI Couple in Latvia. They also blog here.

Kleofea in Switzerland.

From -Haust-

From the amazing Herz-Allerliebst in Germany who has a lovely relaxing home.

An entry to a beautiful New York home, Door Sixteen does decorating so, so right. She blogs too.

Via Posidriv in Norway, her blog is here.

Jasna Janekovic in Germany, who sells things that she creates here in her DaWanda shop. She even hand painted polka dots on her fridge!

Alex The Girl from Girl At Play based in Santa Monica, CA. Her former living room is to die for in my opinion.

Do you have your own opinions on what defines a real space? I’d LOVE your thoughts so please share them below…

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 01, 2008

Blog of the Week: Shabby Chic

I just posted the new blog of the week but it’s one you may not expect: Rachel Ashwell! Yes, she now authors a blog and I’m so glad that she does because it is simply lovely. Care to take a peek?

You may know Rachel from her brand Shabby Chic based in southern California. I had the honor of meeting Rachel in 2005 and she is a great lady, very humble, charming, and she has a warm and sweet spirit. Here are some images from her blog that I fell in love with this morning… The perfect way to begin the week for me.

I love this photo. The floors, the room, a faded rug, the pretty vent cover on the wall, the chandelier, the table… Okay everything. But what I love most is a raw space like this. So many options. This makes my heart swell…

This dining room is so pretty, but a bit ornate for my taste. I’d remove the wall sconces and that large ornate mirror, but the chandelier would stay though I’d hang it a bit lower. I’d also paint the ceiling pale blue. I’d have to add flowers to the table and of course my Turkish teapot… But I still really like this room! The lighting is just great, makes me long to live in southern California or someplace where the lighting is always perfect. :)

These are photos of some of the Shabby Chic retail stores, I’ve only been to two: the flagship store in Santa Monica, CA (my favorite) and her new shop in Natick, MA just outside of Boston. They are absolutely transporting, you should try to visit one sometime.

Here are some clippings of vintage wallpaper that Rachel is currently drawing her inspiration from. Most of us find bits and bobbins from the past, connect to them, and translate what we see into something modern with a twist – our personal style – making them fresh and new again. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel!

I had the opportunity to interview Rachel for decor8, you can read our chat here if you’d like. Browsing her blog this morning, I noticed the web-famous Keep Calm and Carry On posters in her shop (wow!) and I spotted some more good things in her newly designed web shop, would you like to see them?


Candles from Voluspa that smell like a little piece of heaven, stamped leather card holders (my favorite find), a crown doormat so everyone knows you are the queen of your castle, and a gorgeous union jack wall hanging in fabrics from Shabby Chic.

Very feminine throw pillows. (not shown but worth a click: Milly curtains)

A delicious gold bordered calendar. This is super pretty!

Psst: You can purchase these things so matter where you live because Shabby Chic ships worldwide!

Welcome to blogland Rachel and everyone else please go see what Rachel is up to, I’m sure you’ll find some of her inspirations most interesting and of course, beautiful!

(images from shabby chic)

Posted in blogs, Decorating Tips on November 24, 2008

Meet Instant/Space by Burnham Design

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Kelly Galvin Robson, Director of Instant/Space by Burnham Design and would love for you to hear what she has to say about the latest extension of Betsy Burnham’s design firm – Instant/Space. You’ll learn what Instant/Space is and more so please take a moment to read the discussion between Kelly and I.

decor8: Hi Kelly! So glad to have you here on decor8 today. Tell me, how long have you been working with the fabulous Betsy Burnham?

KGR: For almost 4 years, and have been lucky enough to work with Instant/Space for the last 2 years.

decor8: What exactly IS Instant/Space? I briefly read a blurb about it in Domino magazine awhile back (Feb ’07)…and it looked really interesting for budget and time conscious girls on the go.

KGR: Instant/Space is an alternative service from Burnham Design and it offers clients a do-it-yourself interior design for a reasonable fee. It is for clients who don’t really want or need Burnham Design’s full range of services, and have an appreciation for the aesthetic. Some clients may want to address only one or two rooms in their house, others may have a limited budget, or want to do their own purchasing based on a design “master plan.” Regardless, all of our clients want to achieve a custom interior design and be active in the design process, so Instant/Space is really the perfect design service for them.

Domino mention of Instant/Space.

decor8: You mentioned the Burnham Design aesthetic. For those who aren’t familiar with what it is can you elaborate please?

KGR: It is a mix of high end and vintage. We prefer a layered, “collected” look that’s at the same time tailored and clean.

decor8:
I know your main office is located in Los Angeles but I heard you are not, where are you?

KGR: My office is on the east coast outside of Philadelphia. However, Betsy and I work together on every Instant/Space project.

decor8: How do you find your clients?

KGR: Many of our clients know Betsy’s work and find us through the Burnham Design site. Others contact us after seeing a press mention.

decor8: Do you see a future in e-consulting as perhaps a new trend in design and if yes, why?

KGR: Absolutely. Our clients lead very busy lives, and offering a service that’s available online is a huge plus in terms of their time. Furthermore it represents a move toward more affordable professional decorating… and in the current economic climate, this is a big advantage.

decor8: I agree! Explain briefly how e-design works? For example let’s say a client has a 10′ x 12′ bedroom that needs to be decorated and I have zero time to do it. How can you help?

KGR: We can provide you with a custom interior design based on your personal design style and individual design challenges. We really think about every client individually — how they will use the space, who will be using the space, etc. Every single box is different and it is important to us that our clients really love their finished design.

decor8: More details, please!

KGR: When a client decides to order Instant/Space, they first send us pictures and dimensions of the room(s). Then, we ask for inspirational images from magazines, websites, etc (to help illustrate the design style that they are trying to achieve), and our completed online questionnaire (to further identify their design preferences and challenges). In four to six weeks, the client receives their completed instant/space box in the mail. Every box includes a personalized design concept board, a detailed schematic furniture plan (drawn to scale), a swatchbook containing all of the furnishings and accessories for the room, an additional swatchbook with samples of the fabric and paint selected for the space, a detailed shopping list, and a step by step explanation of how to pull of these elements together. The rest is up to them!

decor8: Great! What happens if some of the fabric or items you suggest are ‘trade only’, how can a client purchase those?

KGR: If we include “trade only” items in our design, clients have the ability to order these items through Burnham Design. For a small markup, we take care of ordering, tracking and shipping.

decor8: Next scenario… let’s assume that you’ve suggested wallpaper or paint to a client and they have no time to source for these products or locate contractors to do the work. Can you come to the rescue?

KGR: We don’t expect our clients to paint or do difficult installations themselves! Often we’ll ask if they have competent subcontractors for this work, and if they don’t, we’ll do our best to help locate them.

decor8: Excellent. Let’s talk money. What are the fees involved?

KGR: Instant/Space fees vary from $895.00 to $1,495.00 depending on the size and function of the room. All of our pricing may be found on our website.

decor8: You already touched upon it, but what type of client (besides a busy one!) seems to be attracted to this type of service?

KGR: Most are professional people who have an interest in design but seek a professional’s advice. Many have just moved, gotten married, or purchased their first home. Some have just had a baby and need to decorate a nursery. Our clients come from all over the country, cities and suburbs. The one thing they all have in common is that they admire the Burnham Design aesthetic and want our style to be reflected in their space.

decor8: And to wrap things up, on a more personal level, what do you think is the absolute pro of this particular service?

KGR: The best part is the response that we receive from clients. Most clients are surprised that we were able to capture their design style so well without ever meeting them in person, others love the way that Instant/Space allows them to purchase furniture at their own pace. The experience is really fun, and I think that clients appreciate how easy and convenient it is.

decor8: Thank you so much Kelly for sitting in with us today, best wishes on your business (Betsy too!) and to all of the e-decorators out there – you can do it!

Readers: If you are interested in reading more on the topic of e-decorating here is a post from June 2008 that appeared on decor8 (be sure to read the comments on each too!): e-Decorating – Your Thoughts.

Do you have any additional questions that you would like to ask Kelly? If so, please comment below.

(images from burnham design and instant/space.)

Posted in Decorating Tips, designers, interviews on October 29, 2008

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
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