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Inspiring Canadian Home

I recently stumbled across the lovely home photos of freelance children’s book illustrator Claire Louise Milne on Flickr and asked her if she’d like to share her space on decor8. Lucky for us she said yes! Here’s a little peek at her darling abode in Toronto, Canada where she resides with her husband Bradley. In addition to photos, I asked her a few questions so that you could gain a little insight into what inspires her and where she finds her cool stuff. :)

In this photo I’d like to not only highlight the lovely orange and purple combo, but the wood storage box from IKEA that Claire painted and added wallpaper to. I’m going to run to IKEA next week to buy one of these for my new kitchen to store my tea bags in. Love this idea — so creative!

How do you find time to decorate?

“It’s just over a year since we bought our first house, so there is still so much to do! Most of my projects tend to be driven by the same goal, to make a tiny house (1-bedroom) as light and airy as possible. I work at home (as an illustrator) which really helps because I putter around tidying when I’m procrastinating. Also because I’m a freelancer there are sometimes gaps between projects which gives me more time. Also our house is tiny which forces you to edit all the time because there’s just no room! I find it hard to concentrate on work when things are too cluttered around me.”

Here’s a better view of Claire’s IKEA hack. :)

I really like her craft studio, especially that glass cabinet with those fancy doors. She used wallpaper in similar cabinets to give them a bit of a transformation, which you will see in the next photo, but either way the cabinet looks lovely to me. Claire recently blogged about her craft studio in case you’d like to read more about it just click here.

Where do you find the things that you use in your home?

“I find a lot of things at flea markets, antique shops, craigslist or thrift shopping. Mainly because I love vintage or antique things. I also find lots of good basics at places like IKEA.”

Here are her secretary desks with wallpaper inside. So pretty!

What are some of your favorite things in your home?

“I love my old singer sewing table which is actually a very practical way to have a dedicated sewing corner without taking up much space. Also the box you’ve seen was a very simple project but I loved the results.”

This is one very organized lady!

What inspires your decorating projects?

“I’m inspired a lot by pictures in books and magazines. Whenever we’re starting a new decorating project I go through a big stack of books to get ideas. Also there are a few decor blogs I like too – such as decor8. :) I’m also addicted to decor programs on TV.”

This is a really pretty view of her kitchen, I am LOVING the curtains with the tiny dots… I have a blouse like this that I think I wore every day this summer. :)

Another kitchen view… Great gray walls I think.

A collection of vintage tins for sewing supplies keeps things neat and pretty.

More tins and stacks and stacks of fabrics for her quilts – yes she makes quilts too! I love this lady, she can quilt and draw. Some people have all the luck!

Here’s a glimpse of her dining room with cabinets from IKEA (Liatorp bookcases to be precise).

Find Claire here: Flickr: Needle Book, her blog, professional portfolio, and a list of her published books.

Thanks Claire for visiting all of us today on decor8!

(images from claire louise milne)

Posted in Decorating Tips, Home Tours on September 19, 2008
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Living & More = Magazine Heaven

I thought I’d introduce you to my favorite magazine in Germany, Living & More. Their website is pretty bad, but the magazine is above and beyond the website (thankfully) so don’t let their online look spoil your fun! German magazines are still working to get their act together when it comes to web presence but they are making progress slowly but surely. Anyway, this magazine is just great. Many of you who read decor8 do not have access to decorating magazines here so this little post is dedicated to you!

I must say that I know nothing about the publisher behind the magazine except they are called Living & More Verlag GmbH and are based in Offenburg, Germany, so I can’t give them a very good introduction. I do hope though that the images give you a nice preview of what you can except from this publication. Color, style, and lots of inspiration. I find that in most Dutch and German magazines though that many of the homes featured are from Australia and Scandinavia. I find this strange because there are PLENTY of stylish people living in Holland and Germany and I’m certain they live in magazine-worthy homes. I wonder why this is? I have several friends here in Hannover that live in magazine-ish homes but they’ve never been published. So very odd. Anyone know why this is so often the way it is? American design magazines are much different, the focus is always on American homes.

A gorgeous desk organizer DIY project from the current issue of Living & More (Oktober 2008, Nr.7, page 34. Photo by Linnea Press.)

The city apartment of Parisian designer Vanessa Bruno. (Living & More, Aug/Sept 08, Nr. 6, pages 24-33.) Photos by Brigetta Wolfgang Drejer/Sisters Agency.

Living & More not only produces 8 issues per year under the same name, but they also run these ‘specials’ like Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen and Living & More Premium – the edition that just hit newsstands here is called Country Tr?ume Wohnen and it’s amazing.

The living room of homeowner Pia Aardestrup based in Copenhagen. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

More images of Pia’s very blue and beautiful home. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photos by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

I can’t take my eyes off of Pia’s gorgeous cabinet, I love this washed look. (Living & More, Oktober 2008, Nr.7, pages 6-15.) Photo by: Anita Behrendt/Linnea Press.

This is a great spread, it features several fun DIY projects involving painted flowers on walls and furniture, complete with stencils. (Living & More “Wohnen & Wohlf?hlen” issue, LI039, pages 37-39, 60-61) Photos: Linnea Press.

The home of Australian shop owner of Empire Vintage and stylist Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

More of Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

Lyn Gardner. (Living & More Premium “Country Tr?ume Wohnen” issue, LP003, pages 52-67.) Photos by: Mikkel Vang/Taverne Agency.

I think that you can purchase all of these issues shown here in this post on this website, though I’m not sure if they ship outside of Germany. Give it a try though. I know you can also email them to order magazines: email: abo [dot] livingandmore [at] guell [dot] de

I hope you had fun peeking inside of the pages of my favorite German decorating magazine today!

(images photographed by holly becker for decor8)

My Office Update for Under $200

Hello there! It’s me Nicole again from Making it Lovely. I’m transforming my so-so house into a lovely home, and I thought I’d share a little of my process with you while Holly’s away!

My office was one of the first rooms I finished when my husband and I moved into our home last year. As you know, I own Pink Loves Brown and I work from home, so I needed my office to be functional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t put all that much thought into the design of it. It’s really not that bad, but I’m ready for a change.

(photo by Evan Thomas, from my Apartment Therapy House Tour last year)

Here’s my office as it is now:

The basics of the room will be staying. That means I’ll be keeping my desk, chair, bookshelf, lamp, and several other items. I’m even keeping the paint color! Normally, paint would be the first thing to go because it’s such an easy way to change a room for little money, but I think the color will work really well so it’s staying!

I’m only changing four things. That’s it! I think it will make enough of a difference to keep me happy for a while though.

I can make the curtains out of Robert Kaufman’s Purple Utopia fabric for about $50 and then splurge on a Thomas Paul Flourish violet linen pillow for $100. I’ll attempt to make a slipcover for my desk chair (around $10), and then I’ll pick up a new Helmer drawer unit in white from IKEA for $40. The red one I have now could be spray painted if I wanted to do this all for even less, but I actually need another draw unit in my studio so I’ll just bring the old one up there.

So with two purchases, two sewing projects, and $200, I can have a whole new look! That is unless I change my mind and go with something else first. It’s been known to happen. ;) So what do you think about my office ideas? What are some quick changes you’ve made to spruce up your home office lately?

(images linked to sources above, layout and text by nicole)

Posted in Decorating Tips, guest bloggers, workspace on August 26, 2008

Home Design-Inspired Party Planning

Hi Everyone! I’m Jenn Sbranti from Hostess with the Mostess, Inc. which is a resource for hip and modern entertaining ideas. I’m very excited to be guest posting at decor8 today! I’ve been blogging from my home in San Diego for a little over two years now, and I was lucky enough to “meet” Holly (albeit virtually) in only my second month as a blogging “newbie”. She actually interviewed me here at decor8 way back in the day, and has remained one of the most inspirational and warm voices on the web for me ever since – just as I know she is for many of you, so thanks, Holly!

Holly asked me to give you a little background on who I am and how I got started, so here’s my story in a nutshell… I started my own blog Fabulous Finds & Ideas for Contemporary Entertaining (sorry ? it?s a mouthful!) while my husband and I were working on developing HostessWithTheMostess.com which features contemporary, out-of-the-ordinary party themes and tips for how to easily recreate them at home. There’s also a recipe section, general entertaining tips, an entertaining-focused shopping guide… and a bunch of exciting new interactive features are currently in the works!

The idea for HWTM.com came about when I was searching for creative bridal and baby shower ideas online and kept coming up with nothing – or landing on things that were overly cheesy, frilly, or expensive. So, being a graphic/web designer by trade I finally decided that since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I’d work on creating it myself. Aren’t most small businesses born this way, to fill a need? My main goal was to create a highly inspirational site that was heavy on the visuals and full of stylish, but approachable ideas.

Fast-forward a couple years, and we’re up and running and continuing to grow! I still post at HWTM daily, and also twice a week on Real Simple and once a week at GlamDish. And speaking of posting…let’s get to it, shall we? :)

Nicky Hilton’s Hollywood Home, Photographed by Paul Costello for InStyle – March 2008.

When it comes to designing parties, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “Where do the ideas for your party themes come from?”. The answer is honestly pretty broad – it can be anywhere inspiration naturally strikes – from a really cool, modern toy that would be a great foundation for a kids party, to a beautiful, unique flower bloom, to a fabulous pattern on a roll of contemporary gift wrap. However, one of my favorite places to turn to intentionally seek out inspiration is home decor/interior design magazines and websites (i.e. decor8!), the reason being 2-fold:

A) There’s so much creativity to get lost in and inspired by in the world of interior design – from great color palettes to funky patterns to retro looks and kids rooms…you can find it all, and there?s usually something for everyone!

B) It’s not usually feasible to actually change the decor of one?s home around all that often, (that whole ?budget? issue, you know!) so designing a party inspired by a cool room design that you’ve fallen in love with allows you to indulge your inner decorator on a less stressful/committed level – and ? even more importantly – without breaking the bank!

So for my guest post at decor8 today, I thought it would be fun to show an example of how easily a well-designed space can translate into a stylish party theme… The inspiration here being a gorgeous black & white dining room from Nicky Hilton’s Hollywood home, as featured in the March 2008 issue of InStyle.

Below are some partyware and decorative accessories I found that capture the same striking black & white damask motif as Hilton?s pad?


Pictured Above: Design Design?s Damask Black and White Partyware and Amscan?s Formal Affair Octagonal Partyware.

Pictured Above: Black and White Damask Gift Wrap ($4.50/roll) is perfect for creating inexpensive table runners and covering cylinder vases, and this Fancy Fake Utensils set ($20/service for 4) from Urban Outfitters has a pretty baroque quality that ties in nicely with the candlesticks and wall mirror in Hilton’s dining room. Beats the generic white plastic utensils from the supermarket!

Pictured above: This ultra-modern, easy-assembly 3-D Chandelier from Urban Outfitters has all the style for a fraction of the price ? just $36! And Rosanna?s Dauphine Candlesticks mimic the chic silhouette of Hilton?s pair and are a tried-and-true personal favorite when it comes to gifting (at least judging by the recipient reactions!). $60/set of 2 for black or white.

Pictured above: These decorative crystal ornaments and garlands from Jamali Garden are the perfect way to up the glam factor at your soir?e?and ? don?t worry ? they only LOOK like a million bucks! Drape them across tables, chandeliers, or your fireplace mantle; hang them from vases, flowers, and branches, or use them to dress up party favors and gifts. Crystal Ornament Drops: $3.50 – $5.99 each and Crystal Garlands: $5 – $20 each.

Have you ever been inspired to design a party around a cool room or interior space that you loved? Were you able to capture the look you were going for within your party theme?

(images, layout and text by jennifer sbranti, hostess with the mostess)

Posted in Decorating Tips, guest bloggers, inspiration on August 18, 2008

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