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Quick + Cheap Mood Board Idea

I’ve been a busy bee this week! In addition to planning for the Liberty event in London on Wednesday night (we’re making lots of pretty things for the tabletop and a special installation to go above the table), I was asked if Where Women Create magazine could shoot my work studio this week and of course, since I’m a keynote speaker at their special upcoming Creative Connection event (alongside Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare) in September, I said yes! It worked out really well because I was able to work with my husband, who shot the story, and I styled the shots which was fun — it definitely made me miss working on the road last year styling my book Decorate! Here is an outtake from the shoot of my desk area. You can see the entire room in their next issue!

My desk

Above my desk I have this very quick and easy DIY mood board/art display. I made it up myself – hey, decorating isn’t rocket science! What I did was cut a piece of linen and secured it to the wall with 5 nails. I then disguised the nails by looping some simple ribbon around each one. I let the linen drape because it looks more natural than if I had pulled it extra tight across the wall. It looks more casual and soft this way. I have tons of prints that I’ve purchased over the years from Etsy and I can’t properly frame all of them so, using Japanese craft tape which sticks so well yet can be easily removed without tearing paper, I “tacked” everything to my mood board/art wall. I can swap imagery whenever the spirit moves me. I like that because the spirit moves me quite often! In fact, changing a mood board regularly is a trick that helps me to stay out of creative ruts. The moment I feel one coming on, I edit my mood board and the fresh perspective helps energize me. With the “Holly” mood board, you only need a little less than a meter of linen, 5 nails, and some ribbon and of course Japanese crafting tape and some art, tears from magazines, etc. and boom! you are in your creative zone in minutes.

I had some major déjà vu moments working on this story for Where Women Create and definitely feel like I need to do more of this in the future along with books and anything else that I can continue to do to combine imagery and words to communicate what’s inside of me to all of you. I love decor8, so the blog will always be front and center, but side projects are so meaningful and rewarding and it’s good fuel for me to have them as they also feed my creativity so that I can blog with more passion. I have come to realize over the past five years that blogging with intention, with heart, with passion is always my goal — it is so much more rewarding over simply tossing up posts for the sake of writing something. For me, a blog is a place to communicate feelings, a vision, talk about inspirations, ideas, goals, dreams… I think that is what makes a great blog, well, great. What do you think?

(photo: thorsten becker)

Posted in diy on April 09, 2011

Histor Paints + Missing Our Past Life

When you’re an American living abroad in Europe, you have so much to learn in addition to a new language and culture — you also must learn about things like curtain installation and the best paint suppliers. Even if you’re an American living in another city or state, you have much to adjust to. When I relocated, I didn’t give much thought to not being able to walk into a home store and know exactly what everything before me was made to do. When I walk into German stores, especially the big DIY chains equivalent to Lowe’s, it takes me five times the effort to locate exactly what I’m looking for because the brands are so unknown to me.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

I’m not complaining, it is quite fun when I carve out the time to take a trip to a home improvement store because I often find things that I never knew existed. For instance, I recently discovered some amazing curtain rods that effortlessly clip into the frames of your windows so you don’t have to put a single hole in the frame or wall. Genius!

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Beige on walls with crisp white trim is becoming more and more popular, I see it frequently in German design magazines. I love this look.

The one thing I’m not finding in Hannover so far is really good paint. I understand that my city is quite small compared to the giants like Berlin and Hamburg so naturally I won’t have the same access to products as larger cities… I sometimes wish we had a Flamant in Hannover because their paints are amazing and we could use a little more diversity. (Which reminds me, I really need to visit Cafe Flamant again, that is such a great place to chillax after a long day of shopping.) We have plenty of paint in local home stores but the colors don’t wow me as they did when I rummaged through the thousands of paint chips at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I am a big Benjamin Moore fan and had many of their colors committed to memory because I knew they’d always work – my “no fails” as I referred to them.Without Ben Moore and other brands that I relied on for years, I am forced out of my comfort zone and you know what? I’m okay with that. Sometimes. Certain days I’m not so okay because I’m human, but then I think of what a privilege I have to simply be living on an entirely different continent exploring new things and I feel embarrassed for getting annoyed by things like the lack of Target, Method products and owning a car (my choice).

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Speaking of paint, I also love Farrow + Ball colors, which we can get but not so easily and they are very expensive. That is why when I came across two brands from the Netherlands recently – PTMD (which I purchased in Hamburg last week) and Histor, I had to learn more. I’m hoping Histor has presence in Germany so I have to do some research… but I find lots of great colors on their website and in their magazine which you can see scattered throughout this post.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Martha Stewart Living paints always captured my interest but you won’t find them in Germany. But again, that’s okay because I want to explore and find some great stuff on this side of the pond. I don’t believe in living in the past or pining for what I left behind — what’s the point!? Sometimes I miss certain things because I learned to rely on them and knew what I was buying, there were no hidden surprises, but the past is a different life, right? It’s important when you live outside of your home country that you really embrace what you DO have and to also go on a wild and crazy search for more because there is plenty to unearth that may even be better than what you had before. I think I told you this before, but I attended a meeting last Autumn for women who live here in Hannover that are from all parts of the world and the group leader asked everyone to write down what they love about their expat life in Hannover because she said expat groups can quickly become negative because people automatically start talking about what they miss, not what they have.

This made me think, what is it about human nature that nudges us to see the bad before the good? To compare things that shouldn’t even be compared in the first place? How can we manage these feelings whether we are living in another town or another country — missing what we had? How do you deal?

(images: histor paints)

Posted in diy on January 21, 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

Wallpaper Cabinet by Shannon Fricke

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a giant girl crush on author/tv presenter/blogger/teacher/stylist/decorator/columist/and a million other amazing hats Shannon Fricke in Australia. I’ve been a fan of her work for a few years now and follow her blog religiously because she is such a breath of fresh, unpretentious air! You don’t always find that with multi-talented people, but with Shannon you do. She’s not only one of the best when it comes to style and decoration, but as a person this lady is a top notch class act. That’s why I not only want to point you over to her work today for a little inspiration but I have to show you this gorgeous cabinet that she recently did up for a spread she produced for a magazine.

Shannon Fricke

Is this not the best idea for an old cabinet? Paint it white and wallpaper the heck out of it? Love. This. Don’t you want to grab rolls of Florence Broadhurst and Cole & Son papers this very second and go a little crazy with it? Even if you don’t have a freestanding cabinet like this one, you can do something like it to the interior of any closet, or even a china cabinet or bookcase. Knock yourself out, Shannon did and look at the results.

Shannon Fricke

Shannon Fricke

I love seeing these gorgeous green and yellow tones together — so fresh and so signature Shannon Fricke as she is a great lover of greens, blues and yellows as you can see in the other lovely photos that I’ve included from her design portfolio and home.

Thank you for the inspiration today Shannon!

(image: via the women’s weekly/shannon fricke)

Posted in diy on August 23, 2010


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.


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