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Sarah Hardaker: Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things: Sarah Hardaker

Hi, I am Sarah Hardaker and I am visiting while Holly does her big move. I am a fabric designer from the UK and also the co author of Hardaker and Pope blog and these are a few of my favourite things at home…

Sarah Hardaker

My dining room is one of my favourite rooms in this house. It is flooded with light all day and evening, it has floor to ceiling windows which look out over the garden. It has a vintage chandelier that has moved from 4 different houses and never hung until we moved here, french linen sheets as curtains and a panel of my chinoiserie grand wallpaper on one wall. This room has seen so many lovely meals with friends and family, and I sometimes work in here if I fel in need of sunshine.

Sarah Hardaker

I love original paintings, I never seem to have the time to sit and paint myself. This one is by my husbands uncle Robert Lee- Wade RA, It is of the footpath above our house in the snow earlier this year. I like to create little ‘still life’ settings on surfaces, our old house had lots of interesting nooks and shelves and was perfect for these little vignettes. This house is not so good yet, but I am slowly bending it to my will and creating some little spaces. It appears after taking these photos I have something of an addiction to Diptyque candles…. I get one every year from my lovely husband in my christmas stocking – Cannelle is my favourite.

vegetable garden

I had thought I would only photograph the house for this post, but our garden is such an integral part of our lives here, all of the rooms have big windows or doors out onto it. We grow lots of our own fruit and vegetables, and if I need a break from designing I will often go and potter around in the green house or the vegetable garden with the children. They both have their own little patch!

Sarah Hardaker

From fork to fork! from the garden to my plate. I LOVE to cook. I find cookbooks a huge source of inspiration. I have a shamefully large collection, I like to sit in my chair under the shelf and have a good read, especially on a Saturday morning after a trip to the farmers’ market. Food is definitely a big part of who I am, and how I live.

Sarah Hardaker

The Rose Garden. I sit here and think about new designs. Lots of my fabrics and wallpapers are based on natural elements, such as flowers and seed heads. I find great colour inspiration here and it changes throughout the seasons. The smell is amazing too.

Sarah Hardaker

Colour. As I have said, lots of my designs are inspired by nature, I love the pure colour you get in flowers. This is a David Austin William Lobb rose, and I drew its shape over and over when I was doing my chinoiserie design.

Things that inspire me… This is a really tough one as I am a very visual person and feel inspired by everything and anything, from awesome architecture to the mundane things around me. I love colour even though I use it sparingly in my home. I love accents and unusual combinations. You can’t beat nature for this, the beauty of a dark pink Gertrude Jekyll rose with lime green alchemilla mollis – perfection. I use the flowers in my garden all the time for design inspiration and also for colour inspiration. I have been incredibly lucky to have traveled extensively both with my family and for work. India and Italy totally blew me away. I always look at colour and pattern when I am traveling. Food plays a huge part in our lives, we grow a lot of it and I think its really important that my kids know where their food comes from and are happy to try new and exciting flavours. I always think that cooking is very like designing, in that you have a palette of flavours rather than a palette of colours, but it works the same in that you have to understand what goes with what or it will be a mess. I have a shamefully huge cookbook collection!

I could talk for Britain so am constantly inspired by people around me, I love having Jo in the studio with me to talk about ideas. I think blogging is a great outlet for anyone creative and is also a great source of inspiration too – its almost like working in a big communal studio. If I am feeling uninspired my top three (not including decor8 because that’s a given) are lobster and swan, sam’s notebook and snippet and ink. All three have the ability to infuse my with creativity. I was incredibly fortunate to work with Nina Campbell and Anthony Little both of whom taught me so much about how to design, they are amazing people. They always remembered the little things about people and would treat the lady in the printworks canteen with the same respect as the CEO – a great rule for life. I love art and if I were a wealthy lady I would buy a lot of it. My favourites (probably because they inspire me) are Kate Loveday an artist based in Stroud in Gloucestershire, my lovely uncle Robert Lee-Wade RA, and Elaine Pamphillon. All of them totally understand colour.

My favourite advice is, “Nothing is ever irretrievable” from Antony Little, and he is right, no matter how bad something is, or how wrong its gone, you can usually pick yourself up and start all over again.

Also from my great friend Versha (CEO Intelligent Exhibitions) “If you want to play with the big boys, you’ve got to look like the big boys… even if you are actually running your company from your dining table, they don’t know that!!”

Thank you for having me here today Holly and everyone else tuning in! – Sarah

(images: sarah hardaker)

Posted in guest bloggers on August 26, 2009

perfectbound: Favorite Things

A Few Of My Favorite Things: perfectbound, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Hello everyone! It’s Julie & Kathryn of perfectbound here. We are so excited to be a part of Holly’s guest series “A Few of my Favorite Things” while she is busy relocating. If you’re not familiar with us, we are two designers, best friends, and roommates from Winnipeg, Canada. We love making each day a little more special by highlighting ordinary objects that might otherwise be overlooked. Today we’ll be sharing a few of our favourite things along with the spaces we enjoy the most in our apartment. Almost a year ago we moved into a three floor walk up that was built in 1910. Being as we’re both recent graduates we do not have a lot of money to spend on decor, which has inspired us to rediscover what we already have.


One of the fun things about the apartment is the sunroom. It gives us lots of natural light with windows on two sides of the room. It’s a great place to get a bit of fresh air while looking through our favorite magazines.


We are lucky enough to have a fireplace in our living room but are still deciding on how to bring it to life. In the meantime we like to use the mantle to showcase some of our favourite objects. It’s always changing as we find new inspirations.


One of our best vintage finds was our mid-century dining table. Right now it doubles as our work space.


Like most of you, we have a wall of inspiration. Since we just started putting pieces up, we continue to add to it. Who knows, one day it might even cover the entire wall!


As we decide how to refine our spaces, our prints live in a small gallery against the wall. Being full of bright colours, these are our current favourites for the season.


We have become avid collectors and it all started with our tea cups and saucers. We love how they are little works of art on their own or together as a larger installation. They also incorporate two of our favourite things, colour and pattern.

We are inspired by many different mediums. From the album art of bands like Death Cab For Cutie and The Arcade Fire to the stunning visuals of movies such as The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. Being designers, we are also influenced by the traditional practices of art and design. The charm of Margaret Kilgallen’s hand painted typography and the disciplined work of Massimo Vignelli are perfect examples of this.

When objects and design alone fall short, we find that wise words help to reignite the creative fires. So as we each try to create the life we want, something we always keep in mind is this quote by Confucius that states if we “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

(images by Julie & Kathryn of perfectbound)

Posted in guest bloggers on August 25, 2009

The Farm Chicks: Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things: Serena Thompson, The Farm Chicks.

Hi! I’m Serena Thompson, co-founder of The Farm Chicks, a brand I created with my best friend and business partner, Teri Edwards. (Our blog is under the same name.) We came up with The Farm Chicks name after being invited into numerous farms and barns to collect old items. When we decided to start an antiques show and sell those items we’d been collecting, we knew we needed a name, and that’s how The Farm Chicks name was “hatched”. Years later, we still produce our annual antiques show, are cookbook authors, and work as contributing editors for Country Living Magazine. My husband, children, and I live on Peone Prairie, just outside of Spokane, Washington. We’re surrounded by thousands of acres of wheat fields, and an agricultural area known as Greenbluff. It’s a very beautiful and peaceful place to live. Much of our family time is spent in our kitchen, which is a nice, open space so I’ll share with you a few of my favorite things from this space.

The Farm Chicks

When I designed the kitchen, I wanted it to feel timeless. The cupboards go straight to the floor with no stepback at my feet. Light pours in through the windows, making it a very bright and cheery place to be. The base cupboards are made of cherry wood and the countertops are maple.

The Farm Chicks

The Farm Chicks

The Farm Chicks

The island is in the center of the kitchen. The bank of drawers to the right of the stove hold all of my baking supplies. I call it my baking center. You can read more about my baking center here and here if you’d like.

The Farm Chicks

My current obsession is blue and red European enamelware.

The Farm Chicks

I love making my home as pretty as possible. Kitchen cloths stacked on a cakestand are pretty and practical.

DIY project

Before I go, I’ll leave you with a fun and easy DIY kitchen project — a magnetic knife rack. You can find complete instructions here. Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting my kitchen! — Happy Trails, Serena.

(images: serena thompson)

Posted in guest bloggers, Rooms on August 25, 2009

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things: Happy Mundane

Hello! I’m Jon from Happy Mundane. Holly kindly invited me to share a few of my favorite things from my home, so I walked around my place and here are a few things that always make me smile…

Happy Mundane

Every morning when I wake up, one of the first things I see is this view of my bathroom. Originally I had painted the back wall a very light pale blue, and the decor was pretty fun and casual. But last year, after installing some new tile flooring, I decided to switch it to a dramatically darker shade. This changed the entire feel and consequently motivated me to “glam” things up a bit, (I guess it makes me feel a little bit more like a grown up, hehe- I think that’s a good thing?) However, I didn’t ditch all the fun. This little cup, which I found in a thrift shop, acts as my toothbrush holder. I have no idea what the writing says (I hope it’s nothing bad), but I just love the little drawing (I think it kind of looks like me when I have glasses on!) and the fact that it says “Los Angeles.”

Happy Mundane

I have a lot of artwork in my place, but most of it is from thrift shops, estate sales, or gifts from friends. Just a few months ago, I made my very first artwork purchase from a gallery. I saw this piece from So Cal artist Andrew Holder at the Subtext gallery in San Diego and just had to have it. Kind of an impulse buy, but I love it. Currently it sits at the top of my staircase and greets me with it’s bright bold colors every time I walk in.

Happy Mundane

I’m a big fan of adding in a touch of the unexpected when it comes to decor. This pillow by Dermond Peterson sits on my living room couch and is a great example of that. I love the raw linen with the subtle white silkscreen. At first glance it just looks like a nice flourish-y pattern- but when you actually look at it, you realize it’s a big kooky octopus! All of Dermond Peterson’s graphics are hand block printed, so each one is a little unique.

Happy Mundane

Speaking of my living room… it actually blends right into my dining room area. I’m not a big flower guy, but I do think adding some sort of living plant always warms up a space. This summer I got some silver dollar eucalyptus for the dining table, that sits next to my next favorite piece- these incredible “tumi-ishi” wood pieces. I’ve been drooling over these ever since I saw a post of them a few years back. They’re from Japan and actually are a children’s game. Fast forward a little bit and the cool folks at Umbra picked it up for larger distribution, and a few months ago I saw they were finally available stateside, now called “Pile-on”. (you can get them here.) I confess I’m a big fan of the whole faceted trend, as well as natural wood, so this is the perfect marriage of the two.

Happy Mundane

Summer is all about spending some quality time outdoors. I’m extremely fortunate that I have a small patio, and one of the first things I got when I moved in was a fountain. There’s nothing like the sound of dripping water to get you relaxed and cooled off. And since we’re on the subject of water, another thing I’ve been obsessed with this summer has been simple clear bottles. A few months ago I got to visit the newly opened Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it- and you HAVE to have a meal at their restaurant, Kings Highway. It was there that got me started on this whole clear bottle thing. They serve their ice tea and water in plain wine bottles and I thought it was such a clever idea. Now all my drinks are served like that. You may also notice my cheap attempt to recreate those gorgeous Edda carafes that have been making the blog rounds. I love the idea of using a simple wood ball as a cover, so I purchased a blank wooden doll head/knob at the craft store and made my own version with a carafe I already had.

Happy Mundane

My most favorite thing this summer has to be the arrival of my wonderful Egg chair! This was a major splurge, and those of you that follow my blog will know how much I had been longing for it. It’s made this summer sooo much better (and Pepé loves it too!)

Holly asked me to talk about where I find inspiration… Whenever I’m in a creative slump, I usually just jump in my car and get out somewhere. Normally I seem to end up at, well… the mall. Don’t laugh. It’s true. But there’s a good reason for this. Around here where I live in suburbia, it’s where I can find a huge amount of everything, from all over the place, all in one convenient location. There’s the book store, there’s home decor stores, fashion boutiques, sometimes grocery stores, and then just fun people watching. One thing that I’m always on the lookout for is juxtapositions. It could be one color next to another, or contrasting textures, etc…. By the time I’ve walked around for a bit, I’ve generally seen something that sparks some ideas.

Do any of you do the same?

Finally, I leave you with a quote that has been helpful for me when I’m working. It’s from filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

Thanks to Holly for inviting me to be a part of this series, and thank you for indulging with me a few of my favorite things. Hope you all are enjoying your summer! – Jon

(images: happy mundane)

Posted in guest bloggers on August 24, 2009


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