I’ve had the nicest exchange with photographer Brittany Ambridge this week, who was so pleased that I wanted to feature her on decor8. It’s always a delight when you write to someone looking to run a story about their work and they reply with such heartfelt words of thanks and are genuinely cooperative and nice. In fact, she updated her online portfolio just so I could share her latest so you are able to see some fresh views of gorgeous spaces she has shot from California to France. I also learned something quite interesting when speaking to Brittany…
First, she is the sole photographer for domino magazine since their relaunch and she shoots about 95% of it. Wow, right? She also retouches the photos herself, which is unusual in her industry. If that weren’t enough, she also works closely with Robert Leleux, the magazine’s newly appointed Editorial Director, on every shoot. When it comes to her work she revealed, “I take it from the initial idea, which is brainstormed with the edit team, to shooting, editing, retouching, all the way through to the color proofs for print. That’s never been done before in publishing to have a single person do all of that.” I believe that this is precisely why her work is so beautiful – because she sees it through from beginning to end and she doesn’t have a lot of hands involved in the process – so her work is seen by us in its purest most honest form – from her eye to the pages of the magazine. How nice.
Instead of just showing you some pretty pictures, I wanted to provide some decorating takeaway for you to enjoy. Also, all of the links to these homes are featured at the end of this post so please click around and enjoy yourself. And remember, all photos can be enlarged if you simply click on them and pinned however please ensure Brittany is credited along with domino when you pin (thank you!).
1. Happy, Bright Corners. A really great eating nook that feels very west coast with the blue tones, tile floor and greenery.
2. Splashes of bold color and pattern. Plus, more of that great tile. Love the marble backsplash and the windows painted in bold blue. Open shelving is a wonderful way to open up a kitchen.
3. Coastal photography and and a painting. Brings the beach to the abode. Also, it’s always a nice touch to lean a few photos against the wall using a painting as a mini shelf.
4. Bold art and patterns against white. Always a good idea. Love the botanical prints (good use of symmetry to balance the room), and all of the Swedish throw pillows by Svenskt Tenn and the HAY trays on the coffee table. I loved my visit to their Stockholm shop – such a utopia of color.
5. Bookcase as a focal point. Emily Henderson’s built in bookcase came out so nice, the lines are fun and unexpected and everything colorful stands out so nicely against white, right?
6. A relaxing, chic sleep space. I love the colors, so unexpected — and the patterns technically shouldn’t work together but they really, really do. Such a great lesson in mixing things up and decorating from the heart vs. always the head.
7. A big, rustic kitchen. The tiled walls, the mega stove, open shelving, crisp white… The ceiling! The rug! It makes even the non-cook want to rattle some pots and pans and shouldn’t your kitchen inspire you to culinary greatness?
8. Greens. Just add greens to you space already. They are healthy, can be displayed in the most stylish vessels these days, and make a home feel very natural and cozy. Some plants and trees are very sculptural and serious (great for very modern minimalistic homes) whereas others can be very wild or wispy for the more eclectic or romantic at heart. The plants and flowers that you love the most are often a window into our decorating soul. At least according to me.
9. Dark floors. I know everyone and their dog is into white floors or light wood floors but dark flooring can be just as gorgeous. It anchors a space (I love saying that, sounds so professional!) and feels warm and personal too. Dark floors can be very inviting, too.
10. A well-styled mantle. This is such a great example of playing with color, pattern and decorative objects along with gorgeous artwork. You know how much I love flowers, so these sweet peas and dahlias really do it for me. And with flowers the great thing is that this week it’s dahlias and next week, it’s cherry blossoms – you can instantly change a mood with the purchase of a single bundle and a swap out of a vessel.
11. A very sweet child’s room. Gosh what a darling space and a beautiful view to boot. Every kid should be so lucky.
12. Bold prints. This is such a nice use of a bold print paired with a simple bench and lots of books and magazines stacked neatly below. That print really makes the corner come to life. Art is such a great way to instantly lift a space.
13. Patterned backgrounds behind shelving. I don’t know if this is a wall or wallpaper, a wallpapered bookcase, or what really. But I love it. Why not add pattern to the back of a bookcase. You can do it with wallpaper, matte gift wrap, fabric, or if you just want to work with solids – paint it. But my goodness, experiment a little am I right? Fun stuff.
14. Concrete floors. Aside from all of that natural light and the gorgeous window and views, I love this polished concreate floor which is perfect for homes set in warm, tropical climates. NOT Boston.
15. All white styling. White books, white ceramics, a hint of nude. YES YES YES. I really love this. Most of those ceramics are from Astier de Villatte in Paris, a shop I actually worked in for the day a few years ago when I styled it for my book. What a dream come true for me to work with such beautiful things. I wanted to bring everything home with me but I escaped only with a journal, a few candles and a large ceramic fork for my wall. I ultimately want to own this many pieces from them though and style them beautifully like this in my home. Maybe when Aidan gets a little older!
16. Bold patterned wallpaper. Bedrooms can often be super boring and generic, can’t they? I mean, what options do we really have with furniture placement? A bedroom is unlike any other space. The bed is almost always in the middle of the largest wall, flanked by two end tables, two lights and maybe some art work above. The bed is always large and in charge so the focus is always on the bed. One of the best ways to change that up is to remove the headboard and go big and bold with wallpaper like this photo above. Then the bed is sort of an after thought and not the first thing you see upon entertaining, and sometimes that really nice if we’re not fussy about keep the bedding perfectly made and ironed or we don’t have the best looking headboard in the world.
17. Mood boards. I know, we all hate the name but they are so practical for designers and so fun for creatives to share what’s on their mind in a very visual way. And a mood board makes such a statement, when composed, it becomes it’s own work of art and focal point. I love them in any room of the home though they tend to work best in the office where most creative ideas blossom.
18. Newspaper-as-art. I never in my life thought of or saw this before and I’ve dealt with a ton of interiors during the past decade. This Kate Moss piece, framed, is lovely. I wish I knew more about it but it’s very cool framed like that above the fireplace, don’t you think?
19. Masks and mood boarding for kids. Okay, those masks on the animals sitting across the bed made me laugh out loud. I love the sense of humor here. But what caught my eye at first, aside from that gorgeous map, are the photos tapes to the wall. Such a great way to encourage your child to decorate and also share what they are inspired by at the moment in addition to pop stars and baby animal posters.
20. String art. Be creative and unusual and do something whimsical like this string art by Berlin-based artist Nike Schroeder. This work was commissioned by stylist Emily Henderson and came out so pretty – I love the softness and splash of color. I’m sure it cost her a fortune, but it’s worth it when something like this literally makes the room.
21. Splash of color and throws. This always works for me. If you put your finger over the painting and imagine the chairs sheepskin throw-free, well it’s not the same room. The power or texture and color!
22. Bold closet doors. This is the best. I can’t embellish here. If you are bold enough just make this happen on your closet doors somehow, someway.
23. An organized work studio with style. We all need a place where we can create from an honest place while also finding our stuff! I really love how this artists’ studio is decorated. Makes me want to run in there and paint something which is exactly what a creative space should do – motivate you to get your hands busy!
Homes shown above are from the following lovely homeowners. Please click on each link to view their entire property. Chay Wike’s Hollywood Hills home, Austyn Zung’s SoHo apartment, Heather Taylor’s West Hollywood home, Ariel Ashe’s Greenwich Village townhouse, Sally King Benedict’s Atlanta home, Anne Ziegler’s Laurel Canyon home, Emily Henderson’s Los Angeles home, Andrea Krueger’s Paris apartment.
Thank you so much Brittany for allowing us a peek into your stunning world, your beautiful work and the homes of so many stylish people you’ve had the pleasure to work with. And a special thanks to domino magazine for sharing photography from previous issues with us, too.
(Images: Brittany Ambridge)
Good morning friends. Hope you are doing well and for those of you getting hit by snowstorms, keep warm and read blogs! So let’s get started with some inspiration for you today. I really like the interiors shot by Swedish photographer Sara Svenningrud. After living in LA and London, she’s now back in Sweden working with clients for magazine and catalog work along with ad campaigns. She’s also produced fashion shows! Her photos are always quite obvious to me when I see them in Scandinavian and even German interiors mags – I think it’s because she’s photographed a lot of homes like Marie Olsson Nylander (whom has also worked with her as an interiors stylist) and I’m quite a fan of Maire’s work combined with Sara’s magical eye.
Marie’s signature style includes loads of soft and creamy hues, yummy texture, fresh greenery and a flea market meets global industrial vibe and Sara’s photos are all about achieving perfect composition, drawing you in and allowing for a lot of natural creamy light to illuminate everything very evenly. Here is a glimpse from her portfolio below. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I have to comment on this image above because where I live, it’s very easy to find old school charts with these beige linen-like backs. You can even source them on eBay. I’ve flipped over one of mine before and used it over my desk as a mood board, but I also love using it as a backdrop for showing some of your favorite artwork with simple black tape too. It’s so imaginative and a nice change from showing art on walls with tape.
The chandelier is so very delicate and pretty and I love the lightbulb-esque table lamp and the contrast between the gold table and the modern elements around it. Also, every home needs a big round frameless mirror, right?
Love this loo! What a sweet little bathroom and that graphic, bold floor set amidst all of that blackness, it’s just the best. The wire basket filled with toilet paper is a good one, I’ve been seeing this for years but like it best in a black/white bathroom like this one. It works.
Gosh that leather sofa on the right is so interesting, almost seems to transform into a bed, am I right? Who makes that thing, is it a classic piece or? I’m stumped for the first time, I usually identify every piece in a room but this sofa – nope!
How stunning, right? Hope you are doing well today.
(images: Sara Svenningrud/styling + home: Marie Olsson Nylander)
Sometimes I just crave simplicity in my interiors, like this beautiful home in Norway from Boligpluss magazine — a white blank space with loads of natural light near the coast – just as in my childhood days. I often daydream about a coastal vacation home in northern Germany or Denmark so little Aidan can enjoy holidays in a second home, a small and simple one, a place where we can all find comfort and create memories. I wonder if I should start cottage hunting in Denmark? Or perhaps coastal Germany? And I wonder where, what towns I should look at? We live in northern Germany and plan to stay here, and don’t want to drive more than 5 hours to a vacation home. Less is more and I don’t want a weekend trip to be spent with a full day on the road. Anyone have thoughts on this? Know of any charming seaside towns?
This home below is in Norway, and I’m smitten with it. It’s gorgeous. And makes me very happy.
I imagine a cottage much like this one for my very own. Definitely nothing large though it must have a lawn where I can set up an English-style flower garden, herb garden, shed, patio and a sandbox and swing for our little boy. It all sounds so charming as I type this and makes me smile big. I also imagine painting the outside with black paint and leaning a canary yellow bike against the porch. It all sounds so silly, I know. But I’ve been having this vision of owning a small second home for a very long time so perhaps it’s time to stop dreaming. There is no perfect someday, right? You either do things now or you risk never having them at all.
A summer cottage and an office space/shop out of my current home studio. These are my two big dreams at the moment. I’m curious, what are yours?
Let’s talk about messy homes and motherhood. But first, I find the most interesting people via Pinterest. But the thing is with Pinterest, to reap the real benefits of using is, you need to click on the images you like and link out to the sites where they’ve been pinned from. It’s easy to habitually repin what you see on others’ boards or in your feed, but the beauty of Pinterest is that it also connects you to new people which is exactly how I found author Annika von Holdt. Annika is such an interesting woman! She splits her time between island life on Harbour Island in the Bahamas and her home in Copenhagen, and not only does she style interiors but she is a bestselling novelist, writing professionally for nearly 15 years – the same amount of time that she spent as a fashion model. You can learn more about her four thrillers, The Mummers Play, Sleep Like the Dead, The Night Hour and The Haunted, here (in her left menu click on Books).
I also found Annika on IG yesterday and immediately followed her – I love her aesthetic despite how different it is from my own. Her style is very popular in northern Europe and Scandinavia at the moment – very graphic, a little dark, edgy, just all around rock star cool. I also love that her home is so posh and clean although she has an 11-year-old son – mothers often tell me that it’s not possible to have a child and a beautiful home and I’m always so quick to defend how I feel which is that you really can have it all. Most mothers then say, “Well you’ll see after the baby is born”. My son will turn one in 10 days and he’s running all over the house now, opening cabinets, the typical toddler routine… Yet I’m still a decorating fanatic and a clean freak. Annika must feel the same way as I do because she pays a lot of attention to her interior world.
Some mothers are quick to think that those of us who are so devoted to our interiors after we have children are simply plagued with this disease called perfectionism or are even a bit strange or “troubled”. I’ve heard this quite often, especially online where mothers tend to voice their opinions without holding back. But I believe differently – that some women require total life balance in order to be the best mom that they can be. Some of us simply cannot turn our homes into a giant playground and be happy with that, and I’m that kind of mom. And for those mothers who don’t mind, well that is wonderful because honestly, it’s less stressful if you aren’t the type to be bothered by sticky surfaces and sofa stuffing tumbling out onto the floor. I often wish I didn’t care so much. I may be able to relax more and spend less of my free time tidying up.
I don’t think either approach is wrong – being attentive or inattentive to housework and decorating – whatever a mother chooses is how it should be for her and her family. And of course, dad should be included when it comes to chores because not everything can fall on the mother, right? Yet, no one can judge how you manage your home unless it’s so unsanitary that it’s not fit for human life. But it is a mistake to look at those who have immaculate interiors and assume children are being neglected or brought up unable to be kids simply because their mother loves to keep her home nice. Personally, I spend a lot of time when Aidan is napping or asleep at night to tidy the house or work on a decorating project. And I have a cleaner for 4 hours who, before my son, came once biweekly and the moment he arrived, she is with us once weekly – and it’s wonderful and I just cut back in other areas to be able to afford little luxuries.
But back to Annika. I’m so inspired by women with children who are also invested in their interiors. Because sometimes, I really have wondered if I am crazy or if my decorating bug should be stamped out for awhile until my son is older. But I just can’t imagine my life without loving my home and I only love my home when it is clean, organized and looks appealing to me. I must add though that my home is not photo-worthy at the moment, it’s a bit upside down since we moved in a year ago because our baby arrived a month after we moved in so some things are still boxed up in our spare room. And I need to finish decorating my home – something I’m currently working on slowly. Because with a baby, you aren’t able to keep your same pace so what would have taken me a week before takes me a few months because I can only work on a project an hour here, and hour there. Yet, it feels good to not be sacrificing part of my life or what I value because I had a baby. I really didn’t want to lose that part of myself just because I became a mother.
What are your thoughts on motherhood, messy homes and keeping your interiors inspiring despite sticky fingers? And how great is this space from Annika?
(images: annika von holdt)