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Papaya Stationery

I heard about Papaya via Yvonne and fell in love with the imagery and colors used in this stationery line. Some of these cards would be so pretty framed, others to give (of course), and still others to incorporate into your collage art, decoupage projects, or simply to tack on your inspiration board. I say this all the time, but use things like fabrics and greeting cards to create a palette for a room you want to redux. Why stress out over pulling together the perfect colors when you can look at your favorite pattern and pull the colors from there?

For instance, if you love a card, take it with you to the paint store and match paint chips to the colors in the card. Match them as perfectly as you can. Then bring them home and lay them out on a pure white surface next to the card. Having the colors in solid squares helps you determine where you’d like the color in your room and how much of it. Look at the card design to determine how much of each color was used in the design.

Let’s say you like this card. Here you see vibrant turquoise and pinks, tempered by gray (the card border), black (in her hat), brown (in the wings), olive and other tones of green, etc. Then there’s this tiny hint of mustard. So I’m thinking that if you build a room around this card, you can either use mustard as gold (hardware), or mustard can be part of a textile you find. The brown can be your wood tones. You may even decide that you’d like to translate the colors a little differently, maybe less pink and more mustard. Bring pink in with flowers or a ceramic bowl for your keys.

Get inside the mind of a graphic designer for a minute as you lay out your colors and inspiration before you. If you have magazine clippings of the sofa you want, the chair you’ve been drooling over, pull these in too. Determine where you want your colors. Do you want color on the wall? Or just the soft furnishings? Do you want to paint your walls white and paint only the moldings in color, perhaps in a pale turquoise? There are so many options when it comes to decorating, and for those who find themselves color confused, taking inspiration from textiles, cards, etc. is a great way to get your creative wheels turning. You can start by looking for your inspiration right here.

(images from papaya)

Posted in inspiration, stationery on August 15, 2007

Jewett Street – House Swappin’

Looking for a more intimate experience when you travel? I discovered Jewett Street in a comment left over at Apartment Therapy yesterday and thought I’d share. The idea of swapping homes isn’t exactly a new one, but it’s definitely more common, even considered trendy, making your stay in a boutique hotel almost pale in comparison. More and more are jumping on house swapping for several reasons, the first being that in most cases, it’s more affordable and comfortable than a hotel. With hotels soaring into the hundreds per night, staying in one is no longer the best way to spend your vacation dollars. Especially when you can stay in a place that looks like this. Charming, don’t you think? It’s a flat available for swapping in Edinburgh, Scotland over at Jewett Street.


Next, house swapping is the best way to sink your teeth into your new culture and experience day-to-day life. You really get to take it all in this way (especially helpful if you’re planning to relocate there someday. House swapping gives you a chance to experience living there without the commitment.) Of course, many more benefits exist, but you usually don’t know what they are until you’ve experienced it. And if you cannot house swap, consider looking into rental apartments when you travel. I have connections in my favorite cities so that when I need to travel there, I know who to call for an apartment.

I think that people are much more open to the idea of letting strangers into their home because of the internet. Let’s face it, we share so much of ourselves online, you can google anyone! We have less walls around us, people aren’t as fearful as they once were. Remember back years ago, if a friend told you she was dating a man she’d met online what did you think? Didn’t images of murder and/or abduction play through your head? No one thinks twice about meeting those they’ve met online today, so the same goes for swapping homes. There isn’t as much fear in the idea. Maybe we are more trusting? I don’t know. Of course, there is still a need to exercise caution, but house swapping sounds like a great travel option to me and totally worth looking into. If you want to learn more about how home swapping works, visit the Jewett Street website and register if you’re interested.

Have you swapped homes before? What was your experience? If not, would you consider it? I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this.

(image from jewett street)

Posted in inspiration, small business, travel, trends on August 14, 2007

Refinery29 Summer Playlist

Today the weather is beautiful, finally some sunshine! Here in the northeastern part of the U.S. summer has been rainy, grey, constant thunderstorms, not exactly beach weather. Friends in northern Europe tell me that they haven’t had much of a summer there either. That’s why my eyes grew wide when I opened the Refinery29 email this morning to find this very summery image, so laid back, gorgeous colors, to go along with a terrific summer playlist that they’ve pulled together right here.

Illustration by April Lee

Music uplifts and inspires when the weather lets us down, so why not crank up your stereo and listen to some of your favorite songs today? Thanks Refinery29 for the terrific playlist.

(image from refinery29)

Posted in inspiration on August 09, 2007

New Decor by Elizabeth Wilhide

While the thrill of the hunt is invigorating, the thrill of the blindly stumbled upon can sometimes delight even more. Over the winter while browsing the local Barnes & Noble, I found a $13 book that spoke to me on every level in the most unexpected place – the nobody-loves-me-anymore bargain section. How a new release ended up there, I’ll never know. Call it fate. New Decor, written by London-based designer and writer Elizabeth Wilhide and photographed by Lisbett Wedendahl, is packed with gorgeous imagery and decorating tips.

It embraces that European urban bohemian style we love, referred to as Modern Euro Country in some magazines, but I’m beginning to think I should call it Bohemian Euro and leave it at that, it’s quicker to say and gets to the core of this most appealing look.


As a side point, New Decor appears to have different covers and titles in other parts of the world, so it’s easy to get confused. The ISBN is 978-076078-944-5 in case you want to find it in a store where you live. In Germany, it’s titled Inspiration, and in the UK, it has a totally different cover look altogether.


I have to admit that upon first glance, I wasn’t impressed by the colors on the cover (something about violet and beige combined, but that’s just me), so I walked by it a few times. But the more I looked over at it, it kept calling to me — almost batting it’s eyelashes with the giant discount sticker slapped on the front. One cannot at least look into a bargain, right? But the bait that really lured me in was the border shown on the cover, something about it felt familiar and I had to investigate further, so I satisfied my curiosity and read that it’s wallpaper designed by none other than Ms. Orla Kiely herself for Habitat’s VIP collection in London. Ah-ha! The second I saw her name this rush of excitement ripped through me, for anything involving Orla Kiely must be good. And this book is very good. Drool-inducing pages of gorgeousness, one after another. I felt as though I’d discovered gold that day in the middle of big box bargainville.


I refer to New Decor regularly for ideas and inspiration. It has opened my eyes to color and pattern, and I was already confident (or so I thought) in using both and thought I was pretty open-minded about design until New Decor entered my life. It’s a great reminder that when it comes to design, I’ve only just begun! I need to continue to develop my eye by experimenting more, leaning less on what I know to guide me (comfort) and more on what I do not know to steer me in exciting new directions (exploration, going beyond what’s comfortable). Yes, a mere design book with pretty picture can do that.


Beyond imagery though, it’s packed with topics spanning everything from monochromatic color schemes to brightly-colored wallpaper, there’s truly something for everyone including display techniques, window treatments, how to mix a variety of patterns in a space, and tips on paint selection. There’s even a how-to guide in the back and a stocklist. I’ll try to look through that later today and share some of those with you here, as a few of the resources cited do not sound familiar to me. I need to comb the stocklist to locate these curtains below because I want to buy them for an upcoming project I’m involved in. It’s called decorating my new city apartment. More on that in months to come. :)


I seriously suggest that you purchase a copy and find a cozy chair immediately, it may open your eyes to a few non-traditional approaches to design too.

(images from new decor and holly becker)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration on August 08, 2007

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.

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