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. :)
(images from new decor and holly becker)
I have to share Casch of Denmark with you today. I felt excited when I unwrapped my new Fall coat from Anthropologie today and find that it was designed by Casch. Here are some images from their collections, imagine turning these outfits into rooms?
I can see it now. A living room with a chair upholstered in cream with a golden ring pattern (like the jacket shown above), and lots of texture and details everywhere, like embroidered and beaded art in wooden frames and a capiz shell chandelier (or this citron light). Pale blue glass jars filled with shells and pebbles, a cable knit throw, linen curtains… Wait. I just thought of a post from April showing rooms from Zara Home. Remember? A look that is not too far off from what I imagine… Here are the rooms.
Let’s drool over pretty rooms, shall we? :) I’d like to share some of the entries submitted so far for the Fabulous Stationery contest. (If you would like to enter, details are right here.) I am delighted to associate with such a talented bunch of readers and thank you all for sharing your creative vision with us. I have all entries filed away here for now, but worry that readers will forget to click over and will miss out on viewing them, so here are just a few that I fell in love with.
Carlene Vitale from Knit Squirrel. “Mod Vases in Green…I really love this card; I collect green pottery, and rooms with these colors + pottery are some of my favorites. I already remembered a few I’d seen when I picked this card. The card reminded me of modern interiors in shades of cool blues and greens, with sketchy, linear accents, wood tones and natural, leafy elements (all my favorites).” – Carlene.
Marie-Christine Hoffmann from Kischa. “The name of the card design is Blossom. I choose this card as opportunity to create a nature look, because for me the blossom could also be a butterfly or a clover leaf. Black alone would have work very elegant, but by the nature tones the areas are loosened up, more comfortable and cosy. The style mix gives a loft like atmosphere, which I enjoy.” -Marie Christine.
Sofia Barao from la fee coriandre. “I selected Hyacinth because it’s a feminine and simple beautiful card that matches perfectly these interiors, plus the hyacinth is such a beautiful and retro flower to me it’s the flower that matches perfectly a vintage interior style. I chose these 3 wonderful photos because they are really what I like in a house: space, light, comfort and a retro esprit links each of these photos.” – Sofia.
From Angela Burke at Ambient Design. “The Shroom card reminds me of my early 1980s Vermont upbringing: Cozy, autumnal, and sort of hippie but cute.I tried to find rooms that had an equally retro-made-modern, cozy feel.” – Angela.
Sarah Dennis from Toast and Tables. “The card I chose was Dandelion in green. The dandelion flower means happiness and happiness to mean means ?color?. The crisp green and aqua blue color combinations in these rooms are used in a bright, cheery and retro way. I choose a flower because of its association with nature. Blue and green are colors taken directly from nature; think blue skies and green grass. Nature inspires the most creative combination of color. Right now, the nature trend is coming on strong and can be interpreted in various ways. These rooms are not only refreshing but there?s an added level of sophistication.” – Sarah.
Silvia Amtmann from Lazy Angel. “I selected Poppy because I love this particular color combination: sky blue, bright green, golden yellow, and red orange. Also, I absolutely love poppies. Lastly, the card is bold and playful but still polished, as well as organic and yet structured. The rooms I chose fit the color palette of the card, but were also fun and clean designs, feminine without being sugary or frilly. Undoubtedly modern but neither cold nor sterile.” -Silvia.
Alicia Bock from Bloom Grow Love “Card: Fashionista Madison. Chosen because she has such wonderful character, and we both adore pink and black. Lots of romance, girliness and fun. The retreat I’d want to hang out in with a bunch of girlfriends.” -Alicia.
Sidsel Gaustadnes from Spagats. “I love the colours and the whimsical style in this card, called Teaparty-Tan. And I just love tea and cakes. We are close to buying a summerhouse and these photo show pretty well how I would like to decorate my kitchen there.” -Sidsel
(images from readers indicated above)
Remember how I posted about being Hopeful last week? My Hopeful print arrived yesterday, and you know what’s funny about timing and life in general? In the same stack of mail I found an envelope containing the brand new issue of Adorn magazine (Fall ’07, will be out any day now) with a room I pulled together for them — a two page spread! And since this issue of Adorn is the same size as a regular magazine, the pictures are larger and look beautiful. I am thrilled.
Last week, some not-so-good news came to us from a close family member so we could only be hopeful that better health would come to them. And it did and now that person is better. But the stress of it all impacted me greatly. When the hopeful print arrived yesterday, it was an instant reminder that things turned out okay and as a family, we got through it. And then the next thing I opened was the envelope containing this issue of Adorn, which I did not expect for at least another week or two. This was further reminder that in life, bad things happen but they don’t stay around too long because then goodness comes flooding in. Life is like that sometimes, isn’t it?
Here are the original photos, taken by photographer Jack Deutsch. Nice work, Jack! And Kayte Terry took all the ideas and everything I arranged and styled it just how I imagined. She is amazingly talented. Adorn is very lucky to have Kayte on board. She is also the blogger behind This Love Forever and an etsy seller under the same name. And this article isn’t all about my room, Adorn also had Kayte design one and Gregory Han (aka TypeFiend on Live Journal and flickr) from Apartment Therapy LA. You have to pick up the issue, Gregory and Kayte really went for it with their designs. I loved seeing how everyone took the idea of designing around a single chair from a big box retailer and then put their spin on how they’d design a space around it.
And you know what is even more thrilling? A loyal reader and talented artist, Anne from Florida, sent me a painting of the room to show her support. I shared this room a few months ago when Adorn sent me the final images and she transformed the image into a watercolor painting, and she sent it to me as a gift. (The print is now available in her etsy store.) Isn’t that the nicest gesture? Anne will paint your room too, or your house (makes a great gift), or anything else you are proud of if you are interested for under $150 for an original. So thank you Anne for making my Adorn appearance one that will last for years to come because your painting is soon to be displayed on my wall. And thank you Adorn for asking me to contribute to your magazine, I can officially cross one dream from my list thanks to you.
My room design was inspired by my friend Danielle (and she doesn’t even know it yet but I played pretend: she was my client, he he) and a painting I first saw at Three Graces Gallery in Portsmouth, NH by Bailey Saliwanshik. A little story about the painting: after months and months of still wanting it and turning the idea of owning it over and over in my head, after the photo shoot I contacted Bailey and just purchased it. I think any piece of art that you want for so many months is a sign that perhaps you should save up and buy it. Although most times, you take the risk of losing the piece because it may be sold. In this case, I think it was just meant to be. Here it is in my home, waiting to be installed. It also has a new frame, since I wanted something lighter.
I think the other painting used in the shoot is still available though, in case you are interested, click here.
(images from holly becker, jack deutsch and adorn magazine)