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coffee + cre8tive {nov 28 06}

While researching bathtubs at the Boston Design Center yesterday, the experience of showroom browsing further impressed upon me how I feel about decorating the home. Design is very personal and should be viewed as an extension of who you are vs. who you think you are or who you want to be. I don’t know why that hit me yesterday stronger than ever, but it did. Maybe it was the lady I watched barking at the sales professional because she needed the exact room on display and how dare he say the sofa is no longer available in blue velvet! Yes, many are like this lady. Lost deep in a design hole, with no clue that design isn’t heat-n-eat, but takes time and patience to evolve.

Example. Some people live in bare boring apartments for many years and then, almost overnight, decide to buy everything they need to create a trendy space because they suddenly feel the need to grow up and impress others. If that’s you, consider this. I had a 38-year-old client in the same situation. Yes, 38. She was put under pressure by her manager to hold a holiday party at her home a few years back and hired me to transform her apartment into a hip pad. Of course, I knew how to approach it and what steps to take, but I found it sad that she was only doing it to impress others. Insta-design, as I call it, may certainly trick house guests but for the more intuitive set, we can tell when rooms aren’t genuine or personal, when there’s no depth. After the process was complete, she realized how she’d been short changing herself all of these years by not embracing her home. Now, she reads my blog and collects things whenever she travels to add to her space. She is free because she is finally living in her rooms.

The best spaces I’ve visited are the ones that have stories to tell – stories that go beyond last year. The dweller slowly built their collections over a period of time. Items picked up 4 years ago at a flea market. Art purchased in college at a fair. Your embroidered bib, given to you by your mother, that you’ve framed for the new nursery. Textiles handed down from grandparents. Books collected since teengage years. When I step into homes like this, I want to explore and ask questions. I want to know the person.

Design, at least through my lens, is all about the need to surface what I’m feeling on the inside, along with memories I’ve built over the years, and create a home sanctuary in which all that I think and feel is in view. These items all serve as reminders, not only of my own roots and progress (sometimes we can lose touch), but to give visitors a clue about who I am.

Decorating the home is much like writing a diary or creating zines and books from scratch. On one side, you are pulling from within – so many personal reflections, adventures, even some sad moments, and revealing those things to others. You don’t always know just how much of yourself to put out there, but you make decisions along the way and hopefully they are the right ones. On the other side, it’s also very revealing because you are pulling all that is personal to you and displaying it for the world to see. Takes courage to display your sock monkey collection, doesn’t it? Any home can be an ‘overnight success’, but I prefer the longer route, when time is needed for the design to evolve.

Think of a home that you love. It could be a friend, or something you’d spotted in a magazine like ReadyMade, Living Etc, and Domino. Doesn’t it radiate the person living in it, on all levels, right down to their scent?

Today, I encourage you to think about how your home is evolving. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve taken the ‘heat ‘n eat’ road in the past, you can resolve today to infuse a little more YOU into your space. You may think it’s dumb, but do a bit of an inventory. Walk around your home with pen and paper in hand, and write down what you don’t like about it. Be specific. Write down the items that make you feel drained or sad. Perhaps they hold bad memories or you just no longer enjoy them. Those are the items I put on detention for awhile – I pull them from the space and put them in the closet or in the attic for a month or two. Then, I revisit the item and if I still feel the same, it goes to charity or craigslist. The point here is to design for yourself and for your family. Show all that you love in your home. You shouldn’t live around things you don’t care about or love. You are only the age you are today one time in your life. Tomorrow, you will be older. Life is moving forward.

My husband once told me that I had a habit of putting dreams and ideas on hold until a future date when circumstances would somehow be ‘perfect’ then. He told me back then that there’s no future ‘magic time’ when you should start officially living your life and doing all that you love and living in an environment that meets your standards. That time is already here. It’s called Today.

QUESTION…..

With that being said, anyone have a room in thier home they’d like to share that has evolved over time? OR Do you have a space you need opinions on? A little design direction? We’d love to post and comment about them! Email me at decor8blog AT yahoo DOT com and I may post it here on decor8 with a link to wherever you sit on the web (your blog, business, etc.).

(image from bdc showroom lee jofa.)

Posted in inspiration on November 28, 2006

Lick Your Chops Interiors (and Contest Ideas??)


Seems fellow blogpal Victoria (SFGirlbyBay) has the same fascination with home peeping as we do. Look at these lovely images that she’s collected and displayed on her wonderful blog this week.

The photo above is from Pink Loves Brown (who was featured here and also here – stationery goddess!) Would you like to peek at a few other areas in her home? Sure you would. Click here.

Victoria also pulls together the most amazing design boards ever on AT:SF. This lady rocks it out, I think she is so clever. This one, ’40’s Finds at the Flea Market, is my favorite by far. I love the corals, tropical barkcloths (they look Hawaiian to me), that kiwi green, and the pops of red, especially the adorable red dog silhouette (click on image below for larger view or read the complete post over at AT:SF).


This design board ‘ABC’s for Renters‘, is fun and has a lot of personality. Also from Victoria. Get the specifics here. How inspirational is this, huh?

Makes me think, maybe in the new year we should have a new contest. Maybe I can find a sponsor and if not, I’ll reach into my pockets and just do it myself. I’d love to have a Design Board competition. Where readers pull together images and paint chips and fabric swatches to create a dream room. What do you think? Would you be interested in something like that?

I could also make the voting system a little more on spot by using some nifty software or something where a person can only vote once for their favorite. I don’t think anon votes on blogs are always 100% if you know what I’m sayin’…. Maybe a SPRING FLING contest held in late March? What types of prizes would you like? Any ideas for me? We have a nice group of readers, why not try out another contest – only this time, something where you can get out the gluesticks and magazine clippings and go absolutely nuts.

Let me know what you think, so I guess you can consider this your warning so you can start thinking about your dream room in advance… :)

(images, top from pink loves brown, bottom two from victoria)

Posted in blogs, inspiration on November 22, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {nov 21 ’06}


I’m really enjoying artist Margaux Williamson lately, her new works appeal to me on so many levels. Despite being so young (I think she is 29 or 30 now), her works show real depth and maturity, and although quite melancholic, there’s a glimmer of hope in each of her captivating stories on canvas. To me, they hold a lot of mystery, almost a feeling of being trapped at first, but upon careful inspection, the story each tells seems to contain a secret, enlightment perhaps, as if finding the the key to free yourself is entirely up to you. Much like life itself, isn’t it?

Today I am inspired by Margaux. What about you? What have you seen lately that inspires you?

(images from margaux williamson)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration on November 21, 2006

Random Images to Inspire

We spent the day roaming the cobblestone streets of Hannover Linden today, where I met an old friend who is the largest book seller in Germany, with over 1 million books for sale on Amazon. We browsed his extensive collection on towering bookshelves, all which overflowed with rare titles, mostly published between the early 1900’s-1985.
I loved the children’s books I found, and he was nice enough to give me 3 of my favorites, which I happily accepted. Not only do they help me practice my German, but the pretty illustrations and typefaces are so lovely, I can’t stop looking at them. Two appeared as good as new, but it’s the one that is clearly used that appears to me the most. Inside the front cover, there is a handwritten dedication from oma to granddaughter Nadine. Nadine stamped her Berlin address, along with a maus sticker, inside. To think that a little girl from Berlin once owned this book in 1972, a book that now belongs to me… I don’t know, it’s somewhat touching. This story was once read to her and tucked away on a bookshelf… I wonder what became of young Nadine?


While roaming the narrow halls of books, I noticed an old poster taped to the side of a wooden bookcase, and thought it was lovely enough to capture and share with you. The print was already in sephia, so I think the photo came out rather nicely… Her porcelin complexion and his adoring gaze couldn’t resist my lens. Too bad they’re smoking and not simply about to engage in a kiss.

After visiting the warehouse, we stumbled upon my new favorite coffee shop, Cafe Petit in Hannover Linden.
I snapped a few photos while there, and since I’ve been big into sephia shots lately, I thought I’d experiment a little. I clearly need more practice with my camera, but I really like how these came out.

Note: I’ll be returning to Linden on Saturday for a studio tour and to meet a designer that I love, so I will post some photos from that tour on Monday. See you later today with some great design finds! I’m off to dinner, but upon my return, I promise to post some more goodies for you today.


(images from holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, shopping, travel, walls on October 19, 2006

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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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