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Studio & Photographer: Alexandra Grablewski

Hello everyone! How are you today? Let’s talk about beautiful photography for a minute and check out an inspiring studio in Brooklyn. If you’ve already caught the link in my recent post about Sweet Paul’s new book (here), then you may have clicked over already and discovered Alexandra Grableweski for yourself. If not, you’re in for a real treat. After reviewing Paul’s book, I wanted to create my own little post highlighting her most gorgeous images because seeing her portfolio made me feel creative and sparked the need in me to start using my Canon 5D more and really LEARN photography and no longer accept being comfortable with the same old settings I often fall back on which produce very mediocre results.

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In other words, her work gave me a swift butt kick! Alexandra’s photos are a combination of technique and a clever eye, which to me are the key ingredients in taking photos that stand out from the pack. You can’t have one without the other because you can have the best angles, gorgeous subjects, and the awe-inspiring surroundings, but if you don’t know how to capture them correctly on a technical level (lighting is key!), then you may never be fully satisfied with your photographs. I must add though that you also need a lot of patience because working with people (especially pets and children) requires a lot of it. We had an infant photo shoot in my home last month 10 days after my son was born (see the results here) and our photography, Christin Lange, was so perfectly patient with our baby despite how she’d position him a certain way and immediately he’d move and she’s have to do it all over again and again and again. I observed her patience and it brought baby and child photography up to a whole new level of respect in my eyes. I had no idea how much work it was to get babies posed well for a single image.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is professional photographer based in Brooklyn who specializes in food, still life, children, and travel photography. When she’s not on location, she is shooting from her home which doubles as her studio space for client work. She recently shot the new book by Paul Lowe called Eat & Make, which you can win a copy of here until April 8, 2013. Here are some glimpses of her home studio below to give you a peek.

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What an interesting concept to keep your home tidy and spare so that you can use it as your studio space in addition to living. I find it so interesting that she can even live that way, I tend to have so much stuff that is personal that I’d have a hard time loaning my private space out to clients or shooting in all of the rooms in my home. I admire her tidiness and dedication to her work so, SO much. I also love that despite being in New York City, her three-story city home looks like it’s located in the middle of a scenic countryside. It has a very Connecticut or New Hampshire vibe – very New England – so charming. All of the white and wood makes for the perfect backdrop for so many different types of photos, too.

Here are some of my favorites from her portfolio. I particularly love the ones that center on lifestyle and children, for obvious reasons given I just had my first child! I also need to get a marble work surface like the one shown in the below photo. I love marble surfaces that are white with gray because you can really let things melt and smear nicely on them and they won’t dry as quickly or absorb into the surface as they would if placed on a wooden surface. Truth be told, I’ve been really attracted to them lately because my neighbor and friend Susanne, who writes the blog Milas Deli, uses one in lots of her IG stream photos and I really like how it looks. I’m on the prowl for one to buy for my kitchen now so I can start showing some of my own food photos that I post on IG with a marble background instead of always relying on my wooden table. It’s getting boring. I need to try some new surfaces and experiment a little bit.

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So what do you think, gorgeous or what?

(images: alexandra grablewski with permission)

Posted in inspiration on April 02, 2014

Small Apartment With Great Storage in Pastel Tones

I fell in love with this charming and very graphic little Russian apartment recently on the my paradissi blog and I couldn’t resist sharing a glimpse of it below. This fabby place is 45sqm (approx. 480 sq.ft.) and was designed by INT2 Architecture. The pastel hues are a hit as well as the white painted brick, but I also love the room dividers, winter garden, kitchen and storage nooks, and how graphic it is. This is all in all a really clever and fun space and I LOVE that it’s so tidy and compact. Gorgeous!

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Love: Owl artwork, wood floors, geometric wall hanging

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Love: chalkboard shelving and minty green stools

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Love: Numbered wine hold, overhead wine glass storage, overhead lighting

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Love: Flooring and rug, artwork, pendant

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Love: Geometric backdrop (not sure if this is tile, wallpaper or painted on but it’s pretty cool)

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Love: The seating, rug, how the windows are painted pale blue, pendants, white-painted brick and those wall cushions and art aren’t bad either.

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Love: How the shelving fits perfectly in this nook!

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Love: Beneath the bedroom floor – storage drawers! Also love the divider between the living area and sleep space

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Love: Raised bedroom and neat little closet area.

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Love: It appears as though there is more storage in the floor on the left side of the bed. I also love the pendant.

What do you love about this space?

(images: INT2 Architecture)

Posted in inspiration on March 11, 2014

Pretty Floral Pairings Inspired By Liberty London

Hello everyone! While I wait for our little baby to make his grand appearance into the world (I was due yesterday!), I thought I’d blog a little before hitting the morning farmers’ market. How are you? I’m thinking a lot lately about flowers and how excited I am to see them this spring more than ever before because it’s been so cold and since Leslie and I have a book coming out all about flowers soon and we can’t WAIT to show it to you! Flowers are all the rage and have been trending for ages in fashion and interiors but now more than ever before, lots of people are taking a more natural approach to styling them and even going further to experiment with new ideas that include paper and real blooms to create imaginative displays that  break tradition. I love seeing this trend! I spot lots of creatives planning floral workshops this year, flower series on their blogs, and Leslie and I are hoping to teach a color-filled floral arranging workshop in London this May so you can see some of our creative ideas with flowers from the book and hang out with us for the day. Flower power, baby!

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With all of this flower talk, I want to show you some of the spring-y Liberty prints for S/S 2014 that I’ve paired up with some favorite photos I’ve found online that make me so happy. I’m particularly in love with this one and this one. I hope this mini flower post inspires you today and gets your mind focused on spring and off of the snow and gray clouds. I personally can’t wait until I can plant my balcony and decorate with flowers in my home – I’m dying for some cherry blossoms for my dining room table and to style up some pretty arrangements to share here on the blog for you when our book releases to celebrate its launch. Okay, ready for some pretty floral pairings?

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Left: Liberty, Kaylie Sunshine C Tana Lawn Right: Cannelle et Vanille

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Left: The Gifts of Life Right: Liberty Theodora D Tana Lawn

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Left: Happy Mundane Right: Liberty Jody A Tana Lawn

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Left: Liberty Jess and Jean D Tana Lawn Right: Bemz

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Left: Juno’s Garden D Tana Lawn Right: Janne Peters

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Left: Anna G. Right: Liberty Phyllis C Tana Lawn

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Left: Liberty Jess and Jean B Crinkle Georgette Right: Line Thit Klein via Anna G.

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Left: Liberty Kaylie Sunshine B Tana Lawn Right: Matchbook Mag via Lovely Clusters

I love writing a post that inspires me and this one totally did that for me today. I want to print all of these out and tape them into my little inspiration  journal. Spring will come soon, I promise! Have a nice weekend everyone and thank you all for your well wishes for my husband and I and our baby-to-be! – Holly xo

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in inspiration on February 01, 2014

Anxiety, Pinning + Waiting For Baby

Hello everyone! I was so thrilled by the response from all of you about our baby’s finished nursery project. It’s been unreal to feel such overwhelming joy and support – thank you. It’s certainly made my final days of pregnancy so nice as I typically being to get really anxious right before something big is about to happen. Our sweet son is due tomorrow! Sadly, I get quite sick the night before any “big” happens in my life – my wedding, my book launch parties, flying, the first day of school… I even get sick before I teach online or in-person workshops! Funny thing is that the moment I have to, “step onto the stage”, the fright is completely gone and I’m 100% myself, happy and you would have thought I was lying if I told you that the night before I was running a fever and had broken out into a cold sweat! This anxiety has griped me since I was 3 or 4 years old, and though I’m “used” to it, it’s definitely not something I enjoy.  After all of these months of being pregnant and worry-free, I finally got a massive dose of anxiety and felt really, really overwhelmed and stuck in my bed this morning. I was up at 5am feeling anxious. I sat in my bed eating clementines trying to distract myself by thinking about my career and some of the fun plans I have for this summer. I also reviewed (again) all of your comments on the nursery tour post over the past few days, which calmed me down. I have to thank each one of you for leaving a little note of encouragement and love because I really, really needed that this morning. I also dragged myself to my acupuncture appointment and then my lady doctor and the little guy is thriving and I finally started having contractions. I stayed outdoors as long as I could (it’s freezing here now) so my husband and I walked over to a favorite spot for a lingering lunch. I felt so good after that. Anxiety is officially gone now. Between my loving doctor and husband, bumping into friends with their new baby on the street, and relaxing with a massive healthy salad, I felt a bit like a superwoman. You know, like we women can really do anything. A day before the due date and I’m out having lunch. How cool is THAT? Once I came back home, I wanted to continue the good mood so to distract myself, I jumped on Pinterest and down the rabbit’s hole I fell. Pinterest can be quite therapeutic sometimes, can’t it? Here are some pins that inspire me today and why. I hope that they inspire you, too.

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This kitchen from Australian Home Beautiful magazine via Birch & Bird. What I love: Open and Bright feeling, minty green stools with natural wood seats, big basket style lighting. I’m hoping to put lights like these in my new hallway. Stay tuned for that before and after post!

oct29styleshoot-78-e1384094741883-1   This gorgeous tray design, the minty cup and of course, flowers. Always flowers. I can’t get enough. This came from The Glitter Guide.

DSC_3864   A lovely cactus hanging out with some succulent friends, styled beautifully on a small desk to create a very sweet nook in gray, orange, green and black. I keep telling everyone neon orange is the new neon pink. Photography by Marij Hessel from Enter My Attic.

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I really love all of the texture and warmth in this space. That rustic coffee table is lovely and I like the styling on the fireplace – the paintings are all divine! The only thing I would add is my Beni Ourain rug in cream and black and if the fireplace isn’t being used, I’d stack hundreds of magazines inside OR create a few shelves and put books there. Do you do this too? See a photo and imagine the tweaks you’d make to the space to make it your own? If you don’t naturally do that already, try to train yourself to do it vs. just mindlessly pinning as we are usually inclined to do. You can really begin to develop your “look”, your sense of style, through these seemingly simply exercises. Really. This photo came from Blood and Champagne.

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These pretty patterns, very subdued against natural linen, actually look quite nice if you imagine them in the living room I just shared above. Lots of times we think of something as fitting a very country style cottage but if you use your imagination, often country prints can look really edgy in certain environments or even take on a new life altogether if you pair them with neons – like imagine the first two patterns to the left  - the dotty one and the roses, as a big throw pillow on the floor for lounging, one pattern on one side, one on the other. The piping would be in hot neon pink or neon orange or even neon yellow. The zipper you’ve sewn in could be exposed and in gold so there is some flash. See what I mean about taking on a new life? Photo from Ignite Light.

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This dining room in Seattle gave me such a cozy feeling the moment I saw it, but beyond that, the wallpaper! Oh my! That is one fantastic pattern isn’t it? I see so many black and white spaces these days that really lack warmth and character but this space is different with it’s warm wood tones and more traditional pieces of furniture. In fact, I think this could be a great alternative, especially if you’re into the current black and white Scandinavian trend that you see so commonly on blogs but like me, feel like it’s still a bit too cold and industrial for your liking. This dining room has a very rustic appeal. Imagine a midpoint? Something in between the stark, clean Scandi b/w rooms and this one? How would I design a room like that? With this wallpaper above, a natural rug like the one shown, those same chairs only with a more graphic seat cushion in black and white and a table with metal legs and a wooden top that looks a bit industrial. I’d also swap out the pendant for someone more modern and graphic in either black or white – or perhaps go with all glass orbs like this one or something similar. Photo from issue #22 of Rue Magazine, via Lark & Linen, showing the home of designer Brian Paquette as photographed by Belathee.

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I was so impressed this morning when I spotted this image on Pinterest and then tracked it down to San Francisco creative director Suzanne Shade who made it by hand for her kitchen. It’s so funky! It’s like London meets Copenhagen style – I can see wallpaper like this selling well at a store like Liberty. I love the mix of photography, toile and solid geometrics. It didn’t hurt that the image contains some air plants and the Tom Dixon “London” candle that I’ve been DYING to own for months now. Photography by sfgirlbybay. And yes, I would hang that wallpaper in my home without hesitation, it would be amazing in my guest bathroom or in my entryway. Drooling over here…

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I love photos featuring a nicely styled messy bed! My bed in the morning is rarely disheveled stylishly and camera-ready but then again, I’ve also don’t typically awake to gorgeous Victoria’s Secret bed-head either. Anyway, beyond the bed, I love the rich walls and the grouping of tiny vintage frames and mini paintings. Definitely a great look to try if you want to do something a little different than the typical large-picture-above-bed look. Photo via Merrilee Liddiard.

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Are you slightly obsessed too by Kate Moss? I grew up with Kate as the “face” of my generation, she is nearly 40 now and still looks wonderful… In fact, I think age suits her quite well. I really want the Kate Moss Book to display on my coffee table – I bet it’s so interesting to flip through and bask in her often breathless photos from year to year. Photo from Kate Moss Daily.

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I know it’s quite a switch to go from Kate Moss to French textiles, but wow I just can’t help myself. I loved seeing this page from a sample book showing French textiles dating around the 1862 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was so taken in when we studied the history of textiles in college and today I’m no different, I eat this stuff up. What an inspiring glimpse!

I’m hoping you are all doing just great! I’m writing this post with a huge heart full of love for you all as we wait for our little baby boy – his due date is tomorrow and we couldn’t be MORE excited to soon welcome him to our life and to yours, too! xo Holly

(images linked to their sources above)

Posted in inspiration on January 30, 2014

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