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Postcards from Amsterdam

September 12, 2008

I can’t wait to tell you about my recent journey to Amsterdam. Would you like to travel to this lovely Dutch city with me today? Please, be my guest. Here’s a recap of my adventures in Holland. At least the Friday evening part. I may have to wait until Monday to share the rest…

Okay, first let me say that I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I arrived last Friday. You see I had arranged to go meet with my friend Danielle and do some shopping for my apartment. Then as our plans were confirmed, I decided that since a few decor8 readers heard I was going to be in town and they wanted to hang out with me, that it would be really fun to meet them so I decided to blog about a small meet and greet. You know, nothing formal, just dinner and drinks. So last Friday evening a small group of peers — bloggers, blog readers, designers, creative types — joined me and my husband for dinner and drinks at De Kroon. In the end, we had 25 show up, between 8-10 per table (3 tables) and wow! What a great night! Would you like to see a few photos?

Postcards from Amsterdam Business cards collected from our meet and greet.

All I kept thinking before the meet and greet was that I’d arrive in Amsterdam wildly enthusiastic about meeting people and no one would show up. I was nervous to meet people who read this blog, I sometimes feel like in person I won’t ‘measure up’ to whatever image people form in their mind as to what I’ll be like. Of course, I don’t let stage fright stop me, but it was definitely in the back of my mind. I think that it’s part of being human, we all wonder how others will perceive us especially when one takes a friendship from the internet to the real world. In fact, I’m willing to bet that others felt much like I did as they entered De Kroon but you know, we all walked through those doors, cast our fears aside, and my goodness what a great evening we had. I felt completely comfortable with everyone there. Some I’d known already from following their blogs, so it was just as exciting for me to meet them in person as it was for them to meet me. I felt such enthusiasm, warmth, and an overall gracious spirit — all were super appreciative that this event was planned and that they could participate. We even had a few editors show from one of the Netherlands top decorating magazines, 101 Wohnideeen, and they arrived with a huge bag of magazines to share with every person in attendance. They also brought back issues and gave those to us as well so I now have about 6 issues to look over. What an honor to have these ladies attend!

Postcards from Amsterdam Yvonne from Yvestown (left) and me on the right.

I was over the moon to see how many showed up, and eagerly, each enthusiastically introduced themselves and took a seat next to complete strangers chatting and becoming quick friends. The vibe was very positive, the energy level was high, and the result was better than I had imagined. I have to thank everyone reading who attended for making my visit to Amsterdam so very special and memorable.

Postcards from Amsterdam
Danielle from The Style Files and I.

Postcards from Amsterdam
Per, Sia, Pia, Riley, and Emma. I’m next to Emma but you cannot see me. :)

Postcards from Amsterdam

Who showed up? Danielle from the Style Files (blogger and Le Souk owner), Emma from Emmas Designblogg (all the way from Stockholm!) and her friend Per, Pia Jane Bijkerk (amazing stylist and blogger) and her partner Roman, Sia Grafica (lovely illustrator and blogger), Fab fashion designer Riley Salyards from Jackson, Johnston and Roe, Yvonne Eijkenduijn with the lovely home from Yvestown and her husband Bo, Femke de Bont and her boyfriend Peter, Claudia Brown from the Sofa Blog, Ingrid Quinn (not a blogger but a blog reader and soon to be in Sri Lanka as Women’s Advisor to the UN), the very dear Jane Schouten from All the Luck in the World and her lovely daughter, Two editors from Dutch decorating magazine 101 Woonideeen magazine (Ann-Marie Ross and Kim van Rossenberg), Nina van de Goor from Nina In Vorm (blogger and ceramicist who also has a great house), Erika from Miko Design (you must visit her etsy store), Dane from Leilialoo, and a few others that I didn’t have an opportunity to exchange cards with (or meet) so I’m very sorry for that if you are reading. Please comment and let me know who you are if you’re reading this. :)

Postcards from Amsterdam More great ladies!

Postcards from Amsterdam Anne-Marie and Kim from 101 Wohnideeen.

Other than drink and eat, we chatted about design, art, culture, entertainment, decorating, and of course blogging! Our favorite subject of the night. My hope is that these ladies will form a little ‘creative girls’ night out now and then to keep the lines of communication freely flowing because it’s not only motivating for creatives to get out there and meet people but it can stimulate new ideas and alternate ways of thinking. Sometimes we get so holed up in our ateliers or offices working primarily alone on our projects of blogs that we can lose touch. I can go for several days without leaving my house! This isn’t good and I’ve come to realize that I need to get out more and meet some of my online friends and have these much-needed exchanges with them. If you are a blogger and have local readers, I encourage you to arrange for ‘real life’ meet and greets in your city because it can be a lot of fun to take these relationships from virtual to real time. Go for it! Who knows what can happen. I met Danielle in 2006 and Emma in 2007 and we’ve remained friends ever since, all because we took our online friendship into real time and it really worked out nicely.

So after this fun evening that ended pretty late, we went back to our hotel called NL Hotel (13 room boutique hotel on the edge of the Jordaan district around the corner from The Frozen Fountain) and called it a night. The rest of the weekend (up until Monday evening) was spent shopping, taking a canal ride, and enjoying the Fall-ish weather that was a bit moody but overall nice, cool and crisp.

Next let’s talk about some of the shops that I visited and a few good restaurants that I highly recommend. But this part has to wait until Monday because I’m ready to say goodbye and start my weekend. I have a flea market to hit in the morning, so I need an early start. Until Monday then! Have a lovely weekend!

More photos here from our night out.

(images from anne-marie ross, me and others from my cutie husband thorsten)

Inspiration

I’m Listening To…

September 10, 2008

I always love it when some of my favorite bloggers take a moment to share something a bit more personal on their blogs, usually things they do for fun like the films they watch or the music they’re currently into.

I'm Listening To... Keren Rose

I'm Listening To... Nylon

If you are a blogger I invite you to post the music that you’re listening to this month on your blog and link your post back to this one and in the comments section below, share the link to your post so decor8 readers can click over to see what you’re listening to. Consider yourself tagged! :) This will be quite fun and may open us all up to some new music. Honestly there is nothing better than a home filled with fresh flowers, good food, and good music in addition to a nice interior and some yummy cookies baking in the oven. :)

I'm Listening To... Klee

I'm Listening To...Room Eleven

So fellow bloggers, what you are listening to? I just pulled the stack of CD’s on my shelf that I’ve purchased since coming here to Germany last month. See if we have any favorites in common and please, excuse my obsession with Greatest Hits CDs lately. I’m a bit obsessed with old school hits right now. I know, I know… Will Smith? you ask. I was listening to “A Nightmare on My Street” yesterday and nearly died laughing at the memories it brought back. After that I played MJ’s, “Don’t Stop ‘Til Ya Get Enough” and couldn’t help but recall when my mother bought me my first vinyl as a child and I played it so loud I nearly broke the speakers in my little orange record player… Talk about a blast from the past! Here is a taste of what I’m listening to lately…

  • Klee (German), Title: Berge Versetzen (crazy about!)
  • Keren Rose (French), Title: Rose (the best Sunday afternoon music)
  • Nylon (German), Title: 10 Lieder ?ber Liebe (oh this band is so jazzy and good)
  • Thomas Godoj (German), Title: Plan A (German pop but his voice is great)
  • Morrissey, Title: Greatest Hits
  • Abba, Title: Gold: Greatest Hits
  • Michael Jackson, Title: Off The Wall
  • John Mayer, Title: Heavier Things
  • Babyface, Title: Greatest Hits
  • Will Smith, Title: Greatest Hits
  • Ne Yo, Title: Because of You
  • Iron Man, Title: Movie Soundtrack
  • Moccabar Vol. 2 (Italian)
  • Room Eleven (Dutch) Title: Six White Russians and a Pink Pussycat (love!)

Your turn! You can either blog your favorites or if you don’t want to blog them or if you do not have a blog, comment below. Can’t wait to see your faves.

(images linked to bands above)

Inspiration, Travel

The Importance of Taking Time Out

September 10, 2008

Hello friends! How are you today? All is well here in Germany, we are experiencing summer weather still so it’s warm and very sunny. It’s been really hard for me to stay home and work! One year ago today Thorsten’s oma passed away so we took his mother out for the day to ease the sadness for her. My mother-in-law is such a wonderful lady, every moment I spend with her is always so refreshing, so the least I could do was to take the day off and spend time with her. It was such a pleasure, we went to the zoo here and had such a great time enjoying the animals and even enjoying dinner there under the warm sunshine at this traditional German restaurant dining outside on a small farm. Would you like to see a few photos that I took today?

The Importance of Taking Time Out

It never ceases to amaze me how much inspiration one can draw from observing animals and nature in general, I feel so energized and creative after spending the day at the zoo – the least likely place I thought I would find this sort of creative energy. Funny how this is, don’t you think?

The Importance of Taking Time Out

I still want to write all about my weekend in Amsterdam and the blogger meet and greet, but I’m still waiting for my husband to re size the images so that I can upload them to Flickr so please be patient with me. I will definitely be blogging about Am’dam soon though, I have so much to tell you!

The Importance of Taking Time Out

The Importance of Taking Time Out

All this talk about nature and inspiration, I’d like to ask you… what have you done lately to relax and recharge? It is vital to take time away from the normal routine — something that doesn’t involve a cell phone, computer, or entering a retail space! For instance, after walking around a zoo for six hours I am now on my bed blogging (my desk hasn’t arrived yet), sipping chai, and listening to a new CD (Nylon: 10 Lieder ?ber Liebe) as I watch the sunset and feel the warm summer air blowing through my window. I have candles flickering on the window sill and ah yes… this is the life. This special time right before the sun goes down to write, reflect on my day, and enjoy the good feeling of being alive and to live on a planet with so much to explore and enjoy. We are so lucky just to be alive and healthy, to have our families and friends, to enjoy the luxury of sitting before a computer and communicating with people in other parts of the world.

The Importance of Taking Time OutThe Importance of Taking Time OutThe Importance of Taking Time OutThe Importance of Taking Time Out

So again I ask, what have you done lately to refresh yourself? Do you have a special routine? What do you like to do to chill? Why do I care? Well truth is I like to hear from you because I learn? a lot from the comments left on this blog. You may look at decor8 as an inspiring blog, but I look at all of you as inspiring people that I enjoy being around here each and every day. I look forward to your comments and learning about you. Never be too shy to share!

See the little cuddle action above? Aren’t they the sweetest little creatures? I cannot stop looking at them… They look like little people in fur coats. :)

(photographs taken by holly becker for decor8)

Inspiration

Currently Adoring…

August 6, 2008

We all go through phases. One minute we can’t stop obsessing over a gray sofa, the next we’re hot on some slinky black cocktail dress. I’ve accepted that it’s perfectly normal and not at all strange to so passionately like pink one day and green the next. Before authoring this blog, I thought I was nuts for having so much on my radar. Then I met all of you and realized that Design ADD is more common than I’d realized. We’re all creatures fascinated with interiors and fashion and that’s completely fine. I think we all belong in Paris personally. I should try to find a nice big house there and we can all move in and just roam the streets taking it in. Ah the thought. Paris is one big design blog anyway.

Would you like to see what was on my mind when I woke up this morning? Other than packing luggage and completing pre-flight errands in time, of course!

Currently Adoring...

First, Tim Walker and his new book. This is definitely going on my coffee table. There’s an 09 calendar too. I wrote a little about him over at Real Simple today. This man walks on water. Wouldn’t you love to be photographed by him?

Currently Adoring...

Currently Adoring...

Currently Adoring...

And I’ll admit Kate Spade’s Behind the Curtain still keeps me mildly entertained each month. This month they have their director of visual display in the spotlight, her name is Ruth Parsons. I like the free desktop wallpapers available for download this month. Seeing the arrangement of interesting objects thrills me.

Currently Adoring...

Currently Adoring...

And Paul Costello. Goodness. Here’s another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious photographer. In addition to his work, his website is beyond fabulous. Another man we’d all love to be photographed by.

Currently Adoring...

Finally… Design dorks unite! Unrelated to interiors but all about design, did you know that you can custom design your own pair of keds? I think every artist should try it and wear your shoes proudly! Even non-artists, if you are creative give it a whirl. Too fun.

And because this isn’t the Holly Show… What are you feeling lately? Any inspirations out there that you’d like to share?

(images linked to sources above)

Home Tours, Inspiration

The Home of Talented Emma Cassi

August 4, 2008

My friend Kat just wrote in to suggest that I feature French stylist and jewelery designer Emma Cassi. I’d not heard of her before but the interior of her home blew me away this morning. I’m smitten. The casual elegance, the soft color palette, all of the texture and natural light… Thanks Kat!

The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi

This really inspires me because I am about to embark on furnishing a one-bedroom apartment from scratch and though I have plans laid out, seeing interiors such as Emma’s goes a long way right now since I’m eager to get started on my own place.

With so many of the same elements already in place that I hope to put into my own home, Emma’s space gives me a huge dose of enthusiasm and hopefully the same will be for you as well. What a glorious space, Emma — You possess a style that clearly extends beyond what is considered mainstream decorating and I love it.

The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi
The Home of Talented Emma Cassi

Don’t miss her beaded jewelry collection — it’s as exquisite as her home. And don’t miss her professional portfolio, lovely.

UPDATE: Aug. 4th@ 10:18 PM EST. My bloggy friend Irene from Bloesem wrote in to let us all know that she has an interview with Emma Cassi on the BKids blog. You can read it here (I’m on my way over myself.) Thanks so much, Irene!

(images from emma cassi)

Inspiration

Villa Collection {Denmark}

July 22, 2008

UPDATE: 2/14/11 – As of February 14, 2011 it appears as though this company is no longer in business. – Editor

The Danish company Villa Collection had my attention the moment I discovered their products in Europe last year. I’m leaving the states in a few weeks to continue working on my new apartment abroad where we will live for five months each year, New Hampshire is my base but northern Germany will be my hideout. :) Well, not really a hideout as I have a ton of plans during my time abroad and I’ll still be writing decor8 so I certainly won’t be hiding from all of you — that’s for sure!

Villa Collection {Denmark}
I’m currently in the process of decorating our new one-bedroom apartment remotely, and things are coming along quite well with only a few minor issues popping up here and there. I ordered so many things online in advance of our arrival, going through lists I’d created to decide what we need the moment that we arrive vs. what can wait a day or two. So far our mattresses were delivered along with a pendant light, the entryway furniture, towels, vacuum, iron, clothes rack, duvets and pillows, a ceramic hallway table light, and other bathroom items (soaps and etc.). All ordered from the web. Since our kitchen is completely bare (not even a kitchen sink!), I have a new refrigerator waiting but will quickly need to pull together a usable kitchen so no doubt I’ll be at IKEA the day after we arrive. It’s extremely exciting to pull this together but a bonus from all of this online shopping in German is that I’ve learned many new words from Kleiderschrank (clothes closet/wardrobe) to Teppiche (carpet).

Villa Collection {Denmark}
Although small (59 square meters = 635 sq. ft.) and definitely simple (post-war, no fancy architectural details or flooring), I plan to make our second home cozy and relaxing. Our goal is to eventually buy a condo in a pre-war Jugendstil style building but for now, simple is the plan because wealthy we are not. :)

It’s important that the overall style is a reflection of both of us so I made the decision to merge our favorite things and figure out how to make them play well together. Taking into account Thorsten’s love of all things contemporary and streamlined along with metal, black, gray, orchids (he enjoys growing them), Japanese design (he loves a clean, modern aesthetic) and my love for white, textiles, bohemian, vintage, ethnic design, Scandinavian design, and my recent affection for the color lilac, I’ve nailed the exact look and feel that I want for our place. Add a little yellow, a little sea glass blue, a splash of pink and there you have it. Home.

Villa Collection {Denmark}
Would you like a glimpse of the spaces that have inspired the design of our new place? Villa Collection gives you a good sense of what I’m going for, although not quite as pristine and definitely a bit less styled. But the elements and textures are all here. And I plan to add more color to the mix but at least you can view my inspirations for now. And don’t worry, zebra and hides of any kind will not be part of the mix!

Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}Villa Collection {Denmark}
Again, I plan to infuse each room with a bit more color and pattern, but these images show you an example of my starting point. You can view a few pages from my inspiration binder here.

If you enjoy following decorating projects like this one, please visit my other blog called haus maus which is dedicated to shopping in Germany (and surrounding countries), navigating a new culture, and setting up house abroad. I’m trying to keep decor8 and haus maus separate but from time to time I will update you with our decorating progress here on decor8. I hope you don’t mind. :)

(images from villa collection)

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