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Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

I am so honored to have Vosgesparis and snapshots from her lovely Amsterdam apartment on decor8 today! Vosgesparis is a decorating blog authored by blogger Desiree who I first featured on decor8 in 2011 (here). I met Desiree at a blogging event that I helped to organize in Amsterdam and stayed in touch with her ever since because I thought she was a really nice down-to-earth lady with a passion for living. I love her eye and taste and enjoy looking into her world because I find there is a lot to learn from those who have different decorating ideas. Since meeting Desiree, I have learned some great decorating ideas and have a much greater appreciation for black and white decor.

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

If you remember, this mini series called “Snapshots of Home” will appear sporadically over the next few months and is meant to highlight the beautiful homeowners behind some of the homes in my book, Decorate Workshop. In addition to crediting their homes and referring to them by name throughout the book, I thought to feature them in a fresh, new way by blogging about them too. So that is why I’m giving some shout outs to these amazing people.

Today I’m talking with the talented Desiree who is the queen of black and white decorating. And I don’t mean black and white with accent colors or black with different shades of white. I mean straight up black and white, period. This kind of restraint amazes me and I can sit for a long time staring at photos like the ones in this post blown away! I just had to have a house like Desiree’s in my book because it’s not only a big trend in Europe among bloggers to author black and white blogs but to also live in a black and white interiors, but because I think this whole way of decorating is so super cool and edgy. It’s fascinating and I love it! Let’s get started and talk to Desiree now, ok?

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

What do you do for a living?
I would love to say I blog full time, but I am not there yet! I have a part time job and I’m a part time blogger, too. I take blogging very seriously and have my own company as a blogger. I run ads on my blog and occasionally work for interior or lifestyle magazines online or in print. My other job is at a children’s health care center where I work with parents and young children. My work is all about connecting people — I give parents a place to go and meet other parents while their children learn to play and share their toys with each other. I am an observer and keep my eyes and ears open for all educational issues parents may have. I love the buzz of having children and young parents around. They give me energy!

What is your favorite thing about Amsterdam?
What I love most is that it is a really small city. We mostly use our bikes but in the city center you can easily walk from one part to another. I also love that there are many cool concept stores opening lately where they combine the work of young artists with home decoration and furniture and a coffee, tea or lunch corner.

What are 5 of your favorite shops in Amsterdam?
1. Harvest and company — Absolutely on top is ‘Harvest and company’. This is a project from a friend of mine… At Harvest they make, restore and sell (interior) products and they also gather there for meetings and dinners, roast and brew specialty coffee, host exhibitions, and work on interior projects. It has an amazing atmosphere that inspires, excites and feels comfortable.
2. Pols Potten – I pop in very often to drool over Paola Navona’s couches. What you see at Pols Potten is the result of their dedication to artists, designers and producers. I really like to walk around in this beautiful, sometimes strange, and yet so familiar world. It inspires me every time.
3. Sukha Amsterdam – This concept store changes the total look of the store from time to time and it is always a pleasure to have a peek at the big shop window and find out what’s new in the collection. At Sukha you will find fashion, books, accessories, presents and unique handmade products. I love the brightness in this open space and it feels really relaxed.
4. Marqt – A chain of bio super markets where I love to buy my groceries,
5. Options! - A concept store that works with changing themes. I have made it a habit to pop in now and then to see what is happening. Options is part of a concept, attached to the shop is a cafe called Stock and a fashion boutique hotel (Hotel Exchange).

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

What is your passion and what inspires you?
I want people to understand that you do not need to be perfect or to have the perfect home to be happy. I want them to see the beauty of imperfection. Happiness is something inside you that you can get out of lots of different things. I think it is the best feeling ever if you can stand still for a second and realize you are feeling totally happy inside.

What are some favorite things in your home currently?
My absolute favorite item in my home is my clothes rack. I designed it some years ago and got a blacksmith to make it for me. I also recently changed the wall with the low cabinets, the one on picture at the intro page in Decorate Workshop. I get many questions on how I made them and see others doing the same thing and although that is a compliment, I realize now that it’s time for something different. Instead of the big black and white frames I used the back of simple canvas frames to exposure a few pictures, instead.

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

What are some dream items you’d love to own?
I really would love to have the white Ghost sofa by my design hero Paola Navone! I love the way she decorates her home in Paris and Milan. But there is more: A small industrial cart as a coffee table and another bamboo lamp from Ay Illuminate and maybe some new chairs around my kitchen table, the white About a Chair from HAY being one of them.

What do you think of Decorate Workshop?
First of all I really love the fact that this book is written by a blogger! Every time a blogger comes out with a book it feels like a little celebration to bloggers in general. And of course I love the fact my home is featured in this book because with my own blog I try to inspire my readers and I hope the pictures of my home among all others will inspire the readers of Decorate Workshop. But more important the book is a guide for both those who are planning to change little things in their home and to those who can start from zero with a new home.

Is this your first time in a book?
My home and blog have been mentioned and shown in several magazines but never in a book until now. Seeing your home in a book is really something else. A magazine you might find occasionally half a year later at the hairdresser or dentist but a book like Decorate Workshop will stay on display for years.

What are some memories you have of my visit to your home with Debi Treloar?
I remember the first thing you did when entering my home was taking off your shoes and putting on some comfortable shoes – this made me feel like you felt at home. It was fun to see you and Debi working together and sometimes I wondered why you styled certain things in a particular way but. now that the book is published and I have seen the pictures of my home it all falls into place. It shows you were working with a clear vision towards the final result that you had for your book!

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

What is one of your favorite photos of your home from the book?
I think it is the opening shot of the book (very proud of that), shown below!

Snapshots of Home: Vosgesparis

What do you love about interiors books in general?
The visual aspect! I love to look and analyze pictures and interior books are great for that. I often display them and it inspires me, while looking at the pictures I can be caught by a detail and create new ideas for my own home.

What about magazines and blogs, what do you love about them the most?
What I love most in magazines are the home stories — reading how people found their dream home or how they renovated their place, how they live and what inspires them. Some homes you never forget and remain my favorite for many years. I also love it when bloggers write about their own homes and show photos of little corners they re-decorated.

What are some of your favorite blogs and magazines?
I really love Scandinavian blogs, Emmas designblogg is one I’ve been reading for many years and I love Pella Hedeby’s blog Stil Inspiration because our decorating tastes are very similar. My favorite magazines are vtwonen and Elle Decoration.

Desiree is was such a pleasure spending time with you today, thank you so much!
Thank you Holly ;) XXXX

(photos: vogesparis and debi treloar)

Posted in interviews on March 26, 2013

Meet Stylist Pippa Jameson

I had a nice email exchange today with lovely Pippa Jameson, who is a stylist living in England who works from her office in Shoreditch, London with whom I’ve known of for some time now. She so graciously allowed me to use some beautiful photographs from her portfolio so you could see some of her work today. Pippa (love her name!) has been an interior stylist for over 14 years with an impressive client list, she has worked in television, advertising, magazines, books and film. She was the Deputy Interiors Editor for BBC Good Homes Magazine but now she is a freelance stylist for magazines and advertising; including brochures, online and large campaigns as well as commercials and more recently some presenting. She also writes a fabulous blog which you can see here.

Meet Pippa Jameson

Ah. White wooden floors, that gorgeous mid century sofa, the sisal rug, those shutters… Very pretty.

Meet Pippa Jameson

More shutters, this time in white, pretty bottles, a tiny flower arrangement for color… Perfect bathroom accessories.

Meet Pippa Jameson

This bed is gorgeous, I imagine this would be a most perfect summer cottage hideaway. I can see myself vacationing here, it’s very summery. I love the blooms sprinkled around the room in random bottles, including an Arizona Ice Tea bottle – so simply yet so pretty.

Meet Pippa Jameson

This looks very soft and romantic. A nice touch for an outdoor picnic – a decorative tin with napkins and utensils inside along with a very sprigs of fresh flowers.

Meet Pippa Jameson

I adore this sofa, complete with the black legs and wheels and that darling ruffle. It reminds me of the sofa I once saw in Real Simple magazine years ago, and pinned, here. I wonder who makes it?

Okay so I asked Pippa few questions that I thought you may be interested in knowing about, especially for those out there who have an interest in styling.

What are some current interiors trends that you love?
I love the bright patterns that we are seeing at the moment. A good example of this is the Jonathan Saunders’ William Morris-inspired prints in turquoise, coral and leaf green that were seen at London Fashion Week. I also love the bohemian/tribal look.

Spot any trends on the horizon that we should look for?
Bold colours will continue to prevail right through into 2012, bright orange, red and cobalt blue – and don’t be afraid to mix them up! Nature will continue to translate into fashion and interiors, especially birds and butterflies. Texture and Eco will also be key.

What should every good stylist have?
You need to have a decent tool kit which includes all of the essentials, especially gaffa and double sided tape!

What is the key to breaking in to interior styling as a career?
Passion and perseverance. It’s really important to show initiative, I always advise people who contact me with no experience to start collating a folder of images that inspire them so that they can start to recognise and determine their own interior style. This folder will create a good foundation for possible assisting work.

Do you have favorite interior stylists, if so, who?
I think Atlanta Bartlett and Lucyina Moodie are both extremely talented.

What are some of your favorite London interiors shops?

I think Liberty has to be one of my all time favourites, not only for the fabrics but the building itself. I could spend all day there.

What do you love about styling?
I love the variety of work and the fact that I can earn a living doing something that makes me really happy. I feel very lucky to have a true passion in life that I can fulfill. The job can be such hard work, emotional and physically, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you have any additional questions for Pippa, please ask her in the comments section below. :)

(images: with permission from pippa jameson)

Posted in interviews on June 10, 2011

Meet Decorator Jan Eleni

Are you ready to read a refreshingly honest interview with an interior decorator? I encourage you to read this interview that I had yesterday with interior decorator Jan Eleni Lemonedes from Jan Eleni Inc. in New York City. She speaks boldly and from an authentic place and I really value the time that I shared with her to develop this feature for you. I hope that you like it, too.

Jan Eleni

First, a bit of history about this talented lady. Jan once had a little shop in the 90’s in New York City’s east village also under her name. About her store she told me, “It was quaint with unique decorative pieces for the home and garden and became a creative outlet for me.” She offered an eclectic mix of early primitive with industrial pieces, along with garden and architectural elements. A lady who loves to “hunt”, she filled her shop with anything and everything that caught her eye and her husband also maintained a loft for her to keep her ever-rotating stock. She calls this period in her life, “A fun time.” But then she was approached by ABC Carpet + Home and went to work there. “It was a different ball game then I was used to. A sort of crazy arena – but where anything was possible – we had to fight for our ideas, it was wonderful to be part of a creative team,” Jan told me. She eventually left the company to spend more time with her little girl, “It was a hard decision – but one that I don’t think twice about.”

So now that you have some history, let’s talk to Jan about her work.

Jan Eleni

Holly: Why did you decide to decorate for a living?

Jan: I am a self taught designer and at a young age I always loved and appreciated beautiful things. I became obsessed with children’s spaces here in the U.S. because I felt like their were all these cookie cutter rooms that lacked any nourishment for an imagination – and so I started a business based around just that – creating spaces and really listening to what can nurture children in an everyday way.

Holly: I also noticed that in addition to decorating, you are also an artist. Can you tell us more?

Jan: While I was working on children’s spaces – I wanted to time capsule their moment in art – and I started making these beautiful art frames – a way to archive your child’s art in a modern way. It is a labor of love – a time consuming process – the end result is a grid of hand cut miniature images – a gathering of your child’s artwork. It is amazing if you think of how we can influence the next generation of artists and creative types.

Jan Eleni

Jan Eleni

Holly: You mentioned earlier that you do not have a formal design education but are self-taught. How do you think self-taught differs from someone with a degree when it comes to decorating and creativity?

Jan: We are born with visual senses – just like someone who excels in math – one can excel in the visual area and I have that gift. My daughter also has this. I also have an eye for products – I adore looking, finding and choosing. Not having a degree allows one to break the rules – and to come up with ideas off the book. One who holds a specialized degree is not necessary more creative – passion and creativity can not be taught. A piece of paper does not state that I have an A+ in creative ideas – although it probably should! Also when I was young, education was different – I am a product of NYC Public School, having grown up in upper Manhattan. Options back then weren’t available – the sky was not the limit – today children have so many choices and so many opportunities. My teachers did not encourage me – if you were not the smartest in the class then sadly you were not important. Our schools were over crowded though I did join a program in high school that instead of going to school – I worked at The Soho News for an entire semester. This was an amazing experience for me, to see the art world up close was a very special unique experience. Soho in the 70’s…

Holly: From a professional standpoint, what do you think needs to change about the interior design profession as a whole?

Jan: At the moment I think we are experiencing design overload – every where you turn – there is an ultra-designed home or a product more outrageous than the last. I think so much of it is silly. Too contrived. You can start to lose perspective on what is good design.

Jan Eleni

Jan Eleni

Holly: I’m delighted by how open you are, I feel so energized by your words. I think many feel these ways and appreciate hearing a professional with clearly so much talent, expressing them. Okay, so this leads me to my next question, living in such a highly competitive city such as New York, how do you manage to stay positive and on top in your field?

Jan: In all creative fields, everyone has a ego bigger then the next. I hate to play that game. I am a collaborator. I recently worked on a home – with architect Peter Himmelstein and it was a wonderful experience. The project was a brownstone – the home of a celebrity actor, his wife and their family. We all worked as a united team – there was a mutual respect across the board.

Holly: Can you share some of your thoughts on what works best when dealing with clients, any tips to share?

Jan: I love to work with my clients and get an understanding of what they like. There needs to be a mutual respect between the client and designer. Listening is key, as is confidence. My advice is to remain as honest and sincere if you truly don’t think something will work.

Jan Eleni

Jan Eleni

Holly: What is often a challenge in your profession?

Jan: What I realize in my experience is that many people are not educated in understanding the value of what we do. Often others take for granted and don’t understand the simple fact that ideas cost money. Time costs money. The value of a good eye – having a vision – it’s hard to put a price on.

Holly: Who has influenced your work?

Jan: A big influence was my grandmother – from Greece. When she was a young girl she would make raw silk from the cocoon – and make silk lace. Pillowcases, bedspreads, tablecloths – it is an incredible lost art. My love for textiles started early.

Holly: And what about your current inspirations, can you tell us a little about what inspires your creativity?

Jan: Much of my inspiration comes from my travels – I love Asia, I spend most of my summers abroad. In Bali there is a carefree feeling of the homes. They are inside out. I love the wood found in Indonesia. Europe holds me – having a Dutch husband we have spent much time traveling about. Absorbing an environment is the best learning tool. I am also an avid fan of the internet – picking up inspiration from all the excellent blogs out there as well as online magazines. Of course nothing beats picking up your favorite magazines – and letting your mind wander – watching your own ideas gain momentum. Pure inspiration is really all around us.

Jan thank you so much for spending time with us here today on decor8, it’s been a pleasure and honor to have you!

(images: photographer Luc Roymans)

Posted in Decorating Tips, interviews on February 25, 2010

Interview With Deborah Needleman

I just read such a lovely interview with former Domino magazine Editor-in-Chief Deborah Needleman over on Natalie Walton’s blog Daily Imprint.

interview with deborah needleman

If you didn’t catch that, you must check it out. I have to quote Deborah for just a moment because I love how she defines what she thinks makes a truly stylish person. I think it shakes up the typical impression one has when they think of successful New York stylist, writer, designer… I once only imagined ruthless and pretentious types (ha ha Hollywood films and television series didn’t help!) but Domino did a great job of bringing in those who possessed genuine passion for the magazine and decorating vs. those who simply had talent for design and a massive attitude problem. Domino had heart and soul.

Natalie asked Deborah who inspires her and she replied so perfectly, “People with great style who live easily and happily with it. Many seemingly stylish people are pretty awful — fussy and uptight. But I am interested in style that is expansive, that makes lives more beautiful and the people in your life happier. This goes back I guess to the team we put together at domino: I am really inspired by many of the people there like Rita Konig, Dara Caponigro, Sara Costello, Stella Bugbee. I am also really inspired by women who are focused, smart and accomplish a lot while never becoming one of those scary businesswomen, if that makes any sense.”

I also love her thoughts on how she created a strong team and how she views that as her proudest career achievement. “It was a collection of the most talented, wonderful, kind and hilarious people ever. We never made a space for someone who might have been gifted but was difficult or tricky.” Truly great words!

The above photo was shown first in the NYTimes in 2007, you simply must view her home tour there if you didn’t see that already.

(images: deborah needleman, her home in NYC)

Posted in interviews on February 09, 2010


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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