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Inspiration, Interviews

I’m a Creature of Comfort Today

November 7, 2008

I must thank Ez of Creature Comforts for featuring me today as her Creature of Comfort, a weekly column that I look forward to reading on her blog. Seeing myself in the spotlight today is just too exciting since her blog is one of my top 5 daily reads and it means a lot to me that she was kind enough to ask me to participate. Weeee! I hope that you’ll take a moment to click over to read my mini interview.

Thank you Ez, the post is just lovely!

(image: creature comforts)

DIY, Etsy Faves, Inspiration, Interviews, Objects, uncategorized

Hallway Decorating Day!

September 26, 2008

Hello and happy Friday! I’m so pleased that you’ve visited me here because I owe you a huge apology. You see, I’ve been blogging like a mad woman over at Haus Maus today and then PING! (brain light bulb goes on) I realized how I’ve been neglecting YOU over here on decor8. I’m so sorry! I must confess that today has been just super because the furniture for my lonely, sad little hallway arrived and I am super pleased with it. I also have new dining room chairs and a table, all delivered this week as well. My kitchen is in (at least most of it) and installed, and my large vintage kitchen cabinet will arrive on Sunday. It’s wonderful that our apartment here in Germany is ‘on-schedule’ according to the project I laid out before I flew over. I wanted to have all of the furniture ordered and in place by the end of September and so far, so good. I love when the stars and planets line up for once! It’s such a load of stress off of my back to have our place nearly furnished. We leave the third week of December to return back to the states for the winter but we’ll now have October, November, and most of December to decorate and entertain, enjoy Oktoberfest and all of the outdoor markets, you know LIVE in our space without constantly having to shop for things to fill it with. I’m so extremely happy with how it’s coming along. Here is our hallway, it started off with old wallpaper, a bad vintage chandelier, and brown tile floors. Then the floors were installed and the walls repaired and painted (we didn’t do this part, only specified to contractors what we wanted). This is how it looked 6 weeks ago…

Hallway Decorating Day!

And here is where it stands today. Not finished but getting there… Yay!

Hallway Decorating Day!

And I’m so, so pleased. Our apartment only has a hallway, bath, kitchen, living room/dining room, and one bedroom — it’s 60 square meters so not at all large, but who needs a big apartment in the city anyway? We love our place and though we will eventually buy a 3 bedroom apartment (or house) here, a 1 bedroom is perfectly fine for a family of two. Plus we are only here 3-5 months at a time, how much space is really required?

Hallway Decorating Day!Hallway Decorating Day!Hallway Decorating Day!Hallway Decorating Day!Hallway Decorating Day!Hallway Decorating Day!

Here is a list of resources from the hallway in case you are interested…

Bench – Esplanade, Hannover (sorry no website)
Cushions (Purple) – Esplanade, Hannover (sorry no website)
Pillow – Orike Muth
Pendant – IKEA
Mirror and Coat Rack – Car Moebel
Tin boxes – Local imports shop in Hannover, Germany
Bear photo on mirror – “Sylvia” by Wren & Chickadee
Painting on top shelf – Mati Rose (Mati McDonough) via Nahcotta Gallery, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Straw Tote – Red Chair Antiques, Peterborough, New Hampshire
Plant/Pot – IKEA
Notebook on bench: Bubbo-tubbo.

Now I’m thinking of adding some paint or wallpaper to the walls and perhaps putting a few photos or prints on the left wall… And I may be replacing the pendant with something more decorative (I have this one in mind, or perhaps a lantern), we’ll see… But considering that this room was empty a few hours ago, I’m pleased with the flash decorating job I’ve done here today, ha ha! See what you can accomplish in a short period of time? Just scare the neighbors by drilling holes into the walls, blasting Hed Kandi, and sliding furniture around and viola! You can also have an insta-hallway like mine.

One little feature I love that I didn’t plan: I like that I can make the hallway look more in tune with the seasons by simply removing the bench cushions and adding plants, etc. in the warmer months. It’s a really simple change. Laying all of the cushions across the bench in the Fall/Winter warms up the space and also makes the bench look less summer-y.

I can’t wait now to finish the hallway and move onto the kitchen! It’s fun starting from scratch in a new place… Do you have any home projects that you’d like to tackle this weekend? Tonight is date night (with Tee) and it’s nearly 6pm here so I’m signing off for the weekend… But I’ll meet you make here on Monday. See you soon!

(images from holly becker for decor8)

Interviews, Stationery

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

August 25, 2008

Hello everyone! It’s Holly stopping in for a moment… Remember me? (smile) I thought I’d say hello and let you know that soon I’ll be back here blogging full-time on Thursday, August 28th. I’ve really missed you but I’m having a wonderful time in Germany and our new vacation apartment is coming together so nicely so this time off has been beyond helpful. I hope that you’ve been enjoying all of my guest bloggers, I check in daily to read their posts and think they’ve done quite a lovely job filling in for me. It’s always hard to trust your blog to others, but it was good for me to let go a little and I’m so glad that I did.

Today I thought I’d pop in for a moment to share a special person with you, along with a mini chat that we recently had about her life as a stationery designer. Are you ready to meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT and see her pretty home and studio? Of course you are! We all love Tara!

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

Tara tell us, where do you live?
I’m in upstate New York in a town called Fayetteville, but I was born and raised in southern Connecticut.

And what do you do for a living?
Design, Illustrate, Teach Yoga – And run INK+WIT!

That’s all? (Just kidding). How did you get started?
I envisioned having my on business during college. My dad was an independent contractor for many years and I grew up around him having flexible hours and a steadfast work ethic. I had a solid idea to go freelance with design 4.5 years ago while working at a design agency in Syracuse. It was going nowhere. Not to be negative but my art was really put on hold and I was just standing still at this job everyday. It became a job, a paycheck. Right around the time I started practicing yoga consistently I got the courage to go freelance from my design job. I was in the midst of conceptualizing INK+WIT and how it would function. Fortunately, I had submitted some designs to Great Arrow Graphics in Buffalo, NY for licensing and they accepted four of them! This really gave me the confidence to keep building my idea.

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

How did it finally come together?
It was all very hard to figure out and at one point I just stopped trying and it came together. I remember networking like crazy and making more and more designs. I was showing them to friends and family and getting many positive responses which told me to move forward. Soon, a few local stores bought wholesale orders and I got more experience at how to order, stock, and promote INK+WIT to larger audience. It was not easy at all but I would not do anything differently. It was through constant research, evaluation, and long nights that this all came together.

What do you love about owning your own business?
The personal dialog and connections established with clients. I get to choose how to utilize my voice and vision. And, waking up on my own time sometimes does not hurt either. It is nice when you are having a day that you need not call in to report. However, I appreciate the time I worked in a design agency and web company. The design team was tight and I truly made some of my best friends at those two professions.

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What do you dislike about having your own business?
It is a huge responsibility and you always need to be ‘on’. I have learned that it takes 150% to make a small business work and function with integrity, speed, quality, and delivery. It can be exhausting but I stay focused on the goal and the goal is built with positive intentions. It drives me and gets me through the busy times.

Where do you find inspiration in Fayetteville, New York?
Lately, my backyard and also CNY Yoga Center, where I practice and teach yoga. The Erie Canal also runs near my house and there are great trails with lots of deer, woodpeckers, and fish.

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What is your favorite local shop?
We do not have any here, seriously! So, it is the Syracuse Real Food Coop where I buy fresh produce from local farms and my favorite drink, Kombucha.

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What’s on your wish list?
More travel, an Eames plywood chair, a guitar, and a horse.

Where do you find inspiration?
During meditation and travel.

Describe your work space…
In progress… I moved 7 months ago around the holidays and I am still trying to mold it – but it is playful, simple, warm, and functional.

Who do you admire most and why?
My husband, for his honesty and sincerity.

What do you like to do on the weekends?
Lately work, haha! yoga, gardening, small road trips.

If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
Make documentary films.

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

3 Places You’d Love to Travel to…
Provence, Tuscany, and Tasmania.

Who would you like to have dinner with?
My mom (she has been ill for some time now and it would be nice to enjoy a meal with her).

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What is your favorite food?
Vegetarian Thai Thom Kha Coconut Soup.

What is your most treasured belonging?
My spiritual knowledge.

Best advice you’ve ever heard?
Everything is perfect and nothing is permanent (Dharma Mittra, my yoga teacher and dear friend).

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What are some of your goals in the next 5 years?
I am researching more animal sanctuary’s to raise money for through creating specific letterpress prints like the one I illustrated for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary where part of the proceeds will help rescue and nurture animals. I’d also like to create eco wallpaper for children’s rooms. Possibly a few sculptural objects like mobiles as well. I want to create more art and design that will be functional and uplift people. Oh and play guitar, a long overdue goal!

Meet Tara Hogan of INK+WIT

What are some of your favorites websites/blogs to visit?
decor8, designsponge, creature comforts, indie fixx, freshly blended, domino magazine, hive modern, poppytalk, bloesom, crafting a green world, Rachel Jones, dwell magazine, new york times art section online, treehugger, hostess with the mostess, Cool Mom Picks, Cuteable, Coochicoos, {frolic!}, Oh Joy!, Fawn & Forest, Maharam, little paper planes, nahcotta, pure food and wine, dharma mittra yoga, sfgirlbybay, Emigre, herman miller, bholu, lekker, architonic, pushmepullyou, centre pompidou, and Pentagram.

Whoa! That’s some round-up of reads! Thank you so much Tara for stopping in to share your work, inspirations, and your studio space with all of us. We appreciate seeing the more intimate views of designers we follow, so many thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

Readers: If you have a question (or ten!) to ask Tara in regards to small business ownership, design and illustration, or anything else that you can think of please comment and she’ll reply either today or sometime during the week depending on her schedule.

Note: If you are interested in her products you may also visit her Etsy store in addition to her website mentioned above.

(images from tara hogan)


Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

August 13, 2008

Hello everyone! I want to quickly stop in to say hello. I’ve arrived safely in Germany and I’m currently unpacking and shopping for goodies to furnish our place here. We hit IKEA so my apartment is filled with boxes that were delivered a few moments ago — thankfully we have friends joining us in about an hour to start putting things together. How are you doing? I hope that you are all well and enjoying the many guest bloggers I’ve lined up to keep you informed and entertained until I’m ‘officially’ back on August 28 (though I’m blogging over at Real Simple still on M/W/F and over on my more personal blog called Haus Maus. So if you miss me I’m never too far. :) Ha! I’m sure you have a life and missing me is definitely not a concern but just in case…

Back to my guest blogger round up. They all bring something special to decor8 so sit back and relax because you can expect beautiful things to appear from some of your favorite bloggers and designers over the next few weeks. It may seem like a long time, but I have a lot to do in my new apartment so I need every second I can get to arrange things here and settle in. And… I have an exciting business trip to Hamburg next week to meet with a big publishing company here. They’ve booked us at a gorgeous hotel and after our meeting we’re having dinner and then the next day I will visit 20 of the best design shops in the city with one of their lovely managers who has a list of places for me to check out. So fun! I’m liking Germany already. :)

Today I thought I’d visit to introduce you to Matthew Mead who, like me, is also based in New Hampshire, USA about an hour north of where I live over there. I’m on the Massachusetts border and Matthew lives in the center of the state. (Of course, I also live in Germany now (5 months each year) so I don’t want to confuse anyone but America is still my home base.)

Who is Matthew Mead you ask? He is a man who has an impeccable eye for color and style that some of us can only hope to have… I’ve been following his work for about three years now through the pages of Country Home magazine where he is the contributing editor. But he has big plans to grow his brand which is what you are about to learn more about in our chat today. Would you like to meet him? Of course you would!

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

decor8: Hi Matthew! Thanks for joining us today on decor8. Tell readers where exactly are you based and what do you like about it?
MM: I live in Concord, New Hampshire which is an excellent locale for enjoying all four seasons. We are one hour from Boston, the ocean, the mountains and about 5 hours from downtown Manhattan.

decor8: What do you do for a living again?

MM: I am a stylist/producer for the magazine and advertising industry. I’m also a contributing editor to Country Home magazine for eleven years… Author, Photographer and Art Director.Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

decor8: How did you get started?
MM: I admired lots of the original lifestyle icons from the 1980’s, so I wrote letters, made contacts and developed a portfolio to show what I could do. I met Mary Emmerling in the early 90’s. She was doing her own magazine then and hired me as a contributor. It all blossomed from there.

decor8: What are some of your current projects?
MM: This is a big year for me… The culmination of 15 years of building my brand and looking for opportunities to promote my style and ideas. My website has been redesigned to not only keep the technology up to date, but also to provide more fresh content to our readers and to connect in new ways with superior lifestyle information.

And I heard a rumor about a magazine?
MM: Yes, it’s true… Our new Halloween magazine with Time Inc. premieres on news stands September 8th. It is filled with a really fresh take on the subject and is one more way of building our publishing profile and extending our style into the seasonal holiday arena. And of course you know about my new book Entertaining Simple. It is a way of re-positioning my brand as an authority in the entertaining genre with the easiest and best ways to entertain with consideration to all of the products, foods and techniques available in the market place. That releases on November 4th. We also have set another goal, the main goal, to add merchandise to the mix. Kits, accessories, useful and decorative items that inspire our readers to implement our ideas into their lives.

decor8: That’s all? (laughing) Sounds like you are a busy man. So tell me, where do you find inspiration in New Hampshire?
MM: Everywhere! I am a huge collector of vintage things and New Hampshire has a plethora of junk and antiques shops filled with a lifetime of inspiration. I also love the seasons and nature so the landscape really provides lots of ideas for me.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

decor8: In addition to scenic New Hampshire, where else do you draw inspiration?
MM: In colors, shapes, graphic designs that I find in old books. I love the grocery store or any store for that matter and I love to corral objects together in a shopping cart, basket or stacked on a table. it allows me to see how textures and designs work together. I do a lot of stacking of objects and materials for personal study.

decor8: What’s your favorite local shop?
MM: The one I love the most is a top secret because I get so much stuff there, but my favorite “filtered” shop (where the hard work has all been done by the shop keeper in the way of picking and displaying) is Red Chair Antiques in Peterborough, NH. Jocie, the owner is so talented and the hand picked antiques are fresh and beautiful. I hear this is your favorite NH shop as well, Holly?

decor8: Yes, it is. I have to visit at least once every few months. So tell us, what’s on your wish list?
MM: I love early American hand blown glass compotes, jars, domes, etc… But this stuff is hard to find. My new passion is Syroco which is molded wood in great shapes from the 40’s to the 60’s made in Syracuse, New York. There are some really interesting shapes made of this early plastic and I think it is a collectible trend for the future.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead
Meet the Creative Matthew Mead
decor8: Syroco is great. I have 3 birds that I picked up two years ago at the Hollis flea market for $1 that look like these found on eBay. The beauty of Syroco is that it’s so easy to paint. My birds are now bright yellow. What’s your favorite bargain find or product?
MM: I find great things at Target on sale. Some of their designs have great modern shapes and I can shop there for photo shoot “filler”. I am a born shopper, so wherever I go, be it a junk shop or retail store I am always able to walk away with something great.

decor8: Can you describe your work space?
MM: I have a daylight studio. Its a small brick building that looks like a schoolhouse and was built as a furniture store in the 1920’s and has been everything from a laundromat to a pizza place, to a dry goods store. It has beautiful light and it’s been a very good place for me over the last 11 years. It’s also become quite full due to a parade of ever changing work and clients. I’ve often thought of it as a type of portal. Thousands of images created so easily there in such a small place… I feel as though there is some external force that makes it such a special and creative space. And the daylight is a DREAM.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead Mead’s studio space before setting up.

decor8: How do you use your studio when it comes to setting up for client work?
MM: My studio is a chameleon type space that is constantly changing to suite the needs of my clients. I have a large kitchen in the back half of the space which mostly serves as a place to prepare and style food for our entertaining stories and store my collection of vessels to present different dishes. The front part of my space has four large windows and a staircase. The walls are typically painted to suite my needs and then furniture and accessories are layered into the design to create authentic interiors. Check out the studio on my website for shots of how the studio can look totally different for multiple shots.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead Mead’s studio space after… Fully styled and ready to go!

decor8: Who do you admire and why?
MM: Thomas O’Brien for the way he has translated high end style into great products available to everyone. Trish Foley whose work always reminds me that simple shades of white and classic shapes make the best and most relaxing style. Mary Emmerling because what you see is real and not staged. Her interiors are really her lifestyle and that is still refreshing and fun.

decor8: What’s the last great book you read?
MM: Madam Bovery

decor8: What’s your favorite film?
MM: This is very, very hard because there are so many… But I’ll go with Moulin Rouge for its amazing beauty and creativity.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

decor8: If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
MM: Film Director/Producer — I would love to create beautiful movies.

decor8: Name three places that you’d love to travel to…
MM: Prague, Cotswolds, Greek Islands

decor8: Who would you like to have dinner with?
MM: 1) Holly from decor8 2) My literary agent (she has only ever been a lovely voice over the phone), AND ALWAYS, my wife at just the right bistro with the perfect atmosphere, delicious food and a long, lingering dining experience… Probably in one of those hidden walkway bistros in Paris.

decor8: What is your favorite food?
MM: I very much love Sunday dinner… The traditions, the flavors, the aroma and anticipation of something slow roasted all day with a formal presentation and of course, mashed potatoes.

decor8: What is your most treasured belonging?
MM: I have so many collections which all speak to me like long lost friends and with friends its always hard to pick the most treasured. I have a mercury glass lamp in an odd bubble/grenade shape that I am extremely fond of… There are also a couple of cake stands that are at the top of the list.

Meet the Creative Matthew Mead

decor8: Best advice out there?
MM: HAVE FUN! And I take that to heart amongst all the pressures and fiery hoops I have to jump through. The advice I give to everyone, however, is that no matter what you have to do to survive, take all of your extra time and craft your passion, mold it and live it… It comes in useful when you have the opportunity to add it to your life full-time.

decor8: What are some of your goals in the next 5 years?
MM: My own magazine of great lifestyle ideas and images that provoke thought through beauty. Product… Merchandise and licensing of ideas to perpetuate my brand. A television show that combines food and lifestyle so it isn’t just a bunch of recipes, but a whole approach to living. Easy food product line that allows all the great flavors in life without having to do every daunting detail… I want people to enjoy, experience, build traditions.

Thank you so much Matthew for taking the time to talk to us today. Ive enjoyed your words of wisdom so much and I’m sure readers have as well. All the best to you and your future!

Readers: If you have questions for Matthew use this opportunity to get in front of someone in the business — ask as many q’s as you’d like. That’s the beauty of blogs, we have a chance to talk with some of the movers and shakers out there in magazine land that we normally cannot reach otherwise. Go for it!

(images from matthew mead)

Arts + Crafts, Home Tours, Interviews

Meet Pretty Little Things

June 5, 2008

I’d love for you to meet a lady who turned her passion into a small business. Her name is Lori Marie, the artist/designer behind the California-based business Pretty Little Things. Based in Oakland, Lori started out as an aerospace engineering major at UCSD and decided to take some art classes, “to balance out my math and science courses,” Lori said. “It wasn’t long before I realized that my passion for innovation and creativity was better applied to pattern making than rocket science…so I transferred to FIDM in San Francisco and graduated with a degree in fashion design instead.” This is a lady who followed her heart! Would you like to know a little bit more about Lori and see her work studio? Sure you would. ;)

Meet Pretty Little ThingsSome of Lori’s handmade creations.

How did you get started after your studies at FIDM?
Lori: My first design job was as a pattern maker for a leather handbag company called Libaire. I learned a little bit about everything in this position since I hand drafted all the patterns and worked directly with the sewers to see the designs through production. I needed a change after 2 years and so I began freelancing as a textile artist for Pottery Barn Kids. I got the job the old fashioned way, through the classifieds, followed by a series of interviews and … Voila! I worked with them for over 4 years doing hand embroidery and appliqu? samples for childrens’ bedding collections. I am currently working with a brand called Whistle&Wink (launched in 2007 by the original design director for Pottery Barn Kids), in addition to creating handmade designs under my own label of course.

Meet Pretty Little Things This is where the magic happens, in her little art house. How sweet is this!?

What inspires your work?
Lori: I am inspired by all sorts of stuff, but mostly by print and pattern. I like to combine interesting colors with unexpected details to create fun and functional pieces of art.

Any favorite designers/artists on your radar right now?
Lori: There is certainly no shortage of inspiration online these days and you never know where you might end up after a series of links. I love to search aimlessly through etsy listings when I need a good dose of inspiration. I am constantly adding to my list of faves.

Here are some of her favorite spots in her art studio…

Meet Pretty Little ThingsMeet Pretty Little ThingsMeet Pretty Little ThingsMeet Pretty Little ThingsMeet Pretty Little Things

What is the best business advice you’ve heard and applied to your own business?
Lori: I think it’s easy to get lost in the crowd with so many talented ladies willing to share a glimpse of their world with us through blogging. It can be a challenge to stand out and sometimes I wonder where I fit in. I have to remember not to compare myself too much to others, but just keep on doing what I love and hope it will shine through. {note: Lori’s blog can be found here.)

Where do you sell your work?

Lori: Since I still make each and every pretty little thing by hand, I sell them exclusively through my etsy shop.

Any advice for those looking to start their own business?
Lori: You better make sure that you LOVE what you do because you will eat sleep and breathe it!

Meet Pretty Little Things
Psst: Lori was on the Martha show this past February, here’s a project of hers that you can try yourself at home!

Thank you Lori for visiting us here on decor8 and a special word of thanks to reader Michele for telling me about Lori in the first place!

I’d also like to mention that Lori makes a super point about how one can easily start comparing their work to that of others and what a downer that can be. I think many of us battle with this tendency, it’s human. When you find yourself doing this think of what Karl Lagerfeld once said to pull yourself in and regain focus, “Personality begins when comparison ends”.

(images from lori marie)


Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter

April 4, 2008

The following interview is by L.A. Interior Designer Vanessa De Vargas who also pops in from time to time to share on decor8 her unique west coast perspective on interiors along with her inspirations, including designers and stores that she loves to shop. Today I’m especially excited about her recent chat with Lee Kleinhelter from Pieces in Atlanta, a store that not only has appeared in some of our favorite magazines including Domino, but one that continuously inspires me. I stalk the Pieces website almost daily looking at all of Lee’s amazing finds and dream of visiting Atlanta just to see her store. Lee even photographed the interior to show decor8 readers so you’re in for a real treat. I love her eye for color and style, but being that I grew up in coastal South Carolina, I understand why I’m drawn to this look. Welcome Vanessa and Lee!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee KleinhelterInterview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter by Vanessa De Vargas for decor8.

I am so happy to announce that I have had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite designers and store owners Lee Kleinhelter from Pieces Inc. Lee owns a wonderful eclectic store called Pieces in Atlanta, in which she has decorated her store with perfection. Her store houses all things vintage and most of her pieces (no pun) have been revamped with shiny white lacquer and/or new upholstery. She has wonderful way of combining color and making it not seem busy or fussy. Her interiors are crisp and clean (as she mentions below) and she’s known for her color bursts — colorful curtains or perhaps an unexpected orange lacquer dresser or a bright geometric pillow. Please visit Lee?s website, as she sells her vintage items online and is updated regularly. We hope you enjoy my interview with Lee!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Vanessa: How did you come to be a designer?

Lee: I think it was obvious at an early age. I would always arrange my bookshelves and my room as a child. I never really played with toys I just organized them. I was an art history major and fine arts. I loved art, but was never a true artist. It was natural to then lead into design after college. I took an associates course so I could learn drafting and auto cad. It was very commercial and technical. Lots of presentation boards and late nights hovering over the drafting table. I didn?t feel like I really fit into the design world until I started working for designers and had exposure to amazing projects! I could see how to run a business and had to learn how to dive into it. Residential design was much different than anything we had been exposed to in school. It was very invigorating. That?s when I knew I was in the right spot!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee KleinhelterInterview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter

Vanessa: What’s your favorite color to work with and why?

Lee: I love color…bold pinks, browns, oranges. But, the key is how it’s used. White is my most favorite color. I love to live in it and wear it! I think it’s clean and simple. I like to introduce a punch of color & repeat, with out mixing too many. I normally stay consistent with one and make an impact. I think sometimes people see a room and think it needs to be a color. But, I like creating flow throughout a space. I don?t really believe in trends for your home, I think it needs to be timeless.

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter

Vanessa: What color combinations do you see using in the future?

Lee: I?m always exploring new color ideas for the store. It?s refreshing to come up with something new in and see customer?s response. Maybe because its spring, I?m really into lighter colors, which is a departure for me. I usually got a little bold. I?m loving pink/coral colors and sticking with solids and keep it simple.

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter

Vanessa: What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Lee: It would have to be traveling. Though I can easily be inspired by looking at a paint deck, sitting in a fantastic lobby or restaurant, flipping through Vogue Living. I think you are inspired when you?re in spaces that move you. I easily become depressed and grumpy when my surroundings are less appealing.

Vanessa: Which interior or furniture designers, past or present, do you most admire?

Lee: David Hicks, Albert Hadley, LULU DK, Slim Aaron, Dorothy Draper, Richard Meier… Many more!

Vanessa: Describe your design theory in 4-6 words.

Lee: Tailored, simple space with unexpected pieces.

Vanessa: What is your signature mark that you always try to implement in a space?

Lee: Throwing in a rustic textured piece as the focal point to an all white crisp/ modern background.

Vanessa: If you could redo any space, past or present, what would it be?

Lee: I know this is the best answer, but it’s so true, every dentist and doctor’s office I’ve ever been in! I literally wait in the lobby thinking… Why? What happened? Did they not have any other option besides burgundy and hunter green?

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Vanessa: What have you learned about having your own business that you wish you knew when you were just starting out.

Lee: I feel like I’m always learning something new or how to handle things more efficiently. If you aren’t organized, get someone to help you, because there is a lot of paperwork involved. From a retail standpoint, trust your instincts and stick to your policies and don’t let anyone take advantage of you! It’s a business!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Vanessa: What are your best practices when it comes to client relations?

Lee: Always be honest. If we don’t know the exact origin or era of a piece, we don’t create a story. Form a good relationship with customers so you have repeat business. Be accommodating and helpful to everyone. Treat everyone the same!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Vanessa: What 5 things does a well designed home need?

Lee: 1. No clutter! Clean out or find a place for everything that is hidden. 2. Large master closet painted a dark color so your clothes pop! 3. Dimmers on all lights! Lighting is so important. Landscape lighting adds so much to the exterior of the home. 4. Chic outside fireplace. We use ours daily! and 5. Central Vac System (If you have a golden retriever!) My new favorite thing.

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Vanessa: If you hadn’t become a designer, what do you think you would be doing now?

Lee: Professional organizer!

Vanessa: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Lee: Continue having a successful store with hopefully adding our own line of chic products like textiles, furniture, and accessories, that would be fabulous! Great customers and enjoying life!

Interview with Pieces Owner Lee Kleinhelter
Thank you so much Lee and Vanessa for stopping in today on decor8, and Lee your store is as amazing as I imagined it to be. I think many of us want to know when we can move in!

(images from lee kleinhelter)

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