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Help My IKEA Dresser!

Alyson is a twentysomething decor8 reader seeking advice for her IKEA ANEBODA dresser. She says, “Okay, so I have this dresser from IKEA that I am sending the picture of. At first I loved it but now I am hating the clear poly thing! You can see how incredibly disorganized all my clothes are! Do you have any suggestions of how to either cover it or something? Any sort of advice would be appreciated!”

My first thought is to use paper or fabric applied directly to the interior of the polypropylene drawer fronts. This post over on the IKEA hacker blog may help you do something like this in a single afternoon. Casa Sugar also shows another good example of using paper and how to do it.

Anyone have DIY ideas for Alyson?

(image from IKEA)

Posted in DIY, Objects, Reader Questions on January 26, 2009

Anthropologie Videos – Creepy or Cute?

I was just checking out the Anthropologie stuff for Autumn ’08 and came across these videos… I have to say, while they creep me out I do like them. I understand the need that a business has to continuously churn out new and innovative things to maintain a fresh look, but I wonder what your thoughts are in their new approach to product marketing on their site. Take a look here and tell me what you think. I like Spectra (it’s like Etsy!) and Look Closer is nice, but the Master Pieces videos… Hmmm… It is creative though!

I appreciate how Anthropologie works hard to stay fresh for us as we are always demanding something new and this gives companies a lot of work. One thing I would love though, that Anthropologie is not doing, is I’d like to see them roll out videos where customers can actually LEARN something… Like feature a series of DIY videos that show you how to make certain displays that you see in their stores for your home. They have so many cool installations that they churn out, window decals made from fabric, glass bottle light fixtures, etc. that I would find something like that not only inspiring but educational which may make me return to their site as often as they posted new videos. In turn, I may shop their site more.

Another idea I’d love to see: Interview the various designers behind their products and take you into their ateliers and show them at work. This would make the customer feel much more attracted to the products I think. I am under the impression that a lot of us see Anthro as a big box retailer more and more as they are becoming somewhat of a Starbucks (on every corner) in the states and this could be a potential negative for them. I adore Anthropologie, but not many are aware of where the boots and bags and clothing really come from, who designs them, etc. I’d love to learn more about where these products are coming from and the passion behind them…

I would also enjoy a series of videos that show you how to do something creative with products they carry in your own home. That would be helpful, like how some cool shopper in say Chicago used a pair of pillow shams on clearance and turned them into art or made some fun handbag or sewing machine cover out of it. Or how a girl in Kansas has a rad collection of teapots and used only the lids to create some funky art installation on the wall in her home. You know fun stuff like that… Show how customers are using Anthropologie products OR how customers could use them in fun and interesting ways. Teach us creative recycling. That way if you do get an item home and in 6 months you’re sick of it you may look at it in different way and use it as something else instead of boxing it up in the attic or eventually throwing it out. Creativity is inside of us all, some in larger doses or closer to the surface so to speak, but it can be taught, trained, sharpened. Have a series of videos that does that for Anthro customers so that shoppers develop their eye, taste, and start to think like a stylist. Isn’t that what we’d all love? To jump into the mind of a stylist for the day? Which leads me to think: Would you not LOVE to see them host lectures or DIY projects or indie art shows in their actual retail stores? A bit of an Anthro-university.

Of course, and I’ve been saying this for a few years, but I want them to roll out a book SO BADLY that it hurts. I’m dying to see them showcase the ‘best of the best’ displays in their stores with a How To guide teaching how we can do something similar in our home. How inspiring and useful would THAT be?

We are in real need of books that show creative artistic projects like that, and we’re also in need of books that show us how to style a room or create arrangements on tables, style bookcases, etc. I’ve had it with seeing books that show the same thing over and over again, we all know how to stack books, arrange them by color on a bookcase, top a stack of books with a pillar candle or OH MY GOD a shell. But what about giving us tasteful, yet useful and artistic ways to display the things we love in our home that isn’t Pottery Barn perfect but also isn’t tacky? Anthropologie Styling Tricks. Wouldn’t that be a dream book?

Care to comment with your thoughts on the Master Pieces video, what books you’d like to see that are missing, videos you’d be interested in watching or anything related? I enjoy hearing your thoughts, as the post I wrote about Wallpaper Borders yesterday inspired so many fantastic responses that I want to know more and more what you are all thinking out there… I want you to feel free to share your thoughts anytime you’d like because you may think that I am here each day to inspire you but oh no, it’s the other way around – YOU inspire ME tremendously. So thank you for always sharing and linking and being a special part of this blog.

Posted in Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips, Reader Questions on October 10, 2008

Wallpaper Borders – Your Thoughts?

I was out last night with a group of 11 creative women here in Hannover, all independent artists and designers who sell on DaWanda, and we met at this charming 100+ year old tea room called Teest?bchen in the old part of the city to discuss art, design, travel, you know… Girl talk! We had a really nice evening. One designer there asked me what my thoughts are on wallpaper border as she was thinking about making and selling some borders with her gorgeous illustrations on them.

Teest?bchen in Hannover.

My first reaction was No! but then as I was talking to her I realized that we cannot always do what is popular, we must sometimes do what we simply like and see what happens with it after we send it out into the world. Thing is, I do not like wallpaper border so my opinion of it was a bit negative and though I felt bad being so honest to this lovely lady, she did ask me for my opinion and I told her plainly that I did not like them at all.

Wallpaper border is in NO way a new concept, it has been done before and most of us dislike it because we still have visions from the 80s and early 90s when EVERYONE HAD IT in EVERY SINGLE ROOM sporting motifs that ranged from trains to roosters to mauve flowers. I think we associate it with tacky interior styles of the past (at least in America) and the rather tasteless ones found today in stores like Home Depot. Then again, years ago before Domino and Kelly Wearstler many of us HATED WALLPAPER WITH A PASSION. When I started blogging nearly 3 years ago, I remember writing about wallpaper and readers hating its comeback and commenting rather nasty things about it and now it’s trend and most people LOVE it.

The point is, do you think wallpaper borders could in fact make a comeback as wallpaper has? Do you hate it? What do you hate about it? How do you see borders being designed so as to have a positive response? I’d love to hear what readers from all parts of the world have to say on this topic so please voice your opinion!

And if you have no clue what wallpaper borders are, click here to see some

(image from Flickr via Ellenspenellen)

Posted in Reader Questions, Rooms on October 09, 2008

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!

Reader Kimberly wrote in looking for some help with her office space. Here’s the room needing a little love…


Kimberly recently installed gorgeous new hardwood floors, repainted the walls, and replaced all the trim in the home they purchased last year. As a successful >wedding photographer, she needs an office space that is more inviting to her clients. “I don’t have a ton of room, but I want something where they can come, sit down, peruse my sample work, watch a slideshow on my computer, and chat about their wedding day with me,” she says. Here are some current photos showing the space as it is today.

Currently seating area for clients with her portfolio on the small table.

Style: Her office is currently gray, red, and turquoise, all colors that she really enjoys so these colors are staying. She loves vintage and thrift store finds, mixing old with new, and loves anything mid-century.

Notes: The room has four closets, one holds photography equipment, another is a dedicated craft supply space, the third is random storage of office and business supplies, and the last is a clothes closet.

I’ve asked Vanessa De Vargas from Turquoise in LA, who recently launched her e-decorating service, to visit us today and share her decorating ideas with Kimberly. Here are some tips and products that Vanessa suggests for the space…

“First, remove your current client seating area — both of the little chairs and mini table near the door. Replace with two more (or just one) comfortable chairs with matching upholstery. Place all storage currently under the white shelf into a closet. Wallpaper closet doors and place two upholstered chairs in front of them. You could also do a L shaped desk so clients can sit at the L to look at the monitor. If you go this route, instead of chairs already mentioned, find cute matching chairs to fit your taste and upholster the seats. Move red lamp to the lucite side table and install some art work on the wall where the chairs were (or your own photography, it’s suggested you have your work on display somewhere in the room) and incorporate on small shelves in between some of your vintage cameras. To keep this budget-friendly, I’ve gone a little overboard with Urban Outfitters items but here are a few product suggestions along with a few examples of displaying photography that I’ve pulled together for you.” – Vanessa De Vargas


Vanessa’s suggestions: Chandelier in white $36, 2 chairs from overstock to reupholster in a fun print if you do not opt for the l-shaped desk idea $269 each, lucite table $88, pillows for the chairs if you do not reupholster them, floor rug $68, wallpaper for closet, a desk chair in white in case she wants something more comfortable,

Vanessa’s framing ideas.

And to add some of my own advice (me, Holly). Kimberly: I also suggest an L shaped desk, in fact I like the idea more than two chairs near the double closet because clients should be seated at your desk to view your portfolio on your screen. For the desk my only suggestion is to avoid wood tones and/or glass (fingerprints!) and go with something light and airy vs. a solid heavy piece. You may want to check where you purchased your current desk to see if they sell additional pieces to create the L using your current desk. Another advantage in having this set up is that you can install a pendant light that hangs directly above the desk so you don’t have to worry about anyone bumping their heads! I like Vanessa’s overhead pendant suggestion, but also think a simple FADO globe from IKEA would be a nice look. You are currently limited so you use overhead lighting that is flush against the ceiling. I suggest keeping the wall paint as is, it is so lovely, and if you want to wallpaper on the closets as Vanessa suggested I would go with something crisp and graphic, like Ferm Living’s Berry Black, Birdweed, or Kingflower. Another idea for your double closet is that you can turn both doors into a giant chalkboard with simple chalkboard paint. If you buy magnetic paint to coat the doors before the chalkboard paint, you can use the doors to organize your work and since they are not the focal point as clients enter the room, they are in the perfect spot. I think a rug below the L-shaped desk is important to avoid scuffing the floors, you may even want to look into FLOR carpet tiles. I’d go for some texture in the room, perhaps a jute boucle rug in platinum from West Elm. I think your current desk chair is fine, I’d just add a pretty cushion to the seat or slip the top of it to coordinate with your guest chairs. Also look for armless chairs for clients for extra space, and try to find chairs on wheels. Sew some pretty chair covers to spruce them up or seat cushions. If you opt for guest chairs and no L shaped desk, I would try to locate some armless, slim slip chairs because they will take up less room. Crisp white would be lovely. The IKEA Stockholm chairs may work. Add a pretty pillow on each chair, a bolster or rectangular one would be good, but square is also okay. Since you photograph mostly people, this K Studio pillow in black with white stitch is darling and fits the look of the room nicely. You can add your red and turquoise accents in the form of your current desk lamp, a new red leather portfolio (vs. current black one), and red frames on your shelf or a turquoise vase filled with fresh flowers on your desk. Flowers are an absolute must when clients visit, puts them in total wedding mood, just keep them out of the way of arms in case of accidental spills. And of course… specialty candy or fresh baked cookies (or cupcakes, again think wedding) never hurts. All the TLC you can give a client meeting in your home to make you and your work stand out, the better! If your work has received press attention, you may want to show that off in a single frame or post it neatly on the chalkboard. And by all means, show you work on the walls. Dedicate a space to showcasing your best photography. Whether it’s near the door as Vanessa suggested, creatively displayed on the chalkboard (you could frame them using vinyl frame decals in white), or displayed in frames on the current long shelf you have, your work truly needs to be out and in view. Also, when it comes to lighting, you need some behind where your client will sit, so consider a floor lamp like the Adjustable Enamel light for $68 at Urbans. Or try to locate an industrial accordion style light (since you love vintage) with a clamp and attach it to the long shelf to provide some illumination in that area of the room. Here’s a visual to give you some help…

Items shown here are linked in above paragraph.

If anyone reading would like to also chime in with suggestions, please do! I’m sure she’d would love to hear from everyone — the more the merrier!

(images from kimberly hurst)

Posted in Reader Questions, Rooms on July 24, 2008

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