I’ve been working on this interview for a few days after seeing German artist Carolin Samson comment on my blog recently. I clicked over from her comment and viola! I discovered her blog and Flickr photos. Upon noticing her flea market addiction, I knew I had to write to her to learn more about her life and work. Here’s what I found out after chatting with her.
Carolin lives in Regensburg (Bavaria) with her husband Lutz and studied art, German literature, textile design, philosophy and public relations (bio here). A few years ago she relocated from Hamburg to Regensburg where she works in public relations and as a blogger for a finance company. In Hamburg, Carolin taught art and had a gallery there called Kunst Leben.
In Bavaria she offers art classes on her day off and is working on some fun new creative projects with other artists in her local community which include a food/art event and a pop-up store showcasing the work of up-and-coming young artists. She also has a blog called Day Date that I just discovered last week, it’s great! Would you like a glimpse of her home? In addition to pretty photos I’ve also asked Carolin a few questions about her decorating and inspirations as well as life in Germany.
Hi Carolin! The first question I have for you is this: what inspires your decorating choices? I collect knick knacks for years at flea markets, during my travels or in nice design/decoration stores. I love these often kitschy objects and love to have them around me every day, so that it’s important to me that the knick knacks are kept in special places. All the other things I love are placed around them.
How many rooms is your apartment? Four – 1 room for me, 1 room for my husband, 1 living room and 1 bedroom, and we have also a bathroom and a kitchen.
What do you love about Germany? I love the creative places you can find in almost every city. If you want, you can realize here all your dreams. Germany offers you a lot of opportunities.
What do you like to do for fun in your city? We have a lot of places here in Regensburg to visit like the historical part of the town with the bars and cafés. And an art scene were you can find many exhibitions and new galleries.
Do you travel much, if so where do you go for vacation? I traveled the world with my parents when I was young. I also studied in Paris and Venice. Then I lived one year in Mexico teaching art. Now my husband and I travel often, at least until we have kids ;-)) . Last year we went to Malaysia, Finland, France, Africa, Los Angeles… and in six weeks we will go to New York and then to the Maledives. I love to travel. It’s the most inspiring way to live.
Where do you shop for most of your interiors items? At flea markets.
What trends do you notice in German decorating right now? The German creative scene loves the mix of classic design like Bauhaus, new design and stuff from the flea market. Habitat and IKEA is very important for the basics, especially for the students. But you can find more and more independent design shops with lovely things from all over the world (for example – ok-ok versand).
What are some of your favorite magazines? Oh! I’m addicted on magazines. I read almost everything about decoration, lifestyle and fashion. My favorites are at the moment: Blonde and cut. But I read also every issue of Vogue, Elle, Elle decoration, Casa Deco, Elle bistro, Decoration and Häuser.
It was nice to meet you Carolin and thank you so much for sharing bit of your apartment today! :)
(images: carolin samson)
Oh Sweden, what you do to me! Doesn’t it seem to be one of the most stylish countries on the planet? I’ve only been to Stockholm so I’m not sure about the rest of the country but I was so impressed by the design there that I’m thinking it’s hardwired into their DNA to have exceptional taste. Like when you are born in Sweden you automatically will love the color gray, desire a base of white with pops of color in your home, and be slim, gorgeous and friendly. You’ll also know how to perfectly cozy-up a space in a way that seems almost effortless. See?
This home, a seven room house just north of Stockholm, belongs to a graphic designer and busy mom that I interviewed for Cookie magazine online (posted here). Helena Schaeder Söderberg and her family (husband, two toddlers and two cats) have a home that is absolutely charm-filled – she’s a total domestic goddess. I love all of the wallpaper accents and the JOY that I feel when I look at these images, don’t you? It’s so welcoming and positive. View more photos here.
I interviewed Helena so I hope you’ll take the time to read it because her answers are great — especially her decorating tips. I also found out how she made those charming birds shown above in her daughter’s bedroom – she used a free pattern from the Spool sewing blog called “bird pattern” (see left column of this blog under Free Patterns). You can view more of her softies here but warning, you may feel a wee bit intimidated by her sewing awesomeness…
(images:Helena Schaeder Söderberg)
I was talking to Nicola (Nico) recently from Nicoletter, a German graphic designer who has a shop on Etsy, DaWanda and who you can find blogging here (bilingual for both German and English speaking readers) and thought I’d share a glimpse of her apartment and products.
Items from the Nicoletter shop.
Pretty things from a recent trip to Denmark.
Nico lives in the Frankfurt Rhine Main region in Germany, which is a lovely scenic part of the country that attracts many tourists. Her apartment is fresh and lovely, I especially like her attention to details and how she is able to make her place feel cozy without being cluttered. Her styling is also gorgeous, she really knows how to pull together a tabletop display! I love peeking in on all of the little nooks, don’t you?
Bonus! If you love retro items for the home, Nico has a German eBay shop that is amazing (she only ships within Germany though). I’m running over to check it out right now. It’s called Bazaarella and the ceramics, like this vintage floral container, are darling!
The lovely designer Frances Herrera Viola who runs the New York-based design firm Interiors by Francesca, sent in a few before and afters of her space and I thought it was so nicely done that you may find it inspirational. Francesca offers decorating services to those living in New York City and Long Island, in case you are local and have an interest in hiring out for design help whether that be a one day project, home staging, or a complete redesign of your space she just may be the lady for you to call! The first few photos below are of her recently designed bedroom (before & after) and the others are glimpses of her living space.
Seeing a makeover like this is helpful for those not living in magazine-like homes (most of us!) or around fancy architectural details — in other words people who basically have four blank walls and a floor — normal ceiling height, average windows, mediocre views, and annoying things to deal with like built-in air conditioners. A space like Francesca’s is a terrific example of how you can cozy up an “average” home using furniture, drapes, and throw rugs because not everyone has soaring ceilings, perfect floors, ocean views, and gorgeous fireplaces to fall back on! In fact, it’s much more of a challenge to design a home like this in my opinion. If you have a gorgeous flat overlooking the beach with massive windows, a massive fireplace and ceilings that go on forever well I see this as not much of a design challenge. You can put a sofa and a few chairs in a room like that and editors would be begging you to photograph your space for their magazine. It’s not so easy when you don’t occupy what I call, a home with supermodel good looks. This space is the perfect example of that — even a somewhat boxy room can have style – this ‘before’ bedroom photo below looks like a lot of plain Jane rental properties I’ve toured in my life. Plain Jane was transformed into Chic Chantal. It helps to see spaces like this to be able to train your eye to look for the potential.
I really admire the editing in this space, Francesca clearly knows when to quit. Though I must confess that if I lived here, I’d have a lot more color and art work, that’s for sure! Of course though, my personal taste is not the point — it’s more about foundation pieces. I could really build on a foundation like this. I love the trimmed drapes in the bedroom, and appreciate how the built-in a/c unit was replaced with a newer model in white — way better on the eyes! The pendant over the dining room table looks very chic, and the round table allows for good movement in a small space and enables flexibility with seating, you can add more chairs if needed for a larger gathering. Really nice work, Francesca!
(images francesca herrera viola)