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What Inspires a San Francisco Girl?

Hi! This is Victoria from sfgirlbybay dropping in on decor8 today while Holly is away. One of the more popular, regular posts on sfgirlbybay is called ‘Unexpected Guests’, and since Holly is a fan, she’s asked me to turn the tables on myself and to answer the questions I so often ask of others on ‘Unexpected Guests’. So without further adieu, here goes. I never realized before how tough this is!

Where do you live?
I live in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of my favorite city in the world, San Francisco.

What is your idea of a perfect day in your city?
This is tough because San Francisco has a lot of diverse things that I love to do. But a favorite day would be waking up early, grabbing a coffee from my corner coffee shop, Tulley’s and heading over the Bay Bridge to the Alameda Flea Market with my girlfriends. We’d shop ’til we dropped, and then probably indulge in one of the yummy grilled sausages with sauerkraut that you can buy there. Then we’d head back to the city and I’d do a little home decorating with my new flea market purchases. After a nice nap, I’d take a long bubble bath with a book and just enjoy the luxury of that. Then I’d dress and head out to meet friends at Zuni, one of my favorite restaurants for a Bloody Mary, oysters on the half shell, Caesar salad and we’d all share Zuni Cafe’s famous roast chicken with bread stuffing. San Francisco is for food lovers, and as you can see, I am one of them!

What don’t you leave home without?
My camera. A comb, lipstick, and my wallet.

What’s your favorite local shop?
I love Nest on Fillmore Street, with Swallowtail on Polk Street a close second. I probably love them equally and would love to have a shop of my own that would emulate their aesthetic. I love the eclectic, vintage and cosmopolitan items they carry.

What’s on your wish list?
I’m searching for the perfect daybed for my bay window. I’d really love an Eames Case Study Daybed.

What’s your favorite bargain find?
My buffet, which I found at a yard sale for $5. It was covered with awful creme-colored paint and I stripped it myself, sanded and refinished it.

What is your biggest interior design nightmare?
I hate that too-perfect look of cookie-cutter furniture from a chain store. Brown plaid sofas and neon beer signs are pretty awful, too.

Who is your favorite artist? And why?
I think my favorite artist is photographer Diane Arbus. I love the way she photographed outsiders, and captured their dark souls with her camera. I also love the work of William Eggleston.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, really. A lot of my friends are really talented artists, photographers and crafters and their work constantly inspires me. Magazines, other blogs, films, galleries and museums.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire my friends. They are a constant support system for me. I don’t want to name them all here, but you know who are. The people who came to my side through broken ankles, surgeries, the passing away of my beloved dog Cooper – good times and bad. They are the friends that don’t ask what you need, they just show up. I love you all.

What’s the last great book you read?
I used to read a ton, but with the blog it seems I rarely have time to read these days. But I recently read The Night Watch by Sarah Waters which took place during the blitz in WWII and is the story of three women’s lives converging. It was beautifully written, very descriptive, and I loved it.

What’s your favorite film?
Hands down, Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn, one of my personal heroes. I also love anything from Wes Anderson, and Sophia Coppola.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
Wow, who came up with these questions, this is tough! ;) I love photographing a special friend of mine and capturing his happiness.

Who would you like to sit down to drinks with?
Jon Stewart. I love him and it would be great to chat with such a smart, funny man. If we could bring along Dorothy Parker, that would be cool, but she’s deceased!

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I’ve got some pretty cheesy songs on my iPod that I sometimes listen to while working out, or walking… Faith Hill, Britney, nsync. It’s sad, really.

What would you eat for your last supper?
I believe I would like my mother’s breaded veal cutlets with mashed potatoes. For some reason, I can eat stacks of these – it’s quite disgusting.

What is your most treasured belonging?
My cameras.

What souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?
My last big trip was to Italy, and I bought a small oil painting of the countryside from a local artist in Venice. I love it’s soothing colors.

Greatest indulgence?
It used to be books – I could never be just one. I always bought them in triplets. But lately it’s camera equipment.

What is your idea of living hell?
A nine to five job in a bank, having to wear skirts and nylons everyday. And, a tract house in suburbia. It’s just not me.

What are some of your favorites websites/blogs to visit?
I love Poppytalk, design*sponge and decor8 (not just saying that – I find tons of inspiration from these women). I also love dooce, Letters From The Consumer End and The Sartorialist.

Thanks Holly!! xx,
victoria

Thank you so much Victoria for joining us today on decor8! It was fun to get into your head a little so thanks for telling us about yourself and what inspires you. Readers: All photos above are of Victoria’s apartment in San Francisco… Don’t you just love her aesthetic? So pretty! - Holly

(images and text from victoria smith, sfgirlbybay)

Posted in guest bloggers, Home Tours on August 15, 2008

The Home of Talented Emma Cassi

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!




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.





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)

Posted in Home Tours, inspiration on August 04, 2008

Two Beautiful Dutch Apartments

My friend and travel partner Danielle, who I actually met via decor8 in 2006 when she showed her apartment to readers and a friendship blossomed from there, just purchased a gorgeous home outside of Amsterdam. I can’t wait until she shows you the photos once she gets into the space and makes it her own. It is a fantastic home with beautiful property — very magazine worthy for sure. In preparation for her new home, Danielle and her boyfriend are selling their current apartments.

The apartment of her boyfriend. He has great style!

This is by no means a sales pitch, I have no interest in helping her sell these properties as I’m sure her broker is completely capable and I’m willing to bet both will sell rather quickly without any help from me. But I was so completely inspired by how Danielle lives, and of the apartment in which her boyfriend resides in The Hague (Netherlands) that I want to give you a sneak peek.

Danielle’s apartment.

You can go to her blog to see all of the images, they are just wonderful. You can tell Danielle is a stylist — she did a great job staging both apartments for a quick sell. Enjoy!

(images from danielle delange/the style files)

Posted in Home Tours, inspiration on June 26, 2008

Meet Pretty Little Things

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. ;)

Some 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.

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…

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!


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)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Home Tours, interviews on June 05, 2008

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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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