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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

Cookie Magazine Home Tours

Speaking of design in Berlin, check out this Berlin apartment via Cookie magazine. Michele Reeb and family occupies a beautiful apartment there that I just love. These are very typical apartments in northern Germany (I’ve not been to the south, so I can’t comment as to what they are like in say, Munich), high ceilings, spacious, wood or pergo flooring, large windows. It’s what the average Bostonian or New Yorker could only dream of finding. And these apartments are so affordable which makes everything that much more appealing. Here’s a glimpse of Reeb’s space below, you’ll have to click over to Cookie magazine to see the rest.


Cookie has a slew of inspiring home tours from their readers up on their website if you have a moment to browse them today. They have a nice collection over there.

Elisabeth Dunker’s home in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I especially enjoyed the five-story pagoda home of John and Cynthia Hardy in Bali (that bed!), Elisabeth Dunker’s kids’ rooms in Gothenburg, Dutch bag designer Esther Veereschild’s place in the Netherlands, and Stephanie Congdon Barnes in Portland.

Links to this artwork here.

One thing I notice in all the stylish homes I come across is a beautiful array of artwork in kids’ rooms. After noticing this for a long time now I decided to write about it today over at Real Simple so if you’re interested in reading about Art in Kids’ Rooms I’m sure you’ll find this helpful.

(images from cookie magazine)

Posted in Home Tours, kids on March 19, 2008

Unclutterer {Home Tour}

As warmer days arrive and birds start singin’ their songs, Spring cleaning and organization becomes all the rage. We want to unclutter, neatly contain our chaos, send the dust bunnies packing, and make our homes sparkle. It’s almost hardwired into our DNA, we must start the season with a fresh, very clean, and organized slate. I’ve invited Erin Doland, the editor of Unclutterer, to take us on a tour of her mid-century modern home located just outside of Washington, D.C. so we can inspect her organization techniques and learn a few tricks from a pro. Here’s hoping this post will encourage us as we embark on the annual Spring clean-up!


First, a little about Erin’s home. A three-story home shared with her husband, don’t let the number of floors fool ya, it only has around 1,300 square feet of livable space. I think that’s enough for a married couple, but considering that both work full-time from home, you can see why they need to keep their home organized and clutter-free. Built in the middle of the last century, it’s architectural design was inspired by the international style. With plenty of light flooding the home since both the east and the west walls are predominantly glass, the north and south walls are a combination of brick and concrete on the exterior and your common dry wall inside. Ready to take a little tour? Erin will take it from here…


Erin Doland: A tiny bathroom is the only room on the first floor of our home, and was actually too small for me to be able to photograph effectively. Instead of showing you it, here is a picture of the hallway that leads to it. We’ve hung an art gallery system in this space and often swap the art as we feel inspired.

Erin Doland: The second level of our home is a large, open space. Looking to the north, the bookshelves are Cubits shelving units and can be reconfigured into many shapes. On the left shelves, you can see that we’ve turned an Olivetti typewriter upside down in one of the cubes as a design element when it’s not in use. The fire hydrant and dog sculpted out of packing tape were made by artist Mark Jenkins and were used in his Storker Project. I feel that I should add that we purchased them as part of a Katrina fundraiser and didn’t just grab them off the street. The color scheme of the room — orange, green, and yellow — was inspired by the Metropolis poster above the fireplace. The poster was the first piece purchased for this room.

Erin Doland: A south view of the living area is a small cubby where I store my pedal steel guitar, amplifier, and family photographs. The floating white shelves are from West Elm. The chair behind the guitar is a 1960′s Nakashima walnut Mira chair.

Erin Doland: Standing in the kitchen, you can get a view of our dining area and the west end of our living room. The table was made for us by sculptor Michael Sirvet and is surrounded by eight different chairs of mid-century and contemporary design. The large pork poster is from the National Pork Board campaign that was launched in 2001. It is the only poster created for the campaign that wasn’t used in a public space and was what I gave to my husband as a wedding gift. We find it very humorous, but we’re not so certain our vegetarian friends do.

Erin Doland: Standing in the dining area and looking south, you can see our kitchen. The west side of our house is glass, and you can see a piece of it sticking through in the upper corner of this picture. Since all of the chairs around our dining table are different, we replaced all of the kitchen drawer and door pulls with different glass knobs.

Erin Doland: On the third floor of our home is the master bedroom, bathroom and our office. Pictured here is my husband’s desk. It has an Ikea Jerker frame and he’s replaced the Ikea shelves with high-grade baltic-birch plywood. You can read about his conversion on the Ikea hacker website. Above his desk, you’ll see a giant slide ruler that once hung in a math classroom. The slide ruler corresponds with the four-foot pair of scissors that hang above my desk, and the out-dated geography maps we use as window treatments. The room also has a 10′ long closet, which can be seen here on Unclutterer. I had hoped to picture our master bedroom, too, but we’re currently redecorating it. There isn’t much of anything to see in the space right now except for our new panel curtain system. I find a great deal of inspiration on decor8, and I hope that I have been able to provide a little inspiration to you in return.

Thank you Erin for touring us of your very organized home! For organization tips and tricks, visit Erin everyday over on Unclutterer.

(images from erin doland)

Posted in Home Tours on March 05, 2008

An Angel at my Table {Mari Eriksson}

Mari Eriksson authors a beautiful blog called An Angel at my Table and though it’s in Swedish her more recent posts contain a bit of English so you can follow along. It’s filled with photos of her home and workspace that are nothing short of inspirational and lovely. There are so many things that I enjoy about her home, from the white wood floors to the industrial pieces living so nicely alongside modern country, chandeliers, and great vintage finds (like the lockers and her sewing machine). Isn’t this a glowing space?


Mari lives in Sweden and as I drool over her magazine worthy abode, I’m left to wonder what this obviously talented lady does for a living. A designer? stylist? photographer? She doesn’t mention it in her blog. Her home has lots of character and positive energy, everything is arranged so effortlessly chic!

Pairing unexpected things seems to be a theme here in Mari’s home. All of the furniture appears to have modern clean lines no matter what period it is from. Good tip to note when you try this look at home. Select furniture that coordinates by color/wood – select a few that you like, i.e. gray, white, and medium wood tones for instance, and then by style like clean modern lines (works best). If you have a curvy piece, you can add it to create a little tension but go easy on mixing curvy with straight because you won’t be able to pull off Mari’s look if this is what you’re going for. I’d consider one curvy dresser or desk and leave it at that.


I love the idea of using a bench along the wall in an eating nook. It’s a clever use of space because if you live in small quarters a slim bench is so practical. You can also look for one with a lift up seat to provide additional storage. My friend in Montreal uses a detailed vintage church pew (like this one only with a clear stain) that she purchased at a flea market and it’s topped with a simple white linen cushion. The detailed carvings and overall patina of the wood paired with her white-washed farm table and white Bertoia side chairs looks so nice.

Show of hands… How many would like to move in? :)

{1/22 3:48 pm update: Thanks to a few comments below, it was revealed that Mari is a photographer. Thank you Linnea and Annemeike!}

(images from mari eriksson)

Posted in blogs, Home Tours, travel on January 22, 2008

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