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Home Tours

Home Tours, Rooms

Darling Home Tour in England

March 11, 2009

I was so excited when Shella Anderson wrote asking to share her home over at Cookie magazine, I immediately agreed and now it’s live over on the site in the House Tours section (look for the square that says Essex, England or link here).

Styled by Selina Lake and photographed by Sussie Bell, this home is so joyful and full of life — I can’t stop looking at all of the little nooks and details. I also love that Shella is NOT scared of color. If you have access to Ideal Home (UK interiors mag), you can find her home in their April 09 issue. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shella and so I asked about favorite things, the shops that she loves, what inspires her design, how she decorates for 3 daughters (and keeps things so neat!), favorite books… I’m sure you will really enjoy reading about her family of 5 right here.

(photography: Sussie Bell)

Decorating Tips, Home Tours

A Handmade Home in Denmark

March 9, 2009

I fell in love this morning with a darling home located in Mols, Denmark because the space is just so cozy and personal, I know you’ll adore it! The space belongs to creative entrepreneur, blogger and mother Tracy Lorna Nors who has a background in art and design and a real flair for decorating — especially mixing in vintage objects with more modern pieces. She just returned to her design work after taking a few years off to have her son so we can expect to see more from this creative lady going forward. Her home is a traditional Danish farmhouse from 1913 and she and her husband Jesper, son Indigo and two cats live in this charming space filled with love, personality and a sense of humor. Tracy and her husband recently launched a decorating website called Boboho that I think you may enjoy browsing but first let’s check out her inspirational Danish home filled with vintage toys, mixed media art and recycled found items.

A cozy reading nook.

Living room with a beautiful round felt pouf in pink.

I love the handmade lamp shades throughout her home. Lovely!

A vintage birdcage paired with a recycled dressers and a painting dated around 1900 found in an antiques shop.

Vintage printers drawers filled with tiny collected objects. In the living room you’ll spot a coffee table made from floorboards and on top you can see a handmade paper bowl. Tracy is so talented!

A Swedish bench from the 19th century and a painting I’d love to own by Danish artist Nanna Ask.

Some favorite vintage finds on a kitchen shelf and her handmade flower brooches.

Chinese lanterns recovered Tracy’s way with found papers and a lamp she made out of vintage toys along with another one of her handmade lamp shades. Eventually the lamps will be sold through her website however she is now accepting commissions and in addition to table lamps she also makes chandeliers.

Want to see more? Tour Tracy’s home here on her website.

Thank you Tracy for welcoming us into your beautiful home today!

(images from tracy nors)

Home Tours, Inspiration, Small Business

Crafty Home Studio Space

February 9, 2009

Speaking of spaces where women create, Tamar from Nest Pretty Things in Vermont contacted me over the weekend with photos of her newly designed arts and crafts studio – it’s full of positivity and warmth! I’ve been thinking about having my own room again dedicated to creative pursuits, an idea that I plan to put into motion in the months ahead. It also means I will have to move but I’m okay with that because I’ve realized that I can no longer accept my current space as being sufficient enough. It’s not, I need the space. I work from home, it’s important to have plenty of room for the many projects I have my hands in right now. I fantasize about how I want my dream room to look, I can see it so clearly… but until I can touch this dream I’m living through others, planning, thinking, and saving money!

Do you currently have a “you” room in your home? If so, would you like to link to it below in the comments section? If you do not, tell me about your dream room or point me to a photo of it online. I’d love to see and exchange some inspiration today! You can see more images and read about her studio space here.

Thank you Tamar for sharing!

(images from tamar at nest decorating)

Home Tours, Rooms, uncategorized

Daily Discounts: Pink Loves Brown {+ studio tour}

November 12, 2008

I have a total girl crush on Nicole Balch, the brains and the hotness behind the brand Pink Loves Brown and the blog Making It Lovely. Nicole is a really nice and supportive person and I’ve always liked her Chicago home (I think it’s so cute) and how sweet her stationery line is. Have you seen her new sets with the adorable suitcases? Oh you must. Look…

And here are some of her products…

And this is where all the magic happens in her 1920’s bungalow in Chicago in a charming pink office.

So now for the really fun part… Nicole is cutting us a discount! Oh yes! Use code “iIheartdecor8” to save 20% on everything in her online shop. Offer is valid until November 21, 2008. Nicole ships outside of the U.S. too. Yay! Have fun and pick up some paper suitcases for me…

(images from nicole at pink loves brown)

Decorating Tips, Home Tours

Inspiring Canadian Home

September 19, 2008

I recently stumbled across the lovely home photos of freelance children’s book illustrator Claire Louise Milne on Flickr and asked her if she’d like to share her space on decor8. Lucky for us she said yes! Here’s a little peek at her darling abode in Toronto, Canada where she resides with her husband Bradley. In addition to photos, I asked her a few questions so that you could gain a little insight into what inspires her and where she finds her cool stuff. :)

Inspiring Canadian Home In this photo I’d like to not only highlight the lovely orange and purple combo, but the wood storage box from IKEA that Claire painted and added wallpaper to. I’m going to run to IKEA next week to buy one of these for my new kitchen to store my tea bags in. Love this idea — so creative!

How do you find time to decorate?

“It’s just over a year since we bought our first house, so there is still so much to do! Most of my projects tend to be driven by the same goal, to make a tiny house (1-bedroom) as light and airy as possible. I work at home (as an illustrator) which really helps because I putter around tidying when I’m procrastinating. Also because I’m a freelancer there are sometimes gaps between projects which gives me more time. Also our house is tiny which forces you to edit all the time because there’s just no room! I find it hard to concentrate on work when things are too cluttered around me.”

Inspiring Canadian Home Here’s a better view of Claire’s IKEA hack. :)

Inspiring Canadian Home I really like her craft studio, especially that glass cabinet with those fancy doors. She used wallpaper in similar cabinets to give them a bit of a transformation, which you will see in the next photo, but either way the cabinet looks lovely to me. Claire recently blogged about her craft studio in case you’d like to read more about it just click here.

Where do you find the things that you use in your home?

“I find a lot of things at flea markets, antique shops, craigslist or thrift shopping. Mainly because I love vintage or antique things. I also find lots of good basics at places like IKEA.”

Inspiring Canadian Home Here are her secretary desks with wallpaper inside. So pretty!

What are some of your favorite things in your home?

“I love my old singer sewing table which is actually a very practical way to have a dedicated sewing corner without taking up much space. Also the box you’ve seen was a very simple project but I loved the results.”

Inspiring Canadian Home This is one very organized lady!

What inspires your decorating projects?

“I’m inspired a lot by pictures in books and magazines. Whenever we’re starting a new decorating project I go through a big stack of books to get ideas. Also there are a few decor blogs I like too – such as decor8. :) I’m also addicted to decor programs on TV.”

Inspiring Canadian Home This is a really pretty view of her kitchen, I am LOVING the curtains with the tiny dots… I have a blouse like this that I think I wore every day this summer. :)

Inspiring Canadian Home Another kitchen view… Great gray walls I think.

Inspiring Canadian Home A collection of vintage tins for sewing supplies keeps things neat and pretty.

Inspiring Canadian Home More tins and stacks and stacks of fabrics for her quilts – yes she makes quilts too! I love this lady, she can quilt and draw. Some people have all the luck!

Inspiring Canadian Home Here’s a glimpse of her dining room with cabinets from IKEA (Liatorp bookcases to be precise).

Find Claire here: Flickr: Needle Book, her blog, professional portfolio, and a list of her published books.

Thanks Claire for visiting all of us today on decor8!

(images from claire louise milne)

Home Tours

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

August 21, 2008

My name is Kelly Maron and I run the little Chicago area letterpress studio, Paper Stories. I also author a blog under the same name and I have an etsy shop. I am so thrilled to be filling the guest spot for Holly today!

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

I make a variety of letterpress paper goods from cards to art prints to invitations. For today?s post I’d like to share a bit of my studio space with you, where my inspiration comes from, and the struggles of running a small business as a new mom. I think we only see the ‘good’ face of most businesses online and I’m here to show both the good and the ‘real’ life stuff that goes on behind the scenes. :)

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

I always love seeing a good studio tour but secretly feel a tad bitter by those ?showcase studios?, you know the ones? the warehouse with the original hardwood floors from the days when the space used to be an early 1900?s sewing factory, soaring 12 foot tall windows covering the exposed brick walls, a healthy dose of antiquated metal cabinets and large wooden work tables, and of course there is always some sort of lounge area filled with mid-century modern furniture, like the infamous Eames lounge they just happened to find on the side of the road. Did I just describe my dream studio? Perhaps; but if you are anything like me, with a young business, you need to keep overhead low which means making what you have work for you. I understand that ?fantasy? studio tours give you something to aspire towards but I’m here to show you a more realistic space. My space. If you have been making excuses for not making your own studio space, perhaps this will motivate you!

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

I work from home in a converted one-car garage where I house my 1200 lb 8×12 Chandler & Price printing press. I do all the printing and cutting in this space. It is a small space and gets rather cold in the Chicago winters, but it does the job and it’s free! I have also commandeered an extra bedroom that is more of an office space. This is where I keep my boxes of envelopes and other paper goods, store my inventory, and can sit with my laptop or just sketch out ideas. Of course at any given time, I may also take over the dining room table for the purposes of boxing up cards or getting things ready for a show. In mid September I will be a vendor again at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago so right now, it looks less like a house and more like a tornado in a paper factory.

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

Since my studio is small, being organized is important. I have dedicated spaces for printing, sorting, and cutting. I have tried to fit as many tables, shelves, and cabinets as I can without hindering my ability to move around comfortably. Most of the things are either thrifted, like the vintage French kitchen tins that hold my gloves, ink, and miscellaneous printing things, and the dartboard that serves as my makeshift inspiration board, or were built from your typical hardware store supplies. I use a lot of pegboards for keeping supplies within arm?s reach. Of course, the occasional trip to IKEA never hurts either for organizational supplies.

While my studio isn?t glamorous, it is cozy and comfortable plus I have a lot of photographs and collected ephemera hanging up that makes it more personal. Unless you also have a half-ton printing press, it shouldn?t be that difficult for you to carve out a little workspace for yourself.

If having the perfect workspace has held you back from following some sort of artistic pursuit, get over it. Find a little corner, organize it, decorate it and get to it!

Okay, so you have the space. Now for the inspiration. I am going to say it? coming up with ideas is hard! Wait, I take that back? coming up with ideas that will sell, is hard. I have so many ideas at any given time, that if I were my only customer, I would be perfectly satisfied. Since that is not the case, I need to think about what sells. I find this a bit frustrating at times especially when it is April and I am designing Christmas cards. Perhaps if I were only a designer, then I could comfortably rest into my delegated role. However, I am the designer, the printer, the webmaster, the shipper and anything else that needs to get done. This can be draining. However, as many one-person business owners know, you really can?t do it all yourself and sometimes you need to take a break.

For the last three years I have been doing everything myself. Two words: Not good.

I convinced myself that I would have better control over everything that way. (Serious type-A personality issues.) Finally, a few months ago I took on an intern. A wonderful girl named Lisa comes over once a week or so and helps me with various business related things. She has been a great help and is also super fun to talk to. I have found myself looking forward to her visits and have remembered how much I love to work with other people. This has encouraged me to start collaborating with others.

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour
Illustrations from the portfolios of Angela Navarra (left) and Jen Renninger (right).

Still in the negotiating and development phase, I am working with some wonderful illustrators to create some super fabulous letterpress goodies for next year. Angela Navarra is a wonderful illustrator who I am very excited to work with on some upcoming cards. Keep an eye out for those as early as this winter. As for next year, I can?t wait to get started on my collaboration with Susie Ghahremani of boygirlparty. I can?t even tell you what we are cooking up but I promise that if all works out as planned, it will be divine! I am also chatting with my cyber-friend Jen Renninger about a collaborative project. Oh, it makes me all so giddy inside. I hope it all works out. Talking with all these talented ladies has gotten me so excited to get printing and has also recharged my batteries so-to-speak. I?ve realized that sometimes the best inspiration can come by working with others.

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

However, when I am left to my own devices searching for personal sources of inspiration, I can be all over the place. I absolutely love patterns, especially ones that are found in nature or in architecture. Vivid colors make me go ga-ga. A warehouse filled with antiques makes me weak in the knees. When it comes to my card designs, I have used everything from wrought iron and vintage embroidery patterns to a city streetlamp and cupcakes as inspiration. I prefer things that are bold and graphic to soft and subtle. Having a sense of humor helps as well. Give me a card with a snarky saying and I am a happy camper.

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

Recently I drove nearly 2400 miles visiting seven different places. I went from the plains to the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains and back again, all the while keeping an eye out for things that inspired me. Above is a little peek of some patterns that I found inspiring. You never know what will translate into a card. Walking around with a camera is a great way to record things.

Once I am swimming with a head full of inspiration, my biggest struggle seems to be finding the time. I am so amazed by other artists who seem to balance their home and work lives successfully. I have been running Paper Stories since 2005 and was doing pretty well with time management. I had left an established career as a high school teacher, with the support of my husband (also a high school teacher) to start my own business. It wasn?t until last October that I worried that my home life might conflict with my business. I had a baby boy; Jackson Calder. He is the coolest little guy. I feel very lucky to spend every day with him. Currently we don?t use daycare so all of the day time I once used for printing, filling orders, and contacting clients has been replaced with feedings, diaper changes and walks around the block. Typically I watch Jackson until dinnertime when ?Daddy? gets home, then Paper Stories is open for business. I work until late at night doing all the things that once occupied my days.

I am not quite sure how I am pulling it off, and some days I would argue that I am not at all, but somehow I seem to be busier than ever with orders and upcoming projects. I must be doing something right even if I feel like I am getting on by the skin of my teeth. The past two months have been easier since my husband, Russ, has been off for the summer but in a few weeks he will head back to school while I chase a ten month around at home.

For all you creative mums and pops out there, feel free to leave suggestions for how you manage it all. I would love to know how you do it! In the meantime, guess I am just going to have to baby proof that paper tornado I was mentioning.

Paper Stories Letterpress Studio Tour

Coincidentally, I was just reading an article on how to raise a happy baby. Edward Hallowell, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, wrote that children, like adults, must pursue their own interests to feel fulfilled in their successes. He says the happiest people are often those who master a skill. Something for us all to work on I suppose. Put together your space, find some inspiration and make some time, then happy mastering!

Well that is it for now. Thank you to Holly and all of you lovely readers for allowing me to share what it is like to have a small business, along with all the inspirations and frustrations that come with it. Hopefully I have given you a bit of something to relate to regardless of whether you are just dipping your toes into the creative waters or are a seasoned veteran.

(photos and text from Kelly Maron)

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