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decor8 Reader Spaces: Samantha + Grant (part two)

Just in! Samantha would now like to share photos of their previous apartment – total eye candy. Are you ready to pack everything and relocate to Sweden? Oh you will be. Get a load of this kitchen! The moment I saw it, I thought about Susan Serra, the amazing New York kitchen designer who loves Scandinavian design and how much she’d love cooking up something delicious in this space. I also thought about how much I love Europe and how I miss seeing apartments like this. :)


Things I love: The building architecture overall, the gothic pew seating, all the industrial furniture, white walls, the transoms to die for, and the gorgeous light in the space. This home gives me a very serene feeling – it’s a look I love but in reality I realize that my love of color and animal/girl art would eventually take over and I’d add lots of pillows, flowers, and throw rugs. :) So it would be much more girly girl. But Sam and Grant have this editor’s eye that I appreciate because I don’t think I could have such restraint. Could be a cultural thing as Thorsten’s family (my husband) in Germany and some of my Swedish friends live like this, it’s part of their upbringing to be more frugal and to purchase things you plan to keep for many years. Plus store return policies aren’t nearly as generous, so if you buy it you can’t easily return it if it doesn’t work. And Craigslist isn’t all the rage. Perhaps all the options we have here in America is both bad and good. It makes it much harder to live like this Swedish couple, that’s for sure.


Sam and Grant, thank you for all this sharing today on decor8, I’m basking in the glow of all this gorgeousness – oh la love!

(image from Samantha and Grant Nixon)

Posted in Home Tours on January 07, 2008
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decor8 Reader Spaces: Samantha + Grant in Malm?

A series showcasing reader spaces was launched in ’06 here on decor8 and since last year I put that on pause, for 2008 I want to start up this series again. To kick things off I thought today you may like to see the home of readers Samantha and Grant (and 18 month old daughter Charlie) who live in beautiful Malm? Sweden. Sam loved this post featuring Liza Giles’ apartment and believes her style is quite similar so she wants to welcome us into their world. This apartment just so happens to be on the market, so if you’re interested in owning in Sweden, please contact Sam and Grant for more information sam_nixon{at}yahoo.com.


Sam says, “I didn’t know what our style was, but I think Boho Modern might describe it. We have collected our stuff over years and years and it’s not all the same style or era, but we love how it goes together.”

About the space, “It’s a not so good 80′s attic installation but we repainted everything white, including the so-so quality wood floors and it made a huge difference.” Ah white wood floors. So many dream of these beneath their feet. I asked Sam what inspired her to paint them white, “We loved the look (first spotted in Elle Decoration and Living Etc.) but at the time we had beautiful floors so we didn’t want to take the risk with the white paint. When we bought this apartment the light was not as good, we thought the white floors would help with that, which they did — They made quite a big difference to the light in the apartment and give the illusion that the apartment is bigger than it actually is.”

When I asked her about the actual task of painting them, she said that is was hard to find someone in Malm? to paint them, their painter did not want to do it! They asked a friend who did the job for them using a, “long armed paint roller and lucky for us he did an excellent job. They do take a lot of work to keep clean, more so than unpainted floorboards. You tend to notice dust and spills a lot sooner! But when they are clean they do look fabulous.”

Since Sam is such a sweetheart, she allowed me to ask a few more questions about her style that I was curious to know. Like where do they find such great furniture? “We found most of our furniture in the UK, and our favourite shops are metro retro in London and Castle Gibson, also in London. We really love metro retro and we have had excellent service from the owner Saxon.”

After looking at their style, I think this stylish couple would love to connect with my favorite shop in northern Germany for vintage modern furniture, ComingHome Interiors (shop tour here, they ship all over Europe and to America). In addition to brick and mortar stores, Sam and Grant are also keen on flea markets and find their favorite ones are in Copenhagen.

I asked if she had a favorite piece and of course it was hard to pick just one, “But if we have to, then it would probably be the big desk which you can see in the picture with the computer on it. We found it in Zurich and it was originally used in a Zurich hotel,” she adds, “And maybe also the 1930′s theatre light you can see by the sofa.”


How does she keep it so clean? Sam tells us, “The apartment as seen in the photos is a bit more tidy/sparse than usual as we are selling it, and the Swedes are not so into the Boho Modern look, so some of our collections and art (which includes more than a few etsy finds found via decor8!) are packed away for the minute.” That explains how amazingly tidy things are, which also makes me breathe a sigh of relief as I can’t imagine anyone with a toddler living in such absolute perfection! Thank you Samantha and Grant for allowing us to visit your home today, it’s both beautiful and filled with fun decorating ideas and inspiration. May you sell your home and find another amazing space to fill with your well curated selection of beautiful things. Lovely!

(images from samantha and grant nixon for decor8)

Posted in Home Tours on January 07, 2008

Apartment Therapy Chicago {Meet Meg + John}

Do you sometimes look with lust at beautiful homes and feel like a total loser because you don’t live like they do? Well hold my hand, take a deep breathe, and prepare yourself because we’re going in… Into a home that just may take you from confident decorator to depressed soul in 20 seconds flat. But strangely enough, in a good way.

The rocking horse really warms up this room and the
light fixture softens the modern lines in this area to relax things a bit.

I found this massive 2800 sq/ft city townhouse on Apartment Therapy Chicago (their new website is killer). It belongs to a couple of creative professionals, Meg and John, who live and work in Chicago and their home slideshow is incredible. I mean really Meg and John, how do you do it? In terms of size, this urban abode would be the equivalent of about 6 Boston proper 1-bedrooms.


It’s inspiring, I guess, I mean I can’t walk away from this feeling like Oh! Yeah! Great! because outside of beautiful decorating, it’s really the bones of this place and all that natural lighting and space and money to afford those things that creates the beauty you see and drool for. But looking at it is fun anyway, it’s a bit like Chubby Hubby ice cream, you eat the whole pint and yeah it was real good going down until your spoon hits the bottom and feelings of regret step in. You look in the mirror and see loser across your forehead. Sometimes that’s what looking at beautiful homes that I’ll never live in does for me. So here’s a spoon – dig in. But don’t say I didn’t warn you…


This (above) is the only room that felt more within reach, their elegant yet simple guest bedroom. This look is attainable. The average homeowner could do this with a few Dwell chinoiserie pillowcases and some natural tone bedding.

What an exquisite abode!

(images from apartment therapy chicago)

Posted in Home Tours, inspiration on December 07, 2007

Meet YIPPIEYEAH {Germany}

I can’t wait to introduce you to the lovely Ingrid in Hannover, Germany, her products, and her home. I found the sweet things she makes sprinkled throughout stores in Hannover and knew I had to learn more, so I googled her which landed me on her website. From there, a few emails were exchanged, and we met at her spacious and sunny city flat/atelier where we chatted over homemade chocolate muffins and hot chai. (p.s. I love my “job”!)

Where our discussion took place, Ingrid’s flat that she shares with her husband.

Meeting with Ingrid gave me this genuine feeling of community – that there really is a global community and spirit that exists out there amidst those who write, or who craft, sew, anything that involves either making or promoting arts and crafts – and it reaches far beyond the internet – there are creative independent artists in even the smallest cities located all over the world – we’ve only been exposed to a glimpse of all the goodness out there.

I find it fascinating and motivating to know that we all share a special bond and a common vision – to promote unique and beautiful items (that aren’t mass-produced), where the artist has almost full creative control and no one higher up to go to for approvals, a small business that can be designed and executed on the living room floor or in a lofty studio – it doesn’t matter where because in the end, the designer decides and no one else. And these are just a few of the reasons why we celebrate the handmade lifestyle.

Entering Ingrid’s home, I was welcomed with her warmth and positive energy, the smell of chocolate, flickering candles, and beautiful ethnic music from Morocco. And look at me, I haven’t even mentioned all the beautiful products that she shared, from handbags to mouse pads and everything in between. It was heavenly. You have to meet her.

Ingrid in her living room with the tray of delicious
things that she made for my visit.

With that, allow me to introduce Ingrid Duvenhorst of YIPPIEYEAH made with love. Would you like to join us while we discuss her business, motivation, and how she deals with copycats amongst other topics? Come have a seat…

decor8: Hi Ingrid! I’m so pleased to introduce you to my readers and show them what you do. First, can you tell us where you and your business are based?
Ingrid: For two years I’ve been back here in Hannover, Germany where I was born. In between, I took several job-related “detours” such as W?rzburg, Paris, and Berlin.

decor8: How long have you been around design and when did you launch YIPPIEYEAH?
Ingrid: It’s been 8 years now since obtaining my degree in textile design. I’ve been working for both industries and agency clients as a trend consultant. Two years ago I started my own label. Looking back, I believe that I started this “business” when I was 11 years old, when I pleaded with my Belgian grandmother to buy very expensive interior design magazines for me. Which most of the time she did. :)

More views of her living room. I like the mostly white aesthetic in her
home with subtle shots of color and texture. Ingrid prefers a lot of white
space, so she adds no art to her walls. She adds purple and red tones as accents.
I fell in love with this cabinet in her kitchen, she acquired it in Berlin – it was almost thrown out by previous tenants and she knew she had to have it so she painted the brown cabinet white and viola! treasure rescued!

decor8: In regards to the availability of YIPPIEYEAH, do you sell in America or are you looking to? Are you on Etsy or Dawanda at all?
Ingrid: Not yet, but I would love to sell in America at stores. No, I don’t sell on Etsy or Dawanda, but Raumformplan carries some of my products in their web shop.

A YIPPIEYEAH paper lantern made to fit around a
glass candle holder for use with tea lights.

decor8: I’m assuming here that decor8 readers know what you do – how silly of me! Why don’t you tell everyone about your product line.
Ingrid: Sure. I design and make by hand home and fashion accessories like cushions, lampions, lightchains, lampshades, bags, talismans, sachets, screen-printed T-shirts, magnets, stickers, patches, table mats, mouse pads, brooches, necklaces, buttons, knitted scarves, tattoos, greeting cards and whatever pops up in my mind in this regard.

More corners of her home including the library/hallway,
bedroom, kitchen, and her workspace where the YIPPIEYEAH
collection comes to life. Notice the lighting? Paper lanterns,
cascading cut-out florals, illuminated branches, a charming
chandelier – Ingrid certainly has an eye for subtle beauty.

decor8: Oh my goodness – your line is more extensive than I thought! Do you make everything in your studio or do you outsource?
Ingrid: So far everything is made in my studio, sometimes I outsource to my husband who helps me out when I am sick. :) No, seriously, I’m considering outsourcing parts of my range due to the good response from the shops I am selling to.

decor8: Yes, you are quite popular here in Hannover! How did you get started, you mentioned that you launched your line two years ago – what lead up to that point?
Ingrid: I was thinking of forming my own label when I was designing silly prints for a huge fashion company. But the time was not right. I needed to go through some detours to finalize the idea and get the self-esteem and courage to go solo. In 2005 everything fell into place. I started with a small batch of risk-free little objects and items for selected shops I am befriended with. Over these two years I had good experiences developing the product range. My time working for the industry and trend agencies certainly helped to get me started.

decor8: What are the main characteristics of your work?
Ingrid: A fusion of inspiring materials, techniques, patterns and colors. Everything is (hand)-made with love, unique and produced in a limited amount.

More views from the YIPPIEYEAH home.

decor8: What are your personal skills?
Ingrid: I think rather than technical skills, or special material knowledge, my intuitive feeling for colour, texture and pattern. I tend to see coherences and trends all around me that I put into my designs. Overall, I’m inclined to decent aesthetics.

decor8: What inspires your work and motivates you to keep going?
Ingrid: Nature, Animals, foreign countries, curiosity what happens next. It’s a beneficial process to stay in touch with my creative resources. And it is great fun to combine colors, material, patterns.

Coasters and mouse pads in gorgeous colors.

decor8: What was your first success?
Ingrid: Depending on how you define success. The first product that went well were buttons specially designed in the YIPPIEYEAH fashion. My first success personally was to acquire new customers apart from my friends. Feeling like a hawker, I told myself to not to go home unless I had three customers, which I achieved in two hours time. My husband fell in love with me because of a romantic and smart memory card set I created for him. So that’s a success, too, I guess.

decor8: What difficulties arise as a small business owner and how do you overcome these?
Ingrid: Everything is handmade, including the packaging. This takes a lot of time and effort. The prototype building is very inspiring and exciting on the one hand, but it can become incredibly boring to produce items in higher volumes. I overcome this with extreme discipline and my iTunes library — lots of music. And producing these products have some meditative effect on me. On the cost side, it is hard to compete with low-cost products from abroad. Pricing and profitability need to be monitored.

Talisman for hanging and pretty iron-on patches
for jeans, t-shirts, pillows, anywhere you’d like them!

decor8: What about problems with copycats, have you encountered much of this?
Ingrid: Of course, it is scary and menacing that your very asset (creative idea) can be stolen and reproduced by some factory in the shortest time period. I personally consider myself a step further on my way than a copycat. If I spend my time guarding myself from copycats I can’t be open for any creative dialogue. And I guess, everybody gets inspired by somebody else’s inspiration and there is an abundance of beautiful things in the world.

decor8: What is the most important advice you can give to small business owners?
Ingrid: Have fun and be authentic, that means love what you do and be content with what you have. But to think big anyway. :)

decor8: What projects do you have in mind for the future?
Ingrid: Bring the label on a higher level in terms of productivity whilst keeping the “made with love” spirit.

decor8: What about personal goals?
Ingrid: Have children, dogs, cats, a fireplace, a sauna, live in a Mediterranean country most of the time. Travel to Tibet and the rest of the world with my husband. Practice more yoga and meditation to keep the inner light glowing.

decor8: What are you listening to these days?
Ingrid: Ch?ying Drolma, Gentleman, The Dears, Wilco, DJ Shantel, Decemberists, Nouvelle Vague, And you will know us by the trail of dead, Habib Koite, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, and Gravenhurst.

decor8: And finally…. What websites, blogs, magazines do you read?
Ingrid: I browse through quite a lot of trade publications such as Elle Decoration, Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idees, Form, View…and many websites.

Thank you Ingrid for sharing YIPPIEYEAH with us. I’m so happy that we were able to meet up and look forward to seeing you again real soon. Spending time with you, your husband, and in your home viewing your products up close and personal made my stay in Hannover extra sweet. :)

(images taken by holly becker for decor8 with the exception of the top photo from Ingrid)

Posted in Home Tours, interviews on December 03, 2007

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