Hello everyone! How are you doing? I’ve been busy this week – I’m learning how to crochet and knit and so far, I’m quite bad at crochet so I’ve been practicing a lot! I’ve also been busy with my film theory and video making class (2 classes this week) and working on some side projects for my upcoming trip to London. I’ve missed you so much that today I thought I’d make up for my brief absence and continue with my series of personal snapshots highlighting the homes of the lovely people found in my latest book, Decorate Workshop.
Today I’m chatting with Sania Pell (her cute feet are shown above!), an interior stylist (and blogger) who works mainly on photo shoots for magazines such as Elle Decoration UK and for commercial companies like Cox & Cox and Waitrose. Sania is also the author of two beautiful craft books (I own both and love them!) and yet with all of her professional accomplishments she still finds time to blog her beautiful craft projects and other inspirations. Sania is a mother of two and lives in West London with her husband, graphic designer and creative director Mark Wilson from MWA Design, in a very sweet terraced house built around 1900. Today, Miss Sania will share some snapshots of her home along with other favorite things. Would you like to listen in on our chat?
Hi! Let’s jump right in shall we and talk first about London! What is your favorite thing about living there?
Sania: There is so much to do and see, inspiration is all around you and you feel you are in the middle of it all. There is always an exhibition to visit, a new shop to see or restaurant to try. There are also many fantastic open green spaces in London – parks, the river, Kew gardens – that means you can step out of the urban landscape whenever you need to.
What are 5 of your favorite shops in London?
Sania: Liberty (a favourite since I was a school girl!), Mint (interiors), Tracey Neuls (shoes), Ally Capellino (handbags), VV Rouleaux (Ribbons and haberdashery).
Speaking of Liberty, I spot a candle that I have in my home from Liberty that you also have…
Sania: I love the industrial quality of the Le Labo candle against the softness of the ceramics. In my home I have areas of interest and then areas of calm. The mantlepiece above the fire in my living room is an area where I gather and collect groupings of things I love. This photo shows a collection of handmade ceramics and a vintage glass bottle I have collected over the years at craft fairs, shows and antique shops. I made the little wired button garland that hangs around one and in the reflection is a lampshade I embellished with hanging, spray-painted keys. The orchids add a welcome splash of colour and the dried hydrangea lends a beautiful soft colour.
What is your passion and what inspires you?
Sania: I suppose my passion is just being visually creative, in all its forms whether styling, making, painting… I love taking photographs to document the things I see all around me. As a creative, visiting new places – whether it is a foreign city or an undiscovered little shop close to home –is always inspiring.
You are also passionate about detail. Can you tell us about the objects above?
Sania: Yes, this is on top of a large, old haberdashery unit we use in the kitchen corner to store the children’s toys and art materials. I love the pages of old books, how they vary in colour and texture. They also add height to a display. The jar to the left was given to me by a friend, the idea behind it is to place good things scribbled on scraps of paper, folded and placed into the jar to open and read out at the end of the year. It was a slow start to the year, but we now have quite a few folded good things in the jar. The little fluorescent flower display was painted and shot for my blog as an idea. The doll was a project I made for my latest book and she was the angel on top of our christmas tree and has remained out on display. I have recently started painting again and this is one of my paintings. Succulents are one of my favourite plants and the helebores are picked from the garden and are one of my favourite flowers, especially at this time of year when there is very little else flowering in my garden. I also use them in my window boxes with succulents.
Can you show us where a majority of your books are stored in your home? I ask because this is one of my favorite spots in your house!
Sania: This is the main bookshelf in my living room (shown below) and I recently shuffled furniture around to create a reading nook. The bookshelves originally held more ornaments than they do now, ornaments being replaced by books as we acquire more and more books, They’ve now become an ever-changing part of the room’s decoration – loosely organised by the colour of their spines. The 1960’s Eames chair was bought at a flea market in New York about 15 years ago, we saw it loved it and bought it. For the journey home to London, we removed the legs and swathed it all in bubble wrap like a giant padded ball. It rolled out of the luggage carousel and bounced straight across the floor, luckily undamaged! I found the lamp at my local car boot sale (flea market) for just a few pounds. I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked it or not, but as it was not expensive so worth the risk. As soon as I put it in a corner of my home with a new lime green silk shade on top, I loved it.
What do you love about interiors books in general?
Sania: I love the fact that by collecting them they become part of your own interior. Looking through them you see new ideas every time and they have a longevity that magazines and blogs don’t have.
Let’s talk a bit more about books. Can you give us a mini review of Decorate Workshop?
Sania: It is a treasury packed full of exciting visual reference to inspire anyone who needs a point in the right direction. It is also practical with guidance and advice to help the reader through every step of a decorating project. I also liked getting an insight into your home too! I love that the little gifts I’ve made for you over the years pop up in a few of the photos in your home, it is lovely to see them in situ!
What is one of your favorite photos of your home that Debi took and what stood out about Debi Treloar and I working in your home?
Sania: My favourites photos are of my children’s bedrooms on the left hand side of page 133. As I’ve known you for a few years now, and I also knew Debi through work in London, it is more like friends taking photos of your house than ‘work’. It was a very relaxed shoot, friendly and chatty, whist still concentrating on the job. It was fun!
Tell us about your favorite blogs and magazines…
Sania: I’ve always loved magazines. I get Elle Decoration, World of Interiors and Vogue on subscription and usually buy lots of others each month, especially more niche, trend titles like Bloom which is another favourite. Blogs offer spontaneity, where ideas can be posted almost immediately (unlike magazines where you can be working several months ahead and books a year or more). Some of my favourites are food and fashion blogs, such as Roost, What Katie Ate and The Sartorialist.
Are their specific qualities about blogs, magazines and books that seem to stand out for you the most?
Sania: I like the fact that glossy magazines are aspirational, they push boundaries and show items that would not be seen often in everyday life. I like personal blogs where you feel like you’re really hearing from that person, whether it’s through their words or images. I also look at more editorial blogs as they are useful for industry news on a daily basis. Books can be reference tools as well as treasured possessions, there on your bookshelf forever.
Before we wrap up, can you show us some more corners of your home that you love and tell us a little about each?
Sania: Of course! This is the view I wake up to in my bedroom (below). The drawer unit was bought at an antique shop and was once used for storing greetings cards in a shop. The lamp was a project I made for a story I shot 10 years ago and behind it is another of my recent paintings. The collection of ceramics has built up over the years, birthday gifts and purchases at art and craft fairs.
And what about this pretty shelf below?
Sania: This is another section of my bedroom shelf… The print is by one of my favourite artists Craigie Aitchison, and one of my most treasured possessions.
Can you share some detailed shots from your work room that make your heart happy?
Sania: Of course. The next four images are of shelves in my studio. I enjoy being surrounded by little pieces of inspiration I find it helps having a few props on display, reminders to use them rather than tidied up in cupboards. There are also books and folders on my shelves too. The bottles with paper tied around them are ones that I made as a project in my first book. The vintage box (with bird illustration) belonged to my grandmother, as did the little floral pot. My grandmother was a hoarder and thanks to her I have the most wonderful collection of interesting bits and bobs. The hair clip was my mother’s. The patterned boxes serve as storage for small beads and made items.
I love those shelves in your craft corner, I couldn’t stop touching everything when I was there last. Can you show us more?
Sania: Yes! I just adore the faded colours of these vintage threads and the button board in the background is a personal favourite that I could not resist and bought at a vintage fashion fair in London.
I’m curious – who is in the photo tacked to the wall below?
Sania: It is of my mum when she was little and the thimbles are from my grandmother, the rest I have collected over the years.
Okay… One final snapshot from your home. Tell us about these boxes in your craft room, please! So pretty!
Sania: These old tin boxes are fantastic storage vessels. I can’t always remember what I have squirelled away in them though, so it’s always a pleasant surprise opening them and rediscovering the contents.
It was such a pleasure chatting with you today Sania! Readers – if you have any questions for Sania, please ask her in the comments section below. Thank you!
(images: sania pell)
I was thinking recently about ways in which I can show more gratitude. Then it hit me that as an author, it would be nice to do a personal snapshot on decor8 highlighting homeowners found in my latest book. I read lots of beautiful books that fellow authors have written but I rarely learn much about the people behind the gorgeous rooms shown throughout. My blog is a great place to begin sharing their stories so I’ll begin with a mini series called Snapshots of Home that will begin with this post!
This mini series will appear weekly (or as they are submitted to me) highlighting the beautiful homeowners behind my latest book, Decorate Workshop. I’ve sent each homeowner a list of questions and asked each to snap photos from their home of things that make them happy. The first in my series is Iris Rietbergen, a talented Dutch interiors stylist, web shop owner and blogger and here is her snapshot of home.
Hi Iris! First of all, can you tell us what you do for a living?
Iris: I’m working as a freelance stylist. I help people to create their own personal home. This could an entire home from start to finish or to help decorate a specific room. I also love to do photo styling. Especially in personal homes, because they give a lot of inspiration true their own style. I always find them (personalized spaces) the most inspiring in magazines. And since the beginning of October 2012, I’ve started my own little web shop, Visje bij de thee, with a selection of inspiring items that will help you to create your own home sweet home. It’s really great to search for special items! I would also like to do some more renovation projects in the future. I’ve renovated 4 houses myself (well of course with a builder) but it would be great to do this for other people as well.
Where do you live?
Iris: I live in Amsterdam in a house from approx. 1900, it’s 105 m2, everything is on one (ground) floor and there is also a large basement for storage. The house has a lot of height and old features. I live with my husband and two children, Merel who is 5 years old and Jip who is three years old and our dog, Guus.
What is your favorite thing about Amsterdam?
Iris: That you can take your bicycle and explore the whole city. In Amsterdam you have such lovely neighborhoods, each of them have their own character. With their own little shops, cafes, restaurants and parks. And it’s quite a safe city. I feel really privileged to live my life here with my family.
What are 5 of your favorite shops in Amsterdam?
Iris: The Weldaad, Sukha Amsterdam, BonBonBoutique, IJM (they are open once a month on the weekend) and Sky Fashion. I must add that there is one shop that is from Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, based in Eindhoven, that is my favorite favorite shop ever! I’m a big fan of his designs, but I also like the ceramics by his wife Jeanine Eek Keizer very much. The shop and workplace is in an old light factory from Philips. A visit feels like being in a candy shop!
Now let’s talk about books!
Is this your first time in a book?
Iris: Yes, this is the first time that my home is featured in a book – Decorate Workshop!
What did you enjoy when Debi and I worked in your home?
Iris: First of all you are both such sweet people! Very relaxed, although I know you had a tough deadline! And I like it when people bring good energy (like you both did). I knew a little bit of the work of Debi before she arrived because of the interior books she did with stylist Emily Chalmers. So it was an honor to meet her in person, this can also be said about you too, Holly. I really enjoy your ideas of sharing and all the lovely things that involve the wide range of interiors instead of keeping everything to yourself. And you bring it with a smile. Interiors are a bit like the cherry on a cake in the daily life. So… I especially enjoyed your company and humor, and the sack full of ‘power’ seeds from Debi, ha ha (munchies Debi brought that we were eating…)!
What do you love about interiors books in general?
Iris: That they give inspiration. I like to see all the different houses/interiors that show the own creative style of the residents.
What do you think of Decorate Workshop after you saw it?
Iris: What I really like about the book is that it takes you step by step through different homes and rooms but also gives you smart tips and tricks and how you can decorate your home in many different ways. The book also helps you to find your own style and to help create your own space. What fits with you as a person. I especially like the part about layering pattern. I find that the most inspiring part because a lot of people find that difficult, but actually it’s the most fun!
What is one of your favorite photos of your home that Debi took?
Iris: The photos of my kitchen with the dining table (page 108/109) – the dining table is shown above. It’s the heart of my house… Where we cook, eat, play and enjoy a good coffee, tea or glass of wine.
What are some of your favorite blogs and magazines?
Iris: Funny enough they are mostly magazines and blogs about FOOD! I have a soft spot for good food (I like to cook), all kind of fabrics, cutlery and tableware. For instance, Donna Hay magazine, What Katie Ate, Carline van Oel, and Studio MHL.
What attracts you to blogs the most?
Iris: When you can see their own style in the different items/features they collect for their blog. The love for pattern, colors, design mixed with vintage, etc. I’m quite a visual person.
What is your passion and what inspires you?
Iris: I’ve always loved to create little homes since I was child, that I call a nest. I think it is so important to live in a surrounding that reflects who you are. It should be warm and safe place to grow (in as a person). I’m not someone who follows trends simply because they are a trend but I do believe that an interior will always grow, becoming more and more a reflection of you, because you are always learning as a person. That’s the pretty thing of life! I like to show that also with the products in my shop. They are not very trendy but they are mostly handmade products that have their own unique value.
And what about inspiration…
Iris: For inspiration I just open my eyes and look at the world… I love the architecture from different cities to a humble little barn in the French countryside. In Amsterdam, a lot of people live here from different cultures so they bring their own colors, patterns and food. I see it as privilege to be part of such a diverse city. Though, more specific, I love colors, fabrics and patterns… I find those things all around me — On a little vintage cup and saucer, paint on a wall in a cafe, fashion, or in nature. I’m grateful that I live in a country where we have four beautiful seasons. If you really look hard there is so much to enjoy.
What are some favorite things in your home currently?
Iris: I’m a bit of “in love” with my vintage bowls with little flowers (shown in the photo above). I’m also very fond of the color, like I call it, red cabbage/deep eggplant. It is such a beautiful “accent’ color in a bowl, a cup or a chair. Love to mix it with pale blue/grey and a touch of ochre… And I’m enjoying my dinner table with a large wooden bench, pale grey, from Piet Hein Eek. I’ve had them now for 5 years and I’m enjoying them more every day, really! Also a plaid blanket from Scholten en Baijings. It was a present from my husband and it was on my wish list for a long time, I just love the bright funky colors!
What are some dream items you’d love to own?
Iris: I would love to own one day the fixed lounger of Floris Hovers in grey. Some more tableware from Jeanine Eek Keizer. There is a very special story behind this by the way. Jeanine collects all different old tableware, cup and saucer, plates etc. They are not matching (complete) anymore and a lot of people are not interested in them. She will give them a special color bath and they become matching again true their new colors. It is such a great idea and really pretty!
When it comes to colors, what palette are you drawn to for decorating currently?
I always like a neutral basis, but then I love my colors like deep eggplant, ochre, deep green, pale grey and some pink. I have a crush for the colors of IJM by stylist Frank Visser. He is such an inspiration.
So nice to share a little bit about you today on decor8, Iris! And thank you so much for being a part of my 2nd book! xo, Holly
(images: Iris Rietbergen and Debi Treloar)
I was so excited when I woke up this morning to finally see the long awaited feature that FvonF, a German interiors blog based in Berlin, had planned for my friend, Sandra Juto, and her husband Johan Pergenius! Here is a quick peek into their Berlin apartment, located in Friedrichshain, but the FvonF blog has many more photos plus a lovely interview.
I put FvonF in touch with Sandra and Johan not long after they moved to Berlin from Sweden, so it was good to see that FvonF fell in love with Sandra and Johan too. It makes me happy to see more of Sandra’s apartment online – I’ve often wondered what her kitchen looks like – now I know. Her pretty apartment is so inspiring to me – I love the old German ‘altbauwohnung” details seen in so many of the turn of the century buildings that we have here. The herringbone wooden floors, high ceilings, plasterwork on the ceiling, it’s all so inspiring to me. I love the natural light and the painted wooden floors in Sandra’s office. Don’t forget to notice how she arranged her Polaroids on the wall…
I LOVED the part of their interview where they went into a bit of the emotional process involved in finding their apartment. I’ll quote Sandra and Johan directly from FvonF . Sandra explained, “The online photos of the apartment looked so terrible (in an intriguing way) that we had to come see it to compare it to the other, more polished, places we had looked at. When we stepped inside we looked at each other and we couldn’t ignore the fact that we both had fallen in love with the place. The condition of the apartment was more or less a disaster. The previous tenant lived here for 40 years before she died and seemed to like chain-smoking more than cleaning.” And I couldn’t help but laugh at how Johan described the first viewing, “When we showed up for the viewing, the real estate agent said we were brave to come see it. He was sitting in his car outside because he was so sure that no one would come.” What a riot! And what a good example of how one has to believe in something for themselves – who cares what others think – even when it comes to home selection. YOU have to love it.
View the entire interview here.
(images: Philipp Langenheim)
Would you like a little home tour from Vienna today along with some insights into the homeowner’s decisions and feelings about decorating? I came across a lovely home recently over on Flickr in my Interior Styling group (nearly 4,000 members so please join if you’d like) and had to reach out to both the photographer and home owner to ask about a possible tour on decor8. I am thrilled to say that both were willing and ready… Sooooo let’s get started with a little home tour action today, shall we? We shall indeed!
This apartment belongs to Verena Stummer, an Art Director at Screenagers and owner of the small cooking brand, “Schön und gut“, in Vienna, Austria. It’s so quirky and well organized but above that, I like how it really seems to reflect the style of Verena. It shows that she is inspired by flowers, color, vintage finds and food – the exact things that she told me inspires her in general. It’s nice to see that she lives around what she loves and what drives her and is fuel to her creative soul.
I thought it would be nice to chat with Verena to get a better sense of her space so I’ve included just a wee interview below. I’d love for you to read it as it won’t take much of your time today but she makes some really neat points that may stick with you like happy glue on the heart. :)
decor8: Where do you begin first when decorating or redecorating a room?
Verena: I have a picture of the room to be in my mind, and try to get as close to it as possible. But sometimes it turns out that it actually works better in another way. Which is ok, I love surprises and I let coincidences have a great part in what I’m doing.
decor8: What do you love the most about your home?
Verena: That it reflects me. I love that guests often tell me “All of this is so you!”. I also like to keep my furniture and decoration modular and mobile. The fact that I can change the layout of a room by easily moving things is something of a great quality. And that, as you can see, without making it look “nomadic”.
decor8: What do you want to change?
Verena: My flat would be the PERFECT place if it was a bit sunnier, since it being in the raised ground floor makes it a bit shadowy.
decor8: Tell us about the inspiration behind your current decorating scheme…
Verena: Well, I collected many items throughout my life in Vienna and I love to arrange them so they reflect me and my mood. There is no big “scheme” I guess. But I DO love vintage things that have a history.
decor8: What do you think makes a house a home?
Verena: I know it’s been said often before, but as soon as a house represents yourself by the way you live in it and is filled with your objects it becomes a home. I love it to to glaze over my home and remember all the stories behind the objects.
All of these gorgeous photos were shot by photographer Gregor Hofbauer – visit his site to learn more about him and his work. Thank you Verena for visiting us today on decor8 and for sharing your apartment with us!
(photography: Gregor Hofbauer)