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Corners of Home: From Bosnia With Love

What do you think about when you imagine how people are decorating in Sarajevo, Bosnia? Perhaps photographs of this gorgeous apartment in Sarajevo with decoration inspired by the city may give you a fresh impression. This apartment belongs to blogger Sabina Cudic who says, “This corner of the world has not been covered (in the world of decorating) and I hope this little submission serves to change that.” Yes, it will! In addition to her blog, Sabina teaches Political Science and International Relations at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology. She is also an avid former competitive debater, is passionate about photography, fashion, interior decorating and of course politics and international affairs.

I asked Sabina about the design scene in Bosnia and she wrote such a great reply that I didn’t want to water it down by revising it or turning it into my own words so I’ll let you read her reply. It’s fascinating!

About design in Bosnia: “Decorating resources in Bosnia are, as you can expect limited. There is not a single major/international furniture chain present (the closest IKEA is more than 400 kilometers away and majority of on-line shops shipping policies tend to avoid Bosnia), however I still wouldn’t consider it to be a deprivation – and would go as far as to argue that this type of “isolation” encourages organic creativity!” I have to agree with her on that point, having fewer options does lend to finding creative alternatives.

About her apartment: “My boyfriend and I purchased a 60m2 apartment several months ago and having spent our entire budget on basic renovations, we are left with nothing more than creativity for decorations. This means that we used mostly our old furniture which we upholstered in new (and I have to admit, very cheap and sold by kilogram) natural and neutral fabrics. I purchased the doted fabric which we used for chairs on a major sale at an IKEA in Germany, together with other couple of decorating details which I could “smuggle” back to Sarajevo. Stubbornly setting my mind onto something also means that I sometimes spend an entire flight back home holding a lamp shade in my lap, or a ceramic deer that I cannot live without. This also means that on more than one occasion I chose “luxury” over necessity, clearly indicated by the fact that we still do not own a TV or furnished bedroom (Bosnians are known for, here and there, acting on emotions and not reason.) But it also encapsulates my home decorating policy of ensuring that we are surrounded by things we love and cherish and that necessities will eventually take care of themselves.” I like that as I can relate — it’s better to decorate with what you love than to just buy something for the sake of filling a room.

Her decorating style: “The palette we chose for the apartment is neutral with decidedly white walls everywhere but in the bathroom which we cozied up with the shades of cream and gray and stone tiles. As the entire apartment is facing south and is on the eighth floor, we enjoy the enormous amount of sunlight and prefer serenity of whites, creams and natural wood, adorned with objects and pictures we collected over time, instead of explosion of colors.” To that I say, beige is not boring!

What makes Sarajevo special: “There are several aspects that make home decorating in Sarajevo a pleasant challenge: there is a great number of extremely talented artisans whose work is unfortunately severely undervalued. Beautiful carpets and rugs, fabrics and upholstering, as well as hand made furniture are among the cheapest and least discovered in Europe. For those with a curious, patient and creative mind Sarajevo can be a heaven.”

Where do you shop for the home in Bosnia?“There are several shops and artists whose work I would highly recommend: A nearly hundred year old family business called Rukotvorine from a small town of Konjic in Hercegovina and Artisan from an even smaller town of Tesanj. Rukotvorine’s work is rooted in Bosnian tradition – it’s sideboard called the Wave is poetry and needs to be felt by hand to be fully appreciated. Artisan is more influenced by the Dutch and Danish schools of design, and offers equally beautiful, Bosnian solid wood hand made pieces. There are of course plenty of other artist and designers whose work unfortunately cannot be found online.” It sounds like there are many untapped treasures there…

Why does Sarajevo inspire you? For those with a less ambitious budget several antique stores offer a variety with an occasional true gem in a form of a beautiful carved wooden storage boxes, mid century pieces or glass kitchen cabinets. Naturally, peaking into elderly neighbors’ apartments can be equally exciting and a habit that Bosnians with their laid back neighborhood relations do not mind. This leads me to the ways in which this city inspires my decorating – Sarajevo is a place where friends and family knock on your door unannounced and the interiors often reflect that. Comfort, gracefulness, surrounding ourselves with people and objects that mean something to us and unpretentious entertaining is what inspires me in decorating and making sure that there is always an extra pillow and a blanket. Considering that my boyfriend is from Kosovo, I look forward to incorporating those cultural influences in our home. Having lived in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany I can also trace those aesthetics in my decoration daydreaming. So if and when in Sarajevo decor8 readers should feel free to wave and stop by, and perhaps we can give you a little tour!” Oh, how sweet you are, Sabina!

I don’t know about you dear readers, but I took so much away from this interview, but mainly the value of using what you have and appreciating what makes a house a home – family, friends and meaningful objects with meaning. Thank you Sabina for visiting us today!

(images: Sabina Cudic)

Posted in Decorating Tips, Home Tours on March 24, 2011

Beautiful Norwegian Home

Would you like to see a lovely Norwegian home today? I was so excited when fellow design blogger, Siw Haveland of Design Shimmer in Norway, wrote in to ask if she could share 12 corners of her home with decor8 readers today. Of course! Of course!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

My favorite corner – this is so charming! Everything about it speaks to me…

I’m always keen on sharing inspirational, cozy spaces that ooze with charm and creativity — so let’s see what Siw’s gorgeous home looks like. This was shot by Oslo-based photographer Sandra Aslaksen and some of these images recently appeared in Norwegian design magazine, Bonytt but other than that, they’re pretty new to the web so we’re all pretty lucky to have this pretty place to check out today. Thank you Siw for sharing your home with us…

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Her floors look a lot like mine, I have these amazing chevron-patterned wooden floor myself (called technically, herringbone floors). I like the fresh green accents, unexpected and great in a mostly neutral space.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

What a clear, modern entryway. This is such a great welcoming space, don’t you think? The twinkle lights were the perfect addition. I love how everything Siw does is super affordable and creative. With very little, she does so much!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

I adore this dressing table, the gorgeous high heels lined up on the floor, the white wooden floors, the mirror, the lamp… okay, ALL OF IT. It’s one of those spaces that makes me feel like it’s just the best thing in the world to be a girly girl.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Her tactile, feminine bed covers have to be the most beautiful ones that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that. I have a crochet coverlet, a vintage one, in white but it’s no where are detailed and amazing as Siw’s cover. I also love that big creamy beige throw on top. It’s such an inviting spread. The rug is perfect as well, I have 3 of them in my home — I love warm, cozy rugs. I also like her closet-as-headboard. Very different and this works perfectly if you have lots of pretty clothes like she does in many different colors and patterns.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

I like her use of linens and the wooden “DS” for the name of her blog, Design Shimmer, on her inspiration board. I also have a board in the same size that I’ve leaned against the wall in my new workspace too, I have to show you it when I finish my workspace. I’m getting there! Soon!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

And here is the pretty homeowner and her great glasses. I just love her look, she matches her home I think – don’t you?

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

If you didn’t catch this arrangement of jewelry above her dressing table a few images above, then you can see a closer view… this is a simple wire hanger transformed into a place to display her necklaces. Now this is absolutely budget-friendly!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Siw is not scared to mix high and low – in this example an IKEA cabinet with a mid century classic chair and a Kartell Bourgie lamp.

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

And here’s a view of the entire room where that lovely Kartell lamp is on the IKEA cabinet. It seems she used three of those lockers to form a credenza of sorts – what a clever idea!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Here’s a view of her very, very white kitchen. Wow!

Riw Haveland's Home in Norway

Do you spot anything above that you are particularly drawn to? Anything you’d like to try at home?

I’m always looking to share inspirational homes on decor8, so if you have one — send some photos to me (decor8blog at yahoo dot com) and I’ll check them out for sure! :)

(images: sandra aslaksen)

Posted in Home Tours, uncategorized on November 25, 2010

White Space

I wrote to lovely Sophia from the So Binique blog because I spotted her very white living room there and thought it would be nice to share corners of it on decor8 for some inspiration! I like to begin a new weekend feeling positive and motivated and nothing quite does it like seeing a beautiful home, eating a good meal, having social time with friends, a nature walk… and since we are sharing this virtual space together and I cannot cook for you — then I have chosen to show a beautiful room with lots of white to clear your mind and give you a fresh slate to work from for the weekend! :) Trust me, you are better off — my cooking skills leave much to be desired. :)

See any lovely ideas that you can use at home? Thank you Sophia for sharing your living room details with us today. :)

(images: So Binique)

Posted in Home Tours on August 06, 2010

Creative Craft Nook

Would you like to see an inspirational crafty nook? Danielle from the Thompson Family Life blog wrote in last week to share with decor8 readers a glimpse into her lovely crafting and sewing space. Danielle’s inspiration comes from many sources — retro colors, bazaar style, Scandinavian modern lines, granny chic and vintage kitsch — all things that she loves and somehow managed to combine to make the sweetest nook ever. Wouldn’t you love to spend your day crafting in a corner like this?

Here is her resource list in case you spot something that you’d like to have. Cabinets: IKEA covered in vintage wallpaper, Desk: Target from a few years ago. Bottom drawer covered in vintage wallpaper. Chair: Liberty of London from Target. Floral Baskets: Liberty of London from Target. Wire basket: vintage. Tin Camper: vintage, Spool rack: Michael’s, primed & spray-painted yellow. Spool original art from: Michele Maule. Barbie Case: vintage. Child’s sewing machine: vintage. Paper lanterns: eBay. Butterfly Wall Art: Vintage, with outer frame spray-painted yellow. Young girl original art: Vintage.

So pretty! To see more photos and to be inspired by Danielle everyday, please visit her on her pretty blog!

(images: danielle thompson)

Posted in Home Tours on June 01, 2010

Books:

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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