Hello everyone this is Jillian posting from Australia today! How are you? If you love a natural approach to living then you’ll love this month’s edition of shopgirl where Brook Farm General Store in Brooklyn is given a friendly visit and photo shoot.
This inspiring shop (also with an online store) is a modern interpretation of the traditional general stores of New York City. Over the years I’ve seen the store featured on decor8 and in a few other blogs and magazines, so when it was my turn to visit New York, Brook Farm General Store was on my list. The store stocks well designed practical goods, the kind of items I like to use in my own home.
Brook Farm General Store is located in Williamsburg nestled in a small street just under the Williamsburg Bridge. Philippa, one of the owners, welcomed me to the store and let me wander around the shop snapping away to my heart’s content. The shop is neat, bright clean and light, the perfect palette to highlight the wares on display.
So what did I find in the store? A little bit of everything! There were goods for the kitchen and items for pets. There were things for the office and for the home like lights, brushes, enamelware, rugs and throws. This store stocks iconic brands such as Falcon enamelware and Opinel in addition to items from their own in house brand, Tourne. Of course I had to go home with something, but with so many lovely things all around me, it was hard to make a decision. As I love to cook, a box of Opinel French knives came home with me tucked carefully into my luggage.
What would you have packed away in your suitcase?
Next time you’re in Brooklyn, you can find Brook Farm General Store at 75 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211, (718) 388-8642. If you’re not in town, they have a great online shopping site that you can find here.
Wishing you all the best for the holidays! – Jillian.
(images & text: jillian lieboff)
Hello everyone! I’m kicking off a new column today, Holly Shops, that will begin now and run into the new year. It will be all about places that I shop at when I travel, featuring my own photos of stores, fairs and markets along with other travel-related highlights that simply inspire me. I am frequently on the road more and more, though I remember a time when I would have loved to travel this often and envied those who did! That’s why I want to do a bit more travel writing on decor8 so that you can come with me, even if only virtually.
It’s funny though… Once you start traveling for mostly business you forget the pleasure and sometimes you miss having fun along the way. Holly Shops will help me to mix business with pleasure much more because it will encourage me to create content for this blog as I go. I’ll post Holly Shops at least once a month, sometimes more, depending on my schedule.
So let us get started! On Sunday, I was in London so I woke up early for breakfast with my friends Charlotte and Steffi and then I ventured off on my own heading straight for Columbia Road Flower Market. I’d never been so I must first confess that I wasn’t “feeling it”, you know those days where you just want to stay in bed and pull the blankets over your head? I thought that being at a flower market would be nice, but since I was due to fly home the next morning I couldn’t really buy any flowers and it was quite chilly… Excuses for sleeping in kept dancing in my mind but I dragged myself to breakfast anyway because I kept thinking that I need to be a good role model to my students. What I mean is that I preach constantly in my workshops and e-classes that they have to use their blog as a catalyst to live their best life.
This means that a blog should inspire YOU first and help you to live a happier life – to create a more interesting life because of having a blog and a blog can be big time motivation to push yourself. This often means challenges and to do what doesn’t always come so naturally, or what you don’t want to do BUT since you have a blog to write on then you need to be doing cool stuff or else you’re readers will fall asleep and the most dangerous part is: so will you. If you aren’t having some fun in your life then it’s time to use your blog as a push, a motivator, to go out there and find something interesting to do so that you can feel encouraged to share it and inspire action in others.
Think about your own blog for a moment. If you have readers who interact with you via the comments section, don’t you feel a sense of responsibility to them? If you say you will go to this or that event and that you promise to share it, then you don’t – they feel let down but most importantly (and my point) is that you let yourself down. You can push your way out of bed, push through fear and even push past self doubt the more you DO things that build your confidence level. So many of us have built up our skills very publicly – I know lots of bloggers who were amateur photographers or budding food stylists when they started their blogs but the more they worked on blogging and bettering their skills the more their blogs blossomed. This is what I mean when I say to use a blog as a catalyst.
(These ladies, The Sugar Sisters, were so good! Listen to them here.)
When I am feeling down or lazy or not motivated, I reason how I should be using my blog to better myself and how can I do that NOW? Should I go to a flower market that I don’t really feel like going to because it will give me an interesting experience and blog post? Okay, sure – why not do it because usually, 10 minutes into the adventure, I’m SO HAPPY that I pushed myself to do it. Having a blog gives me a healthy dose of obligation I guess you can say – it makes me accountable and if there is one thing lacking in modern society it’s accountability. We really need it to grow and become better people – when we are accountable to others for some things, we push ourselves more than if no one would ever watch or notice.
It’s the difference between singing in your underwear in the bedroom with your hair brush as a mic and singing at a local karaoke bar – when we’re before others, we try a little harder and this often helps us to build up our skills. There are a lot of professional singers who got started in small bars and clubs. We all start somewhere and often it’s accountability that motivates us. I’m sure those big names out there wouldn’t be as efficient if they weren’t as accountable, right?
So that is the approach that I took on Sunday morning, that I would go to the market alone and turn my adventure into a blog post. This blog post! Now let us talk about Columbia Road Flower Market, shall we?
What I didn’t know about this market is that it’s not just about flowers! I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the road is lined with independent shops, tiny bakeries and cafes on either side and a few street performers thrown in for that lovely London charm. There are a few little passages here and there to, where I found a lovely bakery called Lily Vanilli and they happen to have a stunning bake book called Sweet Tooth just out, too! Girl, you know it’s true! I noticed that Columbia Road LOVES paint – it seems that every door and facade had a delicious paint color beckoning passerby’s to take a peek. I was so excited to see all of this COLOR since I was staying in a mostly gray and white part of town behind Victoria Station in Eccleston Square at the Eccleston Square Hotel which was all black, gray and white inside and out. Leaving the monochromatic decor for colorful Columbia Road was quite a happy start to my day!
When the flower market isn’t in full swing on Sunday mornings, you can shop the lovely stores any day of the week so during my visit to Columbia Road I did a little bit of everything. I loved the coffee at Lily Vanilli and the big brownie that I shouldn’t have had but hey, I hung out with some nice Londoners at a big farmhouse table near the window so it was worth it. Aside from that, I didn’t have lunch or anything because I really wanted to play photographer and take some nice photos before it became too crowded. I also wanted to spend time perusing the shops and I wanted to pick up some presents.
On Columbia Road, you will find a bunch of beautiful stores – a full shop list can be found here. I popped into Elphick’s, fell in love with Jesse Chorley and Buddug, loved the art and signage at Nelly Duff, spotted cute candies in Suck and Chew, visited Ryantown, found nice tiles and other things in SuperNice, and drooled over the ceramics in Nom. Vintage Heaven was loaded with granny chic. Oh, and I loved some of the vintage jackets with sewn on patches and fabric from Queenie and Ted.
I am so glad that I visited this gorgeous market, aren’t you?!?
If you’re in London between now and the 19th of December, shop the Columbia Road Christmas Market that is now open on Wednesdays from 5pm to 9pm. More information can be found here.
Have you shopped Columbia Road before? Oh and what do you think about my thoughts on blogging above???
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Hi it’s Jillian here with a very special shop girl visits column! I recently traveled to the states and coming from Australia, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arranged to photograph Michele Varian’s shop for this column — though I knew it was likely to be filled with beautiful things after I read about it in Sibella Court’s book. It also came highly suggested by Holly since Michele has been so supportive of her and she’s met Holly a few times already so it was in the stars: this was the shop I’d shoot!
On the day of my arrival, I made my way to the shop to find the street closed to traffic and lined with movie trailers. A NYPD car was parked outside and it all felt very “CSI New York” to me and a bit exciting. Michele’s store was open though and so I made my to the lovely entrance. The store is located in a historical building with beautiful light and to say it’s a treasure trove of prettiness is an understatement. It was gorgeous!
Michele greeted me and from there I received the grand tour – though it was a bit overwhelming — I almost didn’t know where to start shooting! In the end I decided to take a systematic approach. I started at one end of the shop where the beautiful pillows are displayed and made my way to the other end. So what did I find?
I discovered quite an eclectic mix of beautiful pillows in jewel tones; furniture – some new and some vintage; jewellery; Michele’s new line of wallpaper; lighting; artwork; books; tableware and gifts for the special people in your life.
As I knew so little about Michele’s work I asked if she could answer a few questions for me and she very kindly agreed.
Q. What is your design philosophy?
MV: My philosophy is nothing remarkable, mostly, it’s just to have things that you love around you and figure out how to put it all together as you go. I like living in a space that reflects who I am and that means it didn’t happen overnight. It also means that it is constantly evolving.
Q. How did you first get into design?
MV: I moved to NYC from Detroit to go to Parsons to study fashion design. I worked in fashion for 10 years, but when I started my own business, I decided to make home accessories. I had always enjoyed entertaining at my NYC apartment, and loved creating a cozy and fun environment to hang out in. My primary collection is decorative pillows, which is textiles based with a lot of my knowledge coming from having worked in fashion design. I just launched my first line of wallpapers, which also takes advantage of my experience working with prints while working in fashion.
Q. Where do you source your products – the US, Europe, Asia?
MV: I try to support local artists, designers and manufacturers as much as possible. I also really like having things in the store that are a range of prices, so we have some things that are made overseas that are more affordable. I try to keep at least half the store filled with products that are made in North America or Europe by their designers, but these pieces are usually more expensive.
Q. The cushions are lovely. Do you still make all the cushions in NYC?
MV: Yes. In the very beginning though, I made them all myself, but now I have some lovely seamstresses here in NYC who do the sewing for me.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I’d like to thank Michele for taking the time to answer my questions and for welcoming me to her shop to spend time chatting and taking photos You can find her her store at 27 Howard Street, New York and her blog here.
See you all again next month with another New York gem! – Jillian
(images: jillian lieboff)
Good afternoon decor8 readers, it is Jillian here with another edition of Shopgirl Visits — fresh off the plane from New York! When planning my New York trip a few weeks ago, I decided to arrange some shop shoots. I used Sibella Court’s ‘The Stylist’s Guide to NYC’ as a starting point but I also asked Holly for a few suggestions and she pointed me to Lotta Jansdotter. Photographing Lotta’s Brooklyn studio was at the top of the list so I sent an email and an appointment was scheduled. Mission (almost) accomplished!
You know who Lotta Jansdotter is, right? Just in case you don’t, she’s a Swedish designer extraordinaire who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and you’ll find her distinctive designs on fabrics, clothing, greeting cards, rugs, bags and crockery. She’s also absolutely lovely and I was made to feel very welcome during my visit in her light-filled studio located in an old warehouse in the district of Gowanus in Brooklyn. Would you like to join me on a little tour of her workspace?
This is the main work area.
Lotta’s studio space has a Scandinavian design aesthetic, which really appeals to me.
A mood board.
Some lovely little vignettes.
Colourful fabrics, tape and garlands. These pretty washi tapes with her designs and the wonderful decals make me want to get crafty!
Lotta’s new collection in shades of blue for the iconic store, Fishs Eddy.
Some tools of the trade.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Lotta’s studio, located at 131 8th Street Brooklyn NY. Lotta has a blog which you’ll find here and she also runs printing workshops from the studio. You can get all the details about the workshops here.
I’ll see you again in November with another fabulous New York find. Until then, – Jillian
(photos & text: jillian leiboff)
Hi decor8 readers, it’s Jillian here bringing you another Shopgirl Studio Tour. When I visited Koskela a few months ago, I was introduced to the work of Greg Hatton. Greg is a furniture maker, lighting designer and recycle extraordinaire who’s made his home in an old butter factory in the village of Newstead, Australia. You may have seen his work here before on decor8.
When I saw his work, I was so intrigued I wanted to see more and knowing I was going to be in Melbourne on a work trip, I emailed him to arrange a visit. In one of those extraordinary quirks of fate, I discovered Greg lived a short drive away from one of my dear friends, with whom I was to stay.
On a gorgeous sunny day, we drove to the Butter Factory. The countryside surrounding the factory is just gorgeous. The Old Butter Factory is an extraordinary building that Greg has resurrected. He’s painstakingly stripped it back to it’s current state – part workshop/part furniture showroom/part garden with a dash of accommodation thrown in for good measure. The garden has some intriguing outbuildings and remnants of it’s previous life as a factory.
I also spied one of Leila Sanderson’s cute teepees in the garden.
I roamed around with my camera – In the workroom I spied the fixings for some of Greg’s Fowler jar pendant lights and a Beetle Track stool in production. The main area of the Butter factory is enormous and I think it would be a great venue for a unique wedding celebration. Much of the furniture has been named like the aptly titled Flying saucer light, one of my favorites; the fantastic smooth sticky ball light and the upcycled bee box sideboard in the entry.
Greg is in the process of building some self contained accommodation to be furnished with his designs, all of which will be for sale. What a great idea to be able to take a little bit of something home with you! I was so inspired by the countryside, I’m now dreaming of my own little country getaway. Do you have similar dreams?
This talented man is on a mission is to combine art and nature with function and I think you’ll agree he’s managed to achieve this and much more. Many thanks to Greg and Katie for allowing me into their home.
How’s this for a modern interpretation of a Christmas tree?
I’ll be traveling a bit for the next several weeks and will visit some inspiring spaces in NYC that I hope to share with you upon my return. Until then! – Jillian.
(text/photography: jillian leiboff)