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Impressionen {Germany}

Impressionen is a mail order company here in Germany that specializes in women’s fashion and home accessories along with some furniture, always on trend, and the website is such a pleasure to browse with their collaged images and pretty color combinations. These images give you an idea of some popular trends here in Germany.

I’m really enjoying all the natural textures and colors lately and find myself torn between an all-white room with accents of taupe, silver, and lavender and colorful playful rooms with no set focal point, just lots of patterns against a neutral base.

Since this blog’s inception, I’ve followed all the big trends and built a personal database of more companies that I’ll ever need to reference. I’m sure, whether you blog or are simply obsessed with reading them, you also are quite savvy and know more about design than ever before. But as my personal likes and dislikes forever change, I’ve concluded that I need to stick to a neutral base devoid of pattern and swap out my patterned soft furnishings and accessories per season or at least, every 6 months, so I don’t die of boredom. I can commit to wallpaper in small spaces (hallway, bathroom, or as a single accent wall in a larger space), and to flooring (I’m a wood floor fan), but I cannot commit to patterned sofas or chairs unless I can slipcover them whenever the spirit moves me. I prefer wood seating that I can alter myself with a staple gun and a piece of fabric for the seat or back, for instance, or with cushions. And this is coming from a girl that saw a patterned sofa at Svenskt Tenn and nearly collapsed from sensory overload. I loved it. But I wouldn’t own it.

It’s pretty funny how we embark on blogging with a strong sense of who we are and what we like, and then realize down the road that we were only beginning our journey and that design and decorating while for some may be meaningless (I have friends who could care less), but for others (like us!), home improvement is a constant thought in our minds. Improving our living space is our passion, but it’s only fun once we realize that there’s no end point and to just chill about the whole thing. Decorating is the unattainable goal, it’s the size zero, the long legs, the high cheekbones. It’s like reaching personal perfection, we’ll never be perfect but we strive to be our very best and have fun doing it. It’s the same for the home. It will never be perfect, for some there is no ‘end’ point, but the joy is in the journey and to finally be comfortable with this fact is absolutely freeing for me. I just thought I’d share this thought with you today.

Perhaps you can relate.

(images from impressionen)

Posted in shopping, travel on October 26, 2007

Larissa Bertonasco Illustrator + Cook {Hamburg}

I’m obsessed with cooking lately. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been staying in a hotel suite for weeks and the only thing I can make in our room is coffee or tea. I miss having my own kitchen! So lately, anything even remotely related to dirtying up the kitchen interests me like never before. From spices to machines (the silver limited edition Tord Boontje Senseo coffee machine is fun), cookbooks, to Pino funnels. Adding to my list of must-haves is the Larissa Bertonasco cookbook, La Nonna La Cucina La Vita – Die wunderbaren Rezepte meiner Gro?mutter, which I’ve ordered along with her wall calendar. Her illustrative style is fun and colorful, reminding us of the importance to enjoy the whole cooking experience. I applaud her for wearing two hats, she’s both a professional cook and an illustrator. Let’s hear it for doing what you love, right?!


If you don’t already know Larissa, she lives in Hamburg and is quite the popular girl here in Germany lately, I see her products in bookstores all over. She even has a new line of paper napkins, cloth tea towels, and other small misc. products for the kitchen. But her cookbook is gorgeous. I mean, worth buying even if you can’t read German because it’s just page after page of large colorful illustrations.


The recipes are centered around Italian cooking, just like her grandma would make, and the book is 100% illustration so there are no real life settings photographed which in itself is quite unique right? Most modern cookbooks show photographs of actual food.


This hand drawn cookbook is hot here and who would have guessed that it would be so popular being that it’s mostly filled with illustrations and only brief recipe summaries? It’s highly visual in a very unconventional sense without a single food photo. I think people are starving for new formats, clever new ways to deliver information, breaking the mold.

I would love to own this cow as a print for my kitchen.

Have a peek at her portfolio here. And if you want to purchase her calendar or book, just go to the German Amazon site. That’s where I ordered mine and it’s all set to be delivered to my U.S. address. Easy.

(images from larissa bertonasco)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Books + Magazines, kitchen, shopping, travel on October 25, 2007

ComingHome Interior {Hannover}

Would you like to join me for a moment because I’d love to show you my favorite showroom in Germany, it’s called ComingHome Interior. It’s a splendid shopping “experience” located in Hannover, the absolute best source for mid century modern, industrial, and just plain gorgeous finds. From furniture to ceramics, lighting, and beyond, you’ll want to own everything.


Most of you know that my favorite spaces are those inhabited by creative souls who refuse to play by the rules, allow for a lot of style-overlapping, and go beyond the mainstream to design spaces that not only work for them, but are decorative, emotionally supportive, and contain a few unique finds with a story to tell.

From the moment I entered ComingHome, I felt like I had, well, come home. Okay, I’d add more floral patterns and a dose of cuteness here and there with prints, art, and such, but overall this store definitely speaks to both my husband and I. There’s a bit of tension in their designs, a masculine and feminine touch in every corner, soft meets sturdy, but never too obvious. You have to look for it.

It was painful for me to leave this lamp behind. Out of everything in the store, I wanted this lamp the most. Best of all, it’s one-of-a-kind because Rainer made it himself.

How are the prices? You’ll like this… What you see isn’t beyond reach because it’s all affordable (most tables between 300-500,- Euro for instance, chairs a little less), completely devoid of the bloated mark up so common back home (in New England) due to being in such high demand. Shopping is much more fun when you can imagine owning something because the price tag doesn’t give you a heart attack.

Also what makes ComingHome such a special place is the down-to-earth approach of Rainer S?ll, one of the owners and designers who holds an MS in Architecture. (His business partner is Claudia Nowotny, a theatre painter and stage designer, whom I did not meet.) You can discuss any piece in his showroom at length, he’s so knowledgeable, and his obvious creativity and passion for his work is inspiring. Don’t you love how well everything is styled without looking too perfect?

The sweetest high chair ever.

It’s also obvious that both have their finger on the pulse of contemporary and mid century modern design and Rainer has an intimate relationship with his clients, although his prices do not reflect this high level of customer service – it’s all part of the store experience. I observed him working with a few of his clients and they not only purchased 4 chairs for their home, but left with excitement written all over their faces because they scored original Eames chairs at a good price.

These darling school chairs were each under 100,- Euro.

As a team, both Rainer and Claudia have a unique and creative vision, they’re able to repurpose items transforming them into new objects, another bonus of this showroom. Many things are either original or entirely repurposed pieces crafted into lighting, art, sculpture, coat racks, etc., from old exercise equipment to work benches, orchard ladders, and beyond. They also had a delightful selection of vintage globes, ceramics, and clocks.

This is another piece I wanted to purchase so badly. It’s an old workbench to now be used in the kitchen as a chef’s island. Love! Imagine this in a loft space with an open floor plan?

As these pictures speak a thousand words, I guess I need not elaborate. But I do want to mention that because they carry such a diversified offering of products that rotate in and out quickly, if you see something you want it’s important to secure it right away!


If you visit Hannover or if you’re a magazine looking for a hip couple to feature, seriously consider ComingHome Interior because not only is their showroom to die for, but I’ve heard their home is even better. Hear that, Elle Decoration, Elle Decor, and Living Etc.?

Isn’t this a clever idea for a business card? A business coaster! Claudia takes a photo and Rainer draws it to transform the image into business card coasters.

Located: Nieschlagstr. 10/11 in Hannover Linden (take the #9 to Empelde and jump off at Nieschlagstr.) Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday only. All other days by appointment only. For more information visit their website, in German. Rainer speaks English, so you can also call or email him with any questions.

(top three photos taken by thorsten becker, all others by holly becker for decor8)

Posted in furniture, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on October 24, 2007

Meet Anne Wendlandt of Enna {Hannover}

Ready to be totally inspired? I recently mentioned Anne Wendlandt, also known as Enna, promising that if she allowed me to take photos of her new shop here in Hannover that I would share them with you. Well, I met the lovely Anne today and spent time with her visiting her shop/work studio and I walked away with a skip in my step because I felt so inspired by this young, talented artist.

This wall was painted by Anne to look like wallpaper, don’t you love it?
She used regular flat latex paint in her favorite colors and created a stencil by hand that she applied to the wall to repeat the pattern. Clever!

Meet Anne Wendlandt of Enna.

Her storefront, complete with a logo designed and made by Anne.

Anne is so nice and open, very easy to talk to and so excited about being a part of a design blog as she is just starting to explore the whole world of blogging and selling online so I’m just as thrilled to talk about her work here on decor8.

She has an etsy store, a DaWanda shop, and a store on her website. In addition to all of this, she creates many things by hand, she’s a talented illustrator, and a graphic designer along with a shop owner, so Anne is a busy lady. I’m so excited to share her store with you because there are so many little details and pretty things to tell you about. Would you like to know more? Okay, here’s a little tour.

She won this great “e” light on eBay Germany, isn’t it the best? Now I want one! I thought it was the cutest thing ever.

Here are some of her fabrics and the handmade rubber stamps she uses for her designs. She told me how to make handmade stamps, so I’m quite excited to give it a try. I may ask her if I can take a class with her, I’d love to learn a few things from her to apply as a hobby, there’s so many fun things to do to personalize your space.

She has a tree in the middle of her space, with her name carved into it. I thought this was a charming detail that I had to share with you.

A pillow designed by Miss Enna.


What does Anne design? I guess a better question is, what doesn’t this girl do? :) She does so much. She crafts earrings out of polymer clay that she then hand paints, she designs postcards, pillows, shirts, hoodies, and onesies for baby, plates, iron-on patches, wrapping paper, softies, marketing materials for her business, her website, the signage on the window of her shop, the list goes on and on. She is inspired by so much, she certainly doesn’t want to limit herself to just one thing.

These are plates that she found at a second hand store, and after cleaning them up, she applied her illustrations to them and displays them as art in her shop. I asked if she’d consider selling them to me, so I’m awaiting her decision because she’d not been asked before. I encouraged her to consider creating more and selling them in her shop and online, I really think people would like to own these.


She also sells items from etsy sellers that she loves and Japanese products, so this shop has lots of pretty things to look at and purchase. She’s expecting an order of goodies from Japan any day now, so I will have to return to Enna to see her new stock once it arrives, of course! Who can resist Japanese zakka cuteness?


This is her new wrapping paper, don’t you love the pattern? This folksy style is really big right now, especially these Russian dolls called matryoshkas. They’ve been in all the magazines for the past 6 months, you can’t help but notice a trend here. Between Asian prints, African patterns, and folk-inspired patterns from Russia and Poland, there’s something for everyone this season. Oh, by the way, you can buy this wrapping paper from her for only $4 on etsy if you’d like. I grabbed a sheet today, I want to line my desk drawer with it. Here’s some of my loot from today…


I hope you enjoyed this little shop tour today. For the locals, Enna is located in Hannover Linden at Deisterstra?e 68 and I really encourage you to see it in person.

(images by holly + thorsten becker for decor8)

Posted in designers, etsy, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on October 16, 2007

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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