It’s springtime in Australia — flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and sweet color abounds! Did you know that blogger and interior designer Anna Spiro from Absolutely Beautiful Things and Black & Spiro recently launched an online shop? Oh yes, she has and the concept is super original. She calls it the Absolutely Beautiful Things store where you “Shop This Look”, but I call it a brilliant Shop By Numbers retail experience that I predict is a growing trend for websites everywhere. It takes the guesswork out and puts the fun back in online shopping because frankly, online shopping needs a boost because the same ole same ole experience of buying stuff online can be so vanilla and I’d like to see more shops adding content or features to their site that an in-store experience just can’t give.
(Above: Anna breaks down each item in her styled room, making it a breeze to get the look! She clearly loves pink!)
I’ve seen this shop by numbers approach only a few times online so it still feels like a very fresh approach to selling and I love how you can build a room easily through the overall approach of breaking down all of the items and more or less saying, “Hey, you like it, here you go – now you can buy it.” It takes the complication out of what can often be very complicated – shopping for decorative items online. It’s also easier to find products in a photo that you like when you can just click on the item and instantly link to where it’s listed on the site.
And for those of you who aren’t familiar with this Australian design maven, check out these beautiful images from her home and shop. Swoooooon!
Love this, Anna – way to go!
(images: elouise van riet-gray)
I always enjoy a lazy moment exploring the pages of British lifestyle brand Toast. I’m drawn to their casual images that, this season, feel very travel inspired. Must be the spirits of summer casting their magic spell on me, making me want to throw my journal and a map in a bag, slip on pretty sandals, and head for an exotic destination. The most exotic destination on my calendar is Amsterdam next week, ha ha! The three places that I’d love to visit are Australia, Japan and India. I think about them frequently and the design and culture in these places inspires me so much though they are all three so different from the other. Where do you dream of taking an extended holiday?
I imagine I’ll get to these places someday, in addition to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Bali, Korea, Scotland… too many to list for me. but for now I enjoy roaming the web for a dose of travel inspiration or some of my favorite catalogs. Toast seems to be inspired by North Africa and of European cafe life, particularly France and Italy, and perhaps a little bit of Greece too. I love the mix of stripes and solids, weaves and leathers, and swoon – shiny metallic linen which is one of the best kinds of linen for dressing up the home in a very subtle way. It’s sumptuous.
I discovered a lovely shop that just launched called Deep Dark Africa which carries only African made wares that are not of the variety that you commonly see in most African shops. These are very fresh and modern with traditional elements woven in only with a new look and lots of lovely, tactile details… I want nearly everything in this shop, there is so much texture and so many designs that are inspired by nature… Here are some of my favorites…
Many items are created for the shop through collaborations with designers and some are simply curated from local designers (like Heather Moore) and artisans based in Africa by Alexia Kondylis, who is a fashion and interior stylist. Deep Dark Africa loves handmade, fair trade and upcycled goods, as do most of us. This shop is a gorgeous – the rabbit bowls are an insta-fave of mine.
Beautiful! What do you think?
(images: deep dark africa)
It’s no surprise that Anthropologie would launch a website dedicated to festive parties and lovely brides… why of course, it’s a natural fit! I love BHLDN (they’ve been around for just a wee bit) and hope that it will eventually lead to Anthro creating a section in their stores that sells lovely things for stylish entertainers everywhere, don’t you? When I look at BHLDN and flip through each virtual product (I love their decor page), I feel creative and inspired to do something great.
I’m in the process of working on our big anniversary party this summer and I’m trying to figure out how I want it to look and feel – 10 years of marriage isn’t a tiny blip on the map – it’s a huge accomplishment in a world where, sadly, most couples divorce within the first five years. I’m happy that my husband and I have nearly ten years behind us and can move into the next ten, only my big, big hope is that the next ten will include a new baby, maybe two, and then when I celebrate in the future we’ll have our children by our side. But for now, it’s just us two, and his German family and our friends who will join in for a festive event in our home in late July. I’m so looking forward to it… I’m thinking of using the same colors that we had when we got married – watermelon + papaya + green with lots of white, of course.
And looking at BHLDN not only brings back merry days of when we took our vows, but of how I want to make our 10th anniversary the best it can be while also not feeling put on, showy, fake or over-done like so many people push in your face these days in magazines and on television — I’m so over the “perfectionist phase” for home parties and even interior decorating. I’m all about natural, from the heart displays of love – especially at parties hosted at home. Sure, when you go out you want a wedding or event to be over the top but at home, I don’t know, it needs to feel like the real deal so people can feel their best.