Oh my, you’ll love this shop and the things in it…Amsterdam is a direct train ride from where I live, only 4 hours away, and yet I rarely make the time to go there. This year I only visited once and stayed only 3 days — clearly more time is needed in such a diverse and lovely city. Since discovering recently the lighting of Maartje van dem Noort sold in a shop called Store Without a Home or SWAH), I have vowed that next year I will definitely make time in my schedule to visit Amsterdam a few times and linger a bit more… There are so many creative people who live there and some have the sweetest ateliers and shops. I think I’ll show you one now called Store Without a Home.
Store Without a Home is located at IJburglaan 354 in case you are currently in Amsterdam and want to catch a peek, though they are moving locations in January so check their blog for updates next year. I love how quirky and creative it looks – their products are whimsical and I imagine in person, a real delight to behold. I especially love the Hang Me Lightly pendant, Cloud stools, and the Paper Alarm Clock.
(images: store with a home)
Traveling gives such creative inspiration but also a lovely opportunity to explore a different culture. Of course, there is the added bonus — we tend to learn more about ourselves as we venture new grounds — there are spiritual discoveries, emotional breakthroughs, I could go on and on but if you travel you must know what I mean…
One small but interesting fact that I learned about myself in both Marrakesh and Istanbul is the kind of shop environment that I enjoy the most. I found shops of all shapes, styles and sizes — kiosks, carts on the street, ladies with handmade goods displayed on blankets in the park, men selling bread that they carried on their heads, souks, bazaars, flea markets, you name it I shopped it. But what I found fascinating was that in each country I was easily lured in by the shops (and flea market tables) that had a more western sense of merchandising – where displays were carefully thought out, merchandise curated, and the selection being moderate — not too much of a single item but more of a mix of things to discover as I shopped. When products were shown in ways that got my creative juices flowing, I had no problem buying them. In stores where I found thousands of the same item, or things just tossed randomly in baskets or pinned to walls, or stores with aggressive sellers, I shopped very little and found them to be a bit depressing and ho hum.
I also found the more western sales style much more inviting than having to barter when it comes to pricing. I prefer items with tags on them, so I know where I stand, and I like to be told a little about a product but then left on my own. That way, I could see an item and have the mental space (and quiet) to imagine this or that piece in my home, where, how I would use it, etc.
When bartering is involved well that is also fine to a point but if I say, “No, thank you” I really don’t want the reply to be, “But lady look at this, I can give you a better price” followed by more and more of the same… I also don’t like to have a seller tugging on my arm, and I don’t like shop owners chasing me after I leave their shop trying to offer me the same goods at half the price. That is one thing that I found very annoying when I shopped the souks in Marrakesh, after the first day the excitement of bartering really became stressful and draining because most of the souk sellers are in your face the minute you enter the medina and you have little to no physical or mental space as you shop — it’s just one after another coming up to you trying to lure you into their shop and some even pull you in — grab you — and this was not enjoyable after the “new” wore off.
I found Istanbul a much more delightful place to shop because the Grand Bazaar wasn’t nearly as intense as the souks in Morocco when it came to the sales approach, also more stores had a fixed price. Some of the bazaar shop owners were also be a bit intense (mostly the young guys), but they seemed to know when to back off and let you have your fun, go your way, etc. And I loved how hospitable they were — always offering us tea and if we purchased something, closing the deal with tea and conversation. I could really think when I shopped in Istanbul — I could take time to imagine, create and design things in my head as I walked around and browsed each shop in the Grand Bazaar and in the Spice Market — this made the trip very special to me. Istanbul is more expensive compared to Morocco though, so I guess you have to decide what matters most to you, price or peace! :) Though I’m first to admit, if invited back to Morocco I’d go in a heartbeat because I loved it there, too. :)
In addition to the 4,000 + shops in the Grand Bazaar, you also have many small privately-owned shops peppered around in the same neighborhood. One such shop, shown in the photos above and below, is Tulu located in the old part of the city called Sultanahment. Tulu is owned by American textile dealer, Elizabeth Hewitt, and has three floors of gorgeous items for the home as well as fashion accessories that I highly recommend. I left with only a few things, though my husband purchased a beautiful rug from Tulu for his office. We both will go back to Tulu when we visit Istanbul in the future.
I first discovered Tulu online in October 2009 and blogged about it here (thanks to Raina’s tip), so I’ve been wanting to visit for a year now and so walking in and seeing it was quite exciting for me and certainly did not disappoint. The selection ranged from Turkish finds to gorgeous Indian textiles and the shop was loaded with pattern and color — I have to vote Tulu as one of my top five favorite stores in Istanbul and a definite must-see if you ever travel there. You can find bags, bracelets, fabrics by the meter, rugs (mostly vintage), pillows, tin heart mirrors, hand-painted boxes, ceramics, plates, journals, so many beautiful things that your eyes won’t know where to look first. And their staff is so helpful and lovely — and no pressure — they offer help and then let you alone to wander and imagine. I love that.
And good news for you if you’re not traveling to Istanbul anytime soon… You can buy Tulu goods at select stores in the US, like Layla in Brooklyn (another favorite shop of mine) and Nest in San Francisco.
A special thank you to Azmi for being such a great help in this shop!
I hope you enjoyed my photos — I took them at night so forgive the exposure… I did my best! :)
(images: holly becker for decor8)
I have a beautiful, inspiring shop tour to share with you today shot by Australian photographer Jillian Leiboff who loves to shoot stores and very often, she’ll send them to me to publish on decor8 which I simply adore. Australia is the second spot on this planet that fascinates me the most outside of Japan and so I’m always keen on seeing what’s going on down under…
I love Jillian’s shop tours, her work is strong and clear, and her eye is sharp for details — light, texture, the little things… nothing goes unnoticed by her trained eye. Together you and I can stroll down to Bondi and pretend we’re on an Aussie adventure together, okay? The store is called Miljo and is filled with Scandinavian good that will have your pulse racing if clean, organic, modern, minimalistic and natural excite you. This is such a gorgeous collection of images, I just know that you’ll love seeing this terrific store.
“miljö is a highly edited Scandinavian design store with many products exclusive to miljö in Australia. We represent some of the best designs and designers Sweden, Scandanavia and Australia have to offer. miljö is a sister store to funkis swedish forms. Our main focus is on lighting, tableware, fabrics and wallpaper. There is also a large variety of other lifestyle products such as clothing, bags, clogs, hand crafted brushware, jewellery and furniture.”
This shop is so serene, stylish, designed to be so calming… a real oasis. I imagine bringing some of these things into the home, particularly the bathroom where I like things quite spa-like, would make for a lovely retreat. I love the Le Klint lighting! Thank you Jillian for loaning me your images to share on decor8 and a big thanks to the Miljo store for allowing this store tour to appear here. Just lovely!
(images: jillian leiboff)
Hello everyone! I’m excited to share a brand new collection of porcelain along with a gorgeous studio space belonging to ceramicist Sandra Haischberger from Feinedinge in Vienna, Austria today. I’ve talked about her ceramics many times before, but last week I decided to contact her for some photos of her studio and her latest collection, ALiCE, because I know how much you’d love to see such an inspirational creative zone!
If you are not familiar with Feinedinge, allow me to introduce Sandra’s company to you! She runs a design studio that specializes in sustainable handcrafted porcelain. Sandra’s work is intricate and delicate, from porcelain lights with tiny holes created by hand using a small drill (wow!) to gorgeous cups and vases – it’s all quite lovely. The new range, currently showing at Maison & Objet in Paris, is called ALiCE which is a collection of teapots, cups and dinnerware crafted using tinted Limoges porcelain and is available in 6 colors that you can mix and match.
Sandra lives only a short walk away from her studio, so she appears to be living quite the dream life, doesn’t she? She is doing what she loves and lives in a fantastic city with her supportive and caring family. What more could a girl want? Oh yes, talent. Well she has plenty of that too! I really enjoyed her space because it’s light and bright (I can really think in a room like that!) and I really like how she mixes in mid century furniture to break up all of that white, it’s a really nice look.
Sandra thank you for sharing with decor8 readers this special peek into your shop and a glimpse of your new collection. Much success to you!