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Shopgirl Visits Koskela in Sydney

Welcome to the first Shopgirl Visits column. My name is Jillian Leiboff, and I’m a photographer based in Sydney Australia. For the past 8 years I’ve been working part time as a photographer and whilst I started out shooting weddings, 3 years ago I started shooting shops and food for my blog.

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

I thought Holly’s readers might be interested in seeing some of the shops I shot, so in June 2009 I reached out to her and she liked what she saw. After that, I started randomly submitting my images to decor8 with my first recap being of the delightful Donna Hay store in Sydney. Holly has held a longtime love affair and fascination with Australian art & design but like most of you, isn’t able to hop on a plane whenever she wants to go see it for herself. Showing it on decor8 is the next best thing and that’s what I can do since I’m based down here though like love to travel so you may see the random post pop up from my travels abroad. You may remember seeing some of my images of the iconic Parisian store Merci on decor8, for instance. If not, I’ll list at the end of this post all of the stores that I’ve photographed which have appeared on decor8 in the past so you can catch up! Please take a look!

A few months ago I was delighted when Holly asked if I’d like to write a monthly column for decor8 called Shopgirl Visits. I was so excited I immediately began making a list of all the places I wanted to share with you. Each month I’ll be showing you shops (and the occasional artist studio, market and cafe where things can be purchased) that appeal to me and I hope to you. I’m always happy to get feedback so your suggestions are welcome.

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

For the first Shopgirl Visits column I’ve chosen the Sydney store, Koskela. Koskela is owned by Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky and their company designs and produces some of the beautiful furniture you see here. Koskela’s motto is, “Follow your heart, trust your judgment, do it with joy”. It governs how they run their business and the types of people they work with and represent.

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

Koskela is one of the few stores in Australia that focuses on Australian designed and made products with a hand crafted element. Koskela stocks a collection of Australian made furniture, home wares, books and artwork for both adults and children. They recently moved from their premises in Surry Hills into a brand new showroom in Rosebery. As well as the showroom, the building is home to Kitchen by Mike, probably the most popular eatery in Sydney – you can see and learn more about Kitchen By Mike in the video below…

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

Shopgirl Visits: Koskela

The shop is housed in a former canning factory and it’s a huge light-filled space where many of the original warehouse features have been left intact. Koskela also has a gallery space and a workshop where people can learn new skills or crafts. Some of the best of Australian design is represented here and I particularly loved the children’s area. I was sorely tempted by some of the cute lights on display and was trying to think of a compelling reason to take one home with me.

“Follow your heart, trust your judgment, do it with joy”

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning than having breakfast at Kitchen by Mike followed by a browse through Koskela. You can find Koskela at 1/85 Dunning Avenue Rosebery, Sydney. See you all again next month and don’t forget to check out all of my shop posts on decor8 listed below! – Jillian

Donna Hay General Store, Black & Spiro, Bison, ici et la, Empire Vintage, Studio of Ceramicist Samantha Robinson, Anthropologie (London), Merci (Paris), Albion (London), Miljo, The Finders Keepers Market, Cotton Love Home, davidmetnicole, Mud Australia and Astier de Villatte (Paris).

(photos: jillian leiboff with store permission)

Posted in Shopgirl Visits, shopping, travel on May 21, 2012

Wayfare Magazine

Hello lovely friends! It’s Friday and the sun is huge in the sky here shining all around like a total show off hot shot and I love it! The best part is that it will continue throughout the weekend and be hanging around for all of next week so I can get out and about to some gardens and parks, bring my camera, and snappity snap snap! Speaking of being out and about…

Wayfare Magazine

I JUST found out the scoop yesterday over at Little Brown Pen about Wayfare magazine and I flipped through the pilot issue of this lovely travel-focused e-mag about to make its grand debut this summer. Seems my friend Nichole knows (and blogged about) her meet up with the Prêt à Voyager blogger who works for Wayfare, Anne Ditmeyer (the magazine’s art director) which is how I found out about it. Good news travels fast thanks to wee little things called blogs and Nichole is always in the loop. She’s SUCH a star.

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare is, in a nutshell, a more fancy pants travel mag meant to one up the cheesy newsstand variety out there since it’s presenting itself as more than just a place to find generic travel destinations. To me, Wayfare is all about embracing the wanderlust lifestyle that so many seem to have, especially lately. Most of us not only dream of travel but dream of leaving it all behind and relocating to our dream destination.

Wayfare Magazine

It’s funny though, ever since relocating from Boston to northern Germany, I’ve spent a lot of time discussing wanderlust with my friends here and in other European countries and unlike my American pals, a lot less of them are interested in relocating to a new country to start all over again. When I poll my American girlfriends it’s like 8 out of 10 want to relocate (mostly to Paris!) and nearly all of them would if family and jobs didn’t tie them to their current spot. If you have entertained the thought of leaving it all behind, feel like taking a virtual vacation, need new ideas as to where to travel or simply want to live vicariously through others, Wayfare promises to feed your wanderlust cravings with stories of daring souls who are out there doing their thing.

Wayfare Magazine

Wayfare mag

Wayfare mag

Wayfare is as much about travel and relocation as good presentation and well written text. Great layouts, good looking fonts and the fact that they go beyond theme parks, NYC, Paris, Vegas, London and Rome gives it a major thumbs up from me. Not that I don’t like mags featuring top destinations but hey, it’s cool to see what’s going on in Burundi, Ontario and western Oregon for instance — which their pilot issue just-so-happens to cover.

So there you have it, another e-mag on its way to digital newsstands nearest to you. Check out their pilot issue HERE.

(images: screenshots from wayfare mag)

Posted in travel on March 23, 2012

Mood Board Books To Inspire

Hello friends! I’m in one of those writing moods today where words just bubble forth like some kind of crazy fountain! It’s a great mood to be in because now I’m home and no longer traveling so I CAN write on decor8 regularly again and it feels wonderful. I always miss blogging and the practice of writing daily when I’m on the road, writing is total freedom for me. Another freedom, or shall I say creative release (sounds weird but it really is), is when I pull together things visually into handmade books. I’ve been doing this for ages, since I was a little curious kid, and it started by pulling pages from teen magazines and Highlights magazine then collecting them into photo albums with those giant clear pages… You know the ones that you peel to stick in your pages on that strange adhesive so when you lay stuff on it the paper sorta sticks, then you press the clear page on top. Yeah, those old school albums, woot!

Mood board books

I filled those things with inspirations from magazine pages to stickers, letters from penpals and labels from things that I liked. I also used blank journals and diaries or handmade books that I made by stapling together copy paper with a stapler to form a gutter down the middle. I started doing those in the late 1970’s when I was maybe 6 years old and I continued making them my entire life – writing in some, sticking things in others – I had sticker books, inspiration books, books I wrote and illustrated with my own stories, and diaries filled with secrets and wishes and how I imagined my “adult” life to be — which usually involved becoming an author, marrying a cute boy, having a baby and living in another country in a really nice house.

Well… Little me ended up wanting the same goals as I grew older and I often wonder at times if that clarity came through the consistent exercise of capturing my imagination and dreams into something more tangible like the books that I made over the years? I believe that the more you either write down or visually share with yourself and/or others, the more you capture your imagination in a sense and freeze it,  perhaps it helps put you on your way to gaining a bit more clarity as you make your way through life. Interesting to ponder, right?

Mood board booksThis spread was inspired by a home we shot in the English countryside recently. I came home and pulled this together using images that felt like the home I had worked in in the same color palette.

I almost want to challenge you to test this theory on your own life and to see if, after a year of consistently maintaining private journals and books, whether or not you start to gain a better sense of self. We’re constantly evolving so there is never an end point to all of this since we’ll be growing as long as we live (or at least lets make that our goal!) but the act of conscious “slow” living vs. hectic “speed” living IS something we really want to do, at least that’s what I find most attractive these days as I see the hectic path is ultimately reallyyyyyyy boring and makes time go by much to quickly.

I’m wondering now if all of this tapping in and recording our inspirations, goals, heartaches, lessons learned, ideas, etc. is what enhances the experience of living in a way. What do you think?

Mood board booksThis is a capture of fabrics and ribbons that I collected while in London for a project from various stores like Liberty and VV Rouleaux. I wanted to pull them all together in one place because now I’ll always remember them in case I want to work from this palette in the future on another project.

I thought to go along with my words that I’d share a few images that I took with my iPhone today of these mood board pages that I made in a book over the past six weeks – they show some of the impressions that I’ve had on the road while I’ve been working on my next book. I didn’t feel like writing my impressions from each trip in a diary because I have to write so much as it is INSIDE of the actual book and on this blog that the thought of writing a diary during this time made me a bit tense. I still, however, wanted to keep track of my inspirations along the way so I thought to do it in a visual way instead. Plus, it ended up inspiring me through a bit of a creative challenge. This book gave me a chance to record things with a glue stick and a few minutes of my time. I shared this with our Blogging Your Way Road Trip students recently in New York and they seemed to be very inspired by it. I hope you are too.

Mood board booksThis was pulled together based on the same home in the English countryside that had inspired me so, so much. I used found items, washi tape, paint swatches, buttons, clips, etc. to pull together a paper that reflected the mood of that home.

Creating visual records can be very inspiring while you’re doing them but also to look back on them, for me at least, I inspires me all over again. For instance from this book I am able to recall the exact things that struck a chord with me on certain trips — seeing them again gave me some new ideas for the future.

Remember… Mood boards don’t have to be on actual boards on your wall. As I taught last year in the series of Mood Board Workshops in the US and London for Anthropologie, mood boards can be on a wall, in a book, in a manilla folder, in a mini mood board book (aka portable photo album with clear sleeves) or an inspiration wire which is horizontal and hung across a wall, window or above a sofa or bed – anywhere that you want really – where you can tack on what catches your eye at the moment. Visual recordings like this can be enlightening, especially as you begin to see patterns in your thinking, spot a theme or discover new ideas.

Mood board booksThis is a spread that I created using tears and bits that I’ve been collecting in my desk drawer for several months. I noticed everything I had collected there fit together in a strange way so I decided to put them in the book so that I could refer to this later. I love seeing how gray, cream, goldenrod, industrial elements, strong graphics (like numbers, silhouettes and maps), polka dots and a bit of olive green can work with a touch of a floral fabric that is a bit country. Again, it’s all about capturing moments and collecting them someplace outside of our own heads (or a desk drawer).

What I love about the books that I’ve been creating at home since I was a kid is that, unlike a board or string or something that’s a bit decorative and public in your home that others potentially see, you don’t have to edit out anything or hold back in your books. It’s also different from a blog or Pinterest because your book can be private and a total immersion into self. Often when you compose mood boards at home or online you tend to hold back for some reason whereas a book that you can store can be less about sharing with others and more about sharing with yourself, personal growth, learning and saving to look back on for years to come. You can include themes that may be too embarrassing to share publicly or explore topics that you may feel are too private to pass around within your online social network. It’s a very nice way to bookmark your life visually and I love it.

Mood board booksThis was created when I got back from Paris a few weeks ago. Some visuals that reflected how I saw Paris…

I hope this post today inspired you somehow to be a bit more active when it comes to recording your thoughts in a more visual, organized but still fun and freestyle way. Always take time to absorb your surroundings, then collect them into something tangible so that your inspiration can be tapped in to during those “creative rut” periods…

What do you think of this idea to collect visual notes into small books at home? Do you do make these too? If so, post them on your blog and share the link below if you’d like so we can see them!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in inspiration, travel on March 19, 2012

ABC Kitchen – Wow!

I recently had the pleasure of dining at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan not just once, but 3 times in the span of 11 days! I know, right!??! Amazing. It’s a hard place to get a reservation but it seemed I knew the right people or had a stroke of luck. I want to tell you about it because I was so deeply inspired by the interior and from the exquisite organic meals that I enjoyed there. Here are some of the things you can expect to see in this space that are also sold in the adjacent ABC Home store in case you wanted to get this look at home…

ABC-KITCHEN-JPEG

Above: 1. Jan Burz porcelain 2. Vintage plates from your local flea market or antiques dealer 3. I loved the mugs – I ordered tea and was immediately impressed by these. I was told they sold out but now I see them on their website and am sad because I wanted a set of 6 for my home here in Germany. They were the absolute best mug ever. 4. Clear glass egg lamp, 5. Integral tables, 6. Basic white chairs you can find anywhere – these are the Steelwood chairs but they no longer stock them at ABC so try something like the Arper instead, 7. Elena Lyakir fine art photography, 8. Integral bar stool.

ABC Kitchen(I snapped this above with my iPhone during brunch on Sunday.)

Amazing chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is also the mastermind behind this gorgeous eatery, who also happens to be an author of a cookbook called, “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges,” and I just bought a copy after visiting his restaurant because the food was that good. I’m so smitten by ABC Kitchen that I want to shout out to the world that if you ever get a chance to eat at this place, DO IT. These photos that I found online don’t even do this place justice, it’s even better in person.

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen is heavenly – the service was great and the crowd was completely free of pretentious creeps – you know the ones that normally flock to these types of foodie places – this was definitely a cool crowd but without the attitude which made the atmosphere even nicer. The food was top notch – fresh, organic, locally grown and amazing and the price point for what you ordered was excellent. Everything from their wine to cocktails, desserts and breads, brunch and dinner, salads and entrees – it was all impressive and exquisite – it’s a real farm-t0-table experience.

The interior design is equally delicious with white brick walls, mercury glass behind the bar and in the bathrooms, exposed beam ceilings brought in from old barns, gorgeous furniture and lighting, lots of recycled elements… There was nothing about it that I would change. The design was mostly done by Paulette Cole, CEO and Creative Director of ABC Home, and felt cozy, unique, delicate and intimate. I also loved the vibe and that no matter how packed it became (and it was always packed), it was never too loud and the music never overpowered the conversation, it was there but subtle and the lighting made everyone look their best – it was always beautifully illuminated day or night. There are no windows in the dining space so there was no natural light, which definitely made it an ideal place for dinner but not idea for taking photos and definitely not ideal for brunch – I enjoyed brunch but it feels more like a nighttime spot for me and I totally loved it.

Another highlight of this space came down to the attention to detail – like the place settings. Brown eco-friendly kraft paper place mats, vintage linen napkins, petite flower arrangements in tiny square glass vases, vintage silverware, mismatched floral-patterned vintage china, handmade porcelain dinnerware in white by Jan Burz — nothing was too precious yet everything felt so, so precious – how did they do that!?

ABC Kitchen

Some of my favorites on the menu included: Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad with Crunchy Seeds and Citrus, Cookie plate, Shaved Fluke with Blood Oranges, Roasted Kabocha Squash Toast fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar, Crab toast, Roasted Beets with Homemade Yogurt,Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Eggplant Toast with marinated peppers and lemon , Pear Bourdaloue Tart, Birthday Cake, Salted Caramel-Peanut Ice Cream Sundae, Grilled Chicken Waldorf Salad, Roasted Eggplant Toast with marinated peppers and lemon, Still Warm Fresh Mozzarella olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, Black Sea Bass with chilies and herbs, baby market potatoes and spinach and of course a glass of Riesling trocken, Sybille Kuntz 2008, mosel, Germany!

Yes, all of that – whenever I went I was with several people and we just ordered lots of plates and shared everything tapas style which I highly suggest doing because then you can try a little of everything. What a special space and a new favorite place to eat in Manhattan. While in NYC, I also ate at Il Bagatto (sat next to Kirstie Alley! ha ha!), La Esquina (great Mexican food in a really cool underground “hidden” space), The Standard Grill (ate undercooked fish and got deathly ill for two days – spent a lot of money to get sick), The Breslin (nice place but severely overpriced and very salty food, incredibly rude waitstaff – we were all shocked.)… Also ate at a few random places in Koreatown that were excellent and ate at a little cafe above Kinokuniya book center which had great sushi and Asian desserts and ate at two different locations of Le Pain Quotidien which has really good food for a “fast food” eatery.

Can’t remember all of the other locations where we ate – but had breakfast a few times at egg in Brooklyn and that was fine but I still don’t understand why Biscuits and Gravy had one biscuit on a plate with a bowl of gravy on the side – the waitress promised me that it only came with one biscuit, maybe I was just hungry or daft but I thought for $10 that was quite pricey for one biscuit! I noticed this happened a lot in NYC though with waitstaff, most acted totally disinterested when you had something to say that wasn’t super positive and gushy. Oh well.

But ABC Kitchen rocked – loved my experiences there and I’d definitely go back and hope you’ll check it out too!

A special thanks to my dear friend Leslie for sharing this gem of a place with me in the first place!

(images: 2nd image: holly becker, all others: abc home)

Posted in food, travel on March 15, 2012

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