Good morning friends and happy new week to you! I want to share a little inspiration from Japan and nature today but first I thought I’d talk about something I sense a lot of you are feeling lately – unmotivated! Personally, I finally feel like I’ve come out from under a big blanket that covered me from new year’s until today! I’ve been inspiration-challenged and unmotivated, like my creative fuel tank was at 1/4 and slipping rapidly towards empty! I get this feeling each and every January and attribute it to nature’s way of saying, “Slow down. Rest up, enjoy the silence in your head because it will soon be full speed ahead!”, and well… Nature knows best.
Animals hibernate, trees stand naked with exposed limbs, soil freezes over with no signs of life and yet we always-hungry-for-more humans still push with all of our might to fly forward without any rest or reflection. The moment our body tells us to pause we think something is wrong and freak out. More and more, because I’ve noticed this January pattern for several years now and am “on” to it, I think something is right when I feel like doing a lot of nothing. My January down time is something I expect and roll with these days… Who cares, I reason, I’ll get back on my feet soon enough. This month, I caught up on a ton of boring administrative work, read some novels, went to museums and lingered a lot, did horrible expense report stuff and tax stuff and tried to prepare for the year before me. I cooked and cleaned and ironed and felt crabby a lot. I ate sweets and drank wine and just did my downhill spiral January thing. After three weeks of a giant TIME OUT, I woke up feeling like Holly 2.0 today which makes me happy because I know that I’ve gotten through it, my groove is back and now I can begin again. I hope you are feeling energized too or are on your way and if not, you’ll get there. Don’t worry. You’ll soon emerge from your little bear cave, too. You need these natural pauses, I think it’s good for the mental health over all other things. Learn to accept them and yourself, down time is exactly what you need in order to do your best work when your body says that you are ready.
With that, let’s chat for a moment about pure simple living because this is being highlighted by IKEA’s Livet Hemma blog as one big trend for 2012 and I have to agree with them – though in my opinion, not necessarily only Japanese-inspired for me but nature-inspired from anywhere be it Norway, the California coast, Finland or the Alps… it’s nature that gives us the call to balance and simplicity that centers us. Japanese tend to work with raw concrete, natural woods and light colors in their design and these elements are inspiring rooms in the home in the western world, too. Harmonious natural elements make us happy and for me, these tactile elements help me enormously to connect to my environment as I like to touch a lot – I relate and explore through touch which I am sure annoys every shop I enter because I tend to touch everything. Tactile natural elements are also nice to live around because of their warmth and welcome spirit but for some, the less “busy” an interior is (not a lot of color, clean, simple, etc.), the more inspiration can flow in and around that person.
Do you appreciate this simple, calm style in your interior too? Are you feeling inspired for 2012 yet or still in a creative coma hung over from all of the work you did in 2011? Talk to me people.
(images: Nina Broberg/IKEA Livet Hemma)
Have you noticed that triangle motifs are all the rage, still? I went with the trend for my party Saturday and had accents around the room with triangle prints. If you were there, you may have noticed. But yes, triangles are the new black, perhaps this started with the pendant trend, at least online that seems to be where the whole triangle obsession popped up – when crafty bloggers were showing their triangle-shaped pendants displayed above their desk, party table or stretched across a wall in their living room. Who knows where the triangle madness began but hey, let’s roll with it, right? I think the colorful, quirky and fun Clare Nicolson collection of digitally printed interior textiles and accessories fits the trend well – she has a few triangles working their magic on her cushions and I’m loving it. Triangles are aitch.oh.tee HOT!
Clare’s entire range includes tea towels, stuffed bird pillows, throw cushions, handmade greeting cards and other interior accessories where Clare incorporates vintage fabrics to produce designs that are extra special with a touch of retro granny chic charm. Her line of cushions caught my eye today so I thought I’d share them. They certainly brighten those gray skies!
So, tell me – are you digging the triangle-as-design-motif trend? I wrote about it over a year ago for an article on Etsy (see it here), but it seems our little polygon friends are surfacing again – stronger than ever!
(images: clare nicolson)
You should be dancinnnn’ — yeah! You should be dancinnnnn’ yeah! (watch this clip for a little John Travolta action). I’ve been checking out the whole disco ball trend as it has rolled it’s way back into rooms over the part few years and especially now around the holidays I see them popping up more and more. Have you noticed? People seem to like them as ornaments on the tree or tiny ones piled into a bowl on a table as a little winter decoration… I’ve also spotted them on balconies (yes really!), in local restaurants, cafes, shop windows, as decoration on shelves and hanging from ceilings in some pretty cool homes in the magazines and books that I read. They are SUCH a fun and quirky addition to a home. Here are some great examples of how to add a disco ball to your interior to add just the right amount of imperfection without falling over the line into tacky, tasteless, ohmygoshwhatwereyouthinking… A little bit goes a long way…
The key is moderation – especially when it comes to quirky things like a disco ball! Plus I think your room needs to lean on the eclectic side in the first place, or perhaps be a bit flea market style, feminine, boho modern or scandi modern. I don’t see a disco ball working in a very contemporary home because it would be out of place and I can’t see it in a country home with plaids and chintz or something extremely high end… unless you are Kelly Wearstler. I can see Kelly rockin’ a disco ball like nobody’s business.
Would you have a little Saturday Night Fever in your home? :)
Lots of people ask me what some of the trends are in Europe overall and how they compare to the United States. It’s a hard question to answer because decorating styles vary from region to region in the states just as here in Europe from country to country as well and even within countries, by regions. What’s hip in London may not cause a stir in Hamburg and what Rome loves may not be what the Dutch want in their home. But of course, that’s being very “correct” about it and the fact is that there really is an answer because there are definitely more dominant styles that you tend to see in most places as you travel around Europe. Today I thought I’d highlight 8 trendy things that I notice as being popular in northern Europe and the UK and I’ll try to tie them in to things you can find in American stores, too. 1. Industrial lighting is a big deal over here. I see it more and more in commercial spaces but also in homes. Particularly in white, black and either polished or brushed silver. I have two white industrial lights in my hallway and a third, a bit different but also industrial style, in my kitchen. Here is the style in which I am referring to… these are from West Elm and are available in red, black, white and yellow.
2. Porcelain hurricanes. Also from West Elm are these porcelain hurricanes. We have them here as well. You tend to find these in every type of shop from HEMA to Depot and even random dollar stores – porcelain hurricanes with holes or patterns so the light dances through them for a romantic mood. Some even have handles on them so you can carry them from room to room easily or hang them on your porch. Still others are available as lamps, like these from Pol’s Potten via Le Souk.
3. Mixed chairs around a table or even a bench and some chairs. You can bring in a little Eames, Phillipe, and an Arne along with some IKEA chairs and form your own little grouping around your dining table, or you can place 3 chairs on one side and a long wooden bench on the other with some cushions. You can even mix in stools! Mixing chairs is a trend here, you see it some of the more hipster eateries and cafes and you’ll notice it in people’s homes when you’re flipping through magazines.
4. Tolix chairs. While we’re on chairs, tolix chairs are quite a hit on this side of the pond. You an spot them everywhere, with or without arms. from Liberty in London to basic home stores in Germany for $100 or less. White and silver are the most common colors, but you can find peachy pink, lime, aqua, black… They are great in a kitchen or even around a dining table. I have a few white ones in my office around my big work table. You can get them in the states at lots of stores, like Pottery Barn, for example.
5. Rustic furniture. Anything that looks slightly worn like this sideboard from Graham & Green would be considered a hit. It’s gorgeous, natural and warm but still the lines are very clean and modern.
6. Reclaimed wood furniture and accents in various muted colors. Okay so this is also rustic furniture but it really is in it’s own class. I was at a craft market yesterday and a lady who was selling jewelry had the most clever displays in her booth using wood scraps from the attic in her 400-year-old German farmhouse. She turned these pieces into tables and mounted them on trestles and then used a pale mint paint to wipe over the wood to create this fantastic hint of color. Along with her gold jewelry and porcelain pendants, it was a gorgeous combination, so gorgeously tactile. Piet Hein Eek comes to mind as a leader, but there are hundreds of other ways to bring reclaimed wood into the home from installing it on walls and ceilings to using wallpaper from Studio Ditte that looks like reclaimed wood. This is my dream cabinet. In America you can find reclaimed stuff at lots of stores, Sundance comes to mind (here).
7. Glass display bell jars. Or you may call them glass domes, cake domes, cloches, they go by many names. My goodness, these are everywhere and used for everything! Cakes, cupcakes, books, flowers, trinkets, there is no end to the creative uses of display domes. Those with a black base are common (my favorites are from House Doctor in Denmark) or you can find the domes sold without a base and then you place them on top of white ceramic cake stands, for instance. For the romantics, you have ones that are etched with a handle. For the modernists, you have the smooth domes without etching and no handle on top and for everyone else you have those with a round knob on top to use as a handle but no etching on the glass.
8. Liberty-esque prints. Whether from Liberty (my preference) or not, you cannot avoid the sweetness and popularity of tiny floral prints that seem to be everywhere these days from clothing stores like H&M to fabric shops and home accessories stores. Introduce them in small ways in the home and you’ll go far – as napkin ring holders, wallpaper behind your guest bed, lining in a drawer. That way, your home won’t come across too girly. Mix tiny florals with solids, stripes and over-scale florals to “grow them up” a bit, too.
What trends have you spotted that you love and that you not only see in Europe but in America or wherever you live, too? I’ve just skimmed the surface, there are so many more!
Oh and while I’m at it — here’s a bonus trend – APPLE CRATES! Read all about those here.
(images linked to their sources above.)