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Old Furniture, New Life

I was so happy when I came across a lovely article in Boston Magazine today featuring the New Hampshire summer home of my friend and interior designer, Fernanda Bourlet, from Simplemente Blanco. You have to click here to read and see the many photos of her white-washed interiors, but a favorite photo had to be shared below… And in a moment I’ll tell you why I love it so much.

fea_fernanda2

Why I love it: Okay, aside from the fact that it’s white and I love a few white pieces of wooden furniture in my home… I really like that the piece is old and was painted to give it a fresh, new life. I imagine it was once very dark brown and for me, it wouldn’t be the same piece and would look a bit granny in brown. But in white, it looks current and fresh and fits perfectly in Fernanda’s country farmhouse. I like the combination of both straight and curvy lines along with the glass front so one can show off prized treasures inside… The rugged leather suitcase on top and the dainty vintage lamp top it off so nicely – understated yet charming. And the birch in the corner, how lovely is that? Here’s another great example from Fernanda’s home…

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I know lots of people see cabinets painted white and right away think Shabby Chic or Country Style but I look at them and think of how unique these pieces can become when given a few coats of paint. For instance, imagine this in glossy black? Or lacquered canary yellow? Maybe a matte gray? There are so many options, you could even wallpaper the interior of the glass cabinet for a little ka-pow! While I wouldn’t paint a prized antique – most of the stuff I see that’s been painted and/or restored genuinely needed love and new paint saved them from abandonment in the attic.

Now that I’m moving, all I can think about is changing up my interiors, painting walls and furniture, and making everything more interesting. I badly needed to freshen my space and purge of stuff I’d grown tired of so moving gives me the perfect chance to do precisely that. And though I sprained my ankle last night (great timing, right?) and will be limping around for 6-8 weeks, and my baby is due in 11 weeks, I’m surprisingly optimistic and excited about this move. The wood flooring will be installed this week – so things are moving along. I honestly can’t wait – I keep going upstairs (we have the keys now) to look around and measure and just BE in the space so it slowly becomes more familiar to me. It’s such a luxury to have this property while we still live two floors down – so we have several weeks to get everything together. With winter coming, and the Christmas markets beginning here November 25th, I have to stick to my spreadsheet and keep ticking things off because it’s so easy to get distracted by the holidays and the many fests here. And my mom will be visiting for a few months after our son is born, so I also have to prep the guest bedroom for her! Busy times people. Let’s hope I can manage all of this!

Do you have a piece of furniture that you’ve painted and given new life too? Please share a photo and tell us what you did in the comments section below. I’d love to peek!

(images: Nat Rea for boston magazine)

Posted in uncategorized on November 10, 2013

Have a Great Weekend + We’re Moving!

Hello friends! It’s been so nice to spend the week with you. I’m off now to enjoy a little weekend time with friends and family, but I wanted to pop in to wish you a very happy weekend and to say that I hope you find something inspirational and magical out there so that once Monday morning rolls in, you truly feel like you had a great few days off. I approach each weekend with the goal to do something, at least one thing, that is really inspirational and emotionally “filling” so that a weekend doesn’t end up a big blur or errands and stress. Maybe you can approach them in the same manner if you don’t already? Especially now as the holidays draw closer and things are about to go from normal to totally bonkers.

BYW_Welcome1

I want to mention, because lots of you are asking about my pregnancy and ability to work at my desk so much, that my laptop has been my best friend lately as I’m now teaching Blogging Your Way online for the next month and I like jumping around my workroom to sit in different areas depending on how I feel or how active the baby is. Sometimes when he is kicking a lot, I don’t like to sit on my Eames chair at my long work table (shown above) but prefer the Herman Miller ergonomic one at my desk, instead. Other times I like to stand and work, so I put my laptop on my counter in the kitchen! Whatever works, right?

Oh and BY THE WAY… We are moving! Oh. My. Goodness. Right? So I won’t have the baby room finished and ready for you until around Christmas, but once it’s ready I’ll do a tour of his room and show you some of the renovations and etc. along the way in the rest of the space. We have only this month and December to strip wallpaper, refinish walls, paint 9 rooms, a kitchen pantry, a hallway and 2 bathrooms. We are also having hardwood floors installed in part of the new apartment in the hallway and 3 bedrooms so that the entire apartment has wood flooring and not just the front rooms (currently the back rooms are linoleum that is 10 years old and looks like wood – it’s pretty rough looking to put it kindly). In this apartment, most of the rooms will have a different wall color (more or less) and I’m adding wallpaper so my days of only pure white walls are over for now because unlike my current one, the apartment gets tons of light and is much brighter and because it’s only a few floors up (yay!) it’s the same layout as this apartment so I can have wall color now without worrying about making the place feel dark and dreary. Yay!

We have all of the painting to do (we’re hiring help, we’re not doing this ourselves) this month and then the first few weeks of December, the new flooring will go in. We selected the flooring yesterday with the carpenter – they look really nice. When the floors are being installed, I’ll start packing and we’ll move slowly over the course of Christmas and the first week of January. Again, it’s only a few floors upstairs from here (we have 4 floors in our building, we’ll be on the 3rd which in Germany is called Etage 2), so it won’t be that stressful – we just need movers but no moving truck! Then I’ll unpack and try to pull the house together in a flash – I’m plotting out the floor plans now and getting all of my ideas in order. Then my bouncing baby boy should arrive during the final week of January so we seriously have to hustle.

Yes, it will be nuts, I am nuts to do this maybe, but I love this kind of “stress” because it involves change, decorating and fast decision-stuff which fuels me, so I’m not worried. Plus, I’m not working after December 1 – just blogging on decor8 – but I’m taking December – March completely OFF other than decor8 – so I won’t have books to write, classes to teach or clients to work for. I’m also not accepting more magazine work until Spring. By moving, we don’t have to put our baby in the tiny closet-sized guest bedroom that is cold and not so pretty – he will have his own big, sunny and lovely bedroom. I want him to love his room and want to play in there as he gets older and who knows when we’ll ever buy a house, so there is no time like the present and great apartments do not list here very often so we had to say YES. :)

This is about to get real, y’all!

Have a wonderful weekend – and I’ll see you again on Monday!

xo,
Holly

(photo: holly becker)

Posted in uncategorized on November 02, 2013

Friday Farewell!

Hello and happy Friday everyone! It seems most of us bloggers have stopped writing our final post for the week on Fridays, have you noticed? I’m guilty of this as well so I plan to begin them again because I miss it plus it’s like NOT saying bye to a good friend and just leaving the room. No more naughty bad-manners here, I’m back to my Friday farewells. What will you do this weekend? I don’t know how exciting this is to share… But we are going to hospitals tomorrow as part of a big “open house tour” so we can choose where I’ll be giving birth to our baby in January. It’s exciting but also very surreal and kind of strange, honestly.

Happy Friday

Picking out a hospital? Thinking about a specific one for very specific reasons? Birth classes? Pregnancy yoga (which I just started doing today with Tara Lee)? There is so much to think about and do but I’m trying to stay zen and just enjoy the process and do only what I need to do and skip the rest. I think intuition has to be the drive in most things parenting-related, don’t you? But picking a hospital is a must, so we’re going to the one where Thorsten was born and to two others that were recommended to us. My husband is quite excited to tour hospitals tomorrow, which hey I’m not going to steal his thunder but I can’t say I share his zeal… YET. Maybe once I see the maternity wards and all of the cute babies I’ll be all up into that.  Another cute thing about my husband lately is that he loves to dance with me in the kitchen when we cook and he rubs my belly several times a day telling me how beautiful I am. It’s like now that I look pregnant since my belly has really popped he’s completely into it. It’s like when cold weather comes, and it snows, and Santa shows up for photos then it FEELS like Christmas. In a way, I guess I’m the merry pregnant lady with rosy cheeks bringing joy in my sleigh complete with a belly that rivals Mr. Claus. Ho Ho Ho.

Aside from hospital tours, we’re also going to look at a new apartment – yes, really and yes, we’re crazy! This would mean that we’d move and renovate BEFORE the baby arrives so it would also mean we’ll be working nonstop from November until January 1st to prep and then, move, unpack and decorate with our baby boy due on January 31st. Am I crazy? Is this baby hormones? Yes and yes. BUT if the apartment is right, we’ve decided to just go for it because it will mean that my baby will have a normal-sized, lovely bedroom vs. the current shoebox he’ll have to occupy for as long as we live here. It also means wayyyy more sunlight since it’s on a higher floor and a private balcony. So we’ll see.

Outside of hospitals and housing (eek) I plan to have a really restful and peaceful weekend. More yoga, more candles and healthy foods, more nesting/organizing and maybe a Barbra Streisand film and a freshly baked cake to finish the weekend off on Sunday.

Next week on decor8, I have a gorgeous home tour for you, a trend report, some news on our apartment and whether we’ll move or not and I have a HUGE surprise to reveal on Tuesday that I am SO PROUD to share that I can hardly wait. How’s that for a Friday Farewell??? Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

xo,
Holly

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(photo: holly becker)

Posted in uncategorized on October 25, 2013

The Results Are In! Boy or Girl?

Hello my dear friends! I have been wanting to tell you the good news about our baby – we will have a baby boy! We just found out last Wednesday and had promised to tell our family first before taking the news online so that we didn’t hurt the feelings of our in-laws (as you can understand). But wow, how much I’ve wanted to tell you since last Wednesday! It’s been hard to control myself.

Zara Mini

My mother guessed it was a boy and so did my mother-in-law, in fact when I was 6 weeks pregnant my MIL gave me a pair of little baby boy shoes and I asked her, “Why!?” and she said she thinks it will be a boy! Yeah, it was a little interesting to say the least… Such an early prediction, but she meant no harm and was just having fun with us – BUT both mothers were right! And a little secret is that I also knew early on. I told my husband the second we found out that we were having a boy and I kept referring to our baby as he, our boy, son, etc. It is just a feeling I had, though really only a good guess. I wanted a boy OR a girl equally, I had NO preference whatsoever – just a healthy child. That’s still all I think about – healthy and happy.

Zara mini

We also have a name but are waiting until the day he arrives so he is the one to hear it first from our mouths. We want to keep some things in our life secret, it feels nice to have your own couples secret, don’t you think? Do you want to hear how we chose the name? It’s fascinating! For a few weeks, I started to research names and so did my husband. I was on a bevy of websites and he was using websites and a baby names app. After much research from us both, and ZERO discussion about it, we both were sitting at the breakfast table recently and he said he thinks he has a nice name in mind if it really is a boy. I asked him what it was and when he said the very name I had chosen (without his knowledge), I nearly fell out of my chair. This is a name neither of us have ever heard of, or read or saw in a film or anything and absolutely nothing associated with our families. I ran to my bedroom to grab my iPhone to show him the name I had put in my Notes and he smiled. It was the same name.

How’s that for a good story?

I have one final bit of news to share. I’ve started writing a journal to my baby boy. I’m telling him about how I feel now, my pregnancy, things his daddy and I talk about, what I’m doing, etc. I hope to share it with him someday when he is old enough to understand it and cherish my words. I’m writing in a beautiful journal that I was given by the shop owner of Astier de Villatte in Paris back in February 2012 when I was styling their shop for my book. I had been saving the journal ever since for a special moment, and you really cannot get more special than this!

As I’ve said all along, the baby’s gender WAS NEVER IMPORTANT to me. I would have been thrilled to have a girl, too! Gender is a non-issue, good health is the most important. So I’ve been taking extra good care of myself and feeling stronger and healthier each day. But when the doctor asked me last week if we wanted to know, well… We said YES! Especially since we are having our baby in the dead of winter and need to make preparations in advance so we can really nest this winter and not have to run around after the baby arrives to shop for necessities, this takes an incredible lift off of us.

So that is my news. I’ll be back tomorrow with a gorgeous home tour and some more goodies. And by the way, if you are looking for darling baby clothes, I just had a great time shopping the new MINI collection over at Zara. Super sweet stuff.

(photos: zara mini)

Posted in uncategorized on September 23, 2013

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