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Distant: Turkish Boutique in LA

August 1, 2006

Distant: Turkish Boutique in LA
While wrapping up my work for today, I was sorting through emails and noticed several finds from Daily Candy that I’d missed this week. That’s when I spotted a write-up about Distant, a lovely store located in LA, and I couldn’t pass by posting it — the store photo looks so enticing! I want to visit – it’s not filled to the brim with trendy goods from top designers, rather it’s mostly Turkish imports! Refreshing to see products that aren’t familiar sometimes. Often, I feel like every store I step into lately is a copy of the last five I shopped. Same labels, same textiles, same… same… same… Distant is different, and sometimes when you need to break away from the norm, import stores do the trick. I think you can successfully blend imports with the big names as well, especially if you stick with a color palette and work from it. Keep your large prints to a minimum and use shelves to organize your international finds instead of scattering them throughout your space. Do you like to shop for imports? If so, what country interests you?

(image from distant)


See Jane Work (it out!) With Contemporary Office Products

August 1, 2006

See Jane Work (it out!) With Contemporary Office Products
I haven’t talked about See Jane Work in awhile, so it’s time to peek in on Jane and see what she’s up to these days. Seems as though she’s prepping the college set for looking cool as they head back to school with her contemporary office finds. I love the small disposable clipboard (also available in large), short pencils, and these super cool task clips in bright colors that help you sort through all those papers on your desk (and look cute doing it!). College bound or not, we all need help tidying up our work space, and with these punchy colors, cleaning up never looked so fun!

See Jane Work (it out!) With Contemporary Office Products
Need office design inspiration? Check in monthly with Jane as she posts her desk of the month. Here’s Jane’s desk for August: College Bound (recreate the look here). I love the blue walls with the red dot bulletin boards – I noticed that these boards are sold unnumbered though, so this is a very cool decorating idea – just add vinyl peel on/off letters or numbers. Have fun!

See Jane Work (it out!) With Contemporary Office Products
(images from see jane work)

Bloggers, Interviews, uncategorized

Jennifer Sbranti Blog

August 1, 2006

Jennifer Sbranti Blog
I discovered Jennifer a few weeks ago when she commented here on decor8. Since I always click on the name of the person commenting (I’m curious), I found Jennifer’s hostess with the mostess blog. I was first attracted by the colors (obviously) and then as I started reading it I noticed her party theme and that she is brand new blogger, so I immediately knew I had to introduce her to all of you! A few emails later, and here she is, blog of the week. If you’d like a shot of inspiration today, grab a cup of tea and tune out the rest of the world for 5 minutes while you meet Jennifer Sbranti. Ready?

decor8:I can’t wait to get started today, Jennifer. Your blog and website are great, I’m sure with so many creative and talented decor8 readers out there, many doing what you do, they’ll enjoy meeting you. Tell us about yourself…

jennifer: Sure! My name is Jennifer Sbranti and I?m a 28-year old, self-employed graphic/web designer. I live in San Diego, California with my very funny and supportive husband of almost 6 years ? Sonny – and our 2 adorable and ridiculously spoiled yellow labs – Jazz and Max. I studied fine arts & graphic design at the University of San Diego and a couple years later took a short web design program at the Academy of Web Design San Francisco, which was a 2 hour commute (roundtrip) at the time on top of a full-time job (perpetual bags under the eyes!), but ended up being one of the most beneficial steps in my career-path by far.

decor8: Tell us more… What are some things that you’re interested in?

jennifer: I adore interior design and find myself wanting to re-decorate our home every time a new West Elm, Chiasso, Inhabit, or Crate & Barrel catalog comes out! And now that I?ve discovered the world of amazing design blogs, my bank account?s in even more trouble! My other big passion in life is entertaining and celebrating with friends and family. I?ll jump on any excuse to throw a party and love coming up with unique themes and finding cool tabletop and party decor. I recently found a fabulous decorative tray at Target and am currently working up an excuse to throw a cocktail party so I can use it.

decor8: It sounds like you are finished with school and have moved on to bigger and better things. Tell us about what you do for a living…

jennifer: I have a steady stream of graphic/web design business that is my main source of income. I founded Sbranti Design in 2002 after a sudden diagnosis of epilepsy at age 23 left me unable to drive to my regular job for about 9 months. That cloud definitely had a silver lining though ? because I love working for myself! I work longer hours and harder than ever, but it?s so much more rewarding both personally and financially.

decor8: Being able to work from home is most certainly a blessing! You mentioned that you live in San Diego (I stayed there last summer in Little Italy by the way, I love your city!). What do you like about it there? Have you always lived there?

jennifer: I?m originally a NorCal girl from a small town near Sacramento, but I live in San Diego now and absolutely love it here! The weather is beautiful, the ocean and beach are nearby, and the overall vibe of the city is kick-back and somehow ?happy.? Even more importantly, though ? we have a great group of friends that live somewhere in the span of San Diego to LA, which makes it feel even more like home.

Jennifer Sbranti Blog
decor8: Now let’s talk about your blog, hostess with the mostess, the decor8 blog of the week. Tell us what you blog is about why you started blogging. When did you start?

jennifer: I?m actually still quite new to the world of blogging and have only been on the bandwagon for a little over a month ? but I?m loving it so far! My blog is about finding and showcasing hip, modern and unique products and ideas for contemporary entertaining, and it?s actually the first step in a ?big picture? project that I?m currently in the process of developing ? which is a website called ? and is scheduled to launch sometime this October. The fabulous finds blog will be a big part of the ?main? hostess website once it launches ? and the website will also have other features like great party themes laid out in detail, a forum where fellow hostesses can share tips and ideas and featured hostess interviews, and will hopefully serve as a great source of inspiration for anyone from party gurus to the ?obligatory? hostess who finds herself needing to host a bridal or baby shower for a loved one and has no idea where to start! My style is very clean and modern, so the party themes and ideas will have a very ?mod? vibe to them ? just like the blog.

decor8: You’ll have to let us know when you launch. That sounds like a great business opportunity, I’ve not heard of a site like that out there yet, so perhaps you’re first to market! What are some things you love about blogging?

jennifer: Instant gratification! It?s great to find something amazing and be able to share it with others right away in quick bits of information. I also love the sense of ?community? that I can already see even after a short time of blogging. It seems that bloggers really support each other and I often see the same people posting comments on each other?s blogs and sharing tips and finds, which is great.

decor8: I totally agree with you on all points. What are you trying to accomplish through your blog?

jennifer: I?m trying to create a resource for people that appreciate modern design and are looking for cool products to use at their next get-together. I?m hoping the featured products and ideas will get them even more excited about their next event and will inspire more excuses to get-together and celebrate with friends and family. I also want it to be a great resource for gift ideas – I?ve found myself struggling to find unique hostess gifts from time to time, so the site will also feature cool gift ideas to give to your favorite hostess that are a fresh change from the typical bottle of wine or house plant? as well as fabulous gift wrap and thank-you cards. And, of course, being a graphic designer ? I want it to look great and serve up good eye-candy for readers!

Jennifer Sbranti Blog
Can you tell us about your website, Sbranti Design, and how you are using your blog to tie into your business?

jennifer: Sure. Sbranti Design is my company website that showcases some of my regular design work and helps me get the projects that pay the bills. Currently I have my blog as the featured project on my home page ? which I?m hoping will garner some interest from my clients and the prospective clients that visit my regular website. I?ve had a lot of people visit my blog after seeing it on my website ? and the fact that they know me or know of me already when they?re visiting my regular website makes them even more interested in visiting the blog.

decor8: With the many design blogs out there, what sets yours apart from the rest?

jennifer: I think the fact that it?s focused on just showcasing products geared towards social entertaining ? with a hip, contemporary style ? is what sets it apart.

decor8: I agree. I like your focus on entertaining, it encourages us to do something that really enhances our life – spending time with friends and family. I think I know already, but how would you describe your design style?

jennifer: Definitely clean and modern ? but I like a mix of vintage and modern too, just nothing that?s overly busy. If there?s a great printed pattern/textile design, I have to see it balanced out with some white space or a solid hue. As far as my graphic/web design work goes, my work definitely leans more towards the feminine side ? still clean and modern, but the feminine touch is usually pretty obvious.

decor8: How are you marketing your graphic design services, the blog, and your website?

jennifer: Well, so far for both my business and my blog it?s been mainly referrals and word of mouth ? my friends have been great and I?m starting to feel the ?ripple? effect when one person tells their friends and then their friends tell other people and the cycle continues. However, one of my good friends ? Jennifer Zankan of Jeneration PR ? is a public relations guru and she?s starting to drum up a proactive pr plan for the blog and the new website when it launches! Once she gets going, there?s no stopping that girl ? so I?m very lucky to have an ace in my pocket!

decor8: With a pr queen to back you up, I’m sure you’ll be huge! Do you have any favorite designers or artists that inspire you and why?

jennifer: I love contemporary designers like Jonathan Adler, Angela Adams, Todd Oldham, Marimekko and Thomas O?Brien because of their clean product lines and ?sleek? sense of style and use of bold, modern textile designs.

decor8: We share many favorites! What advice can you give decor8 readers who may be considering starting their own business?

jennifer: Make sure you do what you love ? because you?re going to spend a lot of time not only ?doing? it but also ?caring? for it and making sure it survives and grows. Don?t stress yourself out financially more than you need to at first. Before you get started, make sure you have saved enough money to pay your bills for the first few of months so that you can make ends meet while you?re building your business. Do what you love! Be prepared to work longer hours. It?s great to work for yourself, don?t get me wrong ? but when it?s just you and everything depends on you ? there are a lot more responsibilities so prepare yourself for all the ?little? things like invoicing, customer service, taking out the trash… And I can?t say it enough… Do what you love!

decor8: You sound like a very cheery person. Let’s say your feeling really down. What do you do to lift your spirits?

jennifer: Sometimes I just have to go for a run or do a kick-boxing class and that?s all I need to clear my head or get frustrations out. Other times I need ?friend time? and love to go see funny movies of chick flicks with friends. If I feel like I want to be alone, I?ll browse the design books section at Barnes + Noble or wander around West Elm, IKEA, or Hold It Contemporary Home ? one of my favorite home decor stores in San Diego.

decor8: I’m a huge fan of Hold It myself, that shop was amazing, and I just love the image on their homepage. Okay, we’ve heard a bit about what you’re good at, let’s hear about five subjects that you’d like to learn…

jennifer: 1 + 2. Textile Design and Product Manufacturing: I?d love to make my own line of table linens and dishware one day. 3. Jewelry design: I?m a total accessories junkie! 4. Music: there?s so much to learn! I?d love to play an instrument again. I took piano for 7 years when I was very young and would love to take it up again or learn to play the guitar. 5. Entrepreneurship: I find the ins and outs of what makes a business sink, float, or swim very interesting ? plus, it?s exciting to try to introduce something new to the world or build a brand from the ground up!

decor8: What a great chat we’ve had. I’m happy to meet you. To wrap things up, what are you top ten indulgences?

jennifer: Costume jewelry, Marzipan (almost any flavor) cakes and cookies, designer jeans, designer bedding, fabric wall hangings, letterpress stationery, great hand bags, red wine, amazing gift wrap (that?s sometimes as expensive as the gift!), and HBO/Showtime (Entourage, Sex + the City, Weeds).

Best wishes on your new website Jennifer, and with your blog!

If anyone has questions for Jennifer, please ask her by commenting below – she’ll answer!

(images from sbranti design)


ask decor8: Good Design Books?

August 1, 2006

ask decor8: Good Design Books?
Viviane wrote in asking, “I would like to begin to “improve” my apartment by redecorating it myself a bit. Which interior design books can you suggest for a lay person?”

Viviane, good news! I’ve been working on a list now for several months over at Amazon, it’s called decor8: My Picks for Design Addicts. It’s a work in process, I add to it as I discover new ones (or remember ones from the past). I hope my book list over on Amazon is a good start for you.

Of course, decor8 readers are a savvy bunch. I’m sure some of them can give you a tip or two.

Anyone want to help out Viviane?


coffee + cre8tive {aug 1 ’06}

August 1, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {aug 1 '06}

It’s August, time to start thinking about how you’ll update your space for the Fall/Winter season, especially since stores are starting to mark down summer merchandise and will soon be adding (some already have!) Fall items. Summer calls for light airy prints, lots of linen, canvas and breezy cotton, cooler tones, and lots of fresh flowers. Fall is a bit different, you start mixing in warmer tones, introduce heavier textiles (velvet, lined silk, layering your drapes), and infuse your space with that special Autumn glow through various metals and textures.

How do you add fresh touches to your space without spending a lot of money? For me, it’s always pillows, fresh seasonal flowers, a wool or felt sofa throw to replace the current cotton one, stacking new design books on my table with spines that coordinate with the darker tones in the room (filing current ones back into the bookcase), changing my table linens, and layering my drapes (currently, I have floral sheers, I layer these with panels in the cooler months).

Of course, I also live in New England, and up here, the seasonal change is very obvious. We’re more motivated to alter our design each season. Our trees slowly start to display vivid tones of red, orange, yellow… The air becomes very cool and crisp, the smell of warm spiced pumpkin and baked apples seem to float along in the breeze. I know, sounds so quaint and charming, but honestly, it is (smile). New Englanders anticipate Fall, we love the harvest months for the beauty and change, and for me, a it’s a nice time to refresh my space. If you live in the southern states (I grew up in South Carolina on the ocean), you may not feel the need to alter much when it comes to your space, especially when you have palm trees 365 days a year that are always green and perky.

Any tips you care to share on this topic – seasonal updates? We’d all love to hear what you have to say! How do you refresh your space for the Fall/Winter season?

Happy August!


Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler

July 31, 2006

Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy ButlerSome of you may wonder why the delay for the review… Well, I didn’t want to post it until Amy officially released her book – which happens to be today! I’ve actually been dying to share it with you since I’ve had it for a few months (I was sent an advanced copy) – I’ve been quite anxious to talk about it! If you’re a decor8 regular, you know I’m a huge Amy Butler fan. I think her prints and patterns are just delicious, and now that she has a second book on the market, I know it’s only going to fuel my desire to sew more, especially over the winter. With beautiful fabric and now, this great book, Amy gives you two major ingrediants for designing some cool stuff for yourself, friends, and for your pad. Now you just need to make time and pull out that sewing machine.

Amy Butler’s InStitches features nearly 30 sewing projects that are stylish and functional, from a cool kitty tunnel to an awesome patchwork duvet and a CD/desktop organizer.

kitty tunnel
Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler

When you first crack open this beautiful book, you have a pocket on the left side (opposite of cover) with all of the patterns that you’ll need to get started on your project. Each project in the book has its own pattern, as well as very detailed instructions and illustrations showing the more complicated steps, plus a photo showing the finished product. All of the photography in this book is stunning, and I love how Amy groups each project by category, i.e. Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Office and finally, Personal Style.

The book opens with a discussion on fabric, where Amy dishes about finding fabric, caring for it, using it, trims, notions, etc. The book closes with Simple Techniques And Basic Equipment, which defines the terms used throughout the book, and finally with Resources, which lists all of the retail and online stores that carry not only her fabrics, but many other beautiful lines as well.

Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler
Things that I love about the book:

* It’s actually a book that includes patterns so it’s an amazing deal! Patterns can add up ($), so to find a book with nearly 30 of them (for $15!) is a total bargain.

* Detailed instructions. Easy to follow. Illustrations for complicated parts.

Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler
* Spiral spine. On the outside, the book has a beautiful hard edge spine. But there’s a surprise! When you open the book, it’s actually spiral bound. Perfect idea for following each step of the project without the book closing up on you.

* Each pattern is brand spankin’ new. If you’re an Amy fan and already have some of her patterns, don’t worry, they aren’t included in this book. All of these patterns and projects are fresh off the press.

* Great variety of projects. Stitch a checkbook cover, bag, scarf, duvet, pillow, laundry bag, etc. All are items that you’ll use frequently. Even something for kitty.

* Suits all levels. I do suggest you learn to sew and have some classes or experience under your belt before taking on this book though, as it can be overwhelming if you don’t have skill (yet). If you do sew, but not often, and find yourself at beginner’s level, start on a project that’s more straight forward without too much detail, like the placemats or dinner napkins. If you are a bit more advanced, you can try the pom pom pillows or bedside organizer. For the pros out there, stitch up the wide leg lounge pants or the patchwork duvet (which is stunning).

Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler
This book is one that all who love to sew (or have an interest in learning) should add to their library. You’ll find so much inspiration by the photos alone, and with the array of projects with step by step instruction, you’ll only run into one problem. What to sew first?

Want the book? It’s available right here at Amazon for only $15.74 (list price is $24.95).

patchwork duvet

Book of the Week: InStitches By Amy Butler

(images copyright holly becker decor8 2006)

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