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Justin Bernhaut {Photographer}

One of my goals for decor8 this year is to spotlight more of my favorite photographers because I don’t think most of them get nearly the credit they deserve. I mean c’mon, these are the peeps showing us the world through their lens, their talent is what drives us to purchase some of our most cherished magazines each month. What good would a design magazine be without photos? One photographer that I found through the pages of Domino magazine last year is Justin Bernhaut. Interior photography is very competitive and demanding — one of the greatest challenges is lighting. No doubt working in a confined space, perfect exposure — making sure the color is captured correctly, and of course excellent composition plays a part in the creation of a perfect shot. Justin seems to excel in all of these areas. He’s brilliant.

Remember Domino’s Woodycrest project? Back in January ’07, Domino magazine teamed up with 8 interior designers and several companies who donated their talent and products ($650,000 in donations!) to transform apartments in a 40-unit apartment building in South Bronx for families living with HIV and AIDS. I thought this was the best project ever, I hope they sponsor another one because everyone should have an opportunity to live in a space that makes them feel at peace but also supported on every level. Anyway, Justin photographed all of the rooms for the spread that appeared in the magazine so some of these shots below you may recognize from Woodycrest. If you missed that issue, the slideshow is online here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Justin, he is represented by Anyway Artists in New York City and you can view his portfolio online here. His food photography is not to be missed, I tried to sneak it in some of the collages I’ve arranged above. :)

(images from justin bernhaut for anyway artists)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, walls on February 07, 2008

Brandi Strickland

Not quite neon, not entirely a pastel, these vibrant paintings fall in a place between all that and for me it’s one of my favorite places right now as I’m so inspired lately by pastels turned up a few notches. Etsy calls this trend Nu Rave Neon.

What makes the art of Brandi Strickland so appealing in addition to the obvious is that these are original watercolors (not prints!) and they are under $100. These are the artists to look for on Etsy when you want to start an art collection, reasonable and beautiful work that is one-of-a-kind. I love my prints, don’t get me wrong, but nothing is as precious as an original piece of work in my opinion. We Grow On Trees and Home is Where are my absolute favorites, punchy, happy, lots of personality.

(images from brandi strickland)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, etsy, walls on February 06, 2008

Donna Compton

One look at Donna Compton’s work this morning and I was sold: I immediately purchased some postcards for my inspiration board and to keep on file for tucking into future gifts.

I can’t get enough of flowers, ask anyone who knows me — I was called the flower girl at work since I religiously organized weekly flower swaps with with other ladies in my office for years. Plus my mother has a background in floral design so I was influenced by her skillful arrangements growing up. I’m also big on fresh flowers in my home, have to have them. When I’m in Germany the first thing I do is go to our storage room there and pull out my blue vase and bring it over to our hotel where it sits on my desk for two months with fresh flowers filling it weekly. I’m not a plant person oddly enough, but flowers are my guilty pleasure.

Just last month, I ‘subscribed’ to a new flower service where my friend (who happens to be an amazing Boston-based floral designer) delivers flowers to my home almost weekly. This service keeps me sane during the winter. I feel depressed when I don’t see them in my vase. Donna’s postcards are the next best thing. Just look at them – the beauty and clarity, it’s almost like the real thing. Perfect to keep near the monitor during long winters as these beauties most certainly help to push our thoughts into Spring.

Sorry but I had to include lots of her images because they’re just so creative and colorful. Thanks so much for lovely Irene at Bloesem for telling us about Donna. :)

(images from donna compton)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, etsy, stationery, walls on February 06, 2008

Samantha Hahn {artist}

Happy! Color! Spring! Samantha! I recently contacted talented artist Samantha Hahn about her work, this lady has a super impressive bio — she received her fine arts degree in illustration from Syracuse University and went on to obtain her M.A. in Art Education at Columbia University. Samantha is not only a smartie and extremely talented, but she’s also nice and easy going, a real charmer. Her warmth really shows in her work, just look at these colors!

Samantha does figurative oil painting, freelance illustration, and crafts. She also teaches art and authors her own blog called Maquette. After finding her over on Absolutely Beautiful Things, I immediately contacted Samantha because I wanted to inquire about purchasing some of her work. She was such a pleasure to deal with online that I ordered two 11 x 17 matte prints of Dancing Girl and Beehive Girl (they’re $100 each in case you are interested, free shipping.) She’s working on opening an online store to make it easier for customers, but for now you can email her directly. She’s in the midst of relocating from Manhattan to Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, but she’s still pretty speedy when it comes to answering her emails. (info AT

I don’t know about you, but when I like someone I’m that much more interested in owning their work. You know the human element, the whole reason why I shop from an independent artist in the first place. Sure I like their work, but if after a few emails or a quick conversation at an opening or craft fair I find that I also like them (their spirit, hard to explain, but you know what I mean – it’s chemistry maybe?) then I’m sold. I own most of my art for life so when I look at it I want to recall fond exchanges. I believe in owning things that give me positive memories. If I associate a negative experience with something, no matter how valuable, I sell or donate it. Hasta la vista! Fortunately, I’ve only had to kick out a few material possessions in my life because they reminded me of someone that I dated for nearly my entire twenties before I met my husband and despite an amicable parting, I wanted to leave the past in the past. I won’t own anything that I associate with an experience that makes me uncomfortable or recalls memories that stunt my progress in one way or another. Are you this way too?

Now back to the lovely Samantha… If you’re looking to start building an art collection, or you just need some color and pattern in your home, consider Samantha Hahn and her work. It’s really bright and cheery but also sophisticated and modern enough to fit into a range of decors. I can’t think of a better way to usher in Spring that to have a print of hers framed over a credenza or bed, i.e. installed above the Harlow table from Ballard Designs topped with an arrangement of fresh flowers. Gorgeousness!

(images from samantha hahn)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, walls on February 04, 2008


Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.


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