As I am walking down a small alleyway in the heart of Victoria, British Columbia’s Chinatown, I am amazed as I step into this beautifully bright and open, perfectly simplistic yet creatively rich studio space. Hey guys, its Kelly Brown and I am back to share with you a favorite here at decor8, Leslie Shewring’s studio. You probably know Leslie from her and Holly’s book, Decorate With Flowers and now you can see the place where her creativity comes to life.
Her studio is like a crisp, white canvas, constantly changing and evolving depending on what projects she is working on. A woman of many talents, Leslie uses her studio for photography, styling, floral design and painting. Many of her paintings have been turned into fabrics and made into dresses, blankets, bags and adorable stuffed animals.
If you just can’t get enough of this woman’s style, you are in luck! Leslie is always posting to her instagram feed so check it out for a daily does of inspiration.
Even more exciting, Leslie will be teaching a photography and styling workshop with Ace Camps in Mexico next month and there are a couple spots left. For more information and to register visit here.
Thanks for sharing your gorgeous studio with us, Leslie! xo – Kelly
(images/text: Kelly Brown)
I’m so happy that it’s nearly the weekend because we’ll be visiting the Lüneburger Heide (or heath in English) with the baby. I love it there this time of year, imagine acres and acres of nothing but gorgeously wild heather growing thick all around you with the very rare, local Heidschnucke sheep native to Northern Germany casually grazing here and there. I’m hoping that, like our last visit in 2013 when I was 5 months pregnant, that this year the same big puffy white clouds will hang from bright blue skies in slightly crisp Autumn air. I vowed to return with the baby this year and walk the same path my pregnant feet carried me last year, and so I will. Plus, it’s nearly sweater weather so I’m in love. I picked up a gorgeous navy cashmere sweater the other day and can’t wait to wear it – I just need some Autumn boots. Any tips?
So let’s talk about decorating (always a fave topic around here!). I’m pulling together my new work studio because I realized when I had the baby that my studio isn’t really working for me and until I can find space outside of my home to work (I’m currently looking in Hannover for a office with a storefront to rent in List or Oststadt), I have to make THIS space work for me and my baby who spends a lot of time with me while I’m working from home. We don’t have childcare or send him to a crèche, so we’re doing 50/50 parenting and it’s working out great so far. Aidan will be 7 months old September 9 and life is pretty good despite how many people warned me that the first year with a baby is both heaven and well, hell. I’m having a hard time balancing things out, my roots are showing, my nails are screaming for some polish, I am still wearing my pregnancy jeans (yeah, I’m not proud of that but I’m also not ashamed), and with my window cleaner not showing up last week and my house cleaner being on vacation for a month now, the house isn’t looking so shiny lately and my work studio is littered with two monstrosity Fisher Price things that entertain my little boy while I write blog posts and sing him nursery rhymes simultaneously so he doesn’t feel dissed by the computer. Yet all of this seems so fun and natural and I could never go back to my old life. I thought my old life was so fancy and free but honestly, being on the other side of it with a baby, it was lonely and me-centric. I like having a baby to remind me that more important things exist and that very basic things are often the most important ones. When I watch his eyes light up as he does some crazy air tap dancing moves in his high chair as I introduce him to a new food (avocado yesterday, which he LOVED), I am reminded that even eating a simple piece of food should be pleasurable and worthy of a little tippity tap dance.
But back to the point. Decorating. My Studio. My color palette is above. What do you think of it (see above mood board)? I love it.
Colors: Mint, Nude, Blush, Coral, Shots of red, Shots of neon yellow, black, gray
Materials/Etc.: Natural wood, white glossy furniture, marble, metallic gold, lucite, glass, lots of pattern and fun!
Mood: Quirky, fun, a bit fashion, feminine but not little girl, artsy without the fartsy, bold yet soft, clean, functional.
I’ve been eyeing this palette since I was in Paris working a few years back. I was with my team and I was doing some styling work at Astier de Villatte for my book. It was such a great trip. And I ended up at Merci with James Leland Day having lunch. And I saw this very palette above splattered on the concrete floor in their women’s fashion section, photographed it with my iPhone and vowed to someday use it somewhere in my life. So now it will be in my office. Yeah to snappy pics on the road and Instagram! Here is the art I’ve selected for my art wall so far, it’s all from Minted. I went a little crazy! Once it all arrives, I’ll give you the sizes, frame types and names of all of the work so you can buy it. That will be in another post though next month. A girl needs time. Plus it’s all still being printed and framed in San Francisco and then, it will need to be shipped abroad to me in Germany. God I’m scared of what the VAT is going to cost! Some of the art will have natural wood frames and other, white. The art will go above this sideboard from Fashion For Home, Sideboard Helvig I. Most of you LOVED the sideboard I originally thought I’d go with, but then I decided that a few of you who loved this one below had some good points about the drawers and storage in general, so thank you for that. So I’m going with the Sideboard Helvig I. I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can show you how the art and the sideboard work together. Not ALL of the art will go over the sideboard, I have other walls in my room reserved for it as well as the adjacent workspace where I host workshops, so it will be evenly dispersed.
Okay so that’s where I’m at. I’ve ordered the sideboard and the art. Trust me, this took for damn ever. But I can’t wait to pull it all together. So now I’m on the prowl for a little two-seated sofa, a round sofa table, MAYBE a rug though I may just use the flokati that I no longer am using in Aidan’s room (unsure), and a new bookcase. I also plan to disassemble my work station (see my current work studio disaster here) and reconfig my desk. I have some cool stuff planned for the walls too.
Has it really been three days since my last blog post? My goodness where does the time go in the summer? I have been out so much with the baby and so active that time is just flying by. I’m almost looking forward to the cold months when we can spend more time indoors when time seems to almost slow down… Of course, when winter comes I’m suddenly wishing for summer back so I guess the point is to just enjoy life day-to-day, right? How are you doing? We are fine – Aidan is only 6 months old and has two teeth popping up, is learning to crawl and already all over his room and my office the second I put him down on the rug! It’s insane how quickly these darling babies grow yet at the same time each day feels so long when you’re ‘in’ it. I care for him full-time and work full-time, and sadly my cleaning lady has been visiting her family in Poland for the past month so I’ve been caring for the home too on top of it all so it’s been quite busy lately. I think when she returns next week I’ll have to jump up and down and kiss her!
So, here is the progress report for my office. I’ve decided to order a credenza and do a gallery wall over it. I’ve narrowed it down to a few from Fashion For Home. Do you want to see them? Right click on the image above to see these babies a little larger…Which do you like best? Sideboard Stig II #1, Sideboard Helvig I #2, Sideboard Stig I #3, Sideboard Helvig II #4 or Sideboard Loca #5? My vote is on 5 also shown below…
Curious to see what you think!
(images: fashion for home(
Readers crave transparency from bloggers. They say we bloggers only show the perfect, the styled, the beautiful. Not always. Today I’ll prove it. Here are some snapshots of my work space – or the two rooms in the front of my home with a workshop space doubling as a formal dining room where we host luncheons and dinner parties. And it’s a mess.
OFFICE SPACE NOTES: It is slowly driving me insane. It’s cluttered. It’s chaotic. The floor plan is wonky. It is NOT even close to being baby-proof. When Aidan plays I have to continuously turn around to watch him. When he is crawling around I cannot keep my eye closely on him. This all must change and it needs to change within the next 90 days so I’m doing a big purge, redesigning the space, and plan to have the office and workshop space of my dreams. Because if not now, when?
DINING SLASH WORKSHOP ROOM NOTES: It’s not where we eat each day. I mostly shoot photos and work on creative projects since the Loop table by HAY is very long (250 cm/98″) and the natural light is incredible all day in both rooms. The big white cabinet holds workshop supplies for when I teach. And though it may not look so horrible to you, I just don’t like this space as it currently stands.
FLOOR PLAN NOTES: I just sketched this out and scanned it in about ten minutes with the baby on my lap, so forgive me that it’s not to scale and not CADtastic like some designers. But I did open this post vowing transparency and when I’m about to decorate a space I never draw them beautifully. Still, it’s helpful for you to see. Okay so… The dining room floor plan with the table in the center is sorta the way it has to stay. I’m just unsure about having a bench beneath windows with a baby who will eventually be crawling up there and with windows so easily accessible that also have no screens, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that having a bench under the window is NOT ideal. Also I’m not entirely sure about the white cabinet. I see a credenza here with art and a huge mirror but I also must keep the white cabinet because it holds everything that I need to teach and work in this space.
As for the office floor plan, good LORD this needs help. My desk worked in the last apartment because it was an IKEA hack that my husband and I “designed” to fit perfectly in the recessed nook in the room in was made for. You may recall seeing it in Decorate Workshop. It was perfect there. But in this space, wrong! wrong! wrong! Plus, since having Aidan, I want to see him when I’m working or at least see something… like a window view or a view of the room, so I’m trying to decide what configuration will work the best. I’m thinking to deconstruct the IKEA hack and turn it into a credenza or a cabinet with marble or wood custom made for the top and pick up a new desk that will be placed in between the windows only coming out from the wall versus being flush against it. Then the back of my task chair will face the wall where the credenza will be (where the desk currently is). And where the IKEA PS cabinet (the one with all of the white mini drawers) is currently will be replaced by a sitting area with a small sofa with the back facing the double glass doors that lead into the living room, along with the rattan lounge chair and a new, small round sofa table and a small rug (not the current pink one). Not sure about the white round table, it doesn’t get a lot of use in this space but I sure do love it… But not everything will fit. Oh yeah, and the looming gray bookcase will be replaced with a less looming one (and one that is deeper). The cabinet with the black chalkboard doors that Leslie and I painted for a single photo that appeared in Decorate With Flowers will be painted another color and either kept in that space or moved into the guest bedroom, which is where I honestly thing it will work better. I just don’t see it in the redesign.
Gosh it feels almost therapeutic to spell all of this out on digital paper.
When we moved up here from downstairs, due to my absolute craving for tons of light (and we have it up here for sure) and better views of the city, AND the extra room for Aidan, I was ready to explode with baby – we moved January 9th and I had my son on February 9th. So we had like two seconds to unpack and pull stuff together. These two rooms are the result of throwing stuff together. When my little cutie arrived I didn’t care about my work studio. At all. For months. But now it’s been 6 months since his arrival and I’m caring about my work studio A LOT. LIKE CRAZY. I want to redecorate the entire house in fact, but I’m starting here because my work is a huge part of my life and in order to do the best work, I need a space that is organized, clutter-free and pretty. Before shooting these photos today, I have to admit that I spent 6 hours this weekend filling two trash bags with paperwork and magazines that I just couldn’t bear to have sitting on my desk any longer. It already feels so much lighter in this room.
So this is part one, the big before… I’ll show you what my inspirations are, a draft of the new floor plan and my mood board, all coming up later this month!
Any comments about this space that you’d like to share? Are you working on a room redux in your home? Tell me more!
(photos: holly becker)