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Daily Discounts: Pink Loves Brown {+ studio tour}

I have a total girl crush on Nicole Balch, the brains and the hotness behind the brand Pink Loves Brown and the blog Making It Lovely. Nicole is a really nice and supportive person and I’ve always liked her Chicago home (I think it’s so cute) and how sweet her stationery line is. Have you seen her new sets with the adorable suitcases? Oh you must. Look…

And here are some of her products…

And this is where all the magic happens in her 1920’s bungalow in Chicago in a charming pink office.

So now for the really fun part… Nicole is cutting us a discount! Oh yes! Use code “iIheartdecor8″ to save 20% on everything in her online shop. Offer is valid until November 21, 2008. Nicole ships outside of the U.S. too. Yay! Have fun and pick up some paper suitcases for me…

(images from nicole at pink loves brown)

Posted in Home Tours, uncategorized, workspace on November 12, 2008

Your Office: Make It Pretty & Functional

Let’s talk about your home workspace for a moment, shall we? What does it look like? Is it accomplishing what you need it to? Are you proud of it or are you a blurred streak running to shut the door to contain the chaos whenever friends drop by? It doesn’t have to be the room of terror. Sometimes it only takes an afternoon of organizing and updating to give your room a ‘magazine’ touch that still feels human. Why not feel pride for the space you call your own? It doesn’t have to be perfect or even tidy, but it does have to inspire you and support your goals or else what’s the point of spending time in there, right!?

While I cannot visit you at home to help organize and decorate your office, I can at least encourage you to start by clearing unnecessary clutter and to gain control over the chaos. Take a good hard look at your chair, is it comfortable? Do you have a mood board that inspires you or have you not updated it in eight months? Is the paint color on the walls a good hue for working or could you try a fresh, new color? How about the lighting (most important after seating) – You can easily update your lighting on a budget by visiting your local IKEA or Target store.

When I help friends and clients update their office space, I question them pretty much to death and then take my handy clipboard along for a complete tour. I draw 3 columns on a page listing all of the things that I see that do not work and the things that do, along with a third column of what could be improved but isn’t absolutely needed right away. I also photograph the space and look at the photos on my home computer afterwards because I often find hidden flaws that I missed with my naked eye.

I encourage you to be your own decorator and inspect your space in a similar manner. You can even photograph it and share it on your blog or on Flickr, etc. to see what your online buddies have to say. Your goal is to make your home office completely work for you, you shouldn’t dread opening the door each morning and you certainly shouldn’t have to hide it from visitors!

This is a little ‘quick makeover’ tip I do at home myself — I’ve talked about it here on decor8 before… I have a piece of glass cut to fit the top of my desk and each month I change the theme by switching out the fabric, wallpaper, or wrapping paper that I place between the desktop and the glass. It’s a really inexpensive way to spruce up your space (once the initial glass top is purchased).

Of course, I cannot simply talk about pretty offices. I must show you a few of my favorites from a site I like to look at for inspiration called House to Home. I’ve already showed you a few above, more will follow below. If you are as visual as I am, you’ll walk away feeling like ripping apart your office and transforming it into your personal paradise. Here in Germany I’m about to carve out a little workspace for myself so when I finish it, I’ll show you my work spot here. Give me a week or two though, I still haven’t located a desk and a proper chair, but I did find an amazing vintage 1950’s mirror to go over it, just you wait because I know you’ll LOVE it when I show you…

A simple shutter from a home store or a flea market can make a nice memo/inspiration board for the desk.

Style your inspiration board in a way that not only stimulates your imagination, but provides a nice focal point for the room. A bright lampshade on a simple lamp base perks up a desk.

My love of maps and vintage charts as decor runs deep (see this post for more inspiration), so of course this office caught my eye. You can also use maps as wallpaper and paste them on an entire wall, something that’s been a bit of a trend over the past year or so.

A unique rug in a floral shape paired with a bold print over the desk (adhere your favorite fabric over foam core for example) and you have a few places for the eye to travel, avoiding the clutter on your desktop! Globes as decor are still a pretty hot trend, esp. vintage ones.

This office is a little to sterile for my tastes, but I appreciate the layout and love the picture ledges shown. Simple ledges or a shelf from IKEA can transform a space dramatically. Best part, you do not have to constantly hammer new holes in the wall when you want to rearrange your art work, just lean them on the wall using a shelf with a ‘lip’ or ledge and you can arrange them in a new way whenever the mood strikes you.

For some work areas, clutter is part of life because one may need many materials to perform their job (such as a seamstress or painter) and cannot bother with being overly neat. We all work differently, there is no right or wrong way to arrange your work space (with the exception of ergonomics, one must always give consideration to how they are working so please educate yourself about this to avoid potential health problems). However if you are feeling less productive in your space lately, or discouraged by its arrangement, no worries… A simple day set aside to access and organize your room can work magic. Ask a friend who has an office you envy to give you some advice or better yet, see if she’ll stop over to give you some hands-on advice. In exchange, you can bake her your best cookies or offer to babysit for an evening so she can have an evening to herself. When it comes to where you dream, imagine, connect, create… You should like the spot you’ve carved out so you can do your best work.

We’re about to approach a long weekend soon (Labor Day in the states, first weekend of September), so why not spend that extra day off sprucing up your workspace? If you have a before and after photo, send it over… I just may show it here on decor8 as an example of what a little creativity and hard work can do. :)

(All images from House to Home, permission given by Claire Toms.)

Posted in workspace on August 29, 2008

Inspired by Whitney English

Today I’m inspired by Whitney English. I just had a peek over at the blog of this talented stationery designer and was blown away by the beauty I found there. Talk about inspirational work settings! She features office products, stationery, paper stores, and a few home offices along with interviews of those who work within such cute spaces. It appears as though “Desk” is a new series she is running that will showcase pretty offices and those who maintain them.

I am a huge fan of the Yvestown blog so I was pleasantly surprised to find her workspace featured on Whitney’s blog (photos above).

I like the art over this desk, especially the print that reads, “Don’t put off your happy life“. Good daily reminder to keep in front of you each day I think. :) Seeing all of her books and personal items makes me miss my massive collection of books back in America, all waiting for my return in December. I found out that Amazon.de stocks books in English now, so I’m placing an order today for books that I can store here in my German apartment. Life isn’t the same without books around you, is it!?

So yes, I’m back to blogging again here on decor8. So going forward, posts will once again by authored by me primarily with the occasional friend or two popping in from time to time. But it’s back to the regularly scheduled decor8 everyone! Thank you for giving such a warm welcome to each of my guest bloggers through your comments and link backs, it really made it nice for them and for me to know that they were well taken care of while I was away on vacation.

xo,
Holly

(images from yvestown)

Posted in blogs, stationery, workspace on August 28, 2008

My Office Update for Under $200

Hello there! It’s me Nicole again from Making it Lovely. I’m transforming my so-so house into a lovely home, and I thought I’d share a little of my process with you while Holly’s away!

My office was one of the first rooms I finished when my husband and I moved into our home last year. As you know, I own Pink Loves Brown and I work from home, so I needed my office to be functional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t put all that much thought into the design of it. It’s really not that bad, but I’m ready for a change.

(photo by Evan Thomas, from my Apartment Therapy House Tour last year)

Here’s my office as it is now:

The basics of the room will be staying. That means I’ll be keeping my desk, chair, bookshelf, lamp, and several other items. I’m even keeping the paint color! Normally, paint would be the first thing to go because it’s such an easy way to change a room for little money, but I think the color will work really well so it’s staying!

I’m only changing four things. That’s it! I think it will make enough of a difference to keep me happy for a while though.

I can make the curtains out of Robert Kaufman’s Purple Utopia fabric for about $50 and then splurge on a Thomas Paul Flourish violet linen pillow for $100. I’ll attempt to make a slipcover for my desk chair (around $10), and then I’ll pick up a new Helmer drawer unit in white from IKEA for $40. The red one I have now could be spray painted if I wanted to do this all for even less, but I actually need another draw unit in my studio so I’ll just bring the old one up there.

So with two purchases, two sewing projects, and $200, I can have a whole new look! That is unless I change my mind and go with something else first. It’s been known to happen. ;) So what do you think about my office ideas? What are some quick changes you’ve made to spruce up your home office lately?

(images linked to sources above, layout and text by nicole)

Posted in Decorating Tips, guest bloggers, workspace on August 26, 2008

Books:

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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