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My Work Studio Redux: Before

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.

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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?

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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.

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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)

Posted in workspace on August 19, 2014

Germany’s Social Media Darling Lena Terlutter + BB Loves

You know how you’re looking for something inspirational and you just don’t find it? Because you’re looking to hard, right? Then the moment you stop looking KA-POW! The most interesting stuff falls dead on your lap and you’re like, “Oh my goodness this is the best thing ever!”. Today I want to share a really cool find with you discovered via Instagram. Lena Terlutter: She’s somewhat of a social media queen here in Germany, a blogger, a fashion model, mother of a 2-year-old daughter and wife living in Cologne, Germany who turned her online presence into a series of concept shops both in her city and online. With four stores and a book in the works, you have to give this lady a ton of credit for pursuing what she loves and juggling it all both online and off.

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In fact, I love watching clever ways that blogger’s monetize their sites to keep what they’re doing front and center, as a career, as something they can enjoy doing for a very long time. I’ve been wanting to open a shop in Hannover since 1999 when I first visited and met my husband! That’s a long time! Now that I’ve been living here for five years, I definitely imagine being a shop owner mommy with baby Aidan playing closely nearby as I write and produce my books and open the shop on Saturdays with new and exciting things each week – I have such a lovely concept with such special things planned – I will see my dream eventually, I just know it. But for now, I’m living vicariously through others like 31-year-old Lena Terlutter and one of her three shops in which she is the face of, BB Loves, Super Store, Boutique Belgique and Salon Sahnestück – all in Cologne!

What do you think about blogger’s opening retail shops?

(images: lena terlutter)

Posted in blogs on August 13, 2014

Happy French Gang + Free Shipping Until August 17th!

I’m so excited to introduce you to a new artist I’m currently supporting in my shop, textile artist Sandra from Happy French Gang. This is a label that this creative talent launched just last year. Her collection of yummy textiles – swaddle blankets, curtains, bunting, throws, pillows, bedspreads, etc. combine her laid back coastal California lifestyle with her French sense of chic. She makes all of her products by hand in San Francisco and dyes them in fabulous ways to create dreamy tints and tones of delicious sorbet hues with super bright edges, which is a fantastic little detail that I adore.

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I personally love and want the curtains custom made (which she offers) for my window and a big, fat blanket for Autumn!

If you buy anything from my shop until August 17th, whether it’s from Happy French Gang or another independent artist, then shipping is 100% free no matter where you live on this big happy planet. So…. Check out my shop to see what I’m stockin’ and load up now on handmade goods while shipping is free. Have fun!

(images: happy french gang)

Posted in shopping on August 12, 2014

Homes with Heart: Scandinavian Pretty Home Tour

If you love sweet pastels, Scandinavian style and the domestic talent that lies behind the blog Yvestown, then you’ll love this home tour because today I am taking you through Yvonne Eijkenduin’s beautiful Belgian abode. Hi guys, it’s Holly Marder back this month on decor8 with another home that’s nothing short of inspirational for my monthly Homes with Heart column. It’s fresh, summery and brimming over with heart. Let’s go, oh and you can click on any image to enlarge and pin!

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Photographer, blogger and author of the book Yvestown in de Keuken, Yvonne and husband Boris have poured their heart and soul over the past 6 years renovating their 1896 home on the Belgian border. Originally a six bedroom family home, the house was built for a family and their next door brewery. More than a century after it was first built, the Dutch couple (the home’s third owners) have tackled one section of the property at a time, reviving the home’s own original features and creating a space that exudes love, light and Yvonne’s feminine sense of style.

Whimsical florals layered upon a fresh white base set the stage for a striking collection of vintage finds as well as contemporary pieces. And though Yvonne can’t quite pinpoint the look of her interior to any singular style, she agrees with “Scandinavian Pretty”, a description once made of her home by Joanna Copestick, co-author of Decorate, in which Yvonne’s home featured. “It’s mix ‘n’ match, blending Scandinavian and English design styles,” she says.

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The first room in the house for renovating was the kitchen, undergoing a fresh color scheme of crisp white and blue, with hints of red, pink and mint green weaving it’s way through accessories and wallpaper. A zinc-topped kitchen island, open shelving and a traditional range hood gives the room a country look and feel, while wooden countertops, simple white cabinetry and clean lines make for a fuss-free, contemporary country kitchen. The fireplace doubles up as storage, where the couple stash cookbooks and mason jars. “I wanted too have a clean kitchen, that wasn’t too girly, mixing industrial, antique and modern styles,” says Yvonne. The blue door in the kitchen leads to the cheerful guest bathroom, employing a palette of pale blue and white, with charming Portuguese tiling underfoot.

Off the kitchen and in the mud room, a favourite piece adorns a Cath Kidston clad wall, Yvonne’s Tala Vegetable Rack which she picked up in an antiques shop on a trip to the UK. The rack is used to store the couple’s fruit and vegetables and has become one of their favourite vintage finds. “I love that it is in my favourite fire engine red and it looks so great against the floral wallpaper in our mud room. It’s very useful but also very photogenic.” Through the mudroom and into the back garden, Yvonne has poured her love of gardening into a thriving space offering fruits, vegetables and flowers in abundance.

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The living room is the couple’s most recent project. Walls were painted a soft creamy colour to add warmth to the large space, while white wooden floors and sporadic pops of pink make for a fresh and feminine space. A penchant for combining furniture styles, and a special sway towards vintage finds, the room effortlessly strikes the balance between the old and the new. Natural weave rugs ground each area and add texture to the space, while the couple’s mantle, refurbished with a fresh coat of paint, Cath Kidston wallpaper and a wood burning stove, breaks the space between the living and dining and creates a focal point. The vintage 1920s Ercol chair is a favourite.

“A vintage Ercol chair was on my wishlist for a very long time but I couldn’t find one in the Netherlands because they’re very British. I kept track of online marketplaces until I found one from a man who was selling his for an absolute steal at just 50 euros.” Yvonne had it reupholstered and it has found a permanent home in the couple’s living room. “I like the design, it’s quite Scandinavian in shape but it’s actually a quintessentially British piece. I always like to mix Nordic pieces with English, and it’s funny because the chair seems to have both of these qualities.”

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The newly renovated dining room features a pastel pink painted hutch custom made out of repurposed vintage wood, accented by a spray of vintage plates. “I think plates are a very nice decorating alternative instead of paintings and art. Sometimes you don’t want to eat off a pretty plate but would rather hang it on the wall because it’s a piece of art.” Yvonne has combined both new plates with favourite vintage pieces to modernise an old fashioned concept. The hutch houses a precious collection of vintage china which she has collected over several years. Yvonne began her collection of 1920s Johnson Bros china when they were relatively unpopular and she now has a complete set of what has become a rather valuable collection. “I was recently in the UK and was at a little antique shop that was asking about 15 pounds per plate. I feel as if I have a gold mine in my cabinet now!”

A vibrant acrylic painting in this space makes a striking statement atop a contemporary sideboard, a vignette which offsets the farmhouse farmhouse feel of the rest of the room.

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The second living space is where the couple come to relax, read and unwind. The piece of art above the piano is a piece by a close friend of Eijkenduijn’s, Dutch artist Auk van Hilten.

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Yvonne runs her blog Yvestown from the light and sunny front room, which features a French antique round table and mix of vintage chairs. Some of Yvonne’s favourite finds are her vintage Eames Bertoya wire chairs which she found on the Dutch online marketplace, Marktplaats. “I have wanted to buy a pair for quite some time because they are such a lovely design. When I finally found some for sale they were selling them in a set of four so I shared the purchase with a friend and we each kept two,” Yvonne explains. “In a way they are not really farmhouse vintage which is a style I like, but they compliment the rest of the pieces. They are still vintage but they have very clean lines and therefore go with a lot of things.”

The fire engine red bench is another favourite, the ‘Småland’ bench by the Swedish designer Yngve Ekstrom, scouted for Yvonne by her blogger pal Caroline from Lille Lykke. “I loved it immediately for it’s shape and the bentwood feel and went to pick it up right away for an absolute bargain, much less than it is worth.” Yvonne kept it’s vibrant red colour to add contrast to a wall of Cath Kidston floral wallpaper. “Every room in my home needs a bit of red to offset all the pastel colours.”

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Delicate floral wallpapers by Cath Kidston, Eijkenduijn’s favorite designer, can be seen throughout the couple’s home, bringing each space together to form one harmonious picture derived from a palette of pastels. “I just love her aesthetic, her clever floral patterns for the modern day women,” she says. “Cath Kidston is great for mixing and matching, and in combination with a lot of white.”

Eijkenduijn owes her interior design success to understanding her own style. “I know my style. I stick to the palette (white, pink, red, blue, green) and style and it just works,” she says. “If you have a good concept and it flows, stick to your guns.”

So what’s Yvonne’s secret when it comes to combining vintage pieces with newer items? “If you want to mix modern vintage with antique vintage, you have to make sure the lines are very clean. I don’t have a lot of frilly antiques, but I go for the cleaner lines with that Scandinavian feel to them.”

So guys! What do you think? I have visited Yvonne’s home several times now and never fail to be inspired by her consistent sense of style and all round love of interiors. Ah, and her cooking! Make sure you get your hands on a copy of her book. She has some delicious recipes and fabulous interior inspiration in there too.

Spot anything you love? Feel free to ask about it in the comments section below! - Holly

(photos/text: holly marder with the exception of 1st image by Yvonne Eijkenduijn)

Posted in Home Tours, Homes With Heart on August 07, 2014

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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