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5 Sunday Things That Make Me Happy

Sundays are always so pleasant in Germany. I’ve been living here from my native Boston for just over five years and the slowness of Sunday has always inspired me. Most shops are closed except for the flower shops and bakeries, as German tradition dating back many years say that on Sunday you are to visit the ill, your family, and then after the visit, go for a nature walk together. So cake and flowers are certainly mandatory offerings for such visits, which is why these establishments keep their doors open for a few hours each Sunday. I really love a day where you feel like there is a page break between last week and the week ahead. Like Monday begins a new chapter because Sunday concluded the week. While I’m waiting for our family to come by with some cake (the baby gets a visit from grandma/oma each week), I want to share five very random things that made me feel joyful today.

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1. This gorgeous photo of Amber Rose in celebration of her new book, Nourish: Mind, Body and Soul. I love the basket, her outfit, the color palette. It’s so inviting. There is so much coziness in this single shot. The stunning cover over this book, another favorite thing, is below.

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2. This print from my class. Tomorrow my month-long e-course, Blog Boss, concludes. We taught 400 students worldwide how to blog like a boss. It was so much fun, I loved all of the hard work of my students. In every class, I hire a graphic designer to design prints themed around the class that students can have to download, print and frame or tack to their pinboard. This is one of them from this class that Corina made for us. She made several more, all of them look quite different, so I can’t wait to show my students all of them tomorrow. But seriously, isn’t this one lovely?

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3. These holiday orbs filled with cut papers and pretty things are by Ashley Goldberg — I loved them the moment I saw them on her Facebook update today and had to share. I’ve done this before, only with little plastic deer and clippings from pine trees inside, but this is equally darling.

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4. This book cover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on my knees begging politely asking my publisher for a jacket on one of my decorating books like this above. Three books later, I’ve not yet won. Ok so I’m not complaining, I know they have their reasons, but someday I hope I get my dream cover. Patience… I just SO love book covers like this – the simplicity of the words combined with the busy collage of inspiring shots. Do you like this too or are you a fan of the more traditional single shot full page image with a title overlay? I like both but also love experimenting with something that feels fresh that not everyone else has.

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5. My beautiful son! Look at those feet and his adorableness! He seems to love my camera and lens cap, he is studying it here (right before it went into his mouth since he is teething). Aidan turned 9 months old today and I nearly cried because he started taking his first steps! It was so cute, he was marching around as I held his arms, just like Max from Where The Wild Things Are. So I had to put on his metallic leather crown and let the wild rumpus begin! I kept saying he’d be walking by Christmas because he is such a little overachiever (he started crawling as 6 months to the day) so this came at no surprise when he stood up while I was taking photos of him and boom – one foot, then the other, then the other, forward forward forward. Seriously this is the stuff that nothing materially can give you – it’s a joy I’ve never known. I am so touched by motherhood and the emotional roller coaster of it all.

Why didn’t I just pin these on Pinterest and skip posting here altogether? Isn’t that the trend these days? Pinterest is great but it also has cased a lot of us to stop the conversation. We just post and pin stuff but we don’t take the time as we once did to say WHY we like something, WHY it moves us, WHY we are drawn towards it. These conversations still need to happen. There is more than meets the eye to visuals, no matter how beautiful. The pretty girl isn’t interesting until she has something intelligent to SAY. The handsome man in the corner booth is only as good as he looks if he speaks kindly to others. Pinterest is only skin deep.

Hope your Sunday is slow and meaningful.

xo, Holly

(images linked to their sources above. photo of my son by me)

Posted in inspiration on November 09, 2014

Before + After: My Entry With Golden Pineapple Wallpaper By Aimee Wilder

Want to see some embarrassing before photos of my home followed by some inspiring after ones? Okay so I’m totally psyched to share this with you because I love, love, love working on decorating projects and this wallpaper project, which I’ve teamed up with Aimee Wilder in Brooklyn on, is just bananas. Or in this case, pineapples. Remember this paper from the other day?

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That’s what has transformed my entry. But truthfully, outside of designing my son’s nursery before his arrival this year, I’ve not done much of anything in my home except think about things I need to do before I lose my mind. Despite my love of motherhood, I also love my home. I can’t deal when rooms are upside down or incomplete, this makes me feel chaotic in my head. Can you relate? Home is my sanctuary, my place of love, peace, dreams and aspirations. If it’s a cluttered dump or piled with half-finished projects, I can’t give 100% to my family, friends or job.

And you know that expression, don’t do anything half ass – use your whole ass.

So I decided to use ALL of mine and work on a project this week that has been annoying me the most – my depressingly unwelcoming entryway. But first. Three truths.

  1. I rent.
  2. We aren’t moving anytime soon.
  3. I have to live my life NOW because none of us are getting any younger.

BAM! All are challenges and inspirations. And they affected this project. I think the hardest thing is to pay for stuff in a rental that you can’t take with you when you move. But unless you imagine having the same wallpaper on your walls for the REST OF YOUR LIFE then wallpaper really isn’t as hard to commit to as you may think. Sure, it’s an investment. But it’s a bigger emotional investment to come home to a space that doesn’t have YOU written all over it. That is depressing. It drains you.

I have this philosophy that I’ve written in my books already but in case you missed it, I believe that if you make your home a great place, even if it’s a rental, you will become more successful in other areas of your life. That may sound really far out, but in my life, it’s just how it is. I have always been the most productive, the slimmest, had the most money and been the most energetic when I lived in a space that was decorated and organized well. My hope is that this wallpaper will make me rich and thin. (smile)

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I’m also not one to wait until I own my home before I properly decorate it. Never have been. I remember gut renovating my first apartment when I was 22 years old living on my own in Boston. While I won’t install something like a new bathroom into a rental, I am willing to work on smallish projects that have major impact. Like paint and wallpaper. And while wallpaper and installation aren’t cheap by any means, it is so worth it to do at least one complete room in a home and/or a feature wall somewhere. I have one wall in my tiny half bath with wallpaper and now, my entryway in giant golden pineapples – and to borrow from Jerry MaGuire – It “completes me”.

Am I crazy? Yup. Positively mad.

But that’s a good thing because crazy people take risks and have more fun. Just like no one ever wrote a song about a skinny flat butt, no one ever wrote a hit song, film script or book about a normal person doing normal things. Bleh. We all crave a little crazy.

Where I’m from (I grew up in South Carolina), a pineapple was the welcoming fruit. It meant hello, we love ya, have some iced tea on our front porch, tell us about your day. We had a brass pineapple door knocker (always). We had a brass pineapple on own living room bookcase because that was the 80s, brass was were it was at. I’ve never not lived in a home without a pineapple somewhere – until now. I gave away my gorgeous white ceramic pineapple to a friend before I relocated to Germany and I’ve missed having it around. Seeing one always made me think happy thoughts associated with home and love. My fruity talisman. And now I have a billion of them! The moment I step into my home I’m greeted with an explosive reminder of warmth, welcome and love. Everywhere. It’s bonkers and I love it. When I walk in, my view sure has changed from before…

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Above: The view from the main stairwell into our apartment after I’ve opened our double doors. 

This transformation was done by removing an ugly unused radiator from the right wall, stripping old wood chip wallpaper off the walls and replacing it pineapples and getting an inexpensive pendant from a local shop, handmade in Thailand. Now I can’t wait to finish the room with furniture, a rug, coat hook, etc. I’ll show you the finished room soon! But doesn’t it make a huge difference to add a little wallpaper?

Designer: Aimee Wilder
Wallpaper: Piña Sola
Color: Spinx
Note: You can order a sample, single roll, double roll, or a gorgeous sheet of it if you don’t want to wallpaper with it but frame instead which would be gorgeous. Please note: I didn’t install the paper myself, I hired out for the work, so if you ask me questions about installation I’m not your girl. All I can say is that this is the most gorgeous paper and in person it’s even more stunning than in my snapshots.

I’d like to thank Aimee Wilder and her team for sponsoring this project by donating this beautiful wallpaper. I contacted them with my idea and they were so supportive and lovely, which gave even more good energy to the project. Thank you ladies!

SO DO YOU LIKE IT?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

 

Posted in walls on November 07, 2014

8 Easy Steps For Planning A Gallery Style Art Wall

I’m working together with Minted to present a series of posts on decor8 about planning and installing affordable, beautiful framed art at home with prints by artists far and wide. This is the first of three posts where I provide quick and easy advice on how I plan gallery style art wall because there is a rhyme and reason to it regardless of how many times you hear designers instructing you to just wing it. That may work, but only after your wall has a ton of nail holes and spackle marks.

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To be fair, yes designers CAN wing it. But that’s only after installing dozens of art walls for clients — after awhile you can eyeball stuff and intuitively know where it should hang.  But there are still some ground rules that are followed in the selection and arrangement whether the designer realizes it or not. Because that designer had to learn in the beginning and you can believe they learned art wall 101 – the importance of balance, telling a story through the work, hanging the focal point piece at eye level, etc. And they learned through a ton of trial, error and spackle paste.

HOW DO YOU PLAN AN ART WALL? 

I don’t know about you, but I rummage through what I currently own that hasn’t been hung yet, or in this case, I go and buy it all at once because I have a deadline and need to get my work studio finished by the end of November. No time to build my collection over time. And I see no problem with that. I’m buying prints, not fine art originals, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of thought behind each piece other than, Do I love it? Yes. Do the colors work? Yes. Does it work with what I’m already planning to use? Yes. Then it’s onto size, type of framing, with it be matted, etc. So when it comes to planning, the first step is to love the work and find the right spot for it in your home.

HOW DO I SELECT THE RIGHT WORK?

My first thought for this particular project was: what do I want this room to convey? Energy and joy. This is quickest to achieve through color and works that don’t take themselves too seriously. So no portraits of people, no black and white city views, nothing that makes you think too hard. I wanted a wall that you would look at quickly and simply feel energized and happy. Not much more. No story telling or deep emotional tales of love and war. I guess if you call my wall a person, she would be Cameron Diaz. Peppy, happy, fun, not too deep, a twinkle in her eye, feminine, free-spirited, energetic as all hell.

WHAT IS YOUR THEME OR MOOD?

Questions worth asking when choosing art for a salon style wall include: Do you plan to show favorite patterns and shapes, colors or a theme -like that you love to travel? Are you showing only family photos? Do you want to mix paintings with photography? Will you mix original works with prints and even three dimensional objects, like porcelain objects, old keys, rulers, etc.? For my wall, I’m going to mix in three dimensional objects after I install the wall, but for now I’m simply planning out the art and I’ll fill the spaces after everything is up. I like to work backwards sometimes. My theme is around patterns and shapes but beyond that, it was a mood I was going for: energy and joy.

WHAT ABOUT FRAMES?

As far as frame colors go, neutrals all tend to work well together – white, natural wood and black. When you introduce metallics, stained woods, colored frames, etc. things can start to become visually distracting. In most cases, you don’t want the frame to be the focal point, but the artwork inside. I believe the frame shouldn’t contrast with the art too much, unless you are working with a monochromatic scheme (black art, white frame). So if you have a dark plum-color painting then having it framed in natural wood or black is more complementary and warmer – a stark white frame would make the contrast too great in my opinion.

For my project, I wanted to mix and match the frames, mostly white since I thought they’d stand out nicely against the slightly gray walls in this space and I wanted some with wooden frames to complement the sideboard. Frame width is also important. Do you want it super slim, a few inches wide, or wider? Lots of country-style frames tend to be wood and very thick – almost like four barn floor planks made into a frame. Modern art galleries favor super slim frames for works-behind-glass. Like pencil width. It’s your choice and really about preference more than anything. If you like it, who cares if it’s not typical or common.

HOW ABOUT MATTING?

I like work that is framed and matted but I also am happy with just frames. For these works, I went with just frames. I like the look of work filling the entire area.  Mostly, when I do go with matting I go with pure white or linen. It depends on the print and the room, but either works very nicely. White shows off the work 100%, linen adds texture and warmth.

HOW DO YOU PLAN OUT AND INSTALL A GALLERY WALL?

If you lack patience like me, you can “wing it”. Planning complicates the process for me. The only real planning I do is that I measure the wall and then use Photoshop to mock up how I see the art (not 100% to scale but somewhat). I usually gather all of the work together in front of where I plan to install it and lay it out on the floor, playing with the arrangement until it looks right. In this case, I used my dining room tables since the art wall will go above the sideboard. If winging it isn’t your plan of attack, here are 8 steps so you can plan it like the pros.

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HOW TO PLAN A GALLERY ART WALL IN 8 STEPS:

 

1.  SIZE MATTERS: Measure the wall area where you plan to install the art

2.  HUNT & GATHER: Gather large pieces of solid paper in white or brown — so wrapping paper, butcher paper, any large pieces you can find, and tape them all together to form one very large sheet of paper. This will most likely be about the size of a bed when you are finished.

3.  GET LAID: Lay all of your art on the paper and move it around until it looks good. Until the arrangement speaks to you.(In my case, I laid all of my art out on the table directly in front of the wall where I plan to install it.)

4.  HOCUS FOCUS: Make sure the focal point of your salon grouping (the boldest piece) is hung at eye level either in the center of the arrangement or slightly off center- and then place all pieces around it from there.

5.  THAT’S TIGHT: For a tight grouping of art, try places them 3” apart. I don’t suggest planning your salon style wall in a symmetrical arrangement – it’s too hard to get right and a bit boring. I think the best spacing between frames is around 4-5” apart because then each piece can breath.

6.  TRACE ELEMENTS: After the art is laid out in an arrangement that you like, trace all of the frames with a black magic marker (quick drying).

7.  I’LL STICK YOU: The next step is to stick the massive sheet of paper* to the wall, in the exact position where the art will go. Tape it using painter’s tape so it doesn’t tear the wall when you remove it. Make sure the art heights and distances between pieces look right.

8.  WELL HUNG: Hang the art directly over the paper with nails and then carefully cut out or tear down the paper when all of the art is hung. You should be left with an art wall with work in all the right places. If not, then lather, rinse and repeat. It may take a little tweaking – my first gallery style art wall was a hot mess.

In my second post in this series, I’ll link you up to all of the works that I selected at Minted along with the frame styles and sizes. My final post of this series will be the big reveal, so stay tuned!

A big thanks to Minted for sponsoring my salon style art wall project.

* An alternative to a large sheet of paper is to use brown paper bags from the grocery store, cut them to be the same size as the art, and move them around on the wall until they look right.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in diy on November 06, 2014

8 Things I Found This Past Weekend

I really enjoyed the first installation of 8 Things I Found This Past Weekend so I decided to do another and maybe I’ll continue with these because I love sharing bits of the precious, unique, interesting and/or simply cool stuff that I discover. Plus, I love to shop for myself, my family and friends which means I come across a lot of good stuff in my pursuit of cute. Here are 8 things that made me smile, I hope they do the same for you.

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1. iPAD SLEEVE. Finally! I found the perfect soft gold leather sleeve for my iPad and a big bonus, it has an interiors scene on the inside. I purchased it at Raumformplan in Hannover, it’s a Dutch brand called Keecie. I’ve also ordered this in minty dusty green from the Keecie web shop today to pop in my handbag to hold my iPhone 6 Plus – it’s the perfect size.

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2. GIFT BAGS + TAGS. I bought these from Ferm Living for gift giving – a nice change from the typical gift bags with ribbon handles. I love the geometric tags and stickers too.

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3. COOKBOOK. Karen Mordechai, whom I’ve met in person several times (she is as lovely as you’d expect!) wrote her debut book, Sunday Suppers, named after the supper club she started that sells out each time she throws one in her super bombastic Brooklyn studio. This woman is a dynamo. This cookbook is gorgeous. A big thanks to her literary agent for passing a copy along to me.

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4. NESTING DOLLS. I picked up these plastic animal nesting dolls at a favorite local shop called Goldfisch in Hannover (Linden). They are from a Swedish brand called OMM Design.

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5. CARDS. I found these cards at another great shop in Hannover (Linden) called Gunilla. I love that 3 out of 4 of them have stuff that you can remove and use. They are by Petra Boase in the UK.

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6. MINI SUITCASE. I just had to have this little hedgehog suitcase for Aidan’s room. We have these critters running around outside, you’ll find them in gardens and in the forest behind my house, and I just adore them. This was also from the Hannover shop, Goldfisch, but the label inside traces its origins to the Dot Com Gift Shop.

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7. BABY BOOTS. After spending way too much money on handmade leather shoes for my crawling baby boy, I decided that it was just plan frivolous spending to spend so much money on shoes for a child that doesn’t even walk. Since we still take him to the sandbox in the playground, and for long stroller rides each day, his little feet still need protecting from the elements. I found these beige boots at our local H&M and fell in love with not only the low price but how adorbable they look on his tiny legs with his leggings tucked into them. It is way more fun than I imagined to dress a little boy.

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8. WALLPAPER. This golden pineapple wallpaper, Pina Sola, by Aimee Wilder is being installed in my entryway AS I TYPE THIS. I can’t WAIT to show you guys the before and after. You can follow the progress on my Instagram account @decor8. My current entry way does not say WELCOME, it says GO AWAY. That had to change. Why not use an emblem of hospitality, and something that connects me to my southern heritage – the pineapple?

Hope you enjoyed my finds! Spot anything you love?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in round-up on November 05, 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.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!