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coffee + cre8tive {nov 28 06}

While researching bathtubs at the Boston Design Center yesterday, the experience of showroom browsing further impressed upon me how I feel about decorating the home. Design is very personal and should be viewed as an extension of who you are vs. who you think you are or who you want to be. I don’t know why that hit me yesterday stronger than ever, but it did. Maybe it was the lady I watched barking at the sales professional because she needed the exact room on display and how dare he say the sofa is no longer available in blue velvet! Yes, many are like this lady. Lost deep in a design hole, with no clue that design isn’t heat-n-eat, but takes time and patience to evolve.

Example. Some people live in bare boring apartments for many years and then, almost overnight, decide to buy everything they need to create a trendy space because they suddenly feel the need to grow up and impress others. If that’s you, consider this. I had a 38-year-old client in the same situation. Yes, 38. She was put under pressure by her manager to hold a holiday party at her home a few years back and hired me to transform her apartment into a hip pad. Of course, I knew how to approach it and what steps to take, but I found it sad that she was only doing it to impress others. Insta-design, as I call it, may certainly trick house guests but for the more intuitive set, we can tell when rooms aren’t genuine or personal, when there’s no depth. After the process was complete, she realized how she’d been short changing herself all of these years by not embracing her home. Now, she reads my blog and collects things whenever she travels to add to her space. She is free because she is finally living in her rooms.

The best spaces I’ve visited are the ones that have stories to tell – stories that go beyond last year. The dweller slowly built their collections over a period of time. Items picked up 4 years ago at a flea market. Art purchased in college at a fair. Your embroidered bib, given to you by your mother, that you’ve framed for the new nursery. Textiles handed down from grandparents. Books collected since teengage years. When I step into homes like this, I want to explore and ask questions. I want to know the person.

Design, at least through my lens, is all about the need to surface what I’m feeling on the inside, along with memories I’ve built over the years, and create a home sanctuary in which all that I think and feel is in view. These items all serve as reminders, not only of my own roots and progress (sometimes we can lose touch), but to give visitors a clue about who I am.

Decorating the home is much like writing a diary or creating zines and books from scratch. On one side, you are pulling from within – so many personal reflections, adventures, even some sad moments, and revealing those things to others. You don’t always know just how much of yourself to put out there, but you make decisions along the way and hopefully they are the right ones. On the other side, it’s also very revealing because you are pulling all that is personal to you and displaying it for the world to see. Takes courage to display your sock monkey collection, doesn’t it? Any home can be an ‘overnight success’, but I prefer the longer route, when time is needed for the design to evolve.

Think of a home that you love. It could be a friend, or something you’d spotted in a magazine like ReadyMade, Living Etc, and Domino. Doesn’t it radiate the person living in it, on all levels, right down to their scent?

Today, I encourage you to think about how your home is evolving. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve taken the ‘heat ‘n eat’ road in the past, you can resolve today to infuse a little more YOU into your space. You may think it’s dumb, but do a bit of an inventory. Walk around your home with pen and paper in hand, and write down what you don’t like about it. Be specific. Write down the items that make you feel drained or sad. Perhaps they hold bad memories or you just no longer enjoy them. Those are the items I put on detention for awhile – I pull them from the space and put them in the closet or in the attic for a month or two. Then, I revisit the item and if I still feel the same, it goes to charity or craigslist. The point here is to design for yourself and for your family. Show all that you love in your home. You shouldn’t live around things you don’t care about or love. You are only the age you are today one time in your life. Tomorrow, you will be older. Life is moving forward.

My husband once told me that I had a habit of putting dreams and ideas on hold until a future date when circumstances would somehow be ‘perfect’ then. He told me back then that there’s no future ‘magic time’ when you should start officially living your life and doing all that you love and living in an environment that meets your standards. That time is already here. It’s called Today.


With that being said, anyone have a room in thier home they’d like to share that has evolved over time? OR Do you have a space you need opinions on? A little design direction? We’d love to post and comment about them! Email me at decor8blog AT yahoo DOT com and I may post it here on decor8 with a link to wherever you sit on the web (your blog, business, etc.).

(image from bdc showroom lee jofa.)

Posted in inspiration on November 28, 2006
decor8 shop

coffee + cre8tive {nov 27 ’06}

Hello and welcome back from the long weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for a new week to begin. I’ll be out and about all day today, but I want to share with you Kendra Binney. She has affordable works on Etsy that are just great for those of you looking for affordable cuteness for the walls. I picked up a few over the weekend, as they make great gifts, so you may want to check out Miss Kendra and her lovely works!

(images from kendra binney)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, etsy on November 27, 2006

{mini break}

The flight is over. Finally, I’m back home again after two lovely* months in Germany, and although I will miss my life there and the European pace of things, I certainly have missed my world here in the states. We arrived home to two boxes stuffed with mail (not mailbox, but moving size boxes), phone calls to return, projects to complete, an assignment to get started on, blog updates (including many things I found in Germany and the Netherlands that I still need to share with you – expect a lot over the course of the next month), and a slew of other things to do as I get back in step with life here, so please bare with me over the next week. I hope to be up and blogging again on Monday or Tuesday.

Guess what? I’ve removed comment moderation from this blog. Frankly I am over the occasional spammer or bitter comment. I just don’t care anymore. I’ve reasoned that it’s not fair to build a protective hedge around this blog, everyone should be able to post freely. As for the unkind visitors or spam freaks, I will simply click delete because there is enough hate in the world and negativity – I refuse to allow it to spew forth on my blog. If a comment is one that offers value, shows support, lends constructive criticism, a word of kindness, advice, correction, etc. that is fine because I encourage comments like these to be left freely and often. It helps me to better understand all of you better and it helps you to quickly respond to eachother without having to wait for moderation from me. This is our space to share freely going forward. No more walls. I’m sorry if moderating this blog in the past made anyone feel like they couldn’t participate. Please do.

In addition, I thought the blog could use a freshen up so I’ve worked with a graphic designer to assist me in the creation of seasonal banners. I hope you enjoy the new look, although it will update again next week since I’d like to eliminate the white space below the banner and tighten it up a bit by reducing the banner height. But I love the fox and all the pretty snowflakes, and of course the tree – all hold deep meaning to me that I won’t go into here – but they just do. In general, it makes me happy to see this pretty winter scene and even happier that my good friend in Minneapolis, Brent, designed it for me. Brent is in LA now enjoying the good life in the sun with all the beautiful people, but as soon as he returns home next week, he’ll help me revise the banner a bit and we’ll be fully up and running here with the final. Let me know what you think.

Now that I’m home I just want to give a tiny shout out to my friends back in Germany and the Netherlands, including a few new ones that I met through this blog while there (Danielle, Angie and the girls, bloodybunny and Mike in Berlin), you all truly made my stay a delight and I’ll be seeing you again in the future, you can bet on it.

So I’ll see everyone on Monday or Tuesday, but right now that’s not important because it’s time to enjoy this special part of year when friends and family gather together, the pace slows for a few days, apple pie is shared, and memories are made.

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends.

xo holly

*well sorta lovely. we nearly lost my husband’s brother in a horrible car crash, but fortunately he survived it. he’ll be in the hospital for at least another month, but should be walking and living a normal life before the new year.

(images are of my flickr faves)

Posted in uncategorized on November 23, 2006

Print In Fashion By Marnie Fogg

When I first came across ‘Print In Fashion‘ By Marnie Fogg, who is a a media consultant and a lecturer on fashion in the UK, via Print + Pattern, I knew I had to have it because it explores cutting-edge print design for fashion. C’mon. Does it get much better than that? Yes. Much.

Print In Fashion not only displays gorgeous images of exclusive archived materials from fashion and textile designers (which I expected), but it’s highly informative for anyone seeking a insider’s glimpse into the world of textile design (which I didn’t expect it to be quite so thorough – 5 stars!).

An essential guide to understanding textile design and how the developments in print, textures, and finishes are influencing fashion, you’ll learn the studio process, sources of inspiration, and interviews as well.

This delightful book is split into categories, which I really appreciate for quick reference, like ‘Abstract’ ‘Folklore’ ‘Vintage’ etc. You’ll find the works of design greats like Eley Kishimoto, Paul Smith, Orla Kiely (6 pages of Orla!), Ann Louise Roswald and many more – it’s jam packed with full-color prints and patterns that you’re going to love. I purchased my copy over at Amazon for a song ($16), in the book stores it’s near impossible to find one and if you do, expect to pay full price ($25).

psst: Marnie’s first book, Boutique: A ’60s Cultural Icon, is another great find (a few images shown below) and you can pick up a copy for under $6 on Amazon.

(images: print in fashion from holly becker for decor8. boutique images from

Posted in Books + Magazines, fashion + accessories, textiles on November 22, 2006


Available now on Amazon

Further editions available include: Portuguese, Danish, Czech, Slovak, French


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