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How To Choose Art For Your Gallery Style Wall

Last we, I gave you a little decorating 101 with 8 Easy Steps For Planning A Gallery Style Art Wall, part of a series of three posts that I’m working on in collaboration with Minted to inspire all of you to be fearless with art and support independent artists through the purchasing of affordable prints – something I’ve been promoting on this blog for eons. This is part two and it’s all about choosing art for a gallery style arrangement.

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Decide on a theme – pick art that works together.

What do you want to say? Think of  a vibe, a mood, a style, a theme… For instance, you want this wall to showcase your love of travel. Or maybe it’s to display your son’s grade school art mixed in with modern art. Perhaps it’s black and white photography you’ve been collecting. Your love of abstract shapes and vibrant color. Whatever it is, try to find something, a red thread, that goes through each piece connecting them in some way. Even if only YOU see the connection, that’s okay, but there needs to be some meaning to you on an emotional level because that is why we display things on our wall in the first place right? Because we’ve emotionally made some connection to it – we like it – whether that be the color, mood, subject matter, whatever… It evokes emotion and that’s good. And in addition to emotion, the work as a whole should connect somehow. Like sure, you could display WWII photography alongside your daughter’s finger-paints, a standard issue Le Chat poster from your Paris vacay, a snapshot of your poodle, a Monet reproduction and nudes of gorgeous men all together on a dining room wall. I mean, it’s your home, your decision (no judgement!).

But.

Does this stuff really work in context, you know? Does it make some sense or tell a story or is everything its own focal point and together, the story becomes terribly muddy or chaotic even (and not in a good way)? Work that doesn’t fit together shouldn’t be displayed together.

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Mix and match.

Art prints, paintings, kids’ artwork, Polaroids, photographs, drawings, sketches, personal photos of a family trip. Mix it up and include what fits the story behind this wall of art your are creating. You can even frame precious mementos and include dimensional objects too – like a ceramic tile, a porcelain head, an old mirror.

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Decide on frames and mattes.

I’m not that bold with mixing frame styles, but perhaps you are. I like to stick to a few colors (white and natural wood) then through in a few color frames or black or something with a clean slim gold frame, for instance. Also decide on mattes. I think all mattes should be the same color on gallery style walls but then you’ll sometimes see a wall that breaks every design rule and it works beautifully. If you have that knack, by all means mix and match. I honestly don’t have that knack of mixing matte colors and frame styles and colors with amazing results. So I have a formula I work with and that usually is the one I work with successfully time and time again.

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Lose the obsession with frame size.

If it fits on your wall, it can fit the arrangement. Salon style, or gallery style, is generally a really loose casual arrangement of art that grows over time. It begins with some work and spreads over time. That’s the beauty of it. If you are obsessed with frames all being the same size and installed in a grid, you’re not really a gallery style wall person so steer away from this and try the grid arrangements because they’ll ultimately fit your style and make you happier.

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Over the weekend I plan to install my art sponsored by Minted, all work that I selected, along with some original paintings I’ve collected over the years and add a few special bits here and there unframed. Then next week, for the third installment from this series, I’ll show you the big reveal on how it all looks on my wall with a shopping list for everything.

A big thanks to Minted for sponsoring my salon style art wall project – I love all of the work that I was able to choose from your shop! Thank you again.

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Arts + Crafts on November 14, 2014

Greetings From Me + My 9 Month Old Lou Ferrigno

Hello dear friends! This week has been CRAYZEEEE. Really crazy! I mean, beyond crazy! We had our wallpaper finished in the entryway (LOVE) but some needed to be stripped and reapplied because it was installed wonky. Ugh. But it is all set as of today. Plus I’ve been supah busy with my little boy because he is mega active crawling and practicing his mad walking skillz — we are just a non-stop party here at planet baby from dawn to dusk. AND. WELL…

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(There is always an “AND, WELL…” with little ones) Our baby has entered some new stage – it’s like BOOM! – he turned 9 months on Sunday and the next day he was having major attachment anxiety whenever we laid him down to sleep at night and during the day, my little scheduled napper (2x a day, sometimes 3!) from the day he came home suddenly turned into I SLEEP WHEN I WANT napper. None of this bothers me, I mean what can you do, he’s a baby for God’s sake. I can’t take away his iPhone or ban him from using SnapChat, so I’m just rollin’ with it.

But man, my little dude turned his new age and yowser… It’s like HELLO NEW BABY and what did you do with the son I had just gotten used to for the past 9 months?

And there is something else. He is expressing frustration in ways that make me want to laugh really hard. But I don’t. But I want to because his frustration is always shown in the most comical ways. So okay, imagine this scenario. Him: Sitting in his high chair eating his carrot puree something or another. Me. Facing him, also seated, making faces, singing songs and coaxing him into eating because suddenly mealtime went from normal eating to let’s! play! with! our! food! and! grab! the! spoon! non-stop! Eating has turned into a 45 minute circus and I’m the clown.

There I am feeding him and suddenly with the force of 100 men, he grabs the spoon that I’m using and tries to flip it so the food goes everywhere. What I then usually do, depending on my own schedule, is:

  • Option 1. Could care less, let him grab it, throw it, smear it, play with it, whatever. Puree for all!
  • Option 2: If we need to leave soon or I have work to get to, I usually pry the spoon from his hand using the jaws of life take it gently out of his hand and try to continue feeding him.

BUT.

A highly emotional domino reaction usually follows if Option 2 was deployed. First, a long very deep grunt. Then, his face reddens. He sticks his arms straight down and makes very tight fists. His grunt gets more intense and deeper. A moan. A bit intimating honestly. He stares into my eyes. His eyebrows go dark red. He wants the spoon back – he did not like that I took it from him. He is literally turning into the Incredible Hulk. I wait for his buttons to fly off his shirt.

The whole time I want to burst out laughing (it’s super cute watching all of this because there is clearly no reason to express so much emotion) but I need to respect his emotions because it feels wrong to invalidate him. So I just talk him down out of his tree in my gentle mommy voice, remain caring and sweet and change the subject. Usually he’ll move on quickly shown by laughing at nothing in particular or planting big wet kisses all over my face.

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This has to be a stage. Right? Or is he a teenager trapped inside of a 9 month old body? But wow, baby emotions are something else. Intense. And also very hard to make much sense out of.

Yeah so because his sleep schedule has changed and because I have so much stuff already going on in my life (new book deal I’m negotiating, house redecoration project, tons of work stuff, wrapped up my current 4 week long Blog Boss e-course today with 400 students (!), prepping for 5 business consults next week) it really is bonkers crazy here. Which is why I went missing on decor8 this week.

But you know something that is funny about all of this baby stuff? I don’t mind it now that the sleepy swaddled child changed into an energetic fireball that is apparently a very passionate little person. And I swear I’m not playing Pollyanna to save face nor am I secretly smokin’ funny things in the laundry room so I can fool all of you because truth be told some days I’m like SERIOUSLY? This? Again? But through it all I am learning a lot about myself (I’m a damn patient women and a really committed, good mother, a surprise to me because you never know what kind of mother you will be until you have a child)… I also love having this little boy to care for – my little son – because it’s rewarding and gives me yet another wonderful thing to live for — another reason to get up, work harder, be better. I like the “crazy” in it all. I like that there are new emotions in our home, this new energy, so young and spirited. It’s nice to have a little challenge, some friction, a new opinion around here to shake things up and bring in a fresh new perspective. I’ve always loved having change and movement and zeal in my life and now I do. An 80cm tall tornado.

See you tomorrow, I’ll be back to blogging regularly again.

By the way moms out there, is all I just talked about a 9 month old thing?

(images: holly becker for decor8)

 

Posted in baby on November 13, 2014

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

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!