I’m so happy today to tell you about my friend Barb Blair and her gorgeous new book, Furniture Makeovers. I’ve been wanting to write about it for weeks but have been totally consumed with a project and when I write reviews, I don’t want to put together something sloppy just to review something… I really wanted this review to be from the heart since Barb is a super special lady.
Barb and I met at my book signing in NYC back in 2012 for Decorate, she was very friendly and lovely – just as I had expected through our numerous email exchanges prior to our in-person meet up. That is us shown below cuddling in my signing chair at Anthro. :)
We’ve known one another for years and I’ve written about her furniture restoration numerous times because I’m a big fan of her work. What this woman can do to furniture that is dying curbside is unbelievable, a book had to be born from her years of dedication and hard work as a furniture superhero.
Furniture Makeovers, her debut title published by Chronicle Books (I wrote the foreword for this book of which I am eternally honored), is just lovely and super inspiring. In this book you will find 26 restoration techniques and 30 before-and-afters showing exactly how Barb added her magical touches. Since receiving it only two months ago, I had an idea to paint two pieces of furniture in my home and so when my friend Leslie was here recently, we got to work and painted both pieces so they now look stunning and lovely. So thanks for the inspiration Barb. I will show you these pieces in the future but I don’t want to steal Barb’s thunder – this post is for her and about her — but wow, to get a DIY book and actually be motivated enough to DO STUFF after reading it is sorta a miracle for me because I tend to flake out and not do the stuff I set out to do when it comes to furniture improvements. Barb’s book was SO good though, SO helpful, SO inspiring and most of all, SO approachable that I HAD to DO something to my furniture when I finished her book. In fact, I have a few more pieces to paint… I’m on a roll, thanks to Furniture Makeovers!
In this post, I’ve shared some gorgeous photos from her recent book launch at her shop (held in early May) and studio space in South Carolina called Knack Studios. All of the photos from the book party were shot by Carlton Riffel and the beautiful image of the book was shot by her book photographer J. Aaron Greene. I love parties, especially ones that feel and look like this one… Because it feels very welcoming and from the heart, just the way I like things to feel.
I am so happy to see Barb shining in her photos above because a book launch party has to be one of the greatest professional experiences every – it’s like a baby shower or wedding for your book – and it’s such a special day that an author never, ever forgets. I’ll never forget my launch parties nor do I forget those who attended them because they are just so cherished… To write a book and see it published and in books stores is huge enough but to have launch parties and book signings — my goodness, total ICING ON THE CAKE and all made possible by our wonderful online community of friends and shop owners and bloggers.
Barb deserves every shout of praise and wonderful review for her book – it’s by far a favorite on the decor8 bookcase! Congratulations Barb!
(party images: carlton riffel)
Hello this is Gudy Herder from Eclectic Trends and I’m visiting you again this month with a trend post on decor8. I recently attended a trend conference forum from Mix Global Color Research in London held at the Pulse design show and the content was so amazing that you will love it if you are in the business of keeping up with trends. Even if you’re not, it’s still fascinating. Sallie Davies from Global Color Research gave us a sneak peak into an upcoming trend book published by Mix Publications about colour and pattern trends for Fall/Winter 2013-14.
The major trends that are influencing the colour and pattern landscape for the upcoming season Fall/Winter 2013/14 are: FLINT – STORM – CLUSH – ALPINE.
We need to step back to an honest approach in design. There is a certain Neolethic style going back to our roots reflected by rich earth soil colours, warm neutrals, rust. Primitive aesthetics, organic and handmade themes, found objects meant to express our own personality. Sophisticated and soft, rough and ready are the opposites that play nicely together. Thick leathers, hemp yarns and rustic and fossil textures are key here.
Climate changes such as floods have been a big deal globally, leading to uncertainty and a certain surrealism reflected in hot and cold colours, bright and smokey shades. Feminine is meeting masculine. Colours range from different blues evoking a storm mood to a softer sand, salmon and bright red, always aiming to combine hot and cold colours. Changing structures and ethereal layers given through semi-opaque layers are translated into cool tye dye effects, blurred and and monofilament weaves. Holographic and metallic touches add reflective qualitities, deep structures and deep monofilament weaves are key here.
The main message is that we need to be positive. Traditional design shall be reconducted in new colourways. Bold colours are mixed with pastels. Blacks are not black but got a dark blue underground. Tutti Frutti colours are combined with neutral colours such as dark brown so they still work in a luxury environment. Pattern on pattern with a “more is more” approach are the way to go. It is a very expressive trend with intermixed styles. Mother of pearl shall be observed with a shiny and reflective quality. Plastic is not used as a cheap material but high end due to innovative finishings. Bold wallpapers are key here.
This trend brings the outdoors in, there is a need of comfort, of time, being together and a friendly approach to a real folk feeling. The colours are warm (reds) and natural (greens and brown). Materials such as cork and wood shouldn’t be hidden but enhanced and embraced in any design. It’s all about sustainability and renewing of energies. Organic material is used in an honest way to make people feel happy and healthy.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how trends are established, here’s how Global Color Research works: they hold biannual sessions bringing together top experts from all over the globe from different industries. Trends that are being observed and shared at these events are done two years in advance. It’s all about future thinking, discussing certain influences, bringing in their own insights, collaborating and at the end, defining the trends. It is so interesting to me to see how every kind of environmental, economic or psychological issues might lead into a new trend.
I hope you have enjoyed this forecast, I’ve loved putting it together for you. Do you have a favorite colour scheme here? What do you think about this trend approach starting from a social behaviour, need or environmental circumstances? I would love to hear your comments!
Thank you so much Holly for having me! – Gudy
Hello decor8 readers! Jillian with a new recipe for you this month… Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake! I was in Europe a couple of summers back and I was blown away by the abundance of ripe, red strawberries in the markets. You know the kind you can smell before you can see? Each day I would buy a kilo or so and munch my way through them.
Inspired by the memory of those beautiful strawberries, I’ve come up with a strawberry flavoured treat for you. I decided to make a strawberry swirl cheesecake. I grew up eating baked European style cheesecakes with a filling made from dry cottage cheese, lightened with cream and beaten egg whites encased in a pastry shell then topped with a pastry lattice. As you can imagine, making one of those cheesecakes is a labour of love so over the years I’ve been trying to simplify the recipe.
Instead of a pastry shell I make a shortbread biscuit base and usually leave the top unadorned. I often use a combination of dry cottage and cream cheese in the filling but sometimes dry cottage cheese can be hard to track down so I’ve just used cream cheese in this recipe.
If you can’t be bothered separating the eggs and beating the egg whites, you don’t have to but then you won’t know what you’re missing out on. The cheesecake texture is so light and a little soufflé like because of the beaten egg whites but there is a downside to all that airiness. The top of the cheesecake will crack as it bakes but as you’ll be covering the cake with cream and strawberries no-one will know. I think the cracking is part of the character of this style of cheesecake anyway. The strawberry flavoured swirl is something new I tried out because who can resist strawberries and cream? If you’ve got a few berries leftover you could make a strawberry sauce to serve with the cheesecake.
I’ve not tried making this recipe with any other berries but I’m sure raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or a mixture of all of them would work just as well. If you try out any other flavour combinations, I’d love to hear them.
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
100 g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon vanilla
750 g (1 1/4 lb) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
175 mls (3/4 cup) cream
1 (20 ml) tablespoon flour
4 large eggs, separated
2 additional tablespoons caster sugar
200 g (7 oz) quartered hulled strawberries
1 (20 ml) tablespoon caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
One 250 g (8 oz) punnet strawberries, washed
Whipped or double cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Grease a 23 cm (9 inch) springform tin. I line mine with baking paper but that’s optional.
In a food processor, combine all the base ingredients and whiz until a shortbread mixture forms around the blades.
Remove the biscuit mixture from the food processor and press over the base and slightly up the sides of the prepared tin.
Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the base is lightly golden. Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Using a potato masher or a stick blender, mix together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to form a coarse puree. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the sugar, the flour and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks and the cream.
Remove 2/3 cup of the mixture and fold into the strawberry mixture. Set to one side.
In a separate clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Beat in the additional sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fold the egg whites into the cheesecake mixture.
Spoon about half the cheesecake mixture over the shortbread base, then alternately with the strawberry mixture. Using a skewer or a chopstick, gently swirl the colours together to create a marble effect.
Bake at 160°C/325°F for 1 hour or until the cheesecake is just cooked but still jiggles in the middle. Let the cheesecake cool in the turned off oven for a further hour.
Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and allow it to cool completely. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate it for a few hours.
Because of the egg whites, this cheesecake rises a bit like a soufflé then sinks in the middle. The top always cracks so don’t despair.
To serve, fill the centre of the cake with whipped or double cream, sprinkle the edges of the cake with icing sugar and top with strawberries.
If you like, you can make a simple strawberry sauce with any remaining berries by following the strawberry swirl instructions and sweeten to taste.
For next months Delicious Bites column, I was wondering if there was anything in particular you’d like me to bake. So far we’ve made cake, cookies, meringues, tarts and cheesecakes so I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
I’m really looking forward to your suggestions! See you all again next month – Jillian.
(images/text/recipe: Jillian Leiboff)
Hello everyone! Before I say goodbye for the weekend and get ready for the big David Guetta show tomorrow night (yay!), I want to share something that is quite exciting to me… And near to my heart. As many of you know, Leslie Shewring from A Creative Mint has been a friend of mine for over four years and we’ve been working together on this and that – currently a book – and for several years she has been writing her Color Me Pretty column for decor8. She has been taking some time off from the column recently because she was hard at work on hand-painting patterns soon to be launched as her brand new fabric line for Cloud9 Fabrics. I’m extremely proud of her as I’m sure you are too. Here are her new patterns to launch this Fall - aren’t they gorgeous?
From the Cloud9 site about this collection, “This delicate watercolor voile collection by Leslie Shrewing of A Creative Mint, was inspired by where she use to live in Palos Verdes, CA. The warm blush tones of the sandy and clay packed earth along with the architectural patterns inspired by some of the local sites. She was also in awe of the endless array of wildflowers that grew all over the hillsides and down the trails to the beach.” I can’t wait to own all 6 of these and am thrilled for Leslie!
What do you think? Are you in love???
Hello everyone! I was thinking how I’ve not interviewed anyone lately and how I should change that so today I’m chatting with the radiant LA-based interiors stylist Justina Blakeney who describes herself as a, “Creative free bird, a traveler, a jungalow-dwelling mom, a thrifter, a stylist, a designer and a merry-maker”, which I think just about sums her up beautifully! This vibrant, lovely lady and her beautiful blog has grabbed my attention over the years so I had to pin her down for a little chit chat. If you don’t know her, Justina has styled for editorial and commercial clients mostly in the United States ranging from shelter mags to books and she has over 1.2 million followers on Pinterest. Her global boho style is colorful and approachable and today we’re going to get inside of her head a little and see what makes this creative soul tick – we’ll talk about decorating, blogging and some of her favorite things. Are you ready?
decor8: Thanks for visiting us on decor8 today, Justina! Where do you live and where were you raised?
JB: I live in my plantastic Jungalow on the east side of Los Angeles. I was raised in Berkeley, California but lived abroad in Switzerland for two years as a teen-ager, and then spent seven years in Florence, Italy in my 20′s.
decor8: How much do you think living in Southern California affects your decorating style?
JB: My style is an amalgamation of the many of the places I’ve been, and the people I’ve grown up around. Being raised in a multi-racial family that loved to travel, our home was always filled with objects from all over the world: Hamsas and African masks, Ethiopian paintings and Mexican artifacts, Indonesian shadow puppets and Mexican textiles. My grandparents have lived in Los Angeles my whole life and I remember coming to visit them as a little girl. I was always in awe of LA’s palm trees. My grandmother had a tropical printed wallpaper all over their Ladera Heighs home and it stuck with me. SoCal also has so many cultural enclaves–did you know that Little Armenia, Thai Town, Little Ethiopia and Korea Town are all within a few miles of each other in LA? Seeing all of these diverse cultures, eating incredibly diverse foods, shopping in ethnic grocery stores–it all fuels my imagination wildly. I think in those ways I think SoCal has had a profound affect on my style.
decor8: How far back can you trace your passion for decorating?
JB: My big sister (who also grew up to be a designer) and I used to play with doll-houses a lot. I even built my own doll house in a carpentry class when I was ten. Playing around with the dollhouse was my first experience with decorating. I remember saving random pieces of paper we’d glue them to the walls for wallpaper. We also used to spend a lot of time rearranging the furniture in our bedrooms and painting and repainting our rooms–even building our own furniture pieces. We were super lucky to have parents who let us do what ever we wanted with our rooms and we experimented all the time—I would steal items from the livingroom and put them in my bedroom. I painted murals on my walls. My mother would take me to the fabric store and I made my own curtains and pillows. I loved to sew from a very young age. I remember distinctly the first curtains I made were these crazy mirrored curtains—almost like a disco ball. Very ‘80’s. Ha!
decor8: When did you start your blog and why?
JB: I started blogging in 2008 when I moved back to the U.S. after living in Italy for seven years. I had a series of craft books out and started the blog initially as a way to connect with readers and share news and DIY projects. I got really into it and started blogging more and more until I realized how much I really loved it–and made a commitment to myself to blog everyday as part of my creative practice–you know, like going to the gym or something. That was in 2009 and I haven’t looked back since.
decor8: What else do you do for work outside of blogging?
JB: People hire me as a creative consultant–that can mean anything from decorating and styling to art-directing, shopping and branding. Sometimes I get paid to craft pretty stuff out of crazy materials, and curate art works and wares–which is pretty great too. Basically, if it’s creative, fun and fresh, chances are, I’m down to work on it! I’m pretty nerdy so I geek out a lot with graphics and stuff, but the hands-on stuff is what I find the most fun.
decor8: How many daily readers do you have on your blog?
JB: Give or take 4,000 readers a day and growing more and more every month!
decor8: Do you find that Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter helps you reach people beyond the blog?
JB: I use Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram pretty religiously. I have met so many incredible people through social media–people that came to my wedding, that came to meet my daughter in the first days of her life–people that I hope will continue to be a part of my life for years to come. I get so much from it. I’m reaching a lot of people–and a lot of people are reaching me, too! (I use facebook for family and old-school friends, mostly.)
decor8: How do you grow your blog?
JB: I try lots of different things out on my blog–and I’m not a very regimented person, so my blog is not very regimented either (besides that I post something at least five days a week.) After I try something new, I use analytics to see which features are the most popular and I do more of that until I get bored—then I switch it up. I do my best to present an honest picture of who I am and I think (and hope!) my candor and sense of humor resonate with people, and when people genuinely like something, or find something inspiring, they tend to share it. Personal posts are very popular on my blog, as are my DIY posts. My large audience on Pinterest has also helped grow my blog. Collaborations with other designers and bloggers, for example my “Like She Said” series, is another way I grow my audience.
decor8: Do you have any other website or social network where you are also talking about design?
JB: I have been lucky enough to have contributed to quite a few sites around the web — from West Elm, to Martha Stewart and many others in between. I also have guest curated for a number of sites on Pinterest including Etsy and 1st Dibs. I can also be found on Houzz and Luvocracy, Tumblr and on Skillshare, as well. (Yikes! I’m kind of a social media whore. Hahaha!)
decor8: There are lots of amazing design bloggers where you live… Do you meet up regularly to connect or share blogging tips?
JB: Good question. I am very lucky to live in a place so packed with so many talented bloggers and designers. I do have quite a few blogger friends that I love hanging out with: Dabito from Old Brand New, Jessica Comingore, Satsuki Shibuya, Bonnie Tsang, Victoria Vu, Jon Lo, Joy Cho—to name a few — but mostly when we hang we end up talking about a million other things besides sharing blogging tips! Joy was enormously helpful and supportive throughout my pregnancy and still is a great friend to get mommy tips from. Bonnie and I end up talking about food all of the time… and Dabito and I always end up doing impromptu photo shoots when we hang — it’s hilarious. I had lunch with Emily Henderson and met her for the first time a couple of months ago and she’s a firecracker — I just adore her.
decor8: Is there someone else that helps you with your blog, or only you?
JB: Right now I’m pretty much a one woman show, besides my enormously talented friend, Caitlin Levin, who sometimes pops by to share her simple and delicious recipes with us.
decor8: What are your favorite topics to blog?
I like to switch it up a lot, but topics that are thought provoking or even kinda hard to talk about are fun to me. I love hearing what my readers think about, say, body issues, lack of cultural diversity represented in the design-blog universe and breast-feeding. I also love to share new ways of looking at things, whether it’s an upcycled object, turning instagram photos into imaginary wallpaper or transforming a Enoki mushroom into a pendant lamp — I have fun getting deep, kooky and being unpredictable! Oh, and I LOVE plants!
decor8: What can people really learn from bloggers that they can’t get from a magazine?
JB: I love that I can be TOTALLY real on my blog. And I am. I write what I want—when I want. I think that this is so important because in mass media and culture articles and editorials pass through so many eye balls, so much editing and so much pressure from publishers and advertisers. Because of this, I think that at times the soul can get sucked from the stories. Fashion magazines time and time again share the same, trite, old, standards of beauty — I’m REALLY sick of that. On my blog I can take the status quo and turn it upside down and give a voice to a minority (be it curvy ladies, people of color, people in underserved communitires…etc.) without worrying (or caring) if I’m alienating a large demographic. Often times, I think that people read through magazines and by the time they’re through they dislike themselves and their lives more than when they opened the magazine—because they are not thin enough, not rich enough, not interesting enough…I hope that on my blog, readers leave feeling inspired, empowered and like they love themselves a bit more than when they first landed in my Jungalow.
decor8: How do you define great personal style?
JB: To me, great style is confident, bold and unapologetic. It’s surprising, thought provoking and groundbreaking — it’s the authentic manifestation on the outside, of what’s happening on the inside.
decor8: Name some creative people who really inspire you…
JB: I’m inspired so much by people who are skilled craftspeople along with having a great eye and a unique perspective. This month, I’m crushing on Ariele Alasko of Brooklyn to West, Adam Pogue and Todd Selby also does it for me pretty much every time.
decor8: You use a lot of bold color in your posts – why is color in the home important to you?
JB: Color invigorates me. It really sets the tone in a space. I believe that color has an effect on people’s moods and can make you feel clean and fresh, or alive, or tired or cheerful or uneasy…it’s so important to get the color right because of the profound effect that it can have on quality of life.
decor8: What are some current trends that you really love?
JB: I love what I love and it doesn’t change so much with the trends. My style is pretty consistent regardless of what’s trending… But if I had to name a few things that I love and also happen to be kinda all over the place right now, I’d say brass finishes, Moroccan rugs, kilim pillows and textile arts, especially macramé.
decor8: What are some trends that really annoy you?
JB: Is it OK to say that all trends annoy me? Haha. No, but seriously, it annoys me when living things become trendy — like a certain kind of dog. Somehow the word trend to me connotes a disposable culture and that is bothersome when speaking of inanimate objects, but down right wrong when speaking of living things.
5 Quick Q’s:
decor8: Favorite color combination right now?
JB: Kelly Green and Brass
decor8: Favorite room to decorate?
JB: It changes all of the time, but right now my baby daughter’s room
decor8: Accessory that must be present at all times?
JB: My iphone! (is that what you meant?) if you mean home stuff—than PLANTS!
decor8: On your playlist you’re listening to…
JB: Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Zap Mama, Fleetwood Mac.
decor8: Stores that you love online?
JB: Plumo, Furbish Studio, ethanollie, Totokaelo.
decor8: What is your ultimate career goal – where would you love to be in 5 years?
JB: Let me confess first that I am a VERY ambitious person, probably almost to the point of being a little nuts, but that having been said…. I look at Jonathan Adler’s amazing career (of potter, designer, author, and personality with a home furnishing collection and boutiques) and I think to myself… THAT is where I want to be with my stuff (but it may take more like ten years!) ha! If, in five years though, I am still able to support myself and my family, work from home and collaborate with other inspiring creatives, blog and continue consulting, I won’t complain.
Justina thank you for hanging out with me today on decor8! So happy to have you and enjoy the weekend!
Readers if you have ANY questions for our lovely friend, Justina, please ask in the comments section below.
(images: styling- justina blakeney)