Reader Questions, Rooms

Reader Q: German Tapete – Help!

September 19, 2007

Cry for help from Germany! I hope that those of you tuning in from Deutschland and other countries where installing thick tapete (wallpaper) is common in rentals can help. For those of you unfamiliar with tapete, in Germany you are not allowed to paint directly on the walls, but you can paint on this thick textured paper called tapete. Yeah, really. I think most that rent in Germany hate this stuff.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
All the tapete I’ve come across is textured, which makes it a pain if you prefer the look of a smooth surface like I do. Reader Juliette recently relocated to Germany from the Boston area and absolutely hates it. She painted it a pretty blue, but she’s not keen on the texture and is curious if she could apply wall decals on it to give it life. From my experience with textured anything, you cannot apply decals to it as they will not adhere.

I do have a question to all you Germans in the haus. Is tapete available without texture? Certainly it must be. I’d hate to think otherwise, as I can’t bear textured walls with paint, I agree with Juliette when she said in her email, “It’s just something I really hate hate hate!”.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
Although at a distance, it’s not so obvious…

Juliette asked for help decorating her living room, if you’re up for it. You can view the apartment that she’ll be occupying for the next two years on flickr.

Her challenge room is the living room. Since they’ve had to start at zero when they relocated, bringing almost nothing with them from Boston, they’ve already spent their bank account on all the necessary things, and since they can’t afford Habitat right now, IKEA is their only option. Juliette is scared that her home will soon take on the look of an IKEA catalog, so she needs some advice on ways she can warm it up and add personality without breaking the bank.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
This is what her space looks like today. Some points to consider:

1- The green sofa will be relocated to their office when they have the money to purchase a new one. In other words, don’t design the room around the sofa, it’s not staying. Any advice on what color sofa she should go with?
2- The lamp and coffee table need replaced since she doesn’t think they work. Any tips?
3- The chairs… Any advice? They are really comfortable so Juliette hates to toss them.
4- She loves the rug but it “only covers half the floor and we need to cover the whole floor (long story) and I’m not sure what would be in harmony with it and not divide the room in half. It would fit perfectly in the office, which is where it will likely end up as well. I wish we could just super-size the rug since I really love it with the blue and it pulls in an old look that I adore.”
5 – She plans to place the map shown below over the sofa.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!

Do you have some advice for Juliette? What would you do if this apartment belonged to you? I’ll chime in as well here are my first thoughts:

Relocate the rug to the office and use the map as inspiration for the color palette. Blues, greens, creams, and a bit of mustard yellow as your accent color. I’d love to see you play around with the current floor plan, move the sofa to the wall facing us in the photo.

I can imagine a textured rug on the floor (maybe the Tarnby or the Indo Berber), curtains that aren’t so dark and heavy – opt for something light and bright, and I’d keep the sofa table and chairs and put your money into a rug and sofa — those are most critical in my eyes. The table can be dressed up with a tray, some books and accessories, or you can paint it, and the chairs with a few throw pillows in fun patterns.

Add texture to the space with pillows, a soft blanket, a natural basket beneath the coffee table with magazines stacked neatly. Add candles for soft light, perhaps sconces on the wall or candles on a floating shelf, find a lamp with a shade that is linen or perhaps faux bois or in a soft pretty pattern. Think relaxing, calm, warm. Your walls read very cool right now, so you need to add texture to the space and a few warmer tones to balance things out so that during the cold winter months, you wil want to hang out in this space.

View more apartment photos here.

(images from juliette)






Etsy Faves, Handmade

Hijacked Ceramics

September 19, 2007

This past weekend I met Nathan of Hijacked Ceramics over at the South End Open Market and had the nicest chat with him about his work. Inspired by his travels, he creates functional pottery that look much older than they are, using layers of color, pattern and texture from the woodblocks he uses, they have a sense of history despite being newly created. The juxtaposition of simple forms and ornate, colorful decoration are both unexpected and beautiful. I loved the mugs and cups he had on display on his table. They felt so sturdy and the colors, oh the colors! Blues, greens, yellows…

Hijacked Ceramics
Nathan is on etsy and frequently replenishes his stock, so bookmark his store and watch it often!

(images from hijacked ceramics)






Arts + Crafts, Inspiration

A few of my favorite things…

September 18, 2007

I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite things this week. The first shot is of Boston Home magazine flaunting it’s sparkling new image. With the arrival of editor Rachel Levitt along with a new art director, the renamed Boston Home magazine feels fresh, hip, and for me, way more exciting that previous issues that still felt a bit trapped in the Ye Ole New England that most of us like for it’s charm, but certainly don’t mind merging a bit of the old with latest trends and ideas. This magazine is great news for Boston because the city is rapidly growing and with transplants making a home for themselves in brownstones and loft spaces throughout the city, they really need a great local magazine to turn to for inspiration and resources.

A few of my favorite things...
If you look carefully at the cover (top right), you’ll see my friend Fernanda of Simplemente Blanco, an interior designer, amazing stylist, product designer, seamstress (the list goes on forever, she’s such an inspiration to me!) from Argentina who now lives in Boston with her husband. They have an artist’s loft, office, and showroom in the South End, a home in Brookline, and they’ve recently opened a new retail storefront called On The Side, collaborating with the extremely talented guys from Boxx Furniture. The store flaunts the more industrial, contemporary furniture from Boxx, and the soft touches, clean lines, and multiple layers and textures of Simplemente Blanco. Together, the unexpected combinations of warmth and beauty mingled with modern and industrial, really work. And that’s the beauty of an amazing designer – they can merge several different styles and somehow make them work in ways the average person may never have thought of. Gorgeous. Here’s a shot of their new storefront, located at 46 Waltham Street in Boston.

A few of my favorite things...
If you’re local, you have to go visit them, they’re all very nice people and the space is exquisite – a breathe of fresh air for Boston. Also be sure to pick up Boston Home magazine and look for the article and beautiful interior photos of the Simplemente Blanco home in Brookline. Congratulations, Fernanda!

Another favorite thing of the moment, Martha Stewart’s Good Things (just hit newsstands, top left) showing all these affordable and easy DIY projects for the home. For $4, it’s compact, loaded with ideas, what every DIY enthusiast should own. I have to try out the stenciled doormat next Spring, it looks so easy and I love the idea of personalizing one using paint and stencils. FUN.

A few of my favorite things...
The next little thing I’ve found quite useful lately is the Perry Street clock at Kate Spade. It’s available in yellow, blue, black, green, and pink (in stores, online just yellow) and so very cute and sturdy. It even has a little screw in kick stand that holds it up, and the alarm is loud enough to wake you from even the deepest sweet dreams. Because it’s so compact, it makes for the perfect travel companion, this little guy is going with me to Germany. It’s also affordable at $40, a mini splurge that you’re sure to love for years, plus it would make the sweetest gift.

A few of my favorite things...
While browsing the South End Open Market this past Sunday, I met Mimi Kirchner and viewed her textile artwork and dolls, which are so intricately made that I walked away thinking she must have more patience that 10 people combined. I purchased this 4 x 6 artwork, and although you can’t see the details, the girl is painted, sewn, and it appears as though she used ink to draw in all the details on her face.

A few of my favorite things...
For $22, this is such a special piece of work. I framed it in a $3 IKEA frame and think it looks really pretty, maybe I’ll give it to a friend or something. I was glad to meet Mimi as I only first heard about her about a month ago from the girls that run the Boston Handmade blog.

A few of my favorite things...
If you love cooking and gorgeous imagery in cookbooks, you have to get your hands on Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. It’s flat out AMAZING. Trust me on this. The recipes are wonderful and you can spend an entire afternoon just looking at the pictures in this inspiring book. I saw it at Anthropologie last night and still feel bad that I left it behind. I’m going to order it right now… If you’d like to learn more about Tessa Kiros, visit blogger Who Wants Seconds and read her interview with Tessa.

A few of my favorite things...
And I can’t talk about favorite things without showing you some Amy Butler fabric that I picked up last night. A decor8 reader commented once that Fabric Place in Woburn wasn’t as nice as the one in Framingham, so I headed over there on my way to meet my friend Paris for dinner and shopping at the new Natick Collection, I had to swing by Fabric Place to explore – and score! Lots of Amy Butler fabric in my favorite colorways – blues, blues, and more blue tones!

A few of my favorite things...
This one will become a roman shade or curtain of some sort for my kitchen where the walls are yellow – I think it will really highlight them. This is one of the projects I plan to work on while in Germany with my seamstress friend Susanna. Some of the others will be used to make a large gumdrop pillow, another project for Susanna and I to keep me busy on rainy days. When these projects are complete, I’ll share them with you.

A few of my favorite things...

And of course I’ll bring along my new Amy Butler Sew-It Kit, it includes a booklet, tons of patterns, instructions, thread, 2 pieces of fabric, and more!

What are some of your favorite things of the moment?

(images by holly becker for decor8)






Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves

Selflesh

September 18, 2007

I think the work of Selflesh is fascinating, I love enlarging the images and looking at the details on the maps. Shannon Rankin is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Maine, with a blog and an etsy store where you can find these prints for around $20.

Selflesh
Shannon uses her art to discover the many connections that exist between geography, anatomy, and botany, combining “the visual elements of maps, anatomical illustrations, and natural forms to explore themes of travel, healing, and time.”

Psst: Would you like to see her workspace? Click here to visit her shed, it’s pretty cool!

(images from selflesh)






Arts + Crafts

Stephanie Levy

September 18, 2007

If you crave color, you’ll love Stephanie Levy. This talented lady recently wrote to me about her mixed media collages and paintings that depict fictional interiors of colorful, retro spaces. An American artist from Tennessee now living in Germany, Stephanie is quite a shooting star on the web, as her work is jumping around from blog to blog, and now from gallery to gallery. Currently, she’s showing some collages at SQFT Gallery in Nashville, and they’re available in their online shop until September 28th.

Stephanie LevyI’m quite drawn to mixed media collage art, my fascination started as a child because my mother and aunt created art for our family home, including my nursery, I feel warm and at home when I’m around it. Stephanie’s work is exciting because she infuses gorgeous patterns and bright, mostly primary colors that aren’t a bit childish or harsh, but joyous and invigorating.

Stephanie Levy
Seeing this work motivates me to create, don’t you feel the same way?

Nice work, Stephanie, you not only create beautiful things, but also ignite a creative spark in others. :) Thank you for writing in and congratulations on your new baby girl!

(images from stephanie levy)






Stationery

Blue Ribbon Design

September 18, 2007

Letterpress hang tags from Blue Ribbon Design add such a special touch to a wine bottle or on a pretty gift, but I’d love to see them hanging from storage boxes or baskets to identify what’s inside, perhaps in a craft room or in the closet? So pretty…

Blue Ribbon Design

(image from blue ribbon design)






Scroll Up

SUBSCRIBE - IT'S FREE!

Hello! Do you want to gain IMMEDIATE access to my exclusive content, DECORATING TIPS, TREND reports, HOME TOURS + more? Sure you do! SIGN UP today!


Email address
Secure and Spam free...