I usually save the more ‘personal’ posts like this one for my Haus Maus blog, but I am way too excited about my recent flea market finds to not share on decor8 today. For those of you who may not know, my husband and I took on a second home here in Germany in addition to our New Hampshire home (primary residence) since we visit Germany 2-3 months each year and last year we got REALLY tired of always staying in a hotel suite. We wanted something that belonged to us, that we could furnish and decorate and live in while we’re here. And we needed a place where we could stay whenever we wanted, not having to check in with the hotel to ensure dates were available. BIG PAIN. Last Fall, we decided to take an apartment and it was gut renovated and became ours officially in April. Of course we weren’t able to come over right away, so we let it sit and wait for us over the summer and then we arrived the first week of August. We are still here and will remain until the 3rd week of December. We will then return back to New Hampshire to spend the winter and most likely, in the Spring or early Summer, come back over for 3-4 months. I’m guessing this will go on for the next few years so I’m really enjoying the experience of dual residency and western European living — it’s so nice to experience!
With all that being said, I’ve been working hard on our apartment here over the past nearly 6 weeks. I had to start from scratch, we only had floors and walls pretty much! It’s been a really fun process, but I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the thrill of the hunt the most… hunting for furniture and housewares. Between Amazon.de, a few German websites I enjoy, and all of the local stores I shop here in Hannover, I’m doing great and staying within my budget. One great tip I must share though is that if you do decide to relocate to Europe one day yourself, don’t pass up your local flea markets. Find out where they are the second you arrive. Also look at ‘junk’ shops. They are really great and filled to the brim with mid century modern furniture (mostly 1950s stuff) priced to sell. I recently purchased two 1950s bed tables (solid wood) at a local thrift shop for ?20- for both! They will be delivered this Thursday. I also found a beautiful mirror with lights for 100 Euros and some gorgeous white porcelain vases.
Here’s a vase/flower pot that I found just yesterday for ?2,50- (that is around $3.60) that is a mid century piece. It’s very Jonathan Adler I think. I thought the flowers gave her some much need hair. She is so stylish!
Here is another local flea market find. This is an old French plate with great colors and I adore the illustration on it. It has a hook for hanging, which is what I plan to do with it. It was priced ?32 but I got it for ?25.
This is a vintage ruler for ?1. I will use it on my desk to hold my favorite postcards (once I get an actual desk, that is). Another great flea market find I think. I love old folding rulers in yellow. No clue why.
I found the best pink lantern candles and small crystal cube holders at the thrift shop yesterday, 20 candles and 3 cube holders for ?2.50. I like to light them in my window at night. The bowls, tea tins, and the lilac and white bowls are new. The tins are from House Doctor and the purple bowls are from Rice. I’m not sure of the company that produces the Lilac/White patterned bowls because they are not marked, sorry.
For ?1 I found this stone mouse that hangs on the wall. I will paint it a soft gray and place it near my front door since my husband calls me ‘haus maus’. I can’t tell you what a great flea market day I had this past Saturday but I think these photos express that — it was just great. It’s amazing what a few vintage finds can do to make a new apartment feel warm and loved. I will be in Berlin this Saturday so I won’t be at the Hannover flea market this weekend, but I am attending a garden & home festival on Friday and a fabric bazaar here on Sunday, so if I find anything good I will post some photos next week.
Hope you enjoyed some of my flea market and thrift shop finds for the month!
(images from holly becker for decor8)
I promised on Friday that today I’d give you just a slice of what my vacation to Amsterdam was like last week. This post will be mostly visual but I’ll be sure to give you plenty of links so it’s easy to find what I’m talking about on the web. :)
First I’ll start with a few of the restaurants where we ate and then I’ll wrap this post up with some of the shops we hit. We stayed in the Jordaan district, so we mostly hit shops and restaurants there.
This is a chain in the Netherlands called Bagels & Beans. We went to one near the fashion district and a nice kitty came and sat with me while I had my breakfast. He was so cute, and he even has a stylish mustache. Eventually he fell asleep on my lap until a little dog came in and then he attacked it. It was quite a riot to be caught in the middle of a cat and dog fight in the middle of a cafe. In the states, animals are not allowed in eating establishments (against codes of hygiene I believe, though I think most people are not as clean as animals so what’s the point!?) but here in western Europe you see pets frequently just about everywhere you go. In Germany you don’t see as many cats, mostly dogs, but in Holland cats are everywhere. It’s so nice though it’s also very practical – cuts down on rodents!
If you want affordable, delicious Japanese-Thai food, Nooch is your place. The atmosphere is so nice and the staff is exceptionally friendly. The food is also very healthy. You have to try their pad thai and make sure to order fresh mint tea and don’t miss the mango ice cream for dessert.
Other great places to eat:
De Kroon: Order their monk fish. It’s lekker!
Lust: Great place to enjoy coffee or eat lunch or dinner.
Toussaint – We ate here twice we liked it so much. Once for lunch and another night for a romantic candlelight dinner. Such a great atmosphere and the food is heaven.
Foodware – Mostly a take-out shop but you can eat in too. Everything is homemade right there in their open kitchen. Great place.
Now for shopping…
Definitely don’t miss the Noordermarkt Flea Market on Saturdays or Monday mornings. I had a blast and even met an Etsy seller there called Accessorize Paradise where I purchased a hair clip that everyone seems to love (I wish she sold them in her Etsy store). I found a pretty print from a children’s story book from another dealer who told me she has a shop on Herenstraat called Antiquariaat Lont. Note: I’m not exactly sure what it’s called, but a block over from this flea market was a huge fabric flea market with brand new textiles including those from top design houses. I found lots of beautiful fabrics there (shown above).
Aside from the flea market, I really enjoyed these stores too…
Hema. They are in Germany and Belgium, but mostly in Holland with several locations in Amsterdam. So many cute affordable things from office supplies to candy, clothing, beauty products, everything! I love their attention to product packaging. I found their postcards so sweet, and I made sure to buy plenty of pens since I can never have to many cute pens.
I loved this store, it’s called Het Grote Avontuur. I purchased some white plastic placemats there and a few gifts, I loved the overall vibe of the shop, all of their hand painted Russian goodies, and their lovely Dutch ‘folk’ items. What a fun shop, you have to put it on your list if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam. You can also shop them online, in English!
While you’re on Haarlemmerstraat you can walk to Papabubble, a fun candy store that I first heard about from Irene at Bloesem. It’s worth the visit! Some of the architecture on Haarlemmerstraat shown above, I really liked it!
Egg Mercantile on Leliegracht 6. I loved this shop, mostly because of the great conversation that I had with Joshua who is one of the owners. His partner, Steven, is also his business partner and they’ve done a fine job selecting the best home accessories and stationery for this lovely shop. Steven and Joshua are American, Joshua had lived in Boston before and also New York, San Francisco… and now Amsterdam where he seems to call home. This shop showcases wares from both North and South America and Europe and I just loved the vibe in there. I took the most photos of his shop because not only was he familiar with decor8 (so I felt comfortable asking permission to take photos), but he was so super friendly and warm. I kept thinking about how badly I wanted to share this shop experience with all of you, especially since I recognized nearly all of the work there… I kept thinking how some of you will read this blog, see these photos, and say, “Hey that’s my stuff!”.
Do you see the wonderful Elizabeth Soule photography far right?
Love the fancy trays from iBride on the wall…
Do you see the Cardboard Safari head on the left wall? No animals were hurt!
Subrosa (Rozengracht 49-E) is another shop I liked, lots of tin and silver and tons of ethnic influence here. I picked up some jars and a colorful string of lights with tiny Chinese paper lanterns. It’s right down the street from my next favorite store for all things kitchen called…
Kitsch Kitchen (Rozengracht 8-11). And kitsch it was, two floors of wild and crazy colors and patterns. Wow. Great, affordable and fun. Kitsch Kitchen has tons of locations in Europe and even one in Southern California but none here in Germany. I hope they change this someday and bring Kitsch Kitchen to us here in northern Germany. It’s totally great.
I really liked Shirdak, it was like roaming the pages of my favorite magazine Selvedge. If you read Selvedge, you know it deals with textiles and the history of fabrics from all over the world. Shirdak had a collection of some of the most gorgeous things ever, it was like a museum of beautifully crafted rugs, throws, bedspreads, even slippers and bags.
Here are some other shops I hit (but did not photograph):
Jan (Utrechtsestraat 74)
Sissy Boy (clothing, some home stuff.)
V&D (for clothes)
Fame (for 5-Euro CDs and DVDs, all brand new. Amazing store, I purchased about 15 CDs and a Japanese DVD I’ve been wanting to see called The Cat Returns, a Hiroyuki Morita animated film.)
H&M: I think there was one on every corner downtown. It was H&M heaven.
Zara and Zara Home
Noa Noa (clothing)
… And a slew of other miscellaneous shops in the Jordaan district that I didn’t write down but lots of fun!
Shopping Note: I had planned to spend the entire morning and half of the afternoon on Monday going to my favorite design shops. I was so amazingly excited, I could hardly wait all weekend. On Monday, we headed over to Pol’s Potten, Droog, Keet in Huis, and Frozen Fountain only to realize that they were closed. :( I couldn’t believe it. Shops are closed in Amsterdam on Mondays for the most part, except for large department stores and a few ‘select’ shops, but even they don’t open until around 1pm. I was absolutely heartbroken. Oh well. Please don’t make the mistake that I did!
And to close, here are a few random inspirations from the city.
A little bird peeped a chipper goodbye as we headed towards the train station, 4 hours on a ‘slow’ train (but first class) to Germany was really nice and relaxing. Rolling hills, farmland, clear sunny skies…
That sums up my mini break to Amsterdam. Hope you enjoyed my highlights from this lovely city today. And a special thanks to all the ladies who met me at the meet and greet, you each made my visit to Amsterdam SO MUCH better than I had imagined.
(images mostly taken by my husband Thorsten Becker, others by yours truly)