Thursday, February 26, 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Hanging Planters

Green love is in the air! I can feel it, I can see it! It is end of February and spring is approaching - slowly but surely. This month's Urban Jungle Bloggers theme encouraged me to create a tiny hanging garden in my minuscule apartment. Luckily I live in a rooftop apartment with pitched roof areas serving as the perfect basis for some hanging planters and floating plants. As I opted for a hanging garden above my bed, I had to make sure I also create a good energy vibe. But let's start from the beginning.

Maybe some of you remember my Urban Jungle Bloggers post a few months ago when we shared our green and cosy bedrooms. I had hung my little hanging planter with an airplant for the first time then and this served as a starting point for this hanging garden. I am no DIY-er so I had to come up with another idea and I wanted to only use things I have at home. Luckily, I had three hanging planters and adequate plants to go with. Even though one of the hanging planters is a handmade piece from my beloved London based Atelier Stella (the cute face), I felt this is not enough. This isn't it.

That's how I started to think about good vibes, good energy and the plant's ability to purify the air. If my hanging plants purify the air in my bedroom, then I need something more to purify the energy and disperse good vibes. I had not to look far: I brought two handful of quartz crystals from my last US trip and I had a Greek 'Evil Eye' that serves as a talisman and protects from any kind of evil. I got it from a hotel manager in Athens a few years ago. I knew instantly: I have everything to create a very good atmosphere in my home!

The rest is as pragmatic as hammering nails into the wall. One, two, three - after six nails I was ready to hang everything, arrange and rearrange and voilà, here it is: my little hanging boho garden with good plants and good energy. Spring can come - I am ready. Just a few more breaths of fresh, purified air and a few rays of good energy from my crystals. Let's rock'n'roll!

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blogand Judith ( Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date on our website and Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Or let us know and we'll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let's bring some green into your homes and blogs!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hotel Tip: Motel One At The Vienna Opera

In my last blog post I've taken you along on a weekend getaway to beautiful Vienna. I showed you a few reasons why you should put the Austrian capital on your travel bucket list and enjoy beautiful architecture, arts, coffee and food in Vienna. Today I want to give you the ultimate hotel tip to make your Vienna trip perfect. Think of a design hotel that will not blow your budget, think of fantastic opulence and a location in the heart of Vienna: welcome to the Motel One at the Vienna Opera.

This brand new hotel belongs to the design hotel chain Motel One which stands for design at a very affordable price tag and their design signature are turquoise Egg Chairs by Arne Jacobsen. But this hotel in Vienna is special: its location next to the Vienna Opera has significantly influenced the hotel's interior design which is opulent and unique to say at least. This Motel One only opened its doors in November 2014 and its official opening party will take place this week. I had the great opportunity to get a better insight into the hotel's interior design thanks to the hotel's management.

When you enter the hotel you will immediately realize that the world renown Vienna Opera served as a design inspiration for the interiors. Luckily, the hotel resides in two connected historical buildings that have lots of character and style - just look at the amazing columns and stucco in the lobby! Everything exposed in the hotel has an artsy feel to it - the lobby is decorated with light installations describing famous ballet formations which are depicted behind the reception, the light pendants refer to the airy ballet tutu skirts, the chairs have ballet feet and behind the hotel bar you can watch real rehearsals from the adjacent Vienna Opera.

Unlike many other Motel One hotels, this one has around 200 rooms in various sizes due to the historical character of the building which prevented any substantial architectural changes. You can find cosy single bedrooms overlooking the Vienna rooftops, spacious rooms with glass front all around, comfortable double-bedrooms with balconies. Interesting fact: A few rooms have a sort of wall in front of the windows due to architectural restraints - the design team created private outdoor spaces and included an illuminated Vienna skyline to the wall creating a very special feeling even to those rooms. The stairways of this hotel are so beautiful, you will deliberately skip the elevator and enjoy the historical ironworks and beautiful old tiles.

My room was very comfortable with a big bed, free Internet and a great breakfast buffet with organic food. After breakfast I headed out to the main sights of Vienna - all of them in close proximity and reachable by foot. The central St. Stephen's Cathedral is a mere 10 minutes walk away, the buzzing market 'Naschmarkt' is five minutes away, so is the museums' quarter. Perfect for a weekend getaway!

I was invited by Motel One to stay and test their new hotel but my opinion remains untouched and honest. I really recommend this place if you want a nice hotel, if you want to be central and if you don't want to spend a fortune. I'll be back for sure.

Photography by Igor Josifovic
This blogpost has been brought to you in collaboration with Motel One

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekend Getaway To Vienna

A few of you might know that I was born in Austria and that I am officially an Austrian citizen. Whenever I get asked where I'm from by foreigners and I reply that I'm from Austria, the reactions are in unison: Oh Vienna! It is so beautiful! I absolutely confirm that. However, I am from the other side of Austria, but that's just a detail.

The beauties of Vienna are ranking the Austrian capital amongst the most picturesque cities in Europe if not the entire world. Traveling to Vienna is like buying a ticket through history. It's been a while since I had visited Vienna the last time, so when I revisited the city a few weeks ago I remembered why all the foreigners are so fascinated by Vienna: Beautiful, historic architecture, a vibrant cultural scene, traditional cafés and pastries, historical landmarks on every corner, and the unique Viennese lifestyle. Its location in the heart of Europe make it the perfect weekend getaway for Europeans.

Strolling through downtown Vienna feels like a historical promenade through the Habsburg Monarchy with its representative buildings and pastel facades, golden cupolas and Art Nouveau wherever your eye stops. Vienna boosts with attractions such as the imperial palaces of the Hofburg and Schönbrunn (do I hear some Sisi fans among you?), the impressive St. Stephen's Cathedral, the quirky Hundertwasserhaus and fantastic museums such as the Albertina, the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) or the famous Vienna Secession building ('To every age its art. To art its freedom.').

Vienna is located on the Danube river and offers many green spaces to its inhabitants and visitors. Spacious parks and a lively riverside fail not to impress and encourage alfresco activities. For the gourmets among you, Vienna will be paradise (or a calorie trap for the more cautious eaters among you): First and foremost I recommend a Saturday stroll over the famous Naschmarkt, Vienna's central market. This open-air market with countless stands offers delicacies from around the world. Vienna has always been a connecting gate between the West and the East and this can be perfectly observed on the Naschmarkt - Austrian pastries, Italian olives, French cheeses stand side-by-side with Turkish sweets, Egyptian candied lemons, pickles from the Balkans. The market offers many restaurants and bars so you won't stay hungry for long. Moreover, on Saturdays the food market is extended by a flea market with all kind of tchotchkes that make a perfect and unique souvenir for your shelves at home.

Vienna is also the capital of cafés. Legend has it that it was the sieging Ottomans in the 17th century who brought coffee to Vienna. Ever since the Viennese café (Wiener Kaffeehaus) is an integral part of the daily life of the locals and tourists alike. Touristy (and historical) coffee hotspots are the Café Demel, Café Sacher (the two first claim to have invented the famous Sachertorte cake), Café Central, Café Hawelka (a rugged, dark café used to host Vienna's creatives), Café Hofburg in the palace. Don't be intimidated by the extensive coffee selection in those cafés and make sure to accompany your coffee with a piece of local pastry such as the Sachertorte, the Esterházy cake, apple strudel or sweet dumplings filled with apricots.

Vienna will not disappoint you. You will love the romantic, charming and historical atmosphere and discover lots of Europe in one spot. Plus, staying in Vienna will not blow your budget - I have the best and most reasonable hotel tip for you in the very center of Vienna - but I keep this for my next blog post which will be published on Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Which Decor Type Are You?

via Est Magazine

I bought a new book shelf and finally set it up in my living room. Now it's like an empty canvas ready to be decorated. But how will it look like? What decor vignettes shall I create? Questions over questions. Maybe I have to consult my own decor persona. But who is my decor persona? And which decor type are you?

I assume there are as many decor personae as individuals out there, in a nutshell: countless! But here are eight self-defined decor types I sort of feel and like.

The Creative Reader
You love books but they always seem to look like a nerve-wracking clutter and seem to be only stuffy and chaotic? Here is a simple yet beautiful styling vignette putting some favorite books into scene - add a few props like framed art, a plant, a desk lamp and some more details up on the wall and voilà - your vignette is ready!
via Joshua Pettinato

The Refined Ceramicist
You love ceramics and your vase and bowls collection is taking over the reign in your room? Try to highlight one or two pieces at a time by placing them on a shelf, sideboard or sidetable. Add some twigs or leafy branches into them and sip your coffee the way you like it - as a refined ceramicist.
via Design*Sponge

The Breezy Sailor
Who says you have to live coastal to be a breezy sailor. Feel the sea breeze in your hair and enjoy the splashing waves by grouping together your favorite decor items with a nautical theme. Make one item the statement piece - like in this case the paiting - and group a few thematic props together adding various textures to the styling. Combine blue hues and natural tones and there you go - can you hear the foghorn hooting, you breezy sailor?
via Kara Rosenlund

The Rustic Minimalist
You love a dash of rustic style but you don't want to be mistaken as a Rosamunde Pilcher fanatic? Minimize the scale of your rustic home decor and keep it airy and natural. Play along with nature inspired colours, prefer natural materials like wood and group a few pieces together adding some greens for that rustic vibe. Here we go, you rustic minimalist!
via Rose & Fitzgerald

The Eclectic Artist
You are creative, you are chaotic, you see the things others don't see, you reflect and interpret - in a nutshell: you are an artist. You have this artsy approach in your home decor too - handmade pieces, treasures brought home from numberless voyages, your sketches, art, plants, bric-à-brac - again in a nutshell: you're eclectic. Here it's all about the composition of your eclectic collection. Think colours, sizes, textures, play around, shuffle and reshuffle - here it is, the work of a true eclectic artist!
via The Design Files

The Natural Bohemian
You are a child of nature, you love weekends in the green, exploring the mountains, traveling in your trailor. You love the local farmers' market, you are connected to the elements and the world is your oyster - you are clearly a natural bohemian. Work those earthy hues and natural materials on your shelves too. Add plants, linen and practical items from your daily life like those shopping baskets and totes and you are ready to go, you natural bohemian!
via Urban Outfitters

The Talented Scientist
You are cool, sleek, you like order, graphic lines, you are a purist and approach new projects with a scientific accuracy - I declare you are a talented scientist! And yes, this rubs off to your home decor as well! You like clean lines, monochromatic vignettes, you like typography and sophisticated arrangements. Downsize your decor, group black and white pieces together, add wood for warmth and texture, let it breathe and ponder your next scientific decor endeavour - you are the born talented scientist after all!
via Annixen

The Glamorous Aesthete
Beauty is encoded in your DNA, aesthetics is a dogma you will not fail and you do not have to hide it - you have a glamorous side too. Your styling vignettes speak of your personality - they are beautifully put together, they brim with style, they showcase you're design aesthetics and they have that highly visible smidge of glamour with shiny pieces made of brass. Oh you just know we all admire you, you glamorous aesthete!
via SF Girl By Bay

So one question remains: Which decor type are you? If you're not sure, look around your home or better yet start a tiny vignette project and get styling - what is the result? What is your decor persona after all?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Muuto's Fiber Chair By Designers Iskos-Berlin

I think there is one piece of furniture that appeals incessently to every design aficionado - a design chair. The offer is pretty abundant and thus are the piling worries and question how to make space for yet another wonderful chair in one's home. These kind of questions popped up in my head while I was attending the press launch of Muuto's latest design news earlier this year in Cologne. Especially once I had spotted the latest additions to the Fiber Chair designed by Copenhagen based design duo Iskos-Berlin.

I had the honor to meet one of the two designers in person and chat with him about the Fiber Chair, its design process and aesthetics - first hand information were given by Boris Berlin, one inspiring half of the design duo Iskos-Berlin. I was wondering how difficult it can be to design a chair - such a functional piece of furniture that has existed now for so many years and that keeps a rather usual overall shape. And as assumed, it is all in the details. And it's mostly the little details we do not see at first glance that require lots of thinking, designing, redesigning and sophisticated manufacturing.

Suddenly, you realize that each design chair is a masterpiece of its own - from the moment it was brough on paper over the careful manufacturing process to the hours we sit in and enjoy its comforts. And the designers put it in the case of the Fibre Chair as follows: "One of the most difficult and noble disciplines is to design without eccentricity." And I would say they have accomplished their mission with this beautiful and sleek chair.

The Fiber Chair by designers Iskos-Berlin was specially designed for Muuto with the goal to balance maximum comfort with minimum space. It is produced from an innovative composite material containing wood and plastic fibres - the chair has thus a wonderful texture and structure when viewed up close and touched. I loved the feeling way more than of simple plastic chairs - it has so much more character and feeling.

The Fiber Chair also comes in black and cognac leather finishings, the latter one being my absolute favorite. The other versions come in a range of colours containing white, grey, dusty green and nature (which is a sort of ochre hue in this case).

With no further addo I will leave you with that throbbing question: How to make space in your home for this wonderful design chair?

Photography: Images via Muuto, pic with designer by Igor Josifovic
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