Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: Maker Spaces By Emily Quinton

One of the fascinating factors of today's digital era is the emergence of a 'maker' movement. Creative people all around the globe have nowadays the opportunity to share and sell their creative ideas and designs - easier then ever before. It is 13 of those creative minds that opened the doors to their inspiring homes for the new book 'Maker Spaces' by my friend and fellow blogger Emily Quinton. On 170 pages Emily will guide you through 13 creative interiors from the homes and studios of inspiring makers and designers beautifully photographed by Helen Cathcart.

The book is structured into chapters by styles - rustic, homespun, retro chic and eclectic. The book allows us to peek into the homes of jewelry designers, illustrators and textile artists, interior designers and letterpress designers - all of which are styled and decorated with the maker's very own sense of style. Maker Spaces includes colourful homes, mid-century inspired interiors, rooms filled with blooms and plants as well as creative spaces and studios where the ideas of the owners come to life.

After I had gone through the book I felt the urge to be a maker myself although I still believe that my design and/or DIY skills are very (add another very) limited. Moreover, my tiny home offers no extra space for a creative corner but this book gives enough inspiration and ideas to style and decorate any home - no matter the size of it or the owner's occupation. 

Maker Spaces was published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available HERE.

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blogger Styling For Nest.co.uk

I wonder if some of you ask yourself what it's all about our regular bloggers tours we do all across Europe. Some of you might have noticed that we were in London recently and visited various brands and designers in the British metropolis. Usually the entire tour is organized by each local blogger from that country and the exact itinerary remains a secret until we literally take off to our design destination. That was the case with London too and I did not know - until the very last minute - that we will have a styling session for one of my favorite UK online design retailers: Nest.co.uk. I was pretty smitten to see them on our schedule and enjoyed the fun styling session with my fellow bloggers.

In London we were staying in a spacious three floor house in Notting Hill just off the popular Portobello Road. The house was furnished, but not fully packed. Nest.co.uk sent us a large selection of great design pieces from their webstore directly to our London flat. The day we arrived we were welcome by many boxes in various sizes. The suspense was big!

Unwrapping was like kid's birthday for us. It was ooooh here and aaaah there while we unwrapped chairs, accessories, rugs, cushions, stools and more. With eight creative minds in one house the styling went like a whirlwind session - shuffling here, redecorating there, hanging on the balcony and layering on the floor. In between I could hear the click-click of various cameras and the result is here - our blogger stylings for Nest.co.uk in London. 

I am amazed what you can achieve with nice furniture and props and eight creative design bloggers in a very short time. I hope you like the results as much as we do. And remember: Everything you see on our pictures is available in the newly designed webstore of Nest.co.uk

Photography by Susanna Vento and Linda Elmin

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Happy Green Easter!

The March topic of Urban Jungle Bloggers is basically a reedition of last year's seasonal topic - a green Easter styling with plants. To be honest, this month it was pretty tricky for me. First of all I was on holidays and had not prepared anything in advance and second, this year I will not be in Munich for Easter so I have not prepared anything regarding Easter decoration. However, I couldn't miss out the opportunity and had to come up with a very quick and easy green styling.

So what was my idea at all? I wanted to bring in some colours with my plants and use some blossoming plants for a change. I went to the local market last Saturday and found a lovely and delicate Fritillaria meleagris - also known as chess flower because it has chess patterned blooms. I also got a little bunch of catkin twigs because they belong to Easter like the Christmas tree to Christmas. I also added a cactus paddle I brought back from Sicily last week and potted it in my new blue planter from 'Small Spells' and prepared new tableware from the range 'Nordic Sand' by Broste Copenhagen for an Easter table setting.

I played along by swapping plants and adding my growing little cactus (a cutting that I sneaked out from a restaurant) under a glass cloche and another time I added my playful Oxalis triangularis plant with its butterfly like purple flowers. And to be honest, the only real Easter decor item are some chocolate eggs that I brought back from Sicily too. Well I am afraid that's it with my Easter styling for this year - nothing fancy or special. But after all I won't be here anyway.

Now I am off to get inspiration from all other Urban Jungle Bloggers posts with their Easter styling and I will eat up my only Easter decoration simultaneously - I am already at chocolate egg number three. Happy Easter dear Urban Jungle Bloggers!

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blogand Judith (JOELIX.com). 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!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mindful Living With The New Craftsmen

In today's consume-focused society we tend to buy for the sake of buying, we add things to our homes because we want them, we tend to clutter our everyday life without a big deal of reflection. On the other hand, we can see more and more people and brands focusing on the essentials in life, focusing on good, handmade work by craftsmen around the globe. During our recent Design Bloggers Tour to London we had the opportunity to meet up with The New Craftsmen, a design brand that works with some of Britain's best craft makers and showcases some of their work in their great Mayfair based store. Today they are launching 'Mindful Living', a collaboration with furniture designer-maker Gareth Neal showing how objects can affect our mood and well-being.

Gareth Neal has designed a few pieces for the new 'Mindful Living' project and other makers of The New Craftsmen have collaborated and participated in the project too. All pieces have been made with the idea of a stripped back life with a pure set of objects that can fulfill our needs both physically and mentally. The collection included the Brodgar cabinet made by Gareth in collaboration with Kevin Gauld, but also a new textile range by The Good Shepherd and stackable ceramic vessels designed in collaboration with Billy Lloyd.

'Mindful Living' is all about putting sense and meaning to the objects we surround ourselves. During our visit at The New Craftsmen we were asked to create and design together with London based designer Lola Ley a set of placemats for our dinner with The New Craftsmen. We were asked to create a simple and useful piece by working with natural materials and dyes. During the fantastic homemade dinner we used our placemats to create a boho styled table setting and enjoyed good food and talks with the people behind The New Craftsmen and its designers. You can join the discussion about 'Mindful Living' on social media by using the hashtag #MindfulLivingTNC.

Thanks to at{mine} we had this fantastic opportunity as The New Craftsmen are among their beta users in their new interiors community. If you want to join me and many other creatives at{mine}, sign up HERE. And if you want to know more about The New Craftsmen and their 'Mindful Living' project, read the intersting interview on the at{mine} blog!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reclaimed Wood Stories: Holzgeschichten

Living in Munich, Bavaria, means you are surrounded by mountains, lakes, forests. Even though this sounds more fairytale like than it is in real life, it can still get very dreamy once you leave the city and head towards the Alps. Mountains mean lots of snow in winter and avalanches from time to time. Avalanches knock over trees and the wood is doomed to rot away. You bet! Munich has some creative young minds and some wild wood lovers in the surrounding forests and they have one thing in common: they love wood and they love design.

'Holzgeschichten' literally means 'Wood Stories' and it's a young Munich-based design label that is specialized in designing and producing wooden furniture and accessories made of reclaimed wood from avalanches. The wood is sourced directly in the mountains by Axel, a wild and free soul, who is a carpenter and restorer. Johannes and Bernhard are two young architects from Munich with a strong passion for design and together with Axel they tell stories carved in wood: 'Holzgeschichten'.

Now you might think wooden furniture is not so special. However, this furniture is unique and each is a one-of-a-kind piece. Each trunk found in the rivers and on the slopes of the Alps is unique in its texture, structure and colour. Axel sources different trees and the designs are strongly influenced by the potential of the reclaimed wood. Sometimes they turn out to be a table, a desk, a kitchen countertop (a personal favorite), a stool or just a cutting board. But each has its own story.

I had the opportunity to meet Bernhard and Johannes during the recent Munich Creative Business Week and they told me all about their design label and it didn't take a long time to convince me - young design, a creative approach, natural materials and a great story to tell. How could I not share this with you?

Photography by Thomas Straub

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Liberty's Secret Garden

If I asked you to name one London department store that is the most awesome, most traditional and iconic, most refined and pretty luxurious, I bet many of you would name the one and only Liberty in London on Regent Street. This London landmark will make anyone's knees weak and you will have the hardest time ever leaving the store empty-handed. During our recent Design Bloggers Tour in London we had the fab opportunity to team up with the London based interiors community at{mine} (still in private beta phase) who invited us to visit one of their beta members, Liberty London.

We were welcomed in the design premises around the corner from the store where we met a real design celebrity - the iconic Head of Design Emma Mawston and her team. Anyone of you who is really into textile design will now make big eyes! Yes, it is a rare and privileged opportunity to get a presentation of Liberty's latest textile and wallpaper collection named 'Secret Garden'.

Inspired by the book of the same title by Frances Hodgson Burnett, these fabrics and wallpapers come in lush and leafy designs evoking secret gardens full of colourful blooms, rich foliage and exuberant opulence. We were amazed to see all of these designs being hand-drawn before they eventually find their way onto rich and sumptuous fabrics and wallpaper. Suddenly you realize how much inspiration and work is woven into each and every piece of this collection.

As an Urban Jungle Blogger I had quickly found my favorite prints - the Wallace Secret Garden Linen in Green Gauze and the Orchard Wallace Secret Garden wallpaper. Now I only need a big apartment with a room for all my plants and one wall would definitely be covered in this fantastic wallpaper. Up to then I'll keep on dreaming of my secret garden.

Photography by Susanna Vento, last image by Linda Elmin
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