Posts in People
NEW: Dottir & Sonur

This company hasn't been blogged yet, in fact they just released their line 3 days ago! I was so pleasantly surprised to come across this fabulous new brand because they are not only beautiful and on trend but these talented Icelandic designers live in nearby Berlin! Small world! Tinna and her partner Ingvir head up , a multidisciplinary design firm specializing in products for the home. This is very hot off the press so enjoy this premiere peek!

Ingvi and Tinna met nearly 8 years ago and have collaborated on lots of projects, experimenting with everything from corporate identity to web design and now product design. Ingvi is a web developer and designer and Tinna has a masters in packaging design and they live in Berlin with their little ones, Hjalmar and Solveig. I am in love with the shown above, it's amazing!

I also like that they've got a little origami-inspiration action going on as this is a growing trend in design motifs and I find origami just lovely and so fresh used in this way. Currently, their products are only available on their or by ing Tinna directly at: order AT dottirandsonur.com but they are looking for retailers to take them on so them if you have a shop and you're interested!

Spread the word about Dottir & Sonur, I'd love to see more of their work because I think they're very talented!

(images: dottir & sonur)

PeopleHolly Becker Comment
The Very Dear Emily Chalmers

Today I want to share one of the most talented flea market junkies that I know, London-based author, shop owner and stylist . Her work has made a difference in my life and in how I look at interiors. She really stands out as one of my top 10 favorite creative women. I've always loved the finer details but through her, I've come to appreciate the little things even more that can be easily overlooked in the hustle bustle of the everyday. Some of most cherished collection of books in my library are yours, which have served as my primary connection to your marvelous brain and have given me loads of joy and inspiration. Through Emily, I've learned how to delight in more than just the beautiful "perfect" things that as an American, I am naturally drawn towards -- my culture is all about perfect packaging and perfectly made crafts and perfect looking interiors (being part of the Martha Stewart generation).

Through her book, Flea Market Style, so many (me included) felt set free from all of the poshness that exists in interior design and instead, were exposed to a world where perfectly symmetrical and stuffy rooms are unknown and instead, rebellious rooms with plenty of quirk and character are the norm. All who know her work are well aware that she was there celebrating this trend of imperfect interiors long before it became cool to publicly confess to liking it. In fact in 2005, her book introduced so many to the chic side of Flea Market Style and after that, there was no looking back. To me, she is pioneer of flea market style, granny chic and boho chic.

Her eye and talent have given so much to so many and I hope that she recognizes this. So often as a pioneer of a movement, it's easy to feel like you've been left behind by what you yourself started. She may or may not feel this way, I don't know, but I feel this way sometimes as a blogger as I enter my 7th year of doing this "professionally" and sometimes wonder if anyone remembers that I was writing in this space long before it was cool or the press gave a damn about me or what I had to say. I remember writing 10 articles a day on this blog during a time when few people even read design blogs. I didn't know where it would lead me but I had a desire to connect and share and get noticed so that I could one day write for magazines. I know other "old school" bloggers like me who are reading this right now wagging their heads thinking of those early days when blogging didn't have any drop of coolness associated with it. Today it seems everyone wants a piece of the blogging pie and for good reason, it's a great pie! It takes a true love affair though with what one is doing to stick through it through the "thin" because god knows it's easy to love it while it's "thick", isn't it? But I digress...

But yes, it's easy to forget how key Emily was to what is happening today in interiors. She is one who paved the way for so many closet flea market junkies to come out with confidence and share their own love for granny chic, homespun, flea market and the fabulous mix of old and new. I see so much of her work in the work and even retail spaces of others. What an amazing thing for her to witness all of this - she can see what has become of her willingness and courage to share her vision and how it's taken off. Her courage to go out there and tell the world what she thinks and loves really rocks.

I'm also so inspired by the many intricate pieces that make up the whole of who Emily is, from her sweet emails to how she made a special effort to meet me at my book launch in London. Her reputation is unblemished - everyone who has met Emily says she is gracious, generous and a kind and caring soul. This means a lot because it's not common in interiors to find down-to-earth people who happen to be trendsetters. She uses good old-fashioned warmth, talent, hard work and honesty to advance herself and I admire that. Emily is the real deal!

Emily, you have made an enormous difference to me and so many others and if you didn't know this already, well now you do.

(photography: )

 

PeopleHolly Becker Comment
Creative Ideas From Stylist Sania Pell

London-based stylist and author rocks my world. She has become a good friend of mine and I am lucky enough to get lots of Sania time whenever I'm in London for crafting, shopping, chatting, eating and visits to other lovely friends along the way, like our recent visit with Emma Cassi that she so nicely arranged. I first met online, thanks to my book review of her debut title, The Homemade Home, and shortly thereafter we met for dinner in London and it's been a great friendship ever since that lovely evening over a year ago now. TGFB! Thank Goodness For Blogging!

I'm so excited that in the Spring, her next lovely book will release, The Homemade Home For Children, though it is now ready to (yeah!). It focuses primarily on crafting for and with your children but even non-parents like me will buy the book and apply the 50 projects to things in my own home or use it for ideas to share with friends who have kids. Sania is nothing short of pure inspiration (magic!) to me and to her many fans.

You also have to visit her blog, , because there she shares her own photography and many amazing projects that she posts each week. I love her recent posts on adding hand-painted to flowers (brilliant!), , and this she made using sheer fabric, some leather, thread and fabric.

What an amazing lady, do visit her and also pre-order her book because trust me... You will love it! I've seen a bulk of the projects in it (she showed them to me as she was making them for the book) and you are in for a huge treat. If you think her blog is amazing, the book will blow your mind.

(images: sania pell)

Louise Body Designs

Did I tell you that I was able to see the highly regarded collection of designer after my lecture at last month? Oh I did... And it was simply fantastic to be a part of it all. Here are some photos so you can see what her recent work looks like. I've been a fan for a long time and love seeing how she evolves. The shots of pink and yellow in these cushions below make me smile. It all looks very English, doesn't it?

What about you? Spot anything you like?

When I blog of these beautiful things designed by talented people I think of how I could have the most interesting interiors shop if I ever decided to open one with the bevy of s that I have. I truly love design and it would warm my heart to see my favorite things living together in one shared space - a cattledogs shop! I'm returning to a dream I had for many years... to become a shop owner. I saw a few vacant places recently in my neighborhood and felt a chill of excitement as I peeked inside. I thought of the potential, my ideas, the events I could host... I once held the dream of shop ownership so closely to my chest but then decided to write a book and the dream was tucked into my back pocket. Though I plan to write more books, I'm reconsidering this idea of being a shop girl and well... perhaps in a few years... We shall see.

(images: louise body)

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

When I was in LA this past July on my book tour, I had the honor of meeting who attended my signing and mood board event at Anthropologie. It was surreal to meet her for a second time, the first was in 2005 when I went to one of her warehouse sales and shyly asked for an autographed copy of one of her books. It was amazing to have the table turned and I felt a huge shift inside when she was at my signing... so much HAS happened in my life since 2005 that even I can't believe it sometimes.

Rachel, who most of you know as the founder of and who created the Shabby Chic decorating style in the first place, has had a very full career as a designer, author, television personality and so much more. Currently, she's celebrating the launch of her latest book, Rachel Ashwell: (which is lovely) and hosting book signings in . In this post, I've snapped photos from my visit in her home and shop, including her inspiration journal that I kept peeking at while she spoke over tea and sweets. I am forever inspired by handmade books packed with collected images and things - loosely curated but always a theme when those doing the collecting have a good sense of personal style. Below are more photos from her home in LA.... This one is from the tabletop where I sat with Rachel discussing her new book, my book, blogging, social networking, her roots, business in general... It was a very full and memorable discussion that I'll never forget.

In addition to products, Rachel is also enjoying these girly gorgeous retreats that she sets up for creative ladies in her ranch in Texas called , decorated in her signature style, of course. Her successful line at Target is still going strong and she has an online shop and four boutiques called Shabby Chic Couture in London, New York, Los Angeles and on her property at The Prairie B&B in Texas. Despite the peeks and lows of being such a massive brand with a huge cult following for over 20 years, Rachel has found her comfortable landing spot after lots of change in her own company and is completely at ease being smaller but better than ever. My kind of lady.

I'm sure you are wondering how I was able to get into the private home of . I wondered that through most of my visit, in fact! Well, it was quite easy - she openly invited me and my friend, . She's been following my blog and knows of my book because she contributed to Decorate. We also share a connection -- one of her best friends, , is someone I know as well - we shot her home for Decorate and if you have the book, you'll see it throughout.

A glimpse into Rachel's home office and mood board

A fireplace mantel with leaning art work and an old, battered wooden cabinet from Texas in soft blue in the living room.

Even her office was loaded with feminine details like this boho style pillow lazily lounging on her office chair and a big basket of ribbons on her file cabinet.

I love how she displayed vintage ceramics on the ledge above her kitchen sink just at the window. It was beautiful to look at them but also to see the garden view outside. I also appreciate details like beads and ribbons adorning cabinet handles. I do this too, so there was a sense of familiarity when I came across them throughout her home.

Her kitchen is a little old and new. I personally love hardwood floors in a kitchen combined with stainless appliances so I think this looks a bit country but also smart.

This corner in her dining area was so pretty, I loved how the light streamed in...

I found mirrors throughout her home, in every room it seemed... I love how they add a sense of space. In this one, you can see the reflection of her guest bathroom. Isn't the wallpaper lovely?

Rachel had a rack of vintage clothing randomly placed in her living room - rather unexpected, but very Rachel. I couldn't stop looking through them, each piece was unique and had some sweet detail from smocking to decorative buttons...

A view of her living room... the ethnic touches on the sofa make it very global, which I like.

More details from adorned handles to rustic finishes and embroidered vintage art work.

Rachel is a very spiritual person, evident throughout her home. All of the saints were represented and even a Buddha. Her en suite bathroom had gorgeous tile on the floor and felt very serene in gray, pale blue and white.

Her bedroom was paired down, simple, pretty...

Another bathroom in her home had some vintage details I had to capture, though I didn't have my DSLR on me and my amazing lens so I had to make due with my old point and shoot. After taking the photo on the left, I grabbed the flower and a necklace from an adjacent room and placed it on a table in front of a window - the lighting was so perfect, I had to capture it somehow.

The artwork in her dining room was particularly pretty and varied. I also liked this golden headboard in a spare room upstairs.

After visiting Rachel at home, we left feeling elated and energized. We grabbed a snack at and then hit Shabby Chic Couture in Santa Monica. Here are a few snaps of some things in the store that caught my eye...

What a special treat to spend hours chatting with such an inspirational lady in the world of design. I mean, seriously, imagine creating a decorating style that is known around the world? That's quite a contribution and something that will always be associated with the one and only Rachel Ashwell. Thank you Rachel for inviting me into your home.

(images: holly becker, taken with a basic point and shoot)

Chocolate Creative: New Products!

Hello everyone! I have a few pretty things to share with you this morning. After I spoke about blogging for business at in London recently, I had about an hour to cruise the show to see what was new in the world of design in the UK. That's when I bumped into my friend Margarita Lorenzo from who had the prettiest little booth with all of her products on display.

I'm a fan of Margarita's products - especially her cushions and totes, but oh boy when my eyes caught site of the new (below) that she designed (her boyfriend makes the wooden part and she applies the design), I simply knew I had to share them on cattledogs. Great, right???

Here are a few more things from Chocolate Creative that I'm certain you'll love today... I must have those knobs though - you can put them on a dresser or cabinet OR use them as hooks on the wall. Brilliant!

Chocolate Creative

But yes, I realllly love those knobs, don't the totes look so pretty hanging from them in the above photo that I shot with my iPhone? They would really fit a store like Anthropologie or Liberty and well, I'd love to see Margarita's work in the best stores - she has a great eye. Beautiful job presenting at 100% Design, Margarita, bravo!

(images: chocolate creative/ pics by holly becker)