Interiors Trend: Minimalistic, Mobile, Modular, Flexible

Hey everyone! Wooo hooo! I'm back home now after spending a jam-packed weekend in Frankfurt attending the as a special guest. It was a stellar time and I was able to meet so many great companies and designers who really take pride in their work.

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One such company is from Taiwan. Chuang Chi-Hong studied Industrial Design and is the owner of this brand; he is very imaginative and loves to pull up memories and then, use them to inspire his design work in a special way. Function is important to him but so is the need to give his work a personality and story to create an emotional bond between the person and the product.

Some really obvious trends in the world of interiors right now are mobility, modularity, flexibility and definitely minimalism. Less is more. Furniture that can be moved around in the same room to serve several functions. Bookcases that allow you to configure (and change them) as your needs change. Modular sofas that can be moved easily for a film night with a family or to throw a cocktail party or a slumber party for the kids. Built-in furniture is not such a focus, most find it challenging because it doesn't allow for change and today many people are really looking for flexibility - things that can be conveniently relocated to other rooms or even other homes if you decide to move. I saw so many examples of this at the fair, some obvious and some, less so. I like the flexibility and minimalist approach to the chihong collection. You can use a lot of the products as intended or in a new way, your imagination is the limit.

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I really loved the chihong collection, including their color palette of Gray, Black, Pink, Dark Blue and Mint green, so I'm introducing it here for you to enjoy. You can see more examples of their work on their website.

(images: chihong)

5 Eye-Catching Black + White Party Ideas

Hello friends, I had a most lovely book party in Hannover before Christmas when I launched (or in German, the book is called ) in the city where I live with my friends and family whom I love so much. A bonus was that my little boy Aidan Benjamin, who turns 3 tomorrow, was there with me watching mama talk about my book and showing how to create a beautiful party scene using only black and white. There I am below with my little one looking on...

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I love my son so much and to be "working" with him like this and to have him share in the festivities of my book party gave me no greater joy - in fact, this was such a special time for me to have him there. When I was styling the black and white gift giving party in my book, he was running around the room with me and Holly Marder (the photographer) along with Pamuk and Tinna, and he was so much younger! That was back in September 2014 when he was 19 months old. In this photo above he is already out of the toddler years and is a genuine little boy. The thing is, as he grows and works alongside of me as I produce my books and then, do book parties, I observe his growth and his maturity, how he went from not talking on the photoshoot to now, never being quiet and speaking in two languages fluently!

I've launched 4 books and have been to over 40 locations in North America and Europe since my first book came out years back... But never with him until now. He loved the cake pops and enjoyed meeting everyone and in the end, he did great being in a shop with nearly 100% ceramics and glass -he didn't break a single thing. Good boy! I was so proud and I'm happy I got to finally have a book party in Hannover with him with me -  this is something I'll never, ever forget.

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I was so honored to take Decorate For a Party to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Zurich, and even the imm in Cologne where it was proudly on display in my stand. And Leslie launched the book in Victoria, British Columbia. This weekend, I'll bring the book to Frankfurt to share at the Ambiente Fair in a video that they'll put on their Facebook page. Book #4 gave me some great adventures and now I'm finalizing the concept for book 5, which I will write as the sole author, and it will release end of 2018 or Spring 2019. It's going to be something very different from what you'd imagine and I'm breaking the "Decorate" series now so no more "Decorate..." books for the time being. I have decided to take a risk and try something very new. Let's see what you will think!

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taking a photo for Instagram

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I'm very happy here to receive flowers styled by local florist .

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Now I'll give you 5 black and white party styling ideas, particularly for the winter months (like RIGHT NOW!). Ready for some tips?

  1. PATTERN MIX. Black and white can go super clinical or super minimalist and modern - not so much playful or fun, right? But if you mix and match patterns you can definitely insert the fun factor. I've chosen linens and ceramics from and made hostess gift boxes for each plate which double as a place card since everyone has their name on a box. The boxes were simple white boxes but I used black washi tape to create a "ribbon" and black dot stickers from the stationery aisle in the local drug store to add a pattern.
  2. NO TABLECLOTH. I like the way a table can look without a table cloth, especially if you have a beautiful wood or simple white table. For a black and white party, especially if you have a white table, use a patterned runner to warm up the table with fabric and leave the rest bare for a more modern Scandinavian look.
  3. CHINESE TAKE AWAY BOXES. I love these boxes, you can get them everywhere it seems lately and the solid white without any writing are the ones I go for. I like to fill them with nuts, candy and crackers. You can embellish with black washi tape or just leave them plain.
  4. SPRIGS OF GREEN. Every black and white party needs a natural element to warm it up. Because it's from nature, the color of it doesn't disrupt the flow of your monochromatic scheme. Add sprigs of pine to clear glasses vases (or in this case Finnish champagne glasses) or add other greens like Eucalyptus or potted plants. The key is to use only one type of green down the table center so that it creates interest without becoming a focal point or cheap looking.
  5. NO PLACEMATS. I like placemats but honestly, it's refreshing to drop them every once in awhile. Use large patterned napkins or solid black to give your plate something to rest against until guests take their seats.
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Here I am receiving so much warmth and love from my dear friend .

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I had to create a place setting for my little boy!

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I made Finnish himmeli and hung them in the shop window using birch-patterned straws. The DIY project is in the book!

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Thank you to beautiful Eghlima Kiaei from for your bright and energetic spirit and your delicious cakes and cake pops - we love what you do and appreciate so much all you did to make this party so nice for us! Also many, many thanks to Hannover-based Photographer for these lovely photographs and your happy nature and big smile. With special thanks to Imke Isermann at for allowing us to use this beautiful space for the afternoon. Finally, thank you to our German publishers, Random House/DVA, for giving to German-speaking Europe!

Oh and of course, thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us (Anke, Gabi, Kerstin, Esra, Annette, Claudia, Kristina, Sean, Guru, Dietlind, Gundi, Anna, Sonja, Mary, Tinna, Sara, Emma, Jan + Wiebke, Berit + Heiko) and so many others for making this event so meaningful to me.

Love,

Holly

Live Trends from Ambiente: February 11 + 12

I am thrilled to announce my newest partnership with one of the most important trade shows in the world, , where I will be reporting to you live on Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12. I'll tell you more in a moment, but first, how are you? It's Friyay and I hope that you have some nice plans for the upcoming weekend. If you don't, try to make some because it will make you feel better if you have something to look forward too. So...

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Reporting and trend scouting are double passions of mine and fairs give me a great way to do that, it's always so special to meet those whom I admire behind some of my favorite interiors and lifestyle brands. Working with Ambiente will be the perfect partnership because I can share two days of live coverage on Instagram through IG Stories, flash interviews and photos with all of you and later, a full report on my blog. You don't have to leave the house, just follow me on and you're going on a blog tour with me from your sofa.

I've already put together a company list charting my adventures into interiorsland and am looking forward to tuning you in on all day Saturday and Sunday, so mark your calendars for 11 and 12 February for the latest and greatest collections because if you are into interiors like I am, this show is one that you can't miss, and it's also so important for you to follow what's new so you can pass your inspirations to your own clients, fans, readers, etc. You can count on me to find everything that is worth your attention, trust me, because I'll sniff out the best of the best and provide you with links and photos on Instagram during those two days so that you can find new companies and be in the know at the same time that I am.

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I wish you a lovely weekend, I'll be back on Monday to talk about more partnerships and fun things that I've been up to and also to tell you about a big project that you may be able to actually be a part of (I would love that).

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Oh and don't miss this.... We are now enrolling for the always inspiring Blogging Your Way e-course which begins in just FOUR WEEKS from now so you have to register before spaces sell out. I have so much to share with you that will go beyond the curriculum, so brace yourself for a great class!!!

Love,

Holly

(Fair photos from 2016 by and , all others are my own.)

18 Interiors Trends for 2017 "Fashion Comes Home"

I have great things to share with you now that I'm back from the and after spending two very full weekends there. I worked with a film crew to do videos for the fair which has become my new favorite thing to do! But of course, my focus was my booth and in presenting a cattledogs styled space to visitors and to tell them about me and what it is that I do. I feel in many ways, I accomplished this but so many things I would change but now I know for next time so even though the stand was a success and the fair had 150,000 visitors, I have learned so much from this experience and can't wait to work on my next fair stand.

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If you want to see before and after photos, . Are you ready to see what I saw at the fair and to do some trend spotting with me?  Here's my list of 18 interiors trends for interiors that I spotted. If I had to summarize the direction of interiors in Europe at the moment I would simple say, "Fashion Comes Home". I really see fashion making its way into the home sector with the revival of individualism, texture, fabric and luxe materials and patterns.

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1. Antique-effect mirrors that are not Shabby Chic, but very moody and dramatic. and come to mind.

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2. Grouping pendant lights instead of hanging just one. Grouping definitely creates a mood as well as impact. The lighting above shown was in the stand of .

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3. Velvet seating is experiencing a big comeback. I saw examples of this all over the fair, sometimes using just a chair as an accent, other times an entire room. The purple seating above was in the stand of .

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4. Curtains. I saw lots of stands using lengths of fabric as room dividers to mimic curtains. Semi-sheers and some very lightweight that almost looked like netting. Others more dramatic and bold in lush materials. There is a huge revival in fabrics for interiors at the moment. Example above as shown in stand and .

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5. Painted walls. White is definitely not trending right now on walls here in Europe. Walls need to be in color - and mostly bold moody tones. Examples above as seen at and stands.

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6. Multi-colored walls. Individualize your home. This stood out to me the more I browsed the fair. One way was repeated throughout the fair and it was through color. One color on the walls in an entire room feels dated to me after visiting the imm. The new goal is to use different colors on your walls or paint the walls in unique ways with more than one color (such as 3/4 of the way up, one color, and the top, another). Being playful but still maintaining a sophisticated vibe.

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7. Luxe materials and texture. Marble and colored glass are definitely on trend. Velvet, leather, linen, crystal, wool, anything that makes you want to touch it. Example above from .

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8. Colored surfaces. White and wood are classics, but companies are asking us to live a little. Buy a dining room table with a navy blue top or a kitchen unit in pale blue. Or maybe an emerald green side table? A coffee table in pale yellow? Try to break away from the classics at the moment and be more open to mi color into your foundation pieces, not just your accents.

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9. Colored frames. Or mix the frame colors. offers this with their new  and I love it.

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10. Layering rugs. This is popular too. Lay down a rug and add another rug on top, and maybe another trailing off, and create a patchwork of rugs if you like. It's also a practical solution if your table is larger than your rug. Just add more rugs.

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11. Pastels with black. Grounding pastels with black is very important and I saw lots of examples of this - black seems to bring pastels into the adult zone and out of the teen zone. Also, mi in red or bright orange. Great example of this was spotted in the stand.

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12. Bold lighting. Lighting that makes an impact is very important right now. Nothing above your table should be boring! I saw examples of this over and over again. Lights that make you stop and stare. Go for those. Same for floor and tabletop lights. The sky is the limited!

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13. Kitchens that bring chef's technology to your home. I saw so many examples of this with integrated stovetop ventilation, vacuum-pack drawers in ovens, appliances that use voice command, coffee makers with wifi, black stainless steel, mobile kitchens, rethinking your refrigerator (built in under counters or in the wall vs. huge free standing unit), touch activated faucets, Alexa-enabled appliances, faucets in bold colors, you name it. You can live like a professional chef at home with the options that are out there right now. Kitchen above is from , notice the raised sink, so interesting right?

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14. Modular and multi functional furniture. Sofas, tables, it should all have more than one way to use and enjoy it. It can be repositioned, used to work, to play, to sleep, to accommodate guests, etc. had a great sofa in her stand that shows how nicely this can be accomplished.

15. Metal. Metal is huge, it's everywhere. Frames, legs, lighting, kitchens, everything - but way more understated and matte than before, not so much bling.

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16. Mirrors. MIRRORS are BIG right now. Especially round ones and those that are shaped a bit unusually. I love mirrors in the home, so this is a trend that never goes out of style to me.

17. Bold Tones. Color is big right now but not the typical saturated hues like pure red, blue, violet... The colors are definitely more moody and shaded. Imagine adding black to pure red, or black to blue... Or adding gray to yellow or green. Cozy colors are what I predict we're moving towards for the year.

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18. And a micro trend... Air plant holders! People were going crazy for these over at the and Desiree even had them in her booth. Air plant holders are seriously all the rage at the moment, particularly the ones from .

I hope you've enjoyed my trend report from the imm Cologne and Living Kitchen. Which trends do you like most???

(Images: unless otherwise noted, Holly Becker/iPhone)

Winter Tabletop Dinner Party Ideas

Hello everyone, this is and I thought I'd drop by while Holly's at the imm Cologne in her cattledogs booth to first of all, I wish you a happy new year and next, bring you some ideas and inspiration for a wintery tabletop. What I did this time was I put every tree-shaped candleholder ( decoration) I own on our dining table.

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Admittedly there are numerous in our possession! Imagine my husband rolling his eyes at this point! Of course less will do. (Imagine him nodding!) Moreover, I wanted to catch the beautiful colors one finds outside in the forest here in Germany at this time of the year. Namely shades of grey (sky), brown (wood) and white (snow). I love this natural and fresh color palette at home. Do you?

It recently snowed heavily outside when I shot these images the other day. Perfect timing for this column! But you can easily let it snow above your table, too! Either you make a garland of white paper dots by using a circle punch and sewing the dots in a row OR you just buy one at the online shop, if you are not a DIY kind of person!

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These garlands create a non-kitschy but cheerful and fun decoration. But all regular readers will know that I am generally into paper garlands, I cannot help it!

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In keeping with the chilly season I picked a wreath illustration with bare branches (bought online at ) for the name tags you see on the plates and attached jute cord loosely.

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As I am a huge fan of hearty soups and stew in winter I cooked one of our family's favorites – Sweet Chestnut Soup. This one contains chestnuts (surprise!), celeriac, leek, spring onions, beef broth and cream. The topping is made of chopped and roasted chestnuts with coarse sea salt, fresh grounded pepper and maple syrup for a sweet touch. Just the way I like it! An alternative to traditional soup bowls are pretty preserving jars.

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That's it for now! I will see you again in February when we should definitely have spring flowers for our column, don't you think? Sending kind greetings -

(Styling, Photography: Anke Illner)

The Bloggers Trend Show @ imm Cologne + Living Kitchen

I am typing with excited fingers because the cattledogs booth at the fair is up and running! The imm is one of the most important interiors and kitchen fairs in the world and certainly, in Europe. If you're an American, imagine being asked to have your own booth at the ICFF in New York and to share your inspirations and ideas as a stylist and blogger. Well, it's like that. A big deal. And not just a little booth, an entire 11 x 7 meter space where you can create a kitchen, living room and dining area!

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You can find me in Hall 4.1 Booth C022 so please stop by all week or come on the weekend to meet me personally all day on Saturday and Sunday - I'll be there from opening time until the fair closes each day. That's me chatting with visitors from , was such a pleasure to have coffee with them and relax.

I was honored to accept the challenge for my first trade show booth and jumped right in. But it's not just an honor for me but for bloggers everywhere because this could be the start of something new. Imagine more fairs having booths from bloggers + influencers sharing their inspirations? It brings such a fresh flair to an interiors trade show, don't you think? To see your favorite blog come to life and to get to meet the blogger that you love so much. Perhaps this is the next step for bloggers - to have their own trend shows at trade fairs so they can share what's happening online and what they, and their readers, are interested in the most at the moment. I actually LOVE this concept!

I've done a lot to get to this point of being recognized and I'm proud of this - and also proud of what this means for bloggers globally. I want to do video work and television next. In fact, I would love to have my own show. But I'm proud that bloggers are being seen, no longer invisible. And though print publications still battle their feelings with having us out here, I'm happy to tell them that we must learn to live and work together because bloggers and influencers are not fading out anytime soon. So it's time to team up or just accept us as being important content providers too.

Bringing together my ideas and inspirations for a trade show booth was one of the most exciting projects I've had because it's totally new. I love a challenge. And to have only started in November, and only finalizing everything a few weeks ago, well... It's an understatement to say that I worked really hard with my assistant, Toni Vinther, to pull it off in record time.

I also can't thank Tinna and Morten Pedersen enough from . Both worked with us very closely to loan out Skagerak and Ferm Living products for the cattledogs booth. I also worked closely with , , , , , , , and to supply the major pieces for the booth which are on loan and to be returned after the fair ends. And of course Eike Fuchs, the Project Manager for Living Kitchen, Judith Mader, Charlotte Guyout, Ann-Christin Mai, Jan Wefelnberg and Markus Majerus. All were tremendously supportive and helpful throughout this project and none of this would have happened without them. And lovely Jenny who helped us build the booth! She was fantastic!

This was the first time the imm has ever had a Bloggers Trend Show, so we all learned so much together on this project and my hope is that the imm will continue to partner with bloggers in the future for more trend shows.

So! here is the booth on Sunday, the day before opening day...

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Ann-Christin Mai, Charlotte Guyot and Judith Mader - Charlie's Angels for sure!

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And the floor plan... A rough copy but at least you can get a good idea of the layout and dimensions. I wanted the back wall to be plywood because I see it as great material to use on the wall in the home, particularly in the kitchen, and hope to see it even more in the future.

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I'm VERY visual, so I always work off of mood boards. I find a starting point and then work from there. For this project, the starting point was a beautiful scrapwood table from Piet Hein Eek. I have loved his work for eight years and finally had a chance to approach him to work with me on this project and he accepted. From there, I decided on the plywood wall and the color scheme and overall vibe I was going for. Here is my mood board.

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From this point, I started to make calls and send emails. Because time was so limited and Christmas was coming, it was critical to get all of our big pieces ordered before the holidays and gladly, we accomplished this. After I secured the large pieces, I did more mood boards just to see how the pieces were working together as I worked, you can see these below. I also had a mood board on Pinterest that I kept secret until now - you can see it here.

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Dining area major pieces: from Woud Design, Side chairs from Menu, from Muuto, in high gloss from Piet Hein Eek (This isn't the exact table, I selected one in richer deeper tones and lots of white), in white from Menu.

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Kitchen corner major pieces: (shelves and bar) from n by Naber, , and  from Ferm Living, in Light Blue from Woud Design, from Ferm Living,  from Skagerak.

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Mood board area major pieces: in white from Muuto, from Skagerak. This area ended up NOT being for the mood board, we moved it to another wall, and instead installed original painting from above the Vivlio shelving instead.

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Living room major pieces: covered in Steelcut trio 133 textile and designed by Muuto,  from LYS Vintage designed by , from LYS Vintage designed by , Muuto in green (from my home), covered in Blue Umami 3 743 textile and designed by Muuto,  from Atelier Suhka (from my home), from Connox designed by (from my home),  from Lulu & Georgia (from my home), Large 200x300 Black White from Muuto, in Black from Ferm Living,  from Ferm Living, from Woud Design.

Last weekend, we put it all together and on Monday morning, I went live on Instagram Stories to show you how it came out - and the fair officially opened. They're expecting 70,000 visitors so it's just a wee bit of pressure when a fair approaches you and asks if you'd like to be part of an international trend show and they'd like to give you a booth to share your personal inspirations in and some of the trends that are on your radar. With only two bloggers participating, it was such an honor to be asked but also to share the project with Desiree from , a friend and fellow blogger living in Amsterdam whom I've known for years. We photographed her home for my second book, Decorate Workshop. You can see her on her beautiful blog.

Ready to peek in at the booth?

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BEFORE, remember?

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This is AFTER. Note: I didn't select the floor, I had to use the standard trade show floor which is black cement. I also did not select the wall height. I had to use what they gave me, the height of 2,5 meters. Everything else though, I selected and nothing is "sponsored" and no one is giving me perks or anything special if I asked them to be part of the booth. Everything was chosen for one reason: I liked it! Also, 90-100 items that you see are from my own home. This makes the booth feel like home to me.

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I love the wall decal on the back wall, a tree, by . She's lovely. She gave it to me as a gift about a year ago and I was going to put it in Aidan's room but decided now that the booth was were it needed to go.

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I like seeing visitors rela and chatting in my space. These guests are flipping through and . I've added magazines and books from some of my favorite authors, including , , my four books, , , Igor from  and with lovely Judith, , and many more. The  vases that you see are from in Hamburg, a favorite interiors shop of mine that I tell everyone who visits Hamburg that they must visit. Those vases are on my wish list for sure!

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These pretty ceramic spoons are from my private collection, made by .

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Don't worry, I tucked away all of the cords on the floor to the left of the shelving, you can't see them anymore, they drove me nuts!!!

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These are so precious and special to me, on loan from my friend in Hamburg.

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My assistant Toni Vinther (to the far left), speaking with a booth visitor.

So! that is the cattledogs booth! Since the fair is still on, you can also come by and see it live and visit Desiree's booth too! At the fair, you can find some of the best brands in the world of interiors and kitchen exhibiting their new collections AND the small makers too at the which is also part of the imm this year for the first time.

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All week at the cattledogs booth, we have a wonderful hostess there, Ayse Alkan ( on Instagram) to make you a coffee, help you pin to the pinboard in our booth (you can win prizes!) and to answer your questions... Then, I'm back on Saturday and Sunday to be in the booth all day myself - I'll be there with Morten and Ayse from opening to closing hours both days but away for lunch. If you stop by and I'm not there, ask them to text me and I'll come back to see you - I may be chatting to someone in another booth, etc. But I'm there!

On Saturday, we have a blogger tour and lots of my blogger friends are coming to see me and participate in my growing mood board project in my booth. We have cappuccino, expresso, etc in my booth too -so stop by and sit at the bar and relax with us. There is wifi, plenty of books and magazines to peruse and a very laid back and rela environment that I'm sure you will enjoy so definitely spend some time with us.

Thank you again to the imm and Living Kitchen for having me. From Friday-Sunday please watch my Instagram and hashtag #immspired to see my trend repots from the fair and I'll see you on Saturday and Sunday in my booth too!

Bye! xo

Holly