Posts in Interiors
Dutch-Inspired Party Ideas with Chocolate Beet Brownies

Hello everyone, it's and I'm here today to share my once-monthly column about tabletop styling and food. I'm German, yet our annual family summer vacations in Holland for the past thirty-seven years (I'm only 40!) shaped me and my sense of style. I love the the laid-back, relaxed and joyful lifestyle of the Dutch and whenever opportunity arises to visit Amsterdam I use it! For March, I've created an Amsterdam-inspired tabletop idea to inspire you for spring.

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I just returned from the city of canals and bridges with my dear friend Dunja last month and though spring seemed far away at that time we still enjoyed strolling through the streets and tiny alleys for hours. The beautiful canal houses are one of the most typical symbols of the city, so I started to search the web for a DIY everyone can implement without spending much money to their tabletop to bring in a little Dutch charm.

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I ended up finding a  at . All you have to do is to print the templates and cut out the houses/ windows. Lucky for me, cutting out the small windows a little inaccurate gave my houses an even more charming look! Haha! Happy accidents are nice, aren't they?

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The perfectionists amongst you can also glue transparent paper behind the windows which looks wonderful when you are planning to illuminate them with candles in a jar. You can also use craft knife and self-healing mat.

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There is no Dutch-themed table decoration without tulips, agree? In our local flower shops we are experiencing tulip high season right now and one can draw from the full range. I picked different shaped tulips in rich shades of pink and red and placed them in my vases from .

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Furthermore a little treat in the form of Chocolate and Beet Brownies with a cream cheese topping and cute canal house biscuits for ornament went on the table for my afternoon coffee gathering. You will find the brownie recipe at .

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The pretty chocolate bars you see on one of my images are from , definitely one of the most popular locations for breakfast, lunch, coffee&cake and decoration shopping in Amsterdam currently! They also run an online shop in the meantime. Their chocolate, postcards and candles are the perfect souvenirs! The bars are the perfect hostess gift to your guests.

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Have a beautiful time welcoming spring... soak up sun, light and colors! I am looking forward to see you again with a new column posting in April everyone! Tot ziens & veel liefs!

(styling, text and photography: )

8 Design Tips For The Perfect Modern Country Kitchen

All I have been thinking about for the past several months now are kitchens and bathrooms! What is your current design obsession? I came across the Park Kitchen Nottingham by today, so very English I think, and I simply MUST how you some of the details because it's like one of those kitchens that you imagine having if you took a place in the country in addition to your city apartment. I decided to put together a little 8 step guide to creating a modern country kitchen like this one.

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1. Lighting from a different era and style. I LOVE this. When I see a kitchen like this, I expect the typical overhead lighting that is generally used to complete the look - something country, for instance. This feels very modern, classy and definitely very early turn of the century. You'd imagine this in a sleek New York City penthouse in the 1930s for instance, not in an English country home. It's a great contrast. The understated oragami-like pendant above the sink is also very unexpected in a country kitchen but it's definitely working! It's modern and the form is just lovely.

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2. Naked windows. If you don't worry about people looking in on you at night while washing dishes, keep the windows naked and fabric-free. If you must add a little something, opt for a barely there white shade that you can just roll down in the evening. Less is more, and if you want lots of light in your kitchen, naked windows are the way to go. I have white Plissé shades and will never go back to roman blinds or anything else in my kitchen. Plissé shades are amazing.

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3. Retro minimalist touches. I love the retro touches - the radio on the countertop and the smeg - perfect. You don't need to go for an American diner look or cheese it up when it comes to retro hints. Keep them very spare but there. This smeg is honestly gorgeous in the space.

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4. Hardware that doesn't look like a kitchen anymore. These handles look like something from your bedroom cupboard, right? They give this kitchen such a cozy and warm vibe, not clinical or typical kitchen with sleek this and sleek that. Warm brass hardware dresses the space up without making it glamourous. I also like these types of handles in a kitchen because of the way they age over time, brass is beautiful like that - such character.

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5. Mix of work surfaces. I spot some hardwood on the island and marble on the countertops. This is a nice mix because if the island was also marble, the kitchen would look more sleek and modern. If the countertops had been all wood like the island, the gray cabinetry wouldn't have stood out as crisp and fresh. This mix works. Plus, on a center island, a wooden prep space in a family kitchen is so nice because you can really roll out cookie dough and get to work!

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6. Simple open shelving. I like how this shelf isn't loaded with visual noise like product packaging and things to read. Instead, it's simple and clear - glassware, ceramics, a few sprigs of flowers, a wooden cutting board. Sure, you can drink from the glasses and use the cutting board, but it's more of a beautiful display area in my opinion. If you have enough storage below the countertops, who needs cabinetry on all of the walls in the kitchen?

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7. Glass top dining table. In this room, I love the table the most not only because it looks vintage, but because it has a glass top which is not so common these days AND because I love how it reflects all of the natural light from the bright and sunny kitchen. Wood would have absorbed all of that light and the dining space wouldn't be nearly as vibrant. Such a great trick when you have a large room and you need to balance the light and the window sources aren't available to do it for you naturally - add glass and/or mirrored surfaces.

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8. Nearby storage. I LOVE this massive cabinet in the dining room that joins the kitchen. Oh goodness, it makes me so happy. It's very robust but also so simple looking that you barely notice it. But look at what it holds inside...

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What a gorgeous space! This is a little fantasy of mine now for many years - a country home with a lovely kitchen in perhaps this gray, shaker style. This kitchen is by deVOL and is absolutely stunning and indeed fits my happy country life fantasy very well.

Photography: deVOL

8 Ways To Decorate Your Bedside Table

Last year, launched a campaign called in celebration of the personal, sweet differences that makes us all so unique and which serves to unite us.I like how they sum it up, "Difference makes us. Life is beautiful, not because of our similarities, but because of our differences. It’s our mission to celebrate those differences." So true!

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Part of the celebration of this campaign is how our bedside table looks since believes every personality has a quite unique style, different accessories, lighting, etc. which shows the taste and lifestyle of the person who sleeps in that space. No two bedside tables are alike, even in a shared bed - my husband has different things on his bedside table - right down to his lamp!

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Etsy asked me if I wanted to show my bedside table so I agreed and so, here it it is. BUT. They asked me to shop Etsy for some items that I thought could be used to spruce it up and then, they'd offer ALL of the products in a contest on their Instagram (you can enter on or from your app) for one lucky winner. This is a value of €275.00 (not including what you would have paid for shipping) AND you get a bonus of 3 extra cups NOT shown on my bedside table. What???? Yup. You heard me right!

What did I pick from Etsy?

1. from 1220 Ceramics Studio (€34.06) 2. from 1220 Ceramics Studio (I use one for tea, the others are in the kitchen on my shelf, €66.18) 3. (3) from Lysa Creation Design on the wall near my prints and the handprints of my son (€80) 4. that smells like leather and wood from Kaoriko Paris, Portofino in Copper with Soy Wax (€45) 5. from Trend Bolt (sorry, cup wasn't included in shipment, €49)

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8 Ways To Decorate Your Bedside Table:

  1. Use any table, chair, bench, dresser... Anything you like that looks good next to your bed and is not too high. Test first by laying in bed and reach over to the table to see if it's too high. If you have to stretch too high or if it's not feeling practical in any way, it's not the right table.
  2. What are your storage needs? I don't need much near my bed, a few private things and a few books. So the private things are in the box on my bedside table (beneath the lamp) and the basket below is where I store other things by mainly books and magazines.
  3. Take the decor up from the table to the wall. I like to create something that flows down from the wall to the table. Some people like to hang art work directly above their bedside table OR hang a pendant or a wall light. I always feel like there needs to be a little something above the bedside table, even if not DIRECTLY above it. Makes the bedroom feel more cozy.
  4. Flowers. Always. They don't have to be expensive. Or a plant. Also a beautiful, natural piece to add to a bedside table. I love flowers because I can change them often enough to give the bedside table a new look. Tulips, daffodils, sprigs of eucalyptus, pussy willows, roses - the entire look changes with the addition of different flowers.
  5. Vase. I have to have a vase for the flowers! I also like to keep it empty sometimes because this vase is pretty enough to stand on it's own.
  6. Lamp. A good lamp to read by, I like the wooden one I have... But also I like that it's not a typical-looking bedside table lamp with a big shade and ceramic base. It's fun to have something quirky in a bedroom that you may expect on a work desk or credenza, for instance. There are no rules, as long as the light shines in the right spot for reading and fits your style.
  7. Candle. Always a scented candle. In the winter, I like wood and leather or something that smells like a fresh walk in a snowy forest. In summer, I go with Grapefruit or Rose, or something more sensual. Candlelight is rela and romantic, too.
  8. Tray. I love a tray to catch things like a pen, bookmark, remote control (if you have a TV in your room, we do not), wireless speaker remote (which we do have), etc.
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Items also shown, not from Etsy include:

1. is from Bloomingville (It's a kids table but I use it for my bedside since the height and width are perfect) 2. Basket beneath for books and magazines from  3. Wall art (except hand prints) from 4. from Muuto 5. from Fashion For Home 6. from Pine Cone Hill 7. from Pine Come Hill 8. on table from Atelier Sukha.

See this photo below? You will win ALL THIS STUFF if you go to the and enter under the #DifferenceMakesUs photo ( - we decided to move the contest from my IG over to Etsy so sorry for the confusion!).

Thank you for including me in this fun campaign!

(Photography/Styling: Holly Becker)

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

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)