Posts in Interiors
Italian Design Preview 2017 From Milan

Hi everyone, it's me Holly and I'm back from exciting adventures in Milan, Portofino and Genoa. I spent a week in Milan on assignment for to attend the wonderful . The Salone personally invited me as 1 of 100 journalists globally to attend as a special guest, too (Thank you Katie and !). If that weren't enough, I was also invited by Milan's to join a tour organized in collaboration with 11 major Italian design brands (listed below). The lovely Francesca Russo of  led us, a group of European design bloggers with cameras ready, through stands at Salone del Mobile - you can watch a video of it (you can see me speaking at 9:10). The day was fast-paced and interesting, so I'll spare you the details and present you with some of my favorite things from a few of the brands that we visited throughout this post.

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Isola Shelving System from  which just won the Wallpaper design award

Okay so, because this is a blog and it's my space to say whatever I want, I have to be honest here... Before this tour I wasn't that thrilled to visit Italian home brands because few of them appealed to me - too over-the-top and ornate for my taste. I was reluctant to go on this tour, but my friend sort of convinced me and because she has great taste and I trusted her I figured WHY NOT? Plus, I wanted to hang out with her and my other friends  and and going on this tour was a great excuse because they'd all be there!

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from JCP

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Cookie table from 

As I approached the fairgrounds, I thought that I really need to open up and stop being so stuck on Scandinavian design. This tour didn't have to ONLY be about being with Agata, Anastasia and Desiree and meeting the DDN team, it could also be so much more -- broadening my views in design,

I spent my teens and all of my twenties being positively addicted to French design and fashion and all of the interiors coming out of London. I nearly moved to Paris twice and London three times when I was single. I've only been big on Nordic design for a decade now, mostly since relocating to northern Germany where Nordic design was once considered boring but has sense grown to become the leading design style in the northern part of the country.

I love Scandi style, but I felt like I needed to branch out and get back to my roots of mi and matching themes again to make my home feel more personal but also warmer and more sophisticated. Going on this tour, and to Italy in general, changed the game for me. I'm back to my roots again. I can rock Scandi while bringing in things from all over the world, including the beautiful pieces from Italian designers shown throughout this post.

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Sign Filo chairs in gold and copper from

If there is one thing we ALL need to do more of, it's to pull out of our comfort zone and step wayyyy back and see everything we think we know, again. The last time I really LOOKED at Italian magazines was, well, too long to admit. I'd never been to Italy before last week. I obviously love Italian life and culture, half of my family in the states married into Italian families, my uncle is Italian and my mother remarried an Italian.... Some of my closest friends are Italian. What was my problem then with Italian design? Why did I only regard it as dated, stuffy and distasteful? I was so wrong and I'm glad my week in Milan gave me a brand new viewpoint because it was needed.

from JCP 

While some of the brands we visited didn't resonate with me, I was completely transformed not only by the presentation and design overall, but from visiting with the designers and hearing their perspective on what they'd created.

In fact, not only on the tour but also in the many design studios I'd visited throughout the city, the lighting brands, all of it - was really inspiring. And don't get me started on the Italian bathrooms and kitchens ( bathrooms left me speechless in Brera, and ask my friend Toni who assisted me on this trip, I am RARELY speechless), they were simply incredible.

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Cloud pouf from 

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Cozy sofa from in pink (love!)

Papillon wall lights from Arflex

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Chair and pouf from e

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from Arflex

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by Laufen mirrors and shelves

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Flow Color chairs from

Here are the brands that we visited, linked below:

I'm still not completely sold on the over-the-top luxury brands that just drip with luxury and look better suited to a hotel or casino than my humble home, but just as German design has evolved over the years, and American styles too, Italian interiors are experiencing a metamorphosis as well. I could feel a rumble beneath the surface while in Milan that the smaller design communities there are making - the shift - and I feel Milan is only going to get better and better in the years to come - stronger and stronger. I'm curious to see where the years ahead will take the fair and Design Week in general and I'm definitely going back to Milan next year because that was truly the best interior design fair and citywide design event I'd ever visited - five stars!

-Holly

Easter Party Decoration Ideas

Hello cattledogs readers! I am amazed by all of the inspiration for Easter in the online community right now, aren't you? Bloggers and IG'ers alike seem to be more than ready for the holidays. I decided to follow along! By the way, this is with my monthly Tabletop column for cattledogs and this month, I'm going for a very natural table decoration for a peaceful Easter. I hope that you will like it.

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I'm a big fan of colorful tabletop themes, especially in spring. However, I also like decoration that is reduced to a very natural palette in black, white, brown and green. Ever since I painted the popular floral motif of porcelain manufacture on blown out white eggs (with an ) two years ago, I always take them out shortly before Easter weekend. This year they teamed up with beautiful oval paper ornaments from Bungalow which can be found at .

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Some tableware turned into small tealight holders made the perfect match. A recurrent pattern always has an harmonic effect, don't you think?

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For the name tags I printed the initials of my guests on thin cardboard and cropped it in egg-shape. Afterwards I just tied it to the cake forks with some rustic twine.

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The napkins are checked cotton kitchen towels, I simply cut in two parts and lined the open sides.

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Where I live, it's easy to buy white, pink and peach-colored blossoming twigs at the florists and weekly market for a month or so. I used this slim window to go out and but some fresh branches as they are so typical for Easter season! On the branches, I hung the eggs I had painted and some of the ornaments from Bungalow.

Do you decorate branches for Easter in your part of the world too? It is very common here in Germany.

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The Easter cake you see consists of three layers of coffee-sponge-cake (just add some cold, strong Espresso to your fave sponge cake recipe), a mascarpone cream with finely chopped coffee-flavoured dark chocolate and all kinds of chocolate Easter eggs.

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So that is my tabletop for this month! I'm wishing you and your family a happy and sunny Easter holiday. Have a beautiful time until I see you again in the month of May! - Anke

(Photos + Styling - )

4 Interiors Trends + Why We Follow Trends

I find trends fascinating in the world of interiors because on one side, your home is a deeply personal space -- yet on the other, the more you entertain at home or share your space with the photos you share online, your interest in trends is definitely sparked. Decor hunter gatherers, at our core, delight in freshening our nests on a regular basis and trends seem to be at the core of that. But why?

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

It is only human nature to want to impress (for lack of a better word) those who are looking in on your life. It sounds icky to say that, I know, but I'm comfortable with that because it's part of our nature. It's not bad or wrong to care about how others perceive us. It's strange to wonder if how we (or our homes) look truly represent us because we want to send the right message out...

Today, our home is no longer reserved for the eyes of close friends and family - the entire internet can be involved if you choose. We DO care about our style because partly, it makes us HAPPY to share ourselves so openly, but we also care about what others think. There is nothing to be ashamed of here, this all begins in early childhood and continues on. It's just life.

With that being said, we share our personal style on the streets every single day, yet those on the train have no clue how we live. We may wear Versace but have a one room apartment above a gas station with 5 roommates. Our entire paycheck may have gone on that dress (a month's salary!).  This is perhaps not the best choice in spending a limited income but it does prove a point. You can't judge a book by its cover. The way we dress is not an indication of how we live and how big our home is.

BUT.

When we are using the web to share our life - whether it is fashion or our homes, cooking or our children, people do see glimpses of how we live. Take Instagram for example. Most of my friends are sharing how they live whether they realize it not. A selfie shot in their bathroom gives you insight into how their home looks and how they decorate. You get a sense of how they live. Others are baking and share glimpses of their kitchen. Same thing. You can see how they live.

Of course, you have others like me who post their entire home on Instagram. With the opening of doors done so freely, and daily, it's only natural that trends in decor and/or lifestyle are becoming more and more of a focus. We want to be part of a group. We want to find like-minded friends. We care about what others think -- but is it entirely for our ego?

I don't believe so. At the core, we simply want to find common ground and friendship and if it is through showing our black and white Berber carpet that is on trend and everyone cool seems to have one, then post the damn rug. Give yourself a break. You're not being egocentric or materialistic. You are just trying to connect with others who share your style.

There are hashtags for people who decorate in that typical "Kinfolk magazine" style. You may know about those. What was once indie and unique, is mainstream and not unique anymore. Kinfolk is mainstream pop decorating. Large big box stores copy the Kinfolk slow movement style. Interior designers are copying it. What was once interesting is less so.

People get bored with what they see and wish to expand and find what is fresh. Trends help them to do this when they have a hard time expressing themselves naturally through their own personal style. They want to keep the conversation going online.

Stagnant decor and yesterday's movements are not interesting, especially online where the speed of movements is sometimes baffling - one minute a trend is in and the next minute, totally stale. This saturation in content has created an insatiable craving to stay "fresh" and "relevant" online. No one wants to be seen as boring or dare I say, OLD. That is why they look to trends and even start movements of their own.

Photo:  Erik Schumacher

Photo:

When I was at Ambiente, a massive consumer goods fair in Europe based in Frankfurt, I was hired to go check out what's new and give my opinion on not only 2017 interiors trends but also on the fair in general. I also did some video work for them, you can see one of them where I share the trends at the bottom of this post (I did another if you are curious to see me live in action). You can also read a blog post I wrote for them on their blog a few weeks ago about how I feel about trends - you may .

Left: Holly Becker, Right: Toni Vinther

Left: Holly Becker, Right: Toni Vinther

(Me with , Industrial Designer from Braun by day and moderator on the weekends. We want our own design-focused internet show by the way, there we are shown above right, in our video for the fair)

Naturally, what I've said above is my opinion but it's also what I believe to be the truth. In the end, let's all be open to trends and let them inspire us. Look at what's out there objectively and see what others are doing with these trends. What can you can do to mix them up with your own personal vision? If you want to share your trendy new shelf or chair online, do it because there is no shame in that, it's fun and can connect you to others who also like similar things. It doesn't make you vain or shallow. TREND is not a dirty word to me.

But on the other side, trends are not to be taken too seriously, either. Don't deny yourself the things you love to be trendy or to fit in.

Look at what's other there and see if any of these trends interest you and then, add your own twist. If you dislike something, don't be afraid to voice it because I think the internet (especially blogs and Instagram) have become so fluffy and loaded with cheerful boastings of what! we! love! that we forget to talk about some of the things that we aren't finding so interesting at the moment. Discussing trends that you don't like can lead to movements and new trends, ones that don't aren't coming from large companies but from all of us who are out here experimenting with products each day.

So with that, I'm going to briefly highlight 4 key trends Ambiente shared in an exhibition space at their fair. They hired external agency to show these trends so guests could admire, walk through, photograph and be inspired by what they saw. Ready?

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

TREND 1: DELICATE STRUCTURES This was my favorite of the four because I loved the clean and clear feeling - very delicate and feminine, tactile, soft colors and nature materials.

Very sensual. The lamp shown above had a "shade" shown that was made with a 3D printer. I really can't wait to see what we can do with these printers in the near future.

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

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Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

TREND 2 - HONEST MATERIALS Form meets function.

High-quality craftsmanship coupled with great design. Keeping traditions alive, just reinterpreting them. Products that are unobtrusive. Durable, beautiful, sensible, aesthetic. Cement, ceramic, leather, felt, steel.

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Trend 3: JUMBLED PATTERNED Child-like, whimsical, quirky, loads of pattern.

Together, these objects didn't work for me as shown. Separately, or grouped in a more minimalist environment, I can see them working beautifully. Jumbled pattern was my least favorite of these three trends. I like the use of neon yellow but only as a small accent, not as a wall color. I think patterns have to be balanced to work in a room. What I took away though from this installation was that less is more and you need only a few whimsical pieces to make your point.

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Holly Becker for cattledogs

Trend 4: NOTABLE SHAPES Glamorous and clear with classic elements you can easily recognize. Strong silhouettes. Sculptural form, monolithic, structure, beauty, moody, upscale, desirable. Lots of metal and glass.

Which trend collection from the four shown above resonate the most with you, and why?

On Monday, I am driving to Milan and will spend a week there working on assignment for and their brand, Kinnasand, and I was hired by so you can follow me and all week next week to see what I'm finding at Milan - uncovering trends and beauty from all over the world of interiors. I can't wait to show you. I also can't wait to see if the trends shown above from the Ambiente in Germany will carry over into the Milan fairs and installations. I'll definitely be on the look out for that.

xo

Holly

 

10 Stylish Wallpapers For Teens

Let's talk about pre-teen and teen room decorating for a moment because so many girls are out there who love to decorate their rooms but aren't sure how to begin. I was once a teen obsessed with decorating my bedroom and today I meet lots of girls between 11-17 who ask me for tips and help with their rooms because they tag along with their mom to my book launch parties because they are curious. It's the cutest thing that I've observed over the past year - more teens coming to my launch parties because they're interested in decorating.

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No wonder Anthropologie is pulling back from the clothing space and moving more into the decorating world because the big trend in western society is definitely ALL ABOUT THE HOME right now. Fashion will always be important, but the home needs to look good too, right?

Even in Germany, a country where fashion was always first and few really cared about their home decor in comparison to Americans or Danes - it's becoming very important in German society to have a very well-decorated home with all the latest pieces from trendy ceramic pieces to a great sofa. In fact, many Scandinavian brands are moving into Germany now which is having a huge influence on the market here and overall decor style. Creating a home that you love is where it's at! Most of us start so young too. I was decorating before I was 10, in fact I remember having huge ideas for my room when I was 6. My opinions were so strong that my parents let me pick out my own bedroom furniture and didn't force their ideas - what I wanted was what I got and fortunately for them, even at the ripe old age of 6 (!) I had good taste. :)

Let's talk about teens and decorating. One thing I always tell young girls is to paint or wallpaper and go a little crazy if it fits their personality or to go glam or trendy if they prefer that route. Teenage girls love trends and glamour, they want to be grown up in one sense but totally girly in another.

I believe it's one of those spaces where you can go bonkers because you are young and free. Do it. Plus, it's a blank canvas and you are the artist so experiment and play. In fact, your bedroom as a teenager is the best canvas because in that space, you can learn what you like from color and texture to overall style. Though it will evolve over the years, it's a great way to get started and to decorate.

To inspire you a little, let's look at some patterned wallpaper from . They make HUNDREDS of creative, quirky and colorful patterns that I think work great in teenage sleep spaces and even dorm rooms. Here are my 10 picks, some even a mom may want to put out in the dining or living room space (like my favorite - the white faux brick).

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4//  (This also works for an adult space - I'd hang this in a second!)

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I wish we had these options for wallpaper when I was sweet 16. Go for it girls, you're only a teenager once!

xo - Holly

(photos: esta home)

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