Mapiful: Beautiful + Meaningful Wall Decor

I'm sure you've seen on blogs and Instagram because this small Swedish start-up has really made a name for themselves in the social media and design world! Not only are their black & white designs the perfect minimalist addition to any home, but their theme satisfies the explorer in us all - whether you're dreaming of a destination, you live in a spot you love or you have been to a special place that forever stays in your heart (like where you had your honeymoon). Mapiful lets you showcase that favorite place in your home through their customized posters.

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If you’re familiar with the expat life, then you probably have a few favorite places. I'm an American expat living in northern Germany and next month I celebrate 8 years (!) of living full-time abroad, 10 years total if you include the first two years where we lived in both the United States and Germany (we had two residences) before we made the big jump.

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A decade of life in Europe changes you. As any expat will tell you, you're not the same person once you leave your home country and make a life in an entirely new culture, speaking a different language each day. I arrived with an open heart and dreams of what my life could become and living abroad has changed my life completely - and I surpassed all of the dreams that I had, quicker than I'd imagined, and now I'm dreaming of what's to come. I've also had some unbelievable challenges and moments when I felt very much like an outsider; it's not all been perfect.

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Yet, I'm so happy that I relocated and I just love the access that I have to other countries and cultures here because Europe allows you to be in so many different places in such a short time, and is very affordable, so I can drive to places like Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland in just a few hours. I take a train to Paris when I feel like I need to relax in one of my favorite cities. It's a total luxury if you love (or like me, crave) adventure, to live in Europe. On Friday morning, I'll be in Spain for holiday. Then, I'm off to Finland in September. Yet, I can't put my finger on a "favorite" spot in Europe. I tried to, but failed because I enjoy so many different cultures and cities for so many different reasons. That's why I wanted my Mapiful poster to feature all those places- it doesn’t center on one spot, but on all of Europe instead.

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When it comes to the design, you can choose from several different layout options- Modern, Pantone, Strict or Clean. Modern is the classic style, and highlights your beloved place in bold. Pantone, Strict, Clean are for the minimalists out there looking for clean lines and subtle details. If you have a special neighborhood you want to highlight, then you can zoom in and add houses/buildings to your map. You can even zoom out to feature not just one city, but entire countries (or in the case of my map, an entire continent)!

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If you want to create a Mapiful poster of your favorite place (or places), you can easily design one by visiting . For a flat rate of $60, they will ship it in a tube anywhere in the world, no shipping fees and you will have within a week or even less.

I just love Mapiful and I hope that you have fun designing a poster on their site. If you order before July 30, 2017, they will give you 15% OFF of your map if you use the discount code DECOR8.

(Photography: Holly Becker for cattledogs)

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Mapiful. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep cattledogs blogging for over 11 years. :)

Barcelona Tips?

Hello everyone! I'm packing for Barcelona and will be taking you with me via Instagram if you'd like to join! I'll post Insta Stories and photos there beginning tomorrow (Friday) until next Tuesday or Wednesday. I can't wait to show you what I'm seeing for the first time. I've never been so I'm quite excited. I've done little research on what to expect and what to see so if you have some good tips for my friend and I, we'd be so happy to hear them in the comments below.

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See you in BCN! Adios!

x Holly

(Photography: )

Sign Up For The cattledogs Newsletter

I am so excited to tell you about this. But first, hello everyone! Okay, so I decided after 11 1/2 years of blogging to finally start my first ever cattledogs newsletter. Many of you subscribe to cattledogs via RSS or ', which is great because you get my feed daily in your inbox so you don't miss a beat! However, in addition to the feed, my new will be a personal note written from me to you once weekly where you'll see things that I don't show on my blog or social sites.

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I'll include behind-the-scenes stuff with my projects and colleagues, trend reports, European travel tips, personal essays to motivate and inspire you, decorating tips, organization ideas, thoughts on current decorating trends, discount codes from favorite online shops, up-and-coming designers, favorite products of the moment, shopping round-ups and much, much more.

Think of the all-new as your weekly letter from a dear friend who can tune you in to the BEST of the BEST in the world of interiors, decor and design. I'm that friend, I'm going to work hard to deliver something very special to all of you that will become something that you look forward to receiving.

To register (it's free), just and enter your email address. It's really THAT easy. My first newsletter will be sent on Friday, June 23rd so between now and then to get the cattledogs debut newsletter.

Weeee! I'm so excited! Welcome cattledogs readers to something new!

xo

Holly

8 Easy Steps For a Romantic Summer Gathering

Would you like 8 tips for hosting an easy little party at home this summer? Hello everyone! This is Anke, I'm on cattledogs once monthly with my entertaining column and today I have a very romantic tabletop story for you. But first, how are you? Did summer arrive where you live? Here in Germany it has, and the blooming flowers overwhelm as does the lush green everywhere. I also love the long, light evenings -- they are definitely more than welcome.

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Today I have a romantic, floral tabletop story to inspire you for a summer gathering at your home indoors or out on the terrace. Let's follow nature as a good example and not hold back on color and light! This is more or less the motto for all of my columns, but this time each year I sorta flip out even more with pastels such as pink and peach when decorating. And I know you are out there, pastel-lovers!

1// CHOOSE YOUR FLOWER.  The peony is probably my favorite flower. What is yours? I can't pass by them when I spot the splendid bunches at the flower shops and the weekly markets in town. For this story, I've let them team up with sumptuous field-grown roses. Together peonies and roses are masterpieces made by nature, don't you think?  Select your flowers or greenery for the party and let them guide your theme. This can be your first choice of inspiration or something you do in the middle or end of your shopping. In this story, the flowers inspired everything else. Some people begin with the food they will serve or the pattern on their dinnerware. It's up to you.

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2// MAKE SOMETHING. Guests love it when a little attention to detail is on display. I never tire of admiring the tender blossoms of roses, they are tissue paper look-a-likes - so poetic and delicate! This association between petal and paper gave me the idea to fold small blooms out of heart-shaped paper I bought from an online shop. Moreover I "filled" some flowers with pale pink, fringed paper centers by cutting off a narrow stripe of paper, then cut-in with very little distance on the long side and rolled it up. Easy, I promise! I scattered a few on my tabletop and others became part of the decoration on each plate as you will see later on...

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3// ADD A GARLAND.  Nothing says party time quite like a garland (or you may call it bunting?). One more detail made of silk paper I chose was the garland you see in the background. Garlands are such a perfect adornment for a summer celebration. They make everything festive. You can buy them pre-made or make your own. You can also embellish pre-made garlands by adding balloons and ribbons for a little personalization.

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4// DRESS THE TABLE.  A  simple tablecloth and napkins made of white linen were added along with very plain white tableware. I placed arrangements in simple glass canning jars and a single large glass vase to keep it light and bright. I didn't add ribbons or anything else, I figured the roses were enough and I didn't want the theme to get too girly. I liked the simple glass because it reflects natural light so well and visually the flowers become the focus, not the vessels.

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5// MAKE PLACE CARDS.  Instead of traditional place cards I tied tiny golden frames onto napkins using jute cord and embellished each one with a paper blossom. I printed out the little tags on my computer using a favorite font.

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6// HAVE A SIGNATURE PARTY DRINK.  I offered Rosé Secco poured into simple glasses filled with ice cubes, peach slices and fresh mint. Every gathering, no matter how simple, needs a signature drink - alcoholic or not. What do you like to serve? Gin tonic with slices or cucumber and mint are nice for summertime, too. "Cheers to summer!"

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7// ADD SIMPLE PARTY DECORATION. A small party can still feel festive! If you have an extra 30 minutes, print out some words in color and frame them for your wall in the space. If you are good at hand lettering, use your favorite color marker or paint and paint some words - Happy Birthday, Welcome Summer, It's a Boy!, or anything else that fits your theme.

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8// PLAN YOUR PARTY MENU. What will you serve? Food is key to making a party (or breaking it!). For this little gathering, serve a roasted chicken dish with roasted veggies or maybe some pasta or a salad dish -- something very summery and fresh. You can also opt for a simple spread, like a cheese and meat board with fresh bread and toppings, buffet style. Another idea is for a casual afternoon cake and coffee party only without cake and no coffee - go very light. You could plan this for after work on a Friday with the girls before a long weekend or on a Sunday afternoon. For my setting, I served one of my favorite summer desserts which is oven roasted peaches with Greek yoghurt, topped with crushed Cantuccini (Biscotti), pistachios and fresh mint. So simple and so good! Drizzled honey on top is also a good idea with some orange zests. My kids prefer vanilla ice cream, it's your choice.

I'd like to wish all of you many beautiful, sunny, memorable and relaxed summer moments (filled with a party or two) in the upcoming weeks!

If you have some nice parties this summer and want to share them with cattledogs readers, post your tabletop on Instagram and use hashtags #cattledogs #decorateforaparty so we can see what you've done. We'd love to see and if we have some nice submissions, we can feature our favorites on cattledogs!

I'm looking forward to returning with my late summer column after I return from our summer vacation, so expect to see me here again in early August with another tabletop idea for end of summer. - .

(Photography, Styling, Text: . Editing: Holly Becker)

Lovely Paris Apartment of Paola Navone

I just spent an hour wildly researching the source of the first photo found on Pinterest, and decided that after all of that effort, I simply had to share the image with you along with all of the others as it is the Parisian apartment of one of the most famous Italian designers, Paola Navone. It is one of the most beautiful that I've come across in awhile.

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The space is an old converted silk and tobacco factory with hints of Asian and Mediterranean influences. Not sure if Ms. Navone still resides here, but I'm certain if she does, it is altogether different today as it is shown below. A designer is known to change things around frequently and these photos are at least 4 years old. Yet, they still serve as an inspiration to behold and are still so relevant which is always the sign of a good designer or artist. The cheerful colors are so very elegant and made me smile as I recall my week in Milan in April where I saw this cheerfulness in action time and time again - playfulness meets poetic, imagination boldly takes on upper class confidence. It's so very in at the moment - to be quirky and cheeky but also high end and luxurious! I love the rebellion against what is right and perfect. It's edgy, bring it on!

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Isn't this altogether stunning and magnificent? Doesn't it remind you to live however you want, decorate how you wish, and just love the home you live in?

(Photos: )

Farrow & Ball Wallpaper In My Living Room

I'm off to Hamburg today but first, I have to show you something that I'm very excited about! My wallpaper! I worked on a beautiful project for  that gave me a chance to select any wallpaper for my home that I wanted for one room, so I scooped up the Hornbeam pattern shown below. Why? It's neutral, understated and just so pretty - I kept going back to it again and again. I love that it goes with anything. I wanted time to live with the wallpaper before reviewing it here on my blog to see how it would look over time - would it stand up, would it peel, would it fade, could I still even live with it after time passed...

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In fact, that was always my decorating fear. Choosing a pattern and then feeling stuck with it or getting sick of it in a month. Luckily, I chose the perfect pattern for me because I actually like it more today than I did when we had it installed - and I loved it then!

When I was looking for the right pattern, I made of short list of what I wanted. First, it needed to have a natural, organic pattern. We live on the border of a massive forest in the city, so it needed to feel urban enough but also forest-y. I also didn't want anything geometric and whatever pattern I went with had to complement the ginko leaf stucco on the ceiling. Another essential was that it needed to be strong and somewhat thick because the walls are 117 years old and not perfectly smooth. We smoothed them out but still, you can't get perfect in a home this old. I also wanted it to feel a bit feminine and curvy. I know that sounds strange, but the windows and the room itself has a lot of lines. The room itself is a massive rectangle. That's why I went with a soft, feather pendent light to work with the wallpaper and soften the lines of the room too. Another must was that it can't fade and in this spot in my living room, wallpaper is prone to fading because it's in the sun all day long (I never close my linen curtains). Hornbeam ticked off all the boxes, so I ordered it!

After two years the wallpaper looks the same as it did the day we installed it - the color and pattern are still perfect.But the wallpaper did exactly what I set out for it to do.

 is a gorgeous company through and through but keep in mind that it's not budget. It will not be at the same price point as something Made in China or in some massive factory. I toured their small but mighty workshop in southern England (), met their Head of Creative, Charlotte Crosby and watched their elaborate process for both making paint and producing wallpaper - it's intensive, expensive to manufacturer, and they have to employ true experts to work on every part of the process. I met many workers in the factory and all were like a part of the F&B family; their pride was evident. I left with nothing but respect for the brand.

Thing is, when you make something time-consuming, beautiful and of quality, and have to pay experts to make it, your products will not (and should not) be at the same price as what is cheaply made in sweat shops. That is the beauty of Farrow & Ball, it is a pure luxury to have them in your home and you take pride in that ownership. It's not just wallpaper or paint, it's Farrow & Ball wallpaper and paint produced in England by a company who really, truly loves what they do.

Here is the wallpaper in my living room, shown throughout this post. While I'm currently on the hunt to add-in some art and a few pieces of furniture, I am very happy with how the wall looks. It's just the right amount of pattern without overwhelming my moody and calm living room.

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If you have a copy of my latest book, , this room may feel familiar to you. You can see it in the book only not as a living room. For the party theme in the book, I transformed this space =into a dining room and worked the theme around the Hornbeam-patterned wallpaper. This paper works beautifully in any room of the home.

I hope that you like my choice, it was definitely a great pick and came out exactly how I had envisioned it. My next goal: Add color to the room through accessories. I really want a cozy new sofa, more comfortable chairs, a large round white marble coffee table, art for above the sofa, new table lighting, new sofa side table. What will I do with everything currently here? Move it to another room and use in other ways, of course. But the wallpaper STAYS.

Thank you for the beautiful wallpaper, what a truly lovely statement it makes in my space.

(Photography: Holly Becker for cattledogs)