Posts in Interiors
Easy + Beautiful Autumn Table Setting Ideas On A Budget

Hello dear cattledogs readers, this is with a seasonal table decoration for your next gathering. But first, it's been awhile since my last column posted. Summer "happened“ in the meantime, one could say, but I'm happy to be back to inspire your tabletop decor.

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I can hardly believe summer is gone, can you? The temperatures in the morning here in Germany keep proving this a little more each day - Fall has nearly arrived!

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I suggest that we bring some of the qualities of Autumn to the tabletop instead of mourning summer because I actually like the month of September! I like watching late Summer turning into Autumn, the change of light and colors outside, the abundance of flowers, fruits and greens at the farmers' market. And of course - how much we yearn for cozy hours to spend at home!

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For my tabletop, I've combined several different types of tableware, grey glass, oak wood and linen napkins and a linen tablecloth for my September table to add a rustic twist to clear shapes.

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Once again my decoration is inspired by the Scandinavian Style and my beloved porcelain with a floral pattern in black and white.

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The flowers I opted for are Dahlias (of course!), small Lilies, Gypsophila, Astrantia, Snowberries and various grass.

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As a small handicraft and DIY for you, I browsed my interior magazines for colors to match the table setting and made a simple leaf-shaped template and cut out a lot of paper leaves. Afterwards I sewed them together one by one using my sewing machine putting six single leaves aside for my guests as the place cards.

By folding the paper a little on the seam, you will give the leaves an even better look.
 

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You can use the garland on a wall close to the dining table or to decorate the front door.

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This is such an easy and effortless idea that additionally keeps your wallets safe (or allows you to spend more on flowers, haha!). And it is recycling, isn't it? I would say "upcycling" so I can brag a bit (smile).

I hope you like this month's column and I wish all of you beautiful, golden late Summer/early Autumn days! See you again next month!

Love,

(Text + Photography: Anke Illner for cattledogs)

Peek In On This Colorful Swedish Home

I am in Helsinki now but when I get back, I have to leave again and go to Sweden for work with the Swedish tourism board. I know, tough life. Right now, I have a few trips per month all the way until December 4th. Then, I'm home for a few months so I get a break and can be with my little boy again. I always miss him when I'm away, but grateful for Whatsapp and Skype so we stay close.

I love Sweden, and have only been to the west once so I'm returning and this time, to Gothenburg and some small nearby towns, too.

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With Sweden on my radar, I had to share the home of textile designer because it's filled with such great color and pattern. It's very personal and unique. It's a three story home located in Västra Frölunda, just outside of Gothenburg where I will be.

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This designer shares the space with her husband and three children, and though you can't see all of the rooms here, you can get a feel for the home with the vignettes and corners shown. Aren't her drawings and paintings above on her office wall just stunning? I love how her home reflects her obvious connection and love for nature. It's so natural, relaxed and typical Swedish - to me at least. Be sure to where you can view her wallpaper, textiles and more. She's quite a talented lady!

By the way, have you ever been to Gothenburg before? Any tips for me? I'll have 24 hours there alone, so if you can point me in the right direction, I'd be so happy!

(Photographer: for )

8 Fab Decorating Tips From Stylist Jason Grant

Hello everyone! I'm so happy to be here today to introduce you to one of my favorite design gurus all the way from Australia, Mr. Jason Grant. Not only is he a fabulous stylist, but he's a book author and works with major Australian brands to develop products for the home. His brand new book, published by is available worldwide and is just gorgeous.

I must confess, in person this book is most impressive with its large format and gorgeous glossy photos - a true decor lovers design guide to display on the coffee table.

 Photo: Holly Becker for cattledogs

Photo: Holly Becker for cattledogs

The color scheme of the jacket overall works perfectly for my Autumn decor, too. I've paired my copy with some fresh Heather from the nearby heath, a Marie-Stella-Maris candle, and other favorite interiors reads. Tea, cozy socks and a chunky knit throw are certainly optional, but a necessity for me as northern Europe is currently under a blanket of gray and rain. As the seasons change, all I can think about are these precious, cozy moments at home with a stack of my favorite books, like Modern Retro Home, to draw inspiration and ideas from.

Jason has so nicely agreed to stop by today to spend some time with us sharing tips on decorating with all of us straight from his book. I selected my favorite photos from Modern Retro Home and asked him to tell us more about the room we see and then, add some decorating tips. He's here to give us 8 great ideas that you can apply in your home this weekend to make your space even more lovely than it already is. :)

Mr Jason Grant is a Sydney-based interior stylist who has worked with many Australian and international magazines including Inside Out, Belle, House and Garden, Real Living, Vogue Living, Australian Country Style, Elle Decoration and Livingetc. He has collaborated with numerous major brands, has produced a signature paint collection for Murobond Paints and a signature tile collection with Di Lorenzo Tiles along with his very own homewares.
 The woven string chair is modern but references ’50s/’60s style. The fabulous aqua glass jar – a flea-market find – makes a color-perfect vignette with the portrait. The trestle table with its cork top and the natural timber stools are well-priced pieces.

The woven string chair is modern but references ’50s/’60s style. The fabulous aqua glass jar – a flea-market find – makes a color-perfect vignette with the portrait. The trestle table with its cork top and the natural timber stools are well-priced pieces.

TIP 1: HUNT IT DOWN. Hunt down quirky or individual items that will add fl air to basic flat-pack or budget furnishings.

 Framed vintage posters are a strong focus in this house. ‘The multiple Le Corbusier drawings and posters hanging throughout reference the modernist roots and bones of the house’, explains the owner.

Framed vintage posters are a strong focus in this house. ‘The multiple Le Corbusier drawings and posters hanging throughout reference the modernist roots and bones of the house’, explains the owner.

TIP 2: FRAMED. Most of the artworks are framed in a timber similar in color to the Scandinavian-design hide chairs and the robust shelving, creating unity.

 The squishy Arfle Marenco sofa, which is new but a reissue of a ’60s design, is piled with sheepskin, folk-art rugs and kilim cushions.

The squishy Arfle Marenco sofa, which is new but a reissue of a ’60s design, is piled with sheepskin, folk-art rugs and kilim cushions.

TIP 3: SOFA SO GOOD. A sofa is an investment and sets the mood, the look and the tone of a space so it’s an important starting point. Some of the key elements to consider are size (will it fit in the room); proportion (is the scale right for the room); and shape (tailored mid-century or laid back and casual). Comfort, color and material are other critical considerations. Oh, and price.

 A quirky chandelier-style beaded pendant or a minimal Chinese paper shade might suit your scheme perfectly, you don't always need designer pieces to make an impression.

A quirky chandelier-style beaded pendant or a minimal Chinese paper shade might suit your scheme perfectly, you don't always need designer pieces to make an impression.

TIP 4: LIGHTEN UP. Pendant lights can create a focus in a room by day as well as by night. Take the time to choose a light fitting that adds to a room’s personality and isn’t an afterthought.

 This is a very masculine – and maximalist – space. Thrift-shop chic meets vintage finds, classic pieces join favorite treasures and things have a patina of age. The room is shot through with blues and greys and interesting textures. It looks comfortable and lived in and the owners say it is ‘continually evolving’.

This is a very masculine – and maximalist – space. Thrift-shop chic meets vintage finds, classic pieces join favorite treasures and things have a patina of age. The room is shot through with blues and greys and interesting textures. It looks comfortable and lived in and the owners say it is ‘continually evolving’.

TIP 5: OWN IT. Have the confidence to mix genres and styles in their own, unique way. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Search out pieces you love over time and that work for your lifestyle.

 The angled lamp, shag carpet and kilim-covered cushions say modernist, but in a casual way. Special pieces include a vintage tribal mirror from Etsy France and two linen swing chairs. The showstopper is the stained black timber wall (using stain instead of paint lets some of the grain show through).

The angled lamp, shag carpet and kilim-covered cushions say modernist, but in a casual way. Special pieces include a vintage tribal mirror from Etsy France and two linen swing chairs. The showstopper is the stained black timber wall (using stain instead of paint lets some of the grain show through).

TIP 6: REBEL. A beach house doesn’t have to be blue and white, as this shack proves. This chic beach shack blurs the lines between old and new.

 The unframed artwork is just pinned on the wall, and the rustic table and textured grey planter are easy-going accessories. White walls and white floors in this art deco apartment create a cocoon for the stylist-owner’s signature collection of casual sofas, old-world artworks, vases and collectables.

The unframed artwork is just pinned on the wall, and the rustic table and textured grey planter are easy-going accessories. White walls and white floors in this art deco apartment create a cocoon for the stylist-owner’s signature collection of casual sofas, old-world artworks, vases and collectables.

TIP 7: RELAX A LITTLE. Introduce a casual look, such as the unstructured sofa in crushed linen with mismatched cushions.

 Fabulous tangerine-colored Italian designer chairs contrast with a cork-top table from a collection that English designer  Ilse Crawford  did in collaboration with IKEA.

Fabulous tangerine-colored Italian designer chairs contrast with a cork-top table from a collection that English designer Ilse Crawford did in collaboration with IKEA.

TIP 8: HIGH MEETS LOW. Genuine designer pieces can be an expensive investment, but if paired with budget buys you can introduce an individual look without breaking the bank.

I know that you will love this book as much as I do and I'd like to thank Jason for stopping by today to share his tips with cattledogs readers. Jason is a rock star and I hope that everyone will buy his book and support this lovely, talented man. x

(Photography: Top: Holly Becker. All others with permission: ©)

InteriorsHolly BeckerComment
Budget-Friendly Home That Looks Like A Million Bucks

I love it when I come across a small-budget renovation because a lot of people think to have a million dollar "look" the renovations need to cost that much and it's just not true. I once was involved renovations on a regular basis, mostly city apartments but some homes and commercial spaces too, and I can assure you that the budget you set rarely is met - it's always exceeded and by thousands, sometimes tens of thousands. Have you found that to be the case too?

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Mostly, it's the labor that drives up costs. Don't you think? You try to save on labor by hiring less expensive contractors only to find that they need 3x the hand holding and double the time to complete the project as the more expensive professionals you'd turned down. Contractors can be so shady and if you've ever renovated a house outside of your own country, it gets even more complicated.

When I worked on renovating the apartment we currently have in the city (when I was 7 months pregnant!), our paint/wallpaper budget was 5k and it ended up being 10k in the end due to miscommunication, misunderstandings and just one thing after another that you'd never had even thought to factor in if you were still in your home country doing the same work.

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This small-budget (well not SMALL but I guess based on how it turned out and where it's located - it's small) renovation of a 1930's California-style bungalow in Sydney’s Lower North Shore is minimalist and gorgeous. (The total cost of the build was $410k.) The challenge was to reconfigure the home with living spaces that connected to the garden which would include a rear addition connected to the original space, all on a very tight budget. I love the angles, the natural light, the openness. Isn't it a terrific space?

The family of four had a wish list for this reno:

  1. Lots of natural light
  2. Space for kids
  3. Transform the kitchen into a gathering space

Clearly, their wishes we both met and exceeded by the firm they'd hired, .

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Click on any image below to enlarge or pin

If you want to read all about it, you can over at where they've interviewed the homeowners for the nitty gritty renovation low down.

(Photography: )