Posts in Interiors
Wabi-Sabi Style in 10 Steps

Hi and welcome to a new week on cattledogs! Let's talk about Wabi-Sabi today, okay? Ever since reading, by Julie Pointer Adams last summer, and two years before that, , by Marie Kondo, I wondered exactly how these two lifestyle and decor trends would merge and find their "place" in modern living. Then came the Danish HYGGE as a "trend", which felt like a good way to merge eastern and western ideas and decor, and it still is.

  Pella Hedeby

Pella Hedeby

Yet, there is still a push towards even more simplicity and a better edit of our homes, which is why seems to be gaining traction. So let's talk about, shall we? First, a defniteion is important...

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
— Wikipedia
  Lotta Agaton Interiors

Lotta Agaton Interiors

I often wondered, after reading Kondo's books and then, Pointer Adams' book, how would someone get rid of everything on one side (ala Kondo's overarching theme - ultimate simplicity/minimalism) with the exception of a few things, while also having a wabi-sabi home which is, as Author Pointer Adams outlines in , "Wabi means something like simplicity, humility, and living in tune with nature; it describes someone who is content with little and makes the most of whatever he or she has, always moving toward having less. Sabi, on the other hand, refers to what happens with the passage of time; it's about transience and the beauty and authenticity of age,"?

  Wabi Sabi Style Moodboard by Lotta Agaton Interiors

Wabi Sabi Style Moodboard by Lotta Agaton Interiors

How will you have a very de-cluttered home with few belongings but also have things that you've saved over time which creates this sort of authenticity of living? Hmmmm. I guess westerners are creating a bit of Wabi-Sabi Our Way?

  Tisca Rugs "Wabi Sabi Style" by Lotta Agaton Interiors at Domotex, Hannover, Germany

Tisca Rugs "Wabi Sabi Style" by Lotta Agaton Interiors at Domotex, Hannover, Germany

I gave a lecture last month at in Denmark about trends and spoke about WABI-SABI and how I see it as a definite interiors trend. I've noticed this Japanese aesthetic gaining traction here in Europe and also in the United States - have you noticed this as well? That's why I thought to talk about it today, as it's something I find worthwhile of a good old-fashioned blog post - I actually miss writing posts like these where I really explore trends. I don't find Instagram as emotionally satisfying as a good blog post now and then, to really capture what I'm thinking and to put it on digial paper.

  Kristina Dam Studio

Kristina Dam Studio

Back to the books... While seemingly close in theory, The Magic of Tidying Up and the Wabi-Sabi Welcome book still feel very different to me in practice yet I'm beginning to see that the happy middle point is more of how I personally aspire to live. I see Wabi-Sabi as a lot more warm and less methodical, and definitely imperfect.

I like things in my home, I like some "clutter" (and I use air quotes because my clutter is 10 things on a desk, not piles of things), I like saving my skinny jeans because it does give me a good feeling to imagine getting back into them again (and I have a few times, they are always my bookmark of being in shape, or not), and I can't imagine ever throwing out some things from my son (like his wrist ID bracelet from his birth), yet I also know there is MAGIC in tidying up and having a lot less junk in the house that serves little to no purpose except to create chaos and stress.

The way Wabi-Sabi is being interpreted however, is a bit different but also the same, as how the Japanese have been doing it for ages. Wabi-Sabi to westerners seems to be Kinfolk, minimalism combined with clean lines and organic shapes and imperfection thrown in - but overall, definitely thought out and planned. Which isn't really so Japanese.

  Lotta Agaton Interiors

Lotta Agaton Interiors

I digress... But I wonder, how do you see this Wabi-Sabi Style fitting into your life? Could you adopt it? Let me explain further what it is in 10 Steps and then maybe you can answer that question better. It can be broken down this way:

1. EMBRACE AGING

I wish we could do this better with ourselves! Allowing things to age gracefully and enjoy what you have instead of always bringing in the newest and greatest. Not intentionally making something look worn or aged. Not buying something that looks aged. The age comes over time.

  Kristina Dam Studio

Kristina Dam Studio

2. NATURAL MATERIALS

Living and working with raw, honest, organic materials as much as possible. Less plastic, more wood. Glass, marble, ceramics, concrete, stone, metal, etc.

  Pella Hedeby

Pella Hedeby

3. NATURAL COLOR

Wabi-sabi draws from the colors of nature. What you see when you go to the beach, the mountains, the dessert - these hues, this is wabi-sabi color. Obviously, lots of neutrals and gray tones.

  Lotta Agaton Interiors

Lotta Agaton Interiors

4. NO FUSS

You don't need to press the linen drapes or the tablecloth, no need to hem the curtains, no worries if the floor has some scuff marks or the linen sofa is wrinkled and worn in a bit. As long as things are clean and fresh looking, no fuss, casual, simple - this is wabi-sabi and in a modern home, isn't this refreshing to live like this vs. having the perfectly pressed drapes and the tablecloth without a crease?

  Lotta Agaton Interiors

Lotta Agaton Interiors

5. NATURE

Bringing nature in. Sticks in vases, branches in pots, leaves scattered on the dining table for an Autumn feast, acorns in a bowl collected by your son, craft projects with natural materials (think: Waldorf School style - my aunt was a educator at one in New England and I love and fully support their curriculum), in pottery, the key is not to overdo it and let things fall as naturally and loosely as possible - again, no fuss! No perfection!

  Sania Pell For Elle Decoration, UK

Sania Pell For Elle Decoration, UK

6. LIGHT

Embracing and enhancing as much natural light as possible. I leave the lights off until it's dark outside, which saves on our electricity bill but also I feel better working near the windows and keeping my home very light and bright. In rooms where privacy is essential, I have natural linen drapes and shapes. But out of the 10+ rooms in my home, only 3 rooms have linen drapes, the rest of shades or nothing at all. I find this daily connection to the outside world really helpful - it is great for depression because you don't feel isolated and alone when you see people and homes and are forced to be part of the daily routines of others - you can't draw the thick velvet drapes and stay cocooned in - and I like this.

  Pella Hedeby for RUM Hemma, Photography by Sara Medina Lind

Pella Hedeby for RUM Hemma, Photography by Sara Medina Lind

7. SCENT

Open the windows. This may not be part of wabi-sabi style as much as it's something I've added here because I open the windows in all seasons, once a day at least, to keep the fresh air circulating and new smells to come in and old ones, to exit. I use healthy, organic candles and also I have and use essential oils to make the home smell wonderful. I also use , even for our clothing, and my house smells and looks so nice just from a few simple, but effective products.

  Lotta Agaton Interiors

Lotta Agaton Interiors

8. STRONG EDIT

This is one of my favorite things about decorating but also where I'm at in my own decorating timeline, which is, the importance of a good, strong edit. You hear this a lot in fashion but it applies as much in design for the home and styling overall. It's fine to curate and collect, but you need to have a real editor's eye and give a good edit before calling your vignette, room or even the home, "done" (at least for this week, no one ever finishes the on-going art project that is decorating). A strong edit is essential in the style of wabi-sabi because humility is, to me, a fundamental characteristic of this Japanese aesthetic.

For instance, Jonathan Adler and Abigail Ahern are NOT wabi-sabi in any way, shape or form. They are maximalists, they thrive on being over-the-top, overly decorated, bling, fun, personality, stuff!

But then you look at someone like a trained architect turned product designer, and also out of Sweden (whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Hannover, Germany last month), or even London-based Stylist and Art Director has gone into this direction in the past 6 years, and you see humility, paired back, a strong edit, and that definitely less is more.

  Sania Pell for Elle Decoration, UK

Sania Pell for Elle Decoration, UK

9. CLUTTER FREE

Along with a strong edit when decorating and choosing objects for the home comes a clutter-free environment. You don't really need all of those sweaters, socks and extra shoes (that are no longer even stylish in your eyes), do you? Do you need to keep ALL of the baby clothes from when your son was little? Can you keep maybe a few outfits and donate the rest? Even digitally, do you need your computer hard drive to be packed with millions of photos that you'll never refer to, or need? Digital clutter is also clutter. Consider strongly what you need and what you don't need and be ruthless!

  Sania Pell for Elle Decoration, UK

Sania Pell for Elle Decoration, UK

10. USEFUL AND PRETTY, IN BALANCE

I have been preaching this for over a decade in my books, along with most of the things on this list above though I don't have a "wabi-sabi style" home, but I believe in having useful and pretty things that we're using daily. You don't need to have an ugly neon green toothbrush when you can buy a nice looking wooden toothbrush from Muji, you don't need to have your bathtub littered with products with ugly labels that make your eyes hurt - you can store them away, put the contents in clear simple bottles (again, Muji), or buy products with labels that are good-looking and are pleasing to you visually. Some people are more sensitive visually than others, just as some are more sensitive to smell and sound. I think people in the decorative arts are very visually sensitive and anything that introduces stress to them has to be dealt with, even if to others it makes us look a little crazy or OCD. But I do believe strongly that you can have pretty soap in nice dispensers, towels that look and feel good against the skin, mi tools and bowls for the kitchen that fit your personal style too, and that you aren't going to necessarily pay more for the white bowl versus the ugly one that has the crazy pattern on it.

So, what do you think? Could you embrace this style of living? Or at least, try to create your own version of Wabi-Sabi at home? And if so, how do you intend to do this - any of the 10 tips above resonate with you?

(Photos credited above)

5 Easy Steps To Host a Lovely Little Party at Home

Hello dear cattledogs readers! If you are in the mood for a minimalist and bright table decoration with flowers that, yay!, announce spring... come along! This is Anke with a new column for the month of February where I want to show you how uncomplicated a little party at home can really be. In this column, I want to show you five (5) easy steps to a very nice party for your friends. It can be to celebrate anything, but also to celebrate nothing in particular except to have a nice excuse to host friends.

1. TABLETOP THEME

First, my table is laid in foundation white and grey colors this time giving the setting a very fresh look. Geometrical shaped vases as well as the ones with a concrete surface emphasize the clean and modern visual appearance. It's easy to go with tons of white because it's very easy to source, in fact most of us have white dinnerware and some white vases in our cabinet. You can mix and match shapes and textures very easily if everything is in the same tone of white.

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2. HOSTESS GIFT

Think of a little something small to give to your guests. In order to repeat the geometrical theme, I folded white paper Octahedron pendants for every guest to take home after the gathering and placed these on the cake plates. I used pink adhesive dots to add a little color. You will find a lot of different instructions/ templates for geometric shapes on the internet! I discovered the one I used on . In Germany, we like to hang little ornaments on branches to decorate our homes during Easter, so this gift gives my guests something they can use on their branch during Easter, for instance.

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3. FLOWERS

I always like to pick flowers that set the tone of the party, the color of the flowers create the palette for this tabletop since my vases and plates are white. You can do the same, let the flowers dictate the palette, makes it very easy! My heralds of spring are white Anemones, white Ranunculus, pale pink and white Hyacinths, slim white Tulips, Eucalyptus sprigs and huge Poppies. I simply arranged them loosely in different vases, without planning. Only for the wreath I proceeded with a little bit of a system.

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Isn't the salmon colored Poppy an uncontested show stealer?!

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4. WALL DECOR

I always like to make a little something for the wall nearby to the table to repeat the theme from the table to the wall somehow. You can try something similiar. The beautiful white wreath ring from danish manufacturer was a Christmas present of a dear friend of mine. It is such a toy for every decoration enthusiast and can be ordered in two sizes and different colors.

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5. SIMPLE CAKE

You don't have to lay out a roast that you spent a day preparing! Try to think smaller, but handmade and special. A simple cake will do with a pot of coffee or tea and some prosecco to make it a bit festive (we add prosecco to everything in Germany to give it a festive feeling - including brunch!). For my party, I made a moist Austrian Mohnkuchen Gugelhupf (Poppyseed Bundt Cake) I served with Lingonberry Whipped Cream, yum. If you google, look for "Austrian Mohnkuchen Gugelhupf" or "Poppyseed Bundt Cake".

So let's review. You have your tabletop planned with white ceramics, glassware and white vases, with loosely styled flowers in each vase. You've made a simple hostess gift for each guest out of paper. You've made a small wreath for your wall using the flowers from the table. You've added a nice homemade cake to the table with some sparkling wine. Now, you could add some tealights, a soothing playlist and great conversation and you have a perfect little party for your dear friends. That wasn't so hard, was it?

I hope to see you again in March to show you some ideas for Easter decoration. Honestly, I can hardly await the end of winter and the return of light and warmth! - Love,

(Text, Photography and Styling: )

5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space

Hello dear cattledogs friends, how have you been? It's me Agata, I hope you had a great and inspiring start of the year. January to me is the month of new beginnings and major resolutions like work space organizing, often easier said than done!

5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space on cattledogs

A minimal work space is definitely a thing of beauty, we like to see it in the pages of the magazines, thinking it would be hard to achieve in our own home, am I right? Growing up in a world where we are constantly being persuaded to have more, own more and buy more, the idea of intentionally living with less seems almost impossible. It seems to be an approach we are never introduced to, turns out it's not the matter of, "where would I keep all my things" but, ‚"do I really need all my things?" Do I need all of those plastic pens and papers on my desk? How about keeping only what we truly need and truly want to see? Sounds tempting?

5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space on cattledogs

Don't be scared, it doesn't necessary mean to empty the room (not at all!) at least not to me. I believe in surrounding myself with the objects I find inspiring: the magazine cut out I could look at all day, a calendar with handmade calligraphy, a favorite lamp, 3 pairs of scissors (because I love each design!). There is no rule as long as the object makes us happy each time we look at it.

5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space on cattledogs
5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space on cattledogs

Work space is our work and concentration zone, it is important to make it uncluttered, functional but also inspiring and visually interesting, especially for those of us working in a creative field.
The creative minds know that is important to stay inspired during the working hours. Whether you are an artist, painter, graphic designer, interior stylist, writer, photographer, visual stimulation is what motivates us and gives us the creative power, so here are 5 tips to style your desk in an inspiring yet minimal way:

5 Ways To Create a Mindful, Minimalist Work Space on cattledogs

1. Interior style

In order to make your work space truly inspiring, make sure it is in line with your personal style. If, for example, you don't like the look of the big, black, leather chairs don't get them for your home office, it is not a corporate desk, it's your home, so your work space should represent you.

2. Essentials

Think about each tool you have in your work space, staplers, hole puncher, dozens of pens (though when needed, impossible to find!) Eliminate the unnecessary. Make sure that what is left is not only functional but makes you happy. Pens and scissors can be pretty too! Here are 3 questions which can help you determine what you should keep:

  • How often will I use it?
  • Do I want to keep it?
  • How does it affect my mood?

3. Inspiration

Mix essentials needed for your job (computer/camera/paints) with daily inspiration so your mind does not drift somewhere else every time you sit down to work, but stays right where you are. Try to come up with creative ways to surround yourself with items that make you feel inspired and motivated. It can be anything from mood boards to photos of your dream home.

4. Less is more

A minimalist approach helps to create a space with less distraction, more freedom, and more time to focus on our work.  When considering office furniture, opt for clean lines which aid in concentration.

5. Styling

A little bit of thoughtfulness in your arrangements through styling helps to display your inspiration and essentials in a pleasing way. Play with what's on your desk to create a nice composition. Just make sure you still have a little bit of space to actually work *wink*.

What do you think? Do you like the minimal approach?

See you again in February everyone! -

(Photos, Text, Styling: )

Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home

I love a good, quirky home! I feel like with all of the cookie cutter "sameness" we see each day on many social media platforms, it's nice to see a real home for once that is highly personal, creative and shows a real joy and passion for living. This is the way Australian fashion designer lives and I find it really refreshing. Have a look and see her sunny, happy home below.

Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home

Arabella comes from a family of artists and creatives, but it was her mother who loved sewing when she was a child, that inspired her the most to be a fashion designer. After years spent in the industry amassing quite a following in Australia, Arabella and her family relocated out of the city to live in a colorful home with their two little girls. She also opted out of the fashion industry for awhile so she could focus her energy on parenting, but also, to accept only small, special projects. She was able to keep this pace for some time, however, fashion called to her once again so she launched a line, this time with her illustrator father, called .

Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home
Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home
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Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home
Fashion Designer's Quirky Colorful Home

Aside from the North African touches combined with the obvious Aussie coastal flair, I like that Arabella's house is so special to her and her family because it's unique. It's personal and interesting to look at and I like that. Sometimes I find magazines and the internet to show a lot of the same things - Instagram has become almost cookie cutter - so many people are starting to look and decorate and take photographs in the same way. It's refreshing to take a step away from all of that for a moment to see something totally different. Don't you think?

(Images: INSIDE OUT)