Tour A Modern Minimalist Apartment in Vienna

Ready to be totally inspired today? I first found Stylist and Blogger through blogging and , and simply had to invite her to cattledogs for a home tour and to speak about her life and style which she describes as, "Airy, light and with love for the detail!". Svenja, who writes , is German living in Vienna for a little over two years and has a fantastic city apartment that is very modern and minimalist. She works freelance as a blogger and interior stylist and occasionally decorates residential spaces.

 Wall Color: "Off Black“ from  Farrow&Ball .

Wall Color: "Off Black“ from .

Together with her boyfriend, they share a 4 room, 120 square meter flat with spacious rooms which boast soaring ceilings and a cozy balcony for two with a city view. What made her fall in love with her apartment and decide to move in? It was easy, "the classical details of our apartment like the beautiful herringbone floors, 4 meter high ceilings, double wing doors, huge windows, and tiny details like the light switches and the original brass door and window handles - everything presented together made me fall for this place! For me, it’s the perfect stage for all the furniture that I love!".

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What does Svenja love in her apartment, when it comes to her personal belongings? "A couple of weeks ago did a little hallway makeover and the new round mirror hanging there turned out to be a favorite piece of mine as well as the from byLassen that I got recently. Besides that, I love my white linen sofa and the old workbench that I use as my coffee bar."

Tour A Modern Minimalist Apartment in Vienna

SHOP LIST from photo above - all from Connox: Mirror , Chair , Wall boxes from , Table light from . Wall Color "" from the from Schoener Wohnen.

 Rug from  Touda , Sofa "Richard" by  B&B Italia .

Rug from , Sofa "Richard" by .

I had to know why Svenja put her coffee bar in her living room though, so I asked and she explained that it's right near the kitchen, where they work a lot, so having it near to their desk was the perfect solution because the door to the kitchen is almost always open so it feels like one big space anyway. I love this coffee bar, I can't stop looking at it!

 Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from  Farrow&Ball

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from

Tour Vienna Apartment

As I looked through her gorgeous home photos, I wondered where she shops. Where does she find all of her lovely things? Here are some stores she highly recommends: , , , and . I can vouch for Connox (they are based here in Hannover!), Granit (big love for them) and The Posterclub, I shop there too. I have to look into Dopo Domani and Geliebtes Zuhause, I've not heard of them but am eager to check them out.

 Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from  Farrow&Ball .

Wall color: "Pavilion Gray" from .

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 Chair:  Fredericia J64  from Connox.

Chair: from Connox.

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 Paint color on wall: "Light Gray“ from  Farrow&Ball .

Paint color on wall: "Light Gray“ from .

My home is my shelter and also the place where I can do whatever I want to do and where I can surround myself with all the things I like the most.
— Svenja Brücker

With every apartment though, there are things that we don't like and wish to change. I asked her about that too. "I would love to change the bathrooms and the kitchen. Not because I don’t like them, but because there are so many more interesting and more beautiful options out there. Being surrounded by all those perfectly designed kitchens and everything else on a daily basis is sometimes really hard and creates a lot of desire. I guess everyone working in the design field knows what I’m talking about!". Yes, absolutely!

Now for wish list items. We all have them! I asked Svenja and she reveals, "That’s a tough one! I got a thing for outstanding lighting, so I always have a new lamp on my mind and also on my wishlist. At the top of it is the from Atelier Areti and also the from Pulpo right now. I would really love to own those! Besides that, I have a white or light grey on my wishlist (but need a second living room for that)."

I always have a new lamp on my mind and also on my wishlist. At the top of it is the Vertical Globe lamp from Atelier Areti.
— Svenja Brücker
 Svenja Brücker

Svenja Brücker

We also talked about her Instagram photos because, in addition to her apartment, she shows a lot of fantastic travel destinations from her many, often exotic, adventures. I was curious how these locations have inspired her interior style so we chatted about this and she revealed, "Every beautiful place that you see affects the way you look at things. Traveling definitely inspires me a lot but I don't try to recreate a style from a travel destination at home." She continues, "What works for your home often has to do a lot with the design of the apartment itself and also where it is located. I really like the easy-going modern Balinese style but I would never try to recreate this in my Viennese apartment because that would be not authentic to me or to the property or location."

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Santorini: We celebrated my birthday in Santorini last year and stayed at this magical little boutique hotel called „“.

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Australia: What inspired me most about this country was the amazing energy that I felt in the big cities like Melbourne and Sydney. I have never seen so many unique places for food and coffee with outstanding quality everywhere. I felt that especially in Bondi Beach and Byron Bay, people were super laid back but also full of energy at the same time, I really loved this special vibe. 

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Bali
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Bali: A lot of Aussies live on this island and you can see it everywhere because they took their relaxed, inspiring lifestyle to Bali. Other than the many creative cafés and beautiful beach clubs, I also love the pure beauty of the country itself. I still remember the first time I saw one of the big rice paddies. Bali is pure heaven to me!

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Joshua Tree National Park: Last summer we took a road trip from Las Vegas to Palm Springs and spent one day at the gorgeous Joshua Tree National Park. Definitely worth a visit!

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San Luis Hotel Südtirol: One of the most rela places I’ve ever been to is this little gem in South Tyrol called, "“ some weeks ago. You can sleep in a tree house and watch birds and deer in the woods surrounding you while sitting in a hanging chair. Talk about a perfect getaway!

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and Vienna (where I live!): , which is my favorite coffee shop that I visit almost daily, (especially when the hundreds and hundreds of roses are blooming), Lunch at and strolling through the nice little streets surrounding this place afterward, the magical and to enjoy the view above the city in summer.

Thank you so much for this wonderful tour and your insights into home and travel, Svenja. Was lovely to have you here today on cattledogs!

(Photos by Svenja Brücker, with permission.)

When Everyone Goes Right, Go Left

Hey, hey everyone! How are you doing out there??? I'm good, just getting my groove and focus back after a long hot summer that had a lot of beach vacations and country drives on my agenda! In fact, I really lingered and spoiled myself this summer because we had the best summer weather in all of the 9 years I've lived here in Europe and I had to take advantage of it. It was like 4-5 months of non-stop sun and beauty. Even today, it's September 4th and 82 degrees and sunny. I feel like it's been a never-ending dream to have these sunny skies and beautiful, long days.

Minted Art cattledogs

I've also been working a TON on some secret projects - I'll reveal them later this year - but you really won't believe what I'm up to behind the scenes and fortunately, all of you will be (hopefully) happy when I make my big reveals. Let's just say that I have some big stuff brewing and I'm very excited to explore some new, uncharted territory for myself.

I've also decided to change DECOR8. I have some aesthetic changes to apply later this year, but for now, I needed to get back to my roots and just author the blog (mostly) alone. I'll have Anke Illner and her tabletop stories still, because they are infrequent enough to not feel like extra work for me but also they really inspire all of you (and me too) and I can't imagine not having those stories on my blog right now. I love all of my writers, but I really want to just write cattledogs by myself again as I once did many, many years ago. I feel like blogs have evolved so much that most you barely recognize as a blog (they are more like magazines or websites), mine included, and I honestly MISS the times when blogs looked (and read) like blogs and were more imperfect and warm and where the author was truly present. 

I have this expression, "When everyone else goes right, I go left", and I really do live this way. Right now, everyone is on Instagram and, if they have a blog, are making them super gorgeous and full of perfect photos and amazing content. And I love that. But I also know I cannot deliver it and also that some diversity is nice and so why not take this as my opportunity to do something else and try a new approach - the approach that always feels the most authentic to me - to just write stuff here as I once did, regularly, and share what I love, what inspires me and to make is as non-commercial as humanly possible. I want to take a very organic and inspired approach to cattledogs now. I don't have ads here and I don't use affiliate links and when a post is sponsored (which is not so common) it is clearly labeled as such.  But that's about the extent of how commercial I get on cattledogs. "I want to go left", I want to still have a blog and share a bulk of my content and creativity on here, not solely on Instagram.

So yeah, that's what I'm thinking about lately - getting back to my blog roots, saying goodbye to my beautiful team on the blog, and moving cattledogs into a more personal space once again.

How are you lately? What's new for you? Are you blogging and if so, what is your blog URL so I can check it out? Any thoughts on blogging - do you still read them? Do you see value?

Love,

Holly

Is Your Business In a Slump? Or Are You? This Method Can Help...

Do you currently feel like your business, your ideas, YOUR LIFE, IN GENERAL, is in a slump? I totally can relate as a business owner/entrepreneur who has been working independently for 13 years - I get into these slump periods too. I have decided that they are healthy and good - we can hibernate and go inward for a short time, only to emerge like a butterfly from a cocoon. That's okay.

However, slumps can last sometimes for longer than is productive. A bear cannot hibernate until summer. There is a period of rest, then there is a period for action. If you have felt like your slump period has lasted beyond what you feel is healthy or productive, then I have the perfect solution for you. But first...

  Photos: Unsplash, Collage, Holly Becker

Photos: Unsplash, Collage, Holly Becker

A little background... I started this blog in January 2006, nearly 13 years ago. I had NO CLUE what blogging was, so little of them existed and we didn't have this term, "Social Media", and we didn't have iPhones and apps and Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Back then, you started a blog as a passion project, you couldn't yet earn money from it. I started my blog because I was working in design and wanted to segway into writing for design magazines and constantly got rejected by editors since I lacked sufficient experience. I started my blog to write about my passions and to hopefully, get in front of some editors and show them that I could write and that I had opinions.

Needless to say, it worked. :) I've done a lot of things I'm proud of, and some things I regret (decisions, mostly monetary ones because I always thought money wasn't important until I made decisions that showed me the truth!)... And I have had periods when I felt really sick of blogging and tired in general of showing up consistently, daily, on my blog or somewhere on social media, to "perform". 

Despite the down days, or the moments of mumbling swear words beneath my breath, I've maintained a consistent positive vibe. I've maintained a lot of good energy for my profession and the field I'm in overall. I still am really amazed by what people have accomplished - my peers and even new ones who are starting in this field daily. I am so curious by nature, so I just love the design that I'm consistently seeing and meeting - all of the new designers, the ones who are known as the trendsetters, the leaders... It's all interesting to me to watch and to actively participate in. 

Yet there are still phases where I want to pull the plug and open a design shop/cafe on the beach in the south of France and just BE DONE WITH IT. You know? Like just wear flipflops all day and white linen dresses with spaghetti straps, listen to great tunes, and sell pretty things and make coffees. Meet travelers and watch my son surf. I have these visions and think that maybe it's common for people so deeply involved in online media like me - to imagine these scenarios of unplugging and living life as it was when I was a little girl in the 80s - wild, free and not an iPhone in sight.

THEN REALITY CALLS. And the reality is - I LOVE FAIRS, PUBLISHING MY THOUGHTS, SHARING, BLOGS, MEET UPS, TRAVEL, SOCIAL MEDIA, COMMUNICATING, CONNECTING, MY BUSINESS and my LIFE in the city here in northern Germany. And I am super motivated to keep going in this forward motion and pursue my dreams in this industry because, well, why not?

However, slumps and down times and feelings of OMG I WANT OUT lurk in the hearts of all creatives and all who are making a living doing what they love because it's only human. You can also bet that even me as the shop/cafe on the beach owner would have days when I didn't want to be there, I wouldn't want to open up and make 100 coffees, or I'd feel sick or bored with being a shop owner. No matter what we are doing in life, there are always greener pastures. There is always MORE.

  Photo: Susanne Irmer, Shown: Holly Becker

Photo: Susanne Irmer, Shown: Holly Becker

That is why I decided to to others because it's how I've stayed sane and inspired and how I've kept going, stayed profitable and accomplished all that I have in the past 13 years. I'd never really realized that I had a method to my madness, but I do and I sat down over the summer and really thought it through and imagined how I could help others and RISE was born, which stands for R= Reassess, I= Invigorate, S= Strategize, and E= Execute your plans and goals.

Now, for the GOOD PART. You can join me and a small group of students online where, for 3 weeks, from September 14 - October 8, 2018, you can get into a new groove - a new, positive, "I CAN DO THIS" state of mind. Our fun, self-paced online class will teach you the RISE Method.

R: With Reassess, we will teach you how to tap in to your energy, take care of yourself first, identify your strong points, and find the weak places in your business to stabilize and strengthen them. We will also cover how self-care is not selfish and why. This will be a super positive series that will jump start you right away.

I: With Invigorate, we will show you concrete ways in which you can organize your workflow, computer and office along with ways to get more positivity in your life, how to deal with downtimes and creative ruts, the importance of developing a strong support network (and how), and ways to develop courage and strength to rise up and power through. Self-confidence is key, so we'll help you with that before moving on to the next step...

S: For Strategize, it's time to set a plan. How will you do the things you want to do? We'll show you how to put together a solid plan of action, how other business owners do it with interviews and case studies, how we do it and lots of tips and ideas for planning using Milanote, basic organization, and follow through.

E: And finally, Execute. No more worries, no more excuses. This is where you will learn how to execute your plans fearlessly and with courage, how to market effectively on social media platforms, understanding SEO and how to use it to boost your business and get more eyes on your website/blog, various apps we love and our favorite things from the best newsletter apps to invoicing software, Instagram Stories apps we love, and more!

Bottom line: I want to help you to get the courage and energy to climb out of your current rut (or if you're just beginning a new business endeavor, this class will help you, too!) and work on your business and goals with tons of support from us, encouragement, tools and help along the way. The magic is inside of you already - we are going to show you how to tap into it, pull it out and use it.

You can register easily below. Hope to see you in class, it will be nice to work with you personally and you can also make new friends and network in our private student-only forum - which I encourage.

 

See you!

Love,

Holly

 

Q+A With Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

I first found American ceramicist and immediately knew that I needed to reach out to her to learn more. I asked her for a little interview and some photos from her studio in Brooklyn and she happily agreed and so we set up a chat. Please follow along below for a little Friday inspiration that will hopefully take you into the weekend feeling good.

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics on Instagram

What made you get into ceramics?

I come from an architecture / design background, which is often more cerebral than it is about making. Though materiality is very important to architects, we are always one step removed from it since we aren’t the ones who actually build our designs. Making objects with clay is a totally different design process than I was used to. My favorite pieces are those that happen while I'm throwing on the wheel, intuitively. What I like is finding the subtle nuances in shape and detail that are results of physical gestures. Those are what make a piece interesting and beautiful. These are things I could never design on my own with pencil and paper, because it results from the process itself. I guess that is what got me into ceramics. I think people are drawn to ceramics and pottery because it has a quality that makes them slow down, to feel the weight and texture, see the depth in the glaze. I love the freedom of thought that clay allows me, and I work to make that clarity translated into the final products you see and hold.

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics
Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics
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How did you learn your craft?

Through practice and failure. You can take classes and learn from others for sure, but in the end, I learn the best from actually making. Ceramics is a very humble and humbling craft. Mistakes and accidents are always happening, even when I think I did everything 'right'. I try to think of failing as a learning experience (after a good cry if it was a particularly epic fail of course).

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Who inspires you in the world of ceramics?

So many people!! I’m inspired particularly by those that dig up up wild clay or find ways to use found, natural elements in their work. Sarah Jerath, Mitch Iburg, Mark Rose and Maya Santoso of Magnolia Mountain, Melissa Weiss, just to name a small few. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What do you love about your space?

I love the windows in the space and the light they let in. Most of all, I love that it is a space that is just my own. I feel much more in control of my work environment now, and it makes me more efficient. 

Is your space at home or in a separate location?

It is in my home. It’s quite useful to be able to check on a pot just before going to bed to make sure they are keeping their moisture level. They really are my pot babies. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics
Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics
Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What are some challenges with working as a small business?

One challenge is time- there never seems to be enough. There are so many ideas I want to try, and so many skills I want to develop. Another challenge is outreach and exposure. I’m working on being more confident and trusting myself and my work. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’m always inspired when I meet self-assured small business owners. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

Where do you sell your work?

Mostly through Instagram currently. I used to sell through my previous shared studio, which was great because I met many of the people that bought my work. I miss those interactions and am considering some holiday markets. I’m also working on getting an online shop up and running. I’ll be announcing the opening through an email newsletter, for which you can sign up on my website. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What are some goals you have for your small business?

On the making side, short-term goals include fine-tuning my plate and bowl designs and production techniques, refining my glaze palette, while still giving myself time to experiment and play with materials. On the business side, I would like to get the webshop going and be able to convey a really clear sense of what my work is about. 

Long-term goals would be to learn more about natural and wild clays and to rely a little less on what is commercially available. It can feel overwhelming when I think of what I want to accomplish, but I can’t help but feel grateful when I think to myself, “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.”

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What would you like to buy for your studio that you can’t yet afford and why do you need it?

I don’t have a kiln, and it would make the biggest difference in my studio. Having my own kiln would allow me to mix all my own glazes (I mix some and buy others currently) and my lead time for production would become much shorter. I’d also love to have a large slab roller to make handbuilding a faster process. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics
Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What are your favorite mediums other than ceramics?

I love to cook, bake and sew. I think the functional aspect of all those mediums motivates me. 

Vivian Shao Chen Ceramics

What do you listen to when you are working, who is on your playlist?

I usually listen to nothing when I’m working. I love having silence, only interrupted by the wind or rain. 

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Thank you Vivian for being a guest here today with us on cattledogs. I loved learning about your process and also, your passion for making and enjoyed seeing glimpses of your restful studio space as well as learning about some of the challenges you have as a small business owner. Thank you for openly sharing a part of your world with all of us.

Love,

Holly