Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green

Today I’m so happy to take you with me on a little vacation. We are going to shop together today at ELSIE GREEN, a shop outside of San Francisco, California (On instagram @elsiegreen). Elsie Green is a French-inspired concept shop owned by Laurie and JP Furber. They noticed a need for a shop that offers beautiful vintage pieces with a European touch and launched eight years ago and have been successful every since. Their intuition was correct.

Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green

Their flagship store is 30 mins outside of San Francisco (Concord, CA) and their new Sebastopol shop is nestled into the famous California wine country in The Barlow (the shopping center where the shop is located), which is an amazing space for makers and artists to come together. 

Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green
Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green

Most of their products are vintage and come directly from France. Laurie and JP travel there 3-4 times a year to shop the flea markets and send big containers back stateside with all of the treasures that they source. Their favorite trend right now is vintage portraits, “We can barely keep them in stock once we find them!”, admits this stylist duo.

Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green
Decor Shop Love: Tour Elsie Green

Their style is always evolving, yet the foundation is always “French Chic”. They love to combine rustic pieces with modern touches. “The French have incredible taste so each vintage piece we find feels like it lived its previous life in our chicest French friend’s apartment”, says Laurie.

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Laurie and JP have a real passion for their work. These days, retail is a hard job but they both told me that they really love what they do and they created spaces where they can be creative and explore anything and everything. Do they have struggles? Of course, the best work also has hard times. They credit their team for being a huge support to them during their rough times, whom they consider as an extended family.

Laurie + JP, Photography by Leslie Santarina

Laurie + JP, Photography by Leslie Santarina

I asked Laurie for some tips on where to go in Sebastopol and in the Bay Area, since she has such impeccable style. Here’s her “hit list”.

Sebastopol:

sleep - Grace Ranch. Our dear friends own this amazing airbnb and it is our FAVORITE place to stay when we are in town. 

sleep - the Astro Motel in Santa Rosa (a quick 10 minute drive from the Barlow)

eat - Fern Bar at the Barlow - amazing cocktails and beautifully plated bites

eat -The Farmer’s Wife at the Barlow - TO DIE FOR GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES

drink - Spirit Works Distillery at the Barlow - such a fun place to pop into for a cocktail and if you’re lucky you can get a tour of the distillery and maybe meet the distillery pups! 

Bay Area: 

sleep - Cavallo Point! It is on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge and has amazing views of the city from across the Bay!

eat - Octavia - our dear friend owns this restaurant and it is life changing. A must when you visit SF.

drink - Trick Dog SF - unbelievable cocktails!

visit - make a pit stop at the SF Flower Market - it makes for a very fun afternoon walking up and down the stalls of flowers for sale!

What are some goals ahead for Elsie Green? “We would love to produce a creative retreat either stateside or in France - styling, photography, flea market hunting! Who wouldn’t love that!?!”, says Laurie. Yes, you’re right Laurie, who wouldn’t. Fortunately for Laure though, she has what it takes to pull that off and I can see anything she puts her hands on becoming a success.

Thanks you two for joining me here on decor8 today and thanks to my dear readers for joining us.

Love,

Holly

(Shop Photography with permission from Victoria Smith, Portrait with permission from Leslie Santarina)






 

 

Hello Holly Podcast Episode 1: Scandinavian Design, Style + Life with Niki Brantmark

What is it about Scandinavian design that draws us in? How can we bring more of it into our home? What is Lagom and how can we apply it to our daily life? What are the hallmarks of Scandinavian design?

Hello Holly Podcast Episode 1

I’m simply thrilled to have my good friend Niki Brantmark with me on episode one of my new podcast of HELLO HOLLY.

Niki is the best-selling author and blogger from the award-winning My Scandinavian Home blog and will answer these questions and more, including what’s happening right now in design that makes her excited and some details about her life as a London expat living and working in Malmo, Sweden.


If you like this podcast, please rate it and leave a review on iTunes and if you think your friends should listen, please share it and tag us at @hollymagazin @decor8 and #hollymag so we can reshare the love!

Thank you so much and enjoy the episode 1 of HELLO HOLLY! Episode 2 goes live tomorrow, 10 October!

Love,

Holly

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

This is one of the sweetest homes on Instagram (@wunderblumen), so I’m excited to share peeks of it with you today. I really love the many warm colors and the patterned wallpaper sprinkled about here and there… Daniela is a German school teacher (pedagogue) living in Kassel with her husband Stefan, their daughters Marlene and Martha, and their kitty cat Polly. Her grown son Moritz lives in Berlin.

In Kassel, their half-timbered house is set in a small district nearby to fields and meadows, which they feel is like living in a village in the middle of a vibrant city complete with cafes, shopping, a subway AND nature nearby (they are 2 minutes from open land). Their home has two families living inside, Daniela is on the top floor with about 100 m2 for her family to enjoy (about 1,000 square meters). You will really love this cozy and sweet home, I’m sure - there is a definite warmth, a spirit of love, and it’s really a pretty space but still feels lived in and not like a catalog or showroom - that’s so appealing, when someone has the knack of making something beautiful that is still very functional and cozy. Usually, homes tend to be “really” home-y (with no attention paid to decor) or they are overly decorated and look like a magazine and tend to be too “perfect”. Finding that balance is key, I feel, to loving your home. When it looks great, feels great and supports your life.

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

The house was formerly part of an old monastery complex and was built around 1880 and was partially destroyed during World War II. After the war ended, it was rebuilt so there are now two rooms with slightly higher ceilings than the rest of the house. Daniela really loves the quaint and character-filled home they have, it tells stories… She even loves how the floorboards creak and the walls are all crooked, “
I have always had a penchant for old residential objects with history. For a short time, I lived in a normal rental apartment and realized that this does not correspond to my living needs.” Their home is cozy and the colors are just beautiful - I think this space is absolutely charming and I love the Autumnal color palette.

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

Meet Daniela…

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

I took some time to chat with Daniela about her home, because I think it’s nice to hear directly from her and not that I just write everything - it’s more personal and somehow more charming. So here is the conversation that we had, I’ve edited to include the fine bits so you can enjoy both the images and text together without spending too much time. I know more and more, blog readers want shorter content, but sometimes a story is so lovely it’s just not possible. So maybe relax for a few minutes and spend some time…

How would your describe your style?

Colorful without being flowery, pastel without being girly, Scandinavian without being clean - a mix of old and new - of design and finds, me! I enjoy change, playing with colors, beautiful pictures; I love to discover old furniture and to combine it with beautiful simple design pieces. A mix of old and new embodies for me more personality in living than a uniform look. When setting up, it is important to me that color harmony is achieved. Also that our family feels good here and the home supports us - this is not an exhibition space, but a home!

What does home mean to you?

First, my family and friends are my home; they make a place beautiful first and home. So the question arises, what is home still for me, except for the people I need for this feeling. It's the many places that awaken memories in me, the moments I've experienced there. My garden, our district, our allotment garden in the change of the seasons - walk between fields and in the green around our home, drink coffee in my favorite coffee. Home is also a feeling of opening the door and being safe and secure.

Do you have a favorite room?

I love our kitchen very much; she is the heart of our apartment. We laugh, cook, play, drink coffee with friends, I like to spend a few quiet minutes or even hours in the morning (if I have time), I also like to work there. It's not big, but it’s my place.

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

Since you love the kitchen, what is your favorite meal to cook and why?

I like it best when my husband cooks. I can cook, but when Stefan is cooking it is better.! I love my husband's Bolognese - and everyone agrees on this meal, which is not always the case with children. I eat so much!

What would you like to change about your space?

I would like to add a balcony, which I can enter from our kitchen. It should be square, like a roof terrace. Here I would plant many herbs and flowers in pots and create a little oasis to dream.

What do you like to do at home?

I like to listen to music and I love nice magazines or books. I enjoy my early morning coffee breaks. I like to do yoga, play with my kids, sometimes I like to take photos (of course for my Instagram).

How do you hope your guests feel when they visit your home?

That they feel welcome, that they feel natural, that they can be as they are, that they can relax…

Since you love the kitchen, what is your favorite meal to cook and why?
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

When you entertain, how do you do it?

I am always happy and a very natural host, so I do not feel like an entertainer - mostly everything is in the "flow"; we cook for friends, there is coffee, in the summer wine spritzer - we talk, eat together, sometimes play games, listen to music, laugh a lot, dance- it's easy!

Speaking of dance, what’s on your playlist right now?

I love music; it has always accompanied me. We have a huge collection of records. I especially like electronic music. Here are a few songs on my playlist at the moment: David Bowie: Heros, Blumfeld, DJ Koze-Thousand Tears Deep, Ornette's "Crazy" (Noze Remix), Nicolas Jaar - Mi Mujer
, and Nu & Jo Ke - Who loves the sun.

Since you love the kitchen, what is your favorite meal to cook and why?
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

What are some of your favorite flowers and plants?

I really love so many flowers; every season has its peculiarities. Here are just a few: Poppies, peonies, roses, ranunculus, scabiosa, tulips, bluebells - I like old peasant garden shrubs in my garden, etc.

Which candles are you using at the moment?

P.F. Candle Co. (Amber & Moss or Teakwood & Tobacco) Lelabo (Santal 33)

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

What is your “dream piece” for the home?

Actually, I am very happy with our interior, sometimes I would like to have a larger sofa on which we all have space, for example the Hay Mags - I still find that very nice after years!

What city do you love to shop most?

Berlin - I love this city, not just for shopping. But there are many great little shops here and not just chains - you can browse, discover and be inspired!

Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors
Cozy + Welcoming German Home In Beautiful Autumn Colors

What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts?

@anna.cor - I love Anna's style - simple, tasteful, Scandinavian, restrained and yet so cozy (Anna has an eye for small details down to the last corner) - a mix of wonderfully selected design pieces and vintage finds!

@mikanueverydaybag - Nu has an exquisite taste for beautiful things such as wickerwork or textiles, which she presents in beautiful pictures in her home - I'll always find it here!


@swantjeundfrieda - Swantje - who knows and does not love her style - her feeling for colors, selected special things like lamps, ceramics or prints and I really love her flat.

@donnerstagsonntag - So colorful, so beautiful, so special down to the last detail!

Thank you so much Daniela for spending time with me on decor8 today, I look forward to continue to follow you on Instagram - even more now that I know you better. Thank you again for stopping by!

Love,

Holly

(Photographs with permission from Daniela at Wunderblumen)







Handmade Spotlight: From Tree To Sea Ceramics

I’ve been writing on decor8 since January 2006, which means I am incredibly stubborn when it comes to sticking to things that I love and believe in regardless of popularity or numbers. My blog has been massive with huge amounts or readers and today, the readers are more spread throughout all of my social channels, yet I still love to visit decor8 a few times a week (this week I’ll be blogging daily) because I love it here so much. I also love the stories that I find, the homes I can’t get enough of, the talented people who make and design such lovely things, and the overall belief that if you put time and effort into your home, it rewards you with such powerful energy that supports everything else that you do in life.

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When I decorate, redecorate, renovate, whatever… I always follow some rules. For example, I make sure to only show things that I love and that make me feel positive and light. The rest is stored away or donated. I also weave in vintage and handmade pieces to my rooms to give them character and add that certain “something”. There is nothing that makes my rooms more ‘blah’ than when I fill them only with new things. There is no personality without a good mix, in my opinion. When the home looks like a catalog and not a warm, cozy space, I’m personally not inspired at all and everything else in my life suffers when I don’t feel good at home. Are you the same?

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With my love and respect for handmade craft, I had to point you to a fantastic find that I came across a few months ago - From Tree to Sea, shown throughout this post. Ceramics are so tactile and add character, but also bring a home to life because simple details can make a space feel so evolved and home-y. If you have a shelf with just books, that’s a bit boring right? But if you stack them a certain way, mix in a ceramic pot with a plant, place a candle on a book, or a pretty bowl or basket, suddenly the shelf is fresh and has a unique look.

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I want to introduce you today to Lauren Strybos who is a self-taught Canadian ceramicist and former wildlife biologist who has a passion for the outdoors combined with environmental conservation. Lauren creates one-of-a-kind ceramics with an emphasis on tones, textures and shapes that you’d commonly find on a nature walk.

From Tree To Sea ceramics are produced in limited quality, small batches and Lauren uses a mix of stoneware and porcelain clay bodies. She likes to work with raw, unglazed clay and soft colored glazes and to make hand-built vessels along with smooth, wheel thrown shapes.

I love the hanging plant pots and of course, the natural tones of terra cotta and cream. These really fit current interiors trends too, especially the boho modern look, and natural living, don’t you agree? And everything shown here would add a special something to your home - and supports an artist who loves to create. A double win!

Photography: With permission from Lauren Strybos

A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin

I don’t know about where you live, but Autumn is in full swing where I’m at. It’s totally sweater weather, and I love it. I was frankly READY for Summer to end because I love the period between October 1 - January 1 - there is so much going on, so many parties and events. There is also a feeling of “slow down” in the air. Linger with a magazine and coffee. Sit in front of the fireplace listening to good music. Baking cookies and watching a film after. For this reason, I want to show you a Berlin “hygge” home today that feels and looks very cozy and lovely, and it belongs to Kathi Gräfe and her boyfriend Marc and their daughter Frida.

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This charming apartment is 90sqm/3 rooms and is in an old building with soaring ceiling (3.50 meters!) and lovely stucco with original floors in the living room - a classic Berlin home according to Kathi. Currently, Kathi is on maternity leave but as a career, she works as a Director for a PR agency, so after a long day’s work she loves to come home. Why? “It’s my favorite place to be. I am always happy when I come home - it’s so important to have a place you really love and where you can be yourself,” she says.


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A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin

At home, Kathi loves to spend time with her little girl. Before she was born, they relaxed together at home after their stressful jobs and enjoyed a good meal and a film. They also enjoyed quiet moments baking, decorating or being on the balcony. With a baby in the house, everything has changed but of course both are happy to have little Frida and they’ve found a new way of life together as a family of three. It may not be as quiet as it once was, but they are happy and enjoying life in a new way.


A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin
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Though this space is lovely, no one has the perfect home. We all have things we’d like to change. Kathi is no exception, “We have a very long hallway and the kitchen and living room are on different ends, so you always have to walk such a distance, which can be very annoying!”. I imagine that with a baby, it’s even harder now, and Kathi agreed, “I would love to have a combined living and kitchen area and a spare room to store and hide things.”

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I had a little interview with Kathi to ask her about some of her favorite things, would you like to learn more? If so, you can find our Q+A below.

How would you describe your style?


Scandinavian clean and cozy meets design classics.

Your dream piece for the home?


It is actually the CH24 chair from Carl Hansen. It has been on my wishlist for soo long! And this dream piece just moved in and I couldn’t be more in love.
Now I need a new piece for that list ;)

What is your favorite city to shop and why?


Copenhagen and New York.
Copenhagen for interior & fashion and their flea markets are the best! All these stylish people are selling so many nice things for small money. I always discover new brands and feel inspired in Copenhagen.
New York for the typical „Sex & the City“ feeling and all the great American brands.


A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin
A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin
A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin

When you have people over, how do you entertain them?

It depends, sometimes we cook or get take-away for everyone as we have many nice restaurants in our neighborhood. And then it is just talking and having fun!

Favorite meal to cook and why?


I love Risotto and we often make bowls because you can combine so many good ingredients and they are so healthy. I am often inspired by „Deliciously Ella“. It’s the best cook book.
I also bake banana bread quite often.

A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin

Favorite flowers on the table?

Peonies and wild Tulips

What is on your playlist?

  • Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

  • Nick Drake - Pink Moon

  • Neil Young - Harvest Moon

  • The Shins - New Slang

  • John Mayer - New Light

How do you hope your guests feel when they visit your home?


I hope they feel home as well and that a warm atmosphere and some ‚Hygge‘ vibes embrace them.

A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin
A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin
A Charming "Hygge" Apartment in Berlin



What is important to you when you visit someone else’s home?


That is a good question, I have actually never thought about this. I think taste can be so different, so this person should feel happy about their home and then I am happy as well! For me a nice place to sit and talk is always important, this could be in the kitchen or a cozy sofa. But besides this, nothing :)

And finally… What are your favorite Instagram accounts right now?

@tinyhouse & @moderntinyliving - I am always so inspired be these small houses and it’s amazing what they build with such limited space. I could definitely imagine to live in one of these or spend my vacation there.

@thusthefuss - Love all the colors in her home! It makes me think about using more color in our home as well. And she also just became a mom, so always nice to get some inspiration for the kids room.

@_designtales_ The interior and the photography are amazing! Also their little cottage - I would definitely move in! I also love their page @_foodstories_ - Best inspiration for cooking and baking.

Thank you so much Kathi, it’s been lovely to spend time with you today.

Readers: You can follow Kathi on Instagram @kateshyggehome if you’d like. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Love,

Holly

(Photography: Kathi Gräfe)



NEW! HELLO HOLLY Podcast: Interiors, Trends + Friends!

Have you heard the news? I have a new interiors podcast called HELLO HOLLY! It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, AudioNow and in many other places where podcasts are found. I’m so excited because I have for my first guest, Scandinavian design and lifestyle expert, Niki Brantmark from My Scandinavian Home. For episode 1 we talk all about Scandi design, her life as a blogger, mother, Swedish expat from London, book author and design service founder. Niki is an amazing business woman (so savvy!) and I really love our podcast together and I’m pretty certain that you will too. She has a ton of knowledge and great tips to share for those of you curious (or obsessed) with Nordic style.

HELLO HOLLY Podcast: Holly talks to Niki from My Scandinavian Home.

Each podcast is 30 minutes, next week I’m talking to an amazing trend expert for instance, and they’re available bi-weekly. I am so excited about this project and very happy to have a podcast that people all over the world can tune in to in order to listen to creatives talk about interiors, trends, business topics relating to creatives, and so much more - but always focused on interiors, trends and friends!

HELLO HOLLY podcast

It’s wonderful that after 10 years of recording podcasts alone in my office for my 10,000 students in my Blogging Your Way e-courses, that I’m finally sitting in an actual recording studio face-to-face with my guests at G+J in Hamburg having conversations - and the best part is - we don’t cut or edit them. I actually LOVE that. We press record and for 30 minutes, the conversation just flows - without stop. This way the conversation is kept authentic and exactly as it would be if you were sitting at a table nearby listening to two friends having an animated chat- that is exactly how I want HELLO HOLLY to feel - like you are spying on two friends - so I invite you to pull up a seat and listen in. My guests are amazing and each one will give you something valuable (or many somethings!) to take away from your 30 minutes with us. Listen in the car, during your run, while you cook, in the shower… But please tune in because I promise they’ll brighten your day.

Also with each podcast, I always ask the same question in the beginning, “What are you excited about right now?” and the same closing question, “What makes a house a home to YOU?”. And the rest, in between those questions, is anyone’s guess. I barely prepare and usually wing it, but that’s what I like the most - because when I prepare too much I lose my zest and suddenly the conversation becomes a robotic question and answer, or too rehearsed and perfect-sounding, and that’s NOT my style. So HELLO HOLLY is a real conversation with real people about real interiors topics.

HELLO HOLLY Podcast: Holly talks to Niki from My Scandinavian Home.

In the near future, I’ll also be setting up podcasts with people who cannot travel to Hamburg to record live with me. We are still working that out. But I’d love to have great people with stories they want to tell about the creative things that are doing. If you have something you feel needs to be heard, I want to talk to you! If you have a good story about your creative business, a design problem you’ve had and handled, ways you run your shop that are successful, how you market your brand, tips on how to win at social media, whatever you have that can teach and inspire our listeners, I would love to hear from you. The only requirement is that you speak and understand English (but you don’t have to speak perfect English!) and that you have something to talk about that you’re passionate about.

HELLO HOLLY Podcast: Holly talks to Niki from My Scandinavian Home.

HELLO HOLLY Episode 1 is now available soooooo please listen to it and most importantly, leave a nice review (only if you mean it!) and star rating (on iTunes) because it really matters and the support means we can keep the podcasts going and going and going! And that’s what I want. The more voices, the more stories - the more inspiration, motivation and ideas we can bring to the world and the more I can continue to support the creative community that I love so much.

I’d love to hear what you think of it. And if you want, you can share podcasts usually directly from your phone to your instagram stories. And if you do, use hashtag #hollymag so I can reshare your story on @decor8 and @hollymagazin (no “e”).

I hope that you love it as much as I do!

Love,

Holly

(Interiors Photos: Niki Brantmark, Holly + Niki Photo: Esra Celik for G+J Media)

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