10 Interiors + Lifestyle Things I Love For May

It's Allan Torp here, and welcome all of you gorgeous decor8 readers to my favorite things column. Last month, I paid homage to my home country, Denmark. So, this month I wanted to take a closer look at our neighbors to the East, Sweden, which means that everything you see in my favorites this month originates from Sweden. Cool, right? Enjoy today's column and vi ses as they say in Sweden.

 1 // FURNITURE:

It is hard to do an all Swedish column without a little homage to Ikea. Year after year Ikea is leading the way and pushing the limits on great design at affordable prices. In recent years, they have worked with some of the greatest modern designers like Ilse Crawford and Tom Dixon. Ikea’s Billy bookcase has sold more than 60-odd million that’s nearly one per 100 people. Another bookcase that it slowly making its mark, is a new favorite of mine, Svalnäs. A 70s inspired wall mounted unit in bamboo. Very old-school realness.

IKEA unit

2 // ART:

If you are adding one thing to your home this month, it has to be a drawing by Peytil. It is the hottest thing in Scandi living right now. Peytil is Stockholm based fashion designer and artist, Eitil Thorén Due. His art is a simple pen drawing often built from minimalistic black lines.

Peytil

3 // DECORATE:

With a focus on interior details and books, the new Swedish brand Livrest has launched. The first collection consists of bookstands that come in walnut, cherry and black-stained ash. All bookstands are handmade in Sweden and made out of solid wood, with great consideration for functionality, aesthetics and craftsmanship. This is the bookstand you want to give to the most extraordinary books in your collection.

Livrest

4 // SLEEP:

If anything, the Swedes know how to build hotels and make you feel like home. The best of the best is of course, Ett Hem (A home). A hotel in a private 1910 residence, which was transformed into a magnificent homey hotel by Ilse Crawford. The result is that Ett Hem is again a happy house filled with the best collection of furniture, Scandinavian antiques and design. Ett Hem only has 12 rooms, which makes it not the usual hotel, it really is a place where guests are treated as friends of the family, a place that allows guests to become part of it and feel at home.

Ett Hem
Ett Hem

5 // LISTEN:

They gave us Abba, Avicii (RIP), and Robyn. I have had a crush on Robyn ever since her first single “Do you know (what it takes)” came out in the early 90ies. It was until mid-2000 when she really broke through to stardom – and who can honestly say they haven’t rocked the dance floor to her mega-hit, “Dancing On My Own” – if not, then I urge you to go for it NOW.

Robyn

6 // GROOM:

For years, I have been using Swedish Tangent GC detergent, a company that specializes in eco-friendly garment, shoe and skin care. I just love to open the washer to clean clothes – and I have even used their simple and clean bottles of detergent as a different hostess gift. Just recently they also launched an organic skin care collection, which includes four perfumed soaps and two long-lasting and very absorbent hand cream – all so natural in its scents that immediately brings you deep in the fir forest or into a spring garden full of tulips.

When it comes to my hair, I am very low maintenance, meaning, I really cannot be bothered spending too much time obsessing in front of the mirror every day. Right now, I am obsessed with Swedish Lernberger Stafsing hair products – I use their MR Saltwater Spray on a daily basis, it gives a matte finish and a little bit of hold. For those long days out and about I have added a bit of the MR Styling Gel, a non-sticky gel, which keeps my flat hair in place all day – even on VERY windy days.

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7 // READ:

Niki Brantmark, or better known as the woman behind the blog, My Scandinavian Home (avid decor8 readers, have probably seen Niki in Holly’s stories on IG from their joint travels). Not only is Niki one of the top Scandi bloggers right now, but she also has written a few books, latest Lagom has become a top seller worldwide. If you haven’t already, you should check it out and get acquainted with the Swedish art of living a balanced, happy life.

LAGOM book

8 // EAT:

Camping is one thing. Glamping is a whole other thing. Once again, whiskey brand Talisker is taking the joy of enjoying their golden drink to a whole other level. For two weekends only this summer, one can journey to Fejan, an island in the Stockholm archipelago, spend a night under the stars in beautiful canvas tents fully equipped with beds and a wood stove. Best of all you’ll also enjoy local produce dinner by Danish chef Mikkel Karstad and cocktails shaken by Mate Castlos. This is truly an exhibition you don’t want to miss. Get a sneak peek in the short video.

Glamping in Sweden

9 // SHOP:

Speaking of Ikea, or so I did in #1 at least, you’ll be happy to hear that they have announced they're stepping on the accelerator to speed up their webshop, so soon we should all just be one click away from Ikea. On another totally unexpected note coming from me, you have to check out my favorite kids clothing brand, Swedish Mini Rodini. Their clothes would be the sole purpose of me ever getting a kid, it is all just so darn cute. Love the prints, colors, and wish it came it grown man sizes sometimes. They even have their most perfect home collection.

Mini Rodini Home

10 // ONE LAST THING:

If you want to be up to date on everything new in Swedish design, I encourage you to go follow Swedish star stylist Lotta Agaton, who always seem to find everything new and trendy before everyone else.

Lotta Agaton

See you in June for my favorite things! - Allan Torp

[Editor's Note: All grooming products book are gifted as part of reviewing for this column in partnership between Allan Torp and the brands. Allan was also invited to Stockholm to review the glamping experience. This review is provided by Allan Torp for decor8, any collaborations are his own. All words and opinions are his own.]

My New Column in FLOW Magazine Germany

Hello friends, how are you? I'm feeling so happy today because I've been working on some creative projects that are lots of fun for me (and challenging), but also because my column in the German edition of FLOW magazine is doing well and lots of German readers are writing to me because they are so happy to read me in their own language now. I'm proud of this too. So if you are a subscriber already, or you pick it up regularly at the newsstand, please grab FLOW magazine and look for my column, "Hollys Welt", each month. The first one kicked off in the issue shown below, currently on newsstands or you can buy it online right here - it's issue 33. In my columns, I talk about my position on everything from being an entrepreneur and running a business, mom life, living in Germany as an expat and the crazy world of social media and sharing.

Holly Becker FLOW Germany Column "Hollys Welt"
FLOW Germany new columnist Holly Becker

On a different note, I was so touched to read your responses to my recent post, A letter from Holly. Thank you for that. It was really interesting to read your comments - so many of you absolutely feel the same as I do and I really enjoyed all of your feedback and to hear your overall "concerns" about our online community as well. There is so much work to be done, so much good to be had, but we all need to collectively work very hard to evolve our brands and blogs in ways that go beyond the ho-hum generic, and even the boring "accepted" ways... There is so much a creative, innovative and imaginative community can dream up, none of us need to be slaves to algorithms and apps - eff that, right!?

Tomorrow morning, I'm flying to Poland, yippee!!! I can't wait for many reasons, but naturally, I'm so excited to spend time with my friends and to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Agata and Felice. This is her "hen" weekend in Warsaw, so it's a really big tradition and a big deal to her and all of us too. I won't be sharing it online anywhere, it's private of course, but I will definitely be sharing my favorite views of Warsaw all weekend on my Instagram (@decor8) so please follow me over there starting tomorrow (Friday).

Before the end of the week, Allan Torp will be visiting you with his monthly column sharing his favorites, and next week, I'll be back on Monday with highlights from Warsaw and all new content for the week that I've been saving - also a column from Mel (shop tour!), and home tour from Alison (Scottish city apartment), and much more. Next week will be a 5-day week of content on decor8, so stay tuned.

Love,

Holly

 

A Letter From Holly

Hello everyone, how are you? I hope well, and that you are enjoying a nice Spring/almost Summertime. As per usual, I am doing fine but feeling a bit like talking to you today since I rarely really TALK to you anymore like I used to.

And I'm missing that quite a lot.

In fact, I miss the conversations I once had online, period. The internet, with bloggers and influencers, in particular, has become so crowded - it's like the Las Vegas strip with arrows and blinking lights flashing constantly, "Look at me!", "Like Me!", "Read this!", and of course, it's distracting as hell. There are so many wonderful friends and blogger colleagues whom I rarely read anymore, not because I've forgotten them, but because I remember them and go on my phone to read their blog and within 20 seconds I become so distracted by a million other things that I forgot why I'd turned on my phone in the first place. Can you relate? Yeah, right!

Holly Becker

I guess I wonder where all of this will lead eventually. All of these people, all of these influencers, all of EVERYTHING. In the magazine world, there was always some kind of "cap", right? I mean, magazines are expensive and not just anyone can start one without a chunk of cash, which means exactly that: not everyone can start one. Which almost helped the masses to be able to find a favorite title more easily and to stay loyal to the content longer. Also, magazines fade and die if they're not relevant any longer yet bloggers and influencers tend to keep going even long after their popularity has waned. Magazines cannot buy followers and subscribers, Instagram influencers can. So much about the online world, with its lack of rules, prices, guilds, associations, and everything else that is lacking online (a lot!), also means anyone can and will be anything and say they are anything, even when they are still learning or perhaps, totally unqualified.

NOT TO SAY THAT EVERYTHING ONLINE IS A LIE.

Or fake. Or not to be trusted. Not at all. I'm online and I consider myself to be transparent and honest. But, from my 12+ years working full-time in new media, I can honestly say that so much of what we are exposed to each day is not exactly realistic, honest, or even good for us on so many levels. So many reviews are dishonest or definitely hyped up because the brand paid for the trip or the hotel experience or the yoga retreat. And don't get me started on how many recipes I've used from "experts" online that forgot a core ingredient or that resulted in a lasagna that tasted like dog food.

I love bloggers and influencers and this whole online world namely because in the design/decor genre, I helped to form it. I was one of the first group of bloggers in the United States who had a design blog and today, I'm still part of the less than 1% of bloggers who can make a living from blogging. I am proud of the community and of the hard-earned success so many of us have found. Overall, I cannot complain too much. It's been an amazing journey and I plan to stay in it for at least another decade, if not longer. I love the friends and "family" I've made online, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I also see a lot of bullsh*t and sometimes, l want to scream from the rooftops like my friend Sandra says so bluntly, everyone please, "CUT THE CRAP!".

Do you get what I'm saying here?

Like I just want more honest conversations, and well, conversations in general that aren't fluffy nonsense. And I don't want people commenting just to gain a comment from me in return on my Insta. And I don't want to see a blogger whom I respect online today only to learn that tomorrow, she bought Insta followers. I don't want to follow people who are show-offs, obsessed with their appearance, shallow, or who claim to be the best parent or super clean eater only to find out that in real life, they're just the opposite.

I also want more critical conversations too. In fact, my friend Stefan recently mentioned this on his blog and it really resonated with me because most conversations are always about what we love and support but how about saying that we went to a design fair and we weren't so impressed because things felt the same and looked the same as last year. What's wrong with saying we stayed at some hip hotel and it really wasn't what we expected? In some cases, bloggers can't and won't because that hotel or fair paid them to be there in the first place. But, isn't it sort of sad to think that the online world has become exactly what the early bloggers were seeking to break away from - namely, content that felt fake, sales-y and well, lacking real truth and/or a clear, honest voice, and opinion?

Maybe some of us should try a little harder to go back to our roots. What do you think? Maybe we should stop trying to mimic everything and everyone else and these antiquated models for doing business online and change things up a bit and get back to reality. To show more than the sponsored post and the paid-for stuff on Instagram?

Maybe this is going to actually kill blogs and even, in time, kill influencers. Have you ever thought of that, how this model may actually be what eventually weakens the strength of influencers and sinks the opinions of some of our favorite bloggers? Because eventually everything evolves and moves on. How can we evolve "this" and move on and become even stronger as, not only new media writers and content creators but as influencers, tastemakers, trend experts and all of the other things so many of us rightly are and have earned throughout the years?

How can we evolve? Any thoughts?

I know one thing for sure. Bloggers and influencers should get on board with providing paid content and try to break away more from always dealing with sponsored content from brands. It's okay to have sponsored content as part of our model, but why not consider new ways to monetize our sites and utilize our online influence in a positive way to strengthen our brand, gain greater respect from our followers and to also simply do work that we find a lot more meaningful to us personally.

There are so many brands that I love and want to support, but there are billions that I don't and they approach me frequently. I turn them down, but on a few occasions, because I needed to pay the bills, I accepted the work and always felt strange about it afterward. Not because I was dishonest, I picked and liked the product I reviewed or whatever... It was more because I felt like I didn't really want to do the job because I wasn't passionate about the overall brand and their philosophy or production or whatever. Again, I loved the product I shared but I didn't really love the brand and that's when I find it difficult and uncomfortable... And I know I could have avoided those kinds of jobs simply by being more clever, restructuring my revenue model and thinking of new streams that I've not tapped into yet that would have allowed me to simply say, "No thank you."

I've been thinking so much recently about the business of blogging and of this funny word, "Influencer", that I still think sounds so manipulative and strange, though I am an influencer and this is always listed next to my name as almost a title whenever I'm working professionally for fairs or in magazines, etc. I guess it is what it is, and I accept it and feel honored on one side, but is it what I really want for myself  - to influence people? And if so, how?

In many ways, I only want to influence people to be HAPPY and to LIVE A GOOD LIFE and to be honest and always realistic while at the same time, dreaming big and reaching for a better life, always.

I want to "influence" people to think in new directions, to stop following the crowd, to CUT THE CRAP and be honest to themselves and others (because that is when you really start to live and feel joy in your life) and to use the home as the base to build your wildest dreams and as the base to be loved, secure, happy and bask in the beauty there that only you and your loved ones have created.

I also want to "influence" people to take breaks away from devices and be closer to their family, friends and most importantly, their little children who love them enormously. You can NEVER get back the precious childhood years with little ones - so if you have your phone in your hand constantly remember that this isn't creating intimacy or a bond with them - it's creating distance, insecurity (in them) and also you are simply missing out on them and their cute little inner world, the things they say, and the sweetness and beauty that comes with youth - that innocence. It's gorgeous. And I'm a mom who is always close to my phone, so I'm #justsayin all of this because I'm guilty as charged, and I'm working on putting the damn phone down a lot more often.

So, my dear friends, this is my little, "Letter from the Editor", from me to all of you. I care for you all so much and I'm always so touched when you read and share my posts and follow my content elsewhere online.

If you think of some thoughts to leave me today, I'd love to read them. Did anything I say resonate? Have you been thinking similarly too?

Love,

Holly

 

 

 

 

10 Interiors Trends Spotted at Salone del Mobile 2018 with Design Diffusion in Milan

I was so happy this year to work for Milan-based publishing house, Design Diffusion, to tour some of their favorite spots around Salone del Mobile 2018 with some of my favorite blogger colleagues. Last year, the tour was very good but this year, it was fantastic. I can't wait to share my report and also 10 trends that I spotted as I explored each stand.

kartell

For the tour this year, it was very well organized, the stands were inspiring, the blogger group was great, and we had a fantastic lunch together in the Salone 'Red Room' where only 200 people in the world have a pass to eat there! The overall 'feel good' energy was contagious. All of it was a perfect 10.

Out of all of the major fairs I've been to in Europe, the Salone del Mobile is one that I'm sure not to miss because it's just above and beyond when it comes to scale and inspiration. I'm so glad I went this year, the trip was fantastic overall and I came back home loaded with new ideas and inspirations to share with all of you.

Salone del mobile
DDN

I was happy that this year, part of the tour included the kitchen design hall, Eurocucina, which was absolutely mind-blowing. The technological advances being made in the world of kitchen and bath is nothing short of exciting. Kitchens are definitely turning families into chefs and it is no longer, "a woman's place", but men are finally being thought about more in the overall design - kitchens are becoming very gender neutral.

  From left to right:  Desiree ,  Stefan ,  Mary,   Agata ,  Niki , Me,  Ulla  and seated on the   floor  , Francesca Russo from Design Diffusion, our fearless leader (  along with Chiara Omboni, not shown ).

From left to right: Desiree, Stefan, Mary, Agata, Niki, Me, Ulla and seated on the floor, Francesca Russo from Design Diffusion, our fearless leader (along with Chiara Omboni, not shown).

Our Design Diffusion tour group, consisted of Desiree Groenendal from Vosgesparis, Stefan Nilsson from Trendstefan, Mary Middleton from Hello Peagreen, Agata Dimmich from Passion Shake, Niki Brantmark from My Scandinavian Home and Ulla Michalak from Interiors Design blog, had a tight schedule to follow yet it still felt surprisingly relaxed and low key. I always felt like I was the last one being called back to the group, "Holly? Where's Holly?", but this is because I need a little more time than my colleagues to absorb what I'm seeing as I can go a bit into design fantasy land as I look at things I love. When I spot something that resonates with me, or that is just plain unusual, I tend to need a few moments with it, to observe, touch, ask questions, and draw a conclusion. I've always been like this, in school, in college, always... The last one in the group to follow the others... But other than often feeling a bit like I was two steps behind, I felt absolutely interested in each brand we'd visited and found something (or several 'somethings') from each that drew me in.

Who did we visit? I'll summarize with photos below.

1. Flou

Flou was intriguing to me, simply because it's so iconic and vast, and their stand was incredible. This year, in honor of their 40th birthday, they've worked with  Vico Magistretti to design a bed taking a 40-year-old fabric (shown below) from their archives and using it today as a headboard, pillow and duvet cover for this limited edition "Nathalie" bed (this model is my favorite from their collection of beds, I just love the ties on the headboard and the overall comfort and style of this design).

flou_nathalie40_02_preview.jpeg
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natevo_continuum_01_preview.jpeg

Flou had a heavy focus on wood, nickel, marble and interesting, tactile fabrics. I really loved the makeup cabinet shown below for the bedroom, so glamorous and rich with all of the illuminated mirrors, swoon!

flou
flou
Flou
flou

2. Walter Knoll

I really liked the presentation at Walter Knoll, particularly the drama mixed with the big black lights filled with plants. Also the carpets, but also the Badawi pillows, which look a bit like a big stuffed carpet that you can use to create lounge-y areas in your home. As I walked through, I imagined a big resort in Bali or something else quite exotic and over the top. I loved the huge murals on the wall too, mostly of black and white florals. Lots of metals in this collection, bronze brass, all brushed and not too shiny. I also liked the curved chairs and sofas, a big trend this year, and the sumptuous fabrics. Accent colors were definitely there in yellows and tones of orange and red.

walter knoll
Walter Knoll
walter knoll
walter knoll
walter knoll rugs
stefan nilsson
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3. Poliform (kitchens) and Poliform (living)

It was exciting to see some of the newest kitchens at Poliform, who really are leaders in the industry for contemporary kitchen design, and have an amazing presence at the Salone each year. Kitchens have gone darker in nearly every stand I passed, including Poliform, where dark wood and lots of dark stone was quite on trend. I really like how Poliform has a new countertop with a groove opening that runs down either side, which is great for clean up and prep (water and food cannot easily spill over onto the floor) but also the groove is there so you can place various pieces into the counter for cooking and prep work - like a cutting board.

Poliform
Poliform

About this groove opening, the brand says, "An innovative solution, able to transform a technical detail into an aesthetic detail that harmonizes with every type of finish, from steel to solid wood, and with all the other elements of the kitchen."

Additionally, some kitchens had built in spaces for herb gardens in the cabinetry and they can grow easily with the special lighting the brand uses to mimic sunlight.

4. Natuzzi

Natuzzi's stand was similar to last year, with lots of elegant clean lines, several rooms to peruse where you could imagine living with their products, and lots of grown-up colors that felt very classy. You can tell their focus is on nature and materials. And I always love their closets and beds!

Natuzzi
Natuzzi
Natuzzi
natuzzi
natuzzi

I loved the new Torsion table designed by architect Mario Bellini with its thick glass top and a storm-like base composed of six solid olive wood pieces and inspired by the olive trees from Puglia which resist the inclement weather by twisting. I couldn't take my eyes off of it! Look...

Natuzzi
Natuzzi

Side Note: It was interesting to also see that Marcel Wanders, whom I had the pleasure of meeting the day before in Milan, designed the Agronomist collection of sofas, armchairs, and furniture inspired by the land, the landscapes, the architecture and the lifestyle of Puglia and also Oceanographer, another collection of seaside inspired sofas, armchairs, chairs, tables and accessories.

5. Kartell

I loved Kartell this year and the,"Smart Design For Smart People", themed stand. It was so easy to find products, learn about them, photograph them and to get into the moment because the stand was split into row after row of themed displays where you could see the theme, read about it and photograph it easily since everything was on display gallery-style so no one was lounging on sofas or chairs getting in the way of your photography moments!

Kartell

"The display involves eight platforms, each for a project representing a macro-theme of the corporate strategy: new research into wood, with the WOODY collection; a focus on BIO themes and new materials; innovation of the SMART TABLES; the placing of value on essential and universal design for the OUTDOORS; the new proposals for LIVING and SITTING; the shapes and plays of light of the LIGHTING line; and, last but not least, the recent collaboration with La Double J for investing the living with colours."

This was such a smart and interesting presentation, I actually loved it. I liked the new WOOD and BIO collections best, I found it so interesting that Kartell would integrate wood into their collection but also that they are thinking more about sustainability and the environment.

Kartell
Kartell
Kartell
Kartell

6. Boffi + De Padova

Boffi and De Padova teamed up and their stand at Salone was most impressive. I think it was my favorite after the Kartell stand because of their gorgeous design, but also their styling and attention to detail were spot on and also I liked the lighting in their stand - it wasn't jarring or clinical, rather it was relaxing and warm. I noticed a lot of stands this year paid a great deal of attention to styling. Maybe we have Instagram and scoial media to thank, but brands are really seeking to create an interior story for their products and finally seem to know and understand the value of props and good styling to create an ambiance that helps a consumer understand their products better but also, to feel comfortable around them.

BOFFI
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Boffi
Boffi
chair
sofa
armchairs
poet light
tables
light

 

Some of my favorites (above) from this stand included the Silvia Poltrona Armchairs, the Blendy curved sofa, Fratelli Monti 1954 armchair, Erei small tables, Elementi Lampada (hanging light), Poet lamp.

7. Scavolini

Our final stop on this tour ended with Scavaloni where we saw their newest collaboration with Diesel and to my surprise, some white kitchens which have definitely taken a back seat in the past year when it comes to sought-after kitchen design. I'll always love a bright, white kitchen though and to combine it with industrial elements and black, along with some plants and pretty, styled opened shelving... Well, I'm smitten for that look and I don't think that will change anytime soon. White and black, classic and always in vogue!

Scavallini
Scavolini
Scavolini
Scavolini

In summary, here are 10trends I spotted from touring these brands at Salone this year:

1. MODULAR seating and kitchens

2. LOTS of dark wood

3. BLACK marble

4. BLACK metal

5. TEXTURE everywhere

6. GROOVED countertops in kitchens

7. DARKER kitchens, more masculine

8. STYLING spaces - a big focus

9. CURVES - sofas, chairs, tables, wall hangings, lighting - rounded or oval

10. SUMPTUOUS fabrics that beg you to touch and sit on them

Holly Becker / Niki Brantmark
Holly Becker / Agata Dimmich
Holly Becker  / Mary Middleton
Niki Brantmark / Stefan Nilsson

Thank you so much Francesca for having me this year at Design Diffusion, I'll never forget it!

If you'd like to see us in action, check out video footage from our day HERE on Youtube.

 

(This post was sponsored by Design Diffusion. All thoughts and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that give me the creative freedom to pursue work that I love.)
Holly Becker Comments