Posts in Interiors
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)







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)



Brooklyn Townhouse with European + Bohemian Flair: Meet Localhaus

There are a few cities in America that get me every time, a real heart connection, and one is definitely New York City. I spent a lot of my life in New York back when I lived in the states, so I also have a lot of happy memories there. One particular borough that I love is Brooklyn. It’s always been so inspiring to me, so eclectic, so New York.

Today I’m especially excited because I get to take you on a lovely home tour belonging to Lauren & Ben Lindsey in South Slope Brooklyn (@localhaus). Lauren is the Executive Director of packaging at Laura Mercier and Ben is the Managing partner at Localhaus, so both also have a real love for beautiful things. In fact, Localhaus is more than just a home…

Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair

Lauren + Ben Lindsey

Lauren + Ben Lindsey

This dynamic duo turned a run-down 4 story pre-war Brooklyn townhouse into their home and office where they work with local artists and makers to create photos and content, host projects for brands, or serve as a shoot location for film and photography.

They also rent their Guesthaus apartment whenever you want to visit NYC and if you like what you see inside, you can buy items featured in their home from their web shop! I always find my fellow Americans so clever when it comes to developing small businesses that are fresh and innovative, don’t you?

Are you interested in learning and seeing more? Well, here we go… I even have a little interview with them below since I really enjoy chatting with all of the homeowners who share their spaces with us here on decor8.

Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair


Hello you two! First, let’s talk about the basics. How big is your space,how many rooms and who lives there?

It’s a 4 story townhouse. We live/work on 3 floors, and the top floor is a guesthouse. We share the space with Hunter (5) and Liam (2).

Ok now let’s talk HOME. What does home mean to you?

 EVERYTHING. We are homebodies through and through, so we spend a disproportionate amount of time fussing over everything from our next renovation project, to the perfect cozy throw for the sofa, to keeping fresh cut flowers in every nook and cranny.

 So, what do you love most about YOUR home?

This pre-war house has some major character! Instead of trying to fix every quirk, we've leaned into the history of the home when making improvements.

Yes but…. Tell us the truth, what would you STILL like to change?

The home was originally used as a multi-family home. Eventually we would like to rethink the flow and layout of the house to reflect our unique use of the space. Right now our living space includes a secondary kitchen which comes in handy for food prep on photo shoots, but we’d love to remove it and build out a floor-through master bedroom with a giant soaking tub.

How would your describe your style?

A little bit Scandinavian, a little bit California, a little bit French. Lots of neutrals, plants, cozy textures. Our style is constantly evolving and changing and we are sort of addicted to the constant refresh.

What is your dream piece for the home?

 A Roly Poly Raw Chair by Faye Toogood. Swoon.

When you have people over, how do you entertain?

We normally order take-out, grab a few bottles of wine and just hang.

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

Comfortable. We regularly host large creative teams for photoshoots so we’ve designed our home to be lived in. We invite guests to kick their shoes off and make themselves at home (actually that no-shoes bit isn’t optional!).

And what may be playing if we dropped by sometime unannounced?

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

Being respectful of their space, and hounding them about sources for our favorite pieces!

Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
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Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
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Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair

Now let’s play a game of 6 Favorites! Ready?

1 // Favorite meal to cook at home:

Well, Lauren is Italian so our go-to comfort food is fresh pasta with meatballs (and lots of cheese!).

2 // Favorite candle/scents:

Ahh! You can’t have just one, right? We love Diptyque – Figuier and Otherland – Chandelier.

Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair

3 // Favorite flowers and plants?:

For flowers – anything that lasts longer than a few days, and for plants – anything we can actually keep alive. Right now we are using a lot of Pampas grass inside and some fragrant lavender plants outside in our front courtyard.

4 // Favorite thing to do at home:

Bring out the popcorn (with marshmallows), pile on the pillows and cuddle up for family movie night.

 5 // Favorite city to shop

New York City. What can we say? There’s just the most amazing community of independent makers and creators of home goods here locally. And fashion. And everything else. A walk through just about any neighborhood in NYC is an immediate inspiration to try something new.

 6 // Your favorite Instagram accounts:

 @t_o_o_g_o_o_d – We’re in love with everything Faye Toogood touches. We’d basically like to live in the House of Toogood …

@cntraveler – day dreaming …

@archdigest – one day! …

@label.frei_me – Such a beautiful feed. Nina has a great eye for the intersection of design and life …

@celestebarber – the best thing ever.

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Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair

 

Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair
Version 2
Brooklyn Townhouse with European Flair


Thank you both so much for visiting us today on decor8 and sharing your home and guest loft with us! Have a lovely summer - and P.S. I know where I’d like to stay next time I’m in Brooklyn… :)

Love,

Holly

(PHOTOGRAPHY with permission: CHRISTIAN TORRES)




Tour SFGirlByBay's Gorgeous Bohemian Modern Los Angeles Home

Today is a special day for me, dear readers, because I’m sharing an exclusive chat and home tour with the one and only SFGirlbyBay, Victoria Smith, a creative entrepreneur from Los Angeles with a style that I simply love. I haven’t had her home on my blog since 2008 (see it here), which seems like a lifetime ago. I’m so happy after 11 years, she’s back to tour us of her home again only this time, it’s in a completely different city - LA!

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But first, a little background about this lovely lady. Victoria has worked as an art buyer and stylist producing photo shoots for ad agencies (when I met her way back in 2006) but is also a journalism major with an Advanced Arts degree in Interior Design. Once she left the ad world, she started off as a blogger like me and ended up as a content creator/photographer/shop owner with a book (See San Francisco - my review of her book is here) and a beautiful online vintage shop Super Marché (and a loyal following of adoring fans.

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Victoria has been blogging for 13 years and was always known as the “San Francisco Girl” because that is where she got her start in social media. However, she’s since relocated to LA and bought a home, so her reach goes beyond the bay area to include inspiration from all over the west coast, her favorite parts of the USA and sometimes even her impressions and inspirations from Europe and Australia, all in the modern Bohemian style that her readers love her for.

Today, we’ll tour the home that she owns in LA and talk to her about what home means to her, what she loves most in her space, the music she’s into at the moment, some of her favorite Instagram accounts, and more.

But first… An overview. Victoria’s home, which she shares with her dog Lucy, is 1,100 Sq. Feet (approx 110m2) with 2 bedrooms (one is used as her home office), 1 bathroom, kitchen and an open plan dining and living space plus a downstairs Rental Studio which she rents on AirB&B in case you want to stay, do it!

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Victoria defines home as her sanctuary and as a, “pretty strong creative reflection of who I am.” As a long-term renter, she admits that her greatest joy in life currently is owning her own home (shown throughout this post) and to be able to get as creative as she wants without holding back, “decorating (and redecorating it!) to suit my ever-evolving taste.” Let’s continue my chat with Victoria below…

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Tour SFGirlByBay's Gorgeous Bohemian Modern Los Angeles Home
Tour SFGirlByBay's Gorgeous Bohemian Modern Los Angeles Home
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Tell us, what do you love most about your home? 

It's up on a hill and I have a really large garden and backyard area with an outdoor dining space. I spend a lot of time out there with friends. I also installed what I call a 'cowboy pool' and when it gets hot in L.A. I float, reading all weekend long. I love it.

What would you like to change?

I'd like to install french doors from my kitchen and from my bedroom out to the garden. I'd especially like those black industrial steel frame doors but I need a fairy with loads of money to afford them.

Favorite candle/scent?

I really love Boy Smells in their Prunas and Kush scents.

Favorite flowers and plants? 

I love my outdoor garden and especially Lemon and Olive trees. And I have tons of Rosemary and Lavender planted all over my hillside. Peonies are a favorite flower, but I absolutely love Cherry and Quince branches when they're in season.

Tour SFGirlByBay's Gorgeous Bohemian Modern Los Angeles Home

Favorite thing to do at home? 

Read in my garden or in my cowboy pool. I also love to host dinner parties.

Favorite meal to cook and why? 

I make a Mediterranean chicken dish with loads of lemon and tarragon from the Jerusalem cookbook from Ottolenghi that is amazing and everyone loves. I usually serve that with flatbread, grilled artichokes, and an orzo salad with tomatoes, capers and kalamata olives. It's pretty healthy but doesn't taste like it and it's very comforting.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Just Dumb Enough to Try - Father John Misty / The Only Thing - Sufjan Stevens / I Need My Girl - The National

Bad Guy - Billie Eilish / More Than This - Roxy Music

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

Usually, I cook and we eat outdoors in my outdoor dining 'room'. I have a built-in banquette with a pergola over it and it's a nice, cozy spot for dinner. We've just started doing a game night, too playing Cards Against Humanity. It's pretty hilarious! We've also been having an Eastside Supper Club with a bunch of girlfriends and it's a fun potluck where we all bring wine and a dish we've made from a favorite cookbook. 

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

Comfortable and relaxed -- like they don't ever want to leave.

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Your dream piece for the home? 

I'd love an Eternal Dreamer Sofa from Ochre. They're so beautiful!

How would you describe your style? 

Very eclectic and constantly evolving. I dislike matchy-matchy and generally love a mix of lots of vintage and modern paired together for a very layered, unexpected look.

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

I love seeing their artwork, bookshelves, and collections, and I honestly just love seeing how other people live. It's fun to be a voyeur in someone else's home.

Favorite city to shop and why? 

I suppose I'd have to say Paris because I love shopping all the small boutiques in Le Marais and I love the street markets full of vintage finds. 

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Your favorite Instagram accounts at the moment are…

@humansofny - I love reading the personal stories that accompany his photos of random strangers. Sometimes heartbreaking, often very inspiring.

@jessechamberlinmarble - She's a super talented photographer and her photos are just filled with color and joy.

@designlovefest - Bri's a close friend but she also shares so much inspiration. I'm always like "why didn't I think of that?!?". She also shares other people's feeds and I always find someone new to follow.

@c_l_o - Another very unique feed that shares images that are more often than not really inspiring and thought-provoking for me.

@commentsbycelebs - Because it's hilarious to see what celebrities comment on other celebrities' posts. It always makes me laugh out loud.

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Where can we find you online?

SF Girl By Bay

Instagram: @sfgirlbybay

Facebook: @sfgirlbybay

Twitter: @sfgirlbybay

Pinterest: @sfgirlbybay

Wow what a home! Thank you so much Victoria for this home tour and a little glimpse into your thoughts on home and what matters to you.

Love,

Holly

(Photos with permission from Victoria Smith)

 

Visit New York City's Interior Design Haven: Michele Varian Shop

Hello dear readers, today it’s time to travel back to my home country - particularly to New York City where I spent a lot of time… A city that opened me up to art, pastrami, theater, the food truck culture before it became trend, interior design (and partying very late back in the day at Webster Hall). A place where I worked freelance for TIME Inc. and Conde Nast for years and later, where I returned to work on my first book Decorate.

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8

When the book and I went on tour across the country, New York is where I wrapped up before flying back home to Hannover - and where my friends and fans kept me signing books at Anthropologie. New York is also where taught my first business and creative workshop with my wonderful friend Leslie Shewring. We rented a loft in Soho and just did our thing and it was really something cool back in 2012.

NYC is where I made good friends and memories that will stay forever. It’s no lie, and a bit cliche, but I love New York! There is such a vibe in NY, I can’t find it anyplace else. And the food… And the shopping…

That’s why today I am so proud to share with you today this shop tour belonging to Michele Varian who has been on my blog radar for over a decade… In fact, I remember mentioning her pillows on my blog here back in 2006. It’s quite amazing how long I’ve been in touch with this special and talented lady.

Today I thought I’d share with you a chat we had recently and also her most recent shop tour (the last one I had here was shot by a freelance decor8 writer in 2012), to give you a big New York vibe today on the blog. I miss New York and it’s where my little boy keeps asking me to take him, so I’m trying to arrange a trip there in October. I think my 5 year old will absolutely love it there with all of the activities, boat rides, big buildings, museums… But I would love tips on where to take him if you feel like leaving a comment under this post!

So now let’s talk to Michele, who has so much to share (and show) with all of us for this exclusive tour and interview.

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8

What is the concept behind your shop?
The shop started with me showcasing just my own designs, which at first was only decorative pillows, wall hangings and mobiles, which I was making in the back room of my first location.

Within the first year, I was carrying product from other designers that I knew, especially jewelry. Now, I'm in a much bigger space and have grown the collections that I design, as well as all other product categories: I now design UL-certified lighting, wallpaper, and furniture, in addition to pillows and home textiles.

 I also now carry the work of over 100 other indie or emerging designers. Like myself, most of them have their own in-house or local micro-manufacturing operations, so we are all contributing to the worlds of design and creating local economic growth, which is very important to me.

Because I have no business partners, everything in the shop is something that I love and has a very distinct point of view – mine! I like creating an inclusive environment that my customers can buy into, no matter what their budget is. We have giant nails for $5, and we have furnishings that cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. I like being both accessible and aspirational.

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8


How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic is a very over-used adjective when it comes to design, but it is frequently used to describe my vibe. I like mixing things up, breaking rules and being the first to bring new design to the market. Sometimes it takes a moment for my customers to catch up to where I'm going, but they do, and they keep coming back for that unexpectedness.
 
Have you ever thought to open other stores and if so, where?
I think about opening other stores all the time. I'm currently looking at Brooklyn and considering stores in California, Texas, Toronto and possibly Detroit, which is where I'm from.

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8

Where do your products come from (that you design)? 
The products that I design are either made in my SoHo shop, which houses a micro-manufacturing studio, or within a few miles. My lighting fabrication studio – the one in the basement of my shop – is now UL certified, so my designs can be included in more commercial projects. We also get custom orders, and because the studio is so close to home, we really enjoy working on those and tweaking existing designs in special ways.

What is a trend right now that you love and support?
I'm really loving how many different, beautiful mobiles there are right now. I like them because they move, because they feel like something from nature but on the inside of a constructed space. They also shift the light around when they move, which creates a semblance of more sunlight. And they’re being designed, like we do, as lighting fixtures, but also in wonderful iterations with lots of other different mediums like textiles and metals. 
 
What do you love the most about your shop?
My customers! Being a part of a community for nearly 20 years has created deep roots. While SoHo has changed A LOT, there are still a fair number of creative people here. Many who have been displaced by the ever-increasing costs of living here still stop by whenever they are back in the neighborhood, which feels like a constant reunion. (Editor’s Note: She has an ONLINE SHOP if you’re not in NYC anytime soon.)

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8

What is challenging about being a shop owner?
Being open seven days a week means that I am pretty much always working – but fortunately, I love what I do!
 
Do you find social media helpful to your business? If so, why?
Social media is both a delight and a drag. It's great to have a platform that reflects what is going on in the shop, but it is also an entire other job, which can be really taxing.
 
What do you use (for social media) to connect with customers and meet future customers?
I'm a fan of Instagram and Pinterest, which I guess is no surprise since they are both visually driven, so they’re great for showcasing design product. (Editor’s Note: You can follow Michele Varian on Instagram HERE.)

Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8
Michelle Varian Shop Tour New York City on decor8


Are you inspired by your city and if so, why?
I love NYC. The best part is the concentration of incredibly talented and ambitious people. Both professionally and socially, the number or people here who are involved in art and design is amazing. Everywhere I go, I end up meeting people I admire.
 
What are 5 places in your city that you suggest for a tourist to visit for hotels and food?

For hotels, I'm partial to 11 Howard and The Crosby Hotel, which are beautiful and right near my shop in SoHo. They are both members of the Design Hotels group, so you know you’re in for a visual treat when you’re there. For food, the Lafayette block between Broome and Prince is amazing. We go to Ed's Lobster, Sant Ambroeus, La Roso, Cafe Select and La Esquina at least once a week. I admit, I love my local establishments! These spots are all festive and neighborhoody, too.
 
Tell us how you imagine your business in 5 years, what are some goals?
I would love to have five retail locations across North America in the next five years, and have an even more comprehensive collection of my own designs. Being UL listed for my lighting, producing and manufacturing hyper-locally, and doing custom projects are all areas that ready my design practice for even more growth. Perhaps I’d even expanding into clothing!

Michele thank you so much, what a pleasure to be with you today here on decor8. I’ve really enjoyed catching up and I hope to see you in October since I will definitely stop by your shop. :)

Love,

Holly

(Michele Varian photos with permission)

 

A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Mix In Germany

I thought today would be a nice day for a more local home tour (here in Germany) so let’s jump right in and meet Anna-Lena, who is a teacher by day and on nights and weekends - a real lover of decor and style! She’s from @froehlicheszuhause on Instagram, maybe you already follow her?

Together with her husband, Daniel and their two rabbits Emil and Paula, they have a black and white Scandinavian style 150m2 home in Pfalz, Germany. Their living space is 6 rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom but there’s more… There’s also a 120m2 in an additional building in the garden with 3 rooms plus guest bathroom! What a dream to have so much space!

I’ve asked Anna-Lena some questions about her home and lifestyle below, so as you peek in on her space you can follow along to learn about her favorite things. Maybe you’ll discover a few new ones yourself!

German Home with Scandinavian Flair
German Home with Scandinavian Flair
German Home with Scandinavian Flair
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany

What does home mean to you?

Home is where my loves are and where I feel most comfortable.

What do you love most about your home?

Our big and bright kitchen, our staircase, wooden floors, garden and all the details like our handles, baseboard etc.

What would you like to change?

A larger entry since it can be quite narrow if people come over to visit us.

Favorite candle/scent?

Diptyque Bais or byredo bibliotheque

Favorite flowers and plants?

Peonies, ranunculus and eucalyptus.

A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany

Favorite thing to do at home?

My favorite thing to do is to decorate our home :) I love to make everything perfect and I focus on many details.

Favorite meal to cook and why?

I love to cook pasta since its quick and easy after a long day at work and it’s so yummy. Also, there are so many variations you can cook. I never use recipes. :) I also love to bake beautiful cakes, cupcakes etc.

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

I always cook for our guests and then we usually just talk or play cards.

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

I hope they feel comfortable, cozy and the warmth in our home :)

A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany

Your dream piece for the home is…

My dream piece was a mater bowl table which I got last week, also I am dreaming of a Louis Poulsen lamp :)

How would you describe your style?

My style is a mixture of many styles I would say. There are hints of Boho, like our beni ourain carpets or the tableware of tine k home or things from our Moroccan holidays. Also I love our old house with the old building details like the doors, wooden floors and staircase. But on the other hand, I love our modern kitchen and straight lines and simple design. I prefer to follow a color scheme than a style.

A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany

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

I think it’s important to feel comfortable in someone else‘s home and feel the love they put into their home.

Favorite city to shop and why?

I love London since I lived there for a short period of time and know the city very well.

A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany
A Lovely Scandinavian Boho Home In Germany


Your favorite Instagram accounts are…

@svenja_traumzuhause because her style is just perfect, a real traumzuhause (dream house).

Karlas_view love her individual home and the wooden floors and stair

@Skovbon love her patio it’s so cozy

anordicmoment love her home with a lot of white and some black, her decoration is just perfect, love every detail

Thank you so much for sharing your home with us today on decor8! So nice to have you!

Love,

Holly

(Photographs with permission from @froehlicheszuhause)