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    July 23, 2007
    Interview With Jo From Desire To Inspire

    Dragonflypalerbannercopy
    I’m so glad that someone out there has a genuine Desire to Inspire because I am one of those people that definitely needs inspiration when it comes to my home. Decor and design just do not come naturally for me so I was thrilled to get to know Jo Walker from Desire To Inspire.

    Jo and her husband live in the subtropical land of Brisbane Australia and Jo’s partner, Kim, lives in1_2

    Canana. The fact that these two talented gals have never met or even talked on the phone and have managed to pull off one of the coolest blogs on the internet just amazes me. I hope you enjoy getting to know midcentury Jo as much as I have……..
     
    1. You and Kim obviously have a Desire to Inspire, so what led you to start a blog?

    Kim and I
    met through the Flickr group I *heart* rooms started by Holly from
    decor8
    . We found we had lots in common including files full of hot rooms. When
    the group closed Kim and I decided we were having so much fun finding and
    sharing these remarkable spaces that we wanted to continue. That’s how the blog
    came about. Basically it’s a way to feed our addiction to what we call “room
    porn
    ”. Surprisingly lots of people have the same
    addiction/affliction.

    2. What other design blogs do you read (work &
    pleasure)?
    Too many to
    list them all. See our blogroll for our daily reads.
    3. Where does your inspiration come from for your
    beautiful posts?
    2_2
    We spend
    hours and hours searching the web for interior designers, architects, stylists
    and photographers. I’ll follow a link anywhere and everywhere. I bookmark
    everything and sometimes won’t come back to them for months. I know Kim is the
    same. I used to think of it as time wasting now I call it research. We’re both
    addicted to shelter magazines and these provide inspiration as well. I think
    that coming from different sides of the world helps as well. We have our own
    backyards to explore as well as the American scene.
    Kim
    and I both share a love of mid-century design. I joke that I am drawn to the ”
    dark side” of design and am succumbing to Hollywood Regency. I think I am
    corrupting Kim along the way. One of the things that keeps us fresh is our
    different backgrounds. Mine’s in interior design and Kim’s is in web
    development. 
    4. When you take a break what is your favorite
    indulgence? (tv, travel,
    books, etc)
    What break?
    Our partners complain that we are on our computers far too much. Both Kim and I
    have full time jobs and this is supposed to be a sideline amusement. LOL It’s
    taking over our lives!!! When I have spare time I like to draw and paint. I’ve
    had a couple of exhibitions and sell my work through retail outlets. I’m working on an Etsy store but it’s hard to find the time. I’m addicted
    to thrifting. Love the thrill of a good bargin hunt. Furniture restoration is
    another fave. Oh I forgot you were asking about indulgences! Red wine,
    chocolate, smell….I love a beautiful smell in my house whether it is oils or
    fresh food cooking. Books and shoes are vices as well. Finally I love just
    sitting drinking good coffee in a cafe watching the world pass
    by.
    5. You and Kim are from different countries. How did
    you hook up and
    how do
    you split the work of inspiring the world?
    As I’ve said
    Kim and I met through Flickr and it snowballed from there. We are in touch all
    the time via msn but we’ve never spoken. It’s weird. I would now count Kim as
    one of my best friends but I have never heard her voice. Splitting
    the work is easy. We post 3 times a day at least so one day I do 2 posts and Kim
    does one then we swap the next. Doesn’t always work that way because we get so
    excited about something and do extra posts all the time. Our readers tell us
    that one of the things they like about the blog is that we do so many
    posts.
    Both of us
    try to set aside a day on the weekend to do a week’s worth of stories.
    Discipline was never one3
    of my strong points but it is now. (Don’t laugh Kim!!)
    I definitely think it helps having a partner to blog with. One of the reasons we
    have so much content is that there are 2 of us. We bounce ideas off each other,
    split the emails and know that if one of us is finding it hard to be inspired by
    what we have found that week then the other one will most likely be having a
    fabulous week.
    6. What do want your readers to take away from your
    posts?
    We just want to share the beautiful spaces we find. Some
    people come looking for something specific. Others use us like an online
    magazine and just dream of lovely rooms. A lot of what we show is high end
    interior design but not all of it. Our biggest responses come when we showcase
    designers who create a great look on a limited budget and from our regular
    reader’s home feature. We all love to snoop into other people’s houses. If they
    are beautiful all the better. We always say that we would be happy just doing
    this for ourselves and a few friends but now thousands are coming each day so
    people must like what they see.

    Jo is no longer a full time interior designer and has returned to the University to study and now work in Mental Health with a homeless outreach team. Desire to Inspire is one way that Jo can keep up with Interior Design Trends and share what she loves.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Jo!


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    July 23, 2007
    Interview With Jo From Desire To Inspire

    Dragonflypalerbannercopy
    I’m so glad that someone out there has a genuine Desire to Inspire because I am one of those people that definitely needs inspiration when it comes to my home. Decor and design just do not come naturally for me so I was thrilled to get to know Jo Walker from Desire To Inspire.

    Jo and her husband live in the subtropical land of Brisbane Australia and Jo’s partner, Kim, lives in1_2

    Canana. The fact that these two talented gals have never met or even talked on the phone and have managed to pull off one of the coolest blogs on the internet just amazes me. I hope you enjoy getting to know midcentury Jo as much as I have……..
     
    1. You and Kim obviously have a Desire to Inspire, so what led you to start a blog?

    Kim and I
    met through the Flickr group I *heart* rooms started by Holly from
    decor8
    . We found we had lots in common including files full of hot rooms. When
    the group closed Kim and I decided we were having so much fun finding and
    sharing these remarkable spaces that we wanted to continue. That’s how the blog
    came about. Basically it’s a way to feed our addiction to what we call “room
    porn
    ”. Surprisingly lots of people have the same
    addiction/affliction.

    2. What other design blogs do you read (work &
    pleasure)?
    Too many to
    list them all. See our blogroll for our daily reads.
    3. Where does your inspiration come from for your
    beautiful posts?
    2_2
    We spend
    hours and hours searching the web for interior designers, architects, stylists
    and photographers. I’ll follow a link anywhere and everywhere. I bookmark
    everything and sometimes won’t come back to them for months. I know Kim is the
    same. I used to think of it as time wasting now I call it research. We’re both
    addicted to shelter magazines and these provide inspiration as well. I think
    that coming from different sides of the world helps as well. We have our own
    backyards to explore as well as the American scene.
    Kim
    and I both share a love of mid-century design. I joke that I am drawn to the ”
    dark side” of design and am succumbing to Hollywood Regency. I think I am
    corrupting Kim along the way. One of the things that keeps us fresh is our
    different backgrounds. Mine’s in interior design and Kim’s is in web
    development. 
    4. When you take a break what is your favorite
    indulgence? (tv, travel,
    books, etc)
    What break?
    Our partners complain that we are on our computers far too much. Both Kim and I
    have full time jobs and this is supposed to be a sideline amusement. LOL It’s
    taking over our lives!!! When I have spare time I like to draw and paint. I’ve
    had a couple of exhibitions and sell my work through retail outlets. I’m working on an Etsy store but it’s hard to find the time. I’m addicted
    to thrifting. Love the thrill of a good bargin hunt. Furniture restoration is
    another fave. Oh I forgot you were asking about indulgences! Red wine,
    chocolate, smell….I love a beautiful smell in my house whether it is oils or
    fresh food cooking. Books and shoes are vices as well. Finally I love just
    sitting drinking good coffee in a cafe watching the world pass
    by.
    5. You and Kim are from different countries. How did
    you hook up and
    how do
    you split the work of inspiring the world?
    As I’ve said
    Kim and I met through Flickr and it snowballed from there. We are in touch all
    the time via msn but we’ve never spoken. It’s weird. I would now count Kim as
    one of my best friends but I have never heard her voice. Splitting
    the work is easy. We post 3 times a day at least so one day I do 2 posts and Kim
    does one then we swap the next. Doesn’t always work that way because we get so
    excited about something and do extra posts all the time. Our readers tell us
    that one of the things they like about the blog is that we do so many
    posts.
    Both of us
    try to set aside a day on the weekend to do a week’s worth of stories.
    Discipline was never one3
    of my strong points but it is now. (Don’t laugh Kim!!)
    I definitely think it helps having a partner to blog with. One of the reasons we
    have so much content is that there are 2 of us. We bounce ideas off each other,
    split the emails and know that if one of us is finding it hard to be inspired by
    what we have found that week then the other one will most likely be having a
    fabulous week.
    6. What do want your readers to take away from your
    posts?
    We just want to share the beautiful spaces we find. Some
    people come looking for something specific. Others use us like an online
    magazine and just dream of lovely rooms. A lot of what we show is high end
    interior design but not all of it. Our biggest responses come when we showcase
    designers who create a great look on a limited budget and from our regular
    reader’s home feature. We all love to snoop into other people’s houses. If they
    are beautiful all the better. We always say that we would be happy just doing
    this for ourselves and a few friends but now thousands are coming each day so
    people must like what they see.

    Jo is no longer a full time interior designer and has returned to the University to study and now work in Mental Health with a homeless outreach team. Desire to Inspire is one way that Jo can keep up with Interior Design Trends and share what she loves.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Jo!


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    July 3, 2007
    Summer Sales

    Ikea is having a sale (in-store only), through Wednesday, 7/4. They have up to 70% off on select merchandise.

    0900631b8117069em
    JC Penney is also having a 4th of July sale, with 50-70% off items in their online outlet. Show here, the Addison Shelf for $35!

    And rounding out the sales, is the Crate and Barrel Summer sale with up to 40% off.

    Via the Bargainist.


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    June 19, 2007
    Interview With Ikea Hacker

    Jules0
    In May 2006 a woman, with the alter ego of a chair, did a Google search
    on ikea hacks and saw that there were so many wonderful ideas floating
    in the world of www. that she thought, "how great it would be if i could find them all in one
    place."

    3 seconds later….ta dahhhh….

    A light bulb exploded
    in her brain and the rest, as they say, rolled out like swedish
    meatballs. The result is a super cool blog called ikea hacker and Jules (after the chair) pulls it off like like nobody’s business! I’ve had a the wonderful opportunity to get to know her through a candid e-mail interview and you will find that she is witty, curious about her success, and is making enough money at blogging to feed her caffeine addiction!

    Come with me so you can meet her……

    1. Obviously you like IKEA, so what made you decide to start blogging?
    I’ve been blogging for some years. Nothing much, I kept a personal journal (which I hardly have time to update now). It was after I saw a hack on apartment therapy (Vince’s wardrobe sliding door hack) that I became curious about the things people do to their Ikea furniture. I googled and found quite a few hacks floating around blogosphere. That was when I had the eureka moment – how great it would be if the hacks were all in one place. Without much fanfare I set up a blogger account and got going, not really sure whether anyone would bother to stop by.
    A few weeks later, I shot Armand of positivefanatics (unofficial ikea fan site) an email about my blog. He was kind enough to post it and it was a turning point for ikeahacker.

    2. You blog like a pro how long have you been blogging?
    I’ve been blogging since 2002. Ikeahacker started in June 2006.

    3. How much time do you spend writing posts, doing research and reading comments per day?
    An hour to 2 hours, it depends.

    4. What other blogs do you read (work & pleasure)?
    I read designsponge, apartmenttherapy, ads of the world (for work), karencheng.com.au (for fun), problogger.net for blogging tips and recently got into the ikeafans.com community and am slowly plugging through their 50,000 posts. Pretty amazing site. If you like ikea, especially their kitchens, you have got to be in there.

    5. Where does your inspiration come from?
    From the hackers. They send me their hacks and I go "woah!" this is great. Why didn’t I think of that? I am constantly amazed at their creativity and enthusiasm for the ikea brand as well as how far they will go to making the piece of furniture work for them.

    6. You talk about being single, Do you have another job, and how do you stay motivated to blog?
    Yes, I am single. Still have to lug those flat packs solo. ;P I work in advertising, as a copywriter. To be honest, there are days i do wonder why am I putting in the hours for ikea, especially when I’m having loads of deadlines at work. When my colleagues go home, I stay back to sneak in a post or two. I guess it must be love. ;)

    What motivates me most is the encouragement I get from readers who appreciate what I do and what ikeahacker offers. I’ve also made new friends from around the world – so that’s exciting and really fun.

    7. Do you have blogging goals (like what you want to accomplish with your site)?
    I’m not much of a forward planner, so I don’t really have a 5-year plan. It’s more like "hey, that’ll be cool to have" and bam, i go try it out. some things work, some don’t, so it’s pretty organic. I’m open to ideas. Anyone?

    8. What is the key to making money with a blog?
    What money? :) Okay, I probably do make enough to feed my caffeine addiction. I know I should be doing it but I’ve not really optimized my google ads as advised by probloggers – SEO and all that. That part of blogging is all very new to me. But I am learning along the way.

    9. What is the most important thing that you want readers to take away after reading your posts?
    Ideas and inspiration. You’re never stuck with ikea as-is.

    10. When you take a break what is your favorite indulgence? (m&m’s, hot bath, sitcoms etc)
    Hot cup of java & cheese cake, reading, 24 (I love Jack Bauer), traveling.

    11. You said red is your favorite color, why do you like red?
    It energizes me. Lights my fire. And I look pretty hot in it. ;P

    12. What is your favorite part of blogging, eg. Making friends, community building, getting heardTreephotos4
    etc.?

    Checking my stats every morning and wondering how in the world did all this happen. And being very thankful that it did.

    I am very thankful that things have gone so well for Jules and her blog. She brings all kinds of funky and informative ideas to the blogosphere. The best thing is…she wants everyone and anyone’s hacks which make her blog very interactive, humorous and creative and I like that.


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    May 25, 2007
    Interview With Becky From Hatch: The Design Public Blog

    Hatch
    Do you remember when you first discovered that you were your own person and you did not have to decorate like your parents? It was sort of like a time of re-birth, if you will.  Like, when it is time for a chick to venture out from it’s safe warm shell and fend for itself in the "real" world. Hence, the name Hatch: The Design Public Blog. A site dedicated to inspiring those ready to branch out on their own and make a statement about how they want to live. It is an awesome blog designed to teach those that want to "grow up" in how they decorate.
    We chatted with Becky, from Hatch, and found her to be quite creative about how the best design requires thoughtfulness and a positive attitude……

    1. Why is modern design a better way to live?

    To me, "modern"
    means a lot of different things.  At first it conjures up images of stark white
    walls and minimalism, but I feel that now it encompasses so many styles, from
    mid-century modern /Danish modern to the current trend of vintage modern and
    eclectic.  I think modern design is more about thoughtfulness.  Thoughtfulness
    about function and how it influences form, thoughtfulness about using only what
    one truly needs and loves, thoughtfulness about responsibility for the
    environment
    .  In this regard, I think it is a great way to live.

    2. Why is this generation so gung ho on being different than
    our parents when It comes to interiors?

    One main factor is
    accessibility – design is available at price points now that more people can
    afford.  The media is saturated with design magazines, TV shows (entire
    channels, in fact), etc.  Most of the adults in my life were really into design
    - my parents and grandparents into American antiques, my aunt and uncle into
    Scandanavian design and modern art, so I’m not so sure that’s true about our
    generation.  It seems since the industrial revolution that design has been a
    huge presence.  I especially think that is true when I look through issues of
    design magazines and think about those baby boomer housewives working on their
    homes.

    3. What made you decide to start a blog about
    design?
     

    My friend Drew and I were talking about when the company
    decided to change its name from edgemodern to Design Public.  The reason Design
    Public was chosen was because we wanted to create an online community, and a
    blog is  a great place for the customers, designers, and people who work at the
    company to "meet."  It actually sprung out of a monthly newsletter I used to do,
    where we tried to feature customer profiles and interviews with the designers
    whose work we carried.

    4. How would you encourage
    someone to change their décor at a reasonable cost?

    It’s so easy
    and cheap to change wall color and work from there.  I also find that changing
    out my throw pillows and/or duvet cover can completely change a room.  From
    there I just start rearranging things I already have around the house – perhaps
    the big white crackled gourd lamp should make a move from the family room to my
    bedroom because of the new duvet cover.  Right now one of my favorite chairs is
    a free wingback (gained from my old neighbor)  – I won a black and white pop
    floral vintage Vera tablecloth on eBay for something like $25 and threw it over
    the chair.  it completely transformed the whole thing.

    Also, I really
    can’t get enough of Target and IKEA for things like throw pillows and
    organizational items.  For example, I have a hard time committing to a throw rug
    that’s $2000, but when I buy the $99 version at IKEA, I don’t feel guilty
    knowing that I might spill coffee on it or  want to change it out in a year. 

    5. I’ve always been a big believer in "pay more" "get
    more" but this does not seem to be the case anymore with the great items from
    stores like Target and IKEA. What is your recommendation for affordable yet
    stylish furniture and accessories?

    Hah!  I swear I did not read
    this question before I answered the last one.  I totally agree with you!  I am
    also a HUGE junk store shopper.  There is no bigger thrill than scoring that
    60′s rattan  chair for $45 and then seeing it on a website for $500.  I think
    thrifting and junky store shopping are where you pick up items with character,
    the "anti-depressive living" type of pieces that will give your home
    personality.  Rooms that look straight out of a Room and Board catalog page bore
    me to death – they are a good base, but where’s the personality?  By the way, I
    like their things a lot and they are reasonably priced!

    6. What is the key to recognizing quality furniture?

    I wish I knew. 
    It’s kind of like porn – I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.  Often
    one does get what one pays for – I go for the cheap stuff when I don’t care that
    the piece may only have a life span of about 5 years.

    7. What is the most favorite furniture item you own and why?

    This
    question is really hard!  My favorite find were two patent leather ottomans with
    wrought iron bases I found at Paris on Ponce.   Supposedly they came from some
    estate in the Berkshires.

    8. I’m not very creative, how
    would you encourage someone like me to be creative with my interior design?

    Ok, first of all, lose that attitude!  I think people worry that
    it is rocket science and  get WAY too insecure about it!  It might sound cheesy,
    but starting with one piece for inspiration can help a lot, whether it’s a rug,
    a goofy ceramic animal you have, a throw pillow, whatever.  Always let your
    personality shine through – don’t feel like everything needs to look like a page
    out of the Pottery Barn catalog or some other set ideal in your head – let those
    go!

    9. What other blogs do you read for work and
    pleasure?

    I read decor8, apartment therapy and sfgirlbybay on a
    daily basis.  Then there are a million different ones I check several times a
    week.  I really enjoy My Marrakesh, Making it Lovely, Style Court, The Peak of
    Chic
    , Jonathan Adler’s blog that was on Bravo.com during Top Design, Turquoise, It’s (k)not wood, gold
    digger, 3191, bluelines, shakinstyle, dwell magazine blogs, desire to inspire,
    go fug yourself, design milk, swissmiss, hulagirl70, oh I am forgetting  a
    million of them!

    10. How do you stay motivated when
    dealing with other people’s lack of style?

    I never really have
    to do that!

    11. What inspired you to get started in
    this business?

    First I saw William McDonough speak at a UVA
    alumni fundraiser in the mid-90′s (little did I know I’d wind up hearing that
    speech so many times I can practically recite it, oh well, it’s a good
    speech!).   Then I attended the Harvard GSD summer program to see if
    architecture grad school would be a good fit for me – I HIGHLY recommend this
    program for anyone who is thinking about it.  There I saw Martha Schwartz speak
    and I was completely hooked on Landscape Architecture (she’s a total rock
    star).  I earned a Masters in that and had a hard time finding a job post 9.11
    so somehow I got way into my own house and interior design.  Oh yes and I have a
    degree in English so that’s where the writing/blogging part comes in!

    12. When you take a break from working, what is your
    favorite personal indulgence? (m&m’s, good book, travel, sitcoms
    etc)

    HBO shows like The Wire, Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and
    Entourage.  Oh and Big Love.  Why is HBO so superior to every other network? 
    NONE of my friends watch The Wire and thus I never have anyone to discuss it
    with, so if any of you out there watch it, send me an email so we can chat after
    next season!

    13. Could you give our readers your opinion
    on hot interior trends for the summer?
    Nateberkushollywoodregencyimages

     

    I’m not sure what’s
    coming, but I’m totally into Hollywood Regency and a dash of hippie chic right
    now.  Just remember when you are on vacations this summer to collect shells,
    driftwood, beach stones, etc
    . so that you can enjoy them at home – the natural
    look is really in and these make great accessories.

    Also, make sure to
    enjoy any outdoor rooms you have, whether it’s a tiny patio or balcony, or a
    bigger yard.  I live on my screened in porch in the summer and I’ve made sure
    it’s a comfy, colorful place.

    14. What is new in wall
    colors?

    Right now, and I never thought I’d say this a few years
    ago, it’s all about wallpaper.  There are so many

    great designs out there, from
    suburban toile to bugs, from oversized trellis prints to 3-D applications, from
    pop florals to custom graphics ala Given Campbell.   Right now my favorites are
    "Houses", "Blackbird" and "Fishnet"  over at walnutwallpaper.com,
    "Serious Bokay" at Nama Rococo, and the Orla Kiely wallpapers at anthropologie
    I’m having trouble commiting to just one at home – it’s tough to decide!

    I love doing interviews because what you get is never what you’d expect. Becky sure is an example of that. I mean, who would have guessed that she likes HBO, patent leather ottomans and never needs help at staying motivated. Her blog is fantastic and getting to know her has been a cool trip. She’s got spunk, character and a flair for design I can only dream of having (I do have to watch my attitude). Thank you, Becky, it has been a great pleasure getting to know you!


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    April 25, 2007
    A Must See Interview With Grace From Design Sponge

    Grace_3
    Talk about a leading lady! I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Grace Bonney, a bit, and I must say, with her passion for design and her flair for business, it makes perfect sense why her blog, Design*Sponge remains the fountainhead of all design blogs.

    In a candid e-mail interview, Grace opens up about her ripe young age, loving her family, and the "awful" blogs she likes to read for fun (perezhilton.com).  I truly admire her honesty and willingness to share herself in our blog and hope you enjoy getting to know Grace as much as we have!

    1. With the career you’ve had as a freelancer, what made you decide to start a blog?

    Well, for me the blog actually came first. I was working in design PR and was unhappy on that end of the industry. I made some wonderful contacts in the industry and was able to meet some really fantastic designers, but I felt like PR just wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.

    I started D*S while I was still at the office and would sneak in posts on my lunch break (sorry if my old boss reads this!) and my only goal was to have an outlet to chat about design. I always thought it would be nice to work for a magazine but, not having a background in journalism, I thought it was impossible. As I blogged throughout the first year somehow I managed to plug into the right community and started to get offers from magazines and newspapers to write pieces on design. I started taking anything that I came my way and somehow ended up doing freelancing as my full-time job. It’s funny how things work out that way.

    2. Where did you come up with the name Design Sponge?

    Let’s just say I wish I’d thought this one through a bit more. When I started my blog I just put up the first thing that came to mind; my mom used to call me a whatever-“sponge” because I would become obsessed with new subjects and research them endlessly as a kid. You know, a “little history-sponge” or “cooking sponge”, something like that. Sounds silly, I know. So I thought, well, these days I’m passionate about design so I’ll just use that until I think of something cooler. I managed to  get sucked up into the blog world faster that I intended so I didn’t have time to change it. I wish I had something cooler and sleeker sounding but to be honest, that just wouldn’t be me. So I guess D*S is fitting after all- a little dorky, a little cutesy, but pretty accurate.


    3. You blog like a pro how long have you been blogging and do you have others that blog for you?

    I’ve toyed with having editors and other writers but it never quite feels right. I’ve gotten spoiled having so much control over the editing of the site so I don’t think I’ll ever have another writer on D*S proper. I’ve really enjoyed having the guest blog where I can shine the spotlight on people I admire within the design industry- but I enjoy keeping it separate so they can do their own thing in their own way.

    4. How much time do you spend writing posts, doing research and reading comments per day?

    Oh lord…all day? I wake up at 6:45 or 7 and start work immediately. I spend at least 3 hours a day managing email alone (I answer every email personally and try to answer every design request I get) and then research for about 3 hours in and out of the day. I spend about 2 hours of the day working on projects for House & Garden and then I spend 2 hours at least working on D*S projects like the shop, new columns or maintaining current features like the scholarship, etc. As for comments, I just click “approve”. Some days I read them closely and other days I just scan for nasty words.


    5. What other blogs do you read (work & pleasure)?
       

    I used to consume design blogs like there was no tomorrow but these days I find I need a break from design. So I read a lot of food blogs like 101Cookbooks.com, ChocolateandZucchini.com and DeliciousDays.com. I also love sites like Sweet Juniper and Dooce- their writing styles are so unique and so funny- they’re always a nice break in the day. And of course I have my guilty pleasure reading: PerezHilton.com, GoFugYourself and The Superficial. I know, it’s awful, but everyone has a few of those in their bookmarks. In the design world my go-tos are Bloesem, Oh Joy and Lena Corwin’s site- they have such distinct points of view and I really appreciate that in a good design blog.

    6. Where does your inspiration come from?

    The design world, students, Brooklyn- pretty much everything. When I’m feeling uninspired I tend to turn to student design shows or the local design community. I’ve been running a series of business women meet ups in Brooklyn and I find them endlessly inspiring for me- nothing helps you get off your butt and work like seeing the people that you’re trying to help face to face.

    7. How do you stay motivated?

    Working within the community of local and women designers is my main motivation. I’ve seen what these women mean to each other and how they inspire each other and if my roll is to help them showcase their work and find new projects then I’m thrilled to help. But some days motivation can come from a single email- when you hear from a designer or student that’s able to connect with something you’ve written about it’s the greatest feeling around.

    8. How do you stay on top of what’s up and coming in the design world?

    I used to spend at least 10 times as much time researching as I do now. Sadly as the site’s grown it’s been harder to find time to research as much so I try to cultivate good contacts in the design world whether they’re designers, shop owners or buyers who can let you know what they love in the industry. I love reading artists’ blogrolls and finding links to smaller designers you never would have found. It’s time consuming but usually pays off with some incredible people.

    9. Do you have blogging goals (like what you want to accomplish with your site)?

    To be honest the site has surpassed any goals I could have dreamed of for myself so far. I didn’t expect to be living off of my own business at 25 so this has been something of a dream. I know that it’s rare to be doing what you love at this age so I’m grateful for every day I’m doing this.

    As the site has grown though my goals have changed from “being a writer in the design world” to “connecting independent designers with experts and the best resources” and “providing a platform to promote independent design”. I’d like to expand the site to help younger designers get started so I’m always trying to find a way to do that. The beauty of the web is that I can test columns and ideas almost instantaneously so I’m always seeing what floats and what sinks.

    10. What is the most important thing that you want readers to take away after reading your posts?

    I hope that if nothing else, people walk away from the site with a smile. It would be great if designers are able to walk away with some advice, resources and inspiration but my real goal is just to share beautiful things with people. Everyone can use a little inspiration and beauty in their day and if that’s what most people get, that’s a-ok with me. I know I cherish the sites that make me laugh and smile during the day and it would be wonderful to know if people got that from my site sometimes.

    11. When you take a break what is your favorite indulgence? (m&m’s, hot bath, good book, travel etc)

    Ooh, that’s an easy one. Chocolate and What Not To Wear. Sometimes after a day spent writing and planning thinking about new projects it’s great to zone out and indulge. When I’m feeling particularly wiped I drag myself to the Aveda school on Spring Street for student facials- I can afford them and they wipe weeks of stress from my face.

    Also, you can’t put a price on a good trip home to see family. I hope to move closer to VA one day so I can see my parents more regularly- they mean the world to me.

    12. What is your favorite part of blogging, eg. Making friends, community building, getting heard etc.?

    Hmmm…it changes day to day. Meeting people is amazing- to me designers are like rock stars so it’s always a rush to meet someone like Kelly Wearstler or Jill Bliss who you think does amazing work. These days connecting younger designers with established designers has been incredibly rewarding, it feels good to know that even though I’m not creating my own work or giving advice myself, I’m able to help in some small way by connecting people with artists who’ll help them get their work off the ground. Oh, and working from home is a wonderful perk of the job. ;)

    I asked Grace what her personal design style is like and she said that she is evolving her style all the time and right now she is focusing on a combination of vintage finds mixed in with affordable artwork and cheaper pieces that she fixes up herself. She calls it "mid-century Brooklyn modern on a budget". I call it resourceful, creative and fabulous…just like her blog.


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    April 2, 2007
    Interview With The Home Rejuvenation Blog

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    What happens when there is lack of good interior design going on in the island country of Singapore? Well, someone like Stan Tham starts his own home rejuvenation business and incorporates his minimalist approach to give people a beautiful and functional space that meets their needs.

    Born and raised in Singapore, Stan’s personal style includes clean lines with some bold color here andGreenwood_place100_3

    there, ("the world is boring without it!") Stan would eventually like to
    visit the states someday but for now he is busy exploring new ways to incorporate mirrors and
    reflective surfaces to create glamorous interiors, like those shown here in his Greenwood Place Case Study.

    In an exclusive Shakinstyle e-mail interview, we have found Stan to be someone who genuinely cares about the interior needs of people and would like to see everyone to come to an understanding of what exactly good design is and how it can definitely improve one’s quality of life…….

    1. What is your experience with décor and remodeling and what is KNQ?

    We have been specialising in Home Rejuvenation ever since we started KNQ Associates 3 years back, as we find that there’s a lack of interior design services in Singapore that cater to homeowners with a completely different set of needs. These individuals may not be looking at an overhaul of the entire space, but still wish to have a beautiful and functional space to live in. Most of them need advice on how to make the best use of the existing space, furniture and fittings, or need solutions for emerging needs like storage. Home Rejuvenation allows them to achieve a fresh look for their home in a relatively short amount of time – without having to move out.

    Prior to this, we are just your (read: conventional) interior designers with other design firms, tearing down interiors and rebuilding everything from scratch again and again every single project!:)

    2. What led you to start a blog?

    The blogging came about as we wanted to show readers how they can also redesign their home in style themselves by drawing inspirations from the latest trends and design ideas from all over the world. We also like to share with others the beautiful objects and interesting stories that we encounter during our course of work.

    And what better ways than a blog to interact with people from all parts of the globe?

    3. How long have you been blogging?

    We’ve been blogging for slightly over a year now. The writing process has been nothing but great so far!

    4. How many people actually blog for you?

    My partner Kusnin, an Indonesian interior architect, and I do most of the postings.

    5. What other blogs do you read? (work and pleasure)

    I read primarily design-related blogs like MoCo LoCo  Recently, I’m really dig this blog called Desire To Inspire – the pictures posted are simply gorgeous! One’s taste level should only improve with regular visits to this blog. If his or hers doesn’t, I really don’t know what to say! Serriously!

    About the only non-design blog I read regularly is one by business marketing authority Seth Godin.

    6. What inspires you to write?

    My regular shopping trips around town (for furniture for clients), events that happen around me in the course of work and my daily internet dosage really helped!

    7. How much time do you devote each day to writing posts, reading comments, etc?

    I spend about an hour daily (or every two days) blogging only if I come across interesting stuff online or offline. Sometimes, I can’t blog for days due to my hectic workload – even though I’m itching to…

    8. How did you come about your case studies?

    The case studies are Home Rejuvenation projects in Singapore that our firm completed over the years.

    9. What is your goal with your blog?

    As an online melting pot for anyone interested in modern design and architecture. We also envisage guest designers-bloggers contributing to our blog down the road. Anyone?

    10. What is your favorite indulgence when not working? (m&m’s, hot bath, sitcoms, etc)

    I watch reality TV programmes like The Apprentice, Amazing Race and Project Runway if I have the time. Photography is my new-found passion.

    11. What do you want people to take away from reading your blog?

    To be able to learn and understand what is good design, and how it can, CERTAINLY and DEFINITELY, improve your quality of life!:)Simei

    If you read Stan’s blog you will, no doubt, find that Stan has accomplished his goal by supplying his readers with a comprehensive tool that leads to not only good design but an appreciation for style and rejuvenation.  We’ve so enjoyed getting to know Stan and realize that Singapore’s lack of interior designers has definitely become our gain!


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    March 16, 2007
    Anna Spiro And Absolutely Beautiful Things

    Shop_dec_2006_1003jpgshopfront
    If someone were to ask me what inspires me, I don’t even know how I would answer that question. My life revolves around my kids, husband, home etc.

    Anna Spiro, on the other hand, is one person who is well in touch with what inspires her and has created a blog to express those things. "Absolutely Beautiful Things" is Anna’s way of taking her inspirations and creatively sharing with the world what inspires her to create gorgeous interiors.

    In a candid e-mail interview we found Anna to be someone we would love to have a cup of coffee with and get to know better (and maybe even ask some decorating advice). She talks about the time she spends with her family, her favorite getaway (without her laptop) and her surprise in actually getting visitors to her site. She loves beautiful things (especially if they are white) and thinks everyone should have them. She wants readers to be inspired and we think you will be after reading this exclusive interview with Anna Spiro……..

    How long have you been in the interior design industry?

    My first and last job in the industry before I started my business was as a design apprentice for a renowned Brisbane designer.  I started with him the week after I left school and I never looked back.  I was one of the lucky ones!  I worked for him for 5 years and then he asked me to go into partnership with him.  We worked as a partnership (hence the name Black & Spiro) for 4 years and then 3 ½ years ago he decided to semi retire so I bought him out of the business.

    How is interior design different in Australia than in other countries? What do you see the differences as?

    I’m not sure that there is much difference only that we seem to lack a lot of great suppliers of interesting pieces here in Australia.  I therefore tend to look overseas for purchasing as there is just so much more on offer in the big wide world!  I also have a lot of things custom made and for design inspiration I again look overseas as there is just so much more scope.

    What made you decide to start a blog and how long have you been blogging on Absolutely Beautiful Things?

    I am reasonably new to all of this as I only started my blog in December 06.  I suppose I found myself addicted to other blogs like Stylecourt for instance and I thought what a great idea to be able to record my designs and my inspirations.  I had no idea that I would actually get visitors!!  So it has been a lot of fun and to be completely honest with you I have learnt so much also from other bloggers which has been great.  It has overall been a wonderful experience so far.

    How much time do you spend reading other blogs, doing research and reading comments?

    Well, I probably spend about 2-4 hours a day on my blog which is a lot I think as I do have so many other commitments as well!  I mostly work on my blog late at night after I have finished all my work for the day and spent time with my 4 year old son and my husband.  The time I spend on blogging is my time and I just love it!


    How do you stay motivated?

    This isn’t a problem for me.  My passion is my career.  I am absolutely obsessed with it and the blog is just an extension of what I do so motivation for me isn’t the problem.  The problem for me is to trying to slow my motivation sometimes as I can tend to totally exhaust myself at times.


    Where does your inspiration come from?

    I think this is a hard question.  I am inspired by so many things.  Sometimes I am inspired by a pattern on a dress and sometimes I am inspired by things I find in junk shops or sometimes it is a particular fabric I’ve found which I work an entire scheme around.  I find I am constantly thinking about designs I am working on and until I get it perfectly right in my head I don’t have it right.  It sounds strange but sometimes I can even be inspired by particular colour combinations or motifs in road side signs.  I think the strangest things inspire me.  A few weeks ago we went to a friends house for lunch and she had set the table using blue, white and orange as her colour scheme and then the next week I designed a bedroom in blue, white and orange!

    What do you hope to accomplish with Absolutely Beautiful Things?

    I think my blog is a great record for me and other people of what I do and it’s also a place where people can visit and be inspired and also a place for my clients to visit to get to know me a little more.  That’s all I want to accomplish really with my blog – a place of inspiration, a record and a place where my clients can visit to get to know me a little more.

    What do you want your readers to take away from your blog?

    Hopefully a bit of inspiration and a smile.  I hope it is a place where they can visit quickly in the middle of their hectic day to find a little bit of R&R and inspiration.

    When you are not working, what is your favorite indulgence? (sweets, sitcoms, travel, etc.)

    Going to my beach house with my family stocked up with lots of magazines and without my Laptop!!

    What is your favorite part of blogging? (making friends, community, getting heard etc.)

    Recording my work and design finds and loves and also the friends I have met along the way.

    Many people tend to play it too safe or go overboard when decorating.

    What would be your advice to someone contemplating a re-decorating project?

    Call or email me!

    Tell us a little more about Black & Spiro and when the website will be ready?

    Black & Spiro is the love of my life.  Whether you want a snippet of fabric or an entire home make over I will always love to help.  I don’t want people to feel like they can’t afford an Interior Designer.  I want everyone to be able to have beautiful things and I always welcome everyone at Black & Spiro no matter how small or large the request.  The website has been a bit slow which is completely my fault BUT I am hopeful that we will have something up and running by the end of April!!

    Thank you, Anna! We think your things are beautiful and your blog is too. All the best with the new shop!


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    February 23, 2007
    Interview With Decor8

    Decor8
    We wanted to CELEBRATE OUR BIG LAUNCH by featuring one of our very favorite blogs, Decor8

    An interior decorator and freelance writer, Holly Becker, wanted to create a blog that would catalog what she loves, and reach out to others who share her passion for design and need for creative living. She has done an outstanding job by bringing cool ideas, unique finds, and a community of friends we can only dream of having, to the blogging world. 

    In an exclusive e-mail interview with Holly, she opens up about her life, her goals, and what makes her happy. You can tell right away what a real and genuine gift to the on line world she truly is…….

    1.  With the wonderful design career that you’ve had what made you decide to start blogging?
    I really haven’t had a wonderful design career, but thanks for saying that. I actually managed facilities and communications for most of my career, only recently leaving to pursue my passions in writing and design. After working with clients for only 7 months, I decided to start a blog (1/06) because I wanted to catalog my finds and back then, only a handful of design blogs existed, so it felt like the perfect time to get started. I am a vintage modern kind of girl with a love of textiles, sewing, flea markets, art, and travel. I wanted to blog about things I was passionate about.

    2.  How long have you been blogging?
    I started in May 05 but didn’t know what to say, so I sat on it for 8 months until I knew. In January 2006, I blogged for the first time and haven’t stopped talking since.

    3.  How much time do you spend writing posts, doing research and reading comments per day?
    2-3 hours on posts and 24 hours a day on research, ideas are all I think about.

    4.  What other blogs do you read (work & pleasure)?
    My list of daily reads is long, you can look at my blogroll on decor8 (left column) to catch a glimpse.

    5.  Where does your inspiration come from?
    First, inside. I have a very creative and vivid imagination, things pop up in my brain at random and I find myself extremely creative in spurts based on that. On days when the creativity isn’t there, I turn to my favorite books and magazines (I am very visual), or have a stimulating conversation with my husband or a friend. My husband and I are together a lot, so I’m able to bounce ideas off of him constantly. He is brilliant, deep, amazing, talented, wise… One 10 minute chat with him, and I’m lifted from a low valley to a very high mountain. I adore him. I also flip through flickr images. I am flickr obsessed. Starbucks coffee helps, as does browsing bookstores and boutiques.

    6.  How do you stay motivated?
    I’ve wanted to cry, take a day off, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, throw my laptop against the wall, and hide under my blankets, but I’ve never wanted to quit. This goes for everything in my life. I’m a total fighter, a soldier. My mother has been telling me this since I was a young girl, and she’s right – it’s more and more obvious to me as I grow older. I am motivated by my own personality. Sounds weird, I know. But I have this ability to stay positive and focused. Being positive. Looking on the bright side helps me head forward. I always have a smile on my face, it’s there because I’m convinced that despite my problem or worry, I am still wayyy better off than so many, and I’m very grateful for what I have. I’m happy in my own skin, with my life, and knowing when to say "time out" to refresh is the key to staying motivated. Do the best you can on your own work and support others – what "comes around, goes around" is not just something your grandmother said! 

    7.  Do you have blogging goals (like what you want to accomplish with your site)?
    Yes, many! But world domination isn’t one of them. I rather use my blog to promote others, not myself. I promote my own business outside of my blog, not through it. I want to continue to be a spot where readers find a positive, interactive, inspiring place that feels supportive and stimulates their creativity. I don’t care if others blog to promote their work, because that may work well for them and half of my friends do it, so I am most supportive. I just don’t want my blog to be a workplace for me, that’s really all it comes down to. I want it to be my freedom, a place where I can hang out and be myself.

    8.  What is the most important thing that you want readers to take away after reading your posts? Positive. Inspired. And that your home is the one spot on this massive planet that is uniquely yours. Make the best of it – don’t neglect your space or your family or other parts of your life will start to suffer. People thrive in a home that supports them. 

    9.  When you take a break what is your favorite indulgence?
    I love to travel, even if it’s just a day trip to the coast or a weekend in Montreal, and if I’m home, I love to sew, read an entire book in a day, or go out for coffee + dessert. I also love to take long walks in the forest with my camera. I really enjoy visiting animal shelters and pet stores. I do this weekly, my lifestyle doesn’t allow me to own a pet yet because I’m in Germany 2-3 months each year and travel a lot on the weekends, but someday… I will have a dog and a cat, and a huge iron cage with brightly colored finches. 

    10.  What is the key to getting comments?
    I don’t know, I don’t ever think about that, sorry!!  Maybe I should though, huh? So many people email me that I always feel like things are flowing fine. But I guess asking questions so readers can get involved? Or an open thread? In the past, these things seemed to work for me…

    11.  What is your favorite part of blogging, eg. Making friends, community building, getting heard etc.?
    I love being a somewhat ‘alternative press’ option for business owners looking to promote their work. When someone writes to me with a really great product or service, and it fits my aesthetic, I write about them and then, sit back and wait. Very often they write in with lots of good news. Items selling or selling out, being contacted and featured on HGTV, in Domino, Real Simple, Hallmark, and other magazines, linked by other great blogs (which I always love because the more blogs that write about a business, the better for the business – which is great!), and some even picked up by stores because decor8 has several shop owners reading the site. I also enjoy blogging because I have a space to catalog things, as I mentioned already, and all the wonderful contacts I’ve made. I feel extremely grateful that I’ve come in contact with this whole world of talented men and women that exist out there, people I may have never met had I not created decor8. Like you Kristen! Thank you for interviewing me. :)

    Thank you, Holly! It’s been our pleasure to get to know you!


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