Thursday, June 13, 2013

GUEST POST: Five Ways to Incorporate European Culture into Your Interior Design

Five Ways to Incorporate European Culture into Your Interior Design

Europe is a vast space that’s full of contrasting and interesting cultures. And luckily for design buffs, there are many ways that you can bring a taste of Europe into your living space. If you’ve been lacking in inspiration, it could be the ideal way to bring a breath of fresh air into your home.

Here, we take a look at five ways to incorporate European culture into your interior design.

Create a pretty mosaic wall feature

Mosaic walls bring a Mediterranean feel into your home, and are surprisingly easy to create. Part of their beauty is that you can make them yourself, adding a touch of your own imagination to your space. All you’ll need is a selection of porcelain or quartz tiles and some grouting materials. If you have a big family, consider getting everyone involved in the mosaic. There are no rules, and everyone can put their own stamp on the home.

Look out for wrought iron furniture

When you take a walk around a typical Spanish villa, you’ll find plenty of simple wrought iron furniture that brings a rustic and simple feel to the living space. If you have an area of the home that you need new furniture for, consider taking this approach. Balanced with some warm colours on the walls, you could have a Spanish inspired room without too much fuss.

Keep it minimalistic

If you’re looking for something unique and out of the ordinary, you might want to lean towards Swedish influences. Known for their simple designs and clean finishes, Swedish inspired décor is affordable and easy to implement. Think of minimalism, no clutter, large pieces of furniture, lots of glass and basic, non-complex artwork adorning your walls.

Bring a pizza oven into your kitchen

You’d be hard pushed to find a pizza better than you would in Italy, though with a few tweaks in your kitchen, you could have your very own taste of Europe with as little fuss as possible. Reaching super high temperatures that are required for the perfect base, pizza ovens could transform your kitchen space as well as your culinary repertoire.

Make use of outdoor space

There is no pleasure simpler or greater than enjoying a few drinks and nibbles with friends on a warm summer evening. So why not create your very own luxury outdoor living space? With some patio tiling, a barbecue, and some beautiful flower features, you’ll almost feel like you’re sipping your wine from somewhere much more Mediterranean.

Will you be putting any of these ideas into action? Which one is your favourite?

This article was brought to you by Ruth Richards on behalf of Tons of Tiles. ToT provides high quality porcelain, glass, and brick tiles for those who are looking to improve their living space.

Thank you Agnes for this great post!

I have added a few pics from the website of Tons of Tiles because they are offering quite some unusual tiles which may be of interest:

 From the "Museum" range:  "Banksy" inspired tiles

From the "Museum" range:  "Bookcase" inspired tiles

 From the "Museum" range:  "Newspaper" inspired tiles

 "From Spanish Designer Tile Company Peronda - Wood Effect tiles"

 From the "Moroccan" collection

From the "Moroccan" collection

"Parisian Chic" Decor Mix Wall Tile

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wrought Iron Beds and other Metal Furniture

I don't know why but wrought iron beds and other iron furniture always emanate a hint of romance no matter which design. Maybe it is the seeming fragility of the material that evokes this impression. Or maybe because most wrought iron beds are dressed with romantic materials such as lots of pillows, ruches, sheers and silky textiles etc.

Wrought iron furniture never seems to disappear entirely from the sonar of interior design despite any trends. And I know that quite a lot of people share this love for romantic furniture - therefore I did a little research and this is a collection of various styles I found. Maybe it gives you some inspirational thoughts if you are in the middle of decorating or re-furnishing your home.

A completely unusual free form is this lovely bed:

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Another very stylish and more classical form is this metal bed:

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The next bed is kept in a much more simple victorian style design but nevertheless elegant:

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A much more romantic version is this iron bed:

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The next example is a wrought iron daybed. Very simple in its design but with the right decoration a very sweet alternative to the classical chaiselongue or settée:

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Who would not love the next example - the embodiment of a romantic bed, transferred from a different time right out of the history of old Victorian homes?

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A very delicate version of an iron bed is the following example. It looks so fragile that one cannot imagine sleeping in a bed such as this one without collapsing...

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Unfortunately I could not find a better photo of the following iron bed. This design is unusual and truly  artistic. As a completely free and asymetric form it is reminiscent of a sculpture:

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And how stylish is this Italian canopy bed? You simply have to love it:

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Now the following example for a wrought iron bed is quite a different caliber. Grafted and gilded it has been transformed into a luxury bed ready to be used by a princess...

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In addition to above iron bed what about this one from a Moroccan palace:

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Imagine you have a bedroom and then a jewel such as this one. It would be THE eyecatcher and the pride of your home:

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This is a bed design that could be the main piece of a goth inspired room. Imagine dark walls, clad in deep purple velvets with lots of precious decorative objects carefully placed in the room, on the bed itself heavy silk blankets and cushions, all black and purple and ruby red and then this bed frame - perfect!

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The decoration of the following celtic style bed may not be to its best advantage but the frame is gorgeous. Oh what could you do with it in a goth style room with the appropriate lush colours such as deep purple and dark reds and tons of velvet and silks...

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Now who says that only beds can be made and designed in wrought iron? The palette of furniture is endless and the designs are innumerable.

Doesn't this sink look gorgeous? I would love to have one and additionally some matching mirror and other small iron furniture for the bathroom...

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And what about this beautiful little coffee table?

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Another beautiful example is the next one. As you can see it can be more than just garden furniture...

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And how sweet would look this little bench in a lovely sunroom? Surrounded by tropical palms and ferns it could become a wonderful dreamy place:

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 And last but not least - pets are dearly loved family members. So why should a dog or cat not have their own romantic bed such as this one? Don't they deserve some stylish furniture also?

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Hope you loved this collection of wrought iron examples. I think I have to do another post on ornamental iron - there are so many beautiful designs one cannot cover just in one post...


Sunday, May 12, 2013

GUEST POST: Bedroom Lighting Tips

This is a guest post from Ross Donald, interior design specialist
 with the light fixtures suppliers at

Bedroom Lighting Tips

The last room you visit at night and the first room you see in the morning, your bedroom is your solitary chamber in your home. There are, of course like any other room in the home, many aspects of design that come together to complete the aesthetic appeal of a room. One aspect of this spectrum of design comes from lighting, and the choices that you make when lighting a room greatly influence the atmosphere of the room itself. Here are a few great pointers for illuminating a room that needs both darkness and light.

Know the size and function
Bedrooms come in different shapes and sizes, and each person approaches their bedroom with their own unique demands for what they need it to do. Is this room strictly for sleeping or will you be engaging in other activities? The bedroom is gaining popularity as a media / reading room, and these create their own demands in lighting.

Install multiple options
A general rule for interior lighting is that there should be several different types of lighting in any room. Essentially you want lighting that is fashionable and lighting that is functional. Imagine a bar at closing time: the whole night they have the bar lights on to set the mood, but after last call the bright house lights come on so the staff can clean the place up.
Mornings in your bedroom might typically entail getting dressed for work, meaning you’ll probably want sufficient lighting to make sure your chose regalia for the day does not cause people to mock your fashion sense. A strong centralized light source such as a ceiling mounted chandelier works great for bringing light to the entire room.
In the evening you may want to sleep while your significant other wants to stay up and read. In this case the use of small focused lighting, akin to what you see on an airline, makes a great addition that gives sufficient directed lighting for reading without causing a distraction that keeps the other person awake.

Think outside the nightstand
Tableside lamps are the traditional lighting companion for the bed but they are not the only choice you have. Hanging lamps with pendant shades can bring soft intimate touches to the bedroom and while sconces bring a suave contemporary framing style to your bedroom. Both of these have the added feature of freeing up space on your bedside table, and if you’re anything like me, the open space on that nightstand is a rather rare real estate commodity.

Adapt and Adjust
Don’t leave yourself short socketed in your bedroom design. Install plenty of wall sockets, a few at different heights, so that you have the flexibility to add light where you want it. Installing dimmer switches are a remarkable addition to the bedroom that allow you to almost literally set the mood with adjustable luminosity.
The last call in how to light and set the mood is up to you though. Every design project should always reflect your tastes as an individual, or, if you’re married, your wife’s.

Ross Donald is a writer and interior design specialist with the light fixtures suppliers at

Thank you, Ross, for this lovely post!

The company Ross is working for offers a huge quantity of various light fixtures. I had a look through a few of their pages and found besides the classical chandeliers and other lamps these sweet and unusual mini chandeliers f.e.:

Cypress Wrought Iron Mini-Chandelier in Wet White by Crystorama

Tartan 1-Light Mini-pendant in Aluminum by Lite Source

Raimondo 1-Light Wall Lamp in Polished Steel by Lite Source

Folha 1-Light Table Lamp in Antique Silver by Lite Source


Thursday, April 18, 2013

GUEST POST: The latest at JHID again

I received another newsletter from Jessica Helgerson, Interior Design and I could not help but I had to publish this completely on my blog because I just love what I saw. The transformation of a loft can be extremely intriguing and offers a lot of opportunities for creativity...

The latest at JHID

"We just finished working on the offices of Joint Editorial. They specialize in professional, creative film and video content post production."

"Originally built as a warehouse and office for General Electric Supply Corporation, their new space was a big, open loft with a beautiful arching bow-truss ceiling, steel windows,
and lots of natural light."

"Our role in the project was to select interior finishes, furniture, and lighting. We kept our materials as simple as possible to highlight the architecture, both existing and new, and selected furnishings to create a comfortable, casual feeling reflective of the Joint Editorial identity."

"The nature of the work done by the Joint editors requires each editor to have his or her own “room”, but they also wanted a shared living space in which to gather, brainstorm, and hang out."

"Armin Quilici of Vallaster Corl Architects was the project architect. He responded to their request for both public and private space by creating a rim of private offices around the edge of the space and two enclosed pods with mezzanines above them, connected by a bridge."

"It was a pleasure to work with the creative folks at Joint and we wish them all the best in their new space. To see the rest of the photos head to our website."
 (photos and text JHID)


Monday, March 25, 2013

OFF-TOPIC: Apologize again...

... for not posting for some time but we had some emergencies with "our" poor pigeons again.
We had released Jimi after he had completely recovered from his PMV relapse and not even 24 hours later he came back, life-threateningly injured probably by another pigeon. He probably went back to his old nest somewhere and it was occupied by another pigeon. Jimi probably claimed it back and had a fight with his opponent for death or life.

His beautiful face was all bloody and his beak cracked at several places. His cere was a bloody mess - thank heaven his eyes were not injured. Now he is recovering but still needs intensive care...

read the Pigeon Tales


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dark blue Walls and Roses in the Bedroom

I absolutely love this colour concept: dark blue walls, white furniture and a white floor or carpets. A classical composition that makes a room light and floating. Of course I also love the chair that is shown here with its delicate but simple stripe pattern. I even love the pillow with the embroidered flower design, the small side table etc. Everything very harmoniously decorated. Only the art on the wall is an issue I would personally change. The reason - there is just too much sweetness in this room.

Why would it be better to find an alternative for the wall? Because in my opinion too much repetition leads to boredom and disinterest. The images on the wall too show flower motives. Now look at this image and you will find lots of flower motives in the same style. To try something different would be nice - wouldn't it?

Admittedly the alternative painting shows some flower-like motif too but it is modern style and adds more interest to this room.

(from the Reminiscences series)
acrylic, 26" x 18"
©Petra Voegtle

The painting belongs to the Reminiscenses series, a painting series that was created from my photo documentary about the Olympic Student Village in Munich, torn down a few years ago in order to be re-constructed.

In order to create a kind of memorial for the beautiful and often funnily painted walls which are now all lost I took hundreds of photos from the village. But this was not enough for me - I also decided to create a painting series from the most impressive and beautiful parts i.e. walls, doors and windows. The peeling paints and especially the marks all the vines left on the plaster created wonderful patterns and structures. There is an extra photo series only about these wall motifs which you will find here.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

GUEST POST: The Latest at JHID

This morning I received a newsletter from Jessica Helgerson, Interior Design and I could not help but I had to publish this completely on my blog because everything that was created for this Yoga studio was simply marvellous and right up to my alley:

The latest at JHID

"This project was an interior remodel of a historical building in NW Portland for The Yoga Space.
We were fortunate to start with such a beautiful space as we added an entry, two bathrooms,
and two studio spaces for large and small classes.

In the large studio we used a very simple palette of white walls and dark beams, which highlights the lovely stained glass windows. Tall arched niches hold yoga mats, blocks, and other props. Mirrored niches reflect light to create a feeling of openness as they duplicate the beautiful beamed ceiling.
In the bathrooms and entry we used encaustic tile for the floors which adds a subtle pattern that feels harmonious with the mediterranean style of the building.

 In the small studio, the space is intimate and meditative with Moroccan metal sconces, and a vintage wooden alter.
We also transformed a former foyer into a cozy lounge area with lush plants, rugs and large ottomans.

The front entrance is marked by an inviting collonade lined with olive trees; a lovely example of the charm this building brings to Northwest Portland. We hope you'll come by and take a class! For more photos check out our website.

Photos by Lincoln Barbour
The project manager and lead designer and for Yoga Space Northwest was JHID designer Mira Eng-Goetz."


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Please add more Surprise to the Bedroom

The following bedroom is beautiful and very elegant but as usual I really don't like the decor on the wall. The cross above the bed is probably very valuable and may have a very special meaning for the owners but it is also too predictable for my personal taste. Rooms should look as if someone is LIVING there - not so much like a museum.

original image source:

I could see an alternative on this wall that would rather add a surprising exotic element to this classically designed bedroom without destroying the elegance and aura of this place. I am convinced that too many correspondents make a room static. It is like using too many colours of the same hues - you need a different object or area which attracts the eye and that delivers a counterpart in the symmetry.

The art on the wall is a so-called silk carving, a silk sculpture created with a technique that I developped out of the trapunto techniques you can find in quilting. If you would like to read more about the "making of" please check this link.

( from the Angkor's Faces series)
39" x 19" x 2" silk carving
©Petra Voegtle

A few details show you the depth of this "carving":


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