Featured: Elegance Magazine’s Top 10 Interior Blogs

April 24th, 2015

Just dropping in quickly today to share some exciting news! Avenue Lifestyle was included in an exclusive round up in the April 2015 issue of Elegance Magazine as one of the top 10 interior blogs in Europe. What an incredible honour!


Avenue Lifestyle features alongside some of my very favourite blogs whose authors {many of whom are friends} I deeply admire, including The Style Files, Beeldsteil, My Scandinavian Home and April & May. Also included are Interior Junkie, Boulevard B, Lucy Gough Stylist and Coco Cozy.

Thank you to the team at Elegance Magazine. Such a buzz!

And a special thank you to you guys, for reading Avenue Lifestyle and being at the core of what drives my work as a stylist and interior journalist. I adore sharing this aspect of my life with you, and am humbled to know that it inspires you in some small way. Being listed in the top 10 interior blogs in Europe is not something I dared to dream of when I launched this blog two years ago, and I thank you for your continued support.


In other news, I have been furiously getting the studio before/after post ready to share in between a crazy busy week. I am working on a lovely interior project for a client in Enschede at the moment which is time pressing, several small projects locally, and have been shooting a lot lately, meaning lots of post production work. But I’m almost there. It’s big. Like, really big. And I certainly hope worth the wait.

Back with the studio tour tomorrow!!!

Holly xo

Best of Etsy: 12 Vintage Rugs You’ll Love

April 15th, 2015

I shop a lot for my clients. I shop in stores and I shop online. It’s a hard life, honestly. A lot of the time it’s good quality basics I’m after but sometimes the things I’m looking for are a little more unique. Accessories, lighting and textiles. I shop Etsy a lot for unique, one-of-a-kind and handmade items as the choice is so vast and the quality, in my experience, is very good. Because I use Easy so much and think it’s an awesome resource for online shopping, I’e decided to take you guys on my shopping outings from now on and start sharing the cool stuff I find because I see a lot. This is the first column in series I’ll be writing called ‘Best of Etsy’. Today, let’s shop vintage rugs!


Rugs are so important to a space because they ground each area and create a sense of cosiness and completion that you just don’t get  without one. They are a fabulous jumping off point for the colour scheme of a room and can set the style tone too.

I love basic rugs for the simplicity and calm they bring to a space (particularly a busy, heavily decorated space) but I just can’t shake my love of vintage rugs worn with wear and soaked in colour and pattern. Vintage Turkish and Moroccan rugs are my favourites.


I have several in my home and they continue to be some of my favourite items for the personality the deliver to each space. The can be pricy though because they are made by hand and are often generations old. The pulls, tears and faded colours often add to their value and they can really become an heirloom in your home and family.



I grew up surrounded by antique Persian rugs in our home and never thought much of them until a few years ago when vintage and antique rugs started becoming a big thing in the world of interiors. Boho style interiors are big right now and vintage rugs are a significant element to the bohemian modern home. If you’ve ever shopped for vintage rugs it can be a total rabbit hole with so many sizes, price ranges and styles to choose from. Trust me. I’ve done my vintage rug time! So I have done the leg work for you and gathered 12 beautiful rugs I would buy in a heartbeat >>



1. Moroccan Vintage Azilal Rug 192 x 95 cm | 2.Vintage Burgundy Hand-knotted Distressed Overdyed Kilim 118 x 222 cm| 3. Handwoven Organic Cotton Striped Rug 60 x 90 cm (more sizes available)| 4. Vintage Pink Handmade Distressed Overdyed Kilim 180 x 295 cm | 5. Beni Ourain Moroccan Rug 300 x 155 cm | 6. Vintage Hand-knotted Faded Distressed Overdyed Kilim 188 x 292 cm

I love all of the rugs above for their soft, feminine quality. You can never go wrong with a black and white Beni Ourain as they are adaptable to pretty much any interior and will move with your style, but the faded shades of pink have definitely got me and that faded blush and burgundy number is pulling at my heart strings. I can see it in a space with high ceilings, huge timber framed windows, lots of white space, a mix of vintage and modern furnishings and an eclectic art collection. Swoooon….



7.Vintage Brown Hand-knotted Distressed Overdyed Kilim 205 x 166 cm | 8.Striped Turkish Handwoven Kilim 174 x 274 cm | 9.Vintage Yellow Amber Handmade Distressed Overdyed Rug 284 x 164 cm | 10. Multicolour handmade Anatolian Turkish Kilim  210 X 137 cm | 11. Beni Ourain Moroccan Rug 188 cm x 151 cm  | 12. Vintage Patchwork Multicolour Handwoven Cotton Kilim 293 cm x 194

The collection above is a little more boho with lots of rustic earthy tones. I’m loving that cream and black graphic Beni O but I must say that patchwork number would look so awesome in a kids play area. Lots of colour but in muted tones so easy on the eye. And as it happens, Ikea are also running a line of patchwork vintage kills very similar to this one.

Lots of vintage rug love going on today here. That was fun! I’ll be taking you on more virtual shopping trips from now on so stay tuned.

Coming very soon, my studio makeover post with all the before’s and after’s!

Holly x

// Image credits: 1. source unknown | 2. Photography: Pauliina Salonen; Styling: Minna Jones | 3. Lammhults | 4. Photography: Pauliina Salonen

Studio Makeover: Before & During

April 14th, 2015

So guys, I promised you a studio tour and I’m going to give it to you. But first, I’m going to walk you through the painstaking before shots just because I believe in dragging things out. Ask all my friends and they’ll tell you I drag out stories like nobody’s business and get ridiculously sidetracked, hence why it’s taken me THIS long to get you a before and after of my studio, which I’ve admittedly been hinting at for months. My bad! So here’s a look at the space before and during the makeover with some background on the room, but first here’s a peek at the inspiration:

moodboard studio 1

So my studio space (where I blog, work, run workshops, meet clients, shoot, hide from my three-year-old, wait, what?) is located on the third floor of my home. It is one big open space with a 4m wide window and skylight which just flood the space with natural light. It’s a dream to shoot in for this reason, so I use it a lot for photography, but it’s basically just a really happy space to be, even in the dead of the winter.

When deciding what to do with the floorplan, one major aspect had to be considered:


The space needed to be flexible enough to accommodate the various activities that would be going on up here – workshops, product shoots, editorial productions, etc. – but still be ‘put together’ enough to be an inspiring space to work when it’s just me. All furniture and accessories should be easily moveable so that the space would remain versatile and multifunctional. So basically, I should be able to empty out the room completely in 30mins and then be able to easily put it back together again and for it to still look nice.

I wanted to space to be calm and bright. Comfortable for working in but inspiring enough to boost creativity. Lots of white space to reflect light with enough visual inspiration. Collected but clean and not too ‘full’. That large image in the moodboard of an eclectic workspace really inspired me but there’s a little too much going on, so I wanted my studio to be a bit cleaner than this but similar in terms of look and feel. It was a real balancing act – striking harmony between decoration and function/versatility.

Here’s how it looked when we bought the house just over a year ago – please bear with me on these ‘before’ shots – most of them were taken in the evening after work had been done on my iPhone, so they are a bit dark, grainy and wonky:

studio before 1

studio before 2

studio before 4

So basically, as you can see, the space had lots of potential and was really quite big but that ugly, orange vinyl was doing it no favours at all, making it look so much smaller than it is and well, gross. That vinyl? It was the first thing to go. Out of the window.

On our to-do list:

> Paint walls, wooden edging and window frames

> Remove vinyle floors and replace with wooden floorboards

> Paint radiator pipes

> Strip wallpaper on the stairwell and paint

> Strip the paint of the ceiling beams

> Sand and paint the original wooden floors on the elevation and build a new step

Doesn’t sound like a lot but it sure feels like a lot when you’re living in it! Painting walls and removing the vinyl floors were the easy bit, plus we had help from friends with this.

studio during 2.1

studio during 1

This is where all three of us slept for the first 3 months we lived in this house, and where most of the contents of our home resided with us. My desk was in here too and it was where where Lola would play while the rest of the house was being worked on. Good Lord, am I glad those days are over.

Things stayed like the pics above while we got Lola’s bedroom and our bedroom painted and liveable. Mentally add in our beds, a desk, three suitcases {which we were living out of} a bunch of random furniture and some random mismatched rugs and you get the idea of what it really looked like.

Just when we were up to our eyeballs in renovating and didn’t think we could look at a paint tin {least of all eachother} without contemplating suicide, the angles sent a little miracle. My amazing friend Hedda, an interior designer who overhauls houses on a regular basis and is very familiar with what it’s like to live in a renovation, gave us an early wedding present: two burly workers for two days at our house to do absolutely anything we wanted. So we rushed out and bought new wooden floorboards and supplies and had them do the work that was threatening a wedding cancellation.

studio during 3

studio during 4

We had them strip all of the wooden ceiling beams – a job we were dreading and for good reason, it took two able-bodied men an entire day {08:00 – 19:00} to strip back the paint of those beams. I considered having the beams painted afresh but then saw them revealed and knowing we would have white doors, decided I liked the contrast between white and wood. Plus there was so much else they could be doing, such as getting some new floors laid.

studio during 5

studio during 6

Once the floors were in I was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement. It looks like a different space up here all of a sudden, so fresh and light.

studio during 7

The guys painted the floors and primed all of the window frames, and when they were finished they built us some shelves in our kitchen pantry. All in TWO days! We were so amazed at the speed at which they were working and received at the results, we hired them for an extra day and got them to sand and paint our bedroom window frames and prep and prime the bedroom floors. They really helped to take the edge off and gave us the motivation to get stuck into other smaller jobs and finishing off the bedroom.

So that’s pretty much the space. Not the most visually inspiring post, I know, but the next one will be better with the full before and after tour.

Back soon!

Holly x

Image credits: Moodboard // (clockwise from left to right) 1. Photography / Tigs Macallan via 91 Magazine 2. Puur Anders 3. IUMI Steckdesign 4. Photography / Heidi Lerkenfeldt for Elle Decor UK; 5. Styling / Pella Hedeby and Marie Ramse, Photography / Kristofer Johnsson; all other images, Holly Marder (iPhone)

Giveaway Anne Black – The Winner!

April 1st, 2015

I love a good giveaway, especially when I get to gift someone with a beautiful new piece for their home. Last week, I introduced you into Copenhagen based ceramacist Anne Black, taking you through her creative process and all that goes into her very beautiful range of ceramics. I own three of Anne Black’s ceramic and leather hanging planters and knowing you’d love them every bit as much as I do, I thought I’d get an extra one to give away.


Here are my hanging planters in my studio {plus a sneaky peek into the before/after tour coming your way next week!}. I have two sizes in three different colours – small in white, medium in artichoke and medium in concrete. They are truly lovely – a very simple, minimalistic design in pretty muted colours.


So do you wanna know who scored the little white hanging planter pictured above? 

I used the True Random Number Generator to find our winner and I am very happy to announce Blakely Hiner as our winner!

Congratulations, Blakely! Please send me an email {holly@avenuelifestyle.com} with your postal address so I can get your planter off to you and get you enjoying it in your kitchen as soon as possible.

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway. I wish I had a pot for each of you! Your support and engagement means the world to me and I’ll keep hooking up gorgeous stuff to give away to show you that.

Back after the weekend with a tour of my studio! Remember my bedroom tour? Well, it kinda set the bar a bit with features on SFgirlbybay here and here, Apartment Therapy, vtwonen, Domaine Home, COUCH magazine, My Scandinavian Home blog and countless other blogs around the world. Feeling a tad nervous to reveal a second space in my home but I’ve worked my butt off to get it to where it is right now so what the heck, I’m doing it. See you here on Monday for the full tour folks!

Have a fab Easter weekend!

Holly x

// Images: Holly Marder / Avenue Lifestyle

Beautiful Bedrooms for Little Girls

March 26th, 2015

My good friend Tessa Weerdenburg, one of the two interior designers behind Nu interieur|ontwerp, recently had her three little girl’s bedrooms featured in a beautiful children’s interiors book called Mini Woonboek, compiled by Tom Cole of the interiors blog, Woonblog. I have loved Tessa’s home for years now, and in particular, the bedrooms of her daughters Roos, Lieve and Bente. When I saw the images Tom had made for his book, I just had to share them. Each sweet space is positively brimming with personality, Tessa’s delicate decorating and hand made touches.

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Roos 1

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Lieve’s bedroom is a sweet and calming space where shades of white, grey and ochre and delicate floral prints preside. I love the subtlety of hues in this room and the delicate polka dot wallpaper as a backdrop to the bed. Tessa made the floral throw blanket and cushion for her daughter, and paired them with bed linen by Tas-ka {in the same print as the cushion in my bedroom tour!}. The bed is a design by Nu interieur|ontwerp.

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Lieve 1

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Click on image above to view a larger size


Tessa’s decorating relies largely on a clean, white backdrop allowing individual items and details to take centre stage. Roos’ bedroom is every bit as charming as Lieve’s, with bright pops of blue and shades of brown weaving their way into a neutral palette. I adore the little oak push pins above Roos’ desk. They are part of a new line of pins by Nu interieur|ontwerp inspired by washi tape but made out of various types of wood. You can see them in my studio here and here.

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bente 1

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Click on image above to view a larger size


Bente’s bedroom is such a sweet, cheerful space, with pops of salmon pink and yellow. Her bedroom has a clever built-in bed with storage and a cubby house underneath, a genius use of space if you have little bedrooms.

Thank you Tessa, for showing us through your girl’s gorgeous bedrooms! They are truly lovely and have certainly inspired me as I decorate my little Lola’s bedroom {you can see a sneak peek I posted a while back here}.

Which room is your favourite? 

See also: Tessa’s country cottage and her business partner Nathalie’s cosy cottage in the Dutch countryside.

Holly x

// Image credits: Tom Cole for Mini Woonboek