Archive for May, 2013

Bold Strokes

May 30th, 2013

Dear Mother Nature, please could you bring us over here on this side of the world just a little bit of summer? Seriously. We are all fed up with complaining about the dark, gray days while all the other continents on earth seem to be lavishing in sunshine. Hot, cold, hot, cold…make up your mind, lady!

Sorry to go on about the weather again, but on a grey day like today, it’s hard to resist a good winge. Which is why I couldn’t go past the bright and happy hues in the collection of images below.

bold strokes_avenuelifestyle

If you’ve been snooping around my Pinterest boards, you’ll notice I have quite a thing for bold, graphic art. My taste tends to veer towards safe natural tones at home, but I do have a colour fanatic deep down. And though I’m too timid to go bold when it comes to bright furniture and accessories at home, I LOVE the impact a big, bold painting in bright colors can make on a neutral space. I am dreaming of adding one of these bright beauties to my home one day. Here are some of my favourite finds.






Would you be bold enough to slap one of these artworks on the wall at home? Which one is your favourite?

Though I love the pieces adorned with crazy paintbrush strokes, I can’t help but be pulled in the direction of the more pastel tones and uniform brush strokes of the second last piece. There’s just something so calming and soothing about it ~ even though it’s colorful and fun, I love that the colors are soft and watery and feminine enough to be easy on the eye.

Well, I feel better already! I hope, wherever you are, that you’re enjoying warm temperatures and sunshine. And I certainly hope that Mother Nature read this post!


Image credits: 1 Left via Dash 7, top right by Jenn Ramos, bottom right by Ashley Goldberg; 2 Michelle Armas; 3 Lola Donoghue; 4 Arite Kannavos; 5 Caitlin Shearer; 6; Sally Benedict

Style Icon: Dietlind Wolf

May 27th, 2013

Every so often, someone or something out of nowhere completely stops you in your tracks.

This is what happened to me over the weekend when I attended The Hive, a conference held in Berlin bringing together bloggers from all over Europe. Alongside bloggers both established and new to the industry, I enjoyed two days of informative workshops and keynotes presented by some of the most accomplished bloggers and experts in the world of online publishing. But the highlight for me came on day two, when I was completely and utterly blown away by Dietlind Wolf, the remarkably talented Hamburg-based visual designer, prop stylist and photographer.

During a workshop she hosted, Dietlind shared with us her experience in the field of styling, which spans more than a decade. Having begun her career as a stylist in the late 90s, she now features work in some of the most prominent international publications including Sweet Paul Magazine, Lonny Magazine, Elle Decoration and Brigitte. Her fascination for natural beauty {more often than not in the form of botanicals and edibles} as well as a true passion for her craft is palpable and shines through in her work, which consists largely of creating beautiful still life scenes involving flowers. Here are some of my favourite compositions.

Dietlind_Wolf_collage_avenuelifestyle_sweet paul magazine spring issue 2013

Dietlind_Wolf_1_sweet paul magazine spring issue 2013

Dietlind_Wolf_2_sweet paul magazine spring issue 2013

Dietlind_Wolf_3_llamasvalley holiday issue 2013


Her work has a distinct ethereal quality about it, drawn from a carefully curated selection of objects. The end result is always so uncomplicated but you can see she layers her materials and textures so carefully.

When photographing food and table settings, the results are crisp and inviting.

Dietlind_Wolf_5_photography_thomas neckermann_brigitte issue 11:2013

dietlind wolf_photography_thomas_neckermann_brigitte issue 11:2013

During the workshop, Dietlind demonstrated how to compile a styled scene, sharing everything from which tools to use and tricks of the trade, to the initial concept development. She had brought along with her a collection of things from her studio, such as shells, handmade ceramics, twine and accessories to create the composition: a summery beach scene incorporating natural shades of grays. The weather was awful that weekend, with rain and grey skies, so Dietlind wanted to pick the energy up with this theme. The results were just lovely.

summer_dietlind_wolf_by Holly_Marder

What an honor to watch Dietlind Wolf in action and learn from her, even for just two short hours. Energy and passion for her field just bounces off her, and whether she knew it or not, Dietlind had every single blogger in that room absolutely hanging on her every word. If you want to see her in action, swing by my Instagram profile. I love the snap I took of the bloggers beside me Tweeting and Instagramming away. This is completely normal behavior in the world of blogging, I promise! Oh, and if you’re rummaging through my Instagram snaps, please don’t judge the {slightly} silly photo booth scenes with me and my blogger friend and roomie for the weekend, Bridgee. A few glasses of champagne had been consumed by this flu-suffering blogger! I had actually lost my voice by the end of day one, and found myself croaking my way through day two.

I hope you found as much inspiration in Dietlind Wolf’s work as I did! See you back here again soon.



Image credits: 1, 2 3 concept, food styling and photography by Dietlind Wolf for Sweet Paul Magazine Spring issue 2013 USA and Germany; 4 concept, styling and photography by Dietlind Wolf for llamasvalley holiday issue 2013; 5 concept, food and prop styling Dietlind Wolf for Sweet Paul holiday issue 2012; 6 and 7 colour concept and styling by Dietlind Wolf, recepies and food styling by Marie Louise Barchfeld, photography by Thomas Neckermann for Brigitte Magazine issue 11/2013; 8 concept and prop styling by Dietlind Wolf, photography Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle

Wedding Files: Floral Crown Fancy

May 17th, 2013

Hello! I am back with another dose of super pretty today. With now less than a year to go before the big day {yay!}, and a meeting coming up next week with our wedding venue, I have been back in wedding mode and today, I’m loving floral crowns. Well, not just today. I wore one as a bridesmaid when I was about 6 years old and remember feeling like an absolute fairy princess. More than two decades on, and I am planning to relive that feeling, this time with a real fairy princess dress to match!

Floral crowns are a big happening this year. If you’re a bride-to-be and have been trawling the internet for inspiration, or you simply love swooning over bridal magazines and websites for the fun of it, you’ll have plugged into that fact. Everywhere I look, there’s a bride sporting a stunning floral headpiece. When I began putting together ideas for our wedding, and we locked in a spring garden party as our overall theme, I knew I wanted a very floral affair. And wearing fresh blooms to me just completes the picture. You’ll notice in my first two posts in the Wedding Files’ series, and from peeking into my Pinterest inspiration boards, that floral crowns have been apart of the picture since day one. While floral crowns aren’t every bride’s cup of tea, I think they are beautiful and will add a very romantic, ethereal beauty to our planned vintage meets boho meets rustic garden party aesthetic.

flower crown_79ideas

flower crown_limn&lovely

flower crown_ruffled



I’ve seen some floral crowns that have been rather lavish, and while I can’t quite see myself feeling comfortable with an oversize garden on top of my head, I do love the dainty, delicate floral crowns, and would love to incorporate them into our wedding somehow. I have however been steering more towards a handmade silk floral crown, so that I can keep it long after that one day.

I recently came across a wonderful ‘how-to’ on making your own floral crown on the gorgeous blog Green Wedding Shoes and I’d love to give this a try. It looks so easy and the results are so pretty. I would create one of jasmine, one small blush pink rose and some white and pale pink wax flower.


flower crown_alixannlooslephotography

What do you think? Do you love the trend or not?

Personally, I’m thrilled floral crowns are back in a big way. I mean, if you can’t wear a floral crown on your wedding day, when can you?

Have a wonderful weekend!


Image credits: 1 Rebecca Newport via 79 Ideas; 2 Brumley and Wells; 3 Mango Studios via Ruffled; 4 & 5 Eric Kelley Photography via Bridal Musings; 6 Jasmine Star Photography via Style Me Pretty; 7, 8 & 9 Green Wedding Shoes; 10 Alixann Loosle Phoptography

Eclectic British Charm by 91 Magazine

May 15th, 2013

My favourite interiors are those filled with stories. You can tell so much from a person by their home’s aesthetic. The things they choose to surround themselves with are part of their own personal story, and I love a good story! That’s one of the things I love most about my work as an interior design journalist – discovering gorgeous homes and the stories that go with them. I find the homes with the best stories are those filled to the brim with treasured knick-knacks picked up on travels, rescued from the side of the road, found at markets, or handed down through the family. These are the treasures that make a house a home, and form the basis of the collected, eclectic interiors that I am drawn to.

I recently came across a wonderfully eclectic home with a great story in the latest issue of the British 91 Magazine {my new fave online read}. Gorgeous photography by Michael Sinclair and a beautifully written article by Chloe Mitchell make the home of Victoria Suffield and Phil Webb, owners of the Winchester based lifestyle boutique The Hambledon, an inspiring find indeed.



The Hambledon is a clean and bright department store inside a quintessentially British shell. It’s owners are passionate about stocking it with things they personally love. “We always wanted to make a shop which sold the things we loved in a space we loved to people we could grow to love.” In this gorgeously understated space, crisp whites combine with rustic woods making for the perfect backdrop for a widely varied collection of lifestyle goods including home wares, clothing, stationary, skincare and more. You’ll enjoy browsing their online store.

The feature included a home tour of Suffield and Webb, a tranquil place combining their signature crisp white and grey palette against warms woods. In her article, Mitchell described the interior as “French country house meets East London industrial”, which I think was a great way to describe it’s old meets new aesthetic. The home’s architectural details, such as those gorgeous wooden floors and that grey painted original built-in hutch filled with books, are given full credit. Surrounded by minimal furnishings and a fabulous collection of graphic art hung in clusters around the house, the period features really wow.

91 magazine_1

91 Mag_2




Read all about this gorgeous home on pages 72 – 81. And for more gorgeous shots of this tour, {click here}.

If you enjoy reading about interiors, lifestyle tips, craft and all things pretty with a distinct vintage vibe, you’ll love 91 Magazine.

Happy reading!



* Photography by Michael Sinclair

Inside Scoop: Eclectic Charm in The Hague

May 10th, 2013

Hi there! Back today with another ‘Inside Scoop’, this time giving you a peek into the home of Edwin Pelser, the owner of a design store in The Hague. I recently photographed Edwin’s first floor apartment for a Houzz feature and instantly loved his savvy style. You’ll love the way he combines contemporary design with his obvious love for historical pieces. A book worm, art enthusiast and downright mag addict, Edwin’s old-meets-new aesthetic gives his bachelor pad a comfortably eclectic look and feel. Here are a few of my favourite snaps of the tour, and some inside shots that didn’t feature on Houzz, where you’ll find the story behind this fun space.














What did you think? Don’t you just adore the floors against a crisp white backdrop? Edwin actually purchased the apartment a decade ago, when the place was decked out in dull grey carpeting and the kitchen was a narrow, closed off space from the dining room. Out of curiosity and desperation to get rid of the drab carpeting, he peeled back a little corner in the hallway, and was utterly taken aback to find original oak herringbone floorboards underneath! He said he felt like a puppy that had discovered something fun to play with. In record speed no doubt, he ripped up the carpeting in the hallway and living room, and later had replica herringbone floorboards laid in the dining room. He also knocked down a wall between the kitchen and dining room and renovated his little kitchen. He loves his apartment and it’s easy to see why. The two main rooms boast high ceilings which were restored to their former glory, original ensuite doors and fire surrounds that you’ll find in many of the earlier built homes here in the Netherlands and loads of natural light.

A big thank you to Edwin for inviting me and my camera to your home and feeding me cookies and coffee while I fiddled around with your lovely things and took my photos. Make sure you read the full story here, and if you’re in town, pop into Edwin Pelser {the shop} for a look at some of the gorgeous things, many of which you’ll also see in and around the house.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Today, we celebrate 1 year to go before we get married with a romantic dinner at a surprise restaurant of D’s choice. For the first time in 2 years, we are hiring a babysitter. Eek!



* All images by Holly Marder for Houzz.


Losing my Marbles

May 8th, 2013

If you’ve been anywhere near my Pinterest boards lately (especially the kitchen and accessories boards) you may have noticed I am going through a minor (OK, major) marble fetish at the moment. It started when I picked up these two little marble-topped bedside tables and hit an all-time high when I stumbled across a trio of marble tealight candle holders at the markets recently.

Now, I’m no trend forecaster, but it seems that the durable material that has enjoyed popularity in interior design for an age, is big at the moment, and we’re seeing lots of kitchens decked out with marble counter tops and accessories. I particularly like the fine white and grey version, known as Carerra marble.

marble_Petra Bindel



marble 3

marble 5_nu_interieur_ontwerp

marble 4


I’m loving the addition of white marble in small doses in a kitchen, and am myself dreaming of my own marble topped kitchen counters. But I particularly love how cool marble combines with warm woods, fresh greenery and a clean white backdrop. It has a very classic feel about it, despite the fact that it tends to scratch, chip and stain easier than some counter top materials. But I think the wear and tear gives marble it’s charm. I see it used in an eclectic kitchen with lots of wooden and glass accessories, open shelving and subway tiling. Yes please.

Do you love this trend too? Hate it? I should probably mention that we have been house hunting for the last 18 months, and are going to look at house #350 (OK, it’s really only about the 25th house we will have viewed, but still, that’s a LOT of house viewing!) this afternoon and am already dreaming up the kitchen I would put in. Yep, I’ve officially lost my marbles…

Hope you’re enjoying a sunny week, wherever you are. It’s been lovely here in Delft. Last weekend we hit the park on our bikes and I came home with a basket full of spring flowers. Check out my Instragram account for the pics!


* Image credits: 1 & 2; Petra Bindel ; 3 Frida Ramstedt, Trendenser (left), Siren Lauvdal via Scandinavian Retreat; 4 Nina Holst, Stylizmo; 5 Nu Interieur | Ontwerp; 6  Jordi Miralles for Shoot Estudios via Frenchy Fancy;  7 My Scandinavian Home

Colour Files: Spring Palette

May 6th, 2013

Hello! I hope that all of you are enjoying beautiful warm and sunny days like I have been here in the Netherlands. It is truly heavenly after such a long, grey winter. Over the weekend, the three of us hopped on our bikes and did some exploring, baring our white legs and feet for the first time in months.

Just before the weekend, I sent a second guest blog post to my friend Corinne at Emerald Green Interiors. She has just welcomed their second baby to the world and needed a hand keeping her blog going, so I stuck up my hand and offered to help. Corinne is a colour specialist living in Belgium {see her home here} and she blogs about colourful, inspirational interior design. For my second feature, I decided to send some spring/summer colour inspiration along to keep her readers happy while she’s taking some time off. The warmer weather  has had me swooning over fresh shades of yellow and salmon pink lately. When I came across the below images I just had to share. I always tend to decorate with neutral shades, I particularly loved how a sunny shade of yellow and a cheerful salmony shade of pink look against a neutral backdrop of white, beige and charcoal.

Soothing spring palette- charcoal mustard and salmon

Incorporating dashes of charcoal, mustard and salmon to a neutral space can make for a soothing spring palette. How do you add life to your home using colour? If you want to see more with this colour combination, head over to Emerald Green Interiors for the full post.

Wishing you a happy week, and see you back here soon for more pretty.



* Image credits: Top left to right: Merci Paris cushions by Jillian Leiboff; bedding byAnthropologie; palette by Nomura Maya; cushion by Anthropologie;

Going Green: Styling with Plants

May 3rd, 2013

This last week was a big one here in the Netherlands because our beloved Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne after 33 years in favor of her son, the new King Willem-Alexander and his stunning Queen Maxima. The celebrations took place on the annual Queen’s Day, and for the whole country that meant a day off on Tuesday to roam the market stalls that citizens are allowed to set up for the day selling their unwanted knick-knacks. It’s a treasure trove, I tell you. The first year I was here for Queen’s Day, we picked up our solid wood coffee table for ten euros. This year, I scored some vintage lace which I think I’ll put to use for the wedding, as well as a trio of marble tealight candle holders in mint condition for 50 cents! Anyway, what with the day off and a few deadlines, the week just evaporated. So, here I am on a Friday night with some pretty for you – some home styling incorporating plants.

We are so lucky here in the Netherlands to be able to buy fresh flowers for next to nothing, and there’s nothing I love more that heading home from the markets with a huge bunch of blooms to scatter around the house. But. No matter what I do, they just die on me! I know, that’s quite normal, but I sometimes just want something fresh around the house that will last longer than a week. I was never really a fan of plants in the house because they remind me of how old people gather them up on window sills to collect dust, and usually those dust covered things are ferns, which I’m not a huge fan of. But in small doses a little bit of green in a well selected pot can bring a vignette to life, literally. So last weekend I skipped the market and headed for the garden shop, Lola bouncing along in her bike seat on the front, and came back home with a couple of pots and plants to go in them. Here are the results.








I am really liking the simple white pots, particularly the little one with a bit of texture. I love how just a touch of greenery brings life to a neutral backdrop, and the combination of the green against the white and wooden accessories. When selecting the plants, I went for the one with the tiny white flowers to add a little pretty to the scene and love how delicate it looks. Also love the long strands of the smaller plant, particularly when draped over the spines of stacked magazines. Been enjoying this view all week!

The lithograph is an original work I picked up from the antique markets last weekend, too. I love the serenity of the image with the huge oak tree and the linen mounting. It will be a lovely addition to a gallery wall one day, but for now it is a great backdrop to my green scene. The oak bookends are by Pilat & Pilat and the candle holder was an Ikea purchase a while back.

The only question that remains is how long I can keep these plants alive. I am a self confessed plant killer, with a mortuary in my back garden. I even kill orchids, which I am told never die. So I’ll be interested to see how these go!

Sending warmth and sunshine to you all, and wishing you a lovely weekend!


* All images are by Holly Marder