Archive for September, 2013

Colour Files: New Hues for Farrow & Ball

September 20th, 2013

With a move to a new house in sight, it’s hard not to get excited about colour schemes and the overall look and feel we want to infuse into our new home. It’s almost all I can think about, even though I know we will simply be painting everything a (very necessary) coat of white to start with. And while I seem to be drawing a blank when it comes to decorating the main living space, I am quite excited about decorating our daughter Lola’s bedroom. I was talking colour schemes in a recent post, if you remember. She’s getting older and needs a room to accommodate – smart storage solutions, a bigger bed and a fun new colour palette. So when our good friends recently asked us whether we’d like a couple of pots of Farrow & Ball paint as a housewarming gift, I immediately knew what to ask for and it feels like the ball is rolling!


But while I was agonizing over Light Blue, Mizzle and Blue Gray (it had to be the perfect shade of green / grey / blue, if that’s not asking too much?), I noticed that Farrow & Ball have added nine fresh new colours to their collection this year. While I adore colour, I am always drawn to neutral tones, so a few of their new hues really appealed. Take a look!

farrow_ball_ Ammonite

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farrow_ball_Stiffkey Blue

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farrow_ball_Purbeck Stone

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farrow_ball_ Moles Breath

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Aren’t they all so beautifully calming and warm? I particularly like Ammonite and Purbeck Stone, because they feel light and bright but that tiny touch of grey makes them a little warm too. I also love how the new colours were presented in the form of those edgy mood boards. Simple but very inspiring! I also enjoyed watching this behind the scenes video.

Well, I have a few deadlines to get out of the way before the week ends so I’ll be back again on Monday! But before I dash off, have you seen what we got up to last weekend? My fiancé and I had a ball on Sunday afternoon frolicking in our local park before the lens of the talented Anouschka Rokebrand during our engagement shoot. I had my hair and makeup done by Katie Larcombe beforehand to look the part. It was so much fun! Here’s a little sneak peek you may have missed in Instagram this week 🙂 Ok, and another! And if you want to see a little more of us getting all romantic together, read here. As for my absolute favourites of the day, you’ll just have to wait and see.

In other news, my book has finally arrived! The one I recently collaborated on with a bunch of the best European bloggers. To hold a copy in my hands is a tad overwhelming but incredibly satisfying. I never dreamed of being apart of an interior design book, so you can imagine the excitement as I flipped through the freshly printed pages to find my photography and words splashed throughout. More on this soon, plus two exciting giveaways coming your way. Meet you back here next week!

Have a great weekend,

Holly x

Image credits: 1. Holly Marder for Decor8; all of the rest by Farrow & Ball

Swedish Home with Soul

September 16th, 2013

It’s another week and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like this year is flying by at the speed of light. Sometimes, it feels good to just  slow down a bit and take a few moments to soak up a little bit of inspiration. So I’m kick-starting the week today with a bundle of images by Stockholm based photographer Amelia Widell for the blog Lovely Life – a gorgeous tour of a Swedish family home that is eclectic and unpretentious, feminine and fun. To me, this is a home with soul. It’s owners, Catti of the blog Anther Side of This Life, and her husband six-year-old daughter Stella have called their 1927 townhouse in Gothenburg home for  the last four years. The entire home tour is pure heaven, but here are some of my favorite shots.









High ceilings, romantic French doors leading from the kitchen onto a little terrace and the home’s French/English aesthetic are a few of the things the owners fell in love with. With a self-confessed weakness for eccentric British style, the couple draw their design inspiration from English movies and magazines. The various shades of green dotted throughout, exposed brick and subtle florals had me in an instant, and I love the combination of furniture styles. It is carefully curated, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. My kind of home.





Don’t you adore that little girl’s bedroom? It’s seriously inspired me to get cracking on Lola’s bedroom redesign for the new house. In particular, that soft pink dresser and bright white painted floorboards are calling my (er, Lola’s) name! I’m thinking a set of those string shelves are also on the wish list having seen this home.

Make sure you pop on over to Lovely Life for the full scoop of images, and if you read Swedish or live in the area, the home owner shares her favourite local hotspots in Gothenburg in her interview.

Have a fab day, and I’ll see you back here soon,

Holly x

Image credits: Amelia Widell for Lovely Life

Wedding Files: Engaged + Great News!

September 13th, 2013

It’s been a while since I wrote on my Wedding Files column. Things took a slight nosedive in the wedding venue department, so it’s all been on hold for a little while. That was until recently, when something exciting stumbled into my path. You see, there’s a breath of much needed fresh air filtrating through the wedding scene in the Netherlands at the moment called Engaged. An exciting wedding fair offering brides {and grooms!} to-be a place to be truly inspired, to be amidst the very best wedding vendors in the country and to get excited about their upcoming wedding, which, with the help of Engaged, will be utterly gorgeous.

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As a bride-to-be myself, I was excited to discover Engaged because ever since I started planning my own wedding {taking place next May, eek!} I have noticed that there doesn’t seem to be the same energy in this country surrounding weddings that I see on some of my favourite international wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, Ruffled, 100 Layer Cake, Style Serendipity and Once Wed. The Netherlands seems to be lagging behind when it comes to creating beautiful weddings, and it’s not because the talent is lacking. It’s because the lovely Janina Cruz and Judith van Lent haven’t been around to kick the wedding industry in the butt! Thankfully, the duo are in the midst of coordinating the event that will change the wedding scene over here in the land of windmills for good. Bringing creativity, talent and love under one roof, you’d better believe this event is one worth attending if you or someone you know is getting hitched! So plan Saturday, 5 October into your diary and head on over to my home town of Delft to get amongst the romance in a gorgeous industrial setting along the water.


Yep, that’s right, folks. For the first time, I am hosting a workshop curated especially for Engaged. For those looking to get creative for their own weddings, or simply want to roll up their sleeves and have a little fun with me, I’ll be setting up a DIY crafting station. Everything will be set up for people to create their own:

Fresh flower wreath, using herbs, lavender and various wild flowers. I’m a little wreath obsessed myself, so will leap on any opportunity to frolic amongst the flowers and show my attendees how to create one for their hair, or to use as decorative item on their big day.

Hand-sewn fabric pouch to place wedding favours in, or simply use as wedding favours. A no-fuss, no-sewing-machine-required DIY that you could do blindfolded, almost. 

Bunting made out of pretty fabrics, lace and natural twine.

Sound like fun? I’d love to see you there.


I’ll be sharing a space with the stylish girls Nathalie and Tessa of Nu interieur | ontwerp, who will be leading a workshop showing brides-to-be how to create a moodboard for their big day. Experts on curating beautifully styled homes with lots of wedding styling experience up their sleeves, they are the perfect duo to help you gather your ideas together for your wedding day onto a moodboard that you get to take home.

I’m so excited to get started in the planning of my workshop, and am admittedly a little nervous but it will be fun and the results will be gorgeous so what could possibly go wrong?

If you’re in the vicinity and think an event like this sounds like fun, be sure to grab your tickets soon because they are selling out fast. And don’t forget to pop by and craft something pretty with me while you’re there!

And just a quick side note: I’m getting married, yaaaay! I’ve been so stressed out about the whole topic that was almost beginning to forget that I’m pretty darn excited about that fact!

Holly x

Image credits: Image 1 Engaged. Image 2 {clockwise from top: 1 Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle; 2 Holly Marder for Decor8 3 Engaged; 4 Anouschka Rokebrand. Image 3 {clockwise from top}: 1 Holly Marder; 2 100 Layer Cake; 3 Eu de Nil; 4 Velvetine.

Emily Henderson for Oh Joy Studio

September 11th, 2013

Attention mouth, tongue has vacated the premises and is currently residing somewhere on desk top, between keyboard and mouse.

Yep, this is the affect that the brand new Oh Joy Studio, designed and styled by the talented and funny Emily Henderson, has left on me. Gobsmacked and drooling, ever so slightly. If you spend an obscene amount of time trawling design blogs like I do, you are likely no stranger to the world of Joy Deangdeelert Cho, the bright and bubbly persona behind the blog Oh Joy. Since its inception in 2005, the graphic designer, blogger and food enthusiast has brought millions of readers worldwide a generous helping of style savvy inspiration on a daily basis. Joy’s book Blog Inc. was a huge inspiration for me when I started blogging, and she was one of the first bloggers I started following who’s energy and genuine love of what she does really spoke to me.

After eight years of working from home, Joy snapped up a promising Hollywood studio space to work from. In an empty space featuring exposed brick walls and gorgeous exposed beams, she envisioned a white and bright space, with accents of bold colour amid warm woods and gray with pops of gold here and there. The results are a fun and vibrant studio that has had me glued to my chair for an embarrassing amount of time. Snapped by  Zeke Ruelas, the images below are nothing short of inspirational.

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The plush emerald green sofa in the sitting area, which was a key piece and the starting point for the colour palette, is one of my favourite elements in Joy’s happy studio space, as well as the gallery wall behind it. Find out how Emily put together the sitting area plus all of the product details right here.

While I have a tendancy to steer towards  amore muted palette, I love that the bright bursts of colour don’t feel overwhelming thanks to loads of white, wood and neutral tones which balance it all out. Emily did an amazing job at translating Joy’s personality into a space that really echoes her brand.

“Emily has the uncanny ability to be able to imagine spaces and where things should go in a way I could never do. Plus, her sense of design is simply off the chain. She takes what I like and kicks it up a notch, for sure.”


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Following Joy for quite some time now, I am always in awe of how she brings colour into everything she does. In the May 2012 feature of Living Etc. she said: “Whether it’s images I snap on my phone, pages torn from a magazine or a moodboard, vibrant shades dominate. Everything I design and post on my blog is the result of that – colour just makes me happy.”

With Emily Henderson by her side in the makeover of the new studio and her own design skill set, the Oh Joy headquarters was always going to be a fun and exciting space. But the duo left no stone unturned when it came to breathing new life into this once tired space, mixing old with new, bright with neutral, quirky with oh so grown up. And I love that they incorporated a few easy-peasy DIYs, too. See that little area at the bottom of the kitchen cabinets and storage unit? Known as a toe kick, that otherwise unused space was cleverly jazzed up using tape strips. Here’s a little tutorial on how Emily did it.

Love it? See the whole scoop on Oh Joy, or get a glimpse of the space in real life on this video!

Holly x

Credits: Styling and design by Emily Henderson; Sr. designer/project manager: Samantha Gluck; Photography by Zeke Ruelas

Designer Profile: Raphaëlle H’limi of Hellopillow

September 10th, 2013

I am always interested in the process behind a product and getting behind the scenes with creatives and their designs. Do you remember the recent giveaway I ran with my friends over at Nu interieur|ontwerp featuring Hellopillow? Well, I loved the products so much that today I am excited to share the person behind the brand, the lovely Raphaëlle H’limi. This talented lady is delving into her past, present and future for you today to give you a glimpse into the brains and beauty behind Hellopillow as an exclusive brand.

hellopillow_ Raphaëlle_logo

Holly: You launched Hellopillow in 2009. How has your concept developed over the last four years? Was it a long-standing dream for you to have a homewares label?

Raphaëlle: I started with a simple idea of a modular textile system, which I discovered while I was working on a fashion collection. I decided to give life to this project in a autonomous way beside my work in fashion design. Hellopillow directly links to my other passions for graphic design and home design. I have long dreamt of a designer homewares label.

Holly: How would you describe your products? What makes Hellopillow unique?

Raphaëlle: My products are mostly pillows collection with 3 specifications. They are all made in France, they are exclusive patterns and are an original shape. Hellopillow is a small parisian brand trying to bring something unique in home design.

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Holly: You’re obviously passionate about textiles and design. What inspires your creative process?

Raphaëlle: I am obsessed by the beauty that surrounds me. I look in every direction to find it: the homes of friends, flea markets, blogs, magazines, museums. My eyes need to be fed with creative, colourful and meaningful inspitations. To create I need to sketch, to experiment. I trust my intuition for the guidelines of a new collection, and am always willing to try something new.

Holly: When did you start taking an interest in textiles and design and what is your background?

Raphaëlle: As my father is a painter and my mother is a graphic designer, I have always loved art and design. Both of my grandmothers were needlewomen. When I was 15 years old, my mother offered me the chance to have sur mesure dress and for the first time I entered a fashion workshop. I fell in love with her job, all the fabrics and patterns around us. I knew back then that that was going to be my life.

Holly: What inspired you to experiment with the folding technique that characterises your pillows?

Raphaëlle: In 2009, I was working on a fashion collection called Overenlighted, inspired by the disparition of the body and the melancholia embodied by the charater of Zelda Fitzgerald. The entire collection was about the 20’s Années Folles and the geometric shapes that were able to open, to change. It was then that I discovered the pattern that was going to become my pillow. One night, I was working late in my studio before heading to a friend’s housewarming. I decided to create for him the very first Hellopillow. As I didn’t know what his new house was like I made a two colour options.


Holly: How do you select your fabrics?

Raphaëlle: I work with a moodboard and select my fabrics to follow the trends I love.

Holly: What are you working on for your next collection and when will it become available?

Raphaëlle: I have just finished my new collection called Polygon Sky. I have decided to merge my fashion collection and my pillow collection, using the same print and inspiration. This collection is inspired by architecture, minimalism and poetry. We are working on the catalogue at the moment. It will be available in one week.

Holly: What does a normal day at the office look at the Hellopillow headquarters?

Raphaëlle: There is not a normal day, because every day is different: research, prototype, working on the e-shop, shooting, graphic design for catalogue, sending an order to Japan or to the street next door. That’s what keeps this job exciting!

Holly: What designers of today inspire you?

Raphaëlle: I love all the designers that are looking to the future and always bringing something new to the world, with eco-consciousness and a sense of reality. I admire, for example, the Bourroulec Brothers.

Holly: You currently create primarily cushions and totes. Do you see yourself expanding into other areas in the future?

After creating a line of notebooks and pop-up cards, I would love to develop further a link between textiles and home, for example laser cut curtains or textiles to cover furniture.

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Thank you so much Raphaëlle for chatting to me about your work and sharing a bit about yourself for us here on AVENUE. I am always interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I just adore your creations and will keep an eye out for you in the future as you conquer the world of home wares and textile design.

Keen to find out more about Hellopillow and see more of the collection? Be sure to pay a visit to the website and have a good browse around. On her blog, Raphaëlle also shares some of her latest work and and inspiration.

Have a great day!

Holly x

Image credits: Hellopillow

Yvestown Fair 2013

September 6th, 2013

Hello! A new week has begun but I’m still reeling from a truly lovely weekend. What did you get up to? Mine started in a really special way on Friday when one of my two gorgeous sisters welcomed a beautiful little baby boy into the world. I won’t get to meet my precious nephew until next May when my family is heading over to Europe for my wedding (Yay!) but I have been receiving photos and updates all weekend from Australia and I feel at least a tiny bit involved. It was a tough delivery, but thankfully my other sister was there through it all for support. It’s these big moments in life that I really do miss home and my family. Sigh… 

On Saturday I was treated to some much needed time off, when my parent’s in law took Lola for the weekend so that I could have some down time and D could attend a bachelor party in Düsseldorf. Solo for the first time in ages, I jumped in the car and headed south for the much anticipated Yvestown Fair, organised by my friend Yvonne of the blog Yvestown. I photographed her home late last year and enjoyed meeting her so much and seeing her lovely home, that I couldn’t wait to check out her pretty fair, too. Set out in front of her home’s beautiful facade, it was a day filled with creatives, crafty goodies and great company. Sponsored by Dutch magazine 101 Woonideëen, you’d better believe it was just that and more. Here are some snaps I took of the event:








The fair welcomed a bunch of clever creatives who set up the prettiest tables for the public, including:










Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate, and the stalls were bundled together beneath tents which had to be brought in at the last minute, but it didn’t matter. It was lovely and everyone had smiles on their faces which is what it’s all about.

Getting there was a bit of a drama, truth be told. It was quite a funny story actually. It was a two hour drive, and about 20 minutes before I arrived, the heavens opened and I realised that one of my windscreen wipers was broken! The one on my side of the car, to be precise. It was dragging across the windscreen like a broken leg, eventually getting all caught up in the other one. Not being the least bit handy when it comes to mechanics, I was forced to pull over every two minutes or so to manually wipe the windscreen so I could drive a bit further. By the time I arrived, late in the afternoon, I was rather disheveled! Luckily, Yvonne’s sweet hubby Bo came to the rescue, tool box in hand, and fixed the wipers for me on the spot, which is just as well because it poured with rain all the way home that evening!

Car drama aside, it was well worth the trip and lovely to get out on my own, meet some new faces, see some familiar ones and get amongst it for an afternoon.

I came home with some pretty new fabrics from MondaysMilk to use on our new house! Can’t wait to get started with it all.

Keen to see more pics from the fair? My friend Ilaria over at IDA Interior Lifestyle did a great round-up on her blog. Ankie from Zilverblauw also did some fab shots for her round-up that were also used for the 101 Woonideeen blog, which outlines all the vendors in more detail!

Have a wonderful week,

Holly x

All images by Holly Marder

Food Files: Fig Salad

September 5th, 2013

It’s still warm here but there was a chill in the air last weekend and I feel autumn looming. Though I’m not quite ready to part with summer, I do love the fall for the gorgeous new produce that ripens with the cooler temperatures. I’ve got a slight love affair with figs, which are absolutely perfect at this time of year. We spent last sunday lunching with some friends and from the fig tree in their garden I was allowed to pluck the only four figs that were ripe and ready for picking to take home with me. Not wanting to waste my beautiful treasures, I came up with a quick and delicious recipe to get the most out of them. So my latest food column is all about this fruity salad starring fresh figs, peaches and goats cheese, drizzled with a honey mustard vinaigrette.



Mixed greens

Fresh figs, quartered

Fresh peach wedges

Goats cheese

For the dressing:

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

A squeeze of lemon juice

A bit of wholegrain mustard


Salt and Pepper

Quarter a handful of fresh figs, and prepare wedges from two fresh, ripe peaches. Add the fruit to a bowl full of fresh salad leaves. Toss and sprinkle with crumbled goats cheese.
Combine a generous lug of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon or two of wholegrain mustard a squeeze of honey and some salt and pepper to taste in a glass bottle. Drizzle over your fig salad. Enjoy!


I adore salads, and really loved this combo. It’s a delicious combination of light flavours with some stronger savory accents here and there. The dressing is divine! I use that same dressing on pretty much all of my salads and love it. I don’t exactly measure the ingredients. I just add little bits of everything and check the flavour regularly until I like it, which is when it’s quite tangy. I served my salad with some crusty French bread.

The lovely plate pictured was hand made by talented potter Lee Wolfe. It has pretty rough edges and a light glaze over it. Pretty much everything I serve on it looks divine! Make sure you check out Lee Wolfe’s gorgeous collection.

Have a wonderful day, and let me know if you give this easy salad a try!

Holly x

* Image and recipe original to Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle

An Evening of Art with Friends

September 4th, 2013

A good friend of mine who is an artist recently came up with an idea to host an evening of art in her garden. While I am not exactly a budding artist, I do appreciate art and have always wanted to try my hand at an abstract painting. So I recently took up the challenge and on a balmy summer evening, the three if us sat to create over a bottle of rosé. It was so much fun! I have not felt that relaxed in a long time. Whether that was because of the wine, I do not know, but it was just what I needed. Some time taken for myself, to sit, unwind and create with my pals. Here’s what we got up to!




It was all set up so beautifully. My friend has a huge collection of art supplies and made everything available to us for the evening, including the canvases. When we arrived, her outdoor table was set up and ready for us to get stuck in! I must admit, I needed a few sips of wine to relax a bit and get into the mood. As it happens, abstract art is no easy feat!




My attempt at abstract art wasn’t the success I was envisioning, partly because I underestimated how difficult it is to do paint abstract. I am a perfectionist (and ever-so-slight control freak!) by nature, so had to almost unlearn that very innate part of my character and give into the moment, which was pretty hard to do! My art and illustrations board on Pinterest is filled with the most gorgeous artworks that seem so easy to try, but I have learned that abstract art is very psychological. I will try again without thinking to much, but wondered whether my two-year-old might do a better job!





My friend Neele is an industrial designer and while I knew she was creative, I never knew she had such a steady hand. I loved watching her create this delicate piece from acrylic paint and newspaper, with a sweet little bird painted onto it.



Sarah, the friend who organised our little art evening was working on a layered piece for a client with butterflies and shades of pink. She did such a great job hosting and hope she plans to invite us all over on a regular basis!

Tell me: Do you do things like this with your friends? What activities help you to unwind?

Have a great week!

Holly x