Talking About Favorite Spaces, Future Projects + Life Without Closets. My Interview with Holly Becker

As I promised in my previous post, here my interview with Holly Becker founder/editor of blog “decor8” and co-author of the book “Decorate.” The book is packed with over 400 photos, it’s almost 300 pages thick and shares an amazing amount of inspiration and advice. If you don’t have it already-just go and get it…
Holly, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Now let’s go…

Q: If you were to pick your favorite photos out of the entire book, which ones are they and why?
Holly— That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! I truly loved all of the homes in this book as I selected the locations so naturally I felt a connection to them. I have 12 that I’d like to highlight, but I could certainly add many more…

1. Simon Doonan’s office on page 47. I loved his poodle lamp, ceramics and his lovely armchair.

2. The desk area I put together to show a mood board in action on p. 73 using random objects from Leslie Shewring’s studio space in LA. That day always brings a smile to my face as Leslie, Debi Treloar and I had such a great time and her husband Dan cooked the best meal for us – a feast. Such great people.

 3. Emily Chalmer’s living room on p.106 because it’s so eclectic and visually so much fun to scan and examine. I love rooms like this, so much to take in without feeling cluttered. Amazing.

4. Lyndsay Caleo + Fitzhugh Patrick’s kitchen on p.153, I could have moved right in. Everything was perfectly perfect!

5. Amy Nuensinger + Shawn Gold’s kitchen on p.160-161. I spent hours in this space and loved being there, it was such an inspiration and so massive, a true cook’s kitchen.

Here the other 7 that Holly highlighted – check them out in the book:

6. Rita Konig’s living room view showing her cocktail table on page 51. I had balloon shades like hers in my bedroom as a child and I loved the gold piggy bank on the window and the wire basket beneath the table where she kept bottles of tonic water. I also love her raspberry velvet chair and her gorgeous artwork. Her living room is very feminine and feels British to me with a touch of New York.
7. Amy Neunsinger + Shawn Gold’s sitting area off of the bedroom in their LA home on p.61. I loved the shimmery tile work around the fireplace and her massive windows. It was a pretty corner.
8. Tine Kjeldsen’s living room had this fantastic Asian cabinet painted white that I am still dreaming of owning a year since I’ve been in her house! I love that cabinet, it’s shown on p. 76. I also love the French cabinet on p.77 in her dining room. She had the best furniture in her home. There wasn’t a single piece that I wouldn’t own.
9. Tine Kjeldsen’s bathroom was gorgeous, especially the leather drawer handles that she made herself on the cabinet surrounding her sink on p. 81.
10. Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau’s dining room on p.126 from this perspective with the colorful wallpaper in her kitchen in the far distance. The lighting in her home was phenomenal and her vivid colors were balanced perfectly with all of the white.
11. Yvonne Eijkenduijn’s TV room on p.130 was so sweet and cute – I loved the natural light in that space as well.
12. Sania Pell’s mantle on p.237, oh it’s so gorgeous – everything – love!
Q: As a designer, which rooms do you find the most challenging to decorate? Which ones the most intriguing?
Media rooms, I have no interest in massive televisions and booming sound systems. I’m very minimalist when it comes to electronics, less is more. The most intriguing spaces are, to me, decorating guest bedrooms. I really have this thing for decorating them, no clue where it stems from but I just love the whole notion of providing comfort and charm to a guest and making their space very special when they come to visit me. I loved to stay on my grandparents farm, my grandmother always prepared the sweetest little twin bed for me with mismatched floral sheets that smelled like cotton and grass – she line dried everything – and I loved all of her pretty little things around the room on the dressers and night tables. Yeah, that must be where it comes from. I always felt special when I stayed in her little room.
Q: You spent only a few pages on children’s spaces-could this be a topic you will explore more…a future book project perhaps??? ( hint)
We gave children’s spaces 10 pages and there were about 6-8 children’s rooms in other parts of the book that some may not recognize instantly as being kid’s spaces — which is what I loved, the homeowners made the home feel very family friendly without looking like the kid’s were in total control of the house. Also, half the homeowners didn’t have children, which makes the book feel more approachable for readers who do not have children. I wanted the book to appeal to families and also to single couples and single people as well.
Here some “snap shots” I took straight  from the Children’s Rooms section of the book.
I love how Holly layed out this book: quotes, photos, floor plans, tips, lists… Very much like a magazine. Or a blog. Ha ha.
Q:  Actually, what is your next project?
I’m soon to work on the next Decorate book which will be a bit of a supporting actor to the current one, I’m building it out and will be writing it solo this time around. I’m really looking forward to working on it, I loved being buried deep in the book writing process. I could live like that. And I loved all of the traveling I did with photographer Debi Treloar. I could travel with her for four months all over again and be absolutely thrilled to do it. She’s a peach, absolutely one of the best people I’ve worked with in my life. I’m also working with my friend and colleague, Leslie Shewring, on a project as well that may end up being in print too. It really never ends for me, and I don’t want it to because I love the process of collaborating, meeting people, traveling, inspiring others, etc. I have a critical eye and this helps me with books that are visual like a decorating book. I like being able to use my critical eye and have a team respect my vision and even get excited about some of my choices. I felt that with the current project and it was both validating and exciting for me.
Q: Holly, you grew up in the US and recently moved to Germany, while I did it the other way around…I came to the States about 17 years ago. What do you think is the biggest difference between the German and American decorating style? Lifestyle? And architectural style? ( One of the first noticed big difference for me was the sheer size of things…)
In Germany we don’t have closets and this drove me crazy at first but now I love the idea of buying wardrobes because then you can decide where to put your closet in say, the bedroom, vs. being stuck with the closet in a space you may not like. I notice rental property here is exceptional – I can’t believe how nicely apartments are when you move in – nothing like most of the ones I rented when I was single living in the states. Apartments don’t come with kitchens here though, so there is quite an expense involved whenever you move as you have to completely furnish and buy appliances for your kitchen unless you have some that will fit from your last apartment. But I like this system because I always thought using appliances that belonged to someone else wasn’t ideal – I like using stuff I dirtied
Q: We all love us a good quote. And you use so many great ones relating to decorating throughout your book. But when it come to your take on life in general, do you have a personal quote you love, a “mantra” you live by?
I believe that what you put out into the world comes back to you, if not now, someday, and so living honestly, with love, being thankful and raising others up is the best way to ensure that what comes back to you will be loving and kind in return. What’s that expression, karma is only a bitch if you are? ha ha. But it’s so true. Live with integrity and you’ll be better for it.
Thank you Holly for taking the time! Mit freundlichen Grüssen…und bis bald. S 
Top 5 photographs by Debi Treolar. Courtesy of Chronicle Books. Thank you Lorraine!
P.S. Irene Hoofs, editor of one of my favorite blogs “Bloesem” interviewed Holly as well…check it out here.
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