Knock, Knock On Blog Friends’ Doors

I feel blessed. I don’t need many glossy design magazines anymore! I can totally rely on my many talented and creative blog friends to keep me interested, inspired, current and well informed about the best design sources. So today, I am opening the doors (read: forcing myself in without ringing the door bell!) to seven blog friends homes to share what new interior projects have kept them busy lately. (More friends will be stalked for sure!).

1) First up my dear friend Nancy. She wanted to give her lonely looking living room wall a makeover. She and Hubby and a creative friend measured, leveled and cut out some inexpensive MDF strips and with some serious elbow grease they took the wall from this…

To this! What a masterpiece! A whole different room! (More here).

2) The lovely Erica recently gave her living area fireplace a new look with marble tile. She took it from this…

To this! How absolutely divine! Note: she is still deciding on the mantel piece. (More here).

(Erica is not only super stylish she is also incredibly generous. She recently featured a mouse box from my store on her blog, which led to a BIG design name picking it up for a magazine. Hope to show you soon!).

3. I have mentioned the friendly, upbeat and (oh so energetic!) Tina and her incredible home/castle/mansion before. Folks, you need to follow her weekly – Thursday – home updates. (She is moving in with her family in November. Now that is when the real fun begins — when she will begin to decorate her fantastic home).

The new kitchen is going in. (This is just a tiny corner…).

 And the kitchen eating nook. Look at that amazing architecture!

(More here).

Tina just presented me with a Versatile Blogger Award. What an honor! Thank you so much Tina! But all the fantastic blog awards should really go to you.

4. My close blog friend Greet is busy with many design projects for picky, sophisticated clients. She has started to share moodboards for a living room and dining area she is working on.

Here is one of her inspiration images. I LOVE this room. So stunning. And leaving it to Greet will make it even more amazing! Follow her! (More here).

5. The talented (and witty!) Ms. Sherry is constantly showering us with all kinds of lovely projects she is working on. In many cases it is just a matter of simple and smart styling, without breaking the bank, to get the mega bucks look.

She took a client’s eating area from beige…

To chic! (More here).

 6. Wonderful Casey showed us what she did with a guest room. (Not her own but belonging to a client). I absolutely LOVE the cozy feel and the colors & textures! Very, very nice!

And this is what it looked like before. Talk about a transformation! (More here).

7. And then finally my close blog friend Donna who soon will share her master bedroom re-do. She just shared a sneak peek of her new vanity. She found an antique, gray painted chest which she had converted to hold two sinks. She wanted something old as a focal point in the brand new bathroom. Can’t wait to see more of this! Mixing old with new is so my melody. (More here).


One of the friendly editors over at Houzz (over 600,000 ideabooks are stored at Houzz and many industry designers show their portfolios without any image overlap) asked if  they could feature my home. The feature went live yesterday.

Thank you Vanessa and Houzz! Many of you have already seen areas from my home (I need to take more images and show what new things I have been working on!) but I have many new readers who might be interested. Hop over here and say hello, if you have a moment!

Hugs to you all & happy cyber hopping!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Knock, Knock! May we come in? | Tags:


Knock, Knock. May We Come In?

Time to add more loveliness to my series featuring real people and design. Nothing contrived, nothing staged. Just lovely people, unique styles and lots of personality.

A few years ago my husband was part of a panel debate at a hightech conference in LA. The moderator of the panel was a well respected market analyst — Monica.

Last year my husband contacted her again for something business related and would you know she lives with her husband down the road from us in Seattle. Literally 3 minutes away!

Monica and Dan graciously invited us over for dinner.

Here were the instructions:

Pass the garage and the main house.

 Take the side door into the garden and bring a flash light!

Follow the pathway to the very back of the garden.

In the very back you will see a green house. That is where we will be having dinner.

Do you know what they built in their backyard? A …

Not a barbeque. Not a fire pit. Nope, a Pizza Kitchen! With pull up garage doors, concrete floors and an imported Italain pizza oven. Monica is from Italy so it all makes sense.


We had  great time and ate the best pizzas in town with toppings galore! It was a social and fun evening! (You will have to imagine this place at night around the pizza oven with candles on the table and the doors open to a lovely lit backyard).

William and I trotted down the other day to take some daytime pictures.

Most of the ingredients on the house pizzas come from their own garden. What a lovely way of living!


They also use their pizza oven to make lovely home made bread and wonderful desserts.


I really enjoyed putting together this post. I love anything that is unique, authentic and personal. A private Pizza Kitchen – how fun!

Warm hugs to you all.

All images via Splendid Willow/Monica & Dan

Written by Splendid Willow in: Knock, Knock! May we come in? | Tags:


House Visit In Toronto

I have a serious design crush on this lady. It is a good thing we don’t live in the same city — or she would find me frequently on her door step. Emma is her name, and she resides in an old Victorian house in Toronto with her family. This is her street.

My Knock-Knock series is usually about homes I have personally visited but this time I am making an exception. I will pretend I already know this home! That is how much I like it — and her! I am glad that the blog world connected us and I so appreciate our virtual friendship. (Her wonderful blog is called The Marion House Book).

I love this home because it feels lived in. It is interesting and personal. It is not contrived and trendy in a phony way. It is current and yet unique. In my opinion, people with good self confidence (and style) live in this home!

Here is a brand new image of Emma’s living room. Her thoughtful Mom recently purchased that wonderful Suzani for her in Uzbekistan.

Another angle of the living room. She kept the tiles around the fireplace because they are original to the house. I like how she thinks. Pay attention to the black chandelier. Emma and her husband found it on the floor in the corner of a local furniture store. They bought it for close to nothing and did the electrical work themselves.

A wonderful kitchen for family and friends. And no predictable cookie cutter style.

Emma just updated her dining room with some black Eames chairs and a new light fixture. I love the oversized painting by Canadian painter, Tony Scherman (Napoleon’s hand), passed down to the family by Emma’s parents. The only wall big enough to hold the painting was this one above the sideboard. It clearly was meant to hang there!

When I ask Emma about her interior design style, she tells me:

“I like spaces with a sense of individuality. Rooms that tell us a story about the people who live there, which usually means mixing different elements together to create a unique space.”

A brand new image of the master bedroom.

A bathroom with dark gray walls. Works wonderfully with white of course and with natural light.

Oh, and this is what the bathroom looked like before!

This is how I first discovered Emma — when stumbling upon her post about her porch chair makeover. Apparently, while going for a walk, she came across these two chairs that were a bit beaten up and in need of some love. She gave them some paint and some new outdoor fabric. Look at that transformation! (I would have moved the chair into my living room!).

Do you understand now why I adore this girl?

Thank you Emma for sharing your wonderful  & relaxed home with us. And thank you for sharing some brand new images!

Happy new week to all my readers — let it be a good one!

All images via Emma & The Marion House Book.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Knock, Knock! May we come in? |


Art Haven + Where My Design Style Started

Good new week to you all!

During my stay in Stockholm I stayed at my former boyfriend’s (Mr. E) apartment on Sodermalm in Stockholm. Although we went separate ways many years ago he is still one of my closest friends and also a good friend of my husband.

I met Mr. E (he is anything but formal (!) — but pretty private so I am going to keep it that way) when I was fairly young and there is no doubt in my mind that my design style — that is truly me — formed during our long relationship. Mr. E loves art and has a most exqusite collection. When we met, his style at home was all contemporary with nothing old in sight.

I wanted more warmth and “personality” in his/our home, and perhaps a little of what I was used to from my home, so I made him purchase (poor man!) his first real antique — this beautiful Swedish 18th century console table, as a contrast to Olle Baertling’s oil painting from 1960. This was exactly 20 years ago, folks. He thought I was crazy at first but he went along for the ride. The vignette is still in his home and is, in my opinion, as beautiful and current as only great classic pieces can be. 

(I am sorry for the horrible image.Yikes! But I am still going to show it because it is key for those of you who might be interested in understanding my style).

Olle Baertling (1911 – 1981) was one of the Nordic countries’ leading and most internationally oriented artists of the postwar era. His paintings have become modernist icons.

(Olle Baertling via internationally recognized Swedish art gallery Nordenhake).

Yes, of course I follow trends but the core of my personal style, the mix of old and new, I will always remain faithful to. And the starker the contrasts the better. I am not saying that my style is good or right (if there even is such a thing).  But it feels good in my heart. At the time I did not see this elsewhere, I did not copy somebody else, it just came naturally a long time ago. And it still feels right to me. Having said that, I have tons of respect for other styles and appreciate and like many, many other ways of decorating. There are so many things out there that I love!

The TV area consist of Swedish sofas and classic Bruno Mattson chairs and table. And everywhere you look — lovely art.

I can spend all day sharing Mr. E’s art collection, today I am just showing a few of the pieces that I find very special. He loves sculptures and this bronze torso by Swedish sculptir Claes Hake is a a favorite of his. The art work on the wall is by famous American artist Quitman.

This art piece is an absolute favorite of mine. It is called the “cross” and is by Curt Asker. It is made of metal and forms the best shadows on the wall. I think it is absolutely stunning and wish I could afford one myself! (Mr. E once gave me a small wall art piece by Asker that I treasure so).

A corner view of the office. The bronze statue (3 ladies) in the back is by the well established French artist Louis Canes. I had the opportunity to meet him several times in Paris together with Mr. E.   He is just the nicest man. He is very tall, I can report, and quite funny! On the wall is an installation by American artist Kohlner.

Can’t remember the artist behind the black and white artwork. But I like it!

Pablo Picasso — 1881-1973 (etching).

A hanging sculpture by Swedish artist  Lars Englund, one of the best known Swedish contemporary artists.

An oil painting by legendary cuban artist Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982).

Lucio Fontana’ s (1889-1968) signature slashed papers. (Bad image again, sorry).

An oil painting by American artist Jonathan Lasker (widely regarded as one of the most influential abstract painters in the United States).  He came to Mr. E’s summer home a couple of times. He thought that our midsummer rituals (think lots of schnaps and marinated herring!) were the most exotic things. It was crazy fun to see this creative New Yorker sitting in the blooming back yard equipped with black sunglasses and a small black hat (think the Blues Brothers!) and take in the Swedish summer! He is a hoot!

I absolutely love this bronze horse head by Henrik Allert, one of the most outstanding ceramic sculptors in Sweden today. It is stunning, paired with the soft yellow painting by an American artist (unknown).

I can go on and on about Mr. E’s art collection and his exellent feel for good art. I feel so blessed to call him a very close friend and I have learned so much from him over the years including all the time we spent time running in and out of art galleries and museums and all the homes we renovated and decorated. He has been and will always be my no. 1 art guide.

When I write this I wonder if my style would have been different had we never met.

On Wednesday I am taking another week off — but this time with family. And that will be the last trip this summer. We are heading to Oregon coast (Bandon) to enjoy some quality time with family.

While I am diving in sand dunes, you will hear from a few more wonderful blog friends who will share their Summer Postcards with us. Please, check in and see what they have to share! (I know I will be checking in for new books to read!).

Hugs to you all! I am back mid next week with more reporting from my trip to Stockholm.

Image 1. via Flickr. Photos interiors via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Knock, Knock! May we come in? |


A Swedish Home & Dreams Via Seattle

I am surrounded by many great friends and friends of friends with lovely homes. It is about time that I start sharing how some of them live! They are not professional designers (although they could be if they wanted to!), they are just ordinary people like most of us, with a strong passion for design and an excellent eye for creating wonderful and personal homes. Nothing is pretend, nothing is staged. This is the real deal.

Meet my close & wonderful friend Pernilla! Every time we get together, we forget about everything else and just chat about design for hours non-stop. We are equally passionate design nerds! (And my little William and Pernilla’s little Klara are close friends and destined to end up as a married couple some 30 years from now – we Moms have decided!).

Pernilla is from Sweden and this girl lives it too! Lots of white and many classic Scandinavian design pieces. Like many Swedes her great style is simple and fresh.

Her wonderful & handy (!) husband just made this long dining table to go with their Danish Waegner chairs. I think it turned out fantastic!

Pernilla loves mixing white and black with added pops of color.

No home is Swedish without a classic, gray sheep skin.

Pernilla and her husband are seriously contemplating buying a second home in Sweden. A lovely vacation spot to call home from home. And this is what they are swooning over right now. (Hold on to your hats!).

When Pernilla just recently discovered this place she immediately interrupted her husband’s business meeting just so he could start putting the energy out there for this house! I would interrupt my husband too! What a house for relaxing days and easy living!

The house is situated in the southern parts of Sweden (Skåne).

What a great mix of old and new. And what a light and airy home. Stunning in my book.

This house has Pernilla’s name all over it. I can so see her in it! And I can so see myself visiting – often, often! In fact, I might be that horror guest that just keeps on extending and extending my stay!

Happy new week to you all! Let it be a good one!

Images – house in Skane via Hemnet. All other images via Splendid Willow.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Knock, Knock! May we come in? |

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