I Am Craving Light More Than Ever

How can I look at these stunning rooms from an old Danish home and not feel they should belong to me?! Me, me, me! I am on such a light kick right now. But I am really just going back to my Swedish roots? Or am I mentally preparing for the long dark months ahead? I clearly need something to off-set that mood! Light  — come on in!

(Also heart the light gray walls. And the large contemporary painting with a touch of orange in it).

Even the cats are perfect.

What a beautiful eating area. Imagine it lit with candles for the evening supper. I would never leave the room.

My Mom has always said: “Invest in a good pair of quality silver candlesticks”.

I’ve heard it a zillion times. But she is so right. Timeless beauty. They never go out of style.

Rust you can always trust for a pretty patina.

Love  it all.

Also L.O.V.E this oil painting “Gray Island”.

I purchased it from my dear blog friend-sis Michele’s Etsy store.

I found a recycled barn wood frame at a local framing store that I think works well with the painting. When I put the two pieces together the young sales assistant asked me:

“Did you paint this yourself”? “Nope,  a dear friend of mine did,  I said. “It is so cool!”, he exclaimed. It is more than cool. It is original and beautiful — and very affordable. A most perfect gift.

Hop over to Michele’s store here – and browse her other pretty art pieces.

“Gray Island” would fit right into any of the rooms in that beautiful Danish home. Perhaps above the linen chair to the right with the b/w cat on it. Look at that area again. It screams for just a bit of color and something that “embraces light” just like Michele’s paintings do.

In my next post we are going to talk about white paint colors. I so often get e-mails asking for paint recommendations. I am going to share some. And I hope that you want to share your favorite white shades with us. Yes, salute white!

Hugs to you all.

Images: Image no. 6 via Splendid Willow. All other images via Skona Hem.

Written by Splendid Willow in: White rooms |


I Came Back From California With This…

It really should have been all about good memories (thank you to all my old, wonderful SCO high-tech colleagues. So much fun seeing you all after 12 years. I treasure each and everyone of you! Only dear Ms. Barbara and Mr. Brian missing… and too little time with Ms. Tamar…) and perhaps another batch of perfume…

Here’s the story in a nutshell…

I fly down to California for a fun company reunion. My close girlfriend-sis Jodi sniffs my perfume and drags me to Anthropologie to pick up a bottle. And so it happens that once a year in San Jose, CA, Anthropologie teams up with The Perfect Dog, a local dog shelter for a joint, meaningful collaboration. Eight adorable dogs are hoping for new, good homes. Trust me, a dog was not exactly on my radar…

… until I met this mellow fellow, a 6 month old Jack Russel Terrier and Chihuahua mutt.

He is calm and super sweet and does not bark or nip. His eyes say it all – an old soul in a new (and small) package. Jodi calls my husband (I don’t dare) to tell him I am, not leaving San Jose Jose without him!

I scramble to get him an air ticket, a health certificate, an airplane carrier, and new toys. (Thank you Laura for taking such good care of him!). The next morning we are flying back home to Seattle!

And now he is ours and we LOVE him! Love, love, love!

Let me introduce you to MILES! (Named after the great Jazz musician Miles Davis. Hubby’s pick).

I thought I saved him. But he is really saving me and forcing me to stop and smell the roses.

The kids are over the moon ecstatic and he is showering the whole family with grand love.

So there, my first (spontaneous perhaps) dog purchase. I/we scored. Big time. (He is sitting next to me while I am writing this).

Before I headed to the airport, Ms. Jodi who, together with my business partner Ewa, is my go-to friend for (among many other things!) excellent, easy, and healthy food, served me this dreamy and oh-so-good pumpkin scone. Fresh from the oven, I wolfed it down in a matter of seconds. (She took these pictures while I was biting my nails waiting for Miles!).

Jodi, a high-flying PR executive in her day job, runs the food blog Garlic Girl a must destination for me and for anyone looking for easy and good-for-you comfort food. And I should know. I have been indulging in her dishes for the last 14 years!

Jodi’s pumpkin scone recipe can be found here. Make sure to bookmark her blog for many other fabulous recipes. (Look for her healthy smoothies. Jodi takes great care of herself and she looks it too!). You can thank me later.

There you have it. And you thought I was going to say I dragged a new, grand sofa with me! This beats any kind of fancy-schmanzy piece of furniture. A fun reunion, wonderful company & food and a precious dog. I’m whistling over here!

Hugs to you all.

Images: No. 1 unknown, 2-7 via Splendid Willow, 8+9 via Garlic Girl.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Just Because I Like It |


I Caved In To The Flag Trend

20% trends, 80% me — that is my personal home furnishings motto. But the flag trends that has been huge for the last few years – and is still going strong – never really manged to get my attention. Or so I thought, until I saw this…

Nope, not another Union Jack or Stripes and Stars galore but a simple Red Cross flag. I like the look and I like what the Red Cross represents – “Vote for Humanity”.

This is what we all should know about The Red Cross:

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. It has today approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide responsible for protecting human life and health, ensuring respect for all human beings, and preventing and alleviating human suffering, without any discrimination.

And this is what we all should know about the flag:

The Red Cross emblem was officially approved in Geneva in 1863.

The Red Cross flag is often confused with the Flag of Switzerland which is the opposite of it (white cross on red). In 1906, to put an end to the argument of Turkey that the flag took its roots from Christianity, it was decided to promote officially the idea that the Red Cross flag had been formed by reversing the federal colours of Switzerland.


I won this vintage Red Cross flag on Ebay yesterday, for a song.

(The red background is just fabric to better show off the white).

Now I have to figure out where to place the flag and how to display it. Shall I stretch it on a canvas like below?

Or frame it?

Or let it hang “free”?

I am leaning towards letting the flag “float” in a large acrylic frame box (see below — via The Dallas Frame House). It will cost mega bucks (probably 10 time more than the flag!) but I like the flag to be both a symbol and an art piece. The graphic design of the cross is so iconic.

What would you do? Quite curious to hear.

Sorry to my blog friends for my total lack of presence in blog land lately. I have been insanely busy. But I plan to catch up – starting today.

Hugs to everyone!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Home Goods & Accessories | Tags: ,


Jute Trim & Oversized Nail Heads = Must Try!

Splendid! Must try! I might not do an entire room, but what a wonderful detail around a key door frame. (I am a little bit of a precision freak, so the idea of measuring and nailing feels soothing to me).

Carolina Herrera Baez in her lovely Madrid apartment.

Some pretty jute trim here.

And burlap trim here.

I will let you know when I find the perfect trim. I am looking for something timeless and a tad more formal than the ones above (= I really want Carolina’s gorgeous trim!).  Let me know if you have a good source.

Hugs to you all.

Images 1-3 scanned via Elle Decor  – October issue 2012.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Chic on a Budget,DIY | Tags:


In The Spotlight: Meet Michelle Niday

I have not done a segment in my “In The Spotlight” series for a long time. But rest assured, there are still many talented people I have a strong desire to share – because of the good vibes, creativity and talent they ooze – with you!

Let me introduce you to the talented, LA based interior designer, Michelle Niday. We first met through my store when she purchased not one but two of my blankets. We started to talk about design and she shared some pictures of her home with me (I showed you a tiny glimpse some time back). Our cyber connection evolved into fun phone chats and had Michelle lived any closer I would have been regularly banging on her front door. I like this girl (she is warm, fun and clever) and I like her approach to design!

Her beautiful home is featured in the current fall/winter issue of Country French (I picked up my copy at Barnes & Noble). And what a home she shares with her partner, Corey Young (a mega talented general contractor)! They live in a fabulous loft that was once part of a 1920’s toy factory.

(Pay attention to those fantastic windows!).

My Scandinavian blanket looking good on Michelle’s pretty chaise!

I have have been wanting to share our design conversations with you for quite a while. The following are the questions I bombarded her with along with her graceful responses.

Enjoy — you might just walk away with a few design tricks!

Q: How do you describe your personal design style?

MN: I try to harmonize and to juxtapose timeless contemporary with timeworn antiques. I enjoy working with neutral colors, organic textures and graphic patterns to achieve an exciting space.

Monika: OK, STOP right there! I have a very serious crush on that table in front of Michelle’s lovely French sofa. She tells me that it is a very old cheese table from France and that it has a lovely patina and the most perfect scale. She knows how envious I am…

Q: What design elements do you never grow tired off?

MN: Vintage European (Italian/French) plaster sculptures of the human body (feet, hands torso, all good!), stripes, chandeliers, textural rugs like Jute or Seagrass, giant clam shells, vintage charcoal sketches of the human body, architectural fragments/objects (wood, metal), Belgian linen and Vellum books!

 Q: What 5 things can anybody do to quickly beautify a room?


1. PAINT: You can simply paint the 4 walls in an exciting dark or pure white color or try the absence of all color, black (BM Black Suede looks terrific if done in a flat finish) or do an interesting treatment ie: paint stripes, horizontally or vertically, or paint a graphic pattern. You could even try painting a floor!

2. REMOVING: If your room has particularly pretty flooring or windows/moldings, try removing curtains or rugs and letting the attractive moldings and floor become the focal points.

3. EDIT: Remove everything from your room. And I mean everything (even wall hangings)! Slowly reintroduce pieces back in to the scheme, trying things in different places until you get a more pleasing look.

4. FLOAT: Try pulling a major piece away from a wall ( sofa, even a bed) go one step further and try angling this piece (again, much easier when room is empty!).

5. REPEAT: Try grouping your favorite collections or paintings. Usually the collected pieces become much more impactful and interesting when placed together.

Q: What in your opinion is an absolute no-no when designing a room?

(I love Michelle’s answers where she mixes dont’s with do’s!)

MN: No THEME rooms allowed please!

– Do not use poly-fill in pillows. Instead use at least 90/10 down preferably 75/25 (super soft and squishy!)

– Do not hang curtains that are too short or hung too low! In my opinion, curtains should be hung as high as possible over the window and the length should just break on the floor much like a man’s pant cuff breaks on his shoes! Interlining a drape well allows even inexpensive drape fabric to look like a million bucks! Trust me even a muslin fabric will look really fab!

– Do not use lots of little upholstered pieces. Instead use less, but use pieces that have a grander scale!

– Do not create a room that is just a pretty face, it must actually function for you!

– Do not create a “period” room. Instead MIX pieces artfully using your favorite eras and styles to create a room with personality and timelessness!

– Do not be timid, do not be afraid to make a mistake. Imperfection often makes a perfect room!


Michelle, please share one personal design trick with us!

MN: I always infuse a room with at least one or two objects/furniture that have a natural patina versus a manufactured patina as in “You can fool some of the people all of the time…….but you can not fool all of the people all of the time…” It is certainly fine to use some pieces which have man made patina but I believe the human eye picks this up either unconsciously or consciously whether or not the entire room is filled with reproductions!

(This is Michelle’s wonderful and personal kitchen!).

Now was that interesting or what, folks! I learned a lot and I hope you did too! Thank you Michelle for sharing your thoughts on design with us. You are one talented and inspirational gal. I look forward to seeing more of your work (and I look forward to many more fun chats!).

Michelle is one busy lady renovating and decorating many clients homes (incl. several celebrities’ homes such as the lovely Ali Landry’s). She is also finds time to be in charge of set designs for TV shows. Hop over here if you want to learn more about her work. And you can always follow Michelle on Pinterest — here.

Hugs to everyone and always Thank You for tuning in!

Images: No. 1 via Splendid Willow, no. 2 private via Michelle Niday, no. 3-10 via Country French (scanned from fall/winter issue 2012).


Written by Splendid Willow in: In The Spotlight | Tags: ,

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