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: ,


In The Spotlight – Brooke Giannetti

Time to put the spotlight on yet another talented designer who I find very interesting. LA based designer Brooke Giannetti is hardly a stranger to the blog community. Her wonderful blog Velvet & Linen is a high priority read and she has built a successful business, Giannetti Home, around her blog but she might be a new face to my many loyal readers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have  wanted to do this interview with Brooke for a while because I have so enjoyed watching her personal design style change somewhat, literally, right in front of our eyes, since I started to read her blog about 18 months ago. It has been a fascinating process to follow. It is ok to change your style and taste people! Listen to your heart. (And of course our mutual love for Swedish antiques is also a factor).

Brooke has been going from a more feminine shabby style to embracing a more simple new classic style and still being true to herself. I also find it very interesting how Brooke and her well known architect husband Steve, who has a completely different style, have managed to find common and lovely design ground. Let’s listen to what she has to say. You will walk away with a lot of good information!

Which design trends do you see yourself happily adopting in 2011?
Steve and I don’t pay attention to design trends. We design spaces that move us emotionally and reflect the way we live
It has been very interesting to watch your design style in the last 18 months. Describe your journey. 
It has been an amazing time in my life! I think the blog has helped me to develop my design style more fully by forcing me to write about it. It has also opened up so many opportunities. Our design online services has become a wonderful addition to our work, which never would have happened without the blog. Steve and I are also excited to have the opportunity to write a book about our design philosophy — “Patina Style”will be published in September! We are also starting the design process for our new home in Ojai. I think the blog and the book have made this process so much easier because they have helped us to refine our design style and helped us clearly understand what we love
 What furnishings have you liked in the past but are no longer attracted to? 

I like slimmer upholstered pieces these days. They compliment the Swedish and French antiques that I’ve always loved and continue to be drawn to. Big overstuffed sofas and chairs have not held up as design elements!

The Nick sofa below is from Giannetti Home and was used in the Gilt Home Showcase House.

What objects for the home are you surprised to find yourself liking now?
I’m always looking for new home accessories to bring into our store. My eye is always drawn to pieces that have a wonderful patina and some connection to the artist that made them. I don’t like things that are too perfect.

During a recent flea market visit, I discovered a vendor who specializes in antique wood carved Loatian Buddhas. The vendor explained how each one was carved by a different villager as an offering to bring to the temple. You could see the care that went into making them. I bought them all!

Do you feel that you have found your “own” design voice? 
I do feel that my design voice has gotten stronger. Although I still flip through the pages of all of the design magazines, I find that my style is less influenced by them. I’m becoming much more confident in my own instincts. 
(Brooke’s powder room went through a makeover. Isn’t the sink gorgeous!)
How would you describe your design style vs. your husband’s?
Steve’s design style is much more modern and masculine than my style! (The gorgeous kitchen below is designed by Steve).
Merging two peoples different styles can be challenging. Any good advice?
I actually love how our two styles compliment each other. One of the things I’ve learned is to be open to his suggestions. I listen to what is important to him. I want him to feel comfortable in his own home and the homes we design together. I really feel that our designs are better when we combine the things we both love.

This is what their sun room looks like after they worked on the style together.


 After: (A personal makeover favorite of mine!/Splendid Willow).
And let’s hear it from Steve himself! What would your advice be to couples trying to find a common design ground?
Steve’s advice: “Select images and items that you each individually love. Put them together on the table and find the common ground between them. You might be surprised at what is created! Usually one partner vetoes an idea too early. Be open to the mix of your styles.”

Their living room before:

Their living room after: (More streamlined, more of a mix. Do you see the galvanized steel table?)
Any interior design project that has a special place in your heart, Brooke?
Recently we’ve had several clients who love what we love. Those are the easiest and most satisfying projects to work on.

We just finished helping a client fill their French inspired beach home in Malibu. We only had to visit their home once in order to know the pieces that would work. Our clients met us back at the store, we picked out the furniture and had it delivered to their home a few days later. There is nothing like immediate design gratification!

(An example of an interior design project for a client. Not quite finished — but oh so lovely).

 What would you like to do more of?
Steve and I enjoy going on buying trips for the store. I’d love to have more design jobs that allow us to use the pieces we find on our travels. I also have discovered a love for creating gardens. I hope to design more of them in the future.
You incorporate quite a bit of “Swedish”  into your and your clients homes. What is it about Swedish design and interiors that draws you in?

Swedish pieces have classic proportions and style, but they aren’t as heavy and formal as many European antiques. There is a rustic refinement to Swedish design that is so easy incorporated into any room.

Describe a room or home furnishings that make you, shall we say, nervous?
A space with too much color or pattern without any place for the eye to rest makes me jittery!
What 3-5 things can anybody do to immediately beautify a room?
1) Get rid of unnecessary clutter, 2) Simplify your color palette, 3) If you can’t afford an expensive rug, use a natural fiber one from Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware. 4) Baskets for storage are inexpensive and add so much beautiful texture to a room. They also hide the clutter.
In Brook’e office she cleaverly hides her printer in a wicker basket!
Do yo have a specific wall color that you come back to over and over again?

I actually prefer no wall color. We’ve used California One Kote, a drywall topping compound, on the walls in many of the homes that we design. It has a wonderful luster, similar to plaster but at a fraction of the price.

When we do use paint, we prefer Farrow & Ball products. Their full spectrum paint reacts beautifully with the sunlight in a room. Some of our favorite FB colors are: Pointing, Lamp Room Gray, and Pink Ground.

Any favorite place for great fabrics?
 I love incorporating vintage fabrics into my rooms. I often recover chairs or ottomans in homespun linen or vintage French linen sheets. For special accents I think Claremont Fabrics & Furnishings sell some of the most gorgeous fabrics. Most of their fabrics are made on old looms in Europe. Their silk velvet is dreamy!
Ssshhhh… And what about great design bargains? Do you have a secret place?
I still think that flea markets are the best places to find unique, one of kind pieces at great prices. 
What’s your favorite design piece at home? The one you’d take with you before all others.

The Italian piece that hangs over our bed in our Oxnard home. It has the perfect aged gilded patina. Because it was a gift from Steve, it also has a great deal of sentimental value.

Finally, what is your design motto?
“Thank you so much for including me in your “In the Spotlight” series, Monika! This was so much fun! xo Brooke.”

Thank you so much Brooke & Steve! I am so looking forward to your upcoming book. I’d better put myself on the pre-order list! For more on Brooke and her design services, go here. And don’t forget to visit their on-line store here where you will find many wonderful Swedish antiques here.

Images: No. 1 (spotlight) via Splendid Willow, no. 13 via Flickr. All other images via Velvet & Linen.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags:


Design Interview With Lars Bolander

I am so pleased to put the spotlight on an interior designer I am such a huge fan of, Lars Bolander. I can hardly think of anyone who has more genius when it comes to mixing old styles with contemporary design — and often with a Swedish twist.
I spoke with him by phone last week when he was cooking away in the kitchen of his Palm Beach home.

I had no idea what to expect before my interview. But Lars is one if the friendliest and most charming people you could ever meet. We chatted for quite a while in “Swenglish” and he said things I would never expect coming from a person with so many influential and wealthy followers and clients. His approach to design is liberating.

Enjoy the conversation. I sure did!

How would you describe your interior design style for my readers?
‘Cozy, grand, gutsy, simple. A good mix.’
Do you have a special place you go to to really unleash your design creativity?
‘Monika, it is either in the kitchen, where I love to cook! (Lars was making a fantastic sounding pasta dish during the conversation). There I can totally let my thoughts wander. Or it’s early in the morning. Like at 5 am. When the day is just about to begin and the head is all clear. That is when fun ideas pop up.’
‘One morning I woke up early and decided to paint the wall in my pool house green!’
He later used the pool house as the cover photo for his book Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design’.
‘I wanted some color for the shoot. Nothing predictable. I dragged out some pieces from my house to use as styling props and the whole photo shoot came together in 10 minutes.’
What is it about Swedish (or Scandinavian) design and interiors that you are so drawn to?
‘The simplicity. The simple lines. It is very easy to mix Swedish furniture with other styles. Swedish design is not complicated.’
‘I often see many people from Asia buying old Swedish antiques and I sometimes wonder how these two cultures cultures with such different traditions and styles are going to be able to mix. But again, because of the simple, less ornate lines — it might just work. It is always interesting to watch how different styles marry.’
How important are antiques to you?

‘I always have to be surrounded by some. I love the beauty of the pieces and the history. You wonder who could have been sitting in that old chair. You sometimes wish old pieces could talk. Painted furniture (when not over-done) I find very attractive.’

”But I don’t like fancy, very expensive antiques [Monika here – I was shocked but pleased to hear that, having seen many images from his fantastic homes]. I find them stuffy and they don’t go with my lifestyle. I like a relaxed style.’
‘I also love art and books. Those I can’t be without. But not only old. I love contemporary art and since the 60′ Sweden has seen the rise with some amazing new, contemporary artists.’
[He goes on to tell me about cook books. “Monika, I love cook books! I must have 500 in my kitchen. And they all have pictures in them. They need to have pictures. The cook books today are amazing!”]
Any particular kind of antiques you are drawn to? 
‘Nope. I like everything — from all different cultures and eras.
I always say — if you see something you really like with your heart (and you can afford it) — buy it. Figure out where to place it later. You will make room for it.
A few years ago, I found these amazing early 18th c, paintings of musical instruments while visiting Paris with my son. I could not stop thinking of them. Finally, I called my insurance guy and asked him how much my life pension was worth. He gave me a number and I said “sell it!”. And I used that money to buy the paintings!
(The art pieces are featured on the wall in the image below, which by the way is family Bolander’s residence in West Palm Beach).
It was meant to be. I later found out that these paintings were found in an attic on this tiny, tiny street in Paris, where my wife Nadine’s mother used to live! ‘
 What is a beautiful home (or room) to you?
‘Cozy. As soon as you open that front door you should get a feeling of the atmosphere. The personality should greet you right in that door step.
I also like large rooms. And rooms with tons of light.’
When you visit friends’ homes can you leave your design persona at the door step?
‘Only sometimes (Lars says with a laugh). It depends on the friends. But more than once I have started to move furniture around in rooms where I hardly knew the owners.’
 Is there a particular design item/s that you still kick yourself for not getting? 
‘Yes. Two sensational chandeliers I found in Paris. They were out of this world but very pricey. I left the store to think it through — and when I came back, they were gone!’
Are there any particular design objects for the home that you think are not only beautiful but also could be good investments down the road?
‘It all depends on what you like and are interested in. But whatever that may be, always make sure to work with people who are knowledgeable about them.
Swedish period antiques will always be good investments. And mid-century Danish modern chairs. They are very expensive. But they made so few of them, so the prices will only continue to go up.
I am also a fan of David Linley’s furniture (the son of Prinsess Margarete in England). His pieces are  top quality. Expensive, yes. But they are good.’
Is there anything within the area of interior design (in general) that makes you extra excited today?
‘Eclectic. Mixing.
I also tend to get over-excited when I travel. There are so many wonderful objects in different parts of the world.
Architecture always has a place in my heart. I can go nuts for architecture.
Once we happened to drive by this gorgeous Chateau north of Toulouse in France. The architecture, the  location and the sun opening up behind thick clouds right when we approached it – just made me want to buy it. And we did.  

The architect of the house was from Turkey but he spoke Swedish fluently after many years in Sweden.That sealed the deal!’ (They never lived in the house and sold it four years later).

 ‘I am convinced that I used to live in France in the 18th century. I can feel it!’
‘Our vacation home in Sweden (on the island Oland) is a place where I get to experiment with old Swedish architecture. I need a good dose of Sweden every year. My two sisters also have homes close to us. We talk on the phone every week. My Swedish roots are very important to me.’
Anything that gives you the hibee jibees?
‘Yes, lights high up in the middle of a ceiling – with no other purpose but to light a room. It gives the wrong kind of light!
Lighting is without a question the single most important thing in a room. Light has to be exciting. And there are many ways to light a room to make the room cozy.’
Other than that, I can get over most things. Except the word gorgeous!’
What things (2-5) could everyone do to easily bring beauty and comfort to a room?
1) Lighting, 2) Books, 3) Art, 4) Comfortable seating, 5) Flowers & plants
Art does not need to be expensive. I very often put a few art pieces together on one wall (much like an art wall) and leave the other walls empty. Makes more of an impact.’
What are your favorite places to shop for furnishings for the home?
‘Milan, Paris, Stockholm (primarily the neighborhood Ostermalmstorg).
Auctions all over the world and flea markets (but only in Paris). 
I also buy things on-line.’
Lars is now in the process of designing his first furniture line. Initially the line will consist of fifteen pieces. Everything from chairs and tables to beds. The line will be launched in his NY store, fall of 2011.
Do you ever do your own DIY (Do It Yourself) projects? If so, any in particular you are extra proud of?
‘Monika, I am too lazy for that! I have too much to do! After a long day at work, I come home to cook and spend time with family and then I need to make room for biking and swimming and reading and all those things!
But I have painted a few paintings. And I like to paint my own own walls. I recently painted a pair of columns. I find that relaxing. I only bring in some help, when I need to paint the ceilings!
Today there are so many good paints on the market. Even the mainstream brands make great paint.’
Using the “Desert Island” metaphor…If you could only take one design item with you from your home, what would it be?
‘Most likely a painting. But don’t ask me which one! Or an antique bust.’ 
Finally, what is your design motto?
‘Don’t be afraid! I find that people are so afraid of what others are going to say. Forget about those others! Your home should be a refection of you! Be brave. Just do it!’
I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Brilliant he is, Mr. Bolander!
For more information on Lars go here. And visit his NY store here.
For another great interview with Lars, visit my friends at Eleish & Van Breems, here.
Images: No. 1 (Spotlight) via Splendid Willow, no. 2, 3, 5-10, 15, 17, 19 + 20 via Lars Bolander Design, no. 4 unknown, no. 11 via Flickr, no. 12 via Modernity, no. 13+ 14 via David Linley, no. 16 unknown, no. 18 via Flickr, no. 21 via Cote De Texas

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags:


Meet Swedish Top Designer – Hanna Werning

Happy new week to you, all! If you are even a little bit interested in Swedish design, then you need to say hi to Hanna Werning – one of Sweden’s absolute top graphic designers. Her patterns have been seen on everything from wall papers and china for leading International brands to fashion prints and graphic identity tools. She is famous for thinking ahead and for bringing meaningful design and some color (imagine that!) to Swedish design.


I had the opportunity to work with Hanna years ago, when she was still in design school in London. She helped me develop a corporate image package for the company I was running marketing for. I have worked with many designers in my days and I can honestly say that I have never worked with a designer where there were not a least a few revisions going back and forth before the final product. Whenever I got something from Hanna, I always took it right off the bat. There was never a need to change, edit or add anything. Whatever she comes up with is always brilliant.

It is an honor for me to present Hanna Werning to you.

1. Describe your design style for us.

I would rather let someone else describe my style :).  But I think that it is easy to see that I spring from a graphic background. I grew up close to the woods and nature in Sweden so that is always a great inspiration for me.

It is easier for me to describe my work method. I can define it in two categories; one where the design is driven by ideas and another that’s more visually driven by intuition of colors and rhythm. They can weave into each other. (Pay attention to the details in her work).

2. Where do you get your inspiration from?

From people watching, walking in cities, visiting the woods, from my mother’s things… Lots of inspiration comes from my childhood and the nature. I grew up in the southern middle of Sweden, which has a lot of dark woods. There was a local Swedish artist, John Bauer, that has inspired me a lot. I am also fond of Elsa Beskow’s stories. I also like folk art. My time in London has also inspired me, being able to get so much from all parts of the world at the same time.

(The kurbits wall sticker is Hanna’s design).

3. Do you have any design heroes?

The list is long! There are so many designers, artist, musicians, people that I admire. But I always enjoy seeing work by Charles & Ray Eames and listening to Otis Redding, Jackie Mitto and  Patti Smith on my Iphone.

4. When did you realize that design was going to be your destiny?

I kind of knew it at an early stage of my life but I didn’t believe it was a profession I could live on. I used to go to pottery classes every Friday for ten years as a kid. After many years working as a trainee, working within different media and after finishing St. Martins College there was no more question about it. This is what I want to do.

5. You are described today as somewhat of a graphic trendsetter. How were you in school?

I was anything but a trend setter! I was shy and didn’t want any special attention. I liked arts and crafts the most and that was one of my best subjects and I guess the classmates of mine would agree.

6. Which design accomplishment are you most proud of so far?

I think I haven’t made that piece yet! I’m still striving…

But of course my first wallpaper collection, called Hanna, for Boråstapeter is special to me.

And I really enjoyed working with my husband on a specific project – a machine that makes random drawings on plain, white wall paper. We call it Aparatus No. 1  ”Suddenly my wall was a mess – and I like it.”

7. Any particular design element(s) that you want to do more of?

I always have an urge to develop my skills and work process. Thinking environmentally – I probably should be doing less work?!

As a designer I always feel that it is a my responsibility to ask myself if my project is going to add something to the world or if it is going to ruin it. I am becoming more and more interested in ”public spaces” and making design worth while. Create meaningful art (at least to me and hopefully to others as well). There are so many existing places that need to be enhanced and visually beautified. Places that children and adults  pass everyday – where its presence will influence people in the future – whether they are aware of it or not.

8. What is your take on Swedish design in general?

I think that I paid more attention to it when I lived in London than now when I am right in the middle of it. But when I think of Swedish design of today and when I visit design schools, I see a lot creativity and new ways of thinking. Swedes have always been keen on sustainable design. I think that Swedish design tends to be honest to the material, distinct and often a bit humorous.

When people in general hear Scandinavian design they most likely think of simple, clean, classic lines. And I might not fit in that category! But things change quickly nowadays and with the Internet people get influences from all over the world. I think that design becomes more multi faceted and less homogeneous.

9. Anything new and interesting you are working on at the moment?

Earlier this year I finished an interior/public decoration for a small movie theater in a local school. The theater a is called the “Owl”. (See the owl eyes in the dark!)

Currently I am working on decorating the walls of the corridors of the same school. It is a very positive project in the sense that it is a space with lots of kids from different parts of the world with different cultures. The surroundings really affects kids growing up and if I could make a positive impact on these kids’ daily life I really think I have succeeded in a worthwhile design.

Other fun and interesting things I am currently working on are: Design work for a Spanish bathroom company. Making a Christmas illustration, thinking of a new wallpaper collection for Boråstapeter. And designing a new Summer picnic set for Sagaform.

10. Has motherhood changed you as an artist?

So far, it has only changed how I work practically (less time in my studio and more time working from home).

But becoming a parent is a truly an incredible experience and I starting to see the world with new eyes. For sure motherhood that will change my design process in the future.

11. Of all your skills and talent which one do you hope that your own daughter inherits?

Hard to answer… I hope she will be curious, confident in herself and not become a mini-me.

12. If your husband said (horror!) that you could only bring one design item to your next home. What would it be?

I hate to say it, but I guess it would be my Apple laptop! Not really an interior object but defiantly an object of design and usage.

13. Lastly, if we all got to spend an afternoon in Stockholm with you – where would you take us?

Summer in Stockholm is so beautiful! How about some Boule, Beer and BBQ in a beautiful park setting by the seaside? I would bring you to “Boule och Berså”.

Thank you Hanna! It has been a pleasure getting to know you (even) better! Best wishes for continued success. We will all be watching you!

Images: 1. Hanna Werning via Gustav Karlsson Frost, 2 + 3. Boråstapeter, 4. House of Dagmar, 5. Rörstrand, 6 + 7. Hanna Werning, 8. Elsa Beskow, 9. John Bauer, 10. Hanna Werning,  11-13. Pulled from the internet – can’t remember the source – sorry!, 14. Boråstapeter, 15-20. Hanna Werning. 21. Sagaform, 22. Apple, 23+ 24. Flickr.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Stylists,In The Spotlight | Tags:


Meet Manvi & Be Inspired

Meet my lovely blog friend Manvi!  I met Manvi in my very early days of blogging and she has always been a loyal and good friend. Her blog Mochatini is packed with fabulous posts but the reason why I wanted to highlight her is because of her stylistic eye. (Yes, I am pushing her to write a coffetable book!). Her blog is my secret inspirational source for effortless and lovely table displays (among other creative things)!

She is a familar face to several of my close blog friends, but to my many other readers, would you like to get to know her? Let’s!

Manvi, describe your style for us.

I think I would describe my style as modern, French eclectic. I like my home to be stylish, bright and inviting with a balance of modern and antique pieces. Comfort and function are also very important to me.

What makes your creative juices kick into over-drive? Styling, photography or blogging?

For sure styling and decorating. Anytime I’m in a rut, I start rearranging furniture and accessories and it gets me right back into the swing of things!

You have a little bid of Nomad in you. Where have you lived? Any other place/s you know with your whole being that you will have to experience at some point in your lifetime?

I have lived in Muscat and Salalah – Oman, Dubai – UAE, New Delhi – India, London – UK, New York, and now I reside in Washington DC. I would really like to live in Buenos Aires at some point and for sure Paris!

What things or trends within interior design make you really drool right now?

Turquoise is one of my fave colors so I’m super glad it is a big trend this year. I love seeing vintage birdcages and textured wallpapers. Pastels and soft romantic colors also call out to me – so being spring – I am happy to see those everywhere.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Flowers, the beach, traveling, photography, nature… So many places!

Your table displays are always so wonderful and inspiring. Tell the truth, is that always how your guests are greeted?

Thank you! I use any occasion to try new ideas for table décor. It’s one of my favorite parts about hosting a dinner or a party. I think about décor and ambience first and the menu later..  (:

Do you have one table display that you like and keep re-cycling over and over again?

I love to experiment so I rarely repeat a table display. However I do re-use items like runners, linen and dinner sets from previous displays. I tend to add some new elements, reuse some and mix it all up for a new look!

But I do admit, I love using my bird salt and pepper shakers a lot!

Fresh flowers and candles are a must so you will see those in almost all of my table decors. When I am crushed for time, simple white is my way go to.

(Below is Manvi’s “Cinnamon stick place card” idea for the Holidays – that I shamefully copied straight off! Lovely, right?)

Any secret places where you find terrific things for your home?

No secret places, I am afraid! I am constantly on the look out, observing…window shopping. I find things at the most unexpected times. Some favorite places are flea markets, antique bazaars and thrift stores. I also really love to shop for my home when I am traveling.

If your husband told you that you could only keep one sentimental design object in the house (horror!) what would that be?

Yikes! I know he would never do that to me! I love our cowhide rug from Argentina. We picked it out together and both really love it. I am also really attached to my thrift store wingback chair. It needs to be reupholstered as the fabric isn’t our style but it’s super comfy and I would hate to part with it.

What’s your favorite spot in your home? What makes it so special?

Though I love pretty much all corners of my house, I find that I spend all most waking hours is my living room. Its flooded with natural light which makes it an awesome space to work and relax.

What DIY project makes you extra proud?

I made a wine cork mirror frame for our entryway that I get lots of compliments on. (I pulled it out from the entryway to take a clear pic of it – just for you!)

I also am proud of the fabric headboard that I made for our guest room. But my greatest DIY accomplishment are hand sewn table linen such as placemats, table cloths, runners and napkins that I made for my mother-in-law last Christmas. (Lucky lady! Splendid Willow’s comment).

Any DYI project(s) you intend to tackle before long?

The list is toooo long… I would like to make lots of cushion covers for the couch and a few beds. I also have a ton of fabric that I have been meaning to turn into table runners. And I always have some serious paint projects around the house to tackle. All fun!

Manvi finally, where do you see yourself using your creative skills down the road?

I am constantly learning new things and acquiring new skills. They all revolve around home décor and styling so probably something along those lines. I really have a special heart for tabletop styling and décor!

Thank you dear! How fun to get to know you even better!

And people a coffetable book about Manvi’s lovely table displays is in the cards. Just remember that you read it here first!  (:

Images: No. 3 via Emma’s designblogg, no. 4 via Elle Decor, no. 5 unknown. All others via Mochatini.

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