Friday Guest Blog Interview: Holly of decor8!

Friday Guest Blog Interview with Holly of decor8!

Welcome to a wonderful Friday Guest Blog Interview with decor8!

It’s such an honor to host Holly today — she is an incredibly inspiring designer who offers daily decorating ideas and DIY inspiration through her ultra resourceful and very stylish home decor blog.

Launched in January of 2006, decor8 — a play on the word decorate — has built up a strong following of 25,000 readers a day and a solid reputation for offering beautiful interior spaces, fantastic DIY suggestions, independent art and design reviews, and showcasing apartments, homes and shops from all over the world.

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Her work is inspiring — it’s beautiful, chic and charming in a way that most of us can appreciate down to the bone. I would sum up her style as a delicate mix of girly & vintage — with just the right amount of a modern, whimsical touch.

Holly brings a whole host of credentials to her interior design work and creative writing style. In addition to decor8 and her design practice, Holly is a regular contributor at Real Simple and she maintains a second blog, Haus Maus, where she documents her life as an expat. In the past, she has worked with Domino and Cookie magazines and was a columnist for the Boston Globe. She has also worked on assignments for, HGTV Ideas magazine as a Style Editor, Boston magazine, Adorn and LUXX magazine in Singapore.

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While answering PDB’s four questions, Holly shares more on her decorating style, favorite trends and how she personally designed her living room through mood boards and look books (check out the board and finished room on the next page).

Follow the jump to be inspired by beautiful design!

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{PDB Interview with Holly of decor8}


What inspires your design style?

Design inspiration comes to those who are curious and I’m a very curious person. I am not afraid to take risks, ask questions, and when I’m feeling a bit low on creative energy I make myself take a walk with my camera and I intentionally look for inspiration — I seek it out because it doesn’t always come knocking on my front door!  I try to take something tangible away from my experiences — what I mean is that I try to expand on something I saw so I’m not always “feeling inspired” but living an inspired life through things that I do that can be seen. I hope this is making sense, do you follow me? For instance, I’ll translate something I’ve seen into a meal, a photo, a crafts project, a floral arrangement, a shelf in my bedroom, etc.

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What do you love most about what you do?

I enjoy lifting others up – I am happiest when I do work that makes others feel encouraged, good about themselves and/or their work, and inspired to live a more creative life.  I want to help others to get in touch with their passions and, by my own life and example, show them that anyone can go for their dreams. I also enjoy what I do because I bring people together and put them in touch with a positive, sharing and exceptionally talented global community. This is an extreme honor and privilege to be a connector in this way and to expose the high quality work that is out there. I feel that I provide my readers with content that they can take something away from — a life lesson, a kind word, a beautiful new product, a gorgeous room.

Everything I present takes tremendous amounts of time to produce as I sift through hundreds of websites each week to find exactly what I’m looking to write about — what inspires me enough to write about. I also enjoy knowing that my words impact others, I feel responsible to deliver a steady flow of positive, upbuilding content.

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What are your favorite design trends?

I love following trends like anyone else, but I buy ultimately what I like despite what this or that store or magazine is promoting at the moment. But I guess if I have to pick a few: I love the trend of artists and designers who self-publish books and zines, and I hope it is not just a trend but that it sticks and becomes increasingly more common. There is much value in printed works despite how virtual we all are these days…  I also love the trend of online e-courses where successful, talented people are sharing something valuable with practical takeaway for fans of their work. And I also love the styling trend — I see many putting a lot more care and thought into the photographs they take of their products, for example.

I also love how the former post-college futon-owners with their televisions on a plastic crate are starting to care about their homes. I’ve seen so many college kids graduate and continue their dorm room style well into their 20s and even 30s (some of my clients, for example!) but now with all of the blogs out there, common people are being exposed to “real” homes and gorgeous, affordable options for decorating. They’re learning that it doesn’t cost a million dollars to have a nicely pulled together home and that they may want to rethink that futon with the chinese take-out stains! ha ha!

Decor8 Recipe Mood board

What are three design suggestions that you would like to offer our readers?

Just three? Ha! I could write a book!

{1} My first suggestion is to decorate your home based on your design style and lifestyle, not on what you think your friends will like or what is trendy right now or even what you saw in a catalog or on a blog. Tap into who you are, what you really love, and this includes favorite colors, wood grains, textures, flooring, all of it.

{2.} The best way to figure out your style takes me to my second design suggestion: create a look book. In a blank journal that is 8.5 x 11, or even 12 x 12, paste in photos from magazines that really speak to you and jot down notes next to the rooms noting what you like about them. Don’t build the book in one sitting, compose it over the course of a month or even longer… you will start to see a pattern in what you are attracted to. Then start collecting paint swatches of colors you love (not colors you want to paint your walls with, just colors you love) and add those to your book too. You can even add small fabric swatches and other things that can be easily glued or taped into your book.

Decor8 Mood Board: Guest Interview

{3} And my third suggestion is that one you have defined your style, stick to it when shopping. I bring dimensions, color swatches, fabric swatches and other things with me at all times in my handbag in a small clear accordion folder the size of a business envelope. It’s not packed with tons of things, only a few, but they’re all colors and such that I have currently in my home so when I’m out and stumble upon something I don’t wonder whether or not it’s the right tone of the color I currently have. But mostly, because I have my colors and style memorized, I use the accordion file for dimensions of things. My window dimensions, the size of the space where I am currently trying to find a desk for, etc. This way I can still be spontaneous while shopping without making expensive mistakes!

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Thank you, Holly!

Decor8 Holly's Living Room Mood Board

Holly created the above mood board for her living room by pinning swatches, clippings and inspirational objects to a linen remnant. Slowly her ideas began to grow and eventually her board evolved into her new living room:

Decor8 Living Room

Decor 8 Living Room 2

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Beautiful! The finished product is elegant, serene and yet casual and inviting.

{All photos are credited to Holly of decor8 — she’s an amazing photographer, too!}

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  1. Morgan says

    Holly is so talented! I agree with you all — she continues to be an inspiration for me here at PDB as well. Thank you all for your comments!

  2. says

    What a gorgeous interview…Holly’s photographs and styling are stunning -it is nice to see them all together here. Great questions too! Thank you!

  3. says

    YAY! Such a wonderful and inspirational post on Holly! And Holly….I have 5 words for you: You SHOULD write a book! With your gorgeous styling, wonderful tips and beautiful eye….it is a given that it would be a huge success! Love, love, love

  4. says

    Lovely interview! Holly is such an inspiration in every way. Thank you for sharing your tips! I really like the “look book” suggestion and your gorgeous collages motivate me to get started on my own :) Happy weekend!

  5. says

    What a great interview. I am so in agreement with Holly’s advice to go with what you like rather than blindly following trends. And I am going to have to take up the mood boards and accordion file – it might save me having to return so many things…

    It is easy to see why Holly’s place is so beautiful, serene and pulled together!

  6. says

    Beautiful post and interview…loved the tips from holly
    I too enjoy making scrapbooks of inspiration. I love decor8
    kat x

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