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Book release!

Book release! So happy to share this labour of love at last! Thank you all for helping me celebrate last night at Äppelvikens Bokhandel!

I’m thrilled to bits, touched and overwhelmed at the respons Home Life Around the World has received!

Here are some snapshots from the evening.

Showing my world tour that was the foundation for the book.


I enjoyed sharing the thought behind my book. These are all the wonderful people who generously opened the doors to their homes and shared their stories with me.


The author hard at work at the serious business of dedicating books. Such a delightful task!

It’s so great to have supportive friends around you!

For those of you who were unable to attend, there will be an opportunity to purchase a dedicated book signed by the author right here on Bohemialife. For yourself or perhaps as a gift? This would be a lovely house warming present. Soon to be featured.

Photocredit: Thank you friends & family!

Reviews

Home Life Around the World has been warmly received and I’m so grateful and happy! If you would like to grab a copy for yourself or as a gift, the book details are below. There will be an opportunity to purchase a signed and dedicated copy of the book right here on Bohemialife shortly. Watch this space! Here are some of the wonderful reviews the book has received so far. Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read and review it! Your reviews do so much to help with a book’s success.


“I enjoyed this peek into several people’s home lives, from Africa to South America. While each home had many unique and creative aspects, I found it interesting to focus on what they all had in common: access to greenery or plants, lots of light, effective use of space, and display of a few treasured items instead of holding a lot of stuff. A very soothing read.” San Fransisco Book Review


“The Home & Gardens section of Publishers Weekly, the February 12th issue, sees a shift of emphasis in this genre from aspirational eye candy to authenticity. Books giving people the confidence to create homes that tell their stories. A healthy trend to my way of thinking, and ‘Home Life Around the World’ is definitely a part of it. Not a how-to book, but one that entertains and inspires in its own way. The author has travelled the world to find the homes she presents. The result pulls you in. The homes described in eye-catching photos and perceptive texts belong to creative people based in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Their homes mirror who and what they are, rather than who or what they would rather be. Those of us who never aspired to showcase homes but let our living space take shape gradually and not necessarily as a coherent whole, will probably feel better about the result after reading this author’s foray into home life around the world.” Paul B


“‘Home Life Around the World’ is a beautiful book focused on gorgeous photographs of personal homes of a variety of different professional creatives. I had assumed this would be a coffee table-type book with large photographic spreads and minimal actual written content, but I was completely wrong. Each of the creatives is given several pages to share their story, thoughts, and reflections about their homes and what they hold. This makes for really fascinating reading. The photographs are beautiful, and really do the gorgeous homes justice. I found myself full of envy for a couple of these homes and the owners’ creative genius. I’d highly recommend this book if, like me, you love to have a nosey into the lives of others!” Laura Hainsworth


“I was delighted with this book. Not only are the photos of each home beautiful and inspiring, but the insight from the home owners adds so much more to the ‘tour.’ I loved reading the answers to what inspired each person’s interior design, what their dream home would be like, and what home means to them. These were well thought out questions that allow you to get into the minds of these inspired homeowners and often amateur interior designers. It’s in-depth and personal, yet beautiful.” Yvonne Glasgow 


“This book is simply gorgeous.  The author lets us into the intimate spaces and minds of various creative people around the world. And as we get to know their homes, we get to know them.  Each photo essay is inspirational, giving the reader ideas about their own spaces and their own lives.  The book takes you on a design journey and leaves you excited to craft your own design story.” OutlawPoet


“What a beautiful book! I really enjoyed not only the vibrant photography, but also the intimate and thoughtful interviews with each subject. As an aesthetics enthusiast, I greatly enjoyed flipping through the pages. I was able to really get a feel for each location, taking me on a virtual adventure around the world. It was great to get a sense of the design sensibilities of others. It was a fascinating view into how other people like to live and decorate and provided plenty of inspiration for both home decor and travel ideas!” Caitlin


“A beautifully photographed trip around the world, looking at different approaches and tastes in designing our homes. Not a look into the houses of the extremely privileged, but a mix of many types of creative people who have focused on making their homes special and personal. Lots of interesting viewpoints on creating individual spaces to nurture and shelter us. Definitely a book I will keep coming back to.” Brummygirl


“I adored this book. Beijer spends time with people in their homes talking with them about their homes. She asks the same questions of each person and every interview is so different. This book inspired me in so many ways. I am now inspired to do more myself in our own home. So well done – please read this book.” Jeanine 


“The book is filled with beautiful photographs to accompany the text. Beijer is skilled at capturing the feel of each home in photos. From brilliant colors to the heights of urban apartment living on the 31st floor of a Hong Kong high-rise, the photos put you in the home, painting the atmosphere and enhancing the text. You can tell that the author put much love and care into creating this book. It is a lovely creation, and one I’m sure to come to again and again. I’m looking forward to Beijer’s next offering.” Kat Kennedy 


Home Life Around the World
is a gorgeous collection of photographs featuring houses and the stories of the people who live inside. The features that make this book stand out from other home photography collections are the personal stories within. This is filled with fascinating tidbits that turn the photos into a part memoir part history lesson. I read this book on my Kindle and was surprised to discover it is perfectly adapted for that format. While I’m sure the hardcover version is even better for viewing the bold, bright photographs, this is still quite enjoyable as an eBook. This is unique addition to any book collection and the photos are full of inspiration you can return to time and again. Rachel Kamery


“A beautifully photographed trip around the world, looking at different approaches and tastes in designing our homes. Not a look into the houses of the extremely privileged, but a mix of many types of creative people who have focused on making their homes special and personal. Lots of interesting viewpoints on creating individual spaces to nurture and shelter us. Definitely a book I will keep coming back to.” Shirley U


“What a glorious book, not because the homes are perfect, but because they reflect the personality of the owners, they are lived in homes, homes that are comfortable and have their own quirky style. They don’t follow trends but are homes that are designed by and for the people living in them. 
I really like the ease, personality and comfort shown in the living of these homes.” Leyla Johnson


“It is a book that reinforces the value of life and how important it is to create a space that you can be completely you in.” Ann T


“What I particularly liked was the stories of the homeowners themselves; how their homes have become their havens and often an escape from the busy stressful lives that we tend to lead nowadays. (An international version of the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ which has become so popular now). Beautiful photographs illustrate this book – which bring to life the features of the homes that their owners have created. An inspiring and satisfying read!” Zina B


“I would recommend Home Life Around the World to anyone who likes interior decor, and who also likes hearing stories behind those beautiful photos. I see this book as a great coffee table book or a thoughtful gift to someone who is into decorating.” Vera Cady 


“This is a book that you won’t finish. It lingers with you and whenever you revisit its pages, it feels like meeting old friends again – and getting new inspiration from them each time.” Stefan O

Hardcover available via Ingram Book Group retailers worldwide such as Barnes & Noble, Foyles, Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Adlibris, Booktopia and Amazon.
Hardcover: ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3
eBook available via iBooks Store, Amazon, Kobo and Google Play.
eBook: ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
Kindle format. ASIN: B079VDPBVF

Living by ear

Sam lives in Hong Kong, in a small studio flat on the 31st floor that has its very own private roof terrace with amazing views over the city.

But we meet in Shanghai, where he’s currently on a work assignment. Sam spends much of his time away from Hong Kong for work, but he offers to host me in his apartment when I’m in Hong Kong. I’m happy to accept and look forward to this, as it will give me an opportunity to experience his apartment myself.

We meet at a cafe in the French Concession. Sam tells me a bit about his work as a designer and consultant. When he describes what he does, he uses words like strategy, research, innovation and culture. But mostly, he says, it involves people and problem solving. He spends his days listening to the many layers of his clients. Gathering in-depth information about them and through that knowledge gaining an understanding of what they need.

His motto ‘Living by ear’, reflects this well as it parallels the expression ‘playing by ear’ and it’s obvious that he is passionate about his work.

Sam seems to have an in-depth knowledge of himself, as he has a well-defined picture of who he is and what he needs. And it’s clear that he has thought a lot about how he wants his home to work for him. He becomes just as passionate when he talks about his home as he was when he was talking about his work. This becomes evident as he describes it. The cafe table between us is soon covered with sketches of the layout and of furniture, which he swiftly draws on a legal pad.

He has had his apartment for about six months and it was the views it had from all three sides and the highly sought after outside space that made him choose it. Even though the apartment is only a modest 323 square feet it contains everything one can need. A living room with a sofa and a clever sofa table with built in extra seating, a small kitchen, a queen-size bed, a workspace, a bookcase, a keyboard piano, a small desk, storage for clothes and a bathroom.

When I look at photos of the apartment I notice that the colour scheme is very muted, almost monochrome, in soft browns and beiges.

“Can you elaborate on this?” I ask. “How would you describe your interior design style?”
“Furniture is the frame of life, not the focus,” he says. ”It shouldn’t steal your attention, only support you. So my style could best be described as contemporary and subdued. I’m also pleased how the arrangement of the furniture works as a whole. How I could use what was already there and rearrange it to suit me.”

This is an excerpt from the book Home Life Around the World and is one of the unique and personal homes I visited.

Hardcover available via Ingram Book Group retailers worldwide.
eBook available via iBooks Store, Amazon, Kobo and Google Play.
eBook: ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
Kindle format. ASIN: B079VDPBVF
Hardcover: ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

Book release offer!

Great opportunity for United Kingdom residents! In order to celebrate the book launch, Home Life Around the World will have a significantly reduced price on Kobo from May 17-30th 2018 in UK only. Take this opportunity to get your own copy of Home Life Around the World!

Please spread the word and do let me know your thoughts of the book by leaving a review. Happy Book Birthday and Happy Reading!

Happy Book Birthday!

It’s finally the release day for Home Life Around the World! Happy Book Birthday!

The process of making a dream come true has involved if not blood, at least sweat and toil and it has been amazing! Every step of the way has involved exploring unknown paths and at times the learning curve has been steep. But with diligence, single minded focus and sheer stubbornness I got there at the end and result is so rewarding.

What started at the end of 2014 as merely an idea, to explore what a home really means to people, actually involved selling my own home to realise funds to make the project feasible. Then followed a period of thorough research and the first tentative outreach to persons previously unknown, living on every continent. Every place I travelled to, was a place I never before have visited. Everyone I met was a stranger at first. Also, it meant getting the necessary equipment needed to complete the project. As well as acquiring the knowledge how to use these new tools. It has also meant that I have had to learn about a completely new sector of business besides writing – the book industry.

The feeling to be able to actually hold a physical copy of my very first book in my hands three and a half years later is unbelievable sweet! Of course none of this would have been possible without the fantastic people who opened the doors of their homes to a complete stranger, namely me. People who put their trust in me. All of them who I now view as friends. I thank each and every one of you for your generosity, patience and kindness from the bottom of my heart.

I also thank everyone who has been supportive during the process and everyone who has written beautiful reviews. Your reviews do so much to help with a book’s success.

If you love Home Life Around the World as much as I do, please consider helping to spread the word on social media. That would be the most wonderful birthday gift and one that I would appreciate immensely.

iBooks store, Kobo and Google Play: ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
Amazon: ASIN B079VDPBVF
Hardcover: ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3

Photo credit: Hipster Mum on Unsplash

The cosy home in no 4

A couple of floors up a steep and narrow staircase in an apartment building in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, I find the home of Eyal Cohen. The house is what the Chinese call a ‘walk-up’, a building from the 50-60s with no elevator. The first thing I see as I step inside is a bright and colourful wall made of – egg cartons. It’s a cheering and welcoming sight and a real work of art.

His apartment is fairly spacious for Hong Kong, 575 square feet* and consists of one large room, a kitchen and a bathroom. It’s furnished and decorated by himself and filled with fun and eye-catching things. One wall has an image of a large ostrich with a hat. A full-scale sheep with blue wool is standing on top of a bookshelf. Origami squirrels are playing on a tree trunk on the floor. This is a home whose owner clearly has had a lot of fun whilst decorating it and I’m eager to hear the story behind it.

“Rental apartments here in Hong Kong are usually small and furnished,” he tells me. “Since I always have lived in furnished apartments that are purely functional, I was happy to find that this one was empty. Because this meant that I could create a place that resonates more with myself. A place I could put my heart into. I loved the tiled floors with the industrial imperfect feeling. They manufactured shoes here at one time.”

“Tell me about your ideas about furnishing and decorating your home?”
“This is a large room and I wanted to have a secluded space as a bedroom and I needed storage for my clothes. I came up with the solution to create a wall with cupboards to make a bedroom on one side and have a hallway on the other side. Then I went to the market and picked up egg cartons and covered the entire back of the cupboards with them. As I love colour I painted them with acrylic paint in different hues and added lighting on the top to enhance the effect. As I wanted to somewhat obscure the bed, I positioned a bookshelf as a fourth wall and this made the bedroom semi secluded.”

“I make it up as I go along,” he says. “Take the boxes on the wall. Since I like wine, I had these empty wine boxes and I started to think what I could do with them. I like to collect small things that I call ‘cutesy-stuff’. Some of them go back to my childhood. And especially since going to Japan for many years, with all their cute and cool small things they have there, I have a collection of cutesy-stuff. So I decorated the wine boxes with these, each with it’s own story. One is about my grandparents. My granddad was obsessed with cars. Another one has my parents in it. It’s just for fun, recreating a memory of happy times.”

This is an excerpt from the book Home Life Around the World and is one of the personal homes I visited on my travels.

Release date 15th May.
Home Life Around the World is available for pre-order in iBooks store, Kobo and Google Play. ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
The book is also available for pre-order in the Kindle format at Amazon. ASIN: B079VDPBVF
Print edition ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

Living Off-the-Gridd

Far north on the coast of Uruguay and just forty kilometres from the Brazilian border is the small town of Punta del Diablo. It was formerly a fishing village that has become increasingly popular with surfers, who flock to the beaches Playa de Rivero and Playa de la Viuda. But it’s at the quieter end by Playa Grande, which separates Punta del Diablo from Santa Teresa national park, where Rosi and Martin have built themselves an off-the-grid house called ‘Vía Verde’. They live here with their son Telmo and a dog called Trotsky that has adopted them.

Vía Verde, the green way, is a house designed to make the least impact on nature. 150 square meters split on several levels and with large terraced areas it stands alone on the brink of the sea on the outskirts of the small town. The main house is on three levels and contains the communal area with a small kitchen, five bedrooms and a couple of bathrooms and toilets. It’s sparsely furnished with only the bare necessities and with few decorations. At the rear of the house is a separate building consisting of one room, which is Rosi and Martin’s private living space.

The location is stunningly beautiful. Just a short walk down the dirt road is the natural beach of Playa Grande, where whales can be spotted, and a bike ride away is the national park. At night the stars are bright and clear and cover the sky like diamonds.

The house is built using both certified woods and local wood from the adjacent national park. It’s a ‘passive house’, which is a standard for energy efficiency that reduces its ecological footprint. It’s constructed to require a minimum of energy to heat it or to cool it. The façade that faces the worst winds that usually come from the southeast, has no windows. The windows and doors of the house are positioned to allow the air to circulate in the best possible way, creating a natural air conditioning. The electricity comes from solar panels on the roof and the water comes from a well on the grounds. There is a wetland pool that filters the graywater and the blackwater goes into a separate tank. A compost takes care of the organic food waste. Everything that is transported here comes either on foot or by bike. There is no washing machine. Instead Rosi washes the bed linen, towels and clothes in a sink. I’m taken aback by this, but she just laughs and says that it helps her to keep fit.

“You had an idea to live in a more sustainable way and to live off-the-grid in harmony with nature. But did it also include the idea of community living?”
“We wanted to live in a more sustainable and green way. But try as we might, we are also inconsistent. We can’t always accomplish what we strive for. More than anything, we wanted a place that we could share with like-minded people and learn from each other, so we built the house with that in mind.”

“Where did you get your inspiration for this house?”
“I had my childhood home as a role model. It was a large house open to everyone. People always came and went, strangers and friends alike. Every weekend the house was always filled with food, music, old friends and new acquaintances. So we designed this house with a communal area, which is its heart, a place where we can all be together. But there are private areas as well, where people can have their own space. I also worked in hotels when I was studying. I liked the idea of being a host and of making life nice for people. Hospitality comes naturally to me and is something I enjoy…”

This is an excerpt from the book Home Life Around the World and is one of the unique and personal homes I visited.

Release date 15th May.
Home Life Around the World is available for pre-order in iBooks store, Kobo and Google Play. ISBN 978-91-984455-1-0
The book is also available for pre-order in the Kindle format. ASIN: B079VDPBVF
Print edition ISBN 978-91-984455-0-3

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer