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The Design Sheppard’s book review

I’m delighted that brilliant blogger Stacey Sheppard wrote a great review about the book Home Life Around the World. Her award winning blog, The Design Sheppard, is one of the leading interior design blogs in the UK. Her blog has been appointed by Vuelio as one of the top 10 interior design blogs in the UK, every year since 2015. I’m honoured. I’m also over the moon that she so totally gets what the book is all about!

Read her review here:

Slow living

The hectic lifestyle of modern society is fast-paced and many times stressful. As we struggle to keep on top of everything, we are often left feeling drained, overwhelmed and disconnected from the important values in life. Our basic needs today though are the same as they always have been. We still need to be seen, appreciated and to connect in a meaningful way with each other. To be emotionally close, to be cared for and care for others and to love. Is it possible to step back and create a lifestyle that has a more relaxed and leisurely pace, in able to achieve a peace of mind and happiness? Can our homes help us with this?

Several of the homes in the book Home Life Around the World reflect a lifestyle known as “slow living”. Slow living emphasizes a slower approach to aspects of everyday life and started with the slow food movement as a reaction to fast food. Well-being, simplicity, a sustainable lifestyle and consciousness are some of the qualities that define this lifestyle.

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor.

Quietness is a quality that’s hard to find in our cities today and can be regarded as a luxury. For architect Nicolás his need of silence is very important. He is fortunate to live in the centre unit of a PH house, an architectural style of house typical for Buenos Aires, that extends horizontally and inwards toward the centre of the block. Inside his house it’s extremely quiet and there isn’t a hint of the bustling city outside.

“My home has to be a place where I can rest and relax,” he says. “There is too much information outside. But it doesn’t have to be minimal. I need plants. And I need the different areas of the house for what they offer. My home is the most important place on earth.”

“I like to be at home, to cook and to take care of the plants,” he tells me. “I enjoy being alone. And I relish silence. There is a famous saying in Italy: ‘Il dolce con niente.’ It means ‘The sweetness of doing nothing.’ Our culture now is very fast-paced and stressful. It’s all about producing, delivering and being efficient. So I like to indulge in the sweetness of doing nothing as often as I can.”

Cecilia achieves equilibrium in her life by creating visual quietness in her home. In order to unwind from her work as a photographer and her store of homeware products, a place she describes as busy and chaotic but stimulating, she needs the bare white walls of her home and few but much loved items of furniture and decoration.

“Both of them have the contrasts that I crave, chaos and calmness”, she clarifies. She loves the tactile feel of a rough tabletop or the soothing feel of the textile cover of a coffee table book. When at home she enjoys ordinary day-to-day tasks like cooking and watering plats. Tasks that make her relax and connect with herself.

“My home is a place where I nurture my soul”, she says.

A home that also reflects the slow living concept is Rosi and Martin’s off-the-grid house ‘Via Verde’ on the coast of Uruguay, close to Brazil. This house is a ‘passive house’ and they built it themselves. A passive house is a standard for energy efficiency that reduces the ecological footprint. Rosi from Argentina and Martin from Spain, met in Buenos Aires, where they both worked as journalists. After a stint in London they knew that they would return to South America one day and start a family in a natural environment. They wanted to create a sustainable project and to be able to be together as a family on a daily basis.

“On the whole it has been a massive learning curve,” Martin says about building a house without prior experience. “It’s been everything from pleasant, to intense, to exceedingly difficult.But all in all we are pleased with the end result and with the lifestyle it has allowed us to have.”

“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?” I ask, because this is large house with many bedrooms. Rosi and Martin rent out rooms and people come from all over the world to stay in summertime.
“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 and learn from each other, so we built the house with that in mind.”

“I had my childhood home as a role model,” says Martin. “It was a large house open to everyone. People always came and went, strangers and friends alike. Every weekend the house was filled with food, music, old friends and new acquaintances.”

“You have a house full of people now. We are ten guests staying here and you have your own family with a baby.  But you don’t have a washing machine or a dishwasher. Does the green lifestyle also entail a more difficult way of living per se?”
“I was close to my grandparents when I grew up. They used to talk about the time when they were young in the early 1900s. They didn’t have any electricity or running water indoors and had to go down to the river to wash their clothes. And the waste they produced had to be reused in some way. But they always claimed that life was good. It was hard but not unbearable. It’s the same here I think. I believe to suffer a little is good. Of course I would like to have all the comforts available in the 21st century. But what I don’t want to have are the levels of consumption of the 21st century.”

These are excerpts from the book Home Life Around the World. Find out more about these and the other exciting homes in the book:

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

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer


How to embrace autumn

Autumn has arrived in my part of the world and I feel my spirits lift on my walks, when I take in the beautiful scenery of leaves that are turning into every shade of red and yellow. The mornings are becoming crisp and even though the weather is mild at the moment, one has the feeling that in no time at all it’s time for wooly mittens, scarves and coats and summer is a mere memory.

How do I approach the change of the seasons? As I’ve mentioned earlier I became inspired by Wabi Sabi, when I visited the home of Elissa in New York, on my travels to explore what a home means to people*. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces the transience of life, whether nature’s changes, the different phases of human existence or the imperfections found in objects. The keyword that has worked for me is the word embrace. I do so love that word!

I found that in actively changing my thoughts about a change I don’t particularly like or look forward to, has actually helped to transform it into a quite different experience. Winter for me is a season I find especially challenging, but this previous winter actually went quite well. Why? Because I embraced it and tried to highlight it’s advantages. Winter is the perfect time to be cosy, light the candles and snuggle down in the sofa and read more books, eat hearty meals after long walks in the cold, enjoy being warm and cosy whilst looking out of the window and seeing the snow building soft mountains outside. You get the picture.

As it’s presently autumn in Sweden I have begun to make changes. Here are my best tips on how to create a cosy home in the autumn.

Bring in those earthy hues. Rust is a favourite at the moment. Pillowcases preferably in linen. The more creasy they are the better! It makes a very homely feel. New pillowcases is a great way to get an instant change at a low cost.

The best way to create that cosy feeling is to layer. The more the merrier. Pile them up! Here I have a mixture of linen, cotton and velvet.

Bring out the plaids and blankets. Change the colour depending on the season. Think about adding different textures to the room. The earthy beige of this new soft pom pom plaid made the room super cosy!

When the leaves start to fall I fill my home with pot plants to compensate the loss of greenery outside. I crave greenery around me! Plants are also a great way to improve the air indoor that tend to get very dry in the winter.

I hope this will inspire you to get really cosy at home!

* You can find the chapter about Elissa’s home and about Wabi Sabi in the book Home Life Around the World.

Colour of the year 2019

UK paint brand Dulux has appointed ‘Spiced Honey’ as the colour of the year 2019, as part of the brand’s industry-acclaimed ColourFutures trend forecast. Spriced Honey is a versatile shade filled with warm and inviting tones of amber and rich caramel.

“2018 was an unsettling and unpredictable time,’ says Dulux. ‘We were overwhelmed by the deluge of news, choices and demands upon our time, causing us to close up and retreat into spaces where we feel safe and cocooned. We pressed pause and took time to regroup.”

“As we move forward into 2019, we find this pause has given people time to re-energise and deal with the sense of unpredictability with positive action, optimism and purpose. If the unpredictability of last year forced people to retreat and regroup, 2019 is the time for their awakening. We are ready to ‘Let in the Light’.”

Other paint brands such as Jotun have similar shades in their new colour palette for 2019. Jotun’s RAW-Palette we find warm earth colors, neutral gray shades and burnt reddish tones.

LADY 12085 Rural

LADY Pure Color 20118 Amber Red och 12075 Soothing Beige

LADY Pure Color 20120 Organic Red

Jotun’s color palette consists of warm earth colors, neutral, gray shades and burnt reddish tones.

I interpret this colour trend as a return to a basic lifestyle and a need to connect and strengthen contact with the earthly, rustic and genuine. Back to our roots, back to our caves. Perhaps our days of cocooning aren’t over yet?

Photos courtesy: Dulux and Jotun (photo:Line Klein Studio and styling: Kråkvik & D’Orazio)

Online interior design courses coming soon!

I’m delighted that the book Home Life Around the World has been well received and the next step is going to be to launch a series of online interior design courses. The main course will be about how to create a truly personal home, beginning with – you!

As I hold a diploma as an Associated Certified Coach (ACC), at International Coach Federation (ICF), I am very excited to have created a course based on a series of coaching sessions, aimed to help you create a home that reflects your personality and supports you emotionally. The name of the course is Bring Soul to Your Home.

This course can be complemented, if you wish, by courses about colour knowledge, +Colour, and basic interior design practices, +Basic.

More information will follow shortly!

Inspiration from Formex

The main trend seminar at this season’s Formex, was held by one of our times greatest trend analyst Lilly Berelovich from the New York-based trend agency FS Creative. I was so excited to find that many of the influences and tendencies she shared with us, show up in the homes of my book Home Life Around the World. The slow living trend is something that many of us yearn for in the busy and fast paced life of today. The chapter Wabi Sabi in Brooklyn highlight the love of handmade craft and embrace the idea of the imperfect. Healing Spaces celebrate the patina and aged beauty of furniture that have had an earlier life. In pursuit of happiness we seek to reconnect and live a life in harmony with nature as in Living Off-the-Grid. Realising the importance of silence in the chapter A peaceful Haven and creating an equilibrium in life in Visual Quietness, both show us ways to keep us connected with ourselves. The chapters Consciously Minimal and Industrial living are perfect examples of how work and home life are interconnected in the freelance culture of today. The chapter Accommodating Home is about family centric life and creating a place at home to gather and inspire people. The other homes in the book are equally inspiring examples of life at home. I’m happy that my contribution with this book seems to be relevant not only in current times but also for the future.

Trend-setting UK based designer Abigail Ahern held another talk about her eclectic interior design style. She was invited by Formex as the guest creator for the main entrance show room and created a space with a feeling of a camp site in a rainforest with masses of her signature ‘faux botanicals’, she developed together with her sister Gemma, a professional florist.

Formex invited Keiji Otani, textile designer and creator behind La+h from Tokyo, as a part of celebrating 150 years of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Japan.

The exhibition was curated by Swedish designer and weaver Åsa Pärsson and also featured design and craft work created by Japanese artisans working in Sweden today.

Glass blower Yoko Yamano Andersson has a Master’s degree from the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm and works on collaborative projects with restaurants in Sweden, Japan and other countries in Europe.

Ceramic artist Masayoshi Oya studied ceramics in Japan, studied at Capellagården and also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Arts, Crafts and Design at the university of Gothenburg. He works primarily with practical objects and is a member of Kaolin.

And here are some of the highlights of the fair that are my favourites.

The fine art prints of plant portraits of Karl Blossfeldt is a clear favourite. Blossfeldt taught sculpture and his photo collection was used to teach his students about the patterns of nature, but after his work was exhibited in Berlin in 1926, the teacher became an artist. They are amazing don’t you think?

The sculptures of Danish Malene Bjelke I simply adored! Bjelke who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1993, creates simple but expressive figures that portray human archetypes of all ages.

And lastly the Swedish Master potter Stefan Andersson exhibited his ceramics, that get their unique character and colour variations through a special burning technique in his wood fired oven. He works closely with the three  star Michelin-rated restaurant Franzén in Stockholm.
A great example of craftsmanship, the uniquely handmade, crafted to last objects that are so in tune with the current times.


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!