Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holly Becker | Decorate Workshop

I have a confession to make: I do not believe in interior design by prescription. I believe in spaces that reflect the unique individuals dwelling within - their personality and their need for comfort, inspiration, restoration and embrace. As an interior designer, I seek to create spaces that are authentically sacred for the clients with whom I work.

The challenge for many is to find the language to translate who they are as people into the form and function of their physical space. Interior design and decorating are often an unfamiliar medium, which is why we need visual tools and a means of "cracking our own code" to help us communicate what it is that truly inspires us.

Enter Holly Becker. In a sea of decorating and design books that would prescribe one designer's aesthetic as the formula for everyone's home, Decorate Workshop is more of a manual for self-discovery. This newly released book is a brilliant resource for designers to give to their clients, for clients to share with their designers, and for decorators exploring and adventuring on their own alike. 

I have fallen in love with Holly's inspired approach to helping each of us find our own unique decorating personality, and clearly I'm not alone. As a world-renowned design blogger, Holly has developed a beautiful design resource with her blog Decor8, providing inspiration to more than 48, 000 daily viewers from across the globe. Holly is already a best selling author with her first book, Decorate.

Holly was gracious enough to do a wee transatlantic interview with me so that we could all get to know the woman behind the book and the blog a bit better. I think you'll find she is "our kind of people" - the kind of woman we'd all love to just sit and have coffee with weekly if only she lived right around the corner. 

Here is our inspiring intercontinental conversation:

1. How do you challenge yourself to have a constant sense of adventure and evolution with your decorating?

I'm very open to new experiences and try to say yes more than I say no when it comes to trying something new. I also have a diverse group of friends - not everyone I'm around is into design or is even that interested in creative living - but I learn so much from their lifestyle and often find lots of new interests that I wouldn't have found if I'd only surrounded myself by those within my field.

2. What has been your most unexpected source of inspiration?

Myself. Until recently, I always relied on outside sources since I'm an extrovert and I get my energy from outside {introverts tend to get it from within}. Moving to Germany, I found that I really needed to rely on myself more for everything. Living outside of your culture for several years changes you in many ways. Confidence you may have lacked prior to an international relocation definitely kicks in the second you're standing in line at a bakery and need to order a cake in another language - and you do it - and leave feeling an overwhelming sense of pride. The more experiences you have ike this, the more your self-esteem is affected and this cannot help but influence other things in your life, too. I'm inspired more and more just by sitting down and have a simple cup of coffee and thinking. Really thinking. No iPhone, no iPad, nothing... Just thinking long and deep. I start to find all of these ideas hidden or feelings I'd thought I'd lost for something and suddenly I'm in a creative spin again. Of course, I still need outside stimulation first and foremost to keep my gears turning, but I like knowing now that I don't need to be stimulated every second to gain inspiration.

3. Whose sense of style do you most admire and why?

People who don't care what others say about them and just do what they want - they follow their own compass, not some trend report or magazine. When I'm in London, I'm always so inspired by the way people dress because there isn't really a "London look." Most cities have a look. But London is so eclectic and they really embrace their individuality.

4. What is currently on your "must see/do/watch/listen to" list?

I love watching "New Girl" because it's funny and has nothing to do with my work, so that gives me 30 minutes to not really think - to just giggle at Schmidt and the outlandish things he says...

5. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

I'd like to be in a beautiful country home in Scotland right now with a fireplace roaring. I'd be baking cookies and my husband would be reading by the fire. The snow would be piling up outside and neither of us would care because we'd be together and cozy and most of all, on vacation. Ah, vacation. I can hardly wait until December 12th because I'll be on vacation until the beginning of the New Year and it's one of my favourite times of the year. I catch up on so many thins in my personal life - I love approaching a New Year feeling like I'm rested and ready!

If you or someone you know is planning a decorating project for 2013, you will want to make sure you have a copy of Holly's new book in your hand or wrapped and ready for giving under the tree. More of a compass than a clearly defined roadmap, Decorate Workshop will have you thinking outside the box, exploring new ways to bring soul to your space through a journey of self-discovery.

Wishing you a happy and restorative vacation, Holly! And wishing all of you lovely readers an inspired  journey of designing and decorating, filled with wanderlust, exploration and the art of discovery.



  1. Lovely interview! I've been a fan of Holly's for many years (and of course, a fan of yours too, Sarah!). Love the advice about looking within for inspiration. I think I often doubt my own skills/abilities/intuition about design and taste, and it's a great reminder to trust in yourself. xo

    1. I loved that too, Les. I think good design starts with knowing yourself well. It's the only way to create harmony between your interior world and your exterior world, and I think it's a lifelong journey. xx

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