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The No-Rules Approach
to Interior Design
by Christiane Lemieux 



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A Working Playground

Is this a coincidence or what? After reading yesterday news about Skype becoming part of the Microsoft empire, I came across another one of their fantastic and enviable work spaces. Located in an 1846 landmark building (originally a clothing factory-turned brewery), this one happens to be their Stockholm office. The lively and colorful design was steered by Mette Larsson-Wedborn from PS Arkitektur. They used round shapes, fun light fixtures and an array of brighly colored furnishings to reflect Skype's playful spirit. You might also remember their U.S. headquarters in Palo Alto, California, that I featured back in March. After seeing the ingenuity behind  Skype's working environment, I'm convinced there is no excuse for rows of cubicles and boring meeting rooms anymore... wouldn't you say?

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A Day in The Park

Some of my favorite sources of inspiration for my work are European shelter magazines. I can never get enough of their innovation and I'm always delighted to see how they push the editorial envelope in their editorials. While drooling over the pages of the February/March edition of Maison Française magazine (one of my ultimate faves), I was enamored by these incredibly surreal images by Coco Amardeil. The story features designer furniture and decor to illustrate the trends for Spring 2011. The photo shoot took place in France Miniature, a miniature park tourist attraction in Élancourt, France, featuring scale models of major French landmarks and monuments. I think they were so clever to play with the difference in scale to give the furniture a monumental role over the miniature models.
Great fun!!

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GIVEAWAY: Phone case & Keychain

Sorry, but entries for this giveaway are no longer accepted. 

I love when people follow their passion and creative soul to become entrepreneurs, as is the case for two trendy Miami architects whose love for fashion inspired them to create this chic collection of cases for smart phones. After their frustration over not finding the right accessory to hold their phone, keys and credit cards all in one, and at a reasonable price, the mother-daughter team of Anabella and Daniella Smith, ventured to design their own line called d.nvlp. Made of 100% printed croc on cow leather, they're the perfect size to carry all of your essentials anywhere you go. Soon, their collection will also include iPad cases, clutches and beach bags. To celebrate the launch of their Etsy page, they're kindly offering my fab readers the chance to win one of their hot creations through this giveaway (the winner will be able to choose one of two cases shown in the picture above). Plus everyone will receive a 10% discount from their shop when using code THEDESIGNERPAD until May 31.

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Calming Beauty

As we celebrate Mother's Day here in the US, and other countries around the world, I wanted to give you something especial to indulge yourself on the occasion. And what better treat than some of Melanie Acevedo's heavenly interior images from her exquisite portfolio. Sit back, relax... and enjoy! I wish all the fabulous mothers out there a very exceptional day :)

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Timeless Touch

Details, details, details. For me they say so much about someone's home and style. When I visit my friends' house in upstate New York, I'm always taken by their collection of beautiful gadgets and finds they have gathered from their various trips and even specialty stores. That's what makes their home so especial and interesting. When I came across this wonderful selection of timeless objects by French company Neëst, I immediately thought of them. The idea for this company was born out of their passion for decorating, and particularly, by a tendency they call  “Natural style of life.” Influenced by Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics, this trend tends to value the beauty in ordinary objects of our everyday life, combining contemporary design and vintage objects. Because they're so simple and streamlined, these pieces blend seamlessly with any decor. I can think of at least half a dozen of their goodies I would love to have around my house.

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Make it Work

As I spend most of my day in front of a computer working on my projects (and my blog), I know how important it is to have a comfortable and pleasant space that inspires me. Home offices have become an integral part of our homes, so we mustn't hide them anymore. We should pay as much attention to them as we do to the rest of our home. Whether it's compact or have a room of its own, your work space needs to reflect your personal style. If you're in the lookout for some inspiration, here are several cool and simple ideas that will spark some motivation to give this often neglected part of your home the TLC it deserves. Happy Friday!!

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A Tribute to Industrialism

Here's yet another brilliant example of a commercial building turned into a striking living space. This one happened to be a smelly and oil-filled garage in Sant Gervasi, one of Barcelona's elegant suburbs. It took the ingenuity of interior designer Estrella Salietti to transform such a rough structure into her colorful and perky home. In keeping with the history of the space, Estrella used graphic elements, like the green arrow in the entrance, as a reference to traffic. The balance between the industrial elements kept from the original space and the softer additions to the decor is just right — maintaining some of the raw feel of the garage intact. It's quite obvious she's not afraid of using color, especially with the shinny black floors she decided to use throughout her home. By the way, can you guess what her favorite color is? It rhymes with dream... Exactly what this place is.

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White As a Feather

As our feathery friends start making their way back into our gardens, let's welcome them with these fun and stylish bird houses and feeders. They deserve a nice place to hang out while filling our terraces and backyards with sweet melodies. For sure, if I was lucky enough to have some outdoor space, a couple of these would be part of my decor. Although you can find them in different colors, I picked white — not just because I love everything white— but because their colorful plumes will stand out even more.

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