From global inspiration

Backyard Bliss with Moroccan Flavor

The backyard seating area is one of my favorite spots of our house. Here I enjoy my first cup of coffee in the morning and plan the day ahead while listening to the birds. It’s also our second dining room and a perfect place to relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day.

To create a warm and inviting space we painted the rear wall of the house a soft yellow and hung an array of lanterns from the rafters. A large mirror reflects their light as well as the greenery from the garden. Additional candle holders on the table and jewel tones round off the dose of Moroccan flair. An old street sign adds a touch of tongue-in-cheek.


“Beco do Motta” , a narrow alley a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral, was Diamantina’s red light district through the 1970s. It has been immortalized in a song by famed Brazilian musicians Fernando Brant and Milton Nascimento. We found the battered street sign in the rubble of a renovation site.


Jewel tones and Moroccan lanterns set the mood.


There’s nothing like candles to create a warm atmosphere.


Glass varnish and dimensional paint transformed an ordinary tomato sauce jar.


The mirror was rescued from a New York City sidewalk.


Lulu photobombing.


A detail of the garden is reflected in the large mirror.


As night falls the mood grows romantic.




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Living in White – Greetings from Denmark

Villa Fryd means Villa Joy in Danish. A perfectly appropriate name for this centennial home bought by Charlotte and her husband more than 10 years ago. Since then the owners have invested countless hours and their prodigious creativity to restore it and filled every nook and cranny with cheerful bright Nordic country style and shabby chic seasoned with French country elements.

Amazingly most of this transformation has been achieved on a shoestring budget, in part thanks to Charlotte’s singular ability to uncover hidden beauty in unlikely places.Her motto is: “Everything can be used and anything can be beautiful.”


The entry hall of the house welcomes guests with a display of vintage gems. The floor is original from 1914 and was discovered under layers of linoleum and chipboard.


The piano was a gift from a friend. Originally a glossy Mahogany, Charlotte painted it white to blend in with the Scandinavian decor.


A baby carriage and the dog bed sit next to a bench under the stairs.


Decoupage and white paint transformed this simple metal container.


In the reading room.


The guest bedroom with its luxurious linens and painstaking attention to detail is worthy of a queen.




The large kitchen window allowed for a shelf to be put up halfway. On it Charlotte displays some of her  lovely glass dishes. The counter holds a collection of retro sugar dispensers.


A wish fulfilled: after a long search Charlotte finally found the perfect vintage butcher scale.


Kitchen detail.


The glass house was built exclusively of reclaimed material.


Sitting and dreaming on the porch.


In the Summer most meals are taken outdoors.


Charlotte’s husband built the green house – or l’orangerie as they like to call it.


I would like to thank Charlotte for letting me share her awesome home with you. All the images are hers. In case you want to explore more please visit her blog Hos Villa Fryd.

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Vibrant Markets from around the World

Wherever my travels take me, markets are invariably on my to-do-list. Fruit and vegetable markets, spice markets, flower markets, crafts markets … their colors, their smells, the cacophony of sounds and voices immerse me and for a short while grant me the illusion that I belong.

Some are famous, highlighted in guide books, others are hidden treasures; one stumbles upon them by accident when turning a street corner or driving down a country road. Often I like those best. The produce is grown by the sellers in their own gardens, the arts and crafts are made by a family member or a neighbor and each piece tells a story.

Here are impressions of markets from around the globe, some I’ve visited, some are on my bucket list and some just struck my eye for the beauty of the images. I invite you to let your mind be transported.


Like most Brazilian cities Belo Horizonte, the state capital of Minas Gerais has a covered market in a central location, aptly named Mercado Central. Whenever we go to the “big city”, we make sure to pay it a visit –  to shop, to have lunch or sometimes just to take in the atmosphere. Being – almost – regulars we know where to find the best variety of spices, the best deals on Portuguese olive oil or my cherished German style pickles.

This vendor at the Mercado Central in Belo Horizonte specializes in peppers. image


Stanley Market is one of the tourist attractions of Hong Kong. You can find just about anything there, from traditional Chinese foods and typical items such as china, fabrics and crafts to knock-off designer handbags and electronics.

Multicolored textile items are among the countless offerings at Hong Kong’s Stanley Market. image


On the other side of the globe in La Paz is the Mercado de las Brujas or Witches Market. No trip to the Bolivian capital would be complete without visiting it. Here you can find medicinal plants, potions, good luck charms as well as dried frogs and lama fetuses. The latter are used as sacred offerings in Aymara rituals and are frequently buried in the foundations of buildings to protect the construction workers from accidents.

Good luck charms are for sale at the Witches Market of La Paz, Bolivia image


The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is possibly the most famous market in the world. It is certainly one of the largest  with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops  which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

Passage in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul image


During our last visit to Paris we were lucky enough to stay at an apartment minutes from the famous Rue Mouffetard. Located in the 5ème arrondissement this narrow street is closed to traffic and the stores lining it extend the display of their culinary delights onto the sidewalks. A paradise for food lovers!

Rue Mouffetard, Paris image

Legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson has immortalized the street with his iconic picture of a boy carrying two wine bottles:

Rue Mouffetard by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1954


One of the numerous Parisian outdoor markets is the Marché Monge, on Rue Monge.

Marché Monge, Paris
Cheese vendor at Marché Monge, Paris


The Viktualienmarkt  is an open air market in the center of Munich complete with adjacent beer garden. Beloved by locals and visitors alike it dates back to 1807 and has recently been landmarked by the State of Bavaria.

Viktualienmarkt in the heart of Munich –  Photo by Katy Spichal


Most German towns have farmers markets, like this one in Tübingen. Some are held twice weekly, some every day.

Farmers market in Tübingen, Germany – Photo by ichbinsEvi


As you stroll down La Rambla in Barcelona you will pass the famous Boqueria Market – a true feast for the senses. Despite its location on one of the great tourist thoroughfares of the city, a surprising number of locals shop here and prices are competitive.

Boqueria market in Barcelona image


In the Mexican state of Chiapas the customers are as colorful as the products for sale.

Shoppers selecting produce at the market in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. image


The floating markets in Thailand and neighboring countries are a testimony to the importance of the waterways as means of transportation.

Floating market in Thailand image


This woman sells fabulous multicolored basketware in Ethiopia. image


And finally some impressions from our own market in Diamantina. The Mercado Velho (Old Market) is also known as Mercado dos Tropeiros, which means Muleteer’s Market, because – you guessed it – the merchandise used to be brought here from the surrounding farms and villages on the back of mules. It was built in 1835 and is duly landmarked. Today it is home to a fair only on Saturdays. On some other days it is venue for cultural or popular events.

Saturday fair at the Mercado dos Tropeiros in Diamantina. Photo by ZELÉO


A selection of cachaças or sugar cane liquor for sale at the Mercado dos Tropeiros. Photo by ZELÉO


Of course there are countless other markets on this planet and millions of photographs to attest to their fascination.

I hope you enjoyed our little journey. Maybe it inspires you to go exploring on your next trip or to rediscover the markets of your own town.

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Sharon’s Fabulous French Inspired Kitchen

This gorgeous kitchen is the heart of the home of South African blogger Sharon Lee Johnson. Sharon is a declared Francophile and French country elements add special charm to the space.

Brick backsplash and open shelves - classic ingredients for the French inspired kitchen
Brick backsplash, open shelves  and plenty of wrought iron details – classic ingredients for the French inspired kitchen


The kitchen is literally the center of her home, a dramatic chandelier draws the attention to the double height ceiling.

Sharon's Kitchen 7
The impressive chandelier came from the Artscape Theatre Complex in Cape Town.


Overall view of the kitchen bathed in the warm glow of the chandelier
Overall view of the kitchen bathed in the warm glow of the chandelier


bread boards
Bread boards hang from a beautiful wall rack


Sharon's kitchen 4
View from the kitchen island to the dining area. A glass fronted cupboard  shows off vintage china

Sharon has this to say about her kitchen: “Instead of making the kitchen the heart of your home, find the heart of your home and make it your kitchen.”


The layout of the house is L-shaped. Looking straight ahead from the kitchen to the entry area.
The layout of the house is L-shaped. Looking straight ahead from the kitchen to the entry area.


Wonderful china is displayed on a cupboard shelf.
Wonderful china is displayed on a cupboard shelf.


A silver bowl holds cooking staples.
A silver bowl holds cooking staples.


I would like to thank Sharon for letting me share her beautiful home. The pictures are from her blog Roses and Rust, I highly recommend you check it out.

It’s always great to hear from you! So feel free to leave a comment.

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How to Add Mexican Flair to Your Outdoor Space

Mexican decor is unmistakable: the rich wall colors, the vibrant textiles, the intricately designed hand painted talavera tiles and pottery. Not to mention the amazing range of magnificent arts and crafts.

Below are some inspirations for transforming a backyard or patio into an inviting outdoor room with South of the Border flair. A wall or two painted in lively shades create the most profound impact – besides it won’t break the bank and is also easily reversible. Add colorful cushions and tablecloths to existing furniture for another easy and inexpensive upgrade.  Wrought iron tables and chairs are typical, with some luck vintage pieces can be found at yard sales or thrift shops.

Of course plants are a must. The more the merrier. There is hardly a limit to creativity when it comes to containers. Traditional terracotta pots, the famed talavera pottery, but also humble metal cans, zinc buckets or pots and pans retired from use in the kitchen all make great planters.


A talavera tile mural and a tile topped table against a rich blue wall. Succulents in mix and match containers add the finishing touch. (1)


Contrasting colors, vibrant wall art and an abundance of greenery make this patio a standout (2)


A cobalt blue shelf displays gorgeous pottery. (3)


The blue and red bench forms a wonderful contrast with the pink walls. Don’t you just want to take a seat and relax in the shade? (4)


What a fabulous wall detail! In lack of a lush garden behind the window  a mirror could serve as a stand-in. (5)


For Mexican flavor on a smaller scale check out these ideas below.


Multicolored china and textiles are key ingredients  for this Mexican themed table setting. Let the cinco de Mayo party begin!(6)


These bell pepper candle holders get extra points for creativity and charm. (7)


Colorful food cans that otherwise might end up in the trash make perfect containers for succulents and other plants. Recycling at its best! (8)


Simple terracotta planters have been transformed into one of a kind Dia de los Muertos inspired works of art. (9)


Previously an ugly drain pipe this cactus is both attractive and low maintenance. (10)


Got inspired? Take it from here and let creativity take over.

Image Credits: (1) Sandy Koepke interior & garden design, (2) Sunset, (3) Wild Wilderness Photography, (4) La Fuente, (5) Melina Stathopoulos, (6) CELEBRATIONS at home, (7) Interior Styles, (8) Kara’s Party Ideas, (9) creative kismet, (10) Javier Sakona

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European Flair in an Australian Brick Barn

The Red Brick Barn is a rustic retreat located about 90 minutes from Melbourne. It was created by Daniel and Glenny with  acute attention to every detail, blending European and Early Australian antiques with flea market finds to bring about a charming laid back atmosphere brimming with great style.

Many of the materials used in the construction and decoration were repurposed or recycled. Wood is dominant throughout and accounts for the inviting feel of the place.

The barn
The barn surrounded by blooming vegetation.(1)


Dining and living space
Dining and living room. (2)



Living room detail. (3)


The kitchen. (4)


Kitchen detail. (5)


Blossoms on a distressed wooden cabinet. (6)


The bedroom features an antique metal bed
The bedroom features an antique metal bed. (7)


The sleeping loft also accommodates a single bed
Another corner accommodates a single bed – a folding screen provides privacy when needed. (8)


Antique chair and pillow. (9)


The resident donkeys
The resident donkeys. (10)


Aren’t you in love with the place already? Best of all you can move right in, as Red Brick Barn is available for vacation rentals.

All pictures by Red Brick Barn, photography by Simon Griffiths. (3), (4), (5), (6) via Côté Maison


Inspiration Africa

The world is getting smaller, cultures mix faster than ever. What was exotic yesterday may be part of our everyday experience tomorrow. Add to that the mind-boggling amount of information available at our fingertips. For those looking for it, inspiration from around the globe abounds, be it in the arts, design, fashion, architecture, just to name a few.

Interior decoration is a way to make this inspiration come to life, be it a reminiscence of past travels, a dream of future ones or the simple desire to bring a distant corner of the world into our home.

Brazil owes a large part of its cultural heritage to Africa. Music, dance, visual arts reflect this legacy, but also religious traditions, food and even superstition.

So I think it’s only fitting to start the journey in that fascinating and for many of us mysterious continent. The earthy color palettes, natural materials and geometric patterns set a mood that is warm and inviting yet at the same time sophisticated.

inspiration africa 20 wisteriacom
The vintage inspired game boards make eye-catching wall art and are a perfect complement for the kuba cloth pillows. (1)


Dining in style: the wicker objects on the shelf add texture and form a striking backdrop for the contemporary table and chairs.
Dining in style: the wicker objects on the shelf add texture and form a striking backdrop for the  sculptural table and  and modern chairs.(2)


In this bedroom kuba cloth pillow cases and raw silk in earth tones pair off perfectly with the wooden end tables. (3)


Juju hat, animal prints, natural materials and a neutral color palette give this room an appealing and relaxing atmosphere.(4)


During royal court affairs, tribal chiefs and dignitaries in the Cameroonian kingdoms wear a spectacular headdress known as the tyn, or juju hat. The feathers are symbols of prosperity, and represent the wealth of positive qualities associated with birds. The pieces, in natural hues or bright colors, which are woven onto a raffia base, splay out into huge circles and make impressive wall art.


Three brightly colored juju hats are the focal point of this wall. (5)


Here very few items – kuba cloth, a woven basket, a traditionally patterned rug – create a splendid contrast to a contemporary setting. (6)


Splashes of color offset the neutral tones of the ethnic elements in this room. (7) This decorative African Pillow features the hand made Bogolan, or mudcloth from Mali. The mudcloth is a traditional, woven textile of Mali.
These gorgeous decorative  pillows feature the hand made Bogolan, the traditional mud cloth from Mali.(8)


African masks can be paired with almost any setting and make a fabulous impact. (9)



Earth tones and natural materials set the stage for this rustic interior. (10)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Hope you enjoyed the trip. Stay tuned, as we will continue to bring you inspiration from the four corners of the world.

Image sources:   Wisteria (1),  Decor4all (2),  DESIGNindulgences (3),  Decoholic (4),  about home (5), J. Ingerstedt (6),  Apartment Therapy (7),  Topanien (8), Wunderweib (9), Camel&Grey (10)

Pennsylvania Farmhouse

Restoring a 1867 Pennsylvania farmhouse is the mission Megan and Neil have embarked on – with stunning result. Each room is painstakingly and lovingly decorated. Many of the items are salvaged or flea market finds, attesting to Megan’s keen eye for beauty in disguise. It’s also proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a living space that’s at once stylish, individual and comfortable.


The dining room


Family room
Family room


Vintage linens


Kitchen detail


Kitchen and family room


Cozy corner


Guest bedroom


Dresser in the guest bedroom


Welcoming the new baby

All images from FARMHOUSE 5540


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A Colorful Home in Buenos Aires

This cheerful and inviting house in Buenos Aires is the home of  artisan Pato, director of photography Pablo and their two children Catalina and Juan.

In the 15 years they’ve lived here, the house has undergone several transformations. It is mainly Pato who is in charge of the interior decoration. Frida Kahlo and Beatriz Milhazes are two of her favorite artists and not surprisingly Mexican arts and crafts and vibrant colors are defining elements of the decor.


A beautifully aged farmhouse table sets the stage for family meals.


The combined dining and living room; high ceilings visually open up the space


The same room from a different angle


Splashes of color


Vivid colors,  Mexican decor and Pato’s paper art are key ingredients to the feel of the home


Stylishly arranged wall display


The kitchen receives tons of light from a big window and skylight


Outside the kitchen window – Buddha statues, one of Pato’s passions, can be found  all over the house




The large mirror reflects the master bedroom


Strong wall colors make a bold statement in the outdoor area


All images via

To find out more about Pato’s work go to


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