Tag Archives: Interior Design

Eleven Travel Souvenir Ideas Based on Maps

Working on blog posts is a bit like ambling around a new destination. Start in one direction, keep your eyes open and soon you’ll find yourself among unexpected delights. I was putting together a post on Amsterdam’s canal houses, which grew into a larger research effort. In doing the research, I looked at old maps of the city, which led me to a surprising array of items made using maps.

Map of Amsterdam by cartographer J Blaeu, 1649.

Map of Amsterdam by cartographer J. Blaeu, 1649.

Antique, vintage and reproduction maps make great travel souvenirs. Not when tucked away in drawers, but when put on display, or turned into fun and useful items. Here are some of the ideas that I came across, along with one item that I quickly made myself.1 - 9 Handcrafted
With the holiday season coming up, these items could make wonderful gifts for the traveller or want-to-be traveller on your list. Or perhaps as bon voyage or welcome home gifts.1 2 3

  1. DIY magnetic board covered with a vintage map. This easy-to-do project is by graphic designer Michael Jon Watt. The instructions are via Apartment Therapy.
  2. Drawer pulls or cabinet knobs created by Kristy and Matt of Daisy Mae Designs. Use a different destination for each drawer or cabinet. In addition to the knobs, you’ll find a variety of other items in this Etsy shop, from cuff links to wine stoppers, that incorporate original vintage maps.
  3. Certified organic cotton cushion cover printed with a map of Amsterdam. Created by Cath of My Bearded Pigeon. Cath is an Etsy featured seller, you can read an interview with her here.4 5 6
  4. Canal-house shaped cushions in cotton printed with maps of Amsterdam from the Fanatica Barcelona Etsy shop. Shown is a set of three different gable styles, single cushions are also available.
  5. DIY six-sided block puzzle using old maps, as seen on a blog here. For inspiration only as no instructions are available via the link.
  6. My own 20-minute DIY project, a map-covered box. Mini-instructions are at the end of the post. I’m using this box to store paper clips. Larger boxes could be covered with actual maps.7 8 9
  7. Custom-made photo album created by Ali Manning of Vintage Page Designs. Ali also creates travel and other journals which she will personalize for you.
  8. Handcrafted coasters made by Jonathon Wayne Sopotiuk, an artist and designer studying at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada. The coasters shown display a map of The Netherlands. Coasters showing many other destinations along with custom options are available through his Etsy shop (click through link provided on his name).
  9. DIY decoupaged glass trays. You can find instructions here, the image that I used is from here. If you aren’t a DIYer, search Etsy for handcrafted ones.

10 Framed Maps Banner
Maps on Floating ShelvesFramed antique and vintage maps of places you’ve visited or are on your wish list would make a wonderful art collection. A relatively low-cost version would be to frame reproductions using coordinating stock frames. By placing them on floating shelves, you could mix the maps in with other pieces as you add new travel destinations over the years. Or perhaps combine the maps with photographs taken while travelling.

The image is via the Majesty Maps and Prints online shop. Among their offering of reproductions are large-scale and black-out maps.

When searching for online sellers of original antique and vintage maps, I was surprised at the range of prices. At the lower end are maps taken from old atlases.
11 Folding Screen BannerMap Screen

As a DIY folding screen option, you could decoupage flat boards with a single large map cut into strips or with a collage of smaller maps. The sides and back of the boards could be painted or covered with fabric. For a more durable option, cover the decorated boards with Plexiglas, cut to size, and frame the edges with decorative moulding. The image above is also via the Majesty Maps and Prints site.

These are just some ways to keep travel memories using travel maps. What sort of travel souvenirs do you collect? Have you used maps to decorate your own home?

Steps I followed to make my map-covered box:

  • Scaled an image of an antique map of Amsterdam (more about the map in my next post) to fit on A4 paper.
  • Printed it out using a colour printer.
  • Rummaged around the house for a suitable box. An A4 sheet was the perfect size to cover the lid of an old iPhone box.
  • Used an acid-free glue stick to adhere the image to the lid. Folded and trimmed the paper on the short sides of the box.
  • To further secure the paper to the box, I ran a strip of 38mm wide binding tape (purchased from my local paper shop) around the lid edge. I placed it so that 5mm was on the outside of the lid, folded the tape over and adhered the rest to the inside.
  • Added pull tabs to the bottom of the box, by applying two strips of binding tape to the sides of the bottom, making the tab by folding the tape back on itself. The tabs make it easier to pull the box open.
  • Gave the paper a coat of a matte lacquer to protect it.

Tricia Guild: Colour Deconstructed

Day one of the Meet the Blogger conference that I recently attended wrapped up with an exciting visit to the Designers Guild showroom in Amsterdam. Entering the showroom was like stepping into Aladdin’s treasure room. The furnishings, textiles, wallpapers and accessories were a colourful treat for my eyes. After a long, yet enjoyable day, I immediately felt my energy-level perking up. The prosecco and nibblies, so generously offered by the agency’s employees, added a much-needed pick-me-up too. Thank you!

Pink Orange Mauve Grey

Top: L) Orsoglio Fuchsia cushion, Monceaux Saffron throw. R) Caviglia Fuchsia fabric. Bottom: L) a macro view of Zambelli Damson fabric R) Regent Ivory cushion, Stothard Teal and Alexandra Amethyst fabrics from the Royal Collection

There were a number of colour stories displayed at the showroom. They included shades of blue; emerald green mixed with accents of fuchsia and bright yellow; and a classic combination of black, grey and ivory. I am sharing a few of my favourites with you.

This “living room” beckoned me to sit and stay awhile. The graphic stripes and bold floral accessories bring energy to the relaxing warm-grey, muted-green and soft-purple colour scheme. Do you like the burst of mustard yellow on the one cushion? I think that it adds a nice bit of zing.

Tricia Guild Colour Deconstructed

Top: Cushions from L: Caviglia Moss, Astrakhan Noir, Padua Noir, Alesandria Amethyst. Bottom: L-Roncioni Moss Velvet Fabric on Chair Back; R-Padua Amethyst Cushion

One of my favourite textiles from the new Designers Guild collection is the ‘Roncioni‘ velvet in Moss. It’s the fabric seen on the back of the custom ‘Julep’ chair in the above left photo. The seat is in ‘Cheviot,’ a felt. This yin and yang mix of colours, textures, a solid and a pattern is one of the things Tricia Guild and her team at Designers Guild do so well.

Of particular interest to me is the company’s use of new technologies. I appreciate things made-by-hand and the artists, artisans and craftspeople who make them. At the same time, I think that digital technology can add to the creative process. Tricia Guild mentioned that all Designer Guild digitally printed patterns start as hand-painted designs. The Kashgar, Alexandria and Patio patterns shown below in the “blues” grouping are digital prints; a dynamic combination of the artists’ skills and cutting-edge production techniques.

Designers Guild Tricia Guild Colour Deconstructed

Top: Kashgar Cobalt Cushion, Alexandria Lapis Wallpaper. Bottom: L) Designers Guild Savine Cobalt Wallpaper, R) Patio Pattern from Christian Lacroix Carnets Andalous Wallpapers Collection for Designers Guild

My reaction to the colour combinations presented in the showroom reminded me of a statement Tricia Guild made earlier in the day during the conference:

“Colour makes the heart sing, touches the soul and gives joy to the spirit. Searching for this special feeling is my life’s passion.”

Indeed, colour has a transformative effect on our psyche. Yellows can excite or agitate (perhaps read my earlier post about Van Gogh’s love of yellow). Neutrals can soothe or bore. The secret is finding the right mix of colour, pattern and texture. Interior design books such as Tricia Guild’s latest,”Colour Deconstructed,” help us to find what works best for our unique personalities and spaces.

As part of the showroom event, Tricia Guild was on hand to personalize copies of her new book. Meeting Tricia Guild in person was a great experience for me. I admire her work and adore the Designers Guild line. Well-known for her impeccable sense of design and style, Tricia Guild is also a savvy business woman.

I purchased a copy of “Colour Deconstructed” (or in my case, “Kleur Ontrafeld,” no, I don’t read Dutch, although perhaps I will one day) at the event and am quite enjoying it.

To start, the book is beautifully constructed. I appreciate the attention to detail Tricia Guild gives to her books. This one has a colourfully stitched binding and brightly edged pages. So far, I’ve taken note of three different cover photos. The English-language version features indigo shibori; the German, a blue floral; and the Dutch, a red and blue floral, with touches of orange. Isn’t the ombré end-paper fabulous? It has the look of the Guild’s ‘saraille’ wallpaper.Colour Deconstructed Tricia GuildTricia Guild fills “Colour Deconstructed” with design inspiration and insights. Our responses to the different environments and images presented in the book offer clues as to the design elements that we would most enjoy having in our own homes.

We see how a few special touches create that “wow” factor. The interior layouts mix contemporary with classic, botanicals with stripes and concrete with linen. Tricia Guild skillfully combines colour, pattern and texture in a way that suits the space; merging her clients’ preferences with her unique style.

Perhaps best known bright palettes and bold patterns, Tricia Guild balances these elements with neutrals and solids. Here are some snippets from inside “Colour Deconstructed.”Colour Deconstructed BlackTricia Guild Colour Deconstructed BlueColour Deconstructed Tricia Guild BlueTricia Guild Colour Deconstructed Turquoise and Pale GreenColour Deconstructed WhiteIsn’t the photography in the book stunning? James Merrell is the photographer.

Colour Deconstructed Tricia Guild Texture Photo

The text translates as: texture, plaster, driftwood (according to google translate “wrakhout” is wood wreck, google image showed driftwood, a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, a better translation), marble, stone, decayed, glory and patina.

Inspired by book, I put together a photo collage for a home decor project that I’m contemplating. A bit of reverse engineering since I already have the textiles and searched through my photo files for shots that tell the story of the fabrics. Colour Desconstructed CollageThe purple-blue and white colours of the Passiflora caerulea or Blue Passion Flower are symbolic of heaven and purity. Poetic stucco and iron-work are sharply contrasted by the geometric lines of the shutters and shadows. A glorious rainbow cuts across a soft, yet stormy spring sky and a patch of sunlit landscape beckons us. The luxurious bolts of velvet are Designers Guild’s Varese, a wonderfully thick cotton velvet with a luxuriously dense nap. I’ll be combining the velvets with the vintage Japanese silk textile to create something (undecided what that something will be – suggestions?). In Japanese culture, the crane is symbolic of longevity and good fortune. The flowing water reminds us that life is fluid and ever-changing.

It was fun putting the collage together. I hope you create one (or a dozen) too. After all, the premise of this blog is to explore the world and bring beauty home in a way that is meaningful to you.

Additional Blog Recommendations:

Here are a few more posts about Tricia Guild and “Colour Deconstructed” that I think you’ll enjoy:

  • Stepping it Up (elliecashmandesign.com) Ellie Cashman, wrote her blog post before attending the Meet the Bloggers Amsterdam event. I came across her gorgeous moody large-scale floral wallpaper design on Pinterest months before meeting her.
  • DESIGNERS GUILD…(mademoisellepoirot.com) Carole Poirot is a gifted writer and photographer who also attended Meet the Blogger. Her passion for all things related to interiors, cuisine and craft is beautifully reflected in her blog.
  • Book Review: Colour Deconstructed by Tricia Guild (starrybluesky.com) Rhiannon Connelly is a talented photographic artist and entrepreneur. Her background is in textile design. Before focusing on photography, she created hand-painted textiles carried by Liberty of London among others.

Holding on to Summer with Les Toiles du Soleil

I’ve had this magazine page in my “inspiration” file for years. The sunset, ocean, colours and stripes are quite appealing to me. Even on the cloudiest of winter days, I can feel the sun when I look at the picture (very happy it’s still summer though).

Tear SheetSo, when I passed by Carnet de Voyage, a shop in Arles, I almost jumped for joy. Their window displays were full of totes, beach chairs, kitchen towels and rolls of fabric similar to the striped fabrics on my tear sheet.

Colourful Stripes

The fabric that I had for so long admired, but never found anywhere until that day, is made by a company called Les Toiles du Soleil. In English, the company name translates to Canvases of the Sun. Quite fitting I think.

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The colourways make me think of summer and southern France.

Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Avignon Photo: val'sphotos

Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Avignon Photo: val’sphotos

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Nice’s Lamp Photo: Natalia Romay

The heavy 100% cotton canvas is available in a number of widths, making it suitable for many decor applications.

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Fabrics Swatches Photos: Knoxville Museum of Art

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La Fenêtre Provençale (Roussillon) Photo: Vincent Brassinne

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Photo: Pinterest

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Photo: via Pinterest

Ideal for using in a child’s room.

Or, for lampshades.

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Purple Fields, St-Julien Photo: marcovdz

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Cassis Winter Photo: marcovdz

And when your memories of summer have faded in January, then perhaps a trip to the Carribean will be in order. At Hotel d’Toiny, a Chateux and Relais hotel located in Saint Barthélemy, you can enjoy the sun and a suite decorated with Les Toiles du Soleil fabrics.

And if not…