Euro Trash : Annie Brahler Interview
July 25, 2008

Annie’s gorgeous home
Those doors & that chandelier were to die for!

I “heart” the library.  It was very Pride & Prejudice to me!
Look at that arch way . . .breath taking, really!  
And there is the lovely Annie in the background!

Gorgeous dining room, that is used for dinner!
The kitchen was probably one of my favorite rooms!

Breakfast room

I adore this grouping of mirrors going up the stairs.  Stunning!

Sweet settees everywhere I turned
Pretty bedrooms.  This bed which belongs to her sweet 
daughter once belonged to the Princess of Belgium.
Lovely Vignette
This is such a clever idea.  A totally painted bulletin board and 
shimmering brooches for pins.
Whether or not you have yet to hear of Euro Trash and Annie Brahler, you are in for a real treat, both visual and insightful.  I happened to come across Euro Trash while wondering down the magazine aisle at the grocery store, late one night.  And after acquainting myself with it, I knew I had to see more.  
Two weeks ago my mom and a friend of mine had the opportunity to visit Euro Trash and meet the lovely Annie Brahler, who graciously offered to give us a tour of her gorgeous home (how exciting is that?).  Annie is a warm, kind person that makes you feel like an instant friend.   Her style is both breath taking and yet comfortable and inviting.  Annie has built a unique business traveling back and forth to Europe scouring the countryside for treasures.  Upon bringing them back to the states they are given a new life by way of paint, fabric, etc.  Euro-Trash even offers custom painting, upholstery and carpentry.  The possibilities are endless.
If you love old things that are pretty and purposeful then you will love all things Euro-Trash.  There are many more gorgeous images as well as inventory and information at 
www.euro-trash.us
What inspires you and/or where do you find your inspiration?
My Dutch heritage is an inspiration in the way I raise my children and live in my home.  Children are very much welcome and appreciated everywhere in the Netherlands and I feel that way too.  I want my home to be beautiful, but enjoyed and really used.  If something is not used, if it is just there for show, then to me, it is not beautiful.
What are some of your favorite paint colors?
I love what I call knocked down color . . . Color that looks as if it were vibrant at one time but has just been around too long to keep up.  I love a small bit of vibrancy in the room to set off the muted tones, but I use a lot of restrain when it comes to that accent color.  It might just be the bow on the dress of a figure in an oil painting.  I like the tension that creates.
How do you juggle your business and family, or just find balance in general?
I involve my family in my business.  My daughter is pretty creative and I think exposing her to all aspects of the business I am in will open up her mind to opportunities to use what she loves in the way of a career in the future.  My boys have also grown up trailing along with me on buying trips, helping sweep up in the warehouse and all kinds of things.  I like to think of my business as a sort of parenting tool.  I want to instill a work ethic in my children.  I also want them to feel like they have a vested interest in our family.  Small businesses take up a considerable amount of time and I think making things a family project is really important.
What is the most meaningful piece in your home and why?
The most meaningful piece in my home would have to be the kitchen fireplace surround.  My husband surprised me during the renovation of our kitchen with 18th and 19th century Delft tiles depicting two little boys playing games and one tile depicts two little boys pushing a little girl in a sled.  Our boys were 4 and 6 when we did the kitchen and our daughter was 2.  To have something that says so much about our family be a permanent part of our home is pretty meaningful to me.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I love the Isle de Re in France, that is certainly one of my favorite places on the planet!
What are your favorite stores or places to shop?
My favorite city to shop for clothing is Paris (small boutiques during the twice annual sales).  You can find gorgeous special things for what it would cost for a sweater from the Gap . . .if I am near Paris for work during the sale times,  I will most certainly hop a train to check things out.  Little country town antique malls in the states me pretty happy too!
To you what are the top 3 (or so) decorating “no no’s?”
I am a little controversial when it comes to “my” top three!  I do not think fake flowers should ever be used in a home.  I love represented flowers (paintings, china patterns, fabrics) but I don’t think such things should be faked.  I think this mind set comes from my Oma (my Dutch grandmother).  Flowers and gardens are very important to Dutch people and I grew up learning to appreciate the miracle they are.  I think life should be authentic, live in your home, use your things, experience the excitement of a beautiful perfect flower and the knowledge that the beauty is fleeting.  To me, that is part of the beauty.  I am constantly running outside and cutting the most mundane little sprigs of things and bringing them in.  Once they are used inside in a different way, it makes it more interesting.  (I like to use a little sprig of boxwood and tiny sticks as a last minute arrangement at each place setting for last minute dinner parties).
I also don’t care for valances by themselves.  If something is hanging there without a purpose, I don’t find it beautiful.  I would rather have a the window clean and bare than a little strip of fabric that serves no purpose.
My third “no no” would have to be following the crowd.  There is always an opportunity to make a space your own.  I am always thrilled when I come into a space that feels like the person I know and not just a still life of what they think a space should look like.
What would you say is the best room to start decorating in your home?
I would like to answer this question in a different way.  I think it is important to REMOVE anything you don’t like from a home and start with a clean slate, don’t “do one room” then move to the next.  I would rather live sparsely in a home and have the whole thing come together slowly than have the jarring feeling of one style against the old.  In my own home I spent about a year “undecorating,” pulling up carpeting, removing wall paper and about 15 ceiling fans.  It was important to me to get down to the essence of the architecture of the house, to start clean.  It is almost 11 years later and I am constantly adding bits and pieces, but I don’t concentrate on one room at at time.  Opportunity also plays a big roll.  If I find a drop dead gorgeous piece for the living room for a good price,  I will buy it.  I wouldn’t look at it and think, “Well, I am looking for a dining table right now.”  The dining table would be plywood covered in fabric until the right one came along.  If the opportunity is there, grab it!
What is your next decorating venture or piece on your wish list?
I am ALWAYS looking for gorgeous chandeliers.  I love empire and I love beading.  I also adore landscape oils and my heart beats a fast when I see a good one!
Any favorite books or current books on your night -stand?
I just finished MARLEY AND ME, a gift from my father.  We both love dogs.

What advice would you offer to someone just starting out in the decor world (whether decorating their own home or starting up their own business)?
I would tell them to keep an open mind.  You can find knowledge and beauty in unexpected places.

Do you have any design pointers or guidelines that you use when decorating?
Gather your color choices and work from there . . . if you gather things in the colors you are working with simple, free things can become beautiful set in the scheme of things.  In a neutral creamy room a few glass bowls with rice, birch bark and lentils is instant art…mix that with a bit of silver for juxtaposition and it becomes interesting in a different way.  Mixing high and low as well as old and modern are also favorites of mine.  Stay true to what moves you, what YOU find to be beautiful and you can never go wrong!  EVEN if that means something on MY “no no” list!  If you find it makes your heart beat a little faster, than you are on the right track!

21 Comments

commented on July 25th 2008 at 9:47am

This was wonderful!!!!! I had waited all week for you to post it and I was not disappointed. How exciting to visit her home…lucky you!!! She seems so down to earth and happy. I have been keeping a Euro Trash file for years. I will certainly add this to it.
BTW, did you buy anything?

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 10:08am

Dianne- so glad you enjoyed the photos and interview…it was so much fun. I did come back with some jewels, which I will post at a later time once they find there right place in my home!!! Can’t wait to show you all!

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 10:36am

Wow, this is one fabulous home and interview! I was drooling over the photos, such loveliness!

Thank you so much, how nice of her to let you tour her home and share the photos with us! I would’ve loved that opportunity!

Happy weekend,
Melissa

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 11:14am

Bonjour Trina,
Merci for stopping by my blog!
I have heard of Ann before. I saw her beautiful home in a magazine a while back. Of course, I adore her store too, since it is very similar to mine.
Great post, thanks for sharing!
Have a wonderful day!!

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 3:20pm

I think perhaps Scarlett O’hara lives there?! Gorgeous setiing- cannot wait to see what Euro Trash is all about! Thanks for the interview.

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 3:27pm

Trina, I have a question. I have lived on this blog since the post. LOL Is the library the room that was featured in Home Companion as a living room? The mantle and lights looked the same but I don’t remember the bookcases. Also, would you say her color scheme is neutral?

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commented on July 25th 2008 at 9:31pm

Love the Euro Trash!
Happy Birthday… love Coldplay!

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commented on July 26th 2008 at 5:34am

How exciting to see inside, such a beautiful home. I really enjoyed reading the interview!

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 12:35pm

Glad you all are enjoying the photos and interview as much as I did!

Dianne- you are cracking me up. Well, first I should just say that I called it the library because that is what it looked to me. That room is a divided long room that attaches to the family room. I think it might be the living room from the Home Companion I would agree that it does look like the same fireplace. Things have changed & been re-decorated since the Home Companion was published. And yes, I would say for the most part it is a neutral scheme with some pops of muted colors (as she said in the interview).

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 2:14pm

Trina, we would be good friends if I lived near!! Thanks so much for the answers. Waiting to see what you bought.
xoxo

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 4:43pm

Fabulous home, and I love her point of view on decorating!

-Lana

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 10:04pm

Great interview – and I love that archway and those mirrors! Thanks again – wonderful post!

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 10:37pm

Awesome pics and interview. Where is her home located? So gorgeous!

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commented on July 27th 2008 at 11:45pm

The grouping of the mirrors is so amazingly pretty!!

Jen Ramos
'100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More'
http://www.madebygirl.com
madebygirl.blogspot.com

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commented on July 28th 2008 at 9:03pm

ooh la la – so lovely indeed and love her editing and un-decorating philosophy til she gets it all right. It is important to learn to live with out until you realize what is really what you need and want. Wonderful home. Thanks for the tour.

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commented on July 29th 2008 at 2:53pm

Thanks for stopping by Topsy Turvy!

The mirrors are so pretty Jen & Diana! One of my favorite things!

Rebekah- your comments worked – yeah! Annie's home is near Springfield, IL.

PVE- It is such a great philosophy. I have always kind of felt this way about not rushing just to fill up a room to have the "complete" look but this has made me feel so much better about not having everything together and the freedom to just get rid of things that I don't love!

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commented on July 29th 2008 at 11:29pm

Wow, beautiful home, great interview…gorgeous!

Also, thanks so much for the link and nice comments on my blog. Yours is gorgeous. Glad I found it!!

Lynn

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commented on July 30th 2008 at 5:04pm

Thank you for this beautiful post. I am looking for inspiration for my vintage frame, and I love the bulletin board. I’m getting some ideas! :)

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commented on August 8th 2008 at 9:48pm

Hi Trina,
I loved your interview and photos! You did a fantastic job and what an inspiring read. Thank you!

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commented on August 26th 2008 at 9:35pm

Oh my goodness, Trina, you were definitely right — the inside is as amazing as the outside. A thoroughly enjoyable sneak peek and interview. Thanks so much for the link!

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commented on August 26th 2008 at 9:51pm

{p.s.} Also added a link to this post :)

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