• Rome guide | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Wanderlust: Rome, off the beaten path

    Rome has been a complicated destination for me, for years. The complicated kind of love…I remember days when I was in high school and one summer my brother and I tried to convince my parents to drive to Italy from our southern Poland home. We took the map, drew somewhat straight line, taking the Alps thankfully into account, and pleaded with all our might to head south. The car, a Polish Fiat, would probably survive the trip, my parents’ pockets, not so much. It was the old Eastern block days, when no one could travel outside of Eastern block, unless proved a significant amount of funds in dollars (!) available…

  • Midsummer gathering | totallybydesign.com
    Food,  Garden

    Summer solstice gathering

    Every year when jasmine (Philadelphus or mock-orange) and peonies start to bloom, I can time days and hours to my favorite time of the year. The longest days, the still-crisp nights, and the heady, perfumed air. It is Midsummer time, which has nothing to do with middle of the summer, after all it is about to begin, but an old North and Central European celebrations of flowers, fire, and dance. June 24th, St. John’s Day, and the night leading to it, is the time to toss the handmade flower crowns in the streams and rivers, and to celebrate. This year, I was fortunate to have spent few days at my…

  • Trastevere, Rome | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Spellbinding Rome

    Rome deserves whole paragraphs, if not books, on its magic. Sometimes loud and colorful, sometimes elegant, sometimes understated and mysterious at the same time. It is impossible to separate history and contemporary life. Here are a few captured moments that evoke the spellbinding word to me most. Welcome to the corners of Trastevere, Rome.

  • Totallybydesign home tour | totallybydesign.com
    Interiors

    House tour

    It is about time that I share a slightly bigger glimpse of our home on the blog. I might have a bit of an agenda hidden here. With looming bathroom renovation (salmon and green need to make way for new colors), it works miracles for motivation, to open the doors wide open, bring some flowers in, and just step back and think: yup, we did it! These first few weeks of June mark 4 years since our offer was accepted. After year and a half of intense search, defying the statistics and trends (“you will never find a single family house in Cambridge, MA in your budget that is not…

  • Wild Woodland Garden | totallybydesign.com
    Garden

    Secret Woodland Garden

    Every year, around the third week of May, we carefully time a trip to this wild, overgrown garden on the outskirts of the city. A carpet of the lilies of the valley is what brings us there, but this year I wanted to document the secret, forgotten garden feel of the place. The Alice in Wonderland, or as I prefer to call it – H.C Andersen garden. Somehow, lilies of the valley are forever tied to his fairy tales in my mind. So is jasmine, but that is story for June…

  • Italian inspired garden moodboard | totallybydesign
    Garden

    Roman garden inspiration for small city garden

    After fun filled, although sometimes frustrated search (favorite Anthropologie planters sold out!) my Roman inspired garden mood board is ready. Now the hard part, making it happen. I cannot wait to share the results! Clockwise from top left: Planters: Pottery Barn Umbria planters Outdoor sofa: Patricia Uroquiola “Foliage sofa” at Hive Modern Aged scalloped planters: Jayson Home Plant pot with saucer: Ikea Decorative outdoor pillows: Blossom pillow West Elm and striped pillow West Elm Nasturtium “Gleam Salmon”: Floret Flower Farm Jardin Bistro Folding Dining Set: West Elm Rosemary in clay pot: Burpee Lanterns: Anthropolgie  

  • London Guide | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Wanderlust: London Guide

    My recent trip to England started with a whirlwind day and a half in London. From the moment I resurfaced from the tube station at Holborn coming from Heathrow Airport, the game was on. I was meeting my brother for a day (him en route to Scotland, me making my way to rural Dorset), the time was short. We bumped into each other outside the station, what are the odds. Our meeting place was carefully pre-arranged at the hotel cafe, with plan B and C of course, knowing me…We dropped the bags and instantly headed down the first street that looked interesting. We meandered through Soho, posed for touristy photos…

  • Shaftesbury cottages | totallybydesign.com
    Garden,  Travel

    English cottages of Shaftesbury

    I saw the Gold Hill in Shaftesbury on Instagram some time ago and frankly, I thought it was at least a little bit doctored image…How could this fairy tale really exist! When I arrived in Shaftesbury recently for a photography retreat with Marte Marie Forsberg, I made sure to arrive the afternoon before. I needed my time with Gold Hill. I left the bag at the hotel and instantly went for a stroll through town. I admit, I was a bit chocked up when two minutes later, following the crooked path behind the church, I saw the cottages of Gold Hill. I even took a selfie (gasp!) for my parents.…

  • Candle tea and cake party | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Flower photography and visual storytelling with Marte Marie Forsberg – Part 2

    It always comes down to flowers for me. The slightest chance that I get to hold a few blooms and arrange them, photograph them, re-enact a ‘story’, and I am there. Never mind it is across the Atlantic. That is how I felt about this workshop and opportunity to style and photograph alongside Marte Marie Forsberg and her special guest Anna Potter of Swallows and Damsons. On a brisk March Saturday morning we stepped into a room filled with flowers. Not just any flowers. Flowers that you dream about, but rarely see by the bucket. Jonquils, lilacs, ranunculus, roses, tulips and lots and lots of eucalyptus and brambles! Anna did…

  • Bowl and flour | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Food styling and photography with Marte Marie Forsberg

    Back in November, I did a very brave and uncharacteristically rush and spontaneous decision. I bought, within minutes of seeing it going live, a spot in Marte Marie Forsberg’s “Flowers and Food Visual Storytelling” photography retreat. I remember somewhat frantically emailing Marie “where is it exactly”, having barely ventured outside of London in my UK travels. If you are like me, and follow Marte Marie on her Instagram for a couple of years now, you know the story of the thatched cottage, the rolling hills, the moody pubs…Traveling there seems like stepping into the mysterious fairytale though, bit like boarding the train in Harry Potter movie. Luckily, Marte Marie responded reassuringly…