House Call: Molly Meng of 8mm ideas

House Call: Molly Meng of 8mm ideas

Dec 6, 2007

Molly Meng's stationery line, 8mm ideas, is a collection of little works of art. We especially love her whimsical handmade collages that often include vintage accents. And, when we got word that her San Francisco apartment is just as charming as her cards, of course we went knocking on her door. Below, Molly gives us a peek at her home and her studio.

The ottoman is from Community Thrift, and the pink couch was a gift.

A close-up of her celadon collection.

The chair holding the books is from an Ohio flea market.

The metal and leather dining chairs are from an old doctor's office.

How would you describe your decorating style? I'd call my style sentimental homey. I recently took stock of the pieces in our apartment and realized that most every single thing in our house is either from a flea market, a classic street find, or a hand-me-down. And I'm amazed they've all come together. The goal is that whoever walks in, they feel instantly at home.

When I lived in NYC, I used to change my apartment around every month — the paint, the furniture, everything: nautical theme one month, parlor room the next. Luckily, I married someone who loves to move furniture around as much as I do! It's become a kind of running joke amongst our friends, "Where's the couch going to be this week?!"

Favorite spot in your home and why? The living room, with its breathtaking view, is where I spend most of my time, standing and staring out. But, we recently switched our bedroom and office, and the bedroom is really taking a strong front runner position as my favorite spot because it's so cozy and warm and I love to read in bed or have coffee in bed on Saturday morning ... but, then, the kitchen is where so much good stuff has gone down over the years — great meals made, juicy conversations. Though our dining table is in the living room, no matter what, everyone likes to cram in that little kitchen. I think they're tied.

The pillows on the bed are vintage and the fabric is from her sister's shop, French General.

A close-up of the vintage pillowcase that hangs above the bed.

The paintings above the bedroom shelf are by her brother, John.

What's on your nightstand? About a half-dozen, half-read New Yorker magazines; a really good children's book, The Tale Of Desperaux, recommended to me by my friend who teaches 4th grade; a pencil and pad of paper for middle-of-the-night and early-morning ideas and list-taking; and one of my favorite gooseneck lamps to read by.

Favorite childhood memento that's in your home? Lots of utensils in my kitchen belonged to my grandmother or mom, which I treasure. And Grover: Although he's not kicking it on the top of the bed anymore, he still reigns as a top item I would grab if there was a fire.

Favorite travel keepsake? I collect rocks/little stones from most places my husband and I visit. And there's this little metal hand I got in France that you put in the middle of the table and spin, and whoever it points to, buys that round of drinks. I love that piece.

Current inspiration(s) for your work? Auugghh, tons and tons of stuff inspires me constantly! Too big a list to actually put down on paper! I'm totally inspired by relationships — the good, the bad and the ugly. By words — passages I read in books, graffiti I see on the sidewalk, things I overhear people say. The kids I teach — the things that come out of their mouths, are always an inspiration. Music, music, music: Rilo Kiley, Regina Specter, Andrew Bird, Johnny Cash. I'm also very inspired by other artists (I wish I could list them all): Mike McConnell, Erik Otto, Catia Chien — painters and illustrators that can convey so much without words. Colors: celedon, robins egg blue, chocolate brown. And my husband, who inspires me to work every day by his sense of humor, creative writing, and his never-ending support.

Favorite home/design magazines or websites? The now defunct Nest, Tokion, Dwell, Wallpaper, my sister's site, French General, Anthropologie, Wary Meyers, and old books.

Best bargain in your home and where did you get it? Gads! That's a hard question to answer ... most everything in our house was a bargain of some sort: The couches — one from a thrift store in Petaluma, the other one given to us by a friend; the gorgeous bedroom curtains that my two sisters made for me; the incredible woodwork around our apartment, built by my two brothers; the bike painting, done by my brother, John. In fact, all the paintings/art work done by my brother that hang around our apartment — family bargains can be the most rewarding bargains!

Just outside the bathroom, which has its original tiles, is a vintage mirror collection.

A close-up of a shelf in the bathroom.

Biggest splurge? Once upon a time it was the "little dancer lady" that I bought for $100. But that was years ago ... now, it seems to be whatever the next thing I really want is ... I don't splurge a lot, hence the thrift store vein that runs throughout my house.

What's at the top of your list of things to buy next for your home? A new bed. We're looking into organic rubber beds — and if we get it, that will become the answer to the "biggest splurge"!

Favorite local resources for furniture and accessories? I'm a weekly visitor to Community Thrift. And since my studio is above Thrift Town, I always have an excuse to stop in there. I love Rayon Vert, The Apartment, Candystore and Aria Antiques.

A vintage medicine cabinet holds a collection of cameras.

Molly was kind enough to let us into her studio as well. Here are just a few snapshots of her work space:

Thanks, Molly! If you want to see more of her home and studio, be sure to check out the Flickr set she put together for Apartment Therapy. There are a lot more photos that we couldn't fit into this post! And pop over to 8mm ideas to marvel at her stationery.

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