Staša Klemen and her homely minimalism
Have you ever wondered how Little Otja fans live and what kind of home decor tips they might have? Look no further: we’re introducing the #mylittleotja series, where we’re going to be spending some time with interesting individuals, who just happen to enjoy the company of our bunny rabbit. We’re going to ask them a thing or two about creating the home of their dreams.
We’re sure many of our followers are also fans of Staša Klemen. We’ve been in the fan club ever since we first saw her stylish depictions of modern family life on Instagram. We have had the pleasure of talking with Staša about finding inspiration, motherhood and life with loved ones.
WHO IS STAŠA KLEMEN?
For the past couple of years I have mostly been a mother to two rascals and a wife to Luka. Iza just had her first birthday, and Lev will be five in a couple of months. So our life is quite diverse right now; full of adventures, challenges, phases ... Last year was especially full of new things — we were expecting Iza, went apartment viewing, moved house.
I came to Ljubljana more than 10 years ago as a student (of ethnology and cultural anthropology). I became very fond of it, so it comes as no surprise that I ended up staying.
After finishing school, I worked in retail and it had a big impact on me. I learned a great deal while working at clothing stores; the best part was when I trained as a visual merchandiser, arranging shop windows and interiors. I’m currently at a crossroads, where my career has the possibility to take different paths.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?
Hmm … Good question, but the answer can be very vague. I could say that I’m inspired by everything.
In a way, it’s my children, because they teach me something new every day. But also nature, objects, people … that shine with a certain energy and catch my attention. Of course, I’m also influenced by various Instagram profiles (it’s my favourite social media platform) and magazines — about lifestyle, decor, fashion.
I think it’s easy to find inspiration if you’re looking for it … there’s so much of it around! It’s up to us to notice it and incorporate it into our lifestyle in a creative way.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Simple, minimalist, maybe not in the strict sense of the word; part of me wants to store and hoard things. I’ve learned that there’s no need to constantly buy new pieces of clothing or furniture to create a fresh new look — I think well about the choices I make and I’m not as impulsive as I used to be.
Even though my wardrobe and interior are essentially simple, I get a lot of variety with various accessories and decorative elements, which can make the simplicity seem different every time.
The same is true for my personal style, the choice of colors and also decorating our home. Simplicity, interesting shapes, aesthetics, governed by a “less is more” principle.
There comes a time when this minimalism, my black and white world, is shattered by a uncharacteristic colorful item of clothing, furniture, decor.
WHAT ABOUT CLOTHES?
When it comes to personal style I love oversized items, classic, everlasting pieces. And sneakers. White, black and grey tones prevail in my closet, and lately I’m growing to like neutral shades of beige.
WE LIKE YOUR CHOICE OF COLOUR PALETTES …
The same color palette is present in our apartment. It’s a sort of mix of modern and vintage or classical — we’ve recently moved into an older apartment and I wanted to preserve some of the original elements that give it a certain charm: a decorative ceiling rose in the living room, herringbone parquet flooring, an old wooden door … I think that wood (and its natural color) is great for softening and smoothing an apartment that might otherwise seem cold and minimalist.
ANY FAVOURITE PIECES OF FURNITURE?
My favourite pieces of furniture are the Rex chair and daybeds by Niko Kralj (the newer version in the living room and the old daybed —just like the ones we had in kindergarten— on the balcony). The finishing touch is definitely the houseplants; there’s more and more of them each month and they’re in every room!
HERE’S A BIG QUESTION: HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED AFTER YOU BECAME A MOTHER?
My life hasn’t changed much since I became a mother. But I do think that I have learned to live and feel more fully than I was able to before. I learned to appreciate the little victories and to cherish every moment — to just let go and enjoy myself.
While it is true that a lot of new things happened with the arrival of the first baby, my husband and I had decided not to change our lifestyle because of it; the only change was that there were now three of us, instead of two. It’s true that we’ve adapted to certain situations, but we haven’t stopped travelling, exploring … we enjoyed it together, the three of us! And it’s the same thing now that there’s four of us.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR FAMILY?
Besides going on longer holidays (preferably by the sea) we spend our time on playgrounds and on short trips in the countryside; we discover new places or simply stay home and cuddle or play. We always find something to do!
HOW DO YOU APPROACH DECORATING YOUR HOME?
When it comes to decorating interiors, I noticed how differently I think as the mom of a girl or of a boy. Lev’s room is all about simplicity, accented by some accessories and toys. Minimalist patterns, green-greyish hues. I have recently added some things in mustard-colored things, like a pen holder, a mirror, and a wastebasket.
When I was decorating Iza’s corner, I noticed how the little girl in me came alive and I went with somewhat more romantic, floral prints and decor. Shades of pink and purple prevail, as well as the essential greys.
WHAT KIND OF TOYS DO YOU BUY?
When it comes to toys, I’d also rather have fewer things of higher quality, which can be used for a long time by both of the kids (despite their age difference). Natural materials are important (wood, recycled materials), so they’re not harmful to us or the environment.
My favourite shop is Mali zakladi, because they have a huge selection of everything children need.
CAN YOU GIVE US SOME GOOD BRANDS FOR KIDS THAT YOU LIKE?
Some Slovenian brands are very dear to me and they offer really pretty decorative items—not just for kids, but home decor as well: Little Otja, Tutajna, Vanja in Lev, Black bear and white bear (with a beautiful collection of clothes for kids!), Ooh noo. And foreign ones too, especially Mrs. Mighetto.
A few of my favourite children’s clothing brands are Turtledove London, Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Papu, Tinycottons, but of course, my kids also have some (mostly basic) things from Zara and H&M. For everyone that’s looking for unique, hand painted and custom-tailored pieces, I can’t go without mentioning Valentina Šumrada.
WHAT WOULD THE PERFECT KIDS ROOM LOOK LIKE?
Because I love (re)decorating so much I can’t say I have an image of the perfect room in my mind. Of course, I see great-looking rooms on social media, in magazines and so on. But even if I had something “perfectl” I know I would end up changing and rearranging things, as I do now.
HOW DO YOU FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
You just have to take some time for yourself, no matter which “role” you play in life. Luka and I communicate when someone wants some time off, whether it’s half an hour or a couple of hours. We find a balance.
When I have some time just for myself, I like to peruse a good magazine, catch some autumn sunrays on the balcony, have a drink with my girlfriends, go to the open market and buy a bouquet of flowers, or simply indulge in a hot bath. And that makes me happy.
YOU HAVE A VERY INTERESTING AND PRETTY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT. WHAT DRAWS YOU TO THE PLATFORM?
Thank you. :) My Instagram profile was originally created out of curiosity, just to share moments with my friends. With time it became apparent that it was a great medium for forming new friendships. Gradually, a new path opened up for me and I began collaborating with various brands (mostly from abroad, at first), some of whom I still work with today.
My content definitely changed after I became a mom. I think of it as a turning point and the start of discovering a new, previously unknown world; for exploring new themes and children’s brands. My posts became more personal and family oriented; I started sharing some of my experiences. I think my followers appreciated it and they often reached out to me for advice.
ANY ADVICE FOR BUDDING INSTA PHOTOGRAPHERS?
I really admire it when I see that someone put a lot of effort into a photo; that it has aesthetic value and that it’s original, spontaneous and simply captures the moment.
My advice to everyone would be to follow their vision — to not want to be like others and to post what they think is important at the time.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LITTLE OTJA?
I first encountered Little Otja around four years ago, when I decided to put a print with a lion in Lev’s room (it’s in his new room today). So we have some prints, Lev loves the (beautiful!) notebooks and I’m obsessed with the tea towels.
I like it, because it’s different! The prints are great — really something special!
And I’m sure our home will see something new from Little Otja very soon.
Staša is on Instagram as @stasa_klemen. Go and give her a follow.
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