sneak peek: rion nakaya


uk-based photographer rion nakaya has a great eye when it comes to her work. i particularly love the way she captures people of all walks of life on the streets around the world. anyway, we’re so thrilled to have her for our first sneak peek of the day, proving her eye extends from her photographs to a great and welcoming interior. you can click here for additional and full-sized images. {thanks so much rion, and to sophie for the great tip!} –anne

[above: I knew that we gravitate toward color themes, and group similar things to both organize and improve our small-ish spaces. But I never realized until looking at these photos, how graphic our our style is, with lots of typography, animal imagery, and small multiples… We framed the high-contrast, silk-screened music posters in white to complement the simple black and white forms of the Saarinen dining table from Knoll and DSR Eames chairs from Vitra. And of course, we love the bands and the companies who designed for them! These prints are a mix from Aesthetic Apparatus, The Heads of State, and The Small Stakes].

When I saw the hamster salt and pepper shakers at Aria in Islington, London, they immediately reminded me of the whimsical 1940s/50s ones that my Grandma had in her kitchen. Just down the road, I found the white vase at the Camden Passage antiques market.

The vintage poster was an old teaching aid used in French elementary schools. We bought it (and another) in a brocante near Butte aux Cailles in Paris. I found the mix of kids’ animal masks online and around London. The Sukie wrapping paper is camouflaging an Ikea glass display-top coffee table.

I found the steel typist’s desk online from Pigeon Vintage, an antiques store in Brighton, UK. Originally from East Germany, the desk had been found in a warehouse in Belgium by the store’s proprietor before he delivered it to our flat in London. The rest of the desk area includes my grandfather’s Kodak Duaflex II twin-lens camera and my father’s old Japanese Petri rangefinder camera, an Eames DSW chair from Vitra, as well as a letterpress drawer and some old wooden 7Up crates that I found at the Pasadena Rose Bowl flea market in the early 90s.

CLICK HERE for the rest of rion’s sneak peek (10 more pictures) after the jump!

Taken on our wedding day, the two photobooth strips were an impromptu idea by our friend (and our wedding photographer) Raul Gutierrez, who art directed the eight rapid-fire frames in the small basement hallway at Bubby’s in Tribeca. The Eames rocker illustration is by Jen Renninger. The print on the right is a page from a Ladislav Sutnar-designed catalog, generously given to me by designer Elaine Lustig-Cohen when she closed her book shop, Ex Libris New York, in 1998.


I found the minimal wall clock at The Conran Shop in Paris. The Nesso table lamp is by Artemide. Feeding my love for typography, I found the PG-13 marquee sign in 2000 at the flea market on Grand and Broadway in NYC.


Our stairwell to the third floor has a skylight above it, providing great light for our old family photos, a few vintage illustrations, and other small prizes that we’d collected in NYC and Japan.


Our bedroom is like an Ikea ad. (Even the large homemade pillow cover was sewn with Ikea fabric!) But there are two rebel items here: the architecture-inspired pillow (on the left) by Germany’s s.wert design, and the screenprinted camera tour poster for R.E.M., found online at


I first saw the giant world map made of felt velcro pieces at The Conran Shop, and then with some detailed googling, found it on for almost 25% less! Our son plays with the pieces daily, and it’s truly amazing to watch as he learns different things with it from month to month. The rocker is Vitra’s Eames RAR Rocking Chair. The trains are Brio. The eagle is Vilac.


Our children’s book library is choc-full of classic stories, vintage books that my grandma, mom and I all read as kids, and much the retro illustration styles that have become prevalent recently. But the most popular illustrator in our house is contemporary: Marc Boutavant and his book Le Tour du Monde de MOUK is my son’s absolute favorite. Other favorites: the dinosaurs are by Schleich, the print is by Blanca Gomez, the magnetic wooden rocket ship is by Janod, and the dinosaur fabric is called Field Trip from Munki Munki.


I was thrilled to find the large silk mache whale at The Conran Store in Paris, just a few months before my son was born. It reminds me of Japanese craftwork, and has great scale and a whimsy that I love. The doll, hand-made with a Japanese fabric, is one of three beautiful Rosa Pomar dolls that we’ve collected.


The large poster is one of two old teaching aids, used in French elementary schools, that we found at a brocante near Butte aux Cailles in Paris. This one hangs in our son’s bedroom as a memento of the city that he was born in. The toys are a mix from Kid O, Djeco, and Melissa and Doug among others. The hand-made doll is by Rosa Pomar.


As soon as we moved into our flat in London, we painted the open-style kitchen’s one wall with chalkboard paint. It’s not only been fun for all of us to draw (and keep lists!), but when I’m stuck in the kitchen, I’m still able to spend time with our one year old as he draws whatever he can imagine! The bee, another favorite, is a Wheely Bug.


The side chair is from Sweden, circa 1954, and was bought at 2&4 Gallery in Islington, London. The pillow is by Donna Wilson. The toys were bought in Paris, with exception to the blue Kid O puzzle and the hand-made doll by Rosa Pomar.

  1. Krystle Rose says:

    I love the interactive map in the children’s room. How clever!

  2. Wow, love this sneak peek! Well, I love all of them, but especially this one. It is so carefully curated – looks just like an exhibit in a museum! Photos are really well done too! What a nice way to start off my day – inspiration from d*s. :-)

  3. Sara says:

    Hey does anybody know where to get frames like the ones they’re using for the gig posters in the 1st photo? Like with just a little bit of white matting around the inside? I have some gig posters that are weird sizes and those look perfect.

    Otherwise, I love this kid friendly, but gorgeous, modern home. Love the doodle of Plex on the chalkboard!

  4. jessica says:

    so cute! love this. i love the chalkboard wall in the kitchen.

  5. Hege says:

    You have a fantastic home! Great pictures as well:) Love the prints and Vitra chairs… and the flowers! Nice colour combinations in your interior.

    Br Hege

  6. jen says:

    I think I am in love with this house! I love the first poster grouping and all of the poster artists mentioned are my favorites.

    Thanks for the killer sneak peak on a Monday morning!
    XOXO- Jen

  7. Emily says:

    I love the color, the band posters and the whimsy! This would be such an awesome place to grow up and play. That world map is amazing!

  8. Melanie says:

    The entire house is really quite great and well edited but the little boy’s room has stolen my heart. I’m considering going and buying that velcro map.

  9. Christie says:

    Great post. Fab photos! Absolutely inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

  10. jodi says:

    what a wonderful space!
    and i absolutely LOVE the photo booth strips!

  11. Dinah says:

    what are those purple flowers with the long stems? I love them! they remind me of mini simple spherical topiaries which i’m on the hunt for.

    the whale and the map are so awesome! i’d definitely get those for my future kids XD

  12. This is a wonderful home!!!

  13. leigh ann says:

    great desk.

    and the details in the kid’s room couldn’t be more adorable. that world map would’ve come with me to college if it’d been in my room as a smallie. haha. how cool.

  14. kristina says:

    love the photos in the stairwell

  15. michelle dubuc says:

    I want to ask the same question as Sara above…I love collecting gig posters but can never find frames the right size, and can’t bring myself to pay $50 to frame a $15 poster! I love these white ones…if they are available pre-fab it would totally make my day!

  16. michelle dubuc says:

    i’m curious about those white frames as well…i have a ton of gig posters i can’t find frames for and don’t want to pay for custom ones. love these ones!

  17. Jess says:

    Love this. Can I move in? The pictures are inspirational.

  18. Rion says:

    Dinah: I believe the flowers are called Allium Giganteum. They are really lovely, tho the downside is that you have to keep the water fresh or they start to smell like onions.

    Tisha: That’s definitely our map! Though just as a note… we got the map with 196 felt play pieces included. (Not that you need that many, but that may account for the price difference.)

    Thanks all for the lovely comments, everyone!

  19. Rion says:

    Michelle and Sara: alas, ours were not pre-fab…

  20. Lydia says:

    I actually followed Rion’s photography blog when I lived in New York. Such a nice surprise to find her home here!

  21. AnnaDenise says:

    Aah! I got that same exact desk!!!! :-) It’s lovely isn’t it! We found ours out on the curb and it turned out its a gispen. Niiiccce.

  22. rebecca says:

    Holy cow, what a GREAT place. I too have followed along since the old days, albeit a bit sporadically with Rion and her husband. It’s so amazing to fill in a little more behind the scenes info. I can’t say enough how much I love the details in this home.

  23. claire says:

    Ooooo — I’m loving the tomato read Eames shell chair against that grey metal desk. Genius!

  24. Becca says:

    I am in love with this place too!

  25. TreeCookies says:

    this place is so sik. i love the use of black color throughout this awesome home.

  26. What an amazing space!! I love her eye for color and how she frames the work on her walls.

    {And I was totally honored to see one of my prints in the collection – that made my day!}

    : )

  27. i just love all the graphic posters. anyone have a source??

  28. Wendy says:

    love the colors and things of interest around every corner. Modern, but cozy and personal

  29. Nikko Moy says:

    I just love everything about this home especially now with a baby boy coming in April. So inspiring and fun! -Just put that wonderful cloth map on my baby registry…it’s great, really!

    Thanks for sharing Rion + Grace!

  30. ling says:

    love the child-centeredness of this place!

  31. Sonia says:

    ok i must say, your house is lovely!!!!!!! but the bee and your son and his striped pjs, they are pure love! :3 great place!

  32. Rion says:

    hishouse;herhelp: Resources listed and linked in the post.

    And just an fyi for everyone who has posted or emailed me directly: There *is* a smaller map (4 x 6 feet) available for less, but it’s different from the one pictured above. Our map is 5.5 x 7.8 feet with 196 felt pieces.

    Thanks again everyone!

  33. Kimberly says:

    one of the best. what i strive for my own home to be. i’ve also never seen a more stylish children’s room. terrific!

  34. Fantastic home. I love all the framed art … and i really want the twin your typist desk.

  35. uglygirl says:

    I really love the entire place. Beautiful and fun.

  36. Tayllor says:

    Very cool. Like the chalkboard for the kids!

  37. olha says:

    I was just thinking of crafting a similar wall in our kitchen! Super nice color arrangements! Where did you get so much good light in London, that’s my main question

  38. Lida says:

    A wonderful home, great ideas!
    Rion, about the map: we searched on the small version but could not find. Do you have a link on for the small map to share. Thanks

  39. i like the felt in the little’s room!

  40. Amanda says:

    I absolutely love the world map!


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