Wednesday, 28 July 2010

land of my fathers

Croseo a cymru, welcome to Wales! I loved growing up in Wales, the welsh cakes for one can't be beaten. We welshies seem to stick to together. I am in Bath working for a welsh client, have a welsh structural engineer and welsh builder working on a refurb. It seems only fitting that I should source welsh products to put in the scheme. I was quite take with Elan Bach fabrics. The company was set up by Bernard Ashley (husband of Laura). There is no signature look, the designs range from contemporary to cottage. Unusually the fabrics are printed rather than woven which means that any design can be printed in one of a 100 colours. have just become a stockist of their fabric (discounts to friends and followers of course). I;ve just recieved my first order and the fabric is lush
(Samples can be ordered easily on line.) is still one of my favourite sites, it only sells products which have been hand crafted in Wales. They stock a really interesting range including a range of vintage welsh blankets and throws which are amazing.
I can remember a smattering of welsh, not a very useful language to know though. Love going to visit rellies, going over the seven bridge and seeing the Croseo a cymru sign and cheering for the welsh rugby team!

da boch chi

Sunday, 25 July 2010

the art of deco

I went to see Noel Cowards Private Lives earlier in the year, it was a decadent treat!
I managed to get the one and only seat left for a matinee performance (a treat in that I snook off for the afternoon abandoning work - just as well I am my own boss).

Anyway there were 2 great things about the play; seeing Kim Cattrall in the lead (I am a huge Sex and the city fan) and the 1920's interior stage sets. I am not a huge fan (so I thought) of Art Deco but was surprised to find I loved the colours, furniture design and fabrics. Soho house Berlin opened a few months ago and the rooms there have got a definite Deco feel to them. Still not entirely sure it is a look I love but its certainly a look that is growing on me. I think the problem I have with it is that it borders on being a little bit too "granny" even Soho's modern take on the style it isn't enough to shake it off

the jury is out still not sure - art deco love or hate?

what do you think?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

collectors item

It has been the most glorious day. Made the most of the sunshine but am now feeling a little weary after a day in the sun catching up with the gardening. I thought I would get in a quick post before bedtime. Its going to be a mad week so finding time to post is going to be a challenge next week!

It never ceases to amaze me how with a little imagination a stylish display can be constructed from just about anything. Why put anything away when everyday objects from Keys to Cooking utensils can become their own piece of exciting art.
Who would have thought that a collection of Pez sweet dispensers would have made the coolest wall decoration in the whole world! Yesterday was also a very busy day, managed to get some DIY done which included getting the collection of mirrors I am going to build on up on the wall. I am looking forward to looking out for some more over the coming months, 5 up and possibly another 12 to look for!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

cute as a button

I am hopelessly addicted to Button backed
furniture, Who knows where this addiction started! But I have noticed on my travels that it is a love that is being adopted by lots of designers. It is one of Ilse Crawfords trademarks oodles of furniture in the hotels she has designed abound. I have tried to rail in my use of it at home but it has creeped in ever so slightly into my living room. I have invested in a massive 1.1 *1.6m footstool, very practical it opens up with bags of storage inside. Not so practical its covered in a gorgeous berry coloured Mohair Velvet which is always picking up fluff. Who cares though I love it! (Until the end of September I am offering 10% off footstools (any size, any fabric, any design) just email for a quote.
Love where you live

I have seen the light

I was browsing through some interior mags and came across an article on this house fab house in Fulham. I am a lighting freak and was very excited and jealous to see my most favourite lighting used on mass. Tom Dixons Beat lights in a very sexy basement bar and Julian Chichesters Flip light (its on my must have list) both lights are incredibly atmospheric and going to be future classics. I also love the kitchen lighting line-up. If you've your thinking about buying some new lighting get in touch with your local electrician and see if its possible to run extra cable to have more than one pendant in a room . It's a sure fire way to create instant impact. I have spotted some fab and affordable Pendant Lighting at I've got to find 3 pendants to go over a breakfast bar and feel a little spoilt for choice. If the budget will stretch to it I am also tempted to look at who have an equally yummy choice of products.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

colour trauma!

When faced with the decision on what paint colours to sign off on, so many calm and normally collect clients go to pieces. This shouldn't happen! Especially when you have already spent days whittling the choices down, considering what works with the light, the space, their existing belongings their personalities. I met David Oliver from Paint and Paper at his colour workshop, he calls in Paint Paralysis. I can at least relate to the problem. About 3 years ago I had a 16 week leadtime (from placing the order to installation) to choose colours for our hand painted kitchen. The day before it was delivered the company demanded a decision so they could provide the paint for the painter. I had agonised for 15 weeks and 6 days! I guess we have an innate need to get things right first time, we feel we can't make mistakes.

I have a final colour sign-off meeting this week with a client. I have decided to make sure I have glasses of wine to hand to make sure that the client is relaxed and to minimise paint paralysis setting in. It is a daunting task for them to decide on a whole house scheme, walls and fabrics so I do feel for them. I think this job is 10% design and 90% hand holding!

One of my favourite blogs on colour is sign up on her home page and get a free monthly colour tips. She runs what sounds like a really practical colour course. Sadly it is in Vancouver or I would be checking it out.

Would love to hear from anybody on what is their favourite paint colour, or colours they would avoid. I have used Farrow and Ball Light Blue recently in 2 different houses. It looks great in a Traditional Home, but looks a really fabulous contemporary colour in a modern setting. When I was in the states I picked up a load of Benjamin Moore paints which look good, but sadly not available over here.
Look forward to hearing from you

Monday, 12 July 2010

the sweetest things - part 2

And now for the boys. Gone are the frills and girly pinks. Bring on strong lines, strong colours and bags of personality and energy. Colour needs to be carefully balanced though. There is a school of thought suggests that primary colours can be over-stimulating. Great for a play room but not so good in a room where all you want to see them do is sleep!

the sweetest thing - part 1

The biggest bummer about being a mum to teenagers and older kids is the having to deal with constantly messy rooms. I am not sure who is the biggest culprit, my 17 year old son or my now living at home again daughter of 22. It is a given, being an interior designer, that I crave order and perfection in my home. I have had to abandon that ethos in their rooms or I would have had a break-down by now. I shouldn't complain too much though in a few years they will have their own homes and I will miss them like mad. Until then their rooms will have to be projects for the future. My sons room (when he was little) was one of the first I experimented on as a designer. It had a circus theme and the wardrobe looked like the entrance to a circus tent with clowns and ring-masters painted on the wall. It couldn't have been very successful as I could never, ever get him to sleep in it!

I would love to have another children's room to design, girl or boys. What a chance to be creative, to go all out on colour. But also practicality, lots of places for toys and junk to be put away. Children's rooms should be places of adventure, for imaginations to be ignited, a place to entertain friends and a place for lots of fond memories to be generated. Some of my favourite little girls rooms are packed with pink, vintage wallpapers, oversized beds and acres of fabric, I've attached some of my favourites.

My favourite boys rooms to follow soon!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

mirror image

I've always been fascinated by mirrors. They are so glamorous and they have a magical effect in a room; not only expanding a space and but also creating a feeling of movement and light. I have been lucky and picked up at auction and flea shops a growing collection of ornate, carved and painted mirrors. My mission is to arrange them all on one wall, just need to find a few more of them before I can put them all up! I will post a picture when the project is done.

On a recent project we installed a huge antiqued mirror within a panel to create centre piece over the fireplace. Looked fab.
I have also taken on supplying a fab mirror which I first spotted at Babington House. I have bought one for myself, their a little pricey but worth every penny. If anyone wants one let me know (its the oval antique bronze mirror, very versatile could be hung portrait as well).

One of the most exciting uses I have seen of mirror is in a hotel where the bathroom was built in the centre of the room and the 4 outside walls of the room within a room were covered with antiqued glass panels. I've attached a picture of it. Spectacular and very clever!

Before I wind my weary way to bed, here as some more of my favourite mirror tips

A mirror makes a fab backdrop for art. Prop a painting in front or hang it right on top.

Be bold, mirror a ceiling of a small space like a cloakroom and hang the light through the mirror, it will make the light look like its floating.

Be adventurous a doorway will appear to float if you replace the architrave with a bespoke mirror strips.

The bigger the better, the larger the mirror the bigger the impact.

Mirror the reveals of a window, it will make any window feel like a bay window.

Make a narrow space, like a hallway, feel wider by adding mirror panels to one wall


Friday, 2 July 2010

touche eclat

I am signing off for the weekend feeling very relaxed and chilled as I sit by the pool overlooking the bustle of the meat packers district. It doesn't get much better than this. I am feeling recharged and full of energy and enthusiasm to get back home and complete my clients home.
It has been a great break but I find it impossible to switch off. I have dragged my daughter around the Design and Decoration Building picking up fabric samples, paint shops to collect Benjamin Moore paint swatches and have been adding to my notebook new ideas inspired by what I have seen. I also have a strange assortment of pictures on my camera, from skyscrapers to pictures of tiles and chairs.
I have also been flicking through the many American home furnishings magazines I have bought since I have been here. I was quite taken by these images. Such an elegant combination of colours, textures and fittings. The villas was in Italy but they have sort of French Chateau chic feel to them. The chandelier and bath are amazing.
Anyway enough of the pool side ramblings. Much more exploring to do!