Decorating with books

There is something fabulous about lining shelves with books, I guess its that library esq feel  comforting, cosy, and snug . Floor to ceiling bookcases are fabulous if you can fill them that is, but so is a pile of books plonked next to a chair with a vase housing seasonal blooms on top. Books soften the edges of a space, making it feel more personal and lived in. Little heaps here and there are  excellent accessories. I’ve got them all over the place from  floor to ceiling bookcases to little piles of three with a teeny tiny lamp on top. If stacking on shelves vary the heights, turn some of their sides, stack horizontally and then lean the next group against.

In my kitchen I have 6 or 7 stacks of recipe books on the central island with the odd vase, or scented candle plonked on top. They add height and colour and soften the stainless. On my travels somewhere and I can’t recall where I remember seeing a coffee table fashioned out of books. A few dozen decorative tomes were used as legs with a sheet of glass on top, it  looked pretty cool. Which reminds me fab old book covers are great to frame and to hang on walls – without further ado some images as always to inspire.

Love love love this bookcase and how it brings the space alive

Smaller but equally as effective, adding pictures and objects creates another interesting layer.

Stacked on the floor in super sweet little piles with a vase on top is also fabulous.

The Typography Trend

Its been around for a while admittedly but its gaining momentum – think London bus roll signs, subway signs and all sorts of typography working its way into our pads. I’ve spied it on walls, chairs, bedding, cushions you name it. My sister lined her bedroom walls with vintage bus roll (looks fab) and in Paris  and New York I’ve seen the trend just getting bigger year on year. I myself have just designed a chair inspired by typography its sort of Mad Men inspired with a urban edge so loungy yet masculine. More on that another day (will post images soon) beyond late this morning so please excuse the very short post. The images below take this typography trend to a new level enjoy. This collection is from Pony Rider in Australia and is beautiful:

Going down under, and how to create a fabulous home

I have been asked to be a part of the international seminar series  at Furnitex in Melbourne this July, Australia’s premier trade show. Leading design thinkers from across the globe gather and present inspiring and thought provoking seminars for two days, and my seminar examines in detail how to create feeling and emotion in an interior a subject very close to my heart.

The weekend before last I was a keynote speak at  Naomi Cleaver ‘s seminar in conjunction with KBB at Excel and talked again about a subject dear to me – how to create a successful design store.

I won’t bang on about the retail side but really the same rules apply when designing your home, if that is you want to set it apart from everyone else’s. The key in creating a trailblazing space is to look for products (furniture, lighting, accessories and so forth) that hold an almost magnetic appeal. In so doing your senses consciously or not are activated, stimulated even. This by the way has nothing to do with money take for example an old drum that I found at an antiques market and that now doubles up as one of my coffee tables – tribal in feel bound in raffia and old fur it skims the floor with its fabulous texture and creates an interesting dialogue with the other pieces surrounding it.

Story telling is also central when designing a space as you want to create a room so dense with references and so layered that you create an immediate emotional connection. Take the image below as an example its a home office but its been filled with an assortment of stuff, different styles and textures mingle and hang out – super soft tribal rug next to mirrored uber glam desk next to old wooden chair. Perfect!

Into this mix I would add a touch of tongue in cheek grandiosity and animal inspired objects are fabulous for doing just this – adding that element of levity and irreverence that every interior needs.My own collection of course below:

Colour of course is key, probably one of the best design tools there is as you can set the mood in an instant from dark sludgy inky ones to high voltage brights. Play around with a combination and magic truely happens.

Decorating the eclectic way

I read something recently that Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Decor said on Shelter Pop that literally made my pulse quicken a tad. He said the magazine was more than just about publishing beautful homes as beautiful homes tend after a while to all look a like. (We know)! He is looking for  and I quote ‘ unusual rooms, homes that are ahead of the curve and homes that are so far ahead of the curve that they look backwards’.

Fabulous news, decorating in an eclectic manner takes some skill and its hard work – matching fabrics, furnishings and colors together is easy peasy any one can do  it (well maybe not but you get my gist). Decorating the eclectic way allows you to throw almost anything together EXCEPT its got to make sense. A good tip to pull a scheme together is to use colours that complement and or contrast. Take for example my new studio that I am working on, a chesterfield in deep dark browny black flanks the fireplace with a love seat angled on the diagonal in black. One sofa shouts English gentleman’s club sturdy, masculine and grounding but the  loveseat is French, frou frou with ornate little carved legs  its dainty, feminine and oh so different. The key is they share the same palette so when hanging out together they don’t look so crazy – so vary the furnishings as much as you dare just make sure the colours flow continuously.

The same goes for accessories – we want to create interestingly multi layered rooms but not rooms that look a mess.  Play around with colour and contrast pattern and texture and if it looks  crazy – edit. Take 5 pull things off shelves and tables, leave the room as I did over the weekend and approach it again with fresh eyes. Anything goes, nothing matches but remember its all got to make beautiful sense.

The image below is taken from Livingetc’s archive and pretty much nails what I am talking about

The neutral palette is punctuated with some serious pattern which is pretty intoxicating.  Interesting, unique and personal.