Today am buying stock for Christmas – in amongst being on our stand yabbering to retailers, designers and specifiers I’ve managed to zoom out and about at the gift fair and bagged some truely fabulous products for the holidays. Imagine a beautiful collection of organic glass vessels perfect for our faux’s, a fabulous capsule collection of scented candles packaged to perfection, with some of the most amazing scents I have come across in a long while. We also are embracing the circus with supersized carousel letters (with lights inside) perfect for any wall plus some fab art super inexpensive. Can’t wait to show you guys – happy Wednesday
Good times in NYC the lights are going down a storm and am loving living again in this city. As a result of my being in such an exceedingly good mood everyone (decided I couldn’t whittle down who would win the free Skype design consultancy comp on facebook )wins!! Yay Hay – more details on FB shall be in touch with all once back although as I mention on FB the next three weeks are a little crazy to say the least so may have to start scheduling consultancies after I am back from Paris.
Although there is little time to get out and about regrettably , I did manage to squeeze in a drink at the Breslin – attached to the Ace Hotel. Dark, gloomy, sludgy hues get brought to life with tartan and quirky stuff hanging on the walls total inspiration. Lying in bed, coffee in hand typing this whilst watching the river traffic on the Hudson – a huge glass window in my bedroom with the High line one side and the Hudson on the other heavenly.
Possibly not coming home!!
Computer playing up, trying to insert some images and its not having it (not fabulous with technology) and now am sooo late trying to figure out whats wrong I have to run, forgive no pics of the Breslin
Long busy day today work wise not to mention the heap of stuff do to before heading off on the early flight out to NYC tomorrow morning. Couldn’t sleep so moving around like a snail with a bad head ache. I think having watched Flipping Out I need staff , someone to make me breakfast, help me decide what to wear, tidy that kind of stuff. Maud is great but not tidy, balls, bones and toys flung all over the house in any old manor. She’s taken to hiding her bones in the oddest places it used to be the garden but now she digs them up and brings them in covered in earth and worms you name it and unless I am beady eyed and constantly watch her in they come. Last night I couldn’t figure out what the odd rather nasty smell was – turns out it was her bone under my pillow dug up from the garden. Lovely!
Anyways talking of reality programmes have rather gotten into The Block, an Australian show. Four couples are each given a run down house in Melbourne which they have to renovate in a relatively short space of time. it gets sold at auction and the winner with the highest bid wins. Neale Whitaker is one of the judges (he also happens to be editor in chief of the fabulous magazine Belle ). Anyways he gave me some insight into the show and that’s how I became a little hooked ( he also took me to the most beautiful restaurant in Sydney very near ACP head quaters, panelled, gentleman’s clubby, relaxed the kind of place you want to smoke a cigar and knock back a few whisky’s I didn’t I might add ). I digress as always – the contestants have very little experience renovation wise let alone design wise but that’s not the point. Whilst I’m not always a fan of their finished rooms its fascinating to watch the buzz they get when completing a space. Decorating is addictive – one reason I am sure I am so obsessed. If I could offer once piece of advice I would mirror what Sir Paul Smith once said “stop making sense as logic is sooo predictable instead think differently” Push the design envelope (me talking now) , mix – for example – parrot green with icy grey. Juxtapose shag carpets with mirrored surfaces and sit a Philippe Starck gnome stool next to throne!!. (Possibly I am getting a little too carried away by suggesting thrones but you know what I mean)!! The aim and my point is there is no greater buzz than creating something that tantalises all the senses the moment you walk through the door. Enough yabbering I have to go – no post tomorrow as travelling but will resume on Monday and announce the winners of the facebook competition.
The scheme you come up with may not be everyone’s bag but if its your bag and you love that is all that counts. Image taken from Rue
Apologises for yesterday’s lack of posting and today’s late one. The riots were an enormous worry for our store, warehouse and so on. I just want to say to all those people who have lost their businesses in the mindless looting not to mention arson how terribly sorry I am. I cannot imagine what it must be like to pick up the pieces.
On a lighter note am off to NY – shall try (I know I said that when leaving for Australia and failed dismally) to continue posting next week.
So lets talk interiors that’s why we are all here right? More specifically lets talk details I know I bang on about them alot but they add the wow factor to a space like nothing else I know, softening it up, creating intrigue and interest.They don’t have to be fancy you just have to love them.
I often find people stop decorating to soon – and yet its these 5 minute details that make all the difference. More is more trust me – if I enter a space and find its minimally furnished with not alot of stuff going on then I automatically presume that person is super boring!! Forgive me for being so judgemental but hey there are no excuses when it comes to decorating. You don’t need oodles of money style has nothing what so ever to do with it . Get carried away with details, stock up on heaps of cushions, piles of books, bunches of flowers, candles, accessories they all tell a story about you and the vibe you create. More is more don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Got to run I thought today was Tuesday so am behind by a whole day and its a nightmare!
Meant to mention keeping the facebook competition rolling on until Monday, sorry guys am tied up all day tomorrow which I thought was WEDNESDAY but turns out its Thursday and then travelling so will announce the winners NY time on Monday morning. If you want half an hour of my free time helping you with any design dilemma’s via Skype then check out the facebook page. I will keep my diary strapped around my neck so when we organise times and dates I am with the programme.
Its rather lovely to wake up on Monday morning only to find someone has called you ‘hot’! Thank you to aflatstorey.blogspot.com for the very lovely post.
Down to business – I am getting all professional and installed Skype over the weekend. With some exciting new ventures happening all over the globe decided it was high time and very practical (hugely impressed with myself as I am so rarely practical) to get with the programme so to speak. I just have to remember not to hold meetings in my pyjamas and to make sure my hair is tidied to the point it doesn’t look like I’ve just that second jumped out of bed. That takes some work I can tell you!
So to celebrate the official launch of our E Decorating service and my getting with the programme with Skype we shall be running a competition on facebook, the winners (5 in all) will win 30 mins of my time via Skype to help/ sort out any design dilemmas. You just need to tell me via facebook why you need my help. The competition closes Thrusday 11th August at 12pm, we shall announce the winner later that day via FB and the Skype sessions will take place after my return from the States from the 22nd onwards.
Short one from me this morning as on deadline to finish something off and am so behind even at this unearthly hour that I have the feeling its going to be one of those days.
Fancy a face lift? The 5 minute kind that totally rejuvenates, freshens and elevates I’m talking about rooms obviously not faces (although considering that also)!! Cushions, throws, rugs the soft furnishings if you like do more to lift a room than anything else I know. In a nano second you can totally wake up a tired room by introducing some tantalising textures, contrast them and you get some fabulous visual tension happening too which takes any room from ordinary to extraordinary. I am a huge fan of rugs – infact sitting here typing this I have three skimming my small studio – a woolen zeebra number, an old vintage rag rug and a beautiful fluffy cream Moroccan thing. The thing to remember if you can is to mix it up as much as possible – its the contrast that creates the chemistry – all matchy matchy is way to boring.
Without further ado some images to inspire the photography is by Petrina Tinslay.
The more you mix it up the more exciting it becomes – check out the cushions on the sofa its the visual friction that creates an interesting dialogue. Conversely the image on the right where it all matches just a little to much and doesn’t light any fires with me. Beautiful yes., tantalising no – and I do like to be tanatalised.
Lastly a big thank you to Watermelonredonline for two back to back fabulous reviews, thank you so glad my seminar went down well, having knocked a whole glass of water over myself, the computer, having jumped and screamed simultaneously and all in the first 1 minute it could any go up from there!
Travelling inspires like nothing else I know, often times I visit a place and then start thinking I could actually live there. In Sydney last week running through the Botanical gardens by the harbour before meetings, mid winter but so much warmth in the sun I was hot within seconds I did my usual lets relocate plan. As happens every time I walk though Paris, probably one of the most romantic cities on earth where I shall be in a few weeks time Or NY with its crazy vibe (where and I haven’t even got my head around it yet I shall be next Friday) dining at The Darby with a bit of luck!
I guess the good thing about travel is how it takes us out of our box, opens doors and creates all sorts of opportunities and ideas. I think its one of the reasons I so favour eclectic interiors – pick something up from abroad and each time you look at it at home its like a mini-vacation. In Australia I saw beautiful hand woven blankets in soft buttery hues and lots and lots of natural textures going on. In Paris its all about vintage as well of course as a trip to the most beautiful store on earth called Merci where I pick up glass ware, note books, pencils and maybe the odd item of clothing. Never one to check any luggage in (drives the people I am travelling with crazy) I often times have to wrap blankets and cushions and god knows what else around myself in order to get it though as hand luggage. Not such a good plan I might add when having thought I had a non stop flight back to London from Sydney found myself in Bangkok late at night (an airport I hadn’t planned on visiting again soon), in 100 degree heat with zillions of people, wrapped up like a mummy in throws! Should have stuck to art, books the odd ceramic to remind me of my instantly beloved trip. Having a home that looks and feels well travelled is a pretty cool home if you ask me, even if it half kills you bringing the stuff back.
Overslept again this morning and in desperate need for my morning flat white at Violet with memories of Australia and all sorts of plans of going back there gently buzzing through my head.
The images below are of a hotel in Palm Springs designed by Mr Jonathan Adler no less. He is a bit of a magpie when it comes to decorating mixing modern with far-flung vintage items sourced from all over the globe so a good example I felt. Photography by James Geer.
A clubby old chesterfield hangs out on a Moroccan rug, with a 60′s lamp – this space instantly shouts well traveled.
Flea markets are a great way of giving your home a well traveled feel and much easier than trying to sling on a plane like moi!
I should be at the gym except my body seems to be reacting against working out. So stiff am I from yesterday’s shorter than short run that I am aching and groaning already! I digress lets talk about adding character to difficult spaces – like kitchens for example that are functional, often times open plan and somehow don’t seem to blend with the rest of our spaces. I was asked this question in Melbourne at my seminar and whenever I happen to be in the store I often get stopped and asked the very same thing. My advice is simple, don’t treat the space as a kitchen instead treat as you would any other room in the house, accessorize, add oodles of lighting, art and stuff. Do that and you get a truely inspiring kitchen just don’t do what I’ve done and get too carried away so that every time you want to chop, bake and blend you end up having to take an extra 20 mins moving flowers, books and who knows what else out of the way before you even begin.
Style is not about taking the easy option – if you want beauty then I guess like in all walks of life it takes a little work no? Photography Mikkel Vang
So often times kitchens are open plan so accessorize them as you would any other space. Plonk vases on top of cupboards, heap piles of books on counters and of course add flowers. I am a big fan of the faux kind as you all probably know - in a kitchen where it is often times hot a big blousy bunch of faux’s will never wilt and always add the wow factor when you enter the space. Happy decorating. Talking of kitchens I am off to my favourite cafe Violet a few mins from home for a flat white. Claire Ptak worked under Alice Waters in Berkeley before relocating to London and opening Violet. Her and her team make the most amazing cakes – dark caramel with sea salt, icings with fresh fruit purees I could go on and on. Its all made on the premises so ordering my flat white every morning you get the most amazing comforting., homely smell of baking. Its the kind of feeling I want everyone to feel the moment you open the door - enveloped by that feeling of squishy, ,happy contentment.
I’ve never been one for theme’s – a sea theme, a pop theme, any old theme tends to bring me out in a rash so when I happened across Richard Christiansen’s shack which he has turned into a summer retreat for his staff I was a little impressed. The theme (now don’t freak) is SURF it kind of works though because its tongue in cheek playful and it’s a holiday shack. Having said that its been done very well – imagine for a moment cushions and chairs upholstered in Hawaiian shirt fabric, tennis rackets mounted on very similar shirt fabric and framed and then a whole host of tackyish Hawaiian paintings clustered on walls.. This country pad in question is in Montauk as many of Mr Christiansen’s staff are surfers. Cool boss hey to do something so fabulous – images below:
Plants that look like stag horns on the outside of the shack set the tone before you even walk through the door.
Sweet, cosy and snug – perfect for a shack.
Pick up lines are painted on bathroom mirrors – which I am kind of loving.
Finally the sweetest bit – the outside dock,Vitra chairs and foam pillows covered in Hawaiian shirt fabric.
If you want a delicious home you have to embrace the following guidelines or lets be a little stricter and says rules – we shall call them the AA rules for creating an inviting home.Autumn is on its way (for some of us at least) and although I hate to mention it it’s a fact. I am in the midst of writing for many international publications hints and tips for decorating the home of the holidays so oddly enough am feeling a little autumnal – even on a day such as today!
Colour is probably the most transformative thing you can do when it comes to creating a cosy home. You don’t have to embrace my dark side – earth tones, taupe’s, burnt oranges; yellows are all inviting hues to soften the onslaught of winter. Even to those of you living in Sydney or one of those countries where winter seems to mean a light jumper, discarded by lunchtime, as there is so much warmth in the sun. Enough I am getting jealous!Back to my rules – you will need textiles oodles of them as they are the 5 minute face lift of the decorating world – so rugs, cushions, throws all make a room come together, soften the edges and create an interesting interplay of textures. If you happen to have a fireplace in the room arrange the furniture around it – this makes the space way more inviting and conversational and if you don’t have a fireplace not to worry pretend that you do! Still cluster furniture in the centre no flanking furniture against the wall (a la doctors waiting room) no matter how small your space.
Candles (big, big, fan of) instantly cosy up a room – plonk in front of a mirror and magic starts to happen as the light will bounce and dance around the room. Add some pattern (I’m thinking 2/3 different ones – although I reckon you can get away with 6 or 7 – but rugs, cushions, the odd boldly dazzling ceramic piece will add another dimension of its multi layered ness.Anything wooden adds warmth I not a huge fan of the Scandinavian pale wood look rather prefering something with a little more depth – like a little side table I have crafted from fallen wood in Senegal it’s got a beautifully rich patina that adds instant cosiness.
Of course it goes without saying that your furniture needs to be loungy and super comfortable not too uptight looking. You want to feel that you can plop into any chair, put your feet up and snuggle up. She says with a concrete chair hanging out beside her and a teeny tiny tub chair so small you can barely fit in it in the very same space.Ok so I am working on some of these rules myself am not totally perfect quite yet!
That’s me done for the day, happy start to the week - from here on now its scary time for me. In NYC in less than 10 days to launch our lighting collection. Two newbie’s (a bull terrier and basset) are still with the potters up north as not happy with the colour of the glaze and we’ve got about 4 days to sort it out.Yikes!
Move the furniture away from the perimeter of the walls and you instantly start cosying up a space. No matter how small or how tiny the space nothing repeat nothing looks worse than it flanking walls as if in some police line up. I literally have to constrain myself when I go into peoples houses and see this conventional arrangement, that or I knock back a double whisky before walking through the door – and then somehow the whole thing pales into insignificance!