A very quick thank you from me for all your lovely comments cannot tell you how much it all means. Happy holidays xxx
This week I am hardly at home in my own bed traveling all over the country, working crazy hours, and staying in some not so good hotels which means regrettably no more posts from me this week nor next week as its the holidays. The hugest thank you to everyone who has read the blog this year and for all your comments. Getting up often times at 4am to pen the posts and at times feeling like a little lone ship out at sea all gets forgotten about when I see the number of people who read this blog and get your comments. Thank you guys very much.
For me its been the craziest, scariest year to date more of which I will be able to tell you about in the new year. Back on January 3rd in the meantime happy holidays and happy New Year.
Forgive the late post, I had dinner last night with Heston Blumenthal in the private dining room at the Ten Bells with a bunch of fabulous people and it was a bit of late one. Two coffee’s later and a ton of orange juice and I’m beginning to feel slowly alive again. In January lots of exciting Heston news to tell but that’s for January lets concentrate on today.
One week to go until Christmas, until yesterday the house was adorned with trees and foliage on mantles and fairly lights everywhere for the master classes so I have been leaving and breathing Christmas since early November it feels. Then yesterday a film crew came round and needed everything gone so here I sit in my studio and it feels a little bare. The worst thing my schedule is so insane next week that I’m not actually going to put any of it back, which is a little strange i know. Enough about my strange world everyone else is decorating and getting excited about the holidays so I wanted to show you a couple of inspirational tips for the holiday.
First up and the most fabulous is this lovely idea for the dining table – simple as anything all you need are bottles and taper candles. The bottles can be the same height or different but if they are the same the trick is to vary the height of the tapers so you get a lovely rhythm going on. Just like in a room the more you play around with height the more interesting the space becomes.
Next up a very simple flower idea – works for any flower parrot tulips are shown here, as they are quite textural – in a straight line down the table. If you house them in t-light holders instead of vases you need less flowers and the effect is just as good.
Fairly lights (am obsessed with the things) add instant glamour to a space I’ve draped over mirrors, apples crates, mantles and so forth. When the light drops they add an almost magical note with their glittering shimmering light. Below is the home of my friends Graham and Jo Atkins Hughes (Graham shot the image) and you can see how it totally and utterly ups the style ratings.
Happy weekend, mine is work based and not so relaxing but I’m on the countdown to Christmas Eve when I stop for two days – cannot wait!
Posts in two parts today - its super early but I’m running to the store as tons of new deliveries are in and need styling (literally running by the way as the Merc is still not working) so once I’m back mid morning ish I will write a proper post. In the meantime I leave you with a lovely little review of my master classes, the last one of the year held on Tuesday
See you in a bit x
Last master class of the year today so a big thank you to everyone who attended over the last month, it was and has been enormous fun. One of the things we discuss is my formula for creating a fabulous pad and whilst I won’t give to much away a top tip for creating the perfect laid back lair is layering. Art is the easiest thing to layer particularly if you take it off the wall and prop on shelves, tables or against the wall. Propping not hanging art will make your space feel instantly laid back. Also the more art you cluster like this the greater the impact, as you can see below in this lovely image shot by Damian Russell.
Homes in my mind shouldn’t feel precious where you have to take your shoes off the moment you walk through the door or put coasters down on tables every time you want a coffee. Perfection isn’t a good thing when it comes to decorating – -a space co-ordinated or decorated to an inch of its life feels SO static, actually I will go as far as saying self important. You kind of want to mess it up a little which is why layering is so important. Books on coffee tables, t-lights everyone, flowers all over the place, accessories on mantles, shelves, tables. The more informal the arrangement the more informal the vibe. So forget symmetry and everything matching mix it up a little a house without layers feels untouched by human life and who wants to live in a house like that I ask myself?
A big thank you morning this morning first up to of all those who came to the master class this Saturday, a very enjoyable day and also to Style, Sunday Times for their very lovely write up of my Alternative Design School.
The school is something I’ve been thinking about for yonks so terribly excited to get it off the ground. Due to a rather crazy unexpected project which has me working 16-hour days plus I’ve had to postpone the start date until April but from then on in they are held every month in my pad. Before I zoom off to the pharmacy (it seems that the stress and long hours are kicking in and I seem to have some not so good looking rash type thing all over my face and eyes, lovely) I wanted to write today about taking risks. Time and time again I think we can all be to narrow minded (me included) and shut down ideas without exploring them to the max. Yet in design it’s those people who take risks, who push the design envelope that seem to have the most magical of interiors. I am of course talking about Kelly Wearstler and Philippe Starck. They both have a very distinctive voice, they take risks maybe they don’t always work but my goodness they certainly make us think.
I wish more people would follow in their footsteps and experiment more with colour, scale, lighting, pattern and so on. It’s addictive I promise once you start experimenting and seeing how transformative colour is to a space, or lighting, or scale you never look back you just go on and on pushing boundaries.
That’s me done for the day I will leave you with an image bellow of Kelly’s pad and a quote from the lady herself ‘My motto in life is take risks; you don’t have a voice if you don’t. You have to venture outside your boundaries. That’s what life’s all about’.
I am often asked where I find my inspiration from and whilst travel is an obvious one magazines and the web are also fabulous resources. Not to sound negative but there seems at the moment an overload when it comes to online magazines, everyone and anyone is shoving one together and so many of them are so awful. I am sure I will get shot down from above for vocalising such a thought but they feel so amateur, the features, the photographs and the terrible homes I could go on but I have a head ache and little energy this morning to sound off. There are a few, just a few that are worth looking at listed in order of preference: Lonny (Lonnymag.com), Sweet Paul (www.sweetpaulmag-digital.com) and maybe Rue (www.ruemag.com )Fabulous photography, homes that are worthy of sharing and are in some way tantalising and inspiring, which is surely the point no?
I also always read on a Thursday the New York Times Home and Garden section (http://www.nytimes.com/pages/garden/index.html), as well as Rita Konig’s features for the Wall Street Journal . I dip in and out of US Elle Dec (more out than in) and subscribe to UK Elle Decoration, Livingetc, Inside Out, Vogue Living and Italian Elle Dec. I hoard magazines and have issues going back to 1995 can you believe which I reference with a post it note and plonk on shelves. Even if you’re not doing up your home but love an image mark it, tear it out, scan it whatever just reference it so when the time comes you have a capsule collection of images that you love. I also scan photographers websites to look at their inspiring work as well as buying heaps of interior books Decorate by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick being one of my favourite buys this year , plus Sibella Court’s new tome and Martin Thompson’s latest are on my Christmas list!
An inspiring image below from photographer James Knowler – a perfectly designed open plan living space.
A night from hell last night foxes in the garden meant two barking crazy dogs and with a schedule like mine at the mo it’s not so good. Anyways enough about my problems they are vast and I will bore you all to tears.
One of the hardest things to source as a buyer is coffee tables they are either way to expensive or cheap and bland, which is a big problem as coffee tables are integral to a scheme as they add another visual note of interest and when heaped with books, candles, lamps etc. look beautiful. I have two tricks up my sleeve I really should aim for more but here is what I do. I hunt out old brown furniture from charity shops, flea markets, eBay, auction houses they almost can’t give them away. The key is to forget about the brownness and look at the shape. Next trick spray it either take it to a car sprayers (call in advance and don’t just rock up as I once did) or spray yourself with something from a DIY store. Yes the finish is not so fabulous but on a small occasional table it tends not to bother me. Next trick think about alternative items as coffee tables, apple crates upturned look fab if you fancy a rustic vibe, as do suitcases. I look out for old drums as you will see below – I love love love the texture. Its also worth mentioning the more round pieces you can add to a space the more intriguing it will become as it will break up all those straight lines in a the room. It never ceases to amaze me how neglected circles are in a design – its such a simple simple trick and yet often times ignored. Vases, mirrors, tables, lamps, rugs circular in design will I promise you bring your space alive.
An old trum converted to a coffee table in my pad.
Simple hey – gotta dash have a train to catch to the other side of the earth and am behind schedule already and its not even 6am!
We all want our houses to look fabulous this time of year with friends and family visiting the pressure is on. The key to having a fabulous home is to inject it with personality so when guests and family visit they are so tantalised they don’t know quite where to look. Colour is the easiest decorating tool around and adds instant pizzazz. Whether you paint a wall out in a beautiful hue or simply scatter beautiful velvet jewel like cushions on a sofa (H&M do fab ones) you instantly liven up an area. Flowers, vases, pictures will immediately add a striking visual punch just select ones with jaw dropping hues. As I’ve mentioned before you can have the most beautiful co-ordinated home in the world but if it all merges into a beige haze of blandness its going to feel super dull. To make a room pop add a mirror – I opt for super sized ones to give my space that Alice in Wonderland edge but you don’t have too, mirrors of any size or hue will expand horizons and add instant glamour. Talking about scale its a trick I use time and time again put big pieces in rooms that are too small and small pieces in rooms that are to large and you will have on your hands a surreal amazing interior! Layer, layer, layer, shelves, coffee tables, mantles with books, t-lights, candles, fairly lights and so on. The more layers you add the more intrigue you create. Fun hey!
When you start playing around with scale magic truly starts to happen. Plonk an over sized cabinet as seen here (or mirror and lamps as I do) and your interior will take on a completely new lease of life. Both images by the way from Livingetc’s web site http://www.housetohome.co.uk.
Happy Wednesday I have a home day which is heavenly apart from a quick meeting in town with heaps and heaps to catch up on.
Early 4.30am start for me so please excuse any spelling mistakes. Its also quite possible that I have lost the plot with it being so early by suggesting that I am considering ditching the classic white simple bed linen look in lieu of some animal inspired stuff. Patterned bed linen takes me a little out of my comfort zone, not sure why but I get that anxious slightly panicky feeling every time I’m about to take the plunge. Crazy no? Yet it’s so transformative in a room particularly if you don’t have a lot of pattern going on, as I don’t. Couple of examples both from the high street below. You have to imagine that I would accessorise with pillows, throws, rugs and so forth so it wouldn’t look quite as simple but having had to research bedrooms quite thoroughly yesterday I suddenly starting thinking why is mine so boring. I bang on about tantalising, surprising interiors and how important it is to add that element of wit and there am I with my simple boring bedding in a room that lacks any visual intrigue. As I say in my classes adding animal inspired things is the easiest decorating tool around, be that bedding or otherwise as it instantly lightens the mood and you need absolutely zero skill. So around my house I’ve got concrete penguin lamps. dog lamps, owl vases, paper mache elephants and so on. It’s the easiest decorating trick around to add whimsy and big name designers (Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler) do it all the time.
That is me done for the day, quick shower, banana another coffee and kisses for Maud and Mung’s and then jumping into a cab to whizz me across London to the station, busy days.