Wow guys thank you for all your amazing amazing comments yesterday now I feel totally inspired and really do want to launch a magazine! There’s just a few slight hiccups i.e financing and time but I totally and utterly agree with all of you’re comments. I shall put my thinking cap on to see if I can pull if off.
I need to get inspired today – its a design day. I’m working on an apartment with a teeny tiny budget for someone who isn’t totally into interiors. So I have two challenges, one to pull out all the stops and make the space look like a million dollars on no money, and two convert said homeowner over to the dark side so that they too become addicted and obsessed with interiors. Second part is easy (she says with fingers crossed). First part slightly more challenging. Style as I say a billion times has nothing to do with money I just have to think outside the box. So aside from painting (the most transformative thing you can do to any room) I need to get creative. Auction houses, eBay, preloved and gum tree are very good places to look for stuff that is resonable. Its the shape you need to concentrate on as the colour can always be changed. Also for those of you living in this country (apologies to everyone else for a moment) some of our chain stores have really upped their game. John Lewis, Tesco Direct (brought some quite cool chairs there recently) ,B&Q not bad for lighting , are all offering some rather affordable options that are stylish..
Playing around with scale is the next trick up my sleeve so I’m on the hunt for super tall lights, or teeny tiny lights so I can mix it up and create a magical vibe. Pattern is intrinsic as it adds instant depth so cushions, a rug if the budget stretches, patterned ceramics that sort of thing. Nearly there I just need some texture (thinking about wallpaper) it adds the wow factor and also adds texture. Then I just need to plonk (sorry artfully place) some faux flowers around the pad and wham bam I might just be there.
I’ve had these two image on my desktop for some time, its Soho House in New York and it personifies to me what a good interior is all about. Sophisticated, comfy, super cool, squishy and lived in! I need to nail this kind of look for my new client just on a very limited budget!
It’s nearly the weekend yay. Whilst it’s mostly a working one for me I have decided that the kids (Mungo and Maud obviously not kids but they feel a bit like them) are breakfasting out. Papers, coffee and something just out of the oven from Violets. Yum! Obviously we have to sit outside (in the snow) and it’s a pretty funny sight. Maud acting more like a little person than a dog doesn’t like to sit on the pavement she prefers benches or chairs. Guessing she doesn’t like to get a cold bottom which I can completely relate to! So she gets her own chair, Mungo being a boy doesn’t quite get it and would prefer to sit on the pavement but as Maud is elevated he wants to be too. He gets my lap and then the fun begins, trying to juggle coffee, some delicious yummy muffin from Violets, the papers, trying to feed me, give a smidge to them and possibly read is not so easy. But hey
Everyone but everyone is working the clean lined neutral look from designers, to architects, to the Jones’s down the road. I am so bored of that look I genuinely want to push boundaries; in the very same way that Heston Blumenthal pushes boundaries with food I want to do the same thing with interiors. I want to wow with off beat colour combos, elevate the spirits by adding some tongue in cheek flair and mixing everything up. I want to mess up perfectly co-ordinated rooms, stomp out of stores, cafes and restaurants who have played it safe or been lazy with design decisions. Letting your home, restaurant, store, bakery go is the equivalent of middle age spread I reckon.
Tough words you may say but I’ve just opened yet another magazine I subscribe to and all the homes, restaurants, hotels featured all subscribe to the beige haze look. Every single one – nothing is edgy, nothing pushes boundaries, and nothing flirts with going over the top. Hence the tough words, surely a mix of styles would be nice in such publications. I get that my kind of style is niche but I really thought we were moving away in interiors at least with conforming. BUT yet the last few magazines are full of Scandinavian white features or clean lined minimal pads. I guess spring is round the corner and that’s the look that shouts new season. It doesn’t do it for me eclectic is the name of my game and its a style I shall stick to even though sometimes I feel a bit like a teeny tiny boat in an enormous ocean.
I shouldn’t grumble I should get off my backside and launch my own magazine – if only I had time hey!
Second best thing – make coffee.
And get back to work
Thank you for your patience. Feel much better now I’ve popped some vitamins, downed a quart of orange juice, run, showered, coffee’d that sort of thing. I am asked a zillion times how to create a cool quirky home and my answer is always the same. Add, repeat add oodles of texture and pattern do that and you not only elevate the senses you add instant kudos to your space.
Roughly hewn wood covering walls, some fab patterned paper, cool rugs skimming the the floor, tons of textiles draped slung or thrown everywhere its all about adding layers. The more layers you add the more interest you create its as simple and easy peasy as that. The more you mix up the styles the cooler and quirkier a space becomes. For example here in my studio I have skimming the floor a woollen zebra rug and a rag rug from Morocco. They shouldn’t really hang out together and yet they’ve all become such good friends it somehow totally and utterly works. The same goes for walls, I’ve got two gold pineapples with candles plonked in the middle of two alcoves with poodle lamps sitting on ostrich tables below? Crazy? NO interesting, quirky, different. The poodles are shiny shiny glazed earthenware the pineapples are gold, matt metal. The more risks you take the more interesting your space will become.
Want your space to look even cooler?
Paint it dark its life changing!
I am going to be a little indulgent and zoom to the gym (first time in 2 and a bit months) long days has meant the gym has had to go on the back burner. However today is a home day so if you don’t mind I will dash to the gym and then post later this morning. In the meantime I leave you with one of my favourite pictures:
Miss Maud otherwise known as Fraudie before baby brother Mungo arrived. Its funny hey how boys turn your world upside down, and inside out. Fling stuff at you, chase you around the house, follow you everywhere when all you want to do is just potter.
Slight crisis in the house this morning there is no milk! Easily solved you might think pop to the corner shop and wham bam sorted. Except it’s not that easy. I am obsessed with a few things, interiors, coffee, paint, gardening, jazz, and shoes and that is really it. The milk for our coffee isn’t standard milk I get it from Leila’s in Shoreditch (fab fab place to eat) and as barmy as you may think I am you can tell when the cows first go out to grass feed from the winter as the milk doesn’t froth quite so much. Its organic creamy amazing in a word and because I was out of town so much last week forget to get any. I have 3.5 hours to wait until Leila’s opens – longest wait ever I can tell you!
Next problem I am on the hunt for chairs for a client. I have a restricted budget for this one and I’ve surfed eBay, preloved you name it but can’t find anything I like. They need to be clubby and relaxing for music and TV watching. If you guys happen to know of any cool sources please let me know – they don’t have to be vintage.A combination of no coffee and no chairs is I can tell you is disastrous! I also have to admit that I find chairs the hardest thing to source – easy peasy with big budgets but when its tight and you are on deadline its tough.I came across these beauties, which I think side tracked me because everything else I’m seeing doesn’t look quite so good. I shall continue my quest I have given myself until mid day today to nail it!
Mungo is sitting on my lap and half sprawled across my desk so typing this morning is not that easy. I’ve been working out of town a lot so we don’t get to see each other as much as we would like so when I’m home I get followed everywhere. He is also covered in snow having never seen it before he is totally obsessed. So after a quick zoom around the garden he has plonked himself on my lap, wet, snowy, a little bit smelly but very cuddly.
In a couple of weeks we are due to receive a HUGE delivery of flowers which we will photograph and put on the website I promise. Up to this point we haven’t really been able to keep up with demand, I have to order 6 months in advance, which makes it quite hard to predict quantities. We keep the store stocked and looking fabulous but as they get sold so quickly the website can never catch up. Until now that is, having been called ‘The Chanel of faux flowers’ by Red Magazine and having them clustered all over Heston Blumenthal’s kitchen and dining room demand has increased beyond our wildest dreams. Its funny just how transformative flowers are – and I’m not just talking fauz’s I’m talking any kind. I made a quick snowy dash to Columbia road early yesterday morning and brought bundles of foliage to scent the house along with posies of other scented blooms which I scattered around my pad from the loo to the dining table. Anything foliagey lasts twice as long as freshly cut blooms which is why I am such a fan. Whether you plonk in a jam jar or some hand thrown super sized thing the effect is just as enchanting.
I’m itching to get to work in the garden, filling pots with herbs, sniping off big blooms of lilac, getting that first scent of heady jasmine. I need a pad in the country I reckon where I can keep bees, bake, garden, potter and read. Maybe one day, today I’ve got two ranges to jivvy into production an apartment to design, a website to sign off, a heap of paperwork as long as my arm and two dogs to walk!
Fresh or faux it really doesn’t matter just add oodles and oodles of flowers to transform any room, nook or cranny from ordinary to extraordinary.
On the train home from Manchester last night I was reading the NY times and saddened to here that after 18 years of trading Murray Moss is closing his NY store, Moss. You would think right by the time you’ve clocked up 18 years plus that you are in safe terrority, that you’ve figured out the market, the products, the website the overall aesthetic but no. Its the hardest thing imaginable having your own business, especially a retail one and in this climate. The commitment you have to give is unbelievable that said I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it saddens me, Moss brought and showcased some incredible European brands to America. Not to sound too big headed about it but in a nutshell I knew where Moss went wrong as far back as a few years ago having visited the store I new it had a limited lifespan. Easy to say you might suggest being on the outside but actually no. Having been an independent retailer for 10 years plus I am very aware of the pitfalls which is why I am delighted to announce we are increasing our master classes to include ones on how to create a successful retail business.
How to merchandise, display, buy, where to buy, market, finance, sell, everything you need to know in an instant if you are considering setting up an interiors store. We’ve been voted one of the coolest stores in the UK and have A lister celebs on our client base, its not fluke, its not that I’ve just been luckily its about hard work and being insightful all of which I am excited to impart. No details on the website just yet but I will give you guys the heads up before we launch we are desperately trying to do so before the TV programme airs in March as spaces are rather limited. Exciting hey.
I leave you with one of my latest finds – due in end of March I believe, quirky, bit tongue in cheek, functional and fun is what it is all about.
No post from me tomorrow I hate to say, first train out of London to Manchester and then a working weekend but back Monday