The hugest thank you to all who attended my Design School which launched this weekend. Had an amazing time yabbering about interiors and hanging out with two groups of very inspirational women.
Gem my sister did a great presentation on flowers (I learnt tons of new stuff). We discussed top rule breakers to take homes to a whole other level, instant updates as well as tips on how to create a totally cool room! Maud and Mung’s behaved themselves (sort of) and everyone was very complementary about the house (considering it isn’t quite finished) so thank you to all again.
The best part of my job in a nutshell was this weekend. Talking. laughing and listening to groups of people as interested in interiors as I am was fantastic. On both days I was asked if there are other courses coming up so the answer is yes. Gem and I plan to lock heads, come up with a cool collection of classes and expand the days.
Some images below of the class room on the top floor of my house, please excuse the fact that its not entirely finished (I pulled it together in a week) but we are so nearly there, and again thank you to everyone who attended. Cannot wait for the next one.
5.21 am, been up and about for a good few hours but breaking for a coffee and a quick little chat with you guys. Forgive yesterdays lack of post we didn’t stop from dawn until dusk and although not everything is sorted its kind of there. Still have to whizz around with a hover, walk the kids, run to the store to nab a few things, pick up the cup cakes from Violets (best little cafe in the world in my humble opinion) and buy some bubbly but that as they say is it!
I won’t give too much away but today there is lots of fab things to discuss, from my top rule breakers that take a home to a whole other level, to cool furniture layouts, colour combos and lighting plans. We’re touring the house (hence the running around with hover), yabbering on how to create the perfect room and Gem my sister is giving her top tips on flowers, arranging them, making something humble from a garage or super market look amazing and also alternate vessel ideas to house them. So exciting!
My pad, a few more bits have been added since Todd Selby visited but it goes to show how a shelf from Ikea can look super cool when you accessorize with stuff you love.
Have a lovely weekend
Fabulous day yesterday at the antiques market found tons of stuff here’s my list:
2 armchairs, 6 chairs for the school, 1 rug, 1 funny little painting, 3 sheepskins (could have brought 10) they were soo beautiful, 1 fireplace (brought it for £35 turned a corner 5 minutes later and there was an even better one for the same price so nabbed that instead). That little incident caused the biggest argument since Graham was droning on about how the one we just brought was perfectly fine, and I was banging on about the fact that this one actually caused my heart to skip a beat, and how was I to know we would see a better one. With the pressure of getting the school ready and needing a fireplace I just nabbed the first thing not expecting to see another. Maud and Mung’s pitched in and said for God’s sake buy the second fireplace, its raining, we’re muddy and we don’t want to stand in a field shouting! We got the second fireplace.
So antiques markets are the way to go if you need interesting stuff. I love modern, but when you mix with vintage you create this kind of simmering tension that you just wouldn’t get if you stuck to any one period, which is why I guess I have a problem with interiors that are all one thing, retro, Scandinavian, rustic. For me they don’t tantalise, you don’t get that visual friction and the more friction you can create (we’re talking interiors here, not relationships)! the better.
That’s me done, the bloody milk frother has packed up again (3 rd one in 2 months) someone in Dualit is not going to want to be speaking to me this morning, the shower has totally stopped working and whats more I have a dentist appointment in the city that I really don’t have time for. The dentist and hygienist have exactly 30 minutes to do whatever they need to do. One side of the month, top or bottom their choice but I’m outta there in 30 have a school to get ready!
This is what I’m talking about when I bang on about tension. A fancy pants super glam coffee table, coupled with some old shabby chairs, cool art, modern bookcase, stuff from all periods. Nothing matches but it all makes perfect sense, as I’ve said before its the hardest look to pull off but its the most amazing.
Happy Wednesday (at least it would be if there were coffee)!
4.30 am and its another crazy one today. We’re all off to an antiques market if I can get anyone out of bed, there are alot of moans and groans on all fronts I can tell you. First off to the store, pinching a chandelier from there and hanging it in my new school room (I know I know all products should remain in the store I here you cry), Graham louder than most, but bugger it. I need a chandelier, there is one in the store so what is the big deal! From there we are off to a antiques market as I am on the hunt (a little close to deadline I know) for some seriously cool art, lamps etc to go in the new school room. As we are so busy my plan seeing as we can’t really spare the time is to run around the fair at top notch speed. I’ve given us a hour to get in, around and out, buy van loads (except we don’t have a van) and head home happy campers all before 10am!
Haven’t mentioned this part of the plan to the troops fearing I might have mutiny on my hands so thought I should wait until we actually get to the fair! Happy days
Below some seriously cool art, the kind of stuff I would love to find but won’t
Happy Tuesday x
Crazy weekend where we woke at 5 and didn’t stop until 7 and probably sat down all of 30mintues both days. Have we finished? Nope, but we’ve turned a corner, I’ve had to eliminate a few things like planting huge jasmine in the back garden, painting the front of the house and adding shelves to the bathroom oh and completely ignoring my dressing room which is the new dumping ground! BUT I’ve also added a few things like hiring a scaffolding tower in order to hang a rug over 2 floors, running to an antiques market tomorrow to find lights (I’ve got 7 going on in the bedroom and its still not enough) and hopefully installing a huge chandelier which is in transit from South Africa. So its swings and roundabouts. Its also supposed to bucket down today and Wednesday which means I don’t have to water the gardens with a watering can (added bonus), thank you weather!
We have had some amazing press over the last few days, which I wanted to share. My Australian friend Cam, who was in town for a week last week, went on to the Milan furniture fair and emailed me to say Miss Maud and I are on the FRONT COVER with a spread inside in D CASA Magazine which is at each Interni Design location + showroom in Milan. Yay hay how exciting is that!
Maud now has such a big head, she wants breakfast in bed (no chance) Lily’s kitchen all over the duvet is so not happening! She wants to be carried back from walks (parks are fun, pavements are boring) have actually done this I hate to admit and more.
Also in the magazine The Lady another lovely article, thank you guys, overwhelmed with all the fed back at the moment. More people than ever are coming into the store, ordering stuff online and embracing our world. Its so exciting I can’t tell you.
Sorry for the lack of post yesterday it was an early one in the store as a 10 foot old looking (but new) pharmacy unit arrived with a zillion little compartments to house all our accessories in, so it was a big styling turn around kind of day in store.
It was also a big styling turn around day at home , that went late into the evening. When we should be painting, wallpapering and getting a little stressed over looming deadlines I was heaving heavy tables up and down flights of stairs, plonking in rooms, hating, taking to other rooms getting more and more disillusioned. The house looks like a bomb has gone off it there is stuff everywhere. This morning just after 5am I stepped over (and this was just on my way to get coffee in the kitchen) a moose, a chewed up bone of Mung’s as well as bashing into a silver pig! Not normal this house- the silver pig got the worst of it ‘ why don’t you just bugger off I think I may have shouted at him” Sorry pig it was early I was cranky (hadn’t had coffee yet) and there is to much to do in this dam house before classes begin its kind of overwhelming. I think I want to live in a caravan that way there is only so much you can do and this perpetual ‘this room needs more work, no but wait this room still isn’t good enough’ is driving everyone crazy!
Down to business, we have had a little cancellation due to illness for next Friday’s Design masterclass, 28th April which means there are now a few spaces available. So if you’re interested in learning about breaking the rules, fancy a relaxed but informative day full to the brim with hints and tips for how to create the most fabulous home that all the glossies will be fighting to publish then either call or email the store: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 207 354 8181. There are only a few spaces left since our classes are intimate, so its on a first come first serve basis, oh and one more thing you will need to love dogs since Maud and Mungs will be hanging out with us too, I hope!
I can’t promise you the house will be finished but I can promise you I will be working dam hard over the next few days to get it looking the way I want it. Whether Maud, Mungs and G will be living in this house with me after these next few days is another matter entirely as they are all sick beyond sick of me!
Have to type doubly fast this morning as its a crazy day with much to do, coupled with the fact that the shower’s busted and the Merc has completely broken down, so baths and public transport are adding to the hassle factor. Never mind that lets talk about my favourite subject pattern and texture. They are the herbs and spices of the decorating world, they take a space from drab to fab in a nano second.
I’ve become a little obsessed with rugs – (fabulous for adding both texture and pattern). When I should be spending money on clothes (since I have none) into my radar pops a totally cool rug and then there is no fight. Crazy, I used to be so into clothes and excited by clothes and now I’m just not, they don’t do it for me. Paint, rugs, cool art, furniture makes my heart skip a beat not clothes. Need to address the balance I guess but something in me has shifted, but hey I’m digressing back to rugs. Rugs are so fabulous for adding texture particularly when you layer like this.
As I say a zillion times the more layers you add the more interest you create.
Next up pattern, pattern adds intrigue and is a vital component of any interior. Wallpaper is great for adding pattern, particularly the kind you make up yourself like plonking tear sheets on a wall, again as seen below. Love this idea in home offices or little nooks around the house. Although zillions of images have been used it doesn’t feel crazy as the colour palette is restricted and it’s so easy to do.
OK gotta fly – have a great day
The fab thing about adding vintage pieces to a scheme (and I’m talking clothes and interiors here) is that you get to create a look that is completely unique and a one off. I’m often asked why I stock other designers, manufacturers work in my store and not just design everything myself and the answer to that is a simple one. It’s way to one-dimensional for me. Walking into say a B&B Italia store, a Jonathan Adler store, even an Ikea store as great as they may be sort of leaves me a bit cold because everything looks the same. I am more of a magpie adding bits from all those places and more to my home and coupling them with vintage pieces. Threadbare rugs, rusty old lamps, old paintings its like a melting pot in this house, none of it matches yet it kind of makes sense. Rustic sits alongside glam, old tribal Persian rugs are layered against Moroccan and fun zeebra woolen rugs float on nearly every floor.
It’s a hard look to nail and it involves quite a bit of trial and error but it tells a narrative. I like walking into homes that make me ponder and think. There is nothing worse in my book than being able to take it all in in one quick swoop. Lets say we are in a living room there is the sofa, a few chairs, coffee table, few lights and maybe a rug if we’re really lucky. Not enough and not for me. I want to be mesmerised, tantalised and I want spirits to rise the moment anyone walks through the door. You can’t do that if you don’t have stuff its as simple as that. Check out Kate Foley’s pad in Brooklyn – its a little boho yes but it feels lived in and loved. She has used a ton of creativity in seeking out one off pieces, layering rugs and generally creating a home that oozes a laid back care free kind of vibe.
That’s me done for the day – now I need coffee and its raining. Two points which I realise are not even worth relating – but rain is good it means no watering by hand of the gardens, and coffee it goes without saying is always good no matter what time of the day!
Things are cranking up big time on the DIY front with less than 2 weeks to go until the first Design Classes start its all hands to the pumps. This weekend we actually started work on the schoolroom moving in the rugs, setting out the desk and so forth. I had a slight melt down or a big time wobble half way through when it all wasn’t coming together but all it needed was a big jug of country blooms and everything started taking shape around that.
Thought we should talk about hallways to kick start this week off. Always, repeat always the most neglected rooms in the house in my opinion and yet they set the tone and should be as beautiful as any other room. I guess because they are such transitional areas where we always rush through we don’t really have time to think about them. To transform and add the wow factor is pretty easy you can afford to push boundaries and take risks so of course I am going to recommend you go dark or failing that wallpaper in some out there print, or add totally cool accessories that make visitors gasp. Paint or wallpaper is probably the easiest thing you can do to take it from drab to fab. Some images to inspire below taken from Livingetc’s site http://www.housetohome.co.uk.
Have a great Monday.
Forgive the mix up on the days in yesterday’s post. Thought it was Wednesday when it was Thursday, today feels like Monday when it’s actually Friday don’t know where I am. Barely slept Mungy’s and Maud decided to horizontally sleep across the bed on their backs with legs in the air and every time I moved an inch, Maud growled, extremely loudly! So sweet they looked I didn’t have the heart to move them so I am suffering today with lack of sleep. One thousand coffees’ are in order as it’s a long one.
Enough about my domestic problems lets talk wallpaper. Wallpaper I find is one of the hardest things to get right, there are thousands of papers out there on the market and yet I love less than a handful. AND yet they transform a space way more than paint ever can as they bring a totally new dimension to the table. As you all probably know my all time favourite wallpaper is by Deborah Bowness, and we are incredibly privileged to sell it and stock it in our store. Her Genuine Fake books totally and utterly have transformed every space I have worked on from mine below to one of the re-designs I did for Get Your House in Order, Channel 4 to Heston Blumenthal’s kitchen in How To Cook Like Heston, also Channel 4. Told you I was a fan!
So imagine how excited I am to tell you about a new paper Deb has created very much along the same lines which I am papering our new Design School in. Its perfect for the schoolroom as it will cosy it up big time and work beautifully with a very large vintage Moroccan rug I have just acquired.
Ta Da – New Antique Books
Not only do these papers pack a great visual punch they add instant personality. If you’re struggling with art walls, or if you fancy an instant whimsical vibe, then wallpaper away. All those fears about how scary it is to hang are mumbo jumbo seriously. Pasting table, paste, big brush and a cloth to whizz over once up and wham bam you’ve changed in a wall in little more than an hour or two.
Have a lovely weekend, for us its decorating, decorating, decorating. 2 weeks today until the first classes start and there is alot to do!