Kitchen Talk

I’m talking kitchens again, yes I know recently I was on the subject but in the last week I’ve seen 4 different kitchens all with the same dilemma, neglect.   Why is it that kitchens tend to get a little bit neglected, rather like hallways? We spend money on appliances and units (some people spend zillions) and yet I find they are rarely softened with stuff but remain quite sterile. This is sort of OK (its not really but I’m feeling kind) if your kitchen is in a room on its own, where you can shut the door and disconnect it from everything else. When its open plan like mine its soooooo not OK, beautiful fab dining area, cool hang out lounge and then rather sterile kitchen, doesn’t add up right?  So here’s the trick treat it as say you would your living room. Plonk lights on counters, heap recipe books on surfaces, accessorise with flowers and t-lights, bottles of oils, vinegars and before long you will have built up a layer of fabulousness that totally connects with the rest of the space. I’ve got rugs skimming floors all over my kitchen – they share a similar colour palette to the other rugs in the basement but are essentially tribal in feel. They cosy up the space no end, I’ve also plonked a little impromptu bar under the kitchen window where a big bunch of blooms stand proud surrounded by carafes housing whisky and wine (isn’t that a song)? There are a lot of negative spaces in kitchens so my plan is to layer them up with stuff.

How cool is this say under a window – a long low bench or beautiful slab of wood with a fab row of recipe books. It can double up as an impromptu seat where guests can perch while your cooking and it adds another layer.

When I worked on Heston Blumenthal’s programme one of his chiefs told me always to have jugs nearby containing spoons, whisks the stuff that you regularly need so in a sweet little jug from Anthropologie sit a collection of my wooden spoons, nothing fancy but it adds another dimension to the counter.

A detail of my kitchen below full with stuff as you will see (photography Rebecca Reid).

Have a fab Thursday I’m off to the store to get out some fab new stuff and then lunching at Pizza East with agent – very nice!


How to create rooms that you love

Before getting onto creating rooms that you love I must say the biggest thank you to everyone for their comments of encouragement yesterday, thank you, thank you it means so much, I shall keep you posted on developments.

How then do you create a room that you love? First up decide upon your style, industrial, rustic, contemporary, traditional, or all of that group and more? For me its the eclectic vibe all the way, its the hardest to pull off but its the most playful.  When you’ve nailed the style its time to put the look together. For me a home must have books, flowers (heaps of), art and stuff. Without stuff its hard to give a home soul, I talk about it in the classes but its all about tantalising the eye. The more you tantalise the eye the more exciting a space becomes. So  I want a feeling of casual grandness if that makes any sense at all. I want my spaces to feel glamourous but also laid back so you don’t feel you have to take your shoes off the moment you walk through the door. You might want something entirely different which is why design is so exciting right now anything goes. We are not slaves to trends, we acknowledge and are aware but it doesn’t necessarily shape our buying decisions. So if you follow you heart, and buy things that you respond to emotionally i.e. there is some connection that moment you see it then I can pretty much guarantee it will work. It might not work where you planned it but it will fit into the overall scheme, she says having brought a 1960′s coffee table on a whim not so long ago that fits nowhere (except the thought has just crept into my head) maybe the new store if we get it!

Decorating is a journey a fun, fabulous sometimes-frustrating journey a bit like life I guess.

Martyn Thompson’s interior below in NYC, a totally personal eclectic space that I respond to on so many levels.

Happy Wednesday, we put an offer in on the store which I am not thinking about, (trying not to think about). Flowers and coffee, moose’s and dog lights, ostrich tables and papier mache elephants all hanging out in a gritty stretch of road flanked by kebab shops. Must be mad!!



Falling in love

Today I’m feeling a little bit sick, not ill, just that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you’re feeling a little out of your comfort zone. I shall explain, last week pottering around the neighbourhood with Maud and Mung’s I happened open a store to let. Nothing strange there you might say except (and this is what is making me sick) its in a certified seedy zone, tough words but by this I mean its in a spot that is a bit gritty, surrounded by kebab shops, butcher shops and funny looking newsagents. AND YET there is something about it, I can’t explain, a bit like falling in love I guess when you can’t stop thinking about that person who you’ve only just met, when they (or in this case this store) permeates your thoughts 24 7. Nobody else really gets it, and even though you keep saying I love, I love, I love it, you just get that sort of strange eyebrows raised to the heavens kind of look.

Have I totally lost the plot?

Probably, but here me out, I love the edginess of Dalston how since I’ve lived here its changed from being a so called dead zone to being a hip cool hang out with cafes, cool bars, fab little shops, and this new little shop I’ve found is on the edge of that. I don’t know why I always want to push boundaries or increase an already crazy workload. Moving here 12 years ago was met with sharp intakes of break and gasps but I knew I just knew deep down that it would change.  Also I don’t want to replicate our current store no point in that they are barely a few miles apart, nope I want a cafe, a cool fabulous cafe in amongst kebab shops, and butcher shops and the main point a flower shop that takes flower shops to a whole other level. Bunches and bunches, tables and tables full to the brim of our faux’s.  I want art on the walls, a selection of vintage finds smattering the floor, and maybe even a DJ spinning some tunes in the corner. Am I mad? I want a flower school, a selection of amazing cool super speedy workshops where people can pop in say for an hour to here about how to inject personality into a space, be bold with colour, accessorise with attitude. Running parallel and in addition to the Design School this is. I want amazing coffee that you would travel across town for, to drink in a place you would love to call home!

That’s what I want.

This morning I am going back to look at it again

No pictures this morning, feeling too queasy to search them out and my minds total attention is concentrated on this store (told you it was like falling in love).

Happy Tuesday everyone.


Outdoor living

Big huge thank you to all of those who attended the master classes these last few days, it was a fabulous weekend full to the brim of inspiration and I am always so inspired and animated having spent two days with a great bunch of people who are as obsessed with interiors as me!

On top of that a new truck loads of flowers arrived, beautiful pink blossom, big fat Dutch roses in the softest pinky lilac, bundles of peonies, hydrangeas all of which look amazing in store, I have to photograph and get on line asap so everyone can see.

The weather in London has been amazing, hotter than the Med I here so yesterday we pottered around the garden in pj’s not even leaving the house, apart from a super early trip to Columbia and ended the day with lamb on the barbecue which I marinated in herbs and a beer or too, heavenly! So with the weather being fabulous still, I thought I would write a few words on gardens if you don’t mind. Why is it that garden furniture is so boring? I’m peeking out my window and fearing I might piss off the neighbours by saying this but am wondering why so many gardens are a bit neglected. I don’t mean plant wise I mean furniture and lighting wise. Bog standard garden furniture that does little to lift the spirits plonked in the middle of the garden and that is about it. No vases on tables no lighting anywhere, I think we all need to be a tad more inventive, easy for me to say I here you cry and yes it is, I immerse myself in all things interior every single day but a degree of it must, I  say come from thinking outside of the box. For instance I’ve upturned big trunks of wood and apple crates and used them as coffee tables. I’ve plopped flowers (oops fake ones) in jam jars and scattered them throughout the garden on these sweet little tables. I’ve got chairs everywhere under the lilac, a twosome by the jasmine, another couple of loungers by the outdoor fireplace, two little upright things under the bay trees at the back on and on I could go. I put indoor lights out and simply replaced the bulb with a freezer one (withstands all sorts of temps even in the depths of winter) and I’ve lit the garden to feel like another outdoor room. Glass baubles hang from trees, furniture is a mixture of super cool lounging and rustic vintage, plant pots are big bronze numbers from home base or woven wicker and almost every plant is scented. Quite easy no? It is very much like designing a space inside all about layering. The more layers, three dimensional little vignittes you create the more interesting your space becomes.

I leave you with a fabulous outdoor LA space from and whilst we might not all have spaces as large or fabulous as this its a pretty good example of layering at its best!