NYC happenings

The Design School opens it doors today and tomorrow and  we have a group of lovely people heading here in a few hours time so I will have to be quick as there is heaps to do which I should have done yesterday but as always the day got out of hand. Talking of which I just wanted to  reach out (how American am I sounding, impressed hey) and say thank you to Rue Magazine for tweeting about the classes at the Ace and saying I was one of their favourite designers, to New York Spaces for their lovely feature and also to Thank you guys, spaces are getting very booked up for the NY session and  we have some amazing press attending, People Magazine, journalists from Rue & other cool magazines as well as some very cool bloggers!  We may also have a film crew to film the proceedings for a bit. Remember if you are coming in from out of town and need somewhere to say the Ace Hotel is giving us the most amazing room rate so just let me know and I will give you  codes etc.

I talk alot in the classes about thinking outside of the box whso en it comes to design and although it may sound scary when you break it down it really is easy peasy. If you want a magical tantalising interior then you have to use colour, you have to be bold, as you just wont get that heart skipping a beat thing if you go down the pale route. You also have to play around with scale and use zillions of lights to create pockets of warm glowing snugness. Check out Claire Safronoff’s Parisian apartment below. It feels arty, dramatic, and edgy, purely repeat purely because of the colour (paint that room out white and sure it would feel very nice, but who wants nice). Nice isn’t good enough we want pulse quickening, skipping around the room type interiors that mesmerise as  much  you don’t even want to go to bed you just want to sit and gaze at your fabulous interior, right?

Gotta go, going to try and run for 20 minutes which is bad for me with a terrible hip but then again I can’t have a film crew coming to the Ace in less than a month without being size 0, its not going to happen, hip pain or no hip pain!

Btw excuse the spelling mistakes this morning its was a toss up between checking it all (which I know only takes a few minutes) or pounding the streets, pounding one out!

Have a lovely weekend.

Adding a high voltage jolt

Sometimes we need a pick up me, this morning I know I do. Long hours stuck at the computer is driving me a little nuts – have had the first cup of coffee of the day (that hasn’t really helped) possibly need a massage or (crazy idea) a holiday!!  Haven’t had one of those in years but enough on me. I’m in a moany kind of mood this morning- no time for holidays until possibly October when I might on my way back from Australia just might be able to stop in Thailand for a night or two to swim in the ocean. I said that last year and it didn’t happen so am guessing it probably won’t happen this year either but here’s to hoping.

Our homes also need a pick me up, you know the feeling sometimes when you walk into one of your rooms and think it’s missing something – like a risotto without the seasoning it feels a little bland. Have no fear I have the answer, what you need or your rooms need is a jolt of unexpected colour. It will lift the spirits and raise the bar; it will give your room an unexpected twist. Here is the hard part, you’ve got to have confidence you can’t plump for a namby pamby kind of a hue – we need high voltage knock your socks off sort of  colours – like saffron, burnt orange, bright bright red, magenta.  Flowers in this colour, vases, a cushion, maybe an occasional table or chairs like below, if you can go big (like the odd piece of furniture) it will take your space to a whole other level. Accessories are great don’t get me wrong but it won’t give you that TA DA moment because they are simply not large enough.

Image below by Mark Gregory Peters o and I have the feeling that that red cabinet is by Ikea, used something very similar for the Channel 4 show not so long ago.

I’m done, should be at yoga but can’t stand it, so I should be swimming but I don’t fancy it – told you it was a moany kind of a day!

Actions speak louder than words

It’s hot in London, just about to strike the hour of 6am and you can tell it’s going to be a humid one. I’m just about to go plunge in the lido for an outdoor pace up and down to hopefully clear my head as today is ordering day. Ordering stock for the new store means there is no turning back, not that I want to turn back it just means from here on in its real. Up unto this point its felt a bit unreal but now no more playing around with schemes in my head or changing my mind every 20 minutes regarding the vibe I’ve got to stick with my gut and go for it. So my plan (an early heads up for you guys) is to make our new space a little more glam than urban. I love urban but I’ve researched alot and everyone does urban, big industrial lights, concrete floors, slightly scruffy wooden seating. Love it except like my home and store I need more of a mix.  I’m thinking fireplaces with cosy chairs around, with big supersized mirrors overhead. I’m thinking rugs and lots of cool lighting, just found the most amazing little chandelier (think cowboy meets granny) that is beaded and can sit over the bar. I’ve also found some funky wooden green chandeliers that are neither cowboy or granny more boho in feel I guess. I’m thinking maybe some panelled wallpaper at the back and big rustic tables housing beautiful blooms of faux flowers. Buckets and buckets of cool blooms that take your breath away which we are going to mix with fresh foliage. Gem (my sister) is heading up the floristry team, I won’t give away much more but our plans are going to take flower stores to a whole new level.

Along with that we will be stocking the coolest collection of vases anywhere in the world (can I say that)? Just did so hey – glass, ceramic, wood – big ornate urns that stopped me in my tracks when I saw them, I actually spent 3 nights dreaming about them as well as a cool selection of other accessories. Plus very soon I will be announcing (I hope) a new venture called  ‘calling all creatives’ so if you are a designer, maker, artist, foodie and want to exhibit your stuff to a greater audience stay tuned I have a plan. Its an early plan so I can’t divulge just quite yet but  its a good one I think.

Off to swim, no image this morning just words today and actions.  As the saying goes actions speak louder than words, never a truer sentence spoken! You can talk until you are blue in the face about doing this or doing that, unless you actually do something about it its pretty darn pointless.





Talking home offices

I should be at yoga instead I overslept, dreamt that I ran to LA with Gordon Ramsey? Weird don’t know where that came from, or why best not to ponder I say and get on with the business of the day!

Today I thought we should yabber about home offices, mine takes a whole floor – desk and library one part, relaxing nook the other part except I am now just thinking I don’t ever spend anytime relaxing in the nook, so its a bit pointless but we are not here to talk about my issues.  Most of us have home offices whether we are freelancers working at home or we work full time we still need a desk to sit at to type emails, pay bills etc etc. I always like to delegate,  by that I mean I don’t want to hot desk it with the dining table or any other table I want a specific table that does nothing else than be desk like. Here is the key when choosing a desk try and opt for a slightly grander number and your home office won’t feel so utilitarian.

I’ve painted a very ornate old brown thing teal and it does the job nicely, I’ve also put lamps around it that don’t shout officey. I’ve skimmed the area with rugs, covered a comfy chair with sheepskin throws  and accessorised to the max so it doesn’t  feel boring. We all have to do boring things at our desks – I’m pulling at least a 12 hour day today at mine therefore it needs to make me happy. The Americans are great at utilising every single nook of a place especially in overcrowded cities like NYC – passageways, hallways double duty as home offices.  If you happen to have a  space that is cramped check out this idea below from Real Living Australia, which by the way I happen to be gracing the cover with this month.

Chop desk in half and bracket to the wall, cool hey.

My desk (photography Todd Selby) which I am sure you have seen before a zillion times – actually need a larger one too much stuff is happening and piles are appearing all over the floor!