Decorating for the holidays

I deeply believe that a beautiful decor can have a beneficial influence on our lives. –so says Albert Hadley and I couldn’t agree more.  Even simple little touches like cosying up your space for the holiday’s lifts the spirits. Yesterday my sister and I spent the day working out the structure of the Christmas class, those spending the day here next week will be getting a fabulous sneak peak into Gem’s world and making the coolest arrangements I am so excited!  Although we were both tired Gem more than me she had a 4am start, figuring out stuff to put on mantles, tables, on entryways made us buzz with excitement. I made a quick dash to the florist at the end of the day and brought bundles of berried ivy (lasts for three weeks) and dotted it in containers all over the house, lit a zillion t-lights and a roaring fire and was just about ready to hang my stocking on the fireplace by the time it was bedtime.
You don’t need to spend the earth on Christmas upping the house for the holidays, may I even suggest you do it as early as this weekend.  I am because if you go down the foliagy route or fake route it will last forever and it transforms the house so instantly. I do both because I don’t want to miss out on the scent of pine, eucalyptus, and herbs its intoxicating stuff coming down the stairs in the morning, the house filled with a fragrant woody smell. Adding a wreath or garland to a wall or mantle will get you instantly in the holiday mood, we embellish ours with our faux berries and other gardeny blooms so they almost look like they are bursting at the seams, you can embellish with foliage, ivy, fur cones all you need is some floristry wire and then bind round easy peasy!

Trees are harder to decorate I find I go in and out of the baubles or no baubles.  This year rather than a big tree (although I am contemplating a large one outside) I’m thinking a series of small trees on little tables dotted all over the place. Tree hunting day is Columbia Road on Sunday, also I’m thinking just beautiful white lights, nothing else.

Remember to put something in the loo,  a little hand tie of fragrant herbs or again eucalyptus is heavenly and t-light the hell out of everything then wham bam you are ready for the holidays.  Oh and if you have a real fire save orange and  lemon peel and fling it in the embers and if you don’t do the same in a dying turned off oven  and you will scent your home with the most intoxicating smell!

To get us in the mood The Waverly Inn in NYC as decorated by the fabulous Rita Konig last year.


Have a lovely weekend, sunny and cold I here this side of town just right for decorating the home for the holidays!

Outdoor lighting and some thank yous

Morning, I think I may have cracked the design yesterday (almost not quite) had a bit of a stumble over a wallpaper that I have been coveting for years only to find its been out of stock for years. Big thank you to all of you who helped me out with suggestions on facebook still trawling through all the amazing suggestions now! The bulk of the design is in my head, I will tell you more about this project in the next few weeks just need to get all the legal docs signed, sealed and delivered before any excitement begins on my part!

So down to business I wanted to talk briefly about lighting not indoor lighting this time but outdoor lighting. One of the most transformative things I have done actually is light my gardens both front and back. it was after a trip to Miami, more specifically the Delano hotel whereby at night the outside was lit just as beautifully as the inside that I realised I had to up my game. In winter when the light fades around 4 o clock (my favourite part of the day actually because the light is so low and so soft not yet dark, just a beautiful dusky soft grey) that this house comes alive. Having a double height glass back wall has made me totally focus on the garden all year , glass wall or no glass wall lighting your outside space will actually make your pad feel bigger. Rather than looking out at a dark exterior you look out onto a whole other room.  Any DIY store sells garden lights,  cheap as chips  they do the job perfectly. We have washed both sides of the garden jasmine one side bamboo the other with such lights and the result is beautiful. We’ve also picked out the trees with lights, strung fairly lights everywhere, hung a chandelier from a pole, put table lights on coffee tables la la la! Out the front a couple of lights highlighting the fig and low lighting the box – wham bam – beautiful. So rather than drawing the curtains (I don’t actually have any,  have a few issues with curtains but that is my problem) light outside and keep them open, winter then doesn’t feel so bad I find. I’ve also just realised I don’t have any images to show you of my garden at night so will get my act together and take a few.

Onto some thank yous. We have had some amazing press this last month (actually all year) worldwide so I wanted to just say thank you to the press for their amazing support, thank you so much guys.

A round up of these last few weeks;

Stella Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph

Style Magazine, The Sunday Times

Glamour Magazine

Elle Deco Spain

To name just  a few, again thank you so much

A little manifesto for anyone in a design conundrum

I’m in a conundrum with a particular design its not totally working. Back and forth I go tweaking this that and whatever and still in my head its not right. Part of the problem is being a perfectionist always thinking I can do better, never quiet satisfied, wanting to push it further, onwards, upwards, outwards!  Each morning I get to my desk and think today I’m nailing it and yet each evening I haven’t. I run through it with everyone else and they think its fab but yet, but yet but yet.

Enough on my problems, today by the way I’m nailing it, not leaving this desk until I do!

My antiques market trawl yesterday was a bit of a disaster the weather was against us so no sooner than we made a quick trawl round the grounds the heavens opened and all the stuff got covered up. I did find however 2 very sweet little 1950 French chairs (made for a hair saloon apparently for £120) which are for perfect for the above project. I secretly want to bag them for myself but I shall be professional for once, so in storage they sit!

If you are in a conundrum like me with your design may I suggest once you’ve scoured pinterest, blogs, online mags, waded through every reference book you have, including magazines going back to 2000 write a list. Write a list of how you want your space to look it will help refine it. Here is mine:

Decorating requires bold strokes not tentative gestures

Trust your gut, ALWAYS

A little decrepitude goes a long way!

Ditch the budget, style has got nothing to do with money: repaint, repaper and where needed reupholster

Mix, mix and mix styles, eras as many references as possible its only then that magic happens

Don’t over think it or over design it, remember the show home look is your enemy!

Lastly but most importantly I’m thinking:

Its OK to not completely finish let the design evolve over time.

So there you go my little design manifesto above, and an inspirational image below of Nikki Tibbles, West London pad. A great reference for bolts of unusual colour, thinking outside the box (covering a super sleek modern sofa in a chintz trad fabric is genius), layering and messing around with scale!

Enough procrastinating my end I’m getting the hell on with this design, no more backwards and forwards. Today is the day!


Wise words

Forgive yesterdays lack of post,  it was a bit of a crazy one. Big thank you to all those who attended the retail class on Friday last one of the year unbelievably although many more will be scheduled for next year. Today as you can see an early one. 4.24 yuk! Off to Kempton antiques fair with a torch, wellies, a hat and two very sleepy dogs who do not want to leave the house, ditto to that!

Recently I ordered a heap of books, Edible Selby, Nate Berkus some cool flower books and a big heavy tome showcasing the designs by Roman and Williams a husband and wife design duo based out of NYC (they designed the Ace Hotel amongst many other things).

Lit the biggest fire, made a coffee and got lost in this rather magical book of theirs. A couple of things stood out, firstly they are obsessives and get completely lost in a project down to the teeniest tiniest detail. They are at once understated and glamourous,(which I adore) and in designing they clear their head and focus on things they love, to quote ‘be patient and brave about where you look and be prepared to go deep to find things you love. That’s the secret’.  Couldn’t have said it better my self. For my kind of interiors, for their kind of interiors there is no one stop shop (regrettably not even mine)! It takes time to build and layer up a home with a selection of finds that you love, but as we all know when you put the time in the results are amazing! Hence my 4am wake up call to go look round an outdoor antiques market in the dark!

Another thing I love when they we’re doing up their apartment they didn’t have much money but they had time, they don’t subscribe to the time is money philosophy – time is free, and when they have clients with limited budgets they coach them point them in the right direction and then it was up to them to put in the footwork and search and hunt things out. When their clients do have money ‘ we slow them down and encourage them to spend it in a creative money’.

Wise words indeed. I leave you with one of their designs, Ben Stiller’s pad in LA no less – no gimmicks, no humor. just simple beautiful craftsman coupled with a beautiful palette.

Gotta dash so forgive spellings grammar and all that malarky – oh and the heavens have just opened and its pissing down. Great!