It’s a little after 3.30am and off for another epic day in the store. The builders are gone and now it’s just a case of unwrapping lots of new products and getting everything sorted and out. Not totally finished with the build there is still the back to do, but you can’t even get to the back it’s a little crazy. School is fully booked so the two M’s are in with me and Gem today (that should be fun) not so sure I need two unpacking managers sticking noses into everything but I guess the more hands the easier right? Yesterday when I whizzed back to collect them at the school gates ‘the report of the day’, from their teacher, Mung’s was a dream, Maud a little vocal !
Have to be super quick as I leave any second and sitting here in pjs without a coffee even! So rugs we’re talking rugs this morning, yes this early, as it’s never, repeat never to early to yabber about them. One of the most transformative things you can do is lay a rug on your floors; it transforms a space to a whole other level. The trick is no matter how small the pattern try if you can to have some sort of pattern going on as I find it enlivens the space way more then if you opt for one solid colour – which is a little to carpet like for me.
If you happen to have more than one rug going on in a room as I do, restrict the colour palette and then you can mix far more easily. Oh and ignore on those rules about should the sofa be on, off, to the side of the rug blah blah blah. If you like the rug (for me they are one of the hardest things to find) buy it and make it work, as Tim Gun says in project runway. That is what I do. So a small but cool rag rug skims a floor in front of my kitcehn units, a long runner skims the other side of the kitchen, a zebra hangs out in the TV nook, tribal rugs are elsewhere and I’m just talking the basement. Forget measuring, umming and arring if you love the rug buy the thing and make it work.
Talking of work a super quick coffee and then I’ve gotta fly.
Today I am kicking ass. I’m in the store project managing the buildings. Progress is slower than anticipated with the revamp of the store in fact its in chaos complete and utter bedlam and we are behind schedule big time. So unlike the last few days (which I have been told have been long and full on) right, I’m in. What a lovely day everyone is about to have. No time for tea or scratching of heads, no pondering, deliberating or thinking we are on deadline and we are working to a list.
So excuse the rushed post, I have to leave any second to meet the boys. I suggested by the way a 4am start but that got laughed at for a full 5 minutes (hey ho) that’s tomorrow when Gem and I are in styling the whole thing!
Before leaving I thought I would quickly chuck in a point or two about finishing touches. Finishing touches are like a 5-minute facelift. Suddenly in no time at all you can elevate a shelf, a mantle, a table your sofa from drab to fab by accessorising it beautifully and in no time. I’ve spoken before about my hate of putting things in rows, rows of lights over a counter, rows of things on a shelf, for me (and its personal) its to boring, to easy, takes no skill. I prefer to go down the harder route and display my stuff in a more 3 dimensional way (but I’ve spoken on that subject before) today we are talking trays.
Yes trays, and the Americans do this so very well. Anything small, itty bitty or teeny-weeny plonk on a tray or platter not only will it ground it, it will make your collection feel a little more sophisticated and less cluttered. You only need to do this if you happen to have a lot of small stuff; the odd thing no worries let that hang out with everything else. So I’m talking little things paper weights, keys, candles, bottles plonk on a tray and suddenly you’ve elevated the whole thing. Talking of trays one of my decorating tricks is to go to builders yard and buy for a couple of quid roof slate which I then use as platters. Platters for plonking things on like small accessories but even more amazing food. We have the coolest caterers that make all the food for the Design School and they serve the food on the most beautiful slate platters. When I asked them where they got them from as they are the perfect size they said the builders yard! Genius no so off I went and did the exactly same thing!
Photography Graham Atkins Hughes
Right I’m off wish me luck!
Ten hours can you believe we all slept last night, no midnight dashes out to the garden for potty or fox barking straight through. Amazing! I would have slept for longer if I hadn’t been woken up with Maud on her back prodding her foot in my ear.
By the way if the weather doesn’t improve soon I’m moving to LA – watched most of the series of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on the plane to Oz a few weeks back and now I’m hooked. I want to be a housewife in LA. If anyone in LA needs a wife email me, I have a few little (only little) requirements but other than that I’m pretty easy and relaxed to live with, I reckon!
Right talking LA or at least sunshine I wanted to spend a little time this morning yabbering about outside spaces because in this country at least we are often times a little neglectful. Whether you have a balcony, small backyard or grand lawn the trick with outside areas is to treat them like inside areas. I create little vignettes all over our garden, plus I took the plunge and starting planting trees in the middle of the lawn (actually pebbles) to break up the doctor’s waiting room style garden I previously had with everything planted around the perimeter. So in spring (if it ever arrives) you can’t quite see what is in front of you and subconsciously your senses are more excited. We have a big old olive tree right at the end (which will have to come with me if I’m relocating to LA, told you there were a few little requirements), and two quite large eucalyptuses nearer the front of the house. So when they grow the plan is that they touch providing a lovely canopy to sit under when the sun comes out (if the sun comes out).
Outdoor furniture is a fright, I find its so bloody awful to look at, can’t go near so I mix old with new. Starck’s Toy Chairs and old French cafe chairs hang out with a couple of lounging plastic Marc Newson chairs. My plan was to create an outdoor room as cool as my indoor ones so the eye doesn’t stop at the garden. Lighting is key, as fundamental out as it is in. B&Q sell cheap but very good outdoor lights which highlight our trees and jasmine, looks magical at night. I’ve got fakes in jugs all over the place because I need a bit of colour, but you can just as easily use grape hyacinth which I adore, and the smell – intoxicating. If you are London based go to Petersham nurseries, amazing pots, plants and super cool stuff for outside and in, even if you use it as inspiration. And this year I am researching window boxes (I know they get a bad wrap for being a tad suburban) but I reckon we can do something about that. I need anything that hides the (how to be polite) ugly building adjoining us!
I use this image all the time (forgive me) but it takes outdoor rooms to a whole other level!
Me done, have to walk the two M’s, whizz up a smoothie and get the house in order for a photo shoot at ten. Busy, busy busy
Morning, I must begin with a big huge thank you to everyone who attended the master classes this past weekend. Such a fabulous group of people and I had the best time, thank you all again.
Monday, Monday I happen to love Monday’s never quite know where the week is going even though it’s pretty much planned out. The store is closed for 4 days major internal overhaul, cannot wait to get in there and place all the new products as well as the new spring flowers, new furniture etc etc so its a crazy busy week.
I get asked alot about how to make interiors magical, the weird thing is I never intend it, it just sort of happens organically. I don’t sit down and think lets infuse this room with energy, or intentionally make mischief it really just works out that way. I guess the biggest component, or the biggest bit of mischief I make is a trick I use time and time again – playing around with scale. its bedazzling its takes a space from drab to fab by throwing into the mix this shot of oddball. You don’t want your home to make perfect sense, perfectly co-ordinated, everything the same height reads as a big yawn. You want to throw in a curve ball, knock the room out of the park. to the next level so to speak and one of the easiest ways of doing that is as I say in the title to make mischief. Life can be dull enough, interiors don’t need to be!
Ditch decorating rules (rules constrain and hinder us) and instead sprinkle a little fairy dust magic on your space by putting things that are to big on things that are to small. Its the easiest decorating trick in the book I shall give you a few examples. Here at home mirrors that are to big flank walls that are to small; jugs of foliage or faux blooms that are pretty huge get plonked on tables that are to small; same goes for lamps extra large table lamps even floor lamps in this house get hitched up onto tables, so they almost topple over. You don’t want to over do it mind because my ultimate goal is to create spaces that are beautiful not gimmicky so one of two little touches kind of nails it. Then just sit back and watch as guests and family come through the door, they won’t quite know where to look and they won’t quite know what makes the room so intriguing and tantalising. Love it
Vases that are soooo tall sit on teeny tiny little tables in my bedroom
Floor lamps sit on ostrich tables in my lower ground floor distorting the scheme and adding that element of magical intrigue.