I could write a whole book on this subject (don’t panic I will be brief) creating a fab living room is easy easy easy if you follow a few guide lines. So lets start with your current furniture arrangement does it work or do you feel it could do with a lift? Moving furniture around and changing its position by the way is exactly like giving a room a face lift it freshens, it enlivens and it wakes a room up. If your room is small (or large) try not to butt the furniture right up against the wall around the permimeter, you’ll need to break it up with something a super skinny shelf, a console anything that you can layer up to distract the eye from the space looking bijou or too large, plus as I say a zillion times more layers more interest.
Whether your space is dark and sludgy like mine or bright and white like … (trying to think of a nice word here) never mind, I can’t so bright and white lets just say, adding colour, small shots, large doses will take the space to another level. Colour is intoxicating particularly if you can go off radar with your selection, electric blue, saffron yellow, burnt orange anyone? In the store we have the most amazing selection of flowers in the most beautiful hot pinks, oranges and reds, plonk a few of those on a mantle piece and suddenly wham bam your space has gained a few style ratings! Lighting is key – no down lights on walls please the light is too unflattering – think table lamps, floor lamps, pendants that sort of thing oh and if possible try not to match to much. I’m talking lighting, furniture, cushions the more you mismatch the more intriguing a space becomes. Yes its harder much harder than matching but you’re interior will thank you for it. Rugs are great for adding another dimension, top tip try if possible try to go for something patterned, pattern and texture are the herbs and spices of the decorating world they add pizazz something in a solid colour can and often does look flat.
One of my favourite spaces belonging to Nikki Tibbles florist extraordinare
Think that might be it, told you I would be quick, happy Tuesday.
Morning, hope you guys had a good weekend, mine not so good not sure why nothing really fell into place for some reason. Coupled with a dull aching head the whole weekend and a visit to supposedly the best place in London to eat brunch and have coffee (WRONG) it was one of those weekends that I’m kind of glad is over. Plus I like Monday’s never used to until I started my own biz but Monday’s I like. The week lies ahead all plotted and planned and then by the day if not the hour it changes and transforms, elongates and often times morphs into something completely different by the time it’s Friday.
Anyways lets get down to business I thought we might talk about dining rooms which is a hard one since some people have dining rooms that are open plan and spill into other areas, some people’s kitchen counters double duty as dining rooms and some people have entirely separate rooms that they entertain in. I would say it doesn’t really matter what you have, I happen to have an open plan affair and decided rather than giving over a whole room to a dining room I would incorporate our dining space into the lower ground floor with the kitchen and TV nook. The point with dining rooms which I’ve mentioned one zillion times (apologises) is because the table takes up the largest amount of space you really don’t want it to be the main focal point (otherwise your room will read a little dull). You want other stuff going on also, a bar, cool painting, and some kind of shelving – in other words stuff! The hardest part in pulling a dining room together for me at least is the chair conundrum. Do you match, do you mix, what’s the deal! I tend to mix but in pairs otherwise for me at least it feels a little too crazy and more than anything I don’t want the space to feel like a hodge podge I want it to feel beautiful. Finding dining chairs is altogether another epic but if you want to create some interest try mixing modern with rustic or traditional it creates a truly interesting dialogue. With the holidays fast approaching dining rooms will be taking centre stage so make sure the lighting is right. Anything that hangs above a table needs to be dimmable when the light outside fades the light inside also needs to fade, smatter t-lights around the room on window sills, shelves etc. etc. I go a little crazy and suspend hanging t-lights in all the trees and plonk t-lights in jam jars for all the little tables outside so everything looks magical.
Below two dining spaces mine plus another super cool one, have a good Monday.
Photography Rebecca Reid
Early one for me as off to the store where new stock and more flowers have just arrived. The store is so full I think it might possibly burst, but in a good way. Anyone who has done the retail class will know what I’m talking about when I say I am hoping this great bunch of stuff will increase the linger time by at least 30 minutes! By the way thank you for all your great comments about my planned expanded collection yesterday certainly going to push forward on that one so much appreciated.
I was looking at Lonny’s website recently and they have a fun section on how to create a tablescape (as they call it in the States) in other words how to group a collection of objects together on a table, mantle or shelf so they look cool. I am a big believer that you don’t have to be a stylist or designer in order to pull it off you just need a few basic pointers to set you in the right direction. So if you have a zillion little objects plonk them on something like a tray, piece of slate, ceramic platter doesn’t really matter, but what it will do is ground them and make them look far more impressive than they really are. The Americans do this big time, we not so much. I wouldn’t go overboard with this idea you don’t in my humble opinion want more than one tray in a room, as it can feel a little formal and a tad designed, if you know what I mean. Another pointer restrict the colour palette it will help you mix more things on a shelf, mantle whatever. If everything were a different colour in can feel a little crazy. With Christmas around the corner and wanting to snug up my pad something I do a lot (on mantles and consoles) is cluster t-lights generally all the same style and then in some of them I plonk bunches of long lasting foliage or herbs, rosemary, euculptus that sort of stuff. Smells amazing looks really sweet and pulls the whole display together.
There is way more I could bang on about but my carriage awaits and I have to whizz to the store. If I can get my act together I will post some images have a lovely day x
Sometimes I get a little obsessed with things; the right lights on at certain times of the day, good coffee, the woodpile at the back of the garden never so depleted that you get to see the back wall, that kind of stuff! Wallpaper is y latest obsession, when I worked on the show Get Your House in Order I had to befriend wallpaper in a big way since there was so little time to design and I needed something with alot of personality to change the vibe in many of the rooms. Since the show I have become alot more passionate about it purely because of its transformative powers. So these tin tile papers we have in store tick all the boxes and I am literally obsessed.
So I have a question?
I am thinking of introducing a new product line to the store – a garden inspired section. Don’t freak I’m not talking wellies and secateurs I’m talking cool cool pots for balconies and gardens, fabulous plants in amazing trugs, branches, various barks and mosses for pots, river stones to put in the bottom of pots to help the water flow, beeswax gnomes, garden furniture not the naff kind the amazing kind, vintage stoneware, over sized jugs that kind of stuff, oh and all of which will be designed around this tin tile paper. I’m bored with whats out there – the major garden centers have little to be desired and I think (could be wrong) even in the depths of winter some beautiful heathers or box in a trug, or the coolest winter foliage cheers up even the gloomiest of winter days? I’m sort of thinking about a mini Petersham in the heart of London, because why can’t things for the outside be as cool as things for inside.
What do you think?
I’m going to yoga in less than 30 mintues, so what I here you say, well unless I write it down then I will wrangle out of it and make one trillion excuses not to go so forgive me for giving you the more mundane aspects of my day!
OK so on with the important stuff, interiors and the reason I love them so much and bang on about how life changing they are. If you’ve come to the Design Classes you will have seen these images before since we drill down into them a bit, but you can go from this:
Same room but with layers, layers, layers. The more layers you add the more interesting a space becomes. Pad in question belongs to US designer Nate Berkus and I bang on about this alot in the classes but in order to get an interior that gets people gasping for breath and you never wanting to leave is to create as many little areas of interest as you possibly can. Nate has a lot of stuff going on and yet its doesn’t feel crazy it feels interesting and perhaps the biggest tip I can give you is actually a simple test. Can you walk in a straight line from one end of your room to another, without weaving? If the answer is yes then I hate to say you may need a bit of help because it probably reads as a tad dull. With Nate’s interior with my interiors you can’t , there’s chairs on the angle, little tables jutting into the center, foot stools whatever it is you don’t want the furniture all around the perimeter. Please no emails about practicalities like won’t it take longer to hover and dust and all that boring stuff. Yes it does but would you rather live in a pad where you have to dust a little longer or a sterile space where you have to medicate yourself up to even be there!
Another example from Nate this time his kitchen – paint something dark and wham bam magic happens.
Fabulous kitchen, the cupboards are the same but have just been painted out. For once I need not say anything else as the images do all the talking!
There is a new television series in the making trawling up and down the land looking to find eccentric interiors and buildings (which are used as homes).
The series will feature properties all over Britain which are unique, quirky and full of personality. From a contemporary castle in the Highlands decked out in Scandinavian minimalism, to a circus themed home filled with amazing Victorian carnival salvage or perhaps even an ultra-modern high tech blingy mansion, the series will look to find the most jaw dropping examples of bonkers, bold and ultimately passionate interior design. So if you fancy your pad being on TV then email: email@example.com
Cannot wait to see the series
A huge big thank you to all those who attended the retail class, it was fabulous inspiring day. Some people had businesses others were thinking of starting them so will be keeping a watch out in the upcoming months to see whats going on – you can never have too many interiors stores I say online or otherwise, particularly as the majority of them over here are a trifle dull!
I was trawling through Elle Decor’s website recently when I came across a rather cool image, below:
Those of us who have brick walls tend to under embellish them including me but how fab does a collection of cool art look. Brick walls or no brick walls art enlivens giving spaces instant personality, In my perfect life I would jet off once a month to somewhere for the weekend and wander around a city nosing into galleries and little hidden off radar places seeking new art to bring home for my walls or I should say for my store’s walls. I love art be that flea market, gallery esq or young grads particularly when its layered up so you don’t take in any one image in one hit you kind of have to linger and stay a while. Linger time (as we all know in the retail classes) is the most important thing to achieve – linger time at home also easy to achieve the trick as always is to layer a space up. You cannot expect anyone to spend one second in it unless you have things going on, on walls on mantles on surfaces and art is a sure fit way to start the ball rolling.
Where to buy is the big question, well a couple of sources I continually look at are www.degreeart.com, and www.newbloodart.com. Prices start as low as £90, there are of course a zillion designers out there with their own websites where you can buy off line or commission, check out our very own Rose Hill ( a print artist) , www.rosehilldesigns.co.uk..
Pure Evil in Shoreditch is always on my radar and has a selection of prints and paintings and www.cockpitarts.com, (a collection of artists studios) usually throws its doors open at Christmas when you can pick up some cool finds from prints to paintings.