I’m not a Mamma, but I have plenty of friends who are, or who are soon-to-be Mammas. Parents of young children must have some form of super power – they manage to do so much in a day, and I’ve no idea how. What DO they eat for breakfast? Buckets of coffee I imagine.
While I’m significantly underqualified to comment on anything baby related because I don’t have one, I do have some ideas about designing nurseries. This cosy little room is where baby will spend lots of hours sleeping (you would hope), but also feeding, playing and bonding with parents. That makes it an important room. So if you have a pending baby arrival here are some simple tips for making a nursery space work.
The nursery needs to be practical, so layout is key. Make sure you’ve got room for all the things you need so that the room can be self-contained for sleeping, changing, feeding and playing.
Putting a nursery together is like getting a permission slip to have some fun with interiors. You can do things with this room that you are unlikely to do with any other room in your home. So knock yourself out and get creative with wallpaper, art and accessories.
Most importantly let your own style be part of the design process and don’t feel like you have to buy every item for a nursery in a children’s furniture store. Yes the room needs to be child friendly, but if you like wallpaper with bold prints, Persian rugs, midcentury cradenzas or Eames rocking chairs, bring them into the room. It will make for some interesting design results, and along with making the room feel familiar to you, it will flow really well with the rest of your home.
I’m not sure if a parent or parent to be even gets time to think about putting a nursery together, but hey, it’s worth a few hours spent on Pinterest at least right?! Sending love and good vibes to all my 2017 Mamma-to-be friends out there (you too Beyoncé, you too). But please ladies…leave some coffee for the rest of us!
Trends, trends, trends. The start of a new year kicks off internet breaking discussions about trends in EVERYTHING. Most come and go, but some stick around for a while. I’m keeping track of what’s on the cards for interiors in 2017, and for now there’s one trend I’m particularly on board with. The emergence of green – veering towards emerald, jade and teal. The darker the shade gets, the more I’m on board with it. Deep greens are sexy, smoky and interesting; they are anything but bland. Hello 2017, we’re off to a solid start.
You’re going to see these deep green’s pop up everywhere, similar to how greys and deep blues did in previous years. If you’re ready to go for it head first, you’re going to be thinking about paint colours. I say this – commit to it. If you’re going there, go with your lipstick and heels on. Do not be halfhearted about it. These colours are dramatic and moody, and the results can be equally so.
Green velvet is going to take centre stage, on sofas, chairs and headboards. For months now green velvet sofas have been popping up in my social media feeds, so they don’t feel new as such. They do feel aspirational though. I don’t know how I’d fare with keeping a velvet couch clean, but damn it, they look so good.
Bathrooms and kitchens are also going to see this colour trend come their way, in the form of tiles. In particular lots of green subway tiles are coming to the surface. I’m also seeing a lot of green kitchen cabinetry at the moment, but I’m not quite on board with that just yet. I need to do a little more hunting for versions of green kitchens that seduce me. If you come across any gems, please send photos my way!
Obviously the emergence of dark green is not the only trend to hit interiors in 2017. There are buckets of them. But you can’t go squeezing every new trend into the mix together, or you end up with a space that looks like it’s got a personality disorder. So, one at a time, and I’ll be keeping you updated on other trends over the next few months.
Happy new year folks, here’s to a year of interesting colour and life choices ahead!
A few weeks ago I paid Culver City a long overdue visit to check out a new development in the area, Platform. Platform was hosting a Holiday Bazar, so I was going in search of some festive fuzziness and to explore what I thought looked like a really interesting space. It was worth the trip.
The best way I can describe Platform is this – a creative urban haven, where you can shop, eat or watch the world (and its dogs) go by. Down to the choice of beautiful outdoor furniture by Ilan Dei Venice (designed and manufactured in LA), Runyon Group, the development company behind Platform, have got this retail space right in every way. You’ll come across brands like Blue Bottle Coffee, Aesop and Linda Farrow as you stroll through Platform and wonder what those offices overhead might look like on the inside …
For me, the pièce de résistance came at the end of my exploring at Platform. The Shop: Curve x Tom Dixon is a stunning new concept store that merges luxury fashion labels from Curve (Nevena Borissova’s exquisite boutique), with lighting, furniture and home accessories from UK lifestyle designer, Tom Dixon. Well, Tom Dixon, I’m so glad we’ve been introduced. Walking into the Tom Dixon store was like walking into a gallery with a metallic and glass lighting installation. His pendants are spectacular. Some are set against marble and concrete surfaces for wonderful contrast, while others are set against iridescent corrugated metal sheets which magically bounce light around the space.
Tom Dixon products certainly have a signature metallic and glass look, but some also have a marble and wood element to them. What is standard about all the products however, is that each one is a considered design, and beautifully produced. There is a sense of an aspirational dinner party when you walk through Tom Dixon’s new LA showcase, and that of course has me wanting all of his products. So here’s a look at my top picks from Tom Dixon; perfect for the interiors lover in your life if you’ve left your Christmas shopping a little late.
Have I sparked your interest in the world of Tom Dixon design? Well if you have some time on your hands over the holiday season head along to Platform, grab a taco at Loqui, a coffee at Blue Bottle and then go and enjoy the pendant lighting spectacle at The Shop: Curve x Tom Dixon. I promise it’ll be better than any Christmas lights you’ve seen this year.
Open plan living. Open plan offices. Shared outdoor open spaces. I like where things are going. And even though I’m the type of person who needs a solitary quiet space sometimes, I love the concept of open plan living, particularly at home. All that light and space creates a certain fluidity.
When it comes to furnishing open plan spaces, some challenges arise. I mean, what do you do with the couch? Do you just plonk it in the middle of the room? If you want to make life a little easier for yourself when styling open plan spaces, start thinking about rugs. They very quickly help you map out an open plan living space and in particular they help define your living and dining areas. Rugs are also a wonderful way to bring in more texture, colour and pattern to your space, so naturally, I’m a big fan.
This week I’ve pulled together some sample looks that work, and found a selection of great rugs for you to muse over. My general rule of thumb for rugs in living and dining areas is keep all the furniture on the rug (or front legs of furniture on the rug at a minimum). Stick to this and you won’t go too wrong.
Now, here’s the eye candy…
Rugs can be an expensive purchase. You can very easily end up spending more on a rug than a couch. That said, there are some affordable options out there. Target, Rugs USA and Overstock all offer some great options. Rugs are also a great thing to snatch up during sales. Bigger really is better when it comes to rugs, so keep those eyes peeled for bargins!
If you are hesitant about getting your first rug, try a neutral or black and white option. I’m loving black and white rugs at the moment.
If you’re ready to ramp it up from a neutral but are still treading a little cautiously, go for a rug with muted colours. Muted colours will blend easily with most colour schemes.
However, if you’re feeling more adventurous, go big and bold with colour and pattern. Lots of homes will have couches and chairs in neutral colours, so a colourful rug will really make the area pop. As you’re scrolling below, please take a moment to check out the FABULOUS emerald skin that I found. I have fallen for it and am frantically trying to figure out where I can put it in my apartment. I really don’t think I’ve the space, but never say never…
Happy rug shopping folks! Remember, bigger is better and don’t be afraid to have fun with colour and pattern. Granted a rug isn’t a stocking filler, but there’s still time to get one on your Santa list!
There are plenty of design reasons to use mirrors. They make a space feel bigger, they bounce light around, and just like a piece of art they can be used to make a room more visually interesting.
Let’s be honest though, there is one real function when it comes to mirrors. They’re for checking yourself out. I’m talking about that backward glance at your bum as you walk out the door, that knowing look you give yourself when you’re having a great hair day, and that general “hey you” feeling when you catch a glance at yourself as you swagger past a mirror. Listen, if no one else is going to compliment you on a given day, walk past a mirror and give yourself one!
Mirrors are having a moment right now. Large round mirrors in particular. I am loving the shape and size of what’s currently available with retailers. While I’m embracing the round mirror, I’ve always been a fan of large rectangular floor mirrors too. They make a statement in a room and really do achieve all that light bouncing and opening up of a space. My living room is long and narrow which has brought its challenges with styling. I’ve recently used a full length floor mirror to open up the room and it is working a treat.
Mirrors can of course be used anywhere, but I’m inclined to divide them into functional and decorative uses. Mirrors in bathrooms and bedrooms have a tendency to be functional (which is NOT an excuse to let them look anything less than fabulous!), while mirrors in living rooms and entrance halls have a tendency to be more decorative. Wherever you decide to put them, they all offer an opportunity for you to flatter yourself, so I say go put one in every room.
I’ve rounded up some inspiration for using mirrors in entrance halls, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, along with some shopping suggestions this week. Feast your eyes and think about where you can incorporate one into your home. Then get your swagger ON!
I’m fast-forwarding to December today. There is a sullen mood in LA and there is Thanksgiving to come before Christmas, but I am fast-forwarding to December. If ever I needed some Frank Sinatra singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ it is this week. So I am going there. With haste.
I have favourite things I like to do in the run up to Christmas and decorating the tree is one of them. I love it. It’s like some sort of first date that develops into a love affair over a December (ok, sometimes November) evening, accompanied by red wine and a festive soundtrack in the background. I’ll be getting creative with my decorating this year because I don’t have room for a tree. But for those of you who do have the space, here are some tips on how to make your tree gorgeous.
Decorating your tree is a layering process. Get each layer right, and you’ll end up with a beautiful full tree. It starts with lights. My choice is always white lights, and lots of them. I use four to five sets of lights on my Christmas tree. You will curse, and swear, and have to walk away every now and then when you’re putting them on, but I promise it will make your tree look magical at night. I’m talking taking each individual branch and threading the lights through them. I know, it’s tedious, but worth it.
Next use your garland and what I call your base decorations (simple shaped decorations) to build out the first layer of your colour scheme. I’ve gone for a metalic and blush base with pops of burgundy and black for this post. The garland comes first. I’ve used anything from ready made garlands, to wide ribbon, to pieces of fabric as a garland. Get creative with what you use. Start from the top, and bring the garland in a spiral shape all the way down your tree.
When your garland is in place, start layering your base decorations. I cover the tree with LOTS of these. It’s the foundation for making your tree look full. You can always take some off later, but more is better here.
Stand away from your tree when that’s done and you should see a great foundation ready for adding accent decorations. This is where I like to go big with the size of decorations and add lots of texture. Don’t limit yourself to Christmas tree decorations here. Silk flowers are brilliant to use, especially ones with large heads, like hydrangeas. Keep an eye out during the year for these (they’re not necessarily seasonal), especially if you’re keeping away from traditional colour schemes.
The tree should be looking full and textured now. The final step to make the tree look complete is to add some contrasting colour. This will make the tree pop. I’ve gone with two strong colours, black and burgundy, to contrast the shimmering metallic and blush background I’ve used. Place these decorations in a zig-zag shape down the tree. Finally, I’ve added some *sparkle* for the top of the tree to complete this non-traditional festive look.
I don’t go too over the top after the Christmas tree, but I do like to decorate the mantelpiece. Simply place two or three Ferm Living candle holder strings along the mantelpiece (I would prefer to have these in white – spray painting is an option here). Dot a selection of Skandinavisk Jul Christmas candles, Crate & Barrel snowflake porcelain candle holders and some of the West Elm blush metallic ball ornaments we used previously amongst them. This is a festive look, yet some of these pieces can be incorporated into your living space once the Christmas decorations have been put away. (On a side note I have a big thing for the Skandinavisk brand at the moment. I have their Ö (Island) candle burning in my apartment. Beautiful packaging and a lovely narrative behind this brand – check them out.)
It is trivial to be talking about decorating Christmas trees this week. I know it is. The most inspiring thing about the US presidential election has unfortunately been Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. She spoke such dignified words at a time of defeat. I will be taking one of her closing messages with me into 2017 to light me up. “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now”.
Now, go get all the white lights you can find folks.
Are you a reader? Someone who loves bookshops? Me too. I’m the person who buys ALL the books, and then doesn’t finish them. I can have five books by my bed and only manage to get through a third of each one. Then I find new books, and move on to them. I get too curious about what the next author has to say. So really the ideal books for me are the “dip in an out of” books. Those, I like a lot.
My most recent book purchase is one of my favourites yet. Grace Bonney’s In The Company of Women. It’s a collection of interviews with entrepreneurial women in creative fields. Fashion designers, chefs, authors, directors, graphic designers, artists, photographers, interior designers. The list goes on. Grace’s introduction ends with this quote: “Any one of these women would inspire someone to pursue their passion, but together, they are an undeniable force.” The book is indeed an undeniable force, and there is definately an impact in reading about all these women together. What I was struck by however, was the beauty of the portraits of the women in this book, as individuals. Each so different, striking and unique.
A reading nook is the perfect setting for a “dip in and out of” book like Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women, or an engrossing novel. With those longer evenings ahead of us you may find that extra bit of time to give to reading, so I want to share some ideas for making a reading nook in your home.
Firstly the space should be cosy and inviting, you need to be able to sit here for hours if that book gets you hooked. Make sure the seat is comfortable and get some textiles onto the chair to keep things snug.
Consider a pouf or ottoman if putting your legs up gets you into reading mode instantly.
Whether flooding natural light or strong artificial light, good light is a must.
It’s always helpful to have books to hand, so think about making a bookshelf feature around your reading nook.
Reading during the longer evenings is nicely accompanied by a big glass of wine. Get an accent table into the setting for your beverage of choice and pair it with a Diptyque candle for total escapism.
For extra bonus points, set the space up near a fire. If your reading nook is somewhere that gets cold you will not want to hang out here for any length of time.
Don’t those spaces look inviting? Can you see yourself reading somewhere like this on autumn / winter evenings? I’ve put three reading nook looks together for you this week. Go style yours. Once you pick up that book you’ll thank yourself for making the effort. And if you’re looking for a book to start with, treat yourself to a copy of Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women. With that book and a glass of wine in hand, you’re imagination will run wild with creative possabilities.
There is something I admire so much about a signature look. A design concept executed really well. Irish textile designer, Aoife Mullane, is quickly becoming a shining star in the world of textile design because of her ability to produce just that. It’s a place some designers take a long time to get to, but Aoife has gotten there very quickly, which is a reflection of her design talent and dedication to her craft. I recently caught up with Aoife to find out about her design journey.
What inspires your work Aoife? I live by the sea and so I gain a lot of inspiration from the local landscape. I like the idea of linking the interiors of a space to the exterior environment. My work is a combination of intricate detail with more organic fluid marks. I often collect patterned pebbles, or speckled bird’s eggs which inspire aspects of my prints.
Your work is visually striking, particularly because of your use of metallics. How did your aesthetic develop? Mineralized rocks and geological matter inspired the use of metallics within my designs. Fragments of quartz, aluminum and copper can be seen throughout my fabrics and for me this is what makes my textiles so luxurious.
What steps are involved in your creative process? My designs are deeply process driven; I consider my fabrics as artworks that are translated into textiles for interiors. My design process begins in my notebook. I make sketches of organic shapes such as pebbles, sea glass, and driftwood. I then begin to create patterns from them, considering the scale and placement. I scan these drawings and begin working with them on Photoshop. Once I have designed a print that I am happy with, my design is converted into a large mesh stencil or “screen”. I then work with this stencil using high-end effects such as foiling to create beautiful, hand rendered fabrics.
What advice would you give to designers thinking about starting their own business? Work hard, and be passionate about your work. If you’re not passionate you won’t put in the hours that are required. I remain excited by my work by constantly developing new designs – as long as you are inspired, good work will come.
What has been your favorite project to work on to date? I designed and supplied a number of textiles for a high-end beauty salon called OSLO Beauty in Dublin, Ireland. This was one of my first large commissions so it will forever stand out as a big achievement. I was given creative freedom in the project, which was so refreshing. The owners loved my signature style and trusted me.
Have you any exciting projects in the pipeline you’d like to share with us?! I am currently collaborating with a luxury Irish-owned hotel which is being fully refurbished and rebranded. The owners want to reflect the strength of craft and design in Ireland. They’ve approached me to design some luxurious unique prints for the bedrooms. I am very excited to be a part of this project!
Ireland has a deep tradition of storytelling and craftsmanship. What Aoife does so beautifully is merge the narrative of the Irish landscape with her craft to produce striking contemporary work. If this is the work we’re seeing at the beginning of Aoife’s career, I’m excited to see what she does next. Remember the name Aoife Mullane, there is a lot more to come from her.
Whether you’re someone who loves your face against a cold pillow, or someone who sets an electric blanket to that perfect temperature, your bed, and its surrounds, is your sleeping haven. But do you ever look around and think you really want to freshen things up in the bedroom (ahem!), but you don’t fancy spending the weekend painting the walls or parting with your bedroom furniture?
Well this week I’m looking at some very simple bedding ideas that will help you achieve that change without going anywhere near a paintbrush. It’s the equivalent of getting a new winter coat or a haircut. A mini makeover of sorts, with instant gratification.
First up is texture. If you think your bed looks drab, or lacking a bit of pizzazz, think about adding some texture with a throw or decorative cushion. This bohemian bedroom uses a combination of mohair and sheepskin. Foxford Wollen Mills is an Irish company with a wonderful collection of mohair throws in vibrant colours (they ship internationally), and Serena & Lilly also have beautiful options. You’ll find sheepskin throws everywhere from IKEA to West Elm.
I also had to show you this gorgeous green velvet throw I came across. It’s from a Swedish company called Linum and is magnificent. Nothing says winter cosy quite like a rich green velvet throw.
Next it’s back to the colour topic from last week, but this time I’m suggesting you consider a monochrome theme. Pare back on the number of colours you use in your bedding and instead use lots of tones, shades and tints of a single colour. If you choose to go with this idea you’re going to need your fitted sheet and pillowcases in your base colour. Zara Home and Parachute offer lots of options to help you get started with your colour choice.
If finding the right textured accessories or pulling together bedding that fits a monochrome colour scheme still sounds like too much work, here is the easiest option. Get bold with the print on your duvet cover and pillowcases. This jungle print from H&M and medallion print from Urban Outfitters (on sale!) were two favourites I found. You might also like this gem from West Elm if you prefer an abstract print.
And that’s it. Three very simple ideas to give your bed a new look for AW16. Ironically, I’m now off to my sleep haven. It’s Sunday night. It’s bedtime. It’s lights out. Sweet dreams.
Pulling a design together for a room can get put on the long finger because of one question. Where do I bloody start? I’ve been there. Plenty of times. But here’s the thing, you can start with anything. A piece of furniture, a rug, a layout you want, a lighting scheme you’ve fallen for. Anything. There is no right or wrong way to kick it off.
If you’re still ‘brick wall in front of you’ stuck, try starting with a colour palette. There is inspiration everywhere. Think about what colours you’re drawn to when you shop for clothes, when you buy flowers, even when you’re in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. Remember that your colour scheme doesn’t have to come from an image of an interior space you’ve seen. There are loads of other sources. Fashion. Art. Nature. Packaging. Colour is colour. And it travels in its glorious way though all these mediums.
This week I’ve pulled some sample colour palettes coming from sources like product packaging, tabletop styling, art and everyday living. Once you start thinking about colour being everywhere, you’ll be surprised what your eyes will start to hone in on. You’ll also get lots of inspiration from two particular websites I’ve used in this post: design-seeds.com and fortheloveofcolorblog.blogspot.com. Check them out!
There are of course lots of references to Autumn (Fall in these parts) in social media feeds at the moment, but it really doesn’t feel like my usual October here in LA. I now understand what people mean when they say California doesn’t do seasons. However when I went to pull a sample colour palette together this week, it seemed that Autumn had hopped, skipped and jumped right into my subconscious because I totally went for an autumnal mix. I pulled a fashion and interior image together, and from there landed on a palette of four colours.
It’s as easy as that. Pinterest is of course your friend here again. Bazillions of images to pull from so you can bring together a colour scheme that works for you. So, the answer to the question “Where do I bloody start?” Wherever the hell you want, but colour palettes might just be your game changer.