Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Canary Yellow with a 50s Vibe

Firstly, let me apologise for my absence of late. Many things have kept me distracted. Firstly, my long time boyfriend finally proposed after 10 years (!) of “courting”. As you can imagine, I have 10 years build-up of marriage related ideas which I had to explore immediately. This has lead me to look into designing my own wedding stationary and has developed into a little business idea. So, with daydreaming of weddings and my possible business venture (which shall remain an idea for a little while longer I imagine, if ever becomes anything more) I have not thought about anything remotely interior design based which would be worth noting on here. Add to that, my daughter is at a rather interesting age (10 months now, blimey its gone fast) and is trying her level best to walk. This is causing me to be both physically and mentally exhausted come the evening, when I usually dedicate my spare time to The Blog.

 BUT, did you notice spring has suddenly arrived?! Yes folks, spring is officially here and the fresh spring light has shined through my windows and into my humble home… which is still in need of decorating. And in true spring-cleaning like gusto, I’m back on the case and keen to get cracking again.
One room which has not been touched yet is our Spare Bedroom. For a long time, in fact since we moved it, it has been a junk room. All the stuff which we’d acquired in our old house and didn’t have a place for has been piled up and I had mentally closed the door to the issue. Temporarily. But with lovely weather and that burst of energy that seems to come with spring, I’ve managed to clear most of it away. So, now to the fun part: getting a moodboard together.
I’m LOVING yellow at the moment – not sure if I’m a couple of years behind a trend here or too trendy for my own good, but there is not a vast amount of yellow currently on our high streets. Green, yes. Teal, yes. Red, yes. Yellow… not so much. But it’s such a gorgeous colour in my opinion, so fresh and gender-neutral, I’m really keen to use it in our Guest Bedroom. I’m also looking for a little bit of a quirky edge on it too, and would love to incorporate a 50’s vibe. So, for the time being, I’ve done a little sketch and am working on a moodboard. Most of our furniture will be second hand here, so I want to pull it all together by making bold statements of Black, White and Yellow. Its gona be great… trust me, I’m a designer.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

March: Tackling the Garden

Now, this post is a bit away from the norm - it has nothing to do with Interior Design for one thing - but as gardening is also one of my passions and I do feel that a garden is just like and outside "room" anyway, I decided to include it. And also, it will inevitably be taking up a large portion of my spare time in the coming months so it'll be handy to include it on the blog.
It's March, folks, and that means one thing: SPRING IS HERE! the clocks may not have sprung forward just yet, but its definitely the time to be gearing your garden up for the coming months, particularly if you plan on growing your own like we are.

I'm not an amazing gardener - I'll say that upfront. I'm amateur at best... in fact beginner is maybe more apt. I've dabbled at gardening, but never approached it with real gusto and planning. But, with the new home, I really intend to do it right this time, and i find it best to start simple.
We have a very small patch in the north west corner of the garden - it does get good light despite its location as the buildings around us are very low. The back wall of the garden actually gets hit by the southern sun for most of the day, so I'm hoping this will yield some great results veg-wise. So it is here that i am beginning.

JOB 1: Clearing the ground
Though its a small area (barely 1.5m x 1m) you'd be amazed at how many leaves and garden debris had accumulated on the earth. So job 1 was to fork and clear the ground, removing and leaves and weeds which were emerging.
JOB 2: Fertilising the Soil
All soil needs fertilising to prepare for growing vegetables - I've used a general fertiliser which I scattered over the soil, forked in and then watered. This will give the veg a good foundation for growth (much like decorating, its the prep work which really matters)

JOB 3: Selecting the Veg
As I've decided to tackle things slowly and develop my skills, I've opted for a nice easy-to-grow vegetable: Onions. I've picked two varieties, a white "Stuttgarter Giant"  and a "Red Baron" salad variety. As Onions are used in 90% of my cooking, I know they'll get used and they store really well - this is why I'm growing my own veg after all - so it seemed an obvious choice.
JOB 4: Planting
I marked out lines and made small holes about 3cm deep and 12cm apart  - I could fit about 40 bulbs in the area so I chose to plant 20 of each variety. Placing the bulb in, roots down, It was a simple case of covering them up, Marking the line with a little Label and watering in.

JOB 5: Waiting
So now, after a total of 1 hour in the garden, I've only got a wait of around 6 months or so before the onions are ready for me to interfere again. Until then, its just regular watering, feeding and ground maintenance.
Simples :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

His & Hers: The Future of Bedroom Design?

I was watching UP the other day (of course, my 9 month old daughter was watching it and I just happened to glance at the TV while doing housework. Yeah right) and just after the heart-breaking story of Ellie’s death, we see Carl Fredricksen sitting in his bed. It’s a sad little scene: Old Carl, grumpy face, clearly sitting on his side of the bed; Another day without his wife, sob. And in this momentary view, we see a teeny tiny insight into their love.

So many stories focus on the beginning of love: the exciting part where it’s all lust and passion and “I can’t live without you” and “I must have you now”. We’ve all been there. But few stories look at love in the real sense: the part beyond the throws of passion, beyond the marriage proposal, wedding and honeymoon period. This is day to day love – the boring kind. But look into your grandparents eyes, and that’s what they have. That’s what we all want, really. And that’s what Karl and Ellie had.

So, how did they survive a lifetime together? What was their secret? We’re shown how they were total polar opposites from the moment they met: Carl the quiet type, with a passion for the mechanics of the world and with a rather square face; Ellie with her bold personality, passion, love of adventure and Oval face. But they share a single dream: to travel to South America. That’s like America, but South. I think the answer is simple: They are two halves of the same whole. Ying and Yang, slotting together to make a compete piece. Carl brings the stability Ellie needs, and Ellie provides the excitement. It’s a mutual, equal relationship.
Anybody who has been in a relationship for a long time will tell you it’s about Compromise. So, when it comes to the Bedroom (and I mean Bedroom Design of course), should there be compromise here too? Design can easily sway to the Feminine or Masculine. Shabby Chic = Feminine. Urban Modern = Masculine. But can the two exist together? Compromise says yes, as long as they complement one another. And no, I’m not saying that shabby-chic-urban-modern is a new upcoming trend that you should watch out for, because that’s just silly.

So, I’ve drawn together a little “his and hers” bedroom scheme. I’ve opted for a monochromatic palette (neither male nor female as a rule) and have allocated the black to the feminine and white to the masculine side (which is maybe a little unconventional). I think by using simplistic furniture with some feminine detailing for the female side and dynamic, solid pieces for the male, a real fusion can be achieved. And I’ve done it all on super bargain budget as 90% of the items are available from Ikea!
Have you achieved a perfect unity of male and female in your bedroom design? If so, we’d love to hear how!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Inspired by Fashion: Kendi's Buildings & Books

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Interiors follow Fashion. By fashion, I mean those rags you casually throw on every morning without second thought. Or rather, I mean it follows the fashion of those folks who do give a second thought to their daily attire, and in fact give rather more than just a second thought - they give a third and fourth thought too I imagine.

Sadly, I am not one of these people. Though I am quite capable of appreciating a good outfit, I am not and have never been, a fashionable trend setter type person. I am at best a distant admirer of fashion. I'm aware its there. And I do follow a couple of fashion blogs - one of which has given me a swell idea for an ongoing series of posts.

If you are not aware of its existence, I recommend you hop along to Kendi Everyday - a fashion blog which focuses on the fashion of one young trend setter in Dallas. Not every day, but almost, she uploads some snapshots of her outfit for the day with a few choice words and makes it look incredibly easy. And though I know that those great outfits will not look anything like that on me (having not been blessed with a model-like physique) the colours, fabrics and patterns do inspire me.

So, in a round about way, I'm trying to tell you about my new post idea. I shall compose a little interior scheme around an outfit which had been caught in my peripheral vision and has thus inspired me. Hence, Inspired By Fashion. And, to kick start this all of, I have selected this outfit showcased by Kendi last week.

The colour palette is dark - rich warm browns and black. The outfit incorporates contrasting fabrics: leather boots repesented above in the chair, and a sheer blouse represented above by the soft voile window treatment. The wallpaper options pick out the pattern detail and are both available from Cole & Son. The overall look Kendi achived looked smart, yet comfortable, so i've tried to reflect that here with non-fussy furniture with soft detailing.

So... what do you think? x

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Weekly Inspiration #4

So this week, I've been feeling the Orange vibe. I'm also loving the idea of male/female sides of a bedroom (as shown in Disney pixar's UP) and incororating a division screen into our master bedroom somehow. Also, I loved a Portrait Wall I saw at a friends house the other day which climbed the staircase and looked brilliant. And finally, I've been truely inspired to launch an "Inspired by Fashion" series of Interior scheme posts after reading one of my favourite Fashion blogs, Kendi Everyday - keep your beady eyes peeled for the upcoming post this weekend!

Saturday, 25 February 2012


If you recall a few months back I posted a Hotel feature on the Maison Moschino in Madrid and have decide to include this in my "Get the Look" range - and I highly recommend you do get the look as its surprisingly simple to do, and far more achievable than some other Hotel schemes to implement in your own abode.

Firstly, the rooms are imaginative and fun - both key factors in replicating the look - but not entirely practical (rose petal bedspread = not easy to wash!) so its not necessarily a bad idea to deviate slightly from the actual hotel rooms and go at little less OTT. I've looked at two of the rooms - the Ivy room and the Rose room so far - my favourites. I'm saving the Rose room for a later date, but for now...

Here is the Ivy Room Scheme:

The main feature of this room are the stripes. I think you could go with a dark olive or dark blue and achieve the same result - I've shown dark blue in the below scheme as its widely available and a little cheaper. Ikea have some blue & white striped fabrics in store, but I've shown William Yeoward in my scheme as he does a matching St Ives wallpaper.
The bed style requires a decorative ornate headboard which is both framed and upholstered (ideally customers-own-fabric so you can get the stripe) so the frame helps define the headboard against the matching striped wallpaper. The bed below is from Stokers and is called Sofia, but you could use a divan bed with separate headboard (if on a tight budget, headboards of this style can often be picked up at House Clearance shops or even Charity shops for a bargain price, leaving the relatively simple task of upholstering the board in your chosen material.
The Ikea staple, Hemnes Bedroom furniture, is a close match in terms of style and colour, though french shabby chic furniture would also work for a more decorative look. Top the bedside off with a simple shaded lamp.
Finally, add an Ivy garland and drape up the wall. These are available at many garden centres and would really complete the look.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Colour Wheel: OLIVE GREEN

This is a new type of post I’m trying out. Basically, I plan on selecting a colour and creating a little bedroom scheme around it. This week, I’ve opted for Olive Green.

For paint, I’ve picked Olive by Farrow & Ball – it has a little bit more pigment than Lichen but isn’t as overpowering as a lime would be. Green is also a great basic colour to work alongside dark woods – I’ve shown it here with Walnut Engineered flooring though Thermo Fumed Oak would work just as well. In the furniture, I’ve mixed walnut and wenge – I find that with wood its often good to mix, especially when the wood is darker in tone. This gives more depth to a scheme and helps create highlights. I’ve used walnut and wenge combinations many times and really like the overall effect.
To complete the palette, I’ve teamed the Olive with a rich Dark Chocolate and Mink, with white linen bedding and a selection of green shaded scatter cushions. I love the chair as it gives a nice strong statement – very masculine – and opted for a feature pendant light to add interest.

Though I haven’t used any in the visual I’ve drawn up, there are some nice wallpapers which would work with this palette. Here are a couple from Graham and Brown – I particularly like the Brown “Jazz” swirls which add a little feminine touch.
Have you used Olive in your bedroom? If so, what colours did you mix it with?
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