Now…break the rules

Thank you for some of your feedback on an earlier post regarding my view on breaking design rules. I got such a lot of positives I thought I needed to revamp one of my older posts on this topic. So apologies for some who remember this……

I might be in serious need of having a couple of blogs on this subject. As, although I am still in need of my elevator pitch if asked to explain my style in short, one thing I know for sure….I love breaking the design rules. So here goes…

In an earlier post I mentioned that the easiest game changer is to paint your walls. The most powerful statement will be accomplished if you paint the walls dark; my favourite hues are grey, blue or green. Even if you don’t want to convert to the dark side (yet… I hope), a carefully chosen hue on the walls will make your room more spectacular. A beautiful duck egg or powdery sage can have a real impact too.

As early as the beginning of 2000 I started painting my walls dark. When we moved house a few years ago I thought that a white canvas – leaving the walls unpainted – was the way to go but it didn’t take me long before I moved over to the dark side again! My lamps, accessories, artwork and mirrors on the walls just can’t help but look far more spectacular.

As mentioned before don’t let people talk you out of it, there will be a lot of opposition. I remember even having to convince the painter to ” just slap it on the walls” and to stop questioning the darkness of the whole scheme.” I will take responsibility if it doesn’t work out” – I heard myself saying over and over again. If you are having a bad day and are not sure whether you are strong enough to go through with it wait. Do it on a day you feel super confident and great about the world and yourself because there will always be someone who will try to change your mind (think husband, father, friend, child, painter, decorator…anyone really).
In “design world” opinions vary on the whole dark walls proposition but there are a couple of things definitely frowned upon by some well-known accomplished designers (not all, but quite a few). I am now going to tell you to ignore those rules….

Rules to ignore:

1) Don’t paint small rooms dark
2) Don’t paint the ceiling
3) Don’t do feature walls

Don’t paint small rooms dark
Don’t paint small rooms dark or else the space will look smaller…Please ignore this rule. It isn’t true. In fact try it. Your room won’t look smaller. The perception of the size all depends on the type, position and amount of furniture in the room. If done well your room might even look bigger!
In the picture below, you also see a personal favourite of mine – shiny walls. Very glam and gutsy. Textures and patterns, and art work and a beautiful blue on the walls and chair – love it!

 

colors-for-small-rooms-2

Small Rooms Painted Dark Colors

darkhttp://www.srgambrel.com/                             http://www.elledecor.com

 

Don’t paint the ceiling.
Don’t paint the ceiling in the same hue as the walls as it will make the room look more cramped and the ceiling is more likely to come done on you rather than open up the space….Another one of those myths. Again not true. In fact if you paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls it doesn’t break up the space as much and actually makes the colour scheme easier on the eye and open up the space.  Have a look at a couple of favourites of mine. A beautiful green/teal room and how about the daring gold ceilings – spectacular!

 

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decorating-interior-design-secrets

http://freshome.com/2012/09/13/10-secrets-from-top-interior-designers/

Don’t do feature walls
Don’t do feature walls – this is not one of those ‘ or else your room will look…..’ This is just a ‘No No’ in design land. Feature walls are not considered  “designery” – weather a painted wall or a beautifully wallpapered one it is just not done. Personally I would say that if you are going to paint the walls – go all or nothing – that’s the kind of gall I am. If you are going to wallpaper the room it probably has the biggest impact if you do all walls HOWEVER in my view there is nothing wrong with a real stand-out  luxuriously wall -papered feature wall. If you go for let’s say De Gournay wall paper your bank balance might just allow you to tackle one wall. There is nothing wrong with that. Another great thing to do is , if you can’t afford all 4 walls or even one whole wall, to buy a panel of the most beautiful silk hand painted Chinoiserie and have the panel framed. Prop it up on a console or behind a nice still life and you will have a beautiful stand-out wall – which will definitely not be frowned upon! Below some De Gournay examples and an example feature wall of the always rockin Abigail Ahern – who did a bookcase wallpaper. Now how can this all be against the rules?

If you want to check out my Dutch blog please go to:http://www.interiorjunkie.com/eyecatcher-nodig-in-huis-pak-het-groots-aan/ or else visit my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/magpiehomes/

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http://gritzalaiika.blogspot.nl/2013/01/de-gournay.html

feature-wall-2

http://disalvocontracting.com/press22.html

 

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Abigail Ahern’s Living Room Wall Before + After

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Wine o’ clock?

One of my alltime favourite musthaves in a home is a bar. …not a full on cruiseship or Johnny English home saloon bar but a bar cart, trolley, drinks cabinet or something that holds your booze and looks inviting and welcoming. I must have written about it before, but just can’t get enough of this topic. After a long and sometimes challenging day I love nothing more than to walk to my bar cart – if I had one!! – pick a lovely glass and poor myself a drink. Most likely I would grab myself a quick mucky glass from the kitchen and poor myself a cold white wine (probably Sadnee (Chardonnay) as my daughter writes down my order when playing waitress!!). I am not really a spirits drinker  –  although you can’t beat a great G&T in summer! Or a Bloody Mary when trying to use the good old ‘Hair of the Dog’ method to cope after the night before! Anyway, I say if I had one. Of course I have a place where I have displayed my decanters and glassware and bottles but not as such a trolley or cart. I am so in need of one!!

Let me start with the location of the trolley. This is the fun bit; it can go anywhere!I think historically people tend to have the trolley or cart either in the dining area or living space. However, I have seen a bar cart in the hallway directly as you enter the home. This is so incredibly inviting and makes for a great entrance. What’s better than before you have taken off your coat to mix yourself a stiff drink? Drink in hand coat in other – love it! Seriously take a look at the one in the hallway in the home of fabulous Nina Campbell. She is so stylish so if she can pull it off well then…. I am really considering one in my hallway and then one in my dining area too. I don’t think I have a problem – seriously…

Bar cart Nina Campbell

What type of bar?
My personal favourite would have to be a trolley and then something of the brass variety, art deco style. I am a real lover of the glam Hollywood Regency style. So anything that looks a bit like that is also perfect. Of course you don’t need a trolley, it can easily be a nicely styled console, sidetable, sideboard if you are trying to make use of what you have. Have a look at some great trolleys  below – I would happily take a present of any one of them!

Then on to the interior styling bit, how to dress or style your trolley or cart:

  1. .Booz- the obligatory bottles of drink – whatever your tipple
  2. Glass ware – preferably a bit of vintage or antiques – unusual ones in all shapes and sizes. A bit of coloured glass is really great too.
  3. Decanters – a couple of decanters create some “old world” interest and height
  4. A bit of bling – I think you need some accessories with a bit of bling such as brass or silver
  5. Ice-buckets in all shapes really – pineapple shapes are really popular and stylish
  6. Cocktail shakers – instant bling as they tend to be of the silver metal
  7. A little vase with a few flowers
  8. A good lamp
  9. Anything you like really!

You don’t need all 9 items but I think if you get 5 or 6 out of the 9 you are sorted. Have fun throwing this all together! And…have a great weekend! Cheers!

For those of you interested, check out my Instagram on http://www.instagram.com/magpiehomes/ and I also have another blog post out on http://www.Interiorjunkie.com http://www.interiorjunkie.com/kleur-bekennen-met-een-roze-bank-in-huis/

Bar cart inspiration 1

 

bar cart inspiration 2Bar cart inspiration 3Bar cart inspiration 4Bar cart inspiration 5Bar cart inspiration 6bar cart inspiration 8

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photo 1) Nina Campbell
photo 2) http://sweethomechicagoblog.com/2015/03/bar-cart-inspiration/
photo 3) http://redvelvetandleopard.blogspot.nl/2012/11/bar-cart-inspiration.html
photo 4) http://redvelvetandleopard.blogspot.nl/2012/11/bar-cart-inspiration.html
photo 5) http://fashionablehostess.com/bar-cart-inspiration/
photo 6) http://www.popsugar.com/home/Bar-Cart-Ideas-30891156#photo-30891169
photo 7) http://samanthapattillo.com/get-your-drink-on-bar-cart-round-up/
photo 8) http://designingdomesticity.blogspot.nl/2013/11/inspiration-file-bar.html
photo 9) http://designingdomesticity.blogspot.nl/2013/11/inspiration-file-bar.html
photo 10) http://www.bestofbklyn.com/2013/12/best-of-bar-bar-cart-styling-inspiration.html

Hello again

Hello again.

What has happened and where has the time gone? I’ve been very busy with my site and other interior projects. We have had a lovely holiday in Ireland and now kids are all back to school and routine has kicked in again. I loved having the kids around with no obligations or timetables, no football and ballet, no swimming. But I am also a tiny wee bit happy to have some time to properly crack on with stuff. I miss the hugs and cuddles but don’ t miss the referee role I had adopted by the end of the hols.

So whats new? I am making good progress with the site; I realize I am a detailed and pernickety customer so it is taking its time.  I have also been asked to become part of a bloggers team (and to write weekly blogs) for another blog. This is for a Dutch blog so no good for all you English speaking folk but for anyone interested, and able to read the Dutch lingo – go check out http://www.interiorjunkie.com. I am excited about this! I have also had a photographer and stylist come along, who took some pics of my house.The pics and an interview, with yours truly, are hopefully going to be featured in one of the leading interior magazines. I have no idea which one yet, but will keep you posted.  So whilst I have been terrible in keeping the blog up to date – things have been happening!

On to the reason you are supposed to read my blog – my interior ideas, thoughts and updates.

I recently got asked – when I had the photographer in – how to describe my style. I always start with ‘eclectic’ -mix different styles such as vintage, art deco, Hollywood Regency, antiques, contemporary design etc – with a dark backdrop and pops of colour. Moody. Add loads of textures. Put in a couple of oversized objects to create some drama. Mix and match cheap and luxury. Put colours together which aren’t meant to go together. Add a bit of glam. Don’t forget to leave out some humor. Great style doesn’t cost the world. More is more; less is a bore. Need I go on? I appreciate this doesn’t quite work when asked at a dinner party to describe your interior design style. Your audience will be under the table with boredom or booze – or both.

I think my style can probably best be described as “a style which breaks all the design rules”? So I think I need to work on my elevator pitch! However, meanwhile I will give you a couple of examples of why I break all the design rules:

  1. Feature walls & ceilings
    In the design world feature ceilings and walls are considered a big offense. I don’t get it. I actually think a room looks better if you don’t forget about the ceiling. So either paint it in the same – in my case dramatic dark – colour so that it ties in with the rest and makes everything flow much better. Your room won’t look smaller I promise. Or else paint it in a totally different colour for extra impact. With regards to feature walls such as one wall covered in wallpaper – I haven’t done this but don’t quite get the drama about why you shouldn’t. It can make a dull corner more interesting- so go for it.
  2. Humor – cheap and cheerful next to design classics
    Most designers will of course harp on about the need for some design classics, some ‘must haves.’ I tend to agree this is quite important. But money won’t buy you style in fact it will probably make a space look not lived in, impersonal and dull if you don’t bring in a bit of cheap and quirky humor. Dress your Eames chair with an H&M cushion. Pair up your Gio Ponti table with some quirky Zara Home accessories or your much loved fleamarket trinkets.
  3. Colours – Never to be seen together
    Apparently red and pink don’t go well together. Blue and green are never to be seen. Well I disagree. My front room’s colours are blue and green! Judge for yourself.

ad 1) Ceiling painted in same colour as the walls in my kitchen

ceiling

ad 1) A bit of extra drama by painting ceiling in gold!

decorating-interior-design-secrets

http://freshome.com/2012/09/13/10-secrets-from-top-interior-designers/

ad 2) Humor – quirky Zara Home (starfish and shell) trinkets on antiques table

humor 2

ad 2) Humor – Artwork with playful skull and vases
humor 1

ad 3) Colours never to be seen together: blue and green!

blue and green

So have a great weekend and if you’re interested have a look at my first blog on http://www.interiorjunkie.com:
http://www.interiorjunkie.com/zo-creeer-je-de-perfecte-shelfie/

 

 

 

 

Friday inspiration

Pizza in the oven. Kids showered, dripping wet hair in their pyjamas stuck in front of the TV. Can’t wait for the weekend to fully take off! All week I have been preparing home cooked meals, ensuring loads of greens were consumed. I made smoothies and shakes with milk, bananas, blue berries and other healthy stuff, prepared casseroles with tons of different veggies and today I just don’t feel like it. The struggle of hiding the veg hoping they go unnoticed is so so very tiring and frustrating. I am on strike now. And although this is the very exception to the rule, I now feel guilty. Out with the bad thoughts; in with the weekend thoughts! According to new health guidelines I am now also in serious breach as I open a bottle of wine and have a glass to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. I am sure it is all true, but it does feel a bit frustrating. Guilty pleasures have become very bleak and almost unsustainable. Anyway, back to the weekend. I am feeling selfish. What would I like to do most? Lunch in my favourite restaurant with a good bottle of red, a walk on the beach, some shopping perhaps and then maybe a concert? I think not. More likely to be, grocery shopping, ballet (times 2), swimming (times 2), haircut for my boy, new shoes for kids (always a delight) and then some more kids stuff.

Perhaps a bit of retail therapy or some great interior inspiration? If you have a look on Instagram you find inspiration to last you forever, good and bad stuff, powerful and impressing, sad and exciting.

On Fridays I like to ponder over things – with obligatory wine in hand – and think about the week. I try to focus on the good things in life and therefore – among other more life changing & obviously more important events – also on the best interior things of the week. So I thought I’d share with you some of this weeks top pics, favourite things, events etc.etc.

  1. One of my favourite things has to be discovering some of the great art and creative stuff people get up to. Particularly easy to showcase and great to keep track of on Instagram. This week I discovered some great work by @patirobins and @houseoffiv5. Two very talented ladies – one specializes in photography of the moody and deep, vulnerable dark kind. The other makes beautiful funky and rock and roll plates to hang on your wall. Go check them out!
  2. Quite a big announcement in design land: Ikea has announced collaborations with Hay and Tom Dixon.
    Must say this is pretty spectacular news. Ikea is truly entering into a total different direction with these great icons. In particular for me I would say Tom Dixon is going to add that bit of glam and rock Ikea is probably longing for!
    Here’s a reminder of some of the great Tom Dixon work:

  3.  For me personally and on a much smaller scale this week was all about Instagram and the website; I am getting such Instagram pleasure not just because of the quick and instant gratification of the likes and followers but also because of the truly engaging, funny, and helpful instachums! I posted a photo of one of my only rooms which hasn’t moved over to the darkside yet – it has this lovely duck-egg, green colour – with the question whether this one should also be converted and the comments and feedback were just great! Here is the photo so that you are also up to date:
    IMG_0480
    What do you think go dark or not? To follow the views go to my Instagram @magpiehomes
    That was my week. Hope you had a good one and better still have a great weekend!

 

Hairy beasts

I never realized I would be finding ants in little jars, snails in boxes under beds and various other eerie insects in the most obscure places of the house. I had accepted that my eldest – a boy – might do this but now to find my youngest daughter into this kind of thing I have no hope. No hope of an animal-free-home that is. Not that I am against animals but I like insects to stay outside and feel that pets are OK provided I am not the one cleaning up after yet another family member. Five of us is enough – thank you very much. Whilst we are still working hard on the “perhaps your dirty socks can find their way into the washing basket – in stead of a few inches in front on the floor ” I do not feel a pet is justified.  I never had any real pets growing up. Actually, that’s not strictly true I had several gold fish but they never stayed with me for very long and then we had one white little rabbit who went by the very original name of ‘Snowy’. Snowy was a little rabbit that didn’t quite make the cut – his owner bred rabbits with particular specifications to bring to shows and Snowy’s ears were about half an inch too long and therefore Snowy was no longer relevant to the owner. I decided to take the plunge and bring him home. I don’t think Snowy and myself had a real relationship going on and as expected my mum ended up cleaning his little rabbit home. A dog is what I wanted but that never happened. My mum however grew up with loads of animals and whilst we didn’t have any pets I knew my mum just felt the exact same as I do now. I remember coming home from school one day to witness my mum running up and down after a couple of ducks in front of the house. She was wearing a trenchcoat and had a broom in one hand whilst chasing the ducks. I stood there looking and laughing thinking ‘what on earth is she up to now?’ She was flapping along the canal with her coat ballooning in the wind and mowing through the air with her broomstick. She told me she was trying to rescue a female duck from 2 male ducks (called ‘drakes’ I just found out – is there no specific name for a female duck?) who were trying to sexually assault the duck. So she believed. The fight against injustice definitely came before image with my mum….

When it comes to using prints, furs or other animal attributes in the interior I try to be fair. There are lovely faux furs around – I have a lot of faux fur throws. I also have the real deal but tend to go for sheepskins – which I know weren’t killed for the skin – or else have cowhides painted with zebra stripes to give the illusion of a real zebra – which of course it is not. I am also not against beautiful taxidermy provided done responsibly and always try to buy those that weren’t killed for the decoration purpose. I know all of this is controversial so make up your own mind. Creating layers are important in interior design and I do think a bit of sheepskin or a faux fur or zebra fake adds that bit of coziness and texture a well designed room needs.

Here are some great pics of faux furs, and the real deal.

Finally, working on the business and Instagramming daily – can’t believe what an instant pleasure!  Go to my Instragram account @magpiehomes to see my daily pics. Great people and like-minded design chums galore!

  

http://www.abigailahern.com

http://www.shoproomideas.com

   

http://www.abigailahern.com

My own pad

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My design book top 3

I can’t remember the last time I finished reading a book, or even got half way or better still just picked one up to start reading ! I have, god knows how many, excuses such as: kids, work, house stuff, school, just plain busy, but in reality I just haven’t allowed myself to do it. If I can find the time – albeit rather late these days – to watch some junk on telly (and I mean total rubbish, no- brainer -stuff, doesn’t -require- you- to think, concentrate -or- even- understand- what’s -going- on – rubbish) then I can find time to read a book. Especially when I am encouraging my kids to read, leave the i-pad and telly and just read; every day for an half hour then shouldn’t I set a good example? Practice what you preach and all that stuff….surely?

So I am not there yet and am not likely to start ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce or  ‘In search of last time’ by Marcel Proust any time soon. However, I have made my more achievable summer book list and am determined to read at least 1 during the holiday and hopefully more during the whole summer.
When it comes to design books- which really can’t be classified as reading material more as “easy to flick through photo scanning material”, I also have my top 3 of current favorites. Great for quick inspiration or else to use as props to create little still lives in your interior. So thought I’d share my current top 3 interior design books.

Top 3 interior design books:

  1. Creative living London – Emily Wheeler, photography: Ingrid Rasmussen
    For dark interiors, bohemian and very moody. I love this look.
  2. Designers at home – Ronda Rice Carman
    For looking at how other designers have decorated their homes. Great for inspiration and brings out a real Peeping Tom in us (well me at least..).
  3. Modern Glamour, the Art of unexpected style – Kelly Wearstler
    For inspiration from the undisputed style Queen of Glam

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My books used as props – quite effective!

Just a final word: The last post I started off by admitting I have so much to learn in the parenting department and how I would love to get that all important bible of parenting (yet to be written I suppose) but today I want to share with you a little conversation I overheard. My 3 kids were having a bit of a debate about things important in life such as dolls, I-pad, food, ice-lollies etc. When they ended their heated debate they had reached the following conclusion; my 2 youngest felt that if they really needed everything they had just discussed then ‘money’ was the key to happiness. Important to stress that my daughters aren’t materialistic at all – when asked what they want for their birthdays I get answers such as: “stickers” and “post-its please”. However my son – overruled their conclusion firmly stating the most important thing isn’t ‘money ‘it is ‘the love and support of your family’.
Gasp. Must be doing something right!

My new love…

Oh please someone get me ‘THE parenting guidelines’ book … please. I am in desperate need. I knew that my skills were always borderline acceptable but now I am seriously doubting myself. I will truly spare you the details ( I know I always say this and always digress into these details) but it is something along the lines of when should you give your son some money to go to the shop alone (in the realization that he is not going to come back with a bag of apples and some all -bran super healthy breakfast bars) and what to do when the friends who went along decided to cause quite some trouble in the shop. Kicking myself that I let him go…I just crumbled under the peer pressure…
Anyway, enough already. I have been working on the website and have therefore not been around again. The problem is that when I post a blog I usually like to take some time to do this (I know it may not seem that way). I love to write the posts but they are too time consuming whilst I am trying to work on my business. However I must also confess that I have been unfaithful and found another love….it’s called ‘Instagram’. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover and it is just so ‘instant’! At this point it is very easy for me to provide some direct insight into my projects or home with only some quick snaps, without having to write something along with them.  And the response has been good. I am not going to abandon this ship and will continue to post but if you want to see some of the pictures please go to my Magpiehomes Instagram account.

For now, here are some of the recent pictures I posted on Instagram.

Have a great weekend!

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My list obsession

I love making lists. When I first met my husband he really had to get used to this list obsession of mine. More often than not he would look at me hoping to find a trace of something that would indicate I was only joking when I asked him for yet another list. Meanwhile his facial expression would read: ‘is she really asking me to do this?’ and yes, of course I was very serious. I make obvious lists such as ‘to do during the week’, ‘what things to see on holiday’. But my favourite lists are the pointless, but very enjoyable, ones. Such as: top 3 favourite restaurants, top 3 most memorable moments on holiday, top 3 ‘last supper request when on death row’, top 3 best hotel room, etc. etc.

I even have my kids in on the game. I overheard my son discussing his top 3 “last supper death row request” which consisted of 1) pizza 2) chicken tortilla 3) bacon and eggs. I used to think that it made sense to put extremely expensive and over indulgent food types, such as lobster and champagne on my list but I think that if you were in that death row situation you would probably favour comfort food and food with special memories over caviar and truffles. I have played this game so often I think I know my husband’s list without asking him yet again: 1) steak and chips 2) a Chinese take away from his home town 3) toast with butter. Mine is currently –  surprisingly enough it changes a bit – 1) some sort of shellfish (crayfish, prawns) with home made chips and mayonnaise 2) brown bread with a mature piece of cheese 3) simple pasta dish (aglio e olio). So you might add in a bit of extravagance but mainly you want comfort and things that probably have a sentimental reason for loving it.

I think interior design works in a similar way. At least my design does. I want a couple of extravagant and design items and then I want to layer up with comfort and coziness. If I had to play my own game of naming my top 3 interior items I would struggle as I need more than 3 items to make a room come to life. My list would consist of the following:

  1. a couple of key design pieces – mainly furniture
  2. colour – my only design rule – dark hues on walls with pops of colour
  3. lighting – essential to create the right atmosphere – pools of light and be generous…
  4. fabric and textures – cushions, throws, rugs. Vary the textures not just with regards to fabric but also with regards to larger items (e.g. furniture) such as wood, concrete and brass ( a sneaky way for me to add in another category: accessories!)

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I realize I didn’t cut it. I need more than 3. Too bad. I can easily add another few items so this will have to do. Finally, I thought I would let you have my latest top 3 list of retail & Highstreet shops I do buy from. I realize that in interior design it is frowned upon to not only have design, one-off items or the haute couture of fabrics but I love to mix and match. Keeps life way more interesting.

  1. http://www.housedoctor.dk – for great lighting
  2. http://www.oka.com – for table lamps and cushions
  3. http://www.zarahome.com – for throws, quilts and quirky little brass accessories

http://www.housedoctor.dk

Interior Design Service - Recent Projects

http://www.oka.com

http://www.zarahome.com

A touch of spring

A lot has happened and a lot is yet to come…. I can’t share all the developments yet but soon enough I will be able to. I realize I have been absent for a while but all for a good reason. When I can, I will bring you the news!

Today I tried to take some photos of the beautiful magnolia and other tree – can’t for the life of me remember the name of the other tree – with pinkish red flowers almost like raspberries ….They are both in the front garden and make for a lovely cottage style feel as the windows frame the soft white and lush pink flowers…

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I love looking at the garden but unfortunately have not taken to the art of gardening. My husband cuts the grass and that’s about as far as our gardening skills go. We fooled each other into believing that once we moved here – from the city with a small patio garden – we would get stuck into gardening and spend our weekends pruning, cropping, weeding and whatever else is necessary but alas…I am hopeful that in time I will find the urge to get stuck in; I just don’t know when that will be. I suppose we are still a bit away from the art of gardening as we took gardening advice – very poor I may add – from our house painter and didn’t think to question it. But then my mother also buys her bread at the butcher’s and gets her ham and sausage rolls from the cheese shop (and these aren’t fancy delicatessen shops). Don’t ask, I am sure the initial decision to do so made sense at the time. And it has to be said the food tastes good. So then who cares. If it’s good, it’s good regardless of the formal name or origin. Same with design. I won’t scare you just yet buy jumping straight into my design philosophy and do’s and don’ts – after being away for a while – but I’ll confidently confess that rules are there to be broken, in particular in interior design.

I have only one rule I can’t depart from and that is – use dark hues on the walls! I would really love you to come over to the dark side however I understand this takes time. So in light of the spring view from my front window I decided to search for a spring colour – in this case green. I looked at all colours of green but as you will note the photographs that truly stuck with me and eventually made it into my post tend to be dark and slushy….and not necessarily vibrant and up beat. I tried but this is what happened…. O well, that’s my thing, I suppose…

Below photos are great for their slushy walls but more importantly for their arty and casual display of what looks like scraps of wallpaper. This combined with great vintage furniture and brass make for a laid back yet refined and glamorous look.

 

Styled by Bree Leech and Heather Nette King for Dulux featuring fragrance by Fleurage – Future Past palette. Photographer: Lisa Cohen

Love the colour of teal on the chair below, combined with clashing emerald – very striking. A drinks trolley is an absolute must and welcoming feature in any room (see my earlier post ” a warm welcome”) – check out this great vintage brass one. I have my eye on a similar one on E-bay.

  

You can never go wrong with sophisticated paneling – more grey than green, I must admit. But have a look at the great lamps and tables and what about the opulent wave of greenery. It wouldn’t survive in my house, but it is nevertheless spectacular.

http://www.room-decorating-ideas.com

Finally, truly glamorous mirrored sideboard, vintage lamps and wall art. Colour on the wall looks very like my own hue – Farrow and Ball – Downpipe. Love!

http://www.wohn-designtrend.de

Cheap sophistication

I don’t think I am a mean person…  Mean as in niggardly, penny-pinching, close-fisted. I have no problem in splashing out on expensive dinners, face creams, presents for those I love , must-have design items, but I am a miser when it comes to certain things.

I absolutely detest having to pay for bags in shops. I will go out of my way if I can avoid a short taxi journey (granted I have no great experience with Amsterdam taxi drivers- they are rude, will take longer routes and overcharge you with a big smile) and unless it is bucketing down, I prefer to walk. I hate having to pay for a bottle of water in a restaurant and to be told “we don’t have tap water ” …in a restaurant really? I am also very susceptible to buying more than I need, if by doing so I can avoid delivery charges for online purchases. I drive myself crazy browsing an online shop just to find extra items to make up the amount which is needed to get that desirable ‘free delivery’ at the check out.
I like to think I am not alone in this crusade to avoid ridiculous or unnecessary charges.

When it comes to design it’s a whole different ball game for me. I will spend what I can afford at the time – even if the item might not justify the quoted price. But I must say I am a bit awkward when it comes to styling an interior as I also like to add fairly cheap High street items and flea market finds. It makes an interior far more interesting to mix and match, to be individualistic and not to purchase everything from high end designers, or brands. I have been a bit snobby about one particular store which – I have to admit – hasn’t always been fair. The brand I am talking about is Ikea.When done with style and sophistication this brand can help tie everything together or add a bit of quirkiness to an interior. The key is to “make it your own” – preferably do a make over of the item – or if not possible place the item in an unlikely interior.  Below pictures are of interiors which have used an item from Ikea and have done it with style!

Have a look at below pictures and see if you can tell which items are the Ikea ones.

Photo 1:

http://www.scmp.com

Photo 2:

http://www.pinterest.com

Photo 3 & photo 4:

    

http://www.designsponge.com                                        Happy Mundane

Photo 5:

http://www.quintessenceblog.com

Photo 6:

http://www.bayfeed.com

So here are the answers, did you get them all?

Photo 1:
The fabulous emerald green sofas are the Ikea items. Teamed with pops of pink, colourful artwork and great accessories. A very inspiring room.

Photo 2:
The stylish interior with some vintage, art deco and antique items – looks chic and sophisticated. The Ikea rug ties everything together.

Photo 3:
The dark interior is lifted by some fun accessories, one of which is the white wire basket from Ikea!

Photo 4:
The bedside table has had a fabulous make over and painted in bright pink. A great example of “making the Ikea bedside table your own”!

Photo 5:
A more classic but beautifully styled interior. It is therefore quite surprising to know the rug is from Ikea!

Photo 6:
Powdery pinks and gold tones make for a striking interior. A simple sofa dressed with more exclusive cushions. In this photograph the sofa is from Ikea!

Cheap sophistication can work!