Go green

OK so here’s my dilemma: should I share with you what’s on my mind and going on in my life or should I just mainly focus on what this blog is meant to do – that is: share with you my design thoughts, loves, hates and ideas? Since this is my blog, I pretty much feel I can do what I like but that’s not easy, believe me. I want to provide a bit of what’s going on in my life, only so you realize there’s a person behind all of the facade, glam and glitzy interiors I share with you but at the same time – regardless of my views on life or my daily issues – I realize that I shouldn’t turn this into a political debate nor do I have the ambition for it to become this!

I have therefore decided that today I will not go into too much detail about our recent family debate –  that is with my kids and husband – about what average families can (or perhaps ‘should’) do to help the refugees trying to enter Europe currently in search of a safer life. All I will say is that my kids offered to give up favourite toys to give to less fortunate refugee kids – and I know that my kids are no exception. If only we could grow up but remain genuine – like a child – without inhibitions and with pure intentions.
I digress I realize. And I am probably also not getting you all excited about interiors at the moment. But let’s try anyway….

Here are some pictures guaranteed to cheer me up!
Let me begin with moody – that always cheers me up! Love the inky walls, the skull picture on wall and quirky rabbit lamp.

Let’s quickly move on to another thing that cheers me up; my favourite colour: green. Even better is moody plus GREEN. I just love dark with pops of green.

Perhaps I will do a mini series of my colour ‘loves and hates’ in interiors. Come to think of it; I don’t really really dislike a particular colour in interiors, it’s all about the colour combinations and patterns that make some colour pops work really well and others not at all.

I have always loved green. Green the colour of emeralds, grass, wine bottles and olives.

Green:
The hue of that portion of the visible spectrum lying between yellow and blue, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 490 to 570 nanometers; any of a group of colors that may vary in lightness and saturation and whose hue is that of the emerald or somewhat less yellow than that of growing grass; one of the additive or light primaries; one of the psychological primary hues.

My granny used to have all sorts of explanations for people who liked certain colours. Blue was for the rich. Red for the weird. I just can’t remember what she thought of green…..Perhaps that’s just as well.

Below picture is an all time favourite of mine. From the ‘must- have’ book: Creative Living London, Emily Wheeler and photography by Ingrid Rasmussen. The walls in combination with that fab emerald green chair – love it.


Photography: Ingrid Rasmussen

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My own green colour pops – combined with petrol and gold.


Photography: http://www.thechicybeast.com

Blue and green – perfect combinations. Great Murano green glass lamp, blue walls and sofa with pops of green. Spectacular art work.


Photography TM Magazine

Slushy dark pond walls with an eclectic mix of furniture. Love.


Photography: http://www.brit.co

Perfect green paneling. Pops of zesty lemon piping, radiator and flowers. A great way to make a statement.


Photography: http://www.rughdesign.com

White walls, great artwork, pink chairs and beautiful velvet green sofa. Colour combos’ working well!


Photography: http://www.candyshopvintage.com

Pink and green – work a treat! Really hollywood glam floor and brass accents. Pop out pink lamp shades. Beautiful green leafy wallpaper and gorgeous green sofa. Glam and glitzy.

Try going green!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Magpiehomes.com

Design inspiration – my top 5

You know your weekends will be taken over by your kids’ activities at some point… And whilst I was prepared, sort of, it still took me by surprise that all we did was ferry the kids around with little time to ourselves. In between ballet (x2), swimming lessons (x2) and grocery shopping my son also reminded me that I was an OK mum yet not perfect… His sports shoes no longer fit him, yet he had not bothered to let me know. It was my job to discover this! To add to my embarrassment his teacher also gently reminded me that ‘boys grow all the time’ and my little boy was no longer able to ‘squeeze his feet into his sports shoes’ (which were not 1 but 2 sizes too small). Am I really the only mum that gets these things wrong or am I not alone?

So my weekend started on “little Friday” as my husband lovingly calls my excuse to have a drink a day before the weekend has actually started (that is on Thursday!). The weather was glum, kids very testing, my head cold hadn’t disappeared yet so a little bit earlier than usual I found myself gasping for a glass and confirmed triumphantly my ‘ wine o’clock – hour’ had arrived. With a glass of red in hand my mood started to lift and the issues of the day started to fade into the background.

I am aware to be aware….. but particularly with the weather being as poorly as it has been; I find myself throwing the faux furs around, lighting candles and fireplaces – and I strongly feel a glass just fits the picture…. I actually don’t have an issue with the weather now changing from summer to autumn. We have had to get used to bad weather on and off over the past few weeks now, so let’s just agree to be done with the summer and move on to autumn. Let’s go for long walks on the beach, and through dunes and come home to hot chocolate or something a wee bit stronger. Let’s curl up on sofa’s with blankets and throws and start reading again….

No surprise that I love to read design books and magazines, but also other design blogs and websites provide useful and exciting information. I read the various blogs and sites for different reasons, some have truly influenced me others are useful go-to places for tips or ideas. I thought I’d share with you my top 5 list of favourite interior design blogs and sites for the moment…. I have more but let’s start here:

Abigail Ahern

Abigail Ahern has been very influential in my designs. With great feeling for colour & textures she creates fabulous masculine and moody interiors. If you weren’t convinced by my love for DARK colours perhaps she will be do just that for you! Whilst my love for ‘the dark side of life’ has been around long before I discovered Abigail Ahern some of her design ideas are quirky and new and inspiring and always very close to my own design philosophy. This is why I haven’t read her blog for a while only because I don’t want her ideas to find their way – unconsciously  – into my world of ideas whilst I am getting into this blogging adventure! But I know this will not last…Her love of dark, textures, moody interiors coupled with her philosophy that ‘money can’t buy you style ‘ makes her to be the only one designer I would happily let loose in one of my rooms. That is saying something coming from me! I am – as stated before – a huge fan of Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler and Jean Louis Deniot but Abigail Ahern just knows how to make a room interesting and exciting yet  truly homely and cozy at the same time!
http://www.blog.abigailahern.com

photography: http://www.abigailahern.com

Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy is a lifestyle and interior design community sharing design lessons, DIY how-tos, shopping guides and expert advice for creating a happy, beautiful home.
A wealth of design information and inspiration. Great for tips and top 10 lists – I love lists.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com

Savvy Home
Savvy Home Blog, founded by Gabrielle Savoie, is an online decor destination providing inspiration, shopping and decor services to other avid decorators. Great house tours and information on where to purchase featured items. Lovely photographs, great sales and personal writing.
http://www.savvyhomeblog.com

Peak of Chic
A blog by Jennifer Boles mainly oriented towards grand homes, antiques and stately homes. Her passion and eye for detail make it a pleasure to read and her blog captures all you need to know about chic interiors. A true treasure trove of inspiration for all things of the past.
http://thepeakofchic.blogspot.com

The Interiorator
Created by a Dutch stylist, Patrick Kooiman, with a very international view of design. He likes to throw in the glam and extraordinary and is a world of inspiration where it comes to all things pretty…..
http://www.interiorator.com

Jan des Bouvrie at Salon Residence

Enjoy the read!

Be controversial, if that’s what you happen to be…

Who cares what other people think? If only …..

The other day I found myself in the supermarket making excuses to the woman behind me at the check out, who happened to be one of the school mums, for some of the stuff I was about to purchase. Who really cares – did she? I felt my shopping load had a bit of a high sugar and fat content and thus felt obliged to make up some excuse that we had some sort of kids party coming up the weekend, so that she would realise that this content wasn’t part of my usual weekly shopping. The minute I said it, I regretted it. Fact is we didn’t have a kids party, the actual level of badness wasn’t that bad (I have seen a lot worse) and I am not that kind of person who lies or even supports the principle of keeping up appearances. I am honest and proud and most of all think I don’t care too much about what others think. Here was the proof I am none of the above.

And do I care about other people’s shopping trolleys? I don’t. Do I look in them? Yes probably. But mainly out of curiosity, what will they be having for dinner and have they got some things in their trolley I might have forgotten? I don’t think much about it and definitely don’t judge people on the content of their trolley. So why expect that I will be judged? It’s beyond me. It’s that bit of “prim and properness” I always tried to fight and now I find myself being part of that controlling petty minded society! Note to oneself: “try not to bother about what others think!!”

When it comes to design I am happily controversial, non standard and most of all don’t care what outsiders think of my design! Thankfully I haven’t lost every bit of my rebel streak yet!

  • I went dark – when everyone was telling me: please don’t do it
  • I got myself some beautiful taxidermy objects…..when I realize for some this is controversial (As long as all is done in accordance to the highest taxidermy standards then all that remains is a matter of taste…I believe anyway)
  • I added the glam and bling when most were looking for more humble and restrained interiors

Dark and moody…..

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A taxidermy feast….

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http://www.etsy.com/shop/Magpiehomes

My bit of gold and glam…  

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photography: http://www.simonbevan.co.uk

Here are some other controversial but, in my view, fabulous interiors. From taxidermy to gold and glitzy:

photography: http://www.designindulgences.com

photography: http://www.madaboutthehouse.com

Below is the politically correct version – resin antlers…

photography: http://www.interiorsbystudio.com

http://www.simonbevan.co.uk

Moving on from taxidermy to glam and gold:

photography: http://www.shelterness.com

photography: http://www.sapelgold.com

 

http://www.pinterest.com

http://www.interiorsonline.com.au

Again, note to oneself: “try not to bother about what others think!!”

Glitz, glam and Hollywood Regency

Beauty is only skin-deep. No news here. There are people suffering in many parts of the world yet I feel the need to write about interior design. Terribly irrelevant. Terribly vain. Just let it be said, I am aware. I know I am not saving lives but then only a few really are…. Life is cruel to some and yet we go on with our daily affairs. And so will I. Albeit reluctantly today.

Beauty is only skin-deep as said, yet sometimes I do want to feel beautiful and I want it without any effort. I don’t want to have to slap on the make-up or wear those killer heels that I know are going to give me a back ache for the rest of the week. I want to feel pretty – and I have no deluded ideas about what’s achievable – of course I don’t mean model like, I mean making the most of the assets God and/or genetics gave me. My mum taught me this little trick and it used to work for me. She used to tell me: If you don’t feel pretty and you are a bit low put on, or better even, go buy great underwear….preferably a bit extravagant and lacy. Sorry mum… anyone who knows my mum will not recognize her in this advice (Scottish, prudish upbringing etc). I think she will probably be a bit embarrassed yet I believe it was one of her better parenting tips!  I felt great yet nobody could see my underwear but because I felt good others thought I looked good too.  So although it’s about feeling pretty, it’s not about those heels or makeup and dress. You get it? It isn’t always about what you see, sometimes it’s about what you don’t.

In interior design things are no different. Of course it’s all about the exterior about the glamour, the textures, the sophistication of the combinations (read: superficiality of it all!) yet it is possible to feel extremely happy with an interior without it being obvious to others (or even designers) what makes a particular composition so special to you – be it the work it took to get it right, the value to you, the personal attachment, that specific memory etc. etc.

When I think of beautiful and pretty interiors, my latest personal favourite that has kept me intrigued for quite a while now is the Hollywood Regency style. I thought it might pass but it’s still very much there.

The Hollywood Regency style started in the 1930’s when the golden age of film was booming, and designers like William Haines and Dorothy Draper were encouraging to decorate with lots of glitz and bags of glamour. Today current designers like Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler are very much inspired by the Hollywood Regency style.

The Hollywood Regency style can be characterized by ‘luxury’, ‘opulence ‘ and ‘a bit over-the-top’ which translates into the following elements:

  • Colour – gold, pale pink, black and white and red
  • Fabrics & textures – luxury fabrics and textures such as velvet, metals, brass, glass and crystal
  • Fantasy – always the addition of some fun fantasy elements such as animal prints, or palm leaf and bamboo decorations
  • Lacquer – everything needed to be glitzy and glam so furniture was bright, glossy and lacquered
  • Details – accessories are very important

Here are some photo examples of the Hollywood Regency style.

Pale pink, animals, mirrors and gold – over the top – love it!

Great lacquering and glossy bamboo chairs – I have had my eye on similar ones for a while!

 

photography: Jonathan Adler

I trust below pics exude the Hollywood Regency style enough for you to get the picture, so without further ado check them out!

Black Hollywood Regency Photos (63 of 86) - Lonny

Photography: http://www.lonny.com

photography: http://www.decortoadore.net

photography: http://www.decortoadore.net

A personal favourite of mine; the floral/palm tree lamp.

And the mirrored cabinet – nice and glam!

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http://www.etsy.com/shop/Magpiehomes

Everyone has a different coping mechanism for dealing with everyday stuff or even the more fundamental life events, mine happens to be a bit of Hollywood Regency, for the moment at least….

Size matters

My first purchase on eBay made me the laughing stock of my family. It is now – thankfully – quite some years back but I made a beginners mistake in only looking at the picture and not at the actual measurements. This left me bidding for what I thought was a regular size vase but ended up being a miniature vase fit for a dolls house! Because of my oversight (read: stupidity) I also ended up paying a ridiculous price. So no bargain and no vase to hold my flowers…. I made that mistake once but never again. I believe buying online is great and nowadays, with a lot of buyers protection, it is a pretty safe place and gives you access to interesting items worldwide you would normally never ever get to consider. There are still risks attached but if you want an interesting, non standard, and exciting interior you will have to go further afield, I’m afraid! I source my items from a mixture of different shops and styles, vintage, design, High street etc. Some day I will share with you some of my favourite online second hand and vintage shops/dealers etc. Buying online is exciting and a lot safer than it used to be, in particular if you are looking at purchasing from well known sites such as Ebay, Etsy and 1stdibs, but there are still a few pitfalls. From my personal experience here are some buyer’s tips:

  1. Check out the measurements of the item you are looking to purchase. If not indicated; ask the dealer
  2. Ask the dealer/seller about damages – perhaps not visible on the photographs
  3. Ask the dealer/seller about the age of the object – sometimes an item might say ‘art deco style’. This will probably mean something is made to look like an art deco item but is actually not from that exact period. This is fine if you just love the item and are not interested in the exact period but make sure then not to overpay. If you are like me, you want something that looks like a particular style period to actually be from that period!
  4. Just keep your wits about you; if something doesn’t feel right or feels too good to be true – it probably is!

Size did matter then and it does still today. In interiors I believe a room should always have a big style statement and the statement is even more effective if you scale up and make an over-sized statement. In my ideal world we would all be using over-sized chandeliers, art work and quirky style statements but I realize that is not always possible. A large (and I mean really large) plant pot can equally be that over-sized statement a room is in need of. As is a ridiculously large photograph. The size gives that sense of drama that makes a room sophisticated and intriguing all at the same time.

Below some great examples of where size matters;

The large wall decoration has that great wow factor!


Photography: Plastolux
Below the vintage lamp but particularly that very long art work creates that scale statement.


Photography: Tori Golub design

A ridiculously large photograph against that dark wall truly provides a sense of drama!


Photography: http://www.Holzmaninteriors.com

The colour combination of the blue and green coupled with that chair with disproportionate high back provides that quirky style statement.


Photography: Pinterest

Vintage furniture; great in itself and even more striking if up-scaled!


Photography: http://www.artdecorationdesign.com

One of my all time favourites; a Jonathan Adler room with over-sized chandelier. Everything just works!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/magpiehomes