All the right ingredients….

I was determined to have a great night out and … it was….However this wasn’t all due to the restaurant experience.

We started off badly as the babysitter was late (not her fault, traffic…) and as a result we couldn’t park where we had hoped and ended up walking a bit; being about 30 minutes late. The restaurant was very relaxed about everything and that helped. I had picked this restaurant because it was a guaranteed great food experience – Michelin star – but with a relaxed atmosphere. I love great food, good service, but am not often in the mood for the overly exaggerated “white clove”  service experience. This restaurant was known for good food, but the atmosphere was informal. I still needed to convince my husband it was going to be a good experience;  as we walked the rather long walk from car to restaurant he asked me the dreaded ‘fine dining’ question: ‘do you think we will still be hungry afterwards’? The fact that it wasn’t really a Michelin star restaurant as we know it – helped him get over his fear of being left hungry.

And now for the overall experience (and to cut a very long story short): the food was great but the service let a lot to be desired. It was an accumulation of things that went wrong or made me cringe (attitude, mistakes, long wait, and some really incompetent and frankly ridiculous moments). We did have a good night but only because we decided to laugh it all off. Sometimes things are so painfully wrong that even if you point out every single error (to prevent it from happening again) you are actually not going to save the night…And so we chuckled our way through the evening, laughing off the mistakes and uncomfortable moments. This is quite an achievement coming from me, believe me. I suppose if I wasn’t determined to have a good night, I probably would have pointed everything out. But you know that telling someone what they are doing wrong isn’t going to increase your own ‘enjoyment factor.’ Here’s my – rather obvious – point to the story; you can have all the right ingredients (in this case literally!!)  but if you miss out something that’s quite crucial to the experience you still don’t get the perfect result.

This is true in design too. You can have the perfect space, all the right design classics, and colours on walls, if you don’t have the crucial uplifting elements to tie everything together the room will stool look, bland, not exciting and boring.

To me the elements that need to accompany the key ingredients are:

  1. Lighting
  2. Cushions
  3. Fabrics

Lighting

I could actually have this as my number 1, 2 and 3 it is that important. Lighting is so so very crucial to the atmosphere of a room. You need enough and you need soft tones. You need little pools of light scattered across the room. Never one big source of light and preferably lamp shades with soft color insides like gold and amber.

http://www.designbuildideas.eu

Cushions

I can’t get enough of them! Please have look at one of my older posts:  ‘Quick mood enhancers’ https://magpiehomes.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/quick-mood-enhancers/

Cushions provide that bit of elegance and drama (you can achieve all depending on which types of cushions you aim for)  but at the same time that comfy, squishy feel a room needs.

   

http://www.simonbevan.co.uk

Fabrics

A room needs textures & patterns by means of curtains (lush velvet provides that bit of luxury) or throws, rugs and faux furs to create that cozy, ‘curl up on the sofa’ feel. Take a look below at the rug, furs and rather friendly hairy monster!

http://www.abigailahern.com

Feeling blue?

As soon as it’s clear that summer has truly left us, my family tries to skip Autumn and move straight into Christmas. I haven’t determined the exact trigger but it’s a fact: the Christmas feeling starts to emerge. I am also not quite sure whether it’s my husband’s idea or my son’s but it’s definitely a boys thing around here. Last Saturday I woke up to the sound of “Jingle Bells” being chanted overly excited. Only to come down and find everyone had drawn up their Christmas wishlist and my husband posing the question: “where shall we spend Christmas this year?” I guess I was lucky that nobody had gone up to the attic to find the Christmas lights and decorations and my husband wasn’t doing a pre-Christmas “dress rehearsel” stuffing a Turkey and marinading something or other….(my husband believes in marinading (a lot of) things). For now we have agreed that we will also work with Autumn and try to leave Christmas for at least another month! This will be hard but the reward will be an extra something at Christmas – my parenting skills haven’t improved yet, I fear.

Autumn is a very deserving season which shouldn’t be forgotten. And there is no escaping from it now…autumn is here to stay. Some get really down and wish for hotter and dryer days, others welcome the new season with the changing colours of the trees, the brisk walks, and the opportunity to spice up your room and move into autumn mode. I personally love to throw around the faux furs, light the fire and candles and curl up with a good glas of red. The colours I generally try to focus on are the ones resembling the outdoors, so amber, gold, orange, brown. I get out the tealights and even some pre Christmas trinkets; the ones that actually aren’t too festive, I may add – so no red and green but warm and soft colours. Just like the little assignment I did with my son: ” trying to create that autumn feeling”:

IMG_0027   

Whilst I love the season and welcome all the little things it brings I also appreciate that some people dread it. Some really have difficulty moving from hot to cold and wet. I also know that it can have a real impact on some people’s mood. It can affect their everyday life. I am not going to help or try to cure that but as I was browsing the web I found some pictures I really loved and I noticed a trend. The rooms I loved were blue. In particular the sofas were predominantly made from lush blue velvet and in some cases the walls were painted in a beautiful blue lacquer. The sofas are all very different in below pictures but all give that regal, lush and luxury feel. I also have a petrol blue velvet sofa in my living room and am now seriously considering doing something with a bit of lacquer on the walls. I just will need to convince some people here. In the mood? Or feeling blue? These beautiful blue rooms definitely put a smile on my face.

http://www.stylecarrot.com

http://www.stylecarrot.com

http://www.housebeautiful.com

http://www.proyectovhila.com

http://www.homeblog.link

In or out? Trend or staple?

Love this controversy. In or out? In quite a lot of design magazines 2015 is the year ‘to get rid of your Chevron pattern’.

In case you didn’t know already: A chevron is a V-shaped pattern. The word is usually used in reference to a kind of fret in architecture or to a badge or insignia used in military or police uniforms to indicate rank or length of service, or in heraldry and the designs of flags.

I am not one to follow trends at the best of times…but even less so if I am told to abandon something I happen to be quite fond of. If you have the odd cushion maybe, but if you have a rug that cost you a bit is one then supposed to get rid of the thing altogether and bring it back a couple of decades from now? Don’t forget this era didn’t come up with the chevron pattern; this has been around for a long time and had it’s great moment in the 70’s but has been found in early art including designs on pottery and rock carvings. Examples can be found approximately 1800 BC in archaeological recovery of pottery designs from the palace of Knossos in Crete, Greece.

Although I am not into trends I am still keen to find out whether the chevron-thing is actually a passing trend or a design staple here to stay. I think the answer is probably both. You see it quite a lot, and everyone and their mother has used the pattern somewhere. Therefore it probably is a trend and for a large group it will pass. However it has been around for so long and will be here to stay for much longer if you ask me. If done carefully it is great. Remember Missoni, founded in 1953, they reached the apex of influence in the fashion world in the early seventies? Subsequently they launched their extremely successful interior design range which is still going strong.

Just be mindful to do things in moderation. If you like a particular song you will want to hear it a lot, if you hear it too often you will go off it. If you have finally found a dinner with vegetables your kids are happy to eat then don’t overdo it (like I did) as they will turn on it (and you!) and you will have to find something new to entice them to eat their greens.

I read in one particular article that apart from abolishing chevron, you should get rid of faux fur as well as ‘non personal’ interiors – so tell me when have the later ever been hip and happening? I am not trying to be difficult here but …really? I believe the pattern has this vintage look and feel and can create a sense of depth and drama. I am of the opinion it has to be done carefully and if you are really trying to create a vintage feel then go for the real deal – that is real vintage furniture and upholstery and don’t rely on a pattern to do that for you. But if you like it, keep it or get it. I don’t follow trends when it comes to design. I have told you before: break the design rules.

For now, I won’t be parting with my chevron dining room rug.

Have a look and make up your own mind about chevron: I love the pattern and believe it works particularly well in rugs. Cushions are good too and – as mentioned before – a lot easier to change around if you believe chevron isn’t here to stay!

WP_20150518_001     WP_20150521_002

http://www.cbsnews.com

http://www.maryons.com.au

http://www.decorpad.com

http://www.mortgage.com.au

http://www.minimalisti.com

Fruity

I have always felt that honesty was the best policy. I therefore try to raise my kids with the idea it is better to come clean and own up if you are in trouble than pretend nothing happened. This has worked and I have always been proud of how my kids took to this honesty principle. The reward for them being honest was (and is) no punishment – but of course all within reasonable boundaries (no new age parenting for me!) Now that they are getting bigger (they are still young though) social awareness and what’s socially acceptable comes into play. Thankfully I am no longer constantly put into embarrassing positions because of my kids’ brutally honest & loudly expressed observations such as ” what is wrong with that man’s face?” or  ” that woman’s nose looks like a strawberry”. I don’t think for a minute these embarrassing moments were due to my honesty policy but that this was all to do with the inherent characteristics of being “a child”. I am sure, to many, very recognizable.  The honesty principle however, is still standing strong in my house, but fortunately now with a little shield of social awareness. Since I was the initiator of the honesty principle I am also the main receiver of pure ‘honesty’ or in other words ‘naked truth’. This is great when honesty suits the educational parenting moment but not so great if it is merely unsolicited feedback. ” Mummy that lipstick makes you look weird”. ” In those trousers you look like you are going to work in the circus.” I can only hope that – as a victim of my own success – at some point things will balance out and honesty will truly serve it’s purpose…

This is why I love to blog. I can be truthful and honest. I can say what I like about interiors and as I am not getting personal (other than about myself and my family) I am (hopefully) not offending anybody.

I love

  • Eclectic – mixing and matching (design classics with vintage, art deco, antiques & contemporary)
  • Glamour and Hollywood Regency – gold, and pops of colour, palm designs, & pineapples
  • Dark and moody colour schemes

I hate

  • White on white interiors
  • Over-designed interiors
  • Interiors without personality

Besides my love of palms, see my previous post, I have a love of pineapples. To me they stand for a bit of Hollywood Regency, glam and fun. I like them as lamp bases, as ice cube holders on drinks trolley and just as decorative pieces. Think I have lost it? Take a look.


photography: http://www.freshome.com
      
photography: http://www.pinterest.com

IMG_0016         IMG_0009(1)

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

photography: http://www.pixersize.com

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

A leafy affair

I believe you shouldn’t settle for mediocrity. In design and more importantly in life. You get one life. So make the most of it. Always easier said than done…I realize. If you aren’t getting from life what you had hoped for there are always dreams.

Dream

* A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep
*A state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings
Synonyms:

*A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal
* An unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy

A cherished aspiration, ambition or ideal is the appropriate definition here. Please hang on to your dream and try to achieve your ambition or ideal. Sometimes this will require you to turn a different corner, to go against the grain and stray from the path you had planned to take.

Your dreams probably will change as you grow older, yet some may never.
I like to think that my son’s dream of living in a chocolate Transylvanian castle and my youngest daughter’s one of having a hairy dog will both pass….
The first will simply pass – or else I need to see someone about my son. The second dream is a lot more achievable, I realize but please not now! Apparently it is a lot more difficult  – and a logistical nightmare –  to manage a dog. And hairy? I think we have enough tasks to get us through the day for now.

My own long term dream is personal.
But my little day dreams I am happy to share. My current day dream and flavour of the month – or actually year – has been to have a room or at least a wall covered in a leafy palm tree design. I have had my eye on the Cole & Son green with dark blue background (Cole & Son Palm Jungle 95 -1003) for over a year now and it’s not passing.  I have also been eyeing up the gold palm leaves for a different room and can’t decide (Cole & Son Palm Leaves 66-2014). So perhaps it’s clear that at least one of the palm leave designs is here to stay. Better get used to it.

 Palm leaves on wallpaper – I love.

It oozes that Hollywood Regency, glamour I adore.

Below main wallpaper companies are:
Hinson & company http://www.hinsonco.com
Cole & Son http://www.cole-and-son.com

Banana Leaf Wallpaper

Palm Leaf Wallpaper
Wallpaper: Hinson’s Martinique in Green photography: Elle Decor

Palm Wallpaper
Photography: Sarah Sarna

Palm Leaf Wallpaper

Wallpaper Cole & Son  Photography via http://www.finelittleday.com

Palm Leaf Wallpaper

Wallpaper: Cole & Son photography: http://www.Ansonsmart.com via http://www.Stylemepretty.com
Above wallpaper is one of my options I want to give a go!

Palm Leaf Wallpaper
Wallpaper: Cole & Son Photograpy: http://www.ishiandchi.com

    http://www.cole-and-son.com
My other option above!


photography: http://www.obly.com

This room is – to me – near perfect.

The art of displaying ART

A song, piece of music, sculpture or painting can really move me.

I had just come from a successful meeting. The sun was out. And as I walked back I heard this beautiful tune being whistled behind me. I turned round to compliment the artist and as I did just that I saw this disheveled looking man – with messy beard and scruffy clothes – who clearly looked shocked, shocked by my words. He looked at me for a short while and after about twenty seconds he realized that I was being truthful and not trying to be funny with him. He smiled and as he passed me on his bike he shouted: “my whistle is not for sale!” To which I reacted: ” you’re dead right!”. It hadn’t affected my good mood. The meeting, the sun and the tune kept me smiling but for a split second I was sad, sad to realize that the man was surprised and shocked by my compliment.

I was moved and that is what I believe art is meant to do. Whether it should meet specific criteria in order for anything to be classified as art – probably…But that doesn’t always matter, to me anyway. It shouldn’t change the emotion.

The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy. In addition, the philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has been debated.

This is the dictionary definition of ART:

1.* The conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful, as in the arrangement of forms, sounds, or words.
* Such activity in the visual or plastic arts:
* Products of this activity; imaginative works considered as a group
2. A field or category of art, such as music, ballet, or literature.
3. A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.
4. A skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of negotiation

In interior design the main and common forms of art are probably – wall art, painting, photography, sculpture etc. For today I will restrict myself to displaying wall art: paintings and photography mainly.
In my book there are two main ways of displaying wall art.

  1. The artwork is larger than life and deserves to be hung by itself on a prominent place on the wall
  2. The artwork is smaller in size and can be complimented by other artwork without losing it’s meaning or reason for existence. In this case the artwork should be randomly hung together without too much orchestrated structure.

Before I show you some examples of each type, I just wanted to make the point that I am not going to suggest any artists for you to go search and potentially purchase something from. Art is so so personal and no matter what style you might favour, be it; eclectic, bohemian, classic, Hollywood Regency, Glam etc etc art will work in every style but only if you love it. One rule don’t colour coordinate your art to your colour scheme or furnishings and if you have to think too long about whether you really like it then move on. You don’t love it enough.

Here are some examples of both types of wall art.

Large and impressive:

    

http://www.tilemountain.co.uk

   

http://www.pinterest.com                              http://www.elle.be

Various sizes combined and carefully grouped together:

photography: http://www.papercitymag.com

photography: http://www.livingthecuriouslife.com

    WP_20150215_006

http://www.pinterest.com                            My own pad

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

And finally a quirky, but really spectacular, piece of wall art!

photography: http://www.mulberryinteriordesign.ca