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:

Photo 2:

Photo 3 & photo 4:                                        Happy Mundane

Photo 5:

Photo 6:

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!



Little make over

I had a bit of a squabble with my son this morning. These things happen; nothing too serious. But he ended up being very upset and leaving for school in a bit of a state. I hate seeing him like this and didn’t want his day to start off so badly so decided – once I dropped in my girls – to go to his class, see if he was alright and give him a big ‘have a nice day hug’ (kisses are out sadly). As I peeked through the window I could see that he was still rather upset. Class hadn’t started yet and kids were walking in and out, parents were dropping kids off and the teacher was not quite ready to start his class. A mother asked me what was wrong with my son and I told her briefly what had happened. I quickly rushed passed kids, parents and teachers to reach my son. As he saw me approach he hung his head and was clearly not ready to be friends. As the adult here I walked over gave him a hug and told him to forget about our squabble and wished him a good day. For the record I was absolutely right and he wasn’t but as said…..I am the adult here so I am desperately trying to act like one…. As we said our goodbyes my son managed to point out that I shouldn’t be telling everyone the details of our fight – which I understood and hadn’t (with exception of the teacher and a mother who 1) I believed needed to know that nothing too serious was going on and 2) totally gets it and to be fair this was before his demand not to tell…. However the point to this trivial story is that when I left my son I found myself being cornered by 6 kids. They each gave me a look varying from total horror, abomination, outrage, disdain and anything in between. A few things became clear. It was okay to speak about the event – as long as he did it. But more importantly, it became clear that kids are able to demonstrate a true feeling of loyalty …wholeheartedly. At first I was taken back but then it made me smile. I smiled at the idea that kids – without knowing both sides to the story – could demonstrate such loyalty. Jumping to my son’s defense and standing up against an adult because they felt it was the right thing to do.
I suppose, thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who encouraged “to try to stay true to your beliefs and show loyalty to those you care about….”

Moving on a bit more lightheartedly, really do try to stay true to what you believe in. If everyone is saying go white but you feel dark is your colour then don’t go white. If design experts tell you not to mix and match styles then don’t listen and particularly don’t follow trends. Stay individualistic.

For today, no big transformations but thought I’d share with you a mini make over. I got these lovely brass tables and hadn’t figured out yet where to put or how to style them. Logical thing would have been to have them either side of a sofa, chair or bed.  I decided to use them to glam up a little alcove. The starting point were my brass tables but the colour and tone demanded a change of accessories too and… a bit of change never hurts. It spices things up and you can easily change back if you feel like it or if the season is right! I kept my Thonet leather chairs and the fur rugs. The blues and greens of the vases and bottles – although great with the wooden table, didn’t work with the brass. The amber lights and books, dressed the tables nicely (note tables aren’t exactly side by side). The brass palm Maison Jansen style lamp just fits perfectly on my 70’s mirrored cube and finishes the style off. Let me know what you think.

Brass tables:









January blues and dramatic interiors

It’s certainly been a while…

Where to begin.

I can’t really say it was life shattering or completely devastating and it definitely didn’t justify an absence from my blog for the length of time it did. But it did.

It was really heart warming to receive so many concerned messages as to why I hadn’t posted anything for a while… All I can say is that sometimes things just go ‘a wee bit wrong ‘ all at once and with 3 kids being sick (non-stop)  I ended up becoming a nurse and a patient myself for 6 weeks. I am not good at either of those. I will spare you the details but with some other challenges to manage, the bolts of the cart came off and normal life (whatever that may be!) got severely disrupted.

With the new year just here I want to focus on better and more inspirational times. Like most of us I think of booking a holiday to recover from the Christmas break and get over the January blues. I will do just that, however when I think of a break now I think of super hot which of course, requires flying. Immediately I have images of my worst nightmare experience of flying to a hot country with my kids. I recall one incident in particular where on our return from the break my youngest daughter just didn’t feel like being in the hot airport. I can’t blame her really, but she got so upset she ran off about 15 times with either my husband or myself running after her. Her final escape attempt ended with her screaming  and shouting at the top of her voice “Please mummy don’t hurt me, not again” and me breaking down into tears as I was convinced all the people who gave me disapproving looks were going to call Child Care Protection officials on me. It goes without saying (just in case you were wondering) that I hadn’t hurt my daughter but she had gotten so fed up with it all this was her way of punishing me. I am glad to say this was just an incident – then why do I think of this and not of the other great, pleasant moments? Am I – the glass is half empty- type? Perhaps, perhaps…
Anyway moving on to the new year; like many others I have some new years resolutions but honestly my goals are either too ridiculous to even attempt or so obvious that they are not worth mentioning for fear of being called boring. Hate me or love me but please don’t call me boring.

So this year will be packed with exciting new ventures such as home make over’s, new websites to launch, product designs to complete, webshops to take off etc etc. I plan to continue the blogging and hope to increase my audience.
Given the fact I need to ease back into this I shall take baby steps with the blog for today and not try to convey all of my ideas, plans, hopes and dreams…..On the topic of dreams I couldn’t pass this opportunity to mention one of my favourite lyrics of a true style icon, artist and of course, musician:

An occasional dream – David Bowie:

“I recall how we lived
On the corner of a bed
And we’d speak of a Swedish room
Of hessian and wood
And we’d talk with our eyes
Of the sweetness in our lives
And tomorrows of rich surprise
Some things we could do.”

How to move on from that…..I will try.
Due to my absence from the blog I couldn’t quite figure out what my design story would be for today and I realize I am not being very coherent. However, my main aim was to demonstrate I am back! So, given my resent ‘mini drama’ (as my daughter likes to refer to the recent hiccups) I decided to search for interiors which are given the title ‘drama’. Although in real life not always desired, I’m afraid I can’t totally do without and in interiors ‘drama’ works a treat. Have a look!


Dark and dramatic, splashes of gold. Bold colours. Lush textures in intense hues. Of the 7 pictures below 5 are moody and dark. The other elements used to emphasize the drama aspect are gold, pops of colour and subtle contrasts.

VT interiors

Clearly my love for dark, moody and glamorous hasn’t changed in the New Year. Move over white …..