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!



Small Rooms Painted Dark Colors



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!




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?

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Abigail Ahern’s Living Room Wall Before + After

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 and I also have another blog post out on

Bar cart inspiration 1


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photo 1) Nina Campbell
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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 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


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


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