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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bar-cart-inspiration-9

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

Making an effort…

‘Why are you still wearing your pyjamas?’ My eldest daughter asked me with a cheeky grin as we walked towards school. I looked down at my clothes in horror as I really had no idea whether I was or wasn’t. I noticed I was wearing something which could potentially pass as pyjama attire. My daughter’s comment made me realize that over the past months the fine line between night wear and comfy home wear had started to become very hazy and unclear. It had become easy to grab whatever was nearest in an attempt to make the morning routine work without me having to get up even earlier. I think amongst my companion school mums it is clear that I am never the glamorous one, I make a semi effort and always think that my jacket will cover up whatever beautiful (or not so as is the case) attire is under there. I do try to slap on some mascara but that’s as far as it goes. The odd thing is that when I used to go in to work I had even less time but seemed to look smarter than I do now. Don’t get me wrong I still like to dress up, put on the heels, dress and spend more than 30 seconds on my make up – but only if there’s an occasion. Not for school that is…

I know my kids aren’t mentally scarred from this – in fact – they have got a perfectly relaxed ‘this is how we do things’ attitude about certain things in life. In the weekend – when we all try to relax and are rather lazy: I have no problem in running to the shop around the corner in my pyjamas (my real ones!) to pick up some milk and bread. The kids laugh and think it’s funny.

Having said that I did take note of what my daughter said, and I could also hear my mother say “it is important to make an effort”. I realized it is easy, probably too easy, to forget about making a little effort. About looking like you care. I don’t think that my nature will totally change but it became clear that I needed to step up a bit. Don’t ever get so comfortable with something or someone that you forget to make even the tiniest of effort… The clothes example is superficial and not that important but demonstrates the need to ensure it doesn’t become the metaphor for the more important things in life…..

So with ‘glamming up’ myself – every now and then – comes glamming up my interior.

If I had a total free pass to glam up and spice up my interior I would go for these 3 things and:

  1. Finally get that vintage Geoffrey Harcourt F588 chair and re-upholster it in emerald green or else get the F976 in brown leather
  2. Buy a vintage brass 50’s coffee table – Gio Ponti style would be nice.
  3. I would either get wood paneling on the full length of the living room and paint it moody grey-ish green or else I would have wall to wall custom made bookshelves – equally dark and slushy coloured.

My Geoffrey Harcourt dream!

Gio Ponti silver trays 1956 – great stylish room – on Dimorestudio table.

http://www.grey-magazine.com

Beautiful vintage brass table – Jack Astier.

http://www.elledecor.com

Wood panelling DIY made perfect!

http://www.cococozy.com

Now for the more realistic short term achievables! Make your interior autumn proof by quick changes:

  1. Get yourself an autumn brass lamp – House doctor does great ones: http://www.housedoctor.dk
       
  2. Look for quirky (brass) accessories – I personally love the slightly unexpected ones such as animals and skulls but anything you like of course goes!
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  3. Up the atmos by buying loads of candles. If you don’t want to spend – which given the upcoming season is understandable – then just fill your room with candles and tealights. Inexpensive but unbeatable for a cozy autumn room.

    http://www.hamhigh.co.uk

A little effort goes a long way!

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.

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!

IMG_0045   WP_20150522_006

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….

Making eclectic work

Tuesday again. Had planned to write something over the weekend or actually on Friday but the weekend started early and took over too quickly and here it is Tuesday….
I had also planned the post to be about home offices and how to make them work and shine but I will have to come back to you on that one. Clearly nothing turned out the way I had planned it… That’s actually what – I imagine – life is meant to be about; learning to adapt and letting go without losing sight of your long term goal. Life can throw you curve balls and make you wobble, it can give you highs and lows. And without the lows you don’t get to appreciate the highs. We have all heard it before. I am not trying to be clever or even pretend that I know or have been through it all but unless you are one of those cut-throat types that will pursue their dream by not let anything or anyone get in their way, you will know what I mean and understand the meaning of flexibility, change, adaptability. Sometimes things that weren’t planned end up being the most enjoyable & special moments, events, projects, or even human beings!!
Things that shouldn’t work sometimes do and vice versa. This is also true in design. It is – like in fashion – perfectly acceptable to combine vintage with flea market junk and contemporary or classic design as well as high street purchases. Why do we like to mix and match? At least I do. I think it’s exciting, makes a room more interesting and it has the best of both (read: all) worlds. But be ware…..you have to create eclectic interiors carefully. If not it can end up a real mess.
For me eclectic means: to mix different periods and styles…..
So to combine a vintage Herman Miller La Fonda chair (60’s) with an antique console, with a 50’s mirror and Hollywood Regency accessories for instance.
The formal definition of ‘ eclectic’ is:
Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
Synonyms: wide-ranging, broad-based, extensive, comprehensive, encyclopedic, varied, diverse, catholic, all-embracing, multifaceted, multifarious, heterogeneous, miscellaneous, assorted
So the definition provides a lot of scope for people to call anything they feel eclectic! If you have a look at pictures of eclectic interiors on the internet you find a lot of different things and some are great and some are not so….
I believe a good eclectic interior can be achieved if you bare below points in mind:
  1. Colour
    Although I am fan, you should restrain the colour palette. If you have one hue – or at least one family hue – you are able to pull off the different styles and periods much easier
  2. Scale and statement
    Again I love having some statement pieces in a room, that make people do a double-take. Or else large pieces, over-sized items of normal objects. If you want to pull off eclectic then don’t have too many statement items, it gets confusing and messy
  3.  Pattern, texture and fabric
    Pattern, texture and fabrics are great ways to finish off a look. Be mindful not to go overboard on the patterns. Generally well chosen rugs and cushions pull a theme together and enhance the eclectic look.

Here are some eclectic themes.

This picture has the combination of mirror, chairs and chaise longue – all from different periods. But if I am honest I was drawn by the beautiful hue on the walls and the pop of colour from the Jujuhat!

 
Photography TM Magazine
In below picture the colour palette – cushions, blue chair and lamp shade – are all in the same family hue so just about safe….the accessories and interesting statement pieces are bold and vibrant but limited so no mess. Have a look at the gun lamp and pink scull – fab.
Photography Vogue
In below picture the look – very sophisticated and classy- is achieved by the soft colour palette, beautiful statement pieces, combined with great artwork. The mirror and cabinet and coffee table nicely married together although they are from different periods.
The combination of all the different accessories, turtle, antlers, art work, rugs, leather couch etc with an industrial restrained colour palette pull off the eclectic look nicely.
Bricks Amsterdam – Garage Loft
 
 Below picture, blues and greens with touches of gold. A vintage Herman Miller La Fonda chair ( 60’s) is combined with art deco side tables and contemporary artwork.
IMG_0081.JPG wordt weergegeven
 
 
 Below picture has combined the great orange 50’s chairs with a restrained white colour palette, great lamps and different period tables.
Photography Elle Decor
Give it a go!

My perfect trio

For those of you who actually noticed…..something went wrong earlier this week with this post….it got published without me really wanting to publish it…and no I hadn’t been self medicating!

I am going to retry today…

Sometimes things just turn out differently than you had thought they would. Sometimes for better sometimes  for worse.The grass always seems greener on the other side…. but is it really? You shouldn’t be afraid to change your mind and never ever stop dreaming…..

In the superficial world of design same rules apply. Whilst certain things may never happen, you can always dream…..

If I wouldn’t enjoy designing and styling as much as I do myself but nevertheless was asked to just pick one interior designer to style my room or house, I couldn’t give an answer.
I have been hugely influenced by earlier designers such as David Hicks and Verner Panton. And if I look at contemporary designers I am a big fan of Kelly Wearstler, Jonathan Adler and Jean Louis Deniot. All 3 are amazing, and a combination of this trio would be the ultimate for me. All 3 have different design elements I admire.

Kelly Wearstler’s designs are described as ‘raw and refined’ and I feel they are glamourous, extravagant, with a great sense of humor too.

Jonathan Adler is king of colour and has a great feeling for scale  – ‘happy chic and playful decorating’

Jean Louis Deniot designs can be characterized by ‘low key luxury’ but always with that vintage twist.

Kelly Wearstler: Glam, with great attention to detail and love the bar in the second photo with bar, bar stools and cabinet matching. Would love to pull up a pew there and ‘hang with a few cocktails…..,

   

Photography by Architectural Digest and Pinterest

Jonathan Adler: Great feeling of drama and colour – loves combining vintage and is always in for a bit of Hollywood Regency glam. Photo number two shows his feeling for colour and scale (have a look at that tiny ship chandelier!)

 

Photography by Pinterest and Elle Decor

Jean Louis Deniot: I actually feel I should do a whole post on him – as he is probably not as well known as the two others – and he has this understated very French feeling for luxury, art and textures. He is a big fan of sourcing some of his unusual vintage furniture and accessories on 1stDibs but then who wouldn’t be…
That kitchen is the best kitchen I have ever seen – not for now with 3 young kids, perhaps one day…

 

Photography by Elle Decor, Agricultural Digest and Pinterest

Never ever give up dreaming……

Glamming it up

Some nations draw the curtains at night some don’t. The Dutch tend to enjoy their evenings sitting in full view without anything shielding them from the outside world looking in (or from ‘Peeping Toms’ like myself). Walking down canals in Amsterdam glaring up at beautiful canal houses trying to catch a glimpse of some opulently decorated house used to be one of my favourite pastimes.  If you’re like me you love snooping around other people’s pads. Even, or perhaps especially,  if the pads are way out of our league. We can hope and dream and definitely get some inspiration. Sometimes it would be shocking to see how a beautiful facade of a house would have a hideous interior; pricy but tasteless. I would get as much pleasure from seeing the disasters as the dream homes. It is as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you do like. And it confirmed my belief that money can’t buy you style…..

The other day I overheard one of my daughters asking the other what her favourite colour was. To my shock the answer wasn’t the usual ‘pink or lilac’ or any variation of these colours but the unexpected: ” gold”. I was a bit happy hoping that we had passed the ” everything is OK as long as it’s pink” phase and my baby was growing up yet at the same time I was a bit sad as I have definitely made an impression on her – and maybe a bit too much! I am not averse to a bit of gold and glam and perhaps have been so overbearing in my beliefs that a 4 year old no longer loves pink but gold. I think, though, Kelly Wearstler would be proud of me – I hope. She is one of my all-time favourite interior designers.

Money can’t buy you style but it can buy you Kelly Wearstler and we are in love. This is what Cameron Diaz must have thought when she got Kelly Wearstler to design her New York Village pad. We get to have a look at her interior without the fear of being caught and embarrassed. It is OK – please stare unashamedly…..

 
All photography by Elle Decor

Some final thoughts.

Although perhaps not practical for all of our homes, enough inspiration can be taken from this beautifully styled glam interior…

The Living Room

The wall covering appears to be from De Gournay and whilst pink generally isn’t for me this is fabulous. The obviously quirky Kelly Wearstler accessories are funky and demonstrate a sense of humor – check out the red heals.

The Dining Room

My favourite room here.
I love the mirrored wall and sconces – lovely and Hollywood glam. This is something that can be created and I am definitely going to give that a go (still need to convince the home front)!

Bedroom

Have a look at the attention to detail – gold coloured ceiling in the bedroom. Wow. This confirms my earlier view: always paint your ceiling!

Kitchen

My favourite colours green and gold! Take a look at the brass/gold coloured splash back – who needs a kitchen to be practical when it looks like this?

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

Magpie treasures

I have been selfish…Since our return from the Emerald Isle, the weather hasn’t been great and therefore I couldn’t really get stuck into the necessary outdoorsy kids activities. That is my excuse … at least. We have been at home, eating our way through the day and spending too much time on I-pads and TV’s.  I took this opportunity to spend more time on my design work and have neglected the kids that is…. I actually used my son to test my boredom exercise!

The weather had got me thinking of autumn and the different seasons….and I wanted my interior to match that mood. I think lots of us change our rooms when the season changes. I tend to light the fire (haven’t done this yet!!) and feel the need to get in more candles. woolen throws, change my cushions slightly, throw down the odd fur etc.

I wanted to create different seasons using the same antique console, 50’s chair and vintage Christian Dior handbag (fashion and interior design are never too far apart!) by just adding different accessories. I then asked my son to guess which season I was trying to reflect. I realize the threshold is not very high for this little exercise but it was fun to do and a lot better than kicking a football in the rain (in my book at least)!

Of the two images shown here I have a 50% success rate with my son.

Is it obvious which season I was trying to reflect? I only added two seasons for now …

IMG_0018                    

IMG_0027

Picture number 1 is winter and number 2 is autumn.

Autumn was clear to my son but winter wasn’t he said. He guessed number 1 was spring and his logic made perfect sense! He thought that the little kingfisher bird indicated ‘new life’ and therefore spring – you can’t fault his logic.

This is what I tried to do. When I think winter I think icy blue colours, hence the colour scheme. I added a winter silvery grey fur, and the soft cotton-like catkins branch. My thoughts on the taxidermy kingfisher were the colour blue as well as its literal translation in some languages – “Icebird.” Anyway, mission not accomplished!

Autumn went better – I think all to do with the dark and amber colourscheme. The deer statue and crocodile’s head plus the amber and brown fur throw made ” this one easy” my son replied!

The right accessories make all the difference in any interior…..

I will leave you with my view that every interior deserves some daring, unexpected and sometimes controversial accessories. Take a look at my Etsy shop for some of the Magpie treasures and accessories as shown above.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Magpiehomes

By the way, please let it be clear – I don’t hope summer is over yet and I am sure there will be more sunny days to come……in fact, the sun is trying to come out as I am about to publish this post!

Make it your own

I know I have harped on about this before but I believe it is true….nothing easier and less inspiring than just throwing your credit card on the counter and letting some high end designer do it all for you. If I were to commission one of my favourite designers to redesign my home I would be all over them like a rash. I would not let it become one of those exclusive but characterless homes with no sense of who the owners are what so ever….I believe it is important to mix and match. To combine good quality design pieces with flea market finds, vintage car boot sale items and personal objects. To have that jaw dropping coffee table that meant you almost had to remortgage the house but to combine this with personal items and dare I say the odd high street purchase? I realize that in the designers world this may be frowned upon but I don’t care….I have been complimented for some of my cheapest bargain items.  Flea market finds can be cheap only because someone else has lost interest in them but to you they might just have that little something that makes your other items shine! Important is to make your cheaper items your own – particularly the high street ones.

When I say make it your own I mean adding something to it or altering it slightly. For instance take a cheap lamp and have a new lampshade made. Good quality fabrics let boring and dull objects come alive. Or buy a flat-pack table and spray paint in a beautiful shiny hue.

Here is a top 3 of my high street brands or shops I am not too embarrassed to have in my interior, provided you add your own touch. In no particular order:

1) Ikea – http://www.ikea.com – I am not going to promote this shop. There are a lot of things I do not like, but no time to be negative… There are things I do like and they are for instance wooden table consoles or shelving. Paint the console or shelving in the exact colour of your wall and then dress with books and a nicely arranged  ‘still life’ – flowers, vases, candles etc.  The fact the wooden item fades in the background because you have painted it in the same, preferably dark, hue (dark walls make for spectacular interiors) – makes the whole look very designery!

2) Anthropologie – http://www.anthropologie.com – really good for lamps (make it your own with a new shade for instance), vases and trinkets and make sure to arrange and combine with your own antique and flea market finds.

3) Zara home – http://www.zarahome.com – very good for bed linen, sheets, quilts, throws and rugs.  I have also mixed and matched some of their cushions with some of my more eye watering expensive ones. Can you tell which are the cheaper ones?

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Just to let you know that I haven’t completely sold my designer soul to the devil: I just bought a stuffed peacock. It is beautiful and extravagant and the blue, green and gold colours are spectacular… I realize this is a bit controversial but I happen to like it and although I probably won’t keep it and I will use it in a shop display or just sell it on 1tsdibs ( this was the reason for my purchase in the first place and I have to believe you have to stick to your business plan and not get attached to items too much – this is so hard to do!!) I am confident this will find a good place in an individualistic and spectacular interior.

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Hotel Inspiration

coburg bar

Hotels and in particular hotel bars and lounge areas are a great source of inspiration. Every ‘over the top’ design feature is possible. What works in a hotel might not work exactly for your living room or bedroom but you can definitely get great ideas and make them work for your own smaller, child and/or pet friendly space. Hotels are particularly great as often great designers are commissioned to take care of the designs and hotel designs are therefore far more experimental (read daring) than private commissions. I really don’t know where to start as I have a long list of hotels I have either visited or would still really love to visit. Of course there are many hotels to visit, some of which may be good for location, hospitality, dining experience etc. etc. Again it is easy to create an impressive design if money is no object but it is also extremely reassuring to find that equally great designs have been created by smaller hotels where it is important to balance quality and value for money. Therefore my choices are not perhaps all as obvious. Some of my best experiences – from a design point of view – have more often than not been impacted by how individualistic the design has been combined with a bit of extravagance. I fear I can go on and on about this so better to just let the photos speak for themselves.  I have made a selection of a few hotel bars and restaurants I have actually been to and some I have yet to visit. The list is – by no means – exclusive and I will probably have to come back to you with more inspirational places…..but for now some of the places I would like to visit:

1) Hotel Thoumieux – Paris – design by India Mahdavi
2) Hote Costes – Paris – design by Jacques Garcia

Some of the places I have visited and I love are:

1) Sketch – Gallery and restaurant – London – design by India Mahdavi
2) The Connaught – London design by India Mahdavi
3) The Quay House – Clifden Ireland

Hotel Thoumieux – Paris

For the great art deco features, mix of patterns (leopard and  floral) and textures, and then the subtle splash of colour – yellow! I should have featured this in my ” A bit of summer” post!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor maison thoumieuxAfbeeldingsresultaat voor maison thoumieux

Hotel Costes – Paris
I realize this one is a bit predictable but from a design perspective I love the dark, lush, ambiance. The colour red combined with gold mirrors, beautiful chandeliers, and the flickering light of candles. Dark sophistication meets Moulin Rouge.

 

Sketch – London

A beautiful place, designed by India Mahdavi. A restaurant and gallery in the most beautiful powdery pink with brass/gold accents on chairs and tables.  A great design not many of us (with male occupants in the house) would probably want to copy at home or even could do, but a great design and dining experience nevertheless. Fabulous glam 70’s Beverly Hills meets traditional Brasserie.

  The Connaught – London.

Another great design by India Mahdavi, I notice a trend! An interior I love for the true gentleman’s club feel. The cozy and dark interior with some pops of colour (purple and coral) but most of all I love the wood paneling. Of all the hotel bar and restaurant designs mentioned here I am most likely inclined to copy some ideas from the Connaught starting with the library feel which I am definitely going to give a go in my own pad!

The Quay House – Clifden Ireland

A beautiful place in Ireland. We came across a long time ago and sadly couldn’t stay as they were fully booked….no surprise. We had a little house tour anyway and although not one of the most obvious choices here, I just had to feature it as it just stuck in my mind. An individual guest house with such a feel for individuality it just couldn’t go unmentioned. Great antiques but more importantly to me, the quirky accessories and feel for scale and proportion. A life-sized leopard or lion (not quite sure!). Beautiful zebra and leopard rugs. A huge lobster-like crustacean in the living room and pops of pink on the sofas. I wanted to keep this one quiet but I fear it’s already out there…..