The power of an exterior makeover for your home

 

31st July 2016

Although I am an ‘interior’ designer, I am passionate about making homes look beautiful inside and out. One of my favourite things to do is to reimagine tired and sorry exteriors, making them beautiful and welcoming.

Some transformations may require the skills of an architect to realise the potential of a house. But if the overall shape and proportions are already pleasing, then it truly is amazing what new windows, doors, roof materials and landscaping can do to totally transform a home from one that you’d pass by without a second glance, to one that makes you smile.

I stumbled across this extremely worn out 70′s home on a property website and could immediately see its potential using the existing structure. With the help of a photomontage technique, I’ve come up with two ways to update it with an exterior makeover, first with modern steel windows and then with a more traditional style. Both makeovers also rely on pretty landscaping to complete the look. What do you think? Which one do you prefer?…

 

1970's house in need of an exterior makeover

An exterior makeover of a tired 70's bungalow by Amalfi White Living

An exterior makeover of a tired 70's bungalow by Amalfi White Living

Blue and white – eternally fresh and stylish

 

7th June 2016

Blue and white is a colour combination I return to again and again. There’s a timelessness about it and an undeniable freshness to it that’s redolent of salty breezes and ocean waves.

 

Pen and ink illustration of a Lilla Villa Vita vignette

 

The pretty seating area above is an illustration of an image I have loved for a long time by Swedish blogger ‘Lilla Villa Vita’. I hadn’t done any illustrations for this site for a while so I thought this one would make a nice summer addition. What do you think?

I’ve recently sourced some wonderful blue and white fabrics that aren’t available in the UK so if you’re in need of new soft furnishings or would like to reupholster an old chair, then do get in touch. I’m currently getting a chair refinished for a client with a wonderful navy Greek Key pattern on white. I’ll share pictures very soon but here’s how it looks made up as a cushion. So timeless and fresh.

 

Navy and white cushion with Greek Key pattern by Amalfi White Living

I’ve also been gathering a gorgeous selection of pins celebrating the joys of decorating with blue and white on Pinterest for quite a while now. Definitely worth a look if you’d like some further inspiration.

And as ever, if you’d like some help to get your home looking as fresh and stylish as you know it can, just send me an email and let me know what you’d love to achieve – I’m sure I can help.

 

The styling details that make the difference

 

7th April 2016

There are lots of elements that you need to get right to have a really well designed room. One of my favourite parts of the process and one where you can make a big difference is in the final styling touches. A bit like choosing the right jewellery to finish an outfit beautifully, it should never be overdone, just enough to give the effect that you wish to achieve.

Interior styling detail by Amalfi White Living

 

I’ve changed things around on my Instagram feed of late and am adding more ideas for styling and placing objects to make your room really sing (as well as other fresh and elegant images just to inspire!). Instagram is increasingly a great place to come for interior inspiration – although Pinterest is still a treasure trove of ideas too! – Louise

Good design can actually save you money

 

In the same way that many truly stylish women will mix items from high street stores with more expensive designer clothing, I’m a fan of mixing inexpensive finds into your home.

Starting with a sturdy cream linen Chesterfield sofa from The White Company, I’ve come up with a moodboard for a ‘Coastal Chic’ living room that costs less than £2430* for all the elements featured, using well designed pieces from less expensive stores such as H&M, Zara and Ikea.

Coastal Chic moodboard ideas sourced entirely from the high street and costing less than £2500

While I would always advise clients to invest in larger pieces of furniture, buying from the high street stores can be a great way to play with colour or try out patterns without breaking the bank. And it also goes a long way to proving a point which is dear to my heart. And that is that clever design should not be beyond anyone’s reach.

I’m a firm believer that you can actually save money by working with an interior designer – not only can we share our knowledge of clever finds and secret sources but we are trained in how to pull it all together to work in your space.

If this piece has inspired you and the time is right for you to get your home looking as you’ve always known it could – for less than you thought it would – then please get in touch and we can start planning your very own makeover.

* The cost of £2430 covers all the items in the moodboard including the sofa. If you would like a copy of the shopping list, please email me and I’d be happy to share it with you.

Dreaming of a house by the sea

Moodboard for house by the sea with blush and navy, weathered wood and brass

 

Sources: 1 via CB2 | 2 via Slettvoll | 3 via CB2 | 4 via Neptune | 5 via Lamps Plus  | 6 via H&M Home | 7 via H&M Home | 8 via Oka | 9 via Neptune | 10 via Jonathan Adler | 11 via West Elm

In my mind’s eye, I can already see my dream house by the sea – covered with weatherboard, a seat outside to watch the sun rise and a pretty garden with hardy plants to withstand the salty breezes.

Inside there would be white-washed wooden floors, simple blinds or billowy drapes on the windows and lots of cosy places to sit. A fireplace is a must with baskets of logs nearby ready to warm up chilly days and evenings, even in summertime.

The palette would be inspired by the coast with lots of navy and white but for a pretty twist, I’d add blush pink and finally touches of brass or gold to give it that little bit of glamour that we all need.

How would your dream home look?…

Getting cosy as the nights draw in

 

22nd November 2015

With the nights getting longer and the temperatures dipping, we are spending more time indoors. So it makes sense to add a few touches to ensure that your home is as cosy as it is stylish. Here are a few ideas for a cosy living room using coral shades and warm metals to chase away the cold and the darkness.

Interior ideas to make your living space cosy this winter For more ideas on how to make your space cosy this winter, visit my Pinterest board. And if you would like information on any of the pieces shown above, please drop me a line and I would be happy to let you know its source.

Make your home cosy as the nights draw in

 

10th October 2014

While summer is my favourite season I can’t help loving the changing colour of the leaves at this time of year – the clear autumn skies, pulling on cosy jumpers to go walking and enjoying seasonal foods.

If you’re lucky enough to have a working fireplace, now’s the time to rediscover the joys of that too. One of the most successful improvements made to this Edinburgh flat was the reinstatement of the fireplace in the living space. It transformed not just how the room looked by providing a focal point, but how it felt as well.

You can see from the first image that the fireplace had been completely removed and bricked up by previous owners.

Chimney breast of Edinburgh flat before the fireplace was reinstated

It took a bit of work but with the flue thankfully still intact and working, it was possible to reinstate the fireplace.

Living room redesign in an Edinburgh apartment by Louise Keane of Amalfi White Living

While a real fire is not to everyone’s taste, and does take some work, there are other options like stoves or gas fires which may be more suitable.

And if you can’t have a fire, candles are a great way to light the dark evenings.

Style Icon – Muskoka Living Interiors

 

7th October 2014

Picture the most beautiful lake you can imagine – peaceful with wooded shores and dotted with small islands. Now picture the most perfect lakehouse you can imagine with wooden panelling, great lighting, a classic, neutral palette and pretty windows providing views out to the lake. Chances are it’s been designed by Muskoka Living Interiors.

Reflecting the beauty of the place known as Muskoka – an area of pristine lakelands north of Toronto – the interior design and furnishings company provides the lucky owners of beautiful homes with classic and elegant interiors with subtle nautical touches.

I just had to illustrate this image when I saw it – I mean is this not the most perfect space to park a car that you’ve ever seen? The use of wood and the detailing like the brass light and the perfectly pitched lettering of the name come together to create something truly spectacular and memorable.

Classic Lakehouse design by Muskoka LIving Interiors based in Canada - a very stylish place to park your Porsche (Illustration by Louise Keane of Amalfi White Living in pen and ink with watercolour)

And if you can imagine a more exquisite spot to relax on a summer’s evening than this gracious, comfortable living space looking out over the water, then I’d love to hear from you.

Classic Lakehouse design with wooden panelling by Muskoka LIving Interiors in Canada (Illustration by Louise Keane of Amalfi White Living in pen and ink with watercolour)

To see more, visit the Muskoka Living Interiors website or join their army of ardent Instagram fans here.

Just looking at these images makes it feel like summer will last forever doesn’t it?…

Style Icon – Perfumer Jo Malone and her new brand Jo Loves

 

25th September 2014

There’s something utterly poetic about the fact that Jo Malone’s first ‘Jo Loves’ shop is just doors away from the site of a florist where she worked when she was sixteen years old. She reminisces, “I remember the subtle scent of tuberose and lilies, freesia and roses alongside crushed green stems on the floor and the smell of twine and brown paper.”

After building her hugely successful eponymous brand, Jo took a break, but thankfully for her legions of adoring fans worldwide, is back with a fresh new brand and a host of delicious new scents. How about ‘Orange Tulle’? Or ‘A Shot of Thai Lime over Mango’?

The ‘Jo Loves’ brand bears all the hallmarks that we’ve come to expect of this style icon – clean, modern lines with a freshness and elegance that is unmistakeable. This line-up of perfume bottles (which I just had to illustrate) pretty much says it all.

A selection of pretty Jo Loves perfume bottles illustrated in pen and ink with watercolour by Louise Keane of Amalfi White Living

It didn’t surprise me when Jo was quoted in a design magazine recently describing her home as feeling like “a tiny beach house in the middle of London….all white, wide white-washed floorboards, huge white linen sofas and white bare walls with hints of red”. Her description conjures up a space that is the perfect combination of elegant, stylish and relaxing.

I’ll bet her home smells utterly divine too.

Scandinavian inspired painted white plate rack

 

8th September 2014

You will often see plate racks in Scandinavian and Provencal homes and I have always loved them as decorative features. So when it came to filling this wall space above a dining table in an Edinburgh apartment, I searched high and low to source the perfect one.

 

Painted white plate rack designed by Louise Keane of Amalfi White Living. Shown here with red and white transferware and an antique grey and white Swedish platter.

My search proved fruitless so in the end I decided to design a plate rack specifically for the space.

My eternally patient joiner Derek Carnochan (who had previously installed the New England style kitchen on the other side of the room) interpreted my drawing perfectly and the finished plate rack that he made ended up looking like it had always been there.

If you would like further inspiration, I’ve started to gather images of plate racks on a dedicated Pinterest board and if you’d like help to design a plate rack or other bespoke shelving for your own space, I’d love to hear from you.

Edinburgh ‘Before & After’ III – New England style kitchen

 

The awkwardly designed kitchen in this Edinburgh apartment was originally at the front of the living space, cutting across one of the lovely sash windows and jutting out into the room. The layout was very muddled and the sink was a tiny bowl sink. It was obvious to me that this had to go!

 

Edinburgh kitchen before 2.jpeg

 

There was a perfect alcove at the back of the room that I just knew could house a kitchen and free up the space in front of the sash windows for a dining table…

 

Edinburgh kitchen before.jpeg

 

With some careful planning and my very patient joiner, the new kitchen fits like a glove as you can see below. And you’ll also notice that the chimney breast has had a fireplace reinstated to provide a superb and welcoming focal point in the form of a real fire.

 

Kitchen and sittingroom.jpeg

 

Having a pantry space adjacent was a boon as it meant I could choose glass-fronted doors for the wall cupboards to house glassware and china while tins and other foodstuffs could be stored in the pantry. With a ceiling height of just over 10ft I found wall cupboards that were slightly taller than the average unit so there would be less of a noticeable gap between the top of the units and the ceiling. Proportion is key in matching a modern kitchen to a period space. I placed glassware above the cabinets to further bridge the gap and draw the eye upwards in a subtle way.

The style of the kitchen follows a New England aesthetic with white wood and glass cupboards, subway tiles, a black granite worktop and an elegant goose-neck tap. It’s a classic look that should not date and should look just as fresh in years to come.

And to sign off, here’s how the front of the room looks now without the kitchen obscuring those lovely, original sash windows…

 

Edinburgh kitchen after 2.jpeg