21st October 2015
You might wonder why as an interior designer, I would be writing about a landscape designer, but I truly believe that the way a home sits in the landscape and connects with its surroundings is every bit as important as its interior.
Alex Smith is an extraordinarily talented landscape designer who also believes in the importance of ‘making the house and garden one’ and who designs landscapes that meld seamlessly with a ‘home’s architecture’. Just a glance at my illustration below of a garden that Alex created in the US shows this idea beautifully realised.
The house, so attractive in itself, is centred and grounded by the elegant landscape that surrounds it. The symmetry of the building is mirrored by the planting and the restricted palette of green and white plays beautifully against the French-style grey and white exterior. The elements of architecture and landscape design appear so seamless that you cannot imagine one existing without the other.
Alex studied his craft in the US and then spent some time in the Cotswolds in England, working with famed garden designer Rosemary Verey. He set up his landscape design company in 1999 and his work has since been showered with awards and covered extensively in the media.
Alex describes the work of his eponymous landscape design company as being dedicated to ‘classic’ and ‘timeless’ landscape design. And in a world where trends seem to hold so much sway, it is joyous to see landscapes and gardens that you know will look even more beautiful in years to come.
5th August 2015
Is there a season more wonderful than summer? Sunshine, holidays, outdoor living – heaven. And now even if the sun is not shining, you can still experience a sense of summer with a new range of outdoor fabrics from venerable American fabric and wallpaper house Thibaut. The colours and patterns are simply glorious, my favourites being the pinks and oranges you can see in the illustration I’ve done below.
This range, entitled ‘Thibaut Portico’, has been produced in partnership with outdoor fabric experts Sunbrella. So you can be assured you will be able to enjoy these stunning colours and patterns without having to worry about fading, weather damage, ice-cream drips or any other summer dangers. And they are so gorgeous you may even be tempted to bring the summer indoors and use them in a living space or kitchen.
The designs include bold stripes, flowers, branches, trellis patterns and even pretty turtles. As well as the delectable pinks and oranges you can see illustrated above, you can also choose from greys, bright greens and blues ranging from cobalt to navy to turquoise.
Thibaut has long been a treasured resource of mine for fabrics and wallpapers. Its range is vast and my favourites have always been the more vibrant colours and patterns. Thibaut’s colourful takes on classic chinoiserie patterns, for example, are both fresh and modern and their range of bold yet elegant geometric patterns is hard to beat. They are quite simply the ‘go to’ for exciting fabric and wallpaper designs in chic colours.
If you’re a fan of summer style, do visit my Summer House Style board on Pinterest which has a wealth of design tips for bringing the summer into your home, all year round.
21st November 2014
I came across this beautiful quote from the influential Ancient Roman scholar Cicero in a bookshop and it really got me thinking about the meaning of home:
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
You may not agree with Cicero – and who has the luxury of a library these days?! – but it’s worth considering what’s most important to you in your home.
A kitchen that truly is the heart of your home with a generous table at which to entertain? A living room with a fireplace as a focal point (rather than the dreaded tv!)? A tranquil bedroom with a reading nook to which to retreat after a busy day?
Even small changes to your home can make big changes in how you live.
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.
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.
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?…
16th April 2014
I’ve been working on ideas for a holiday home in Ireland and one of the changes I am proposing is the addition of an outdoor terrace off the kitchen. The style of the interior is very light and neutral with lots of painted wood and weathered grey wood. A little bit New England and a little bit Swedish. So the outdoor space would be something like this* with simple and unfussy planting and lots of green and white. What do you think?
* This drawing is based on Janelle McCulloch’s photograph of the beautiful terrace at Fern Vale Farm in Australia which was resdesigned by its owner, Melbourne based interior designer Jane Charlwood.
24th June 2013
Today is Midsummer’s Day (not to be confused with the summer solstice on 21st but they are linked in that 24th June was the solstice in the old Roman calendar as far as I’m aware). In honour of that I’ve uploaded some wonderful, summery pictures that I took on a holiday to Nantucket a few years back.
I spent a week in Nantucket and was bowled over by its charm. Every shingle covered home seemed to be covered in cascades of pale pink climbing roses – you could literally point your camera in any direction and get shot after amazing shot. Even with my very basic (film – don’t laugh!) camera, I got these shots which I recently dug out and scanned. The style of the East coast of America is one of my favourites and if these photos don’t convince you, well…!