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.
26th March 2015
Some people have sublime taste. And some people can translate that taste into gorgeous interiors that others can capture in photographs that sing. And then you have those rare individuals who can do all of these things. Enter Vibeke Svenningsen whose cool yet pretty Scandinavian style has been delighting the growing fans of her blog.
She has created the most beautiful, white home in Norway which she shares with her husband, two daughters and her dog Nure and which she styles and photographs for her blog and Instagram pages.
I find that certain images just cry out to be illustrated – yet so many of Vibeke’s images were crying out to me, it was a veritable cacophony! But I chose the one above because I think it sums up the mood of a year just turning towards the warmth and light of Spring and Summer.
I love the way she has paired tulips in a glowing range of colours with the fluffy neutrals of the catkins. And the casually hung tea towels and aprons in pale blue and white against the backdrop of simple, white panelling provide a lovely, restful counterpoint to those spots of glorious colour.
Do make sure you visit Vibeke’s blog for a host of other pretty and inspiring images and you can also get your fix of her special brand of Scandinavian loveliness here on Instagram and follow her here on Pinterest.
Oh and did I mention that she also paints? To quote the words Vibeke uses on her blog, ‘You can’t use up creativity… the more you use, the more you have…’. Words to live by indeed.
21st October 2014
There is an alluring mystique to the taste maker ‘This is Glamorous’ which curates and gathers the best of design and style from around the globe. As a reader, you are also given tantalising glimpses into the world of its glamorous founder, Roséline Lohr, but always with an old-fashioned sense of decorum and restraint.
What is not restrained is the elegance and glamour with which the reader is treated daily. The aesthetic which Roséline has cultivated so beautifully is wholly romantic – think flower shops, bunches of roses, images of architecture, fashion and art.
And her editor’s eye is unerring. While many blogs veer around a style, This is Glamorous curates images in a consistently elegant way – just one of the reasons it has gained so many followers around the world.
With a burgeoning Instagram audience, Roséline’s images treat her fans to real-time glimpses of her life. Many of these images showcase the architecture and splendour of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, which she now calls home. As a fellow resident I am naturally biased about the beauty of the place but if you’re in any doubt, Roséline’s exquisite eye for an image will convince you.
She recently uploaded a collage of images to Instagram which I illustrated and which she graciously allowed me to share here.
If you ever need a dose of beauty during the day, This is Glamorous is the ultimate resource. And if you’d like a little bit of that beauty in your own life, check out belgravecrescent.com, the stylish leather goods and accessories brand launched recently by Roséline and her partner Paul.
PS I share a passion for the colour pink with Roséline and have dedicated a whole Pinterest board to its charms here.
14th October 2014
If you visit the website of Los Angeles-based architectural firm, Studio William Hefner, you’ll notice that they showcase their stunning design projects as either ‘Traditional’ or ‘Contemporary’. But for me it’s the way they mix both of these styles that makes their work so exciting.
Take this dining space in William Hefner’s own home in Hancock Park which is a huge favourite on Pinterest for more than obvious reasons.
The huge floor to ceiling picture window with sleek, steel framing opening onto the terrace makes a modern statement alongside dining furniture which has elegant, traditional lines. The rest of this amazing home continues the theme of mixing modern and contemporary with traditional and elegant to great effect with carefully chosen lighting and artwork. And as you’d expect in an architect’s home, the attention to detail is exquisite both inside and out.
Studio William Hefner undertakes entire projects melding architecture, interior design and landscaping to create some of the most beautiful homes you can possibly imagine. Feast your eyes on the rest of their impressive portfolio here.
PS If you’re inspired by William Hefner’s statement steel window, do check out this Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting the best steel window and door designs I have found.
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?…
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.
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.
2nd September 2014
There are certain brands that you recognise at first glance as head and shoulders above the rest. Plum & Ashby is definitely one of those.
In a world where so many brands copy or emulate others, Plum & Ashby stands apart in a refreshingly quirky and super pretty way.
Set up by Vicky White and ‘Bertie’ (more of whom, later), the company offers a range of products for your home and life – think beach bags and picnic blankets, deckchairs, cushions, soaps and candles. All the products have the same honest yet beautifully designed feel – a sense of nostalgia packaged for a busy digital age.
Bertie is a rather adorable wire-haired terrier who features on many of the products themselves as well as in lots of gorgeous ads and brand images. I loved one of these images so much that I was moved to illustrate it as you can see here.
If you love good design and interesting homewares that conjure up the timeless style of a bygone age, you’ll love what you find on Plum & Ashby’s website.
29th August 2014
This is a bit of a bumper post but I hope you’ll see why! Today I’m featuring one of my all time favourite interior decor brands, Restoration Hardware, whose style treads a path between Parisian elegance and a more raw industrial aesthetic.
This US firm offers furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, art and a host of decorative items for your home. Sadly there are no stores in the UK – yet?! – but if you’re desperate enough for their gorgeous wares, you can always get items shipped.
The colour palette is resolutely neutral and restrained and the immaculately styled room sets range from light and ethereal to dark and dramatic.
If I were to write about all the goodies on offer, from framed sea fans and delicately deconstructed furniture, to contemporary artworks and oversized chandeliers, this post would fill a very large tome.
So instead I’ll leave you with a taste of Restoration Hardware style in a final illustration of another of my favourite room sets and urge you to visit their website.
Just make sure you set some serious time aside!
7th August 2014
This post is the first in a series about designers and style icons who are both inspiring and influential.
I’m pretty confident that they will inspire you too – so if you are ever in need of ideas or inspiration for your home, you know where to come!
The first design company in my roll call of elegant fame is the New York based Chango & Co which was founded by its Creative Director Susana Simonpietri in 2009.
Feast your eyes on my illustration of the kitchen of this drop dead gorgeous East Hamptons beach house, reimagined by Chango & Co. Can’t you just smell the ocean?
And you simply must click here to see the rest of this amazing East Hamptons beach house in soothing neutrals with classic accent colours.
Of course this summer home is just one of Chango & Co’s inspiring transformations which you can see on their website – and be sure not to miss the before and after pictures. I’ll leave the superlatives to you!
As you browse Chango & Co’s classic and elegant body of work, I’m sure you’ll spot the other aspect of their design that is just so appealing – their instinctive ability to create spaces which are inviting and ‘real’. Spaces you can imagine actually walking into and living in. Not just spaces that look great (they do – and how!) but spaces that you know will feel as good as they look.
And that’s the best kind of design.