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.
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.
Style Icon – Alex Smith Garden Design
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.
Thibaut’s glorious summer style
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.
The perfect kitchen for summer
11th June 2015
I’ve been a fan of this stunning tropical kitchen for a very long time now so I thought it would be fun to share it with you.
It is Marianne Brandi and Keld Mikkelsen’s kitchen in their summer home in St Barts and it’s just one of those spaces that is so finely and perfectly balanced. The high airy ceilings offset the dark cabinetry perfectly and the rattan pendants are stunning centrepieces of the sleek space.
Scandinavian inspiration from Vibeke Svenningsen
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.
How to create a Hamptons style bedroom
19th January 2015
Hamptons style is very much inspired by the ocean and a Hamptons style bedroom should have a calm and soothing palette while retaining the subtle sense of glamour that this style is all about.
Mix different textures like the glass lamp and glass droplet chandelier (below) with a rattan covered stool and mother of pearl topped bedside table. Then layer subtle colours that are reminiscent of the sea – blues, greys and whites – and accessorise with a statement mirror and pretty metal candle holders. And you’ll have a soothing sanctuary which feels fresh and light with that Hamptons touch of glamour.
I’ve been collecting Hamptons Style images here on Pinterest for a while now so do follow me for ongoing inspiration. And if you’d like me to design a Hamptons style bedroom for you or you would like to source any of these items, please get in touch.
The romance of winter
29th December 2014
Readers of this blog will have guessed by now that I’m a huge fan of summer with its bright sunlight and comforting heat. Winter can sometimes seem so dark and cold that I, for one, forget to appreciate and enjoy its charms. Maybe you do too?…
Things like walks along quiet windswept beaches wrapped up in hats and scarves, the lights of Christmas twinkling from within, the warmth of a real fire, the beauty of a snowy landscape. The charms of winter can be quite sublime.
And the way you decorate your home can make all the difference. Warmth, light, colour and texture are so important when you’re creating an inviting and cosy interior to chase away the darkness of the season. Think candles, open fires, cashmere blankets and seasonal berries and greenery to decorate your home.
To remind me how beautiful this season can be, I illustrated this romantic view of the beautiful Mala Strana in Prague in the Czech Republic covered in snow which I thought I’d share with you as my last blog post of the year.
Wishing all my readers and clients a warm and happy New Year and a joyous and stylish 2015!
What do you need for a sense of home?
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.
Luxurious coastal style in Cornwall
4th November 2014
The Tide House boutique hotel in Cornwall is housed in a stone building on a pretty sloped street in the village of St Ives, occupying the site of the very first hotel in the village, built almost five hundred years ago. After a colourful life which has seen it as a house, an inn, a school and a doctor’s surgery, the building has now been beautifully restored as a tranquil coastal retreat.
Owners David and Suzy Fairfield created this wonderful bolt-hole by the sea when they decided to relocate from London. They set about restoring and redesigning the hotel’s interiors at the same time as renovating a house opposite which was to become their family home.
The interiors of both buildings bear a strikingly relaxed and luxurious coastal style created by Suzy. Trained as an illustrator, she has now turned her creative eye to interior design and the results are sublime.
Once she had reconfigured the warren of rooms in the former hotel, Suzy layered greys and blues on a base of chalky shades, often seen in New England interiors, to create a haven of style with subtle nautical touches.
My second illustration shows one of the many pretty public rooms where guests are invited to relax or enjoy a delicious breakfast. The blue and white striped flat-woven rug in the sitting room anchors the scheme and adds colour to the calm, neutral palette where weathered wood and rustic stone provide texture and interest. You can see more of the wonderful, airy public spaces here.
The six en-suite bedrooms are each individually decorated in calm, chalky tones with pretty accessories and great lighting.
I’m truly surprised that they don’t have a problem with guests simply refusing to leave!
Style Icon – This is Glamorous
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.
Style Icon – Studio William Hefner
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.
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.
It took a bit of work but with the flue thankfully still intact and working, it was possible to reinstate the fireplace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your perfect home – Downton Abbey or a beach house?
11th September 2014
With ‘Downton Abbey’ returning to our screens shortly, I was musing on the beautiful building that provides the unmistakeable backdrop to the drama so I did a quick pen and ink sketch of it.
It is of course in reality Highclere Castle which is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. And what a home!
But what would your ideal home be? A shingle covered beach house, a sleek roof top penthouse with floor to ceiling windows, or a converted barn with exposed beamed ceilings?
While it’s fun to dream, it’s also important to make where we currently call home into the best place it can be. It’s our sanctuary from an often busy world; somewhere to bring up children; and a place to invite friends and family to share time with us. It’s an important space.
I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere as grand and imposing as Highclere Castle but I do love reimagining homes for my clients. If you’d like some help to imagine how your home could look, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.