Inspirational colour…

image via http://www.matchbookmag.com/
image via http://www.matchbookmag.com/

I am feeling very uninspired at the moment…the heat has finally kicked in and it always makes me tired and sluggish until I get used to to the extreme humidity…even after living here for so long!

As a result of this, I am struggling to get excited about things and in particular, about work and creative things. However, when I saw this image, my creative heart started beating a little faster…what is it about the combination of hot pink and orange which works so beautifully?

These colours appear a lot in the Indian culture and I have noticed the combination in silk saris , combined with gold embroidery. It always catches my eye, and this room was no exception. I also love the chaos on the table and of course, the magnificent, lush roses…

 

Wicker baskets…

A few days ago I wrote a post about wicker furniture used indoors as opposed to traditional outdoor furniture, and I mentioned that wicker baskets are a great way to add interest to rooms as well as providing great storage options for toys, magazines, shoes…you name it, any kind of clutter can be successfully corralled in a basket of some kind!

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image via http://www.johnjacobinteriors.com/

A perfect way to present bulbs or indoor plants..in a basket on a hall table.

image via http://www.johnjacobinteriors.com/
image via http://www.johnjacobinteriors.com/
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image via http://www.johnjacobinteriors.com/
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image via http://www.johnjacobinteriors.com/
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image source unknown

I am fairly certain that the above image is Gwyneth Paltrow’s enviable kitchen..I love the storage baskets on the lower shelf of the island.

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image via Lonny magazine

Even in a more contemporary home, baskets look great..the choice of  a more streamlined option rather than a rustic one works better in this environment.

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image via Cote de Texas blog

Here Joni from Cote de Texas uses wicker trunks for storage in a client’s living room.. perfect for storing toys and games or seasonal scatter cushions and throws.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

A lovely African basket used here to store what looks like onions and ginger…or some kind of seed pod.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

This looks like a laundry basket.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

Baskets used as kitchen storage, in what would be a wasted space…it also warms up a cool and fairly contemporary treatment of the cupboards.

Image via adesigndiary
Image via adesigndiary

A gorgeous image of my friend D’s lovely veranda – her baskets hold magazines.

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image via adesigndiary

In her kitchen, more magazines and cookbooks in the baskets.

image via lndolozi.com
image via lndolozi.com

Baskets on an ottoman as part of a stylish vignette.

Baskets are no longer the frilly, cottagey accessories of the 80’s and they have developed into useful and chic additions to any style of decoration.

Vignettes….?

This word (Vignettes)gets tossed about regularly in blog land and I happened to use it last week while discussing a room with a client  She had not heard the term before and it occurred to me that perhaps there were other people who also had not heard of this term.

image via Lonny magazine
image via Lonny magazine

Essentially, vignette is a decorating term used to describe a grouping of items which appear on a table top, a coffe table, an ottoman or even shelves. Vignette comes from the French word “vigne”which means : the use of vine tendrils in decorative design. It also loosely means an unbordered  picture or a short scene…all of which apply in decoration really.

image via athomearkansas.com
image via athomearkansas.com

For most decorators, it basically means : to create a little display or image by grouping interesting items together on a surface of some kind. As more and more people are becoming exposed to all styles of decoration via blogs and images on the internet, homes are becoming more “decorated”and by that I mean finished in a more professional way. I think people are inspired by what they see on the internet and they are prepared to try new things in their own homes. While a lot of times this works well , I do believe that one either has an eye for balance and proportion or one does not. Perhaps it can be learned, but I think it is mostly instinctual…knowing what works and what doesn’t and how to fix it, if it appears to be wrong. I also firmly believe that a home is never “done”and that it should grow and change organically as the person who lives there changes and matures.

image via John Jacob Interiors
image via John Jacob Interiors

 

I find a home which never changes  to be very boring and uninspiring….I used to put together window displays for a beautiful interior store in Dubai (sadly the recession put the owner out of business) and I regularly used to be just putting the finishing touches on a window ,when a customer would come into the store and buy the entire window…from the vases of flowers right down to the linen or cushions on a bed! One customer even took a photo of the window as it was ,and insisted that our delivery staff from the store install it in her home exactly as I had done it in the window! I was always amazed that these customers were unable to play around and experiment with their furniture and decor at home, but it made me realise that not all people have the “eye”.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

 

With visual merchandising, one has to tell a story with a vignette which will draw the customer in, and at the same time show them how to use the items on sale. At the time, I knew what I was doing by grouping objects to create a pleasing display…I just didn’t know that it was called a vignette!In your own home, the idea of a vignette is to do the same thing….draw the visitor in to a focal point in a room.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

The best vignettes are personal and tell a story about the person (or people) who live in the house…they have a good balance of high and low pieces and of course colour and texture.

image via House and Leisure magazine
image via House and Leisure magazine

This image above is a great example…it is very symmetrical and balanced in terms of the colour. It also tells the viewer that the occupants of this home are clearly well traveled, or at the very least interested in different cultures.

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

This image has a slightly ethereal quality to it, particularly the butterflies..I find myself wanting to look closer at all the objects under the glass cloches.

image via adesigndairy
image via adesigndairy

A good rule of thumb is also to use groups of three and five…and vary the heights of objects. Then stand back and look…if you feel something is too low, use a stack of books to lift the object up and create interest.

image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary

While this vignette above looks quite chaotic and busy, it has been carefully curated with antique perfume bottles, silver cigarette cases, antique silver frames and some beautifully coloured ceramics.

The most important thing to remember is to make a vignette yours…with personal items that work well together but mean something to you . The beauty of a vignette is that everyone is unique and different depending on who is putting it together, so there is really no right or wrong as long as the scale and balance is right.

 

 

Wicker Furniture used indoors…

A client recently asked me if she could use wicker furniture, traditionally very much an outdoor material, in her living room. My answer was a resounding yes!

I am a great believer in layering to create texture and interest in a room and some of my favorite rooms have upholstered furniture and wicker or cane living together very happily. I think it is mostly about colour and scale and as long as these two factors are correct, the furniture will work beautifully.

image via www.ashleywhittakerdesign.com
image via http://www.ashleywhittakerdesign.com

A perfect example is the image above…subtle colouring and medium sized chairs which fit very well in a medium sized room.

http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/
http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/

In this gorgeous South African home, you can see the large wicker chairs which the designer has paired with a bold stripe, an animal hide rug and a chandelier. It works beautifully..the ceilings are quite high and I love the fact that there is no sofa, but rather four chairs grouped around a table.

http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/
http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/

And an image of a dining option…casually chic. This looks like a kitchen in a fabulous French chateau …but it is actually a gorgeous home in Pretoria, South Africa.

http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/
http://www.houseandleisure.co.za/

While sourcing images for this post, I found a related post  by the amazing Habitually Chic blog. She also features some exquisite images of designers who use wicker indoors in their designs.

image via http://cotedetexas.blogspot.ae/
image via http://cotedetexas.blogspot.ae/

One of my favourite bloggers, Joni from Cote de Texas blog did a lovely post on the famous Kooboo wicker chairs, which apparently come from Belgium. There are a lot of budget options out there and even Ikea do a good one, which I recently bought for one of my clients . (Stylish choices are somewhat limited in Dubai if you are budget conscious!)

While not exactly the same as the Kooboo chairs, it does provide the texture and look I was after for my client at a very good price point.

image via Ikea
image via Ikea

I love the finish too, which is more washed grey than the image shows…with some gorgeous striped cushions in  grey and beige, they look great!

image via habitually chic blog (design by Thom Felicia)
image via habitually chic blog (design by Thom Felicia)

There is something about these large scale chairs which I adore…the “slubby “texture (is that even a word?)is delightful and they look amazing teamed with the very refined architectural features of the room.

I also think that aside from wicker furniture, wicker baskets are fantastic ways to build texture and layers in a room and create storage at the same time…but I might save that for another post!

 

South African Homes…

I know I have said this before (and of course I am biased in my opinion) , but South African homes are generally very stylish …..I have proof to back up my opinion!

Yesterday, while looking through the House and Leisure website, I found this incredible home in Johannesburg.

I am a Classic girl through and through, but this contemporary home really speaks to me…

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

I love the smooth lines and curves and of course the colour!

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

It is a perfect home for the type of lifestyle which South Africans enjoy..a lot of outdoor living -so spaces are designed to open up and let the outside in.

 

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

This kitchen is wonderful…bright and clean and clearly designed for a family.

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

A view into the atrium-I love how interesting shadows are thrown by the architectural details of the home.

image via House and Leisure Magazine
image via House and Leisure Magazine

Fabulous bathroom with  a view into the trees…

I think this is the kind of home which would suit the UAE type of lifestyle perfectly…I have constantly wondered why more of this type of home have not been built here. The architects here tend to build monolithic two and three story blocks with a flat roof…perhaps it is more economical to air condition a smaller footprint?

All images from House and Leisure Magazine South Africa 

 

 

I’ve gone Missing…again….

I realised this morning that it is almost a month since I last posted… where does the time go?

I have had a busy few weeks with our Mum visiting from the UK, a little 4 day get away to the East coast of the UAE, and work on projects in Dubai which has taken up a lot of time!

I wanted to show you a quick look at what I have been doing…

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This is an apartment I have been working on for about a year..it is slowly coming together and I hope to be able to show some more photos now that we are almost finished!

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