Its back!!!

image08-500x333

all images via https://magnoliamarket.com/the-nut-house/

My favourite reality TV show is back…Season 4 of Fixer Upper has returned to screens in the US…

I am sure we will not be far behind but for now, I am satisfying my obsession with a sneak peek at Joanna Gaines’s blog which features images from the first episode of the new season…

image25-500x750

As you can see, the makeover is fabulous and her wonderfully relaxed Country chic style features strongly.

image12-500x333

For more images and the complete background story go here.

A Stylish Find…

LynGardener_additional1-900x1200

image via http://thedesignfiles.net/2015/09/lynda-gardener-and-mark-smith/

Through a very convoluted series of searches and ending up on this site, I discovered this unique Australian home in Melbourne,belonging to stylist Lynda Gardener, which she shares with her partner Mark Smith.

This is the kind of home I absolutely love! Its decorated without being decorated , if you know what I mean. Its a home curated rather than bought and put together, with pieces which are carefully chosen by the owner and which have layers, age, patina and meaning.

Lynn_Gardener_wide_2-1240x800

image via http://thedesignfiles.net/2015/09/lynda-gardener-and-mark-smith/

It is my dream to have a home like this…one which really tells a story about the people who live in it. This home clearly is inhabited by interesting people with depth and history …the actual building adds to the overall look of course…it’s an old factory which they renovated.

Lynn_Gardener_portrait_12-600x800

image via http://thedesignfiles.net/2015/09/lynda-gardener-and-mark-smith/

I particularly love how Lynda has used a limited colour palette of whites, greys and wood tones but the home is full of unique , earthy pieces she has collected and is clearly her “showroom” for her beautifully selected antique pieces. Her gallery walls of old portraits is sublime…I am seriously in love!

LG_Homepage_Additional-1240x800

image via http://thedesignfiles.net/2015/09/lynda-gardener-and-mark-smith/

Aside from the gorgeous furniture and accessories, the whole home is light, bright and airy with that wonderful industrial feel which looks so incredibly chic…while I am not a fan of taxidermy, even her deer heads somehow look exactly right in this setting!

Lynn_Gardener_portrait_5-600x800

image via http://thedesignfiles.net/2015/09/lynda-gardener-and-mark-smith/

For the full house tour, click here for the link.

Now all I have to do is get online and start the hunt for an old factory!!

Creative Christmas Ideas…

For a number of reasons, mostly work commitments, I find it very difficult to get into a Festive frame of mind with the lead up to Christmas. Living in a Muslim country (entirely my choice) Christmas as we know it is obviously  not observed in a spiritual sense. The decorations are all up in the malls (yes, its true..they are more festive in Dubai than London!) and the Christmas fairs have started.

Its a much more subtle feeling which to me seems to be lacking…no crisp and cold weather…no natural slowing down of work (I usually work right up to Christmas Eve and then again on the day after Christmas through to New Year) and very little sense of family unless we fly our mum to Dubai to see us. Most often we join friends for a get together and shared meal which is lovely but it’s just not the same!

5f6e59cb78475bafd938223ab0ce36c6

image via http://indulgy.com/post/PgjQqdXG72/holiday-decor

I have been scouring Pinterest to try and get some inspiration and infuse some of the Season’s excitement into the next few weeks and my goodness, there are some beautiful ideas around…there are some incredibly clever and inspiring people in the world!!

Look at these beautiful decorative baubles…

15418848923_f00232f7a7_b

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

Oh to have some spare time to make these!! I LOVE them!!

3a371820ce50ff1269ba3657a96efbe2

                   image via http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/hemtrender

For a natural Christmas, these ideas above are spot on…I particularly love the moss-wrapped shades in the image on the top left.

xmas_candles

images via http://www.tabithaemma.com/christmas-inspiration-candles/

These ideas for displays of candles are just wonderful and so easy to do…even for us in a greenery challenged desert!! I’m seeing a bit of a natural them going on here so what about a bit of sparkle…this wonderful collage below is from this blog

PicMonkey-Collage19

                            images via http://www.lizmarieblog.com/

These gorgeous images are from this blog...a lovely combination of natural and a bit of glitter.

I must say, just writing this post has literally lifted my spirits..with less than a month to go to Christmas, believe me I need it. The problem is that I have had a few Christmases in England with gorgeous cold weather, a proper Church service in a 300 year old church, real floral wreaths and trees , sparkly lights in cosy cottages…I feel like I am in a movie each time I experience it and a desert Christmas is just so different that it always seems to be a bit of a let down to me! I am fully aware that I sound like a Grinch!!

 

 

Fixer Upper Obsession…

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
mage via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

I realise I am probably a bit late to the Fixer Upper phenomenon, but I LOVE this show and I LOVE Chip and Joanna…I mean, I want to move into their house and be adopted by them kind of love!

I have obsessively watched every single show and scoured every single post on Joanna’s blog to try and get into the incredibly talented duo’s mind set!

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

For anyone (like me apparently) who has been living in a cave for the last couple of years, Chip and Joanna Gaines are the hosts of a reality TV show called Fixer Upper. They take run down houses and fix them up for clients, showing the process from demo to the fabulous reveal at the end of the show. It’s not just the amazingly creative ideas which Joanna comes up with each episode but also the fact that they are hilariously funny, normal , down to earth people who honestly seem so genuine and …well, nice! Their relationship is also an inspiration and you can tell that they really do like each other…in short they are the kind of people you would want to have as your best friends…Seriously…

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

Joanna’s  Farmhouse Chic Style really appeals to me – She uses simple pieces with age and patina, neutral colours and tones, and beautiful yet functional furniture. As I am sure you know if you read my blog, refurbishing furniture is a big part of my business and I believe that this kind of recycling is going to become even more important in the future ,as our planet’s resources are placed under even further pressure. It is a subject very close to my heart and one which Joanna clearly believes in too.

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

She uses a lot of painted furniture and refurbishes and up-cycles on a grand scale to create unique yet comfortable interiors for families…this Farmhouse Chic style is a very easy style to live with and it is clearly working for them as a design team! What they manage to do with some of the houses is nothing short of a miracle, and it is quite inspiring to watch them take a hideous 70’s house (what were we thinking???) and turn it into a clean, simple and beautiful home for their clients.

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

If you have not had a chance to see this fabulous team in action, find them on Youtube or see Joanna’s blog here.

image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog
image via http://magnoliahomes.net/blog

When Shabby Chic or Country doesn’t work…..

image via adesigndiary

As a decorative painter, I paint a lot of furniture and while most of it is a beachy or Shabby Chic finish, what does one do if that “look” does not suit the style of the owner’s home yet the wood only look is too cottage-y?(The piece above was a lovely shelving unit which was done for a client who wanted a beach/shaby chic look )

The answer is quite simple…a washed finish. This colours the wood ,yet allows the grain and texture of the wood to still show through. It should really be done by a skilled applicator as it can end up looking very “stripey” but it certainly could be done by a confident DIY’er who has done some painted furniture before….

Before we start the actual painting, I like to remove all of the wax/stain/varnish which has previously been applied to the piece and the result is usually a lovely natural wood colour with plenty of character.Applying the wash to this enhances the texture and colour of the wood while also changing the colour very slightly. Most of the pieces I do here in the UAE are made of Mango wood (from India )which seems to end up a soft pinky/grey colour and with a wash of off-white, it looks really great, particularly in a contemporary home.

image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary

Even though the piece above is actually quite a traditional piece from India, it fits in very well with the contemporary home because the painted finish is neither shabby chic or cottage style. The client decided to keep the metal pieces which are often used on Indian pieces…they add character to simple pieces and I usually paint them white to lighten the metal which is most often a hard black.

After being stripped of the dark stain it started with, we sanded back the wood to reveal the natural colour and I then washed the piece with a light glaze in an off-white.

The finished piece was sealed with a good coat of natural wax.