Its back!!!


all images via

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…


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


For more images and the complete background story go here.

Moody greys..

I have spoken of my love of grey’s in numerous previous posts and there seems to be no end to the obsession!

These images via the most beautiful blog Sanctuary are magnificently moody. (Although these images are not taken by the blogger (as far as I know) she is an unbelievably inspiring photographer …reading her blog makes me want to whip out my camera and rush around taking photos!! )

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I am bewitched by the gallery wall….

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While not strictly all grey, this last image is utter perfection with all  the warmth and textures going on…this room really and truly looks like a home and not just a styled room.

All images via Sanctuary and originally via Elle Decoration.


Time for Toile…….

For those few people who have never heard of Toile, it is a French name for a fabric meaning linen or canvas cloth, dating back to the 16th Century. Nowadays it predominantly refers to the design printed onto the linen or cotton fabric, usually a pastoral scene in a single colour, mostly black, blue or red. It is also available in wallpapers, of course…..

image via manuel canovas

It is a fabulous way to add a traditional touch to a room yet without overpowering the room with colour and pattern, because although the design of the pattern is usually quite complex, because of the monochromatic colour scheme, it looks deceptively simple and chic.

image via manuel canovas

This one in coral and grey is just beautiful….although not strictly traditional in that it is two or possibly three  colours, it still has a lovely feel.

image via manuel canovas

Very different-Toile medallions…an unusual take on the concept.

image via manuel canovas

A very traditional red with just a highlight of white.

image via manuel canovas

Again, a very unusual take on a traditional theme…this time pink and grey with white highlights.

Whenever I browse blogs or fabric sites, the Toiles definitely catch my eye every time…I would love to do an entire room in a toile in my country cottage (the fantasy one of course!) one day…perhaps the guest room?Oh a girl can dream…….


South African Home Tour Part 3…

Welcome to part 3 of the Home Tour of my talented South African friend’s  lovely home…this post focuses on the master bathroom, family bathrooms , family bedrooms and the Media or Family room which are all situated on the second floor of the home.

Just off the glamorous master bedroom is an equally decadent master bathroom, complete with free-standing tub and his and hers basins…these magnificent mirrors are from France.

A view of the tub and a vignette of antique glass orbs and jars.

I adore art in the bathroom, and something bold like this magnificent piece above the toilet and bidet, is perfect for the space-once again , there are no curtains, but shutters, which filter the wonderful light.

Directly off the master bedroom landing is the media room ,where the family spend time  on the computer. and watching TV or playing TV games. It is a comfortable room with plush sofas and cushions and shelves filled with books and objets.

 The media room is full of all kinds of lovely details like the bowl of ostrich eggs-simple ,yet effective. The wing chairs are wonderful and I love the art on the walls.

The shelves with books and interesting pieces-I love the ginger jars on the top shelf.

The ties on the back of the wing-back chairs are great details and break  up the expanse of the chair back .

An interesting little desk and chair just as you enter the media room.

This is the son’s bathroom , decorated with masculine yet chic charcoal striped wallpaper and charcoal accessories.

The charcoal, grey and white  colour combination  is carried through to the son’s bedroom…the bed is once again dressed beautifully  with over sized cushions and luxurious bedding.  (This is my room when I visit! I can speak from experience and confirm that it is very comfortable..)

I think the colour choices for this room were perfect for a young guy at university-masculine and yet not overtly so,to  also accommodate  any guests who may visit.

The daughter’s room is particularly pretty and feminine, with floral wallpaper, a gorgeous tufted and buttoned headboard and matching linens and cushions.

A lovely vintage painting .

All images taken by Colleen Shaw

The daughter’s en suite bathroom is a  girly dream come true…I love the chandelier against the pink stripes! Imagine a long soak in that fabulous tub!

Update: I heard today that my friend D is about to refurbish her existing kitchen (which I shall feature on the next post) so we will be able to follow the progress as they demolish the existing kitchen and start work on the new and improved version!

Watch this space..

The final post on this lovely home will follow soon.

A traditional Majlis…..

Another exciting project I am working on is a private majlis for a family in the neighboring Emirate of Sharjah. Sharjah is a smaller Emirate than Dubai and is a lot more traditional in some ways-the buildings and houses are certainly more traditional and much more like what Dubai used to look like about 10 years ago, with only a few high rise buildings dotted along the coastline….

The majlis is a very traditional room in the  household, which is typically a gathering place for a group of people to get together. They are usually very large rooms, and in wealthy homes they are decorated in a formal way with lots of large sofas and chairs , plush carpets and very glamorous chandeliers….The majlis will often be separate from the main house, thus allowing the family total privacy,  yet providing a comfortable spot for the gentlemen to gather without disturbing the female members of the household.I have even  worked on houses in Dubai which have a  ladies majlis and a separate  majlis for the men! The women and men do not tend to socialise together very much, although that tradition does seem to be changing, particularly with the younger generation.

My client’s majlis is a building set away from the main house, in lush gardens, with the added luxury of a dining room. I  will be painting Italian frescoes on the two flat ceilings of the majlis and dining room,  and the domed ceiling of the large entrance or lobby. The client has requested an Italian style so I am currently doing drawings or mock-ups to show the client what my plan is, and to help me work out a strategy for when we are actually on site doing the painting. I am fortunate enough to have help and I don’t have to actually do all of the painting myself ! It is  still a lot of work and I have had additional work added on to our scope in the form of an antique patina ,which has to be applied to all of the woodwork in the rooms-this means that all the wood panels, door and window frames and all the actual doors must have a glaze applied to them to “age “them …the client feels that the painted finish ,which has just been done, looks too “fresh”and does not fit in with the aged Italian feel they want.

The other big challenge is that we only have about 6 weeks to do the actual work so I am going to be very pushed for time which is really not how I like to work, because it makes quality control very difficult to monitor.

As soon as my drawings have been completed I will post a sneak peek……