Happy 4th of July!

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                             image via http://www.marthastewart.com

To all my American friends and readers, wishing you  all a very Happy Independence Day!

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image via http://www.marthastewart.com

Enjoy time spent with family and friends.

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A Stylish Find…

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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…

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

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

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                   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.

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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

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                            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!!

 

 

An ongoing project..

image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary

I thought I would post a few images of an ongoing project I am working on…I just noticed how wrinkled everything looks! When the job is finished I will be arranging a more professional shoot …wrinkle free! For now, Instagram photos will have to suffice…

imgae via adesigndiary
imgae via adesigndiary

The next room is the master bedroom which we are doing in shades of duck-egg blue so I am very excited to see how it all turns out.

image via adesigndiary
image via adesigndiary

Over decorated…..

Is there such a thing?

I have  been thinking recently about a lot of the images posted on blogs and in magazines…so many of the images are of rooms which are beautifully decorated, immaculately coordinated and primped and styled to within an inch of their lives….yet they are soulless.

By this I merely mean that they do not look lived in at all..one has no indication of who lives in the space , what their interests may be or what they like or dislike. I find this a bit disturbing to say the least…it is all well and good to live in a neat and tidy space, but to have no indication of one’s personality injected into the room might deliver a beautiful space in a technical sense, but in my humble opinion, it leaves the viewer wanting more .

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

One of my all time favourite apartments ever is that of Kate and Andy Spade.Their space is filled with character in the form of well-chosen furniture, art and accessories, yet none of it looks “designed” but rather a collection amassed over time and with each piece chosen with thought and consideration.

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

Imagine my delight at finding these vibrant  images of their Hamptons home…which, in essence, appears to be the same as their New York apartment.

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 Just look at the exterior shots of this gorgeous home…..

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All images via http://stevensclaroff.com/portfolio/residential/southampton-converted-art-school/

 I would love to visit for a weekend…it looks like a great house for a fabulous getaway with interesting people!

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.

 

 

Swedish Simplicity…..

My love of Swedish interior design is well known (and well documented) and I was filled with delight to find another source here: 

Check out these amazing images from an exceptionally well curated blog…

image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se/
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se

This kitchen is so stylish…half the size of my own and yet looks a thousand times more efficient.

image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se

The glamour of these mirrored doors…..and the antique chair….

image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se

Is this an Ikea night stand? Who would guess….

image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se

It must be the limited colour palette….the grey, white and black are just so sophisticated .

image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se
image via http://blogg.addsimplicity.se

Need I add anything more?