Playing with pattern in the home

Pattern is the way to my heart!

Who doesn’t love pattern? I certainly do. My philosophy is that there can never be too much. Pattern clashing rules.

Perhaps not for the faint hearted, but you really can layer pattern on pattern to your heart’s content. I can’t imagine a world without pattern. And a home without pattern… doesn’t bear thinking about! It can seem overwhelming dealing with pattern, but with a few basics up your sleeves and some belief in your ability to select and combine prints, you’ll be amazed at what can be achieved.

It’s not just about being brave with pattern; be adventurous with texture too. You can introduce pattern and texture into your home in many different ways. An obvious way is through accessories such as cushions, curtains, rugs, and throws. Wallpaper is a fantastic way of adding both pattern and texture. I am a huge fan of wallpaper (so much so I wrote and curated The Wallpaper Colouring Book!). These days you can find stunning wallpapers in all price ranges. Wallpaper Direct is a great starting point. It should come with a warning though… I can spend hours exploring on there and whole days can be lost.

Artwork is another way of bringing pattern into the home. This is a clever way of getting your pattern fix without committing to anything too permanent. I often frame wallpaper samples or pages from magazines to create mini worlds of pattern on the walls of my home. Experiment. If you don’t like it you can always change it at hardly any cost.

Stencilling is another way of adding pattern. On floors, walls and furniture, stencilling has come a long way of late and there are some truly beautiful sources of inspiration out there. Just stick ‘stencilling’ into the search bar on pinterest and you will be spoilt for choice!

Look at painting for inspiration. I am a complete Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard addict. More is more as I say!

And no one does it better than Tracy Porter, Poetic Wanderlust when it comes to pattern, particularly on crockery! Tracy is a designer after my own heart. I would happily decorate my home with her entire range! She carries pattern through every possible surface imaginable with true aplomb. Definitely worth a look if you are not already familiar with her work.

So go on, explore a little and channel your inner ‘brave’ self.

Pierre Bonnard (google images)
Pierre Bonnard (google images)
(www.poeticwanderlust.com)
(www.poeticwanderlust.com)
Edouard Vuillard (google images)
Edouard Vuillard (google images)
I heart Tracy Porter.
I heart Tracy Porter.
A fantastic source of inspiration... the work of artist Jill Ricci. (jillricci.com)
A fantastic source of inspiration… the work of artist Jill Ricci. (jillricci.com)
Pattern, colour and texture working beautifully together. (squint limited)
Pattern, colour and texture working beautifully together. (squint limited)
Floral heaven (Found on arcademi.com).
Floral heaven (Found on arcademi.com).
Just yum. (www.poeticwanderlust.com)
Just yum. (www.poeticwanderlust.com)
Serious pattern clashing, but it works. (www.olyaivanova.com)
Serious pattern clashing, but it works. (www.olyaivanova.com)
Edouard Vuillard (google images)
Edouard Vuillard (google images)
Tracy Porter rocks!(http://www.poeticwanderlust.com/inspiration.html)
Tracy Porter rocks!(http://www.poeticwanderlust.com/inspiration.html)
It’s not just about being brave with pattern; be adventurous with texture too. Here we can see orange suede, shot silk, damask and hand-woven material I brought back from Cambodia all working beautifully together. The colour palette is fairly constrained, but the juxtaposition of textures is what brings the excitement. (photo by Chris Gatcum)
It’s not just about being brave with pattern; be adventurous with texture too. Here we can see orange suede, shot silk, damask and hand-woven material I brought back from Cambodia all working beautifully together. The colour palette is fairly constrained, but the juxtaposition of textures is what brings the excitement. (photo by Chris Gatcum)
Pierre Bonnard (google images)
Pierre Bonnard (google images)
I recovered this old wing-back chair I found online in some gorgeous 1950s barkcloth and some donkey-brown velvet. I’ve teamed this with a couple of contemporary print cushions and a cushion I made myself with Lucienne Day-style prints. This colour scheme is predominantly grey, black, and yellow, but I’ve lifted it with the lampshade, which has orange, green and blues in the pattern, and with the orange accent ceramic pieces.
I recovered this old wing-back chair I found online in some gorgeous 1950s barkcloth and some donkey-brown velvet. I’ve teamed this with a couple of contemporary print cushions and a cushion I made myself with Lucienne Day-style prints. This colour scheme is predominantly grey, black, and yellow, but I’ve lifted it with the lampshade, which has orange, green and blues in the pattern, and with the orange accent ceramic pieces. (photo by Chris Gatcum)
Floor stencilling (blog.freepeople.com).
Floor stencilling (blog.freepeople.com).
Advertisements

The bold and the beautiful – statement lighting

“Lighting is the unsung hero of design.” Jonathan Adler

Mr Adler couldn’t be more right. Anyone who knows me, knows my complete obsession with lighting. Old, new, big, small, modern, vintage, kitsch, sleek… I don’t mind. I love it all. So now that the days are getting shorter, darker, and markedly colder, I thought it only apt to celebrate lighting in the home. In particular, statement lighting.

Lighting really can transform a home. It can turn an otherwise unwelcoming space into a glowing haven you won’t want to leave. The number of lamps and lights we have at home has become a bit of a running joke. I truly believe you can never have too many! Our main living room alone has eight at the moment and each has a specific purpose.

Below are some examples of gorgeous lighting together with go-to sources where you can find similar products for your own home. I hope you feel inspired to add a little lighting magic to your home now winter is approaching. Have fun!

A 1961 oversize Venini chandelier and vintage Stilnovo hexagonal wall lights dominate the entryway. A Fine Balance - T Magazine (nytimes.com)
A 1961 oversize Venini chandelier and vintage Stilnovo hexagonal wall lights dominate the entryway. A Fine Balance – T Magazine
(nytimes.com)
Stunning wall lights by Dimore Studio. (dimorestudio.eu)
Stunning wall lights by Dimore Studio.
(dimorestudio.eu)
Danish design hanging lamp. Semi by Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup 1968. (pinterest)
Danish design hanging lamp. Semi by Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup 1968. (pinterest)
Mixing old and new faultlessly. This space is just beautiful. (dimoregallery.com)
Mixing old and new faultlessly. This space is just beautiful. (dimoregallery.com)
Some of my favourites! Rolling greens’ arrangement bar in L.A. / sfgirlbybay.com.
Some of my favourites! Rolling greens’ arrangement bar in L.A. / sfgirlbybay.com.
More yumminess from Dimore:
More yumminess from Dimore: “Milan Design Week 2014. The Dimore duo are the pioneers of an exceptional & a truly unique aesthetic, forging new ground in unchartered territory of unwritten design rules.” (yellowtrace.com.au)
Copper Round Pendant by Tom Dixon. £255.00 www.heals.com
Copper Round Pendant
by Tom Dixon. £255.00 http://www.heals.com
The jewel-like Lily range from Martin Huxford. £495.(martinhuxford.com)
The jewel-like Lily range from Martin Huxford. £495.(martinhuxford.com)
The Decanterlight Chandelier by Lee Broom £1,250 www.heals.com
The Decanterlight Chandelier
by Lee Broom
£1,250 http://www.heals.com
Facet 18 Mini Pendant Stainless Steel by Innermost £557 www.heals.com
Facet 18 Mini Pendant Stainless Steel
by Innermost
£557 http://www.heals.com
Facet 60 Round Chandelier Pendant Brass by Innermost £8,250 www.heals.com
Facet 60 Round Chandelier Pendant Brass
by Innermost
£8,250 http://www.heals.com
Neon Font Wall Light by Seletti £40 www.heals.com
Neon Font Wall Light
by Seletti £40 http://www.heals.com
NEO-BAROQUE CHANDELIER £1,785.00 abigailahern.com
NEO-BAROQUE CHANDELIER
£1,785.00 abigailahern.com
ERIGONE CHANDELIER £1,450.00 abigailahern.com
ERIGONE CHANDELIER
£1,450.00 abigailahern.com
STARBURST CEILING LIGHT £640.00 abigailahern.com
STARBURST CEILING LIGHT
£640.00 abigailahern.com

White… not a mere absence of colour

“White… is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…” 
Gilbert K. Chesterton

I will be honest, hitherto I have not been a fan of a lack of colour. In fact, the very absence of colour makes me get a tad twitchy. I thrive off colour, lots of it, and pattern in abundance. So, I thought I’d take myself out of my comfort zone and see what all the fuss was about.

Neutrals, whites, natural materials… plain, dull, soulless. Well, that’s what I used to think. I did some digging around and it’s quite incredible what you can create with a very restrained palette and lots of different textures – not just soft furnishings; you can source incredible textured wallpapers and tiles these days to add further dimension to your walls. Far from clinical and devoid of any personality, you can create quite wonderful, uplifting, almost spiritual spaces.

Two designers whose signature style is the very absence of colour are Alex Legendre and Zoe Ellison, owners and founders of the divine i gigi General Store in Hove, East Sussex. Alex and Zoe have embraced unique textures and a natural palette to create a haven of calm. They have also written a beautiful book called A Life Less Ordinary, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to pour over gorgeous photography and interiors. Definitely one to curl up with.

Below I’ve collected some inspiration for you should you wish to travel down the route of natural palettes. It’s certainly a style that can be successfully applied to any room in the home. Just beware of small people with crayons and sticky hands is all I can say…I can’t say I am a complete convert, but I am certainly not quite the skeptic I once was! Enjoy.

It's all about texture. (srta-pepis.tumblr.com)
A monastic experience? It’s all about texture. (srta-pepis.tumblr.com)
Stripping it all back. (esin-ozcan.tumblr.com)
Stripping it all back. (esin-ozcan.tumblr.com)
8866208c30583ab530115b321092be6b
i gigi general store on Hove, East Sussex. (www.igigigeneralstore.com)
Simplicity in the kitchen. (pinterest)
Simplicity in the kitchen. (pinterest)
A veritable celebration of white. (pinterest)
A veritable celebration of white. (pinterest)
Stunning beaded chandelier from www.bodieandfou.com.
Stunning beaded chandelier from http://www.bodieandfou.com.
Vita Eos Feather pendant light from www.papilloninteriors.co.uk.
Vita Eos Feather pendant light from http://www.papilloninteriors.co.uk.
Grey flocked donkey head from www.abigailahern.com.
Grey flocked donkey head from http://www.abigailahern.com.
An injection of natural materials. (pinterest)
An injection of natural materials. (pinterest)
Chair from www.bodieandfou.com
Chair from http://www.bodieandfou.com.
Neal Grundy photography. www.igigigeneralstore.com
Neal Grundy photography. http://www.igigigeneralstore.com
White and cream rag rug made out of upcycled T shirts by Handiworkingirls (www.etsy.com).
White and cream rag rug made out of upcycled T shirts by Handiworkingirls (www.etsy.com).
Doing the neutral thing, but with a splash of wall art colour. For me a happy compromise! (pinterest)
Doing the neutral thing, but with a splash of wall art colour. For me a happy compromise! (pinterest)

Blinging up the boudoir look

boudoir. (ˈbuːdwɑː; -dwɔː) 1. a woman’s dressing room, bedroom or private sitting room or salon. [C18: from French, literally: room for sulking in, from ‘bouder’ to sulk]

Now the weather is turning decidedly autumnal how about creating a warm and relaxing sanctuary in the home where you can snuggle up with a good book, a hot drink and some cake, or luxuriate in a roll-top glass with some tunes and an indulgent glass of bubbly… I’m in!

For me the boudoir look is all about opulence, texture, pattern, drama, deep rich colours, and some female charm. Lighting is key too. This is a fantastic look to work with in a bedroom, dressing room, powder room or snug. If you are not a fan of bright colours you can always adopt a more sedate palette of nudes, creams, sorbet pinks and chocolatey browns.

A page from my scrapbook.
A page from my scrapbook.
boudoir002
Getting that boudoir feeling. Another page from one of my scrapbooks.
Photographer: Miss Aniela. Series: Surreal Fashion. Model: Faye Shearwood Stylist: Minna Attala. Dress: Busardi. Feather cape:National Theatre Costume Archive. Hair: Doubravka Marcinkova. Make-up: Rhiannon Chalmers. Stylist’s assistant: Becky Smith. Photographer's assistant: Tim Charles Matthews.
Photographer: Miss Aniela. Series: Surreal Fashion. Model: Faye Shearwood Stylist: Minna Attala. Dress: Busardi. Feather cape:National Theatre Costume Archive. Hair: Doubravka Marcinkova. Make-up: Rhiannon Chalmers. Stylist’s assistant: Becky Smith. Photographer’s assistant: Tim Charles Matthews.
More Miss Aniela gorgeousness.
More Miss Aniela gorgeousness.
Photographer: Miss Aniela / Model: Kim Davis / Dress created by Kirsty Mitchell Photography / Stylist: Minna Attala / Hair: Anne Veck / Makeup: Grace Gray / Photographer's assistants: Greg Sikorski, Matt Lennard, Ian Mears
Photographer: Miss Aniela / Model: Kim Davis / Dress created by Kirsty Mitchell Photography / Stylist: Minna Attala / Hair: Anne Veck / Makeup: Grace Gray / Photographer’s assistants: Greg Sikorski, Matt Lennard, Ian Mears
Somewhere to recline with a glass of fizz. (image from pinterest)
Somewhere to recline with a glass of fizz. (image from pinterest)
Grab a book and doze in this delightful space.
Grab a book and doze in this delightful space. (pinterest)
A dressing room fit for any discerning boudoir fan. Loving the lampshade by Zoe Darlington. (Image from Pearl Lowe's Vintage book/pinterest)
A dressing room fit for any discerning boudoir fan. Loving the lampshade by Zoe Darlington. (Image from Pearl Lowe’s Vintage book/pinterest)
Matisse's 'Seville Still Life'
Matisse’s ‘Seville Still Life’. (google images)
Matisse's 'Reclining Nude Back'.
Matisse’s ‘Reclining Nude Back’. (google images)
Sumptuous lighting design by the extremely talented Zoe Darlington. Lush!
Sumptuous lighting design by the extremely talented Zoe Darlington. Lush! (www.zoedarlington.co.uk)
More yumminess from Zoe Darlington.
More yumminess from Zoe Darlington. (www.zoedarlington.co.uk)
The Bluebell sofa from sofa.com.
The Bluebell sofa from sofa.com.
Waterblooms Crewelwork Rug by anthropologie.
Waterblooms Crewelwork Rug by anthropologie. (www.anthropologie.com)
Inject some colour into your scheme with the Maud Deco by Mols & Tati-Lois.
Inject some colour into your scheme with the Maud Deco by Mols & Tati-Lois. (Photo by Chris Gatcum)
The Club Tartan from Mols & Tati-Lois. (Photo by Chris Gatcum)
The Club Tartan from Mols & Tati-Lois. (Photo by Chris Gatcum)
Pineapple wall sconce from www.abigailahern.com.
Pineapple wall sconce from http://www.abigailahern.com.
Anthropologie's Nature Table Dessert Plate... perfect for eating cake off.
Anthropologie’s Nature Table Dessert Plate… perfect for eating cake off. (www.anthropologie.com)
Elegant perfume bottles are a must. (fredmiranda.com)
Elegant perfume bottles are a must. (fredmiranda.com)
The bubbly is beckoning... so let's get supping. Enjoy. (pinterest)
The bubbly is beckoning… so let’s get supping. Enjoy. (pinterest)

The work of the extremely talented artist/photographer, Miss Aniela, encapsulates the boudoir look perfectly in my opinion and she adds a healthy injection of attitude. A very modern boudoir I would say.

Historical references include Ingres’ Grande Odalisque, Manet’s Olympia, works by Egon Schiele, and Matisse’s many vibrant nudes, to name but a few.

Think lush fabrics such as velvet combined with sheers, fresh flowers releasing a heady aroma, ornate mirrors, furniture to recline on (sofa.com has some beautiful customisable sofas), pattern clashing, flamboyant lighting (visit Zoe Darlington, she rocks, and of course Mols & Tati-Lois), beads, tassels, fringing, dark corners, rugs, throws, cushions, arresting wall art.

There’s so much scope with this interior style so let your imagination run wild.

Revamping the humble foot stool

Breathe some life back into a sad-looking charity-shop find and create a stunning conversation piece for your home.

Today I am going to show you how to quickly and easily transform a tatty old foot stool into a quirky, unique object of beauty for the home. A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too! So let’s get creating… I hope you enjoy it.

What you will need:

-A foot stool

-Fabric

-Staple gun plus staples

-Hammer

-Pliers

-Upholstery tack strip trim plus tacks (you can use just standard tacks, but strips save time)

All photography by author and photographer Chris Gatcum.

A tower of foot stools. What the foot stool looked like originally.
Step 1: A tower of foot
stools. What the
foot stool looked
like originally.
Original foot stool stripped of old fabric and any tacks and staples, and with legs already painted, distressed and waxed.
Step 2: Original foot stool stripped of old fabric and any tacks and staples, and with legs already painted, distressed and waxed.
The length of upholstery tack strip needs to be long enough to work around the whole of the edge of the top of the foot stool.
Step 3: The length of upholstery tack strip needs to be long enough to work around the whole of the edge of the top of the foot stool.
Step 4: You will need sufficient fabric to cover the top of the foot stool plus an inch for turnover. I’ve used a vintage-style tea towel to cover this foot stool.
Step 4: You will need sufficient fabric to cover the top of the foot stool plus an inch for turnover. I’ve used a vintage-style tea towel to cover this foot stool.
Step 5: Start by stapling each edge in the centre point of the fabric, creating a smooth seam by turning the fabric back on itself by about and inch.
Step 5: Start by stapling each edge in the centre point of the fabric, creating a smooth seam by turning the fabric back on itself by about and inch.
Step 6: Once you’ve secured each edge you can start stapling along each edge fully. You will need to pull the fabric taut in order to avoid an uneven finish, but do not stretch it so much that you the pattern if the fabric has one.
Step 6: Once you’ve secured each edge you can start stapling along each edge fully. You will need to pull the fabric taut in order to avoid an uneven finish, but do not stretch it so much that you the pattern if the fabric has one.
Step 7: Next attach the upholstery tack trim by bending it around the edges of the foot stool to cover the line of staples. Use a hammer and watch out for your fingers!
Step 7: Next attach the upholstery tack trim by bending it around the edges of the foot stool to cover the line of staples. Use a hammer and watch out for your fingers!
Step 8: The finished foot stool transformed into something really rather lovely. Definitely something to be proud of!
Step 8: The finished foot stool transformed into something really rather lovely. Definitely something to be proud of!
Alternative trims and finishes: You don’t have to limit yourself to upholstery tacks to finish your foot stool off. Pom poms, braiding, ribbon, and even buttons can be glued or stitched around the edge of your foot stool to cover the staples and create a unique trim. You also don’t need to use one whole piece of fabric. A great way of using up remnants of fabric is create a patchwork foot stool. This is a great way to mix up print styles.
Alternative trims and finishes:
You don’t have to limit yourself to upholstery tacks to finish your foot stool off. Pom poms, braiding, ribbon, and even buttons can be glued or stitched around the edge of your foot stool to cover the staples and create a unique trim. You also don’t need to use one whole piece of fabric. A great way of using up remnants of fabric is create a patchwork foot stool. This is a great way to mix up print styles.
The finished stool! A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too!
The finished stool! A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too!

For the love of scrapbooks…

Hello everyone,

This is my very first personal venture into the world of blogging so please be patient. I have been collecting magazine cuttings, postcards, wrapping paper, and all manner of visual stuff for many many years. It all goes into a box and slowly I create collaged pages in a growing number of scrapbooks. I do this purely for pleasure, however, often the pages of my scrapbooks become a go-to source of inspiration for all the creative projects that I embark on, be that decorating spaces, revamping furniture or making lampshades. I cannot get enough of all things visual. So with this in mind I thought I might start to share things that are exciting me visually. A close friend of mine was blown away when I showed her one of my books and she pretty much ordered me to share it with the world! So humbly, here are some of my scrapbook collaged pages together with other images that have caught my eye today.

A page from my scrapbook.
A page from my scrapbook.
Orange is one of my favourite colours. This image is incredible. I found it on pinterest.
Orange is one of my favourite colours. This image is incredible. I found it on pinterest.
A page from my scrapbook.
A page from my scrapbook.
More scrapbook inspiration.
More scrapbook inspiration.
A couple of pages from one of my scrapbooks.
A couple of pages from one of my scrapbooks.
Just a great space. (Image from pinterest)
Just a great space. (Image from pinterest)
Green... another beautiful colour. Combined with lighting, it's just gorgeous.
Green… another beautiful colour. Combined with lighting, it’s just gorgeous.
Just the most incredible styling. I love everything about this space.
Just the most incredible styling. I love everything about this space.
Cameos with yellow and concrete. Such a great combination.
Cameos with yellow and concrete. Such a great combination.
More orange, this time with teal. I am in heaven!
More orange, this time with teal. I am in heaven!