So what a hiatus! I am so sorry. Life took over. However, I am back now and about to start a new series of posts about a new and exciting family adventure. We have moved to Devon! Ilfracombe to be precise. Don’t all rush here! It’s my little secret. So how did we get here? It’s been a dream of Mr G and mine for quite some time now. We independently fell in love with the West Country as children. Me… so many holidays I have lost count spent with my parents and siblings in Cornwall (mainly the Helford area) and Devon (all over). Mr G… Padstow, Rock, Pentewan, Croyde, Woolacombe… So we spent last summer in Woolacombe and visited Ilfracombe – the home of Damien Hirst – and fell in love. Like proper, proper, passionate love. I have been here before. Many years ago and during another lifetime when I was married to my ex husband. Nothing was tarnished though. It was like coming home. My heart soared. The light, the lush foliage, the craggy nature of the rock face, the smell of the sea. Ilfracombe beguiled me. Literally. And also Mr G. We stopped off at a parking stop on the cliffs between Hele Bay and Combe Martin and looked over at Ilfracombe, held hands and said to each other… ‘let’s do it’. We went home to East Sussex. Put the house on the market. And waited. Bloody Brexit. Nothing happened. Still nothing happened. Then I was offered a job of a lifetime in Brighton so I said yes. Started in January of this year and then sod’s law we had buyers who were uber keen. What to do? The dream was calling. But I had this incredible, challenging, creatively exciting job… So I kept the job and we sold the house and bought a vast doer-upper in the heights of Ilfracombe. It’s a four-storey Victorian terrace. The ceiling height is bonkers. The views are sublime. Out the back is the sea, Capstone Hill, Hillsborough, Wales, the Bristol channel, and all the ships and boats, tall ships, fishing boats, vast floating hotels and canoeists, ribs, life boats that you can imagine. At the front is a stunning Norman church that is bathed in brilliant red/pink light at the end of the day. Everywhere I look is replete with light and nature. The sunsets are out of this world. There is something incredibly spiritual about sitting in our living room by the huge bay window and seeing the sun set over the sea. Turner springs to mind. The colours are incredible. It feels like God’s own country. I tell you honestly, I was pretty low at the end of last year. This place has elevated my spirit beyond belief. And that of the whole family I think. Mr G is far more animated and is taking photos left, right and centre. The house has become a passion of ours. She is a she and we are going to breathe a whole lot of new life into her. She has a soul. Palpable. I run my hands over her banister, marvel at her huge doors, feel the warmth bouncing off her walls. This home is smiling. I hope you join us on this adventure and enjoy the ride.
So it’s a somewhat delayed post Christmas and New Year ditty from me… Huge apologies, but the family Christmas was a bit of a washout due to the nasty sickness bug going around and the New Year has been a flurry of getting the latest addition to the family, ie the baby boy bubba, ready and settled in nursery. And so it’s done. Another year started and lots of projects in the pipeline, events to attend, plans to consolidate, and hopefully horizons to broaden (my own of course).
I always get twitchy at this time of year. As though I can’t wait to shed some wintry, heavy mantle and skip off to challenges new. And I do have some new challenges afoot… Last Monday I returned to work after 10 months of maternity leave. This may be third time down the line, but it still filled me with a mixture of abject terror and ridiculous elation… what, I can go to London on my own, by train (well hopefully), read a magazine, determine what I do when (well within reason, I still have a line manager), have unbroken adult conversations, wear clothes that aren’t covered in snot and baby food, eat my food sitting down and at a leisurely pace?! Yes, and what a treat it was. I got to peruse several of the magazines I have been piling up over the last half a year and I have been left full of bouncy inspiration. Not least from the fantastic colour combos that are being championed at the moment. My favourite of which is the green, black and pink combination. So for my first post of 2017 here are some visuals to whet the old appetite. I hope you like them. (All images are courtesy of pinterest)
“One might not think of light as a matter of fact, but I do. And it is, as I said, as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find.” Dan Flavin – American minimalist artist famous for creating sculptural objects and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures.
I’ve always had a thing for lighting, in particular neon… In my first year at art college I went on a trip to Blackpool to see the lights in November. I was totally blown away by the gaudiness, the colours, the assault on the senses. I was in neon heaven! Neon has come in and out of fashion, and to a certain degree has become a bit of a design cliche of late. I haven’t let this deter me though. I still have a massive soft spot for all things neon.
It’s been used as a medium of expression over the years by many artists – Tracey Emin, Jason Rhoades, and Dylan Neuwirth to name but a few. It smacks of Soho and many an insalubrious area; circus tents and theme parks; Las Vegas and excess… and I love the fact that neon has a seedy edge to it. But it is also a thing of upmost beauty and the art of neon is incredible. My neon hero is Chris Bracey of God’s Own Junkyard, who sadly passed away in November 2014. I had the pleasure of various email communications with Chris prior to his death. If you have never heard of him I urge you to investigate his vast collection of work. “His work can be seen in films as diverse as Batman, Blade Runner and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Rainbow Fancy Dress and Sonata Jazz Café signs in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut are both his: they now form part of the 700-strong collection in the Walthamstow workshop-cum-neon-museum.” The Guardian online, November 2014.
And if you are like me and dyeing to make something in neon yourself, then have a look at The Neon Workshop company based in Yorkshire. Set up by artist Richard William Wheater with the aim of teaching and exploring neon, it offers a number of different workshops. If you would like something closer to London, then why not try the fabulous Indytute – brainchild of the highly talented Calypso Rose – which offers neon-making courses delivered by The Neon Workshop.
With all this rain and grey sky, it’s a perfect time to be thinking about bringing a little light and colour into your home.
Happy New Year to all you lovely people. I hope you and yours had a wonderful festive period and that 2016 will be filled with loads of good stuff for us all. I am personally not-so-secretly delighted…
In a little over three months I will be welcoming baby number 3 into the world. It’s a boy this time. I am filled with a mixture of excitement and apprehension at the unknown quantity that is a small boy-child. I have two gorgeous daughters so all things girl-related I am highly versed in, but a boy…? It’s going to be a whole new adventure and one I am sure I will find incredible if at times nerve wracking.
So with the joys of a mostly wet and grey January ahead of me, I have started to turn my head to something not remotely drab and dreary… the design of the nursery. My wish-list is currently: bold, kitsch, quirky, bright, snug, surprising and as eclectic as possible to incorporate things we already have in our home. I am drawn to the colour yellow at the moment, but a 1950s yellow a la extraordinarily talented Lucienne Day or modern-day MissPrint, whose Dandelion Mobile fabric I just adore.
I am sure the design and scheme will morph organically over the coming months, but for the moment, here are some visuals that are inspiring me. Hope you enjoy.
Today I want to talk about mirrors. I adore them. We currently have one whole wall of the upstairs bathroom covered in salvaged 1940s and 1950s mirrors. And why not?! Mirrors not only serve an obvious function, they are a wonderful device in the home for bringing more light into a room. They quite literally reflect and bounce light around an otherwise dimly-lit room. Or they can flood an already well-lit room with even more light. And mirrors can double the size of a room just by clever positioning. So, don’t think of the mirror as just a surface into which to see your reflection. They really are a thing of magic. Try and experiment and use them in the home in unconventional settings.
A mirror above a fire place is I imagine fairly ubiquitous in most homes, but why not place it off centre? Or arrange a collection of mismatched mirrors over the fire place instead. A mirror resting on the floor and leaning against a wall is a great way of bringing the eye down to floor level and then leading it up a wall. It’ll add height to a room.
And mirrors don’t have to be shiny and new to be effective. Tarnished, beaten-up mirrors are beautiful and add character to a space. And they will still bounce light around a room even if you cannot properly see into them. If you are feeling adventurous, why not try aging a mirror yourself. Follow this tutorial for fantastic results.
Consider scale too. An over-sized mirror in an unexpected setting can look incredible, so too can a diminutive mirror! If I have managed to whet your appetite for all things marvellously mirrored, then shop around as there are some fantastic finds to be had. Rockett St George has a beautiful current selection; for some truly spectacular mirrors check out Alex MacArthur Interiors; The Old Cinema often has some real treats available; and NotOnTheHighStreet offers a vast array of affordable mirrors, with some incredible starburst styles to pick from.
Apologies for the radio silence. I’ve been super busy the last few weeks getting things ready and setting up a new space in a retail outlet. All very exciting.
The 1986 film Pretty In Pink became a formative part of my teenage years. Yet, the colour pink in the home has never really done it for me. Well, not until recently that is. I confess to being a complete convert!
Pink in the home can be used in so many different ways. You can introduce subtle pastel pink hues or go full-on saturated in-your-face-pink, or somewhere in the middle. Whole walls can be painted or just well-chosen accent pieces… There is huge scope for experimentation. Combinations that work well are pink and copper, pink and black, pink and concrete, and if you’ve really got guts, pink and red. You can introduce colour through artwork, paint just a door, throw in a vibrant rug or some cushions. If you feel cautious start with soft furnishings as they are straightforward to change. Pink can be sensual or cosy, dramatic or subtle.
So if you are like me – basically turning my nose up at the thought of pink in the home until recently – feast your eyes on these visuals and hopefully you too will see the potential of pink!
In the face of the devastating terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday evening, The Maximalist is paying tribute to the people of Paris with a simple, photo-led celebration of the three colours: red, white and blue.
Well I would beg to differ! A door can be so much more than just a door. So can a doorway.
Abigail Ahern suggests removing doors to open up space and allow for greater design fluidity in the home. I do agree with her to a degree, however, I also quite like a door myself. So to all my fellow door fans, here are some of my favourite doors together with fantastic ideas as to how to make a feature of a door and/or doorway, and ways of repurposing the ubiquitous door. I hope you enjoy!
I don’t know about you, but it’s at this time of year that I like to whisk the other half off, sans children, for a night or two of “boutique-hotel” stay yumminess.
I’ve found fantastic deals on Groupon; truly stunning accommodation on a par with any boutique hotel on airbnb; riffled through the virtual pages of Mr & Mrs Smith for a super-cool destination; or trusted the word of friends and family… And I can’t say we’ve experienced a dud yet. In recent years we’ve visited Prague, The George in Rye, The Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Hastings Old Town, Barcelona, London, Paris, and Castell Deudraeth in Portmeirion in Wales, to name but a few.
And it’s not just about grownup time away from the kids. I get so much inspiration from the places we’ve stayed in that I come away bursting with ideas of how to add a touch of luxe living to my own home. So why not treat yourself to a night away from home and steal some fantastic home styling ideas while you’re at it! Here are some visuals to inspire you. It’s all about creating an indulgent and intimate space, full of layers of lighting, sumptuous bedding, and the odd roll-top bath for good measure.
Next stop a riad in Morocco! Well El Fenn to be precise. It’s on my Christmas list…
What do you get if you throw eccentricity, britishness, a predilection for all things Baroque, and a hefty dose of wit into a bag and give it a thoroughly good shake up? Why, you get seriously exciting design ideas…
Yep, today I am flying the flag for British design and all its wonderful quirkiness. My current favourites are Mineheart, Abigail Ahern, House of Hackney, Dupenny, Witch and Watchman, Deborah Bowness and Squint Limited. They all share a love of bold statement design that can really bring an element of theatre to a home.
I would also like to point you in the direction of Mister Finch – the super-talented textile artist whose exquisite oversized insects should adorn every interior in my humble opinion; Alex MacArthur Interiors – a veritable cabinet of curiosities; and Melody Rose – bone china “marrying the unexpected with the traditional; images that shock and please in equal measure; the juxtaposition of quaint and quirky.”
So as winter approaches and we get ready to hunker down for a cold spell, why not inject a bit of good old-fashioned drama into your home interior. Surround yourself with unusual objects and create a cocoon of design statements. Think open fires, rugs, lots of texture, dark walls, creative lighting, kooky accessories, witty artworks, and a large dollop of weird and wonderful eccentricity. If nothing else, it will make you smile as you sip your mulled wine and listen to the wind and rain beating down outside. Home should after all be a sanctuary…