Who is the fairest of them all?

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.

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A series of large round fisheye mirrors arranged over a seating area work to reflect light around the room as well as providing an interestingly distorted view of the space. (pinterest)
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A mirror doesn’t have to be centred or wall-mounted. (pinterest)
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Playing with the illusion of space. A mirror can double or even triple the size of a room. (pinterest)
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Mirror tiles arranged to create the effect of a faux window work beautifully here. (pinterest)
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“Antique mirror made from Moroccan Zellige tiles – They are beautifully translucent, super irregular but rather breathtaking.” (abigailahern.wordpress.com)
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Esher Églomisé Glass. Handmade & installed by Stuart Fox Ltd. (stuartfox.co.uk)
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Mismatched mirror gallery. Mirrors don’t have to be uniform. (snitchsnotch.blogspot.com)
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Doshi Levien’s jewel-like mirrors for Danish brand for Hay. (dezeen.com)
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A collection of hand mirrors mounted on the wall. Works beautifully. (howtodecorate.com)
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A mirror can give the illusion of an endless space. (pinterest)
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There are no rights and wrongs. Go with your gut. (pinterest)
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Simple little details can elevate a space. (pinterest)
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Why not be as over the top as possible! Dodie Rosenkrans in her crazy coral encrusted palace. (loveisspeed.blogspot.com)
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Mottled, tarnished, aged mirrors look fabulous. (pinterest)
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Pretty in Pink

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!

 

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Pink trompe l’oeil. (tinekhome.blogspot.dk)
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Deep, saturated cerise used successfully in a kitchen couple with concrete. The combination stops the pink being too frou frou! (bloglovin.com)
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Take inspiration from this truly stunning restaurant interior. The Pink Gallery at Sketch in London // pink dining room with retro chairs and chevron floors. (thecarelessblogger.wordpress.com)
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The Pink Studio, 1911 by Matisse. (TOPofART.com)
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If you can pull it off, go big and bold and transform the facade of your home with pink! (reifhaus.tumblr.com)
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Why not look to existing belongings to determine the colour of your walls. Here seashells have been the point of reference. (chintz-of-darkness.blogspot.com)
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Pale pink, but done with aplomb. Who doesn’t love an embossed wall. (1stdibs Introspective on Frank de Biasi / 1stdibs.com)
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Pink wallpaper punctuated with vintage frames. (boho-weddings.com)
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Creating a bold statement hallway using salmon pink, and black and white. A combination that definitely works. An eclectic collection of artwork, a vibrant rug, and monochrome stair runner all help pull this strong look off. (domino.com)
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Introduce pink through fabric and soft furnishings. This Art Deco fabric (1920–1930) would look incredible as curtains. Think sophisticated pink… (pinterest)
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In the pink. (flickr.com)
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A pink accent chair. (lisasaysgah.com)
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Not for the faint-hearted! Pink living room in the home of designer Solange Azagury Partridge – Photography by Neil Gavin (wmagazine.tumblr.com)
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If you’re going to go pink, go pink… I love the combination of pink and yellow kitchen units. (ilovepolkadot.blogspot.no)
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I just love this image. (theleoisallinthemind.tumblr.com)
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Pink and copper. And a tolix chair. What’s not to love! (ideasmag.co.za)
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Be bold and brave… combine pink and red for a truly dramatic look. (pinterest)
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Or create a mediterranean roof-dining experience and give the exterior of your home a lush pinky colour wash. (pinterest)
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Pink doesn’t have to overpower. Here it is used effectively with a combination of seemingly clashing patterns to great effect. (pinterest)
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Another kitchen. The pink works as a powerful backdrop to a very personal collection of belongings. (pinterest)
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And to finish, a gorgeous pastel pink geometric artwork. (pinterest)

Tricolore…

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.

Leviathan by Anish Kapoor – a series of giant interconnected womb-like orbs in the Grand Palais, Paris. dezeen.com
Leviathan by Anish Kapoor – a series of giant interconnected womb-like orbs in the Grand Palais, Paris.
dezeen.com
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Abigail Ahern for Debenhams. (pinterest)
Abigail Ahern for Debenhams. (pinterest)
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Henri Matisse ~ Large Red Interior, 1948. (pinterest)
Henri Matisse ~ Large Red Interior, 1948. (pinterest)
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.
Image from pinterest.

A door is a door is a door…

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!

Sliding industrial door. (pinterest)
Sliding industrial door. (pinterest)
Bold and bright doorways. (pinterest)
Bold and bright doorways. (pinterest)
Door as gallery wall. (pinterest)
Door as gallery wall. (pinterest)
Two-tone door. (pinterest)
Two-tone door. (pinterest)
A bold green door. (http://avaxhome.ws/blogs/FAV2009)
A bold green door. (http://avaxhome.ws/blogs/FAV2009)
Gallery door. (pinterest)
Gallery door. (pinterest)
Gallery door 2. (pinterest)
Gallery door 2. (pinterest)
Repurposed door. (pinterest)
Repurposed door. (pinterest)
Havana doors. (pinterest)
Havana doors. (pinterest)
Defining the doorway. (pinterest)
Defining the doorway. (pinterest)
Multicoloured door. (pinterest)
Multicoloured door. (pinterest)
Repurposed doors. (remodelista)
Repurposed doors. (remodelista)
Door as chalkboard. (pinterest)
Door as chalkboard. (pinterest)
Saloon doors. (pinterest)
Saloon doors. (pinterest)
Colour heaven. (pinterest)
Colour heaven. (pinterest)
Door as canvas, Charleston Farmhouse. (pinterest)
Door as canvas, Charleston Farmhouse. (pinterest)
Fairytale door. (pinterest)
Fairytale door. (pinterest)
Curtained door. (pinterest)
Curtained door. (pinterest)

Boutique bolt-holes

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…

A page from one of my scrapbooks.
A page from one of my scrapbooks.
Create an intimate environment with clever lighting. (Photo: Natalia Price-Cabrera / Location: The Tunbridge Wells Hotel)
Create an intimate environment with clever lighting. (Photo: Natalia Price-Cabrera / Location: The Tunbridge Wells Hotel)
Dark walls and aubergine velvet upholstery, together with a gallery wall work beautifully to create an intimate corner. The Palladian Hotel in Seattle. (lonny.com)
Dark walls and aubergine velvet upholstery, together with a gallery wall work beautifully to create an intimate corner. The Palladian Hotel in Seattle. (lonny.com)
The gorgeous Artist Residence Hotel in London. http://artistresidencelondon.co.uk/
The gorgeous Artist Residence Hotel in London. http://artistresidencelondon.co.uk/
Artwork in Prague.
Artwork in Prague. 
A bathroom to hide in... for hours!
A bathroom to hide in… for hours! El Fenn. 
Statement lighting in Barcelona. (photo: Natalia Price-Cabrera)
Statement lighting in Barcelona. (photo: Natalia Price-Cabrera)
Aim high. The foyer at St Martin's Lane Hotel, designed by Philippe Starck. http://www.starck.com/
Aim high. The foyer at St Martin’s Lane Hotel, designed by Philippe Starck. http://www.starck.com/
Barcelona.
Barcelona.
The tiny Alma Boutique Hotel in Tel Aviv features boho-chic rooms inspired by the 1920s. (travelandleisure.com)
The tiny Alma Boutique Hotel in Tel Aviv features boho-chic rooms inspired by the 1920s.
(travelandleisure.com)
Lighting ideas to steal. Cluster pendants at The Tunbridge Wells Hotel.
Lighting ideas to steal. Cluster pendants at The Tunbridge Wells Hotel.
Why go for understated?! This is an amazing riot of pattern and colour, but the restricted palette means it works beautifully. Toronto-based The Design Agency designed the Generator Hostel in Barcelona, Spain. (contemporist.com)
Why go for understated?! This is an amazing riot of pattern and colour, but the restricted palette means it works beautifully. Toronto-based The Design Agency designed the Generator Hostel in Barcelona, Spain.
(contemporist.com)
Bold statement lighting in Prague.
Bold statement lighting in Prague.
A bedroom fit for a Queen. Coqui Coqui Mérida Hotel in Mexico. (bloglovin.com)
A bedroom fit for a Queen. Coqui Coqui Mérida Hotel in Mexico. (bloglovin.com)
Add a little hotel glamour to your home with bespoke lighting by Mols & Tati-Lois. http://www.molsandtatilois.com/
Add a little hotel glamour to your home with bespoke lighting by Mols & Tati-Lois. http://www.molsandtatilois.com/
Designer Ilse Crawford and her team realise a passion for ‘homeliness’ in the creation of Stockholm boutique hotel Ett Hem. Vogue Living November/December 2012. Photograph by Magnus Marding. (voguelivingmagazine.tumblr.com)
Designer Ilse Crawford and her team realise a passion for ‘homeliness’ in the creation of Stockholm boutique hotel Ett Hem. Vogue Living November/December 2012. Photograph by Magnus Marding. (voguelivingmagazine.tumblr.com)
More El Fenn, Morocco. (sfgirlbybay.com)
More El Fenn, Morocco. (sfgirlbybay.com)

Good old British eccentricity…

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…

A page from one of my scrapbooks.
A page from one of my scrapbooks.
Striking wall art from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
Striking wall art from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
More striking wall art from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
More striking wall art from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
A cabinet of curiosities from Alex Macarthur Interiors. (www.alexmacarthur.co.uk)
A cabinet of curiosities from Alex MacArthur Interiors. (www.alexmacarthur.co.uk)
Lush, dark, wallpaper design from Witch and Watchman. http://witchandwatchman.com
Lush, dark, wallpaper design from Witch and Watchman. http://witchandwatchman.com
Transform your home into a treasure chest. (pinterest)
Transform your home into a treasure chest. (pinterest)
Annabelle rug from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
Annabelle rug from Mineheart. (www.mineheart.com)
Dark walls, an open fire, and some taxidermy. What's not to love! (thisivyhouse.tumblr.com)
Dark walls, an open fire, and some antlers. What’s not to love! (thisivyhouse.tumblr.com)
Cosy up a corner to snuggle up in.(homedesignlover.com)
Cosy up a corner to snuggle up in.(homedesignlover.com)
Burlesque wallpaper from Dupenny. (www.dupenny.com/wallpaper/burlesque)
Add a bit of cheeky humour to a room. Burlesque wallpaper from Dupenny. (www.dupenny.com/wallpaper/burlesque)
Lady Peacock cushions. (www.mineheart.com)
Lady Peacock cushions. (www.mineheart.com)
Oversized moths by textile artist Mr Finch. (www.mister-finch.com)
Oversized moths by textile artist Mister Finch. (www.mister-finch.com)
Velvet-flocked cherubs from Squint Limited. (www.squintlimited.com)
Velvet-flocked cherubs from Squint Limited. (www.squintlimited.com)
Nostalgia and whimsy combine in this charming wallpaper from Elli Popp. (http://ellipopp.co.uk)
Nostalgia and whimsy combine in this charming wallpaper from Elli Popp. (http://ellipopp.co.uk)
'Rinse' artwork from Abigail Ahern. (http://abigailahern.com)
‘Rinse’ artwork from Abigail Ahern. (http://abigailahern.com)
Abigail Ahern lighting for Debenhams. (www.debenhams.com)
Abigail Ahern lighting for Debenhams. (www.debenhams.com)
Wallpapers by the uber-talented Deborah Bowness. (www.deborahbowness.com)
Wallpapers by the uber-talented Deborah Bowness. (www.deborahbowness.com)
"The Melody Rose brand is known for high quality, contemporary bone china tableware with an elegant twist." (www.melodyrose.co.uk)
“The Melody Rose brand is known for high quality, contemporary bone china tableware with an elegant twist.” (www.melodyrose.co.uk)
Majestic textile swan from Mister Finch. (www.mister-finch.com)
Majestic textile swan from Mister Finch. (www.mister-finch.com)
Print heaven from House of Hackney, the Artemis collection. (www.houseofhackney.com)
Print heaven from House of Hackney, the Artemis collection. (www.houseofhackney.com)
Butterfly domes from Alex MacArthur Interiors. (www.alexmacarthur.co.uk)
Butterfly domes from Alex MacArthur Interiors. (www.alexmacarthur.co.uk)
More scrummy wallpapers from Deborah Bowness. (www.deborahbowness.com)
More scrummy wallpapers from Deborah Bowness. (www.deborahbowness.com)
Taxidermy taken to the extreme. (by Decorista Daydreams from bloglovin.com)
Taxidermy taken to the extreme. (by Decorista Daydreams from bloglovin.com)

For the love of kitsch living

Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German, also called cheesiness and tackiness) is a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons.

Who doesn’t love a kitsch interior? I can’t get enough of it. I don’t care how naff it is. The naffer the better. Festooned with plastic flowers, pseudo religious iconography – shrines are cool, faux taxidermy, flamingos, neon lights, stuffed animals, cocktail bars, a miami palette, disco balls, and as much paraphernalia of mass-produced popular culture as you can muster.

In my opinion the King of kitsch, albeit very tastefully done, is without a doubt Jonathan Adler. With his origins in pottery, Jonathan Adler is now an iconic interiors brand and worldwide phenomenon. The man himself is potter, designer, author, and personality dedicated to bringing style, craft and joy to your life. “Jonathan’s creativity is fuelled by various sources of inspiration: Mid-century modern, art and global pop culture combine to create the signature Adler aesthetic.” And boy does he pull it off with sophisticated aplomb.

Another great source of inspiration is film. Have a look at the interiors in films by Wes AndersonPedro AlmodovarMichel Gondry, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Kooky and kitsch in equal measures, these directors have created their own very distinct visual language through the medium of film.

Feast your eyes on all these gorgeous images to get you in the mood for a kitsch-fest.

Every home should have a cocktail bar. Furbish Studio, Bar vignette, bar styling, blue and white porcelain, jamie meares flickr by jamie meares (isuwannee.com)
Every home should have a cocktail bar. Furbish Studio, Bar vignette, bar styling, blue and white porcelain, Jamie Meares. Flickr by Jamie Meares. (isuwannee.com)
The ultimate in kitsch interiors. Inside the home of artists Gilbert & George. (pinterest)
The ultimate in kitsch interiors. Inside the home of artists Gilbert & George. (pinterest)
A flamingo is a must! (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk)
A flamingo is a must! (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk)
Plastic flowers and religious iconography... what's not to love. Guadalupe Altar outside the home of a fisherman on the Pacific coast of Guerrero, Mexico by Ilhuicamina.(flickr.com)
Plastic flowers and religious iconography… what’s not to love. Guadalupe Altar outside the home of a fisherman on the Pacific coast of Guerrero, Mexico by Ilhuicamina. (flickr.com)
Neon lighting from Oakley Illuminations. (theselby.com)
Neon lighting from Oakley Illuminations. (theselby.com)
Kitsch-tastic. (pinterest)
Kitsch-tastic. (pinterest)
Vladimir Tretchikoff artwork. (www.vladimirtretchikoff.com/gallery.htm)
Vladimir Tretchikoff artwork. (www.vladimirtretchikoff.com/gallery.htm)
Oversized ornaments from Jonathan Adler.
Oversized ornaments from Jonathan Adler.
Every home should have a vintage motion hula lamp. (alohaoutlet.com)
Every home should have a vintage motion hula lamp. (alohaoutlet.com)
Kitsch heaven... not for the faint hearted! (pinterest)
Kitsch heaven… not for the faint hearted! (pinterest)
The genius that is Wes Anderson. (pinterest)
The genius that is Wes Anderson. (pinterest)
Jonathan Adler's sophisticated kitsch.
Jonathan Adler’s sophisticated kitsch.
A Clockwork Orange film set. (pinterest)
A Clockwork Orange film set. (pinterest)
On the set of 'Broken Embraces' by Pedro Almodovar.
On the set of ‘Broken Embraces’ by Pedro Almodovar.
Kitsch glamour a la trailor trash. (junkgypsyblog.com)
Kitsch glamour a la trailor trash. (junkgypsyblog.com)
Just because. (urban outfitters)
Just because. (urban outfitters)
'Amelie' screen shot. (pinterest)
‘Amelie’ screen shot. (pinterest)
Wes Anderson-designed cafe, Bar Luca, in Milan. (http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/07/wes-anderson-designed-bar-luce-takes-cues-old-milanese-landmarks-cafes-fondazione-prada-interiors/)
Wes Anderson-designed cafe, Bar Luca, in Milan. (http://www.dezeen.com/2015/06/07/wes-anderson-designed-bar-luce-takes-cues-old-milanese-landmarks-cafes-fondazione-prada-interiors/)
The very cool photography by actor, director and photographer Aaron Ruell. (http://www.aruell.com/)
The very cool photographs by actor, director and photographer Aaron Ruell. (http://www.aruell.com/)