I recall clearly when my love affair with Frida began…
I was in my early teens when my parents took me to an exhibition to see the work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In a small section of the show there was a subsidiary exhibition of the work of artist Frida Kahlo, Diego’s wife. I was blown away by the power of her paintings, their tactile nature and the feast of colour and pattern presented in them. Full of references to indigenous Mexican culture, I was drawn to their primitive style and bold use of symbolism.
Since then I’ve been hooked and have looked to Frida’s work for inspiration in much of what I do – and I seem to not be the only one. Frida lives on as a modern-day cultural icon and references to her style and art can be seen in fashion trends, interior furnishings, photography, and popular culture on a regular basis. Personally, given half the chance I would surround myself in all things Frida-oriented! I recently treated myself to a gorgeous Queenie and Ted wrap with stunning embroidery and applique that to me is very Frida Kahlo. It has become my go-to autumn accessory!
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!
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.
“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!
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
-Staple gun plus staples
-Upholstery tack strip trim plus tacks (you can use just standard tacks, but strips save time)