Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Brit Decor: Midnight Florals

Images from top: 1/ Amanda Prior 2/ House and Hold 3/ Daily Dose of Stuf 4/ Divaani 

After recently embracing my 'dark side' when I painted a feature wall in Farrow & Ball's Stiffkey Blue, I can see the benefits of incorporating darker, richer shades into a design scheme. Deep and dark tones can make an incredible statement in the home by creating alluring backdrops for furnishings, textiles and accessories, as well as providing richness, depth and contrast to a room. 

A new and emerging trend in interiors is a genius pairing of pale and elegant florals set against defiantly dark colours, including the ultimate; black. The resulting effect puts me in mind of a Renaissance painting with an enticingly dark background and still-life flowers blossoming at the forefront of the classic composition. 

One of the best examples of this 'Midnight Floral' style is in the exquisite range of wallpapers from Ellie Cashman (no. 5 below). It's no surprise that Ellie studied a Masters in Fine Art, and I especially love how she's translated those skills from canvas to print press and produced these show-stopping wallpapers. Similarly, Marks and Spencer have nailed this style with their sensational 'Feast' cushion (no.1 below). To really make your midnight floral scheme the real deal, be clever about it and sneak in some beautiful room scents like this Magnolia candle from Fate (no. 6 below) - finishing touches are so important! 

For a a more free-form organic midnight floral interiors scheme, we can always look to nature for inspiration - offsetting dusty pink and ethereal white petals displayed in simple jars and vases, against deeply dark backdrops. Richer and darker shades are perfect for creating a dramatic Winter scheme.

I hope you've been inspired today!

1/  Feast floral cushion £25 M&S 2/ Wooden candlestick £9.99 H&M 3/ Triangle Trivet £75
Fate 4/ Hick's Blue paint from £20.50 Little Greene 5/ Ellie Cashman wallpaper 
6/ Magnolia candle £35 Fate 7/ Anenome Buttercup wall chart £89 Wallography

Friday, 26 September 2014

Brit Decor: Bakes/ Italian Hot Choc

All Images / Mike Ahern

It's been one of 'those' weeks where crazy circumstances outside of my control have nudged my thoughts back to happier times in Rome. I think we call this 'escapism'?

Asides from possessing an inherent ability to dress themselves immaculately, there's one thing that Italian's always do so well; take time out. Work or no work, there's always time for a cappuccino or a sociable afternoon glass of wine. Sure we can grab a take-out coffee here in the UK but it in comparison it all seems so hurried. I need to take note.

So today I am rolling it back and taking time out to remember my recent trip whilst indulging on a devilishly rich cup of Italian hot chocolate - definitely not for the faint-hearted! It's actually a favourite afternoon tipple of mine at my local Italian deli, Roscoff's in Bath, but here I decided to make my own version.

Wherever you are in the world right now, I hope you make some time for a 'you' moment.

200g Good quality dark chocolate
100ml Single cream
2 tsp Icing sugar

How to make:
Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in the bowl along with the icing sugar and a drop of cream. Once the chocolate has melted and the icing sugar dissolved, add the remaining cream. Pour a small amount of the hot chocolate into a cup (I used espresso cups) and serve: Perfezioni!

Tip: for a super-rich dessert, pop a cup into the refrigerator to chill!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Brit Decor: Focus/ Ikat

It's such a thrill to see the vast array of fabric dyeing techniques, some of them so intricate and time-honoured, filtering onto our high streets from every corner of the globe right now. For me, one of these is currently standing head and shoulders above the rest, and yes you've guessed right, it's Ikat.

In textile terms, this eye-catching graphic pattern is created through a resist-dyeing process, where certain fibres are tightly bundled together in a particular pattern and then dyed (there's even a 'double Ikat' technique for the highly skilled amongst us!). After the colour has been applied, the threads are unbound and woven into cloth to produce eye-catching products, which are undoubtedly worth an invite into our own homes.

This year, more so than ever before, I have really begun to embrace pattern at the cottage, with deliberately eye-catching flash-points working in tandem with simple neutrals to create highly effective contrast and detail. However, one thing lacking in my home is some Ikat love! So here's an exploration of this graphic print trend and how we can make it work for us too.

Standalone or as a lively partner, this pattern works well in many different situations. Work in some polka dots, stripes and florals to truly mix things up for a scheme that will shout 'PATTERN' to anyone within listening distance, like the bedroom setting in image no.4 above (from the top). Alternatively, we can opt for safety in numbers by grouping together a selection of Ikats to reinforce our commitment to the Ikat cause, as shown in image no. 1. A co-ordinating cactus is going to get my vote every time (image no.2)! Plants not only breathe Co2 into our homely atmospheres, they also make great accessories and accent colours, as shown with this luscious Khaki-green patterned sofa.

I felt like a spoiled child whilst I was searching online for some hot Ikat finds, and I could have easily overindulged on this look. There is no shortage of exciting designs out there, but 'below' I have chosen a few select accessories to hopefully inspire and get you in the mood to flirt with Ikat - if you haven't already.

Check out my top Ikat shopping picks below - I think my absolute favourites have to be the Ikat Medallion mug from Society6 and the electric blue cushion by Mariska Meijers at Amara, but I could easily fid a place for every one of these in my home!

I'd love to know if you have Ikat in your home and if so, where and how have you used it?

Shop the look/ 1 Ikat Glam wall clock $30 Society6 / 2 Thomas Sunny Day cereal dish £13.60
Tablewhere / 3 Ikat Medallions mug $15 Society6 / 4 Mariska Meijers electric blue cushion
cover £135 Amara / 5 Organic chevron duvet pieces (from) £8 West Elm / 6 Yastik by Rifat
Ozbek £328 Amara / 7 Ikat Tote $22 Society6


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