Monday, 4 May 2020

Brit Decor: Hello Yellow. How to decorate your home happy with trending yellow!

For me at least, the re-emergence of yellow hues on a growing number of interior designer's mood boards (including my own) signals the welcome return of this heartwarming & uplifting colour, and just when we really needed some colour therapy!

Yellow won't let the decorator in you down as this highly versatile option can hold its own amongst earthy neutrals to golden sun-kissed accents, and as a striking highlight or feature. In short, yellow can evoke anything from calm to elated with just a few brush strokes. 

For a warmer, more embracing alternative to contemporary Scandinavian greys, I am definitely cosying up to Farrow & Ball's Hay paint, which literally does what it says on the tin and transports the mind to something resembling a sun-kissed field filled with golden hay bales. For an even warmer, earthier 'hug' of a hue, Goldfinch paint by Fired Earth is a good choice.

Yellow also makes for an eye-catching highlight - apply to a door and its surrounding architrave to frame an entrance and create an amazing first impression. A colour popping yellow such as Trumpet by Little Greene is a fun accent and perfect for injecting a high energy dose of happiness into a room. For an extreme contrast pair with a midnight blue, or for an uber-fun and playful approach, team a bright yellow up with candy pink.

Happy colour hunting!

Images (from Top) 1/ 2/ Farrow & Ball 3/ The Nord Room
4/ House & Garden 5/ Heathered Nest 6/ Design Chaser
7/ Etsy 8/ Husk Design Blog

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Brit Decor: Master Bedroom Makeover

Hands up if you are currently locked-down and lusting after home decor + DIY projects that you never thought you'd have the time for? *Both hands raised here*

Approximately two and a half years ago, as part of a sponsored collaboration, I applied a feature mural to our master bedroom wall, which I've loved ever since. However, there was always going to be a 'shelf life' to the mural as the bedroom is south facing with two windows which allows the sun to pour in from multiple angles (south & west) with an inevitable bleaching effect. As a result the mural had recently begun to look a little tired, and the once gorgeous grey tones had taken on a slightly faded and greener shade - cue a lockdown inspired re-think!

For this totally inexpensive makeover I wanted to incorporate a new hue from our extensive collection of opened paint tins in the garage (are you one of those people too?) for a pop of colour to lift the existing grey scheme without re-painting the entire room. The final colour choice would have to either pair or 'pop' with our cobalt blue HAY chair, situated to the right of the bed.

After painting a handful of cardboard sample squares, including Black Heron and School House White, I opted for Dead Salmon by Farrow & Ball. It's a rich pink grey/brown otherwise known as a 'buff neutral' which already blankets our living room in a dreamy calm hug of warmth. As the bedroom is a much lighter space, I wanted to accentuate the light further with a half-painted feature wall pairing Dead Salmon with a crisp white.

The neutral components of Dead Salmon work beautifully with the surrounding grey walls and the pinky tone empowers the HAY chair to provide a contrasting twist. During the midday sun the feature wall takes on an elevated warmth whilst the evenings sees it transformed into a more tranquil space.

Mission makeover complete!

All images / Copyright Mike Ahern

Friday, 3 April 2020

Brit Decor: Lockdown First Aid

If, before recent world events unfolded, anyone had suggested to me that we would all be asked to remain at home for several weeks, possibly months, I probably would have whooped at the idea of all those hours of quality nesting time, and trust me I am one hell of a nester! However, skip forward to the very real present and it all seems a little different...

It's clear that many of us will be searching for, or will have already found, our own tools to deal with this surreal situation. Like millions of other stranded human beings I was very quick to engage with video calls to family & friends, despite it being a medium I've always shied away from. Again, to my surprise this has proved to be a major source of comfort and connection in what became a physically disconnected world almost overnight. 

But away from the tech I still found myself missing some kind of connection with reality, perhaps anxious thoughts were clouding my usually grounded nature? So I began to think of simple ways to distract & comfort.

After rummaging through some of my many 'bits 'n bobs' packed away in cupboards and nooks I decided to piece together a capsule collection of useful but also mindful objects, easily accessible and able to administer instant calm.

My handy little quilted HAY zipper case is very soft and tactile and seemed like the perfect starting point to house my lockdown goodies. Part of my stay at home therapy has included lots of 'making' and so I've whipped up a completely natural scented balm to promote calm & uplift the senses at the same time. There is also a very handy little bottle of hand sanitiser made with essential oils and Aloe Vera, with a dash of Vodka!

Ever the organised geek, I'm always making to-do lists on my phone, but for the purpose of mindfulness and the temptation to look at the BBC news App, I'm using this Greek notebook I picked up in Crete, a trip which holds many happy memories and, personally, I find the process of scribbling away to-do notes onto paper very therapeutic - in comes the HAY pencil with gold lid for a touch of luxury!

With all this extra time on my hands I have also found myself reading up on various topics a lot more, so handy mini post-it notes are a must-have tool for me to bookmark recipes, articles etc. And if I need to relax a little more, I keep a constantly updated art postcard to remind me of my creative roots. 

I've no doubt that the entire contents of my lockdown First Aid kit, even the HAY case, will soon be switched in order to keep up my interest levels!

All photos / Mike Ahern

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Brit Decor: Figuratively Speaking /

On a personal note, and not forgetting apologies for being such a stranger to the blogosphere of late, I am thrilled to see a recent influx of sculpted forms gracing a growing number of art savvy homes around the world.

Personal because this takes me back to those carefree uni days and the faculty of Art & Design where as a graphic design student I used to sometimes hang out in the studios with the potters and sculptors, ogling some truly beautiful works. I still recall what appeared to be a very soothing process (for me as the voyeur at least) of the artist gently working with their hands to create something so beautiful from a lump of clay - creativity at its most raw.

I think it's fair to say that something of that very gentle 'production' process remains with the final creation. I've spoken before on here about the importance of including handmade pieces in our own homes, not only to support some very talented artisans, but also as a mindful reminder of more natural processes which involve minimal technology and help keep us grounded to our human roots.
And in these uncertain times, it feels all the more significant.

Images (from top): 1/ 2/ Alvhem 3/ Katty Schiebeck
4/ Poster Club 5/ Room & Board 6/ Basic-ly
7/ Residence

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Brit Decor: Tools of the Trade / ColoReader Review

Boy is it frustrating when you just have to know the official colour of a particular hue, but no amount of colour cards from your favourite purveyors of paint can identify a true match!? Well I have been there and it's not a happy place - Cue a welcome email from from the folk at datacolor, asking me if I would like to review their professional colour matching tool which goes by the name of ColoReader

Whilst I've learned to live in this predominantly technical world, I would not describe myself as being particularly adept when it comes to gadgets, but nonetheless I braced myself for a mind boggling learning curve when this neat little package arrived in the post...

How wrong was I!? The ColoReader (just under 7cm in length) is stupendously easy to use - I literally downloaded the app onto my iPhone, switched on the reader and laid it on top of my first colour surface. Within seconds an exact colour match, along with some near matches, appeared on my phone screen. 

From there the App allowed me to co-ordinate colours, suggesting complimentary shades and it also enabled me to name and build my own palettes, complete with note-making facility. You can view the easy steps to identifying colour via the photos & screen shots below. 

This is actually quite the perfect little pocket tool for accompanying me on my travels and from now on, I won't be wasting time scrambling for those colour charts. If you would like to find out more about the ColoReader, you can visit the website by clicking here.


All images / Mike Ahern

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Brit Decor: Achieve your goals

Did you know you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? 

It’s easy to think you know what your goals are, but consider your latest new year’s resolutions – how long did they last? If you’re anything like me, not long! Writing your goals down gives you focus. Having them written down and looking at them regularly helps to make them happen.

Setting goals is something that has become particularly important to me in recent years and I love nothing more than to set aside some time for blue-sky thinking sessions. I always try to write down the resulting goals from these sessions too, so that I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture in the day to day chaos of life.

Couple this approach to goal setting with my ongoing stationery crush and you can see why I love these stylish Daily Goal Setter planners from Mål Paper.

With a faux leather hardback cover the Daily Goal Setter is tactile as well as aesthetically pleasing. The pages have been designed to help us identify goals on a daily basis and structure our days in a way that helps us focus on the positives and become more mindful through daily affirmations. 

From a styling perspective, stationery is a great decorative filler for any desktop or shelf, satisfying a love of aesthetics with a need to be organised. These stylish planners from Mål Paper fulfil all the requirements to make a great addition to any home or work space.

The word Mål, pronounced 'mo-l', means goal in Swedish. Taking inspiration from the Scandinavian clean and clutter-free way of living, Mål Paper designs and produces stylish, simplistic and effective stationery that helps focus the mind and improve productivity.

If you want to check out this stunning range of stationery from this exciting new company, take a look at their website or follow them on Instagram @malpaper

Text / Helen Savage / Images / Mike Ahern

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Brit Decor: Better Together

'Better Together' has a certain ring to it in these tumultuous times, doesn't it? Away from the noise and chaos I recently stumbled over a harmonious gathering of creative minds in the form of Italian ceramicist Federica Bubani and fellow Italian, flower artist Andrea Merendi. Sounds like perfection already!

Each tactile vase is lovingly sculpted from refractory terracotta (refractory because it is resistant to heat, pressure, and chemicals) and then paired with intricately hand-crafted crepe paper flowers. I quite like the notion of two juxtaposed materials coming together in one beautiful composition, it has a certain poetry to it.

Available in a selection of trending hues, this collaborative offering is sure to bring a little more togetherness to any home. 

All of these vases & flowers are available from online homeware store NISI click here.

(This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing inspiring objects for our homes).
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