Friday, 30 August 2013

Brit Decor: Geometric Look


Leading into AW13 Geometric patterns are set to feature prominently on the interiors scene and this is all part of the current revival of mid-twentieth century furniture and styling. Every week sees the release of more new and exciting designs with a geometric flavour so to keep on-trend, look out for shapes and patterns with distinctive angled lines and patterns.

I am also feeling lots of inspiration from painted geometric wall designs (as in images 2 & 3) and what's even more inspiring is just how easy this look is to achieve using a straight edge to mark out an angled pattern, masking tape and a selection of two or more paint colours. Pastels work equally as brilliantly as darker or contrasting colours - so much choice and the end product is your very own unique design! 

An even easier way to achieve this trending look is to add some of the many striking geometric textiles designs currently available, to a room. For a simpler style, just opt for one or two patterns and mix these with plain fabrics, or go for two or more bold and contrasting patterns if you are looking for a busier explosion of pattern and shape.

When at school I always used to think that Geometry was dull - how wrong was I!?

Duvet set available from La Redoute

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Brit Decor: Multi-colour Cool

We all need some colour in our lives, even minimalists like myself...right? Sometimes there is nothing like a strong injection of colour to really uplift the mood. I like to chop and change cushions like I change clothes (frequently!) depending on my mood or even the season, so peppering some brightly coloured cushions around the house or switching some plain glass tumblers for vibrant coloured ones can really make a positive impact.

Shopping list: 1 Kilo jade green metals side table £25 Habitat 2 Drum silk pink lampshade £35 Habitat 3 Pictor cushion £35 Culture Label 4 Forest Friends cushion £35 Culture Label
5 Happy Jackson coasters £9.95 Bloomsbury Store 6 Hester blue stackable dining chair £95 Habitat 7 Happy Jackson pencil set £7.95 Bloomsbury Store

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Brit Decor: Home Comforts

My recent trip to Venice was everything I had hoped for and more, not least because I have so many fond memories to look back on - each one like a precious treasure. There are so many to mention but probably my favourite memory is of sitting in Saint Mark's square on an evening watching the world go by and listening to live quartets playing whilst indulging on an Iced Cioccolato at Caffe Florian. No wonder I am really missing Italy, the cafe culture, fabulous food and, of course, the immaculately dressed Italians! 

Now back in the hustle and bustle of British life with my reality check complete,  I can take comfort looking through the many photos and video clips, some of which I have shared with you through my Facebook and Instagram pages. Over the next few days I'll be choosing some of my favourite shots to print and frame so that I can enjoy memories of my trip all year round and hopefully my guests can too.

I also picked up some beautiful Venetian keepsakes to dot around the house - I always like to do this whilst on my travels as these purchases make great talking points, as well as reminders of my holidays. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I took a wrong turn around a winding Venetian street and found the Chimera studio, packed full of stunning original prints & ceramics and then there was the boldly coloured limited edition mugs from the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which now take pride of place on my kitchen shelves. 

Oh the memories!


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Brit Decor: Tweet Tweet

1 Errol embroidered owl cushion £35 Habitat 2 Birdy: Thrush cushion £20 Hunky Dory Home
3 Organic Bird print cushion by Peris & Corr £40 Not on the High Street 4 Pelican Patrick floor cushion £100 Yoke 5 Flame Flamingo cushion £45 Clippings

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Brit Decor: Casual


Casual Living is all about comfort and no-fuss styling and it's everywhere. Perhaps this is the result of a backlash against the increasing demands of everyday life, or maybe we just appreciate our 'downtime' at home more than ever before? 

Whatever the reason for its popularity, this relaxed style is also a big influence on my own interior styling and I love quietly lounging on my sofa with a good book and a cat or two - it's not just about the look, it's also about the feel of the scheme.

This casual style sees personal objects, textile accessories and plants take the centre stage against a backdrop of neutrals. I recently received a beautiful little thank-you card from my godchildren, which now takes pride of place on a bookshelf in my study rather than hiding away in a drawer. 

Gentle grading of colours really add to the chilled-out mood of these schemes and the look is so easy to achieve - effort free remember! Here are my favourite ideas for creating the casual look:

1. Use plenty of cushions and add one or two throws for a comforting, plush feel to your sofas and chairs but just scatter these for a fuss-free casual look.

2. Leave a selection of some of your favourite books and magazines out on display for that personal touch - book covers can be mini works of art too!

3. Add a touch of nature! Pretty cut flowers, pot plants or even some beautiful twigs in a simple vase can be totally calming.

4. Decorate a wall or sideboard with a selection of informal photos (unframed) and objects. These should make you smile and will add an interesting focal point.

5. Don't tidy things away (within reason) remember it's all about a relaxed, casual style with all the essentials at hand.

This is such a beautifully easy style to follow and a very personal one too.
Happy styling!    

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Brit Decor: Palette/Woodland

1/ White resin Stag Head with antlers £55.00 Graham & Green 2/ 'Forest' paint by Morris 3/ 'Forest' paint by Albany (both from Designer Paints) 4/ DeGross Lectiolux Table Lamp £160.00 Heals 5/ Cole & Son Nottamblue wallpaper frieze £100.00 Heals 6/ Kristjana Williams Twin Stags cushion £120.00 Heals 7/ Fireside Easy Chair (Oak) £1275-1699.00 Heals

Earthy greens are set to trend on many of our interior store's palettes this AW13. Think British woodland, luscious leafy greens, country walks and, of course, think of the amazing variety of wildlife. Just writing about this setting makes me feel very tranquil - green tones have long been known to have a calming effect, quite possibly because they subconsciously take us back to nature? Whatever the psychology behind this colour, it works for me!

I have selected some of my top picks inline with the green woodland palette (above) to give you a head start with your interiors shopping. I am crazy about the Twin Stags graphic print cushion from Heals and the resin Stag Head from Graham & Green!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Brit Decor: Luxe

This ultra-luxe interior is indulgence on a truly grand scale and before anyone asks, alas this is not my Venetian holiday destination! Hand on my heart, I prefer to rent an apartment whilst on my travels, for that home-from-home feel where I can completely relax and unwind, which for me is a luxury in itself. 

However, I do enjoy daydreaming about luxury escapes and the Aman Canal Grande in Venice is surely one of these. So why not join me on a peek into this 5 star destination...

The building, Palazzo Papadopoli, was built in the 16th century when the Coccina family of Bergamo commissioned architect, Gian Giacomo dé Grigi to build them a residence. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that the building underwent it's most significant transformation at the hands of Michelangelo Guggenheim, a leading exponent of the Neo-Renaissance and Rococo styles at the time. Whilst the building now functions as a hotel, its long and opulent heritage has been spectacularly preserved and enhanced for guests to indulge in.

Amongst all of the decadent gold gilt detailing and crystal chandeliers, I love how the stylist has used simple white bedding and neutral soft furnishings to add calm and relaxing tones without distracting from the striking surroundings. This is a simple rule which can be applied to any scheme.

Suitcases packed...? 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Brit Decor: Small Spaces

Small really can be beautiful too: Space remains at a premium in the UK and more of us than ever before are living in cities where in square meterage terms, every millimeter counts! 

There is no denying that styling a small interior can be tricky and requires careful consideration. The challenge is to truly maximize the amount of living space available without compromising on style. 

I've selected some exciting examples (above) of how inventive interior design can be when it comes to designing layouts for 'spatially challenged' rooms. To confess, I am still reeling from the stunning use of industrial chipboard in images 2 & 3 where the blondness of the wood adds warmth whilst the texture adds interest and blends beautifully with the chalky neutral scheme. Also, look at how effective the bedroom mezzanine is at adding much needed additional living space to the apartment - this really is spatial design excellence!

For those of you with stairs, I love the kitchen shelving (above) which has been built underneath the staircase and is a perfect example of how this frequently neglected space can be turned into something positive and oh so beautiful! Home offices also work well under the stairs as there is often room for a cleverly built-in desk, shelving and a computer.

Here are my top tips for maximizing spall spaces:

-Choose a light colour palette
-Think 'multi-purpose' when choosing storage i.e. box seats
-Utilize what would otherwise be dead space such as underneath the stairs
-Opt for small side tables rather than larger coffee tables
-Use pale coloured curtains to conceal items and create elegant storage
-De-clutter and try to refrain from overcrowding small areas with non-essentials

If you are thinking about decorating a small room, I hope you have been suitably inspired to embrace the challenge!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Brit Decor: Brit abroad in Venice


The Holiday countdown has truly begun for me, just a few more work related tasks to whizz though in the office and then over the weekend I can throw myself into some frenzied packing and last minute shopping for those essential holiday items which I just haven't had the time to pick up. 

There is something about these last few days of anticipation which I find rather touching - the way that friends and colleagues begin to share in the feverish excitement and, of course, the heart warming goodbyes. After all, it was during an excited conversation about Italy with my colleague Mark that I first became inspired to explore this year's chosen Summer destination.

My holiday adventure actually begins next week when I fly out to Venice for the very first time (why has it taken so long!?). As this will be my 'virgin' visit, I intend to catch the boat from San Marco Polo airport, which will enable me to approach the island from the water for maximum visual impact and I dare say that a blast of invigorating sea air following my flight will be a welcome tonic.

I feel rather like a sponge right now, eagerly waiting to soak up all of the amazing sights and sounds of the vibrant Venetian culture, not to mention the wonderful Biennale, which sees much of the Art world travel to Venice for countless exhibitions and glamourous parties.

However, the real beauty of this experience will be that through the wonders of social media and my trusted iPhone, I will be able to record and share my sights and experiences with you so just close your eyes and imagine you are there too...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Brit Decor: Summer Love (one of these)

How beYOUtiful are these single pillowcases designed by Swedish-born Illustrator, Karin Åkesson? I am very much into freehand style typography at the moment and the romantic play on words only adds to the charm.

There are a total of 4 designs to collect, each one hand printed in the UK and available from Culture Label.

Having moved to the UK 15 years ago, Karin says these popular sayings helped to make her feel like a part of British culture. Well we are really pleased you're here Karin!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Brit Decor: Profile

Social media really is an eye opener for me because it has put me in touch with so many exciting new people, products and projects and with each day comes new inspiration. One day in particular comes to mind, the day I stumbled across the work of the talented Jon Sanderson and his upholstery website The Cantin' Patch, which features traditional furniture with a contemporary bias.

As a result I couldn't resist contacting Jon and promptly asked if I could feature his work on Brit Decor. To my joy, the answer was 'yes'!

Jon began his story by explaining that 'The Cantin' Patch' is a Black country phrase meaning 'talking spot', where he is also now based. Jon started what was to be an amazing journey of discovery several years ago, learning upholstery skills as part of an exit strategy from the corporate world and into a self-determined, creative career. Jon explains, "I’m enjoying the freedom to explore different techniques, play with different styles, and turn any ideas I have into reality…….Or in other words, not settle on a niche just yet". Jon also confessed that he is "playing the upholstery field" - what a great way to describe it! 

Currently, Jon is drawing inspiration from 1950’s and 60’s styling, in part spurred on by his little 50’s bedroom chair and his current project working on an Ercol Windsor armchair and sofa (Jon we can't wait to see the results already!).

What I really admire about Jon's approach is his determination to remain true to his creative self which in turn has kept him safe from the temptation of accepting lucrative but far less creative commissions - this Creative is not for turning! 

In short, the Cantin' Patch is definitely one to watch - thank you for the inspiration Jon!

For all bespoke project & pricing enquiries, please contact Jon via The Cantin' Patch website or catch him on Twitter @DSJon

Monday, 12 August 2013

Brit Decor - Preview

Heals has long been on my watch list of favourite interiors stores as a source of inspiration and, of course, for shopping!

I remember first discovering this brand over ten years ago whilst on a weekend break in beautiful Brighton where I spent several hours perusing each department. The best way of describing this first encounter with Heals is to say that it was like trying on a perfect fitting shoe, which I have continued to walk in ever since!

Therefore, you can imagine my delight (Graphic Designer in me now coming out) when I spotted their new website design; clean, stylish, subtle and I am so digging grey at the moment! And just when I thought this excitement couldn't be topped, a press release detailing the new Heals Autumn collection of goodies hit my inbox.

As I have come to expect from Heals, the new collection is on-trend and has its creative finger very much on the pulse with a clever blend of old iconic designs and future classics. There is also a strong emphasis on the heritage of the business (and rightly so) which is now an incredible 200 years old!

Some of the most exciting news is the launch of Heal's own-brand collection of lighting and, crucially, a made-in-the-UK range! The flagship lighting showroom opens at the Tottenham Court Road store on 16 September.

It's not often that you will hear me say I am looking forward to Winter but thanks to the team at Heals, I am now.

What do you think about the Heals and their new collections?

Visit the Heals website here.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Brit Decor: Palette

I am always seeking new inspiration and more often than not it seems to seek me out, or maybe it's the same thing? Anyway, enough philosophizing for today! My latest palette inspiration is this simply beautiful image by Walter Helena. Clouds fascinate me in the way that they are constantly changing shape, colour and consistency and yes I really do like to think of them as giant cotton puffs!

Grey is all around you! It's a subtle technique but you will notice that many of the top interiors websites apply grey backgrounds to many of their product styling images, (The Conran Shop, Heals, to name but a few). Grey is the new white....surely?

Whoever said that grey was boring? There are so many tones to choose from; light and uplifting chalky shades through to dark and broody charcoals, whether you want to use this colour as a base tone or as a feature block, use it with pride in your home! 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Brit Decor: Featured Store

We all know that I am an interiors shopping addict but this is why I love writing about my favourite finds because I get to share them with you.

Scottish based store, Yoke, recently caught my creative eye with their quirky, colourful handmade designs. Many of their products are based on fun characters such as 'Pelican Patrick' or cats 'Ronnie & Frank' which is such a great concept. 

The designs are strong and the branding is looking great - I continue to be thrilled by so many exciting newcomers like Yoke, who really bring fresh new designs to the flourishing UK interiors shopping market. 

I hope you like their designs as much as I do - you can access the shop here. As difficult as it was to choose only five, I have listed my top 5 picks from Yoke below. What would be in your top 5...?


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Brit Decor: Shop Kitchen

Need to add some cool to your kitchen? Following on from yesterday's post about re-styling, I thought some of the picks above might be helpful if you are lacking inspiration on where to begin. These accessories would look great in any kitchen and bring an instant freshness to the space.

Oh and in case you are wondering, yes I did work in my kitchen yesterday but the tiffins did not turn out quite as intended due to a missing ingredient (golden syrup) which I now see kind of acts as a glue to keep the whole recipe together! We live and learn.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Brit Decor: Must Have!

Brit Decor: Kitchen


I will let you into a little secret here - until only a few years ago I hated cooking! I am what you might call a 'late beginner' when it comes to culinary skills but with my growing passion for food and cooking, I appear to have developed a new found respect for kitchens too. 

The kitchen, along with my office has become my other workspace - one where I create, work and deliver. As I wrote about yesterday, the design of my office is very important to me because of the affect is has upon my creativity and so this was the philosophy I took when styling my kitchen! However, for many of us the kitchen has become more than just a workspace and it is now a busy hub of activity and a social space too. 

As I always advise with any room, it doesn't matter if you are not able to stretch to a brand new scheme, because you can still apply clever styling statements with minimal cost. Whether you opt for new tiles, bright new glassware, or maybe a simple shelf with your favourite objects on display, you can still transform your kitchen.

On the subject of kitchens, I think I'll whip up some Tiffins in a while, which depending on the outcome, I might share with you!

What do you think about your kitchen?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Brit Decor: Workspace


I was recently thrilled and honored to be asked to work on a collaborative piece with creative Management Consultant, Donna Baber, who is currently sweeping positive change across the arts and voluntary sector in the South West UK. 

However, I must admit that my initial thoughts were along the lines of 'What on earth could I be expected to contribute to the business sector?' but thankfully all became crystal clear when the brief arrived! 

In a nutshell, Donna's work is all about positive change and helping businesses to develop and realize their full potential and in this case, how interior design can help to fuel these changes.

Even today with the vast array of stylish interior magazines and media, rarely do we see any attention paid to office working (albeit the odd article on home offices) and yet millions of us work in an office every day? Interior design is big news at home but less so at work.

Personally, it makes perfect sense to create an inspirational office space because it helps to get my creative juices flowing and puts me in 'the zone' - it also makes a personal statement about me as an individual. When I was recently asked to style an office space for lecturers at a specialist BA Theatre Production centre in Bath, I focussed on style and functionality to create an uplifting feel but one which would also be practical for staff - simple design rules with dramatic results. This really did help to create positive change!

Whilst you may not be in a position to undergo a complete office redesign right now, there are simple things that you can do to bring a touch of style to your workspace - even adding colourful stationery can brighten moods such as the vibrant collection of folders shown in the image (above). 

Why not have a look around your workspace today and see if it inspires you...

You can read more about this subject here on Donna's blog.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Brit Decor: Eye Candy

'How many times can I fit the word Wow into a blog before it becomes too repetitive?' was my initial thought as I looked through the eye candy laid before me on the Seven Gauge Studios website. My solution was surprisingly simple:  to refrain from over using the 'W' word and allow the images to speak for themselves.  

Founded in 2010 (the same year as Brit Decor, coincidentally), Joy Bates began creating designs at her Nottingham studio, drawing inspiration from her substantial collection of knitting patterns, a love of pattern and mid 20th Century design. 

Does it get any better than this? Well quite frankly yes it does because Joy only uses traditional techniques and is committed to keeping the manufacturing of her products within the UK - so a big 'thanks' for flying the flag of British design Seven Gauge Studios!

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