Tuesday 23 December 2014

Brit Decor: Mid-Winter Walk

 All images / Mike Ahern

Waking up to another Winter Solstice at the weekend was a bit of an eye opener. I realised that somehow the rug had been pulled from underneath me and with it had gone 2014, almost.

Despite it being the shortest day of the year here in the UK, we decided to brave the elements and head outdoors for some much needed fresh air. It would be virtually impossible for me to write-up the weather conditions that we experienced without telling you it how it really was - bleak! However, we were not to be deterred by this and set out across the Somerset border to the village of Marshfield in Gloucestershire for an invigorating walk to blow away the remaining cobwebs from 2014.

This picturesque place holds such a very special set of childhood memories for me and is steeped in my family's ancestry - inevitably Marshfield still feels like a home from home. I can just about bring myself to walk past the old cottage in 'East End' which used to belong to my great Grandparents, where I remember playing around in their beautiful garden with my sister, before the sentimental pangs kick in. But it's not all about looking back...

There is the looking forward too. 2015 holds much promise and anticipation for me and no doubt for you too. Christmas is one of those guaranteed periods where I know that I will take some much needed time-out with my family and friends to enjoy all of the festivities, before rolling my sleeves up ready to take on the New Year.

This just leaves me with one more thing to write before switching of my computer until 2015, and that is to wish you all a very Happy Holiday, wherever you are in the world and whatever you are doing.


Monday 15 December 2014

Brit Decor: Welcome to the house of Brissi

Images (from top) 1/4/6/10 Brissi 2/3/5/7/8/9/11 Mike Ahern

I recently received an exciting invite to attend an important house warming party at no.38 Milsom Street in Bath, now otherwise known as the House of Brissi. This, the Italian brand's sixth UK store, has taken over an entire Georgian townhouse in the heart of the city, and the intuitive layout instantly creates a sense of taking a peek into a private home.

Back in early Autumn I was curious to see this building in the throws of renovation works. Due to my long and enduring fascination with Georgian architecture, I cheekily stepped inside the front door (Health & Safety boffins, please don't read) keen to see the interior in it's shell-like phase. I was not disappointed by what I saw - the interiors had been stripped back to their original features with ornate cornicing, wooden floorboards characterised by centuries of footfall, and elegantly high ceilings, not to mention an ornate wooden winding staircase. But would these features remain in-tact once the new residents had moved in...?

Fast forward a couple of months to press night and I suddenly found myself transported into a world of Italian glamour and luxe living, set against a Georgian back-drop. It turns out that the original features, all still beautifully in-tact, lend themselves beautifully to the pastel grey walls and a sophisticated homeware collection. Floor by floor, room by room, I was totally immersed.

In the words of the brand's founders, Arianna Brissi and Siobhan McKeating; "It has long been a dream of ours to trade from a townhouse as this really allows us to help customers visualise how our products will look in their home, so we're thrilled to have found this perfect space in Bath".

Have you visited this store? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

Friday 5 December 2014

Brit Decor: Makes / 3D Christmas Copper Gems

All images / Mike Ahern

This weekend at the cottage we will be decorating the Christmas tree - much to the joy of our to mischievous cats! Meanwhile, I have finally found my way around to purchasing some Christmas cards, and my gift shopping is gathering pace. In amongst all of this Christmas prep, my favourite thing of all really is the tree decorating. 

This year I have been itching to find the time to bring some handmade decorations into the mix, so I decided to return to one of my most valued crafting books for inspiration, MiniEco. I love author Kate's, colourful 3D gems, which I chose to give the copper treatment for my own Brit Decor twist (see 'above').

Copper is grabbing many of the interiors related headlines right now and it's perfect for Winter with its warm and shiny glow - so with the help of some copper metallic paper, metallic thread, and the MiniEco template, I have created my very own 'on-trend' Christmas tree decorations. 

If like me, you are wanting to introduce some handmade touches to your Festive celebrations this year but are strapped for time, these easy to follow instructions mean that you can construct your own gems in no time at all. 

I simply cannot wait to see these decs dotted around the Christmas tree, shimmering their warm copper tones!

Will you be making your own decorations this year?

Monday 1 December 2014

Brit Decor: Instant Makeover/ Cali-style

All images / Mike Ahern

I have spoken on the blog before about how important it is for all of us to be inspired in some way, and no matter how or where each of us needs to look, we really should just go look!

So in complete contrast to my recent inspiring country walk, last week I decided to soak up some interiors ideas with hundreds of other kindred home-loving spirits. Braving IKEA on a Friday afternoon could have easily descended into a stressful episode, however, perhaps owed to the #BlackFriday madness unfolding in some other stores, this Swedish gem was thankfully quiet, which enabled me to browse at leisure - the best kind of shopping, right?

I am surely not alone when I say that it's difficult not to pick up at least a few stylish home accessories from IKEA, and last Friday's trip was no exception for me. I was looking for a quick visual fix to deliver a feature with impact, which ideally needed to include some foliage!

The rear of the cottage is South-facing, so the set of three Cacti (above) were the perfect choice for the Summer feel I've been yearning for since the nights began closing in here in the UK. My monochrome-loving eye was also immediately drawn to the striking Tickar plate (also above), so my mind was made up on the spot - I would create a sun loving feature to deliver pattern, texture and Co2.

I love how the stark contrast of the mono-stripes pushes the spiky green foliage to the forefront for what is a very graphic look. I could just picture this little arrangement in a boutique LA hotel!

In case we needed a reminder; makeovers need not be expensive, as this one cost less than £10 to create, and with minimal effort.

Happy December my friends!

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