Sunday 4 September 2016

Brit Decor: Weekend Wandering/ Frome

Indie lifestyle stores are definitely on the Up!

Having had a couple of weeks away from the hustle and bustle of busy work schedules and easing off the gas pedal to bring my body's engine down to a gentle purr, we managed to take several road trips to help blow away the cobwebs and distract ourselves from the stresses of selling our cottage and buying a new home (aka 'The Project').

Whenever time permits me, I love to take the short drive east across the Somerset countryside to the small market town of Frome. Here, I always feel at home mooching around the independent shops with a freshly made coffee, each store is like a treasure trove filled with goodies.

One day I will make a more comprehensive list of notable stores to visit in Frome, but today I couldn't resist sharing some pics of my visit to menswear and homeware store, Assembly, and the newly opened Resident.

Owner of Assembly, Anthony, is a gent with an acute eye for style and always dresses the store to perfection, currently adorned in a gorgeous blue/grey, which immediately feels very welcoming and cocooning with some added industrial twists. 

Resident is the sister store of the incredible Electrical Shop, and this gem of a homeware & lifestyle shop, is filled with a wealth of must-have accessories for the home, stylishly curated by owners James & Greg.

Naturally I couldn't walk away from either store empty handed, so I picked up several really cool items for our new home, just as soon as we are able to move in!

All Images / Mike Ahern

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Brit Decor: Totally tropical moment!

Shhh don't tell anyone, but this week I've added to my rather extensive cushion collection! Courtesy of Evans Litchfield, this Tropical Fauna Banana Leaf cushion has suddenly injected a totally tropical flavour to my living room.

With foliage prints riding high in countless stylish homes right now, I knew this eye-catching print would sit perfectly with the dark green upholstery of my precious mid-century armchair (Tip: instantly create a point of interest by pairing plain & patterned textiles, and have fun with it!)

Whenever adding a new item to a room scheme I tend to use it as a prompt to freshen up or swap out other accessories in the space. Using some simple accenting, I pulled some of the vivid greens and blues from the cushion's print and matched these up with some palette-perfect books, along with Hay's Kaleido tray.

If you have a moment, please make a 'quick click' over to the Evans Litchfield site!

Monday 20 June 2016

Brit Decor: My home study gets a makeover!

If only I had more time to myself...I would have completed the re-design of my study at home much sooner! However, clients must come first which meant this project had to be a 'slow burner' - pinning together ideas, gathering furnishings, paint and accessories, all over a period of about three months.

From the outset I knew that I wanted a complete contrast to the previous deliciously dark scheme, which felt very cocooning. Whilst I still wanted to achieve a cosy feel, the new scheme needed to include more light & and an uplifting energy, perhaps even an ethereal quality. 

My final colour choice falls to a chalky palette led by two-tone walls in Shallows (223) intelligent matt emulsion by Little Greene, for the lower half of the walls and above this a standard 'pure white' emulsion. I wanted the dreamy grey to envelope the room as if a pale wool throw was wrapped around the space, whilst the bright white visually extends the height of the room and allows greater reflection of light.

In terms of furniture, my key pieces include the compact Lisabo desk from IKEA and the classic J77 chair from HAY for that simple Nordic feel, crowned with the RAE linen metal ceiling pendant from Habitat.

And there you have it - my own corner of calm.

All Images / Mike Ahern

Monday 25 April 2016

Brit Decor: Sideboard Crush/ My latest furniture addition...

It's usually at about this time of year (Spring here in the UK) just as everything outside is awakening, that I feel the urge to initiate change indoors. This can just mean changing a few cushions and perhaps a new print, along with some other light cosmetic touches. However, this time around I've opted for a few mini-makeover projects around the cottage (I guess you could call this 'decorator's itch').

My first project has actually taken several months to complete, following a painstaking search for the perfect mid-century sideboard. This particular piece had to be compact, which severely limited my options until I stumbled across this elegantly formed, original Jentique sideboard.

This is also a great piece to display some of my favourite accessories, with a theme of greens, blues and teals, fused together with crisp whites & greys, not forgetting the obligatory foliage.

Well that's my first home project completed - I'm moving onto the Brit Decor office next...

All Images/ Copyright Mike Ahern

Thursday 7 April 2016

Brit Decor: Explores/ The Ted Baker ArTile Collection

I recently received a beautiful gift from British Ceramic Tile the largest manufacturer of ceramic & glass tiles in the UK, who have recently teamed up with global lifestyle brand Ted Baker to launch a stylish collection of vintage inspired wall and floor tiles; the new ArTile collection. 

Each tile is designed to work as a stand-alone piece of art on your walls - perfect if you're looking for a show-stopping focal point! It comes in two sizes (I have the smaller 200 x 250 mm tile), whilst the larger version makes for a truly elegant splash-back feature, don't you think? (see immediately 'below') 

If you are currently searching for some stunning design features for your home, I recommend a visit to

*This in not a sponsored post

Images (from top) 1&3/ Mike Ahern 2&4/ British Ceramic Tile

Monday 14 March 2016

Brit Decor: Styling the Season/ March

Wow what a tough month it's been. After being struck down with a nasty virus for the past four weeks with little or no energy, I finally conceded defeat and retired to my bed for five days. Although I wouldn't want to repeat the sickbed routine again, there was something a little liberating at letting go of all the deadlines, switching on my out-of-office, and then turning off my phone.

In the end it was the only way to get better but it also enabled me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture - I was overworked; big time. Despite feeling loads better now, I haven't put back all of the layers of work, and maybe I won't.

After completely chilling out at home this sunny weekend (just in time for Spring), I felt so inspired by the colours outside, I just had to bring some of these indoors too via some cuttings from the garden and then mixing these with accented accessories - all set against a crisp white backdrop. The overall effect is an instantly transformed mantlepiece and a happy, healthy home.

It's good to be back!

All Images / Mike Ahern

Friday 4 March 2016

Brit Decor: Dress code/ with Apollo Blinds

What to wear? Or more specifically, how should I dress a particular window? It's a common conundrum and one which I was recently asked to help solve by Apollo Blinds.

The Brit Decor cottage is typically designed with small square(ish) windows, which tend to limit the amount of natural light entering our home, with the exception of a full height window in our South-facing living room. In reality this means that I need to be mindful about my choice of window dressings, with heavier fabrics further reducing any incoming light.

For my North-facing office window, the 'above' considerations become all the more crucial with massively limited sunlight and filtered daylight. Adding a roller blind to this window means that the amount of installation space required is minimal, with the fabric neatly rolling out of sight when maximum daylight is needed. I've also opted for a slightly opaque fabric which still allows some light to filter through. To create greater depth and a more 'dressed' look to my window, I have also added in some homemade semi-sheer dip-dye curtains, which also help soften the contours of the window.

For my choice of custom roller blind design, I worked with the team at Apollo to select a unique graphic image of some concrete, which was then digitally printed onto a window blind. I wanted to emulate a highly texturised effect, plus the moody greys work perfectly with the existing grey palette in the room. I love a quick and easy design solution - don't you?

Please take a moment to check out

All Images / Mike Ahern

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Brit Decor: Houseplant of the Month/ Jasmine

For sometime now I have been an avid reader of the Joy of Plants blog, not least because it combines two of my favourite topics - gardening and home decor, with a riveting mix of tips and styling advice. So it's a huge thrill to be collaborating with the JoP team for today's Houseplant of the Month feature on White Fragrant Plants.

Houseplants have become one of the most exciting headliners in interior styling, with foliage becoming a 'must-have' for many homes. It's reassuring to see how plants in all of their striking architectural glory have also been translated into knock-out textile designs and prints, meaning that this trend is here for the long haul.

The big credential of March's White Fragrant Plants, like Jasmine, Stephanotis and Gardenia is their ability to deliver both beauty and fragrance in one elegant hit. Today I've chosen to work with Jasmine because I love the way in which the delicate white flowers strike a deliberate contrast against the dark green foliage - and the scent is heavenly, whilst not overpowering.

I've come up with two very simple DIY hanging planters to showcase my own Jasmine plants at home, both themed in a monochromatic palette to compliment the stunning white flowers. I simply used one white pot from IKEA and a terracotta pot, painted black, from a local garden centre. For the black pot, I wanted to add a natural feel so I used sisal twine, whilst I experimented with black Raffia for the white ceramic pot.

Beginning with a central knot underneath each pot, I knotted together 4x equal 1m lengths of sisal for the black pot and 6x lengths for the white one (you can adapt the amounts & lengths to suit your own designs).

With the sisal I then took two lengths and knotted these together firmly (approximately 5cm from the base of the pot) and repeated this with the other two, at the opposite side of the pot. From each of these two knots I then took one strand and knotted this with a strand from the opposite side of the pot and repeated this process again until I reached just below the top of the rim, creating a series of symmetrical diamond shapes. There were a total of 6 knots in the sisal twine.

With the black raffia I divided this into 3 lots of 2 lengths and repeated the above process, again creating a diamond pattern.

Scent-filled home - here I come!

All images / Mike Ahern

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