Friday, 29 January 2016

Brit Decor: Très Trestles!

Do you ever find there's a particular interiors trend which just keeps on catching your eye and awakening those creative senses? For me, of late, it's been the reinvention of the trestle-top. Once upon a time, this hot workspace accessory was pretty much out in the cold - perceived as more of a utilitarian item than a coveted piece of furniture. Well thank goodness for progress!

One of the things I adore most about the trestle-top is its versatility - from formal to makeshift, paint-splattered to polished, this is one highly adaptable piece of furniture, equally at home in dining rooms and workspaces. There's also the impressive pick 'n mix element with the option to select separate trestle legs and tops for a customised 'look', in fact there are countless combinations to choose from, which might explain why trestles are the favourite worktop of so many Creatives.

So it seems only right that I should pick-out some of my favourite trestle-top 'looks', showing just how effective these are at satisfying both practical and aesthetic needs. I'm even thinking of trading in my current desk for a trestle version!

Wishing you all a weekend of cool, calm and home comforts.

Images (from top) 1/ Pinterest 2/ My Scandinavian Home 3/ Boligliv 4/ Convoy 
5/ CREART Sofi Sykfont 6/ Gessato 7/ VT Wonen 8/ French Connection Home
 9/ House of

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Brit Decor / Loves: Walter Knoll 2016 Collection

I was so captivated by the mid-twentieth century inspired interior styling for Walter Knoll's latest collection of furniture, that - yes you've guessed it - I just had to share with you guys!

Launched last week at imm in Cologne, Walter Knoll showcased a total of twelve new products and range extensions at the international interiors exhibition, including a dining chair designed by Foster & Partners, the Fishnet Chair by Sadi & Neptun Ozis, a new sofa and chair by EOOS, and to mark the brand's 150th birthday, WK's own series of re-issued chair designs aptly entitled, Classic Editions.

I'm currently day-dreaming of kicking back on one of these sleek sofas and soaking up the minimalist surroundings!

All images / Walter Knoll 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Brit Decor: Gridlock/ How to 'work' grid-lines at home

Another look tipped to be top in our homes this year is grid-lines, which luckily for moi, includes some of my favourite looks - monochrome and graphic lines. Although I should add that grids don't have to be exclusively black & white!

In fact, I'm advocating a new kind of grid-line - one less inclined to follow mathematical precision and symmetry, and unafraid to team-up with juxtaposing patterns and shapes. Then again, despite a lifelong obsession with precision, maths was really never my 'thing'.

Simple monochromatic bed linen dressed in a grid-line pattern can create a very crisp look, but adding bolder lines and solid blocks of black or charcoal to the mix can really amplify this style (see the image immediately 'below'). Equally, a backdrop laid out in a subtle grid-line formation, such as the bathroom tiles (also 'below') can suddenly jump to life with the simple addition of a juxtaposing pattern, like the chevron towel.

It's also great to see metal grid-work creeping into the domestic setting, which can bring dual functionality as a utility wall and a highly graphic display board for artwork. 'Below' we can see two incredibly effective uses of metal grids; one as a workspace backdrop used for storing both work tools and postcards, and the other serving as a portable screen adorned with images. Personally, I think this material would also make an awesome room divider!

                                  Images (from the top) 1/ WC Collective 2/ Country Road 3/ Design Files 
                                  4/ House of C 5/ Rue Magazine 6/ Jels Love 7/ Decor Dots 8/ My White Obsession 

Friday, 22 January 2016

R&R at the Boro Hotel/ New York

This newly opened minimalist gem of a hotel, designed by Architects Grzywinski + Pons, is 'right up my street' (although technically speaking it's actually not in my neighbourhood at all, unfortunately). Tucked into an up-and-coming area of Long Island City, Boro Hotel stands out from the crowd - and for all the right reasons...

Just a short hop from Manhattan and Brooklyn, via public transport, Boro is home to an impressive 108 guest rooms, studios and public spaces. The architects have delivered their own impressive blend of minimalism fused with the original concrete structure of the building, and what is particularly endearing about this build is the broad application of materials, including hand-scraped oak flooring, painted wooden pallet wall paneling, perfectly blended with cork, leather & sisal materials.

Many of the rooms reward guests with sweeping panoramic views of Queens via sleek and spacious balconies and terraces, custom-designed furniture and some pretty impressive light fittings, whilst the lofty sense of space is amplified by ceiling-to-floor windows.

This design philosophy of the calm and the simple really hits a note with me. What you get with the Boro Hotel is actually a really sophisticated mix of style and uncomplicated aesthetics - definitely on my travel to-do list!

All images / Boro Hotel New York 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Brit Decor Bakes/ Uber-moist choc cakes

This one is the deliciously gooey type of comfort food for those moments when calorie counts can really go take a hike! This is also a great bake to whip together when the cupboard is looking a little bare as there is no milk or butter in this recipe. The secret is in the olive oil, which delivers the super-moist component.

There's something rather simple and elegant about a chocolate bake dusted in icing sugar don't you think?

50g cocoa powder
125g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
150ml olive oil

How to make
Preheat the oven to 170oc and line a 6-case muffin tray. Sift the cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract and olive oil - mix into a paste, then add the salt and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs for several minutes then slowly introduce the chocolate paste. Finally, sift the plain flour into the mixture and stir together.

Spoon even amounts of the mixture into the muffin cases and place into the oven for approximately 20 minutes (there should still be a very small amount of mixture left on the knife after gently inserting the blade into the centre of each cake).

Once the cakes have been removed from the oven and cooled, lightly dust them with icing sugar.

Images / Mike Ahern

Sunday, 17 January 2016

M is for... Monochrome

I sometimes wonder if life would be easier if it followed the same design principal as one of my favourite styles of decor; Monochrome? Perhaps it would all be much simpler in black & white? I've often admired those uber-trendy fashionistas who abide by a strict monochromatic uniform. Surely getting dressed in the morning is a breeze, right? Anyway, enough philosophising from me already!

In a world full of endless colour choices with thousands of seductive paint shades neatly printed onto slick colour cards and brochures, it's easy to see why choosing paints for a scheme can frequently start out as an exciting adventure but easily descend into one big palette-induced headache. When meeting with interiors clients for the first time, it often quickly emerges that selecting colours & combinations poses a common conundrum.

Whilst I am in no way ready to completely ditch colour from my life or my work, lately I've been on a drive to simplify things back at the Brit Decor cottage (see my photos 'above' and 'below'), by introducing a largely monochrome palette fused with subtle shades of grey, which has remarkably calming qualities - just what I need at home. If I was a betting man, I would put money on a new monochrome for 2016, no less striking but with the addition of greys and neutrals for that rested feel.

Whether you are a fan of monochrome or not, it's hard to deny the timeless qualities of this 'look', which has endured decades of popularity, whilst many colour trends have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Knowing my own tendency to chop and change styles, I can't say that monochrome is definitely here to stay in my home, but it certainly feels right for the moment.

All images / Mike Ahern

Friday, 15 January 2016

The HoF Edit: Amazon

It's been quite a week on Brit Decor - firstly exploring the new Tribal trend for 2016 and now followed by some totally tropical realness, courtesy of House of Fraser's Amazon edit.

This somewhat eclectic collection of homewares brings together all of the exotica you'd expect from a tropical rainforest; foliage, the bright & the beautiful, complete with wildlife (I'm coveting the Cockatoo print cushion!).

For those of us indoor gardeners, this range delivers some really exciting ideas on how to style our homes with accessories that will comfortably team-up with indoor plants, particularly the larger architectural varieties like Palms and Swiss Cheese plants.

Allowing citrus oranges and yellows to pop against lush green hues, makes for a fresh and dynamic look - just check out the bedding 'below'. I've also picked out a few of my favourite items from the HoF edit (see the final image - also below) aimed at creating a mini-tropical update for the home.  

Meanwhile I'm just off to fix myself up an exotic cocktail!

All images/ House of Fraser / Shopping graphic by Mike Ahern

1/ Amazon Cockatoo cushion £20 2/ Angular gold candle holders £12 3/ Parakeet £30
 4/ Pineapple bowls from £8 5/ Uda green bulb vase £35 6/ Wooden leaf £35 
7/ Zig Zag frame £18 8/ Contrast column vases - Teal £30 Yellow £35

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