Thursday, 24 March 2016

Brit Decor: Inspiring ideas for inviting pattern into your home

Pattern has a tendency to scare some homeowners and send them running for the hills, when in reality, introducing pattern to a decorative scheme is an exciting way to pull in colour, interest, and perspective. Just think about how a bold stripe rug pulls the eye in a particular direction, or how an intricate textile design fuses with other colours in a room to create a rich & diverse palette.

But hey, pattern doesn't have to be all about making the most noise or maxing-out on colours! Personally, I have a real penchant for subtle herringbone patterns and white-on-white geometric shapes, for the ultimate in understated elegance. I'm also a huge advocate of un-glazed encaustic tiles for their pared-down earthy coloured hues.

If you are a little wary of fraternising with patterns in your own home, but equally tempted, then a great 'dip your toe in the water' solution is to try adding some patterned textile accessories. If these work, then you might just be ready to think about a feature wall!

Images (from top) 1/ Etsy 2/ Dwell 3/ Homify 4/ Korlahome 5/ Cantilever 
6/ Wallpaper Direct 7/ Flodeau 8/ My Unfurnished Home 9/ NY Times

Monday, 21 March 2016

Brit Decor: Eucalyptus Green/ Palette Perfection

Palette perfection is all about being passionate about a particular colour scheme and fully immersing yourself & your space in a chosen hue(s) with spectacular success. Right now I am coveting the subtle shine of the silvery/grey Eucalyptus - not only is this one of my favourite scents (my lounge is currently sporting the heavenly perfume of Honest's Eucalyptus Leaf candle), but it's also a highly calming hue merely to look at.

Given my own partiality to a shade or three of grey, Eucalyptus offers a refreshing alternative - alluding to a very subtle grey but with all the freshness of Spring. This colour sits effortlessly in the pale to mid-greens, and makes an awesome choice for home decor, from accented accessories to full-on painted walls and ceilings.

As well as picking out some of my favourite interior schemes in Eucalyptus inspired shades, I've also listed some of my top paint picks (final image - below). In case you are thinking of a new scheme!

Images (from top) 1/ My Domaine 2/ Sfgirlbybay 3/ My Scandinavian Home
4/ Hege in France 5/ Nordstrom Studio 6/ Apartment Therapy 7/ Domino Magazine
8/ Paint Graphic by Mike Ahern

Friday, 18 March 2016

Brit Decor: The Simple Kitchen Edit

The new 'simple-style' being served up in an ever increasing number of kitchens isn't just about a particular paired-down 'look' with easy on the eye colour palettes and distinctly uncluttered surfaces, it's also a trend (in the right direction) towards simpler living.

I've covered a broader spectrum of simple designs today, choosing not to focus on just one element, such as 'minimal', instead I have looked at a variety of kitchens with different design approaches, from rustic to urban contemporary, but all have the same outcome - simplicity & functionality.

This may sound obvious but storage is key to this simple ethos, and it's one of the major tipping points to the success, or not, of a kitchen. Having the facilities to store away items and de-clutter work surfaces is essential, otherwise things start to look pretty busy. An adequate amount workspace is equally as important - ensure there's enough room to have more than task on-the-go, with utensils etc at arm's reach, otherwise mealtimes are likely to be pretty stressful!

The simple life might not be that difficult to achieve after all...

Images (from top) 1/ French by Design 2/ Remodelista 3/ Frenchy Fancy 4/ Archilovers
5/ House of Hawkes 6/ Rietveldprojects 7/ Skona Hem 8/ Vinteriors 9/ Kvik

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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