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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