Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Brit Decor: Primary Focus

Lately here in the UK there's been a lot of emphasis on re-focussing and the need for strength and unity, which got me thinking about how to apply these qualities to interior design in order to deliver a message of confidence and high spirits with some bold and brave hues. 

We all know that colour is key to affecting the 'mood' of a scheme, right? Whilst I personally tend to hold a lot of value in calmer neutrals in my own home, I do also love the buzz of a high-energy colour palette.

In interior design primary colours are often seen as a starting point for mixing alternative shades, but these shouldn't be overlooked in their pure form. Adding a bold and unadulterated blue, for example, will deliver incredible results if you are looking for energy and impact. Throw several primaries into the same scheme and suddenly you can be dealing with some knockout decor!

Images (from top) 1/ Lovely Life 2/ Decoist 3/ Ilaria Fatone 4/ Dezeen 5/ Driesotten 
 6/ Vogue Australia 7/ Jenna Sue Design 8/ Feedily

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

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Brit Decor: Escape/ Riad Mena, Marrakech

Dreaming of an escape? I am...constantly. For me right now it's the allure of consistent sunshine, a change of architecture, and some exotic spices and foods - in a nutshell. 

One of the pitfalls of being a designer is my inability (or unwillingness) to sacrifice on style when choosing a destination. As well as the sun and some fine wine, I also like to soak up some good design because quite simply it's my 'thing'. Is anyone else with me on this?

Lately I've been fancying the notion of a trip to Marrakech to experience the vibrant delights of Morocco's fourth largest city; the stuff that stories of whimsical adventure & romance are made of. There's also the rich and sprawling array of colour, pattern and architecture with inspiration around every corner.

Another good reason for making this long overdue trip is the Riad Mena hotel, beautifully tucked away on the eastern edge of the bustling city. This is also an intimate residence with only five guest rooms, each designed by Romaine Michel-Meniere, who has cleverly applied a fusion of traditional Moroccan decor with contemporary touches, making this a residence fit for any 21st century style nomad.

All Images / www.riadmenaandbeyond.com

Monday, 6 June 2016

Brit Decor: When design gets sexy/ How to wear stripes!

Stripes are sexy and I love 'em. No seriously, I do! There's something about a series of straight lines which exudes confidence and makes a powerful style statement. 

This, one of the more graphic interior 'looks' also comes with some pretty easy-to-follow design rules; horizontal lines visually widen, whilst verticals help to elongate and can accentuate the sense of height. Both of these design tricks can create the illusion of greater space, making a room look and feel much larger.

The real 'live wire' of striped interiors is the diagonal pattern, which is more suggestive of movement and energy. I prefer to apply diagonals in smaller concentrated sections (as illustrated in images 6 + 7 'below') and for a more playful approach - just throw in some opposing stripes for added contrast!

What are you thoughts on stripes, are you a fan?

Images (from the top) 1/ Arch Daily 2/ Black Laquer Design 3/ Design Hunter 
4/ Graham & Brown 5/ Stine Langvad 6/ Lekkerfrisss 7/ Savvy Home

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Brit Decor: Breakfast Blues - Get this charming 'nook look'

I'm so into breakfast nooks right now, in fact it's one of the most important parts of my day - where I fuel my body (and mind) for the journey ahead, contemplate my to-do list, catch-up on the news, and browse through some of my favourite instagram accounts. Therefore, it's crucial this area of my home looks and feels right, which means that each day gets off to a good start!

There's also something much more informal about breakfast tables as opposed to dining; a place where we can briefly pause whilst on-the-go. I tend to picture table nooks as if they are situated in a charming bistro, with a simple arrangement of fresh flowers, access to some light reading, and the smell of freshly cooked food. 

In terms of invigorating palettes, it's hard to beat the fresh contrast of an uplifting blue hue set against sharp whites. What I love about this particular breakfast nook (see 'above') is the balance between warm and cool created by the heartwarming wood surfaces & flooring, with the blue wall and white detailing. There's just something so utterly charming about natural wood, right?

I've selected my own 'get the look' edit (below) which is pretty easy to achieve!

Image/ French by Design / Graphics / Mike Ahern

:1 Marble House £17 :2 2016 Calendar £14 :3 Vase £25 :4 Enamel Tumbler £6  
:5 Bedford Square paint £4.25+ :6 Cast iron teapot £34 :7 Wall Clock £110.56

:8 Tea Towel £12.50 :9 Iona Dining Table £599 :10 Spaghetti Jar £14.40
:11 Black Pepper Mill £25 :12 Mug £9.95 :13 Talia Dining Chair £75
 :14 Grey Metal Tray £12.99 :15 Cork Coaster £16
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