Thursday 9 December 2021

Festive Forage


Festive Forage has an 'easy' tone doesn't it? It also aptly captures the gentler approach I've opted for this Christmas along with other fellow advocates of the 'slow living' movement. 

Rather than expend a load of energy battling crowds of shoppers and spending unnecessary £££ on off-the-shelf decorations I may or may not need, this year I chose to head out into the great outdoors and forage for our Christmas decor here at the cottage. What I couldn't find outside I either made (cue the faithful 3D paper gems) or rummaged through our existing decorations.  

This time last year we were sitting on a knife edge of 'will we, won't we' complete on our house sale and purchase so there was little time or headspace for Christmas decoration, especially as we eventually moved one week before the big day. 

I knew I wanted our fireplace to play a starring role in this year's festive styling (every cosy cottage stereotype intended) but I also wished to avoid the temptation to go for a classic mantel garland, this year at least, and so I looked to our Farrow & Ball adorned beams for inspiration.

Surrounded by countryside it didn't take long for my forage to bear fruit, or a branch at least, which I suspended from the ceiling using some nordic inspired decorative twine. I then began the easy construction of some 3D paper gems in copper, silver and pearl finishes - I love how these appear to serenely float in mid-air.

A few more foraged twigs be-jewelled with the same decorations and dotted around the house in earth toned vases, plus some Holly sprigs freshly cut from the garden, and we're good to go.

Here's to an easier Christmas.

All photography property of Mike Ahern

Tuesday 12 October 2021

New Artwork Reveal

It feels a little like a 'Transformation Tuesday' moment here at our Welsh hilltop home today. We've been here for 10 months and the white washed stone wall in our dining room has been crying out for a focal point, but you just can't rush these things, right?

My initial design priorities for this space was to create some banquette seating (for seating and storage) and then whipping up some made-to-measure cushions and choosing wall paint treatments, whilst keeping an eye out for the perfect artwork.

This is the point at which The Future Mapping Company came onto my creative radar. Who knew that maps could be so beautiful?  To confess I've always been rather obsessed with horoscopes, "which star sign are you?" is a question you'll often hear me ask - so it seemed only fitting to opt for The Constellations.

Intricately illustrated with original 17th Century illustrations by Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, the artwork depicts all of the creatures and characters that inspired us to identify the constellations. Add into the mix some striking fluoro detailing for a contemporary twist, midnight blue and shimmering metallics, and we now have a stunning focal point for our dining space, not to mention a prime talking point too.

Warning: Now I have the perfect excuse to quiz dinner guests over their star sign! 

 All images / Mike Ahern / This is not a sponsored post

Wednesday 6 October 2021

New Project: Coastal Airbnb

It seems a smidgen strange to be writing about holidays on a stormy Autumnal day. However, there's no skirting around the subject for today's post so I'm just going to go for it! 

For those of you who don't know about my work outside of Brit Decor, I've been busily launching a new service under my Studio Mike Ahern business after relocating to the West coast of Wales and dealing with all of those initial 'nesting' issues, to put it mildly!

Since settling in and exploring, one of the key observations I've made is a.) the key importance of tourism in the area and b.) the lack of holiday lets suited to the interiors savvy tourist *deep sigh*.

I'm sure many of us would confess to at least one holiday where we settled for less than ideal decor just to secure a sea view? In reality we shouldn't have to compromise aesthetic over location, but we do, despite soaring holiday rental costs.

As well as my 'regular' interior design clients, I've been reaching out to holiday let owners to see if we can work a little interiors magic to enable their accommodation to stand out for all of the right reasons. (A little side note, I also offer a social media and photography staging service for maximising the holiday 'brand').

So without further faffing, I'm really thrilled to share a completed guest Airbnb scheme which I've been working on recently. 

I consulted with the client in detail about including all of those important coastal references but without a glaringly clichéd result, instead something more relaxed and subtle, focussing on mood and the finer details.

Farrow & Ball's Purbeck Stone, a calming and easy neutral seemed the perfect choice as the base colour for this room. Wishing to put a more memorable stamp on the scheme, I opted for a feature wallpaper with calming waves which elevates the space. White washed floorboards topped with a cosy pure wool rug radiate cosy coastal vibes, whilst locally sourced coastal lino print artworks add authenticity. 

For this project I kept pops of colour to an absolute minimum for an ultimately restful escape, with the exception of a gorgeous two-tone throw to evoke a sense of the nearby ocean.

I hope you've enjoyed today's little share!  


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