So we are now halfway through January, and as it’s the first month of the year the accompanying clarity in relation to getting on top of things and to-do lists for a fresh start means that quite a few of you have been discussing your renovation plans online with me. So, today, I thought I’d do a piece on one of the big areas within renovation – tile choices. The nuts and bolts of a room, from kitchens to bathrooms, and even flooring, tiles are one of the most impactful decisions you’ll make in the home. There is such an abundance of wonderful products on the market these days that it can be a little daunting trying to narrow down your search and get just the look you want and which will outlast trends (drooling over competing looks on Pinterest is a bit of a past time of mine!). And tiles are such a big investment, usually in cost but also longevity, once those tiles are in they’re usually staying there for quite a while! I’ve been planning our kitchen for nearly a year now and keep changing my mind (luckily no tiles have been purchased or adhered). So, with all this in mind, today lets talk tiles!
Tiles: White Carrara Brick Mosaic Tiles & Shell Mystic Circle in White
One week into 2017 and it’s been quite a big one for me, the house is set to appear on both Apartment Therapy & Style Mutt soon, The Frugality sent interest in my bathroom stratospheric over the weekend, I’ve got some new commissions, and my son spent much of the weekend telling anyone who’d listen (mainly me and Dan) that he is the baby Jesus, little late with the Christmas imagination, I know, but at just two I admire the delusions of grandeur (for the record, we have definitely told him that he’s not the baby Jesus!), plus it’s my birthday at the end of the week and Dan has some time off so we are going uptown on adventures.
One of the things I love most about the start of a new year is the opportunity clearing out decorations gives you to re-assess the space around you, it focuses the mind to sort out things that don’t work but you’ve been living with absent minded-ly for ages. For me a new year means a fresh set of eyes around the home and a narrowing down of tasks (I know it should mean resolutions, but I’m not really a resolutions kinda gal) this year we have flooring to sought out, some wallpapering in Teds room, the eternal hunt for the right sized period front door and on the more fun side I want more colour and more vintage in the home. The floors in the bedroom and study still need sanding and staining, as such, I don’t have a whole reveal for you today but as we are only missing the floor (OK, I accept this is quite a big thing) I thought I’d share it with you and hope that it gives me the final impetus to hire that sander again!
Image: Design Soda
I’m a little nervous of sharing it, as firstly it’s not finished and I’m not entirely happy with some areas, but also, for someone who loves colour and pattern so much, it’s a bit plain Jane, dare I say even Scandi minimalist? Shh! Pretend I didn’t say that. Truth is I’ve been living with this room for a year and I absolutely love its white-ness. I could never have my whole house like this, it would bore me to tears with what feel like tones of anti-motivation but upstairs I have definitely been persuaded by the slightly Nordic. In my last bedroom there was a fair amount of Scandi white with pastel colour pops so this bedroom reveal is slightly redux if you’ve been reading my blog for a while but there’s definitely some new-ness too, if I don’t mention a product, you will likely find it on this old bedroom post here.
Good morning! Not many words today as I have 30 killer images for us to collectively swoon over! It’s been 3 years since I first blogged about the new trend for pink, and boy did it really take off last year, 2016 was a year of blush tones everywhere, I loved all of it and in particular when clashed against bold colours or on outside walls. There’s a lot of talk of dark jewel tones taking centre stage this year, and of course green as the new grey, will pink disappear from our radars in 2017? Who knows, I’m not tired of it yet so I have a feeling it won’t. Today I wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of my favourite pink inspirations from the last year, the ones I’ve been lusting after the most, some are harder and bolder than the blush we’ve seen so much of, some are even neon, almost dreamlike where Wes Anderson meets David Hockney! From faded-sherbet pink to ever-so-bold pink all of these spaces inspire me with major heart eyes, perhaps the Jewish deli in Berlin (image below) the most of all, I’m almost booking my flight just so that I can take up a seat at that table and never leave! I’d love to incorporate some of this boldness into the Design Soda home this year. What colours are you craving at the moment? Drop me a note in the comments below.
Happy New Year people, hope you all had good ones, I’m easing myself into 2017 with a gentle post today on our recent day trip to Polesden Lacey, near Dorking. This is exactly my kind of daytrip, a place with nature and a house that reminds me of the countless interwar novels I’ve read, with an interior I could feel at home in and all coinciding on one of those days we’ve had recently where the outdoors is engulfed in beautiful delicate clouds of ethereal mist. Winding down country roads, with trees above our heads forming arches and silver birches lining borders, all surrounded in enveloping mist, made for the very definition of other-worldliness in my eyes and just what I needed the week before Christmas.
It seems a modern blogging custom to write a post about this time of year that replaces the old fashioned round robin Christmas card with notes on how well Jane is doing at school and the name of the new dog etc. These posts tend to be a bit year in review and often have a bit of personal reflection. I’m not sure I’m going to do exactly that, especially through the haze of mince pie and alcohol consumption but as I write this just before Christmas, looking forwards to three days together as a family before my husband disappears back to work, I did just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s read the blog this year. It’s so nice to see a healthy upturn in readers each month and genuinely makes my task much more worthwhile. It’s been a pretty good year for the Design Soda house, I’ve pretty well loved 2016, horrible events and political chasms in the news aside, Ted, who just turned two, continues to be amazing in new and unexpected ways, and as a result of the blogs growth quite a few exciting opportunities have come my way (asides from the now endless phishing emails) it’s all been a joy, and a challenge to my natural shyness.
The last post before Christmas! I’m very glad to say no more Christmas posts from me, hurrah, to be honest documenting all this fun has been quite gruelling! So today I’m sharing some totally un-Christmas-y winter scenes from my journeys around London of late. The first image (above) may evoke a few memories for you if you had a London childhood (it certainly did on Instagram). We took Ted to London Zoo for his second birthday (despite the deep November chills) and I spotted this Art Deco penguin pool which I remember vividly from childhood. It’s a bit of an icon so I’m glad it’s preserved.
As 2016 draws to a close I thought I would take a quick moment to focus on the blogs which have really inspired me this year, you may well know many of them, some may be new discoveries, but allow me to introduce to you 10 fantastic interiors bloggers with distinct voices and styles who have made blog reading a wonderful space for me this year. I’ve seen these kinds of post from time to time on other blogs, often they seem to be one of those chain mail things where a certain number of bloggers all choose each other for favourites and run a kind of co-promotion. I have nothing against this, just letting you know that this is not that. Some of these bloggers I’ve met or speak to online, some I would even call buddies, but this is my, truly objective, absolute real line up of 10 favourites. There are so many great voices out there and people working really hard to produce original content it’s really hard to narrow down to 10, I have included an afterword on another 10 I love but here below are the big guns that make my life brighter:
In just over a week Christmas will be done and dusted, you will have opened your presents, heard one relatives comic story about another 20 times already, rescued other people’s presents from your wayward toddler, endured at least one awkward silence (is all of this just me?) and hopefully had a jolly good time in the process. If you’re hosting, you may be blissfully thankful to reach Boxing Day with its traditional walk (which I can never make out whether it’s tradition to blow the cobwebs away before the new year or a chance to put pacing distance between yourself and certain relatives!) either way, you may, like me, be looking forward to settling down to watch the new Agatha Christie romp the BBC are putting on with a hard earned drink in hand come the evening of Boxing Day. Whether it be Christmas party visitors, Christmas Day drinks, Boxing Day therapy or even New Years drinks, I think I’ve got you covered for cocktails! Here, below, are my 5 favourite mixers at this time of year, they are all tried and tested by me, some I’ve been doing for years (Nigella’s Pomegranate Bellini is a Christmas Day non-negotiable in the Design Soda house). None of these recipes are original, but rather a selection of ones I’ve tried and love, go forth and pour yourself a drink, they really are lovely.
As the byline to the blog denotes – colour, pattern, patina – I am pretty keen on all things with interesting surface design or colour (forget the patina bit, that’s more my love of vintage, we’ll come to that another time). When both colour and pattern come together and are truly nailed, my heart usually sings with joy. And, since Jordan from Two Lovely Gays installed a beautiful mural wall in an apartment in Brighton on the first series of The Great Interior Design challenge a few years back, I’ve had a bit of a thing for mural walls. There is now a pretty spectacular range of them on the market, and because they are designed for a statement wall or space, they tend to be writ larger than wallpaper, bolder and with more aesthetic punch. Read More
Christmas gives you a special licence to be a bit naff, a bit bold, or a bit twee in the style stakes, right?! I was born in 1981 so I’m a true child of the eighties. This means that trees with coloured lights, coloured tinsel and boiled wool or pink plastic are all things that press my Christmas buttons (though you can keep the hanging swathes of cards as decorations). There’s a byline quote on designer Jonathan Adler’s Twitter account which I think suits my approach to Christmas rather well –“build a timelessly chic foundation and accessorize with abandon”! Absolutely.