Good morning friends, if you have dropped along here to find the usual dose of Monday interiors inspiration, or you want to know where these fabulous cushions are from (Murmur, H&M, Also Home and La Redoute, since you ask) then you may just be in the wrong place on this occasion as today’s post is more personal than usual. If any of you reading are real life friends and you’ve seen me in the last six weeks, it’s fairly inevitable I’ve asked you ‘Is it just me, or has this winter been relentlessly f***ing dark?’ (Sorry, I may have mentioned this more than once to some of you!). Well let me tell you, the first signs of spring over the last week have been a real tonic. Those moments of dappled light, the smell of pollen on rain, the increasing light at the start and end of day, there are faint but very welcome signs (even in the garden) that things are changing. It’s been a particularly harsh winter I think and one I’ve found quite stressful at times. I’m taking on lots of varied work at the moment which is pushing me to up my game everywhere, the blog is being featured in lots of great places and I’m currently stripping floors and painting walls in preparation for two photo shoots next month, one for a magazine and the other for a website that has always been my dream feature. Oh and trying to create a fun and educational routine for our amazing little person who I spend most of my time with. But, it is exhausting. I was talking to my good friend Rosy who has a toddler slightly younger than my own about stress levels and juggling endless things to do and we came around to mindfulness and she explained some ideas I found really helpful (more of later). I had always understood mindfulness to be about slowing down and living in the moment, a sort of abbreviation of appreciating what you have and not always chasing the next thing. Whilst I’m pretty on course for appreciating happiness by nature, I do find being in the moment increasingly difficult when there’s always something at the back on my mind warning that it hasn’t been done yet. In fact I think this voice is very counterproductive for me, it weighs me down and if I’m not careful I start to buckle under and loose motivation. I am married to the most laid back person in the world and he has always said that one of my biggest problems is switching off and not busying myself all the time. He has a point, I’m not sure exactly what I’m aiming for as the things to get done never end despite the effort. So, I’m up for some change.Read More
Barely a day goes by where I don’t see an interior that stops me in my tracks, sometimes it provokes argument with my instincts, sometimes it’s something that confirms my taste but is executed to a standard that, frankly, I am completely jealous of. I posted recently on some of my favourite cafes and restaurants in London where you can pick up a tasty brunch whilst drinking in design inspiration. Well, today I am sharing a new cafe space which in my eyes ends all other cafe spaces and we are travelling to Geneva to see it (not literally, though if anyone has a spare plane ticket I will happily drop along!). It’s the first time I have made a space (and not an item) a focus of my Design Crush series, so pull up a chair and a pastry and peruse the glamour with me, we’re there if we think it, right?
As I sit typing this, it is the very first time I have had a completed study to write in. We have allocated a room for books and writing each time we’ve moved, but they have always existed somewhere between dream space and student hovel if I’m entirely honest. Whether it be hideous inherited blue carpets thought about but never replaced due to sound proofing issues for the flat downstairs or plans for organisation and tranquility that quickly turned to dumping ground for all the things we couldn’t think where to home, this my friends, finally, is my dream office space. A few weeks ago we sanded and sealed the floors. This has got to be our most hated d.i.y task, Dan because it’s such back breaking work, me because I’m more than a little scared of the machine you use to sand the floors with! But, it’s also one of the most rewarding and transformative tasks. We used a dark oak stain varnish from Ronsealwhich I really love, though I wasn’t sure it was dark enough after the first coat and was very heartened to find Swoonworthy’s beautiful floor in the same finish during a Google search halfway through.
Cabinet detail with Ikea Ranarp lamp re-positioned from it’s home in the bedroom whilst I decide where it truly belongs.
I think wall art has got to be one of the hardest things to get right in a home, it’s a constant dilemma for me, it can be hard to find just exactly what you want, especially on a budget, and most of us don’t want to wait 15 years till we’ve acquired pieces with meaning before we can cheer up a hallway or a blank wall area. Small collections and items grouped within a theme work well in small areas to add interest, and once you know what you want are fairly easy to complete. But how do you approach a great big space like a hallway wall to add personality? Some people fill these walls with family pictures which is a nice way of personalising a space. But I always want something a bit more abstract than my own family (sorry guys!). There are places that you can get cheap wall art but where you also know your purchase won’t feel unique to you – I think we all know a particular and rather brilliant Swedish furniture company I’m aiming at here, they do many things very, very well but when it comes to artwork I don’t want to find my latest purchase in the living room of someone from Eastenders! (not that there’s anything wrong with soap interiors, per se, it’s just that my childhood self has never quite got over sharing my wallpaper choice with Ron & Bev from Brookside!). Well to my mind you can’t really go wrong with a collection of posters online from Desenio.
Blush tones and velvet in abundance here alongside giant desert style cacti, all on trend and en pointe.
Image: Design soda
Phew, we’ve got to February already, not sure I’m going to want to see a lot of news this month, groan of helpless despair! But on a positive note, time has been flying by here as we’ve spent much spare time decorating of late which means I’ve got a few rooms to show you soon, but alongside the decorating I’ve been thinking a lot about my design inspirations. I was recently asked in a piece for Essential Living about my home design ethos and inspirations. As is pretty much a given with those sorts of questions I answered everything(!) or more specifically everywhere – architectural details, tv, what people are wearing on the tube, I’m always looking round for interesting combinations of colour, form & texture. But perhaps my number one place for finding interiors inspo is in commercial spaces, and I am often taking mental notes of good design over coffee (ok, I don’t actually drink coffee but you know what I mean). Famous landmarks always provoke a reaction in me and make me assess what I like and what I definitely don’t. But new commercial spaces are one of the greatest spaces to see how new design ideas are being put into practice, how they look or feel in reality. Having done a bit of styling work, the element I loved most on a job was seeing materials I can’t afford being used and wondering how I could modify them to produce a similar effect in my own home. But actually bars, cafes and restaurants give us all access to this and I’ve found Instagram a really great tool for finding places I want to visit in London (and the U.S, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Belgium or Australia should I ever find myself in cities there). So over the last year, if I’m in an area with a cafe or restaurant on my list I will drop in, even if it’s just for a quick lemonade and a recce of the building (or to see the palm print toilets as was the case at Palm Vaults in Hackney last year). These below are my five favourites, there are others like The Wolseley for example, or the many branches of Comptoir Libanais,and many more I want to make my way to including Bob Bob Ricard, Bronte, Mustard, Spring, Yopi, Story coffee and Clerkenwell Grind. But for today here are 5 cafes and restaurants I could happily while away many hours in taking onboard decor inspo. If you know any great places to try please let me know in the comments below.
No197 Chiswick Fire Station
So much style to take note of here, but you can’t help notice these giant cacti first!