Object of Desire – Bespoke Wallpaper

This week’s obsession is not the Royal Wedding for me, but the amazing new wallpapers which I keep seeing everywhere as new designers embrace the digital printing possibilities that are now available.  It seems that interior trends are embracing large scale and bright patterns, and while they may not be for everyone’s taste I love the boldness they offer.

The original bespoke wallpaper in Europe from makers such as de Gournay are exquisite and I have always lusted after a bespoke wall covering.  But they are not cheap, and there’s a part of me that just cannot justify the expense.  But just look at the beauty of them:

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Recently, due to my somewhat obsessive scouring of Instagram and Pinterest, I came across a designer team in New Zealand called Back To The Wall.  These designers do huge digitally printed murals in gorgeous designs, and while they may not have the hand finished painterly effect of a de Gournay, they are still pretty spectacular.

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In the UK, another digital mural company well worth looking at is Surface View.  They have a huge collection of images available to be printed up as large scale murals.  Their botanical and historical prints are pretty amazing and you can go as wild or as tame as you like in terms of design.  But all are large scale for a great feature wall.

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Another favourite who I love is House of Hackney.  They print beautiful designs which are quite intense, sometimes quirky and also designed as a set of 3 panels which can  repeat around a room if desired.

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I used their design Florida Onyx in my renovation of a townhouse as panels on wardrobes and it was stunning.  Who knows, one day I may be brave enough to do a whole room?!

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Music to work to: BBC Radio 6 Music ❤️

Diverse, eclectic and always inspirational… BBC Radio 6 has become my constant companion when I am either working or mooching about at home.  The breadth of music is really diverse, there are no repetitive playlists, and I learn about new artists all of the time and from all over the world… no hierarchy, snobbery or commercialism… just music that inspires the DJ’s.

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Take today for instance, I was unpacking my shopping and gyrating to Gilles Peterson’s Saturday afternoon rare grooves, whilst later on I nodded my head in time as I typed away on a website article.  The latter article was relating to financial information, but PJ Harvey suited the typing speed, and now when I read it back I can hear 50ft Queenie in my mind – definitely not what the readers will hear as they read my FinTec news.

In a way it’s a bit of an addiction. I miss it when I am in the car and have to substitute another radio station to listen to.  I pine for Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe & Maconie and Tom Robinson’s dulcet tones.  If I have to listen to Jenni Murray on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I end up enraged and comparing her to Cerys Matthews, and the latter wins hands down.  If I try Radio 1 it just seems so noisy and inane in comparison.  It’s got to the point where I’ll just plug in a podcast instead, and I am loving The Leisure Society series at the moment (from, you guessed it… BBC Radio 6).

I find that I am more creative when I listen to music as I work, and this information that follows proves my point:

Scientific research has uncovered that listening to music can actually be beneficial while you work. Although, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

A study by Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, looked at how listening to various types of music affected different types of thinking  compared to working in silence.

Their study found that happy music enhanced participants creative ‘divergent thinking’. However they found it had no impact on ‘convergent thinking’, which is problem-solving.

In their study, Ritter and Ferguson split 155 volunteers into five groups, which were then given tasks to complete. Four of the groups did so while listening to classical music aimed at stimulating different moods, such as Holst’s Mars and Vivaldi’s Spring. The fifth group worked in silence.

They found that the groups working to music they considered positive generally came up with more original ideas.

Ritter and Ferguson said: “The current project aimed to shed light on the potential association of music listening for optimizing divergent and convergent creativity, and demonstrated that listening to ‘happy music’ (i.e., classical music that elicits positive mood and is high on arousal) is associated with an increase in divergent thinking, but not convergent thinking.”

 

The upshot being, if you need to be creative with your work, then you should stick some uplifing music to help get the cognitive juices flowing.  But if you’re trying  to solve an problem, you’re better off opting for quiet solitude.  (Telegraph, Sept 2017)

 

As I don’t do problematic maths problems for work, I think I’m OK to continue….

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Organizing For Your Lifestyle

ORGANIZATION

Being a pretty obsessive OCD organizer, (mainly due to a lot of ‘stuff’ in my home which if I don’t control results in chaos within hours), I can happily spend hours sorting, catagorizing and decluttering areas. I find this a really calming thing to do, whereas to others it might seem like hell.

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I always thought that this was my own personal madness, as I can get itchy when I see clutter.  But I recently read a new book by Jane Stoller called ‘Organizing Your Lifestyle’ that delves deep into the psyche behind organizing, and which explains what the benefits are as a whole to your life.  With the clutter controlled, there is more time to actually ENJOY YOUR LIFE!  I don’t usually read self-help books, but  ‘Organizing Your Lifestyle’   is a really useful hybrid as it offers both practical advice as well as explaining the psychological benefits of organization.

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Plus it is a realistic book, as I do not have the patience to look at everything I own and murmur in the latest fashion ‘But do I really love it?’  Of course I love it, I love all of it and am never, ever going to be a minimalist!  But I can be a tidy and organized maximalist, and this book has excellent tips on how to evaluate what you have and how to look after it all so you have more quality time on your hands.  It also makes you look hard at things so you can let some of them go without regret.

USEFUL ADVICE

Some of the tips are really useful, I loved the wardrobe section on how to store and look after items.  Like most ladies, I own more clothes and shoes than I realistically have cupboard space for.  There are great tips on how to look after and store things so they are not creased, crumpled and hence last longer.  If you think of the hefty financial outlay that we females spend on clothes, it makes sense to make them last.

Traveling away?  The book has great ways to make packing less stressful, and without the dreaded over-packing that I usually do so I end up with a massive suitcase full of clothes I don’t even wear on the trip.

The book breaks down areas of organization, so it can be something you can ease into this is a new process and makes you shake in your boots.

You can follow Jane on Twitter where she has motivational tips to keep the spirit going.

 

 

Dream Living Room Plans

I have been looking at a fabulous website called Arhaus who are based in the USA, and am seriously wishing they would open a shop in the UK, (hint, hint….).  Their collections are really beautiful, very classic, and I would snap up a lot of their items, especially the furniture, in a flash to use in interiors.

I have based the room around artwork by Fin DAC, who produces huge scale street mural artwork around the globe.  I love this image, and used it as the inspiration for the room.  It would look amazing as a huge piece on one wall, and he sells via online galleries so I am after one now… although I may have to save up a bit….

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Having recently completed a grey, black and orange dining room, I am still slightly obsessed with these colours and was immediately drawn to the sofa and daybed in the Clancy range, they are both traditional with the buttoning but have lovely sleek modern lines as well.  Plus, (and this is key for me), I really hate plumping up base cushions of sofas, so this is a dream design for me!

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Continue reading “Dream Living Room Plans”

Most Hit Posts of 2016

Today I have been looking back at last years blogging, sometimes done a bit intermittently I must admit, and noticed that the most popular posts always seem to be the DIY ones, so here is a round up of the ones that still get the most hits, and I only hope that as a result there are many Ikea hacks, Plaster Flowers and No-sew curtain pelmets floating out there now!  More DIY ideas coming soon as I tackle a spare bedroom in the coming  months.

Click on the photos to take you to the posts and tutorials…

DIY Plaster of Paris Flowers

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No-Sew Curtain pelmets

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Ikea Hack Bookcase

 

 

Slate Effect Painted Fireplace

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Moppe Drawer Makeovers

 

 

Hatfield House – the best ceilings in the world ever…

This week I was near London with the eldest child whilst she was performing as part of the Hatfield Chamber Music Festival.  We had an hour free afterwards, and although this was not much time at all, it seemed madness not to go into the house and have a peep.

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Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The Estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout the House. I got very over-excited looking at the wonderful portraits, all of my history lessons at school, (and I was a bit obsessed with the Tudors), came to life again as names and faces appeared.

 

 

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It is an iconic building in British architectural history.  Thousands of hand thrown bricks in red clay, and a lot of glass leaded windows.  The turrets are also very similar in style to Hampton Court and the Tower of London.  It is also famed for its beautiful knot gardens and parkland:

But is THE CEILINGS which amazed me.  The most ornate plaster work, pargetting, gilding, embellishment and decoration is pretty much in every main room of the house.

Continue reading “Hatfield House – the best ceilings in the world ever…”

Meis – Colour, colour and more colour

I have been away to the Lycian Coast this month, and whilst based in Turkey, I took a trip over to Meis, the easternmost Greek Islands.  It lies just off the coast of Turkey from Kaş , and I had been recommended to visit by local people where I was staying.

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Meis is knows as such by the Turkish, whilst the Greeks call it Kasterllorizo or Megisti.  This is the most beautiful little island.  The ferry only takes about 20 minutes to get there from Kas, and it is like being transported in a time warp to another place.  It also has the smallest duty free I have ever seen:

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As the boat approaches the harbour, the main town area comes into sight.

All of the houses are painted the most beautiful colours, like sugared almonds.  Inhabitants are not allowed cars, not that there is anywhere to go in them, and there is one taxi who seems to go round the island in circles a lot. I also met a few Australians, with Greek heritage from the island, who are known as ‘Kazzies’, and who have returned to live in this beautiful place.  What a homeland to have….

I pottered around and took a lot of photos, many of the houses are being restored by descendants of the original families.  Others are just waiting for their turn… Continue reading “Meis – Colour, colour and more colour”

My latest find…

And how to communicate with teenagers successfully…

After Christmas I received hundreds of sale emails from various interior shops.  One of them was from Cox & Cox, a great online retailer with quirky items.  I was not planning to buy anything, especially after Christmas, but this little beauty caught my eye, and it was also reduced so it would have been rude not too really….

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It’s a light box that come with lots of letters, and you can either wall-mount it or have it freestanding.  This has become the key way of communicating with my teenagers at the moment as they shoot in and out of the house, and they also love to leave messages too, so it is a two-way thing.

I have mine in the hall, so they can see it the minute they enter the house.  There is NO WAY they cannot get the message.  Unlike a phone that they can say they did not have on to receive a text or a voicemail, this sign is in your face and unmissable.

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When I first got it, I did a cheery message to get them ready to go back to school after the Christmas holidays:

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By the end of day one at school, it had been changed to this by a child…

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But generally it is a lovely sign to greet people and you can personalise it too if you want.

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But it also has brutal usages if so required…

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Genius, thank you Cox & Cox!

Ikea Hack – Bookshelf Unit, Part 1

PLANNING:

Yesterday I was over at my sisters house.  She has been working really hard recently on decorating, de-cluttering and generally removing the ravages of children over the years.  She has a sitting room with a newly installed woodburner, (she enlarged the fireplace and taught herself how to lime plaster to help install this, bravo!), and her style is very boho.  Lots of indian/ethnic furniture, kilims, fabulous battered leather armchairs and artefacts.  The room is skinny with a low ceiling, and not much natural light, so it ends up like a tunnel with dead space at either end.

There are two very long alcoves either side of the fireplace, and one is very underused – in fact it is crying out for something more.  So I suggested some sort of storage combination so she can get all of her stuff like LP’s, DVD’s, books etc into one dedicated place.  Budget is an issue, and we always like to get creative and avoid shelling out a fortune where possible. So I came up with an idea for an IKEA hack that we will be making this week.  Here are some very fuzzy images of the room and alcove, apologies for the quality!

Using an extended KALLAX as a central piece and two Billy bookcases either side, plus wood mouldings to revamp the front areas and to create some grandeur, we should be able to come up with a lovely break-front bookcase that will store a huge amount of things, fingers crossed!  As the room has generally dark furniture we are going to use white Ikea units, but paint the backs of the shelves in a dark grey to highlight whatever ends up on the shelves.  We will also paint everything else in white once the mouldings are attached.

The KALLAX units comes with great square baskets available made in rattan and palm leaves, so in some shelves clutter can be hidden in these.

SHOPPING LIST:

So here are the basics we will be buying:

Mouldings will be detailed with vertical rises like this:

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And the top pediment moulding like this:

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The base will also have a small skirting added to finish off the piece:

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Continue reading “Ikea Hack – Bookshelf Unit, Part 1”

English Antique hunting mission

I am sitting in a very cool cafe in Tetbury, Gloucestershire today and about to start on a mission finding interesting antiques.  It is pouring with rain, so I think there will be less tourists about giving me excellent shopping space!


Tetbury is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds, famous for a myriad of Antique shops.  It is also local to both Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s estates, so I might even have a Royal spotting (although if they are wise they should stay indoors on this very wet and grey English day).


But first some fuel… A pretty jam jar of juice and a mega toasted sandwich.

 There is one main street in the town which is full of antique dealers’ shops.  The current vogue is mainly for rustic French furniture, prints and reupholstered furniture.  It is pretty pricey but some of the pieces are wonderful.

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Armoire
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China collection
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Prince of Wales’ Insignia
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I’ll have it all!

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I had already spent about £30k in my head in just one side of the street.  All of the dealers are very friendly and informative, and I did not have any negative experiences anywhere.

The shutters above are my plan for a bedhead, I just have to hope they are still there when I return in the near future.