Archive | July, 2012

A whitewashed and woody Italian retreat

30 Jul

I’m suffering from a serious bout of Olympic fever here in London and am almost delirious with excitement, but if you’ve already had enough and are looking to escape I have the perfect spot for you.

This old mill belongs to Katrin Arens who designs and makes rustic furniture from reclaimed wood. It’s set in the Lombardy region of Italy, right in the north where it borders Switzerland. It’s not an area I knew anything about, but one look at this website and it’s now firmly on my ‘to go’ list – rolling hills, thermal waters and lowland rice fields producing the main ingredient for the region’s speciality saffron risotto… si grazie!

Given her job, it’s hardly surprising that Katrin made lots of the furniture in the house herself. If her style is your thing you should definitely check out her shop, where she sells lovely handcrafted, natural homewares.

I love the tiny flash of yellow in the picture on top of the wardrobe in this otherwise white/wood room. And I’m sure I’d sleep like a baby every night in the room below knowing I could throw open the window and start the morning with breakfast at the little table.

{via The Style Files}

You know what, this house might just have wrestled away the award of my dream home from this Cornish cottage – I can absolutely see myself living here. Forever!

Join The Room Debate!

27 Jul

It’s Friday, it’s the start of the Olympics, it’s time for The Room Debate – what more could you ask for?!

So, thinking caps at the ready? As always, it’s easy to take part in the debate. Just have a good look at the photo below and leave a comment with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

{Bronnie Masefau via Desire to Inspire}

An unusual one, don’t you think? As always I’ll kick things off in the comments below – meet me there and we can get the conversation going…

Have a wonderful weekend everyone – GO TEAM GB!!!

French beauty: le dans la

25 Jul

The most beautiful photographs. The most beautiful home. The most beautiful blog.

le dans la

Sometimes you don’t need to know anything else – simply browse, follow and add it to your blogroll.

{all le dans la}

Le dans la is written in French but don’t let that put you off – this is a blog where pictures definitely speak louder than words. If this tiny snippet has whetted your appetite, there’s a whole blog full of beauty waiting for you here. I hope you like it!

Shop tour: Folklore

23 Jul

My discovery of Folklore in Islington took a rather convoluted route – five stops on the East London line via a post on an Australian blog! Anyway, once I’d worked this out, I decided to nip out during my lunch hour and see for myself.

Folklore was started as an online design store by Danielle and Rob Reid to sell products that fit with their ethos – that better living is possible through design. The shop itself is minimal with scrapwood walls, rope and plank shelving and tables made from reclaimed beams. It has a Japanese feel, with just a couple of each item on display.

Rob and Danielle have obviously put a lot of time and care into choosing their products. Each is displayed with a little label describing its origin, facts about its designer and how it was made. I especially loved Shan Valla’s ceramic vessels cast from vintage glass milk bottles (from £35) and the heavy unbleached cotton blankets made in one of America’s last remaining textile mills (sadly well out of my budget at £195).

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

If you’re in North London it’s well worth popping into Folklore (193 Upper Street) to have a look. If not, there’s a rather lovely webshop too.

Why not share your top independent interiors shops in the comments below?

U is for Underage (aka kids’ bedroom ideas!)

20 Jul

Scraping the bottom of the alphabetical barrel perhaps, but I do think this is a really worthy subject for my Pinterest A-Z series because there are so many brilliant childrens’ rooms out there . Here’s my round-up of big ideas for making home a more exciting place for the little ones.

{via Jelanie via my Pinterest boards}

{via Drake General Store via my Pinterest boards}

{via La Maison d’Anna G via my Pinterest boards}

{via One Kings Lane via my Pinterest boards}

{via Pretty Little World via my Pinterest boards}

{via Transito Inicial via my Pinterest boards}

{via Apartment Therapy via my Pinterest boards}

{via Desire to Inspire via my Pinterest boards}

I think the last picture is my favourite – I love how grown-up vintage pieces and patterns have been used to create a pretty, cute look that will appeal to a young girl and her parents in equal measure!

Enjoy the forecast sun this weekend, about time too I say. And don’t forget to follow Decorator’s Notebook on Pinterest for daily decorating inspiration and visual loveliness.

Have a good one!

Sweetly reminiscent, something mother used to bake

19 Jul

I love how a particular recipe can remind you of a particular person. My Great Nanny Bessie’s Welsh Cakes, Granny’s Lemonade and my Nanny’s Coffee Kisses have worked their way into my own repertoire and I think of them every time I prepare them. I’ve often thought how lovely it would be to compile all the signature dishes in my family and make a recipe book. It’s one of many good ideas I’ve never got around to!

When Emma Jeffery’s grandmother passed away she found three scraps of yellowing notepaper containing handwritten recipes. They were the only examples of her grandmother’s writing that survived and she came up with the sweet idea of printing them onto tea towels. As soon as I saw this tutorial I felt instantly inspired to get my family recipe project back on track and try making some of these myself to give as presents.

{all Emma Jeffrey via Spoonflower}

Emma’s provided a full step-by-step tutorial over at Spoonflower so I won’t copy it all out here – go and check it out. Even if you don’t have original written recipes you could always copy out some family favourites in your best handwriting and start from there.  Poems, stories or would work well too.

Decorator’s Notebook is 1 today!

17 Jul

One year ago today, I published my first blog post and Decorator’s Notebook was born!

{via The Sweetest Occasion}

A few things have happened over the last year. I became addicted to Pinterest. Decorator’s Notebook was mentioned in The Telegraph. My little flat has come along leaps and bounds.

But the biggest change has been my approach to my blog. When I first started I was happy to write it just for me, as a scrapbook of my ideas and a record of my achievements in my first home. But as people started reading and were sweet enough to leave me comments, I realised my blog wasn’t just for me anymore. I want Decorator’s Notebook to be for you, and me, and us all together!

So… as year two begins, please may I ask you a little favour?

Whether you’re a regular commenter or usually stay behind the scenes, it would be the best birthday present if everyone who visits today would take a moment to say “hello” and tell me:

What do you like best about Decorator’s Notebook?

Is there anything you’re not so keen on?

Are there any themes you’d like me to write about?

Thanks everyone!


Back to nature at Bivouac

16 Jul

Here’s another addition to my cavegirl travel list. Bivouac not only has a great name, it sounds like a great place to stay, eat and explore too.

Bivouac is a posh, eco-friendly holiday camp in the Yorkshire Dales, which aims to be ‘all things luxurious and rustic’ – my dream combination! I’d choose to stay in one of the charming Woodland Shacks (above) which are built with chestnut wood frames, sheep’s wool insulation and a private veranda with views through the trees. Inside, the furniture is a mixture of handmade and upcycled bits and pieces, and each shack comes complete with a traditional Windy Smithy stove for drying out your walking boots or cooking up a tasty stew. The only thing that’s missing is electricity!

Even if you’re not staying in one of the Woodland Shacks, Meadow Yurts or the Bunk Barn, you can still enjoy a taste of Bivouac life in the café. The interior is just gorgeous – I really like the warm blend of wood, combined with pastel-painted vintage chairs and bare industrial lightbulbs. It reminds me of a slightly more refined version of the Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis, which I visited last summer and can’t stop dreaming about!

{all Bivouac}

Staying at Bivouac costs from £18 per person per night for a bed in the Bunk Barn to £565 to rent a seven-bed Woodland Shack for four nights in summer. The Bivouac Café is open everyday and sometimes has special events like pottery painting, folk nights and wine tasting. Check out the website for all the details.

Join The Room Debate!

13 Jul

I’ve been saving this one for a sunny summer’s day. I’ve realised now I could be waiting a long time, so let’s just go for it shall we?

Welcome all! As always, it’s easy to take part in the debate. Just have a good look at the photo below and leave a comment with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

{James Merrell via Homes & Gardens}

Do you warm to the coastal charm of this room or does it leave you feeling colder than a Cornish surfer without a wetsuit? The comments section below is the place to share your thoughts… see you there ladies!

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for joining in.

How to make a white kitchen more interesting

11 Jul

White kitchen with brick tiles. Overdone…?

This Oslo apartment proves that with a couple of unexpected twists, a classic white kitchen can be so much more interesting.

{via My Scandinavian Home}

A chocolate brown painted ceiling. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday! I never thought it’s something I’d advise, but it adds so much drama to this space and the ceilings are high enough to carry it off. I love the framed picture display too (nothing revolutionary, but not commonly seen above eye-level kitchen shelving).  And that floor most definitely… eye-catching.

What do you think? How have you made your white kitchen more interesting?


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