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How to be a master of the Renaissance trend

7 Mar

Ever since I learned of the concept, I’ve been fascinated by trend forecasting. At first I was a little miffed that the design trends I loved to see emerging each season were set out well in advance and therefore more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a mystical zeitgeist. Now though, I love the guessing game that follows the trend predictions each season, seeing which will fly and which will fail.

At Home this year I went along to a presentation by Trend Bible, who were introducing their predictions for autumn/winter 2014. I’ll revisit them again nearer the time, but this stunning image from Claire Pettibone‘s couture collection brought my favourite of those trends to the forefront of my mind.

Claire Pettibone couture dress with flowers

{Claire Pettibone}

Trend Bible called it ‘Renaissance’ and I’m going to stick my neck out here and say I predict this trend’s going to be a winner. Let’s take a look at how we can translate the look from fashion to home and get ahead of the pack…

Fashion to Home Renaissance decorating trend Decorator's Notebook

{Abigail Ahern}

You can already see where I’m headed with this, right? The trends that stick are the ones that don’t re-write the rulebook, but instead twist and develop those design ideas that have been popular before.

Thus, Down Pipe-and-Fuchsia becomes Stiffkey-and-Peony. We’re ready for it and when it comes, we’re there with our paintbrushes aloft and our mouse fingers poised to pin the heck out of it.

How to decorate with the renaissance trend Decorator's Notebook

{Julia Hoersch}

So, you like the look of it but Renaissance isn’t the easiest trend to (forgive the pun) “master”. Here’s my simple guide to getting it right.

1 | Don’t be afraid of the dark

This is no time to chicken out and go for the safe mid-tone on your paint chart. The drama of this look comes from the contrast between a sultry backdrop and lively shots of colour. For the walls, opt for a flat matte paint (no wallpaper) and, if you’re especially brave, use the same shade on skirtings, ceilings and cornicing as well. The home of London stylist Jo Atkins Hughes (below) is a great example.

Dark grey living room with coloured accents

{Jo Atkins Hughes}

2| Think like Caravaggio

This trend isn’t called ‘Renaissance’ for nothing; still life oil paintings are a key influence. Head to an art gallery and stand in front of a few old Dutch Masters for while. Take in the dramatic use of light and shade and the vibrancy of the flowers and fruit – usually on the cusp of decay. These are just the kinds of accent colours you should consider to punctuate your scheme… deep figgy purple, ripe pomegranate red, bursting peony pink and acid yellow-greens are all perfect for this look.

Still life of fruit and flowers by Jan Davidsz. de Heem

{Painting: Jan Davidsz. de Heem}

3| Add abstract shapes

At first glace this is a very historical look, but it also requires a hint of the unexpected. Add it in the form of geometric and abstracted shapes and hard materials like brass, wrought iron and copper, to contrast with the natural elements. The good news is there are lots of great accessories around at the moment, so keep your eyes open for interesting pendant lights, prismatic vases and angular furniture as you shop.

Gold geometric light fitting

{Etch lights, Tom Dixon}

4| Create your own arrangements

The easiest way to introduce the colours of flowers and plants to your room is to use real ones! Have fun at the florist with eye-catching colours and showy blooms, then create a casual arrangement in a prominent position. Don’t just stick to vases though… embrace the still-life look and have them spilling out of a bowl or hang dried stems upside down down with a big silk ribbon.

Bouquet with succulents

{Joanna Millington for Love My Dress}

So, what do you think? Is the Renaissance trend one to stay or another flash in the pan? Chip in with your comment below and or tell me what you think on Twitter @DecoratorsNotes.

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Patterned tiles: floors I saw and liked

4 Feb

Looking back, I think it probably all started with this bohemian bathroom in Norway. What began in the bathroom has spread to almost every room in the house as my love of patchwork tiled floors has grown to almost alarming heights. Anyone else find themselves afflicted?

patchwork patterned floor tiles in hallway

{unknown via Pinterest – please get in touch if you know the source}

mix and match patterned floor tiles in bathroom

{via Houzz}

band of patterned floor tiles in doorway

{via Lovely Life}

bohemian kitchen with colourful patterned floor tiles

{unknown via Piccsy- please get in touch if you know the source}

Patterned floor tiles black and white monochrome

{Wichmann + Bendtsen via Dwell}

elegant hallway with original patterned floor tiles

{Fired Earth}

I know this is probably one of those short-lived trends that will have us all regretting our passion in a couple of year’s time as we’re on our hands and knees trying to chip out grout and desperately looking for some sort of tile paint that won’t peel. But then again, the Spaniards have been using encaustic tiles as their flooring of choice for centuries so perhaps this trend is a little more enduring than I might think.

If you’re considering it, here’s where to buy patterned floor tiles in the UK:

Alhambra Home (alhambrahome.co.uk) – just a stone’s throw from my old flat in Sydenham, Alhambra sells imported encaustic tiles traditionally made by skilled artisans in Spain. They’re not put off if you only want a handful and will give you guidance on creating your own perfect patchwork.

Fired Earth (firedearth.com) – a tasteful collection of tiles, mainly in soft colours to blend in with your heritage paint brand of choice. Styles range from authentic Victorian to elaborately Moorish. It’s well worth downloading the beautifully-photographed tile brochure which contains some lovely design ideas.

The Reclaimed Tile Company (reclaimedtilecompany.com) – is the place to head if only the real deal will do. They have a gorgeous selection of designs salvaged from historic buildings in Spain, France and Italy. You’ll need deep pockets if you plan to tile a whole room however – expect to pay around £250 per metre.

Original Style (originalstyle.com) – take a look at the Odyssey range for lovely patterned tiles in subtle shades. You’ll also find a good selection of borders which can be combined with cheaper plain tiles and the odd patterned accent to get the look on a budget.

eBay (ebay.co.uk) – with a bit of luck, eBay can be a treasure trove of tiles, from odd bits salvaged from Victorian fireplaces to job-lots of designer tiles left over from upmarket interior design projects. ‘Encaustic tiles’ and ‘Minton tiles’ are good search terms to try but don’t forget to check the item location before you bid!

The Room Mixer: global farmhouse

16 Jan

Here’s a new post idea I’m playing with. Five rooms that could be in the same home, but aren’t, in an attempt to create the perfect blend!

I’d start in this hallway, with its red brick floor and painted tongue and groove…

Rustic hallway

{via Terrain}

…it would lead to this cosy living room with its lovely kilim on the floor…

living room with kilim and stove

{via Design Sponge}

…I’d cook my supper here…

rustic kitchen with reclaimed wood

{via Names Agency}

…and later, relax in a nice hot bath in here…

country style bathroom blue wall slipper tub

{via Inks and Thread}

…and finally snuggle up in this big, warm bed.

ethnic bedroom

{via The Gifts of Life}

Let me know if you’ve seen a room you love and I might just create the perfect home just for you!

Storage idea: pretty-up your clothes rail with beads

29 Oct

Here’s a simple idea for hanging your clothes more stylishly from Mira Schröder, who lives in a small open-plan apartment in Berlin.

stylish clothes storage ideas Freunde von Freunden

clothes storage for open plan apartment Freunde von Freunden

clothes hanging on strings of beads Freunde von Freunden

{all Marlen Mueller / Freunde von Freunden}

Mira has created a clothes rail-come-room divider using strings of wooden beads hanging from the ceiling and hooked plain coat hangers through the ends. I don’t know whether she upcycled one of those 1970s wooden bead curtains or started from scratch with new strings of beads, but either would work as long as the hole in the middle of the beads was large enough to put the wire of the coat hanger through.

I’m a sucker for simple but stylish storage solutions so you’ll find lots more storage and organising ideas on this Pinterest board.

House tour: artist’s home with a bohemian twist

11 Oct

This stylishly comfortable house reminds me of this Sydney home I featured a while back… they both work for all the same reasons. A crisp white canvas filled with unusual, casually-arranged finds from around the world.

Ethnic Dutch home via The Style Files

dining room with industrial light VT wonen

display of global treasures

close up of woven rug

relaxed ethnic home via VT Wonen

Dutch home with mezzanine VT Wonen

{James Stokes for VT Wonen via The Style Files}

I can just imagine feeling really welcome and comfortable in this home… although it also makes me want to travel again! If you like what you see too, there are a few more pictures over at The Style Files.

Have a lovely weekend!

House tour: relaxed vintage style in the Finnish countryside

8 Aug

Last week the lovely Soile from Ada & Ina emailed me some photos of her pretty Finnish home and asked if I’d like to feature it on Decorator’s Notebook. One look and the answer was most certainly yes!

vintage bicycle finland ada and ina

scandinavian dining room with linen blind ada and ina

50s dresser ada and ina

white scandi kitchen ada and ina

Soile and Sami’s wooden house was built in the 1950s and I love how they’ve mixed original features with vintage finds and the odd piece of IKEA to give it a restful feel. Soile makes and sells curtains and blinds from natural fabrics so she’s used touches of textured linen soften the obligatory Scandinavian white palette.

scandinavian living room ideas

vintage retro armchair and wall art ada and ina

white scandinavian living room ada and ina

vintage wall art ada and ina

Last time I saw a horse harness on the wall it was in an old country pub next to a scraggy stuffed fox. Isn’t it amazing how a change of context can make something look stylish all of a sudden! Framing pretty pieces of cutlery and an old pocket watch is a lovely way to make a feature of vintage finds that might otherwise get lost in a drawer.

white scandinavian hallway ada and ina

framed cutlery and pocketwatch ada and ina

wooden stairs painted white and grey ada and ina

midcentury furniture in bedroom ada and ina

vintage sledge in Finland ada and ina{all Ada & Ina}

During the summer months I’d love to live here – but the crumbling sledge in the garden is a reminder that it’s not always light and bright in Turku! Thanks again Soile for sharing your lovely home… we love seeing inside your homes so do get in touch with your pictures!

More plywood kitchen love…

1 Aug

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… plywood kitchens are cool.

plywood kitchen cupboards

plywood kitchen{both Studio Oink via The Style Files}

See more of this dinky German apartment (including plywood bedroom) on The Style Files.

House tour: officially my new Favourite Home Of All Time

29 Jul

There are few things that please my inner decorator more than a crisp new Farrow & Ball colour chart. The thick concertina of cardboard fanning open to reveal subtley shaded chips of painty gorgeousness inside. Such a treat!

I had the same warm glow of delight when I found this beautiful Swiss chalet. The designers seem to have skipped that oh-so-familiar stage of painting a hundred swatches on the walls and agonising for months over the perfect shade to use. Instead, they’ve used nearly all of them – forty colours in fact – to create this beautiful canvas of chalky hues.

decorating with tonal colours

decorating with grey paint

grey and yellow dining room

blue painted workspace

If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you’ll know that in the past I’ve been a bit of a colourphobe. Recently though I’ve found myself embracing colour more and more, and this house completely sums up my decorating tastes right now. The paint palette still packs and punch and each room has serious impact, but the overall mood remains soft and relaxed. I love also how these shades bring out the beauty of the wood in this home – it’s historically sensitive and contemporary all at once. And oh, this mint!

period paint colours in traditional home

tonal bedroom decorating scheme

decorating with soft paint colours{design and photographs all Bergdorf Agency}

Now, I don’t take these things at all lightly, but I actually think this house might just have unseated this Cornish cottage as my Favourite Home Of All Time!

What do you say to that?

Join The Room Debate!

19 Jul

Happy Friday everyone! I hope this light and airy room captures the mood of the moment for you and has plenty of elements to discuss for The Room Debate today.

Everyone’s welcome to join in of course. If it’s your first time, simply take a good look at the photo below then head to the comments 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…

white vintage living room

There are plenty of things to love about this room for me… but a couple of things that irritate me too! Looking forward to hearing what you think…

Have a lovely weekend – I’m off to Art in Action in Oxford and really looking forward to it.

Apple crates as kitchen shelves. Nice.

17 Jun

Even though I love the rustic look, kitchens made entirely from reclaimed wood are too much for me, so I am very much appreciating this best-of-both combo.

white kitchen with open shelves made from crates{via Style at Home}

Also very much appreciating the use of cactus and stuffed ferret.

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