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House tour: mix dark wood and white for a crisp industrial vibe

7 Apr

I shared one photo from this apartment on Twitter last week and the response was an immediate ‘wow’, so I thought you’d like to see the rest!

The owners of this one-bed apartment have achieve the renovation holy trinity: bigger, lighter and on a budget. Have a browse and soak up the cool mix of whitewashed brick, tile and dark reclaimed wood. Then check out the ‘befores’ to appreciate just how impressive this makeover really is!

industrial vintage city apartment tour

whitewashed brick feature wall

white painted brick wall

The apartment belongs to New York prop stylist Anthony D’Argenzio who did most of the work himself. Once the previous owner’s frilly pink pelmets and plastic-covered sofa had been banished he began by hacking the plasterboard from the walls to reveal the brick underneath. Whitewashing the rough brick and outlining the windows with a deep surround of stained reclaimed wood gives the apartment a warehouse-like feel.

house plant on window sil

white vintage kitchen with reclaimed wood

This kitchen is just a dream for me… the patterned tile floor, white marble worktop, subway tiles, industrial lighting and all that rough-hewn reclaimed wood. Perfect proof of how a tiny kitchen can still be big on style.

vintage map wall art

gallery wall

white vintage bedroom

[Photographs Emily Johnstone for Lonny]

Another thing I really admire about how this place has been styled is the juxtaposition of the industrial backdrop with quite glamourous accessories and furniture. The ornate gilded mirror in the living room, chandeliers and slightly rubbish society portraits all give an unexpected hint of faded grandeur that stops the coolness feeling too try-hard.

If you like this home you won’t want to leave the blog without looking around this apartment too… there are some lovely similarities between the two in both size and style. And don’t forget to check out the ‘befores’ too… you won’t believe your eyes!

House Tour: New York apartment with natural elements

28 Jan

I love bringing little touches of nature into my home… a dried seedhead here, a pheasant feather there… they help to soften up a minimal room and bring a tiny bit of the outdoors in.

This small New York apartment belongs to prop stylist Rebecca Bartoshesky and I really admire her style. She has just the right amount of artistic clutter and some really nice ideas for using found objects in a decorative yet simple way.

living room with muted colours

Apple crate storage

House plants

Look closely and you’ll see little natural touches in evey single corner of this home. Not so much that it looks like a museum (remember this Victorian collector’s cottage?) but just enough to bring in the subtle earthy tones and rustic textures that only real shells, plants and feathers can add.

linen blind

collection box of feathers

small kitchen with vintage style

kitchen shelf detail

If you like this look, choose natural fibre fabrics as Rebecca has – raw linen or material coloured with vegetable dyes are ideal as their muted tones are just right for adding colour in a way that doesn’t jar. Dyeworks specialises in selling naturally-dyed fabrics, or Sania Pell wrote this lovely post explaining how to make your own fabric dyes from berries, vegetables and spices.

vintage metal bedstead

tie dye bedspread

{Photographs Pippa Drummond / Styling Rebecca Bartoshesky for Sight Unseen}

For those of us that remember 1990s ‘bohemian chic’ the idea of tie dying is a little bit scary, but there’s no denying it’s making a come-back. If proper tie-dye like Rebecca’s bedspread sends you running for cover, dip dying is just as easy and is less likely to make your home look like a hippy hangout. I went to a trend forecasting presentation last week and ombre is going to be sticking around for at least another two seasons, so there’s still time if you haven’t yet succumbed!

This beautiful apartment was origianally featured on the lovely Sight Unseen blog where you’ll find lots more photos and pretty details of Rebecca’s home – find the post here.

House tour: The secret Paris apartment of Madame de Florian

10 Jan

The story of Madame de Florian’s home seems almost too far-fetched to be true, but the discovery of her glamorous Paris apartment – which has been locked behind closed doors since 1942 – is evidence of a life and style too fabulous to be fiction.

Paris apartment of Madame de Florian time capsule

Abandoned Paris apartment of Madame de Florian

taxidermy in Paris apartment of Madame de Florian

Paris apartment of socialite Madame de Florian 1942

Portrait of Marthe de Florian by Giovanni Boldini

{Getty images via AnOther}

The apartment belonged to Marthe de Florian, an actress and socialite who lived in swirl of fine gowns and love affairs with important men, from Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau to painter Giovanni Boldini, who captured her beauty in the radiant portrait above. She lived in this decadent apartment on the Right Bank with her own portrait in pride of place until she died, leaving her home to her grandaughter, Madame de Florian.

In 1942 at the age of 23, Madame de Florian was forced to flee Paris as the German troops drew ever nearer. She locked the doors and moved to the South of France, never to return, although she continued to pay her service charges until her death at the age of 91. It wasn’t until 2010 that auctioneers opened the doors to the apartment once again and discovered the incredible time capsule that lay gathering dust inside.

Amongst the elegant carved furniture, moth-eaten silks and dulled cut crystal the auctioneer came across Marthe de Florian’s portrait alongside ribbon-bound love letters that confirmed the identity of both the artist and subject, who was only 24 when it was painted. The painting recently sold for an astonishing €2.1 million… the apartment however remains in the hands of the de Florian estate, back behind closed doors and just as it was the day Madame de Florian left.

Ps – If this apartment captivates you too, you must visit Dennis Severs’ House in Folgate Street. It’s the closest you’ll get to the magic of an abandoned home.

House tour: Christmas Scandinavian style

3 Dec

December is here so festive planning has well and truly begun chez Decorator’s Notebook… and it also means I can share the first Christmas house of the season with you! It’s a Swedish villa that been decorated in quite a subtle style with lots of layered textiles and natural elements to create an oh-so-Scandinavian feel. A gentle introduction to all things festive.

scandinavian house in snow

hallway with small Christmas tree

scandinavian Christmas decorations

The white painted look inside (and out!) might be too clinical for some, but I like how the owners have included lots of antique furniture, rugs and seasonal foliage to take the edge off the stark backdrop.

Christmas table decor with natural touches

white painted scandinavian kitchen

cream painted kitchen Scandinavian style

The house belongs to Marie, a stylist and her husband Fredrick, a carpenter… how handy when taking on a renovation! I really love the handmade kitchen with its little drawers painted with the names of garden plants to give it that apothecary vibe.

white bedroom decorating ideas

glamourous vintage bathroom

{Photographs Marie Delice Karlsson for Lantliv}

How will you be decorating your home this Christmas? Will you go traditional and be decking your halls with boughs of holly or going to town with tinsel and glitter?

House Tour: a Welsh barn that toes the line between simple and sparse

11 Nov

I am a great lover of simple homes – what better way to get the most from much-loved home accessories than against an uncluttered backdrop – but how minimal can a home be and still feel homely? This new-build barn in West Wales is an interesting case to consider as the fabric of the building has been purposefully left as a shell by its architect owner. Could live comfortably here?

modern barn interior with woodburner - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

Dutch woodburner and pantry - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

dining table made from reclaimed floorboards - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

exposed plaster wall panels - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

plaster panelling left exposed in new build barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

bedroom in modern barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

bedroom in contemporary barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

{Mojo Photography via Remodelista}

Do you think you’d feel at home in a living space like this or does it feel too bare for you? What would you add to make the barn more your style? Please use the comments to share your thoughts and ideas.

If you’d like to learn more about the construction and design of the barn there’s lots more detail in Remodelista’s post.

House Tour: Soviet chic in a Moscow

7 Nov

I always enjoy featuring international house tours on Decorator’s Notebook, especially those in more unusual locations. Over the years I’ve shared beautiful homes in Croatia, Canada, Switzerland, Finland and Australia to name but a few. I’d never come across anything in Russia though that inspired me… until today that is!

Industrial style kitchen in Russian apartment

reclaimed kitchen sink

Unlike in Europe and Scandinavia where the whole midcentury thing has skyrocketed, Soviet era design reminds many Russians of austerity, poverty and a lack of autonomy and they’d rather forget. It’s pretty uncommon for anyone to decorate their homes with vintage accessories or furniture out of choice rather than necessity.

soviet era furniture reclaimed in apartment

white vintage kitchen with reclaimed cupboards

The owners of this small apartment in Moscow are unusual in their tastes and have gathered a collection of 1950s Danish design and discarded Soviet pieces to create a utilitarian look I absolutely love. They picked up those gorgeous kitchen cabinets and aluminium stools for next to nothing from a Moscow hospital that was throwing them out! The industrial trend clearly hasn’t caught on in Russian either.

Russian apartment with Soviet antiques

bricks as wall art in Moscow home

It’s not just the stuff in this apartment that makes it stylish however – the owners have made some great design decisions too. As a fan of exposed brick walls I love the idea of fixing old reclaimed bricks face-up on the wall to create a similar but less commital effect.

midcentury style workspace in Moscow

Soviet era design in Russian apartment

{via Architectural Digest}

In fact, the vintage wonderment of this apartment almost makes me want to pack my suitcase and head over to Moscow right away. Although on second thoughts, I might just wait until winter’s passed!

For more fascinating international houses and apartments to explore, check out the House Tours archive.

House Tour: the house that dreams (and $500) built

23 Oct

Light is my number one priority when deciding where I live. I love big windows – for looking out to watch the world go by and for the sunshine they allow in. Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz felt the same, but took things one step further when building their getaway home in the wilds of West Virginia.

house of windows built for 500 dollars

house built from reclaimed windows

Their first date was a walk in the mountains and, while watching the sun set (awww), they mused about building a house entirely of windows so that nothing could come between them and the view. Less than a year later they left their jobs and set off on a roadtrip around Pennsylvania, collecting hundreds of old windows from junk sales they passed en-route. $500 dollars later they returned to the mountains and began building their dream getaway.

glass getaway in forest

exterior of glass house made from old windows

view from house made from windows

These pictures don’t give much clue as to the inside, but you can have a really good look around (and hear more about the couple’s story) in this Kinfolk-esque video made by Half Cut Tea. It’s well worth a watch to see the beautifully rustic wooden interior.

glass house at night

{Photographs & Video: Jordan Wayne Long / Matt Glass / Half Cut Tea}

If you could build a dream house anywhere in the world, where would it be?

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: open plan loft filled with plants and sunshine

28 Aug

Every now and then, I come across a house that makes me feel content, even just from looking at photographs of it. This open plan loft in Belgium is one of those rare finds… relaxed, personal, fresh and bathed in natural light. I just can’t imagine ever feeling miserable if I came home to an apartment like this one.

light loft apartment with plants

open plan loft apartment

full wall bookshelves

vintage glasses and white bookshelves

Bart Haverkamp and Pieter Croes are the lucky pair who get to live in this airy oasis – they’re garden architects and the lush greenery and skylights in their loft create a real greenhouse vibe. I’m not known for my love of houseplants, but even I’ll admit this open plan space would lose much of its magic without them.

bookshelf in eaves

vintage collection on shelves

house plants

painting on sunny shelf

black dog{all Bart Kiggen for Coffeeklatch}

As much as I’m trying to fight it, I’m clinging onto ways to keep nature inside as summer draws to an end. This little oasis is the perfect inspiration – there’s more to see at the always-inspiring Coffeeklatch.

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!

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