Tag Archives: interior design

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!

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.

If you found my post useful, please share it! Buttons below..

The new yellow and grey?

4 Mar

Could it be?

green and grey textiles

{via Skona Hem}

grey and green interior

{via Design Sponge}

green industrial light in grey bedroom

{via The Design Files}

Every time you spend money, you cast a vote for the kind of society you want

27 Feb

Back in my late teens I spent a month of my gap year volunteering on a cocoa plantation in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was there, harvesting fresh cacao pods alongside the locals, that I got to understand what fair trade really means for people in developing countries striving to support themselves and their families through stable and dignified work. Since then, I’ve built fair trade into the buying choices I make every day, usually by doing nothing more arduous than drinking a nice cup of tea and enjoying a bar of chocolate.

Fairtrade homewares from Decorator's Notebook shop (623x800)

But fair trade is about more than just bananas and coffee beans. Where food has led, other industries have followed and you can now decorate your home with fair trade products too. We are proud to say that, from the beginning, Decorator’s Notebook has supported fairtrade groups, co-operatives and social enterprises that help talented artisans in challenging circumstances work their way to a better life.

This Fairtrade Fortnight we thought it was about time we celebrated by bringing these lovingly-made products together into a proper Fairtrade Collection and introducing you to a few more of the wonderful organisations that craft them.

Fairtrade co operative making leather buckets for Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

Our Leather Bucket is made by members of a co-operative in Rajasthan, India. This community-run group has grown to support more than 40 families. The craftsmen and women use traditional skills to prepare the leather using natural bark and vegetable dyes before stitching each bucket by hand.
Leather storage / kindling bucket, £70, Decorator’s Notebook

Kantha bedspreads made by women's social enterprise for Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

These beautiful kantha bedspreads are handmade by the women of Basha, a social enterprise in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that helps victims of sex trafficking rebuild their lives. The women receive paid training and counselling before being offered a job when they are ready. As well as earning a generous wage the women receive free childcare, daily education classes and subsidised healthcare. Each bedspread is hand-stiched from vintage saris and embroidered with the name of the woman who made it.
Kantha bedspreads, £165, Decorator’s Notebook

Fairtrade pottery Decorator's Notebook (763x800)

Our Dipped Terracotta range of mugs, jugs and bowls is produced by a co-operative in Pondicherry, India. Established in 1985, the group employs both disabled and able-bodied artisans and focusses particularly on empowering women in the workplace. The pottery is handmade using age-old techniques and wood-fired to give the clay its lovely speckled finish.
Dipped terracotta tableware, from £12.95 – £14.95, Decorator’s Notebook

Do come and visit the shop to explore all the gorgeous accessories we’ve handpicked help you create a more unique and meaningful home. We love seeing our blog readers there best of all!

{Photographs Decorator’s Notebook / Nkuku / Basha}

Thoughts on love and home

14 Feb

Decorator's Notebook - always with love

{Decorator’s Notebook}

Homewares made with love make lovelier homes… the simple philosophy that makes Decorator’s Notebook what it is and all we hope it can become.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone xxx

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.

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!

Wait! 5 ways to decorate with fairy lights all year round

6 Jan

As soon as the decorations come down on Twelfth Night it always seems to me that a previously homely house looks suddenly bare. It’s just too depressing! So whilst I don’t suggest we become strange Christmas people who never take down their tree and eat turkey 365 days of the year, I am going to wriggle free from the grip of superstition just a little by offering a few mildly rebellious ideas to enjoy the magical twinkle of fairy lights in your home, whatever the season. Will you join me?

Fairy lights over bed curtains

{via we Heart It}

four poster bed with fairy lights

{Photograph: Leela Cyd}

photographs clipped onto fairy lights

{via PB Teen}

Single string of fairy lights

{Photograph: Jeska Hearne}

workspace office with fairylights

{Photograph: Michelle Halford}

I’m also considering rebranding my Christmas wreath as “winter wreath” to avoid taking it down… or perhaps that’s a step to far?

Mini makeover: bedroom nook

25 Nov

Since leaving London in the Summer and moving back to Somerset to launch the shop, I’ve been working at this thrown-together deskspace in the corner of my bedroom.

workspace makeover before

Now, the thing I didn’t realise for a while is that having your desk in your bedroom actually sends you a bit… well… nutty. This ugly corner of technology and wires is the first thing I see when I wake up, what I look at all day and the last thing I see when I go to bed. For the first couple of months I clung determindly onto my lovely vintage chapel chair, but finally all those work station posture assessments from my office days came back to haunt me and I was forced to buy this hulking swivelling monstrosity to save my back.

Something had to change.

So this weekend saw the first stage of operation ‘bedroom reclaim’. I finally rehomed my desk to the guest room and set about making this corner into somewhere pretty to sit and relax again.

2 Bedroom makeover AFTER

What a difference a day makes!

I set myself the task of working only with things I already had, with the single addition of my lovely new Milly chair, courtesy of Swoon Editions.

The French grammar poster was a find from La Braderie a few years ago and I ran up the envelope cushion using a scrap of Laura Ashley fabric I had left over from making a tablecloth for my old flat. The enamel pitcher was a car boot bargain, while the green glass bottle vase and dipped terracotta mug are from our shop. The textured recycled denim rug is one we’re thinking of stocking after Christmas (let me know if you like it) and the pine trunks were being used as bedside tables in the guest room.

Finally, I hung up a string of Joe’s photos which he put together for our tutorial showing how you can print any photo as a polaroid – they’re simply fixed with a piece of washi tape to the ribbon on the back.

How to print a photo as a polaroid at home

bedroom makeover details

3 bedroom makeover close up

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

What do you think? I’m feel so much more relaxed already now my workspace is separate and my whole bedroom looks so much nicer. Now I just need to tackle my new desk area… any ideas for how I might be able to improve the look of that awful black chair?

Sorry Rudolph, I might be warming to this reindeer rug trend

19 Nov

reindeer rug decorating trend

reindeer skin throw on bench

reindeer skin rug

{via Reindeer Facts / Johanna Pilfalk / Koko Classics / Cox & Cox}

What do you think?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,553 other followers

%d bloggers like this: