Archive | July, 2011

Wallpapering day…BEFORE

30 Jul

My friend and I made a pact. I’d help her with her wallpapering and she’d come and help me with mine. Back in April we completed our first attempt and my friend now has a gorgeous palm leafy hall. Check it out here.

Tomorrow sees the second installment. Well, actually the third installment but the less said about that the better. Check your batch numbers, that’s all I’ll say. So, it’s with apprehension that I share with you the ‘before’.

By this time on Sunday this wall should be covered in this wallpaper, ideally with as few tears shed as possible. Tune in next week to find out how it went. Eek!


Friday, I’m in love…

29 Jul

… with the beautiful photography on this German blog {above}

…with this washi tape for walls

… with these free printables for summer jam making

… with the work of these artists painting my favourite place in all the world

… with the lovely Blognic girls who have supported me with comments during my first blogging fortnight


A table for (more than) two

28 Jul

It’s natural to want what you don’t have, right? Well, in the case of my flat, my biggest want is a proper dining table. Don’t get me wrong, I do love my (pretty realistic) pretend Tulip table and DSW chairs (a bargain from here) very much…

…but it’s a pretty tight fit when friends come for dinner and there’s no way I can squeeze a bigger table into my already-a-bit-too-multifunctional-kitchen-come-living-come-dining room. It was inspired by this photo from my decorating bible, At Home with White:

{Polly Wreford}

Beautiful, but still compact. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time drooling over beautiful big dining rooms and collecting them together over on Pinterest. Here are some of my favourites but do hop over to this board if you fancy seeing even more.

{Via Nordic Bliss}

{Via Automatism}

{Via Vintage Chic}

{Via Room 269}

{Via En mi espacio vital}

{Via Sköna Hem}

{Via Emmas Design Blogg}

I hadn’t noticed before, but while my ideal small table is unfussy and crisp to avoid over-complicating my limited space, all of my favourite big tables are about as chunky and rustic as you can get! I wonder if I really would swap my style so dramatically if I had more room?

Tokyo drift

26 Jul

Today I am loving these Paris Tokyo cushion covers from The Conran Shop. Not cheap at £69 each but you could probably convince yourself you’re getting two countries for the price of one…

Creative spaces: artists in their studios

23 Jul

A year or so ago I decided to try and re-awaken my artistic side by taking life drawing classes, and in preparation, spent some time studying Lucian Freud‘s paintings. I fell in love with his honest, evocative portraits, so was very sad to hear yesterday that he’d died this week at the grand old age of 88.

The papers have been full of photographs of the artist and his work. The picture I find most poignant is this photo from 2005 showing Freud in his London studio, working through the night as he often did.

{Via Art In America Magazine}

Whenever there’s one of those Artist Open Studio events on nearby I always try and go. Partly because I’m interested in the work, but also because I love seeing where people work. The differences between each artist’s studio fascinate me. Some are a creative chaos of paint and canvas, while others have a surprising ordered calm.

Judging by this photo, Freud was one of the former – he’d never screw the tops back onto his paint tubes and would flick and swipe the caked-up paint onto the wall. Over 40 years, this created a kind of artwork in itself and even features in this ‘painting of a painting’ intriguingly named The Artist Surprised by a Naked Admirer.

I guess for a man described as having “at least 12 children”  this kind of thing happened a lot…

{The Artist Surprised by a Naked Admirer, Lucian Freud}

All this set me on a search of pictures of other artists’ studios. On the creative chaos scale, this one – Francis Bacon‘s – makes Freud’s mess pale into insignificance. The painting on the easel is thought to be the artist’s final work.

{Via The Tate Galleries}

Jackson Pollock‘s workspace is exactly what you’d expect from the master of the splatter.

{Via Nobodyintheartworld}

By contrast, these are surprisingly neat and ordered. Both belong to female artists, obviously!

{Via Inspiring Interiors}

American painter Georgia O’Keeffe‘s studio at The Ghost Ranch in New Mexico has been recreated just as it was in the 1940s. She was best known for her paintings of bones, rocks and flowers. “I thought the ranch would be good for me because nothing can grow here and I wouldn’t be able to use up my time gardening,” she said.

{Via The Tate Galleries}

Turner Prize Winner Rachel Whiteread‘s workspace looks more like a typical magazine’s art department that a studio. I suppose if you’re casting a Victorian house or making 14,000 giant sugar cubes, you probably would need a few work experience people around to give you a hand.

Even Marmite artist Tracey Emin‘s place is a lot neater than you might expect. Although it appears she’s taken the criticism she had over her infamous unmade bed to heart and opened some kind of launderette in the back room.

{Via The Guardian}

I’ll finish with another Brit favourite – Mr Sgt. Pepper himself, Peter Blake. A man after my own heart, Blake began collecting junk at the age of 14, to the point where he’s almost  hemmed in by his collection of curios in his London studio and has shifted some of his lovely tat to The Holburne in Bath, where it’s on display until 4th September 2011.

{Via The Independent}

{The Holburne Museum}

Vintage typewriter. Check. Dusty bell jar. Check. Rusty sign. Check. Hmmm. Perhaps I do have a career ahead of me as a top artist after all!

Inside Croatia’s cutest cottage

22 Jul

If I didn’t have to be in wet and windy London this weekend, I’d definitely be here…

{Damir Zizic via Kuchica}

Kuchica, which means ‘little house’ in Croatian, nestles in the lush hillside near Zagreb. Lovingly restored with flea market finds, rustic colours and bare minimum of fuss, the 100 year old cottage can be rented for holidays by those that value the simpler things in life. I admit the sleeping arrangements aren’t terribly romantic, but I can’t imagine a more idyllic place for a getaway – take the test here to see if Kuchica would suit you!

What do you look for in the perfect break? Does somewhere this basic appeal to you or are you boutique chic all the way?

Can I live in your shop, s’il vous plait?

21 Jul

Today’s shop tour is brought to you from the amazing Kidimo in Paris. Owner Nicolas Flachot scours antiques fairs and flea markets all over the world for eye-catching signs, from which he hand-picks the perfect selection of wood, zinc and Bakelite letters to spell out a word of your choice.

Typography lovers, you’re in for a treat.

{Kidimo via Graphic ExchanGE}

I love Billy Balls

19 Jul

That’s craspedia to you Latin types. What did you think I was talking about?

Shame on you.

When a certain shade of grey meets a certain shade of yellow, something magical happens. My living room is painted exactly this grey, which means I need to get to Columbia Road sharpish!

{Via The Marion House Book}

{Via Jurianne Matter}

{Via Elizabeth Anne Designs / Reform School Rules}

My family album

17 Jul

Friends sometimes think it’s strange that I don’t have a single photograph on display in my flat. I’ve generally thought that walls of smiling faces are for people with kids – the kind of people who like those ultra-bright canvases where family members sit around on a white floor pointing their bare feet towards the camera. “Look at us, we’re soooo unbelievably relaxed about this!”


A couple of weeks ago it was my Grandad’s 80th birthday and everyone chipped in to make a This Is Your Life style album full of photos from the family archive, most of which I’d never seen. They couldn’t be further from those garish canvases and I can’t get enough of them.

Here’s my Grandad (helpfully marked with an X – perhaps he thought he might forget which one he was!) in the Lampeter College tennis squad in the early ’50s. What jolly chaps!

This is the 1948 family holiday to Christchurch with my Grandad on the left, along with my Great Aunt, Great Grandmother and Great Grandad. That pipe’s a regular feature of the album. He managed to lose it for the engagement and wedding photos but was firmly back in place by the time he and my Grandmother arrived in Jersey for their honeymoon.

Nice quiff Grandad.

{Family photos all Decorator’s Notebook}

That wedding dress remind you of anyone’s?

So, I’ve decided to have some of these photos framed and turn the wall above the stairs into a little gallery. Of course, like anything involving a feature wall in my flat, I’m now faced with a heap of different photo display ideas to decide between. This diagram is a bit mind boggling, but it’s a good place to start and shows just how many different options there are.

{Via Hubpages}

{Via Sawdust & Paper Scraps}

The crispness of this is appealing, but I quite like the idea of mixing in a few other vintage bits and bobs I’ve got lying around too. Ooh, these are nice…

{Via Design Amour / Decor8}

I have a tendency to be a bit lax when it comes to getting this framed, so I like the idea of sticking or pinning some things up without having to bother. Jumbling up things of all shapes and sizes gets around the weird angles of the wall I’ve got to work with too. Now I just need to get hold of a load of frames. This could take some time.

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