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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?

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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?

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.

Should there be rules on the colour you can paint your house?

14 Aug

A little while back, this Devon cottage caused a bit of a kerfuffle round these parts…

pink house in devon{Mark Passmore via The Times}

Its owners have been ordered to tone down the shade they’ve chosen to paint their listed cottage on the basis that it was – well – ‘too pink’ to comply with planning regulations. It got me thinking about whether people should have the same freedom when choosing the colours for the outside of their home as they do for the inside. After all, in some areas a punchy paint job is celebrated and encouraged.

Take Tobermory for example…

Tobermory by Ken Gillies{Ken Gillies}

London’s Portobello Road…

brightly painted houses in notting hill gary pepper girl{Gary Pepper Girl}

Whitehead in Co. Antrim…

whitehead co antrim by John Maguire{John Maguire}

La Boca in Buenos Aires…

la boca buenos aires by Marissa Strniste{Marissa Strniste}

Seems to me, it’s all about gang mentality. If you can club together and get your neighbours to grab their brushes too, you can all be clashy and colourful together. But be the only one in the village and you’re likely to find yourself on the receiving end of disapproving glances and tutting in the local pub forevermore.

Personally, I was feeling all urban and liberal about the whole thing. Until, that is, I saw what they’d done with the pub in our local town which recently went from this…

dolphin-exterior

To this…

the dolphin wellington mural{Decorator’s Notebook}

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???!

Upcycling: the good, the bad and The Apprentice

12 Apr

So, did you see it? I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or where to look – at the TV screen or my Twitter timeline, which was buzzing with talk of nothing else!

One of the things that got me growling at the telly was the indiscriminate use of terms like ‘shabby chic’, ‘vintage’, ‘retro’ and ‘upcycling’. I honestly felt that kind of cringing you get when your grandad says the word ‘sex’. By the time it got to the boardroom and Lord Sugar was saying “upcycling” (in a tone that suggested invisible airfinger speech marks) every 30 seconds I was actually wincing and had my hands ready to cover my ears.

But from an academic perspective the thing that got me thinking most was those on Twitter who were getting angry and upset that The Apprentice candidates were making a mockery of people who sell and upcycle vintage furniture for a living. To me, they’re getting the wrong end of the stick. Those candidates went into the task thinking as I suspect many people do… “this is easy, anyone can do it.” However, what they managed to prove is that no, you can’t. Sure, anyone can stencil a Union Jack onto something (anything) or write Shabby Chic on a luggage tag and hope for the best, but to make something that’s genuinely desirable and covetable you need creativity, skill and a sense for good design.

So, for today I thought I’d post some examples of upcycled pieces that I find inspiring and innovative. Saying that, I think we definitely need a new word to describe this… every time I type upcycled I can feel my fingers tensing up!

I really like this lampshade made from vintage rulers from Roost Living. I think it works because it takes items that are already nicely designed but not overly useful (at least, not once you’ve left school) and turns them into something that’s still nicely designed but useful in a different way. No extra faff or bling – just simple and charming.

{via Apartment Therapy}

You might already be sick of the whole wooden pallet thing, but I think this pallet plate rack is still really clever. It’s a completely new use of a genuinely redundant object and fits into the room in a way that doesn’t shout about its old purpose or feel particularly contrived.

{Annaleena’s Hem}

Am I on shaky ground with this one? I’m going to argue for it because I think it’s clever, it costs almost nothing and it does something practical. No, I don’t think you should pay a single penny for someone to make it for you but I think it’s a great idea.

{Shannon Fricke via Decor8}

A good quality, functional but probably not too attractive wardrobe updated with good quality, attractive but not very functional wallpaper offcuts. Symbiotic upcycling at its best!

Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t some shocking examples out there – I was tickled that one tweeter suggested last night’s episode of The Apprentice should’ve been sponsored by Regretsy – but of course, I wouldn’t be bitchy enough to point out any bad examples.

Hang on, what’s that?

Oh. It appears that I am.

And I’ve made a special Pinterest board of the best (worst) I could find. Sorry… couldn’t help it.

Please do comment with other pieces (good and bad) and tell me what you think of the whole upcycling thing!

“Decorating trends we all want to see the back of” : discuss

1 Feb

According to the Interiors Fashion Police (yes, that link is to Elle Decoration) the decorating trends we’d all like to see dead and buried during 2012 are as follows…

{via Better Homes & Gardens}

BOOKS AS PROPS

“I adore books and cannot imagine life, or my home, without them,” says Ronda Carman, of All the Best Blog. But for her, books as props have a short shelf life. “Rose Tarlow put it best: ‘An object added for effect instead of affection will always look like an affectation.’”

{via HomeShoppingSpy}

MID-CENTURY MODERN

Antiques dealer Richard Shapiro has modernism malaise, calling out the “monotony of one midcentury room after another, all with predictable, gratuitous, gimmicky accessories.”

{via Canter & Cave}

HOLLYWOOD REGENCY

It’s time to retire brightly lacquered Hollywood Regency furniture, says decorator Mary McDonald: “I think we all have seen enough garage-sale junk sprayed in high-gloss Skittles colors to last through the next century.”

{via Honestly WTF}

STYLE FOR STYLE’S SAKE

Designer Mario Buatta singles out “dysfunctional decoration,” his term for interiors that don’t relate to people. “Everything is done for styling, and nothing has to do with living— there’s no place to have a conversation or set down a drink,” he says.

{via Meet me at Mike’s}

UPCYCLING

The DIY craze has run its course, says decorator Sheila Bridges, who has seen her share of “earthy, handmade concoctions. Just because it can be reclaimed doesn’t mean it should be.”

————————————————————————————————–

Hmmmm, so what do we think of these?

Are you sick of these trends too or are there others that get your goat? Do you see red when told to Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake? Are you painfully aware of how striking spiders look against white painted floorboards? Do gallery walls filled with black and white photographs of someone else’s ancestors feel fraudulent to you?

Or are there any supposedly passé trends you’ll cling onto until the bitter end, because you like them and you don’t care what anyone else says?

Go on, tell it like it is. I dare ya!

{all quotes via Elle Decoration}

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