Tag Archives: decorating

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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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}

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!

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: 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?

My perfect hallway (just add dog)

11 Apr

I found this gorgeously grey country style hallway on Pinterest a while ago, but didn’t share it because I struggled to find the original source. I’ve now tracked it down (I should’ve guessed really – it’s the wonderful Ben Kendrick and Brent Darby for Country Living) so can post it last and we can all drool over it together.

country style hallway with tongue and groove{Brent Darby for Country Living}

I love it all – the contrast of the soft grey and red brick, the rough linen bench cushion, the touches of seagrass and rattan. It will be many moons before I have any hope of having my dream country home (although I’m happy to report I’m one baby step closer) but when I do, I would love to welcome my visitors into a hallway like this. All that’s missing is a dog!

Join The Room Debate!

15 Feb

Morning all – how’s your week been? I’ve been rushing around like a mad woman so the weekend is super welcome!

Anyway, back to the task in hand – today’s Room Debate. If it helps, here are a couple more shots of the room to look at too.

To join in, just leave a comment 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…

ethnic style living room design{The Marion House Book}

This living room has quite a bit going on so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think!

Have a happy weekend – see you on the other side!

Denim decor: yee-haa or yee-ouch?

11 Feb

The Scandinavians seem to be going mad for the double denim trend, making everything from cushions to rag rugs from the blue stuff. But I can’t make up my mind about whether it’s likely to take off over here…

Denim home interior trend{Bloomingville / HK Living}

So, denim decor: yee-haa or yee-ouch? Cast your vote in the comments, cowgirl…

My Room, Keep Out!

26 Nov

Where Children Sleep is a thought-provoking photo project by James Mollison. James was born in Kenya but grew up and studied in England before moving to Italy to work for Benetton’s research centre. The brief for the project was to communicate the complex social situations of children growing up in different parts of the world. James chose to do this by photographing their bedrooms (filled with signals of their circumstances) alongside individual portraits taken against a neutral background in which they each appear equal, ‘just as children’. Click the images for a larger view.

{all James Mollison for Where Children Sleep}

There are 27 bedrooms and portraits in total – each one is equally fascinating and touching, so I strongly recommend you view the whole project here.

Just don’t mess with Joey from Kentucky…

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