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Friday, 29 January 2010

{Taking time for you}

Image: WhippetGrey

I don't think I'll ever tire of that Friday feeling. Sometimes it starts on a Thursday afternoon, knowing that the weekend is within sight, and sometimes it comes in a flurry as the working week finishes on Friday afternoon. Either way, it's so lovely to know that the weekend is stretched out before you; to take time to to invest in you, your family...your home.

I saw this novelty stamp by WhippetGrey this morning and it made me think about how I get caught up in the daily rush of working in the city. I look forward to taking time at the weekend, but what resonates with me about this stamp is that I must remind myself that I'm not too busy to spend time with those I love, or even just to invest in what I have. I'm going to try and make the most of every weekend in 2010, remembering not to be too busy!

My favourite find this week, is ParisDailyPhoto - Eric, the self-titled 'friendly Parisian' posts a picture he takes of Paris every day: simple, charming and a great insight into an even greater city. I especially liked Eric's image of a Parisian Cafe called Cafe Brebant; how cute are those lamps?!
Thank you all for joining me on Bright.Bazaar this week - I've loved reading all your comments, sharing stories with you on twitter and posting about the interiors I love. What have been your favourite finds this week? Whatever you do this weekend, have a lovely time and I'm looking forward to sharing more interiors I love with you next week.

{Rice: spring/summer 2010}

Not only is it Friday, but Spring is on the way; I can smell it in the air, feel it in the changing weather and, most importantly, see it in the gorgeous new collections that are filtering into stores as first month of 2010 draws to a close.

You may remember reading about ethically sound interiors company Rice on Bright.Bazaar a few months back; well their new catalogue is a visual delight and I wanted to share it with you all straight away.

Isn't their stuff just brilliant? Uplifting, playful, practical, colourful, ethical - I mean, what more could you ask for from a home accessories company? They are now my certified favourite, I've even become a fan on facebook. Why not start your weekend by making a new interiors friend?

Thursday, 28 January 2010

{Trend watch: Owls}

What's not to like about these feathered friends that grace our planet? They are cute, cuddly and some how bring a style factor that packs a punch of fun to anything they grace for the home. There are loads of owl accessories out there right now and here are some of my favourites:

Grab this Owl cushion from for a quirky, homespun look at £33.60 each
If a modern look is more your thing, then pick up the 'Fat Owl' cushion from - a bargain at £22.00 and a personal favourite of mine.

These fun little cushions are part of the Heal's ReDiscovers collection, which celebrates the furniture store's Bicentenary. Knitted by Donna Wilson, priced at £40.00 each and available in three co-ordinating colours, they would be perfect for a child's room.
Also from Heal's is this handblown glass Barn Owl decoration. They are pricey at £185.00 each but they are individually mouth blown and part of the Oiva Toikka Birds collection; perfect gifts that would be kept forever.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

{Parisian interiors}

Image: Kitchen of Eric Bergere, P.64 from Paris Interiors (Taschen Books)

Flicking through my Taschen Paris Interiors book this morning I paused on this page. I'm not sure why, but something about the window drew me in. Parisian apartments are known for their smaller proportions, yet there is something about the lack of space that makes their interiors so imaginative. It's great how the window frame has been used to hang mementos, whilst serving plates and oil bottles adorn the walls and windowsill spaces.

Just a few years ago I was all about stark, white, minimalist spaces. Now? I couldn't be drawn to anything more different: I can't get enough of individual, eclectic spaces. It's so much more welcoming to see a room filled with the owners belongings: open kitchen shelves, with crockery on display; books piled up by the bed; and small shelves overflowing with a colourful mix of perfume bottles and jewellery. These are all things that are part of the rooms I like most these days. I love how interiors surprise you, each day I discover new things that make me think about the homes we live in - it's great! What things about an interior do you like?

{A farmhouse interior}

Yesterday's post about the kitchen from It's Complicated got me thinking about the places I could visit to get this look. The film was shot in America and is based in Santa Barbara, sunny California, so I took to US shores (well, virtually anyway) and after a click or two found Pottery Barn. Now Pottery Barn isn't my favourite interiors store and I'm not normally a fan over their whole collections or their 'looks' each season. However, their latest spring/summer collection called Farmhouse Style is simply lovely, and very fitting for the look of Meryl's fictional home in her latest film. I enjoy being surprised, and the style team over at Pottery Barn have done just that. The lookbook also has some really accessible and achievable tips for getting the look in your own home, but before heading over to the site, check out these stunning visuals...

Images: Pottery Barn

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

{It's Complicated, but oh so beautiful}

Recognise the above? You will if you've been to see fab new movie It's Complicated. It's great on so many levels, not least because Meryl Streep stars and anything she touches instantly becomes, well, great. Anyhow, as I watched the film (for the second time!) this weekend at my local cinema, I once again became drawn to the kitchen in Meryl's fictional home. It's bright and airy, yet cosy and comforting at the same time.

I love how the open shelves in the kitchen are stacked with cake stands, plates, bowls and other trinkets. Personally, I would go for the same look but swap the white crockery for some bright, colourful pieces. Like these great bowls from Anthropologie.

And as for the bathroom? Well I adore the colour of the standalone bath coupled with the pared down shelf of sumptuous bathroom goodies. Want to get the look? The Trellick paint from Living Etc's paint range is a pretty close match.

Images: courtesy of Universal Pictures and bowls from Anthropologie

Monday, 25 January 2010

{A handmade world}

"Welcome to our world...feel free to take a piece of it back with you." That's the offering from fey handmade, an online store inspired by nature and ran by a team passionate about design. The guys behind this swoonful store work directly with designers to build great relationships and make great design even more accessible. You can read more about fey handmade here or, why not give their blog a read for a dreamy look into a world of vintage and homespun designs - it's delightful. Now I'm going to get on and post some great clocks and art from the online store, because I secretly can't wait to get back to their site and do some more shopping! This stuff is gorgeous and makes me smile on a Monday morning. Well, that and huge mug of hot coffee.
From top: Clocks: Cuckoo; Owl. Art: Boardwalk; Blood Orange; Ferris Wheel.
Images: fey handmade

Friday, 22 January 2010

{Office Inspiration - A storage special}

Angela Carr is an architect who has a great eye for design and, unsurprisingly, those all important practical details. To round off my storage special week on Bright.Bazaar, I caught up with Angela to chat through her home office, where she runs her business living:room. Right then, let's get straight to it, as it turns out Angela's office holds memories behind every corner...

The office is downstairs at the back of my Victorian terraced house in Dublin - it's a split level house known locally as a 'Dublin Villa', which sounds much to grand! When I first viewed the house this was my favourite room - south facing and overlooking the garden - it's perfectly proportioned and filled with light. I'm a big believer in multiple uses for rooms to maximize their value, so this is not only my office for architectural work but it's also where I write, draw and it even serves as a yoga studio. I like to see my office as a hub for creative endeavour, which sounds so much nicer than work!

Ironically though, it was the last room to be put to use and my beloved books lingered in boxes for the first couple of years after the move. One of the things I love most about this room is having all my books about me - I've been obsessed with reading since I was a child. The shelves are an Ikea range with lots of accessories so I was able to put together a system that works for me - books on show and all the other messy stuff hidden away. Although this is a work space, it is my home first and foremost, so I didn't want 'officey' type things dominating the room.

Every room in the house has a chimney and most still have the original Victorian cast iron fireplaces - though I've never used this one. The picture over the fireplace is one of my own from when I was at school. I came across it when I was clearing out the room to create the office. I like having it there because it reminds me that before I knew about anything, I knew how to do that - to always trust in my creative instincts.

All my bits and bobs for working, drawing and filing live near my main desk - the white board is a great way of trying out sketch ideas quickly. The shelf is solid pine (Ikea) painted with Farrow and Ball's Borrowed Light - I try to buy solid wood where I can (and when the budget allows!) because it's longer lasting and more adaptable. I recycle old glass jars and use them to store stationary for easy access.

I keep a box of file cards beside the desk to help keep track of ideas and information, both my own and those I find - it's full of quotes and ideas for the business, for writing projects, for blog articles - the lot. Whenever I'm stuck I have a little delve in there and always find something to inspire - I use old cards and postcards to organise them.

These shelves are from a bathroom range that Habitat stocked years ago - I love the grain of the wood but being solid wood they weren't exactly bargains! To squeeze some additional value out of them, I separated the drawer from the invisibly mounted casing and fit them between the casings instead of inside them. This creates alternate open shelves and closed drawers, doubling the storage space - I've added small timber strips to the underside of the external casing to act as runners for the drawers.
I have a set of four chairs that belonged to my parents' first dining set when they got married, which makes them of mid-6o's vintage. They have a classic modern shape and I've been refurbishing them to match various rooms since I was fifteen years old. This time I reupholstered them with a printed sailcloth material by a San Francisco retro textile designer 'Melinamade'. I love mid century textile designs like Lucienne Day's classic Calyx print for Heals and picked this as it as similar feel to that period. The chair back was then painted in Farrow and Ball's Downpipe to match.

The desk was another basic Ikea buy - I like the neutrality of Ikea's basic white melamine finish (even if it is a devil to keep clean!), it's well behaved and can mix with most styles of interior. The files are organised in an old letter rack and the mug is handmade from a pottery in Cromarty. The sketches are from a recent article I did for 'Decorate and Improve Your Home'.
I love my office space, as it works on so many different levels, but for me the best thing about working from home is sitting down every morning to look out onto greenery, rooftops, Victorian chimney pots, flowers, fruit tress, birds, butterflies and the neighbour's cat.
Told you - interesting stuff, huh?! Anyhow, please do check out Angela's blog as it makes for a great read. It covers many aspects of her work, which focuses on showing people the value of good design and how small, cost-effective changes can make a real difference to our homes - increasing their value and improving the experience of living in them. Does your home need a new year rescue remedy? If so, then living:room's two hour Design Consultation Service with Angela, could be just what your house needs.
Thanks for stopping by; have a great weekend folks and I'll see you next week.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

{Bathroom storage with a difference}

Storage can sometimes be unsightly, or ends up covering the lovely wallpaper you spent months saving up for. Therefore we avoid it and let the magazines pile up on the floor, and the bottles accumulate around the bath.

I stumbled upon this luxurious and ingenious storage idea when researching for my storage-related posts this week - isn't it fabulous?! I love how the metal cut shelves have a chameleon like effect, blending effortlessly into the indulgent wallpaper behind it. Not only does this look fantastic, but it also solves that pesky problem of storage getting in the way of our interior efforts, and instead, enhances them. Wouldn't it be lovely if we all had bottles of champagne on our bathroom shelves...!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

{Storage: the easy way}

Of course, storage doesn't have to be imaginative or quirky, it can simply be a case of treating yourself to a brand new piece of furniture. I've been hankering after this gorgeous Ordinal Dresser from Anthropologie for sometime now. I love the rustic, battered wood look it has; I don't own many pieces that would 'go' with this item, but hey, I think it looks fab and would tell myself that the 1,2,3 would be my organisation!

Do you have a piece of furniture you're hankering after, or perhaps you store your things in something you've treasured for many years?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

{Storage in compact spaces}

Tuesday's getting organised post is all about how to make the most out of every inch of space in a room. Those of us with small apartments, houses, even rooms (I'm not long graduated, so years of living in one room are still fresh in my mind!) will appreciate anything to help get organised, especially as such rooms have to offer multiple functions.

I chose this cleverly designed bedroom-come-home office, with it's gorgeous spring like decor as a fantastic example of how to make a small space work, without losing the ability to relax or focus when it comes to having to work. What I like about the space shown below is that it really is tiny but I could see myself being able to shut off at the end of the day, and work hard at the small, but perfectly formed desk when needed. Having the option of closing off the office area with the curtains at the end of the day is a great idea: affordable and practical - perfect for January organisation (and budgets!). What do you have any multi-function rooms; what do you do to make them work for you?

Monday, 18 January 2010

{Kitchen: utilitarian chic}

January is the time for organisation, so I figured there would be no better time than now to have a week of posts on great storage ideas for our homes, whilst maintaining style.

To kick the week off I've picked this simple, yet striking kitchen image, which shows that an organised kitchen can exist in the smallest of spaces and still look visually effective. The grid below has been used to hang pots, pans and other kitchen accessories, which gives a uniform and structured display, whilst being practical and space-saving. My favourite part about this kitchen storage is that almost everything you could need in is in once place, spice racks, colanders, pans; you get my drift! What's your ideal kitchen storage? Do you have any good design tips for getting organised in the kitchen?


Check back tomorrow for a very clever bedroom-come-home office...

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