Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween Inspired

Who knew creepy could be so stylish (Panton Chairs anyone)?

via decodir

Halloween, although more popular now than previously, still isn't a HUGE deal here in the UK.

My first Halloween in London was significant, purely because of it's lacklustre nature. I did nothing.

Having asked around about fancy dress parties, the reply was mostly a look of perplexity, almost as though I had 3 heads. Now however, it seems everywhere is decorated, and "trick or treating" is finally starting to take off.

So when I happened upon this post, I thought the chevron painted pumpkin looked simple enough to ease me into the world of "not-an-actual-holiday" decorating.

Incidentally, a few days later a friend of mine told me about her very first pumpkin carving experience, which sort of fueled me on.

Any DIY or crafts I decide to tackle must fit only two criteria:

1. Tools and materials must be able to fit up 2 flights of stairs and through the front door. Easier said than done in a building that's been standing since the early 1800's.
2. Must be affordable, which is relative and dependent upon number of Zara visits at any given time.

Bingo, chevron pumpkin passed the test.

So it was decided. On Friday after work, I would head to the supermarket and pick up a pumpkin to paint.

Except, after work I went to All Bar One instead...and then had an internal battle about whether or not a painted pumpkin was even worth a blog post (the thought that it wasn't made me feel less guilty about bailing for raspberry bellinis instead). But alas, the guilt was too much too bear, and yesterday I finally trotted over to Sainsbury's and bought a pumpkin.

The process was pretty straightforward:

And repeat...

Bish bash bosh, there she is!

I did like the way it looked with white tape - the third colour gave it a bit more definition, but unfortunately I had no white paint.

I will also let you in on a little secret: I didn't paint the back. Why? Because I'm lazy and no one will see it anyway. Just being honest.

So there you have it, a simple Halloween project that anyone can tackle. For more of an impact, I would recommend clustering in a group of 3 or 5.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Creating a Chic and Happy Home Office

Whilst browsing through my facebook feed earlier this week, I came across the pretty photo below which I shared on the Design Gratis page.

via SA Decor & Design

The image got me thinking about how common it now is to work from home, and the spaces created specifically for this purpose.

Whether it's simply a desk tucked away in a guest room or a formal home office, work spaces at home are not only more prevalent today than they used to be, but they have also evolved.

Here are a few of my favourites:

via Elements of Style

via My Scandinavian Home

via Emily Henderson

via House Beautiful
via Stylizimo

via La Dolce Vita
via Live Creating Yourself

Gone are the dreary rooms with bulky desks and shapeless office chairs. The modern home office is now a chic, yet happy and comfortable space featuring statement chairs, creative storage, and the ubiquitous Apple desk/laptop.

As for me, my home office is where I'm sat right now - the sofa. That's the reality of living in a 396 sq ft flat. On those days when I'm feeling especially self-important, I drag myself over to the dining room table. Oh yeah... living the dream.

If I did however have a home office, it would probably be light and bright, with a mixture of modern and traditional touches. Something like this:

Jardena Armchair £249, Oak Table Base £200 Habitat, Brass Desk Lamp $192.91 Lamps Plus, Billy Bookcase (with glass doors) $219.99 Ikea, Seagrass Storage Boxes $16.99 Ikea, Striped Kelim Rug from £525 Woven Ground.

Some tips to creating a your own functional and stylish work environment:

+ Writing Surface | For a clean, open look, try using a small table or a simple cantilevered counter top instead of a desk.

+ Seating | Make sure your chair is comfortable - if unupholstered, try layering with a throw and/or pillow for warmth and texture.

+ Lighting | Always use task lighting in addition to overhead lights, your eyes will thank you later.

+ Storage | You can never have too many open shelves, cupboards, or storage boxes/baskets. Kitchen storage containers be an unexpected solution for pens and pencils.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

So Long Summer: Trends for the Season

My love affair with Jaeger began a year or so ago, when one morning I woke up and suddenly realised I was a grown up.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a soft spot for Topshop and the like, but I love Jaeger's well made, tailored pieces, and I love the effortlessly stylish look that those pieces create. What I don't love is the price tag, but luckily they have great sales!

So as you can imagine, I did a little happy dance when the invite below popped up in my inbox.

Shopping, pampering, and free booze? Yup, count me in.

The show was an introduction to the new collection and latest autumn trends. Apologies for the fuzzy mobile photos, there was wine involved. 

As I watched, I began to think about fashion trends, and how they relate to interior design.

More often than not, trends between the two are similar if not interchangeable. For instance, just look at the prevalence of mint green and neon this summer in both fashion and interiors.

This contemplation inspired me to translate Jaeger's autumn looks into the sphere of interior design.

Jaeger Floral Dress £199, Scott Wilson for Jaeger Gold Collar Necklace £120 - £220, H&M Home Cushion Cover £9.99, Ikea Oval Bowl £15

Usually a mention of floral will evoke thoughts of spring and sunshine, so this trend is quite an unexpected one. Pair floral prints with rich dark hues for a current aesthetic (a touch of gold adds even more drama).

via Lonny
via Design*Sponge

Jaeger Leather Biker Jacket £399, Made Canape Leather Sofa £1,199, Zazzle Striped Lumbar Pillow $49.95, Z Gallerie Alston Pillow $99.95

Classic and practical, leather is a must have for autumn and winter (just don't over due it - a little goes a long way). Whether manifested in the form of a sofa or jacket, leather is like a dependable friend who never lets you down, even long after the "of the moment" dresses and tops disappear.

via Lonny
via Stylistic Kosilala

Jaeger Fuchsia Dress £199, John Lewis Lainie Armchair £699, Land of the Nod Kids' Floor Lamp £92

An injection of colour is the perfect remedy for the cold dark evenings of autumn and winter. A bit of fuchsia is a great way to brighten up a space - try an upholstered armchair, painted dresser, or wool throw.

via Design Manifest
via Apartment Therapy

Jaeger Velvet Dress £260, Iggy by £1,160, Habitat Phantom Footstool £350

Probably the perfect autumn fabric, velvet is soft, warm, and very trendy right now. On furniture, adding button tufting takes it up a notch (see green sofa below).

via Rue
via Lonny

Can you think of more autumn fashion trends that are relevant to the interior design world?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Istanbul: The Ultimate Turkish Delight

For parts one and two of this series, go here and here.

Having jetted out of Denezli on the first flight, we arrived in Istanbul a little worse for wear. We hustled our way through the city by metro and tram, dragging luggage behind us, until we finally found ourselves at our hotel.

We were welcomed with a cold drink and an intro to the city, including restaurant recommendations, maps and sightseeing tips.

We decided to cross Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque off the "to see" list first, as they were both within spitting distance of our hotel.

Although fully aware that the interiors of Aya Sofya were said to be much more opulent that the outside suggested, I was not fully prepared for it's beauty.

Elegant, low hanging chandeliers made the space feel intimate despite the vast domed ceilings, and the sunlight streaming through the windows dramatically bounced of the walls.

We trotted over the road to the Blue Mosque and I was left somewhat disappointed.

Don't get me wrong - the inside is very beautiful, however, not only was it's thunder stolen by Aya Sofya, but also the architecture is so ostentatious, I just expected...more.

On our second day in the city, we tackled Topkapı Palace and The Basilica Cistern. We were told to allow 4 hours for the palace alone, so we ventured there first.

We started at the Harem, which was so enchanting that it probably deserves its own post. Tiled room after tiled room, linked by sunny courtyards formed the sultan's harem. What struck me, was how current the aesthetic of these rooms were, despite the tiles and detailing being so old.

We carried on through the palace grounds, and although it was very hot and busy it was still quite relaxing just wandering through the gardens and taking in the bosphorus views.

Our next stop was the Basilica Cistern. We were in and out within 30 mins. 

Oddly enough, there wasn't much to see here, bar the decorative up-lit columns and fish swimming in the shallow water. Still, this alone was striking, thanks to the lighting and the reflection of the columns in the still pool.

But my most memorable Istanbul experience  of all was surprisingly the Spice Bazaar.

Maybe it was because I had ZERO expectations, but it was pretty awesome. Like the Grand Bazaar, the shops were all identical, so it was only by chance that the first shop we stumbled into was a gem.

We were helped by the lovely Ahmed who was hilariously funny and trilingual. Suddenly, a stop for a few gifts morphed into a full fledged shopping trip and assault on the senses, complete with turkish delight, dried fruit, and tea sampling.

It was only when Ahmed began applying "aphrodisiac" oil to my arm that I thought "OK, time to go!"

We left that shop about 5lbs heavier, £60 lighter, and in very good spirits.

In addition to seeing the big sites, we also spent a lot of time wandering around, getting lost and bar hopping.

We checked out the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Galata Tower, and of course took a Bosphorus cruise.

It seemed like the entire trip was over in a flash, and I have to admit, I was not so happy to return to London.

I'm finally starting to feel a bit more settled (even after a quick jolly to Venice last weekend), but alas, I think I left a little piece of me in Turkey. I look forward to when I can return.

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