Sunday, 29 September 2013

Let There be Light

In the often elitist industry that is interior design, "replica" can be a real dirty word. In fact, even shelter magazine Elle Decoration recently waged a war on fakes, led by editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin and Sir Terrance Conran. Though Michelle is a personal inspiration to me, I must respectfully disagree with her on this issue.

As an interior designer who fell in love with the mid-century design classics whilst studying for my degree, I will unashamedly use replica pieces until my budget allows otherwise. After all, many of theses famous pieces - the molded Eames chair for example (below), were meant to be mass produced, affordable furniture.

Eames Molded Plastic Armchair by Herman Miller

Perhaps I should back up just for a second. You may remember in this post, in which I talked about finding the perfect pendants for our new flat. I really liked the basket pendants, but couldn't commit for some reason and always had my eye open for something even better. Then, I saw this...

...and I knew it was the one.

I found the Gino Sarfatti fixture on replica site Milan Direct, and instantly began picturing it in the space (with the help of the internet of course).

via Modern Design
via Jeff Lewis
via Zsa Zsa Bellagio

I was sold on it immediately.

I twiddled my thumbs for weeks, and on a whim checked the website the other day, quite frankly, just because. It paid off.

The chandeliers were on sale, so bagsied two of them without a second thought (saving £100 in the process). Result.

Buying online can be risky, so I was quite nervous when they arrived, partially assembled, this week. After unwrapping, I was surprised at just how heavy each component was. They seem to be built to a very good standard, though I will reserve full judgement until they are installed. I've also added them to my CAD model and I love the drama they bring to the space.

Do I hope that one day I can afford the real Sarfatti chandeliers? Of course. But until then I will enjoy my replicas unabashedly.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Plans

It seems like just last week I was in the park, basking in the sunshine. In fact, it WAS just last week I was in the park, basking in the sunshine. Now it feels like suddenly autumn has been thrust upon us, without even so much of a grieving period for the long, warm evenings that are no more.

Ordinarily this transition is the cue to for my usual "I hate winter/winter is stupid and serves no purpose" chat, but things are different this year.  This year, as the seasons change, we're preparing to move to our brand new flat.

Gone is my praise singing for period flats with their tall ceilings, sash windows, and charm (although not quite). These days I'm looking forward to double glazing and underfloor heating, and hoping that they will make winter easier on me. I'm looking forward to my first full sized fridge in 7 years, and more adequate storage than "behind the sofa".

I realised that I had not yet shared much about the space that we expect to call home so soon, so with that said, these are the floor plans!

As you can see, the ground floor is quite narrow, which at first posed a small issue when choosing a sofa, but we have since decided to replace the door into to the lounge with a bi-fold style like this or this, to free up some space. We are keeping our Eames rocking chair, and we definitely want a hide rug, so these are shown on the plan.

In the mean time I have been preoccupying my time by looking at similar duplex flats online.

apartment St Pancras Penthouse London Bursting With Personality: Charming St. Pancras Penthouse in London
via Freshome

via Avant Garde Gothic

via Modern House
Loft living
via Pinterest

These are all much larger than our flat, but hey a girl can dream.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Sofa Saga

For the last 7 months, I have felt a bit like Goldilocks, searching for that "just right" sofa bed.

Easier said than done.

My first choice was Karlstad in Lindo Biege as not only was it easy on the budget, but also ticked all the boxes.

...And there were a fair few boxes to be ticked.

I wanted a sofa with wide, low proportions and clean lines. I wanted a sofa in a neutral colour with thin arms...but not TOO thin arms. I wanted it to have a structured shape, but at the same time I wanted soft enveloping cushions. Oh, and it HAD to have a bed in it. And a partridge in a pear tree.

With the exception of the partridge in the pear tree, Karlstad had it all.

via Ikea

I thought it needed just a quick leg upgrade, and bish bash bosh, job done.

I walked around for days, smug in the knowledge that I had found my perfect, inexpensive, sofa bed. My bubble was swiftly burst upon realising that the sofa bed only came in one size, and that that size was about 15cm too wide for our space.

In the months that followed, I threw my toys out of the pram on more than one occasion, as I crossed sofa after sofa off of my already small list of options.

Lawrens Sofa
Otto Sofa
Harry Sofa

You can now see just how apt the Goldilocks comparison is.

Finally, I decided to pop into Sofa Workshop and see what they had on the shop floor, as sometimes looking online can be misleading. Luck was on my side in the form of the beauty below.

Behold, Brandon:

Brandon Sofa

Brandon was the exact shape I was looking for, and was available with dark legs (though the legs are slightly shorter than shown, to accommodate the bed inside). We chose an oatmeal coloured linen fabric for upholstery and saved about £200 in the sales.

I wasn't crazy about the pillows (I would have preferred if they had piping along the seams like "Harry" above), but the store staff were very helpful and arranged for me to have extra fabric delivered along with the sofa, so that I could have custom pillows made. I feel that the linear shape of this sofa is begging for bolster pillows and I'm looking forward to transforming it to something that looks a little more like this:

via Easy Living

I'm now officially counting down the weeks until we move - only 5 more to go!

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