Dark Horse

I am an avid reader of interior magazines, I religiously purchase Real Living, Belle, Home Beautiful and Vogue Living along with the occasional random selection each month. I probably should correct the word “reader” because to be completely honest I really don’t read that much of the content. I am too busy studying the images! I love to analyse and dissect to see if I can identify why I like or dislike them, what I think works and what doesn’t and why the magazines choose the images they publish. In any case, it boils down to personal taste but I still get a thrill each time I sit down with a new publication.
Recently though, I have become bored with the same pale colours in so many Australian homes, white, white and more white.
(more like cream, off white, beige, taupe and pastel) but the vast majority of spaces have pale walls. Its getting old. I predict a shift (because surely I can’t be the only one) toward darker, moodier finishes. We have enough daylight here in Oz to justify the use of darker finishes and besides, its cosier and dramatic and rich and beautifully decadent just like chocolate! How can that be wrong?? Yellowtrace have just featured an exclusive first look at Haymes 2015 Colour Forecast and its exciting……..

Dark horse web 2

 

Dark Horse web 1

Exposed brick

I suppose its a feature one might either love or hate, after all it dominates a space. I have pondered the decision for a while and settled upon loving it. Friends of mine have a room attached to their house which leaves exposed brick along one wall (what was the exterior of the house) and have asked my opinion on covering it/painting it/leaving it………
Initially I wasn’t sure because as it stands it looks a little dated. The longer I mulled over it, the more excited I became. Different concepts kept me awake at night (and distracted during the day). The raw, textured nature of the brick is versatile enough to work with so many styles and whats more the rest of their home gives off a contemporary vibe with a slightly rustic/industrial edge so with just a few tweaks………

Exposed Brick

Soft n Creamy

Its the middle of winter and I am cold and grumpy. My home is warm but the wind is blowing, its overcast and I don’t want to leave the house! I am craving cosy socks, a fluffy blanket, coffee and a good book……….

I have been working on a concept using cream and grey as the predominate colours and I’m excited! Its a combo that is soft and warm, spacious and cosy, interesting and neutral all at the same time. It works beautifully with timber and metal and black is the perfect accent!

Soft n creamy 2

 

Soft n creamy

Bedside Styling

Bedside tables chosen! Or at least I stole two of the nesting tables from the living area. They fit (if I turn one sideways) so that will have to do for now. I would like to be able to use them (how practical of me) but want them to look like a magazine photo too. Is this even possible? I need a lamp (hubby doesn’t) so there goes symmetry. Gotta have books, magazines, my notebook, a drink……….and styling solutions. Back to pinterest I go.

Bedside styling This would be pretty2

Styling with what you have

And this immersing image is an inspiring example of styling with what you have. No headboard (although insanely beautiful brick wall), sketches and magazine tear sheets for art and the frames stacked on the floor. Such cleverness, so real. So from this I will stop wanting to buy things and go searching through what I already have……..

And here it is!

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

For now………

Beside the Bed……..

I spent this week thinking about my bedroom. I painted it a while back. The new color is cosy but after rearranging the furniture there is not a lot of room for bedside tables. Note to myself to be more creative and think outside the box because the options I found amazed me. Ottomans, trunks, console tables, desks, a chair or stool, drawers and ladders, crates/boxes, I even discovered a drum and swing!

The slept in look

Bedside

 

Bedside3

 

Bedside2

 

bedside5

And one for the kids from Restoration Hardware……I want it!

Kids room

 

 

Glossy or Matt?

I noticed something about myself this week that i had not consciously recognized before. I steer away from glossy finishes. Im not sure why but all my favorite spaces are filled with rustic, textured, matt finishes.

Image source: pinterest

Image source: pinterest

 

Image source: La Boheme

Image source: La Boheme

 

Image source: yatzer.com

Image source: yatzer.com

 

So in an effort to expand my horizons I have been researching gloss finishes. I think reflective surfaces scare me because they show every imperfection and require frequent cleaning. The up side is that they are the most durable finish and are relatively easy to clean. Conversely flat finishes are often not very durable and need to be carefully cleaned. I have to concede there is something that “shiny” adds to a room. It’s the luxury. It brings a kind of elegance to a space, glossy is grander and more opulent.

Image source: interiorcollective.com

Image source: interiorcollective.com

 

Image source: pinterest

Image source: pinterest

Shiny things can be glam and girly or masculine and mysterious.

Image source: pinterest

Image source: pinterest

Image source: homedecorpark.com

Image source: homedecorpark.com

Shiny metal finishes evoke wealth and splendor and polished marble bring to mind extravagance and indulgence.

Image source: luxurydotcom

Image source: luxurydotcom

art deco gold bathroom

Image source: pinterest

A wise person once told me that while it is important to have your own personal style, one should never stop experimenting. It is how you continue to grow and evolve. I guess it’s no different from sampling unfamiliar foods or listening to new music and discoveries are what makes life interesting. So I will give it a go, you never know till you try……right?

 

 

 

Dark n Moody

I have endured a week of feeling dark and moody. All I have yearned for is a dark, cosy corner in which I can curl up with a magazine or a good book and, of course, I’ve had no time to do either which is probably why I’m still moody. I did find time to satiate my mood by searching dark and moody spaces on pinterest. The images reminded me of something that Abigail Ahern wrote in her latest Journal. I quote; “Everything, I repeat, EVERYTHING, looks a billion times more expensive with inky walls as your back drop.” I’m not sure expensive is what I want to achieve but I do feel that dark colors make a space feel cosier and more comfortable.

Could I be the only one with this opinion? Too often I read about the beauty of rooms flooded with natural light. My reaction: I am very probably going to need my sunglasses inside and every blemish and dusty surface will be visible! White rooms remind me of hospitals and science laboratories where everything must be clean and sterile. This is not how I want my home to feel! Am I on my own? These images would make me think no….

Image source: Abigail Ahern

Image source: Abigail Ahern

 

Image source: Rue Magazine

Image source: Rue Magazine

 

Image source: designismine.blogspot.com

Image source: designismine.blogspot.com

 

Image source: pinterest

Image source: pinterest

 

Image source: marcusdesigninc.blogspot.com

Image source: marcusdesigninc.blogspot.com

 

Image source: House Beautiful

Image source: House Beautiful

 

A close friend asked me recently, “when I finally get my own place, can I have a black kitchen?” My answer: “of course, why not?” She says “apparently, its not the done thing….”

Back to Abigail Ahern who also mentions that anyone can create a beautiful home (she calls it a pad), it has very little to do with money and everything to do with confidence……Do you have to be courageous to use dark colors or do dark colors give you courage? Personally I dance far more courageously when the lights are dimmed and I most definitely feel more bad ass in dark clothing. Dare I mention the bedroom…? My friend is a professional singer and adores a night out on the town. I imagine her future kitchen would look similar to a sophisticated bar since this would hint at her personality and what she loves. So I guess the moral to my ranty rave is; a space needs personality and atmosphere to make me happy. A home should tell the story of who lives in it it as opposed to displaying what is fashionable, trendy or expensive.

Image source: hartandco.com.au

Image source: hartandco.com.au

 

Image source: thegeneralist.com

Image source: thegeneralist.com

 

I mean how beautiful are these kitchens? Plus I LIKE black and grey and inky blue. I lean toward saturated colors and shadows, I prefer the magic and mystery they add to a space, maybe I have a little vampire in me……

Image source: google images

Image source: google image

Colonial Charm

Kiera Knightley Vogue June 2007

Inspired by this photo taken for Vogue (June 2007) and curious as to the origin of Colonial Style, I did some research this week into a style that combines the tropics and african safari together with asian influence to produce such an incredibly unique design style.

The dictionary meaning; 1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a colony or colonies: British colonial rule | colonial expansion.

  • relating to the period of the British colonies in America before independence.
  • (esp. of architecture or furniture) made during or in the style of this period.

left me none the wiser as to how such a combination of features had merged to become a look all of its own. Then I stumbled across the following information.

By the late 19th century,  under the reign of Queen Victoria, the British Empire had crept into parts of North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

britishempire.original

British colonists had merged their traditional style with the practicalities of a completely different climate. Forced to use local materials, ebony, teak, mahogany, rattan, wicker and animal hide crept into the designs, and while refined items were imported from Britain, that elegance was tempered with the realities of life: the need to stay cool and the available local resources. So essentially, thanks to the reign of an ugly Queen responsible for a huge expansion of the British Empire, we now have a harmonious blend of styles that tell a story of travel and discovery. One that combines beautifully crafted hardwood furniture with wicker, rattan and animal print sporting spots and stripes. Gauzy curtains and linen teamed with rope and horn in rooms embellished with foliage, vintage maps, botanical prints and images of wild animals. The key pieces have a portable quality; safari trunks, directors chairs and lanterns contrasting with heavy upholstered pieces and larger asian inspired furniture.  The completed look has a dreamy, naturally comfortable vibe that I have fallen in love with……..

johnjacobinteriors.com

Image source: johnjacobinteriors.com

Out of Africa

Image source: pinterest

 

tempodadelicadeza.com.br

Image source: tempodadelicadeza.com.br

Stuart Membrey-Singapore

Image source: Stuart Membrey

Island Villa

Image source:greigedesign.blogspot.com.au

homeless decorator

Image source: pinterest

amazing-house.ru

 

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the expansion of the British Empire also coincides with the most flourishing era in the history of piracy……………ironic considering Kiera Knightley inspired this post!

still-of-johnny-depp,-geoffrey-rush-and-keira-knightley-in-pirates-of-the-caribbean--at-worlds-end-(2007)-large-picture

Party on Wheels!

Something I don’t own but have decided I definitely need is one of these……

IMG_0457

Image source: pinterest

 

I noticed the Bar Cart or Trolley in one of the photos of my previous post used as set decoration. My initial impression was one of wealth, elegance and luxury but after much research (i.e. browsing pinterest) I realised these clever pieces of furniture combine both form and function in a way that is both pretty and practical! Sensibly portable and available in such a wide variety of styles, they vary on the beauty scale from simple, industrial, rustic through to highly polished, elegance. Depending on the look you want to achieve a bar cart can be acquired to suit any home. These clever accessories can be styled as a still life photograph, themed for a party, decorated as an interchangeable vignette, or simply stocked to encourage merriment.

 

IMG_0454

Image source: pinterest

 

ee7e0db780dbb75f0f6d7942a1939141

Image source: vosgesparis.blogspot.com

 

31acf13657422afcdf849ef591c869a0

Image source: domino.com

 

IMG_0455

Image source: cdn.decoist.com

Original_Jeanine-Hays-Bar-Carts-Society-Social-Silver-Devlin-Bar-Cart_s3x4_lg

Image source: pinterest

bar-cart-styling-fall-party-2

Image source: blog.hwtm.com

 

How-to-style-a-bar-cart-for-the-holidays

Image source: cdn.decoist.com

prod2111565_av2

Image source: cdn.decoist.com

 

 

Not limited to alcohol, the bar cart can house anything from a juice bar to a morning coffee station! They can be stocked with anything from the expected variety of liquors, vintage glassware and other cocktail essentials to table lamps, books and flowers. I have visions of trundling a trolley loaded with champagne, candles, my favorite mag, fluffy towels and my iPod dock alongside a deep, bubble filed bath……….. or perhaps a slinky unit for the bedroom displaying jewelry, handbags and your sexiest pair of shoes……. Can a girl have more than one? Too much choice! Perhaps I will design one and have hubby make it. I’ll keep you posted……

 

 

 

Retro Dystopien Future

For inspiration I often look to the movie theatre. I am constantly amazed by the ability of the set designers to transport me to another world by creating spaces that suggest such powerful feeling. I imagine it would be an incredibly satisfying profession to see your design work brought to life on the big screen. How do they get so lucky………?

Although recently I wondered what the pressure might be like to bring The Hunger Games to life. The books created a world that contrasted complete poverty with high tech opulence. This lead me to the discovery of a new word while writing this post; Dystopien. For those, like me, who did not already possess this word in their vocabulary, it refers to (according to Wikipedia) a community or society that is, in some important way, undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of Utopia. Obviously I needed to sound clever and include this new word in the blog title ;)

I personally thought the visual reproduction of this book was stunning. The genius belongs to the author Suzanne Collins but credit needs to be awarded to set decorator Larry Dias. The homes and neighborhood in District 12 brought to life a miserable existence where hunger, cold and desperation are unmistakably visible.Katniss and Gale

Bakery

The shift to luxury is discernible as soon as Katniss and Peter embark on the train towards the Capitol.

IMG_0441 the-hunger-games-catching-fire-trailer-screenshot-train-lounge-cart

On arrival in the Capitol the transformation to extreme opulence is obvious but hideous. The extravagance is palpable but there is no tenderness to it, everything is gaudy and assaulting.

Capitol-Tour-3 IMG_0451

Capitol

So the point I’m alluding to is that a good design can speak multitudes, and although my previous sentence finished with the word assaulting and this is not the atmosphere I aim to create when decorating, it is this ability to bring feeling or sensation to a space that I try to duplicate when designing a room. Perhaps this comes from me often wondering “Why can’t life be more like the movies?”………..