Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been a bit off-radar the last few months, what with finishing my London interiors book for Thames and Hudson (out next October – I hope you’ll all buy a copy!), more styling work and on top of all that I have moved house! It’s been a really busy time, but in a good way and I am really excited about 2013. I think it’s going to be a good year, despite what they say.
I spent a wonderful New Year with friends and family at Manoir de la Foulquetiere, my most favourite place in the world. You really must all go and stay in one of their gites or bed and breakfast rooms. We had long walks in the fresh air in the surrounding countryside and we were really lucky to have beautiful clear skies and crisp winter’s days throughout our stay. Our rooms were decorated with the most beautiful French antiques, each with a stunning modern bathroom and we ate all our meals by candlelight in the panelled dining room next to a roaring log fire with a beatiful chandelier twinkling overhead. The house was filled with the smell of log fires, fresh foliage and Rosemary’s AMAZING cooking. It was heavenly.
This is the room we stayed in:
On the way back to London we stopped off in Paris for two days to visit the antique markets. I was in seventh heaven, as you can imagine. It is one of the best antique markets on earth, with miles of incredible stuff from 16th century Italian candlesticks to mid century modern furniture, all side by side in the winding streets of Paris. I had set myself a budget, but managed to completely break it and came away with the mirror of my dreams, two Louis armchairs, a pair of girondelles and twelve 1950s cocktail and wine glasses. Ooops. Still, it was all a fraction of what it would cost in an antique shop here and we are doing up our new place from scratch… Or at least that’s my excuse! I will try to blog about my adventures doing up our new place as we go along. Anyway, it was really good fun. Here are some photos, to get your creative juices flowing…
So Happy New Year again and here’s to a wonderful year for you all.
Last week I was honoured to spend a day with the legendary fashion designer Zandra Rhodes at her glamorous home and studio above the Fashion Museum in London. Zandra was an inspiration! Fresh off a plane from Los Angeles the night before, she was busy putting together her latest collection while still finding the time and energy to be a gracious and generous host. With her eccentric pink hair, vibrant rainbow-coloured clothes and infectious enthusiasm, she brought us sunshine on a gloomy London day.
Zandra has had an incredible career spanning more than forty years, which is an enormous achievement in the notoriously ruthless and fickle fashion industry. Ever the trail blazer, her bold and colourful designs have made her a true fashion icon and she has dressed everyone from Bianca Jagger and Debbie Harry to the Princess of Wales and Kylie Minogue. Her home is every bit as vibrant and colourful as she is and reflects her extraordinary artistic and creative talent.
Zandra showed us around her home and studio, which is an impressive space above London’s Fashion Museum, which she founded. Industrious pattern cutters and seamstresses were busy putting the final touches to her latest collection in her studio, while next door in her office original drawings adorn the walls while huge flight cases store her life’s work. Downstairs, Zandra’s vibrant textiles are screen printed by hand while the beautiful, colourful clothes that are the final product are kept on rails upstairs, ready to be shown. Zandra herself was full of energy, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and quite an inspiration. What an amazing lady.
The renovations at Manoir de la Foulquetiere in the Loire Valley in France, which Ingrid and I photographed, are finally complete so I hope some of you will book to go and stay. It has been a real labour of love and is a magical place to stay. The swimming pool and gardens are lovely in summer and through autumn and winter you can cosy up by a roaring fire and enjoy Rosemary’s hospitality and a few glasses of the local vino after visiting local chateaux. What’s not to love? If you would like to book to stay at the Manoir you can do so here Manoir de la Foulquetiere. The bed and breakfast isn’t being advertised yet, but if you contact the Manoir they can book you in. It’s heavenly, believe me!
I was on a shoot recently and although the house was full of incredible art, I came away determined that one day I would be able to own a print (or two) by this man, Massimo Vitali. Born in 1944 in Italy, he studied photography in London and began photographing beaches in 1995. He has since produced some stunning panoramic images of Italian beaches, revealing “the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism” as well as capturing the energy of the dance floor in a series of images of nightclubs and discos. Having been known to hit the beach, as well as the dance floor, and sometimes both at the same time, I find his images have a particular appeal and add a refreshing energy to an interior. Other more well known fans of his work include Elton John, Courtney Cox (whose home is pictured above), Cameron Diaz and Sasha Baron Cohen.
I was surfing the web this morning, supposed to be doing some research for my book, when I stumbled upon this video about the home of the Swedish interior designer Marie Olsson Nylander, and I had to share it with you. Marie took a damp and dirty old house and transformed it into a stunning light filled space, filled with quirky antique and vintage finds and has made a dream family home. I particularly love the family’s open plan living space and Marie’s beautiful studio. Marie has thrown the rule book out of the window and just filled the house with things that she and her husband love and that is why it works so well.
Via House of Bliss
These are Google’s new London head quarters in Convent Garden. It’s great to see the designers, Penson, having a bit of fun and creating office spaces that treat people as human beings. The interior of the Renzo Piano- designed Central St Giles building is a nod to all things British and features roof-top allotments for staff to grow their own food, outdoor work spaces, a granny inspired ‘living room’ and plenty of comfortable work and relaxation areas.