Cool rooms for kids


I had a baby boy a few weeks ago and while he is sleeping with me at the moment, my thoughts have turned to decorating the nursery where he will join his big brother in a few months (hopefully he will be sleeping through!). I’ve been really lucky to have styled some homes where there are super cool kids rooms, so I thought I would share some of them with you here. I hope you find them inspirational and fun. If you’d like to see more of the lovely homes featured here, you can read about them in my new book Creative Living London. (Photographs by Ingrid Rasmussen)

LONDONFIELDS  904This room is filled with bright colours and plenty of spaces for the kids to hang out, such as this tipi. What I loved about this kids’ room though is that it is also home to some very grown up art, which the owners were not afraid to hang in the children’s space. On the contrary, they chose some great art specifically for the room and the kids loved it.

SAKOUI  191SAKOUI  200This adorable room belongs to fashion stylist Claire Durbridge’s two young children. Claire has used lots of clever styling tricks to personalise the room, making it super cool without being too cutesy or obvious. The gorgeous animals on the walls were cut out of some gift wrap and glued to the walls, while Claire took an old vintage lamp and added a black pompom trim. The black and white monochrome theme gives it a sophisticated finish, while Claire’s little flourishes and plenty of vintage keep it quirky and fun.

GOODHOOD  034GOODHOOD  045How cool is this for a nursery?! This super stylish space belongs to Jo and Kyle’s adorable little boy. Jo and Kyle own the lifestyle and design store Goodhood and they have decorated their nursery with the same eye for detail and design as the rest of their fabulous home. Jo found the Burger King sign at a flea market, while the other artworks are part of the couple’s own collection. Filled with colour and a mix of modern and vintage, this is a very stylish space indeed.

MARCNEWSON  107Last up, designer Marc Newson and stylist Charlotte Stockdale’s nursery, which has its own bathroom. The vivid red is vibrant and fun while the wall sticker keeps the space child friendly.

My top tips for kids rooms:

1. Think long term. You don’t want to be redecorating in a year’s time, so try to choose a scheme that can grow with your child. Consider using wallpapers or furnishings that would work equally well in 1,3 or 5 years’ time or even using grown up styles that can work for kids. Cole and Son have several great wallpapers that will grow with your child, for example.

2. Think practical. Kids’ rooms get a real bashing, so don’t put anything fragile or precious in there! It seems obvious, but it’s tempting to splash out on those beautiful items, only to be horrified when your little angels take a pair of scissors or a felt tip pen to them.

3. Try adding some vintage. Vintage furniture is often cheaper and better made than new and will withstand the most boisterous toddler as well as adding a timeless and personal element, more popular with older children. Online auctions, car boot fairs and antique markets are all good places to look.

4. Encourage their creativity. Children love to get creative and they will love their room even more if they are allowed to be creative in it. While you might not want them splashing paint around, consider painting out a wall, piece of furniture or even a small design on the wall in blackboard paint so that they can scribble away to their heart’s content.

5. Create a den or hiding place. Children love to hide themselves away sometimes and adding a canopy over the bed, a tipi or a den will give them a special place to hang out, read and make believe.

My favourite stores:

1. Kidsen: Clothing, shoes and nursery decor from the coolest Scandinavian brands. Really worth checking out.

2. Cole and Son: Fabulous wallpapers that suit all ages and styles.

3. The Modern Baby: A treasure trove of decorative accessories and ideas with a contemporary feel.

4. IKEA: IKEA offers great design at great prices. Think outside the box – for example in our nursery I have repurposed their £3 spice racks as bookshelves and they look fantastic (more on this and other ideas another time…)

5. Auctions, antique fairs and car boots: Absolutely the best places to buy pre-loved nursery items, quirky artwork and unique pieces of furniture.

Here’s to 2013!


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:

Manoir de la Foulquetiere

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…

Paris 1

 

Paris 2

Paris 3Paris 4Paris 5

 

Paris 6

 

So Happy New Year again and here’s to a wonderful year for you all.

Farrow and Ball’s wallpaper covered store in New York



Images via life.style.etc

Farrow and Ball’s Upper East Side store in New York is covered in their stunning Lotus wallpaper and it looks amazing. Whoever thought of it is a genius. Just think how beautiful our cities could be if more buildings were covered in glorious prints.

All that glitters


All images from US Elle Decor or UK Elle Decoration.

Cocktail glasses by Marcel Wander for Marks and Spencer

Ritz cutlery by Zara Home

Bedside cabinet by Graham & Green

Mirror by Graham & Green

Whether you like a bit of bling at breakfast or bedtime, introducing a touch of gold to your interior can really create a feeling of glamour and luxury. Gold is the perfect companion to cool blues or greens and looks beautiful when contrasted with tactile linens, natural woods or rough plaster. With Christmas fast approaching, you really have no excuse.

Blues


Today it’s pouring with rain in London, despite it being the height of summer. No change there then! Despite the general consensus that rainy days are depressing, I find that they always make me feel calm, relaxed and more clear in my thinking. The rain pouring down overhead and the slow descent of raindrops down the window panes can bring on a reflective mood. Surprisingly, rather than longing for bright, vivid colours I often feel most relaxed and happy on these days surrounded by the peaceful tones of blues. I’ve been thinking a lot about redecorating our home lately and one of the colours I’ve constantly been drawn to is blue. I’m particularly longing for a blue velvet sofa… Here are a few of my favourite images I’ve collected as inspiration for a blue interior.

Image via Elle Decor.

One of my favourite colour combinations is warm grey with cool blue, shown beautifully in this room designed by Thomas Obrien in New York. Brought to life by gold accents such as beautiful crystal wall lights or a fabulous antique mirror, this colour combination works particularly well with antique gold accessories as shown here… So classic and elegant. I love it.

Image via Solid Frog.

This room uses the warm grey and cool blue combination again, but this time with mid century modern furniture – another love of mine – and industrial materials against wool, wood and velvet to ensure that there are plenty of interesting textures.

Image via Elle Decor.

The focus in this room is the blue painting while the rest of the decor is neutral, but the blue is picked up as an accent colour by the blue velvet cushions, the patterned textiles and the blue coffee table book. Here again, there are some glamorous gold touches – the colour scheme in this room, designed by Benjamin Dhong, is all about the styling.

This last image just goes to show that a little bit of colour can go a long way so if you don’t feel like decorating your whole home in blue (or any other colour) simply adding a vibrant and beautiful object can completely transform a space.

And finally, perhaps my search for the perfect blue velvet sofa is over? The Ackroyd sofa, designed by Sir Terence Conran, will be available at Marks and Spencer from mid September as part of his new range for the British store. Definitely worth checking out.

The Coveteur


The Coveteur was founded by US designer Erin Kleinberg and stylist Stephanie Mark, to show items of personal significance belonging to some of the most influential trendsetters from the creative industries (mostly stateside – it would be great if they did it here too). Each individual featured describes why the item they’ve shown is important to them and how it has influenced their sense of style. Then you can click on a link and buy something similar. Genius. The Coveteur’s photographer Jake Rosenberg, explores the homes and wardrobes of some fascinating characters, styling the shots to showcase their favourite fashion items in quirky ways at home. It combines my love of interiors with fashion and I have become a bit obsessed…

 

Sasha and Tom’s vintage style city wedding


Last weekend we went to my lovely friends Sasha and Tom’s wedding in London. Sasha is one of my closest friends and I love her to bits – we are godmothers to each other’s sons and we go back a long way since being introduced by our other best friend as teenagers. It was wonderful to watch her marrying the lovely (and very dashing) Tom in a simple ceremony at Mary Ward House in Bloomsbury. Mary Ward House, a Grade I listed Arts and Crafts building is beautiful inside and was perfect for them. The wedding was stylish and elegant, with a lovely vintage theme – there were some fabulous outfits and the most amazing vintage style afternoon tea that I have ever seen.

Sasha and Tom, the happy couple. Sasha wore a very glamorous 1930s style gown and looked beautiful.

A fabulous girl with a ukulele played 1940s songs during the champagne reception in the courtyard.

Here is my godson looking completely adorable in his sailor outfit.

After the champagne and photographs, we were all treated to the most amazing afternoon tea ever, provided by the Utterly Sexy Cafe (how good is that name?!)

Each table was named after a street that Sasha or Tom had lived on. Our dear friend, the very talented Steve Willard, hand wrote the table name cards. You can see his web site here.

There were cucumber sandwiches, fresh scones with jam and cream, raspberry tartlets, smoked salmon sandwiches, cupcakes and lots of tea as well as more champagne. Everything was served on vintage china.

The favours were hand stitched hearts in different vintage fabrics with guests’ names sewn on to them.

Here is Sasha during the tea – doesn’t she look wonderful?

And lastly, here is a photo of me wearing my 1950s dress and hat. I picked up the dress years ago in a French flea market and I bought the hat in Camden Passage in London. Our stunning friend Tor did all our hair and makeup in vintage styles (I usually wear my hair long and straight with a blunt fringe).  It was so much fun. Later on, when everyone had done lots of silly dancing and drunk far too much champagne we had a hog roast in the courtyard before heading home. It was a beautiful, happy day that I’ll always remember.

World of Interiors: The Last Taxidermist in Paris


“There is an elderly gentleman who has been coming here since he was 13. His mother gave him his first Bombyx butterfly for his first communion. He says he feels immortal when he comes to Deyrolle, because nothing has changed for over 100 years.”

These images are from a 1985 issue of World of Interiors, but I am posting them today because I confess that I have a fascination with taxidermy and I found them quite beautiful. There is something other worldly about the animals that are perfectly still as though captured by a photograph and yet appearing as though they could come back to life at any moment. I think it is also because it reminds me of times gone by  – magestic stately homes or the studies and laboratories of scientists and scholars in years gone by. There is also something quite beautiful about the animals themselves and being able to see them so close. I’m sure most people find it all utterly revolting, but I’m afraid I am quite fascinated.

I saw the original post here and you can click on the link to see more of the photographs.

A desk with a view… my home office inspirations


Like most people who work freelance, I work from home and this week I seem to have spent a lot of time typing away on my laptop at the kitchen table. It seems to be the best place for me to work at home since my fiance, an event producer and DJ, has made the bespoke desk we had made his own and there is no way I could be creative amongst all the cables, CDs and vinyl that seem to be multiplying as I write!

The other good thing about working at the kitchen table is that I can keep a close eye on my one-year-old son, Alfie, who is into everything at the moment! Suffice to say, I have been thinking about home offices and how I will create my own workspace when we move as we are fast running out of space now that we are three. These are some of the images I have collected as inspiration…

I like the idea of the vintage frame as a noticeboard for inspirational images and personal keepsakes. The most important thing about a home workspace is that it inspires you and makes you feel happy so that you can be really productive. Having the things you love around you is essential.

This is a fabulous desk, created from two lovely antique desks that both have elegant cabriolet legs. Such a great idea. I also like the black and white art work on the wall and the clean white storage – storage is key in any home office. This works because the antique desk provides a lovely contrast to the contemporary details. If the desk was contemporary too, it could be quite boring but the desk adds character and style.

Lots of great artwork again here, which I think is essential if you are a creative thinker, and also another antique desk. This office also features the juxtaposition of old with new by featuring a Philippe Starck Louis Ghost chair to add a bit of contrast.

More lovely artwork, a vintage desk and rug and a contemporary chair. I think a theme is developing here!

This time contemporary photography and a clean palette contrast with the vintage desk and chair.

This is Tamara Mellon’s home office in London, which I love. Again, she has a beautiful antique desk juxtaposed against contemporary and vintage chairs and an Andy Warhol print. The splash of vivid pink is fabulous.

Images from Elle Decoration, Living Etc and my own archives.