Tori Murphy’s home in Germany’s Couch magazine

Couch_Cover_grandeCouch_1_grande 1Couch_2Couch_3Following my feature in The Guardian, textile designer Tori Murphy’s lovely home featured in Germany’s Couch magazine, styled and written by me. Check out Tori’s fabulous work here and also in the Christmas issue of Living Etc out this month.

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.

Telegraph Magazine, March 3rd 2012

Here is a piece I styled and wrote on Ros Fairman’s stunning home in East London, which appeared in the Telegraph Magazine on Saturday. Ros has a beautiful home filled with gorgeous vintage and antiques and her home was a pleasure to shoot.

Please look under my ‘Editorial’ section for the full version.

I interview Jack du Rose at home

When the jeweller Jack du Rose received a real human skull by special delivery with a request to find out how to recreate it in platinum and diamonds, he had no idea that the artist he was working for was Damien Hirst and the skull was to become the controversial artwork ‘For the Love of God’, selling for a record £50 million. Then Jack was only 24 years old and living with his parents in Birmingham. Now aged just 30 and living in East London, Jack has launched his own jewellery collection called Danger, which was shown at his first solo exhibition last month at Sam Taylor-Wood’s studio in Clerkenwell.

‘Danger’ features eight one-off pieces of jewellery inspired by deadly animals including a diamond-encrusted lion cuff, an emerald poison frog brooch and diamond and ruby jellyfish rings. Each piece is so exquisitely crafted that they should be considered art as much as jewellery and as such, each piece will be sold with its own bell jar and ebony display case, which locks with a gold and diamond scorpion-shaped key. Prices start at £220,000 and comparisons to Faberge and Lalique spring to mind. His loft style home, which he shares with his fiancee, is a fascinating reflection of his passion for dangerous creatures, antique scientific paraphernalia and vintage curiosities. I visited him this week with Ingrid Rasmussen to interview him and photograph his home and found him to be a true gentleman, a lovely man and an incredibly exciting talent.

Whilst chatting with Jack, I was privileged to be able to try on his Octopus bracelet, aptly named ‘Temptation’. Set with a dazzling array of golden sapphires, opals and diamonds (and worth a staggering £550,000) it was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen and testament to his skill as a designer, craftsman and artist. Keep checking back with me for images of Jack at home and the full incredible story of his success.

Mark and Talya’s vintage style home

Styling by Emily Wheeler

Photographs by Ingrid Rasmussen

All rights reserved and all images copyright

I wanted to share some of the images from a beautiful home I have just shot with Ingrid Rasmussen. This gorgeous house belongs to super cool couple Talya and Mark and their two children Noa and Joseph. Their home is crammed full of amazing vintage pieces all beautifully styled with a whimsical take on industrial chic. Not only is their house stunning, but they are two of the nicest people you could ever meet too.

Talya is a talented illustrator with her beautiful illustrations having been chosen by Sienna and Savannah Miller to feature on their AW 2011/12 collection. Her illustrations will also be featuring on some very hip interiors products soon so she is definitely one to watch. Mark, meanwhile, runs his own vintage and reclaimed interiors company and is venturing into interior design. Check out his web site here.

Michel and Sally Perrin’s homes in Paris and LA

The superbly glamorous homes of Michel and Sally Perrin have graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in recent issues and are so stylish, I thought they were worthy of a blog post here. Michel Perrin, the French born CEO of the leather company Perrin Paris, comes from a long line of artisans. His great grandfather founded the family business making leather gloves in 1893. He is married to Sally and they have two daughters, Chloe and Emma.

Sally Perrin worked with interior designer Chahan Minassian, wanting something that was “modern but also harked back to an earlier European period of gilt and mirrors”. I think they did a great job.

Last year, the family moved to Los Angeles. Their new single-story Beverly Hills home, designed in 1950 by Victor Gruen, father of the American shopping mall, is a shrine to midcentury modern, the West Coast style du jour. “It’s quintessential L.A., lots of glass and light,” says Sally, 43. “If you sit in one room, you can see through the entire house…. I can spy on the girls.”

Read more: A Fashionable Life – Michel & Sally Perrin – Harper’s BAZAAR