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There are some product brochures that are as eagerly awaited as a favourite magazine. Loaf is one of them. I’m always eager to see what lovely new things they have. What things I would add to my wish list. And then what things I will share with you all my lovelies.

Here’s my current picks of the very nice bunch.

Loaf_962345_Tulipkitchentable

The tulip kitchen table. A Scandinavian design classic that’s been given a makeover in gun-metal and weathered timber. Perfect for contemporary and traditional kitchens alike. And especially my kitchen. Paired with gun-metal chairs that are comfy but super cool. The table is £495 and the chairs, £290 per pair.

Loaf_1019748_SuperSucresideboard

The Super Sucre sideboard is apparently a larder. And a very fine one too. But for me – who’s always working at the kitchen table – it would be a godsend for stashing all those papers, files and pens when it’s time to start the dinner. Priced at £995.

Loaf_autumn 2014

Hiccup cushions, £35. Pootle Storage, £225. Harley pouffe, £175. Tweedy rug, £165. Birdie shelf, £295.

Loaf_962347_Tigershelves

And last but not least the lovely leaning Tiger shelves in bleached timber. Priced at £225.

Black Magic in the Bedroom

August 20th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (3 Comments)

Oh, I am definitely tempted. Black walls in the bedroom. Dark, moody, intense. My bedroom is quite spacious with a sloping ceiling on two sides which will remain white, so I’m thinking I can get away with it.

Bella Notte Linens

Look how that white bedding pops against a black backdrop.

Trendenser

I must admit it looks good with white painted floorboards and I, unfortunately have carpet but I’m still tempted. I love the idea of black and white photographs and art too.

Olie & Sebs Haus

I think it’s the balance of black and white thats the secret. And abundant light.

Am I brave enough?

Images: 1|2|3

The corner sofa. I’m a recent convert. In my old house we had two equal sized sofas facing each other. It was what the space dictated. They were comfortable and stylish and perfect when we had guests. Conversation could take place over the central coffee table and four to six people could sit comfortably and all see each other. (Although in design school they always said that three-seater sofas were never a good idea because no one ever wanted to sit in the middle) but I digress.

corner sofa via Real Simple

Now however I have a corner sofa. And I love it. Again, it was what the space dictated but there is nothing nicer than snuggling up with a loved one for an evening watching TV or stealing a cuddle from the kids when reading a book. And it is sociable when guests are over.  It’s more casual. You don’t have to talk across the room. You can pass the crisps without getting up!

corner sofa via Houzz

But there are even more advantages than that. A corner sofa can help to define a space, especially in open plan spaces. Put a rug under it, a coffee table in front of it and you have an instant sitting zone, distinctly separate from the dining or kitchen areas.

corner sofa via Est magazine

They also tend to take up less space than two normal sized sofas so are convenient for smaller spaces too. Tuck one in the corner and you can comfortably seat four or five people. Five if they are very good friends. An additional armchair will complete the room and add balance as in the images above.

corner sofa via Design Sponge

And imagine a room with a view? A corner sofa means that absolutely no one has their back to it!

Images: 1 2 3 4

It’s actually a conservatory in a 250-year-old farmhouse in the Overberg region of South Africa and now called the ‘Plantation Room’. A lush mural on three walls creates a perfect backdrop for exotic taxidermy and the owners eclectic collections. I love it all.

Plantation style house in SA via Elle Decoration. Photographs by Inge Prins

The backdrop effectively creates a three-dimensional aspect to the room that no amount of layering could do. You feel as if you could walk out into that verdant forest and can almost hear the birds calling. I bet in a hot country this is more potent than any air conditioning.

Plantation style house in SA via Elle Decoration. Photographs by Inge Prins [1]

The high polish of the dark wood elements also evoke an atmosphere of tropical climes and this is continued on the floor and ceiling encompassing the room with a moody vibe.

Plantation style house in SA via Elle Decoration. Photographs by Inge Prins [3]

Stacks of old books, shells, cones and all manner of ephemera combine to make it interesting for the visitor and probably an endless delight for the owner too. The kind of room you could get lost in for hours.

Plantation style house in SA via Elle Decoration. Photographs by Inge Prins [2]

This fabulous room originally appeared in the September 2011 edition of Elle Decoration, South Africa.

Photographs by Inge Prins

Lunch with Tiffany

August 15th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

Last weekend I was invited along to the newly-opened and rather fabulous Another Country store in Marylebone for a style session with fellow blogger Tiffany Grant-Riley from Curate & Display blog. The store is running a series of these sessions as part of their #anothersummer campaign and we were free to do whatever we wanted!

So we had lunch.

Lunch with Tiffany at Another Country

I have long been a fan of Another Country so picking products for our lunch setting was an easy task. We chose a handsome solid oak dining table and benches in a corner of the shop and set about creating our perfect summer feast.

The terracotta pitcher is my all time favourite and was the perfect centrepiece holding a couple of olive branches that we foraged from one of the trees in the street (shhhh, don’t tell anyone!).

Lunch with Tiffany at Another Country [2]

The olive bread, figs, cheese and chutney were all bought in nearby Marylebone High Street and looked mouth-wateringly perfect on the glazed pottery plates and the  terracotta platter.

Lunch with Tiffany at Another Country [4]

And the black handled Provencal cutlery and grey pinch pots (for the chutney) added yet more French flavour to this simple rustic meal.

Lunch with Tiffany at Another Country [3]

Photographs by Tiffany Grant-Riley

Otago – Out of East Africa

August 13th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

I have a real soft spot for some of the crafts that come out of Africa. Especially when combined with modern design. So I was delighted to discover Otago.

Founded by design duo Anna Rose and Eddie Sercombe in 2013, the company collaborates with artisans from marginalised communities to create collections of fine objects for the contemporary interior. By incorporating local artisanal skill with cutting edge design, they create exceptional and elegant pieces for the home.

The debut collection primarily features pieces made by artisans in East Africa.

Otago Collection [1]

KIKIPU platters,  SHANGA YA NGOZI bottles and  gold plated sand cast brass animals

Otago Collection [2]

NDEFU YA SHABA glasses, KIKAPU platters, NGOZI hand blown glass bottle with a leather collar, PEMBE cow horn dish and ZEBRAG hand embroidered linen cushions.

Otago Collection [3]

SHANGA hand beaded jars, KUBA hand embroidered linen cushions, PEMBE horn vessels and KIKAPU vases.

Already the flowers in my little garden are starting to look a tad tired. It never fails to amaze me that as soon as August arrives, the mornings have a definite chill and the nights start creeping in. One day I will have year round displays of flowers for cutting and bringing in, but for now I will have to start thinking outside of the box when I feel the urge to decorate the house.

Because it’s the transitional displays that bring energy and life to decorating schemes. They don’t have to cost much, and they shouldn’t take too much effort. To do so will destroy the spontaneity of the arrangement.

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A row of pots on the windowsill containing succulents and cacti look simple and effective. The uniform height of each pot and the similar geometric shapes suggest that the display is intentional rather than a happy accident.

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Herbs drying on a metal rack will not only look good but will be fragrant too. A perfect arrangement for a kitchen and suggestive of a home where cooking is an important part of everyday family life.

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A couple of eucalyptus branches on a copper tray will look perfect on a coffee table. Just add a candle for after dark.

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Personal collections displayed in baskets or even in open drawers are always a great source of inspiration. Remember to remove and add items regularly to keep the displays fresh and interesting.

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And when the nights really start to draw in there is nothing better than a row of candles or lanterns. Differing heights add to the interest and glass domes and objects help to reflect the rosy glow.

All images and products from House Envy.

A Greek Island Getaway

August 11th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Houses - (0 Comments)

I think we all probably dream of owning a second home somewhere warm and sunny. I know I do. And we all probably hanker after a Greek Island home especially if it is as handsome as this one.

Spotted in Est Magazine this beautiful villa is on the island of Ithaca was saved from ruin by South African photographers Gerda Genis and Robbert Koene. I love the simplicity of the cement floors, stone walls, polished concrete, limed timber beams, and layers of linen. It retains all of the elements of a rustic abode but without the clichés and it even has the occasional modern chair or pendant light without them looking out-of-place.

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [2]

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [1]

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [6]

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [5]

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [4]

GREEK ISLAND GETAWAY IN ITHACA via Est Magazine [3]

I need to go there now!

Even more images on Est Magazine

Photographs by Robert Koene

The last of the summer issues of Heart Home magazine is now out my lovelies.

Heart Home magazine August 2014

My favourite feature has to be ‘Act of Devotion’ above and below. A former ‘tin’ chapel that has been turned into a fascinating home using just salvaged items and scrap. Owner Nick Kenny admits that nothing cost more than £20 or £30. Now thats ingenuity.

Heart Home magazine August 2014 - Act of Devotion

You’re also going to love the home of Cabbages and Roses founder Christina Strutt. It’s the quintessential English cottage and the perfect place to display her own fabrics.

Heart Home magazine August 2014 - Living Life Beautifully

And for all you foodies out there we have the most mouth watering Baked Alaska we have ever tasted.

Heart Home magazine August 2014 - Baked Alaska with Brownie Base

And much, much more.

Enjoy!

Heart Home magazine

I have really fond memories of my grandmother’s kitchen. The scrubbed pine table, the old gas cooker, and the smell of apple tart baking in the oven. I also loved the row of geraniums sitting on the windowsill on saucers. Even now, the smell of geraniums takes me back to afternoons sitting at her flour covered table watching her slice apples.

But you don’t have to have a country cottage to enjoys plants in the kitchen. I’m not just talking about a sad, unwatered basil from that dinner party last week either. There’s nothing nicer than the sight of abundant green growth on the countertop, on the table or at the window. So here’s a light-hearted look at kitchen styles and the plants I might use to make them greener.

Plants in the Kitchen via Dear Designer's Blog

The walnut finish of these kitchen units gives them a hint of eastern style. I’d choose plants that are from that part of the world also. Palms and a dragon-tree to give a hint of the tropics and phalaenopsis to add a bit of sophisticated glamour. The assorted cacti would look great on the windowsill or down the middle of the table as an alternative centerpiece.

Plants in the Kitchen via Dear Designer's Blog [2]

A more countrified kitchen would be the perfect excuse for a row of those fragrant geraniums but I would add other types of green foliage and perhaps a fig tree too. It’s the kind of kitchen where you would expect to find an abundant supply of potted herbs too so I’d definitely add those.

Plants in the Kitchen via Dear Designer's Blog [3]

My favourite kind of kitchen. The restrained aesthetics of a painted shaker style. I’d fill it with potted citrus plants, succulents and kalanchoes. As unfussy as the kitchen itself.

What do you have growing in your kitchen.

All of the kitchens shown are from Betta Living.

Plants from a selection at Homebase and Ikea.

 

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