One of the highlights of attending LDF for me these days is spotting designers and companies that are either new or have so far alluded me. Quite how I had failed to notice the Kristjana S Williams Studio up until now I’ll never know because her work is not exactly quiet. It is in fact an explosion of colour, strong graphic lines, intricate drawings and all manner of cavorting creatures. Whether it’s a wall mural, an upholstered chair, a cushion or a piece of art, you will see very intricate collages of materials that have been collected from Victorian engravings, photographs, found objects and real leaves and twigs.  A limited selection have been delicately adorned with gold leaf in order to create an utterly desirable and innovative piece of work.

Kristjana S Williams Studio - Red Parrot Tapestry Chair

Kristjana S Williams is first and foremost an artist whose experience spans illustration, interiors, fashion and design.  She is inspired by nature upon nature ‘the symmetry in all things living‘ which stems from her childhood growing up in Iceland.  As a child growing up with a stark landscape, she was always craving colour and natural wonders, and now looking back she admits she can see the true unique beauty in her homeland which adds ever more inspiration.

Kristjana S Williams Studio - Lear Blue Stripe

Kristjana S Williams Studio cushions


Kristjana S Williams Studio - House Plant Wall Mural

Kristjana S Williams Studio

Kristjana S Williams Studio

A City Apartment in Amsterdam

September 25th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Houses - (1 Comments)

Do you ever dream of living in a different city, a different culture or a different country? I know I do. And one city that I’ve always been drawn to is Amsterdam. I love it’s canals, its architecture and its way of life and would love to spend more time there absorbing everything about it. So when I spotted this renovated apartment on the VT Wonen website it just about ticked all the boxes and summed up exactly what I would do if I got my hands on a canal side apartment.

A city apartment in Amsterdam via VT Wonen [2]

Just look at those windows. The view. And the light. Who needs blinds.

A city apartment in Amsterdam via VT Wonen [1]

It’s open plan which I love. It might be missing some period features but the pale wood floor and pristine white walls make up for that.

A city apartment in Amsterdam via VT Wonen [4]

Blonde wood accessories and furniture, animal skins and lots of room for everything to breathe. Bliss.

A city apartment in Amsterdam via VT Wonen [3]

And some nice contrast in the kitchen/dining area with black and granite worktops, wood and metal.

A city apartment in Amsterdam via VT Wonen [5]

And nothing beats a bare brick wall.

Photographs: Barbara de Hosson

I do love Farrow & Ball paints. In fact I love them so much I currently have 50 shades of black pasted around my bedroom walls trying to decide which shade to go for. I exaggerate of course, it’s more like 5 shades but that didn’t sound quite so dramatic. But believe me, it’s going to look dramatic when its done.

However, now having seen the key colours for 2015 I may be undergoing a small change of heart.

The four new colours, (in order of personal preference below) have been developed to promote relaxation and reflection in interiors. Paler in appearance they help to create spaces that live and breathe as we look to our homes as places of sanctuary from the stresses of modern-day living.

Farrow and Ball paint colours 2015 - Breakfast Room Green

Breakfast room green.

Breakfast Room Green feels lively at any time of day. A hue taken straight from nature it makes us feel safe and calm with a slightly botanical feel. Paired with a white ceiling it’s fresh and contemporary and reflects away from hard, graphic interiors to a softer, more natural feel with a modern twist. And I am slightly obsessed with green at the moment so this is a firm favourite.

Farrow and Ball paint colours 2015 - Light Blue

Light blue.

The use of Light Blue in the home is intended to create an interior where colours shift and change like the landscape. We instinctively gravitate towards shades that remind us of the softer side of life and that help to make our homes into an oasis of calm away from the brashness of modern life.

Farrow and Ball paint colours 2015 - Pink Ground

Pink Ground.

Pink Ground creates rooms that feel pretty, soft edged and accessible. Although warm, this particular pink is not sugary or nursery-like, rather it feels more like a diluted plaster colour where walls look almost nude.

Farrow and Ball paint colours 2015 - Tanners Brown

Tanners brown.

Tanners brown is for those who still crave darker, dramatic spaces. This earth brown colour feels totally timeless and has an artisan feel to it. It’s best to use it on the skirting boards too so that it feels grounded to the floor and will totally transform rooms where natural light is lacking, making them cosy and cocooning.

Which do you prefer?

Shower Yourself with Luxury

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

We all want to recreate a little hotel luxury in our homes these days, and in particular we would all love our bathrooms to be a little more spa-like and indulgent. With a little planning this is not too difficult to do and so, here’s just a few little design tricks that will make the morning shower ritual just a little more relaxed.

Bathroom Shower via Living etc

Incorporate a walk-in shower if you have the space. Not only does it look better from a design point of view to have the shower the full width of the room, it also gives much more room to move around and alleviates the need for inconvenient doors. In the image above the soap shelf and heated towel rail are conveniently within reach yet out of the water stream. I always find too, that it’s better to dry off before leaving the shower so that you don’t leave a puddle of water to clear up after.

Minimal Shower enclosure via Living etc

Always plan for a recess or shelf for shampoo bottles. There really is nothing worse, or less relaxing than grappling round on the floor with soapy eyes looking for the shower gel. It’s always best to have them at the correct height to start with. The image above also has a lovely minimalist shower enclosure that makes the room look more spacious and this is emphasised by having the wall tiles continue around the room too.

Bathroom wet room via Living etc

You can always opt for a wet room for the ultimate spacious showering experience. It works particularly well in this traditional bathroom with its roll top bath and large chrome showerhead. This is a job for the experts though so always get professional help and under-floor heating is a must to keep the room dry and damp free.

Shower idea via Living etc

If you like the idea of a wetroom but are not sure about having water splashing everywhere there are compromises to be had. The bathroom above has solved this problem by having a narrow glass screen between the shower and the basin, and by continuing the shelf across both areas there is a handy shower seat and also visual continuity. I love this bathroom.

quadrant shower via Living etc

If space is an issue and you really do favour a shower enclosure, a quadrant shower is often a good choice. It takes up less space and there are no sharp corners to bump into. They are deceptively spacious inside too.

Over bath Shower via Living etc

And finally if you have no choice but to put the shower over the bath, choose one with a wider end. The glass screen looks quite unobtrusive and allows the light to flow freely.

What’s your idea of showering luxury?

All images via House to Home.

It’s never hard to choose things from the Rowen and Wren website and this autumn is no exception.


These beautiful upholstered chairs for instance. Elegant and timeless in the softest brushed cotton, just waiting for me to curl up with my favourite read and a cup of tea. I may even have a space for one of these in the corner of my bedroom. Now that would be the ultimate indulgence. Priced at £554.


And I’m very taken with this traditional looking coat stand in elegant tarnished silver. It’s very practical too – only taking up half the space of a conventional stand and wall mounted to avoid any toppling over. Beautiful and practical at £294.


But it’s the smaller items that always get me drooling. Not only do I want them all for myself but I’m already mentally preparing my Christmas lists. The wire cloches start from £22 (perfect for the garden design I’m working on), the metal hanging mirror is £186, the sweet rustic candle holders are only £9 and the wire baskets are £22.

Dangerous Liaisons at M&S

September 18th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Shopping - (0 Comments)

The M&S autumn/winter range has all of the ingredients needed for setting the scene for some seduction in the bedroom. Colours are dramatic, dark and moody with curvaceous furniture shapes and oodles of overblown blooms.

marksandspencer AW14

This is not a half-hearted look. Walls, floors, doors and even ceilings should be from the darker end of the spectrum. Wallpapers are oversized florals or maybe with a hint of metallics to reflect all of that candlelight.

M&S Marcel Mona Dressing Table, Mirror & Stool Set

marksandspencer AW14 [1]

Furniture has more than just a suggestion of French baroque and lampshades are unashamedly black. As are the sheets!

PicMonkey Collage

marksandspencer AW14 [2]

And don’t forget the details. Bird sculptures, intricate photograph frames, chandeliers, candelabras and vases of hothouse blooms.

marksandspencer AW14 [3]

Romance isn’t dead just yet!

All from M&S bedroom collections.

It takes a lot of skill to turn an old warehouse into a family home but the owners of this conversion in Melbourne have done just that. It’s now a contemporary three bedroom abode that retains many of its original features and is flooded with light. A monochromatic scheme is the secret, which acts as the foundation upon which is layered a collection of vintage furniture and a much-loved collection of art works. That and the dark floorboards and white walls which effectively create a backdrop that works with the overall scheme.

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [5]

You would think that bare brick walls would look cold and uninviting but in this case they actually warm the space. Along with the layers of rugs, worn wood furniture and the eclectic mix of furnishings.

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [4]

The industrial pendants, metal stools and bottle dryer all remind us that this truly was once a warehouse.

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [2]

In large open plan spaces using logs as a decoration gives a sense of warmth as well as being a practical storage solution.

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [3]

The repetition of an accent colour – in this case yellow – all around the house is a great visual trick for creating a cohesive scheme.

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [1]

A warehouse conversion via Est Mag [6]

This really is a skillful renovation. It’s homely and interesting without being overdone.

Via Est Magazine

Photographs: Tara Pearce. Styling: Stephanie Stamatis


Oh for an Orangery

September 15th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Gardens - (6 Comments)

I’m dreaming of an orangery today. Isn’t that what Monday is all about? Dreaming on a large scale? The weekend was warm and sunny but sadly the days are numbered for this indian summer. What will we do when the rain sets in,the wind starts to bite and the garden starts to wither and die?

That’s where the orangery comes in.

from Tricia Guild's Book

First built in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and designed to house citrus trees over winter,  this was not just a greenhouse but a symbol of prestige and wealth and a feature of gardens. Much grander than a humble conservatory these buildings were given a very classical architectural form and would often contain fountains, grottos, and an area in which to entertain in inclement weather.

Orangerie Hotel Belgium

So believe me, these are not just sunrooms with lots of glass and the odd houseplant on the window ledge. They should be tall in stature, with soaring and often arched windows. They should be bursting with large exotic plants rising to the rafters and creating nooks and crannies for lovers trysts, or afternoon tea, or a secret snooze.

Oh, the romance of it.

Orangery via Architectural Digest

I could spend days with my nose in a book lounging on a chaise. Or dabble with some watercolours. Or entertain guests to breakfast using the best silver, or cocktails at sundown. Or I could potter with a trowel in hand, planting bulbs and training the fuchsias. The possibilities are endless!

Axel Vervoordt

But let’s not get too carried away. The pragmatist in me should warn you that this is not a job for a diy’er. Creating your own bespoke orangery requires some specialist knowledge and expertise. And although hardwood is the preferred choice for me personally aluminium orangeries are particularly resilient in British weather.

I still just love the romance of it.

Images 1|2|3|4

The new issue of Heart Home magazine has now hit the virtual shelves my lovelies!

Heart Home magazine - September 2014

We are so proud of this issue which also coincides with our third anniversary. Can you believe that? It’s absolutely packed with everything we love, including a very special peek into the home of Sarah Wilkie who is one of the founders of vintage destination store Home Barn. That’s it there on the cover and also below. Isn’t it lovely?

Heart Home magazine - September 2014 - Sarah Wilkie Home Feature

And yes, we did eat lunch around that table, looking out at rolling fields, and hearing all about the inspiration behind the house and shop. To see more you will have to read the magazine, and by the way Homebarn shop will be featured in our December issue.

We also have an interview with the lovely Gudy Herder, stylist and ceramicist. The photographs of her studio in Barcelona encapsulate the ‘Gudy’ aesthetic beautifully and had us reaching for the white paint. Absolutely stunning.

Heart Home magazine - September 2014 - Gudy Herder - A Creative Life

Of course we have all of the usual shopping features, and interview with Kirstie Allsopp, a piece on Toronto by Emma Reddington, Home Editor of Chatelaine magazine, three different takes on what makes a luxurious hotel and a mouth-watering recipe.

Heart Home magazine - September 2014 - Modern Country Shopping Pages


Soppy for Succulents

September 11th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

Have you noticed how every styled coffee table and sideboard these days has a pot of succulents? They seem to go with every decorating style imaginable, from minimalist Scandinavian to maximalist Bohemian, adding just the right amount of organic green. What’s more, they are easy to keep, require minimal watering and don’t drop leaves. What more could you ask? Well, these gorgeous specimens are faux. Yes, you heard me right. Aren’t they gorgeous and all they need is an occasional swipe with the feather duster.

Faux Succulents from Nordic House [4]

Faux Succulents from Nordic House [1]

Faux Succulents from Nordic House [2]

I’m sold. Put them in my shopping basket now!

Available from Nordic House.

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