It suddenly occurred to me at the weekend that Dear Designer’s blog has now been going for just over three years.  And I never even noticed the anniversary passing!  Probably because my life is so much busier now that weeks go by in a blink of the eye and this whole year has passed in a kind of blur.

Not that I’m complaining.  Blogging started as a hobby, rapidly became an obsession and now, as many other bloggers will agree, is simply a way of life.  And it’s enriched my life in so many ways.  I have a whole network of friends I did not know previously, I get to travel occasionally, I get invited to more events than I can possibly attend and I am constantly amazed and awed by the amount of creativity happening in the design world around me.

But I digress, to mark the occasion I am listing below the 10 most popular posts of the last three years.  In order of popularity. (click on the image to go to the full post).

Celebrity Snoop – Jennifer Aniston

I believe Jen has now sold this Beverley Hills house but it’s been by far my most popular post.

Kelly Hoppen – Ideas

Kelly’s very popular book has been very popular on my blog!

Celebrity Snoop – Bedrooms

A round up of all the celebrity bedrooms I have ever featured.  This one belongs to Donna Karan but there are many more on the post.

Wallpaper – Fresh Blue Feature Walls

Wallpaper posts are always popular.

Just My Imagination – Bold Bedroom

A 3-d rendering of a bedroom that is pure fantasy but the black, white and red colour scheme proved a winner.

Designer Envy – Kit Kemp

The warm and colourful family home of the designer of Firmdale Hotels.

Inspiration – Masculine Bedrooms

It seems that inspirational posts are another hit, especially masculine bedrooms…

Inspiration – White Metro Tiles

white metro tiles…

Inspiration – Glamorous Bathrooms

and glamorous bathrooms.

I Spy – Timorous Beasties Wallpaper

So it’s pretty clear to me now that you lovely readers want to see more celebrities, more designers, more wallpaper and more inspirational images.

I’ve made a mental note.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home has been sitting by my bedside for quite some time now.

It’s not that it’s a difficult book to get into, not at all.  It’s just that I’ve been savouring it.  Reading it slowly and letting the words sink in.  Like a well-worn, favourite pair of comfy slippers, it’s a book that reminds me of all of the things that make a house a home.

It’s written by Deborah Needleman, the high-profile, extremely well-respected co-author of The Domino Book of Decorating and current editor of the Wall St Journal magazine, so you’d expect helpful tips but this is not a traditional how-to guide to decorating.  It’s a book that encourages you to express individuality, to choose timeless pieces and not be seduced by fads and fashion.  It’s about creating a relaxed, comfortable and stylish home and that’s why I’ve been dipping into it off and on for weeks.  It makes me feel all warm and cosseted.

Don’t expect lots of glossy pictures of celebrity homes either.  There are glimpses into the odd designer home, but through the eyes of illustrator and textile designer Virginia Johnson.  The watercolour illustrations are utterly charming and perfectly suit the approachable tone of the text.

I’ve read it from cover to cover now but don’t expect me to part with it!

The Perfectly Imperfect Home, by Deborah Needleman.

Available from Amazon

I don’t know about you but I’m craving some colour in my life.  A dismal weekend and no holiday on the horizon…

So, for no other reason other than that they make me happy, here are some images to brighten up Monday.  Enjoy!

What’s your secret for beating the Monday blues?

Sources: 1 Bolig Pluss 2 Vogue 3 Bright Bazaar 4 Around My Table 5 Stacey Brandford

For me, a house never quite looks like a home without a few books around, but because I am a neat and tidy kind of person I am continually trying to find solutions to keep them on show but in a well-ordered way.

Here’s a few solutions that are currently winning me over.

  • Colour Co-Ordination

When we went to the house of Sarah Lidwell-Durnin for issue 2 of Heart Home mag, Arianna and I were really impressed with the books in her sitting/dinning room (Picture 1 below).  Hubby had spent a few days before the photo shoot sorting all of their well-read books into colours and they did look fantastic.  Now I just need a volunteer!

  • Spines turned out

Now I am liking the neutral uniformity of this idea.  No bright colours to jar with the scheme looks great.  But I’m wondering what happens when you need to find a book?  Or do you just turn them inwards once read, never to read or loan again?  Maybe I’ll just cheat like Gemma Ahern (Picture 4 below) and use wallpaper instead.

  • Floor to ceiling bookshelves

Holds a lot of appeal if you have very high ceilings It certainly allows for books to be confined to one wall only and prevents them from invading every corner of the house (I told you I was a neat and tidy kind of person!).  Looks less claustrophobic if the books are interspersed with photo’s and ornaments of course.  And don’t forget the ladder!

A house without books is like a room without windows.  ~Heinrich Mann

How do you display your books?

Photo credits:1 Olly Gordon 2 The Captive Reader 3 The Steam Punk Home 4 Design Sponge 5 Design Sponge 6 Beautiful Libraries

It is so true that books make a house a home.

If you’ve got them, flaunt them.  If you haven’t?  Fake it.





Tracy Kendall Wallpaper

Decorate Book Launch……….

April 14th, 2011 | Posted by deardesigner in Events - (20 Comments)

Yesterday I met my idol!

I’ll set the scene.  A cosy little private panelled room in Liberty’s.  A few press, a few fellow bloggers, a few shop owners and Holly sitting in an armchair.  Just chatting.  In her soothing soft voice, just telling us all how Decorate the book came about and answering questions.  Hell yes, I’m starstruck!

In case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know who Holly is (where have you been!), of course I’m talking about Holly Becker of Decor8, one of the nicest, warmest and most sincere people I’ve ever met. 

Of course the venue was perfect, and styled beautifully as you would expect…

and anyone, who is anyone (too many to mention, but you all know who you are!), came to the book signing afterwards where there was a table setting demonstration using Liberty prints and products.  But in a creative Holly way of course…

And I have to mention too, that I met my blogging friend Lise M (from Urban Style Vibes), for the first time in person too, and Leslie Shewring (from A Creative Mint) who is such an inspiration for all of us who have done the BYW e-course.

And now I’m off to lose myself in Decorate for a few hours or days…

I was delighted last week to receive a review copy of Kelly Hoppens latest book ‘Ideas’

She calls it her “Little Black Book” of ideas.

Its her seventh book and really is a visual feast for the eyes.  Each page revealing yet more sumptuous spreads of gorgeous textures, finishes and finished rooms.

Kelly is generous with her knowledge and even reveals her sources as she guides the reader through the steps to create “a beautiful, practical, workable home that is tailored to suit your own vision of how you want to live”.

The book starts with her own home where there are “more objects, more furniture, more texture and subtle contrast, and there is more black and white” than ever before.  This really sums up the whole book so if you were expecting to see a bible to taupe you may be a pleasantly surprised.

Kelly also says “I now see my work as being much more feminine.  It is no less ordered, but it is certainly rounder and more layered with texture”.

I’ll let you into a little secret.  I was so inspired reading it at the weekend, that I had to put it down and immediately re-arrange my own possessions! 

What can be better recommendation than that?

Available on Amazon.

All of the photographs in the book were taken by Mel Yates.

Oh My Valentine……….

February 1st, 2011 | Posted by deardesigner in Shopping - (1 Comments)

Let’s get slushy…

Not on the High Street



This weeks Sunday afternoon surf brings you my five favourite things from Designers Guild.

And this week we are going to concentrate on pure, unabashed, self-indulgence.  For those Sunday’s when you feel the need to pamper both body and soul and restore a little balance before another week of work and Christmas preparations…

First, set the mood by lighting the candles and allowing that fragrance to waft through the house…

Now, take a long bath. Immerse yourself in lightly scented bubbles and allow the mind to drift…

Indulge all the senses and wrap yourself up in soft, squishy towels…

…before curling up in your favourite armchair with an inspirational book…

and getting someone to mix you a nice gin and tonic.


Dear Designer’s favourite images this week from all those lovely blogs out there……….

Click on the picture for the full post.

Nicole Macaluso



Secrets of Domestic Bliss

La Dolce Vita


Simplified Bee

Don’t miss a chance to win this fantastic giveaway over at Simplified Bee

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