I love bookshelves in a room. They add a homely touch, introduce interest, and tell so much about the owner. But sometimes they can be just a bit overwhelming, don’t you think?

Enter stage left, the low-level bookcase.

unknown source

Low level bookshelves can wrap around a room without making it look like a library or even worse an office. Not only do they provide space for books of course, but they are also a handy surface for all those other bits and pieces we want to display in our homes. And at just the right height. And even better, you can use the space above for artwork which pulls together the entire room. Just think how many hours of pleasure you could have styling (and re-styling) your possessions. Or is that just me?


Position a chair close to the bookshelves and you even have a handy surface to place a cup or glass. I love the image above as it demonstrates how you can use baskets to store all those messy small items and how you don’t have to hang art when you have a shelf at this height. You can just prop the frames up and change them around whenever the mood takes you. Or is that me again?


And they don’t have to be messy either. Just see how this considered arrangement continues the colour scheme of the rest of the room (you’ll have to trust me on this) and even the floor has been put to good use. Without the bookshelf above placing things on the floor just looks lazy but here it is part of the whole arrangement.

I rest my case.

Image sources: 1 Unknown 2 sfgirlbybay 3 Stylizimo

Oliver Bonas Summer Sunshine

April 14th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Gardens - (2 Comments)

Well the sun has certainly come out my lovelies, and although it isn’t quite warm enough yet for sunning, it always pays to plan ahead.

So, if you are planning a boho vibe in the garden this summer, look no further than Oliver Bonas. In fact who needs sun when the garden is as colourful as a mexican poncho.

Oliver Bonas SS 14 [1]

If I had a tree that swinging seat would be mine. Or hang it from a pergola maybe? If you don’t have a pergola, most gardens, or even balconies have room for the table and pretty little chairs. Just add cushions and candles and you can have your own little fiesta.

Oliver Bonas SS 14 [2]

And that Carman chair is just made for napping.

Pass the tequila.

It’s not often that you come across a home that you could just move into without changing a thing. This loft apartment in Portland, Australia just happens to be one of them for me.  The interior was designed by Jessica Helgerson and it has maintained its original warehouse heritage but with an abundance of exotic eclectic elements, Moroccan rugs, heavy linens and a smattering of mid-century pieces.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 1

 Well let’s break it down shall we? Painting a ceiling black is a very brave move but here it works because of the height and because it is, after all a space with an industrial past. It helps to make a large open plan space cosy. The Moroccan rug warms up that polished concrete (again, so right in a loft space) floor and the wrap around seating and the bookshelves turn this seating area into a very social space. Don’t you just want to get up and wander over to those shelves and have a browse?

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 2

Where to put the TV is a problem for us all and I like how it is positioned just above this floating sideboard as if it were just another piece in the collection of books, candles and souvenirs. The sideboard too is interesting. Something more modern here would have looked out-of-place but this design using wood and metal blends well with all of the other elements in the room. And have I mentioned that huge chunk of wooden coffee table? So beautiful.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 3

 The kitchen again marries that industrial edge with raw materials and glamorous sophistication. The white tiles are my all time favourites and see that chandelier? I’ve just hung one very similar in my sitting room at home. And the chairs? They are vintage Eames DKW leather chairs and I want them!

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 4

And last but not least for me, the bedroom. Restrained and tasteful. A felt rug instead of a headboard adds drama, pattern and colour whilst the bedside table is simplicity itself.

When can I move in?

More images via Est Magazine

Photographs by Lincoln Barbour

I have to admit that since moving house I’ve changed from a bath person to a shower person. It’s the proximity of the en-suite (which only has a shower) that has done it I guess. But there’s still a lot to be said for a long soak in the bath. It’s the ultimate in relaxation for me. There’s something about taking the time to run the bath, fill it with bubbles and just forget everything else for half an hour. Add a glass of wine, some favourite bath products, some candles and soft music and who needs a spa?

Homes and Gardens mag

Of course a view is an absolute bonus. I don’t think you would get me out of this room! It’s also a very good example of how practical doesn’t have to be clinical. The floor is a sensible choice for a bathroom and the vanity has lots of storage in those drawers but how pretty is that chandelier and mirror? Image via Homes and Gardens.

Heart Home mag

Another bonus is a fireplace. This is the home of Abigail Ahern from the March issue of Heart Home magazine and we just loved the candelabra too.

Elle Decor

Another cosy room from Elle Decor. I love how it’s furnished like any other room in a house with framed prints and a decorated fireplace.

Heart Home mag 2

Something else for the wishlist is a bathroom with room for an armchair. Imagine friendly conversations with a loved one while you soak. Again, from Heart Home magazine.

Do you have a place to soak?

Fans of Marimekko designs will love the new wallpapers and wall panels available at Gallerie Wallcoverings.

Marimekko Wall Panels from Galerie Wallcoverings

The wall panels are my favourites. Just like enormous works of art. Because lets face it, Marimekko patterns are not for the faint hearted and sometimes less is more. But having said that, the design above is fabulous especially against all of the white and wood elements. A garden in the dining room without the hassle of watering.

And there is more…

Marimekko Wall Panels from Galerie Wallcoverings 1

The wallpapers are just a little bit more subtle. My favourites…

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings 2

Green is so fresh. I love this.

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings 3

And the blue is so calming. I love this too.

And there’s more…

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings

Which is your favourite?

I’ve always been a white cotton sheets girl when it came to bed linen but I’ve been doing a little research into the benefits of silk and I’m also a kinda generous person so I’m going to share.

gingerlily.co.uk silk bed linen 1

First off, silk unlike cotton, does not absorb moisture from the skin and hair due to its high protein content so it helps to keep hair glossy and skin soft, which also helps to prevent facial lines. That’s a good enough reason to swap to silk for me!

gingerlily.co.uk silk bed linen 2

It also adjusts to individual body temperature and is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites. There you go; reasons two and three.

Made from the finest ‘A’ grade mulberry silk, Gingerlily’s silk bed linen is wonderfully soft and seamless with a subtle sheen.

gingerlily.co.uk silk bed linen 3

And if you are still not persuaded just look at how beautiful it is!

To care for your silk bed linen, hand wash cool or machine wash at 30 degrees using a mild silk detergent. Cool tumble dry or air dry. 

A Muted Colour Palette

March 31st, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

I was asked to choose an image at the weekend that portrayed my ideal room. How hard can that be with thousands of favourites on my pinterest boards? Or so I thought. In fact it took far too long to choose. Yes, I have thousands pinned, but to choose just one that summed up everything that I would wish for was harder than I thought.

In the end I opted for this one from the portfolio of stylist Kim Timmerman.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman

It might not be my favourite tomorrow, but for now I would be quite happy to snuggle up on that sofa with a good book, sip coffee, nibble biscuits and just enjoy the abundant light.

What makes if so appealing?

I think it has a lot to do with the light. The muted colour palette where nothing shouts too loud. The texture of the rug. And the built-in shelves where I could spend hours arranging and re-arranging to my hearts content.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 3

The rest of the house isn’t too bad either. The same colour palette carries on into the kitchen and so does the northern light. It just has to be in Scandinavia.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 2

I love a good collection and this would be a great place to work.

And this moodboard just about sums up why the colours work.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 4

Concrete, metal, glass, porcelain and wood. Greys, white, silver and brown.

Yes for now I love these colours, surfaces and textures.

Tomorrow will be another day.

I think it must be true that all artist’s have beautiful homes.

This one belongs to Marcella Kaspar and her architect husband Mark Cooper who gambled on buying a dilapidated house in the seaside suburb of Coogee, Australia. The old house was demolished and they built a new home around a central courtyard and pool.  But it was the charcoal walls that first drew me in and the way they are the perfect backdrop for Marcella’s work.  And then it was the crystal and glass. And then it was the colours.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 2

The cushions on the linen sofa were stitched by the artist from Japanese fabrics and the colours perfectly compliment the peony painting, the crystal droplets and the glass on the coffee table, but none of it looks contrived. It just happens to be a collection of loved objects. Or so it seems.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 3

The kitchen also, if you take each of the individual elements, shouldn’t work. The pale wood of the kitchen table, bench and pendant lights should be at odds with the crystal chandelier, the glossy ceiling and the ornate dining table. Yet they all seem to work together.

The dark walls and the absence of any bright colours just seem to pull it all together.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 1

I think the old lesson of buying what you love, and it will somehow work, couldn’t be more true.

Images via Living Design 

Linn Warme Wall Murals

March 24th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

Sometimes you don’t want to cover the entire wall with colour and pattern. Sometimes you just want a design that acts as a focal point in much the same way as a piece of art. Or a feature wall that doesn’t shout too loud. And that’s what I like about these beautiful designs from Linn Warme.

Linn Warme Wallpaper Designs - Brother Dear

Brother Dear

Linn is a newly graduated Swedish artist and pattern designer and this is her first ever wallpaper collection. She begins each design with a pen drawing on paper – in her own words – “In my imagination the nature grows wild, with my hands I try to illustrate the feeling in my head, the feeling and calmness the forest gives me. But also the joy of the colorful world that exists outside our houses. I love the playfulness of creating, being able to do anything, to play with proportions and content. To create small details that you can discover and explore to infinity”.

Linn Warme Wallpaper Designs - In the forest lives...

In the forest live…

It’s the attention to detail that makes her work so interesting and alive.

Linn Warme Wallpaper Designs - Three Dears

Three Dears

I think this might be my favourite. This fun illustration of three deers covered in different patterns inspired by the Brothers Grimm saga “Town Musicians of Bremen”. Wouldn’t it look fabulous in a nursery? Or then again, it would look just as good at the top of my stairs.

Linn Warme Wallpaper Designs - Animal Symetry

Animal Symmetry

Available from Rebelwalls who ship worldwide and many other stockists.

A place to de-stress, relax and re-charge. I do like a bedroom to be calm and enveloping. The TV is banned and so is clutter.

So what makes the ideal relaxing bedroom?

Jon Day for Heart Home mag - Styled by Elkie Brown

A comfy bed. First and foremost. I’ve tried most types of headboard and the one I favour most now is the one that has padding of some kind. There is nothing quite like it for comfort when sitting in bed with a night time book or an early morning cuppa. Add to that a warm duvet, duck down pillows and a throw or two for the chillier nights.

Rue Magazine

A handy bedside table. One that is big enough to hold a lamp, a clock, a book, hand cream and a small vase of flowers. It if has a drawer or cupboard to hide the other little bits and pieces that seem to accumulate here all the better.

Skona Hem

A good reading lamp. One that is bright enough to read by but doesn’t cause too much glare. Height is the secret here or a good shade. I have a guilty secret. I tend to turn the lamp on just to make the room look cosy as I walk in and out in the evening. It’s another comfort thing.

French Connection

Something soft to walk on. A carpet or rug with a deep pile is best. Not only is it so much better for frozen toes but it also softens all sounds.

Photographer Dane Tashima

Daylight and fresh air. I know some people like to use blackout curtains but I like to be woken up by the sun, preferably with the curtains wafting in a warm breeze.

Andrew Boyd for Heart Home mag - Home of stylist Claire Morgan

A few favourite things. The bedroom is the place that we can display the things that just make us happy. There doesn’t have to be a colours scheme or theme. We can mix heirlooms, family photo’s and the presents from the children with our favourite perfume, our valentines gifts and jewellery we don’t wear but can’t throw away. The more the merrier, just so long as it makes us smile.

So what makes a relaxing bedroom for you?

Image sources:1 Heart Home magazine 2 Rue Mag 3 Skona Hem 4 French Connection Home 5 Dane Tashima 6 Heart Home magazine


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