From the portfolio of Kathryn Scott Design Studio based in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

A Parisian townhouse that is the epitome of serenity, harmony and simplicity using a restrained palette of cool greys and whites, clean lines and luxury fabrics.

Kathryn Scott Design - ParisianTownhouse

Those soaring ceilings may have looked out of proportion had it not been for the clever use of panelling and the oversized art. The generous curtains and thick pile rug add softness and the black touches act as a welcome contrast to the otherwise limited colour scheme.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 2

A glimpse of the garden terrace from the breakfast table suggest that the classical styling and calming symmetry carries on outside.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 3

Highly polished wood adds warmth and the curved base of the table breaks up all of the straight lines elsewhere.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 5

Lovely curves.

Kathryn Scott Design - ParisianTownhouse 4

And so it carries on into the bedroom. No superfluous details, just a meticulous attention to detail.

Sometimes less, really is more.

Creating a living room scheme that will stand the test of time is not as difficult as you think. It’s just a question of investing in good quality basic items that will last for years and then adding a few ‘fashionable’ or seasonal accessories. These can be the home decor equivalent of costume jewellery. You’re not going to keep them forever so don’t spend a fortune on them and it won’t matter if you take them to the charity shop six months later.

Timeless. Simple, fresh and bright living room scheme via Dear Designer's Blog

1. It’s always worth investing in a good quality rug. If you choose a patterned one, I would always advise keeping the rest of the scheme quite plan and let the rug be the star of the show.

2. Invest also, in the sofa and armchairs. If you choose a classic design that will not date it will last forever. I would never, ever advise buying a patterned sofa. You will get fed up with it very quickly and it will soon go out of fashion.

3. Mix up the styles and era’s of the furniture you choose. That way it will never look stuck in a time warp.

4. Swap your cushions with the seasons. The room will always look fresh.

5. Have just enough accessories on show. They don’t have to all be on display at the same time. Keep some in the cupboard and occasionally change them around.

6. Display seasonal flowers. Even if you like the silk variety (the ones above are artificial) put them away once they are out of season and use something else instead.

Sources: Main Image, NB Design Group. Cushion, The Starling Store. Armchair, John Lewis. Silk Flowers in Vase, Bloom. Coffee Table, Marks and Spencer.  Side Table, Heals. Rug, Marks and Spencer.

If there’s one thing I love to do on the blog, it’s to demonstrate that you don’t  need oodles of money to create a stylish home. Yes, we all like to splash out once in a while and sometimes that expensive chandelier or that designer sofa is the only one that will do. And that’s ok. But most of us can only afford to do that occasionally, and in the meantime the high street is a goldmine if you choose carefully.

This sophisticated living space is the work of  Robson Rak Architects but it’s very easy to emulate if you stick to a few rules.

High Style on the High Street

1. Stick to a restrained colour palette. Grey always looks smart and the black touches help to frame the room effectively and give some contrast. The accents of yellow only make up about 10% of the colour in the room and the yellow used is a very soft shade instead of acid yellow.

2. Keep pattern to a minimum or avoid it altogether. The colour blocked curtains add enough visual interest here and you are less likely to tire of them in a couple of seasons.

3. Remember to add texture and touches of luxury. Rugs are a really good way of adding texture but don’t forget soft velvet cushions always look and feel luxurious, and a woollen throw is an added layer of comfort.

4. Don’t be tempted to add too many accessories. A few books, a vase of flowers and a couple of mementoes are all you really need in this sitting room. Any more would add clutter and detract from the overall sophistication of the scheme.

High Street sources: Curtain Pole, John Lewis. Hanging Lantern, Next Home. Metal Tablelamp, Habitat. Designers Guild Throw, Amara. Coffee Table, Nest. Sofa, Heal’s. Textured Rug, Westelm. Cushion, Oka Direct.

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

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 

Of course I can’t move into a new house without creating new schemes! I’ve been toying with moodboards for the sitting room as it’s the room most in need of a re-think. I have some existing items that I do want to keep and I have plans for the tv wall that will have to wait for now as it will involve bespoke shelving. So, my shopping list at the moment is for a window treatment, new sofa, new rug, new coffee table and a pendant light. Oh, and I will have an existing armchair recovered in a gorgeous warm yellow. Not too extravagant I think.

Sitting Room Moodboard 1 - Dear Designers BlogSitting Room Moodboard 2 - Dear Designers BlogWest Elm coffee table - Dear Designers Blog

What do you think?

Not too sure about the wallpaper.

Sources: Next sofa. B & Q pendant light. Kelly Hoppen wallpaper via Graham & Brown. Etsy yellow cushion. Framed black and white photographs from Made.com. Karndean aged oak flooring. Plantation shutters from Stylish Shutters. Tray table from Wayfair. BHS chevron lampshade. Souk wool rug from Westelm. Cushion stack and black and white cushion from Niki Jones. Silver pedestal table from Chandeliers and Mirrors. Black Kartell lamp from John Lewis. Coffee table from West Elm.

There’s something about the lull between Christmas and New Year that encourages relaxation. I must admit that I have been taking advantage of the extended holiday to escape to my own cosy corner as often as possible before January is upon us. It’s going to be a busy one with magazine deadlines, photo shoots, a trade show and moving house, so you can imagine I need all the rest I can get!

So what makes a cosy corner especially cosy?

Cosy Corners via trendenser.se

A comfy armchair for one. It can also be a corner of the sofa, a hammock, a chaise, anything that encourages lounging. A footstool will make it even more relaxing.

Cosy Corners via livethemma.ikea.se

A plump cushion. Or as many as you like. You want the effect of being cocooned.

Cosy Corners via megbiram

A blanket for cuddling up in when it gets especially chilly. It will also ward off any draughts.

Cosy Corners via sortofpink.blogspot.fi

A handy table for balancing the cup of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wine. Whatever takes your fancy.

Cosy Corners via stilinspiration.blogspot.co.uk

A well positioned lamp for reading and to make the cosy corner even more cosy.

Napping is obligatory.

Images: Trendenserlivethemma.ikeamegbiramsortofpinkmyparadissi

Not exactly your typical Danish style home. This one is a villa on two floors, designed in 1960 by architect Knud Andersen and has all the characteristics of a Scandinavian home with materials such as slate, marble and teak, along with the large uncurtained windows but it is also filled with the owners collections from around the world.

Danish style via altfordamerne.dk - Photograph credit Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer [2]

The house is decorated with hand-made unique discoveries found at bazaars and markets; silver ornaments, tassels from national costumes, bangles and old embroidered textiles. Even the Christmas tree is adorned with Chinese silver ornaments and other ethnic finds and it sits on two Suzani rugs laid on top of each other.

Danish style via altfordamerne.dk - Photograph credit Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer [3]

On the suzani covered Christmas table old Afghan Bangles are used as candlesticks.

Danish style via altfordamerne.dk - Photograph credit Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer [4]

And the Christmas presents get the same treatment too. One package is adorned with a tassel from Turkmenistan and decorates the teak staircase leading to the first floor with all the other gifts.

Danish style via altfordamerne.dk - Photograph credit Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer [1]

But it is not overdone. In typically Danish style it is very understated and low-key and I particularly love the tray filled with water hyacinths in lassi glasses.

They must smell divine.

Photographs credit - Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer/ Sisters Agency for altfordamerne.dk

The Vittsjo Shelves from Ikea

December 16th, 2013 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

I’ve been looking at the Vittsjo shelves in Ikea for a while now. Bookshelves can sometimes make smaller rooms look oppressive but the combination of metal and glass is quite appealing. The new house (like most new builds) has room dimensions that are going to be challenging decoration wise. A lot of my existing furniture is simply not going to fit, and while it’s a good excuse to shop it’s quite heartbreaking to part with some of it. What I do buy new is going to have to last a long time and that’s another good thing about the Ikea shelves – they look more expensive than they are!

Ikea - Vittsjo

Apart from the baskets on the bottom shelves I can imagine this kind of styling for the living room. My design books on their sides and my collection of travel mementoes, and things I just want to be able to see every single day.

And they look good hacked too!

Ikea - Vittsjo via Crystalin Marie

Sprayed white they exude a whole different vibe.

Ikea - Vittsjo via Style Spell Book

And sprayed gold takes them upmarket by miles. Not sure about covering the glass with wood though.

Ikea - Vittsjo via Emily Henderson via Decor Pad

But actually I think I would keep them black.

Sources: 1 livethemma-ikea 2 Crystalin Marie 3 Style Spellbook 4 Emily Henderson via DecorPad

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