Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Extra Ordinary Interiors by Rockett St George

Published by RPS

Photography by Debi Treloar 

Rockett St George was founded in 2007 by long time friends Lucy  St George and Jane Rockett. it was their shared passion for black clothes, flea markets, Manchego cheese, travel, Tom Hardy and (of course) interiors that cemented their friendship.

Ten years down the line, they are still best friends and still love a good car boot sale but have also learnt a huge amount about how to create show-stopping interiors. In this book, they share their decorating mistakes along with their triumphs, they guide you through tricky decision making, and offer top tips on how to achieve magical, surprising and inviting homes.

The book is for your own personal use, with the goal of motivating you to be adventurous and plan properly so you can achieve an interior that dreams are made of. In between each chapter, there is interior inspiration from beautifully photographed houses and apartments owned by their friends and colleagues, as well as their own homes.

Decisions and how and why you make them.

‘With so many fabulous options available to us nowadays, choice can be a bit of a challenge. And when it comes to making choices about how to decorate our home, we all want to get it right first time round.

Some people spend hours deliberating over colours, styles and textures while others find it easy to reach a resolution. Regardless of which category you fall into, we believe that making decorative choices should be fun; a pleasurable process that fulfills your creative needs and leads to a satisfying conclusion. The result should be a home that creates a sense of wellbeing and rooms that makes you smile every time you walk through the door. This, my friends, is why ‘Make it Personal’ is the first chapter in this book. Get things wrong and you could spend a long time regretting your decorating decisions.

Indeed, Jane once had her entire bedroom wallpapered at great expense only to arrive home and absolutely hate the result. The wallpaper was patterned, colourful and gorgeous, but Jane didn’t feel comfortable in the room. In fact, she felt irritated and edgy; exactly how you don’t want to feel in your place of rest. If only Jane had asked herself a few simple questions, she could have avoided making an expensive mistake. In fact, she ended up having to pay to have the whole room done again.

We now know exactly where she went wrong. Jane rushed her decision, listened to other people’s opinions and was influenced by a trend that was splashed all over magazines and blogs at the time. Although she loved the design she had picked, she didn’t take into account her personal style, the way she used her bedroom, or the atmosphere that she was hoping to create.

If Jane had analyzed her personal style and the ways in which she spends time in her room before making her choice, it would have been obvious where the whole thing was heading. Here’s what she should have focused on:

• _She loves a calm, gentle environment

• _She doesn’t wear colour or bold pattern

• _She likes a rock ’n’ roll twist, whether it be zips on her clothes, stars on her jacket or snakeskin on her boots.’

In summary, you could say that Jane is drawn to a clean, tailored look with a dash of punk thrown in. Her bedroom is a place she likes to indulge herself – somewhere to escape during the weekend for an hour or two in order to read, relax or grab a sneaky snooze. It was never going to be the right place for high-energy patterns and colours.

The good news is that there was a happy ending. Jane’s second choice of a subtle snakeskin wallpaper in natural hues created the tranquil atmosphere that she craved but it has a cool twist that makes her smile. The Moroccan cushions and wedding blanket draped over the bed head provide a gently exotic and modern ethnic feel that’s luxurious and calming. So she got there in the end!

We hope our first piece of advice will prevent you from making the same mistake that Jane did. What we are suggesting is that you have a good long think about who you are, what makes you happy and how you live your life. We will be encouraging you to ask yourself some questions about your personality and unique individual style. Don’t worry – there are no wrong answers here, this is not a test. The questions are just a tool to help you analyze your tastes and needs so you can make the right decisions when it comes to designing your home. But remember – you need to be honest with yourself in order to get the home that you really want. ‘

Now go and find a pen or pencil and a large piece of paper, pour yourself a glass of wine, relax and write down the answers to the following questions. If you share your home with a partner, you should answer the questions together.

1 Write down five words that describe your personality, e.g. organized, eccentric, energetic, naughty, serious, sporty, thoughtful, musical, quiet, etc.

2 Write down five words that describe the way you dress, e.g. slick, colourful, monochrome, tailored, boho, rock ’n’ roll, seductive, suited and booted, etc.

3 Write down five things that make you happy. This could be anything at all, from the obvious things such as spending time with family and friends to more subtle concepts such as particular smells or feeling the sand between your toes.

You now have the key words that describe your personality down on paper, it is time to consider the room you wish to decorate. The way we spend time in the various rooms in our homes varies enormously. The atmosphere we want in the kitchen, for instance, will be very different to the aesthetic required in the bedroom. So there are just a couple more questions to answer.

1 Write down five activities that you would like to do in this room (ok, this may be quite hard for the bathroom but give it a go!).

2 Think of five words that describe the way you want to feel in this room. For example, you might want to feel indulgent, relaxed, peaceful and sexy in your bedroom or sociable, organized and cheerful in the kitchen.

A whole page (or more) of words that describe you, and your taste , and the function of the room that you want to decorate. You can use these words to determine the right decorative style both for your personality and for your lifestyle. The combination of different styles might be surprising, but they will be right for you. They will provide you with a style template for your home and you can combine them with your room results to achieve exactly the right look for each space.

Having sorted out the basic priorities the pair then give you their top interior inspiration sources and then go on to talk lighting, colours and style spots. By this, they mean a focal point that grabs the eye. A style spot is a grouping of furniture, artwork and lighting that fits beautifully together and creates impact. When planning a room, we encourage people to split the space up into sections such as the fireplace, the seating area, the entrance and so on, then to consider each one as an individual style spot.

They give tips on using the space you have made look so beautiful.

1 Always maximize neutral light, take down heavy curtains and allow the day light to flood in.

2 Don’t automatically push furniture up against the walls. Try placing it in the middle of the room as this gives the illusion of more space

3 Never arrange your seating around the television.

5 Beds should always have a view if you don’t have one create a style spot to look at (perhaps a dressing table or chaise longue.

4. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of lighting

6 Ensure that every seat has a view too. There should be a beautiful style spot to to please the eye wherever you sit.

7 In the kitchen take advice from the professionals with regard to layout space and storage. Then adapt the plans to suit your style.

8 Creative storage -and lots of it is essential. Think tall kitchen cabinets, beds with drawers beneath and capacious cupboards. How can you have a beautiful interior if you haven’t got somewhere to hide all the things you don’t want out on display?

 9 If you don’t love it, upcycle it, swap it or recycle it.

10 Keep mixing it up

There are many more tips too. This highly recommended book is both beautiful and practical and will probably inspire extreme home envy so sorry about that, but enjoy.

Blog, Press Show Picks

Graham and Green

Below are the Spring Summer 2019 key looks from Interiors company Graham and Green . Many of the key trends seem to be carrying on from recent seasons these include Berber Rugs. Metallics are still around : rose gold and copper being the most popular. Neons and succulents are still with us, as are fifties and sixties inspired cane chairs on spindly legs. Talking of legs, G&G are selling a fine line in patterned and embossed ceramic pots that stand on tiny feet so they are slightly elevated from the surface on which they stand. Velvet in strong acid yellows and rich royal blues are still being used to cover sofas and chairs. There are some metallic mouse lamps – sure they are cute if thats your thing but personally I can’t stand rodents and prefer the birds shown in the image below. To sum up, it is a strong cohesive collection all fabulously styled.

Metallic bird lamps
Velvet covered arm chair

Spatter designed enamelware
Ceramic plant holders with tiny feet

Blog, book review, Uncategorized

Do you need to get your house in order and sort out your life? Then Debora Robertson’s book DECLUTTER is your answer

Declutter

The get-real guide to creating calm from chaos

By Debora Robertson published by Kyle Books at £12.99

You need this book if you are doing any of the following:

  • You regularly buy things to replace items you already own because you can’t lay your hands on them right now.
  • You regularly lose your glasses, keys, phone and tv remote. Or if like me recently, when the night before I was to fly to Armenia I couldn’t locate my passport. It was 2 hours of anxiety and turning everything in the house upside down before I found it.
  • You have said any of the following in the last month:

‘ I have to go through those‘ ‘Someone might need that’ ‘It’s still got wear in it’ ‘It might come in usefulone day’

Unlike other books on this subject, Debora does not expect you to totally readjust your world to minimalist living. She offers practical advise including allowing a certain amount of time to clear up. She suggests buying a kitchen timer and using it. Decide how much time you can spend on a task on any given day and just spend that amount of time and no more. She suggests keeping a diary of what you wish to achieve and offers tips on what you need to do daily, weekly and monthly and even how to clear up if you  only have a spare ten minutes.

She gives information on how and where to get rid of useful unwanted items. I have made so many visits to charity shops during the last month!

I am a craft author and run workshops so I am a great one for collecting all kinds of tools, materials and ephemera. ‘Oh that will come in handy sometime”. Reading that Debra writes on cookery and gardening I realized that her pile of stuff probably bears a resemblance to my own. So I am even more impressed.

What this book does, is encourage you to create new habits that will enhance your life.

I knew this book was good because as I was reading it, my friends kept asking if they could borrow it after me. Well it is a great book based in reality and full of practical advise and No you can’t borrow it. I’m keeping my copy and authors like Debora deserve people to buy their words of wisdom. So go out and buy your own copy, you won’t regret it.

Blog, Exhibitions

New Interior Trends For 2019

This feature first appeared on the blogazine www.magpieonline.co.uk

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Creativecolour.org’s Juliet Bawden has been to the design shows in London and Paris and has come back with what’s hot to trot for the coming months in interior design.

Want to be the first to know next year’s trends? Well you have come to the right place. I bring you news of all that is new and desirable from Paris Design week and the enormous trade fair known as Maison et Object and London Design week including Decorex,  Design Junction and 100% Design.

When 100% design started in 1995 it was the first organisation to promote design throughout London. It lost its way for a while and became too big and unwieldy, there was a changeof venue and ownership and now it is back on course and this year has exceeded expectations with the promotion of new young talent and innovative design. For the first time the design team have the input of Barbara Chandler the Design Editor of Homes and Property in London’s Evening Standard. She has always championed new designers as well as being a great photographer in her own right. She has curated 100% Forward. This section of the show that spotlights seven emerging design talents each of whom has been chosen by an established designer who launched their own career during the first decade of 100% Design.

The designers are Simon Pengelly a furniture designer who has nominated Daniel Schofield, industrial and product designer. Michael Marriot furniture and product designer has nominated a furniture designing team Dominic Postlethwaite and Will Dyer. Chris Eckersley a furniture designer has nominated weaver Majeda Clarke and they have collaborated on some projects together. Philip Watts interior designer and designer maker has nominated Light Up North, makers of creative neon. Ella Doran surface print designer has nominated Kyla McCallum whose work Foldability + Northern is beautiful and intricate. Jocelyn Warner who launched her own wallpapers at 100% design haschampioned Stoff Studios who design furniture and textiles .Samuel Chan furniture designer has nominated Moe Redish a multidisciplinary designer currently creating glass ware made by blowing into a wooden mould.

Here are the key trends for 2019.

Dulux colour of the year for 2019 is Spiced Honey and it is a warm comforting tone that will go with most of the key looks for next year, but it is the colour green that is very much in evidence everywhere. As a colour and as a life style concept of bringing the outside in itis a very strong trend. Sometimes it is shown as a flat colour at other times it is mixed with foliage and flowers.

Lighting has been influenced by the popularity of steam bent wood and laser cutting. There are many lightshade made using both these techniques and the result is fabulous patterns on the walls when the lights are on. Laser cut screens and wall treatments are being used on exteriors of buildings on balconies and fences. They are used as indoors as room dividers and screens.

Awareness of the environment, means that designers are finding new ways of using up waste, and recycling materials such as coffee grounds, paper and cardboard. IKEA have made some elegant dining chairs from that come in both black and white and are made from recycled plastic. As we are using less and less plastic bags we need replacements. Baskets are still popular either in natural straw and hemp weaves or in bright woven plastics. Stretchy string bags in a variety of colours are popular too. Bamboo, a fast growing sustainable wood is very much in evidence used in a variety of ways from flooring to fabrics and bowls.

The craze for wall papers that look as though they are made from something else be it aged wood or three dimensional ceramic tiles doesn’t look as if it’s going away any time soon. Florals and bright colours including fluorescents are still popular. Using a multi mix of patterns with one another is a trend in soft furnishings that echoes that of the fashion industry. Rough textures on surfaces such as walls, interesting finishes and weaves on fabrics and anything ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ friendly is going to be everywhere over the coming year. Felt is a very strong look in interiors. Concrete is being used more and more unusual and innovative ways.

Nineteen fifties or Mid Century Modern furniture and accessories are hugely popular, as in the original or as inspired by. The Vintage furniture pop store took place in Galerie Joseph. Paris had a pop up selling original furnishings and accessories from the nineteen fifties and early 1960’s. Baskets are very popular still and stretchy string bags. If you are considering building a house or replacing your front door you could do no better than looking at the work of Urban Front who design and make the most desirable enormous steel reinforced hardwood doors.

Another section of the show is 100% Futures a feature that shines a light on the most cutting edge designs and innovations under the theme ‘designing for cities’. Design Fresh showcases the talent of the very best designers who graduated this summer. Here are links tosome of their web sites:

www.phoebedeeprose.co.uk -textile designer printer and illustrator

www.lucygrainge.com – image maker/designer
www.giggyandbab.co.uk – designer who has re-designed the fold up kitchen stool
www.lizziehillierstudio.com – artist and designer, surface designer
www.niaristprints.com – surface designer

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book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Mad About The House

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As a keen follower of Kate Watson-Smyth ‘s blog Mad About The House, I have been looking forward to her book with eager anticipation. The book is written in much the same way as her blog: clear informative and witty, honest with a small amount of self-deprecation. As she freely admits she is not an interior designer and has never hired one. However she is a journalist who has been writing about interiors for the last twenty years, and who in that time has interviewed some of the best brains in the business.

If you are expecting a big colourful coffee table book, then you will be disappointed. There are a few lovely sketches and a few photographs including one of Kate’s own home taken by Paul Craig. What you do get is really good advice and help.

Since starting her blog in 2012 she has become the number one interiors blog and has won many awards for it.  Kate enjoys finding her own style, and in this book she gives you ways in which to find your style.

“Every room should have something that draws you in. An amazing piece of furniture, a funky light, a family heirloom.” As she says all homes have common elements whether it be a one bed flat or a ten bedroomed villa. In this book she guides on how to make your home tell your story.

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Much needed advice is given on how to use Pintrest, so that it is an effective tool when planning an interior space. The chapter on the various colours, their meanings and how to use them in interiors, and what goes with what is extremely useful. For those struggling with colour her idea of looking in your wardrobe to see the colour palette you love, is inspired. In the same way that outfits are put together with a main colour and then accessories in different colours, so a room is put together.

“Pick a colour-perhaps a neutral and put it on the largest area of your walls. That’s your clothes or main thing you are wearing. Choose a second colour for the largest piece of furniture say the sofa. This is your top or jacket. Add some pattern in the form of cushions: your earrings or necklace. The accessories- rugs, armchairs-are the final colour: your shoes and bag. The idea is basically 60 per cent one colour, 30 percent another and 10 percent the finishing touches.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Whatever your style, this book will guide you through everything you need to know to decorate your home with confidence and individuality. Kate reveals the rules of rug layout, explains how to buy a sofa, and shows how to get the lighting right in every room.

A must-have book for anyone who wants make their house a home.

 

Published by Pavillion Books £20

 

Blog: madabouthehouse.com

Instagram:@mad_about_the_house

#MadAboutTheHouse

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Mid Century Cushions

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Make stylish cushions from original 1960’s fabric

You can still purchase pieces of sixties fabric on eBay and very occasionally find them in vintage shops and markets. These cushions were made from one piece of fabric that had four asymmetric circles on it. I decided to cut the fabric into four to make four cushion fronts and make the back of the cushions from plain linen.

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You will need

60’s Fabric for the cushion front

Plain cotton or linen for the cushion back you will need two thirds more than for the front.

Scissors

Tape measure

Needle
Thread

Dressmakers pins

Cushion pad

Interfacing (optional)

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Instructions

  1. Cut your fabric into squares so they are the same dimension as the cushion pad 
plus 2cm seam allowance. If the fabric is flimsy or damaged, back it with 
interfacing.
  2. From the fabric for the cushion back, measure and cut out two pieces, each the 
same width as the fabric front but 2/3rds the length.
  3. Neaten along one width seam of each cushion back by turning under by 5mm 
and under again by the same amount. Sew with a running stitch.
  4. With right sides facing, and overlapping the neatened edges of the cushion 
backs at the centre back, pin the cushion front to the cushion back round the 
edge of the square.
  5. With a running stitch, sew the front to the back of the cushion. Turn the cushion 
through the gap and insert the cushion pad.

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Uncategorized

Create your own Decal Plates!

If you’ve got stacks of old crockery that’s starting to look a little dated, tart it up in a flash with easy-to-use DIY transfers.

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You will need –

  • A selection of old china
  • An inkjet printer
  • Waterslide decal paper, 79p per sheer
  • Copyright free images
  • Small scissors or scalpel

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Instructions-

  1. First, choose your favourite images, and print them onto waterslide decal paper.
  2. Use a scalpel or a small pair of scissors to cut out the images, then use Blu-Tack to temporarily attach them to the china in a composition you’re most happy with.
  3. One image at a time, peel backing away to reveal the tacky side, stick in place and leave to dry completely.

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