Robyn Parker is a young lady with a lot of talent. We connected on social media and then I went to see her for real at 100% Design London 2014 where she was exhibiting her home-wares. From cushions to lampshades, mugs to purses these items are a feast for the eyes but with a twist. Not only do you get the highest quality, which we expect from items made in the UK, but we get a hint of storytelling as well. Every pattern has a history and even Robyn’s transition into the design world comes with some nostalgia. The name of her company Archie Mac London is a reference to her great-grandfather who had artistic skills and her motivation to do him proud is clear for all to see. Read More
Brabantia, the homewares and housewares manufacturer, contacted me for some ‘designer insights’ and it put me in mind to write a post because years ago I used to work with this company when I ran the UK’S National Institute of Hardware. Brabantia supported the housewares and hardware trade with great conviction so I was more than happy to spend a bit of time with Sarah, who works for their PR company Montage, and respond to some interview questions; you can see the interview on the Brabantia Blog. Read More
This house was ready for a new lease of life to provide a home for modern day family living. The couple who own the property planned to virtually double the floor area by adding a new wing which resulted in the front door being located in the centre of the building rather than on one side. With the work now complete can you guess which side is the new and which the original?
I introduced this property in a previous post (link here) which focused on the architectural style of the period between the wars. The front door plays a key role in setting the scene: here’s the before and after. Read More
Yes it’s back! With 16 episodes to keep us glued to the sets it starts on BBC 2, 7.00pm Tuesday 28 October 2014. With little fanfare it has slipped into the TV listings and you sure don’t want to miss it because it’s a fascinating insight into the world of interiors and the client – designer relationship.
I’ve noted the TV schedule times are irregular so advise you set your TV on series record if you want to catch every episode, or check the Radio Times.
Along with many of you I enjoyed Series 1 and was able to follow up with a review of the book. Since then I’ve been keeping up to date with some of the contestants and winner of Series 1 Sarah Moore. Judges (above) are once again Sophie Robinson and Daniel Hopwood and the programme is introduced by leading architecture expert Tom Dyckhoff.
“Daniel and I had the best year ever judging the designs from this years crop of passionate amateur designers. We’ve learnt a lot of new ideas and techniques from the designers as well as have a really good nose around some of the most interesting homes in Britain.” Sophie Robinson
Being interviewed for the Amara Blog Awards in the run up to the final gala night and Awards presentation adds to the sense of anticipation. I’m very interested to meet my fellow finalists, particularly in my own category of Best Stylist/Interior Designer.
Top five designers
And there are many bloggers in other categories, who I’m in touch with regularly, I will meet for the first time on the 5 November – the party can’t come soon enough! While I contain my excitement you might like to see who’s going and take a look at their blogs: links above!
Are you interested in design?
This project, A Home is my Museum, is part of the Curating Cambridge event: a series of exhibitions, workshops, performances and talks that runs from 20 October – 23 November 2014. Cambridge is an exciting City full of culture and creativity and I’m lucky to have it all on my doorstep.
Is your home full of curious, valuable and emotionally significant items? Do you have collections of memorabilia? From old photographs in shoe boxes to holiday mementos and treasured objects, I wonder what lies behind the doors of Cambridge householders…? Caroline Wright is leading the project and will explore and celebrate domestic, private museums through a performance and online collection. Some of the items are shown above:
- A piece of fabric with memories for the owner; it was once a child’s duvet cover and this is a remaining square.
- The snake skin is a reminder for the owner of the Boa Constrictor, of the size it used to be.
- Dogs ashes; these from much loved pets are going to be scattered with the owner’s when the time comes.
- The stone sculpture is a treasured holiday find that cost a fortune to bring home.
To curate is to select, to organise and to care for objects but what does it mean to you? What treasured memento would you include?
If you’ve got kids (of any age) then Hallowe’en is a good excuse for a party. As Hallowe’en falls on a Friday this year a super scary dinner with family or friends is the perfect end to a week. Make your home welcoming with this Autumn wreath from The Contemporary Home, £30.00. It’s faux oak leaf and should withstand the rigours of the weather; you never know who might come knocking on your door! And to make the party interesting I’ve come across some wonderful plates with a curious and contemporary twist.
Fashion couturier Oscar de la Renta died today after a long battle with cancer. It is sad that all the creative vision within this man is at an end but he has left a wonderful legacy. He gave colour and pattern a life of its own and created sumptuous outfits worn by Royalty, film stars and high ranking political figures.
Starting life in the Dominican Republic he moved to Madrid, Spain when he was 18 to study art, which must have been an exciting and inspirational journey. His talent was clear very early on as he soon got a job working with Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga and from there his rise to fame was meteoric.
I’m always intrigued by the commercial shift from fashion house to interiors and for Oscar de la Renta it happened in his later years although his ability to pull off a creative triumph was ever present. I understand that when he bought a house in Connecticut, and was on a tight budget, he went to Macy’s for sheets to cover the furniture and walls! Read More
20 October – 2 November 2014
Over 250 events take place all over Cambridge and there is something for everyone. The Festival of Ideas is an amazing mix of talent, thought, experiment and participation. Join in and book your favourite activity today.
A few of the events that interest me are:
7.30pm – 8.30pm, Wednesday 22 October: But is it art? Redefining ‘folk’ and the culture of collections and exhibition Museum of Cambridge, 2/3 Castle Street, CB3 0AQ. Join a panel of curators and artists from the Museum of Cambridge and Tate Britain for a lively discussion on the origins and influences of british folk art traditions. Pre-book tel: 01223 355159.
1.30pm – 2.30pm, Sunday 26 October: WHAT’S WRONG WITH PINK? Pink for girls and blue for boys, right? Wrong! Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way, CB1 7GX. Join neuroscientist Vickie Pasterski, Emma Moore from the Pink Stinks campaign and others as they explore pinkification, separate toys in toyshops and why it matters. Pre-book tel: 01223 511511
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When my daughter, Jess, was sixteen she got herself a Saturday job at the local fabric shop. Customers went in to browse the pattern books and her boss would take orders and get curtains made up for them. Jess learned a great deal about materials and pattern repeats and I remember her being excited by the colours and the large scale patterns from the Designers Guild range as it was very different from the others in the shop. It was no wonder she went on to study fashion design at College and is now an upholsterer. Read More
It was my first trip to Poland and we went to see my partner’s son, David, who is studying Fine Art and was on a three month stay at the University under the Erasmus programme. We had a super week although the November weather meant it was more enjoyable to spend time indoors; no sauntering through parks and gardens on this occasion. There were a few interesting moments and as I look back through my image library I thought I’d just share them with you:-
The architecture of the Old Town square was beautiful even in the Winter light Read More
Students are back at University starting a new academic year and, hopefully, enjoying a life of curiosity and learning. I was entranced during the years in which I studied art, architecture, interiors, social history and design. And now I’m able to work in an industry that is totally fascinating and help homeowners achieve the exceptional whatever their budget. This business is mind-blowing in its beauty and charm, but the road is not ‘easy’. (See more about my journey here.)
Whether you are a design student, or just looking for a new path, here are the first 5 of my 10 points to help you plan a career in interior design:-
1. Self employment or employment?
Two very different approaches to the job and I suggest you decide early on which would suit you best. Read More
Kate Shaw told me what inspired her to set up Cordello Home, a company that works with colour, pattern and panache. And we have organised a super competition for you to win a set of 8 bone china tea plates.
Yasmin: When did you launch Cordello Home?
Kate: In July 2014 but it has been in my head for about 18 months and taken about a year from planning to go live.
Yasmin: What inspired you to use the heart motif on all your products?
Kate: Together with my husband, I own a branding and communications agency called Living Group, which uses a heart device in it’s logo and visual identity. This, together with my life long passion for interiors, has seen us develop and explore the potential of the classic heart symbol and realise my vision of bringing graphic design, pattern and colour to life on everyday, contemporary homeware products.
“A concept that was first envisioned in early 2013 has evolved into a reality and the first Amara Interior Blog Awards are finally here. Believing that bloggers are an integral part of the interior design community, the Amara Team have always worked incredibly close with these talented individuals and it is now time to give back to this vibrant community and award them for all of their amazing work.” Amara Lifestyle
My blog has been shortlisted by public vote in the category Best Stylist/Interior Designer Blog. I’m thrilled, delighted and honoured as I understand competition was very close.
Now it is my opportunity to say the important and heartfelt words to everyone who voted for my blog, “thank-you”. Read More
Awkward architecture and less than perfect walls create problems when it comes time to decorate. It can be hard to visualise how you can make a room beautiful when it contains boxed in pipes, ugly radiators, surface mounted cable ducting or rough plaster. Here are five solutions to turn disastrous looking walls into stunning features:-
1. Get artful with a brush and paint a mural!
The irregular painted effect on these walls creates a visual horizontal stretch making the room appear larger and because it acts as camouflage it’s difficult to see the edges and corners. This is very pretty and an ideal way to hide imperfections! Read More
When I met Julia Brendel at the international interiors trade show, Decorex International, which took place September 2014, she was immersed in conversation with people who had flocked to her stand. During a lull we were able to chat and I’m really impressed with the range of gorgeous linen she has on offer. We had already been in touch about running a competition for you, my readers, and had chosen a beautiful blue tablecloth; made in a lightweight pure linen it is ideal for Autumn entertaining.
Featured in many of the glossy magazines, including The English Home and Beautiful Kitchens, Julia’s fine linen is highly sought after.
None of us have an open ended budget for home decorating but even with very limited funds you can make your money go a long way with a bit of time and imagination. Make clever purchases that add style to your home with a trawl through the second hand and antique shops in your area. Read More
It’s always a pleasure to write a post for another interiors addict and even more exciting when the blog author is based down under. I have been collaborating with Samantha Winterland since May 2014 and my monthly article, published in her on-line magazine Best Home Ideas Australia, is proving popular. September’s is all about re-inventing your home with eco design, a philosophy that thankfully never goes out of fashion. I’m fascinated with clever interiors ideas that involve all types of recycling and innovative use of waste materials. Featured in the post are Philippe Starck, Out of the Dark, the Vintage Fridge Company, Pad Home (image above), Thomas Forsyth and Owen Gildersleeve.
It’s trade show time and the next few weeks are a whirl with activity across a number of design events in London. To celebrate one of the themes in this year’s shows I’ve created a Pinterest board called Kaleidoscope. Just playing with shapes and colours and sharing some beautiful table settings. Read More