Category: Ethnic design

Outstanding Oushaks

I seem to have a nine year old’s skills in titling blogposts…there’s nothing like a spot of alliteration.  Err random start.  SO today I thought we should talk oushak rugs, ladies and gents.

I have had a soft spot in my heart for these for a long long time now – adding the perfect exotic/ethnic vibe underfoot but without the more saturated and vibrant palettes you so often get with Persian rugs, they complement a really wide array of different interiors styles.

oushak rug round up www.ellymacdonalddesign.com8

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Singapore Inspiration: Deepavali + Kanthas

It’s the Deepavali festival tomorrow (also see my Diwali post from last year – I wonder why its name changes depending on what country you call home) and I thought I’d make the most of the excuse to post about some delectable Indian decor goodies.

I’ve had a soft spot for kantha quilts for a long long time now.  Whether they’re bright and colourful or have more neutral tones, I love ’em all!

kantha interior design www.caribbeanlivingblog.com1

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Home redesign – bedroom – the plan

Morning loves!  So today I’ve put together the final plan and furniture boards for the master bedroom redesign.  As it’s just a rental I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to but am pretty pleased with the result.  As is my ‘client’, ha.  I’ll go through each aspect in turn, or just skip to the bottom for the good stuff.

Flooring – we already had ok floorboards [laminate but pretty good quality], so I just kept these and added a rug.  It took me a looong time to decide on this, I have real Rug Indecision Issues clearly, but eventually settled on using a vintage Moroccan wedding blanket.  It gets zero foot traffic so I don’t need to worry about the rug being too delicate, it just sits there lookin’ pretty.

I’ve been swooning over handiras for a long time now, see here for more of these goodies!



Walls – I got the painters in to give the room a new lease of life with some crisp white paint, which completely transformed the space.  I wanted to keep it all quite calm and minimalist so I’ve just added a few simple pieces of art and a carved wood mirror.  Will share piccies in a little while…

Window treatment – this was potentially a problem area as the bedroom gets a lot of bright sunshine every morning at 7 o’clock on the dot.  Singapore sits pretty much slap bang on the Equator so the sun rises and sets at the same time year round, but we’re  both early risers so I decided to go for a white linen full height curtain with a thin cotton lining – when the sun comes up it shines right through the linen and shows off all the gorgeous natural slubs and nubs and creates this amazing diffused light.  A very nice way to wake up!

white puddled curtains


See more puddled beauties here!

Furniture – we didn’t have to squeeze in a wardrobe or chest of drawers, as we luckily have a slick walk-in wardrobe.  So I was really only looking at the basics:

1. Bed

So I desperately wanted to do a DIY canopy-bed-style-thang, with fabric hanging from battens attached to the ceiling but {sob sob} it’s a false ceiling housing the recessed downlighters, which might feasibly take the weight of some very very thin and floaty fabric, but I didn’t really want to risk the whole thing crashing on our heads in the middle of the night.

canopy hanging from ceiling


One day, one day…

So in the end I bought a simple but good quality headboard-less kingsize bed, and added a gorgeous carved wooden screen from Indonesia.  See here for a few different options for this kind of look, from shutters to artwork!  Kinda like these…

screen as headboard


2. Bedside tables

I have a huge and long-standing grudge against bedside tables.  I’m not sure exactly where this came from, I’ve never been particularly offended by one, but the matchy-matchy aspect really irritates me.  So I was open to pretty much all ideas.

Alistair has expressed very few demands in terms of what he wants in the place {I’ve married a wise man, ha}, but a ‘cool Asian froggy rain drum’ was one of them.  Very happy to oblige as I’m rather partial to these bronze beauts myself:

rain drum


They make a dramatic plop noise [technical term] when rain (or um…house keys?) drop onto the surface – it’s all fun and games until it nearly induces a heart-attack every time Ali’s mobile phone alarm goes off directly on top of it.  No need for the snooze function in our house, oh no.

Ermm and I decided to go for a gorgeous little mother of pearl inlay table for my side, creating a his ‘n’ hers bedside table situation – there’s no reason why you can’t have mismatched sides really, as long as they play together nicely and are approx. the same height.

inlay table


3. Armchair and side table

There was a little corner just begging for an armchair vignette.  I intended this technically as a little reading spot but in reality it is really just somewhere for me to throw my crap at the end of the day.  Pretty though!

Lighting – there was very little to do for lighting really, as the recessed downlighters were already in place.  I just incorporated a simple and chic table lamp and Bob was your proverbial Uncle.

Accessories – again, I haven’t added many as I wanted to keep the whole space very calm and simple, but a Balinese capiz shell sculpture (to be transformed into a light one day…maybe), a couple of cute photo frames and some beautiful washed linen cushions do the business.

washed linen



Soooo that’s all the deets and here it is in ‘fun format’:

singapore ethnic bedroom_edited-1

{credit – Elly MacDonald Design}

Let me know what you think!

On my radar…

This morning I realised I hadn’t put together a please-move-to-my-home-immediately list for a little while now.

Here are my September finds.

on my radar september 2013

These gorgeous Moroccan throw pillows and aubergine kilim would look right at home in our guest bedroom, not to mention this cute quirky semi-bling floor lamp.  I am STILL lusting after these agate cheese platters from Jayson Home, love love love.  And they would look faaabulous in a kitchen wearing these all natural leather/bone cabinet pulls from Anthro.  I am totally floored by this rustic bench by CB2.  CB2?!  Looks like it’s from Bali or somewhere equally exotic.  These colourful bangles (here and here) would add some oomph to my outfit today I am sure (do you get J Crew in Asia?!), and this ikat armchair is in the most scrummy jewelly shades, just divine.

How about you…?  What’s on your radar this month?

I’ve died and gone to textile heaven…

I just found out that Style Me Pretty have entered Interior Design Land.  I don’t think I’ll ever get any study done ever again.

Check out this fun and vibrant family home they just featured, designed and owned by Amber of Amber Interiors fame.  Chockablock with serapes, ikats and Moroccan wedding blankets, these are my kinda textiles folks!

Think I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

amber interiors2 amber interiors3 amber interiors4 amber interiors5 amber interiors6 amber interiors7 amber interiors8


Just gorgeous no?  And in case you’re feeling inspired, here’s the how-to…

eclectic interior design

{clockwise from top left: cloud photos, bamboo blinds, Moravian star, brass candlesticks, basket, serape rug, Eames chair, green ikat, pink ikat}

Have a happy weekend loves, what are you up to?

Bananas batik – part 2

Thanks for the comments yesterday lovelies, the old batik seems to have gone down well. So here’s my little round up of the best places to source these beauts – totally going gaga over the indigo prints top left and centre, mmmmmm:

interior design batik shopping guide

{clockwise from top left: indigo cushion, indigo fabric, grey shade, tangerine cushion, fuchsia cushion, indigo fabric, cherry fabric, royal blue shopper, black boxes, emerald cushion, mini wooden spoons}

A bunch of these are fair trade pieces with proceeds going to the communities who make the cloth, so you get to shop and do a good deed simultaneously – winner!

Bananas batik – part 1

Morning darls!  Yesterday’s post seemed to go down well but after all the monochrome yumminess I thought today I’d get a leeetle beeet more colour on the go.

May I introduce you to the newest of obsessions in the (already obsession-full) brain of Caribbean Living: the beauties that are batik.  I’d come across this gorgeous race of textiles before but it was on our honeymoon in Bali that I really became acquainted with them.  They’re traditionally made all over the world from Ghana and Nigeria to India and Japan, but it’s South East Asia that’s really famous for producing this art form, especially Malaysia and Indonesia.

See?!  Yum:

interior design batik4Often confused with ikat, the name batik describes the method of applying wax to fabric and then dying it, so it can come in literally any design and colour your heart desires, as opposed to ikat which sticks within an admittedly-getting-wider-by-the-day band of patterns.

Think my faves are the blueys but the bright fun colours are divine also.

interior design batik1


interior design batik2

Even more gorgeous!

interior design batik3interior design batik5

I wish the armchairs here were a batik in a more neutral colour – other than that I am loving this space bigtime:

interior design batik6

Delectable pastels!

interior design batik7

And how awesome is this headboard?!  Not sure about the brown shade but if it were a blue or a purple…yummy:

interior design batik11Cushions are a great way to add some fun without committing to upholstery:

interior design batik9

And this Balinese daybed on the LHS here just takes my breath away:

interior design batik10


I brought a few pieces back with me the last time we headed to Bali but think I need to start some serious cushion manufacturing here in Singapore – hmm I wonder when I can get back there…

New goodies for the floor

So I came across the new rug collection at West Elm this morning and pretty much squealed with glee.  Full of dhurries, kilims and ikat weaves, it is definitely my cup of tea. Ooh, do I get points for accidental rhyming?!

West Elm new rug collection

I can’t decide which I love more, the subtle ikats and Beni Ouarain inspired monochromes, or the more colourful vibrant dhurries:

West Elm rugs1 West Elm rugs2 West Elm rugs3

{all credits}

It’s lucky we have our very own Beni Ouarain winging its way to Singapore right now or my credit cards would be in trouble…

Roof deck conundrums – part 1

So we’ve been having a little drama with the old landlords lately regarding our roof terrace.  It’s pretty dull to be honest so I shall not bore you with the deets, but basically it turns out there are restrictions on what we can do up there, and I am furious.  Ha, that pretty much sums up the situation.  I was thinking we’d get a wood/trellis structure made up there for sun and rain shelter but alas we’ve been conned.

Soooo our thinking caps have been donned, le hubs has come up with a great semi-solution to the issue and I’m scrabbling to see if it will work before our first guests arrive this weekend (hi Mum!  hi Pops!).  But I’m still totally caught in two minds about the decor up there.  I managed to get my grubby mitts on a bargainous ‘pre-loved’ Balinese daybed and oversize coffee table a few weeks ago, which look a little like zeees:

Balinese daybed,coffee table

{credits – 1 / can’t remember I’m sorry} 

So essentially the fight is on: Morocco vs Bali.

I’m thinking I’ll go for a bit more colour outdoors, either blues or oranges / pinks…  Anyway, here are some pics of the Moroccan terraces I’ve been loving lately, enjoy please!

moroccan terrace interior design2 moroccan terrace interior design3 moroccan terrace interior design4 moroccan terrace interior design5

moroccan terrace interior design7


Round 2 tomorrow, make sure you stop by por fav!