Category: Fireplaces

Potty for plaid – part 1

So with the temps plummeting in HK and the smog rolling in (ick), it’s beginning to look a lot like autumn.  And what better way to welcome in the change of season than with a large dose of plaid / tartan.  It’s either that or a post on medical mouth masks…

For some reason these pics make me pine for the Cotswolds, the Sunday Times…

…and a frigging massive fireplace.

So whether it’s used as upholstery, a wall treatment, carpet, curtains, blanket or throw pillow, a small dose of plaid goes a long way!  Check out my fave inspo pics right now – which is your pick…?

Slightly in love with this upholstered Chesterfield on the LHS here:

This tartan Eames lounger is hilarious, love it!


Fireside glamour

So I appreciate it is clearly not the season to be talking about fireplaces, but I’ve been searching for the perfect modern beaut for my current project on and off for like 5 months now, and think I may have finally come up trumps today:


I used to hate this type of fireplace design but the longer I spend on this interior design bandwagon the more I surprise myself.  What do you guys think?  Too pretentious, or just the right side of cool?

Monday’s Masterpiece – bachelor pads: 101

Peter Dunham is an Oxford-educated Brit with a love of travel, who seems to have developed the perfect recipe for creating exotic, well-travelled and masculine interiors.

I first saw his work in Veranda’s ‘Great House at Greystone Estate’ showhouse feature and although his style is more masculine than I usually tend towards, I love the range of exotic fabrics, wallcoverings and furnishings he uses in his schemes (almost all of which are his by the way…  Who am I kidding?  If I could I would!).

The next property was featured in House Beautiful, and continues the exotic theme with liberal lashings of suzanis, African tribal masks and Moroccan textiles – be still my beating heart!

I do love me a good dining banquette – it instantly relaxes a more formal dining room and ups the comfort factor.  Especially when covered in vintage suzani throw cushions, yes please!  Also loving the play off of the rush chairs against the upholstered tufted banquette.

I think there need to be more egg chairs in living rooms!  Just a thought…  The cowhide/rush/sisal/wood/wicker combo used here is amazing also – could do with a smidge more colour though I reckon.

Two more gorgeous vignettes! Why yes, I do happen to need a tree in my living room, good idea.

And I am LOVING the contrast of the shearling sofas and suzani-upholstered armchairs, all enveloped by the cerused oak panelling.

Fab use of vintage industrial light fittings in the kitchen, especially set against the beadboard ceiling:

And I am getting weak at the knees for this simple yet GORGEOUS master bedroom/bathroom scheme – love the addition to the gallery of those two awesome masks, the grasscloth walls give the room such warmth, and that suzani bedcover literally makes the entire room.

Hello there fireplace in the bathroom, you are making me drool all over my keyboard…  The Chinese tabouret and exotic ottoman are an inspired addition, but I’m not sure about the artwork over the fireplace, I would have used a black and white photo I reckon.

And the striped walls/paisley throw/diamond rug here are le bee’s knees (especially paired with what I think is a map of Morocco)!  Love it.

And lastly, let’s take a nosey at a gorgeous home Peter designed featured in Architectural Digest…  I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF DISTRESSED MIRRORWORK!  Seriously, I’m ever so slightly obsessed with it right now!  And I’m especially loving it paired with this 1930s table and interesting chandie.

I have actual dreams about staircases like these…

And I love how he ups the glamour factor of the living room with the French silk curtains and vintage cocktail tables but stops it becoming too formal by underscoring the scheme with the Abaca rug and by mixing up upholstery fabrics and throwing in a few nailhead trimmings:

Again, the use of interesting pendant lights gives the mostly-white kitchen some oomph, and I quite like those bar stools…

Love the striped kilim, love the pendants, love the farmhouse-style table!

And this simple masculine bedroom is fantastic, especially the upholstered leather headboard and brass reading lights.

Ditto this sparse dressing room, with just a couple of touches of glamour in the chandie and upholstered bench.

And (you guessed it)…ditto the master bath – Persian rugs in bathrooms is another new design feature I like (read: new total obsession!).

This guest bedroom could literally not be more of a contrast with the rest of the property – not sure what happened here but I have to say I’m not a massive fan!  I like the suzani headboard and pink bedding, but someone please paint the whole room that apple green colour, and strip the pink paint off the bedframe!

Other than the giant marshmallow of a guest bedroom, I’m feeling seriously inspired by this property – think I need to find me a bachelor pad or three to practice on…

Here are some other faves from his portfolio:

As well as my picks from his furnishings lines from Hollywood at Home:

And feast your peepers on these AMAZING textiles:

Alright, over and out, I’m off to daydream about suzani quilts do some coursework…

Moroccan magic

I’ve been looking for an excuse to oogle some Moroccan themed interiors for a while now, and Elle Décor has just provided the perfect opportunity.  This three storey property includes gardens, terraces, a pool and a hammam (nice), and it is just totally bonkers amazing.  It’s making me think I need some more bold bright colour in my life.  And I love how they’ve combined furnishings, accessories and textiles from all over the world with more traditional Moroccan elements and designs.

This is the ground floor sitting room – it incorporates African furnishings and details along with more Moroccan-y aspects such as the eight-pointed star motif fireplace. The rugs and cushions are making me very happy.

This reed-and-wood-beam ceiling/traditional tiling/cabinet screen shaboozle is the bee’s knees.

The main rooftop terrace is just incredible.  The repetition of the pink in the sitting room is awesome, as are the cushions covered in silk saris and African textiles.

And now onto the pool… The textiles in the poolside cabana are just incredible, and there are just no words to describe the pool:

Second-floor terrace, complete with more gorgeous textiles…

And check out these bananas guest bedrooms:

The design of the bathroom gives a nod to traditional Moroccan design with a bathtub and fittings in the shape of an eight-pointed star, and a traditional Islamic design featured in the mirrored wall.

And the design of the master bedroom literally took my breath away – the crazy bed, the mirrored wall, the carved doors, the textiles galore.  One word: wow.

And just check out this shrine to all things Moroccan that was featured in the Florida Design Journal last year – I’m pretty sure I couldn’t speak for about a full 10 minutes after reading this.  The designer, Sean Rush, went to the medinas of Fez and Marrakech with the clients to source most of the furnishings and accessories (amaaaaaaazing!)  – I’ve seen quite a few Morocco-inspired interiors since hitching my towpeg to this interior design bandwagon but the detail and authenticity of this property is simply mind-blowing.
I am going slightly gaga over these lanterns and cushions, and that pool cabana is incredible.

The ceiling/floor symmetry here is pretty effective, and the hand-painted stencilling on the ceiling is insane.  And the oversize floor lantern.  And the double-sided sofa in the living room…

And the hand-painted ‘ticking’ on the walls.  And the antique Spanish bargueño (traveller’s chest) set against the wall (need to get me one of them one day).  And the Moroccan side table.  Oh man, this is emotionally draining.

And every single detail in this dining room is spot on – the dark distressed beams/fiery cayenne wallcoverings are making my knees quiver (ok, well not really, but nearly…).

This vignette is INSANE!!!!

Aha, and he’s nicked my idea about making interesting headboards from antique doors, hmm I think I’ll claim that one.  Ok, chances are he probably didn’t…  Looks fab though, as does everything else – I’m particularly loving the Moroccan armoire (camel bone and copper), Balinese trunk, and floor treatment.

If you can’t just nip over to the real deal authentic medinas, head to the Berber Trading Company to hunt down your own Moroccan gems:

And for all your Eastern tiling requirements, you need to get your butts to St Tropez Boutique:

I’ve also just updated Azulejos baby with some of these puppies – new and improved version available right now!
And they also stock some seriously incredible architectural elements, like these doors, carved frames, decorative ceilings and fireplaces:

Is it possible to fall in love with a door?!  Somehow I seem to have done – not convinced it totally fits in with our Caribbean vibe here, but I reckon I could give it a go:

Spot of skilaufen?

It’s that time of year again folks: Crimbo is over, the decorations are down, we’ve brought in the new year in style, everyone is still vaguely stuffed with turkey, mince pies and champers, and slightly mourning the end of the holiday period, when your thoughts turn to…SKIING!  Or is that just me?!  January in the UK sucks, in my humble opinion – it has got to be the best time of year to evacuate and escape from the drizzle in search of pristine pistes, raucous après-ski and (most relevant to me!) gorgeous alpine ski chalets. 
Ever since I worked a ski season in Switzerland in 2005 I have been a smidge obsessed with Swiss chalet-style interiors. Just the thought of the wooden beams, roaring fires, open plan set up, wooden decking outside, hot tubs, gorgeous throws and blankets and taxidermied marmots makes me start swooning (although I’m pretty sure that last design nugget is limited to the Hotel Annahof – don’t ask).  In recent years chalet design seems to have come a long way from the old fashioned gingham-flooded and too-cutesy interiors and has embraced a new contemporary style.
Maybe…three years ago, I was stopped dead in my tracks by an article (I think in the Sunday Times) about Richard Branson’s luxury ski chalet in Verbier.  The interiors had just been updated and were the perfect combination of high class luxury with down to earth natural materials.  And what a location too!!  Verbier is hands down my favourite resort in Europe, with its incredible ski area, bonkers après-ski and gorgeous chocolate-box cute village.  However, at a weekly rate of £90,000, I’m pretty sure I shall never see the interiors of this chalet in person, so I shall content myself with some online oogling (although I’m not sure what the deal is with the rubber duckies and toy dogs).

The bleached, distressed wood and contemporary fireplace are killing me!!  And can you imagine waking up to that view?!

I’m loving all the natural materials used in the accessories – wood block stools, sheepskin stools, sisal rugs – especially paired with the luxurious cashmeres and velvets.  I also love this open plan set up – very light-filled and calming.

I think this is my fave room – the rustic wooden beam/exotic lantern combo = perfection.

Hello gorgeous headboard detail:

And how much fun do these bunkbeds look for the kiddies?!

There are also a series of seriously gorgeous bathrooms – loving the combination of stone and wood, and apparently they all have retractable walls so you can enjoy the mountain views from the tub (note to self: genius).

And the living spaces are KILLING ME.  CHECK OUT THIS LIGHT FIXTURE!!!  That’s all I have to say.

And lastly, some awesome outdoors spaces:

Helllllllo hot tub.

Yep, pretty unbelievable…

Flowers Friday – outdoors in Oregon

Good morning readers!  Sorry for the delay posting today – we had a mini Christmas celebration last night as Ali flies home today for Crimbles (family Hails arrive on island on Wednesday, very exciting!!!) and I’ve been struggling to get going this morning after a late night out and about.
Anyway, for FF this week I thought I’d do a post about a gorgeous garden/terrace combo I read about in Traditional Home this week.  It’s situated in rainy Oregon, so I thought it might provide a bit of inspiration to any Brits/Yanks out there as it shows that, even in places with crappo cold weather, it’s possible to create and use a beautiful outdoors space.
It feels very masculine with the focus on green foliage with minimal flowering plants, along with the geometric black and white awnings.  And I especially love the ‘outdoors living room’, complete with limestone fireplace and crushed granite flooring.
Love the use of banquettes here:

The latticework trellis is a nice touch to the ‘living room’ also.

There’s a reference in the article to making outdoors spaces feel more comfortable and cosy by using upholstered outdoors furniture – Lee Industries has a line suitable for use outdoors, and here are my picks of the range.  
Awesome dining chair:

I really love this upholstered shaded sofa – would be perfecto on a sundeck over here actually. 

And for colder climes, this sectional would look fantastic with an outdoors fireplace and a bunch of cosy cushions.

Have a fab weekend!

Eastern antique hunting

I think I mentioned the other day that I’ve recently stumbled across a few different sources of Asian antiques.  All three suppliers have made me desperately wish I were in the middle of a project where I could incorporate an antique carved wood frame as a mantelpiece, or a pair of gorgeous old colourful Chinese medicine cabinets as a focal point in a living room. 
So first of all I literally stumbled mid-rainstorm into the shop Opium on King’s Road in London.  Feast your eyes on these beauts…

They unfortunately use a less-than-classy blue plastic tarpaulin for taking photos of the items in their warehouse – please use your imagination when looking at these next few!

I know it’s hard to picture with the crude blue background, but I’m loving the idea of using one of these sets of antique doors as an unusual head board:

And these sandstone arches/lintels would be awesome incorporated into a mantelpiece:

They also stock some absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful jewellery, textiles and other accessories:

Next up is Guinevere, also on King’s Road.  How’s this for a shop front?!  I think it was actually very nearly a ‘Pretty Woman’ moment (well, apart from the whole not being a hooker) – I visited at the end of a very long and rainy day in the city and am pretty sure I was about 100% more dishevelled than their usual clientele…  But they were actually pretty gracious about it and I spent about 16 hours in there – it’s just a total treasure trove of beautiful European and Asian antiques, with loads of different levels and ‘rooms’.  If you are even just vaguely interested you really should go check it out.

I can’t stop thinking about how awesome this Chinese daybed would look decked out with seating and cushions in a combination of dhurries and ikat prints – yes please!  

Helllllo colour!

And lastly was a place called Asia Barong which is (weirdly) located in the Berkshires in New England -it’s not exactly your usual traditional antique shop!  They have the most incredibly enormous selection of antique furniture and accessories.
Again, some fabulously extravagant potential headboards (although I’m thinking there may be a more elegant way to show the scale of the items than just holding up an empty wine bottle):

Ok, that last one might be a smidge too big… 
Also, it just occurred to me: I hope these import companies aren’t just ripping apart temples and ancient buildings to sell these antiques to rich Westerners…hmm, should probably look into that before recommending them to clients!
More incredible cabinets and wardrobes:

How’s this for a statement tub?!

And what house is a home without a Samurai sword storage chest?!  Yikes.  In the absence of a flipping massive sword, it would also be a pretty good place to store blankets and linens.

Eensy weensy juxtaposition here: one mirrored disco ball + one so-ancient-I-can’t-even-imagine piece of Indian relief work – I hope that’s not intentional!  These would make an incredible focal point for a living room or entrance foyer.

Wow, okay people, I’ve just found it: the perfect headboard.  I’m thinking dark wooden floorboards, off-white bed linen with a subtle paisley/oriental design, splashes of aqua in a rug/lampshades, maybe mirrored bedside tables for a pop of contrast, and lots of luxurious throws, cushions etc.  PERFECTION.

Amoozing accessories and textiles (yep, I will take every single one of those scarves off your hands…):

And I’ve been a little obsessed with all things mother of pearl since spending some time in Malaysia and Borneo, where it seemed to be EVERYWHERE.


So I wrote about what shall henceforth be referred to as ‘the fireplace incident’ the other day, and this got me thinking about fireplace design in general.  As well as many people being lucky enough to have a fully functioning roaring fireplace for the winter months, either traditionally or contemporarily designed, many people have bricked up ones that remain a focal point of the living room but sometimes lack a certain je ne sais quoi.  Here are a few inspiration pics of all three types, courtesy of Design*Sponge, Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Veranda, Living Etc. and Anthropologie.
Firstly, the good old traditional ones:

I love the light fixture used here – gorgeous:

I usually hate it when people pair up blue and red.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for excessive use of bright colours, but I always find the combination of these two too jarring.  This all changed when I saw this vignette however – I don’t know if it’s the fact that just a pale hue of the blue is used, or that it vastly dominates the scheme, but I find myself surprised to say that I really like this:
Loving the traditional mantelpiece and woodwork combined with the contemporary light fitting and armchairs – hello cowhide!  Yep, yep and yep, I could while away plenty an hour with a good book and glass of Rioja in front of this bad boy.

This may be my favourite fireplace design of all time – the hawk-eyed among you will notice it was from a beach house I wrote about a while ago.  I still can’t get over the shell frame/oversize lanterns/antique mantel combo.

At first glance this room might appear a smidge too neutral, but I think the use of varied textures, colours and styles give it the oomph it needs to avoid straying into the dull zone.

I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS ROOM (maybe replace the orange bedside table with a sexy metallic number to play off the chest of drawers).

And this is a super-serene spot for some relaxation in front of the fire – the design on the wall covering and mirror/ceramic finishes on the mantel stop it from becoming too same-y I think. 

I LOVE the different colours and textures at play in these two, as well as the oversize artwork above the mantel in the latter (how’s that for a killer focal point):

Again, a calm and serene room with a few pops of colour – fab daybed, fabber window treatment, love the painted floorboards, lame lightshade.   

I really love both of these next two – classy elegant and traditional at its best.  I think I’d update the items on the mantel of the first one a little to be honest, although the mirror and vase are fab.  I also love the dusky pink/grey-brown colour combo in the second one – you don’t see it very often and I do not know why!  Maybe I should think about using it in my next set of projects…

I’m LOVING the azulejos tile work and very simple mantel in this one – would be good to repeat the blue somewhere else in the room to ground it a little more.

A token all-white one – pretty effective actually in dealing with the small space, and the contemporary lamps give it a bit of a twist.

LOVE LOVE LOVE these rustic looks…

…as well as these elegant puppies (helllllo zebra print!):

Now let’s look at the newbies:

Love the canary yellow accents in this one.

This would be perfect for a bachelor pad, fantastic contrasting textures.

And this is one pretty massive statement, if ever I’ve seen one!  I’m not sure about the blue and pink on the sofa – it feels as if they should stick with the orange above to coodinate with the table, or go for a bold contrasting colour like  olive green.  And that TV cabinet has to go!

And the minimalism and simplicity of the next two are pretty effective:

The contrasting textures here on the fireplace (metallic tiles and marble…?) totally make the vignette, and set off the rattan perfectly:

And lastly, the poor bricked up suckers.  I like the use of this one as a display point:

I’m totally going gaga over this dramatic black fireplace against the bright orange and white, and the collection of objects on the mantel alcove are perfect!

What better place is there to store your skeletons?!

I love the inventiveness of the book-filled fireplace – looks great paired with the fur rug.

Add a couple of stylised armchairs like these to the vignette above, and we’re good to go!

The blue woodwork and white painted brickwork are a fab backdrop for the candle arrangement, love it.

I guess by now you may have picked up on my total inability to walk past anything vaguely Eastern/Moroccan/interesting-and-pointy-looking without spending way too long gawping at it – may I present a case in point:

And this one is pure shabby chic perfection:

Very very dramatic, love it!  Really like the higgledy piggledy arrangement of artwork and accessories on the mantel and the contrast of faux fur and patterned textiles cushions/throws.  And the metallic side table.  And the oversize mirror work.  I could go on. 

And what better to go with your fireplace than……..(drum roll)……. some 15% discounted White Company cashmere!  Oh crikes, okay you have to register on the website for the discount I think, but it’s still a corker.  

And some of their luuurvely bedding options:



Alright, enough already of the winter stuff, back to the sunshine tomorrow!