Friday 29 October 2010

The Retro Decorator - 70s Dining Room

The book this picture is taken from (Conversions & Extensions) is full of examples of period properties that have been "modernised" - i.e. had all period features stripped out (I've got a great example of what I mean up my sleeve for a future post)

It's therefore nice to see a picture of a period property from the late 70s that has not had its structure messed about with too much. It wouldn't take too much imagination to see that with maybe some different curtains, lighting and a different colour on the walls, this space could be brought up to date quite easily. 

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Battered but Loved

We have been looking for the perfect pair of leather armchairs for our living room for a while now, without success (appears I am married to Mr Fussy when it comes to this subject).

Love the slightly battered look of these:

via micasarevista

Saturday 23 October 2010

Design Refuge Challenge - This is Me

As you may have noticed from that button on the right there somewhere, I am a member of Design Refuge - a fantastic forum for design bloggers of all flavours.

This month, Dagny has challenged us to explain a little bit more about our style.

In many ways, this is something I still struggle with - I've always been notoriously indecisive. I love all white interiors, and yet my home is full of deep reds and pale blues. I love modern design and clean lines, and yet I also hanker after antique chic. In many ways that's why I started this blog - to explore different facets of my personality and try and hone in on what I really think I could live with.

Most of all, however, I love an eclectic mix - something that fuses a white background with pops of colour, and mixes old and new. It's no coincidence that the images below (bar one) are from Living Etc magazine, as I think it probably best encapsulates this style. I'd love to say all of these were pictures were of my house; sadly only one is - the thing they do however have in common with it is that they are all period houses like ours. Maybe one day we'll get ours looking this some of these!

All Images LivingEtc - except one (can you guess which one, I wonder...)

Friday 22 October 2010

The Retro Decorator - Then & Now, Interlübke

In a quest to find something a bit more contemporary-looking in the back copies of House& Garden I have been leafing through recently, I turned to some of the advertisements. I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison between some of the big design names then that are still around now. This week, the German company Interlübke.

The first image is an ad from a copy of House & Garden from June 1984:

The second is a current picture from their website:

I think you'll agree it's a bit of a contrast! However, I think the thing both pictures have in common (apart from being by the same company, obviously) is that they are very modern and up-to-date for their time. I wonder if we will find the second image terribly dated in 25 years' time?

Thursday 21 October 2010

The Gallery - Red

Those of you familiar with my other blog will know that every now and then I like to participate in "The Gallery", which is a kind of picture meme, where bloggers post on a particular theme each week. This week's prompt started off with a Hallowe'en theme, but ended up as The Colour Red.

Some might consider this to be cheating, but when I saw the prompt, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I've had these pictures in my back pocket for a while now and haven't got round to doing a front door post. Our front door is currently white, very shabby and in desperate need of a makeover and I've been wondering for a while what colour I would go for.

Don't you think these are much more inviting for a spot of trick or treating?

All pictures via Google Images

This week's gallery closes on Sunday (24th). Check out Tara's blog to see how others have tackled the subject this week!

Wednesday 20 October 2010

China Jack Mosaics

How cute are these mosaics from China Jack?

They are the work of Emily Lawlor, who designs and creates beautiful, unique mosaic pieces by using vintage china to make each bespoke mosaic. Tea drinking and its ceremony has been celebrated by Irish born Emily Lawlor all her life; which is why it forms the focus of her mosaics. 

China Jack mosaics incorporate the iconic image of the Union Flag made from vintage china with words made from antique wooden letter blocks, used in printing presses, to create beautiful handmade artworks for the home – each one unique.  Emily has taken inspiration from the fascinating Cockney Rhyming Slang for the words that have become an integral part of China Jack designs.  For example, ‘You and Me’ is rhyming slang for TEA.  

Prices range from £70.00 to £545.00

I want!

Tuesday 19 October 2010

A Little Advice, Please!

I am currently toying with the idea of making over this chair that currently graces my study (I figure if I am going to look at it most days, I should probably do something I like with it!):

The options are basically

1) Re-upholster in a funky fabric of some sort, such as:

Candyfloss by Celia Birtwell

 or 2) Go one step further and attempt to paint it:

via Country Living

source unknown - ignore the cushion on this one!

Has anyone ever tried painting a wicker chair like this? I admit that I am not convinced that my DIY skills are up to it, so I think I will probably end up playing it safe and going with option 1 - just need to find the perfect fabric...

Friday 15 October 2010

The Retro Decorator - Timeless Style? 90s

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly enjoying the Retro Decorator series. The good news is that I raided my mother's magazine archive last weekend and probably now have enough material to last me a year! Anyway, on to this week's post. 

I'll be the first to admit that last week's attempt at finding something that represented timeless style was not quite there. It was promising, but needed a few too many tweaks to make it really timeless. My second attempt this week is slightly more up-to-date anyway, which of course you might consider cheating. 

This image comes from Homes & Gardens, from 1991 (yes - nearly 20 years ago!). My mother has a lot of back copies of Homes & Gardens so a few of these posts will veer towards that I'm afraid. My parents' interiors style has always been what I would term classic, the keys to which are also replicated here - namely white walls and lots of antiques. 

Of course the beauty of antiques is that as they are so obviously old that they don't necessarily fit in with any fashion, which gives them an advantage in the timeless stakes. That's not to say that I don't have plenty of examples up my sleeve where antiques are used in a way that is much more dated.

- white walls; pretty timeless
- antiques; timeless?
- oriental rugs; very "now"

I don't think this interior would look much out of date in the right setting today - what do you think?

Thursday 14 October 2010

Comfort Food

I've got a stinky cold at the moment - that's probably all you need to know!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Monday 11 October 2010


You can't have failed to notice the stag heads that seem to be everywhere at the moment. I'll be honest - it's never really done it for me. I do, however, have a confession to make that, ever since holidaying in Switzerland as a little girl, I have had a weird thing about cuckoo clocks. Sadly mine is currently awaiting repair (small children + cuckoo clocks do not mix - who'd have thought it!?) so I can't show you it in all its delights. It is, however, one of the very traditional-style ones that you will be familiar with:

It's never really fitted in with how I wanted my house to look, and has been banished to the top-floor landing for a long time. Imagine my delight, therefore, when I came across these pictures and discovered that there might well be a place for a cuckoo clock after all:

Ideal Home via housetohome

images via mydeco

Happy Monday!

Friday 8 October 2010

The Retro Decorator - Timeless Style? 70s

After last week's bold and very much "of its time" bathroom, I have been doing a lot of thinking about whether there really is such a thing as "timeless style". It has struck me whilst leafing through old books and searching the web that there seem to be two main styles or approaches that I personally might consider timeless. I'll concentrate on one this week. Take a look at the converted tower below, and tell me roughly when you think these photos were taken:

"Conversions & Extensions", published by Marshall Cavendish

OK, at first glance the slightly aged look of the photograph and one or two other details (such as the dining charis?) give away the fact that it was not taken recently. You might even have been able to pinpoint it accurately to the late 1970s. However, I would argue that it is not as obviously within that decade as last week's example.

That mix of old building and very modern interior is all the rage. The wood cladding is more likely to be glass and steel these days I guess. However, the Eames recliner would not look out of place in any trendy magazine. The stainless steel table could also be up-to-date. The kitchen units are not actually offensive. In fact, when you start to dissect it little by little, there is actually not much that you might need to do to make it more 21st, and less 20th century. Even the orange sofa peeking out of the bottom of the first picture could look quite modern.

So - timeless style?
- Mix of old and new - check.
- Simple style - check.
- Design classics? - check.

Final verdict?: Not quite 100% timeless, but certainly a good effort.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Wednesday 6 October 2010

The Fantasy Girl's Room

I have two young daughters. Despite my best efforts, pink therefore creeps into my house on a regular basis. Today I am throwing caution to the wind, and embracing my virtual girly princess.

Marie Claire Maison

Mark Wilkinson

Much as I admire the audacity of those first two pics, I think the trick with this look is not to go too overboard:

Living Etc

Marie Claire Maison

What do you think - sickly or sweet?

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Just a couple of kitchens I found...

...on the website of French magazine Art & Décoration. What I like about these is that they are not particularly "styled" or aspirational - they do look almost like something normal people might live in (I think some of them might have been sent in by readers)! Love the light streaming in through all the glass on this one:

 ...and the way that the old beams and exposed stone wall contrast with the modern kitchen here:

Both via Art & Décoration
...although I think I personally would have gone for even more of a contrast with white gloss units. Maybe I'm just too obsessed with white at the moment!

Monday 4 October 2010


 I hope you had a good weekend. We had some good friends round for good food, good wine and excellent company.
I wanted to post some pictures of the table, but I'm still cursed by photography demons, so this is the best of a really bad bunch:

Instead, I think I will just have to pretend that these were my creation!:

Happy Monday!

Friday 1 October 2010

The Retro Decorator - 70s bathroom

This little beauty from 1974 deserves a post all to itself.

Avocado, anyone?

Love the close-up detail of the rug at the bottom!

This pic comes via the website - it includes a great selection of pics from the 70s. This was definitely my favourite though. 

Whist I appreciate that this is a very extreme example, I do often wonder if coloured sanitaryware will ever come back into fashion? Never say never...

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