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Decorex 2012

Hello,

I spent a long and quite happy day in London yesterday.  As if to confirm all cliches about Manchester weather, I left home in sheeting, relentless rain and arrived at Euston to a sunny welcome.  The sunshine was wasted on me for most of the day, as I spent several hours roaming the stands at Decorex, an up-market interior design show held annually at Royal Hospital Chelsea.

I have to confess that my main motivation for visiting this fair each year is that I want to quell the feeling that I'm missing out and all the interesting interiors stuff is happening in London.  My natural allegiance is with the Bennett girls in Pride and Prejudice who are sneered at for their provincial fashions.  In reality, in the age of the Internet, it is not hard to keep abreast of the latest developments and product launches.  The provinces do not have a monopoly on dated interiors and bad taste - London can hold its own there.

That said, it is an interesting, often inspiring, exhibition.  The amount of time, money and effort put into each stand by the exhibitors is quite touching, if that is not too sentimental an adjective to apply to some of the most expensive furniture and interiors companies in the land.  However fancy the company, (and they are not all fancy, many are struggling to get established and others struggling to stay in the game), there is no escaping the fact that some people in that company will have worked really hard getting ready for the exhibition and then they, or others like them, are working really hard on the stands to ensure all the effort pays off.

The high price tags associated with most of the pieces on display tends to mean that it all feels rather serious and, I hate to say, pretty stuffy.  I couldn't help but feel attracted to those stands that had a more relaxed vibe, even if their wares weren't necessarily the most affordable.  Once you start looking you notice that there are actually quite a lot of stands that aren't too uptight and I've covered just a few.

Probably the most photographed thing at the show was this shameless eye-catcher from Christopher Guy.  A company, which according to their website, is responsible for the interiors of  many a swanky hotel, showroom, and even film set - hence the sense of drama perhaps:


http://christopherguy.com/index.php

I enjoyed the wit on this stand where the pieces are striking and cheerful, though not, I suspect, cheap - you can't have everything:


 

http://www.interio.co.uk/


The MissPrint stand was a breath of fresh air.  I love their lamp shades and cushions but haven't yet had chance to use their wallpapers.  I could picture their style working beautifully in a girl's bedroom, or being used when the playroom needs to be a bit more of a grown up hang-out, or a relaxed creative studio set-up....mmm.


   http://missprint.co.uk/

When I spotted the Pinch Design stand I realised that I often admire their furniture when I see it in magazines.  I love the way it looks modern and original without trying so hard to be different that it becomes quirky.  It is serious, well-made furniture with personality.  My photo doesn't do it justice so do check out their site:


http://www.pinchdesign.com/index.htm
   
An old favourite of mine was the Graham and Green stand.  I'm often really grateful to them as a place to go to get affordable, really usable, good-looking pieces.


  
The panel wallpaper works beautifully with their stuff:


  http://www.grahamandgreen.co.uk/

I concede that the Helen Green stand was neither relaxed nor witty, though quite friendly, as were all of the exhibitors in this blog post.  However, I do like a glamorous and understatedly luxurious bedroom and, for me, the lovely shapes and finishes of this furniture really fit that bill.  It's the kind of furniture a woman might aspire to in her thirties and possibly afford in her forties.  Look at the lovely curves on this dressing table:



I love the elegance of these chests of drawers:

 
http://www.helengreendesign.com/#/collections/


My final mention from Decorex is just to share with you/remind you of the wonderful Chloe Alberry.  There doesn't really seem to be anywhere else where you can choose from such a good selection of beautiful knobs without spending a small fortune.  Thank goodness for them:


http://www.chloealberry.com/  

You can find out more about Decorex from their website.  It is a trade show but they do have a day when they are open to the public - think it might be tomorow but there's always next year.

http://www.decorex.com/page.cfm/NewSection=Yes/GoSection=0


Triciax

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High Street Blues

Hello,

Here's a nice blog post for you if you are on a budget (or not), want to update your accessories and love shades of deep blue.  I've felt quite cool towards blue for a number of years now but the deep shades (cobalt, indigo, denim, navy) that are around at the moment have slowly won me over.  This week I've been in a few high street stores and thought I'd pass on to you some of the pieces that really caught my eye.

One store that often comes up with good pieces at incredibly good prices is BHS.  This season they have several attractive accessories but these three items are particularly noteworthy, as the colour is on trend and would add a contemporary touch to a room.

Skandi Photoframe £8:



http://www.bhs.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=1&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=34096&storeId=13077&productId=6018361&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=471111&parent_categoryId=&pageSize=201&refinements=category~[471572|471111]&noOfRefinements=1

Blue Earthenware Vase £25:



http://www.bhs.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&langId=-1&storeId=13077&catalogId=34096&parent_categoryId=&categoryId=471567&productId=6041513


Three Tealight Holders £15:



http://www.bhs.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=1&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=34096&storeId=13077&productId=6028969&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=471111&parent_categoryId=&pageSize=40&refinements=category~[471187|471111]^category~[471569|471187]&noOfRefinements=2

Good old John Lewis (as it is so often called) can always be relied upon to come up with desirable accessories.  They usually have a pretty good selection of cushions but, with one notable exception, their current stock of blue cushions doesn't do much for me.  The exception is this gorgeous Andrew Martin one at £60 that's been around for a few months now.  It would look quite unexpected and really wow in a sitting room or add glamour and fun to a bedroom:



http://www.johnlewis.com/282600/Product.aspx  

For a more traditional take on the blue these lamps are nice examples of their kind and very reasonably priced at £60 and £45:



http://www.johnlewis.com/152278/Product.aspx
http://www.johnlewis.com/152289/Product.aspx

The other striking blue items in John Lewis all come under the heading of kitchen and dining.  This Kitchen Aid would be an expensive though very beautiful ornament, but if you were thinking you might need such a thing it might as well be as gorgeous as this:


http://www.johnlewis.com/230911090/Product.aspx


You might not want to ditch your perfectly good casserole dishes for pricey but lovely Le Creuset but you might stretch to a couple of these mini versions or the versatile pots. They don't seem to be on the website but they are around £13 in store:




If your everyday crockery has got one too many chips in it (no breaking things deliberately, that's cheating) you might consider these spots or stripes:


 
http://www.johnlewis.com/12063/Product.aspx



http://www.johnlewis.com/12062/Product.aspx

A few pieces from the Design House Stockholm range would look very smart and be a pleasure to use:



http://www.johnlewis.com/295898/Product.aspx


Interiors magazines and Sunday supplements often glibly advise updating your cushions every season  as a cheap way of freshening up your home.  Given the price of a lot of cushions and the fact that you usually need several this could easily add up to hundreds, which is why I'm always delighted when I spot really nice cushions at very low prices.  M&S have some good candidates at the moment at £15 and £20.  The colours in this one were so perfect for my sitting room that a couple of them made it home with me:



  http://www.marksandspencer.com/Marks-and-Spencer-Butterfly-Cushion/dp/B003DDJ52A?ie=UTF8&ref=sr_1_13&nodeId=43910030&sr=1-13&qid=1346610654

I picked up a couple of these striking blue on off-white flatweave runners at Ikea about two weeks ago now and they were selling them off at half price but had plenty of them (reduced from £30 to £15).  They are 80cm wide x 300cm long. They are called Bolbro.  I've folded the end under and put two together to make an area rug.  I've not tried to hide the fact that there are two and I think it looks fine. 




Just those two purchases, the butterly cushions and the Bolbro rugs, have really refreshed the look of my sitting room.  Not bad for £60.  Just need to find the time and energy to paint those walls a darker colour.  Dark enough to make the room feel cosier and show off my things a bit better but light enough to keep the landlady happy.  I'm favouring French Grey Dark by the Little Green Paint Company at the moment.

 

My final high street blues finds are from one of my favourite stores in all the world, Anthropologie.  It's a little unfair because they are not exactly on every high street but if you do go to London (or New York, fat chance!) it is a shame not to visit.  I'm cheating a bit here because I spotted these items ages ago but two of them are on their website and the third, I think, was only available in store but is a bit special and worth knowing about.

This piece is really fun for its shape and motif.  Note its 5cm depth which would mean you could have a really striking flower arrangement with relatively few stems.  What a great gift this would make:


 
http://www.anthropologie.eu/en/uk/vases/pragmatic-vase-eat-cake/invt/7540402420011/&colour=Blue%20Motif

This lovely vase made it home to my mantelpiece (and injected a bit of je ne sais quoi into a client's cloakroom):


 
http://www.anthropologie.eu/en/uk/vases/pretty-pansy-vase-tall/invt/7540601814554g/&colour=Grey


I love the quirkyness of this vessel (vase?) from Anthropologie.  I think it was around £130:



Hope there's something amongst those items that really grabs you as they grabbed me.


Triciax
    

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Book Recommendation: London Style Guide

Hello,

Hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend and didn't allow the rain to get in the way of a good time.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a rather fabulous birthday-cum-garden party that could have been a mud bath but ended up being bathed in sunshine.  This summer has left me so weary of being anxious that the weather should be fine for special events, that I find myself just wishing Autumn would arrive and put an end to any overly-optimistic expectations.

To the matter in hand.  Despite being very much a city girl, I always used to find London quite overwhelming and exhausting.  It was only when I started to heed the advice of people who knew better and treat the city as a collection of villages that I really was able to get to grips with the place.  If you want to explore London an area at a time (the only way to cope with it, in my view) then this is the perfect book to help you do just that.

The author, Saska Graville, is a Londoner who knows her city really well and sincerely and generously wants to share the places she loves with others.  Not only that, but she also gets other Londoners to share their favourite places.

Each chapter of the book covers a different area of the city and opens with a simple map of the area being covered.  The subtitle of the guide is Eat, Sleep, Shop.  It is telling that, whilst these headings are well covered throughout the book, not every chapter covers all three of those topics.  She hasn't tried to shoehorn in a hotel in every area just for the sake of the structure of the book.  Clearly, if she doesn't love a place, it doesn't make it as an entry - very reassuring.

Each chapter ends with an interview with a Londoner in which they are asked very specific questions about the places they love and use and are inspired by.  Each interview contains around 10 questions and the interviewer approaches the subject from different angles with the result that even those  who may have been tempted to mention places that made them look cool or sophisticated  have given some revealing and informative answers.

Having said that, the Londoners in question are mostly pretty cool people anyway.  Many of them own very trendy small businesses focusing on fashion, interiors or food.  There are a couple of well known interior designers (Kit Kemp, Abigail Ahern) and a property developer who was involved in the restoration of St Pancras, Harry Handelsman. 

I know quite a few of the places that are featured and many others have been on my list of places to go for some time.  The lovely photos make me want to go to so many places that I might need to consider relocating.   

The guide packs a lot into quite a compact book.  Just about small and light enough to carry around:



Each chapter opens with an introduction to the area and a simple map:




There are dozens of very individual and independent shops.  These two are in Islington:




I definitely need to pop into this pub in Kensal Rise for a drink and a gawp at the decor:


 

40 Winks B&B in Shoreditch has long been on my hit list.  Need to book well in advance though:


 

The interviews with Londoners offer lots more insight:




This is such an interesting, varied and accessible guide that I think it will prove indispensable, once purchased, for Londoners and visitors alike.

If you like to buy online you can pick it up very reasonably at Amazon and Waterstones:   

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/saska+graville/london+style+guide/8935988/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/London-Style-Guide-Sleep-Shop/dp/1742668909/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346173665&sr=1-1

Take a chance and buy yourself a copy.  If you don't love it, you will know someone who will.

Triciax

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Ikeatastic: Rugs

Hello,

Love it or loathe it, you probably have to agree that Ikea come up with some pretty good, occasionally really good, products at very reasonable prices.   My focus today is on the rugs they have in store at the moment.  The right rug is so hard to find if you are on a tight budget.  If money is no option, your main problem is choosing one from the array of gorgeous designs that are out there - you need only take a quick peek at The Rug Company website to get an idea of the beautiful rugs available.  However, good-looking rugs tend to come with a rather high price tag that can put them out of the reach of most folk and often means that people decide not to use a rug at all.

When I was in Ikea a couple of days ago I was most struck by the Rand design which I felt like I'd been seeing around for ages and hadn't really registered that it was from Ikea until a visit a few months previously.


   
As it turns out there is a very good reason for that:  Madeline Weinrib, a purveyor of rather lovely but fairly expensive rugs, does a very similar version of it called the Buche.   The Rand rug, and the Buche, have featured in many a roomset in magazines and on the internet.  I've got at least a couple of images stored in my own files.  I'm sure the Buche will be a better quality item and Madeline Weinrib will also make them in just the size you want, but as a budget version the Rand doesn't look half bad.  Here's a close-up so you can get an idea of the texture:




Here is the link to the Madeline Weinrib Buche:
http://madelineweinrib.com/carpets-category/wool-flatweaves.html

And here to the Ikea Rand
http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/80104862/#/90103254
    
It gradually dawned on me (I can be quite slow) that the similarity in these two rugs can't have struck only me, so I did a trawl on the net this morning and came up with this excellent blog post on just this matter from two years ago!  Check it out.  You may be inspired by the variety of settings it is shown in:

http://www.annesage.com/blog/2010/07/the-hardest-working-rug-in-showbiz-ikea-rand.html


Another Ikea rug that wouldn't look out of place on the Madeline Weinrib site is the Alvine Ruta, pictured here:


http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/50168285/

  
Both the pattern and the colour are fashionable at the moment but also quite timeless - everyone's favourite combination as noone wants to spend money on a flash in the pan.  The yellow is quite ochre in tone which I think makes it easy to live with.  The link below to Houzz.com shows it in a couple of different settings, though I'm not totally convinced about its placement, it does add interest to these rooms.
http://www.houzz.com/photos/contemporary/Ikea-Alvine-Ruta-Rug-


If you fancy a bold design but don't want to commit to a colour, you might consider the Lappjung Ruta (you've got to love those names):


It doesn't have the greatest texture but it makes a bold statement, without being overpowering, is square rather than rectangular, which can be useful, and is an amazing price:
 http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/60239094/#/40227902
  
     
If you're feeling like you want to be bold with colour, there are quite a few strong candidates:  I'm really enjoying the vibrant and bold blues that are having a moment and I could see Ikea's blue Triangel rug working beautifully with some of the blue accessories in Designers Guild. Would be a bit more of a financial investment but have lots of impact.



http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/90185645/


Check out their site for inspiration on how to put the look together:
http://www.designersguild.com/uk-shop-online/shop-home/
  
Too much blue in the Triangel?  What about the Eivor Cirkel in blue? (not keen on it in the red):



http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/20210356/


Will just end with a couple more colourful examples that may just float your boat:


http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/30140754/

http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00238969/

If you prefer something very traditional and think Ikea isn't for you.  Take a look at this photo of one corner of the Ikea rug department and see if it gets you thinking they might be worth a look:


   
  
Please don't count the number of times I've used the word "rug" in this article.  Can't think of a true synonym and don't want to torture the language by getting round it.

Triciax  


   

   


   
  

   
  

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Don't Hide it Away

Hello,

Hope you're all enjoying the warm glow cast by the sunshine and the success of the Olympics.  There is such a holiday mood in the air that it seems noone should be working at all at the moment.  If you are working, I hope it is as rewarding as the job I was doing this week.  I spent a very happy afternoon overseeing the implementation of a scheme for a playroom-cum-music room.  It is so lovely to see imagined rooms made real.  One detail of the scheme triggered the subject of this post, which is that of displaying musical instruments.

Most musical instruments are so attractive that it seems a shame to hide them away.  I took this snap just after we'd hung the vintage articulated wall light (to light up the sheet music for the pianist) and the three beautiful violins:


  

I seem to have quite a few clients with musical talent and often get to use guitars, especially in the bedrooms of young people.  I was particularly pleased with how well this guitar went with the other elements - can't claim to have chosen the desk etc. with the guitar in mind, any guitar would've worked, but it does coordinate uncannily well:



The guitar in this image packs a great punch in this young boy's room.  I also like it because, as in the images above, it really injects something of the personality of the user into the room.   The image below is taken from:
http://www.housetohome.co.uk/childrens-room/picture/modern-boys-bedroom  A good site for getting ideas and a taste of a variety of interiors magazines.



The display and positioning of this cello is really rather clever:  The box base is very simple but looks secure and though this is quite a large instrument. by positioning it next to the window it doesn't feel like it impinges too much on the room.  The chair and the music stand are also lovely pieces - music stands so often are rather beautiful.

This image was taken from http://www.houzz.com/      A site that covers such a variety of styles it is bound to offer something of interest but should be used with care for that reason too. Definitely worth a look though. 


   
One of the trickiest instruments to accommodate is the drum kit.  I'm just grappling with one at the moment.  In the absence of a free spacious corner in a room, I think the set up below is worth considering:  Have the drums (or percussion instruments) next to the wall and have the drummer sit facing the wall.  This means that you don't have to leave room for the drummer to get in behind the kit and you could also keep and use the stool in another part of the room  when it is not in use.  I would seriously consider adding a wall mirror here so the drummer can see the room rather than just the wall. A device often employed for piano players in bars.

The image below was taken from  http://remodelista.com/  An excellent source for interiors inspiration.  The designer is Annabelle Selldorf:
http://remodelista.com/posts/childrens-rooms-sophisticated-boys-rooms



  

Finally, if you or your child get fed up with a rather attractive drum kit you may like to put it to good use.  This is such a simple and clever idea by designer Rebekah Zaveloff:
http://www.houzz.com/%2BRebekah-%2B-Zaveloff-%2Bdrum


   
As for pianos, well that is a whole other chapter.  I think I'll leave those for another post.


Triciax   
   



  

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Art for All Including the Small

Hello,

As the long school holidays are now well underway and the rain is still falling at regular intervals, I thought I'd proffer a suggestion for a day out with the kids indoors.  When I was a schoolgirl I'd occasionally spend the lunch break (we called it the "dinner time" then, but I digress) wandering around Whitworth Art Gallery which was on the same road as my school.  I would happily have spent a lot more time there but I never felt very welcome or comfortable and seemed to be viewed with suspicion.  What a shame and what a far cry from how galleries view visits by children now.

This week, at the instigation of a switched-on client, I visited Salts Mill (Saltaire) in Shipley, Yorkshire.  It's a very large and rather attractive mill (not at all dark, satanic or forbidding) and it houses art galleries, focusing on David Hockney, shops and cafes.

My visit rather reminded me of the ad campaign run by the V&A a few years ago:  Great Cafe with Museum Attached.  I went on a Tuesday and the main gallery was closed so I spent most of the time in the diner and the shops.  It was not a great hardship.  

We started off with lunch in The Diner.  This is not a place to visit if you're feeling a bit delicate or hungover:  It is noisy and full of life and colour.  You'll see in the photo that primary colours, beloved of children, are used in the chairs, light fittings and in the artwork on the walls.  Even the lovely fresh flowers on every table were in varying colours.  The background noise is that echo and clatter associated with a big canteen but the food and table service are not at all canteen-like.  Everything we ate (burger, fries, salad nicoise - not saying who had what) was really tasty and nicely presented and the service was friendly and efficient.

The book shop next to The Diner is one that couldn't fail to appeal to you if you enjoy my art and interior design.  They had lots of my favourite interiors books and a few I'd never seen that looked interesting - it was a struggle to restrict myself to one reasonably justifiable purchase.  The books in the other sections seemed to have been chosen not just for their content, which was interesting and varied, but for the beauty of their covers.  The poetry section was particularly gorgeous and I would have loved to have bought whole collections of titles, so stunning would they have looked on a bookshelf.  I was worryingly drawn to a book of poems about murder but I managed to restrain myself.

Perhaps of most use for your interiors is the section of the shop that sells good quality prints of some of Hockney's work.  The client I mentioned allowed her art-loving 11 year old to choose a poster for his room and he chose a piece that was as perfect for the room as anything I would have selected. 

There is another huge area on the floor below this book shop which has art exhibited on the walls and books and art supplies for sale.  There seemed to be quite a few interesting shops but there is a limit to how many shops I can drag my man around before he starts looking distressed.

The very lively, colourful and excellent diner:

 

Great bookshop:

 

Gallery-cum-Shop:



Love this palette table:

   
My best effort at an external image of the mill:



Titus Salt, the man who built the mill:

  
 I do hope you can get there, with or without children, but best go Wednesday to Sunday so you don't miss the main event.

http://www.saltsmill.org.uk/

Triciax   

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A Favourite Online Store

Hello,

Lately, I seem to have come across a lot of people who have not yet discovered Rockett St George home accessories.  What a great shame!  It is an excellent online store all round (they have won awards to prove it) but their home accessories (art, and home decor etc.) are what I really love them for.  You rarely see such a collection of well-chosen, interesting and thoroughly usable items in one place.  I should point out that they have not bribed me to say this.

If you have a browse through their site you are bound to find things that appeal to you.  There are so many things I like that it would be a bit of a bore to list them.  I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite items.

I love this cushion from La Cerise sur le Gateau for its prettiness with the slightly subversive cigarette thrown in - I did use this in grey in a teenage girl's room but there was a bit of discussion about the perils of smoking.  Quite right too!    




http://www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk/girl-in-a-pretty-dress-cushion---alice-vintage-white-50x50cm-3306-p.asp

They do them in grey at Selfridges:
http://www.selfridges.com/en/Home-Tech/Categories/Home-accessories/Cushions/Alice-cushion-cover_275-3002098-CO72ALICEGRIS/

And the La Cerise sur Le Gateau site is also worth a look:
http://www.lacerisesurlegateau-eshop.com/

I'd been seeing sconces similar to the one below around for years and had always loved them but they were terribly expensive.  These look great, reflecting the candlelight beautifully, and are nice quality at a really good price.  I've only used them with one client so far, flanking an overmantel mirror,  but I  know I'll have to resist the temptation to keep suggesting them for different spots.  My clever client added her own candles and gave it a slightly different look - might get a snap of that at some point.


http://www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk/shell-candle-wall-sconce-623-p.asp
 
I love the colours in this rug and the burst of energy it lends to the room in the image.  It could also work well in a darker, moodier room that needed a lift.  It just takes a brave client and the right spot...

   
http://www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk/nomadic-100-wool-rug-6584-p.asp


They are a great source for punchy, quirky wall art.   Especially as their prints, already reasonably priced, are just the right size for Ikea frames which means the cost of the piece doesn't escalate when you start looking into framing them.  These are a couple of examples that I have used to pretty good effect (affect?, never quite sure):


They make me smile whenever I see them:
http://www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk/orwell--goode-dandy-deer-print-5237-p.asp


I love the butterly print we put over the bed, particulary as its shape works so beautifully with the wall lights.

I hope I've at least made you think about checking out their site.  They could have just the thing you need to freshen things up at home.

Must dash now to prepare for my fabulous sister's fabulous wedding tomorrow.

Triciax     

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Book Recommendation: Domino, The Book of Decorating

Hello,

Here's a post on a book I think some of you may find really useful if you haven't already discovered it.  I was given this as a gift from a clever friend the year before last and I still enjoy dipping into it for inspiration.

If you never opened this book and just had it adorning your shelf or coffee table, it would be worth the money you paid for it.  The prettiness of the cover ( it is a de Gournay wallpaper pattern after all,) the colour, size and shape and the lovely feel and weight of it in your hands are all factors that conspire to delight in the way only a real book can.

The whole tone of the book is one of encouragement.  It has been put together by the editors of the, now sadly defunct, online magazine, Domino.  Their ethos was based on a desire, as they put it, "to demystify and democratise decorating" - people after my own heart.  They know their stuff and they really want to share it with you - like those great girlfriends who help you find the outfit that really suits you and makes you feel good about yourself.

Those who get good at putting rooms together, either professionally for others or just in their own homes, do so, in part, because they have expended a good deal of time and effort looking at different spaces and weighing up why they work.  Domino offers something of a shortcut to all that.

It is so full of tips and tricks that there are bound to be at least a few concrete ideas that will work in your home.  The authors are refreshingly realistic about the kind of flats and houses that most of us inhabit, as well as being very aware that their readers will be on varying budgets.

It is perhaps not a book for you if your taste is very traditional and conservative, but if you, like me, want to achieve a look that is full of personality and at least a dash of originality, then I don't think it can fail to please.  It definitely favours a more feminine look but the ideas can easily be adapted to suit a more masculine style.  I should also mention that it is very American but there is so much cross-over in what is available in the UK that it hardly matters; the point of the book is to take inspiration and ideas from it rather than trying to find the exact pieces featured.

The photos are excellent (I have to suppress feelings of envy when I compare them to most of mine) and there are tons of detail shots.

It is available online at both Amazon and Waterstones:

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/deborah+needleman/domino3a+the+book+of+decorating/6561651/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Domino-Decorating-Room---Room-Creating/dp/1416575464/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341777080&sr=1-1


I LOVE THE COVER:  



WELL ILLUSTRATED TIPS AND TRICKS:




KEY INGREDIENTS OF A ROOM SCHEME LAID OUT:


  

LOVELY PHOTO OF THE ROOM AS IT TURNED OUT:


 

Hope you decide to go for it.  If you don't love it, we all have at least one friend who would be delighted to receive it as a gift.


Triciax

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Mums are the Best Invention

Hello,

Just a quick post to tell you something you already knew but with a couple of snaps to illustrate the point.  This won't be the last time I mention mums (I'm not one myself but I am very lucky to have a lovely one) and I will quite often be reminding you of how cheering a simple bunch of flowers can be in a room.

My mum knew I'd overdosed on beauty on my holidays and would need to be weaned off it gradually, so she popped round a couple of days before our return - giving the flowers time to open - and plonked these two lovely bunches into the nearest vases.  My home was instantly improved by the sheer prettiness of the flowers and the warm glow that comes from such thoughtfulness .  Ok, this could get cheesy so I'll just show you my snaps and you can see for yourself.

 

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A Touch of Copper

Hello,

Back from a most wonderful, relaxing and inspiring holiday in Italy.  I'll be referring to it in a few posts but promise not to bore you to death with acres of holiday snaps.

The wifi we were hoping for turned out to be a dongle, which was not much use with my ipad, so I rather feel like I'm starting from scratch on learning how to post.  Never mind, I'm sure it will soon become second nature.

Never having been to Rome, we decided to take advantage of landing at Rome airport to at least get a glimpse of some of the most famous sites.  When I should have been marvelling at the wonders of the Coloseum, I couldn't help noticing how the addition of a simple band of copper to the planters on the pavement nearby really lifted them out of the ordinary.  (Isn't there some scathing comment, I think by Henry James, about tourists going to marvelous places and recounting tales of an interesting dog they saw there? - Springs to mind, not sure why...)

Anyway, I'm afraid I didn't take a photo of the planters, or of the fabulous copper doorway I passed later that day, but it did get me thinking about copper and how beautiful it is.  Fortunately, by the time I got to Pompeii and Sorrento I had my wits about me and took some snaps of a couple of lovely examples of copper.  The images are below, as is the one and only image I will inflict on you of me on my holidays.  (The eagle-eyed among you may spot the lovely copper-coloured corsage detail on my handbag:


Super stylish street lights in Pompeii with copper in the upper section: 
A beautiful copper hotel sign in Sorrento:





I used quite a few warm copper details in this rather smart sitting room.  I placed two complementary copper coloured ironwork mirrors, one vintage, the other more recent, over the consoles flanking the window and kept it contemporary with the Habitat Ribbon table lamps in copper. 

http://www.habitat.co.uk/table-lights/lighting/fcp-category/list?resetFilters=true#productsPerPage=56





We also added the Fantome Ghost clock by Innermost in bronze... (I love this clock in all its incarnations.  I used to stock it in my shop and I have the smaller faceted version on my mantelpiece at home.  I think it really sums up the mixing of the old with the new.)


http://www.awhiteroom.com/innermost/innermost-small-fantome-ghost-clock.asp
... and some original metallic artwork by Laura Richardson (Nee Barker) who is one of the artists I'm hoping to feature in a future post.

http://www.craftanddesign.com/studios/laurabarker

I can't focus on copper without mentioning the Tom Dixon Copper Light.  I put one of these in the bedroom of a sixth former two or three years ago and feel it was a good choice as it still seems so right now that he is a young man at university.  It was quite expensive for a young person's room but I mitigated it slightly by teaming it with a pair of copper lamps from Ikea.

http://www.tomdixon.net/products/uk/copper-shade


There is more to say on copper  but I'll have to leave it there for today.  Triciax

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A Dash of Colour in the Garden

Hello,

Trying to get to grips with the practical, technical side of posting on my blog, so I thought I'd share with you some pleasing images of colour in the garden.  As you will see from the photos, I am not a gardener (sadly, you may also detect that I am not a photographer either).  As I can't always rely on plants to provide the colour, I quite like injecting it by other means.

Green garden waterpump

Orange garden table and chairs

Multicoloured garden chairs

Green vertical slat garden chairs in a line

As you can see, the Belgians are not so predictable in their colour choices as you may expect.  All these garden items are just as I bought them in Belgium (in their juice, as we say).  These pieces are sold and enjoying new lives in wet British gardens but similar things are not so hard to find.

If you prefer to have more muted garden furniture, you still may be up  for something slightly unexpected and fun.  Check out the lovely garden covers at www.thecamouflagecompany.com   I am definitely going to let my barbecue overwinter in one of their covers.  Just wish I had a rotary washing line so I could get the English Rose cover.

Rotary line cover from Camouflage Company

Garden covers bbq

I'm off on holiday to Italy in a couple of days.  I'm hoping I'll find some inspiring things to post about but it will also depend on whether I can get to grips with posting on my ipad - don't hold your breath.

Hope the sun shines on you while I'm away.

Triciax

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My First Blog

Hello,

My name is Tricia Cunningham and this is my first blog.  I'll be learning about blogging as I go along, so stick around, if only to see if I improve.

My blogs will be aimed at anyone with an interest in interiors.  I'm hoping to engage, inspire and encourage - might as well aim high.

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I'm going to use this first blog to give you some relevant background information on me and my business.  Don't worry, future blogs will not be all about me!

I spent most of my spare time in the nineties looking round antiques shops and markets and doing courses in furniture restoration and painting, and upholstery.  I discovered that I lacked any special talent in those areas but I did have something of an eye for picking out lovely antiques that would work well in people's homes.  With the rashness of youth, I gave up a job I loved and became an antique dealer.

I came up with a name that I thought was fun and slightly intriguing:  Kitty Fisher's Finds.  It stems from the nursery rhyme, Lucy Lockett lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it, not a penny in her pocket, but a ribbon round it.  I thought, I go out and find things and it has a bit of a ring to it - it made perfect sense to me anyway.

I sourced all my stock in France and Belgium as I love French styles and got into some of the Italian styles beloved of the French.  For the first five years, I did my selling at antiques fairs and in antiques centres in the North of England.

In 2003 I opened my little shop in Didsbury, Manchester from where I branched out into interior design.  In 2006 I moved to a rather bigger shop in Altrincham, Cheshire.  I loved having the shops but after four years there I decided I really wanted to be able to spend more of my time on my interior design projects.   I moved to my current showroom which is only open on request and is a lot easier to keep on top of.

So now you are up to speed.  Here are some images of the two shops to give you a flavour of what they were like.

Bye for now,

Triciax
Altrincham Shop FrontAltrincham Shop Interior Armoire in Window

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