I hope you enjoy the blog and I'd love to have your comments.  You can leave a comment by clicking on the line READ COMMENTS AND ADD A COMMENT which is below each posting.  If you'd like to be informed about new blog entries by email, please register using the 'CREATE AN ACCOUNT' link below the left hand menu.

Mirror, Mirror

Hello,

Today I thought I'd focus on one of my favourite easy ways to create impact in a space:  The use of multiple mirrors.  This is not a new or original idea - flick through a handful of interiors magazines and you are bound to find at least one example - and yet, when you go into peoples' homes, you rarely see them.  I'm not really sure why that should be as people are always in need of good ways to fill blank walls and mirrors are an obvious choice.  Perhaps they are afraid of being thought vain, as if mirrors were just for looking in and not for their many other functions, such as reflecting lighting, adding impact, injecting glamour and creating another dimension in the room.

I'm not talking about investment pieces - the mirror over your mantelpiece should usually be the best you can afford - I'm talking about mirrors that can be quite humble and inexpensive but when used in a group become much more interesting.  

When I first moved into this house last year I had a lot of empty walls (still have a few) and was keen to fill most of them with things I already owned.  One such space was the section of wall you see when you look up the stairway from the front door.  I got together a little group of five mirrors that I've used many times before in different spots and arranged them in the way that looked best from below.  The result is an arrangement that is pleasing to look at as you pass by and gives the impression that the upstairs of the house is also interestingly decorated - only partly true so far!

Below is a photo of the mirrors at the top of my stairs.  You'll notice that the group is now 4 mirrors and a clock.  This is because I pinched one of the mirrors for another grouping I wanted to create and filled the gap with what was to hand.  I hadn't planned this ensemble but I rather like the effect.



Another little grouping I have used in this house required a little bit more work and planning and a small outlay.  I pinched one small arched mirror from my mirrors on the stairs and bought two mirrors on Ebay that were horribly painted but beautifully shaped including a lovely bevel on the mirror plate.  I painted all three black (well, Farrow and Ball's Off-Black actually) which immediately made them look more contemporary and expensive - black can have that effect on things that are a bit ropey or dated.   I hung them on the wall facing the window in my sitting room where I think they look quite smart and, of course, help to bounce the light around the room.




I came across the image below from our old house taken in 2003 (that tv is definitely from a different era).  I think for this one I'd "borrowed" a couple of lovely original French Louis Philippe mirrors from my stock and picked up on the arched shape with the third cheapy purchase - now painted black in the image above.  



I've created similar walls of mirrors to those shown below in the houses of a couple of clients.  This look is easy to achieve because the mirrors are relatively easy to find, generally not too pricey and it is hard to hit a wrong note with frameless mirrors.  The look can go from very nice to pretty fabulous depending on the shape of the mirrors and the variety of the design in the bevelled edges.  If you are local to Wilmslow in Cheshire you might find some good examples at The House Next Door on Piggenshawe Lane on the road from Wilmslow going towards Hale - a nice place to check out anyway.


Image above taken from Remodelista from the portfolio of Catherine
Gratwicke

The possibilities for combinations of mirrors are endless.  If you have any spare odd mirrors knocking around, why don't you try laying them out on the floor and see how they look.  They could perk up a dull landing or other neglected space.  The only pitfall you really need to avoid is reflecting something you don't actually like - you won't want to see it twice!

For inspiration on interesting shapes check out these links:

http://www.casamidy.com/furniture/mirrors/view.html
http://uk.jonathanadler.com/mirrors/
http://www.grahamandgreen.co.uk/wall-mirrors
  
I'm just about to get the go-ahead from a client to create a wall of a dozen mirrors using newly-framed antique mirror plate.  I shall try and get an image of it to show you when it's done.

Bye for now,

Triciax

Read Comments and Add a Comment (1)

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     

Read Comments and Add a Comment (2)

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

Read Comments and Add a Comment (1)

In Praise of Knick-Knacks

Hello,

This will, no doubt, be the first of many posts that emphasise the need to have things in your home.  I don't like a lot of clutter but I do think that we all need something to look at.  If you can take in every object in a room within a few of seconds of entering it, then it is likely to be tidy but quite soulless.  The most pleasing interiors unfold as you spend time in them, more delights are revealed as you sit and look about you.

It can take time and money to build up a collection of beautiful antiques or quirky objects but, in the absence of such a collection, you can still create lovely and interesting displays - I don't yet own such a collection.  However, the alcove in my sitting room was fitted with some very well-made but slightly, depressingly, bland shelves so I had to put something on them.  It's a rented house so I'm not allowed to remove them or paint the wood.  I covered each shelf in some left-over Brian Yates wallpaper (you can often get nice end-of-line rolls really cheaply at DIY stores).  I then went through my house and picked out every object that could be spared to try out on the shelves.  This was the not-too-shabby result:


None of the items is particularly expensive and there are no show-stoppers.  Several pieces would look quite sad if they were looked at in isolation but, as a whole, the display is interesting and looks coherent and coordinated.  In reality, the threads that run though it; the reflective mercury and glass, the blocks of white and the touches of blue, red and gold, just presented themselves and I went with them, editing out anything that jarred.

If you gather together things from your own home you will see that they often have details in common that will then suggest a theme to you.  This is only to be expected because you have chosen items that are to your taste, maybe you like the colour green or are drawn to the matt finish of untreated zinc or the lovely sheen of copper.  If you don't have a lot of stuff you may need to be a bit inventive - I dug out the big mercury diamonds from my Christmas decorations box and took the dust jackets off some books to reveal a more suitable cover beneath.

To ensure it looks interesting you need to add layers.  This just means putting things in front of, behind, on top of each other.  It's easy and actually easier to do than to plan, so just do it, I say.  My shelves get tweaked at intervals and occasionally I go really mad and actually buy something to put on them.  That way I can keep myself interested, which is the most important thing of all.

I decided the lowest shelf needed brightening up and making a bit less stuffy.  All the excuse I needed for a small purchase from the wonderful Anthropologie.  This is their funky and fresh Illume Jacinta Candle Pot:


http://www.anthropologie.eu/en/uk/candles/illume-jacinta-candle-pot/invt/7552600475815/

While I was in there I spotted this fun vase which picked up the blue in my books really well - couldn't resist:



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

If you were at all unsure about putting together a bit of a display yourself, I hope I've helped to dispell any doubts.  You have nothing to lose.  It is unlikely to look worse than an empty featureless space.

Have a lovely weekend,

Triciax  


  
  

   
 

Read Comments and Add a Comment (1)

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.

 

Read Comments and Add a Comment (1)

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

Read Comments and Add a Comment (2)

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

Read Comments and Add a Comment (1)

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

Read Comments and Add a Comment (6)