Heart Home Magazine New Designer 2014
UK Trade & Industry Delegate, British Embassy, Paris. April 2014

Monday 16 May 2016

Guest post - a guide to monochrome from a guest blogger...

Embrace The Splendour of Monochrome in Your Home
The subtle and yet sophisticated blend of black and white is making a spectacular return into the world of interior design by creating a perfect balance between the two contrasting shades. The bold and edgy black in a combination with serene white once again has managed to create brilliant monochromatic magic that makes an outstanding decorating scheme. The rough vastness of the minimalistic design that overrules this palette can be alleviated by using patterns and textures that give the space a true visual spectacle. A contrasting colour scheme such as this one can find its purpose in just any room of the house and give it that dash of monochrome it deserves.

Image source: 2.bp.blogspot.com
Living in Texture
With the harsh contrasting scheme of the monochrome design, the living area threatens to be engulfed in the sterile minimalistic ambient, which is characteristic for this colour palette. The living room should be designed to be welcoming of its guests and to exude with warmth and pleasant ambience. While this might sound like an impossible venture, the play of textures has the ability to add a gentle touch to the room and make it more inviting in the process. Faux fur elements, cotton cushions and sheepskin overthrows create a dazzling combination of fabrics that fit perfectly with each other.

Image source: cdn.homesthetics.net
Dreaming in Black & White
The soothing simplicity of minimalism and the plain blend of the two contrasting shades make a perfect arrangement for the master bedroom. Simple white bedding with dark minimalistic furnishing is a great way to add a dash of elegance, while oversized windows that absorb the room in natural sunlight give it the serenity it needs. All black walls with contrasting bright white floors are enough to make the bedroom visually appealing as it is. For a more artistic approach, the use of black and white wallpapers with floral motifs or oversized geometrical shapes can truly transform a room completely.

Image source: decoist.com
Patterned Bubble Baths
An eclectic concept of the monochrome bathroom design works perfectly with the luxurious finishes making a timeless setting. Marble walls together with diagonal geometrical tiles and back plastered walls give a dramatic visual aspect all the while maintaining a relaxing ambience in the space. Polished metals and floral motifs are two contrasting elements that have the ability to soothe the harshness of the minimalistic trend, while a classy chandelier seems like a great finishing detail for accomplishing a more sophisticated setting in the bathroom area.

Image source: decoist.com
…And Just a Dash of Monochrome
A recipe for creating a perfect kitchen design in a monochromatic manner is actually quite simple and the secret ingredient is hidden in subtle elegance. The sophisticated ambience in the kitchen area characterized with white marble countertops and high-gloss finishes on the cabinets gives this space a sleek design. The chequered tiles are an essential part of this monochromatic miracle, while the cohesive vibe could be accomplished with adding a touch of industrial with easy stove installation of matching design and lighting fixtures. For an additional spark of refinement, a contemporary open kitchen design together with a monochromatic dining room creates a sense of opulence.
Making a statement does not always require too much detail. The monochrome design shows that elegance and beauty can be achieved though subtle use of texture, patterns and a strictly limited colour palette. The bold use of the monochrome colour palette and minimalistic details in home design is a fierce and yet subtle way to add personality to one’s home. The simplicity of the design is what makes the complete composition a true piece of art that can embellish any living area in a sleek manner.

Author's Bio: Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney.  She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that's where she gets most of her inspiration.

Sunday 21 February 2016

A little film... Discovering Designers in Provence

It's been such a long, wet winter that I was extra, extra pleased the other day when I received this little film made last summer in Provence!  I was transported back to the June heatwave in Aix en Provence, lavender, and the lovely people I met at the first Discovering Designers show held at the Hotel de Gallifet!

I'm not going to pretend it's easy to watch myself on screen (it was very hot, exhausting and I got very little sleep!) but I hope you can see how much of a great event it was, and what the film-makers have put together for us.

Some pics to remind you...

Thursday 28 January 2016

African Inspired Interiors by guest blogger Amy Mia Goldsmith

Latest interior design ideas originate from Europe and Far East. However, the situation is changing nowadays and people tend to lean towards ideas inspired by African culture. The uniqueness of African continent contributed to beautiful and  rich interior design with its vivid colours, wooden figurines, mesmerizing sunrises and animal prints. Add some elements of African style to your home and be on a path to a beautiful transformation.

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An important element of the interior, texture presents a focus for the eye and can emphasize anything you want. However, be careful not to overuse it. Since this is about bringing Africa into your home, the best is to use  natural and organic textures such as cotton, wood, silk and leather. Use them as bed covers, kitchen elements or ornaments. Animal print can be found on anything, from pillow cases to rugs and carpets. You can also use animal skin tapestries, but make sure it doesn’t lead to kitsch and ethical issues. The safest way is to decorate with organic texture.

image credits

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African style welcomes all warm shades in order to create the cosiest home ever. Colours like yellow, bright red, deep orange, brown, terracotta and sand colours are the best matches for your African-styled home. Also, combinations of contrasting dark and light colours should contribute to this new style. Black colour should also be used for contrasting. To introduce some drama in the interior, splash some vivid hues around the house. However, it all comes to this: natural and earthy sand tones should prevail in your home, since they have a calming effect and are true representation of this beautiful continent.

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African safari and its sunsets are probably the most beautiful sceneries that exist and those should be present in your home. Throw in a rug with leopard print, ottoman with a giraffe pattern or a bunch of pillow cases with zebra stripes and voila! You get your own safari in your home. To get the  Savannah look, you can cover your walls with colourful jungle-themed wallpapers which are making a comeback in fashion. Decorate your living room walls with cheetah spots, tribal patterns, baobab trees and banana leaves, or use some of these patterns for bed linen and floor coverings. You do not have to use only one because all of these patterns are easily combined with each other, just like they are in the wild.
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African interior is most recognizable by furniture. The main material that should be used for this kind of furniture is, without a thought, wood. Wooden furniture has to be made out of raw and dark wood such as cedar, mahogany or ebony. The lines on the furniture could resemble tribal figurines and the upholstery should always be made of natural materials, such as dark leather. If you are running out of ideas, check out some true African designs at  propertymaputo.com. Also, you can always add some wooden figurines, animal and floral patterns on top of your furniture and make it bold.
Step into this new world of fashion and liberate yourself from traditional styles and patterns that are common for Europe and the US. Bring a wild and bold African style into your home and give it a spirit of African tribes and wildlife. This way you could be able to feel the strength of this beautiful continent every day.

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About the author

Amy Mia Goldsmith is a literature graduate from Melbourne with a lot of different interests in life. She and her husband love DIY projects and design. You can also contact her at her Facebook page or  Twitter account.

Thursday 5 November 2015

My hillside

The hillside opposite our house is just perfect.  It's the most perfect hillside you could ever imagine, and the best part of all is that I see it every day, lots of times.  I see it from the landing window, the kitchen, dining room bedroom, and I am so lucky that I see it from my studio windows.  I cannot stop taking pictures of it either.  Over the past 7 years of living where we are, here are some of my favourites (nb none of them have been enhanced I promise!).

You can see the woods down there where we walk in the distance, collecting leaves, sticks and capturing photos of trees and mushrooms.

Autumn time is truly spectacular! Just before the leaves turned red - 3 weeks ago
winter arrives
winter time

winter sunset
when it snows, it's bad!

stormy times ahead...

sometimes we see one or two of of these too
I just love it, and never tire of it.  It's almost as good as watching the ocean, almost...

Guest blogger Amy Goldsmith...

I was approached recently by Amy Goldsmith, an Australian blogger who writes about interiors, wondering if I ever published any guest blogs on my pages.  Well I thought it was a great idea - you get a fresh perspective on design ideas and something different from my work too.  This is what Amy has written for my blog...hope you enjoy it!  Claire 

Contemporary Foyer Design Ideas

Image credit - rolleusa.com

Though we may be reluctant to admit it, we often judge people by the looks of their living areas. This is a reason why you should dress up your home to be both functional and eye-catching from the doorstep and beyond – however glamorous your living room, boudoir or kitchen may be, it is inevitably the foyer that will make the first impression on your visitors. As the guests make their way into your private retreat, their interest should grow with each step they take, starting with the lobby. With these simple additions, your hallway will quickly become not just the spot where you drop your keys and kick off your shoes after a long day, but also an extension of your personality and the starting point of comfort, elegance and pleasure.

1. Wall décor: Quotes and memorable pictures


As you retreat to the privacy of your home, you should leave all other worries aside and focus on the things that really make life worthwhile. Creative  wall art in the foyer can help turn the focus from the world you are leaving outside to the pleasantries awaiting inside your own safety bubble. Print out inspirational quotes and pictures of your loved ones to put up on a panel in the lobby. You can also use postcards, your kids’ drawings and love notes: such mementoes will remind you of all the affection you are surrounded by on a daily basis.

2. A fashionable rug: The perfect print


Once you have kicked off your boots, you know you are finally home and it is time to rest and have fun. To avoid encounters of the chilly kind the moment you put your bare feet down on the foyer floor, use soft rugs with a fashionable design such as florals, animal prints or arabesque forms. While animal-inspired designs will blend in perfectly with a contemporary home decor, florals and arabesques are more stylistically versatile and can be combined with a variety of looks. Monochromatic rugs are one more option, but they lack character and should be used only if you truly cannot find a floor cover that matches the rest of your home décor.

3. The hangout spot: Shelf and coat rack

The foyer is a place of impressions and expressions, but it should also be organized to  serve its primary purpose, that is accommodating the necessities for a trip to the outdoors such as jackets, coats and shoes. Add a wooden shelf-and-coat rack to the lobby to hang your parka, mackinaw or tuxedo and organize your keys, wallets, portable player, sunglasses, headphones and other bits and ends you need on the go.

4. May lights guide your way: Illuminate staircase

Coming home at small hours can be potentially dangerous, especially if your foyer extends to a staircase. If you have had one too many drinks or are just too tired from a long day at the office, an illuminated staircase may save you a lot of hassle. Attach LED light to the side of the steps or under the stair tread nosing and have lights guide your way from the front door to the sleeping area. You can also  use LED downlights to brighten up the staircase area. A lovely idea for nighthawks, isn’t it?
Depending on the size of the foyer, you can throw in add other elegant accessories such as shoe racks, wooden cabinets or side tables, for as long as you do not overcrowd the entrance hall with pieces of little functional value. Remember: a fabulous contemporary hallway is clean, graceful and functional and it should represent your home in the best of lights, so keep it clutter-free and well-organized for best visual effects.

About the Author

Amy Mia Goldsmith is a literature graduate with a lot of different interests in life. She and her husband love DIY projects and design. She blogs at Smooth Decorator and you can also contact her at her  Facebook page or Twitter account.