Monthly Archives: May 2011

Light Fantastic

I’ve managed a very quick decor update today – stringing some lights on the chimney breast in my bedroom.

These ones in particular are great, as the shop I got them from sells the “balls” individually – which means you can pick specific colours to suit your room. Kind of like pick and mix for adults!

Here’s some more “light” inspiration, for both indoors as well as outside:

Image: Real Simple

Image: Cocomale

Image: Polly Wreford

Image: Apartment Therapy

Hope these offer plenty of light bulb moments as to how best to light up your home!

xx

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Yearning for an Ercol

In the latest of my “Objects I wish I had in my home” posts, my current wish-object is another item I’m coveting for our in-progress family room.


Image: Homescape

The Ercol Pebble nest of tables would be the perfect solution for my room – neat and discreet tucked up against the wall, but flexible enough to turn into a coffee table. Established by Florentine designer Lucian Ercolani in 1920, Ercol become known for its innovative techniques, as well as the amazing quality of its solid beech and elm products. Most famously, it perfected the art of steam-bending wood into graceful curves. Ercolani showed his designs at both the 1946 “Britain Can Make It” exhibition, as well as at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

His light, modest designs were an instant hit, comparing favourably with the heavier furniture of the pre-war era, and have been in production ever since.  Now a number of design classics have been reissued, through a collaboration between Ercol and John Lewis.

There’s something incredibly humble about the Pebble (or Cloud) nest of tables. The tapered legs are elegance personified, yet there’s absolutely nothing fancy or fussy about the design. The beautiful grain of the elm and beech wood work in perfect harmony with the simple, organic shape.

Other Ercol hits include benches, chairs and tables – all of which have the ability to seem perfectly at home in a myriad of different design styles, from bright and bold to clean and simple.

Here are a few examples of these design classics:

Image: The Fabric of My Life

Images: Made Good

Image: The Independent

Image: John Lewis

Chairs, tables, benches – these beauties might be half a century old, but they’re certainly not showing their age.

xx

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True to type

I think I might have already mentioned this, but I absolutely love typographic art. I have a few examples around my house, some of which I’ve bought, and others which I’ve made.

I bought this print from an unknown seller in London’s Spitalfields Market many years ago, so can’t credit it unfortunately. I have it on the wall in my bedroom, and just love the ambiguity of it. You Make Me…. what? Angry? Happy? Or perhaps Complete….

I particularly love the use of the stencil-type font – so utilitarian, so clean-lined – and was inspired to create my own artwork:

Simply stencilled in black paint onto a piece of plywood (another of my particular passions – I love the rich grain, as well as the striped edges you get with a good piece of ply), there are a couple of very personal reasons behind the choice of these particular words.

Myself, my husband and two sons are all pretty big fans of the band Super Furry Animals, and have seen them a number of times together at various festivals. One of our favourite songs is “It’s Not the End of the World” from the 2004 album Song Book, Vol 1 – hence reason number one for choosing this particular phrase.

Even more pertinent however, is a conversation I had with my eldest son when he was an extremely precocious four year old (now he’s an extremely precocious nine year old – some things never change). Whenever he’d get horribly upset over something, I’d find myself saying “Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world”. Until one time, when he thought long and hard, and then asked me “Mum, so when exactly is the end of the world?”.

As I’ve said before – and will probably say again – I’m happiest if an object in my home is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also brings a smile to my face – which this certainly does.

Here’s a quick round-up of some more great typographical art out there at the moment…

Brigitte Herrod – Rockett St George (smile rating – 10 out of 10!)

Not On The High Street

Rob Ryan – St Jude’s Gallery

James Brown – St Jude’s Gallery

xx

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Holiday blues – part II

It would appear I’m not the only one using the traditional blue and white of Greek landscapes as design inspiration. The June issue of Elle Decor features these great spreads:

So here’s a final shot from my Greek escape:

What I like about this scheme is the unusual combination of a fairly traditional navy blue with the much brighter turquoise used on the chairs. Plus I like how the turquoise is picked up and repeated with the stripe on the cushion – simple, but pretty effective.

Some more blue and white inspiration for you:

Image: Design Hole Online

Image: 2juh.com

Image: London Lisbonite

xx

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Good looking and practical – a winning combination

Here’s the first in a new regular series of posts, titled “Objects I wish I had in my home…

Image: Shophorne.com

The Loft Zig Zag Jielde Floor lamp is number one on my current wish list. Incredibly industrial, with a kind of oddly beautiful angularity, they were designed in 1950 by the French designer Jean-Louis Domecq for use in factories and workshops.  The articulated arms can be adjusted in any direction without any damage to the wiring, meaning they’re incredibly practical, as well as being things of immense beauty. As Bradley Quinn says in his wonderful book Mid-Century Modern, many 1950’s design classics were objects “whose sculptural  and aesthetic qualities paralleled their functional attributes”. Functional and beautiful – in my opinion, a perfect description of the Jielde.

So what’s got me obsessing about this lamp? Well, my next house project is our “family room” – a kind of second reception, library, music and general relaxation room. Although the room still needs work, I love sitting back on our comfy sofa, magazine in one hand and cup of tea in the other. And the Jielde lamp would be the perfect reading light for these rare moments of relaxation!

They seem to work in most settings, whether a sparse, Scandi-style design, or a richer, more opulent scheme. Here’s some examples of these architectural wonders in situ:

Image: Louise Rastall Interiors

Images: Desire to Inspire (looks like this blogger is even more obsessed with them than I am!)

I personally prefer the simple, classic looks of the basic black version, although the beautiful yellow one above works extremely well within that particular scheme. Such design classics, however, command an incredibly high price; and so for now, my Jielde will have to remain simply “an object I wish I had in my home…”

xx

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Holiday blues

Although I normally focus on everyday objects in my home, for the past week my home has been the beautiful island of Crete. When I think of the Greek islands, what comes to mind is an array of bright and vivid blues, combined with almost blinding white.

So here’s a little bit of inspiration from my trip, with blue as the key design element:

1) Pale & Interesting

This pale, almost watery wash of blue on an exterior wall works really well  combined with the angular, geometric planting.

2) Stripes Aplenty

A ticking style fabric with a pale blue stripe has a brilliantly rustic feel as a table cloth. Overlaying thick stripes with thinner ones creates an interesting, informal look. Pair this with chairs in a strong, deep colour – either blue to match or red to contrast – and you’re well on the way to creating the perfect dining setting (of course the rustic beams, dappled sunlight and paved flooring helps!)

3) Modern Nautical

I love how these bar stools have taken the traditional Greek combination of blue and white, and applied it in a more contemporary way. The clean angularity of the stools contrasts beautifully with the tonal shades of blue, as well as with the worn white steps behind. The rich wood tabletops add to the nautical feel – very apt, as these stools were outside a bar located right on the edge of a harbour.

A truly inspiring trip, with more images to come in future posts!

xx

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