BRAND NEW BLOG: Launched December 2010.
Keep an eye on this blog by clicking 'follow' above or follow via Twitter, below right...
Truly time-poor? Key trends are written in BOLD!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

A moodboard for today: colours, textures, materials and motifs for the 2011 home

Picture copyright of Kate Jacobs

I had to make this moodboard on Thursday night as a prop for a shoot on Friday. It was good because I only had about fifteen minutes to sift through my folder of inspirational images and put it together - which stopped me agonizing and never actually completing it. I particularly love the 'at home with a gimp shot' - that gimp has one beautiful pad! I didn't plan it this way but it seems to contain a lot of interiors trends that are reaching their critical mass.  Here's a breakdown:

Colours: caramel, straw, honey, greige, grey, leafy natural greens

Textures and materials: hair, rope, hessian, woven grass (wallpaper), raw and slubby silks, exposed brick, muted metals (think old coins)

Motifs and patterns: plaited hair, sunflowers, the old master still life painting (and the way these celebrate the beauty to be found in humble, everyday things).

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Comfort and Joy! The Bouroullec brothers' newly launched Ploum sofa

Picture courtesy of Ligne Roset

Picture courtesy of Ligne Roset
One of the most exciting things to come out of the imm cologne fair of last week was Ligne Roset's launch of the Ploum sofa, by French design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. I love its simple 'come on, dive in' good looks. It looks like a great place to tumble en masse at a party, nurse the subsequent hangover or cosy up, solo, on a winters day like today.  And in this case, the comfort is much more than skin deep, as the brothers Bouroullec explain, 'We attempted to make a very comfortable contemporary settee. Ploum is a vast shape on which the whole body rests on a soft, welcoming surface. Its seat is relatively low, it seems organic. Perhaps the use of a stretchy fabric is like a symbolic parallel to a contemporary lifestyle, in which flexibility of use and comfort seem to us to be essential.' Ligne Roset elaborate: 'The Ploum settees are the fruit of a great deal of research into comfort, leading to a specific combination of two materials, used jointly: a stretchy covering fabric and an ultra-flexible foam. The combination of these two materials, when associated with the real dimensional generosity of the Ploum settees, offers an extreme level of comfort whilst offering the body the chance to adopt a number of possible postures.'
What's fascinating about all this is that designers are making comfort, rather than looks, their first priority. I've long been known as a comfort bunny, the one lugging a pair of feather pillows into my festival tent. But now it feels right for the wider world. It's part of a 'substance before style' idea that must inevitably gain momentum in the mixed up world we're living in. People need their homes to comfort and cosset them, to bring them solace, rather than merely look great. Of course, style needn't be ruled out, but surely we'd all be a little happier putting substance first and sharing our home with a settee that's a pleasure to sit on. 

*Ligne Roset

*The Bouroullec Brothers

Thursday, 6 January 2011

MY EDIT: brand new online store Skandivis:

'Skandivis', which loosely translates as 'the Scandinavian way', is the name of the brand new online store launched by Toni Kay, who comes from Denmark but has lived in London for many years. While the store unsurprisingly specialises in unearthing exciting Nordic designers, Kay fuses these with products from around the world that sit happily with the Scandi aesthetic. Here's my pick of favourite things from the site...

I love the Spring-evoking, slightly acidic colour palette in both of the above products. Interesting information on the Adjustable Shuffle Table from the website: 'Mia Hamborg gives new life to the old Nordic craft tradition of turning wood by adding the colour and playful forms from old painted wooden toys. You get to decide how to use the shapes and colours to create your own unique table. The main aim with this piece of furniture is to create joy so whatever you do please remember to have fun with it!'

The above ultra-cute cushions are from 'The Marionette Collection', by Norwegian design duo Darling Clementine. I'd like to see a row of them along the back of a little wooden or wrought metal sofa bed in a child's playroom. 

Cork Tray Large £24.95

Cork Coaster £14

Cork is a natural, renewable and recyclable material. Use the tray for serving or as a centerpiece or placemat, while the ‘coaster’ would be useful when putting hot pots and pans on the table. I like the ultra-simple and natural aesthetic of these products.  
Extremely expensive (by my budget standards!) but, to me, these kinds of products (the above cushion and throw) represent true, new luxury. I’ll do a separate blog on this subject at some future date. 

Hand-carved Olive Wood Salad Servers £15.99

Tree Double Bed Linen £159

This last is more about the image than product. I'm a sucker for a bed outdoors (think of the cosy bed on a frozen Montauk beach in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which made a big impression on me) and I love the twisted wood and natural greens in this shot. 

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

MY HOUSE: Introducing some new (and affordable) pictures and frames

I got some great pictures for Christmas. Not being one for surprises I chose them myself! Here they are, framed up and ready to go for a little show-and-tell...

I've got a few sculptural type things on my walls, but very little in the way of pictures* so I've spent a few months researching prints-I-can-afford-to-buy-now, looking for things in the £25-£65 type bracket, with frames of similar prices.

The first one is a 'Spoon (Austin, TX)' music poster from Animal Rummy for a music event in Austin, Texas. They sell lots of amazing posters, concentrating on works related to the various musical projects of the wonderful Mr Jack White. I loved the unusual mix of old photograph and modern graphics in this design, the aged-looking paper  (French sand speckletone paper) and the metallic copper coloured printed lettering. Amazingly, given my lack of awareness of modern music, I actually have the album of one of the acts mentioned, The Strange Boys, which makes it feel nice and personal. I'll be hanging it in the lounge above one of the sofas.

 In the same room, I've also got a Wayne Pate silkscreen print called For the Birds. This will hang above the fireplace and be my main focal point when sitting in this room. I like lounges to be quite tranquil so I wanted something fairly simple here, that wasn't a constant distraction and this piece, reminsicent of a Picasso drawing, does the trick beautifully. Because of their irregular sizes, these two needed special frames. I'd love to shop local at my brilliant local framers, but I needed a budget solution. I used the bespoke / design-your-own frame and mount service at I was really pleased with the choice of frames and mounts and you can even upload your image to get a better idea of the finished effect. I chose a skinny flat white frame and a 'granite' (but actually medium grey) mount. I am taking a gamble here and writing this before I've seen the finished results but I will update this if I'm less than delighted (in the name of journalistic integrity I have NOT opted to for the money-off-in-exchange-for-website-mention offer on their site). 

In the kitchen, over the dining table, I have a 'Carousel' print from the brilliant Elphick's on Colombia Road. Sharon Elphick sells a few of this 60s illustrator David Weidman's prints. I love the colours which will work great with my dining area window seat shades-of-green curtains and the sixities folk-y style of the piece which sits happily with the nearby four season plaques by Bjorn Wiinblad. This print is a standard size so I've framed it in a white 'Bacall' frame from Habitat. I love these because you slot your pic between two panes of glass, meaning you can use your wall as the mount colour. Great if your walls are anything other than white - in this case mine is a very strong cream - 'Farrow's Cream' by Farrow and Ball. Sadly, Habitat have reduced the range of sizes available. I have a few but wish I had stocked up when I could. I'm really into skinny frames and think the days of outsized frames and mounts are over.

*I'll have to do a blog on my existing pictures including pieces by James Brown / General Pattern and Modern Toss as well as some amateur / bootfair pieces, some other time. 

UPDATE: OK, so all the prints are framed and hung and I'm pleased with them all. I was surprised that the eframe frames come with some sort of plastic rather than glass but as this is good news for our fragile old horsehair plaster walls, I can't see a downside. Here are some snaps I took today: