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Today I’m really excited to introduce a new feature, “My Space” to the blog. Here I ask the person of the month to take a photo or two (or more!) of their favourite place in their home. It could be a little reading nook, a mantle, desk, the kitchen or table – whatever it is that makes them feel good when they pass it or are spending time there.
My very first subject is Caroline Davis, a stylist from just outside of London who shares her experiments and ideas on her blog, Trend Daily. I discovered Caroline’s blog not long after starting my own and have always been in admiration of her still life styling. I do love a behind the scenes, and this turns out to be one of them as Caroline shoots most of her photos in her study.
As you will see from some of her photos here, she has a glorious mix of vintage, botanicals and produce and they’re always so rich in colour and texture with beautiful lighting.
Thank you Caroline for inviting us into your study, I now can see where you get so much inspiration with these surrounds. Mel x
Deciding which part of my home was a favourite was actually far more tricky than I thought-partly because everything is unfinished, so I have favourite little corners in mainly untidy rooms! No where really has a true identity either-I wouldn’t know how to describe my style. Lots of friends say some rooms are very Scandinavian, but then there’s some retro vintage and ethnic thrown in too! I tend to work at the old barn door table at the front of the house first thing to catch the morning sun and then our big oak floorboard kitchen table in the middle of the day when the sun’s moved round. My one and truly personal space though is the tiny office upstairs at the back of the house, which gets the sun from mid afternoon until it sets. Even in mid Winter the light is just perfect to practice my photography. I’m ashamed to say it took 3 years to clear out the room properly after we moved in and until then it was little more than a glorified cupboard!
We visit a house clearance and antiques barn in Leeds once a year with our friends and invariably come home with something- the 1940s table was £40 and I plan to paint the top white eventually to make a background for some of my pictures. Our friends actually spotted the 1950s kitchen cabinet from there, sent me a picture on the phone and I bought it straight away! The Ikea shelving unit was left over from the kids’ playroom and the wall mounted cupboard came from our old neighbours-all a bit of a mish-mash at the moment, but getting there!
Since discovering The Home Barn last year, I honestly can’t think of a moment when something from them isn’t in my house waiting to be photographed. The owners Sarah and Sally have the most amazing eye-if I could buy everything I would, but they very kindly let me borrow anything whenever I want-the blackboard painted drawer, vintage school rulers and apothecary bottles are all from them-a real treasure trove. I guess it would be fair to say my study is more of a mini studio space than an office. Jon just bought me my first tripod for my birthday and I bought a 50mm lens from the earnings of my last freelance shoot, so my camera is out all the time. I love learning how to take photos, but I’m hopeless at reading instructions-it’s taken me a year to get where I am now, mainly by instinct and a lot of trial and error. I really appreciate quality light and how important it is to a shot, so things may stay laid out for a photo for a few days.
Plants and food have (oddly) turned out to be two of my favourite subject matters, along with vintage bits and bobs of course! Just about everything gets photographed at the beginning and end of its life and beyond. When I get time, I love to sketch and paint them too. I’ve always loved botanical drawing, but didn’t follow the advice of my art teacher and go into wallpaper design, so it’s lovely to paint whenever I can. I also spend a lot of time at my desk designing room sets for my editorial and commercial styling. The wall moodboards change every few weeks depending on my latest favourite magazine features. I used to keep all my magazines, but it just got ridiculous and I never got to see anything at the bottom of the pile, so now all my tear sheets end up in A4 folders after they’ve made a brief appearance on the wall-I’m building quite a large collection of folders, but every page is a favourite!
I’d love to get a vintage swivel office chair at some point, put up the venetian blind that’s been sitting in the corner for two years, pull up the carpet and paint the floorboards white (no I’ll never move all that furniture), hang the 1970s pendant light sitting on top of the cupboard…. And, and, and!!!!!
Readers if you haven’t already, you really must pop over to Trend Daily to see more of her beautiful work! Mel x
All images are courtesy of and copyright to Caroline Davis of Trend Daily
Hi everyone, I’m back with Finding a Bargain. In this mini-series, I show you an area in our home and reveal the great buys we found along the way. It’s to prove that you needn’t spend a fortune to decorate, it’s about keeping an eye out at all times and being ready to purchase a deal at the time you see it, because in my experience you rarely find it when you’re looking for it! You can see part 1 here.
Step into our bedroom… Can you guess the bargains in the room? No it’s not the vintage linen sheets, I had to put them in because I’ve been speaking about my love of these for so long that I thought I should show you how beautiful they are….
Scroll down and take a look!
Probably the best bargain buy we’ve done would have to be these vintage file drawers – $60 for these still puzzles me (in a good way)! We bought them in an architectural salvage shop in Sydney at the time that we were renovating our apartment.
I bought the mid century white eyeball lamp in a retro shop in Darlinghurst Sydney for $80.
The poster is a genuine vintage French advertising poster and was purchased at flea market for about $20 and we put it in an Ikea frame, bringing the total to about $50.
The photo frame cost us nothing as it’s the cartridge for a polaroid – I think it’s such a cute idea!
I love flowers and plants in old bottles and jars and this little bottle was given to us by a lovely lady who had a vineyard in Matakana, north of Auckland. My husband told her that we were having lamb for dinner so she duck out the back and gave us this bottle full of homemade verjuice for it.
I hope that I’ve given you some inspiration to go out and visit garage sales, flea markets and vintage shops this weekend and find yourself a bargain or two. I’d love to hear of what you’ve found along the way!
Enjoy your weekend and see you on Monday!
This is the second part to the renovating story of our Sydney apartment. You can catch the first part of our kitchen before and after here.
It’s amazing what ripping up the carpets, polishing the floorboards and painting the walls can do isn’t it? I’m a huge fan of classic white walls; it brightens a room and is the perfect canvas to add colour and texture with art, decorative pieces and furnishings.
Because we couldn’t do all of the renovations straight away, the walls and floors was the first thing to do to make if feel a little more liveable for us. I pulled up the carpet (with my very own hands), removed the trillions of staples, prepared and painted the rooms with the help of friends and family.We actually hired a sander and attempted to polish the floors ourself but gave up pretty quickly and hired someone when we saw the damage we could do.
What I loved about our lounge was the old windows that opened into the sunroom. The windows brought so much character to the room and a lovely feature that was also a handy place to add our decorative pieces.
In the sunroom we laid tessellated tiles. The tiles were such a find at the time! The cement tiles were made in Spain and have a chalky finish. We chose to use three colours, milky white, light blue and grey, which brought a bit of fun to the area without being over the top.
Before I go, I wanted to thank you all so much for the lovely comments and emails I received about us having to move out of our house, I felt really loved! The news has fully sunk in now and while it’s a huge upheaval for our family, I’m feeling a little more positive and I have to say that I’m a tad excited to decorate a new home! Now to find a place that ticks all of the boxes…
See you Friday!
On Friday night I was having a chat with a friend who told me that he really loves reading my blog and all of the gorgeous things showcased and then with a big sigh, said that a lot of them are so out of reach for him.
I thought a lot about it over the weekend and wonder if you all feel the same? It’s true, some of the stuff featured here can be expensive, I put it here to inspire and give a few ideas and of course, to dream a bit. It’s not about decking your home with all of these things; it’s about perhaps one or two key pieces or using them to for inspiration. But I’d love to know how you feel about this?
When we started out, we had a lot of Ikea in our home and over time replaced some of the pieces. Guillaume and I would spend our weekends at flea markets, garage sales and eBay searching for that perfect item, sometimes we were lucky, but not always. We’ve found things off the street, refurbished furniture bought second hand, screwed pipes to an old butchers block to make a coffee table, stripped back a Danish style dinner table that was painted black… Setting up home is what we enjoy, it’s our common interest so doing this was fun for us and now almost everything around our home has a story attached.
We love mixing old with new, however the new designer pieces of furniture tend to be super expensive so we usually bring the new in with decorative pieces like lamps. Some of these lamps tend to have a high price tag so we’ve been known to ask our family to pool their money together to buy us one gift for for our birthday instead of lots of small ones.
I thought I’d take just one room in our home as an example and pick out a few bargains that we made along the way.
- This lovely antique desk has a porcelain inkwell and was once used in the NSW Railways. We found this at a garage sale in Kings Cross Sydney for about $250.
- One of my favourite bargains would have to be this painting of men with no face, once again we found this at a garage sale in Darlinghurst for $20! I was doing the happy dance for the entire day after that deal!
- Lastly, we found a set of six second hand Thonet No. 18 Bentwood Chairs on Trade Me (NZ version of Ebay) for $500. We would have paid about three times the amount full price.
Do you love hunting down a good bargain? I’d love to hear any great deals you’ve made along the way and of course, what you like seeing in this blog. You can let me know in the comments or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. It’s council cleanup in parts of central Auckland this week so keep your eyes peeled for some treasures if you’re in the area!
With the copper and brass trend showing no sign of leaving us anytime soon, there are so many beautiful design pieces on offer. There are also some wonderful vintage options out there that you can add to the mix. I’m a huge fan of mixing old with new, it really throws some dynamics to the interior and today I’ve hunted down some vintage copper and brass on Etsy, that would look fabulous in almost any interior:
From left to right, top to bottom:
The vendor describes these vintage dishes as copper planters, which I think is such a clever idea, a lush green plant sitting in one of these would look gorgeous.
This Dutch vintage vase has such an elegant shape and would look great on its own or as a vase.
I love this Israeli brass plated copper tray and think would look stunning as a base for a vignette. Arrange simply with a few books and a vase.
I could imagine a bunch of hydrangeas in this vintage hammered vase, of course it would also look lovely on its own with its dramatic handle.
These little vintage copper madeleine moulds look so sweet on a wall or windowsill. We’ve got a couple of similar ones in our kitchen.
I think this vintage copper colander would be a shame to hide away and would look so cute as a fruit bowl in the kitchen.
Do you have any vintage copper or brass? Can you think of any other uses for my selections? See you Wednesday!
Today I thought I’d leave you for the week with something that completely took my breath away when I saw it yesterday.
The Woods is a second collaboration between Norwegian design studios StokkeAustad and Andreas Engesvik and was inspired by the forests and the lights of the north. I love the form of this exquisite hand blown glass sculpture of seven trees; its simplicity captures the colour and beauty of the hand blown glass.
I’m completely blown away by these decorative objects – are you?
Have a lovely weekend and look forward to seeing you back here Monday.
You may recall that I’ve got a bit of thing for lighting. If you’ve got a mix of great floor, table and pendant lamps in your home, you’re halfway there with the decorating. They can be discreet or make a statement and they are (mostly) easy to change or rearrange.
I’m not one for decking my house with the latest trend, I think it’s important to find a style that you’re comfortable with, that tells your story and yet stay current with what’s going on – a bit like updating the wardrobe with a few key pieces and accessories each season.
Here are my picks for pendant lamps for now:
I first discovered this design house by Gudy from Eclectic Trends a couple of months ago and I’ve been following them since. The Semi Pendant was actually designed in partnership by students, Claus Bonderup and Torsten Thorup back in 1968. I really like the clean lines and colour choices available today, particularly the pastels, which make this design very relevant. Available in 30cm and 47cm
See images below for more on this design.
I’ve been admiring a lot of lamp clusters around lately and my favourite would have to be this one. Designed by Sinja Svarrer Damkjær and described as a modern day chandelier, the seven lamps in total have been hand pleated. They would look lovely and give almost a romantic feel to a living room centered or in the corner.
With coppers and metals truly making a solid mark in today’s trends, Tom Dixon has a huge selection to choose from and I like the way this one gives intricate shadows to a room when lit. It’s also available in brass and stainless steel.
4. MHY – Muuto
Designed by Norway Says, a trio from Oslo, this pendant comes in a huge range of different colours and I love this colour choice. Pink, particularly pastel pink is huge at the moment (even better beside some copper) and I think a statement like this would be enough. This pendant is fun and I could imagine a few of them lined above a kitchen breakfast bench.
Beautifully designed by Seppo Koho and handmade from Finnish birch, this pendant lamp plays with the simplicity and beauty of wood. It would look great in an open plan breezy room.
Here is a perfect example of how a pendant lamp can make a statement in Gubi‘s impeccably style catalogue images. It’s almost all that is needed in the room for it to feel “decorated” apart from the furniture:
The pendant above, replaces the need for a table lamp with the low hanging above the sidetable. The same pendant in a larger size below, draws attention to the table and the purpose of the room with great effect.
Do you have a particular style here that you prefer? How do you like to keep up with trends?
I hope that you all have a nice start to the week! See you Wednesday:)
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