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Bad to the Bone

It’s always fun to have a look at themes and trends that are making the rounds in the world of interior design. Our general rule of thumb here at Angel + Blume is to go with the style you most like over what’s hot right now, but it’s sometimes worth looking a little outside your comfort zone, you never know you may discover something new to take you fancy. Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of skull and bone like accessories that are perfect for anyone who wants something a little unusual and quirky. I’ve picked out a few fun and diverse products that all follow the bone theme for you to take a look at.

Not all bone themed pieces have to be obvious, in fact if you want to find pieces of furniture that make a statement, getting ones that ask a few questions is always a smart move. I find this whale bone chair from Anthropologie so interesting, it’s from eucalyptus wood by artist Adam Birch. At first glance, the chair looks like an abstract, Avant-Garde piece, but on closer inspection you can see the bone-like structure, making the whole thing even better. It’s a great occasional chair for a contemporary setting.

‘Whale Bone Chair’ from Anthropologie

If you feel like starting off slowly, a few simple home accessories are an easy way to work with the theme without going the whole nine yards. I love this picture frame from Graham & Green, it will beautifully mount a treasured photo without stealing focus, but without being dull either and will fit nicely into an already existing collection of picture frames.

‘Indigo Printed Bone Frame’ from Graham & Green

Another little gem from Graham and Green are these fantastic salad servers, they’ll be decorative both when in use and when on display, plus they incorporate both bone and colourfulness to make a wonderful combo.

‘Multi Coloured Salad Servers’ from Graham & Green

For anyone that favours the suave and sophisticated look in their home, and wants to keep this theme running, this reeded bone ice bucket from Oka is the perfect balance of vintage and sophisticated style, it’ll look charming on display and can be whipped out just in time for cocktail hour!

‘Reeded Bone Ice Bucket’ from Oka

Inlaid bone as a decorative form dates back to as early as ancient Egypt, and if you’re looking for a bit of bohemian luxury it’s a great way to get started. This four poster bed from Anthropologie is absolutely dream-like, ideal for helping create a fairy tale bedroom.

‘Bone Inlay Four Poster Bed’ from Anthropologie

If you want to take a more light-hearted leap into the bone theme why not try something cute and dainty? These star carved doorknobs from Rockett St George are just adorable. They’ll make a wonderful decoration to a cupboard door, anywhere in the house be it a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.

‘Star Carved Knob’ from Rockett St George

Adorning your home with trinkets and treasures is a sure fire way to add character to the place. I really like these plaster cast shells, fossils, coral pieces from Pale and Interesting. Filling up a bowl with them is a great way to decorate a bathroom.

‘Bag o’ Bones’ from Pale and Interesting

These skeleton paper lanterns from Rockett St George are a kooky (and spooky) way to include the bone theme in an unusual way. They’re superb if you need them to make a party that extra bit special, but will also work well for everyday use if you want to create a playful interior.

‘Skeleton Crew Paper Lanterns’ from Rockett St George

If you want to bring your bones to the table, check out this set of six skeleton plates from Re-found Objects. Perfect for a dinner party where you want to impress and entertain the crowd, they’ll look amazing up on the table and will turn into a piece of art when on display.

‘Bone China Skeleton Plates’ from Re-found Objects

For the grand finale, a real showstopper, and something that’s probably not for the faint-hearted, is this glorious embellished buffalo skull from Rockett St George. Mounted animal heads on the wall may seem like a thing of the past, but there are loads of similar but alternative products floating around at the moment, from paper and felt animal heads to bedazzled skulls like this one. If you’ve got the guts it’ll look fab hung over a fireplace, bed or even placed amongst many strange and beautiful pieces running up a stairway.

‘Embellished Buffalo Skull’ from Rockett St George

From the adorable to the pretty to the slightly odd, there are all kinds of ways to experiment with the bone trend and so many ways to get inspired.

A lot of the time when you look up at someone’s ceiling, you’re most likely to a plain white one looking back at you. Now while there is absolutely nothing wrong with a beautiful, crisp white ceiling, I always sense that in most home, the ceiling goes a little neglected. There are some wonderful ways to play around with the vast space that is your ceiling, and here a just a few ideas, from wallpaper to lighting.

If you’re style tends to lean towards the more traditional side of interior design, a beautiful cornice could be just what you need. A well-crafted cornice will give your home a little grandeur and glamour. For timeless style head over to Stevensons of Norwich, they have something to suit everyone from simple to embellishment.

‘Stevensons National Trust mid Georgian Cornice’ from Stevensons of Norwich

The ceiling rose dates back to as early as the 17th Century in England, and has been a prominent feature in a lot of English homes ever since. Whether you have one that’s looking a bit crumbly, or you don’t have one at all, the addition of a ceiling rose, especially in a traditional or period home is a lovely touch that will add a bit of character to your ceilings. Stevensons of Norwich have some beautiful ceiling roses, in all sorts of styles, I particularly like the art deco designs they have in their collection. They would make a fantastic feature, either painted along with the ceiling in a dramatic colour, or if you’re feeling adventurous painted a contrasting bright colour to your walls and ceiling.

‘Art Deco Ceiling Rose B’ from Stevensons of Norwich

Maybe you’re into a bit of bling in your interiors, and want to go full Renaissance, marble mansion-esque style but aren’t really looking to re-mortgage the house in order to kit it out. Instead of breaking the bank, why not go for a modern, playful alternative to the real thing. Wall decals are excellent ways to create a big statement in an easy, fun way. This gold stencil, available on Etsy is a great idea if you want to add a bit of neo-classical luxury to your ceilings.

‘Ceiling Stencil’ from Cutting Edge Stencils via Etsy

A great way to add a bit of colour, character and charm onto your ceilings is to wallpaper them. Whether is a bold colour or an intriguing patterns or imagery, you can begin to create your very own Sistine Chapel. For a contemporary take on the conventional cloud-like design, this wallpaper from Designers Guild is superb! Turn a bedroom or a den into a dreamy heaven with this little gem up on your ceiling!

‘Ceil Liberte Aurore Wallpaper’ from Designers Guild

For an industrial, distressed style, this tile wallpaper is fantastic way to give your home a bit of an edge, it replicates the tin tiles that were all the rage in North America from 1890 to the 1930s.

‘Brooklyn Tile Wallpaper’ from Trouva

High ceilings are a blessing to those who have them, and they invite all sorts of fun and creative decorative ideas. If you have the space in an indoor room, or perhaps a conservatory, filling the ceiling area with gorgeous lanterns is great to tick the decorating and lighting boxes. Keep them all white for a sophisticated look, or create a playful environment with a range of colourful lanterns.

‘Chinese Lanterns’ from Featherology 2 via Etsy

If you like the idea of the lanterns, but maybe think they’re a little too feminine for your style, why not go for something like these black, grey and white star lanterns from Bodie & Fou. They had a cool, contemporary edge, and if you’re living in a smoky city, seeing the stars at night won’t be a problem anymore!

‘Selection of Stars’ from Bodie & Fou

The perfect ceiling accessory if of course a pendant light, just like a wonderful pair of earrings it’s a fab way to complete a whole look. For something rather special these tassel pendant lights from Rockett St George are a little bit magical. They’re made from smoked olive teardrop glass shades and one metre of tassels. The perfect companion for a stairwell.

‘Long Tassel Glass Light’ from Rockett St George

And lastly, for a bit of colourful fun, and a great way to quickly brighten up a room, this rainbow shade for Rockett St George will do just the trick in giving your ceiling a bit life!

‘Rainbow Lampshade’ from Rockett St George

Whatever your style, or however brave you’re feeling just remember that your ceiling is a blank canvas just waiting to be covered in all kinds of wonderful treats!

The book featured in Book Club this month was brought to our attention by one of our lovely clients, and though it’s not the usual type of book we tend to include on the list, it’s a real thing of beauty! The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones is a detailed depiction of the history of decorative design and ornament. From Greek to Turkish to the Renaissance, the book is full to the brim of beautiful, traditional designs, and an interesting history on each origin. The collection of ornament designs are absolutely stunning, in fact this book is even worth buying to pull out and frame the images. I’ve selected a few of my favourites from some of the different eras to show off just how lovely they are.

Greek No.6

‘Greek Plate No.6’

This design comes from Greek and Etruscan (the name of civilisation in ancient Italy) vases. Something Owen Jones, the author of The Grammar of Ornament, notes about Greek decoration is that unlike some of its predecessors or companions at the time, its designs lacked meaning. Beautiful though they were, they weren’t representative or symbolic in any way, and were purely for decorative purposes. However, what is important to note is that there is an overwhelming amount of Greek ornament that still remains today, this indicates that at the time the style of Greek ornament would have been in popular demand and considered high on the taste scale. Jones comments that “the lands would have been overflowing with artists, whose hands and minds were so trained as to enable them to execute these beautiful ornaments with unerring truth”. Below the Greek plate shows off ornament from the Temples and Tombs in Greece and Sicily.

Greek No.8

‘Greek Plate No.8’

Ornamentation from Pompeii takes its influence from its surrounding areas, from Greek to Roman styles, the design below is a rather fantastic geometric ornament, taken from Mosaics from Pompeii. The rich dark colours mixed with the almost neon bright tones creates a somewhat contemporary design.

Pompeian No.2

‘Pompeian Plate No.3’

There is a certain vagueness that comes with the discussion of Byzantine ornament, it appears that historians are often unable to track down, or confirm authentic Byzantine pieces of design and therefore are unable to make a true, viable comment on the history of the ornament. Jones calls the Byzantine style “peculiar” but I think it’s rather wonderful, and the combination of various schools of design compile together to create a gorgeous style.

Byzantine No.3

‘Byzantine Plate No.3’

Of course, if you’re talking about decorative ornament, you can hardly leave out Turkish designs. From mosques, tombs and fountains in Constantinople, or modern day Istanbul, these intricate designs are truly something special, perhaps because they take influence from other styles of ornament, as Jones says, “on the same building side by side with ornaments derived from Arabian and Persian floral ornaments, we find debased Roman and Renaissance details”.

Turkish No.1

‘Turkish Plate No.1’

The Alhambra is a palace located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain, and is home to some wonderful examples of Moresque ornament. As Jones tells the reader, “we find in the Alhambra the speaking art of the Egyptians, the natural grace and refinement of the Greeks, the geometrical combinations of the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Arabs”. It’s this wonderful collection of influences that creates such glorious patterns and designs. The example below shows a diaper ornament, which is a repetitive geometric surface, usually composed of lozenges or squares, which this pattern uses.

Moresque No.4

‘Moresque Plate No. 4’

Persian No.1

‘Persian Plate No.1’

Above is Persian ornament taken from manuscripts that belong to the British Museum.

Jones describes medieval ornament as being in “perfect harmony” with the structural features of a building. Although little remains of medieval decorative interiors, the decoration of some manuscripts gives some indication as to what would have been the common and popular styles of the interiors. The design below shows off the conventional leaves and flowers from medieval style.

Medieval No.1

‘Medieval Plate No.1’

And finally, I thought I’d squeeze in a few more designs from the Renaissance and Italy. The Renaissance design comes from pottery ornamentation at the South Kensington Museum, which we now know as The V&A.

Renaissance No.5

 

‘Renaissance Plate No.5’

The Italian plate is pilasters and ornament from none other than the Vatican, specifically from the loggia, which were corridors, open on one side to the outside and covered in frescos, such as the one below.

Italian No.1

‘Italian Plate No.1’

Whether you want to learn about the history and stories of ornament, or just take a look at the glorious imagery The Grammar of Ornament is truly a fantastic book!

Last week  I went to The Heong Gallery at Downing College in Cambridge to see the exhibition Cubes and Trees by the brilliant artist Ai Weiwei.  Although technically it’s not much to do with interior design, the exhibition was rather lovely and so we thought it deserved a blog!

Ai Weiwei is somewhat of a controversial artist, due to the subject matter of his work, which spoke out against the Chinese government, Ai Weiwei was arrested and imprisoned in 2011 for 81 days, and up until 2015 he was deprived of his passport. It is this that has led to a worldwide reaction and intrigue into his work, and since having his passport returned to him Ai Weiwei has exhibited his work in some of the world’s major museums, including a recent exhibition at the Royal Academy, which featured some of the same pieces available to see at The Heong Gallery.

Cubes and Trees is a simple, non-fussy exhibition that does exactly what it says on the tin, and the latter part of the title is by far my favourite piece. Comparatively, when I went to go see Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at the Royal Academy, it was a cold December morning and these beautiful trees where placed in the grand courtyard of the building. To see the piece then, in those circumstances created a looming, dramatic effect, but what a difference and change of location and season can make! Yesterday the sun was bright and shining, and the trees though still as equally dramatic had a serenity about them that created a very calm and peaceful encounter.

From afar the trees may appear ordinary, however as soon as you get a closer look you can see all of the wonderful details. Each tree is made up from multiple deconstructed trees, found in a market in Jingdezhen in China. The cut up branches and trunks and fixed together with nuts and bolts to create a beautiful, but raw appearance. What is so clever about this artwork, is that upon viewing it for the first time you may think that each piece is just a single tree cut up and put back together again, but in actual fact each final tree is created from several trees, all in different variety, shapes and sizes, each piece carefully crafted to fit together perfectly.

 

Ai Weiwei has commented on the piece, “We assembled them together to have all the details of a normal tree. At the same time, you’re not comfortable, there’s a strangeness there, an unfamiliar-ness. It’s just like trying to imagine what a tree was like”. The trees are interestingly placed in front of the neo-classical buildings of Downing College, which, like the deconstructed/reconstructed trees, and an interpretation of what its original counterpart would have looked like. Both the building and the trees are an imitation of something, and there is a wonderful synergy between them.

Inside the main area of the gallery, four one-metre square cubes are situated in a row taking up almost the entire length of the floor space. Each cube is made up for a different material, Crystal, Tea, Ebony and Wood.

The Crystal Cube, made in 2014, creates a distorted vision which is encouraged further by the placement of a mirrored surface place on the bottom. This helps to create the cube-like effect, it’s like you’re looking into a vat of solidified water.

The second cube in the sequence is made up of one ton of compressed Pu-er tea leaves, a traditional Chinese tea. As the room get warmer the aromatic fragrances of the tea become more and more potent.

The third cube is titled Cube in Ebony, made in 2009 from Zitan wood. Zitan wood, which grows in China is expensive, and it is often rare to find furniture made from it. In creating these cubes Ai Weiwei comments on Chinese culture’s traditions and customs. There is a perfect blend of modern geometric forms and traditional Chinese materials and decorative conventions. The last cube instalment is made from honey-toned Huali wood and is called Treasure Box. This piece is a little more interactive then the previous three, it is made with an excruciating amount of precision, and when dismantled it can turn into different forms of furniture. This piece is both a play on larger traditional Chinese furniture as well as Puzzle Boxes, which conceal their openings and can be used to hide things in for those in the know.

Cubes and Trees is a wonderful exhibition, full of eye-catching pieces with intriguing stories to tell of both the works and the artist, as the curator of The Heong Gallery Rachel Rose Smith confirms, “Both groups of works attest to the power of Ai’s use of forms, materials and places to reveal more about how we interact with our environments”. It’s a sure must of any Cambridge local to go and take a look at.

For more information on opening times, visit: http://www.dow.cam.ac.uk/index.php/heong-gallery

Sahco Cushions

Sahco produces some absolutely stunning fabrics in a luxurious, contemporary style. Their current home collection maintains every bit of this glamour and has us jumping for joy over every single product. As you know we love a good cushion at Angel + Blume but Sahco cushions are something special and the detailing that goes into each design requires our undivided attention. The cushion designs by Sahco are definitely something to have a good look at if you’re thinking of adorning your home in some new, plush accessories so we thought we’d share some of our absolute favourites with you.

These Tosca cushions are beautifully crafted by ruched silk, and contrasting piping. The colourways are snappy and vibrant and are the ideal finishing touch to add a pop of colour to a smart, contemporary interior.

In the centre of this beautiful shot are the texturally marvellous Mushroom cushions. There has been a tremendous amount of consideration taken into the design; their leather surface has been precisely sliced to create beautiful, playful gills that resemble, you guessed it, the underbelly of a mushroom! If you have the urge to give a room a bit of textural sass, these are a great way to indulge this.

Fake fur can have a cool, ultra-sleek edge to it when it’s incorporated into an interesting and creative design. The Zobel cushion uses fake fur in a ribbed design, with small lines of sequin hidden between each strip of fur. It’s the perfect cushion to inject a little fun and playfulness into scatter cushion selection or liven up some armchairs in a study.

One of my favourite designs from Sahco’s collection is the Linum cushion. The design is a masterclass of subtle sophistication, the main face of the cushion is a beautiful block colour, while around the seam there is a splash of contrasting colour that catches your eye. It’s simple but so very effective.

The Cosmo cushions are also an intriguing design, their pattern is perhaps best described as a freehand geometric style, where both precision and fluidity have been partnered together to control the outcome. The smocking technique produces a three-dimensional effect, which creates gorgeous dips and grooves.

If you’re looking for cushions that are not only aesthetically lovely, but also have a wonderful, individual textural elements to them, then head over to Sahco for some stunning designs, colours and styles.

It’s always fun to have a look outside of the interior style you usually go for, and sometimes the more extreme the better as you might discover something that you really love. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of the ultra-contemporary, futuristic style, but every now and then something catches my eye. Whether you’re already a futuristic style fan, or a total new-comer take a look at these chic and forward thinking interior products.

For a sleek and suave introduction to a contemporary, futuristic style, Tom Faulkner’s innovative designs are sure to get you into the swing of things. This shell-like chair design has a grown-up, masculine feel about it. It’s perfect for an office, or a formal dining room, and its clean lines give it a timeless, sophisticated vibe.

Dining

‘Echo Chair’ from Tom Faulkner

Gotham have also pretty much honed the masculine look in their pieces, and this coffee table is no different. Designed by Damien Langlois-Meurinne for Pouenat, the mirror polished steel table is a contemporary intrigue. It’s a futuristic piece that can be easily worked into a contemporary set up, and if you just want to play around with the style concept it’s a great starting point.

‘In the Lake’ from Gotham

Not all contemporary and futuristic styles need to be masculine to fit the bill. This feminine, curvy shaped mirror from Julian Chichester is an easy way to incorporate the futuristic style into a feminine setting. There’s a lovely individuality to the mirror, as the combination of steel studded frame and guitar-like shape is an unusual pairing, but it works perfectly.

‘Guitar Bubble Mirror’ from Julian Chichester

For a table lamp with a little sci-fi elegance, the Metis design from Heathfield comes in some wonderful colours that’ll be sure to make a pop in your interiors. The free blown organic form of the base is an elegant statement, while the textural aspects of the design transition the lamp into a futuristic playing field.

‘Metis Violet’ from Heathfield

There’s a beautiful, fantasy element to this wall light from Ochre, it looks like something you might find decorating a set of a fantasy, sci-fi film, and if you want to create a romantic, theatrical atmosphere to a futuristic setting then this light feature, as with all of Ochre’s designs, is rather enchanting.

‘Damselfy Wall Light’ from Ochre

Your sci-fi world can extend all over your house, even to your bathroom. Dress up your shower with this Rio Revive shower from Crosswater. The LED design creates a beautiful, colourful effect that’ll transform a plain old bathroom into an exciting, playful one.

‘Rio Revive Showerhead’ from Crosswater

If you’re really getting the feel for things now, take a look at the some of the more avant-garde style pieces available, which will be anyone who wants to make a statement’s dream. Artemide is always host to a whirlwind of intriguing and outside the box designs, and it’s no different with this Copernico 500 sospensione pendant light. If you have a large drop and want to create a true futuristic statement, this is a sure fire way to do it. The spherical design is made from one single piece of laser cut aluminium sheet, creating an intricate design from a simple format.

‘Copernico 500 sospensione’ from Artemide

Another fascinating design from Artemide is the Florensis floor lamp. Not only is the design aesthetically innovative, but it’s also rather tech savvy too! The floral shape works with the surrounding air to create heat dissipation, so if you’re looking for something that both looks the part and acts it too, then this will be right up your street!

‘Florensis’ from Artemide

From Unto This Last comes the fascinating, alien-like shape bench that is a gift for those wanting to create a perfect, futuristic statement in their home. The fine precision craftsmanship from the company makes a cool, sleek look, giving the bench an effortless elegance.

‘Nurbs Bench’ from Unto This Last

From things with an overwhelming sci-fi edge, to items with a little hint of a futuristic element to them, there are all kinds of ways to get creative with your home.

In recent years marble has become a leading theme in the world of interior design and home accessories. Before you may have thought about marble and imagined a large Bel-Air mansion covered head to toe in the stuff and maybe given a slightly involuntary grimace, with the word tacky scrolling across your mind. But marble has come back in style, taking an alternative pathway. It’s made its appearance in home accessories, from lighting to tableware to soft furnishings, a faux marble style or a print has become a playful way to take on the material and tone down the sense of grandeur, whilst still keeping a fresh and sophisticated look, turning something that was slightly old-fashioned and a little outdated into something current and contemporary. There are tons of ways to incorporate a little bit of marble into your home, and I’ve chosen just a few wonderful things on the market at the moment.

‘Marble and Wood Pizza Board’ from Rockett St George

This gorgeous board from Rockett St George is a fab accessory. The two tones of the different materials are complementary of one another, making a smart and contemporary look. Perfect to serve up your pizza, or prop up on the kitchen counter.

For a lovely addition that’ll spruce up your table or dresser, this marble effect jug from Trouva is spot on. The dabbled marble effect gives the whole look a little individuality and a subtle presence in the room.

‘Quails Egg Jug’ from Trouva

For an innovative way to add a pop of marble to your kitchen, one (or two) of these marble tea towels will be sure to do the trick. The look is completed with the vibrant neon pink stitching, making them ideal of anyone who likes a lively and playful interior scheme.

‘Marble Print Tea Towels’ from Rockett St George

Jazz up your dinner parties with these elegant but contemporary cheese knives. Their marble hands gives the knives a sophisticated feel, while to modern gold tone of the blade makes it a fun and cool way to incorporate marble into your tableware.

‘Marble and Gold Cheese Knives’ from Oliver Bonas

Your marble revitalisation needn’t just take place in the kitchen, there are so many beautiful ways to use marble in the rest of your home. Marble pots from Rose & Grey are a nice little touch to dress up a study or working area of your home. Choose a few of both the white and green to create a wonderful grouping, dotting them around the room.

‘Marble Pots’ from Rose & Grey

Move your marble madness up to the skies and start adorning that ceiling with all sorts of lovely marble touches. Whether you want to spend a little or a lot, a marble pendant light is a creative way to play around with the trend. These Lee Broom pendant lights available from Houseology are a beautiful and sophisticated way to incorporate marble into the home. They have a slight retro vibe to them which adds to their character.

‘Lee Broom Chamber Pendant Light’ from Houseology

Alternatively, if you want to go for a less permanent, less expensive route down the marble pendant path, these paper lampshades from Graham & Green are gorgeous! Perfect for a rented house, or if you’re testing out the marble look.

‘Marbled Paper Lampshades’ from Graham & Green

If you’re feeling bold, another marble treat from Houseology is this Timorous Beasties cushion. This vibrant blue marble effect pattern will give any room an electric look. For the ultimate impact buy several and use as scatter cushions, or play around with contrasting patterns to really make a splash.

‘Timorous Beasties Marbled Damask Cushion’ from Houseology

Add just a hint of marble to a room with this stunning table lamp from Oliver Bonas, its marble base paired with the pastel shade and bright cord creates a lovely overall look.

‘Lamp with Marble Base’ from Oliver Bonas

And finally a special mention to this gorgeous vase from Rockett St George, it’s a stunning piece of work that has all the attributes of a high-end sculptural piece without the scary price!

‘Marble Effect Serenity Vase’ from Rockett St George

From pizza boards to pendant lights, there are so many ways to integrate marble into your interiors these days, and with so many pieces out there ready to buy you can really let your imagination run wild.

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