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Posts Tagged ‘book club’

How They Decorated is a wonderful book filled with beautiful stories and inspiring images. The book tells the tales of ‘Great Women of the Twentieth Century’ and their incredible homes. As you move through the book, from the homes of nobilities to artists, you’re taken on a journey and though the styles and ideas change with time, one thing that is always present is impeccable and daring taste.

In the hallway, with the sitting room to the side, in Lady Diana Cooper’s London home is an unconventionally located bar with the owner’s portrait placed above for all to see. There’s an inviting sense of informality about this bar that juxtaposes the exuberant nature of the house itself; it brings together an idea of elegance with a dose of playfulness as well.

Another way Lady Diana shows off a relaxed approach to her home is with her faithful accessory, the hat, piled on top of one another, bar one that is placed upon a bust of herself in the centre of a chest of drawers. Lady Diana is quoted as saying, “I like bedrooms best… with a big bed and tiny dog”, continuing the sense of light-heartedness in her style.

Considered the “true queen of American style”, Evangeline Bruce’s interiors were timeless and soulful. Her private library has its walls and cupboards covered in fabric, giving the whole room a gloriously over the top effect.

Sybil Connolly was a celebrated fashion designer, and it’s evident that her love of fabrics filtered through to her home as well. The fabric effect papered walls of her Dublin house is something that practically no person, nor home could pull off, but somehow it turned out beautifully, paying homage to her lifework in one simple, but bold move.

There is something extremely enticing about this overly bejewelled mirror from Gabrielle van Zuylen’s home in Paris; it’s glamour at its finest.

Babe Paley, a New York socialite, had some truly fascinating interiors. This living room that is full to the brim with colours, texture and style is said to have been “the sum of what Babe herself personified – polished, sophistication, and legendary style.”

Another brightly coloured home is that of the writer Fleur Cowles. It’s the kind of home where everything stands out in its own right, and yet perfectly fits together in one flawless ensemble.

These footstools at designer Pauline Trigeres’ home in Westchester County in New York are just beautiful creations; the gorgeous mother-of-pearl inlay looks divine against the bold emerald green tops.

This garden room below is a one-of-a-kind vision that takes your breath away. It belongs to Bunny Melon in Virginia, and everything in it from the trelliswork to the arsenic colour, to the array of pots and baskets forms perfectly together to make a beautiful haven.

The home of Georgia O’Keefe respects the history of its location, New Mexico, as well as reflecting the modernist characteristics of herself and her work. The cool clay walls and long incorporated seating area are met with pops of colourful cushions and green plants, which gives the room a relaxed, understated but collected and assured atmosphere.

This book, from start to finish is a journey through homes and history. It perfectly sums up the idea that a home tells its owners story, and through this book you can see that these women lived great lives, in fabulous homes.

 

How They Decorated is available by Rizzoli

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Recently I’ve been flicking through the wonderful book COLOUR. by Abigail Ahern, since we’re a massive fan of her work and her shop, it was a bit of a no-brainer when it came to doing a book club feature on her.

The book is a colour bible of sorts, but it’s not your basic how-to guide that you see on the shelves. Instead it’s more of a motivational and inspirational push in the right direction for all the scaredy-cats or colour novices out there!

Ahern takes you through her story of colour from her youth to the present, she remembers, “[her] mother, an artist would choose shades for our walls in the same way that she would select colours for her paintings: instinctively, from feeling and observation”.

It’s all about creating an impact, and turning your interiors into a place of joy and creative sustenance, to use colour to your advantage and to create an atmosphere that is both effective and affective.

For Ahern, one colour with the upmost importance is black, she recalls how she played around with shades of white and grey before taking the plunge and going black, “The day I did, magic struck. I fell in love. The intensity was transformative”.

 

COLOUR. has the perfect balance between the gung-ho ‘throw out the rulebook attitude’ and interesting tips and ideas to help make the most out of your space. For example, using a devilishly bright colour on the inside of your cupboard to create a pop of excitement like above.

The imagery in the book is all the inspiration you need to want to throw a huge dollop of paint over those plain walls. What’s more it gives you an idea of how to play around with textures, layers, patterns, and various tones hues of simple colours, so even if a bright splash of colour isn’t your cup of tea you can still create an exciting and affluent interior. As Ahern remarks, “the best news is that boring old magnolia is losing some of its attraction, with more people willing to experiment with different hues, from dark to bright”.

The imagery in COLOUR. are from interiors that have personally inspired Ahern, and are ones that she believes are the best of the best when it comes to colourful walls, floors, ceilings and everything in between.

I think there is a common misconception that bright and bold interiors that retain a sense of glamour and style are often unattainable or very hard to replicate. However, with good taste, steady guidance and patient attitude it’s certainly possibly to create your own private colour haven that oozes with style and grace.

“You do need a dose of confidence when it comes to colour”, says Ahern, but when you have mastered the craft of colour, there is an overwhelming sense Ahern continues, that “colour has given me a home that I never want to leave”.

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The Modern House, a real estate company who specialise in the selling of the finest modern homes, celebrated their ten year anniversary in 2015 and so to mark the occasion they released a book with some of the best properties they’ve had throughout their decade of business. The book is a fantastic read whether you love modern architecture or are simply intrigued to get a sneak peek into some of Britain’s most wonderful homes. I’ve picked out some of my favourite homes from the book to share with you.

Doctor Rogers’ House located in London, built by Richard and Su Rogers in 1968

The beauty of this property lies in how the colours of the interior and the colours of the adorning nature integrate so perfectly together. The influence of Californian modernism isn’t lost on the architecture or interior features and yet doesn’t look out of place in its typically English surroundings, there’s a humble attitude to this house that makes you want to run up those paving stones and be invited inside this welcoming exterior.

Doctor Rogers’ House located in London, built by Richard and Su Rogers in 1968

The Modern House features a property on Angel + Blume’s home turf, Cambridge, and one that we know personally. The Laslett House was designed by Trevor Dannatt in 1958 and is owned today by Tim Hayward, the man who resurrected the legendary Fitzbillies.

Laslett House located in Cambridge, built by Trevor Dannatt in 1958

The house is wonderfully minimal and full of natural elements. There’s a beautiful flow of white brick walls, wood flooring and glass panelling that evokes an authentic sense of calm and laid-back sophistication.

Laslett House located in Cambridge, built by Trevor Dannatt in 1958

The next property takes the form of an old converted Pianola factory in north London. Its interiors are reminiscent of ordered chaos with foliage, picture frames and furniture all positioned in the home seemingly unsystematically and yet at the same time with the feeling of thoughtfulness and care. The home is like a blank canvas, the perfect location for an artist to create their masterpieces with just enough personal memorabilia to fight off a spooky clinical atmosphere.

An Art Collector’s Warehouse located in London, built by 6a Architects in 2012

An Art Collector’s Warehouse located in London, built by 6a Architects in 2012

Stratton Park in Hampshire is a fine example of how modern homes can look their best when juxtaposed with older existing architectural features. The house was built over a mansion from 1803, all that remains is the Doric Portico, something that might have been rather a brash display of grandeur if left to its own devices, but with the modern home positioned to its side it becomes more of a whimsical and elaborate garden sculpture.

Stratton Park located in Hampshire, built by Stephen Gardiner and Christopher Knight in 1964

The idea of living in a fort would thrill most children (and some adults) and so proving that you can make a home out of anything, a nineteenth century fort was converted into a home in 2004. The Martello Tower Y in Suffolk is a highly intriguing concept and there’s no doubt that the views from up there phenomenal!

 

Martello Tower Y located in Suffolk, built by Piercy & Company in 2004

Despite its somewhat bulky external appearance the interior of the home is elegant and sophisticated, and its unique features like the original fort structure make a compelling argument for the building’s beauty.

The Walled Garden located in East Sussex, built by Michael Manser in 2002

This home wonderfully incorporates modern American architectural style into the Sussex countryside.  The beautiful glass and steelwork and the adjacent old red brick wall create the perfect contrast that gives this property it’s extra added character.

The Walled Garden located in East Sussex, built by Michael Manser in 2002

Finally, you might remember this lovely house from a blog a few weeks ago, Fog House in London was commissioned by Janet Street Porter in 2004 and is a beautiful accumulation of colour and style.

Fog House located in London, built by Adjaye Associates in 2004

Fog House located in London, built by Adjaye Associates in 2004

The Modern House is full to the brim of exciting properties, amazing inspiration and invites you to spend a few hours dreaming of modern havens.

The Modern House is available from Artifice.

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Gushing over big Hollywood mansions, especially those own by celebrities, has been a guilty pleasure of mine since I can remember. So a book that gives an exclusive look into the world of the rich and famous and their glorious properties is quite frankly a must-have. From old Hollywood starlets to modern-day directors, Hollywood at Home, gives you a fantastic insight into the houses of your idols. It’s the perfect coffee table book to flick through as you daydream about what your own Beverly Hills mansion would look like. I’ve picked out a few of my favourite homes from the book to share with you.

This Italian Renaissance-style mansion located in Malibu belongs to none other than the iconic Cher, and though the property might be considered a little flamboyant for the average Joe, the home is a little more understated than one might expect from the original goddess of pop herself. However, one thing that isn’t understated is that ocean view (which each room has not one but two views of)!

The interiors of the mansion are classic Hollywood style, with just the right amount of leopard print. The combination of the leafy greens, animal prints and renaissance-style paintings create the perfect glamorous setting without being overzealous.

The elements of a dramatic Gothic Revival theme in the design are rather fitting for this home and location, in any other place they might have drowned a house or interior, but in Hollywood there’s a certain amount of gumption in each and every home that gives them the attitude to pull off such outlandish design schemes.

Popping over to the neighbourhood of Venice and to the home of actress Anjelica Huston and the late sculptor Robert Graham. The house is a subtle, sleek and artist marvel and captures the laid-back, modern, sophisticated side of Los Angeles and its surrounding boroughs wholeheartedly.

The house embarks on a mission of originality and flair, even in its foundations. The walls are not just there for shelter, and the windows not just to let the light in, you can tell that each architectural decision has been made with the utmost consideration, creating the perfect artisan bunker, a sculptural masterpiece.

Sunset Boulevard in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles was once the home to Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace, until its demolition in 2002. Rarely does a home embody the character and nature of its owner quite as well as the Pink Palace  personified Jayne. Known as one of the original ‘blonde bombshells’ of Hollywood it seems only fitting that Jayne Mansfield’s home be as much of a bombshell as she, although swapping the blonde for her signature pink, the Pink Palace was Jayne’s real estate doppelganger.

From the baby pink shag pile that covers every surface, to the heart shaped, gold leaf bathtub, everything about this room is so wrong its right. It’s the same excessiveness and over the top glamorous nature that had everyone hooked on its occupant, and although you’d probably never dream of installing a similar design in your own bathroom you can’t help but wish you could visit the house and possibly take a quick dip in that tub.

 

While each of the previous homes above capture the essence of a particular style of Hollywood, the outlandish, the sleek and modern, Mansfield’s home represents the overtly decadent and unreasonably luxurious that is only acceptable in Hollywood. It puts style over functionality and glamour over practicality and I’m not sure we’d have it any other way.

 

Architectural Digest Hollywood at Home is available from Abrams Books

All photograph credits to Architectural Digest

 

 

 

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With a new line of paints, Paint by Conran, it seems only fitting that the design legend Terence Conran write a book about the art of using colours in an interior. This beautifully illustrated book is a masterclass in how to conquer colour in any shape or form, big or small.

Image from Conran on Colour

As Terence Conran says, “there’s nothing like colour to add spice to life and soul to your surroundings”, and this book is an open invitation to become inspired by colour and fear it no more. Conran treats colour like a science with rules and philosophies he has honed throughout his career, sharing his wisdom with the reader by way of examples and advice.

Image from Conran on Colour

The book takes you on a guide with colour by colour steps and shows you how to perfect your home’s colour palette. With hundreds of beautiful photographs to admire you won’t be short of inspiration.

Terrence Conran shows the reader how to use colour in a sophisticated and stylish manner. When it comes to colour, many people are met with the certain hesitation that too much colour, especially in interiors, can become garish and overwhelming, but whether you want to add bold colours inch by inch, or go the whole nine yards and shower your home in colour, Conran on Colour is the perfect guide on how to do colour in the home correctly.

Image from Conran on Colour

This beautiful bathroom is the perfect example of how to play around with colour and how to have fun with it. From the hot pink bath tub, to the contemporary stained glass panelling nothing about this bathroom is ordinary. In fact, it’s the kind of design that would look all wrong on paper, but in reality and with Conran’s Midas touch everything seems to fall effortlessly into place.

Image from Conran on Colour

If bold splashes of colour in an interior isn’t your thing, the book also shows you how to use colour in a subtle way that will complement your interior. For example the photograph above shows how to make colour the focal point whilst still maintaining a neutral setting. The contrast between the bright flowers and vases and the soothingly calm grey hues of the interior is a display of how minimalism and colour can work in sync.

Image from Conran on Colour

An amazing photograph from the book advertising one of the most popular colours from the Paint by Conran collection, Cornflower Blue. The all blue mirage is simple and effective and the hint of retro glamour is the only addition needed to accompany the stylish colour.

Image from Conran on Colour

 

Image from Conran on Colour

Whether you’re thinking of re-decorating your home, or are simple looking for inspiration then purchasing a copy of Conran on Colour is the best decision you can make as it truly is the bible of interior colour.

Buy Conran on Colour from Conran Octopus Publications.

Paint by Conran available from The Conran Shop.

 

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The Iconic Interior 1900 to the present does exactly what it says on the tin. This book takes you on a journey through some of the worlds most iconic and mesmerising homes and interiors belonging to the best and brightest artists, designers, fashion personalities, artisans, architects and set designers of the past one hundred years. This book treats you to an awe-inspiring expedition of the most beautiful homes in the world. If you’re contemplating the idea of redecorating your home but are in need of some inspiration and ideas, purchasing this book is a sure-fire way to kick start a design project as it is filled with a stream of innovative and magical interiors for you to be slowly hypnotised by. If permitted I could talk endlessly about the houses in this book, but I have enforced some will power and have chosen my favourite four homes to share with you.

First is the Sowden House in Los Angeles built in 1926, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. This house was commissioned by painter and photographer John Sowden and takes its main inspiration from Mayan and pre-Columbian culture.

The property looks as though it’s been teleported from another world, or a forgotten time and beautifully encapsulates its sources of inspiration, creating a miniature enchanted land. It looks like the secret lair of a bond villain that belongs deep in the heart of a jungle instead of Los Angeles.

 

Remaining in Los Angeles for the second home on my list of favourites is a house designed for Tony Duquette. The house, called Dawnridge and built in 1949, is a beautiful clutter of clashing patterns and textiles, shapes and styles, all creating a whirlwind of surprising tranquillity.

The phrase ‘ordered chaos’ comes to mind when you’re looking at the interiors of Dawnridge, everything seems both a stylish muddle and systematically ordered in a way that would be hard to replicate.

 

Artist Piero Fornasetti’s home in Milan is featured in the book, and it’s a creatively perceptive modern take on an Italian palace. Fornasetti’s home is reflective of his style as an artist, and just like a beautiful painting, the apartment is a work of art.

The interior flows seamlessly as though it is in a surreal dream-like state, and as Dominic Bradbury, the author of the book writes “the house reveals the deep inventiveness and rich imagination of one of Italy’s most original creative talents, often dubbed the ‘designer of dreams’.”

And lastly, we take a trip to Istanbul to the home of designer Zeynep Fadillioglu. Her home is enriched with an old-worldly atmosphere and is embellished with ornaments and furniture that exuberates luxury, whilst contrasting with the rustic walls and foundations of the house so as not to portray a feeling of decadence and excessiveness.

If you’re looking to get lost in a mesmerising and romantic story of architecture and interiors then get yourself a copy of The Iconic Interior and spend a few hours indulging your imagination and redesigning your interior wish list.

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If you’ve ever looked at a picture of a Geoffrey Bennison styled interior, you might be forgiven for thinking that perhaps you have time travelled to the past, into a home fit for no less then royalty. In the new book Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator, which celebrates the life and work of Bennison, you can truly find yourself getting lost in his magical creations.

 

Geoffrey Bennison - Master Decorator

 

It’s plain to see that Bennison was no fan of the understated or subtle; in fact his interiors seem to grab flamboyance by the horns and magnify it over and over. His is a world where everything is eccentric and everything looks perfectly in place. Like a well researched period film set, the interiors you’ll find in this book are immaculately devised, looking like a fairytale of the luxurious and the lavish.

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

 

If you want to indulge yourself in a book full of wonderfully decadent and spectacularly theatrical interiors, then this is the book for you. Often, we buy interior design books on the basis that we will use them to help us with our own style or our own decorating needs. In some respects this book can do that for you, but for me however, this book is more in line with the book of an artist, for which you use it simply to admire the beautiful masterpieces.

 

Master Decorator walks you through fourteen of Bennison’s best commissions, including three of his own homes. From London and Paris to Marrakech you get a sneak peak into the homes of royalty, with interiors you can only dream of. My personal favourite, perhaps because of my soft spot for my university town, is Bennison’s seaside apartment in Brighton. His interiors in this beautiful flat are ones that I could have only conjured up for my student accommodation. Bennison deliciously mixes up every pattern and every texture into a whirlwind that invites you to spend hours pouring over the details.

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

Though Bennison died in 1984, his masterpieces live on and so do his designs. Bennison Fabrics continues to create fabrics and wallpapers based on Bennison’s vision. If you are looking for quality, traditional English country style interiors then look no further.

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

 

Though a little more introverted, they still retain the beautifully elegant disposition of Bennison’s original interiors. So sit back and feast your eyes!

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

 

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

 

 

Geoffrey Bennison Master Decorator

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