Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

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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If you ever feel the urge to disappear for an afternoon and get lost in your surroundings, daydreaming of far and distant lands, then I have the perfect place for you. The Leighton House Museum, which was once the home of Victorian artist Lord Frederick Leighton, and the only studio-house open to the public in the UK, is truly an enigmatic and spectacular sight, making you feel as though you’ve teleported somewhere far, far away from Kensington, London.

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/

The interiors in Leighton House are completely breath-taking, mesmerising and unique, and they have served as inspiration for myself for many years gone by and many years to come I have no doubt. One of the main features I absolutely love about the house, which is a feature that nowadays is often hard to find, or to find done well, is that the decorative embellishment is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall phenomenon. Every inch on the building’s foundations serve as a blank canvas and there is barely an inch left uncovered, and it’s this feature that gives the house its character, artistic status and overall wonderment.

I also love that the added bonus with this interior is how unexpected it is compared to the beautiful, but rather ordinary exterior of the Leighton House. Though you may walk by and think ‘what a lovely classic Kensington home’, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past without realising you are in fact missing all the marvellous and hidden treasures that lurk inside.

Photo Credit: http://www.artfund.org/

The house itself contains a large collection of paintings and sculptures from Lord Leighton and his fellow peers. Though Lord Leighton himself, is not the most distinguished artist from his period, his home is a clearly cultivated piece of art itself and is by far Leighton best gift onto the art world. The Leighton House is a visual representation of how taste and culture developed over the thirty years Leighton lived in the home. As well as the interiors of the house showcasing the rich cultural history of the world, the house itself was also occupied by many parties and gatherings of London’s cultural elite and the highbrow members of society, including no other than Queen Victoria herself.

Photo Credit: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/

The house features the work of one of my favourite Arts and Crafts artists, William de Morgan and his glorious tiles. The whole house follows the colour palette of deep blues and rich hues, giving it a dramatic and sensuous aesthetic. Leighton was a keen traveller and ventured to the Middle East, and you can see much influence from his travels, the house is even dubbed the place where ‘East meets West’.

Photo Credit: https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/ 

Photo Credit: https://hirespace.com/

Photo Credit: http://www.artfund.org/ 

I think this house is so special to me because as you walk around the rooms and gaze at the sea of ceramics, columns and marbles you can feel the rich history transpire from the walls and into the atmosphere and you can begin to paint a picture what the house was like in its heyday, when the rooms where filled with buzzes of laughter and chatter from a party or an eerie silence as Lord Leighton worked on his paintings. Leighton House Museum is a wonderland and a beautiful place to get lost in, if you ever get the chance.


For more information, visit:



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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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A guilt pleasure of mine is to play a game of make believe on real estate websites in America, hit the ‘price: high to low’ setting and scroll through some amazing properties, pretending I can afford them. This is exactly how I found this masterpiece of a house in Los Angeles, currently for sale via themls.com.

The house was built in 1913 by Frederick E. Engstrum and designed by Frank A. Brown, following an Arts and Crafts style design, and has been dubbed the one of the finest and largest Craftsmen houses in America. The exterior is absolutely mesmerising as the house is almost lost in the surrounding overgrown woodland. With so many small and unusual features this house would have you exploring for days on end.

The house was named ‘Artemesia’ and is still full of its original features including tiles, stained glass, panelling and light fixtures. It’s truly a house of character, with a story to tell.

It easy to see that a lot of the permanent interior details have been kept in tact, which is quite a feat considering Los Angeles has modern, contemporary homes by the bucket load. The interiors of the Artemesia home are almost frozen in time and there’s something really magical and graceful about this.

The design of the house takes influence from the Tudor-revival architectural movement that surfaced in America in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, as well as the American take on the Arts and Crafts movement. Here you can see the beautiful detail of an original fireplace that is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts motif of the house.

There is a sense of grandeur and magnificence in the interiors that has been sewn into the house, at its very core. The large ballroom with its beautifully wide columns indicates a rich history the house may have had, tales of old Hollywood-esque parties thrown and the company kept, the house exudes a vibrant, well-lived, old Hollywood atmosphere, even in the bathrooms…

The shower is beautifully hidden away with steps leading down to it from the bathroom.

It even features a historic pipe organ, built by Murray Harris, a world renowned organ builder, and it’s on of his largest remaining creations. Having a residential pipe organ during the late 19th and early 20th century would have been considered a rather fashionable addition to a home and played by a hired professional, the organ would have been the source of entertainment and music during a social gathering at the house.

Console details of the Pipe Organ

Sound Screen feature of the Pipe Organ

A feature like this is in a home is almost unheard of nowadays, making the house seem even more out of this world and extraordinary.

There is a true romantic, fairy-tale like nature to this house; from the woodland areas surrounding the property, to the deliciously outlandish pipe organ, to the intricate, well-preserved detailing of the interiors. In a place like Los Angeles which is so full of splendour and outrageousness especially in terms of property, it seems upsettingly easy for charming homes such as this one to get somehow lost between mansions. But there is something so pure and special about this house and the way it’s been transported from another era without appearing dated or fairly useless in a modern world, that there is a magical sense about it and a hope that it will be an everlasting triumph in the world of design.

For more information: www.artemesia.us

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I was talking to someone this weekend who is organising a trip to Cuba and discussing it reminded me of what an amazingly beautiful country it is. I haven’t been for a number of years but the colours, the history and the vibrancy of the people left a huge impression on me. I dug out my old photos and the memories came flooding back. I won’t be posting them all, you will be pleased to know, but here are a few of my favourites.

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The town of Trinidad in central Cuba is wonderful and has a number of beautiful Spanish influence houses that I found fascinating and inspiring.

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And it seems that Dachsies are cute the world over, right Boris.

OK, holiday photos away, on with the work!

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Kettle’s Yard looked even more beautiful than normal in the glorious spring sunshine today and everytime I visit I come home full of inspiration – I highly recommend a visit (or return visit) on a sunny day, or a rainy one.

With thanks to Kettle’s Yard for the use of these images

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The entire Angel and Blume team bunked off on Friday and went along to the Living Etc House Tours day – and what a day we had. The very clever Living Etc team had arranged an open house day for 8 of the west end of London’s finest abodes and we saw every one of them. We came back amazingly inspired, not only for our own homes but for our current projects too (be warned!) and I can’t credit the Living Etc team highly enough for such a well planned and superbly executed day. We were (unsurprisingly) not allowed to snap the beautiful interiors that we saw but we have managed to track down some of our favourites on the Living Etc website and we highly recommend a look:

The first house after lunch and on balance, our favourite!

A beautiful, fascinating house, with a top floor and a kitchen that we all coveted

The second house of the day and one that we just could not stop talking about – a really inspiring, entrancing house

This is the first year of this event but we very much hope that they will follow up with a second year and if so, we will all be wearing very comfortable, easily removable shoes and highly excited expressions!

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angel and blume articles

In need of a bit of design inspiration? We’ve updated the articles page of the Angel + Blume website and added even more of our recent press articles to keep you happy. Whether you want to find out how to lighten up your home for summer, get some tips on how to hang art or just want to browse, take a peek at the new, improved page.

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The sun is shining, holiday season is upon us and summer day trips are beckoning. Whether you’re looking for places to take the kids this summer or if you fancy taking a trip before the crush of the school holidays, the UK is packed with gorgeous stately homes, crammed with incredible interiors, paintings, art and history and open for visitors to have a snoop around.

long gallery hatfield house

The Angel + Blume team took a break from the office recently to take a trip to Hatfield House and we returned with our batteries recharged and our imaginations fired up by the incredible interiors and craftsmanship. Dating back to 1485 this house was taken over later by Henry VIII as a residence for his children Mary, Elizabeth and Edward; it’s definitely a house fit for royalty – just look at that gold ceiling.

king james hatfield house

If you’re a fan of minimalist interiors look away now. Every room in Hatfield House is bursting with furniture, paintings, sculpture and ornaments. Look at the walls of this room – not only are the ornate paintings jostling for space on every surface, but they are hanging on top of huge antique tapestries. And as for that fireplace…it’s so vast there’s even enough space for a full size statue on the mantlepiece.

library hatfield house

Fancy a bit of light reading? How impressive is this double-height library. If there’s one thing that these rooms demonstrate it’s a total confidence and boldness when it comes to interior decorating. It’s a great example of  knowing what your style is and then really going for it – there’s certainly no modesty or hesitation here.

hatfield house 2011

Interestingly, the rooms that got the best reaction from the Angel + Blume team were the servants quarters. The large, airy kitchen was a lovely sunny space, with rows and rows of gleaming copper saucepans neatly lined up on shelves (our resident cake-baker Jenny was green with envy). Predictably these rooms were totally devoid of decoration and glitz but they had an entirely different charm as you could imagine life bustling along there at a frantic pace as food was prepared in great quantities for the banquets and feasts held in the rooms above.

hatfield house ghrdens

And if you’re interested in garden design there’s no excuse not to visit, as the gardens are world famous. According the The Enduring Gardener the best time to visit the garden is June when they are ‘overflowing with roses’.

hatfield house gardens

So if you have a spare afternoon this summer I heartily recommend hopping in the car and taking the opportunity to snoop around a seriously impressive house. You’ll return with heaps of ideas and inspiration for your own home.

Images 1 2 3 Hatfield House 4 FredsDaysOut 5,6 The Enduring Gardener

Hatfield House

Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 5NQ

Tel: 01707 287010

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