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It’s always great to get your hands on an interior design book that is full of inspiration and ideas, and Creative Living London has a little twist; all of its featured homeowners may have inspired you already, as they are all creative designers, stylists and artists. The through the keyhole vibe of this book gives the reader a wonderful insight into some of the most beautifully decorated homes in London; full of personality, style and of course creativity it’s a fun display and great way to get inspired. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the book.

Marianne Cotterill’s Home

This dining area in stylist Marianne Cotterill’s home is full of bold style choices and beautifully contrasted elements. The futuristic style of Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chairs and table against the original Victorian tiles are the perfect style clash. I especially love the pastel pink radiator in the background, a fun stylish addition.

While we’re on the subject of perfect clashes, Lisa Eldridge and Robin Derrick’s living room is full to the brim of different patterns that all work seamlessly together, even the gallery wall of paintings and photographs acts as its own pattern in a sense. The two bold fabrics from the rug and sofa shouldn’t work together but somehow do, along with the plush scatter cushions, a multi pattern room technically shouldn’t look soothing and calm, but they managed to nail it here.

Lisa Eldridge and Robin Derrick’s Home

Martin Ferrell’s Home

From busy and serene to minimalist and serene, this simply dressed bedroom is utterly beautiful. The painting along with the petite glass chandelier are an interesting combination, while the crisp white bedding allows them to do all the talking.

Fashion stylist and art director Claire Durbridge and Bob Sakoui have decorated their hallway in a unique and fun way; the geometric painted pattern on the back of the front door adds a sense of humour to the glamorous entryway. The gold assortment of mirrors and the vintage cinema seats with sumptuous berry red velvet creates a standout feature.

Claire Durbridge and Bob Sakoui’s Home

There is a really beautiful sense of bohemian glamour in interior designer Jo Berryman’s home. The single tall cactus in its hexagonal pot next the antique Louis sofa is effortlessly put together. Moving onto the bathroom, its chandelier, roll top bath and seating area are all elements that seem a little too much in theory, but here they all work into a scheme that would seem wrong without every piece.

Jo Berryman’s Home

Jo Berryman’s Home

Neisha Crosland is a wonderful textile designer, and her home perfectly suits her aesthetic. A quick look at her dining room and London might not be your first thought as to where it was located. The Japanese tree mural is simply stunning with the blossom tree framing the outside trees wonderfully. The embroidery on her headboard is another amazing and intricate addition to the house.

Neisha Crosland’s Home

Neisha Crosland’s Home

I absolutely love the effect that these glasses storage boxes and long pile rug create, giving the boxes a textural feel. This cosy bedroom of interior designers Joelle Talmasse and Martyn Gayle proves that you needn’t been deterred by the prospect of an attic room and sloping walls.

Joelle Talmasse and Martyn Gayle’s Home

What really caught my eye in this dressing room was how wonderfully retro it was, and yet still felt contemporary due to the wallpaper. The shining star of this room for me however, is the chandelier which is just a beautiful little touch.

Jo Wood’s Home

Mawi Keivom’s Home

When so many interiors are so serious it’s always great to see one that has a strong element of fun in it, without jeopardising the style and sophistication. Mawi Keivom, a jewellery designer, offset’s her electric yellow wall with a bold embroidered blue and white bedding; the whole look has a soft, romantic feel in a contemporary, atypical way.

David Carter’s Home

There’s a lot going on this narrow hallway in the home of David Carter, an interior designer. There’s a great deal of whimsy, man in the red slippers hanging elegantly on the wall for one. The dark black walls and gold ceiling fit the space well and the pops of colour give it a touch of life.

If I had tried to imagine Zandra Rhodes’s London home, I probably would have conjured up something similar to the reality, but nowhere near as perfectly curated. There’s a real sense of eclecticism to the style going on here, from the collection of vibrant chairs, to the vases with their own stands, it’s both wild and collected as the same time; chaotic and calm.

Zandra Rhodes’s Home

A neon yellow, high gloss finish on tongue and groove floor to ceiling panelling might not sound like a good idea, but after seeing Annie Morris and Idris Khan’s home, the jury’s out and opinion’s starting to change. The look is soften by the use of the rustic wooden sideboard and by reintroducing the colour palette in a piece of art; it definitely makes you want to explore the home further.

Annie Morris and Idris Khan’s Home

Creative Living London is a fantastic book if you’re looking for inspiration and unique ways to approach decorating a home. Full of beautiful images and words, a great buy to add to your collection.

 

Creative Living London is written by Emily Wheeler, photographed by Ingrid Rasmussen and published by Thames & Hudson.

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For this Film Friday, I wanted to write about a sweet little film from 2013, directed by Richard Curtis, About Time. It follows the story of Tim, played by Domhnall Gleeson, a young man who learns he can time-travel back through his life. Though it as sci-fi element, it’s much more of a romantic-comedy than anything else, with endearing characters and beautiful sets. The film also stars Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, and if you’re ever in need of something to watch on a lazy Sunday, or a wintery evening, I recommend this feel-good, funny film.

The main house, Tim’s family home, is a stunning property in St Austell, Cornwall. Built in the early 19th Century, it’s a beautiful white exterior, with green-blue woodwork, with roses running up the walls, it shows off a very classic, elegant English style. I love the detailing that’s been added; the vibrant green metal benches are a lovely touch. By the front door, a faithful dog statue guarding the place, a rusty old ornate wall light and a pretty array of plants all make welcoming, lived-in touch.

The home is able to capture the quirkiness of the family, like their movie nights in the rain, projecting a film against the walls.

In inside of the home is just as lovely, and is perfectly decorated. There’s a thoughtfulness to the interiors that makes the house feel like any other home, with ornaments, artefacts, lamps and books piled around like ordered chaos. Liz Griffiths, the set decorator, did a great job creating a rhythm between rooms, and giving a timeline and history to the place; making it feel like the interiors had been naturally and unconsciously built up over time, rather than all at once.

I love the random assortment of bric-a-brac in this room, where often important conversions take place over fun games of table tennis. The trumpet in an old frame, dancing dog painting, old keyboard and a collection pots create a playful and relaxed homely style.

The hallway displays beautiful Georgian panelling. The panels are painted in a light blue, with a contrasting tomato red door at the end of the hall. Below Uncle D, played by Richard Cordery, sits in a mismatch of seventies curtains, turquoise walls, antique table and chairs and a wonky lampshade, that all just work together somehow.

As the story progresses, so do the interiors, and we see Tim move to London and in with his father’s playwright friend Harry, into a beautiful London home in Queen’s Park. It has the same cluttered sense that the family home does, full of artwork and books. I love this image of Tim sitting rather nervously against a bold red wall and posters.

There are some great touches to this house as well, this delicate wallpaper and the arched doorway of this bedroom are a sweet finish contrast to the pop art poster.

For that quintessential blustering English interiors, full of nostalgia, full of stuff, all perfectly in their rightful place, the home in About Time really hit the spot. Easily a reflection of the lovable characters the homes are charming and inviting, just like the film itself.

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If you are after a lush piece of Mid Century furniture for your home, can I point you in the direction of Publik i based in their very lovely and recently transformed store in Beckenham, although of course they are online too. Publik i owner and founder Gary Dennie is about as passionate about great design as it is possible to be, and what I particularly liked is the way he mixes a love of the character and heritage of a vintage piece with a resolve to bring it up to date enough to make it look great in today’s interiors. Several of the upholstered pieces he had in his studio had been transformed by his fabric choices (it helps he has a great eye for colour) and he works with really good craftsmen to restore the furniture – they were there when I visited so I know!

 

There are a number of items on the website but if you are on the look out for something in particular, give Gary a ring as he can source items. Better still, drop into the shop the next time you are in the area – there is a lot of stock in the shop and it is an ever changing feast. www.publiki.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This month for our Film Friday we have the beautiful, witty film An Education from 2009 starring Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. The film, which was nominated for three Oscars is based on the autobiographical essay by journalist Lynn Barber. The screenplay, written by Nick Hornby, follows the story of sixteen year old Jenny who meets a mysterious older gentleman, David, and gets whisked away by the romance of a glamorous London lifestyle, only to have everything come crashing down when David turns out to be a less than genuine character. The story is set in 1960s London, and is top to toe beautiful, and as the story unfolds we get to see more and more wonderful interiors, buildings, houses and shots all composed together by the wonderful director Lone Sherfig.

There is a clever juxtaposition between Jenny’s normal, boring home-life and the extravagant world she is introduced to after meeting David. This is displayed rather wonderfully through the various interiors and sets. Here you can see the mundane, ordinary setting of a suburban area where the audience first meets Jenny and her family.

Her family home is a typical semi-detached 1930s house that can be found almost in all towns across the country. The inside is bland, decorated with generic ornaments and dark corners, almost to emphasis the typical, dreary lifestyle she’s living.

In contrast one her first night out with David and his friends, the audience is catapulted into the glitz and glam world of the 1960s in cosmopolitan London.

David’s friends Danny and Helen, played by Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike respectively, live in a picturesque London flat, which while Jenny’s family home is the epitome of middle class suburban life, their flat on the other hand is the essence of the upper class fashionable London highlife.

Their flat is full to the brim of priceless antiques, paintings and furniture all of which capture ‘good taste’, therefore portraying not only their assumed financial wealth but their cultural wealth as well.

A particularly lovely scene for interiors is when Helen is dressing Jenny up in her bedroom. The room is wall to wall plush satins and luxurious pieces of furniture.

An Education is beautifully shot, using classic London locations and architecture to propel us back in time and to create an atmosphere that ties into the character’s feelings in the film. Each scene is delicately made, and perfectly curated to not only recreate a sixties vibe but a romantic and stylish one as well.

If not for the charming coming-of-age story, then for a few hours of style heaven, An Education is a delightful film that is perfectly executed and well worth a watch.

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A love for interior design and the activity of fantasy house-hunting tend to go hand-in-hand, so when Cate emailed me over a link to this divine property in London, my eyes lit up with excitement. Tucked away in the East End is a house that teleports you back through time and into a land of mystery and magic!


The exterior, although bold in size, is a little misleading as it fails to prepare you for the strikingly curated and fabulously spooky interiors. After over a century of being uninhabited the building was bought by director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Tim Knox and landscape gardener Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who masterfully filled the property with their budding collection of objet d’art and obscure artefacts assembled over the years from markets and auctions.

The house was originally built in 1741, and later restored in 1997 but preserved in all its historic detail and glory. It’s the kind of home that is so unlike anything else we tend to see on a day-to-day basis that there is an intriguingly creepy edge to it, like something out of a period drama, perfectly fitting for telling a ghost story or two. Knox and Longstaffe-Gowan have gloriously filled the house with the perfect balance of wackiness and wonderments. You can see how the years of curating museums has influenced the decorative of this house, and perhaps vice versa.


Each room is effortlessly complied of trinkets and treasures, integrated with the period features, it’s the optimum example of a ‘house with character’ that is so often a necessity among buyers, however I have a sneaking suspicion that this might be just a little too avant-garde for the average taste. The house has everything, drama, romance, madness, it makes you a little nervous, filling your stomach with butterflies.
A stairwell has been decorating with an over-flowing collection of mounted animal heads, probably causing you to duck and weave your way around like an obstacle-course. I’d imagine that this home isn’t an easy-living situation, but more like living-art, each room with its quirks and adventures. The contrast between the taxidermy heads and the Virgin Mary statue casually place in the corner of the landing creates a rather eclectic look. It seems like almost a super-stylish haunted house that you’d find at fairs and adventure parks, although instead of being scary it’s just ultimately alluring.


The main bathroom in Malplaquet House has to be my favourite room, the walls are littered with a collection of crucifixes that invokes a wild, fanatic response. The largest crucifix looms over the roll-top bath, giving off a sacrificial atmosphere, or as if a séance or exorcism is about to take place. Its finishing touches like this one that create the visually dramatic and flamboyant ambience of the home.

The house holds itself in a rare fashion, it makes no apologies for its appearance or personality, there is no attempt to ‘fit-in’, but there is also no sense of overkill or a try-hard attitude present either. The interiors are filled with an authentic disposition that comes from a collection of bizarre and bewildering artefacts that have been accumulated in a natural process.
Whoever takes on the challenge of being the building’s next occupants is perhaps not just buying a home, but is becoming the invited guest of a house that stands the test of time, and exudes character and brilliance.

The Malplaquet House is available to buy from Fyfe McDade

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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:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk

http://www.artfund.org

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I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday at the Ham Yard Hotel in Soho which opened last year and combines an amazingly central location with a very relaxed spacious environment. The interior design by co-owner Kit Kemp is fantastic with lots of colour, texture and eye-catching accessories which are cleverly combined to keep the overall feel calm and inviting. Spaces are superbly lit and cleverly move from the cosy feel of the library and drawing room to the buzz of the restaurant and on the drama of the basement bar and cinema room. I really enjoyed my visit (lunch with a great friend, loosely disguised as a business meeting) and am already looking for a reason to return.

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The main restaurant

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Garden room spaces off the main restaurant

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An ingenious and beautiful timepiece in the lobby

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The library

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Clever accessorising throughout

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The drawing room

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The bar being set up for an event

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The rather fabulous cinema room

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And yes, finally, I did take a picture of the ladies cloakroom.

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