Tag Archives: decoration

What colour to paint….a 3D sketch.

_DSF4812You can be forgiven for thinking this is a flat, two-dimensional sketch because that is exactly what it looks like.

When I followed a small sign through a plain looking door off Greek Street I wasn’t really sure where I was going or for what reason.

I’d stumbled upon a modest gallery with an interesting collection of exhibits, one of which played havoc with my eyes for a good few minutes. See above.

The piece is actually a sketch that was printed on a 3D printer and each ‘line’ is hung with a series of invisible threads from the ceiling. Even when the threads catch the light and logic dictates that what you are seeing is 3D you still have trouble trusting it. The sensation is a bit like one of those pictures that is both an old and a young lady, once you see one you suddenly can’t see the other. For that reason I took a few extra pictures to try and prove the additional dimension but it’s still a push for the brain – especially on a Sunday!





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What colour to paint…geometric update!

Not sure if anyone remembers but a while ago a masked a pattern on the wall of a bar…IMG_4580

This week I popped back to take a pic so as promised you can now have a look at the finished piece below! I used a series of cool greys neutrals in order to keep it clean and sophisticated, the varying tones creating a slightly 3D effect…

I’m off to Berlin this weekend – Yipee! – so will have plenty of beautiful images to share on my return!

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What colour to paint…lighting.

I suddenly feel like it’s getting darker. Last time I checked it was still light at 11pm so how is it now dark at half 8?

I don’t mind it getting darker, in fact I quite enjoy it. I like being cosy with a bit of ambient light whilst it’s dark and rainy outside. I like the way ambient light makes things look, colours seem softer, faces less weathered.

This might be why I enjoyed the rapid increase in the lighting selection throughout Paris and London design week. Colour plays an interesting part too, whether in the material, the bulb or the effect on the colour of surrounding objects.

I think we have advances in LED technology to blame for this. Thanks to them lights and lighting are being reconsidered, whether they are using the technology or not.  I have compiled montages of some of the most interesting lights I found….


There were a lot of designers having fun with light, I particularly enjoyed the table light (bottom right) that your drink becomes part of when you set it down on the coaster. Origami, frosted matt glass, jars, tumblers and excess printer cartridges were all recognisable influences but my favourite is still the cuddly chandelier that looks like it has been made from flamingoes.

lighting 2

The image to the left is from Design Junction. It is filled with ceramic shapes that both diffuse the light and draw you to it. Bottom right is a light that blows bubble. Yes a bubble light – the bubble grows until it pops and then another forms – strangely addictive and it is almost impossible not to reach out and pop the bubble as you watch it.

lighting 1

Above we have Sebastian Wrong for Hay – displayed in a beautiful private Georgian Residence, the modern shapes were  perfectly juxtaposed against the traditional decor. Other examples show light incorporated into furniture and the wicker, outline and knitted trends we’ve been seeing.


Another favourite on my ‘how to create ambient light’  list is the old classic, the candle. Maison offered the virtual candle that slowly burns down on the screen of your tablet as well as the LED flame that mimicked the movement of a flame surprisingly accurately. Design Junction, 100% Design and Tent bought us the latest in candle stick chic, with stackable wooden pieces, simple monochrome and slick glossy geometrics. The Poundshop (there is a pop-up store in Selfridges at the moment) also had some unique candle based treats including concrete look tea light holders and a pop and click make it yourself wood and cooper number.

This installation at Maison et Objet in Paris encouraged visitors to walk towards a beam of coloured light in an otherwise completely pitch black room. Despite barely being able to see, visitors were entranced by each colour and shape the projector offered up. Even though it tells you not to look straight at the light source I just couldn’t help it – why is that?!!

Hope that provided a bit of ‘light’ relief.

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What colour to paint…Paris design week – the best bits.

Planes, trains, buses, boris bikes and my faithful feet have all taken a beating as I trawled the shows and events at Paris Design week and London Design Festival with a little bit of London Fashion week thrown in for good measure!

This is the first post of several bringing you my best bits.

Let’s start with Paris.

I love visiting Paris, as soon as I stepped off the train I got my favourite Paris feeling – the one where the extraordinary is suddenly more likely and magic actually exists. After eating my own weight in croissants and that delicious french bread with strawberry jam I felt ready to take on Maison et Objet, from there I headed to Perishing Hall off the Champs Elysees for a presentation. I scoured St Germain and made my way to the docks to see Now!Le Off, a small show full of emerging design talent.

Below you will see two of my favourite examples of elastic storage – as seen at Now!Le Off, these two pieces combined natural pale wood with neon/bright elastic to give flexibility and support for any objects you wish to store.photo[5]photo[6]

The strength of the digital world’s influence is evident in this piece of furniture where craftsmanship and tradition meet pixels! photo[8]

I saw this inky pattern on anything and everything, especially in this season’s appropriate inky blue! This is a step on from the painterly water colour trend we’ve seen over the past few years. It also represents a softening in some of the graphics we’ve been experiencing.

Marquetry. Where did it go? Not that it matters…..because its back! Seen below with strong geometric shapes, the age old craft has returned and is being used in new and interesting ways. The honey tones and hues of the wood being key in order to create maximum impact through complex patterns. photo[4]

I saw a real trend for up lifting basic objects (eg. potato peelers made from gold) but this example turned that theory on it’s head giving the classic chandelier, a comic and fun twist – colour and material playing an obvious roll in the transformation.


These images represent about 0.1 % of the wierd and wonderful pieces I saw but fear not! Design Junction, Tent, Decorex, Focus and much more still to come!

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what colour to paint…copper.


I’m not bothered by shiny things.

The few bits of jewellery I wear are antiqued to avoid it. I have nothing shiny in my house.

So can someone please explain why I am being drawn to copper?

Metallics, have been popular for the last 5 years and show no sign of tailing off, in fact, they seem to be gaining momentum with the addition of colour.

Colour trends are usually connected with social, demographic and economic factors and copper is no exception. Shiny things in particular are associated with wealth and excess and in times of economic difficulty we turn to colour to help us forget things are tough, hence the increase in metals. Gold and Silver have been used extensively and this will continue but they’ve been battling the economic crisis head on for too long so we find ourselves looking for something softer, warmer and friendlier and we find all those attributes in copper.

Copper is the first of these ‘coloured’ metallics to make the big time, shown above with wood it demonstrates how the underlying warmth of the metallic orange is the perfect partner for this natural material (image from  www.gardenista.com). Below gives a great example of how to incorporate in to your home through the use of several sheets giving a layered effect (image from www.dwell.com).

Blue and orange are opposite each other on the colour wheel and therefore make striking partners when featured together: this photo by Jake Curtis as seen at london.onerepresents.com with polished copper and dark navy is a great example.


One of my favourite things about copper is its natural green patina when left unpolished which is one of the reasons Architects and designers have coveted it for so long. Not only is the green beautiful it is also incredibly resistant to atmospheric corrosion, protecting the metal underneath it, perfect! Here’s an example from a recent trip to Copenhagen.


I guess the sudden surge in copper products was the catalyst for me to buy the copper pencil skirt… have I worn it?…

Of course I have! In time I am hoping it will turn green and become completely waterproof!

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What colour to paint…my sister’s artwork.

photo 2I have 1 sister, Chloe.

She is two years my junior and infinitely more attractive than me.

This used to be okay because I could draw and make things.

Then one day, at the ripe age of 25, completely out of the blue, she presents me with a handmade birthday card. I was confused. I make the cards and fulfil any drawing needs my family have – what was she doing?

Turns out her lack of confidence, skill and training meant she hit that naive childlike drawing style on the head, except she wasn’t doing it to be ironic she was doing it because that’s the only way she can.

To my delight (and, in a way, disappointment) the card (above) she gave me was one of the best I’ve ever had. A simple portrait of us both.

I framed it immediately. I had to select a plain and dark frame to balance the black outline with the copper  (so very now!) edge emphasising the yellow and orange pencil.

Being the ultimate little sister, instead of boasting about her new found skill she began to treat me like a mentor; asking me what the best pen was or what it was she should draw next. I still don’t know whether she did this to protect my pride or whether she genuinely wanted to know but either way it has resulted in the most commented upon pieces of art in my house.

photo 1

Above is the frame everyone who visits wants to steal – I asked her to draw me some animals on yellow luggage tags and then mounted them on to positive petrol greeny blue card. I think it really demonstrates how colour can enhance and show-off your favourite things as well as allow me to feel I had a tiny involvement?!

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What colour to paint…a bamboo hut.

DSC_0085This image makes me feel warm.

The rich honey glow from the herringbone woven panels, the quiet craft giving a gentle sketched feel, the worn paint work on the simple mint fan.

After a long day travelling to Laos the view of the ceiling from my bed, in my own bamboo hut, was just what I needed. Comforting and nourishing colours.

Rising from the bed however,  you are presented with primary red (and therefore energising) metal furniture:

DSC_0083Move from the furniture to the floor and you have a vivid cobalt blue vinyl.

Unbeknownst to the owner, these patterns, items and materials could have easily made an appearance at this year’s Milan Furniture fair but in this context were purely for function. Colour and design were given little consideration (this is a fact – I asked the owner) but somehow the very basic primary and natural colours echoed the primitive, basic shapes of the furniture and simplicity of the patterns giving the impression it had been carefully thought out.

What can we take from this to use in our homes? If you want to use many colours harmoniously in your home you should make sure each one has the same weight, i.e. if you use dark red and want a blue you should use a dark blue, a green with a pastel yellow should be a pastel green. Using colours in this way retains the flow through your home. The eye is naturally drawn to points of contrast, so limiting the contrast by sticking to the same level/weight of colour gives your home more balance and is therefore a more tranquil place to live.


One final message from the wonderful hospitable lady who made me a cup of rose hip tea from scratch…

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What colour to paint…Sophie.

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 11.31.32

This is Sophie.

She’s not just any Sophie but the Sophie behind the heroic illustrations of Willy Walnut (www.willywalnut.co.uk).

The Sophie behind my girl crush.

The Sophie who loves colour and is currently fasinated with YELLOW.

Me: ‘So what is it about yellow ?’

Soph: ‘I love how yellow things make me feel, like unwaxed lemons which smell and taste great in and on anything. A very good friend of mine bought me a lemon holder for the fridge which is still very exciting to behold. I also have a very brand new old up-cycled raleigh bike which has been sprayed powder yellow in the exact same colour as my logo, and even has a green wooden pencil in place of the pump which looks bloody brilliant. The sun is yellow and when he has his hat on friends come out to play and summer is finally here.’


Check out those wheels – you couldn’t fail to be happy when riding this!photo-11 The infamous lemon holder! (available to buy in Marks & Spencers)

Sophie has extended her love of yellow into the nursery she is currently preparing for the impending arrival of her first child. Wary yellow can be difficult to get right, Sophie chose to paint the walls in a pale grey with lilac undertones and add yellow through accessories. A primitive colourful rug on the floor with yellow running through it, a soft zig zag Anthropologie cushion and she has even commissioned some bespoke blinds with a yellow panel at the bottom.

How do you feel about yellow?

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What colour to paint…fork handles.

IMG_3888Unless you live in an opaque bubble you can’t have missed the current lust for all things dip dyed. I will pull together a full piece on this over the next few weeks but in the mean time I wanted to leave you with this gem I discovered in the Lambrate district of Milan- tenderly and naturally dyed wood. Simply left upright in dye, this pale matt wood looks super smart with the polished silver hardware. The soft whimsical colours are instantly calming and give a unique twist to this quietly special set of cutlery.


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What colour to paint…a bistro chair.

chair1After being randomly inundated with bistro chairs I thought it about time to paint one. These particular chairs have seen a revival of late and are popping up all over the place in every colour and finish , so if you don’t want to shell out for the Conran gloss version why not have a go yourself?!

In line with the current trend for all things indigo I’ve gone for a classic matt navy and ever in a rush I decided not to prepare the surface.

For future reference: This was stupid.

Paint needs something to ‘key’ to, so I now (from experience) recommend sanding back to remove varnish, grease and dirt, then priming before adding two coats of wonderful colour.



Boom! Check out my navy makeover………..with patches of missing paint due to my impatience.

Me thinks it might be time to try out a quick version of yarn bombing (see recent posts) to hide my mistake!



And as my grandma used to say… et voila!




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