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Decorating Tips

The Allure of White

May 17, 2010

Hi there! My name is Brigitte, and I blog over at Covet Chicago. I’m here to chat with you a bit about white spaces, while Holly is off writing her best seller. I hope it’s ok to confess that I’m unbearably nervous, because Holly is like a rockstar to me. But, luckily, I am uniquely qualified to share some tips on designing dazzling white interiors, because I cannot have white walls in my own home. And, of course, we tend to obsess about what we can’t have, don’t we?

The Allure of White

Skona Hem

I’ve always known that those gorgeous white walls (and glossy floors!) that I lust over in design mags and on my favorite blogs won’t work in my home. And, I always had a hunch that it had something to do with the very minimal natural light that I get.

But my resolve wavers. Until a few weeks back, when one of my favorite bloggers, Penelope Trunk (who does not write about design at all, coincidentally) tipped me off to the blog Colour Me Happy. I heart the interwebs. A few reads in, I hit gold with the post White is a Snob. Finally, truth acknowledged. In the post, Maria laid out advice from the book All About Colour.

The Allure of White

Skona Hem

According to the book (and Maria), good white rooms always meet three demanding criteria. They must have: 1. Good light, 2. Harmonized proportions, and 3. A few attractive objects artfully arranged. Sadly, my home is lacking the first condition, which I find to be the most important.

The Allure of White

See what I mean? I want to pack up my cats and move in! Not only is this image, found in BOLIG magazine, flooded with dazzling white light, but the hot pink accents are killer .

The Allure of White

Ivy style33 and Real Living

The next rule is one I actively avoid. Mainly because I’m a perfectionist who could all too easily become overly adherent to the rule. But!

The Allure of White

Domino

Or…

The Allure of White

Perfect proportions by i l’aria.

Which brings me at last to #3. The biggest challenge. The styling trick that slays me, even though I purport to write a design blog myself. Ha!

The Allure of White

Veranda

And!

The Allure of White

Livingetc

There is one rule that I would add, and it’s evident in all of these images save two. It’s a taste thing. I like my home to feel eminently livable.

The Allure of White

1.Veranda. 2. BOLIG 3. Country Living 4. Domino

Now that I’ve teased you with these images, I’d like to know…how many of you are in my boat?

And, what would you add to these criteria?

– Brigitte






Decorating Tips

London Calls…

May 5, 2010

This time next week I’ll be packing my bags and flying to London which makes me very happy! It’s only an hour from where I live by plane but I haven’t yet been since moving over so it’s time I change things up a bit! The first thing I will do is review photos for the book with the team that I’m working with, aka the publisher & co. Up until now, our teamwork has been purely virtual so I’m looking forward to sitting around a table and discussing ideas and sorting through images to see what will work in the massive flat plan set out before us. I also cannot wait to meet the co-author, Joanna! She has been a lovely lady on the phone and via email but meeting has been a goal of mine so I’m glad that this will finally happen. We’ll also be going on a shopping trip together to round up products and ideas for the book and I’m quite pleased with this agenda because shopping with someone who really knows their city is always a very special treat.

London Calls...

Some have asked me if writing a book is scary… So far I’m not scared at all, I’m quite excited to share my ideas and be heard and to change up the pace a little. Honestly, I needed this as being solely online has started to drain me as I thrive more on diversity and spontaneity than I do on being on my computer 24/7 — I need to spice things up! Blogging can be a lot like marriage, you get into your routine of it and then realize that you’ve turned into a crashing bore of a partner! That is when you have to do special things to make your relationship feel fresh and exciting again. My job is this way. I’ve been blogging for over four years now, it was time to try something new — so I guess we can call this book project my naughty teddy or something. :) My routine is about to be completely changed because between next week and July I’ll be in London, Denmark, Sweden, Amsterdam, Paris, Belgium, Los Angeles and New York. Talk about change, this isn’t going from crawling to walking, this is going from crawling to flying!

London Calls...

I’ll be meeting up with some new friends in London and connecting with some others whom I’ve been dying to meet so this trip will be a very productive 7 days. London is a very special city to me — I had a lot of “first” experiences there back in my single days I flew over so many times from Boston that I actually lost count — I was obsessed with English life and culture and in many ways I still am. I remember flying over “for the weekend” just to see a concert or go out with my friends. Ha! This time my adventures will be much more tame as I have plans to hit lots of stores and to simply enjoy the hustle bustle of the city without sitting before a computer as I usually am quite tied by the umbilical cord to my laptop. I’m going on this trip laptop-free, baby! Though take note: I am bringing my iPod touch to tweet and read my emails. I cannot detach myself from the mothership entirely. When I return from my trip, I’ll have some photographs and tips to share here concerning my impressions of London so while I’m there, I’ll definitely be keeping an out out for things to share on the bloggy blog.

London Calls...

To get me in the London mood, I thought I’d share these gorgeous shoot locations with you from 1st Option. All of these gorgeous properties are available for hire just in case you are putting together a fashion catalog and need a location for your models, or perhaps you are shooting a book of your own and need some great rooms to style. All of these locations are beautiful and vary in style and period but the theme is consistent – they’re all drop dead gorgeous. Enjoy!

(images: 1st option)






Decorating Tips

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

April 27, 2010

Whenever an email arrives from Pale & Interesting to introduce something new I feel this sense of excitement wash over me as I really adore their online shop and look books. I have about 10 favorite photographers in the world and one is definitely Polly Wreford who shot all of the photographs that you see on the Pale & Interesting site. She is so talented, I love how sharp and crisp her photographs are but also that they don’t feel lonely or cold — which is a challenge when you are shooting rooms with a mostly white/neutral palette!

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

There is a difference, to me, in interiors photography these days that stands out quickly whenever I pick up an interiors magazine or book — perhaps you can spot it too… the welcoming and the not-so welcoming imagery of homes. For instance, in Polly’s work it feels like the homeowner is off to the side cooking or chatting around the dining room table as Polly works her magic in another room to create a beautiful composed photograph. But in some portfolios I see, it feels like no one lives in the home at all — that the photographer is there all alone creating a beautiful photograph but there is something missing… a feeling of warmth and comfort, a feeling that people actually live and dream and work and play in that space once the photographer wraps up the shoot and leaves.

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

And though many photographers shoot styled work in hired spaces used solely for location shoots and not inhabited at all, I think the skill of the photography in such surroundings is to make them feel like people do live there. Does this make sense to you? Do you know what I mean?

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

Pale & Interesting (and decorating tips with glass)

Okay, back to the regularly scheduled program — Pale & Interesting. They just rolled out their 2010 look book which is a bit like a magazine online that you can click through to get some decorating tips and to explore ideas on how to use specific products that they carry in your own home. I noticed in several of the photos above that many glass bottles were reused in different ways and as a result, they take on a whole new look. For instance, the bottles with the butterfly are the same as the bottles with the flowers and those shot with the glass cloches which is a great example of how some simple glass bottles can be a great investment as there are many different uses and ideas for arranging them in your home. One week they can be on your fireplace mantle, the next on your dining table, and quite possibly the next week they could be arranged on your entryway table in the hallway. So many options without running out to buy new things constantly – look for ones that are versatile and nothing is more versatile than transparent glass as they are subtle and understated, changing color and pattern according to what you place on, in, around or beneath them. Beautiful!

(images: polly wreford)






Decorating Tips

Sofie Lawett

April 23, 2010

Hello everyone! Yesterday I took a break from posting because I was so busy with some other projects that I felt like I was being stretched in every direction! But today is better, so I want to spend some time with you to share some recent inspirations.

Sofie Lawett

The day for me started off very nicely because I went to view a potential home for the book (thank you Tinna!) I’m working on and it was very beautiful so I took some quick snapshots and sent it off to the publisher. We’re trying to coordinate everything as we want to begin shooting locations this summer which is only a few months away but I’m not stressed as I know we’ll be able to organize everything just fine. I’ve learned that stress only complicates things and most of the time, everything works out in the end anyway so why stress over it! Okay so enough about me, let’s get inspired by some talented people today, shall we?

Sofie Lawett

One is a company called Sofie Lawett in Sweden run by creative duo Sofie Anderrson and Marcus Lawett. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Everyone in Sweden must be so stylish!” and yes, I think you just may be right as it does seem this way because there certainly is a lot of talent there! Sofie Lawett provides interior design and styling since 2006 for both residential and commercial clients with tasks that range from 3D design to building environments for styling, sketches, and decorating spaces.

Sofie Lawett

Sofie Lawett

These photographs, taken by Marcus Lawett, shows only some of their work. You will need to visit their online portfolio to see more. Some of their clients include Hus & Hem, Elle Interior, VTWonen and IKEA to name a few.

(images: marcus lawett)






Decorating Tips

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

April 21, 2010

I’ve talked about window films before and I’ll talk about them again and again because I think they’re fantastic! I was so pleased when Emma Jeffs contacted me yesterday to share some of her latest designs which are now available on Emma’s website for UK and EU customers and over at 2Jane in the USA. Would you like to see how nice they look installed?

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Emma Jeffs: New Window Films

Whether you have a terrible view of a dumpster or some freaky peeping Tom neighbor, window films (also known as window vinyls or stickers) can be a great solution to hide from the ugly, cruel world. Ha. Kidding. But let’s get real here — sometimes urban living isn’t what Hollywood movies make it out to be with sweeping views of Central Park so one needs to have a practical solution to hide the fire escape and views of panties drying in the wind on the neighbors balcony and window films can be a good one. They’re also helpful if you need some privacy (in a bathroom, for instance) but would like to still let in the light OR if you simply want something decorative to spruce up your space — these come in some pretty patterns that look great without drawing too much attention — which I like in a window film — simple, understated, modern, white.

Would you consider adding these to your windows? Have you ever used this product before, or something similar? Where else in the home can you see using them other than windows? I picture them on interior transom windows and glass cabinets and doors — like those large IKEA closets with frosted glass sliding doors. They are so versatile!

(images: emma jeffs)






Decorating Tips

Toast + Vintage Tiles

April 16, 2010

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for vintage tiles — especially blue and white ones but I’m open to other colors as well. Remember the home of Myrte de Zeeuw in Belgium that I shared with you last year? I’d even like to have tile like hers in my home, too. I think it’s quite sad that in many of the apartments and homes that I look at vintage flooring is often removed and replaced with standard white or gray tiles lacking in both charm and personality but also history – such a shame!

Toast + Vintage Tiles

To me, there is nothing better than vintage tile floors (or even repros) in the wet areas of a home — even the entryway or balcony looks beautiful with them. And so seeing this image above in the Toast catalog I was reminded once again of my love of old tiles, particularly those from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Europe in general and Turkey — though Germany has some beautiful ones too. And speaking of Toast, you must check out their linens, rubbish bins, towels and their lovely pillows.

Toast + Vintage Tiles

We all have dreams of the perfect interiors… My dream is to someday live in a pretty apartment with lots of sunlight and blue and white tiles on the wall in the kitchen — vintage ones… And old windows, and tons of transom windows… and a built in bookcase, a fireplace with a mantle, high ceilings, wood floors (herringbone would be ideal)… And a bathroom with a large clawfoot soaking tub with a huge window. And a balcony overlooking something very pretty — like a courtyard or garden. I know… realistic, right!? :)

Toast + Vintage Tiles

I have been thinking about this and seeing it in my mind for so many years but never can I find it. Ha! I wonder why!? But oh yes, I must say that I need not have all of those features — even just a few would be grand. But of course, a place with vintage blue and white tiles in the kitchen would be a dream come true for me. I’m thinking that perhaps I can put them up someday if I buy a home of my own. What a happy thought this is!

What is your dream when it comes to something you imagine having in your home that you do not currently?

Psst: Looking for some travel and interiors inspiration? You simply must visit Toast Travels. (images: toast)






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