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Simple Flower Arrangements

I love casual flower arrangements. I don’t feel comfortable fussing with things too much. In fact, the more I fuss the worse things usually look anyway because then my original vision gets lost. I’ve learned to just go with my first instinct and to be happy with what comes the most natural to me. I tend to like flowers in a variety of containers and I enjoying mixing blooms so that there is plenty of texture and color, even if I’m using mostly pink flowers I find that the many tones give such depth and personality to an arrangement.

Constança Cabral

I also like white carnations and find that they get such a bad rap for no reason, a carnation is a feminine flower with lovely ruffled layers. I think the carnation is a tricky bloom though, it doesn’t play well with others and looks best when it’s paired with other carnations and in my opinion, looks best with others the exact color — a carnation can suddenly look so sophisticated bunched together. In addition to flowers, I also love flowering branches in my home and recently I’ve been getting more and more into plants like olive and rosemary topiary trees and succulents. What about you, do you like simple flower arrangements or do you tend to spend a lot of time putting yours together?

Constança Cabral

One lady in blogland, Constança Cabral, does such a nice job arranging casual bunches and displaying them in her home. She just may inspire you — her many lovely photos are shown above. She is from Lisbon but currently living in England where she has an apartment in the countryside with a small garden where she picks most of her lovely stems. Constança makes things by hand and sells them in her etsy shop and she also blogs quite frequently so if you like flowers you will love her blog.

(images: Constança Cabral)

Posted in Decorating Tips on September 22, 2010

Faux Fireplaces: Your Thoughts?

Okay I seriously need YOUR help – yes the tables have turned! :) To faux or not to faux, that is the question and currently my new home dilemma. I move next week on Friday and I’m starting to think about decorating and how I seriously want to put a faux fireplace in this room below… but is that tacky? I was reading one of my favorite decorating books by Mark & Sally Bailey, Simple Home, over the weekend and they are seriously against it – that one must be true to the home and its history. I’m sure this home had a ceramic stove at one time, it was built in 1900, but that was long removed so now I’m trying to figure out if I should add a faux fireplace or not. This will most likely be my living room, though that is still under discussion as I have 3 different rooms that could all easily be a living room due to the incredible floor plan. But for the sake of keeping things easy, let’s go with this room being the space for the living room.

My new place!

The wood herringbone floors are original (110 years old!), as is the ornately carved ceiling — you cannot see them too well in this picture but there are flowers carved in two rows across it along with beams… so it’s a pretty lovely living room. There are no windows on either side, but where I stood to take this photos there is a wall of folding glass doors leading into what will most likely be my office.

Anyway, what you are seeing in the back there are double doors leading to a very large tiled “wintergarten” that happens to be heated so I can use it year round… and out there I plan to cozy it up with plants and a place to read and relax. But back to the idea of a faux fireplace. I would look for something vintage — not new — but I think the real draw is to have a focal point but also to create something cozy — a mantle with a mirror above it and space below for stacking wood and some candles just seems like the right choice. But Mark & Sally Bailey would be against this decision, and so would a slew of other designers out there, yet I still want to do it. What do you think? Any tips? I guess I could also just buy a fabulous dresser or low cabinet and put a shelf over it and a big mirror on top but I have this fireplace idea stuck in my head.

Thoughts?

(image: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Decorating Tips on September 20, 2010

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Home

This is such a gorgeous autumn color palette! DAY Birger et Mikkelsen is a Danish label known for their amazing fashion but did you know that they also have a well-curated collection of goods for the home? Their current campaign is called Quirky Autumn and I just love it with the smokey shades of blue, gray…. vintage charm, extremely tactile, a few classic designs from the 60s, some ethnic “raw” pieces made of wood, silhouette art work, embroidery, lots of handmade charm — we all are so drawn to these things because they feel so real and in some ways connect us back to our childhood…

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Home

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Home

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Home

This is definitely a look/palette that many designers are gravitating towards right now — Sibella Court, TineK Home, House Doctor, DAY Birger et Mikkelsen, West Elm, Anthropologie, etc. The mix of high and low, old and new is currently popular but I believe that it has real staying power — like denim jeans — in the sense that you can see a living room in these colors, in this style, in 5 years and it would still be just as lovely and cozy and not at all appear dated or, “Sooooo 2010″ as I imagine some current trends will look and feel years from now. Like denim, this look is clean, natural, casual and lasting since it is a mix of periods, cultures, and mostly neutral tones which you really can never go wrong with.

What do you think of these colors, textures and combinations?

(images: DAY Birger et Mikkelsen)

Posted in Decorating Tips, trends on September 16, 2010

House & Home Design Contest 2010

Canadian House & Home (a lovely magazine that I miss since moving to the other side of the world!) is hosting their annual Design Contest once again. This is one winning entry from last year that I loved – the bathroom is gorgeous, don’t you think? I adore the graphic floral wallpaper in black and white, so fresh and clean, with that red chair adding just the perfect bit of color to break things up. It’s a truly lovely space. And the tub! Oh how nice to paint it black and to use those gorgeous tiles on the floor. I think the bathroom is the one room in the house that I don’t mind looking absolutely catalog-perfect. I don’t know, I expect other rooms in the house to feel lived-in, but the bathroom I always expect to be simple, clean, spa-like and styled perfectly. I don’t like a lot of clutter in a bathroom, less is more! That is why this space appeals to me.

House & Home Design Contest '10

If you feel you have what it takes to enter their design contest this year, why not click here to learn more about it and to see what you could win. Go for it, why not? You may walk away with a nice prize and a feature in their smart magazine.

House & Home Design Contest '10

Simply take a photo of any space you have renovated or decorated yourself and enter it into any of the six categories that it would fit in — like the best use of color, kitchen, best budget style, small space, best house and best decorating, Remember, read the contest rules first and note: you must enter and submit your photos online by October 13th and the contest is open to only residents of Canada. That means the rest of us have to simply wish our Canadian friends the best of luck and wait for the big reveal online! Until then, here are some more smart rooms from the magazine that I found interesting enough to share today. Do any of these rooms speak to you?

House & Home Design Contest '10

House & Home Design Contest '10

Bold never grows old, does it? Above I’m seeing a little Palm Beach, a little Morocco, some coastal blues, and some over the top graphics. It’s all so, so good.

Do you ever watch House & Home TV online? It’s great, especially when you don’t have design television (me!) and only have the web to turn to for design programs. I love their design editor and host Cameron MacNeil — I’ve followed his work for years now since he was super young and love watching him now on video, he’s even better than I had imagined!

(images: house & home)

Posted in Decorating Tips on August 24, 2010

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

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