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I’m spotting gorgeous white rooms everywhere I look these days. Maybe it’s a January thing – fresh new beginnings and all that. But these snowy palettes are definitely speaking to me. Here are three of the very best – each of them illustrates perfectly how to keep a whiter-than-white space from looking like the inside of a refrigerator.

Wood tones and textures

A live edge coffee table, squashy leather chair and patterned rug (is that hide patchwork?) signal lived-in comfort against that white backdrop. By designer Kelly Behun via Desire to Inspire.

Glamorous gold

Gold is a great way to warm up white – yet it still reads as a neutral. More to the point, though, an utterly glamorous ceiling takes any chill out of the white. Ornate crown molding, wallpaper or a darker shade of paint on the ceiling would achieve a similar, if less dramatic, effect. Via Residence Magazine.

Brick and stone

Raw brick and polished concrete are all this black and white kitchen need to feel characterful. Of course, it’s not an easy to replicate if your place doesn’t already have these features. But a stone tiled floor or even wall with lots of texture can achieve the same effect. The lighting in the recess above the stove helps too – pools of light seem so much more inviting that a completely even glow. By photographer Stuart McIntyre.

Three gorgeous spaces – I’d live in any of them.

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If you’re in need of inspiration, you have to check out this mesmerizing photostream from New Zealand photography studio, Cuba Gallery. It is packed with images that are always evocative, sometimes moody, and occasionally even witty. There are lush forests draped with mist, soothing beaches, and thought-provoking urban compositions. All of them showcase Adobe Lightroom processing techniques. But it’s the retro still life images that I particularly love and, this being an interiors blog, I thought they were the most apt ones to post here.

Dip into the rest of the photostream for a visual treat!

A few years ago, my husband and I were on our way out for dinner when we spotted this stunning woodblock print in the window of a local gallery.

It’s of a Japanese dogwood tree and is by Hajime Namiki. The background is gold leaf and the tree itself and all the blossom is the most wonderfully-detailed woodblock print. Needless to say, I was smitten. Lucky me, a few weeks later, on my birthday, I was delighted to receive that very same print as a gift from my other half.

That first purchase started a small obsession. The next year we bought a small print of snow-covered alpine trees on a silver leaf background – unfortunately the only picture of it I can find isn’t great but you get the idea.

Then my sister spotted the dogwood print at our house and fell in love too, resulting in the purchase of this absolute beauty for her home.

I find these images so still and calming – they work perfectly in so many rooms and I find I never tire of them. If I had endless cash and space, I would buy a hundred more! Seeing as that’s not possible, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you.

I found all these images on this site, where you can buy the prints. But they’re all over the Internet so you won’t have much trouble tracking them down. (I said I loved them, I didn’t say they were exclusive!) These are all from the tree series, but there’s also the Fuji series with spectacular images of Mount Fuji, and a stylized dragon series.

If you’re tempted, perhaps there’s still time to drop a hint to loved ones looking for the perfect Christmas gift for you!

When it comes to colors, my design aesthetic is lying somewhere, bruised and battered, in the no man’s land between cool neutrals and wild brights. Trying to accommodate both tastes is rather exhausting. But I’ve found some solace in the portfolio of photographer James Merrell, whose work shows brights being introduced into otherwise neutral spaces in some very surprising ways.

Take these mostly white (or black and white) spaces, for instance. A single yellow end-wall, or a bold-patterned chaise make them exciting, but there are still plenty of neutral areas to give your eyes a rest.

James Merrell

Taking your color directly from nature, or in this case a photographic wallpaper, instantly makes the look more restful and organic.

James Merrell

Ah, the power of purple. That lavender chair! That lilac dresser!

James Merrell

What an impact a single piece of art makes. Even more impactful is the use of a patterned wallpaper, in a single color, used on walls and ceiling in an otherwise simple room.

James Merrell

Even color-phobes can handle introducing color with their wardrobe. And, better still, this look requires everything else to be completely white! I like the picture wall too – we’ve all seen jewellery used as decor before, but here I like the way it’s intertwined with the art.

James Merrell

Last but definitely not least, who said moldings and wainscoting had to be all-white? The bright green here makes the neutral furniture pop and it can be changed back to snowy white with the flick of a paintbrush.

James Merrell

So, for others in my situation, I hope this gives you a few ideas and the courage to try more brights. And for the color aficionados among you, please do share your tips and tricks! How do you introduce color into your home?

All photos from Judith Miller Inc. Check out Merrell’s portfolio for more images – don’t worry, there are some lovely all-white rooms in there too!

The July issue of Elle Decoration UK features the home of Danish photographer, Ditte Isager. The apartment may be in New York, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was in Denmark because the place is so light and fresh. What I loved about her place is the way it looks as though it has evolved over years.

Of course, since I can’t link to the magazine as it has no website (what is that??) I went off in search of Ditte’s portfolio. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Ditte Isager

Ditte has a way of capturing texture. The colors in her photos are very subtle, but the textures are the real stars. There’s an interior design lesson in there somewhere…

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

Elegant but unpredictable.

Ditte Isager

Who knew a pile of wood, some sticks and some leaves could look so great?

Ditte Isager

She also does beautiful travel photos – Alek this would be right up your street!

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

Ditte Isager

All photos by Ditte Isager, via Edge Reps.

Here’s why I enjoy blogging: Last week I received an email from a gentleman named Chris Hankey. He’s an artist, and he painted the seascape that we have hanging in our living room. It’s a piece of art that means a tremendous amount to us as it was a wedding gift from all our friends and family. It turns out that a reader had spotted a photo of my living room on this blog, fallen in love with the painting and contacted Chris. As a result, Chris got to see where his painting ended up and I got to hear from the artist whose work has been so prominent in our lives for the past six years. How great is that?

And so you can see just why we’re so crazy about this artist’s work, here are a few of his latest pieces.

Chris Hankey

Portheras Cove

Chris Hankey

Sunset Gwenver

Chris Hankey

Evening Calm Portheras

And here‘s the picture that started it all (second photo from the top).

You can check out more of Chris’ work at his site.

We’re back from vacation now and trying to settle into the old routine. I know my posts have been rather sparse in the last week – I just had to be offline for a bit in order to relax.

We spent quite a bit of time visiting some of the Hamptons’ famed galleries. We even made a couple of (very small) purchases – more on that later. But it was the Mark Humphrey gallery in Southampton that really drew my eye, with an exhibition of work by Donald Baechler.

Donald Baechler

I love the bold form and simplicity. But what you can’t appreciate from the photo here is the stunning shimmering silver background and the sheer scale. I’m glad I had a chance to see it in person, albeit briefly.

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you might well recognize Bachler’s work. His graphic, sometimes humorous, but always arresting, depictions of flowers, faces and other objects are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.

But, even if it still isn’t ringing any bells, you’ll certainly recognize the painting that graced the front cover of this month’s Elle Decor. Baechler’s bold floral silhouette is a major feature of Aerin Lauder’s East Hampton living room.

Elle Decor

And so we go full circle. How very fitting.

It’s Sunday morning and that means endless cups of tea. So, to accompany that simple pleasure, here are some beautiful photos inspired by the great British cuppa… All photos are by Polly Wreford (represented by Sarah Kaye), whose work I absolutely adore.

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Polly Wreford

Aren’t they stunning? Holly at Decor8 has more on Polly Wreford here and also a post Atlanta Bartlett’s new book, Easy Elegance, which feature’s Polly’s photos, here.

Every so often I post something on architecture, as opposed to interior design, just because it’s so stunning and inspiring that I can’t resist. So when I spotted these videos of buildings that move, and even dance, via Fast Company, I had to cover them. They are truly amazing.

The first video shows an art installation called Articulated Cloud, by Ned Kahn, that forms the facade of the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh. The building is covered in a ‘skin’ made with thousands of white, translucent tiles which move in the wind. It is meant to resemble clouds.

Kahn has a fantastic portfolio online which shows his other work around the world, using fire, light, water, sand, fog and wind to create stunning effects in conjunction with architecture. I particularly love this one, called Wind Silos, in North Carolina.

Ned Kahn

It’s just a parking structure, but it’s covered in these undulating metal screens and then a 16′ ribbon of wind-activated stainless steel disks. Call me shallow, but it looks like like this rather fabulous Tiffany bracelet to me….

Tiffany bracelet

The next one is just an artist’s impression. It’s called the FLARE Facade and is designed by White Void. The facade is like a membrane made of thousands of ‘flakes’ which can be programmed to move in any pattern. It looks like some amazing light show, but it’s really just reflected light. It’s almost as if the building is alive.

Finally, check out this one for a bit of humor. It really is a building that dances! The building was covered in shutters (of a kind that I think are actually quite common in Germany) and then the movements were choreographed. It almost has a personality!

Don’t think my house will be looking like this any time soon. But pretty inspirational stuff all the same.

I’ve been posting a few pics from my husband’s experiments in macro photography (here and here). It’s not directly interior-design-related, but the pictures are so interesting. This latest is the most surprising of all.

chesspiece

It’s a chess piece and board from a set we purchased in Vietnam several years ago. The piece here, a pawn, is tiny in reality, no more than an inch tall. As a result, I’d never really looked at it in detail. This close up, I’m surprised to find it almost seems to have a personality! It’s actually a bit eery. I like the way the chessboard becomes a vast landscape extending all the way to the horizon.

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