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My first Ideabook for Houzz appeared recently on the site’s home page. It’s a round-up of accessories to create a curated look for your home. I think the current trend for curated spaces is one that will be around for a while. It’s a more personal, easy-going way of decorating. Curated rooms are filled with well-made, meaningful treasures, which have been carefully edited. This takes time and so these spaces have more long-lasting appeal. In fact, this trend is so entrenched that entire business models have been built around it: online retailers are all launching sub-brands that sell ‘one-of-a-kind’ pieces and jumping on the daily deal bandwagon but with collections curated by tastemakers.

I’m a big fan of the curated look. But even though it looks effortless, achieving the effect is quite an art. Here are five beautifully curated houses that I believe have got it right.

Curated mantelpiece

The first two are from Emma Reddington’s picks on House and Home. This first, although just a glimpse of the mantelpiece, indicates an artfully composed space that still retains a homey, informal feel. The key here is contrasting styles: a simple modern fireplace, gilt mirror, Moroccan rug and carefully-selected prints all balance each other out making the space accessible. The symmetrical lamps help pull the whole look together.

Curated living room

This upscale living room is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s far from homey, in large part because of the size, grand architectural details and multiple seating areas. But the decor is a major contributor to this space’s high-end curated feel. Every piece seems so unexpected.

Eclectic global living room

This room, via Elle Decor, is somewhere in between. I just love this space. It actually has very few pieces in it, but each is so well chosen that I still class it as curated. The armoire with baskets on top is a big factor in defining this room’s character, as is the live edge coffee table. The trick here seems to be to use fewer, large-scale pieces and then used relaxed fabrics to prevent the space from feeling sparse.

Eclectic living room

The rich red in this room is mouthwatering! Also via Elle Decor, this room is much more feminine and traditional. But the coffee tables add some edginess. This is an example of a room that has a curated feel using only furniture, rather than accessories and art. There are two notable accessories – the coral and quartz pieces – but the impact comes from the rug, chairs, sofa and coffee tables, all of which look like they have been collected carefully over the years.

Modern wood living room

Yet another different curated space – this time using organic textures to unify a room that is packed with treasures. This one has such a cozy, eclectic vibe – and of course killer views. It just proves that curated interiors don’t have to feel like art galleries. Via Living Etc.

So what defines a curated space for you?

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Why are there so few cool or entertaining interior design videos online? Unless you want to watch a grainy real estate tour or a cheesy ‘trading spaces’-style video, YouTube is pretty much barren territory for design lovers. For an industry so driven by visual media, it’s surprising. Perhaps there’s something about an interior image that just doesn’t translate to video in the way it does to photos.

But if you feel like a video fix, the good news is that there are a few that stand out from the crowd. Here are my picks – ranging from informative to plain hilarious. Enjoy.

House and Home TV, from Canadian House and Home magazine, has a great selection of videos, most of them showcasing real homes and providing decorating tips along the way. As in the magazine, the interiors are usually tasteful and affordable. This particular one is more upmarket as it’s a showcase home. But it’s a beautiful space that translates pretty well to video. You can see better quality versions of House and Home videos on the magazine web site.

Another good source is to search for entries to Apartment Therapy‘s Smallest Coolest contests on YouTube. I like this one because, not only is the design adorable, but the owner has so obviously focused on making her place truly personal.

Now this next one is entirely different. Have you ever wondered what the house of one of the world’s richest men looks like? Well, if he’s the founder of Microsoft, the answer is it looks pretty amazing! This video is a 3D rendering of Bill Gates’ Seattle home. It focuses on the technology that makes the house respond to its inhabitants’ every needs from heat, to light, to music. But the NorthWest style architecture, with its great expanses of glass and wood, is spectacular while being sympathetic to its environment.

Who says design fanatics only like to look at images? The TEDtalks are tremendously entertaining speeches from inspiring people. You have to check out this one with Philippe Starck. He doesn’t show any visuals but it’s fascinating all the same. Who knew the guy was so funny? Warning: it’s kind of long.

I saved this one until last because, well, just watch it and see! I’ve no idea where this came from or why it was made, but it made me laugh. Probably says more about my appalling sense of humor than anything else. But, anyone who has trailed despondently round those out-of-town furniture megastores in the hope of spotting a tasteful bargain will immediately ‘get’ this.

Have you found any interior design videos that are worth watching? If so, please do share…

The design discoveries and dilemmas of a Brit in San Francisco as she turns a house into a home.
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