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Why didn’t I know about this beautiful blog until this weekend? Of course, I’ve seen these photos of blogger Nicole’s stunning apartment all over the blogosphere, especially since it was featured in Rue Magazine. But the blog is a great source of inspiration too. Especially right now – while Nicole is off bonding with her newborn, guest bloggers are posting the cutest, most unique nursery designs.

Anyway, I just had to share some of the photos of the apartment in question since the black, white and metallic scheme is providing all sorts of inspiration for our impending kitchen makeover (which is rapidly becoming a dining room, playroom and bathroom makeover too – more of that later).

I spy a Carrera marble kitchen island…

Plattner coffee table…

Black and white ikat pillow…

And brass anglepoise lamps over the bed. Elegant and eclectic!

Photos by Emily Anderson for Rue Magazine via Sketch42.

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If you appreciate hand-crafted textiles and furniture, then you’re in for a treat at Niki Jones. This British-based web site is a relative newcomer and has just launched its second collection. There are mother-of-pearl inlaid cabinets, Javanese cushions, Moroccan rugs and embroidered headboards in shades of gray, gold and pink. There are butterflies, pompoms and sequins. There’s sheesham wood, pale nubby linen, glossy fucshia lacquer and rose-colored silk. It’s a little bit Anthropologie, a little bit Graham and Green – and browsing the collection is a bit like being a kid in a candy store.

Oh, and it’s not part of the new collection, but have you ever seen a bed as stunning as this?

Likewise, also from the previous collection, are these spice pots. These would look great in my new all-white kitchen (the one I will have one day when I get around to it, that is).

Although a British company, it will ship overseas. I wouldn’t like to see the cost of shipping a bed or dresser, but a small beaten metal bowl might be worthwhile… Meanwhile, enjoy all the eye candy at the Niki Jones site.

I’ve had this image in my files for a while now, without realizing where it came from. Today, Apartment Therapy has a post about this room and others, all from L’Hotel Recamier in Paris.

While the canopy headboards are a bit much for me, I find these shots inspiring because of the use of geometric patterns (a favorite technique of mine for pulling a room together) and layered textiles in shades of blue and gray. This has to be a lesson in how to combine multiple patterns for a calming and cohesive look.

I also like the use of mirrors as part of the headboard itself. Admittedly, it wouldn’t work here in earthquake country, but if I ever moved anywhere else I’d definitely consider it…

When you’re designing a room for a child, it’s good to keep in mind that the space should grow with them. That mentality has led to a wide selection of products created especially for kids but that would work equally well in grown-up interiors. Having just decorated two kids’ rooms, I’ve been exposed to lots of these products recently and have been impressed by how stylish, sophisticated and practical some of these items would be in an entirely adult scheme. What’s more, they’re often a lot cheaper! Here are some of my favorites.

First up PBteen. You really can’t beat this store for convenience and quality at a decent price. Check out this Coraline bed, which also comes in a Queen size for just $999.

In an otherwise sophisticated scheme (think minimalist white sofa, dark wood floors), these fun bedside tables would make a great end table for a living room. I especially like the duckegg blue.

I’d love this locker desk in a home office. And the industrial-style drawers come in a full range of colors.

PBteen is also an excellent resource for affordable lamps. A bright yellow task light would look both sophisticated and quirky in a gray scheme.

And even if your student days are long over, surely you could see a pair of these peace bookends on your shelves? Personally, I think they’d look great next to my collection of Jonathan Adler white ceramics!

Now, shopping in a teen store is one thing. But how about stores for kids and babies? Well, I’d argue you can be just as successful. This mirror from Land of Nod would make a good, affordable alternative to that antique shabby chic mirror you’ve been looking for.

And this Moda desk from Room and Board‘s kids collection would work in a grown-up office. It also comes in a range of colors from gray to sage green to indigo. I could see this looking great as a computer area in a large eat-in kitchen with white cabinets and wood countertops.

Giggle has this beautiful dresser/changing table that converts to an ordinary dresser by flipping over the top. I love the look of this piece but this is one time when kids’ furniture is definitely not cheaper. At $1695, it’s no bargain.

Romp, which specializes in beautiful hand-crafted toys, has these great ceiling lights. How about three of them suspended over a dining table spelling out the word E-A-T to stimulate the appetite??

Now, Serena & Lily doesn’t just cater for kids. But its range of furniture and accessories for babies and children includes some beautiful items for grown-up spaces. Like these Moroccan poufs.

I want this whole stack of alpaca throws – they might be soft enough for baby, but they’re luxurious enough for me to keep all to my self, thank you very much!

And for a bit of whimsy that even adults can appreciate, how about this bird lamp?

I’d happily have any of these items in my home. How about you? Are you convinced enough to hit the kids’ stores yet?

I’ve neglected to post here for a while because I’ve been so busy trying to wrap up work and get everything organized before the baby comes. The due date is Sunday and I finally feel like everything is under control. There’s just time to show you one of the decorating projects we’ve been working on at home – the guest room.

As you know, the arrival of baby number two means we needed to convert our top floor office into a multi-function office and guest room. It’s a bit of a squeeze: there’s no actual closet in this room so we needed some clothes storage space for guests. And, given that our families and friends come all the way from England, we wanted a proper bed for them to rest their jetlagged selves! Plus, as we already had a lot of the furniture, we couldn’t go out and buy new mini-sized pieces to fit.

The solution was to keep the whole room as uncluttered as possible with just a few pieces of essential furniture and a very calming color scheme of white, green and taupe. I also really wanted to blend the decor with the view outside, since there are four windows in this tiny space. The wallpaper, which is Sweet Bay by Sanderson, is supposed to echo the flowering trees and vines in the gardens visible from this room. It’s much more traditional than I intended, but it does have a beautiful painterly effect. It even seems to make the room bigger. We already had the bedside tables, found in an antiques store in San Francisco, Past Perfect. The mirror is from another SF junk store, sadly closed now. The bed and bedside lamps are IKEA. I considered using task lights to balance the floral wallpaper with a more industrial look. But the angular lines clashed with the pattern, so it was back to my trusty IKEA lamps…

Here’s a close up of the wallpaper. As it’s pretty much the only exciting feature we had space for in this room, I thought I’d better make the most of it!

The other end of the room is the business end, so to speak. As this space has to function as an office, we needed lots of storage space. The dresser is actually a very cheap filing cabinet bought online. The top drawer can be reserved for guests. I used lots of boxes and magazine holders on the shelving to keep it from looking too cluttered or busy. The desk fits here too, along the window, but we decided to take it out for now as we have various family members staying for a while and wanted to give them as much room as possible.

I used light filtering roller blinds to keep the sun out on summer days and for privacy. The thicker roman shades from The Shade Store keep the heat in at night.

What would we do without West Elm for finishing touches like lacquer trays?!

Here’s part of the view from the window. When the desk is here, it’ll be a relaxing place for working and thinking. (By the way, can you spot the photographer??)

The ceiling light fixture is from EQlight. They have fantastically intricate shades in different sizes. When the light is switched on you can really see all the detail – the shape almost mirrors the blooms on the wallpaper.

So, there it is, a little oasis of calm for our guests in the hectic mania that is our home (soon to be even more hectic, no doubt!)

My brother-in-law and his wife became the proud parents of a little girl this week (their first baby). So, in honor of the occasion, this post is devoted to all things girly in interior design: it celebrates baby pink and bubblegum pink, frills and flounces, feminine shapes and floral patterns. And, why not, I say?! Besides, what better way to usher in the spring than with the color of cherry blossom? Enjoy.

Via This is Glamorous.

Via Automatism.

Via Casapinka.

Nicole’s living room from Making it Lovely.

Via House of Turquoise.

Via Peacock Feathers.

Via A Life More Fabulous.

Via JPM Design.

Via Apartment 34.

Via Beauty Comma.

Via Pink Wallpaper.

Via Automatism.

Now let’s raise a glass of pink bubbly to my brand new niece. Welcome to the world! May it always be rosy!

As you know, we’re redecorating our guest bedroom at the moment. Well, to be precise, we’re in the midst of a pre-baby decorating frenzy which involves swapping the functions of three different rooms. It’s proving to be a bit of a nightmare as we have to shuffle pieces of furniture, stepladders and tools from one room to another so we can get tasks done as the required items arrive through the mail (as I have zero time for furniture shopping everything has to be ordered online). Anyway, the guestroom is now where the study once was and, in fact, will serve a dual purpose as both office and bedroom.

It’s not ready to show yet, but I thought I’d share some of the bedroom images that have provided inspiration (or caused design confusion, as the case may be – read on and you’ll see why!)

First, let’s talk about color. If you recall, when I blogged about it here, this room has four windows on three walls so, although it’s lovely and light, can be subject to extremes of temperature, depending on the time of year. I needed to choose a color that wouldn’t exaggerate the heat or cold. So, a while ago we painted it green and I decided to leave it that way since it really is the best shade for such a space.

This is almost the exact same shade (via Decorology) and, like this room, I’m mixing it with a lot of white (except for the roman shades which arrived yesterday and turned out to be more cream than white. Disaster. They’re up and I’m trying not to get upset every time I look at them because they’re really very nice otherwise, honestly. And also because I made my husband paint the ceiling from cream to white so it would work better with the supposedly white blinds…. say no more).

Here’s another green and white bedroom, this time via This is Glamorous. We have bedside tables a bit like this and I really like the contrast of crisp white bedding with more sumptuous wallpaper.

On the other hand, I also like the vibrancy of this room. The greens are much fresher and more modern – perhaps more in keeping with the rest of our house. Photo by Polly Wreford, Sarah Kaye Represents.

I also have a ‘thing’ for white bedrooms so am trying to keep as much of the room color-free as possible. This also helps to unify the two functions of office and bedroom. I still need to find something to anchor the space, like the pearl-inlaid trunk does in this room. Via Decorology.

Ok, now moving on from color, let’s talk about pattern. Although the room is small, I really like the idea of introducing some pattern that echoes the views outside. With so many windows, the room really does feel like it’s up in the treetops, so I want to reflect some of that in the design. I immediately thought of adding some floral or trailing wallpaper to one wall, and then remembered this stunning bedroom by Miles Redd featured in Domino. Via Style Redux.

A chinoiserie-style floral would also work beautifully and I love this turquoise wallpaper because it’s so vibrant and modern, despite its very traditional pattern. Via Automatism.

More traditional chinoiserie, like the example here via Apartment Therapy, would also work well. Unfortunately an original De Gournay is out of budget!

Although I’d like to introduce some pattern, I don’t want the space to be too traditional or girly. I like the way the rooms above and below balance feminine textiles or wallpapers with much more utilitarian and industrial elements such as task lights. Via Fondly Seen.

And this one from stylist Lucyina Moodie‘s portfolio.

Then again, I am attracted to the tailored elegance of a bedroom like this one from Canadian House and Home. A simple, calming color scheme, glammed up with the chandelier and plush bedlinens is so inviting.

So, as you can see, this one little room has a lot to achieve! It’s starting to take shape but has a long way to go before I feel it meets all these criteria. But, we’ll get there eventually!

We’ve finally finished our son’s new bedroom and I can show you some pictures. It didn’t actually take that long to do – most of the room was finished in the first weekend because we’d planned it all out. But we had a few issues with the light fitting so I haven’t been able to take any photos. At last it’s sorted out so here’s the finished (well, almost) result.

If you’ll recall, this room is for an energetic three-year-old who absolutely loves red. I didn’t think an entirely red room would be wise given the energy levels we’re talking about here! So I went for this deep turquoise blue on one wall and white on the rest. The blue is Benjamin Moore’s Electric Blue. It’s really warm and looks lovely at night by lamplight too. Then we added red accents like the chair and IKEA cabinet (just seen on the left) to satisfy the client, so to speak (!)

I must confess to there being a high number of IKEA items in this room. The chair and bookshelves are both IKEA, but who can resist their pricing? I got my son to help sort the books into colors, which he enjoyed – and the effect is rather pleasing. I’ve been dying to try out a ‘rainbow of books’ but have had to hold off in other rooms because my other half isn’t keen (makes it hard to find the one you want apparently – I can’t sympathize because I remember the color of books before I remember their title). The pillow on the chair is from PierOne Imports.

The notice board is made from a $4 IKEA frame and some Japanese wrapping paper. It has little goldfish against a blue background.

The bed and bedding we already had (the truck bedding was from Target last year). But we added the two decals – chosen by our construction-crazy son – from Decomodwalls on Etsy.

The cabinet is one I’m sure everyone will recognize as the PS Cabinet from IKEA.

It’s probably not that suitable for a child as it only closes and opens if you can master the key mechanism. But, we billed it as a cabinet where he can keep secret things and that incentivized him to get the hang of it pretty quickly!

I love this little corner of the room. The lion and blue rabbit were both baby gifts and the dog was the first item we bought after finding out I was pregnant the first time. The painting of our son is by my mother-in-law and was a gift this Christmas. We just had it framed and it totally makes the room. We’re very lucky to have an artist in the family. I just love this painting because it captures our son’s expression so well.

I’ve been dying to get these kid-sized Ant chairs from Room and Board for ages. They come in orange, lime and white too but the aqua works perfectly here. The table is IKEA (again).

The cute Humpty Dumpty clock was a gift from my parents.

On the other wall there’s a dresser and closet. I’m thinking of adding wallpaper to the closet door – or at least a paper or fabric-covered panel with hooks – just to add interest to this corner. I also need to frame the poster of The Little Prince properly. But, you have to leave some things unfinished otherwise, where’s the fun?

The light fixture (the one we had issues with) is from Urban Outfitters. It’s called the Dreamcatcher light. I love the look of it, but unfortunately it only comes with a cord kit that allows you to plug it into a wall. Very odd seeing as it’s billed as a ceiling pendant. We looked for a replacement ceiling cord kit for ages but it seems they don’t exist. So we had to buy another (cheap) ceiling fixture and use part of that.

The curtains were here already – we had them made at The Shade Store when this room was a guest room. I’ve ordered woven wood blinds too, which will help block out more light and prevent early morning wake-ups in the summer. The rug is the one we had in the nursery and it has stood the test of time pretty well, so we probably won’t change it for a while. But when we do, I’d like a Zapotec rug like this one.

So that’s it. Our son loves his new room and now has plenty of space for his toys, books and clothes. He can spread out on the floor and play and then everything gets easily tidied away at the end of the day. And I get pleasure out of seeing that splash of bright blue every time I come up the stairs.

Next stop, the nursery and then the guest room – and only eight weeks to go before baby number two arrives! Will we make it?

Our son recently turned three and is starting to outgrow his ‘babyish’ nursery. I’ve been thinking about how I’ll update his bedroom. To be honest, it’s a bit of a challenge. I want a look that will last a few years so it needs to be relatively age non-specific. But, then again, he’s only three so I don’t want it to be too grown-up for right now.

To add to the problem, he has an absolute passion for all things red. But everything in his room right now is pale blue. I’ve been wrestling with how to combine these two very different looks without it ending up looking like a Fourth of July parade. Then I spotted this room on Little Green Notebook, via Abbey Goes Design Scouting.

inspirationboards2

I absolutely love this room. It’s a home office, so obviously the requirements are very different to a kid’s room. But the strong colors and happy vibe are exactly what I’d envisaged for our toddler. They seem to sum up his personality instantly. Even better, this space shows that pale ‘baby’ blue and bright cherry red can look fabulous together.

So, I started putting a look together, using some of what we already have, and a few new pieces. This is what I came up with.

red and blue room

Ok, firstly, I realize the red here is a little more orangey. That’s more because that’s the shade of the items I was able to find in our price range. I actually like the orange tone, but a more ‘red red’ work work equally well.

The starting point was the red cabinet. It’s the Halogen Credenza in Lobster from CB2. It’s $499 so not cheap, but it has tons of storage space. And I feel that sliding doors are much better for little fingers than drawers or chests that open at the top. I also like this cabinet from IKEA PS, but am not so sure about the lockable doors and dentable metal build!

Cabinet

The chair is also from CB2 and is $699. That’s actually one of the most reasonably-priced chairs I found that still looked modern and stylish. It’s comfortable too and I know he’ll love it because, well, it’s red.

The rug is from Anthropologie and is $495 for the 5×8 size. I love the colors and the Ikat-style pattern – no kid-generated stains are going to show up on that thing! I also love this one, the ‘Ancient Languages Rug’ also from Anthropologie.

883237_aso_b

The storage unit in the center is my absolute favorite item, but, truth be told, probably won’t make the final cut due to price. It’s made up of Stella Stackable Storage Cubes from Q Collection Junior. At $365 per cube (with cabinet doors) and $315 without, it’s just way too pricey for a kid’s room. But I like the effect and plan to create something similar with an IKEA storage unit and some paint!

The bed is the one we have already. But I just ordered an Oscar twin duvet cover and sheet set from Pottery Barn Kids as most toddler bedding is too flimsy and small for winter. A twin duvet will be a little big but, folded over, it’ll work just fine. I love this set because it’s fun and childish, but not tacky. It’s not one that my son (or I) will tire of too soon. Here’s a closer look.

Bedding

The little blue chair and round table are from Room & Board and are perfectly-sized for small kids. The ‘Jake‘ chair in blue is $50. You can get much cheaper ones but I like the idea of having this iconic chair shape in a child’s size. The table could just as well be a cheap coffee table from IKEA though, which is probably what we’ll end up using.

The window shade is from The Shade Store‘s Dwell Collection. I love this online source of custom blinds. We already have white drapes at the window and just need to update the black-out blinds. This fabric has pale blue giant polka dots so works well for a young child but won’t be too embarrassing when he’s 9!

And the best part of all is the fact that the paint color is the exact one we have in his room right now. Although you’d think ‘Polar Sky’ (from Benjamin Moore) would be a really cold shade, it’s actually a beautiful clear, warm shade with not a jot of gray in it. I did toy with going for a much brighter blue, like the shade in this room (via Flickr).

Blue room

I call this shade ‘Carrie Blue’ because it reminds me of the color of Carrie Bradshaw’s made-over apartment in the Sex and the City movie (there’s something wrong about taking inspiration from SATT for your kid’s bedroom!). If I find a chair and cabinet in cherry red instead of lobster, I may still take this route because it’s such a beautiful color and will last him until his much older.

Anyway, so what do you think? Any great items out there I’ve missed to complete this look? It’s going to take me a few months to get organized so don’t expect pics of the finished space too soon! But I will post them as soon as it’s done, I promise.

I’ve just been pouring over the fabulous and inspiring web site of British interiors stylist, Claudia Bryant. I spotted a photo of her work on A Room Somewhere (in itself a great source of inspiration) and now I’m hooked. What’s great is that Claudia’s work varies so widely – there’s probably something in her portfolio for everyone. And there are literally dozens of ideas that could be applied to any home.

I love the oversize lamp here. The metallic vases are a nice way to introduce some sparkle and reflection without the standard over-the-mantelpiece mirror. And have you ever seen a black sofa look so ladylike?

Claudia Bryant

This room is just so pretty: vintage charm with a bit of disco glitz!

Claudia Bryant

I don’t even know how to describe this wall treatment. It’s very cool though. Even if you couldn’t muster the courage to do a whole wall like this, a small panel as art would be great propped up in the hallway of a beach house (if you have a beach house, that is…)

Claudia Bryant

How to do blue and red: choose muted tones of each and mix with some vintage furniture and pop art.

Claudia Bryant

Here’s a different look altogether. Cool, calm and collected. I adore that huge clock and the dual-colored wall.

Claudia Bryant

Definitely LivingEtc. A round rug under a round bedside table under a round pendant shade – just perfect.

Claudia Bryant

I love the use of color to define the office area in this kitchen.

Claudia Bryant

Panels of different, mismatching wallpaper! I have to try this somewhere…

Claudia Bryant

Phew – idea overload.

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