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If I’m going to continue the theme of red-accented spaces, this unique house is the perfect place to stop next. It’s the home of portrait photographer, Emily McCall.

Why do I love this house? Because it intrigues me and is truly one-of-a-kind. For a start, you’d think a palette of black, white and red would be brash and in-your-face, but instead it’s quiet, almost monastic, but with a twist.

Great mix of textiles from Suzani to sackcloth to leather.

Any place that can combine a white bust with a Panton chair and look great is ok by me!

The bedrooms are like negatives of each other (how appropriate for a photographer!) Here’s the light and airy white bedroom, with a few graphic punches in the form of the pillow, lamp and quirky clock.

And here’s the black bedroom – a perfect foil for a vintage bus route sign….

…and a red velvet wingback chair! Genius. Makes me want to break out the black paint.

Thanks, Emily, for allowing me to post photos of your lovely home. Hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I did!

Check out Emily’s blog here.


I think teal might just be my color obsession for January. Fresh, but not in your face, it’s just the tonic we need for this time of year. Sort of the color equivalent of a detox!

I recently came across this stunning loft apartment, the Paris Home of artist Claire Basler, featured in March 2010’s Elle Decoration. (Found on the charming blog of furniture design firm Pacha Design). The colors in this space are so subtle but the teal wall is really exceptional. A great foil for the sculptural lighting and floral arrangements.

Then I remembered the winning entry from last year’s Apartment Therapy Room for Color contest. Here teal is moody, enigmatic and not a little whimsical.

And, just to prove that teal can work for more traditional designs too, this living room from Canadian House and Home has been doing the rounds (I spotted it on Delight by Design and Little Green Notebook) and it’s easy to see why. Teal walls knock the formality out of this classical space, bringing it firmly into the 21st Century.

Of course, if you don’t fancy the commitment of a teal wall, how about this gem of a wing back chair seen in Lonny Magazine? C’mon, if this doesn’t seal the teal (sorry, couldn’t resist), nothing will…

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.

As usual, the latest issue of Lonny magazine is jam-packed full of rooms I just want to step into and soak up. If I could repost every single image here, I would, but I guess that would be, well, a little unimaginative.

But one thing stood out to me as a flipped through Lonny’s virtual pages: zigzags. They’re everywhere in this issue. Yup, we’ve been obsessed with zigzag rugs for a while but here they are on curtains, pillows, wallpaper, and even furniture! I can’t think of a better way to add a burst of energy to a room.

Yellow zigzag curtains are cheeky without being OTT – just like the ostrich wallpaper in this room.

What is that piece of furniture at the end of this stylish living room? A two-toned mirrored sideboard? Who cares – I want one!

Then there’s this almost-zigzag wallpaper, used to great effect in this master bedroom…

Doesn’t it look fabulous with the dark floors and white bedding?

Ah, the appeal of a flame stitch pillow in an otherwise calm and neutral room…

I love this room (first spotted on Bromeliad). I have the West Elm rug, so am of course already a fan. But it looks great here with the teal Louis chair. I have a Louis chair in our living room which needs reupholstering. I’m planning to do it in turquoise and so am heartened to see how great the combination could look.

Who knew the zigzag could be so versatile? How do you use the zigzag effect?

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

Nothing dresses a room quite like a single, stand-out chair. Apart from anything else, it’s a wonderful, relatively inexpensive, way to indulge a different side of your design personality. You can pick a chair in a really bold color or pattern to punch up an all-white room. Or choose an ornate vintage piece to add character to an all-modern space. And, the best part of all is that single chairs are completely portable – you can move them from room to room as you please.

I’ve been collecting a few images of knock-out chairs that really define the space they’re in. The image below has been a favorite for a very long time. Ok, I know there are two of these chairs – but one of them would be good enough for me! Especially if I had these soaring ceilings and architectural details in my home…


Ahh, a lilac velvet Louis chair with gilt legs… Is there any better way to conjure up glamor? We have a Louis chair in our living room, which I use to offset the boxiness of the two IKEA sofas – David Hicks style – or so I like to think!)


An Eames rocker would look great anywhere. But here it balances the white sofas perfectly.


The single chair doesn’t have to be the colorful item in a room. In fact, here a neutral chair looks great with the bright yellow sofas – and still stands out. I like the way the chair separates the living space from the kitchen – and, because it’s small and light, it doesn’t cramp the space. (Plus, yellow and gray is one of my favorite combinations right now).


I love these womb chairs. This one looks great in cream against the more ethnic collection of furnishings and art.


You can barely see this chair (there it is at the back, in purple perspex!). It’s just a really surprising jolt of color that would work perfectly in a small space.


Ooh, a bright green Arne Jacobsen chair dresses up this calm space no end. I love the mix of greens. The curves look great with the chair in the foreground too.


What’s your favorite single chair? Any iconic ones you particularly covet?


1 – Pink Wallpaper; 2 – The Deco Detective; 3 – Remodelista; 4 – Elle Decor; 5 – Metropolitan Home; 6 – Kika Reichart; 7 – Per Magnus Persson

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!

I was thinking about pink recently. Why? Well, I spotted this colorscope over at Simplified Bee and decided to give it a whirl. I was drawn to the fuschia color most (which apparently makes me courageous, passionate, playful and serious (?)) Anyway, then I wondered, why don’t we have more of that color in the house? Of course, it’s because I don’t think my other half would relish the thought of being surrounded by hot pink. That got me thinking, is it possible for us fuschia fans to inject a little of our favorite color into our homes without dooming ourselves to a life of marital discord?!

I found some interiors that use pink in small amounts and in a way that is anything but little girly. With a little encouragement, I think he might be able to live with these.

Gemma Ahern's home

Via the Style Files via DesignSponge.

Pink pillow living room

Via British Homes and Gardens.

Pink and green

Pink accents

Pink wallpaper

The last three are from this Flickr feed.

Pink chaise

Via Casapinka.

Pink and Blue

Via Apartment Therapy.

Mirka McNeill Farmer

Designed by Mirka McNeill Farmer.

Pink accent office

Via Decorology

Pink cushions

Via Dwellings and Decor, via the Inspired Room.

Pink cushions

Pink and black living room

Pink stripes and green

Three above via LivingEtc.

Don’t get me wrong, he tolerates (perhaps even enjoys) most of my interior obsessions. But pink is usually just a step too far. What do you think? Would I get away with any of these?

Oh, orange you tricky color, you.

You have me all confused.

I like your zesty brightness,

But you’re the boldest hue I’ve used.

Tim Evans-Cook

I’m tempted by your playfulness,

You always make me smile.

But once I’ve put you on my walls,

Will your cheeky looks just rile?

Orange doors

I felt my heart strings tug,

when I saw you on these doors.

Then I saw you on this graphic rug,

And now I want you on my floors.


These orange rooms have caught my eye,

Now I can see your beauty.

And these stunning window treatments

Just have me feeling fruity.

Orange blinds

With white, you make mouths water,

With blue, you simply pop,

But it’s with hot pink or purple

That you make my poor heart stop.

Las Alamandas

Oh orange, what memories you bring.

You inspire some blissful thoughts:

Of fireflies on summer nights,

Mai Tais, Tandoor ovens, bitter orange tortes.

Las Alamandas

But you demand commitment,

Once you go orange, you don’t go back.

I wonder, will I stay the course,

Or will my resolve soon crack?


Is this just a seasonal thing,

Inspired by sunny days?

Perhaps this is a summer fling?

In winter I’ll want my bluey-grays.

Daniel Farmer

I’d like you in my toddler’s room

To give his walls a boost.

But will you make him race around,

like a cup of orange juice?


If I woke to find you in my room,

You’d quench my morning thirst.

But what if I’m hungover?

Will you make it worse?

Orange bedroom

I’d like to put you in my kitchen.

They say orange causes appetite.

But I’m afraid I’d eat too much,

And make my jeans too tight.

Orange kitchen

Orange brings out my true style:

Be it rustic, mod or mid-century.

But if I get it badly wrong,

They’ll think it’s 1970.


The blogs are full of great ideas

On how to make it work.

But this constant indecision

Is driving me beserk.

Orange living room

You made me write this poem.

See, I’ve really lost my cool.

But if this dreadful love turns sour,

Will you make me look a fool?

Polly Wreford

It’s clear I have an orange crush.

It’s crazy how I feel.

I think I know why this has happened:

Let’s face it, you have zest appeal.


Happy Monday! 😉

Photo credits:

1 – Tim Evan-Cook; 2 – Unknown; 3 & 4 – LivingEtc; 5 & 6 – Las Alamandas Hotel in Mexico; 7 – Habitat Hanalei; 8 – Daniel Farmer; 9 – via Apartment Therapy; 10 – Brugge Bed and Breakfast; 11 & 12 – LivingEtc; 13 – Tchochkes; 14 – Polly Wreford; 15 – my husband took this one!

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