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Do you still think of some spaces as ‘grown-up’? Maybe it’s just me, but every now and then I come across a room that exudes a certain refinement, elegance, taste and confidence that can only be described as grown-up. These spaces have no gimics, no attention-grabbing features, no whimsy (although they may have wit). They are somehow both effortless and aspirational. And they remind us of who we wanted to be when we were all grown-up.

Now, for the cynics out there, by ‘grown-up’ I don’t just mean ‘expensive’. Of course, these spaces all look expensive (and some probably are given that there are at least two celebrity homes here). It’s more to do with the sophisticated color palettes, rich textures and confident styling. Clearly, somewhere in my subconscience, grown-ups also have metallic fixtures and lots of velvet!

1 & 2 – Lonny Magazine, 3 – Automatism, 4 – Living Etc, 5 & 6 – Elle Decor (Monique L’Huillier and Kelly Hoppen’s homes).


A few weeks ago my sister asked me to help revamp her Manhattan apartment. Only trouble was, I wasn’t planning to head out East and so any help I could offer had to be remote. Luckily, my sister has excellent taste and so all she needed was some help in bringing her ideas together into a cohesive scheme. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes…

She didn’t want to replace any major pieces and was limited on the decorating front by the fact her place is a rental. But she did want it to be more pulled-together and ‘grown-up’. It also had to function for a 20-month-old.

My sister loves eclectic spaces with anything from French to Moroccan to Asian influences. She also describes herself as a ‘color tart’ (!), loving pretty much any color under the sun. How to combine all this into an open plan apartment?

As a first step, she sent me a couple of images of rooms she liked, answered some of my questions and then I created an inspiration board (above). The goal here was to consolidate all the hundreds of ideas racing round her head. We found that warm colors, luxurious textures and pattern were recurring themes.

Then we built the color palette, based on the inspiration board. I felt that a relatively complex palette was needed in order to accommodate her love of color. It also needed to complement some of the existing hues in her space – chiefly the moss green. Pinky-red, gray and taupe were perfect solution. I also wanted to introduce gold for that luxe element. Finally, I felt that some rich, ethnic-inspired embroidered textiles would be the way to introduce pattern without looking too cluttered.

Finally, we put together selection of furniture and accessories to complement what she already had. Product details are below.

A big focus was the TV area, which needed organizing and defining. I found this room (via MadebyGirl), which inspired an asymmetrical arrangement of shelves and a media console around the TV:

She’s still working on implementing the ideas so we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. But it was fun to pull together and a great example of bi-coastal sibling collaboration!

Here are the product details:
1 – Lamp
2 – Media cabinet
3 – Pillow
4 – Side table
5 – Lamp
6 – Tray
7 – Bus stop sign
8 – Pillow
9 – Lamp
10 – Vases
11 – Pillow
12 – Tray table
13 – Media cabinet
14 – Lamp
15 – Pillow
16 – Pillow
17 – Otomi textile throw
18 – Ikat chair
19 – Lamp
20 – Pouf

Purple is supposed to be one of the hot colors of 2010 – and, as such, has been the center of some discussion in the blogosphere. It’s one of those colors that inspires strong feelings: people either love it or hate it. Personally, it’s one of my favorites. Whether aubergine, plum or lilac, I’m a huge fan. Unfortunately, I rather over-used purple in my student and rental days so have steered clear of it in interiors ever since. But this year’s resurgence of the color has me thinking again…

This French home, via Vintage + Chic, has contributed to my revived interest in purple in a major way. Against the backdrop of muted grays, this lilac tablecloth looks pretty but unpretentious. Photos are by Jordi Canosa.

The palest lavender and gray-toned purple create a restful, vintage feel.

Even the bathroom is all purple.

This next home uses purple to completely different effect. The combination of aubergine and gold is almost ecclesiastical, but the space still manages to be comfortable and eclectic. Via Automatism.

Used with pinks and reds, purple is also the perfect hue for giving your home that English country appeal. Via Peacock Feathers.

Or, mix it with metallics for the sugar plum fairy look. From Living Etc via Beauty Comma.

It even works with earth tones and natural textures like wood and hide rugs. Via Little Green Notebook.

This is one of my all-time favorite images, via Decor8, and shows how great pale lavender looks in a mostly white scheme.

More lilac and gray, this time combined with a sophisticated chinoiserie. If you’re going to indulge in a fanciful wallpaper like this, you may as well go the whole hog and choose an other-worldly purple for your colors. Via Simplified Bee, via Laura Casey Interiors.

Or, just to show that purple can be completely modern too, how about combining it with a fresh turquoise? Via My Scandinavian Retreat.

Still not sure about purple? Well consider some of its benefits: purple is meant to encourage creativity, flatter most skin tones and is also a perfect transitional color because it works in winter and summer. Or just take some inspiration from nature and see just how stunning and powerful purple can be…

Via this Flickr feed.

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!

I’m looking for the perfect wallpaper for our bedroom. It’s to go on the wall behind the dresser and the mother-of-pearl inlaid mirror with birds and flowers. The trouble is finding something interesting enough for that small space, but that doesn’t compete too much with the mirror frame. Here are some of the contenders.

Nina Campbell Lombardia wallpaper

I love this wallpaper by Nina Campbell. The butterflies are really sweet, but I wonder if I’d tire of them?

Osborne & Little Lombardia wallpaper

I like the subtle pattern and gold backdrop in this wallpaper, also by Nina Campbell. Might be a bit sumptuous for our bedroom though?

Osborne & Little Asuka wallpaper

I’ve always loved this design by Osborne & Little.

Florence Broadhurst wallpaper

I’m sorely tempted by this dramatic design from Florence Broadhurst.

Clarence House wallpaper

I like the Japanese blossom motif in this Clarence House design.

Timorous Beasties wallpaper

This is by Timorous Beasties at Walnut Wallpaper. I like that it’s subtle but a bit different.

Ferm Living wallpaper

This is from Ferm Living. The splashy branch-effect is stunning, but the white background might not work.

PomPom, Sanderson wallpaper

This is PomPom by Sanderson. I like the idea of a charcoal backdrop.

So, as you can see, I’m still very undecided. Am I missing any other options?

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