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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…

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Ok, it’s time for another round-up of all-time favorite design pieces. This time: mirrors. When I was compiling this list I realized that I lean toward more ornate, glamorous mirrors. Perhaps its because of their ability to transform an otherwise ‘safe’ scheme into something altogether more fanciful and exotic. Perhaps it’s because I believe a fabulous mirror doesn’t just reflect light and create the illusion of space, but can also be a work of art in its own right. All of the following have a magical quality to them that tells you something about their owners.

Coco stick mirrors conjure up images of beach huts, sandy feet and easy living. At least, that’s what this space below says to me (from House Beautiful, via Ill Seen, Ill Said).

Ever on-the-ball, West Elm has just brought out its own version. Not too bad, eh?

Now, the ultimate luxury mirror in my opinion is the peacock feather mirror – this one’s from Wisteria. You only have to check out my blog header to know how much I love this look. The mirrored circles sparkle like over-sized sequins, while the textured metal surface gives the whole piece that vintage appeal. What’s more, it works equally well in a modern space as a traditional interior. Whatever the space is like, this mirror lends both glamor and charisma.

Bone inlay (and mother of pearl inlay) mirrors are another favorite because of their spectacular craftsmanship. Many of them are made in India and bring the romantic aesthetic of that country to a space. Graham and Green has an amazing selection of bone inlay mirrors and furniture.

For something altogether simpler, I like a round mirror like these below. It pulls a room together so effortlessly. I’ve used the image below before and don’t recall the source unfortunately. But I love how the clean lines of this mirror offset the ornate fireplace. I used the same technique at home by adding a simple round mirror to balance out a display of photos and ceramics on our dining room sideboard.

Here’s the same technique used again: an ornate bed and stools (more bone inlay!) contrasted with the simple mirror. From Domino.

At the other end of the scale, Venetian glass mirrors are anything but simple and clean-lined. But these mirrors are so pretty, almost like lace, they add a luxe element to any room. And what is it with Venetian glass and pink bathrooms? Maybe it’s their sugar-plum quality, but this has to be the perfect pairing! The first image here is from Domino.

And this one’s via A Life More Fabulous.

A more homely, toned down version of this look is the shabby chic white-framed mirror. Just one stand-out piece works well in a mostly-white scheme (via The City Sage):

Or an entire wall of smaller ones (via Kika Reichart).

Finally, what better way to add polish to a space than with a starburst mirror? These have a more upscale look but are anything but staid. Their shape adds energy and movement to even the most tailored room.

Via Dwellings and Decor.

Now it’s your turn. Anyone got any other favorites that should be on this list?

I bought some coral-colored parrot tulips the other day. As I watched them change from bright orange on the first day to faded apricot at the end of their life, I was reminded of how amazing coral can look in an interior scheme. It’s been a sadly neglected hue in the past few years, but recently I’ve spotted a few rooms that combine coral with totally-now gray – to fantastic effect.

This was Coco and Kelley’s room of the week recently.

The splashes of orangey-coral look great against the neutrals and grays. This would work well in both summer and winter.

This coral bench is a good way to punch up the delicate grays of the sofa, wallpaper and flooring. Via Peacock Feathers.

This coral borders on orange but the tones are still soft rather than citrus-y. Via Style at Home.

Remember this outfit-to-room story from Domino? I was reminded it of it looking through an old issue recently. This coral has pinkish tones and, with wool, fur, felt and tweed, makes a cozy space for winter.

Looking through my files I also found this coral and gray montage from Coco and Kelley last year. If you needed proof that these colors are fabulous together, here it is…

(Tulip photo by my husband).

As you might have guessed from my absence the past week or so, baby number two finally arrived! He’s a gorgeous, healthy little boy. We’re back home, getting into a routine and just getting used to being a family of four. In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d show you how the nursery turned out – having got it finished just in time.

If you recall from my earlier post, I really wanted to introduce wallpaper into this room. It had to be appropriate for a baby but last through his toddler years or possibly serve for an adult guest room or office one day (if we switch the rooms around). I settled on this Hick’s Hexagon by Cole and Son, thinking a geometric pattern would serve all those needs. I especially love the color – a really pure, clear, summery blue, which tones well with the paint (Polar Sky by Benjamin Moore).

Because I went with this classic baby boy blue, I felt the other elements in the room didn’t need to be overly childish. The wall decal above the dresser/changing table is child-friendly enough, without being cartoony. The rug is a gray safari pattern from West Elm and, again, will hopefully work for a more grown up room down the line.

Ok, now I know this rocker is pretty hideous. We bought it cheaply when my first son was born and it’s not exactly a style centerpiece. But it’s comfortable, which I know from experience is all that matters in those long, dark, sleepless nights! We looked everywhere for an alternative that we liked but cost less than $1,000. They are few and far between. We decided to keep it for a few months until the baby is sleeping through the night, then we’ll swap it for an ordinary chair, which is likely to be cheaper but infinitely more stylish. Much better than spending a fortune on a replacement rocker.

I’ve coveted this bamboo mobile for a while. You can find it online at various stores like Giggle or Branch. I found one in our local baby boutique. I don’t expect it to work as the main source of entertainment for a newborn – we have a musical mobile for that – but it’s something to look at while he’s feeding.

I also found this wicker ottoman at Pier 1 Imports for $30. I had considered a Moroccan pouf and found some stunning ones in tan leather. But, unfortunately, the smell of goat leather is just too pungent for a small, south-facing room – and way too off-putting considering the time we’ll be spending in here. Amazing the things you have to think of when furnishing a nursery! Who’d have thought smell would be a factor?

The elephant is from Restoration Hardware, the lamp from Lamps Plus and the clock was a gift from my parents.

The bedding is from Target. And no nursery would be complete without the plush toy shot! I know, you’re going to tell me I shouldn’t have anything in the crib. Don’t worry, the quilt and toys live elsewhere when the baby’s in the crib. I just couldn’t resist including them in the photo.

So, now that both kids’ rooms have been done, I’ll be able to get back to grown-up decorating only. Between feeding and tummy time, that is…

Do you keep mental lists of favorite and iconic design pieces? You know, those items that, one day, you’ll have in your dream home? Maybe you’ve even treated yourself to a few of them. But, if you’re like me, the list seems to grow endlessly. So I’m going to try and keep track of them by posting my all-time favorite lists here. First up, ceiling lights.

The Random light by Moooi is a firm favorite. I haven’t found a place for one of these in my home yet – partly because they’re so large. But I love the way this design seems to create order from chaos. Here it is in situ.

Via Fondly Seen.

This Alvar Aalto Golden Bell light has a retro appeal but would fit in so many schemes. This one is actually an updated version by Artek. But the original is forever etched on my mind because of this image from Living Etc many years ago.

Then there’s the Tord Boontje blossom branch chandelier.

Who can forget how great this looked over Gwyneth Paltrow’s dining table (Via Habitually Chic)?

The next one is kind of quirky. The goose feather Pluma Cubic light was designed by Heike Buchfelder in 2003.

I just think this would be great in a bedroom, although cleaning it would probably prove a nightmare! I first saw it in the bedroom of decorator Philip Gorrivan’s daughter, in Elle Decor, where it made a charming feature that was somehow both childlike and grown-up at the same time.

Not all ‘favorites’ have to be expensive designer pieces though. There’s something about an extra long capiz shell chandelier that is romantic and decadent – but this West Elm version is very affordable.

Then there’s the Moravian Star light. These ubiquitous fixtures work for industrial lofts or Victorian houses alike and come in all sorts of finishes. You only have to Google ‘Moravian Star light’ and you’re besieged by hundreds of choices of sites to purchase them.

My first encounter with the Moravian Star light is a bit of a story in its own right. I lived in a hilltop town in Italy for a year from 1994-5 and there were numerous workshops in the villages nearby where artisans made these lights. I had never seen them before and was smitten immediately. I thought about bringing some back to England but never did. Of course, a few years later they started popping up everywhere…

Now here’s a design classic you’ll definitely recognize: the PH Artichoke light by Poul Henningsen 40 years ago.

The Artichoke light is so recognizable that it’s easy to ignore its brilliance. No self-respecting minimalist loft would be seen without one.

Then there’s this chandelier, as seen in designer Fawn Galli‘s dining room.

I love the way it resembles a firework or supernova, adding a burst of energy to a formal dining room arrangement.

Finally, no all-time favorite list of lighting would be complete without a good old fashioned chandelier. I’ve said before how much I love the glamor of a  ceiling light dripping with crystals. But, there’s something even more special about a turquoise chandelier and this one still takes my breath away.

Although this image was all over the blogosphere after being featured on Chinoiserie Chic, I’ve never managed to track down a source for this light. If anyone knows, do tell the rest of us!

I’d love to hear about your favorites too. What would you add to this list?

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?

When I posted about this lovely ocean-front home, one of the aspects I loved about the place most was the use of interesting textiles. Erin over at Slipcover Your Life asked where the Suzani pillows in the living room were from. While I haven’t been able to track down the exact source of the ones in that house, I have been finding numerous examples of rich Suzani embroidery everywhere. Of course, Suzani has been a hot trend for some time now, so it’s hardly a surprise to find that so many retailers have brought out their own versions. But these beautiful textiles still have the ability to inject warmth and personality into a home and, perhaps, will be an enduring feature of design for many years to come.

I’m sure you’ve seen these memorable rooms with Suzani textiles:

Via Decorpad.

Via Canadian House and Home.

Via Elle Decor.

So, now, how to get the look cheaply by adding a pillow or two…

I love these slightly off-center versions from the ever-stunning Graham and Green collection.

UK-based Niki Jones has perhaps my favorite selection of Suzani cushions in off-beat pinks, purples and grays.

For a more traditional look, try Wisteria, which is always good for reasonably-priced ethnic textiles.

This one is from Area Home.

There’s a huge selection of antique textiles form around the world at Tessera. Uzbekistani pillows come in all sorts of colors and designs, like this stunning pink and coral one. The site also has Ikat textiles and pillows from Turkey, Tibet, Peru, India and all over Central Asia.

And, of course, Madeline Weinrib has a selection of attractive Suzani pillows, including more unusual designs like this one.

Anyone else found a good source for these textiles? I don’t currently have a place in my home for a Suzani throw or pillow, but I’m definitely going to try and find a little corner somewhere one of these days…. Perhaps even for outdoor seating when the summer is fully upon us. I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and by the way, apologies for the cheesy title of this post – I just couldn’t resist!

After the florals and frills of the last few posts, I’m feeling the need to highlight some rooms with a more edgy aesthetic. (Maybe it’s the nesting instinct that’s drawing me to clean-lined, minimal spaces!?) Luckily, I came across this stunning house by designer Nacho Polo on Vintage + Chic, which fits the bill entirely. Cool, calm, collected and utterly stylish. Not sure I could live in it, but I sure wish I had the discipline to create something this stunning.

This is my favorite room. I love those dining chairs.

Interesting use of contrasting shapes here. It makes the simple color scheme more exciting.

Clever to use the all-white frames as a form of art in itself.

Love that black chandelier and rococo wallpaper in an otherwise modern minimalist bathroom.

Even if you can’t handle black and white in every room, I think it’s perfect for making the most of a small bathroom.

What do you think? Could you live here? And even if not, wouldn’t you love to visit?

What a nice surprise I received this morning: Four Walls and a Roof has been nominated for a Homies award. While I started blogging (almost a year ago) purely as a way to explore a passion for design, it’s the community of other bloggers that has kept me going even when there seems so little time in the day between work and family. It’s so great to know that people share your interests and enjoy your perspective – even when you’re critical of your own efforts!

There are so many wonderful blogs on this list that I could be kept busy all day just checking them all out. If you have time (and would like to!) feel free to vote for FWR here. At the very least, go and check out the list and give some recognition to all the other great bloggers out there!

As I mentioned here, I’ve been revamping our dining room. Nothing major, mind you. Just a few tweaks here and there to finish the space. I’ve finally finished it and have some photos to share. It’s not an easy room to photograph so forgive the amateurish attempts. But you get the gist.

Dining room

Dining room

Dining room

So, what did we do? Well, we replaced the Seventies brass and perspex chandelier with a Nelson saucer bubble lamp from Room and Board. We made the photo wall with frames from Aaron Brothers. The black round mirror was a bargain find from Lamps Plus. We bought the tall curvy vase from Wingard and the ginger jar from Bae Home in San Francisco. Oh, and we laid the table!

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