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Welcome to the sumptuous, colorful, sophisticated world of photographer William Waldron’s portfolio. Of course, you wouldn’t expect anything less from a megastar of the photography world: Waldron has photographed the homes of many a celebrity and has graced the pages of the likes of Elle Decor numerous times. But, if only because we can all do with a glimpse at how the rich and famous live, I thought it worth another peek at his work!

You’ll recognize many of the shots in this post, I’m sure. But even if they’re new to you, hopefully you’ll enjoy the way he seems to make every space look so glamorous and other-wordly. This dining area’s glossy green walls and dappled light give an underwater feel.

Pink never looked so grown-up.

And the all-white rooms in his portfolio are positively shimmering with metallic and reflective surfaces.

All of which is, of course, helped by sky-high ceilings and over-size windows.

Waldron is definitely a photographer to check out if you feel like a glimpsing dose of the good life!

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This is the picture that started it all. A minor obsession with symmetry, that is. There’s something about the symmetry of the exposed rafters, the shutters, matching consoles and round mirrors that speaks to me. It’s cool, calm and collected – an effect that’s further enhanced by the all-white palette. Complete order and I love it.

Symmetry has been used in design for millennia, and it’s still one of the easiest ways to pull a room together. But, as a technique, it’s suffered a bit of bad rap because it can look so formulaic and characterless. So, I decided to look into what makes a successful symmetrical arrangement. How do you apply symmetry without killing the personality and warmth of a space?

This room pretty much sums it up: There’s symmetry in the architecture (paired windows) and in the way the chairs and pillows are arranged. But there are also elements that hint at symmetry but are somehow ‘off’ – like the three irregularly-grouped but similar urn-shaped vases on the mantelpiece. Then the striking rug, blue walls and mock antlers lift the space out of the sphere of the ordinary.

This living room, from Ellen Pompeo’s house as featured in Elle Decor, is much more understated. But the symmetrical arrangement is given a focal point in the form of an oversize moorish-style mirror. A single statement piece at the center of your symmetrical set-up can change the look from predictable to powerful.

Another technique is to use offbeat pieces to create your symmetry. Just one of these cane sofas would be eye-catching enough, but using two against a relatively simple backdrop is truly dramatic.

Here the symmetry of the room’s architecture is subtley drawn out with the use of two unusual red chairs in an otherwise neutral scheme. There’s actually no other symmetry in this room – the chairs are enough to create a sense of order.

Twin beds naturally invite a symmetrical arrangement. Unusual shapes and a strong monochromatic palette keep things interesting.

Sometimes symmetry can be found in the smallest details. These symmetrical shelves are a sweet way to ensure a sense of order in the kitchen without creating a wall of uniform cabinets.

So what do you think of symmetry? Design by numbers or a perfect balance?

Credits:

1 – Delight by Design; 2 – House Beautiful;  3 – Elle Decor; 4 – Canadian House and Home; 5 – House Beautiful; 6 – Canadian House and Home; 7 – Canadian House and Home

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…

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?

Bathroom, lavatory, loo, toilet, powder room, cloakroom – whatever you call it, decorating the smallest room in the house is not exactly the most romantic of design projects. Unless you live in the SF decorator showcase that is, and can powder your nose in this delightful space:

(Photograph by Elizabeth Fall)

In our case, our downstairs bathroom is not only the smallest room in the house but probably also the smallest room in the world. It’s billed as a quarter bath, which means it has nothing but a toilet in it. There isn’t even room for a washbasin (before you exclaim in horror, we wash our hands in the kitchen sink). Just to get into it, close the door and sit down, you have to perform a complicated maneuver, which requires practice. To make matters worse, the ceilings are so high that the space seems even narrower – a bit like being in a large vertical coffin. And it has no heating so feels like a Victorian outhouse in the middle of a British winter.

So why bother decorating it at all, you ask? Well, remodeling the layout is not an option at the moment, so I decided to make the best of the situation. If we can’t have a spacious bathroom with wide washbasins, fluffy towels and glamorous mosaic flooring, then we can at least have a space that doesn’t look like it should have strips of newspaper instead of bath tissue. This is how it turned out.

I chose the Bindweed wallpaper from Ferm Living for the walls above the dado rail. The bold black and white design brightens the space immensely and the pattern even makes the room seem larger. My husband spent the best part of a day putting the paper up, only to run out half way through the last wall. It was two days before Christmas so we had some shipped overnight (thanks to the very helpful folks at Branch) and he finished up the job on Christmas Eve. Now that’s true love: spending the day before Christmas in a freezing 5′ x 3′ space, suspended over the toilet bowl, wrestling with soggy wallpaper.

The lower walls show traces of one day being tiled but have been covered in layers of paint in varying shades of avocado and magnolia, so we just painted them white. The light fitting (this one from Lamps Plus) seems a particularly perfect match – it echoes the shape of the flowers in the wallpaper and, when lit, gives off a lovely dappled light (making it tolerable to spend more than five seconds in there).

Finally, the mirror is from the West Elm sale. We joke that it suits the room perfectly because it is probably the smallest mirror in the world. The actual glass is just about big enough for powdering your nose (because your nose is all you can see). But I like it so it has stayed.

So that, in a nutshell, is how we converted our ‘loo’ into a space to be proud of (well, not ashamed of at least). Fortunately, 2010 will bring some more ambitious and exciting decorating projects, details of which I’ll share very shortly…

There’s nothing like an elaborate mirror to add some panache to a room. It can make a dingy room look bright, a small room look large, and a plain room look exciting. It’s a trick I’ve used over and over again.

I’ve spotted some absolutely beautiful examples of interiors with spectacular mirrors recently. I’m sure you’ve seen some of these pics around. But they’re so pretty they deserve another airing for sure.

Mirror

Mirror

Mirror

Mirror

Mirror

Via (in order) The City Sage, Decorology, A Room Somewhere, House of Turquoise, The City Sage.

I’m off to Julia‘s ‘Hooked on Friday’s’ blog party now. See you there!

I’m in the mood for sparkly interiors, it seems. If it’s shiny or shimmery, glittering or glistening, iridescent or pearlescent, lustrous or luminous, metallic or crystal, gilded or burnished, mirrored or sequinned – I want it! So, for anyone else with my magpie tendencies, enjoy this collection of rooms that sparkle with metallic wallpapers and fabrics, crystal chandeliers, mirrored furnishings and twinkly pealights and all manner of shiny things…

Credits: 1-17 LivingEtc; 18-19 Graham & Green; 20 Osborne & Little; 21-22 Gwyneth Paltrow’s house via Habitually Chic; 23 Michael Grimm via The Deco Detective; 24 Metropolitan Home; 25 Elle Decor; 26-30 Metropolitan Home

After much searching, I’m closing in on the makeover plan for our living and dining rooms. As I mentioned in this earlier post, I just want to update the look and inject some fresh energy into the house. No major furniture purchases and no painting allowed.

So, here was my action plan:

– (Finally) buy a rug for the living room – we’ve been looking for one for almost three years, time for a decision, I think.

– Replace the ugly chandelier in our dining room that came with the house.

– Make a photo wall with the various family photos we have scattered around.

– Clear some of the surfaces and re-arrange some of the accessories.

– Introduce some plants.

I struggled to reconcile several different design aesthetics currently buzzing around my head. For example, I’m loving the apartment of sfgirlbybay blogger, Victoria Smith.

sfgirlbybay apartment

But I am also inspired by Remodelista blogger, Julie’s, house in Mill Valley (although obviously don’t have those stunning cathedral ceilings to work with!)

Remodelista house

Finally, I found my inspiration in this picture, originally from Domino magazine, but found via Room Lust blogger, Javi’s, Flickr photostream.

Mantlepiece

This look checks all the boxes for me: neutral colors, clean simple lines, organic shapes, with a bit of vintage.

I started with the rug. We’re almost settled on this design from Schumacher. It’s a very pale creamy-white looped wool carpet which we’ll have made into an area rug (I know, with a toddler I must be crazy but bear with me…) and it has a light blue-gray pattern. Because of the pattern, stains are going to show up less.

Rug

Then a bought this long lusted-after white bird bowl from Jonathan Adler.

bird bowl

I also have the vase I posted about here.

Then, for the dining room, we went all out and chose this pendant from Room & Board. It’s the Nelson Bubble Saucer Lamp. It’s pretty big (36″ in diameter!) so there will be no escaping its presence! But I love the organic shape. It wasn’t easy to get home though. I don’t think the sales associate appreciated the ten minutes spent trying to cram it into the back of my Ford Focus. That was after he allowed me 20 minutes in Room & Board’s stockroom hunting out different sizes so I could compare them. Being down there was like being in the world’s best flea market – every shelf had something cool to gawp at.

Nelson Bubble Lamp

I am still looking for the right mirror. It needs to be round, with a black frame and very simple. A front-runner is this one from Restoration Hardware, apparently made from a Polish train wheel (?!).

train wheel

Another option is the Channing Mirror from Pottery Barn.

Channing Mirror

I love this one seen in Domino but don’t know where it is from:

Round mirror

I’m not sure any of them are completely right. Any other suggestions?

I’ve also bought some frames ready to make our photo wall. We already have the photos so that will be a project for the next cloudy day…

Finally, the plants. We’ve chosen one: it’s called a Rhapis Palm. Now just got to source it at a reasonable price and get it home.

So, some progress made. I’ll post pictures once it’s all in place. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Hurray! I have made my first purchase in the planned four-day makeover of our living and dining room. Yes, I am a little behind schedule. A lot of research has happened but very few decisions.

So what did I get? A rug? A mirror? A stunning new floor lamp? Ahem, no, I got a vase. Here’s a picture of it.

Wingard white vase

It’s from Kenneth Wingard in San Francisco. Wingard is a designer and pretty much everything in the store is by him. He also has a new store in LA. His stuff is very reasonably-priced and pretty good quality. It’s rather Jonathan Adler-esque. Here are some other examples of his work.

Wingard Mo-bil-os

These brass disks, which Wingard calls ‘mo-bi-le-os’ are $89 for a set of three. The picture above has four sets. I think they’d look fantastic above a sideboard. I was seriously tempted but we just have too much silver and pewter – the bronze wouldn’t work.

Wingard Starburst mirror

This is the large Sunburst Mirror.

Wingard vases

Wingard has lots of beautiful ceramics. These glossy Brentwood vases also come in white, chocolate brown and aqua.

So, back to the vase I bought. It checks all the boxes: organic shape, retro modern feel, white to fit with the other ceramics on my mantlepiece. So I was pretty happy with it.

But, on getting it home, I realized something. You can’t actually put any flowers in it. Look at it. No flower, except perhaps something with an extremely bendy stem, is going to wiggle its way down that thing and survive. Now, I know we don’t always have to put flowers in our vases, but it would be nice to have the option…

Anyway, I don’t really care. I like it as it is. My son also likes it because it looks like a toy (I just have to follow him round, hands hovering underneath it, in case he drops it). So, flowerless, it’s here to stay.

Birds have been an interior design trend for some time, but still have appeal. Now I’m spotting butterflies on everything from wallpaper to bedlinen. When incorporating them into an interior, you want to capture the charm of these winged creatures without being too cute. No ducks flying up the wall, that is… Here are a few examples where bird and butterfly motifs work beautifully.

oisillon-paperweight-grahamgreen

This paperweight from Graham & Green is adorable. And, it’s functional too…

butterflies-grahamgreen

These butterfly mirrors are from Graham & Green too. They’d be cute in a bedroom or bathroom, especially against an intense color.

flight-bed-linen-house-of-fraser

I can’t say enough positive things about this bed linen from House of Fraser in the UK. You wouldn’t need any other decoration really in a bedroom with this bed. The ultimate in romantic style.

jonathan-adler-birds

It’s pretty obvious that I’m a fan of Jonathan Adler. His bird ‘bowls’ now come in this stunning jade green. I could happily buy a flock of them…

elli-pop-spring-flower-rain-via-decorology

I first saw the Elli Pop range of wallpapers on Decorology so flew over to the Elli Pop site where there are stunning repeat prints, murals and borders in a variety of bird, flower and butterfly designs. I love this mural with the heron below and the little bird above in the tree.

allie-bruchs-house-via-at

Here’s how to do the bird motif without being over the top. Allie Bruch’s house (via Apartment Therapy) has this cute understated owl.

birds-hungry

If you want to take the bird motif in a whole different direction, this is a good way to go. The ‘hungry’ message adds a humorous note to a kitchen.

Michael Aram

Michael Aram, home of stunning accessories in silver, nickel and bronze, has these pretty butterfly drawer/door handles.

Pottery Barn

Finally, for fans of the understated look, this butterfly vase from Pottery Barn is a find.

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