Archives for category: Design and Interiors

No, my cat is not helping me pick out new curtains, nor am I using her as a paintbrush. Here you will find some interesting items to bring a touch of animal magic to your abode.

Stockists
-Sanderson Omega Cats Wallpaper, £43 from John Lewis (available in other colour ways)
-Monocle Cheshire Cat Tile by Rory Dobner, £39.50 from Liberty
-Frith Sculpture Willard Cat by Paul Jenkins, £31 from John Lewis
-IBRIDE Irina Cat Tray, £85 from Liberty
-Framed Cat Cushion, £19.50 from M&S
-Journal from the Laurel Burch Fantastic Felines Collection from Paperblanks (various sizes and prices)
-Retro Black Cat Lightswitch Cover, £3.92 from Etsy (available in different sizes)
-Cat Doormat, £10 from Next
-Pyropet Candle, £30, available from Urban Outfitters (visit their website pyropetcandles.com to see how it works!)

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Give your workspace some love with metallic and pastel-hued office accessories.

Perhaps it’s longing for sunnier climes during this never ending spate of British downpours – or maybe it’s all that 1970s decor I was looking up last week for the post on Biba – but I am dreaming of lush green palms. So today I give you palm tree inspired homeware to bring a touch of summer – and retro glamour – into your life.

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A few months ago I displayed my friend Jolly’s creations, which included poems, drawings and pieces of art. I had forgotten about this heart on a stick, or pierced heart, made using a hollow, shiny red heart (not quite sure what it’s made of). I really like this piece and will need to find a better way to display it.

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This bare single rose is made of clay, and was produced by hand by a sculptor at the Royal Doulton factory in Staffordshire. I visited the factory as a child and was gifted the rose before I left. I like its simplicity, its starkness, and its shape.

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This black lacquered object is a puzzle box, which my Dad bought me from a German market. I love the look of this box, with its exposed wood motif. You must solve the puzzle to open the box, where you can hide anything you like: jewellery, a secret note, a photograph.

I used the newly-found items to decorate the coffee table, along with a heart candle holder I featured in my charity shop post. I also came across this cheap red and silver tea light holder in the supermarket, as well as a candle snuffer.

I hadn’t changed my coffee table books or decor in months, so added an ice hockey book for the Winter Olympics and a new title I got for just £3 in TK Maxx on Chagall. The Chagall book worked out well for the table: Russian and romantic, with a red cover. The other new book is one I bought my boyfriend for Christmas – a Taschen title on Stanley Kubrick.

You may also like to read my Russian interiors post.

This Friday (7th February) marks the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

I rather like this Sochi 2014 poster, featuring a diamond patchwork pattern in blue tones. The design nods to both its host nation and winter sports, and the colours remind me of Chagall’s stained glass.

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I found an article highlighting poster design from each of the Winter Games, beginning in Chamonix in 1924. From the article, I have selected some of the more interesting designs, including St Moritz, Lillehammer, and Nagano.

The full article and all of the posters can be found here

Chamonix 1924

Chamonix 1924

St Moritz 1948

St Moritz 1948

Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956

Cortina d’Ampezzo 1956

Innsbruck 1964

Innsbruck 1964

Grenoble 1968

Grenoble 1968

Innsbruck 1976

Innsbruck 1976

Calgary 1988

Calgary 1988

Lillehammer 1994

Lillehammer 1994

Nagano 1998

Nagano 1998

Torino 2006

Torino 2006

Home interiors to kindle wanderlust

Stockists
(each row from left to right)

-World Map Globe Copper by Authentics, £62.50 (also comes in white) from Not On the High Street
-Heritage Globe Paperweight, £12, M&S
-Vintage Map Random Trip Paper Lampshade by Naturally Heartfelt, £64 from Not On the High Street
-Set of Four Globe Christmas Baubles by London Garden Trading, £19.95 from Not On the High Street
-John Lewis Map Cushion, Blue (also comes in Sepia), £28
-Ceramic Vintage Globe Map Box by Marquis and Dawe, £32 from Not On the High Street
-Around The World Fabric Lampshade by Romance Is Dead, £45 from Not On the High Street
-Ferm LIVING World Map Sticker, £69 from John Lewis
-Gisela Graham Orange Small Globe, £32 from Debenhams
-Debenhams Natural Globe Bookends, £32
-Galerie Mapping Paste the Wall Wallpaper, £29.95 from John Lewis (available in other colours)
-Debenhams Metal Globe Ornament, £24
-Desktop Globe with Stand by Deservedly-So, £13.50 from Not On the High Street
-Gentleman’s Hardware Illuminated Globe Light, £75 from John Lewis
-John Lewis 17″ Globe, Black, £125 (available in smaller sizes also)
-Premiar Picture World Map by Ikea (200x140cm), £100
-Vintage Atlas Globe and Trinket Box by Dibor, £7 from Not On the High Street
-Scratch Map – various sizes and stockists available, including Amazon

As I have recently moved more than half way across the country, I don’t get many visitors. However, I still like to have coffee table books in my living room, which I flick through quite often. I would never advocate buying these types of books solely for decoration as they can be quite pricey. Buy books that interest you, then think about the aesthetics. I have included a photograph of my (very cheap Ikea) coffee table, stacked with books and a few other things. You may notice some items on the table from my post, Charity Shop Finds. I have detailed some of my books below in case you are interested.

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Tips: It’s best to stack the books from largest to smallest so you can see what’s there, avoid having too many out at once, and you might want to vary your selection.

Coney Island: Lost and Found by Charles Denson
I purchased this book from a shop on the seafront at Coney Island when I visited in April. As well as reminding me of a great trip, it is full of fantastic photographs from the 1870s to the 2000s. It’s fascinating to see the changes to the boardwalk and the amusement park over the last century, and as well as the many photographs, the book contains a fair amount of information. One of the most famous historical icons of Coney Island is the Elephant Hotel, literally shaped like an elephant, which opened in 1884. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire in 1896, which is why it also features in the Lost New York title below.

Berlin in the 20s by Rainer Metzger
This book was an unexpected gift that I was extremely pleased with. Berlin is one of my favourite cities and I am hoping to see a lot more of Germany in the near future. The front of the jacket features the George Grosz painting, ‘Metropolis’. I am very fond of German Expressionist art and film, and this is of course covered in the book. It features dozens of black and white photographs – of people, of cultural places, of architecture, and lots of art by prominent German artists of the era like Dix and Kirchner.

Lost New York by Marcia Reiss
Another title bought on location. This is a very noteworthy book, featuring photographs of long gone New York landmarks, some of which are architecturally stunning, like the Singer Building, built in 1908 and demolished a mere 60 years later. Another great loss to the city was Penn Station in 1966, which had fallen into disrepair. The station still exists in name, and there are talks of demolishing Madison Square Garden to make way for a brand new station. Of course, the biggest loss to the New York City skyline was the Twin Towers, destroyed (but never forgotten) in 2011.

Adidas
This book belongs to my boyfriend, and it fits in to a cardboard sleeve with a rope handle, making it a great gift option. Although I wear Adidas trainers I would never have purchased this book, however, it is actually quite interesting. It documents the history of the company, with a short biography of the founder, Adi Dassler. Photographs include the first Adidas trainers worn at the 1928 Olympics, sprinter Jesse Owens’ spikes and Muhammad Ali’s boxing boots.

X-Ray Art by Nick Veasey
I picked this up a few years ago as I found the idea of x-raying random objects rather intriguing. The photographer – or x-rayer – Nick Veasey, seeks to discover the inner beauty of objects, and to create art using a technology which has now become so ingrained in our modern lives, no longer solely for medical purposes, but also for security. Everything from children’s toys, electronic equipment, musical instruments, and even an electric chair have been given the x-ray treatment. The x-rays of leaves and flowers are particularly beautiful.

The World’s Dreamiest Beaches by Birgit Adam and Claudia Piuntek
This book was also a gift. I am in love with the beach. I feel like I can say that because, for me, being near the beach is not weather-dependent. As well as the breathtaking images, what I like about this book is the variety – it features coastlines from every continent – and the inclusion of beaches from colder climes, such as Iceland, Latvia, and the Faroe Islands.

CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frederic Chaubin
A very large, Taschen book of photography, which also belongs to my boyfriend. It features chapters on Entertainment and Culture; Science and Technology; Sports and Youth; Health and Resorts; and Rites and Symbols. The brutalist architecture is distinctive, imposing and mesmerising. Personal choices are the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chisinau Circus (Moldova), and the Palace of Weddings in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). Slightly lacking in information, but the architecture is incredible.

I also have a number of Art Deco coffee table books, as well as more text heavy ones. I will write a separate post solely on Art Deco books.

I have included a short history concerning some of the items. (Bottom row, left to right).

The Firebird, in Slavic folklore, is quite similar to the phoenix. It is a mythical, glowing creature, whose feathers stay lit even when they have fallen out. The Firebird is described as both a blessing and a curse to its finder. In 1910, the Firebird inspired a ballet of the same name, which was composed by Stravinsky.

Russian dolls, also known as ‘Matryoshka’ (‘little matron’) or ‘babushka’ (grandmother) dolls were first carved in Russia in the late 19th century by Vasily Zvyozdochkin, a folk crafts painter.

Khokhloma is a Russian craft of wood painting, which began in the 17th century. The wood is typically painted black and decorated in red and gold, usually in a floral pattern. Khokloma is seen in many forms, but is more commonly used for tableware.

Stockists
-Johnathan Ward Kartushya Candle, £35 from John Lewis. Also available as a diffuser.
-Oxford Damask Jacquard Cushion, £19.50 from M&S. Also comes in blue.
-PiP Studio Ribbon Rose Espresso Cup & Saucer (Khaki), £10. Available from most department stores and in other colours.
-Vintage Russian decorative plate (1990s) – ‘The Tsarevich and the Firebird’, £12.99 via Etsy.
-Marks and Spencer Russian Doll Cushion, £12.
-Soviet Khokhloma tray with six shot glasses (1970s, hand-painted), £29.20 via Etsy.

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This half moon lamp is – believe it or not – from Marks and Spencer. I bought two (one for each bedside table) in 2011 but they have since re-appeared on the M&S website. They are very sturdy, well-made lamps (chromed steel) and give a warm glow, which is bright enough to read at night but not blindingly so. They come in both table and ceiling form.

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The black lacquer jewellery box was a Christmas present a couple of years ago. It was from the shop Past Times, which sadly fell into administration earlier in the year. Past Times had an art deco section both in store and on their website, so it’s a shame they went out the game.

It’s a fairly large box, with two layers and different sized compartments inside. I especially like the geometric metal clasp on the front.

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My boyfriend bought me the notebook for my birthday a couple of years back. It is by Paperblanks, and the cover features an imprint of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first page draft of The Great Gatsby, in gold ink. I haven’t used it yet but when I do, I’ll make sure it’s for something worthwhile (ie not shopping lists).