Category Archives: Design Porn

#100happydays: Day 5 ‘Tetris geekery’

I was stumped what to wear out, until my friend sent me these perfect leggings in a taxi! Never have I fallen so utterly in love with an item of clothing!

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Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

I just watched Amelie for the first time in years; it’s a Friday evening and there’s nowhere I want to be more than snuggled up with my dog watching the colourful world of possibly one of the most feel-good films ever made.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s vision of technicolor Paris is peppered with tinges of nostalgia; his characters are timeless, though of course the catalyst for Amelie’s adventures is the death of princess Diana…which leads her to a hidden treasure she feels compelled to return to its rightful owner…

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This film always reminds to be playful, to be kind, and to see the mischievousness in the mundane. And it’s hard not to be at least a little in love with Audrey Tatou…

Amelie’s style is so gloriously French; nonchalant mismatched Montmartre glamour rather than the polished Parisian luxe we associate with French style now. Bohemian rather than boho, rich colours in well worn fabrics; it’s a look the French pull off impeccably but so often falls short in attempts to replicate the same effortless, guileless, almost incidental design.
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Lighting: Curiousa and Curiousa hand blown beauties

This week I’ve been playing catch-up with work since my trip to Prague, and with my old Iphone finally dying on me I’ve been trying to get my photos and notes off it to post about my excellent 3 days there! I managed to fit in visiting some very old friends from school and eating at some outstanding restaurants whilst I was there, so watch this space!

Progress in the bedroom has been coming along nicely, and I’ve been designing a ‘man cave’ unit for the recess that’s going to be fabulous. We’ve decided the aesthetic we’re going for, as the room will be for a guy, will be a modern take on a gentlemens club. I’m very excited to watch things take shape, and the joiners doing the work are fantastic. I’ve been really enjoying working with them on this project.

One of the main aspects of the redesign is the lighting concept, and I’ve been like a kid in a candy shop looking at potential ideas. In the process I’ve found sine beauties which may not be perfect for this project but I’ve just got to share!

I first spied Curiousa and Curiousa’s ‘Twist’ chandelier at last year’s Tent (London Design Festival 2012) and fell in love with its sheer glam fabulousness; even for a strictly non-girly girl like me.

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Then I saw this beauty on their website, their ‘Dine ‘ pendant. Inspired by a Poul Henningsen classic PH pendant produced by Louis Poulsen. The PH was groundbreaking; lighting had always been from a direct source and Henningsen incorporated a diffusing anti-glare disc. Curiousa and Curiousa’s version uses 3 separately hand blown plates in glorious coloured glass.

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These lights are stunning, and I’d love to find just the perfect room for one of their pieces!

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Home: Second bedroom clean slate

Today was a big day in my home; all the boxes were taken away from the second bedroom (soon to be my flat mate’s room) and my builders could start on making it beautiful!

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It’s always so liberating to start with a clean slate, and we could really see for the first time what needs to be done. The current floorboards are a lovely oak, but they’re being harvested for use in the sitting room and dining room. Long story short those two rooms are actually significantly larger according to the original dimensions, so these boards will come in useful to make up the remainder. We’ll be replacing them with solid walnut in the two bedrooms.

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We are removing this entire unit and replacing it with a solid walnut built-in with tonnes of storage I’m designing myself. I love the sleek and streamlined look of built-ins, and in a ‘smaller’ room it should make this bedroom appear more spacious. Especially as we are thinking of replacing the double bed with a king sized!

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We are also removing the downstands framing the window area to bring more light into the room. These were built as a ‘feature’ by the developer but look pretty horrible.

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I’m so excited to see this room’s transformation, and I’ll be posting regular updates of tre progress. Watch this space!

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Home: redesigning the second bedroom

I have some very exciting news! As I’ve mentioned before I have a lovely new housemate moving in soon, and I thought it was time I finally brought the spare bedroom up to scratch. Until now this is the room that has been where all my junk has gone to die. It’s been filled with boxes, spare furniture that I’ve not found a place for, and everything ‘miscellaneous’.

Well I have big plans for that room, including replacing all the existing oak flooring with beautiful walnut, opening up the window area to bring more light into the room and designing a funky built-in unit to replace the almost non-existent storage we currently have. I’ve been working with the most fabulous builder, who just so happens to be a close friend of mine and one of the loveliest, most genuine guys I know.

So watch this space for updates on our progress! I work as an interior designer (it still feels as exciting as a new job, though I’ve been working for this company for almost half a year now) but what makes this project special is the fact that it’s a personal one…whilst still working with a ‘client’.

I’ll not reveal too much just yet but as this is the first room in the house I’m not designing purely in my own aesthetic I’ll be working with my flatmate to design him the perfect dude’s room. His first request? He has a hankering for chocolate brown…

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Charity shop find: retro cocktail trolley

I have an obsession with perfection.

I would love to be the kind of gal who makes her own washing powder, bakes homemade cookies at the weekends and whips up batches of fresh strawberry ice cream on hot summer days. Perfectly brewed coffee every morning, squeezed orange juice on the table with breakfast and cut flowers nonchalantly arranged in casual vases around the house…looking so effortless.

It’s laughable to anyone who’s ever seen my flat, but I always have the best of intentions…and I’m loath to show the world anything ‘unfinished’. Vain? Probably! But sometimes perfection doesn’t make for interesting blog posts, and I’ve come to realise maybe folk wouldn’t mind seeing the thought processes behind some of my random projects! And it would keep me on track as well hopefully, finishing one thing before eying up the next!

Sooo…today, during a ‘quick browse’ in the charity shops near mine, I found this wee gem. It doesn’t look like much now, a bit retro and…I’d like to think it’s got elements of the 70s but in reality it’s probably more likely a product of the 80s! The shelves are ridiculously thin glass, grubby, and I dread to think how it would stand up in my house with the boisterous pets and party-loving friends.

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But I can see potential.

Clean this wee guy up, definitely replace the glass (Note to self: make friends with a glazier) for the toughened variety…I had thought a beveled mirrored glass might be nice initially, but upon closer inspection the curved edges would be far to expensive to go down that route! If I keep the chrome finish I may go for a smoked glass, but that will depend on how it ‘scrubs up’. But I think this will make a fabulous wee cocktail trolley. I’ve been scouring antique shops for the perfect mid century hostess trolley for that fabulous glass skull ice bucket I bought in Toronto, my funky cocktail shaker and other such Bon vivant accoutrements!

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She loves me, she loves me not…Travel Edition

I’m no stranger to a bit of cross-continental hopping, being a Canadian who’s found herself settled in sunny Scotland. It may surprise you that I’ve not been back to the motherland for over 3 years though, and this working holiday is my first trip back!  I’m very excited to be ‘home’, catching up with the oldest of friends, and visiting my favourite Toronto spots – as well as exploring new ones!  It’s had me thinking about the things I love (and those I’m not as fond of) about the act of travel.

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1. The Dutch sense of humour.  

Heard over the tannoys at Schiphol Airport:

‘Could passenger Klein flying to Toronto, PLEASE head to gate K9.  The pilot is very bored’

2. Airport shopping!  

This will come as no surprise, as everyone knows I’m an utter shopaholic…but it’s so interesting to see what kinds of treats are on offer in foreign ports.  I especially love browsing the magazine racks and the electronics section to see what is on offer elsewhere in the world.  Foreign language interiors mags?  Oh yes!!

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3. Sleeping!

On a long-haul flight, I know I’ll be crashed out by the time we take off; a fantastic bonus when more often than not, I’ve been up all night packing.  I usually wake up when they announce descent, slap on some moisturizer and feel as close to fresh-as-a-daisy as one can muster after 8 hours transatlantic flying.

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She loves me not…

1. Airport security.

I realise it’s a necessary evil, and I do feel safer knowing someone is out there checking none of my fellow passengers is a knife-wielding maniac.  However, after having whipped out my iPad both at security checkpoints in Edinburgh and Amsterdam, struggling to juggle passports and boarding cards whilst trying to put shoes/belt/zip bag up…not to mention the thorough pat-down because my bracelet set off the scanner…

2. Plane food.

Such a cliché, but airline food is still (most of the time) as revolting as ever.  I had something which was described as ‘pan-fried chicken with country style potatoes’, which reared its ugly head as a rubbery breast atop what had the taste and texture of Israeli couscous.  I have no objections to couscous, but I can’t remember the last time I thought it was interchangeable with spuds!  The only time I’ve had ‘pleasant’ plane food was surprisingly on route from Hong Kong to Sapporo; and it’s rather difficult to mess up zaru soba when it comes in two individually adorable sealed cups!

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I do love to travel though, and despite the stresses of being in the airport, it’s always worth it in the end.  Anyone else have any travel loves or pet peeves?

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New tattoo: architectural geekery

I am very excited to share my latest tattoo – a depiction of the Dancing House (of Fred and Ginger) building in Prague. It is possibly one of the most stunning examples of deconstructivist architecture, designed as a collaboration between Czech architect Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry in 1992 and completed in 1996. The structure consists of 99 concrete panels, each of a different size and dimension – nae parallel beams in this baby!

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Done by the ridiculously talented Barry Goddard of Jazz Tattoo.

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House of Fraser Fabulousness: Shu Uemura

Remember a few weeks ago I posted about my great experience shopping in Glasgow’s House of Fraser store – and in particular the impeccable customer service at the Shu Uemura counter? Well I promised a separate post about it, so here it is!

This was my haul from that shopping trip…

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These were the items I actually purchased…(and a lip gloss)

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Let me just start by saying I’ve always had fabulous customer service from Shu Uemura, so I’m not sure if they maybe train their girls up to be super-nice! First of all, I was on the hunt for a mint eyeshadow and eyeliner; I’m in love with my Nars ‘Barrow Street’, described as a ‘seafoam’ shade, but sometimes a girl just needs a liquid or gel liner to get a proper cat’s eye flick! I knew Shu Uemura was likely to have a green shadow, but imagine my delight (and subsequent disappointment) when I discovered they carried a green potted liner…which was limited edition, and which they were out of stock of! The tester pot was still there, but unfortunately no Shu Uemura concession in Scotland had any left. I mean, check out the awesomeness of that colour! How could I walk away?!

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The salesgirl told me they couldn’t sell me the tester pot, for hygiene reasons…then she noticed it had barely been touched so said she could give me the semi-used pot (seeing as I looked so crestfallen at the news) if she scraped out the sampled area. Which, like I said , was hardly anything. So I got an almost full pot of eyeliner for free, which they couldn’t sell on anyways. But how many folk would think to do that for you?

I also fell in love with a set of gorgeous (and semi impractical) false lashes that were also limited edition and out of stock! Oh, the horror. When I went to pay for my purchases, which included one set of eyelashes, a red lip gloss and a trio of green shadows, she gave me the tester set of funky lashes as well! Which again she told me she couldn’t sell on, as they were marked ‘not for resale’, so she gave them to me for free!

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I want to clarify that my high opinion of the service I receive was not just because I came home laden with freebies…though I do love a good freebie and a bargain, what I was impressed with was the salesgirl’s willingness to act above and beyond the ‘call of duty’, I suppose. She knew these tester items would be binned at the end of the day, so there was no harm in giving them to someone who was obviously wanting them, and who was making a purchase anyways.

So I’d like to thank that lovely girl for putting a smile on my face, and for such a great experience at both House of Fraser and Shu Uemura.

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After-work wander: Glasgow’s Buchanan Street

I was working in Glasgow today, so of course I had a wander before I caught my train home. I love The Weej for its friendliness; much as I adore Edinburgh and call it home, it can be a bit contrived at times. Though you’re as likely to see a man fashioning balloon animals on the street in The Burgh, it feels put on for the tourists.
How fun is this guy though?!

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I stopped at Rogano’s pop up ‘champagne garden’ on Buchanan Street for a lunch of oysters and creamy Caesar salad with king prawns. And a pot of peppermint tea to keep me warm!

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I stopped in Frasers to look for a smaller wallet to fit into my clutch bag (so tired of schlepping my massive Prada number around everywhere) so of course stopped off at Shu Uemura…such a fabulous experience from a customer care perspective, the sales girl was so lovely so wait for a separate post about it! It’s so rare, especially in a busy department store, for sales staff to pay such attention and care to customer service. Oh and I spied these amazing Chanel sunglasses that have gone right to the top of my summer wish list!

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