Category Archives: Interiors

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.

She loves me…

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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Inspiration: Mid century gentlemen’s club based around the iconic Eames Lounge chair

Mid century gentlemen's club based around the iconic Eames Lounge chair

I’ve been in love with the iconic Eames lounge chair since I first laid eyes on it in a design magazine as a teenager, so when the opportunity arose for me to buy one of my very own at half the price – a genuine Vitra issued article – I jumped at the chance.

My dream sitting room wouldn’t look to far off an old school gentlemen’s club; all luxe leather, sexy dark wood bookshelves, tufted button detailing and the unmistakeable scent of a country estate. Wood wax, tree sap and casually worn leather upholstery. Throw in my love of mid-century to 1970s design (i actually own that G-plan coffee table) with a dose of quirkiness from Moooi and you’d have my ideal space.

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Review: MILK, Morrisson Street

A few weeks ago, after a frustrating morning choosing flooring for the hall, I found myself at a loose end on Morrison street when hunger pangs set in. If I’m honest, the promise of ‘good food fast’ was what enticed me into MILK. That and the laid back diner feel of the place, with its crackle glazed subway tiles, jade green industrial bar stools and quirky repurposed golden syrup tin cutlery holders.

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Spiced apple juice and a lime and mint cooler? Oh yes please?

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My warm slow roasted pork wrap was just what I needed, filled with perfectly seasoned spiced shredded pork and fresh herbs, homemade slaw with just a touch of mayonnaise (I dread the heavily mayo’d coleslaw). I could taste fresh coriander and sweet, crunchy red cabbage, shredded carrots and tender pork…all wrapped in a warm, soft Lebanese flat bread. No complicated flavours, just simple and incredibly fresh.

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I couldn’t resist grabbing a key lime and coconut cupcake to go, which was certainly worth it with a filling of perfectly tangy lime curd and shavings of coconut atop a buttercream frosting. I’m not usually a fan of buttercream, as it’s usually over-sweet and lacking in taste, but this was lovely.

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What a fabulous find, and so close up Haymarket station…

MILK
232 Morrison Street

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#BEDM Day 12: Collecting

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I am a hoarder. And a shopaholic. I love the finer things in life, pretty things, things that make me smile. My house is full of these things…it is actually an ongoing struggle to keep it reasonably ordered and even then, I often fail miserably! I’d love to have a beautifully minimalistic, modern Scandinavian aesthetic but I love pretty objects too much!

1. Books
I have 4 big bookshelves filled to the brim (plus another smaller one in my bedroom and a makeshift number housing my collection of cookbooks). I’ll read anything, as long as it catches my interest in some way – biographies of Marilyn Monroe, modern and post-cultural-revolution Chinese fiction, Scandinavian thrillers, horror, noir, retro cookbooks, novels set in pre-Haussmann Paris, the life and times of such historic figures as Josephine Bonaparte and Madame Tussaud…anything goes! If I had my way, I would have a home library complete with reading ‘nook’, where I imagine my prized Eames lounge chair would sit.

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2. Tea pots

Now this is a strange one for me, as I so rarely drink tea! I do adore a well turned out teapot though, anything from a traditional Japanese number worthy of a tea ceremony, quirky Alice in Wonderland inspired pots to minimalist Scandinavian curvaceous styles. Maybe it’s my Alice in Wonderland obsession but I love the look and feel of a beautiful tea pot…though seldom for holding tea!

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Note: these are not tea pots I own, but just beautiful tea pots I like the look of!

3. Design ‘porn’ books
I am a total design geek, anyone I meet gets this within moments of meeting me. I walk into the Conran Shop, Heals, Skandium, Republic of Fritz Hansen and the first thing I do is make a beeline for the design books. Not only do I love to see beautiful examples of lighting, furniture and product design ‘in the flesh’, but I’m also fascinated by the processes the designer went through to achieve the finished piece. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to design books, which can get a bit…pricy! I do console myself with the knowledge I’m building up a gorgeous library that I’ll love for years to come.

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4. Art
If I were rich and famous, my house would resemble an art gallery. Seriously, if I could afford it I’d have a home full of beautiful paintings and stunning sculptures! I wouldn’t say there’s a particular style I’m fixated on, though I’ve always been impressed by the symbolism behind Dutch realism and the freedom and open composition of impressionistic works. My favourite artists are Wilhelm Hammershoi (a Danish realist), Berthe Morisot (a rare female impressioniste), and the sculptress Camille Claudel (whose poignant bronze cast, L’Age mûr , is one of my favourite works of sculpture to this day). As far as more modern works go, I’m a huge fan of the use of light…not surprising from an aspiring lighting designer! I am lucky enough to own paintings by the super talented Canadian artist Emma Hesse (the one I have isn’t the one shown, but in the same series entitled ‘Slipstream’

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…and this one by the absolutely wonderful glaswegian artist Jackie Anderson, who uses a delicate transparent wash technique giving an ethereal quality to her work. I bought this painting, entitled ‘Ruth, waiting’ (detail only shown) when I first moved to Edinburgh. I hadn’t bought my flat yet at this point, lived in a tiny shared rental apartment with nowhere to hang it…but I loved it so much I kept it wrapped in storage until I had somewhere to display it! Isn’t it beautiful?!

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Her other works also show this stunning, almost other-worldly, ghostly quality to her figures which I’ve not seen in any other artist’s work! The subject matter may be ‘ordinary’ but few execution certainly is not.

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A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet a very young but incredibly talented ceramic artist named Lauren Blakey at the One of a Kind Show at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Her work wasn’t the only art I picked up at the show, but I was so impressed (and disappointed I wasn’t able to bring more of her ‘cubes’ home in my already overflowing suitcase) that I emailed her the very next day to tell her how much I loved her work. She is inspired by nature, organic shapes, and the beauty in the unexpected (I believe one thing she’s referenced is the form and structure of seaweed). One day I will have a whole wall devoted to Lauren’s ‘cubes’!

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This next artist is one I’ve admired for years but have yet to own one of her works. I actually Claire Duguid
her in a local cocktail bar by chance, got to chatting to her before realising who she was! So talented, and a local Edinburgh lass. Her self portraits are to die for and her use of various lighting effects is unbelievable!

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I believe what you are drawn to collect shows so much about your personality. My ‘collections’ tell so much about me… 🙂

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Quick stop: Fifi & Ally, Princes Square (Glasgow)

I was working in Glasgow today and stopped off at Fifi & Ally for a quick coffee during my break. Unabashedly quirky with Osborne and Little ‘best in show’ wallpaper adorning the walls, tempting pastries and gorgeous tiny salt and pepper shakers…wish I’d had time to stop and sample the famous red velvet cake!

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#BEDM Day 4: Five Favourite Blogs

I am such a blog addict, I can’t even count how many I follow on Bloglovin’ – from interiors blogs, lifestyle, design, fashion, architecture and foodie, I love getting a peek into the world of like-minded guys and girls around the globe!

My current faves seem to be very interiors and general design centric, and let me just say it was hard to narrow it down to just 5… But here goes!

Design*sponge: this blog never ceases to wow with design ideas, windows into amazing homes…you can’t help but draw inspiration and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m just a little obsessed with the site!

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Michaela Noelle: Michaela’s blog is one of the first I ever followed; she’s a interior design student with a fondness for all things girlie. Though her aesthetic is different from mine, her blog is beautiful and she is just the sweetest girl – her posts always bring a smile to my face!

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Apartment therapy: this blog is just full of fabulous (and realistic) ideas for apartment living. There’s something for everyone here, whether your style is minimalist, Scandinavian, mid century modern, girlie, vintage…

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Design Milk: My friend Marie introduced me to this blog a few months ago and I’ve been addicted ever since! Check out the best and latest in design, and I adore their sister site Dog Milk (aka ‘the Modern Dog Blog) as well for the pampered, stylish pooch!

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The Bloggess: In one word, hilarious. The random thought bursts of a mother, writer (she’s written for Good mom/Bad mom, which appears in the Houston Chronicle; and her book debuted at N#1 on the New York Times best seller list), cat owner and taxidermy aficionado…with a fondness for metal chickens named Beyonce.

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I’ve been a bit…shall we say MIA…over this fun and frivolous weekend, and have failed to fulfil my BEDM duties :-(. So now we’re on 6 May and I have Days 4 and 5 to catch up on!

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