Ruefully racy rugs

So the words ‘sexy’ and ‘rug’ are not words that you would usually see together, but then perhaps you haven’t discovered Esti Barnes’ breathtaking creations for Top Floor. I absolutely adore every one of her creations, especially the ‘Emmenthal Rug’ that recently scored her ar BOY (Best of Year) Award in the rug category  at New York’s ‘Interior Design’ Awards 2010. Original, witty and completely un-afraid I love, love, love it…

Sophisticated Softness: Luxe Living Rooms

There is nothing more soothing at the end of a long day than to come home to a living room that is calm, and cocooning. I am, however, a great believer that the  most important reception room in the house should be as smart and stylish as it is welcoming and relaxing. The perfect blend of what I like to call ‘sophisticated softness’ (smart pieces upholstered in soft textures, rectilinear furniture paired with curvaceous accessories, vintage pieces framed by modern lines and eclectic finds in symmetrical formations ) results in a living room that will stand the test of time, welcoming you, and all guests, time after time after time.

Here are my pick of stylishly sophisticated, yet soothingly soft, living rooms…

Heavenly hallways

Today I have been doing a lot of research into hallways – how to dress them, how to shape them, how to make the most of a space that is often over-looked. Here are a few of my favourites. I particularly love the ‘tree art’ in the first and long shelves of art in the last… x

Crosby Crush

Latest style crush: Kit Kemp’s beautifully crafted Crosby Hotel, built from scratch by the relentless Firmdale Hotel Group in a vacant parking lot in NYC. Check it out… .

I particularly adore the sculpture garden tucked into a tiny internal courtyard and the Meadow Suite that opens out onto a beautiful herb garden. Enjoy x

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Design Jean-ius

I have a confession to make. I have been blogging for someone else; David Keech and Keech Design’s blog to be precise. David asked me to pick a true design classic and write about it for his blog, and here’s what I came up with.

Read this (and lots more) on Keech’s website

Design Jean-ius

From baggy to bell-bottomed, skinny to slim, capris to carpenter; whatever your personal style, occupation or age, a pair of jeans will be the most faithful design classic you ever own.

Simultaneously historic (originally made in the Renaissance as utilitarian ‘all purpose pants’ in Turin), always symbolic of their era (think the ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ youth rebellion they characterised in 1950s America, or the skin-tight drainpipes that signified you were a true British mod in the swinging 60s); jeans are the ultimate in eternally modern design.

Indeed, in the words of one of the world’s greatest designers, Yves Saint Laurent, “I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.”

Designed originally for work, the word “jeans” comes from the French phrase “bleu de Genes”, literally meaning ‘the blue of Genoa’, whilst denim originated in the French town of Nimes (where its name was coined). At the same time trousers were being made of denim in India, where they were worn by sailors in Dhunga (perfect then for the fact that they can be worn wet or dry); these trousers eventually became known as dungarees.

Check out more denim data below:

• The Guinness World Records cites the Gucci “Genius Jeans” as the most expensive jeans in the world, which were sold for an astonishing $3,134 in Milan in 1998.

• The cheapest jeans I could find on sale today were Primark’s £8 pair.

• The copper rivets still found in every pair of jeans today were invented and patented by Levi Strauss and his tailor friend Jacob Davis who created them to lessen the need for trouser repairs by placing them at key points of strain.

• The well-worn ‘bootcut’ style was designed for the US army at the beginning of the 20th century, to give extra ventilation to sailors stuck on hot ships for months. The legs were also tied together and were used as life preservers!

• 215 jeans can be made with one bale of cotton.

• Every Brit owns, on average, 7 pairs of wearable jeans.

• And when those trusty bell bottom jeans from the 70s do finally wear out, fear not; your dog eared denim can now be put to good use as eco-friendly home insulation! Indeed, blue jean insulation made from – you guessed it – blue jeans, is as good as the fiberglass alternative, yet far more eco-friendly.

So they transcend age, economic and style barriers, they are, and have been, multi-functional since their creation and are still providing fodder for new design development today. They are able to re-invent their ‘modernity’ to suit every era, fashion trend and climate. They are, indeed, the ultimate in simultaneously modern and classic design. Quite simply, design jeanius…

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A fresh take on a fat duck….

Yes, you read it right… The Fat Duck comes in the form of the michelin star restaurant of the very same name. Below are some of my presentation boards for my project pitch for the Fat Duck in Bray.

As always, enjoy! (and I do promise not to leave it so long next time…)

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Some conceptual thinking

So it looks (fingers crossed) like we are moving into a new pad; a beautiful, blank-canvas of a pad actually, and despite the lack of any contract signing to date(?!), I have already pulled together concepts for the Living room, Master suite and Kitchen. Concepts – for those not in the know – are pulled together to inspire, and then guide and cement, your scheme throughout the design process. Here are the first three for my brand new home sweet home…

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A space (and some rather lovely food) for the soul

Two down; four to go, and project number three comes in the form of a hospitality brief. All I know so far is that the client is a high-end, renowned restauranteur/ restaurant chain… Watch this space for more details, but in the mean time I thought I would share a selection of my all time favourite eating and drinking spaces…enjoy!

Words of wisdom

It’s not just beautiful spaces that make me happy. Beautiful words can make me smile just as often, and just as much. Here are some of my favourites…

Saw these: Loved them

Saw these: Loved them: Was utterly inspired: That’s it…