Wallpaper Frames the Shrimp

A few weeks back I went to a launch of a wonderful collection of new wallpapers and fabrics by Scion. One of the sets they had arranged had this gorgeous retro orange wallpaper – which would make a show stopping feature wall.

So I thought why not browse a little selection of some retro, vintage inspired feature walls – with a little help from Jean Shrimpton:

Jean Shrimpton, Cassette Wallpaper, Bodie & Fou

C60 Wallpaper/Cassettes Wallpaper – Bodie & Fou £45

Jean Shrimpton, Steve McQueen, Hulanicki Wallpaper, Graham & Brown

Baroque by Barbara Hulanicki  – Graham & Brown £60

Jean Shrimpton, Logpile wallpaper, Roddy & Ginger

Logpile wallpaper by Roddy & Ginger £52

Jean Shrimpton, Designers Guild Wallpaper

Rheinsburg Slate, Designer’s Guild £47

Jean Shrimpton

Do the Stretch by Hemmingway, Graham & Brown £30

Jean Shrimpton

Lace Wallpaper by Scion, available at John Lewis £30

Jean Shrimpton

Bookshelf Wallpaper by Y & B  – Bodie & Fou £70

Go forth and decorate!

Sneak Peek

I love the sneak peek that DesignSponge do every week. I love seeing how other people put things together – even if it’s a totally different style to your own.

After having moved house over a year ago, I am finally happy with one room of my house – the sitting room. There are plenty more to do – some which will, no doubt, require demolitition work – so it’s comforting to know there’s one room which will remain constant.

In my last house I felt the style of the room was very much dictated by the period features. It wasn’t because they were particularly heavy, there was just a mood to the room which, try as I might, I couldn’t get rid of. Which is probably why I was so insistent on moving.

So, while I was sitting there last night, the kids had gone to bed and Mr E was out, I put the candles on and thought, perhaps I should do a sneak peek of this room?

So I took some quick snaps and decided to add some daylight hours too.  I hope you like them – I even managed to sneak some of my (very important) African bits in, which had been denied the chance to shine, in the last house.

At Home With Helena

Whenever I go to Selfridges, I always make a point of going to the magazine section, on the ground floor. I’m like a pig in clover, surrounded by masses of international magazines and inspiration overload.

Only this time I was a little disappointed. I must have flicked through about 6 magazines – all pretty much showing the same fashion shoot – edgy with splashes of nudity, piercings and androgyny. Not that I have problem with any of these you understand. Sometimes it’s very refreshing, just not after 6!

So imagine my excitement when I opened Vs magazine and found this wonderful shoot with Helena Christensen, in her home. A gorgeous woman, lover of all things vintage, in a home full of  treasures, that are right up my street – what more could one ask for?

So I thought I would share it with you – mixed in with some close up home shots from The Selby:

Helena Christensen, Chanel No5, vintage home

Helena Christensen, sitting room, the selby

Helena Christensen, swimming costume, vintage home

Helena Christensen, at home, the selby

Helena Christensen, lettuce, kitchen, vintage home

Helena Christensen, sitting room, the selby

Helena Christensen, at home

Helena Christensen, at home, the selby

Helena Christensen, blue dress, at home

Helena Christensen, at home, in bed

Helena Christensen, at home, the selby

Helena Christensen, in bathroom, at home

Helena Christensen, at home, the selby

Helena Christensen, at home

Helena Christensen, leather skirt

Helena Christensen, black knickers

Helena Christensen, black bra

Helena Christiensen, on leather couch, at home, in trainers

Stunning eh? I want her home and her body – oh and the lacy knickers…..

p.s. If you liked Ariele Alasko’s home from the Lifestyle Lust Part 1, it has also been featured on DesignSponge – so do take a look – it also shows more of her gorgeous work.

Rustic Cool – Lifestyle Lust

Here is the second part of my lifestyle lust.

Today it’s rustic cool – although, surprisingly, only the last one is actually in the countryside.

So enjoy the delights of interior designer and shop owner, Lyn Gardener in Melbourne, interiors photographer Laura Resen in upstate New York and Karen Harrison in Sussex.

Meanwhile I’ll be thinking up some  accompanying inspired buys for the end of the week….

Lyn Gardener, Melbourne, Vintage style, rustic

Laura Resen, Photographer, Home style

Karen Harrison, Sussex, Home style, rustic

Photographs: Lyn Gardener – Tim James for Living Etc Jan 09, Laura Resen by Laura Resen, Karen Harrison – Chris Everard for Living Etc 2009

Artisan Homes – Lifestyle Lust

I moved a year ago and I now finally have the time to get to grips with my new abode.

I have always found that the period and build of a house dictates my interior choices. Which is why we moved in the first place, from a very period Edwardian house, to a more ratty Victorian one.

I’m not an ordered chintzy kind of gal – I like my creative “stuff” and I like it around me – much to my husband’s dismay!

I’m definitely seeing a trend – I seem to gravitate towards artisan’s homes. Homes full of weird and wonderful collections.

So from my collection of clippings so far (we might be here for months) – here is a small collection of those that I’m lusting after. Husband, avert your eyes……..

Carpenter and woodwork designer Ariele Alasko:

Ariele Alasko, Carpenter, Brooklyn

Lace-maker and jewellery designer Emma Cassi:

Emma Cassi, Lace maker, Jewellery designer, Home style

and über textile designer Amy Butler:

(Apartment Therapy takes you on a tour round the property – the outside is just as amazing as the inside – well worth taking a look!)

Amy Butler, Ohio, Home style, textile designer

More next week………

Images: Ariele Alasko via Brooklyn to West & The Makers by Jennifer Causey

Emma Cassi via House of Bliss & Kristin Peters for Elle Decoration August 2010

Amy Butler:  Matthew Williams for Living Etc & Apartment Therapy

The Bell Jar

Whenever I see Bell Jars, I think of Sylvia Plath.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

I studied her works for English Literature and it’s extraordinary how things that you have studied long ago, which you thought of at the time as just throw-away, seep into the unconscious and resurface at a later date.

The book is often thought of as a “roman a clef”, or in lay-men’s terms, a written parallel of Plath’s own life and her descent into mental illness. Whilst the book ends on an up (and for that information you will have to read the book) Plath sadly took her own life, a month after it’s publication in the UK, in 1963.

At the time of studying Plath, I was only 17 and I don’t think I really appreciated the complexities of life and therefore the value of her writing. Funny what life can do!

So another resolution – to re-read literature from younger days. I bet I’ll read it in a completely new light?

Anyway enough of the heavy stuff and back to light-hearted vintage.

There are some beautiful bell jars out there at the moment but I still think the most captivating are those that have seen a bit of life.

So here is a new (more aesthetic) take on The Bell Jar:

Bell Jar, industrial style, wooden cabinet

Bell jar, glass jars, industrial style

Bell jar, sunburst mirror, vintage suitcases

BellJar, Shoes under glass

Christmas bell jar

Bell Jar, wheat and herbs

I really like the bell jar with the shoes inside.

I have a tall one and I think I’m going to try and stand my old ballet pointe’s inside. Not sure how to keep them upright though? Any ideas gratefully received!

(Images from top: Decor8Decor8Finder Keepers MarketInternational Visual, My own bell jar, clipping from an old magazine – I think Cote Este)

The Madam of Monochrome

This week’s Inspired Buys refer to “Igor and Coco” – monochrome style.

Story wise, the film is a little slow – in fact I recommended it to a friend and she fell asleep within 5 minutes – you know who you are!

However, the costumes and the interiors are absolutely incredible – a total visual feast, and I can quite easily watch a film and be totally engrossed in the style, rather than the story – so this is still one of my favourites.

If you love all things black & white then this film is a definite must.

“Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Coco Chanel

Igor and Coco, hallway, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bedroom, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bathroom, black and white interiors, monochromeIgor and Coco, bedroom, black and white interiors, monochrome

I ended up purchasing the Massimo Dutti scarf from last week’s Inspired Buys. I hope there isn’t a trend developing here! Rather a dangerous road to go down.

Still, at least it wasn’t the Bottega Veneta handbag!

So here’s this week’s little selection:

Yves St Laurent tuxedo, bodie & fou, conran, colette, toast, massimo dutti

Clockwise from right: Designer’s Guild, Porden Wallpaper £38, Canvas Derby Shoes, Toast £175, 10 Digital CD, Colette59th Street Chair, Content by ConranBlack and White Star Scarf, Massimo Dutti £39.90,Tuxedo Jacket Yves St Laurent, Netaporter (in the sale £715), Typed Love Letter, Bodie & Fou £35.

And for the home-style hungry – some of my favourite monochrome interiors:

black and white interiors, monochrome

black and white interiors., monochrome

black and white interiors, monochrome

Elle decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, figures

Elle Decoration, black and white interiors, monochrome, black ballet shoesBlack & White interiors, monochrome

House & Leisure, black and white interiors, monochrome, porch, verandah……that star scarf is winking at me!

Images from top: Gaelle Le Boulicaut (Elle Decoration July 2011), Heidi Lerkenfeldt (Elle Decoration November 2011), Claude Weber (Vivre Cote Paris Sept 2011), Happy Living Dk/House of Pictures (Elle Decoration 2010), Heidi Lerkenfeldt, Heidi Lerkenfeldt, Cushion Neisha Crosland, Sigurd Kranendonk (Residence July 2011), Warren Heath & Sally Chance (House & Leisure September 2010)


Doris Day and The Hunky Beast

The prompt for this post was the Terence Conran exhibition at the Design Museum, which is definitely worth a visit for all those interested in vintage pieces and design (and doesn’t finish until March 2012!). Perusing round the various, “Heals & Habitat”, styled furniture and textiles, I came across this dressing table . This is one classy, cool piece dressing table. It’s chunky, almost masculine, with an industrial edge but is still somehow elegant. Only a really cool cat could have sat at this hunky beast.



So how to find the perfect dressing table?

Looking back at the icons of that time and the movies around, I came across Jan Morrow, the Doris Day character in Pillow Talk. A successful “interior decorator”, this lady has a sharp tongue  and effortless style – a cool cat indeed! She takes no time at all cutting Rock Hudson’s womanizing character, Brad Allen, down to size and almost decapitating the tentacle-like grip of one ardent admirer, saying “Tony, I never met a man with so many arms!”

At one point Jan says “I have a good job, very nice apartment, I go out with very nice men, to the best places, the theatre, the finest restaurants, what am I missing?”.

The scene then cuts to Jan going to her dressing table…and there you have it…thats what she’s missing! The dressing table is a travesty. Almost frou-frou and chintzy, this is not the dressing table of a hip 1959 mover and shaker. In fact, the apartment in general is not a reflection of the character, but more of the Doris Day stereotype, pink and sugary.

Highlighting the disparity in the two characters Ross Hunter, the producer, of “Pillow Talk”stated at the time :

” Doris hasn’t a clue as to her potential as a sex image and no one realised that under all those dirndls lurked one of the wildest asses in Hollywood. I came right out and told her “You are sexy, Doris and it’s about time you dealt with it”.

“Oh Ross, cut it out. I’m just the old-fashioned peanut-butter girl next door and you know it”.

“Now listen, if you allow me to get Jean Louis to do your clothes. I mean a really sensational wardrobe that will show off that wild ass of yours, and get some fabulous makeup on you, and chic you up and get a great hairdo that lifts you, why every secretary and every housewife will say, look at that – look what Doris has done to herself. Maybe I can do the same thing”.*

Shame the set director wasn’t listening!

The apartment of Brad Allen, however, is much more what I had in mind. Slick lines, exposed brickwork, understated style but personable and warm. Ok, perhaps a little too slick with switches along the back of the sofa to turn down the lighting, put the music on and turn the sofa into a bed, but – as Brad states “the man who lived here before had very long arms!” .

You could imagine the Terence Conran hunky beast being very much at home in this apartment!

I set myself a little challenge. Could I find a contemporary version that could reflect the same stocky stylishness? Funnily enough I found this rather unusual piece at It’s not as solid as the hunky beast but does have that masculine edge and is certainly very sleek and cool (it even has a beautiful table in the same style!)

If your looking for an original there were quite a number of gems to be found on ebay, like this beautiful rosewood one.

So Heals and Habitat, are you listening, a lady needs a large mirror but we’re not too sugary to dislike a cool, hunky beast in managing our intimate affairs – even if it ‘s in the form of a dressing table!

That’s all for now folks!


* Quote from Doris Day and Ross Hunter from “Dressed, A Century of Hollywood Costume Design” – by Deborah Nadoolman Landis

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