Face Lift

No matter what time of year, we are always looking for interior solutions and design ideas for our homes. I thought you would like a list of some easy and quick suggestions. None of them will cost much money or any at all, but guaranteed they will all give any room in your home an instant face lift.

FLOWERS: Flowers are a great way to introduce colour and scent into a room and even better if you dot them about your room in different vases or containers to vary the height. I have a mixture of real and faux flowers, good ones not the hideous plastic looking things that you see displayed in funeral parlours, that is enough to send you to your grave! I am not overly keen on the flowers below, but what I do like is they are a nice contrast to the strong colour palette of the room below. Plants are also good, if you would rather something that didn’t need as much maintenance and last longer. I like the second image below the oversized plant at the fireplace, play around with scale it really does make a difference. The idea is to go for something different that is not the bog standard arrangement.  If you prefer smaller plants then group a few together to give you that impact.

tADmagazine.fr Classic Rock article may 2014

ADD PATTERN: Again this is another instant lift to a room, whether it is a rug, cushions or wallpaper it will add some interest.  This room below would certainly be lacking if it didn’t have the striped rug. I like the mixture of textures in the owners furniture but you don’t get the boldness unless you add a pattern. Try mixing patterns, my only tip would be to keep in mind the same colour palette. The monochrome look below, you could add polka dots or chevrons again in black and white or even incorporate one of the accent colours of green and red that feature in  the image below.


CHANGE POSITION OF FURNITURE: The beauty of this is it won’t cost you anything, it might be you move a piece of furniture that is already in the room, or take something from another room to add or do a swap. I do this quite a lot and it gives your room a new perspective and possibly a new focal point. If don’t like then you just move it back, but at least give it a go you might be surprised.  This is probably why I don’t by all my furniture from the same shop, I am not a fan of matching furniture. I feel people get bogged down with everything being co-ordinated as it is very restrictive. If mix styles you will create a less formal look as well as allowing more flexibility. We generally all wish for more room, but the problem lies not with the lack of space but where the furniture is positioned. Don’t have everything pushed back to the walls, could you walk behind your sofa instead? Put a console table behind it and make that another focal? If you are lucky enough and have large rooms, create little zones within. The image below on the right has lounge area in the middle and a dinning/work area next to the window. The dining area has its own designated light and art work which help to give it as much purpose in the room as the seating area.

SGD -face lift  Via New Paris Style:Florence Baudoux home photo by Richard Powers

ADD ANOTHER LIGHT SOURCE: As I have said before, you can never have too many lights (click on link to previous post) position lights at different heights and angles to suit your mood or requirement, it helps to highlight, illuminate and create an atmosphere.  The image below is a good example of how a the distribution of light is better even when don’t use a ceiling pendant. I am not a fan in terms of the light they give off, I do like using them as a focal but never put a lamp in them, if have to then I put in a low-wattage lamp.

Via ACE hotel website

INTRODUCE A BOLD COLOUR: If you don’t have the confidence start with a room that is smaller or a room you are not in all the time.  It could be you only paint one wall in a stronger colour, like below.  But how much better do the flowers and the turquoise vases look with the strong grey colour as a back drop, much more dramatic and demands attention. Painting a wall will take an afternoon and I am sure you will not regret it and might find you paint the other walls.



Upcycling is a bit of a buzz word just now, simply it involves taking a piece of furniture and giving it a new lease of life. Whether you paint it, add new handles or embellish it with wallpaper, stencils or wheels.  The first time I upcycled was when I was a teenager when I was given free rein to redesign my bedroom. I picked up two wooden chest of drawers from Dens Road Market. In terms of construction they were solid, but needed some attention as the wood was chipped and scratched. I wanted to paint them anyway to give them modern feel as well as co-ordinating with my blue and turquoise colour scheme! I was fairly chuffed with my efforts and was asked by friends to do the same for their bedroom furniture. It is something I have done ever since.  I bought four bent wood chairs from Tayside Recycle Centre for £20 a few years back and have been several colours since.  This bright orange was the first colour I painted it, it is now a lovely matt grey.

SGD - Light Relief - photo Julie Christie photography

photo: Julie Christie Photography

Upcylcling has its fair share of negative press, as it is something you associate with being on home make-over shows. Generally done in a rush, poorly executed and probably not something you would want in your house. However lots of designers out there are helping to give upcylcing a good reputation such as Ines Cole, Polly Granville

Crate-Side-Table- Ines Cole

Ines Cole

Via Polly Granville - Apples

Polly Granville

They lovingly restore and are completed to a high standard and generally not something that everyone could achieve. There are dedicated websites and blogs to upcycling and if you follow the steps, do the necessary prep and use the right products for the material you are working with I can be a simple afternoon project. You can end up with a unique and affordable piece of furniture that will reflect your personality last as long as you want it too.

The picture below, is a project I did when I was at DJCAD back in 2006/2007, can’t quite remember! I found this war ammunitions chest in my Grandad’s attic and I cleaned it all up and added this shelving out of plywood. It was a great project and have used it ever since. It is not something you will find in a store and the fact you have had a part in restoring it and adding to it is becomes a special piece.

SGD - DJCAD project 2nd Year

Deconstruct-Reconstruct Project SGD

If upcycling or finding a unique pre owned/loved item then you should put a date in your diary to come along to the World’s Smallest Street Market in Dundee, Johnston’s Lane (behind the Globe Bar) where Spex Pistols premises is. Lots of interesting items for sale, that you won’t find in any shops.

Via Spex Pistols - Street Market Campaign


June Round up

June Round up - all images SGD

Month in the life of Sooz Gordon Designs:

  • Brooke Bond Tea 1930′s enamel sign, what a find in a local skip.  Thankfully I didn’t need to fish it out or spend hours fixing it to my kitchen wall.  This image doesn’t give a true size it is nearly as big as me. I love old signage, and we have had some good finds of late from skips. So long may it continue.
  • Loading up the plants at Turriff’s, we had a good stint of sunshine in June so off to the garden centre we went one Sunday morning and had a lovely black pudding and egg roll at Jessie’s Kitchen before we got planting.
  • Spex Pistols, I am going to be helping Richard out in his shop a bit more. Just in time as we are in process of planning something special in the month of July. See further down.
  • As part of my job at Angus Council as an Arts Facilitator, I devise and delivery various arts based projects in schools. This image is the results of a healthy eating themed workshop. I was keen to incorporate my background in Interior design, so I asked the pupils to design their own wallpaper with simple fruit and vegetable relief prints.  I can honestly say some of them could have been commissioned as a wallpaper design.
  • Cushion commission, really enjoyed making this one-off design.  I used a lovely bright pink wool and the owner is very happy. June was the month that my cushions ranges were stocked by Lovely Things in Dundee and Jessie’s Kitchen in Broughty Ferry.
  • First time using a laser cutting machine and loved what it can do.  These are some of the materials being used in the Design Drop in workshops, part of V&A Dundee’s first community engagement project “Living Room for the City” you can see more on the blog post via the link.
  • Keep Sunday 20th July free as the Worlds Smallest Street Market will be taking place on Johnston’s Lane home to Spex Pistols (for more information follow the link above) really looking forward to this event that has been a great collaboration of creative minds.  Look forward to seeing you there. See Spex Pistols Facebook for more details during the lead up to the event.


Interior travels

For the lucky people who are going on holiday in the summer, thinking about a room in your house is most probably the last thing on your mind.  However I am always inspired by a trip away, I love experiencing different cultures, trying new foods, people watching and being inspired creatively by their surroundings both outside and inside.

I always plan to buy something that I can bring back to display in my flat, as a reminder of my trip but it is also a great way of adding personality and individuality to your space. This can be anything from local craftsmanship, a new artist or designer’s work you have discovered or my guilty pleasure (however only a little of) mass-produced souvenirs, like my little yellow NYC taxi car pictured below. It keeps your home light-hearted when you have some cheap and cheerful objects.

JC Photography - Yellow cab

Julie Christie Photography

Really whatever appeals to you, my mum used to buy terracotta serving wear when we went to Spain. She still uses them and I have never seen anything like it here. Food always looks brilliant when served in the glazed terracotta dishes. Home for me is about being surrounded by personal, meaningful objects. I am drawn to pieces that have character and have an interesting narrative.

By widening your focus, you will develop your style further, don’t just be inspired by the same catalogues or shops and embrace new ideas. Record what you like by taking a picture or jotting down anything names of shops, brands or hotels you have seen. You will be able to look them up online when return if you don’t want to spend all your holiday indoors!  The images below give you an idea how a picture from a holiday can then go on to inspire an interior by using the colours, textures, materials etc.  Particularly the balance of colour. In the left hand image the dominate colour is the green, the accents are the grey, white and red. Play around with tones of one colour, the vintage leather chair is a different green but still works really well. Pattern is important the floor just lifts this room. However you might do it the opposite way and have pattern on the walls and a plain floor? There is no right way, it is up to you how you execute it, but always refer back to the original source that inspired and you can’t go wrong. Happy Holidays!

030111_homepage_05 - anthropologie marc Elle Decoration - draga obradovic house 2

Escape Outdoors

We have been having some great weather of late and I am sure once you have finished work or at the weekend you have been trying as much as possible to escape outdoors and get some well needed rays.  I have been doing a bit of work outside, nothing major, just planting some things and painting sheds and pulling out the never-ending weeds. Now its time to turn my attention to furnishing the space, which I am enjoying sourcing.

Like any interior project, you need to figure out your style and also work out your budget as this will dictate what you can and want to buy. I would absolutely love to have an outdoor kitchen, not the ridiculous industrial kitchens you see in American homes. But somewhere that has a bench with some storage, a place to barbeque and grow some herbs.  I am not in a position to do this anytime soon, but hopefully one day I will be posting an image of my outdoor kitchen area, similar to the images below.


I love layering plants of different green colours like below, climbing the walls, in various pots and sizes and positioned at various heights so your eyes can’t take it all in with one glance.  The over sized white pots are also really nice and not the obvious plant pots you see by the millions. This is achievable and something that you can add to every year to get this layered look.  If you go for plants like boxwoods and ivy they look good all year round. As you can probably tell I am not a gardener hence my limited knowledge of plants!

. lizmarieblog.com decor8blog.com

Next thing on my garden wish list is an outdoor fireplace, I really like the work of Californian design collective Commune Design  and thought this would be a good image to show you. When you search for outdoor fireplaces you will see some over the top examples that would take up most of your garden, I like the simple styles that are not screaming for attention.  It is a bit minimal for me and would need to add more plants, pots and furniture into this space, however do like the bench seating area and envious of their established plants. Lots of good textures and natural materials in play here.

Via Commune Design - silver lade

One of the realistic items on my list is to get a table for the garden, if you have a place to eat, read or do some work (hmm that’s doubtful) you are more likely to sit outside as long as the weather allows! Doesn’t matter how big or small your garden is there is no shortage of styles and sizes.  I am not a plastic garden furniture type, so I am thinking of going to my local recycling centre and picking up a wooden table that I can paint. Something quite chunky and interesting shape of legs. I like the table on the right below, it has a lovely aged look so don’t have to worry about leaving it out all year round. Go for bench seating so you can fit more people and ideal for storing under the table when not in use.  When not using in the winter it is a place to put pots of plants like the image further up with the green metal chairs.

thisisbrickandmortar.com deardesigner - via style files

Lighting is another important addition to any garden space. I would seriously like some festoon lights, in the left hand image above. I have a thing for exposed lamps and seriously need to speak to my electrician about how I can make this happen. Failing that I have lots of lanterns, that are a good buy as you can also use them indoors. In meantime I will get some solar lights, as you have probably guessed I am fussy when it comes to solar lights. Particularly those that come in animal shapes, where the eyes light up.  I am laughing thinking about these, maybe it is me being ridiculous, but just can’t understand why you would want them? Up to you at the end of the day, and it would be boring if we all like the same thing.  I absolutely love the image below, love the dark colours, with the accent of green. The string lights are a lovely canopy of subtle light and the vintage furniture is fantastic.

Via Apartment therapy LED string lights

If you just saw the headings: Lighting, fireplace, table and kitchen you wouldn’t think I was talking about an outdoor space. Treat your garden as you would any other room in your house. It needs texture, pattern and colour and in order to get the most out of your garden you need to design and furnish it in a way that suits your life and style. I admit my wish list wouldn’t be others, this post is not for you to do the same it is to get you thinking about what you would like to escape to. Maybe it is a summer house, maybe it is tending to a vegetable patch or maybe its somewhere for others to escape to so you get some peace, like a tree house?  If you are daunted, then collect images of what you like, search the internet for furniture that will both work inside and out, it means you don’t have to buy two lots. Collate everything and work out what you can purchase this year and build it up to eventually have the garden you always wanted.  In the mean time, I am sure we would all be happy sitting on the grass or ground if it meant we had guaranteed sun this summer!









May Round Up

Month in the life of Sooz Gordon Designs:

  • Article in the Sunday Herald Magazine – “Gallery of Modern Life” – Project I worked on with VandADundee, as part of the first community engagement project “Living Room for the City” which showcased 5 living rooms in Dundee that give you an insight into our everyday life and how we use our living rooms.
  • Launch of my home ware designs. I  saw a gap in the ‘home ware’ market to produce designs that celebrated the rich history and accomplishments of my home city – Dundee. I wanted to produce designs that are timeless and embrace the fabric of a city, but have a modern vernacular. It is important to me to design a product that is functional but doesn’t take itself too seriously. I was conscious that my designs were not just adding to the fodder but creating a range that has an interesting and new narrative.
  • I have wanted a piece of jewellery from local designer Jane Gowans for sometime and I also love the work of Johanna Basford. So was excited to learn of their collaboration on a limited edition JG mini. So I was one of the lucky people to receive the beautifully packaged pieces.
  • Shed Shades, a great campaign by Spex Pistols (Dundee optical boutique) to support the local football team Dundee United who were in the Scottish cup final. The tangerine sunglasses were a hit with both the team and supporters.  The advertising by Spex Pistols is worth a look if visit their Facebook page.
  • Peony roses, one of my favourites picked one from my garden last weekend and put in my new purchase a vintage milk bottle from Errol car boot.  First time I have been to Errol, and it was an interesting experience. A lot of the stalls, if you could call stuff emptied on the ground a stall display? However, if can be bothered to have a rake we found some great finds.
  • One of my cats Johnny Cash, basking in the sun. a lovely sunny sunday pottering in the flat. catching up with my blog, watching old movies and preparing a sunday feast. Love a sunday.
  • Pop up Prosseco bar with Aitken Wines. I was invited to come up with the styling of this event. It was great project and everyone enjoyed the event as it was something different. It was a great challenge to create something special for just one night, as always budget was limited and it needed to be installed and dismantled easily.
  • Annual Degree show at Duncan of Jordanstone, I really enjoyed my experience exhibiting the year I graduated (back in 2009.) I have been going since I was at high school so it is always a highlight for me to go along and see the fantastic work produced by this years graduates. I am always inspired and impressed by the level of work.

Attention to detail

I really enjoy styling events and was lucky enough to be asked to style a pop-up prosecco bar for  local company Aitken Wines an independent wine specialist who are celebrating 140 years in the business.  It is definitely a challenge to create something special for just one night, as always budget was limited and it needed to be installed and dismantled easily. So hand-made paper decorations was the way to go.


Some pictures below from the night: The venue was the original site of Aitken Wines and seeing as it was established in 1874 I like the idea of giving a nod to their heritage and using vintage items like the push bike, brown paper bunting, string, candles, luggage tags and hand written signs.

Aitkens table decorations Aitkens straws Aitken bicycle aitkens menu board

Granted it was a lot of work for one night and I wouldn’t expect everyone to go to that level of detail for a party you are throwing in your house. But if you are like me do you spend ages thinking what you are going to wear and also what food and drink you are going to offer when hosting a party? So I would say it is worth the effort to pay equal attention to how you style your home, as it will create an instant atmosphere.  Believe me friends, family and work colleagues will appreciate the effort and it is guaranteed to make for a more memorable party.  It doesn’t need to cost the earth either and best thing is you can reuse any decorations you buy or make for all your parties.  It will become your signature style!

It could be as simple as putting out flowers, layering candles, using nice glasses and serving food on interesting platters. Don’t get me wrong I love a cheese and pickle hedgehog as much as the next person but think out the box when serving food and drink.  I have some easy ideas to replicate below:

cheese board fruit ice cubes glass  bottles - ikea Bar table

Serve food on large wooden platters, no matter what food it looks good and keeps a relaxed feel to your party, just put out cocktail sticks and napkins. No need to use plates or even worse spend the next day washing them.  Add fruit or herbs to your ice-cube trays, such a nice touch when serving a drink, it can work in any season so use what is available.  To save making individual drinks decant wine or cocktails into glass bottles, you can add labels to them to allow folk to help themselves. Again it is just another simple detail, but looks great.  I have loads of these bottles and use them all the time. They are from reliable Ikea. One of my favourite things to do when having people round is to set up a bar table or trolley. It has all manner of drinks, mixers, glasses, bottle openers and so on. Remember to add some flowers or if you have any interesting bar ware put it on display.

Remember to think about the senses no matter what style or themed party you are having not all about the visual. Smell and sound are very important so use fresh herbs or light scented candles (be carefully not to use cheap scented candles as they will give everyone a headache, sorry I am a candle snob!) or forget about scented candles if you are making food that smells great and get making up a playlist.  That way you can just enjoy the evening as everything is taken care of.

I am now in the mood of having a party, I am away to see when everyone is free.