Pretty in Pink

I am not a huge wearer of pink clothing, and as a result it is not a colour I would generally consider when it comes to interiors. I seem to have a made a decision about pink and I have stuck to it, rather than finding a shade that would work for me. I like to use strong colours so pastels I avoid at all costs and when I think of pink I automatically think of pastel pink or sorbet type colours.  I have a few images below that show a few different pink colours and ways to use them in large doses or just as feature colour. I love the confidence of the image on the left hand side, all the walls, and architectural details like the cornice, skirtings and the ceiling rose have been painted the same pink colour. It is teamed with green and wood which looks great. I am definitely a fan of painting the walls, and architectural details the same colour. Although this colour of pink is a bit much for me, I still like it a lot.  The next image has toned down the pink by using lots of neutrals and as a result the sofa takes centre stage it is the first thing that pops out at you.  You might think having a pink sofa would be restricting but so far it works with green, neutrals, monochrome and as you will see from next couple of images works well with moodier colours like grey and black.

 

Via Earnest.tumbler.com via athougtfuleye.wordpress.com

I do favour the dusky pink colours that you see in the following two images and it looks great with the black and they grey back drop.  Would you have thought about using pink in a kitchen?No, neither had I, but I would now.

Via New Paris Style:Florence Baudoux home photo by Richard PowersIMG_1029

It is this idea of taking risks, that interior design is all about. Otherwise you will not get a room or house that makes your heart skip a beat. You want to walk into a room in your home and feel proud of what you have done.  It does take practice to get the confidence to do it but that is something you can learn.  We are all different and certain colours or designs will appeal more than others. I am not saying you should have a pink kitchen or a pink sofa, it is more to encourage you to seek out a colour that you connect with and also not to dismiss a certain colour as it might be you just don’t like one particular shade.  Its your home at the end of the day no one else’s, do you want to have the same colour scheme as your neighbour or what an interior magazines says you should have? I am hoping the answer is no, colour is the easiest way to transform a room, but sometimes it can be the hardest thing to figure out what colour to do it.   You can take it in stages, maybe you buy an ornament or a piece of furniture in the colour you like first and then maybe paint a wall, and then progress to another wall and so on. Absolutely nothing wrong with taking it in stages, but remember if you do paint all the walls and decide it is not for you, all you have to do is paint it back or change the colour.  We always learn from the mistakes and believe me taking a risk always pays off. via Living etc

Gilt Trip

I have been indulging myself looking the collections from NYFW fall collections and getting ideas for interiors. Diane Von Furstenberg has lots of gold details in her collection.  Gold or any metallic finishes are great for any room to add a glamorous touch.  I especially love brass with grey it is a classic look and makes a welcome change from all the chrome you see in abundance. I have mentioned before to reference fashion for colour ideas and also finishes. Fashion houses will combine various materials like wool, leather, lace, metal, cotton, velvet etc. They are all materials you will use in your home. So take inspiration, it is a go to source for me. You don’t often see people opting for brass finishes, but then if you do happen to have any brass taps or door handles, they will probably won’t be the type you want to keep. The brass taps and waste in the image below are lovely, and look great against the grey marble tiles. gold brass via habituallychic

Brass furniture is not the easiest item to source and it will tend to be more expensive. However please don’t let that put you off. The round brass coffee table below is a great example the size of the piece suits the size of the room and the round shape is a great addition to counterbalance all the square and rectangular shapes in the room. Again this homeowner has cleverly used lots of grey in their lounge, through mixing different materials. Wood, glass, metal, wool, velvet etc if using lots of grey remember to mix the tones (light and dark.) The beauty of metallic finishes they work well in both modern and traditional contexts. Add a lovely reflective quality, and look good with any wall colour dark or light. Jackie-Astier-family-room-2_001

Few products below I have had on file for a while that are mostly brass (the console table would be classed as bronze) Lassco, Graham & Green, Rocket St George, John Lewis are all high street companies that are offering lots of brass options for your home. If on a limited budget lighting or accessories would be the cheapest way of adding brass to a room. Image

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.

. SOURCE ?

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.

IMG_4118

Upcycling

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!

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