Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Beauty of Patina

The weather is a changing.  Morning mist greeted us as we drew the curtains to let the daylight in and the foghorns were blaring their welcome across the bay. 

I often post photos of inspirational restaurants or bars that I come across with interesting interior spaces. Sandwiched between a dodgy and a trendy area, we came across this Tavern/bar which looked much like any other bar on the inside, fairly old wooden furnishings, tiled walls and the faint smell of beer which seems to have permeated the wood, but then I looked towards the outside space and was immediately drawn to it. As soon as I opened the door, I saw it and fell in love with it and wanted one just like it!   The Tavern was built in 1859 and sits in a conservation area.

It was way too early for it to be filled with customers, somewhere between breakfast and lunch, the skies grey and heavy, a dull looking Saturday morning weather wise.  Just as well because if it had been busy I wouldn't have entered and never found this lovely courtyard at the back.

It took six years for the weather to turn this once fairly new looking piano into something rather like a work of art and how beautiful it has turned out.  Unfortunately the manager told me this has to be removed as it poses a health and safety risk ...it won't take much leaning on to get it all to tumble into pieces on the ground!  I'm so sad it going, I thought I might want to take it, but it's so fragile it can't even be moved.  One consolation is the owner's getting a 'new' second hand one to replace it!

So this post is all about patina, the shedding of the 'newness' and allowing the weather and the wear and tear of life to age your pieces of furniture giving it a uniqueness and character that you just can't find with new pieces of furniture or plastic garden chairs.

(photos all mine, please do not use without asking permission)

Hope you're enjoying the week!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Finding your style

I hope you've all had a wonderful summer!
 Autumn is nearly here.  It's rainy and misty outside.  My kind of weather.  I've already started to light candles in the evenings.  I love the shadows they cast and the subtle light.

A wonderful friend I've known since we were both 14 years old, is planning on moving from England to France.  What an adventure!  The minute she told me, my mind was racing with ideas for furniture, fabric finishes and light fittings and a desire to hop on the ferry and go furniture shopping at French antique fairs!

The way we live in England is entirely different to the way people live in France.  Not only is the language different, but the furnishings are different too.  What works in a home in the UK, will not necessary work in a home in France.  There are so many factors to consider.   Where do you start?

How do you determine what your style is, how do you create a space that feels 'you'?  For individuals who instinctively know what works together, this is an easy question to answer, but for people who aren't creative in this way, it's hard to know where to begin.  

The idea of decorating an entire home can be daunting for anyone, and apart from buying a pile of decorating books, I've listed a few things to bear in mind when you're moving home and want to decorate a new space.

A budget is something that most people have to work with, so I'm going to skip this bit and get on with the interesting parts...

If you have a partner/husband, is he happy to let you have free reign on decorating your space or does he want to stamp his style on your home as well?  It's important you both feel the space reflects who you are as individuals but putting mid century modern together with shabby chic is a recipe for a decorating disaster!

Collect a visual diary of photographs or magazine clippings of furniture, fabric, colours, interiors that you like. Usually we are drawn instinctively to styles which resonate with our soul, which is why our interior styles are so different and so deeply personal.

You might visit a quaint bistro and immediately 'love it'.  Think about what it is that you like about the space.  Is it the furniture, the lighting, the wall colour, what is it about the space that makes your heart skip a beat?

Take photos of what you love so you can go back and look at them in more detail.

Gradually you'll find when paging through your visual diary, that there is a common thread among the things that you love.

Are you a neat freak or more casual about putting things away, having enough storage is essential.  

Start collecting fabric samples, paint swatches,  samples of wall finishes, floor tiles, all the elements that make up a home, but if  all that sounds like too much work, just snap a photo or two and save in it in your inspiration folder.

Once you've sorted the loves from the likes, you'll start to get a sense of what style you are working towards.  It's not about following trends, it's about creating a space that is as individual as your finger print but where all the elements really do sit well together.  If you're not confident in adding a surprise element to your interior space then don't.  More importantly it's about settling on a style that you are both comfortable with, after all you have to live in it!

You can't rush decorating a home.  It needs to evolve.  Sometimes you just know when a piece of furniture will work and you can buy it immediately, other times you have to wait until the right piece comes along.    A  well thought out space can be choreographed without being uptight and too pretentious.   A great space is one where everything looks like it belongs there, it's inviting you to sit down and never leave...

an ethnic vibe with pieces that work

elegant browns 

dark and sultry

 quiet and restrained palette

Once you've got the bones right, you need to accessorize and that's the fun part.  Add books, lamps, candles, throws, cushions, flowers, art work and interesting pieces collected on your travels.

Soon you'll have a space that's uniquely you, layered with personality and inviting everyone to stay...

Have a great week!