I hope that even in the midst of December rush you can find an afternoon off to spend with someone you love - your children, your lover, your friends. Let's do some cooking together - it is not only useful and necessary at this time of the year, but it can be fun, too. Try out a new recepie - or you can stick to the old and loved ones, and who said Christmas cookies can not be eaten BEFORE Christmas?
Winter is coming and I am a GoT fan. So when winter comes, what could be better than wrapping yourself in a gorgeous knit blanket, with nice hot tea in your hands and running a Game of Thrones marathon?
I collected some lovely knit designs for a lovely Sunday afternoon spent in. Even lampshades and mugs are available to complete the look, so let's get cozy then!
There are colour combinations that are easy to work with. The orange and purple combo is not one of them.
So I thought this unusual combination (a combination not exactly easy on the eye) deserves an extravagant setting. I made sure that purple is the main colour, its slightly toned down shade forming striking contrast with the vibrant orange on accent furniture. I also added black - shiny black on a slim chair. I felt that furhter contrast is needed, so to counterbalance the glam, a cowhide rug and a wooden table found its way to the moodboard.
I agree that it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I just can not think of a better styling for such a dominant colour combination.
I am not referring to that bittersweet movie, I just want to add a bit of sparkle to this freezing month. If you want to dress your home for the festive season, do not forget your bedroom! Should you have a colour scheme based on cool hues, you can always try playing with shiny materials and gold. It works well with walnut furniture seen in this moodboard.
Winter is coming. (If you are a GoT-fan, now you are smiling. If you do not even what GoT is for, then Google it. And start watching.) November is that month before Christmas that used to be cold, grey and boring. Now these days when Christmas season begins at the end of October (it should not, if you ask me), November is just another Christmas month. (Even writing it down seems so ridicoulous and wrong.) Why can not we enjoy November for what it is? The last month of Autumn, with cold rain and humidity, against which we can stay in, watch GoT, eat chocolate while watching GoT, make hot chocolate and cookie baking evening with your friends, all the while having that snug feeling that you are safe and cozy. Christmas rush is just around the corner, we need these calm moments. So let's enjoy it!
So here it is, a nursery moodboard for a little boy, with light grey and baby blue accessories counterbalanced with warmer beige hues. A hint of black gives more definition to the room and also makes it a bit Scandinavian.
The cute little animal figurines with big heads are by H&M and I just bought for the baby. I could not resist their cuteness.
Now that one of my best friends is expecting a baby, it is time to think about decorating a nursery.
What basic furniture do you need?
- crib with mattress (and think about mattress protection!)
- night light (for everyone's sake)
- super-comfy armchair, probably recliner or a rocking chair
- side table
- changing table with storage, and also probably shelves
- trash bin
Make sure these are easy to clean!
The children's room is the fastest changing room in the household, so it is okay not to spend too much on it. Second-hand furniture (if not broken but clean and well kept) will do. Of course you want the best for the newcomer, but spend your money wisely. In two years time you will redecorate the whole room. Sometimes all you need is some decor and a new coat of paint to give old furniture new look.
In my friend's home the walls are taupe and the floor is dark. To make it lighter and brighter, I used light greys with beige and white tones here. With soft features it is ready to welcome a little princess.
Next week we will know if the newcomer is a girl or a boy. Can't wait.
It inevitably happens - the temperature drops so that in the morning all you want is to lie under your duvet five minutes more, enjoying its warmth, prolonging the moment when you have to get up, put your feet on the cold floor and face another day. These are the mornings when waking up just does not feel right. Even coffee does not feel like a good idea.
Finally, you put your robe on, keep looking for your slippers, then go to the kitchen to make hot tea and some toast with butter and jam. Then you really have to go if you do want to be late.
So there you are in the morning rush again, facing a new day, the morning calm moments fading into a distant memory...
November is such a transition period. It is not too cold, but the colourfulness of the season is long gone. It is all about bare trees, brown leaves scattered on the grass, grey clouds and rain. The nature is ready for blankets of snow.
This month inspired to make this rustic and scandinavian moodboard. Icy blues counterbalanced by creamy colours, a bit of black and lots of natural wood bring back the colours outside.
This is the time when you are more willing to stay in, watching movies and drinking hot cocoa excessively. It is not festive season yet, so it is one way to survive this gloomy month. If you have other ideas, do share them with me. :)
It is Halloween again, and if it is Halloween, it is party time! If you like Victorian style and wearing black, this is your season. You don't have to own a crumbling maison, with a bit of work and some accessories you can turn your home into a place that Count Dracula would be envious of.
Method no. 1.:
- close all your shutters and stop cleaning in mid-March. Period.
Method no. 2.:
- try those party supplies that are available in the shops. It is also easy to create some of them if you are a DIY enthusiast.
If you chose method no. 2., here is a guide for you:
Halloween decor design elements:
- pumpkins - either in lantern form or as painted/decorated version
- repelling animals like bats, spiders, insects
- fantastic creatures: vampires, Dracula, ghosts, zombies, witches and their accessories (black cat, hat, broom, magic ball)
- dead branches (preferably black, you can hang things on them) or flowers (I skipped them in this moodboard) and anything related to dead things: skeletons, skulls, bones, coffins, zombie bodyparts, tombes
- cobwebs with or without spiders
- candleholders, candles and lights
- moon and stars to provide background against the shadow of bats/witches
- you can add garlands, lanterns, 'dark' animals like rats, owls or crows
- velvety black
- ghostly white
- pumpkin yellow
- shadowy grey
- magical green or purple
- gold or silver if you are extra posh
I chose a composition based on bats, pumpkins and cobwebs, creating a somewhat spooky but elegant decor set, but next year I could center the decor around something else. Using all possible elements is not really my cup of tea, I would direct the decoration towards a certain theme, this way you can keep an elegant vibe (if it is your intention).
This year I was inspired by nature, hence came the pumpkin - branches - bats and cobwebs combo. I picked the Philippe Starck Ghost chairs - the orange colour and the name comes handy, the chair itself is elegant. Using pumpkins in painted version is also a stylish feature, and you can do it at home.
It is still not too late! (But almost.) You can still organize a fantastic picnic outdoors that you can take cool photos of. Autumn is a beautiful and colourful season even without filters, so call your friends, this weekend might be your last opportunity.
What you need:
- tartan plaids (no, other patterns are NOT okay)
- an extra blanket to wrap yourself in just in case it gets cold (make sure it is colour co-ordinated)
- picnic basket (you have the freedom of choice on this one, but make it a wicker basket, please)
- thermoses (red and dark blue are allowed colours. Tartan pattern is always a bonus)
- emamel mugs that look like tin mugs (it provides you the credibility of a camper, even if you got as far as your back garden)
- small jars with lid, because they are so cool (tip: you can store food or cutlery in them)
- cutting boards - if you are extra stylish, get one with the look of sliced wood (should you buy them in a shop, they are adequately treated with finish. Should you slice up a log on your own, you might end up with an arista in your tongue)
- napkins and flatware. In fact, you can bundle silverware in cloth napkins
- bin bag for trash and leftovers (as you do not want to throw anything away)
- tweezers (for the aristas in your tongue. I told you to try the shop.)
Autumn food ideas:
- sandwiches (so obvious, really)
- apples or pears
- pies - you can try small ones, they are easier to carry
- salad in jar
- extra tip: place soft items on top!
- cider (you can wrap bottles in blankets)
- hot cocoa
- hot tea
- maybe some wine
- extra tip: label up jars and bottles (it looks good and you might forget what you actually brought)
- bears and other dangerous wild animals (if you got out of the city)
- scary neighbours (if you got as far as your back garden)
- being too noisy (because you will wake up bears, other dangerous wild animals and scary neighbours)
- drinking too much alcohol (you do not want to get drunk, get lost in the wood, and wake up bears, others dangerous wild animals and scary neighbours... wait a sec... what are the scary neighbours doing in the woods??)
- respect nature
- play games with friends
- enjoy a day out in crisp air
- collect beautiful leaves
- bring the charger for your phone (I mean, really)
- bring extra leaves, pumpkins, mushrooms to take cool Instagram photo
- hang on to your phone all the time
- take selfies with bears, other dangerous animals and scary neighbours
- take this post too seriously :)
Somewhere I read that if you are lucky enough to get an invitation into a Danish home, you will find that it has been most likely designed by a famous interior decorator. And if you visit the home of another Dane, you will find that they also hired the same designer. And if you visit further Danish homes, you will find that there is only one interior decorator working in the whole country.
Well, it might be a bit cruel joke, but it shows that Danish interior design has its distinctive fingerprint and compatriots of H. C. Andersen have good sense for decorating.
Danish design has gained fame in the 1950s (see my post about Arne Jacobsen, one of the most famous designers in the world), and Scandinavian design, let it be the cheaper or more exclusive part, is a style sought after anywhere in the world.
I have always thought that a typical Danish interior is more urban, more streamlined and less rustic than a Swedish one. However, many houses have low ceilings, that I find overwhelmingly depressing, especially when they do not get a white coat but show their natural wooden colour.
The key design elements are:
- white walls to make the interior light and airy
- light oak or even white floor
- some small black accents are welcome
- oak is the most popular type of wood: check out this wonderful coffee table (also comes in side table version) - so typically Nordic
- colourwise black, white and shades of grey are used, sometimes with a pastel accent or a bright colour
- mixing vintage items with modern ones is common (by vintage I also mean an iconic piece from the 1950s)
- there are so many famous Danish designers and brands, an authentic Danish home is not complete without their work
- there has to be at least one chair by Charles Eames. I am sorry, you can not skip this one.
- designer lamps! Make sure you get one, there are so many to chose from. Most of these lamps have a retro touch, which seems to be a feature of Danish homes.
- remember, less is more. (Mies van der Rohe said this. Maybe he was also Danish by heart.)
There is nothing quite like a fall day. I spent the afternoon outside, collecting leaves and walnuts, chasing the cat around the garden (and also chasing the neighbour's cat who was also chasing my cat) so I can say business as usual.
By the time I finished collecting and chasing, the garden looked like as if no work had been done there - the tree is big, has too many leaves and drops one every ten seconds, so I can start again tomorrow. Yeah, this is autumn for you.
The air cools down quickly, so after a day like this I could really do with a blanket and a cup of nice tea warming me up. Luckily the cat has also calmed down, and curled up in my lap.
Don't let the photo of Carrie mislead you. This moodboard does not have much to do with her, but I liked the colours, and I was inspired that scene I remembered, when the camera shows Carrie from the outside, sitting at her desk, as if the TV-watchers were peeking into her room from the street.
I was thinking about a mature, delicate and feminine home office. A classic but light environment for someone who has settled down and knows what she wants. The colours used are creamy and soft, baby blue mixed with rich dark wood and dark beige. The furniture design is kept simple, because the wallpaper has a vivid flowery pattern.
The overall effect is calm and soothing for a woman who wants to escape a bustling city life.
I can really feel autumn now. Not only did the temperature dropped low enough to make me shiver in the morning, but the leaves are turning yellow very quickly. Even if it is not raining, when it is so humid and cold like today, it feels so much better to be inside, with a lovely cup of tea and a good book. Normally I am a coffee person, but in cold seasons a cup of tea - with honey, cinnamon and spices - just feels so right. Especially when it is accompanied by some biscuits. Mmmm...
New York has been my big inspiration for a while - I am sure I am not the only one with this. If I had to pick one season, fall would be the time to visit this city. I want to see the stylish Brooklyn brownstones, feel the vibe of the buzzing Manhattan and take a walk in the leafy Central Park. Many films and series picked the Big Apple as their shooting location, I can hardly tell my favourite, but there is one I loved last year, and it was The Intern.
The movie made me drooling for brick walls, subway tiles and the eclectic chic of industrial and classy. Production designer Kristi Zea did a stellar job on the sets of the film, but instead of the movie's cool colours I was inspired by a warm palette here just to keep the autumn theme. The moss green sofa is in nice contrast with the burnt orange and rust colours of the rug and the brick wall. For a bit of sparkle I added a lamp in warm copper tone. The dark shades in the paining bring back the dark colour of the vase and the plaid; I could also place an old fashioned black cabinet with glass inserts somewhere in the room.
Autumn means back to school to students. Below you can find a moodboard about how to style a dorm room. I would say it is an unisex style, the black goes well with the bright colours, that are youthful, but gender-neutral. It is a practical and more mature environment, with a bit of colour to make it cheerful.
For a dorm room - depending on the space you have got - furniture with function and storage come handy. Colourful box shelves provide space to your things (you can put thing on and inside), and the desk is especially good, with open-up storage and integrated sound system.
I would definitely recommend even a small pin-up board to put memos and photos on.
John Lennon would be 76 years old today. I have always wanted to make a 60s and Beatles inspired music corner and eventually got round to finishing it today. Although I think music corner generally refers to a place with music instruments, I envisaged a Beatles fan's own place in the house, where he keeps his vinyl collection and other Beatles merchandise. This is also the place where he retreats to unwind after a long day.
Mid-century music boxes and sideboards have always fascianted me, so that was the starting point for this moodboard. As these are low cabinets, there is huge wallspace above them offering many possibilities to decorate. I chose a Beatles poster and a light coloured retro wallpaper. If the wallpaper had brighter colours, I would not use this poster, but the colour palette is very muted and balanced, so it looks good. Notice how the lampshade brings back the wallpaper motif, and also the square shape of the photos appears on the sideboard.
Yellow ochre is a great retro colour, that is why the modern armchair matches the environment. The yellow vase and retro bowl bring back the colour of the chair, and also provide and accent hue. The overall colour scheme would not look out of context in a Scandinavian setting, but the patterns bring it back to mid-century. Even the fan ceiling light is atomic age inspired, too.
I included a briefcase-style record player, because vinyl is back, too!
This spring I was not happy about H&M's home collection (see my post here), but now the brand really suprised me. I am not sure if it was their intention, but some of their items can find their way to an Art Deco style home very easily. I never thought about such a pairing - H&M Home and Art Deco -, and maybe the brains behind this collection also did not, but just take a look at this moodboard. With the exception of the table - see retailer here - the rest of the items are by H&M Home, and make a perfectly modern, stylish Art Deco set. Combine them with black, white, marble and shiny brass.
Fall is the ultimate apple season. Only good things come from this fruit: pies, drinks, cider. The latter is one of my favourite alcoholic drink, I prefer it way above beer, but never tasted it hot. Well, autumn seems to be a perfect occassion to try something new. The recepie is not mine, I found it here. All you need is cider, orange juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, spices, orange, and about 20 minutes to mix it and boil it. Interestingly, honey is not on the list, but adding some probably does not do any harm.
Mmm... I think I am in the spirit of an autumn picnic now.
Autumn arrived precisely on the second day of October. It started as the day before, blue sky with no clouds, the sunrays powerful enough to warm up his back while sitting alone on the porch.
Then, before the night fell, it started to rain. He listened to the raindrops on the window for two days, and when he saw the sun next, suddenly all the leaves on the trees turned into yellow. The air was crisp and cool, and he never went out anymore without a warm sweater. He did not leave his house much, though; he could not walk long before feeling pain in his knees, so preferred the comforting warmth of his den.
He's been owning a grandfather's chair in brown leather for decades. He remembered it now as he had seen in first, in the window of the furniture store, looking classy and inviting. The store assistant had told him it would develop patina over time, and made him promise to take care of the leather. 'Fine things last longer if you take care of them'- he had told him. He knew this, but was not sure if his children knew, too. They hardly visited him anymore, always referred to 'business' and 'hectic life'. His grandchildren were greatly missed, too. In the summer they came over often, but now he has not seen them for weeks. He could always see that picture, his little granddaughter hopping up the stairs, sporting yellow dress, two plaits and bright smile with missing tooth.
He let out a heavy sigh.
The leather armchair still looked fine, and he directed it so that he could easily look out of the window, and enjoy the sight of the golden leaves. His afternoon routine was simple: he put on the kettle for tea and placed a tin of biscuits on the side table. The table had a fabric pocket hanging underneath the top, making it a perfect place for his newspapers. A soft blanket lay in a woven basket on the other side of the chair, right in his reach, ready to warm his legs when the sun disappeared behind the houses. After finishing the papers he picked up a book. In the evenings he even lit up the fire in the fireplace, and read by the light of the pear-shaped table lamp.
Now he contemplated the sight on the other side of the window. The sun felt warm through the glass, making him sleepy. It was a quiet leafy street with almost no noise. Nothing to disturb his solitude.
It is National Coffee Day today, which means... a moodboard with coffee related gadgets and accessories. I think the chalkboard theme especially suits cafés and therefore kitchens, too. If I ever grow up and own my own kitchen, I will have a coffee bar at home. Until it happens, I just collect inspirational photos of coffee nooks and cabinets. Really.
As a child I have always loved the smell of coffee. I do not remember if I ever tasted it - probably yes, out of curiosity, and of course it was awful. It took me many years, until about eight years ago, when Monika my collegaue got me into the habit of drinking coffee with her. Later on buttered croissants joined the ritual, and today I am a huge fan of Arabica. Coffee time is 30 minutes of calm, when I recharge my batteries. If at home, I often read a book while having a latte, or do something I enjoy - browsing on Pinterest or working on this blog. But yesterday, for instance, I grabbed a takeaway POPCORN latte in my favourite café (check this link - it was accompined by real popcorn, too), and enjoyed a walk in the city - it was just so lovely: warm sunny afternoon, yellowing leaves, watching the autumn colours of the city. And popcorn latte was the weirdest thing I ever tasted.
I am really interested: what is coffee time for you?
Cream can be combined with red as well. Red and white could be a usual wedding colour, but using red leaves with or instead of red roses gives an autumn feel to the decor. It goes well with the colour of succulents!
The wedding fever is still on! If you want to add more shine and sparkle to the previously mentioned natural colour palette, just get some gold accessories. Gold spray will do, with the help of some gold paint you can cover everything: leaves, pumpkins, acorn, pine cone... combined with green, beige and brown it will be elegant and stylish.
I created a moodboard for my friend's wedding. She wants a fall colour palette, but I think it could also work with beige and creamy colours with a bit of brown. And succulents will be essential parts of the decor, so I included them. Pumpkins are availabe in white, leaves can be brown, so it still has an autumn feel, though it is not dominant.
As I mentioned earlier, a very good friend of mine is currently organizing her wedding. The party itself will be held in an old boathouse - white floors, dark wooden walls and beams. Moreover, the boathouse is located on the Danube bank. Perfect place for a rustic glamour wedding!
After the reception in the city the whole party is going to drive over to the boathouse. By that time it will be quite dark, and because the venue itself is dominated by dark wood, I figured that the main decoration could be the light itself - tealight holders, fairy lights, lanterns, candles.
It is fairly cheap if you rent light strings and the effect is great. We could wrap them around beams, coloumns, or hang them above the room, creating the illusion of starry night sky. In fact, anything can be wrapped in lights: pumpkins, boats, anchors, ladders, anything that has a bit interesting shape.
Wall marquee letter lights could be also used, though I think we will skip that one, so far I have not seen tasteful rentable ones in my country. It is a pity, as they are very decorative, just look at the 'Let's Dance' inscription below.
So yes, wedding fever is definitely on. I will continue this topic on Friday!
As I mentioned earlier, one of my best friends is getting married next month. As they are renting a boathouse for the occassion, we all gathered together yesterday to discuss decor for the place. I will post more about it later, but one of these decor elements can be used in your home, and comes especially handy in the autumn / winter period. Yes, this decor is the wood. It can look fantastic in minimalistic homes, as it gives a rustic touch and instant warmth to the interior. If your place is already rustic enough, make sure you add something else to make it less bare - this can be any textile, a plant or flowers, colour or another material. You can surely find something wooden for your home!
Minimalist interior style used to be something I could not love. There was a time - at least in my country - when minimalist interiors were so bare and streamlined that they lacked anything that makes a room inviting. They were like some Spartan spaces.
Later on I realised that minimal is not a bare interior stripped of every decor, but an elegant, big space that is decluttered and only showcases the pieces of furniture and art that matter. So minimalism had - and sometimes still has - a bad interperatation.
Key design elements:
- furniture: the number of pieces is kept to the minimum. Buy only the essentials that are actually needed for your comfort.
- storage: it is important, keep your things out of sight. However, the things that are visible attract the eye.
- carefully designed lighting: it has a big role in highlighting pieces.
- colours: they are toned down, with only one or two very carefully chosen accent colours
- materials: it can be anything: concrete, wood, stone. Let them show. The surfaces are clean, free of clutter. One rug and one or two paintings on the wall will do the trick.
In the moodboard above I chose a grey colour scheme with black and a bit of caramel. Some of the furniture has an interesting shape, they counterbalance the very simple sofa and chair. The few decorations are simple but elegant. The rug provides warmth againts the concrete walls.
Mid-Century Modern has definitely an autumn feel. The kind of autumn that is dry, sunny, and abounds in warm colours. This is the mood I wanted to capture in this moodboard, and some mid-century pieces came handy: the wallpaper already sets the mood, and the leaves with sticky backings can be attached to wall to form various combinations. With lots of brown tones this interior is welcoming and calm.
Yess, I got a wedding invitation yesterday. One of my best friends is getting married! I have no idea what present I will buy, but I will surely come up with something. It is a moment when I regret that in my country the wedding registry service is not really available. At least I have not heard about it from anyone I know.
A wedding is a perfect occassion to buy monogrammed things, let it be mugs, bath towels or robes, etc. A monogram gives the sense of ownership over something, it is a great idea to personalize practically anything. As there are so many decorative fonts, monogrammes and inscriptions or quotes can breathe new life into any plain surface.
Altough in my friend's case the proposal happened in another way (they went to play badminton), I had quite an idea for a proposal... The fiancé could ask his girlfirend to go shopping for household appliances, and the insider sale staff would be waiting for them with already arranged monogrammed mugs forming 'Marry Me' on the shelf...
Street food is back in its full glory. At least in Budapest, where I live. The former Jewish district, where once it was not too safe to walk even in broad daylight, has been now transformed into a party quarter. It is thronged with people anytime you come here. Seeing the the new life of this part of the city is very exciting. I remember how empty it was earlier, and now, espacially in the summer, I can see the tourists with maps, looking for the lastest gastropub, English guys on their way to a bachelor party (it is always fun to see guys dressed in white lace dress, sporting a blonde wig).
This phenomenon brought in the revival of sreet food bistros. Once hamburger meant cheap and low quality junk food - now it is a loved and sought after dish at pubs, made of high quality ingredients.
Commercial and restaurant design also saw a new wave of style. Most of the new pubs and clubs have a worn, mixmatched, industrial vibe now.
This vibe has inspired me to make this moodboard. The athmosphere I envisage is clearly insdustrial, the colours are mainly black and white with a bit of sun yellow. The interior is dominated by whitewashed (or black!) brick walls or coloumns, a huge wall decorated with letters (similar you can see on the placemat), and for fun the serving tubes could be in porcelain - indicating it is not some cheap food you can eat here. Just check the one in the left upper corner - it is porcelain, even though it is imitating the paper takeaway food containers. The serving stand for fries and ketchup is also a lovely item. For warmth I would suggest yellow shaded lamps, maybe (seat) cushions in sun yellow, and I added an arrow marquee light, too, they are so fun.
The overall look is sophisticated, but not posh, simple, but with exciting details.
It is still not too late! The weather is mild enough, so let's organize an ice cream party! Just imagine an ice cream bar where you can make your own favourite ice cream, choosing toppings, dressings, fruits and cones. Of course all the ingredients are organic, and as healthy as possible. This is not for children, but who says adults can not love ice cream parties?
This time I went for a more mature look. The design is revolving around stars, stripes and checked materials, all in colours red, cream and blue, with black as perfect foundation hue.
My favourite is the rug, the pattern of which can be often seen on ice cream cones. I am not sure where I would place it, but it goes so well with the overall design.
The last days of summer are always more precious. The days are growing shorter, the light changes, the summer sunset has the promise of a crisp autumn. There has always been something magical about the last days of August. I tried to capture my late summer feelings in this moodboard - in fact, the middle photo was my jumping off point for this board. It shows the light, the clouds, the sunset in the way I see them around this time. And why not enjoy the passing of summer with camping out?
After a colourful and a muted colour combo I wanted to create something in between. I figured gold and a hint of blue would make a sophisticated look with the dark green of the sofa. These colours look bright and classy, and the patterned rug perfectly ties them up.
However, I decided to give an exciting twist to the interior, so I mixmatched classic, modern and retro pieces to achieve an extravagant vibe.
I love the Bellamour chandelier by Currey & Company - the curved panels of antiqued mirror reflect the light, and replicate the shape of classic chandeliers. Together with the Calabash pendant by Lightyears company they fight for attention.
The Noguchi coffee table in black and the Eggchair in yellow leather by Arne Jacobsen are mid-century pieces, but became true classics. Notice how the Eggchair brings back the shape of the gold lamp. The cushions bring back the colours of the rug.
This styling is probably my favourite of the three, because of its light and breezy spring feel. Which one is your favourite, and why?
Yes, your guess was right, it is the Scandinavian style! I thought that after the last moodboard's vivid colours it is time to show something completely different.
Scandinavians love using white - lots of ligh-reflecting white - in their homes. It means white walls (if you want to add texture, whitewash your brick wall) and white floors (or very light oak or maple). With a background like this you can still go for colours, but this time I decided against it, making the forest green the only colour here.
I made sure that the furniture and accessories here are mostly from Nordic countires. The armchair in black leather is from BoConcept, just like the sofa. These universal pieces can find their way into most urban homes. The chair is especially my favourite, in spite of its thin shells, it is surprisingly comfortable, it supports my back very well.
The tables are from the Tablo series by Norman Copenhagen - they come in various sizes and colours, and are utterly Scandinavian. It is said assembling them is easy, and no screws are recquired.
The flower patterned cushions are by the Finnish brand Marimekko, the design itself comes from 1964, so if you thought it has some retro vibe, now you can be sure. The vase is the work of Alvar Aalto, another famous designer from Finland.
The pendant lamps are by Louis Poulsen - if you remember, in my post about Arne Jacobsen I mentioned this Danish lighting manufacturer. Both pendants were designed by Poul Henningsen, whom I am sure I will write about in the future. The floor lamp you can also remember from the very same post.
The overall look is Scandinavian, and just a bit feminine, because of the cushions - should you change them, you can have a more masculine interior.
I think I collected many big Scandinavian designers here. In the next moodboard I will have to come up with a new look. Keep an eye on this blog.
So we have a classic shaped sofa in dark green. In forest green, actually, but I thought it is dark and a bit sad, so this is how the idea came to use bright pinky colours paired with light, vivid lush greens. They definitely brighten up the sofa, but to avoid the mess I toned them down with neutrals - this way I also enhanced the two lead colours.
Please, note how the candleholder and the green lamp have similar features; also the green cushion and the green lamp (by Ciara O'Neill) have motifs on them. These are small things, but can tie the room together.
The armchair by Rémi Bouhaniche was inspired by the origami, and it seems super comfy. Depending on the colour it can look sophisticated or fun.
All these colorful, modern pieces could fit well into in a loft, with industrial features and brick walls, creating interesting contrast. The hues make it very feminine, too - gone is the dark sofa, this interior now oozes happiness!
In my next post on Friday I will show you another styling, one that is probably closer to what the Danish company envisaged for this colour. Can you guess this style?
Experience taught me that the new trend colour, green is not exactly easy to match other colours with. (Not bad. Go on.) Naturally, the least difficult way is to use this colour on accessories, but why could not you use it on bigger surface? Like, on a sofa? (Maybe, because it is so striking?)
Yes, this forest green is striking, it demands attention as it is just a big splash of colour. So, what can you do with it?
Next week I will show you three ways to accessorize this green monster. (That is, for the record, the Cenova sofa by BoConcept, in forest green Napoli fabric.)
One sofa and one colour - three styles and three colour combinations. The Green Sofa Project.
At nights he took his motorbike out of the garage, and through the empty, dimly lit streets, his bike took him out of town, where the stars shone brighter, the grass was tall and wild, and he was laying on the ground for hours, gazing happily up the starry sky.
A long time passed this way, and he thought this was how things were supposed to be.
Then came the moment when he finally found the one, the one he thought he would never meet; but settling down came with a price. She lived far in a big, noisy city where the street lights outshone the stars, the grass in the park was well-kept and cut short. She led a totally different life that included last minute meetings, presentations, rush hours and Starbucks takeaway lattes.
The choice had to be made.
He gave up his motorbike, bid farewell to the sleepy town and moved in with her. The first months were spent with decorating the new home, the top floor apartment in an older red brick building - the love nest as she called it.
Naturally she adored every moment of the renovation. He - well, he did not. What is so enjoyable in selecting cushions, discussing durable materials and harassing the carpenter with a new storage bench? And, by the way, he still could not make up his mind between green and brown. These natural colours reminded him of the tall grass outside of his birth town. After a mild row she bought furniture in both colours. He did not say a word. There was only one thing he insisted on: the Route 66 wall marquee. When she saw it, she just rolled her eyes with an indulgent smile. He did not notice, as he was too busy with hanging the string of light bulbs above the table.
Over the coming months he gradually settled in, found a job and new friends. The rooftop terrace was the center of laugh and fun when their friends came over for late night dinner. It was good.
But sometimes, in the middle of the night, when he could not sleep, he climbed out of the bed quietly and went upstairs, to the rooftop terrace.
There stood her gift - the telescope.
He could look at the stars anytime now, whenever he wanted, closer than ever. So he was laying on the bench for hours, gazing happily up to the starry sky.
Another favourite designer of mine: Arne Jacobsen, the Father of Danish Design. I love his works, so it is going to be a long post, albeit a very subjective one.
Arne Jacobsen was born in 1902 in Denmark, as the son of a trader and a bank clerk. Showing extraordinary talent for drawing, the young Arne first wanted to be a painter, yet chose to study architecture under pressure from his father. Eventually he attended The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he learned from the leading designers. As a student, he won a silver medal for a chair design at the Paris Art Deco Fair - later on it were his chair designs he was the best at. Also in Paris he became acquainted with the work of Le Corbusier, and later on in Germany, also with the work of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, pioneers of the Bauhaus style. His graduation project was inspired by these designers, and won him a gold medal. He won another competititon in 1929 - the House of the Future was a round building, had a boathouse and a helicopter pad.
A year later he set up his own office and later he became professor at the Academy. He married in 1927 and had two sons, however, the marriage did not prove to be successful.
I have to mention another architecture competition he won in the 1930s. On my first visit to Copenhagen I was not familiar with these buildings yet, but I immediately noticed their simple beauty when we passed them on the seashore. It consists of three units, located close to each other in Klampenborg, just north of Copenhagen. Klampenborg is easy to reach by the local train called S-Tog.
1) The seaside resort called Bellavista was completed by 1934, built in Bauhaus/International Modernist Style. The timeless, beautiful white complex overlooking the sea had 68 well-equipped apartments with open floor plan.
2) For the Bellevue Beach accross the road Jacobsen designed the lifeguard towers and the changing cabins - he went as far as designing the uniforms of the employees. I went there in October on my second visit (by then I knew why I had loved these buildings so much two years ago) and when I was just about to freeze to death, crazy Danes were having sunbath... in October, really.
3) A bit further up the road Strandvejen the Bellevue Theater can be found, the perfect example of Danish Functionalism. It was capable of open-air performances due to its retractable roof, in synch with how the whole project was mentioned as 'The dream of the modern lifestyle'.
In the neighbourhood, Skovshoved, closer to Copenhagen there is a filling station designed by Jacobsen, and it is still in use today. It is related to the Bellevue project, built in the same era.
During World War II. the Nazi racial law made assignments difficult to obtain for Jewish people. Although an unpracticing Jew, due to his background Jacobsen had to flee from Denmark in 1943. The Danish resistance helped the whole Danish Jewish community (including people like Nobel prize awarded phisycist Niels Bohr) to escape to the neighbouring country. He spent two years in Sweden, mostly designing fabrics and wallpapers.
Upon his retrun to his home country in 1945 he picked up architecture again, as Denmark was in urgent need of public and residental buildings. He designed both, including city halls (the 'Roman' clock above was designed for the Aarhus City Hall in 1942), banks, schools and home complexes - he moved into a house designed by himself. Some of these designs caused controversy and were not accepted at that time. Later on larger comissions found him even from abroad - like Germany, London and Pakistan.
His furniture were always created for other, mostly architectural projects. Since 1934 he collaborated with Fritz Hansen furniture company, and develpoed lamps with Louis Poulsen.
The famous Ant chair (in black above) was designed in 1952 for the canteen of the Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical factory but almost ended up a prototype, as the manufacturer Fritz Hansen was not convinced by its potential. This stackable chair got its name because it looks like as if an ant raised its head. (It does like an ant, if you ask me. It might be called cute by some, but I prefer thinking of it as a chunky exclamation mark.) Above you can see the original three-legged version, but it is available with four tubular steel legs as well. It is made of moulded plywood and is inspired by a similar chair by Charles Eames, after Jacobsen bought one for his own studio.
Around the same time the Ant was born, another small wonder was created. The Dot stool is simple, stackable and multifunctional. It comes in a range of colours.
The Seven chair (originally 3107) can be seen in walnut and with four legs above, but its variations are endless - many colours and bases are available. It can be an office chair or even a barstool. A further development of the Ant chair, it debuted in 1955 at the H55 exhibition in Helsingborg, Sweden. With more than 5 million copies it became the most sold stackable chair in history. After 60 years, it is still a fresh, timeless icon, widely used in pop culture and very much copied. Its shape is ideal for the human body. It is said that it takes 11 days to produce one chair, at the cost of nine sheets of veneer, two layers of cotton backing and five coats of paint. The fabric layer was utilized between the layers of wood to increase strenght and flexibility of material.
These chairs fared well on the market, as they did not take up much space, and there was big demand for lightweight, durable chairs at affordable price.
The Grand Prix chair (on the left, above a round table) got its name because it recieved the Grand Prix prize in Milano in 1957. Originally it came only with wooden legs, but now it is available with the undercarriage of the Model 3107, too. The seat parts are also identical with the Series 7. It has been taken out of production several times.
As a designer Arne Jacobsen was always a perfectionist. He did not liked or used the word 'designer', and kept referring to himself as an architect. His design process was slow - he did not know what he wanted to achieve, but kept experimenting intuitively and every small detail was of extrem importance. This of course meant frequent delays of the production.
His design inspiration came from abroad, he travelled a lot from his early youth, yet designed with the Danish traditions in his mind.
Sometimes he had enough of design and aesthetics, and escaped to the nature (he loved holiculture). 'Here you can't change anything' - he said. Yet again, he could not escape design for long. Even if he ate a pastry, the pastry had to look good to taste good. He said: 'A pastry usually tastes better if it looks nice. A cream pastry, now that looks nice - in fact, there is nothing I mind as long as it looks nice.'.
I can only relate to that.
I am not going into details about Jacobsen's post-war architectural projects, but there is one that must be mentioned. The twenty stories high Radission Blu Royal Hotel (originally SAS Royal Hotel) was built between 1956 and 1960, and can be regarded as the world's first design hotel. As it was very typical of Jacobsen to pay attention to every small detail (like he designed also the uniforms of the employees at Bellevue Beach, or the garden of an Oxford college), he designed everything from furniture to small objects like ashtrays, stainless steel cutlery, textiles for the hotel. I love how the organic shapes of his furniture are in sharp contrast with rigid geometric forms of the building. However, the hotel was heavily critcized from an architectural point of view. It was compared to a cigarbox,
Unfortunately, most of his work has been lost, as the hotel was redecorated according to company standards in 1980s. The management sold the original furniture cheap. It was an era when Mid-Century Modern was not fashionable any more. Only one single room, number 606 kept the original design with wood panels and blue and green colours - the colour combo I love the most. There is a whole book dedicated to this one famous room, the cover of it very much resembles to the exterior of the hotel.
The 'sideproducts' of the hotel were some fantastic upholstered furntiure. Let's see what they are.
The 3300 sofa (in black in the right corner below) and its armchair were originally designed for the SAS Air Terminal. The sofa is available in two- and three seater versions. The inspiration came from a couch he designed for his own home in the 1940s.
The Swan chair and sofa (both in dark brown leather above) are from 1958. The entirely rounded chair is available in a wide range of upholstery; the star shaped leg comes in satin polished aluminium. Though made especially for the lounge and lobby areas of the hotel, it was also used for the Danish National Bank later on. Due to the lack of straight lines and edges the chair was technologically innovative.
The Egg chair is a timeless attention-grabber and probably the most iconic piece by Jacobsen. It is surprisingly comfortable, wraps you up like a cocoon. I had to represent it twice in the moodboard - there is a small one on the left with its back to us. Using state of the art materials, it is said to have been inspired by another classic, the Womb chair by Eero Saarinen. The Egg was also available as sofa, but only for a short time and as a limited edition.
The third chair he designed for the project was the Drop (no photo here) - made exclusively in a very limited number for the hotel, it is now relaunched more than 50 years later.
The lamps above with their rotatable shade were also made for the hotel project in 1960 and are available in different versions.
The Oxford chair (in the middle, seen from its left side) is a piece from 1963, made for the professors at the St. Catherine's College at Oxford (the garden of which is also a creation of Jacobsen). The extra tall back serves a symbol of prestige, but actually three back heights and two undercarriages are available.
I have not covered the tables yet. They were designed in co-operation with Peit Hein and Bruno Matheson in a variety of height and size.
Designed in 1970 for the Danish Central Bank, the Lily chair (in black in the middle, below the Swan sofa) is a late work of Jacobsen. It got its name because it resembles to a blossoming lily flower, and comes with or without armrest (here your can see it without it). Made from laminated slice veneer, the chair has a complicated moulding process.
The lovely espresso cups above are just examples of Arne Jacobsen's households supplies for kitchens and bathrooms. It included cocktail kits, tableware, faucets, door handles, etc. One of his flatware designs were used in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Arne Jacobsen died early and unexpectedly from a heart-attack in 1971, when working on the Danish National Bank. Some of his projects were completed only after his death.
I have purchased a house on Baker Street and have recently been advised that you might be willing to provide me expert help on its furnishing and decorating.
The property in question is a nice Victorian terraced house, built in red brick, with fine features, narrow stairs, colourful tiles and window bays. I am afraid it is in desperate need of restoration. As a single woman in my twenties, it is my first home and I want it to be beautiful. My wish is a feminine, cozy, but at the same time modern interior, where I can recharge my batteries after an exhausting day. I am in desperate need of a reading nook, where I can drink my tea and immense myself in a good book. There are no pets to keep me company, but I hope it will change soon.
I would not have troubled you with my letter if I were not concerned about the outcome of the renovation. I rely heavily on your help to solve this case.
What could be better in the summer heat than an ice cream sundae?
Enjoying it in a stylish setting, of course.
Whenever I pick a new café or restaurant to try, I read the reviews and menu first, but it has to be a stellar review and a super exciting menu to go to the place if the interior does not live up to my expectations. I know that I am fussy, but the setting matters. Thankfully, most of the recently opened establishments boast with good design. Even ice cream parlours are beutifully created.
The photo one the left is a place in Vienna (website: www.eis-greissler.at) I accidentally came accross on my last visit in the city. (I had known the photo beforehand, but had no idea it is located there.) I love the baby blue and white checked floor and the small details.
I used this interior photo as a jumping-off point for my moodboard, but I went for a not-so-cool look. It means I added creamy colours, which also creates tension with the shiny stainless steel accessories (that Kitchen Aid mixer... so cool, in every colour). Instead of checked pattern I picked stripes, they are also timeless and elegant.
I can imagine the male staff wearing those bow ties with white short-sleeve shirt and blue trousers. Probably not visible here, but the tie is decorated with ice cream cones! Similarly, female staff could wear hair band made of the same material. Actually, the girls working at Eis Grissler have blue and white checked hair bands! Good attention to the details.
It has been more than a year now that one of my favourite shows, Mad Men had its last episode aired. In my country the series did not meet with success, only the first two seasons were broadcasted, and only the first season was released on DVD. Hungary quite missed the hype and the revival of the Swinging Sixties.
What a shame. I do not wonder, though, because my parents' generation has a bitter grudge against retro, I can always see it in my elder clients' reactions. For them the style is very much attributed to the forty years spent in the Soviet bloc, which meant - among other things - poor design and limited access to quality goods. It was an era that people do not want back. For the younger generation retro means fun, and now it is easy to see the difference what retro really was behind the Iron Curtain.
I like this era very much - for me it means my favourite music, huge American houses, movies set in the 60s New York, glitter, colours, style, James Bond, Arne Jacobsen and the Eamses. I could go on and on and on.
And now, after this longish introduction, let's get back to to the moodboard. Apart from Mad Men I drew inspiration from the late 60s and retro ads (like this, and this, and this). I used fonts typical of the era, and those used in Mad Men. The rug brings in the 70's white shaggy berber rugs (even though this one actually has a diamond pattern), yet the overall colour sheme is mature and sophisticated, more 60s than 70s. The cool blue hues are counterbalanced by the warm wood tones.
The Bubble and Saucer Pendants were designed by George Nelson (in 1947), just as the Ball wall clock (in 1950) and the bench (in 1946). All of them are true Mid-Century classics. The sideboard is a two-toned piece, its colours make it very 70s, yet it is modern due to the stainless steel parts. The wallpaper is authentic, original roll from the era. As it is very dynamic, I suggest using it on a not too big surface, between two wooden panels, like seen here on a Mad Men set, albeit between sandblasted glass panels. Used this way it will not dominate the entire room.
The armchair is an Arne Jacobsen icon, the Egg chair in deep blue, while the sofa is a definitely retro-inspired, but new piece by BoConcept. The bowl is from the 50s, but I am not sure about the rest of the vases. It does not matter, grouped together they do have the right retro feel.