Sunday, July 31, 2016

Global Inspiration - Malta

I begin another series: mood board inspired by different countries' interiors. Let's see Malta first. 
Well, I don't know about Malta interior design, but I quite admire its architecture. Yes, I know. Other people, like my best friend, travel there for honeymoon, for sand and beach, and yet the only thing that captured me about the island is the architecture.... By the way, have you seen those old photos of Edwardian buildings in Tower Road, Sliema? I am so sorry that many of them were destroyed in favour of modern high-rise apartments.
Interior Moodboard
Yet, this moodboard is for younger generations. Inspired by beach, sand, sea, it is a mixture of old and new, using some funny items as well some rustic ones. 
I can imagine this home for a young girl in her twenties, who has some creative free-lance job, drives a moped and wanders about the streets of Malta a lot. She is outgoing and loves nature just as well she enjoys big parties, yet she lives alone - and does not mind it. She is determined and is not willing to compromise on what matters to her. 
So this was an interior from Malta. Next month I will take you somewhere else. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Eclectic Bathroom

Victorian houses and English townhouses always fascinate me. There are so many opportunitues to design something exciting, using the original features - it does not matter if you want to incorporate them into a more modern interior, or restore them to their full glory. For some reason I had the image of a townhouse like this on my mind when I created this collage. 
Interior Mood Board
I have not written about bathrooms yet, so here it is, the first bathroom mood board. I was inspired by the photo on the left - the whiteness of the tiles, the dramatic brick wall further enhanced by the powerful blackness of the heater. You normally would not chose brick to the bathroom - I only advise it if your bathroom is big enough and the brick does not get wet.
The strenghten the eclectic feeling I added a freestanding bath with clawfeet, and some modern and funny accessories. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to make a black and white interior alive?

Today's big question: how to style the black and white interior to make it alive? 
Interior Moodboar
There are boring black and white interiors and there are exciting black and white interiors. At first sight monochormatic color palette is such a jolly joker - timeless, classic, stylish. 
And at the same time, can be boring as hell. 
What can you do against it? The answer is simple. Just add:
- texture
- pattern
- form
- accent color
You will find that most black-and-white interiors are not strictly black-and-white. All the hues between can be found in these, just white and black are dominant because used on big surfaces. 
Don't let the artistic photos cheat you. There are other colours as well, just subtle. You can pick wooden floor in greyish tone (just like above), or even a nice light oak can look well. Check out this beautiful rug - it looks so well in this interior, yet has blue hues in it - but it is still the black and white that rules here! Some wooden items can add warmth - the cool goatskin cushion and the rocker chair does this trick. (I hope you read my post about the designer behind this chair - the Eameses - there was a period when only pregnant employees at the Eames Office could buy this version!)
I would suggest incorporating metal or glass into a black and white setting. Unusual forms can create interest in a room. You can mix shapes, patterns, materials, and mat and glossy surfaces. 
The interior is already alive. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Designer of the Month - Charles and Ray Eames

The first mood board in the new series - let me tell you about my favourite designer couple: Charles and Ray Eames. They worked together in a very exciting era what we call now Mid Century Modern. 
Charles, the St. Louis born architect met Ray, the abstract painter at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where they became collegaues. They married in 1941 (by then Charles had divorced his first wife, the mother of his daughter) and moved to California. They had a busy and exciting life, but produced no children. and managed to maintain the marriage that survived Charles' numerous affairs. 'Anything I can do, Ray can do better.' - he said, whose proposal had been a line written to her on a notepaper. Notably Ray died ten years to the day after Charles. 
Interior Moodboard
Their life at Eames Office was dominated by design - let it be architecture, furniture, films, art, or even the way breakfast was served. They complemented and completed each other. The couple wanted to create "the best for the most for the least", and could boast with clients like IBM and Boeing. Their co-workers were also big names, like Harry Bertoia and John Neuhart. They even made Nikita Khrushchev cry in 1959, at the Moscow National Exhibition.
The moodboard above consists of their most famous creations. You can see the famous and extra comfortable Lounge Chair from 1956, originally designed for the Hermann Miller furniture company and named 670 and 671 together with the ottoman. Here you can see it in white leather with molded plywood, and in the left upper corner in red leather, with its back to us. The couple usually designed furniture that could be mass-produced and therefore were affordable, but this chair was and still is a luxurious piece. But quality comes at price.
The red molded plastic armchair is represented with a rocker base here, but is available with wooden and metal base. Originally it was intended to offer solution to the need of low-cost furniture in small spaces in the post-war era. 'We don't make art, we solve problems' - said Charles. The original material of the seat was polyester reinforced with fiberglass, and a year after the release it was introduced as an upholstered version, too.
You can see the Lounge Chair in black above (I love it in red, too!), and also the metal version in black. Its dining chair version can be seen in walnut. Ray loved experimenting with molded plywood designs, so no wonder he enthusiasm resulted in tables and folding screens (on the left) made using this technique.
Other famous designs are the Hang-It-All hooks (here in black), the molded plywood elephant, walnut stools, management chairs, desks and bookcases, sofas.
Their home and studio is one of the Case Study Houses, No. 8. Built in 1949 in LA, it was practically untouched after their deaths, and carries on their legacy.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Beachside Café

I drew the inspiration for this mood board partly from this menu I found on the Internet, and partly from this wonderfully designed delicate inscription on the wall. I thought they complement each other, and in front of my eyes I could already see a small café on the sandy beach...
Interior Mood Board
If the café is situated on the beach, I reckoned that blue sky and the sand itself provides a colourful backdrop for interior, so there is no need for further colours. I imagined huge glass windows, whitewashed porch, red and white striped umbrellas and white furniture. Maybe you can add some very light brown, or ash grey if you think white is too sterile, but with red accents the whole setting is very delightful. You could say it has a bit of retro touch, but I belive it is rather timeless. Somehow people tend to remember back their childhood with nostalgia, and it was my goal with this moodboard - to create an athmosphere that brings you back to old times, long gone summers, when you were a child, and spent the days on the beach making sand castles, playing with your siblings, learning to swim, and the highlight of the day was the ice cream time before your parents brought you back home...  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shabby Chic Kitchen

Today let's see a shabby chic kitchen moodboard! Here it is:
Interior MoodboardSurprisingly enough shabby chic is a new style - the term first popped up in the 1980s and the look spread accross the United States like wildfire in the 1990s. 
This mood board has all the elements of shabby chic: distressed and whitewashed wood on the bench, some vintage items from different eras, a bit of pastel lighting up all the ecrus and whites, metal on the delicate ornate lamp, and a mixture of older and newer pieces. Shabby chic loves non-shiny materials like cotton and linen, but you can add a bit of lace, too. If you collect antiques, shabby chic welcomes them all. If you are into recycling, this style also may be perfect for you. 
The look is feminine and rustic, perfect if you are a romantic person. It suits countryside cottages, but can find its way to old town buildings - like Victorian, if you are lucky enough to possess one.  
There is only one question left to the end: how do men put up with the utterly feminine shabby chic style?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Formal Dining Room

Today's mood: formal dining room in shades of blue, dark brown, gold and - for a little twist - bright sparkling red. Enjoy!
Interior Mood Board

Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekend Brunch

After a hard week you deserve to wake up late on Saturday. It calls for a lazy weekend brunch - the smell of fresh toast, eggs on the sunny side up, café au lait and waffles. 
Interior Mood Board
I put these all into a streamlined, minimalist interior, with glossy surfaces, steel and black and white colours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

greek style terrace

Summer is in full swing and you have a terrace. Let's suppose you have white walls, stone floor and hopefully gorgeous blue sea for backdrop (blue sky can do). How do you make it look like as if it was straight from Greece?
interior Moodboard
The answer is surprisingly easy. It does not matter if you have a modern building or a rustic one, this style can match both. You can not do wrong with neutral furniture: this one is the minimalistic Adelaide outdoor collection by BoConcept. (If you pick rustic furniture, white and brown are safe colours for that style, too.)
For instant Greekness you can do basically two things. Just think of the Mamma Mia! movie poster with Donna and Sophie standing in the arched doorway - it has all the features that makes the Greek mood (warning: actors of the movie do not make Greek mood and are considered pretty much unavailable). 
So the two key elements are:
1) Deep sky blue accent colours. In this mood board, it can be found only on the cushions, but you can paint your door blue, acquire blue chairs or stools. Even blue flower pots will do. Just remember the exact blue colour. 
2) One word: Bougainvillea. It is that creeper plant with that signiture vibrant colour that grows ideal in the Greek Islands. (It originates from South America anyway.) It does not like cold weather, but can be kept inside in the winter periods. 
If you want to add lanters, flower pots, cushions, it is up to you: with white walls, blue accents and deep pink flowers the mood is already set.

Grab a bottle of Mavrodaphne, and enjoy summer!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Let's Talk About The Bauhaus Style

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the Bauhaus Style? It was very significant in the 1920s, its influence is still felt today. Naturally it co-existed with other styles, like Art Deco. Many famous designers - Eileen Grey, Florence Knoll, Le Corbusier - can be linked to this style, and they were not only architects, they designed interiors and furniture. 
I admit that the first thing I can think of when speaking of Bauhaus is the architecture - the White City in Tel Aviv, buildings in Dessau, and there are (or, sadly, used to be) many outstanding examples in my country, Hungary. I wrote 'sadly', because some were destroyed and completely rebuilt. 
The second thing that comes to my mind, is Mies van der Rohe and my compatriot, Marcel Breuer. The first is known for the iconic Barcelona series, the second, Marcel Breuer is famous for the steel-framed Wassily chair. When the Nazis grew stronger in the 1930s, among other designers they fled to the United States. They worked there, and Bauhaus style in America became known as International Style, where everything became bigger and glossier. The International Style also has many variations. To me, Bauhaus, the 'original' one had a European scale.  
This minimalistic style had a heavy influence on modern architecture and interiors, no wonder it evolved to International Style. 
Interior Mood Board
Bauhaus interior design is not something I can easily put my finger on. When I google 'Bauhaus Home Interiors' I can hardly find any real stuff. When I look up my albums about 20s and 30s homes, I can see that the interiors were influenced by other styles as well. Yes, steel frame furniture were popular, bold colours were used, geometric forms were loved, simplicity was favoured, ornaments were left out. Yet it is not easy to find a really authentic Bauhaus interior. 
Having said that, Bauhaus can be fit into today's interiors as it set up rules still followed today. Simplicity, geometric forms and materials in their honest form are still loved. An original Bauhaus interior provides perfect backdrop for today's minimalistic, modern furniture.
However, there is one thing I saw in my books about 20s and 30s interior styles. It  did use modern techniques, like sliding walls, but if you check the Bauhaus floorplans, you can see that usually they are not up to today's requirements. However much it is well-proportioned, the kitchens are tiny, functions and furniture groupings are different. In many Hungarian villas there was still a room for a hired help who lived with the family and took care of the household. In contrast with the Mid-Century Modernism, where you can still see functioning retro homes with their open-plan groundplans, only elements of Bauhaus survived passing times. This of course, should not deter you from using Bauhaus furniture in your home - they look fantastic in many settings. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Uptown Rooftop Terrace

Come with me
And we shall run accross the sky
And illuminate the night

Oh I will try and guide you
To better times and brighter days
Don't be afraid...

Come up the ladder to the roof
Where we can see heaven much better
Come up the ladder to the roof
Where we can be closer to heaven...

- The Supremes sung this song long before I was born. 
It is summer in the Northern Hempisphere, so let's move up, but I doubt that ladders are leading to a rooftop terrace like this.
Interior Moodboard
This elegant set is dominated by the classic combination of black and white. Adding concrete and rich dark wood it gets a contemporary swift, while green provides a natural touch. The cubic forms reflect the surrounding skycrapers. Perfect place to chill out on a Friday evening with your friends. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

8 Reasons to Love Lofts

Lofts are trendy. The original term refers to old warehouses, industrial spaces converted into huge apartments. The trend came from the 60-s and 70-s America, and now it has conquered the whole world. Lofts are fun, stylish, and luckily can be adapted to many styles to create a personal living. 
Interior Mood board
These days you can see lofts that are not real lofts but newly-built apartments with all the signiture features. What are these? 
1 - high ceiling - perfect to hang huge lamps from... and this leads us to the next point:
2 - huge, industrial lamps - they look soooo good. You could not find a better place for them. 
3 - open felxible space and variable layout- you decide how many partition walls you want to build, or just let room-dividers shape the place. 
4 - exposed brick - one word: cool. 
5 - large windows - they let much light in, and look fantastic as mostly they have unusal shapes and frames. 
6 - exposed structural elements and mechanicals - if you do not fancy the sight of uncovered pipes, concrete beams or pillars, do not move into a loft. 
7 - ability to embrace many styles - play with mixing styles, try out new trends and colours. 
8 - huge walls - are you an art lover? Look no further. Lofts have plenty of space for paintings and photographs. 

So... are you ready to move?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy July the 4th!

Happy Independence Day to my American readers! 
Interior Moodboard
- Hello, Darling, I just thought I call you before the party starts. How are you doing?
- Hello, Sweetheart, thank you for asking, I have just finished decorating the family room and the terrace, while Hubby is outside preparing the dishes. Since we bought a cute retro pop-up hot dog toaster, he wants to eat hot dog all the time.
- I am sure your place looks fantastic, you are the master of decorating. How does it look like this year?
- Naturally I kept the stars and stripes theme, with star ornaments, the usual colours, but this year I went for a retro touch. Actually the toaster gave me the idea. Hubby found an extaordinary wall shelf, that looks like the front of a retro Chevrolet Corvette. It is temporarily mounted on the wall in the back porch, it is such an eye grabber. I will put the dishes on it. To keep up with the vintage style, drinks will be served in bottles with striped straws.
- Cool idea. Have you decorated the garden as well?
- Yes, the lanterns are hanging from the trees. I also found a smaller striped one with stars, they will be on the porch, I am just about to place them, so I have to hang up for now. I hope you will have a great night!
- Thanks. Happy Independence Day to you!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Coffee Nook in the Summer House

The heat is always followed by a storm, she mused. In the far distance one could see the dark blue clouds hovering over the trees, approaching the hill slowly. The frowst was almost touchable and heavy with anticipation. 
It is going to be so much better after the storm has passed, she reckoned. There was nothing else to do in the garden anyway - she already picked the strawberries, deep red and juicy under the leaves, some half eaten by the snails - the garden was clean, the grass cut, and it was not the apple season yet. The cottage overlooked a slope that ended in a small, airy forest she loved taking walks in. Where she used to love taking walks in, she corrected herself, remembering the old times. Behind the house green meadows with tall grass streched until the horizon. She could easily see anyone coming - not that she had many visitors, at least not often, and most certainly not the one she really expected. The heat, she figured, is not everyone's cup of tea. 
When stepping into the cool hallway, she could hear the first raindrops on the roof. The wind has awakened and rattled the shutters. I could do with a cup of coffee, she thought. Kicking off her gum boots - the stone floor felt chilly against her soles - she headed into the tiny kitchen. 
Interior Moodboard
The premises were small, just enough for two, so back then she had picked white furniture and simply whitewashed the exposed brick walls, as this way she could expand the sense of space. She also acquired some wicker baskets - they came very handy when she needed storage, yet wanted the kitchen to look organized. Some accessories in bright red and faded blue created tension - she loved it, but he never understood it. You do need some contrast on your life - she reasoned. 
The woman sunk into the comfortable wicker chair - the thick cushion made it softer, embracing her like a cocoon. Nibbling on the the berry cookies made in the morning, she sipped her coffee. The thunder could hardly be heard anymore, it was quiet outside. The light slowly found its way through the layers of clouds. 
Yes, she thought. After the storm the sun always shines brighter. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

French Style

Très fabu... très chic... The French know how to live in style. Why don't we follow their advice?
Today's inspiration came from French chateaus, but I added modern elements to it. 
Interior Mood Board
The mixture of old and new always creates an exciting vibe. Eclectic style generally works if the colour scheme is muted, so here I used only grey colours and white. This ensures that the old chest of drawers lives in harmony with the streamlined sofa, the modern accessories do not divert your attention from the beautiful antiq frame. In my home I am not a fan of grey, but this colour has the ability to look good in almost every environment, and as we all know it has many shades. Some greys are a bit blueish, others are greenish, some can be purple-ish, so you can use it widely. Grey also highlights other colours, so it is a perfect neutral.
The chandelier is one of my favourites, perfectly combines tradition with modern technique. It is a twist that the interior needs to look chic. Use noble materials - marble, stone - that look fantastic in their simplicity. 
As French style is eternally appealing, this is not the last moodboard in this spirit.
See you in Paris soon...