The Details

As you may know I live in England and we have a wonderful thing called the National Trust. They basically look after our beautiful old buildings, preserving them for future generations, our coastline too. What it means is, nosey people like me can immerse themselves in amazing architecture, and imagine, what if… Near where I live in Cornwall we have Lanhydrock House, a gorgeous Victorian home that has a perfectly preserved upstairs-downstairs lifestyle.

You can get overwhelmed  by the amount of embellishment and grandeur, but I like looking at the details. We actually have a company locally, Bromleighs, who specialise in period fixtures and fittings. The door handles, light switches, letterboxes etc. that fit a specific period. They have even supplied the National Trust. I mean imagine a Downton Abbey parlour with white glaringly plastic light switches!! The shock.

In praise of period details, here a few elements that shouldn’t be missed, the unsung heroes that make a space authentic.

The real-life Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle

The Master in Downton Abby

Period details from Downton abby

Rich dark wood of the library in Downton Abby

Dramatic scene from Downton Abby

When you are restoring a period house some people strip everything away but the bones of the place, and then fill the interior in contrast with the ultra modern. Sometimes though I think the soul can be lost. I am zoning in today on the overlooked details that can preserve the integrity of a building.

Here we have a dove grey door with a silvered handle, complementing it perfectly.

Antique style door handles

As you may well know, I am a fan of mix and match. There is quite a lot going on in this bathroom, but I think it works. What I really like is the mirror and light fittings in this dark, brassy metal.

Old brass fittings in a contemporary space

I love these old radiators, especially in sunshine yellow!

Blue walls and yellow radiator

Beautifully finished, this kind of handle would look at home on a ruggedly knotted and aged door.

Brass ribbed door handle

The handles here, in my humble opinion, make this kitchen. Lovely rich dark blue units, marble counter tops and a touch of brass.

Kitchen units in navy blue with brass metal handles

I love this light, so solid, so certain. Bolted onto the wall like it really belongs there!

Wall light in brass and white glass

Back to blue again, it just works so well! And what a lovely leathery colour.

Bathroom door in dark blue with antique style handle and lock in brass

Of course it is important to look up too. Georgian houses especially had beautiful freezes of intricate plaster. This is actually taken from another National Trust property, Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion.

Plaster work detail from a National Trust house

Another great mix. I included this bathroom because of the peg hooks, a lovely detail, and because of the sage green and zesty orange combo!

Roll top bath, peg hooks and black wire storage in a contemporary twist on a modern bathroom

My final thought goes to lighting. You can’t go wrong with a chandelier, no really. Even this rustic space is made complete with an antique-style pendant.

Brown interior with dark wood and an antique style chandelier

Down to the Wire

I love the impact simple lines can have. Bringing a form down to its bare basic is something I appreciate in art, and in an interior I think it can work too. Wire in lighting design is everywhere at the moment, be that spindly strands of LEDs or striking strong black metal or geometric bronze.  These are a few that have caught my eye.

Cubist in shape, this shade hovers over its three hanging light bulbs. Designed by Anastasia Vishnevskaya, I love the boldness.

Black wire series of squares pendant shade

Perfect for a teenagers bedroom, this cloud has a golden lining .

Cloud wire light

You cannot underestimate the power of a simple black line! This stark and vast reception has elegant black wire pendant lights, rigid and beautiful.

Comerical space with black hanging wire lights

In a similar vein, these pendant lights cut striking shapes in geometric forms. The black casing dangling with glowing bulbs below.

Pendant lights hanging in black outlined shapes

Spider-like this, little light uses thick black lines in cartoon angles.

Black little pendant wire lamp

How is it that inanimate objects can project such personality? These wire table lamps to me look huddle, hunched, perhaps the lighting version of the Liverpudlian vultures in Disney’s cartoon Jungle Book!

2d looking black wire table lamps

This pair have borrow from tradition for their shape. Flared at the edge like a lady’s dress or a flower. Uniform wire spokes cage the light bulbs perfectly.

White and brown wire lamp shades for pendant lights

This string of lights uses presents the wire in the shape of a light bulb, simple but effective.

Light bulbed shaped metal shades on a string of lights

The close together wire here almost becomes a woven mesh. I am mesmerised by the silhouettes created by the bulbous shapes.

Black lamp shades made from wire in pendent shapes

Could it get anymore simple – the clear black lines perfectly suspend the cone shaped shades.

elegant black wire suspended lights

This trio are diamond-like, hanging in strong geometric frames. They look heavy, substantial, maybe even bat-like and gothic.

Three diamond shaped pendant light shades as wire cages

Perfectly minimal, skewed pyramids look hand drawn mid air!

Metal cage frame for pendent lights in angular triangle shapes

Conjuring the feel of bygone times, these skeletal lamps have feminine flair.

Traditional shaped wire haging lamps

For my final wirey inspiration, a substantial piece of lighting design which hangs like a full fisherman’s catch. The netting of lights glows with warmth in an industrial space.

Fisherman's net style light, bulbous wire creation with light discs

Fuel for any much needed ‘light bulb’ moments.

Defining ‘Hygge’

The latest Scandinavian craze to be picked up by the world of interiors is the concept of ‘Hygge’. Hard to define,“HUE-gah” doesn’t quite fit an exact English word translation, but has been likened to graciousness, contentment, good feelings or perhaps a warm glow.

The Danes’ Hygge is thought to be the inspiration for our word ‘hug’, ah. So to bring some of that comfort to our homes – because lets face it January can be bleak – here are some interiors that nail it.

Think über comfy with blankets upon blankets, a crackling fire and sinkable sofas

Fireplace, blankets, and candles interior

Danish happiness also includes hot chocolate, no really

Hot chocolate in rustic blue cups with macaroons and marshmellows

Dogs like hygge too. Hunker down with soft natural textiles

Grey and neutral room with low bed and fire

Bring nature indoors with wooden touches, these birch candles are just perfect

Candles in tree trunks

Conjure that wood cabin feel, chunky pottery and a view that’s pine-filled. Just breath it in

Two cups on a terrace overlooking a forest

Chunky knits just say ‘ahhhh’ to me

White chunky knitted blanket

Hygge can be translated as ‘well-being’, and for me a hot bath with a calming view and flickering candles is well on the way to aiding mine

Greenery and candles in a bathroom with a view

Soft under foot and really warm, think flooring so good you’ll want to snub the chair and curl up right there and then

Sheepskin rug in super soft grey

Finally, its friends, loved ones and those that count. Just add easy comfort food that brings a smile and a warm glow as you share stories the Danish way

Hygge style food wth friends

This is what hygge means to me, hope you enjoyed our cosy round up! Happy weekend.

Hanging Bedside Lights

A trend which is one I quite love at the moment are hanging bedside lights. As long as there is no risk of me banging my head as I fall out of bed in the morning, they sound great to me!

Suspended lights add a real modern edge to a room. That laid back ‘oh I just threw it all together’ thing that looks so appealing. Here are a few that have captured my attention…

A beautiful bulb simply done.

Suspended light bulb by the bed

I am in love with this stunning shade – geometric and metallic and with a red cord!

Bedside lamp suspended with metal shade

Ideal where space is tight, the single black line of the cord curves the white wall up perfectly.

Suspended light bulb in the bedroom

Granted there is quite a lot going on in this room, but I do like the wire cage lights.

Bedside lamps suspended with wire shade

The beauty with these lights is you can make them yourself, adding your personal flare. This copper piping suspended light does feel like you could have a rummage in the garden shed and hey presto!

Suspended bedside light with pipe

What a great idea – a pulley to alter the height of your bedside light. I think this would look even better if the shade was a paper globe!

Suspended lamp on pully by the bed

And finally this adorable matching pair started life a candle holders. I love the copper frame. All they need now is some smooth circular bulbs to glow inside.

Copper wire pendant lights for the bedroom

What do you think – a trend that is here to stay?

Modern Wicker

The beauty of adding a natural material like wicker into your home is the warmth and integrity it brings. The woven basket is so versatile, adding texture and that human element that can make a house a home. I have gathered together some great contemporary interiors showcasing the best of modern wicker.

With all the charm of Mid-Century design this wicker chair is pretty perfect.

Mid-Century modern wicker chair

I love how these wicker draws are all the more beautiful for the backdrop of dark matt kitchen units.

Black kitchen with wicker draws

Ok, not technically wicker, but I just love this piece of furniture. Colonial style with a laid back modern coolness.

Natural furniture in modern home

The ever useful basket looks great in this bathroom. A neat way to hide all that clutter.

Wicker baskets in the bathroom

The wicker Egg chair is so retro cool. With a view like that you would really need a special piece of furniture, and suspended in this warm embrace would work just fine.

Suspended wicker egg chair

Darker moody walls and casual wicker dining chairs, this interior has Scandinavian charm.

Dark walls and wicker dining chairs

These huge pendent lights look quite at home in this bright and breezy kitchen.

Giant wicker pendant lights

Statement furniture never looked so good! Chilled summer living in this designer home.

Statement wicker chair

Sign me up for a class! it can’t be that hard…

Neon For The Novice

I love bright – the brighter the better, the more colours and patterns the more my heart sings! I am aware, however that for others that might sound like a migraine in the making, so here are some beautiful interiors where a smidgen of neon goes a long way. How to add so day-glow pizzaz to your happy home..

Pair neon with muted shades, softened grey and natural woven fabrics.

Add a little neon to warm a room

Go with the greats, Farrow and Ball have beautiful classic paints in their collection, but their new range certainly has that neon wow.

Traditional grey interior with luminous yellow chair

Start perhaps with some cushions, easy to change if they are too brave! I love these textiles, a definite eighties vibe.

Geometric neon textiles and pink stool

Pair with delicate pastel shades for a subtle and soft room. Metallic notes and Modern furniture help to keep the space current.

Pink and yellow style room

Neon notes can be achieved on any surface, think walls with art, washi tape, posters. Or layer textiles, jewellery and books. (I have that yellow Patterns book in the foreground – lovely flock cover!) I like how acid these colours are but because they are used a shots, little bursts with natural accents, I think it works.

Day-glo interior design

Consider some neon wire furniture – all the zing but with a light and delicate structure. Imagine these beauties in a dark painted room, sparsely lit and cosy with plenty of books and traditional woollen textiles.

Orange wire chairs with blue wall

Go bold with your very own installation! A little crazy perhaps but fun to do and you would make quite an impact. Reminds me of that childhood game cats-craddle!

Neon string installation

For the nervous, hint at your liking for neon with sensible, grown-up black lampshades with a cheeky flash of pink inside.

Black and pink lampshade

I just love this chair – so very very yellow! Pairing it with this calming black-cherry-yogurt-colour works a charm.

Traditional chair upholstered in bright yellow

Painting woodwork, especially a door I think is a great idea. I flash of occasional colour. This green is what you would call a wake up shade, very day-glow.

Grey room with bright green woodwork

For some high glow glam this beautiful table marries natural wood and neon pink gloss.

Wooden table with neon resin

And finally, a little bit of silliness. Floral wallpaper (not sure if it is purchased this way or a creative child has neatly coloured them in) with a white dresser and neon yellow sheep handles. Yep.

Cabinet with sheep handles

Small Garden Ideas

The sun is out in our corner of Cornwall and I am enjoying watching the butterflies mingle and dance through the foliage. It reminds me that any form of greenery is such a joy to behold. No matter how little your garden you can get some green therapy too. Too many people I know, me included, only really use part of their garden, tending to look at it rather than enjoy being in it. So what makes a successful small garden? These are some examples of outdoor spaces that really work. I am already feeling motivated!

Dress you garden like you would dress a room. Consider the furniture, the materials and its purpose. Living in England means you really have to consider the elements and choose your materials accordingly. I like how this garden uses stone, wicker, metal and wood with a real variety of shapes and height.

Small garden inspiration

With the garden below I like how they only use green foliage but still successfully zone areas with levels and different divides. I can’t help thinking of gardens like I do interiors, and this garden reads like a house. You have the corridor that climbs with a lovely wooden floor, the boxy green hedging like tufted textiles and the laid back seating for the ‘lounge’ with further up a dining area. Nicely done.

giving height to the garden

We all know how well water works in the garden – I would say even more so in a small space. You can be instantly transported out of the urban sprawl to a babbling brook in a meadow somewhere or a perhaps the wilds of Japan. This garden uses dappled delicate colour to create a serene space.

Little oasis in the garden

If your space is long and narrow then maybe try maximising the diagonal of your garden. This garden draws the eye and I love the bulging borders!

Narrow garden with paving and planting

Consider lighting, highlight levels and view points. Make your garden a completely different space at dusk or night. This roof terrace handles light well, uplighting the trees and using full beams of light to mark the change in levels.

Small gardens clever lighting

There is so much about this garden I love, the use of paint and colour complementing the olive leaves, how the trees are contained and the soft furnishings. This garden is also really private without feeling hemmed in. The chalky tones complement each other so well. I think a splash of red flowers might be nice.

Olive trees in raised beds in this private garden

How to describe what I love about this garden, its attitude I think. Just such a simple, cool space. I love the rough painted brick wall and how the wooden fence, benches and planters add length with their lines, and that pendant light just looks really sleek. Black wire chairs and a wild garden at the end finish the design off perfectly, very nicely done!

Well lit contemporary patio design

Of course there is always the bold option! This garden has curves galore, very contemporary and it pretty much has everything, sitting, eating and even a space to dip a toe.

Curves galore in this small garden layout

What do you think? I am ready to embrace curves and bring the inside, out.