Saturday, March 24, 2012

The English Look in Decorating: Part I

Photobucket While not all of these rooms are exactly what I would want in my own house, there is something I love about every one of them. These have been scanned from a great publication I found in Swaziland, Africa while vacationing there this Christmas. The magazine is called 25 Beautiful Homes, and yes, each issue boasts at least 25 beautiful homes, mostly in England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa. For the most part, the decor is English whether traditional, modern, contemporary.  All of these rooms have certain commonalities.  Above is a London drawing room which illustrates that  they have art - often oil paintings whether traditional or contemporary. Statues and elements from other cultures (reminiscent of the days of the Empire) are found scattered throughout the homes.  Few homes lack architectural detail of any kind and ceilings are often decorated with moldings as well. (Note the double molding in the room above and the dining room below).
Photobucket The dining room above(the image was on the fold of the magazine) boasts oil paintings, Asian pieces, and another English quality, a love of all colours.  Here the dining room is a medium dusky pink colour. Another English quirk, adding something trendy or unusual to the mix.  Here, the unusual fabric-wrapped chandelier fills the bill.
Photobucket You will always find books in an English home, and they look as though they are for reading, not just part of the decor.  The paneled walls are a beautiful yellow colour with architectural interest and also stencils.  Blue and white porcelain hints at the days of the Empire.  Another English must, fresh flowers.  Interesting patterned carpets are almost always present.
  Below, this kitchen is pretty, but it also looks as though it is used.  Here we find colour, blue and white items, and whimisical touches such as the cutouts of the cats. Notice the flowers and plants as well as pictures on the walls.
Photobucket Even a bedroom which is more contemporary still has colour, good lighting for reading, and great bedcovers.  The bed is traditional (I love this bed!).
Photobucket The bedroom below has wonderful architectural details, pretty and comfortable bedding, and patterned curtains.  The walls are a yellow colour; baskets are used here for storage as well as in other rooms of the English house.
    But what I love about all of these rooms is that they look very lived in.  Yes, they have been styled for a photo shoot, but it is easy to envision a dog curling up at the end of the bed, a kitty finding refuge in a soft chair, someone reading a good novel with a cup of tea beside her.
PhotobucketMore on English houses next post.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wonderful Color!

Above, Charlotte Moss's library in a peachy tone. Charlotte Moss pictures from The New York Social Diary
    I've seen so many white rooms lately that I'm reminded of my love of white in the 1970's. I even had white carpet in my living room! But even then, the white was enlivened by the presence of many, many books in wall to ceiling bookshelves. I must confess that I was afraid of color and never thought that I could do it right. But, after many years, I've come to have more confidence.
     But I am mainly a lover of color because it makes me happy. I do tend to like monochromatic color schemes, maybe two colors at most. This is because we have a plethora of books and art that I cannot bear to put away out of my sight. The things that make me happy do so when I am surrounded by them. So even though we are downsizing, we still have so many things that we will keep that we may have to rotate them. But that's okay. We will keep them because we like to look at our pictures, and we like to read our books (over and over).  They add the color and contrast that make us comfortable and make our home a home.
    Below, I love cozy; sparse rooms are seldom cozy, and Charlotte Moss's bedroom is a classic blue and white with plenty of places to sit, place things, read, and write. I love it! Her library, above, is a wonderful mixture of homey and elegant.  I can't imagine being bored in this room.
Photobucket Above,Charlotte Moss's living mixes tones of pinks and greens with cream and gold.  Below, another view of that wonderful library (note that no books are wrapped in white paper and there is a ladder so that you can reach the volumes higher up.  I doubt that the ladder is for show.  I love the way she adds paintings to the bookshelves in the English manner.
charlotte moss peach library, peach library
jay jeffers, beautiful coral colour
Above, look at that beautiful wall!
Above, an English country house classic combination: yellow and blue.  Look at the rug!
Below, there's that gorgeous coral color again!  This time the room looks quite contemporary, but still comfortable and warm.  Imagine if this room were all white!
   I have a feeling that in about 15 years, the burlap, stenciled pillows, and flaking furniture are going to look terribly, terribly dated.  And people are going to want their interiors to be anything but white or beige.
Matthew White, Coral colored walls

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Bedrooms, Offices, and a Little Help

I am still working on our bedroom. I finally found a pair of lamps that I like. They are a gold leaf tole that picks up the gold of the chandy with beige oval shades that match the colour of the privacy shades we have beneath the curtains.  The table on the left is actually an outdoor metal table that I had on our balcony here, but used since most of our tables are at the house in Arkansas.  To the right is a malachite-topped chest in burled wood and ormolu that I like though not necessarily as a bedside table.  Instead of a mirror over the bed, I put a Renoir canvas that I have had since I was in my early twenties.  It is not a print but an actual canvas hand-painted by an artist (not Renoir) that is really very beautiful.  It was a gift from my son's grandfather and has always been somewhere in my home wherever I've lived.  I may move it, but for now, this is its home.  I find that I have far more paintings, lithographs, and prints than I am going to have room for in the townhouse.
Here is a view of the larger windows in our bedroom with the curtains I am using.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough rings for them, so they are casually clipped right now, but will be put up properly when the rest of the special order rings arrive.
Below is the guest room with the curtains almost finished.  The silk undershade is too sheer, I think and needs to be lined to look really good.Photobucket
I had to take this picture of a home office from one of my favorite design blogs, Stacy's Conspicuous Style. I love her style choices.
Below, Cluny helps me all the time. He thinks since I work on the computer, he is helping by taking a nap on it or lying on part of and purring loudly. I love it, even though he probably going to wreak havoc on all my files someday! Below, uncharacteristically, Cluny looks to be the aggressor although he is the pussycat, and Cuervo is the alpha cat. Cuervo helps, too, by mewing loudly, and walking up to me dragging a long ribbon in his mouth that he likes to play with. How can I refuse?