Monday, 25 July 2011

Colour me, colour me not!

Painting is an easy and inexpensive way to add instant life to a room; albeit the colour you choose will have an impact on the mood you are trying to create.

Yes I know it can be a daunting process to choose the right colour - have you ever heard someone say "I loved the colour in the shop and once I painted the room I immediately hated it", Déjà Vu?

If you are not comfortable choosing it by yourself then you should hire a professional to help you choose the right colour scheme. Remember that nowadays interior design isn't only for the chosen few, plus how your room is designed and the colour you choose will impact the way you live and feel more then you will ever imagine.

If you are a keen DIY'er, follow these simple steps to help you make the right choice:

  • Shops can match any colour that you might find in a magazine, a piece of fabric, etc.
  • Choose a colour from a a paint swatch and then go a shade lighter.
  • Get a test sample and paint a test area before making the final decision. 

Remember that  the lighting in the shop is different from the lighting in your home so the colour will change - you must see it in the room and most important at various times of the day.

You have probably heard before that you should paint small rooms with light colours. Well I believe that a deep colour doesn't necessarily make the room look smaller in fact a small hallway painted a deep grey together with the right lighting will give the impression of a big space and it will make it look extremely stylish although I understand that it might not be everyone's cup of tea (husband now laughing because it is my ubiquitous phrase).

But if you are still not comfortable going alone then do get in touch - that's why I am here for!

So either by yourself or together with myself do go and be creative.

Pictures via,,,,

Monday, 18 July 2011

Emotions through colour.

Most of us are unaware of the effects that the visual world has on our senses and feelings; blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body, it slows the metabolism and produces a calming effect. Red is a very emotionally intense colour, it enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.

These emotions can be altered significantly depending on saturation, or depth of colour, but the basic principles are worth considering when deciding on your colour scheme.

  •  Red is associated with energy, power and passion.

  • Pink is fun, lively and feminine.

  • Orange stimulates creativity, encouragement and is invigorating.

  • Yellow is the colour of sunshine and is associated with joy, happiness and intellect.

  • Blue represents the sky and water. It is associated with wisdom, confidence and calmness.

  • Green suggests nature, harmony, freshness and fertility.

  • Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition.

  • White means light, purity and cleanliness.

  • Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious colour.

    Attitudes towards colour differs from person to person so identifying the colours that affect you and your environment favourably or negatively will help you to feel and live better.
    Pictures via,,,,,,, and

    Wednesday, 13 July 2011

    East meets West - Trading Boundaries

    If you haven't heard of them then you should!

    And yes i did think of keeping them to myself, just my little secret!

    I decided against it so let me tell you about this hidden gem. Trading Boundaries is Michael Clifford and Tracy Thomson's baby, or rather a grown up 15 year old. Far from resting on their laurels it's been year on year incremental growth and diversification from on a core product of ethnic furniture from India and the Far East.

    From what G.M. Kristan Fawcus told me their vision is far reaching and as yet to be fully realised. This is a business (that feels like a big family) that reinvests and involves its staff and clientele in many aspects of decision making. It's become a day/evening out for a large number of Sussex folk.

    But let me start from the beginning, Michael's Grandparents were missionaries in India so he visited them quite often and so a love for the country started. Michael tells me that one day seeing two men carrying some tables - which he fell in love immediately - he suddenly had an idea and so that's how it started.

    In 1996 Michael ended up sending his first container back to England and started selling furniture sourced in the far east from a converted barn in Dormansland, Surrey where people would buy and carry their purchases home; the furniture had to be small as a result. By then Tracy had joined the business and so a great partnership begins.

    In 1998 the business partners saw and fell in love with stunning grade two listed building named the Sheffield Park, near Fletching. They decided it was to be their new base so as the saying goes "they begged, stole and borrowed" and put every penny into transforming the then pub into a unique furniture showroom and I am sure today they feel proud of their achievement.

    The building dates back to the 1800's and was originally a busy coaching inn, situated on the main thoroughfare between London and the County Town of Lewes. The outer buildings in the courtyard were used as stables which now have been converted into shops.

    Not only had the building been a coaching house, it had also served as a pub, a dairy farm and in the 1970's and 1980's as a very trendy night club.

    Little did they know, then, that they hadn't just acquired the property but all that came with it too, and by that I mean the ghosts! The locals have told them that there are two currently residing in the building - albeit they think there are more! But don't worry they are a friendly bunch and the ghosts too.

    One of the spirits is believed to be that of "Mary", an old lady who used to be a maid. Now and then they find a small table on top of a bed and other items in strange places. I think Mary does that when she is cleaning the floor and forgets to put it back, that's old age for you; either that or she has got a sense of humour!

    So now that you have the buildings history let me tell about what they sell. Due to a plethora of contacts in India, China and Indonesia Michael & Tracy handpick every piece, so the showroom is mostly filled with this ethnic furniture and a smaller quantity of contemporary ranges coming from Europe. Michael & Tracy are trendsetters and cleverly manage to anticipate public tastes.

    Because they go straight to the source - be it artisan or factory - they manage to sell their furniture at a fraction of what it would cost you in London. What I like is if you are looking for a particular piece then just tell them what you need and they will do their best to source it.

    For me, this came in handy when I was creating a fusion of "east meets west" for a client I managed to get just what the client wanted.

    Trading Boundaries is looking to work with other interior designers. If you want a piece for your house or client I'd recommend you go and take a look.

    Their Chinese pieces are just wonderful and what I love about them is that the etching on them tells a story, so not only you get an amazing piece of furniture but you get your own piece of history.

    There is an exotic feel about it and when you go into Trading Boundaries, is almost like steeping back in time in old Asia. The shop itself combined with the friendliness of the staff transforms your visit into an amazing experience and that is exactly what Michael & Tracy have tried to achieve.

    Have you been to Trading Boundaries? Then do let me know what you most liked!

    Pictures via Trading Boundaries and my own.

    Friday, 8 July 2011

    I am in love with Amsterdam!

    A few weeks back I participated in the inaugural European Meet the blogger conference held in Amsterdam. It proved to be a very well attended and successful event with over 100 bloggers from all over Europe. It was great to put faces to virtual names; the start hopefully of long term friendships. I particularly enjoyed hearing the stories of how some bloggers started then expanded, truly inspiring. Lise M. from "Urban Style Vibes" and many others are to be congratulated for making it happen. Guest speakers were Holly Becker from Decor8, Angelie from Lily's cupcakes and Natasha from Flavourites.

    Conference over it was then time to explore and Amsterdam is now one of my favourite cities because of its beauty, amazing design and yet, for a major city, areas of solitude. There aren't many cultures as open and blunt as the Dutch which for some can be quite disarming. As someone who has been cast in the same mould I find it amusing and refreshing. The Dutch are very welcoming and always so friendly.

    After nearly avoiding certain death from all the cyclists whizzing by one learns how to look both ways twice when crossing the road so not to be taken out by bikes, cars or trams. I do like the fact that they cycle everywhere no matter the weather and the more on a bike the merrier. Its amazing what you can do on a bike...

    Did you know there are over 200,000 boat houses and some of them are quite amazing and stylish? I so wish I could have seen them from the inside; talking about inside while walking in Amsterdam so many times I looked through a window thinking it was a stylish shop and I found myself looking into a person's house, not a place to set up a net curtain business it would seem. Apologies to the ones that saw me do it but it shows how beautifully decorated most of them were.

    Coming from a country where socializing is part of my DNA I embrace how the Dutch also do it, like it is a part of their work/life balance. I also found it to be more economic to eat out in Amsterdam than London. There are endless possibilities to sample cuisine from around the world; here are some really great choices Hostaria, Bar Italia, Bar Moustache, Portugalia, etc. I would avoid most places in Damrak, the street just ahead of Central Station. The locals rarely eat in this area and that should give you a clear indication.

    There are amazing markets; on the Singel canal between the Koningsplein and the muntplein is the Bloemenmarkt ( the only floating flower market in the world); also the market on the Lindengracht where you can get fresh veg, fruit and fish or just go to see what's on offer - its great to take stunning colourful pictures.

    I found Jordaan one of the coziest and quirkiest districts with lovely little shops where you can buy nearly anything. The nine streets is also a must, loved wondering around exploring art galleries, jewellers and designer boutiques (may I say I did not succumb to my desire to buy everything). Vondelpark is just stunning, and since it was so hot I welcomed the shade the trees provided and the coolness of the lake sides.

    Obviously I had to go to the fashion district ( oh hubby did treat me to a lovely waistcoat ) and ended up finding a furniture shop which I now absolutely love - Riviera Maison has a New England nautical theme; their merchandise is available on line and they will ship overseas plus they do have a representative in Surrey. I was greeted with such helpfulness and buying in Riviera Maison is an experience in itself - their customer service is superb.

    I also found another shop, Sissy Boy, a great name instantly memorable and I really like their furniture. The layout was so well done that I just had to take pictures so you knew what i meant ( I have to say I was told off for doing so, shades of my experiences in Hong Kong).

    I so enjoyed my trip, it has whetted my appetite to return. If you have been there lately or are going do let me know of your experiences.

    Pictures via Jurriaan Hoefsmit, Riviera Maison and my own.

    Wednesday, 6 July 2011

    And the Brabantia winners are...

    We had so many great entries and the task of choosing a couple of winners was a challenge. But someone had to do it! Brabantia selected:

    Sarah L.
    When I look at the Get-Together collection I want to dine in style. It's got form, function and FABULOUSNESS.

    Angela Martinho
    When I look at the Get Together collection I see lightness, simplicity, color and above all a great desire to have it and use it.

    Congratulations and thank you for participating; could the winners please email me their postal address so Brabantia can send out the wonderful prizes.

    A special plea: I am running this week for the #Decorexblogger and would appreciate your vote. Find my blog name here and click until your picture appears. NB voting closes Thursday 7th midnight.
    Much appreciated my friends.

    Ana  x

    Tuesday, 5 July 2011

    ...great collection finalists announced!

    And the six finalists are:

    1- FaberUna

    When I look at the Get Together collection, I think of the past, present & the future.

    The sleek lines and cool designs are a sure nod to the past. You can see the cool aesthetic of the post-modern era shining right through the collection.

    For the present, I see the ability to entertain with pieces that fit just right into my fast-paced lifestyle. Durable materials and fresh colors make it the perfect match for my current tastes.

    Knowing that Brabantia makes well-made products that are meant to last tells me that I will be able to pass this collection on to the next generation.

    I would love to have this great collection in my world.

    2- Sarah L.

    When I look at the Get-Together collection I want to dine in style. It's got form, function and FABULOUSNESS.

    3- Hannah Coleman

    When I look at the get together collection it makes me want to get all my friends and family over and have a party, just simple classic pieces for everyone to enjoy ;-)

    4- Angela Martinho

    When I look at the Get Together collection I see lightness, simplicity, color and above all a great desire to have it and use it.

    5- James McCauley

    When I look at the 'Get Together' collection I see a lively summer breakfast with visiting friends, sun streaming through the open back door and a bright table laden with beautiful crockery and food. I smell wafts of cut grass on the breeze, warm bread just served and fresh coffee in the pot. I hear tidbits of gossip, laughter and the enthusiastic clinking of cutlery on plates.
    And I smile.

    6- Paula Trovalusci

    When I look at the Get Together collection I want to invite all my friend and family for lunch... and I want to do the washing up for once! 

    To all that entered the competition, you made it extremely hard for the judges to choose due to great creativity in your responses. Brabantia and I thank you for the time and effort you put in. To all the twitterers that tweeted the competition i am eternally grateful for your help; last but not least a big thank you to all those that partnered with me by featuring me as your guest post.

    Brabantia's Sales Director will be choosing the winners and they will be announced tomorrow morning, so keep an eye out because it might just be you!

    Thank you,

    Ana xx