Everything’s Coming up Roses

mottisford abbey rose garden hampshire

So, it’s a rainy, bleak Sunday afternoon in July — not an unusual occurrence in England, it has to be said. I’ve retreated indoors, and it’s struck me that maybe one of the reasons floral prints are so popular over here is because, well, we’re often chased inside by our rainy climate. The rain is a boon to gardens here, and when the sun does creep out from behind the clouds for a day or so, we’re all to be found puttering in our verdant plots — whether it’s titivating a window box on a ledge, hoeing a small allotment of vegetables, or dead-heading roses in a walled glory in the countryside (see the lovely Mottisford Abbey Rose Garden in Hampshire, England in the picture above). But for those (many) days, when we can only admire our gardens through the rain-spattered window, a hot cup of tea in hand, the only solution is to bring those roses indoors.

mario buatta

Living room designed by Mario Buatta via nonsensesensibility.com. So pretty. A deft hand at work.

ysl tangier house

Yves Saint Laurent’s Tangier house. I love the restrained use of this subtle chintz. The room looks fresh and modern.

nikki tibbles wallpaper

Nikki Tibbles’ living room in “Dark Floral” by American designer Ellie Cashman via thewonderinus.com. Featured in Vogue, Sept/Oct 2014.

nina campbell kitchen

Florals aren’t just for living rooms and bedrooms. Here Nina Campbell uses a fresh, spring-like floral in this country kitchen.


Nina’s decorator/writer daughter Rita Konig has used this pretty lavender wallpaper in her master bedroom on rdujour.com. I like how she’s picked out accent colours on the cushions from the wallpaper.

micheal s smith interior

English country in California. A masterful English interior designed by Michael S. Smith which has appeared in architecturaldigest.com

nicky haslam interior

Speaking of masterful English interiors, here’s a lovely foral interior by Nicky Haslam, from kalynor.wordpress.com

rose mural surface view

Surface View offers gorgeous wall murals based on artwork from the National Gallery in London. http://www.surfaceview.co.uk

dust jacket attic - hallway

This fresh green and ivory leaf print gives this hallway a strong identity. On dwellcandy.com

the english room

If you don’t want to go whole hog, thank about adding a floral accent. Here designer Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room has done just this. On nonsensesensibility.com

dorothy draper greenbrier

The divine Dorothy Draper is one of my favourites. I love how she’s used this classic floral chintz on chairs and curtains in the Greenbrier Hotel in Virginia.

digetex floral wallpaper

A striking floral mural from Digetex via ukhomeideas.co.uk

helmivaga-interiors.co.uk vintage chic

A vintage floral bedroom mixes and matches floral patterns in this bedroom designed by Helmi Vaga of http://www.helmivaga-interiors.co.uk

Don’t chuck out that chintz just yet!

Posted in chintz, classic english interior design, english interiors, fabrics, florals, interior decoration, Interior Design, wallpaper | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Bananas


I’m just back from Grenada and I’ve got palm trees and bananas on my mind — especially as the view from my window is all about rain, rain, rain — the horizontal kind. Typical summer in England. So, why not bring some tropical sun into your home (even if it’s blowing a gale outside), with some lush, tropical leaves?

palm tree floor lamp  palm tree floor lamp 2

I am in love with these vintage brass palm tree floor lamps. I’m going to have to find a place for on in my flat. Pictures from fromtherightbank.com

Even since it was first hung up in the Beverley Hills Hotel, the Martinique banana leaf wallpaper was been popular. Lovvvve.

martinique 3 martinque wallpaper  martinque in room   martinique wallpaper 5

martinique wallpaper 4 palm leaf hall

First and last pictures from sarahsarna.com , all others from martiniquewallpaper.com

Even one of my favourite interior decorators, the inimitable Dorothy Draper, used it in her iconic decoration for The Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia (pictures below from simplifiedstyleblog.com

palm tree wallpaper lobby

and, where there are banana leaves on the walls, could carpet be far behind?

palm leaf carpet

I found these tropical area rugs for sale on privapumba.com (below).

tropical rug tropical rugs 2

What could be nicer than to wake up surrounded by tropical greenery?

  palm leaf bedroom palm leaf bedroom 2

palm tree bedroom bedding 2

(Pictures from top left: crealotu.com , sarahsarna.com, decorvibes.com (interior by Michelle Workman Interiors) and buyerselect.com.

How about some Martinique banana leaf curtains? Pictures from sarahsarna.com.

palm leaf bathroom 3 palm leaf bathroom 4

You can even get a tropical leaf shower curtain! From amazon.com

palm leaf curtain

Speaking of curtains…

palm leaf curtains palm leaf curtain 2

Pictures from cocokelley.com

Not forgetting cushions, of course…

palm cushions   banana leaf cushion

From left: Kimberley-down-cushions.co.uk and on right fashionsquad.com

This new restaurant in Farringdon, London is definitely a place I need to check out:

palm tree upholstery

Image of the restaurant in the Bourne and Hollingsworth Hotel on businesstraveller.com

But if you want a quick tropical fix, why not pop around to your local florist and pick up some tropical leaves?

palm leaf palm leaf 4

palm leaf 3 palm leaf 2

Images from coastalshorecreations.com




Posted in Bathrooms, Bedrooms, interior decoration, Interior Design, martiniquewallpaper, palm tree lamps, tropical design, wallpaper | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Oh, yes, I’m one of those people who loves Christmas. Growing up in Canada, a white Christmas was guaranteed, with snowmen, frosty noses, and even an occasional sleigh ride, jingle bells and all.

But the thing that meant Christmas was truly here was the night we’d all decorate the Christmas tree, always a real one, painstakingly selected at the local Christmas tree man’s stall on the petrol station forecourt (or garage parking lot in Canada-speak). This was, of course, once we’d moved to Quebec. Back in Newfoundland Dad had to put the chains on his tires, drive out over the icy roads to the forest and chop down a tree, tie it to the roof of the car and get it home, without it falling off (something that did happen one year, but that’s another story).

So, today’s blog is an ode to the Christmas Tree, in all it’s decorative glory.

 christmas tree livingprops.co.ukThe fabulous tree in Covent Garden London.

christmas tree guidelondon.co.uk

And another English one, the tree in Trafalgar Square London. An annual gift from Norway.

christmas tree workingventures.ca

I love this pretty pink tree. From http://www.workingventures.ca

christmas tree kuwans.com 3

I love this pretty multi-coloured candy tree. On http://www.kuwans.com

christmas tree ideas.thenest.com 2

Just because you’re short of space doesn’t mean you have to forego your tree. From http://www.ideas-thenest.com

christmas tree kuwans.com 2A frosty white delight! From http://www.kuwans.com

IMG_2062I have to put in my own tree, don’t I? Lots of turquoise, purple, pink and lime green. My favourite colour combination.

Posted in Christmas, Christmas Trees, Colours, Interior Design, Interiors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

De Fence is Divine – Decorating Interiors with Fencing

I’m helping some friends of mine with the refurbishment of a guest house in France, and, as they’re watching their pennies, we’re doing a lot of recycling and upcycling. Recently we found some old metal fencing at a country flea market as cheap as chips, so they bought the lot and we’re not thinking of inventive ways to use it in the guest house. I’ve trawled the internet and have found lots of great ideas.

I love these quirky fencing headboards. Photo: www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

I love these quirky fencing headboards. Photo: http://www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

This old fence makes a great rustic pot-hanger. Photo: google.co.uk

  This old fence makes a great rustic pot-hanger. Photo: google.co.uk

fencing 8 -

This newel posts was a garden centre find. Photo: http://www.hometalk.com

I love this gorgeous upcycled console table. Photo: www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

I love this gorgeous upcycled console table. Photo: http://www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

fencing 2 - dishfunctional

This garden fencing has been made up into a strkining distressed pot-hanger. Photo: http://www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

A bit of cheap wire fencing makes an inventive ceiling light. Photo: www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

A bit of cheap wire fencing makes an inventive ceiling light. Photo: http://www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

How about this clever kitchen board? Photo: www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

How about this clever kitchen board? Photo: http://www.dishfunctionaldesigns.blogspot.co.uk

fencing 6 - google.co.uk

As an alternative to fencing, think about upcycling old windows. Here’s one made into a pot-hanger. Photo: google.co.uk

More upcycled window ideas coming up soon!

Posted in fencing, interior decoration, Interior Design, Interiors, upcycling | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview on “Terry’s Blinds” Site

I’ve recently been interviewed by Tudor Davies at Terry’s Blinds at http://www.terrysblinds.co.uk (which is nice). Here’s the article:

Posted in Contemporary Design, Interior Design, Interiors | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Home Sweet Home

I may live my life with plane and train tickets stashed in the old Moroccan bowl I use as my In-Tray (I go into withdrawals if I don’t have a ticket to somewhere lurking in there), but as much as I love to travel both for work and pleasure, I love to come home. There is nothing like having your own comfortable nest, a place that’s all about you.

I believe your home should reflect your life — your hobbies, interests, family life, collections, pleasures and aspirations. I always encourage my clients to help me make their house their home. We make collections out of their possessions, paint walls their favourite colours, and frame their family photos. We blend the dining table left to them by their great-aunt with contemporary chairs and the rug they carried back from Marrakech. We re-frame and re-hang their pictures, and fill in the gaps with flea market finds, artwork from contemporary artists, vintage furniture and a few new pieces. And beautifully made curtains and blinds (even if the fabric is a dropcloth!) I don’t have a “design style”. You won’t walk into a room decorated by me and say “That’s an Adrienne Chinn interior”. I want my clients to walk into a finished room and say “This is me.”

Well, this is me. Almost everything comes from flea markets, ebay, Morocco, new artists, and hand-me-downs from friends and family. I can remember the story behind every find and purchase: the 1960s Lloyd Loom chair my ex-boyfriend and I carried back on the train from Norfolk, the Moroccan rugs I squashed into my suitcase in Marrakech, the Art Deco dog sculpture that the young French guy I bought it from at a London antiques fair lugged over from Paris (it weighs a ton) and I lugged from Battersea to Balham by foot, bus and train. The pair of late 19th century photographs of geishas in their original hand-lacquered frames I found, coated in dust, at the back of an antiques barn. The enormous original 1920s print of the dancer Lydia Fedowa I saw on the wall of the Battersea Art Fair and immediately fell in love with, arranging to pay for her in installments over a 6-month period. All of these possessions are part of my story. My home is small, eclectic and a bit cluttered (I admit). It is my place to manifest my loves, as odd and disparate as they may be. And in my home, as in your home, that is as it should be.
























Posted in Bedrooms, Colours, inspiration, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Decorating with Dropcloths

Decorator’s dropcloths — huge swathes of light beige cotton canvas used by painters to protect floors and furniture from paint drops — are terrific as curtains and slipcovers if you’re looking for a shabby chic or contemporary rustic edge to your interiors. And, at a fraction of the cost of designers fabrics, who’s to complain if you buy it from a hardware store rather than a upmarket fabric shop?

Real decorating is about thinking outside the box. It’s about creating beautiful interiors from honest materials; rescuing unloved cast-offs; and supporting talented craftspeople. Upcycling and recycling are certainly part of real decorating, as is trawling around flea markets and car boot sales. So is searching out local artists and artisans at craft fairs and using their talents to add unique accents to your home.

Here are some fabulous ideas for decorating with dropcloths, from curtains and blinds to slipcovers, cushions and headboards. Your only limitation is your imagination!

dropcloth cushions 1

Posted in curtains, inspiration, Interiors, Living Rooms, rustic, shabby chic, slipcovers, soft furnishings, upcycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
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