Welcome FamaLiving!

Am really delighted to hear that Spanish sofa and chair company FamaLiving finally has a showroom in London! I’ve been ordering from them for years. I love their comfortable, funky furniture and their wide selection of fabrics. Have a look at a sofa and ottoman I used in a client’s living room a couple of years ago.

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Photos: James Balston

I mixed up some of their fabrics with some I’d sourced for the cushions — they were most accommodating, sending me the cushion inserts for me to have covered in London. The client was delighted and went on to buy a house where we used more FamaLiving furniture.

Find FamaLivin at Seriously Sofas in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey. www.seriouslysofas.co.uk

See the launch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxRjvHdOzqs

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The Divine Dorothy

I am a great admirer of Dorothy Draper. Born in 1889, she became known as “America’s most fabulous decorator”, and she helped inspire a generation of home improvement devotees with her 1939 book Decorating is Fun!. Dorothy was the antithesis of a minimalist. She was a lover of bold chintzes, bright “happy” colours, over-scaled furniture and floor tiles, rococo scrollwork, wide stripes, and Baroque plasterwork. Over the top? You might say so. Yes, you could definitely say so. But so much fun. Her rooms, like her, were full of verve and joie de vivre. Her rooms were iconic — a total rethinking of classical style which became known as American Baroque. She was all about bringing joy into people’s lives.

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One of Dorothy’s most famous designs was for The Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia. The owners, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway company, hired Dorothy to redecorate the entire resort. She designed everything from the staff uniforms to the matchbook covers. The opening attracted the movers and shakers of the day.

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The Greenbrier. Signature Dorothy Draper style with the large black and white tiles, clear colours and chintz curtains.

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Hallway in the Greenbrier. Note the Baroque plasterwork and large-scale plant motif in the carpet. Dorothy particularly loved green and blue as these were the colours of nature.

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The Greenbrier.

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Beautiful enfilade at The Greenbrier. An expert’s eye at work.

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The Greenbrier. I love the turquoise walls and large-scale plant motif on the carpet.

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Photo: Courtesy Architectural Digest. David Hicks said Dorothy Draper was a great inspiration to him.

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The Greenbrier.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art cafe. Photo: circa 1960s.

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Fabulous wide stripes and oversized urn in the Greenbrier.

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Rhapsody in blue-green. A big room can take a big scale — the wallpaper and matching curtains really add life to this space.

Dorothy’s company continues under the guidance of Carleton Varney. www.dorothydraper.com

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Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech

Yves Saint Laurent, with his partner Pierre Berge, joined the “in” crowd of the late 1960s — people like Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, fashion designer Loulou de la Falaise, J. Paul Getty Jr. and his beautiful wife Talitha — in Marrakech, where he could walk the dusty, chaotic streets unrecognised and indulge in his appreciation of Islamic art and architecture. Saint Laurent ended up owning several homes there over the ensuing years, and turned to designers like Marrakech resident Bill Willis and Jacques Grange for the design of these homes.

ysl morocco1 Yves Saint Laurent in Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech.

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The stunning Mauresque entrance hall.

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An interior fit for a Moroccan sultan.

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Sitting room in the Dar es Saada.  A blend of comfortable upholstered furniture and Moroccan details.

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Bill Willis took Orientalism to its zenith inthe library of Saint Laurent’s Dar es Saada.

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The blue bedroom and the library designed for Dar es Saada by Bill Willis — Willis said the library was his favourite of all the rooms he’d ever decorated.

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The stunning living room by Bill Willis — a harmony of blues and mauves. Willis was known for his intricate zellig tiled fireplaces.

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The blue and mauve colour scheme was used to great effect by British designer David Collins in his design for the Blue Bar at the Berkeley Hotel in London. It’s both tranquil and elegant.

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A detail of the living room’s fireplace. Willis worked out the design in intricate detail on paper before the tiles were specially coloured and fired, then cut out and fit my a master Moroccan tiler.

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Saint Laurent at his desk and Berge in one of the living rooms.

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I love the simplicity and the combination of soft blues and unexpected yellow on the ceiling and in the striped curtains in his Marrakech bedroom. It would be like waking up to the sun every morning.

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The guest bathroom — if I showed up as a guest and my bathroom looked like this, I’d never leave. I love the turquoise tiles around the sink and intend to use this idea one day myself.

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Saint Laurent in his garden. Far from the madding crowd.

Posted in architecture, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Bill Willis, Colours, inspiration, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms, Marrakech, Morocco, Yves Saint Laurent | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wow! Pow! Neon!

I’ve been out and about on the streets lately where I’ve suddenly turned on to neon.

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Maybe it’s the grey winter weather, maybe it’s just a general fed-upness with neutral interiors, but I just want that colour slam dunk right now. I’m talking full saturation, no holds barred, slap me in the face colour.

Dig those juicy greens in this children’s bedroom (aren’t those giant leaves fun?)…

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Fab wall panels and how about that carpet (below)?

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Love this citrussy room by Jonathan Adler (above) — good enough to eat.

Photo: www.thecolourfield.net

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A bathroom not for the faint-hearted — and don’t I just love that. That pink in the bedroom is the perfect contrast to the electric green.

Photo: www.carpettheworld.org

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See how the walls in neon green just add va va voom to this dining room by Jonathan Adler?  And how about the roman blind and chairs in this brown study below? Also by Jonathan Adler.neon jonathan adler 6

I adore this space below by Michael Craig Martin. Talk about using your imagination…and having an adventurous client!

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Photos: www.michaelcraigmartin.co.uk

If I were a young girl, wouldn’t I love a bed like this one below?

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Photo: www.stylisheve.com

If you don’t want to go whole hog, just add a touch of saturated colour — how about some vibrant pink bookshelves (love those peacock shades) or a door painted lime green? Photo: www.bicyclette.co

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What a great kids’ area in this public library below. Neons are an under-used choice for children’s space.

cheerful-kids-playroom-ideas-500x376 A zing of yellow adds punch to this neutral room….

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Photo: www.decoist.com

And now for some luscious oranges and pinks from Jonathan Adler…

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…sometimes even just one feature item like this orange sofa below adds the stand out accent that makes a white room come alove (photo: www.decoist.com ).

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…just gotta love that zap of orange in this room designed by David Hicks…

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….and vibrant blues, pinks and reds…again by uber 1960s designer David Hicks….

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….and I pay colour hommage to the fearless Jonathan Adler who came out all guns blazing for the Barbie Dream House….

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…more Jonathan Adler for the Barbie Dream House below….

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And below… j’adore!

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Photo: www.stylisheve.com

There, that woke you up, didn’t it?

Posted in architecture, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Colours, Contemporary Design, Dining Rooms, inspiration, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms, neon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A House of Her Own

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Photo: Architectural Digest.

Over the holidays I read a biography of the twentieth century American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, “How Georgia Became O’Keeffe: Lessons on the Art of Living” by Karen Karbo. This was a woman, who, once she listened to the thing inside of her that she must do while she was on this earth, spent her life doing it, tenaciously, single-mindedly. She drew, she sketched, she painted — expressing her experience of, and response to, the wild world which inspired her so much.

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She chose New Mexico as her home, entranced by the arid desert and the flat-topped Padernal Mountain which she could see from her home, Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu. She said, of the mountain: “It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.”

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And, as much as I enjoyed her story, and admire her art, I was almost even more fascinated about how she chose to live. Georgia choice of home was as uncompromising as the other choices she made in her life. Ghost Ranch was an unpretentious adobe home in the middle of an arid desert landscape. Upon buying the ranch she had large windows installed so she could look out over “her” landscape, and participate in its changing moods.

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georgia o'keeffe house 2Above photos: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

What I love about Ghost Ranch is its comfortable place in the landscape, and the use of simple, natural building materials — adobe, wood, stone. Having been in many Berber homes in Morocco, it resonates with the same simplicity and honesty, but, unlike the inward-looking Berber homes, it is unashamedly extrovert with its outward-looking windows which invite light, air and the landscape to participate in the experience of living in this unique piece of architecture. For me the landscape becomes an intrinsic part of the architecture of Ghost Ranch. Without the dialogue between the landscape and the structure, the building would lose its unique essence.

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Photos: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Another thing I admire about Ghost Ranch is the clean-lined mid-century furniture combined with ethnic rugs and large canvases of Georgia’s art. It’s contemporary and unexpected, especially when one considers the rustic exterior. But there is an artist’s eye at work in these spaces — the furniture useful, the design exhibiting a modern aesthetic sensibility, and it is placed to balance, just so, the vast amount of clean, white space. But it is not pristine. It was her home, after all. Georgia brought her collections of stones and skulls and baskets and local pottery into the spaces, lining them up on ledges and along windowsills. She was not against putting a comfortable old wooden chair in amongst the modernity — if it had a shape she responded to and a useful purpose, then it, too, could find a home here. As could an ethereal mobile by Alexander Calder.

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Photo: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Photo: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Photo: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Photo: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Photo: Robert Rack, Architectural Digest.

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Photo: Robert Rack.

I admire this easy, almost careless, mix of old and new, combined with honest, natural materials, space and light. And art. If I were to be asked about my dream home, the answer is easy. Ghost Ranch. Hands down.

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Photo: Architectural Digest.

Posted in architecture, Contemporary Design, earth, georgia o'keeffe, Ghost Ranch, inspiration, Interior Design, Interiors, nature, New Mexico | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Walking Softly

Sometimes you just need to get away from everything. Work, crowds, the internet, TV, shops…. Leave your cell phone at home. Hook the leash on the dog’s collar (or borrow someone else’s dog), and find a quiet place. A place with wild grasses, wind-whipped trees, rocks with crevices wrought by some glacial razor in a long ago millennium. Listen. You’ll hear the whisper of the earth. Look. You’ll see colours only nature can create, and, if you walk softly, wild creatures.

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I am on Vancouver Island right now, and it is a place of exceptional beauty. Today on my winter walk I saw deer, and a bald eagle, and two sea lions skimming through the glass-like water of the Georgian Strait, the snow-topped Rockies in the distance. A V of Canada geese flew directly over me and the dog, so low that I could see the web of their feet. I stayed longer than I had intended, standing on top of a rock looking out to the grey water of  the Strait, watching the sea lions playing with a trail of moonlight.

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Walk softly and you will hear the earth speak to you.

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Posted in Colours, earth, inspiration, nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Zig and I’ll Zag

I’ve been noticing zigzags lately. They look fresh, dynamic, and, yes, a little bit cheeky. They’re not for the faint-hearted. They shout ‘look at me!’ They’re the naughty child in the stripe family. If you want to add energy to a room, just throw some zigzags in. Viola! Instant pizzazz! I can’t wait to get my hands on something fabulously ziggy zaggy in my next flat. And you can be sure I’ll try to fit some of graphic energy into my next project. Clients be warned!

I love the way Jim Lambie has jazzed up the classical columns with this colourful zigzag floor.

Juan Montoya Design use a chocolate and white zigzag rug to add a jolt of energy to this home study.

Zigzags don’t need to be bold to be effective. The rug in this room by Robert Passal is subtle and unique.

American designer Jamie Drake uses zigzags on cushions in this masterfully colourful room.

 I’ve used this picture before in my blog about turquoise, and I’ll use it again here. Jonathan Adler can do no wrong.

Kelly Wearstler is at the top of her game with this stunning black and white design and the zigzag marble floor.

I love this subtle painted zigzag floor in this room by Mary McDonald.

How about a feature zigzag wall? This one is by Billy Baldwin.

Zigzag neutrals by Sabbe Interior Design.

Some zigzag colour on the floor in this design by Domino.

I love the way this white room comes alive with this zigzag rug.

Terrific pink zigzag cushions in this fun guest bedroom.

Ultimate eclecticism in this hallway design. Photo courtesy of House Beautiful.

The settee in this neutral room adds an element of fun. Design by Barbara Howard.

Wow! A rhapsody in zigzags by Decorpad.

Tamara Kaye-Honey uses zigzags, x’s and squares is a harmony of graphics in this neutral  room.  Photo courtesy of House of Honey.

How about a zigzag chair? This one is by Reitveld.

Energetic zigzags and vibrant yellow — a match made in sunny heaven! Photo courtesy of Cottage Living.

Posted in Bedrooms, Colours, Contemporary Design, Dining Rooms, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Any Colour As Long As It’s Turquoise

I love all shades, tones and hues of blue-green. There’s an old saying, “Blue and green should not be seen without a colour in between.” Well, Bah Humbug to that. Just look how well Mother Nature does it — wide expanses of blue sky and the lush greens of trees and grass always uplift us. And if it’s good enough for Mother Nature, it’s good enough for me.

So, when I decorate a room, my pallette of choice inevitably includes some duck egg blue, or eau de nil, some aqua or sea green, or, as my very top choice, turquoise. I’m so known for my love of this striking colour I’ve even been nicknamed Turquoise, and my collection of turquoise jewellery is legendary.

Turquoise is one of those colours like red or lime green that really lifts a room out of the ordinary. I love to dot turquoise accents around a room as an energising visual link, and I dream of having a bedroom polish plastered in turquoise one day.

So in honour of my favour colour, here are some wonderful interiors featuring the Queen of Colours – Turquoise.

A fabulous turquoise lacquered screen featured in Elle Decor.

Gorgeous turquoise curtains and accessories in this room designed by Scott Sanders lift this living room into heaven.

Love the funky retro vibe in this room by Kelly Wearstler.

High sheen turquoise walls and silk curtains look great with the graphic animal print carpet and neutral chairs in a room designed by Jonathan Adler.

Touches of turquoise look elegant in this room designed by David Collins.

My dream room. I adore the turquoise tadelakt walls in this Moroccan bedroom.

1960s British designer David Hicks knew the value of energetic turqouise as an accent.

Another fun room from Jonathan Adler.

Turquiose makes a great feature wall. The Colourfield.net

Turquoise pottery looks great grouped together on an antique trunk at Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech.

Another wonderful turquoise room by Kelly Wearstler.

My own collection of vintage Bitossi pottery.

Gorgeous vintage mouth-blown glass lamps from Talisman Antiques in London.

Two of my favourite things in one: Perspex and turquoise. High on my wish list.

Love the turquoise detail on this vintage mid-century sideboard at Talisman Antiques.

So, the next time you’re thinking of jazzing up your space, why not think of injecting a little turquoise into your life. Just be careful — it’s addictive!

Posted in architecture, Colours, Contemporary Design, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bold as Brass

I’ve got a thing for brass. Yes, I admit it. I’ve slept in a Victorian brass bed since I was 18, and have been know to persuade clients to keep their brass bathroom taps rather than changing them to sleek, modern stainless steel. So I’ve been ecstatic to see brass make its way back from design Siberia into modern homes. From Jaimie Hayon’s fabulous Organico sink to Tom Dixon’s Void pendant light and Jonathan Adler’s funky side tables, not to mention the revival of vintage brass furniture, brass is back, and this time it means business!

Jaime Hayon’s fabulous Organico sink.

I love these brass-plated Warren Platner chairs in a design by Kelly Wearstler.

Jonathan Adler takes it all in hand with these show-stopping brass chairs.

This Void pendant by Tom Dixon is high on my wish list.

The cubist sink was designed by the Campana Brothers for an Athens hotel.

A touch of brass in the lighting warms up the blues in this dining room by Kelly Wearstler.

I love the brass detailing on this vintage sideboard at Fears & Kahn. (Love the turquoise too).

A stunning and unusual 1970s brass and glass desk at Talisman London.

Brass accents add glam to this Kelly Wearstler designed living room.

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

New Skype Consultation Service!

I’m delighted to say that I have just launched an on-line Skype interior design consultation service.  So no matter where you are in the world, if you need some interior design advice, you can contact me to talk through your project, no matter how small or how large.  Whether you prefer contemporary or traditional design, I can help you create the interior of your dreams.

You can pay on my website via Paypal.  The price is £100 for a consulation lasting up to one hour.  Once your payment has cleared I will contact you via email to arrange a suitable date and time for the consultation.

To find the link on my website, type www.adriennechinn.co.uk , on the home page click onto Other Services, then click onto On-line Consultation. Here’s a direct link for you: http://www.adriennechinn.co.uk/skype-consultation.htm

I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in architecture, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Colours, Contemporary Design, Dining Rooms, Interior Design, Interiors, Living Rooms | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment