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Next stop San Francisco #BlogTourCali

October 18, 2014

We are now a few days into BlogTourCali and have been immersed in a design and wellness adventure and thoroughly spoilt by Modenus and the sponsors. Our trip to the Bacara Resort and Spa organised by tour sponsor Mr Steam was pretty amazing, and emphasised the point that exercise and looking after yourself is so important.

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Today we are continuing our roadtrip up the Pacific Coast Highway after an overnight stay in Cambria. As someone who is happiest when I’m by the beach I’m enjoying the inspiration a rugged coastline always gives me.

We stopped off for dinner at the Caliza Winery in Paso Robles last night. Dinner under the stars was amazing, the quality of the wine matched only by the fantastic menu of local food. The Harvest supper was attended by 80 people, and one of my most magical BlogTour experiences ever.

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As always the sponsors have been so very generous on our tour. Dinner on our first night, at a rooftop restaurant in Hollywood no less, was sponsored by DXV, a new brand launched by American Standard. Their range features bathroom and kitchen products in styles from very classic to ultra contemporary.

Another sponsor for this tour is WestEdge Design. After spending a day at their show I now have a mountain of information to pour over and so much inspirations for client interior design projects when I am back in London.

Tonight we will be at the end of our roadtrip and arrive at our hotel in San Francisco. You can’t but help to love this city, I first visited over 20 years ago and always have fun on my visits. We will be enjoying a dinner with sponsor Zephyr here with the legendary architect Fu Tung Cheng. Known in part for his work with concrete it will be really interesting to learn more about his collaboration with Zephyr. The bold home below was design by Fu Tung in Mammoth Lake, and has an interior that features materials including concrete, stainless steel, zinc and maple.

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On Sunday, our final day on the tour, we will be exploring San Francisco on a design tour lead by a local interior designer Courtney Lake. With an amazing architectural history and a naturally beautiful landscape I’m looking forward to learning secrets from a local and discovering the hidden SF!

Our farewell dinner will be hosted by another tour sponsor Miele in their San Francisco showroom. As leaders of technology in the kitchen I’m know the Mixology Class will be a highlight of the tour. Let’s hope they pop a steam oven into a goodie bag, I’ve specified this for clients and its healthy cooking at it’s best.

I’ll be spending a few extra days in San Francisco after the tour ends before flying home to pick up on client design projects. You can follow me on twitter or Instagram throughout #BlogTourCali and beyond as I discover and share all the California design scene has to offer.

Hello California #BlogTourCali

October 10, 2014

Well I can think of worst ways to spend your birthday, today I will be packing to leave tomorrow for BlogTourCali run by Modenus. So it will be goodbye wet and windy London and hello to California sunshine. I was so delighted to be asked by Modenus to join the roadtrip through California over 5 days next week which starts in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Prior to the tour starting I’m heading to Palm Springs tomorrow for a few days rest and relaxation. It just happens to be Moderism Week there so this weekend I will be able to explore some of the architecture of the city. The show aims to celebrate the appreciation of mid-century architecture, which is certainly on show in abundance in Palm Springs. High on a hillside in the Coachella Valley the house below was designed by John Lautner and owned for many years by the late Bob Hope. With architecture tours and open houses Moderism Week is a great start to my California adventure.

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Modenus has been running Blog Tours since the first group of design bloggers arrived in London for the Design Festival back in September 2011. I have previously attended a Blog Tour over to New York and made life long friends with other bloggers while exploring the design of the city. This tour is starting in Los Angeles and finishes in San Francisco so we have the added excitement of a ROADTRIP!

A tour like this wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the sponsors. This time our sponsors are Mr Steam, Zephyr, Miele, DXV and WestEdge Design. I’m really looking forward to getting to know our sponsors as we travel on our roadtrip with them.

After settling into Los Angeles, and the obligatory roof top Hollywood dinner, we will enjoy a brunch the following morning with Miele. A long-term sponsor of Blog Tour they are my supplier of choice for kitchen appliances so it’s always great to hear about their new products.

Next stop will be to the WestEdge Design Fair, which launched last year. Bringing together the best of West Coast and International design I’ll look forward to walking the show and getting inspiration for design projects back home. I’m really excited to see exhibitor Graypants at the show, I recently specified their products for a project in London.

After partying in the evening at the Fair it will be an early rise as we start our trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. This tour has a strong focus on understanding about how design can help wellness so it’s appropriate our first stop is at the Bacara Resort and Spa. Here we will be enjoying a class of yoga and exploring the fabulous spa facilities.

After the morning at the spa we will be continuing our journey north for an overnight stay in beautiful Cambria. The evening will be spent exploring the Caliza Winery in Paso Robles. With 20 acres of land we will be tasting and discovering the delights of California produced wine.

Come back next week and I will share the rest of our amazing BlogTourCali adventure. You can also follow me on twitter or Instagram as we travel through California.

Room of the Week

October 6, 2014

I’m currently working on a large luxury bathroom for a project in Highgate. We are creating a signature bathroom for the house and the client has asked for a marble like finish but with little maintenance. The look of bookmarked marble as shown below is beautiful, but it can also be prohibitively expensive so I need to find an alternate material that can give me the same look.

While at Decorex recently I discovered the latest porcelain tiles from Stone and Ceramic Warehouse that we are now considering using on the project. Generally I don’t like ‘faux’ products as so many of them are often poor quality – who wants to use a tile with a bad photocopy on it? So I was delighted to see these new marble effect porcelain tiles on the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse display and love the quality and look of them.

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The samples have arrived on my desk this morning and I couldn’t be more happy with them. The Duomo white tiles shown in the parquet pattern are my personal favourite and I can’t wait to specify them for clients. This tile is also available in 60x60cm and 60x120cm formats. You can find more information on this stone, and their full range of marble effect porcelain tiles on the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse website.

If limestone is more your style the company also do a reconstituted limestone which allows you to enjoy the look of limestone with minimum maintenance. I originally used this product on one of my own projects but have recently used it for a client’s bathroom. Available in both a cream colour and a purer white I can really recommend this product.

This room was originally featured in the extensive galleries of House to Home. Take a look over at their website for room inspiration, and be sure to check back here every week to find which one of the rooms has been showcased.

Christmas comes to John Lewis

October 1, 2014

It’s that time of the year again, Christmas is appearing in the shops. If you don’t want to be festive yet you can easily ignore it – but it you love Christmas like me you probably can’t wait to see this year’s decorations.

Today the Christmas shop in John Lewis Oxford Street opened and we are featuring some of the six different themes today. The Croft range is a favourite of mine, it fits in perfectly with my own festive decorating scheme. Featuring lots of silver and white decorations this is the choice for creating your own traditional White Christmas.

With my fondness of and frequent visits to Scandinavia I am obviously in love with the Copenhagen range. With its pared down simplicity this is a perfect collection for urban apartments where you want to keep your decorating to a minimum. The decorations are based around a red, white and silver theme with some black accents. Personally I just love the cake tin – I think my Christmas cake may be going in that this year.

Finally, for your softer side, the Festive Friends collection is the last of my featured themes. Designed with children in mind the range includes lots of colourful tactile decorations, and also a few furry characters to dress your tree. I’m rather fond of the Polar Bear stocking, the perfect place for Father Christmas to leave your presents?

Head over to the Christmas section of the John Lewis website to find out more. There are three other Christmas themes so whatever your decorating style there is bound to be something to suit you!

Room of the Week

September 29, 2014

Today’s Room of the Week is a Venetian style bedroom which is richly decorated and furnished in a luxuriously opulent style. Some of the most luxurious hotels in Venice were occupied last weekend for the wedding of George Clooney and we can only imagine the decoration of these rooms. In your own home your bedroom should always be decorated in the best style you can afford, this is one room where I always suggest to clients that it’s worth splurging on.

The simplicity of this bedroom sold it to me. Many people try to include too many ‘things’ in their bedroom. Pare it down to what you need, your bedroom should be a restful place – and this shouldn’t include a television! Get your storage organised first. This will involve working out how much clothes storage you need and planning accordingly.

After deciding on your storage you then need to find a suitable bed. Choosing a large striking statement bed is always a great way to stamp your design style onto your own special space. Recently launched by Zoe Brewer and Out of the Dark this bed is from the new collection called The Flower Project.

Out of the Dark is a charity that was founded in 2010 and creates unique furniture from pieces that have been discarded by others. During the recycling and refurbishment process the founders Jay and Jade Blades also educate young people from disadvantaged background and provide them with employment. This collaboration with Zoe builds on her love of flowers – their aim is to get people to be inspired to think beyond what they usually expect from upholstered furniture. Each piece is unique and commissioned to your own requirements. The full range includes dining chairs, a sofa and the cure little Betty Boo chair below. Find out more about the range on Zoe’s blog.

This week’s Room of the Week was originally featured in the extensive galleries of House to Home. Take a look over at their website for room inspiration, and be sure to check back here every week to find which one of the rooms has been showcased.

Eley Kishimoto

September 26, 2014

Walking around trade shows isn’t as glamorous as it sounds and it gets very tiring after a while! The key to success if you are exhibiting is to have an eye catching display, and on this count Eley Kishimoto hit it out of the park this week at Decorex. Showing their first wallpaper collection at the show, it was a big hit with many designers visiting Decorex and the riot of colour drew people to their stand.

Eley Kishimoto was started in 1992 and have expanded their range to include fashion and interiors with numerous collaborations over the years. This first wallpaper collection builds on their reputation as ‘the Patron Saints of Print’. Their entire stand at Decorex was clad in the gorgeous La La Lyon wallpaper above in this vibrant blue.

The new collection of wallpapers are screen printed to order at their studio in Brixton. There are 12 designs in the range which includes some great geometric designs. I really like the subtlety of the Sun Loving Bollards design below. Head over to their website to see the full range, I’m already thinking about which projects I can use this gorgeous wallpaper on!

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Decorex discoveries

September 24, 2014

Luxury – what defines it? Many people have different views but in the Interiors world everything that is luxurious can be found at Decorex this week. I visited yesterday and am sharing some of my product discoveries today.

After passing through the sensational entrance to the show the first exhibitor that grabbed my attention was Zoffany. We often use their textural wallpapers for clients and I love the new Prism collection. Although often the choice for a feature wall I prefer to use these wallpapers in a small room and cover every wall. It really raises the luxe factor and makes a beautiful room.

Bert & May is the stand to head to if you are in the market for antique tiles or reclaimed wood. They also have a great range of tiles designed in their studio. Both of the tiles shown here have been reclaimed from Spain. In a world where so many interior finishes are replaced after just a few years it’s good to be able to reuse materials. Even better that the geometric style of these tiles is current very much on trend.

Over on the Samuel Heath stand I found some great brassware with a new non lacquered brass finish. Designed to age over time and generally darken I think this will be a good alternative to my general preference of chrome. This finish would look really smart if you have a country bathroom, or just fancy a change from polished chrome. It works perfectly with the metallic style tiles featured below.

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The folks at Timorous Beasties always manage to produce new designs that totally amaze me. While some of their designs call for a brave client, many of them easily work in any residential interior. I have a soft spot for flock wallpaper so was drawn to the Devil Damask Flock. Shown here with contemporary styling this would be a great wallpaper for a dining room, the atmosphere created when lit by candlelight would be fantastic.

This is just a small selection of my discoveries at the show. If you are a designer specifying interiors Decorex is a great show to visit, both for products and inspiration – you can find the full list of exhibitors online.

Finally I loved the new location in Syon Park and I can’t wait to return in 2015! well done Decorex on another great show.

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