5 things you should know about kilim rugs

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1.  Kilim rugs with their flat weave (or no pile) seem to sit particularly well in almost any modern interior …. rustic, contemporary, city or country, sitting room, kitchen or even bathroom.

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2.  Their geometric designs are available in a range of colour tones. Kilims add warmth, fabulous colour and a distinct personality to any neutral interior.

3.  Finding a kilim to compliment any scheme or interior is not all that difficult.  From recent experience most rug dealers have a number of kilims to look at.

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4.  The older kilims have the more subtle colours and their size tends to be more rectangular than square.

5.  There is a trend now for kilims to be used as upholstery or cushions.  I love this look. Not sure how I feel about the patchwork kilims ….

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PS.   Don’t forget a good underlay … they do tend to move.

10 tips for a spring makeover

 

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1.   It is all about de-cluttering … possibly even a spring clean.  The first hint of colour again in the garden is usually enough to get you going.

2.   Bring spring inside with bulbs planted into pretty containers … vases filled with bunches of freshly picked daffodils or branches of blossom.

3.   Cast off those woollen throw rugs and replace with cotton knits … think faded chintzes, a softer or neutral palette of linens, cottons and canvas.

4.   Loose covers give a lighter feel to furniture with winter weight fabrics. The solution is to have two sets of loose covers … winter and summer.

5.   Buy a new set of crisp white bedlinen or at the very least new pillow slips to smarten up the bedroom.

6.   Longer daylight hours and spring sunshine mean entertaining … plan a meal around new season produce. Smarten up the outdoor furniture and make or purchase a new outdoor cloth.

7.   Apply the less is more principle … spring is all about fresh air rather than cosiness. A more dramatic move might be to remove curtains so you can enjoy the view.

8.   Stand back and look at your rooms with a fresh eye.  A change in accent colour can lighten your look … simply change cushion covers, tablecloths and other decorative items. Group items with similar colours.

9.   Splash out on new towels and bath mat in fresh spring colours or even better white on white. New tea towels in checks and stripes will give the kitchen a new lease of life.

10.   Think about a change of room fragrance and scented candles.

 

Hotel plaza athenee, paris …. a stylists dream

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I fell in love with these images as soon as I saw them however just couldn’t help but wish all hotel rooms felt this inviting.  It seems that no matter how much money one pays for that touch of luxury, hotel rooms do seem a little lacklustre. Yes it is the finishing touches …. flowers, candles, magazines and the extra scatter cushions …. and yes I have spoken about it before.  For any number of reasons this is the area that seems to have been eliminated from either the brief or the budget or both.  Therefore it is the boutique hotel with the fastidious attention to this sort of detail that we seek out …. the hotels that appear in glossy magazines and coffee table books.

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These images show the beautiful Plaza Athenee in Paris …. a stylists dream ….miles of silk curtaining, elegant panelling and architectural detail, glamorous chandelier and sumptuous furniture.  Why aren’t all hotel rooms filled with armfuls of fully blown roses, french champagne on ice and fragrant room candles !!!!

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Swedish apartments …. white on white

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Scandinavian countries do white or pale interiors with great style.  Both rustic and refined.  Different shades of soft white, cream and grey … each used exclusively creates an elegant retreat from the chaos of colour and pattern in everyday life.

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White interiors accentuate architectural detail, texture … and capture light.  They have a purity …. like a crisp white shirt or a fluffy white bath towel.

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There is a certain serenity to a white or pale interior. White provides the blank canvas from which to showcase beautiful furniture, artwork … even the view from the window.

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Stone houses and a weekend in the southern highlands

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Yes another wet weekend in the highlands but it doesn’t seem to have deterred the holiday makers and visitors ….. people everywhere …. impossible to even get a seat in a cafe.

Out of town, however, it is all very atmospheric …. misty rain and wintry landscape …. this is why people come to the highlands !!!

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Driving through the countryside the many dry stone walls that this area is known for, are now more visible …. and seem to go on for miles.

I have always been drawn to houses made of stone …. and there are quite a few in the highlands. They just seem to nestle into the landscape.

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On the inside, exposed stone works best with a soft neutral palette of creams, caramel and greys.

The use of timber whether it be natural, limed or painted ….. compliments or can contrast with the stone beautifully.

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Apart from its beautiful texture, exposed stone has a warmth that brings an interior to life. If a whole house made of stone isn’t possible …. maybe a stone fireplace and hearth is !!

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Kitchen inspiration….plain english kitchens

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An enormous amount of energy goes into the design of a kitchen …. in my opinion the most difficult thing to achieve is the look and feel …. the finishes …. and how the kitchen will integrate with the design style of the house itself.  I have had clients who find a kitchen they like and are set on replicating it irrespective of whether it suits the style of their home or not.

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I was interested to see that the Plain English cupboardmakers have a portfolio that clearly reflects their signature design and quality, however shows how they adapt their look to suit a city, country or coastal feel as well as the period styles of Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne etc

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In a new home and to an extent with a renovation, you can inject some uniformity between the kitchen and the remainder of the house by using the same design and style of joinery throughout bedrooms, bathrooms, laundries and other areas.

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The mismatch between the kitchen and the rest of the house typically occurs when the back of a rather traditional house with small rooms is opened up to create one large living space with kitchen.  The flow from old to new requires both careful planning and more importantly thought into the visual flow of finishes, colour, lighting and design detail.

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Once you have that right, think of it as just furnishing another room of the house …. however its character and feel is probably more important than any other room …. given how many hours we spend in our kitchen/family rooms.

The word from the milan furniture fair 2012 via Gervasoni

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I was thrilled to chat with Jenny Gill, Australian agent for the fabulous Gervasoni furniture, on her return from the Milan Furniture Fair. This is the word from Milan.

What were the trends and future direction in furniture seen in Milan ?

loose covers, lots of timber furniture, ‘big’ sofas, the new ‘big look’ for most furniture, shiny fabrics, flokati style rugs and long pile carpet in general, over sized/exaggerated pendant lighting

What were the colours shown for the new season ?

orange, purple, grey and soft grey/green

Which range proved to be particularly popular at the Fair for Gervasoni ?

inout range which is modular furniture for outdoor use and upholstered in waterproof removable covers

Apart from the Gervasoni range, which collection had an impact ?

Minotti’s large furniture range

What are your tips for a visit to Milan for the Furniture Fair ?

it is a distinct advantage to be as close to the centre as possible, near the Duomo and furniture showrooms

Can you recommend a hotel in Milan that you have stayed at ?

the NH President, Milan is where I stayed this trip and it is terrific (4 star)

Any fabulous cafe’s you can recommend ?

bar erri, via durine near hotel

Do you have a final tip for visitors to the Fair ?

a must …. visiting the area where the new designers not able to afford the Fair exhibit ….. Zona Tortona

Retail Showroom for Gervasoni : Anibou, Sydney

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10 tips for creating a black and white interior !!

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There is nothing as smart as black and white !! And you don’t need another colour at all if you are clever with texture and pattern.  How inviting is the grey woollen blanket above, not to mention the rustic trunk …. the juxtaposition of the contemporary slick white walls with lots of texture, pattern and vintage !!

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Again, a simple white interior contrasted with the warmth and texture of the linen sofa and timber table.  Interestingly, it is the definite contrast of the black shade, television and other smaller pieces that create the statement.

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This is an example of pure white on white with not a lot of black …… however you don’t need a lot to make the statement.

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In contrast, the black in this interior is strong and bold and looks fabulous !!

The combination of the very definite black and white stripes with the softer lines of the sofa and armchair works beautifully. The detailed window architrave and rustic side tables soften the linear effect of the rug.

So be bold ….. go forth and embrace black and white for its simplicity, its inherent style and its flexibility.

Some black and white suggestions ……

almost black walls with white ceiling, doors, windows, skirting and architraves, floors pale bleached timber

white walls, ceiling and trims with black gloss timber floor

bathrooms with white wall tiles, predominantly white tiled floor with small black tile in check pattern, black vanity as a contrast with white bath and basin

all white kitchens with a very thick black benchtop … particularly good with black timber floor or even grey bleached timber

staircases in white with black handrail and tread only

charcoal to black painted exterior for timber houses or sheds with white trim on windows, doors and shutters

black and white photographs framed in black on a white wall or framed in white on a black wall

a soft black fringed throw rug on a bed made with crisp white bedlinen and doona

thick black bath towels hanging or folded in an all white bathroom

a large vase full of fully blown pink roses in any black and white interior ….

Designer rugs by fabulous designers

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The very clever Designer Rugs has engaged a number of designers with differing skills and backgrounds to come up with a range of spectacular rugs…..we are talking Akira Isogawa, Dinosaur Designs and Easton Pearson to name a few.

My favourite rugs are interestingly both by Catherine Martin, production and costume designer to Baz Luhrmann’s fabulous Moulin Rouge and others.  Her philosophy for these patterns was to “transform the mundane into the extraordinary”.

The rugs themselves are works of art but to see the rug named Feathers in situ above…. one can appreciate the impact of a stunning pattern but in rather subtle tones on what would have been a very neutral or bland interior.

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This rather exotic rug named Peony caught my eye…..I pictured it immediately….. sitting on high gloss Black Japan timber flooring.  Such a rich and vibrant addition to a classic traditional or contemporary interior….. a similar feel to a Persian rug.  Persian rugs work with any period or style of furnishing and this rug would be equally as versatile.

Rugs certainly change the mood of any room….they are a little like accessories that can dress up or down an outfit….they dress the room !!!

Home away from home at the greenwich hotel new york

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There is something rather special about boutique hotels like The Greenwich Hotel in New York…..they are so much more homely and inviting than the larger hotel chains….even if they are 5 star !!  The attention to detail during the design process is one thing but the concept of the smaller hotel offering a little more is what really makes the difference to its clientele.

The additional decorative items that you don’t see in the bigger hotels such as the occasional throw rug, coffee table books, magazines….the sort of decorative pieces that you would have in your own home or would like to have, are generously incorporated into both guestrooms and public spaces.

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Having spent a number of years working on the interior design of large hotels and small, there is only so far the big hotels are prepared to go when it comes to individualizing either the guestrooms, lobbies, restaurants or bars.  Yes it is a staffing issue…..after all straightening books and decorative items does take time!!!

The reason I don’t go back to hotels I have worked on is that I have been known to plump up cushions or reposition a collection of items on a coffee table !! I have to say that a large part of the thought process when incorporating all the gorgeous extras is how it will stand the test of time …. and the general public.

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Wonderful boutique hotels like The Greenwich have no two guestrooms alike.  They are elegantly eclectic …. incorporating delicate silk rugs, interesting art collections, glamorous mirrors and libraries of books…and are truly a luxurious home away from home.

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