Loulou’s of london … a peek into the latest members only nightclub

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Loulou’s night spot is located inside Mark Birley’s 5 Hertford Street …the very exclusive membership club in Mayfair. Opening in the second half of 2012, the wild and wonderful interiors are by the acclaimed fashion designer Rifat Ozbek … with a budget of 30 million pounds !!

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Robin Birley is not new to the aristocratic world of the private club, his late father Mark created Annabel’s, Harry’s Bar and Mark’s for the previous generation. Robin named his club ‘Loulou’s’ after his aunt Loulou de la Falaise, the fashion designer.

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Spaces for wining, dining, sitting, dancing or just quietly contemplating. The interiors are a celebration of colour and pattern, rich and exotic, vibrant … and always so elegant.

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It is this understated elegance that underpins all great design and never more so than at Loulou’s. The combinations of beautiful fabrics, stylish lighting, glamorous wallpapers and extremely interesting painted finishes … and we all thought painted finishes had had their day.

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The one colour that seems to add that touch of glitter and wit throughout is ‘lipstick pink’ … it just works. And there is plenty of wit … a bar made of shells, stuffed giraffe’s head and illuminated peacocks !!

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A.A. Gill observed of the founder members and carefully invited on opening night “These are the people who are famous to one another – legends of their own clubs – and that has always been enough.”

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images: jonathan becker

5 ways with the warmth of wood

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1.  Timber floors, walls and ceiling create a warm palette, all complimented by the stone clad wall in similar hues.

2.  The balance between the texture of timber and stone, and the crispness of the minimal white wall, porcelain freestanding bath and bedlinen, is perfect.  Note the contrasting timber shades of the furniture.

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3.  Beautifully designed timber furniture provides the warmth, texture and perfect scale in this otherwise simple white interior.

4.  The contrast between the smoothness of the timber floor and the rustic nature of the timber furniture gives this room another dimension.

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5.  If you can be bold enough to follow the warm tones of the timber and stone with soft furnishings (rather than contrast with additional colour) the end result will be extremely elegant.

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Images: wiesergut hotel, hinterglemm, austria

5 ways with texture … adding a whole new dimension to your interior

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Texture is a very important element in any interior however it is even more relevant when working with a neutral colour palette. The texture becomes the focal point.

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When glancing at Wallpaper magazines 2013 High Altitude, the latest in ski resorts, I was struck by the impact of fabulous texture in varying forms. This was the key element in all these interiors … timber, stone, rustic furnishings and fabric in contrast with the icy surround.

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There is unlimited scope for the introduction of texture … wall finishes, floor and ceiling finishes, furniture, floor coverings and of course fabrics.

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The use of texture or the juxtaposition of different textures will bring a balance to the visual appeal and comfort of an interior … more often than not it brings warmth and sense of wellbeing.

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Introducing texture into your rooms can be as simple as:

1.  Roughly textured jute or sisal rugs on smooth polished floors

2.  Velvet and silk cushions on a linen sofa

3.  Cashmere throw rugs draped over crisp cotton bedlinen

4.  A collection of beautiful shells or pebbles in an all white bathroom

5.  Rustic limestone floors with stainless steel slickness in kitchens

and on it goes …

5 ways with cane this summer

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1.  White cane is a beautiful contrast in any tropical garden setting.  What could be smarter than navy and white cushions. I imagine frangipani or hibiscus for that splash of exotic colour.

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2.  Wide verandahs lend themselves to both casual lounge and dining settings depending on your style of entertaining.  This reminds me very much of the house my mother grew up in Brisbane, where the verandahs were used extensively as an escape from the summer heat. The groupings of both white and natural cane work so well with the painted white timberwork and cane blinds. Blue and white cushions and chinoiserie lamp bases create an air of elegance.

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3.  Natural lacquered cane contrasts with all white lattice and painted furniture.  Bowls of shells with navy and white chinoiserie and fabrics complete the picture. This colour palette is a signature look for Stuart Membery and also rather ‘Hamptons’.

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4.  Explore your options with cane … this drinks trolley is a fabulous addition to any entertainment area in summer.  Wonderful storage as well as display for your prettiest glasses, decanters, bowls of lemons and limes and silver ice bucket.

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5.  All white with accents of sea foam green … simply stunning. Collections of shells and coral for warmth. Elegantly framed coral prints, bronze lamp and mirror frame add a certain formality… so chic !!  The versatility of cane….

images: stuart membery

5 design tips for turning your small spaces into grand spaces

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1.  Using the same floor material or shade of flooring throughout will unify your spaces and create the illusion of space.

2.  Keep your colour scheme simple and calm.  Again, use of the same colours throughout will unify and magnify the space.

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3.  Storage is critical in small apartments/rooms. Create additional storage and bookshelves where possible by boxing out recesses. Clutter makes a room appear smaller.  Disguise doors to storage cupboards where you can. Split a door into a pair of doors which intrude less into the space.

4. Choose furniture which is both moveable and multi-functional.   Combine a couple of feature pieces with other furniture that recedes or blends with the wall colour. Avoid too many contrasts and patterns in a small room. Surprisingly, an oversized picture or piece of furniture can create impact along with the feeling of grandeur.

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5.  The tried and true use of mirrors and even better mirrored walls, always works a treat in small spaces.  Try mirrored splashbacks in the kitchen to introduce light and expand the space. Allow for maximum flexibility with your lighting.  Dimmers on all switches will allow for that ever important change of mood and focus.

images: victoriameale

Marimekko … all the fun and colour of summer

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I have such fond memories of my marimekko curtains and bedspread, back in the day … it was the 70’s of course.  They were fabulous shades of bright green with large orange tulips.  The look extended  to green heart sheets and a gorgeous white peacock bedhead … all put together by my very stylish mother.

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Brisbane was all the richer for Joy de Gruchy and The Craftsman’s Market, a design studio that stocked Marimekko and put Brisbane on the map. I have adored Marimekko in a nostalgic sort of way ever since.

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How exciting to have our own Marimekko in Sydney … looking resplendent in the wonderful store in King Street. The colour is breathtaking and the space full of light !! Bolts of signature marimekko fabric, fashion and homewares.

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I couldn’t help but pass on my source for peacock bedheads to complete the picture … The Family Love Tree.

Loving the langham, london

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The Langham Hotel, London … just a short stroll from Oxford Street, Regent Street and Marylebone High Street … shops, shops and more shops. This is a very stylish hotel in a fabulous location.

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Classic Room

I love the warmth and attention to detail in all the rooms … from the entry level Classic Rooms to Grand Junior Suite.  There are of course larger suites, however I simply can’t imagine needing anything larger than the gorgeous Grand Junior suite … particularly when you are out and about shopping and exploring all day.

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Grand Junior Suite

I think what I love most is the interesting use of colour throughout … both elegant and adventurous, to say the least. I don’t know why all hotels don’t do doona’s/duvet’s … they are just so inviting.  Well actually I do know why.  Changing covers still remains a nightmare for housemaids. (Have to say I find it a challenge and only have a couple to do at any one time.)

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Artesian

Lovely to know there is the traditional Palm Court to return to for Tea after all that shopping … or the Artesian for a cocktail before dinner.  I do love the exotic Orientalism !!!

A stay at The Langham would not be complete without a stroll through Regent’s Park or a visit to the Wallace Collection (also fabulous Tearoom).

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