Table Top Styling: A collaboration with Lettuce Flowers

LFTitle

I met Sushma earlier in the summer at a birthday party in Whitstable. When we started chatting we immediately clicked and it felt like we were two old friends who hadn’t seen each other for a long time. Have you ever had those moments?

Sushma is the owner of Lettuce Flowers which is a floral arrangement company with a difference. Instead of using cut flowers to make her arrangements, she creates them with whole plants so that they can go on growing after the event or function has taken place. The arrangements are created using edible flowers, herbs and salad leaves making displays eye-catching and beautiful.

She creates arrangement for all sorts of events, functions and weddings. Take a look at her gallery here.

I loved the concept behind what Sushma and her company stand for so I when I asked her to collaborate with me on a blog post, I was very happy when she said “Yes!”

The idea for the post came to me in the late summer, we would create and style a table setting for an intimate lunch with friends. However, with clients and deadlines taking priority, we were unable to actually perform the shoot until recently, so given that Christmas was around the corner, we decided to create a Christmas theme setting for the shoot.

The location of the shoot took place at my most recent clients home. He had the most wonderful conservatory which was always filled with light. His entire flat was repainted and his conservatory was painted out in a warming Olive Green.  I thought this would create a nice backdrop against the rustic table setting we created.

We started out by getting Sushma to create the arrangement which would be a centrepiece for the table. As I was watching Sushma put together her display, I was struck with how wonderful the combination of herbs and edible flowers were.  An unexpected combination of Viola flowers, Primrose, Trailing Thyme and Chives was used within a Coir Pot.

I loved that amongst the dark purple and green foliage was the bright pop of white in the primroses which provided some lightness to the whole arrangement. The yellow flower centres of both the Viola’s and the Primrose harmonised the arrangement and the trailing thyme that hung casually over the sides of the pot created a wonderfully casual vibe to the arrangement. And it all smelled wonderful.

lettuceflowerssetup

Here are some tips from Sushma on how to make a Lettuce Flower style centre piece:

  •  Choose the colours of the flowers which will compliment the table settings and the background.
  • Look at textures of the green leaves and chose a good variety to vary the composition.
  • Ensure the container is not drawing your eye to it too much, but enough to enhance the flowers and leaves.
  • Natural smells from the flowers and herbs will always give soothing feeling, rather than strong smelling candles.
  • Try and make the table centres last for longer by choosing living plants as opposed to cut flowers.

Then it was my turn to create the table setting. I decided to go for earthy colours so that Sushma’s beautiful arrangement would stand out and be the centre of attention. I had some blue plates which I thought would work well with her Viola’s. And then I paired the rest with burlap and gold which would work against the backdrop of the olive wall of the conservatory.

lf5

lf4

Here are some tips on how to create a rustic style christmas dinner table:

  • Use natural materials and textures, in this case I have used hessian for a table cloth and white cotton napkins.
  • Add sparkle with highlights of gold to add warmth. The pine cones have been spray painted to add a touch of glamour.
  • Use wooden christmas decorations as place settings for guests.
  • Terracotta pots have been placed with a candle and then filled with perlite to add to the atmosphere of the table.

LF3

LF2

I wanted to say a big Thank You to Sushma for collaborating with me on this project. I had so much fun and I wish her all the best with her business and future endeavours. If you want to check out more of Sushma’s work, check out her web-site – http://www.lettuceflowers.co.uk/

So what sort of theme have you got planned for your table setting this Christmas? I’d love to know.

Till next time, Doris

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee

My House Tour: Hallway

Hallway2Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working hard on my latest client site. It’s been an intense couple of weeks but I will save that story for another time. Suffice to say, the work is done and I now find myself again in front of my computer with a steaming hot cup of tea and able to write again.

I’m now playing catchup and a couple of weeks ago, I received a request from a decorator who I have been using for years to do various jobs to provide some photographs for his new web site of the wallpaper he hung for me a couple of years ago. I was more than happy to oblige and finally got the chance. I also remembered that I promised to show more images of my home so here is the first of a series that I’m going to call My House Tour.

Firstly, I don’t really have a hallway downstairs. My front door pretty much opens directly into my open plan reception area and there are no doors downstairs at all with the exception of one to the toilet.

The idea for the wallpaper came about due to 3 key reasons. 1) I wanted to create an impact when you walked into the space, 2) I have a glass bannister up the stairs that you can see through and 3) I was given a £100 John Lewis Voucher from a close friend as a house warming gift.

So with all of these factors in place, I decided to go for the Birch Wallpaper from Cole & Son because it’s timeless and I love it. The cabinet is a sideboard from the Terence Conran Range from M&S and acts as a shoe cabinet. The mirror I got on sale from Loaf and acts as a full length mirror but also helps to bounce light around the room.

As the entry is quite tight, I had to move our sofa that acts as a divider to the room out of the way, so the place looks waaaay bigger than it really is. But for the purposes of showcasing the wallpaper for my decorator, I think this was acceptable. Here are the pictures.

Hallway3

Hallway6

Hallway5

Hallway7It’s funny how time flies. I distinctly remember 3 weeks ago it was still Autumn and the leaves were still turning vibrant shades of red and yellow. I suddenly realised this morning that Winter has now permanently parked itself in place for the next few months and the Christmas season is now upon us.

I’m off for a little R&R now before I start thinking about the next project and the Christmas rush! Till next time.

xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee

 

And the winners are…

PostcardsA Big Big thank you to all that participated in the giveaway for the Mapology Guides. I’m so happy to announce the winners are:

  • Monika Zielonka
  • Mel Chesneau
  • Shobha George

Can you please email me your address details to doris@interiornovice.com and a Mapology Guide and postcard set will be on it’s way to you soon.

Many Thanks Doris

Image Source: Photography provided by Mapology Guides

Using Maps in your Interiors

WorldMapMuralIt’s going to be a quick one today as I’m currently working on a client renovation, my own renovation & planning for the next client renovation due to start in December. Having to manage multiple teams of builders and clients expectations has taken a lot more effort than I realised. But I’m starting to see the results of those efforts and the excitement is building.

I was recently gifted the most beautiful map designed by my designer friend Kristjana Williams. You can see the picture on my instagram account here. Since then I have been seeing all sorts of images of interiors that have utilised maps for decoration.  So I thought I’d share them with you today. Maps are so versatile and can be used in any sort of space design. Here are some examples below…

AerialMaps

BlackNYMapNewYorkMapsVintageMapStylingKSWWorldMap

Do you use maps in your interior decoration? I’d love to know. Till next time.

xD

Image Source: Title – Interiorholic, 1 – inoutdesign, 2 – Wall Deco , 3 – linaikse 4 – shades of light, 5 – provided by Kristjana Williams – Photography by Leigh Keily

Creating Kitchens with Bling

wpid-708d5265fcd478c0adf9453e76020c34I’m not typically one to go for an interior that has a lot of bling in it. It’s never been my first choice preferring more textured materials such as wood, bricks or concrete. But there is something to be said about people that have the confidence to go all out. A great way to do this through metallics and lately I’ve been quite taken with metallics in the kitchen.

Metallic splash backs or cupboards create such a vibrant effect, creating a beautifully impactful look that is also in my opinion beautiful.

My tips for creating a kitchen with bling are:

  • restrict the colour palette against the metallic surface area. I suggest down to only 1 or 2 additional colours
  • ensure that you balance the colour against a neutral colour being either black or white
  • go all out and create the impact, you can’t go halfway with this look

Here is some inspiration:

Silvermosaic

CopperKitchen

GoldKitchenWhat do you think? Would you have bling in your kitchen? I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Title – Unknown, Image 1 – Unknown, Image 2 – Ikea Design, Image 3 – Decoholic.org

 

A creative venture and a giveaway!

mapology_guides_logo_grey-1Today I wanted to talk about the creative project that my friend Tina from the wonderful blog Colourliving has been working on called Mapology Guides. It’s been an amazing journey for Tina who told me about the idea late last year. I’ve been steadily watching the concept that started as an idea in her head, then turned into a work in progress and then became something tangible that I was able to physically hold in my hand. It’s been wonderful to see this great idea come to life.

Mapology Guides are about the decisions we make. We spend all day, everyday making them and we all tackle these decisions in a different way. These guides are a representation of alternative ways to tackle the decisions we make be them little or large. They tackle everyday questions to help us make better choices and decisions in life and do so in a thoughtful, fun and visually creative way.

The maps are curated by Tina Bernstein & Mike Abrahams and each map has been created by a different talented writer and illustrator utilising imagery to distill a complex audience in a fun, humorous and educational way. What I love even more is that in producing the maps, the creative team are recognised for their contribution and share in the success (or failure) of the project with 50% of profits split equally between them for 15 years.

So without further ado, here are the guides…

mapology gifts map cover hi res

mapology gift map back hi res (smaller size)mapology gifts map close up high resmapology gifts map open high res

Be Present Perfect – is a map to help people get the right gifts for everyone, everytime. It’s a fun interactive map that gives you options for what you can buy that someone special. It takes the stress out of gift giving and gives plenty of opportunity for a laugh along the way if you ever have a Dodgy Relative or Sugar Daddy that is.

Writer – Simon Rodway & Illustrator – Miranda Sofroniou

mapology wbu cover hi res

mapology wbu? detail hi res (small siza)mapology wbu?map open hi resWhat’s Bugging You? – Is my favourite of the 3. It’s about tackling lifes problems, big and small and provides insightful ways to address them and help us move on. I found myself sitting down to fill in the empty boxes posing questions such as What is the problem? and What are the smallest next steps you can take? A very insightful guide that I will be referring to for many years to come.

Writer – John-Paul Flintoff & Illustrator – Jenni Sparks

mapology pets map cover high res

mapology pets map back hi res

mapology pets map detail hi res

mapology pets map open high resWould like to Meet… Matchmaking pets and people – is a matchmaking guide for people and pets. It includes animals for all occasions from cats and parrots to spiders and horses. This a great guide for those that would love to have a pet but are not sure which one would suit their needs. It’s beautifully illustrated and also provides informative information on the animals themselves such as the pets lifespan, potential costs and time needed.

Writer - Sarah Farley and Illustrator – Nanna Koekoek

Along with the guides, postcards are also available to either supplement or to go on their own.

When I received the guides, I was immediately drawn in by the colour illustrations and imagery. I then sat down and started to read each of the guides and was taken aback by the sheer complexity and level of thought that was put into each of them. They are not just fun because I must admit that I did laugh out loud while reading them, it was that they were all helpful and informative also.

I am so incredibly proud of Tina because I have seen first hand the hard work and dedication she has put into this project and I wish her all the best in her new venture.

As a special gift, Tina has kindly offered 1 set of each map and postcards to give away to Interior Novice readers so you can experience it for yourself. So all you need to do is leave a comment to the post below detailing which guide you would find most helpful in your life for the chance to win! The winners will be selected by using random.org and announced on Thursday 20th November. This is a world wide give-away.

But even if you don’t win, you can still purchase the guides from the Mapology web site.

Till next time. xD

Image Source: Provided by Mapology Guides

***Thank You for all that participated. This giveaway is now closed.***

Working with an Open Plan Layout

I recently completed  a consultation for a client and received my first payment for work as an Interior Designer. Yay! The client was at the end of a major renovation and requested some consultation around possible colour options. To be honest, this was pretty easy as she already had a clear idea of what she wanted, so I was able to source some sample fabrics to supplement what she already had and acted as a sounding board which helped re-affirm that she was on the right track.

However, I felt that I wasn’t really giving her any value for money, so I decided to provide something extra by giving her a floor plan highlighting some example layouts for her space. I thought I’d share them with you today.

The space is an open plan double reception and looked like this:

Floorplan1

As the renovation was at the end of it’s completion, the built cabinetry was already completed. The client had installed shelving and storage along one long side of the room, which gave me a long narrow rectangle to work with.

As it was a large space, I felt that it needed to be zoned into 2 distinct area’s. As the TV point was at the bottom end of the room (closest to the bay window) it made sense that the reception area be placed at the window end of the plan. The top end of the space could be multi-functional, however the client was planning to place and display all of their art books in the book shelf so I felt that it could be used for a number of purposes such as a reading area, study nook or play room for their 2 young kids. All the furniture was in the process of getting replaced however I managed to convince the client to keep the Ercol armchair that was a family heirloom and incorporated it into the furniture layout to showcase how it could be used to work with the new furniture.

As part of the plan, examples of dimensions were provided so that when the client went shopping they could get an idea of how a piece of furniture they were looking to buy would fit into the space.

Here are the options I provided.

Option1ReadingNook

PlanOption1

option2childrens

PlanOption2

option3study

PlanOption3

In the end, the client went for option 3, without the furniture in the middle. The top end is used as a study area and houses a desk, while the reception area has an extra long sofa that takes up the length of the wall. The Ercol will be re-upholstered and sit in the middle of the room looking out towards the bay window.

The feedback from my clients was that the plan was very helpful and when I heard they had been taking the floor plans with them while shopping to assist them in purchasing their furniture, it was really great to hear that my work had provided value. A win-win for both of us.

Which layout do you prefer? I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Book Review: Decorating with Plants by Satoshi Kawamoto

DecoratingwithplantstitleRegular readers will know that I have a longstanding love of plants. The progressive work on  my little London garden has been something that has brought me a lot of joy over the years even though it’s been a long work in progress and still going.

The accumulation of plant life in my interior however has only been a recent development. Late last year, I came across an article in Elle Decoration that showcased an interior based in Brooklyn that was minimal but full of plants. It struck me how wonderful having plants in the home could be. The life the plants brought to the interior helped create a space that was homely, peaceful and tranquil. And so, I decided to try to bring some greenery into my home. I was cautious at first, starting with some easy to care for succulents, and have slowly progressed from there.

So when Jacqui Small asked me to review a book called Decorating with Plants by renowned Japanese Garden Stylist Satoshi Kawamoto, I just couldn’t refuse. The look of the book alone speaks true to Satoshi’s unique and edgy style and the book itself doesn’t disappoint.

Decorating with Plants provides pages of inspiration on how to incorporate a variety of plant life into your home. What I love about this book is that it is uniquely in Satoshi’s style where he prefers to use natural materials such as driftwood, linens and vintage finds to create his displays – totally in line with my aesthetic.

He starts the book by providing examples of how you can create plant displays in your home, using his home on the outskirts of Tokyo to showcase idea’s for every room in the house including the toilet. The book then talks about various ways to style a corner in the home, table settings and then store design.

Though the book is not a weighty tome, it is small but impactful. The images in the book are full of inspiration and I found myself, spending minutes on each page having to dissect the images because there are so many good ideas. Though the book is focused on plants, the images also provide inspiration on how to decorate with your every day items. His bedroom for example uses a variety of hats as display on his walls which I loved.

Would I recommend this book? If I saw this book on the shelf of the bookstore, I would definitely buy it simply because the book speaks to my aesthetic and creativity.

For this post, I decided to show some of Satoshi’s table settings that he has featured in the book. Beautifully created and styled all using the same table.

Decoratingwithplants

Decoratingwithplants1

Decoratingwithplants2

Decoratingwithplants3

Satoshi is also the creative director of Green Fingers, a chain of stores in Tokyo and New York that encourages customers to transform their living environment with greenery, garden accessories and personalised furniture. Further stores are planned for Los Angeles and my home town London. I can’t wait!

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Title Image by Doris Lee, consequent images from the book.

 

Urban Jungle Bloggers – Plant Shelfie

Plantshelfie1Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by Igor from Happy Interior Blog and Judith from Joelix.com. Every month they (along with other bloggers) share idea’s and inspiration to readers on how to create green urban spaces in the home. Each month a different topic is chosen and participants are free to join in with the fun.

This months topic was “Plant Shelfie”.

We are still in the midst of getting our downstairs space finished. Having started my own design business, I’ve had to prioritise other peoples interiors ahead of my own. This is just fine by me, however I find that my to be studio space is feeling somewhat neglected. So this morning I thought I’d brighten a small alcove space, that is currently waiting on some flooring and skirting with my version of a “Plant Shelfie”.

The lovely bench, is from Bloomingville and will indeed be used as a changeable display shelf so being able to put my concept into practise was a lot of fun! Here are the results…

PlantshelfieLandscape

 

Plantshelfie2

PlantShelfie3

 

So what do you think about my attempt at a plant shelfie? I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee

 

A Simple Year

StayingSimpleA Simple Year is a year long on-line course that I’m participating in that covers subjects related to simplifying your life. For the month of August (I’m playing catchup here), the topic covered was titled Staying Simple, which provided information and tools on how to simplify aspects of your home. The topic teacher was Brooke McAlary who blogs about simplicity on Slow Your Home.

This months topic was filled with very inspiring and motivational information. Brooke started off with providing an introduction of why she started to simplify her life. Being someone who was overwhelmed with trying to have it all, a successful business, a family, house and all the trimmings, she was candid about the phases in her life that lead her to a meltdown and decision to simplify her life.

What I really loved about this topic was that she cut straight to the subject of how to unearth your priorities. The reason being that if you spend time understanding your priorities, your motivation to living a more simpler life becomes easier.

So I thought I’d share with you the 7 questions that she asked for reflection on:

  1. Who are the most important people in my life?
  2. What experiences are most important to me?
  3. Looking back at my life, what do I want to see? What do I want others to see?
  4. Imagine a perfect day. Describe my surroundings, my feelings, my attitude. What is in common with my current life?
  5. What about my current life doesn’t feature at all?
  6. If I had a simpler life, what positive things could I move towards?
  7. What negative things could I move away from?

By answering these questions, it will help you to understand what your priorities are in life. Did you come up with anything interesting or surprising? I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee