Wednesday, 8 May 2013

House Beautiful May 2013

Don't you just love a cover that has "tips and secrets" on it?
It feels like we're reading a declassified FBI dossier that 
J Edgar Hoover kept on decorators.  But now of course, we don't need that - we have Million Dollar Decorators.

I really like coral.  
Not only the actual one that you sadly find less and less on the Great Barrier Reef but also the color and anything remotely similar.  However, I have a little coral and sea fan fatigue.  
But that is only because it has been a little overexposed of late but I wouldn't mind a cushion in any of these fabrics.

I rarely comment on the ads but I have to say that I find the following one from Pierre Frey very noticeably soothing.
It's not too fancy but also perfectly pitched for trade as 
Pierre Frey is usually reserved for professionals only in London.

I thought this was a very clever ad from Farrow and Ball.  
It must be the most copied paints in the UK.  Everyone takes a sample of a certain shade like String or Pale Powder which is one of the most popular selling shades in London and takes it to the hardware store to copy.
I have seen this "tip" on blogs and some acquaintances who think they are saving money by simulating a Farrow and Ball shade but I can spot a fake wannabe shade a mile off.  Then it seems kind of sad that they went through all the trouble of painting and spending money with a mediocre imitation.  If you want a Farrow and Ball shade - just buy it from them.  At the end of the day, it's paint and not imitation 16th century French furniture where there is a huge price differential.

Bitch warning.
Do you get the feeling that this is either the boss's daughter or mistress who wanted to be a model because she is kinda cute and watched a few seasons of American's next top model?

Now even though it seems I am the Home Decor version of CSI, 
the fact is I am actually very laissez-faire in real life.  
The only thing I am picky about is uncovered tissue boxes and bare dishwashing liquid bottles.  I always decant in another bottle and use a wooden box to cover the Kleenex.  Makes a huge difference.

I wrote about choosing a sofa a while back and I read this section about tips on sofas with great interest.
I just wanted to share this with those who might be interested.

I have had to put a ban on buying books as I just don't have the space but I might have to make an exception for this one.

While I like monogramming, I feel like it might be a bit weird to be eating off someone else's initials unless Queen Bessie invited you for dinner. I think it's best to keep those to bed linen and towels.

These geometric wallpaper prints are quite nice but it might work better to take a sample and frame them as it would make lovely art in itself.  I worry it might be a little too overpowering otherwise.

Bath of the month was nice although if you look at it, 
the bathroom is actually a very simple and white one.
But actually the star of the bathroom is the chevron marble floor 
and the Missoni towels.
I guess it shows that sometimes it is just the one detail 
to make it unique.

There are certain decor elements that get filtered through from a ducal estate in Europe that enters mainstream Americana.  
But sometimes, it filters through off kilter.
While I understand the intention, this family seem either like
fashion victims or really stubborn family members who 
just couldn't agree on chairs.

I have a feeling that a 6 foot plus husband agreed to this chandelier because then it gives him an excuse to never do the dishes as his head would hit it every time he was near the sink.

This isn't actually decor but a safety hazard I wanted to highlight.
Guys, please don't put your car keys on the console in the entry hall.
If a house gets broken into, then you are just handing over your car to the thieves on a silver platter. Sometimes burglars don't enter 
the house for things but more often than not car keys so 
please put them somewhere else.

I really appreciated the decor of this house by Lake Michigan.  
It did do the Marrakech-y thing but it seems like it is the flavour du jour so let's see past that.  For those of you who like blue, 
you are going to need smelling salts.
The view over the lake doesn't hurt.
I always deduct a point when I see a fake anchor 
in a lake/beach house.
How gorgeous is the house?  
It looks like a doll's house version of a New England colonial.

I can't imagine one person who doesn't feel like cooking 
in this kitchen.

The tiling in both the fireplace and the bathroom is superb.
For those who have read my magazine reviews before know that 
I find this faux haphazard throwing of towels and throws
an anathema to interior styling.
But I realized that after the effect Martha Stewart and her OCD has had on all of us, there must be a movement against all this.  
All the stylists must have been so shocked when she went to prison. They probably realized that OCD was masking something and 
no one's life is truly perfect.
But when I see a pristine house with equidistantly placed objects with one throw just randomly dropped, all I envision that actually happens behind the scenes of every shoot is...
Some reformed Martha groupie who is in therapy for natural OCD that got intensified with her indoctrination is rearranging furniture and vacuuming one last time ( interns always miss a spot ) and the photographer is telling the stylist to breathe, drop the throw, and walk away. WALK AWAY! 
This genre of styling has now entered advertisements...
The crazy thing is I am becoming OCD about this myself!


  1. Laughing about the coral fatigue. I think I may have a little bit of chevron fatigue.

    I am going to also confess to uncovered tissue box sins. I don't do anything with the dishwashing liquid either. I do keep it in a cupboard under the sink if that helps....

    I have the random elements covered though - I have left my kids and husband in charge of the haphazard towel and rug throwing and we have that down pat.

    1. It is sad when something gets killed isn't it? That is why I am probably so unfashionable because I always like what every one else is soo over like sundried tomatoes - totally into them again!

  2. Haha! Firstly love that Pierre Frey ad - that fabric is so 20's I just love it. But you can access it easily in London? You can pay retail prices for everything (or so it was back in The Dark Ages when I worked in design). I started writing a post on sofa's but became bored with it, so it's sitting in the draft file. I wasn't sure anyone would find it interesting, but maybe they would if HB put so much space into theirs.

    I don't decant my washing up liquid. Please don't hate me. But my kitchen is so awful it makes no difference at the moment. Maybe in the future kitchen I will make the effort.

    I feel like the monogramming trend has gone totally OTT. It's one thing to monogram one thing, but every single thing you hold or look at in a house is just too much. If the chairs had a monogrammed slip cover, that would be enough, or the napkins. But all of it monogrammed is just ridiculous. It's not the olden days when you'd send out your linen to the laundry and it served the same purpose as a school woven name tape in a uniform.... Are you thinking your guests might forget your name while at your house?

    The chandelier in that kitchen is ridiculous. I'm all for overscaling and putting unexpected elements in a house, but truly, that is ridiculous.

    Sadly we can't get F&B here in Oz. The cost of shipping the paint out here is to expensive and they don't want to build a plant here to manufacture as we have a small population. Boo hoo! xx

    1. I asked Pierre Frey to just sell me things at retail but they just wouldn't - you have to go through an official decorator...which is a pity bc the London decorators then push you to buy something else and it all gets really uncomfortable when all you want is a few rolls of wallpaper.

      I hope noone gets the wrong idea - I profiled myself and only because my house is in such disarray do I concentrate on the nitty gritty. I can't put stuff away so I assuage my guilt with being a fairy liquid and tissue box coverer. I would do a post about how messy my house is but my family might disown me in shame.

      Monogramming so we don't forget the hosts name! too funny - can I get more water please, umm, (wipes mouth with napking and flicks crumbs off first initial) Yeah, J, more water please.

      I can't believe they dont do FB - you guys even have pottery barn and william sonoma and they cant get their act together??

      Please do that sofa post - you may find it boring but most of us wont!! xx

  3. Loved this issue. My favorite was that wonky house with the mis-matched chairs. Just something about it I liked. Wasn't the blue house and all that tile something? You cracked me up with the smelling salts comment. As lovely as it was, it was a bit contrived. How about that white bath? You nailed it. It was nothing without those towels and floor!! Looking for those towels on the internet... Always love your perspective! it's like we are having coffee together and chatting about each issue. So fun!


    1. I do know what you mean about that blue house - I totally got the blues after awhile but this was the best one I think in the past several issues so I decided to stop being so negative:) But if you don't like blue, you couldn't give that house away could you?

      Thanks so much Kim - I approach each post like I am chatting over a coffee with mates so I am so glad that came through for you! xx

  4. Hey Naomi. Hope your're having a better week this week. I found myself in my own little bubble dreaming about homes and interior design again as I was reading this.

    Isn't that strange that people would take the time to go out of their way to buy a replica shade of Farrow & Ball paint, rather than just buy the F&B brand; presumably it's about cost, but how much could a tin of F&B really be, enlighten me......

    I'm not keen on white bathrooms, or white kitchens for that matter, I think they remind me of my room at work - very clinical! although that bathroom floor is gorgeous, so it made up for it I think.

    OMG I did that at uni, I got some wallpaper samples and framed them for my room. Maybe I'm more creative than I thought!?

    I don't like seeing washing up liquid on display either so I tend to just put it in the cupboard when I'm not using it, but your idea is cool if i found the right decanter.

    aaaw that lake/beach house is amazing, what I would do to just spend one night in there, just me, noone else! xx


    1. The funny thing is that it is about one hundred pounds difference on a room or max two hundred pounds but most people don't paint that often. I would rather economize on something else rather than compromise on a color you have to see everyday!

      Yes wallpaper framing is fab and very creative of you darl!

      Yes this week is better - but still catching up on all my errands! Thanks for asking, hope you having a good week x

  5. I agree, just buy the bloody paint for real! So many pretty things to covet here. I think that blue and white house would be top of my list though. I'm laughing at your aversion to throws etc but have you noticed how many use bags with stuff spilling out of them as well? Gah! Fetch me the gin bottle...!

    1. I reckon F&B must have done a market study and realized how many people were scanning and copying their paint colors...That blue house would make a great rental and movie set for something's gotta give part 2.
      Oh Sulky, yes, what's with the bags like they've just been out and smugly never forgetting their eco-warrior carrier bags. I must have a million of those but another million plastic bags because I keep forgetting to bring them to the supermarket!

  6. you're priceless.

    *shouldersShaking* about Big Mo in the Big House (stylists suddenly wondered if Prison Orange would be making a comeback)

    and yes AGREED to artfully thrown over towels.

    love the blue.

    tiles especially.

    portugal makes us *swoon* with the divine tiles everywhere.

    but to be honest, you had us at Farrow & Ball.

    there's nothing like a true F&B home.

    even if it's Just a Touch of blue ground on a frame

    *lookstocamera* (and across at bathroom wall).


    tg xx

    1. Love blue ground - mind you I love all their soothing colors. Portugal and its tiles are beautiful but I will be honest and say I always feel that saudade thingy when I see the tiles so I couldn't have it at home bc I would be melancholic all the time. ( am so dramatic ain't I?) xx

  7. Haha! You would shudder at our house! Tissue boxes with cute kittens and Frangipani all over the place and crap randomly dumped on almost every surface!!!

    I almost never buy Interior porn becasue it makes me too depressed by our cluttered, falling down house. J buys Dwell and some other house porn, but I rarely look, although that will change soon as we start the slow, torturous and financially ruinous process of renovating.

    I must go and read your post on sofas.
    I love coral and would love a coral cushion or two.
    I'm not a fan over those overly styled rooms with casually dumped throws and towels, I have that in my house and I want symmetry and order when I look at mags.

    When we had our house photographed for airbnb they made us move all our crap into the garden so that it looked like a house in a magazine. I can't help thinking it's false adversities for the poor souls who rent our house....!

    1. Hi Ruth - you have to see my sofa post and then you will feel better! Honestly, I am strict on magazines because in real life I am the one who throws stuff around everywhere...I would love a sea fan. Although I love coral I think it might be a little disjointed in London. But I might have to do a post on my house because I think people might get the wrong idea that I am pristine bc I am sooo not! ;)

  8. Great post - especially as I can't get my hands on a House Beautiful here in Cape Town!.... My fave - sorry - was the chevron floor - the BROWN chevron floor... so fab and tres different! Mr R-I has an obsession with buying tissue boxes and placing them in every room... really ... I HATE to see the ridiculous styling on those boxes - so I usually pick up 3/4 of the boxes and hide them and then place a couple - where needed, with their little dresses on - Love the Pigott's covers - one can get them from Bungalow too I think! I cant wait to get hold of that book too! xx

    1. It is funny to hear the decor issues we all have with our spouses! Mine has a thing for hanging dishtowels in a specific way. That chevron marbling is beautiful I agree. I can't wait to get that book either! Have fun in SA xx

  9. Hahaha!! I don't think she was necessarily the daughter or the mistress, but she definitely looks uncomfortable, the poor woman.:) And cute, can't deny that.

    I'm a blue fanatic, so I don't just want to cook in that kitchen I want to live in that house!! Like you said - the view over the lake doesn't hurt. I love the sea (and any large body of water really) so it's my dream to live in a blue house with blue interior near some blue waters. Slightly kidding but maybe not so much...:)

    1. I could see you living in the house chilling and writing...
      Yes that poor girl is so pretty but hasn't mastered the eyes that Tyra does so well - you know the half squint that is mad at you but loves you anyway look? :) x

  10. Ok with the risk of seeming utterly behind the pack ( Mad men Now HB ) I can't read this just yet...I am saving the issue for a quiet moment, actually a quiet hour ( good freakin' luck to me finding a quiet hour) I did peek and YES YES YES the Artistic Tile model is DEFINITELY the bosses daughter or the P.A. he is having a bit of a fling with...I think daughter though. I have seen this ad before and had this thought. Again I say, you and I maybe the same person....uncanny!

    1. Hehe I am glad I am not alone in thinking that! Well I hope you enjoy the issue in your quiet time xx

  11. I love the bathroom of the month! Those chevron floors are definitely a statement. I'm not sure if I would want this in my house though because I think I would tire of it. It does make a fantastic editorial photo. x

    1. I know what you mean by beautiful but might be a little tiresome - that is why I think it would make a great holiday rental! x

  12. Jeez that girl is pretty... I 'd vote for the daughter status too ! I wish I could see that lake from closer :)

    1. hehe - yeah I am going more for daughter as well. Lake Michigan is so big that it is almost the size of a sea - it's nice but the color is a dull blueish gray so you're not missing out on much Melo! x


Thank you for dropping by!