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A couple of weeks ago I got to hang out with Todd Selby. I’ve been a fan of Todd’s for ages, I think his work is just magical. He manages to capture everything that I love and adore about interiors in his photography. Todd flew over from NY to hang out at home with me and Maud, along with a film crew filming him shooting me (make sense)? Maud making friends with Todd We chatted in my pad, pottered around the garden, and I took Todd to Violet’s (my most favourite place in the world for lunch). Turns out it’s a very small world, as lo and behold he’s good buds with the owner Claire Ptak. Taking the Merc for a spin We went for a drive, in my new (but actually super old – 1968) Mercedes in the pouring rain. I couldn’t find the windscreen wipers and it was really bucketing down, so couldn’t see a thing. I probably scared the hell out of Todd, so I feel the need to apologise to him for that one. Todd hanging at my pad Thank you so much for all the pictures, Todd! I love the way he captured the house, it’s all turned out great. I’ve shared the gardens pics here, but if you’d like to check out how Todd shot the house his whole feature is on The Selby website.
Apologises for the lack of post yesterday – it turned into a bit of a crazy one with an early start and then a whole store change around as more flowers came through the door. Now we have the deepest most heavenly pink peonies and big blousy blue hydrangeas. Also Maud is causing a few problems with school as she came home with a school report on Monday from the teacher to say she had gotten into four fights with other dogs! I think it’s down to low blood sugar she (like me) gets cranky if she doesn’t eat lunch and I don’t think they feed her at lunch. Anyway enough of my problems lets talk about hanging stuff.Being a bit of a clutter bug I like stuff on my walls and although sometimes a great big old canvas looks fab I am getting more and more into layering walls with a whole host of images.  Displaying art is the most striking way of making a personal statement I think and I am rather favouring clustering in an organic boho type of way as opposed to a grid system. Having said that grid systems look very balanced so if you are after a structured look its best to opt for that – just remember to keep frames identical in terms of size and style. This cluster of art animates the wall. Grouping together subject matter adds unity and reducing the space between each image adds to the overall impact. This wall resonates boho chic. With paintings varying in style and scale the overall composition although appearing unconsidered does in fact make perfect sense as it has the impact of a large single work without the formality.
Woken up to very autumnal weather this morning what is all that about? Yesterday it rained all day which actually I didn’t mind, and according to the Beeb we have two more days of this before it goes back to being fine.  Actually it was so snug inside and all those jobs that you put off because the weather has been good suddenly got tackled with gusto. Hallways got patched and tweaked, the studio got a bit of a revamp,  there were runs to the dump, lamps that haven’t been wired all season got fixed! Autumnal house-y stuff slap bang in the middle of summer. Talking of my hallway I’ve edited mine a bit. I’ve removed an old cabinet right near my studio and instead I’m thinking of doing something (art wise) like the image above. Simple, cool and a little gallery-esq. Hanging paintings or artwork is all about spacing proportion and colour. Art is so transformative not just to the space but the to the emotion it gives off. I lugged and swapped around so much yesterday, photographs didn’t work (don’t ask me why they didn’t) nor did my big canvases with huge frames, anything with glass if the truth be told as the reflection from the big window was way too much.  Instead after a lot of trial and error I found unframed art in a row the answer. Here are my go to tips for hanging art, whether that’s on a wall like mine or above a mantle. There are tricks – but aren’t there always! If you’re going salon style, ie higgidy piggidy it’s best to arrange it on the floor first or a surface where you can view the arrangement before banging a whole load of nails into walls. You can even put the art on newspaper, cut around and stick the paper to the wall so you see how it looks before banging a zillion holes. This is a bit of no brainer but you’ll always be wanting to hang your artwork from two nails (ie either side of the picture) rather than one. I’ve done one before and the piece will be out of alignment in no time. Hang artwork lower than feels comfortable, the experts will tell you approx. 160 off the ground if there is no furniture below it of course. It will connect with your room far better. Going off radar for a mo I did this on the weekend with my hallway chandelier, dropped it a couple of hooks so its way more part of the room and it looks so much cooler! A common mistake I see a lot is a work of art hung over a fireplace with way to much space underneath it. Unless that space can be filled with things (which you shouldn’t really need to do) leave a little gap not a huge one. That’s me done we have a crazy week ahead, the brochure to finalize and tweak, and a set design to nail which (team will kill me) I have changed my mind over again. Yet I have to trust my intuition something is not right and I can’t settle for it. Being a perfectionist is a pain in the ass I tell you!    
Thank you for all words of encouragement on Instagram yesterday when I had a bit of a moan about this crazy schedule and the move – yesterday was one of those bad days – with everyone letting us down and things going wrong. Shutter people, sign writers, customs holding samples in from Asia and not relinquishing, our new broker (who for reasons that are unfathomable to me – put all the deposits to our factories on the slow payment route which meant I had factories screaming at me that they hadn’t received deposits for all our orders and therefore were liable to miss the production schedule). Website problems (we’re overhauling it to coincide with the new store). Products not arriving – shall I go on. No I here you cry and you’re right today is a whole other day lets see what it will bring in the meantime – lets talk art- oh and no blog post from me tomorrow (sorry) we’re prepping the warehouse sale (this Saturday 10.30 at our store in Islington for one day only, and everything must go)! I sound like an advert on TV – but it must – we changing a lot with the new move – which is a good thing right? Anyways I digress lets get to it.. Hanging art can be frustrating, time consuming and (been here) leave a lot of holes in the wall if you get it wrong! Here are some dos and don’ts. DO FIGURE OUT YOUR FOCAL POINT There’s an easy trick for this. Walk into your space and figure out where your eyes first land – this is the perfect place for your artwork. DON’T HANG EVERYTHING Don’t feel like you need to put in a nail or drill a hole for every piece! Often times propping artwork against a wall or on a mantle looks just as cool. I am a huge fan of this casual style, it dresses down your room so to speak and makes it feel way more relaxing. DO LEAVE SOME BLANK SPACE Keep a wall or two without free of art – that way it will allow your eyes to rest and make the art you do have more attention grabbing. DON’T GO MATCHY-MATCHY There’s no need to match your art to your colour scheme – in fact it looks a bit too contrived if you ask me. Buy pieces that you love. I never even consider the colour palette. DO PAIR UP Treat a pair of works as one large picture in terms of visual weight and space. This trick works whether they are the same size or not. Think of it as one piece. DON’T HANG TOO HIGH The bottom of the work should not be floating a mile away from your table or sofa or console, or it feels too disconnected from the rest of the space. The heart of the piece should really be at eye level and people rarely hang them right – unless you are 8 feet tall that is! DO HANG SECURELY Use at least two picture hooks per artwork. This provides added security and helps art remain level. DON’T FORGET BATHROOMS & KITCHENS Every room is a potential gallery! You can hang the coolest pieces in any room, I do. Do treat a pair of works as one large picture whether they are the same size or not.
I like to push boundaries when decorating, not (as I say often) to be gimmicky or on trend but simply because I like to create an unexpected vibe. I like when people come here there is often a sharp intake of breath, that  everything in the room doesn’t always make perfect sense. Below are some daring ideas I’ve done myself or seen on my travels that will elevate any pad from drab to fab! Coffee tables made from surf or indeed skate boards. I’ve seen this quite a bit in the States and Australia and I have to say I think its a pretty darn good idea particularly as a buyer I find the buying of tables the hardest thing to like. So ones crafted from skateboards or surfboards are pretty dam cool if you ask me! High gloss ceilings.  This will give any room an instant glamorous vibe. Particularly fab in dining rooms I should say with a chandelier underneath, the light plays, dances and bounces especially when dusk draws in. Talking ceilings – how about wallpapering them? Scared (me too a bit if I am really honest). Not sure on this one but I’m not going to be narrow minded and shut it down completely but the verdict as they say is still out! Hanging chairs, Jonathan Adler’s has rattan ones hanging in his pad and I like the vibe they create Playful, relaxed fun (who couldn’t smile sitting in a hanging chair). Throw  a couple of sheepskin over it in winter and wham bam – super cool!
In this months Elle Dec, Editor Michele Ogundehin writes of 6 key trends for the year ahead. Individuality, key colours,  a love of all things floral and art are what we are all obsessing about. The most exciting trend though is the art trend. With more and more online galleries and affordable sites specialising in printed artworks,  apparently we are all getting on the band wagon and adorning our walls with works that ultimately epitomise our individuality. It can feel bewildering but a good tip is to do what I do  if you are starting from scratch and narrow your selection down by focusing in on a certain category for example photography, abstract paintings, sculpture etc. Hanging is a whole other ball game especially if you are hanging in a group. The professional way would be to lay everything out on a table or floor or even better on paper and trace around a combination that works. Tape the paper to the wall and wham bam in no time you have the perfect template for picture hanging. When hanging art at home I have to confess I am not so professional it gets banged up, moved, holes filled, moved again then again and then more usually than not ends up where it started. Hey ho its all part of the fun (although Graham would disagree he utterly hates it, I have to bribe with  beer and an agreement that for at least 30 days we will have a respite from moving around the collection). Some images to inspire of some fabulous art (photography by Mikkel Vang) – joy on a wall! A couple of large works of art totally transform this space and with more and more online sites promoting affordable art you could grab yourself something amazing for the price of an IKEA sofa.
Hugely excited to announce that to celebrate the release of my new book Decorating with Style I will be holding a free master class at Anthropologie. I’ll be breaking rules, pushing the design envelope and making you think differently about interiors! Prepare to be tantalised. Plus I will be hanging out in Anthropologie afterwards yabbering and book signing. Hope to see you there
I am asked a zillion times how to hang pictures to create an impromtu gallery esq wall. The key is to consider the artwork you are hanging as some pieces deserve to be hung alone, others such as drawings, photos and small scale prints work best in groups, clustered by a staircase, above a sofa or simply strung along a wall. Professional looking hanging relies on a few simple principles. The important thing to remember is that the images together should create a visual rhythm that is greater than if each one were hung separately. When placing art around furniture go with your intuition: lowering an image to waist height relates it to say the sofa. If you want to draw the eye upwards say to highlight an architectural detail – hang your picture high to help accent it. Photography Graham Atkins Hughes An organic cluster of images animates this bedroom wall. Some pictures lean against the wall for a relaxed feel, and the uneven spacing between them is also part of the composition, which has the impact of a large single work without the formality.
Its a hue that has a bit of reputation for being tricky (which is probably why I am such a fan), not least because it scares a lot of people.  I’m also guessing its because of its distinctive personality yet its such a welcoming warm hue it lifts the spirits  in an instant. I’m all for the high voltage kind (think NY taxi cab yellow) I have a murano glass pendant with a hand painted inside hanging over my dining table, a vibrant yellow throw skimming my concrete chair and a huge plastic lamp hanging out on my balcony. If that high impact tone frightens then opt for pale citron, ochre, mustard and so on. It’s so incredibly versatile and looks fabulous when partnered with almost any other colour think grey (of course) , blue, brown  white and so on. With a thumping headache and rain so heavy is making a right old racket looking at this intoxicating colour cheers me up no end. Photography Damian Russell Beautiful against blue. And fabulous as an accent – be that flowers or chairs.
Here’s a question do you skillfully blend your chairs around your dining table creating a calming vibe or do you mix and match to your heart’s content. I say do either as both choices look fabulous and chic. I am a big fan of an old rustic table hanging out with some super modern chairs as the contrast between old and new is enchanting. I spend more time at my dining table than I do hanging out on  my sofa – pre dinner drinks, supper, oodles of paperwork – it becomes a restaurant, home office and chill out zone all at once. The key is to choose furnishings that fit in with your space – either echoing the property’s history or counter balancing it all together. Timeless, beautiful yet magical is the look I am after. Beautiful -just  adore the green chairs. Also very cool with a very different vibe. Little low level chairs look super sexy against the table.
The London Design Festival kicks off tomorrow and we will be show casing the art and lighting we launched  in Paris a few weeks back. We have been overwhelmed and so delighted at the response from retailers, interior designers and  press and so are filled with huge excitement at introducing the collection to the public. Here are some inspiration shots of our lighting range shot in my pad to wet your appetite.  I must admit that they are still hanging out a home can’t bear to part with them, its caused a few domestic’s we don’t have that many in stock and really they should be doubling up in the store so my husband tells me a zillion times a day – but hey there has to be some advantages of being your own boss, no? Photography Graham Atkins Hughes I need two of these either end of the console but I think I might have to just wait and be patient for our potters in Stoke,  who if you reading this please get potting the orders are piling up. Photography Graham Atkins Hughes I love these guys – currently hanging out on my mantle piece nose to nose. The British bull dog super butch but sporting a taffeta silk shade edged in purple trim not quite so scary – a little more barking
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