Thursday, July 30, 2009

a colour story - white

Today I'd like to begin a new (and hopefully inspiring) interior series about colour. And for a girl whose life revolves around colour of every hue, I thought I'd surprise you all by writing this first column about ... white.

Far from being boring and clinical, white is the perfect blank canvas - the single colour that is able to make every other colour look good. As well as changing with the light in a room, white reflects it, transforming other colours around it. Only when set alongside white can other colours be truly seen. White is the oasis of calm in the busy-ness that is the colour spectrum.

One only has to glance at a Resene paint chart to know that there is white, and white and white. A true chameleon - white has many nuances - from the crispness that is white cotton bedlinen, to the softness and warmth of this knitted chair (which I just love!) A blend of materials and textures is the key to keeping a white space inviting and warm. Add warmth in your details.

White can be contemporary and modern, or rustic, or vintage. It is always elegant and versatile, and the coolest colour for modern living.

P.S I'm no techno-whiz, and today Becky gave me my first lesson on the wonders of photoshop. I'm smugly proud of my efforts to put this post together, but OMG, I hope I get faster at it! It doesn't help when the computer crashes, one loses broadband midway through, and is tempted to throw ones laptop out the window, while saying things which should not be said out loud in the presence of young children or husbands who say helpful things like 'didn't you save it'!!

(Images courtesy of Designers Guild, marie claire, living etc, crystal chain gang & me) Pin It

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(interior) style file - it's in the detail

Making a space your own is all in the details - those touches that infuse a room with your personality and reflect your style.

This dining room is the perfect example of a white interior that feels neither clinical nor minimal. The freshness of the room is softened with texture (the lovely old lace panel on the lampshade), the casual intimacy of the round table, and of course the beautiful vintage collection of glassware and plates. The mismatch of objects works because of the tonal colour elements. The bright white surfaces highlight the beauty of the individual pieces in the collection, & the grouping of pink and red adds harmony to the vignette.

I love the grouping of plates on the wall, the simplicity of the flowers, and the use of everyday objects, as well as treasured collectables to create the gorgeous overall decorative effect.
Do you have everyday objects that could inspire a beautiful new display in your home? Time to see what's lurking in the back of those cupboards...

Amanda xx

(photo courtesy Liza Giles & Inside Out magazine) Pin It

Monday, July 27, 2009

something to make you smile

For no other reason than to make you smile - especially given that us Wellingtonians are supposedly the most unhappy people in New Zealand!

Happy Monday!
Amanda xx Pin It

Thursday, July 23, 2009

here's what I really did yesterday

Yesterday I hopped on a plane & headed south to Queenstown for the day to visit a client whose beautiful home in the Gibbston Valley we have been working on. I love being reminded exactly how beautiful New Zealand is, and wonder that I probably take it too much for granted. Look at that snow! I think I was the only one on the plane without ski gear in my luggage. Curtains & bedlinen for me.
Imagine having this view from your bedroom! That's a vineyard outside. They make amazing Pinot Noir in the Gibbston Valley. My involvement with the house is kind of a lovely story - my clients currently live & work overseas in Qatar. This will be their home when they return to New Zealand, & they entrusted us, in Wellington, to help with the interior design work. A leap of faith that I hope they think is paying off!!

My team think I was working hard all day - but we made sure there was time for a beautiful lunch at Amisfield Winery! That fire was so toasty....

Amanda xx Pin It

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

kisses for mummy

My girls are away visiting Grannynanny & Papa for a few days of chippies & lemonade. Milly has left me a few kisses to tide me over until they get back on Thursday. Pin It

Monday, July 20, 2009

post script - the september issue

As some of you know, on Friday night I went to see The September Issue, the RJ Cutler fly on the wall documentary about Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue magazine and the most feared and revered figure in fashion. The cameras follow Anna and the Vogue team as they put together the September 2007 issue. This documentary was made at the height of the fashion industry, before the economic bubble burst. Things may not be quite so rosy this year at the annual Vogue retailers breakfast. In 2007 we see the CEO of Neiman Marcus asking for Anna's help to persuade the designers to deliver on time because demand for high fashion is far exceeding supply. If only we retailers had that problem now!

The cover girl for this issue is Sienna Miller - lets just say, for those of us who feel slightly less than perfect, that although this image by Mario Testino is wholly Sienna, it is the sum of many parts - 'this head on this neck on this body' and minus 2 dental fillings. Oh for the wonders of photoshop in my everyday!

And as much as this movie is about Anna Wintour, the shining star for me is Grace Coddington, Vogue's creative director, who started at the magazine the very same day as Wintour, working at British Vogue & as a fashion model before that. Grace is my new hero. I love Grace! Her eye is incredible and her fashion shoots are a marvel, transporting us to places we've never been, and showing us things we either never could, nor would wear. She is the only one to stand up to Anna, and although the relationship is testy at times, the two share a mutual respect & admiration for each others talents.

Much time in the movie is spent reviewing the fashion shoots, with Anna having the final say on what makes it in to the issue and what does not. So, I was very surprised when, with my new found appreciation of the magazine, while flicking through the October 2007 issue at the library on Saturday, I came across this beautiful 'haute couture' feature by Grace, which after all it seems, did not in fact make it in to the September issue. Poor Grace! (You'll know what I mean if like me, you've seen the movie.)

Go and see this movie when it comes out on general release in September. It's quite amazing!

Oh, and by the way - it looks as if the cameraman and his tummy both made it into the final cut! Anna told him he needed to join a gym. Grace on the other hand said, "Everyone in this world is not perfect. It's enough that the models are." Some comfort for us mere mortals!

(All images courtesy Vogue magazine) Pin It

Friday, July 17, 2009

things that have made my week

Sometimes I get it right... if only it was always as simple as a Felicity Wishes book!

French Kiss Cafe - a coffee oasis on these cold miserable mornings...

These stunning parrot tulips, which started the week an amazing green & white, and are now a beautiful blush pink.

And tonight, Jan & I are off to see The September Issue at the Film Festival. Can't wait! Have a great weekend all!
Amanda xx Pin It

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

red ribbon day

I love initiative! A few weeks ago, a parcel arrived at the store for me from a very young artist, who wondered if we would like her ideas. She had enclosed some of the things she had made, and to sweeten us up, some jellybeans in a wee box. An hour or so later, the phone rang, and it was this same young artist on the phone, checking that we had received her parcel, and what did we think? She was keen! I persuaded her that I needed just a little more time to look at her goodies, and that I would call or email her the next day.
By the time we next spoke, Kate & I had considered her ideas. We didn't like everything, but we did really like her shabby rosette brooches, and we felt that with a little modification, these could really work. The french fabrics were co-ordinated nicely, we loved her petal & leaf shapes, we didn't want any bling, the buttons needed to be covered, better brooch backs, no glue, presentation, little labels etc - typical picky retailers that we are! Poor girl! Anyway, to her credit she took our ideas on board, went away, and created these gorgeous rosette pins for us.
I so remember the first time I showed a retailer some of the things I was at that time, making. I was so nervous! So I really appreciate that it isn't easy to put yourself out there for rejection! I never like having to say to an artist that their creations 'aren't really our style'. In fact I dread it. But sometimes you strike a treasure.
And here we are a few weeks later, and the rosettes have arrived instore. Kate arranged them on my old mannequin, which really suits the aesthetic. And, if Charlotte hadn't had the courage to send me her box of goodies, we would both be missing out. Thanks Charlotte!
Amanda xx Pin It

Monday, July 13, 2009

a sneak peek to start the week

Remember a few weeks back when I showed you some sneak peeks of the upcoming new Designers Guild bedlinen designs? You can refresh your memory here. Well last week I had my first glimpse of the new Designers Guild 'Darly' fabric collections, and I thought you might like a first wee glimpse too! The new collection is a diverse range of stunning prints, both floral and geometric, together with a strong collection of upholstery weaves - the beautiful soft Barbier wool stripes were my favourite (on the back of the retro chair in the above image). As we have seen for the past few seasons, wallpapers continue to exert a strong influence, and for accent pieces, the embroidered silks are incredible!
Colours this season are stronger - brilliant shades of chartreuse, pink, & ocean blue, but anchored with lots of charcoal, cocoa and crisp graphic black & white.
Retro or contemporary modern, or classic - as always with Designers Guild the look is up to you. This Leopold wallpaper is particularly striking don't you agree! We're putting this one up instore. The new collection launches next month. Can't wait! Pin It

Thursday, July 9, 2009

a beautiful bedroom

I'm attempting to write this post in bed. It's been a big day and a big week. If anyone is reading this after being directed here via the Small Acorns e-zine which went out this evening, then I apologise. Someone should have warned you about the scintillating life I really lead! Thank goodness you can't actually see me in my jarmies!! And I'm not sure that blogging in bed is a habit I should get in to! I wish my bedroom looked a little more like this gorgeous number featuring Designers Guild Murano bedlinen. As the owner of a store that specialises in Designers Guild, there is a certain expectation and natural curiosity as to what my home looks like. Believe me, it's a work not yet in progress! Potential with a capital P I keep reminding myself, as yet another cupboard door gives up and falls off. We become more open plan by the day! So, the bedroom doesn't look like this - not yet anyway! A soon as it does, I'll be only too happy to show you.

(Photo copyright Designers Guild) Pin It

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

retail detail: anthropologie

I vividly remember the first time I came across an Anthropologie store in the States. That Santa Monica store was my retail mecca! I was smitten by their amazing store layouts, fabulous mix of merchandise, and the best store merchandising I had ever come across. I spent hours wandering around taking in as many details as I could about the displays, retiring for a coffee across the road to write everything down, and then coming back for more. Store security must have watched me closely on every monitor! Well, at first glance this image looks to be the washing line belonging to a crazed washerwoman, who washes sheets just for fun. But, in fact, it's Anthropologie merchandising at its best.
First, add your sheets, to these buckets of dye...
Hang them out to dry in a picturesque spot
Once dry, rip them in to shreds thus...
...and thus.
And here is the result.

A stunning window display. Thanks for keeping those standards so high Anthropologie! You're a hard act to follow.

Amanda xx

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

the september issue

'Fashion is all about looking forward, not looking back' Anna Wintour

For fashion aficionado's the upcoming Wellington Film Festival has quite a few visual treats instore. Coco Before Chanel, Valentino: The Last Emperor, and The September Issue, all have me 'ready to reinterpret my look'!
If you were in any doubt about the inspiration behind 'The Devil Wears Prada' then The September Issue will clear that up for you. This docu-movie is a 9 month all access pass behind the scenes at US Vogue as legendary fashion editor Anna Wintour (Nuclear Wintour) and her team create the biggest issue of the fashion year - The September Issue (which in 2007 when this movie was made had 840 pages, 727 of which were advertisements). Wintour famously once had Milan fashion week moved to fit into her schedule, and proves she doesn't just run a magazine: she runs all of fashion. (Dom Post)
"We travel to haute-couture shows and photo shoots, private breakfasts with major advertisers, and even into Wintour's office (which funnily enough, looks scarily similar to Meryl Streep's in 'Devil Wears Prada') for tense and aesthetic & financial standoffs with Grace Coddington, Vogue's Creative director" (Film Festival Guide). To whet your appetite here is a preview of the movie. I can't wait! Thanks Jan & VIN for getting me organised!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

wish me luck friday

Wish me luck! My darling Milly turns 10 (double digits Mummy!) this weekend. To celebrate I'm off to see 'Hannah Montana' - the movie, with twelve hyper-excited little girls. Can't wait! Brunnel thinks I'll be fine on my own. Mmm! Well, we'll see how he copes with the sleepover part of the evening. No - not all 12 are sleeping over. Yes, I'm mean and some have to go home. I think 5 extra giggling & chatting girls will be more than enough to cope with. And I haven't told Brunnel yet, but Milly is worried about him. She thinks I need to get him some new pyjamas tomorrow, for fear that she will be embarassed in front of her friends if he appears in his usual night time attire. Oh dear! Pin It

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

out of the mouths of babes

On the way to school this morning, the conversation went something like this....

MILLY: We're having a relieving teacher today. Miss Jones. She's nice, and really really thin.

AMANDA: Just like Mummy...

MILLY: Yeah right.

EVA: Well, Mummy, you're just ... a bit wider.

Thanks Eva - I've never heard it put quite like that before, but you are a kind soul at heart, and I think by saying 'wider' you were putting things quite kindly. This would be the same Eva, who the other night, while sitting in the bath, announced in a voice loud enough for Milly & I to hear from the lounge, that she was just 'talking to God'. Milly & I looked at each other.

'That's nice darling - what about?'

'I'm asking him to change my name'

'Oh - you don't like Eva then?'

'Well, it's just that I'd like a different name, and he said that's OK'

'So what's your new name then?'


'That's nice. Not Rena then?' (Rena is a sometime imaginary friend, like Soren Lorenson in Charlie & Lola)
'And I'm pleased he didn't name you Murgatroyd' (No disrespect to anyone by chance reading this, named Murgatroyd!)

'MUMM-Y!! Don't be silly!'

However, I'm pleased to report, that sometime later, after another chat with God, Catherine was once more answering to the name of Eva May!

For far more helpful parenting information (& source of this gorgeous alphabet image), check out the latest issue of LMNOP magazine.
This free quarterly online magazine for hip, stylish parents (I kid myself that sometimes I'm one of these) & their children is a fabulous resource of kid-friendly interiors, fashion, crafts, toys, things to do, make and so much more, all beautifully photographed and put together, and available as a free download.

With no drivel!!
Amanda xx Pin It
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