Archive for July, 2011

Pretty in… purple?

July 29, 2011

For those of you with partners who take more than a passing interest as to how your home is decorated, you may understand my daily frustration with having to keep my ‘girlieness’ to a minimum. There was a time when I had a pretty bedroom, with bevelled mirrors on the wall, delicate wallpaper and a few artworks with French-style shoes and handbags adorning them. Gone are those days. Now it’s about compromise for me, and although I’m very pleased with my present less-feminine bedroom, I couldn’t help being drawn to this gorgeous scheme, courtesy of Dulux.

The soft grey shade on the walls (Potters Clay 2) works beautifully teamed with fresh white bed linen and pastel bedspreads and throws. Then there’s the elegant group of mirrors that gives the room a charming and almost vintage feel.

Would you like to know the best bit for me? Look closely and you’ll notice that what looks like a Tromp L’oeil headboard is actually painted on. Dulux’s recommended colour for Autumn/Winter is damson-coloured Twilight Cinders and this is one of its six shades, Twilight Cinders 1. It really gives an added quirkiness to the room.

Have any of you ever painted a headboard like this, or do you battle with your other half over feminine accessories and colours?

Too hot to handle?

July 25, 2011

As I write, the sun’s shining down, the legs are out (not mine, fortunately) and summer’s finally arrived. And all I can think of is fires. New ones, traditional ones, open ones, glass fronted ones… Basically, I promised my wife I’d take charge of replacing the sitting room electric fire with the real McCoy but it’s not as simple as I thought. I’m sure that now’s the right time to do it – at this time of year demand is low and (apparently) you can get a good deal on buying and fitting a new fire. Easier said than done, though – I’m using House to Home for advice on the basics (eg, choosing the fuel, surrounds, fire baskets, type of hearth  etc).

I may end up just calling in a man who knows what he’s doing – either way, I’m staying out of the sun and dreaming of those cold winter days snuggled up with logs a-blazing…

Seán O


Hall of fame

July 22, 2011

I have a dining room with an under-stairs alcove, that I’ve been wondering what to do with for a while – we’ve eventually decided to put a sideboard there and use it as a bar-type area, complete with drinks tray and swish glasses. It can be an awkward space to decorate though, which is why I thought this hallway space, below, is my ‘room of envy’ this week.

Stencilled leaves trailing down the wall in that under-stairs alcove make a great alternative to plain paint or wallpaper, and the chair isn’t just decorative but practical too – there’s times we all need to sit down to tie laces/take shoes off, etc.

The pillar at the left corner of the picture adds a Grecian-style touch to the space, and it’s a great way of showing what can be done with a small, awkward area the size of a postage stamp!


Club tropicana

July 20, 2011

As I write this post it’s overcast, dull and barely pushing 20 degrees in London. In July. Lovely.

So, to brighten up my day (and I hope yours too), I figured that the best way to hurry-up summer was to bring a tropical touch to the garden, as seen in this bright and vibrant decked terrace.

By accessorising wisely and sticking to juicy oranges, pinks and limes, rather than a host of clashing colours, this beautiful space is a happy place to be. Pale blue-painted weatherboarding and a rustic wood frame with a stripey canopy lend a subtle coastal feel, too. The only thing missing is a bartender to rustle up a Singapore Sling. Or five… Emily

Losing my religion?

July 15, 2011

Pull up a pew (excuse the pun) and take a look at this regal-looking dining room, part of a glamorous converted church. Just imagine for one minute, that this is your home, and you’re welcoming your friends and family in. Light floods through the original stained-glass windows and a large bespoke table caters happily for dinner guests.

This may not be your average dining room, but if there was ever a room to envy, this is it. I love the ornate backs on the velvet-upholstered chairs, and the antique grandfather clock that adds to the regal presence of the room. The furniture has been kept traditional, with a nod to the age of the church – it just goes to show that a period property doesn’t always look better filled with modern pieces.

Do you love or loathe this scheme? Would you like to live in a converted church and if so, how would you decorate it? We’d love to hear your suggestions…




Très chic kitchen

July 13, 2011

Oh, I want it! So pretty, so quaint – a little slice of Paris in your own home. When I look at this room, I’m transported to a 1930s street cafe with Poirot sitting in the corner twiddling his moustache and solving mysteries (ok, maybe not…)

Normally, I find monochrome too dull, too boring, but this simple kitchen-diner proves me wrong. For me, the cute check curtains and leaded windows lift this room from ordinary to extraordinary, without being over the top. And, just in case I can’t quite shake free of my fixation with colour, a quick lick of paint on the window frames, picture rail, maybe the chairs, and some new cushions (I’m thinking a deep wine red…) and hey presto – you’ve got yourself a whole new room. Emily

Lighting with an edge

July 12, 2011

Of all the press releases we receive here in the 25BH office, there’s a particular one that always makes me hanker for my own separate pad (while keeping my family home, of course) – a place where fluffy cushions would be banned. The press release in question is the monthly update from Trainspotters, a specialist dealer in reclaimed industrial lighting and salvage. And the items that always capture my imagination are the lampshades. Yes, lampshades – how unmanly is that? But these lights are a shade different…

Check out and you’ll find some amazing stuff – from old theatrical spotlights to post-war Eastern Bloc designs. Just looking at some of these old designs makes me realise how much they’ve shaped the designs of the present – check out the Industrial Pendants above and compare them with the famous Flos Fuscias

True, if it’s in a stark setting, this kind of thing can all look a little bit austere and, well, industrial, but take enamelled post-war lampshades and put them in a modern home and they create a unique look.

Go crazy for colour

July 8, 2011

Much as most of us love a colourful room, it’s usually only the brave that will truly go all out, while the rest of us inject a splash here and there with an accessory or two and feel quite courageous with our efforts. That said, if you can experiment, colour can really help bring your home to life. The Jolly family’s home, featured in the August issue of 25 Beautiful Homes, is a vibrant example of how colour can transform a room.

Perfect pastels

Check out the pretty pastel stripes above the Aga and the hand-painted chairs – easy to do and oh-so-pretty.

Pretty in pink

Not for the faint-hearted, this bright fuchsia bedroom looks spectacular teamed with fresh white.

Fabulous flamingos

Those that know me will appreciate how much I love this room – I’m such a fan of flamingos and this bathroom, with its small hits of bright colour, makes me want to experiment with wall stickers as Alice Jolly has done here.

Bathed in blue

It just goes to show that a bathroom need never be boring again – and it’s not just tiles that can be used to create a colourful effect. Painting the bath and in-frame cupboard doors in the same shade of powdery blue really works well, and it’s easy to get matching accessories (think tiles, rugs and again, a wall sticker).

A jolly house for the Jolly family – we love it!


Grand entrance

July 6, 2011

Not a room, strictly speaking, but in the majority of homes, the hallway is the first impression you get of a house. Which is why I am here to implore you not to neglect it – treat it as you would any other room, lavish care and attention onto it and put your own stamp on it…

This space is a total mishmash of styles but do you know what, it just works somehow. The colourful Victorian-style floor tiles take centre stage, hence the neutral walls, yet the colour of the retro chair jumps out at you and is a great example of how combining shades from the same palette (blues and teals in this case), can be a simple but effective trick. Throw in a decorative, shabby chic wheelbarrow and a bit of greenery and you’ve got yourself a funky room.

Now, all-white is not normally my thing but in the case of this colourful stairway, even I realise that it’s necessary to allow the bright green balusters to pop. It’s such an easy update and the colour combinations are endless – think rainbow colours, alternating shades or random combinations with no pattern whatsoever. Fancy a change? No problem – let you imagination run wild.

There are three elements that make this last hallway for me: the beautiful mottled stone flooring, the canes and umbrellas in the stand and the dog in the doorway. It has a wonderfully worn, rustic feel and, thanks to the neutral decor, the furniture can easily be added to and mixed up – the owners could quite easily switch the chair for a wooden coat stand or hang a heavy drape over the door. But, I think the best thing about this room is the beautifully soft light: I get the feeling that stepping foot through the door would transport me back to happier, calmer, less complicated times of a bygone era. Emily

Cool for kids

July 4, 2011

Parents can never be cool, as far as kids are concerned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a home that’s hip and, er, happening (which I’m clearly not). The Williams’ home in 25BH August issue is light, modern and spacious – plus every space seems to have its own identity.

Best of all though, as far as I’m concerned, is their groovy (oh, per-lease!) Togo sofa from Ligne Roset. With one of these in the family room, our teenagers could invite friends round, stock up on snacks and a DVD and not be seen for the rest of the day – how cool is that?

Seán O