Archive for June, 2012

When hall’s not what it seems…

June 29, 2012

A hall’s a hall’s a hall. Or is it? Just looking over the latest H2H halls gallery made me realise how differently we use this space. Mine currently serves as: a dumping ground for coats; a sleeping area for cats; a storage area for golf clubs (and other assorted items of sports equipment that hardly ever get used). In our defence, we do have a charming old bureau that at least looks as though it belongs there. Check out this link – it may well make you think again about that space you thought was just for meeting and greeting.

Seán O

Play and display – does a piano here hit the right note?

Wood is good

June 27, 2012

I love a touch of wood in a scheme – there’s just something so ultimately tactile and natural about it. For me, it makes a room feel cosy, warm and lived-in – and there’s so many ways of  using it too.

In a kitchen, teamed with white and stainless steel…

The Zeluso kitchen from Crown Imperial

In the bedroom, with reclaimed boards as a feature wall…

In the dining room, where panelled walls add an air of grandeur…

As a floorcovering in the bathroom

Whichever way you choose to use it, and whatever room you use it in, have fun exploring the many different grains and textures.


Subtly continental

June 25, 2012

It only occurred to recently how subtly and imperceptibly we’ve taken on foreign influences in the interiors we often think of as truly British (yep, I’m a slow learner). Take this room shown – I think you’d instinctively think of this as a home-grown look, but isn’t this largely white palette a touch Scandinavian? There’s an aubusson-style rug adding a touch of French elegance – and blow me down if that isn’t an Italian Moka pot sitting centre stage, showing this family’s continental tastes are more than just visual.  White with one sugar please!

Seán O

A mix of influences – with taste at its centre…



Dream bedroom

June 22, 2012
Who’s in a holiday frame of mind? I certainly am, which is why this French country home is massively appealing. And what wouldn’t you give for a bedroom that opens onto a patio with greenery all around? I think I’m going to have to change my holiday destination…  By the way, in case you didn’t notice, House to Home has introduced the My Moodboards feature, so you can collect and save images on H2H such as this stunning bedroom. As well as it being a useful tool, it’s a lot of fun and surprisingly simple to do – even for me.

What a way to wake up…

Child’s play

June 20, 2012

My friend’s daughter loves horses, so when I saw this Gymkhana wallpaper from Hibou Home I immediately knew she’d love it.

Your child may not be into equestrian-themed walls, but there are so many ways of incorporating their hobbies into a room scheme. Here are some of my favourites…

Indulge a love of buses with London-themed design.

A seaside theme is great for the summer…

Treat your little princess to a perfectly-pink design


Be bold with colours!

June 19, 2012

At the Dulux Winter 12/13 event recently, I learnt that there’s a move towards bolder colours – ones that reflect our everyday existence. In the words of Creative Director Marianne Shillingford: ‘The style of an interior should be a reflection of how you occupy it. Bold dark statement wall colours fill the space but they need contrast to show them off properly, so add elements against the surface that pop and snap against it.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself. I think the room below demonstrates what she means – but are most of us this brave?

Seán O

Definitely not for the faint-hearted…

Drifting away…

June 13, 2012

Working on 25 Beautiful Homes means I’m constantly surrounded by stunning interiors, so it’s unusual for me to be stopped in my tracks by something that I just HAVE to share with you here and now. However, Pamela Makin and Reginald Byrne’s Australian house – set to appear in the August issue, out on 5th July (don’t miss it!) –  has truly taken my breath away.

It’s not just the amazing views over the ocean that made my jaw drop – this simply styled house is fabulous throughout, but you’ll have to check out the August issue if you want to see more! I love the large tree in the centre of the room, the driftwood furniture and the uninterrupted views of the Pacific. Sigh.

Photography by Michele Biancucci


Behind closed doors…

June 11, 2012

I know we feature houses of all shapes and sizes – we don’t discriminate here at 25 Beautiful Homes – but there’s something particularly pleasing to see that an unassuming exterior can hide the proverbial Englishman’s castle (or Welsh, Scots or Irish, for that matter!). The homes that provide BH readers with most inspiration aren’t necessarily those that are packed full of quirky features or expensive ‘objet’ but rather places that reflect the owners’ personalities and which work as a whole. For example 1930s semis tend to appear rather staid from the outside, but step through the door of this one and you definitely get a feeling this is a place that’s been put together lovingly – with knick-knacks and mementos that have a special sentiment. Like it? Why not take the full house tour?

Have you got a house – big or small – that you think could grace our pages? We’d love to see it! Just email a selection of room pics to me at sean_o’

Seán O

The devil is in the detail…

Call it creative clutter…

Elegant French bedrooms

June 8, 2012

In case you didn’t know, England are soon to play France at football in the Euros. Now we may be superior to that country at sport (on a good day, with the wind in the right direction) but when it comes to elegant interiors, our Gallic friends are most definitely ahead of the game. Take a look at the bedroom in this French country house that is one of our H2H house tours – its calming colour scheme and the soft flowing lines of the traditional cane bed are a winning combination.

French bedrooms – unbeatable for elegance…

Seán O

Cooking up a cosy kitchen

June 1, 2012

I’m always harping on about the need to make rooms look homely – and I’m not just talking living rooms. If the kitchen is what most of us regard as the heart of the home, why not cosy it up? Lots of books – and not just cookery – are a great thing. Even adding those darned (or not darned) cushions like those in the pic makes it a more welcoming place. And don’t you just love those chairs!

Seán O

The perfect ingredients for a homely kitchen…