envie l.o.v.e. letter

den of decadence

well… it’s been quite a few weeks since my last post because it’s been quite a few weeks of not having the head space to focus or fantasise! the winds of change have picked up again and with the end of summer comes new beginnings and challenges, all to be revealed in the coming months. nothing too exciting mind but it does alter the course i thought i was on. i can say that it does require some travel and in november i will be winging my way to LA and then NYC. am stoked! and equally a tad scared. but am excellent at being thrown in at the deep end, so the flippers are on and am ready to swim!

today however, i have a cold and it’s cold and we have no heating so am bundled up in bed waiting for the plumber. brill! a little time to whip up the next in my series of wishful✩thinking, as today i would relish in a ‘nook’ for curling up into, with a roaring fire, stacks of magz, bottles of red at the ready and an awesome sound system sweating a beautiful beat! my version of a man cave…

enter my den of decadence…

decadence does not spare on comfort! the ‘Floris’ made a few inches deeper is my only choice for this room

lust alert – ‘ode to decadence’, Kris Kuksi

‘the most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking wrong.’

marty neumeier

there must be abundance when attempting decadence. my vision for the above candle sconce is use them to fill  an antique mirrored wall. now picture the gorgeous flickering flames reflecting in the mirror

ideal for my decadent scheme! sleek speaker docks crowned with vintage gramaphone bells available at  Etsy

must have! ahhh….

gym’ll fix it

i feel great (for the most part) and that ‘most’ is due to the summer sunshine. there is no doubt i am happiest when drinking in the vit d. i kinda go into panic mode as well when it appears in london as you never know when it might end, so i do all i can to be stretched out like a fat cat in her patch of gold. with the onset of sun and all those endorphins sweating out, naturally comes the want to be healthy – out with the junk food, in with the fresh – i love nothing more than fruit in abundance and salads dripping in an olive oil, balsamic and lemon juice dressing. am definitely not less hungry, as many people seem to proclaim when it is hot – having grown up in barbados, i never suffered a lesser appetite due to the heat – a healthy appetite is an under statement where i am concerned, whatever the weather! with this said i have no super fast metabolism bla bla and therefore i must keep physical – in any sensible and pleasurable way! lucky for me i love a treadmill and am happy when training. i was a dancer for many years when i was younger and therefore can maintain a strict routine and self motivation is no sweat. on my luxury lust list for my dream home i would have to include a home gym. so in this instalment of  wishful ✩ thinking is my vision for performance enhancing design. key aspects for my gym are – light, bright, clean, clear, open space with an awe inspiring view to make you wake up wanting to lust, love, live!

home gym

wishful thinking

i can very well sit and stare at the ceiling for a period long enough to incite panic that i am wasting time. however, it’s in these moments that i am filtering through my many thoughts, allowing myself a pause to action, allocate and archive. when this is clear, i am then free to indulge in fantasy… for the most part this will be dreaming up interiors that for the present i can only wish for. i do this all the time but rarely capture the mists for future reference (the pensieve from harry potter would be useful). i suppose my blogs have become a means of cataloguing these but i feel i need to dedicate a category for future features that focus on specific rooms of my home to one day be. so under the header of wishful☆thinking i hope to inspire with what makes my heart flutter. first in the series, my vision for the perfect kitchen…

KITCHEN

sleek architecture, barn proportions, raw and rustic finishes

mix of aged, ethnic, contemporary & classic

fresh, functional & fun (with a little frisky…)

considered but not compromised

well worn warmth and whimsy

freebea(ch)!

july… it’s summer… or at least in some parts of the world! london, however ,seems to be hell bent on proving to the world descending upon us for the olympics that ‘yes!’ it really does just rain here! so i write this whilst staring out at the drizzle and decide that i need some respite and with this post am going to indulge in everything ‘beachy’. the relaxed aura of this aesthetic makes up 1/3 of my style staples (beach, bohemian, bourgeois)  and i browse at length looking for images that bring this to life. the beach filters through every sense – taste/salt, sound/waves, touch/sand, see/aqua, smell/sun lotion – instantly arresting you in it’s awe, simplicity and luxury, gratis! in my continued journey of finding sentiment (life) within interiors, these images illustrate the sense of beach whether it be through palette, presence or perception. enjoy, and in the mean time i am off to shower, lather on the self tan, spray on some sun lotion and linger in white linen sheets whilst listening to my new melodic love,  bootstraps. do try this at home…

i dreamt it… someone built it

wow shell centrepiece

i’d happily wash the sand off in here

mrytle the sea turtle – i have fond memories of her daily swimming past in the early morning barbados sunshine

pared back peace

ethereal palette…

… effortlessly brought to life!

perfect pouch irony to ward off any beach scavengers!

kelly brook bikini body… heading home for christmas – 5 month count down begins…

made in… must matter!

when is the last time you sat down and made a simple cushion cover, for example…? if you haven’t – have a go…! whilst you are doing this take a few things into consideration:

one: fabric – pure white, 100% organically sourced linen = approx. £50 p/m (req. 2m)

two: thread, buttons, zips etc. all have to be sourced & purchased = approx. £10

three: time – i’m pretty good on a sewing machine but to put it all together still takes a good day to make. labour at what i as a westerner living in London think i should earn by the hour, let’s say £10p/h. so a full days work including the shopping and sourcing of materials, probs 2 days at say 7hrs per day to complete = £140

then if you were to sell this one cushion cover you would need to package it (£5), transport it (£10)…etc.

this brings the total cost of my one cushion cover to £100 + £10 + £ 140 + £5 + £10 = £265 (let’s say!)

wow now that is a lot of money for one cushion cover! i hear you say…

(oh and did you already have a sewing machine to hand? otherwise you need to also factor that in… +£200 at least…)

(all prices quoted above are close enough examples)

now transfer that thinking to everything you see when you walk into any store. break down each item into the time, skill, type of material used etc. and imagine if you were to be the one doing this. what would you expect to be paid…? now compare the prices of crafts people here in the western world and those doing it for mere percentage ‘elsewhere’. remember the countless times you were ‘appalled’ at such cheap labour, the indignity etc. etc. you quaffed on about at your dinner party. then remember walking into your local store and having the nerve to turn your nose up at a price for a handmade in the western world, organic, linen, pair of cushion covers that are half the price in comparison to if you tried applying yourself to making one.

we are the biggest downfall to our economy if we cannot appreciate, support, acknowledge the value of honestly made products, made on our own soil or overseas. our materialistic behavior is vulgar – we seem to shop not out of necessity but out of vanity! yes we are all watching the pennies which is why we need to re-evaluate how and what we spend on.  it’s no secret, i work in retail and everyday i remind myself to be aware and thankful for all the lovely stuff around me. i am privy to being in direct contact with many, many crafts people and highly respect their trades! i am now also incredibly picky about what i purchase. there is a place for it all, i am not arguing that, i am just asking that you don’t base your assumptions on just the bottom dollar. make educated, reasoned, researched choices. talk to people, be humble, be curious! you wouldn’t want to be devalued so don’t do it to others!

i repeatedly have to bite my tongue in front of some individuals and their thoughtless remarks, but one day i might not be so poised!

to my delight as i was looking to upload my favourite, conscious led brands i read this blog post: What should I do – Shwop, Shop or Stop?

i love that i have like minded friends!

please visit the following and take time to engage with the brand and the people who make it their livelihood, so you can have nice things at the best price possible:

Danaqa World Chic

Plain English Kitchens

Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

Daylesford Organic

concrete, c’est chic

i never hide that i am a firm believer in my star sign, libra. i don’t come to such conclusions about belief lightly and though i might sometimes speak like my head is in the clouds, i need repeated ‘fact’ to trust my judgement, before i commit to fervently defending my choice. fact for me doesn’t have to be in material form, it can be a feeling. therefore for me to conclude that i have faith in the alignment of my stars at the moment of my birth for having made me who i feel i am, i have had repeated emotional eventualities that have allowed me to trust my gut and know that my head and heart will fall in line, be balanced – the very sign of a libra. then i am a rock and will have the last word should you choose to challenge me. therefore it is completely unsurprising that within interiors i have a love for both a hard, masculine aesthetic as much as i melt for flirty and feminine. striking that balance has become a strength and particularly useful when dealing with couples as clients, as i favour both of their sentimental needs.  so whilst i, and all of london, have been swooning over the blooms of the chelsea flower show (which i am super excitedly attending on saturday for the first time) i can’t help but want to restore the balance with a cold cut of concrete… though am sure you will see pretty too is sustained within these images…

restoring the balance with pretty… stunning textile by artist Klaus Haapaniemi and designer Mia Wallenius. learn more as i did via an indian summer

grand disappointment

my colleagues and i ventured off to grand designs live on bank holiday monday and in short it was rather disappointing. i’d only been once before, many years ago, when i believe it was only in its second year. my then husband and i bounced around excited to be amongst cutting edge, ambitious, head turning, awe inspiring design. i recall it being a great big adult funfair of creative bliss. hence i was all excited at our having scored free tickets to this year’s big top! alas it was not to be and in truth the most memorable design feature from the excel centre were the cable cars in the distance, effortlessly gliding over east london in preparation for the olympics… however amongst the drab, dreary, seen it all before, middle class mediocrity i did snap a few glitzy gifts. these are no major head turners but merely a couple moments of quirk & sparkle!

cute colleagues (defo a quirk!)

strangely mesmerised by the shower bed – though can’t help but fully agree with the comment posted on the guardian house and home blog

vintage chandeliers – one of the few authentically beautiful items on show

(www.vintagewonderlandchandeliers.com)

scruff and sparkle

singer sewing machines revive the black and gold with a nod back to their original creations

limited edition singer 160

but my ‘best in show’ is definitely this little guy…

yes! i’m moody…

for me emotion is key to translating a concept and why i love a mood board as a starting point to conveying the dream. if i can tap into the emotional psyche of a client i am are far more likely to deliver a scheme they fall for. the mood has to affect all the senses. my aim is to transport the client from a 2d format to a 3d reality. a mood board does not / should not only have images of interiors (later down the line i tend to create a scheme board which covers this). i often define the scheme when i research the mood. a random image can often depict the soul of the space i am looking to create and chances are the colours and textures captured will lead the design of the eventual space. mood boards are the melody, the scheme board is the script. they must both tell the story and capture in the first instance. it is very usual for a mood and scheme board to be one but i prefer tapping into the sensual reaction of a client prior to giving them final fixtures and finishes. if i haven’t understood what they wish the room to feel like i can’t determine the appropriate pieces to pitch. below are a few favourite boards i have created. not all are pure mood boards as often time dictates otherwise and the story has to be penned and pitched in one (and some are quite a few years old so forgive if they feel outdated)

pure mood

top left images set the mood reading through to finishes, fixtures, furnishings

full on femininity… even in the harder textures

colour collective

my winter warmer

 a board on a board…

i also scoured the www to seek inspiration from other boards and am in awe of these by:

le boudoir et sa philosophie

evocative in composition!

i’d frame these as they are! (they have also given me something to strive for next time i put together a board..!)

black & right

anyone who’s delved into the world of paint and colours will now know that there are endless shades of white but only one BLACK… a constant in my design and on trend, lets give some love to the surprisingly subtle drama this antithesis of colour creates!

floor

(image courtesy of http://47parkav.blogspot.co.uk/)

ceiling

(image courtesy of http://47parkav.blogspot.co.uk/)

wall

staircase

blackout

(image courtesy of http://47parkav.blogspot.co.uk/)

graphic sparkle

punctuated with pink

solid sink

goldborne road gift

… and am currently sitting in front of my own perfect palette of black!

idea to installation: four

a project is a team effort and if all the parties are not on the same page the majority of the time (as there is always differences of opinion to be met and work through) then achieving the desired end result can be a tough and unpleasant journey for all. as the designer you are the middleman, between contractor and client, and you need to appease both of them. i was certainly very fortunate on this project to have both a client and contractor who were easy to reason and communicate with. together we completed with all parties satisfied that the project was a success and the client thrilled to move into their new home.

so in this final post of the series i would like to take this opp to thank those who were involved in the process, all the way through to the mad day we spent dressing and photographing the project. i must admit that i never feel it was 100% completed as we swiftly ran out of a decorating budget – the fun bit  :(  but the success was in the overall transformation and revival of a lovely property.

i highly recommend Paul & Barry Weston our contractors at design to build. paul was my day to day contact and project manager, always  incredibly patient with my requests. nothing was ever deemed impossible and he always worked to find a solution to ensure the design was achievable, as long as i had chocolate hobknobs at the ready…

i was very lucky in being recommended Sandy Ko, a photographer whom i could quickly entrust to capture the rooms and details with the least amount of direction necessary. it certainly made for a productive day as i could set a room up, explain what i wanted to capture, then leave sandy to it whilst i moved on to the following room. when time is short and you are working in someone’s home you need an efficient team around you. sandy and her husband were a great partnership on the day and i thoroughly enjoyed working with them both. what attracted me to sandy’s work is that she has a beautiful way of capturing light in all its measures and i wanted some strong variations and blends of soft yet graphic, which she delivered! a few of my favourite detail shots below…

of course to my side i had a close friend as well. amel, a fellow designer, made the task less daunting as i could rely on not only his extra pair of hands but also his eye as a designer and i knew that he would be honest in telling me whether or not something worked. here we all are somewhat busy behind the scenes!

i’d love to hear from you all about any projects you have been working on or if you have any questions i would be more than happy to help so feel free to drop me an email at envie@btinternet.com

with love!

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