Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Delicate Balance of Clashing in Home Decor

I have had various drafts on this subject for years now, 
especially with the revived and reinterpreted trend 
of having various styles of textiles 
in the form of scatter cushions, 
bed spreads, upholstery in the home.
The clashing also applies to disparate art and furniture of course.

This "trend" always existed of course, 
but in the form of haphazard placement with no intent of clashing. 

This was out of either economic duress where one couldn't afford new textiles so one made do with existing items.

Think World of Interiors

These two pictures I took from 
the May 2017 issue of World of Interiors. 
The one above is a Moroccan farmhouse and below is an Edwardian home.

Or it was the other end of the financial scale and 
it might have been in a home where 
one doesn't necessarily inherit but 
where one is a custodian so nothing really belongs to you. 

One had to accept your great grandmother's cushions that were made out of her bridesmaids dresses 
or the velvet curtains were from your grandfathers home in India 
so nothing could be removed as everything had literally monumental value.

Think Chatsworth


But like a stew,
 be it of vegetable scraps or of the finest cuts of meat, 
time tends to mellow out the differences and they tend to fuse. 
But then I do believe in the power of fermentation and maturation of things over time.

This is a picture from Pinterest from a Swedish blogger from
the earlier days of blogging from 2009 ( thereabouts) but she has since quit blogging to go professional.
I can't find the name of the blogger as this picture was stored in my iCloud.
This picture spawned many a copy cat - at the time - this picture was a hit and I still like it.

I find many intent clashes of material fail, 
partly for the same reasons 
why shabby chic tends to fail. 
Because it is forced.

It is like abstract art, 
I can not articulate 
what the formula to a successful arrangement is. 
If I could,
 decor would be maths and not a creative domain.

This is the bedroom of Ben Pentreath via
This is a modern and fresh interpretation of mixing prints a l'anglais.

And before you go, here she goes again.

I think like most things, 
there is a balance.

Or it is very personal.

If you like how it is in your home then there is no reason to change it but these things tend to filter down from pros to civilians.

But it seems like no one is stating what is evident publicly.
A bit like the decor version of the emperor's new clothes.

Via Nick Olsen instagram

When I saw Nick Olsen's room in the annual design event the is the Kips Bay shophouse, 
I thought it was time to post.

I am not picking on him perse
 but using his room to illustrate what 
I feel very deflated about decor done for PR 
that gets infiltrated into the suburbs.

He is not a civilian but a person of note in his field 
so I think even if he were to read this, 
he really wouldn't be bothered.

He has influence and I do like his portfolio 
and his success is much deserved.
He has worked under some design heavy hitters such as Miles Redd and one can see that influence.


Some of the people who go see his room 
and get inspired by it will have the means to get a designer to recreate the mood of the room in their own home. 
But many will attempt this on their own. 

In what appears to be a clash, 
there is a thread that is actually from the matchy matchy school.

It is easy to say - 
I like it, hate it, don't mind it - 
but I wanted to articulate in concrete terms 
why I feel the way I do.

The best I can come up with is this.

There is a terracotta/ochre color in the folding screen in the left 
that ties into the colorblocking in the large painting in the centre that matches the paint details in the curtain pelmet on the right.
The accent color is also in the sofa and the accent in the rug.

In fact, I think the pelmet ruins the room as a whole.
But that is another talk show.

I have tried putting my finger over the pelmet to block it from view
and the rest of the room is rather nice albeit cramped.


Usually there is no proper tie, 
the cohesive thread is not as obvious as this. 

successful outcome is rather like a built up gallery wall of art by one owner. 
It may seem disparate but there is a fundamental core base on which the person bought each artwork even if one is a watercolour or an oil with different subject matters.

For me, this room looked forced and 
I think that is why it doesn't resonate with me.

I think this room is a great space minus 20%.
This study section of the room is one I would be more than happy with.
The walls are fabulous and the furniture placement is one of a professional touch.

In the article in the Washington Post, 
it says that he was going for 1930's American expat in Paris.
I suppose it does evoke something of that era.


But then I must remember decorators like most professions nowadays must scream for attention and grab headlines. 
This seems like the design soundbite equivalent of a politician who is up for election.

So I need to remind myself 
to see these spaces with that in mind 
and try to distill the essence of the room rather 
than taking things so literally.

But as always, the main rule of thumb is do what you like!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

My Ladylike Clothing Staple for How I Wear My

 Regular readers know that I don't know OOTD ( outfit of the day) because I am a bore and I dress even more boringly. 
A side note is that my weight fluctuates 
like Oprah's during the 80's 
so I am limited in that I refuse to invest in bigger size clothing 
yet can't fit into half of my wardrobe.

I enjoy other's outfit posts however.

So in the spirit of not being a voyeur and to participate a bit more, 
I submitted a picture to
Jill's blog, Everything Just So in her monthly themed round up 

This is one of my favourite items of clothing that I rely on certain occasions and I can't believe I nearly said no to this when my mother got it for me for Christmas nearly a decade ago. 
( I wanted a holiday hotel credit but she thought that was crazy.)

So click here for my reliable coat dress.

After you see the terrible lighting and the hapless pose you will understand why I don't do these more often!
Thanks for including me in the How I Wear My monthly edition!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

French Vogue May 2017

A quick post to say hello and share a most beautiful editorial in the French May issue of Vogue.

This month's issue had an emphasis on weddings which is very unFrench to talk about - it is rather an Anglo obsession that has filtered through.

Vogue may know fashion but I say leave the wedding stuff to Martha and that ilk.

Did red riding hood bleach her clothes?

This girl looks like the drunken friend who turned up very Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral and pinched the veil off the bride.

This is the Mad Hatter bride.
Wonder what the groom would wear to match?

Looks like Miss Favisham when she first got jilted.

The third marriage bride who just wants to dance on the day because she has done all the staged pictures last week.

Now this is the editorial that is stunning in every way.
Rumour has it that Mme Alt ( editor at large ) and Anastasia Barbieri are not best chums so she is a "contributing editor". But this fashion spread shows that Mme Barbieri is a superb talent.
It is a homage to the former Jaipur princess, Gayatri Devi, renown for her beauty.
The model looks very similar to the princess herself.


This just makes me finally want to go to India.

The polo player is the grandson of the princess, the present Maharaja of Jaipur.

I don't have a snarky thing to say.

I will even forgive this amateur Instagram filter business on the pic below.

My least favourite picture of the spread but it actually made me rest between flipping pages.

This picture is a bit Cartier summer polo match you see in magazines so was a little disappointed at the fashion director.

This lady can pull off a turban.
As you know, I have my own thoughts on turbans as fashion items.


This fashion image must be doing wonders for the Indian tourism board.

The young maharajah is handsome and am sure the Middletons of Bombay are engineering every accidental introduction.

If you see me walking around with a sheer scarf over my head, please do indulge me.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

April 2017 Miscellaneous

It is officially Spring in London and even Millie was admiring the cherry trees in the park.

It is amazing what you can plant without a terra firma garden.
Look at the cherry tree my friend planted on her balcony in a pot.

Although I wouldn't even know how to handle a real garden.

But that doesn't stop me to order some more roses.

They are local plants so roses are so easy to maintain here.
I got the Desdemona which I smelled a few years ago at a Chelsea flower show and 

Not really looking forward to Wills and Kate moving to London after summer due to their eldest son going to school. It is sweet and all but that helicopter that Wills uses more than I use the tube is always flying over the park.
I now have an idea what it would have been like to live in London during the blitz.

This is now a frequent sight.
Police going ahead of the car to stop traffic so the blacked out car can go seamlessly through London traffic.

Rolls Royce has designed a new ice cream car in the park.
Very cute.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Duchesses of Seville - Duchess of Alba and Duchess of Medinaceli

When one thinks of Seville, one thinks marmalade, tapas, and flamenco.

But one must note that this is also the capital of former formidable Spanish duchesses.
The Late Duchess of Alba and the 18th woman who held the title

The late Duchess of Alba, 
hereby referred to as Cayetana and 
the late Duchess of Medinaceli or Alcala
( there were many to choose from), 
hereby referred to as Mimi.
Duchess of Medinaceli when she was younger as she stayed away from the limelight in her later years

The two were the most titled aristocrats in the world and in that aristo-world outranked the Queen of England who was the Duchess of Alba's playmate as a child. Mimi actually held the title but when she found out she was going to be listed in the Guinness book of world records, she was horrified at the prospect and petitioned the King of Spain and gave away a few of her titles to her son and added that her cousin, Cayetana, would enjoy the limelight.

Spanish duchesses rarely get spoken about at length 
in our Anglo culture and 
gets outshined by the likes of the Mitford sisters 
( which did include an eventual Duchess ) and the Bouvier sisters.
Oddly, real life duchesses especially in the UK rarely get a look in.  
Of course, there was Princess Di whose nickname was "Duch".