Colour has a huge impact on our emotions, our physical and spiritual well being. Our colour choice in clothes, as well as in our home, define who we are, offering a playful form of self expression. Bold and vivacious, or understated and demure, colour and texture can create an evocative atmosphere that has the power to soothe our mood or uplift our spirits.
Red, Yellow, Orange, Hot Pink and Mauve, are often frightening colours to use. They are associated with sun-drenched hues, fire, exotic spices … They evoke energy.
Red is the colour of blood and fire. It represents passion, lust, and desire.
It is associated with:
The red carpet
“ In the Red “
“ Seeing Red
“ Painting the town Red “
“ Red herring “
” Red flag “
Cayenne, Turmeric, Saffron, Cinnamon, Ginger, Paprika …
If you are nervous about these colours, try using small accents first, such as a cushion, a throw or a rug. A splash of strong colour will warm up a room, exude rich opulence and create drama.
YELLOW, the colour of sunshine, symbolises hope, energy and happiness
“ Yellow ribbons “
“ Mellow Yellow “
“ Les Gilets Jaunes “ have been front page news in France in recent
months (not so happy)
Lemon, Grapefruit, Bananas, Sun Flowers, Daffodils, Mimosa, Lichen, Mustard …
“The grass is Greener“
“Green with Envy”
Today we are living in a digital world. Often buyers have made up their mind about your house before even stepping through the front door. One single picture will have fired their imagination.
It is important to point out that you are selling a Life Style. That means taking a modern approach, like capturing the way the light falls into the kitchen, or encapsulates the outdoor space.
The Mona Lisa is an icon. Michelangelo’s David is an icon. So is the Tiffany lamp.
The 20th century style grew in America, based on earlier style, such as Bauhaus which began in Germany. The most architectural designs are known for juxtaposing sleek lines with organic shapes, using new materials and developing technologies to re- imagine traditional pieces. They are often still produced today, often copied, and the inspiration to contemporary designers.
The TEAK CHAIR
The TIFFANY LAMP
The TULIP CHAIR
1. The Barcelona Chair
The BARCELONA CHAIR was designed by Mies Van Der Rohe for the German Pavilion at the International Barcelona Exhibition of 1929. Knoll still produces it to this day
2. The Tiffany Lamp
The first TIFFANY LAMP was designed over a century ago, by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Each lamp was made by skilled craftsmen, not mass or machine produced.
3. The Tulip Chair
The Fin-American designer Eero Saarinen is noted for his néo futuristic style, and considered one of the masters of American 20th century architecture. Eero Saarinen’s TULIP CHAIR became a symbol the jet age, and often seen in science fiction films.
The LOUNGE CHAIR and OTTOMAN
The PANTON CHAIR
The BUTTERFLY CHAIR
The CORBUSIER LOUNGE CHAIR
4. The Lounge Chair and Ottoman
The married couple Charles and Ray Eames became known for their ground breaking contributions to architecture and furniture designs. Perhaps most famous for their iconic chairs, they sprayed their talents far and wide, becoming two of the greatest designers of the 20th century. The LOUNGE CHAIR and OTTOMAN was born in 1956.
5. The Panton Chair
Danish architect Verner Panton best known design from 1960, The PANTON CHAIR, the very first seat to be moulded from a single piece of plastic. It is said of THE PANTON CHAIR, or “S “chair, to be the sexiest chair ever made. It has appeared on the cover of Vogue [well, Kate Moss was sitting on it…]. Verner Panton had the idea, in 1960, on a visit to a factory making safety helmets and buckets.
6. The Butterfly Chair
The BUTTERFLY CHAIR, also known as The LODGE CHAIR from 1938 was a contemporary take on campaign furniture. It’s a knock off classic
7. The Corbusier Lounge Chair
Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand presented their LOUNGE CHAIR at the “Salon d’automne“ in Paris in 1929. Originally covered in pony skin, it was a totally new concept at the time.
The WASSILY CHAIR
The EGG CHAIR
8. The Wassily Chair
Marcel Breuer was a master of the BAUHAUS movement from 1902 to 1928. His friend, the painter Wassily Kandinsky, defied him to make a seat out of a bicycle well. He created the WASSILY CHAIR.
9. The Egg Chair
The EGG CHAIR was designed by the architect Arne Jacobsen in 1958. He is considered the Grand Father of modern Danish design.
The ARCO LAMP and the BARCELONA CHAIRS
10. The Arco Lamp
The ARCO LAMP is a masterpiece of functional minimalism. Designed by the Castiglioni brothers in 1962. Its long chrome arm curves above a Carrera marble base. The ARCO is one of the most popular and copied lamps of all time.
11. The Teak Chair
With his love of natural materials and his deep understanding of the need for furniture to be functional as well as beautiful, Hans Wegner made mid-century Danish design popular on an international scale. The Hans Wegner’s 1950 TEAK CHAIR is still produced, and the inspiration to many designers today.
The NOGUCHI COFFEE TABLE
12. The Noguchi Coffee Table
Despite being told by his art teacher, at the age of 15, that he will never be a sculptor, the Japanese – American artist Isamu Noguchi left an amazing legacy. At his lunch in 1944, Noguchi’s COFFEE TABLE was described as “A Sculpture to Use”. Noguchi’s experience living and working in different cultural circles – China, France and USA, are rejected in his work as an artist. His creativity encompassed sculpture, furniture, stage sets, interiors and gardens.
Above: The TRANSAT CHAIR
Right: The RED and BLUE CHAIR
13. The Transat Chair
Irish designer Eileen Gray TRANSAT CHAIR, created in 1932, was originally used as a deck chair for a famous villa on the French Riviera.
14. The Red and Blue Chair
RED and BLUE CHAIR was designed in 1918. Its primary colour scheme was often associated to Mondrian.
15. The Louis Vuitton Trunk
Louis Vuitton opened his trunk – making firm in Paris in 1854. By 1913 the Louis Vuitton store on The Champs Elysées was the largest travel goods store in the world. Fit for transatlantic voyages, or trips from a winter residence to a summer cottage.
The LOUIS VUITTON TRUNKS has been travelling with royalties and celebrities since the days they were created. The brand and the LOUIS VUITTON MONOGRAM are among the world’s most valuable brands. It’s also one of the most copied brands in the fashion world, due to its image and status symbol.
Today, in the jet age, the vintage TRUNK is often used as a coffee table.
The VUITTON TRUNK
Decorating Your Life
1. A FACELIFT FOR THE HOME
Our homes have become the focus of our lives these past few weeks, and probably for some time to come. We can’t make any major changes of course, but something as simple as the purchase of a beautiful cushion can transform a sofa and the ambiance of a room. It’s all about creating the right atmosphere with minimal fuss.
Therefore, what better way to be positive and look forward to the day when you can give a celebration party, and show off your re-vamped home.
See my posts: 20 easy tips to style your home
10 Simple kitchen decorating ideas
Is small space cramping your style?
Table for One
DECLUTTER is the top priority. We all accumulate stuff over the years – files, magazines, souvenirs purchased on travels, bric-a-brac, kitchen gadgets hiding at the back of cupboards, unwanted presents, clothes… Now is the time to be ruthless. Sort into piles – give away; charity; the recycle bin; keep.
COLOUR has the power to transform a room and enhance life.
You are going to stare at the same walls for a while. So, if you are good with the paintbrush, there are ways to introduce new colours without having to re-decorate the whole room. Painting just one wall in a contrasting colour can do the trick.
Or, how about a funky wallpaper on just one of the walls? It will completely change the mood of the room.
FURNITURE – Because it has been in the same position forever doesn’t mean it cannot be moved. You might even gain more space in doing so.
A coat of paint can turn an old piece of JUNK furniture into a work of art. Changing the door handles doesn’t cost much and might also have a big impact.
A RUG can help redefine a space, and the simple addition of some small furnishings, like new CUSHIONS, or LAMPSHADES, can provide a welcome pop of colours at a minimal expense.
A GALLERY WALL will introduce some character to a room. Now, more than ever, we need to surround ourselves with things that make us happy. It can be an assemblage of paintings, postcards from favourite holiday destinations, or family photographs, all treasured memories.
Make your own graffiti art, or give your young children paper and pencils and ask them to draw portraits of the family.
Changing the position of your artworks around the room can bring new life into it.
Last but not least, bring some PLANTS indoor to connect with nature.
2. ART LOVERS
The wonders of Art viewed from your sofa
Where does an exhibition addict go for his art-fix?
On line, of course! No crowd, no queues, no standing behind several backs. While no virtual museum can compete with the thrill of meeting a masterpiece face to face, it should tide you over until the gallery doors are open again.
And there are plenty to choose from: The National Gallery in London, The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Guggenheim in New York, The Uffizi in Rome… The list is endless.
But while many virtual gallery visits on websites and YouTube are excellent, there are other ways to engage in one-on-one with art:
Rhizome is the world’s museum of online art. There you will find different programmes, from the exhibitions section to commissions, to new artists, to lectures… a real treasure trove.
The Serpentine Gallery has the most dynamic programme of online digital art among British institutions.
The Whitney Museum of American Art has twice daily programmes.
Other museums worldwide have similar offerings. You need to search.
Contemporary artists have been quick to use the lockdown as a period of creative introspection and have come up with fresh ideas: Tracey Emin has launched the White Cube’s Instagram Diary Project. David Hockney recently showed new work from his Normandy home, drawn on his iPad.
And Grayson Perry is teaching art weekly on Channel 4.
And when you want to splash the cash and cheer yourself up, many auction houses will be welcoming you!
3. MUSIC LOVERS
We have seen how Italians respond to the virus. They sing opera from their balconies.
Theatres and concert venues may have shut their doors, live events like Glastonbury and Glyndebourne have been cancelled. The good news is that rock and classical musicians have come up with new ways to reach listeners, and make world-class performances available from the comfort of our living rooms. Look out for Opera North, The Met in New York, La Fenice in Venice, and many others.
Recently, Elton John hosted a star-studded fundraising concert from his home in LA.
Pop acts are broadcasting gigs online and on social media. And amateur singers also have their opportunities to perform: “The Sofa Singers” is an online choir, or join “Gareth Malone Community Choir”.
BALLET LOVERS, SPORTS LOVERS, ARTS & CRAFTS LOVERS, FASHION VICTIMS etc… all have dedicated programmes online.
4. HOW ABOUT LEARNING A NEW SKILL?
Rosetta Stone has been at the forefront of language software for years. Their app aims to teach you to speak like a native. Very useful when the pandemic is over and you plan your next dream holiday.
LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
The Grammy Award violinist Nicola Benedetti does daily tutorials on YouTube, and Olugbenga Adelekan, bassist with the Funk band Metronomy, is giving lessons from his own studio. Zoom for others who are also doing classes.
As they say –”you can always teach an old dog new tricks”
Staying fit is crucial during this lockdown. Whatever specific fitness equipment you have at hand, or you are using everyday objects in a new way, there are many solutions to keep active from the comfort of your home. Fitness apps, TV series, social media… are at the press of a button, there to help you find the right programme for you.
6. FAMILY TIME
Parents often have problems with juggling home working and homeschooling. I suggest they set some specific times to work, to teach, and to have fun.
When it comes to the FUN TIME, you have to be creative: If you have a garden or a patio, organise a treasure hunt.
On a sunny day, prepare a picnic with tasty treats. The food should be super-simple and fuss-free. And, everything easy so the children can help put it all together.
But, before that, think about simple ways to decorate the place. As well as a blanket and colourful cushions, a few patterned handkerchiefs, could be used to make floating bunting over the picnic area. You could also ask the children to jazz up an old parasol with bits of ribbon and some safety pins.
Make a hideaway place in the garden or in the cupboard under the staircase – in true Harry Potter style.
A humble garden shed can be easily transformed into a quirky space, give it a coat of paint, and use a riot of colourful fabrics, old deck chairs, a collection of bric-a-brac, china, and some old metal tins.
Young kids love camping. Help them build a tent with a table cloth, a few pegs and a length of string. Eh voila!
Learn to be a Master Chef, and let the children – or teenagers – create their own recipes.
Tour the History or Science museums online.
Watch a theatre performance. The London Palladium is screening a production of The Wind in the Willows, while cinema groups are re-releasing old favourites: The Wizard Of Oz , Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat… happy memories!
Choose a theme to make a collage. Depending on their interest it could be sports personalities, celebs, cartoon characters… Or simply stick postcards and photos together. Colour swatches and bits of fabrics can create a work of art.
Dress the children as their favourite pop stars. Turn a corner of a room into a stage, and ask them to give a performance. You are the audience.
The world is your oyster. Make the most of it.
Technically WHITE is not a colour. Well, it’s my favourite colour!
It is the symbol of purity and romance. The list of clichés is endless. The dove of peace; the meringue dress of the bride; the linen sheet; the carpet of snow; the sheet of paper in front of the writer or the composer; and, in history, the famous Malevich painting “WHITE on WHITE” which opened the door to avant-garde art; or the floating icebergs symbol of our changing world.
Over the years I have designed WHITE clothes and WHITE rooms. My house in the South of France is all WHITE. I have also given some memorable WHITE parties (see White Parties post).
Vintage Roland Klein
Chez Moi en Provence
For me, home has always been a special place, somewhere I can shut the door to the outside world and feel calm and refreshed. At the end of any trip, business or pleasure, the best moment is when my keys open the front door.
A WHITE space can be like the perfect little black dress – simple, stylish, classic, and yet modern.
ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT
The coolest way to upstage the guests. The only rule – keep red wine at distance.
Time and time again I have referred to Coco Chanel’s motto “Le luxe c’est la Simplicite” (luxury equals simplicity).
Think beyond flat white.
It’s a misconception that a WHITE room looks cold. WHITE is not just one colour. There is an enormous palette of WHITES, all different shades and tones, but nonetheless WHITE.
WHITE not only brings a room to life, but it also accentuates architectural details, mouldings and woodwork.
I often use several different tones of WHITE to decorate one room. In a recent project, I used WHITE with a tinge of lilac for the walls, chalky WHITE for the cornices, and plain WHITE for the ceilings.
Lighting is very important. Too bright and the room can then look sterile.
One of the joys of decorating a WHITE room is that one can play by adding colours with rugs, cushions, plants and flowers.
And a WHITE wall provides the perfect canvas to display artwork.
You can give a new lease of life to any old piece of furniture with a coat of WHITE paint. A wooden floor painted WHITE will look regenerated and stylish.
In today’s hectic life, a WHITE room can be more valuable than anything in the search for peace and harmony.
It’s A Jungle Out There
Fashion is always a reflection of what’s going on in the world, be it politics, art, culture or commerce… and interior design trends often follow fashion trends.
Blame the climate crisis, carbon footprint or the Amazon fires, but forests, jungles and oceans have been front-page news recently.
Several fashion houses – Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana in particular, all had jungle fever. And the interiors world soon followed.
Lots of wallpapers and printed fabrics are now available. China and ceramics are also decorated with jungle motifs.
Versace Dries Van Noten Versace
Here is a selection of some of my preferences…
ceramic and wood platter by John Lewis
Working from home
With the recent G20 summit, and the passionate protests of Teen – Eco, it’s a fitting time to consider a NATURAL home. Nature is very much on trend this year, and hopefully here to stay.
The inspiration comes from a rustic country cottage with a thatched roof, or a boathouse on a beach, sand dunes and desert ravines, sunsets over the ocean…
It’s about escaping from today’s hectic world and finding freedom, authenticity, and simplicity, a bohemian lifestyle of a sort.
The eco-friendly materials to use are reclined and floating woods, old stones, bricks, sisal, bamboo, seagrass, clay, rattan, terracotta, cord… as well as natural fibers – linen and cotton.
The colours: neutral organic tones, as well as brown, orange, sand, ochre, rust, terracotta, all the warm spice tones, as well as whites and indigo blues…
Handcrafts are also very much on-trend. Skills and techniques are not appreciated just for their charm, but because the old age traditions and process are often more sustainable.
Tie-dye African style is very much on-trend.
It’s about capturing and recreating a lifestyle, maybe – just maybe, as it used to be.