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Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Tea Party: you’d be Tweedledumb to miss it! 16 March, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog.
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Sanderson Hotel, Philippe Starck, Mad Hatters Tea Party

Image credit: Morgans Hotel Group

The hullabaloo of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland may have come and gone, but a true  Mad Hatters tea party – like Lewis Carroll’s original works – is a classic novelty not to wane with the passing trends.

Luring us to fall down the rabbit hole of epicurean delights,  jaw-droppingly impressive central London hotel, Sanderson and its Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea takes the cake!

Last week, we got to hob-nob and fall into Wonderland – and just as surely as we were ooh-ing and aww-ing the swingin’ decor like Alice in her newfound surroundings (the hotel was designed by the ultimate Mad Hatter himself, Philippe Starck), we salivated over the yummy salmon finger sandwiches, the pineapple lollies that make your mouth hot and cold, and the to-die-for Queen of Hearts foam cake.   Perched like tiny works of art atop beautifully bespoke cakestands (that we unfortunately couldn’t fit into our bags!), we suspect we’ll be raving about our sugar-induced Wonderland for a while.

Fall into Wonderland at The Sanderson. The Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea has been extended through the end of May.  To book, call 020 7300 5588

Image credit: Morgans Hotel Group


3D rooms get ‘Aliced’ in our Alice in Wonderland competition 12 March, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in 3D room design, Bethany's blog.
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Our Alice in Wonderland Facebook treasure hunt might be over, but we’ve got some fantastic Alice 3D rooms from our community to share with you!  Out of 138 entries, here are some of our favourites  from our Alice in Wonderland 3D room competition.

3D room: chezzamc

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: Isaly

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: thisisinteresting

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: djinnstar

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: limina88

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: karma kitten

Alice in Wonderland

3D room: PaiviL

Thanks to everyone who contributed!  This competition was a great success and everyone’s rooms were so creative this was such a hard decision!

Be sure to check out all the entries here

Through the Keyhole: Ben Hillman’s budget bachelor pad: the ‘next big thing’ 4 March, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog, Through the Keyhole.
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ben hillman, next big thing, living room, bachelor pad

Image credit: Ben Hillman

Can you imagine designing a family living room on a budget of – gulp! – £1000? Neither can we!  But such was the challenge of itv’s The Next Big Thing winner, Ben Hillman.  The impressive design rookie had been singled out from hundreds of entrants to compete in the final £1000 design challenge on itv’s This Morning, and is no stranger to designing on a budget.  Ben’s own home has been styled on a stretch, and we got a sneak peak of the space.

A decorator in Brighton, Ben bought his two-bedroom flat four years ago, and has been steadily working on it since.  ‘I like to design on a whim,’ he says.  ‘My girlfriend will come home one day to find that I’ve ripped all the tiles off the kitchen wall, and she’ll remind me that we’ll have nowhere to cook until I get the mess cleaned up and new tiles in place.  I like building things, and I’m a bit spontaneous when it comes to designing – but it always works out in the end!’

Ben Hillman, Next Big Thing, living room, itv

Image credit: Ben Hillman

When not busy building or constructively deconstructing his pad, Ben finds his design inspiration in the eclecticism of post-war furnishings, cheap internet finds, and uber-cool scavenges.  While we’re loving all the clever and colourful accessories in Ben’s flat, the statement piece is, by far, the painted MDF world map – an old bespoke find he collected from a trade show (top).

‘I’ve definitely invested in a few key pieces, and I like to bring modern antiques into a contemporary environment,’ he explains, referring to his set of vintage Eames dining chairs (above). ‘But the majority of what I own I’ve been able to find pretty inexpensively.’  Ben’s modern glass dining table came as a gift when he purchased the chairs, and the red mid-century modern pendant lamp was a junk shop find.

Ben Hillman, Next Big Thing, itv, computer desk

Image credit: Ben Hillman

‘To give his open plan living and dining room even more functionality, Ben added this Mad Men chic writing bureau to the space. ‘I saved this from the tip – my mum’s friend was going to throw it away!’ he exclaims. Ben applied a single tube bulb under the bureau to modernise the dark wood while illuminating the clean 50s-style lines of the piece.  We think it doubles as an equally hip drinks cabinet when entertaining guests.

Ben’s design philosophy of minimal effort for maximal impact continues in his bedroom (below).  Painting it a warm eggplant shade could have easily flattened the space to a blah boudoir, but Ben amps up the texture and sensuality factor with a white fringe curtain and faux fur bed throw (warning: not for the faint of design heart!).  This mood-making backdrop, paired with the easy symmetry of the matching bedside tables and lamps, lends a boutique hotel feel to his bedroom.

Ben Hillman, Next Big Thing, bedroom, fringe

Image credit: Ben Hillman

‘Now that I’ve won, it would be great to get into interior design full time,’ Ben remarks. ‘It’s something that I wondered if I’d missed the boat on prior.   This whole process has been fantastic – a complete step out of reality – and I’m loving it!’

Like so many of us, Ben maybe on a serious budget.  But his inventive design and willingness to take risks and get his hands dirty prove that this decorator-cum-designer has true wealth when it comes to interiors. And in these tight times, this kind of attitude, just like Ben, is the next big thing.

Ben Hillman, Next Big Thing, shoe horns, hooks

Image credit: Ben Hillman

View our 3D room of  Ben’s  living room by clicking on the room below.  You can even copy it, redecorate, or add new furniture!

Ben Hillman, 3D room, Next Big Thing, itv

3D room: Rob Brightwell

Tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Ben’s budget styling and our Through the Keyhole feature.  Just add your comments below.

Think your home has the panache to be spotted through the keyhole? Send us the dish on your digs along with your best home snaps to editors@mydeco.com – subject line: Through the Keyhole – and your pride-and-joy may be spied next!

Better than LOVEFiLM: LOVE ART LONDON’s a membership worth showing up for 2 March, 2010

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Love Art London

Image credit: Love Art London

Flash bulbs and ‘sweetie-darlings!’; Peggy Guggenheim with lipstick on her teeth; naked men pole-vaulting; and Andy Goldsworthy topping up elderflower vodkas from a watering can – who said the art world needs to be stuffy?

This was the launch of the Love Art London membership last week.  Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating – the pole-vaulting men were actually wearing tights.  However, the atmosphere alone makes this a membership worth signing up for.  Pitched by founder and ex-Sotheby’s paintings expert, Chris Pensa, as a cultural alternative to the post-work pub scene, the thrice-monthly members only events offer after-hours access and exclusive tours to some of London’s best collections and exhibitions.  They also add a much-needed breath of fresh air to your social and networking life.  For those of us (read: me) who simply abhor elbowing our way around the always absurdly packed Tate Modern on the weekends, the newly minted Love Art London membership is a godsend.

Image credit: Will Leach

While everyone milling about last Wednesday night’s launch at the Estorick Collection’s On the Move exhibition was part of the fine young London set, there was a distinct lack of Shoreditch hipster pretension that usually keeps me away from events like this.  Intent members perused the photographic motion studies with casual sips from red plastic cups, and a chat to Frida Kahlo, (below, played by Sotheby’s own Frances Christie) ran the gamut from demystifying some of the artist’s greatest works to deciphering the real meaning behind that monobrow.

Love Art London, Esoterick Collection, Frida Kahlo

Image credit: Will Leach

While some of us got stuck in examining every work, and others merely got stuck in the elderflower top ups, Love Art London is for those who of us who are serious about art, but don’t take ourselves too seriously.  And I’ll be swapping my LoveFilm account for a Love Art London membership immediately.

Loving the idea of Love Art London? Their next event, an exclusive twilight tour of Apsley House, is scheduled for Wednesday 10 March. Membership is £25 month. Become a member

Congrats to nyzsuzsi – our Valentine’s Day competition winner! 16 February, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog.
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Congratulations to nyzsuzsi for creating this beautiful Valentine’s Day moodboard!  She’s our winner of the What do you really want for Valentine’s Day? competition – and our Member of the Week!

This moodboard is romantic and fun – but not gushy or saccarine.  We really love the powdery pinks and grey combination – very modern but warm with the organic shapes and textures.  We would love to have seen one more accent colour in there – perhaps a crimson red for drama – but all in all a great moodboard for Valentine’s Day – or any day!

Keep up the great designs, nyzsuzsi!

Through the Keyhole: Kathy’s upcycled work of art 12 February, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog, Through the Keyhole.
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Image credit: Kathy Dalwood

We may be rooted in a recession, but there’s no denying the nascent decade has found us willing servants to a disposable culture of decadent design habits.  While we love nothing more than splurging on the newest homewares, too many of us have succumbed to the vices of the throwaway throw cushion and the (wince!) fashionable flat-pack.

Is that to say we should no longer strive to make our homes look their Sunday best?  That we abandon our design principles of passion and live in aesthetically ascetic abodes?  Of course not! says Kathy Dalwood of Shift Design.

The upcycling queen has made her career out of making something from nothing.  Kathy is a London-based artist and designer who creates sculptures from concrete – a material most of us take for granted.  In equal respect, her Queens Park home is filled with vintage furniture given a new lease on life.

Image credit: Kathy Dalwood

‘It’s a scandal that old furniture is thrown into landfill when a little time and ingenuity can create something beautiful, unusual and unique,’ Kathy remarks.  ‘I like to mend things – it gives such a great feeling of satisfaction and is the most sustainable way to live.’

Kathy finds sturdy vintage pieces from junk shops and eBay to reupholster or paint to modernise their look. The colonial lines of her inherited dining room chairs, above, juxtaposed against the added modern pinks creates a look that is contemporary and quirky with loads of visual appeal.

‘Colour is very important to me,’ the designer explains of her work.  ‘I use strong blasts of colour for contrast, and choose sumptuous fabrics like silk and velvet with wonderful tactility.  Their colours are intense and shimmer or smoulder in the light.’

Image credit: Kathy Dalwood

Kathy’s white-washed interior is the perfect canvas for statement colour pops inherent in her design style.  This funky, variegated wallpaper could easily overwhelm a large living room like Kathy’s, but it packs a punch perfect for a small walk-through space as her hallway.  Round vintage oil paintings and delicate crystal sconces act as spontaneous accoutrements that break up the harsh contemporary lines of these colour-blocked stripes.

In this respect, Kathy’s home is a great example of how a vivid sense of personality can be injected into a space without a lot of commitment or renovation.  How many of us have moved into a boring magnolia flat just to be thwarted when our landlords slap us with a ‘no painting’ clause?  (Killjoys!) The playful magpie element to Kathy’s living room, below, is evoked through her use of eclectic vintage textiles and paintings which bring individuality and texture to a simple space.

Image credit: Kathy Dalwood

‘I’ve always preferred the mix of old or vintage and contemporary.  I think each style provides a foil for the other, whereas a scheme based on one style or period alone is boring and repetitive,’ she says.

The artist is also a great fan of appreciating the surroundings she’s got to work with.  ‘I believe it’s important to respect the architecture and detailing of a building.  In old houses, a lot of craftsmanship went into the construction – and I like to respect that work,’ she says.

More than any other colour, a white palette will showcase original features and architecture at its best without detracting from your interior design.  If you’ve got great original cornicing  in your home, a scheme similar to Kathy’s will allow the eye to focus on both without distraction.

Image credit: Tom Stewart

While bold geometric wallpapers and neon lacquered furniture might be la mode du jour, (and, we confess, design elements our gluttonous little hearts still swoon over!) we’re digging Kathy’s make-do-and-mend mentality.  We always knew the upcycling trend was one to watch, but Kathy’s home proves you can create a true work or art out of those old throw-aways.  And that’s a design idea worth holding onto.

View our 3D room of  Kathys  bedroom by clicking on the room below.  You can even copy it, redecorate, or add new furniture!

3D room: Robert Brightwell

Read more about Kathy’s home and her interior design services on her blog

Tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Kathy’s upcycling talents and our new Through the Keyhole feature.  Just add your comments below.

Think your home has the panache to be spotted through the keyhole? Send us the dish on your digs along with your best home snaps to editors@mydeco.com – subject line: Through the Keyhole – and your pride-and-joy may be spied next!

Through the Keyhole: Kitsch as Folk: Danielle’s tiny eclectic bazaar 27 January, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog, Through the Keyhole.
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Image credit: Danielle Thompson

In ‘the pursuit of all things cute, kitschy, and crafty’ (as is dictated in her blog’s manifesto), Danielle Thompson’s is a small abode that rises above and beyond the call of duty.  The Etsy boutique owner is one of a crop of designers who’ve designed their homes are as stylishly as their homewares.

Like her boutique, Tiny Bazaar, Danielle’s home is filled with quirky handmade charm and a dash of retro whimsy.  ‘I love to collect different items from vintage stores and bring them together for an eclectic mix, she explains.  ‘I usually let the vintage pieces bring the inspiration and then the decor evolves from that. I like mixing things that you wouldn’t think would go together – but I feel like that is exactly what makes them click: the fact that they are totally different and each from totally different time.’

Image credit: Danielle Thompson

Though her mismatched folkloric fusion of Granny-chic styling is a design trend that will be be huge for 2010 and equally synonymous with what top-selling American retailers like Anthropologie have been epitomised for, Danielle is a reluctant trendsetter.  ‘I’ve never really categorized my style as “folklore” and haven’t thought much about it.  I’m not usually always in the “know” about what’s especially hot at the moment. I try to just design using items that make me happy.’

Image credit: Danielle Thompson

Folkloric or no, a constant thread of quaint opulence runs through Danielle’s decoration.  While the melange of details is far from the extravagant accessories covering the pages of high-end design glossies (the artist shies away from expensive furnishings because she has two ‘wild’ boys) each piece featured  nonetheless holds an old-world charm of collected treasures and a nostalgic good humour to add to the space.

We love the hodge-podge miscellany of menagerie, dime store cameras, pageant ribbons, and neo-Rococo picture frames on display across Danielle’s wall (above).  The frames are wall stickers that Danielle features in her boutique and make for a funky way to display those old trinkets that have collected with the mothballs in the back of your closet.  ‘I love these wall decals – they were so easy to apply, and they have almost a trompe l’oeil effect – really beautiful!

Image credit: Danielle Thompson

There is also a unique fairytale quality of Danielle’s powder hued hallway (above).  The soft blues mixed with touches of chocolate browns make for  a quiet statement, while the needlepoint and craftsy accouterments remind of a time when the arts of the domestic goddess were a more prominent pastime.

‘I definitely gravitate towards the nostalgic and often the childlike,’ Danielle muses.  ‘I always like to throw in something with a bit of whimsy. Life is too serious already to be surrounded to perfectly designed rooms!’  With that manifesto, we couldn’t agree more.

Image credit: Danielle Thompson

Love Danielle’s kitschy folk look? We’ve found key pieces from Danielle’s style for you to steal.  Click on the moodboard to view and purchase selected products.

Moodboard: Bethany Wrede Peterson

View our 3D room of  Danielle’s living room by clicking on the room below.  You can even copy it, redecorate, or add new furniture!

3D room: Rob Brightwell

Tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Danielle’s kitschy folklore charm and our new Through the Keyhole feature.  Just add your comments below.

Think your home has the panache to be spotted through the keyhole? Send us the dish on your digs along with your best home snaps to editors@mydeco.com and your pride-and-joy may be spied next!

‘Coolest chick in interior design’ Abigail Ahern to guest judge Room Rescue 14 15 January, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in 3D room design, Bethany's blog.
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Image credit: Abigail Ahern

We gushed over Abigail Ahern‘s book A Girl’s Guide to Decorating, and we’ve even deemed her the coolest chick in interior design.  So boy, we were excited when she agreed to guest judge this week’s Room Rescue competition.

Image credit: room owner

And do our room designers have their work cut out for them this week!  With this cluttered room, it’s going to take some true talent to impress both colour-savvy Abigail, and (colour-shy?) clients, Robert and his wife – who are looking for a more muted scheme.  But we’re confident our winner will be able to strike the right balance and land their design in the Daily Telegraph on 6th February.

Good luck!

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

Love Abigail Ahern’s funky designs?  Buy the look from Atelier Abigail Ahern

Room Rescue: a boudoir inspired by nature 4 January, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in 3D room design, Bethany's blog.
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Hello and welcome to Room Rescue 10!  Each week, we choose a different person’s room to have our community make over with our great 3D tools.  Design expert and mydeco Design Board member Kelly Hoppen helps choose the winning room, and lends her advice.

The room chosen for a 3D makeover this week was sent in by Peter from Rugeley in Staffordshire.  ‘The room hasn’t changed much since the house was built in 1939!’

Image credit: the owner

Now, Peter feels it’s time to make a change:  ‘I want to create a relaxing space for sleeping and relaxing, which uses the East facing morning light.’

With this in mind, owner Peter and design guru Kelly Hoppen both chose a design by community member imnium as the winner:

Peter says:  ‘I liked the woodland references and calming colour scheme. The mirrored wall would provide a clever means of concealing some of the currently ugly features of the room. It also helps to create light and the impression of space. It’s a practical layout.’

Kelly comments:  ‘I like the idea of this room, bringing the outdoors indoor. Proportion wise it works and the space does not feel cluttered.  All in all a good effort.’

Image credit: Daily Telegraph

And we love the design too:  the mossy greens create a space of serenity, while the clean lines keep the room from appearing cluttered.  Great work, imnium!

Our runners up were these designs by community members LisaR and PaiviL. Well done guys!

3D room: LisaR

3D room: PaiviL

To buy any of the items used in this week’s winning design, visit the winning room’s page for a  list of products used in this scheme.

Love another design?  Think the runners up designed better rooms?  Tell us what you think.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the Room Rescue article in the Telegraph this Saturday 9th January!

Think you can do better? Put your design skills to the test and redesign next week’s room (coming soon!). Or to enter a room in your house for a redesign, email a high-resolution photograph to roomrescue@mydeco.com.

mydeco chats to…Barbara Hulanicki 1 January, 2010

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog, Interviews.
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Image credit: Barbara Hulanicki

Miami-based Sixties icon Barbara Hulanicki has designed for fashion legends Naomi Campbell and Bridget Bardot. The founder of BIBA, her latest project is retro wallpaper designs for Graham & Brown. She talks about Madonna, growing up in a war zone and being hit by a hurricane.

I fell into interior design when… Ronnie Wood asked me to design a nightclub for him in Miami in the late Eighties. And I never moved back to London.

If you’re a designer… and working a lot with colour, you don’t wear much colour because it interferes with what you are working on.

Most of my walls are painted… a pearl grey colour; it works well with the bright sunshine of Miami. I have odd walls painted in a burnt orange shade.

Recently I have been bombarded with… requests for BIBA designs. My inspiration for my BIBA wallpaper prints actually came from the public’s nostalgia.

‘Viva’ wallpaper by Barbara Hulanicki. Image credit: Flock The Wall.

I was thrilled to… work on this project with Graham and Brown. They produce such wonderful printing and colour palettes, and I love the fact that is it produced in the UK.

I will never get rid of… my Fifties chair that keeps getting re-upholstered. It’s silver at the moment but I’ve changed the cover of it three or four times. I also adore my huge seahorse doorstop which I picked up in a junk market.

I admire… minimalism, but I need clutter. I like having different shapes and colours that my eyes will focus on.

‘Shoes’ wallpaper by Barbara Hulnicki. Image credit: Flock Your Wall

Update your home by… moving around photo frames and having furniture on wheels, so you can move it around too.

My all-time favourite project was… designing the Marlin hotel in the Eighties for Chris Blackwell. He always gave me a blank canvas to design whatever I wanted.

If my house was burning down… I’d grab pictures of my son, [my late husband] Fitz, and my passport. Then I‘d think, ‘great, I can start again’.

Shop for designs by Barbara Hulanicki

Barbara Hulanicki has joined mydeco! See her profile