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mydeco goes under Ella Doran’s umbrella (Ella Ella) 12 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in design boutique blog.
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If there’s one thing Ella Doran is, it’s creative. Her eye for detail and colour bring the generic mug, coaster and tray to life with vibrant photography and eye-catching subject matter. So no doubt you’ll know (and love – how can you not?) her kitchenware even if you don’t know Ella. But there’s far more to it than flowers and sweets – as I found out when I popped along to her Cheshire Street shop.
Ella Doran Magnolia mug and tea

What was once mostly studio with a shop window attached, is now a colourful  boutique with green leaved umbrellas, knitted children’s chairs, Sweetie Love mugs and a whole lot more. She’s had to expand – demand for Doran’s trademark photographic designs has soared over the past few years and she sells with John Lewis as well as being part of our exclusive design boutique.

So, just how did she carve such a ‘boumercial’ niche for herself? (that’s boutique/commercial btw. See what I did?) She said: ‘There’s a lot of beautiful illustrative designs out there, and we are offering something different with my bold vibrant photographic eye and passion for colour and detail.

‘Photography is becoming more and more widely used; with the advent of the digital camera everyone can essentially take a great photo, but I shoot specifically and work on the image in post production creating repeats from often quite small aspects of the photograph.’

Ella Doran Geo wallpaper and tray and Sunlight through Leaves  blind and placemats

Her lovely assistant, Ruth, showed me some examples. Take her Geo collection, above left. The original shoot focussed on just a small section of the geometric design, yet the post-photo work repeated the image seamlessly to create it’s eye-fuzzing effect – you’d never know!

This brings me, nearly as seamlessly, to Ella’s brand new (quote) ‘never before seen’ Geo Play silk scarf. Ruth showed me a sample and it’s so new, in fact, that the hemlines still needed to be sewn.

Ella Doran Churchill Sweetie Love mug and Pinky umbrella

Image credit: Ella Doran @ design boutique

Ella’s latest success has been her umbrellas – made by the manufacturers that keep the Queen’s silvery head dry: ‘They invented the see-through umbrella for the Queen, so she could stay dry and see people,’ explains Ruth.

‘The Pinky umbrella, aka Meadow umbrella, is a take on this design with a floral edge. We sold out with the four trial designs and our manufacturer had to order extra to meet the demand.’

Ella Doran's Artists brushes mug and tray

My favourite design, Artist’s Tools, above.

Watch out for more new products on the Ella-horizon: a new stripey collection for men, new designs for Churchill China plus aprons, tea towels and oven gloves in her Sweetie Love pattern. A brilliant way to brighten up your cooking – afterall, who wants generic white oven gloves with those tell-tale scorch marks of black sausages and tears…?

What do you think of Ella Doran? Rate her with a comment below >


Storage solutions with style 21 February, 2010

Posted by kiadesigns in mydeco bloggers, mydeco guest blogger.
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One of the biggest problems for my clients is storage: where to put it, how much to have, what to use it for…  So in my hunt for different and stylish storage I have spotted some top finds.

Image credit: Yanko Design

These fantastic “book pills” have been designed by Je Sung Park and make a really flexible storage solution.  The inner colourful material is flexible so the book ends can be moved around to suit your mood, and since they are modular you could put together as many as you need!

Image credit: Nest

Image Credit: Coroflot

Shelving like this would be wonderful in a study or in a kids’ bedroom, as it allows you to see everything at a glance.

This storage system is a little different from your average bookcase:

Image Credit: Fresh home

This bookcase really would be a statement piece! A little bit of fun for a TV room maybe?

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!

Home office colour trends follow fashion? 20 January, 2010

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Uncategorized.
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Image credit: Laura Ashley

Rare is the occasion when ‘office’ and ‘fashion’ are used in the same sentence, but if claims from interior design experts are to be believed, this could soon be a thing of the past.

According to Jennifer Way, marketing manager at the Interior Concepts Corporation, colours that you spot on the runways in spring will soon be seen everywhere on the high street, and home offices and workplaces will follow suit shortly after that.

“Since colours influence interior design, this will lead to complementing and coordination of the furnishings,” she said.

“Thankfully, more and more people selecting furnishings for call centre and office spaces look to current design trends and outside of the traditional (and slightly boring) all grey colour schemes of the past.” Slightly boring? The only thing worse than working in a call centre would be decorating it.

Jackie Jordan, director of colour marketing for Sherwin-Williams has predicted that energised floral colours evoking “optimism and exuberance” will be a major trend in 2010.

So to conclude, this year’s colour trends mean that we will all be receiving calls from extra-chirpy telesales workers –  energised by the nice floral wallpaper in their office. Great.

Make sure you’re up to date for Spring/Summer 2010 – keep checking our blog for news on the latest trends making their way off the catwalk and into your home.

Room Rescue 11: bringing a modern living room to life 15 January, 2010

Posted by katiehodgkiss in 3D room design.
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Hello and welcome to Room Rescue 11!  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 Lyn Coutts, who is hoping to inject colour and personality into her new-build living room.

‘The house is modern and fresh, but we would love to create a cosy, livable lounge – rather than a bland open space.’ says Lynn.

There were plenty of great contenders to choose from, but in the end Lynn opted for this contemporary black and fuchsia design by mydeco community member chezzamc.

‘I really liked Chezzamc’s design as she had stayed pretty close to our original lay out.  Given we’ve just built & moved into the house we weren’t really looking to put lots of other furniture in, but we needed something to help transform it into a proper living space. My husband also liked the colouring on this design, so we have started jazzing the place up with wonderful purple and fuchsia colours – it already looks so much better!’

We were impressed with this room too – especially the geometric print wallpaper, which is very on trend for Spring. Unfortunately Kelly Hoppen wasn’t so keen: ‘I do not like the design of this room at all. The colour scheme of fuchsia and black is too clumsy and will date very quickly. A palette of neutral shades and luscious textures using art or a star piece of furniture to add colour would have made the room feel more  luxurious  and contemporary.’

Image credit: The Telegraph

We agree with you on the luscious textures Kelly, but with nothing but grey skies outside surely you can’t blame Lynn for wanting to see some colour?

Lynn chose this summery design by Sylvia Ast as her runner-up:

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 15th January!

Think you can do better? Put your design skills to the test and redesign next week’s room at www.mydeco.com/roomrescue13. Or to enter a room in your house for a redesign, email a photograph to roomrescue@mydeco.com. Each week a different photograph will be rendered as an empty virtual room for you to redesign.

mydeco chats to… Abigail Ahern 5 January, 2010

Posted by Annie Deakin in Annie's blog, Interviews.
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Image credit: Abigail Ahern

Is Abigail Ahern the coolest chick in interior design?

Famed for her edgy, eclectic taste, she runs super funky North London design boutique, Atelier Abigail Ahern and has even created a profile on mydeco. It’s no wonder all the fashion mags are stalking her.Here she talks to mydeco about how to decorate on a budget and painting her walls black.

I live in… London Fields in Hackney. We moved in about nine years ago before the area wasn’t really anything. It’s become so different – I love the vibe of East London.

My interior style is…
really eclectic. I try and throw the rule books out and play with different periods, textures and styles. Experimenting and playing with colour is a huge part of my style.

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

My favourite piece of furniture is… the first piece I ever bought – a concrete chair from Mint in Wigmore Street. We’d just moved back from America and had no furniture. I should have bought a sofa from Ikea but I fell in love with the chair. My husband and I had to take turns sitting on it for a year because we couldn’t afford to buy anything else!

The best room in my house is… the basement because it’s an inside/outside room. We’ve taken out the exterior brick wall over the bottom two floors and put in a double–height wall of glass. The doors slide back so you’re almost in the garden.

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

I used to be afraid of colour…
but then I started experimenting and got more confident. When we first moved in we had a completely white palette but then I painted one room in very dark grey and suddenly the other rooms were put to shame. Using dark colours makes a huge difference to how objects stand out. But you have to accent with brightly coloured accessories otherwise it looks really depressing.

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

A budget decorating tip is… to make simple floating shelves out of cheap MDF, then paint them yourself the same colour as your walls so it blends into the colour scheme of the room. It looks like you’ve spent a fortune when you haven’t.

You should play on…
shadow, light and nooks of cosiness. The key is to have lots of different levels of lighting – floor lights, candle lights, firelights, and table lights.

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

I am inspired by the work of… Jonathan Adler; he plays with colour, scale and proportions.

I used to work… on the picture desk for Terence Conran’s publishing company, Conran Octopus, researching images for his interior books. That’s where my love of interiors started.

Image credit: Abigail Ahern

Like her style? Get more tips from Abigail Ahern

New Year, new colour: Turquoise dreams for 2010 22 December, 2009

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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As the year draws to a close, we’re looking forward to the New Year. Here at mydeco we are very excited to hear that the colour gurus at Pantone have announced turquoise as the shade for 2010. In keeping with next season’s love of all things exotic, turquoise reminds us of exciting travels and adventures in a far-off land – something we could all do with. If, like us, you’re not in a position to nip to the Maldives to get a turquoise fix, you can instantly update your home with a colourful turquoise addition.

This moodboard by our community member Tweety blends turquoise with citrus greens for a fresh, springtime look. If you want to try before you buy, why not have a go at creating your own moodboard?

Let us know what you think of the new turquoise trend…

Through the Keyhole: Jo’s Midcentury-Contemporary Digs 11 November, 2009

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog, Through the Keyhole.
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Jo's-flat-01-small - crop

Image Credit: Eliot Lovell

We know what you’ve been thinking: Working at mydeco clearly means everyone there has a super-cool place to call home. Well, loyal mydeco community, you thought right! Editor Annie  just finished renovating her Barons Court home, Development Manager Annabel  is busy taking photos of her abode for a future installment of TtK,  and Editorial intern Bethany is about to move into a blank canvas in Clapham.  What else would you expect from the people who eat, sleep, and breathe interiors?

This week we’re pleased to give you a sneak peek inside Marketing Manager Jo’s Angel flat.  Jo, aka, mopsylouise, has taken a cleverly kitschy approach to her interiors scheme, and with fun accessories like that quirky Moooi rabbit lamp, the result is anything but boring, thanks to a little help from stylist and mydeco Picture Editor Vicky.

‘I’m renting the flat, so I can’t paint the walls,’ Jo explains.   ‘To incorporate lots of colour back into the scheme, I chose a mix of richly saturated accessories to brighten the place up.  And I love my Moooi lamp – it was a Christmas gift that I treasure.’

My Bertoia chairs - crop

Image Credit: Eliot Lovell

Jo’s is an age-old interior styling trick that never gets loses its luster.  When painting simply isn’t an option, choosing funky patterns and bold colours will add movement and texture, and have you forgetting all about your renting woes.  We love this pair of Bertoia armchairs – the 1950s icon looks twice as nice perched near the windows, and the funky geo prints of the cushion and area rug mimic the retro feel of the fluid seating.

Sideboard - crop

Image Credit: Eliot Lovell

While blank white walls can be refreshing, many of us feeling will artistically stifled by this scheme.  Jo keeps the room from feeling too minimalist by mixing it up and adding her own personal touches.  The feminine duckegg sugar bowls placed near a more masculine silver stag’s antler introduce an unexpected juxtaposition between synthetic and organic.  And we’re loving that bold red painting – not only does it complement the dusty blues and citron greens, it marries the orange and pink theme from the sofa cushions and lampshade (top image) to the rest of the space.

My bedroom - crop

Image Credit: Eliot Lovell

While an eclectic scheme can be hard to wrangle, Jo’s contiguously employs the popular mid-century duck egg colour in her bedroom, streamlining the ’50s theme throughout her flat.  A minimalist bedspread keeps this small room from appearing claustrophobic.

Like any good design guru, Jo knows when to call it quits.  Making full use of the simplicity of those white walls, her gutsy design choices hit the right balance between retro and quirky, never cheesy or parodied.

And now that the word is out on Jo’s cosy-cool flat,  three guesses who’s hosting the mydeco Christmas party this year?  Thanks in advance, Jo!

Love Jo’s look? We’ve found key pieces from her style for you to steal.  Click on the moodboard to view selected products.


Moodboard: Bethany Wrede Peterson

And check out Jo’s floorplan for a more 3D view:

3D£D floorplan_living room - crop

3D model: Daniele Bubusci

Tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Jo Casley’s style 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!

Everything’s Coming Up Roses at Marks & Spencer 6 November, 2009

Posted by Bethany Wrede Peterson in Bethany's blog.
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M&S SS10 launch 015

think festive florals for your garden parties

We’ve not even closed in on Christmas yet, and already Marks & Spencer are armed and ready for summer 2010!  For me, this is a much more highly anticipated time than the holidays (for a better explanation, check out my Spirit of Christmas Fair blog).  I love to think of freshly cut grass, fragrant flowers, and plenty of sunshine when the days become gloomier as winter encroaches.

From what we’ve glimpsed at the Spring/Summer launches so far, 2010 will see homes bursting with non-commital colour in accessories, bold patterns and textures, and most ubiquitously: big, beautiful, floral motifs.

M&S SS10 launch 009

the bold and the beautiful – bright cushions for your bed or sofa

I loved these cushions piled up in the corner – like a little love den just waiting to be jumped into!  A couple cushions will do the trick to inject a little punch into a dull living area, but don’t be afraid of going overboard this spring.  Clashing patterns mixed with harmonious colours keep this arrangement looking eclectic and whimsical, not haphazard or unintentional.

M&S SS10 launch 011

sumptuous textures inspire cosy tactility in your living space

And, while I would never think of placing this crimson pouffe next to this amethyst armchair, M&S prove that taking risks and having fun with your interiors can really prove fruitful in the coming season.  The blue undertones in both pieces means the two can co-exist without confusing your cones, while the chartreuse cushion lends a complementary contrast.  (Learn more about how to successfully infuse colour into your home here.)

M&S SS10 launch 025

accessories get the girlie nod

Accessories  will also see a touch of antiquated and feminine glamour.  Think shapely perfume bottles from the wartime era and Old Hollywood Art Deco vases to put those cut flowers into.

a subtler, more sophisticated look

get a more subdued look with muted tones

If washes of bubbly pinks and acidic greens seem a bit too much like shock therapy for your home, M&S will also cater to you.  While big patterns are still thematic, this collection uses undertones of grey in its fabrics for a calmer, more stately look.  And I loved this gorgeous upholstered folding screen so much that I’d have stuffed it in my handbag if it were just a little smaller!

M&S SS10 launch 019

light-reflecting accessories enhance this monochromatic scheme

If you’re the type that prefers a bachelor(ette) pad to the ultrafeminine, expect to find some edgier, monochromatic pieces up for grabs as well.  The gazelle’s head is a new statement staple in the M&S collection, and this tone-on-tone patterned chair might easily be found in a sleek New York boutique hotel.  The jury’s still out on that iridescent fish scale cushion, but we’re willing to bet you’ll be able to make it work.

While these fine young things won’t hit M&S stores for a while yet, you can be sure mydeco will have a fabulous selection as soon the season approaches.  ‘Til it’s once again time to get back to the great outdoors,  M&S and mydeco will keep your indoors fashionably stocked.

Friday’s news: Space architecture, intelligent wall stickers and colour confidence 9 October, 2009

Posted by katykimbell in Daily news.
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We’ve had a busy week for news – Ron Weasley is a property guru, gargoyles are back in fashion and Brangelina are building a private airport at their French Château. So now that it’s Friday, is there anything more that the Design world can offer us? Of course there is – read on and find out!

The Guardian: Man on the moon: Norman Foster prepares for architecture’s lift-off


Image credit: The Guardian

Across the world, space experts and astronomy enthusiasts are preparing their telescopes and pointing them space-bound to catch a glimpse of the latest NASA experiment that is literally blasting the moon today. So while we eagerly await the experiment results, let’s take a look at how British architect Norman Foster would build on the moon.

The Guardian: The fourth plinth: it was just Big Brother all over again

Visitors to Trafalgar Square may have loved Anthony Gormley’s conceptual installation but Jonathan Jones wasn’t so sure.

ecogeek: The Dow chemical company introduces stealth solar shingles

dornob: Intelligent Wall Stickers


Image credit: dornob

The ubiquitous nature of wall stickers caused design brand Hu2 to create decorative adhesives with more meaning and purpose than your typical toy-car or princess. The Hu2 wall stickers don’t just brighten up your walls, they inform and educate. Buy a wall sticker – gain a life skill!

MoCo Loco: We love the Cascade Chandelier by Bodo Sperlein

MoCo Loco: Asymmetrical furniture by Hannes Grebin

We blogged about Hannes Grebin on the mydeco blog ages ago, but see what Moco Loco has to say about the affable German designer who showcased his work in the Talent Zone at Tent London.

The Times: Camden – A hip location with a groovy charm

The Times: Historic homes in the BBC’s new series of Emma

The Times: Jeanette Winterson and her Spitalfields home

The Cool Hunter: Childhood toys are the inspiration for a new Sports centre in Paris


Image credit: The Cool Hunter

It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that toys and memories of childhood were the guiding inspirations for the recently completed children’s sports and recreation centre near Paris.The 1,600 square-meter centre is unexpected and bold in its riotous use of colours both inside and out. Running on the treadmill would feel a whole lot easier with these cheerful surroundings!

Wallpaper*: New office furniture by Pearson Lloyd

Hands up whose glad it’s Friday? Well now you’ve had your daily design update, you can enter the weekend in style!