I spotted Karen’s blog The White Approach while researching something else and was knocked out by everything she has achieved – on an unashamed shoestring – in her beautiful Exeter home. Her philosophy is that you can transform anything with the colour white, which you can read about here: Ideal Home Karen Jones After seeing her stunning home, I have to agree!
I came across Julie Stevens’ wonderful brocante store, Grey To Green Home, at a Dorset emporium when I was on my way to another interview. After tracking her down (and buying one of her oyster baskets), I persuaded her to let me write about her home. There is something about her way of putting a look together that I can’t help but admire. Books in jars shouldn’t work – but they do. And how.
I love the work of Bowden Knight and was delighted to be asked to write about them (and their dream lives, chasing down antiques and brocante) for Hampshire Life magazine.
Local authorities are always getting stick for making cutbacks. But Eastleigh Borough Council in Hampshire deserves all the praise I’ve heaped on it for instigating and supporting this initiative – funding craft and design units in the town’s former Post Office backroom. This place has received praise from design guru Wayne Hemingway and no wonder – it’s the perfect example of what every local authority should be doing and I was delighted to bring it to further public attention in Hampshire Life magazine’s March 2017 issue.
Lucienne Day is one of the greatest designers this country has ever produced. This year would have been her 100th birthday. When I learned that she and her husband, Robin, were design consultants to the John Lewis Partnership it seemed the perfect story for Waitrose Weekend. See if you agree!
This beautiful New Forest house was inspired by the decor of the nearby Pig Hotel. Designer Maria Shukla (who is also working with the Burley Manor Hotel to source a selection of delicious, solid furniture pieces) worked with the owner to create a warm, family atmosphere and I think these images, by photographer Colin Poole, really did it justice! The feature appeared in the November 2015 edition of 25 Beautiful Homes.
Annie Sloan has written more than 20 books and her latest, a step-by-step guide to 40 paint projects, is surely one of the best. Annie seems to instinctively know how much we want to achieve the look she has made her trademark and has featured some fabulous projects; from the simple (How to achieve her signature distressed look on an old armoire), to the more complicated (how to stencil a wall.) There are huge projects and half-day projects, all gathered into six subject areas; French Style, Boho Chic, Swedish Style, Country and Contemporary.
I loved her painted cabinet, with it’s nod to the style of Charleston Farmhouse, and the painted lamp-bases. I was less keen on the contemporary projects but maybe I’m not ready for a lot of bold, clashing colours and stripes just yet!
Where the book particularly scores is its robust introduction to the use of colour; you really feel that Annie is letting you into her best secrets, generously dispensing advice and tips. And she likes to surprise her readers, too…did you know you can dye old linen sheets with Annie’s products? I didn’t so it was a fascinating project to see in a book like this, entirely befitting the mistress of paint innovation.
*Colour Recipes For Painted Furniture And More by Annie Sloan is published by Cico Books, £14.99