Stella the Stars is a Dubai-based interiors styling blog and service, helping those of you design lovers in need of interior decorating tips or inspiration for their home - no matter how deep your pockets are.
If you follow us on instagram, you might already know that for the past five months we have been very busy working on our biggest project to date, revamping a 1200-square-meter villa from scratch for the most wonderful family in Dubai. We dubbed this job #BeachHouseProject on social media, because the villa is located, well, literally, on the beach. It has the most incredible view over the Burj Al Arab and the space is completely incredible.
The scale of the project has been at times overwhelming but now that we are half way into redesigning it, we have found our groove and it’s been the most fun ride! Yet it has probably been the most challenging job we’ve ever executed - not just because of the sheer size of it but mainly because when we first viewed the house, it wasn’t exactly, how to put this, up to our standards?! Think ugly tiles, shimmery light brown wallpaper, dark wood features, golden mouldings, golden cornices (with patterns!), dark brown and yellow velvet curtains… I could go on… We definitely needed a vision to cut through its original state. You can scroll all the way down this post for the shocking before shots!
So before we could even start on the designs of the individual rooms we proposed to give the whole space a big refresh, and our brave clients went for it - our team repainted the entire house from top to toe in white and every inch of floor was covered with high quality vinyl wood effect click tiles from Floorworld (three reasons for this instead of traditional wooden floorings: they’re water proof, easy to install directly on top of existing tiles and because this is a rented property we couldn’t do any structural changes like removing the old tiles). These two jobs - which already took three weeks to do! - completely transformed the space before we even began to think about decorating it. It made it the perfect blank canvas and allowed us to give it the Stella + the Stars treatment. And as you can see below, so we did!
We have already redecorated four bedrooms upstairs (we will reveal these fully on the blog in a couple of weeks promised!) and last week we completed the first of the main common rooms - the Family Room on the ground floor and this long winded blog post is about that! So that’s for the bit of background story before we get to the nitty gritty. I know all you really want to know is where we sourced everything and see before and after pictures, so let’s get to it!
The Family Room was designed to be an informal space where our clients can relax and unwind with family and friends, read, play games and have a little tipple while they do that. The room’s layout was the most challenging part of the design - a 5-meter curved floor to ceiling window, two archways leading into two different rooms and not a straight wall in sight. It’s impossible to photograph but this room has a wonderful view of the Burj Al Arab so the brief was to position the seating area so that no matter where you are sitting in the room, you can enjoy the view. We proposed two completely different concepts for this room - one neutral, with soft tones, a light grey scheme with brass and wooden accents and a totally bold one with loud colours, and quirky accessories all round. I’ll let you guess what our clients chose… ;-)
The room is divided into four zones: the sitting area, the gallery wall, the bar and the reading nook. It took us a while to decide on the best layout and lots of hours were spent with masking tape moving ‘virtual’ furniture around the room before we could find the perfect setup. I feel like we did as the flow of the room works perfectly now between the different zones. We sourced over 50 products from this room; every single item you see on these images was sourced, purchased and installed by us. It was a mammoth task but we completed it within seven weeks and that, on its own, is something we are proud to have achieved. I’ll guide you through each zone one by one.
We sourced these gorgeous sofas from The One. They are as comfortable as they look and fit the space perfectly. The model is called Petito and we bought the 3.5 and 2.5 seaters but these are sadly not available anymore. Due to the size of the room we need an extra large rug but because of the funky room shape with the curved window side we couldn’t actually fit properly such a large rug so we came up with the idea of two separate rugs juxtaposed together asymmetrically and it worked beautifully. These beautiful overdyed vintage rugs were sourced from Al Madaen in Satwa - one of our favourite rug suppliers. The armchairs and pink pouffe are all from The One. The coffee tables and side table are from JYSK, the lucite backgammon and petrol effect decorative box are from Amara Living. The Tic Tac Toe game is from Noon. The marble tray and blush pink vase are from H&M Home. The Floor lamp is from Nook Concept. The faux strelitzia plant is from Next Home. The lipstick cushion is from Seletti and sourced from Amara Living. The other cushions are from Society6.
The Gallery Wall
The inspiration for this gallery wall was the main lobby at the Rove Hotel Downtown and its incredible art installation designed by Capsule Arts (we ended up having meetings with our clients there at the conceptual stage of the design). The gallery wall also had to reflect our clients’ love of travel and writing (our lovely client is a writer for a well known travel magazine), be fun, quirky and different. We are so happy with the result! Most of the prints are from Society6 and all custom framed by our own team with traditional and acrylic frames. The ‘Tigers in Palm Springs’ print is by one of our favourite artists Paul Fuentes and was sourced and framed by the brilliant Drawdeck. The globe is from Marina Home. The wall brass lamp is from The Bowery Company. The acrylic display boxes are from IKEA. The typewriter and number plate are vintage finds. The pink apple is from Maisons du Monde. The lucite pill ornament by Jonathan Adler is from Amara Living.
We wanted to create a showstopper of a bookshelf and couldn’t find anything fun in the stores so we ended up designing our own! We had it custom made by our carpenting team and the client got on board with our crazy idea of a neon yellow front facing bookshelf and here is the result in all its glory! We sourced some gorgeous coffee table books from Kinokuniya. And what better way to accessorise it than with a faux gold plant I am asking?! We bagged this golden palm gem in the sales from 2XL. The beautiful art print aptly called Desert of Knowledge is by Jordanian artist Mohammad Awwad and we fell in love with it.
The Home Bar
Our clients had a special wish of having their own bar at home and we were so excited to make it happen in the family room until we started scouring the stores for one. It’s difficult to anticipate what items will be challenging to source at the beginning of a project as we rarely source the same items twice. Well, finding a ready-made, contemporary bar in Dubai, understandably, was basically an impossible task so we ended up going down the custom made route again. We designed this little guy from scratch to our own specs and had it made to fit exactly the space. We matched the grey to the sofa colour, added a brass base and a marble top. It’s a thing of beauty! The bar stools are from Ebarza. The ‘Let’s Stay Home’ neon sign is from Bag & Bones and was shipped from the UK (very smoothly, I might add, despite the nail biting wait for it to arrive!).
So that’s it for the family room. WHADYATHINK? We are completely in love with the room, and would love to hear your feedback too!
Well, hello there! Remember me?! It’s been a while, I know… The past six months have been a little bit of a blur: I had a baby (Teddy, you can meet him on instagram, he smiles a lot on camera!), went back to work after 12 weeks, started the biggest interior design project of my career, officially teamed up with the most wonderful business partner (more on that later!), and generally stopped having time to breathe. But I am finally finding my groove again so the blog is officially back!
Unsurprisingly, my first blog post is all about kids and how to style a bedroom to accommodate a baby boy and a toddler girl! I am sure I am not the only person with the dilemma of not having enough rooms for all their kids to sleep in so I have put together a summary of how I created a shared room, that’s gender neutral, fun, colourful and didn’t cost the earth.
The first big decision I had to make was choosing the room. Before the summer and the arrival of baby Teddy, I had an office space/guest room that was small, little natural light with a narrow window, and a dark shade of grey on the walls, and a larger much brighter room (which was Stella’s bedroom) with a very large window and a much lighter shade of grey. (Scroll down to the end of the post for the before pictures!) I decided to swap both rooms around and use the smaller darker room as the kids bedroom and transform Stella’s old bedroom into a light and airy office space. It may sound a bit counterintuitive but with a big play zone in our main living space where Stella spends most of her time, it didn’t make sense to keep the larger room for the kids where they would only essentially sleep. That’s how I sold it to the husband anyway! Also my old home office, despite its smaller size has a layout that’s actually much easier to use to create two separate sleeping zones, one for Stella and one for the baby.
To help me with the transition and room revamps as I was about 8 months pregnant at that stage, I enlisted the clever clogs at mrUsta. If you haven’t heard of them, may I suggest you stop whatever you’re doing and head to their website immediately. It’s such a clever concept; essentially an online market place that connects Dubai-based customers in need of DIY help, with service providers (electricians, handymen, painters you name it!) in an efficient and transparent way. A bit like Uber for taxi drivers, with the added ability to choose from various companies based on their customer reviews. It’s super easy to do, you just list the various jobs you need help with (including your location, description of the jobs, pictures, time and date requested) and wait for up to 5 service providers to quote you for the job. Each company has a profile and reviews from previous customers so you can choose the one you think is best for the job, click “book” and Bob’s your uncle as they say.
The whole thing took a full day and included:
Dismantling Stella’s house bed and reassembling in the new room
Remove all wall fixtures, shelves, and hooks and reinstall them in the new room
Filling existing holes in both rooms and repainted some walls
Assemble baby furniture like the changing table and cot
Install a fun gallery wall of photos of Stella when she was a baby
Quick, easy and budget friendly photo gallery thanks to IKEA frames. Photo credit: Aiza Domingo for Baby & Child Magazine
With my limited budget and space I had to be clever with the changes to the kids room so headed to IKEA to get most of the new pieces like the changing table, storage bench and shelves. then I just accessorized it all with pieces from Caramel & Sun and H&M Home.
I reused most of the furniture, soft furnishings and accessories from Stella’s room and created two zones - one a bit more girly for Stella with pops of pink neon, and another more boyish with orange accents for Teddy. On paper it shouldn’t really work, but it totally does!
This is me (pre-pregnancy as no one wants to see a baby whale jump off a sofa) taking a leap... ;-)
Earlier this month, I celebrated two milestones - Stella + the Stars turned 3 (it's like another baby!) and on the same day, we had our second Dubai-nniversary! 'Time flies when you're having fun' is the understatement of the year and sometimes I completely forget how far I have come. I am now officially on maternity leave (it's literally the final countdown and by the time you read this I may have created a new human being from scratch!), so I thought the last post before I take some time off with the new baby should be some sort of reflective one where I try and impart some wisdom with you all. Just kidding, I have major impostor syndrome and have basically no idea what I am doing on a daily basis but I have learned so much in the past few years, and as I often get asked how I changed careers and launched Stella + the Stars, I thought it would be worth sharing some of my experiences with anyone out there who finds themselves in the same spot.
If you've only recently started following Stella + the Stars, you may not be aware how this whole adventure actually began. Almost 4 years ago, as I took time off my PR job for a big media group in London to look after baby Stella, things I had taken for granted started to not really make sense anymore in my tired, hormonal and sleep-deprived brain. Not many people know that, but I originally trained as science journalist and I started my career writing and editing online medical publications...! A very, very far cry from the interiors world to say the least. I don't know if my creative juices were dormant all these years or if I had repressed them in a way not to overlap on my professional life but suddenly after being off work for so long, the prospect of going back to a full-time job with no flexibility whatsoever, a ridiculously long commute (3 hours a day), in an industry I wasn't passionate about anymore, added to the lack of creativity of the corporate world I had been so accustomed to, wasn't a very attractive one (to put it mildly).
It's funny how taking a step back from something you've been doing on auto-pilot for so long makes you re-evaluate everything! I also found out that being used to living on a very tiny/almost non-existent pay for 12 months helped me fathom the idea of not having a juicy salary coming in for a few months. Another catalyst in my reconversion was attending Abigail Ahern's Design Masterclass (one of my ultimate design heroes!) which gave me a little taste of what what could be. Fast forward to December 2014, when, with the support of my biggest fan, Mr Stella + the Stars (who not only supported me unconditionally for months but actually believed in me more than myself and pushed me to go for it! #heisakeeper), I quit my comfortable job of 8 years, and went back to design school to finally re-invent myself as an interiors blogger and stylist. While retraining, I started feeling something very weird, like I had just woken up from a very long snooze and suddenly everything started making sense again. My confidence was back, I was doing and learning something I was actually passionate about and people wanted to hear what I had to say. I launched the blog in April 2015 just as I was finishing my course at KLC and it all snowballed from there. I definitely had a big case of being in the right place at the right time and one thing led to another, in the following months, I was asked to revamp my neighbour's pad, got asked to work on styling jobs with fabulous interiors brands, got my first paid client and the highlight of that year, my blog got nominated for an award. It was a total revelation.
You have to remember at the time, there weren't that many interiors bloggers on the UK scene, and certainly none as bonkers as me in terms of style and vibe. And Instagram was still in its infancy - back then, if you were starting to gather 1000 followers on your Instagram feed, it kind of felt like you 'made it' a little bit more than it does now! ;-)
Anyways, that's the background story but, ENOUGH about me; the reason I wanted to write this post was to give anyone who listens (and is still reading!) some insight into my little adventure in the hope it can help others who are thinking of taking the plunge! I get contacted A LOT by lovely people who are thinking about becoming interior stylists but don't know where to start so here are some of the lessons I learned along the way... I am not the most successful, I am certainly not the best out there, or with the most traffic on my blog, or the most amount of social media followers. If you're looking for tips on how to make a million dollars with your business or how to get 50k followers on instagram in a month, this is not the right place, and you might want to move on! However, if like me, you're looking to make a career out of your passion, want a great work-life balance or simply be a bit happier every day, then read on my friends because that's exactly what I think I have achieved in the past four years!
1. Don't over plan and instead be open to opportunities. It's good to have a plan, but it's not good to restrict yourself to it without opening your mind to new unexpected ideas and opportunities that might come your way. On my wish list 3 years ago, you certainly would not have found: speaking in public to groups of people or organising styling workshops. But it happened and I have massively enjoyed a new side of being a stylist, helping others think outside the box when it comes to decorating.
2. Get yourself out there. Network, meet people within the industry, try and get connected to those whose personality and journey you admire, and don't be afraid to ask for help. When I started, I sheepishly contacted a few interior stylists I really loved (I am looking at you Sarah Akwisombe!) and I found most were very happy to help with tips and advice. However, this doesn't mean private messaging someone out of the blue and ask them point blank how they work and how much they charge by the way. Remember that it's all about give and take, and offering your help, or even just asking to take someone out for coffee to learn from them goes a long way. Chances are whoever you connect with will have started that way at some point and should be open to return the favour. Don't take the p*ss though! You can ask for advice but you can't expect someone you never met to spend an hour of their life putting together a client brief for you (yes that's happened to me before... insert rolling eyes emoji here)
3. Be authentic. Find your niche. Stick to it. This should probably be number 1 to be honest! When I started, there were only a small number of people doing what I wanted to do and it was a bit easier to get a foot in the door. The market is a bit oversaturated now so you really need to bring something different to the table to get yourself ahead of the pack. My USP is bold, statement, fun and colourful home styling without breaking the bank. How to decorate your house Tom Dixon style when all you have is a Zara Home budget if you like. Believe it or not, there aren't many out there who provide that service especially in Dubai. Once you've found what sets you apart, don't look at what others are doing or try to copy them, it won't work. You have to look, feel and sound authentic to your readers, followers, clients etc. They'll smell a mile away if you're trying to emulate what others are doing and it won't work.
4. Trust your instinct and that sometimes means saying NO. It's the hardest thing I have found so far, saying no. I really struggle not to accept every single opportunity that comes my way, even when I know it's not something that feels right for me. A job, a client, a project, even an event... I have had endless sleepless nights trying to fit it all in sometimes just because I kept saying yes to everything and totally overstretched myself for opportunities that were not always a good fit. If it doesn't feel right for you, or you get a funny feeling from the start, SAY NO! Don't be another victim of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), or do it because you're worried someone else will get the gig. Only accept opportunities that make sense to you and your personality/brand/profile
5. Don't worry about how many followers you have on instagram! Unless you want to become an influencer (trust me that's very hard to achieve these days), stop chasing the followers or do something just to get more likes. I can guarantee you that every successful person on social media you follow didn't start thinking they would become that successful on instagram just for the sake of it. No, what they started with is being authentic, finding their niche and trying to share that with like-minded others. The success (and followers!) usually naturally follows. I have just welcomed my 16,000th follower. Sometimes I think it's actually surreal so many people bother reading what I have to say about home decor, sometimes I think others have achieved that in probably a third of the time it took me. But when 'comparisonitis' start showing its ugly head, then I remember: what bloody difference does it make?!?! I get opportunities landing in my inbox almost every single day, I get some many home styling enquiries I have to say no to half of them on a weekly basis, but more importantly I don't get overwhelmed with responding to thousands of daily messages and comments - do you know how many hours a day you need to spend on Instagram to manage an account with 50k followers?!?! I simply couldn't fit it in the day and it would only increase my anxiety levels. And don't get me started on trolls and nasty comments. I can tell you I have NEVER had anyone say or send me privately something negative in 3 years! And thank god because I don't think I could actually deal with it, I am too sensitive.
So here is my two pence on starting from scratch in a new industry. I could go on and on but this is a good place to start! I hope it's useful, and feel free to leave a comment below with any questions you have and i'll do my best to respond. always honestly.
Right, it's time to say goodbye - even just temporarily. I am taking a little break from Le Blog and will be back early September, a little more tired and a little wiser hopefully! In the meantime you can follow our adventures on Instagram as Stella meets her new sidekick, where I surely be baby-spamming the hell out of life very shortly.
Warning: this post contains an awesome discount offer exclusive to Stella + the Stars readers. Scroll down for more details.
I often get asked how important art is to interior design. For me, it's EVERYTHING. Adding art is a crucial part of the interior design process. Artworks simply complete the look of any room. It sounds cliché but it's what makes a house a home - adding personality, telling a story, and having a focal point. For me, it should be up there with the essentials, like a sofa or dining table... Prints, posters, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, whether you like street art, contemporary photography or abstract illustrations, art is the finishing touch that can make your home look totally unique and personal, especially when you rent...
Sadly sourcing art can be a very expensive exercise, even more so when you live in Dubai, as there aren't a million places to find affordable prints… Enter, stage left, Drawdeck!
If you haven't heard of them, you're missing out big time! Founded by two creative enthusiasts to make affordable art accessible to the Middle East, Drawdeck is Dubai's answer to all your budget-friendly gallery wall needs! And you know I am partial to a gallery wall...
So when the team approached me to work on a collaboration together to not only create, custom-frame and install a gallery wall, it was a match made in heaven. We worked together for the past few weeks to create my dream wall gallery in my own pad as well as my own curated virtual gallery on their site.
Drawdeck curate the work of a wide selection of artists to offer the best in quality and variety and each sale directly supports the artist behind the design. On their website you can buy not just prints but have them custom framed - each frame is handmade in their workshop with British wood and a glass front and delivered to your door within a week. I have used them so many times for projects, and they've never disappointed. I am told they're currently working with a handyman service to introduce a fixed fee installation on delivery, later this summer - it will literally mean artwork will be hanging on your wall in just a few clicks.
I have picked 20 of my absolutely favourite artworks from their collection, 6 of which are now displayed in my home office. And above is the result. To say I am totally in love with my new space is an understatement! I have listed all the prints and artists featured in my wall gallery.
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Drawdeck (a girl's gotta eat), but as always, all opinions, and sarcasms are my own. I only work with brands I genuinely love and would buy products from anyways. If you’re a brand interested in working with Stella + The Stars, please contact me on email@example.com.
So this has been, erm, 18 months in the making... You know, just one of those quick projects! But my little Dubai jungle is finally the way I always wanted it to be. It took me a while to get there but I am so bloody happy with the result, I am now convincing myself it was worth the long wait. It's not the biggest garden - is it technically a patio?! - but it's always a popular one on Instagram so I thought I'd give you the low down on my garden redesign, what I did and where I got most of the stuff from. Ready? Let's dig in... (sorry couldn't help a little pun)
When we moved into our villa 18 months ago, the 'garden' was basically a big white wall, two sandpits and ugly pink concrete tiles. And definitely not as in pretty in pink, if you get my gist. (Scroll down to the end for all the rather shocking 'before' shots!) We didn't have a lot of budget on moving day after haemorrhaging money trying to kit out a 3000 sq. ft house from scratch and it was the middle of the summer 2016 with temperatures averaging 45 degrees so a garden revamp was not exactly at the top of the priority list - so we didn't bother to do anything about it until a few months later.
Plant Feature Wall
The first thing we wanted to do was add greenery - that blank white wall was the first thing you could see from inside, gave no intimacy from the neighbours' garden and was totally uninspiring to say the least. I browsed on Pinterest endlessly dreaming about exotic palm trees and how to make the space a mini tropical jungle we'd be happy to hang out in during the cooler months. I was completely clueless about outdoor plants let alone exotic ones so enlisted the help of a dear friend who has way greener fingers than me to come up with a plan.
She gave me the idea of a plant feature wall by digging up a large bed against blank wall for what is now the focus point of the garden - It's made of one large traveller's palm, two small coconut trees, a few bamboo plants and Livistona palms. The ground is covered in purple Rhoeo which creates a lovely carpet over the soil. All the plants were sourced from Plant Souq (also known as Warsan Nurseries) - if you haven't been yet, well may I suggest a little trip asap.
The original interlock bricks we had on the floor were beyond ugly and made of concrete - a health hazard with a toddler running around the garden like a maniac. I didn't want to blow the entire budget on just flooring so looked at purse friendly options that would be soft on small people's knees in case of falls. As always IKEA totally delivered with their RUNNEN range of outdoor decking. It took us about 45 minutes to click all the tiles on top of the existing bricks and I just had my handyman help sawing some to fit around the edges. It's really hold up two Dubai summers already without the colour fading at all. Highly recommended! We filled the sandpits with grass and beds of white stones with Aloe Vera (I have always wanted to have these in my garden!).
I bought some ridiculously cheap festoon lights from Dragon Mart and had them installed between the roof of the house and neihgbouring wall using a simple metallic pole spray painted in white. It looks so cosy at night and cost under AED500 for 30 metres of lights!
Furniture & Accessories
Now for the REALLY fun part... I worked with a bunch of lovely brands who kindly supplied super fun and affordable pieces of outdoor furniture and accessories.
The black table and accessories on top are all from the new kid on the Dubai block JYSK.
And last but not least the monochrome outdoor rug is from IKEA.
And that my friends is it! I can honestly tell you we are spending almost every single evening chilling in the garden now and it's become such a cosy space. I also cannot finish this post without a few pictures of what it looked like before I got my paws on it... And some progress pictures when the trees and plants got delivered! Enjoy!
All the beautiful images are by the ridiculously talented Karen from Design K.
I have been obsessing over teal colour for a little while. It's one of those classic colours that has made a come back recently and that actually works with nearly any style, from bold and eclectic to old school. It's not blue, it's not green, it's the perfect combo when you want to make a statement without going too dark... or grey! You may have noticed that there was ONE room left in my house with white walls... My bedroom. It's been bugging me for MONTHS! The big furniture and accessories were there: I had the fab copper lighting accents all sorted, the quirky artwork, the upholstered bed, the accessories... Still there was something missing that couldn't put my finger on. I tentatively tried a pink feature wall but it didn't quite hit the spot. And then, I had an epiphany and realised I had to go for a dark bold colour to make everything else pop...
I didn't want to have another grey room in the house which is already turning into the home equivalent of #fiftyshadesofgrey so wanted to go for something completely different. I hesitated between emerald and teal and then this bedroom inspo image kept virtually following me everywhere I went on Pinterest... Let's just say the 'teal' deal was sealed and I then embarked on my quest to find the perfect shade of teal for my bedroom. But before I go on any further, let's have a look at the result?!
Let's start with the paint. I had my eyes on two shades of teal from Valspar called Poseidon's Castle. I genuingely thought I'd hit jackpot on the first attempt. How naive of me... Annoyingly, once on the wall it felt too light. I went a shade darker and sampled Fish Tale. And Bingo... Slight issue is that Valspar paint was just a bit over my tiny budget (and also I read about #smellgate last summer so didn't want to risk it!) but Jotun, who are so much more affordable, didn't have the right shade of teal I was after. So I took the Valspar sample pot to Jotun and had them match the colour. We had to try a few times to get the right shade but in the end it was perfect. The paint cost AED280 for the whole room...
I already had most of the furniture. I bought the super affordable upholstered bed from Mobilia when we moved in, as well as the bedside tables (a steal from IKEA). The acrylic chair is from Dragon Mart.
I am in the middle of a mini-revamp of my home office and had these floating BESTA cabinets from IKEA that I moved to my bedroom. I just replaced one of the cabinets with drawers and added a faux marble top et voila! The perfect bedroom storage for all my knick knacks and underwear/socks which are now perfectly organised in drawers. Marie Kondo would be proud.
My old rug felt a bit subdued with the new wall colour and I needed something with a bigger size for the room. So I swapped my beloved IKEA geometric monochrome SILLERUP rug - I love it against the teal walls so much, it actually hurts. And it clashes perfectly with my existing striped blind... Tragically I recently found out they've discontinued this series. Why, IKEA, WHY?!
One of the very few items I brought back from London with me is my all time favourite copper globe pendant light from Tom Dixon. I don't think it's possible that I'll ever get bored of it. It's timeless and I literally can't get enough of it coupled with the teal walls. It's a match made in interiors heaven. The matching copper table lamps are little gems I got from the sales at IDdesign last year.
The brass mirror is an oldie from Pan Emirates - I don't think they stock that particular model anymore but it's definitely worth checking out their stores as they always have some little bargains on mirrors. And yes it's OK to mix metallic accents guys!
The black table lamp is another gem from IKEA. The 'You + Me = Awesome' print is from Etsy (find similar here). The small gold Zebra tray is from Maisons du Monde. The mirrored jewellery box is from Zara Home. The monstera leaf embroidered decorative cushion on the acrylic chair was a gift from Elizabeth Scarlett.
Here are the BEFORE shots...
So there you go. My little teal tastic revamp. Let me know what you think? Have I gone too bold? Did you prefer the room with white walls?! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
It's with ridiculous excitement that I can finally introduce you to Stella + the Stars version 2.0 aka my new fancy-pants website! Got a new logo and everything! I am so happy with it I have been barely able to breathe since we pressed 'publish' this morning... So, what's all the fuss about, you might wonder? Well, why don't I give you all a little virtual tour so you get the full story behind the redesign? Buckle up, let's do it...
Why I revamped the website
Stella + the Stars turns 3 in a couple of months. It feels like yesterday I left the world of corporate media and changed my signature to 'blogger/interior stylist'. It's probably been the most exciting 3 years of my entire bloody life with a complete career change, a move to the other side of the globe, and the opportunity to turn my obsession into an actual business. What started as a fun blog about interiors has gradually turned into a dream career as a home stylist, and I wanted the new website to better represent what I do. So I decided to move away from my old blog template to a more professional looking site that showcases more of what I do on a daily basis - interiors projects, brand collaborations, as well as styling workshops.
How did I do it?
I'd love to tell you that I am a genius multitasker/superwoman who can do it all and took on all the technical re-design of a website all by herself. But let's be honest here, I’m about as good at HTML and coding and all the blogging back-end stuff as I am at going to the gym (clue: not very good at all) so I did what I do best and DELEGATED aka called in the professionals to help me create a new platform that looks cool and modern, reflects my style and properly showcases what Stella + the Stars is all about.
Who helped me
On the recommendation of one of my fellow interior designers (who also happens to be one of the most lovely and talented ladies on the Dubai interiors scene) Kath from House of Hawkes, I sent out an SOS to Nida the brains behind Nuance Creative, a boutique design studio in Dubai. After our first meeting it was literally digital love at first sight and in just a few weeks after discussing my project and what I was after, Nida completely captured my style and translated the vision I had in my head into the first draft of the new site. A SquareSpace wizard mixed with a highly creative mind, Nida immediately 'got it' so the final result and what you can now see live is really not far from those initial designs. Nida was a dream to work with, and I sometimes wonder if she is actually a mind reader, she was so spot on with her ideas.
What we've kept
We've kept the navigation mega simple, no gimmicks here. Le Blog is still there OBVS but has had a little refresh and we added clear categories of posts for easy navigation. The grid style design makes it easier to find older posts rather than the old endless scrolling sitch with the previous design. 'About Me' and 'Contact Me' pages remain pretty much the same - with my story (updated) and how Stella + the Stars was born during that cold London winter 2015...
We added a new section 'Work With Me' where you can find all the information about my home styling services, testimonials from previous clients and details on how I can help you wether you're brand or just someone looking for help revamping their own pad. There is a new 'Press' section - I still feel a little show-offy having it on the new site - but everybody told me I should shout about the coverage I get online and in print so there you go #cringe. Another 'blow my own trumpet' part of the new site is the 'Portfolio' section where I will be showcasing my most recent home styling projects. I have so many in the pipeline that haven't been photographed (or even completed!), I can't wait to show you what's in store in the next few months. The homepage has a new section called 'Current Faves' and is basically an edit of my favourite accessories from my go-to Dubai interiors stores. I'll update these every other week.
Why I changed the logo
I wanted to give the logo a light refresh too without going into rebranding territory - something less girly and more modern and profesh. It's a subtle change and you might not even notice it at first but for me it makes all the difference. A bit like updating your old sofa (that was absolutely fine to begin with) with something the same colour but more edgy and that gives your whole living room that little pizzaz it needed - know what I mean?! Again, with barely any brief, Nida delivered the goods! hashtag mind reader, I am telling you.
Now I have got my brand new sparkling website, I have been feeling the pressure to produce some fab content to do it justice... So watch out for some upcoming blog posts in the next few weeks as I'll be revealing my master bedroom revamp, tips to add a touch of marble to your home decor without breaking the bank, and a garden redesign... Watch this space, as they say, Watch. This. Space.
PS: I am gagging to know what you think of the new look Stella + the Stars, please pretty please give me your thoughts in the comments below!