I’m so excited to announce my new paint range is finally here! Thank you to you guys for being so patient. From hushed tones that are muted and complex to intense, inky saturated colours, these timeless sophisticated tones have magical powers. Apply them to walls and furniture and see how transformative they are. Discover foundation hues that work beautifully alone but also harmoniously with each other. Earthy and impactful they exaggerate cosiness and give you a home that your never want to leave with their luxurious, velvety effect.
The paint is made from pigments of the Earth, giving them a deep complexity which you just can’t find with synthetic paints; each shade changes slightly depending on the light.
The shades include:
FOG – a beautiful pinky, grey shade inspired by my long rambles across Hyde Park with the M’s.
BAKED CLAY – the perfect backdrop to anything and everything, inspired by the houses on the backstreets of Sydney.
BURNT UMBER – a warm and intriguing hue, inspired by an exhibition I saw on the late works of Rembrandt.
PEAT – a beautiful brown hue which exudes cosiness.
OATMEAL – a warm yet calming oat-y taupe hue.
RAW PLASTER – a serene and muted light blush which sits beautifully with Hudson Black.
THUNDER – a dynamic and adventurous hue, inspired by my travels in rainy Asia.
CINDER – a strong yet soft shade which is the perfect background shade for any space.
SMOKE – ideal for moody rooms where you want to create a cosy ambience.
PICKLE - classic and elegant this soft hue adds instant drama as well as a warm sophisticated edge.
I am obsessed with scent, maybe its because the M’s can sometimes be a little bit pongy but when I open the door to my pad I want to be encased not only in the most magical interior, but also the most magical smells.
My trick, as much as I love scented candles and always have one on the go, is to have an underlying layer of scent so that as you transition from room to room or walk through the door everything smells amazing.
So everywhere in this house, decanted into small t-light holders, is potpourri from Santa Maria Novella (organic herbs and spices collected in the Florentine hills) - it's intoxicating. I’m also a fan of essential oils and diffusers; in my hot yoga class each morning the teacher plops a few drops of essential oils into one and then it scents the air so beautifully. I bought the same one as my yoga studio from Muji and it smells so beautiful. Great for bedrooms actually as it feels really calming. I’m also all for putting a few drops of essential oil on a warm face cloth as well as misting pillows and sheets and constantly spritzing aromatic room sprays from Aesop everywhere.
I love being inspired by hotels because they have to be practical (something I cannot stand being) but they also have to be incredibly cool! A lot of them don’t have a lot of space to make an impression but still they do. Here’s some tips I’ve picked up:
Sweat the details. Everything on show has to look beautiful. From light switches to the covering on a cushion. Tactile, touchable and as good looking as it possibly can be. From magnifying mirrors (latest obsession) in the bathroom to TV remotes in a nice storage box.
Hide anything ugly away. I am a master at this, there is nothing (apart from Monkey’s toys) on display that is not beautiful. It makes the biggest visual difference ever!
When you create harmony your create balance and when you create balance you create a truly relaxing space. You can do this through echoing colours, shapes and materials together throughout your space. It makes mixing things super easy and I am a little (a lot) addicted!
Starting, running and keeping a business isn’t easy. We all know that it requires a huge amount of sacrifice, oodles of hours and a strong resilience. I attribute our success down to passion; I am genuinely interested in interiors, (correction: obsessed with interiors) so as much as it's hard graft it doesn’t feel half as bad when you are addicted to what you do.
Stick with it
When things get tough - and trust me they get tough - you rely on that passion to get you through. If it's always about the dollar, or margins (big sorry here to Sushil our fantastic CFO), then I don’t think we would be where we are today.
In order to move your business forward you have to stay focused. I have zillions of emails a day but I rarely reply to all of them, if I did I would literally get nothing done, so stay focused and don’t get distracted!
Don’t accept failure
There have been times along the way (and I am pretty sure times to come) when I’ve just wanted to throw in the towel, when the job in hand has felt herculean but I think it's my refusal to not give up that has stood us in good stead.
The biggest thing holding you back is you. Generally people are risk adverse, or steer away from challenges and opportunities that should they fail, do some serious damage. Success comes from hard work and has very little to do with anything else.
If you’re coveting a fancy home redo but in a bit of a conundrum as to how to go about it, look no further than here! Apart from checking yourself into one of my Design Classes where I will bombard you with tips, tricks and sources (remember there are only 5 left until the end of the year), here are my fail-safe easy peasy most transformative things:
Paint anything for that matter. A new colour, a fresh pop totally enlivens any space it hits and like I say all the time, it's one of the easiest things to do! I've got a brand new paint range coming out soon so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Get green fingered
All rooms have hard angles and if you have too many straight lines and hard angles, you won’t love your space - unless you are an architect that is... (architects and I don’t generally get on but that is a whole other blog post)! Interior designers use plants and trees to soften corners, hence my banana tree plonked in the corner; they add such beautiful focal points. So soften your space with lots of plants but remember to vary the tone of green and mix feathery, shiny, matte and prickly all together to get the most intoxicating effect.
Store all the boring stuff out of sight
TV remotes, ugly kitchen stuff - put away. I know I sound like a stylist here but even my keys are stored in a hand thrown pot in the hallway. Clutter reads as mess so all the boring, ugly clutter stuff goes away and everything beautiful stays out. This mostly works in my pad apart from when it comes to Monkey who has a box of toys on the lower ground floor and each day takes them all out and plonks them over the floor! The minute I put them back in the box out they go again. Some battles you win, others you lose!
There are so many game-changing things you can do to turn a space around but the single most transformative and the cheapest thing you can do is to paint it out in a new colour! Don’t sit on the fence or procrastinate any longer; just do it and it will open up a whole new world, one in which you never want to leave!
I’m constantly restyling, rearranging or creating new vignettes with my stuff, it’s amazing how much new life it brings in. It could be as simple as adding an additional little seating area or clearing a mantle and table and starting again.
Put your 3D hat on
Rather than leaving gaps between objects, cross things over, intersect and butt stuff up in a 3 dimensional fashion. Its far more intriguing to the eye and it’s the quickest way of upping the intrigue!
Always one of the most game-changing things you can do. I say it a lot but in a room that is relatively small you will need at least 8/10 lamps to create the most beautiful atmosphere on the planet.
Over the past few weeks we have had some fab coverage in the UK and international press. From our Australian launch to our botanicals and even my garden, we've been lucky enough to be featured in some top publications.
Country & Town House
I am soooo obsessed with this shoot; the model, the colours - everything!
Gardens are often perceived as quite hard to get right. We spend time and money on the inside where there are oodles of inspiration from blogs to mags to TV programmes but when it comes to outside we are all at sea! I should know, I neglected mine for a good 10 years before it really started to bug me. The inside looked beautiful but the outside looked so boring! Here are some tips that have turned my garden around, oh and I should say that I brought the same principles inside as I did out!
Big pots, big trees and a big table bring an instant statement to your garden. You don’t want everything to be perfectly proportioned, especially if the space is small as it emphasises even more of its bijou-ness!
One of my all time game changing tricks is to grow things high in my garden. I’ve got black bamboo, jasmine, bay trees, eucalyptus trees, an olive tree, a lilac tree, and a forced Acer tree... I could go on but I feel I will bore you! When you go tall you are blocking out unsightly houses, neighbour's rooms (sorry neighbours – taste level issues) and you are creating your own little world. I love not being able to see anyone, just green swaying branches.
ADD STRING LIGHTS
I run them all across the garden, suspending them from trees along some wire, everywhere and anywhere. I’ve also grown a mile-a-minute across a wire suspended from one side of my garden to the other. Not only does it provide a lovely decorative element, it blocks out an unsightly extension from next door.
KEEP THINGS NATURAL
This is personal obviously but I rock a 'just gotten out of bed' vibe with interiors & fashion; nothing is manicured, glossy, groomed or too ‘done'. Everything is very relaxed - almost horizontal - and the same applies to my garden. I don’t want things nicely pruned, I like things to just grow in their shape and when I want them to grow fast, I tomato feed the hell out of everything!
As the business has become more complex and more global we have had to expand our team. For ages it was just Gem and I, and then slowly and gradually we grew. Buying, customer services, marketing, content management, warehousing, wholesale, online and on and on and on - it’s now a complex team. And yes we have had some really bad hires! The tales I could tell – the worst being one member of staff removing the products off our shelves only to put their own products on them and then telling me to lawyer up! My parents happened to wander in one weekend only to call me and mention that my taste level had rocketed off the radar (in the worst way possible) and what was I doing with cat things on the shelf?! And that isn’t even the half of it. We strategically manoeuvred that person out!
Although I often feel in unchartered waters, for the first time ever I have a really good team. Everyone in every role is great whereas before there has been some weak links with some people simply not being able to adapt, embrace and get on with what a small business throws at them. In big companies you are shielded from so much whereas with small ones it's warts and all.
The moral of this post is always always always hire people, smarter, quicker better than you! They bring such incredible ideas to the table from our CFO not letting me sign a contract because it was way too one sided to the team bringing things to the table I never would have thought of.
I am learning so much from them. As much as I would encourage anyone to read books and learn, hiring people better than you leaves you time to do what you do best, in my case, creating and growing this biz!
The great thing about being an interior designer is that you have a lot of insider knowledge up your sleeve; lots of tips, tricks and some winning advice that isn’t always obvious to an outsider, yet makes the biggest difference.
Introducing big furniture
I know I keep banging on about adding big things but if you have a small room and decorate with small perfectly proportioned furniture, it highlights the fact that the space is tiny. Lets talk fashion for a sec. If you want to elongate the leg you don’t wear ¾ length trousers right, you wear trousers that skim the floor and you plop on a heel. We are tricking the eye and that in a nutshell is the plan!
Add more chairs than you think necessary
You don’t always need a sofa, by all means have one but think of all those cool hotel lobbies you have seen or restaurants that just have the most beautiful chairs with no sofas in sight. Ottomans and chairs can give you lots of lounging opportunities so don’t get too strung up on a sofa!
Don’t decide on a paint colour until you have sampled it on a big wall, as you can’t make life-changing decisions by looking at the smallest swatch. One, it always looks darker and two, you need the light to hit it when you get it home to see whether you love it or not! One more tip - always, I repeat always paint a wall twice with the colour before deciding whether you like it or not. I hated every colour in this place with the first coat – you need two before making any decision.
Go wild with a bit of print
Patterns enliven spaces by mesmerising the eye. Try not to have everything a solid colour as it reads as a big yawn!