A new home…

For me, the number one priority when moving in to a new home is the flooring…you need to get it right before you put any furniture down really! Ooh, hang on, are you not meant to decorate before you do the floors? So you don’t damage your lovely floors while you’re decorating??

Ouch, that’s when renovating a house gets quite boring – you sort of have to do everything properly, and in the right order, before you can actually start having fun (unless of course you enjoy stripping and sanding walls and floors..!) For me though, the fun part is what you put on the walls…

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This beautiful apartment in Glasgow was designed by Catherine Henderson. The art collection makes it really special and personal for the owner.

In my job I get to see a lot of lovely homes – people have often worked tirelessly – stripping wallpaper, sanding floors, knocking walls down even, until, finally, they find themselves in a lovely, but rather bare space. I sometimes suspect that they have worked sooo hard sanding and filling those walls, that in the end, they can’t actually bear to put anything on them!

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However, the fact is, art works make a house a home, I have written recently about the pleasure of displaying family photographs creatively, a subject I feel passionate about, but there is a bit of an art to displaying photographs well and not everyone has that skill. However, we can all buy art work. I think this is a habit we should acquire as young as possible. Look out for work that is a bit different and really reflects your taste and feelings.

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A point when people often move is retirement – you are no longer beholden to a commute, you may wish to move nearer to your children, or other family members and friends. Imagine the joy of being able to hang, in your new home, a lifetime’s collection of art work, recalling memories and experiences from your twenties onwards. You might have bought paintings or prints on holiday, for special birthdays or anniversaries…

I collect images of paintings that I love on a Pinterest board. It really helps me work out what I like and don’t like…giving me the confidence to buy original artwork occasionally. You might want to do the same. These are two of my favourites:

Eleanor Carlingford

‘On the Ridges of the Wide-Lying sea’
Oil on canvas, Eleanor Carlingford

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Mixed Media, Caroline Bailey

Anyone buying a McCarthy & Stone property will not have the painful process of stripping and sanding walls, these light, spacious properties are in move-in condition…All you will need to do is place your furniture, a few favourite family photographs and some well chosen artwork – it might be a lifetime’s collection, or you might be starting afresh completely and be able to splash out on some new and really different pieces. It is worth having a look at what is available on Surface View, a great way of making a statement – a marvellous array of art work and images can be printed on to canvas, window blinds, tiles, table tops…to amazing effect!

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Ceramic tile frieze from the album entitled ‘Japanese Flowers vol.2’ by Ogawa Kazuma, Japan, late 19th century.

The Big Reveal…

Can’t keep putting it off…we have actually taken some pics of our garden building…

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Quite an effort – first of all deciding to build it, then building it…taking photographs of it just about finished us off, I am not sure which bit was the most difficult??

Probably the deciding bit, if I am honest – that went on for years.

I have to say the building bit was a joy – loved having our builders – Robert Heinsar and all the boys – didn’t want them to leave actually! And thrilled with the results…beautifully designed by Rick McQueenie, REM Associates, Architectural Consultant, he was our neighbour at the time and kept us all sane (just!)

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Farrow & Ball supplied the beautiful paint for the doors and windows, to match in with our house…the French Gray very effectively softens the modernist look we have gone for.

The full story has just been published in the Toun Cryer p.110, the full account is quite frank. I slightly wish I had been more, err, guarded about how tricky we found it all, I just don’t think Doug and I are very dynamic, but I should also say that it is absolutely true about what a success the whole project was in the end, we are both absolutely delighted.

Hello Canvas

I have a small, precious collection of favourite black and white photographs of close family… It is sitting in a box on a shelf of my office and has been for a year now!

What do I do with them??

As ‘Her Indoors’ really, I should be bursting with ideas, but unfortunately I am married to ‘Him Indoors’ and he likes pouring cold water on ideas, so until I come up with something really good, in the box, they will remain I am afraid…

OK, let’s look at Pinterest…follow the link and there really is an astonishing number of fantastic ideas….

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framed pics

bottled pics threaded pics frame 'n pegs

But are any of them right for our house…? Yes, I think some of them are…

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I actually really like this and yes, I think it would work in our home, but I have to say, it does look rather fragile and the photos could get damaged…they look as if they might fly away whenever you walked past and they will, definitely, fade…

I am starting to wonder if, in fact, they should remain in that box…or in an album even, completely safely, and Douglas should photograph each one of them and we should then get them printed onto canvas? I would order them in various sizes and arrange them somewhat like this

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Is that not a brilliant arrangement?

I found this image on Crib Tales Photography by the lovely Amy, mama, wife, a coffee addict, a collector of all things vintage, a big fan of girls’ nights out…and gifted photographer.

I have always loved the idea of printing favourite photographs onto canvas… It always gets me thinking… My advice would be, don’t go for the usual ‘family standing there’ shot, but maybe just a hint of a face, either very small and neat or a whole face, huge would be fun… lovely grainy portraits printed in black and white or sharp Day-Glo colour…you could do anything!

It reminds me of charity auctions where famous artists are asked to do ‘something’ the size of a postcard…then each piece is auctioned to the public, often without their knowing who the artist is…that mixture of restriction and freedom to do ‘anything’ is so exciting!

At last a company has come up making this process easy and affordable…
At Hello Canvas…there are no hidden extras, all the special effects are free: you can make a portrait black and white and ask for the hat to be in colour for instance. You can add a frame, if you wish, for an extra charge – a beautiful, ‘floating’, wooden frame – very plain and simple and delivery is a flat rate of £4.95.

Step inside this gorgeous home in Melbourne a Living Etc House Tour…the owners are full of ideas for displaying photographs.

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Pinterest is totally addictive by the way, do follow me, would love to see what you love…

Nikky D’Aguilar

We have a beautiful feature in this months 25 Beautiful Homes (July 2014) about artist and textile designer, Nikky D’Aguilar

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Nikky launched her fledgeling business a year ago and has been showing at all the big design shows, Country Living, Spirit of Summer.

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You cannot help but fall in love with her unique loch-side home in the Loch Lomond national park: originally, two gate house cottages, now linked by a huge glazed space, resulting in an incredibly varied interior …you never know what is going to happen next!

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You can spot her colourful designs all over the place. She thought to turn her paintings into textile designs when she printed one to cover an old chair, she liked the way the energy and imprefections in the fabric seemed to bring it alive.

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I feel the unpredictability in the layout of her home has the same effect…the modern additions have breathed new life into the old cottages…

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Her bags and scarves are very popular at the moment and can be bought online.

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It was wonderful to meet Nikky and we look forward to watching her business grow…