Made of Wood // A Review

This book is the perfect book for this time of the year, filled with warm inviting homes that feature wood in many forms and styles and I adore every single one of them.  I can never resist a book written by Mark and Sally Bailey their effortless style and ability to fashion anything out of things they find fascinates me.  I have long been an admirer of their store Baileys Home in the heart of Herefordshire I have visited once a few years ago which is definitely not enough, I need to go back.  I have of course got a few things in my home from them, purchased over the years from chapel chairs to mirrors, Parfait jar lights, our loo seat oak of course and yes even my kitchen sink!

When Ryland Peters & Small asked if I would like to review Mark and Sally’s new publication Made of Wood I jumped at the chance.  I love wood but didn’t really realise how much until I read the book, I started to look around my home and truly noticed all the pieces I have that make our house a home, from Victorian striped pine doors to a French window shutter mantle shelf, hand made bath panels from scaffolding boards and painted floor boards in all the bedrooms, old tables and chairs and the list goes on.

The versatility of this wonderful material is endless and the book focuses on it in all its glory the warmth it brings to a home making it feel grounded either through a homes structure or the items curated within it.

“Made of Wood is a celebration of recycled pieces, age old crafting techniques, clean modern lines and global influences as well as art and tableware with a handmade feel.

The first half of the book Wooden Elements explores the many ways in which we can use wood in our homes, sculpted, left in its natural state, roughly sawn or smoothly planed, recycled or painted.  The second half of the book Wooden Stories contains 12 case studies, each one offering a glimpse into the homes of people who have used this most ancient and versatile of materials in creative and inspiring ways.

Living with wood brings tactile comfort to every day, warms any interior, and will give your home a sense of soul that is so often lacking in this age of mass production.”

I wish I could live in each and every home in this book, each so different from the next but with the one continuous link between them all that being the material that makes them special, wood.  Mark and Sally have such a way with words you understand their passion behind what they do and why, also the elements that make their homes so evocative and inviting from the Welsh Farmhouse to Whitecross Farm both homely and unique.  They believe that surrounding yourself with natural materials is a way of achieving a balanced and peaceful atmosphere in the home, wood being a principal element for harmony and I couldn’t agree more.  It is such a versatile element you can create almost anything from it with many finishes in its raw state, painted or polished, rough, recycled or reclaimed.  I would love to clad the outside of a house in it but that’s another story.

One of my favourite homes featured is The Plough to me its simply perfect with a pared back feel, no fuss just simple and honest, things have been chosen for their patina or sculptural qualities and elements have been left alone and untouched to reveal the history of this beautiful home that once was a pub.

This is definitely a book to invest in, you can get a copy from here directly, it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself.  To own a copy to pick up and indulge in whenever you feel like, it will make you feel warm inside and inspire you with ideas to transform parts of your own home with wonderful wood.

Jx

  • Images 4, 6, 7, & 9 kindly supplied by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Made of Wood written by Mark & Sally Bailey and photographed by Debi Treloar

 

New Colours to Reflect the Seasons

I have a fascination with paint charts, I simply love them, especially the excitement of choosing a new colour to decorate a room at home.  I like to take my time consider all my options before going for it so that I don’t make a costly mistake and I’m not one for redecorating every five minutes using cheaper alternatives.  I am one of those lucky folk who just knows how shades work together and find it easy making the final choice, even those bold steps like painting my bathroom ceiling black and before you ask it really does work.

I am a huge advocate for Farrow & Ball, I come back to them time and time again and would recommend them to anyone who wants that subtle difference when updating a space.  They don’t release new colours very often but this Autumn they have created nine new hues to get all our taste buds tingling.  I love it that they take time to create these shades, refining each colour and giving it a perfect name along with the story woven into each and every one.  Their paint works on so many levels, from the contemporary to the traditional home, modern rustic to slick city pad.  You can have fun with texture, why can’t you paint your ceilings in gloss there are no rules when using Farrow & Ball.

The nine new colours are quite muted nothing to bright but all work hand in hand with each other, from a soft off white, a dark grey green, a brown based neutral to a muted pink and a grounding blue to name but a few.  Of course I am a huge fan of the muted shades so can’t see myself using the adventurous pink of Rangwali very soon but it still captures ones imagination, I would definitely try Sulking Room Pink a soft tone without being garish bringing with it a warmth that would lift a room perfectly.  One of my favourites is Jitney a beautiful earthy colour, there is shift towards brown based tones a warm woody neutrals of late so this muted shade fits the bill perfectly.  I like to feel calm and cocooned in a room and I think this along with De Nimes a subtle down to earth blue would do exactly that.

The next big space for us to tackle, hopefully in the Spring is our hallway, in desperate need of a touch up, I like to keep this space light and bright due to no direct light access able on the upstairs landing.  I am quite taken with the new soft neutral of School House White, not a brilliant white but a pared back, timeless shade without the cool undertones, a soft white reminiscent of old school houses.  Along with our natural sisal stair carpets and stripped pine Victorian doors I think would work an absolute treat.

You can find all the new colours on the Farrow & Ball website, they even give you design tips and colour schemes that work cohesively together, making our choices a little easier to make when deciding on which shade to go for when decorating.

Sadly I’m not decorating anything this weekend unlike the last but I will be soaking in the tub looking up at my beautiful black ceiling that is cocooning and soothing all at the same time.

Jx

 

 

August Days & A Small Apology

Apologies in advance for my lack of post today.  Time kind of got away with me after returning from France yesterday so what I hoped to write about today has to go on the back burner until next week.

No cause for alarm mind you, it’s just I’m still in holiday mode; craving to be back in France and living a slower pace of life so I threw caution to the wind and decided not to rush.

If you look closely there are snippets in the collage above of what’s to come next week, hopefully I’ll be all geared up to embrace the end of Summer and moving forward as the sun starts to fade slowly into Autumn with that back to school feeling.

Hopefully I’ll be raring to go, see you all next week with my holiday adventures.  Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend, may it be filled with lots of fun and laughter.

Jx

Relaxed Coastal Style // Sally Denning // BlackshoreStyle

Every once in a while a book comes along that fills you with emotion, ones that conjure up a sense of calm and tranquillity, each page turned is a delight, drawing you deeper into the homes featured plus the inspiration of the coastal elements applied from colour palettes and textures, weathered wood and bleached linens.  I have a deep pull towards the sea, I don’t quite live right next to it more’s the pity but I am very lucky that I am a short drive away from it and get my fix as often as I can.  Now, where ever I am I can be transported to the shore when I relax and read Relaxed Coastal Style by Sally Denning.
This beautiful book will definitely be coming on my holiday with me to be read and re read whilst away in France, lucky for me I will be by the sea so its perfect.  I love the way the book is laid out in parts throughout, Coastal Elements guides you through how you can create a coastal interior picking up on simple design techniques and colour palettes that would suit your home. From weathered and bleached to dark and moody all of which can be found by the seashore, pale sandy beaches to inky stormy skies the palettes can be replicated through decor and accessories.   Then we get introduced to the Coastal hideaways, the homes that are situated right by the big blue ocean, from a Norfolk beach shack to a Coastguards house in Kent to a Mallorcan hideaway and a cottage on Cape Cod filled with vintage charm.  I don’t think I can choose a favourite as each one has a certain element that I adore but will most certainly be picking up little design influences to use in my own home.
I can wax lyrical about the book for ever but I am lucky enough to know the author Sally through being friends on instagram for quite some time.  I am in awe of her work, style, her eye for detail and she also has the most fabulous instagram feed BlackshoreStyle.  I asked Sally how the book came to fruition and this is what she said :

 

“I have been an interiors stylist for over 20 years and for a major part of that, styling and writing for interiors magazines in London. Now freelance, I have  always wanted to do an interiors book but if the truth be told, getting a Book proposal together had always been put on the back burner because normal work and life seemed to take over! One day, I was sitting in my car (the glamour!) working as the wifi had gone down at home as usual (!), and an email popped into my inbox from London publisher Ryland, Peters and Small asking me if I would be interested in styling and writing a coastal book for them. I didn’t realise that they followed my Blackshore Style account on Instagram, but this was one of the reasons that they gave me the commission as they seemed to like my style. Of course, I jumped at the chance, so thrilled that they believed in me, and chuffed to bits that they approached me to do it.

 

There was quite a bit of travelling involved to capture the images and a solid three weeks of shooting. Myself and the photographer, Ben Edwards travelled to the East Coast of America, Mallorca, mainland Spain, Cornwall and Norfolk to shoot the book with long days shooting, but in fantastic places by the sea. Dreamy actually and the sun shone too – we were so lucky! After all the images were taken, I started to write the book. I wrote it last Autumn, and each day lit the woodburner and sat at my laptop typing away – a process I really enjoyed as I haven’t done much writing since my magazine days. Then layouts and proofs started to come through earlier this year. I worked very closely with the publishers Art director and designer, working on every single page to make sure it looked as good as it could to fit their house style. I hope I’ve done the book justice and thank each and every person who has spent their hard earned cash on a copy. I’m forever grateful and honoured to have been able to create an actual, real life book!”
So if you don’t own a copy of Relaxed Coastal Style then where have you been, every coffee table in the land needs a copy so you too can be transported to the shore and be inspired to create that effortless simplicity that life by the sea brings.

 

Jx

 

* with thanks the Sally for letting me use her images alongside my own in this post.  You can get a copy of the book here.

 

Ryan’s Daughter a Stylist’s Dream

Many moons ago before Tea with Ruby was even a seed of a thought I poured over interior books and magazines and still do to this day.  I’ve always loved the laid back French style, muted colours, slubby linens, soft buttery ceramics weathered and worn wood.  One of my well thumbed books from this time was Essentially French by Josephine Ryan.  Never in a million years did I ever think I would get to visit her beautiful shop let alone call her a friend.

Roll on a few years and here I am writing about Josephine and her new venture Ryans Daughter. Opening the shop again to the public after a few years away seemed the right thing to do, serendipity as you will as this was the original premises of her first shop.   Times have changed but Josephine’s effortless style and eye for detail is ever present, bringing in new stock such as mid century modern pieces to sit elegantly alongside the pared back French antiques.  As the shop evolves supper clubs will be held on an evening bringing new life to this magical place.

Complimenting the home wares and antiques curated by Josephine, floristy and plants are being expertly designed by Sascha Rothing bringing another layer to the surroundings.  The entrance to the shop was exquisite, the floral displays drew you in and made you want to explore.  Once you enter it truly is a feast for the eyes every where you look you find another wonderful object that you never knew you needed!

Working with stylist, designers and bespoke clients Josephine brings her knowledge of the business to elevate the interiors and homes of many a lucky home owner.  Along side the shop she owns a property in France that has graced the pages of many interiors magazines and books, its surroundings in the French country side lend itself for retreats and workshops a like.  Taking time out to find peace and tranquillity amongst the most beautifully furnished home must be such an experience.

Visiting Ryans Daughter was a rather special moment for me and I sincerely hope that you all make a trip to Abbeville Road in Clapham to see it for yourself too.  Situated on the prettiest street not far from the common I couldn’t think of a better way of spending an afternoon amongst the splendour of this true gem of a shop.  Follow Josephine and the shop on instagram for all their updates.

Jx

  • All images my own of the shop, Josephine’s house in France found here and the dining room image here

 

Concrete Chic with Ross & Brown

I do have a confession to make I absolutely love concrete in all its shapes and forms, the minimal urban interior is something I covet, if you follow me on Pinterest you will already have figured that one out!  My dream would be to have cast concrete worktops in my kitchen and a polished concrete floor throughout the downstairs of my house.   For now though this isn’t a reality but I can add touches of it through accessories in my home.
Ross & Brown have just launched a new selection of home wares from LIKEconcrete to give folk like me that little slice of minimal chic to our interiors.  The brand has combined Danish style with refined industrial design using innovative technology to mould concrete in unique ways to create a silk like texture.  All created with organic, sustainable materials to reduce their carbon footprint.  Each of the products has been given an ancient Nordic name.
The Karin tray meaning clean and tidy is perfectly named.   These stunning trays are not only beautifully formed and tactile but are very useful around the home.  I like keeping certain items out on display, things that get used on a daily basis but don’t want to let them scatter all over creating a mess, feeling cluttered.  Having a stylish tray to place things on when not in use is very handy indeed, not only will things not go missing but you can create little vignettes with your things.   They come in three different sizes and colours all in my favourite monochrome tones.
This simple white concrete tray will become one of my favourite new additions, it looks great on the bedside table, keeping your essentials to hand like jewellery, hand cream and reading glasses.  It works equally well keeping all your bathroom lotions and potions essentials together, everything is in one place so you don’t have to go hunting for that precious face mask when needed.   Then again it doesn’t have to be just for storing your bits and bobs, it works equally well grouping your favourite ceramics and house plants on, creating a pleasing display.   Or even as a morning coffee tray, making every day that little bit more enjoyable and oh so stylish.
Along with the LIKEconcrete collection Ross & Brown stock some of the finest designer home wares, selecting brands such as Norman Copenhagen, Bloomingville and House Doctor DK.   The owners Peter Ross and Gary Brown started in the interior design and architecture world. Through their love of sourcing products for specific projects they began exploring the idea of setting up an on line store as a destination from which interior designers and home owners would visit to find new and interesting products.  The store has a minimal Scandinavian feel, filled with beautiful products for the home that make me very envious.  What I like most about Ross & Brown is that Peter and Gary have to love a product before they list it on the site, everything they stock they would have in their homes, as Peter puts it ‘we are essentially designers doing retail, not the other way around’.
So if you are like me and are after something a little different with a contemporary Scandinavian design edge then please do visit Ross & Brown you will certainly not be disappointed.
Jx
*  with thanks to Ross & Brown for gifting the Karin Tray for the purpose of this post

One Dark Wall

I’m not going to tell you how to decorate with dark paint, just a simple post embracing the darker shades just because I love them.

I lean towards dark walls in my home, even to the point of painting wall and ceiling the same colour which gives a wonderful cocooning effect, if you have decent windows natural light bounces off the surfaces without making the room feel claustrophobic.

I think its a total myth that dark walls make a room feel small, it has the opposite effect in my house.  I’m not suggesting to paint every surface black by any means. A balance of light and shade is good, such as painting an entrance hall in a dark hue revealing a bright living space. It definitely draws the eye.

Places to get inspiration for going over to the dark side are Abigail Ahern and Rockett St George. They both use dark elements to amazing effect and show you how it can be done well.

Some of the best paint brands do exquisite dark tones, Cassandra Ellis new paint range is delicious with names like Bitter Chocolate and Ink.  My old favourites Farrow & Ball who I have used extensively throughout my home, the latest dark colour I have used is Blue Black which is deliciously inky.  Bauwerk Colour do some wonderfully rich shades with their unique limewash paint also I can’t forget Little Greene and their deep colour choices.

So my advice is if you are thinking about dark paint and are a little reluctant, don’t be; give it a go and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Start small and maybe paint one wall at first but I know once you start you won’t be able to stop.   Another thing to remember is it’s only paint; if you really don’t like it then get the brushes out and change it.

If you need a little more inspiration come and follow my dark pinterest board, so many ideas all in one place.

Now what can I paint next, I’ve got my eye on Off Black and maybe some more dark tiles for our bathroom when we get around to changing it!

Jx

Images 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

 

 

The Sofa Dilemma

The sofa is one of the comfiest places to relax other than under the duvet so you have to get it right, it’s a big financial cost too, so any wrong choices can be a bit of a disaster.  All that being said it’s one of the pieces of furniture that I struggle with when choosing, it took me a very long time to pick or current sofa and I worried that I’d made the wrong choice for weeks on end.  Luckily for me it works for us and it’s comfort and elegance works in my current scheme.

So where do you start when contemplating that large investment piece, does the decor dictate the style and fabric choice?  Are you restricted with space or budget or does the sofa itself make you decide on everything else around it?

Only you can be the one that answers any of these questions but personally I found a lot of research helped me with my decision.  My one piece of advice is don’t buy straight off the internet, visit a showroom have a good sit on the one sofa that catches your eye, take the family and have you all sit on it as if you were at home.  Also invest in a piece that will last, don’t cut corners, try and buy one at the top of your budget because it will hopefully be made to last quite a few years.

There are so  many styles on the market but my favourites are the less in your face pieces, I like muted tones, wool fabrics that you can layer up with cushions and throws, clean lined but comfortable.   I wish I had the space for a modular model where we could all lay out but alas my living space isn’t so big.  I had to go compact in style but fabric choice was definitely no other than my own. I’ve always wanted a plain wool sofa and so that’s what I have.  I was ever so tempted by velvet but was scared that in every day use it would get a little worn far too quickly. The jewel toned velvets that are available are stunningly beautiful, maybe one day I will have a space for an occasional sofa that doesn’t suffer the rigour of everyday use.

Another hard wearing fabric choice would be leather, these fabulous leather sofa designs by the unique online store PIB are superb with a touch of a vintage vibe.  Buttery leather tones that will wear well with age.  I have a leather chair that we bought many moons ago for this very reason, an investment that will last a life time.

If money were no object a bespoke piece would be a dream, handmade to perfection to your specifications, I shall carry on dreaming about that one, or maybe one from here, my favourite designers.

So if you are currently looking to make that switch from old and tired to brand spanking new, hopefully some of these styles might take your fancy, happy sofa shopping.

Jx

Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12

 

Freight

If you’ve ever visited the East Sussex town of Lewes you’ll know that it hosts many stylish independent stores, ones that you won’t find on every high street.  I love the diversity that Lewes has, it is a beautiful place to visit.
One of these stores is Freight,  a favourite of mine not only because the products that they sell are exceptional and work perfectly with my pared back style, but the atmosphere created is one of calm, like spending time in a friends home.  Also I never leave empty handed, the well curated house-hold goods are exquisite and I really can’t resist having them in my own home.  They have an on line store too, perfect for when you are wanting that unique item that only Freight can deliver.
I had a chat with owner Helene who runs the store with her daughter Adele about how Freight came to be.
Helen previously had a shop in Lewes called ADAMCZEWSKI that she opened in 1999.  With similar principals to those Freight has now, the shop was all about finding useful things for the home that weren’t so easy to find pre-internet days. She sold products such as string, brushes and ceramics; anything that worked with the shops ethos with it’s own classic style. This chapter closed in 2010 to explore greener pastures.
 Fate took a guiding hand and in 2014 the shop which Helene still owned   became unexpectedly vacant again just before the Christmas period.  Helene’s daughter Adele thought it would be wrong to just leave it empty and sad looking due to it’s prominent position on the high street.  An opportunity not to be missed they quickly put together a temporary store naming it POPINSKI,  partly in homage to the old shop that had previously been there and the fact it definitely was a pop up.
 Having worked so hard to set up the temporary store full of new products they found themselves discussing and analysing the nature of shop keeping. They came to the conclusion that just filling shops from trade fairs was a bit boring and that the more interesting and challenging route to take would be to design and commission their own products by working with makers and manufacturers. They wanted a collection that would stand the test of time and that would be an ongoing response to how they wanted the collection to grow.  Recently they have added a knitwear collection which couldn’t have been further from the original concept but after meeting with some knitters and really liking  the Shetland yarn they used, they were inspired to trial it.   A decision well made as the knitwear has proven to be rather popular and Freight are now in the process of adding to the current collection. 
  It’s also so important to this dynamic Mother and daughter team that they are not designing for design’s sake. Freight products have to be functional, durable and of a very high quality.  They follow no one else’s rules, don’t follow trends or the latests fad fashions and subsequently their stock change is of a slower nature.  
This is why I love them, you know what you are investing in when you buy anything from Freight. I cherish the items I have, all of which enhance my home enormously. Simple earthenware storage jars made in Stoke on Trent, Spanish boxwood carbon steel knives that are sharpened by hand using artisanal techniques established by the original founders, a deliciously scented soy wax candle with scents from narratives drafted and worked on with a perfumer, making them unique to Freight.
 I can’t recommend this beautiful store to you highly enough, if you get the chance to pay a visit and experience it yourself then all the better but for now do drop in on line to see their wonderful products, I know your shopping basket won’t stay empty for long.
 *  with thanks to Freight for letting me put this post together. Product photography by Susan Bell and Benedict Stenning

Styling the Seasons ~ April

Well we are nearly at the end of April and the Spring sunshine has decided to grace us with it’s presence and it has been most appreciated.  My mood this month has been a bit on the low side and I can’t quite put my finger on it apart from the lack of sunlight, maybe that is it.  All is well now though, Ruby has had a few days away (for the first time) with school.  A most strange experience, the house was very quiet.  We missed her terribly but also felt like we did before she came along, no time schedules to run to and it was all rather nice but I am pleased that she’s home now, not so sure about the washing though!

We have finally started the redecoration plans for our kitchen, the new back door is being fitted as I type which is most exciting, be gone nasty brown plastic door, hello beautiful grey painted wooden stable door.  Next weekend (which is technically May) we will be getting the paint brushes out and transforming my room into a grey haven.  I chose Worsted in the end by Farrow & Ball it’s the most stunning warm shade.  My uber talented friend is going to whiz up a new Roman blind for me using the delicious slubby French sheet I told you about last week, oh my it’s all going to look superb.

Anyway I digress back to April, I have found myself spending more time in my favourite room this month for quiet time, my place to relax and reflect.  The light in our bedroom is perfect, the wall colour so calming and as it is on the ceiling too it cocoons you totally.  Our room is pared back with lots of layered linen which gives it a feminine edge.  I could sit on our bed all day indulging in reading interior books and magazines which I find a great source of inspiration.

I have to have flowers by the bed it just adds that extra touch and makes you smile when you first open your eyes on a morning.  These beautiful narcissus are so pale with a striking shot of peachy perfection I couldn’t resist.  As luck would have it the latest edition of the Country Living Modern Rustic arrived and the spine complimented the narcissus hues perfectly.

I may just have to treat myself for half an hour back up there after writing this with a cup of tea for a spot of me time with the bookazine to dream.  On that note a bit of relaxed excitement too, I will be joining Yawn (@yawnlondon) this Saturday to takeover their instagram account, I’ll be there all week sharing my ways to relax, unwind, slowing life down a little and genuinely enjoy lazing around in my pj’s, the bedroom will feature a lot, I wonder why!!

Signature

To take part in Styling the Seasons all you  need to do is style a space, shelf, table the list is endless showing what the current month means to you and tag Katie from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and Lots.