Tuesday, January 26

Fab Five Triple Whammy - OTT Wallpapers

Is it weird that I daydream about having a cloakroom (or better, a dressing room) just so I can wallpaper it?

You see, I have a confession to make: I'm scared of wallpaper. It's the commitment - it's not like paint where you can change it on a whim, and I'm an all or nothing girl - if I'm going to use wallpaper I'm going to do the whole room, not just one wall, so I guess that's why I don't have any wallpaper in my house. 

A cloakroom would be different though. A cloakroom is not somewhere you spend much time, and a cloakroom is small so therefore cheaper to wallpaper, and there is less chance of tiring of it, but if you do, there are options! A. Use another loo, and B. You can change it without nearly so much money and time being spent.

I'm serious though, I do daydream about what wallpaper I'd put in my imaginary cloakroom and I even agonise over which colour-way I'd use, because although I fear it, I still absolutely love it.

And here are my top five FIFTEEN totally OTT wallpapers. Because try as I might, I just couldn't get rid of any single one of these, and it's my blog, so, you know...

Fab Five Triple Whammy OTT Wallpapers - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Zebras in Safari Brown - Scalamandre
2. Grand Versailles in Pink, Chartreuse & Lime - Cole and Son
3. Martinique Beverly Hills - Designer Wallcoverings
4. Hutch in Cream - Hunt Slonem for Grounworks - Lee Jofa
5. Kaleidoscope in Taupe - House of Hackney
6. Hexa Gone 2 in Cream & Green - Quirk & Rescue
7. Deco Monkeys in Blues - de Gournay
8. Pampas in White & Viridis - House of Hackney
9. Aruba - de Gournay
10. Prism - Cole and Son
11. The Vase in Tan - David Hicks for Clarence House
12. Congo in Blues - Clarence House
13. Malachite in Emerald Green & Black - Fornasetti for Cole & Son
14. La Havane in Green & Black - Nobilis
15. Boca Chica (Positive) in Blue & White - Brunschwig & Fils


Thursday, January 21

A Decorating Update

I've realised that I'm big on saying what I'm up to in the house - 'doing this to this room, and that to that room' and yet my follow up posts have been few and far between. That's because almost without exception, things ALWAYS take longer than I want them to because life gets in the way. SO annoying.

But believe me when I say that I am also ALWAYS chipping away and working on one or usually many of the elements of the things I've said I'm doing to bring them together, and today I wanted to give you a little update of where I'm at with the Living Room, the Tweeenage Dream Room, and our Master Bedroom, which are very much on their way to being ready to show you (well maybe with the exception of the master bedroom), having been given complete overhauls.

I love that word, 'Master', it makes it sound like it's so much more grand than any other room, but in my case, well, it's just another room, but I find it kind of amusing to use. One day I'll have a Master Suite. Yes, you heard me.

Okay. First up is the living room. You can see my original thoughts on the transformation and moodboard here. I've been working on this since last summer. I painted it, then everything ground to a halt over the summer holidays. Then I decided that we needed built-in cupboards and shelves in the alcoves as we just weren't using the space as efficiently as we could - why not take advantage of the high ceilings to get some more display and storage space?

Monochrome prints and pale pink walls - French For Pineapple Blog

So that happened and totally transformed the room - it feels more grand now and a bit more traditional, which I was a little unsure of at first, but I now absolutely love it. In fact, I'm waiting for my electrician to come and install the amazing satin brass lights that I've bought for the tops of said shelving, which will not only stop it looking too traditional because they're a contemporary design, but will complete the lighting layers in a room I've always struggled with, in getting the lighting just right.

Last weekend the new blinds went up, which were also transformational (more about that in my reveal post), and the last piece in the puzzle is to get two new prints up onto the monochrome gallery wall.

I'm pretty damn pleased with how this room is turning out. And the colour? Well I couldn't be happier with it - bordering on evangelical. Sorry.

It's so close to being done, and then I'll be shouting from the rooftops for you to come and see it, and with some trepidation I might add, because this image of what it used to look like has been phenomenally popular, having appeared on Apartment Therapy, Brit + Co, Refinery 29 and Abigail Ahern to name but a few, and bringing so much traffic to my blog. So there's definitely a bit of 'oh my god, what if they hate it' going on in my head. But hey, it's my house, right?

Navy blue walls with skull print - French For Pineapple Blog

Moving on to Edie's Tweenage Dream bedroom. You can see my original post with moodboard right here. That's been a super popular post, because it's a look I would happily put in a grown up bedroom too, and the blue is to die for. Definitely not just for kids.

I painted it months ago, took down all her art, and shelving, and then everything stopped because I needed to sell her high-sleeper bed before we could go any further. Trying to sell her bed just before Christmas was not one of my smartest ideas, so I re-listed it for sale a few weeks ago and it sold pretty much straight away. That meant we could move her old bed that Baxter has been using back into her room, and order some bunk beds for Baxter's room.

Feather pendant with pale blue walls - French For Pineapple Blog

With her original bed reinstated, I've also changed her light shade, moved all her furniture around, had a massive de-clutter, and her room is completely transformed. She absolutely loves it, which makes me very happy.

There are a few finishing touches to do and we're there - the art needs to be hung, she needs a noticeboard which is a purchase plus DIY, and I need to take a trip to Ikea to buy a full length free-standing mirror. Oh, I need to make her roman blind too.

Last but not least, is the Master Bedroom. If you follow me on Instagram you may know that even though I felt I wanted a light colour in the living room, that I decided to go super dark in the bedroom. It just felt right, and was a bit of a major decision, because it wasn't just the walls, it was the doors of the built-in wardrobe that I wanted to paint too. So I did. And I love it.

I've also replaced the light fitting with the oversized Sinnerlig bamboo pendant from the Ilse Crawford for Ikea collection which looks fantastic.

Close up of ornate mirror frame with off-black walls and painting in the reflection - French For Pineapple Blog

I've kind of stalled there though. Partly due to lack of time, and part of it is because I don't like our bed frame (I never have - it was a pre-me purchase of my husband's), and now that the walls are dark, the cream metal frame sticks out like a sore thumb. I did know this would happen, and had planned to paint it, but as it's metal, it really needs to be sprayed which means dismantling it and taking it outside, and it's not appropriate weather. To be honest, I can't be bothered putting so much effort into something I don't even like, so I don't know where I'm going with it right now. I have thought about various DIY ways of hiding it - but everything involves spending money on something I'd rather replace. So I'm a bit stumped, and may just have to put up with it until I can find the funds to replace the frame.

So there you go, a little (okay, long-winded) update on what's been happening decorating wise, within the walls of this house over the last few months. I feel like I'm getting to the point where I'm happy with most rooms for the first time in a LONG time, and that feels pretty good!


Tuesday, January 19

Statement Lamps

Let's talk about lamps. Or more to the point, let's talk about statement lamps, and how much I love them. They're a definite weakness of mine - I don't 'need' anymore lamps, I even have several spare ones in my studio, but that does not stop me wanting more. And want more, I do.

Rather annoyingly, my taste in lamps seems to be getting more expensive. Now it's statment lamps that I covet, and the bigger the better.

There is no way I could justify buying most of the lamps I currently have a crush on, though I'm considering starting a (not so) secret savings fund to buy this one from Abigail Ahern.

Statement Lighting - French For Pineapple Blog
Shaggy Palm Lamp - Abigail Ahern
My husband is not so keen, but he'll come around. I included this in my (very nearly ready to be photographed) New Look Living Room moodboard, but alas, it hasn't magically materialised as I'd hoped. And yes, it's completely bonkers with a definite tribal feel to it, which I'm loving right now, but this would be a forever lamp. Honest. Every time I walk past the Abigail Ahern shop, I pop in just to have a look at it. Again. It really would be the icing on the cake in my living room, and at nearly nearly 80cms tall it's huge - now that's a statement.

Then there's this gorgeous creature by Young & Battaglia (a.k.a Mineheart), that I spotted a couple of months ago on their instagram feed and completely fell in love. I could stare at this aaaaall day - the ostrich feathers combined with the brass finish is almost too much glamour to bear. Yes, this would also work just perfectly in my living room.
Statement Lighting - French For Pineapple Blog
Feather Table Lamp - Mineheart

Moving right along, I love having a browse through the lamps on offer at Vaughn, and this sculptural one caught my eye big time. It reminds me of a big chunk of malachite, which is no bad thing. Again, it's no shrinking violet, at 61cms with the shade, which means I love it even more.

Statement Lighting - French For Pineapple Blog
Mimizan Ceramic Lamp - Vaughan

For some vintage eye-candy, I always head to Fears and Kahn, and old favourite, where there is without a doubt always something that has me totally drooling, and these original French 1970's gold plated Koi lamps are no exception. And I do love a pair of lamps. Just wow! And yes, they do have marble bases.
Statement Lighting - French For Pineapple Blog
Koi Lamps - Fears & Kahn
I know, I know, all my choices are on the pricey side, but I did warn you.

If you're after some statement lamps and your purse strings won't allow for such extravagances, you can of course find cheaper options, like this much-more-expensive-looking-than-it-is number that I found at The Lighting Superstore.
Statement Lighting - French For Pineapple Blog
Balthazar Table Lamp - The Lighting Superstore
Now don't say I never do you any favours.


Friday, January 15

Stella's Art School

So remember the other day I was preaching to you about how to buy art? Well, imagine that you could go to art school online and be taught by your very favourite artist. What a dream come true, right? Well that has actually happened. IN. REAL. LIFE!

Stella Vine 'Hi Paul' French For Pineapple Blog
'Hi Paul Can You Come Over' - Stella Vine
Stella Vine, an artist who’s work as you may know, I’ve long admired and adored, has recently launched Stella’s Art School. You might think you could never afford such a thing, but you'd be wrong. Her online art school, where she’ll post two videos a month for twelve months is only £32 IN TOTAL, and you can join at any time.

I joined up immediately - how could I not?

Stella Vine - French For Pineapple Blog
'Holy Water Cannot Help You Now' / 'Elizabeth and Lassie' / 'Marion' - Stella Vine

But how does it work?

Well, there are two projects a month for twelve months, in the form of videos posted online and accessed with a password via Stella's website. You can join Stella as she makes her own art works, drawings, paintings, editions and objects, and you’re encouraged to either make something similar to her, or go off at a tangent and create your own pieces.

There’s a closed Facebook and Instagram account for members only, where you can join in, post work and get feedback from Stella herself, as well as other students.

In typical generous Stella style, she’s offering free places for people living in difficult circumstances. AND if you’re a high achieving student and complete 24 projects a year for three years she’ll make you your own certificate.

Stella Vine 'I only make love to Jesus' - French For Pineapple Blog
'I Only Make Love to Jesus' - Stella Vine

The fact that I don’t have any spare time on my hands and may not end up doing all (many/any!) of the projects she sets, is kind of besides the point for me. I really do want to learn from her, but being able to watch her videos and seeing a little bit of how she ticks is worth it alone. (Sorry Stella, I know you’ll probably read this, and I promise I won’t start actually stalking you, and I also promise to do at least some of my homework!)

You can find out more about Stella here, (besides the fact that she’s hugely talented and lovely), and if you don’t have the time or inclination for art school, but want your own affordable little piece of her, you might still be able to pick up a signed and numbered limited edition print of your own right here.

How cool. You’re welcome.

Wednesday, January 13

Bathroom Envy - Plotting A Bathroom Overhaul

Lately I've had a serious case of Bathroom Envy. Not one particular bathroom, but I keep finding myself staring wistfully at images of beautiful bathrooms here there and everywhere.

Our bathroom is looking super unloved, so I've started plotting an overhaul. This has been brewing for well over a year, maybe two or three, but somehow, someway, I'd like to make 2016 the year of the bathroom overhaul. It's time.

Image: Jenny Komenda / Little Green Notebook

Image: Frank Oudeman/Otto/ODA New York on Interior Design

As with the kitchen, I was making do with what we'd inherited when we moved in nearly eight years ago, without spending a load, so we did a few things just after we moved in - mainly essentials like adding a proper shower over the bath in what was the only bathroom in the house because there wasn't one, (unless you call a hose attachment from the bath taps a shower - I don't). We also changed the sink to a decent sized one from the cloak room sized tiny little thing that was there.

There was also no ceiling light - the previous owner had a wall light which was ripped out before she left as it wasn't a compliant bathroom fitting, leaving live wires hanging out of the wall (even less compliant!), so we had those sorted out, covering the holes with spare tiles found in the cellar, and added a ceiling light, which was a rush cheap job from the closest hardware store. The plastic fitting had since disintegrated so I've recently had it replaced with the fitting on my moodboard below. A tiny step in the right direction.

The bath panel got damaged when it had to come off to add the shower plumbing, so I tiled a new one in mirrored mosaics, and despite best intentions, never finished grouting it. Yep, left unfinished for probably seven years. Then there's the sparkly grey vinyl floor tiles which I never finished sticking down. Oh the shame!

I hate having to admit these things, and I've only recently realised (or perhaps admitted to myself), that an abandoned DIY job is usually a sign that I'm not happy with what I've chosen, or how it's turning out. The bathroom is a prime example. But my taste has changed quite a bit over the last eight years, and now I want less disco sparkle, and more classic with a glam contemporary edge.

The shallow melamine cupboards which also house the toilet cistern, are yellowed with age and water damaged, the paint is peeling on the window frame, there are cracks in the plaster on the ceiling, the grouting is stained and looks filthy (I promise, it's as clean as possible!), the mirrors get water on them from the shower so are constantly building up with limescale, all adding to the tired and grotty look of the room.

The wrap around mirror set into the tiles on two walls is too high, and I can't actually see my whole face in the mirror unless I stand on my toes, or wear heels, which I'm not in the habit of doing in the bathroom on a regular basis. I'm about 5'4", so not unusually short, but no, I can't see my face in my own bathroom mirror. This is a constant source of amusement for my husband, and a constant source of annoyance for me. If that's not justification alone to rip it out, I don't know what is!

In lieu of funds to get someone to come in and do it all for us, this will be a slooooow burning DIY job. Depending on what tiles we choose, we may get someone in to lay them for us (I know, shock horror!), along with a plumber to do any plumbing work that ends up needing to be done. I'll get my carpenter to replace the melamine cupboard doors that will be painted, which probably isn't ideal given the proximity to the bath and therefore water, but this is a budget job and we'll just have to be mindful. Everything that we can do ourselves, we will.

Do you know what I hate even more than having to admit to DIY and design failures? Showing ugly before pictures on my blog. But here goes! Believe it or not, just to reiterate, it's actually clean, just horribly stained grout and well, okay, the mirrors do clean up better than this with a load of effort, but I'm so over this room, I've kind of given up.
Bathroom Overhaul - BEFORE - French For Pineapple Blog

Bathroom Overhaul - BEFORE - French For Pineapple Blog

My plan is to slowly start removing the tiles in the in areas furthest away from water, and we'll see what kind of mess condition the walls are in. I expect they'll need to be skimmed, as I don't plan on tiling floor to ceiling again, so I'll have to get someone in to do that once all the tiles are off. Unfortunately, plastering is not a skill either my husband or I possess.

We'll most likely stick with the existing sanitary ware - we'll obviously keep costs down if we don't need to purchase these things or get a plumber in. That said, the radiator needs to be changed so a plumber will be needed at some point, and it will need to come off to remove the tiles and fix the plaster anyway. Hmmmm, this job is getting bigger as I write and we haven't even started!

I'd love to replace the taps and shower fitting with either gold or black (I'm actually leaning towards black), but we'll have to see if that's possible budget wise as we progress. I'm sure the kids won't mind living on baked beans this year, will they? I know I can make it look a whole lot better than it currently does without us having to remortgage (we'll save that for the kitchen extension one day!).

So, let's talk about the fun stuff!

I'd love to use these beautiful tiles from Mandarin Stone laid in this herringbone pattern in the area around the bath/shower and perhaps on the bath panel too. They're actually the thing that's inspired me to start seriously thinking about this revamp.

Mandarin Stone Mimica Statuario Gloss Porcelain Tile
They look like marble, but they're actually porcelain, so they're cheaper than marble and low maintenance. I love the relatively high contrast of the veining against the background, with lots of movement. Just gorgeous.

I'd also like to add some decorative moulding to the cupboard doors and paint them - possibly Olive by Farrow and Ball, inspired by Jenny Komenda's beautiful guest bathroom. Or perhaps emerald green, or am I going to go blue?! Clearly I haven't decided on that one yet.

Image: Jenny Komenda / Little Green Notebook

Another option would be to add tinted mirror or sheet brass to the doors, but that would be substantially more expensive. Besides, I've been wanting to add some moulding to the house somewhere forever and this is a nice way to introduce it in a small area.

The top of the cupboards is a shallow shelf which runs along the entire wall and is also currently aged/yellowed/stained laminate. I would love to have a piece of marble cut for this, however it will depend on tile choices. The other possibility is to use a piece of gold tinted mirror which would certainly be much cheaper.

As for the flooring, I'd like to put tiles in to replace the vinyl, but I need to look into the cost of underfloor heating before that decision is made because I hate cold floors underfoot. I love this Georgica Pond Marble from Fired Earth. I love it a LOT. But I obviously wouldn't use it with the Mimica Statuario tiles, if we used these I'd use a plain wall tile, because this is such a showstopper. Extreme marble as I like to call it. And just WOW, to the floor and shower enclosure being done, but that's most definitely not in the budget. Sob.
Georgica Pond Marble from Fired Earth

So as you can tell, there are still quite a few final decisions to be made, negotiated, and budgeted for, but here's the moodboard version 1.0...
Bathroom Overhaul Moodboard - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Mimica Statuario Gloss Porcelain Tile - Mandarin Stone
2. Brushed Brass Bathroom Light - The Home Lighting Centre
3. Enki Modern Midnight Black Tap - Ebay
4. Gold Tinted Mirror - Mirror Fit
5. Onyx Omega Black Towel Radiator - The Heating Boutique
6. He Towels - Wrong for Hay at Selfridges
7. Maidenhair Fern (if only I could keep one of these lovely specimens alive!)
8. Dark Grey Casablanca Tile - Mandarin Stone
9. Brass Magazine Rack - Mia Fleur
10. Brass Hooks - Hay at Utility Design
11. Pale Powder Modern Emulsion - Farrow and Ball
12. Olive Estate Eggshell - Farrow and Ball
13. Panthera Shower Curtain - House of Hackney
14. Regal 3 Brushed Brass Bathroom Wall Light - Lamp Gallerian

Versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 may materialise before we even pull a single tile off the wall, but I really like this direction. As far as colours go for the cupboard doors and walls, as I said, I'm undecided, but I'm loving each of these possible combinations . I expect paint colour decisions will be left until the tiling is done, and will result in several (more) tester post purchases. DON'T TELL MY HUSBAND!

Bathroom Overhaul Colour Options - French For Pineapple Blog

There will be changes and compromises along the way, but whatever we end up doing it's going to be a gazillion times better than what we've currently got. And I for one, CAN. NOT. WAIT.


Thursday, January 7

Fab Five - (Sexy) Desks

You did know that desks can be sexy didn't you? Good. And who wants a sexy desk? Well, I do actually.

As you may know, prettying up my studio is on my mind, and on my list. I currently have this Ikea Micke desk which is perfectly fine, but pretty and sexy it's not. I have a (not so) secret plan to relocate it to Edie's room and get rid of her smaller version of the same desk, so you know, if I do that I'll actually need a new desk.

I recently wrote a post that included a Dream Studio moodboard. It wasn't meant as anything more than that - a bit of a fantasy, but I love that moodboard so much and can totally imagine my studio taking that direction, and now I really want to bring that vision to life!

Sadly in real life I don't have the funds for either the desk or the chair that are included on said moodboard, but a girl can dream. And she can also DIY.

I want a desk that will be light in the space but at the same time make an impact and be a feature, so something with a clear(ish) top is the way to go, and I love the idea of an a-frame/sawhorse/trestle base in an unexpected material.

So here's my selection of the best, just in case you're in the market. And yes, I have included the dream one, because I just couldn't help myself.

Oh, and an explanation about number four. You have to use your imagination here as it's not a great picture, but I really wanted to include it because these are acrylic/perspex/plexi-glass or as I like to call it lucite (because it makes me sound cool and in-the-know), a-frame bases. And I love them. These were made to order for a (very lucky) customer of Argo Plastics who can make just about anything you can dream up out of acrylic. I'm told these were about £1400 for the pair (le sigh). They're made from super thick 40mm acrylic, but could be made in a thinner material too, which would obviously bring the price down. Just imagine these with a gold smoked-glass top. Oh yes.

Fab Five Sexy Desks - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Sonnet - Safavieh Couture a.k.a 'The One'. I was awestruck when I stumbled upon this. Love, love, love.
2. NIC - Habitat I would be sorely tempted to spray the white bases gold or even give them the faux gold leaf treatment.
3. Kipling - Andrew Martin A more industrial look, I'm loving this one too. Super cool.
4. Double A-Frame Bases - Argo Plastics As I said above, use your imagination, because these lucite legs totally rock.
5. A-Frame - Andrew Martin A chunkier silver take on 'The One', it's pretty damn awesome too.


Tuesday, January 5

How To Buy 'Grown Up' Art

I'm baaaaaack! HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours. I hope you had at least a little bit of a break over the holiday/festive period. I'm feeling rather inspired, which is a good thing as I want to achieve so much this year.

If you know the children's book A Squash And A Squeeze by the always wonderful Julia Donaldson (not to ignore the fab illustrator Axel Scheffler - they're such a great team), you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that taking down the Christmas decorations and tree, made me feel like I can breathe again. And suddenly I feel inspired to get stuck into all the nearly finished jobs that will inch me closer to 'completing' some rooms. But you know, they're never really finished, right?

Anyway, one of the things I'm working on is a new gallery wall in the living room. The piece we had hung there before was never really right. It wasn't big enough on the wall alone, and I had intended to just add to it, but the colours weren't working, so it's now moved to the hallway where it looks great, and we've moved some other pieces around to create a monochrome gallery wall instead on the main wall of the living room. We've hung the three pieces we have, and I've created two pieces which I'll have printed to add to them. There's plenty of room to add to it in the future too, but it will look balanced and work with the five pieces alone for now. I can't wait to get that finished so I can finally show you the room!

But enough rambling, what I want to talk about in this post is how to buy 'grown up' art.
Chris Levine - Kate Moss (She's Light)

How you go about buying your art is probably about as personal as what you choose to hang on your walls. Today I want to share how I (or rather we, being my husband Ed and I) go about buying art for our home, and I hope it's helpful, especially if you're thinking about making your first foray into purchasing some grown-up art, a.k.a more expensive art than you've ever bought before.

Now please don't get me wrong, there is nothing at all wrong with purchasing affordable art (a somewhat ridiculous phrase - who deems what price to be affordable and to whom?), and as you may know I make and sell lower priced prints myself, but if you decide you want to graduate and make a higher value art purchase and don't know where to start, this may help a little.

When two people are involved, the decision making process is made twice as hard. Even though I get frustrated and annoyed if Ed doesn't like something that I do (why doesn't he know I'm ALWAYS right?!), I wouldn't actually want to hang anything in the house that he hated, and I know the feeling is mutual. What we're slowly building through our art purchases, is not only a collection, but a tale of our lives together, to hand down to our children one day. For us, what we hang on our walls is pretty important, and we'd rather have a bare wall than a wall with a meaningless mass produced piece of 'art' on it that we don't love.

Although our art purchases are a joint decision, they're nearly always initiated by one or the other of us, and discussed (or debated, but if this is the case it doesn't usually end in a purchase), before going ahead. At the moment we both have a piece we'd love to buy, so eventually if/when we have the funds, I don't know who will get to go first! We might have to fight it out with a game of Paper, Scissors, Rock to settle it. You know, as you do with all important decisions in life.

There are many different ways to buy art, here are a few that have worked for us in the past...

1. If you like it, keep up to date with the who's who of street art. Years ago (and I mean like over twelve years ago), Ed and I went along to a guerrilla gallery in Dalston just down the road from where we live in North London, to see some work by an 'upcoming' street artist called Banksy. Ring any bells? That night, we were too disappointed that we'd missed out on the free drinks to buy any of the original canvases on sale for £20 among the neon pink spray-painted livestock roaming the incredibly loud and crowded warehouse. Had we done the clever thing, and snapped a few up, we'd probably be looking at buying a small flat with the profits. Damn it. Santa's Ghetto also used to be a great way of bagging a limited edition Banksy print for £100, but sadly it I think it stopped a few years back. So pay attention peeps! Keep your ears to the ground so you don't miss out!

2. Buy online. I'm not suggesting making a five grand purchase online by any means, but if you're comfortable with buying lower priced things online, then there are endless options. I'm not going to compile a list, but just a few suggestions that spring to mind are Rock Archive (for timeless photographs of your favourite bands), Pictures on Walls (Street Art), Nelly Duff (Street Art and a bricks and mortar gallery in East London) and Art Space (everything from original abstract paintings to limited edition photographic prints, and everything inbetween). For vintage paintings Ebay is always worth a trawl if you have the time and patience, and Etsy is worth a look too for up and coming artists.
Stephanie Vovas - Doira Baird

3. Get friendly with the owner of a gallery you like and get on their mailing list. You'll get invited to upcoming exhibitions and private views - a great way to discover artists you may not already know about. Remember, they don't know if you do or don't happen to have ten grand burning a hole in your pocket. If you do want to make a purchase, as long as you're polite and respectful, it's doesn't hurt to ask for a better price. Or perhaps you have a friend that wants to buy something from the same gallery - if you're looking at buying more than one piece, you're in a much better position to negotiate. The Affordable Art Fair (in London in March and June) and the London Art Fair (which is coming up on the 20th of January) are good places to discover galleries you might not otherwise stumble upon, and this is how we ended up purchasing our first piece of 'proper' art.

4. Go Direct. This isn't always an option obviously, but keep in mind that galleries take a 50% cut of anything they're selling on behalf of an artist. Could you contact an artist direct and see if you can strike a deal? Or if they have any pieces lying around that they might want to shift? I've successfully done this before. But remember, they're not obliged to reply, so again, do be polite, and don't be pushy. Good motto for life really, right?
Henry Leutwyler - White Swarovski Crystal Glove (Michael Jackson)

5. Go to an auction. This is my favourite tip, and honestly if you have any interest in art, I think this should be on everyone's bucket list even if you have absolutely no intention of buying. I promise, it's not as intimidating as you might think. I went to an auction at Bonhams here in London about eight years ago on my own and bought a 'shop-soiled' (damaged!) print. Obviously any damage to a piece of art will adversely affect it's value, but it also bought it down to a price we could afford, and it will still hold a certain value in line with what I paid. You wouldn't notice the damage on our piece unless you were looking for it. So if you're considering a shop-soiled piece because you love it, don't let that put you off.
Chris Levine - Lightness of Being

6. Limited edition prints are a brilliant way of getting hold of a piece of art that you love, but can't afford, or it might be that it's just not available. This is a really great way of owning something that is still an official piece. I have recently bought a limited edition, signed and numbered print from one my all time favourite artist's Stella Vine. I could never have afforded the original even if it was available (it's not), so I was so happy to snap a print up.

So what are we lusting after right now? Well, all of the pieces in this post, which sadly we don't own.

From top:

I adore these images of the queen of fashion Kate Moss (She's Light) by Chris Levine.

I'm also obsessed with this 70's style photographic print by Stephanie Vovas of Doira Baird. This would look so amazing in our bedroom!

Ed is after this print of Michael Jackson's iconic white crystal glove by Henry Leutwyler.

We both love Chris Levine's 'Lightness of Being' images of the Queen of, er, the United Kingdom too.

My number one art fantasy though is to have Stella Vine paint a portrait of our family. One day, I'm going to make that happen. I obviously can't show you that one because it doesn't exist, except in my head, so you'll just have to trust me that it's awesome.

Oh, and one last thing, which I really need to put into practice and not just preach it, which is to MIX IT UP. We all have our specific tastes, but too much of the same thing is a little boring and themey (that’s totally a word, right?). I’m aware that our collection could do with a few abstract pieces to balance it out and keep it interesting.

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