Wednesday, August 31

Urban Safari Studio - The Reveal!

Well, this is exciting! Room reveals are always my most popular posts, and oh how I wish I could do them more often, because I do love them so.

As you may know, I've been working away turning what was our old guest room into a calm, cosy, welcoming and organised, studio space. Well, that was the dream, but I'll let you be the final judges.

The room got a lick of paint using Summer Pecan 3 - a lovely warm caramel colour that I absolutely adore. The walls get a hard time in our house - kids, deliveries coming and going all the time, so an extra durable paint is a must. I chose to use Dulux Endurance+ which is twenty times tougher than the standard matt finish.

I moved my juju hat into the room to give it a focal point and a bit of drama, which definitely does the trick (I'll be putting some art up in it's place in the dining room). I found a vintage smoked glass table with brass coloured metal base on ebay for a steal, which has replaced my white Ikea desk and it makes such a difference. The glass is reflective so helps to bounce light around and it doesn't feel heavy in the room even though it's substantially larger than my old desk and in a smaller room. I'm super pleased with it! Having a table that is not meant as a desk, rather than a traditional desk, also makes the room feel less formal, and the smoked glass and brass lend a touch of glamour. The extra depth means I don't miss the drawer space, and will force me to keep it tidy!

After maybe eight years of my hilarious husband offering to dispose of my beaten up old chippendale chair frame (found in a furniture shop that was closing for £10!), I finally got around to putting a seat base in it, and made some DIY mudcloth using a simplified resist dying technique, which I've used to upholster the base. It's super satisfying that it's being used after all this time, and I love it. I decided to work with the textured coating on the frame that I was originally going to remove, and have left it as is. And my husband has stopped trying to throw it away. Result!

 My lovely brown and white greek key rug keeps it cosy, and I've curated a mini jungle on top of my metal ikea cabinet that houses a gazillion paint samples, art supplies and more. I also moved the vintage french coat hooks that were already in this room to another wall to hang a few plants from. I bought the cute basket back from our holiday in Formentera last year, with the intention of putting a plant in it, which I finally have done, and I made the string plant hanger using a brass o-ring I already had, with a little basket from Ikea housing a string of pearls plant. It's so cute and it literally took me less than ten minutes.

I borrowed a few things from around the house, picked up a few African inspired pieces from ebay, and this lovely wooden based cloche from Ikea.

I recently changed the door handles to these beautiful brass ones, which look so good against the wall colour and the colour on the other side of the door too.

I decided to add not only my new desk lamp, but another table lamp to the mix, because I really wanted to enhance the comfortable inviting atmosphere as much as possible. I'll spend a lot of time in here so I want to love being in the room.

I can live with the practical areas of the studio happily, now that I have it organised and rest of the room looking pretty!

The only thing that's missing is some music - something we've been meaning to sort out for years in the house in general. And I haven't decided if I'm going to worry about a window covering in here. I'd originally planned to have a roman blind, but as privacy and glare are not issues, I've decided to wait until winter to see if I want to add one or not. I have a pretty view of the garden (and neighbours gardens!) and an old school building that is now apartments, so I don't feel the need to block it out. Check out this blue sky - if only it looked like that every day too!

I am so thrilled with the final room - it's the first time in years that I've had an organised, calm work space, the first time ever, that I've had a beautiful workspace, and it makes me incredibly happy. Hope you like it too!

This is a sponsored post is in collaboration with Dulux.

Monday, August 29

Fab Five - Bath Towels

Continuing on with my pledge to keep my feet on the ground(ish!) for at least a couple weeks of Fab Fives, today we're talking bath towels which firmly fall into the practical category, but that doesn't need they have to boring.

Reasonably priced, good quality bath towels are thankfully easy to find these days, but they often tend to be a bit on the safe side of the colour spectrum, and quite plain. Not that there's anything wrong with plain towels - there's nothing quite like a super-plush bright white hotel towel, is there? But if you're buying them for your home, why not have a bit more fun with them? Besides, whites don't always stay so white in a domestic situation, or get laundered every day for that matter.

I love buying new towels, but it doesn't happen very often, and researching this post has got me all worked up into a pretty towel frenzy. You might know I'm not a fan of our main bathroom, and a pretty towel goes a long way to distract one from a less than perfect bathroom. So I kind of 'need' new towels for that reason, because it doesn't look like that bathroom is getting ripped out any time soon. And if you luckily already have a perfect bathroom, well, then you still need pretty towels to complete it.

Right this way...

1. Shoreditch by Christy - House of Fraser
2. Heritage Aira - Amara Collection (available late September)
3. Fable Silver Vienne - Debenhams
4. Palmeral - House of Hackney
5. Coniston Turquoise - Designers Guild

Friday, August 26

Fantasy House Friday! [seventy74]

It's fair to say that in my Fantasy House there are rather a lot of chairs. But my Fantasy House is big, so it's okay. Okay?

Good. Because today I'm adding another one. It was lust at first sight when I stumbled upon seventy74 and their stunning collection of chairs and poufs that just ooze vintage glamour, in all the right ways. They would fit right in at the Fantasy House, but it's almost impossible to pick just one.

But I must, so this is it. Please allow me to introduce the '1923' Cocoa Beach Armchair...
French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday
Image: seventy74

I mean, HELLO??!! Just look at that shape, that brass base and those vintage palm leaves. Actually, I'll need a pair in the Fantasy House come to think of it.

I must add that seventy74 don't just do stunning things to sit on. You must also check out their absolutely gorgeous cushions, art, apothecary, vintage lighting and they even stock some divine Juju Just wallhangings. O. M. G. I know where I'm heading on my next inspiration day out.


Wednesday, August 24

Majolica - Lettuce & Cabbage Ware

I've been trying to ignore the pull of Majolica, specifically Lettuce and Cabbage ware for a few years, because I have a somewhat obsessive personality (but you've probably already figured that out if you're a regular reader!), and I'll only become obsessed with collecting it.

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Images: OKA
Old and new, I love it all. It's the fact that is practical, beautiful and FUN! It totally draws me in, and yes, I have failed. When my father-in-law asked me what I wanted for my birthday back in July, I immediately sent him a link to this fabulous Cabbage Jug from OKA, which I am now in possession of (I chose the white one), and I can feel a collection starting. Uh-oh. They also have some gorgeous Cabbage Plates that are really reasonably priced.

From Victorian Stoke-on-Trent, to 20th century Portugal via 1960's Palm Beach, it would seem that at some point, everyone was producing a version of lettuce or cabbage ware. It's come full circle now, with Bordallo Pinheiro still producing pieces some hundred years later, and Tory Burch collaborating with Dodi Thayer to release a stunning collection including cups and saucers and a tureen, which was quite the status symbol if you were hanging out in Palm Beach circa 1960.

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Image: Tory Burch
I'm not going to go into the somewhat convoluted history here, because you know, I'm more about the pretty pictures and I'd only be regurgitating other peoples more informed articles. Here's an interesting blog to check out if you want to delve into the history and collecting of Majolica and Lettuce Ware, including what has ultimately led to the frankly divine Dodie Thayer for Tory Burch collection that I've been swooning over for a while.

The Bordallo Pinheiro collection, has a load of fun pieces too, also including tureens and serving platters. I don't even know what a tureen is, but I still want one!

Lettuce Ware - French For Pineapple Jug
Image: Bordallo Pinheiro at Liberty
For original pieces you can try ebay, but I have my heart set on some of the pieces from Tory Burch because I'm particularly fond of that shade of green, and of course I'm rather taken with the 1960's Balm Beach back story!

So what do you think? Are you a fan or avid collector, or is it just too kitsch for your liking? Me? I'm putting some pieces on my christmas list pronto.


Monday, August 22

Fab Five - Chopping Boards

I'm confused. What's the generic term for chopping / bread / cheese / serving / boards?  Is it just boards? Surely not. Whatever we call them, I don't have enough.

Lately I've been mentally filling the fictitious open shelves in my kitchen. I've talked a good fight about them, but still not actually done anything about making them real. So for now they live only in my over-active imagination.

Nice boards is something that would be on them. The open shelves that is. And this much is true: you do need different boards for different things. Yes, see above - chopping (meat/veg), bread, cheese and serving.

I definitely don't have any that just look pretty. Certainly nothing that I would serve cheese on to guests at a dinner party. I have a breadboard for um, bread. Another two smaller wooden ones that are both actually a too small to be particularly useful, and two plastic ones used for chopping non bread kind of stuff. See? Not enough.

And now I feel I've also publicly shamed myself with my lack of board prowess. My board collection is clearly seriously lacking and inadequate. And does anyone other than me actually have plastic chopping boards these days? Surely we should all be using beautiful marble boards for everything. I need to bin the plastic, don't I?

These would fix my board woes. I'll have one of each please...

French For Pineapple Blog - Fab Five Chopping Boards

1. Marble and Wood Chopping Board - Sainsbury's (available from early September)
2. Brass Inlay Marble Cheeseboard - Anthropologie
3. Nosh Large Oak Paddleboard - Prep* at Trouva
4. Terrazzo Cutting Board with Leather Strap - Amara
5. Agra Marble and Wood Chopping Board - Habitat

*Prep is my local independant cookshop and it's, FAB! Check out a selection of their stock at Trouva, or if you're in N16, make sure you pop in to the shop. 106 Stoke Newington Church Street.

Oh, and did I mention I need votes for to get the shortlist of the Interior Blog Awards? I'll love you forever...


Friday, August 19

Fantasy House Friday! [Jonathan Adler]

So, what is my fantasy house missing?

Vessels. Big, over the top, show-off vases that probably won't get used as vases because they actually look better as they are.

How I've neglected to pop a few pieces from Jonathan Adler into the fantasy house, I do not know.

We're fixing that today by adding the Luciana Vase into the mix. Isn't she a beauty?

My daughter would be appalled, and my son would ask SO many questions. Why does she have so many boops (yes, boops!) Mummy? Where's her head Mummy? Why is that her name mummy? And so on.

It'd be worth it though, because she's a keeper! I love the unglazed milky white matt porcelain. She'd look great on the fantasy dining table.

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Jonathan Adler Luciana Vase
Image: Jonathan Adler


Wednesday, August 17

Smoke and Mirrors:

How to add glamour without breaking the bank

You know I love my glam interiors, but it's not necessarily the cheapest look to achieve. There are some pretty good tips and tricks however, to elevate your space without spending an absolute fortune.

Thinking about how you can incorporate the materials that we associate with a high end look, is a great place to start.

While I'm not a fan of faux finishes generally, there is one exception, which is the porcelain tile that does a damn good job of looking like marble. Not only does it have a much lower price tag, but it also means you don't have to worry about staining, etching and maintenance like you do with the real thing. It gives a high end look, without the high end price tag. Totally fabulous for bathrooms and splashbacks. Mandarin Stone have a great range, and this Mimico Statuario is my favourite.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Images: Mandarin Stone / Mimica Statuario Tiles

There's something inherently sexy and cool about smoked glass. Did you know that you can get it cut to size really easily online? How about replacing some clear glass shelves with smoked glass, or even using it as a shower screen instead of clear glass. See? Sexy.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Alessandro Isola
Cut to size mirror is another great trick for elevating the look of a room. Again, you could consider it to replace clear glass shelves, but it also looks amazing backing shelves. Tinted mirror is also great for this - we have bronze tinted mirror back on a little kitchen shelf, it's like someone has dimmed the light on standard silver mirror! I love it. Foxed mirror is right up there too. No, it's not peanuts, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a tinted mirror cabinet would be, and the impact is big!

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Images: Terrat Elms Interior Design / Unknown

I've always wanted to mirror an entire wall in either tinted bronze, gold, or foxed mirror. Big panels from floor to ceiling look incredible, and it's something I'll consider for one wall when we finally do our bathroom. Another great trick is to mirror a section of wall framed by moulding, like this...

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Darcy Bonner And Associates
Or cladding a chimney breast or alcoves in mirror is another way of avoiding doing an entire wall - getting the glam look, but keeping the costs down.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Darcy Bonner And Associates
A marble top on a small side table is a trick I've used in our kitchen, and we also have a narrow marble ledge in our second bathroom. Bringing just a small bit in, of course won't have as big an impact as an entire kitchen island clad in marble does, but it will still lift the overall look. Don't just stick with 'safe' carrara marble either, why not try something more extreme like calacatta or salome? They're both stunning marbles that make a real impact. Or consider something like Onyx for a really unique look. Go along to your local stone yard (check to see if you need to make an appointment first) and have a look at what's on offer.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Bianca Hall / French For Pineapple
Grasscloth is another material worth considering for really elegant look, and something I think we'll start to see a lot more of in the UK. Whilst a whole room looks amazing, you can do smaller areas to bring it in without such a big outlay. Think alcoves, nooks and shelf backs. The real thing has a high price tag, but there's a big selection of faux grasscloth wallpaper that looks pretty good too. Yes, another exception to the rule! Make sure you get samples first, because some cheaper versions have too much of a sheen. These one's from Designers Guild look lovely, and they're not hideously expensive if you're just doing a small area.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Designers Guild (Gunmetal and Teal Grasscloth Wallpaper)
Brass trims or brass sheeting used as splashback or kickboards in the kitchen, or even a bath panel in the bathroom (make sure it's correctly sealed though!), is a great way to bring in the most beautiful of metallics. Again, brass backed shelves look fab, and would be much cheaper than a bespoke brass clad kitchen would be! Even changing your old handles for brass ones can make a big difference.

This kitchen that used to belong to Athena Calderone, is a perfect example of a how brass trim can transform a kitchen. There's SO much to love about this entire apartment - you actually NEED to check it out. It's one of my all time favourite homes to ogle.

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Harper's Bazaar / Christopher Sturman
Adding panelling or moulding to walls can make a room feel instantly grand. It's a great trick that we don't see enough of here - our US friends have been at it for yonks!

French For Pineapple Blog - Smoke and Mirrors: How to add glamour without breaking the bank
Image: Kelly Wearster
And last but definitely not least, is paint. Yes, paint. I know I've been banging on recently about Colour Washing and Colour Drenching, but they are both SO effective, and it's the cheapest way of all to take a room from average to fabulous.

Okay, that turned into a much more epic post than planned, but I really am passionate about these things! You can make such a difference to your home on a small budget - where there's a will there's a way, right?

Have you, or would you consider any of these tips or tricks? Do tell!


Monday, August 15

Fab Five - Cool Graphic Tea Towels

It's not always fantasy land here you know. Occasionally I pull my head out of the clouds and think about things I can actually afford, that are also useful.

Just to prove it, the next few weeks of Fab Five will be focussed on some lovely affordable pieces for the kitchen and bathroom, including some favourite bits I spied at Autumn/Winter press shows back in July.

This week it's cool graphic tea towels. You can't get much more real than that.

French For Pineapple Blog - Fab Five Cool Graphic Tea Towels

1.  Tumbling Bricks - Tom Dixon
2. Rockwell - Quirk & Rescue
3. Geometry of Pasta - Ink Works
4. The Jesus And Mary Chain -  Service Industries (limited edition of 50 - be quick if you want one!)
5. Bowie - Bold & Noble


Friday, August 12

Fantasy House Friday! [The Oscar Collective]

How is it Friday again already?! I really expected the first few weeks of the summer holidays to drag, but the first three weeks have in fact, flown by, and my kiddos have been amazing. We've been laying pretty low, and we're really looking forward to two weeks in Formentera soon.

I'm not sure if I'm looking forward the heat, the beach, the pool, to really switching off and actually (attempting) to read a book (suggestions welcome!), being 'allowed' to drink an Aperol Spritz at 11am, or eating (and drinking PiƱa Coladas obvs.) at our favourite restaurant. It quite possibly might be all of the above, plus the sunsets.

But today, as you may know, is Fantasy House Friday, so I'll cut to the chase!

Today's pick is this stunning (and huge, at 115cms wide and 88cms tall) mid-century Italian Tole Wall Sconce from The Oscar Collective who have some real gems in their online boutique. Lizzie has a great eye, and I had trouble choosing between this and a pair of Hollywood Regency table lamps, but you'll also find some fab mirrors, ceramics, furniture and art on the website too, so do go and check it out.

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Italian Tole Wall Sconce
Image: The Oscar Collective
French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Italian Tole Wall Sconce
Image: The Oscar Collective

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Italian Tole Wall Sconce
Image: The Oscar Collective

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