Friday, September 30

Fantasy House Friday [Julian Chichester]

The Julian Chichester stand at Decorex was one of my favorites. Full of eye-candy from lamps to sofas, to beautiful tables and cabinets - so much to love.

But the thing that really caught my eye was this Abbado cabinet (okay, and a lamp that I'll show you another time), the door panels are adorned with raised concentric circles of aged brass that are just gorgeous. And with plenty of storage space within, it's a win-win, falling in the very best category of super beautiful AND super practical.

This will go in the living room of the Fantasy House I think...

Image: Julian Chichester


Wednesday, September 28

Room Repurpose: Studio to Family TV Room!

I'm SO excited to share these plans with you today, as they've been in the pipeline for a few months now.

Recently I wrote a post about my plans to repurpose, and breathe some life back into the top floor of our house, starting with moving my studio into what was a guest room. You can read all about that here.

My chaotic studio is no longer - I've had a HUGE clear-out, and my studio has now been relocated, with the overspill currently being housed on the landing. My studio is now an organised uncluttered calm space and I absolutely love it!

The big room that was my studio, is going to be a second living room where we can relax and watch films on the weekends, the kids can escape to watch their own movies, and hang out with their friends, and it will also double as a guest room when needed. I'm hoping that Baxter will want to make it a place to chill out after school and do some drawing whilst I try to sneak a bit more work in in my studio next door. It's a beautiful big(ish), light room, and we've never really used it well.

It makes so much more sense to use the space this way, as we just don't need a dedicated guest room 24/7. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use the rooms this way before, but I'm so pleased it has now - we'll finally be using the whole house properly! It'll be so lovely, and will also make the perfect peaceful reading spot. I can't wait to get it finished.

I've never shared my old studio on the blog before, because it was always such an extreme mess - definitely not a pretty room. Not only was it a mess, but it had become a major dumping ground, and I was embarrassed it had gotten so out of control. But I have managed to drag myself back from the edge of no return, and I am SO pleased. So yes, go ahead and tut, gasp and judge me, for I deserve it.

I had actually already begun the clearing out process when these photos were taken. Prior to that, you could literally not get into the studio at all. Note the absence of a computer on the desk - I couldn't stand to be in there, so used to work from the dining room table instead!

Here's the moodboard to give you an idea of what I'm hoping to achieve; a serene, laid-back, multi-purpose room...

I had a piece of blue House of Hackney Palmeral velvet that I'd forgotten about, that I rediscovered when clearing the studio, and with it's beautiful blues it became the inspiration for the colour scheme. I wanted the room to be relaxing during the day, and cosy and enveloping at night. But I didn't want to use a navy blue, because I've used that before elsewhere in the house (it's against my rules to use the same colour twice!), and it can feel a bit cold, so I decided to look at teals instead.

After several tester pots, I knew I'd found 'The One' when I put Sea Urchin 2 on the wall. With a big dose of yellow, it's anything but cold, and it's just the right side of murky and muted to keep it looking sophisticated rather than primary, in-your-face-bright.

It perfectly fits the bill of feeling fresh during the day, and cosy at night, and importantly works beautifully with my inspiration fabric.

With the addition of a brand new big modular sofa that fits perfectly in one end of the room and will double as a guest bed, some brass accessories and a couple of plants, this room is set to become my new favourite spot in the house. I'm fickle like that.

This room will be finished in a couple of weeks time, and of course I'll share the results with you right here, so stay tuned!

This post is in collaboration with Dulux.


Monday, September 26

Fab Five - Painterly Velvet Cushions

I have to admit that London Design Festival is equal parts incredibly inspiring and utterly exhausting.

I didn't have nearly enough time (or energy!) to get to all the events I'd like to have, and even the shows I did get to, I was extremely limited time-wise, so didn't get to explore them as thoroughly as I wanted to.

My week was all about sped-up scans of product filled areas, rather than a mooch around. However, in a funny way, my time constraints forced me to focus only on the things that really stood out for me, so maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.

Over the coming weeks I'll put together my highlights package of the events and shows I visited, but today, as a nod to one of the really obvious trends that jumped out and that I really love, I'm sharing my top five painterly abstract velvet cushions!

Now I should point out that this trend was not restricted to velvet or cushions, there were so many beautiful rugs, fabrics and upholstered furniture, that also showcased beautiful painterly abstract prints.

But with winter fast approaching, cushions are a super easy was to update or even completely transform a room, adding texture, colour and warmth. What's not to like about that?

Some of these were spotted during LDF, and others not, but I love every single one of them...

French For Pineapple Blog - Fab Five Painterly Abstract Velvet Cushions

1. Hatti Pattisson - Into The Blue
2. Susi Bellamy - Paesaggio Scarlatto 
3. House Of Fraser - Linea Abstract
4. Boeme Design - Ocampo Basil
5. Dana Finnigan - Lente


Friday, September 23

Fantasy House Friday [The Rug Company]

When I saw this rug, it made me go weak at the knees. I know. Just like the boy (or girl) you had a massive crush on at high school, only now that I'm happily married with two children, it's rugs and other beautiful homewares, that have this effect on me.

As sad as I am that it's well and truly out of my budget in this lifetime, it's still made me happy to to have come across it, and at least I can pop it in the Fantasy House, right? Come on, humour me here...

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - The Rug Company
Image: The Rug Company

Designed by the perpetually amazing Vivienne Westwood, the Thistle rug is a nod to her affinity with Scotland, featuring an abstract representation of the milk thistle.

Hand knotted from Tibetan wool and silk (obvs!), it's available in this to-die-for pale rose and gold, or dove grey and pewter. I'd happily accept either.

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - The Rug Company
Image: The Rug Company

It's been a while since I lost myself in The Rug Company website, so excuse me while I go and do just that, and admire not only the stunning rugs, but the always fabulous styling.


Wednesday, September 21

Bringing The Outdoors In with Network VEKA

I think Mother Nature is a little confused right now; she's torn between Summer and Autumn, and while I'm cheering for an ongoing Indian Summer, I know that the arrival of Autumn proper, is imminent. In fact, judging by the chill in the air last night, it might just be here already.

I don't like to give in to the seasons too much. In fact, while I'm all for making things nice and cosy in my home for the winter months, I also like to bring the outdoors in as much as possible, as it reminds me of warmer days, and helps to make up for the lack of time spent outdoors.

So I'm going to share my top tips for doing just that here today. Ready? Good...

A bit of a no-brainer, but nothing, nothing, I tell you, will help to bring the outdoors in more than indoor plants. But I'm not talking about that sad, half-dead succulent on your window sill, I'm talking about big, lush, delicious greenery that won't go unnoticed. Statement plants. And the bigger, the better.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images: Grey Crawford for Elle Decor / Nuevo Estilo

Some great choices for larger indoor plants are Fiddle Leaf Figs (obvs!), Rubber Plants, Kentia and Parlour Palms. However, buying really large plants can be prohibitively expensive, so you can always start with a smaller specimen with the intention of raising it into a sizeable beast!

You can also achieve the same feel by curating a cluster of smaller plants, displayed at different heights, and having your own indoor jungle. Smaller options that are super low maintenance include Snake Plants, Ponytail Palms, Cheese and ZZ plants. Honestly, if I can keep these alive, then so can you.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images: EQ3 / vtwonen

Try thinking a little bit outside the box when choosing plant containers. Use baskets in all shapes and sizes, and an oversized urn looks amazing with a big Boston Fern spilling over the sides. Also consider hanging plant holders to mix things up a bit, and to create more height - something I definitely need more of in my house.

Have a look at Network VEKA's 'Bringing The Outside In' Pinterest board for some more inspiration.

Using materials such as rattan, bamboo and even concrete, that would traditionally be thought of as outdoor materials, also helps to bring the outdoors in.

Wicker furniture has made a massive comeback over the last few years, and it's still going strong. New or vintage, it has an air of old-school charm, and in the summer months you can take it outside too.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Ashley Batz for Oh Happy Day
Whether it's over the top tropical, or vintage toile, let the power of print help you bring the outdoors in. There are endless choices of botanical prints to choose from; you can really go for it and wallpaper an entire room and even use the same print on your sofa. Demonstrated here so perfectly by the masters of over the top botanical prints, House of Hackney, it's a look I love, but it's not for the faint hearted!

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: House of Hackney
Obvioulsy a more subtle option, is to go for a botanical print on wallpaper or upholstery only, or the safest option, is saving prints for accessories alone, which is not only a much smaller investment, but easily changed if you fancy doing so with the seasons.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Kimberly Duran / SwoonWorthy

For some more Winter trend inspiration, have a look at Network VEKA's Interior Trends Pinterest board.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Sandberg

Here are some of my favourite botanical prints that are available as fabric, and could be used for curtains, blinds, lampshades, or cushions.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Images L-R: Richloom 'Balmoral' / Sanderson 'Rainforest' / House Of Hackney 'Pampas'

Botanical prints can also work wonderfully on shower curtains, towels, tea towels and even oven gloves as subtle nods to the outdoors-in trend.

Bringing The Outdoors In - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: French For Pineapple

Network VEKA not only install a wide range of fabulous, energy efficient windows, doors and conservatories, but also give access to a Network of more than 100 independent, expert installers in the UK.

Members undergo strict vetting, and agree to continuous audits and training, before being allowed to join the Network, so homeowners can renovate their property with complete peace of mind. With a white glove service of care, knowledge and attention to detail, it’s this element that creates a point of difference for Network VEKA

Have a look at the new Network VEKA lookbook for further inspiration and tips, with more to be found on their Pinterest boards too.

This post is in collaboration with Network VEKA.


Monday, September 19

Fab Five - Winter Throws

It's time to batten down the hatches people - there's a decidedly Autumnal chill in the air. Weird, considering that last week I was absolutely melting in the extreme London heat, and Baxter was shrieking with delight as I sprayed him with the hose in the garden!

I have to admit I'm not a fan of winter, but I do love wintry homewares. So, as I have no choice in the matter, I thought I'd find the loveliest winter throws to share with you here today. Throws are key to making your home look and feel welcoming and cosy during the colder months. It's all about layering and texture, and throws are the easiest way to add those elements. Besides, each one of these will definitely make it easier to cope with the cold evenings, when the heating doesn't quite cut it.

I may have just ordered one of these throws for myself. Well it's not really for me, though is it? It's for the house, of course

Fab Five Winter Throws - French For Pineapple Blog


P.S An enormous thank-you to everyone who voted for me in the Amara Interior Blog Awards! I've made it to the shortlist of the Best Design Inspiration category - only five blogs were shortlisted from over forty nominees, and I will now get to go to the ball! I'm overwhelmed and just a little bit proud. Okay, a lot. 

Friday, September 16

Fantasy House Friday [Jonathan Adler]

I actually can't believe that there isn't a bar cart in the Fantasy House yet. What an oversight! I should probably be sacked. Okay, I forgive me. Phew.

There are bar carts, and then there are BAR CARTS. And this, ladies and gentlemen (well, a couple of you at least, I'm led to believe), is a BAR CART!

Made from two of my most favourite materials - brushed brass and lucite (with tempered glass shelves), it is also available in smoked lucite and nickel, which is extremely lust-worthy too. And it requires no further explanation.

Please allow me to introduce you to Jacques...

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


Wednesday, September 14

Life After Grey

I'm not one for rules, especially when it comes to colour, but I do get swept up in colour trends with the best of them. However, I also start to rebel when I've seen too much of something. Not mentioning any names, DARK GREY.

It's not that I don't like grey anymore, in fact some of my all time favourite rooms are grey, but the grey trend has had a pretty overwhelming effect on the interiors world, and it's become kind of oversaturated and, dare I say, predictable. It's as if the whole world has forgotten that it's okay to use other colours - grey is not the only option!

From Camel to Tan, to Coffee and Chocolate, I am LOVING brown in all it's many guises right now. I just can't get enough, and I can't wait to get some more onto my own walls (you can see my caramel coloured studio here). These colours give so much more life and warmth to a room. Yes, they're a little bit trickier to nail, but remember - it's only paint! Don't be afraid.

I've created a series of four colour palettes that not only work beautifully individually, but are also completely interchangeable - all the colours work together. Use the primary colours for walls, the secondary colours for large accents like trims (who said they should be white?!) or furniture, and the accent colours for smaller furniture, and accessories like rugs, lampshades, window dressings, cushions and throws.

Here's a guide to give you some suggestions. Swap them around, and have a play - it should be fun! I've given you Dulux colour references for all colours below.

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Chocolate Palette

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Coffee Palette
French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Tan Palette

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Camel Palette
Stick to the Camel palette for a really refined grown-up look, or add some of the other accent colours to liven things up a bit. Use varying tones of the accent colours throughout the room to bring everything together, or just add one big pop of colour in the form of a rug or twin lampshades to really make a statement.

The primary and secondary colours can be switched around (I know you might not be ready to fully embrace browns just yet!), and the accent groups can be swapped into different palettes too.

If you're not ready to completely move on from grey walls just yet, consider adding a tan vintage chair or sofa to the room if you're in the market. The great thing is that greys and browns sit beautifully together, so it's really easy to mix it up!

And nothing brings a room to life more than some live plants and metallic accents. And when I say metallic, I really mean brass, because that's my favourite.

Remember, there are no rules! Go forth and have fun...

This post is in collaboration with Dulux.


Monday, September 12

Fab Five - Beautiful Brass Door Knockers

Our front door needs some love. I've been over the bright yellow for a while now, and the door furniture needs updating. It's 'fine', but you know, sometimes 'fine' just doesn't cut it. It's not just the front door that needs some love, to be honest the whole front of the house does, but a nice front door will go a long way to distracting people from actually looking at the rest of it, right?

So I've been checking out pretty door knockers, and narrowed it down to my favourite five. I haven't decided what the new door colour will be yet, but I have a few ideas. Of course. However, there's no contest for what the finish of the new door furniture will be. Brass all the way...


Friday, September 9

Fantasy House Friday! [Boca Do Lobo]

There isn't nearly enough statement lighting in the Fantasy House yet, so I'm starting to remedy that today with this stunning Newton chandelier by Boca Do Lobo.

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Boca Do Lobo
Image: Boca Do Lobo

Statement yes, but weirdly not showy. At least not like a sparkling crystal chandelier, this is more understated, but undeniably special.

At 1.5metres wide, and delicate yet bold, it'd be hard not to notice it, but it's textured finish and mid-century style, give it a vintage air that would work equally well in a traditional or contemporary interior.

It comes in several finishes including this beautiful gold plated aluminium, which is my first choice of course.

Yes, I'll have it in the dining room of the Fantasy House I think...

French For Pineapple Blog - Fantasy House Friday - Boca Do Lobo
Image: Boca Do Lobo
Boca Do Lobo are exhibiting at Decorex here in London on the 18th-21st of September. I'll be making a beeline for their stand (H47 incase you're wondering), so I can admire their products in the flesh.


Wednesday, September 7

Bògòlanfini [a.k.a Mud Cloth]

Have you noticed mud cloth (translated from the native Bògòlanfini or Bogolan) popping up everywhere lately? I have, and I loooove it!

I did a bit of research into it when I was looking at fabric to cover the desk chair for my studio, but in the end I did a mud cloth inspired DIY, as I didn't want to buy a big piece only to cut it up - it seemed such a waste when it was only for one chair. That, and I found some tutorials that intrigued me to give it a go, especially as I had nearly everything I needed already.

French For Pineapple Blog - Mudcloth
My DIY mud cloth inspired version!

But I do love the real thing, and I think a large piece would make a gorgeous wall-hanging. I came across some fab cushions along the way too, so I thought I'd share those resources here today, incase you're thinking of adding a touch of tribal chic to your home. The neutral prints are really easy to incorporate into an existing scheme.

French For Pineapple Blog - Mudcloth
Images: Hide & Seek
The African Fabric Shop have an ever-changing selection of mud cloth (the pieces tend to be around 1m x 1.6m) for £59. Really not a bad price at all considering the work that goes into making this beautiful fabric.

Mud cloth originates from Mali where it is exported all around the world for clothing and interiors. The finished pieces are made up of smaller thin strips of handwoven cotton that are stitched together before having the design hand painted on using natural dyes and mud that's been fermented for up to a year, before being dried in the sun and rinsed away. The process is painstakingly repeated to achieve the deep dark browns and blacks.

At the time of writing several beautiful pieces were available including the monochrome designs I prefer...

French For PInepple Blog - Mudcloth
Images: The African Fabric Shop
Make sure you also check out the equally beautiful Kuba cloth from The Congo, which is a combination of embroidery and flat weave raffia. They have pieces that are the perfect size to make into cushions for around £50.00. Aren't they beautiful?

French For PInepple Blog - Mudcloth
Images: The African Fabric Shop

And the Korhongo cloth is obviously perfect for wall-hangings too. A brilliant way to add large scale art to the wall for a fraction of the cost of a large bespoke framed print. Simply glue a wooden batten to the top back, and attach to the wall using suitable wall fixings.

French For PInepple Blog - Mudcloth

And there are plenty of mud cloth cushions to be found too. These ones from Nomad Design and Hide & Seek really caught my eye. Cushions are always such an easy way to freshen up a room, and of course with these, give a nod to the tribal trend too.

French For Pineapple Blog - Mudcloth
Images: (Left) Hide & Seek (Right) Nomad Design


Monday, September 5

Fab Five - Pretty Kitchen Accessories

Prettying up my kitchen has been on my mind lately, and now that summer is officially over, I'm thinking about making the house cosy and inviting for the coming months. Of course, the coming months will involve lots of time in the kitchen, and a few new things will go a long way to making it feel fresh and welcoming without spending a bucket-load.

Here's what's on my list...

Fab Five - Pretty Kitchen Accessories - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Copper coated measuring cups - Sainsbury's
2. Himalayan Salt Grater & Board - Prep at Trouva
3. Marble Condiment Set With Spoons - Oliver Bonas
4. Belmont Glass Jar - Neptune
5. Gold Kitchen Paper Holder With Leather String - Holly's House

It looks like I'll be needing to do a much bigger post on kitchen accessories, because there are so many gorgeous things around! So consider this a taster - there will be more soon...

Friday, September 2

Fantasy House Friday! [Amara Collection]

Oh yes, it's that time of week again where I add another thing to my Fantasy house. I'm pretty sure my Fantasy House would be located in Formentera where I just happen to be holidaying right now. Only we're not in my Fantasy House, because obviously it doesn't exist. Yet. Are you still with me?

Good. Let's see what today's addition to the house is...

I went to check out the Amara Collection one sunny morning in July, and I was seriously impressed. It's an extensive range that covers pretty much everything interior accessories related, from cushions, to rugs, throws to bed linen and towels, lamps and flatware. There was a lot to see, and a lot to love!

Of course there were some things that really stood out for me, and this Parnell Stool was definitely one of them. I adore lucite furniture (yes, I like calling it lucite because it makes me sound cool and knowledgeable, but you might want to call it acrylic or perspex). We don't see enough of it (no pun intended), and it's great for so many reasons - not least it's lightness in a room. It falls into the über hip category for me, because it manages to be glamourous without showing off. Just like the really pretty, cool girl at school that you always remember.

I'd like a pair of these please. So handy in every single room, and that quilted leather is to die for. It's available in this classic black from the 19th of September. I'd love to see it in a caramel leather too. Swoon.

Fantasy House Friday - Amara Parnell Lucite Stool
Image: Amara

The Amara Collection launches on the 19th of September, and if you'd like to make sure you're among the first to see the full collection, you can sign up here.

© Bianca Hall. All rights reserved.