Mad About . . .

A Few of My Favourite Things: 5 Blogs 5 Interior Design Websites and a Book

19th May 2020

Well we’ve reached the stage of lockdown where it’s time for me to share some of the places that I go when I want to learn something, be entertained, have something to read. I am, of course, hugely appreciative that so many of you choose to come here and I hope you will continue to to do. But I thought today I would show you some of the blogs and websites that I regularly turn to for inspiration. It’s not an exhaustive list. Of course there are people I have forgotten. I may do this again in a week when I’ve woken up in a cold sweat panicking that I’ve missed out someone crucial (this is entirely possible – in the deadline panic surrounding the current book I may have, ahem, forgotten to add a dedication which can only be rectified by the second printing so if you could all hurry up and buy it so we can get to that stage quickly I (and my marriage) would be enormously grateful.

So in the knowledge that I am currently only capable of using the front part of my brain and that, being left out possibly means I love you most, here are some of the places that first sprang to mind when I thought about doing this post. And now that I’ve covered all bases by offending everyone….

5 BLOGS

farrow and ball treron as seen in the bathroom of Melanie Lissack

farrow and ball treron as seen in the bathroom of Melanie Lissack

Melanie Lissack Interiors is consistently one of the best blogs out there. She posts consistently often, and consistently good, posts full of clever decorating ideas with lots of helpful information on how to do it yourself. Pieces include painting sash windows, the best kitchen worktop and recently (on instagram she probably hasn’t had time to write it up yet as she is home schooling her son as well as everything else) she re-upholstered her bed. Her bathroom, painted in Farrow & Ball Treron is one of my favourites.

pink togo sofa at the home of Lisa Dawson

pink togo sofa at the home of Lisa Dawson

Lisa Dawson started out on instagram documenting her house and came to blogging afterwards as a place to store everything she was doing as it all tends to get lost on instagram. She’s handy with a paint brush – although, like me, she prefers to hire someone on the end of it, she is constantly redecorating and she’s unbeatable at finding at a second hand charity shop bargain. Her recent post on 20 Reasons to be Cheerful was, indeed, mood boosting, but check also posts on finding your decorating mojo and creating an outdoor cinema in your garden. And that pink corduroy Togo….

emma jane palin scallop and stripe wall

emma jane palin scallop and stripe wall

Emma Jane Palin lives in a rented house in Margate and has lots of ideas on decorating adding colour and personality. She won’t mind if I say her award-wining blog ( I was on the judging panel I should add) is both youthful and useful and I always admire her clever ways with time lapse and stop motion for her posts. Painting the scallops and stripes on her bedroom wall was a particular favourite but she has a mean eye for a trend as well.

my tiny estate charts the renovation of a Georgian house and its estate

my tiny estate charts the renovation of a Georgian house and its estate

These days so many renovations are carried out on instagram, and are no less interesting for that, but I love to be able to read all about it and, more importantly, track it back and search for particular helpful things and Dean and Borja of My Tiny Estate are managing to blog and instagram the progress of their renovation of a Georgian house, the caretaker’s cottage (pictured above) and the surrounding 2.5 acres. They are doing it all themselves so for now there is more on the ‘gram than the blog but it’s definitely worth following to see it unfold in what will undoubtedly be its full glory.

Kate Watson-Smyth features this bespoke upholstered headboard by bianca hall. #katewatsonsmyth #madaboutthehouse #headboard

upholstered headboard by bianca hall

Now it has to be said that Bianca, of French for Pineapple doesn’t post that often (the expression hen and teeth comes to mind) but when she does it’s good. Two of her stand out posts include tutorials on how to create this upholstered headboard and how to hack an Ikea sideboard to such a degree that a visiting magazine editor asked if it was a Jonathan Adler Piece. See – rare but worth it. The picture of that, by the way, is the featured image of the post so if you return to the homepage you will see it.

5 INTERIOR DESIGNER WEBSITES

Now of course there are the big guns; the Beata Heumans and the Athena Calderones and the Rita Konigs, but this is for a band of UK designers that you might not know and, again who I love. They all share a wealth of knowledge and expertise and, what’s more their ideas seem achievable to those of us who don’t live in Brooklyn Brownstones or Chelsea Townhouses.

bathroom by emilie fournet interiors

bathroom by emilie fournet interiors

Where do I even start with  Emilie Fournet Interiors. She’s brilliant with colour but also has such great ideas. If you “do” instagram that’s often the quickest way to see ideas as with all interior designers it takes time to professionally shoot projects and upload them to a site and, of course, that just can’t happen at the moment. If not, and if she’s new to you then you will enjoy discovering her completed projects on her site. I have included two bathrooms here so you can see one monochrome and one bright and colourful. 

pink tiled and terrazzo bathroom by emilie fournet interiors

pink tiled and terrazzo bathroom by emilie fournet interiors

I have featured both Emilie and my next designer Em Gurner several times on here before. I first came across Em in 2014 when she set up a shop with an interiors business Folds Inside on the side. The latter has now overtaken the former and she is now creating beautiful spaces both commercial and residential. The copper covered cupboards in her own kitchen are one of my favourite things but for a burst of colour check out her Victorian Home project.

interior design by Em Gurner of Folds Inside

interior design by Em Gurner of Folds Inside

Interior designer Rebecca Wakefield reckons she has designed 100 kitchens so if you want some ideas… Renowned for her calm and muted colour palette, her Studio Fortnum site showcases calm colours and clever cabinetry. I met her an at awards show (she should have won, I wasn’t judging) it didn’t seem polite to ask if she would come and cast her eye over my kitchen. But I still might…

Kate Watson-Smyth looks at ways of adding pops of colours to room. The red velvet bench cushion in this kitchen nook isn’t a change of colour but more an intense version of what is already there like the plaster coloured wall and dark wood tones,and it really makes the space pop. #kitchen #madaboutthehouse

design by baylion house and styled by rebecca wakefield, shot by @annastathakiphoto. Farrow & Ball setting plaster on the walls.

Sarah Brown has recently done up her own home and I love everything about it as regular readers may have spotted. If you ever wondered about a pink kitchen and panicked that you couldn’t make it work then have a look at hers. After many years working in graphic design and publishing, Sarah enrolled on an interior design course at KLC (where she gained a distinction) and went on to work with Nicola Harding and Rita Konig (other firm favourites of mine) before setting up her own studio. This kitchen, with that punch of burgundy wall is just wonderful.

Pink kitchen by Sarah Brown Interiors

Pink kitchen by Sarah Brown Interiors

But, as ever it’s not all big houses and large projects and Andrew Jonathan Design (another recent KLC graduate) launched his studio less than two years ago. He lives in a small flat in North London and is full of clever ideas. Including this green ceiling with the white stripe which I featured a few weeks ago. As you will see from his site there’s lots to come as soon as lockdown ends and the photographers can get back out to work. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

green ceiling in hall buy andrew jonathan designs

green ceiling in hall buy andrew jonathan designs

AND A BOOK

image via laetitia maklouf, author of the five minute garden

image via laetitia maklouf, author of the five minute garden

As Sophie and I tend to talk about new interiors books on the podcast and then I review them here I wanted to include a different book today and that is by Laetitia Maklouf, whose book The Five Minute Garden is perfect for this time of year. I met Laetitia at press launch when she promptly spilled her drink all over me as we sat down to watch a presentation and I have loved her ever since. We also share a publication day.  As you know I don’t normally cover gardens on here – mostly because I know nothing about them but as Laetitia’s book promises you need only five minutes a day. And this woman has three children and is therefore homeschooling and doing all the other things women do and still finding that five minutes a day. I heartily recommend this book or, at the very least her weekly newsletter.

 

 

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  • Drake Frost 15th June 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing these useful blogs with us, they have a really big contribution if you listen to what they say about design and interior. But all this needs to be compared and analyzed like another thing, to do as you like. I am glad to see that you have your own style in this matter and you really strive to diversify your styles in this regard. Thank you have a nice day!

  • yoga products 20th May 2020 at 6:52 am

    thanks for sharing

  • Melanie lissack 19th May 2020 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you so much for including me Kate! I’m so honoured that you included me in this fab line up!

  • Emma Jane Palin 19th May 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks so much for the feature Kate – all my favourite blogs too!

  • Ellen Reed 19th May 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you. It seems that we all need new resources for keeping our minds stimulated.

  • Trisha 19th May 2020 at 9:37 am

    Brilliant! But I’m currently working my way through Melanie Lissack’s blog, the first of these, so I fear today may in some ways be a write-off (apart from lots of inspiration of course).

    • Melanie lissack 19th May 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Thank you Trish! I hope you enjoy!

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