Have been planning to write about this for a while and just got round to finally doing it while the memory is still fresh. This March Living Etc. opened the doors of selected houses that featured in their magazines to public. Over three separate days people had a chance to view up to 18 homes around London with a choice of three separate tours in North, West and South London.
Mine was West London and it turned out to be one of the interior design highlights of the year for me. I could easily have a tour like this every week and not tire of it. There were lots of different details, features and design solutions that I will try to remember for the future. Just makes me want to start a renovation project of my own!
Unfortunately but understandably taking photos wasn’t allowed so I will try to briefly describe a few highlights of the day.
The abundance of grey walls of all shades was everywhere. It seems to be very fashionable at the moment and I support this trend having painted my bedroom dark grey. It absolutely doesn’t make the space look smaller but rather moodier, cosier, gives it a feel of a luxurious hotel or a private club. Even black looks good on the walls mixed with a few splashes of bright colour which I witnessed at friends’ house. What could probably be my favourite room was a kitchen diner with a wonderful colour and texture combination of steel, walnut wood, light grey walls, black leather, smoky sheep skins thrown over dining chairs and unusually red brick floor that extended into patio area. Red brick floor wouldn’t immediately spring to mind when you plan a kitchen renovation but having seen how great it looks and how it gives space a new texture and an additional warmth that would be now my first choice.
Another house featured an eccentric collection of glass and ceramic vases of all shapes and colours. These weren’t your usual groupings of two – three objects but shelves brimming with them and arranged in all kinds of ways, even two on top of each other lying horisontally. This showed me that being bold with it will work and will add a lot of character to you home. I love coloured glass but always thought that apart from having a few objects I don’t really have enough space. Now I am rethinking this a bit.
Other highlights included a few baths in bedrooms. I always liked this look. Maybe not that practical but certainly adds a bit of luxury to your domestic life.
Dark tiles and dark pebbled flooring in a bathroom. I always fancied having a dark bathroom. It makes me think of a luxurious spa experience. But to be completely decadent I also always dreamt of adding an antique crystal chandellier to this look, something I found in a small guest house in France, where we once stayed. Below is the photo to show what I mean.
Clever storage ideas: in one of the kids’ rooms I saw custom made shallow storage that incorporated headboards and beds stood against that wall. I think this is very clever for a room with limited space. Another idea to steal for those with quite a spacious bedroom is to place the bed in the middle of the room and create headboard that would also incorporate drawers on the other side.
I also saw a lot of wall murals, some of them, I know, are stickers that can be applied to the wall, but I particularly liked the idea of a handpainted one in a kid’s room. It looked like it’s easy to paint even if you are not an artist and a lot of it can be painted through a stencil, but the effect is great and very personal.
Kitchens were a good place to get inspired. I once again saw the avidence of how good open shelves and non matching units look in a kitchen. Nice kitchenware and tableware on show makes a kitchen a much more personalised space and adds colour and individuality.
I actually noticed a few pieces that I already had on my wish lists like this milk glass cake stand, that can be bought on Refound Objects website:
and spotted some new ones that will be added to my wish list now, like these plates that I accidentally found in Anthropologie a few days later:
And this golden ceiling lamp by Tom Dixon:
So, all in all very rewarding experience. Next year will try and visit all three tours!