Christmas 2017 – Gift guide for Interior Design fans

It is the season of giving and of gift guides!

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for inspiration on other blogs and Youtube to find THE most thoughtful gift for my dearest ones (no pressure!). Following my gift guide for travelers, today I put together a gift guide for people like me who are obsessed love interior design.

I like anything design related, and nothing makes me more happy than receiving a book or a new decorative item for my house. Note that the selection below is to my contemporary/mid-century modern taste, I even actually own a few of the items listed and love them very much!

Christmas 2017 Interior gift guide

1. Juniqe Wall Art

I love Juniqe website, it has so many prints on offer you can spend hours just scrolling through them like you would wander in a museum. The great things with Juniqe is that it makes wall art very affordable too! All you have to do is to choose the print, the size and the (optional) frame. I have my eyes on this print ‘Waves’ by Elisabeth Fredriksson, maybe a little Christmas treat to myself!

2. Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

A great book for both home owners and tenants! If you know someone moving soon or in the process of decorating their home, make sure to get them this book as a Christmas gift or a house-warming present! I have even more options of interior design books here if you are a bit of a bookworm.

3. Oliver Bonas Velvet Hot Water Bottle

I am ALWAYS cold! So much so that my husband call me ‘the lizard’ as I only warm up in the sun or by the heater. That is why I would love to have this velvet water bottle from Oliver Bonas, it is functional AND stylish!

4. House Doctor Tube Vase

All interior design aficionados love to get a little designer piece every now and then. These vases by House Doctor are very pretty and not too expensive, I have both the blue and pink version on display in my living-room and they make the perfect pair!

5. Oliver Bonas Terrarium

You know someone who likes interior design and has green fingers, then this terrarium is for them! I have it in my living-room and it is home to a tall succulent. Plus the black version is on sale at the moment so hurry!

6. West Elm Marble Coasters

Coasters are like Marmite some people love them some people hate them. I used to not really care for coasters, that is until I saw those at West Elm. Marble and geometrical? I was sold!

7. Zara Home Geometric Vase

I absolutely love geometrical interior items! I talked about my quest for an hexagonal mirror before and I a few geometric items in my kitchen. This vase from Zara Home is therefore right up my street and the white colour means it will fit in most interiors.

8. Alessi Pet Jar

This jar is where practicality meets design! A great way to store your four legged friend’s treats, and you can use your pet as an excuse to get it!

9. Habitat Honeycomb Wine Rack

I actually am getting my sister this Habitat wine rack for Christmas! It is practical, compact and in the colour of the moment – brass. Perfect for anyone living in a small space.

10. Diptyque Candles

Diptyque candles are a real treat and my go-to gift for house warming. They are beautiful to look at, smell divine and can be recycled into the most exquisite make-up brush holders or plant pots. I may do a post on which scents are my favourite, but whenever in doubt Figuier and Baies are safe bets.

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Christmas 2017 – Decoration inspiration

I cannot believe I am actually writing the first Christmas blog post of 2017! It is still a little bit early, and I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t do much Christmas related stuff until the 1st of December. The only thing I have done so far (apart from writing this blog) is thinking about the Christmas house decoration I want to get in December.

I am not one to get too crazy with Christmas house decoration to be honest. I like my Christmas theme simple and traditional. You won’t find any blue or purple baubles on my tree.

For the Christmas colour theme, I LOVE the traditional red, green and white. For the metallics, I usually go for silver as our house is very modern and it fits well with my other favourite Christmas decoration colour – grey!

Christmas Decorations Inspiration
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For the textures, I love organic materials such as wood, paper and raw fabrics. I always go for modern and simple decoration and very rarely pick shiny baubles.

Christmas Decorations Inspiration
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The lights are also important, and for Christmas I always pick ‘warm white’ light fixtures. I like the natural and almost candle-like glow it gives.

Christmas Decorations Inspiration
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Finally for the theme, I love the simple and rustic Scandinavian vibe which fits well with my choice of colours and textures. But it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t adding a few little references to our life, some funnier than others. For instance, I have a few Christmas decorations with a London theme. We also always hang a bauble Andrew got for me, broke just after buying it, yet still gave to me the first year we got together.

Christmas Decorations Inspiration
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My favourite tradition of all with our Christmas decoration though, is that we decorate the house on a weekend’s evening. We open a nice bottle of wine, play some Christmas tunes, reminisce about the story behind each decoration, and have a little giggle. That’s what I like the most about the Christmas decorations, they give an excuse for family to regroup and spend quality time together.

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Home wish list #1

I LOVE interior design, nothing new here.

I genuinely spend hours on the web and in shops just looking for THE item I am missing in my current house or, often, the item I cannot fit in my current house but really want anyway. #interioraddictproblems

We have made great progress in our current house, and slowly but surely I am finishing most rooms. However, I am still missing bits an bobs that I listed below. Some I know I will buy, some I am contemplating or saving for.

Once I will have all the below, the house will be officially finished! Well, apart from re-tiling the bathroom, removing the carpet and painting the stairs, and… Ok, let me rephrase, after that I will either need to find a new hobby or we will have to buy a new house…

So here is my home wish list for this winter!

A new desk

We need a new desk for our study. At the moment we have a little table from Ikea which we bought as a desk in our previous place as it perfectly fitted between bookshelves. The study in the new house is different so we now have the space for a real desk.

I painted the room in Crown Midnight Navy so, in order to contrast with the walls and bright up the space, I want to get a white desk. It will also match the Ikea Billy bookcases we already have.

West Elm mid-century white desk
West Elm Mid Century mini desk

For the style, I am looking for a touch a mid-century modern without overdoing it. This is why I love both the West Elm and the La Redoute desks you can see above and below. I have a preference for the West Elm one but I have more of La Redoute budget so the choice is made really…

La Redoute mid-century white desk
La Redoute Jimi desk

A Moroccan pouf

Next on my list is a foot stool for our living-room. I am considering getting a Moroccan leather pouf as I love the bohemian touch it would bring to our room. It would also double as an additional seat very easily when we have guests.

Moroccan leather pouf
Image source

A big art piece

I am a little bit of a wall art hoarder, so people who know me well will laugh reading this. “Claire, you reeeeeaaally don’t need more wall art.” Well, “au contraire, mon cher!”. I agree I already have A LOT of things hanging on my walls, but I am looking for something very specific this time.

We have an empty wall above our loveseat in the living-room and I really want to dress it with something big. I am looking for a black and white statement piece as it will be  one of the first things people will see when entering the space. The challenge with art is that you cannot rush and buy what will do ‘for now’. It is an investment and something you should truly love looking at in the long term. At the moment I am eyeing that horses print by Sandra Millar but I still need a bit more time before I am ready to fully commit.

wild-ones-sandra-millar
The Wild Ones by Sandra Millar

A new coffee table

The last item for the living-room is a new coffee table! Currently we have the Ikea Vejmon oval coffee table which is perfectly fine; however after 5 years together it is starting to show signs of ageing so an upgrade will be due at some point in 2018.

West Elm box frame coffee table
West Elm coffee table

This time I want to get away from the oval shape and toward a more industrial look. I also love the idea of a coffee table where we can display nice books. My current favourite two options are a West Elm number and a Swoon Editions one.

Swoon Editions Mackay coffee table
Swoon Editions coffee table

A colourful art piece

Finally for our bedroom, we are desperately looking for a colourful abstract painting. I say desperately as we have been looking for a year now, and nothing so far has struck us as being THE one. So much so that I don’t even have an image of what I want to share with you. There are worse problems to have though and we will get there!

Now all I need is a bit more time, a lot more money and there will be a lot of room reveals coming this way!

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Guest bathroom – Reveal

A few weeks back I shared my sources of inspiration to redecorate our guest bathroom. I wanted to be a little bold as this is a small room, tucked away and not used very often. It was the perfect opportunity to try something without much impact, if the attempt resulted in failure.

At the time I also took pictures of our guest bathroom as it used to be, and, of course, I then accidentally deleted these, which means I have no ‘before’ photographs to show you. So imagine that it was completely white and very plain.

Our guest bathroom is small (like most guest toilets), got fairly high ceilings and therefore was feeling rather clinical and soulless. My objective was to create a cosier and bolder space where people would actually enjoy spending time (I leave it there).

So how does it looks like now?

Guest bathroom inspiration teal and gold

As you can see I went for a dark colour on one of the walls to make a bit of a statement but also warm up the space. In this case, I picked Dulux Teal Tension, which, even though is a very dark teal colour, is also quite a warm colour.

Guest bathroom inspiration teal and gold

For the decor and art, I went for a brass and gold theme as it works very well with teal and really warm up the space.

Scratching map guest bathroom

On the wall I have a scratching map my parents got me for Christmas a few years back, which I yet have to scratch because I find it too pretty all in gold.

Gold picture frames

Next to the map I hung three gold pictures frames from TK Maxx with photographs I took in Jordan, the Seychelles and Thailand. I picked these as all were taken at sunrise or sunset and tie in nicely with the gold of the frames.

The Gossips by Norman Rockwell

Finally, I left leaned against the wall a little bit of entertainment for our guest with an original cover of The Saturday Evening Post, from March 1948, found in a flea market in the US and with the famous The Gossips drawing by Norman Rockwell.

Guest bathroom

Around the toilet you will find the necessary toilet rolls stand, brush and bin from Ikea.

Heated towel rail

The heated towel rail couldn’t be more conventional and on it I usually have this towel bought in Berlin.

Berlin towel

Finally, on the other side of the room, you will find the teeny tiny sink and mirror cabinet.

Guest bathroom skin and Petit Marseillais hand soap

On the sink I have have one of my favourite Petit Marseillais hand soap. I love its traditional soap smell and recommend you get one if you are in France anytime soon!

Argos mirror cabinet and Bath and BOdy Works candle

Finally, above the sink is a small mirror cabinet bought at Argos and on top of it a big candle from Bath and BodyWorks with the perfect ‘clean bathroom’ scent. Unfortunately. they don’t seem to have the candle anymore but they still do have the plug-in scent version.

Aaaaaand, that’s it! A guest bathroom is a small space so be creative and have fun!

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Kitchen – Reveal

Following my kitchen inspiration post last week, today is the big reveal!

Our house being a new build, we luckily had very little work to do in the kitchen. The style the developer fitted is modern and white, which I don’t love but don’t mind either. It is bright and not too much of a statement in our open plan living space.

We however had a few challenges to address, 1) the lack of storage, 2) creating an informal dining area where Andrew and I can casually have our meals without having to set our big dining table, and 3) keeping the kitchen area contained in a fully open plan space.

You will see below that when we moved in, all we had was that kitchen corner. Not bad, but knowing that one of the cabinets is the dish-washer and an other one is the boiler, we ended up with a lot less storage than it first seems.

Kitchen Before
Sorry for the low resolution, this is the picture from the estate agent

So how did we styled the kitchen to add extra storage and a sitting area? Ready for a kitchen tour? Let’s go!

Kitchen island and metal stools

One of the first thing we bought for the kitchen was an island unit. It fits perfectly in the middle of the kitchen, it helps balance the area and extends the kitchen away from the corner while maximising and optimising the space we have.

Kitchen island Stenstorp from Ikea

The island is the Stenstorp from Ikea, and probably one of the best things we have ever bought for this house! Not only does it provides us with a dining area, but it also offers plenty of storage hidden away at the back, this is where all our pots and pans live without being a sore for the eyes.

Kitchen island Stenstorp from Ikea

I aligned the island with the central wall which I covered with a gallery wall. I styled the top of the island with grey place mats from Ikea, a geometric teal fruit bowl from Flying Tiger, a cement flower vase from Zara Home, and I always have a scented candle on it which changes depending on the season.

Kitchen styling

I got the metallic industrial stools from Lakeland Furniture, in the medium-height size (unfortunately they are not available anymore but you can find similar ones here). It is good to note that the Ikea island is fairly low, so you need medium-height sits as the regular bar stools’ height doesn’t leave space for your legs to fit under the counter top.

Ikea kitchen island and industrial stools

On the right of the island we have some additional kitchen cupboards. We got those installed as we were lacking closed storage and this area was just a wasted space. We could have installed a small sideboard, but making the investment and having real cabinets fitted gave us a pantry and baking tools storage, while tying the space together with uniform design.

White kitchen

On top of those additional cupboards we have some basic ingredients such as sugar and coffee, stored in jars from Flying Tiger. I also left on display my old Bialetti coffee maker from my student-years and my French press from Bodum. Being a coffee addict I find those aesthetically pleasing enough to use them as decoration.

Kitchen jars, Bialetti coffee maker and Bodum French press

On the other side of the counter top, you will find our little coffee station (we do really like coffee). We have the Nespresso Citiz coffee machine in cream, the Nespresso milk frother, some Monin syrups (salted caramel for him, pumpkin spice for me), and a capsules storage box. We use our Nespresso machine every single day so it definitely worth the investment!

Nespresso Citiz

Now let’s turn around and have a look at the kitchen that was fitted in the first place. We made sure to match the island and the new cupboards with the white cabinets and wood counter top that were already there, so from afar you would never be able to tell what was there when we moved in and what wasn’t.

White kitchen and wood counter top

On the left we have our sink, and dishwasher, with light bulbs pendant lights. We were very lucky the developer had decent taste and fitted these! There are definitely lights I would have picked myself.

Kitchen pendant lights

This is also where our De’Longhi kettle and toaster live. I love the vintage style, the texture and colour of these. Unfortunately this is an old collection, but De’Longhi has an other similar kettle and toaster.

De'Longhi kettle and toaster

I also purchased a fancy looking hand soap from the Galeries Lafayette in France, the smell is absolutely divine so make sure you grab one next time you visit ‘douce France’!

Galeries Lafayette hand soap

Then we have the hob area which is very conventional. Our appliances are all from Bosch and they work just fine. Our backsplash is made of pastel teal subway tiles.

Kitchen Bosch hob

On the right we have our WMF knife block. I absolutely love WMF for kitchen stuff! All our pots are from there too, and everything they do is excellent quality. It is pricey but it will last you a good while! We also have our basic condiments next to the hob, nothing special here, just the regular olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

WMF knife block and condiments

On the left live our kitchen utensils, our microwave, Brita filter jug and the cat treats in a beautiful ‘cat’ jar from Alessi.

Alessi cat jar

Finally, the most used, and the most important area of the kitchen, the cat dining space. Even for his area I didn’t want to compromise on style, so his food is stored in a fancy Orla Kiely canister. His food bowls and his feeding mat are simple, grey and from Pets At Home.

Cat food bowls and Orla Kiely canister

That’s it folks! The kitchen tour is over! I hope you like what I have done with the space and if you made it here, well done! That was one long post, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything. Until next time!

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Room inspiration – Kitchen

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event at Nicholas Anthony in London, and seeing all those beautiful bespoke kitchens made me a little sad to see how much compromise I had to make at home with our kitchen. Don’t get me wrong our kitchen is completely new and fully fitted with all the appliances we would need, however as we bought the place when it was finished we had no say into the style of the kitchen the developer picked.

This inspiration post is a little different from the others,  you will find two inspiration sections, the kitchen I really want and the inspiration based on the one I really have.

First thing first, here is a before picture. I apologise for the poor quality, it was the agency picture and I didn’t take any other when we fist moved in.

Kitchen Before

As you can see it is completely open plan and the kitchen is only separated from the living area by the staircase. I would describe the kitchen style as ‘safe’, the developer went for modern off-white cabinetry and wood counter top. We have a lot of space but the kitchen is lacking storage, so that was the main problem I had to address when decorating.

The dream kitchen inspiration

So what does my dream kitchen looks like? If I could have chosen the style I would have gone for dark shaker style cabinets and white counter tops.

Dark kitchen inspiration
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I like the boldness of the off navy/black cabinets and the timelessness of the shaker style.

Dark kitchen inspiration
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Dark kitchen inspiration
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In an ideal world, I would have combine this with brushed silver hardware and brushed metal appliances.

Dark kitchen inspiration
Nicholas Anthony kitchen
Dark kitchen inspiration
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The real kitchen inspiration

Now here is the reality check inspiration. We have a brand new and fully functioning kitchen which luckily is in a very neutral colour (my worse nightmare is wood cabinetry), so all I have to do is make the most of it. I need to style it to my taste while adding storage. I also want to add a dinning space so we can casually have dinner in the kitchen area during the week.

White kitchen inspiration
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White kitchen inspiration
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White kitchen inspiration
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The big reveal is coming soon!

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Room Inspiration – Guest bathroom

We have an unnecessary amount of toilets in our new place. For two adults and one cat we have a total of three toilets. We literally could go to the bathroom all at the same time!

It is however very convenient when we are hosting! I have to say that a guest toilet gives me the luxury not to have to worry about tidying the bathroom we use daily, which is nice when there is another ten things to prepare before our guests arrive.

Our guest toilet is under the stair case, the space is compact and the decor very ‘beige’. I always think of the guest toilets as a place where you can get a little wild with interior decoration. It is such a small space that if you think you made a mistake with the colour on the wall you can always fix it pretty quickly!

One thing I new straight away is that I wanted to go for a dark and rich colour. Below are a few sources of inspiration I selected on Pinterest to jazz up our guest toilet and make it a short but nice experience for our guests!

Guest toilet interior inspiration
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Guest toilet interior inspiration
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Guest toilet interior inspiration
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Coming soon, the results of a couple of hours of painting! Which colour do you think I went for?

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Corridor/Entrance hall – Reveal

I shared with you the other day my sources of inspiration for our entry hall and corridor and today it’s time for the big reveal!

You would think that decorating a hall wouldn’t take that long, right? Coat hanger, shoes storage, boom, done! Well, I wish it would have been the case. We had made very good progress back in January after I completed our black wall. We had furniture, the room was painted, and then… We spent MONTHS looking for the right mirror. Yep, we have been delayed by a bloody mirror…

But not any mirror, an hexagonal mirror. I developed an obsession for a six-sided piece after watching Kate La Vie dreamy house tour. This West Elm mirror was EVERYTHING. I needed it in my life ASAP. And because I am a very lucky person West Elm decided to discontinue it in the UK just when I was about to place my order. Great. Guess what though, it then came back on their website at a significantly higher price… How could I justified paying north of £200 for it? Well I couldn’t, so I went on a six-months hunt to find a cheaper yet as good looking alternative, which I finally did!

Enough talking about first world problems though, and welcome to the first room you will see when entering our house!

Entrance hall Corridor Interior Design

I really wanted a Nordic vibe for this room. It rains a lot in London and temperatures are never really high, so I want to feel like I am entering a warm cocoon when I go through the door.

Entrance hall Corridor Interior Design

When you first pass the door, you will find this beautiful Heal’s storage bench where all our shoes live. It is pricey but we wanted something organic yet modern which we could also sit on.

Heal's Brunel blanket box

Our house has close to no storage so we needed something big to fit all our footwear, and only something like a blanket box could do. I styled it with an Ikea sheepskin to bring that Nordic cosy vibe to the room. It’s all about the hygge people!

Heal's Brunel blanket box Ikea sheepskin

Above the Heal’s storage bench, we have our La Redoute coat rack. The wood and metal give it a rustic look in keeping with the general Scandinavian vibe.

La Redoute coat rack

On the right you will find an Ikea black board, where all our mess, such as vouchers and Japan cheesy pictures, live. The magnetic pen pot is from Flying Tiger.

Ikea black board

Move forward into the space and here it is! The (not hexagonal but octagonal) MIRROR! Isn’t it beautiful? It lives on a black-brown Ikea chest of drawers with so much storage that even my pyjamas are in there!

Hexagonal mirror Maison du Monde and Ikea Chest of drawers

I found this mirror at Maison du Monde, it isn’t brass like the West Elm one, but it is a lot cheaper! Plus, I can always sand the wood frame and paint it brass if I fancy it.

I have a bad news though… Maison du Monde seems to have now discontinued it too! It’s a geometry curse!

Hexagonal mirror Maison du Monde

I kept the accessorises on the chest of drawer to a minimal as I want to make sure we always have space to drop a bag or some groceries on it with knocking something over.

On the left, I have a small seagrass storage box from Ikea and a frame from Paperchase with one of our civil wedding picture in it. There is also our beautiful house alarm keypad.

Ikea seagrass box Paperchase picture frame

In front of the mirror, I have a trinket dish from Joy (old collection).

Trinket dish Joy

On the right hand-side, I have an H&M Mahogany candle, on an H&M metal trivet (similar here). Next to it I have an other frame from Paperchase in copper to match our lamp shades.

Mahogany candle and metal trivet H&M copper picture frame Paperchase

Facing the mirror, I hanged a print of Strasbourg’s cathedral (my home town) merged with Big Ben (London is Andrew’s hometown) in a Habitat oak frame.

Entry hall wall art

We got the copper pendant light shades from B&Q. It was surprisingly difficult to find just the shades and not have to replace the whole light fitting, but these are perfect and really good value.

Round copper ceiling lamp shades

Finally, our corridor ends with our black wall which doesn’t need any more introductions. All the details of that projects are here!

Black wall inspiration

Here you go guys! I hope you like my Scandinavian-inspired entry hall!

Room Inspiration – Entrance hall and corridor

The weather in London really hasn’t been great lately, so instead of spending our time outside picnicking, as one should in summer, we have been busy inside with interior decorating.

Our corridor/entrance hall is almost ready for its big reveal so now is a good time to share with you my sources of inspiration to make that dark and narrow space as pleasant as it can be. You will see in the picture below that I am aiming to make it a bright, nordic-inspired, functional space with a couple of big statements.

As always I am relying on the good old Pinterest for interior design inspiration and I keep my boards up to date so feel free to have a little look there for even more #inspo!

Corridor Interior Design Inspiration
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Corridor Interior Design Inspiration
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Corridor Interior Design Inspiration
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Corridor Interior Design Inspiration
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Corridor Interior Design Inspiration
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Guest bedroom – Update

Long time since my last interior blog!

We have made a lot of progress around the house, so I should have a lot more to share soon! In the meantime I wanted to give you a little update on the guest bedroom.

Guest Bedroom interior design

I had completed most of the work back in October, but was still missing a few bits and bobs.

Guest Bedroom interior design

So here are the final touches to our guest bedroom!

The costumed radiator shelf was little DIY project. We got the wood cut at B&Q and bought the brackets there too. I painted the wood with white satin paint, and here you go – made to measure shelves!

Guest Bedroom interior design

I decorated the shelf with a few little guides of London Londres insolite et secrèteTime Out Cheap Eats in London and Pocket Map London, useful for our guests when they stay. I also have a bowl my parents brought back from Vietnam and a little Dyptique candle in ‘Figuier’.

Guest Bedroom interior design

Next to the window I added a touch of greenery with an aloe vera plant, which is supposed to help clear the air. The planter is from Antropologie (old collection – similar here).

Guest Bedroom interior design

We also found a vintage luggage for the top of the wardrobe during our weekend in Norfolk. 40 quid at a flea market, a real bargain! I use it to store my wedding dress.

Guest Bedroom interior design

Finally, next to the wardrobe, I hanged these two prints I bought at the V&A five years ago. The frames are costumed made by David Mitchell Picture Frames Limited in Lewisham. If you have anything to frame and live in London, I really recommend them! They have a lot of choice all at a very decent price!

Guest Bedroom interior design

Overall this redesign has been a success! So much so that we even got a permanent tenant who feels very much at home in this bedroom!

Guest Bedroom interior design