Ichiran – Tokyo, Japan

Our first ramen experience in Japan was at Ichiran in Tokyo. We went to their Shinjuku branch as it was the closest to our hotel. I call it an ‘experience’ as it couldn’t have been further away to any restaurant experiences you may have in the western world.

Ichiran Shinjuku Tokyo

In the centre of the vibrant Shinjuku neighborhood, just east of the train station, you will find Ichiran-Shinjuku. It is easy to identify it as, chances are, there will be a very long queue at the front. One very very popular place! Forbes actually goes as far as calling it the best ramen in the WORLD!

Shinjuku Tokyo

Eating at Ichiran is a step process! Step 1, queue. Step 2, order from the very confusing, all-in-japanese machine. It took us a few trials and errors to get our orders right, and, to be honest, we still got some extra sides we didn’t even know we had ordered once we sat. The idea is that you select your ramen base and then all the toppings you want as well as the drinks.

Ichiran order machine

You are then handed a piece of paper where you can select how you want your noodles cooked (soft, medium, hard, etc) and so on, my favourite option is hard noodles!

Ichiran Tokyo

Once you have ordered, step 3 is to queue, again, to be seated. You will be waiting in front of the galley kitchen where you can see the cooks preparing the orders extremely efficiently. In Japan, the objective of the restaurants is to feed you quickly and efficiently. Forget about a 2-hours French style dinner and banter.

Ichiran kitchen

Step 4, take a sit! This is when it gets even more exotic for westerners. There are no tables in Ichiran, you will be seated at a bar with dividers between you an your neighbours. A great way to eat quietly and be left alone. That made for one very anti-social meal with my husband, but it was such an amazing experience that we just embraced it!

Ichiran restaurant

Last step, food time! Little hands will appear from behind the curtain in front of you and will serve you drinks, the ramen and its toppings. Now, be quiet and eat that delicious ramen!

Ichiran eggIchiran ramen

Ichiran food was delicious, it is such a surreal and oh-so very Japanese experience that I would recommend going 100%! You will definitely feel lost in translation there.

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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

Inspiration – Outdoor

Our outdoor space is TINY (never trust real-estate agent pictures!).

I wouldn’t even call it a garden, it is more of a courtyard. As you can see below, it was very bare and red bricks ‘overdose’ when we moved in.

Outdoor Courtyard Before

It is also in the shade most of the day, so I didn’t want to aim for a garden and end up with a plant cemetery. I therefore tried to create a space reflecting our indoor space, some sort of outdoor dining-room.

But before the big reveal, as usual, find below the images I used as inspiration to create a modern courtyard!

Outdoor courtyard and garden inspiration
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Outdoor courtyard and garden inspiration
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Outdoor courtyard and garden inspiration
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Kitchen gallery wall – Reveal

As I mentioned the other day, I am a wall art hoarder! And with an open-space and therefore limited amount of walls in the house, I have to be creative when decorating the space.

In the kitchen, I opted for a small gallery wall between the two french windows, and lined up with our kitchen island.

Kitchen gallery wall

I  wanted to set the stage by sticking to a kitchen/food theme on this wall. Luckily, I already had most items and only had to curate one piece in order to balance the layout.

Kitchen gallery wall

I will do a post about the entire kitchen but for now I will just go into the details of the wall itself.

We made the shelf ourselves with simple wood cut to exact dimensions, brackets and white glossy paint, all found at B&Q.

Kitchen gallery wall

The succulents are from Columbia Road Flower Market and their pots are old jam and candles pots. I got the mint and rosemary at Marks & Spencer and the planter is from Ikea.

Kitchen gallery wall

The pig print comes from a butcher shop in Italy, and the frame is from Habitat. Also, please make sure you go to Antica Marcelleria Falorni, in Greve in Chianti, if you are visiting Tuscany, all their products are delicious!

Kitchen gallery wall

Staying with the Italian theme, we bought this cat sign on the Amalfi Coast, where ceramic art is a speciality. It is also good to note that our cat’s food bowl is right by this wall, so it all ties together! 🙂

Kitchen gallery wall

The cutlery print I didn’t have originally. I found it on King & McGaw a great site if you are looking for wall art! This is Row of Cutlery by Bridget Davies and it was framed by King & McGaw.

Kitchen gallery wall

The clock is a finding from my husband, it’s by Karlsson and we just loved how simple yet different it was with the copper accent and the black face.

Kitchen gallery wall

Finally, the Cafe du Bresil print was a gift from my parents a few Christmas ago. I am not sure where they got it from but it is a real vintage print. The frame is from Habitat.

Hope you like this little corner of my kitchen!

Room inspiration – Kitchen gallery wall

I have to come clear… I have an addiction… I cannot stop buying wall art…

Prints, paintings, posters, etc. It’s becoming an issue and some of my friends make fun of me saying that I could open a gallery if I wanted.

I just cannot help it, I love curating bits and bobs for walls I don’t have. A very expensive hobby? Only if you make it expensive! I personally prefer to shop in little markets and local galleries where the biggest and most expensive piece is around 200 pounds. I am also lucky to have a very talented grand-mother and painter.

In our new house, and with the living-space being completely open plan, I am limited to four walls for about 20 items and three spaces (kitchen, living room, dining room). The solution? Gallery walls!

This is the only way to be able to display most of what I own in an aesthetically and pleasing way. The risk with a gallery wall though is that it can easily become too much and create unbalance. I therefore limited myself to two spaces, the wall behind our TV (not complete yet) and the wall in the kitchen (complete and coming up soon on the blog!).

But before you see the results in the kitchen, I wanted to share some sources of inspiration.

Gallery wall interior design inspiration
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Gallery wall interior design inspiration
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Gallery wall interior design inspiration
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Gallery wall interior design inspiration
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Black Wall – Reveal

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I developed an obsession for black walls! So I took my courage in both hands and I went on the quest for the perfect hue of black as soon as I got the keys of the house.

Black wall interior design

What you need to avoid with black paint is black paint. Bear with me here!

Pitch black is a very harsh colour which, at time, and depending on lighting, can take some weird shades of maroon – not the look I was going for.

I therefore looked for a very very dark grey with a hint of blue, a little less committal but still a dramatic effect, with more softness. I settled on Railing by Farrow and Ball and couldn’t be more happy with it!

As described by the brand it is “…a softer alternative to black […]The fact that it is definitely more blue than black makes it soft enough to use in interiors, to create dramatic enveloping spaces”Railing by Farrow and Ball

I then dressed the wall with one of my grand-mother paintings (she is talented isn’t she?). The bright colours really pop against the wall to create even more drama!

Black wall interior design

I also used the letter lights I bought for my wedding as I love the effect of the light bulbs against the black wall.

Black wall interior designBlack wall interior design

Another decision I am very happy with is to have painted the frame of the window at the top. It makes it more settled as I am not a huge fan of it. At night you don’t even see it anymore!

Black wall interior design

Overall I am very happy with it! I am still considering getting a console as well but I find the current staging very satisfying. The best compliment I get is that most guests don’t even noticed that there is a black wall. It fits so well in the space that no one is shocked by it. This for me is the sign of a good design decision!

Black wall interior design

Room inspiration – Black wall

Fact, I spend way too much time on Pinterest.

After hours, browsing on there I became slightly obsessed with black walls (read extremely obsessed with black walls!). So much so that I decided I would have at least one black wall in my new place. And I did it!

The final result is here, but first let me share with you the pictures I used as inspiration.

black wall interior inspiration
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black wall interior inspiration
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black wall interior inspiration
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black wall interior inspiration
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