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I have written about London stylist Faye Toogood many times on my blog, I hugely admire her work and was lucky enough to have worked with her whilst I was an intern at The World Of Interiors many moons ago. She is also a lovely lady!

Over the years she has developed an amazing portfolio of projects designing interiors, retail spaces, installations and visual materials for brands like Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen, Opening Ceremony and Tom Dixon – she also designs her own mesmerising collections of furniture.  Faye has an ethereal style that is grounded in the past and the present, unusual materials and surprising emotive details – my favourite thing about her work is that none of her interiors are ever predictable.

And so for years I have been dying to see what her own home is like and I cannot believe I missed its appearance in the NY Times T-Magazine late last year!

Faye and her husband bought a Georgian townhouse in Islington five years ago and transformed it – in my opinion into something magical and evocative straight out of her most iconic editorial styled pages, although she describes the finished effect as “just a series of objects not purposefully put together”!

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I love the luminous Vermeer blue colours that have become her signature style, and the perfect juxtaposition of the old and super sleek new designs  which sit strikingly side by side – her compositions so effortless and always rimmed with surprise.

I love the details in her bedroom, a velvet salmon pink bolster cushion and an oversized cased glass pendant light instantly transforming a simple space. Cleverly, giant-like wooden coat hooks are used for handles in her Ikea kitchen cabinets, large expanses of mirrors fill walls in her sitting room and bedroom, a simple idea to open up a space but lending to the appearance of many wonders that may flit past the ordinary eye. Not to mention her colour coded collections of marvellous objects scattered about the place like a modern-day explorer.

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You can read the NY Times article ‘The Well-Composed Life of Faye Toogood’ here and excitingly you can also see a video tour of her home filmed in nothing short of Toogood’s irreverent style. A great read and a mesmerising watch to transport you away for a few minutes of your day.

All images courtesy of NY Times T-Magazine.

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You may have heard me mention that we are expecting our first baby in May. From what I gather from others in the know, it is inevitable that our lives will be turned upside down from that day and not return to anywhere far from chaos for at least 20 years! With this in mind I have spent all of January in a whirlwind of activity, tying up loose ends, getting paperwork in order and doing two years of accumulated spring cleaning in our flat.

I know that what we all love most is a good before and after project of organisation. I know I do – even to look at another person’s space going from mild chaos to organised on my computer screen leaves me with a satisfied feeling. So with that in mind I am totally going to put my shameful cupboard insides out there for the world to see and show you how excited I am that they are fully transformed.

I had two spaces at home that were totally stressing me out – our hallway cupboard which since we moved in two years ago was a haphazard dumping ground for duvets, bed-linens, table linens and medicines, toiletries and odd bits of hardware. It broke my heart that i had so many beautiful linens which were never organised properly and we could never find any medicines we wanted because they are all piled up on top of each other in impractical plastic boxes.

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The second area was my bedroom cupboard, when we cleared out the spare room for the nursery all of my overspill which had been in there was hastily dumped in the bottom of my cupboards. I also knew I had to simplify my wardrobe – get rid of a lot of clothes and shoes and just make the most of what i had and access it really easily. It turned out that all of my life’s organisation solutions came in the form of the PP Storage System from Muji.

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The storage system is an elegant and functional collection of frosted Polypropylene boxes and drawers that can be stacked in any arrangement. I ended up using the PP A4 3 Drawer Unit for both of my cupboards – stacked and arranged side by side.

Oh to organise and I have the means to organise with is indescribable! Our hallway cupboard was transformed! No more scrambling around in the dark, things falling onto you while you are searching for something else. Medicines, candles, table linens and miscellany all arranged in easy to reach pull out drawers! Larger items like towels now have room to breath and stay neatly stacked and I used some lovely Cotton Linen Underbed Storage to zip up unsightly stored duvets inside. Yay! I love my hall cupboard now!

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The wardrobe – all my luggage, fancy purses and rarely used items have to date been piled on the top shelf and two rails held many clothes in the main area [the image above shows clothes after a substantial reduction]` and the bottom of the wardrobe was storage for my many shoes which I had at one time organised in see through show boxes but weren’t really functional as they weren’t particularly stackable, all had lids and it was an effort to get to a pair that might have been at the bottom of the pile. The rest was debris from the clear out of the spare room!

Now, just using the 3 drawer units, my shoes all fit in easy pull out drawers [this depends on what size shoes you have of course but I have managed to squeeze my husbands large shoes in the same boxes in the cupboard next door] my purses and scarfs that were piled on the top shelf also pull out and make is SO easy to put an outfit together. Yay! A tidy home really is a tidy mind and has put me in good stead to face whatever the rest of the year may bring!

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Since it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s only apt that I dedicate today’s post to the city that has my heart – Bombay. Earlier this week, thanks to the wonderful mind-expanding world of Instagram I discovered a most beautiful new hotel and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The Abode Hotel is Bombay’s first boutique luxury hotel, situated in the bustling heart of historic Colaba. Run by Abedin Sham, of sandwich chain Wich Latte and London-turned-Mumbai resident Lizzie Chapman, Abode is a two-level hotel located in a 110-year-old building that pays homage to Bombay’s heritage and bohemian past.

I instantly fell in love with its premise so Bombay in its essence - equal parts revelling in the city’s colonial past and equal parts hurtling towards a fashionable new future.

The hotel comprises of 20 elegantly appointed rooms featuring carefully restored vintage furniture, original artworks, sumptuous bedding and the latest entertainment technology. Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast, complimentary 24-hour, unlimited high speed WiFi, a peaceful treatment room, a carefully curated shop, café and 24 hour room service. While Abode has superior luxury rooms with bathtubs and high ceilings that come in at Rs10,000 [approx £97] per night in peak season, their calling card is undoubtedly their smaller basic rooms, meant for freelancers, designers, and other creative types travelling on a budget.

 

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Designed by architect and interior designer Sian Pascale and British graphic designer Katy Buckley, the hotel’s wooden and iron façade has been fully restored and the lobby features an original 19th Century chandelier. The floors are laid with hand-made cement tiles by a Mumbai tile maker, using a 100 year old technique.

20th Century colonial and art deco pieces were sourced from Bombay’s second hand markets and lovingly restored for the hotel. Custom-built furniture designed specifically for Abode includes bed side tables made from ‘chaat stands’ and library shelving inspired by Bombay roadside bookstores. Reclaimed Burma teak, salvaged from demolished houses has been used as flooring. Bedroom light fittings have been created using hand-thrown ceramic lampshades, turned hardwood lamp holders and neon. Fabrics used for soft furnishings have been sourced from vintage saris, local markets or handwoven by the charitable organisation WomenWeave.

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Plain English New Paint

I read a lot of historical fiction, especially atmospheric books set in 18th and 19th century England. Tales of lonely Gothic Manors in the English countryside and their curious inhabitants, or imposing London townhouses with their cast of secretive bustling characters. For me, it’s always the descriptions of the interior of the homes that fascinate me, more so the basic and utilitarian downstairs rooms, the sculleries and pantries and staff quarters – be they cosy or dismal.

Resonating with my gothic obsessions is British kitchen company Plain English’s new imagery of their ‘Spitalfields’ kitchen painted in a new paint collection developed in collaboration with Interior Decorator Adam Bray. With names like ‘Rice Pudding’, ‘Dripping Tap’,  ‘Boiled Dishcloth’, ‘Pretty Pickle’, ‘Draughty Passage’, ‘Inky Nib’, ‘Scullery Latch’ and their new colours [seen here] ‘Tea Break’. ‘Airing Line’, ‘Time for Tea’ and ‘Wash Day’, they conjure up narratives just as delicious as any one of my books [especially Scullery Latch!]. The image below is of their new colour chart in the brand’s Marylebone showroom.

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The brand’s Spitalfield’s kitchen has always been my favourite because it was inspired by 18th century middle class merchant houses of Spitalfields in East London located very near to my home. I love the styling of the rooms – practical but oh so pretty – with washing lines of utilitarian garments strung up in indigo and linen hues – vintage crockery that populates the beautifully bare cornflour blue dressers and industrial fixtures that quietly gleam on the walls and ceilings. Perfect kitchens for daydreaming of the past.

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The prospect of Spring is really really exciting to me right now [namely because we are expecting our first baby in May!] but also because our home really comes alive in the Spring. The first day we have our balcony door open and welcome the warm weather in, the first morning we can step out barefoot onto the wood decking, the first evening we stay up late watching TV with the spring air drifting in – conjure up memories too sweet to bear.

What fails to excite me however are the many Spring home-ware launches – given my aversion to overly enthusiastic bright colours [Ochres, yellows, indigo blues and warm metallics are my highlights of choice] - most saccharine seasonal collections tend to make me recoil slightly with their cheeriness.

That’s why Danish brand Tine K Home’s new Spring 14 collection has me all a flutter. Mostly monochrome, I love the washed-out prints on textiles, jute scatter rugs in chalky blacks, a rich mix of  monochrome striped bolster cushions, crisp black and white ceramics and my favourite – tie die storage boxes for the office – they all add that much needed freshness without the mainstream jolliness! Perfection.

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