Jungle of Love - Extract from Wonder Plants 2

Extract from Wonder Plants 2 - Your Urban Jungle Interior, by Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner. Published by Lannoo.

In the greener part of the city of Baltimore, near the Hampden district along the banks of the Jones Falls River, an old cotton factory from 1870 was transformed into a luxury apartment complex. Today, it is more commonly known as Cotton Mill N°1. Hilton Carter, filmmaker, producer, and an interior decorator and plant specialist in his own right, found his dream loft there.

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Though it may look like a jungle, he did not place any of these plants at random. “I see a plant in the house as a design element,” Hilton continues, “and especially with bigger specimens, you can set the tone and make a room even more warm and inviting. But place a Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) between a Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese plant) and a Strelitzia (bird-of-paradise), for instance, and you can see something almost magical happen. That process of discovering and unravelling is something that I thoroughly enjoy spending time on.”

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And, to be sure, spending time successfully, as it resulted in beautiful arrangements throughout the apartment. The test-tubes wall is just one of the many eye-catchers. That’s precisely where all the new plants come to life: a solution for cutting plants that is as original as it is decorative. It’s another one of Hilton’s hobbies that has widely spread its roots.

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If you ask him about his favourite, there is no hesitation in his answer. “The fiddle-leaf fig was my first big acquisition; she’s been going strong for more than four years now. Together, we have navigated through lots of adventures,” he says with a fond smile. “My biggest concern is keeping her in tip-top condition.”

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That the Carter home abides by a tight schedule to care for the nearly 150 plants – yes, they have indeed been counted - should not come as a surprise. “A basic knowledge of the different plants is vital,” Hilton says. “Each plant comes with its own needs and its own specific treatment. I set my alarm so I know precisely when to water which plants.” And then it is just a matter of following your gut instincts. You can get quite far with tender loving care. Rest assured, even I lose the occasional soldier,” he jokes. It happens to the best of us.

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Wonder Plants 2: Your Urban Jungle Interior

by Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner

Available on Amazon

The Power of Styling from Homes with Soul

This is an extract from Homes with Soul: Designing with Heart by Orly Roninzon, published by Images Publishing.

In recent years, awareness that the power of design affects our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing has notably surged. Design has become an integral part of life's basic needs, even aspirations. These days, people all over the world are mindful of the power design has via social networks, from the flow of images bursting from apps, websites, magazines, and books into the mobile phones in the palms of our hands.

 Bring nature home, and natural sunlight gently washes the interiors, softens, and in streams a pleasant breeze. The natural appearance is honest and heartfelt.

Bring nature home, and natural sunlight gently washes the interiors, softens, and in streams a pleasant breeze. The natural appearance is honest and heartfelt.

This influx is tremendous and inspiring, and calls us to action. People wish to live a more aesthetic life, whether it is relating to fashion or home design. I believe in the power of styling and appreciate its merits. I see how using a lightweight carpet, some pillows, and curtains on a very reasonable budget completely transforms a room's appearance. How, by simply organising and cleaning the house, using a fragrant floor detergent, one can enhance its look and feel. The homey smell of laundry, cooking or baking, and fresh flowers never fails to create a pleasant ambiance at home. 

Anything is possible and we are all encouraged to enter the world of affordable design. I refer to things you can do on your own on a small budget: updating and painting furniture pieces, creating personal art, showcasing collections, displaying family photographs, expressing your creativity, and believing that, just like getting fit, the beginning requires effort, but once we are fit, we feel great.

 The power of home dressing is potent. It is choosing the dark tone of the armchair, the one that household members particularly love, the compels them to curl up, feel wrapped and protected.

The power of home dressing is potent. It is choosing the dark tone of the armchair, the one that household members particularly love, the compels them to curl up, feel wrapped and protected.

So it is also the case with design. The more open your eyes, mind, and heart are, the more aware you will become of the decorative aspects of your home, the more opportunities will reveal themselves to you. 

 Is there such a thing as a bed that is too indulgent? We need a good, deep, and blessed sleep.

Is there such a thing as a bed that is too indulgent? We need a good, deep, and blessed sleep.

The power of styling: remember to use it.

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Homes with Soul: Designing with Heart

by Orly Roninzon

photographs by Gilad Radat

published by Images Publishing.

Shelfie Secrets - How to Curate a Shelfie

The following is an extract from Shelfie by Martha Roberts. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £12.99 

It’s one thing to wantonly collect and accumulate (which most of us manage with very little effort) but it’s another to curate. Curating is conscious collecting – selecting and acquiring objects with intent. The elements may be chosen because they are a particular brand or type of object (vintage tea caddies, for example) or a specific shape or colour, or because they help to convey the story you’re trying to tell through your shelfie. When it comes to curating for shelfies, here’s how I do it. These guidelines should help to clarify your mind so you don’t end up with heaps of random objects that make you say to yourself, “What was I thinking?!”

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Create a “capsule wardrobe” of styling items

Fashion experts often talk about the aspirational capsule wardrobe. Why not a capsule shelfie wardrobe, too? It gives you a go-to collection for all your shelfie requirements. If you’ve collated objects you love, you should find that they work together harmoniously – a bit like a melodious choir. Of course, you will no doubt add to these as time goes by – with ad hoc additions such as children’s artwork or a birthday gift – but the shelfie capsule wardrobe should give you years of good service.

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This shelfie (above) in my home contains my entire “capsule shelfie wardrobe”, including vases, candlesticks, heirlooms, books, baubles, ribbons and braid, as well as a memory box. The colours are set off by cut-out artwork by Antonia Woodgate and my favourite multicoloured “Happy Happy” canvas by artist Dan Baldwin, which helps the shelfie arrangement to “sing”.

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Mix things up

My style guru is the inimitable Iris Apfel, nonagenarian interior designer and fashion icon. I love how she mixes colour, pattern and texture with unabashed confidence. As quoted in the Telegraph in 2011: “I mix everything up. A museum curator once said to me that there is a great jazz component to the way I do things because good jazz is improvisation and draws elements from all different cultures”. Curating doesn’t mean buying everything that matches. In fact, it often means having the confidence to buy something because it doesn’t. Mix it up like Iris does.

Here’s what my shelfie capsule wardrobe contains:

  • Books
  • Pitchers, vases and glasses
  • Shells, rocks, crystals and pebbles
  • Ribbons, braid, patches, badges, swatches of fabric
  • Baubles and decorations
  • Plants and flowers
  • Heirlooms and hand-medowns
  • Picture frames
  • Candlesticks, candles, tea light/votive holders
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Know where to look

  • Thrift shops: Get managers on your side. They have an overview of what’s come in and have the discretion to let you know about it.
  • Auction and craft websites: Search these for original artwork and objects.
  • Specialist shops: Plunder everything from button shops to a fly-fishing shop for neon floats.
  • Vacations and day trips: Whether it’s a shell or a bracelet, holiday finds can add both visual excitement and emotional connection.
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Shelfie by Martha Roberts.

Published by Mitchell Beazley, £12.99. 

Photographs by Nick Pope.

Mixing and Matching Vintage and New

Extract from Get it Together - An Interior Designer's Guide to Creating Your Best Life by Orlando Soria. Published by Prestel Publishing.

A space doesn’t seem quite right when it’s filled only with brand-new furnishings. For me a home doesn’t feel done until there are some vintage items present. Why? I think it’s because vintage furniture and accessories bring a history and age with them that is impossible to replicate, even with the best faux finishing on earth.  

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Objects and furniture have the same type of inexplicable powers of attraction. Vintage pieces, much like vintage homes, give off a historic presence that gives your home a warmth and complexity that new objects cannot. I like to balance vintage pieces with newer items to make sure the space feels full of character but also fresh. But many people find vintage shopping to be totally daunting and overwhelming. Below are my tips for finding the best vintage pieces.

Look Low, Look High (But Mostly Low)

There are a lot of gorgeous showrooms that sell only the best vintage treasures. If I could afford to shop only in those places, I would. But for someone getting started in the vintage game, I’d stick to thrift shops and flea markets. There’s a Goodwill down the street from me that I go in almost every time I pass it. Eight out of ten times I find nothing, but occasionally I find something amazing. It’s a constant search. I still love going into high-end vintage and antique dealers, both for inspiration and on the off chance I can afford something in there. The more you spend on something, the more of a commitment it is. So dipping your feet in the thrift store/flea market pool is an unintimidating way to get started collecting vintage. 

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Follow Your Instincts

When shopping, sometimes you don’t know if you love something until hours later. But if it’s a flea market that may mean it’s too late. I tend to think that if you find yourself attracted to something, you should follow your instincts. I’ve had so many traumatic experiences at flea markets where I second-guessed myself only to realize later I passed up something awesome I totally should have snatched up. Usually your first impression of something is correct. 

Determine Your Quirk Quotient

The tough part about vintage is there’s a thin line between things that are awesome and things that are just tacky and gross. The easiest way to figure out if a vintage object is cool or disgusting is to imagine it styled on a bookcase with a stylish combination of new and old items. If it seems like something that will look great next to a bunch of other pieces, it’s probably awesome. If it looks like it’s gonna stick out like a sore thumb, it’s probably not a good buy. Take, for example, this little wooden duck bowl (above). It’s definitely weird, but when placed on a stack of books, on an elegant dresser, its quirkiness creates the perfect contrast to the sophisticated things surrounding it.

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Look for Handmade

While art from galleries and high-end boutiques can be very expensive, sourcing vintage art from thrift stores is a great way to grow your collection. While you might not be buying art by megafamous artists, this is a great way to find beautiful, handmade items that add personality to your home.

If It’s Awesome, It’s Worth Restoring

When I found this wooden bird candelabra (previous spread) at a thrift store, his beak had broken off and he was sad and all alone. So I paid the $4.99 he cost, took him home, and made a new nose for him (by filing a wooden dowel down using a pencil sharpener). If something is amazing and unique, it’s worth a little effort to restore it.

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Search for Items that Work Well Together

My ex-boyfriend and I found these two different busts (above) at a flea market and I knew immediately that they were meant to be together. I was so committed to their pairing that I gave them to him when I moved out because I couldn’t bear to see them separated. When planning what pieces you want to pair, think about mixing materials and making sure they are different heights (when grouping things it’s usually a good idea to make sure objects are different heights). 

Going Vintage Can Be a Great Way to Save on Foundational Items

Pieces like dressers, side tables, coffee tables, and other non-upholstered items can be found at flea markets and thrift stores at great prices. I exclude upholstered items here because they often need to be reupholstered, which can add significantly to their cost. Most of the dressers I’ve ever bought have been vintage. If they’re made out of quality wood and have been well taken care of, they’ll last forever. 

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Framing Vintage Art Makes It Look Way Important

Adding a frame to a painting on panel (such as the portrait featured above) is a great way to step it up. Many inexpensive artworks come on flat canvas panels or wood, which can look junky unframed. A frame with some heft adds to their visual presence and makes them look like a million bucks! 

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Get it Together - An Interior Designer's Guide to Creating Your Best Life

by Orlando Soria.

Photographs by ©️ Zeke Ruelas.

Published by Prestel Publishing.

Brown Butter, Almond & Rose Mini Bundts

Extract from the brand new Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum, with contributions from street food traders and restaurants including Beigel Shop, Blanchette, Chez Elles, St Sugar of London, Cafe 1001 and Moo Cantina, Brick Lane Cookbook is a culinary map of the East End’s tastiest street and a snapshot of London at its multifaceted, chaotic, crazy best.

I first discovered brown butter on holiday in France when I made it to add to a cake. I was so delighted with the results that I rushed to show my friend excitedly. ‘Look! Butter has almost turned into caramel!’ Who knew such alchemy? Back in London I decided to experiment further with brown butter, adding it to biscuits and tart shells – I was convinced browning butter was absolutely the best way to eat it. I decided to make mini bundt cakes using my mum’s old tin and, of course, brown butter had to feature in the recipe. The colour of these little cakes reminded me of the golden flakes of baklava pastry, so I’ve added a Middle Eastern twist with a rose-scented icing.

One of these is never enough so double up the recipe if you’re a greedy sort like me.- Dina Begum.

 Makes 12

Makes 12

FOR THE CAKES:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 40g ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk

FOR THE ROSE ICING & TOPPING:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 drops pink food colouring (optional)
  • 2–3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 12 ring mini bundt tin

Method:

  • Place the butter in a stainless steel pan on medium heat (you need to be able to monitor the colour of the butter so you don’t burn it).
  • The butter will begin to foam after about 30 seconds. Cook for a further three or four minutes until it starts to smell nutty, almost caramel-like. You will begin to see small particles of milk solid at the bottom on the pan. Once done, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for about ten minutes. Now preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Generously grease your bundt tins, dust with flour and shake off the excess.
  • When the butter has cooled, transfer to a mixing bowl and cream together with the sugar, salt, ground almonds and vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Pour in half the flour and mix thoroughly, then add the milk and remaining flour. Mix until you have a smooth, thick batter.
  • Divide the batter between the bundt rings, filling them to about a centimetre from the top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly risen and pale gold. If you’re anything like me you’ll find the scent of freshly baked cake irresistible and will want to dig right in but don’t, unless you want broken halves of warm sponge in your hand!
  • Let the cakes cool completely in the tin for about an hour, then run a thin butter knife around the edge of each cake and ease them out.
  • Place the cakes on a baking rack or a flat dish and prepare the icing.
  • Put the icing sugar in a small bowl and add the pink food colouring, two tablespoons of milk and the rosewater. Mix together to make a pretty pink icing, runny enough to drizzle – if it looks too thick add another tablespoon of milk. Top each cake with a teaspoon or so of the icing, gently coaxing drips down the sides.
  • Top with some flaked almonds and serve with a fragrant cup of masala tea.
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Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum is published in hardback by Kitchen Press, priced at £20.

Available on Amazon

Recipe of the Week - Tortilla

Extract from the brand new Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum, with contributions from street food traders and restaurants including Beigel Shop, Blanchette, Chez Elles, St Sugar of London, Cafe 1001 and Moo Cantina, Brick Lane Cookbook is a culinary map of the East End’s tastiest street and a snapshot of London at its multifaceted, chaotic, crazy best.

Tortilla is an easy Mediterranean favourite and a popular dish on the Café 1001 menu. This baked version of the classic Spanish potato omelette is flavoured with rosemary and gently caramelised sweet onions and I love it. Make sure to cool your potatoes before adding to the egg mix; otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. - Dina Begum.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500g cypress potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary,
  • finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 500ml vegetable oil, to deep fry

Method:

  • First make your sweet onions. Pour the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the sliced onion and bay leaf and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have reduced and are completely soft and lightly browned. You’ll end up with about four heaped tablespoons of sweet, caramelised onions. Set aside to cool.
  • Throw the potatoes into a bowl and mix with the salt. Set aside for ten minutes. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan over a high heat (140C) – test it’s hot enough by dropping in a piece of potato which should start sizzling immediately. Deep fry the potatoes for 12 minutes or until golden and tender, then drain and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. At this point preheat your oven to 180ÅãC (160C fan).
  • Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the cooled sweet onion mixture, rosemary and black pepper. Throw in the fried potato pieces and mix well. Line a deep baking dish and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tortilla is golden brown on top and cooked in the middle. Test it’s done by inserting a small knife or skewer in the centre – if it comes out clean your tortilla is ready. Cool for ten minutes before serving.
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Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum is published in hardback by Kitchen Press, priced at £20.

Available on Amazon

Recipe of the Week - Chai Malai Cake

Extract from the brand new Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum, with contributions from street food traders and restaurants including Beigel Shop, Blanchette, Chez Elles, St Sugar of London, Cafe 1001 and Moo Cantina, Brick Lane Cookbook is a culinary map of the East End’s tastiest street and a snapshot of London at its multifaceted, chaotic, crazy best.

I’ve seen people’s eyes light up after a single bite of this cake and even those who don’t normally eat cake are usually converted. Of everything I cook, this is the thing most requested by family and friends. I first created it for a Bengali-inspired afternoon tea and wanted to share the recipe for this book as it’s such a wonderful way of showcasing spices in a dessert. The cake layers are reminiscent of fragrant masala chai and the frosting is inspired by rasmalai, the famous Bengali milkbased sweet, flavoured with rosewater and cardamom. Make it as an extra-special birthday cake, decorated with vibrant pink rose petals and pistachios, or as a perfect finish to your next dinner party. For best results, you need a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer to make the cake, but you can do it with a whisk and some elbow grease. - Dina Begum.

 Serves 10–12

Serves 10–12

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 2 tea bags
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 100ml whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium egg whites

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 100g unsalted butter, at room
  • temperature
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 180g full-fat cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 250g icing sugar

TO DECORATE:

  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals
  • 1 tablespoon crushed pistachios
  • 2 x 20cm springform cake tins
  • 2 x 20cm springform cake tins

Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and grease and line the cake tins.

  • Steep the tea bags in 100ml boiling water, stirring for a minute to extract as much of the flavour as possible. Discard the teabags. Add the ground cardamom to the tea and stir thoroughly, then set aside to let it infuse – this gives you a really fragrant batter.
  • Make your buttermilk next: pour the milk into a glass and stir in the vinegar. Let this sit while you start on the cake batter.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy – this will take at least two minutes. If you’re using a non-electric whisk you’ll need to beat the mixture for longer.
  • Add the cinnamon, ginger and yoghurt and beat for a further minute, then slowly beat in the tea and buttermilk.
  • Put the flour in a separate bowl with the baking powder and salt and quickly mix with a whisk. Add the flour to the buttermilk, butter and sugar mixture in two or three additions, then whisk for about 30 seconds until everything is well combined. Make sure not to overmix at this point or you’ll lose the lightness in the cake.
  • Put the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl. Beat with a clean whisk until they form stiff peaks – five minutes or so (longer, if non-electric).
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter until evenly combined and pour it into the prepared tins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool completely in the tins on a wire rack.
  • When you are ready to make the frosting, beat the butter with the ground cardamom until pale and fluffy.
  • Mix in the cream cheese, vanilla extract and rosewater, then slowly add the icing sugar and whisk together until you have a smooth, glossy frosting.
  • Put one of the cake layers on a large, pretty plate. Using a palette knife, spread with a third of the frosting, then turn the second cake layer upside down and place on top, very gently pressing together to sandwich.
  • Then take the remaining frosting and pile it on top of the second layer.
  • Gently coax some of the frosting down to cover the sides, turning as you go, and smooth the rest in a good thick layer over the top.
  • Finish the cake with two concentric circles of vibrant pink dried rose petals and crushed pistachios and dot a couple of rose petals in the centre.
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This cake is a stunner! It tastes best after resting in the fridge for a couple of hours, as this helps the flavours meld together and makes the cake easier to cut.

Cook’s tip – you can bake the cake layers in advance. Just completely cool, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge overnight. The cake will stay fresh and moist.

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Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum is published in hardback by Kitchen Press, priced at £20.

Available on Amazon

A Perfect English Townhouse

Extract from Perfect English Townhouse by Ros Byam Shaw, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Seaside Inspiration - The home of Melanie Molesworth

'We saw the particulars for this house a long time before we decided to view it,' says Melanie. 'It had been hanging around for ages, was more than we wanted to spend, and enormous. A friend who loved Lyme Regis persuaded us that we should have a look at it, and when we did, it was obvious it had potential. We asked another friend, architect Ed Howell, for ideas and he came up with a plan for dividing it so that we could have a rental property, and an income.' They took the plunge, sold their house, ditched the idea of a London flat, and moved in. 'It was 2011, and I was very hot and cold about it, very nervous. But actually, it's been amazing.'

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A new staircase, leading from one of the two front doors, arrives at a small landing where this door with its glazed surround opens into the huge 18 metre living room and kitchen. Framed in a glass-fronted cabinet on the wall are fragments of china and pottery found by Melanie on the beach.

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Melanie and Martin inherited a fitted kitchen that was already in place, but have given it a facelift by painting it Farrow & Ball Mole's Breath and replacing the handles. New white brick tiling, open shelving, and a wall-mounted metal saucepan rack completed the transformation. A sofa covered in navy linen, just seen to the left, marks the division between the kitchen and the sitting room.

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To the left of the big, arched window that lights the kitchen, a table holds a framed pressed seaweed by Molesworth & Bird propped against an old seed tray, another find from Bridport Market. To its right is a painted Swedish sofa. A broken piece of brick, deliberately placed, takes on the status of a small sculpture. Lou-Lou the cat watches proceedings from under the table.

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The huge sofa, big enough to seat six, came with the house, and has been re-covered in a dark grey linen. A white IKEA table stands between the two armchairs, one covered in a floral fabric by Paul Smith for Mulberry. The window overlooks the culvert for the River Lym, which runs beneath part of the house.

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The main bedroom is one of the rooms directly above the River Lym, which runs in a deep culvert down through the town and into the sea. The Victorian chair is covered in vintage William Morris fabric, and the table beneath the window has one set of legs propped on blocks of wood to compensate for the slope of the old floorboards. 

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Perfect English Townhouse

by Ros Byam Shaw

Published by Ryland Peters & Small

Available on Amazon, £20.40

Book Extract from Decorate - Colour Tricks

This is an extract from Decorate - 1,000 inspirational design ideas for every room in you house, by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick. Published by Jacqui Small.

Colour is one of the most powerful of decorators’ tools. Relatively economical to use, fun to choose but also easy to get wrong, so some experimentation is a good idea.

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‘Wallpaper or paint the interiors of your bookshelves and, if you can afford to, the ceiling or an accent wall.’ Celerie Kemble, designer
 Pale pink linen walls in Christine d’Ornano’s London home are subtle but hugely warming. Some colours will change character according to how they are used. A gloss grey will be colder than a chalky paint, while blue can bear to be shiny as well as matt.

Pale pink linen walls in Christine d’Ornano’s London home are subtle but hugely warming. Some colours will change character according to how they are used. A gloss grey will be colder than a chalky paint, while blue can bear to be shiny as well as matt.

  • For instant impact paint one wall in a living room or bedroom in a bold, vivid colour. Choose the wall that will make the most dramatic statement.
  • In a large room where you want to enhance a sense of enclosure and seclusion, opposing walls can be painted the same colour.
 Combining a range of tones in one colourway makes a sophisticated statement. Minky, mole-like browns and soft cappuccinos on a range of fabrics and textures in a bedroom presents an enticing picture.

Combining a range of tones in one colourway makes a sophisticated statement. Minky, mole-like browns and soft cappuccinos on a range of fabrics and textures in a bedroom presents an enticing picture.

  • You can add highly patterned wallpaper to one wall to create a feature in a room where there is no natural focal point.
  • In a room dominated by neutral colours add in vivid contrast colour as accents on upholstery, cushions or artwork. Strong tones such as orange, citrus lime or red work well as vivid jolts of colour in this way.
 Small sky blue mosaic tiles give a mother-of-pearl shimmer as they catch the light above a simple fireplace. Tiling is a good way of adding colour to kitchens, living room and bedroom fireplaces and bathrooms.

Small sky blue mosaic tiles give a mother-of-pearl shimmer as they catch the light above a simple fireplace. Tiling is a good way of adding colour to kitchens, living room and bedroom fireplaces and bathrooms.

  • Infusing a room with bold colour is one of the best decorating tools to create an instant mood or a certain style. Think warm blues, hot pinks or sunshine yellows. They will all create a cosy space in a small room and detract from the room’s natural dimensions.
  • Remember that red will always warm and enclose while white will always expand and lighten a space. When choosing paint colours, always opt for a shade or two lighter than what you are naturally drawn to. Paint chips often deceive.
 Apply bold colours midway up a wall to lessen their impact but provide a visual feast when moving from one room to another. Use paint or wallpaper to create the colour and add in complementary tones for punctuation.

Apply bold colours midway up a wall to lessen their impact but provide a visual feast when moving from one room to another. Use paint or wallpaper to create the colour and add in complementary tones for punctuation.

  • Steer away from brilliant white paint. It contains a blue caste that will make northern rooms dull and grey. Instead, opt for a standard white that includes a hint of pink pigment for maximum ‘whiteness’ on the finished wall.
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Decorate (Reissue) by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick.

Photographs by Debi Treloar

Published by Jacqui Small

Out now.

Secret Gardens of East Anglia

Extract from Secret Gardens of East Anglia by Barbara Segall, published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

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The whole of East Anglia is a rather secret, unsung place, off most people’s beaten track. I have come to know it well since I moved here in 1986, not least because my garden-writing life has taken me to gardens great and small, private and public, across the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. I fell instantly under the spell of this magical region and its idyllic landscapes, the spirit of which is captured so remarkably in the paintings of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) and John Constable (1776-1837). 

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The four counties have their individual charms, yet are sometimes dismissed as flat and therefore possibly a little dull. In fact, the wide horizons and huge skies, the light, the sea, the farmlands and gently undulating countryside combine to provide a rich background for garden-making. Visitors to the region can find every sort of garden inspiration here, be it bravura herbaceous borders, tongue-in-cheek topiary, sensitively sited artworks, ornamental kitchen gardens, romantic wildflower meadows or lovingly crafted detailing.

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East Anglia has a great tradition of creative horticulturists, whose skill and artistry in planting their own gardens resonates in many others in the region. These influential figures include the painter and iris enthusiast Sir Cedric Morris, who made a garden at Benton End, in Suffolk, after settling there in 1938; legendary nurseryman, the late Alan Bloom (founder of Blooms of Bressingham, Norfolk) and his son Adrian Bloom; and, of course, plantswoman Beth Chatto, who has shown us how to use plants that do well in particular environments.

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In East Anglian counties this includes summer droughts, windswept locations, dry sandy soils, or, just as problematic, clay soils that crack in summer then become muddy impasses in winter. Each garden in this book is an example not only of how to meet the physical challenges a site presents, but how to turn them to advantage. In these pages you will also find the ingenious ways in which garden owners have responded to various design challenges, ranging from tiny domestic spaces to grand, historic settings. Some have created a garden from scratch. Several have started small, then been driven by their gardening ambitions to expand into the surrounding land.

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Secret Gardens of East Anglia by Barbara Segall

Photography by Marcus Harpur.

Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Out Now

How to Make an Apartment Instantly ‘Copenhagen’

Extract taken from Nørth: How to Live Scandinavian by Brontë Aurell. Published by Aurum Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

When you first go to Copenhagen and you visit someone’s apartment, you usually end up
in awe … ‘Are they interior designers?’ you ask yourself. ‘What style!’ you exclaim, tearing
up your insides as you try to forget about your own bedsit hovel with magnolia coloured
walls. Then you visit someone else, and you think ‘Oh, this place looks quite like Søren and
Sofie’s’. Third time around, you know: there is a ‘style’.

 Image ©Anna Jacobsen

Image ©Anna Jacobsen

Ten ways to make your apartment instantly ‘Copenhagen’


1. Rip up all carpets and sand your floors. Then paint them white.


2. Paint all your walls white. Yes, all of them, white. If there is a shade of white called
‘Scandinavian white’ or ‘Ringsted white’ or ‘Vesterbro white’, go for that.

 Image ©Anna Jacobsen

Image ©Anna Jacobsen


3. Paint all your skirting boards and doors white.


4. Remove all curtains and traces of curtains, because you no longer need them. If you
can’t live without window coverings, add some white, stylish blinds, but make sure that,
when they are up, you can’t see them.


5. Get one colourful statement chair, ideally by a designer from Denmark. Anything with the
word Jacobsen or Wegner is good. Buy a woolly sheepskin from a remote farm in Sweden
and add this to said statement chair.


6. Have one normal chair next to your sofa where you add a stack of books or magazines
with pictures of bearded men. Leave them there.

 Image ©Anna Jacobsen

Image ©Anna Jacobsen


7. Put just one green plant in the window.


8. Your sofa must be a tasteful colour or stick to black. It must also be simple – none of this
‘all the way to the floor’ business. Legs – and nothing underneath. Thou shalt not add too
many cushions.

 Image ©Anna Jacobsen

Image ©Anna Jacobsen


9. Add all or some of the following: one rug (can be colourful), one or two designer posters
of designer things (drawings of chairs or statues). One standing lamp (tasteful, sleek). The
coffee table must be in front of the sofa and it must have thin legs. Two candle holders (the
metal kind, from Illums Bolighus). The bookshelf is allowed to be from IKEA, but must be
‘Is it really from IKEA or not?’


10. Hide your TV, or, don’t have one.

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How to Live Scandinavian by Brontë Aurell.

Published by Aurum Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Available to buy here.

At Home With Plants - Mantles and Fireplaces

Extract from At Home with Plants by Ian Drummond and Kara O’Reilly. Published by Mitchell Beazley.

Even if a fireplace isn't used for its original purpose, in most living rooms it will still be the main focal point. It is also really easy to style up with plants. It it is still in use, choose heat-tolerant plants such as succulents, cacti and Tillandsia (air plants), and avoid trailing plants.

Individual plants in separate pots allow you to rearrange the display at will, while a trough of complementary plants creates a simple, stylish statement. Symmetrical mantel displays can work well, as can repetitive designs, or divide the space into a series of small vignettes, introducing plants alongside ornaments. A mantle can also take one bold plant, such as Anthurium scherzerianum (flamingo flower), Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lilly), a Dendrobium orchid or Medinilla magnifica (rose grape).

 Placing single plants in separate pots makes it easy to rearrange a display.

Placing single plants in separate pots makes it easy to rearrange a display.

 Houseplants are interspersed with favourite ornaments for a more personal display.

Houseplants are interspersed with favourite ornaments for a more personal display.

 Even a narrow mantle can be used as a display surface, provided you choose small varieties of plants.

Even a narrow mantle can be used as a display surface, provided you choose small varieties of plants.

For the hearth, gather together posts of tall and squat plants, such as Zamioculas zamiifolia (fern arum), Calathea makoyana (peacock plant) and Epipremnum aureum (devil's ivy). For the grate, try Zamioculcas zammiifolia as the backbone, Rhipsalis baccifera (mistletoe cactus) for trailing, plus Aglaonema 'Silver Queen' (Chinese evergreen) for foliage colour.

 The texture of this basket complements the plants growing inside.

The texture of this basket complements the plants growing inside.

Recipe: Easy-Care Mantel Display

2 Begonia rex (fan plant)

1 Beaucarnea recurvata (elephant's foot)

1 Peperomia caperata (emerald ripple)

2 Echeveria setosa (Mexican firecracker)

At Home With Plants by Ian Drummond and Kara O’Reilly

Published by Mitchell Beazley

Price £20

Garden Project - Upcycled Tin Can Display

Extracted from Urban Flowers by Carolyn Dunster, published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

An inexpensive way to display plants, tin cans provide good homes for annuals, which do not have large roots systems.

The stars of this project are the annual lime green tobaccco plants (Nicotiana), which I grew from seed in early spring and combined with cosmos and coneflowers to produce this pretty yet inexpensive display in upcycled tin cans.

The lime green hue of this variety of tobacco plant is quite stunning. It looks great in a display all by itself but to highlight its beauty I have displayed it with a tin of pale yellow cosmos and lime green coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel’), together with cut sprigs of Bupleurum, to complete the lime zest picture.

You will need:
tobacco plant seeds
seed tray
seed compost
a variety of large fruit or vegetable cans
hammer and nail
multi-purpose compost
cosmos and coneflower seedlings(optional)
small watering can

  1. Look out for large tin cans – catering sizes are ideal and you may be able to pick them up free from a local café or restaurant. Make drainage holes in the bottom of each tin with a hammer and nail.

  2. Fill a large can almost to the top with multi-purpose compost. Gently transplant four or five seedlings into the can using a teaspoon to scoop out the roots. To avoid any damage, handle the seedlings with care.

  3. As the seedlings become established, take out all but the strongest healthiest plant to give it space to flourish and flower. If the others are growing well too, pop them in their own tin can filled with compost.

  4. It took five months from sowing to flowering, so patience is the name of the game. Water the tins every day or two, and remove faded looms to encourage more to form. You can also harvest the seed in autumn.

Visit Carolyn Dunster's website Urban Flowers.

Photographs by Jason Ingram

Urban Flowers by Carolyn Dunster.

£20. Out Today

Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Tiny House - A 1940's Cottage

Extract from ‘Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes’ by Antonia Edwards, published by Prestel.

Tiny House by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.

 Tall, high-efficiency windows come right down to sofa level, letting in maximum light.

Tall, high-efficiency windows come right down to sofa level, letting in maximum light.

Jessica Helgerson is a Portland-based designer of residential and commercial interiors. With a long-standing interest in green building and sustainability, she has sat on a number of boards devoted to environmental preservation. In 2008, Helgerson and her husband bought a 540-square-foot cottage on five acres of farmland on Sauvie Island, an agricultural landmass on the Columbia River just north of Portland. The cottage was first built in the early 1940's as part of Vanport Village, a development constructed to house shipyard workers from Vancouver in Washington and Portland. When Vanport Village flooded in 1948, the small structure floated down the river to Sauvie Island, where it became the goose check station (a place where hunters would showcase the geese they had shot). Years later, it was remodeled and became a rental property.

 One addition to the 1940s Tiny House was a green roof, which was planted with moss and ferns gathered from the Columbia River gorge.

One addition to the 1940s Tiny House was a green roof, which was planted with moss and ferns gathered from the Columbia River gorge.

Helgerson’s redesign was the fourth time the house had been renovated. As with most of her projects, her goal was to ensure the fundamental design and materials were classic and long-lasting, as well as being appropriate for the build- ing and its period. Rather then extending the property, they chose to work with its existing size. Retaining only the exterior walls, the windows, doors, roof and interior were replaced almost entirely with reclaimed materials, a decision based on a combination of what looked right for the property and what was immedi- ately on hand. ‘Mostly we were trying to do something beautiful and economical that felt right for the place,’ says Helgerson. ‘We love to work on old buildings because it really makes us respond in fresh ways to the existing conditions. I think when designing only new buildings, it’s easy to get formulaic. I hate to see great old buildings get torn down and replaced with ugly new ones. It seems so sad, and a waste.’

 The walls were insulated, then faced in reclaimed wood siding from a barn that had been deconstructed onsite.

The walls were insulated, then faced in reclaimed wood siding from a barn that had been deconstructed onsite.

Given its small footprint, Helgerson redesigned the interior of Tiny House for maximum efficiency, creating one open-plan room that comprises the dining room, living room and kitchen. This room also contains built-in sofas that double as twin beds for guests, and hidden storage underneath provides an ideal place for children’s toys. The ceiling of the main living area was opened up to give a feeling of space, but lowered over the bathroom and bedroom to make a lofted sleeping area for adults accessed via a walnut ladder. A wall of shelving provides plenty of room for books and large, low-set windows bring ample light into the interior.

 One wall contains the kitchen, maximizing the available space.

One wall contains the kitchen, maximizing the available space.

 The parents’ bedroom is located on the mezzanine level of the main room, which is lined with vintage Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs and accessed via a walnut ladder. In addition to a separate kids’ bedroom, the built-in sofas double up as beds for guests.

The parents’ bedroom is located on the mezzanine level of the main room, which is lined with vintage Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs and accessed via a walnut ladder. In addition to a separate kids’ bedroom, the built-in sofas double up as beds for guests.

The family spent four years living in the cottage. Raising chickens, turkeys and bees, they have worked towards self-sufficiency, with nearly everything they eat grown at home. A 1,200-square-foot greenhouse on the site houses vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and they’re even able to make cheese from a neighbour’s goats and cows. They now live in a larger house on the same property, making the cottage the perfect place for relatives and friends to stay.

You can find more about the author Antonia on her Upcyclist blog www.upcyclist.co.uk

Renovate Innovate - Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes

By Antonia Edwards

Published by Prestel

Books - Studio by Sally Coulthard

Extract from Studio by Sally Coulthard, published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group. Out 16th March

CRAFT CORNER
Lise Meunier, ceramic artist, France

Hunting around fleamarkets is like prospecting for gold. Ceramic artist and stylist, Lise Meunier, has become adept at sieving her way through brocantes for precious pieces to smuggle back to her studio. It’s a gorgeous space. Part studio, part home, it’s a light, white apartment with large windows that open to the sky and a flower-filled balcony. ‘Maybe one day I will put colour on the walls,’ she muses. ‘But white is neutral, enlarges the space and catches the light. And as the room is already full, I find white more visually relaxing.’

Around the studio, vintage pieces of furniture set the stage for her work – large wooden canteen table and kitchen table provide ample work surfaces, while a small wardrobe ‘bonnetière’ and cooking cupboard keep her equipment in order. ‘I also have lots of small drawers, lockers and doll furniture – very practical for storing small things. I also like using old boxes for storage – biscuit boxes, sewing boxes, tool boxes. There are toys, textiles, decorative items – it’s an accumulation of objects of all kinds but they often have some connection to children and nature. These objects create the universe in my studio, give me inspiration and make me feel good.’

CREATIVE REINCARNATION
Lise describes herself as someone who gives ‘a second life to objects’. Her studio, a room off the main living space, is filled with toys, textiles and other decorative items, creating a ‘personal universe’ which informs her work. Most people would make it look like clutter; with Lise’s expert eye, she makes it look like art.

TABLESCAPES
Shiny new furniture just wouldn’t fit with Lise’s work or visual aesthetic; her studio is filled with old furniture, donated by friends, bought in brocantes or found on the street, including an old canteen trestle and a rustic kitchen table.

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Studio by Sally Coulthard

Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Out 16th March.

Pre-order here.

Floristry Now - From the Garden

Extract from Floristry Now by Paula Pryke, published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Garden flowers, seasonally arranged, are always in vogue. The heritage of the quintessential English garden means that our flower-arranging tradition is rich with plant material. It is no coincidence that British gardens look their best at the end of May when the Royal Horticultural Society holds the famous annual Chelsea Flower Show in London. It is one of my favourite times of the year, as late spring collides with early summer.

Garden roses have been one of the areas that has seen an enormous change in the last decade. Originally garden roses were hard to get out of season but over time countries such as Kenya in Africa and Colombia in South America have invested in a lot of garden rose production. Many are the famous roses of the breeder David Austin, and the company have also invested more recently in cut-flower production alongside their plant-growing activities.

 photo credit to Tim Winter

photo credit to Tim Winter

A pastel watering can is crammed with a selection of spring flowers, including arching Solomon’s seal, magnolia buds, lilac, ‘Antique’carnations, eryngium, rosebuds and Viburnum opulus.

 Photo credit to Rachel Whiting

Photo credit to Rachel Whiting

This fine-looking Stachys byzantina is tied to a metal basket with raffia. Floral foam holds ‘Miss Delilah’ phlox, ‘Figaro Lavender’ stocks and purple summer asters. Stems of handsome leafless Solomon’s seal are then drawn across the design to show off their creamy white bells to maximum effect.

 photo credit to Rachel Whiting

photo credit to Rachel Whiting

It is very fashionable to have collections of vases together, with small arrangements or even single stems in each. This makes the maximum impact out of the fewest flowers, so is perfect for making the most of garden pickings. Sprigs of flowering currant, forsythia, viburnum blossom, primroses, hellebores and dicentra sit in tiny irregular vases.

 Photo credit to Polly Wreford

Photo credit to Polly Wreford

I love the shape of this enamel jug which, when filled, has a wide enough mouth to create a good spread of flowers. Here it holds Alchemilla mollis, Consolida ajacis, rose-coloured eustoma, two-tone antirrhinum and the wonderful scented garden rose Evelyn.

Floristry Now by Paula Pryke.

Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Out now

A Studio for Sketching

Extract from She Sheds: A Room of Your Own by Erika Kotite. Published by Cool Springs Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

 Ken Smith designed a more steeply pitched roof and included a small oval window and French doors. Two custom-made barn lights in deep cobalt blue complete the facade.

Ken Smith designed a more steeply pitched roof and included a small oval window and French doors. Two custom-made barn lights in deep cobalt blue complete the facade.

There are times when a she shed doesn’t start out that way. Susan Mintun, a noted former horticulturist and now a botanical illustrator, knew her tools were losing the battle for garage space with her husband’s many automobiles. Nevertheless, she wanted something pretty that reflected the French architecture of her Main Line, Pennsylvania, home.

 A moveable ladder provides easy access to the loft storage area.

A moveable ladder provides easy access to the loft storage area.

Mintun contacted Ken Smith of Garden Sheds Inc. and asked if he could modify the company’s colonial style shed to meet her needs. The result is both restrained and stylized. “I wanted the ‘presence’ of a functional structure as part of my garden’s design,” Mintun recalls.
What she didn’t expect was how much she would enjoy being in her new shed. Mintun began using it as a satellite studio to work on her illustrations. She uses an old butcherblock table and sketches away with a view to the flowers in her garden. “If I had known how much I would love this shed, I would have included a sink and maybe insulation so that I could use it year round,” Mintun says.

 The interior is unfinished, featuring an unpainted cedar floor and one bracketed shelf where Mintun has her collection of birdhouses.

The interior is unfinished, featuring an unpainted cedar floor and one bracketed shelf where Mintun has her collection of birdhouses.

Her favourite things:

  • French Accents: Mintun loves the light that streams in through the French doors, four matching windows, and oval window overhead.
  • Copper roof finial, custom made for her shed.
  • Fresh wood smell.
 Mintun curated plant collections and taught horticulture in St Louis before retiring and moving to Pennsylvania.

Mintun curated plant collections and taught horticulture in St Louis before retiring and moving to Pennsylvania.

Photography: Susan Mintun

She Sheds by Erika Kotite

  Belle of the Garden. Photography: Stacy Bass Photography, p168 – “Twin trellises support the garden’s climbing roses on the Williamsburg Gardenbelle she shed. This impressive architectural structure is actually centered within the brick wall and becomes part of the landscape’s permanence.”

Belle of the Garden. Photography: Stacy Bass Photography, p168 – “Twin trellises support the garden’s climbing roses on the Williamsburg Gardenbelle she shed. This impressive architectural structure is actually centered within the brick wall and becomes part of the landscape’s permanence.”

Have you dreamed of a quiet place where you can get away from it all? Do you have a creative spirit that is searching for somewhere to thrive? Would you like to surround yourself with special things that are yours and yours alone? Do you believe that the best things come in small packages? All over the world, others have felt the same desires and discovered the solitude and splendor of a she shed. They may be described by other names, such as hen hut or lady lair, but the purpose and benefits are exactly the same. 

  La casita. Photography: Cody Ulrich, p107.jpg – “A stunning chandelier that Morse made from shells hangs over the main living area of her shed. The sofa serves as her bed when she stays here. Handsome wood flooring is mostly original, painted black. Above the beams, a former air vent now serves as a small window.”

La casita. Photography: Cody Ulrich, p107.jpg – “A stunning chandelier that Morse made from shells hangs over the main living area of her shed. The sofa serves as her bed when she stays here. Handsome wood flooring is mostly original, painted black. Above the beams, a former air vent now serves as a small window.”

In She Sheds, the beautiful new book by Erika Kotite, you’ll see dozens of in-depth examples of these private spaces to inspire you in your own pursuit. Some she sheds are dedicated to making art or music, some to gardening, writing, or reading. The activities are as varied as the women who have created them. But they all share one thing in common: they began as someone’s dream and blossomed into a small slice of heaven. 

  The Bridal Shed. Photography by Anne Wells, p59 – “The underside of the roof is swathed in a cotton canopy. (There is a timber roof above.) A storage area to the far end is created with a stud partition that comes out just to the center of the shed.”

The Bridal Shed. Photography by Anne Wells, p59 – “The underside of the roof is swathed in a cotton canopy. (There is a timber roof above.) A storage area to the far end is created with a stud partition that comes out just to the center of the shed.”

Erika Kotite is an editor, writer, and content developer in both print and digital media. She was editor-in-chief of Romantic Homes and Victorian Homes for many years, bringing that experience to producing books for Sterling, Quarry, and Walter Foster. Some of her titles include, Felt Fashion: Couture Projects from Apparel to Accessories, Blogging for Bliss, and The Daily Book of Photography. 

She Sheds: A Room Of Your Own by Erika Kotite is published by Cool Springs Press (£16.99). The book officially releases on 16th February and more information can be found here

A Peaceful, Rural Retreat up in the Treetops

Extract from Bold and Bright by Maíra S Teixeira, published by Ryland Peters & Small. 

Located 210 km/130 miles from São Paulo in the state of Minas Gerais, the city of Gonçalves is set against the panoramic backdrop of the Mantiqueira Mountains. This region is famous for its dramatic natural beauty and is rich in lush valleys and plunging waterfalls. It is a popular area for climbers and trekkers, who are drawn to the high peaks and the well-preserved forests full of native flora and fauna. Renowned Brazilian photographer Bob Wolfenson first visited the area more than 20 years ago. A frequent repeat visitor, in 2011 he found the perfect spot for a home in the mountains: ‘I saw this site and I fell in love,’ he says.

Bob’s choice of architect was pretty much a foregone conclusion. The architect André Vainer was a childhood friend and the two of them had already worked together on a variety of projects , including a house in São Paulo and a beach house. Bob’s brief for this mountain abode was a modestly sized space that would be both a peaceful rural retreat and a place where friends and family could come together. And, after working on so many projects together, André ‘felt an obligation to create a beautiful home’.

The sloping, densely forested site presented a few challenges, but André came up with an ingenious solution that not o n l y preserved the existing trees on the plot but also made the most of the spectacular views from this elevated vantage point. The house consists of two separate blocks on different levels that curve protectively around the hillside. One is the living or ‘social’ block containing the kitchen, dining and living rooms. This light-filled, informal space boasts huge windows and a broad terrace overlooking the treetops.

The private block, tucked behind the living block and on a slightly higher level, houses three simple yet spacious bedroom suites. The two blocks are connected by a pink concrete staircase. ‘This was a way to divide up the functions of the house, giving more privacy to the residents , ’ explains André.

The house was assembled using local labour and materials. It is mainly constructed from glass and garapeia wood with internal brick walls and concrete supporting pillars. The sail-like white roof is made of sheet metal, which reflects sunlight a n d h e l p s retain heat from the traditional wood-burning stove and the open fireplace. All along one side of the main living block, floor-to-ceiling windows of tempered glass with frames made from muiracatiara wood provide a remarkable view of trees and mountains. Lofty and airy, the house gives the sensation of being embraced by the forest. The teal colour used to paint much of the woodwork helps the house blend into the surrounding greenery and contrasts with the white roof.

The bedrooms are located in the upper, private block. Each one has independent access to the garden, allowing guests freedom and privacy. Bob’s bedroom is located at one end and offers breathtaking views over the green tapestry of the valley below. There is a sense of space and tranquillity in this mountain perch.

Bold and Bright by Maíra S Teixeira, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Available from Amazon

Photography by Maíra Acayaba © Ryland Peters & Small

In the Mood for Colour - A Soft Look

Extract from In the Mood for Colour by Hans Blomquist, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Creating a soft and gentle scheme is quite easy, as the different shades in this colour spectrum tend to be harmonious and will give you an up-to-date interior that is comfortable to live in. You can either embrace the look wholeheartedly by choosing furnishings in toning colours, or introduce contrasting darker hues. A gentle scheme is traditionally romantic and can feel quite feminine, but if you accessorise it with contemporary furniture and objects, you can make the look more neutral. 
Having said that, I prefer not to label colours – or anything else, for that matter – masculine or feminine, as I think we can be more creative than that. We all have the right to choose the colours we love and to furnish our homes with our favourite furniture and accessories.

STYLISHLY SOFT.
Dried flowers are one of the most beautiful things there are. The colours of most blooms become even more stunning when dried and their petals and leaves take on a tactile, paper-like quality. These peonies were just too glorious not to photograph for this book, both for their texture and colour inspiration (above). 

The romantic room above illustrates a perfect soft combination, with the light pink sofa and a duck-egg blue wall that has been painted and patched with roses and leaves. Both inviting and stylish, it would be a successful look to recreate.

SOFT FLORALS.
This is an inviting spot to hang out (above), where layers of printed textiles are mixed with plain fabrics and pillowcases in soft textures and tones. A few darker colours have been introduced to break up the scheme and give it some depth. The French metal daybed was found at a flea market and the cushions and textiles are a mix of new and vintage. The backdrop has been painted in two tones, using soft Dorchester Pink for the panelling, and mixing it with pale grey Mono for the walls, both from Little Greene.

USING PATTERNS.
I have had a soft spot for floral patterns for as long as I can remember. A traditional choice for country-style interiors, florals are often considered old-fashioned by those who prefer a clean, contemporary look, but for me, floral prints work everywhere and can be incorporated into any look you want. Of course, a soft-looking interior with floral patterns sits very comfortably in a country-esque setting, and maybe that is where it fits best, but I would love to see more creativity than that when it comes to mix and match, and urge you to be adventurous. Layer different kinds of floral patterns, using faded vintage prints and soft linens to create a perfect corner for daydreaming in your city apartment or country house (above right). 
Another idea is to use vintage maps as wallpaper, or to make a headboard by papering a square the same width as your bed, then dress the bed with soft dyed textiles to add textural layers to your bedroom (above left).

SOFTLY LAYERED.
This image (above) was photographed in fashion designer Marie Sixtine’s apartment in Paris. The warm mix of natural wood, painted furniture and soft textiles make the space very inviting, while the layers of textures give them a very personal look. The way the interior is decorated and the combination of soft colours used throughout give it a calming vibe.
The space was exceptionally relaxing and comfortable to be in, and all my senses – especially touch and sight – felt instantly soothed.

In the Mood for Colour by Hans Blomquist, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Available from Amazon.

Photography by Debi Treloar & Hans Blomquist © Ryland Peters & Small.