Roman and Williamsis an amazing company based in NY who have a wonderful approach to interior design. They are two of the most creative people in the business and I wanted to share some of their work with you.
After designing film sets together in Hollywood for 10 years they were asked to design a home in LA…. they haven’t looked back since!
This is what they have to say…
That ethos is truly reflected in the home they did for themselves. They have a great set of projects under their belts from boutique hotels, restaurants to the re-design of the British Galleries at the Museum of Modern Art in NY.. need I go further… I think not!
Today I want to show you a project for their own weekend getaway.
They took an unremarkable 1950s house with 1980s additions and without major renovation works turned it into this cool, laid-back, welcoming retreat. The wood walls and ceiling beams were reclaimed from a hotel and the Facebook building respectively…
Eclectic combinations of mid century vintage pieces using rosewoods, rattan, leather and sheepskins gives a relaxed feel. The carefully curated antique accessories and artwork creates that just thrown together feeling that is so difficult to achieve!
Used also as a “laboratory” for work no wonder they come up with such inspiring ideas!
The different types of reclaimed wood is a great contrast to the black lacquered kitchen and windows, which really ground the rooms and the contrast is unexpected. By keeping the colour palette simple lots of accessories don’t make the space feel overcrowded.
I really admire what they have done on this project, it looks authentic, is full of character and has real personality.
ECO THE LOOK
If you like this style I have put together a collage of products I have sourced from some of the sites I list on the resources panel at the top of the page. The furniture is Danish vintage as is the modern art. From the Turkish Kilim and Balinese pillows, recycled palette chest and genuine Maseri painted leather shield…..
If you can’t find on resource page then contact me (see top of post for link) and I will direct you to the relevant page…
I bought the Robin and Williams book a few months ago and I love it, full of facts and ideas from product design, construction to interior design – in fact one of the best interior design books I have (and I have many!) You can buy their book via the website, but I got mine via Amazon because it was easier to send to Switzerland…
Check out their amazing website here many more projects.
When it comes to design, gardens are outside rooms and the design principles of interior design apply. Collecting ideas of what you like and want will help you decide on things through the process. Interior designers use mood boards and you can too for your garden, i.e. you like a plant or chair ask yourself “would it be out of place on my mood board?” You have your decision there and then. There are may good designers out there if you go that route and your mood board will be very helpful by giving your designer an understanding of what you want in a visual form.
1. Read my Garden Blogs 1-3 hints and tips of how to….
3. Assess your space & make a plan…..pencil, paper, measuring tape and compass (there is on the iPhone)
For her clients who wanted to keep as large a lawn as possible, Lisa moved the shed nearer the house and used the full width at the back of the garden. By making it a circular shape the lawn appear larger. By moving the BBQ & dining area eating area near the kitchen makes it convenient to use. The kitchen extension has bi-fold doors and the new patio is effectively an extension of the kitchen in the summer months. Siting the shed nearer the house allowed her clients to access the shed in winter without having to walk across a muddy lawn …. North facing she has selected many shade loving plants on her mood board above – to see more of this project click here
Coming soon…..Eco Garden Design Part 5
Don’t miss my next and final post of this series where I will walk you through each step of the design process used by interior designers to design your garden! Balance, Colour, Texture, Form, Scale, Pattern, Contrast, Unity and Rhythm…. once you have this know how…. you can design any interior or exterior space…
Thanks for reading.
p.s. I have some amazing images on my Pinterest Boards click below
We are at the height of our summer and the mood is relaxed, looking forward to holidays… Turquoise for me is the ultimate colour of July!
Turquoise stone is sacred to Native Americans, it is said to be the bridge between heaven and earth. It is said to be healing, protective and allows you to release old vows that are no longer relevant, and stop self sabotage.
ok… now I have good reason to buy one of these beauties…
Turquoise falls between blue and green on the colour wheel – a cool colour that opens up a room making it recede away from you so it feels more spacious. As it tends towards the green side, your eye’s lens has to flex very little to see it and that is why it creates a feeling of calm. It gives a feeling of cleanliness and freshness. Here are how interior designers use this wonderful colour and the some design principles explained.
This small bedroom above is a blank canvas of white to open the space to the max, by adding the turquoise in light absorbing velvets and light reflective ceramic vases it creates enough interest but too much that it is busy. Balance is achieved by perfect symmetry, with the painting as the focal point. Symmetrical balance is very calming to the eye because our eyes want to see balance and harmony. The footstools and side tables are on legs which shows more of the floor, another trick to make the room feel larger…. The touches of orange-brown in the painting are at the opposite side of the colour wheel to turquoise (called a complimentarycombination) and that is yet another tool a designer can use to make the turquoise pop out and please your eye… The scale of the ceramic table lights being slightly oversized adds a touch of unexpected and gives the room interest. Repetition of the turquoise dotted around the space moves your eye around the space nicely…
Below are some rooms that reflect elements of the above mood board…..
Here the darker shade is achieved by adding black to the mix. The paint effect on the wall is contrasted with the small scale print on the chairs. The general scale of the room is balanced by the window arching downwards and the lamp meeting that line or vertical axis as designers call it. Balance here is interestingly a mix of symmetric chairs but the overall room is asymmetric with the window and the offset basket of logs… As in the first image the complimentary colour of orange-brown is used.
Above the sofa is the only solid piece of colour in this skilfully decorated room. To layer print on print takes a good eye. It is successful here because all the prints are a form of IKAT. By keeping the same colour palette and varying the scale and design of the print it works beautifully. The rug ties them together. Brass accents offer repetition and rhythm which pulls your eye around the space making it interesting for your brain. The colour palette once more is the tried and trusted combo with orange-brown. The black background floor and screen draw the room in and make it cosy. The opposite of how the white works in the very first image.
Above an oversized mirror plays with the scale and the specialist plaster finished wall offers bespoke luxury… for similar ideas see Terrafino who specialise in polished plaster. Again brass accents lift the colour and provide repetition. Balance of texture is achieved because the varying gloss surfaces on the brass, mirror and console are offset by the course linen curtains and rug, in a soft beige complimentary colour.
A whimsical wallpaper and vintage bath appliances make this panelled bathroom and unexpected pleasure. Scale here is really clever here because the mirror is under scaled (yes, more subtle than over but adds a touch of fun). The reflection in the mirror shows the wallpaper on the opposite wall which looks smaller because of the distance – a great trick! The big thing about interior design is that every project should include something that makes you smile….
Below are some products that you may find useful….
I currently working with Camira and Vescom fabrics on a project, and the swatches don’t do the products justice – they have wonderful ranges of velvets and linens too…
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing so much Turquoise… and learning a few interior design tips along the way!
Thanks for reading,
p.s. the link to my pinterest board on Turquoise here
For many the garden is their main contact with the natural world, however many gardens have evolved to be highly unnatural places.
Today, many gardens regardless of where, are lawn and borders holding plants, many which may be transported halfway across the world. To maintain such gardens in peak condition requires constant irrigation and liberal doses of chemical insecticides, fertilisers and weedkillers. Many people worry about chemicals inside their homes and on food that they buy, but forget about the garden which could be much more toxic than they imagine.
By choosing planting that is suited to your environment your garden will be ‘lower maintenance’ and you can get more pleasure and do less work! Eg, did you consider that a petrol mower running for an hour creates the same pollution in the atmosphere as driving an average car 560km?
Working with nature
Instead of imposing an artificial garden idea on a site regardless of the conditions – go with what mother nature would have planted there herself! Do this by looking around at your local forests, parks and see what works well in neighbouring gardens, ask advice at a good quality garden centre. By promoting native species, you attract local wildlife and insects and you will require less water to upkeep. In addition to this, use non-toxic structures and natural organic methods for pest control (see below)… and that is pretty much and eco garden!
Lawns do have their place and can be highly practical for children to run around safely on. If you have a lawn try to create a space for a natural garden area too then you will still attract the right predators to keep your precious plants uneaten.
Type of soil
Amount of rainfall
Aspect – direction of sun
Type of soil…. note that sometimes you might have a mixture of soil in your garden and some will be exposed to sun and other parts in the shade. Choose your plants according to the soil/area/blooming season and in no time you will have an abundant, all year interest garden. You could also put anything you want in a pot with the corresponding earth mix.
Clay is heavy, high in nutrients, wet and cold in winter and dry and hard in summer.
Sandy is light, dry warm and low in nutrients
Chalk is very alkaline may be light or heavy
Dry soil benefits from being mulched (spread and dig in) with product you can buy or make your own from old leaves and composted vegetables from the kitchen (avoid dairy/meat scraps).
Shade loving plants – if you have shade embrace these lovely plants which are full of texture – I love hostas! (note: put sharp grit or crushed egg shells around the bases as snail and slugs also love them!)
I couldn’t leave the Buddleia out of this post – it is a wonderful plant that thrives almost anywhere (so much so that it can be looked upon by some as a pest – shock horror!) There are over 100 varieties to choose from in pinks blues and whites…. butterflies and bees love it and it only requires hard cutting back when it gets a bit too full.
The Royal Horticultural Society has a plant finder search where you can list your soil/sun/rainfall and the search engine will advise you. click to find plants here
Not all weeds are created equal – I have some in my garden (not a clue what they are) but they are pretty so I leave them! I do however like to tidy weeds, stray grass etc away from the driveway and paths… just pull them up when I see them or you could try my recipe below – the toughest will wilt and it is all natural…… be careful not to spray on plants you want to keep!
It is completely unnecessary to use chemicals in your garden just another multi-billion dollar industry we have been programmed to “think” we need.
Insects friend or foe?
Many insects are highly beneficial to our gardens as they prey on others that eat our pretty plants! Ladybirds (or American Ladybugs) are not called the gardner’s best friend for nothing! They eat aphids, whitefly, greenfly and mites. Some people even buy them and put them in their gardens!
One of the best tactics is to attract the correct insects to your garden, for a complete list of making your own mini insect army to fight the war for youclick here
If you do have a persistent problem this natural insecticide is safe to use on affected plants only.
If you are too squeamish to collect the slugs and snails (my kids love doing this) and take them to the local forest to set them free…. then get a few small glass jars (baby food or jam) and fill 1/3 with beer. Leave them sheltered from rain under the leaves they like to eat. Once they have been removed you could lay crushed eggshells or sharp grit to deter others.
Would like to end this post with a pic from my garden of my favourite tree Magnolia Grandiflora – spring has defiantly arrived here in Switzerland.
My favourite colour just bursts into our gardens every April and May as if to say winter is over. I love this time of year anyway, full of a promising summer to come after a long, cold winter. The birds are back and all the plants just spring back up as if winter had never been!
Inspired by my favourite garden tree
Colour theory – Pink is the colour of happiness and is seen as light-hearted. Teamed with light colours it is soft, feminine, romantic and sweet. Paired with back can be seductive!
I wanted to share with you some interior design ideas based on this beautiful feminine and romantic colour………
Pink has been popular since Georgian times…
Teamed with bolder colours can make this soft pink seem quite art deco inspired and I love the eclectic look that gives …..
You could always add just a rug……
Some eco paint colours to consider….
an eco velvet for upholstery to consider….
a pure lambswool sofa throw …
or some designer fabrics to add a classic romantic or modern geometric twist….
Just a few ideas of how enjoy this soothing pink with soft greys and cream or mix it up with bold and bright colours and pattern!
In part one I gave some stylish ideas that I will be using in my garden to save, better use and collect water …
In this post I wanted to shed some light on how easy it is to use recycled, eco and chemical-free building products to build the hard landscaping, i.e. fences, steps, flowerbeds, pathways and garden structures.
STONEis unique and highly prized for the patina it gathers over time…
Get to know where your local builder’s salvage yards are (see Resources on the top menu bar for some ideas) and look online at eBay/craigslist/gumtree sites. All types of stone, gravel, rocks taken from old churches, schools, factories etc… can be found – there is a multitude of fabulous product out there and not only will you have a unique look but the satisfaction of seeing it in a new home (together with a quirky backstory) is not to be underestimated!
I am often asked why is using new stone bad for the environment it’s natural? The problem is that to produce use new stone it must be cut from quarries. This requires huge amounts of water in the cutting and extraction process, together with general the manufacturing and transportation causing air pollution all adds up to an un-eco product. Especially when there is so much beautiful stone around just waiting for someone with a bit of imagination to come along and reuse it! Perhaps we could also start to think of natural resources as finite, i.e. once they are gone that is it … and surely we need to consider to leave some for future generations. The other big advantage of using reclaimed stone is that it has a patina which gives your garden instant gravitas and blends better with nature….
Concrete is a highly debated subject in the eco world. However it can tick a lot of eco boxes; be locally produced, needs no maintenance, is highly functional, lasts a very long time and can be recycled again.
As with many eco decisions it is about weighing up the pros and cons!
The most damaging component in concrete is the use of portland cement in the mix which causes vast amounts of CO2 emissions when produced. The good news is that this component is no longer necessary (unless you are building skyscrapers) and can be replaced by other things including fly ash from steel production waste instead. So investigate that you are getting a greener concrete and you should not feel un-eco to use it.
It is fair to say that here in Switzerland they do like the modern look. The terrain is quite hilly and they love concrete. I managed to find some concrete walls that I don’t find hideous!
images of concrete below from creabeton.ch
If you do decide that you will go with an ‘eco’ concrete (as outlined above) there is a big variety and concrete can be customised by colour, moulding and texture…… e.g.the wood profile below is quite a good way of having a maintenance free decking/path and I like the ‘trunks’ to sit on or make stepping stones with…
Concrete can be coloured and textured to look like stone..
Wood is versatile, and sits in nature without even trying. Here in Switzerland it is no longer allowed to use railway sleepers in your gardens because of the diesel/ chemicals which leach into the soil even after many years. As a removal incentive the local council even allows you to deduct the replacement of these with something non-toxic from your tax return!
The best rule of thumb is to use FSC registered wood products (now widely available at your local DIY depot) or repurposed wood (from salvage) which is untreated and free from toxic paints/stains.
When painting/staining garden structures use zero VOC products. Look at resources above and check outSansin Wood stain.
You can also choose to leave wood untreated, allowing it to weather to a lovely silver grey
The versatility of wood means that you can create just about anything you want, from fencing, pergolas, glass houses etc to suit modern or natural gardens and the colour can blend with your interior or disappear into nature….
I will be making a shady corner in my garden and am very inspired by this…..
… and I would love one of these to help my non hardy plants in pots survive a Swiss winter – FSC of course!
Willow and wicker is a great natural and sustainable option (grows quickly and locally found) and gives a lovely texture to your garden, it also allows the light to filter casting interesting shadows. It is hardwearing and requires no maintenance.
Containers of all sorts can be repurposed, the trick is to keep it simple and not mix too much otherwise you might end up feeling like you are sitting in a junk yard!
Garden furniture is widely available in FSC woods and can also be reclaimed. Once you start looking you can find…… the wood is likely to be better quality also and last a lot longer so justifies a slight premium on price….
Gates and railings can be found in salvage yards.
You might find some interesting ways to recycle – just use your imagination!
Antique terracotta chimney pots look wonderful as plant pots, bird baths or just sculptures in their own right!
I hope I might have inspired you to look for some interesting ways to make your outside space beautiful and tap into the wonderful eco resources all around us!
Something that has been catching my eye recently is a beautiful embroidery design called OTOMI.
Named after the dialect spoken by the people living in the Tenango Valley of Hidalgo of Mexico.
Otomi became more commercial in the 60s after a severe drought forced the people to find alternative sources of income, although its roots can be sourced back to Spanish and Aztec roots. The design features animals and flowers, symbolising man’s connection to nature and it is thought that its origins lie with cave paintings found in the region.
Most of the embroiderers work in collectives which are registered by the government, ensuring fair pay. They are mostly women, of all ages, it is undertaken in homes, in the market and on the street. Otomi empowers them as it is often the only source of income in their family. This craft is a very sociable profession done with a lot of pride!
The process: Water soluble pen is used to sketch deer, hares, armadillo, fish roosters and agricultural scenes….The balance of clear space around the objects is observed and designs are fluidly done with much repetition. Stencils are not allowed and the quality of the drawing has a clear impact on the end result.
The stitching is done by catching the thread on each side (satin stitch) with the facing side showing the design. This saves on the quantity of thread used. Created on natural cotton, using silk or cotton thread, this art has a place in contemporary and traditional interior design. The trend towards artisanal design means it could not be a better time to add a little bit of Otomi to your home! This is no mass market production by machine from Asia and is therefore a highly prized craft, fair trade means the prices are high and it is seen as a luxury product to be appreciated for years to come.
A more affordable option is to buy pieces which you could use to make cushions or frame for instant impact!
There really is no boundaries for this wonderful art!
Suited to classic or contemporary homes, with or without lots of colour this is a wonderful way to add an authentic touch to any space…….
As you can tell I just LOVE Otomi and look forward to supporting those wonderful ladies from Tenango with some purchases for our home renovation soon!!!
Hello all, sorry for the delay in this post, I have been busy on new projects I look forward to sharing with you soon…. in the meantime all of a sudden it seems like spring has sprung and thoughts are turning towards our outside spaces…….. now, how can we make those eco?
Creating a garden is like creating a room, where we use plants and trees and shrubs to create the form, balance, texture and colour that we would achieve using space planning, furniture, fabrics and accessories with interior design. The garden is a natural extension of the house and there are many eco ideas we can implement to ensure that we can do our bit for the environment on the outside as well as the inside of our homes.
I would say that Eco garden design is when we use techniques and products that improve the environment and the overall look of the garden.
Creating such an outside space is easy when you know how. Between now and summer I will share with you this 5 part series Eco Garden Design. I have tips for you to design your own eco garden including how to preserve water, use clever design tricks and recycled and/or natural building materials and plant maintenance without harmful chemicals, how to select the correct plants for your actual garden, use the best plants to attract the insects and birds we need to maintain things and support the local eco system and lastly all of this of course will be stunningly beautiful to look at!!
Part one is all about preserving and managing H2O
Without water we would not have life on earth never mind gardens. In a world where there can be drought at one end of the spectrum and catastrophic flooding at the other, we can no longer deny our planet is changing so by acting now we become part of the solution and not part of the problem … right??
Gardens for pleasure first originated in the Middle East, the biblical Garden of Eden represented a lush green oasis in a time when water was a precious resource. Fast forward a few millennia and we have come full circle with water once again viewed as a finite resource. One day it will be worth more than gold… I have this from a very respected source! 😉
When planning an Eco garden we should think how to capture rainwater and slow down the rate at which it is lost to the public drainage system. We need to do this because not only is rainwater is far better for our gardens that treated drinking water but also we need to reduce the amount of flash flooding that is happening because there is too much hard landscaping in our towns and cities. Rainwater is also free!!
In the garden above the pea gravel allows water to seep into the garden instead of running off into drains and the variety of trees and plants provide a shady cool spot in the summer plus great diversity for the local wildlife.
Rainwater can be easily collected from your drainpipes leading down from the roof in a wide variety of butts….
more practical when hidden from view could be …
If you are very handy or know someone who likes a challenge….. you could build your own and hide it behind some wicker panels….
You could even consider to make an underground tank if you have a lot of garden to water, however chemicals may be required to keep the water pure so perhaps it is a false economy?
For assessing the size of water butt you require depends on the size of roof you have and the average rainfall in your area. Consult your local environment agency for guidelines on Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) for the UK Govt. RWH source here
Collecting rainwater is a great way to have a free source to water your garden, however, if you get a lot or rain that can also be a problem… flash flooding can occur because there is too much hard landscaping with many people choosing to concrete over of front gardens for parking and inadequate drains on roads etc.. a good way to control the rainwater if you have some space is to build a swale. This also keeps the boggy part of your garden in one place allowing the other areas to remain dry.
when considering a parking area for your car these are a good option…
Hard landscaping is really a no-no these days as there are so many ways to provide drainage for rainwater…. In fact many local councils are bringing in planning conditions that stipulates drainage between pavers.
Using gravel and pavers with gaps and permeable membranes beneath to prevent weeds you can make lovely pathways through your garden whether you opt for traditional or modern styling. It can also prove to be cost effective especially if you use recycled materials. Always ensure there are gaps and this will prevent flooding and aid the melting to snow/ice in winter. You can create gorgeous bespoke original designs for your garden!
I hope this has sparked your interest in how you can save/use rainwater in your garden this summer, and perhaps pull up some of the grass which is a mud maker in the winter and needs constant watering in the summer and replace with some lovely pea gravel and pavers!