July winner: Cat and her lovely home!
loves Kirstie Allsop's style and prefer a mixture of contemporary and country style shabby chic!
See her album here
Blogger and shop owner to Ghost furniture
Where do you live:
Blog: Designers block
Website: Ghost furniture
What do you think will be the autumn trends this year?
Oh we started with the wrong question here. I have an aversion to trends in homewares. Your home should be a reflection of you and not a reflection of the latest trends. Can you imagine eating something you didn't like just because it was trendy? It is far too expensive to follow trends in the home.
Anything you will be buying for this season?
Believe it or not it will be Goose Down Pillows for our beds. I am in desperate need of replacing all the Goose Down Pillows I have had for years. Sounds boring but they are delicious to place your head on.
Are you currently undergoing any renovation project?
We have just finished adding a huge 2 storey extension to our 300 or 400 year old cottage (we are not sure of it's exact age). We lived in a building site for a year so the word renovation is forbidden in this house.
What was your latest purchase for your home?
A fabulous lattice work spiral staircase which we have painted in a stone colour. The light from a window on our roof spills down it and casts lace shadows on the wooden floor.
Describe your style with three words?
Eclectic, Bohemian and daring
Apart from your own shop Ghost Furniture what are your favourite shops?
Merci in Paris, Cabbages and Roses and Egg in London, Liscious in Oxford and any Giorgio Armani shop I come across.
How do you source all your vintage furniture on Ghost? Do you create any of the furniture yourselves?
All items are sourced in France and the UK at Flea Markets, brocantes, car boot fairs, we have been known to climb into skips and trudge the streets of Paris on the evenings people put out stuff they don't want. All our paints are bought in France purely because they are much better than British paints and so are their paint brushes.
I suppose we create everything because nothing stays the way it was when we found it but we never sell other peoples designs.
What’s the key of mixing French chic styled furniture with the modern look as of today? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to add a bit of “shabby chic” into their contemporary home?
Just don't be afraid of mixing old with new. So long as the colours don't jar then it's OK. My kitchen has a tree from the forest holding up a breakfast bar made from a slice of Padouk (a very hard African wood) that has 3 Bombo Stools at it. I have a Ghost kitchen which is totally off the wall but I have a Porsche kettle and a Dualit toaster.
If you want to add shabby chic then go out and find something that is already shabby. I hate fake shabby chic. The whole point of it is that it has a story to tell. The only story fake pieces have is – someone bought me, painted me then scraped some of my paint off.
Which TV home interior programme do you like most?
It used to be Grand Designs but of late I have found that these programmes are becoming formulaic. Before the commercial break we have to be left in suspense to make sure we come back. It would be refreshing to watch a programme that had the confidence to hold our attention by just being brilliant.
Do you think Englishmen are good in decorating their homes?
If you mean males then I suppose it depends on their backgrounds, some of the best homes I have seen have been decorated by men, just take Ralph Lauren. If you mean the English then I would have to say that we are not very adventurous on the whole. We have terrible light in this country so we tend not to be able to use those bold colours that hot countries can. Our skies are usually grey and don't make bright colours sing. There seems to be a trend to bring the outside in at the moment. I love the idea but we just don't have the right weather. Maybe the English would be more adventurous if the sun shone more.
Which celebrity home would you like to visit?
I would love to visit Billy Connelly's home but only if he was there. This comes back to my first answer - Your home should be a reflection of you and not a reflection of the latest trends. I would hope that his home is as funny and extrovert as he is.
Have you got any favourite albums on StyleRoom?
I love the Basic French House. It shows the personality of the person who owns it.
Apart from being an expert on interior design and decoration, have you got any other hidden talents?
Well I used to be a knitwear designer back in the 1980s and I make a mean gravy.
Freelance Interior designer and decorator
Album on StyleRoom: http://www.styleroom.co.uk/users/juliapalmer
Julia has recently graduated from KLC Interior Design School in London and just finished her first professional project assignment in Mallorca!
She had four months to complete the assignment to turn the Seagull Villa designed by Alberto Rubio, a renowned South American architect known for his “bird houses” on the island into a contemporary family home.
Tell us briefly what the assignment was?
To redesign the dramatic but tired house. The house was a bland array of beige and brilliant white making the space ungrounded, therefore everything floated. It had a cold feeling and felt like an art gallery with no art!
Are you pleased with the results? Any room in particular?
Very pleased. The impact was more dramatic and even better than I had envisaged. Best room: Each one is unique and I like them all.
What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
Balancing the space. Using key pieces of furniture and the placement of objects defined the space.
Where does your inspiration and ideas come from?
The outside view of the mediterranean. The ever changing colours and textures of the sea and mountains allowed me to identify colours that reflected the atmosphere of the Mediterranean in a contemporary fresh elegant manner.
Which new designs are getting you excited at the moment?
It’s great to see colour coming back in the home. The over neutral scheme is now being enhanced with the soft hues of bright colours mixed with textures give a more elegant look to a space.
Can you comment what you see in trends like colours, styles etc?
Metallics are great. Berry shades mixed with natural weaves such as linen can create a luxury feel to a plain texture. Subtle mettalics were used in the Seagull Villa as they reflected the shimmer of the sea.
What would be your recommendation for “what to do first” in a decoration project?
Stand in the space and reflect on what you want to achieve. Before spending any money, think about how the space will be used and the atmosphere you wish to create. The position of the light is very important in the selection of colours as they will change the feeling of the space, cool, warm etc.
What would you say is the common decoration mistakes made by home owners? What’s your advice to correct those mistakes?
Empty walls. These not only define the areas, but a lot of people forget how they can be utilised with placement of light, artwork, glass. Large expanses of plain walls make a space feel lost and the furniture has no backdrop.
What advice do you have for someone with a home to decorate and perhaps a limited budget?
Look at what you have. Decide which items you like and think about how these can be used in different rooms than you had previously used. i.e side tables can become bedsides, mirrors can be placed elsewhere. Photos, choose your favorites and frame them in a group.
Choose a good neutral paint which can be used in all areas to keep the cost down, and bring colour in textures, window treatments and accessories, this way you can build it over time, once the major decorating work has been completed.
Above all, creativity is free and once you have a grounded space you don’t need a huge amount to make it comfortable, practical and contemporary.
Have you got any favourite albums on StyleRoom?
I love the way people have a space where they can share ideas and show their achievements. One that has caught my eye is the rented property in Oxford. The property is so light which is a great start. The way the white walls are accented with colours by plants and accessories define the space and gives life to the space. Renting does not mean you can’t show your style and that’s one of the things I like about this property.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend?
Being near the sea with friends and family. When in Mallorca I love to go running in the Tramuntana mountains -seeing and feeling the beauty of the island inspires me.