Back to Reality

Interior Design MagazinesNow that I’m back in London it’s time to catch up on the things that I’ve missed out on whilst I’ve been away. This includes catching up on my reading of The World of Interiors and House & Garden (my go to indulgence whenever I tire of the fashion magazines), among other things. I don’t know about you but for me beautiful, inspiring atmospheres act as an instant pick-me-up, they’re also filled with plenty of exciting ideas with what to do with your interiors and where to look for those key pieces.

Darling David Downton

David Downton PrintsDavid Downton’s fashion illustrations are undeniably glamorous and remind me of another iconic fashion illustrator’s work, namely that of René Gruau. The two illustrators have numerous things in common and one of these are their work for several of the same big fashion magazines and famous designers. I’m such a fan of David Downton’s work to the point of having three stunning limited-edition fashion prints by him decorating my wall in Tokyo.

These are two of my three fashion prints and show Dior Couture A/W 2009 collections made under the reign of John Galliano whereas my third is an elegant Versace from 2008, all purchased in London. I can’t help but gloat that they make an absolutely stunning trio and especially after having been framed at a great expense with hand-made champagne wood frames in Tokyo. Another bonus is that they compliment my home milieu to perfection.

Kensington & Chelsea MagazineSo when I saw the cover of Kensington & Chelsea Magazine while browsing the isles of WHSmith I couldn’t help but feel team spirit and subsequently went on to pick up my own edition of the magazine for entertainment. This way I can also coordinate my two homes and have a bit of Downton in my London home as well, a total win-win if you ask me.

Cire Trudon at 36 Chiltern Street

DSCN8536As the days are still short, dark and cold, I find myself increasingly relying on the comfortable light and warmth provided by candles. One of my favorite candle boutiques is Cire Trudon that lies tucked away on 36 Chiltern Street, a quite street in Marylebone, only a short walk from my second home the Wallace Collection.

DSCN8535The beautiful little boutique stocks a full range of iconic pillar candles with cameos, wax busts, perfumed candles and room sprays that are simply oh so decadent. One of my favorite perfumed candle scents would probably have to be Abd El Kader with top notes of spearmint, lemon, blackcurrant bud, apple, ginger, clover, a middle of jasmin and a base of vanilla.

Fornasetti InteriorsThe boutique also has a dedicated Fornasetti section.

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Colefax and Fowler

DSCN8999To those of you who aren’t that familiar with Colefax and Fowler, let me offer a brief introduction. It is a most charming interior design boutique conveniently located in one of my favorite neighborhoods – Mayfair. The interiors are elegant with a warm comfortable design that feels quintessentially English although one that has unfortunately become increasingly rare and difficult to find in 21st century English homes.

DSCN8983Within the beautiful boutique and among the many luxuries you can also find a small exhibition on James Wyatt ‘architect to the crown and designer of complete interiors’.

DSCN8985As a person that rarely shies away from extravagance and would dearly love to take up permanent residence in something by the likes of Château Vaux le Vicomte, Versailles or Waddesdon Manor, the James Wyatt sketch of the richly draped sofa/chaise lounge would be the perfect starting point. As I lay sprawled out on it I would have little problem finishing my long book list of lovely leisurely reads. I’d have Chopin music softly tinkering in the background and a warm cup of tea next to me. Ah, what a dream!

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DSCN8995There was also a section especially dedicated to exhibition themed items for sale such as postcards, tea towels, books, etc, and needless to say I fell head over heels for the tea towel set in pink and green.

Waddesdon Manor

DSCN8669Greetings from the gorgeous and grandiose Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England! The stunning French chateau inspired mansion once owned in entirety by the Rothschild family could easily be described as a dream home and I for one wouldn’t mind moving in immediately. Granted, it’s no Versailles but in England I believe this is as close as one can possibly get.

Waddesdon Manor Interiors

Waddesdon Manor InteriorsI’ll be asking my darling grandmother for a refresher course in proper napkin folding so that one day perhaps my own dining table will look as triumphant as this. Luckily, I already have some of the tools necessary with a set of white table cloth napkins with my monogram. My dream of a palace is quickly becoming a reality.

DSCN8691The entire house was filled with lush and extravagant interiors, beautifully complimented with an infinite number of chandeliers in varying styles and sizes.

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DSCN8742Although discretely tucked into the corner of one of the rooms, I have to admit to falling deeply in love with this adorable faint gold chair.

DSCN8789In the masculine bachelor’s wing there was an armoury corridor used to display an impressive collection of defensive treasures followed by a smoking room and a billiards room.

DSCN8815Even the view from the back garden proves that this is a gorgeous property. It also sits on top of a hill and has a terrific vantage point. Ah, what extreme envy I feel!

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DSCN8827A beautiful cast iron aviary is located on the pleasure grounds in order to house a collection of exotic birds.

Hartwell House Hotel

DSCN8593Ever since relocating to London I’ve expressed my desire to see more of the British landscape by getting out of the city in order to discover new places. Well, it turns out my wish was granted because I recently enjoyed an exciting trip into the countryside to explore the some of Britain’s great country homes compliments of my CSM degree.

Hartwell House Hotel GardenThe crisp country air and landscape were a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of London although, I’m not quite sure how well I would cope in the long run.

Hartwell House Hotel

DSCN8656With relatively modest interiors apart from the heavily ornamented staircase, the country house hotel made you feel at ease and cozy compared to other grandiose interiors which were typical of the period.

Hartwell House Hotel Interiors

DSCN8619Along with the house and gardens there was also this beautiful church.

A Life in Colour

DSCN5678If you love a good color explosion then the Kaffe Fassett exhibition A Life in Colour at the Fashion and Textiles Museum will prove a sheer delight, if not be sure to keep your sunglasses on for your own safety. And, to give fair warning I’ll also disclose that the exhibition leans towards arts and crafts, mainly textiles with minimal fashion of just a few sweaters and some embellished beanie hats.

Kaffe Fasset A Life in Color Fashion and Textiles Museum LondonThink ethnic bohemian with influences from oriental porcelain, traditional geometric Islamic art and Renaissance decorative arts.

DSCN5564A glimpse into Kaffe Fassett’s sketchbook.

FTM Fashion and Textiles Museum London

DSCN5590Collections of his quilting, needlepoint, knitting, mosaic work as well as a few of his paintings are all proudly on display next to clear points of inspiration.

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Shopping at Liberty

Liberty Department Store, LondonAlthough winter is quickly approaching, the flower stands at Liberty department store show no signs of bowing down to the pressure. It’s such a delight to stop by to enjoy the bright floral view and scents before making one’s way indoors to marvel and probably pick up a few too many things that you really don’t need but want.

Liberty Department Store, London

I always find their arts and crafts section an inspiring place to visit. This little millinery section made me want to learn the skills of stars such as Stephen Jones and Philip Tracey. Britain with their stylish fascinator hats are an absolute wonder!

Liberty Department Store, London

Liberty Department Store, LondonYes, feel free to call me a total nerd but I actually found these large chess piece candles by Seletti rather amusing. In the right setting I’m sure they would look fantastic, but for now I’ll be sticking with my gorgeous French Cire Trudon candles.

Liberty Department Store, LondonFor the more traditional, there’s always the classic white, scented candle cup version from Astier de Villatte available. Don’t underestimate playing it safe once in a while, it could save you a great deal of buyers remorse. I’ve been keeping my eyes peered open early this year to see if I can find the perfect Christmas presents and save myself the stress of last minute shopping. How about you, are you an early bird or save it to the last minute type of person? Happy hunting everyone!

Liberty Department Store, London

The Delightful Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, LondonLife’s a ball when it comes to the delectably beautiful Wallace Collection. Crystal chandeliers, antique clocks, silk upholstered chairs and  luscious paintings. Needless to say, I’ve been absolutely enchanted and am ready to move in immediately!

The Wallace Collection, London

The Wallace Collection, LondonSo many precious treasures on display!

The Oval Room of The Wallace Collection, LondonOne of my favorite spaces in the Wallace Collection was the oval room as seen here. It’s lovely light blue silk tapestries were emphasized by some of my all time favorite paintings which were mounted on top. This room houses the precious paintings The Swing and Madame Pompadour by the superstar Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

The Wallace Collection, London

Mini Portraiture at The Wallace Collection, LondonI absolutely adore mini portraiture and the Wallace Collection did not disappoint in this department. If you find yourself in London and you’ve yet to stop by then I definitely recommend a visit because it’s simply packed with amazing things that are sure to delight.

The Armoury at The Wallace Collection, LondonThe collection also houses a very impressive armoury. “Horsey, horsey don’t you stop, let your feet go clippety clop” yihaaww let’s go for a ride!