Saturday 30 July 2016

Cluttered Spaces That Look Amazing!

Uncluttered minimalist interiors look balanced, organised, neat and clean, tidy and just beautiful. However there are times that clutter can be stylish, eclectic, cosy and lend individuality to the space! So here is a visual treat of cluttered spaces that look just unbelievably amazing!


The last one is definitely my favourite! Just goes to show that 'styled clutter' can be chic, cosy and even glamorous? Sometimes 'More is More'!

Till next time...
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Tuesday 26 July 2016

Kirath Ghundoo's Mismatched Geometric Wallpaper - A Trend to Watch Out For!

Those of you who LOVE wallpaper...get excited! There is a whole new collection of wallpaper designs that is quickly becoming the hottest design trend to watch out for!

Bursting onto the scene just a few years back, Kirath Ghundoo, a surface pattern designer based in the UK is already making waves in the design world with her bespoke mismatched geometric wallpaper designs. Her new wallpaper collection 'Mix 'n' Match 17 Habana Style' pays homage to the colourful culture and imperfect beauty of Cuba. I caught up with Kirath recently to find out how it all began.

Can you share with us your creative journey to where you are now?

I've always had a strong design aesthetic and knew this could only be explored further by starting my own business as opposed to working for another studio. Before I set up my brand I lectured within Art and Design, Printed Textiles and Fashion. Teaching all these fabulous students made me want to go study for my MA Textiles, which is where I set up my brand. I graduated from Leeds College of Art in 2006 with a degree in Printed Textiles. From this point onwards I wasn't to sure about the path I wanted to take, so I worked a few lecturing jobs, travelled and then applied for the MA in 2010. I graduated 2011, created my first wallpaper collection 'Mix 'n' Match 11 and launched at 100% Design, London in September 2011. From there it was crazy! I received much press attention and nominations for big industry awards such as Homes and Garden Young Designer 2012 and ELLE Decoration British Design Nominee 2012. From here the rest is history as they say...
How would you define your style and how has it evolved over the years?

My design style is very organised and meticulous, which is a reflection of the way I approach things in my daily life. For my latest wallpaper collection I am trying to style compositions combining photography, drawing and illustrator. It is inspired by Cuba where everything is beautifully imperfect - the kind of vibe I am trying to achieve! 

What has been the inspiration behind your designs?

I am inspired by anything and everything around me. It may be a spot of colour on the floor, everyday materials from a broken tile to broken glass. I love fashion and being inspired by clothes such as materials choices and colour palettes. Travel is huge inspiration, I have created collections inspired by India, Marrakech and the Maldives. My latest 2017 collection is inspired by Havana, Cuba!

What has been your favourite project to date?

Ahhh there are so many to choose from. I love the bespoke wallpaper projects I am involved in. I have just completed a bespoke reception area utilising my Mix 'n' Match theme for a new set of flats including designing the wallpaper for the 24 flats. Can't wait to see the finished results. I loved working on a bespoke surface pattern project for a Wax Revolution in Mexico. The brief was left open to design four feature walls and a reception area.

What is a typical workday like for you?

Everyday varies, depending on the types of jobs that have come in. Normally I firstly check emails, work on marketing across social media and prepare any material to showcase upcoming launches for new products or surface collaborations. If I have a bespoke wallpaper project I organise meetings with clients and go visit their spaces. If i am doing a trade show, it's manic...organising everything alongside juggling design work, press and marketing is crazy. Help from my wonderful team always makes everything more manageable.
Can you describe the design process?

Starts with photography mainly, from these I sketch up ideas. Devise a mood board/colour themes. Start creating in illustrator for geometric shapes sometimes using photoshop too - this is the design process for creating a wallpaper collection.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a new range of self adhesive graphics for Blik in LA. A mix n match reception wall area for a new development of flats and a bespoke wallpaper for an office in Finland. My new collection is underway also!

What according to you is next big thing in surface pattern design?

Marbling and photographic imitations of real surfaces such as concrete and tiles. These are being used in many different forms from wallpapers to flooring.

What advice can you give those seeking a career in surface pattern design?

Prepare to work hard and make yourself known! Have a USP, what's different about your brand compared to others?

What 3 words describe you?

Fun, creative, spontaneous!

Can you share 3 things people don’t know about you?

If I did...then you would know! Ha!

What are your 3 favourite materials to work with?

Photography, Illustrator and Pencil

What is your favourite room in your home and why?

My kitchen, its clean, fresh and open plan. Great for socialising and cooking which I love.

Where do you see Kirath Ghundoo Surface Pattern Designs in five years time?

I'd love to be working on some high profile projects with hotels and restaurants worldwide. Bespoke designing is where I see my business heading, I really love these kind of projects. Hopefully travelling a lot more with work and making sure the next 5 years will be bigger and just as exciting as the last!

Kirath's wallpaper designs range from quirky, bold and eclectic to those reflecting a subtle and minimal Scandinavian style to create individual and bespoke interior spaces. Visit Kirath's website here to see past and current collections.
Till next time...
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Saturday 23 July 2016

6 Tips To Improve Your Interior Design Photography Skills!

'A picture is worth a thousand words'
Taking perfect photographs is every bloggers dream. For those of us, whose blogs are made up mostly of beautiful pictures, our camera is our BFF. It can also be our nemesis, when the photos are blurry, the focus and exposure is wrong and the settings are all skewed. Behind the scenes, I'm usually huffing and puffing and stressed out getting the camera to do what I want it to do when I'm trying to photograph rooms, furniture makeovers or DIY projects in my home. 
So to get a few handy pointers I got in touch with an upcoming photographer Timothy James Naismith. I first met Tim when he photographed my home for Houzz Australia. I went onto his website and was captivated by the gorgeous back and white wildlife photographs, portraits and urban captures. 

Tim started photography back in 2008 when he was gifted an old digital point and shoot camera. Since then he has set up a freelance business with a website displaying his photos from across the globe. He's worked with numerous studio, travel and animal photography events in Dubai, UAE and Melbourne, Australia. And when I worked with him, he made photography seem easy and fluid and fun! 

So here are six amazing tips to improve your interior design photography skills by the talented Tim Naismith. 

This is numero uno on the list. 

If you don’t know how to use your DSLR or point and shoot camera or even a camera phone, then you might as well throw it out the window. Some of the greatest photos in the modern day are taken using your basic camera phone. Just look at the amazing work of Julian Calverley with his exhibition only featuring photos taken on his iPhone.

In order to make the most out of your camera device, there are a few vital points that you need to know before getting into any other detail:

A. Where is the focus point?
This one’s a bit basic, but I have seen so many people forget where the focus point is and only realise that the photo is out of focus when they are editing on their computer. As such, you need to know how your camera focuses and where you need to point it to get the right depth.

B. How does your camera react to different lighting?
With different rooms, comes different lighting situations. You can’t always use the same settings for all your scenes that you want to capture. As such, you should understand how your camera adapts to different lighting conditions. Basic cameras do this automatically, but a DSLR or similar allows you to change the settings manually. On a DSLR, you should be able to adjust your white balance. This essentially alters the tone of the image and adjusts the sensor to understand the current lighting conditions.

C. At what scale do you get the best quality?
Every camera has their own sweet spot for quality. This mainly relates to those with zoom capabilities. For something like an iPhone, that sweet spot is wide angle. However, for a basic DSLR with a 18‐55mm lens, the sweet spot is at around 24‐ 35mm zoom. This does vary from lens to lens so best to play around and see where your camera’s sweet spot is.

Second to the above, a crucial lesson to learn in photography is composition. It can mean the difference from a happy snap to a masterpiece to hang at a gallery. To simplify this skill, we photographers follow three key points:

A. Lead in lines
In order to attract a viewer to your photo, they need something to follow. No one likes looking at a mess (unless that is what you are going for). Lead in lines use natural edges to bring focus to a centre point. This simple addition in a photo will guide the viewer through your photo.

B. Setting the space
Have a think about what you want to show in your photo. Once that image is clear, organise the room accordingly. This simple exercise can simplify your setting to become clearer and easier for the viewer to appreciate. This can be further achieved by placing one or two feature elements that attract the eye to the scene (such as a laptop, feature tiling, contrasting furniture etc.).

C. Cropping
You don’t need to capture everything. You can tell a more powerful story by showing less. It allows the viewer to imagine the remainder and be more engaged with the photo. If you tell everything people will see it but the soon leave from boredom.

Similar to my earlier point in knowing your camera, understanding the lighting of your subject is vital. Playing around with lighting can make a photo look dramatic and dark or bright and pure.

It is a priority to maximise the amount of natural light as possible. If the room is still dark or the lighting is too harsh, you can adjust lighting using external flash devices, opening blinds or turning on lights. You can also try bringing in portable lamps or torches to get real creative. Make sure you light the subject softly with indirect light.

In the current state of interior design photos, its preferred to have soft lighting touches rather than harsh contrasting shadows. To avoid this, photographers “bounce” the external light from the source against walls before the light reaches the subject. This allows the light to disperse and provide a much softer setting. 

What’s the point of taking a photo when it’s too blurry to distinguish the floor from the ceiling? Obviously that’s exaggerated but the point still stands. In order to tell a story that people can understand, it needs to be clear.

My suggestion is investing in a simple tripod. This doesn’t need to be a major investment, you can buy cheap $20 tripods online or in tech stores like JB Hi‐Fi and Harvey Norman.

This one addition to your equipment list will allow you to set up the camera in a fixed position and avoid any shaking when in a handheld position.

As a little side note, combine this with setting a self‐timer and you avoid even the slightest movement from pushing the shutter button. The timer will allow the camera to rest and just focus on taking a quality image.

This one is getting more specific to the advanced cameras such as DSLR cameras from Sony, Nikon, Canon or other major brands. If you’re shooting a close up image of a table setup or flower arrangement in a vase, it is important to understand how to use your aperture setting.

Simply put, the aperture controls the size of the hole that allows light to your camera’s sensor.

This tool also controls the camera’s depth of field. If you’re shooting a close up subject and want the background blurred, you want to set your aperture number to the smallest setting possible. Conversely, if you are shooting a room with multiple subects at different distances from the camera, you will want to set the aperture number to a larger setting (I recommend F/11 as a standard).

The majority of cameras these days come with the function of shooting photos in RAW format. This format differs from JPEGs as they enable a greater level of photographic data to be stored.

The JPEG format removes a significant amount of photo information to save on space so you can take more photos.

If one was to draw from film photography, a RAW file is similar to that of an unprocessed negative. It is ultimately the raw data from light hitting your camera’s sensor.

The biggest benefit of shooting in RAW is that you have the most control over the final image. RAW files allow you to recover seemingly over‐exposed or underexposed images, adjust white balance and determining the final size of your photo for publishing.

Enjoy and experiment!

Tim's six savvy tips are quite handy and inspiring to keep in mind when photographing interiors. I'm always looking to hone my photography skills as I know many of you are as well and sometimes just getting a little advice from a professional can make all the difference. 

I hope this guest post makes you want to pick up your camera & experiment! If it does, be sure to tag @raniengineer and @tnaisworthie on Instagram. We'd love to see a photo inspired by this post!

You can view more of Tim's photography on his website and purchase any of his prints in custom sizes by contacting him here. You can see more of his work on Facebook and Instagram.

Till next time...
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Tuesday 19 July 2016

5 Gorgeous Ways To Style Your Coffee Table!

Who doesn't love a well styled coffee table? The perfect grouping of pretty objects... fresh flowers, glass terrariums, bamboo trays, stacked books, metal plates, candles, unique souvenirs, the list is pretty much endless. You have the choice of going completely OTT or minimalist. You could choose to mix and match complementary elements or colour coordinate with the room. Here are five different ways you could style your coffee table or why not blend any of these styles and come up with one that is unique!


Coastal Blisssource

Classic Contemporary

Scandinavian Minimalism

Modern Bohemiansource

Are you inspired by these gorgeous photos? What is your favourite style? How do you add creative flair to your coffee table? I'm off to accessorise and re-style our coffee table!

Till next time...
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Friday 15 July 2016

How To: Repurpose Wooden Logs From The Garden

Winter has definitely arrived in Melbourne. There is a multicoloured carpet of leaves all over our garden and bare naked branches everywhere. This is the perfect time to get some much needed pruning done.

We decided to cut off a few branches to make the garden look neater and also safer. While we were cutting up the branches into smaller pieces to dispose into the greenwaste bin, inspiration struck. I remembered I had lots of gorgeous natural beeswax church candles that were just laying in the drawers. This was the perfect opportunity to be creative and repurpose some unwanted logs into something pretty and useful... rustic log candleholders!
It was as easy as sawing a large thick branch into small logs of various sizes and then drilling a hole in each log. You could drill a slightly bigger hole for tea light candles. It's a great way to recycle, repurpose and reuse wooden branches that are otherwise going to end up in the bin and turn them into gorgeous candleholders to add to your home d├ęcor! It's easy, quick and it's free! 
You could take it a step further and paint the bottom of the logs with gold paint to create a pretty dipped look. I decided to keep them natural and grouped the rustic log candleholders to showcase the beautiful church candles from Watts & Co in the dining room. You could decorate any room in the house with these log candleholders, the bathroom, the bedroom, entryway, or even use them to decorate your dining table for a Christmas in July dinner! The possibilities are truly endless!

What have you sourced from your garden and repurposed recently? 
Share with us in the comments below!

Till next time...
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Wednesday 13 July 2016

House Envy: Nina Proudman's Home in Offspring Season 6!

Have you been watching Season 6 of Offspring? The entire Australian female population (and many males even though they pretend not to) are glued to their television screens on Wednesday evenings.

Every season Nina Proudman's (the main protagonist) house on the show has been spectacular. In Season 5, Nina's house was the epitome of industrial, boho glam with eclectic, vintage accessories. This season her home has this earthy, understated chic, folksy vibe with beautiful clusters of original Australian artwork that create a delightful lived-in look.

Here are some photos from Nina's beautiful inner-Melbourne single-fronted weatherboard Victorian house that actually belongs to Melbourne stylist and interior designer Kali Cavanagh in real life.
The living room features an extremely comfy looking linen sofa, a white throw and an infusion of colours through cushions and ottomans. The feature wall provides a beautiful muted green backdrop that perfectly complements the rest of the natural timber furniture. The eclectic clusters of artwork and indoor greenery work well with the overall earthy look. And that red cart is just too sweet!
Fiddlefig plants are a serious weakness of mine. I cannot go past one without oohing and aahing and wishing that I wasn't a serial plant killer. This one in Nina's house is no exception and adds to the organic lived-in look along with the neutral rattan chairs, the mismatched colourful dining chairs and dark timber dining table.
I love the fact that there is so much artwork on the walls that it captivates you in every screen. A good variation of paintings, photographs and sculptures creating a well woven look. It's never boring to live in a house with artwork filling the walls and making it a sort of a gallery!

The natural timber furniture in this house is accompanied and complemented by tons of indoor greenery in pots, baskets and vases.
And that beautiful rustic timber sliding door! 
Large vintage globes suspended from the ceilings keep the lighting simple and minimalist throughout the house.
There are pops of colour throughout the house, especially in Nina's on screen daughter Zoe's room with the beautiful yellow bed frame, scatter cushions and large artworks on every wall. 
The Rosetta Santucci painting above Nina's bed is one of my all time favourites. This cheerful painting has been hanging in Nina's bedroom in the show in almost every season and it gives a strong feeling of continuity and belonging. It's a gorgeous painting by the self taught artist who draws inspiration from her childhood spent in the Barossa Valley. It complements the muted and serene colour scheme in Nina's room.

Nina Proudman has to be one of the most engaging character's on Australian television. Her character's quirky style is reflected in the interiors of her homes on the show and each one thus far has been absolutely beautiful! If you want to see more of her style, make sure to tune into Offspring today!

P.S. La Maison Jolie has been nominated by the AMARA Interior Blog Awards 2016 in The Best Australian Interior Blog category! And I would love YOUR vote to make it to the shortlist. 

It takes less than a minute to vote, just enter your name and email address and be in with the chance of winning a £500 LSA International gift voucher to be spent across all of the brand’s extensive glassware, serve ware and barware! Click here to vote!
A huge thank you to all my amazing readers who have already voted for La Maison Jolie in the AMARA Interior Blog Awards 2016.

Till next time...
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This is NOT a sponsored post, I just happen to absolutely love the show Offspring and the interior design style featured on it!
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