Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a humble request...

Where do you go to look at interiors? Where do you read about homes and look at pictures that leave you feeling inspired to paint your floorboards white and your walls mustard yellow? Where do you learn that we now call mustard yellow 'mimosa'?

We have lived in our house for two and a half years. It looks like a garage. When we moved in it looked like a 1960s homage to the Vatican meets an 1980s homage to the pub carpet. We ripped everything out and made a lot of mess and now that we're finally starting to get rid of the bags of old tiles and 40 years worth of lino it's time to start thinking about how to make it pretty again. Or possibly for the first time.

I've studiously avoided design and interiors blogs for the last two years because when your house looks like a decrepit storage container and you don't have any running hot water and you have to flush the toilet with a bucket of water, other people's perfect white spaces filled with light and beautiful things make you want to cry. Our house now looks like a decrepit house and we still don't have any hot water and the bathroom is still frankly treacherous but there is light at the end of the rubble-strewn hallway and colour charts and wallpaper samples no longer fill me with despair.

But I don't know where to look for the inspiration that we need. We have lived like squatters for so long that we have forgotten that a flushing toilet does not a beautiful home make.

Tell me where to go dear readers. Tell me where the beautiful people live. Or at the very least where the pictures of where the beautiful people live live.

Thank you chickens, x

* I'm a bad blogger. I have no idea where I found these pictures. In fact I think that they might have materialised on my hard drive as the universe's way of telling me that it really is time to throw out our collection of empty boxes and consider getting rid of the spare toilet that is sitting in the hallway. If anyone knows who to credit them to please do let me know.

* do I get a prize for using the word toilet 307 times?


  1. I'm incredibly sad and buy magazines like homes and gardens, and the confusingly similarily titled house and garden, and like you, country living. I have a sketchbook that I fill with images ripped from these magazines, along with Wallpaper samples, paint charts, and fabric swatches. I work in a well known traditionally english homes and fashion shop, and most places, like us will give out swatches and w/p samples for free. ( we rent at the moment but will soon be moving into the in laws former home) I also buy elle decoration, but I can't bear to ri that up, and its a bit too high glamour to actually influence a decorating decision!

    And mimosas are trees, and cocktails, but both yellow when I googled it. :)

  2. I think it really depends on the style of interior that suits you best.

    Based on your images, I think that you may like www.decor8blog.com.

    www.apartmenttherapy.com is the mecca of small space owners, especially their house tours for inspiration. It can be frustratingly US centric though.

    The sneak peaks on Design Sponge are also good viewing as Grace tends to focus on artistic and creative people. www.designspongeonline.com

    For doing stuff on a budget I also like www.thisyounghouse.com/.

    I'm afraid that all the main ones I read do seem to be US based. I would love to read more European blogs but I just never come across them. I shall be watching the comments eagerly.

    Offline I read Living etc. on a monthly basis and a couple of Dutch magazines.

  3. Living etc. definately!

  4. He he, Americans don't really say toilet either, so you deserve an extra special prize.

    I'll come back and read the comments on this post in a couple of years when we can no longer stand living in a big mess of a place either.

    Oh and "a 1960s homage to the Vatican meets an 1980s homage to the pub carpet" - priceless :)

  5. this is a great professionally run, one


    the cookie house tours are very good

    Love this blog for interiors

    another great one

    I know you will know the selby, but just in case

    Good luck

  6. I literally laughed out loud at "a 1960s homage to the Vatican meets an 1980s homage to the pub carpet" I'm no help as I'm avoiding design blogs as least until we're married. And we are renting. I long to be able to choose paint colours after 9 years of magnolia-d rented houses. But anyway thanks for making me laugh today :)

  7. I love Ill Seen, Ill Said (seenandsaid.blogspot.com). Although it's not just interiors, I love her overall style.

    Apartment Therapy and the associated versions are pretty good too.

  8. Id agree with all the suggestions above. I look out for peoples houses I like in magazines or on the net and print them and stick them in a big fat dream house book. Judging by the pics you put up you might likt the following:

    If you like eclectic but white houses- check out Atlanta Bartletts house:

    My favouite home ever is fashion photographer Tim Walker's. He was featured in a magazine last year- but i dont know which one. he is an amazing photographer too. I couldnt find any images on the web- but i recently took pictures of Tims house pics that are stuck in my dream house book and put them on my blog- they are here: http://seedsandstitches.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-head-is-swimming-with-dream-factory.html

    Also- for unending inspiration for colourful, eclectic style- you should DEFINITELY buy 'bazaar style' by Selina Blake a book about 'decorating with market and vintage finds'. It is a complete goldmine- full of brilliant (affordable, unusual) ideas. Have a look inside it on amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bazaar-Style-Decoratiing-Market-Vintage/dp/1845976258

    Good luck!

  9. Catherine S23/6/09 2:10 pm

    Oh love those pictures! This home is currently my favourite, I love her subtle use of colour: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/interiorsandshopping/5559239/Extending-your-home-interior-designer-Charlotte-Crosland-extended-sideways.html . Did you see Kirsite's Homemade Homes? It's prolly still on 4oD. Not normally a telegraph reader, but the parents were over last week. Oooh what an exciting project for you (if a little daunting just now)!

  10. i think you get a prize for having a spare toilet in your hallway. that made me laugh my booty off!

    and, i am totally one of those goofballs that likes to give colors odd names. i'll refer to something as, "ocean", and my mister will be like, "uh, blue??".

    let's see, i like...


    apartment therapy is good for how "real people" decorate their homes, not fancy people who buy fancy $8,000 sofas

    i also like to look on flickr, i type in tags like decor, home tour, vintage, design. and then if i'm looking for something specific, like clever ways to set up a bookcase, then i'll add "bookcase" to the search. a god amount of not so cool stuff pops up, but if you're patient and scroll through all the pages, you're bound to find something good.

    oh, and i love, http://www.warymeyers.com/interiordesign.html

    hope that helps. good luck!

  11. Ditto everyone above (esp the love for the 1960s meets Vatican homage meets 1980s!) -- I also scope out Desire to Inspire, Dwellings and Decor, Design Lovely (although those are usually just pretties!), Decor Amor (pretties, too).... I go lots of places :) But I'd for sure back up decor8, living etc. (from posts I've seen), and this young house!

  12. This is my go to website for my daily interior (and exterior) design fix....I know that the name "apartment therapy" might lead some people to think that it's just for apartment dwellers, but as they show homes and gardens and tree houses and houses built in caves, I think there's something there for everyone.


  13. I follow Katy Elliot around like a spaniel, she has such good taste and finds such nice things that I swoon over.


  14. http://www.designspongeonline.com/

    And I will absolutely give you a prize for Most Toilet Usage ... erm, what do you want/think is appropriate?

  15. I think you know Anne, but if not, The City Sage is great for inspiration. Coco + Kelley is also good, and I Suwannee. In addition to the others listed (like decor8 and Design*Sponge).

  16. I like Martha Stewart. Her ideas are simple and refined and seem to be endless. I'm also a Pottery Barn kind of girl.

  17. These are my two favorites.

    One is all fairy tail dreams and someday...the other is much more practical for my situation:



  18. My favorite: elementsofstyleblog.com
    Erin Gates is the designer, and it's a fun, flirty, entertaining diversion from the 'in process' house.

  19. desiretoinspire.net...amazing : )

  20. toilet toilet toilet toilet toilet toilet toilet.

    yeah, I like the selby. but I'm gonna follow celia's advice and try this flickr stalking thing. b/c I love stalking.

  21. I like InStyle magazine and Martha Stewart Living.
    And I think I may have got this link from here...or not...my brain has melted from the current heat wave we are experiencing.
    Anyway, here it is; lots of pretty rooms and things : )

  22. Hello hello - Just to let you know you are a WINNER! Congratulations on winning my giveaway! Just e-mail me the address to send the bird to and I'll get onto it right away.

    fmjstainedglass (at) aol (dot) com

    And I love those photos of that house...hooray, clutter is cool!

  23. I like http://thepeakofchic.blogspot.com/, http://habituallychic.blogspot.com/, http://hollisterhovey.blogspot.com/,and http://citified.blogspot.com/. But I am rather fancy. How about http://elseachelsea.typepad.com/frolic/? I am sure you know her...have fun furnishing.

  24. wow, think you have it all covered pretty comprehensively, but i have recently found http://dosfamily.com/ via http://finelittleday.blogspot.com/ and that has kept me quite busy for the last few days.

    the selby is great and yes, design sponge of course, i mean obviously!

    have courage, our house is not worth of a Sneak Peak by any means and that's something of a consternation to me on a thrice daily basis.

    if being green is also part of the process, can i recommend http://www.ecosorganicpaints.co.uk/? really good colours, no horrid smell. perfect.

    bonne chance!

  25. my daily design blogs...


    These blogs are full of inspiration

  26. Hello!

    You can go to my blog (All Pretty Things) and then click in all my links to wonderful blogs for interior design. Some of them are already listed on other comments.

    Good luck! Sounds like a fun project! You can use all magazines and blogs/websites as inspiration and then make it your own at your place. You do need time and patience though...;)

  27. Can't help finding it cool that a lot of my favourite sites have already been named above -
    thisyounghouse and oola moola have good ideas for doing things on the cheap.
    Pia Jane Bijkerk, Disire to Inpire, Decorology and Absolutely Beautiful Things for inspiration and dreaming.

  28. Jan's camera24/6/09 10:28 pm

    Hi, I love your photos. Try this home decor blog that I really like, This Young House.


  29. desiretoinspire.net is my favourite too. I mostly get my fix of mid-century modern interiors there.

  30. I go to all the magazine's online galleries like

    Living Etc.
    Sunset Magazine
    Canadian House and Home
    Marie Claire Maison
    Coastal Living

    Their galleries have loads of inspiring photos

  31. i adore design*sponge. great inspiration for DIY projects!

    i also love theselby.com - a little spunky and seemingly more doable.

  32. I know what you mean! except I don't even have my own place yet. But for ideas check out these blogs:

    absolutely beautiful things

    abbey goes design scouting

    pink wallpaper

    urban grace interiors

    this is glamorous


  33. well, most all has been covered, but i have a source that i don't think has been mentioned (i apologize if it's a repeat):


    it has tons of pictures of some really beautiful homes.


  34. Living Etc...
    SF girl by the bay blog

  35. designspongeonline.com is amazing!! :)

  36. felicityXOX6/7/09 4:33 pm

    RE. A humble request post....

    Dear Cara - Ive been blogging for way too long ( not that Im blogging officially now ) Anyway first pic is the south London home of Liza Giles, senior stylist for Tricia Guild of Designers Guild from Elle Decoration, UK Edition October 2007 (NO 182), photography by James Merrell original upload- this is glamorous

    The second - ayah!! I know it but can't remember where - I think uploaded by decor8

    Hugs and hope thats of help

    Love Felicity (Ex All Things Bright and Beautiful)

    Ps your photography is getting more and more beautiful by the day lovely one - I am inspired. Keep it up

  37. i totally understand. we have been renovating our 1940's bungalo for the past 2 1/2 years. It never ends.

    Just think of how much you must love each other to be able to survive as "squatters".

    Best wishes,

  38. I like this site, it's just interesting people in their interesting houses..


  39. love all these suggestions. here's another less known one:


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