All posts by slabel

Public room design

Urban Planning

“I had never worked on a hotel,” says Despont, who specializes in fine residential work for clients such as Hubert de Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Spyros Niarchos, and Bill Gates. “But I saw that Claridge’s already had a strong residential feeling.” The French-born, New York-based Despont’s only major source of hesitation was the fear of being dismissed by the British as a foreigner. For this reason, he says, “I thought it very important to understand the history and culture of Claridge’s and spend hours absorbing the atmosphere before deciding how to proceed.” And how did Despont react to the restrictions imposed by English Heritage? “Some people think they are policemen, but I have only praise for their dedication.”

urban planning from Harvard's Graduate School of Design
urban planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design

Archives in a dusty, remote corner of Claridge’s as well as at the Victoria and Albert Museum provided extensive pictorial references, leading the designer to showcase the hotel’s unique deco features. He restored Oswald Milne’s brushed-silver stag lamps, which grace the lobby, and Basil Ionides’s etched-glass panels in the restaurant. Because Marion Dorn’s original carpets are copyrighted, Despont created new ones inspired by samples at the V&A and vintage photos of the hotel interior. Meanwhile, he commissioned adaptations of an exquisite ecru-shaded silver-plated lamp, found elsewhere, to adorn tables in the reading room and foyer.

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Trial & Error

Shamrock Furniture

Grazia describes her style as “contemporary classic with a twist of unpredictability”. The original Danish chairs were purchased and reupholstered by Shamrock Furniture in a Chelsea Textiles fabric.

Shamrock Furniture is famous with chair and bed design
Shamrock Furniture is famous with chair and bed design

The artwork is by Australian photographer Bill Henson.

Grazia Materia has been working as an house interior designer for 14 years. In 2005 she started furniture and product design business Temperature Design ( with Vicki Corbett.

  1. Key element If you’re looking to buy (or even rent) a home put natural light at the top of your must-have list furniture such as sofa, chair, recliners, dining table, bed and mattress. Grazia says it’s one of the most important elements to a beautiful interior. Also, include ambient lighting where possible and avoid too many downlights. Her favourite light is the Golden Bell Pendant 330A, designed in the 1950s by Alvar Aalto.
  2. Strike the right balance Use magazines as a starting point to establish what you like and dislike, Grazia says. For example, for recliner reviews, is a good reference. But make sure your home reflects you and your lifestyle rather than what you’ve seen in a magazine.
  3. Common mistake A big no-no for Grazia is going to one retailer and purchasing a package of items. “The interior ends up looking like a showroom of pieces instead of a home,” she says. Also, the packages usually offer quantity instead of quality. But she doesn’t believe that quality items necessarily mean a high pricetag or carry a brand label.
  4. Avoid replica repetition “The market is saturated with replica and copy designer pieces,” Grazia says. “Rooms that have an abundance of these pieces in the one area look ridiculous.”
  5.  Feature walls Grazia is not a fan of painted feature walls. “It’s smarter to do a feature room colour,” she says.
  6. How to complete a room Commit to just one look – the one you’re trying to achieve. “Although there are lots of great styles it’s best not to try and have them all in the one space,” she says.
  7. Using colour “If you’re going to commit to a strong colour in your interiors, such as on the floor, then balance that out with colours of equal strength and tones for balance. Otherwise make the colour the feature, and your accessories subsidiary to it.”
  8. On speed dial Decor Design for good-quality leather; Zepel Fabrics for affordable upholstery fabrics; Coulson Tiles for simple and classic styles. Supertuft Carpets and Fibonacci Stone for flooring. Beachfront Design for kitchens and cabinetry. See stockists, page 158
  9. All-time faves Sofa and recliner: WM sofa designed by Wood Marsh Architects ( Chair: Favela Chair 1991 by the Campana Brothers ( Fabric: Sussex Linen by Elliott Clarke ( Bed: Sinclair Bed by Temperature Design ( Flooring: American Oak herringbone parquetry.
  10. Always avoid “Clutter caused by incorrect furniture selections and placement is one of the main ways to ruin an interior.”

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Ready Set Decorate; (3 COFFEE TABLES and Recliner Chairs, 6 GREAT LOOKS)

It’s amazing how a few simple styling tricks can transform a coffee table and best recliners from cluttered to cool. Here’s how


These are the items that are often found cluttering a coffee table. But as it’s a key piece of furniture, think about styling it as you would any other surface in your home. Choose display pieces that work with your theme but also strike a balance between form and function, then think carefully about their arrangement. Read on for inspiration.

coffee table and recliner chair are good matching pieces of furniture
coffee table and recliner chair are good matching pieces of furniture


Create vignettes by clustering a mix of decorative items in an all-white theme. The different shapes and sizes of the pieces add interest, while keeping to the same colour unifies the look. A tray, with a black-and-white design that echoes the cushion behind, is a simple and effective way to keep the display contained. Neatly stacked mags and books underneath keep the surface clutter-free; they look smart, too.


Same coffee table, completely different look. The plain white surface is the perfect background to display an eclectic mix of accessories in bright and bold colours. Different materials – wooden ornaments and glass vessels – add texture and interest. Instead of using a tray, travel trinkets are displayed as “exhibits” in a glass dome a quirky way to showcase favourite finds. Jewellery can be used to dress your table, too here, colourful beads are draped decoratively over a wooden spice rack, which also comes in useful as a spot to stash any small bits and bobs. On the storage shelf below, a set of baskets is an attractive way to hide remote controls, pens, nailpolish and any other messy-looking objects that always end up on the table. Books and coffee tables are a natural pairing, but if the spine of a favourite tome doesn’t coordinate with your theme then just turn it around to show the opening side. Colourful tribal-style cushions and rug tie the look together.


This space screams girly sophistication. Pops of bright pink and red – through the nailpolish, tray and candle votive – echo the colours of the rug and cushions. Even the roses are colour-coordinated with the scheme. Magazines make great coffee table reading material, but they have another use, too – stacking at different heights creates “shelves” that are perfect for displaying well-chosen ornaments. The grafitti bust makes a strong style statement it’s classic but with a cool, contemporary twist. Consider shape and material, too: the round glass vase echoes the table, and helps balance the straight lines in the space.


For a cutting-edge contemporary look, a monochromatic palette works brilliantly. The glass tabletop lets the solid stripes of the rug dominate the scene, so we kept the styling simple. A collection of playful pieces in a strictly black and white palette, such as the boot ornaments and resin vessels, add quirky character. Photos make great display pieces clear acrylic frames with pics on both sides means they can be positioned anywhere. Mix up textures to keep the look interesting: porcelain, glass, mirrored finishes, and resin with a hint of metallic come together to create a cool modern look.

Many people give best recliner reviews and best coffee table reviews for white and simple styles
Many people give best recliner reviews and best coffee table reviews for white and simple styles

Continue reading Ready Set Decorate; (3 COFFEE TABLES and Recliner Chairs, 6 GREAT LOOKS)

Setting a table: simplicity, luxury, and refinement–that’s how to set a table and chairs with Italian elegance

Italy furniture style

Italy is famous for both its food and for the style and elegance of its table dressing. Our table settings are unrivaled in simplicity and luxury. We say simplicity and luxury, but there is also a focus on craftsmanship and respect for family traditions, combined with a measure of pride, which justifies that bit of creative folly that sets us apart.

style and elegance of Italy table dressing
style and elegance of Italy table dressing

Italian Table Setting

For dinner in a country house or on a terrace by the sea, the table setting will be more colorful and rustic than it is on other occasions. But here, too, nothing is left to chance. With a brocaded linen tablecloth or damask linen in a vivid color by Frette, one of the largest linen producers in Italy, the dishes, the pitchers, and the soup plates should be from Ceramica di Caltagirone. This ceramic ware, from a small town in Sicily, features lively designs and colors, with decorations that often date back to the Middle Ages. Craft traditions have been handed down from father to son for centuries. A service whose plates have so much personality may be accompanied by flatware of simple lines to make the whole a bit lighter, such as the Caccia model in silver designed by Luigi Caccia Dominomi for Alessi, a true classic in international design.

Italy table and chair set for restaurants
Italy table and chair set for restaurants

Continue reading Setting a table: simplicity, luxury, and refinement–that’s how to set a table and chairs with Italian elegance


The Homestead
The Homestead

The story of the Homestead

The story of Waterloo Village is most closely linked with the history of one family: the Smiths. The Homestead, built in the 1760s, became Peter Smith’s home after he arrived in Waterloo in 1831. Smith opened a general store and developed several other businesses that supplied or were connected to the canal trade. Located on a hill overlooking both the canal and store that was the basis for the family’s wealth, “the rather imposing home looks down on the small empire that Smith built here,” says Darcy Hartman, director of education for the village. “The structure helps portray the life of a man who did something for a community that really lasted.”

The Homestead travel site

The history of The Homestead

Smith lived at the homestead with his wife Maria and their 11 children. As his fortune grew, Peter served as a state senator and helped to found the local church, in addition to being a member of numerous boards and societies. Only six of the Smith’s 11 children – Samuel, Matilda, Caroline, Peter Jr., Nathan, and Seymour – survived to adulthood. All six at one time or another lived in Waterloo homes. Three of the sons carried on the family businesses. Samuel managed the store and lived in the Iron Master’s residence, built in the late 1700s to house the head of the forge. He also managed the family’s grist- and sawmills. Eventually he went into the railroad business, and sold his share in the store to his brothers. Peter Jr., also involved in the family businesses, built a mansion for his family in 1871. Seymour married the daughter of a miller and built Wellington House in 1878. Nathan lived next to the church in a structure that is now used as the parish house. Matilda and her husband lived in the Canal House. Caroline married and moved to New York.

classical bedroom interior
classical bedroom interior

The design of The Home-stead

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Pomegranate: The Seeds of Design

House and fashion decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape in interior
House and fashion decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape in interior

Why shape and color of pomegranate is popular used in interior?

Fashion and House Decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape. Chefs are drawn to its sweet juice and jewel-like crimson seeds. But in addition to these modern uses, the pomegranate has been a popular motif in the decorative arts since ancient times. As a religious symbol, its significance spans the Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths.

The history of pomegranate

The fruit is from a tree native to Iran. After 2,000 B.C., the cultivation of this fruit spread through the Arabian Peninsula and Mediterranean countries. Today, pomegranates also are available in other places, including California.

pomegranate style house interior
pomegranate style house interior

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