Design Project Miri, Malaysia

What a fun project to be a part of at the Piasau Boat Club in Miri, Malaysia!  A regular hangout for locals and expats, the Boat Club is a unique place on the Miri landscape.  Its beautiful sunset views, great outdoor children’s play area, water access and water sports facilities are all part of its draw.  While all these things are enjoyable, the restaurant and bar were badly in need of an update.

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After Photo by Patrycja Ryba

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The Club called out for an interior that reflected its landscape – something bright and beachy.  Fantastic contractor Simon Clarke-Ward put the  bar together, including the facing with reclaimed wood, which adds great texture to the space.

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Before

The space was previously dark and felt heavy. It was definitely outdated with all the dark wooden furnishings and orange floor tiles.

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After Photo by Patrycja Ryba

The space wanted to feel more open and cohesive, to be welcoming.  With a coat of warm white paint and new floor tile, the bar and dining room are now visually linked.  The white-washed tables add a hint of the beach, while the wide blue stripes are a nod to the nautical.  Above, I included a member’s gallery wall containing photos from parties and events held over the years, which can be regularly rotated to showcase new pictures.

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A gloomy and dated children’s play area was located in a prime piece of real estate in the club.

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After Photo by Patrycja Ryba

Now this is an inviting social spot in which a group can enjoy a meal and a few drinks with friends and family.

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The beautiful mosaic above was created by Joyce Redpath, one of the Club’s members.

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Now a much brighter and open space, this is an inviting part of the restaurant overlooking the water.

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The Piasau Boat Club is now a cheerful and welcoming place.  Its unique position at the Miri seaside is enhanced by its warm and inviting interior.  It’s a special place in which to enjoy a meal, a few drinks and one of the many beautiful sunsets.

 

Sophisticated Office Style

I spend a lot of time in my home office.  I love my little lair where rarely anyone treads aside from me and the cat.  I like it to look pretty and to be comfortable.  Pretty much how I would like my office attire to look (if I was going to an office), but there are always times when you need to dress for a meeting or work even if you aren’t going to a conventional workplace everyday.  Below some inspiration for our home offices as well as our work (or meeting) clothes.

I love this combo of classic grey dress with an edgy leather jacket and oversized pearls.  The pop of colour with the clutch is fun too.

Grey dress with leather jacket

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This is a great simple black on black work look worn by Victoria Beckham.

 Victoria Beckham

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This mix of navy dress with neutral accessories of brown boots and grey handbag modernizes a tried and true work look.

Navy dress with brown boots office look

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This classic black & white outfit is updated with a graphic print on the top and the beaded collar worn with an oversized bag.

Black & white office outfit

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This is a great look if your office allows for a smart casual dress code. Super simple, but professional.

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This home office is a real space for the girls!  There are lots of feminine shapes here, but the black accents keep the scheme grounded and adds drama to the room.

black, white and pink home office

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This white on white office is very chic.  Lots of interest added with the constantly changing mood board. Having it in a frame makes it more special and contains the visual busyness of it.

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This is great use of a corner space for a home office. The navy, grey and white colour pallet is really sophisticated with a pop of yellow.

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If you read my blog regularly, you will probably know that I love the look of natural wood mixed with black accessories.  Add a hit of grey, as below, and you have a magic combination. The huge pendant lights are a cool play on scale.

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This is also a good solution for a home office if you are short on space. The metallics reflect light around the room, which helps with the feeling of space.  And the mix of black and metallics and that gorgeous black and white picture against the textured grey wall is just gorgeous!

black and metal office nook

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What is your favourite office look?  Do you have room for a home office?  Is it a corner or do you have space for a dedicated room?

Add Character with Vintage

It’s no secret that vintage is back.  It’s been back for a while, which is making it particularly difficult to find authentic vintage pieces in stores or online, so lots of replicas and copycat designs are cropping up all over the place.  I’ve always loved the look of mixing old with new to create a completely modern and unique style – what woman doesn’t love having something no one else has?  Here are some great vintage-inspired looks both for the home and the closet.

Rachel Zoe dons retro from her hat to her shoes.

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This is such a flirty 50’s look.  So pretty.

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Katy Perry is queen of vintage style. She has that sexy, pinup look down to a fine science.

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Love these vintage-style stripes!

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In interior design, it’s always great to have something vintage in your space as it adds a sense of history and tells a story about you and your world.  Vintage pieces, particularly mid-century modern pieces, are classics and will never go out of style.

I love Emily Henderson’s cooky style.  She mixes odd & interesting vintage pieces with such flare and her rooms are so alive because of it.

Emily Henderson's retro house

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This room has a lot of vintage and classic elements happening.  The neutral colour palette allows them all to work well together.

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This is a classic retro Scandinavian look – teak cabinet, Saarinan Tulip table, teak and leather chair.  You can’t go wrong with wood and black and white. Clean and timeless.

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This room is filled with lots of found treasures. It looks comfortable, casual and welcoming.

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So what’s your take on the vintage vibe?  Are you up for adding a little retro to your home or wardrobe?

Creature Comforts – Animal Prints

Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve recently been inspired to renew my blog and what better time to start than in the New Year? And what better thing to start it off with than one of my favourites – animal print.  It’s sexy and a little bit daring and if used properly at home and in an outfit it can be classy too.

Adriana Gastelum makes leopard print casual with cut offs and a safari style shirt.

Adriana Gastélum in leopard print top

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These skinny snake print pants are gorgeous with heels and a fitted jacket.

snake skin print pants

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Gwen Stefani, always the style icon, adds a little leopard print with a fedora

Gwen Stefani in leopard print hat

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Sarah Rae Vargas is rocking this leopard print dress!  Beautiful with a pop of red in that clutch.

Ravings by Rae leopard print

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This zebra print coat is gorgeous with those orange heels!

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I love to see a little dash of animal prints in interiors.  It reminds me a bit of the 5 years we lived in South Africa.  My personal belief is that a little goes a long way in a room.  It can easily look cheap, so you have to be careful how you apply it, but I think the following are great examples of the successful use of animal prints.

This subtle zebra print wallpaper adds nice interest to the space without being aggressive or overwhelming.  The cowhide reinforces the subtle theme.

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It’s unusual to see a dalmation-like print, but this really works.  The gold book case and simple pallette add class to this vignette.

dalmation print wallpaper

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I like this hit of Zebra print on the ottomans in the room below.  It works well with the other black and white elements in the room and the bright green print keeps it fresh and modern.

Zebra print ottomans

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I’ve had a hard time finding a picture of leopard print used in home decor that doesn’t look a bit cheap, but this ottoman works.  I think it’s because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s been made to look a bit more casual with the piping and surrounding decor elements.

leopard print ottoman

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So, are you bold enough to try animal print in your closet or interior? How will you pair it with your wardrobe or design?

Interior Designers’ personal style vs. fashion sense

I’ve always been fascinated by what Interior Designers wear; if their wardrobe reflects their design style, if it’s trendy or classic, colourful or monochromatic, etc. (even more fascinating to me are those in the design world who don’t seem to have the ability to dress well, yet are able to create the most gorgeous spaces.  But I’ll leave that for another post).  So today I bring you a comparison between some well known interior designers and the way they style themselves…

First up, girl-next-door Sarah Richardson:

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Sarah tends to wear casual, classic items with a bit of a funky touch to them, which definitely reflects her love of vintage inspiration and the use of second-hand finds in her interior design style, though I think her interiors generally tend to be more formal than the way she usually dresses (this picture being from her relaxed cottage interior and therefore the counterpart to her usual jeans attire).

The beautiful and talented Kelly Hoppen:

Kelly Hoppen style

Kelly Hoppen interior

I think Kelly’s slinky, retro outfit perfectly reflects the sexy, vintage style of her living room design.  That hit of yellow in the space mirrors the vibrancy of her dress. And that gorgeous hanging chair is the living room’s chandelier earrings like those peeking out of her wild curls.  Kelly definitely likes to add an element of surprise to her often monochromatic interiors and appears to replicate that in her clothing as well.

Fellow Canadian Candice Olsen:

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Candace Olsen Kitchen design

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Candice has a way of making a room really captivating, adding layers and using pieces that will see you through years of enjoyment without requiring an update.  She dresses similarly, always adding an interesting element and mixing her timeless pieces with something that pops, in this case her top.

The super smily Nate Berkus:

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Nate Berkus hallway design

Nate’s personal style preference appears to be a smart-casual look – sports jacket or shirt and tie – quite tailored and classic, yet comfortable.  His interiors definitely have a masculine touch with tailored elements and there is often something that makes you smile about them too, so that reflects his personality.

What do you think?  Is the interior style of these designers comparable to their taste in clothing?  Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

London calling

I’ve been lucky enough to travel through London many times in my life and one of my favourite things about it is that no matter how many times I’ve been here, there is always something new to see.

I got myself to Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill for the first time ever. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! Such a great vibe. An amazing number of shops and stalls selling vintage treasures. I was in my element.

I spied this vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk in one amazing antique shop. Guess how much this baby cost…

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Some of my other firsts were visiting the The Tate. Tate Modern & Tate Britain museums are located across the river from each other, but there’s a very convenient ferry trip on the Thames between the two for £5.50 per person. Plan to have a lovely lunch at the Tate Modern overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I’d tried and failed on previous visits to London to see Westminster Abbey, but this time I managed not only to get inside its beautiful Gothic doors, but also to enjoy the incredible acoustics while joining in evensong. We exited the abbey to the amazing sound of its church bells.

Lastly, I had my first visit to Fortnam & Mason and had afternoon tea in their ground floor restaurant. It just had to be done, though I plan to be more hungry next time I go so I can partake in the full fancy offering (though there are more tea offerings in their 4th floor tea restaurant).

I’ve left London now and am travelling a bit and visiting with my Mom, in-laws and friends around the UK, but I’ll be back to see some more of London’s many sights!

Have you been to London? What were your favourite sights?

Fur for Fall

Fur is back!  And while everyone in the fashion world seems to be talking about New York’s Fashion week in which Spring/Summer 2013 is being shown, I can’t help myself!  I’m still getting into the fall spirit.  There’s a lot of fur happening this season, in coats, jackets, dresses and in some fabulous accessories.

Love this coat in the season’s hot oxblood colour!

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And Valentino’s stunning wrap in this season’s deep teal.

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Fendi’s adds fur to the collection with this springbok dress.

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Full length fur appears on Zac Posen’s runway:

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And Mugler goes a bit 80’s with this shoulder-padded fur ensemble.

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This DKNY coat is one of my favourites with the high cowl neck and flat edging.

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Some healthy (if not pricey) competition in the fur handbag category also appeared on many runways for Fall Winter.

Christin Louboutin offers a handbag in the same springbok pelt as those in our shop.

Fur handbag

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This Proenza Schouler ‘Bambi bag’ could be yours for just over $4,600 (my first car wasn’t worth this much!).

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Patrizia Pepe has a few fur accessories in her line for this season as well.

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And some of our very own Earth, Wind & Style fur beauties:

Our Wildebeest Cross Body handbag.

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And our lovely springbok clutch bag.

Springbok clutch

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Fur is, of course, still controversial in some circles and with good reason.  There are some terrible practices happening in the fur world.  Earth Wind and Style purchase our products from a company whose skins are sourced only from reputable suppliers in South Africa.  They keep the protection of the species in mind.  The animals are not raised only for their furs.

Fur is also fabulous in interiors.  It adds great texture giving a home or office a real richness and added interest.

Erin Gates adds just a touch of fur in the sheepskins she throws over her office chairs.

Fur interior decor

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I love this masculine room with sexy fur bed cover.  Gorgeous and takes this otherwise neutral scheme to a whole other level.

fur bed cover

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Reupholstering chairs in a cow hide or skin will always create a unique custom look, as no two skins will ever be the same.

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Then there’s always the cowhide rug.  In this space, it helps to anchor the white furniture and adds depth to the space.

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How do you feel about fur products?  Will you buy fur? If not, will you wear vintage fur garments? Are you thinking about the fall trends with all the buzz happening about spring summer in New York? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.