The Drama of Black

So this is a bit of a selfish post.  My husband was being forced to watch one of my (many) PVR’d design shows not long ago and when it came to the reveal, he really didn’t like the black walls the designer had chosen to create and proceeded to tell me that he didn’t like black walls, period.  I was vociferously opposed to his view as I had been quietly harbouring dreams of painting some black walls in whichever new place we may be moving to in the near future.  He said absolutely not, he just doesn’t like them.  I said I would show him some fabulous rooms with black walls and convert him to a hip, black wall-lover.  So this post is really for him.  With some stuff for you thrown in there too!

What I love about black is that it is so dramatic and sophisticated.  It can instantly add strength to a space and it is classic.  Just think about all those LBDs us gals have been wearing for decades.  The black in this room is softened by the use of the natural materials in the blinds and the basket and by pairing it with a warm wood desk.

Black-Walls-3

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This space is just so glamorous with the contrasting black and white decor and the use of timeless furniture pieces.  Really nicely modernised with the cowhide zebra stripe rug and the slipcovered chair.

glamourous Black Walls

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This black entranceway designed by Kelly Wearstler allows all the graphic patterns and metallic finishes to shine while creating a striking backdrop.

kelly wearstler black entrance hall

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Black absorbs light, so black walls work really well in a space that receives a good amount of natural light. Though if you are aiming to create a warm, cave-like feel, black walls will make a calming choice.  In her book All About Colour, colour guru Janice Lindsay identifies that ‘black can feel like a security blanket, private and safe.’ Paint with a sheen to it will help move the light around the room, whereas a matte paint finish will fully absorb the light.  Matte paint will also hide more imperfections in the wall than a glossy finish will.

This space feels a bit cave-like to me.  Enveloping and cozy and inviting and what a beautiful creative space it would be to work in!

black office

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Here’s another warm and inviting space with very saturated hues mixed into the black room.

saturated red chair with black walls & fireplace

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This inviting black and white kitchen was posted by House Beautiful nearly 10 years ago and because of it’s ageless design and colour scheme it is still looking current.  To update this kitchen in the future, all you will likely need to do is change the pendant lights and a few accessories.

black & white kitchen

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Here is another classic kitchen design, but with a modern black ceiling.  There is much talk about what a black ceiling will do to a space.  I feel like it makes the ceiling disappear and therefore makes it seem much higher.  Others say the opposite, that it can bring the ceiling in and make the space feel more enclosed.  What do you think?

white kitchen with black ceiling

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Of course we all have black workhorses in our wardrobes – those outfits or pieces we turn to time and again because they work with everything.  I love this classic Chanel inspired boucle jacket paired with an edgy pair of leather skinnies and open toed boots.  Very chic.

All Black Outfit

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Model Karlie Kloss puts a spin on the classic black pants and white top by reversing it and wearing it for winter.

black top white pants winter

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How pretty is this elegant black party dress with the crushed velvet bodice and tulle skirt? It could easily have come out of the 1950s and would be a perfect Christmas or New Years party dress.

Classic black dress

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Marilyn Monroe wears a great little black dress here that is still fashionable today.  And aren’t those seams sexy?

marilyn monroe little black dress

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So what do you think about dramatic black?  Will it make the transition from your wardrobe and onto your ceiling or walls? Will it become as classic as it has in our wardrobes?

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.

rachel zoe vintage style

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

vintage party outfit

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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!

vintage 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.

vintage style interior decorating

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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.

vintage home decor

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

vintage interior design

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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?

Style Icon Sophia Loren

Movie actress and beauty icon, Sophia Loren came a long way from her humble beginnings in Italy to her status as a household name around the world. Describing herself as strange looking when she was a child, she later said, “I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.” Well, there’s no question she had something special oozing from her pores, but she also had all those other attributes as well!

Reportedly 38-24-38 measurements, Sophia Loren is the epitome of the hourglass figure. Sophia Loren 1960's

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Always beautifully dressed (and most often with her assets on full display!), Loren was undoubtedly a style icon.

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Quite a transition from being scrawny as a child, Sophia Loren blames spaghetti for her figure!

sophia loren evening gown

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sophia loren style and beauty icon

Sophia Loren looked her most beautiful with that great big smile.

sophia loren drinks champagne

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Sophia Loren at 64.  I hope I look that good at her age!

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Even in her 70’s Sophia Loren is still wowing in curve-hugging, cleavage-bearing dresses.

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There are plenty of rumours about whether or not Ms. Loren has undergone plastic surgery to keep herself looking good.  Either way, she is still as gorgeous as any of us could wish to be and still able to proudly bare her beautiful figure.  She claims, “You have to be born a sex symbol. You don’t become one. If you’re born with it, you’ll have it even when you’re 100 years old.”  Do you think she’s right?

Do you think Sophia Loren is a style icon?

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?