Sleeping Lofts

In our house in LA, we converted our garage into a little office/sewing room/prop storage/music room – basically whatever we could squeeze into 150 sf that wouldn’t fit into our 700 sf house. Someone – not me – had the brilliant idea to build a little loft at the back and for a moment we had dreams of the kids reading up there or friends coming to stay and sleeping there. Originally there was a wooden ladder on the right side.

Reality soon hit us and we realized there would be no sleepovers up there because…um…heat rises. And there would be no sweet little kids playing up there because they were scared of falling and breaking an arm. We eventually got rid of the ladder, hung a curtain and shoved all our junk up there. Behind that clean white curtain was a scary no man’s land of ‘stuff’ – bins of baby clothes, christmas decorations, every baseball uniform my husband ever wore as a child, and mountains of charity shop and flea market junk I euphemistically refer to as ‘props’.

Our garage turned office. Via me

That curtain hides a lifetime of stuff. Via me

If we ever go back and live in that house again I like to think that we would install some AC, stick the ladder back up (and maybe a little rail) and put it to good use like these clever folks.

via NY Times

Home of Jessica Helgerson

via Apartment Therapy

via Justine Taylor

via The Style Files

via Blood and Champagne


Kids’ Rooms: When Mess Takes Over

Have you ever typed into google “messy kids’ rooms”? 

You know I have. I highly recommend it if you want to feel totally amazing about yourself. Unless of course your kids’ rooms are like the ones google found below and then…hmm. No comment.

via Apartment Therapy

via 94.3 The Point (“Jersey Shore’s Hit Music Channel”!)

Full disclosure: as I write this my kids’ shared room probably doesn’t look too far from these images above (We’re moving soon so I just don’t go in there anymore). And an old childhood friend recently reminded me that as a teen I had a “floordrobe” not a wardrobe. 

BUT, when I look at these pictures the first thing that comes to mind is “Get rid of some s***!” When kids have too much stuff it’s a distraction, it’s hard to manage, and inevitably this is what you get. What do kids really need? A pile of cardboard boxes, some tape, and a mountain of legos. Hours of fun.

Below is a photo from The Selby and what I like about it (aside from the tutus. duh.) is that it is real, but not chaotic like the pics above. There’s a fine line between living like a hoarder and living with the messiness that busy family/work life brings. Three cheers to Todd Selby for always shining a spotlight on real homes, not ones staged for the camera that make us all feel a little bit bad about ourselves.

The desk and dresser below were in my children’s room in LA and I love them because they are messy and a bit cluttered, but still fun to look at. At least I think so.


Muse: Linda Rodin

Linda Rodin. How did I not know about this utterly inspiring silver fox? She’s a 63 year old fashion stylist (turned beauty entrepreneur) who lives in NYC in this charming flat filled with all her collections and bits of pretty clutter. And a poodle named Winky. She oozes style and confidence and manages to make boho tops and silver ankle boots look magical rather than cringe-worthy on an older woman (Mum – don’t get any ideas!)

She stands as a great reminder to ignore all the rules about age and personal style. I’m generally not a big rule follower anyway when it comes to style – fashion or interiors – but sometimes I forget and I start to worry. I think maybe as I get older I should dress in a more mature way, have a more mature house, basically act like a proper grown-up.

When I look at this woman and the beautiful home she has created, I remember that it’s all a load of rubbish. Acting like a proper grown up is dull and ordinary. Oscar Wilde said it best: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”.

Would it be weird if I put a framed photo of her on my wall as a constant reminder to say “shove it” to the rules? Mixed in with the family photos perhaps? It might be hard to explain to guests that in fact she is not my mother or great aunt, but a person I don’t even know and just read about and like a lot. I think instead I will just pin her and gaze at my boards.

Happy Friday. xx

All photos via Refinery29 except the last portrait which is via The Chalkboard .


Low-tech Beds

Today I’m dreaming of beds. Mainly because I would love to stay in mine this morning and not go to work in this miserable rain. It’s a perfect day to stay in my jammies, watch the box set of The Killing, drink loads of coffee and cuddle my dog.

Aside from that unfulfilled dream, I’ve also got beds on the brain because we didn’t bring any with us when we moved here. We’ve been in a furnished flat for the last year, but now we’re moving to an unfurnished one and we will need beds….

I’m hesitant to buy too much stuff in case we decide to move back to LA in a few years and have to lug it all back (and by lug I mean pay an arm and a leg to ship it) or sell it all again – which by the way, is much more painful to do than I thought.

So, simple beds is where my mind is today. Mattresses without bed-frames/bases. Is it possible to pull this off without looking like your old university dorm room?

Here are a few good ones.

via Design Sponge

via photographer Magnus Anesund

via feeling a bit artsy

via fox on the run

via middle child complex

Behind The Scenes


I don’t usually post personal photos on here (unless they’re interiors related of course and then I have no problem showing you my messy house). But with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this past weekend and all the fun stuff happening around London (despite the rain) I couldn’t resist.

We headed down to the river bank to try to catch a glimpse of the Royals on their boats and grabbed a load of periscopes – free with the newspaper – genius! 

Always looking to improve on an idea, little Johnny strapped 3 periscopes together – with a bit of help from big sis – and was able to easily see over the crowds.

For the record, my daughter is not actually as tall as me. And yes, my son is eating an ice-cream even though it was cold and rainy (June in the UK is delightful, let me tell you).

Me planting a flag on little one’s head.

We had loads of fun and I was thrilled to be back living in London to experience it in person. Dare I say it…it made me proud to be British. 


Eclectic Kids’ Room Madness

Today my kids’ room obsession continues. I’ve always loved everything kid-related. You can have so much fun with it. Years ago I designed a line of children’s clothing called Spike & Ella. Tiny little vintage style dresses with a modern twist. So much fun! Now it’s all about children’s rooms for me.

I just saw these on The Selby. The Sao Paulo home of Cris and Marcelo Rosenbaum, fashion designer and designer, respectively. A perfect example of Real Kids’ Rooms – yes I capitalised, that’s how important it is. Rooms that kids actually live in, play in, make a mess in, and maybe help decorate themselves…now there’s a novel idea! And the best playhouse I’ve seen in a while complete with jungle gym style rope thingy to access it.

Check out the playhouse below…

All photos via The Selby

Update for 2013: For stunning examples of creative and eclectic kids’ rooms, take a look at a new book Creative Family Home, by Ashlyn Gibson. Our books came out at the same time (September/October 2013) and by the same publisher. And her kids’ clothing shop Olive Loves Alfie is around the corner from my house in London. It’s a beautiful book!