Tuesday, 30 July 2019

[AD] HOW TO CREATE A LUXURIOUS BATHROOM


You probably know how much I love a stylish bathroom. We renovated our downstairs bathroom last year and although the process was pretty stressful at times, I couldn't be happier with our new modern bathroom. I truly believe it has made a big difference to our lives. I hated our old bathroom. It was functional but you could tell is was at least 15 years old. It wasn't to my taste either which really made me want to do something about it.

I absolutely love my long baths these days and I'm pretty sure my children and husband would say the same. Bathrooms are so much more than 'just' bathrooms nowadays. They are like little home spas where you can recover and relax after a long day. Creating your dream bathroom doesn't have to be that expensive either. It's always worth shopping around for appliances and investing in those items that matter to you most. It could be a power shower, extra large bath or under floor heating. Splash out on one or two statement pieces that will make your bathroom feel luxurious and stand out from the crowd.

I had a little browse on the Bathroom Luxuries brand new website and I was very impressed by their product offering. They do know how to make a bathroom feel and look luxurious. The best part is that everything is pretty affordable too. Shower enclosures start from £199 which is very competitive compared to many high street retailers. If you like contemporary luxury like me, you'll love their Hansgrohe range. If you're a traditionalist you've got nothing to worry about. The British Ashton & Bentley collection will offer you both contemporary and classic bathroom solutions.


My top tips for creating a luxurious bathroom

1. Pick one main colour



Picking the right colour scheme for your bathroom is crucial. Lighter colours tend to work better in smaller rooms (like bathrooms), although you could always go dark if the space allows it. Deep rich colours will give it a more luxurious feel and  make it feel extra cosy. Don't forget to mix it up with some complementing colours and patterns as well.

2. Don't forget accent colours/accessories





If you're going for a neutral colour scheme, don't forget to add some accent colours for a nice contrast. Although chrome is always a fashionable choice in bathroom design, don't be afraid to pick other accent colours too. Matt black and gold taps and shower heads have become really popular in the last 5 years. I love this Black Matt Shower Mixer.  If you live in a hard water area like me, don't forget to install a water softener first, so your appliances last longer and look pristine.

3. Mix different tile styles

Try mixing different tile styles together for a more eclectic look. Pick one main (tile) colour first and then find one or two complementing colours or patterns. Hexacon tiles look great around the bath walls or the basin. The entire purpose of this is to break up the pattern a bit and bring more interest and depth to the space.

4. Make sure you have enough storage


I don't think you can ever have enough storage in a bathroom. Although I try to be strict with how many products we store in ours, with children in the house it's just impossible to keep the clutter away. Cleverly positioned shelving units and trays will help a lot. If you have any extra space left add some rattan baskets and a laundry basket to the mix too.

5. Don't forget lighting



Make sure that lighting is well positioned and useful. Cabinet lighting is wonderful when applying make-up or shaving. Avoid lighting that is too harsh. In stead, install some dimmer switches that will help you to create a relaxing ambiance during bath time.

6. Go for space saving appliances




If you're a minimalist like me, you'll love a wall hung toilet and wall hung furniture. They make the space look less cluttered and fashionable. They can be space saving too, although you need to allow extra space for the concealed cistern when it comes to toilets. They are relatively easy to install but I would always hire a professional for the job. Also, don't forget to measure absolutely everything before buying any appliances or furniture.

7. Consider installing digital controls

Digital showers are the latest trend in the shower industry. Not only do they make the whole user experience easy and hassle free, they look good too. Digital showers give you more control over the flow and temperature (they take the hot and cold water separately mixing it to perfect temperature) at a simple touch of a button. Having a shower has never been easier and more fun. You could also add some massage jets and body showers to your shower experience.  If that's not real luxury, I don't know what is!

If you have any bathroom tips, feel free to leave a comment below.

* Thank you Bathroom Luxuries for sponsoring this post.
* All images credited: Bathroom Luxuries
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Tuesday, 16 July 2019 / London, UK

MY FAVOURITE COFFEE TABLE BOOKS


How controversial. Here I'm writing a blog post about coffee table books (presumable giving people advice?) and I don't even have a coffee table. Crazy, right? Except coffee table books are not only limited to coffee tables now are they. Nope, you can place them anywhere in the house, ideally near a seating area for your guests. Since we don't have a coffee table at the moment, I tend to display mine on side tables, bar cart and/or pouffes (and occasionally on the book shelf).

If you're not familiar with the concept, coffee table books are (usually) big, hard covered fancy (ie. expensive) books that are meant for browsing rather than for reading properly. They are aesthetically pleasing and usually located near a seating area where your guests can easily find them. They also happen to be super popular right now. They are basically a staple in any pinterest worthy home and I don't see the popularity slowing down either. Coffee table books are a great way to show your interest to your guests and they also work nicely as conversation starters. I once attended a dinner party but didn't know the hosts at all. However, they had coffee table books all over their house and I found them super useful as part of getting to know them.

Coffee table books serve quite a few different purposes in my case. They are part of the decor (decorative) but they also have to be inspirational and beautiful to look at. Thirdly, I try  to pick books that I think my guests will like. I need to work on this more (most of my books are interior related). I love placing them around the house (usually near chairs/sofas) but I love them occasionally on the hall table too. I like to stack quite a few books together for maximum impact (always placing the biggest book at the bottom). I wouldn't stack too many together though. Keep it to maximum 2-4 books depending on the location and style/size of your coffee/side table. Sometimes one book can be enough if it's very thick. Remember to colour coordinate them if possible and it's always nice to add an ornament on top to give it some extra height. You can use anything from scented candles to unusual shaped ornaments. If you don't have a coffee table or side table just use a pouffe and add a tray to it. Coffee table books can really displayed anywhere in the house. Get creative with them!












I've been collecting coffee table books for a few years now. My collection is not by any means complete (is it ever really?) but I am running out of space so I'm really picky about the books that I do buy. Most of them are interiors related. If I'm buying a coffee table book it needs to look pretty but also be functional. I did a little poll on Instagram few weeks ago and I asked people what do they base their decision on when buying these type of books. Well, I was quite surprised by the results. Most people seem to think like I do. They buy coffee table books based on both the content and the appearance. Only 20% said they purely buy them based on the content. It totally makes sense to me. If you are going to be displaying books in your house, you may as well try to coordinate them with the rest of the decor. But there were 5% who said they go purely based on the looks. I found it all quite fascinating. Perhaps I should do more polls on my insta stories in the future too!


Few people have also asked me if coffee table books and children can mix. Well the answer is yes and no. Of course it depends on the age of your children (young ones especially tend to play with everything that is within their reach) but I've always had coffee table books on display even when my children were babies. I think only one book got ruined and it really wasn't that bad so I never ended up replacing it. I've always displayed decorative items on side tables even when the girls were little (unless they were dangerous) and they never showed much interest because they got used to seeing them everywhere. But I wouldn't let having kids put you off getting coffee table books. If you're worried just place them high (on a console table or a book shelf) so your children can't reach them.

Here are my favourite coffee table books (and yes, most are interiors related)

Unseen London

These ones I'd like to add to my collection soon:


I do find a lot of the coffee table books that I have my eye on quite expensive though. They usually range from £30-50 which is a lot for a book. I tend to buy most of mine from Amazon (we have Amazon prime so it's very convenient). Charity shops are also great and you can also find some amazing deals on ebay.



Do you have any coffee table books? If you have any recommendation, leave a note below!
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Tuesday, 2 July 2019 / Madrid, Spain

DESIGN INSPIRATION FROM GM PALACIO DE LOS DUQUES MADRID


Travelling is a great way to gain exposure to foreign cultures and varies interior design styles. I've been very curious about different cultures and languages for as long as I can remember. I've lived in 4 different countries, so I guess it says something right? I always try to do as much research as possible too. Of course the location is important but I also pick hotels based on their interior style every now and then. Trip advisor reviews and images are so important. I'll know straight away by looking at the photos whether I'll enjoy my stay there or not.

I had the pleasure to stay at the stunning Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques in Madrid last month for 3 nights. My husband was there for work, so I decided to join him. I wanted to stay in the centre of Madrid close to all the sights and shopping streets. I looked at few different hotels but it was pretty obvious from the start that the Gran Melia Palacio de Duques was going to be a winner. This was my first time at a Gran Melia hotel (I've heard so many good things about them) and it did not disappoint. The customer service was out of this world and obviously the elegant interiors really stood out for me. 

So, let's focus on the interiors since they pretty much blew me away from day one. I've never been to a hotel that was so 'me' if that makes sense. Ok, maybe the antique paintings are not exactly my usual style but whoever designed this hotel made it all work so effortlessly together. Mixing old and new can be challenging. It helps to keep all the artwork similar, like in this case. The hotel itself is an old 1800s palace, so it made sense to embrace all the original features like staircases, high ceilings etc. Almost all the walls were painted white (very little wall paper was used) allowing the antique paintings (inspired by the work of a famous Spanish painter Diego Velasques) to really stand out. I've always loved the contrast of black and white and they certainly knew how to make most it in this space. The hotel felt very cosy and inviting. More like a home if that makes sense. There were cushions and area rugs everywhere to add warmth and texture to the space.









I also love the use of wood everywhere. The wooden dining tables looked stunning and practical. I cannot wait to get my own custom wood table soon. I would pair the table with similar chairs (with black legs), although I haven't quite decided on the material yet. The black and gold contemporary lighting pendants complemented the rest the decor and worked particularly well because of the high ceilings.




A large industrial shelving unit like this works well as a room divider in bigger open-plan rooms. I love the way it was stacked with coffee table books, photo frames and few carefully selected ornaments. You could just pick up a book and sit down for a coffee as if you were staying at your friends house. It definitely felt more like staying in a palace rather than a hotel. 



Here's another great example how wood can add texture and softness to any space. I love the idea of a wooden feature wall and a built-in contemporary fireplace. I also love that they didn't try to match all the woods. Why would you? It's far more important that all woods complement each other.


This chandelier certainly doesn't look out of place here. The big roof window allow tons of natural light to enter the room, making it appear even bigger. In this case you can only go for a big statement chandelier. I do love all the architectural splendour. The entire hotel feels traditional and contemporary at the same time. They have really got the best of both worlds in my opinion.



Now of course the outside terrace was as pretty as the interiors. You can have your breakfast or lunch here. Mind you it was pretty hot some of the days. I think +33 degrees Celsius is a bit too much for lunch outside, but of course it means that you can go for a dip in their roof top pool afterwards which was super refreshing. We also had dinner in the Dos Cielos restaurant which I totally recommend (even if you're not staying in the hotel).



I didn't take many pictures of our (deluxe) room mainly because I found it pretty basic. It wasn't huge and the view was nothing special. It was a typical city centre hotel room, albeit a stylish one. It was perfectly fine for us during our stay and we didn't really spend that much time in there anyway. We also opted for their red level service (separate check in, deluxe room and access to the red level lounge etc) and now that was worth every penny. We ended up having lunch (tapas) there everyday and it was well worth it. They even had complimentary Ruinart champagne in the lounge, plus soft drinks, spirits, macarons etc. Literally anything you'd want when you're on a self-indulgent luxury holiday. If you're planning to eat lunch out every single day it may not be worth it, but for us it definitely was. Would I stay here with our two children? Maybe, but only when they are a bit older. It's such a relaxing and tranquil hotel that I feel it would be a bit of a waste with small children. If you're travelling as a couple or with work I totally recommend this place. I personally cannot wait to go back and discover more of Madrid next time. 

Does the hotel interior matter to you? If you have any recommendations, leave a note below or comment on Instagram!


SHOP THE LOOK!

Chandelier by Flos
Wooden table by Catalan Italia
Khalida bookcase by Made
Habitat Sophie Oak dining chair
Area rug by Wayfair
Diego Velasquez art prints
Velvet cushion by Laura Ashley

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