This month we lost an icon of the design world. A visionary, a trailblazer – Dame Zaha Hadid paved the way for female architects and created designs that are spectacular and timeless.
I first met Zaha many years ago when I was 17 years old. An old friend of mine was an architect and worked for her, so I had been aware of her from the very beginning of my career. She was always a larger than life character and was an extraordinary pioneer in design. Zaha saw the creation of buildings and cities and their synergy in a way that seemed effortless and yet extraordinary in the same way.
Wallpaper can enhance and transform a room, and I love how instantly and effectively it can do this. It can create magic in a room through its design and placement, and with my wallpaper designs for Graham & Brown, I’m always looking at new ways to reinvent and experiment with the effect of using wallpaper within a space. Having been designing for 40 years, there isn’t much I have seen or done – but when I was approached by magician Dynamo to collaborate on a very special project – we came up with something very different to anything I had done or seen before!
The world of homes and decorating them has changed so much in the 40 years that I have been in the industry, it has almost gone full circle to the way my grandparents used to live, not necessarily in style but in the way we view the importance of our homes.
The days of fad trends are long gone, thank goodness! Everything today is about “how you live in spaces”, which is what I have always advocated. Of course people salivate over styles and pieces and wish they could have it all, but today and heading forward into 2016 it is about how it fits you. Interior design should fit like a Saville Row suit; perfectly made to measure.
I am delighted to be involved with this year’s Text Santa Celebritrees campaign, helping to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-a-Wish and Save the Children around the Christmas period when support is needed the most. Text Santa aims to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people by inspiring, engaging and empowering individuals to make a difference.
In partnership with the wonderful Liberty of London, I have created an edit of my favourite Liberty Christmas baubles to decorate your tree with, and also signed a bauble which is being auctioned for charity. The baubles featured in my edit can be purchased from Liberty, with a percentage of sales going to charity. If you’d like to bid on my signed bauble and also see the other wonderful signed items that would make a great gift this Christmas, head to the Text Santa eBay page here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/itvtextsanta
Text Santa raised a staggering £6 million last year – let’s help to beat that this year! To donate to Text Santa, text SANTA5 to 70760 to donate £5.
The dining table is the heart of the home, and the dining table at Christmas is no exception. It is the centrepiece of what bring families and friends together at this time of year, is a great excuse to put on your best jewellery and feel fabulous – and the same should apply to your home jewellery too. The dining table is one of my favourite things about Christmas – the smells of dinner, music around the table – putting the sounds of the Rat Pack on at Christmas encompasses the season for me.
For me, the key to creating the perfect table setting for Christmas is not to overdo it. It can be tempting to go ‘all-out’ on this special occasion, but it’s really important to keep your decorations considered but also impactful. It should be traditional without being old-fashioned, opulent without being overwhelming.
As the seasons change and the days get colder, our bodies and homes need rebooting. It’s a time to make your home more nurturing and cosy, somewhere you want to spend more time in as the nights get longer, and a time to really look after yourself as well.
The most important thing to remember though is not to go into full-on ‘winter mode’ as soon as soon as you notice it start to get a little chilly. Prepare for winter gradually to ease yourself into it – don’t get the wool blankets out just yet! Layer up slowly – both with your clothes and with your home. I don’t have my tights on yet – I’m still in my brogues. Apply this to the home too, start to introduce warmer textiles but hold your thickest ones back for when the temperatures start to really drop. That way you are saving those key comfort pieces for when you really need them and can add layers over time.
It’s Wallpaper Week – so what better time to look at the importance of what we have on our walls, and how you can use it to enhance a room.
If you’re new to using wallpaper in the home, don’t be intimidated by it. You don’t have to use it throughout an entire room to make it work. I love being able to use it for texture and as a focus on one wall, it’s a great economical way to use a bolder print and it resurrects how wallpaper was used in the 60s and 70s.
I was delighted to be asked by Red Magazine to host a mentoring session this week for their ‘Smart Women Week’ this week which seeks to empower women to live smarter.
Meeting a group of women all starting their own businesses or looking for advice on how to do so, it was rewarding to be able to share my own insights and experiences to help these women to know how to achieve these goals and pitfalls to avoid along the way.
When dressing for work every day, it’s so easy to get consumed by the stresses of what to wear. The most important thing to keep in mind when balancing dressing for work and allowing your identity to show through your clothes is keeping your own personal touches at the forefront.
Recently, I appeared on Room 101 and we laughed as we put our pet peeves into a box and vented our frustrations. However, there is something I’d LOVE to put in Room 101 – and it’s no laughing matter.