budget decorating, living room, presentations, room of the day

Room of the Day / Pokoj dnia

NY Maximes living room from Apartment Therapy
NY Maxime's living room from Apartment Therapy

Absolutely stunning, this place is the perfect compromise between budget IKEA buys and a bit of splashing out on accessories or a few designer classics. There is no reason whatsoever why any one of us (well almost anyone – see below) could not have a place like this with some ingenuity and patience; the classics can be bought on auctions (or perhaps you can get a knock-off for a fraction of original’s price?), IKEA is – well, IKEA, no need to explain 🙂 The rest is thrift shops.

Importantly, though, there is a feeling of controlled nonchalance about this place – and it is achieved by rigorous approach to putting things to their place as soon as you’ve used them, and generally uncluttering it. Yes, it might look random, but it is in fact a well calculated space with place for everything. Too easy to make such place feel untidy – so only for the disciplined!

See the rest of the place here.

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Coz za salon! Jest on przykladem doskonalego kompromisu miedzy oszczednymi zakupami w IKEA i szalenstwem designerskich dodatkow, ktorych jest tylko kilka i czesc z nich jest z drugiej reki. Kazdy (prawie, o czym ponizej) z nas moze miec takie wnetrze, o ile ma troche fantazji i cierpliwosci. Nawet te klasyki mozna znalezc na aukcjach, albo trafic na podrobki za maly procent oryginalnej ceny.

Jednakze, jest to miejsce dla bardzo zorganizowanych osob. Moze wyglada na przypadkowo urzadzone, ale w rzeczywistosci jest efektem precyzyjnej kalkulacji. Nie ma tam nic zbednego, ani tez nic czego wlasnie wlasciciel uzywal – wszystko natychmiast wraca na miejsce. W tak eklektycznej przestrzeni jest to bardzo istotne – inaczej pokoj moze wydac sie zagracony i nieuporzadkowany. Czyli – tylko dla zdyscyplinowanych!

Obejrzyj cale wnetrze tutaj.

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accessories, art in interiors, bedroom, budget decorating, home office, inspiration, living room

Living white / Mieszkac na bialo

I’ve noticed that you prefer white recently” wrote my Mum through IM a few days ago. Do I? I guess I do. Although I’m ashamed to admit it, it took me some time to acknowledge white as a color. I’ve always loved bold colors (even though my red bedroom was giving me headaches during my uni years). With time, however, perhaps the more interiors I’ve seen, the more I’ve learned how colors dramatically influence how we perceive everything around us.

  1. White is a great background to both statement pieces of art, and bold color accents. If you want to display a treasured painting, a gorgeous chair or any other item – what better background than white?? (unless the item is white 🙂 )
  2. White works for everyone. It makes interiors seem timeless, elegant, fresh. It’s exactly why we call it the blank canvas – everyone can imagine themselves in the space, even if to decide what other colors to use. It’s easy on our imagination, bluntly speaking.
  3. White works with every style. Normally we’d think – minimalist. But think also – modern; think shabby chic; French country, Scandinavian, etc, etc. Even think retro! (as a background to graphic designs)
  4. But most importantly, white = space. They are almost synonyms.  It will always create this feeling of spaciuosness, so desired in small places.

And yet, surprisingly, white seems to be used more in big spaces rather than small flats. I’ve realized it when looking through my inspirations collections to choose images for today’s post. All the post-industrial, ex-school buldings, lofts, barn conversions and quite a number of old big mansions boast the white interiors. So why not small flats? (And yes I know I admit my kitchen is green and my bathroom orange! I’m not saying everything needs to be white 🙂 )

Anyway here are some not-so-big-or-expensive places that I hope will inspire everyone to the gorgeous white…

  • …workspaces at home
Desire to Inspire - White workspace
Desire to Inspire - White workspace
Design Sponge - customized workspace
Design Sponge - customized workspace
  • …calm and relaxing bedrooms
Kikettes white bedroom
Kikette's white bedroom
Decor pads glamour bedroom with mirrored end tables
Decor pad's glamour bedroom with mirrored end tables
Melanie Acevedos simple and light bedroom
Melanie Acevedo's simple and light bedroom
Charlies design diarys simple white bedroom
Charlie's design diary's simple white bedroom
  • …and chic and spacious living rooms
Stylerooms white living room
Styleroom's white living room
I like designs living room
I like design's living room
Steven Shadleys gallery-style living room from Katiedid
Steven Shadley's gallery-style living room from Katiedid
Freshhomes minimalist living room with fireplace
Freshhome's minimalist living room with fireplace

So? I’m sure you have at least one white room. Will you look at it differently now?

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“Widze, ze ostatnio preferujesz biel“,
Mama napisala do mnie na GG kilka dni temu. Coz, chyba ma racje. To prawda, dlugo mi zajelo zanim uznalam bialy za kolor. Zawsze uwielbialam mocne kolory, mimo ze ze moja czerwona sypialnia z czasow studenckich przyprawiala mnie kiedys o bol glowy. Ale z czasem, ogladajac coraz wiecej wnetrz, nauczylam sie jak wielki wplyw maja na nas kolory wszystkiego co nas otacza.

  1. Bialy to doskonale tlo zarowno dla wyrazistych dziel sztuki, jak i mocnych akcentow kolorystycznych. Jezeli chcesz wyeksponowac ulubiony obraz czy wyjatkowy fotel – nie ma lepszego tla (no chyba ze obiekt tez jest bialy 🙂 )
  2. Bialy pasuje wszystkim i do wszystkiego. Sprawia ze wnetrza staja sie ponadczasowe, eleganckie i swieze. Wlasnie dlatego mowimy – biala karta, czyste tlo, poczatek; kazdy moze sie w takim wnetrzu ‘zobaczyc’, nawet po to by zdecydowac na jakie kolory ten bialy wymienic. Jest to kolor przyjazny wyobrazji, ze tak powiem.
  3. Bialy pasuje do kazdego stylu. Pierwsze skojarzenie – minimalizm. Ale takze nowoczesny, shabby chic, francuski, skandynawski, itd, itp.. nawet retro, jako kontrastowa podstawa do mocnych wzorow.
  4. Co najwazniejsze,  biel = przestrzen. To prawieze synonimy. Biel zawsze doda poczucia przestronnosci, tak potrzebnej w malych wnetrzach.

A jednak, co zadziwiajace, wydaje sie ze biel jest duzo czesniej uzywana w wielkich przestrzeniach niz malych. Zwrocilam na to uwage przegladajac moje kolekcje inspiracji, gdy wybieralam zdjecia na dzis. Wszystkie te post-industrialne, po-szkolne obiekty, lofty, i inne wielkie budynki wrecz chlubia sie biela i przestrzenia. Czemu wiec nie male mieszkania? (Tak, wiem, moja kuchnia jest zielona a mini-lazienka pomaranczowa, nigdzie nie powiedzialam ze wszystko musi byc biale ale jednak…)

Tak czy inaczej, powyzej przedstawiam kilka wnetrz ktore mam nadzieje ze Was zainspiruja – domowe biura, sypialnie i salony. Prawie kazdy z nas ma choc jeden bialy pokoj – czy spojrzysz teraz na niego inaczej?

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articles, DIY, furniture, inspiration

Design on a budget

I’ve decided to update my blog tagline (see above) to include part of my motto –

…how to get the designer look on a budget?



(And be quiet, language purists – of course there is always a budget but I mean the common meaning of this phrase!)

Really, I don’t think it’s difficult to create a great space with lots of money (though, surprisingly, I’ve seen LOTS of expensively made, but terribly designed / decorated spaces). To be honest, the tendency to go for the expensive is very irresistible. Why?

Well, it’s really not about squeezing money out of clients. It’s just that we love good design. And good design is, predominantly, very costly. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone – after all, to create an outstandigly beautiful and high-quality piece of furniture, for example, has to be costly. In time, ideas, effort, resources (including human of course), machinery and materials. Then – advertising or getting it to the market, etc…

But – one is also paying for the brand, and again rightly so, as those brands ‘high up there’ deserve to be special and exclusive for their role in opening new design horizons for us all. However, if one is willing to search and research, and wait a bit longer, and try out things, and visit auctions and sales, and customize, etc, etc… one can really create an amazing space mimicking pretty well the unattainable designer classics. So what can you do?

1) Buy vintage, customized or knock-off versions.

Sounds simple, well, it is and is not. You will have to invest a lot of time in investigating all options, checking out all the outlets, eBay, online boutiques of hand-made items, local auctions, blogs like this, designers’ stores and online shops, discounts and sales at the shops you love (and they are now everywhere, does anyone buy full-price anymore?), charity shops, car-boot sales, and the local suppliers down the road who are happy to create something for you for fraction of the original’s price.

So, time is the main investment. But this option is certainly most cost-efficient. Apart from those ‘real’ designer classic in vintage, which are sometimes more expensive than new (unless someone doesn’t realize their value and yes, it happens a lot).

And it’s fun, too, especially when you find some gorgeous stuff! You don’t have to be skilled, you just need loads of time, good eye, and good luck. 🙂

2) Customize yourself.

This is the most rewarding way, the real crowning of your achievement. But that requires ingenuity, and is certainly not ‘cheap’ in terms of time and effort. It requires skill. And patience. And good eye. And a bit of experience. So – you just have to ask yourself: what is more important to me? Am I willing to save time and spend money for the great stuff? Or am I able to spend time to research and get inspired and build and create?

Both options are rewarding in different ways. And I don’t think I’ll make a call on which one is better – I love them both. And you can also mix’n’match; buy this sleek Eames chair lookalike, but save on very simple coffee table which you can get at your local supplier and which will look just as good as any (let’s hope). Allow yourself for this gorgeous designer wallpaper, but use it sparingly – on one wall only, or buy just one roll and customise an old cupboard with it.

Bear in mind though… the ‘budget’ version does not always mean dirt cheap. Sometimes you will have to invest in high-quality golden paint, or in gorgeous crystal cupboard handles (and you will notice that accessories are often more expensive than the base item you wanted to customize). In fact, in many cases, you would have been able to buy a pretty high-street item for less than all the materials you need for customizing, and for zero effort.

BUT. Whatever you create will still be cheaper than the classics. More importantly, whatever you make yourself, is absolutely unique. Not only will it look outstanding and special, but will also reflect your personality and taste, and make your house a home.

…so where does the interior designer come into this ‘budget’ game?

Well, you may want to consider their services on two levels:

  • Idea. If you do not feel you are up to creating the layout, the style, the idea for the place – this is the first problem designers can help you with. Depending on your budget and plans, this can be anything from online help (you send photos / floor plans, designer sends back his version), through to one-off consultation at home, then creating the mood board (which will gather your colour / style / furniture ideas and give you a feel for the proposed space), up to the visualisation stage, furniture and accessories suggestions, etc.
  • Implementation. If after that you still are unsure you can find those unique items, or really you’re not up to customizing or simly can’t spend time rummaging through second-hand shops and going to auctions, the decorator can act as your buying agent and source everything that is required for your unique place. Even more so, depending on the extent of their services, they can customize objects for you. Perhaps they sell their furniture and accessories already?

And if you go for the interior design services, remember: ALWAYS be open and frank. You remember the previous article? “The more your tastes are communicated, the happier the outcome.  Also, have a specific budget in mind.  Honesty is always the best policy.” Say that you want customised. Or say that you want know-off. Say that you’re not afraid of vintage. Say that you hate the standard. Or that you love The standard, you just can’t afford it. And so on, and so forth…

…so, good luck with designing on a budget, whatever it is :).

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furniture, inspiration

My WishList – part 1 – Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe

Ahhh… if I ruled the world… this is definitely a Number One item I’d want in my flat when I finally come around to properly finishing it (one day!).

Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe
Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe

Created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the German Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona Exposition, the Barcelona chair features the pure compositional structure that now epitomizes Modern architecture.

Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe
Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe

This is one fine design masterpiece. Looking deceptively clean and pure, it is hell to make. Especially the frame, made as one piece. This, plus the high-quality, beatifully finished leather, and its place in the creme de la creme of furniture (can you actually call it furniture?…) all make up for the very hefty price tag, starting at around $4.5k for a Knoll piece (the authorized manufacturer).

And interestingly! It seems that a small war is secretly going on around the rights to the design, between the powerful Knoll, and Alphaville Design of Fremont…

Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:16:33 PM

Suit to settle whether Barcelona chair design is protected

Knoll, Alphaville duel over Mies van der Rohe works

Gary Evans — Furniture Today, July 30, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal lawsuit here will determine whether the Barcelona chair and other historic 1920s designs created by renowned designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are in the public domain.

The case involves contract manufacturer Knoll, which claims exclusive trademark rights to the iconic chair, and residential producer Alphaville Design of Fremont, Calif.

The companies have been in a legal battle over the chair since 2007. The court recently cleared the way for a jury trial when it denied motions from both sides to resolve the case short of trial. In the ruling, the court said, “Specifically, the trademark rights will not be valid if the designs have gone into the public domain at any time. …”

“We are delighted at the chance to present our case to a jury,” said Alphaville President David W.F. Lee. “We have no doubt that the designs long ago passed into the public domain. … We feel that historical designs should be accessible to all. If we win, the people win. If we lose, that might be the day when affordable design dies.”

via Legal Cases.

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bedroom, furniture

Vox Classic – timeless elegance with a twist

A Polish furniture company Vox has just released its new collection called simply Classic.

Classic it may be (inspired by classical style), but in a very sleek and stylish way. A few highlights are:

– a very functional headboard – not only looks lovely when lit up, but also provides much needed storage for all those books around your bed!

Vox Classic bedroom
Vox Classic bedroom

– one of my favourites – a sleek and airy looking dressing table with stool. It could also work as a spare laptop table if you are only working at home occasionally. Check out the table lamps, too!

Vox Classic dressing table
Vox Classic dressing table

– and some detailed finish..

Vox Classic detail
Vox Classic detail

Unfortunately one cannot choose the finish – dark oak veneer is beautiful, but a creamy option would look great as well for a more romantic and ‘homely’ feel – a little DIY perhaps?

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