Six ways to work the Signature Stool

You know it already. House Candy can be anything from a beautiful vintage vase that cost peanuts in a charity shop, to a designer chandelier that swallowed a month's salary.

But can it really be something as simple as a stool?

 The luxurious  Lune V stool  and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The luxurious Lune V stool and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The answer of course is hell YEAH.  But only if it's a Signature Stool like the stunning Lune V from Open Plan Living. Let my people in Paris explain...

"The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste and the size of her purse. It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, "I bought this for myself, I earned it and it makes me happy." P.31 How to be Parisian Wherever you Are.

The Lune V Stool by Portugese furniture brand Duistt and supplied by Open Plan Living makes me very happy. Nothing could qualify as a greater signature piece based on the above definition because (sorry boys) this one is ALL about me. I secretly saved up the pennies from my sideline copywriting job for this, my first bespoke piece of furniture that wasn't upcycled, and delighted in choosing the exact shade of luxury pink velvet and brushed brass finish. 

Now House Candy at either end of the price scale is likely to cause a stir, sparking such extreme reactions as:

When it's a junk shop find: "What do I want that piece of old crap in my house for?"

or equally...

When it's a designer gem such as this (and especially if one resides in Yorkshire): "Ow much?"

But if we fill our home only with items that avoid heated debate (or indeed a full on row), interior design wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? 

Seriously though, even I had some soul searching to do for this one. A sofa maybe, the iconic Egg chair I've been yearning for my entire adult life or a set of vintage Wishbone chairs, these items of course I would happily save up all my wages for. But a stool? FFS.

Here's a close up of it in hot pink (the colour of my cheeks when I was forced to divulge the price to the House Candy husband).

 The  Lune V stool  from Open Plan Living

The Lune V stool from Open Plan Living

There are lots of people who wouldn't flinch at spending big on something as small as a signature stool and plenty of interior designers reading this who will have no problem justifying its price tag to discerning clients who demand the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.

Open Plan Living works with a wealth of clients for whom only the very best will do and prides itself on delivering supreme customer service. But the firm also works with the likes of you and I, who have a much more realistic budget to stick to and yet understand how one or two high end details can transform the whole look of a scheme. For me, this way more European attitude to interior design exemplifies the beauty of the signature stool. 

My house if FULL of junk shop finds that cost peanuts. I wasn't always forced to buy cheap (and in many cases my husband would prefer it if I didn't) but I love their unique-ness and the character they bring to my interior mix. 

However, I am careful not to overdo it. Overdone anything is a bad thing and - just as I love a vintage dress but wouldn't go head to toe vintage - I was conscious my home was becoming too much like a vintage stage set. It needed some added luxe to get the balance back. 

The wonderful buzz you get from buying a designer item comes from knowing you've worked hard for it and in my experience, the designer item is likely to work equally hard for you. This is because you are keen to ensure it is worth its price tag.

My designer stool is working 6 times as hard as a regular stool for exactly this reason. Here's how:

Six ways the signature stool can work wonders

1) Dressing table

Dressing table.JPG

2) Bedroom perch

3) Desk Dolly

4) Extra Dinner Guest

5) Lady in waiting

6) Foot stool

I've come to the conclusion that this pretty pink perch is actually the supermodel of stools. It has the power to make anything look good and can therefore justify its high wages.

In all of the images above, the Lune V stool is teamed with charity shop finds which, you have to agree, notch up a style level once they've acquired some designer luxe. This mix and match approach to decorating means that you can afford to splash out on a seemingly ridiculous signature pieces from time to time because you've saved money elsewhere in the budget by buying second hand. It's the eclectic way and the Parisian way. And whilst it might not be everyone's way, it's most definitely the House Candy way. 

Have you got any signature House Candy? Designer or charity shop? I'd love to know what you think to mine. Please drop me a line in the comments section.

Happy weekend all. Why not treat yourself to a little luxury just for you, even if it's a £5 coffee at a coffee shop instead of the mediocre instant brew you'll make at home. Like I've told you before, you're worth it.

Claire x

 

 

One chic coffee table, three canny style tools

A well styled coffee table can be a game changer. I recently took delivery of the Athena* coffee table from Swoon Editions which, let's face it, doesn't need much help to look its best. What with its white circular marble top and modernist black metal legs, Athena has got all its beauty bases covered. 

88athena_coffee_desktop.jpg

But not all coffee tables are this blessed. In fact, until now I've mostly got mine from charity shops and flea markets and they have required a little more help in the looks department.  

Over the years I've learnt to employ a couple of basic styling techniques which can really up the ante of a coffee table. With these inexpensive style tools in your accessories arsenal, you'll have everything you need to take a coffee table from functional to fabulous - whether its a Swoon Editions stunner, or a junk store gem.

tabletop.JPG

1) Vintage vases

Today I noticed the flowers were on their way out. I always spare a few quid for supermarket flowers with each weekly shop, but they have to work hard for their dollar. They may start off as a lush full bunch in a nice vase (you know my faves if you follow my Instagram account; the pink bubble glass one, the fake Zambesi one)... but as the week wears on and things start to droop a little, the flowers get split up and chopped down.

Here's where having a couple of smaller vintage vases comes in useful. You can cut the stems short and let whatever is left of the blooms have one last hurrah. You get at least another couple of days out of your flowers and a fresh new look for your coffee table.

I also have a ton of cheap-as-chips stem vases in my flower vessel armoury. Many are old glass bottles with pretty decorative patterns, which I often team with a smaller vase, but can be simply lovely all on their own.

2) Book club

We know books aren't just for reading don't we? I mean, enjoy them by all means, but just promise not to let the fun end with the afterword. After they've enriched your soul, it's time for them to enrich your coffee table.

Even just a couple of books to stack on top of one another is a way cooler way of displaying flowers, an ornament, or a candle even, than just plonking that item on the table itself. Honestly, once you're into this vibe, stuff placed directly onto a table top will really start to bug you. 

You'll need all shapes and sizes of books to fulfil your different stacking and styling needs. Strip them of their paper cover if it's a bit naff and get down to the naked spine. Battered vintage books are a great look of course, but I tend to use whatever is lying around. Too many times we've lost a school library book, only for it to be found under a vase of freesias a week and a book fine later. 

Your coffee table will thank you for this small book of photographs by Martin Parr, which is just brilliant with our without the addition of flowers. 

  Martin Parr  photography book £8.95 Amazon

Martin Parr photography book £8.95 Amazon

3) Kudos Coasters

The one thing you DON'T want on your coffee table is a mug stain. But truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of coasters either. In fact I'm a bit of a coaster snob. I have vintage silver ones that come in their own little stacking holder. They're always knocking about in charity shops and flea markets and they do the practical/ pretty job really quite well.

That said, if I was getting married again and putting a gift list together... or just feeling flush, there are some pretty lush coasters around that make serious coffee table eye candy.  Amara has this game covered of course. Head straight to their website for coasters with a ton of extra style kudos. There's a few of my faves from their collection below. All www.amaraliving.com

So what's on your coffee table? A half eaten Snickers, last season's Next catalogue and a broken phone charger? Maybe it's time you got your kit together? Let me know your thoughts.

Claire x

*Sadly the circular Athena table is no longer available. Click here for the rectangular version or visit www.swooneditions.com to shop more marble top lovelies

 

 

A House Candy Hot Flush Happened

Throwback to when I was a 1920s flapper girl and I was perched on a stool at my dressing table whilst the maid adjusted the head dress around my chic jaw length bob.

 Lune V Stool £1,179  Open Plan Living

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

It happened in a former life, I swear. Only the stool wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as the Lune V stool by Portugese furniture specialists Open Plan Living.

Let's just take a moment shall we? Can a stool of all things really evoke such feeling in an otherwise emotionally stable woman? And why?

It's pricey... So am I. In name and nature ;)

It's pink* and the more I think about it, the pinker I become.

It's brassy; I'm a Northern lass. Same.

It's all worked out. This stool was actually made for me and therefore something must be done to acquire it within this actual lifetime.

Work you say? Good point. I'll get back to it.

Enjoy the House Candy Hot Flush though, won't you? I'm confident there's more where this flash feature came from. Please get in touch if you've got some House Candy for me to ogle at. Any distractions from the day job always welcome. 

Claire x

*Other colours and finishes are also available

 

 

The Candy Files - Slogan or Slo-gone?

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Pillow Talk

 Cushion £14.20  www.redbubble.com

Cushion £14.20 www.redbubble.com

Let's be frank, overtly smug messaging on homewares can grate a little, but overall, I'm a fan.

In fact, my latest attempt to wear my heart on my cushion has transformed my very grown up sofa situ into something a little more light hearted. 

 Good Vibes cushion £35  www.urbanoutfitters.com

Good Vibes cushion £35 www.urbanoutfitters.com

"Good Vibes" -  So chilled, so roll-with-it, so Urban Outfitters as it happens; a brand which I've never known to be anything other than thoroughly on-trend. So it stunned me slightly to find that this month Elle Decoration declared the war with words officially over via its style barometer. 

Good Vibes are not the only vibes I've been flaunting around my gaff either. I've also been keen to remind my beloved fellow housemates to:

Love...

Honour...

and Obey...

So does Elle Decoration spell silence for the sofas? Should we wave bye-bye to wisdom on our walls? And heaven forbid no more subliminal notes in neon? I for one will fight for freedom of interior speech with my last breath. And maybe with one last cushion:

 Cushion £14  www.redbubble.com

Cushion £14 www.redbubble.com

Fine & Candy = Fashion Statement 

 Good Mood T Shirt Zadig et Voltaire

Good Mood T Shirt Zadig et Voltaire

This week I did my first #OOTD on Instagram and this t-shirt is to blame. Yep, not content with sharing my considered opinion in blog form, here I am preaching to the world via the bourgeoise medium of designer t-shirt. So troll me! You're right after all, it's only one snooty step away from declaring the end of the world is nigh via a sandwich board outside HSBC, but y'know... all in the name of fashion...

Candy Pandy = Tongue on Cheek

 Peachy tattoo via http://www.pinterest.com/slufoot/

Peachy tattoo via http://www.pinterest.com/slufoot/

Don't get me wrong, I totally would if I could. Fact is, the dimples may detract from the sentiment and I hate for a pertinent message to um, sag. Don't you? 

Keep spreading the word people. Whatever medium you choose, say it loud, say it proud and (for max respect), say it stylishly. Please share this post if you too are a bit gobby in your gaff. 

Claire xx

The print with natural pulling power

There's a little bit of punk and a little bit of Pollock in my latest vintage upcycle. There's also a hint of my son's reception class art apron when it came home for its first term's wash.

The vibrant, paint splattered pattern of Earthed Fabric's Osmosis print is my favourite of the nature inspired Upperlands collection, mainly because it has unexpectedly pulled my eclectic interior decor scheme together. 

I needed a fabric to work hard for the sixties dining chairs that came to me en-route to the skip (above). They're not classics, but have sleek modernist shape. They are also light and amazingly comfy - perfect for moving from room to room as the need for extra seating is required. But choosing a fabric was proving difficult as I searched for a colour that would work in different rooms and for various situations.

Osmosis in Self Heal combines splashes of my favourite brights, yet combines sweeter blush tones on a rich purple background. It makes for a riotous mix, designed to invoke positivity, passion and wellbeing. 

So far (and they only arrived on Monday) those qualities have rocked my white dining room, complimented bold accent colours in my kitchen and nurtured a hip, artistic vibe throughout my whole interior aesthetic. 

 The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

For a pair of chairs that were heading for landfil, that makes for one impressive comeback. They not only look good, but the luxury Irish linen gives them a high quality, individual finish that feels super expensive and translates easily from a laid back to a formal setting.

The entire Upperlands collection reflects the rich and abundant mix of colours found in that one big paint splattered canvas we all call nature. If you're looking for a fabric to bring cohesion to your chaos, these are the prints with natural pulling power. Explore the full range here: http://earthedbywmclark.co.uk/collection/the-upperlands/

 Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by  Earthed Fabrics.

Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by Earthed Fabrics.

What do you think to my latest upholstery updates? Do you love pattern or shy away from prints? Are you good at sticking to one colour scheme or have things gone a bit, um, artistic of late? I would love to know your thoughts, please drop me a line in the comments section, it would be so cool to connect.

Claire x

The hot pink chair you can't wait 'til its warm for

"Oh Henry isn't it horrid when you're hot and in a hurry and you have to hold your hat on with your hand."
 Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

You better get practicing your aitches because there's a hot new homewares range to get your hands on thanks to Henry Holland's latest hook up with Habitat.

If the ads for the latest House of Holland x Habitat collection are anything to go by, Henry is the burst of vibrant energy we all need in our lives on a wet and windy Monday. Thankfully he seems to have translated his sense of fun and adventure into a bright, summer homewares collection that has the power to instantly lift your interior mood, whatever the weather.

Funky florals fire up the tempo of kitsch black and white gingham in a banging range inspired by the colourful world of Romany travellers.  

Beautiful bedding will instantly update a room in the same way that a high street fashion splurge can have you feeling fresh and young again. There's a matching rug that can't fail to fire up any failing floor situation and who doesn't love a statement cushion for a cheap and cheery transformation? But there's one piece from the collection that I think is less of a seasonal pick-me-up and more of a future classic. 

Henry has waved his happy wand over Habitat's Misty armchair and it is now available in limited edition hot pink velvet with contrast navy blue piping.

Misty's splayed black legs and curvaceous seat give it mid century class, whilst the navy piping curbs just enough of the hot pink girliness to give it rock star edge.

As you will know from my Instagram feed (and click HERE if you don't) I'm a huge fan of bright neon colour pops however traditional the contrast may be. Brights are a basic for me. I need them to supercharge the atmosphere with fun and happiness and if I'm bored with how a room looks, the first thing I do is add a Splat or a Zing or a Let's-'Ave-It of bright banging colour. If I'm in need of a super quick fix, a bunch of neon pink roses usually does the trick, but for long term perkiness, this eye poppingly perfect statement chair is hard to beat.

You can try before you buy by visiting the ingenious Henry Holland x Habitat suite at The Hoxton which is decked out in full on triple H happy vibes. But HURRY, it's only on until the end of March, which means there really is only one word to finish off this post.

HELP!

 Be free to roam the  Henry Holland x Habitat suite  at London's Hoxton Hotel

Be free to roam the Henry Holland x Habitat suite at London's Hoxton Hotel

What do you think of the Henry Holland x Habitat range? I'd be so happy to hear from you HERE ;-)

Claire x

Perk up your poky hall with £31 pounds

I'm in limbo. I hate my poky entrance hallway (again) and yet I've been told it's likely to be next year until the builders can fit me in for my big renovation plan. I need a cheap solution to perk things up and see me through just one more summer.

It's a big ask for a small carpet and yet I've convinced myself that a super colourful hall runner is the answer to my prayers. 

 Pink to make the hall wink. Image from RugPal.com

Pink to make the hall wink. Image from RugPal.com

As this is a temporary measure, I'm on a particularly tight budget. In fact, it needs to cost less than the pair of blush pink leather brogues I've been eyeing up to bridge that other annoying time lapse until the warmer weather arrives. 

 Knox nude flatform brogues £110  Kurt Geiger

Knox nude flatform brogues £110 Kurt Geiger

I know, I know and thank you for your concern. It's a sad day when a woman must forfeit her footwear for her floor. But sometimes we homeowners have to take one for the team, don't we? Unless of course, we can find exactly what we are looking for, for such an bargainous sum that there are still plenty of pennies left in the shoe fund. Now that would be clever.

Oh Hello Petal

 Stina runner. £31.50  Urban Outfitters

Stina runner. £31.50 Urban Outfitters

This Stina floral runner is a measley £31.50 now that Urban Outfitters have been kind enough to slash the price. Faded out florals give it a lovely vintagey look that is so feminine it might just detract from the aroma of sweaty trainers wafting from the shoe cupboard. It is lightweight and cotton which means I'll chance it on a cool wash once in a while and ... wait a second... blow me if it doesn't go perfectly with those blush pink brogues. 'Cos we all match our shoes to our hall runners, right?

In my book there's nothing like a dash of pink to pretty things up a little. Call back soon to see if it does the trick.

Happy Monday all. If I can help perk up your week and address any niggly interior woes, please drop me a line in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Claire xx

 

 

Original WAG = Serious SWAG: My Tina and Bobby crush crescendos

I haven't experienced WAG envy on this scale since Victoria Beckham's Team Baden-Baden taught the world a lesson in girl squad manners back in 2006.

Michelle Keegan's portrayal of Tina Moore (wife of World Cup '66 hero Bobby) in the ITV series Tina and Bobby has stirred something inside. Not just Inside my heart, not even limited to inside my wardrobe, but inside my entire home. I want a bit of that late sixties/early seventies WAG (SWAG as it now needs to be known) at House Candy HQ and I'm turning to the celebrated retro-glam interior designer David Hicks for inspo. 

 A classic David Hicks designed living space

A classic David Hicks designed living space

Contrasting textures define Hicks' style, with deep shag pile carpets balancing out the shiny surfaces and angular shapes of furniture typical of this era. Orangey browns and rusty red leathers that remind me (in a good way) of Starsky and Hutch are punctuated with pops of glossy turquoise. Leafy house plants, low hung, slightly random wall art and patterned curtains rock a retro vibe that my sources tell me is set to make a significant comeback this year. 

And it is this kind of SWAG - a retro & therefore infinitely cooler version of today's luxed up footballer's wife style, that we were invited to swoon over in Tina and Bobby.  In particular, it was their last marital home, the dream 70s open plan new build that made me long for life back when there were only 3 TV channels, telephones were attached to curly wires and it was the done thing to barbeque in 6 inch platform knee boots. 

Here's some ideas I'm considering to help me bring a bit of retro-glam SWAG to my pad:

1) Cladding

 Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I'm thinking of putting the flooring up the wall when/if the kitchen extension ever happens (unlike Tina and Bobby, we're having to save up see). The ceilings will be lower there and the modern contrast will create a cool kind of cosiness in an otherwise featureless new-build area.

2) Contrast Piping

 Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

I've been hunting for the perfect low, boxy sofa for some time and having failed to find it, I've decided instead to get my 11 year old Habitat Sydney sofa recovered in velvet and add some contrast piping. Tina and Bobby had a similar look in the TV series, complete with fringing which I'm also absolutely mad for, but am saving for another project. See below.

3) Fringing

I fancy a day bed. Welllllll, it's the perfect place for a SWAG to get her pedicure done and with this fringing no one will ever know that I'm way too posh to hoover under the furniture.

3) Kitchen Hatch

OK so this probably won't happen, but I SO like the idea of decanting my M&S ready meals in the privacy of the kitchen then serving them to an adoring dinner party without them ever needing to know the secret behind my Chicken Chasseur.

4) Flos IC lighting

 Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364  www.amara.com

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364 www.amara.com

If Flos IC lighting were a celebrity, I'd be its stalker. Ball shaped pendant lights were big in the 70s but can somebody tell me in what era these simple, elegant yet not at all ostentatious beauties would look out of place, because I can't think of any. 

Here Flos look stunning in a period panelled setting, an image I've been staring at for far too long already today. These babies are earmarked for my hallway and that's a fact. 

So Tina, you can keep the diamond rings. I'm not fussed for the fancy cars and as for the wealthy, good looking football hero of a husband... pah! what a let down he turned out to be. But I do like your retro WAGishness lady. I love your bo-ho dresses and since adopting your beehive, my fine hair has a whole new lease of life. I love your SWAG Tina Moore (or at least I love Michelle Keegan's version of your SWAG) And I'd LOVE for you to bob round to my place for Babychams so we can talk the Dralon and tassles off each other.

Claire x

Unless stated, images are pinched from Pinterest where incidentally I'm collecting 70s interiors images like WAGS collect collagen. Follow me here for inspo.