A Colorful Home by Maven

I need to start this post with a huge apology to Patricia McGinnis. She owns Maven in Belfast with her sister Catherine and was so kind to send the high resolution pictures of this interior design project only a day or two after returning from Maison & Objet in Paris, when she probably had thousands of other things to do. I had initially planed to publish this post two weeks ago and, as it sometimes happens got swamped by the many things on my to-do list, my lovely toddler who hasn’t yet understood the concept of sleeping through, the kids vacations, a suspended week long internet connection and a few other things that I have already forgotten. Although I did get things done, the blog unfortunately didn’t make it to the top of the list.

On my recent search for Chartreuse inspiration I stumbled upon the picture below which got me swooning because as much as I like the bare Nordic and Scandinavian interiors that are trending right now, my heart lies with color and homes that reflect true personality. And this home designed by Maven is certainly not lacking any. I mean, truly, how often do you see a room that pairs dark grey, chartreuse and orange and looks fabulous at it?

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The home mixes iconic design pieces and contemporary furniture from Scandinavian design firms, with quirky accessories and vintage pieces. The well chosen art piece as focal point in the dining room and a collection of plants in various planters show that this is not just a set of pretty styled vignettes pictures but the home of a happy family

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What’s your take on it? I really love seeing interiors such as this one where it is clear that the designer has listened to its clients needs and desires and crafted something that would truly fit its personality instead of just applying the same recipe over again. Kudos to you for this beautiful work and for your bold use of color. I wish I lived in Belfast to visit your shop and talk color with you.


absolutely gorgeous and so well written

Urban Jungle Bloggers – One Plant, Three Stylings

Those of you who follow this blog will have noticed a L-O-N-G absence of posts over here. Things have been crazy and a moment of demotivation led to this silence. It’s been like two weeks since my last post so I am more than excited to be back with you today to share this month’s installment of Urban Jungle Bloggers launched by Judith and Igor. I just couldn’t pass the opportunity as this month’s theme was to style one plant three different ways. It had been a great exercise to style festive vignettes in December, but being an interior designer I really wanted to show you pictures featuring more than just a couple of objects. I also wanted to show you that whatever type of interior you have, you can incorporate a plant in it and have it look great and stylish. So let’s go and have a look.

Emerald Green Interiors UJB Feb IntroMy chosen plant is a Sanseveria Cylindra purchased recently; I’s a modern looking, low maintenance plant with rigid green spikes.

For the first styling I wanted to call to mind a relaxed, BoBo and slightly vintage feel. I shot the picture in my new home office (feature post to come soon) and paired wicker and light wood accessories with my wicker chairs and the new plywood table top of my coffee table. I included an earthenware jar whose raw aspect and simple shape I love, as well as a distressed painted wooden bird that was given to me years ago and a pinecone my four year old painted last week. I added a grey sheep skin for texture and a green velvet cushion that mirrors the green of Sanseveria Cylindra.

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Plants are certainly not reserved for hip or relaxed spaces and this is why I created this second vignette with a very classic setting in mind. This one was certainly the most difficult to photograph as I couldn’t get the lighting just right. The wall behind my classic Art Deco buffet and mirror should have been painted dark for a stronger impact but the painting simply hasn’t been done yet and won’t be a dark shade anyway. Sanseveria found a very chic home in a Medicis style vase and I added silver and pewter ware in different shades of grey as well as a silver framed antic map of Poland. A slight touch of color is added with the presence of clementines with their leaves peaking out of an old battered silver plated art deco tray. I must have been thinking of the restrained color palette of a Dutch painting.

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Sanseveria went Scandi style in this third vignette which was the easiest to style. I doesn’t get easier than to style with black and white, don’t you think: A home made console with a wooden top and tapered wooden legs, a white planter, black and white framed art, a Noguchi style paper lamp and a graphic black and white print cushion is all you need. I am really surprised at how well the wall color turned out. My office is in a basement so shooting with natural light is not an option. Yet he neon office light at hand seems to be doing a pretty good job at respecting the colors which means I’ll be able to use my office for shooting in the future.

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So now that I managed to shoot all my pictures today and to publish this post, I can’t wait to check out all the other bloggers posts. I’ve been seeing them popping up on Instagram and Facebook from early on this morning but kept myself from peaking at them as I did not want to get distracted or influenced. I certainly hope you liked seeing those different stylings and that it will convince you to add some greenery in your home.

* Photography by Corinne Kowal

Have a lovely day!

First of all: I love that we chose the same plant for our stylings. Secondly: You did a fab job! Love your three interpretations! My favorite is number one:-)

Thanks Igor, this was so much fun and I think that my favorite is the first one as well. Love the second one but the pictures didn’t turn out quite as well as I had intended them to. I might try to give them a new shot in the coming days.

So glad you made it, Corinne! I’m with Igor on the first styling: the lilac/pale pink/violet (how do you call this color?) wall is so different and matches surprisingly well with the bobo styling. Bravo! Also love the painted pine cone detail! I think you will enjoy the other contributions too, there are quite a few ;)

I love your stylings! my favorite is number 3 <3
love, mirjam

Thank you Judith. The wall color is called “Azalea”but more about this on the upcoming home office post.

Danke Mirjam!

lovely stylings indeed, the scandi one is my favourite <3 greetings julia

This green really fits in any surrounding. My favourite ist the last one.

Hi Corinne, good to have you back! My favorite image is #1 too because it looks all very natural and balanced. What is the wall color you have there? It has a light violet touch or is it the light? x

Danke Julia und Anja!
Thank you Gudy. The wall color is lilac indeed, it’s not the lighting. It’s a greyed down lilac. If you are familiar with Farrow & Ball’s range it’s actually just between Brassica and Calluna. I’ll tell you more about it in my dedicated home office post :)

I wonder on which planet I was to miss your post about the UJB! I totally love your stylings and my favourite one is definetely the first one. I love everything about it (even the colour on the wall which isn’t my favourite hue, but you’re in the yearly trend of radiant orchid :-)

Dear Ilaria, I don’t know which planet you are referring too but I wish I was on it. It usually takes me more than twelve hours to spot a newly published post. Well my wall color is certainly getting a lot of attention. When you’ll find out how it was chosen you’ll get a good laugh because it was everything but planed.Have a lovely day and weekend.

Dear Corinne, I love the last styling! It is so powerfull and cleand in one way! I really like it! Have a nice weekend!

Nice to see your pics! The first is my favourite! :-)

Hi Corinne,

So fun you and Igor chose the same plant!
Foe me, it’s Art Deco all the way. Really nice:-)

Have a good weekend.

Three wallpapers to keep you on cloud nine

The past few days have been rainy and cloudy and reminded me of the (too) often overcast weather we had in Brussels. Don’t take me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like clouds, but but when all you see day after day they become a little boring. Now take the weather out of the equation and clouds are actually esthetically beautiful formations of mother nature and fit to serve as decoration scheme. This is even more true, when they are adapted by talented artists into unique and inspiring wallpapers like my three favorites below:

Nuvole by Cole & Son: Based on a pen drawing of the 1950′s this beautiful design was first used on the ceiling of the famous Milanese Dulciora patisserie  designed by Gio Ponti and decorated by Piero Fornasetti. I love 18th century engravings and those clouds just remind me of one of those engravings. The details and nuances as well as the large scale of this mural is stunning as a background in almost any type of room.

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Cloudy by Minakani Lab: This airy rendition of clouds that just seem to have been dashed on the paper is certainly meant for grown-ups but it has an undeniable poetic vibe to it that brings back childhood memories and invites to daydreaming.

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Dutch Sky by Little Owl: This mosaic like collage mixes antique prints with modern photographies featuring whimsical details of industrial cranes, wind socks and chimney tops. It comes in three color ways, dusk-violet, summer-blue, and storm grey to fit the mood you want to give your room.

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Those clouds are much more to my taste, don’t you agree? Or would you rather skip clouds both inside and outside? Would love to hear your thoughts.

I know what you mean, in the winter time we get loads of clouds and rain and all I crave is blue sky and sunshine. Clouds on the other hand are so esthetically beautiful and calming so they work really well in the bedroom… Hope you’re settling in to your new city well Corinne. xx

The Room Mate Aitana Hotel in Amsterdam

Opened in 2013, the brand new hotel of the Spanish Room Mate hotel chain is located on the IJ Dock, an artificial Island in the heart of Amsterdam. The thirteen story glass building was designed by the Dutch Architect Jan Bakers and Spanish interior designer Tomas Alia. The location on the water as well as many architectural features give me the impression of a cruise ship anchored on this island. The design of the hotel is colorful and modern with strong colors such as green, red and blue used throughout the hotel in combination with geometric shapes and Scandinavian inspired furniture. The rooms have floor to ceiling windows offering unique views on the cityscape.

Emerald Green Interiors Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam 1Emerald Green Interiors Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam 3Emerald Green Interiors Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam 4I love the effective way color blocking is used to create impact in the rooms and that someone through of using rugs that weren’t simply rectangular. I think that it adds a lot to the design. The variously shaped side tables in the main lobby paired with the over sized floor lamps, the blue and white mural and those beautiful colored glass pendants create a unique setting with a quirky note to it.

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Emerald Green Interiors Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam 6Have you ever stayed in a hotel whose decoration inspired you to try out something new at home? I certainly love to stay in places that have distinctive decoration styles that are not always my own. It’s like with food, I like to experiment new design ideas: it’s not like I have to stay forever in a hotel room so it’s a risk I gladly take; Sometimes I even end up adopting an idea or detail I liked.

* Pictures courtesy of Aitana Room Mate Hotels.

Discovering Toledo’s colors

This past Sunday we enjoyed the great weather and took off on Sunday for a day in Toledo, a gorgeous city  declared UNESCO world heritage site only an hour away from Madrid. The historic city is concentrated on a hill surrounded on three sides by the Tage river and everything is easily accessible on foot and with a stroller. We had no established plan and with our book guide just strolled through the small streets discovering one site after the next. Along the way we visited the Synagogue of El Transito, The El Greco museum and the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes. The Cathedral was closed in the morning and when we came back in the evening on our way to the car, we were just too tired. This is how you find good reasons to come back.

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Emerald Green Interiors Toledo 4I loved finding colors unexpectedly in the city: green plants sprucing out of century old walls at the cathedral, colorful flags hanging in a street of the old Jewish area, plants in colorful containers on balconies, classic Arabic tiles at the El Greco house, the ripes oranges on the tree in the monasterio garden, or classical painted houses adorned by plants and cacti.
Those pictures alone are a complete file for the “Urban Jungle Bloggers” series.

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What have you been up to this weekend? Did you by any chance discover a new place? I always find it fascinating and in Spain there is certainly much for us to discover with a fascinating culture and history as background. I wish you all an inspiring week.

* Photography by Corinne Kowal

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How much fun for you and your family to discover new towns. I love how every inch of space is used and the injections of green, especially the orange tree. I love Spain! Mel x

Yes, we are really lucky Mel. Although I have traveled quite a bit in Europe and spent much time near the Spanish border I actually don’t know the country at all which makes it even more exciting. And the cultural heritage left by the mix of cultures in the middle ages is just uniquely beautiful. Have a great day!

Wonderful images and colors and textures. Yes, you are fortunate indeed to discover so many new things. Do you all speak Spanish? (I’m sure your sons will pick it up in no time, right?) And to have it warm right now: what a treat!

Dear Libby, no we don’t and it’s to say the least quite frustrating. We are learning but it does take time. I guess it will be the easiest for the boys. Yes we did have great weather (16°C) but the weather is actually quite cool/cold during the winter time in Madrid as the city is situated at almost 700 meters above sea level. Have a wonderful day.