The Curious Shop: Loafing around.

_MG_0287blue_sofa_MG_0286_MG_0289bedlinen_MG_0317dining_MG_0362baskets_MG_0268Radio_MG_0278icecreamery_MG_0273_1

Remember that time I was super excited Loaf Shack was opening near me in Battersea? I went to visit the other day and it was so much fun! Set under the railway arches under double-height ceilings with some exposed original brick work walls, Loaf Shack Battersea is the sort of place you could spend your day in, either working, browsing, or just sleeping on one of their many sofas and beds! In fact, they actively encourage people to do so (it’s not a showroom, rather, it’s an experience venue), with free wifi, an ice creamery (say what?!) and a secret underground bunker-style recreational room – there’s a table football set, a pin-ball type machine, a television, plenty of loungey sofas and cushions. Apparently it’s where all the cool kids from the local school hang out nowadays!

If I worked from home, I would definitely be popping in lots. You could go and get your larger items of furniture (sofas, beds, wardrobes), spend hours picking fabric swatches, or just run in and out for a candle, some bed-linen, or cute glassware. I got myself a couple of pairs of hand-knitted bed socks (yes!) and a candle before I left.

Go visit and let me know what you think!

Visit Loaf Shack Battersea at 255-259 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London, SW8 3NP, of see http://www.loaf.com/.

P.S.: Loaf is having a birthday sale until January 31! Don’t miss it 🙂

 

Images: Courage & Dash

 

King of the Castle

IMG_3325IMG_3331IMG_3330IMG_3329IMG_3320IMG_3317IMG_3312IMG_3306IMG_3304bustIMG_3286armouryIMG_3264IMG_3265IMG_3262pianoIMG_3244harpIMG_3243jellymouldsIMG_3297IMG_3296IMG_3241IMG_3236door_low

I’m already quite a homebody, but if my home was like Inveraray Castle, I would never leave. Not even for brunch with Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jonny Depp at the same time. Nope. Home is where I will always be found.

The beautiful castle was the setting of a Downton Abbey Christmas special, where the Granthams went to Scotland to see Rose McGowen’s family and for plenty of grouse shooting. It is lived in by the current Duke of Argyll, but is also open to the public. With a cosy cafe (that serves tasty food), neat and attractive gardens, and charming interiors, the castle was the perfect pit stop on our way from Fife to Argyll. Our favourite room was probably the armoury, in the middle of the castle (tallest room in Britain!), where the ceiling was over three storeys high and the walls were bristling with weaponry. The cheerful yellow-painted walls added to the spacious feel of the room and half reminded me of the domed room in Castle Howard. Oh, also, of course, I spent all my time sat by the large open fireplace. Joy.

The best thing about the castle was how welcoming and approachable it was. Some stately homes can be so lavish as to be uncomfortable, even to a reverent visitor. Inveraray Castle was grand but clearly a home lived in by a family. Well worth a visit!
Images: Courage & Dash

The Curious Shop: Goose Home & Garden

blue notice board (1)carpenters workbench (1)first heart shutters (3)five ceiling tiles same pattern (3)go cart (1)gray garden table (1)green table offset lock (1)grey side table (1)hat tin with dent (1)libbys cratesmint blue buffet (1)original paint gray table (2)original white buffet (1)original white painted buffet (1)paillion bedsides (2)pale green shutters (2)purbeck 5 drawer unit (1)simplex ladder (1)single door pavillion gray (1)tall wire baskets (1)wide carpet case (1)wood and brass hooks (1)

One of the downsides of renting is being restricted (usually) to playing around with your soft furnishings; one of the upsides, however, is being able to change the style of your space as regularly as you would like!

Today, Sarah & Paul from Goose Home and Garden, our new favourite online shop, join us to tell us about their business. The online shop stocks a range of decorative vintage, from quirky signs to old furniture. One of our friends, Jessica Alice, was so inspired by Sarah that she decided to start her own business selling second hand lifestyle items. 

Sarah’s love for collecting started many years ago as a child trailing after her mum to house sales. Both Paul and Sarah started dealing in vintage homewares 20 years ago in Brighton, and now they sell regularly at fairs in the south of England. By the way, if you were wondering why “Goose”, it is because that is what newborn Sarah was christened by her older brother! We cannot wait to see them at a fair.

For more, visit http://www.goosehomeandgarden.com/.

Images: Sarah Kingston

Winter is coming…

IMG_3332bedroomIMG_3436IMG_3441IMG_3378welliesIMG_3372IMG_3384candle-portraitIMG_3420IMG_3437_2IMG_3440IMG_3388IMG_3446IMG_3401wood-choppingIMG_3410earrings-candleIMG_3427IMG_3341IMG_3416IMG_3412candlesIMG_3482

If I have spoken to you recently, you will know that I have been desperate to use the phrase “Winter is coming” legitimately, either as a title to something or in conversation about the weather. I am not well-acquainted with Game of Thrones (either the books or the television series), much to my embarrassment (everyone seems to have seen/read it!), but I just really rather like the motto. I tried to explain it to my boss last week, but as you already know, I don’t actually know the plot of the series at all, and so failed pretty much as I started.

On a cold and rainy day during our Scottish holiday, the husband and I decided to have a really lazy and slow day. When we woke up, the sky was grey, and light rain was pattering against the skylight. I cannot tell you enough how much I love rain whilst indoors, tucked under a warm duvet with fluffy pillows I can sink into. It was fab. After a hot brunch, we decided we really ought to get the fire going, and so the husband was dispatched to make some kindling, which I duly built a fire with.

By a stroke of luck, a couple of Produce candles landed on our doorstep that morning, courtesy of I Love Produce Candles – perfect timing for a cosy day in! In fact, it was exactly the right candle for our pastoral, farmyard surroundings. I first discovered Produce candles at Top Drawer, a home+gifts trade show – they smelled divine, like freshly grated vegetables or gently frying herbs (they are also aptly named things like “rosemary”, “honey”, “sage” and “radish”). These beautiful candles are hand-poured in Charleston, South Carolina (possibly one of my favourite southern cities, and where Frank Underwood from House of Cards went to university) – and now they are being sold in the UK by I Love Produce Candles. Hurrah. I think I want to try Wildflower next (I was sent Rosemary and Fig), and possibly Coriander.

We spent the rest of the day lazing by the fire, eating cake, reading, and dozing. I think I am a true champion when it comes to sitting around and not doing anything!

 

Images: Courage & Dash

Beautiful Living

DSC_0531DSC_0271mannDSC_0551Sofa_1DSC_2083DSC_2088stairs

How beautifully set up is this home? The first time I saw Natalie’s photos on her Instagram account, Laid Back Farmhouse, I fell in love with her style. It’s so airy and light and calm. You can imagine how delighted I was that Nat agreed to let us peek into her home – it’s impressive how uncluttered the space is, despite Nat’s large collection of vintage things – there is yet hope, despite my husband’s insistence that mess is synonymous with vintage hoarding. Over to you, Natalie!

“I’m Natalie Woods, I’m 34 and work in travel – you’ll often find me in either Covent Garden or Southampton.

“Five years ago, my husband and I moved back into the country, this time to West Sussex to a little converted barn that needed (and still does) some love. I grew up on the Shotley peninsular in Suffolk, so country living is deep in my bones.

“My whole life I’ve loved vintage items and very little in my house is new. My favourite pieces are Provence farmhouse inspired, as I aspire to live in rural France one day!

DSC_0208aga

“I’m still collecting and my favourite places to go are Hill & Co Grayshott and Haus Haslemere. In fact, I go there all the time. Annie & Bill @ Hill & Co often travel over to France and source the most fantastic items. I could spend hours in their lovely shop (and often do). They are incredibly friendly and passionate about antiques and also source from all over the UK. The shop has a French farmhouse feel and I know I will always find something quirky and original – my signs, apothecary drawers and glassware are all from there.

DSC_0563DSC_2046

“Stephanie @ Haus Haslemere has impeccable taste and her shop is incredibly chic. One half is a bright, Scandi/French look and through the door to the other half is an industrial/utility feel. There’s lots of beautiful vintage items and I guarantee you will want to buy everything.

“I love visiting France’s flea markets and Brocantes. My absolute favourite is Villneuve Les Avignon. It’s full of provincial items and is reasonably priced. The market setting is very beautiful.”

 

Images and styling: Natalie Wood

Battersea is about to be awesome: Hello Loaf Shack!

There were these images of very tasty-looking+brightly-coloured biscuits in the shape of a house, floating around social media, which got us at Courage & Dash very curious indeed – who was sending round these yummy treats and what was this #LoafShack business??

Before too long, we realised what was happening, and we could not have been more excited: Loaf was setting up a show-house in Battersea, filled to the brim with their gorgeous furniture/furnishings, to make something of a ‘home’ which you could enjoy. Excited too?

Loaf - Atticus sofa from £1,195 high res

If you don’t yet know Loaf (and for our international readers!), the company is an interiors brand which sells colourful, laid back, and cosy furniture/furnishings. This autumn, the brand will be opening its first ‘Loaf Shack’ showroom, which is basically 7,500sq ft worth of pieces for every room of the home (including signature beds and sofas). Unlike most showrooms, at Loaf Shack, you will be encouraged to get comfy and experience the furniture in action.

Loaf - Dixie sofa from £1,395 high resLoaf - Footstools from £395 high res

In fact, there will be an ice cream parlour in the showroom, and even a mattress-testing area! Perfect for that much-needed midday snooze (lucky if you live/work nearby). Whilst the Shack isn’t open until Autumn, Loaf’s latest mid-season collection is available now – check out some our favourites (we love those colours and plush seats!).

Loaf - Shortbread bed from £795 high-resLoaf - Scatter cushions from £25 high-resLoaf - Happy sofa from £1,395 high resLoaf - Orson sofa with removable cover from £1,195 high res1Loaf - Pudding sofa from £1,195 high res3

Stay tuned for the opening of #LoafShack!

For more inspiration, visit Loaf at http://loaf.com, or tweet/Facebook/instagram@LoafHome.

Images: Loaf

60 seconds with the designer: Louise Keane’s Top Tips + Exclusive Sketches!

Louise Keane is our latest interior design crush – not only does she design and style at Amalfi White Living, she also does the most beautiful interiors/home sketches… Louise kindly sketched some exclusively for Courage & Dash, which you will find scattered through this post.

Thankfully, Louise managed to find some time from a busy schedule to chat with us. Ready for some super design tips? Here we go!

1. Open plan or cosy nooks?

What a tough question to start with – can I have both please?! The popularity of open plan is obvious – we all love homes that feel spacious and airy and it’s definitely more suited to the way we tend to live these days. But I think the human instinct to nest definitely comes into the mix when you have a cosy window seat or a smaller, more inviting space to snuggle into. It really all comes down to the space that you have to work with and what works best for it and how you want to live in that space.

PastedGraphic-10
Sketch based on design by Restoration Hardware

2. Vintage or modern? Or both?

Definitely both in this case. (Courage & Dash: You have to choose at some point, Louise!! Haha.) I think the best designs usually happen when there’s an artful mix of styles – it definitely adds character and depth to a space.

Edinburgh-kitchen-after-2.jpeg1Kitchen-and-sittingroom.jpeg
Examples of Louise’s work in Edinburgh (Image: Amalfi White Living)

3. What are some ways to style a rented bedroom if you can’t paint walls, etc.?

I think there are lots of ways to add character and style even if you’re just renting. You can prop mirrors or art up against the wall – this can look great especially if you use larger pieces. And there are now sticky pads available so you can hang art or photos (maybe not heavy mirrors!) on your wall without damaging the surface.

Adding rugs, throws and cushions for colour and texture will always inject your personality and style into a space. If you’re desperate to brighten up plain walls, there are great= ranges of wall decals available now – basically repositionable stickers which can add a touch of fun or whimsy, especially to a child’s room. Finally if you have a boring, white bathroom, there are great shower curtains available that can become a real feature and inject personality and colour.

PastedGraphic-6

4. Are ‘posh’ paints worth it?

As an interior designer, colour is obviously important to me, and I do find that a lot of the ‘posh’ brands offer an amazing range of colours with a subtlety and depth of colour that you might not find in cheaper paints. As to the quality – I’d always ask a good painter / decorator as they work with paint every day and can advise you on the technical side of things with different brands depending on where and how you want to use them.

PastedGraphic-3

5. Most inspirational city?

Easy! Has to be New York for me. I hope that’s not too clichéd an answer but I just find myself filling notebook after notebook with ideas and taking hundreds of inspirational photos when I’m there. I’m always buzzing for weeks after I visit.

6. Power shower or rainforest shower?

Ooh it has to be rainforest. Much more soothing and romantic!

PastedGraphic-11

7. Which is your favourite part of the UK?

Another really tough question… I live in Scotland which is so beautiful but I also have a really special place in my heart for Cornwall. There’s just something about it – emerald coves, wild flowers, ancient stone houses, winding lanes. Another place where I feel truly inspired.

8. How do you turn inspiration into a cohesive design idea?

This is something I learned when I started retraining as an interior designer a few years ago and there is quite a distinct process which really helps to translate inspiration into a workable design idea. The methodology is based around writing a ‘Design Statement’ about what you want to create and designing a ‘Concept Board’ which pulls together visual references that evoke the look and feeling you want in that space. You put these together with a really detailed written analysis of what your client wants – practically and aesthetically – and working through those elements you turn your inspiration into a workable design.

If you’re in the UK I’d really recommend KLC where I trained where you can learn more about this methodology on one of their short courses or their diploma if you’re really serious! I learned a lot when I started retraining as a designer but this was one of the most powerful things that I discovered.

PastedGraphic-12

9. What is an upcoming trend to incorporate into a room?

I’m not a fan of trends per se as I am more interested in producing an interior that’s timeless. I love when I open an old magazine or even see a mid-century design and realise that it still looks as fresh and modern today. That for me is more important than a trend which may look great now but which could look really dated in a few years.

10. Your favourite best kept secret shop?

One of my favourite interior brands is well known in the US but it’s pretty much a best kept secret here in the UK as it doesn’t have any branches here. It’s called Restoration Hardware and I’ve just discovered that one of the people who designs for them – Timothy Oulton – has his own UK website so it’s well worth checking out. His lighting range in particular is stunning.

Thank you so much Louise for spending time with us and for sharing your beautiful sketches!

For more of Louise Keane’s design work and thoughts, visit:

Amalfi White Living
http://amalfiwhiteliving.com/

 

Images: Louise Keane