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Living Etc House Tours

It definitely felt strange but in a good way to finally be out seeing some interiors up close and personal.

I went to London for the Living Etc House Tours which I've not been to before and it certainly did not disappoint. Based this year in the lovely Primrose Hill, we trekked around all day but saw all 6 of the houses open for the tour.

In short the houses were all absolutely amazing and nothing short of stunning with the interiors, level of details and style.

So what was the trends to report on?

Wallpaper - we've all heard wallpaper has had a huge resurgence in popularity and this was so evident in pretty much all of the house. Not the dated patterns from long ago but lots of textured papers, some with a soft pattern within the texture and in muted colours. So where was wallpaper used? Some were every wall, there were the odd feature wall here and there - yes feature walls can still be a thing.

Where there was a feature wall the patterns were more detailed. I even got to see that famous Gucci wallpaper in person and it is just as fabulous I promise you - definitely creating a wow statement in an open plan kitchen/diner.

There was even wallpaper on wardrobes!

Gorgeous diamond printed wallpaper in very muted colours created a soft pairing to the mint paint onthe woodwork, creating a very whimsical little girls bedroom.

Feature wall of stunning chinoiserie wallpaper.

I absolutely loved the wallpapered wardrobes. I would be concerned about doing this on wardrobes used daily as the edges would surely peel over time but in a guest room this could be a fabulous way to up-cycle some plain looking doors perhaps?

Where there isn't wallpaper the other trend that was very popular was the polished venetian plaster. If you haven't heard of this then do look at the photos below - as the name suggests it is a plaster but it has a mottled look and it can be done in so many colours from pinks, blues, greys etc. It adds something that bit more than paint. Paint is of course amazing but it can be a vast block of flat colour, especially when used on large walls or in big rooms. This plaster has more depth and feels like silk to the touch.

A blue/green colour venetian plaster...

Lighting can make or break a design and the light fixtures in these houses did not disappoint at all, there were statement ceiling lights, beautiful and elegant wall lighting and of course some fab lamps too.

Simple classic industrial lighting is still very much in use and I don't think you'll ever tire from seeing this type of lighting. Here it fitted perfectly with the rustic industrial style and reminded me how much I do still love that industrial look, it's simple but still very cool.

If brass super modern styles are more your thing then there were plenty of statement modern chandeliers that it made me wish I loved somewhere with super high ceilings so I could indulge my love for huge fabulous lights - damn you low cottage ceilings!

Glass lighting is a perfect choice for when you want to add a statement light but you don't want it to compete with all the other bold elements of the room. Plus glass for me is classy and timeless.

Accentuate those big stairwells with long hanging lights. This linked hoop one was fab, but as it's thin and it doesn't overly dominate and works perfectly in this modern setting.

Statement lighting in hallways - why not, if you have space to hang a light - go bold if you can!

Can't beat a classic chandelier over an ultra modern dining table. I do love the juxtaposition of classic and modern for a unique space.

And statement lighting doesn't have to be limited to in the dining room or living rooms for example, what about introducing in your bathroom, ceiling height permitting, for that ultra luxe bathroom style

I am a big fan and definitely advocate the pendant lighting either side of the bed. This can look so great with the right choice of lighting, for example these beautiful neutral rooms were far from dull as the tones and textures meant they both felt super cosy and welcoming and definitely the perfect choice of lighting in each....

Wall lights can be fun to.....

Joinery was another standout element that had been embraced by most of the owners. I know bespoke joinery is costly and not within everyones budget. I would always say to people, if you can afford to go down the bespoke route then I definitely recommend it. You can make use of those awkward spaces, help to maximise storage areas and the design concepts are endless but also they can really add some amazing design details to a space.

What was evident in these properties were the clever used of storage spaces. These are great space saving ideas for smaller proportioned rooms so take note...

How do you feel about fabric wardrobes? And built ins surrounding the bed? I have terrible memories of 80s old fashioned style built in wardrobes over the beds in my parents house it's put me off this idea for life....but apparently this trend is emerging again...what do you think?

A clever design that caught my eye for several reasons was this bookcase/display shelf unit that went over the doorway. I loved the concept of the boxes protruding, I definitely favour a mix of shapes and sizes rather than things being totally uniform, I find it much more interesting to look at.

Another clever design that I really liked was this cut out corner section and also in a different material/finish. Why go for the standard built in wardrobes when you can play around and create something much more unique and fabulous to stand out in the room?

A couple of properties definitely made the most of that usual empty space up the stairs by adding in a bookcase. But not an ordinary bookcase, one that is stylish and in keeping with the style of the rets of the property. As you can see from the two images below, very different styles but the effect works equally well and why not utilise those dead spaces and create a feature.

Media walls are something I've worked on for clients and it is a fab way to create a feature on the wall which detracts from that TV which can too often dominate the room.

Again the use of different size and shaped sections means it looks interesting and they can be used for not only books but for ornaments, plants, pictures etc so you can really personalise.

Don't get me wrong I love the colourful details but sometimes plain and simple is absolutely necessary - and hidden too. Take the below, the eyes focus on the large painting and dining area, you barely notice the wall to wall, floor to ceiling hidden storage...sometimes practical trumps aesthetic - its knowing when which option suits the room best.

A touch of classic design but with the ladder detail - I do love a ladder on a bookcase and one day dream of having a room I can turn into a library with the tall ladder to reach the top....

Those alcoves either side of the fireplace are so often turned into the obvious lower unit with shelves above but in some cases why not build out and create fully hidden storage...

Handles are a detail not to be overlooked too. There was an abundance of the very on trend Buster & Punch handles that I forgot to photograph, but I was more drawn to the more simple detail of the full length contrasting wooden handles...

And the final thing to show you which was a touch of genius was this design to hide that dreaded TV. I have to admit when designing rooms with TV's, especially large ones it does make your heart sink when they literally are the first thing you notice. This clever design means when the TV is no longer in use it's an ultra modern fireplace chimney breast design - you wouldn't even know it was there....

I hope you enjoyed my take on the house tour and I definitely feel inspired.

Photos all taken by me with permission.

Designers responsible for work featured in the images taken are;

Jo Berryman

NW3 Interiors Ltd

Emma Krikler

Charlotte Griffin

Thanks so much for reading

NB x

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