As many of you already know, Oli and I are building a place to live above our in-law’s home in Quatre Bornes. We are six months into the building project, which is being managed by one of Oli’s uncles (who happens to be a building contractor). The basic structure is complete—it has floors, walls, and a roof!—but many of the finishings and fittings still need to be done. As I write this, workers are busy tiling the bathroom and laundry room walls and I can hear the tap-tap-tapping as they go. There is still all the electrical and plumbing work to be done yet, as well as painting the walls and ceilings and installing all the custom-built cupboards, shelves, and closets.
While work continues upstairs, Oli and I have been preoccupied with shopping for fixtures (laundry, bathroom, toilet, and kitchen sinks, taps and mixers, and lights etc) as well as furnishings (large appliances, couches, chairs, and tables etc). There are so many decisions to be made! This isn’t the first time we’ve had to furnish a house from scratch, but this time we’ve had to make all the decisions, right down to the color of the skirting boards and the placement of electrical sockets in each room (um…*points at random*), for example. Actually, I’m pretty excited about the electrical sockets—we’ve asked for universal sockets to be installed so that American electronics can be plugged directly into the socket without needing an adapter (so long as the voltage is the same), and we’ll have USB portals installed on several of the sockets, too, in key places like at the bar/coffee table.
Anyway, I thought I’d share some images I’ve collected from the web that I’m using for inspiration for interior design and decor (keeping in mind that I am a total novice at this, but I know what I like!):
I’m starting with the balcony because this is the space I’m most excited about! I really want to create a cozy, inviting space where I can enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to birdsong each morning, or curl up with a book in the afternoons, or lounge around with friends and catch up over a cuppa. Since it’s an indoor/outdoor space, I’m envisioning lots of greenery—potted plants (tropical of course, like ferns), as well as soft furnishings with green print (think cheese plant leaves and palm fronds). I’d love to grow some tropical flowers on the balcony too—bougainvillea, hibiscus, crinum lilies, and African violets, for example (but of course it depends on what grows best in Quatre Bornes, which is on a plateau and can be much cooler than the lower coastal plains—I have some research to do!). I’ll probably use it as a space to grow herbs too. I’m on the lookout for wicker furniture, perhaps a rattan lounge set, in a light tone/natural material that will complement the greenery and complete the tropical look. Also, I’ll take that wicker swing chair with the faux sheep skin rug, thanks!
I’m really into the idea of wicker basket lights (see above) for the balcony. We’re making provisions for two pendant (i.e. hanging) lights (one at each end of the balcony) and I’ve seen a few different wicker basket light designs in local shops that I quite like but we haven’t made any purchases yet.
Speaking of lighting, who knew it could be so complicated! We’ve had to decide where to place the lights in each room (we’ve revised our plans several times, and still some light placements are yet to be determined). Of course we want the lights to be functional and effective, but we want them to be beautiful too. We’re going ahead with track lighting in the corridors, which I discussed in an earlier design post (although we’ve switched from a metal finish to a matte white finish….I think). We know we’d like several spotlights on a few select walls to highlight pieces of art, and a feature pendant light above the dining table, and a series of small pendant lights above the bar/coffee table, and recessed lights under the kitchen wall cabinets, and strip lights along the banister in the stairwell….Ok, so we’ve figured quite a few things out, but we haven’t ordered anything (because there’s so much variety and different price points!) and we are a bit stumped when it comes to bathroom lighting (a single ceiling light? Wall lights? Recessed lights above the vanity? A combination of all three?). For the pendant lights, we (and by “we” I mean “I”) have to determine the length of the cords (the distance between the table top and the light, in other words). Apparently there’s a mathematical calculation to achieve the ideal length! And we also have to determine whether we want black cords or white cords (but of course that depends on the rest of the room’s color scheme).
I’m obsessed with grey right now, in all its manifestations (taupe, greige, slate). The color sable above—which means “sand” in French—is the color we’ve chosen for our skirting, doors and kitchen cabinets. I think grey is such a sophisticated and elegant color, not to mention timeless. It works well with most other colors so it’s a great neutral backdrop for punchier accent colors like a rust red or a mustard yellow (see color scheme below which is inspo for our living room decor). Grey will mostly feature in our bathrooms (our walls in the living spaces will be an off-white, called “worn white”) with light grey tiles on the walls and dark grey tiles in the shower stalls. We’ve also selected grey mosaic textured tiles for an accent wall in the shower stalls.
I’m equally obsessed with shaker cabinets. I didn’t realize how many different cabinet styles there were until I started researching design ideas for our kitchen, but I was immediately drawn to the shaker style, attracted by its simplicity and elegance. Shaker cabinets are defined by a recessed panel, light finishes, and basic hardware (see images below). They seem to be quite popular in the U.S. (almost every celebrity kitchen I’ve seen featured online has shaker cabinets) and work particularly well in more traditional homes and design schemes (which is definitely my style). By contrast, modern kitchen cabinets are flat and sleek and often have glossy finishes (definitely not my style!). Having said that, shaker cabinets can also be integrated quite well into a contemporary design scheme, and I think overall our home will have touches of both contemporary and traditional design elements.
I have so much more to share/discuss regarding interior design (honestly, I could go on and on about this stuff) but I’ll continue in another post soon as this one is getting quite long (oh, and my toddler is waking up from his nap!).