How to master the art of ‘maximalism arranging’

You know by now Im a self certified collector (some call it hoarder, I prefer collector!)

From the charity shop finds, to the beautiful bits I acquire whilst sourcing product for Melody Maison and WindsorBrowne , my house is fairly full to the brim, so what do I do with them?

Well, i love ‘arranging’  – so filling a surface with a collection, and arranging them,  just like flowers, only with objects. My taste is vast. From the ever-so-pretty to the downright quirky (and everything in between)

So how do you start arranging , and what should you do to stop it looking like a jumble sale stall! Heres my top tips,  from how to begin your hoard (I mean collection!) where to buy, and to how to assemble it

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One of quirky windsor browne style mantel piece collections – Hare from Dunelm

My Number 1 tip is :

Mix it up! – By all means pick a style, or a colour palette, but don’t shop for everything in one place. Visit car boot sales, eBay, charity shops (some of my most amazing finds are from these sort of places, and you get a double glow from owning something wonderful, but that only cost a few pounds , sometimes pence!) Then visit the vintage fairs, antiques markets and your favourite On-line and high street retailers as well as unusual boutique home wares shops so your collections are diverse and an interesting talking point ( I love telling stories of my nik-nak finds to anyone who will listen, from the beautiful mirror I found in a skip, to the jug I paid a £1 for that was worth £50!

 

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Pretty bits n bobs in my dining room

Tip number 2 :

Always buy with your heart, choose things that speak to you – usually with the words “if you don’t buy me today I wont be here tomorrow, and then you will be sad!”  Never buy just because you think the shape or colour is the missing thing, rather than just loving it yourself. I have bought plenty like this, and now I’ve learned to stop and think, ‘can I look at this every day for years and still love it?’ if the answer is Yes, great, you know what to do!

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There’s pretty much one of everything here! – Rabbit from Anthropologie

Tip number 3

Don’t be frightened of mixing colours and styles. If you are choosing with your heart then it will usually work. And if it doesn’t , start a new collection elsewhere! Interior design rules typically says choose no more than 3 colours, and stage things in groups of descending sizes….blah, blah, blah.  When choosing colour, I say pick 3, pick 7, pick 9, as long as they all speak to each other, or reference something else in the room, like a flower in a rug,  or a design on a cushion, go for it . This is not show home arranging this is maximalism!

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Simple colours & variety make my kitchen window have personality, but it’s still clean looking . Squirrel from Partylite

Tip number 4

So you’ve got past the colour thing, now what about themes. Themes are great for this sort of arranging, but don’t get carried away, a shelf with 42 teapots, or 64 cat ornaments may seem cute, but also might may make you look a bit crazy! so don’t go all one thing in one space (animal clutter is great btw, big fan, just remember to break it up around the house!) So for instance at the moment Ive got a thing for ornamental rocking and wooden horses, yes I have 3 mixed in with this arrangement, but the other 5 I own are scattered on other surfaces .

 

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Pretty shabby chic collection

Tip number 4

Don’t do too much symmetry. I too can appreciate  the show home look with a candelabra at either end, and 2 of everything all symmetrically arranged in descending sizes in between, but the maximalism look requires mashing it up. Put 2 of the same thing at either end, it works, but equally it may look just as good right next to each other

 

Tip number 5

Now , what to pick? Don’t be frightened to break ‘rules’ Pictures and mirrors aren’t just for walls, they look great lent up at the back of an arrangement. And vases aren’t just for flowers, fill them with feathers, or fairy lights or smaller collectables if its see-through. Yes throw away that rule book!

 

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Some very pretty clutter!

 

Tip number 6:

I like to move it, move it….and move it again! Once you are happy with the positioning or say 2 or 3 larger or important pieces, work all the other items around those, but it may take time. I sometimes move a surface around at least 5 or 6 times…and then I do it again! sometimes on a weekly basis till I’m happy or to allow a new treasure to be inserted somewhere (and to be totally honest,  I am a professional ‘faffer’ so I’m never going to be entirely happy , so one day every few months I will probably move it all around again!)

 

Tip number 7:

Finally, tip 7 is the maximalist big one – Invest in an ostrich feather duster! Sadly (i think tragically) the reason most people are averse to ‘ornamenting’ is the dust. I get it, it drives you crazy, but not only are ostrich feathers super delicate and light, so you can swish and poke them everywhere without risking breaking everything, they are also statically charged, so they will take the dust away with them , not just move it around.

So why not have a go, start by bringing a few of your favourite things together, and see what transpires. And if you are including any Melody Maison Or Windsor Browne gems in there, don’t forget to email me at customer services with pics, as we love to include customer pics on our inspiration pages

 

Till next time

Anna x

 

 

 

 

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Go Potty For Ceramics!

As you have no doubt gathered, when I fall, I fall deep. It’s addiction, but bordering on obsessional. For some girls it’s a man but for me it’s …. Ceramics! Yes my George Clooney is a teacup and my Benedict Cumberbatch is a side plate (OK I’m not saying I’d choose a side plate over Benedict but I’m less likely to find him gathering dust on a shelf in a charity shop!)

I have some beautiful pieces I have collected over the years, some floral and vintage and some that favour my current passion which is for the darker side of interiors.

This stunning vase I came upon at my beloved Hemswell antique centre for just £28. It’s the most amazing deep peacock blue and it had me at hello! (Benedict would have had me before hello incidentally!)

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Peacock blue is a passion for me right now, how stunning is this shiny vase

I frequently move stuff around rooms, depending on my mood, as sitting in a cupboard behind glass is all very well to keep dust at bay, but some things need to be admired in close range.  I do have some very delicate bits in a velvet lined sitting room cabinet, mainly some very Downton Abbey-esque Noritake Ive been collecting for years, so pretty, I never get bored of looking at these.

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Pretty Noritake China

Now, I’m not the sort of person who lives in perpetual state of tidiness and I don’t normally have my dining table laid for a dinner party I’m not going to have, but on fishing some china plates out of a dark cupboard recently, I felt the need to stage this just for a few weeks so I can remind myself of the loveliness that is vintage china, none of this was more than a few pounds a piece. Some from charity shops, some from vintage shops.

 

This gorgeous bowl and matching plate with the scalloped edge was from a lovely local vintage shop not far from our  own shop, Melody Maison, in Harworth, Near Doncaster  (see below for both shops directions ) and is perfect for a Christmas dinner table for the obligatory Cranberry sauce offering.

Like all good china nuts, I do own a ‘full matching set’ that would make your Nana proud, and allow me to offer tea to HM The Queen (should she drop in!) and I have used this at Christmas before, but with a family of 20-26 to feed for most of our family Christmas lunch’s , it doesn’t stretch that far so, I did pull together every mismatched floral china plate I own to do a vintage style Christmas table (not sure the male relatives appreciated the daintiness of the plates but it looked lovely!)

Ceramics are not just for the dining table or sitting room cabinet though,  my bathroom pretties have appeared in my blog before,. A beautiful lined pine vintage wall cupboard, also from Hemswell Antiques Centre, is now crammed with all manner of  vintage ceramic plates, pots, vases and figures and, I can sit looking at them all from the bath!

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Cupboard full of all things pretty

 

I can’t go without showing you some splendid china from House of Fraser Ive been admiring. This is the quirky ‘n’ vintage versus the pretty ‘n’ vintage sides of me battling as per usual. Peacocks and roses are up there in my top 5 list of things I adore right now (this list also includes Mr Cumberbatch!) and depending on the day of the week, I cant choose my fave. I love greens and pinks equally too.

And here’s just some of the lush ceramic pieces we currently have in the Melody Maison shop.

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A small selection of gorgeous grey and green ceramics in the Melody Maison shop

If you are ever near Doncaster,  Tickhill or Bawtry do come and visit, we’re ever such a nice bunch and we have oodles of gorgeous things like this to coo over ( be quick though cos Im pretty sure those goregeous green urns are going to find their way to my house if they catch my eye line one more time!)

 

click here for link for address/directions for the Melody Maison shop 

Until next time, happy collecting and vintage shopping

Anna x

oo, as promised,  heres a link to address for Forget Me not Antiques in Tickhill (why not visit us both, we are just 2 miles apart)

Fabulous Florals & how to use them in your home decor

Floral decor is a gorgeous trend that I personally am a massive fan of, in fact I didn’t realise quite how much, until I started to look to take pictures of my floral belongings and decor, and there was too much to include, I think Ive managed to settle on my favourites, and as you’ll see, I am a eclectic girl, from vintage blues , pinks and peaches, to dark and glamorous black and purple flora.

The oversized flower rug was a fairly recent purchase from Modern Rugs that i intended for my office at work, but looked too good in my spare bedroom, it never made it into work! And my love of vintage shown here clearly extends to all things flora, as these other purchases show.

One trend that seems to come and go in interiors,  but is currently back with a vengeance is floral wallpaper. In particular the bold and the brave oversized prints and dark coloured backgrounds.

Heres my personal favourite wallpaper. This one is a great use of an oversized print on a dark background, from ellie cashman designs – what an impact it makes in a small space like a cloakroom, especially with gold ostentatious taps and accessories.

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Stunning Bold floral wallpaper from Ellie Cashman designs

 

My own floral wallpaper in my dressing room is not as bold, but as I come to write this Im thinking the black and bold one would look fabulous in there. I will need to tire of this one first though. I inherited some  matching shot silk curtains 7 years go in the same shade of peach, and although sadly the curtains deteriorated in the sun so much, i had to bin them last year, the pelmet (and the paper) are still going strong!

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pretty floral wallpaper from Anna French

But if you dont want to go this bold, try a few cushions or a throw, and  you don’t have to look for far for floral inspiration, this bedroom shot by Ideal Home on  pintrest is a stunning neutral room, with just a few noticeable, but subtle pops of floral.

 

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Gorgeous floral cushions enhance this pale bedroom

 

take a peek at  Kate Forman for stunning subtle florals, expensive but forever fabrics, or if you want to spend wisely, Dunelm is perfect for floral cushions starting at just £18.

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Blue & pink floral bird cushions

I paid slightly more for these gorgeous teal & pink velvet ones from there Dorma collection, but they look and feel very high end (my doggies love them too, had to forcibly remove them to get this picture!)

 

And as always,  Melody Maison is a great source of all things floral, here’s just a small selection of my favourites, from pretty flora jugs to just add a bit of summer to a room scheme, to Mirrors and furnishings, hopefully you can see how bringing the outdoors inside, just got easier.

So, here’s hoping your flora ambitions are heightened after reading this, be it bold and dark, or pretty in pink,  give  bit of flower power to your interior design

Learn about the best place for interiors shopping on Planet Earth!

As a director of a busy home interiors and furniture company, sometimes its hard to find time to go to the places you love as much as you would like, but sometimes, I will make time somehow, for what is ‘my guilty pleasure’

Truth be told, it is actually my second favourite place on earth, but my favourite place is my bed, and that wouldn’t make an interesting article at all – Stories of falling asleep aren’t what top selling novels are made of after all!

So my favourite place (when I’m awake) is, not surprisingly for a female who happens to be an interiors buyer, a Furniture and interiors shopping destination –  Hemswell Antiques Centres in Lincolnshire , which is apparently the largest antiques centre in Europe, yet just 45 minutes from my home.

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Just one of Hemswell antique Centres many buildings

I can easily spend a full week there, after all it is vintage heaven, but I try and limit it to a few hours to show I do have willpower!

My Home is Edwardian, so antique and vintage items are perfect for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love repro vintage just as much. I couldn’t do what I do for a living if I didn’t, and some things just need to be clean and new don’t they,  but my true passion is real vintage. Never expensive though, as I tire of things sometimes a little too easily to be handing over hundreds of pounds, so you are more likely to see me buying mid-century kitsch, and quirky industrial style stuff or inexpensive pretty mirrors and accessories than a mega bucks work of art, albeit I have to stop and ogle those too.

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The amazing wildlife I saw on a recent visit! – I bought 2 of them!

Now I do love a small independent vintage shop, an antiques market or a charity shop (or even looking in the odd skip!) any day of the week, in fact passing a charity shop without going in is an ability I do not possess, but well, Hemswell, has all of this. They have at least 7 different old aircraft buildings; some will offer low priced vintage bric-a-brac, with several ‘priced too cheaply’ golden nuggets hidden amongst them if you are prepared to look closely  (I should not be telling you this!)

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This little kitsch fella was just £25, sadly I walked away without him

And some offer High priced antiques, but still worth a visit as they will have beautiful reasonably priced bits and pieces hidden amongst the expensive stuff. I saw this stunning window mirror on a recent visit, but I think I will have to love this and walk away again, as sadly my walls are full to capacity

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A gorgeous vintage window converted to a shabby chic mirror

However over the years, I have amassed lots of vintage items from here, and here’s both some I have recently bought, and some I’ve owned and loved for years

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My vintage bathroom mirror collection, 3 of which came from Hemswell

Alongside (and on top of) the mirror collection, my new purchase this week (I said I do buy new too) is this gorgeous enamel finish flora jug from M & S  & the artificial flower arrangement is from a selection from Melody Maison

 

My favourite recent vintage purchase though, and one I think you could easily put in a London boutique for 4 times the price is this gorgeous Pineapple, whose leaves are actual olive forks, This was £9! I do eat olives, but this one just took up residency in my dining room, looking pretty here with other items of loveliness I own.

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1960’s Olive fork Pineapple

And in my downstairs loo, an ornate mid century gold wall mirror, as you can see from the wallpaper,  the theme in here is ostentatious , so a very showy mirror is what was required here.

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My downstairs loo wall mirror

I also love elegant vintage glassware. I own way too much for one small family. This beautiful little selection of cut glasses cost £3 each and looks lovely against the dark background and a silver tray

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Vintage tray and glasses

and here’s some ‘now where have I got an spare inch of room this might go’ checklist     So I come home, and generally don’t find said space, but kick myself for not buying it , and generally it wont be there next time I go anyway

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Vintage embroidered Exotic Birds

these stunning hand embroidered exotic Birds, probably from the 60s/70s , are so on trend at the moment, sadly wall space dictated another walk away, although as I type this, Im planning a re-visit, they may still be there……….

 

Til next time x

Anna Elkington – Founder of Melody Maison Furniture & Interiors