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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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

 

 

How to use the colour Grey to best effect in your home

So many room colours fascinate me, for various reasons. Some for their calming powers, some for their vibrancy and some for the way they light up a room, but grey doesn’t fit into any of these categories as a colour, and yet it still manages to remain one of the top decoration colour trends

The daring will go for a dark grey, such as the farrow and ball colour Downpipe. With its blue-black undertones, it risks being hard looking, and yet is bold and enchanting and is a fabulous choice for walls and cabinetry.

Kitchen cabinetry in downpipe
Kitchen cabinetry painted in Farrow and Ball – Downpipe

 

And what about dark grey for walls….and the ceiling.                                                                In a bedroom it creates a dark and sinister look to some extent, but before you think  this ones for just the vampires, imagine how it wraps you up in a womb-like warmth after dark. I love it.

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Stunning dark grey bedroom

 

This wow hallway is stunning in mid grey. And with some funky and quirky bohemian accessories (I love the gold cranes and the gold mirror, but I’m not sure where I stand on bug art though!) I think as long as you have a plentiful light source in your hallway, why not be a bit bold with colour.

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Mid grey wall in a hallway

 

But if these dark grey’s scare you , or you want more warmth to your grey, worry not, slightly warmer shades of grey are popular too. This is a shot from the recent furniture photo shoot we did at Melody Maison, where we used 2 shades, with brown undertones, to create warmth.

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Set in stone by valspar wall paint has a much warmer tone

‘set in stone’ is the top colour, and ‘ancient wonder’ is the darker colour,both by    Valspar at B&Q

Both would look good alone too. How great do they look with the French grey collection from Melody Maison?

 

Also, shown here with the Lyon range from Windsor Browne

The Lyon Range By Windsor Browne
The Lyon Range – By Windsor Browne

 

In my own home, I have 3 rooms decorated in grey, all 3 set totally different moods. I did not realise quite how many rooms I have that are grey until I came to write this article! (My other favoured room colour seems to be green incidentally, which tops grey with 4 rooms!)

My kitchen cabinetry, in Cornforth white and Downpipe, both from Farrow and Ball , they are a classic combination, of light and dark greys, and coupled with some silver and white accessories, it creates a cool traditional look

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

 

I love my walking silver stag on the shelf, and all the silver coloured bits and bobs against a dark background. For similar accessories in silver that work well with dark back drops, what about the single angel wing from Melody Maison

Silver Angel wing ornament
Angelic!

or visit at home in the country for loads more silver stag ornamentation. They have everything from photo frames to wine coolers, perfect for the current trend of stags and countryside critters

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Stags make great drinking buddies!

 

My bedroom, is a bit more of a Victorian floral vibe. I used a light-mid grey , this is   dulux  ‘goose down’ coupled with purples, pinks and greens , I love this colour combo so much , in particular the bedding,  which is from designers guild . With its dark grey background, and huge flowers in strong colours, its floral bedding on a grand scale.   They have an amazing bold collection of statement design bedding, and fabrics. The floral picture above the fire is from is also from Melody Maison

My Grey bedroom
My Grey bedroom

 

So,  if you are thinking of decorating, I hope I’ve inspired you to try a bit of grey in your life, as grey doesn’t have to mean dull!

 

 

Great Ideas and money saving ways to introduce the colour gold to your home

Gold! Gold! Gold!

One thing that really makes me gush at the moment is gold.  Gold in interiors is back!

There’s new gold’s: Rose gold, copper gold yellow gold, white gold… but mainly gold!

Against a dark or light background it really does make a statement.

Up until a year or so ago, we were only allowed to admire gold interiors on the quiet, as it was seen as a bit OTT, then one day without warning we were allowed gold again!!.. .  I was so excited, because I never really stopped loving it.

So, Gold taps are back, And gold tables, beds , picture frames and decorative accessories

Gold Metal Framed Bed
Gold Metal Framed Bed
Quirky Gold Taps Designed By Howard Slatkin
Quirky Gold Taps Designed By Howard Slatkin

But if you are looking for a small touch of gold chic, and not necessarily a full room make over, why not try this cheap but amazing idea I found on pinterest.co.uk, using left over jam jars or mason jars. Perfect for storing dressing table and desk accessories

Funky N Cute Gold Storage Jars
Funky N Cute Gold Storage Jars
  1. You will need 1 can of shiny gold spray paint (try Valspar from B&Q – diy.com )
  2. and a bunch of small kids plastic animals (try ebay.co.uk for a small set costing less than a fiver)
  3. glue your chosen creature to the lid (if you know someone with a glue gun use one, as its way easier)
  4. once dry, spray 1-2 thin coats of spray paint over the lid and animal

Or if that all seems to much like work, what about these little cuties from amazon.co.uk

Mirrored Gold Storage Pots
Mirrored Gold Storage Pots

And what about this for a novel idea for a dark wall, I saw this on a fact finding mooch round Harrods interiors department, and if it’s good enough for Harrods, it’s good enough for me!  These small vintage vanity mirrors can be easily sourced from eBay, either already gold, or any colour and just do a quick spray job (sadly the light up mirror was one of Harrods, and I dare not say how much that was! suffice to say Ill be sticking with the vanity mirrors collection!

Gold Mirror Collection On A Dark Wall
Gold Mirror Collection On A Dark Wall

On this visit to London, I also visited some of the shops at the high end of Interiors to get dreamy ideas for my own home.  Whilst these shops are pricey, it’s great to see what upcoming trends are around, and also try and replicate them more affordably. One of my Favourite designers is Kate Spade, for home wares and fashion. In their Chelsea store, they had my Number 1 gold want, a gold and glass cocktail bar trolley. This one is vintage I believe, and unfortunately, one as stunning as this is very hard to come by at a reasonable price, but I will keep my eye out as eventually one of my bargain hunting trips will prove fruitful – Ill keep you posted on that search!

Gold Cocktail Bar Trolley
Gold Cocktail Bar Trolley

Back in the real world, here are some of my own gold possessions in my home, new and old that I love!

A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small

And here is some of  Melody Maison’s lovely gold collection, there’s lots more, but these are my own personal favourite’s, and one or two of these, from our 2017 collection, will be finding there way to my house I’m sure!

Large Gold Wall Mountable Stag Head
Large Gold Wall Mountable Stag Head
Ornate Gold Photograph Frame
Ornate Gold Photograph Frame
Antique Gold Metal Cog Skeleton Wall Clock
Antique Gold Metal Cog Skeleton Wall Clock
Pair of Small Wall Mounted Gold Angel Wings
Pair of Small Wall Mounted Gold Angel Wings

Sadly the gold parrot taps will have to wait a little longer for the big bathroom makeover next year, but this week, i will be shopping for pretty floral window treatments for a spare room mini-makeover, and some more botanical critters for my still evolving sitting room, so expect more on those over the next 2 weeks

Anna

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Welcome to Parrots in the Parlour

Welcome to Parrots in the Parlour

Hi, I am Anna , the founder  of Melody Maison , a leading UK based Shabby chic  & French style interiors company.

When I am not running the business, (and our sister companies Flora Furniture And Windsor Browne) I am usually found either with my family, or pursuing my interiors passion in one way or another. I can often be found searching for vintage finds, or re-decorating a room (i do this a lot, I must be infuriating to live with!!) One thing I am passionate about is creating not only unique, but also affordable interiors.

My blog will include the stuff that inspires me, that I hope will in turn will inspire and interest you,  like the places I see, my own home, bargain home finds, my vintiquing passion,  ideas for room decor, vintage homes, but also I write about my journey from Mom to large scale business owner

So welcome to my home, my ideas, and my world of running a successful interiors company. hope you will come along for the ride
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the name ‘parrots in the parlour’ relates to my current decorating fetish for ornamental critters,at the moment I have several ornamental parrots adorning my sitting room!

Addicted to interiors

Hello, My name is Anna Elkington and I’m a Addict!

 

As people who know me well will testify, I am a grade A ‘housey stuff’ person!

My home is very busy with trinkets, ornamentation and colour, vintage and new.

I’m afraid my need to fill surfaces is an addiction, which means I do spend a lot of time re-arranging, and adding more to collections.

 

I don’t collect or choose one thing or style of things, Id be in trouble if I had to, as some days I want quirky critters and strange dolls, and others, I want delicate vintage glassware and pretty flowers. Here are some of my collections; I guess I am what they politely call ‘eclectic’ in taste!

 

Sadly this addiction does not always always run to dusting it, so no prizes for dust and cobweb spotting – anyway I like to think they add to the theatre and ambience of a collection! (this is my excuse, you are welcome to use it also!)

 

Here’s just a small sample, let me know what you think, and what you love to group together, I will add more of my home later

My First project - be kind it was the 80s
My First project – be kind it was the 80s

 

The 90's Look
The 90’s Look

 

The Delicates
The Delicates