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)

Great ideas for how to decorate your home using Animals as a theme

Shabby, kitsch and quirky….

…are not the names of my pets!  (maybe they should be)  but rather what sums up my taste in interior décor

Currently I have a penchant for what I call ‘critter chic’   – that’s animals and birds in all shapes, styles and sizes, from parrots to peacocks and pooches to foxes. In fact animal décor is so in vogue at the moment, it is impossible to not find some new cutie or some vintage weird n wonky creature everywhere I go.

My own wall mounted stag
My own wall mounted stag

Every room in my home differs in style, but what ties them together is they are all crammed with bits n bobs n trinkets, including quite a few critter’s from our own Melody Maison and Windsor Browne stores

brass monkeys from www.windsorbrowne.co.uk
its brass monkeys out there! – £33.95 from http://www.windorbrowne.co.uk

My bedroom – My bedside table has a beautiful perched bird lamp I purchased some time ago from our Melody Maison showroom, and the pink trinket box with gold kingfisher is a recent purchase from next

My bedside table bird friends
My bedside table bird friends

My sitting room – has a botanical Victoriana theme, so I have managed to incorporate some elegant parrots, foxes and even a tortoise in here. My current favourite recent purchase is a gold framed ceramic parrot and cockatiel pair, from asda – Yes asda of all places – this could quite easily have appeared in a quirky high end boutique at 3 times the price, and I’d of probably still bought it, but at a bargain £8.00, I can imagine they wont be there for long.

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cockatiel & parrot in gold frame – pieces of 8, pieces of 8….pounds!

and  my other recent quirky purchase is a distressed gold tortoise bowl, from one of my favourite quirky designers, Abigail Aherne .

My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne
My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne

So if you are looking to add some cute or quirky friends to your decor, go subtle and sweet with a small piece, like this cute piggy mirror from Melody Maison….

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3 little vain pigs!

or go bold touch with this amazing wallpaper from wallpaperdirect, I love it!  I’m putting this on my future room décor wish list, possibly for my downstairs loo? I’ll keep you posted on that project in due course.

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Wow! Gold framed animals on the walls?

And finally, even my bathroom doesn’t escape the animal magic! My bathroom is very vintage, and my cute ceramic kitsch dogs take pride of place in my wall mounted display cabinet which is full of stuff just like your Nana used to have… ‘Nana chic’ anyone?  All from boot sales, and vintage shops

My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!
My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!

and I have managed to find someone who loves this look even more than I do, hey, why stop at 3 dogs! – This room shot was one I found on pintrest of someone’s room,  who clearly has a very similar love of vintage kitsch dog stuff.

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Vintage pooches collection AKA ‘Nana chic’

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this weeks blog, let me know what you think and about your animal passions.

Happy Bank holiday weekend all!

Anna Elkington

(oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, my pet dog’s real names are Maggie, Archie and Ruby….warning cute dog picture alert!)

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My 3 naughty, but adorable pooches!