Time for a Wardrobe Audit?

A clear wardrobe equals a clear mind. A messy wardrobe makes you lose visibility of what you actually own, causing you to buy more of what you have and reaching for favourite items that are on high rotation. And then getting stuck in a style rut!

When looking at a wardrobe, gaining clarity is everything. An effective wardrobe should reflect who you are currently – not you five or ten years ago. So many wardrobes I see contain items which are: shapeless, dated or just simply unflattering. And the fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe means we as a nation who are holding ourselves back massively from getting a wardrobe we do actually wear and even more importantly LOVE to wear!

Here are some startling facts to consider:-

– British women hoard clothes worth £285 that they will never wear but refuse to throw out the equivalent of 22 outfits each, according to research

– More than half, 54 per cent said guilt over wasting money made them keep the clothes while 41 per cent were planning to lose weight. And Impulse buys are being blamed by 45 per cent of shoppers for their bulging wardrobe.

– Jeans are a significant problem, with 88 percent owning at least one pair they would never wear, while 22 per cent hoard up to six pairs of shoes and 95 per cent of tops will never be worn.

– Men hoard 19 items worth on average £248, according to the poll of 1,200 adults for the shopping channel QVC.

Getting a wardrobe that works for you is just amazing and gives you a new lease of life. If you feel you could do with getting the wardrobe you have always wanted but didn’t think you could get. And want to know where the key gaps are in your wardrobe and where you should be investing your money wisely, then contact Personal Stylist, Katie Bowen via: www.styko-stylist.co.uk or mobile: 07855 754487.

Style with Catey Whitmore

In my opinion a person’s home and garden is a reflection of that person’s life, their personality, their past brought back, their longing to be noticed or maybe their hideout or sanctuary. My home is different, it’s pretty, quirky, original and small and my garden is much the same. I’m very impulsive about most things in life, my philosophy is all about YOLO, so if I see something I like, I buy it! I’m not talking huge investment pieces of antique furniture, I’m talking about the old battered pine cupboard, left to swell a bit in someone’s shed. It’s usually dumped at the back of a junk shop or lying on a blanket at a car-boot… £8 spent and I’m away, with said cupboard and a million ideas whizzing through my mind about how to make this piece of, once loved junk, look beautiful again.

That particular little gem that I found now looks amazing… I’ve sanded it, painted it, decoupaged the little draw and handles and varnished it… I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but that is what made it so amazing, satisfying and well, like my own little creation. I believe that I have found self-therapy and I’m feeling proud. My garden is much the same, a little extension of my quirky home… I’ve got mis-matched pots, filled with topiary, (originally bought for less than £1 each), now worth over £40 each. It’s not really about the monetary value of my stuff or junk at all, it’s about how they make me feel once I’ve nurtured these things into a vision of beauty.

Whilst doing these little self-therapy things in my home and garden, I’m keeping fit (it’s blumin hard graft, hand sanding y’know), healthy (I usually get creative outdoors) and it makes me genuinely happy (I’m pretty sure that if the things I make gorgeous could thank me, they would reach out and give me a huge grateful hug!!). It’s really not difficult at all, doing things up, creating beauty, although, a warning here, it’s addictive! I should know, my little shed is now bursting at the seems with once-loved things.

Every time I pass my shed window, I see them there, all piled up and unstable, just longing to be loved again. In my articles, I plan to tell you what I’ve found, nurtured, seen in someone else’s home or whilst sat on a train… it’s amazing what you see out there, you just have to open your eyes, go back to your childhood and imagine its hidden beauty! Don’t be afraid to take pictures of what you see out there, see this as your appreciation, in the same way you would ‘Like’ something on a social networking site… it’s ok to do these things. Anyway, TTFN, I’m off to renovate an old fireplace!

Backstage at a Beauty Pageant

In the last hundred years beauty pageants have become a centre piece of American culture, embodying the American spirit and offering life-changing scholarships for many of its winners. In recent years this passion for pageants has taken Britain by storm, with new pageants popping up every year. So what is the appeal of these beauty contests and will they have the staying power here as do they do overseas?

To many Britons the term pageant is alien and most refer to the film “Miss Congeniality,” which humour plays heavily on preconceived stereotypes of its contestants. However after recently attending a pageant myself I can confirm that is far from the truth. The girls I met during my time as a contestant were generally down to earth, friendly and extremely helpful offering advice to those less experienced and even spare dresses for those unable to obtain the right attire before the show. What differs these pageant girls from the rest the world is a shared interest in glamming up, wearing gorgeous clothes and presenting themselves with up-most grace, one of the appeals of the competition is being able to surround themselves with like-minded individuals.

The competition itself demands a lot from its entrants. To attend the pageant each girl must pay an entry fee, which can paid by themselves or funded by a sponsor, this encourages girls to build skills both in communication and self promotion. A big empathise of this particular competition was to raise money for their partner charities, several girls put in a lot of effort and dedication to raise staggering amounts for those less fortunate, and here you thought it was all about being a pretty face. Organization is a major factor in all pageants girls lives, not only do they have to find the right outfits, they must arrange transport and accommodation, negotiate marketing with sponsors and maintain an effortless smile at all times. The effort put in by these girls blew me away and you could tell that everyone of them weren’t there for the crown but simply for a love of the pageant world.

Community is strong within pageants, despite the girls never meeting before friendships were quickly formed and the whole group was in unison. Though there were obvious cliques all were quick to aide those in need and to include more inverted contestants. Hair tools, mirrors and make-up were lent freely with no concern to getting the upper-hand, several girls aided in doing hair and one girl took me under her wing to guide me through my first pageant. In fact it was she who won “Miss Congeniality” a title awarded to the kindest girl as voted by the other contestants, a worthy winner with genuine personality.

The show itself consisted of three rounds, jeans, party dress and evening dress. In each round girls were instructed to walk up and down the stage with elegance posing at certain points. In the final round each girl was also asked two questions about themselves to give the judges a taste of their personalties beyond their appearance. Based on their presentation they were then narrowed down by the judges to twelve finalists including the three girls who had won the titles “Miss Congeniality”, “Miss Charity” and “Miss People’s choice” respectively. These final twelve then gave an impromptu speech of why they were a worthy winner before the four runners up and the winner were announced.

Backstage the air of comradeship stayed strong even amongst the disappointed, including myself, who hadn’t got through. Losers were gracious and the winners were congratulated with hugs and best wishes for the grand final being held later this year.

In all my experience has been both rewarding and an eye opener against my poorly judged concepts of what the pageant world is like. I had a lot of fun throughout the day and met some great people and though I don’t fit entirely into the pageant world I can see its appeal. Its an fantastic opportunity for people to meet and teaches important life lessons. The future of pageants in Britain is bright and with its awareness growing each year along with its popularity it may very well become a fixture in modern British culture.

Image reproduced from www.in.com

How to Soundproof with Style

Street traffic, noisy neighbors and pets keeping you up at night? If you’ve finally found the perfect flat but are unable to sleep with all the city noise, don’t fret! If you’ve considered soundproofing but can’t go constructing walls, and you don’t want to  sacrifice style for a sound night’s sleep- check out these chic, easy alternatives for reducing noise in your home.

Without embarking on a major construction project, there are a several ways to soundproof your home. The best place to start is to figure out the source of the noise or where the majority of the noise is coming from. Once you pinpoint the source it will be much simpler to choose the right noise reducing method for the area.

Building Barriers

If you find that the majority of the noise is coming from other rooms of the house via shared walls or from outside traffic, building a barrier could be a good solution. However there is no need to start fooling around with expensive drywall. Floor to ceiling bookshelves or a media rack will minimize sounds when placed against the offending shared wall. Not only does this look nice and minimize noise, but it gives you a lot of extra storage. Who doesn’t love more storage?

If you have ample storage already, or don’t have the extra space to fit a bookshelf, there is still hope yet. MIO Acoustic Weave tiles and Träullit Hexagons are very effective sound reducers. The MIO tiles are eco-friendly and can be painted to match any décor. They give the wall a lot of texture and character and are relatively inexpensive.  The other tile alternative, while still green, is slightly more Swedish. Träullit Hexagons are made from woodwool cement board and look more like art than sound-proofing.

For a less permanent, more customizable approach, try wrapping a few big plywood panels with some fiberfill and faux upholstering them with a beautiful, lux fabric to match your interior. These look great, and are easy to move around. It’s a great option for those of you who are renting flats.

Another way to reduce noise in your room is by spraying texture onto your ceiling. It’s easy to apply, just ask your local hardware store about acoustic ceiling spray. Roughening the surface will help absorb sound waves rather than bounce them around the room. The spray texture is easy to apply and the result is sometimes referred to as popcorn ceiling.

Street Sounds

If street sounds keep you awake at night, it is most likely a result of thin windows. If you’re willing to shell out the extra cash to upgrade to triple pane windows it will make a difference in the room noise-wise. Triple pane windows have three layers of glass cushioned by layers of inert gasses that contribute to overall sound-dampening. However, if new windows are not in your future there is another way to sound proof your old ones. Your window treatments can work to reduce noise in the room. Select heavy fabrics instead of sheers or lightweight cotton. Consider lux fabrics like velvet. If noise is a problem opt for these curtains instead of light sheers or window blinds.

Softer Things, Softer Sounds

Soft, heavy materials are great when it comes to absorbing sound. Think about a big empty room, sounds echo much more readily in an empty room than a full one. The more materials and textures you have in the room, the harder it is for sound to travel.  Simple additions to your décor like throws, wraps and throw pillows will make all the difference. For noise that comes from above or below, consider adding high-pile rugs with thick pads to muffle sounds escaping from other rooms.

So don’t sacrifice style or start tearing apart your home with construction just to muffle some unwanted noise. Instead, try these easy style-friendly noise reducing tricks.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more information about home improvement.

The Look For Less

Living in beautifully styled home that looks like it’s off the page of a magazine doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Take a look at these designers’ digs and the tips on how you can get the same look for your home for much less!

Liza Sherman’s Eclectic Bedroom

This celebrated antiques dealer from NYC knows what she likes and how she likes it. If you don’t get it, she can’t explain it. Her taste and style shines through in this sunny yellow bedroom that radiates warmth and shows off her cool eclectic style.

Get this look for less by starting with paint. Giving your room a fresh coat is an instant transformer. Sherman’s room uses the same color on the wood floors for added interest. Leaving the ceiling and molding white keeps the color from overwhelming. No need for expensive bedding here. Simple white pillow cases and inexpensive batik throws will recreate the look. For the art, stencil some portraits on thin plywood with spray paint and frame a few of your favorite tees. Eclectic style is all about mixing pieces from different eras and styles, so have fun with it!

Robert Couturier’s French-inspired Entry

Couturier’s work has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. His designs can be seen worldwide and his stylistic instincts are legendary. This entry way was designed with a nod to French design. Rich texture and bold color combine to make this space subtle and glamorous.

Again, a fresh coat of paint does wonders for a space. White will also make a room seem larger, so if you’re living in a small flat this is a great option. The most unique part of this space is the antler chandeliers, but don’t need to purchase a $900.00 chandelier to get the look. You can get a good faux antler wall mount for under $200 online. Same effect, easier on the wallet. Another way to replicate the look of this room is to hang velvety curtains. The texture is luxurious but they’re really inexpensive. If you have time, reupholster some seat cushions in the velvet fabric in a different jewel tone color.

Stolman & Young’s Contemporary Palm Beach Living Room

These interior designers know how to work with bright colors without overwhelming a room. Shades of yellow and aqua mix perfectly to capture the airy atmosphere of Palm Beach. The colors keep it cool while the accessories bring everything down to earth.

Keep things looking lively in your home by recreating this look by Stolman & Young. Keep the color on the walls and in accessories. By leaving the big furniture neutral, the room looks soft and relaxing rather than too bright. Recovering throw pillows with bright fabric is an easy way to update your living room. Paint a few items to match. In this case the lamps on either side of the sofa match the pillows. Pull the whole room together by framing a painting (or poster) that complements the colors you’ve chosen for the accessories in the room.

Adam Lippes’s Chic Dining Room

Sportswear designer Adam Lippes’s dining room is chic and uncomplicated much like his philosophy on clothing design. No need to clutter up the place, streamlined is the way to go. Grey walls and a decorative floral design keeps this minimalist room looking soft and pretty.

Recreate the look of Lippes’s dining room on a dime with these tips. Clear out any clutter in the room, the key here to keep it simple. A coat of grey paint paired with a vinyl sticker makes the same impression as hand painted wallpaper for much less! Add an organic shaped chandelier to echo the wall. Rouge Living offers a beautiful flower chandelier for under $100.00. Mix and match chairs from other rooms of your house for added interest to your dining room table. Complete the look with short vases of fresh flowers.

Jason Wu’s Cheerful Studio

Fashionistas like Ivana Trump, January Jones and First Lady Michelle Obama have been dressed by designer Jason Wu. Here, in the entrance to his cheerful NYC studio he allows art to shine through with an all-white palette. Pops of color on a blank canvas give make this a refreshing, inspirational space.

Wu’s space is easy to replicate because in this case, less is more. Start with a blank canvas. Keep color to an absolute minimum, using mostly metallics and neutrals. Get the look by neatly hanging some of your most treasured wardrobe pieces as art and to add color to the room. Add a graphic throw pillow for a punch of color on an otherwise muted couch. A lovely bunch of hydrangeas keeps the room feeling extra fresh and softens the stark white walls.


This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for updates on home improvement.

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

Colour Shock – Go Big or Go Home!

Who said your walls have to be taupe, eggshell or tan? Neutrals are great, but a little colour won’t hurt. In fact, a lot of colour won’t hurt either! Colour is the easiest way to revamp your space. There are unlimited colours to choose from and not a single one is off-limits. There is a big bold world of colour out there just waiting for you, don’t be afraid of it! Check out these tips on working with bold colours for your home.

When you’re ready to leave your dreary world of beige behind, find colour inspiration in the things and places you love. Take a stroll through the museum and have a look at the famous paintings and their colour stories. Flip through a fashion magazine and see what colours you’re most drawn to. One of my favorite places to find colour inspiration is at the market; specifically the produce section. There are so many vibrant colours there that I often find myself bringing home veggies I don’t even like because the colour is so lovely. Don’t be afraid to use a non-traditional colour like tangerine, lime green, or even black. Bold colour isn’t just for kids’ rooms anymore. With the right accessories and secondary colours, you can make any colour look simply chic.

When you’ve been sufficiently inspired and have chosen your colour, run out and buy samples. Most paint brands offer small sample cans of their colours. Paint a small section of your wall and live with it for a week or so. If you’re not in love with it, you can try another colour. Also, keep in mind that if you decide to go with high gloss paint it will be less kind in disguising any painting mistakes or imperfections on the wall. Matte colour will do a better job masking flaws.

Painting the entire space with bold colour is going to make a big impact. They key is to keep the space balanced to prevent it from looking over-the-top. Keep your space looking sophisticated by using a tried and true colour story. It’s very simple to do, just consult the colour wheel.

Bold colour + Neutrals – If you’re not ready to abandon all of your beige, it’s ok. Bold + Beige (or neutrals) is an easy combination to work with. Using a soft backdrop for a bold colour makes your colour choice stand out.

Complementary Colours – When you’re looking at a colour wheel, complementary colours are directly opposite each other. For example, yellow is opposite violet and they are complementary. These colour combinations bring out the best in each other. It works best if one colour is slightly subdued to bring out the richness in the other.

Related Colours – Related colours are located right next to one another on the wheel. For example, green and yellow-green are related.

Monochromatic Colour – A monochromatic colour story uses different tones of the same hue. Subtle variations of a single colour are not difficult to find. The best way to determine the additional colours to use is to check the swatch from your wall paint. Each swatch card has several different tones of the same colour.

Take a look at these amazing colourful rooms for inspiration for your next room colour overhaul. And remember, bold is definitely beautiful.


This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter.