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Stylist Simone Harouche Turns Interior Designer

What do J.Lo, Miley Cyrus and Nicole Ritchie have in common? They all have the wonderful and insanely talented costume designer and stylist Simone Harouche dressing them. She even made the Hollywood’s top 25 most powerful stylists along with Tanya Gill, L’Wren Scott, and my least favorite at No.1, Rachel Zoe. Simone has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Demi Lovato, Ashley Tisdale & Panic at the Disco, as well as her close friend since childhood Kim Kardashian, who classes Simone as a hero for calling the police the night of her Paris robbery. I’m even more jealous that she’s worked with photographers like John Rankin, Ellen von Unwerth & Mark Seliger amongst others. After the Paris robbery Simone said, “After getting off the plane after what happened, all I wanted to do was just come to my house. It always just felt comforting. I never felt weird after that about the security or anything … Just because my house, you know, it’s your safe place.” Simone isn’t a slow mover, it only took her a few years after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York to climb her way to key stylist after she started in fashion in 2002. Her first major job was none other than Christina Aguilera’s Vanity Fair Oscar Party, who had been promoting her “Back to Basics” album in 2006. She also has her own company making gorgeous boho shoulder bags called Simone Camille. As a confessed vintage junkie, Simone likes to travel the globe collecting beautiful pieces for her wardrobe and home. It was clearly only a matter of time before she turned her styling talents towards interior design. The celebrity stylist originally had a 1930’s colonial style home in Beverly Hills, California, with her husband Marc Bretter, a commercial real estate agent, which they moved into after their wedding. Simone had originally hired Courtney Applebaum to decorate the home before having any children and had been flirting with the idea for some time of giving her home a makeover after the birth of her first child. ” I decorated our house before Dashiel was even a thought in our minds. I am sad to say that pretty much everything is non kid-centric. I didn’t really take into consideration the concept of sharp corners when choosing pieces.” Their next home was a beautiful 1920’s Spanish-style home. This…

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Step Into the Fairytale of Chateau de Gudanes

In the Occitanie region of southwestern France, sits is an 18th-century neoclassical château in the commune of Château-Verdun that is not unlike a magical castle from a Charles Perrault fairy tale. Cinderella could have definitely escaped to Chateau de Gudanes with her beloved prince to live happily ever after.   Chateau de Gudanes is built on the site of a 13th-century fortress, and a castle that was destroyed in 1580. A chateau was built by Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel between 1741-1750 for the Marquis Louis-Gaspard de Sales, during the reign of King Louis XV. He would hold lavish parties and invited all the notables of the day. Ange-Jacques himself designed the L’Opéra at the Château de Versailles, main theatre and opera house of the Palace of Versailles, and the École Militaire (military school). He had the support of Madame de Pompadour, official chief mistress of Louis XV. He also designed the royal residence of The Château de Compiègne for Louis XV as well as extended and transformed the Château de Choisy, also doing other major projects for the king. In the late 1990’s, after an English consortium failed to restore and convert Gudanes into a luxury hotel containing 17 apartments, it fell to ruin. Being classified as a “monument historique,” the developers were denied the required building permissions. It wasn’t until 2013 that two brave Western Australian souls, Craig Waters, a surgeon, & Karina his wife, a former corporate and tax accountant, managed to acquire the chateau after two years of bureaucratic negotiations. Documenting nearly 5 years of renovations on social media, Craig and Karina first discovered the chateau on a French property blog and immediately fell in love. They purchased the 43,000 square feet property for £280,000 after viewing the Chateau only once. “Despite all the damage we could already see that there was so much beauty there,” says Karina. They started the arduous journey of renovating in the November of 2013, which they say will likely be a “lifelong commitment”. Unlike the previous buyers, Craig and Karina only wish to restore Gudanes to its former glory: “As the restoration journey progresses it becomes clearer to us each day that we need to learn to slowly adapt ourselves to the château, rather than forcibly demand her to adapt to us.” When they first started, the roof had caved in several places and the walls were crumbling, blocking access areas in most of the chateau. All the other areas were inaccessible because of water damage. “All we could do was peek around the corners to…

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A Clever Balance: Traditional + Modern = Transitional

In traditional Chinese philosophy yin yang is a complementary interrelated and contradictory dualistic force, often viewed as positive + negative, masculine + feminine, light + dark, etc. The two opposites don’t set out to dominate the other, instead they work to balance and compliment the other. Without this balance brings chaos. The concept of transitional design is like yin and yang setting out to highlight the beautiful qualities of each other in an interior setting, although you could use that philosophy in any design. Transitional itself was born from the marriage of contemporary and traditional design and has become an easy favorite for both designers and home owners because of its simplified sophistication, its timeless look and harmonious feel. Traditional is more inspired by the antiquated design steeped in a rich luxurious coziness straight out of the 17th century. Traditional is beautiful but can sometimes feel a little gilded, old-fashioned or overdone for me as I prefer a more relaxed “easier on the eye” look. Transitional incorporates the same concept as minimalism, that too much decoration is overwhelming for the senses and so therefore attempts to keep the look less busy and more serene. How do you get the look? This one’s quite easy….with its neutral undertones and understated ornamentation you’ll get your home looking stylish in few easy steps. Start with your natural earthy elements like stone, warm coloured woods like mahogany or chestnut, and leather. I love cows and would have hundreds for pets if I could so I prefer fabric, but I do understand that people love leather as a personal preference….. Walls should be in a neutral palette, so colors like ivory, tan, amazing creamy vanillas or grey should be used. Windows remain simplified. If patterned keep it sleek and not overdone. You’ll find that with transitional it adopts a more modern minimalist look and uses only one main flamboyant piece, and never really more than a couple.   Furniture itself will depend on the atmosphere. Do you have traditional architectural features such as an ornamental fireplace or trims and moldings? Then go for the straight, slimline furniture and neutral tone fabrics. Geometric patterns are a personal preference. If you have less ornamental features, then go for the more rounded, traditional furniture pieces to achieve that balance of masculine and feminine. When it comes to transitional kitchens the focus is still on texture rather than color.…

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The House of Otero-Mora

So I’ve fallen in love with a house in Madrid. This happens to be one of my biggest problems 😛 falling in love with too many homes. I swear I could live just about anywhere and in any house but La Coruña, Spain does sound like a pretty good place to retire when I grow up. And it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from my homeland and gorgeous family in England. This beautiful exotic couple Isabel Otero and Ramiro Mora from Ramisa Projects & Fun created a dream home from a 1900’s dilapidated house that was pretty much ready for demolishing but like any smart couple they saw the magic (& good bones) that this house had on offer. What I love about this house is that when they started rebuilding they incorporated a few things that added so much beauty and charm that it truly gave it that homely feeling as well as imbuing it with such a wonderful character. Inspired much??? How gorgeous is it? The white walls and natural wooden floors along with exposed brick, white subway tiles and dado panelled walls sound overwhelming but they are such a stunning combination as you can see. Even the edwardian ceiling rose doesn’t look out of place here. There’s that cabinet in the dining room that’s stunning and the sofa looks so comfy. They do have a rotation of furniture going on that probably has more to do with photo shoots as the home has been featured in several Spanish magazines. Enjoy this wonderful gem….

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Breath Easy Closet Organisation

So you made a New Years resolution to lose weight, develop patience, meditate or keep a gratitude journal. For me it was to become more organised with my time. 2017 was full of challenges and it threw out any consistency or routine I believed I had and left me at times feeling like I was drowning in a sea of confronting and overwhelming issues. So I decided that to start off I would organize my closet and save time not having to hunt for everything I needed. When life gets overwhelming anything can be a challenge including the small stuff….and organising a closet can be an arduous journey but I’ve definitely been there before….multiple times now. But once upon a time I had no idea where to start? 10 years ago after the birth of my second daughter I had friends and family give me so many gifts. I kind of shoved everything into the wardrobe half organizing them as they went in. It was only a couple of months after that I sorely regretted what I had done. I had been so tired that I just let everything build up and by the time I felt like I had the energy to deal with the mess it had gotten crazy huge. Soooo not good….oh where to start???? I didn’t have internet at that time because it still wasn’t available where I lived and so I had to learn the hard way how to sort out all that stuff out. To start off I’m going to tell you something you probably already know….the key is to keep things organised from the get go, but if you’re overwhelmed by the equivalent of falling into an abyss and never being seen again then I’ve got some tips for you. SPOILER ALERT…..no really, it is a warning – it’s going to get messier before it gets cleaner so be prepared to put in a bit of time getting it sorted. Try not to get overwhelmed by the sight of it all. The relief and pride you feel after you’ve finished is definitely worth the time and effort. I pulled everything out of my robe and threw it on my bed then that way I had to deal with it before bed giving myself an entire day to sort it. It sounds extreme but I refolded everything and started making piles. Step 1…You’ll need…

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