Whimsical Textiles by Joseph Frank

I'm pretty sure I have a split personality disorder because I'm all about soothing, clean, minimalist rooms one minute and the next it's pattern and color all the way. I love loud spaces as much as calm spaces, and sometimes I'm sorry that my husband married a Gemini, because he's never quite sure what he's going to get.

Deep down in my core, I truly believe that you can inject a few bold patterns and prints into any decor without making you go absolutely crazy. The challenge, of course, is keeping a cohesive color palette and letting an in your face pattern take center stage.

I'm currently taken with fabric and wallpaper patterns from Swedish design icon Joseph Frank. So playful and fun, they are just waiting to perk up a tired or dreary looking space. I find this his designs are a fresher and more youthful take on patterns created by his idol, William Morris, whose work I adore as well. All these textiles are printed by hand, mainly in Sweden, on 100 percent cotton or linen. I would love to put a single cacti print cushion on a white slip covered sofa with a solid cushion, in yellow or pink, behind it - you don't need much else since so much is already happening there.

Now moving onto this wallpaper. The bottom left is my absolute favorite, as the flower stems appear to be climbing up and away. I like how the large flowers are in direct contrast to the tiny blue flowers, allowing your eye to really take in the larger florals and their shapes. It would look absolutely lovely in a family friendly entry, especially if it had white painted trim, high ceilings and glossy white painted floors for dramatic effect.

All these are available for online purchase from Svenskt Tenn, an interior design shop in Stockholm, Sweden, or if you live near New York, there is a shop in Tribeca called Just Scandinavian that carries Joseph Frank textiles as well. Canada, I hate to disappoint you, but as always, you can expect to pay hefty shipping fees. However, if you are trade, simply head to Kravet and place orders away to your hearts content.

The Adorable World of Orla Kiely

I first encountered Orla Kiely's products when I lived in London, was dirt poor, and I immediately wanted to buy EVERYTHING. I think I was browsing upstairs at John Lewis, hoping to score some deals on some bedding and towel options for my new place (and by new, I mean the ex council flat I had just rented along with 3 complete strangers where I was to be living in the smallest of 4 bedrooms, which may have been a closet with a small window), and wham, Orla's products hit me right in the face. The bright colors, patterns and whimsical prints made me feel happy and safe, and offered a cheerfulness that I so desperately needed.

Perhaps it's because I was completely exhausted, hungry, alone and about to head back to my new home, with it's impossibly tight quarters, and was dreading climbing back into the bed that offered stained sheets from the previous tenant (with an equally suffocating polyester duvet and pillow combo) that I handed over my credit card in complete disregard to prices that I couldn't afford, and treated myself to a lovely new queen sized set of pillow covers from Orla's line that I still have today.

While I couldn't afford the whole set, I finished off the bed with crisp white cotton linens and a down filled pillow and duvet, and topped it off with a teal cotton coverlet from Habitat. I dragged everything home, set it all up, and plopped on my new bed. I know it might have be silly to spend money on such a small luxury at a time when I probably ate one meal a day, but it was the only piece of comfort I owned and let me tell you, it was worth every penny.

I'm still a huge fan of Orla's today, and have since received a sugar container as a gift that I proudly display in my kitchen in Toronto, and I purchased "Home", Orla Kiely's book that came out earlier this year. And if you are not familiar with her designs, make sure to check out her website for a multitude of product offerings - everything from clothing to shoes to housewares. At this time, nobody that I know of stocks Orla Kiely's designs in Canada (with the exception of Chapters Indigo for her stationary / gardening goods), but if you are lucky enough to go stateside, she has a wonderful shop in Soho and of course, many shops in the UK.