Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

January 8, 2020

Newsletter: January 2020

What I’ve been upto since my last Newsletter, and what’s coming up…

So I decided to skip doing a July-December newsletter, in favour of summarising everything in one shiny new start of the year missive instead! And my big New Year’s resolution is to get more efficient at sharing my news. The goal is therefore one post a week, every Wednesday. Some posts may be pieces that have previously been published in print, so up in case you missed them (plus I can add links and different pictures), others will be whatever I’m currently musing on, and then my occasional Newsletters as more of a round-up (yet still no more than quarterly, if that). So here we go…

The power of colour

As you’ll know from my Instagram feed, the power of colour to transform any space and impact your emotions is a great passion. Personally I’m drawn to what I call dirty colours, shades muted by a big dollop of grey in them, but then I like to add an accent of something spicy to give them a lift — I like the contrast, the way one pushes the other. But I’m very particular about the precise shades employed and as such LOVE to write about such colour nuances, and in particular, the subconsious messages behind variants of any shade. So, over the last few months, I’ve been busy evaluating both the Dulux and Pantone 2020 Colours of the Year. Click the links to read as first published on Dezeen. And I’ll post updated/expanded versions with more images on my site over the next few weeks.

paint dulux green 2020

The Dulux 2020 Colour of the Year ‘Tranquil Dawn’: a pale, slightly greyish green to inspire serenity (shown in background) alongside an accompanying palette of supporting shades. The ‘Meaning’ palette.

blue pantone colour paint 2020

The Pantone 2020 Colour of the Year ‘Classic Blue’: intended to “challenge us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication”.

A Decade of Colour

But as well as commenting on other company’s predictions of the colours that will mark the start of a new decade, I also looked back over the last ten years for ‘A Decade of Colour’, a feature commissioned by The Financial Times: How to Spend It magazine for its future-facing special edition. Published on December 14th 2019, it charted change through the lens of colour trends, and I also shared my thoughts on what I think is coming next. More on that soon too.

Instagram colour moodboard

Some of the colours I’ve explored via my Instagram feed in 2019. But which ones were particularly significant over this last decade?

Talking colour and curtains!

Very excited to announce my work as a brand ambassador for the Thomas Sanderson ‘Collaboration in Colour’ with Harlequin campaign! Thomas Sanderson are renowned for their excellence in bespoke curtains and roman blinds and Harlequin for their glorious fabrics, so a perfect partnership was born for a special collaborative collection. All they needed was a stickler for what might go with what to pick her favourite fabrics and make some moodboards, and that of course would be me! Happy days. Here’s a 2-minute introductory film about our work together: Thomas Sanderson Collaboration in Colour with Harlequin And from there you can check out my chosen top three colourways.

Filming in the studio for Thomas Sanderson and Harlequin. PS My top is by Oscar del la Renta!

Filming in the studio for Thomas Sanderson and Harlequin. PS My top is by Oscar del la Renta!

colour curtains moodboard gold

One of my moodboards for the Thomas Sanderson ‘A Collaboration in Colour’ with Harlequin, for which I am a brand ambassador.

My 2020 Trend Report

On the subject of what’s coming next, a concise version of my 2020 Interiors Trend report is now up on Dezeen: the seven trends that I feel will be significant over the coming year and beyond. Albeit, this is my opening paragraph… The dawn of a new decade invariably gives rise to a whole host of grandiose pronouncements about new trends and cultural shifts for the next ten years, and true to form, here’s my top seven. But in truth, there’s only one thing that we can be absolutely certain of: change will be the only constant.

An extended version will pop up here soon enough.

PS I was honoured to also write the foreword to the Geberit 2020 Trends Report, so if you can get your hands on a copy of that, you can read my introduction in the format of a beautiful printed volume alongside expert opinion on other aspects of home like Designing for Emotion by biophilic design champion, Oliver Heath, and The Intelligent Bathroom by Emily Murray of @pinkhouseliving.

An archive Instagram moodboard when green was just emerging as a superpower, underpinned by Monochrome. The past and future together as one.

An archive Instagram moodboard when green was just emerging as a superpower, underpinned by Monochrome. The past and future together as one.

More products get made.com

A while back now, I worked with made.com to curate a range of products from up-and-coming designers through its TalentLab platform. Nearly all of these are now available to buy online. And the latest to drop is the ‘Enso’ flower holder, inspired by Japanese Ikebana flower arranging and designed in mango wood and brass (£29) by Corinna Göhlich — shown below is an early prototype I was playing around with at home! One of my other faves were the ‘Schema’ geometric mirrors, in brass and tinted glass (small, £99, large £129), which are also now available to buy. See the whole collection and read more here.

vase wood brass

Enso vase designed in mangowood and brass by Corinna Göhlich for made.com, part of a special collection curated by me.

The Great Indoors came over…

The inimitable Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smythe, they of the fabulous podcast, The Great Indoors, came round to MO HQ and recorded a lovely episode of our chats. We covered a lot of ground, including me rendering KWS speecless with my design crime. You can listen to it all here… http://thegreatindoors.libsyn.com/at-home-with-michelle-ogundehin

Kate Watson-Smythe and Sophie Robinson, hosts of the fabulous The Great Indoors podcast.

In the garden with Kate Watson-Smythe and Sophie Robinson, hosts of the fabulous The Great Indoors podcast.

Generally getting organised

I am eternally on a mission to streamline life admin, empty my in-box and actually meet all my deadlines, and I think I’ve finally found the definitive tool to help me in the form of The Circle Planner! It’s a notebook/diary/organiser that helps you to achive three specifically articulated goals over a three-month period. (BTW I completely concur on the 90-days to ingrain a new habit/change your life/instil a new discipline thing). I bought it to start in January, but then got so excited, had to begin right away! It works by making you articulate what  three goals  you wish to achieve, then the format is such that it helps you break each of those down into key steps, and then further microsteps to completion week by week, and day by day. My goals are to redesign this website; the last throes of my book and the design of a new back garden. No biggies then! But the point is, when faced with only the big picture, it can be paralysing. But break it down, and you can start to see a clear way through to chip away at it bit by bit. I’m finding it’s also massively helping me to prioritise what order things need to be done in; and one month in, I can already see progress and am feeling a lot less sense of overwhelm. PS this is not an ad, or a sponsored post, I’m just sharing because it’s really working for me!

circle planner organiser diary

The Circle Planner designed by Paper x Design. Available in navy, yellow, rose and teal. £30. www.paperdesign.co

And about that book…

It will be published 30 April and you can pre-order it on amazon here!

This is the official back-of-jacket blurb…

Be happier, healthier and more empowered with Michelle Ogundehin’s nine-step practical guide to creating a space in which to feel truly at home.

Whether your home is owned or rented, small or large, and regardless of how much money you have, Michelle shows you how to harness its potential in pursuit of becoming your best self. Because, if you want to feel calm, content, soothed or energized, you must begin with what surrounds you.

Happy Inside covers everything from how to create more light and space to how to get a good night’s sleep; the path to a perfect sofa and why a dining table is your most vital piece of furniture. Plus, how to decorate to promote joy; the importance of play (and circular side tables) and why a tidy home isn’t necessarily a happy one.

The healthy home revolution starts here!

HappyInside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness. Published 30 April 2020. Ebury Press.

HappyInside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness. Published 30 April 2020. Ebury Press.

Last thoughts…

Two Netflix documentaries that I watched recently and feel the need to flag. Not that I’m necessarily endorsing all points made in them, but I found them very thought-provoking. The Great Hack will have you re-thinking how you view the value of your data. “The most valuable asset on earth” according to a former insider at Cambridge Analytica. And in light of the rise and rise of veganism, The Game Changers, which even features former daily steak-inhaler Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsing a meat-free diet! Certainly there’s no argument that we all need to eat a load more vegetables, but this is what I wrote in my book and I’d be interested to know what you think as it’s two short paragraphs that I ended up re-writing three or four times as it’s clearly a sensitive and more complex issue that covers personal ethics and the impact of the climate as well as nutrition.

Go meat-free on weekdays. Eating a vegetarian meal a minimum of once or twice a week is the perfect way to boost your vegetable intake. Do it four or five times and you’ll likely save money as well as significantly support your wellbeing. Nevertheless, a diet that contains a degree of good-quality grass-fed meat, fish (small, middle-of-the-food-chain species to limit exposure to mercury), organic eggs and a little dairy produce can be perfectly healthy too. After all, even in the blue zones of the world — those areas where the occupants markedly outlive the rest of us — while their diet is 95% plant-based, on average they also regularly consume small portions (2-3 oz) of meat up to five times a month; eat fish three times a week, and add an egg into their meals about 3 times per week. So, plant-based on weekdays with a roast on Sunday, is my recommended way to go.

But if following a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to bear in mind the following: soya, as the base of many meals, must be organic and GMO-free to avoid the vast amounts of pesticides commonly used on such crops; the ingredient labels of ‘fast’ vegetarian/vegan foods need to be read very carefully as some frozen faux meats contain high levels of preservatives, processed oils and salt; some vegan desserts and ice creams too contain above average levels of starch, gums, pectins and sugar to achieve the right consistency; and finally seitan, used to create some vegan dishes, is made from wheat gluten, so no good for anyone who is coeliac or gluten-sensitive. All this aside, one of my absolute favourite ingredients is an ostensibly vegan food: dried yeast flakes, made from inactive yeast. With a cheesy, nutty flavour, it’s a rich source of B vitamins and minerals and can be liberally sprinkled on almost anything, although it’s especially tasty on roasted cauliflower!

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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.