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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
And about that book…
It will be published this April (trust me, the minute it’s ready for pre-orders, you’ll know!), and this is the official blurb (thus far)…
‘HappyInside’ is your one-stop practical handbook for living well. Giving you the tools to become happier, healthier and more-empowered, it inspires a complete rethink of how to make a home, whether your space is owned or rented, large or small, and regardless of how much money you have.
Because, if you want to be calm and contented, you need to start with what surrounds you. But clutter-clearing is only the beginning! Michelle Ogundehin guides you through her nine-step approach to creating a home that makes you feel great, not one that just looks good. A space that will energise and invigorate you, helping you to achieve your dreams as well as being a sanctuary and supportive place of retreat if life throws you a curveball.
It covers everything from how to create more light and space to the best food to fill your kitchen with. How to get a good night’s sleep; how to decorate to promote joy; the path to a perfect sofa; why a dining table is your most vital piece of furniture; the importance of play (and circular side tables) and why a tidy home isn’t necessarily a happy one.
Michelle combines her knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, wellbeing and colour psychology, alongside everything learned from twenty years of editing interiors magazines, to help you become truly at home with yourself, and the world around you.
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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