A must read for anyone living in Singapore, Happy Home Outside by Charlotte Gueniau, is the latest in the popular Happy Home book series. With colourful pictures and easy tips you can implement today, she shows how nearly any outdoor space can be just as cozy and inviting as your home. Associate Editor of The Finder, Hazel Vincent De Paul, caught up with the talented author to ask about her inspirations for the book and for some pro-tips for you!
This is the second book in the Happy Home series. Where did you draw inspiration for it?
It was a natural step to go outside - and inspire people with how to live nicely and easily outside - and also how to do fun gatherings together. The book is really about taking the everyday magic outside! I’ve always loved spending time outside, and by creating cozy rooms outdoor you can really create great moments!
When did you first become interested in decorating? How did your turn your interest in decorating into a career?
It happened without me knowing… I have always been interested in decorating, starting in my room at home... and bringing that homely cozy feeling with me everywhere I have been, even when living in a very small and quite shabby flat in Paris - or when camping I have naturally spend time creating that everyday magic around me. It somehow all connected and became a career.
Singapore’s tropical climate means it’s hot and rainy all year round. What would you recommend to tackle the challenges of outdoor decorating in a tropical climate?
I think you are so lucky to have an outdoor climate all year - even when rainy it is still hot. You need to make it easy to sit comfortably, have nice cozy lighting - soft cushions and of course shelter from rain or protection from the sun. In Denmark it’s really cold in the winter but we can still enjoy being outside – with warm clothes and a cup of coffee.
What are some of your favorite holiday decorating must-dos?
I usually bring a few colorful scarves - they can cover the ugliest of furniture… and a few candles - plus I make sure to buy or pick a nice bunch of flowers - this always gives a cozy feeling.
What are your top 3 quick and easy decorating tips?
I get inspired when I’m surrounded by colors and beautiful stuff – even in the simplest way! I’m always saying “Why not?” and that’s where the quirkiness and fun ideas start to develop in my head. I’m always going for that cozy feeling – inside or outside. Right now I’m really into the outdoor life, so my 3 decorating tips are related to gatherings in nature:
- Every chance you get to be outside, grab it: Use your outdoor space and mark a practical transition between inside and outside with a colorful plastic carpet… You want your kids to be able to run in and out of the house, so the plastic carpet is perfect for taking some of the grass and dust… And it brightens your porch both summer and winter.
- Remember that there are no such thing as rules – everything is possible and there is no recipe. Mix without matching and combine floral prints with checked fabric and handmade embroidery. It’s all about playing until you find that perfect combination that works for your eyes!
- A small greenhouse is a great way to expand your outdoor living space. It prolongs the outdoor season, but it’s also perfect for chilly nights. Fill up the greenhouse with cushions, blankets, board games and furniture that won’t need much maintenance.
Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t already asked?
Just GO FOR THE FUN!
Compiled by Hazel Vincent De Paul, November 2015.
Photos: Charlotte Gueniau