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INTERIORS: Spoil yourself with personal pampering.

Byline: yvonnejones

WE all deserve a little luxury in our lives. After all, we all work hard, so we should reward ourselves by introducing some self-indulgence to the home.

Try and create spaces where you can allow yourself to feel languid.

The whole house needn't be overwhelmed by sensuality - inevitably most kitchens need to bow down to practicality - but decadent touches can slink in very happily in the rest of the home.

Spoil yourself by devoting one room to personal pampering. Your bedroom, for instance, could be your opulent sanctuary where you don't have to peel spuds or do the ironing. Fling a fur throw on your bed, then flop down on it.

Setting aside time to relax is essential though. There's no point in fixing up your home with nice sensual chill-out zones, if you never actually find the time to be mellow.

The opulent look seems so enviably luscious on the pages of a glossy magazine. But be careful with it in your own home, because it can very easily slip into kitsch.

It's worth seeking advice before launching in.

Unlike minimalism, where there really isn't a huge amount to go wrong, a lavish scheme has huge potential for disaster.

Create a fantasy space within your house by all means, but remember, if you take it all too seriously the end result could be overblown.

Cleopatra seduced Julius Caesar by arriving to meet him on a barge with purple sails scented with cedarwood, and propelled by silver oars, she meanwhile reclined under a gold-embroidered awning dressed as Aphrodite, goddess of love.

Cleopatra had the chutzpah to get away with it. Not many of us could.

A tongue-in-cheek approach can help lift things. For luxury married with wit, take the Long Bar in the famous Sanderson Hotel in London.

No one could dispute that It's a fabulous creation, but the backs of the upholstered bar stools are printed with a photograph of a woman's eye.

A long line of these (the bar is 80-feet long), creates a surreal effect, with just a touch of irony, yet without compromising the elegance of the design.

As the ancient Aboriginal proverb goes, ``the more you know the less you need.'' Even with something as potentially OTT as opulence, the ``less is more'' epithet still holds firm. It may seem like a contradiction, but glamour can be muted, understated and sophisticated.

We tend to associate luxuriance with the indulgences of a bygone era. The wild extravagance of the French court, for example, or the Roaring Twenties or the brilliance and mystique of the old-style Hollywood stars.

Yet, as a brand new book, Contemporary Glamour (Mitchell Beazley) amply proves, opulence can be very much a 21st Century concept.

As a source of inspiration, this book is excellent as it illustrates how colour and fabric can be used to sensual effect, yet without being ludicrously excessive.

Sumptuous though they are, many of the schemes could translate without a huge amount of adjustment, to everyday life.

One of the current buzz words, when it comes to design is sexy.

Ilse Crawford, the British designer responsible for decking out super-hip London club Soho House (haunt of Matthew Rhys et al), has just added her bohemian touch to the sister establishment in New York.

Only this latest venture also boasts a cool boutique hotel as an adjunct to the club. Ms Crawford states that the key factor she introduced in her design project was sex appeal.

Crawford's designs are sexy certainly but they also have a quirky, individuality to them. She uses such lavish details as emerald green chandeliers and glorious silk canopies, but the floors tend to be simple polished wood, giving an uncluttered backdrop.

And many of her finds are bits and pieces gleaned from forays to New York flea markets. That way her look never becomes homogeneous.

Current styles permit eclecticism - something Ilse Crawford has in shedloads. An eclectic design scheme liberates us.

We don't have to stick rigidly to a specific look or fashion, nor fret if this goes with that. It allows rules to be broken and gives free rein for a personal vision to be expressed.

Through eclecticism you tell your own story and the objects you choose mirror your persona

i t y.

The French writer and artist, Jean Cocteau, filled his homes with the paraphernalia he'd collected along the way. In effect, his home became like a living memoir.

As you select items and fabrics that lend your life a little luxury try and introduce things that have personal resonance, so that the overall effect is more than just a design concept.

The interior of your home should satisfy your heart's longings, not conform to the mores of the latest fashion pages.

Despite the warnings about going overboard, don't be afraid to unleash your self-indulgent side.

You needn't go as far as Cleopatra with her fragrant purple sails but pandering the senses is hugely enjoyable.

Add a sense of decadence with luxurious fabrics. Fur, velvet, silk, taffeta, all look great but they feel wonderful to the touch as well.

Introduce sensual colours and bring in rich heady fragrances via scented candles, bath fragrance and incense.

Make sure your bed and sofa are comfortable, add pillows and cushions galore so that you can sink back in delicious softness.

Treat yourself to some champagne and fine chocolates, drench yourself in expensive perfume. Remember, as the advertisement tells you, you're worth it.

# Contemporary Glamour by Ali Hanan, published by Mitchell Beazley, pounds 30

# Yvonne Jones designs, both contemporary and traditional, can be seen at Chameleon Interiors in Cardiff. Tel: 029 2037 1277.

www.chameleoninteriors.co.uk Designing a pond Initially, make a rough sketch of the garden and draw in the proposed outline of the pond and it's surroundings, including any plants. A symmetrical shape will produce a more formal effect for a modern designer garden, or you could create a more irregular, informal pond that would fit into a traditional UK cottage garden.

Rigid pre-formed plastic ponds, complete with a built-in planting shelf, come in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

Installation is simple: dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the mould, make sure the pond is perfectly level and back-fill around it with builders' sand.

Flexible pond liners are an alternative if you want to choose the shape and size of your pond. They come in many sizes and are purchasable by the metre.

Made from PVC or polyethylene sheeting they are ideal for small and medium-sized ponds, allowing you the freedom to choose whatever size, shape and depth you want. The sheeting is inexpensive and reasonably durable and most importantly, easily repaired.

If you are considering placing fish in the pond, they should be able to survive in as little as 400mm-600mm of water, but bear in mind that the heat and light from the sun will penetrate a shallow pond more easily and produce more algae growth. The pond really needs to be no deeper than 1m.

CAPTION(S):

LUXURY MARRIED WITH WIT: Opulence with irony in London's exclusive Sanderson Hotel; FREE REIN: Contemporary opulence, above left and right, give free rein to your fantasies; OPULENT SANCTUARY: Subtle details are combined with large controlled areas of colour; DELICIOUS SOFTNESS: Make a flamboyant visual statement with a few well-chosen pieces
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 14, 2003
Words:1224
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