Well I’m back in the UK.  The last couple of months have been an insane whirlwind of closing down my home, life and business in Singapore, and starting up all three in Surrey/London.  I can’t quite believe it but apparently I’ve been away from the motherland for nearly eight years. I first started my blog back in the early days, to track my progress from Chartered Accountant to ‘Interior Design Goddess’ {complete with fairy image, ha!  27 year old Elly was apparently about as silly as 34 year old Elly} – comically poorly formatted first blog entry here {and I do still love armchairs and lanterns, but errr I’m still not sure what a splicer is?}.  Well I am certainly no goddess, but I am happy and proud to say that I am now a fully fledged interior designer, with many fantastic projects in my portfolio, spread across Singapore, Hong Kong, the States and the UK. It’s been an incredible adventure, starting on a windswept Caribbean beach and ending in a leafy green Singaporean suburb, via Hong Kong’s crazy skyscrapers and Bali’s peaceful paddy fields, with many many highs along the way as well as an irritating quantity of lows – two continents, four countries, six homes, two careers, two small businesses, one marriage :), one divorce :(, four new amazing sports, one Nepalese goat-bus, never enough Jamaican dancehall, 0.1 chicken feet, many underwater dancing turtles, six choral performances, two new lifelong loves of hermit crabs and bougainvillea, one Balinese motorbike crash, 400,000 curry puffs, one marathon, three manta rays, 0.01 durian, seven sets of stunning climbing crags, so much nasi... read more


I’ve been increasingly drawn to Australian interior design over the last few months, after having a good oogle at a couple of their design mags on a flight back home.  Literally almost every single space I see makes my eyes pop out of my noggin, so I thought I’d do a little round up this week of a few of my faves. Incorporating more light, bright, natural finishes than you can shake a stick at, a large smattering of Balinese/general Indonesian decor and a focus on indoor/outdoor spaces, these are guaranteed to make your day – I recommend you go make yourself a cuppa and take some time over them. LOVE all these relaxed, airy, bright living spaces.  All the stunning natural finishes – leather, linen, petrified wood, feathers, rattan, acacia, cow hide, seashell, reindeer (?? – I’m fairly certain a reindeer never featured in ‘Neighbours’, what else could this be?  Ooh kangaroo maybe.  Sorry, digressing.) fur, hammered bronze and sisal – prevent the white/neutral schemes from becoming boring and meh. Gorgeous bedroom vignettes: See here for more trad ceiling rose/contemporary pendant eye candy. A couple of cute little people’s rooms: Some stunning mixed-material contemporary kitchens: Cracking bathrooms: Love me an outdoor bathroom, I do: And these outdoor spaces are all pretty killer also: Helllllo outdoor shower, this needs to happen again in my life at some point: {all... read more


I’ve spent about 18 hours this week gawping online at swing arm wall sconces, hunting down the perfect piece for my Serangoon Condo client.  I love incorporating these plug-in suckers into projects, as they pack maximum punch design-wise with minimum faff and rewiring.  In fact, no faff or rewiring whatsoever. Whether you go for a design classic like the Flos 265 Swivel Sconce {top left} or Serge Mouille Lamp {top right} {see here for more of these aliens}, a more industrial bare-bulb option, or even some traditional{ish} sconce-with-shade shizzle, there’s a swing arm out there for every style!... read more


A very common misconception about interior design services is that they cost big bucks and that only multi-bajillionaires can afford to hire designers.  I would like to squish this idea and set the record straight.  In the past I’ve worked with large budgets and small budgets – I love being able to splurge on beautiful custom furnishings and gorgeous luxe finishes, but I also equally love the challenge of creating amazing style and highly personalised spaces on a smaller budget. So today let’s talk IKEA budget design scores.  I’ve used at least one IKEA piece in every single project to date – a lot of their designs still leave a little to be desired, either style- or quality-wise, but they also have many many stylish and durable items, that allow you to re-direct budget towards pieces that would otherwise be unaffordable. So here’s a little round up of my faves, I hope you enjoy.  Ha and if there was ever any doubt in my mind that I’m drawn to natural raw textures and authentic finishes, then this board has blasted it into smithereens – such gorgeous leather, linen, woods, glass, jute, cork, banana leaves, rattan, seagrass, sheepskin and cotton.  There’s not a piece of plastic or synthetic fabric on there, not a sausage {oh, apart from the faux botanicals}. 1) Love me a bit of interesting upholstery, this armchair in black would do nicely. 2) Couple of fun pillows – black/white {used in my Hong Kong Discovery Bay Villa project – link here} and green. 3) Bought this set of chic vases for my recent magazine shoot. 4) LOVE this all-natural rattan pendant shade – can see a row of them... read more


I have a photoshoot lined up next month for one of my recently completed projects.  I’m excited: it’s the first time I’ve had the pros in as opposed to doing it myself, and I can’t wait to see them work their magic. The project’s pretty much good to go, it just needs a little tropical botanical/floral pep, and I’m thinking that succulents and cacti are the way forward. It’s no secret around these parts that I’m partial to a bit of gardening, in fact my internal OAP-self was out in force last weekend on my roof terrace whipping things into shape.  There’s something about having my hands in the earth that makes me calm and quiet, maybe it’s the long long line of Viking-y farmers that I apparently descend from, who knows.  Not me, not a sausage. Anyway here’s a nice pic: My botanicals guys did a fantastic succulent/cactus terrarium for another project I recently shot, with arty-farty sand layers and a large sprinkling of detail, but this time I think I’m just going to shove a load of these beautiful chubby-leaved suckers in nice pots and call it a day.  Maybe just strew them around all over the place willy-nilly.  We shall see. But in the meantime here’s some inspiration… Errr also can we please take a moment over this best staircase in the world…?  This needs to happen in my life at some point: {credits} Have a happy weekend loves!  And do tell, are you on the succulent/cactus bandwagon or is not your cup of... read more


I’ve received quite a few enquiries over the last couple of months about the interior e-design services I offer, here at Elly MacDonald Design, to clients in Singapore, the US and the UK. So I thought I’d save my sausage-fingers from some avoidable typing, and do a little blog summary of the ins and outs of this service. It’s essentially a more affordable version of a traditional interior design project.  In an e-design project, the client does all the non-design-y bits and pieces: the measuring up of the space, the purchasing and installing of all furniture, textiles and accessories, the sourcing and managing of contractors (where used), the dealing with any and all install bloopers {there’s always one!}, the styling, etc etc. The designer focuses on all the design-y bits and pieces: the technical floor plans and elevations, colour and textural palettes, pulling together the design schemes, managing budgets, factoring in lead times, and processing client feedback on the various design drafts issued. Unlike, ahem, some other firms {that shall remain nameless}, it’s very important to me that these projects are still as personal and non-generic as they would be if they were a full concept interior design service.  I make a huge effort to ensure that the designs are very specific to the client, their personal story, their interests and their family. So how does it actually work, I hear you ask? The client provides me with images of all four walls of each room to be designed, the dimensions of the space, images of any existing items of furniture/artwork/textiles to be incorporated, a link to their Pinterest board and... read more


I seem to have a nine year old’s skills in titling blogposts…there’s nothing like a spot of alliteration.  Err random start.  SO today I thought we should talk oushak rugs, ladies and gents. I have had a soft spot in my heart for these for a long long time now – adding the perfect exotic/ethnic vibe underfoot but without the more saturated and vibrant palettes you so often get with Persian rugs, they complement a really wide array of different interiors styles. Named after the city of Uşak in Turkey {please excuse the weird bold ‘s’}, these rugs have traditionally always been amongst the finest produced in the whole country – indeed a study of the rugs found in Istanbul’s largest mosques found that they were almost exclusively these intricate, high end specimens, with their star, medallion and floral motifs. Typical palettes include gold, soft blues and greens, greys, blush pink, ivory, terracotta and cinnamon; lots of gorgeous, soft, naturally-occurring dyes.  And the wool used is of a very high calibre, super silky and light-reflective, which adds even further to the visual appeal of the colours. All of these factors add up to one rather large blow to the bank balance – these puppies do not come cheap but blimey O’Reilly are they beautiful: Fave inspo shots below – this first one on the RHS has been in my brain for a long long time now: Loving them paired with statement chandies in these next two: They’re fantastic for adding visual interest to fairly neutral spaces: Or to offset darker floor and wall finishes: {credits} YUM.  I am all over these like a pigeon on... read more


I’ve been noticing for a while now more and more event design incorporating absolutely stunning foliage table garlands.  Here’s my round up of my fave inspo shots, ranging from rustic elaborate affairs to more contemporary and sleek shindigs (check out the Louis Ghosts!). {credits} And here are a few ingredients that would make a picture perfect soirée! {clockwise from top left: antique gold lanterns, olive branches, eucalyptus, white peonies, wood-effect flatware, gold-rimmed charger, white dinner plate, black orchid salad plate, rustic dining chair, burlap tablecloth, calligraphy place card, amber glass goblet, amber water glass, white napkins, brass candlesticks, teak serving bowl}  Be sure to let me know what you think, and have a happy weekend... read more


I was looking at some old design mags the other day and came across this cracking Cape Town pad featured in Living Etc a while back.  I remember at the time I took note of it as I’ve done something similar-ish on a smaller scale with the pendant lighting in my home (below left) and it made me regret not adding about 17 more of the blighters to the fixture. I usually go for more light and bright spaces, but the moody masculine palette and diverse texture range really speak to me here.  Plus the botanicals situation.  Plus the reclaimed wood wall cladding.  Plus she looks like a nice lady. {credits} But out of all the gorgeousness it was the grey tufted leather sofa that most caught my fancy.  I did a little ode to the Chesterfield (and Queeny) a few years back now but I’ve never really looked into these more modern versions. So in order to desperately delay for as long as possible the process of figuring out all the costs, both direct and indirect, sunk and opportunity, going into 101 individual home decor pieces (GAH), I have been on a little internet perambulation (hope you’re not reading this Sarah – ha, busted) looking at more of these contemporary tufted beauts. The one in this home is apparently from a store in Cape Town, but Restoration Hardware’s Soho collection (upholstered / leather) is oh so similar. Mmm mmm mmmm, I can see one in Chestnut (caramel, duh) leather in my life. Also check out their Soho daybed – look at it, it’s a monster: {credit} Don’t think it would do well in Asia, it’s about... read more


It’s the Deepavali festival tomorrow (also see my Diwali post from last year – I wonder why its name changes depending on what country you call home) and I thought I’d make the most of the excuse to post about some delectable Indian decor goodies. I’ve had a soft spot for kantha quilts for a long long time now.  Whether they’re bright and colourful or have more neutral tones, I love ’em all!... read more


It’s been a while since my last colour inspo post, and this morning I’m in the mood for a jolt.  Whether you call it peacock, teal or plain ol’ turquoise, this vibrant highly saturated shade of blue/green never fails to leave me with a smile on my face. First the obligatory inspo pics: A couple of gratuitous door deets shots – you know I love me some door deets: And here’s what you’re here for, the design goodies – yum! {credits} What do you think loves?  Could you do with some of this shade in your... read more