A Slice of Summer


I am just back from a glorious two-week holiday in Scandinavia – the colours in the images above were inspired a little by my trip.

I always love to go away in June, it tends to be a little less trafficked and the weather is a little cooler than in July and August. It’s also the month that my husband’s birthday falls as well as our wedding anniversary – this year was a big anniversary – 20 years,  so it was cause for celebration and celebrate we did!


We started off in beautiful Stockholm, our first visit to this glorious city. I was captivated by all that I saw – the architecture, the archipelagos, the people, the fashion, and the food. It all combined into a beautiful, layered experience. I will be back. 


From Stockholm we travelled north in our family friend’s car for seven hours – we had a lot to catch up on and so we easily chatted all the way to their home, which is a twenty-minute drive from the small town of Stromsund.

At this time of year, the sun doesn’t really set, you experience dusk for a couple of hours (Dean noted that it was golf-able daylight) and then it’s full-on blinding sunshine from around 2:30 am. It can feel quite disorientating. You can easily lose track of the hours and must remember to go to bed at a reasonable hour or else I think you just wouldn’t sleep. But to be immersed in nature, to be so remote and to be able to dream and breathe and watch the ripples on the lake was a beautiful way to reset and recharge. 

It really was a time I shall cherish. I don’t know when I was last somewhere without the sound of traffic or people. The only thing in our sightline was the lake, the mountains, and lots and lots of trees. The photo above was taken out of our bathroom window at around midnight – no filter, this is simply the natural beauty we saw.

Then it was onto Copenhagen which felt like a caffeine jolt for the senses following our time in Stromsund. We last visited this Danish city in 2017 and was pleased to see that so many things remained unchanged, cafes and restaurants we had previously dined in, were not only still there, but flourishing. 

The streets were busy but there was always space, and we walked for miles each day and had a wonderful time. I am working on a downloadable guide to Stockholm and Copenhagen that I will make available in next month’s newsletter. It will contain some of my favourite places to eat, sleep, shop, and visit. A handful of delectable treats for the eye, stomach, and wardrobe for each city.

Packing Woes

I am fortunate to travel a lot for both work and pleasure, although it’s pretty hard to discern between the two if you were to see the photos on my mobile phone. For me work is pleasure and travel provides inspiration so my images from my trips are always heavy on design and architecture.

If you are like me your Instagram feed may be weighted down with ads showing effortless packing, accompanied by the soothing (to me) sounds of items being zippered into their own compartments. This is all great, but I always struggled with what and how much to pack……

I developed a simple template to help me, I’ve shared my template with several friends who always are agape at what I have done since 2011 to ensure that I bring only what I need with me. It’s simple, it does require discipline, but it also really works. I have an excel workbook and for every trip I have taken in the last fourteen years listing what I packed. 

The trick to making this super successful is firstly, you must write down what you are taking so that you know the contents of your suitcase. This I then print and pack with me. During the trip if I am short of anything I make a note of what I need to bring next time, and likewise if I buy something whilst I am there and wear it, it gets added to the list. Anything that I pack that I don’t wear gets deleted from the list as if it was never there. This way when I get home, I edit my workbook and have a true record of what I needed on my trip.

Then the next time I travel I can look back to the last time I went somewhere similar, copy the list so I know the right quantity of stuff to pack but then I can change out items as I wish. I can now pack for a two-week vacation on the day I travel, it saves me so much time and I don’t over-pack. It’s really minimized the stress.

Skincare is one of my great loves and some – well the person I share a bathroom with – may even call it an addiction, but it makes me happy and so I always keep my toiletries bag packed and ready to go also. If I finish a product on holiday or I can sense something is running short, I write it on a post-it note in my bag so when I get home I know what needs to be refilled. Time is short and when I travel, I want to pack with ease and so this keeps me all in alignment. I’d love to hear your travel tips – what do you do to make it all go smoother? 

Photoshoot Behind the Scences - Gillian Gillies Interiors

This week we had the pleasure of a photo shoot in one of our clients’ homes. We completed the work last summer and it was total joy to be back there seeing all that we created and seeing it through the eyes of my dream shoot team – Virginia Macdonald and Meg Crossley & Morgan Michener. A photo shoot is a long day, cars are packed to the brim with camera equipment, flowers, gorgeous looking fruits, and vegetables that I often don’t even know what they are, just that they look incredible. You are constantly moving things around and hoping that the sunlight is just what you need in the room you are working in. 

On Tuesday the weather was a little unpredictable, so we went from bright sunshine to dark and cloudy skies in a matter of minutes, but I have to tell you the shots look amazing, and I’ll hopefully be able to share a sneak peek next month.  Below is a before and progress shot (we were close to completing the reno at this stage) from a corner in the kitchen, this is such a beautiful home!

Before & After - Gillian Gillies Interiors

It’s quite the before and after story with the living room being my favorite – possibly due to the soft gold polka dots on linen ceiling wallpaper. The dots catch the sunlight and cast an immersive glow. 

A Concealed Guest Bedroom

Before & After - Gillian Gillies Interiors

Having a guest bedroom that can double as another space – home office / playroom / den / meditation area – is becoming a more frequent ask in our design projects. A murphy (wall bed) solution is a great way to allow this to happen.

There are some limitations in that the mattress cannot be larger than a queen and the mattress can only be a certain weight and thickness, but if you need to accommodate a guest or two and want to use the room (and the floor space) throughout the year, then this is a great option.

In my client’s condominium they wanted their den to double as a guest bedroom. We installed a full height wall of millwork which holds a queen bed and has space for the television (just seen at the edge of the photo).  We have two armchairs for TV viewing instead of a sofa as the chairs can more easily be moved when the murphy bed is down. Drawers inlaid with grasscloth provide storage for linens. 


What We’re Working On

Our current project list is very varied currently, which is something I am so happy about. From single family homes to condominiums and townhomes, working with repeat clients, referrals or new clients who have found us online or in print. 

We are designing new builds, extensive renovations and some simply need a good dose of decorating. It makes our days varied, complex but never, ever dull and I am grateful to everyone for their trust and confidence. 

Wishing all my Canadian readers a wonderful Canada Day. This year it falls on a Saturday so we will be closed on Monday, July 3rd. Happy Independence Day to my American readers!

Thank you for taking the time to read my monthly newsletter.


Red Wall Sconce with Swedish blue upholstered chair, sourced on Pinterest from House & Garden UK. Saved on GGI Pinterest board lighting. Swedish blue dress from Swedish fashion house Rodebjer. Striped stair runner in Gemma Moulton’s east-London home, sourced on Inigo. Curated books for sale at Svenskt Tenn Stockholm, possibly the most beautiful interiors store in the world ever. Photography Gillian Gillies. Taken near Stromsund, Sweden. Photography Gillian Gillies. Happy houses in Copenhagen. Photography Gillian Gillies. Suitcase interior – never pack your hat like this! I always find it better to flip it, anyhow the colours on this image worked nicely with mine! Credit unknown. Photoshoot day. There is a lot of standing and tweaking with lights and props and then Meg & Mo make their final adjustment, Virginia hits command K and the photo is in the bag! Photography GGI. Before photo of our client’s kitchen looking through to the hall closet. Photography GGI. Progress photo of the same wall in our client’s kitchen, although taken at a slightly different angle. Photography GGI. Before photo of our client’s den. Photography GGI. After photo of the den with murphy bed installed. Photography Virginia Macdonald, styling and art direction Me & Mo.

Giving credit & thanks and some more musings while I am at it!

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