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Clarissa Hulse bed linen

February 3, 2016

Colour, colour and more colour everyone says these days. With neutral interiors out of favour with the trend setters (whoever they are?) we are always told these days we have to have lots of colour on our walls and in our interior. But what if you don’t want to go with dark blue walls, and the thought of painting your room in a bright bold colour scares you – well that is where colourful accessories come in.

Clarissa Hulse

The latest bed linen collection just launched from Clarissa Hulse will certainly help you to add the colour quota to your bedroom. The Clover Stripe design features hydrangea and clover detailing on a base of strong blues with hints of sulphur. If you are feeling braver with your choice the Watercolour Patchwork range adds a multitude of colours to your room. Featuring the details of Greek muscari and English grass motifs and a patchwork of tangerine, kingfisher and magenta this would certainly wake you up with a smile.

Clarissa Hulse

If you want to take a more subtle route with your bed linen, take a look at the Boston Ivy range. Shown below in the Sulphur colourway it adds pattern, and a small amount of colour, to your interior. As we struggle through the cold winter months I love the colours in this range and it makes me think that the summer sunshine will soon be here.

Clarissa Hulse

You can find the extensive range of bed linen and many other products on the Clarissa Hulse website. Alternatively if you are in North London pop along to their shop in Islington – it’s great to know the fabrics are designed and screen printed onsite.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Farrow & Ball launch 9 new colours

February 1, 2016

Just when you’ve got to grips with Down Pipe, Hague Blue and Elephant’s Breath the team at Farrow & Ball now have 9 more amazing colours for you to choose when decorating your home. Launching today Inchyra Blue, Worsted, Drop Cloth and 6 other stunning colours will be the names you are asking your interior designer for in 2016.

Farrow and Ball

Over the last couple of years we have seen blue shades return to favour. Beige is considered boring, many people are now tired of the grey shades (though personally I still love them!) and they want something explore different tones. One of the new colours launched today Inchyra Blue would make a very striking addition to any home. With a history of originating in Inchyra House  in Perthshire this colour can be seen there on the impressive byre in the grounds. Shown below the colour is teamed with Worsted to create a contrasting interior style.

Farrow & Ball - Inchyra Blue

As I said I’m still a huge fan of grey shades, especially if chosen carefully so your home doesn’t look like the interior of a battleship! Two of the new colours Peignoir and Worsted are shown below in a classic interior. With Peignoir on the walls and ceiling it creates a good framework for adding other shades and tones to your interior. This new colour is a grey with a good mix of pink that provides warmth and romantic appeal to a room. Marry this shade with some of the stronger colours from the Farrow & Ball range and you’ll have a look at home in both classic and contemporary interiors.

Farrow & Ball - Peignoir

Soon to be giving Elephant’s Breath and Dove Tail a run for their money Drop Cloth is another new colour launching today. I love this as a strong base colour for an interior when going lighter would be just too safe and predictable. Combining this colour with strong yellows and oranges as demonstrated below for a really colourful interior.

Farrow & Ball - Drop Cloth

You can find all the new colours above on the Farrow & Ball website and more information on the colours not featured, if you are a huge fan of greens do have a look at Yeabridge Green. For the next 9 weeks you have a chance to win 5l of paint from Farrow & Ball by sharing your favourite new colour on social media using the hashtag #myfavouritenewcolour. Head over to their website to find out more information and then start sharing online.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Project Complete: Islington N1

July 9, 2015

Today we are featuring a project we completed in Islington recently to replace the current kitchen and extend the property with a rear glass box extension. From a short ‘we have a baby coming in 6 months and are looking to renovate our kitchen’ email received late one December evening the project grew to include a full refurbishment of the lower ground floor of the Islington terrace.

The original layout on the lower ground floor had three small rooms and felt very closed in and dark (see before pictures at the end of this post). An internal hallway used too much space on an already restricted footprint. and the existing kitchen was poorly planned – one of the horrors was a small round sink hidden away in a corner, with an expanding family the kitchen no longer served the needs of the owner.

After structural calculations and building regulations consultation we installed two large structural steels to allow us to remove all the internal walls downstairs and create a new, much larger, kitchen and dining space. At the same time we submitted a planning application to add a glass box extension to the exterior to provide a new living space off the kitchen.

Going against our recent trend of specifying handleless kitchens we changed the design on this project as the property, and the owners, appreciated a more traditional style. At the same time however we also wanted a design that wouldn’t look dated before it was even finished so a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements were specified. We agreed on a painted style kitchen, which featured three different shades of grey. The handle detail adds a contemporary element, we chose a simple cylinder bar finished in nickel which complements the large Rangemaster range installed. We teamed the grey units with limestone tiles on the floor which added a traditional element to the room – this limestone continued into the new extension.

The island of this kitchen is 2.8m long and has now become a central hub for the home. We finished the island with a white Hanex worktop to keep the overall feeling very light and spacious. The island has a large seating area on one side which features under counter storage for kitchen items infrequently used. The industrial style stools specified were designed to provide an unexpected element against the slick worktop and painted units. In a design scheme it is always good to provide a contrast between the finishes – this also helps to avoid the ‘this is an unloved show home’ look to your interior.

For the pendant lights above the island I was looking for something subtle, but also wanted to try to add some colour – you can actually have too much grey in an interior. We sourced simple ceramic lights from Folklore in Islington, but I then had our electrician recable them with a bright red cord. He didn’t thank me (a rather complicated task) – but the subtle touch of colour suits the interior better than the black and white cables supplied with the fittings.

The details on this project are the things that have given it the wow factor. On one end of the island we installed a book case to allow the client to keep the current cookbooks they are using. This selection is rotated from the larger selection on the unit in the dining area of the room. When it came to specifying the splashback we wanted a metro type tile, but the standard gloss tiles didn’t work with the style of the kitchen. Instead we sourced a matt finish tile, which due to the subtle colouring blended into the kitchen without creating too much contrast – both stylish, and also practical.

Due to the time in Planning the glass box extension was actually the final element to be installed on this project. With careful preparation we were able to prepare the site, finish the internal kitchen installation and then drop the glass in at the last minute. The extension has transformed an underused area of the garden and created an additional living room – it’s proving to be the perfect space for the new little addition to the client’s family.

This Islington terrace has now been updated from its tired look and style to provide a large entertaining space for a modern family. With good solid appliances the kitchen will also serve the family as they expand and grow.

The final picture below shows the internal layout at the start of the project (just after the kitchen had been ripped out) and also the exterior space we included in the house with the glass extension. As you can see the interior was tired and dated, the one larger room with its open plan layout is more sociable than the three small rooms we started with.

The project was a total dream working for a client who appreciated our experience and design expertise – as she said we delivered her the ‘kitchen she has always wanted’ – and the good news is we managed to get them back home and settled before the baby arrived!

Before and After

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CP Hart bathrooms

April 12, 2015

One thing guaranteed to help a project succeed? – good suppliers! Recently we’ve changed our bathroom supplier in our design practice and now use CP Hart to supply all our bathroom fittings. We have already completed projects in Highgate and Whitstable and have been very pleased with both the service in the showrooms and their after sales services.

To see more of their products CP Hart invited me to stay in a hotel where they had recently designed all the bathrooms. So around 2 weeks ago we spent a delightful weekend at The Wheatsheaf Inn in the Cotswolds – and roadtested more of the CP Hart range. The bathrooms certainly lived up to our expectations and are beautiful designed, combining the modern fittings with some interesting features – just one example are the mirrors made from old distressed window frames.

IMG_2638

The Wheatsheaf Inn in Northleach is a former coaching house that was once a stop off point for coachmen and travellers passing through the area. It was also a drinking haunt of highwayman so the walls could tell many tales of eventful evenings!

These days the Inn has been been recently renovated and now provides 14 bedrooms to stay in and enjoy the local area – including the excellent onsite restaurant. We stayed in an ‘Excellent’ room which completely lived up to it’s name – especially with a most excellent bathroom designed by CP Hart which featured a huge free-standing bath tub and a separate luxurious shower.

The look of the bathroom demonstrates how well contemporary fittings can work in any style of interior. The hotel is, by it’s nature and history, traditional in some aspects but the bathrooms are very modern and luxurious. The quality of the products is obvious – and the bathroom has been designed to include some super luxurious fittings.

After a day stomping around the villages and fields of the Cotswolds the oversized shower cubicle was wonderful for refreshing our spirits before dinner in the Wheatsheaf. The minimal frameless style of the shower cubicle perfectly suited the bathroom design and the huge shower head ensured a top quality body reviving shower!

Finally, just so you know that huge bath is heavenly – if you want something similar for your own home you can find the full range of CP Hart baths online. The morning after the night before it was the perfect place to gently wake up before another day in the Cotswolds. If you choose the Lincoln bath from the CP Hart range the outside is primed for you to choose any colour for the outside – this is a great way to add individuality to your own bathroom.

Do head over to the CP Hart website to check out their full range of products. They have a number of showrooms in London – but if you can, make a trip down to Waterloo to see their flagship store where all their products are on show, the recently expanded showroom covers every budget, style, look and idea you could possibly have for your bathroom.

This post was produced in collaboration with CP Hart who covered our accommodation and meals – all views posted are my own though, and I really want a bath like this now!

Finlayson Tom of Finland

March 25, 2015

Finlayson is a Finnish textile company you might know for the cute Moomin towels they produce and the large graphic patterns in their range, the Aalto pattern has been produced for nearly 40 years.

The company is named after James Finlayson, a Scottish machine engineer who went to Tampere in Finland in 1820 and founded a cotton mill. Although he sold the mill after 16 years the company wanted to retain his name. In the early days Finlayson & Compagnie was founded on the same principles as Bourneville did in England and provided homes for workers, and the company looked after the workers and their community. Nearly 200 years later Finlayson are still located in Tampere with their products featured in interiors worldwide.

Tom of Finland

Recently Finlayson have now added to their collections and launched a new range celebrating Tom of Finland. Featuring many of the images of beautiful men created by Touko Laaksonen the range includes duvet covers, sheets, towels and even a tote bag.

Finlayson : Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland is seen as almost a national hero in Finland and was featured on a range of stamps there launched last year. The images are protected by the Tom of Finland Foundation and are printed in gorgeous detail on this range of textiles. Both of the towels feature a fabric strip showing images of the homoerotic heroes in a variety of outfits.

Finlayson : Tom of Finland

If you want to be more risqué you should check out the bed linen which features more images (ok, it’s slightly more graphic!) from the Tom of Finland library. With satin sheets to co-ordinate this range would make a real statement in any bedroom. Following the success of this collection you can expect further lines to be added to the range this year.

Finlayson : Tom of Finland

You can find the full range of Tom of Finland products on the Finlayson website. We already have the towels in our bathroom following a recent trip to Helsinki, I haven’t specified the bed linen yet but you never know! And do check out the tote bag, it would certainly liven up your weekly shop.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

Room of the Week

March 23, 2015

This morning I’m returning to the office after a glorious week away in the sun. After spending the majority of my time outside I can’t wait to spend spring and summer in my garden. Now is the time to start preparing for more time outside so today our Room of the Week is going poolside!

Good quality outdoor furniture will last you a lifetime if you look after it. If you want some of the best made and most stylish furniture I recommend Gloster for their extensive range. After discovering their furniture at a very sunny Clerkenwell Design Festival a few years ago several clients have bought their exterior furniture from Gloster. The Cloud range is my favourite – it’s like moving your most comfortable sofa outdoors, expect it’s fully weatherproof.

Gloster : Cloud

In recent years the range of exterior fabrics has improved dramatically with Osborne & Little leading the way. Named after beaches and resorts in Costa Rica the Zancudo collection features five colourful fabrics designed for outdoor use. These fabrics have a soil resistant finish, dry without leaving stains and have excellent lightfastness qualities. The Pelada fabric shown in teal is my favourite, I’d love some outdoor cushions in this fabric for my own garden.

Drawing inspiration from closer to home the Ionia range is named after the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece. The light and sun seen in the Mediterranean is reflected in this collection – you can always see the blue of the Med in these fabrics. All the Ionia range has the same hard-wearing qualities of the Zancudo range.

Osborne & Little : Zancudo

Osborne & Little : Ionia

My last suggestion to finish your outdoor space would be a small fireplace to take the chill off when the sun sets. The latest Outdoor Living Collection from Morsø includes the cute little outdoor fire Kamino. Adding a contemporary touch to your garden this would be perfect for gathering around with friends. And if you fancy a change from your regular BBQ also in the Morsø collection is the Forno Grill. With an innovative design the grill will cook your meat in its own juices rather than roasting in the usual barbecued way – this results in super juicy meat. The grill is perfect for serving your guests the best steaks they’ve ever eaten outdoors – and it’s pretty stylish too!

Morso : Kamino

Morso : Forno Grill

Let’s hope we have a taste of some warmer weather soon. I’m starting planning my own outdoor space now so I’ll be ready for balmy nights in the garden – well, fingers crossed.

Our Room of the Week was originally featured in the extensive galleries of House to Home. Take a look over at their website for room inspiration, and be sure to check back here every week to find which one of the rooms has been showcased.

Such & Such

March 20, 2015

As I’m often telling clients lighting is such an important element of interior design and decoration for your home. It can really make the difference between a bland interior and achieving that ‘wow’ look everyone wants. After planning the position of your lights early in your renovation you then need to choose fittings – and thankfully we’ve now moved on from ceilings full of downlights.

Such & Such stock a cool selection of lighting on their website to allow you to ensure the lighting on your home isn’t boring. Many of the fittings include new on trend materials such as concrete and brass. I also love how the company seeks out well designed and original pieces and is very supportive of the makers of the products they sell.

Such & Such : Concrete & Bamboo pendant

The Concrete and Brass pendant is a contrast of looks with the harsh qualities of concrete softened by the additional of bamboo. The pendant has been designed by Bentu Design who are an emerging brand and experimental design institute based in China. With concrete featuring heavily in kitchen design and specification these pendants would be perfect over a kitchen island with the concrete worktop you really want.

Such & Such : Cage Light

With the trend for industrial style continuing cage lights are still very popular and this version is both very stylish and at only £49 also very affordable. Manufactured by the Electrical Shop it is also good to know you are buying a product designed and manufactured in the UK. One of the great things about this light is the flexibility – do you want it stood on your desk, hung from a hook on the wall, laid on its side – the option is yours. This version also brings colour into your interior with the bright yellow cord, if you prefer a more subtle look it is also available with an elephant grey cord.

Such & Such : Ding

My favourite product from the Such & Such lighting range is the pendant called Ding. Made from porcelain and named after the sound of bells ringing this fitting has the simple style of a bell found in temples. It was designed by Singapore based designer company Latitude 22n and is available in 2 sizes. The large fitting is an impressive 60cm tall including the rope handle. I really love both the simplicity of the shade but also the detail on the handle and cord. This features hand-woven details and a splash of red. Hang this pendant over your kitchen table and you’d have a real talking point!

Such & Such : Ding

You can find all the details about Such & Such lighting on their website. There are many more styles of lighting and they also feature homewares, furniture, art – well actually anything you need to make your house a home.

If you have enjoyed this post why don’t you head over to our page on Facebook, or follow me for my regular updates on twitter. Full details of all our Design and Build services can be found on our website.

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