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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.


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.

Zinc Textile new collection

March 18, 2015

Last week was Design Week at Chelsea Harbour in London when many of the major design houses launch their latest fabric collections. I always enjoy visiting Zinc Textile, their fabric ranges hit the perfect combination of great quality, stylish design and affordability. We often specify fabric from Zinc, or the other Romo companies, for interior design projects in our practice.

Zinc Textile : Nightclubbing

The new collection from Zinc includes a collection called Nightclubbing that celebrates many of the world’s great nightclubs where the elite partied. This is the company’s first stand-alone print collection and features 11 unique designs on printed velvets and faux silk. The fabrics have a neutral palette with colour pops of deep purple and electric blue. The Bilbo fabrics have a marble like appearance, perfect for colourful seat covers as shown below.

Zinc Textile : Nightclubbing

Another part of the new collection celebrates 1973 – a year of great achievement architecturally despite the global oil crisis. The Sydney Opera house was completed in this year as was New York’s World Trade Center. In the world of design B&B Italia was born and Cassina’s Maralunga chair was designed. Although many people would like to forget the 70s I think the new collection shows there is much to be celebrated.

Zinc Textile : 1973

The 1973 collection features 17 designs in the classic Zinc Textiles monochromatic neutral palette with deep purples and charcoals added. The fabrics are named after prominent figures and historical moments. I love the richness of the Schiaparelli fabric above, it would be perfect for a signature chair for a home.

You can find our more about the new collections on the Zinc Textiles website or if you are in London visit their Chelsea showroom to see the whole collection. I’m not sure we will be return to the fashion of the 70’s, but these fabrics inspired by the period are sure to be winners.

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 16, 2015

This week’s Room of the Week is a modern dining room featuring a bright yellow feature wall. This style reminds me of the interiors you often see out in Palm Springs, California where I spent 4 relaxing days last October before joining the Modenus BlogTourCali roadtrip through California.

Many people are scared of using yellow in their own home but it can have great results if you are willing to be brave. You would never have a bad morning if you started your day in this dining room would you?

This wall has a painted finish but if you want to add your own touch of yellow through wallpaper there are many options available. Miss Print have a number of designs available in a yellow and my favourite is Cotton Tree in Buttercup Yellow. All Miss Print wallpapers are PEFC certified and printed in the UK so you are both supporting our economy and buying from sustainable sources.

Miss Print : Saplings

For a slightly more diffused yellow look Mini Moderns have recently launched the P.L.U.T.O. collection of wallpaper. It is available in 4 colours, we are featuring the mustard version here. This new range of wallpapers is named after The Pipe Line Under The Ocean, a little known fuel line that runs under the English Channel from Dungeness and Greatstone to the French Coast. This pipeline was constructed to supply fuel to the allied D-Day invasion army during the Second World War. As designers we all draw inspiration from so many different sources. After learning about the military history around Dungeness when researching their Hinterland collection the Mini Modern guys were inspired to create this colourful new collection.

Mini Moderns : P.L.U.T.O.

If you do want to go for a yellow paint I can suggest Little Greene’s Trumpet. Fantastic colour, fantastic name! We used this colour for a charity project and it really created a buzz in the safe house we designed for the charity. You can either use it for a full wall, or play it safe and use it as an accent colour as shown here. The splash of yellow is really effective against the monochrome palette used on this interior. Yellow also works so well against grey so if you are starting to tire of your ‘on trend’ grey interior splash some yellow into the mix.

Little Greene : Trumpet

If however all this yellow seems too much to live with in your home you can still enjoy the colour by taking it outside. Launching for the warmer season from Broste Copenhagen this table and chair will ensure a colourful summer in your garden. With the table selling for £130 and the chair for £87 it’s a very stylish and affordable option for allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space this year. Breakfast around this yellow table would always be a great start to your day!

Broste Copenhagen

Hopefully these products have inspired you to go seek out your own dash of yellow for your own home. It really doesn’t need to be a different colour to use, go bright, go muted – just go Yellow. You won’t regret the happiness it will bring to your home.

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.


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