I met Maxine Hall at the interiors trade show Decorex International last year and was bewitched by the use of colour, pattern and fabric in the soft furnishings on display. The style is quirky and uplifting in its exuberance and confidence so I took a few pics to remind me of the stand. I learned that the range includes wallpapers and fabrics and the list of stockists has increased to include Liberty London and other retailers around the world.
Win a beautiful cushion
Have you ever considered happiness as a design objective when you remodel or redecorate your home? Most of us would agree that the level of happiness we experience is affected most significantly by friends and family but how much difference can your surroundings make? A recent meeting with internationally renowned kitchen designer Johnny Grey prompted me to think about the key design elements that help make for a happy home. Here are my top 3 ideas to design with happiness in mind:-
1. Macro and micro design
Everything we experience in the home has been designed by someone at some time but have you looked at how each little thing impacts on the whole? For example, do you struggle every time you take something out of a high level cupboard? Are you stretching just that bit too far in order to get to what you need? It might be a little thing but if it bothers you each time you do it consider how to change it. A temporary solution might be to move a shelve down a notch or two. Longer term, when you makeover your room take into account your physical proportions and the frequency with which you use the items stored at high level. Do you even need high level storage?
Every move we make has an effect on our happiness, from the ease with which we travel around our home to our sensory experiences of taste, touch, smell, sound and sight. Look for the tiny details that please; the way a seam is sewn, the precisions of hinges on a door, the artistry and craftsmanship seen in a plaster moulding. Appreciate the beauty in all of the materials and design away the niggles. Read More
Organised by Forum Events, the Interiors Summit is an annual affair. I was invited to attend for the first time last year and went along with an open mind. It’s an ‘invitation only’ intensive networking opportunity where suppliers and interior designers (the buyers) are put together in a room and, a bit like speed dating, there are 15 minute slots to get to know each other. Significant research is conducted by the organisers to ensure you get to see people you want to talk to and I made some excellent contacts last year so ticked it off as being a worthwhile day.
This year I was asked to present a seminar so I drove to London the day before as my talk was scheduled for the morning of 11 March 2015 in the Hilton Hotel, Wembley. It’s a very comfortable hotel but a devil to find; SatNavs just want to take you right through the stadium itself and road signposting is very poor. After taking several tours around the iconic building, which I first experienced in 2008, my language skills became very limited! I eventually found the car park with help from a police officer and the hotel’s reception staff and was very thankful to enjoy a glass of wine and good company that evening. Read More
Some like it, some don’t. It is probably one of those colours you love or loathe. It’s strong but when you think about it in terms of interiors it can be both dominant and delicate. Whilst working with this hue I’ve been amazed by its versatility. Unlike Pantone’s colour for 2014, Radiant Orchid, it is easy to work into a scheme and very acceptable in whatever quantity you prefer. Last year’s pink-purple was tricky to co-ordinate with colours in your existing home decor, unless you loved pink of course, but this one can quietly join you in a friendly fashion.
What’s so reassuring about Marsala is that…
- it works in design schemes for either sex being neither too masculine nor too feminine
- it can be paired with almost any colour, working with neutrals and brighter hues
- it can recede into the background and become a base for your colour scheme, a bit like the way we use neutrals
- it warms up a cool room due to its rich burgundy red highlights, useful in the chillier months
- it can add depth of tone and character to a room with just a few accessories
In the top image you can see how well it works with yellow – the combination is warm, inviting and exciting. Imagine a room with lots of neutrals and two strong pops of Marsala and sunshine yellow! And above, from House to Home, we can see how effective this red-brown colour is when teamed with white. The roller blind is called ‘Bottles’ and can be obtained from Bodie and Fou.
Caroline Lukehurst is a glass artist and produces wall art from photographic images. She works in her home studio located in the Warwickshire town of Royal Leamington Spa. I was in the area, which is really lovely if you’ve never been, and took the opportunity to visit Caroline as I had seen her work and wanted to know more. We talked about the difficulties of making glass art and how she juggles her creative life with home and family. It was lovely getting to know her. Here is a snippet of our conversation:
Detail from the Brooklyn Bridge wall panel:
A piece of wall art used as a kitchen splash back.
If you would like to know more about my interior design service and glass art get in touch.
Exciting news! I’ve been awarded “Best of Houzz” for Design and “Best of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction. Yasmin Chopin Interior Design was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users* that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 15,000 active home building, renovation and design industry professionals.
“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, renovation and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project. We’re delighted to recognise Yasmin Chopin Interior Design among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively renovating and decorating their homes.” Gemma Smith, Industry Marketing Manager at Houzz UK and Ireland.
This is the first time I’ve offered a bespoke item as a prize on the blog so it’s very exciting for me and I am sure the lucky winner will be delighted to have a coffee table made to measure. Peter Melton’s company, For the love of old, specialises in bespoke furniture using reclaimed materials. He offers workshops and sells furniture paints (Peter is a stockist of ‘Autentico’ chalk paints and uses these for his furniture). Read more to enter… Read More
I am passionate about promoting the services of designer-makers and if it is at all possible to include a bespoke item in a scheme for an interior I will encourage a client to consider commissioning something that is unique and special.
James Harrison has come to my notice; James is a young designer who now runs his own company, JamesUK. When interviewed by the May Design Series he was asked what tips he would give new designers in the industry.
“I think the best piece of advice I could give is to talk to people. It really is about getting yourself out there as a designer and getting to know people within the industry. The majority of opportunities that come up in the design industry arise from a conversation or a chance meeting.” James Harrison
Here is an article of mine, recently published on HouzzUK, that goes into the subject of commissioning in more detail. Leave your comments below and let’s support the wonderful talent we have in the UK. Read More
“I’ve been working away this week and just got home to my lovely delivery from Occa Home. The crockery and glassware is beautiful and the super fast delivery from Occa is fab. Thank you again for this wonderful prize.” Lucy
I was invited to write a guest blog post for one of my favourite artists, Jessica Zoob. I really admire her work, her commitment and her determination. Having met Jessica a few years ago I was more than happy to oblige with a piece called Interior Design Tips and Stories.
If you would like an interior scheme mood board created for your home contact me today – I’m offering a special on-line service to UK customers only until the end of February 2015.
Investment in a piece of quality art takes some thought and several years ago I saved up my pennies and bought a painting by David Denby. I have had the pleasure of getting to know David, a quiet man who paints every day in his studio upstairs in a little cottage in Suffolk. He enjoys representing reality in his work; over tea and cake he explained to me how he meticulously measures everything in order to produce an image that is as close to perfection as possible.
He finds the simplest and most difficult of subjects to feature in his still life paintings, from corrugated paper to bubble wrap, exploring the nature and translucency of materials.
“I select my objects from anything that happens to be ordinary and to hand. I try not to choose too carefully leaving the bits and pieces to make their presence felt. Still Life painting is an ancient activity, with the usual range of subject matter including natural objects, decoratively displayed. Food, fruits and flowers are commonly arranged with things of great value or strangeness to express a mood of entertaining excess.
Close observation and a refined technique have always been main-stays of Still Life painting and despite the craft’s formal limitations such expertise can subtly manipulate the beauty and “reality” of the image. Ordinary things acquire extraordinary meanings.” David Denby.
David studied at the Royal Academy Schools (1968-1971) and was awarded two silver medals. His work appears in collections all over the world.
- Top image: Glass still life (2) (This one inspired the colours for my blog!)
- Second image: Empty milk container
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As you know I am very keen to support new and innovative designers and this is a wonderful opportunity for me to introduce Ellie Hyde. Ellie graduated from Leeds College of Art with a Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Degree. Since leaving University Ellie has designed for a variety of commercial clients, including Laura Ashley and Loveramics. She now works as a designer for Lemon Ribbon. Ellie has a real passion for pattern and drawing. Taking inspiration from the geometrics around her in her day to day life. Ellie’s Geo Collection is inspired by architectural shapes and patterns found on the Underground. She uses strong, clean lines with a retro inspired colour palette to create eye-catching contemporary, unique design.
You can tell how much Ellie loves colour and geometric shapes by the examples shown here and two of her cushions are offered as a prize in this competition. Her work is available for sale at the Graduate Collection, a company that works with some of the most exciting new designers to emerge from British universities. The full collection includes ceramics, cushions, wall art, stationery and wallpapers. Close to my heart is the fact that all products are designed and made in the UK, helping to support some of the country’s oldest industries.
Ellie’s products have been featured in a number of glossy magazines including Ideal Home, Good Homes and Red Magazine. Read more to enter and win!
We were just watching an antiques programme on TV, they were selling a photo album that contained family pictures, and my partner said, “It’s sad to think a family’s memories are being sold off like that to the highest bidder.” Memories are kept in many ways and what caught my interest was the cover of this weighty album, which was made from Mother of Pearl and so beautiful. Old books not only tell a story, literally, but also remind us of a by-gone world. More so if they have that smell of ink and old paper that is so evocative of school libraries and secondhand bookshops.
Bookshelves have a place in most homes and these, at Madingley Hall in Cambridge, are pleasantly situated in the wooden panelled walls of two window bays. Read More
When I suggested cotton fabrics to one of my clients recently the response was less than enthusiastic. We love cotton for all its natural characteristics and its versatility but there are concerns about how its grown, harvested and prepared for use in industry. WWF reports that cotton is one of the most ‘thirsty’ crops in the world. Responsible for the destruction of many ecosystems due to the large amounts of pesticides required to keep the crop clean it also means reduced health prospects for people working in the industry and living in the wider vicinity.
Design tip! Pattern is useful as camouflage. To hide something ugly cover it, and the surrounding area, in the same pattern and you will find it hard to see the offending item; a satisfactory way to deal with pipes, awkward features and difficult shaped rooms. The above image, reproduced by kind permission of Laura Ashley, shows just how effective this can be.
Get in touch if you would like help redesigning your home:-
Remember wrapping yourself in a shawl or tucking a blanket over your knees while you settled down in the evening to watch TV or read a book? These items were an essential but folded and put out of sight when not in use, certainly not considered as part of the decor. How things have changed! I’m thinking back to the 70s and remembering a lovely shawl my gran made for me, which I used to keep handy for the chillier evenings. In the 80s I replaced my shawl with my very first throw, a bright red one from IKEA. I was chuffed to bits with it and it’s still very serviceable – that’s the thing about throws, with good care they are an excellent investment. Now the throw is a ‘must have’ accessory for interiors as it’s not only practical but also makes a big impact in a room.
I’m a big fan of plain white as it’s easy to keep a full china cupboard of semi-matching pieces if, like me, you tend to have butter fingers. This prize is fantastic! Read more and enter. Keeping the ‘best’ china for very special occasions I like to feel comfortable with everyday china and this beautiful collection designed by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion is just perfect. It’s modern, stylish and practical.
I’m always intrigued to know how designers started out in their careers and Sophie Conran, whose father is Sir Terence Conran, was destined to work in a creative capacity. He helped to inspire her passion for design from a young age and now Sophie is as much of a household name as he is.
“When I left school, which I wasn’t very good at, art was the thing that I really enjoyed. We didn’t do design and I couldn’t do cookery to exam level but those were the two things that I enjoyed and was good at. The first thing I wanted to do was be a hat designer and so I went to work for a milliner named Stephen Jones and that was my first ever job.” Sophie Conran
From 2 – 15 February 2015 in the Tottenham Court Road store, London, Heal’s will be hosting a Modern Craft Market that celebrates the best in contemporary design. Workshops are planned, which demonstrate a range of craft skills from clock making to leather moulding – you have to book a place so take a look at what’s on here.