If you don’t like mud don’t keep a dog, especially one with a long coat and big paws! Easy to clean hard floors are essential – carpet just wouldn’t stand a chance in our home. In previous posts in this series I’ve mentioned wood and stone and now, as I’ve once more cleaned the floor after a particularly wet walk, I’m looking at luxury vinyl.
Still available and made from natural materials it has anti-bacterial properties and is recognised as an eco-friendly product. It harks back to the 1950s and 60s (when I was a kid) and ‘lino’ was modern and widely used in kitchens as a cheap alternative to tiles. It gained popularity as it was warm underfoot, easy to maintain and much cheaper to lay than quarry tiles.
Vinyl offers a durable and stylish surface and the technology for producing it has developed to a point where the quality is superb and design options endless making it a very good choice for any room in the house. Have a look at Harvey Maria, Karndean and Amtico; these companies have handsome collections.
A helpful short video shows how easy it is to transform a piece of furniture on the Annie Sloan website. The range of Chalk Paint® colours can be mixed and matched, lightened by adding white and darkened by adding black and there are waxes to protect the paint and bring out the brushstrokes. If you have a creative streak just waiting to surface you will love my competition prize: a Complete Painting Kit (value £73.90). It includes two 1-litre pots of Chalk Paint® in your choice of colours, 500ml Clear Soft Wax, 500ml Dark Soft Wax, a book of brass leaf, 100ml Gold Size, 100ml Decoupage varnish and Craqueleur (crackle varnish) set. Also included is something personal and special, a fragrance candle from the Annie Sloan Fragrance Collection. We have chosen Burgundy, a scent inspired by the very place itself in France (value £34.95). The Burgundy Candle is made in the UK using a combination of the finest ingredients, including naturally farmed organic materials and has a burn time of approximately 45 hours. Read More
Many people favour a neutral colour scheme which can provide a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Understand your neutrals and develop your palette. Do you prefer the whites and greys (with black and silver) or the creams and taupes (with brown and gold)? Go one way or the other for the best chance of success.
For a glimpse into Kelly Hoppen’s world of neutrals read my book review.
Are you getting ready for a Christmas party? With lots going on I’m extending my design idea to ten top tips to consider when planning to install a new floor. Floors will take a bashing during the festive season and natural stone floors are very popular, (limestone, slate etc). However they demand a regular maintenance regime and will stain if not properly sealed.
Stone or porcelain?
An alternative to stone is porcelain or ceramic tiles; no sealing is required and there is a good range of designs. Of these, porcelain is much the hardest which means it will look good for longer. In the image below my client chose porcelain tiles and they look superb. If you would like me to undertake some research for you, to save you time and to help identify exactly the right flooring for your home, get in touch. Now read on for my top ten tips…
As I prepare this blogpost it’s Black Friday and people have been rushing to the shops to pick up a bargain. Today’s design idea is – “don’t forget there are bargains to be had throughout the year”. We all appreciate a ‘freebie’ and during 2014 I’ve offered 17 competition prizes giving you a chance to win, with no strings attached, something rather special from companies I rate highly and have got to know well. I’ve chosen quality companies and for the entry procedure I’ve avoided automatic competition engines in favour of a more personal approach. I’m delighted that so many of you have participated and bagged the booty, thank you.
Prize donors in 2014
- Annie Sloan
- Margam Jones Tassels
- Juliet Travers
- Archie Mac London
- Cordello Home
- Julia Brendel
- Jessica Zoob
- Designers Guild
- Decorex International
- Lane by Post
- Out of the Dark
- Furniture Clinic
- Gylsen Design
- Spirit of Summer Fair
- Handmade in Britain 14 Spring Edition
- Ideal Home Show
For details of prizewinners and the prizes won in 2014 (such as this lovely throw from Designers Guild) see my competition page where I’ve also listed some of the companies taking part in 2015 (including Occa-Home). Join my mailing list and don’t miss out!
My independent judge, Ann Hawkins, has been choosing winners and I want to take this opportunity to thank her for her swift and considered decisions. She’s helped me keep the schedule on track so I can provide a quality competition calendar. Than you Ann, you are a star!
(Image above from PadHome who you can follow on Instagram.)
In this series of December design ideas I’m giving you some tips about hard flooring because many people make major home improvements in the New Year. Today I’m talking about solid wood floors. They will be oiled or varnished and can show signs of wear but this is often what gives them their appeal. Old boards are full of character but can be warped resulting in an uneven floor but the deep grain and odd dents are very acceptable. I remember staying in a 16th century hotel in Stratfod upon Avon some years ago and the original floors looked marvellous but the planks squeaked like crazy and every time someone walked along the corridor I could hear them in my room…. it was a sleepless night!
Engineered wood is solid wood backed by other layers glued together and this provides a more stable plank that resists warping so it is ideal for underfloor heating. All types of wood floor can be sanded every 10 years or so to renew the finish.
Laminate floors have improved dramatically over the last few years, they are the least expensive of all and won’t last as long as solid wood but are a brilliant budget option.
What experiences do you have of wood floors?
A vignette is a collection of beautiful objects artistically brought together illustrating character and style. Find a suitable surface in your home; it could be a hall table, an occasional table, the sideboard, mantel shelf or as above, a window sill, and designate it for your vignette. Take care in the arrangements, enjoy the shape and colour of each item. Change the vignette every so often to appreciate the pieces even more – find pleasure in each new composition.
Styling is a skill but one you can learn with practise. If you would like to know more, join me on an Interior style workshop – they are lighthearted and packed full of great ideas for you to take home. Contact me for workshop dates in 2015.
I recently worked with a client who has a lovely lounge overlooking the garden. You enter the room via an impressive double door from the hall; the room has a large window on each of two walls and a french door on the third wall. They wanted to include a TV and a wood burning stove and were pondering how to lay out the furniture since there were a confusing number of focal points. I came up with a floor plan and a design style they both liked so I’m looking forward to seeing the results in the New Year.
Some rooms suffer from too many focal points and others have none of any significance; I suggest you organise your furniture layout to have just one or two. Unless you have a separate TV lounge you will probably arrange seating so that everyone has a good view of the screen but may have to give the TV and fireplace equal billing.
Yesterday we talked about free standing lamps; one of the most confusing aspects of interior design is lighting but it is one of the most important. A detailed lighting plan is essential if you are doing any building work. When I design for a client I consider the furniture layout and the natural flow through the rooms before specifying the exact location of switches and sockets. I also include ideas for exterior lighting, especially for the areas near the house.
For more lighting tips, see this post A quick guide to lighting in the home.
You gain a lot of confidence when you’ve learned the principles of design and this is a good tip …. Buy the biggest floor and table lamps you can afford! I see many that are just too small to be effective. A good quality free standing lamp is worth the investment and you can take them with you if you move. The one above is from David Hunt lighting and the one below from Tesco Direct. Both make lovely statements.
Put the kettle on and browse my Pinterest boards, there’s one that focuses on table lamp suggestions.
I included this colour in a client’s style board recently, just before Pantone announced it as the Colour of the Year for 2015. The Little Greene paint I chose is called Adventurer (as seen in the bedroom above). It’s a mix of burgundy and brown that offers a richness that works really well with other colours.
A taste of Italy
Naming their specific choice of hue ‘Marsala’, Pantone number 18-1438, they describe it as a naturally robust and earthy wine red that enriches our minds, bodies and souls. It can all get a bit poetic but as society changes our style ideas alter and it appears that in 2015 we are ready for a colour that evokes the taste of wine and the warmth of Italy! Yes, I’m all for that! Read More
I chose one of the best Design Schools in the UK to get my qualification in Interior Design and Decoration. It took two and half years of intensive study and lots of late nights stressing about drawings! Fortunately I had lots of property experience and a solid background in business so turning my passion for interior design into a viable business was not such a big step but for others who are starting out it is very daunting.
Are you thinking of a career in Interior Design or another design discipline? Do you have children or grandchildren who are considering this avenue of study? They will want to know what it’s like to work in this industry and as a result of being approached by a number of people training to become designers I’ve put together a quick 10 point guide. Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.
(Image above from Lane by Post)
Yesterday I mentioned roller blinds and here we have one that is full of joy! We have arrived at number 9 of the December design series and this is a good time to give you a round up of the series of posts I wrote for MumsNet during 2014. Aptly enough there were 9 and here is an excerpt from one of them.
Colours for children
Give your child a confident start with a colourful first bedroom in primary colours. From about the age of 5 red, blue and yellow are good playmates for a decorative scheme. These three hues are perennial favourites and form the basis from which all other colours are made. You will find it easy to shop for them no matter what is in fashion and on trend at the time.
- Red is proven to physically make you warm and therefore it is a good colour to use in the UK climate. It also helps creativity.
- Blue has been found to help children perform higher in IQ tests and is considered more relaxing to the nervous system.
- Yellow is best as an accent colour as too much can be over stimulating, particularly in a child’s room.
Wallpaper has a higher chance of staying put the older your child gets, and only you can judge when the time is right to use it. There are many gorgeous wall coverings on the market so when you are making your choice think about what the children will like but remember you have to love it too. The one pictured, called Cockatoos, from Osborne & Little, is a pattern drawn by Quentin Blake. It’s such fun!
You can see the other articles on the MumsNet website by following these links
OR email me to request the FREE pdf How to make your home child friendly and stylish.
Ever wanted to add a sense of luxury to your bedroom and wondered how to do it? The high proportion of fabric in this bedroom, designed by Michael S Smith, is the key. Incorporate as much of it as possible, wherever you can – draped, pleated, folded, ruffled and gathered.
There are two very different windows in this image and to pull these together unique drapes are styled using the same plain blue material. With a variety of solutions to make awkward windows look spectacular don’t hesitate to get in touch for creative and sensible advice.
And an extra tip: a roman blind is a very efficient way to get best value from expensive fabric but these have to be made well in order to look plush.
Today is the first Saturday of December which means it’s time for #1day12pics, a monthly photography challenge. Anyone can join in – see more details here. My tip today is to consider images like the one above, from Surface View, to use in your decor. A wonderful range of photographs are available to adorn your walls or any other smooth surface you can think of. Get more creative, embrace what technology has to offer and be bold with wall art. Follow me on Instagram to see how I got on in today’s photo challenge!
If there was ever a time to hang a glitter ball, or mirror ball, it has to be now! It brings the fun element to your home with ease and great charm. I’d love to be welcomed home with an array of sparkles and light like this wouldn’t you? It’s so good you might even be tempted to keep the look all year round!
What festive decorations do you enjoy at this time of year? Share your ideas in the grey comment box below.
In design idea #3 I talked about texture and to develop that idea further I thought I’d mention wood panelling. This year has seen more wood walls than ever before so it’s very on trend. Whether or not you take notice of fashions and fads it is certainly a clever way to add interest to a flat wall. It can lift the atmosphere from glum to glorious as it helps you define a room’s character. It’s an ideal way to improve the bare walls of a new house and an easy way to recreate a period look in an older property.
And if you like DIY you can replicate real wood panelling by securely fixing strips of mdf to the wall, then sand and paint.
A two hour consultancy may be all you need to help inject more life and character into your home – give me a call to discuss your ideas on 07831 231 664 (UK).
Follow my blog with Bloglovin Many people prefer to use a neutral palette in their home. Some because they seek a calm and relaxed atmosphere and others because they find it difficult to choose (or agree) on a colourful palette. However, neutrals can easily be cold, bland and boring. The trick to avoid this is to incorporate as much texture and pattern as you can. Texture is about hard and soft materials, how they relate to each other and the 3D effect you can achieve. Pattern can be dramatic or soft but the more contrast you have, say with brown and cream or black and white, the more drama.
The palette of colours above has a central theme of grey and my client and I sat on the lounge floor carpet and pulled these together from my many paint swatch colours.The result provided direction for every interior decor decision she had to make during her imminent renovation project, even down to the choice of cupboard doors and skirting boards.
Let me help you create harmony and balance in your home… my services offer just the right amount of help so you can move forward with your interior design.
Congratulations on your new-born business together! Building on your skills and expertise it’s a sure fire hit! Following on Twitter @jjateliers
Online store Etsy has identified four key trends for Christmas 2014 by analysing new products being added to its shops. Here is the last of the four ideas which I hope will inspire you to develop a theme for your festive decor this year.
This trend focuses on blond wood and traditional patterns in red and white. It combines this with natural and sustainable materials such as reclaimed wood, cardboard and recycled paper. In the image above (from Sainsburys Home) curvaceous candlesticks contrast with crisply painted wood panelling. Red and white is a simple colour scheme to work with as it allows an infinite variety of mixing and matching. Read More
Dark colours take courage to apply and the natural tendency to use pale hues with white is hard to deny. However, if your house is already lacking in natural light and you like the idea of an intimate, romantic or dramatic space try a moody dark one that references the splendour of the Victorian period.
This is a style board I put together for a client who has a Victorian house and who is not afraid of black. The couple have some lovely collections to display and enjoy the look and feel of sumptuous fabrics. Got a dark hallway? Get in touch for some interior design ideas you can implement within your budget and in your own time.
The third of my Christmas trends is ‘textured textiles’ and it highlights the popular pastimes of knitting and crochet. Showing us how these traditional crafts can be used in non-traditional ways opens our minds to unusual home accessories such as knitted light fixtures and crochet coasters. Online handmade and vintage marketplace Etsy identified four key trends for Christmas 2014 and in this one we get all the comfort of ‘home-made’ with the warmth of textiles, from hessian and wool to felt and cotton. Read More
Following on from my first post about the four key Christmas 2014 trends identified by on-line retailer Etsy, which was called ‘happy and bright’, my second is ‘subtle shine’. If you like sparkle you might have to tone it down a bit to follow this idea for the festive season because it shifts away from the excessive use of gold and silver to a more subtle approach. This festive table setting has rustic charm and effectively combines the simplicity of the country with sophisticated city style. With metallic materials, cushions and textiles with sheen and shimmer you can make this trend work in your home all year round. Read More
Living in a country cottage is a joy but there are inherent problems especially if, like me, your cottage is pretty small. The property I live and work in, in Cambridgeshire, was built in the 1800s and comprised four farmworkers cottages. Over the years it’s been changed around but now the building is a pair of cottages and they both still retain bags of character. We have low ceilings, beams, chimneys, small windows, sloping floors and wonky walls. Dealing with the interior of a property like this inspired me to write an IdeaBook for Houzz UK. I hope you like it and let me know your hints and tips in the grey comment box below. If you enjoyed this post join my mailing list to receive the Newsletter for more great ideas straight to your inbox.
Tassels have a long history and are naturally created at the end point of a cord after tying a knot. Decorative tassels gained popularity when they were produced with expertise en masse in France, so much so that by the 16th century the first Guild of Passementiers was created. Finding these skills in the UK is rare and I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a workshop in Swansea that produces the most amazing ornaments for window dressings. The items produced are of such quality they are shipped to high calibre residences all over the world.