This is a treat – I wonder how many of you own lampshades that have been hand stitched? In this competition I’m pleased to introduce Angela Constantinou who, having learned how to make tailored clothes from her mother, a talented couturier, has made this lampshade for you. Angela decided to use her sewing skills and indulge her love of interiors by enrolling at the London Metropolitan University. Here, she learned the art of high end bespoke soft furnishings and set up Cocoon Home soon after in 2009. Cocoon Home specialises in all types of bespoke soft furnishings: hand stitched curtains, perfectly pleated Roman blinds, custom cushions and, of course, lampshades. Craft skills are in demand and Angela is happy to continue the tradition of passing on knowledge in her popular classes.
Bring a little colour into your lounge!
The residential property market has been affected in the run up to the election in some areas more than others. In my area of Cambridgeshire Peter Lane Estate Agents is celebrating its 25th year in business – an anniversary worth recognising when you consider how tough the market has been over the last 10 years. I was also pleased to hear that Amara Living (online retailer of luxury gifts and designer homeware) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I thought it most fitting to put both companies together in this blog post and publish my congratulations!
I asked Paul Kinally, who runs my local office of Peter Lane Estate Agents in Kimbolton, to give his thoughts on the election.
“For several weeks leading up to the 2015 general election houses didn’t seem as safe as they might be. Across the country, house buying and selling activity stalled as people awaited the result. So the announcement that there would be a winner with a clear if perhaps only slender majority was met by those in the housing industry with a collective sigh of relief.
It wasn’t necessarily the political stripe of the party that won but the fact there was at least a clear result and the property market would not be left in limbo during weeks and possibly months of political horse-trading and in-fighting.
But let us all hope – no matter which party we supported – that the next government, besides dealing with a small majority, a large deficit, Europe, devolution, world hot spots and many other incredibly important issues, will at last get to grips with an effective and sustainable housing policy in the UK.” Paul Kinally.
And the guys at Amara are buzzing!
“In light of the recent election results many are hoping that the housing market will soon start to move again allowing people the luxury of either investing in their current homes or designing their new interiors” Sam Hood, Founder and Creative Director at Amara.
Let’s look forward to making some beautiful homes together during the next decade!
The installation of 888,246 poppies at HM Tower of London in 2014 was both moving and magnificent. Marking one hundred years since the First World War each red poppy represented a British and Colonial fatality.
Colour moment of the year
When I heard that this work was nominated for Britain’s Colour Moment of the Year award, organised by Dulux UK, I felt it was well deserved. Sitting and listening to Deyan Sudjic, Director of London’s Design Museum, compere the awards ceremony I hoped that the poppies would do well. I mentioned this to the lovely lady sitting next to me and low and behold I found I was sitting next to the very person who nominated the installation! Iwona is the Multimedia Editor of The Independent and she was over the moon when we heard the results of the public vote. Its rivals for the award were the unique ‘Making Colour’ exhibition at the National Gallery, the ‘Summer of Colour’ at the Turner Contemporary and the ‘Illuminating York’ festival. Read More
It’s that time of year when all manner of small businesses collaborate and share an open day. As the Spring weather gives us a hint of Summer we can look forward to being entertained and strolling around our villages, towns and cities to browse and shop. The open studios idea has really caught on and there is bound to be something happening in your local area so do look out for dates and put them in your calendar. For artists and craftspeople, entrepreneurs and artisans this is the time to show off the fruits of their labour. They will have been working all hours to put together a collection for you to enjoy. Read More
Trends come and go but the idea of bringing the outside in is a frequent design objective. In the UK we treasure the connection between home and garden, hence the desire and popularity for conservatories and glazed roof extensions. Whether your home is large or small, modern or old, you will probably find you can live very happily with this year’s trend for botanicals.
2015 interior trends
In my job I have to keep on top of what’s new and I favour unusual contrasts in texture and shape. My personal style is quirky and colourful and I like to mix things up and include natural materials, motifs depicting plants and flowers and the real thing in the form of potted plants.
You can have a little if you prefer a more minimalist style of home, or a combination of greens in different patterns if you enjoy colour. I love to create character in a space and this trend is set to be one I will encourage clients to buy into because it can work with any type of home and be continually updated. Now how can that be right? A trend that is perennial?!
Images with kind permission from:
- John Lewis bringing in the natural world with potted plants
- Wallpaper Direct with their Jungle Print wallpaper by Miki Rose from the Graduate Collection
- Timorous Beasties with one of my favourites – Merian Palm, a show stopper if ever there was one
- Habitat with one of their rugs in plastic suitable for indoors and out
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When setting the alarm clock last night for 4.00 am I wondered whether I had been a bit rash accepting an invitation to attend a breakfast meeting at the Design Centre, London. I have to confess I rather like to take things easy in the mornings. However the warm welcome at the showroom from the crew of GP & J Baker and And So To Bed made it very worthwhile.
Giles Kime, Executive Editor at Homes & Gardens Magazine, chaired an informal panel interview session for our entertainment. The topic was ‘Designing the quintessential English Bedroom‘, and the panel consisted of:-
- Peter Hancock – Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels
- Wayne Clarke – Creative Director at And So To Bed
- Vanessa Brady OBE – Interior Designer and Founder of the Society of British and International Design
- Ann Grafton – Managing Director and Creative Director of GP & J Baker
Almost every home I enter has a corner for a desk and chair but it can be difficult if space is tight and every member of the family wants to have their own work or study area. Older properties were never designed for home working and the token Study included in modern house designs is rarely more than a large cupboard. No-one particularly wants to make their lounge look like an office and if that’s where you have to work you will want to make it look pretty. When it comes to the choice of chair you will probably use something already available, such as a dining chair. If a new chair is required then a secondhand one that makes a nice upcycle project is a possibility, or you could consider a brand new office chair.
How seriously do you take your work? If you spend more than an hour at a time sitting at your desk I urge you to consider finding a really good office chair, one that has been designed for the purpose. Over the last few weeks I have learned a salutary lesson and I want to share it with you.
‘Having decided to set up our own company blog, Yasmin’s presentation was both helpful and informative. Much of her advice has been put into practice and we have already begun to see fantastic results.’
Charles Clarke, Design Manager – BANDA Property, London.
Emily’s book, Maker Spaces, is out now and I’m going to settle down and read it. The review will be published shortly!
I work from home and my office cum studio is upstairs (in the eaves of an old cottage) and at times I feel cramped for space but in general it’s a very comfortable arrangement. I have good daylight with windows facing East and West and there is little to disrupt my concentration. I sometimes gaze out of the window to see what goes on in the village as my view takes in the village green, and I can watch the birds on the feeder in our front garden. I see traffic going by but as this is no major road it doesn’t invade my brain …. that is until August when dozens of huge hungry combines rumble past and literally shake the house! Combine harvesters aside I am fortunate to work in an environment which is very pleasant and makes me happy.
One of the showrooms participating in Clerkenwell Design Week, SBS, invited me to speak on the subject of health, wellbeing and happiness in the workplace. I am preparing it now and of course as a designer I find this a fascinating subject. (RSVP to attend the talk.) One area I will always get advice on is dealing with unwanted noise as this is not a specialism of mine. However, my partner is an acoustics consultant and he offered to write a piece I could share with you about noise in the workplace so here it is! Read More
Interior Designers: I'm giving a talk about Wellness in the Workplace. Would love to include quotes from other professionals, credit given.— Yasmin Chopin (@YasminChopin) April 2, 2015
“I attended the Interior Design summit this year, (March 2015), for the 4th time. It is a useful experience not just for the convenient way of meeting new suppliers, but also the range of seminars and talks I can attend. This year I was delighted to see Yasmin Chopin was talking about Blogging, a subject I was interested in but sadly lacking in knowledge. I was not disappointed. The hour long discussion, was presented in a relaxed, humorous and very informative manner which fired me up to start my own blog for my new website. The questions and feedback from around the room further added to the information received, and personally could have stayed all day gathering knowledge! I look forward to attending her next lecture.”
Nicholas Sunderland Interior Design, London.
World renowned paint effects guru and colour expert Annie Sloan considers what makes a successful interior in ‘Annie Sloan’s Room Recipes for Style and Colour’. In this book Annie takes us into homes she has visited and tells us about the way they have been decorated. It’s an unusual insight and Annie shares her thoughts about the different types of decor she sees.
Each chapter focuses on a popular style: Boho chic, Neoclassical, Vintage floral, French, Classic Swedish, Coastal, Classic country, Modern retro and Warehouse.
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
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
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