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Hi, I’m Yasmin Chopin – Interior designer, writer and speaker. Rather than keep all these wonderful ideas to myself, I want to share with you, so you can enjoy great design wherever you are and have the confidence to manage your own projects.
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Remodeling and Home Design
Paul Massey Photographer Glass window white walls blue rug and steps

Glass is such a versatile material

Enjoy the benefits of glass architecturally and decoratively. I pulled together some ideas for HouzzUK which are published here:

The slides include options for using glass to:-

  • Link two buildings
  • Form a portion of roof
  • Act as a screen in a bathroom
  • Divide two rooms
  • Use in the kitchen for work surfaces and splash backs
  • Replace tired banisters on a staircase
  • Include in display cupboards
  • Make space enhancing furniture
  • Replace wooden doors

Join my Newsletter mailing list for more expert ideas to use in your home.

Wallpaper room set PadHome NLXL wallpapers

3 tips before you buy your wallpaper

A good quality wallpaper will last well especially if the chosen wall doesn’t suffer too much from wear and tear and if you use a professional to hang it. A large bold pattern is ideal but sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how it will look. Here are some suggestions:-

  1. Pop along to your local wallpaper retailer to see sample books and check the quality and texture of the paper. The books include large images that show how the paper hangs on a wall and how the pattern matches up.
  2. Websites are often very good at showing you how a pattern looks in a room set. I recently specified a Sanderson wallpaper for a client’s bedroom; teamed with a black chandelier and some pretty gold accessories it’s luxuriously romantic. You can see it here Wallpaper Direct.
  3. Then make sure you order samples of your favourites. Don’t just go by the colours on your computer screen, they can be very deceptive.

(Wallpapers shown: image 1 NLXL range, image 2 Sanderson Fleur Trellis.)Wallpaper room Pavilion

Blog to benefit your business workshop

Get results with your blog

Whatever your passion a blog is an essential means to communicate with your audience. I’m still learning how to do it efficiently as well as effectively and got together with a lovely group of ladies to share blogging tips and ideas.

5 top blogging tips

  1. When you use an image in your blog save it somewhere separate in your files for easy reference.
  2. Schedule posts to keep them timely and relevant- use a planner.
  3. Check your draft posts are clear and concise before publishing.
  4. Keep an ideas book; a handy notepad to jot down inspiration when it hits you.
  5. Keep your blog alive with new posts – no matter how frequent, just ensure they are regular.

If you would like to join my next workshop, get in touch.

18
Silk open_box_beauty silk pillowcase Gingerlily

Romance and the luxury of silk

Have you ever slept in silk sheets? If not, would you like to try? I have a pair of silk pillow cases to give away in this competition with Gingerlily – and it’s not just sleep we are talking about here. As well as the romantic charm of silk (and need I remind you it’s Valentine’s Day soon?) there are other benefits.

Health and beauty

Yes, silk will help you to enjoy a relaxing night’s sleep because it’s a natural fibre and has hypoallergenic properties. The breathable fabric works to regulate the body’s temperature and this means you are less likely to wake up feeling too hot or too cold. I love writing my blog because I learn new things during my research. Did you know silk contains the same naturally occurring proteins as hair? I didn’t. I understand that this quality means there is less friction and moisture loss preventing hair from becoming dry and brittle; so a pillow case is the ideal beauty treatment to help you achieve sleek and shiny hair! Read More

Aldanah Photography Girl with heart red background Valentines Day

Gifts given with love on Valentine’s Day

You may be searching for just the right thing to offer your loved one on Valentine’s day and my list of suggested items is a little unusual. This year I was given a mini-challenge… to source some very special and lovely presents for raffle prizes at a charity black tie Valentine’s Ball. I had my eye on some tableware and with the theme of love on my mind I came up with some ideas… this is what we will be offering.

Candlelight

Valentines gift Harlequin London crystal candlesticksA pair of lead crystal candlesticks from Harlequin London, value £260.00. These two 26cm mouth-blown lead crystal candlesticks are from a Belgian company, Val Saint Lambert and I’m thrilled to be able to offer these in the raffle. Harlequin London specialise in porcelain, crystal, silver and decorative objects for the high end interiors market so I knew they would have something very special for the table. No romantic dinner in the privacy of your own home is complete without candlelight. Read More

2
Steampunk Wallpaper Direct Ancient Map Mural by Galerie

Re-write history with Steampunk style

Find curious shapes and unwieldy gadgets, lose yourself in an imaginary by-gone era and you can create your own fantasy world in the modern style of Steampunk. This trend is inspired by an eclectic mix of Victoriana, the American wild west and the Industrial revolution. Steampunk fashion wallpaperForget modern white streamlined kitchens and go shopping for items with a history, with character and invention. From copper pipes to mechanical dials, from screws and rivets to instructional manuals you can deftly draw together your own version of Steampunk with a Victorian industrial feel.

Adventurous design

Steampunk style Walterworks clock recycle upcycle repurposeDefined as a sub genre of science fiction and fantasy literature steampunk has quickly transferred from the world of literature where it evolved, to fashion and interiors. It particularly suits people who like to do things differently. It’s a very affordable style because so much can be found, made and repurposed like these clocks, which have been recycled into art by Walter Raes. Think of contraptions, steam generated power, noise and movement and be creative! Anything goes (almost)!

  • Find Steampunk wallpaper by Galerie at WallpaperDirect.
  • Visit antique stores, thrift shops and flea markets in your area. For instance Heavenly Metal in Vine Street vintage market, Brighton.
  • Search on-line for items that fit the style, Ebay is worth a look.

I’ve put together a Steampunk Style Pinterest Board so you can see more images that portray the look. It’s perfect for a kitchen as you will see, and it’s perfect for anyone who likes a darker aesthetic.

#1day12pics Yasmin Chopin interior design drawing board

A day in the life of an interior designer

Oh yes, before you get very excited, this is a Saturday (3 January 2015), and my life isn’t all glamour! Could you capture your day in 12 photographs? It’s quite a challenge especially if you are busy and, if like me, your photography skills are a bit inadequate. But regardless of that, one of my new year resolutions is to share more interiors fun on Instagram and Vine (video) so here goes! I’d like to develop some Podcasting skills as well but for now my January 2015 #1day12pics effort must suffice.

#1day12pics January 2015 Christmas perfume socks mug The Grand Budapest Hotel map architecture wallpaper nature

This monthly project is the baby of Michelle and Emma who organise it, and anyone can join in no matter what your interests. I’ve found it great fun and this month came across someone who used to visit the disco in our village hall. Well the village hall has long since gone but how peculiar that one of my images sparked off a trip down memory lane for a lovely lady I’m now in touch with on social media. By the way, Emma is a professional photographer and she is offering a 2015 programme of online FREE help to bloggers.

If you want to see the comments attached to each of the above images, and the ensuing conversations, visit and follow me on Instagram where they were originally published.

Decorex entrance A Rake’s Progress The Orgy by Russell Sage with Fromental fabrics photo by Yasmin Chopin Interior Design

5 guaranteed ways to use pattern successfully

Pattern tips

To create a look that is attractive, comes together well and is easy on the eye you could:-
  1. Balance the quantity of pattern with plain at roughly 50:50 so the pattern doesn’t overpower the room. (See my image, taken at Decorex International – a detail from one of the entrance stands that depicted The Orgy from A Rake’s Progress by designer Russell Sage using fabrics by Fromental.)
  2. Use only one size (scale) of pattern, small floral for instance, then you could have a lot of it and it will look super because nothing works against it.
  3. Develop a colour palette from one favourite patterned item in the room and then make sure everything matches the colour palette. This will make the pattern ‘sit’ well in the scheme. (Image below shows a large scale patterned artwork and the colours have been picked out for the decor: pink, grey, straw and white.)Pattern tips pink-grey-white-living-room sofa coffee table large scale pattern artwork
  4. Be daringly bold and mix different types of motif but keep the scales in harmony; wide stripes and tiny florals might not work whereas pinstripes and tiny florals will.
  5. Use one motif but varied in size from very large to very small. Limit it to three sizes in one room so the eye can take it all in.

Use one of these ideas and you will surely be successful with your decor. But if you need a little help don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Carafe and mug coffee

Develop the potential in your property

Houses are our biggest financial investment and it’s lovely when I meet someone who is ready to develop a sound piece of real estate into a fabulous family home. My consultancy visits take me all around Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties. I see beautiful properties, some new, some old, and a good many that are ready and waiting for the biggest and best makeover they’ve ever had. I enjoy meeting the homeowners and I’m so pleased when I know they’ve gained the confidence to move on with their dreams.

“Hi Yasmin. Thank you so very much, I really enjoyed our meeting and I loved chatting to someone with such a talent. I love my home and you’ve opened my eyes even more to its potential.” Jeanette S.

Home painting detail flowers butterflies botanical

  • interior design book GIDC Colours pastels brights paints
  • interior design book GIDC Decorate renovate innovate Sophie Robinson Tom Dyckhoff Daniel Hopwood
  • interior design book GIDC Dining rooms
  • interior design book GIDC Displays in shelves alcoves cabinets
  • interior design book GIDC Floors
  • interior design book GIDC Kitchens
  • GIDC The Great Interior Design Challenge Sourcebook

Your favourite scenes from the Great Interior Design Challenge

The second series of The Great Interior Design Challenge finished on BBC2* recently and it seemed to me that this one, far more than the first, caught the public’s attention. The programming was a little confusing with three episodes shown each week which meant that many people missed some episodes. Thank goodness for BBC iPlayer! The pace of the programme itself is fast and the fact that avid viewers watched some of them consecutively left a feeing of excited exhaustion and a medley of emotions. Some wanted to get the paint brush out right away and try some of the bold colours we noted and others wanted to have a go at one of the craft skills, a demanding and sometimes disastrous activity in each makeover. Personally, I’ve been inspired to do more drawing as this is something I like to do but don’t have much time for surprisingly; some of the illustrations by the amateur designers who took part in the competition were very accomplished. Read More

Get a kickstart for your blog in 2015

With so many people asking for tips and ideas to help them get started with their blogs I decided to run a few workshops last year. I gained the confidence to do it after having my own blog listed for a National Award! I ran a three week course of 2 hour sessions for a lovely group of ladies and then ran a half day course for an entrepreneurial company in Peterborough. These went well and participants took away some new ideas to put into practice and had their motivation topped up!

“Yasmin, thanks for the Blogging course yesterday, it gave me a lot to think about and I am happier now that I have had your de-mystification of a lot of key words. Your approach is ‘non preachy’, very inclusive and it really does come across that you want to show the way, the easier way. I feel it is time to get out there now and do some blogging instead of just blagging! Thanks again.” Alison Bates

“Really wanted to share with you my new website and blog page with my very first post that I have also tweeted!!! You have been a really important part of my journey to get to where I am. Thank you so much.” Sara Collins

Now in less than two weeks I’m going to kick off 2015 with a Saturday workshop as many of you asked for a weekend event so as not to interfere with other work commitments. I’ve chosen a venue I know you’ll like as it’s easy to find and has plenty of free parking – The conference facility at Wood Green, near Godmanchester, and it is very good. This workshop is excellent value for money at just £50.00, which includes lunch and refreshments.Yasmin Chopin Interior Designer Cambridge Peterborough Bedford Huntingdon Yasmin Chopin

BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS

Saturday 17 January 2015, 10 am – 3 pm, £50.00

Conference Room, Wood Green, Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, PE29 2NH

Learn how to blog…from the beginning: whether you are a sole trader or work for an organisation or company, whether you sell a product or a service… it doesn’t have to be design related, you will find lots of ideas to get your blog running like a dream in 2015.

New to blogging?

The power packed course will help you to:-

  • Create a blog that is good for your business
  • Develop a blogging style that is fun for you
  • Generate a storehouse of blogpost ideas
  • Prepare a content plan that helps you manage your time
  • Find free ways to market your blog to get your business noticed

Contact me to book your place now!

17
Fenton competition RECONSTRUCTION_COLLECTION_PAINTING

Art students get a break with Fenton Art Design

Art inspired by Design is the by-line for this young company led by two entrepreneurs, Cherry Anderson and Steve Chapman. Both designers, they decided to create an opportunity for new graduates as well as for themselves by setting up a business, Fenton, producing interiors accessories; pictures, cushions, lampshades, and wall murals.

Fenton Cherry Anderson and Steve Chapman

“Fenton designs start with the art; rather than simply using the original composition we reinterpret and recreate the work looking for interesting themes or elements within the art in order to create exciting new designs.” Cherry Anderson

Read More

Paul Massey interior fireplace log basket time to review

Top 5 posts of 2014 – interior design contests and trends

Looking at statistics is interesting and at this time of year I like to spend a little time reviewing what worked best. If you’ve seen my About page you will know that:-

  • I’m inspired to write about interiors so that I can share all that is good in the world of interior design.
  • I strongly feel that everyone can benefit from good design and that it shouldn’t cost the earth either in terms of money or sustainability.
  • I support innovative design, new designers and help small businesses as much as I can.

So, which posts scored the highest number of reads during the year? Here is the top 5…. drum roll!

Read More

Alex MacMaster Iris Pendant light May Design Series

December design ideas #24

And finally, for the last of my 24 December design ideas I’d like to recommend all young designers look at entering the New Design Britain Awards, organised by UBM Live Built Environment. I am really excited about the new category of Interior Design and will be profiling the shortlisted candidates; there will be some rising stars of the future. (The image featured is Iris by Alex MacMaster, a previous Award winner who designs and produces timber based lighting.)

Awards Categories

The programme aims to bridge the gap between education and industry and the categories are:-

  1. Accessories
  2. Furniture
  3. Fabrics
  4. Surfaces
  5. Interior Design (new for 2015!)
  6. Architecture

Deadline is 16 January 2015

Finalists will exhibit their work as part of the New Design Britain showcase at the trade show May Design Series that takes place in London, 17-19 May 2015. New Design Britain Award winners will receive benefits including a work placement with key industry players and vital industry advice and support. Winners will also receive a free stand to exhibit their products at May Design Series 2016. UBM recently announced a partnership with luxury on-line lifestyle store ACHICA which means that the five finalists from the Accessories category will also have the opportunity to showcase their designs in an exclusive commercial space on the ACHICA website.

Visit www.newdesignbritain.com to find out more, and to enter the Awards. Follow on Twitter @YasminChopin @NewDesignGB.New Design Britain Awards 2015 logo

Good luck with your entries! I hope you have a super festive season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. See you back here on 2 January 2015!

 

COUNTRY ELEGANCE red and white stripes check rug LAURA ASHLEY

December design ideas #23

We touched on trends in yesterday’s design idea #22 when we discussed Copper Blush, the ‘in’ colour for 2015 announced by Dulux. But be warned, there is much more to shock you next year…. it’s patterned and it’s carpet! And I’m thrilled with this development because I’m a big fan of rugs; they offer so many possibilities in a design scheme. Tip #23 is to consider carpets with pizzazz and avoid automatically choosing the safe option. This above image is from the Elegance collection by Laura Ashley and shows how you can mix checks and stripes for a sophisticated and sprightly result.

I’ve worked with a number of clients this year who are wary of pattern on walls or fabric but have welcomed patterned rugs into their homes. Naturally they are much easier to maintain than plains as they are less likely to show marks so that’s another plus!

Diversity range from Grosvenor WiltonGeometrics are surfacing from most suppliers and this one, in the Diversity range from Grosvenor Wilson, is stunning. I also look forward to learning what artist and rug maker Deirdre Dyson presents in her next collection as I had the pleasure to meet her this year when I saw her 2014 designs.

Copper blush Dulux colours

December design ideas #22

From shabby to chic, this coppery orange colour is interesting, warm and very laid back. Promoted as the colour of the year for 2015 by Dulux we are already seeing it in the shops and in magazine features. I didn’t take to it at first but the more I work with it the more I like it.

Present in long forgotten weathered buildings and nature you find it everywhere from rusted iron hinges and clay roof tiles to Autumn leaves and bugs.copper blush orange old doors stone steps grey It has a staying power that is comforting and subdued. So as we get near to the end of 2014 and look forward to 2015 my design idea #22 is …

Keep an open mind with colour

You may think you don’t like a colour but when you put two together, one that you didn’t fancy with one that you do, they can work really well. In the case of Copper Blush… it makes a fine backdrop to many other more vibrant hues and there are some surprisingly attractive combinations. Get in touch if you would like help devising your colour palette – it’s one of my specialities.

Terracotta-tiled-Hallway-Country-Homes-and-Interiors-Housetohome

December design ideas #21

I’m moving on from floors to walls with today’s design idea and here we see wooden boarding. For a traditional look painted tongue and groove boarding is excellent on walls when applied up to dado level and will be at home in almost any type of property. I have found it a useful solution to the problem of walls with very rough plaster but you need an expert carpenter to fit it.

Classic country

The hallway is the perfect place to set the scene with a particular style and you can develop this through into adjacent rooms with appropriate fabrics (ginghams, linen and chintz for instance) and furniture (pine and oak).

Adding a friendly touch wood on the wall evokes the atmosphere of farm dwellings and naturally sits well in a cottage or a barn conversion.Wood walls country style Paul Massey

Images are an important part of my blog and I always obtain permission to use photographs before publishing. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the lovely people who have been so supportive in this regard during 2014. Today’s images are from House to Home and Paul Massey.

vinyl-floor bathroom from Harvey Maria

December design ideas #20

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.

Linoleum

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.country-blue-and-white-kitchen-Ideal-Home-housetohome

Vinyl

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 MariaKarndean and Amtico; these companies have handsome collections.

Laura Ashley Kyoto Living Room

December design ideas #19

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.

Kelly Hoppen IDEAS BOOK review

DelightFULL ike_unique_ceiling_dining_vintage_lamp_21

December design ideas #18

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…

Cambridge bungalow Yasmin Chopin Interior Design dining area Sanderson clocks fabric and wallpaper Read More

Love PadHome A la carte collection bedroom

December design ideas #17

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

Designers Guild throw Samarinda

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!

Occa home standard lamp studio room

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.)

Bolefloor Home office portrait

December design ideas #16

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!

Wood floor bedroom stripes checks NextEngineered 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?

Green-and-Oak-Wood-Living-Room-Homes-and-Gardens-Housetohome

December design ideas #15

Pictures can be grouped according to subject or theme. For instance they could all be portraits or all landscapes or still lives. A carefully curated collection looks stunning – just choose what works best in your home.

Tip: to unify different size pictures make the colour or style of the frames the same. For example, use all wood frames, or black frames, gold frames, or as below, all white frames. (See design idea #7 for tips on how to hang them.)

COUNTRY ELEGANCE, pictures flowers sideboard LAURA ASHLEYWhen you move house artwork often needs an overhaul as you seek new places to hang pictures. If you would like a helping hand get in touch and I’ll work with you to design a beautiful collection.

cameo with telephone House to Home lime green

December design ideas #14

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.

Vignette Mel Yates for Graham and GreenStyling 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.