Here is a short interview with Pam Weinstock. We met in the Emerging Brands section at a trade show in London called 100 per cent Design. Pam has developed techniques for transferring her photography to fabrics and uses them to create masterpieces for the home. I came across her work a few years ago and I was keen to catch up with her and see her new work. I learned about her recent foray into rug design, which has been possible through collaboration with the renowned rug designer Esti Barnes.
Jordan Cluroe was a finalist in the BBC’s first series of the Great Interior Design Challenge and he wowed viewers with clever and quirky designs. With partner, Russell Whitehead, the two are now firmly established as professional interior designers. The duo work in South London under the name of 2LG (Two Lovely Gays). We’ve met up on several occasions and last week we bumped into each other three times in one day! (First at 100% Design where they presented a talk on using social media then at Design Junction; both events come under the banner of London Design Festival 2015.) So I just had to write a little piece about them. They’re such a fun pair and have set themselves the task to de-mystify interior design and encourage more people to use an interior design service… now you see, we are on the same wavelength!
Teaming up with online shop Nest.co.uk (did you know they have a showroom in Sheffield?), Jordan and Russell produced new branding which included some practical and stylish store fittings for their pop up shop at Design Junction, London. They even designed clothing for the staff to wear during the event which worked a treat – you could spot them a mile off!
Here they are, sporting half of a suit each, at the Nest pop up ‘Clinic’ at Design Junction. After having booked a 20 minute appointment anyone could come and chat with Jordan and Russell about their home/decor problems. Realistically of course 20 minutes is not enough, but it was a superb initiative to get people talking about interior design in a friendly and down to earth way.
I took this quick Vine video of Sian Astley, (on Twitter @moregeous and on Vine Sian@Moregeous), who had been coerced into colouring in a unicorn… it was indeed a memorable day!
As I get ready to visit 100% Design, the UK’s largest design trade exhibition on from 23 – 26 September 2015, I’m encouraged by the theme this year, ‘Design in Colour’. The 21st edition of the show promises plenty of visual excitement along with up to the minute information from inspirational speakers and trend forecasters. Amongst the more than 400 UK and International exhibitors will be world renowned names in the design industry. It will be interesting to see how each stand embraces the theme this year; colour is an important aspect of my interior design practice as I encourage and help clients add more of it into their lives.
The right colours help the bottom line
Enjoying a close personal relationship with our favourite colours in how we dress and how we decorate our homes means we are very aware of its effect on our emotions. If colour can express who we are and represent our personal values then it can certainly help a company project their products in the market place. Karen Haller is one of the UK’s recognised experts on colour and helps business owners choose the perfect colour combinations for their branding. Getting it right becomes a matter of profit, or loss, so while colour is fun to work with in the home it is also a very serious business.
There is something reassuring about colour repetition and Karen advises companies to use a brand’s colours at every opportunity. This is true in an exhibition environment as much as it is in a store. Last year I presented a talk on ‘Selling at exhibitions’ which covered aspects such as visual appeal and the use of colour. Karen says, “Instead of using colour in your branding as decoration or as an afterthought, think of colour as a language, another way to communicate.”
With the recent closure of Earls Court exhibition centre 100% Design, like many other shows, is migrating up the road to Olympia. I’m sure the venue will be full of chatter and intelligent communication. Keep track with me on Twitter! And join my mailing list for tips on how to use colour in the home and news from the show.
Certain areas of London have become centres for design and these play a big part in the London Design Festival programme. Take a look to see what’s near you – or take a trip to visit an area that’s new to you! If you are an artist or work in the creative industry, a designer or have a keen interest in home-making, a day out exploring one or two of these design districts will aid your research and undoubtedly provide inspiration.
London Design Festival Districts:-
Every kitchen needs a bin and with the many choices available the first decision will be whether to have a free standing or an integrated one. If you are reconfiguring your kitchen which includes an integrated bin store it could have compartments for recycling and composting. But not all of us have the budget to renovate the kitchen and if you live in rented accommodation it’s likely there’s no option to change it.
A free standing bin shouldn’t be seen as ‘second choice’ as there are many very attractive designs on the market which can either ease themselves into the kitchen without any fuss or make a big design statement. Above all you need a bin that is practical in everyday use. Brabantia is a company that has a long history of producing superb up to date quality housewares. I was particularly entranced by the patterned bins (designed by Orla Kiely – see link below). They really brighten up the kitchen and make a fashion statement. I’m not a follower of fashion but I do like colour and pattern. However in my little cottage kitchen we needed a slimline bin that would fit into the space between the bi-fold door and the rather massive free standing Fisher & Paykal fridge-freezer. I spied the new FlipBin from Brabantia; at £84 it’s reasonably priced and, with it’s sophisticated style in the Anthracite colour-way, I knew it would fit snugly in my kitchen. I was tempted by the pink bin because it looks such fun but sadly it wasn’t going to fit with my chosen colour palette.
When the FlipBin arrived there was much excitement. Beautifully packaged, I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box! And yes, the blue inner bin adds a touch of fun without looking gaudy!
I noticed immediately how easy it was to open the bin with a light touch; the lid lifts and closes very quietly. The other thing I really like about the bin is that placing the bin bag inside is easy and you can’t see it when the bin is closed. The disappointment is that the bin bag hides the colourful inner bin. But on the up side you get the hit of blue every time you change the bin bag. I cannot think of another bin that would actually give you a nice buzz when you undertake that unexciting task – it’s a touch of magic!
So I’m delighted with the FlipBin and since it doesn’t need a foot peddle the cylindrical shape is retained right to the floor; as a consequence it is extremely easy to clean. I’m thankful to Brabantia for providing the bin for me to try out and I can indeed recommend it.
- If you liked this post you may like this one about the Orla Kiely bin.
- For more about the FlipBin see the Brabantia website.
As part of my contribution to HouzzUK I write a monthly article and was asked to consider the role of the interior designer. The idea of employing an interior designer can be daunting for many. I find people worry that they will be encouraged to spend more than they want, or that the designer will be a bit ‘pushy’. Nothing could be further from the truth if you take the time to pick someone you feel a rapport with, and once found they can be a great help for many years to come.
There are three roles to consider:-
1. CONSULTANCY: Your designer is your inspiration and ideas person. Someone who can give you great advice as well as confidence to move forward with your plans.
2. DESIGN: Your designer works out solutions for your home. Translating ideas into something that can be seen and considered, for instance, with images, samples of materials or drawings in the form of sketches or full size room plans.
3. IMPLEMENTATION: When you get to this stage your designer can manage the project for you. They will get quotes for the work, draw up budgets and time schedules, and supervise the work when it’s under way.
Yes, we had to get the wooden spoon out for this event! And the support we had from a variety of interiors and publicity companies was superb – thank you all – together we raised £280 for charity in just a couple of hours!
The sun shone and I had queues at the raffle tent which was decorated, according to our UK-US theme, in red, white and blue. And this was the fist time I’d erected temporary flag poles – what a breeze! We put up the bunting and numbered the prizes and people were delighted at what they saw! Taking time to get a good look at the prizes people bought tickets and popped them into the corresponding prize bags. At 3 pm, after a good stir and a shake, the draw took place. Everyone was delighted with their win – after all, they had picked which prize they wanted so there were plenty of smiles all round!
How important is happiness?
Money doesn’t make you happy… or does it? Well of course it helps but only a little. According to Action for Happiness our ability to be happy is affected first and foremost by our genes (50%) with money and circumstances accounting for only 10%. The remaining 40% is up to us to influence and since we spend a lot of time at work making conscious decisions about the workplace environment is worth consideration.
Wellbeing and happiness are certainly interlinked and if our body complains it is difficult to feel content or happy. Being active has a positive result on our emotions as well as our physical health. If we have a body that is fit and healthy we should consciously work to ensure it stays that way and use it to improve our mental wellbeing.
Work smart, stay happy – ideas for the home office, 1 of 6
Being active helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates and as a result we experience less stress and pain, our mood is improved and we feel happy. It is well known that energetic exercise will induce euphoria afterwards and this buzz keeps many people motivated to maintain an active routine. Not so well known may be the fact that the simple act of smiling can also release endorphins. Read More
I first met Annabel in 2013 when she exhibited at Handmade in Britain, Chelsea Town Hall, London. We chatted and I got to know her work. Recently we got together again at Top Drawer, Olympia, London, where she showed me some of her new lines; I was very impressed, particularly with her wallpapers.
To introduce Annabel to you, I asked her some questions:- Read More
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. Read More
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