Category Archives: Interiors

Interiors: best of the (Wild) West

Take inspiration from the warm desert hues of sun-baked reds, dusty ochres and burnt oranges, throw in a bit of Native American pattern, add a cactus and you’ve nailed this season’s hottest look faster than you can say Spaghetti Western

 

Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39
Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39

 

George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher
George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher

Hanging Feather Dream catcher £5, www.george.com

Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12
Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12

Cactus Cushion, £12, www.very.co.uk

Habitat Altivo bowl
Habitat Altivo bowl

Alvito green and white patterned terracotta bowl, £25, www.habitat.co.uk

West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set
West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set

Embroidered star bed linen, £19-£119; Geo tile pillowcase, £29; Emmerson bed, £999; Reclaimed wood and lacquer bedside table, £299; Prism wool rug, from £99.95.  All from www.westelm.co.uk

Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa
Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa

Wild Bill two-seat sofa, £2000, www.abigailahern.com

Ikea set of three cacti
Ikea set of three cacti

Set of three cacti in pots, £4.50, Ikea, www.ikea.com

Graham and Green White Resin antlers
Graham and Green White Resin antlers

Roebuck antlers on shield, £60, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Tesco House Rules Cushion £10

House Rules cushion, £10, www.tesco.com

Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase
Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase

Medium cactus vase, £36, The Conran Shop, www.conranshop.co.uk

Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate;  Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle
Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle

Idaho Large Sofa, Leather Antique Chocolate £949; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle £399; Lausanne Armchair Horizontal Patchwork Brick £299; Arizona Coffee Table £199, Arizona Console Table £249; Arizona Side Table £129, Multi Bean Rug 120x170cm £120; Indiana Glass Ombre Table Amber Lamp £49; Green Bottle Vase Large £15; Chunky Knit Multi Reds Throw £25; Contrast Piped Yellow Cushion £8; Watercolour Stripe Cushion £8; Contrast Piped Green Cushion £8; Cactus Print Cushion £8. All from www.tesco.com

 

Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie
Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie

Multi-coloured symmetrical cotton rug, £285, www.mahoutlifestyle.com

George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion
George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion

Tufted Arrow Cushion, £15, www.george.com

Graham and green picture frame
Graham and green picture frame

Painted bone picture frame, £12, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Habitat ZADAR horse objet black
Habitat ZADAR horse objet black

Zadar black facteted horse object, £18, www.habitat.co.uk

George Home Desert Bedroom
George Home Desert Bedroom

Desert Ikat double duvet set, £12; Ikat Cushion, £8; Tufted Arrow Cushion, £12; Copper Lantern, £10; Wood and Copper Effect Desk Lamp, £20. All from George Home at ASDA, www.george.com

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 5 May 15

 

 

 

 

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George Clarke’s Amazing Sheds

Today I headed to London’s Excel Centre for THE exhibition that tackles home building, extending, improving and developing.

I was meeting architect and self-build enthusiast George Clarke, who even in his 40s, has an energy and enthusiasm for architecture and design that is infectious and inspiring.

His TV series, Amazing Spaces, charts crazy, brave souls creating crazy, brave living spaces out of everything from shipping containers, to aeroplane nose cones and from tree houses to caravans…

Having designed his own bespoke shed in his garden and a holiday retreat from a retro caravan, George has plenty of experience and approaches these projects with as much diligence as he would any home-build. Because of this, the result is always a highly crafted, cleverly planned and designed space that looks beautiful – even if it is in a pared-back, industrial way.

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Which brings me to his latest venture, with his design partner William Hardie, George Clarke’s Amazing Sheds – pre-built, insulated, wood and then steel-clad sheds, with bifold and French doors, and modular, plywood interior panelling. Each one comes with, electricity, lighting, a pull-down table and fold out sofa – how you customise it from there on is up to you. Options include a wood-burner, sink, stools, shelving, and even a mini bar – and they’re working on more variations as I type. To look at they are awesome, functional, practical, minimal, and cool. The shape is of a traditional shed, but the style looks more like a shipping container.

George-amazing-shed

“I just felt like none of the garden studios on the market were enough fun,” George tells me, as we are sitting inside one of his hip homes. “You can either spend 80 grand on something with LED lighting and a hot tub, or five grand on what’s really a glorified shed that will be freezing in winter.”

Having watched a mini revolution over the past decade, as more and more of us have turned to flexible working and felt the squeeze of the housing crisis and recession, George spotted the growing market for affordable, and crucially, stylish and functional, garden living space that could be used in a flexible way. “It might be somewhere for Granny to hang out in the day enjoying the garden and then become more of a teenage punk band studio in the evening,” one of his sales team tells me.

And it’s this playfulness that George is keen to grasp. “Something I’ve noticed over the years is that lots of people have quite boring houses, pained magnolia and not very interesting, but in their gardens, they are willing to be much more eccentric and brave. Perhaps because they don;t have to do any actual building work to the house or because they don’t have to worry about affecting its value if they decorate it in a crazy way, they feel unburdened when it comes to these small outdoor spaces. They are free of all those worries and want to have some fun.”

bigshedlanding

But I can’t help feeling one of his sales team has hit the nail on the head when I ask him what response he’s been getting from the crowd at GDL. “When people hear that they don’t need planning permission for this, and that there are no building works or costs – they are really excited. And they love the flexibility of the customisation – they can make it personal but they don’t have to do anything themselves, all the hard decisions have already been made.”

www.amazingsheds.com

ALISON TYLER

How to… create a gallery wall

Don’t leave your photos languishing on your phone or laptop, create a fab focus wall of framed images and art that you can treasure – it only takes a couple of hours, perfect for a Bank Holiday weekend project!

Personal photos, favourite artwork and memorable treasures, from children’s drawings to concert tickets or a nostalgic football programme, can say so much about your personality and will breathe life into your home, when framed and hung on the walls.

A gallery wall of frames looks really effective and is easier to do than you might think. All you need is some paper and a pencil, a tape measure, hammer and spirit level, and an hour or two to get it right. 

One of the most common questions I get asked about gallery walls is ‘should all of my picture frames match?’,” says Kim Findlay, Frames and Wall Art Buyer for Habitat.

“Ultimately it is down to individual taste. Artwork in matching frames looks clean but for a more eclectic look, experimenting with mixing and matching styles and colours can be fun. If you’re unsure about which look to go for, consider the content of the frames. If the artwork or photography shares a similar style, matching frames work well. If you’re displaying different styles and mediums of artwork together, individual frames can be chosen based on what you’re putting inside them. This leads quite naturally to a mix-and-match style.”

The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100
The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100

 

How to create a picture wall 

1 – Don’t be afraid to mix things up: choose mismatching sizes and colours of frames for an eclectic feel, for instance, and don’t just create a geometric square pattern – a collage of frames can look much more interesting.

2 – Do think about making your pictures work as a group, still. Try theming the images – perhaps all family or holiday shots – or choosing all black and white shots to create a harmonious look. Or perhaps choose lots of shapes of frame but all in one colour.

3 – Don’t just start banging holes in the walls. Instead, lay the frames out on the floor in the arrangement that you are planning, spacing them around 10cm apart from one another. Keep moving things around until you are happy with the way it looks, then draw around each of the frames on paper and cut out paper templates, marking an “x” on each one where the nail should go.

4 – Do take time to get it right. Stick your paper templates on to the wall, following your design, making sure the centre of your arrangement sits at eye level. Use a spirit level and plumb line to check that they are all straight. Tweak your design if necessary. When you’re completely satisfied, nail into the crosses on the templates and then remove the paper. Hang your frames.

Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams
Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams

5 – Do cheat. If you’re really struggling, you can now buy frames that create an instant picture wall. Try the 10-frame arrangement by Ben de Lisi from Debenhams (£45), The White Company’s Fine Memories wooden frame (£150) that holds 15 photos or buy Habitat’s 20-aperture mount (£15) in black or white that fits into a 60x80cm frame.

 

TIP: Photographs and prints tend to wrinkle if directly in contact with glass, so place them behind a mount to prevent them touching it. Tape them to the top of the back of the mount (using masking tape) so that the print then ‘hangs’ in the frame and it can expand and contract with humidity.

 

TYPES OF ARRANGEMENTS

Ikea art and frames
Artwork and frames from Ikea

A gallery wall

Make a group of frames to create a focal point, above a sofa, fireplace or in a hallway. Choose a collage of mixed frames, a square or rectangle of equally-sized frames, or a row of frames – you can use different sizes here but keep them all centred so that there’s an imaginary equator running through the middle.

The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5x7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5x7 £50
The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5×7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5×7 £50

Table and picture rail groups

Here, all of your frames sit on the same base level, so it is really important to mix of up the sizes and shapes of the frames to keep things interesting. Layer them up in front of one another to create a textured, 3D, look, like this one above, from The White Company.

Stairs

A picture wall going up stairs can look really effective – the key to nailing the look is to start from the middle frame and work outwards, using the top and bottom of the central frame as a guide to work up/down the wall.

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 28 April 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 18.20.58

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Bathe away

I love this shot from the latest H & M campaign – it taps into so many key trends right now, from the rough luxe walls to the rustic hewn wooden stool and the industrial style shelves.

And if that wasn’t enough it’s even got the dreamy beach-chic shower curtain (with a hazy photo filter) and vintage-inspired laundry basket. Get me to the high street now!

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Go green over the new M&S Home range

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6 ways to get your house in order

Perhaps it’s how empty the house looks without the Christmas decorations, or lack of space thanks to all the goodie that Santa brought, but there’s something about January that makes us want to tackle the neglected nooks, unloved rooms and cluttered spaces. Here are six fresh ideas to get your house in order for 2015.

Clear out clutter

The quickest, cheapest and easiest thing you can do to improve your home is to get rid of the clutter. Jo Cooke, owner of Tapioca Tidy and co-director of Hoarding Disorders UK, has helped clear many a home and she accepts that clearing out, while cathartic, can be daunting.

loaf wellies

“Start with a small area like a drawer and be methodical. If you are feeling nervous start with the bathroom as a warm up. Then tackle the least intimate areas of the home, but the most visible; hallways full of junk post, stray gloves, broken brollies and muddy wellies.

loaf hall

Kitchens are next. If you haven’t looked at a cookbook or used that melon-baller, chicken brick or fish kettle in the last 2-3 years, the reality is you never will. If in doubt, throw it out.”
When you’re clearing out clutter, ask yourself “Does this enhance my life in anyway? When did I last use it? Would I miss it? Would I replace it?”
Paperwork is the biggest source of clutter and research reveals that 80% of what we file is never looked at again. Switch to paperless billing and you’ll dramatically reduce the amount of paper entering your home.

Buttons_Hallway_A_336rt1

Make an entrance
Messy hallway? Is there any other kind? Your entrance is the most high-traffic area of the home, with muddy boots, dogs, children and bicycles all passing through it. Is it any wonder that it can quickly become a dumping ground for gloves, post, keys and shoes, and a magnet for dirt on the walls and mud on the floor.
“Hallways can be one of the most difficult areas of the home to keep clear and clutter-free, often being small, narrow spaces, so it’s important to use the space carefully to make the best of every available nook and cranny,” explains Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader for IKEA UK.

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Her advice? “Instead of an open shoe rack, use a shoe cabinet (try Ikea’s Hemnes, £80, www.ikea.com) to tidy away shoes, the space will look tidier – and often bigger.” Bench seats that you can hide shoes inside are also handy in hallways.
For small spaces, Habitat’s Jux coatstand (on offer at £120 until 31 January, www.habitat.co.uk) combines coat hooks, a vanity mirror and a key shelf, while Garden Trading’s Chedworth wall unit (£100, www.gardentrading.co.uk) with hooks is a compact way to store hats, gloves and coats, in one.
If you want a smart look, a console table with a drawer to hideaway gloves and post such as Furniture Village’s Nexus console (£399, www.furniturevillage.co.uk) or Habitat’s Maconie table (£395) are modern and compact.

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To create a welcoming ambience, paint the walls with a hard-wearing, wipe-clean paint, such as Dulux’s washable Endurance+ Matt range which is 20 times tougher than regular paint, add pictures to give some personality, and use a scented candle to mask any unwanted wet dog or muddy boot odours.

Smart storage
No one has enough storage, no matter how big your space. But there are ways of storing things more smartly – is there space under the bed for roll-out drawers? Room above your wardrobe for stacking boxes? Could you create built in shelves that use the full height of your room, even potentially using the dead-space above the door? Or try the divide and conquer approach – use shelving like a wall to split a room or create a screen, you double the number of living areas and get more storage.
Empatika specialise in creating contemporary fitted storage furniture to make the most of your space and have recently partnered with interior designer and personal organiser Helen Sanderson to help you de-clutter and re-organise your space. Hammonds furniture (www.hammonds-uk.com) also specialise in bespoke storage and cupboards – something that most new homes are greatly lacking in.

storage-gltc

The website aplaceforeverything.com has every manner of storage you could want. If your children’s toys are taking over your house, the Great Little Trading Company does brilliant storage for children (www.gltc.co.uk).

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“For home-offices, where space is tight, consider transforming a built-in double cupboard into a mini study-area with an integral desk, drawer below and book shelving above, all of which can be closed away at the end of the day,” advises interior designer Julia Kendall. Sharps can also create fitted office spaces under stairs, or in small alcoves, from £1,500 (www.sharps.co.uk).

Compact with an impact / Clever furniture
British homes are the smallest in Europe at 76 square metres on average – and they are shrinking, new homes are now half the size that they were in the 1920s. But small spaces don’t need to feel busy and crowded.NORNAS Cabinet, £110

One of the best ways to make a space appear bigger is to expose as much of the floor space as possible – look for cabinets or drawers on legs (such as the Nornas cabinet from Ikea, £110) and look for hidden storage under the sofa.

sofa.com Fleetwood 3 Seat Sofa Slate Highland Tweed

Compact, dual purpose furniture is on the rise as we adapt to smaller living spaces. Drop down desks and tables, slim-line consoles with added storage, sofas and beds with secret built-in storage (Sofa.com’s Fleetwood three-seat sofabed with storage, £630, is a brilliant example), even stacking chairs and extendable tables make a huge difference to the amount of living space you’ll have.

we-reclaimed-wood-shelf-branch-brackets-d460-hero_z

Tidy shelf, tidy mind
Have you ever noticed that shelves in magazines are usually empty, except for the odd artfully placed vase or picture frame? Burgeoning bookshelves look unsightly, but for most of us, they are the higgledy-piggledy reality.
There is something very comforting and homely about a book collection. It not only says a great deal about the homeowners, but is both inviting and has an aesthetic depth difficult to achieve with any other ornamentation,” says interior designer Julia Kendall.
“But books can often look untidy and investing in a bespoke-built solution, taking into account the quantity and sizes of the books (with a little extra space for future additions) is a sensible approach. For a really minimal, smart finish, consider a sliding door to disguise any clutter.”
Try Hammonds Furniture for a bespoke solution from £2,500.
Display your books or objects to best effect by grouping collections of objects, such as vases or pictures, or arrange your books in visually interesting ways – try organising them by the colour of spine, or shape and size, or try stacking some books to create different shapes.

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“Shelving is ideal for utilising otherwise redundant wall space close to the ceiling and above doorways and can help to make a room feel taller as a result,” adds Kendall.

Lighten up
You needn’t despair at dark spaces and gloomy rooms. Start by using some of the latest light-reflecting paints to “bounce” more light around the room – try the Dulux Light and Space range, which contains light-reflective particles and comes in a palette of airy, bright shades. To lighten a dark room choose bright colours, not – as you might instinctively think – light shades that will not get enough natural light and will appear cold and drab. Think warm yellows, blush pinks, corals and terracotta shades.

image005

Miranda Knight, colour consultant for Valspar paint (www.valsparpaint.co.uk) shares her top tips for enhancing a dark space, “the lighter the ceiling colour, the brighter and bigger the whole room will feel, so opt for white. Similarly a white or neutral shade nearest the floor (skirting boards or even floor paint) will extend the floor space as much as possible. Choose a mid-sheen or silk paint to reflect the most light around the room. Likewise pale and shiny floor and furnishings will increase the overall sense of light and space.”

beautiful-light-bue-living-room

Use lighting too – overhead lighting is rarely sufficient to light a space effectively so consider a combination of accent lights that cast light onto one area of the room, such as a table light, spot light or picture light, and floor and desk lights, known as task lighting, as well as, potentially using wall lights.
“The perfect lighting scheme can make all the difference in creating a welcoming atmosphere,” says Chris Jordan of lighting specialist Christopher Wray (www.christopherwray.com). “Choose a wall-mounted uplighter to cast a soft diffused light against the wall and ceiling. A floor lamp will brighten up dark corners – consider investing in a light with a statement shade or detailing so that it doubles up as a piece of decorative art as well as being functional.”

original_diana-decanter-lamp

The Lex floor lamp from BHS (£52 in the sale, www.bhs.co.uk) is great high street example of a decorative and architectural floor light, while a Decanter glass table lamp makes a chic addition to any sideboard.

LAAW12-HAYWORTH-CLUSTER-01

To brighten in an instant, Ikea’s Ribba picture light (£17) simply clip onto picture frames, while the Janso Clamp spotlight (£10) clips onto anything you want to attach it to, even the stem of a house plant.

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in the Daily Mail on 16 January 2015.

Children’s wallpaper we love

New for SpringSummer 2015 is this gorgeous wallpaper from Great Little Trading Company – a brilliant online interiors store that specialises in innovative, bright and fun children’s rooms and nursery furniture, homeware and interiors.

GLTC bedroom

Their first wallpaper collection of six colourful and bold designs is made right here in Great Britain and the wallpapers are perfect for bedrooms, playrooms or a nursery. Patterns range from sorbet spot, to rainbow alphabet and, my favourite, grey star, and cost £25 a roll.

GLTC stars

Order from www.gltc.co.uk

The shape of spring to come: interiors trends 2015

Want to know what all the best-dressed homes will look like this year? Here’s a taste of what’s in store for 2015 – ten easy interiors trends that are on the up

Copper
Burnished metals and rose coppers are having a moment, adorning everything from lighting to vases, even cutlery. “What better way to add a touch of luxe and glamour to your room?” says interior design stylist Sarah Slimm, who works with the likes of Hammonds Furniture. “Set to make an impact in the coming seasons these metallic finishes will dominate the lighting and accessories market with surfaces ranging from smooth and shiny to a worn and riveted.”

habitat copper

Go dark and moody, as seen at Habitat (www.habitat.co.uk) and Heals (www.heals.co.uk), or pale and feminine, a look espoused by M&S (www.marksandspencer.com) for spring 2015.

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It’s no coincidence that Dulux’s (www.dulux.co.uk) colour of the year for 2015 is Copper Blush. “The powder pink and rosy metal story shows no sign of waning as the interior design world heads into spring,” confirms Alicia Kaper from Joss and Main. “The secret to making this interiors trend look feel sophisticated is to choose rosy homeware that sits of the duskier side of pink, allowing burnished copper to gleam against it.”

 

Botanic gardens

Take your cue from Kew Gardens this year and let fauna and flora into your living room and home design – and we’re not just talking about living plants. Leaf, floral and insect prints adorn everything from sofas and cushions to rugs and prints this season.

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M&S SS15
M&S SS15

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Look for papers and fabrics from nature-inspired Scottish designers Timorous Beasties (www.timorousbeasties.com), bold hothouse palms that unfurl at House of Hackney (www.houseofhackney.com), or for moss-green velvet sofas, fern prints, and cushions buzzing with bees and moths – make a beeline for M&S, whose Botanical collection has to be one of their strongest statements for years. “The vibrant greens and beautiful insect prints will rejuvenate your room for the spring – it’s my favourite interiors trend this season,” explains Amy Horlacher, Living Buyer for M&S.

rsz_1rsz_house_of_hackney_store
House of Hackney’s Palmeral print

At Liberty (www.liberty.co.uk), The Secret Garden collection of fabric and wallpapers launches in early 2015, taking its inspiration from the classic 1911 novel. “The book is filled with wonderful textile, colour and design references and amazing narration of the natural world. A diverse series of flora, foliage and texture will reflect the hues of the changing seasons,” comments Emma Mawston, Head of Design at Liberty Art Fabrics Interiors.

liberty secret garden

For a lighter take on the trend, try Laura Ashley’s (www.lauraashley.com) whimsical Palm House range in apple green and topaz – think palm leaf-print wallpaper, hummingbirds and exotic flowers.

 

Grey bedrooms
Scandi-inspired, grey furniture adds a softness and calm feel to bedrooms. Yorkshire-based Time4Sleep’s (www.time4sleep.co.uk) new Camden bedroom collection comes in pebble, a muted stone shade; Loaf’s latest Clementine and Lourdes wooden furniture has a distressed, grey wash; and The French Bedroom Company’s (www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk) grey painted rattan bed (£1295).

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Salvage, reclaim and up-cycling
Thanks to the BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge series people are painting up old cupboards, revamping furniture with new handles and patterns, and finding new uses for old things (suitcases as coffee tables or even shelves; baskets and lobster pots as light shades).

Junk shops and reclaim yards will be happy in 2015, as we breathe new life into pre-loved items to create unique pieces that add character to a home. Get some easy DIY home design ideas from Farrow and Ball’s website, or buy into the look at Loaf.com, whose rustic kitchen range has a very salvage feel about it – chicken wire lampshades and crate-style shelving, reclaimed from old buildings anyone?  loaf crate shelf loaf indiana lamp

 

Moody blues
Midnight hues, chalky Vermeer shades and bright cobalts – blue is the next “grey” for walls and interiors.

The new Abigail Ahern range for Sofa.com draws on the Victorian era for inspiration
The new Abigail Ahern range for Sofa.com draws on the Victorian era for inspiration

“Autumn’s key colour story evolves as we head into 2015, with inky blues transforming into bold, glossy cobalts and vibrant turquoises as the interiors world hankers for lighter, brighter shades,” notes Alicia Kaper, Joss & Main’s resident style expert. “Rich and uplifting, bright blues layer beautifully together and work best with natural tones. Pair your picks with relaxed fabrics such as muted linens and cottons which allow your bold blues to really pop.”

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Think Artistic Blue from Ecos Organic Paints (www.ecospaints.com) as a darker, subtler backdrop, then add a statement piece of furniture, such as Abigail Ahern for Sofa.com’s Abigail sofa in Prussian blue, or Habitat’s new Elder storage unit in a faded aqua blue (£395).

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The Grand Canyon
Take inspiration from the arid tones of the desert: yellow ochre, burnt orange, sandy tans and rich earth tones of sepia, sienna and baked clay, to create a natural and strong colour palette in your home, with décor to match. Dulux has an entire colour range – Big Nature, Small Me – designed to capture the sun-scorched feel of the Arizona desert; vast and intimidating yet strikingly beautiful.

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Both Tesco (www.tesco.com) and George Home (www.asda.com) have looked to the Wild West for ideas, too, to create trends that embrace the raw, organic nature. At George, things have gone a bit Navajo, with bold tribal prints, dreamcatchers and cactus plants juxtaposed against copper and faded greys. Tesco has gone a more Western with its New West trend, that features cushions that could be straight out of the Joshua Tree National Park, chunky leather furniture and patchwork prints that wouldn’t look out of place on a poncho in Santa Fe.

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Industrial revolution
There’s no need to turn your home into a warehouse or office – but a few pieces of industrial-influenced accessories or furniture will let any guests know that you’re ahead of the curve in the British style stakes. Anything with skinny metal legs, or old museum or library-style filing or display cabinets would bring your home instantly up to date; as would an old-fashioned Edison-style filament light bulb in an industrial exposed wire shade (try BHS’s Billie Bulb light, £25, www.bhs.co.uk).

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BHS Billie light
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BHS Billie chandelier

Head to Heals, where a new Industrial Chic collection has just landed; find apothecary-style drawers at Asda; very industrial style tables and metal chairs at Tesco or shop the new Salvage Retro collection from Dunelm (www.dunelm.com), which features old-fashioned wooden filing cabinets as storage units (£299.99) and wheeled coffee-tables (£149.99).

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Heals Industrial Chic range

 

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Tesco SS15

 

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George at Asda

 

Paint Effects
You might have thought that the era of “paint effects” – rag rolling, sponging, faux wood effects – had died along with TV’s Changing Rooms, but this year, you might just be reaching for your rollers again.

At Dulux, they’re trying to encourage us to mix paints and create ombré effect walls, as well as to contrast window recesses in different colours and to paint each wall of a room in complementary-yet-contrasting tonal shades. Repeat after me “this is definitely NOT a feature wall”. Their website, www.dulux.co.uk is full of home design tips and style ideas to help you get creative with a paint brush or roller.

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Farrow and Ball (www.farrow-ball.com) has created a guide to painting and adding paint patterns to furniture and walls. And Laura Ashley’s new decorative paint rollers (£30, www.lauraashley.com) are a quick and easy way to get creative with your walls or furniture – you simply dip the roller in paint, which in turn covers the print cylinder as you roll it onto a surface.

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Monochrome
“Simplicity is key for this graphic trend,” says Emma Mann, Head of Home Design at Sainsbury’s, of a look that is grounded with a pared-back palette of black, off-whites and greys. Striking patterns on textiles and ceramics give the trend an eclectic, almost tribal feel for 2015. Sainsbury’s (www.sainsburys.co.uk) Monochrome Ceramic vase £10 and Furniture Village’s (www.furniturevillage.co.uk) boho-eclectic Harlequin corner sofa have a relaxed, modern vibe that doesn’t feel as harsh as some monochrome schemes, while M&S has gone Oriental.

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by Sainsburys Monochrome Ceramic Vase, £10

 

On the tiles
Move over laminate flooring, tiling is taking over. And the bolder and brighter the better. Patterns and geometric tiles are proving equally popular, with the likes of Bert and May, British Ceramic Tiles, Fired Earth and Original Style all paving the way. “Tight, small patterned tiles in monochromatic hues alongside bold large geometric tiles in a kaleidoscopic palette dominated this year’s London Design week,” confirms interior stylist Sarah Slimm. “This is a versatile trend applicable to all areas of the house from bathroom, kitchen and hallway floors and walls to a beautiful piece of showcase art in the living room. It’s a key trend that will definitely be picking up pace over the coming season.”

 

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in the Daily Mail on 2 January 2015.

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Relight your fire

Where will you hang your Christmas stocking from? Chances are it will not be a mantelpiece. Homeowners have spent the last 30 years chucking out old fireplaces and removing awkward chimney breasts to create contemporary spaces with clean lines and flat walls. Nearly all new-build flats of the last generation won’t even have any kind of fireplace – after all, who’d want a smoky relic of a bygone age when you could have underfloor heating or slimline radiators?

But times are changing. Soaring heating bills, more environmentally-sound and clean fuels, and the return of people wanting more character in their homes, have all contributed to a revival of the traditional fireplace and surround. A feature fireplace can add up to five per cent to a home’s value. And at this time of year, the warm glow and crackle of logs burning in the hearth seems very appealing indeed.

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“More people are starting to realise that they can have a real fire, even in the city and smoke-controlled areas. Technology has advanced – many wood-burning stoves are now DEFRA-approved – meaning you can burn wood and other smokeless fuels, even in London terraced property,” explains David Adamson of Direct Stoves and Fireplaces (www.directstoves.com). “Not only that, by burning wood you are heating your home as carbon neutrally as possible, and with a little investment it will actually save you money long term.”

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Heating just the room that you are in is certainly more cost-effective than centrally heating an entire house. Using wood as your heat source costs 2.5p per kw/h compared with gas at 4p and electricity at 11p, say HETAS, the solid fuels industry body. And HETAS has seen an unprecedented interest in wood-burning stoves, with more than 200,000 installed last year – up by more than 50 per cent in five years.

It’s something Alexandra Marr from Crieff has noticed. “We have two open fireplaces and having spent the summer filling our woodshed, and every weekend since refilling it, we soon realised that it goes through so much more wood compared to a wood-burner – so we have had two wood-burning stoves put into the fireplaces to save energy and, hopefully, money.”

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For those with modest means and a modern home, wood-burners are increasingly the fire of choice. “In the past ten years we’ve seen a move towards stoves that are more contemporary in style. People are viewing stoves as a focal point for their home as much as an efficient way to heat it,” says Tony Ingram, Technical Service Manager of Morsø (www.morso.co.uk). “That’s why cylindrical, curved shapes are becoming more popular, and stoves with the option to be either wall-mounted or raised on a simple pedestal – they’re a real shift away from the more boxy, bulky style of stove that has dominated.”

British brand Charnwood (www.charnwood.com), too, has a created new vitreous enamel fire surrounds for wood-burners for spring 2015, aimed at creating a more contemporary, stylish finish. The vibrant glazed panels that surround their wall-mounted Bay stoves, start from £150 and include the nautical, Whitby design – it’s a new take on Victorian glazed tiles.

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For something really radical, look north for inspiration – to Scandinavia, where ceramic tiled stoves, kakkelovn, have had a huge revival in recent years. More than 90 per cent of homes in Finland have one of these hugely efficient, chimney-like stoves that not only look beautiful but they also burn very cleanly (two hours of burning is all that’s needed to release heat slowly over a 24-hour-period). While an open fireplace has 10 per cent efficiency, a ceramic stove has 90 per cent efficiency, says UK specialist the Ceramic Stove Company (www.ceramicstove.com).

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But it’s not just the financial incentive that is fueling the fashion for fireplaces – increasingly they are in vogue, and not just in country, period properties. The latest luxury London apartments have designer fireplaces at the heart of their cutting-edge designs. Fire “walls” that create a screen between two areas, as well as a focal point, are both practical and desirable.

CGI Interior of Living Room at Block A Penthouse, Fulham Reach Development

Karen Howes, chief executive of interior design company Taylor Howes, created the striking, and opulent contemporary scheme at Distillery Wharf in Fulham Reach, where the fireplace is an integral part of the design. “Fireplaces can be used to make a statement with striking designs and the use of luxurious materials. Long and sleek fireplaces have become increasingly popular with high-end schemes, being more artistic and sophisticated than traditional designs. This new kind of fireplace can be more imaginatively placed within the room to achieve a dramatic effect.”

Howes finds that wealthy, urban clients tend to prefer easy-to-use gas fireplaces, where minimal smoke emissions allow for the use of bronze finishes and glass facades, creating an elegant, modern yet homely fireplace.

CGI Exterior of Terrace Garden at Block A Penthouse, Fulham Reach Development

Another growing trend in the luxury sector is outdoor fireplaces, a glamorous move on from the fire pit that creates a glamorous outdoor “room”. Howes installed one on the roof-top garden at Distillery Wharf.

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Period properties are also seeing a resurgence in traditional hearths, with owners reinstating the original fireplaces that until recently were being ripped out and thrown on skips. The number opening up their fireplaces has risen by 20 per cent over the past three years, according to the National Association of Chimney Sweeps. “The aesthetic value of choosing an antique or reproduction fireplace for your home is immeasurable,” says Owen Pacey of Renaissance London (www.RenaissanceLondon.com), who has sourced and installed period fireplaces for the likes of Kate Winslet, Robbie Williams and Georgia Jagger, and even mega-rich modern developments, such as One Hyde Park. “They have the ability to make a house more alluring to live in, function better as a home and make a property more attractive to future buyers.”

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He has seen a trend emerging for two fireplaces in one room, as more owners of Victorian homes knock through to create a large open-plan space. “Often the fireplaces don’t match so we are seeing increasing numbers of clients requesting bespoke reproduction fireplaces in order to get two, identical fireplaces that still look appropriate for the property.” There’s no reason to be snobbish about reproduction fireplaces; they typically cost around a third of the price, and as Pacey notes, a good period reproduction looks a hundred times better than plonking a brand new fireplace into a old property.

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Black is the also back. “There’s a definite boom in black fireplaces right now”, says Pacey, who installed one for fashion designer Karen Millen. “It makes a statement and works well in most rooms, adapting well to both contemporary and period design projects.”

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ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in the Daily Mail on 12 December.

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Handmade wreaths

 

 

 

It’s no secret that I’d love to be a gardener, a florist, or better yet, a flower farmer, but it’s easier said than done in when you live in south east London.

 

 

 

 

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But this year I have finally started making my annual Christmas wreaths as a commercial venture, after five years of making them for friends and family.

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They are all unique and use local and traditional festive foliage, from ivy and holly to bay and eucalyptus, with pine cones, cinnamon, oranges, thistles and berries, designed to suit an array of different door styles.

 

 

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I can also make bespoke designs to suits your style and door – call or email me for more info! And I can deliver to The local Blackheath, Hither Green, Greenwich, Lewisham areas.

 

 

 

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