Category Archives: Home + Garden

Interiors ideas, design inspiration, gorgeous gardens

Highly-developed interiors

Step away from the magnolia paint. The latest property developments are teaming up with star interior designers to give their homes the wow factor

Tom Dixon's Design Research Studio is behind the lofts at Upper Riverside, Greenwich Peninsula
Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio is behind the lofts at Upper Riverside, Greenwich Peninsula

Showhomes can be a bit like churches – beautiful to look at but once you’ve seen a few they all merge into one. The trouble is that they’ve become so neutral, with palettes of dove grey, café latte and cream, and their ubiquitous “luxury hotel” look that buyers struggle to distinguish one gloss white open-plan kitchen diner from the next.

If last decade has been all about the big-name starchitect building, the next will be about the interiors, too, as some brave developers are enlisting the help of the biggest names in interior design and styling.

Nicola Fontanella's Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central
Nicola Fontanella’s Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central

“The public is demanding more interesting spaces; social media such as Pinterest is making people increasingly aware and excited by architecture and design so the more pedestrian, beige look just isn’t cutting it anymore,” says Albert Hill, director of the Modern House, an estate agency that specialises in architecturally interesting homes.

“I also think that developers themselves enjoy working with more interesting designers rather than churning out the same old product – they are trying to stand out from the crowd,” suggests Hill.

Nicola Fontanella's Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central
Nicola Fontanella’s Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central

One development that will definitely stand out from its neighbours is Maine Tower, part of the flagship new Galliard Homes’ Harbour Central development of 901 homes, retail, commercial and leisure facilities that is about to launch in Canary Wharf. Stephen Conway, CEO of Galliard, which is London’s second largest residential developer, has called upon Madonna’s interiors style maven Nicola Fontanella of Argent Design to create an opulent Art Deco look that will bring the Manhattan glamour of the Great Gatsby era to Docklands. It’s a collaboration that came about by chance, when the two met on holiday and got chatting– but the results are far from your ordinary new-build specification flat.

Nicola Fontanella's Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central
Nicola Fontanella’s Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central

Planned as a ‘vertical village’ the 41-storey tower will have pockets of social space woven into the different levels, from a gym and spa, to a private cinema, cocktail bar and club lounge, and a library. All will have the trademark Fontanella stamp on them – expanses of glass, bronze-effect panels and polished plaster and stone walls, softened by deep sculptural sofas and glamorous soft furnishings.

The apartments add a touch of Miami Glamour, with blues, turquoise and splashes of gold and bronze, while the rich stone kitchen worktop and warm wooden floors make a contemporary update to the gloss kitchen and stripped floors of most new-builds. Studios will start from £350,000 and Harbour Central launches this Thursday [25 JUNE], www.galliardhomes.com.

Nicola Fontanella's Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central - a studio apartment
Nicola Fontanella’s Art Deco-inspired designs for Maine Tower at Harbour Central – a studio apartment

It’s a move that will surely have cost the Conway far more time, effort and expense, but one that he hopes will pay off. As Hill explains, “Developers are trying to move the public perception of developments from just being purely money-making vehicles to something with a little more vitality and integrity. And buyers are ready for that.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 21.05.26

Over the water at Greenwich Peninsula, the former creative director of Habitat, product designer and head of his own Design Research Studio, Tom Dixon is responsible for the interiors of the Loft Collection, a limited edition release of 35 apartments at Upper Riverside (lofts from £720,000, www.themodernhouse.net). Featuring his signature use copper and with a strong industrial edge and a nod and a wink to British design heritage (think green enamel metro-style tiles reminiscent of a Victorian pub or tube station), the playful, bold scheme has had hipsters flocking to the area to get a slice of his residential style.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 21.04.57

Expect bright jewel–hued sofas, emerald green kitchen splash-backs, metallic tables and surfaces, industrial steel beams in the bathroom and incredible iridescent glass shower screens that refract the light like a rainbow. “The colours work to connect you either to the ground or the sky,” says Dixon. “They are strong and bright – they seem very modern and fresh but in fact they inspired by old painting of the area, the sunsets and the surrounding nature.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 21.04.33

Even if you don’t manage to bag one of the remaining lofts, Dixon will have a hand in designing the public areas covering everything from street lamps to gardens, pavilions and he has already created the interiors for Craft, a sleek restaurant and bar on the peninsula. It’s all part of a wider “place-making” scheme, designed to attract a creative crowd of artists, theatre companies and designer-makers. Having a big-draw name on the design team, not only sets the style, it sets the tone that the master developer, Knight Dragon, is trying to achieve.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 21.06.22

“Tom Dixon is such a rare talent and such a bold designer that we knew he would create an alternative to the usual bland vanilla apartments so often found in new developments,” says Kerri Sibson, sales and marketing director for Knight Dragon. “We are creating a vibrant new destination with stunning modern architecture, and amenities including a skyline pool, so with Tom’s interiors we knew we would attract the sort of design-savvy crowd who would enjoy this. We intend to work with other such world-renowned designers in the future to continue to offer something different and exceptional.”

The Heals interiors at The Corner House
The Heals interiors at The Corner House

In Fitzrovia, developer Derwent London has collaborated with designer furniture store Heal’s on the homeware brand’s first residential development in its 200-year history, which will breathe new life into a converted office building – the vast amounts of glazing and industrial hangover from the property’s former life will lend themselves perfectly to the understated, pared back aesthetic of the Heal’s style.

“Curating the look and feel of the apartments of The Corner House has been a great experience,” explains Heal’s creative director Carmel Allen. “Both Derwent and Heal’s believe in creating personal spaces rather than over-stylised designs so each room has a very liveable feel. Sometimes show flats are just that, all ‘show’, but we believe that giving a space a relaxed, modern feel is the right direction.”

The Heals interiors at The Corner House
The Heals interiors at The Corner House

What’s more, residents will be able to use a Heal’s stylist to help design their own bespoke interior to complement their apartment, and as part of the collaboration, they will be entitled to a home consultation from a stylist and a 10 per cent discount on and purchases, as well as invites to design events, previews and workshops at the store, which is handily, just across the street on Tottenham Court Road.

The first six apartments have just been pre-released ahead of the remaining five, but et in quick as a new home on Charlotte Street won’t hang around long. Two-bedroom apartments from £1.75 million, www.cornerhousew1.com.

ALISON TYLER

 

Related Posts

  • 39
    Can you build a contemporary home in a conservation area sensitively? Here's one that succeeded, against the odds... Ken Martin is a man who drinks a lot of coffee, 4,200 cups in the last two years to be precise, according to his intelligent Gaggenau coffee machine that takes pride of…
    Tags: house, will, modern, feel, homes, london, kitchen, property, design, hill
  • 36
    For Catherine Beagley, the sales and marketing director at Berkeley Homes (West London), the restoration and conversion of the former Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, couldn’t have come soon enough.   A Wimbledon girl all her life, she can remember the days when this was a working neurosurgical hospital and…
    Tags: will, apartments, development, homes, property, design, london, british
  • 30
    A micro-development of just three townhouses in a quiet, leafy Clapham street just off the Common by world-renowned architects Squire and Partners, famed for their flagship projects such as Chelsea Barracks and One Tower Bridge – it’s an intriguing combination. So when I met Henry Squire at one of the…
    Tags: house, kitchen, £, street, property, homes, design, london, british

The invisible house

Can you build a contemporary home in a conservation area sensitively? Here’s one that succeeded, against the odds…

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.41.13

Ken Martin is a man who drinks a lot of coffee, 4,200 cups in the last two years to be precise, according to his intelligent Gaggenau coffee machine that takes pride of place in the high-tech modern kitchen that he designed himself – but then, having self-built a daring black glass box of a house, in the middle of a Conservation Area in London, the retired lawyer has probably needed the caffeine.

But far from the drained, husks of people that you often see on the likes of Grand Designs after a self-build project, Ken is still brimming with enthusiasm two years on from completing his epic build.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.40.48

Despite its bold lines, from the outside the black glass house has an incredibly calm quality, reflecting the trees and sky and the Victorian houses opposite. In one corner the yew trees almost melt into the house, like a vertical pool shimmering the tree back upon itself.

Yet sitting inside this incredible stealth house – I call it that because, like the planes, in certain light, it literally recedes into the surrounding trees so that you almost don’t notice it is there ­– is like being inside a Scandinavian cabin in the middle of the woods. It is utterly tranquil, quiet and cosseting, like being hugged by the trees around us. No wonder he hasn’t bothered with curtains, with views like this, nor would I. And while the exterior is all glass, steel with clean, sharp lines, inside it manages to feel homely and warm – you don’t feel like you’re sitting inside a stark glass box.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.39.17

This is thanks in part to Ken’s own interior style. “This is my family home and that is how I planned it, so there’s a mixture of our things – we didn’t go an buy all new stuff to create a showhouse, it needed to feel comfortable and like our home.”

So there’s a range of furniture from Mid-Century Ercol sofas (one of which Ken rescued from a south London skip) and String shelving, a 1920s oak chair from Heals, an 1870s early Arts and Crafts cabinet, a contemporary floral Pinch sofa, and a thoroughly modern Dutch suspended central fireplace, which is never needed because the house is just so darn energy efficient.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.40.12

The warm iroko wooden window frames and blonde wood floor add to the almost tactile atmosphere.

But turn the other way and behind double pocket doors (that slide into the walls), the all-white, minimal kitchen, dominated by a vast square Corian island, is revealed, giving a new perspective to the home.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.40.24

Because, for all you could forget your surroundings when sitting inside looking out, this house is a highly engineered, and expertly designed modern build.

Ken has lived in 11 homes since buying his first place in 1986, and each time he’s wanted to do a little bit more, from replacing kitchens, to renovating, remodelling, and eventually adding a Mansard floor to his previous home in Dulwich. That gave him the bug to go further and build his own home, so he began to search for an opportunity.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.41.28

In 2007, he, his wife and daughter, moved into the neighbouring house in Forest Hill – a beautiful 19th-century cottage that came with a good 500-square-metre plot that had planning permission granted on it many years earlier. It wasn’t the easiest site, a sloping plot sitting at the end of a private, gravel track road that fades into Albion Millenium Green, a wild and overgrown dingly dell that supports wildlife and acts as an almost rural backdrop.

He invited his friend the architect Ian McChesney, who is as known for his sculptures as his properties, and who had created the pavilion for Avenham Park in Preston along similar lines, to come down and have a look. “He’s as mad as a fish but a visionary about how things should look,” says Ken. “I just let him have a think about how we could exploit the space – I knew I wanted to do something modern and appropriate for the location, but beyond that my only brief was that it should be less tall, less deep and less wide than any of the other homes on the street. I didn’t want it to be over-developed or to feel greedy. I think that would have been taking the piss – you should always ask for what you want and then stick with that.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.40.37

When the plans went in to Lewisham Council in 2008 there were 68 objections, despite the fact only a handful of houses are even near to the plot, but Ken, who’s passion for the project is still infectious today, personally spoke at the heated council planning meeting to defend his plans and make the case for his future family home.

“I don’t think the fact that it was a conservation area made it that much harder – what was important was that the building enhanced the area around it, but that is as important to me as it was to the planners and objectors. One thing that did help was that I had a great planning officer who understood what I wanted to achieve, and the fact that the houses on the road are so different, from a Fifties council block to 1920s and Victorian houses, also helped the argument that this building should be of its time.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.41.03

It took until 2009 before plan was approved and a further three before work began, but once it did, Ken didn’t waste any time. He began in February 2012 and the house was up by the October, though not without a few nerve-racking moments.

Ken project managed the whole build and was there everyday coordinating everything from the 28 metal piles that the wooden frame of the house simply sits on, to the aluminium shell that wraps around that, and finally, the black glass – made and imported from Façade Concepts in Germany – and iroko wood frames that complete the build.

“I was like the Ringmaster gathering all of the different people together to work on the project at the same time and trying to get the best from them.”

One of the hairiest moments was the delivery of the glass panels down the very narrow lane, “one of them broke,” says Ken. “We had to wait two months for another panel to be made and then brought over Germany, and then it had to be literally man-handled in by the Albanian crew because they could get the lorry down.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 15.39.56

Ken sourced virtually everything from the internet, whether it was the Swedish firm Scandia Hus who supplied the wooden frame to learning to use Google Sketch Up to create his own designs or coming up with the kitchen himself, which he based on a Baulthap design but created himself for a fraction of the cost – “anyone could get these huge drawers made if they wanted to, you just create them from MDF and then get them sprayed, any good car garage could do it,” he says casually as if it’s nothing extraordinary.

“Without the internet this wouldn’t have been possible, I couldn’t have researched it otherwise. Everyone is motivated by watching Grand Designs, but not many people realise that you can do it with a reasonable eye and determination. Using the internet I have managed to combine the uniqueness of something bespoke but with the security of a manufactured house.”

Ken describes himself as a “serial mover” rather than a developer – “there’s no way you’d build a house like this if you just wanted to sell it, you have to feel it and be doing it with a passion, rather than an economic vision” – but now he’s been bitten by the building bug he’s ready to do it again, just as soon as he finds the right opportunity.

“I don’t think we could ever live in an ordinary place again after living here, it’s just marvellous.”

The Tree House is for sale for £1,595,000 with www.themodernhouse.net

Ken’s top 10 tips for self-building:

Buy the best location you can find, and afford, – the build will cost the same wherever it is but the location will make all the difference.

Use an architect and put faith in them – they think about things in an odd way and can visualise the way stuff will be in a space; most people can’t do that.

That said, it is important to also know what you want and to be able to explain that to your architect, learn to talk their language.

Decide what it is you want to do and be confident about it – if you have a good scheme and a good ‘story’ about the building and what it is going to do, you will win planning permission.

Be visionary. The more you compromise and dilute your ideas the less successful the build will be.

Don’t scrimp and save on the materials, they’ll only be around 40 per cent of your final cost anyway, so it’s worth getting them right.

Don’t get carried away with kitchen designs, you’ve got to live with it – and cleaning is a big deal.

Learn to use software like Sketch Up so that you can try out designs for yourself.

If you can be on site during the build, you should. You will not get what you want if you are not there.

Don’t change your mind – stick with your plan, I drew all mine on Google Sketch Up.

 

The rise of stealth homes

Eidolon House in Highgate has been clad with mirrors
Eidolon House in Highgate has been clad with mirrors

With the government’s news that all of us will get the “right to build” in the new housing bill – obliging councils must do more to support self-builders, helping them to find suitable plots and making land available – there could be a new wave of innovative developments in the capital.

One of the biggest issues in London is trying to create housing in Conservation Areas and on awkward plots sensitively. The answer is hidden and disguised homes that don’t compromise the existing land- or streetscape, like the Tree House has done.

Zaha Hadid's Investcorp building at Oxford University
Zaha Hadid’s Investcorp building at Oxford University

Sitting opposite Highgate Cemetry and in a Conservation Area, Eidolon House, completed last year by Dominic McKenzie Architects, is thought to be the first mirror-clad house in London. Using polished stainless steel to clad the building and reflect the tree opposite, the building changes its hue with the seasons and time of day.

St-Antonys-College-by-Zaha-Hadid_dezeen_468_14

At the University of Oxford Zaha Hadid’s new Middle East Centre was conceived by the architect as a reflective tunnel suspended in space – the glass front reflects the existing Victorian buildings while the curved mirrored stainless steel sides reflect the sky, spires and trees that surround it. The result is bold and strikingly modern, yet recessive at the same time.

Trinity Crescent in Tooting Bec
Trinity Crescent in Tooting Bec

In Tooting Bec, Trinity Crescent is a new development of two homes that are hidden from view so that you wouldn’t even know they exist, despite each one offering more than 3,000 square feet of luxury living space. They are on the market from £2.25 million with www.featerstoneleigh.co.uk.

ALISON TYLER

Related Posts

  • 53
    A micro-development of just three townhouses in a quiet, leafy Clapham street just off the Common by world-renowned architects Squire and Partners, famed for their flagship projects such as Chelsea Barracks and One Tower Bridge – it’s an intriguing combination. So when I met Henry Squire at one of the…
    Tags: house, kitchen, architect, space, building, don, houses, property, homes, design
  • 41
    The stellar refurbishment of the Barbican's Brutalist fourth tower proves that you can go back to the future, without creating something hackneyed or ersatz Central London new developments generally don’t come with an iconic Grade II-listed building, mature gardens the size of a small park, ponds complete with ducklings, secure…
    Tags: will, building, design, people, architecture, modern, london, property, british
  • 40
    For Catherine Beagley, the sales and marketing director at Berkeley Homes (West London), the restoration and conversion of the former Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon, couldn’t have come soon enough.   A Wimbledon girl all her life, she can remember the days when this was a working neurosurgical hospital and…
    Tags: building, will, project, homes, property, design, london, british
  • 39
    Step away from the magnolia paint. The latest property developments are teaming up with star interior designers to give their homes the wow factor Showhomes can be a bit like churches – beautiful to look at but once you’ve seen a few they all merge into one. The trouble is…
    Tags: will, design, kitchen, homes, modern, hill, feel, property, london, british
  • 37
      Church conversions offer heavenly architectural features, soaring heights and quirky contemporary living spaces – usually at the heart of a community It’s not just buyers that love a church conversion, for developers they are a dream project, the chance to create a landmark residence, with unique living spaces. But…
    Tags: homes, property, london, architecture

Boost your home’s kerb appeal

After a weather-beating winter, it’s time to spruce up the appearance of your home, whether it’s to help sell it or just to make it look smart. The right styling can lure in buyers and help sell a home more quickly. But what are the best-dressed homes wearing this season? Here’s how to get the latest looks that will make you the envy of your road.

The Shutter Store California shutters
The Shutter Store California shutters

Wow your windows

Sure, double-glazing will add value to a home (at a large price to you), but it’s more important that your windows look smart and cared for if you want to boost your chances of a speedy sale.

Forget old-fashioned nets or fussy swag curtains, the look of the moment is wooden shutters. In fact, you can rate the desirability of a street by the number of homes with shutters – they’re a sure sign of a neighbourhood on the up. “Shutters are more flexible than other window coverings and can fit any shaped window even circular or triangular spaces,” comments property expert Sarah Beeny. “They are particularly popular at the front of a property as they look smart and, when you come to sell, will give your buyers a great first impression.

If you’re on a budget, the Shutter Store (www.shutters.co.uk) sells the most affordable shutters on the market – the catch? You need to measure and fit them yourself.

“Choosing attractive wooden shutters for the front windows also really improves the appearance of a building, creating a unified and stylish look to the exterior of a property,” says Mark Carter, founder of Shutterly Fabulous (www.shutterlyfabulous.com).

The latest trend that he is noticing is for wider slats that allow more light in, and while white is still the most popular finish, taupes, alabasters and greys are also proving increasingly popular.

And as for net curtains, window film is a quick, affordable and contemporary alternative – the Window Film Company (www.windowfilm.co.uk) even has laser-printed designs featuring birds and plants for extra interest, starting from £30.

 

Jeld Wen Elegance windows
Jeld Wen Elegance windows

A lick of paint

Where white or brown was once the preference for exterior windows, doors and masonry, a coloured finish is increasingly popular.

Premium window manufacturers are cottoning on to this trend and supplying fully-finished windows accordingly, ensuring that homeowners receive a beautiful product with a quality finish. Even PVC windows now come in a range of colours including grey and sage green – which is incredibly popular in the Cotswolds.

“The use of greys and conservation pastel green tones is proving popular, and even requests for royal green and blue are on the increase,” confirms Georgina Campbell, Head of Marketing at JELD-WEN (www.jeld-wen.co.uk) a manufacturer of timber windows and doors.

To make your home look instantly contemporary, even if it’s pebbledashed, Mylands (www.mylands.co.uk), who specialise in environmentally-friendly exterior paints, suggest a soft grey palette for smart sophistication. “Paint your front door in the charcoal-ish Mayfair Dark, choose a soft dove grey such as Sloane Square for the masonry and a mid grey – Mid Wedgewood – for the windows,” says Dominic Mylands, managing director of Mylands.

And in red-brick areas? “A green-based palette will work wonderfully and it will blend harmoniously with any exterior plants and foliage. You can choose softer grey-greens for more yellow stone.”

Marcus Barnett
Marcus Barnett

Plant for success

Don’t neglect your front garden or the space around your door – a couple of pots with the right plants can create a welcome.

“Structural evergreens always add oomph when planted in pots by the front door,” says Helen Derrin in-house designer at the nursery Crocus (www.crocus.co.uk). “In shady spots, you can’t go wrong with box or yew topiary clipped into cones or balls, while a pair of tree ferns framing an entrance will add real impact in a less formal setting. For sunny spots, try less structured olives or lavenders, which look modern and relaxed – and lavender offers the bonus of scent each time you breeze past.”

As for the pot, Derrin advises choosing something to complement your house – a contemporary home will suit a sleek metal pot, although terracotta is one of the biggest sellers at Crocus and is always popular as it blends into most settings.

But before you do a trolley dash around the garden centre, consider Chelsea Flower Show garden designer Marcus Barnett’s advice (www.marcusbarnett.com). “Be bold with your planting scheme but keep to a restrained palette of greens and whites such as striking forms of Buxus sempervirens mixed with white tulips such as Tulipa ‘White Triumphator’. A single highlight colour could be used which might complement the interior or pick out a subtle colour on the architecture of the house.”

Remember, just as fussy overly patterned interiors are a turn-off for buyers, your garden can have the same effect. Keep it simple and striking.

06jhc70 The Savills Garden.  Modernist architecture. Contemporary. Mies van der Rohe. Design: Philip Nixon and Marcus Barnett RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2006 Jerry Harpur Please read our licence terms. All digital images must be destroyed unless otherwise agreed in writing. Photograph by: www.harpurgardenlibrary.com Contact: Harpur Garden Library 44 Roxwell Road Chelmsford Essex CM1 2NB, UK

If you have more space, Barnett recommends herbaceous perennials to create impact through spring and summer: “Consider Echinacea, Helenium, Aquilegia or Valeriana mixed with Sanguisorba and Euphorbia species in a limited palette of colours.”

Sandtex
Sandtex

Jaw-dropping doors

Peeling paint, draughty gaps or plastic-looking PVC are not what buyers are looking for when you greet them. A wooden door, with polished ironmongery, that suits the setting, is perhaps the biggest change you can make to the front of your home.

Adding a stately shade can make a simple cottage-style door look more sophisticated, while a casual, bright hue can make a formal façade friendlier and more imaginative. “Traditional colours such as black, red and blue create a smart entrance, and look especially effective in high-shine gloss,” says Mylands.

“Our current best-sellers are Bay Tree in a satin finish, which is a pale lichen green and looks great against white, cream and natural masonry, and Pillar Box Red, which makes a bold statement,” says Mark Bannister of Sandtex Exterior Paints (www.sandtex.co.uk).

Window Film Company
Window Film Company

But if you want your house to look the height of “now” after the sage greens and pigeon greys that have dominated for the last couple of years, Mylands suggests the robust Burlington Arcade – an almost turquoise blue shade tempered with grey that he tips to be the next big colour.

As for door furniture, while the trend for minimal ironmongery is till strong – think a large ring knocker above a central round door knob – the dominance of chrome finishes is waning as antique brass, satin nickel and faded gold make a comeback. It’s about looking subtly sophisticated, and they require less polishing.

 

Original Style - Victorian Floor Tiles - Dorchester pattern with Byron border
Original Style

Path to perfection

Don’t neglect your path and wall or fence – most people will give your home a cursory glance as they drive past or look at the first image online. What does a broken or missing gate, crumbling wall or concrete path say about your home? And will it really entice people in? Repair any damage and improve what you can.

Block brick paving along a path looks smart and low-maintenance, while tiles add a chic look to contemporary home and will enhance the period character of older properties – something buyers love. London Mosaic (www.londonmosaic.com) sells traditional Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian designs on large sheets, which makes them easy to install.

If you like the traditional look but hanker after something more contemporary, Sarah McClement of Original Style (www.originalstyle.com) recommends choosing a monochrome scheme. “While our traditional tiles (browns, reds, greens) are consistently popular, we have noticed a real shift towards more simple black and white patterns, and also those with grey, over the last couple of years. Feedback from our customers suggested that homeowners love the period style but prefer a more understated look than some of the very traditional styles.”

Accordingly, the company has created a new range, including three new greys, of more simplistic and contemporary patterns, which launched at the beginning of the year.

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in the Daily Mail on 9 May

Don’t just recycle, Upcycle

Don’t let boring furniture bring you down – with a bit of imagination and some elbow grease you can upcycle it into something amazing in no time. Try these design projects out…

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.50.16

A Paul Klee-inspired dotty chest

Chalk paint creator Annie Sloan was inspired to create this chest of drawers after seeing avant garde artist Paul Klee’s watercolour, Polyphony (1932).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.50.35

  1. Find a fairly modern chest of drawers to upcycle and paint the entire chest with Chalk Paint Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan in Paris Grey (from £5.95 a pot, www.anniesloan.com) to provide a good neutral background.
  2. Rip off large flaps from cardboard boxes and paint onto them. Then press the cardboard squares onto the cabinet to give a slightly uneven effect.
  3. When the entire area is covered, roughly apply the same colours onto some bubble wrap and press the ‘tips’ of the bubble wrap onto the surface of the chest of drawers to create the dot effects.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.48.25

Skateboard shelves

Upcycle That (www.upcyclethat.com) collaborated with Bacardi to turn these skateboard into a suspended shelves drinks cabinet, but we’d like them in our own home, too. Best of all, it’s dead easy to do.

  1. Take three old skateboard decks and stack them in the order that you want to hang them; add new grip tape if you want to freshen up the look of the decks.
  2. Working from the bottom of your lowest deck, thread one length of 1/8” aircraft cable (at least 4 feet long) through the pair of outer holes, where the wheels were once screwed in. Pull the cable taut to make a tight loop at the bottom of the cable and each side of the wire is even. Repeat on the other end of the deck.
  3. Unscrew the bolts of four 1/8” wire rope clamps and tighten them snugly around the cables above the skateboard.
  4. Measure 14 inches up the cable and mark the point with a marker pen on all four cables. Secure wire clamps to the spots, then thread the cables through the bottom of the next deck.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to secure the final two boards in place. Then measure 14 inches up again (or as long a length as you want your shelves to hang down from the ceiling), add four 1/8” wire rope clips (to form a loop) and secure with clamps.
  6. Drill four hooks into the ceiling and hang your shelves (http://www.upcyclethat.com/crafted-cabinets).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.42.04

Crate storage

Old crates are a mine of creativity, Stack them on their sides to create a quirky shelving unit, like this one from Great British design brand Loaf, add wheels the bottom to make drawers, screw four of them together, each facing outwards to create a coffee table with shelving for magazines underneath.

You can pick up old crates in junk shops or buy these pretty, vintage-looking ones (from £12.50, www.pastellane.co.uk).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.45.33

Create an interesting wall display with old fruit crates by first sanding down any splinters; then paint the inside back of the crate with two coats of Curpinol Garden Shades Forest Mushroom and Warm Flax. Lastly screw them together and fix them to the wall using shelf brackets and screws if you choose, in any configuration that you like.

 

 

pink-legs

Half-painted furniture

Brown wooden furniture looks old-fashioned, but completely painted wooden furniture can look a bit “Changing Rooms”. For a modern update, try “dipping” the legs of a chair or table in bright colours – use masking tape to get a clean finish and then sand and paint the lower half of the legs. Mix and match your chairs for a really contemporary look.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.57.23 Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.57.35

Or paint the top half of the chair – the seat and back of this retro British cult design Ercol chair have been sanded and then painted in Farrow and Ball’s St Giles Blue (£38, www.farrow-ball.com).

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.30.35

Jam jar mugs

If you haven’t heard of Sugru (£12.99, www.sugru.com), you soon will. The mouldable, play-dough like glue sticks to virtually anything and is great for repairs and for modifying and upcycling everyday items.

  1. Take an old jam jar, remove the label and glue and thoroughly clean and dry it.
  2. Bend a fork into a handle shape.
  3. Mould a ball of Sugru about the size of a ten pence piece into as round a sphere as you can. Mould a second one the size of five pence piece.
  4. Stick the larger ball of sugru onto the jar where you want the top of your handle to be then press the jar against a flat surface to flatten the ball; stick the small ball onto the base end of the fork handle.
  5. Press the fork handle onto the Sugru and leave it to set for 24 hours before using it – because Sugru doesn’t conduct heat you can use your mug for tea and coffee without the handle getting hot.

 

 

My favourite upcyclers

Like the look but lack the DIY gene? Then buy a unique piece of furniture from one of these talented upcyclers, instead.

Refunk’d

Ursh Stevens – whose fans include Theo Paphitis and Jacqueline Gold – upcycles pre-loved furniture and scrapyard finds into quirky pieces of art and practical-but-cool everyday items – shop mannequin standard lamp anyone? www.refunked.com

Florrie + Bill

British designer Amy Cawson takes vintage furniture – think mid-century Danish armchairs and Sixties’ G-Plan – restores it, and then breathes new life into it with modern fabric. www.florrieandbill.com

Trong Upcycling

Find Jez’ fab snowboard benches, golf club coat hooks and petrol can mini bars at www.remadeinbritain.com

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on 26 May

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.26.46

 

Related Posts

  • 55
    No one likes to admit they go to Ikea for their furniture, even though we all do. Now, savvy shoppers are pimping their Ikea pieces to create bespoke designs at bargain prices There’s no need to be embarrassed about buying furnishing your flat from Ikea – no one need ever…
    Tags: furniture, create, £, size, paint, craft, upcycling, diy, project, design
  • 35
    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…
    Tags: wall, create, hang, diy, project, design

Interiors: revamp your bathroom

… without replacing your bath suite!

Replacing a bathroom is a costly business, but you can transform the room you’ve got without changing the suite, for a fraction of the time and cost with these simple tips and tricks…

John Lewis, Lindsey Lang Leaf Cotton Towels, Grey, from £3.50 - £36 2

1 Change your towels

If your bathroom features plain, greying white towels or faded block colours, then inject some life into your room by updating them – it’s the easiest way to keep up with the latest bathroom trends. Right now, it’s all about a return to graphic patterns and expensive-looking textured towels with jacquard patterns or fringed edging. Try Lindsay Lang’s bold leaf towel range for John Lewis (from £3.50) or their Scandi-inspired Coastal Nordic Scene towels from £3 (www.johnlewis.com). We love House of Fraser’s bobble-trim hand towels (£10, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) and Sainsbury’s fringe stripe bath towel (£10, www.sainsburys.co.uk).

John Lewis Coastal Nordic Scene Towels, Slate, Slate John Lewis, from £3

2 Replace the taps and radiators

You can make a basic bath look modern and sleek in seconds with a simple change of the taps. Bathstore’s angular Blade deck mounted bath and shower mixer (£299, www.bathstore.com) looks contemporary without being so fashion-conscious that it would date quickly. Meanwhile, the Bensham bath and basin taps (from £99) will create some classic character in a soulless, bland bathroom.

Swapping your radiator for a heated towel rail is much easier than you’d think as it doesn’t require any additional wiring or plumbing, but they look so effective, as well as creating an efficient and stylish space to store the towels that you are currently using. You can spend as little at £59.99 for a modern white or chrome rail from Homebase (www.homebase.co.uk), or several hundred on a luxurious traditional-looking, ball-jointed chunky towel rails in brass and chrome from C.P Hart (from £887, www.cphartshop.co.uk).

John Lewis Medina Soap Dish, £12 John Lewis Medina Toothbrush Holder, £12 John Lewis, Medina Soap Pump, £16

3 Paint the tiles…

Literally. Instead of re-tiling the walls, use dedicated tile paint for an instant effect. Try Ronseal One Coat Satin Tile Paint (£19.98, www.diy.com) in Granite, a mid-grey stone shade, for a contemporary update that’s waterproof and mould-resistant. Best of all you don’t need to use a primer and the paint dries in two hours, so it’s a quick and easy trick to try out.

Camden_Blue image002

If you’re up for a bigger job, replacing the floor with patterned tiles will create a modern, directional look – Topp’s Tiles Victorian-inspired geometric Grosvenor tiles in monochrome shade (£59.60 per square metre, www.toppstiles.co.uk) add a stylish air, while their encaustic effect blue Camden Floral Lys tiles (£24.99 per square metre) look like they could have come from the much more expensive Fired Earth.

jars

4 Window dressing

Get rid of grotty, mildew-y fabric blinds or outdated curtains and replace them with easy-to-clean wooden shutters. “For bathrooms, where you want privacy but do not want to lose light, tier on tier shutters offer the perfect solution. With separately adjustable top and bottom panels you can open either section or open the slats to create the perfect alignment for your room. Alternatively cafe style shutters work well by covering only the lower section of your window, offering a balance between light and privacy,” explains Chrissie Harper, Operations Manager at California Shutters.

Their blue Classic Poplar wood shutters (from £177 per square metre, www.californiashutters.co.uk) add a pop of colour and look clean and contemporary – they’re perfect for a beachy, nautical-style bathroom, too.

hof baskets

5 Sort your storage

Adding new bathroom accessories, such as storage jars, laundry baskets and a towel ladder, will instantly organise your space and give it some personality. For vintage style with an industrial edge, head to House of Fraser for their Linea Maritime glass storage jars (from £12); go for a global traveller look at John Lewis (Medina soap pump, £16, and toothbrush jar £12); or add some dipped rustic woven baskets from House of Fraser or M&S.

Wooden Towel Ladder, £99.00, OKA

You can pick up a ladder shelving unit from M&S (£129, www.marksandspencer.com) in a range of colours, including a bright blue, which will clear your clutter away, while Oka has a wooden towel ladder for £99 (www.okadirect.com).

Step Ladder Shelving Unit £129

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 19 May

Related Posts

  • 78
    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…
    Tags: interiors, design, bathroom
  • 57
    I've just discovered the online children's department store, Smallable, that scours the globe for gorgeous kids' clothes, decor, furniture and toys - all with a design twist. Pictured here, from the new Spring/Summer 2015 collection, is the Moth hanging lamp (£68) and Klimoppe lamp (£133) from Studio Snowpuppe, Pineapple lamps…
    Tags: £, interiors, design
  • 46
    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     Hanging Feather Dream catcher £5, www.george.com Cactus Cushion,…
    Tags: £, interiors, design
  • 46
    What do you check out first at a hotel? The view from your room? The myriad of TV channels, the mini bar, or the bounce factor of the bed? Me, I’m straight into the bathroom to stake out the toiletries – and then, if they’re any good, they will be…
    Tags: bathroom, design
  • 41
    Let leafy prints, fresh florals and gorgeous green velvets fill your home with a botanical vibe this spring, with the new M&S Home collection – I LOVE it... Buy the new collection online at Marks & Spencer now.
    Tags: interiors, design

Interiors: Into the blue

Move over grey, it’s time to embrace a new hue. Subtle, chalky blues are super-versatile and make a modern update on boring beige and grey

Joined and Jointed Inside Out Cabinet
Joined and Jointed Inside Out Cabinet

Inside Out cabinet in Freshwest, £495, www.joinedandjointed.co.uk

John Lewis Croft Collection Recycled Glass Vase, Blue, Height 45cm, £75
John Lewis Croft Collection Recycled Glass Vase, Blue, Height 45cm

Croft Collection recycled glass vase, £75, www.johnlewis.com

George Home whale cushion
George Home whale cushion

Whale cushion, £8, www.georgehome.com

Bisque radiators
Bisque radiators
Loaf Haze rug
Loaf Haze rug

Haze rug, £245, www.loaf.com

Tiger ovenproof dishes
Tiger ovenproof dishes

Large ovenproof dish, £5, www.tigerstores.co.uk

Neptune Buckingham mirror Aqua Blue
Neptune Buckingham mirror Aqua Blue

Buckingham mirror in aqua blue, £210, www.neptune.co.uk

Laura Ashley SS15, country casual range
Laura Ashley SS15, country casual range
ANTHROPOLOGIE Pratone Birdhouse
ANTHROPOLOGIE Pratone Birdhouse

Pratone birdhouse, £36, www.anthropologie.eu

John Lewis G-Plan Vintage The-Fifty-Eight, Large Sofa Tonic Charcoal Pewter Dogtooth
John Lewis G-Plan Vintage The-Fifty-Eight, Large Sofa Tonic Charcoal Pewter Dogtooth

G Plan Vintage, The Fifty Eight Large Sofa, £1450, www.johnlewis.com

H&M vase
H&M vase

Vase, £7.99 www.hm.co.uk

Loaf Cloud sofa
Loaf Cloud sofa

Cloud sofa with removable cover, £1,320, www.loaf.com

Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue
Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue

Stiffkey Blue  2.5L estate emulsion, £38, www.Farrow-Ball.com

Loaf Wobbler-ware crockery
Loaf Wobbler-ware crockery

Wobbler tableware in aqua, from £35, www.loaf.com

John Lewis Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper, Jade Metallic Cobalt, £105pr
John Lewis Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper

Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper, Jade Metallic Cobalt, £105 per roll, www.Johnlewis.com 

Tesco Watercolour Spot Cushion
Tesco Watercolour Spot Cushion

Watercolour spot cushion, £7, www.tesco.com

The Linen Works Parisian Blue bedding
The Linen Works Parisian Blue bedding

Parisian blue linen mini pillowcase, £14, housewife pillowcases, £30, and double duvet cover, £130, www.thelinenworks.co.uk

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 12 May 2015

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

 

 

 

 

Related Posts

  • 46
    ... without replacing your bath suite! Replacing a bathroom is a costly business, but you can transform the room you’ve got without changing the suite, for a fraction of the time and cost with these simple tips and tricks… 1 Change your towels If your bathroom features plain, greying white…
    Tags: £, interiors, design
  • 38
    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…
    Tags: interiors, design
  • 36
    I've just discovered the online children's department store, Smallable, that scours the globe for gorgeous kids' clothes, decor, furniture and toys - all with a design twist. Pictured here, from the new Spring/Summer 2015 collection, is the Moth hanging lamp (£68) and Klimoppe lamp (£133) from Studio Snowpuppe, Pineapple lamps…
    Tags: £, interiors, design
  • 32
    Let leafy prints, fresh florals and gorgeous green velvets fill your home with a botanical vibe this spring, with the new M&S Home collection – I LOVE it... Buy the new collection online at Marks & Spencer now.
    Tags: interiors, design

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.

homepage-internal-1-1024x927

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

Related Posts

  • 35
    Don’t let boring furniture bring you down – with a bit of imagination and some elbow grease you can upcycle it into something amazing in no time. Try these design projects out... A Paul Klee-inspired dotty chest Chalk paint creator Annie Sloan was inspired to create this chest of drawers…
    Tags: create, hang, design, wall, project, diy
  • 33
    No one likes to admit they go to Ikea for their furniture, even though we all do. Now, savvy shoppers are pimping their Ikea pieces to create bespoke designs at bargain prices There’s no need to be embarrassed about buying furnishing your flat from Ikea – no one need ever…
    Tags: create, diy, project, design
  • 32
    Let leafy prints, fresh florals and gorgeous green velvets fill your home with a botanical vibe this spring, with the new M&S Home collection – I LOVE it... Buy the new collection online at Marks & Spencer now.
    Tags: gallery, interiors, design
  • 31
    ... without replacing your bath suite! Replacing a bathroom is a costly business, but you can transform the room you’ve got without changing the suite, for a fraction of the time and cost with these simple tips and tricks… 1 Change your towels If your bathroom features plain, greying white…
    Tags: interiors, design

Restaurant review: The Ethicurean

We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. “Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here,” asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5.

I scoured the map. We didn’t really want to drive in to Bristol as we were heading south-east of there, to explore the Somerset/Wiltshire borders. And then I remembered I’d been wanting to try The Ethicurean for a while. But where was it? Not quite in Bristol.

A Google search and phone call later we were booked in to this ethical, hyper-local, sustainable restaurant that sits in a walled garden south of Bristol. I say restaurant, but  The Ethicurean is really a ramshackle greenhouse and shed, stuck to one corner of the Barley Wood Walled Garden. If that makes it sound scruffy, then you shouldn’t go. But if you love the romantic notion of sitting in the orangery of the very garden that the produce on your plate was grown in, and to hell with a bit of damp on the walls, or the wonky mis-matched tables and chairs, then this is the place for you.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

As a gardener, an interiors addict and a greedy appetite for food, I was in heaven! Looking out, sipping cider from apples grown in the orchard, you could imagine Peter Rabbit might pop up at any moment and steal an organic carrot.

But, romance aside, the aims of this place are in credible. Virtually all of the food comes from the garden or is foraged locally, so menus are created each day according to what’s on offer. I was worried that we were visiting at possibly the worst time of the year – the winter season over, nothing would be growing for spring yet, apart from the earliest wild garlic and maybe some nettles and rhubarb.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

I needn’t have been. They pickle and preserve what they can, so the beetroot starter with strained goats cheese was divine. They also make their own cider from the apples and even their own vermouth to go in the Negronis. Our other starter – cider and cheddar Welsh rarebit – did not disappoint. The cider and cheese had been cooked and turned in to a thick fondue, then spread on the doorstep slab of home-baked bread and grilled into submission. A sharp salad of winter leaves and pickled carrot in place of tomatoes, cut through the rich rarebit to clean the palette.

Our mains were even better – considering the chefs were cooking in a shed the size of, well, a shed, this was a miracle. My pork belly was pressed to squeeze out some of the fat and served with chipotle crackling, more beetroot, pickled apple slices and deep, forest green kale. The husband’s bavette was succulent and stylishly presented. We may have been in a garden but there was no heavy-handed presentation, the finesse of the food and it’s delectable flavours were matched by the delicate presentation.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean

Pudding? Sticky toffee apple pudding! It could have had more sauce – as the husband pointed out, it isn’t hard to whip up – but it was moist and treacly without being stodgy or heavy. All in all, we were bowled over.

The only thing we couldn’t understand on this sunny, blustery spring Friday lunchtime, was why it wasn’t packed out? People of Bristol, what are you doing?! Perhaps you’re already too spoiled for choice by great, ethical, locally-sourced eateries…

The Ethicurean cookbook
The Ethicurean cookbook

ALISON TYLER