We are over halfway through the year and summer is in full swing. What I have really enjoyed this year is packing up a picnic basket and putting it in the boot of the car, collecting my son after school and driving with the dog to local, scenic picnic spots to enjoy the warm, late summer afternoons outside together. I have been working with home and garden retailer Grand Illusions for the past few months and I was really excited when I saw their high summer collection which includes hand-blown recycled green glass tumblers, on-trend bamboo tealight holders and earthy bowls with detailed floral patterns. All these pieces are perfect to use for stylish summer picnics or casual summer dining, so I snapped a few bits up to share with you here on the blog.
New build vs period property - it is one of the many decisions you may need to make when you consider buying a home. Older buildings, with their funny layouts, wonky walls, cracks and problem areas often have character and charm due to original features like detailed plasterwork and iron fireplaces. New builds can often appear to have a lot less character in comparison and may at first feel like an empty white box. Yet, by using lots of pattern, colour and texture, it is possible to create an inviting, warm home full of personality, as well as having all the benefits a news build offers such as energy efficiency and a great location (often being near great transport links.)
If you take a quick scan of my Instagram account you’ll see that I do not shy away from using colour in my home. You’ll find doors painted in teal blues, upcycled cabinets painted pink and a bright orange chesterfield sofa. I wasn’t always this confident with colour in my decor choices. Like most people, I was afraid to paint a room a whole block colour and I shied away from making furniture purchases in bold hues in case I regretted it (always going with the safe, grey fabric option.) It took time to build the courage to become colour confident with my interiors, and the first step to doing it was by introducing colour in my home via bold prints and striking framed art.
March is usually the month when new pieces from the spring/summer home collections start to become available online or in-store to purchase. I’ve seen quite a few interior bits and bobs this season that I’ve really liked, so I thought I would share some of those ‘must-have’ items out for SS19….
The unseasonally good weather we have had this February has made me languish for spring even more than normal. When the New Year begins I always feel that I am just waiting for new buds on the trees, for daffodils to push out the ground and a sign that warmer times are ahead. One of the best ways to anticipate for spring is by freshening up your home with a few new decorative pieces that can help you embrace the season via your decor. All the colour and scent of spring is so enjoyable, why not bring it indoors?
I’ve not done a ‘best of’ round up for a while, so this week I thought I’d delve into bed frames. Although the online market is saturated with beds, you always just get pages and pages of the same design. Choice is often limited to the plain wood frame, the metal frame or the fabric option with a button headboard. The 5 bed frames that I want to present to you today go above and beyond the ‘basic bed’ design and are real hero pieces that won’t just disappear in a bedroom decor scheme.
Whether you are thinking of installing a whole new kitchen in 2019 or just changing things up a bit, looking at kitchen trend predictions is actually a great way to ensure that you create a kitchen that you love, which also feels current and contemporary. Rather than thinking of trends as styles that go in and out of fashion in a blink of an eye, trend round-ups tend to focus on colours and materials that are elegant, stylish and therefore timeless. This is what Howdens have succeeded in doing with their new kitchen trends e-book for 2019. Spotlighting on four very different kitchen trends, Howdens can help you create your dream kitchen by identifying your core interior style.
In September this year the esteemed paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball released 9 brand new colours to take their palette up to 132 hues. Without looking like I am very late to the party, I held off writing about the colours until they had been used in abundance in ‘real homes’. The thing is with Farrow & Ball press images is they are just so good. They hire the best stylists and produce the most amazing pictures, they could probably rub a dog turd on the wall and it would look like a desirable colour to paint your guest bedroom in. What I really wanted to see was how the colours would look in different types of homes and in different settings. Plus, when I received the press pack (which included sample tins of the 9 new shades) there was one colour in particular, Treron, which I flagged for use on the tongue and groove in my bathroom.
Sometimes it is the simplest changes that can transform a room: a new cushion to refresh a living space or a new vase as a great focal point on an old table. Our kitchen at home is looking a bit tired, but we are years away from replacing it. Yet our kitchen tap was chipped, leaking and covered in ‘you’ll never be able to remove it in a million years’ limescale, so I decided I wanted to swap it out for something special and new to try and reinvigorate the area. Our old tap was a basic chrome bridge tap - so standard, so simple. If I was going to make an impact with a new tap then I wanted something really exceptional and individual, something that would draw attention as the ‘hero’ piece in the kitchen. Instantly, I thought I would want an instagramable polished brass tap, but as I have been working closely with bathroom & kitchen suppliers Kohler this year I was introduced to their very modern, very sexy Karbon single lever tap.
If I was to describe my ‘interiors journey’ this year in my home, it would have to be titled “The Year Of The Splashback.” After our cooker packed up the day before last Christmas, the New Year involved a new oven, the ripping out of our old splashback, plus my first DIY tiling experience. My DIY-d splashback was then built over for a stint of filming in the summer, before the ‘fake’ splashback was removed again! The next stage in the journey was to learn that if you require a splashback you need not mess around with tiling, grout, or custom cut-to-size glass or acrylic. Instead, you can purchase them with a self-adhesive backing that sticks straight on your wall from British Ceramic Tile! Now, I like to think that I am pretty savvy on DIY, time-saving and effective interior products like this, but I had NO IDEA you could buy these until British Ceramic Tile got in touch about their new limited edition glass splashback in association with Laura Ashley.
I was unable to attend London Design Festival last week, so instead I just devoured everyone else’s coverage of the event via social media. From all the exhibitions and product launches being covered there was one new collection that for me really stood out - the new Botanical ~Botanica~ papers by wallpaper leaders Cole & Son.
As we are now well over half-way through 2018, it is interesting to look back at the key trends predicted at the start of the year to see what has moved over from being seen as a 'trend', to cementing itself as a key way to successfully design your interior scheme. What on-trend design looks have moved away from being 'fashionable,' to now be seen as classic, sophisticated interior design? Today I want to delve into recently popular bathroom styes that I love and I think have longevity. I'm delighted to be collaborating on this post with bathroom specialists Kohler(who I also love!), looking to how you can create these gorgeous design schemes in your own home with their range of taps, sinks, baths and other fixtures and fittings.
If you don’t already have an iconic feather lampshade gracing a room in your home, chances are that you have pinned or screen-shotted at least one interior scheme featuring the Eos feather shade in recent months. The popular, unique design is the biggest seller for Danish design house Umage, who have recently undergone some major changes resulting in a complete rebrand of the company. The most considerable change has been their name - they’ve bravely got rid of their long-standing, well-known name of Vita Copenhagen and are now known as Umage, which means ‘extra effort’.
I definitely think we have moved away from being scared of bold, patterned wallpaper. As the dedicated House Of Hackney devotees flood Instagram with their wallpaper statements, it is now seen as something much more on-trend and desirable than something we associate with 'granny's house'. I don't think the same can be said about carpet. A heavily patterned, bold carpet choice is still something we flinch at and attach to a comedic period in interior-trend history, like avocado-coloured bathroom suites. I'm sure this will change going forward, yet for now, the neutral-coloured carpet is still king.
After the redecoration of my sitting room was completed in four short weeks with Revamp Restyle Reveal, in the time that followed one of the things that I wished I had changed in the room was getting in a new rug. What remained in the room was a plain, small piece of high-pile rug just in front of the fire which was only put there in the first place so the dog could lay in front of the log burner in comfort. It looked dull, a bit worn and out-of-place in the shiny new room. I decided it was time for an upgrade.
Once upon a time in a relaxing period called BC (that's 'Before Children') myself and my husband used to take one luxury holiday a year, and we always chose to go somewhere in Asia. We absolutely loved the culture, food and the design, with it being so different to what we were familiar with in the West. Everything were more delicate, more detailed, playful and so well thought-out. Therefore, when modern Asian lifestyle brand Zens contacted me to see if I wanted to pick out a couple of their products to review, I jumped at the chance to style a couple of their contemporary, yet oh-so pretty vases within their Home Decor range.
I've been wanting to do a section on the blog for a while now where I talk about my new favourite bits and bobs that I've added into my home. Spring feels like the perfect time to start 'The Edit' section as this is the time of year that I really want to give my house a bit of an update, what with lighter evenings and streaming sun finally being a thing again. So here are my fave recent additions, some have kindly been gifted to me, others I've brought with my own cash.
The hallway area at the top of my house, which leads to the bedrooms and the family bathroom, has recently looked pretty lackluster. I had a number of random pictures in thick clunky frames hung in no particular order, and the whole space just did not feel cohesive or make me feel particularly happy as I walked up the stairs. So when Scandinavian art, poster and print company Desenio got in touch and asked if I fancied some new art prints on them, I jumped at the chance of curating my own personal, pretty gallery wall on my stairwell.
I've recently found in my interior-design work that I am always including some sort of lighting from high street retailer Debenhams in the design scheme. Clients come to me for help getting great interiors on a budget, and Debenhams have recently been my go-to brand to get incredible lighting that would not look out of place stocked in Heals or The Conran Shop.
If you are redecorating or doing up a new home, one area where you can really save your money rather than blow the budget is on the lighting. There are some incredible lighting pieces out there that look designer, but have a very pocket-friendly high street price tag. Since this blog is all about getting a designer look for less, I couldn't resist sharing my recent list of top budget floor lamp finds.
Blue is my favourite colour, and it is definitely my favourite colour to decorate with (see my new maximalist blue bedroom here, and my blue living room here). I spend a lot of time fawning over the blue pieces of furniture and home ware that I find, so I'm going to share a few of my current faves, available to buy now, on the blog:
This week I headed up north to the NEC in Birmingham to visit the Spring Fair, one of the UK’s largest trade show for home, interiors and gifting. Now I know these trade fairs tend to be big, but my god this place was massive. There were literally 20 large halls full of exhibitors and I had no idea where to even start to find the best products. So, it was lucky that interior designers and fellow bloggers 2LG were there to give me a tour of the best bits.
A large cabinet or a sideboard can be a tricky purchase. First of all, it has to be the right piece as it will be a large dominating piece of furniture that won't be interchangable from room to room like rugs or lighting can be. They also tend to be expensive, so it's crucial that you choose the right sideboard first time. The trouble is, Google 'sideboard' and you are presented with a lot of oak or pine monstrosities. There never appeared to be a lot of choice when it came to getting a well-designed sideboard, so often there is a reliance on picking up a vintage G-Plan on Ebay. Yet in the past year I've seen some amazing sideboards become available. Here is my pick of the ten best sideboards that you can purchase now, either online or in-store.
Holiday House London is two ginormous Maida Vale mansions, right next door to each other, which have been completely transformed inside, top-to-toe, by some of the worlds leading interior designers. The mansions act as showhouses for the elite designers, plus some of the best lifestyle brands, to showcase their product and talent. The houses are then opened up to the public, and all money raised goes towards the prevention and cure of breast cancer. You'll agree that this is an excellent idea and a very worthy cause, but I am going to be completely honest here - I had heard of Holiday House London, but it wasn't something that I thought I would be interested in. I totally wrote it off as a big rich fundraiser for big rich people to showcase the sort of interiors and design that decked out a Kensington pied-à-terre, or a home in upstate New York.
When interior-blogger pal and professional interiors stylist Maxine Brady from We Love Home recently visited my house to style it for a magazine photo shoot, it was so interesting to see how she personally styled my home. It is easy to fall into the trap of 'getting used to' our decor and home ware items - everything has a 'place' - so it is really helpful to have a fresh set of eyes come in and shake things up! I was amazed at how Maxine added a few new pieces, or styled things differently, and completely transformed the space I was so used to seeing everyday.
Have you seen the front cover of Living Etc magazine this month? It completely caught my eye as it features two beautiful statement red velvet bespoke chairs from The Sofa & Chair Company against a beautiful grey-blue wall (painted in Scree by Little Greene).
There are a lot of press releases that come into my inbox each day about new homeware collections, and even though I open them all, it really takes something amazing to grab my attention. Well, say a big, fat HELLO to one collection that did such a thing - the brand new Bangle collection by hand-blown glassware specialists LSA International.
Fashion houses and home ware have been intertwining for a good while now. Recently, there has been Henry Holland for Habitat, Matthew Williamson for Debenhams Home & Osbourne & Little, plus Paul Smith for Anglepoise. Now, high street fashion retailer Monsoon has teamed up with furniture retailer Multiyork for a selection of new fabric designs. This is actually the third time the two brands have collaborated together, meaning there is quite a catalogue of Monsoon’s signature fashion prints available as an upholstery fabric which can be used on a wide range of Multiyork sofas, footstools, furniture and armchairs. The collection for 2017 sees six new designs and up to forty-two colourways, with the main focus on soft hues of honey, duck egg blue and pink, to deeper shades of navy, charcoal and lavender.
It has only been in the past year that I have become aware of JD Williams. My first introduction was discovering a really great pendant light while trying to source one for a porch project that I was working on. The light was really well designed and incredible value for money, and I was super surprised to learn that it was actually by TV personality Lorraine Kelly as part of her collection for the brand. As it turns out, JD Williams is actually the UK's leading direct home shopping company, with a 6 million customer database, plus 3,500 employees.
So there are a couple of reasons as to why I decided to write this post. Obviously, I was lucky enough to have a few days break away in New York City last week (sans children), so I took the opportunity to fill the days absorbing as much interior inspo the city could throw at me. Yet secondly, before I visited I was trying to research where to go in NYC that had great interiors. There appeared to be no post or article that gave an overview of the best places to visit for decor drooling (unless I missed it?) The best I could find was a Time Out round up of all home decor stores (I visited all apart from two), and guides to things like the 'best places to visit with great NYC city views'. There was nothing that said "this place is all dark velvet and brass lights you must go if you love interiors!". Therefore, I'm going to do a little round up just incase you are about to visit the city and are craving some tops tips for beautiful hotel bars to visit, or a guide to some great home stores (and the ones not to bother visiting).