When you are passionate about interior design, it can take over many areas of your life. My husband never ceases to be amused by the fact that my restaurant decisions are determined by the decor and never the menu. Holiday and hotel choices are decided by the interior offerings. It would therefore come as no surprise that my choice of motor vehicle would be heavily influenced by the way it looks, both inside and out. So, when Citroën contacted me to tell me the interior of their C4 Cactus Hatch had been inspired by well-designed furniture and did I fancy giving it a spin for a few days, I was intrigued to try it out.
Two years ago I wrote a post on this blog all about akitchen company who had blown me away when I had seen their kitchen unit drawer and door fronts used in projects across Pinterest and Instagram. I’d never seen anything like it - there were baby blue doors with polished gold handles, scalloped cloud-front patterns and deep green units teamed with gold metal splashbacks. The company was Naked Doors, a Norfolk based kitchen supplier and part of the Naked Kitchens group, who have since been featured in every decent newspaper ‘Home’ supplement and interiors magazine going. Yet, it wasn’t just the interesting designs and coloured fronts which made Naked Doors so appealing, it was the fact that they sold good quality replacement cabinet doors and drawer fronts for existing kitchen units (or, off the shelf IKEA unit carcasses). You didn’t have to purchase a whole new kitchen to achieve the very desirable, contemporary kitchen you’d pinned to your ‘kitchen inspo’ board.
If there is one thing that I love just as much as interiors (not counting my child and y’know…gin..) it is fresh flowers. My home does not feel complete without fresh blooms perched in the middle of the table or presented on the mantle. People often ask me what is the quickest and most budget-friendly way that they can make a room feel inviting and homely and I always tell them to invest in a beautiful vase brimming with blossoming new stems. What is even better than buying your own flowers is having someone gift you them, so I was delighted when Marks & Spencer popped round with a number of their new gifting bouquets for me to review, as well as give advice on what bouquets are perfectly suited to certain celebratory occasions throughout the year. It is important to remember that flowers are very personal, so you should always pick the right bouquet that will match your recipients personality as well as the occasion. If this all sounds very confusing then don’t worry, read on for my top tips for picking the perfect bunch….
I’ll confidently chat way about paints, primers and polyfilla. Interior trends I’m always up to date with and I can reel off places to buy great side tables. Yet, when a client asked me to advise her on what would be the best worktop for her new kitchen, I will hold my hands up to the fact that I was pretty stumped to give her an answer there and then. There is such an array of material choice and things to consider, getting your head around it all can feel like a total minefield. For example, what can be considered top, middle and low price for a kitchen worktop? Do all worktops require maintenance? Is an accompanying upstand always an option? Just what is Silestone anyway?
A few weeks ago I attended a bloggers dinner at the Miele London showroom to talk all things interior trends for 2019. Before the event all the bloggers were asked for their predictions beforehand and it was quite surprising to see that we were all pretty much on the same page to what we think is ‘over’ in interiors, and what we think will be the next thing that everyone will be doing in their home.
I will forever bang-on about how paint can cheaply transform a room. Take a room and paint it a colour which really complements it and it will feel like a completely different space. However, what do you do when you need to transform or create a kitchen on a budget? It is not as easy as just painting the walls when there are the units to consider. This is why many of us now own or are tempted to install a kitchen from purse-friendly flat-pack giants IKEA. Base or wall units from IKEA can come in at less than £100 each, where as a made-to-measure kitchen will set you back thousands upon thousands of pounds (most of that money will be spent on crafting the carcass of the units - the bits you use but don't actually see). The problem here is that you end up with a budget-friendly but very plain, generic-looking kitchen.
If you had told me two years ago (when I started this interiors blog) that it would lead to me presenting some video content for B&Q to be hosted on the Mail Online, I would have laughed you out the door. Yet, a couple of weeks ago that is exactly what happened! A full film crew from The Mail rocked up at my house, and we spent the day filming a short video all about how the viewer can inject some colour into their home with a few selected products available to purchase at B&Q.
There has been quite a bit of press around the new furniture collection for H&M Home recently. H&M, whose home accessories collections have always been peppered with well-designed pieces at great value, are branching out into tables and lighting. This is great news. However, I wanted to hone a spotlight on another High Street Interior Hero: Zara Home. I feel like Zara is currently leading the way on the high street for on-trend, affordable women's clothing. Yet, I never feel that they shout about their homeware collection too much, which is a shame as it is one of my favourite places to find well-priced gems. The designs are a bit West Elm, but without really stretching the bank balance like West Elm can do. My particular favourites have always been the side tables, to which I have a number in my home.
It is no secret that grey has played a huge part in popular interior schemes for a good number of years now. Grey-painted walls have completely replaced cream or magnolia as the modern version of the go-to neutral in our homes. I for one am a huge grey fan (as you might have noticed, having recently painted my living room a very matt, clay-coloured grey). The most successful 'shades of grey' have ranged from very soft, grey-tinged whites, to deep, bold greys. The huge 'Downpipe-trend' peaked a couple of years ago, where everyone took the plunge to dark interiors using one of Farrow & Ball's now most popular shades. This year we have seen a move towards using more colour in our homes. Bold jewel tones and a more 'maximalist' style have played a big part in key interior trends for 2018. While at Salone in Milan last month the key neutrals were very warm, beigey pink-tinged colours. So is grey over? Far from it, in fact. It is now all about using grey on the floor to compliment these new bolder colours or warmer neutrals.
Sometimes there are interior and home products that I see that make me elated and go "YES! That is RIGHT UP MY STREET!!" A visit to the the Kohler Experience Centre today on my tour of Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 made me do just that. In the week where London celebrates the best of horticulture with the Chelsea Flower Show, alongside the best in architecture and design with CDW, it was the perfect time for Kohler to unveil in the UK their new collection of Dutchmaster sinks. Big, bold, dramatic florals on a dark and moody background cover the entire surface of the washbasins, with two separate designs that come as a circular or rectangular model.
Lately I have really noticed a shift towards people wanting to live much more ethically within their own home. Showers and white goods that save water have been around for a good while now, while the introduction of new technology has meant that we can get much more of a grip on how much energy we are using (and money we are spending). However, things seem to be taking a bigger step towards purchasing homeware products that are re-usable, recyclable and cruelty-free. Last month at the Ideal Home Exhibition interior designer extraordinaires 2LG created a 'love/work' space that encompassed the use of vegan leather and worktops made of recycled yogurt pots. The result was impeccably sexy and stylish, a million miles away from what could be considered by some as a 'hippy-chic home'.
Spring is the perfect time to give the rooms in your home an overhaul, and with statement wallpaper (on all walls, not just a feature wall!) being a key trend in interiors in 2018, why not update your decor with the new wallpaper collections from Laura Ashley? I was recently asked to write a guest post over on the Laura Ashley blog all about my favourite wallpaper picks from the new Spring collection, which you can read and see all the photos in full here.
Our oven decided to stop working two days before Christmas. Including us, there were 8 people to cook for on Christmas Day. We ended up making roast potatoes in a frying pan and relied on a lot of boiled vegetables to get us through the meal. Feverishly attempting to purchase a new oven in the Boxing Day sales we found the age-old range installed by the previous owners was a tiny 76cm wide, with the modern standard width being 90cm. The only thing to do was to cut down the existing cabinets and shave back the worktop to make room for a larger cooker. This has now all been done and we have a lovely shiny new oven, but I'm left with half my kitchen units unpainted, plus a missing splashback (they had to remove the tiles to fit the new cooker). I now need to give my kitchen a mini-refresh, and as we are at the start of the year I've been looking towards predictions for kitchen trends in 2018 to give me a bit of kitchen design inspiration.
Our old range cooker was inherited from the previous owners of the house when we moved in three years ago. To be honest, it was always on its way out - one hob never worked and over time it took so long to cook anything I probably could have gone outside and rubbed two sticks together to create fire to boil a pan of water quicker than the time it took to cook a pizza to a decent standard in that oven. So when it finally packed up completely two days before Christmas (we ended up making roast potatoes in a frying pan for Christmas dinner) it was time to start 2018 with a brand new cooker.
If you follow me on Instagram you'll see that I've recently painted a very large rainbow mural in a nursery for a client of mine. While searching the internet for a window treatment to match the rainbow wall, I came across this image below by the shutter company Shutterly Fabulous. Isn't it brilliant?? I love how each different colour louvre creates a rainbow effect down the shutter. On a side note, shutters are also really great for a child's room as there are no hanging cords or reams of fabric for them to get themselves dangerously caught up in.
2018 is all about maximalism, luxury and cocooning comfort. In my blog post last week I talked about how peacocks, and the beautiful teal colours associated with them, are set to be a big thing in interiors and decor this year. A client that I am currently working with wanted their hallway painted in a beautiful teal colour. Because of this, the past few weeks I have been researching and testing out numerous teal emulsion paints. I thought I would share with you the best of the teal colours that I found on my hunt for that perfect teal shade, in case you were thinking of going totally teal in your own home!
Once Boxing Day is over I am itching to get all the Christmas decorations down and have a good clear out of all the clutter that has built up over the past month! Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but all the extra 'stuff' that takes up space in the house - from the tree and the decorations to the piles of gifts and boxes of uneaten mince pies - starts to bring out a bit of household claustrophobia! The New Year is a new start and once Christmas is cleared away I fill my home with hyacinths, count down to the first days of spring and start to think about how I'll change up my home in the year ahead.
Villeroy & Boch are one of those companies that you know and are aware of, even if you don't really know much about them. Their expertly applied trademark stamp adorns sinks and toilets in an abundance of hotels, restaurants and residential properties all over the world. Since 1743 Villeroy & Boch have been producing ceramic tableware, then, later on down the line, bathroom sanitary-ware, and are one of Europe's most valued and celebrated producers of ceramics and porcelain. So, when they invited me to go and stay with them for a few days at their headquarters in Mettlach, Germany, how could I refuse?
On my Instagram and under my Pinterest board 'Kitchen Inspo', I had been collecting up and re-gramming these amazing images of kitchens - such as the one below of the most amazing baby blue kitchen with polished gold handles. It looks so good, right? You'd instantly think it was a completely bespoke, designer-led kitchen costing you 25k plus.
I prioritise interiors and decor over pretty much all other factors. The food can be great in a restaurant, but if the interiors are awful I'll never go back. I'll always choose a design-led bar over a standard place to grab a drink. Therefore, when it comes to renting a room for a night, the interior stakes have to be pretty high for me to be satisfied! The thing is, unless you can afford one of London's premier hotels, chances are for a decently priced night in the city you'll be stuck in a sterile small white box room with a cheap MDF desk and one bed for company.
I was really honoured to take part in London Design Festival this year, as String Furniture and Skandium joined forces for a brand new series of in-store 'String shelfies'. String & Skandium asked three design bloggers to curate and style a String shelf using products that you can purchase in the very delightful new Skandium store in South Kensington. The styled shelves were to be on display throughout London Design Festival, and guess what? Yup - I was one of the three! The other ladies in question being the delightful Little Big Bell, and one of my favourite bloggers, Design Soda.
My own experience of replacing flooring has been quite limited. The most I've had to do was replace a hallway carpet in my old home after toilet training a puppy for 6 months; while I also had a very inexperienced attempt at painting my wooden floor boards white at the start of my DIY journey - I decided to skip the sanding and priming part, so the paint started to chip after 48 hours! However, I've recently been working with a client on replacing all the floors in a flat she has purchased. She mentioned to me in the initial design consultation that she wanted vinyl and I flinched - vinyl? - isn't that just like the cheap lino of the 80's? Turns vinyl flooring technology has massively advanced since then, and there is now something called'luxury vinyl flooring'.
OK, so this article is about the new Farrow & Ball wallpaper collection - BUT!!! - I have to tell you before I talk about the new floral beauties that a mood board I created around one of the new papers, Helleborus, is featured in the F&B catalogue for the collection. At the start of the year F&B got in touch and asked if I would be interested working with them on promoting the new collection. They would send me a sample of one of the new papers (which was all very hush hush) and asked if I would create a mood board around the paper chosen for me. This would then appear in the new F&B Autumn/Winter inspiration catalogue, sent to customers.
Hate your kitchen? Want to upgrade? Would love a designer kitchen but don't have the cash? Never fear, it is possible, believe it or not, to get a designer kitchen (or your kitchen looking designer) without having to sell one of your kidneys. There are a few tricks out there that can transform your kitchen from bleak and basic, into something much more suited to your style. If you are someone with champagne taste on a prosecco budget (or even a cheap white wine budget) then read on for my tips to get that designer kitchen for less!
I am SO excited to announce that I am going to be one of the 10 interior bloggers taking part in the 'Revamp, Restyle, Reveal' project throughout September! Revamp, Restyle, Reveal - launched by super-influencer Lisa Dawson, French For Pineapple founder Bianca Hall and The Great Interior Design Challenge finalist Oliver Thomas - is a month-long project where 10 interior bloggers update a room in their home over four weeks.
Just had a baby or due to have a baby soon? Petrified that your beautiful home is going to be hidden behind a mound of brightly coloured baby tat? Well, I know how you feel. Being an interiors obsessive, when I was pregnant and strolling around the baby section of department stores (clutching my extensive list of things I would 'need' to have in the home for baby), I was quietly groaning to myself as I passed piece after piece of baby furniture and furnishings covered in teddy bears, bright green cartoon apples or pale blue or sickly pale pink toweling fabric.
We all earmark IKEA as the place to go to get cheap, 'need it right now' furniture that is basic and functional. Yet in recent years IKEA has been moving up a level - working with highly revered designers to create incredible, but still amazingly affordable furniture. After talking briefly to Kit Neale about his SPRIDD collab with IKEA last year, he highlighted that IKEA's quality control meant that his collection with the Swedish power-brand took two years in the making. It is obviously IKEA's dedication to their designs that has attracted top name designers to collaborate with them on design-led, but affordable, collections. The much publicised Tom Dixon collection DELAKTIG will make its way into stores at the beginning of next year, while super-hip French multi-brand retailer Colette are currently working with IKEA on a new partnership.
If you have heard of the luxury tile brand Bisazza before, you are probably thinking 'why on earth is she writing about these guys, when her blog is meant to be about budget interiors?' You'd be right to question - the Italian brand, with their Sloane Avenue showroom, are mostly known as the product of choice for the wealthy lining their swimming pools. However, Bisazza are actually wanting to reach out to a wider audience and say 'you know what, we aren't this scary brand only for the few. We want to everyone to enjoy our products, even if you only want a square metre for a splashback.' I think this is pretty cool, considering most luxury brands would turn their nose up at doing this for the sake of their existing clientele.
If you are a regular interior blog reader, you may have come across the name Sweetpea & Willow before. The owner of the furniture and accessories boutique, Jacquie, runs the award-winning Sweetpea & Willow blog 'Willow's Wardrobe,' alongside running the business with her husband Matt. Even though I'd often perused all the beautiful products Sweetpea & Willow sell online, I'd never actually visited their much talked about showroom. When Jacquie invited me down to have a proper look at all their products on display last week, I was so not prepared for what I saw when I visited!
This week is Clerkenwell Design Week, a kind of urban festival if you will for lovers of interiors and design in general. The creative part of London that is Clerkenwell is host to CDW, which houses over 200 international brands within 7 exhibition venues, and more than 90 showrooms (generally furniture and design shops within the Clerkenwell grid).