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.
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.
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).
This week I popped along to the Grand Designs Live exhibition at London's GIGANTIC ExCeL Convention Centre (seriously, I got lost in the building, wandering into another exhibition by mistake). Even though it would be amazing to build my own home, I'm quite happy in the already-built home I live in, so it was interiors rather than architecture that I was after at the show.
Next week (from May 3rd - 7th, 2017) is London Craft Week. Now in its third year, this annual event is all about celebrating creativity and craftsmanship, with 230 events happening over the space of the week in the city. Last week I attended one of these events, the launch party for Heal's Modern Craft Market, and instantly navigated towards the stand hosted by Shoreditch Design Rooms. Based in East London, Shoreditch Design Rooms are successful upholsterers who offer training classes to the public ranging from leisure classes (where you can work on your own piece of furniture), to accredited courses for a diploma qualification in upholstery.
Since starting this blog I've been able to do some seriously cool stuff. It has also opened up a number of opportunities for me career-wise that I would NEVER have been given without it. However, the email that dropped in my inbox on one of the last days of February really had me spluttering out my cup of tea. It was from the PR people behind the Ideal Home Show, asking me to give them a call in regards to doing a couple of presentations on the Interior Styling Stage at the event towards the end of March.
Do you find items piling up in your house? Need to make way for the new by storing away the old? Cupboards already bursting at the seams? With price per square metre of homes at a (lets face it, constant) high, you don't want to be paying out for lots of cupboard space. The solution? Being clever with storage. Be smart and savvy when purchasing furniture and make sure that bulky items come with added storage space.
It was my first ever visit to London's highly revered Design Week at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour this week. I'm an absolute interiors fanatic, but when it comes to design, I'm happy to admit that it is not my complete field of expertise. I have my favourite designers in the interiors world, and dip into design when it really catches my attention, but I would never claim to be a 'design expert'. I was therefore really excited to visit Design Week and be in the centre of so much creative innovation.
I know this blog is meant to be about getting a contemporary look on a budget, and Farrow & Ball tend to be considered as 'posh paint' due to its price point, but I just cannot stress enough how much of a Farrow & Ball fan I am. To me, its often a false economy buying a cheaper paint brand. For application, colour depth and range, Farrow & Ball really cannot be beaten. If you are going to spend money in one area when decorating, spend it on the paint. It's the foundation of the room and what everything else will be based around. With my Farrow & Ball fan-dom you can imagine I was excited to see what the key colours for spring 2017 were going to be for F&B. This season F&B have picked four hues - two dramatic, intense colours alongside two neutral shades.
For over a year, me and my husband had been in mattress hell. Our existing 10 year old mattress was a disaster (apparently you're only meant to have the same mattress for 8 years max anyway?) The springs were pushing out everywhere (no doubt not helped by a toddler who loved jumping on it multiple times a day). Obviously, it wasn't a dream to sleep on. You can see for yourself without even needing to lay down on it that the mattress had seen better days.....
If there is one thing I'm rather partial to, it's a jazzy wallpaper. I can't understand putting up a plain, boring, one colour wallpaper - what's the point? If I'm going to be putting up wallpaper in my home, then it has to be interesting, it has to be bright and it has to be good. When historic wallpaper company Cole & Son sent me some samples of their new 'Ardmore Collection' (launching this week at Paris Deco Off 2017) they immediately caught my eye.
Today I popped along to the spring edition of Top Drawer London, one of the UK’s leading trade shows. Basically every independent (and some big players) home, craft and gift products are on show to buyers (and press, and nosy people like me who like to spend their free time looking at pretty things). Held at Olympia, London, Top Drawer is massive. It took me hours to get through all the exhibitor stands. Yet I did it, and here is my pick of the best of the bunch! To make life easier I've even created a little shop at the bottom of the post where you can buy products from my fave exhibitors....