Spring is just around the corner and you may be thinking about giving the kitchen a bit of an update. It might be needing a complete overhaul, a smart new lick of paint or just a few new accessories to ring some changes. Once again, its the high street that is offering some fresh new products for the new season at very reasonable prices. Here’s a few trends that have caught my eye lately.

Leica S

I’m liking the vintage look at House of Fraser. Dark acacia wood, recycled glass and ombre pottery results in a modern country ambiance that perfectly suits shaker style cupboards, old brass-ware and linen tea-towels. A hint of metallic lifts the scheme.


There’s also a hint of vintage over at Marks and Spencer but this time interpreted in a much more contemporary way.


The Conran kitchen collection offers smart storage solutions and a beautiful pairing of white porcelain and wood. The zinc topped butchers block has to be one of my favourite pieces this season.

marksandspencer kitchen new ss15

But if it’s bright and cheerful you are after, head over to George Home.


The sunny retro inspired tableware and kitchen accessories will brighten up breakfast-time for sure.


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Bathroom Updates Fresh from the High Street.

This amazing beach residence is situated in Watsons Bay, Sydney, Australia. Internally I love the restrained colour palette enlivened by bright splashes of colour in the wall art. The smooth surfaces complemented by textured rugs and linen sofas. The open plan living area that would be perfect for entertaining.

But most of all I love the outside space. Just look at that view!

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design -Terrace

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design - Sitting Room

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design -Living Area

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design - Dining Room

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design - Kitchen

Contemporary Beach House in Sydney by Walter Barder Design - Bathroom

From the portfolio of Walter Barda Design.

Creating a new garden from scratch is a bit of a daunting task. Last year while we were still settling in to the new house I planted up a few pots and made a feature of the garage wall (you can see the results here) but this year I’m going to tackle the job full on with hard landscaping and an amazing planting scheme. Fingers crossed.

Of course, I looked to Pinterest for some inspiration.

Garden Ideas [1] via Dear Designer's Blog

I want lushness. I want to look out of the window and see green plants of every shape and form. Large tropical looking leaves, tall rustling clumps of bamboo, clipped box, prolific climbers and fragrant herbs. I’m not afraid of repetition. I had some early advice (and a roughly sketched plan from garden designer Lisa Cox) who urged a limit to the amount of plants used as well as a limit to the number of colours and surface textures. Good advice I will be sticking too.

I want to see a combination of grey and green and a small amount of terracotta/orange. Grey from the painted fences, naturally aging garden decking, concrete planters, raised beds, and the garden furniture. Terracotta from the brick garage wall and a few ancient pots.

Garden Ideas [2] via Dear Designer's Blog

I want a shady place to sit. To ponder. To enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of morning coffee. Deep upholstered seats that invite an afternoon nap and chats with friends long into the night. A pergola where I can hang lanterns and that will throw shadows in the afternoon sun.

A want a place to potter. To plant and pot and nurture cuttings. An old pre-loved table maybe that will double as display and the occasional serving surface for family barbecues.

I want a lot I know.

Image sources.

Make a Statement with a Rug

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (1 Comments)

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. There is no easier way of injecting colour and pattern into a room than by adding a rug. And it’s never been easier to find the exact look and feel that you’re after when there are so many websites around where you can browse by colour, size or name. Below I’ve chosen just a few available in the Scion range from The Rug Seller.

Scion - Mr Fox via The Rug Seller

I couldn’t resist including Mr Fox, he’s so cheeky. I’m not suggesting you go overboard with matching wallpaper but he does add a certain humour to a scheme and there’s nothing childish about the colours. I’d add mid-century furniture and perhaps tone down the colours in the rest of the room so that he’s the main star.

Scion - Kaleido-260001via The Rug Seller

The Kaleido is not shy at coming forward. Great blocks of colour in an abstract pattern that is a real show-stopper. You could choose one of the colours in the rug to accent the rest of the decorative scheme or you could really go for it as the image shows. Be careful adding other colours and patterns with this rug however as they must be of the same bright and bold tone. Patterns should also be bold and graphic. Pastels will look insipid and floral patterns will definitely not go.

Scion - Groove rug via The Rug Seller

As the name suggests, Groove is kinda … groovy. It’s not just suitable for contemporary schemes however. I think this would work just as well in a more traditional room and in a room where there is a mixture of old and new it would be the perfect transitional piece.

Scion Medini-259011via The Rug Seller

If stripes are your thing I’d go for the Medini. The lovely colour palette shown above is a bit more subtle and easy to live with and very easy to coordinate. The image shows how easy it would be to add other patterns in curtains and wallpaper and create a room that looks timeless and elegant.

Scion - Navajo rug via The Rug Seller

And this one has to be my favourite. The Navajo is bright, bold and sunny. I love the colour combinations and would have a lot of fun creating a scheme with this rug as the starting point.

Before you go…

I’m often asked about the correct size rug and I’ve found the perfect guide here.

For all those of us who believe there should be a touch of humour in every room.

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw these monkey lamps from one of my favourite stores at the moment, Out There Interiors and I’ve been wracking my brains to think how I could use one of them at home. Available in three designs (hanging, standing and seated) each lamp comes supplied with its own lighting cable so that it can get on with its ‘Monkey’ Business.

Monkey Lamp - Seletti

Moe (standing), £300. Curly (sitting), £200.

Monkey Lamp - Seletti

Larry, £300.

Think I like the standing chappy best. He has presence.

I Spy – Amy Sia Cushions

January 19th, 2015 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

Amy Sia is an Australian born, London-based designer who creates accessories that act as a canvas. Printed onto 100% cotton backed with a natural coloured cotton/linen blend, they are available with a duck feather insert.

Absolutely perfect for adding accent colour to neutral schemes in both traditional and contemporary rooms.






Printed onto 100% cotton backed with a natural coloured cotton/linen blend, they are available with a duck feather insert and are priced at £70.

The Perfectly Unstyled Room

January 16th, 2015 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

There’s no such thing of course, as an unstyled room. I’m not even sure its a proper word.

There is however a very special skill in making a room look as if it hasn’t taken a whole lot of effort. As if it’s been casually thrown together without thought, rhyme or reason. Don’t be fooled. Some people have a knack for it and maybe it doesn’t take a lot of their time. Some people (and I often fall into this group) are continually moving, rearranging and tweaking their possessions. Never satisfied. The perfectly unstyled room just beyond their grasp.

via sfgirlbybay

It may look like a perfectly ordinary corner. Somewhere to read maybe. Listen to music. Chat with friends. But that is no ordinary mid-century chair. It’s been chosen specifically for its looks, it’s style and the way it doesn’t crowd the space and it allows the bookshelves to be seen. That stool hasn’t been put there to rest a cup of coffee. It’s been put there because the black complements the black leather chair seat and the cushions. It’s been chosen because its rattan and echos the basketware on the shelves. Those books haven’t just been placed on those lovely low shelves. They’ve been arranged. Some standing up, some lying down, some with the spine facing out and some with the spine facing in.

Are you starting to get the picture?


The quite ordinary looking possessions on this handsome chest didn’t just arrive there by accident. The bottles have been arranged with the tallest at the back and in descending order. The position of the plant creates a triangle shape and leads the eye to the painting on the wall. The Acapulco chair is too beautiful to hide, so it stands alone, not even a cushion to spoil its lines.

via sfgirlbybay 2

Paintings leaning casually against the wall are the greatest illusion of all. The ‘I couldn’t be bothered to bang a nail in’ attitude fools the untrained eye into thinking this isn’t styling at all. We know better don’t we? A painting on the wall would have upset the balance of this low-level seating area. Those floor cushions speak of lounging on the rug. And where better to admire the unstyled room?

Images: 1|2|3

I Spy – Anna Jacobs

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (2 Comments)

Spied earlier this week in the New Talent section of Home London. I say spied, but I was actually stopped in my tracks by the very first collection of homewares by new designer Anna Jacobs.

Anna Jacobs Sipping Nectar lampshade

Her collection includes lampshades, cushions, greetings cards and silk scarves but it was the table lamps that made the biggest impression on me. Her original paintings applied to drum shades are gorgeous and perfectly set off with plain glass bases and vibrant coloured flexes. They would make stunning accents in any room.

Anna Jacobs Autumn Sedum 20cm lampshade

Anna Jacobs Seeing in B&W 20cm lampshade

Anna has previously worked in music, theatre and in the City but a career change sees her now as a very talented artist, interior designer and tutor at Chelsea Collage of Arts. She launched her new business only last year and chatting to her she confessed that she already has enough material for several collections to come.

Anna Jacobs Welsh Reflection and Seeing in B&W lampshades

I think we’ll hear a lot more about Anna Jacobs.

Forgot to mention, Anna also sells her paintings as limited edition prints and believe me they are beautiful.

There’s some lovely new bathroom accessories about to hit the shops this spring. So if the bathroom is in need of a facelift look no further than the high street.

BHS Bathrooms SS15

BHS have taken inspiration from the Greek islands with their new Santorini collection. The gorgeous tile print towels and bathmat look like designer items and coordinate well with plain blues. Add some white washed wood, some pretty lace and some flowers and you could be on your holidays.

BHS Bathrooms - details SS15

Tesco Direct have gone down the bright and breezy path too. Their geometric and stripped towels in cheery colours will have you humming in the shower.

tescodirect bathroom ss15

I’d add their bright yellow metal chair for even more sunshine.

tescodirect bathroom details ss15

And blue crops up again at Sainsburys Home in a deeper hue.

sainsburyshome bathrooms ss15

The fish motif bath mat will make you smile.

sainsburyshome bathrooms details ss15

Keep all other accessories in plainer block colours and white and the look will still be on the right side of grownup.

Which one is your style?

Louis Poulsen first launched the Collage pendant in 2005 in cooperation with designer, Louis Campbell and it was displayed for the first time at an exhibition at the Copenhagen furniture fair in 2004. The patterns on the three lasercut acrylic shades are carefully staggered so that there is no glare from the bulb. The patterns differ between the shades, resulting in different effects depending on the angle it is viewed from but the overall effect is a soft diffused light.

collage_aarhus_08 smaller

And now, ten years on it’s being released in a series of douche colours and a new matt velour-like finish. So pretty!


The Collage pendant is available in two sizes: 600 mm (£1,050) and 450 mm (£665) and looks just perfect above the dining table or even meeting tables. To further optimise lighting comfort, an anti-glare set can be purchased for the top and bottom as an optional extra. This diffuses the light directed upwards and downwards, and also inhibits direct views of the light source from all directions.


Whether on or off, it really does create a beautiful focal point don’t you think?

The pendant will be available in UK shops in February.

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