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Just a small round-up to suit all budgets for our green fingered friends.

Gifts for the Gardener

Where to buy: 1. The Royal Bouquet Gardeners Set, £8.50, House of Fraser 2. Rusty Bird String and Scissors, £16, John Lewis, 3. Tool Trug, £28.50, Garden Trading 4. Filled Terrarium, £75, The Balcony Gardener 5. Rusty Star, £50, Cox and Cox 6, Wooden Herb Tray, £16, Bloomsbury Store 7. Tall Topiary Tree Pot Plants, £45, John Lewis 8. Rustic Plant Stand, £75, An Angel at my Table 9. Tool Set, £12, Tesco Direct 10. White Flowering Garden Planter, £30, Marks and Spencer.

This Christmas will be our first in the new house and I’ve been giving a lot of thought this weekend about how to decorate for the festive season. Downsizing has thrown up lot’s of limitations, not least of which is where to put the blinking Christmas tree!  On top of which, I no longer have a mantelpiece, a large hall or a separate dining room. So we’ll be eating in the kitchen and I’ve decided to keep things casual with some carefully chosen products from the Heart of House range available at Argos that has more than 1100 practical and stylish home products.

Festive Table Styling via Dear Designer's Blog [8]

As a departure from the usual red, gold and greens I’ve taken inspiration from the dried hydrangea heads that I cut and brought in from the garden at the end of the summer. I love the soft purple and brown colours with just a tint of pink. I’d also collected some pine cones earlier this year and together they formed the basis of a soft organic scheme.

Festive Table Styling via Dear Designer's Blog [5]

Piled into a large glass hurricane lamp with some fairy lights they make a lovely table centre. The kitchen is flooded with light from the french windows, but no doubt by the end of the meal it will be dark and the lights will twinkle more. To add even more atmosphere I’ve included two large pillar candlesticks of different heights.

Festive Table Styling via Dear Designer's Blog [7]

You can’t go wrong with a crisp white tablecloth and I’ve chosen plates with a lovely earthy taupe glaze. They have a turned up lip revealing the white undersides and I think they look really effective with the white cloth and grey slate tablemats. The crackers and scattered gold stars provide just enough festive decoration to remind us that it’s not just any old lunch.

Festive Table Styling via Dear Designer's Blog [6]

As do the reindeer napkin rings. Aren’t they cute? I love the cut-thread edging on the napkins too.

Festive Table Styling via Dear Designer's Blog [9]

All that was left to add was silver edged wine glasses and silver cutlery.

Used: White tablecloth and napkins, slate placemats, 12 piece dinner set in neutral, Savoy wineglasses, Stella cutlery, Clara carved candlesticks.

All from the Heart of House range at Argos.

The Lust List – Rose & Grey

September 30th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

I love compiling imaginary shopping lists. Doesn’t everyone? I could never afford to buy everything I lust after but it’s always fun to imagine you could. I even go so far sometimes of putting them in the shopping basket before coming to my senses and exiting the website pronto. It must drive shop owners mad!

What I can do however is share here. And it’s a tangible moodboard/filing system for my likes and aesthetics, and occasionally I do use my own search box to find something I saw in the past and now have a genuine need for. So you see, all that surfing is not a waste of time it’s necessary!

Rose and Grey - High_res_Italian_Tan_Leather_Chesterfield

Rose and Grey is a favourite place to ‘window shop’.  This classically-styled Italian leather chesterfield in tan is simply stunning. It will never go out of fashion, and will just get better with age. The ultimate in statement seating for your home at £2,750.​

Rose and Grey - High_res_Organize_Storage_Box_on_Wheels

And I guarantee I will always find a use for more storage. This handy and chic box on wheels will banish the clutter, whether storing magazines or keeping paperwork neat and tidy in between uses. I’m more and more working from the sofa (not good I know) and it would be great to have one of these to drop things into for a quick tidy up. £55.

Rose and Grey High_res_Cirque_Side_Table

And I love this very simply styled and understated side table with the look of classic Danish furniture, the Cirque Side Table, £95, would be a great addition in the living room to hold a stylish lamp or a cup of tea.

Rose and Grey

And you can never have too many accessories!  The charming metal-framed mirror is a perfect heart-shape with rusting looking hanging rope. Choose from either small (£50) or large (£65). The Moosehead bottle opener (£14.95), tall stemmed shot glasses (£26.50 for the set), and the retro Peacock mug (£7.50) would all make good gifts too.

Rose and Grey

It’s never hard to choose things from the Rowen and Wren website and this autumn is no exception.

Rowen_and_Wren_Bromley_Wing_Back_Chair

These beautiful upholstered chairs for instance. Elegant and timeless in the softest brushed cotton, just waiting for me to curl up with my favourite read and a cup of tea. I may even have a space for one of these in the corner of my bedroom. Now that would be the ultimate indulgence. Priced at £554.

Rowen_and_Wren_Henry_Wall_Mounted_Coat_Stand

And I’m very taken with this traditional looking coat stand in elegant tarnished silver. It’s very practical too – only taking up half the space of a conventional stand and wall mounted to avoid any toppling over. Beautiful and practical at £294.

Rowen_and_Wren_AW14

But it’s the smaller items that always get me drooling. Not only do I want them all for myself but I’m already mentally preparing my Christmas lists. The wire cloches start from £22 (perfect for the garden design I’m working on), the metal hanging mirror is £186, the sweet rustic candle holders are only £9 and the wire baskets are £22.

Dangerous Liaisons at M&S

September 18th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Shopping - (0 Comments)

The M&S autumn/winter range has all of the ingredients needed for setting the scene for some seduction in the bedroom. Colours are dramatic, dark and moody with curvaceous furniture shapes and oodles of overblown blooms.

marksandspencer AW14

This is not a half-hearted look. Walls, floors, doors and even ceilings should be from the darker end of the spectrum. Wallpapers are oversized florals or maybe with a hint of metallics to reflect all of that candlelight.

M&S Marcel Mona Dressing Table, Mirror & Stool Set

marksandspencer AW14 [1]

Furniture has more than just a suggestion of French baroque and lampshades are unashamedly black. As are the sheets!

PicMonkey Collage

marksandspencer AW14 [2]

And don’t forget the details. Bird sculptures, intricate photograph frames, chandeliers, candelabras and vases of hothouse blooms.

marksandspencer AW14 [3]

Romance isn’t dead just yet!

All from M&S bedroom collections.

French Connection Home has matured. The autumn, winter collection is full of sophisticated furniture, lighting and accessories that wouldn’t look out-of-place in a high-end loft apartment. It’s what they call ‘soft industrial’ and is made up of fuss free silhouettes and pared back colours and lots of vintage appeal.

French Connection AW 14 [1]

But it’s not all hard-edged even if there are some very nice concrete lamp bases. There are some lovely textures too in the rugs, cushions and throws and lots of reflective metallic touches in the zinc topped tables and the industrial looking pendant lights and table lamps.

French Connection AW 14 [2]

It’s urban and gutsy but with touches of mid-century style too in the dining chairs and occasional furniture.

French Connection AW 14 [3]

And I rather like it.

Country Rustic Style at Next

September 1st, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the newest Next Superstore in Hedge End, Hampshire. It stands at 60,000 square feet over two floors with a breath-taking atrium to welcome visitors. I could have spent days in the garden shop but there was also a tempting bed shop, lingerie room, shoe room and a welcome Costa Coffee too. Of course I didn’t come away with just a pair of boots! I also came away inspired by one of the themes running through the home and furniture departments. Rustic country. Nothing can be more apt for this time of year. Lots of chunky knits, russet colours and raw materials.

Next Home - Country Rustic - AW14 - [1]

Next Home - Country Rustic - AW14 - [2]

And that crystal drop chandelier is a good reason to visit again soon.

All items from the Autumn/Winter collections at Next.

For those cosy autumnal evenings in front of the fire. All that needs to be added is a cushion, a throw to ward off any chills, a good lamp, a table for the all important cup of tea and the latest bestseller.

Homebase Woodland Wing Chair and accessories = woodland cosy

To create a classic gentlemen’s club come country estate vibe, leather must be your first choice for the winged chair. This one has a very on-trend stag print fabric for the seat and back cushion which makes it extra comfortable. Stick to modern shapes for the furniture like this oak side table so that the entire scheme is more contemporary and add lots of texture with knitted cushions and throws. Some coloured glass adds an all-important pop of colour while still keeping to the woodland theme.

Homebase - Floral Wing Chair and accessories = French Romantic

For you romantics out there, you can’t beat a nostalgic floral print for the armchair. It pairs perfectly with French inspired furniture and a pretty pastel colour scheme. It you would rather avoid the obvious shabby-chic look choose accessories that are quirky rather than twee.

Homebase Wingchair and Accessories = Modern Country

Wing chairs can look at home in modern settings and the secret is to keep to a monochrome colours scheme and choose eclectic furnishings and accessories. Here, an industrial style floor lamp and curvy side table combine with a woollen cushion and throw to create a scheme that would look at home in a loft or cottage.

All armchairs and accessories from Homebase.

Following fourteen successful years collaborating with Debenhams, John Rocha is launching his first furniture collections this autumn. Called Elements and Eclipse, the collections are exclusive to the store and reflect the well-loved fashion and homewares designer’s relaxed and contemporary signature style.

A very handsome collection it is too. The seating features a soft linen blend fabric with deep inviting seats and wide arms for the ultimate in comfort. While the walnut (shown here) veneers have been lightly lacquered to retain the natural texture of the grain. Perfectly at home in a modern or traditional setting and beautifully complimented here by John Rocha accessories of course.

John Rocha for Debenhams [1]

Coffee table, £480. Rug, £200. Champagne wire bowl, £28. Glass hurricane lamp, £22. Cylindrical vase, £14. Hammered votive, £6 – £12. Tealight holders, £7 – £18. Cushions, £25 – £35. Chunky knit throw, £100. Scratch silver lamp, £68.

John Rocha for Debenhams [2]

Bedside table, £330. Vase, £16. Double duvet cover, £63. Pillowcases, £22. Cushions, £28 – £30. Faux fur throw, £120. Rug, £200.

John Rocha for Debenhams [3]

Sofa, £1600. Coffee table, £350. Cushions, from £32. Candle holder, £13.

Exclusive to Debenhams.

There are some product brochures that are as eagerly awaited as a favourite magazine. Loaf is one of them. I’m always eager to see what lovely new things they have. What things I would add to my wish list. And then what things I will share with you all my lovelies.

Here’s my current picks of the very nice bunch.

Loaf_962345_Tulipkitchentable

The tulip kitchen table. A Scandinavian design classic that’s been given a makeover in gun-metal and weathered timber. Perfect for contemporary and traditional kitchens alike. And especially my kitchen. Paired with gun-metal chairs that are comfy but super cool. The table is £495 and the chairs, £290 per pair.

Loaf_1019748_SuperSucresideboard

The Super Sucre sideboard is apparently a larder. And a very fine one too. But for me – who’s always working at the kitchen table – it would be a godsend for stashing all those papers, files and pens when it’s time to start the dinner. Priced at £995.

Loaf_autumn 2014

Hiccup cushions, £35. Pootle Storage, £225. Harley pouffe, £175. Tweedy rug, £165. Birdie shelf, £295.

Loaf_962347_Tigershelves

And last but not least the lovely leaning Tiger shelves in bleached timber. Priced at £225.

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