I have to admit that since moving house I’ve changed from a bath person to a shower person. It’s the proximity of the en-suite (which only has a shower) that has done it I guess. But there’s still a lot to be said for a long soak in the bath. It’s the ultimate in relaxation for me. There’s something about taking the time to run the bath, fill it with bubbles and just forget everything else for half an hour. Add a glass of wine, some favourite bath products, some candles and soft music and who needs a spa?

Homes and Gardens mag

Of course a view is an absolute bonus. I don’t think you would get me out of this room! It’s also a very good example of how practical doesn’t have to be clinical. The floor is a sensible choice for a bathroom and the vanity has lots of storage in those drawers but how pretty is that chandelier and mirror? Image via Homes and Gardens.

Heart Home mag

Another bonus is a fireplace. This is the home of Abigail Ahern from the March issue of Heart Home magazine and we just loved the candelabra too.

Elle Decor

Another cosy room from Elle Decor. I love how it’s furnished like any other room in a house with framed prints and a decorated fireplace.

Heart Home mag 2

Something else for the wishlist is a bathroom with room for an armchair. Imagine friendly conversations with a loved one while you soak. Again, from Heart Home magazine.

Do you have a place to soak?

I’ve been on the hunt for a shower curtain for the guest bathroom. Yes, a shower curtain. They seem to get a bad press lately. Maybe it’s memories of rented flats or cheap hotels with mouldy specimens that puts people off. I think they are more versatile than glass screens. You can push them out of the way when not in use and they give the perfect excuse for introducing some pattern and maybe some colour.

For now, I’m sticking to my overall palette of black, white and grey and here’s eight of the best I could find.



west elm

West Elm

rockett st george

Rockett St George

black, white and grey shower curtains via Dear Designers Blog

Clockwise from topJohn Lewis Skandivis Ikea Debenhams

West Elm 2

West Elm

Which do you prefer?

Take Me Away: Orchard Keepers

November 13th, 2013 | Posted by deardesigner in Travel - (5 Comments)

As winter starts to settle in here in the UK I’m wondering why I didn’t get round to booking that winter break.  Well, ok, so I’ve had other things on my mind like keeping up the momentum on a quarterly magazine and app (Heart Home of course), establishing myself as a full-time freelancer (it’s going ok…fingers crossed) and moving house (still at the contracts stage but moving forwards slowly).  So really holidays have been way down the agenda.  Which is a shame because we all need holidays.

And I couldn’t think of a nicer location than Orchards Keepers which is a beautiful four bedroom home and separate Workers Cottage situated an hour outside of Melbourne.  It was originally three separate cottages dating back to the 1890′s & 1950′s and has been lovingly restored to now provide accommodation for ten people surrounded by neighboring vineyards and orchards.

Orchard Keepers, Australia 1

Orchard Keepers, Australia 2

Orchard Keepers, Australia 3

Orchard Keepers, Australia 4

Orchard Keepers, Australia 5

Orchard Keepers, Australia 6

Orchard Keepers, Australia 7

I love the restful colours, the use of simple materials and the complete absence of clutter.  And yet is still looks welcoming and warm and absolutely the perfect place to recharge the batteries.

And it’s available to rent!

Orchard Keepers

It will soon be the time to start sticking the proverbial toe into the Christmas shopping water.  And with that in mind I’ve been on the lookout for some good gift ideas.

I really like the Gisela Graham Trellis Stoneware collection. It’s eye catching, pretty and beautifully practical so would make perfect presents for a lot of the females in the family.  Reasonably priced too.


They don’t have to be confined to the kitchen either.  The jugs make great vases and the bowls can be used for anything from paperclips to jewellery.


Especially if paired up with the equally pretty make-up and wash bags, shown here in assorted patterns.  They are made from water resistant oilcloth so there’s no need to worry about them getting damp in a wet bathroom, or anything leaking or spilling ‘in transit’!


And when you’ve filled them you can pop them into one of the Gisela Graham bags.


Job done!

All of the Gisela Graham products show here are available from The Contemporary Home.

I think I might like to move into this house for the duration of winter.

It’s situated in Montana and weather-withstanding barns, typical to the local environment, inspired the chalet’s construction.  A typical ski chalet it ain’t.  At first glance you are overawed by the huge beams, weathered timber ceilings and brick walls.  But look again and you notice the sleek modern furniture, the sophisticated light fittings and the silk and velvet textures.

It’s the perfect marriage of rough and smooth.

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 1

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 2

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 3

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 6

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 4

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 5

The Rough with the Smooth via Home Adore 7

Would anyone like to be my houseguest?

via Home Adore.

Rural Luxe from John Lewis

October 10th, 2013 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (2 Comments)

Almost everything about this image from John Lewis appeals to me.

John Lewis 2

From the rough textured walls to the shiny chrome shelves.  From the cast iron radiator to the thirties style mirror. From the wooden toothbrushes to the stacks of vintage border towels. But it was the amber coloured jars that I zoomed into first.

And guess what?  There’s a whole range of amber coloured bathroom products that blend retro with utilitarian too.  Rather like old-fashioned apothecary jars don’t you think?

John Lewis rural luxe rangr

Never thought I’d get excited over a toilet brush!

Patterned Tiles in the Bathroom

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by deardesigner in Inspiration - (1 Comments)

I’ve been obsessing a bit about patterned floor tiles lately.  In fact, ever since we photographed the beautiful home of Julie Harkin for the current issue of Heart Home magazine.

Trunk Interiors photographed by Paul Craig for Heart Home mag

Trunk Creative photographed by Paul Craig for Heart Home magazine.

They obviously look at their most stunning when partnered with all-white bathrooms with minimal accessories.  Doesn’t matter if the style of bathroom is traditional or contemporary, both will work from a design point of view.

Jatana Interiors. Photo by Armelle Habib via Sydney Morning Herald

Jatana Interiors photographed by Armelle Habib via Sydney Morning Herald.

They also go incredibly well with white metro tiles on the walls.  Another favourite of mine.  A little touch of wood warms the monochromatic scheme.

Mark Reilly photographed by Peter Medilek via Remodelista

Mark Reilly Architecture photographed by Peter Medilek via Remodelista

Absolutely no need to gild the Lilly.

Millionaire Moment with Savills

August 13th, 2013 | Posted by deardesigner in Houses - (0 Comments)

The house hunt goes on and I have to say not going very well.  The initial idea was a practical one – to become mortgage free.  This means to downsize, or move away from London, neither of which is turning out to be realistic options in truth.  Just because I want to be mortgage free does not mean I want to live in a small box or three hours by train from the big city.

So when the search gets tough I like to indulge in a little ‘Millionaire Moment’ (which programme is that from?  I watch so many!).

Take this Grade II Listed townhouse in Cheltenham for instance.  It ticks so many of my fantasy boxes with its five reception rooms, five bedrooms and three bathrooms.


Believe it or not, this is an en suite.  I would die for a bathroom like this.  I love the original features that have been preserved beautifully.  The shutters, the fireplace, the built-in cupboards, and yet it has been brought bang up to date.


I take it this is the master bedroom.  Such grand proportions.  And look at those deep skirting boards and panelled doors.  Just add french furnishings and colour!


 Is that my future office I can catch a glimpse of beyond the drawing-room?  Yes, drawing-room.  You couldn’t call it anything else in a house like this could you?


Ok, so I’m not so sold on the kitchen.  It’s a bit clinical looking for my tastes but hey, easily changed and that floor is stunning all by itself.

main land

 For anyone not familiar with Cheltenham it became a spa town in 1716, although its popularity flourished after King George III visited in 1788.  Today it offers a very cosmopolitan lifestyle with many street cafes as well as a variety of shops, restaurants and wine bars. It is also well known for the many literary and music festivals that it holds along with the cricket and national hunt festivals, including the Gold Cup meeting in the Spring.  So now you know.

On the market for a cool £1.5m via Savills Cheltenham.

I’ll let you into a little secret – I’ve been house-hunting.

I’m not sure if I’m altogether serious yet.  It would have to be a very special house to tempt me away from my present home, but I have a hankering for something a bit more rural.  Especially as I’m now full-time freelance and don’t have to worry about trains every day.  Have I mentioned that?

I feel a bit like the really unhelpful buyers on the many TV programmes on air (that I cannot stop watching by the way!) where nothing is good enough, nothing is fulfilling all of the criteria and they absolutely refuse to compromise.  And now I know why. It’s a really big thing, moving house and I haven’t attempted it in a very long time.

But if there’s one thing that really, really freaks me out, it’s the truly awful tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms of the houses on sale.  They are so hard to rip out and replace (I know because I have done it many times) and yet, in my mind it is so easy to get it right in the first place.

So please you lovely people, think before you cement those things to your walls.  Here are a few beautiful images to inspire and give you some helpful tips.

winchester tiles 3

Nothing beats a brick shaped tile.  This one is particularly beautiful in a timeless neutral colour and it’s been crackle glazed to make it look aged.  It will still look beautiful and classic twenty years from now especially if teamed with wooden worktops and a country style kitchen.

winchester tiles 2

A similar tile here has been used to cover the walls on the lower half.  This is a very practical application as it is the lower wall that will get marked by chairs, children and pets.

winchester tiles 4

This illustrates how traditional looking tiles can still be used to great effect in a modern bathroom.  The taps are still quite tradtional looking but the basin is very contemporary.  They have a faint metallic finish which complements the black marble very effectively.

winchester tiles 6

And just to prove I’m not entirely against strong colour, I love this.  The trick is to keep the grouting white and to keep everthing else plain.  The ornate shelf brackets are the only other adornment and the white china looks stunning against the dark green.

winchester tiles 5

And no, I’m not against pattern either.  I will say though, if you are going for it, go for it with conviction.  Don’t mix pattern and plain – it’s pattern all the way.  And mixing patterns looks amazing.  I would however stick to one wall, one area around the sink or maybe a patterned floor in a plain room.

All tiles shown are from The Winchester Tile Company.


There’s no doubt about it (unless you live alone) compromises have to be made in the home with regards to style and decoration.  What keeps the girls happy might just have the men screaming for the hills

However, if there’s one room where you can let him have his way, it’s definitely the bathroom.  A clean, modern, streamlined space will suit most couples and it can always be ‘prettified’ on the accessories front.  By stealth is my advice.  A few fancy bottles here, a small vase of flowers there.  Add them slowly and as long as he has his gadgets and toys he won’t even notice (hopefully!)


Sleek bathroom décor via Houzz

So how do you keep him happy?

Get a shower that does more than just pump water.  If it has additional qualities such as separate temperature and flow controls, programmable functions and an optional additional controller, which enables the shower to be operated from a second location he will be more than happy.  Mixer showers by Mira Showers can be programmed to heat up before you get in and even have their own remote control.

Keep him happy in the shower

Install a TV.  Let’s face it; you might like this one too.  An Aquavision TV at the end of the bath is just about everyone’s ultimate luxury and he will thank you forever.

courtney cox via elle decor

Bathroom style that definitely suits both sexes. Courtney Cox’s bathroom via Elle Decor

Keep the colour scheme on the neutral side.  No worries here girls.  If Courtney Cox can do it, so can we.  The dark wood and marble above give the bathroom a decidedly masculine edge even with the addition of the accessories and the flowers and the touches of velvet lend a touch of decadence.

metropolitan home

Perfect twin basins – image via Metropolitan Home.

Find room for twin sinks.  In fact twin sinks, twin mirrors and twin cabinets if you can.  There’s nothing worse than fighting over the basin (or even worse, the mirror) in the morning.  The basins above will suit even the most staunch minimalist and guarantee a stress free morning rush hour.

house to home

Image via House to Home

Don’t forget the shaver socket.  Easily overlooked but essential for him.  Locate it near the mirror naturally.

Last but not least, buy him a waterproof radio so that he can listen to the news while he shaves.  There are lots to choose from on Amazon.  Just try to avoid the ones that look like ducks!


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