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?

I never thought I’d see the day but I’m warming to the idea of using concrete inside the house.

I won’t be getting out the cement mixer just yet but I can now appreciate the raw beauty of a polished concrete floor. The cool smoothness of anything, in this most utilitarian of  surfaces is beginning to filter into my consciousness. And one day, I will be craving a concrete bathtub or a concrete work surface. One day.

Concrete Kitchen via Elle Deco

Floor, wall, and kitchen island. All in polished concrete. It should look hard and cold but that’s not the case. The use of solid black cupboards, shelves and fridge manage to save it from grey drabness. The coordinating pendant lights and stools take it up a notch too to ultra cool. I like it.

Concrete in the Bathroom via boligliv.dk

Who wouldn’t like a bathroom this cool? The clinical white walls and concrete sink are the epitome of  minimalist living but the basket of towels also make it inviting and comfortable. Note the concrete light fitting too. Is there no end of this materials usefulness?

Concrete shelves via Design Milk

Now you might think that concrete shelves and glass and china is a disaster waiting to happen. It might be the case but it does look amazing. I’d love a kitchen, or better yet a larder, where everything is to hand.

Concrete walls via Architectural Digest

Concrete and wood is a match made in heaven. Eminently suitable as a fire surround, the concrete also looks kind of decorative framed by wood. The extra texture in the chairs and rug also make this room warm to look at and dare I say, even cosy.

Concrete walls in the bedroom via boconcept

Even in the bedroom, an industrial looking wall can be juxtaposed with a leather headboard, a knitted throw and a shaggy rug to look inviting and modern all at the same time.

What do you think of concrete in interiors?


Shower Yourself with Luxury

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

We all want to recreate a little hotel luxury in our homes these days, and in particular we would all love our bathrooms to be a little more spa-like and indulgent. With a little planning this is not too difficult to do and so, here’s just a few little design tricks that will make the morning shower ritual just a little more relaxed.

Bathroom Shower via Living etc

Incorporate a walk-in shower if you have the space. Not only does it look better from a design point of view to have the shower the full width of the room, it also gives much more room to move around and alleviates the need for inconvenient doors. In the image above the soap shelf and heated towel rail are conveniently within reach yet out of the water stream. I always find too, that it’s better to dry off before leaving the shower so that you don’t leave a puddle of water to clear up after.

Minimal Shower enclosure via Living etc

Always plan for a recess or shelf for shampoo bottles. There really is nothing worse, or less relaxing than grappling round on the floor with soapy eyes looking for the shower gel. It’s always best to have them at the correct height to start with. The image above also has a lovely minimalist shower enclosure that makes the room look more spacious and this is emphasized by having the wall tiles continue around the room too.

Bathroom wet room via Living etc

You can always opt for a wet room for the ultimate spacious showering experience. It works particularly well in this traditional bathroom with its roll top bath and large chrome showerhead. This is a job for the experts though so always get professional help and under-floor heating is a must to keep the room dry and damp free.

Shower idea via Living etc

If you like the idea of a wetroom but are not sure about having water splashing everywhere there are compromises to be had. The bathroom above has solved this problem by having a narrow glass screen between the shower and the basin, and by continuing the shelf across both areas there is a handy shower seat and also visual continuity. I love this bathroom.

quadrant shower via Living etc

If space is an issue and you really do favour a shower enclosure, a quadrant shower is often a good choice. It takes up less space and there are no sharp corners to bump into. They are deceptively spacious inside too.

Over bath Shower via Living etc

And finally if you have no choice but to put the shower over the bath, choose one with a wider end. The glass screen looks quite unobtrusive and allows the light to flow freely.

What’s your idea of showering luxury?

All images via House to Home.

A Greek Island Guest House

September 9th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Houses - (3 Comments)

Pure escapism today. I admit I am totally obsessed with owning a holiday house on a Greek isle. And this one would be my ideal second home. I love the bare brick walls inside and out, the gorgeous turquoise doors and window frames and the complete absence of frills or clutter. Who wants to spend precious downtime cleaning. This pretty house would be a dream to arrive at. Just drop your bags and head to the beach!

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [1]

What a welcome. And a tantalising glimpse of white painted floors and simple country furniture inside.

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [2]

The turquoise is echoed on that old table and with just a simple linen and lace runner, and a single bloom it is a perfect example of less is more. Note too, the modern white sofa. I like simple but I also like comfort and I would have to have a sofa or two.

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [3]

And who needs a high spec kitchen when most of your food will be prepared and eaten outside? And yet this kitchen has it all including a little bling in the pendant light.

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [4]

Just a basic iron bed, some more lace and a quilt for cooler nights. Perfect.

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [5]

A Greek Island Guesthouse photographed by Carla Coulson [6]

The guest house is available to rent from My Greek Island Home.

Photographs by Claire Lloyd.

A White House in Oslo

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (3 Comments)

I so admire the discipline that creates a beautiful white home like this. Yes, it’s easy enough to paint all of the walls and floors of a house white and fill it with white accessories. But the real skill is in the editing. The paring down of possessions until only the essentials and the extremely beautiful remains.

The home of photographer and stylist Line Kay in Oslo [4]

It’s been edited very skillfully. There is no clutter. Nothing superfluous. Everything has a purpose. Everything is placed precisely for a reason. Everything has room to breathe.

The home of photographer and stylist Line Kay in Oslo [2]

And of course the warmth of the space (because let’s face it some white houses can appear cold) has everything to do with the textures. The furs, the rug, the old wood and the baskets dotted around. Even hanging from the ceiling as pendant lights.

The home of photographer and stylist Line Kay in Oslo [3]

Nothing jars. There are no bright colours to spoil the serenity of white on white.

The home of photographer and stylist Line Kay in Oslo [5]

Everything is tidy and ordered.

The home of photographer and stylist Line Kay in Oslo [1]

And of course it’s the home of a stylist from Norway.

The home of stylist (and photographer) Line Kay via Femina.dk

Every room in the house could do with a little lift every now and again. Especially during the summer months, and the bathroom is no exception. Longer days mean we are showering in the mornings in (hopefully) bright sunlight and even bathing at night with the last of the dying rays. The bathroom should be an uplifting room that helps you face the day and relax at night. So shouldn’t it be bright and summery too?

Fear not, it’s not an expensive exercise to undertake. Especially if you have kept the main components of the bathroom white to start with.

Just add yellow.

Sunny yellow bathroom from Better Homes and Gardens [1]

It’s easy and inexpensive to add a lick of paint to existing furniture. It’s something I’m doing all the time! Then add a few accessories like this stunning stool and soapdish and suddenly your old bathroom is filled with sunshine. I’m loving that yellow leather belt used as a tieback by the way.

Sunny yellow bathroom from Better Homes and Gardens [3]

A yellow and white shower curtain and bathmat have much the same effect. The elephant print is a nice touch and so are the bud vases filled with yellow flowers.

See how easy it is?

Sunny yellow bathroom from Better Homes and Gardens [2]

Of course you can always paint (or paper) the walls above the tiles if you want to make the change a more permanent one. It’s perfectly ok to use wallpaper in a bathroom as long as it is well ventilated, but if you don’t want to risk it there are lots of pretty stencils that will give the same effect. A bit more effort but worth it in the end.

Summer sun in the bathroom via Dear Designers Blog

Sources: Shower curtain from West Elm. Buttercups in a jam jar from Bloom. Bath, heated towel rail, tap, basin and toilet from Bathandshower.com. Bathmat from House of Fraser. Orla Kiely towels from John Lewis. Rubber duck from John Lewis.

All bathroom images from Better Homes and Gardens.

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.

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