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A Taste of the Orient

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

A touch of escapism from Tesco Direct this Autumn.

China Girl is a colourful collection of bright bedding and textured accessories with more than a touch of Eastern promise making it very easy and super affordable to give the home an Oriental makeover for autumn.

tescodirect_china girl [1]

Traditional flower and bird print double duvet set, aqua, £18. Manhattan headboard, black, double, £149. Butlers tray table, black, £35. Etched barrel vase, £12. Cylinder fluted bud vase, £3.50.

tescodirect_china girl [2]

Julianne loveseat, velvet, midnight blue £399. Savoy mirror glass occasional table, silver, £129. Butlers tray table, black, £35. Texture chenille cushion, shocking pink, £10. Gatsby cushion, teal, £10. Fan cushion, purple, £14. Butterfly triptych, 20x60cm, £6. Etched barrel vase, £12. Damson and pomegranate candle in a jar, £2.

tescodirect_china girl [4]

Butlers tray, black, £35. Etched barrel vase, £12. cylinder flared bud vase, £3.50. Butterfly triptych 20x60cm, set of three, £6. Damson & pomegranate candle in a jar, £2.

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

One of the highlights of attending LDF for me these days is spotting designers and companies that are either new or have so far alluded me. Quite how I had failed to notice the Kristjana S Williams Studio up until now I’ll never know because her work is not exactly quiet. It is in fact an explosion of colour, strong graphic lines, intricate drawings and all manner of cavorting creatures. Whether it’s a wall mural, an upholstered chair, a cushion or a piece of art, you will see very intricate collages of materials that have been collected from Victorian engravings, photographs, found objects and real leaves and twigs.  A limited selection have been delicately adorned with gold leaf in order to create an utterly desirable and innovative piece of work.

Kristjana S Williams Studio - Red Parrot Tapestry Chair

Kristjana S Williams is first and foremost an artist whose experience spans illustration, interiors, fashion and design.  She is inspired by nature upon nature ‘the symmetry in all things living‘ which stems from her childhood growing up in Iceland.  As a child growing up with a stark landscape, she was always craving colour and natural wonders, and now looking back she admits she can see the true unique beauty in her homeland which adds ever more inspiration.

Kristjana S Williams Studio - Lear Blue Stripe

Kristjana S Williams Studio cushions

Outline-Editions.

Kristjana S Williams Studio - House Plant Wall Mural

Kristjana S Williams Studio

Kristjana S Williams Studio

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 emphasised 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.

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.

Oh for an Orangery

September 15th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Gardens - (6 Comments)

I’m dreaming of an orangery today. Isn’t that what Monday is all about? Dreaming on a large scale? The weekend was warm and sunny but sadly the days are numbered for this indian summer. What will we do when the rain sets in,the wind starts to bite and the garden starts to wither and die?

That’s where the orangery comes in.

from Tricia Guild's Book

First built in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and designed to house citrus trees over winter,  this was not just a greenhouse but a symbol of prestige and wealth and a feature of gardens. Much grander than a humble conservatory these buildings were given a very classical architectural form and would often contain fountains, grottos, and an area in which to entertain in inclement weather.

Orangerie Hotel Belgium

So believe me, these are not just sunrooms with lots of glass and the odd houseplant on the window ledge. They should be tall in stature, with soaring and often arched windows. They should be bursting with large exotic plants rising to the rafters and creating nooks and crannies for lovers trysts, or afternoon tea, or a secret snooze.

Oh, the romance of it.

Orangery via Architectural Digest

I could spend days with my nose in a book lounging on a chaise. Or dabble with some watercolours. Or entertain guests to breakfast using the best silver, or cocktails at sundown. Or I could potter with a trowel in hand, planting bulbs and training the fuchsias. The possibilities are endless!

Axel Vervoordt

But let’s not get too carried away. The pragmatist in me should warn you that this is not a job for a diy’er. Creating your own bespoke orangery requires some specialist knowledge and expertise. And although hardwood is the preferred choice for me personally aluminium orangeries are particularly resilient in British weather.

I still just love the romance of it.

Images 1|2|3|4

There’s a new company launching next month my lovelies who will be offering high quality and beautifully designed sofas, armchairs, footstools and living room accessories exclusively for sale online. Every Arlo & Jacob sofa is made from start to finish by just one person and then delivered to customers doors with a no questions asked returns policy and a lifetime guarantee on all furniture frames which certainly takes the risks and worry out of ordering without leaving the house.

The Darcy by Arlo & Jacob - www.arloandjacob

The Darcy from £1,295

The Elton by Arlo & Jacob - www.arloandjacob

The Elton from £735

The Knightly by Arlo & Jacob - www.arloandjacob

The Knightly from £930

The Pembroke by Arlo & Jacob - www.arloandjacob

The Pembroke from £895

Nick Wasey, the Managing Director says, “I’m delighted to be previewing these four designs. We’re immensely proud of them and we hope you’ll love them too. Each of the pieces, penned by West Country based designer Ian Archer and crafted in our factory in Long Eaton, is a reinterpretation of our favourite shapes that reflects our ethos: sofas for life that last a lifetime.”

The Darcy has to be my favourite but all four look to be exceptionally well designed and very good value for money. I think they must be on to a winner.

Launching in October 2014.

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.

If there’s one piece of furniture in the house that has to fulfil many functions, it has to be the humble bedside table. I know I deliberated for a long time over what style to choose in my own home. It not only has to fit in with the style of the bedroom and look amazing but it has to hold so many things!

So what style do you choose and what do use your nightstand for?

Kerrisdale Design Inc

If you are the kind of person who likes a tidy house it’s always a good idea to choose furniture with drawers. That way you can tuck out of sight all of the things that you don’t need to see on display. The bedside table above even has a handy shelf to add a basket of magazines which is a fabulous idea and leaves room on the top for the current book, reading lamp, telephone and a pretty vase of flowers. Hanging pictures above the table is also a good way of making a feature of this lovely corner.

Better Homes and Gardens

Sometimes it’s even better to replace the bedside table with a full size chest of drawers especially if your bedroom lacks space. It can then do double duty and there is also so much more room on the top for those things you need by your side during the night. I little trinket tray is a good idea for storing jewellery and rings too.

Little Greene Paint Co

And speaking of double duty. By choosing a table that has room underneath you can easily add a chair and you have an occasional desk too. I like the addition of the candle. So romantic!

Paul Massey

If you know you can stick to a minimalist scheme you have much more choice when it comes to choosing your nightstand. As long as there is room on the surface for the essentials and perhaps a glass of water and a personal memento or two. Of course, the one above could be hiding all manner of things under that wooden top!

House and Garden

So what do you keep on your bedside table?

For a large selection of bedside tables try Furniture UK. Fluted zinc planters that can be used as bedside tables can be found at Cox & Cox. Similar wood and oak swings are available at The Oak & Rope Co.

Image credits: 1|2|3|4|5

The White Company General Store

August 29th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Shopping - (0 Comments)

I’ve long been a fan of  The White Company, so when I heard that they were launching a range of timeless classics my heart went pitter patter. You can find them in a new section of the website titled ‘General Store‘ and I think you’ll love them as much as I do. The perfectly simple pieces, from the company’s 20 year heritage, are designed to be used in every room of the home, adding a little touch of luxury that will never date.

The White Company General Store [1]

The White Company General Store [3]

The White Company General Store [2]

And of course you can find them in store too.

Don’t you just love them?

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