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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.

From the portfolio of Kathryn Scott Design Studio based in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

A Parisian townhouse that is the epitome of serenity, harmony and simplicity using a restrained palette of cool greys and whites, clean lines and luxury fabrics.

Kathryn Scott Design - ParisianTownhouse

Those soaring ceilings may have looked out of proportion had it not been for the clever use of panelling and the oversized art. The generous curtains and thick pile rug add softness and the black touches act as a welcome contrast to the otherwise limited colour scheme.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 2

A glimpse of the garden terrace from the breakfast table suggest that the classical styling and calming symmetry carries on outside.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 3

Highly polished wood adds warmth and the curved base of the table breaks up all of the straight lines elsewhere.

Kathryn Scott Design - Parisian Townhouse 5

Lovely curves.

Kathryn Scott Design - ParisianTownhouse 4

And so it carries on into the bedroom. No superfluous details, just a meticulous attention to detail.

Sometimes less, really is more.

Creating a living room scheme that will stand the test of time is not as difficult as you think. It’s just a question of investing in good quality basic items that will last for years and then adding a few ‘fashionable’ or seasonal accessories. These can be the home decor equivalent of costume jewellery. You’re not going to keep them forever so don’t spend a fortune on them and it won’t matter if you take them to the charity shop six months later.

Timeless. Simple, fresh and bright living room scheme via Dear Designer's Blog

1. It’s always worth investing in a good quality rug. If you choose a patterned one, I would always advise keeping the rest of the scheme quite plan and let the rug be the star of the show.

2. Invest also, in the sofa and armchairs. If you choose a classic design that will not date it will last forever. I would never, ever advise buying a patterned sofa. You will get fed up with it very quickly and it will soon go out of fashion.

3. Mix up the styles and era’s of the furniture you choose. That way it will never look stuck in a time warp.

4. Swap your cushions with the seasons. The room will always look fresh.

5. Have just enough accessories on show. They don’t have to all be on display at the same time. Keep some in the cupboard and occasionally change them around.

6. Display seasonal flowers. Even if you like the silk variety (the ones above are artificial) put them away once they are out of season and use something else instead.

Sources: Main Image, NB Design Group. Cushion, The Starling Store. Armchair, John Lewis. Silk Flowers in Vase, Bloom. Coffee Table, Marks and Spencer.  Side Table, Heals. Rug, Marks and Spencer.

If there’s one thing I love to do on the blog, it’s to demonstrate that you don’t  need oodles of money to create a stylish home. Yes, we all like to splash out once in a while and sometimes that expensive chandelier or that designer sofa is the only one that will do. And that’s ok. But most of us can only afford to do that occasionally, and in the meantime the high street is a goldmine if you choose carefully.

This sophisticated living space is the work of  Robson Rak Architects but it’s very easy to emulate if you stick to a few rules.

High Style on the High Street

1. Stick to a restrained colour palette. Grey always looks smart and the black touches help to frame the room effectively and give some contrast. The accents of yellow only make up about 10% of the colour in the room and the yellow used is a very soft shade instead of acid yellow.

2. Keep pattern to a minimum or avoid it altogether. The colour blocked curtains add enough visual interest here and you are less likely to tire of them in a couple of seasons.

3. Remember to add texture and touches of luxury. Rugs are a really good way of adding texture but don’t forget soft velvet cushions always look and feel luxurious, and a woollen throw is an added layer of comfort.

4. Don’t be tempted to add too many accessories. A few books, a vase of flowers and a couple of mementoes are all you really need in this sitting room. Any more would add clutter and detract from the overall sophistication of the scheme.

High Street sources: Curtain Pole, John Lewis. Hanging Lantern, Next Home. Metal Tablelamp, Habitat. Designers Guild Throw, Amara. Coffee Table, Nest. Sofa, Heal’s. Textured Rug, Westelm. Cushion, Oka Direct.

It’s not often that you come across a home that you could just move into without changing a thing. This loft apartment in Portland, Australia just happens to be one of them for me.  The interior was designed by Jessica Helgerson and it has maintained its original warehouse heritage but with an abundance of exotic eclectic elements, Moroccan rugs, heavy linens and a smattering of mid-century pieces.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 1

 Well let’s break it down shall we? Painting a ceiling black is a very brave move but here it works because of the height and because it is, after all a space with an industrial past. It helps to make a large open plan space cosy. The Moroccan rug warms up that polished concrete (again, so right in a loft space) floor and the wrap around seating and the bookshelves turn this seating area into a very social space. Don’t you just want to get up and wander over to those shelves and have a browse?

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 2

Where to put the TV is a problem for us all and I like how it is positioned just above this floating sideboard as if it were just another piece in the collection of books, candles and souvenirs. The sideboard too is interesting. Something more modern here would have looked out-of-place but this design using wood and metal blends well with all of the other elements in the room. And have I mentioned that huge chunk of wooden coffee table? So beautiful.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 3

 The kitchen again marries that industrial edge with raw materials and glamorous sophistication. The white tiles are my all time favourites and see that chandelier? I’ve just hung one very similar in my sitting room at home. And the chairs? They are vintage Eames DKW leather chairs and I want them!

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 4

And last but not least for me, the bedroom. Restrained and tasteful. A felt rug instead of a headboard adds drama, pattern and colour whilst the bedside table is simplicity itself.

When can I move in?

More images via Est Magazine

Photographs by Lincoln Barbour

A Muted Colour Palette

March 31st, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (0 Comments)

I was asked to choose an image at the weekend that portrayed my ideal room. How hard can that be with thousands of favourites on my pinterest boards? Or so I thought. In fact it took far too long to choose. Yes, I have thousands pinned, but to choose just one that summed up everything that I would wish for was harder than I thought.

In the end I opted for this one from the portfolio of stylist Kim Timmerman.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman

It might not be my favourite tomorrow, but for now I would be quite happy to snuggle up on that sofa with a good book, sip coffee, nibble biscuits and just enjoy the abundant light.

What makes if so appealing?

I think it has a lot to do with the light. The muted colour palette where nothing shouts too loud. The texture of the rug. And the built-in shelves where I could spend hours arranging and re-arranging to my hearts content.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 3

The rest of the house isn’t too bad either. The same colour palette carries on into the kitchen and so does the northern light. It just has to be in Scandinavia.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 2

I love a good collection and this would be a great place to work.

And this moodboard just about sums up why the colours work.

A Muted Palette from the portfolio of Kim Timmerman 4

Concrete, metal, glass, porcelain and wood. Greys, white, silver and brown.

Yes for now I love these colours, surfaces and textures.

Tomorrow will be another day.

I think it must be true that all artist’s have beautiful homes.

This one belongs to Marcella Kaspar and her architect husband Mark Cooper who gambled on buying a dilapidated house in the seaside suburb of Coogee, Australia. The old house was demolished and they built a new home around a central courtyard and pool.  But it was the charcoal walls that first drew me in and the way they are the perfect backdrop for Marcella’s work.  And then it was the crystal and glass. And then it was the colours.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 2

The cushions on the linen sofa were stitched by the artist from Japanese fabrics and the colours perfectly compliment the peony painting, the crystal droplets and the glass on the coffee table, but none of it looks contrived. It just happens to be a collection of loved objects. Or so it seems.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 3

The kitchen also, if you take each of the individual elements, shouldn’t work. The pale wood of the kitchen table, bench and pendant lights should be at odds with the crystal chandelier, the glossy ceiling and the ornate dining table. Yet they all seem to work together.

The dark walls and the absence of any bright colours just seem to pull it all together.

An Artists House in Australia via Living Design 1

I think the old lesson of buying what you love, and it will somehow work, couldn’t be more true.

Images via Living Design 

Of course I can’t move into a new house without creating new schemes! I’ve been toying with moodboards for the sitting room as it’s the room most in need of a re-think. I have some existing items that I do want to keep and I have plans for the tv wall that will have to wait for now as it will involve bespoke shelving. So, my shopping list at the moment is for a window treatment, new sofa, new rug, new coffee table and a pendant light. Oh, and I will have an existing armchair recovered in a gorgeous warm yellow. Not too extravagant I think.

Sitting Room Moodboard 1 - Dear Designers BlogSitting Room Moodboard 2 - Dear Designers BlogWest Elm coffee table - Dear Designers Blog

What do you think?

Not too sure about the wallpaper.

Sources: Next sofa. B & Q pendant light. Kelly Hoppen wallpaper via Graham & Brown. Etsy yellow cushion. Framed black and white photographs from Made.com. Karndean aged oak flooring. Plantation shutters from Stylish Shutters. Tray table from Wayfair. BHS chevron lampshade. Souk wool rug from Westelm. Cushion stack and black and white cushion from Niki Jones. Silver pedestal table from Chandeliers and Mirrors. Black Kartell lamp from John Lewis. Coffee table from West Elm.

There’s something about the lull between Christmas and New Year that encourages relaxation. I must admit that I have been taking advantage of the extended holiday to escape to my own cosy corner as often as possible before January is upon us. It’s going to be a busy one with magazine deadlines, photo shoots, a trade show and moving house, so you can imagine I need all the rest I can get!

So what makes a cosy corner especially cosy?

Cosy Corners via trendenser.se

A comfy armchair for one. It can also be a corner of the sofa, a hammock, a chaise, anything that encourages lounging. A footstool will make it even more relaxing.

Cosy Corners via livethemma.ikea.se

A plump cushion. Or as many as you like. You want the effect of being cocooned.

Cosy Corners via megbiram

A blanket for cuddling up in when it gets especially chilly. It will also ward off any draughts.

Cosy Corners via sortofpink.blogspot.fi

A handy table for balancing the cup of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wine. Whatever takes your fancy.

Cosy Corners via stilinspiration.blogspot.co.uk

A well positioned lamp for reading and to make the cosy corner even more cosy.

Napping is obligatory.

Images: Trendenserlivethemma.ikeamegbiramsortofpinkmyparadissi

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