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Shower design

Posted on Jul 18, 2014

Just a quick word about this: if you are designing a shower, please please PLEASE think about where all the lotions and potions and shower gels are going to go. So many showers are designed to look all sleek and minimal – which is great – that is, until you actually use the damn thing and there’s nowhere to put anything except in the shower tray/on the floor. Call me a fusspot, but the very best interior design is all about ease and comfort – things you need should always be to hand.

The very best solution is, I think, to have a niche in the wall (if you can) where you can stash everything (and on a slightly more personal note : bonus pints for putting one slightly lower down too so you have somewhere to put your foot when you –  ahem – shave your legs).

If you can’t design your shower with a niche going into the wall, think about sacrificing 5-10cm to have a ledge coming in from the wall. It might mean having a slightly smaller shower but it will ultimately be a better one.

Ok, enough about showers.

Have a fab weekend!

Redloh House and Astrid & Rudolf

Posted on Jul 16, 2014

As I updated my portfolio page on the website yesterday I realised it’s been quite some time since I last posted a blog…. shame on me! I haven’t even given you the low down on my fabulous trips to London last month – which were fun filled days visiting London’s beautiful & best fabric & furniture showrooms as well as quite a few rather swish extra curricular activities. On which – you really must do yourself a huge favour & pop in to Ham Yard Hotel (see my last post) whenever you’re in that part of London. The interior design is fabulous & the atmosphere is buzzing! I treated myself to afternoon tea there & was really rather impressed. A slice of heaven in which to eat your slice of cake (or scone). I dare say it would be a great place for dinner, cocktails or whatever the occasion demanded – so do go & see for yourselves and let me know what you think.

As well as spoiling myself at Ham Yard Hotel – I popped into Redloh House trade showroom to see the charming Nicole Pritchard-Smith and have a look at their beautiful range of fabrics. It is such a beautiful showroom – almost more like a room of a house, as the name would suggest, than a fabric showroom. Pale green-grey shelves line the room onto which stacks of beautiful fabrics are beautifully folded; a large refectory table in the centre of the room  allows you to pull fabrics of the shelves & spread them out so you can mix and match your choices with ease. Flowers, pretty crystal lamps topped with pleated ikat shades and stunning mirrors complete the look. Not a bad place to work!

Nicole, as well as showroom manager, is also the designer behind the beautiful Astrid & Rudolf wallpaper range stocked at Redloh House. Her charming nostalgic prints are inspired by fragments of vintage wallpaper remnants she rescued from her grandparents home in Sweden. It’s a small but beautiful range and perfect for bedrooms or hallways or powder rooms when you’re looking for something genteel, feminine and understated.

Redloh House:

Astrid & Rudolf wallpapers, available from Redloh House:

Home away from home

Posted on Jun 11, 2014

Hotels often claim they want their clients to feel like they’re staying at home away from home. I don’t know about you, but I think the majority of hotels fail to live up to this standard they set for themselves and often it’s because the decor is rather generic. The bedrooms, lobbies and public areas fail to have any personality in a bid to appeal to one and all. Big mistake!

The owners of Firmdale hotels, architect Tim Kemp & his wife interior designer Kit Kemp know that the key to a great hotel is to create a wow factor whilst ensuring rooms maintain a welcoming and comfortable environment. Their beautiful hotels in London (Charlotte St hotel & Covent Garden Hotel being amongst my favourite spots in London) & New York (Crosby Street Hotel – yet to be visited!) are testament to their refreshingly smart approach to hospitality. The latest addition to their portfolio is the Ham Yard Hotel which opened this month. I’m heading to London next week and popping in to have a look (and maybe a little refreshment or two!) is definitely on the agenda.

Kit Kemp is one of my favourite interior designers – I love her quirky fun approach to decor. I greatly admire how she can bring rather jovial and irreverent elements together and create a look which is welcoming, comfortable, smart & chic all at once. If you’re near to Ham Yard why not drop in & see for yourself? I will take some snaps when I go & report back – but for now, here’s a

taster of what’s in store:

The sumptuous library with fantastic floral sofas, eclectic lighting, ikat lampshades, modern art & vintage furniture….

The drawing room, with amazing wall colour (so cosy!), vibrant upholstery and fabulous fireplace & more statement ceiling light fixtures (vintage Bagues ship chandeliers, anyone?)….

And here are a selection of the bedrooms & suites – no generic grey/taupe beige combos here!

High or low or vintage?

Posted on May 30, 2014

Following on from yesterday’s post about steal vs splurge, I got to thinking about budgeting for decorating your home. How much to spend on various items is always a tricky question. Do you always always always go for the very best – and make do without whilst you wait for the funds to make other purchases? Or do you go for a thrifty option – something inexpensive, perhaps from a vintage or junk shop or some other economical option?

Personally I love the thrill of the hunt & the look of a few vintage/junk shop finds thrown in with the high end items to give a room a real, homely & lived in look – although too many junk shop finds and the place can be in danger of looking like… well, a junk shop. A couple of really beautiful big ticket items (a beautiful rug or some exquisite artwork or a fabulous fabric on the upholstery, for example) can really transform a room. On the other hand, everything absolutely top of the range and brand new can sometimes leave rooms looking a little austere or, even worse, like they’re trying too hard.

So a mix of high and low is a great rule of thumb to follow. If budgets are tight, try to think of flat pack furniture as a last resort unless you can somehow cleverly disguise it (skirted tables, for example, are a great way to disguise a less than fabulous piece) – but with so many antique shops, eBay, gumtree, freecycle and various other options out there, I would urge you to take a good look around to see what you find. Often you can find things much cheaper than flat pack offerings, and better quality. Try to look past the colour (things can be repainted very easily) or the handles (also very easy to change) and get creative with your thinking.

I am still on the hunt for a console table for my sitting room, having started looking months ago. Sure, I can find ones I like which are £££, but I’m trying to find something a little easier on the pocket (to justify the splurge on the amazing lamp which will sit on top of it!). I am just going to have to be patient (not one of my best virtues) and hopefully I’ll get lucky soon….!

Home economics

Posted on May 29, 2014

It’s amazing what you can find in the shops when you’re constantly looking at home wares & furnishings. I am always looking – whether it’s in the shops or online, just to see what’s out there & see what catches my eye either for my client projects where I have a specific item in mind or just to file away in the memory banks for future reference. Sometimes it’s good to see what’s out there just for inspiration without any specific purpose in mind.

Whilst researching items for a client recently, I was struck at how many inexpensive options there are around if you have the time to seek them out. These ceiling lights in bright yellow, cool white side tables & fab ceramic trinket boxes are a case in point. Whether it’s end of the month counting the pennies or pay-day splurge, it really is possible to find style at almost any budget.

Splurge: Table, Heal’s;

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Ceiling Light, Original BTC; Ceramic box, Jonathan Adler

Steal: Table, Habitat, Ceiling light, Jim Lawrence; Ceramic box, H&M Home