Monthly Archives: November 2010

Local Designer now on our doorstep

Many of you will be familiar with Alison Hutchinson’s gardening columns which we have featured in Rutland Living and our sister magazine Stamford Living for almost 10 years. Alison trained in garden design at Reading University and after running a successful interiors store alongside Belton garden centre, opposite the National Trust’s Belton House in Grantham, she bolted interior design onto her successful garden business. She now offers a complete service for the home and garden.

Alison has recently moved back into Rutland, buying a property in Morcott, so we asked her about her recent house move and what she has in store for the home and garden.

We are still in the early stages of our move but I have a picture in my head of what our new home will be like when I’ve worked some magic upon it. My interior style tends to be a mix of traditional styling with contemporary touches thrown in. I love to mix antiques with contemporary furniture and lighting. If they are mixed in the right way then some of the absolute bargains to be picked up at the antique centres and auctions can make a real statement. I’m trying to resist the desire to create a real ‘country living’ style interior but opt for clean lines and some colour. I’ve spent 10 years living with neutrals and now feel I want to add some colour – I may even paint all my cream furniture dusky grey – a colour I think will be a trend over the coming year.

We have inherited a lovely garden with a mature walnut tree but I want to add some real structure to it. There is no sense of the space being divided and instead you can see the whole garden if you stand at one end. For me secret spaces and hidden seats make a garden feel more spacious. I’m a great plant collector: I can’t do minimalist but instead opt for large blocks of plants which I then repeat throughout the garden. This helps to create a feeling of continuity and keeps maintenance down. By planting deep borders filled with plants you reduce weeding as the weeds don’t have a chance to get established – a technique I use in many client gardens. If gardens are planted like this they can be low maintenance but also be filled with life and colour year round.  I love autumn and spring – my two favourite seasons – so I like to have some colour at both times of the year so I can tempt people to come out and enjoy the garden.

I’ve also left a very productive vegetable garden at my old house so getting that re-established is something of a priority too. And then I need to leave time to brush up on my sailing skills – being so close to Rutland water it would be criminal not too, don’t you think!

To book an appointment with Alison telephone her on: 07973 843020 or to see examples of her work visit

The above article was appeared in Rutland Living.

Planting by the moon

No I don’t mean that you have to don your wellies in the dark but there is a big movement that believes that planting in tune with the lunar cycle has a real benefit on what you grow. I’ve been testing it out and although not entirely scientific (in fact my evidence is not at all scientific but don’t tell) there does seem to be something in it.

Mature fruit trees add real impact to this Rutland garden

With this in mind today was the day to plant fruit trees. Does anyone need an excuse really? Think of all that luscious fruit in the years to come. My favorites are espalier trees as they make it so easy to pick fruit once the tree is mature and take up so little space. I have a desire for a goblet pear tree, maybe when the new garden is on the drawing board I will find space to fit one in. Until then perhaps a step over apple will have to do.

Changing trends

It’s that time of year: your linen trousers are put away until next year (unless you have a hot holiday planned for the winter – I wish!) and your boots and wellies are sitting by the back door. It’s the same you’re your interior too: autumn has arrived. The chimney sweep has been booked, the log store refilled and my linen cushions have been put away. I need to hunker down and get ready for autumn nights by adding warmer colours to my home to make it feel ultra cosy.

Of course, I have an excuse for all this change as we have just moved house: but it’s also the time of year that the fabric houses launch their new fabrics and wallpapers so you have an excuse to make some changes too.

Key trends coming through this autumn

Tribal: includes prints and shapes inspired by far away places but also has a contemporary edge. Get the look using bold colour and shapes and flower power images.

Modern Country: a stripped back natural look which works just as well in the city as in the country. Mix creams, wood and natural fibres with a hint of this season’s green.

Pop culture: fabulous statement pieces mixed with stark minimalism – think black and white and retro prints.

Powder room: mix powder tones of pink and orange with black for a striking contrast. Use black accessories in curtain poles and lamps to add drama to an otherwise pastel room.

Urban gloss: use soft fabrics and bold patterns to contrast with gloss paint and shiny details.

Handmade: create warmth and relaxation using natural tones and textures.

Good craftsmanship has always been important when buying furniture and this season is no different so use furniture as a focal point in a room.  Occasional furniture, covered in a striking fabric, can make the difference between a good interior and an exceptional interior.  But remember quality and longevity are more important than looks alone and only buy pieces which you love and you know will fit into more than one room allowing you to ring the changes.