Monthly Archives: March 2011

Home Interior Design Ideas

What are you giving up for Lent? And have you managed to keep your New Year resolutions?

Many of us will be giving up chocolate with the same hope of success that our pledge to get fitter or to de-clutter had at New Year.

I can’t really help with the giving up or getting fitter part but here’s some simple solutions to get a wardrobe, a room or your entire home in order.

Start with a small area – maybe an area that really bothers you.  If you start with something that is very visible or that you use often, you will feel wonderful once it’s done and be motivated to carry on.

Select a small area of your interior and concentrate your eforts

Focus on one area at a time – don’t get distracted and pulled into other areas.

To stay motivated you need to make it a habit.  So, for example, try to sort through your mail as soon as you get home. Try to touch each piece of paper just once and then make the decision right then and there: what you need to keep, bin or action later.

Set a realistic time limit – maybe you have an hour, so tackle the boots and shoes in the hall cupboard and then the next day you can do the coats.

With a large area or room – have five different boxes or bags.  Label them – TO KEEP IN ROOM – STORE SOMEWHERE ELSE – CHARITY – BIN and REPAIR.  Once they are filled, take care of them quickly.  I load the charity items in to the car and next time I’m out I drop them off.  You won’t miss them, and someone else will be thankful for your generosity.

Move items to the place where you use them the most, for example, rain mac by the front door.

Try to be ruthless with regards to your clothing. The familiar rule of “if you haven’t worn it in a year then you aren’t going to wear it”, holds true with one exception – formal wear.  I make four different piles for my clothes – TO KEEP, TO REPAIR OR ALTER, TO GIVE AWAY and TO BIN.  Again action the items quickly so there is no second guessing.

A tidy interior design or garden design studio makes work a pleasure

If you are still feeling overwhelmed maybe it’s time to ask a well organized friend for help or hire a professional organiser or decorator.  You won’t regret it. 

I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home so get in touch if I can help.


There’s a vet in me somewhere!

This week I have been on a high.

I arranged to meet a shepherd in rather a panic as I was already past my deadline on an article I was due to write for Stamford Living. I’ve just started writing a new monthly series on living the good life.  This is how the magazine described the new series: I’m not sure Alison would say she lives the good life, although she gave up a high profile corporate job when she had her daughter and later started her garden and interior design business.  But I do know it would take a lot to get her to go back into corporate life. Over the coming months she’ll meet with other local people who have turned to an alternative way of making an income.

For over 10 years I’ve lived in Lincolnshire, and now Rutland, and have met some wonderful people who have had many and varied careers and then given it all up to follow a passion. In my new series I’m hoping to introduce some of them.

The second in my series was a meeting with Jamie Wild from Red Hill Farm, near Barrowden in Rutland.

I'll never make a wildlife photographer

He showed me around and I even saw a lamb being born which was magical. I was chilled to the bone, despite my thermals (well a girls got to do,what a girls got to do!), when he casually threw into the conversation that I could deliver the next lamb. Well that wasn’t in my plan. Am I squeamish? I’ve never really had an opportunity to find out, but I was about to. So before I knew it I was taking off my jewellery and doing my thing. I’ll spare you the details, needless to say soap and water were required! But oh I came away with such a buzz. My little lamb was a darling thing and as I left was bonding with mother and big sister and all were doing well. Will I still eat lamb? Definitely if it’s from Red Hill Farm.

Terrible quality photo but you didn't want to see the gore did you!


Antiques they’re greener

For a long time I’ve been writing about how to mix old or antique furniture with more contemporary pieces to create a more eclectic look in your home. Well now I have another reason for buying antiques: they’re greener.

It's all in the detail

After years of falling prices antiques are now as cheap as they have ever been withwhat is often called brown furniture selling for very low prices. Don’t get me wrong, antiques can still be investment pieces, the good Gillows, Liberty and Chippendales are still commanding exceptional prices, and good quality Georgian and Victorian pieces are still making good money at auction.  But it can be cheaper to buy an antique piece, than its flat pack equivalent, and importantly it will hold its value. And what is really important is that this is a greener option too. During the 1980’s elegant mahogany and oak furniture saw something of a renaissance in the auction houses as we clamored to fill our houses with period pieces but in the 1990s and 2000s we started looking to the future. Scandinavian design was very much in fashion and we moved away from ‘brown furniture’.  A few of us still sold these pieces, often hand painted to emulate the Scandinavian look but flat pack and the rise of Ikea seemed to take over.

It may not be fashionable, but i've always loved 'brown' furniture

I now think we will see a shift away from flat pack furniture, not least because you can now pick up a well made, solid wood piece which will last for another 100 years or more for the equivalent price and it’s greener too. The energy and materials needed to make it have already been used so its impact on the planet and our precious resources is negligible. Your modern flat pack furniture uses new wood and energy to manufacture it, it’s probably made of particle board, fibre board and polyurethane/acrylic paint, it uses petroleum products and energy and will last 5 – 50 years if you’re lucky.

So if you’re looking to a brighter, greener future, take a look at what’s on sale at our local auction houses and antique centres. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll come to love a little piece of history in your home.