Monthly Archives: September 2011

Interior inspiration from Decorex

It’s amazing how a small amount of progress on the ground can spur you to thinking about all the finer points of interior decorating. I was inspired after my visit to Decorex on Monday.  Decorex is the UK’s show for architects and interior professionals where we all go to get inspiration, to see the latest interior trends and talk to new and existing suppliers.

The grounds of Chelsea Hospital are transformed with the installation of a large marquee and trade stands. We had a great day and met with many existing suppliers who were launching new editions to their already stunning interior selections. And found new suppliers with amazing things to offer.

Here are some of my favourites:

who could resist this London bus rug


 Getting lighting right can transform a room

Interior Lighting

I love this

wall treatments can be amazing

An alternative to a boring stair carpet

Add colour to your stairs with a runner

I went a bit dotty over these carpets and runners

A dotty runner

Choose paint colours with care to make the best use of your interior space

Paint colours of the world

For more of my inspiration,  or to dicsuss a project call Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

Managing a design, build and renovation project

Can this weather get any better – we are so blessed with having a dry spell in which to get our build up and out of the ground. Work has now begun on the block work and once the finished level has run through to tie in with the existing cottage then it should start to go up quite quickly.

Perparing for the block work

We’ve been tying in all the existing drainage to the new pipe-work which will run our new utility/boot room and the bathrooms. Now that this is complete progress should happen apace and each day will bring a new level.

Another delivery of bricks and blocks

Rutland design and build project

The first course of block work goes up

arrived this morning so the boys next door will be thrilled watching the hiab arm unload with such precision. They make it look so easy.

My husband, Peter, and I went to Decorex, the trade show for interior designers and architects, on Monday. This was a buying trip for clients but also offered a wealth of ideas for us too. I was keen to make some decisions on flooring, lighting and switches. Recessed ceiling lights are easy to place but I wanted some more unique lights for our new kitchen and bathroom.

Choosing bathroom lighting

We have an Art Deco basin and pedestal which I want to incorporate in the new bathroom so getting lighting to match is quite a challenge, but I think we are nearly there. I also needed a hall light for a client where we are mixing contemporary furnishings with more traditional pieces to tie back into the architecture of the house.

Choosing lighting for an older property with a contemporary feel

This is something I love to do as I often think the architecture of a house speaks to you and simply adding contemporary pieces, without a reference back to the history of the place, is soul destroying. This too was resolved so we are all happy and moving forward with our various projects.

If you need some help or support with your own design, build or renovation project give me a ring for an informal chat or to arrange an on-site meeting. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973 843020. I work countrywide but especially on interior and garden design projects throughout Rutland, Stamford and Lincolnshire.

A beautiful day on our Rutland design, build and renovation project

We woke up to a beautiful Autumn morning today. The sun was streaming in through the window and, more importantly, our building works were bathed in light. The sun was sending patterns of light through the orange safety

Planning the garden design at our Rutland design, build and renovation project

A beautiful day on our design, build and renovation project

netting and this was bouncing off the concrete footings which were poured yesterday.

There I was with my camera getting all excited about the second delivery of concrete when I spotted our neighbours’ 3 year old son gazing at the works too – our faces had a similar look of excitement. Quite sad I know but after all the digging out it’s lovely to see the first pouring of concrete which will create the base from which our new home will be built.

Today’s task is to get the drainage channels in and all the pipe work connected. It’s so brilliant being on site as I can check the finer points as we go along so nothing should get missed. Design and build project RutlandIt now transpires we will have to have a man hole where I envisaged a section of nice paving leading into our new utility/boot room so I quickly stepped in to request a recessed drain which I can pave over so that it almost becomes invisible.

Concrete fills the footings on our Rutland design, build and renovation project

 It’s these little details which will make the difference between a good build and a brilliant build so it was great to be able to act before any decisions were made (and costs attached) to get what we want.

I showed the builders a potential water feature which we will be installing in the newly built retaining wall and they loved it.

A potential water feature to incorporate in the garden design

We’re already talking about how we’ll get the water pipes in and we’re no where near that stage yet but pre-planning is the to key success in my book.

If you have a design, build or renovation project which you need some help or support with, then do get in touch: Alison Tel: 01572 747318 or Mobile: 07973 843020.

Rutland design, build and renovation project

What a beautiful day it has turned out after last night’s rain. Luckily the rain seemed to pass over Morcott in Rutland and our digging out has remained pretty dry which is fantastic news as the last thing we wanted was to be trailing mud around the site.

Digging out the footings in our design and build project

John, our digger man, was with us bright an early again and his skill with a digger is quite superb. I stood and watched as he used the huge bucket just as we would a pair of hands, gently teasing the spoil and rubble out of the ground and even managing to save some interesting shaped brown glass bottles. We unearthed a small branch of original stone wall and I failed to see how he was going to dig the fence post which was at the side of it out without disturbing it but he seemed so confident it could be done – and it was. The wall has a lovely stone coping which I’m going to incorporate into the garden design. I’m a real believer in not ripping everything out and starting again but in working with the narrative of the site to incorporate the old with the new. I have such visions for the finished result and am so excited to see it all coming into play.

A beautiful dry day to make good progress on digging out

After our rather trying incident with a small minded villager who had reported us to the local authority for fly tipping in the village, we are back on track. They had accused us of fly tipping by the village allotments as we were using an area of hard standing to stack soil and rubble before the garb lorry came to pick it up. We have been storing and disposing of 39 tonnes of soil and rubble a day using branded vehicles so we’d be pretty stupid if we were trying to pull off a stunt like fly tipping in our own village – and within 50m of our build! For us, it made so much more sense to use this hard standing are by a local farmer’s field, especially as he had already drilled the field for winter and was happy for us to do so.  In this way we weren’t blocking the road when the grab lorry was loading which we felt was a benefit to the village. Our complainer obviously didn’t feel that way – well you can’t please all the people all the time!

the skill of John, our digger driver, is amazing

Our footings go in tomorrow so we’ll have even more excitement. To follow our progress keep checking the blog or if you need some help or support with your own design or build project do get in touch. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020. I work throughout Rutland, Stamford and Lincolnshire.

Diary of a build and renovation project

We bought our 19thcentury cottage in Morcott, Rutland just over a year ago and work is just beginning on its transformation.

Day one of our build and rennovation project and the digger is on site

I have resisted the urge to rip down all the woodchip and expose the mould underneath and have wrestled with my desire to take a hacksaw to the ceiling to see if there really are supporting beams lurking underneath – gosh I hope so. But as of today we are living in a war zone! The builders are with us and anything that isn’t nailed down is fair game for change.

We are starting with an extension which will extend our existing kitchen and master bedroom and create a living kitchen downstairs and bedroom with ensuite and dressing area above. We are also adding a utility so that at last Willow, our black Labrador, will have a space for her bed and no longer have to sleep in the downstairs shower tray!

Our builder arrived bright and early at 8am this morning – just as he had

We've removed the face from our wall to reclaim the stone and work is about to begin

promised – a good start me thinks! He is working to reduce the levels outside and will then set about digging the footings. I took myself off to Glee, the trade show for Horticulturalists, for the day and came back to a garden 13 tonnes of soil and rubble lighter. He’s estimating we have another 13 tonnes to come out tomorrow and Wednesday too. But it’s so exciting. I already know what the layout of each room will be as I designed the extension and then, alongside our architect, we mapped it out so that the roof line worked and we made the most of the available space.  I know just what size the fridge and cooker have to be to work between the windows and just how large the bin can be to fit within the

Excavations for the curved retaining wall which forms part of the new terrace

new cupboard which will be where the existing kitchen radiator is. But all this is a long way off. Suddenly it all feels a lot closer to me and I’m so excited.

Join me on this journey as I create my blog to show you how we’re progressing. Or if you have a home or garden project and need some help or advice get in touch, I work countrywide on interior design and garden design projects. Tel: 01572 747318, 07973843020.

How do I work with an interior Designer?

As the weather turns cooler our thoughts naturally turn to our homes and making them cosy for the winter. Working with an interior designer can help you transform your home  and build your confidence in using colour and pattern.

Whether you have a large or small home you want it to look right for you. Working with a designer does not have to be a costly or scary event. I work with clients in large and small houses to help them transform them into the homes they have always wanted. The process can often save them money in the long term as they decorate once and live with the results for years to come, perhaps adding a new piece every few years to keep the look updated.

If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and the architecture of your home and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

I love to mix contemporary styles and furnishings with antiques. If you want your interior to be timeless, and yet up to date in terms of current colour trends and styles, let me take the strain away from you and find the pieces for you. I will present a personalised range for you to choose from which complements your own furniture and furnishings.  Decorating in this way allows the interior to reflect your life and the way you live.

With my help and professional expertise you will make the right decisions and transform rooms into classic interiors full of timeless elegance. This is particularly evident in my kitchen designs where you want to feel relaxed and comfortable but for the practicality of cooking to work for you and your family too.  In this way a home looks lived in despite the decorator only having completed the project last week.

I will understand what you are looking for, the quality and standard you expect and deliver a personal choice for you. This might be a mood board specifically designed for your room incorporating the colour scheme, all fabrics, furniture and lighting with samples of each. These help you capture the entire look of a room so that whether I project manage its implementation or you take it on yourself you have all references to hand.

I will blend the different styles of your current interior using existing pieces and supplementing with custom made pieces or by reupholstering your cherished items.

Show me what you’d like changing using my initial consultation meeting at a cost of just £100. Telephone to book an appointment now:  01572 747318 or 07973 843020

or email me:

what jobs should I do in the garden this month ? September

This is a glorious time in the garden but the work can’t stop – tidy up now and prepare for the year ahead and you’ll reap the benfits next year.  Gardeners seem to embrace the routine of garden work, after all it is the pattern which runs through the year and without which inspiration would falter and imagination stall.

Sculpture at Burghley House, in Stamford, provides inspiration

If you spotted some gaps in your borders and took photos to remind you of when and where the gaps appeared you are a step ahead. If not, plant pot grown asters, phlox and rudbeckia in the gaps now and they will have filled out for next summer.

Or sow hardy annuals directly into the borders in some freshly drilled soil. They will provide an early display next summer.

Begin to dry off large pots of tender plants such as agapanthus and fuchsias. We lost a lot of agapanthus last winter so ensure you dry pots well and set aside – it can be sitting with their toes in water rather than the cold that kills them.

Prune climbing roses cutting out the oldest stems at ground level. Tie in new growth as near horizontal as possible to encourage flower buds next year.

prune climbing roses now

Buy Spring flowering bulbs – you can never have enough bulbs they brighten even the dullest day. I have stocks of tulips and alliums. Call or email for more information on my current favourite planting combinations.

Add to your borders now to fill gaps next year

Plant new climbers, shrubs and evergreens while the soil is still warm.


Now is the time to net your pond – not to stop the heron but to catch the leaves before they fall.

Vegetable garden

Keep harvesting courgettes. I made a fantastic courgette and lemon dish with dill and capers for vegetarians visiting us last night. I’m sorry to say the rest of our guests devoured a lot of meat (all local though!)

If you haven’t already done so lift your main crop potatoes

Add a fleece tunnel to keep the ground warm and sow winter salads. It’s amazing how easy it is and so delicious to pick a handful of fresh leaves for a sandwich in the depths of winter.

Plant new strawberries now to keep your patch productive

Plant new strawberries. A strawberry plant has about 3 years productive life so continually replanting is the way to keep your patch productive year after year.

I like to clear the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean in September. I know I can leave plants outside for a night or two without them coming to harm so I empty everything, give it a thorough scrub and light a sulphur candle over night to disinfect the whole greenhouse.