Monthly Archives: November 2012

How do I add warmth to my home?

 

It’s that time of year: the sky is filled with beautiful low light and frosts and cobwebs mist the air. It makes me feel I have to change my interior to reflect the weather outside and I don’t mean getting out drab colours. We all need to inject some light and life into our interiors at this time of year.

If you are thinking of redecorating in time for Christmas, you need to get your skates on. If you want to order new furniture, a sofa or bed for instance, then you only have a short window before the major retailers will close their books to orders. No one likes to let a customer down at this time of year so they have a cut off point for orders to prevent disappointment. Independent retails can often be more flexible than the major high street names so do check when their last order dates are.

To create a feeling of warmth you need to layer textures and fabrics in your interior. If you have a leather sofa then add cushions in different fabrics, wool and chenille etc to create movement. A throw placed over the arm of a chair can create a comforting look and can inject a new colour to the room. Use this as a starting point for injecting colour into an otherwise bland interior. Pick up on the colour within accessories and perhaps lighting too. It’s quite fashionable to have coloured shades on lamps at the moment and I think these look best if you choose drum shades – the ones with the perfectly straight sides, just like a drum. These now come with alternative metallic colours on the inside which adds light.

A room can also be altered dramatically by smell, temperature and lighting. It is amazing how easily you can alter the ambience of a room by introducing minor details like scented candles, repositioning lamps or adding a mirror to reflect lamp light back in to the room. And the addition of a dimmer switch to your main lighting can have a huge transformation.

I have a love of mixing contemporary styles and furnishings with antiques. For me this style of decorating allows the interior to reflect the age of the property while bringing it up to date with modern life. I don’t believe there is a secret to blending different styles within an interior, but you have to do it with confidence. There is no doubting that some of us are better at it than others but if you buy what you like you will invariably find somewhere to put it that works.

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for, then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham, Rutland, Oundle, Market Harborough and Northamptonshire  as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. 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 provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Walk on the wild side

I love Autumn but yesterday I could quite happily have skipped the whole month. So to remind myself that Autumn can be beautiful I looked at the photos I’d taken during a walk on Sunday when my walking boots were a bit muddy but my coat was dry!  Hope you enjoy them too.

Enjoy my walk on the wild side of gardening

 

Autumn colours

When designing a garden for a client I love to add some seasonal interest for autumn and winter. If I can’t make a garden look good in the summer I wouldn’t be doing my job, but giving a client interest in the Autumn, especially in a small garden can be quite a challenge. For me it’s all about form, texture and colour.  Leaves are beautiful  and a vase full of foliage can create an amazing centre piece.

And textures

 

Add interest to a garden

 

who could resist a walk on a day like this

 If you have an interior or garden and landscaping project or a design, build and renovation project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. 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 provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

Creating an open plan kitchen

It has been said many time before but open plan living is now very much in vogue. Many clients are extending existing kitchen to accommodate dining areas and TVs and comfortable seating areas. Or they are removing a wall to create a large kitchen and dining room where they used to have a kitchen and separate dining room or play room.

It’s great to have extra space but this type of room brings its own challenges – for a start where does everything go?

I find that Zoning, or separating the room by tasks, is often the answer. Create a strong working area and then frame this with a dining and entertaining area.

Add a comfortable seating area with soft sofas and you can easily add colour and  texture and colour to a room. Pick up on these colours in the working area of the kitchen too and you will pull the whole scheme together.

If you add the right sort of storage this can be used as a part of the zoning process too.

 

If you have a kitchen project which you need some inspiration on then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. 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 provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

How to add the finishing touches to a room

Adding the finishing touches to a room makes all the difference as I’m about to explain.

If the devil really is in the detail then interior and garden design are devil’s work! I’m a demon when it comes to getting things just right. I don’t go around re fluffing cushions every hour, I have a life and it’s just impractical, but I do like the details to be right. And it’s when it comes to finishing a room that I think details matter.

So often you run out of steam before you have added those finishing touches. Try to stay focussed and remember that a tiny bit of effort late on can really make your room sing. If you can tie the colour theme for your room to your accessories as well as your curtains or window dressing then the whole room works better.

Add a vase in a colour which picks up on the main colour of the curtain or chair fabric and it will draw the eye and pull the whole look together. This is true in the garden too, where repeat planting of the same species within a border draws the eye and makes the whole look more settled. I call these things the full stops. They’re the areas that your eye is drawn to and then stops at before moving on to take in the rest of the room or garden.

One of the easiest ways to finish a room is with a collection of contrasting cushions. Try to pick out one of the main colours within the room, from the carpet, walls, wallpaper or curtains. Contrast this with another colour which works equally well within the room and is present in smaller touches.

You might simply opt for a plain square cushion, but if you want to do something special think about a contrasting piped edge or a braid. An oblong cushion works well against the side of a sofa rather than at the back and box cushions are very popular at the moment as they give you the opportunity to use a contrasting fabric on the edges too.

Whatever you decide, be bold and enjoy the moment.

If you’re thinking of developing your home or garden this year and need a little help or guidance then please give me a call – I’m happy to come out to your home and offer advice and support from a single pair of curtains to the whole house and garden. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. 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 provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Creating a mid-century modern look

I have always loved mid-century modern furniture, way beyond the time when it was fashionable. One of my first pieces of furniture was a G Plan dining table which the receptionist at Britvic Soft Drinks, where I was working in PR at the time, was throwing out. A small donation to a local charity and the security man and I had it in the back of the car – I seem to remember I had a Ford Tigra at the time, so how I got it in is a complete mystery, but I did.

Wallpaper (l-r): Striped Petal, Multi Stem, Scribble , Linear Stem, Striped Petal, Giant Rhododendron l

Some years later and a complete change in career, first to garden design and now incorporating interior, garden and landscape design in my business, I still look out for mid-century modern pieces. Today they are far easier to come by and the look has been translated into home wares and fashion too. That’s why I was so excited when Internationally-renowned Irish designer Orla Kiely joined forces with Harlequin, one of the UK’s foremost interiors companies, to create a striking collection of bold and beautiful wallpapers. The signature collection was launched at Decorex in September: here are some of my favourites.

Wallpaper: Giant Stem

 

Founded in 1995, the Orla Kiely brand has become a byword for inspirational design, quality and visual innovation which is driven by Orla’s love of pattern, colour and texture. Her distinctive graphic and stylised motifs, in clean repeat constructions, achieve a very modern style, while her love for all things mid-century adds a nostalgic quality.

Wallpaper: Giant Rhododendron

What started with a small bag and accessories collection has now grown spectacularly to include Ready to Wear and fashion accessories, homeware, furniture, travel accessories, stationery, fragrance and now wallpapers.

Wallpaper: Multi Stem

The Orla Kiely collection is a testament to her flair and highly individual hand-writing. It comprises fourteen existing and immediately recognisable designs, several of which have been reinterpreted or rescaled. Coloured with wallpaper in mind, they retain the distinctive Orla style. They include evocatively named shades such as Bird’s Egg, Hibiscus, Nettle, Warm Calico and Bay Leaf, which sit comfortably alongside Olive, Midnight Blue and Classic Red to form an eclectic palette of vibrant brights and pared back neutrals.

Wallpaper: Giant Abacus Flower

Orla Kiely elaborates further: “One of my greatest passions in life is pattern and colour so the idea of creating a book of wallpapers was an exciting one. To me, the home is where we can truly express our style and personality, where we can be playful. Working with Harlequin was a great pleasure; combining our design aesthetic with their experience and knowledge to develop a book that I am very proud of.”

Wallpaper: Acorn Spot

If you have an interior project where you would like to use one of Orla Kiely’s wallpapers then why not get in touch. Or if you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for, then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

Wallpaper: Giant Abacus Flower

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Oundle and Northampton as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. 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 provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 Wallpaper: Rhododendron

 Wallpaper: Striped Petal