Category Archives: New home design Oakham

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

 

How to manage first fix plumbing

If I have learnt one thing from being involved in design and build projects  it is that planning is everything. If you spend time planning, sitting with your architect and visualizing where everything will go before you sign off your plans you will be a step ahead from day one.

For us the first fix plumbing and electrics, which are almost complete, have gone well, with only minor changes along the way. I’d have preferred no alterations at all, but as the builder will tell, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. And if that woman is both the client and the designer he has no hope!

First fix plumbing

It has been quite tricky to find a shower which would fit into the corner of the bathroom due to the sloping ceiling but at last I have resolved this problem with a Daryl shower screen and a ceiling brace from another manufacturer. All other plumbing has stayed the same and my cardboard bathroom has been a great success.

Creating the new entrance hall

The builder removed the last of the old walls which means we have now created a larger entrance hall. I’d like to use the work’ grand’, but having visited a couple of large London buildings this week the idea that my 1820’s cottage entrance is grand is rather ridiculous!

I don’t know how the dog has kept dust free!

But oh the mess. It has been simply impossible to contain the dust this week and every surface has a subtle coating. The poor dog has had to move out of her bed which used to be in the downstairs shower room. This will soon become a small cloakroom and the entrance hall. And I know exactly how much piano practice our daughter has done by the state of the dust on the keys!

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 07973843020.

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 do I manage a design and build project?

What a week, frost and thermals on Monday, sunglasses today. The only consistent thing in the air this week has been the dust around our design build and renovation project! Today’s update is very visual. We have made great progress but I can’t sit still and write for long or I too will look like Miss Haversham – covered in dust. Must keep moving, I believe it’s harder for dust to stick to a moving target!

 

The roof is on, the windows are in

The old blockwork is coming down to open up the kitchen

Looking back towards the existing kitchen with the old wall almost down

The kitchen before we knock the wall out

Looking up at Steve, our builder, as he knocks out the wall into our bedroom

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 07973843020.

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.

Window wonder

We’ve been off site this last week but progress on our design build and renovation project has been great and the windows are in! Here’s a sneak preview but for more photos and all the details follow the blog next week.

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 07973843020.

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.

It’s turned cold on site

You can tell it’s now winter as Lee, one of our builders has bought himself a new hat! He tells me he feels the cold terribly and was wearing more layers than seemed essential even on balmy days in November.

 

Lee in his fantastic new hat!

Progress has been rapid this week – I think they have had to keep moving just to keep warm up on the scaffolding as the wind has whipped across the site. Roof trusses had arrived on site when I came back this afternoon but by then it was too dark to photograph anything!

Stonework on the side of the house is almost at roof height

 

The stonework and block work fit together for our roof

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 07973843020.

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.

New extension is taking shape

Progress is quite rapid now and each day brings a new step which shows how we are moving forward. We are above the first floor level now with window reveals in place so you can really see the shape of the new kitchen extension.

Blockwork above first floor level

The area at the back of the kitchen-dining room, which is to be single story, is amazing even without the roof. When you stand in this space you get a real feeling of light – I just know this is going be my favourite area within the building. I have a fabulous light earmarked for the wall in this area. Only problem is that it is on the expensive side and its acquisition will depend on how much of our contingency has gone into other areas – and especially into that dreaded underpinning of the garage!

The back wall of the extension showing the single story stone work and the new block work which will form the upper story

The roof joists have now been ordered too. The windows are at the point of manufacture and we just have a couple of final points to sign off before they go into full production. The small joinery company I am working with on these have been brilliant, I can’t praise them enough, and I’m so excited that we could get the look I was after rather than having to be tied to a mainstream manufacturer due to costs.  Sometimes Peter’s budgeting spread sheets really are worth their weight!

Looking up through the floor joists

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 07973843020.

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.

Having a head for heights on our design build and renovation project

The weather has been great this week, cold but relatively bright and progress on the new build part of our deign build and renovation project has been steady.

We are now on the scaffolding with window lintels about to go in and the steels for the gable end all installed. This has been a messy job with steels going through to the master bedroom on Monday and acco props propping up the kitchen ceiling for 2 days. The builders were very thoughtful and left enough space for us to get in to the dishwasher and washing machine but sadly not enough to for us to open the door to the wine fridge!

My work to get the garage underpinned has paid off and it is now all sorted and at a fraction of the price of the original steel and concrete beam. It just goes to show how a little creative thinking can really make all the difference on any project.

Today the floor joists went in to form the kitchen ceiling and upper floor so you can really see how the space works.

I’m now getting very excited about where everything is going to fit.  From now on I think we’ll see some speedy work on block and stone so every day should give us a little reward to photograph.

 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 07973843020.

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.

The walls go up

Work has been quite slow this week – I don’t think the weather helps it has been such dank, dark days of late. Where did that lovely weather from last week go? I’ve resorted to making our builder Lee, who has been on site on his own this week , real coffee just to keep him going!

Still we now have a fair amount of stone wall up and it’s looking beautiful. It starts out a bit scraggy (technical term I’m sure) when the joints are not smooth and the mortar is spread through each course but once it is raked back it looks beautiful.

Stone works goes up

On Tuesday I resolved the issue of the underpinning of the garage with both the structural engineer and the building control officer in agreement about the use of a U beam. Some number crunching by the structural engineer later and we have a solution which will be manageable and therefore slot into the gap we have easily, will support the extra weight and hopefully won’t cost the earth. We still have to cost the final piece of this jigsaw but I feel we have made good progress and it does prove that 3 heads are better than one!

On with more stonework tomorrow I hope.

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 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.