Lighting the Way with Kovac Family

My passion for simple design is growing constantly along with sourcing brands that hold sustainability within their hands to create wonderful products that move forward with technology but keeping their integrity and ethos focused on the environment around them.

I can’t deny that I have been an admirer of Kovac Family for a very long time, such simple elegance in everything that they do.  The Sweden based multidisciplinary company is run by Camilla and Christopher Kovac, designing and running their business as environmentally friendly as they possibly can.  All their products are made in Sweden using sustainable materials and sold exclusively in their showroom and online store.

Their ambition is to create products that have the smallest impact possible on the environment by sourcing the materials needed and producing them locally.  The challenge was to be able to create something using a minimum amount of certified environmentally friendly materials as possible and also have the capacity to be easily recycled.

Their collection is simply called Numbers, each product named after the number of parts used to construct each form, yes as simple as that!   The inspiration behind it all comes from nature itself, the question asked is, how can we make this better in all aspects to improve the every day life and our environment, a question we should find ourselves asking every single day.

The versatility of these stunning lights is wonderful, the shape mimicking that of a shell can be placed anywhere, as well as hung creating a focal point where ever it is positioned.  They come with either 3 or 5 metres of cord giving you plenty of options to drape and hang to perfection.  I had great fun placing this stunning Ebonized Oak 25Lamp around my home, I think it’s final resting place with be hanging low over my kitchen table creating a delicate pool of light and added wow factor.

14Lamp is the new design, smaller than the 25Lamp but perfectly formed and still as striking, they would look fabulous hung low as bedside lights, hmmm now there’s an idea!

Each light be it oak, ash, waxed, striped, dip dyed, freckled or whitened comes delivered flat packed in a box smaller than one you would get a pizza in!   You ingeniously fold out the pieces to create the iconic shape, total genius.  Such simplicity in it’s beauty, bringing sustainability to our homes with clever design is something we should all strive for.

Jx

  • with many thanks to Kovac Family for the Ebonised Oak 25Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Considered Home

For a long time now as a family we have made a conscious decision to improve the way we live, taking into account every aspect of our daily life.  It takes no time at all to assess the every day things we do and make small changes to be more sustainable in our homes.

Arhaus featured a tip of mine in one of their infographics, quite proudly I could have given quite a few but this is the one I chose.

Arhaus are leading the way in sustainability striving to make the home wares industry more environmentally friendly for all as you can see above.  They make many of their products with organic fabrics and materials, including their earth-friendly sectionals.

So how can we make a difference, I say start small and build from there, the impact of just changing your your light bulbs to energy efficient ones has a massive effect, they don’t need to be utilitarian looking either the technology out there today is amazing, all my light bulbs are low energy led squirrel cage designed so look fabulous and use hardly any electricity.  As a family we made a choice to use a green energy company to supply our gas and electricity, they source all of their electricity from renewable sources and off-set the carbon emissions from the gas they provide.  We also have a smart meter which helps us keep track of the energy we are using.   Another great tip is to time yourself in the shower, it’s amazing how much water you can be saved by using what you need rather than squandering it.

When it comes to cleaning and washing think about the products you are using,  I use eco-friendly ones even down to my washing powder, no harmful chemicals involved at all.  I don’t have a tumble drier either, clothes dried outside in the fresh air is the best way, just takes a little more time but uses no energy other than what nature provides.  On those inclement days clothes airers in doors do just fine.

As a consumer try and think about the ethical benefits of all the items you buy for yourself and your home, even down to the clothes you wear, the bedding you sleep in, the towels you dry yourself on, the paint you use for your walls, the furniture you choose to have in your home.  Each and every one  of these small things add up to a larger picture, it’s not rocket science but a little time and effort can help change things for the better.  There are many wonderful companies out there today that are trying very hard to make a difference to how we live putting a great emphasis  on ethical values.  It’s the little changes we make that will most certainly have the biggest impact in the future.

I could go on and on, going into greater depth on each subject but for now, change your light bulbs, sleep in linen sheets, don’t use too much water in the shower and stop using that tumble drier!

Jx

  • Images 5, 7 & 9

 

 

The Unique Lily by Jessica Zoob

To own an original piece of art is a rare thing but something that I whole heartedly recommend everyone should aspire to have no matter how big or small.  Something unique to you that will bring years of joy when you look at it, a future heir loom if you will.

I am lucky to call artist Jessica Zoob a dear friend, her work is breathtaking, filled with emotion, passion and the most beautiful colours.  I had the privilege to visit Jessica’s studio earlier this year to view her most recent collection and to take a look at a new idea that she was working on at the time: printing a selection of original paintings onto metals.

These rather special limited edition artworks are so very different to anything I have ever seen, to take an original painting and print it onto copper, brass, or stainless steel with a white ink layer is quite something, this amazing technology directly fuses the ink onto the metal giving the colours a wonderful depth.  The metallic highlights seep through to create a truly beautiful and unique piece.

I shall let Jessica explain why a print is more than just a copy of an original below and you can find out more about this stunning collection on her website.

I decided to create this collection when I discovered the innovative method of printing high quality images of my work directly onto metals. This offers a completely different and creative outlet to my primary working method of painting with liquid oils. I found this hugely exciting!

Although creating a print involves reproducing an image, a fine art print is so more than just a copy of an original. This project has been a close collaboration with my print studio the DPC in Greenwich, a team of highly skilled technicians. My metal lily prints will never be mass produced. A limited number (editions) of only eight of each lily on each metal have been produced. They will only be sold directly through me, from my online store. As a result they are true works of art.”

Now the wait is over the Metal Lily Print Collection launches on Thursday 16th November and will be available to buy from Jessica’s online store.  I am also honoured to be able to give my readers a 10% discount (plus free shipping in the uk) if you choose to purchase one of these unique pieces, all you have to do is use the code teawithruby10 at the checkout.  The perfect Christmas present for the one you love don’t you think?

Jx

 

A Week In Pictures

I thought rather than me ramble on this week I shall just let you see why I adore the Lake District so very much.  I think I have said a million times that I leave a little part of my soul there when I leave and this time was no different.

I had time to stop and breathe in the cool air and mind blowing vistas, spent precious hours with my family enjoying each others company without laptops or mobile phones.  I indulged in books when it got too dark outside to see the view of the lake.  We huddled in coffee shops out of the rain, ran along windswept beaches, got wet under waterfalls, kicked autumn leaves in the forest and didn’t want to come home.

What are half term holidays for but a bit of down time away from what you are used to, I have a few more days to hold onto this magic.

Jx

A Few Days Away

Autumn holidays to be truthful I think are my favourite.  I’ve been counting down the days looking forward to our break in the Lakes.  At this time of year they are breathtakingly beautiful, as are the colours that nature brings which we reflect in our home for our well being.

So on that note, not really a full post this week but some Autumn inspired mood boards that conjure up the smell of wood smoke, warming hands on mugs of steaming hot chocolate, curling up under woollen blankets.  Bringing those warmer tones into your homes creating rich interiors for you to enjoy over the coming weeks.

See you all in a week, I hope you enjoy the end of this glorious month as much as I am going to.

Jx

All images via pinterest

 

Reflection // Time to Hibernate

Some weeks you just have to slow down.  The world that I work in can be full on if you let it, you don’t realise that you don’t take time out to have a break, even on weekends you are working.  So for the next few weeks I’m taking a little time to myself and not feeling at all guilty about it.

I’m going to finish some things around the house before Winter arrives, make our home cosy for Autumn.  Enjoy the half term holiday, taking the time to eat well and have lots of sleep.  I’m also going to indulge in reading, not just my usual interiors based magazines and publications but books, ones that I can escape into another world, ones that I can’t put down.

Time to switch off the phone and laptop and take care of me, to recharge those batteries and come back full of beans and inspiration to take on the run up to the Christmas break.  I have a few projects coming up in the next month that I’m very excited about and I’m looking forward to working with these wonderful brands Bauwerk, Mandarin Stone and Kovac.

But for now, the kettle is on, the book is open and the throw is waiting for me to curl up under, heaven.

Do you take time off to recharge the batteries, if so what things do you do to make you feel rested and rejuvenated?

Jx

Images 9, 10 & 11 the rest are my own

 

Dining Chairs with Conran

I have a confession, I rather like chairs and I’ve recently been moving mine around and adding new ones to my ever changing interior.  A well designed chair is like a piece of art and can bring a whole new perspective to a room.

Whether or not you need any new chairs at the moment I thought I would share some of my favourite designs with you that will bring a stylish contemporary edge to your dining table.

One of the best places to go to find such wonderful designs is The Conran Shop, one of the leading lifestyle retailers in the country, they have a diverse collection to choose from each one beautiful to look at, exquisite form and function from inspirational designers such as Eames, Vernon Panton and Arne Jacobsen.

Conran have recently released a favourite of mine exclusive and only available to them in store the Vitra DKW Schaudepot Café edition chair. Designed in 1951 by iconic duo Charles and Ray Eames, this exclusive edition of the DKW Wire Chair showcases a dark frame, ash base and Nero leather seat and back pads. An instantly recognisable design, the DKW Eames Chair using the signature ‘Eiffel’ base with a leather upholstered wire frame, re imagined here in an exclusive combination of finishes.

Of course this chair alone would lift your interior but here a few more that would enhance it also.  If you like wood then these options would suit, the Cherner classic crafted from walnut veneered moulded plywood this 1958 design an icon of mid century furniture design.  Then there’s the Arne Jacobsen Series 7 3107 chair with it’s beautifully simple silhouette and chrome legs.  Another lusted after piece of course is the CH24 Wishbone chair a classic indeed and one on my wish list.

To add a dash of elegance maybe a touch of upholstery wouldn’t go a miss such as the Series 403 Noise by Verner Panton such a simple design that doesn’t necessarily have to  be used only in the dining room.  A personal favourite is the velvet covered Beetle chair by GamFratesi such elegance inspired by the shape,  shell and structure of the insect.  How about some stylish leather with the Drop chair another Arne Jacobsen classic, the buttery leather of this well crafted piece adds another dimension to this design.

Then there’s your go to moulded plastic wonders,  you can have so much fun with mixing and matching creating a beautiful pastel hue around your table or just sticking to one solid block of colour but the Eames DSR known as the Eiffel referencing the steel frame of the legs and DSW range has the lot.

There are far more than this to choose from in the The Conran Shop but I think my list is a good start don’t you?

Jx

 

 

Autumnal Shift // Wallpaper

I don’t have a single wall that has been covered in wallpaper and I’m not sure why!  Well actually maybe it’s because I get bored very quickly or that I’m a bit addicted to paint, or maybe that I like to add pattern through accessories I really don’t know.

When Farrow & Ball release their new range of wallpaper I swoon every time, this time being no exception.  The three new botanical patterns, Atacama,  Hegemone and Helleborus have been designed to create a calming escape within our homes, making the space restful a retreat to feel inspired.

The tropical Atacama is based on a swatch found in an old fabric mill.  Farrow and Ball wallpapers add texture and tactility to your walls creating a three dimensional finish by using a roller block printing method with their own paint combinations.  Striking colour palettes of Stiffkey Blue and Silver to soothing Purbeck Stone and Ammonite both working equally well when added with soft crumpled linens and worn woods.

Hegemone is definitely less rigid than classic floral patterns. Its free and organic blooms flow, bringing your walls to life.  Taking it’s name from the Greek goddess of fruit and flowers this vibrant design comes in seven colourways rejuvenating any room in your house.

Last but definitely not least the maximalism design of Helleborus large and bold but fluid. It is one of the largest designs of the collection and I think my favourite especially in the Peignoir and Calamine combination.  A soft neutral palette where you can use eclectic pieces to add brighter accents, making your space warm and inviting.

So if you feel like a little refresh before the darker days befall us, then why not spruce up a wall with one of these exciting new wallpapers bringing that Autumnal twist to your home.

Jx

 

Images 1, 2, & 5 my own the rest via Farrow & Ball

Brown Black // Black Brown

Brown black or black brown sounds like a mascara but stay with me!  These are the accent colours that fit me, my colour palette, enhancing my love of greys and dark blues.   My tastes are changing and so my home is evolving also.  I’d like nothing more than to live in a contemporary new build with concrete floors, lots of glass and white walls but alas this isn’t the case.  So for now I shall continue to make small changes to the spaces I do live in and creating that warm cocooning atmosphere we call home.

So I digress back to brown black or black brown, I find myself drawn to these colour combinations, they don’t have to make your space dark and uninviting if used well either in combination together as or individual palettes.  I find them rather intoxicating and have specific pinterest boards for each.

It doesn’t have to be the walls that are these colour palettes, accessories work equally well bringing warmth to a contemporary space.  Such as a white walled bedroom with taupe bedding and natural linen drapes or black kitchen units with a rustic timber ceiling beams.

A few of my favourite go to places for inspiration when it comes to these colour combinations are books by Hans Blomquist, also Kate Watson-Smyth and her book Shades of Grey which eloquently guides you to make the right decisions when taking the plunge with darker colours.  LinenMe do the best selection of linen bedding that fit this look perfectly, also Bauwerk for their lime wash natural paint range that compliment the nature of these hues with a selection of soft sumptuous colours.

Also this week Dulux named their colour of the year 2018, Heart Wood a warm pinky mauve tone with a hint of taupe that is part of a lager collection to suit different styles but I think it works perfectly with my colour palette of choice.

As the seasons start to shift maybe you’ll introduce a little of these colours into your own homes, making them warm and inviting.  Do let me know if you are of the same persuasion as me.

Jx

Images 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 other images my own

 

 

 

AW17 // Early Autumn with TOAST

I’m never quite ready to let go of Summer but alas I must but there with an ever helpful hand are TOAST, gently guiding me into quite frankly one of my favourite seasons.  Once I have embraced the shift I like nothing more than adding new pieces to my capsule wardrobe keeping it fresh but seasonal.

When the TOAST brochure lands on my door mat I always know that I’m in for a treat and yes I want everything, from the dresses right down to the pillowcases.  It is sheer bliss taking a moment to savour each page, read the beautiful articulate articles scattered between images that make you feel calm and restful.  Making a simple choice to add to your collection is worth every second.  If I had to choose just one shop to purchase from and no other then TOAST would be it.

I’m very much a layer up kind of girl, I’m most comfortable in dresses but ones that I can put soft long sleeved tops underneath when the days get chillier.  Two of my favourites for this season are the diamond dot print dress, such an elegant piece that makes you feel all floaty and the denim twill tunic dress in all it’s indigo dyed glory the perfect everyday never want to take off dress.

If you are lucky enough to live near a TOAST store I highly recommend a visit, their serene spaces and wonderful staff make a shopping trip an easy one.  Each store has it’s own unique twist like visiting some ones home you come away feeling relaxed, not at all stressed.  I visited the Oxford store a few weeks ago to see the new Early Autumn collection, I especially loved the upstairs house & home section that just drew you in with subtle a subtle colour palette and textures.  Of course I couldn’t resist the Pip Hartle pottery and treated myself to a pencil pot that has found a new home on my bedside table.

I think I would be quite lost if I didn’t have TOAST, it’s like an old friend that greets you with open arms even if you haven’t seen them for a while.  Their ability to create and curate simple, functional, beautiful product and content fills me with joy and make everything all right in the world, I hope you agree?

J x

  • with thanks to TOAST for providing the diamond dot dress and images from the AW17 collection

 

 

 

Summer Moments

From Lake side decks and country houses to golden wheat fields and city exploring I think we managed to squeeze in rather a lot of amazing things in the three weeks we have been away.   I can’t say it was all plain sailing what with the pesky weather playing it’s part in dampening our spirits a little and a rather nasty tummy bug that caught me by surprise.  All that said it was our Summer holiday adventure and with all it’s ups and down we thoroughly enjoyed it and want to do it all again with a little more sunshine and no sick!

Our first leg was to our spiritual home the Lake District with it’s moody mountains and deep waters, we love it so very much. One of the many highlights this year was to swim and canoe in and on Ullswater both exhilarating in their own way.  Moments of peace at Allan Bank in Grasmere a unique National Trust property that seems to go under the radar a little.   An evening of moules frites and a Shakespeare play in the Theatre by the Lake, frequenting a few cool cafes and stores (Chesters by the River, Lingholme Kitchen, Homeground Coffee + Kitchen) to keep me happy amongst the majestic scenery that surrounded us.

We then travelled south to Wiltshire a spot we go to every year to spend a happy family filled weekend in a field.  Nothing glamorous no mod cons but lots of laughter and a few cheeky drinks.  The golden light on the wheat field this year was rather breathtaking, the kids run amok it’s so freeing, we even drove tractors this year which was an eye opener!   I got my ceramic fix in Lacock pottery, can’t help myself.

Finally our last jaunt was onto the quaint village of Charlbury in the Cotswolds.  Be still my beating heart, it’s damn pretty there and the sun came out to greet us.  I finally got to visit Hidcote or should I say make a pilgrimage. What a delight these gardens are to wander.  The rooms, each one different to the next, such a joy.  Then finally, on our last day Oxford happened. Goodness me I fell in love all over again and can’t quite for the life of me remember why it has taken us so long to make a return visit.  An odd purchase in Objects of Use and Toast couldn’t be helped but hey I was on holiday.  A wander around New College, a museum dash and a Jane Austen exhibition and it was time to bid our farewells and return home.

It is lovely being home, it feels like we’ve been away for a very long time so getting acquainted with my things again is rather nice, waking up in our bed and finding new homes for our holiday purchases is always the fun part.

Above is a little glimpse of what’s coming up in next weeks post, how could I resist a beautifully made throw.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Mood //Green to Blue

Normal services will resume next week I promise, hopefully I will be refreshed and rejuvenated and raring to go.  Who knows what work I will be taking on come September but for now I will leave you with my final holiday mood post.  This week I felt a fresher note would appeal, that of fresh green merging into a soft linen-like blue.

* All images taken from my Pinterest boards

 

 

Holiday Mood // Sun Bleached

I’m signing off for  few weeks, making a decision to take time for myself and not worry if I haven’t posted, instagrammed or answered emails.  Why should we put so much pressure on ourselves to stay connected.  Brave or not I am choosing to live in the moment with my family for a few weeks touring around in our caravan.

So for the next few weeks there will be a post but a short and sweet one, filled with an inspirational Summer colour palette, this week being pale and sun bleached.   I do hope you understand but even us freelancers need time out when the Summer holidays come knocking.

See you mid August, hope you all have a wonderful break too and the sun shines where ever you are.

  •  All images taken from my Pinterest boards

 

Freight

If you’ve ever visited the East Sussex town of Lewes you’ll know that it hosts many stylish independent stores, ones that you won’t find on every high street.  I love the diversity that Lewes has, it is a beautiful place to visit.
One of these stores is Freight,  a favourite of mine not only because the products that they sell are exceptional and work perfectly with my pared back style, but the atmosphere created is one of calm, like spending time in a friends home.  Also I never leave empty handed, the well curated house-hold goods are exquisite and I really can’t resist having them in my own home.  They have an on line store too, perfect for when you are wanting that unique item that only Freight can deliver.
I had a chat with owner Helene who runs the store with her daughter Adele about how Freight came to be.
Helen previously had a shop in Lewes called ADAMCZEWSKI that she opened in 1999.  With similar principals to those Freight has now, the shop was all about finding useful things for the home that weren’t so easy to find pre-internet days. She sold products such as string, brushes and ceramics; anything that worked with the shops ethos with it’s own classic style. This chapter closed in 2010 to explore greener pastures.
 Fate took a guiding hand and in 2014 the shop which Helene still owned   became unexpectedly vacant again just before the Christmas period.  Helene’s daughter Adele thought it would be wrong to just leave it empty and sad looking due to it’s prominent position on the high street.  An opportunity not to be missed they quickly put together a temporary store naming it POPINSKI,  partly in homage to the old shop that had previously been there and the fact it definitely was a pop up.
 Having worked so hard to set up the temporary store full of new products they found themselves discussing and analysing the nature of shop keeping. They came to the conclusion that just filling shops from trade fairs was a bit boring and that the more interesting and challenging route to take would be to design and commission their own products by working with makers and manufacturers. They wanted a collection that would stand the test of time and that would be an ongoing response to how they wanted the collection to grow.  Recently they have added a knitwear collection which couldn’t have been further from the original concept but after meeting with some knitters and really liking  the Shetland yarn they used, they were inspired to trial it.   A decision well made as the knitwear has proven to be rather popular and Freight are now in the process of adding to the current collection. 
  It’s also so important to this dynamic Mother and daughter team that they are not designing for design’s sake. Freight products have to be functional, durable and of a very high quality.  They follow no one else’s rules, don’t follow trends or the latests fad fashions and subsequently their stock change is of a slower nature.  
This is why I love them, you know what you are investing in when you buy anything from Freight. I cherish the items I have, all of which enhance my home enormously. Simple earthenware storage jars made in Stoke on Trent, Spanish boxwood carbon steel knives that are sharpened by hand using artisanal techniques established by the original founders, a deliciously scented soy wax candle with scents from narratives drafted and worked on with a perfumer, making them unique to Freight.
 I can’t recommend this beautiful store to you highly enough, if you get the chance to pay a visit and experience it yourself then all the better but for now do drop in on line to see their wonderful products, I know your shopping basket won’t stay empty for long.
 *  with thanks to Freight for letting me put this post together. Product photography by Susan Bell and Benedict Stenning