Make Waste Beautiful with Brabantia

We all need them so why does your household waste bin need to be ugly and something you want to hide?

I’m not lucky enough to have an integral bin hidden away in a fitted cupboard and I didn’t want a nasty cheap looking bin to sit lurking in the corner of my ktichen so I chose something that was aesthetically pleasing and large enough that it only needs emptying once a week.  As a family we try very hard when it comes to waste management, everything is sorted and recycled to the best of our ability, plastic waste has been reduced hugely but sometimes you still need the dustbin for things that just can’t be recycled.

Brabantia waste bins are leaders in modern, contemporary, sustainable waste bins that come in all shapes and sizes but most they all are design led and technologically savvy.   I have my eye firmly on the Bo Touch bin which not only combines beautiful design credentials with easy waste separation with clever removable inner buckets to keep everything in its place.  It is designed to fit perfectly against a wall and with its stylish legs you can clean around it with no hassle.  The plus side is that the design is modern and contemporary coming in a range of colours that make it hard to resist.

Their newIcon pedal bin is greener than ever, these sustainable bins are made of 40% recycled materials and after use 98% of the bin and packaging is recycable how amazing is that.  Not only is this fabulous pedal bin nice to look at it’s green credentials are punching above their weight.  On top of all that for every newIcon pedal bin purchased you will be supporting The Ocean Cleanup helping towards its mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

After choosing the handsomest waste bin to compliment your style and taste you have to empty and clean it, this is one of those jobs you and your spouse bicker about right, who’s turn is it this week!    Instead of using harsh chemical laden concoctions why not use natural ingredients to keep everything clean and smelling rather pleasant.  Bicarbonate of soda removes unpleasant odours.  A spray infused with distilled vinegar and lemon will keep your bin sparkly and clean with no impact on the environment what so ever.

So next time you think a bin is just a bin think again, lets make waste beautiful.

Jx

Images 2, 4 & 6, all others taken my myself or Brabantia

 

The Wood House

Every now and then you come across a store that stops you in your tracks.  This happened to me earlier this year when I discovered The Wood House.  The owner Kirstie and I struck up a friendship through good old instagram, we have many things in common especially the love of interiors and clothes!

So if you haven’t come across this delicious store through social media or the internet then let me introduce you, I know like me you are not going to be able to resist.  Welcome to The Wood House the on line store where you can find beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods all with a natural hand crafted touch in a simple colour palette that makes me want to purchase every single thing.

I asked Kirstie how The Wood House came to be and this was her reply.

“For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for interiors, architecture and generally lovely things.

I studied interiors for a while and thought that my career would at some point take me into it in some shape or form.

I opened a little shop in Somerset fifteen years ago selling fireplaces and wood burners and it was always a dream to offer an interior design service. Having a busy life with a shop and children this never really came to fruition so I continued living my dream through renovating our 16th century home and helping friends with their home interiors.

This really has brought me to where I am now and in November I decided to make my dream happen and open a little on line store selling a selection beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods.

The wood house is evolving all the time and naturally progressed into selling mainly products that are natural and hand crafted with muted tones throughout.

I buy what I love and would have in my own home which makes buying for the wood house a real pleasure.”

What resonates with me the most is Kirstie only buys items that she loves and would have and use in her own home, knowing everything is curated with thought is something I admire and one of the reasons why each product compliments the next so very well all in the tones and colour palette that I adore, soft muted calming hues.  Also as you all know by now I am passionate about hand crafted sustainable pieces for my home and each and everyone that you can purchase from The Wood House is just that.  From the natural skin care products such as Grown Alchemist and Magic Organic Apothecary to candles by The Nomad Society through to hand made raw clay glazed beakers hand made in small batches in Wales, The Tea Lab teas and organic chocolate to cutting garden seed packets by Grace Alexander.  There are stunning textural handwoven hemp rugs to chunky knit lambswool throws and cushions to reclaimed unique one off pieces. Once you have created your haven of peace and calm you can even purchase tranquil reading material such as In Clover and Cereal magazine.

I am lucky enough to have been sent a care package of sorts filled with all the things I love and will treasure, hand cream, tea, beaker, seeds, In Clover magazine and a sample of the delicious chocolate.  They would all make perfect gifts for the ones you love, who cherish the simpler kinder way of life, those who make time to slow down and nourish by surrounding ourselves with beautiful things that fulfil our everyday.

So please do call in and say hi to The Wood House, its a rather lovely place to browse for a while, new stock is arriving all the time and the owner is just fabulous.

Jx

  • With thanks to The Wood House for gifting the pieces for this post.  You can find them on instagram here or click on the link above to take you to the store.

 

 

 

Ingenious Wallpaper

I  never thought I would be tempted by wallpaper but this may be about to change.  Technology and designs are improving at a very fast rate, there is so much choice out there it is quite mind boggling.   To create a space that is so striking and seamless that you can’t tell if its art work or wallpaper is quite remarkable.

When Walls Republic got in touch wondering if I would be interested in using some of their samples I jumped at the chance.  It gave me food for thought when it comes to decorating.  To add texture and pattern to a room through papering a wall is something I usually steer clear of but I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of these samples to the point if I were to have to choose I’d have great difficulty.

To be able to create an effect of say bare bricks, chipped wood panels or galvanised tiles into a room in your home rather than it being exclusive to modern rustic loft spaces or industrial warehouse.  Or a large mural that you probably would only see in a gallery space is quite revolutionary for interior design.

Alas I didn’t have enough of these stunning wallpapers to decorate a wall with but large samples do have there uses.  They make for wonderful backdrops for flat lay photography as the designs are so striking.  Also with these being large samples you can definitely get a feel for which design you would prefer to chose before investing in many rolls and not liking the end result.  Taping panels to the wall you want to paper and assessing is just the same as painting tester squares when choosing paint colours.  The same principles apply as to how the light changes in the room you want to paper,  which wall and how many do you want to cover and does the colours blend well with the current furniture and accessories.

Coming back to the designs on the samples I have had fun using them this week, I feel in love with the marble effect pieces, so rich and luxurious with an added dollop of glamour, the sample worked wonderfully well behind my bed.  Designed using tactile inks with its many natural tones and shades within the precious elements this collection allowed the freedom to add bold colour combinations, such as burnt orange and taupe which highlight the metallic and mica touches for greater depth and dimension.

So if you are thinking of having a shake up and adding some extra something to your home why not consider wallpaper, apparently it is the hottest trend for 2018 and who am I to disagree!

Jx

  • with thanks to Walls Republic for gifting the wallpaper samples.  All products are only available in the US and Canada.  Wallpaper Direct is a similar alternative for the UK, Europe and Australia

 

 

 

To Iluminate // Talking Lights

Lighting is such an important part of any interior and can sometimes get over looked until the last minute, especially where sockets and switches need to be positioned.  If I had the choice to redesign my home then these important items would be redressed first I can tell you.

I like a mixture of lighting to create ambiance in a space, there’s nothing worse than a bright ceiling light being the only option.  Central ceiling lights can become a rather attractive feature if you are clever and are able to use a dimmer switch to soften the intensity.  To distribute your lights around a room means you can use them as task lighting when you need them, such as a floor lamp placed next to the chair you read in or an unusual table lamp to stand on a sideboard to add a soft warm glow when curled up watching the television.

I’m quite into sleek modern lamps at the moment too, beautiful structures that look like pieces of art rather than a light, especially wall hung lights with adjustable arms, sleek and modern definite statement pieces. I do like a bare filament bulb too and most of my ceiling lights where I have them are bulbs hung from long lengths of cord.  The brilliance of this in my house is that none of the ceiling roses are central so I can hook the lights where I want them.

There are more and more lighting companies online now filled with amazing choices of any light you can imagine, especially focusing on LED and energy saving bulbs.  Lights.co.uk have some rather brilliant designer minimalist designs that really caught my eye like the Bullea white hanging light by Teamitalia a pair suspended over a dining table makes for a striking statement.

Whether you are a traditionalist when it  comes to lights or one to embrace the modern sleek minimalist look then I hope that I’ve inspired you a little enough to make a few changes in your own home.

Follow my pinterest board for more statement designs below.

Jx

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10

 

Bathing in Style with Rowen & Wren

Every once in a while a company that you love launch a new product range and oh my Rowen & Wren have stylishly excelled with their new bathroom collection.   From hand crafted bathroom furniture, soft waffle towels and textiles, stripped back utilitarian fittings all designed in a rustic but restrained palette that will bringing a calm and restorative feel to your bathing experience.  The range of finishes and hues will fit in any setting from classic to contemporary interiors.

I simply love the linen waffle towels the colour palette of pale grey, shingle grey and tea rose compliment the collection perfectly and the sheer crumpled softness of the bath and hand towels is heavenly.  They work wonderfully in my monochrome paired back home, there is nothing nicer than wrapping yourself up after a lovely soak in linen, its a wonderful indulgence.  To make that soak in the tub that little bit special being able to use A S Apothecary products tops it all off.  I’m very much a believer in hand made naturally produced skin care products as you well know and these are beautiful for healing and rejuvenating without using nasty chemicals or plastics.  The mint and charcoal soap not only smells divine but sits stylishly in the Bilton soap dish a perfect match.

What I find most appealing about Rowen &  Wren is their eye for thoughtful design effortlessly bringing products together that sit well in every environment be it classic or modern.  Each piece has a grace about it, beautiful and distinctive and well crafted in muted colours that I find calming and peaceful.   A life more beautifully lived, their ethos behind each collection shines through.  Each piece individually chosen to tell a story in your home, an effortless combination of classic and modern meaning everything will sit comfortably be it in a country retreat or a city pad.

For me its the tones of each piece that make it all sit so well together from their soft natural bed linen to the clean contemporary lines of the furniture to the simple table ware, everything flows and has a purpose.

Everyone needs a touch of Rowen & Wren in their homes, they have kindly given me a 10% discount code TEAWITHRUBY for all my readers which is valid for a month.  Just enter the code at checkout to bring that added touch of effortless calm and sophistication to your interiors.

Jx
* with thanks to Rowen & Wren who gifted the bathroom products for the purpose of this post.

One Dark Wall

I’m not going to tell you how to decorate with dark paint, just a simple post embracing the darker shades just because I love them.

I lean towards dark walls in my home, even to the point of painting wall and ceiling the same colour which gives a wonderful cocooning effect, if you have decent windows natural light bounces off the surfaces without making the room feel claustrophobic.

I think its a total myth that dark walls make a room feel small, it has the opposite effect in my house.  I’m not suggesting to paint every surface black by any means. A balance of light and shade is good, such as painting an entrance hall in a dark hue revealing a bright living space. It definitely draws the eye.

Places to get inspiration for going over to the dark side are Abigail Ahern and Rockett St George. They both use dark elements to amazing effect and show you how it can be done well.

Some of the best paint brands do exquisite dark tones, Cassandra Ellis new paint range is delicious with names like Bitter Chocolate and Ink.  My old favourites Farrow & Ball who I have used extensively throughout my home, the latest dark colour I have used is Blue Black which is deliciously inky.  Bauwerk Colour do some wonderfully rich shades with their unique limewash paint also I can’t forget Little Greene and their deep colour choices.

So my advice is if you are thinking about dark paint and are a little reluctant, don’t be; give it a go and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  Start small and maybe paint one wall at first but I know once you start you won’t be able to stop.   Another thing to remember is it’s only paint; if you really don’t like it then get the brushes out and change it.

If you need a little more inspiration come and follow my dark pinterest board, so many ideas all in one place.

Now what can I paint next, I’ve got my eye on Off Black and maybe some more dark tiles for our bathroom when we get around to changing it!

Jx

Images 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

 

 

Let The Light In // Curtains & Blinds

Curtains and blinds are quite an investment when it comes to dressing each window of your home but worth the thought and effort put into getting it just right.  I would love to be able to have a large expanse of windows where I could leave them bare with an out reaching view of fields and hills but unfortunately I don’t have that, I have small windows and neighbours who may not appreciate seeing into our house when taking a bath!

I’m not one for fussy colourful curtains, although they may create a cosy feel, I find them a little restrictive. I like soft linen draping beautifully, Roman blinds and muslin to screen but let in the light. All my window dressings are there to mask the windows as well as being practical for the space. A clever trick to make a room look bigger is to keep the colour palette of walls and window dressing similar, soft calming colours and simple clean lines work to perfection.

If curtains are too bulky but you still need to keep the heat in or distribution of light to diffuse bright glare then blinds are the perfect option, we all love sunshine streaming into our homes but don’t like the consequences of furniture fading and perishing.  There are a myriad of options out there, the technology is rather mind boggling.  Did you know that you can get remote control blinds that you can set to rise and fall according to the daily sunrise and sunset.  Also to be able to remotely control the blinds via your mobile or tablet so great when you are away from home.  These blinds would work brilliantly on windows that are high up that you can’t reach to draw manually.

It depends on how much light you like to disperse into a room throughout the day, I like waking with the sun so have chosen to have fine linen curtains in the bedroom to let in that dappled glow but I know that black out linings are rather popular for those who struggle to sleep or work shifts.

 

When it comes to bathrooms it’s more about privacy that controlling the light.  Sheer fine muslin or a simple blind works brilliantly, keeping the space clean and bright with minimal fuss, especially with this being a highly humid environment you need something that is easy to keep clean.

Kitchens are similar to bathrooms,  you need that extra bit of privacy but over  fussy curtains don’t work especially near sinks or cookers, they hold cooking smells and can get grimy very quickly.  Cafe shutters are a good option but  simple adjustable blinds are equally viable.

There are many minimal styles to choose from but I’m sure the right one is out there for you.  I hope that these tips and looks have inspired and will help if you are quibbling about how to dress your windows at home, well it may have reduced the choice just a little bit!

Jx

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 131415 & 16

 

 

The Perfect Night Sleep with Leesa

I think you all know by now that I love my bed. I like being asleep, I like sitting with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning waking up slowly, and on a weekend spend hours sat there watching the clouds out of the window or reading books.  So yes I really really do love my bed.

I’m quite lucky when it comes to sleep simply because I can get to sleep very quickly and stay asleep most of the night for at least 7-8 hours; annoying right?   I do think that routine is a big factor. I stop work at 6pm, eat a healthy home cooked meal most evenings, relax and unwind in a warm bath, ignore all technology in the evenings and often read a while before sleep, usually I’ll be in bed before 10pm and never have mobiles or laptops in the room.  Simple things really that are conducive to switching off and relaxing before bed.   I’m also a stickler for preparing for the next day, clothes ready and everything tidy so there is no running around like a crazy thing in the morning!

All this aside you can do all of the above and still not get a good night sleep if your mattress is wrong, get that bit right too and slumber is guaranteed.  Our old mattress was getting up to its recommended change date of 8 years (it was still in good condition so we donated it to the British Heart Foundation rather than put it in landfill).   I have heard many good things about the Leesa mattress not only on the comfort front but their environmental credentials too, so was rather excited to give it a whirl to see if it makes any difference to my sleeping.

Firstly can I tell you when the box arrived I was quite astounded that something that will go on your bed can possibly fit into it.  It’s a lot easier carrying a box up stairs than negotiating every corner and trying not to cause any damage to the house or yourself in the process.  Positioning the compressed roll is quick and easy then it’s the fun bit, slicing open the packaging and watching the Leesa mattress appear before your eyes, truly amazing.  I made a little video for you to see how darn easy it really is.

Now for the techy bit which is also rather fascinating. The Leesa mattress was designed to help you get a better night’s sleep, what makes it different from others on the market is the top layer of Avena foam.  It is a responsive material that allows airflow through the mattress for a cooler night’s sleep and provides just the right amount of bounce for freedom of movement.  There are two more layers in the unique combination of foam that make up these mattresses. Joining the Avena are memory foam and support foam which adapts to your body providing optimum support and comfort.  All the mattresses are also made in the UK and not shipped in from abroad.

The next important factor and another reason I wanted to get involved with Leesa is their ethical programme.  If you are not happy with your purchase the mattress can be returned within a 100 day period and will be donated to a local charity.  Their One-Ten programme also donates one mattress from every 10 sold and the One Earth programme sees a tree planted for every mattress sold to help off set their carbon footprint.   All of this is exceptionally close to my heart and highly commended.

So after all that information the big question, did I sleep well?   The answer is a rather resounding yes.  I can’t tell you how comfortable it is, you feel like you are lying on a cloud that supports every curve, not an ache anywhere when I woke in the morning.  The down side is that you really don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off its simply too good!

Jx

  • with thanks to Leesa for providing the mattress for the purpose of this post

 

Unique & Handmade

I think you are all aware now that I like to find those special one of kind companies to shout about, ones that hold dear to what I believe in, how I like to shop and that I love to recommend to the similarly minded folk who are my readers.

I have recently been introduced to Emma & Louise. This on line store is exactly what I have just been talking about. Bringing an inspirational collection of carefully selected hand crafted objects for the home and selected fashion accessories, all made in the UK by talented female designers and craftswomen.  From jewellery to storage, throws to handbags, tableware to stationery, every item loving created to bring an extra dimension for you and your home to cherish.

This wonderfully unique store is based on creativity, the creativity of women who’s beautiful hand crafted original pieces fill the site offering distinctive gifts that should enrich your homes.  Each craftswoman has her own unique identity but each one supportive of the other, together in one authentic marketplace.

Emma & Louise is passionate about creating a true community of talented artisans.  Each product you will find in the store has a story, the details behind the maker and the inspiration behind the items crafted, making each piece unique and personal, not something mass marketed and soul-less.  I love the thought, when I reach for my mug to make coffee first thing in the morning, of the hands that have sculpted this wonderful piece of clay into the vessel I cherish drinking from each day, or the candle that I light on an evening giving off its distinctive scent and who loving poured the wax into each glass jar.

The beautiful pieces featured in my post today conjured up winter for me.  The simple pleasures of these colder months to make a pot of tea, serve it in a hand made ceramic mug, place it all on a serving board, light the heavenly scented candle and curl up with a book whiling away a happy hour in sheer contentment.  Taking the time to appreciate each piece, the tactile nature of the cup in your hand, the smoothness of the wood and the intoxicating aroma of the candle.  All simple pleasures that need to be enjoyed.

I’ve been a fan of Join for some time, made in small batches in a garden studio in East London.  Pebble is an intoxicating candle a blend of bergamot and black pepper, inspired by childhood memories of skimming stones on a Cornish beach.  I simply love the masculine aroma it exudes, my favourite kind.

I am so pleased I found Pottery West on Emma & Louise, ceramics being a weakness of mine. These guys make the most exquisite pieces, small batch and wheel thrown with an emphasis on simple, ergonomic form and tactile functional glazes.  Their sheer earthiness is stunning, the Brut pourer and large Brut mug are now used every day and bring a smile of joy.

One can never have too many wooden boards, they are eternally useful for many things, this walnut serving board is no exception.  Made from a single piece of walnut hand carved by Rosie Brewer in Devon.  Each board is different, carved and sized by hand making it even more special when placed as a centre piece on your table.

I do hope that you can find the time to explore this truly unique store, helping you find that perfect gift or treat for yourself and to find out a little bit behind the women who make these simply authentic hand made pieces for you and your home.

Jx

  • With thanks to Emma & Louise who provided the items for this post

 

Cabin Escapes

Winter mood, makes me turn to all my wonderful interior books that are filled with homes that encapsulate the cabin vibe, Scandinavian style at its cosiest.  This time of year makes me want to disappear into the woods to my fictional cabin and weather out these darker months before Spring returns in a cocooned state of happiness.

I wonder if like me you feel exactly the same, piling up the blankets and throws, snuggling up in your chunky knit jumpers and warmest slippers creating that little bit of cabin style in your own home.  So settle yourself down and dream with me. Bring on all the wood, texture, sheepskins, blankets, tactile concrete, picture windows with cushion-strewn seats and the obligatory log burner with neatly stacked log pile.

Simple pleasures of a layered bed to sleep in, a warm inviting bathroom to thaw out in after being outside in the forest, the squishiest sofa to curl up in with a warming mug of hot chocolate to indulge in and more wood, more and more!

The best publications to give you that cabin high and ones that I turn to at this time of year are Elle Decoration Country and The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark,  let’s escape together.

Jx

Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Natural Way to Paint // Bauwerk Colour

When it comes to decorating I like to try out new ways of doing so, exploring new ideas and colours, mixing it up a little rather than playing safe.  I have been a huge admirer of Bauwerk Colour for a long time, first seeing them in Hans Blomquist’s book In the Mood for Colour so it has been a privilege to be able use their paint in a room in my house.  Being able to introduce new environmentally friendly products into my home is becoming increasingly important to me and if I can then pass on this knowledge to others then I’ll be overjoyed.

It was a little daunting using this paint as it is totally different to what I’m used to. When you open the tub the consistency is like water but if you follow the instructions carefully it’s not so scary after all, it’s rather easy and very therapeutic.  I found my rhythm and the walls were covered in no time.  It was strange painting walls with a large brush but sweeping strokes are needed to get the effect you want.  Because the paint is made with clay, minerals and natural pigments it dries quite quickly so you can’t got back and go over where you have been which took a while to get used to. You just keep going with your strokes, not worrying whether you’ve missed a bit, this will get covered on your next application.  As long as you don’t load your brush too much and make each application stretch as far as you can the process is rather simple. Also keep stirring the paint to stop the pigment settling, you just can tell when you need to do this.

Once I got used to the whole process three coats were applied quickly and the finished effect is rather fabulous.  Yes you can see the brush strokes but that is part of it’s charm, it gives your walls depth and texture and I absolutely love it.  A friend on instagram said once I use Bauwerk I will never look back and I think she is right!   It has totally transformed the room, watching it change colour with the light is quite magical. I find myself drawn to this space to sit for a while and take it in, it was a room I hardly noticed before.

The joy of Bauwerk is their vision and ethos being able to produce modern lime paint in harmony with nature, they source the finest pigments to develop the most beautiful colour palette in collaborations with superb stylists such as Hans Blomquist and Lynda Gardener.   Established in 2000 in Australia they now supply in Europe which is great for us.

The environmental benefits from using Bauwerk paints are exemplary, here is why.

“We make our paints, following our belief that buildings and homes should not be disconnected from the materials they are built from. To create paints that are natural, that work with and are part of a building or home.

Especially important to us, is our environment, our paints are beautiful, do not harm the environment in their manufacture and disposal, and most importantly do not harm our health.

Bauwerk lime paints are made from natural materials which is different from being a conventional low or zero VOC paint-which just means it is made from plastics but with one toxic part removed leaving all the rest.

Our paints work differently, working with nature we make them with clay, minerals and beautiful natural pigments. You can paint without fumes, wash-up and disposal is safe and non-polluting, we leave no toxic chemicals in the environment in the production of our paints.

We use 100% green power in our production.”

If we can make our homes more natural without causing harm to our environment but in turn creating beautiful places to live in then I highly recommend investing in wonderful companies like Bauwerk.

Jx

The Joy of Tiles with Mandarin Stone

I have a thing for tiles, I simply love them, all their textures, patterns and shapes.  I have a collection of tiles that I just keep and display because I think they are beautiful.  One of the leading companies in the country to supply every tile option you can possibly imagine is Mandarin Stone.  These guys definitely know a thing or two about this fabulous medium and I am lucky enough to be writing about them today and I got to play with a diverse selection of their stock to create mood boards in my favourite colour palette for this post.

Mandarin Stone have just this week launched their new website making it even easier to browse and select the right tile for your particular need.  I know when I next carry out a big job in my home (the bathroom) they will certainly be the ones I will entrust to guiding me through the process, helping me choose the correct tile without making any costly mistakes.The attention to detail that Mandarin Stone go to to constantly bring the best range of tile to their customers is outstanding.  The extensive nature of their range and the versatility that is on offer leaves me quite speechless, always striving for new and innovative designs and sourcing the very best in interior design, constantly on trend.

A great pride runs throughout the company with the comprehensive knowledge and experience that they offer to ensure the right material is used for the right project be it linking your interior with your exterior using outdoor stone for a seamless finish, to tiny mosaics for the down-stairs loo.   Big slabs of marble for a sleek bathroom experience, or the perfect geometric monochrome decorative porcelain tile for the kitchen.  You can get wood effect, concrete look, stone effect and glazed, you name it they have it and virtually the entire range is in stock at their Monmouth warehouse (or should I say large industrial estate!).  This means that the majority of the stock can delivered within the week as you’d be surprised at how ordering tiles is one the things people forget to do and then need them in a hurry!

What I love most about Mandarin Stone other than their aesthetics in interior design and their ethos is that they are a family run business with their headquarters still in the rolling hills of Monmouthshire, Wales.  Here is a little bit more about how it all came to be.

“I never dreamt that selling a few slate tiles out the back of my estate car 29 years ago would lead to the Mandarin Stone we see today. In the early years we supplied predominantly tile shops and distributors until we opened our first showroom in Bath back in 2000. Nearly 20 years later, we now have 10 inspirational showrooms throughout the UK.  Alma Small, Founder & Managing Director

“Our over-riding passion for natural stone stands firm and there is little that we don’t know about this undeniably beautiful material. Our collection has grown considerably over the years, from tried & tested favourites, to brand new discoveries, meaning our selection of natural stone is unrivalled. Never ones to stand still, it has been our introduction of man-made porcelain tiles in more recent years that has allowed us to be at the very forefront of interior design, presenting the most innovative and exciting wall and floor surfaces to the UK market.”

So I shall keep planning for my bathroom revamp but it may take me sometime to choose as the selection is mind boggling, like a child in a sweet shop.  Will it be Carrara C Honed Marble or Cemento White Polished Porcelain, maybe with a quirky patterned and decorative tile as a basin splash back, who knows the world is my oyster with Mandarin Stone.

Jx

  • With thanks to Mandarin Stone for supplying the tiles for use in the mood board images

 

The Sofa Dilemma

The sofa is one of the comfiest places to relax other than under the duvet so you have to get it right, it’s a big financial cost too, so any wrong choices can be a bit of a disaster.  All that being said it’s one of the pieces of furniture that I struggle with when choosing, it took me a very long time to pick or current sofa and I worried that I’d made the wrong choice for weeks on end.  Luckily for me it works for us and it’s comfort and elegance works in my current scheme.

So where do you start when contemplating that large investment piece, does the decor dictate the style and fabric choice?  Are you restricted with space or budget or does the sofa itself make you decide on everything else around it?

Only you can be the one that answers any of these questions but personally I found a lot of research helped me with my decision.  My one piece of advice is don’t buy straight off the internet, visit a showroom have a good sit on the one sofa that catches your eye, take the family and have you all sit on it as if you were at home.  Also invest in a piece that will last, don’t cut corners, try and buy one at the top of your budget because it will hopefully be made to last quite a few years.

There are so  many styles on the market but my favourites are the less in your face pieces, I like muted tones, wool fabrics that you can layer up with cushions and throws, clean lined but comfortable.   I wish I had the space for a modular model where we could all lay out but alas my living space isn’t so big.  I had to go compact in style but fabric choice was definitely no other than my own. I’ve always wanted a plain wool sofa and so that’s what I have.  I was ever so tempted by velvet but was scared that in every day use it would get a little worn far too quickly. The jewel toned velvets that are available are stunningly beautiful, maybe one day I will have a space for an occasional sofa that doesn’t suffer the rigour of everyday use.

Another hard wearing fabric choice would be leather, these fabulous leather sofa designs by the unique online store PIB are superb with a touch of a vintage vibe.  Buttery leather tones that will wear well with age.  I have a leather chair that we bought many moons ago for this very reason, an investment that will last a life time.

If money were no object a bespoke piece would be a dream, handmade to perfection to your specifications, I shall carry on dreaming about that one, or maybe one from here, my favourite designers.

So if you are currently looking to make that switch from old and tired to brand spanking new, hopefully some of these styles might take your fancy, happy sofa shopping.

Jx

Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12

 

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