Custom Fronts // Scandi Ply Chic

A few weeks ago I mentioned having commissioned custom made fronts to fit an Ikea Besta sideboard we had recently purchased.  Well my beautiful doors, tops and sides arrived, they fit like a dream and are beyond any pre conceived ideas that we had before they arrived.I am so pleased that I found Custom Fronts, not only that they are UK based but I support their sustainable, hand crafted, design led ethos.  The attention to detail is exceptional, I have a bespoke piece of furniture for the fraction of the cost of a designer brand but with huge eco credentials.During the process of choosing the finishes and final dimensions for my cupboard doors, I had a chat to Ian and Rachel, the husband and wife team behind the brand and asked a few questions about how Custom Fronts came about, the sustainability behind the craft and where they see the business going in the future, this is what they told me.“We wanted to re-invent how kitchens and furniture should be.  We don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.  We want to offer something extraordinarily simple, yet extraordinarily difficult to find.  Kitchens and furniture that are beautiful, sustainable, made locally, design-led, AND affordable.  No-one else seemed to be doing it.  Why couldn’t we? We come from humble backgrounds, and don’t have deep pockets. But we love art, design, creativity, the planet…and there are many more like us.  We know it’s not just those who can afford it that want beautiful and healthy design in their homes!

 We had a number of questions that we felt the interiors world just didn’t have answers to. So we decided to answer these ourselves.
Why can’t high-end design be inclusive, not exclusive?
Why shouldn’t beautiful, sustainable AND affordable design be available to everyone?
How do even high-end manufacturers get away with making their products from toxic MDF and other unsustainable materials?
Why must everything be wastefully spray painted with toxic paints, or wrapped in laminate and vinyls?
Scandinavian birch plywood is THE ideal materials for kitchens – why are so few using it?
Why should those without deep pockets have to settle for bland, shoddy products without beauty and creativity?
Why is everyone playing it safe?
 We felt perfectly placed to provide these answers.  We have the skills, we had the vision.    But we felt scared, unsure…did other people have these questions too?  Did other people want what we wanted? We still don’t know for sure.  But we did know that we didn’t want to play it safe.  We wanted to take a risk.  Sometimes you have to trust your gut, so we went for it!
 We love nature and beauty.  We use gorgeous FSC certified birch plywood or bamboo for all of our products.  Birch plywood is fast-growing and abundant meaning it is easily replenishable.  It is low-toxic, and because it consists of several very thin layers of birch ply together, immensely less wasteful than solid wood.  Beautiful bamboo is incredibly fast-growing, has a fascinating grain structure and is another perfect material.  All our wood veneers are native species from FSC certified suppliers.
We use ultra low toxic and durable paint, an American brand “Mythic”.   You could drink it, although I wouldn’t advise it!  It’s not a fashionable brand, they don’t shout about themselves but we know this is the best on the market.
We make everything ourselves in our workshop in Sussex, we want to be proud of what we make with a simple, timeless aesthetic but also push the boundaries a little, we like using interesting colour palettes, woods and metal finishes.  It might surprise customers, but we won’t say “yes” to everything.  We have strong environmental and design principles and everything we do stays true to that.  We won’t spray paint – it’s wasteful, usually toxic, and lacks the subtle texture and crafted look of hand painted.  We will never use MDF and particle board.  We won’t use tropical hard woods.
 We have so many plans.  Our only problem is time, not ideas!  Our plans are to introduce our own bespoke furniture, Custom shelves, Custom tables, Custom stools, with very interesting “customisable” options of course.
 We will also be moving to a beautiful rural workshop only 50 miles from London over the summer where we will have a showroom, we’d love you to come and say hello.  It is just across the road from one of the most beautiful riverside walks in Sussex, which handily ends up at a scenic pub where you can enjoy a lovely pub lunch, a perfect day out.
And finally there is the possibility of a collaboration with a fascinating design firm so watch this space.”
 Take it from me the finish is exceptional and I’m bursting with pride that I now own a Custom Fronts cabinet, I don’t think it will be long before I hear of many more of you owning a slice of of Scandi Ply delight too, or how long it will take before I want to update my kitchen!!
* with thanks to Custom Fronts for providing images for this post.  Taken by Sarah Weal and styled by Emma Harris

Got to Go Green

Green, it’s definitely the time of year to be celebrating this versatile colour, the hedgerows and gardens are bursting with it and boy does it make you feel fresh and alive.

I know you are normally used to me promoting the more monochrome of colour palettes but I do have a soft spot for green as does the interior world too at the moment, the botanical trend doesn’t seem to be on the wane at all.

Whether you go all out with wild wallpapers and clashing junglesque soft furnishings or introduce a softer olive toned paint to refresh a wall, Farrow and Ball and Little Greene are good places to go, or cover your sofa in an emerald green velvet it’s totally up to you.

The answer may not be in decoration at all but bringing the outside in, filling a space with plants of varying shades and sizes.  Creating a little green haven all of your own in pots and containers rather than paints and fabrics.  If you aren’t too successful in keeping these green babies alive then take a look at Rose & Grey faux botanical range, you’d be hard pressed to kill any of these.  There are also some rather good books currently out to help you achieve this look.

I do like a deep green especially when used well for instance in a kitchen, pair it with a hint of warm copper or gold. Be sure you like strong schemes though, you may tire of this quickly, maybe, maybe not.  Rich deep hues bring a sense of grown-upness to a room don’t you think?

Adding a pale green tile to a bright bathroom works equally well, or paint to base of the bath in a vibrant verdigris, which is easily updated without huge expense  when you fancy a change.

Then again it may just come down to a new chair and a plus green cushion or  a fresh linen duvet set to transform your space, I dare say once you start adding these little touches you’ll get hooked and that paint brush won’t be far away from getting in on the action too.

Of course I have dedicated green inspired boards on pinterest, who doesn’t!

Images ~ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

 

 

Happy + Co

I think you are all well aware by now that I like to champion independent brands that not only supply stylish well made products for your home but also ones that have huge ethical clout.  So this week I would like to introduce you to Happy + Co.

Their philosophy is that happiness starts at home, this transfers into everything they do and into each design that they produce.

“All our products are designed to be noticed but, above all, to be loved”

I couldn’t put it better myself,  I have kindly been sent two Happy + Co cushions that blend wonderfully on my grey wool sofa. Who doesn’t love a good cushion? They finish a room, making a seat inviting and a bed that you want to curl up on.  These large steel grey pebble cushions are made from 100% recycled cotton, the texture is fabulous, so tactile but soft to the touch and they come with a feather cushion pad too. Many more designs caught my eye, the midnight  black Bondi and Palm Beach designs are so fresh with a hint of Scandinavian chic all of which would add a playful touch to a monochrome scheme.

Happy + Co design their homeware products to be different, bringing a splash of happiness to the room they reside in.  A lot of time and effort is put into getting to know each and every single one of their suppliers.  To make sure that the products and designs are of the highest quality they visit the suppliers regularly to guarantee that everyone is happy.

Little things make a big difference and that is exactly what this innovative brand achieve, for each product that they sell 10% of the profit is invested in their Farm in Cambodia.  This investment provides employment for young men and women, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole community.

Happy + Co have a perfect and simple collection of products, cushions, table linen, bedding and the most super stylish furniture covered in their distinctive fabric.  A little bit of something for everyone, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t love them as much as I, so lets spread a little bit of happiness with this outstanding brand.

  • With thanks to Happy + Co for the cushions featured in this post.

 

Pendant Light Trend with Heal’s

The pendant light trend does not seem to be diminishing and I am very pleased about that.  I’m not one for a myriad of spotlights in the ceiling, I like to create a focal point to a room and low hung pendant lights definitely do just that.

When Heal’s got in touch to see if I’d like to review one of their current seasons lights I jumped at the chance.  The Cora pendant is designed exclusively for Heal’s combining different elements of metal and glass creating a sleek modern piece of lighting that would compliment many a different room scheme.  At the centre of the pendant hangs a perforated solid brushed copper shade that is cocooned by a smoke tinted glass cylinder.  These two elements create a rather stunning effect when lit, the light is diffused through the copper shade and is softened further by the tinted glass creating a warm glow that isn’t harsh.  A perfect light for any room, especially a bedroom or living area where you don’t want the light to be too bright or over powering.

At first I wasn’t so sure about the copper, a metal that I know is very popular at the moment in interiors but I was pleasantly surprised when the light arrived. Due to the level of high quality materials used the copper isn’t at all bright and brassy like some cheaper high street alternatives.  I do feel you can go a bit overboard with too many copper elements in a scheme but if you keep it limited to a few pieces it will stand the test of time and this light is no exception.

I have had fun styling it up in different ways in my home, and I think it will in the end be hung in my bedroom.  I’m also impressed by the length of flex, there’s nothing worse than the stingy bit of flex often provided with pendant lights. This light has plenty and with the desire to have pendant lights hung low it makes it the perfect light to have slung across the ceiling to create a fun display, using hooks to hold the light in position.

So yes I would highly recommend the Cora light as a simple modern well designed piece of lighting for the home.  To me it’s the icing on the cake to a well dressed room,  be it the statement piece in a minimal white scheme or the contrasting edge that blends into a space featuring bold prints and pattern.

  •  With thanks to Heal’s for providing the Cora pendant light for the purpose of this review.

 

 

 

Oggetto // Simple Crafted Honest

In my line of work I am very grateful to come across and make friends with some simply wonderful online homeware stores, Oggetto being one of them.

The products and store speak for themselves, their ethos being that of enriching life with well crafted products for everyday use and that is certainly what they do.   Founders Helen and Charlie Camm both having backgrounds in creative industries wanted to create a lifestyle store that is carefully curated featuring simple, functional and thoughtfully designed products that can be used everyday, making your house a home.

Oggetto is an Italian word meaning object and from their Dorset base they certainly do provide you with beautiful objects that hold craftsmanship, longevity and quality to the fore all made by small producers in the UK and around the world.

By investing in a piece from Oggetto you are not just buying a useful item, you are also investing in a way of life, a handmade product that is slightly unique with an understated aesthetic that you can not replicate on the high street.

The store is very simple and easy to browse with well thought out categories that make it very easy to find what you are looking for.  From the kitchen to the bathroom every room is covered.  Their new pared back Chesil furniture collection made from oak and steel is inspired by the 18 mile beach off the Dorset coast and is a perfect addition to the store.  I treated myself to one of the ceramic storage jars. I have been after a new vessel to store our teabags in for a while and this is just the right design that fits seamlessly into my kitchen.  I am also rather taken with the contemporary Scandinavian designed coffee brewing products, the dark sleek look would make the ritual of preparing the first cup on a morning even more pleasurable.

From artisan ceramics to beautiful Tunisian Fouta towels for bathing, handwoven seagrass lampshades to Destination Travel journals for cool city breaks this is one mighty fine store that I think you all need to explore.  I am so happy I found them and I think that you will be too.

  •  With thanks to Oggetto for providing the images for this piece

 

 

Bedside Tables // Finding the Right One

I have been on the hunt for new bedside tables for a long while, I didn’t realise how difficult it could be narrowing down what I wanted from the look I had in my head to the reality of finding it in the big wide world.  The choice is rather vast from the expensive designer versions right down to flat pack.

This year I’ve wanted to shake my style up a bit, obviously I don’t have the funds to change every piece of furniture in my home but I can make small changes that create a big impact.  I am very much seduced by clean lines, sleek, pale and modern pieces that enhance and make a space feel bigger.  So I’ve been throwing things out with gusto and boy does it feel good.   Our old bedsides were the first things to go,  I wanted white gloss, sounds strange maybe considering I have a French antique bed but I just knew it would work with the grey walls and simple bedding.

So I started to investigate, I first looked at the Componibili cabinet by Kartell but to be honest I found them a bit flimsy and with not enough storage for the price.  Heals did a perfect version of what I was after but again the price was just out of my reach, so I turned to Ikea, yes I know Ikea!    I have never bought any furniture from them before and I was pleasantly surprised.  I found exactly the right bedside table in white gloss similar in style to the Heals version but at a fraction of the cost.  Yes I know they are self build but if you take your time and construct them correctly are just fabulous.  They are sleek and minimal with two large drawers to keep all my everyday bits and bobs in leaving the top free from clutter.  I am now an Ikea convert, you will have to watch this space to see what I am doing in my lounge with Ikea sideboard carcasses and fixtures from a Swedish company called Superfront.

Anyhow I digress, whether you are after large and chunky, minimal and sleek there are so many variations of bedside table to suit your taste, needs and budget.  I’ve picked out a few of my favourites for this post but you can also browse my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9

 

 

 

Aerende // Style with Meaning

I have a passion for beautiful well made homewares, simple hand crafted items that not only are useful but beautifully tactile and are a hard working addition to my home.  Over the past year or so I have been consolidating our possessions to create a well rounded selection that not only pleases us but makes us feel good about how they were made and where they came from.

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I happened to make friends with Emily Mathieson, a former travel editor for The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Red and also the founder of Aerende (a-ren-day) through instagram.  A visual place where like minded folk can connect and support each other on a daily basis.   It has been a privilege to watch this young online store grow and flourish as it should, selling beautiful products for your home all made in the UK by people facing social challenges.  It is a special place where you will find a well curated range of carefully crafted products created by makers who are unable to access or maintain conventional employment.

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One of the reasons behind Emily taking this journey was through the lack of high-quality options in the ethical interiors sector.  Starting her on a journey to create a model for considerate, socially valuable shopping that does not compromise on quality or style.

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Aerende is an old English word meaning care and was chosen to reflect our commitment to heritage skills and British-made items.  Emily believes in the power of consumers to affect social change as do I.  The tag of ‘life-improving homewares’ reflects the commitment to sourcing unique, limited-edition products that not only will bring joy, beauty and utility to Aerende customers but a sense of purpose, pride and revenue to the talented makers, via the charities and social enterprises that support them.

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I think you all know by now my love of ceramics and the selection that Aerende supply are simply beautiful.  They are made in a pottery called The Grange in Gloucestershire through the national charity Camphill Village Trust who help people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs to live meaningful lives in supported communities.

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Everything you see and purchase from the soy candles through to the natural wool blankets are made by someone facing social challenges.  Linens hand finished by women refugees who have survived trafficking, soy wax candles made in Wales by people with learning difficulties,  hand carved wooden spoons by adults with mental health issues.

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I think in the current climate that we are currently living in we all  need to make small changes, ones that will make a difference and by supporting a business like Aerende is a very good place to start.  To show solidarity, support and unite, banishing stigma and prejudice with every purchase.  Not only are we helping a cause that I am deeply passionate about we are coming together as a people to create happiness and strength with those who need it most.   The homewares in this wonderful store will make your home that little bit more unique and special.

Another couple of great articles featuring Emily and Aerende are here and here, the more we shout, the louder we get, the more chance we have of getting heard.

  • With thanks to Aerende for which this post would not be possible

 

 

 

 

A Mid Century Modern Collection

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I like the way my living room flows at the moment but this could change in the future as I’ve been seduced by the new mid century modern collection from Rose & Grey.  Elegance is definitely a word you would use to describe this very well curated set of furniture.

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The pared back designs are far from being a new concept, on the contrary, they are a timeless classic based on a mid century Polish design by Jozef Chierowski in 1962.  This new up to date version was discovered at a trade fair last year and are still manufactured in Poland by 366 Concept who have stayed true to the original designs but made them more feasible for our lives today.  Rose & Grey knew instantly that they had to stock them and are currently one of only 2 stockists in the UK.

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These versatile pieces of furniture are chameleon like and adapt into many interior schemes whether you go for the full ensemble of the two seater, chairs and coffee table or an individual piece which will blend seamlessly with your existing furniture.

The two different designs blend together well so can be mixed and matched with ease.  The Jozef Chierowski 366 range is available as a two seater, easy chair and rocking chair.  The H .Lis Fox design comes as an easy chair, a rocking chair and a foot stool.  Both ranges have a selection of coffee tables to compliment their style.

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These beautiful pieces of furniture are all new and made to order within a 4 -6 week time frame in a stunning selection of fabrics from denim, velvet or my favourite wool in a myriad of colours.  For those wanting to make a splash there is a choice of bright chilli pepper red and sky blue but for the  more discerning are the more muted tones of classic grey and black wool.  Another way to make a splash is to mix and match the colour ways creating an interesting focal point in your room.

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The sleek wooden frames give the pieces elegance, rather than their bulky fabric cousins. The design lets light flow around the room; you are able to  see underneath each piece revealing the floor, which creates the sense of more space.

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I most certainly have my eye on the H. Lis Fox rocking chair in grey black wool, it would work in my living room rather well and I also know it would be fought over to who was going to sit in it first!

  • With thanks to Rose & Grey for providing the promotional images for this post

 

Monochrome Wonders

I do love a good rug, large and pleasing to the eye bringing everything in the room together making it all gel, I think that a room can look a bit lost without one.  It also has to be soft under your feet, one that you can sink your toes into and relax after a long day.

If I were to be asked to choose one rug to own for the rest of my days I definitely know which one would win.  The Beni Ourain rug has my heart, the beautiful hand made monochrome hatch designs are perfect and timeless. The very nature of the black and white design seamlessly blend with a myriad of styled interiors, minimal and contemporary through to maximalist colourful eclectic spaces.

I’ve had the great pleasure of being able to sample one of these stunning rugs as an introducion to Tate & Darby who officially launch their on line store this Summer but are open for business if anything catches your eye.

Henny Tate and Kirsty Darby are passionate about rugs, well not any old rug but ones that they source from Morocco.  They fell in love with the brightly coloured versions of the usually more muted Beni Ourain rugs on a trip to Marrakech.  They brought a few home to sell at a pop up shop they had organised, the rugs sold so well that they went back for more and so the idea for the Tate & Darby was born.

They both have backgrounds in design and the decorative arts and have found that buying and designing rugs satisfies that creative urge and fits around their busy family lives very well.

All of the Tate & Darby Beni Ourain rugs are hand made in 100% wool by womens co-operatives in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  Each rug tells a story by the person who made it,  they are perhaps the most beautiful, comfortable and practical rugs around, Henny and Kirsty still marvel at the work that goes into them. Every effort is made to keep their business as sustainable as possible, they don’t want to leave a footprint but do want to encourage a hand print.

Henny and Kirsty believe that a rug has a way of transforming a space, creating atmosphere and by reworking traditional designs into contemporary styles make them all the more accessible for our homes. Tate & Darby offer a bespoke service too, if you can’t quite find the right look they are more than happy to help and of course they love to chat rugs!

One of the things I love about these artisan rugs is their versatility, most of us think of the Beni Ourain being that of a black and white weave but the bright neon colour ways that Tate & Darby offer are so very different and extremely versatile. I know there’s a certain young lady in my house that would kill for a neon pink version in her bedroom!

So now you don’t have to book a flight, hotel and go to Morocco to barter for that sought after rug as Tate & Darby have done all the hard work for you.

  •  With thanks to Tate & Darby for the loan of this stunning rug for the purpose of this post

 

 

Soak & Sleep

There is nothing nicer than getting into a freshly made bed, the only thing that can top this is if it’s brand spanking new bedding.  Soft to the touch, cocooning, dream inducing slumber under relaxed cotton.   I think I like being in my bed longer than most, I can’t wait for weekends to arrive so that coffee and books are devoured there, all cosy and comfy wrapped in layers of duvet, pillows and blankets.

I like creating different moods in our bedroom too especially at this time of year.  Mixing it up a little, pairing darker colours and layers to suit these cold winters days.  The light is diffused as our room faces east, we get the morning sun but in the afternoon is takes on a cooler hue so darker bedding makes it feel more snug than bright white at this time of the year.

Of late I have become a linen convert,  I simply like the laid back texture of it, the warmth it brings when cold and the cooling nature of it’s natural fibres when it is warm.  So when Soak & Sleep asked me to try their new range of relaxed cotton bedding I was intrigued to see if this bedding feels and looks like it’s sophisticated cousin linen.

Well I am not disappointed, this pre washed cotton takes on a super soft and relaxed feel just like linen, it’s pure crumpled heaven and I love it.  To give it that contemporary edge I have used contrasting colours of a dark grey duvet cover adding midnight blue for the fitted sheet and two of the pillows giving the bedding more depth.  The range also comes in lilac heather a beautiful rich colour that works perfectly with both the grey and blue.

Another bonus is that it washes very well and looks better for not being ironed, perfect if you want that slightly crumpled look that works so well when layered up with blankets and throws, embrace the imperfections and relax in this exquisite bedding.

I’m going to be hard pressed to take it off now, weekends are going to be even more cosy than before, I think I might need to get another set to compensate, I am totally converted and the price for a set is very amenable indeed, thank you Soak & Sleep.

 

The Simple Tap

January is a bit of a dark winter month, a little bit far away from spring to really start feeling the change of season.  The benefit that January has is being able to plan, as the evenings are dark there is nothing nicer than setting your goals for the year be it personal ones or impending home improvements.

Being able to happily make mood boards of how you want your new space to look, creating pull out lists of beautiful materials, fixtures and fittings.  Then finding the equivalent high end design at the fraction of the cost is even more exhilarating.

I’m not in need of renovating my kitchen at home at the moment as it works well, its functional and serves our needs.  The design fits our home but if I were to have the urge to change and replace I think it would definitely err towards sleek and minimal, clean lines and everything in it’s place.   With this kind of design you need to really consider the position of your sink and kitchen taps.   Symmetry, unfussy and modern,  nothing too ostentatious or country cottage, simple designs that look like a piece of well considered furniture.

Brushed steel, chrome, matt black, copper, slubby gold all of these finishes would work perfectly in a pared back scheme. Where sleek cabinetry blends into the background by using a subtle colour palette, letting the taps take centre stage.

Practicality is always a good thing, having a swish tap that looks good but doesn’t work so well is a bit of a disaster.  Choosing a tap that has a pull out spray head that is hidden when not in use is a perfect example such as these Hansgrohe taps.  Single lever mixer taps work beautifully, the design of Grohe taps are elegant with no fuss. A perfect extravagance would to maybe invest in a  boiling water tap so there is no need to have a kettle on display for instance.

If you like the streamlined look and are planning on a kitchen makeover take a look at my pinterest page dedicated to well designed spaces.

Images ~  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

  • This post was written in collaboration with Superbath

 

White Luxury

I was recently set a challenge by Sainsbury’s to live with some of their everyday luxury products and review my findings.  To me it was perfect timing what with Christmas approaching fast, to renew and refresh my guest bedroom essentials for welcoming guests over the festive season and to be organised for the odd impromptu visits that sometimes occur.

Creating a home away from home environment when we have guests to stay is a priority and a pleasure.  Fresh cotton sheets that match, plump duvet and pillows and a set of fluffy towels.  There is nothing worse than an unloved space to stay in, a little bit of time and effort makes all the difference.

To create that perfect nights sleep Sainsbury’s duvet and pillows are luxurious with pure cotton covers filled with goose feather and down fillers, both soft and light, making your night’s sleep warm and cosy.

I love nothing more than pure white bedding, it makes a guest room inviting, especially if you layer well with cushions and throws, giving the room that indulgent feel.  The Everyday Luxury collection most certainly falls into this category, made from the finest quality Egyptian cotton with a high thread count which becomes softer and more luxurious after every wash.   It is most certainly soft and comfortable and with the addition of a textured white throw placed at the end of the bed for when you get a little chilly makes for the most heavenly setting.

Classic white fluffy towels are a must for your guest, make sure you have a range from large bath towel down to a hand towel.   These towels from the home collection are made from fine Eygptian cotton hygro.  Hygro is a marvellous technology that ensures the towels are thicker and softer than normal without being bulky or heavy.  I can honestly say they are the fluffiest, softest towels I have ever owned, there is nothing nicer than snuggling up in a soft towel after a relaxing soak in the tub.

The finishing touches to any guest room is to make the space look inviting and homely.  Placing fresh flowers and reading material on the bedside.  A beautiful scented candle if your guest want to retire early to read a while in the glow of candle light.  Arrange some hangers so clothes can be stored neatly.  Leave a fresh jug of water and tumblers and a dedicated space for toiletries.

All these details make for a pleasant stay and I can whole heartedly say that the Sainsbury’s Everyday Luxury range will do the job excellently.  Good quality, high end products at better than high street prices is quite remarkable.

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With thanks to Sainsbury’s for providing the items reviewed in this post #SainsburysHome

 

 

Kind for Dogs

I know before you all say ‘but you don’t have a dog’ there is logic behind my madness.   I know it is true I don’t own a dog but I do know many friends that do and I am exceedingly passionate about good design.  That’s were Kind for Dogs comes in, this new Finnish Lifestyle Brand offer the best of both worlds, whether your family has a dog or not. The simple Nordic style is prevalent in their designs all in a muted colour palette of linens, leather and ceramics not a naff gawdy dog print in sight.

Maarit the founder of Kind describes the ethos and values behind this very unique lifestyle brand perfectly below;

“Any dog lover will know that dogs are an important part of the family. However, we’ve noticed that when it comes to interior décor, man’s best friend is often forgotten. This thinking gave birth to an idea of new Finnish lifestyle brand for dog owners and dogs. 

Today at Kind, we aim to bring sustainable Nordic style to your home, always with your pet’s comfort in mind. Our collection consists of functional yet stylish dog accessories and home decor. Our product design is clean and Nordic, so that any style-conscious dog owner can enjoy it.

From the start, it was important that Kind’s products should stand the test of time, and not become scruffy in use. This principle still guides every decision in the design process. Our collection combines the needs of your dog with clean Nordic design. Our harmonious colour palette is inspired by nature, making our dog beds so beautiful that they will fit right in with your interior décor. No more hiding your dog’s things in the laundry room.

 

At Kind, we aim to make products that are functional and simplistically beautiful. Dogs remind us of how important it is to stay in touch with nature, so we use many high-quality natural materials, like linen, cotton, and vegetable tanned leather.

 

 This high quality design lead store is a joy, set out in clear categories , At Home, Going Out and For the Owner.  Each one with specific items for that exact purpose.  Practical dog beds that blend seamlessly into your interior and the most beautiful ceramic dog bowls that if you weren’t using for your dog’s meals wouldn’t look out of place on your own table.  Handmade leather dog collars and leads that age beautifully with time and wear. Then finally there is their home wares category, yes you can use the linen waffle towels for cleaning your dog after long walk but they work equally well as useful towels in your home.  Also minimalist linen pillow covers bringing the whole clean lined Nordic style together, creating a stylish interior for your home whether you own a dog or not.

Kind for dogs generously sent me some of their linen products to try in my own home and they work very well indeed, of course how could I not like linen waffle towels and linen pillow covers.  They are an essential part of my home interiors and work seamlessly with my decor.

So I urge you to go and take a look, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, I was thinking maybe a Christmas gift for the dog lover in your family, if you make a purchase you can receive a 10% discount with your order using the code KIND16.

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  •  With many thanks to Kind for Dogs for gifting the items in this post

Warm & Bright

This is an image I never thought I would be taking, one of a fire sitting on my hearth but lo and behold here one is.  We live in a smoke free zone in a 1980’s build, when we moved in 13 years ago we inherited with a grotty electric fire that we never used and covered up.  The fire surround is still not to my liking but I having just replaced the horrid tiles that were there before, the surround will have to stay a little longer until we decide what to do.  We are thinking a big solid oak beam would look good as I can’t live without a mantle, where on earth would I put all my candles!

This ingenious fire is  free standing and runs using bioethanol by imaginfires, I am so impressed with the whole ethos behind these clever fires and they look pretty good too.

Here comes the clever stuff, you don’t need a flue or chimney to use a bioethanol fire as they don’t emit any smoke, making them environmentally friendly, clean and can be used in smoke controlled zones.  The fuel burns with a 98% efficiency rate meaning you get no nasty residue to clean.   The biofires give off real heat, no artificial flames, you can also adjust the flame size and heat output if your room gets too toasty.  No gas or electricity sources needed either just the bioethanol fuel.

So bioethanol, what is it?  This fuel is a renewable energy source produced by a sugar fermentation process.  The sugar comes from renewable crops such as corn, maize and wheat which create a much lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels.

For someone who thought moving house would be the only way to get a fire this simple stylish fire has made me very happy.  To be able to light it with no mess just as easy as lighting a candle and have it warm the room with it’s flickering flames has been magical.  Even better it has arrived in perfect time as the nights are drawing in and the evenings getting colder.  It has made our living room so cosy that we find it hard leaving the sofa!

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With thanks to imaginfires for providing the Bredon Fire without whom this post would not be possible.

 

Monochrome & Geometric

Some things I know I will never tire of, beautiful tiles, especially ones that are geometric and monochrome.  The trend continues and I don’t think it will fade any time soon, they are a classic and will add an air of luxury in any space big or small.  I am always drawn to the pared back muted tones of black and white and all the subtly beautiful hues of grey in between.  From the clothes that hang in my wardrobe to the décor in my home this colour palette is most definitely the one for me.

So when I came across these stunning tiles by Laura Ashley my heart skipped a beat.  The Heritage Collection is a collaboration with British Ceramics and they are simply perfect.   The ceramic feature floor tiles come in two unique patterns and colour ways, Wicker and Mr Jones, charcoal and dove grey in both.  This sophisticated geometric style would bring such a distinctive look to any room you chose to use them in be it a kitchen or bathroom floor.  Or if you are like me and don’t have the space to do a full tile refit with large tiles but can’t resist owning one or two because of their striking pattern you’ll come up with inventive ways to give these tiles a new purpose in your home.

Using a tile other than its purpose is fun and resourceful.  These large square tiles look amazing used as boards on your dining table, placing one or two (if you have a large table) down the centre as serving boards, or they would make the most stylish cheese platter.  They would look equally as effective as the centre piece to a well styled table setting filled with candles and greenery.   Place one by the side of your cooker to hold all the necessary utensils and condiments you need when cooking a meal.  You could also have a tile as a feature on your footstool or coffee table in the lounge, a perfect place to put your hot drinks or glasses of champagne and nibbles when having a party.  Of course, they work very well in a bathroom, as tiles on the floor or maybe placed as a splashback or a stylish way to display your favourite bathroom essentials.

If you are lucky enough to have to space to use them en mass in a room scheme let the monochrome patterns on these tiles speak for themselves, they don’t need fussy surroundings, by keeping other elements simple you will be rewarded with a very classic look.  Keeping the fabric and paint choices within the spectrum using linen fabrics and matt grey paints, mixing and matching to create different vignettes with each tile.   Laura Ashley’s choice of fabric and paint is always excellent, the ones I have matched the tiles with here are, Bacall charcoal and Dalton pale natural fabric, Dove Grey and Steel water based matt paint which bring the tonal variations of grey together cohesively.

An easy way to make sure you are going in the right direction is to look outside to nature.  The tonal elements between a stormy sky, sea and rock for instance or the patina of metal and weathered wood.

On that note I think it’s fair to say that my love affair with all things monochrome, geometric and ceramic will never fade.

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With thanks to Laura Ashley for providing the materials for this post.