It's our Interior Design Magazine!
The hottest interior design ideas, fab finds for the home and the latest in interiors trends. We're always looking for new finds, designers to feature or anything else lovely for the home, so if you've seen something gorgeous and would like it featured in our interior design magazine, please get in touch!
We caught up with Sean Dare, designer at Dare Studios, to find out what's in store.
Furnish.co.uk recently spoke to award winning designer Sean Dare, the man behind Dare Studios, to find out more about the brand and what we can expect to see in the future. Dare Studios produces innovative, contemporary furniture, combining specialist techniques and materials, and championing the skills of local craftsmen.
How would you describe Dare Studios in three words?
Contemporary, classic, future heirlooms…that’s four, sorry!
Do you have an all time favourite designer or design?
I think that would be Vladimir Kagan.
Dare Studios was established in 2009, was it difficult to get your products noticed in such a difficult economic climate?
Surprisingly not! I think we came out with the right designs at the right time.
What do you think contributed to the success of the brand, leading your products to be stocked at iconic stores such as Liberty and the Conran Shop?
The contemporary market is notoriously fickle so we tried to produce contemporary classics. Our designs aren’t youthful as such. They are quite reminiscent of old designs but with a distinctly contemporary function.
What is the most ambitious bespoke project you have undertaken so far?
Probably the time we were commissioned to make some rosewood cabinets for a private client in Dulwich. We’d never used rosewood in the studio before and so we weren’t aware that certain batches of rosewood timber could cause allergies…until it brought down three of our workshop staff with allergic reactions!
What has been the bestselling piece at Dare Studios, and why do you think this is?
Definitely our Katakana Writing/Laptop desk. I think it’s partly because it is designed to be such a contemporary classic, but also because so many people are working from home these days so are more willing to invest in a good design. Again we seemed to hit upon the right design at the right time!
What can we expect to see from Dare Studios in the near future?
We’re very busy at the moment preparing for the launch of our new designs this coming September. Look out for our take on upholstery and the addition of dining tables and dining chairs to the range.
Stylish and funky, create instant impact in your home with a colourful bar stool
Break the mould within your home with one of these ultra chic bar stools. Perfect for creating an eating area within your kitchen or as a quick fix style update for your bar, these quirky stools will add an instant splash of colour to your space.
Whether you’re looking to splash out in red retro funkiness or make a statement with modern elegance, they’re sure to impress. Who says they only needn’t belong in a cocktail bar?
(Clockwise from left) Aly Alluminium Adjustable Bar Stool, £159, from Love Your Home For Less, BE362 Bar Stool, £87, from The Pole House, KNOLL Bertoia Bar Stool With Seat & Back Pad, from Utility, Arper Babar Stool With Backrest, £438, from A White Room, Stokey Walnut Bar Stool, £145, from Alexander & Pearl, Lucido Bar Stool Range, £375, from Heal’s.
Delight your little ones and make bedtime more fun with one of these playful beds
Keep your child’s bedroom fun and carefree with an adorably cute bed. Whether your little one is a girly princess or a Thomas The Tank lover, we have lots of lovely beds, which are full of fun.
Practical solutions include the White Childs Truckle bed from Sweetpea and Willow which is perfect for a sleepover, while the Vista Bunk Bed will have little ones debating who gets the top bunk.
Whatever you choose you can guarantee bedtime stories will be all the more fun.
(Clockwise from left) Vista Bunk Bed – Pink or Blue, £431.10, from The Great Little Trading Company, Hideout Children’s Bed, £339.99, from Love Furniture, Fire Engine Toddler Bed, £108.00, from The Great Little Trading Company, Little Tikes Thomas The Tank Engine Bed, £279.95, from John Lewis, Nordic Style High Sleeper Bed Whitewash, £702.00, from The Great Litter Trading Company, White Childs Truckle Bed, £625.00, from Sweetpea and Willow
Find the latest bargains with our Pick Of The Sales, bringing you some of our most fabulous items now for less
Everyone knows times are tough but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a a beautiful home. So forget scrabbling around in the high street sales and do some home shopping instead. With our guide to the sales on Furnish, there’s no need to even get changed out of your jim jams.
Deco Light, Was £277, Now £249.30, from Decolight
If you want to bring a touch of glamour to your home, then look no further. Straight from the golden age of glamour and opulence, this spectacular clear glass droplet light from Deco Light is fabulous and guaranteed to bring a touch of that Ritz sparkle to your room.
Try using it in hallway to create a grand entrance or a bedroom to add a touch of glamour.
Appliqué Leaves Cushion, Was £30, Now £14-£15, from John Lewis
Cushions are a easy an affordable update and even more affordable when they’re half price. Our pick comes courtesy of this Appliqué Leaves Cushion from John Lewis. It offers the perfect way to tap into the craft trend which is so popular at the moment and is ideal for cosying up a sofa, chair or bed. Even better is that at this price, you can afford to buy more than one.
The Storage Solution
Lacquer Boxes Rectangular Set Of 3, Was £95, Now £57, from OKA
Storage boxes are a godsend if you’re a hoarder and a necessity if you’re a neat freak but who wants boring, brown boxes when you can have something as stylish as these Lacquer Boxes from OKA?
Three differently sized boxes mean you can stash away everything from out of season clothes to magazines and paperwork plus the red will bring a splash of colour to your space. What’s more at nearly half price, you can afford to splash out on more than one set which means your clutter can be sorted in every room.
Something For The Kids
White Eden Play Table, Was £195, Now £175.50, from Great Little Trading Company
With the summer holidays in full swing, you’ll need to ways to keep your little ones entertained. Here at Furnish we believe that furniture should not only look good, but be functional, quirky and above all fun too.
The White Eden play table provides fantastic play and storage solution for your little ones, with fabulous oversized drawers ideal for toys and a large table top for painting, drawing and crafting. Suitable for tots or juniors, it gives you piece of mind that’s it’s totally durable and safe against any spills and mess.
The Coffee Maker
Stelton Press Coffee Maker, Was £39.95, Now £35.96, from Utility
If you can’t get going in the morning before you’ve had a cup of Java, we’ve found a great way to make coffee all the more stylish. The Stelton Press Coffee Maker from Utility is ultra cool and comes in three colours; red, black and white.
And with just over four quid off, you can still afford a latte on the go.
Say no to a cluttered bathroom by keeping your toiletries at bay with a neat and stylish bathroom cabinet
Sometimes it can be hard finding an easy way to store all your knick knacks floating about the bathroom I, myself can very much vouch for this. So the simple solution? Choosing a neat and bang on trend cabinet. In an array of sizes and styles, there’s something to suit everyone.
To ensure maximum space, opt for something sleek and compact for that neat and seamless look. This will help to keep your bathroom light and fresh all year round.
(Clockwise from left) Inside-out Bathroom Cabinet, £375, from Lifestyle Bazaar, Chrome Dardo Corner Bathroom Cabinet, £176, from Heal’s, Retro Medicine Cabinet, £35, from Rose & Grey, Arden Double Bathroom Cabinet, £119, from John Lewis, Pinnacle Double Door Bathroom Cabinet, £399, from John Lewis, Brighton Mirror Cabinet, £135, from The White Company.
Bring a touch of ambience to your room with a quirky and stylish floor lamp
Whether it’s extra warmth in the winter or vibrancy in the summer, the right floor lamp provides an excellent focal point for your room. Ranging from ultra cool to understated and subtly stylish, make sure you bring light into your life and most importantly, your interior.
To create a dramatic and striking feel, go for something bold to illuminate and impress or subtle to create a welcoming glow.
(Clockwise from left) Eichholtz Shipper Floor Lamp, £840, from Occa Home, King Floor Lamp, £750, from Utility, Tom Dixon Mirror Ball Floor Lamp, £127.50, from Utility, Bamboo Floor Lamp, £135, from Puji, Moooi Emperor Floor Lamp, £1,051, from Occa Home, Loco Clear Glass Drop Floor Lamp, £269.50, from Heal’s.
Give your dining area a makeover with a range of stylish dining chairs
You can’t rely on the English weather this summer to dine alfresco, so make sure you dine in style with our most elegant and luxurious dining chairs.
The best part? If you don’t fancy having a complete makeover, changing your dining chairs provides a quick, cost effective solution to update any dining table and is a must for impressing guests! So make sure you indulge this summer for your ultimate dining experience.
(Clockwise from left) Sophie Pink Leather Dining Chair, £130, from Love Your Home For Less, Purple Velvet Medan Dining Chair, £180, from The Pole House, Marcel Dining Chair, £63, from Habitat, Zach Dining Chair, £136, from Habitat, Calligaris Easy Leather Dining Chair, £183, from Heal’s, Belgravia Silver Dining Chair, £195, from Sweetpea and Willow
This week Furnish.co.uk goes international with a visit to the Danish Design Centre to soak up some Scandinavian inspiration.
In a rather inconspicuous location on Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard in Copenhagen is a tribute to the wonderful, and occasionally weird, designs that have come out of Denmark in the last six decades. Famous for its Danish Design School, Copenhagen has been something of a design hub for decades, and the exhibitions at the Danish Design Centre give some clues as to why.
Running until 2013, ‘Denmark by Design’ shows the development of Danish design from 1945 until 2010, illustrating the focus of design decade by decade. The exhibition looks at the prevailing trends throughout the decades and their impact on designers’ solutions and expressions, as well as questioning what constitutes Danish design and examining how it has become an integrated part of our everyday lives and our mindset.
On display are some icons of Scandinavian design, such as mid-century chairs like Hans J. Wegner’s ‘The Chair’. These designs are instantly recognisable in their original forms but also in their significant influence upon the designs and tastes of the 21st Century.
If all that timeless design wasn’t enough, there are two other exhibitions running that examine human interaction with design. Until February 2012, you can find ‘Challenge Society – designing the simple solutions to a complex future’ on the ground floor of the Design Centre.
After stopping for a coffee and cinnamon pastry (a must!) we headed to the upper floor of the Design Centre, which is housing ‘Challenge Waste – RE_ACT RE_IMAGINE RE_DESIGN’, an exhibition about waste until the end of August 2011. Full of rather shocking and harrowing infographics, the exhibition looks at the problem, and contributing human behaviours, of waste and the effect they are having upon the earth and oceans.
Whilst the exhibition showcases the challenges of handling waste, and potential design solutions to future waste problems; we came away feeling even more passionately that thoughtfully designed and quality products are a worthwhile investment, both financially and environmentally. To help you on your way, we’ve selected a few of the best Scandinavian inspired products to be found on Furnish.co.uk.
Keep your bedroom clutter free with one of our favourite wardrobes.
Wardrobes tend to be overlooked as furniture that’s more functional than beautiful. But with one of these gorgeous designs, this timeless, storage unit will become a centre piece in a bedroom. Whether it is used to hang fancy frocks or somewhere to store your treasured shoes, a wardrobe is essential bedroom kit. So why not experiment with something far more exquisite than your standard cupboard and make your entrance to Narnia that little more exciting!
(Clockwise from top) Provencal 2-door mirrored Armoire from The French Bedroom Company, £1,095, Georgian 3 door Wardrobe from Sweetpea and Willow, £1,015, Avignon Double Armoire from Sweetpea and Willow, £1,425, Cleopatra Mirrored Wardrobe from Lover’s Lounge, £630, Ming Oriental Large Black Lacquered Wardrobe from Alexander and Pear, £995, Coast Wardrobe Oak by Samuel Chan from Heal’s, £1,995.
Shop the look...
Enhance the entrance to your home by making a statement in your hallway with an elegant console table
Hallways are often an overlooked area of the home but as it’s the first space guests will see it’s important to create a good first impression. Whether your style is classic and cosy or modern and sleek, Console tables provide necessary storage to keep your hallway clutter free and looking it’s best.
Adding an oversized mirror is a great finishing touch, not only can you check yourself out before you leave the house and it will instantly make a small hallway feel larger and brighter.
Here’s our pick of the blogs that have had us hooked this week.
Whilst not strictly about interiors, Junkaholique is treasure trove of inspiration and it’s all too easy to find that a whole hour has past whilst you’ve been absorbed in this lovely blog.
Artemis and Nao are jewellery designers living in London with a love for flea markets and car boot fairs. Reinventing ‘junk’, they are testament to the DIY spirit and every nook and cranny of both their home and studio appears to have a thoughtful and very personal touch.
Manhattan Nest documents the numerous DIY projects undertaken by blogger Daniel Kanter whilst setting up his new apartment in New York. Check out Daniel’s bedstead, self-upholstered with an army surplus blanket for a stylish utility look. Accompanying the numerous envy-inducing photos is Daniel’s delightfully witty and deft writing.
Not only does Daniel have fabulous taste but he also has a keen eye for a bargain, so Manhattan Nest is a great blog to visit when you need practical information for stylish design on a budget.
The charming blog, French by Design, is written by Si, who describes herself as ‘a French girl’ with ‘a passion for Scandinavian design and industrial era vintage finds’. However even if you’re not a huge Scandi-industrial fan, this blog has something for everyone.
Si offers beautiful themed moodboards curated from across the web, trend alerts, house tours - oh and the occasional droll quote to help get you through the week!
As always, get in touch if you want us to feature your blog next time round.
Furnish visits the London Glassworks for tea with Rothschild & Bickers
On an unassuming industrial estate in North London something quite magical is afoot. Unit 15 houses one of the last glassworks in the UK, and is home to Rothschild & Bickers. Known for their sophisticated and opulent glass lighting, Victoria Rothschild and Mark Bickers invited us in for mug of tea and a snoop around. After sharing a studio at the Royal College of Art and working together on bespoke commissions, the pair decided to create their own range of signature pieces. Produced in batches, each shade is skilfully free blown and hand-finished. ‘Everything we do is hand-made’, says Vicki. Moulds are used to shape the surface of the molten glass, which is then blown out and modelled to create the form. The process is almost hypnotic to watch, and Mark underlines the level of concentration needed to get it right: ‘you have to keep focussed, and you can’t just stop half-way through; because the glass won’t’.
A lot of experimentation goes into the design process and a love of making as well as a respect for their material shines through on our visit. ‘We could never be paper-based designers’, says Mark: ‘it’s not that we render something on the computer and send it off to be made into a mould; we tweak, we edit as we go along.’ ‘We blow something we like the shape of’, says Vicki, ‘and then we’ll re-make it and change it a little bit. That’s what I love about the hand-made part of it. Being able to have the thing in front of you and knock another one out if you don’t like the first.’ Once the final form is decided, ‘you’ve then got the challenge of being able to reproduce it in batches by hand’.
Many of the designs are worked up with a particular interior in mind. The clean lines of the architectural Tiered Light would complement an elegant Art Deco style interior for example. Yet, while the lights often reference historical styles – the Tassel Light evoking Victorian grandeur or the Arts & Crafts style Flora Pendant – they’re never slavish imitations. ‘We’re always quite subtle about how we take elements from the past, whether it’s the fringing or the metalwork, they’re always touches’, says Mark. Likewise, while they might be designed towards a particular style of interior, the lights stand alone as decorative objects and could be put almost anywhere, says Mark, ‘either complementing or contrasting with what else is going on’. It’s the effect of the material as much as the form that contributes to the lights’ decorative appeal. ‘A lot of ours cast either colour or pattern’, says Mark, ‘so the effect is much bigger than the pendant itself’.
The heritage of glassblowing in England and the traditional skills involved in handmade glass production are central to Rothschild & Bickers’ work. ‘We’re using skills that might otherwise be lost’ says Vicki. ‘We did a lot of research on different shapes and forms and how people made things’. The moulds used for the different surface finishes and the techniques of blowing and finishing would have been the same in Victorian factories. It’s looking back at these older manufacturing methods that contributes to Rothschild & Bickers distinctive style and that Vicki sees as helping to set their work apart from modern mass-produced glassware. It’s a labour intensive process that results in astonishingly beautiful pieces with all the natural variation that marks them as handmade.
Rothschild & Bickers will be showcasing some new pieces at 100% Design in September and a bigger website is due to be launched within the next year. To find out more and order online, visit rothschildbickers.com. And if you fancy having a go at glassblowing, the London Glassworks offers one-day courses.
A rich history and unisex appeal; this week we focus on paisley.
There’s something about paisley; that botanical teardrop-shaped design is instantly recognisable. The whole pattern is infused with a rich history, from ancient Persia to dapper British gents, lending it a familiar yet mysterious appeal. Whilst it is often found on silk scarves and ties, don’t let paisley be confined to attire. This classic print is popping up everywhere and makes a pretty addition to any home.
Paisley can be found in both woven and printed forms, so there is plenty of choice when it comes to fabric. Liberty has a fantastic collection of paisley fabrics to choose from, such as the more traditional, archive Bourton print, which was produced on dress fabrics in the 1960s. Alternatively try Liberty’s Mark print, a vibrant contemporary take on paisley, which is perfect for introducing the pattern into a relaxed living room or children’s bedroom.
OKA stocks a range of products in a beautiful Indian-inspired wool paisley fabric available in Peacock Blue and Rust Red. The subtler blue version is available as an elegant set of cotton-lined curtains, making it super simple to bring a hint paisley into a drawing room or bedroom. For a flexible, folky take on the pattern, throw OKA’s Reversible Paisley Throw over a solid coloured sofa or armchair.
Paisley risks looking a little too psychedelic on large pieces of furniture, so take inspiration from this stunning Horchow Paisley Settee and have a loveseat or armchair upholstered in a bold paisley print for a contemporary interpretation of the paisley pattern.
The historical characteristics of paisley are offset by clean, modern lines in this one-off Paisley Armchair from Lockwood Design. Upholstered with glamorous woven gold paisley fabric on tubular steel legs, it would look fantastic in a contemporary bedroom.
Avoid the hotel lobby feel by steering clear of paisley patterned carpets, instead try layering pre-existing neutral carpets or floorboards with a contemporary paisley rug. We love the bold colours of this Paul Smith Paisley Aubergine Rug, which is made to order.
For a softer mix of colour, try this Brink and Campman Kodari Paisley Rug. Hand knotted in Nepal it is available in 5 rectangular sizes or alternatively can be created to a custom size, making it ideal for awkward sized spaces.
Like most bold patterns, paisley wallcoverings are best confined to smaller spaces such as alcoves or feature walls. However we love the unexpected visual impact of ceilings wallpapered with paisley. Whilst it’s a bold move, this is a great way to introduce pattern to wall space and perfect for achieving more proportion in high ceilinged rooms. Just ensure you choose wall paper with a pale coloured base to avoid making your space feel heavy.
We love the use of paisley in the Off the Wall Paisley Flower vase and bowl collection from Designed in England. Making a refreshing change from polka dotted or striped tableware, the collection was designed to celebrate the wallcoverings of Cole & Son and the use of oranges and browns gives the whole collection a delightful retro appeal. Shortlisted for the Homes and Gardens award, each piece is part of a limited collection of just 250 units per style – so be quick!
Sofas and beds look fantastic scattered with a coordinating mixture of solid coloured and paisley cushions; we love this Cream & Taupe Paisley Cushion from Primrose & Plum. Embroidered with taupe stitching and silver beading with a fluffy feather pad, this cushion is a luxurious take on paisley.
These cute set of 4 Fairtrade Paisley Boxes from Plumo are perfect as gift boxes or to store knick knacks and jewellery. With embroidered lids and opulent jewel colours they lend an exotic, well-travelled look to your dressing table.
So whether you want traditional and masculine or opulent and exotic, paisley could be just the thing.
Achieve modern opulence with our guide to making damask work in your home
Damask fabric was named after Syria’s capital, Damascus, where it originated in the early middle ages. However by the fourteenth century damask had spread across Western Europe and became synonymous with luxury though its popularity in the royal courts of Europe. Since then damask has been reinterpreted into all kinds of linens, furniture and even wallpaper, making it an easy way to bring a touch of opulence to your home.
Traditionally a woven fabric, it’s not hard to find damask fabrics in all incarnations around the home. John Lewis stocks a beautifully tactile Veneto Damask Fabric that is suitable for curtains, bedcovers and upholstery. Available in a range of colours, we think the Citrine option is perfect to lend a zesty and modern twist to traditional damask.
Alternatively, try transforming your bedroom with a damask duvet cover. This Damask Jacquard bed linen from John Lewis features a weave of leaves, scrolls and flowers in muted brown tones making it a tranquil and understated option. Better still the cotton is fully organic and certified in accordance with international Fairtrade standards, so you can rest even easier.
Furniture upholstered with damask fabrics offers a very regal feel to the room, but can sometimes feel a bit formal. Avoid this by introducing one bold damask upholstered piece alongside plainer, solid colours. Make an impact in an otherwise pared down room with this Gold Gilt Damask Nursing Armchair from The Orchard. Offset the opulent greens and golds with muted neutrals for a more contemporary feel in a living room or bedroom.
Alternatively this Versailles Foot End from The French Bedroom Company, upholstered in a French silk damask, is an elegant yet useful piece. Try positioning it at the foot of the bed or under a window as somewhere stylish to sit when dressing in the morning.
The floor is the perfect place to start when introducing damask to your home. Try a doormat rejuvenated in a bold damask prints such as this coconut fibre Black & White damask Print Doormat from Mollie & Fred.
For greater impact, a large damask print rug looks striking against plain wood floorboards. The rich plum colours of this large, wool rich Damask Rug from Habitat would lend an opulent feel to any living space.
There are a whole host of options when it comes to damask wallpaper but some designs can sometimes feel a little imposing and formal. Instead try a contemporary twist on the traditional for a fresh and quirky appeal. The Barneby Gates Deer Damask Wallpaper from Rockett St George, blends a vibrant duck egg blue background with an antique gold stag skull and thistle damask style pattern.
For a smaller wall space, such as an alcove or chimney breast try this Ribbon Damask Paper Lace-Embossed Vinyl Wallcovering from Occa Home. Created in collaboration with Timorous Beasties, the wallcovering is inspired by vintage 1920’s cotton lace fabric, combining two patterns in one.
For an opulent finishing touch in your home, or just a simple way to introduce the pattern try adding some damask accessories. The Dizzy Lamp Damask from Decolight features a modern trumpet shaped lamp base with a hand-made black silk damask shade. For an even more contemporary take on the damask pattern, try the inntermost acid damask shade from A White Room. Designed by Timorous Beasties, the shade features a pink/red interior, meaning the white cotton outer diffuses the damask print giving it a thoroughly fresh appeal. The lampshade is also highly versatile as the three available sizes can be hung as a pendant or mounted on lamp bases.
Table linens are true to the roots of damask fabric as a luxurious weave and are certain to add glamour to any place setting. The Deco Damask Napkin from John Lewis feature a classic damask design and are a perfect accompaniment to crisp linens and sparkling tableware. Soft furnishings are also a fantastic way to introduce the pattern. Add a little luxury and colour to the bathroom with the Lime/Steel Monaco Damask Towels from John Lewis. Alternatively scatter the sofa with damask cushions, such as the Osborne & Little Radnor Damask Cushion from Heal’s, which is made from pure silk in a vibrant purple pattern.
Damask patterns needn’t be limited to their traditional capacity; they can provide a sumptuous feel to just about any contemporary space. What’s more there so many ways to introduce damask, whether wallpapering a feature wall or opting for something less permanent, such as bed linen, there is an option for just about all tastes and budgets. So, don’t be afraid to bring this beautiful pattern into your home!
Keep your kitchen clutter free with our pick of the best storage jars around
Everyone knows it’s important to be tidy in the kitchen; whether you’re a semi-pro cook or just someone who needs to keep their tea and coffee in check, we’ve put together our pick of the best storage jars.
From classic white and vintage polka dots to retro patterns guaranteed to give your kitchen a touch of swinging 60s style, there really is something for everyone.
Use them to store everything from tea and coffee to flour and pasta to make sure your kitchen remains clutter free and everything is close at hand.
From top: Alessi Gianni Storage Jar, £10.50, Utility; Retro Storage Container, £12.50, Soulful Toaster; Cammeo Jar, from £15, 95% Danish; Ceramic Round Storage Jar, £10, Occa Home; Small Domestic Goddess Storage Jar, £14.95; Orla Kiely Multi Stem Small Storage Jar, £20, Utility
Check out our selection of the best wine racks around
Unless you live in a mansion and have room for a wine cellar, you’re going to need a good quality wine rack. Personally, a bottle of wine rarely lasts long enough to get it in one at Furnish HQ but if you’re more restrained than us, we’ve put together a selection of the best around.
From wall-mounted sleek and FSC wood designs to a quirky cactus design to give your dining room a touch of the Wild West, we’ve got it all.
Now all you need is a decent bottle or six of plonk, a couple of wine glasses and a corkscrew and you can start the weekend countdown.
From top: Wall Mounted Wine Rack, £20, Utility; Cork Wine Rack, £35, Habitat; FSC Wooden Wine Rack, £95, John Lewis; Cactus Wine Rack by J-Me, £86, Pelican Pear; Stack Em Up Wine Rack, £95, Sweetpea & Willow; Umbra Grape Vine Wine Rack, £20, Red Candy
Infuse your home with Eastern influence by channelling the Oriental trend.
Forget gaudy combinations of red and gold often associated with questionable Chinese restaurants; these days the Oriental trend draws influence from a range of sources to give stylish and workable interiors inspiration. Comprising Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean traditions, amongst others, Asian style has been identifiable as an influence of Western décor for centuries. The ball and claw foot, for example, was inspired by a Chinese motif, and small touches like this are ideal for adding subtle Oriental references to your home.
Asian design has a heavy focus on texture and is often either smooth and shiny, for example lacquered wood, or highly tactile like bamboo, raw silk, paper and jute. This striking set of Rectangular Lacquer Boxes from OKA make a perfect Oriental inspired storage solution, and are a great contrast against rougher textures and muted colours. Plus red is the colour of good luck and happiness in China!
Cushions are perfect for adding an Eastern feel to a bedroom or living room. Opt for luxurious silks hand printed using traditional techniques for an opulent feel, such as Clarrisa Hulse’s Potentilla Chilli and Zinc Silk Cushion from Heal’s. Alternatively try this ginkgo leaf inspired Florence Broadhurst Japanese Floral Cushion from John Lewis.
Whilst sumptuous silks may not be appropriate for the floor, there are plenty of Asian inspired rugs. This Calvin Klein Lustre Wash Rug from John Lewis, has a special lustre wash that gives it an subtle patina reminiscent of Oriental watercolours, and is handcrafted from soft New Zealand lambswool.
Orchid Furniture is a fantastic place to look for Eastern inspired contemporary furniture. They stock a wide range of dark wood furniture with simple lines and an uncluttered appearance, such as this Bedside Cabinet, constructed from mid-brow American walnut for an elegant appearance. Another contemporary take on the Oriental trend comes in the form of the Vitra Butterfly Stool from Utility. Designed by Sori Yanagi, the Butterfly Stool blends Eastern shapes with the plywood shaping technique developed by Charles and Ray Eames and comes in two finishes – Maple plywood or Palisander plywood.
Whilst black and red are synonymous with Oriental décor, the look can be achieved more subtly through the use of neutrals and muted Asian inspired paint colours, such as jade greens and bluish greys. These colours provide a more modern feel and create striking contrast against dark wood or lacquered furniture. Screens elaborately painted with Chinese inspired scenes are another way to bring Eastern inspiration to wall spaces, but a more minimalist effect can be achieved with this Cocostick Screen from Puji. Beautiful as well as functional, it can be used as a room divider or to add interest to a drab corner of the room.
Perhaps the easiest way to add an Oriental feel to your home is through accessories. Lanterns are synonymous with Eastern culture, but this Chinoiserie Lampshade from OKA, hand painted with antiqued Chinese scenes on a dark background, is an understated way to channel the trend in just about any setting. Alternatively opt for traditional Oriental materials, with contemporary functional uses, such as this Bamboo Hang On Magnetic Memo Board from Heal’s. Tea is an ancient Eastern tradition, so naturally kitchenware is also an ideal way to add some Oriental influence. Japanese porcelain has been imported into Europe for centuries, much of which came from Arita/Imari, in Nagasaki. We love this Small Japanese Porcelain Teapot and Set of 4 Japanese Porcelain Tea Cups, from Lemonlu London. This range of porcelain comes from nearby Hasami and the designs are taken from Edo-Komon, elaborately dyed kimono fabric.
With any luck this selection of Eastern influenced products will have provided some ideas about how the Oriental trend can be worked into your home in a subtle and stylish way. So even if you don’t have a luxury holiday to Asia booked this summer, you can still be surrounded by the opulent simplicity of Oriental décor in your own home.
Brighten up your walls with this fabulous guide to using wallpaper in your home.
Before you begin to wallpaper, it is important that you take accurate measurements of the walls you want to paper to work out how much you will need. It’s also a good idea to check that the batch numbers or codes on each role are the same, as there can be slight variations in shades and patterns depending on the time of manufacturing.
Once you’re ready to begin make sure that all furniture is removed from the room, of course this is not always possible but it will make your job a lot easier when manoeuvring on a ladder, and spread dustsheets over the floor to protect them. If you are wallpapering the ceiling then it is also advisable to remove any light fittings which might cause an obstacle. Finally, if there is existing wallpaper on your walls then this must be removed using warm water and a scraping knife to strip the wallpaper away; alternatively, buy or hire a steamer which will do most of the hard work for you! If there are any holes on the surface of the wall then use some plaster filler to create a smooth surface.
Learning to wallpaper can seem like a daunting task but if you perfect the skill of hanging then you can create a professional finish easily, without the cost of hiring in an expert to do the work for you. To work out how long you should cut each piece of wallpaper, measure the height of your wall and then add on four or five extra inches. This way you can neatly trim the bottom of the wallpaper as it reaches the skirting board for tidy finish. Mix your wallpaper paste following the manufacturer’s instructions and coat the strips of paper evenly and generously to prevent peeling; you will need a pasting table to do this.
Carefully fold the piece of wallpaper, concertina style, to make it easier to handle when hanging up. Generally, it is best to hang the first piece in the corner of a room where joining seams will be less noticeable. Hang the paper from the top of the wall and use a paste brush from the centre of the piece towards the edge to prevent bubbles from forming. Don’t rush; if you have soaked the wallpaper well then there is plenty of time to work on each piece and prevent mistakes. Repeat this process, considering that you will need to match the pattern with the previous piece depending on your choice of wallpaper.
Wallpaper is a quick and easy way of adding pattern into your home, and with so many patterns, colours and textures to choose from there is sure to be something for everyone’s tastes. This gorgeously luxurious damask wallpaper from Barneby Gates, uses a gold stag skull and thistle pattern on a duck egg blue background for a contemporary twist on the traditional damask style pattern. Similarly, this stunning westwood wallpaper from Bodie and Fou uses a baroque inspired serpentine design with a colourful punk inspired twist.
Patterned wallpaper is also a great idea for children, as it can add some real excitement to their bedroom. 95% Danish have some great options that are extremely durable with a wipe clean surface; perfect for sticky fingers!
Using two wallpapers together
By mixing and matching two wallpapers within the same room it is possible to create a range of stunning effects; if you’re feeling brave then mix two clashing patterns for a bold statement, or if you prefer a more subtle finish then choose a daring print for one key wall and a wallpaper with a smaller intricate pattern to complement.
This striking tree print wallpaper from Rose & Grey has a wonderfully quirky feel that would look great hung on a feature wall with a plain or embossed wallpaper to complement it. If you prefer a more retro inspired look to your interiors then why not try clashing two bold prints. This kitsch floral wallpaper from Rose & Grey takes its inspiration from the print of a vintage fabric, and the mustard yellow base harks back to the 1960’s. Clash with another floral print, or another bold colour like this retro turquoise wallpaper from Oliver Bonas.
Wallpaper is an incredibly versatile and stylish way of updating your home and creating an impact. Although the techniques needed for a professional finish are often perceived as being fiddly and, let’s face it, a bit too much like hard work; our handy tips should help to take the hassle out of hanging and have you wallpapering like a pro in no time!
We interview interior architect, designer and owner of Alp, Annick L Petersen.
Swiss born interior architect, Annick L Petersen, runs design studio Alp from her base in London. Having worked in residential, hotel and furniture design for more than 15 years, Annick now designs a contemporary range of furniture and accessories that combine functionality and classic style as well as offering a full interior design service.
We caught up with Annick to find out the inspiration behind Alp, and what’s next for the studio…
What made you decide to create the brand and what was your first design?
It started when I was looking for a coffee table for our living room and couldn’t find what I was looking for, so decided to design one and my husband and I built it. It was the rectangle coffee table with storage for remote controls and magazines.
Where do you take influence from when designing your range?
I mainly design for myself, create furniture, lighting, rugs, etc that I would like to have in my home. I also love Indian design and patterns. I have recently visited Rajasthan and the architecture of forts and Maharaja’s palaces were the most beautiful. The intricate marble or wood carvings, patterns, fabric and colours were just amazing. I get inspired by these patterns for my cushion designs at the moment.
Do your Swiss roots have a part to play in the functional and contemporary style of the range?
I am not sure if it is due to my Swiss roots, but I do like simple lines for furniture and if possible some sort of storage. I suppose the Villa Le Lac by Le Corbusier and Jeanneret in Vevey where I grew up was an early influence for me as I visited it a few times. It is a small and simple house that Le Corbusier built for his parents in 1924.
You use fairly ornate prints on your soft furnishings. How do you feel this works within the simplicity of the Alp range?
I love intricate patterns and calligraphy for small items like cushions. I think it gives a good balance with the simple lines of the rest of the range. It is good to mix different styles together.
How does Alp fit in with today’s style obsession with shabby chic furnishing, and a more is more approach to accessorising?
Alp has a wide range of cushions, with new designs coming soon inspired by my trip to India.
What draws you to contemporary/minimal interior design?
It is peaceful on the eye and the mind and you don’t tire of it. I enjoy simple lines in interiors but also mixed with different styles. I don’t think it should all be minimal as it would create quite a sterile environment.
Where does your passion for interior design come from?
I wanted to do something creative from a young age, hesitating between graphic design and interior design. I loved the idea of creating new spaces and making people happy in their environment, being at home, work or travelling.
What do you enjoy about designing interiors for other people’s homes?
You have to listen to your client’s needs and then suggest ideas, which they might not have thought of. When the project is done, seeing your client enjoying their new environment, is very satisfying.
What is your thought process when creating a space for others?
Take into consideration all your clients’ needs and requests and then come up with a solution that will satisfy them and yourself too.
How do you work with your clients to ensure you are creating a space they will enjoy?
It is a close relationship between the client and myself with a lot of meetings and discussions.
Do you prefer designing your product range or designing interiors?
I really enjoy doing both, they both bring me a lot of fulfilment.
What current home interior trends are you inspired by?/What is your favourite home furnishing brand?
I really enjoy the mixture of natural wood finish and lacquer finish as used in my console tables and I have a new product coming up soon following that style. I like Tom Dixon’s work, we have his Jack Light, which I still love after all these years. He is always coming up with interesting new designs and materials. I also like the Bouroullec brothers, we have their Algue which has a great 3 dimensional texture. Their designs have beautiful shapes.
What is your personal style at home?
At home, I have a mixture of my pieces, a few designer items, some finds from our travels and markets, some pieces from my grandparents house in Switzerland, so it is very relevant to me and my family.
How would you sum up the Alp style?
The alp style is contemporary, elegant and functional with a bit of fun.
What plans do you have to develop the brand in future?
We have just opened a showroom in Camden, which is great to view the alp range. I am working on new projects for furniture, rugs, soft furnishing, which should be ready soon.
You can find out more about Alp, including the range and Annick’s services, by visiting www.alp-design.co.uk.
Get your home ready for festival season with a touch of folk.
With Summer feeling like its already arrived, it’s time to dig out those ditsy floral print dresses, dishevelled denim waistcoats and cosy fringed ponchos ready for festival season! But, if spending the weekend up to your knees in mud and sleeping in a damp tent isn’t your idea of fun then worry not as this trend can work just as well in your home. Think fringed throws, embroidered rugs and colourful lanterns for adding that touch of folk to your interior.
Look for throws in deep autumnal colours to scatter across armchairs, or drape at the foot of the bed, to create a laid back bohemian feel. This gorgeous paisley throw from OKA uses lovely rustic colours for a vintage inspired finish, and it’s made from 100% wool; perfect for snuggling under when the summer nights turn chilly!
This lovely lambswool folk blanket from Primrose & Plum also follows the vintage theme with the lovely border detail inspired by traditional Swedish carvings. In keeping with the eco-friendly folk ethos, the blanket has also been responsibly sourced and produced with care for the environment by not using any harsh pesticides or harmful chemicals.
Stripped floorboards work really well within the home when creating a folk inspired look, but it’s lovely to introduce some colour to your flooring with the addition of a rug. This quirky ribbon rug from Plumo is made from woven recycled ribbon strips for a beautiful mix of colours, and has lovely tassel detailing along the edge for a real arts and crafts feel. Plumo can also customise rugs to your specific colour preferences.
OKA is a great brand to consider if you are looking for a high quality rug with an antique feel, as they have a great range of colours and styles available. This cimkent rug from OKA is made from 100% wool for long lasting quality, and the deep earthy red colour gives it a timeless quality that is sure to look stunning in any setting.
Mixing and matching different colours and textures is the best way to create an authentic folk feel in your home. If you have selected a fairly rich colour palette for your rugs and throws then a great way of lifting the trend is to add a colourful selection of cushions. These mexican bird cushions from Plumo are beautifully bright, using lovely embroidered patterns of birds and flowers with colourful fringing and tassels for a lovely handcrafted feel.
Choosing cushions with embroidered patterns really helps to add a vintage feel to your soft furnishings, and helps to make your home feel unique. The bright colours of this embroidered folk cushion really add a contemporary twist to the style, and contrasts beautifully with the very traditional pattern of the stitched detail.
Don’t forget accessories for adding the perfect finishing touches to this trend. Candles and lanterns are the perfect folk accessory as they help to recreate the warm glow of a bonfire inside your living room. These Fairtrade painted lanterns from Plumo come in an assortment of gorgeous colours with a variety of pretty floral detailing. Add tealights and dot them around your home, or even in the garden for your own mini festival! This candle lantern from Habitat is another great lighting option, and uses a wire frame wrapped in recycled magazine paper for an unusual design feature.
Finally, we couldn’t resist taking a look at this stunning pitcher and mug duo from Plumo, which would add an authentically rustic feel to your kitchen. The red clay tableware is made by local artisans using traditional methods, and is glazed in traditional Romanian folk patterns; a genuine touch of folk.
Hopefully, this fabulous selection of products has provided you with the inspiration to mix and match the accessories in your home this season for a wonderfully authentic take on the folk trend; and with a few cosy throws and some twinkling lanterns you can enjoy watching the festival coverage from the comfort of your sofa!