Interior design magazine

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!

DIY clock from Soulful Toaster

by Alexandra Thomas on September 08, 2010  |  0 comments

Add your own twist on telling the time with this DIY clock from Soulful Toaster. £44.99

Soulful Toaster is a delightful interiors website, selling everything from kitchen accessories to funky, kids’ products.

The selection on offer may be small but it’s very considered and needless to say, I fell in love with almost everything. Top of my wish list is this DIY clock.

It’s made up of traditional clock hands and 12 different sized frames which make up the clock face. Allowing you to be ultra creative, the frames can be used to house anything you wish. Why not try cutting numbers out of different wallpapers, using favourite snaps or anything that takes your fancy.

Colour watch: Brown

by Emma Foale on September 07, 2010  |  0 comments
Chamonix velvet chocolate armchair, £585, Sweetpea and Willow.

Bring a warm autumnal glow to your home with brown.

An earthy neutral that will offer a timeless look, we take a look at how brown can bring a warm, welcoming feel to your home.

Choosing the right brown

Brown is softer on the eye than black and it has a timeless quality that can suit either a traditional or contemporary interior. Made up of all the primary colours mixed together, brown hues offer a variety of different undertones that can compliment an interior based in either warm or cool shades. Mochas and chocolate shades are perfect for living areas and bedrooms because they offer warm undertones that give a natural welcoming feel.

Choose lighter browns for walls so as not to make a room feel dark or small; however, in a larger, lighter room you can experiment with darker browns to highlight a feature wall. Ralph Lauren speciality finish paint in the suede look is a good choice because it has been designed to bring a distinctive suede texture and appearance your walls. Try this in a modern bedroom to create an interesting and unique style.

Dark chocolate suede and leather furnishings are popular because they ooze luxury and opulence; both offer a classic and long-lasting element that is perfect for upholstered furniture in a contemporary home. Key furniture pieces such as leather sofas or arm chairs, or headboards or footstools, are a great way of bringing a sophisticated and masculine look to a room. The Vitra Polder leather sofa from Utility is a modern take on a traditional design.

Tri-colour cowhide, small £180 (also available in large), The French Bedroom Company.

Tonal scheme

Choose a tonal scheme to stop your room from becoming bland; layer your décor in varying shades of brown too add dimension and interest. To give the feeling of space, use darker browns nearest the floor and lighter shades nearer the ceiling. Try the dark brown Sable rug from Puji to add warmth and texture to wooden flooring. Also, try experimenting with pattern to lift your colour scheme; Orla Kiely’s Stem lambswool cushion will draw the eye and add a sense of movement.


For a clean look, design a monochromatic scheme with whites and creams that will give a natural and earthy appearance that will soften and lighten up your room. You can introduce black into a brown interior, for example, in a bedroom you can accessorise using black blinds, curtains or cushions for a dramatic appearance.

Brown colour palette, Elements of Colour by Kevin McCloud, Fired Earth paint (available from

Complementary scheme

Combine brown with rich, burnt tones of red and orange, such as terracotta, for a lavish and inviting feel. Or add a bit of spice to a bedroom with red throws or duvet covers, or choose wall art pieces of dreamy sunsets.

Unexpected combinations of blue, purple or fuchsia with brown can be integrated into your interior by using soft furnishings to add excitement to your scheme. Bright table runners, dinnerware, cushions or throws in these colours will give a cheery pop of colour. Try turquoise on an accent wall or decorative pieces, for example vases or cushions, to add a touch of serenity to your room. Greens can enhance an earthy brown, these colours make a good combination in nature, and you can incorporate this into your home by using plants and decorative vases such as the cylinder vase from Utility.

Shop the look...

Coral wall hangings from Natural History

by Alexandra Thomas on September 07, 2010  |  0 comments
wall art

Bring your walls to life with these coral wall hangings from Natural History. £250

When I think of wall hangings, hideous batik riots of colour or some equally disturbing tie dye sheet in student halls spring to mind.

Which is why I never thought they were for me, however that was before I came across these beautiful ones from Natural History. These wall hangings each feature an exquisite illustration of coral, which will instantly lift a plain wall.

wall art

Available in subtle red or blue, they measure over a metre square which means they’re perfect for creating a feature wall without even having to reach for a paint brush or pasting table. And the best bit of all, is that should you tire of them in one room, you can simply unhook and move them to another.

See this product at Natural History...

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The guide to bespoke kitchens

by Emma Foale on September 06, 2010  |  0 comments
sideboards and display cabinet
‘Shark’ kitchen in High Gloss (island) and wall cabinet (High Gloss Burr Walnut) and matt finishes, Roundhouse (Roundhouse kitchens start from £25,000), Roundhouse (

Too many cooks may spoil the broth but you can cook and dine in style with our guide to bespoke kitchens.

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and there’s something enticing about designing a room that’s completely unique and full of personality.

Our guide leads you through all the important details that will help you create your own bespoke kitchen.


When planning a bespoke kitchen it’s important to have an idea of what you want from your space. Search online and through magazines and catalogues, and visit showrooms to see what fittings, surfaces, materials and colours will work best in your kitchen. Take the basic measurements of the area to present to the designer. Practicality is a key element, so make sure you plan for sufficient storage and work top space, keeping the style you want in mind too. Your kitchen should essentially be designed around how you like to cook and dine, whether you eat on the go, cook for a family and use the space for entertaining.

A fundamental part of planning is deciding on a budget and then sticking to it, allowing a little extra for contingencies.

Finding the right company for you

There are a multitude of bespoke kitchen companies out there. One way to determine who the right fit is for you is to see previous work they’ve done. Most will have a online portfolios so you can do some research before even meeting them. Many kitchen companies will offer a complementary design service so take your plan to them and discuss the various options. Gather a few quotes from different companies and decide which one will offer you the best bespoke kitchen design to fit your budget.

Top Tip: Roundhouse Director, Jamie Telford, says that meeting designers is a great idea: “Find someone who you can work with. A good designer will be able to guide you confidently through the whole process to arrive at your perfect kitchen. Designing a bespoke kitchen is a collaboration between you and the designer and it should be fun!”

sideboards and display cabinet
‘Urbo’ kitchen in High Gloss Grey Engineered veneer, with ‘Metro’ tall cabinets in a dark grey matt finish, Roundhouse (

Setting the brief and budget

You will discuss options and alternatives with the designer, so be prepared to be flexible with your overall brief. The designer will find the most suitable design to fit your kitchen and your budget. Some of the main points you should cover in your brief are: what style kitchen you want; the measurements and layout; chosen colour scheme, lighting, wall and floor treatments, and your budget limit. Try not to be too swayed by the budget when you meet the designer, while top-of-the range designer taps may be something they view as an essential, you may not agree.

Top Tip: Advice from Jamie Telford, Roundhouse Director: “A new kitchen will add considerably to the value of the property but the budget should be in-line with the re-sale value.”

Choosing your kitchen

Think stylish but functional, and consider what works and what doesn’t work well in your current kitchen. Keep resale at the back of your mind because anything too personal may deter future buyers. The best types of kitchen are functional; create a “universal” room that will be versatile for everyone from children to the elderly. For efficiency, use “the work triangle” as a basis for your design, ensuring that there’s a clear space between your sink, fridge and cooker.

Take into account the amount of natural light that enters the room because too many wall-mounted cupboards can make a room darker. Colour is also an important element in the overall appearance of a kitchen; white has always been popular because it gives a clean look, however too much white can create a cold and sterile feel.

Remember the whole point of choosing a bespoke kitchen is so you can get exactly what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask your designer for something out of the ordinary or different to what they suggest – you’re the one who will have to live with the finished kitchen so it’s important it fits your style and home.

‘Crescent Curve’ kitchen, from £18,000, (available from Metris outlets nationwide), Metris Kitchens (

Choosing the extras

Worktops need to be highly durable, heat and stain resistant, and easy to clean. You can choose from wood, granite, stainless steel, or composite stone, and bespoke versions are available from different designers. Lizzie Beesley, conceptual designer at Metris Kitchens, commented: “The trend for material mix is gathering pace and increasingly more than one surface material is used in the kitchen to great effect. Design-wise, material mix can be used to differentiate work areas or to simply create a contrast between materials, textures and colours. If granite or stone is simply too costly to surface an entire kitchen, then consumers elect to have one area in stone, perhaps an island unit, and then the other areas in laminate.”

Roundhouse offer bespoke splashbacks in glass, stainless steel and veneers as an extension of the work top to protect the walls. However, not all bespoke kitchen companies offer tiles and flooring, so check out Fired Earth’s collection of handcrafted tiles, or Stonehouse’s natural stone tiles to complete your bespoke kitchen.

Avoiding the pitfalls

A common cause of worry is that designers will overcharge or pressurise you into paying for something you don’t want. However, as long as you have researched and found out what’s available and at what cost, you will establish a confident relationship with the designer.

Think about whether your ideal kitchen is realistically going to work in the space that you’ve got; plan around the size of your kitchen and maximise the potential it has with practical and innovative storage solutions.

Top Tip: Jamie Telford (Roundhouse Director) picks up on one of the most common mistakes: “Don’t try and cram too much into your kitchen. Don’t get carried away with your appliance list, and have so many appliances that you have no storage space.”

Style Guide: Arts and Crafts

by Catherine Gregg on September 06, 2010  |  0 comments
screens and divider
Morris & Co. glazed mahogany screen with canvas panels embroidered with silk, c.1885-1910. Image: Victoria and Albert Museum.

We look back on Arts and Crafts style and highlight designers upholding the movement’s legacy.

We look back on Arts and Crafts style and highlight designers upholding the movement’s legacy. Celebrating quality construction, skilled craftsmanship, and the beauty of natural materials, the Arts and Crafts movement has renewed relevance in today’s hyper-commercialised world. Ideals of quality over quantity, ‘truth to materials’, and beauty in simplicity are making a resurgence, as concerns over economic and environmental sustainability are reflected by contemporary designer-makers.

Arts and Crafts designers railed against the plethora of poorly made objects and sham historical styles churned out as a result of growing industrialisation and commercialisation in Victorian Britain. Developing in the 1860s as a reaction against stuffy ornament-filled interiors, gaudy commercialism and industrial production, the Arts and Crafts movement sought to restore the link between beauty and utility, material and design, hand and object. Rejecting the division of labour in industrial manufacture as dehumanising, Arts and Crafts designers set up small workshops in which objects were made from start to finish by skilled craftsmen. Handcrafting and taking pleasure in work were seen as morally uplifting, and morality of manufacture was coupled with morality of design. ‘Truth to materials’ was the moral compass of good design. The inherent beauty of natural materials was celebrated and designers were to have a full understanding of the material being worked in order to produce well-designed objects fit for purpose.

The high moral seriousness of the Arts and Crafts movement might be a bit of a turn off. (It’s detailed in possibly the most tiresome tome in the history of design: News from Nowhere, by William Morris.) But a visit to one of the great houses of the Arts and Crafts movement, Rodmarton Manor in Gloucestershire, dispels any misgivings about the actual designs produced. Hallmarks of Arts and Crafts style include simple structural forms (used to emphasise the natural qualities of materials), exposed construction (such as wooden pegs and joints), tactile ergonomic design and organic patterns. All these are evident in the interiors at Rodmarton Manor, while the exterior draws on the bold forms of vernacular architecture in rural Britain.

Designed by Ernest Barnsley in 1909, the house features traditional Cotswold architectural details including gables, stone mullions, leaded lights and tall chimneys. Employing local craftsmen, it was built using local stone and tiles, as well as timber felled from the surrounding area. Much of the furniture was made for the house at Rodmarton workshops and includes designs by Ernest Gimson, Alfred and Louise Powell, Ernest Barnsley’s brother Sidney, and Sidney’s son Edward. Perhaps the very best work, and that which goes furthest to shake off the ‘backward provincial’ tag, is by Dutch émigré cabinet-maker Peter Waals.

sideboards and display cabinet
Walnut and Cuban mahogany cabinet with ebony and boxwood inlay; designed by George Romney and made in his Hampshire workshop, c. 1929. Image: Victoria and Albert Museum.

Waals produced two burr walnut writing cabinets for the drawing room at Rodmarton as well as numerous other pieces. Finished to a high lustre, the cabinets show off the beautiful grain of the walnut, featuring raised panels and drawers with chamfered edges, exposed dovetail joints, holly and ebony inlays, and handles with carved finger holds. The rooms at Rodmarton are large, and furniture was built to match: great dressers, chests and cabinets with multiple drawers, tactile grab handles and sliding wooden door catches. But the quality of detailing is remarkable: delicate inlays, turned, tapered and chamfered wood, and multiple timbers enhanced to bring out the grain. Oak floorboards are overlaid with bright hand-knotted rugs; whitewashed walls enhance feelings of light and space; curtains and drapes feature organic patterns based on floral and animal forms. In the library, a huge screen painted by Louise Powell depicts young ferns, spindly trees with delicate blossoms, and frolicking squirrels and birds. After visiting Rodmarton in 1914, C R Ashbee, an influential exponent of Arts and Crafts style, proclaimed that ‘the English Arts and Crafts movement at its best is here’.

Although the Arts and Crafts movement is associated with the country life, it had a strong cosmopolitan base. Arts and Crafts style was popularised by shops such as Liberty and Co. though which designers including C F A Voysey, Ashbee and William Morris sold their work. Liberty adopted Arts and Crafts as its signature style, and continues to produce fabrics by Arts and Crafts designers today. With the current resurgence of interest in craft, and the desire for quality over quantity in economically uncertain times, the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement are making a comeback. Contemporary designers are spearheading a revival of craftsmanship and traditional skills.

Tom Dixon’s Beat vessels and shades are made from hand beaten brass using a traditional, rapidly vanishing skill from Indian master craftsman. His pressed glass pendant lights are hand cast and each reflects the inclusions and imperfections of the manufacturing process. Dixon established the brand in 2002 with a commitment to reviving the British furniture industry, and his work draws on Britain’s craft heritage. Dixon’s Natural Slab chair has all the Arts and Crafts hallmarks. Crafted from solid oak with a deeply brushed surface, exposing the grain of the wood, visible wooden pegs fix the seat to the frame. Innovation is combined with traditional craftsmanship to create a space-saving, stackable dining chair. Dixon’s Offcut furniture range uses scraps or ‘off-cuts’ of oak that would otherwise have been discarded, and embraces the beauty of imperfection. Arts and Crafts ideals are united with current environmental concerns.

Darcey table in black American walnut, £3475, by Steuart Padwick for Benchmark

Anna Lockwood of Lockwood Design creates unique, one-off pieces of furniture. She specialises in traditional upholstery techniques and uses natural materials such as hessian, coir fibre, horsehair and calico. Sourcing vintage and antique pieces as well as providing a complete restoration service or a simple recover, her work is environmentally friendly and craft driven. The Holland occasional chair has an Arts and Crafts look about it, with a turned wood frame and seat upholstered in orange felt. The Benjamin wing armchair has the same 100% wool felt upholstery and beautiful bees-waxed legs. It wouldn’t look amiss at Rodmarton Manor.

Running an apprenticeship scheme and employing and training up workers from the local area, Benchmark continues the legacy of the Cotswold Arts and Crafts movement responsible for Rodmarton Manor. Producing contemporary classics with sustainability in mind, Benchmark is founded on a belief in the timeless appeal of good design. Celebrating high quality materials and traditional craftsmanship, the furniture collection is hand made to order from start to finish in the workshops in West Berkshire. The angle-fronted Admiral Cabinet in American black walnut with lacquer finish epitomizes ‘truth to materials’, working to bring out the natural beauty of the wood grain. Crafted from solid fumed oak with a lacquer finish, the Jack Pedestal dining table recalls a design by Ernest Gimson in the Drawing room at Rodmarton. The Darcey table and Furrow sideboard evoke the simple sophistication of Arts and Crafts furniture.

Good design and quality construction never date. Celebrate design innovation and invest in the future of traditional craft skills.

True Blue Tiles from Susie Watson Design

by Alexandra Thomas on September 05, 2010  |  0 comments

Add some subtle pattern to your walls with the True Blue tiles collection from Susie Watson Designs. £7.75 each

We don’t often feature tiles as Fab Finds here on, but when I saw the stunning designs from Susie Watson, I just knew I had to share them with you.

There are tonnes of designs to choose from, but what really caught my eye was the True Blue collection (not least because the Madonna album of the same name was my very first LP).

The range consists of four designs; three delicate motifs featuring a star, heart and flower and a pale blue plain design. An update on traditional delft, these pretty tiles will look fantastic wherever you use them.

Try using a mixture of the plain and motifs to create an elegant splash back for a sink or basin or even to add a new look to a fireplace.

See this product at Susie Watson Designs...

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Britannia china from Bottle Green Homes

by Alexandra Thomas on September 04, 2010  |  0 comments

Give your table a patriotic feel with this Britannia china from Bottle Green Homes. From £10.95

Perhaps it’s because the London Olympics are fast approaching, but it seems interiors are having a patriotic moment. You can barely move for Union Jack inspired homewares and while I’m not exactly against a bit of flag waving, I prefer my patriotism a little more subtle.


Available as a teapot, mug and small plate, each piece comes with this stylish and evocative “Made in Britain” back stamp mark which is traditionally on the underneath of products. Ideal as a chunky breakfast set, this collection is sure to add some national pride to any dining table.

See this product at Bottle Green Homes...

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Spotlight on: black+blum

by Emma Foale on September 03, 2010  |  0 comments
vases and bowl
Flower Loop vase, £25, black+blum.

We take a look at how black+blum bring innovative style to your home.

Creative designers Dan Black and Martin Blum complete the Anglo-Swiss partnership of black+blum. Their design consultancy business, set up in 1998, has given them the opportunity to explore and develop their passion for design through their own range of functional products.

What makes black+blum unique is that they don’t create fashion products that only have a short lifespan because they are based on current trends. Instead, their aim is to create designs that will inspire people’s imaginations and give lasting enjoyment. They’re proud to showcase designs that offer longevity; the products all serve a practical use which should still give them value in many years to come.

table lamp
Kind of Magic floor and table light, £48.50, black+blum.

The Loop candelabra and the Flower loop vase showcase black+blum’s elegant yet minimal style. The Loop designs are inspired by the Fibonacci curve which can be seen throughout nature, giving a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look. The loops can be linked together and used in interesting ways; rotating it offers a different look from every angle, giving the design a fresh and changeable look. Both designs offer good functionality and they’re based on the fact that people, from history and into the foreseeable future, will always have a use for them.

black+blum are renowned for producing designs that have huge amounts of character; so, it is not surprising that one of their hero products is the award-winning James the doorstop who offers plenty of personality. Due to popular demand, this quirky design has also been remodelled into a bookend. James the bookend is made from synthetic rubber, except for the black version which is made from recycled material, and it can be used individually or as a pair. The stainless steel plate fixed to his foot gives him the strength to hold up a number of books. Transcending taste, the James products are widely recognised, and people appreciate the design for its functionality and humour.

storage rack
high&dry dishrack, £39, black+blum.

My favourite product is the Kind of Magic light which tricks the eye into believing that this is just an ordinary light. However, the shade is suspended from the ceiling with fishing wire so it appears to be floating. This illusion makes it possible to arrange and personalise the light in any way you want; it transforms easily from a floor lamp to a table lamp, creating a fascinating piece of feature lighting.

One of black+blum’s newest products is the high&dry dishrack which took them two years to develop; its distinctive style, inspired by architecture, has recently won an International Design Award in America. Dan and Martin came up with the design when they realised that there was a niche in the market. The design has a unique and appealing sculptural shape that looks good when in use, and also enables it to fold down into a compact size for easy storage. The unique flip spout on the drainage tray gives you the option to drain or not, depending on your kitchen set-up.

black+blum’s products are available on, and for their latest news and events visit their website at

Our weekly pick of interiors blogs…

by Catherine Gregg on September 02, 2010  |  0 comments
A pretty perfect library on SF Girl by Bay

This week we’re visiting San Francisco, Marrakesh and New York City.

SF Girl by Bay unsurprisingly hails from San Francisco and the blog is as beautiful as the city. The photographs have a dream-like nostalgia to them and the blog is known for representing ‘bohemian modern style’. Created by Victoria Smith, it’s a scrapbook of interiors inspiration, showcasing art and craft, new designers, products and trends, with a heap of shopping tips thrown in. She’s a flea market junky with a love of photography, and her fabulous finds are shared with all. There’s a great recent post on Scandinavian style. You could get caught up on here all day.

A suitably chic Moroccan picnic on My Marrakesh

My Marrakesh is brought to you by ‘Moroccan Maryam’ and billed as ‘the tales of an American family’s quest to build a guesthouse in Marrakesh.’ But it’s much more than that. Maryam’s a travel obsessive, a guidebook writer and a human rights specialist. With a job that’s taken her all over the world, she’s developed a passion for global textiles, carpets and Moorish culture. And the blog’s definitely got that ‘global traveller’ feel, a wonderful riot of colour, pattern and sun-drenched style. The guesthouse, Peacock Pavilions, is a real find if you’re thinking of a Moroccan trip. And the family have three peacocks as pets, which just about sums up the lifestyle.

The blogger’s enviable NY apartment on Hollister Hovey

Hollister Hovey is such a charming blog, it’s just mesmerising: a string of pearls. Beautiful photographs, printed ephemera, Polaroid snapshots, flea market finds, and design historical bits and pieces, are a continuous source of intrigue and delight. The ‘acquisitions’ posts bring out an alarming covetousness, and the blogger’s house, stuffed full of beautiful vintage finds, is enough to make me weep. I’m actually quite lost for words when it comes to describing the wonder of this blog. If you live anywhere near New York or you’re planning a visit, it’s a must-see for insider tips on the best places for ferreting out a vintage bargain. But if a trip stateside is out of the question, just go on here and dream the dream.

Once again, get in touch if you want us to feature your very own blog next time.

Interview: Ella Doran

by Emma Foale on September 01, 2010  |  0 comments
Sunlight through leaves blind, price on request, Ella Doran.

We uncover Ella Doran’s inspiration and how she captures the wonders of nature in print.

Ella Doran’s prints are now iconic within the world of interior designs and can be seen on everything from blinds to table mats. Ella has received several awards including the ‘Most Influential Designer’ Award from her peers at Hidden Art, and the Laurent Perrier Eureka 2006 award. Her designs combine and translate the vivacity of nature and art, bringing colour and interest into your home.

We interviewed Ella to find out what inspires her, and here’s what she said...

If you had 3 words to describe your style what would they be?

Colourful, photographic, and bold.

Where does your inspiration come from?

It comes from the world around me; my children and family; the city; the countryside, and travelling. I constantly have my eyes open for new ideas.

What’s your ‘hero’ product and why?

I think it would have to be our bespoke blinds and particularly the 'Sunlight through Leaves' design. Making bespoke blinds just really adds something extra and individual to a room, and that particular design works so well. If the blind is down and there is still some light outside, it makes the image glow and it’s simply stunning.

How important is colour to your designs/prints?

Massively important! It’s often the colour that draws me to a new idea. It’s always colour that I love to absorb, like a sponge. And in terms of production it is always the colour that can lift a product from good to exceptional.

The popularity of your photographic coasters, based on photos you had taken on a trip abroad, was the catalyst for developing your business. How important is photography and capturing nature/life to you and your designs?

Photography is my pencil; my tool, my aid. Often I take my best shots when I’m not intending to. It’s the light that draws me towards a subject outdoors, be it leaves on a tree or a large building. Often I can see more in the photograph after I have taken it and use this in another way than I had originally intended. My Geo design is a bit like this because it came from a photo of a building I took in Berlin, and in post production I have reworked it to become something completely different. Its repetition inspires many people to see all sorts of different things.

Geo gloss finish table mat, (25cmx19cm), £39, Ella Doran.

What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?

I recently bought the 'Hang it All', Charles and Ray Eames coat hanger from TwentyTwentyOne (Islington). I have a long standing love affair with Eames’, the way they designed for industry and children, both with love, care, wit and attention to detail in such an all-encompassing way, and the freedom with which they applied their craft.

Who is your favourite interior designer of all time and why?

I don’t have one in particular. I look back at people like Fornasetti and how he covered everything in his crazy designs, and take great inspiration from his clarity of ideas and determination to experiment with his art onto anything and everything. I also love Marimekko and their story since the 60’s because their photoshoots of their fashion lines back then and in the 70’s are fantastic.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

Paper! Anything beautiful in paper excites me and makes me want to have it. The wallpapers have been brilliant to develop along with my stationery lines coming out soon! But I have made a name for myself in hard top tablemats and accessories, and I often see images applied to these in my mind as I work.

Where do you like to shop for quirky furniture pieces for your own home?

A mixture of places; I have my eye on a piece or two from the newly launched Jens Risom furniture at Rocket Gallery, produced by Bench. I have also bought from Russell Roberts on Cheshire Street; he has wonderful mid mod pieces, and is always displaying something wonderful in his window.

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?

Follow your own rules. There have been times during my career when I have been swayed by others, and this can lead you down the wrong path. You have to stay focused. It is your individuality that will make you successful; no one wants to see the same things churned out again and again, but by different people. Band-wagons are not always there to be jumped on.

Fiore cushion, £55, Ella Doran.

How important do you believe UK manufacturing is to our economy and the environment?

UK manufacturing has so many benefits to the economy and bringing back craftsmanship and skills to our society gives a huge sense of independence, achievement and longevity. It means that skills can be passed on from generation to generation, giving us an invaluable legacy. Environmentally, we would definitely save on carbon footprints! But I would say that global manufacturing, on the whole, needs to consider the environment more seriously and sustainable methods need to be embraced.

Are there any designers that you would particularly like to collaborate with in the future?

I would love to collaborate with a designer or architect on something on a large scale; often I think surface design is pigeon holed and people don't relate it to 3D products or even buildings. It would be interesting to push these boundaries where the surface design influences the form and vice versa.

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I am always developing new products - sometimes too many! My most recent projects include gift wrap, gift bags and stationery. A larger collection of stationery is something I really want to push, as well as a larger collection of wallpaper.

You can view all of Ella Doran’s designs at

Berlin chair from 20Age

by Alexandra Thomas on September 01, 2010  |  0 comments

Sit back and relax in this beautifully recovered chair from 20Age. £396

My love of 20th century furniture knows no bounds. When that elusive lottery win comes through (and it will) I will fill my home with the most beautiful 20th century chairs around.

And so it makes sense that top of my shopping list will be this stunning Berlin chair from those clever people at 20Age. Berlin is a miniature egg chair which has been covered in a stunning vintage Heal’s fabric and had its legs painted in a subtle grey paint.

Perfect as an office chair or an occasional piece for a hallway or living room, its rebirth at the hands of 20Age is simply divine.

However, if Berlin doesn’t float your boat, there’s sure to be one that does as the collection of revamped designs means there’ll be something for everyone.

So I suggest you grab your measuring tape, raid the piggy bank and invest.

See this product at 20Age...

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Interview: Abigail Borg

by Catherine Gregg on August 31, 2010  |  0 comments
Cushions, £39, and fabric by the metre, £42, Abigail Borg

Award-winning surface designer Abigail Borg tells all.

Abigail Borg has taken the world of interiors by storm since graduating from Leeds College of Art in 2008 with a First in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design. Picked out from thousands of graduates, she was named ‘New Designer of Year 2008’ and went on to set up on her own in January 2009. She’s continued to wow industry professionals and interiors obsessives alike with her beguiling floral prints, and was short-listed by Elle Decoration at the British Design Awards 2009. We caught up with Abigail to have a bit of a gossip.

How would you describe the Abigail Borg style?

All of my work begins with hours of hand drawing – an integral part of my style. I see it as a fading craft, and there is no comparison to a hand drawn illustration against something that has been knocked up in a few minutes on a computer screen.

I have then chosen to digitally print my wallpapers and fabrics, as I don’t have to compromise on colour or levels of details that I perhaps would if screen printing. If I could sum it up I’d say: ‘Hand drawn; Vintage Inspired; Contemporary.’

What’s your personal style at home?

I love going to car boots, charity shops and buying things off eBay, so there’s lots of knick-knacks: battered picture frames and prints, scuffed storage boxes and jars, old textiles, fabrics, and so on. I’d much rather buy an old chest of draws that’s been used constantly for 50 years, than a shiny, chip-free one. I also love being in the garden and spend lots of time planting and growing different flowers to photograph and draw, so there are lots of dried flowers about.

Your wallpapers and fabrics have a William Morris feel to them. What draws you to the Arts and Crafts movement and do you have any other favourite eras of interior design?

I love vintage design, particularly from the late Victorian period right up until the 1960’s – lots of patterns, hand drawing, colour and craftsmanship. I enjoy looking at styles from each period and incorporating them into my own style.

As an illustrator, are there particular artists that have influenced your work?

Designers such as CFA Voysey and Walter Crane, and companies such as F. Steiner & Co and the Calico Printers Association all influence me – I love the daring use of colour and the bold lines and pattern.

Lady Green wallpaper, £150/10m roll, Abigail Borg

You have a very distinctive colour palette. How do you put together your colour schemes and what comes first – pattern or colour?

I generally hand draw and put together a pattern, and decide from there what sort of colour palette I’d like to incorporate. As always, I’ll look at archival patterns, as well as dipping into current colour trends to come up with something that has a good balance of the old and the new.

Why do you think florals work so well in interior design?

Florals have played a major part in interior design and decoration for centuries, starting off as tapestries, mural paintings and textiles, moving into the high fashion, modern settings of today. I think it’s because of this that floral patterns never date and will always work well in an interior setting. Wallpapers designed by Morris and Voysey during the late 1800s could easily be applied to a room today and not look out of place. I think the basis of good design is being able to apply a product into a setting from any era and it still looking bang up to date.

How is new technology and traditional handcraft combined in your work? What is the aesthetic result of this approach?

I love to hand draw as the level of detail and the slight imperfections are so much nicer to see that a perfected and pruned computer file. I experimented with screen printing a lot whilst at art school, and found that I had to alter the detail and reduce the amount of colours. From then on I started digitally printing, as this allowed me to have as much detail and colour as I like, resulting in designs that had both bold colours and intricate, contemporary patterns.

As well as producing your wallpaper and fabric collections, you work with clients on bespoke commissions. What has been your favourite project?

I love working on all commissions as each one is a new challenge, and no matter what the end product is you learn so much along the way. I really liked working with Johnson & Johnson on illustrations for some of their products. It’s nice to work on a brief together with an art director – and to think my drawings are in hundreds of bathroom cabinets makes me smile.

What’s your favourite high-street and high-end home furnishing brand/store?

Topshop! It’s affordable, with higher end pieces if you’re wanting to splash out, as well as having a bit of vintage in there.

And Liberty – there’s so much in there and every time I visit there’s always something new to look at. Plus the tea room is nice for a little sit down.

Mr Chrysanth Wallpaper, £150/10m roll, Abigail Borg

What’s been your best interiors bargain?

This isn’t so much a bargain, but salvage. My parents were cleaning out the loft of their house a few years ago, and on the ‘take to the tip’ pile was a shiny brown object. When I had a look it was a Guzzini mushroom ceiling light, which had been left there by the previous owner. They were going to throw it away as it was ‘ugly and dated’, so I immediately claimed it as my own!

Which three objects would you save if your house was on fire?

The Singer 3004; my mom bought it 27 years ago and it’s the best sewing machine I’ve ever used. A box I keep lots of photos, cards, notes etc in from friends and lastly my collection of design books, journals, bibles which I’d hate to lose.

What do think will be the next big trends in interiors?

From a wallpaper point of view, perhaps some new finishes or printing methods with larger scale patterns, particularly florals.

What’s next for Abigail Borg?

I’ll be moving into a studio space by the end of the year, with new products and lines in the new year. I’ll also be releasing a series of letter pressed Christmas cards in the next few months, as well as working on commissions for interior fabrics.

Find out more and buy online at

Corrugated mugs from Adra

by Alexandra Thomas on August 31, 2010  |  0 comments

Find a new way to enjoy your afternoon cuppa with these corrugated mugs from Adra. £12

Perusing my mug collection the other day, I found that while it’s a pleasing assortment of all the right kinds (the ubiquitous Pantone and Penguin Classics feature heavily) nothing really matches.

Not that it worries me a great deal but I thought it might be quite nice to have a matching set.


My online travels took me in the direction of Adra, a delightful interiors website based in Wales, which is where I found these corrugated mugs by Tom Gloster. Designed to look like corrugated cardboard, I love the lines and chunkiness of these tea-drinking vessels.


Available in four different colours and of generous size, these are perfect for adding a splash of colour to your kitchen and of course for drinking out of!

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Spotlight on: The French Bedroom Company

by Emma Foale on August 30, 2010  |  0 comments
Lit Lit white bed, (available in double, king, and superking, from £1095) and also available in gold, The French Bedroom Company.

We shine the spotlight on The French Bedroom Company and uncover their elegant designs.

This week we’re saying ‘Oh là là’ as we discover sassy designs that you won’t find anywhere else. Read on as we uncover the chic and feminine style of The French Bedroom’s collection.

Online boutique, The French Bedroom Company, was created in May 2006 by Georgia Metcalfe after she realised that there was a gap in the market for elegant and affordable French style furniture. The company’s aim is to find adorable, unique furnishings that they can share with people who want to bring some glamour to their homes.

The French Bedroom Company’s collection is an array of bedroom furniture and linen, seating, storage, tables, lighting, mirrors and screens. With its beautifully curved mahogany and cane head and footboards, it’s little wonder the Lit Lit bed is one of the company’s hero products. Available in angelic white or glamorous gold, the bed is guaranteed to be the star of any boudoir.

The Provencal 3-drawer chest is part of a collection which includes products that are carved from mahogany and inspired by classic French provincial elegance. The chest is hand-finished in antique white which gives it a modest beauty. It would fit perfectly in a country-inspired home because it gives a rustic and a charming appeal; combined with the Madeleine chandelier and you’ll add instant chateau chic to your room.

To give a bedroom a traditional and opulent feel, the antiqued gilt mahogany of the Versailles 2-drawer bedside table would be an ideal furniture piece. The distinctive cabriole legs and subtle hand carvings in the wood represent the ornate style associated with the Louis XV period. The Versailles collection also boasts an adorable petit bedroom chair, a damask stool, and a stunning mirror-fronted armoire.

My favourite piece is the Octavia mirror which stands grandly on the floor, or can be mounted on a wall in a majestic hallway or bedroom. It has an egg-and-dart style frame surround which was commonly used in eighteenth century neoclassical design. The bold detailed carved emblem is an additional embellishment, and the jet black colour of the mirror brings a modern twist to such a refined piece.

One of The French Bedroom Company’s newest products is the white cowhide which is made from organic British cows; the cowhides are tanned in the UK which ensures that there’s a low carbon footprint. Its pure white colour gives it an extremely high-shine coat, and with thick skin and fluffy hair it means that it will last twice as long as a standard hide.

We are excited to hear that The French Bedroom Company’s 2011 brochure will be launched next month. And why not take a peek inside their showroom at Apsley House, based in West Sussex, to discover the eight beautifully decorated rooms featuring their products.

The French Bedroom Company’s products are available on so why not take a look...

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Ironing board cover from Bombarock

by Alexandra Thomas on August 30, 2010  |  0 comments

Add a new a lease of life to your ironing with these funky ironing board covers from Bombarock. From £19

Of all household chores, ironing is one of my least favourites – in fact, I’ll let you into a secret, I don’t iron anything until needs must.

An admission that would surely shock my Grandmother, who, rumour has it was so fanatical about everything being crease-free, used to even iron flannels. Yes, that’s right, flannels! Needless to say this is one trait that hasn’t passed down the through the generations.

However, as dull as I find standing for hours on end at an ironing board, I do rather like these ironing board covers from Bombarock. Available in a variety of designs and sizes, they’re perfect for adding some colour and pattern to that most laborious of tasks.

And while I can’t guarantee that it will make me get the ironing board out more often, it will certainly make it look prettier when it’s folded up in the corner.

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Wobbly bowls from Roost Living

by Alexandra Thomas on August 29, 2010  |  0 comments
vases and bowl

Spruce up your dining table with these wobbly bowls from Roost Living. From £12

Now that summer has almost disappeared, it’s time to put away the melamine and picnic ware for another year.

Which means you’ll be turning your attention to your inside dining table.

While it’s true you can’t beat a beautifully table laid with crisp white linen and exquisite china, sometimes a relaxed supper with friends calls for something a little more informal.

That’s why I just adore these Wobbly bowls from Roost Living. Available in a variety of sizes, they’re ideal for everything from dipping sauces to hearty soups and pastas.

vases and bowl

I love their irregular shape which gives them a handmade feel and the delicate floral design is just pretty enough without being over fussy or too cute.

I don’t know about you but these bowls will definitely be making an appearance on my autumn table.

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Louis chair cushion from Raw Xclusive

by Alexandra Thomas on August 28, 2010  |  0 comments

Smarten up a plain sofa or chair with this Louis cushion from Raw Xclusive. £69

I love cushions and chairs so much, that one day I hope I have a house big enough to squeeze in every one I have ever wanted.

Gorgeous vintage Eames loungers would sit alongside the latest designs from Established & Sons, softened by gorgeous cushions from every designer imaginable.

Well, that’s just a dream for now, which is why I love this cushion from Raw Xclusive as it kills two bird with one stone.


You see these rather gorgeous cushions each feature a classic Louis chair. Available in Grey, Dark Grey, Cream and Purple, one of these cushions is just what you need to brighten up a neutral sofa or chair.

Better still, try using one on a Louis chair for a little bit of tongue-in-cheek interior design fun.

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Our weekly pick of interiors blogs… Aug 27th

by Catherine Gregg on August 27, 2010  |  0 comments
Nicole’s office, mixing old and new, on Making it Lovely

This week we check out three home renovation projects.

Making it Lovely follows Nicole Balch and family as they transform a ‘so-so’ century old house into a lovely home. Nicole posts the pictures of her home renovation handy-work in a photo gallery; and there’s plenty more inspiration in the form of product reviews and fabulous finds, craft projects, lifestyle stories and interiors advice. She regularly puts together a collage of home furnishings ‘chosen’ by James and Eugenia, a ‘fictional couple with exceptionally good taste in furniture’. But if you need reminding that it’s Nicole who’s got the great taste, just take a look at her house.

Evidence of a globe fetish on Rambling Renovators

The Rambling Renovators are a couple of design-loving DIYers who invite you to tag along as they revamp their home, room by room. It’s another chance to be nosy and have a good old snoop around somebody else’s stylish home. As well as the customary ‘before and after’ photos you can expect loads of lifestyle images, plenty of vintage finds, product reviews and a whole lot of interiors ideas. From mock-ups and mood-boards, to DIY tips and decorating dilemmas this blog’s great if you’re thinking about renovating. And if you live anywhere nearby, the Christie Antiques Show in southern Ontario looks absolutely amazing.

50s living on The Brick House

The Brick House is right up my alley (in terms of style, that is; the house is in California). Originally built in the 1950s, this super stylish bungalow is being restored to its former glory, complete with mid-century modern furnishings. Shaking off any lingering associations with retirement villages, it’ll change your mind about bungalows in an instant. The photographs look like something straight off the pages of Elle Decoration or The World of Interiors. Draw dropping stuff. There’s not one thing I don’t like about it; although I really hope they’re keeping the pink and black tiles in the original bathroom. The tiles alone would have made me buy the place. The Brick House is a must-see for any mid-century modern fans and a lesson in sympathetic restoration. Perfection.

How to create a... masculine bedroom.

by Emma Foale on August 26, 2010  |  0 comments
bed linen
Lavina King size duvet cover, £132, Coco Male.

Put some swagger in your style with our tips on how to decorate a bachelor pad.

Boys will be boys... we look at how to decorate a stylish and modern masculine bedroom fit for any man.

Colour scheme

A masculine palette craves colour that invokes feelings of strength and power; colour blocking with black, white, grey, blue, green or purple will give a modern and striking look. A bold monochrome scheme will maintain a fuss-free style that limits you to two colours; however, you can keep a white and blue scheme looking fresh, for example, by bringing in boyish navy blue or grey tones in your fabrics and accessories.

Mocha browns can be enriched by cream shades or dark indigos that are accented with warmer ochre tones. Avoid pastel hues because they have a softer and more feminine feel that will contradict and confuse the look.

Wall coverings

Wallpaper, for example the Ribbed wallpaper or Monroe Special Surface, both from 95% Danish, will add texture and drama to your room. The geometric pattern in the Monroe wallpaper is in keeping with the colour block trend and shows how pattern can be incorporated into masculine style. To keep the look minimalist, try wallpaper on a feature wall behind the bed to draw attention and create impact.

Wall art is a great expression of personality as well as a form of escapism. Choose from a selection of exciting prints from 55Max available on Furnish, including images of favourite football memories and iconic film shots.

Bed linen

Don’t overdress the bed, this isn’t the time to go for hundreds of cushions and throws. Choose a matching duvet set and either use a solid colourway or go for plain stripes in dark colours. Pick either a lighter or darker shade of the colour you have on your walls and use this in your bedding to indulge in a cohesive look that isn’t fussy or high maintenance. The Lavina king size duvet cover from Coco Male, tailored in a deep charcoal, gives a luxurious look that any man would be proud to show off.

table lamp
Flos gun bedside lamp, £705.60, Utility.


In a masculine bedroom you can’t go wrong with functional lighting that offers a quirky and innovative style. The Foscarini Diesel fork table lamp from Utility is a unique design, and the anodised metal base has the flexibility to allow the head to turn 360 degrees for directional or general ambient lighting. Or choose the Flos Gun bedside table lamp, also from Utility, which was designed by Philippe Stark who based his idea on a Baretta pistol hand gun. This feature piece instantly conjures up connotations with James Bond: how could any man resist?!

Furniture and storage

Opt for black or natural wood tones for a contemporary look. The black-antiqued lacquered finish of the Oriental Shanxi wardrobe from Puji will be set off by the earthy tones of your colour scheme. With a drawer, an internal shelf and a hanging rail, this should provide sufficient space for work suits, shirts and shoes.

The Nest bed range from Heal’s is upholstered in fabric with a padded pillow-style headboard. It has a mechanism which allows the mattress to lift to reveal storage space which is perfect for all those manly keepsakes that would otherwise clutter the room.

Oriental Shanxi wardrobe, £899, Puji.


For a simplistic look choose natural wood flooring in dark tones such as teak and walnut that will give a practical and contemporary feel. Rugs, such as the Sable green rug from Puji, will soften and bring texture and warmth to wood flooring. Or bring out a man’s wild and adventurous nature with some animal prints; try the Zebra print cowhide from The French Bedroom Company to match your monochrome look and add visual interest to your floor.


A restrained masculine style is uncomplicated so accessorising will involve sticking to the essentials. The Eclipse mirror from Tom Schneider is available in a selection of wood finishes, which will make a dark room feel lighter and more spacious.

Finally, if cushions are a must then the Etch baguette cushion from Margo Selby combines black, silver and cream colours in a woven fabric giving a 3-dimension feel that will give depth to a monochrome scheme and is suitably manly.

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Zodiac cushions by Jonathan Adler from Supernice

by Alexandra Thomas on August 26, 2010  |  0 comments

Help predict the future with these Zodiac cushions by Jonathan Adler from Supernice. £70

Star signs are funny things aren’t they? Some people live their lives by them and others poo poo them as utter rubbish.

My Mum swears blind that she’s never surprised to learn of someone’s star sign while my OH think they’re complete claptrap.

Me, I’m a Pisces, which means, if you believe all that stuff, that I am prone to daydream, am fairly physical and have a fierce temper. Hate to admit it but those are fairly true.


Still, while I’m not going to start checking my horoscope on a daily basis with the hope of winning the lottery or travelling to a far flung destination, I do rather like these new cushions by Jonathan Adler from Supernice.

Depicting all twelve signs of the Zodiac, they are made from brightly coloured needlepoint and offer a witty way to brighten up a plain sofa.


Of course, I will be buying the fishy-inspired Pisces one but I reckon they’ll make a fun present for even the most sceptical of non-believers.

See this product at Supernice...

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