Clutter…..

 

 

We all dream of having that designer looking home. Some may even have the designer looking home. For others it seems completely unachievable.

I often talk about how personal wellbeing can be effected by the state of your home and it’s hard discussing it without sounding too ‘deep’ or ‘dramatic’ about it but I really believe there is a link.

my house

my house

 

I hate this bit but I’m going to talk about my home and try not to sound too annoying. Right, I have 2 children and a dog. My house is tidy and well organised. It is easy to clean because everything I have has a place. Yes, everyone has paperwork but if it’s not for filing then it goes in the bin. If clothes are no longer worn, they are given to friends or charity. I hope that people who visit don’t think my home is minimalist, or sterile but lived in and welcoming. Yes, it is normally quite tidy but that is because the things I chose to keep have a place. When the kids have all the lego out or are playing with the latest craze it may look a bit hectic for a while but when they’ve finished stuff gets put away. Certain things don’t always have to be on show. Just keep your really nice bits on display as these will make you feel happier and help the home feel much calmer.

I went to see a client the other day who feels that her home has literally got out of control. Our daily lives are so busy these days and it is indeed hard to keep hold down a full time or part time job whilst still keeping on top of the cooking, cleaning, washing…… blah blah blah. Once it starts to get out of hand it just spirals and gets worse and worse and our homes end up looking more like this than that of a designer home.

getty images

getty images

 

Clutter is a key culprit for making our homes sometimes feel as if they are no longer ours.

People have even written books about clutter, such as Marie Kondo, Japenese tidiness expert.

 

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CLUTTER !

In order to regain your home and create a space where you feel comfortable relaxing and entertaining it, you need to take control of your clutter! It’s not about having thousands of pounds to do an extension, or redesign…… basic decluttering can be the beginning of the transformation.

A tidy, well thought out home will make you happier and feel calmer. Although you do need to invest time in tackling this menace, it will actual save you time in the long run as you will be able to find things more easily, clean better, and will give you an enormous sense of pride. Even a few hours can start to help organise your home.

storage

yes, this is often an area for improvement when it comes to clutter but don’t fall into the trap of buying loads of storage and then throwing all the clutter inside! You are just avoiding the job.

what do you actually ‘need’?

you need to identify what your home actually needs. what do you keep?

what do I do with the stuff I don’t need?

- throw stuff away (yes, we do find this hard to do but some bits are literally rubbish – old cosmetic samples, old phone packs,…..clothes not worn for years…)

- sell some items privately to raise funds for future home improvements

- give some bits that are in good order but just no longer needed to charity

 

If your home is in need of a bit of TLC, take a few hours out this weekend to ‘declutter’. Clear out that drawer, make space in your wardrobe, tidy the ‘paperwork’ that is sitting on the side of the kitchen worktop making it look a mess……

Once you start to see what a difference it makes you will want to do more….. it’s addictive honestly !

 

Have a great weekend :)

 

150 years of John Lewis

 

John Lewis has indeed come a long way since 1864 and it is still proud to be innovating new ideas today.

To mark 150 years on the British high street the retailer is collaborating with some long standing suppliers to create unique products. They are bringing back special edition prints from archive and adding them to their contemporary products.

G Plan Vintage is an exclusive collaboration between Iconic Furniture maker G Plan and the British Design Team Hemingway Design – G Plan Vintage collection

 

 

The Design Museum has put together a special collection of 50 John Lewis products (on display July – September 2014) that demonstrate an excellence in design and there are many familiar design classics amongst them such as the Anglepoise Lamp, Eames DSW chair, and the Magis Air chair and the Hans Wegner ‘U’ chair as below.

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say I am pretty delighted that where I live in Chelmsford, Essex has been chosen as one of their next sites for a new John Lewis. The artist’s impression below is how it will all hopefully look by 2016. The quality store will be a welcomed addition to our City.

 

 

 

Top Drawer / Home – London

 

Did everyone have a good weekend?

Top Drawer opened it’s doors on Sunday at Olympia with over 800 leading UK and International suppliers showcasing great design in 5 product sectors.

 

 

Home runs alongside Top Drawer at Olympia London and gives you the opportunity to have a sneak preview of key trends and the best design-led homeware and accessories.

You can walk around the many vibrant stalls and feel inspired by the latest interior products from the UK and overseas. The designs are a mix of classic and modern brands ranging from textiles, tableware, lighting, ceramics and kitchenware all sharing a considered approach to craftsmanship and emphasis on quality materials.

You get to see beautiful interiors from on trend retailers such as Bloomingville and see delights such as their beautiful ‘Pernille’ pendant lamp and lambskin throws.

 

The East London based designer Ella Doran gets a chance to showcase her renowned digitally printed designs which seem to be getting better and better. Her ‘sevens’ wallpaper displays a vintage record motif which is very ‘on trend’.

 

 

I’ve been a fan of ISAK products for a while now and Atomic Soda products are quite similar. This fine bone china collection is by Mr and Mrs Clynk and it has a delight of delicate patterns.

 

The day is a great inspiration for making sure you have the best dressed tables, stylish cleaning accessories, on trend wallpapers, fashionable cushions, autumn updates and even a few cool Christmas ideas.

With such a huge range of original products with everything from soft blankets to quirky lighting and super storage ideas, it was a great way to see what products are available that will help make the most of any space. It’s on until Tuesday so if you’re near Kensington make sure you pop by.

 

Have a good Monday :)

‘Stripping back’

I caught the last few minutes of Grand Designs on Wednesday night where Rebecca Sturrock and her partner Gregory Kewish had the ambitious plan to create a ‘cutting edge’ home in North Cornwall, out of a small single storey bungalow….. all for £80,000.

Gregory is an architectural designer and had been designing very high end, high budget properties in Jersey for the last few years. His work had opened his eyes to how much ‘wasted space’ there was in many of these designs and how people really didn’t ‘need’ all the extravagance. The family decided to make a change in their lives and move back to be near Rebecca’s family in Cornwall.

Their plan was to reuse existing walls of a small farm building and then build on top using cross-laminted timber panels. Normally a specialist installer would have to be recruited for the job but Gregory managed to persuade them that he would be able to do it himself!  He went direct to the suppliers in Germany and learnt the specific construction methods to enable him to create the UK’s first cross-laminated timber structure erected by a lone self builder. That in itself is an enormous achievement as the end result is simply stunning.

 

Grand Designs - Channel 4

Grand Designs – Channel 4

 

For me, it wasn’t just the fact that the couple worked unbelievably hard to create themselves a beautiful home but actually, what was refreshing was that they managed to create this build on such a small budget. I used to watch Grand Designs religiously each week and I regularly attended their annual Grand Designs Show in London but as the projects got bigger and bigger I started to lose interest as it just appeared to be about how much money people could throw at a project and I didn’t find that particularly inspiring or motivating.

This project was different. Gregory wanted to build a family home on a budget that would leave him and his family mortgage free but still with cutting edge design and modern feel. He worked tirelessly on the build himself which meant labour costs were low but the end result was a light, open plan living with amazing views across the countryside.

 

Grand Designs - Channel 4

Grand Designs – Channel 4

 

Kevin McCloud said it was ‘one of the most beautifully crafted houses he’d ever seen’ and having watched him on the show for many years and met him several times at the design shows, for him to say this is quite a big thing! It must have been good.

More and more I find these projects far more fulfilling to watch than those who don’t appear to have any budget constraints whatsoever. As our daily lives appear to be getting busier and busier, the lifestyle debate appears to be ever more up for discussion. Reading about couples who despite having very well paid jobs in the City, suddenly deciding to opt for a simple ‘quiet life’ on unspoilt Islands. Buying small properties and stripping back everything in order to transform run-down houses into peaceful retreats with stunning sea or countryside views.

 

 

In a material world where we are constantly shown images of people’s glossy homes and lifestyles via various social networking sites it is good to move away from time to time and focus on projects where people have just taken a step back and thought lets just have what we actually ‘need’ as opposed to the endless pursuit of having more.

It all sounds very tempting don’t you think?…………..

 

 

Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

 

coloured bathroom suites?

This glossy image from Living etc caught my eye this month. The basin is an Imperial Astoria Deco ceramic pedestal basin in black from Aston Matthews and it got me thinking….. are coloured bathroom suites back in fashion?

 

 

Given that I am still looking to redo my bathroom after the leak we had in there (still a work in progress….) I thought I should investigate as I have to admit, I just assumed I would be going for an all white bathroom suite when the time actually comes.

Coloured bathroom suites still conjure up images of the ‘avocado bathroom suite’ but bizarrely I don’t find these anywhere near as ‘offence’ as I used to. Mixed with the right accessories I think it could be quite ‘retro’. What do you think? My parents will be pleased to hear me say that as I think they may even still have one…….

 

 

When researching ‘coloured bathroom suites’ I came across a company called H M James & Sons who can literally make any suite in any colour it would seem. I think they advertise for people who have damaged their suite and it’s no longer available but they do also supply complete suites too. (worth knowing for all of you out there holding onto their avocado bits and pieces!)

 

 

Although the majority of interior images display crisp, white bathroom suites, we know that not everyone opts for white ! It’s not unusual for example to see natural stone in bathrooms these days.

 

 

…..and several companies such as Albion Bathrooms and Fired Earth offer a number of baths that you can customise in a colour of your choice.

 

how about a flaming red bath to liven up the room !?

red deco slipper bath by Castello

red deco slipper bath by Castello

 

It’s a tricky one because as with kitchens, Bathrooms are an expensive ‘update’ and one most of us can’t be ‘changing’ from one year to the next as fashions/trends move one.

Personally, I am pretty sure I will never by ready for something as drastic as a red bath but it has made me think maybe I should consider at least looking at other options. I’ve totally got my heart set on a loud, patterned floor so will need to make sure I find something that works well with that which these images below have done beautifully.

 

 

 

Heals – Made in Britain

 

Did everyone have a good weekend ? I hope so.

 

Most of us are aware of the high street retailer HEALS. A well known store who has been designing, making and selling quality furniture for more than 200 years. The family run business started in 1810 by John Harris Heal, primarily selling mattresses.

The company has a long history in collaborating with prominent designers such as Tom Dixon, Matthew Hilton, Sebastian Cox and Philippe Starck, constantly introducing new ranges and showcasing contemporary design.

Heals believe their success and longevity comes from respecting craftsmanship, quality and value. Wherever possible they champion British design and support British manufacturing as part of their heritage.

 

 

The above map outlines all the various designs and where they have been manufactured such as:

 

 

Ercol – manufactured in the small market town of Princes Risborough

 

 

Alphabet Mugs – made by Burleigh, a family run business in Stoke-on-Trent

 

 

Eribe Knitwear – traditional fairilse knitwear hand made in Galashields

 

I found the map inspiring and it really made me think about where we get our interior items from.

As you know I like to make you aware of high street ‘reasonably’ priced items as they are sometimes more accessible to the majority of us when trying to make our home work better for us.

However, I think it is also very important to highlight that wherever possible we must support British design and British manufacturing. Sometimes this may mean it comes with a slightly higher price tag but we must respect craftsmanship and quality also. Supporting traditional methods and crafts handmade right here.

 

Just a little something to think about next time you are buying an item for your home.

 

Happy Monday :)

 

George Home

Mum is continuing her efforts in ‘posting’ me an article a week for which I am extremely grateful as they are always of interest to me and often so varied. One of the articles recently was an ode to ‘manor glamour’ and what was interesting is that the 4 pages of ‘glamour’ housed suitably high end english country charm trinkets and treasures from retailers such as The Conran Shop, Cox & Cox, Rowen & Wren, Cabbages & Roses….but what caught my eye was that nestled amongst all these goodies were items listed from ‘George Home’……so I decided to have a look at what’s on offer there at the moment.

George Home is the homeware part of the Asda group and most items are very reasonably priced.

There is a lovely Portland driftwood range of furnishings; mirrors and tables and this glass coffee table is very nice for any living space. Great if you need to add a bit of texture to a room!

 

This fab pinecone tealight holder looks great value at £5.

 

Cow cushion is very on trend…….. only £7

 

and snuggle up with this orange wool throw….. £25

 

I don’t have a large ASDA store near me so I hardly ever just pop in but I think it’s definitely worth having a look on line as they have a few bits that would liven up a room and not break the bank. Trick is to just pick the odd bit. Don’t go for the whole ‘theme’ that they will no doubt put together for you. Just dip into a few bits and then spice up with a few more ‘unique’ perhaps slightly more ‘luxurious’ items.

 

Have a great weekend everyone.

 

:)