Have you seen us talk all things living room lighting in this months Ideal Home Magazine along with Fritz Fryer and the lighting buyer, Katherine Mitchell from John Lewis? We feel very privileged to have been asked to be a part of this discussion as lighting is such an important part of any scheme and its an easy thing to get wrong. If you would like to read a little more about the subject and what we all think then the magazine is currently on sale now!
I was lucky enough to stay in 101 hotel in Reykjavik about 10 years ago and its an interior that has always stuck with me.
Its has a very contemporary style that incorporates a cool palette of blacks, whites and slate-greys, antique and idiosyncratic furnishings and truly reflects the cool Nordic style and the starkness of the landscape it finds itself in.
The hard clean lines are softened by the warmth of the wooden floors complimented by the under floor heating, the tactile and stylish rugs and the Italian linens on the bed that screams luxury.
Have you seen our newest feature over in Shropshire Living Magazine. We were lucky enough to have Lucy from Shropshire Living come over and interview me about how I started greta-mae and what my design philosophy is. If you would like to read a bit more its currently on sale now.
This is the mood board we created for a clients hallway. The property was a Victorian with beautiful high ceilings and stained glass front door and the client wanted something bold and interesting that would set the scene for the rest of the house. She talked about how she loved to holiday in the Lake District and I knew this would be a great place to start the design process whilst also taking into account the history of the property. The colours chosen from Little Green are from their Victorian range which suited the age of the house and also fitted into the Lake District inspiration.
The table lighting is from the brand Pooky and the Waterfall lighting is from Agapanthus Interiors. the floor tiles are Fired Earth
I was talking to someone over the weekend who really wanted to have a polished concrete floor in the new house they were building but had been put off by all the negatives she had heard about living day to day with a concrete floor.
As someone who has polished concrete floor in my own house and was a complete non negotiable when I was building my own place I was intrigued to hear what the perceived negatives were:
Its hard underfoot
It stains easily
Now i’m not going to lie, it is hard underfoot if you are standing/walking about your home all day in bare feet like I do but this is the same with the flagstones I have in the older part of the property and is easily negated by using lots of rugs (although it is a bit of a shame to cover up the gorgeous concrete floor) or you can wear slippers around the house to provide some comfort. But realistically unless you are on your feet constantly in your home this isn’t too much of a problem.
The second con of it being cold, yes this would be the case if you didn’t have any underfloor heating but again this would also be the case if you laid flagstones or porcelain tiles. I wouldn’t recommend going down the polished concrete floor route if you aren’t having underfloor heating.
So does polished concrete stain? As someone who is incredibly clumsy I can assure you that a polished concrete floor is no more liable to staining than a wooden floor if sealed correctly. We didn’t seal the floor in the kitchen section (we have a 60msq of concrete in an open plan space broken up into 3 sections) we had planned to do it when we moved in and then life took over and we still haven’t done it. Even in this area we only have a couple of stains and this is from spilled fat, it seems to be the only substance that permeates it and believe me I have dropped numerous liquids on this floor. In the areas we did seal we have had no such problem, we made sure to seal with an oil based sealant so any liquid sits on top of the concrete and doesn’t seep through.I’ve dropped red wine onto this floor and there has been no staining!
Now after living with a polished concrete floor for 3 years I feel confident to let you know what the pros of having one are:
Its warm underfoot
It makes a space feel bigger
Its easy to clean
Polished concrete floor and underfloor heating are natural bedfellows. In fact a thick pad of concrete is the best conductor for the heat. The concrete can take a bit of time to heat up the concrete but once it does it retains the heat incredibly well. This warmth also surprisingly provides a little softness underfoot too
By not having lots of grout lines as you would with tiles the concrete helps make the space feel bigger.
The concrete is incredibly durable, we walk across it in heels, muddy boots and we have to contend with claws from both a cat and a dog and it withstands it all.
Its also incredibly easy to keep clean, a quick brush and a mop will see you right
If you are laying a new screed as part of your build, having a concrete floor is a relatively cost effective option as you are needing to order concrete anyway but just adding a few sq metres extra. There is a lot of pre planning and prep if you are going to go down the diy route like we did as you need to make sure you order the correct grade of concrete and that there are no fibres in the mix. Then you need to make sure all hands are on deck the day it arrives to float it and get the ‘cream/fat’ to the top to give it that nice finish before it starts hardening. The most agonising aspect though is then covering it up for months and not knowing how its going to look until its fully hardened and by this point apart from polishing it up to get the sheen you want you are basically stuck with how it looks.
There are many companies offering this service out there now and if you are nervous about going down the diy route I would definitely suggest hiring someone professional to come and do the job.
So hopefully I have helped clear up any misconceptions over having a concrete floor and I would be really interested in hearing if you went for it. I love my polished concrete floor and so glad we went for it!
Did you know we were featured in the March issue of Grand Designs Magazine?
This was a very exciting moment for me as I have grown up watching Grand Designs and wanted to undertake a property renovation similar to those that you see in the magazines and TV shows so to be featured in the magazine was literally a dream come true.
For me Grand Designs is more than just about the interiors it’s about the whole house construction and interior design working together to create a home that works for you.
It was such an exciting day having the photographer here and getting to see our property, which we had painstakingly renovated with the help of builders, through other peoples eyes.
In the article we talk about what it was about the property that drew us to it, the little original gems we uncovered throughout the renovation and also the process we went through to get it finished.
Below are a few images of the magazine.
The Olde Bell in Hurley is up there with one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. Its an old coaching inn and the design is a contemporary take on the traditional coaching inn using British materials and furniture.
The interiors are designed by Ilse Crawford MBE from StudioIlse and provides a constant source of inspiration to me in my own projects.
The interior scheme has a very calm feel to it through the use of a restrained colour palette and the focus on lots of natural and tactile materials that appeal to all the senses. Its a great mix of traditional and classic pieces such as the Ercol armchairs and the modern high armchair and minimalist bed frame.
Green is such a calming colour in any interior scheme and it works really well alongside other tonal greens and also neutral colours inspired by nature. This board would be the perfect spring board for creating a modern textured scheme suitable for any interior.
So you are in the midst of designing and deciding what kitchen you want and the time comes to figure out what type of sink will go best with your design and you become slightly overwhelmed with the choices on offer and don’t know what the pros and cons of each are? Well worry no more as I am here to help you out of your sink quagmire with my easy and simple guide to sinks and the pros and cons of each so you can decide which one best suits your lifestyle.
This is probably the most popular choice for kitchen sinks and its not hard to see why when you look at its main attributes:
Heat resistant - Stainless steel is extremely heat resistant and you can safely place a searingly hot pan directly onto the surface of the stainless steel and not suffer any consequences
Impact resistant - This is perfect for those of us who are slightly clumsy and find your self dropping things in the sink as stainless steel is the most forgiving of all the sink materials on impact and its the least likely to damage your glass or china and whilst remaining relatively unscathed also.
Hygienic - There is a reason stainless steel is the top choice of materials of work surfaces and sinks for professional chefs as its a totally non porous surface that is easy to keep clean and is therefore the most hygienic. Its non porous characteristic also means that its the least likely to stain if you spill anything
Cleaning- As a general rule neat bleach shouldn’t be used when cleaning a kitchen sink as the corrosive effect of the bleach can eventually damage the sink, being water soluble though if rinsed away immediately after you have cleaned the sink there shouldn’t be too much issue.
Scratches - Stainless steel will scratch but eventually these will eventually blend together into the overall finish of the sink
Plastic Washing up bowls - Its never really advisable to use a plastic washing up bowl in the sink as they can pick up grit and particles and the bottom of the bowl can act like sandpaper on the steel surface and leave an area of tiny scratches.
One of the more traditional styles of sinks in the form of Belfast this style sink can look great in both modern and traditional kitchens.
Heat Resistant - ceramic is heat resistant up to 1200 degree centigrade so you can rest easy if you place your hot sink/pan straight into its surface
Hygienic - Non-porous, the smooth surface is one of the most hygienic sinks and is easy to keep clean.
Hardness - Extremely resistant to impact (if you have ever dropped a glass into one of these sinks you will know it comes off second best!) its so hard cutlery won’t scratch the surface through ‘normal’ every day use.
Cleaning - Avoid abrasive cleaners as this will dull the surface. A dilute solution of bleach will maintain the shiny surface and keep it looking spotless.
Made up of natural quartz sand and an acrylic resin the granite sink has been specifically designed to cope with the demands of modern kitchen. This style sink lends itself to a more modern sleek style and as its man made can come in a variety of different colours.
Heat and Impact Resistant- Can withstand extremely high temperatures
Dirt/odour and stain repellant - A massive pro for the granite sink is the coating that is applied to the sink that means the it is dirt repellant and the sort simply runs off, this coating also means odour don’t line and is completely stain resistant.
Cleaning - Avoid abrasive cleaners as this can eat away at the coating on the sink making it less resistant to stains. A dilute solution of bleach will be enough to keep it clean but it must be rinsed off to make sure no bleach is left on the surface.
By all means this list isn’t exhaustive and there are many ways other sink materials such as copper, corian, marble but without a doubt these are the 3 most popular and readily available sink materials that are on the market at the minute.
If you have any questions relating to your own kitchen design then please get in touch
Using mirrors within your decorating scheme can help reflect light around a room, creates the illusion of space, adds a focal point to the room and can add a much needed hit of glamour, its fair to say that the humble mirror is a hardworking piece of decoration!
There are numerous ways you can add a mirror into your home, below I talk about a few different ways you can add them into your space.
Adding a mirror over a mantel /fireplace is a very classic way of introducing a mirror into your room. It creates a focal point, bounces around lots of light and reflects back anything you happen to place on the mantel helping add depth to both the mantel and the room. If a mirror happens to be opposite a window or catches the light from a natural source it doubles the amount of light you have in the room which is great if your room is starved of much needed light.
The bigger the mirror the more space it will create, however, you don't need to just hang one large mirror above a fireplace, you can achieve the same effect by hanging groups of mirrors together.
Hanging mirrors opposite each other
Hanging 2 mirrors opposite each other creates quite a dramatic effect in the room as they mirror the reflection in its opposite number and creates an illusion of depth and bounces lots of light around the room. Its a very traditional way of decorating and something you see quite a lot in stately homes and palaces, such as Versailles, as a way to increase the amount of light before the advent of electricity.
Groups of mirrors
Hanging groups of mirrors together creates a dramatic feature in a room. This works best when all the mirrors have something in common, be that shape, frame colour or style. This style of hanging mirrors works best in an uncluttered space as it could feel a little too chaotic otherwise. By hanging lots of mirrors like this you again bounce lots of light around the room whilst also creating individual vignettes of your room in each mirror.
You don't have to just stick to a traditional hung mirror in order to achieve a sense of space and create lots of light in your room, by using antique/smoked glass as a surround for your shower enclosure or by adding a wall of mirrors onto the front of your fitted wardrobes you can also achieve an illusion of space.
The image below shows perfectly everything that I have been talking about in this post. They have cleverly used mirrors in the alcoves of the chimney breast to add a sense of depth to the room, it almost looks as though the mirrors aren't there and the room runs behind the chimney, they have also placed a light in front of the mirror which will help to bounce light around the room. Overall a fab and innovative use of mirrors to alter the perceived space.
Although most of these images are of mirrors hung on the wall this isn't to say its the only way. Im a big fan of propping large mirrors against the wall on the floor as a piece of furniture, this works especially well in a hallway or any narrow space where you want to create a feeling of more space.
You can find lots of great and inexpensive mirrors on the high street if you want to create an interior that is unique to you then you can't go wrong with rummaging in your local charity shop, eBay or car boot as you can quite often pick up a little gem for a fraction of the price. It may have a bit of wear and tear and may not be in perfect condition but for me this only helps add to the character and helps you achieve an individual look.