Happy Christmas!

Joyful Joules to Brighten Your Winter Days

Bright and colourful is the way to go if you want to add some warmth to the wintery, grey December days. Lifestyle brand, Joules, fit the bill with their stores full of joyful colours on clothing and gifts including toiletries, kitchen and home accessories.

To feel inspired to ramble stylishly on exhilarating country walks, catch up with the Out and About, Joules Journal which reflects their outdoor-loving ethos, including the Best British Winter Walks and 6 Ways to Wear an Oversized Scarf - I love the knotted cape and the low knot.


Founder Tom Joules, whose favourite place to be is on the Norfolk coast, began selling his outdoor goods at events over 25 years ago. Today, Joules' products are designed in-house in partnership with a UK designer. Joules don't yet have a dedicated home store - their high street outlets and online shop provide a varied selection.

This warm-coloured Moss Stitch Striped Throw will enliven your room and keep you snug...
Adding colour and freshness to a natural design.


A duvet set made for pony loving princesses.
Cakeadoodle set of 3 cake tins.  Find some Dippy Egg Cups, Clunky You and Brood Mugs to match at Joules.

Floral bed sets for that Sunday country-side feel.
Images: courtesy of Joules.

The A-Z of Interior Design - Z is for...

Zzzz!

A restful night's sleep is vital for our health and well being.  With that in mind, I couldn't resist showing you the second most expensive bed in the world.  It actually floats in the air!  To stop it drifting away (as appealing as it sounds, this is not that practical) strong wires are attached to "anchor" the floating bed to the walls.  The floating is achieved with magnets which weigh 680 kg. And the price? You can float into the land of nod for a cool million pounds (UK sterling).  
Designer, Janjaap Ruijssenaars took seven years to create the world's first floating bed.

And so I skip to the eighth most expensive bed in the world (below)… the Monarch Vi-Spring Bed, which comes in at just over £32,000. This bed's focus is on comfort and boasts more than 3000 springs - a princess would find it hard to feel a pea under this super cushioned, high quality mattress, stitched and finished in Devon, with hand crafted fabrics.
Vi-Spring want to make sleep a life changing experience.

Hotels are to blame for countless night's loss of sleep, with 43% of guests tossing and turning due to uncomfortable mattresses.  Not so at the super cool, eco Hotel Ecluse in Luxembourg!  Here I enjoyed an amazing sleep experience, with far reaching views over the Moselle River and vineyards towards Germany, on an enormous bed which adjusted at the press of a switch to various angles.  I wish I had one of their beds at home.
The super-cool, eco Hotel Ecluse

For those who'd rather not spend thousands on their bed, but still want quality, Stay in Bed supply stylish, pocket sprung and memory foam mattresses developed by NASA. Check out their 8 Tips for Choosing the Best Bed.
www.stayinbed.co.uk

We lose about a pound of dead skin cells a year, and this is just one of the many reasons that you should think about changing your mattress every seven years, according to The Sleep Council.

www.stayinbed.co.uk

I love the comfort and cocooning effect of this headboard...


www.stayinbed.co.uk

However, a good night's sleep is not just about the bed. Creating a restful environment for sleep is vital and the bedroom is the ultimate comfort zone. When designing your bedroom, try to seduce all the senses - but that's another blog story.
www.stayinbed.co.uk

An industrial style bed combined with mid-century Scandinavian design...
Brunel bed by Heals

Finally, the most expensive bed in the world - reportedly sold for £4 million - is made out of 24K pure gold that weighs over 90 kg and three types of wood. It's an extravagant design by Stuart Hughes, the British design studio in Liverpool, who worked with Italian company Hebanon and Fratelli Brasile Interiors.  Take a look and let me know what you think - it certainly isn't to everybody's taste - whatever the price tag may be.
We have reached the final chapter of my A-Z of Interior Design - hope you've enjoyed it!  Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing.

The A-Z of Interior Design - Y is for...

Yin andYang are all about the synergy of opposing forces and the qualities of change and energy that exist in us and in our environment.  The ancient Chinese practices of acupuncture, martial arts, acupressure, Chinese herbal medicine and Feng Shui seek to maintain and balance these forces and energy (ch'i).  For example, black, winter, or night represents yin and white, day or summer represents yang.

www.etsy.com

Overall, the home is a yin environment - a place where we seek to relax, retreat, recover and restore our strength or energy.  By introducing soft lighting and carpets, music, plants and restful colours, luxurious, tactile fabrics and comforting art we are adding yin qualities.  In contrast, at work we add brighter lights, starker colours such as white, more practical accessories and furniture, harder surfaces, and images which are more focused on productivity - the yang qualities.

www.gallerieb.com

Balancing yin and yang within the home can influence the feel of a space. A designer should consider whether a design scheme needs to be brighter and stimulating or more peaceful and mellow, to suit those who will be using the space.

www.tessaproudfoot.co.za

Always bring in a little of the opposite into the environment to maintain the perfect balance of yin and yang.


Explore this concept further on a Feng Shui in Interior Design one day workshop with Bright Space Design, or read one of the many books on the subject.

The A-Z of Interior Design - X is for...

Exercise!

This Couch Potato's Sofa Workout made me laugh.  Ten simple exercises - using your sofa - for a full body workout...

Image courtesy of: sofa sofa.co.uk
If you can't see the image large enough go directly to the Sofa Sofa website.

The A-Z of Interior Design - W is for...

The Wow Factor!

We are nearing the end of our A-Z of Interior Design, which I hope you are all enjoying!

One of my three rules as an interior designer is to always create a wow factor in each room.   This can be a splendid piece of art, a spectacular sculpture, a quirky or eye-catching item of furniture, a pop of colour, textural effects, a wall design which shouts for attention, e.g.  hand painted art or a beautiful wallpaper, a quirky use of scale or basically anything which will demand attention and be attractive to the senses.  

This beautiful flooring creates a wow factor in this simply styled room...


Floor tiles TYPE-32 SLIMTECH by LEA CERAMICHE | Diego Grandi Colombo Ceramiche

A teepee is certain to wow young children


home adore

A subtle recess with inset spot lighting adds a layer of interest to this space…



frederickielemoes.be



A jib door… with its secret connotations adds mystery and drama…


buzzfeed


Wow can mean unusual or eye-catching accessories/lighting within a room


notonthehighstreet.com

or just a captivating view…



A wow factor is not the same as a focal point, though your wow factor can, and probably will be, a focal point in the space.  The wow factor is not necessarily the first thing you notice when you enter.

The A-Z of Interior Design - V is for…

Vitra.
The iconic Swiss company has been designing and producing classics since 1950, using the creative minds of designers around the world.

Vitra state their goal is "to create interiors, furniture and accessories that are functional and inspiring".  The company manufacture Eames originals, being the sole authorised manufacturer of Eames products for Europe and the Middle East.

On Charles Eames Street, Well am Rhein, the VitraHaus, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, is a striking building on the Vitra campus.  Five storeys stack one above the other with their charcoal stucco exterior.  Winding, organic, spiral staircases connect the cross-sections offering interesting viewpoints to the interior and exterior.


VitraHaus by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron
Inside, the bright interiors contrast and offer far-reaching views.  Light pours in through the high pitched ceilings and the Vitra design classics are displayed in their element.  Walls are painted in white throughout to allow the classic, mid-century modern furniture to stand out.



On the Vitra Campus, the Design Museum's collection commemorates design greats such as Charles and Ray EamesGeorge NelsonVerner Panton and Alexander Girard with a rich programme of events, guided tours, and workshops.

Charles and Ray Eames: Vitra website
One hundred masterpieces of interior design illustrates the history of design and how it relates to art, architecture and interiors.

Vitra Design Museum, Charles-Eames-Str. 2, D-79576 Weil am Rhein,  +49.7621.702.3200, info@design-museum.de
For those who don't happen to be in, or visiting, Germany, the Vitra website is also a useful resource for those interested in the history of interior design.

The A-Z of Interior Design - U is for...

Unique.

An overwhelming trend in interior design is that people want their homes to be unique and special to them.  The 21st century has gone through a range of interior design phases, with coveted styles, fads and fashions making way to this need to belong and create a safe haven, away from the rest of the world.

It may be 2015, but 1970s avocado-coloured bathroom suites are still being ripped out and replaced with pristine white - the perfect backdrop for adding personal accessories.  Neutrals are still as popular as they were in the early noughties, but today they have become much more interesting, with individuality and character paramount.

Walls of photos are hugely popular, with the emphasis on keeping it personal with a touch of creativity...


A bespoke space with unique art drawn directly onto the black walls...


Art is a brilliant way to keep a space individual…
Above: The art of Steven Graber.
A child's bedroom is given personal charm with brightly-coloured walls and original artwork…


An artist's home - full of originality…


Artist: Sue Williams A'Court





The A-Z of Interior Design - T is for...

 Texture can create striking effects and focal points to add a tactile layer to an interior design.   Use texture on walls to give a space depth, style and character.  Contrast varying textures to achieve the maximum effect.  For example, a smooth, shiny surface beside a heavily textured stone wall.

Even the ceiling brings interest and texture in this contemporary room, coordinating with the glass, fabrics and wood, brought together with a natural palette.

Aupiais House by Site Interior Design
Consider the texture all through the design process. Think about how different materials feel as well as how they look.

Flooring and carpets offer great opportunities for the designer to add texture and comfort underfoot.


Who can resist the touch of plush fabrics and the comfort of wool throws or cushions?









The A-Z of Interior Design - S is for…

SYMMETRY AND STYLING

As humans, we instinctively feel that symmetry + balance = beauty. 

However, interior design needs to be interesting, dynamic and exciting.  A completely symmetrical design can look flat, even dead. To create interest and intrigue include asymmetry (odd numbers and varying heights) within your total room composition and in your styling. Think about focal points - by all means, create balance - but don’t forget to add a “wow” factor. This can be in the form of a heart-stopping piece of art work, a stunning light fixture, or bangs of colour. 

Can you see the asymmetrical lines in this interiors display?

Photo: trendenser.se

A perfectly symmetrical interior with the asymmetry in the art coming through loud and clear... 
Photo: Tamara Magel 
A completely symmetrical interior with the elements on each side of the room arranged in a "mirror image".  A completely balanced scheme, but does it need some asymmetry to make it more visually exciting?
Photo: interior collective.com
Here an interior is styled full of texture, a dark backdrop, with repetition and grouping elements in threes, such as in the lighting pendants.   Asymmetry is introduced with the smaller styling vignette on the tabletop, as well as the group of three green herb pots.  Mis-matched chairs also keep the scheme from looking staid.
Photo: John Lewis
Think about the different elements in the room and how it will all be composed and styled.  Consider the symmetry/asymmetry.  When designing interiors, if the visual interest flows all around the room, you'll know you have got it right.



The A-Z of Interior Design - R is for….

Rules!

Interior designers vary in their practices. Although there are design rules in abundance, in interior design, rules are often made to be broken and individuality, spontaneity and uniqueness are vital to avoid everyone’s homes looking like clones of each other.  Here are seven rules which you may or may not choose to follow!


Rule 1: Be creative with lighting


Nothing can beat natural light in an interior but consider the lighting requirements throughout the day. Lighting installations can become stunning focal points. Don't rely solely on pendants to light a room as they are both unflattering and ineffective. Create a flexible lighting scheme for maximum impact. Make use of table lamps, floor lamps, and accent lighting.  Read our lighting tips and tricks.



Photo: designbuildideas.eu

Rule 2: Create a feature wall

This rule is rather controversial as some designers may disagree with feature walls, however, they do wonders to grab attention, create focal points and instant impact. If you do go for a feature wall, ensure that you create balance and link it in with the rest of the design scheme. 
Photo: Maya Wall Tiles brass, CTO 

Rule 3: Get rid of clutter!

Acquiring possessions is something that seems to come naturally to most people. As a designer, I've seen it all…. hoarding, accumulated possessions, unwanted gifts out on display, strange collections and selective vision as to what items people are living with. I could quote William Morris, but it's been done too many times before. The rule is, if it's ugly or useless - get rid of it. Once you are left with items you love around you, it will be easier to follow the rules of display and show off what you own. 

Photo: BRABBU | DESIGN FORCES

Rule 4: Make your home feel personal

This is the direction interior design has been moving towards for some time. The days of neutral and safe are over. In 2015 more and more people are looking for ways to make their home feel individual to them and the internet has given us the outlet to explore. The world is your limit!  


Photo: Helt enkelt | Inredning – Foto – Inspiration

Rule 5: Respect the architecture

I've spent many years restoring period properties and giving them back their dignity after a decade of stripped out architraves, ceiling roses, Edwardian and Victorian fireplaces, or other period details. If you crave a contemporary look then think about overpainting in light tones of grey, rather than removing period features, and blend them in with your contemporary design to stay right on trend. 

Photo: Hampton Hotel

Rule 6: Knock down walls or extend

People love to live open plan. Although having a smaller area to study or watch TV is a popular choice, most now prefer to live in a large, family-sized, light-flooded area with expansive windows, large tables and a space plan that flows. Once you have the space, create zones with focal points, lighting, rugs, art and accent colours.


Photo: Granit Architects

Rule 7: Create a mood board

Don't buy on impulse, and don't buy matching ranges of furniture. Gather inspiration, collect swatches, samples and inspirational images to create your own look. Compile a mood board and create a vision of your room then use this as your guideline to make your home feel unique.
Photo: cape27blog.com