My Dream Living Room

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January is traditionally the month when people start planning DIY and home makeover projects and I am no exception! Its a glorious winters day outside, I’m looking forward to Spring  and I have been inspired to make a moodboard of my own ideal living room here.

dream-living-room

Blue is a beautiful colour to form the basis for a living room scheme as it is so serene and versatile, and if you are worried that blues and greys can be too cool, using orange and green accents will warm things up nicely. I love the glamour of this blue velvet sofa from Arhaus, with its polished brass legs.

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I have always loved marbled patterns (I remember making marbled pictures when I was little by squeezing out paint colours onto a piece of paper and folding it, squashing all the colours into each other and making a colourful mess). So I was delighted when the marbling trend in interiors took off last year and it started to pop up on everything from bedlinen to ceramics.

This wallpaper by Calico, with its mottled blues and greys on a pale background, is an ideal way to bring subtle colour and pattern into a space.

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A mix of textures and shape adds interest in a scheme, so I would choose these butterfly brown leather chairs and silky floor cushions by Suzi Bellamy to add a pop of colour, ideal for lounging on in front of the fire, on a soft white alpaca rug.

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Accessories like this exotic beaded chandelier, bronzed mirror and architectural plants, either real or fake, would complete my ideal living room!

 

 

 

 

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Made.com Winter sale!

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I often recommend clients buy furniture and accessories from Made.com especially if they would like to create a retro or Scandi look! There’s a super choice, good quality and great prices. I especially love this glamorous green velvet sofa!

Scott Sofa in green velvet by Made.com

Their Winter sale is now on with 40% off some products so click here to find some bargains!

Exciting New Showhomes in Eastbourne

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Last month I was busy designing the interiors and dressing some show flats in an exciting small new development of ten flats in Eastbourne.

The Open Day was a success with reservations taken for 3 of the 10 flats and 3 more were sold in the following month. National builders with large marketing budgets spend vast amounts on having show homes designed but it doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive exercise, and small local builders might be really surprised to find out how cost effective a show home can be.

Potential buyers struggle to visualise living in an empty space, especially when that space is small or is an odd shape, as many rooms in conversions tend to be. For example, how do you arrange furniture in a long narrow living room or will a double bed look good (or even fit!) in a small bedroom? Furnishing a flat with the basics ( plus a few carefully chosen accessories to add wow factor) will show buyers how good a space can look.

An empty room is also really boring and soulless. Unless the property has great views or is in an amazing location, there is nothing to set it apart from all the other properties on the market. It’s difficult to imagine yourself living there, it’s just a succession of rooms with no discernible features. So its no surprise when looking on Rightmove to find that a disproportionate number of properties that have been on the site the longest are the refurbished but empty ones.

Here are some photos of the 3 flats

The smallest flat would make a perfect weekend retreat or holiday buy-to-let. I wanted to give it a seaside feel so chose a blue and white scheme throughout, with coastal accessories, which are everywhere at the moment, to add interest and colour.

Open plan living area

dining area

The open plan living area has only the basic furniture to prevent it feeling cramped and cluttered.

Double bedroom

Access to the bedroom is via a small spiral staircase so it was a challenge getting a bed and mattress up there and limited the style of bed that would fit.

Living room

To keep the design fee within budget, I used the same style of furniture in all three properties and used different accessories, artwork and colours to give each flat its own character. This is the second flat, a double bedroom with small terrace.DSC_2279

The bedroom is at the top of the spiral.

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And the light filled space, although small, has handy wide windowsills for storage.

Open plan Living area

The two bedroom flat has a generous living area. Glossy white furniture reflects light and opens up the space.

Close up of living room

double bedroom

All the flats come with white blinds, white walls and spotlights.

single bedroom

The single bedroom has room for a bed and narrow chest of drawers.

If you are a small developer and would llike to know how I can help you market your property for a quick sale, why not ring for a chat on 01323 641531 or email anthea@dressingroomsinteriors.co.uk

Gallery

How to choose artwork to enhance your interior

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This gallery contains 13 photos.

My latest interiors project is the re-design of a living/dining room, and hallway for Jim, who wanted a contemporary, minimalist …

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How to incorporate Arts and Crafts Style into a contemporary home

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My last few clients have asked for traditional designs for their living rooms based on Arts and Crafts Style. I wonder whether the current obsession with mid-century modern furniture and interiors is on the wane and Edwardian/Victorian style might be coming back in vogue. Or more likely it is because they live in Eastbourne and we have lots of grand Edwardian houses here, many of which have retained their original features: stained glass, decorative fireplaces with art nouveau influenced tiles and stripped pine doors and floors.

At first, I was struggling to come up with schemes that presented Arts and Crafts in a contemporary way and was not just a carbon-copy reproduction of the original style.

Stained glass is a feature of these houses, but it can often be difficult to incorporate it into a modern scheme, especially if it is in a living room, and the colours used in the original glass are not so popular now. In detached town houses built close together, where the sides of the house overlooked the neighbours, stained glass was often used in windows to let light in yet maintain privacy. I would let the stained glass dictate the colour scheme if possible, and pick out some of the colours in the curtains and upholstery.

In hallways and stairwells, which often had really elaborate stained glass, make a feature of this and add striped stair runners picking out the colours.

modern bath in front of stained glass window

In this bathroom, old and new have been successfully combined by setting a modern bath, basin and taps with an old pine dresser. Green tiles on the dresser, and the decorative glassware reflects the green in the stained glass. Picture found on Periodliving.co.uk via Pinterest

chesterfield with old school radiators

Add period style with cast iron old school radiators, either polished or painted the same colour as the walls. Picture found on myscandinavianhome.blogspot.com via Pinterest. Beautiful wooden floors are a feature of Edwardian houses so leave them bare and add real wool rugs in simple designs to add warmth and texture.

tiled fireplace edwardian house

In this living room, a contemporary paint treatment , painting the skirtings, walls, fireplace and ceiling the same colour, updates the look whilst still retaining the original features. Old and new integrates seamlessly with the display of modern art (especially the painting casually propped against the wall,) and contemporary red furniture contrasting with the original blue tiled fireplace. Fireplace Picture found on homedit.com via Pinterest

William de Morgan tiles

These William de Morgan tiles are typical of the ornate patterned tiles that were used to decorate fireplace surrounds. You need a simple wall treatment above the mantelpiece to set off the design so use a self-patterned wallpaper or paint in a colour picked out from the tiles. Very intricate Art Nouveau influenced designs were also popular.

Liberty Print textile

Liberty and William Morris fabrics use archive prints but in modern colourways for a fresh,chic look.The Liberty print fabric above, based on the peacock feather motif which was so popular in Arts and Crafts style, is an outline version of an original 1890s print.

Orange Wing chair

Wing chairs, very popular in Edwardian interiors and redolent of Gentlemens clubs, re-upholstered in bright funky colours combine a traditional shape with contemporary styling. Picture found on highestheels.tumblr.com via Pinterest chalk painted Victorian sideboard

Victorian and Edwardian furniture was typically made out of dark wood, which has gone out of favour as it can feel oppressive and heavy. Purists would insist on keeping the wood dark but there’s no reason why you can’t re-paint it to fit in with your colour scheme. Simply sand down, paint with chalk paints, and wax.

 

 

 

Marsala Pantone Colour of the Year 2015- Love it or Hate it?

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Since the 1990s, Pantone’s committee of colour and trend forecasters have met annually to pick a colour that will supposedly influence fashion, beauty and interiors for the year ahead. Last month, Pantone announced that the 2015 Colour of the Year would be “Marsala”, described by them as an “earthy wine-red”. Initially I thought it would be more suited to a beauty rather than an interiors colour- (I can see myself using it as a nail varnish or lipstick, less so on a wall), but I think it does have its place in the home.

Marasala Pantone colour of the year 2015

Marasala Pantone colour of the year 2015. Farrow and balls radicchio is a good match for this shade.

Wedding dress  designed by Zuhair Murad

Wedding dress designed by Zuhair Murad. Marsala and pink embroidered top over a frothy toasted almond coloured skirt-this is a wonderfully romantic combination.

Abstract art found on www.greatbigcanvas.com

Abstract art found on http://www.greatbigcanvas.com

The red-brown tones of Marsala will go well with warm taupes, concrete grey, burnt umber and golds. Use with a liberal dose of white to keep the look fresh and modern.

Living room designed by David Hicks

Living room designed by David Hicks

Combine with grey and taupe for a sophisticated elegant look, livened up with bright pink in the accessories to create interest.

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Terracotta shades are often found in faded old Oriental rugs. “Marsala” tones in the rug here go beautifully with the vibrant turquoise walls and natural wood floors in this boho, Moroccan inspired bedroom.

Exterior of a house in Missouri via flickr

Exterior of a house in Missouri via flickr

I think it looks stunning here, used in small amounts, against a deep indigo blue. I would tend to use Marsala in the accessories: cushions, rugs, artwork, rather than as the main colour in a scheme.

Library designed by Francois-Josef Graf, Von Westenholz and Simon Hurst

Library in a Parisian apartment designed by Francois-Josef Graf,

This sofa is a richer “berry” version rather than the true burgundy colour of Marsala and I prefer it. Red and green is a tried and tested decorating combination, and will always look good together in a traditional setting, especially where the green is a muted, earthy shade, as in the library above.

via styleathome

via styleathome

This is a more purple aubergine/fig shade and paired with fresh mint, white and glossy surfaces, will suit a contemporary scheme.

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However, if you do want to use a dark shade like this on all the walls, make sure you add lots of white to keep it fresh, and accessorise with metallic accents for a sophisticated look.

So what do you think-will you be tempted to use Marsala in your new decorating project?

Stunning Studio Flats!

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I have just been commissioned to come up with a design for a studio flat in Budapest so i’m very excited! Its just a room at the moment but will be converted into a studio which will double as a holiday home for my client and for him to rent out when he’s not using it. It got me thinking about various tricks you can use to make a tiny space liveable in but not feel claustrophobic.

Designed by Madrid in Love

Designed by Madrid in Love

This room is long and narrow, so lends itself well to be partitioned into separate living areas (the photo has been taken from the kitchen, which is fitted along the wall out of shot). Curtains can be drawn to separate the bedroom area. Pale neutrals and restrained patterns will make the space look larger, and perspex furniture will keep it looking light and airy.

Found on Tinyhouseswoon.com

Found on Tinyhouseswoon.com

If you have enough ceiling height, a platform is a great space-saving idea. Here the kitchen and dining area is raised up on the platform, and the bed can be pulled out from below the sofa. Additional storage has been fitted into the steps, which have been designed to open.

Culshaw Bell kitchenette

Culshaw Bell kitchenette

If you have a very small space, the ideal solution is to fit all the kitchen equipment into a cupboard. Culshaw Bell does really stylish, albeit pricey versions: an integrated sink, taps, microwave, fridge, granite worktop, and storage is all hidden behind the doors, and costs about £4,400. They also have a retro-style version. However there are cheaper alternatives available, which you can customize with your own doors.

Culshaw Bell kitchenette

Culshaw Bell kitchenette

Swedish apartment found on Stylish Eve

Swedish apartment found on Stylish Eve

If you are lucky enough to have really tall ceilings, a mezzanine sleeping section is the way to go. It will need to be installed professionally so will be expensive but will definitely add value. You will also be able to build cupboards into the stairs for that all important extra storage.

Design by Gabby Deening and Olivia Gregory. Photos by Paul Raeside

Design by Gabby Deening and Olivia Gregory. Photos by Paul Raeside

Strategically placed mirrors will give the illusion of more space. Here, a full length mirror is placed in a plain frame to make it look as if you are looking through an open doorway.

Designed by Gabby Deeming and Olivia Gregory. Photos by Paul Raeside

Designed by Gabby Deeming and Olivia Gregory. Photos by Paul Raeside

Folding wall table by Ivydesign

Folding wall table by Ivydesign

When choosing furniture for a studio, try to find as many items with multiple uses as possible. This folding table cleverly doubles as artwork. If you are good at DIY, you could attempt a homemade version

Mini bath taken from buzzfeed

Mini bath taken from buzzfeed

Finally, when planning the bathroom, keep it simple and chic and choose the smallest sanitaryware you can get away with. Here the wow factor is provided by the black shower fittings, accessories and feature wall, offset by the plain white tiles on the walls and around bath. One style of tile will achieve the minimalist look, and as the space will be small you can afford to splurge on expensive, luxe products.

If you would like help with designing your holiday home or flat abroad, you can email me on anthea@dressingroomsinteriors.co.uk with details of your project. And as I offer an online service, you don’t need to live in the Eastbourne area, to take advantage of it!

Chic, unique accessories for your home!

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I have been neglecting this blog lately as I’ve been working on a new project, setting up an online interiors shop specialising in accessories: cushions, wallpaper, prints, ceramics, lighting and gifts. Changing your accessories is the easiest and quickest way to add personality to a room, or change the look of a room while still keeping to the original colour scheme and furniture. Your home should be as individual as you are so I have tried to source really eye-catching, different products from small designer-makers and brands, which are not widely available. I also wanted to keep prices affordable without compromising on quality- not an easy task! While sourcing products for clients and visiting London Design shows to keep abreast of new developments in design, I came across many really interesting designers, whose products I decided to showcase. I have tried to appeal to a wide range of tastes, so hopefully most people will find something they like, whether they are into classic style such as these beautiful florals by Occipinti,  bold geometric designs by Nick Terry, or something really eccentric such as Melissa Braconniers Curiosities wallpaper.

Here are some examples of the different products in the shop:

Lisa Bliss signature dachsund cushions would make a great gift for a dog lover. I also stock her bone china dachshund mugs in a wide variety of vivid colours.

Lisa Bliss signature dachsund cushions would make a great gift for a dog lover. I also stock her bone china dachshund mugs in a wide variety of vivid colours.

Staying with the “dog” theme, we stock a range of different dog breed prints by Louise Tate Illustrations. I have only chosen a selection of the most popular breeds to feature in the shop, but if you want a particular breed that you can’t see there, email me as she may have one available. She has done about 25 breeds altogether!

Louise Tate Dog prints have been proving popular

These Louise Tate Dog prints have already been proving popular

I first saw Mineheart at a design show in Clerkenwell last year, and loved their style. Especially the “chandelier within a lightbulb” pendant which has become a really hot product for them, and which is in the store. The two products below I think really sum up their totally original designs that you can’t ignore!

Parrot Print by Mineheart

Framed Canvas Prints by Mineheart. One of a collection of four fabulously quirky portraits of birds and animals playing the roles of 19th century generals!

Mineheart drop lights

Mineheart Statue lamps. Tongue-in-cheek, classical stone busts drop from a braided cable. These would add wow factor to a hallway or dining room and would look equally good in a classic or contemporary setting.

Scandi style is enduringly popular and Hanna Francis make beautifully crafted items, combining traditional materials with contemporary design. I stock her mugs and tableware, which would both make great gifts.

Scandi style Hanna Francis table mats

Hanna Francis table mats-one of four designs

I’d love to hear your views on the products and site, good or bad, so if you could take a bit of time to let me know, I would be very grateful! …… www.antheashomestore.co.uk

Radical Designer Radiators!

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I have been sourcing some radiators for a clients scheme as they want to swap their boring old radiators for some new interesting ones. We all need radiators but we seldom pay much attention to them. However there are so many new, interesting designs around that we no longer have an excuse not to incorporate them into our design schemes. The easiest, cheapest way to disguise boring radiators is to paint them the same colour as the wall. But if you want to make a feature of them here are some ideas to inspire:

Polished Rococo patterned cast-iron radiator with decorative valve will enhance a period room. Photo from Ribble Reclamations

Polished Rococo patterned cast-iron radiator with decorative valves will enhance a period room. Photo from Ribble Reclamations

black and white cube radiator

Sculptural black and white cube radiator adds wow factor to a contemporary room. Image from sbh-products.blogspot.co.uk

Radiator doubles as artwork.  Photo from doublequickheatingltd

A steel panel radiator can be hidden behind stunning artwork. You can choose from a selection of images or personalise with original artwork or a photo of your choice.  
Photo from doublequickheatingltd

 

Ombre and dip-dye patterns are on-trend at the moment so why not paint an old radiator to match the colour scheme? This treatment would suit a kids rooms especially. Photo from landofnod.com

Ombre and dip-dye patterns are on-trend at the moment so why not paint an old radiator to match the colour scheme? This bright treatment would suit a kids rooms especially. Photo from landofnod.com

This is a simple idea in a hallway. A shelf over an old cast-iron radiator

This is a simple idea in a hallway. A shelf over an old cast-iron radiator utilises an otherwise lost space by providing storage.

Radiator concealed neatly behind a cupboard. However, remember when calculating how many watts or BTUs you need to heat your room adequately, that concealing a radiator will lessen the heat it gives out so you need to factor this into your calculation.  Image from lushome.com.

Radiator concealed neatly behind a cupboard. However, remember when calculating how many watts or BTUs you need to heat your room adequately, that concealing a radiator will lessen the heat it gives out so you need to factor this into your calculation. Image from lushome.com.

If you don't want to swap you ugly radiator for a pretty one, why not conceal it behind a grille, or under a window seat. This will also keep kids away from the heat source. image from roomrxblogspot.com

If you don’t want to swap your ugly radiator for a pretty one, why not conceal it behind a radiator grille, or under a window seat. This will also keep kids safely away from the heat source. image from roomrxblogspot.com

And if you would like me to help you choose an interior scheme, with or without radiators, contact anthea@dressingroomsinteriors.co.uk or ring me on 01323 641531 for details of my interior design services!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make an easy “no zip” bolster cushion

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My weekend DIY project was to enter the Hillarys Blinds Country Crafts competition. I decided to make a bolster cushion as cushions are such a cheap, easy way to update a room. Here is how to go about making an easy, “no zip” bolster cushion. You will need

  • 1/2 metre fabric
  • a bolster pad (I used one measuring 41cms long)
  • ribbon for drawstring

Place the bolster pad on the material so that you can align the pattern (especially if the pattern is large and you want it to be placed centrally). Measure around the bolster and add 2 cms for the seam allowance.

Measure round the cushion- this was a loose fit. The final size was 43cms.

Measure round the cushion- this was a loose fit. The final size was 43cms.

Cut a square 43cms long by 43cms wide for the main cushion and 2 rectangles 7cms wide by 43cms long for the covering for both ends. (The diameter of the end circles are 15cms so you need the width to be about 1/2 the diameter.)

Fabric cut for the main part of bolster

Fabric cut for the main part of bolster

With the right sides of the fabric together , stitch the square along one seam to form a tube.

Sewing both sides together to make a tube

Sewing both sides together to make a tube for the main bolster

Take one narrow rectangle and fold each end to make a triangle and cut across the fold, so that the edge which will enclose the ribbon is shorter than the edge which will be attached to the bolster tube. This will ensure that the drawstring cover fits snugly over the end of the bolster without bunching.

Cut off excess material to leave a shorter edge for the ribbon

Cut off excess material to leave a shorter edge for the ribbon

Then make a “pocket” for the ribbon by placing the ribbon on the wrong side of the fabric and folding the fabric over to enclose the ribbon. Tack the fabric taking care not to stitch the ribbon by mistake. Once tacked you can machine the seam carefully and then tie a knot at each end of the ribbon to prevent it sliding out of the “pocket”. Repeat on the other side.

Casing made for the ribbon

Casing made for the ribbon

Tack and then machine the 2 rectangles onto either end of the tube.

Pin the narrow piece of fabric for the end to the main bolster, right sides together

Pin the narrow pieces of fabric to each end of the main bolster, right sides together

Finally machine across the 7cms seam to make the ends form a tube too.

Make a seam to form a tube for the two end pieces

Make a seam to form a tube for the two end pieces

Push the bolster through the tube, draw the ribbon tight at each end and tie in a bow. And thats the cushion finished.

Final cushion in place!

Final cushion in place!

Read more at  http://www.hillarys.co.uk/inspiration/the-hub/2014/country-craft-competition/!