Thursday, 31 May 2012

All wired up

Gosh, it's been a little while since my last blog post last week, it seems like so much has happened since then. Apart from the fact that everyone I meet seems to be smiling thanks to the glorious weather we've been so lucky to have, I too have spent lots of time smiling, mostly thanks to an incredible wedding I went to at the weekend. Many of you will have heard about / seen Tom Pellereau on television during last years The Apprentice and know that he was the successful winner. He is great friends of with my husband and myself and as part of the wedding present we gave to him and his new wife Sarah, I made them an inspirational mood board for their living room. Coincidentally, the colour theme I based the scheme on, was perfectly matched to the beautiful french country chic wedding colour palette they had chosen, so I think I was on the right lines for a look that would suit them. What do you think of it?

Ok, moving on and back to the title of today's post 'All wired up'. Whilst I was researching unique and fabulous coastal inspired products for my latest interiors feature for Devon Life magazine (out July 2012) I came across a range of chairs and stools that I just have to share with you (especially in the colour below - hello sunshine!). Inspired by fishing nets drying out in the sun, Net Chairs look cool, they are comfortable and are suitable for outdoor use as they have an extra corrosion resistant coating. Designed by Sam Johnson, who won Best New Interior Product at 100% Design in 2008 they are available in black, water blue, claret, white and yes you guessed it, my favourite colour yellow! Priced at £360 for the chair they are available from The Garden Store Salcombe.

Wire is a simple, versatile material that is often popular with designers giving them flexibility to create unusual and interesting shapes. Here are some other wirework pieces I've seen and loved recently;

Linea small green candle holder, Heal's £8

Nicoll coffee table, Habitat £250

The great thing about wirework is it looks light and airy, so even large pieces don't appear to take up as much space as they actually do. Wirework can work as well in a utilitarian interior scheme as in a more bohemian space. Functional yet fun, symmetrical but not dull, adding wire to your scheme allows you to experiment with bold colour, without worrying about it taking over the room.

Wire fuit bowl, Block £45

Blue Wire lamp, Cult Furniture £59

Some say wirework is a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Do you have any wirework in your home? 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Psst you heard it here first...

Ok, I confess, I just went for a lovely long walk along the beach. Well it is absolutely gloriously sunshiney today. I also confess that I just had to eat a Twister, my all time favourite ice-lolly but honestly, it was all in the name of 'research'.
You see I have been given a sneak preview of some gorgeous new paint colours, which Earthborn paints have launched and two of the colours are so bright and zingy I had to celebrate them by seeing if I could somehow 'taste' them. Yup you guessed it, the Twister hit the spot!

Introducing Camelia and Puerto Valarta

These two paints are an extension of a brand new colour collection launched for Spring Summer 2012. Earthborn are out to prove a point that sustainability does not have to translate as 'dull' and with a vivid pink and zingy lime they certainly aren't wrong. Available from Eartborn's selected tinting centres or through existing stockists, the paints retail from £33 for 2.5l. Being free of VOCs, oils and acrylics, means all Earthborn Eggshell and Claypaints have no harmful emissions or smells.

Also launched are two more natural, earthy coloured paints:
Birdwatchers Green and Lavendel

For more information about Earthborn paints and where to buy click here

...and whilst I'm on the subject of Twister, I just had to share with my latest purchase.

I blogged about wanting these glass candlesticks holders from Butterfly Home by Matthew Williamson a while ago and then per chance I received an email telling me they were in the sale...well it would rude not to have bought them wouldn't it ;)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Before & after: modern 2 bed apartment

As with many projects, especially those done on a very tight budget and those managed by the client themselves, the time between Home Restyler receiving a brief to completion of the project can be quite long. So it is with much pleasure that I can share with you today some photos of a project I worked on in spring 2011.

I met my client at a local event one evening where I was exhibiting my business. She had recently bought a spacious, high-ceilinged apartment within a pretty area of Torquay and wanted to give it a total overhaul. The apartment was in serious need of make-over but with limited funds, she was unsure how to approach the restyle.

Initially she was concerned that employing the service of an interior stylist would be expensive and that she would be left with a recommended list of things to buy, which would be out of her price bracket. Little did she know that I believe that reliable home styling and interior design advice should be affordable and available to everyone! Once I had explained that my costs really are very reasonable and that I would be able to help her create a stylish new look for her living area without breaking the bank she was very excited and invited me to see the apartment.

Living room before
The project: redecoration & restyle of the open plan living area in a 2 bed apartment

Kitchen area before
The brief: to provide inspirational ideas, advice & a mood board to provide the client with a specific style direction, plus selection of flooring & wallpaper as well as recommendations for transforming the fireplace. The client wanted a modern, monochrome look, which had to be achieved on a very tight budget. 

Fireplace before

Living room after
This project is a fantastic example of how a major restyle can be achieved on a budget. My client took my advice and
  • bought Quickstep laminate flooring
  • hung a modern, bold floral wallpaper from Laura Ashley (bought during the sale)
  • painted three walls in a pale light reflecting grey colour
  • accessorised the room simply with co-ordinating soft furnishings from the likes of Dunelm Mill and The Range
  • purchased black glass furniture in the sale at Next and positioned a patterned rug centrally to the floor under a new coffee table, which breaks up the wide open floor space

Kitchen after
  • moved the hob unit on the central island, back towards to kitchen area, which opened up the living room space
  • painted the kitchen walls white (formerly magnolia) to tie in with the whites used in the living space

Fireplace after
To successfully transform her fireplace I gave my client the advice below and suggested which paint she should use, however she decided to employ the services of a decorating specialist to do this job as it was quite fiddly. The result is brilliant and she is so pleased that she didn't junk the fireplace but repainted it instead. I think it has come up beautifully and makes a great feature within the room.

Fireplace restyle:
  • sand wood thoroughly, vacuum clean all carved areas & wipe clean
  • prime wood 2 or 3 times with a bonding primer
  • apply masking tape to protect surrounding areas
  • use the best brush you can afford, ideally a sash paint brush as these are good for detailed painting, paint the fireplace with an eggshell paint (this has a low sheen, is durable and is easy to wipe clean). Refer to the paint tin instructions to find out how many coats are required.
(These fireplace painting notes were supplied as guidance only)

Space-saving furniture
My client wanted to be able to entertain friends and invite them over to dinner, but without a separate dining room was worried about dining furniture taking up too much of the living room space. So, I suggested that she should buy space saving dining furniture to minimise floor space taken up by a dining table and chairs. but which allows the option to entertain friends without having to eat on the sofa. This set bought from Next  in the sale is ideal, not only is it the perfect style but it is compact enough to fit into the corner of the room and suits the needs of my client perfectly.

Living room after
My client already had a great modular sofa, which we made sure was an integral part of the room restyle. Based on my mood board and recommendations, she acessorised the room simply with co-ordinating soft furnishings from the likes of Dunelm Mill and The Range.  She bought inexpensive decorative items that give a stylish finish to the room, giving it a look of sophistication without breaking the bank. She also replaced the hideous, cheap wall lights with modern, glass and polished chrome fittings, which are a perfect fit for the overall scheme. 

The huge windows have been framed with stunning floor length curtains made by Inspired Curtains using an inexpensive black fabric for the majority of the curtain, elegantly bordered along the top with a more expensive gorgeous silver embossed leaf trail fabric. 

TIP- if you fall in love with a stunning fabric, which is way beyond your budget for curtains, why not just use a small amount of it, incorporating it into the overall design of your window treatment. You could insert panels into the overall length, add a border along the top or bottom or just use it within a tie-back. Mixed in with splashes of the same fabric used cleverly in cushions you can create the look you want without spending a fortune. Hooray!

The feedback my client has had from friends and family has been so positive and she is delighted with the outcome of this project. She said that she would never have thought to pay someone for interiors advice, as she assumed it would be too expensive. However by spending a small amount for my suggestions and advice, she felt a lot more confident making design and purchase choices. I really think she has done a great job at transforming the space without spending much at all.

So what do you think? Do you like what she has done?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

In good architectural company

Yippee, I hadn't realised that the barometer had changed, so my chunky boots and windstopper jacket look was somewhat out of place for this afternoon's brisk creative recharge along the seafront.N'er mind. Dare I ask whether we have now finally reached the start of warmer days?

Upon my return I thought I'd best catch up on the ever growing pile of interiors mags that require my perusal so have just spent a while on the first one, which was Grand Designs 100th issue. Packed full of top 10's, one of which was 10 best architects.

Now, I already know that Stan Bolt has a unique approach, crafting site specific work generally within the South West, so I was delighted to read that they are one of Grand Design's top 10 in the UK.

Last year I was lucky to work with a client who had their house in East Devon designed and crafted by Stan Bolt. Upon completion, I designed the interior of the main bedroom and the two guest bedrooms, which were created to reflect the contemporary design of the property. The next stage of the project, which is to design the main open-plan living space is yet to be started, but once the whole project is complete I look forward to sharing photos of it all with you. In the meantime here are a few stunning examples of some of Stan Bolt's work within our local area.

Battery Hill, Salcombe

Battery Hill, Salcombe

 This is what Grand Designs magazine had to say about Stan Bolt;
"Perhaps the most celebrated name in the South West, Stan Bolt's seaside projects are easy to fall in love with, capturing the very best of the views and location.  There's nothing in the least bit homogenous about its productions; rather, each of the practice's designs is a specific and considered response to the unique demands of its site." GD magazine June 2012.

Kaywana Hall, Kingswear

Manscombe Road, Torquay

 And here's a taster of the kind of  furniture I chose for the bedrooms of the house in East Devon...

Alf Linea wall hung bed
Lago NOW wardrobe

Jesse Plan bedroom furniture

Needless to say, if you are looking to commission an architect in the South West and want something entirely unique and contemporary get in touch with them. Be warned, they are only a team of six and work on about a couple of projects a year so you may have to wait a while, but it'll be worth it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I'm on a mission

yes, a mission, well quite a few missions actually but currently only one work related mission. Would you like to know what that mission is? It's a mission to help people create fabulous homes without spending a fortune.

Affordable stylish homes.

Is that it? Yup it is.

You see, I often meet new people and when I do, the subject of work often comes into conversation. They ask what I do. I answer that I am an interior stylist who works with clients to help them design their home interiors. They they tend to respond by saying "oh, do you have much work at the moment? Interior Design is so expensive." STOP.

This is where the Home Restyler ethos is different to a lot of interior design businesses. I set my business up purely to help people make their homes into homes they feel comfortable in, homes that they have always wanted to create but didn't know how, homes that are stylish / practical / fun / welcoming / you name it, I'll help you achieve it. And I won't charge you a fortune. And I will recommend products that won't cost you a fortune. Simple.

Some of my previous clients have wanted a designer look and specifically briefed me to source designer products only. I saw that as a fantastic challenge and took it upon myself to find them those items at the absolute best prices and also find alternatives that they themselves wouldn't have considered because they weren't 'designer'.

Eames plastic armchair

Other clients really didn't have much money available to spend but were desperate to create a new look in their homes. Again, I saw this as an incredible opportunity to help them and got such a buzz sourcing items and creating styles that they could reasonably achieve and with a limited budget.

Bet you wouldn't guess this is Dunelm Mill!

You see, I love everything that is to do with creating a home. I am an absolute money worrier. I am a perfectionist and always trying to do a bit better. I am always on the lookout for the fab things / creative ideas / funky wallpaper / bright paint colours... I delight in what I do and I'm not out to make a quick buck.

For me, being 'Home Restyler' is about sharing the way I think about interiors with my clients and making them see that changing the look of your home doesn't have to be about being 'on trend', filling your home with only the best and most expensive. It's about thinking laterally, being creative, using what you already have and turning something crap into something amazing. Be passionate. Be inspired. Be happy.