5 Interior Design Trends for 2017

Hi, so it is that time of year when we start thinking of spring and feel like a freshen up at home. With that in mind I would like to share some inspiration and a few interior design trend predictions I have seen for 2017…..

 1. Pantone Colour of the year – Greenery

GREENERY  Pantone colour of the year 2017
Image: elledecor

Not surprising since this green represents refreshment and revitalisation – a nod to recent world political and social events? This also represents nature and the growing feeling that we live in a finite world and need to step up and protect the environment. 

Green has a calming effect and can create a relaxing and positive feeling.

Introducing this colour into your home is very easy you could start just by adding plants….

image: pinterest

Plants can also be a health benefit see my blog House Plants to improve your health

add a few cushions or throws…

Image: pinterest

invest slightly more and reupholster some vintage chairs for a modern country look …..

image: pinterest

repaint a door ……

image: pinterest

or a vintage chic floor….

Image: lascositasdebeacheau.blogspot.com

Which ever way you do it,  adding this fresh colour will lift your spirits and bring spring into your home.

2. Butterflies

These represent optimism and are a happy motif – think social butterfly, no longer designated to children`s bedrooms.

Adding a fun wallpaper……..

Image: Christian Lacroix

or some accessories….

Butterfly container by polspotten.nl
Butterfly Blur Cushion
Image: timerousbeasties.com

Fabric for furniture and blinds, also available as a wallpaper….

Chair covered in Butterfly Fabric from timerousbeasties.com

3. Grey Floors

This trend has been around for a little while it has unexpectedly exploded on pinterest who report pins are recently up by 20%. Grey is the new neutral.

Image: elledecor

Scandinavian inspired interiors are calm and easy to live with ………

Image: firedearth.com

Most wood companies offer an array of greys……

Woods are treated and washed to achieve the tone required Image: pinterest

Or you can easily paint existing floorboards….

Paint original pine boards with a chalk based emulsion and finish with a white hard wax. Image: Design Sponge

there are some very convincing alternatives to wood….. I think marazzi do it very well.

Grey wood look porcelain tiles Image: marazzi.com
Grey tumbled limestone tiles available soon from Jacober Interiors

4.  Textures

There is a large macrotrend towards comfort, we are looking for a place to rest from the chaos and 2-dimensional information constantly coming towards us.  Layering creates a feeling of softness and keeps the room interesting, and large surfaces can be softened and given depth using textural elements or images.

Velvet, cottons and wools

Image: anthropologie.com

pom poms….

Image: nordichouse.co.uk

Faux fur….. cushions, throws or a bean bag? We have one of these at home and our cat Amber loves it too.

Image: cox&cox

To create interesting, textured wall treatments you can use…

hand made tiles…..

Selene from Johnsons Tiles

Faux marble wall paper….

Marble look wall mural from muralswallpaper.com

or a textured woven wallpaper ….

Image: wallpaper-uk.com

The key with textured walls is not to overdo it, and add lighting to show the definition.

5. Artisan

The movement away from a mass produced look.  Where we start to be aware of protecting age old practices and appreciate the work and back story behind each piece.

The London Artisan and The Bristol Artisan showcase local talented makers and designers, hold talks and champion the cause.

The Whale Trinket Bowl by Rose Nisbet from The London Artisan
Airmail Swallows lampshade by Mountain & Molehill from The Bristol Artisan
Lyngard.com

I recently wrote about Lyngard,  a wonderful company in England who are keeping age-old pottery techniques alive and producing some amazing lighting. Click here to read

I hope you have been inspired and found a few new ideas to try.

Thanks for reading, Amanda x

 

Designing your Home Office

Many of us now work from home, myself included, and getting the right workspace is key to being focused and productive. Here are a few tips on how to approach the design of your space.

Whether your home office is a corner of your kitchen or dining room,

Image: tinek.com
Image: tinek.com

You can find bureaux like below … auction houses and second hand sale rooms are full of wonderful pieces ready to paint to match your scheme….

Source: maisondecor8.blogspot.com

A practical converted walk in cupboard,

Image: Popp Littrell Architecture + Interiors

Or below, concealed behind luxurious bespoke cabinets – a bar too!!

Image: Sutro Architects

Setting aside space to work and keep things in order is easy to do with some planning. If you are using a section of a room at home, it is important to be able to shut it away when you are not working and large cupboards are a good way to do this.

Whatever you are planning, collect a few inspirational images from Pinterest, Houzz.com or magazines if you find something interesting.  List what you need from the space and look for inspirational images and get ideas from Pinterest or blogs.

I analysed how I will use the space:  as a working interior designer I will need areas to:

  • research ideas – computer/reference library
  • store/display samples
  • work on technical drawings
  • make up sample/mood boards
  • welcome clients to present plans/sample boards and offer a refreshments
  • admin area for back office work
Image: simshilditch.com

Above,  kitchen furniture is used as storage islands, I like the way the thin profile ledges in wood are used to display sample boards to show the designer’s work.

Image via: vinteriorsblogspot.com.au

Above, cork boards are more of a work in progress way to develop a sample board and having the plans in view. Wire baskets under the counters are used for samples.

Image via: trendenser.se

I think these drawers above are from IKEA and great for storing A3 plans and boards. They have had wheels to so can be wheeled to where you are working and tucked away when not in use.

Below, very successful designers need a lot of space, for many staff to work side by side on many projects. This studio uses trays to organise samples.

Kelly Wearstler Design Studio LA

Below I have spotted those IKEA drawers again! Also a similar thin profile ledge to store/display stone samples.

Image: Laura Hamnett Interiors London
Isabel Lopez-Quesada Studio Madrid
Isabel Lopez-Quesada Studio Madrid

The above spaces are too cluttered for me so I need to make sure I have plenty of storage! They are however looking like a wonderful treasure trove!

Image: Laura Hamnett Interiors
Image: Laura Hamnett Interiors

My first priority in design is always light.  A working space for design or anything else, needs good natural light to see the samples in daylight as well as electric. I have a SE facing space which is semi basement opening onto a garden. It will be bright in the morning and afternoon in winter and in the mornings in the summer.  As my space is irregularly shaped I want to blank out the walls as much as possible so going for light walls will blur the edges. (very dark also does this job but I need to see!) The palette will have warm elements to balance the cool winter light and have a cool tone to calm down the summer sun.  I need a calm space to be the backdrop for all the colour, pattern and texture I will be working with.

When designing your project, think of the adjectives you want your space to reflect.  I want my studio to be: Creative, Modern, Natural, and Light

So now to find images that match those feelings….

Creative: This is a place where inspiration has to flow, having unique ideas and solving problems is the key to good interior design.  A unique space will inspire you to be creative. Can be creative layout, materials or a feeling that good work is taking place.

theinteriorista.com

Modern: I want the backbone of the studio to be modern and efficient, there will be samples and paperwork around and organisation is key to being efficient. Good storage and flow is essential.

theinteriorista.com

Natural: This is so I will feel relaxed, so using natural materials will give a feeling of wellbeing a good balance for the many samples and paperwork on the go.

theinteriorista.com

Light: The basis of all we see, essential for working and feeling good. Can also be a feeling of lightness, nothing heavy.

theinteriorista.com

Then choose between at your collected images, not repeating a theme, edit  3-5 images which blend together to cover all your adjectives.  You now have a concept board to guide you through the selection process for colour, materials, and furniture.

Concept Studio – Jacober Interiors

So this is design stage one – I have a board I can use when I come to choose colours and materials.  This is my visual guide to design the space, it is the “feeling” of what I am putting together. There is so much choice out there and my little concept board together with some ideas I have found in the images posted will help me to make the decisions easily.

I am looking forward to showing you in future posts, the next stages, i.e. sample board showing the materials and some furniture I will use, I will show you how I will plan the space to give me areas to do everything on my list above.

I hope this has inspired you to start designing you own home office space.

Thanks for reading!

Amanda x

 

Artisan of the Month – Lyngard

I met the most lovely couple, Carmen and Iain, last year in Paris at the Maison et Object trade show for interior designers. Together they own and run Lyngard, a small artisan company making the most fabulous lights!

Just for the record I never accept sponsorship for posts, I only write about things I want to, that are authentic and have soul!  With this spirit I am very happy to be able to introduce you to Lyngard!

Image: Lyngard.com

Lyngard is a small lighting company set up by Carmen Lyngard and Iain Pattison in 2014. Carmen’s family have been making pottery since 1829.

Carmen’s Great Grandfather was awarded an MBE from King George VI for his services to the pottery industry. He was responsible for making our ceramic table wares safe today, by reducing the amount of lead in the glaze – so it didn’t poison us! He also helped to improve the working conditions and salaries for the workers in the pottery industry.

Image: the potteries.org

Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England has been the backdrop for pottery producers since the 17th Century (Carmen’s family included) and is synonymous with Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper being just a few of the more famous producers from this town.

Lyngard.com

Lyngard uses Fine Bone China to give luminosity and extra strength and Carmen applies a unique decorative technique called ‘true fired lustres’ passed down by her family and known to only a handful of producers worldwide.  Every piece of Lyngard is hand sculpted and made from start to finish in Stoke-on-Trent.

Image: the Conran Shop

I loved the product because you can really see and feel that this is a special artisanal piece, it is hanging art in your room! The lustre finish gives a unique iridescent glaze, the colour or which changes depending on the light in the room.  Metallic elements are added in the firing process which means that no two pieces are the same.

The Emery Pendant from Lyngard showing some of the finishes available….

Other timeless finishes are the handprinted marble effects, and coloured bodies with 24 carat gold, platinum or copper interiors.

The Pinnox Pendant W42cm H27cm
Image: Lyngard.com

I really appreciate the diversity of Lyngard’s production for such a small family business, it is quite extraordinary that they can do this and shows the hard work and commitment they pour into their business. This small company produces to a high standard a wide enough range to fit modern and traditional interiors. All by hand and all in Stoke-on-Trent.

Some of the designs available at Heal’s in London

Depending of the design, Lyngard offers black, white and grey china which can be matt or gloss.

Tall Rushton H37cm D17cm
Shown in Black Matt or Grey Matt
Bone China Rushton’s being made in factory Image: Lyngard.com

I particularly love that with Fine Bone China when lit emits a wonderful organic light.

The Marney Bone China Pendant showing luminosity when lit
Adelaide Pendant Image: Lyngard.com

I will be using some of Lyngards lovely pieces in my forthcoming project and I hope to be able to supply them to my clients too – watch this space!

Lyngard also use their fantastic techniques to make vases!

Image: Lyngard.com

Visit Lyngard’s website here 

Thanks for reading!

Amanda x

Designer Crush – Kit Kemp

Happy New Year!

I want to kick off the year highlighting a wonderful British Interior Designer called Kit Kemp. In this blog post I wanted to dissect her design skills and show you how she looks at a project and goes about implementing the design all described by herself in her recent book.

She and her husband own a string of hotels one of which is featured here called The Ham Yard Hotel, tucked away behind Picadilly Circus in London

Kit Kemp

On a recent visit to London I went there with some wonderful friends to have afternoon tea – I suggested Ham Yard for our Tea as I also had a hidden agenda!  I wanted to see first hand the interior design by Kit Kemp.  I was not disappointed and can’t wait to go back to stay there with my family during the spring break!

Afternoon Tea at the Ham Yard Hotel

Afternoon tea was served on the tableware which sprang from an original design by Kit Kemp for a fabric and adds to the uniqueness of the place. I would love a set of this myself!

Mythical Creatures Tableware designed by Kit Kemp

In her recent book she says that storytelling is at the heart of whatever she designs. She quotes that it is how she dresses, and thinks when she is working with craftsmen or configuring new spaces.

Cover of “Every room tells a story” by Kit Kemp
Kit Kemp
Kit Kemp

As an interior designer one never stops researching, learning, and observing and I bought this book recently as I love to find out how other designers see the world, and what they find.  I appreciate the philosophy of finding the stories behind the fabrics, craftsmen/women and artists that produce the works we live around. Interior design is, lets face it, not rocket science. It does, however, shape our psyche and being happy and content influences how we feel about ourselves and those around us.

The Ham yard Hotel London

KK describes the main challenge of building such a new hotel in the heart of London was how to link very large areas together over half an acre/ 2000m2 of space. KK used her wonderful array of fabrics, wallpapers and sourced unexpected accessories on this project.

Externally an elegant courtyard with a mature oak tree to give instant gravitas and shade in the summer.  Small shops fringe the courtyard to give a village feel. The facade is of Portland Stone (I think) with large Crittal metal windows to give as much light to the rooms as possible. The Courtyard is linked by a pavement lit at night to Denman Street.

Inside the hotel KK linked the spaces using materials of stone, wood, alabaster and organic pieces. She repeated this concept throughout each area in different ways but with a common thread of eccentricity and boldness.

Ham Yard Reception Desk

The woven loom effect sculpture above the desk is there because ultimately the loom is a starting point for much of KK’s work. This art installation was done by Hermione Skye O’Hea a Chelsea College of Art graduate. The idea was to contrast such artisan work with the modern white walls and create a visually simulating and unexpected element. Where colour and thread was at the heart of the building.

Through from the Reception the Library has alabaster chandeliers and light sepia coloured wood planks link the library, reception, restaurant and bar.

Library at Ham Yard

 

 

The pavement lights lead the way through to the Ham Yard Village
The pavement lights lead the way through to the Ham Yard Village from Denman Street photo by me
  • Design from all periods was incorporated and the common theme seems to be an element of quirkiness, colour or pattern combination that links the pieces. This has a juxtaposition effect of enlivening the senses.
Restaurant at the Ham Yard Hotel

To prevent the restaurant from being too deep and dark the further you get away from natural light – a wall of Martha Freud’s glowing ceramic pots inserted into niches creates light and calm at the end of a busy space. Contrasting light and dark floorboards sectioned up the spaces. The Willow fabric used on the walls and pillars acts as an acoustic damper and even though it is intricately patterned it forms the perfect backdrop for by Scottish Artist Bruce McLean.

Ham Yard Hotel

Large bespoke crystal and metal light fixtures made by artisans in Firozabad, India,  fill the huge ceiling voids to create warmth and intimacy. Above on the left in large perspex boxes hand embroidered fabrics are draped over poles to provide dividing walls to divide the space and create smaller areas within. Just seen top right a large carved wooden screen divides the area there.

Around the corner the bar area was inspired by work by Ras Ishi a wall of tiny paintings within larger frames was balanced by wooden crates wall mounted and painted with African tribal patterns. These serve to hold bottles and create an eye-catching wall.

The Bar at the Ham Yard Hotel

This area of the bar nicknamed the Shade Bar after its array of lamps make from old plastic bottles and woven rafia.

The Shade Bar

The crittal windows to the right house a conservatory with glass ceiling much more neutral in tone with an outdoor feeling stone and pebble floor and wood tables and sculptures. A further element of clever marketing is that only hotel residents can use it….

The Orangery at The Ham Yard Hotel London
The Orangery at The Ham Yard Hotel London
The Orangery at The Ham Yard Hotel

Kit Kemp places a large emphasis on colour and texture and manages to blend many fabrics, wallpapers and decorative items together that just should not work but that do work brilliantly.

As it that was not enough, there is a bowling alley called The Croc after the name the ball makes when it hits a pin.

Bowling Alley at The Ham Yard Hotel
Bowling Alley at the Ham Yard Hotel
Disco area at The Croc

Life-size wooden crocodiles hang by the disco area, lamp bases are made from old pins, shoes were bought on eBay and form an artwork inside perspex cases.  The actual bowling apparatus is 1950’s from Texas and refurbished.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about this wonderful interior designer and understanding some of why her designs work so well.  I will make another post in Spring let you see some of the rooms and suites;-)

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

Footnote: I have not been paid or sponsored in any way for writing this blog, all photography is from Kit Kemp “Every Room Tells A Story” except the one I took and all opinions are my own. 

 

 

Designing for Pets at Home

To live in harmony with our cats and dogs we need to make sure that they can be integrated into our homes and lives without causing chaos.  If you are design conscious you will want your interior to remain super chic!

I have to say at this point I am not fussed to keep my pets off the furniture – but it does help if they match!! I draw the line at kitchen worktops or dining tables and a water spray is the way to go they soon learn what is ok and what is not.

Meet our crew:

Amber (6 years) is a British Blue from Zurich

Amber who despite having a huge cat tree loves the sofa!

Silvie, her sister.

Silvie have is snooze on the armchair

Dexter (aprox 3 years) found by friends of friends on an Athens motorway

Dexter waiting for Silvie to have a sniff at his dinner – she makes him wait!

Just before I start on the home, when you are out and about it is good to know that there are some lovely products to keep your pet pooch safe whilst in the car. So important is safety for the dog and the passengers in the car that here in Switzerland it is a Sfr.600 about £500 fine if your dog is not wearing a harness seatbelt – or locked in the doggy prison in the boot.

meet the adorable Edward modelling the safety harness available from his master’s online store www.bleakhouse.london

Ok now for the house!

First challenge in keeping your house clean is keeping the outdoors … well outdoors!

A dog cleaning station at the side of the house or in a utility room if you have space is a very useful idea. This is also great for muddy wellies or muddy children!

source: woohome.com
source: woohome.com

A large sink for smaller dogs or if you have large dogs a shower in your mud room or utility room is brilliant!

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

Keep a pile of towels by every entrance door (I have a stash of taupe/beige from Ikea that look fine with the decor too).  In my upcoming renovation I will have a dog shower by our kitchen door for Dexter who is large and can get very muddy! Also for our muddy wellies and muddy children too!

Don’t feel guilty to section of parts of the house you want to be dog-free…

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

Find a way to integrate your dog’s bed into the design of the room

source: instagram
source: instagram
source: thesawguy.com
source: thesawguy.com
source: restoration hardware.com
source: restorationhardware.com

Or if you want something portable with a portable dog…

source: mobly.com
source: mobly.com

The same for our feline friends…

source: rivieramaison.com
source: rivieramaison.com

A bit of upcycling….

source: easy.com
source: etsy.com
source: etsy.com
source: etsy.com

Cat’s need something to scratch, and if you don’t want it to be your furniture then get them their own cat tree…  A quick scoosh (is that a Scottish word only?) of the water spray and in a few scooshes they have learned what not to scratch it is an amazing invention! My cats also get a treat and lots of praise if I see them scratching their post.

Wrap rope around a stool ….

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

Or some traffic/sports hall cones….

source: sofancyblog.com
source: sofancyblog.com

Or make a natural sculpture for the corner of your room….

source: thetiger-club.com
source: thetiger-club.com

Keeping things hygienic is important for our health especially if you have cats who use a litter tray … (too much information!)  Your local pet store has many covered litter trays some with build in carbon air filters… however, in my renovation I will run a tunnel through the wall from the kitchen to an outdoor litter area which will be open to the garden during the day and locked at night… I keep my cats in only at night – call me overprotective but we live next to a forest and have huge foxes!

It will probably look something like this..  Will share that post as it happens….

source: google.com
source: google.com
source: lumberjocks.com
source: lumberjocks.com

244984-438x

For those who cannot let their cats out, e.g. if they live next to a busy road, then there is always the CATIO…

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

You could also make a cat flap from your hallway to your garage…

source: indulgy.com
source: indulgy.com

Or find a way to integrate it into an apartment without outside space….  From this basic Ikea hack

source: ikeahackers.com
source: ikeahackers.com

Or upcycling an old chest…..

source: youtu.be
source: youtu.be

An eco way to remove cat or dog odours is using plain white table vinegar.  Keep an open glass jar of it next to the litter box and all odour will be gone.  Cleaning out the litter daily and sprinkling some cedar wood chips is also an eco way to keep things fresh….

I hope you might have found a few inspirations for your pets at home.

BTW today 29th December is….

 

 

Vintage Style Christmas

Christmas is coming and I wanted to share with you some lovely, vintage ideas for putting together an authentic and beautiful decor which is also eco!  When I say eco I mean using natural plant/wood materials that can be found in the forest or inexpensively at your local garden centre.  Avoid buying plastic or one hit wonders that you will use only once then consign to landfill.Vintage Style Christmas at theinteriorista.com

Here I think less is more, simple decor with fresh rustic and warm decorations are so much more satisfying!

A hot glue gun is the most un-eco item I would recommend the rest can be things you find around the house, in the garden or in the shed….

The Front Door

How to greet your friends and family when they visit over the festivities?

Simplicity at it’s best!

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

Beautiful Mophead Hydrangea

source: etsy
source: etsy

Eucalyptus twigs on a simple metal frame

source: decoholic
source: decoholic

A little window pane fashioned from twigs and berries, love the little robin!

source: the linnets wing
source: the linnets wing

Having a basket or bucket filled with logs, pine cones and Christmas tree fir with added battery operated lights can give a simple warm welcome.

source: onekindesign.com
source: onekindesign.com

Lanterns – love them! Not only for Christmas!

source: pinterest
source: pinterest
source: pinterest
source: pinterest

A playful little message….

source: selinalake.blogspot.be
source: selinalake.blogspot.be
source: pinterest
source: pinterest

The Mantlepiece

For those lucky to have, it is a fabulous focal point and comes into its own at Christmas.  For anyone who read blog I wrote about the Principles of Design  using some basic tips you can create a wonderful arrangement.

source: hello lovely photography
source: hello lovely photography

Taking 3 or 5 foliage types and 3 or 5 candles you can arrange asymmetrically with perfect balance.  Note the candles are on the left and balanced by the taller twigs on the right.  An informal arrangement like this is easy to achieve and won’t break the bank either. If you live near a forest or garden centre you can’t really go wrong!

source: hello lovely photography
source: hello lovely photography

For those who don’t have a mantle piece, any window sill will also do the trick! christmas-new-years-eve-window-decorations-10

 

The Advent Arrangement 

Traditionally as a wreath but you can switch things up for a bit of interest instead of the same thing every year!

An Advent Log

Taking a log and carving four holes for the candles… a glue gun is very useful for attaching pine cones and other items of greener.

source: brattebakka.blogspot.no
source: brattebakka.blogspot.no
source: kristinvald.blogspot.com
source: kristinvald.blogspot.com
source: kristinvald.blogspot.com
source: kristinvald.blogspot.com

An Advent Tray, Bowl or Planter ……

You can use many things to place your candles and greenery in…

source: myscandinavianhome.com
source: myscandinavianhome.com

…..a simple bowl with arranged succulents/pine cones/pine fronds and a little brown ribbon around the base of each candle with the numbers 1-4.

707176a9ea699fc8d846b89531ac4ee3

source: lushome
source: lushome

The Christmas Tree…

How to be eco….

The artificial tree can very economic and a decent alternative when you think of how many years you will be using it.  I hope someone soon can make a realistic looking tree out of PET bottles!! This would take away the negative side of artificial trees which is that they cannot be fully recycled.

source: thewhitecompany.com
source: thewhitecompany.com

You can have some fun with fake as well….

source:lepetitparistravelplannning.blog.com
source:lepetitparistravelplannning.blog.com
source: rachelashwell.com
source: rachelashwell.com

Or the real thing…. which although is not so eco in that you have you use a new one every year.. it can be recycled for mulch.

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

A potted Christmas tree is the best option if you want to be eco.  You can plant it outside when Christmas is over and it can be used year after year provided you find a good spot for it and keep it regularly watered throughout the year!  Here a galvanised bucket can look rustic and refined!

source: us weekly
source: us weekly

Hope this might have given you a little inspiration to prepare some easy and unusual little touches….

Thanks for reading.

Amanda X

P.S We have two cats who are not interested in our tree….. however it would appear that not all cats are so well behaved!

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

 

10 Tips to Light your Home and Garden

Hello everyone, can you believe it is Autumn and as the clocks ‘fall’ back this week I thought you might like some insider knowledge on how designers tackle lighting, and in particular my speciality to try and do it as eco-friendly as possible! There is so much on the market now, so you just need to ensure your Designer/Electrician knows that is what you want. Any minimal extra cost for low energy bulbs and fixtures is repaid numerous times over by savings on your bill plus you get to make a small step to help the planet at the same time – winner! Investing in quality fixtures is also more eco, as it keeps hand made techniques alive, will last longer lasting due to better quality materials and look wonderful for years to come. Safety is also a factor to consider.

If you are building new or making a renovation consider your lighting at the beginning of the project as it makes a tremendous impact on the success of a design and can save you time and money later.  Having finished your decoration and you decide you would have loved some wall-lights or an extra spot or socket here or there is not ideal. If you are in a rental or don’t want to gouge out the walls adding surface mounted is the way to go.

source: vintageindustrialstyle.com
source: vintageindustrialstyle.com

Here are 10 tips I would like to pass on! At the end I have shown you some examples of the lights I mention.

  • Layer the light in your room.  2/3 circuits, with dimmer controls to create different moods at different times of the day for different activities.  Consider what daylight you have first, the way your room is orientated towards the sun. North facing rooms (or the basement in the below image) sometimes need light during the day to prevent it from feeling dreary. Most rooms have more than one activity and need light to adjust when required. Can I just state here,  for the record, dimmer switches are probably the most important accessory you can have in a home!

    This deep basement with only a small window at one end feels light because of the colour scheme and because the ceiling has been up lit, had a false skylight feature with LED lighting and has zoned areas. source: houzz.co.uk
    This deep basement with only a small window at one end feels light because of the colour scheme and because the ceiling has been up lit, had a false skylight feature with LED lighting and has zoned areas.
    source: houzz.co.uk
  • General lighting – allows movement around the space so you are not bumping into things or tripping down a step.  Take full advantage of your available daylight for this during the day and supplement at night to compensate. Overhead pendant lights, wall lights that wash the floor or ceiling in light to reflect downwards. Up lighters can be wall mounted or on the floor. Don’t be afraid to combine styles traditional chandeliers can coexist with halogen spots. The idea is pools of light from halogen spots to allow easy and safe movement. Remember your eye is drawn to the brightest point so make sure ceiling spots are recessed and you see what they light rather the light itself. Not all spotlights are created equal…..
    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be
    source: trina.be
    source: trina.be
    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

    Candle light (or the artificial alternative) is very flattering…

    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be
  • Task Lighting – list the activities in the room. Eg, bedroom might be reading in bed, seeing into the wardrobe to get dressed, sitting at a dressing table or studying at a desk in the corner.  Make sure your own shadow does not cast a shadow over your work area. By having the correct light when you need it and dimmer switches your bedroom can go from a functional space to one of relaxation where you end the day with a small directional reading light by the bed before sleep. The candle fixture below has some spotlight concealed below to shine task light onto the table.
    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be
    An alternative to ceiling spots for a more traditional feel wall hung spots adjustable, source: lumart.fr
    An alternative to ceiling spots for a more traditional feel wall hung spots adjustable, for above a library bookcase, kitchen worktop  or bedside.
    source: lumart.fr

    Task lighting can be seen here two white angles spotlights come out of headboard for reading in bed. The pendant lights with side of the bed on dimmers will create an accent light in the evening whilst overhead spotlights light the pathway for general light source: pietboon.com
    Task lighting can be seen here as two white angled spotlights attached to headboard for reading in bed. The low hung pendant lights either side of the bed on dimmers will create an accent light in the evening to create a cocoon effect against the bespoke headboard, whilst overhead spotlights light the pathway for general light
    source: pietboon.com
  • Accent Lighting – here one can create some drama, it is where the fixture is not usually seen but can create effects to highlight architectural features (e.g. on a beam to make it stand out or light angled at a stone wall to accentuate the rough texture) or you may want to highlight a wonderful piece of art. Specialist lights are required for expensive artwork to prevent damage. In a very minimalist bedroom you may place lighting behind a headboard to gently wash the walls and make the bed look like it is floating off the wall. In a bathroom you might under light a vanity which makes it float off the floor and give you enough subtle warm light at night without using the main lights – also saving every.
    Accent lighting for a kitchen in the evening the natural wood and stone surfaces and art, up/down lighters on the far wall lengthen and heighten the room. source: johncullenlighting.com
    Accent lighting for a kitchen in the evening the natural wood and stone surfaces and art, up/down lighters on the far wall lengthen and heighten the room.
    source: johncullenlighting.com
    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be
    Architectural features like this stone archway benefit from floor up lighters. source: johncullenlighting.com
    Architectural features like this stone archway benefit from floor up lighters.
    source: johncullenlighting.com
    The light can also have a statement of its own!
    The light can also have a statement of its own! source: abigailahern.com

     

  • Balance – try to think of balancing the light as you would furniture in a room.  You need a contrast between light and dark to make things interesting.  The human brain likes well lit vertical surfaces, when these are counteracted with light accent features and darker areas it makes the room much more special to be in.  In technical terms interior designers measure the output of light (lumens) from the fixtures proposed and give you a ration of about 3:1 between the brightest and the lowest light source. 5:1 is the limit otherwise your eyes would tire with all the refocusing and you would feel uncomfortable after a short time.

    LED strips can be inserted into bookcases to create and accent and the fireplace has up lighters to highlight. The eye is drawn around the space looking a the various 'pools' of light. source: mostbeautifulthings.net
    LED strips can be inserted into bookcases to create and accent and the fireplace has up lighters to highlight. The eye is drawn around the space looking a the various ‘pools’ of light.
    source: mostbeautifulthings.net
  • Security – a sign of the times.  We have to ensure that we feel secure in our homes and having a well lit front doorway, pathway, side access and back garden will prevent burglary. To conserve energy and not have them burning all night they can be on passive infra red and are switched on by movement.  You can also get them with pet sensors so the neighbours cat or a hungry fox do not set them off at all times of the night.  Ensure that these security lights are placed highly enough that would be burglars cannot disable. You can supplement these high energy security lights that switch on with movement with low energy decorative lights that can remain on during the hours of darkness for a feeling of security. Inside your home put some lights on a timer to come on early evening in the winter months even when you are not on holiday its an easy and inexpensive deterrent. There are systems (if you feel particularly vulnerable) where your lights will follow a pattern of recent history, include the opening and closing of curtains but that is a whole new blog!
    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be

    source: elanorhome.com
    source: elanorhome.com
  •  Safetly – this sounds ridiculously simple, but surprising how many people don’t think about, stairways and changes of level within one room can be dangerous.  Well and evenly lit stairs are a must.  It is also very important to indicate by light a change in level within a room, even just one step. If you have a similar flooring throughout a space it can be difficult for the eye to detect a change in level, also in the evening, for family members who know the space, a well placed stair light can save a nasty fall.
    wall integrated stair lights and below stair led strips source: pretasol.com
    wall integrated stair lights and below stair led strips
    source: pretasol.com
      Fitting an LED strip under the handrail is an easy and inexpensive option. source: PinterestFitting an LED strip under the handrail is an easy and inexpensive option.
      source: Pinterest
  • Light to visually change the shape of your room 

Large room, e.g. an open plan living/dining/kitchen space, creating soft pools of light on certain objects/areas will make it feel more cosy. Don’t over do it.

Small room can be made to feel larger when walls are washed with even layer of light, e.g. wall washer lights (see below) this ‘pushes’ the walls out.

Narrow room by lighting along the shorter walls this draws your eye from the long ones and balances the space.

Ceilings too low wash light up with up lighters. Ceilings too high keep light off the ceiling, use surface mounted downlighter or pendants hung at a lower hight without light upflow to ceiling all directed down or side. Uneven ceiling or unsightly beams highlight the positive with light and ignore the negative your brain will follow suit.

Ceiling spots wash the walls to highlight the plaster work. Contemporary pendant lights bring down the ceiling height to better proportion the high narrow lobby. source: pietboon.com
Ceiling spots wash the walls to highlight the plaster work. Contemporary pendant lights bring down the ceiling height to better proportion the high narrow lobby of Huys Apartments in New York
source: pietboon.com
  • Mirrors– when hanging mirrors in a bathroom or at a dressing table always have soft non diffused lights at head height either side of the mirror to create even flattering light on the face. For full length mirrors direct the light at an object in front of the mirror e.g. space for a vase of flowers or at the space where the person will stand. Never direct light onto mirrors as the glare will be very annoying.
    Lights at face height are diffused with frosted glass and other spots highlight the marble and stone to reflect a soft light. source:sallystory.com
    Lights at face height are diffused with frosted glass and other spots highlight the marble and stone to reflect a soft light.
    source:sallystory.com

    Light integrated into large mirror which also lights floor. source: houzz.co.uk
    Light integrated into large mirror which also lights floor.
    source: houzz.co.uk
  • Windows at night when there are no curtains (a common thing here in Switzerland in modern homes with huge windows) turn into black mirrors that suck the light out.  This is counteracted by lighting the space outside the window, balcony or garden to compliment the inside.  This also extends the room.  When that is not possible use recessed ceiling downlighter to wash the area directly in front of the dark windows.
    light your trees and garden wall at night to extend your room source: pinterest
    light your trees and garden wall at night to extend your room
    source: pinterest
    Outside terrace/garden light from Authentage.be
    Outside terrace/garden light from Authentage.be

    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

There are so many more lights I could show you but I think might be enough for now! Most of the sources above are lighting companies I will be working with on Project Weinberg and subsequently for clients through my studio in due course….

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

 

 

10 of the best Laundry Rooms

Here in Switzerland the Laundry Room is very common.  All apartment blocks have them in the basement as either communal (with a very organised timetable of who uses it and exactly when) or individual ones for each apartment the higher you go up the property ladder.  All houses have one in the basement, normally located next to the nuclear shelter – btw that is not a joke!

I dread to think how many hours a week I spend in there!  With that in mind I thought I would make it one of the nicest rooms in the house in our upcoming renovation, where I would not feel (as I currently do) like I was in the depths of despair! Get a cleaning lady I hear some of you shout? Well if it was that easy I would – with the cost of legally taxed etc daily help here around the same as employing a doctor in the UK I tend to do the laundry myself! You can take the girl out of Scotland, but not… you see where I am going with this.

Having invested in two washing machines, two tumble dryers and an ironing board that practically makes you a martini as you iron (all Miele), all I need now is the room to match… not a cocktail bar (although that would be much more interesting but I fear might mean I get nothing done at all and therefore defeating the purpose) but a lovely space where I could spend some quality time with a bit of oomph.

Seems I am not alone here, the world is full of wonderful laundry rooms my top 10 in no particular order are:

source: Brooke Gianetti
source: Brooke Gianetti

By making the room blend into the rest of the home, using the same flooring, lighting and colour palette gives an instant upgrade.  Vintage touches like the ceramic sink and brass taps add an element of traditional luxury.

source: countrylivingmag instagram
source: countrylivingmag instagram

The barn door and outside lighting create a ‘we all want to live on a farm’ vibe.  A sisal rug and baskets echo the natural theme and having the machines raised slightly is better for the back!

source: flickr
source: flickr

On a smaller budget, plain white tiles and DIY store shelving and laundry bags is all you actually need….

source: indulgy
source: indulgy

Or you could add a splash of blue to cheer things up a bit! Vinyl tiles and home made curtains won’t break the bank.

On the more posh front….. cabinetry, tiling and polished tops… useful drip-dry rail above sink – but you would never want to leave this untidy!

source: pinterest
source: pinterest
source: zillow.com
source: zillow.com

Ok, that one is completely preposterous (but could work in my home ;-)) marble tops and grasscloth walls I have to say this was designed by a woman or very joyful man! She has a TV for watching the gorgeous House on Netflix and I am guessing a cocktail cabinet disguised behind one of those cabinets!

In a more practical vein, since I am sensing that not everyone has a laundry room next to their nuclear shelter in the basement,  you could incorporate your laundry room into a craft/kids play area (cut out the middle man!) Disclaimer: carefully remove children first 

source: lizmarieblog.com
source: lizmarieblog.com

Or if you have a Tradesman and kids only entry way… Mud room

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

On a more realistic note, you can do wonders with a tiny hallway….

source: pinterest
source: pinterest
source: mobile home living
source: mobile home living

Or if you have green fingers why not use it as a potting shed/laundry.  These large zinc sinks work for steeping clothes (does anyone even do that nowadays) or filling your cans!

Regardless of budget or space, the essential ingredients for a pain-free laundry room experience are:

  • As many machines as you can manage
  • pre-sorting of colours
  • easy area to dry hanging garments with a built-in or mobile dehumidifier
  • an area to fold
  • a cocktail cabinet and access to Netflix (obviously the most important)

The extra bits I would like to have are:

Laundry baskets to go under worktops and whizz across the floor when I need them….

source: remodelista
source: remodelista

A Shelia’s maid – this is just nostalgia and as a Scottish child of the 70s why not!

source: remodelista
source: remodelista

A Sheldon folding thingy

source: utube
source: utube

Bulk buy eco friendly washing liquids and decant….

source: yourlittlebirdieblogspot.com
source: yourlittlebirdieblogspot.com
source: lauragaspard.blogspot.com
source: lauragaspard.blogspot.com

A suitable slogan to put on the door… please feel free to send me some suggestions! I will publish those publishable…

I do hope you have enjoyed reading and look forward to sharing my own laundry transformation with you soon!

Amanda x