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

Maison & Object Sept ’16

Last weekend I visited Maison & Object in Paris for the first time.  The exhibition is huge (with 8 halls image shows a small section of Hall 6) and there is something for every taste.

As many of you know I am in the process of setting up Jacober Interiors my own interior design practice.  Any good designer needs a great list of  suppliers they can depend upon and who suit their business ethos. Wearing my eco aware hat it was important to find companies that have a strong eco ethos.  I was looking for quality, made from sustainable sources with production facilities that provide fair working conditions.  I am drawn to products produced by small artisanal production facilities keeping communities and small family businesses going…….. It will be learning curve but meeting and speaking is the only way to assess these criteria – I met a lot of lovely, interesting and innovative people!!

With Project Weinberg in the pipeline (as per my previous post) I needed to start the process sourcing and making contacts.  Some items, as you will see from my previous post, will be a perfect fit for Project Weinberg – others interesting enough to keep on file for any future projects I may have.

Here is just a very small selection of what caught my eye.  All photography by me.

I walked into this area first – ECLECTIC – it was full of colour and music – the energy was upbeat and I could see how some of these pieces could lift and give some life to many projects.

GLAM BOHO

Deep jewel colours and rich fabrics with lots of texture and pattern.img_1603-2  img_1607-1Using velvets and interesting reflective surfaces the light bounced around and kept the room sets looking full of energy and far from dark.

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Being a Kilim fan it was good to find these…..img_1674-2

img_1676-1Copper and brass are still on trend …..img_1719-2

The look was retro-glamorous, using velvets, linens and leathers in rich patterns, accent pieces in brass and copper.  Saturated colours and lots of pattern. The Peacock cabinet above was a stand out piece.  As were these ‘Iris’ glass wall plaques….

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NATURAL-LUXE

In contrast there was a calm look with linens and velvets contrasting with rougher natural wood, to keep the connection with nature whilst being quite luxurious.

The neutral palette…img_1733-1

Take a second to look at the contrasting textiles, the wall art is 3D, there are rough, smooth, fluffy, polished, oversized, unexpected…

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Liked the Paris Metro map in wood panels…

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or slightly more bold, love Emerald velvet with the botanical wallpaper..img_1780img_1779

Reclaimed Doors….

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Rugs & Textiles

The trend towards ‘faded out’ rugs was strong, I loved theses silk lovelies and these fit perfectly with the Natural-Luxe look.

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There were neutral textiles to layer up and make a space very cosy and curated…

img_1644-1Some rugs were woven with suede, jute and metallic fibres…

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… a bit of 70s retro sisal… what is not to like – even lovely on the wall!!img_1623-1

These below, are made from recycled pet bottles and are very cotton-like to touch – all the others are produced under the Goodweave scheme to ensure they are free from child-labour and fair wages are given….

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Hand block printing….

Hand carved wooden blocks printed with natural ink on organic cottons…

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Scandi Retro inspired wall art and printed cottons and linens…

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These was a great deal of Tribal and Asian art-inspired accessories and these pieces work in any style…..img_1688-1

These are produced by a working co-op in India …..

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This company is uses reclaimed wood, and synthetic coral, shell and ivory.img_1614-1

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Lighting

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Below:  backlit photography, these were taken in Namibia.  The at the end of a long day after ‘hanging out’, the photographer earned the confidence of the tribe.  The end result is a  photograph knitted together of 22 images…. some people are doing amazing work……

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Tiles

Cement tile as adhesive strips… great for rental make-overs or if you are not sure the ‘trend’ might last.

img_1694-1 or the real deal…

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These lovely Terrazzo with inlaid glass, tin, and mother of pearl..img_1773-1img_1771-1

Exquisite ceramics from Turkey…

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Must be the mad Brit in me but have to find a way to incorporate these faux books into Project Weinberg……. am thinking a secret door to the guest loo? What do you think? Worth it alone for the puzzled look when you explain the loo is being the bookcase!!

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I hope that you have liked my inside look at one of the biggest Trade Fairs on the planet.  The items highlighted here are just some of my favourites!

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

 

 

What is a herbal steam room and why do you need one

For millennia, the ritual of bathing in steam has been a way to promote health by cleaning the body and mind, relieve discomfort and stress, and strengthen our immunity to ward off all sorts illnesses.  The Turks and Persiana called it Hamman, the Romans Sudatorium and the Russian, Banja.  I am calling it a steam room.

Graphic by me
Graphic by me

So we see the benefits of steam, now consider adding the extra benefit pure natural Swiss herbs.  This is what Swiss company Vaporsana have  come up with and patented –  a Kräuterdampfbäder or Herbal Steam Bath.

I would really like to have one in my own (Project Weinberg in last post) renovation.  However it more than makes your eyes water when looking into the cost of such a ‘healthy’ exercise! But not to be deterred, with my Scottish grit of  “where there is a will there is a way”  I set about exploring the possibilities here in Switzerland the land of fresh clean air and as it turns out lots of alpine herbs! I popped over to their factory and showroom.

Swiss Herbs growing Photo credit - Vaposana.ch
Swiss Herbs growing
Photo credit – Vaporsana.ch

I was explained the difference between a regular steam bath/room and a herbal steam room.  As an interior designer I am always researching new things and I was surprised by what I found.  This could be a really good option for anyone thinking about upgrading their humble shower cubicle into the nirvana of health! Not all steam rooms are created equal…..

Firstly, Herbal Steam Rooms are more gentle and slightly cooler than the regular high pressure steam rooms that you find at the local spa/gym.  The benefit of this is that the gentleness of the temperature is less stressful for the body to cope with.  Why? – In a regular sauna/steam the temp can be 75-90 deg this causes a rapid response from the body to sweat profusely to try to protect itself and you lose too much water too quickly causing your body to stress. When your body is under stress it does not relax and is not open to healing.

The Vaporsana Herbal system only allows your body to increase its temperature by 1-2 degrees (the room heats to 45-50 deg only) and induces an artificial “fever’ reaction and allows your body to break down disease causing microorganisms and therefore stimulate your immune system.  By allowing your body to adjust gently it aids the gentle absorption of the herbal vapours. I found out that our skin is out biggest respiratory organ – with an average person having 1.5-2m2 of it! That is a lot of herbal absorption! The herbs used here are actually herbal tea bags twice the size of normal.  You can also drink them. So you can get all the benefits of Chamomile and Lavender to calm your mind and help insomnia, Ginger is anti-inflammatory, Peppermint to aid digestion, Lemon to help anxiety, Hibiscus to lower blood pressure… the list is endless….

From an environmental point the herbal system is 100% natural and uses no chemicals, it uses less power and water, so for me in my quest to make Project Weinberg as eco as possible I literally heard those boxes being ticked.

The herbal sachet is placed in a glass bowl to evaporate
The herbal sachet is placed in a glass bowl to evaporate – different herbs for different effects
Vaposana cabin steam flow photo credit Vaposana.ch
Vaporsana cabin steam flow – various layouts can be made photo credit Vaporsana.ch
Easy controls
Easy controls

Sounds really quite promising now, just how to fit it into the budget when one is doing a whole house it is more of a challenge…..

This was my idea…

Copyright: Jacober Interiors GmbH Master Suite Plan
Copyright: Jacober Interiors GmbH Master Suite Plan

In our new roof space I put the shower/steam room to the left below.

Copyright Jacober Interiors GmbH Master Suite East Elevation
Copyright Jacober Interiors GmbH Master Suite East Elevation

However, having consulted Vaposana, that steam room is way too big in m3 to get the right effect for my needs and would take too much energy to run (gotta keep it eco!)… so I came up with a solution to cut the room in two and have a bench run through the glass, to keep the room looking big but saving energy.  I also created a small space to keep a robe, slippers ready for coming out.

Might look something like this…

 

Vaposana steam room
Vaporsana steam room

So with a quick sketch idea to work from I came up with this

Project Weinberg Master Suite Vaposana Plan

How to customise the Vaposana unit and shower
How to customise the Vaporsana unit and shower

So looks like a possibility depending on how it can be finished on the inside.  As standard Vaposana have a composite acrylic material that you can have in any colour you want.  It is popular here to have graphics also put under the glaze, you can have any photo you want. Not my taste, only saying!

Vaposana.ch
Vaporsana.ch
Vaposana.ch
Vaporsana.ch
Vaposana Showroom photo credit: haus-und-wohnen.ch
Vaporsana Showroom photo credit: haus-und-wohnen.ch

As you may have seen from my last blog post the concept for this project is more natural and classic so I will keep you posted on what I come up with!

Click here to visit the Vaporsana website

Thanks for reading

Amanda x

p.s. this post is in no way sponsored and all ideas and opinions are my own. 

 

 

Project Weinberg – The beginning……

My home renovation story….

In reality the design process is a complex and rigorous process, parts of which I can post at a later stage… A good designer will formulate a brief based on what you need and want, plus an extra bit of magic – then make a design analysis to come up with the Concept and master plan!  Here is mine and I wanted to share it with you because we all need more or less the same things (maybe not all at once!) so perhaps you will find some ideas for your own project… 

Design Analysis for Project Weinberg by Jacober Interiors

Concept for Project Weinberg by Jacober Interiors
Concept for Project Weinberg by Jacober Interiors  Images: Pinterest

I put together the concept above.  In case you are wondering, Jacober Interiors will be the name of my new Interior Design business that I will set up after my own renovation is complete – but more about that another time!

Designers make a concept board to guide the design process.  When choosing building materials, paint colours, surfaces, fabric textures, furniture shapes and accessories,  by referencing the concept board you can see if the design fits together. Pinterest is a great resource for finding images that spur your imagination.  Keeping a notebook to jot down ideas and sketches is also a must as it is easy to forget along the way where you saw something.  

For my own home I want the theme to be elegant, calm, welcoming, light and authentic. To achieve this I want to keep a restrained colour palette, light and welcoming colours, mix antiques with new, and create a sense of balance.  To make the house feel authentic I hope to find as many preloved, reclaimed and salvaged elements, this is not only eco but gives you an instant patina that looks like it has been there a while.  

Ok, so where do we start?  I have to state here that I am not an Architect and have no intentions to be one.  However, Interior Design does cross into Architecture and I have redesigned the house myself, all drawings and ideas are mine.  

How am I to go about making this sad little looking thing ‘timeless‘?

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Well, into something rather more balanced and classic…Weinberg North Elevation

The have put together a Sample Board for the exterior showing a light masonry paint and darker window frame colour.  The roof will be slate and cladding and fencing will be in weathered grey cedar. 

Exterior Sample Board
Exterior Sample Board

From the front you can see I will add a new level to create a master suite The porch has been covered in and the driveway widened to open up the space and make it more inviting. 

The view of the back
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The Planning Process was crazy…… 

The reason that this house is such a mad shape is because of the land, which slopes away on all sides and is roughly the shape of a pizza wedge! There must be 9m between the house and borderline on one side and 5m on the other. My planning restrictions are particularly strict because I back onto the forest and the area has to remain in a certain under developed was, so the living space can only be 25% of the land total. The good news is that the attic and basement are not counted and that is why I added there. Max height is 7.5m from the pre-1981 land, so I had to go through archives to find this and work with new geometric planning of the land to find a solution.  I did the max I could and was able to add a new roof level and extend the lower level. So I can add enough value to more than cover the cost of the works.  It has taken a lot of time and effort but in the end we can now start… oh and it was all in German!!

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The new look…..Scan 8

There seems to be a lot of changes but adding a roof level and glassing in the area under the kitchen are the only structural changes, the rest is mostly cosmetic.  Adding a new balcony around the kitchen makes that level more useable as it is where we spend most time. 

So the planning approval is through, and the next few months will be getting quotes, finalising the planning for all the internal rooms, and finding suitable contractors.  I hope to starting next spring….  will put updates as and when they happen, fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading!

Amanda x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Heaven – How 34m2 can work!

When less really is MORE….

As the cost of m2 to buy/rent in our major towns and cities continues to increase we need to become ever more resourceful at making do with less. The answer is at studio apartment, where a larger property has be subdivided and I want to show you how to create your own Studio Heaven. Less space, less clothing, less of everything.  It is surprising what we actually don’t need to have a perfectly normal life!

I wanted to show you that with careful planning, using interior design techniques, less can actually feel like more! 

This luxurious pied-à-terre in the heart of Stockholm is only 34m2. With a neutral palette, clever storage, a glass partition and the fact that one wall is all windows this space has a light and airy feel. 

(note: all images from homedsgn.com) 

source: homedsgn
source: homedsgn

The bedroom becomes a feature of the room, the glass rejecting the windows to bounce more light around the room.

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The oversized candles add a bit of the unexpected, and the mix of modern and antique creates and authentic feel and prevents it feeling like a show-home.

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There is plenty of light with 2 sets of windows and french doors to the balcony.

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The sofa cushions and throw are Swedish folk style. The linen sofa stands on a layer of sisal rug.  When using neural colours texture is key to the look working well.  The subtle blue print on the cushions and throw together with the artwork is enough colour and print to balance the colour palette of the space. 

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Can you believe there is an original fireplace!  This adds another authentic, elegant and homely touch.

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Having the outdoor space means the the room extends and adds to the feeling of space. 

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The white kitchen and white mosaic splash back melt into the background, and the marble worktops are repeated on the antique Swedish table which is teamed with modern soft linen dining chairs.

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The large hessian lampshade mirrors the round table and roots the dining area to that spot. Round tables take up less floorspace. 

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Cleverly concealing the fridge freezer into the wall extends the living area. The oak on the underside of the wall cabinets link with the antique coffee table and gives the kitchen a more bespoke feel. 

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The shower room is all about function, the white tiles bounce light around the room and the large mirrored cabinets double the space. 

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There is even a walk-in closet beside the fireplace! I was so impressed by the simple layout and how effective the interior design is at making this tiny space seem rather more than adequate! 

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If you want to make your own project always try to think of the eco way, you will feel better in a room with few or no chemicals and every little step – even just one of the below will help our environment.

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Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

 

THE LUXURY OF SIMPLICITY – BEACH HOUSE RENTAL

THE LUXURY OF SIMPLICITY 

I was inspired by the interior design of this rather “grand” beach house  found in the heel of Italy – Puglia.  I want to share with you this laid-back and calm interior style, and at the end I have put a shopping list to recreate the look. In fact I am so captured,  I have to re-do the moodboards for my own renovation!!

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Dating back to 1689, the restored fortified farmhouse has a secure courtyard and nobel towers that once was a stronghold against Saracen raiders. The estate also has it’s very own private chapel.

Local Architects worked with Alexander Waterworth, who are London based Interior Designers to create a very calm and authentic atmosphere. They have respected the original architecture, used traditional methods and kept to a restrained colour palette of neutrals; whites, soft warm greys, blue and mauves that reflects the atmosphere around the house. The finished result looks like it has always been like that – a true mark of good design.

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The textures are natural fabrics; linen, cotton and velvet with weathered woods which blend harmoniously together with the natural terracotta stone and painted plaster.

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The huge vaulted ceiling and original features remain throughout and the house is heated by an eco thermal warming system.

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The polished plaster hamman and floors with wall lights in alcoves behind plaster give glimpses of how simplicity is a luxury,

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The house has been furnished with antiques from Italy and across Europe with bespoke linen covered upholstery.

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It is a has 8 bedrooms (so perfect for 1 large or 2/3 family holiday) it comes fully catered with chef, housekeepers etc… so no squabbling over dishwasher duty.  Whether you are/are not interested in renting this 8 bedroom home with 2 swimming pools you can take still take the inspiration and the shopping list above and to create your own little piece of heaven!

Details can be found here http://masseriapetrarolo.com

Thanks for reading

Amanda x

(note – all photos from masseriapetrarolo.com I have not visited this property and cannot personally recommend it, nor have I been paid for this post.)

 

 

Eco Garden Design Part 5

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In the last part of the eco garden series I want show you how to use the basic principles of interior design in your garden.. I do have to say I am not a professional gardener but a happy amateur for circa 20 years.  I have always had a garden, even my little flat in my single days in London had a small (s/w facing of course) garden!  With our big renovation in the pipeline I decided to properly design my own garden (future post as it is a work in progress) and thought why not apply all the same rules as with interiors… hence my garden series….

Garden Design Balance

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Garden Design Rhythm

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Garden Design Form

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I hope you have enjoyed the series, it has been fun putting it together I learned a lot researching and writing it!

Please feel free to share with any friends who might be making changes in their own gardens…

Thanks for reading,

Amanda x

P.S.

When undertaking heavy or construction work I would recommend:

  • Always consult the professionals and take advice and help with the lifting! Consider employing a contractor belonging to a professional organisation.  Ask for references photos and ideally speak to previous clients (anyone in London I highly recommend Ginkgo Garden Design who did my garden in Wimbledon) can’t think why I have no photos on post but this section is an afterthought!! The RHS also has lists of companies click here to see
  • Check with your local council planning office to avoid expensive mistakes/disputes – fences and garden structures if they are near a boundary wall often have height limitations.
  • last but not least with an eco spirit let us all try to re-use, re-vamp, re-cycle and use previously loved material where possible…. 😉