DESIGNER CRUSH – ECO THE LOOK

Roman and Williams is an amazing company based in NY who have a wonderful approach to interior design. They are two of the most creative people in the business and I wanted to share some of their work with you.

Robin Stander and Stephen Alesch named their company Roman and Williams after their grandfathers.
Robin Stander and Stephen Alesch named their company Roman and Williams, in 2002 and named it after their grandfathers.

After designing film sets together in Hollywood for 10 years they were asked  to design a home in LA…. they haven’t looked back since!

This is what they have to say…

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That ethos is truly reflected in the home they did for themselves. They have a great set of projects under their belts from boutique hotels, restaurants to the re-design of the British Galleries at the Museum of Modern Art in NY.. need I go further… I think not!

Today I want to show you a project for their own weekend getaway.

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They took an unremarkable 1950s house with 1980s additions and without major renovation works turned it into this cool, laid-back, welcoming retreat. The wood walls and ceiling beams were reclaimed from a hotel and the Facebook building respectively…

Eclectic combinations of mid century vintage pieces using rosewoods, rattan, leather and sheepskins gives a relaxed feel.  The carefully curated antique accessories and artwork creates that just thrown together feeling that is so difficult to achieve!

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Used also as a “laboratory” for work no wonder they come up with such inspiring ideas!

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The different types of reclaimed wood is a great contrast to the black lacquered kitchen and windows, which really ground the rooms and the contrast is unexpected.  By keeping the colour palette simple lots of accessories don’t make the space feel overcrowded.

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I really admire what they have done on this project, it looks authentic, is full of character and has real personality.

ECO THE LOOK

If you like this style I have put together a collage of products I have sourced from some of the sites I list on the resources panel at the top of the page. The furniture is Danish vintage as is the modern art. From the Turkish Kilim and Balinese pillows, recycled palette chest and genuine Maseri painted leather shield…..

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If you can’t find on resource page then contact me (see top of post for link) and I will direct you to the relevant page…

I bought the Robin and Williams book a few months ago and I love it, full of facts and ideas from product design, construction to interior design – in fact one of the best interior design books I have (and I have many!) You can buy their book via the website, but I got mine via Amazon because it was easier to send to Switzerland…

Check out their amazing website here many more projects.

Thanks for reading

Amanda x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco Garden Design Part 4

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When it comes to design, gardens are outside rooms and the design principles of interior design apply. Collecting ideas of what you like and want will help you decide on things through the process.  Interior designers use mood boards and you can too for your garden, i.e. you like a plant or chair ask yourself “would it be out of place on my mood board?” You have your decision there and then.  There are may good designers out there if you go that route and your mood board will be very helpful by giving your designer an understanding of what you want in a visual form.

1. Read my Garden Blogs 1-3  hints and tips of how to….Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 10.18.24

some images from previous Eco Garden posts 1-3
some images from previous Eco Garden posts 1-3

If you missed or would like to revisit…

Eco Garden Design Part 1

Eco Garden Design Part 2

Eco Garden Design Part 3

2. Mood Board create your own it is easy… 

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photo: Lisa Cox Garden Design
photo: lisacoxgardendesigns.co.uk

3. Assess your space & make a plan …..pencil, paper, measuring tape and compass (there is on the iPhone) 

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sketch by Lisa Cox Garden Design
sketch by lisacoxdesigns.co.uk

For her clients who wanted to keep as large a lawn as possible, Lisa moved the shed nearer the house and used the full width at the back of the garden.  By making it a circular shape the lawn appear larger. By moving the BBQ & dining area eating area near the kitchen makes it convenient to use.  The kitchen extension has bi-fold doors and the new patio is effectively an extension of the kitchen in the summer months.  Siting the shed nearer the house allowed her clients to access the shed in winter without having to walk across a muddy lawn …. North facing she has selected many shade loving plants on her mood board above – to see more of this project click here

Coming soon….. Eco Garden Design Part 5

Don’t miss my next and final post of this series where I will walk you through each step of the design process used by interior designers to design your garden!  Balance, Colour, Texture, Form, Scale, Pattern, Contrast, Unity and Rhythm…. once you have this know how….  you can design any interior or exterior space… 

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x

p.s. I have some amazing images on my Pinterest Boards click below

Garden Courtyards    Covered Terraces    Glass Houses    Plants   Pools  Garden Shade   Garden Design

Colour of July – Turquoise

We are at the height of our summer and the mood is relaxed, looking forward to holidays… Turquoise for me is the ultimate colour of July!

photo: precious.tumblr.com
photo: preciousd.tumblr.com
photo: Curated Style
photo: Curated Style
photo: etsy.com
photo: etsy.com

Turquoise stone is sacred to Native Americans, it is said to be the bridge between heaven and earth. It is said to be healing, protective and allows you to release old vows that are no longer relevant, and stop self sabotage.

ok… now I have good reason to buy one of these beauties…

Turquoise beaded chandelier by marjorieskourasdesign.com
Turquoise beaded chandelier by marjorieskourasdesign.com

Turquoise falls between blue and green on the colour wheel – a cool colour that opens up a room making it recede away from you so it feels more spacious.  As it tends towards the green side, your eye’s lens has to flex very little to see it and that is why it creates a feeling of calm. It gives a feeling of cleanliness and freshness.  Here are how interior designers use this wonderful colour and the some design principles explained.

Photo: harper's Bazaar
Photo: Harper’s Bazaar

This small bedroom above is a blank canvas of white to open the space to the max, by adding the turquoise in light absorbing velvets and light reflective ceramic vases it creates enough interest but too much that it is busy.  Balance is achieved by perfect symmetry, with the painting as the focal point.  Symmetrical balance is very calming to the eye because our eyes want to see balance and harmony. The footstools and side tables are on legs which shows more of the floor, another trick to make the room feel larger….  The touches of orange-brown in the painting are at the opposite side of the colour wheel to turquoise (called a complimentary combination) and that is yet another tool a designer can use to make the turquoise pop out and please your eye…  The scale of the ceramic table lights being slightly oversized adds a touch of unexpected and gives the room interest.  Repetition of the turquoise dotted around the space moves your eye around the space nicely…

 

mood board in turquoise by me
mood board in turquoise by me

Below are some rooms that reflect elements of the above mood board…..

Rustic Chic 

photo: Elle Decor
photo: Elle Decor

Here the darker shade is achieved by adding black to the mix.  The paint effect on the wall is contrasted with the small scale print on the chairs.  The general scale of the room is balanced by the window arching downwards and the lamp meeting that line or vertical axis as designers call it. Balance here is interestingly a mix of symmetric chairs but the overall room is asymmetric with the window and the offset basket of logs… As in the first image the complimentary colour of orange-brown is used.

Eclectic Glamour 

photo: Elle Decor
photo: Elle Decor sofa by Nicholas Hallam Fabric on slipper chairs by Lewis & Wood

Above the sofa is the only solid piece of colour in this skilfully decorated room.  To layer print on print takes a good eye.  It is successful here because all the prints are a form of IKAT. By keeping the same colour palette and varying the scale and design of the print it works beautifully. The rug ties them together.  Brass accents offer repetition and rhythm which pulls your eye around the space making it interesting for your brain.   The colour palette once more is the tried and trusted combo with orange-brown.  The black background floor and screen draw the room in and make it cosy. The opposite of how the white works in the very first image.

photo: House Beautiful
photo: House Beautiful

Above an oversized mirror plays with the scale and the specialist plaster finished wall offers bespoke luxury… for similar ideas see Terrafino who specialise in polished plaster.  Again brass accents lift the colour and provide repetition. Balance of texture is achieved because the varying gloss surfaces on the brass, mirror and console are offset by the course linen curtains and rug, in a soft beige complimentary colour.

New Vintage 

photo: Sanderson
photo: Sanderson Wallpaper and Paint

A whimsical wallpaper and vintage bath appliances make this panelled bathroom and unexpected pleasure.  Scale here is really clever here because the mirror is under scaled (yes, more subtle than over but adds a touch of fun). The reflection in the mirror shows the wallpaper on the opposite wall which looks smaller because of the distance – a great trick! The big thing about interior design is that every project should include something that makes you smile….

Below are some products that you may find useful….

Eco Paints non-toxic
Eco Paints non-toxic see Resources Tab at top of blog for websites
Eco Fabrics with great credentials
Eco Fabrics with great credentials

I currently working with Camira and Vescom fabrics on a project, and the swatches don’t do the products justice – they have wonderful ranges of velvets and linens too…

Eco Wallpapers
Eco Wallpapers www.vescom.com
photo: www.designersguild.com
photo:
www.designersguild.com
photo: arte.com
photo: arte.com … doesn’t this just look like you are inside a turquoise rock!

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing so much Turquoise… and learning a few interior design tips along the way!

Thanks for reading,

Ax

p.s. the link to my pinterest board on Turquoise here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco garden Design Part 3

 

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For many the garden is their main contact with the natural world, however many gardens have evolved to be highly unnatural places.

Today, many gardens regardless of where, are lawn and borders holding plants, many which may be transported halfway across the world.  To maintain such gardens in peak condition requires constant irrigation and liberal doses of chemical insecticides, fertilisers and weedkillers.  Many people worry about chemicals inside their homes and on food that they buy, but forget about the garden which could be much more toxic than they imagine.

A beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds
A beautifully manicured lawn and flower beds
source: naturalplanet.com
source: naturalplanet.com

 

 

 

 

By choosing planting that is suited to your environment your garden will be ‘lower maintenance’ and you can get more pleasure and do less work! Eg, did you consider that a petrol mower running for an hour creates the same pollution in the atmosphere as driving an average car 560km?

Working with nature

Instead of imposing an artificial garden idea on a site regardless of the conditions – go with what mother nature would have planted there herself!  Do this by looking around at your local forests, parks and see what works well in neighbouring gardens, ask advice at a good quality garden centre. By promoting native species, you attract local wildlife and insects and you will require less water to upkeep. In addition to this, use non-toxic structures and natural organic methods for pest control (see below)… and that is pretty much and eco garden!  

Lawns do have their place and can be highly practical for children to run  around safely on. If you have a lawn try to create a space for a natural garden area too then you will still attract the right predators to keep your precious plants uneaten.

Dan Pearson's winning show garden at Chelsea 2015 - Natural
Dan Pearson’s winning show garden at Chelsea 2015 – Natural
Design your garden to fit in with your surroundings source: gardenista.com
Design your garden to fit in with your surroundings
source: gardenista.com
Urban garden/outside room source: showhome.nl
Urban garden/outside room shade tolerant and low maintenance planting for busy people                           source: showhome.nl
Olive tree, lavender and other drought resistant plants
Olive tree, lavender and other drought resistant plants that love full sun            source: nathalie pasquel
a seaside garden with plants that don't mind strong winds and salty air
a seaside garden with plants that don’t mind strong winds and salty air source: flickr

Local Conditions

  • Type of soil
  • Amount of rainfall
  • Temperature range/winds
  • Aspect – direction of sun

Type of soil…. note that sometimes you might have a mixture of soil in your garden and some will be exposed to sun and other parts in the shade.  Choose your plants according to the soil/area/blooming season and in no time you will have an abundant, all year interest garden.  You could also put anything you want in a pot with the corresponding earth mix. 

Clay is heavy, high in nutrients, wet and cold in winter and dry and hard in summer.

Anemone-Honorine-Jobert thrives on a clay soil you may need to control it.
Anemone-Honorine-Jobert thrives on a clay soil you may need to control it.
Darmera-peltata thrives on damp clay soil interest from spring to autumn
Darmera-peltata thrives on damp clay soil interest from spring to autumn
Helenium-Moerheim-Beauty and old favourite great in clay soil
Helenium-Moerheim-Beauty and old favourite great in clay soil

Sandy is light, dry warm and low in nutrients

drought resistant, slope erosion control, attracts birds, smells wonderful
Lavender drought resistant good in sand and chalk, slope erosion control, attracts birds, smells wonderful
Agastache or Hyssop part sun/shade, drought tolerant attracts birds
Agastache or Hyssop part sun/shade, drought tolerant attracts birds
Achillea or Yarrow drought tolerant and cheerful yellow flowers in late spring.
Achillea or Yarrow drought tolerant and cheerful yellow flowers in late spring.

Chalk is very alkaline may be light or heavy

Ceanothus Californian Lilac chalky soil/sun
Ceanothus Californian Lilac
chalky soil/sun
Clematis Rouge Cardinal good in chalk soil
Clematis Rouge Cardinal
good in chalk soil

Dry soil benefits from being mulched (spread and dig in) with product you can buy or make your own from old leaves and composted vegetables from the kitchen (avoid dairy/meat scraps).

Shade loving plants – if you have shade embrace these lovely plants which are full of texture – I love hostas! (note: put sharp grit or crushed egg shells around the bases as snail and slugs also love them!)

Shade lovers - wild ginger/hosta gold/boxwood
Shade lovers – wild ginger/hosta gold/boxwood
Buddleia or Butterfly Bush
Buddleia or Butterfly Bush

I couldn’t leave the Buddleia out of this post – it is a wonderful plant that thrives almost anywhere (so much so that it can be looked upon by some as a pest – shock horror!) There are over 100 varieties to choose from in pinks blues and whites…. butterflies and bees love it and it only requires hard cutting back when it gets a bit too full. 

The Royal Horticultural Society has a plant finder search where you can list your soil/sun/rainfall and the search engine will advise you.             click to find plants here

Weeds 

Not all weeds are created equal – I have some in my garden (not a clue what they are) but they are pretty so I leave them! I do however like to tidy weeds, stray grass etc away from the driveway and paths… just pull them up when I see them or you could try my recipe below – the toughest will wilt and it is all natural…… be careful not to spray on plants you want to keep!

natural weed killer
natural weed killer

It is completely unnecessary to use chemicals in your garden just another multi-billion dollar industry we have been programmed to “think” we need. 

 

Insects friend or foe? 

Many insects are highly beneficial to our gardens as they prey on others that eat our pretty plants! Ladybirds (or American Ladybugs) are not called the gardner’s best friend for nothing! They eat aphids, whitefly, greenfly and mites.  Some people even buy them and put them in their gardens!

source: ladybug-life-cycle.com
source: ladybug-life-cycle.com

One of the best tactics is to attract the correct insects to your garden, for a complete list of making your own mini insect army to fight the war for you  click here

If you do have a persistent problem this natural insecticide is safe to use on affected plants only.

my recipe for natural insecticide
my recipe for natural insecticide

If you are too squeamish to collect the slugs and snails (my kids love doing this) and take them to the local forest to set them free…. then get a few small glass jars (baby food or jam) and fill 1/3 with beer. Leave them sheltered from rain under the leaves they like to eat.  Once they have been removed you could lay crushed eggshells or sharp grit to deter others. 

Would like to end this post with a pic from my garden of my favourite tree Magnolia Grandiflora – spring has defiantly arrived here in Switzerland. 

My magnolia tree
My magnolia tree

Thanks for reading 

Amanda x 

The colour of Spring – Dusky Pink

The colour of Spring

My favourite colour just bursts into our gardens every April and May as if to say winter is over.  I love this time of year anyway, full of a promising summer to come after a long, cold winter.  The birds are back and all the plants just spring back up as if winter had never been!

Inspired by my favourite garden tree

My magnolia tree
My magnolia tree – photo by me

Colour theory – Pink is the colour of happiness and is seen as light-hearted. Teamed with light colours it is soft, feminine, romantic and sweet.  Paired with back can be seductive! 

Agent Provocateur Branding
Agent Provocateur Branding

I wanted to share with you some interior design ideas based on this beautiful feminine and romantic colour………

Dusky Pink walls with a black kitchen Interior Design by Anne-Sophie Pailleret
Dusky Pink walls with a black kitchen
Interior Design by Anne-Sophie Pailleret

 

Dusky pink accents on curtains and ceramics Source: vtwomen
Dusky pink accents on curtains and ceramics accents cream room
Source: vtwomen
Dining bench in pink with Eero Saarinen table source:blog.VKVVisuals.com
Dining bench in pink with Eero Saarinen table source:blog.VKVVisuals.com
Pink & Grey Palette from pinterest
Pink & Grey Palette from pinterest

 

A slightly more salmon tone Teamed with Black is can be more masculine Image via Tiziana Tozoni
A slightly more salmon tone teamed with Black is can be more masculine Image via Tiziana Tozoni

Pink has been popular since Georgian times…

Grey Interior with a splash of pink from marieclairemaison.com
Grey Interior with a splash of pink from marieclairemaison.com
Georgian Pink image Pinterest
Georgian Pink image Pinterest
Farrow & Ball
Farrow & Ball
Dusky Pink & Grey Fairytale Bedroom Source: pinterest
Dusky Pink & Grey Fairytale Bedroom Source: pinterest

Teamed with bolder colours can make this soft pink seem quite art deco inspired and I love the eclectic look that gives …..

emerald and royal blue contrast with soft pink source: anne-sophiepailleret.com
emerald and royal blue contrast with soft pink
source: anne-sophiepailleret.com
anne-sophiepailleret.com
anne-sophiepailleret.com

You could always add just a rug…… 

SPLIT BRIGHT Paul Smith Hand knotted Tibetan wool The Rug Company
SPLIT BRIGHT
Paul Smith
Hand knotted Tibetan wool
The Rug Company
Phoenix Wool Dhurrie Rug - Earth Red from westelm.com
Phoenix Wool Dhurrie Rug – Earth Red from westelm.com

Some eco paint colours to consider….

Anne Sloan Chalk Paint
Anne Sloan Chalk Paint
Little Greene Dorchester Pink
Little Greene Dorchester Pink
Farrow & Ball Paint
Farrow & Ball Paint
Le Corbusier - Dots Wallpaper by rate-international.com
Le Corbusier – Dots Wallpaper by arte-international.com
Axis Wallpaper from Scion
Axis Wallpaper from Scion (also available as fabric)

an eco velvet for upholstery to consider….

Eco Velvet Upholstery Fabric from Hoepke from Jacober Interiors
Eco Velvet Upholstery Fabric from Hoepke
from Jacober Interiors

a pure lambswool sofa throw …

Lambswool Sofa Throw by Moon
Lambswool Sofa Throw by Moon

or some designer fabrics to add a classic romantic or modern geometric twist….

Designers Guild MARQUISETTE - PALE ROSE Silk
Designers Guild MARQUISETTE – PALE ROSE Silk
ABSTRACT MALACHITE - MULTICOLOUR by Designers Guild
ABSTRACT MALACHITE – MULTICOLOUR fabric by Designers Guild

 

Just a few ideas of how enjoy this soothing pink with soft greys and cream or mix it up with bold and bright colours and pattern! 

P.s some of my favourite images from my my Dusky Pink board on Pinterest

The Interiorista on Pinterest
The Interiorista on Pinterest

Thanks for reading!

Amanda x

 

 

Eco Garden Design Part 2

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In part one I gave some stylish ideas that I will be using in my garden to save, better use and collect water … 

In this post I wanted to shed some light on how easy it is to use recycled, eco and chemical-free building products to build the hard landscaping, i.e. fences, steps, flowerbeds, pathways and garden structures.

STONE  is unique and highly prized for the patina it gathers over time…

Reclaimed Yorkstone Paving
Reclaimed Yorkstone Paving

Get to know where your local builder’s salvage yards are (see Resources on the top menu bar for some ideas) and look online at eBay/craigslist/gumtree sites.  All types of stone, gravel, rocks taken from old churches, schools, factories etc… can be found – there is a  multitude of fabulous product out there and not only will you have a unique look but the satisfaction of seeing it in a new home (together with a quirky backstory) is not to be underestimated! 

Reclaimed Brick Driveway
Reclaimed Brick Driveway

I am often asked why is using new stone bad for the environment it’s natural?  The problem is that to produce use new stone it must be cut from quarries. This requires huge amounts of water in the cutting and extraction process, together with general the manufacturing and transportation causing air pollution all adds up to an un-eco product.  Especially when there is so much beautiful stone around just waiting for someone with a bit of imagination to come along and reuse it! Perhaps we could also start to think of natural resources as finite, i.e. once they are gone that is it … and surely we need to consider to leave some for future generations. The other big advantage of using reclaimed stone is that it has a patina which gives your garden instant gravitas and blends better with nature….

Small courtyard garden by isabellalopezquesada.com
Small courtyard garden in Madrid by isabellalopezquesada.com

Concrete is a highly debated subject in the eco world.  However it can tick a lot of eco boxes; be locally produced, needs no maintenance,  is highly functional, lasts a very long time and can be recycled again.

 As with many eco decisions it is about weighing up the pros and cons!

The most damaging component in concrete is the use of portland cement in the mix which causes vast amounts of CO2 emissions when produced.  The good news is that this component is no longer necessary (unless you are building skyscrapers) and can be replaced by other things including fly ash from steel production waste instead. So investigate that you are getting a greener concrete and you should not feel un-eco to use it. 

Swiss concrete production
Swiss concrete production
Recycled broken concrete pavers source: greenposting.org
Recycled broken concrete pavers source: greenposting.org

It is fair to say that here in Switzerland they do like the modern look. The terrain is quite hilly and they love concrete. I managed to find some concrete walls that I don’t find hideous!  

images of concrete below from creabeton.chScreen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.35.06Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 13.12.03

If you do decide that you will go with an ‘eco’ concrete (as outlined above) there is a big variety and concrete can be customised by colour, moulding and texture…… e.g.the wood profile below is quite a good way of having a maintenance free decking/path and I like the ‘trunks’ to sit on or make stepping stones with…

Wood effect concrete
Wood effect concrete
Concrete tree trunks
Concrete tree trunks

Concrete can be coloured and textured to look like stone..

concrete steps look like stone
concrete steps look like stone

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Wood is versatile, and sits in nature without even trying. Here in Switzerland it is no longer allowed to use railway sleepers in your gardens because of the diesel/ chemicals which leach into the soil even after many years.  As a removal incentive the local council even allows you to deduct the replacement of these with something non-toxic from your tax return!

fsc-certified-wood-teaserboxThe best rule of thumb is to use FSC registered wood products (now widely available at your local DIY depot) or repurposed wood (from salvage) which is untreated and free from toxic paints/stains.

Reclaimed rocks/wood planks make a modern entrance
Reclaimed rocks/wood planks make a modern entrance

When painting/staining garden structures use zero VOC products. Look at resources above and check out Sansin Wood stain.

You can also choose to leave wood untreated, allowing it to weather to a lovely silver grey

Weathered wood fence and gate Source: Gardenista
Weathered wood fence and gate Source: Gardenista

The versatility of wood means that you can create just about anything you want, from fencing, pergolas, glass houses etc to suit modern or natural gardens and the colour can blend with your interior or disappear into nature….

Painted wood cladding gives a sense of indoors/out to a small garden by Leopoldina Hayes
Painted wood cladding gives a sense of indoors/out to a small garden by Leopoldina Hayes
Black vertical timber wall source: deavita.fr
Black vertical timber wall gives a contemporary twist source: deavita.fr
Recycled Timber Fence
Recycled Timber Fence

I will be making a shady corner in my garden and am very inspired by this…..

Eco Pergola Idea source: Elle Decor
Eco Pergola Idea
source: Elle Decor

… and I would love one of these to help my non hardy plants in pots survive a Swiss winter – FSC of course! 

Forest Garden FSC Glass House
Forest Garden FSC Glass House
Forest Garden FSC Glass House from greenfingers.com
Forest Garden FSC Glass House from greenfingers.com

Willow and wicker is a great natural and sustainable option (grows quickly and locally found) and gives a lovely texture to your garden, it also allows the light to filter casting interesting shadows. It is hardwearing and requires no maintenance. 

Willow Fence by flechtart.ch
Willow Fence by flechtart.ch
Willow support structure for climbers
Willow support structure for climbers
Terra Willow Panels from greenfingers.com
Terra Willow Panels from greenfingers.com
Wicker raised vegetable beds by Daylesford Organics/The Chelsea Flower Show 2009
Wicker raised vegetable beds by Daylesford Organics/The Chelsea Flower Show 2009

Containers of all sorts can be repurposed, the trick is to keep it simple and not mix too much otherwise you might end up feeling like you are sitting in a junk yard! 

Old zinc tub used as large planter at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey, England
Old zinc tub used as large planter at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey, England
Recycled crate source: petershamnurseries.com
Recycled crate source: petershamnurseries.com
vintage french mushroom baskets from petershamnurseries.com
vintage french mushroom baskets from petershamnurseries.com
Old birdcage used as planter for flowers. source:decorating mamma.com
Old birdcage used as planter for flowers. source:decorating mamma.com

Garden furniture is widely available in FSC woods and can also be reclaimed. Once you start looking you can find…… the wood is likely to be better quality also and last a lot longer so justifies a slight premium on price….

FSC Arbour from greenfingers.com
FSC Arbour from greenfingers.com
FSC Acacia Garden Bench from greenfingers.com
FSC Acacia Garden Bench from greenfingers.com
Reclaimed Garden Furniture from rikstorms.com
Reclaimed Garden Furniture from rikstorms.com

Gates and railings can be found in salvage yards.

Reclaimed Garden Fencing/Gates from burbri.nl
Reclaimed Garden Fencing/Gates from burbri.nl

You might find some interesting ways to recycle – just use your imagination! 

Old Iron Headboard used as garden gate
Old Iron Headboard used as garden gate

Antique terracotta chimney pots look wonderful as plant pots, bird baths or just sculptures in their own right! 

Antique chimney pot
Antique chimney pot

I hope I might have inspired you to look for some interesting ways to make your outside space beautiful and tap into the wonderful eco resources all around us!

Thanks for reading and feel free to share!

Amanda x 

Otomi

Something that has been catching my eye recently is a beautiful embroidery design called OTOMI.

Otomi Cushion with pom pom trim from casaotomi.com
Otomi Cushion with pom pom trim from casaotomi.com

Named after the dialect spoken by the  people living in the Tenango Valley of Hidalgo of Mexico.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Tenango, Hidalgo, Mexico

Otomi became more commercial in the 60s after a severe drought forced the people to find alternative sources of income, although its roots can be sourced back to Spanish and Aztec roots. The design features animals and flowers, symbolising man’s connection to nature and it is thought that its origins lie with cave paintings found in the region.

Most of the embroiderers work in collectives which are registered by the government, ensuring fair pay.  They are mostly women, of all ages, it is undertaken in homes, in the market and on the street. Otomi empowers them as it is often the only source of income in their family.  This craft is a very sociable profession done with a lot of pride!

Otomi Technique from Ollitt.com
Otomi Technique from Ollitt.com

The process: Water soluble pen is used to sketch deer, hares, armadillo, fish roosters and agricultural scenes….The balance of clear space around the objects is observed and designs are fluidly done with much repetition. Stencils are not allowed and the quality of the drawing has a clear impact on the end result.

Large Otomi lounger can take months to make and is usually signed by the embroiderer. Ollitt.com
Large Otomi lounger can take months to make and is usually signed by the embroiderer. Ollitt.com

The stitching is done by catching the thread on each side (satin stitch) with the facing side showing the design.  This saves on the quantity of thread used. Created on natural cotton, using silk or cotton thread, this art has a place in contemporary and traditional interior design.  The trend towards artisanal design means it could not be a better time to add a little bit of Otomi to your home! Olli_Lounger_multicolor_childs_bedroom_fullThis is no mass market production by machine from Asia and is therefore a highly prized craft, fair trade means the prices are high and it is seen as a luxury product to be appreciated for years to come. 

Otomi Embroidered pieces 70x80cm can be framed or sewn together to make cushions or throws...... from jacarandahome.com
Otomi Embroidered pieces 70x80cm can be framed or sewn together to make cushions or throws…… from jacarandahome.com

A more affordable option is to buy pieces which you could use to make cushions or frame for instant impact! 

Otomi Embroidery Framed from stfrank.com
Otomi Embroidery Framed from stfrank.com

There really is no boundaries for this wonderful art!

Otomi Wallpaper designed by Emily Isabella for Hygge & West
Otomi Wallpaper designed by Emily Isabella for Hygge & West
Removable Wallpaper Tiles designed by Emily Isabella for Hygge & West
Removable Wallpaper Tiles designed by Emily Isabella for Hygge & West
Otomi inspired cards and wrapping paper from wilinkpress.com
Otomi inspired cards and wrapping paper from wilinkpress.com
Oversized clutch bag from rosemarycollective.com
Oversized clutch bag from rosemarycollective.com
Traditional Mexican Wedding dress can take 3 months to make
Traditional Mexican Wedding dress can take 3 months to make
Super cute child's dress from rosemarycollective.com
Super cute child’s dress from rosemarycollective.com
Planters from Anthropologie.com
Planters from Anthropologie.com

Suited to classic or contemporary homes, with or without lots of colour this is a wonderful way to add an authentic touch to any space…….

Embroidered Otomi Cushions from Ollitt.com
Embroidered Otomi Cushions from Ollitt.com
Otomi Bedspread from casaotomi
Otomi Bedspread from casaotomi
Blue & White Otomi Pouf and Cushions from ollitt.com
Blue & White Otomi Pouf and Cushions from ollitt.com

As you can tell I just LOVE Otomi and look forward to supporting those wonderful ladies from Tenango with some purchases for our home renovation soon!!! 

Thanks for reading! 

Amanda x

 

Eco Garden Design Part 1

Hello all, sorry for the delay in this post, I have been busy on new projects  I look forward to sharing with you soon…. in the meantime all of a sudden it seems like spring has sprung and thoughts are turning towards our outside spaces…….. now, how can we make those eco?

Creating a garden is like creating a room, where we use plants and trees and shrubs to create the form, balance, texture and colour that we would achieve using space planning, furniture, fabrics and accessories with interior design. The garden is a natural extension of the house and there are many eco ideas we can implement to ensure that we can do our bit for the environment on the outside as well as the inside of our homes.

I would say that Eco garden design is when we use techniques and products that improve the environment and the overall look of the garden.

Creating such an outside space is easy when you know how.  Between now and summer I will share with you this 5 part series Eco Garden Design.  I have tips for you to design your own eco garden including how to preserve water, use clever design tricks and recycled and/or natural building materials and plant maintenance without harmful chemicals, how to select the correct plants for your actual garden, use the best plants to attract the insects and birds we need to maintain things and support the local eco system and lastly all of this of course will be stunningly beautiful to look at!!

Part one is all about preserving and managing H2O

water

Without water we would not have life on earth never mind gardens.  In a world where there can be drought at one end of the spectrum and catastrophic flooding at the other, we can no longer deny our planet is changing so by acting now we become part of the solution and not part of the problem … right??

Gardens for pleasure first originated in the Middle East, the biblical Garden of Eden represented a lush green oasis in a time when water was a precious resource.  Fast forward a few millennia and we have come full circle with water once again viewed as a finite resource. One day it will be worth more than gold… I have this from a very respected source! 😉

Shady urban garden source Pinterest
Shady small urban garden
source Pinterest

When planning an Eco garden we should think how to capture rainwater and slow down the rate at which it is lost to the public drainage system.  We need to do this because not only is rainwater is far better for our gardens that treated drinking water but also we need to reduce the amount of flash flooding that is happening because there is too much hard landscaping in our towns and cities.  Rainwater is also free!!

 

In the garden above the pea gravel allows water to seep into the garden instead of running off into drains and the variety of trees and plants provide a shady cool spot in the summer plus great diversity for the local wildlife.

Rainwater can be easily collected from your drainpipes leading down from the roof in a wide variety of butts….

Rain water collection butt source waterbuttsdirect.co.uk
Rain water collection butt
source waterbuttsdirect.co.uk
recycled barrel water butt source periodliving.co.uk
recycled barrel water butt
source periodliving.co.uk

more practical when hidden from view could be …

Slimline water butt 235 L source freeflush.co.uk
Slimline water butt 235 L
source freeflush.co.uk

If you are very handy or know someone who likes a challenge….. you could build your own and hide it behind some wicker panels….

 

DIY Rainwater Butt source The Family Handyman
DIY Rainwater Butt
source The Family Handyman

You could even consider to make an underground tank if you have a lot of garden to water, however chemicals may be required to keep the water pure so perhaps it is a false economy?

For assessing the size of water butt you require depends on the size of roof you have and the average rainfall in your area.  Consult your local environment agency for guidelines on Rain Water Harvesting (RWH)  for the UK Govt.  RWH source here

Collecting rainwater is a great way to have a free source to water your garden, however, if you get a lot or rain that can also be a problem…  flash flooding can occur because there is too much hard landscaping with many people choosing to concrete over of front gardens for parking and inadequate drains on roads etc.. a good way to control the rainwater if you have some space is to build a swale.  This also keeps the boggy part of your garden in one place allowing the other areas to remain dry.

swale allows run off rainwater to collect and enjoyed by water loving plants source houzz.com
swale allows run off rainwater to collect and enjoyed by water loving plants
source houzz.com
plant selection for swale source pinterest
plant selection for swale source pinterest
swale build to use run off rainwater
swale build to use run off rainwater source pinterest

when considering a parking area for your car these are a good option…

parking pavers photo houzz.com
parking pavers photo houzz.com

 

Hard landscaping is really a no-no these days as there are so many ways to provide drainage for rainwater…. In fact many local councils are bringing in planning conditions that stipulates drainage between pavers.

Using gravel and pavers with gaps and permeable membranes beneath to prevent weeds you can make lovely pathways through your garden whether you opt for traditional or modern styling.  It can also prove to be cost effective especially if you use recycled materials.  Always ensure there are gaps and this will prevent flooding and aid the melting to snow/ice in winter.  You can create gorgeous bespoke original designs for your garden!

gravel and pavers photos courtesy Giardina
gravel and pavers
photo courtesy Giardina
broken paver pathway with gravel photo courtesy Giardina
broken paver pathway with gravel photo courtesy Giardina
photo houzz.com
photo houzz.com
photo houzz.com
photo houzz.com

I hope this has sparked your interest in how you can save/use rainwater in your garden this summer, and perhaps pull up some of the grass which is a mud maker in the winter and needs constant watering in the summer and replace with some lovely pea gravel and pavers!

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x