How to create the ultimate snug

Don’t feel like leaving the house on the weekend? That’s OK with me, it’s been rather miserable in the UK skies. All I feel like doing is creating a little den, watching movies and eating silly quantities of magnolia coloured delights. You might just want a small area to read or meditate, it could even be outside in the warmer months to come.

White

To begin your snug, ensure you have a decent “base” such as a sofa, large floor cushions or bean bags, or even a mix of all of them if you have a larger area and multiple snugllers. It needs to suit the shape of your room and the amount of people who wish to “cotch” on it, I personally love a corner sofa as it creates more of a cosy feel, a cocoon if you will.

bohemian

Layer it up with throws, rugs or just bring your duvet in, you know you want to. Bundle up cushions, loads of em! You’ll need them to tuck into every possibly crevice, make your own little armchair within the sofa.

outside

Candles and incense will really make your living room feel alive and help to make a soft twinkly atmosphere.

You’ll need a coffee table or side table for all of your nibbles and drinks, you don’t want to be spilling things all over the place. Its good to just have a solid surface to put things in case you get so snug that you fall asleep. Happy snuggling!

You can find all of my images on my Pinterest board Snug

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8 tips for viewing a rental property

Looking for a rental flat in London can be (is) an absolute nightmare; you have very little time to make a decision and often have to shout “I’ll take it” on the spot before the next viewer arrives, if you’re even lucky enough to actually get to the place before someone else snaps it up that morning.
You live a life of false hope each day and end up falling in love with online pictures, it’s like internet dating but with a flat. And lets admit, its a big commitment which is made in a rush, a shot gun wedding if you will, which doesn’t always end well. So I’m here to give you some relationship advice for those hasty decisions and the specifics of what to look out for in that brief time when you are hurried around the cosy (pokey) rooms.

1. Natural light

I hear you, this could be a tough one if you’re viewing at night, but the way around this is to make sure you lift the blinds, draw the curtains and take a look outside at the views, if you end up faced with a brick wall or “light well” it may send you a little crazy after a while.  During your checks make sure you feel the quality of the curtains and/or blinds, this could be a test of how well you sleep. Blackout blinds are the best for London, also if you don’t want your heating bills to rocket, thick curtains can be more effective at keeping you snuggly.

Light

2. Use your imagination

Can you imagine yourself here? Try to picture your morning routine, will you enjoy going up two flights of stairs to get to the bathroom? Stand in front of the stove in the kitchen, is there a nice view? can you move around the kitchen easily? Sit on every sofa and chair in the living room, does it feel relaxing? Questions, QUESTIONS!! (sorry)

Living

3. Window in bathroom

If a date were a home I would want them to have a window in their bathroom. When you wake up the morning, do you want natural light to make its way into your soul and give you a spring in your step? Or are you happy to go back into a sleepy state before dragging yourself out to work? Another thing – DAMP. If you don’t have a window your extractor fan will be in constant use. Ever met a discreet and quiet extractor fan before? Whilst you’re there test the shower pressure.

Bathroom

4. Dishwasher

Never underestimate the power of a dishwasher in the social equation of the homestead. If there isn’t one currently there, see if there is space and ask the landlord or estate agent whether they would fit one. There will be many other things to argue about such as who used the last loo roll/washing tablet or hasn’t cleaned the bathroom in over a month. Let the magic of the dishwasher take away your argument fuel.

Kitchen

5. Layouts

Could you furniture fit in different layouts? You shouldn’t have to copy the existing layout of the furniture, or if it’s empty can you imagine where things will go? Bring a tape measure if you’re unsure and a notebook with the measurements of your larger furniture. If you are allowed to, take photos.

Storage

6. Storage space

The last three flats I’ve lived in haven’t had a cutlery drawer, you’d think that would be something I would notice right? Nope. Ensure there is adequate space for your stuff, alternatively put it into local storage, though I would question the things you have that you no longer use. The best time for a clear out is when you’re moving home.

Hall

7. Acoustics

It’s a good idea to take a look at the walls and how well insulated they are in terms of sound. When you go into the various rooms, shut the doors behind you and notice the acoustics. Listen to the noises from outside and take note of the level of glazing on the windows. I once moved into a converted pub in Bethnal Green which looked perfect, but once we had moved in we noticed that as there was no boundary between the street and our bedroom window, we felt every thump of the joggers feet as they went on their early morning runs to Victoria Park. Not only did that disturb our sleep but also made us feel guilty about not going for a run!

Window

8. Proximity

Or location if you will. Being in close proximity to transport connections, cafes, bars and shops is a must. You might find a delightfully spacious flat with all the mod cons, only to find there’s actually nothing outside of the four walls. Make sure also that if you don’t have any outdoor space, or even a window ledge, that there is a park nearby.

Outdoors

 All images can be found on my Pinterest boards

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Tips for your dinner party table settings

Table setting has become something of a lost art. Your table setting can be as exciting as the food and in some ways the table and the food can compliment one another. Should you wish to hold a dinner party, however, knowing how to set the table correctly can make a real difference to the overall impression.

Plan your courses first

Before you start arranging the table, you should know how many guests will be arriving, who is sitting where and what courses you will be serving. Remember that in addition to the two or three main courses you plan on serving, thought should also be given to pre-dinner nibbles and coffee and cheese after pudding.

Dining

Creating an ambience

You want to create an atmosphere that compliments the occasion, so make sure your dining area is clean and fresh-looking. Remove any clutter from shelves or other furniture in the room that might distract guests’ vision. Then spruce up your dining table with a clean, white tablecloth and some freshly cut flowers.

When setting the table, start with place mats and place plates on top. Choose your best china; whether you opt for a vintage or modern set is up to you.
Lighting is key (as always) choose candles or fairy lights for a soft glow that will make your guests look fabulous.

Dining candles

Cutlery and napkins

Note that you will be using different knives for different meals. Remember also to set a separate plate (and knife) for bread and butter. You may now find you have an overwhelming number of knives, forks and spoons for each place setting, and this can seem a little intimidating for the novice: don’t panic, however, as the rules are very simple and precise. Forks go to the left of the plate, knives and spoons to its right. Work from the outside inwards, placing the different items in the order in which they will be used.

Napkins should be made of fabric where possible, though you can get some fun disposable ones. Fold them neatly just once and place them to the left of the plate. Keep them in place with napkin rings, which are cheap to buy but look very sophisticated in a table setting.

Dining copper

Glassware

Glasses – whether for water or for wine – all belong at the top right of the plate. The water glass should be placed in front, followed by the wine glass. Add in champagne glasses, as they always bring an element of sophistication and fun to any arrangement, plus the excuse to pop a bottle of bubbly!

Dining rustic

Remember that setting a table for a dinner party takes time and planning – almost as much as the actual dinner! Follow the formal rules, however, and you should have no problem turning your dinner into a roaring success.

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Interior design at home for personal mental health

As someone who has experienced personally and knows of many loved ones with anxiety, panic attacks and depression, this post is very close to my heart. I’ve contemplated over whether to write this sort of post for a very long time; associations with mental health have been hushed and given the “chin up” treatment, but now I feel as though we are finally able to begin to talk about it.
One aspect of mental health is being able to feel that we can talk about things, it’s as simple as that. Often those who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression don’t know who to talk to or how to even begin to get support and guidance to remedy their condition.

There is a huge focus on and support for those suffering physical illnesses but not so much for mental health (though this is improving with time). Your mind and body are connected, therefore your mental health massively affects your physical health.
As an interior designer within an architectural firm I work on various healthcare projects, some of which are designs for mental health centres. The choice of colours, textures and use of lighting is vital to the patient’s recovery.

1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year

– About a quarter of the population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in Britain
– Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men and about ten percent of children have a mental health problem at any one time
– Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
– Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women and self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
– Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder
Source: Mental Health Statistics 

Take a look at your loved ones; your parents, sisters, brothers, friends, children and colleagues. At least one of them is likely to be suffering at this moment. This affects everyone, whether you are suffering yourself or need to be there for someone close to you.

Before a loved one was admitted to rehab for a 6 week period, their home was basic and their living quality was, in my opinion, a little bleak. Their home felt unloved with no visible personality.
My initial concern was for their home coming after rehab; what happens after they have completed treatment and are sent home to the life and environment where they experienced great anxiety and depression in before?
Whilst they were in rehab I went over to their home and made a few changes, it was an emotional experience and I managed to see into how that person had lived for so many years. From this experience I have gathered some tips for you, which may enable you to improve your environment.

Everyone is affected by their physical environment, whether they realise it or not. Some of you may be experiencing some level of anxiety and/or depression on a daily basis without knowing it. So what can we do to improve our home environment instantly? I’m not talking about a huge overhaul, I’m suggesting small changes that will make a difference to your mental health and overall feeling of well-being and happiness. Sometimes it can be very difficult to put your finger on why you’re not feeling “yourself” and this can have a great deal to do with your home.

1. Surround yourself with positive images
Maybe landscapes that you can immerse yourself in, or photographs of previous holidays you’ve been on that you absolutely loved. Also photographs of loved ones, remind yourself of the people you have around you that care about you, without necessarily having to see them physically if you’re not feeling up to it. Though, talking to close friends and family about your problems is always advisable, try not to shut people out.

Pictures

2. Sleep
Is high on the agenda for a clear mind, if you’re not getting the recommended full 8 hours, you could begin to feel stressed. Invest in a decent mattress, spending roughly £500 if it’s a large double, also pillow covers, bed sheets and duvet covers should ideally be 100% cotton. You spend so much of your life sleeping so make it high quality rest. Buy some comfortable, soft pyjamas to keep you warm and snug, it will be a welcome sight in the morning mirror if you choose a fun pattern!

Bedroom

3. Introduce bright colours to your home
These can be in the form of cushions, throws, wall hangings or pictures, you don’t need to go splashing paint on the walls. Think about your favourite colours or pick a particular hue from the images you love, then you can search online for things that you’d like to form the colour in your home, or even draw, sew and make it yourself, if you feel up to it.

Coloured pillow

4. Natural light
Helps with various forms of depression, especially S.A.D. As soon as you wake up open the curtains/blinds and get walking around your home, make yourself a herbal tea or whatever you fancy and gaze out of the window a bit, even if its a little dreary. If you’re inside all day make use of your space, move around it according to the sun’s path. Finally give your windows a clean with some vinegar and newspaper, you’ll be surprised how much more sunlight will enter your home. When it comes to artificial lighting don’t use overhead lighting unless it has a diffusing shade, your home will feel more comforting with soft lighting from lamps dotted around and maybe even some fairy lights? (I just love fairy lights). You can also get a lamp that gradually wakes you up in the mornings like a natural sunrise for those dark winter mornings.

Natural light

5. Plants are your friends 
Nurture them and they will nurture you back. As most of you know (I presume) plants give out oxygen, therefore having them in your home will improve your breathing whilst also keeping you in touch with nature, which can have a calming effect. Some people think it’s weird to talk to plants, well actually it helps them grow because of the carbon dioxide when you breathe out. Ain’t that noice?


Plants

6. De-clutter and clean your home 
There may be things laying around that psychologically pull you down, I won’t go all Feng Shui on you, but there is something to be said about only having one bin in your home to avoid build up of rubbish. Trinkets are lovely when they’re displayed properly and not just shoved on mantle pieces and window sills, if they’re small objects maybe think about getting some box frames and displaying them on your walls instead.

Objects

7. Organise your drawers, cupboards and wardrobes 
Simply shutting a door or drawer will not do, you’ll know what’s behind there and it will stress you out – some more than others, especially someone like me!

Organisation

8. Appeal to your senses
Although you may feel disconnected and mute in your senses, there is one way to get back to feeling connected. Choose materials with texture, make sure its pleasant to feel your way around a space. We were not made to only feel the slick designs that are around today, though they are appealing to the eye, a more natural approach to surfaces may help.

Texture

9. Fill your home with music
Sing and dance around your home, who cares if you look like a loon, no-one will see you, it’s your home – embrace it. If a neighbour sees you it’ll give you an excuse to laugh.

Dancing Singing

10. Invest in some “me time”
Treat yourself to a bath once a week with scented candles and bubbles, or even just 5 minutes of yoga and/or meditation will help you to relax.

Bath

If you would like any further advice on this topic, please do get in touch with me through my contact page.

All images can be found at Pinterest

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Working from home: how to set up your perfect space

A  lack of space when it comes to allocating an area for work at home needn’t be a huge hurdle. I’m going to tell you about some simple steps towards creating your own work space.
As many more of us are “WFO” whether it be half the week or just one day, our homes are required to be multi-functional. Most offices have been designed  for the sole purpose of work, though that is changing as the line between home and work begins to smudge.  Much to the delight of many, we are becoming a society that sees the importance of making work enjoyable, sociable and actually good for our health, both physically and mentally.
When you’re at home you tend to have many seating or standing positions as you inhabit the space, a work space should be part of that flow whilst also allowing for concentration on the task.

1. Create a space that is just for you and your work

Get rid of anything that is distracting or reminds you of other things you could be doing, even things like clothes drying racks, boxes that should be in the loft. You’ll get a lot more done in your working day allowing you to have breaks and your evenings free to crack on with your home chores.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

2. De-clutter before you re-clutter

Having lots of things around you when working isn’t all bad, but make sure you start with a clean slate. You want to add in things, not layer on top of others.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

3. Keep it clean and organised

Hoover and dust your work area as much as you would the rest of your house. At the end of each day, clear your work surfaces and file things away where possible and keep a little duster nearby to give your desk a quick wipe down.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

5. Inspire

Whether you work in the creative industry or not, it’s good to create a sort of mood board that is changeable, that you keep on a wall near your desk. This can be a constant source of inspiration and enable you to keep on track with your plans. Another idea is to use some whiteboard paint, you can get it in a matt finish so you actually can’t see it on the wall. I used Smart Wall paint in a recent design for someone’s home office, it’s brilliant for brainstorming and sketching out big ideas.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

6. Use colour

Colour can really help to focus your mind, deep blues particularly. If you are able to have different areas in your office, then you can create different mood boards that spark your interests, you certainly don’t need to paint an entire wall.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

7. Pay attention to your posture

I suppose you’ve heard by now that sitting is the new smoking. Humans were not made to sit down all day long, but if you are having to do so for fairly long periods of time, ensure that your chair is at the correct height for you, your legs/knees should be at a right-angle when your feet are firmly on the floor, and that the top of your screen is at eye level. I went to a talk during Clerkenwell Design Week at SteelCase and learnt a great deal about the way we interact with our working spaces, you have to consider the amount of time you actually spend at work, compared to either being at home or sleeping… it’s a lot of time to be sitting!

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

8. Light your space

One of the main delights of working from home is that you can be flexible about where you want to work. Choose an area that is well lit, preferably near a window. Pay attention to the way daylight moves around your home and where possible, move with it!

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

9. Shut down

Once you have completed your work tasks for the day, make sure you save your work (of course) and shut down your computer, that way you will make sure you actually complete tasks rather than leaving them open for your arrival the next day.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

10. Plants are your quiet friends

Invest in some glorious green friends, they will not only keep you company, but also help with your oxygen levels whilst giving you something to look after too. If you can’t work outside, then a few large house plants can bring nature in.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

 

I’m not a fan of odd numbers, so I’m leaving it at 10. however – one tip that doesn’t relate to interiors is to make sure you refresh – Keep a stash of healthy snacks, take regular breaks and get outside.

home office, workspace, working from home, interior design

All images can be found on my Pinterest board – Office Design

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Top 5 tips for creating a calm bedroom space

Are you finding it difficult to drift off into the land of nod? Check out my top 5 tips for creating a calm bedroom space over at FADS.

Neutral Bedroom

 All images can be found on my Pinterest boards Warehouse Bedroom and Bedrooms

 

 

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Glasto Glamping

It is that time of year again where certain folk ward off the rain through the form of uncontrollable dance. Sadly I am not attending any festivals this year but as a consolation prize I have a super sunny roof terrace and pretty loud speakers…. that’ll do, pig.

I present to you my guide from last year: 6 simple tips to glamp up your festival tent. I hope it helps those of you who are lucky enough to be at a festival this year.
Maybe you’re reading this by the Pyramid stage in the scorching sun, wishing you had bought your feather duvet. (nnaaaaaahht)

interior boho

 

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Top 5 tips for shades of grey

I am no stranger to the alluring pull of grey, whether it be slate, warm, muted or cold. It seems grey has become our generation’s magnolia, though I doubt (hope) it will ever be tarnished with the same brush.

White is white, a perfect blank canvas and back drop to any space, but grey gives you the sense of something a little deeper, with a chance to show your personal taste through it’s shades. In my neverending quest to constantly adapt and improve my living space I’ve come up with a few tips on how to use the extremeley adaptable yet current Grey:

1. Pick your shade carefully
From harsh industrial down to the other end of the more soothing spectrum, greys can pack a punch or act like they’re not even there. Choose tones that will compliment how you want to feel in that particular room or space, for example you may go for a more blue/grey for the bedroom.

Large warehouse
2. Use grey to offset/ pop your colours
I find that grey pushes the colours around it, like a helpful friend boosting confidence. My favourite colours to be “popped” with grey have to be white, pink and gold. Some may argue that white is not a colour but it really is and I feel that grey ushers white to the forefront in an overall scheme.

Dining
3. Layer up with textures
Grey is a wonderful colour to use if you like your layered throws and snuggly corners. Soft knits can be seen in finer detail when they are dyed grey, also you can layer everything up in different shades or use it as a base to compliment other textiles you might already have.


4. Use nature to boost your greys
Plants and flowers look excellent on a grey backdrop – nuff said.

Grey interior
5. Use your floor as a canvas
No-one buys a white rug unless they wear plastic shoe covers and have a penchant for plastic overcoats on their sofas… though some of these types do still exist. As your sofa tends to be the largest item in your living room its normally best to keep it neutral, much like your rug. However your rugs needn’t be ridiculously pricey and can be sourced in some gorgeous patterned greys; a selection of which I have recently managed to set my eyes upon at Urban Outfitters. Here’s one for you to dribble over, you can find the rest of them at my Warehouse board.

Granite

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The silence is broken

It has been a while and for that I must apologise. However you’ll be pleased to know the silence has not been in vain. I have been interior designing my little heart out, working on a splendid client residence.

white, interiors, chair, interior designThe entire process so far has been very exciting for me.
I’ll be posting tips on various subjects within the process to help you define your own homes and the style within.
In the meantime I’ll be adding the final touches to my design, tying up any loose ends and giving my own home office a jolly good tidy!

All images can be found on my Pinterest board – Warehouse
If you would like to see photos of my completed design, please contact me directly

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