Welcome to Mi Abode – home of Scandinavian Interiors

No thats not a typo *tuts* and I’m not inviting you to snoop round my house either. Tho if you happen to be in the area and you bring biscuits I’m fairly sure I’d let you in. No, Mi Abode is a Scandinavian interiors and homeware retailer in Uppermill, Saddleworth. Which is a little off the beaten track for us Cumbrians but luckily also has an online store. Phew…

Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors and homeware retailer in Uppermill Saddleworth

So what makes Mi Abode worth talking about? Well for starters they sell a mixture of beautiful but very affordable vintage and contemporary Scandinavian design pieces. But more importantly Mia the owner is actually Scandinavian, and many of the items she sells are actually from Sweden. But what I really love is that some of them are made by her mum Helga. Yes Helga. From Sweden. Could this Scandinavian interiors shop be any more authentic?

So want to see what caught my eye when I happened to be in Uppermill for a very important breakfast meeting (by which I mean a catch up with my sister over heavily buttered fruit toast and coffee)?

The first thing I spotted was these felt baskets. Perfect for rolled up towels or loo rolls in the bathroom, or magazines or throws in the living room.

Felt baskets from Scandinavian interiors retailer MI Abode

Felt baskets – 3 sizes available, priced from £20-36

And then I fell in love with these little fellas.

Elf Christmas decorations from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill

Elf Christmas decorations made by Helga

Mamma Helga makes these Elf Christmas decorations in various shapes, sizes and shades. I bought the big guy, now known as Lars. He will probably spend Christmas on the living room hearth but he will spend the rest of the year in my Scandi styled summer house……which just might have been featured in Real Homes magazine this month *tosses hair over shoulder celebrity style*

Large Elf Christmas decoration from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill

Large Elf Christmas decoration

Small elf Christmas decorations from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill

Small elf Christmas decorations

Mia stocks the key pieces needed to get Hygge like the Danes, i.e. scented candles throws and cushions

Range of wool throws and cushions from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill

Get Hygge with their range of wool throws and cushions

Longhaired curly lambskin throw from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill

Longhaired curly lambskin throw

….and its not all monochrome.

Lighting and soft furnishings from Scandinavian interiors retailer MI Abode in Uppermill

Mustard throw and matching shade on tripod lamp

She also has some pretty funky artwork…..

Quirky framed posters from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill

Quirky framed posters

and fab lighting, including these concrete pendants.

Concrete pendant lights from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill

Concrete pendant lights

The shop is a veritable treat for the eyes, everywhere you look there’s something you want to prod and poke

img_4010

And its not just pretty stuff, there are practical things too. Instead of stuffing your kitchen drawers with postcards that you don’t want to throw away, recipes you’ve cut out of magazines and vouchers you want to keep, what about putting them in these cool storage books?

Storage books from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill

Storage books – perfect for the stuff that usually ends up in the kitchen drawers

So don’t just take my word for it get online at http://www.miabode.bigcartel.com/products and take a look for yourself

img_4012

 

A more ‘mature’ bathroom

Quick apology to subscribers who have received this post via email twice. I’m trying to fix a problem with images not downloading……

It’s around this time of year I start taking a bath. And no I don’t neglect my personal hygiene for the rest of the year, I just prefer to shower every day. Well most days anyway. If you worked from home you’d stay in your PJ’s now and again if you could wouldn’t you? But when the temperature drops and it starts getting dark at 4pm submersing myself in hot water is way more appealing than rotating in the shower trying to keep every part of me warm. And god I like my bath water hot. Thanks to my sister my skin can withstand temperatures that would have a firefighter wincing. We were forced to share a bath as children and she would keep add scalding water to try and make me get out. She should have known better, I’m as stubborn as **** so she was never going to win that battle. She should have tried my brothers party trick, which was to do a number two, that got us both out of there sharpish……Anyway, I’m also no spring chicken these days and a hot bath stops me from seizing up after a long walk with the dog.

Petite free standing cast iron bath painted in Farrow & Ball Cornforth White in Victorian style bathroom with exposed red sandstone walls

Petite Millbrook cast iron bath in my bathroom from The Cast Iron Bath Company. They can supply any bath painted in a colour of your choosing. Mine is Farrow & Ball Cornforth White

I’ve had to think about what someone might need from their bathroom as they get older quite a bit recently as two of my customers have asked me to design new bathrooms for them with this in mind. The additional challenge is that they are sisters so both bathrooms have to be different but equally fabulous so one sister doesn’t feel I’ve done a better job for her sibling. No pressure eh…..So if you’re knocking on a bit like me or helping an elderly friend or relative with their new bathroom you might find some of these ideas useful

The ‘Mature’ Bathroom

1. No nooks and crannies

The bathroom can be one of the hardest rooms to clean because of those annoying gaps behind the toilet or the sink (or freestanding bath). Now imagine trying to clean it with dodgy knees and failing eyesight. This is when you need to start thinking about fitted furniture, back to wall toilets and top mounted sinks or vanity units to close those gaps. If your bathroom is an awkward shape get a fitter that can do a bit of joinery and buy extra panels to fill in any gaps so that your furniture runs walls to wall.

And you don’t need to compromise on style any more. The manufacturers of fitted bathroom furniture have definitely upped their game in the last few years, and there’s now a huge range of traditional and contemporary styles available. You don’t need to worry about post-Brexit price increases either as there are plenty of British manufacturers, like West Yorkshire-based Ellis who have apparently been in business since 1891 (they must have been furnishing outside loos then…)

The Hepworth bathroom furniture in Soft Moss from the 1891 collection by Ellis

The Hepworth bathroom furniture in Soft Moss from the 1891 collection by Ellis

If you like a few curves in your bathroom then check out Reflection by Ellis shown here in gloss white

If you like a few curves in your bathroom then check out Reflection by Ellis shown here in gloss white

2. Wall panels

I’m a tile fan and would put them in just about any room. They are just so diverse, you’ve got colours, textures, shapes, sizes, tiling patterns, and grout colours to work with. However, if you’re trying to minimise cleaning then wall panels, particularly in the shower, make way more sense. Until fairly recently I’d avoided them like the plague as I’d only ever seen sparkly ones which frankly reminded me of school changing rooms. However I’m about to use white metro tile effect panels in a project that starts next week so I’ll let you have the verdict on those shortly. I’m also about to recommend these Aqua Reflect acrylic shower panels to one of the sisters.

Aqua Reflect acrylic shower wall panel by Multipanel

Aqua Reflect acrylic shower wall panel by Multipanel

3. The rimless toilet

Sticking with the ‘easy to clean’ theme. Another way to minimise cleaning is a toilet that cleans itself, or most of itself anyway. The new rimless designs basically push water all around the bowl to just below seat level and apparently use less water so are also more efficient. If you’re a little OCD fanatical about a clean loo then you might enjoy this video. I make no apologies – t’s actually quite interesting, honest…

4. Concealed thermostatic vs electric showers

If a customer wants or needs an electric shower (because of their boiler type or water pressure) then I will happily provide them with a copy of the latest Which? report on electric showers but I will not pick one for them. Simply because electric showers are exceptionally temperamental and what works in one household apparently doesn’t always work the same in another. Check out Amazon reviews on the top electric showers and you’ll see what a minefield it is. It’s their reputation for unexpected temperature changes that means I definitely wouldn’t recommend one to someone elderly, imagine what the shock could do…. But if you have a combi boiler you can’t beat a thermostatic shower for reliability, and if you want easy to clean then go for either a single outlet on a riser so you can take the head off the riser to clean the walls and shower screens, or one with a fixed shower head and a second handheld outlet for cleaning.

Contemporary concealed thermostatic shower with two outlets

Contemporary concealed thermostatic shower with two outlets

5. Comfort height toilets

So from hygiene to ageing. First off I suggest you go and sit on one of these comfort height toilets before you declare them the saviour of your dodgy knees. The seat is higher than a standard toilet so you don’t need to squat as low, which in theory sounds great. But if you’re a little vertically challenged like me your feet don’t touch the floor which quickly makes your legs and bum go numb, and you have to hop off when you’ve finished which will play havoc with your knees if they are a bit dodgy. Now without wanting to get into the finer details studies actually show that the natural squat position improves our ability to ‘eliminate’ for want of a better phrase. And it is thought that better ‘elimination’ can prevent ailments like bloating, straining, hemorrhoids and constipation. So who knows perhaps the next generation of toilets will be the opposite of comfort height and actually feature harnesses or handrails to help us squat lower?

A comfort height toilet is not for the vertically challenged....

A comfort height toilet is not for the vertically challenged….

 6. Grip handles

One of the sisters wants to keep a bath in her bathroom as she has a separate shower room downstairs and has asked for grip handles. This typically means you’re limited to a standard single ended bath which is what I’m recommending, but this is largely because we’re also limited to a length of 1600mm.

Danbury single ended bath with curved grips from Victorian Plumbing

Danbury single ended bath with curved grips from Victorian Plumbing

But if you did want something a bit different I found this cool double ended bath with headrests and a grip handle. Who says you have to stop sharing the bath as you get older…

Roca Becool double ended bath with headrests and grip

Roca Becool double ended bath with headrests and grip

7. Vinyl  floor

The other request I usually get when designing bathrooms for older people is vinyl flooring. Most of them would still prefer carpet, but they have realised how impractical it is in a bathroom, and although they are not ready for tiles (unless we’re fitting underfloor heating) they have accepted the idea of vinyl. Though typically they don’t like the wood or stone effects. Thankfully vinyl has also got a lot better in the last few years and I’ve recently discovered two brands with patterns even I would consider – imagine?

A sheet vinyl that looks like Victorian tiling - Beauflor Ultratrip Buzz Lisbon vinyl flooring shown here with the other samples for one of the bathrooms I am designing

A sheet vinyl that looks like Victorian tiling – Beauflor Ultratrip Buzz Lisbon vinyl flooring shown here with the other samples for one of the bathrooms I am designing

Harvey Maria has a great range of subtle patterns and colours. I’m thinking about this sage green pattern for one of the sisters to go with the Aqua Reflect wall panels.

Vinyl flooring by Harvey Maria

Vinyl flooring by Harvey Maria

There are of course other things you need to consider when designing a bathroom for someone older, such as good lighting and heating, but these things apply whatever your age. But if you are planning a new bathroom and like me you’re the wrong side of 40 maybe you’re not quite ready for bath grips and a comfort height toilet but easier cleaning has got to be appealing surely?

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part III

Ready for the final instalment of Eleven Beautiful Kitchens? Well I say final, as soon as we’ve fitted the things that didn’t arrive on time I’ll be getting the professional photographer in and you won’t be able to stop me showing you a bunch more pics – sorry.

If you missed parts one and two you can catch up here  and here.  So, three to go and I’ve saved the stunner until last. No, don’t scroll down to the bottom, be polite and at least skim through the others.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – The Final Instalment

9. The Budget But Beautiful Kitchen

Not everyone has a big budget for a new kitchen so we have both affordable and high end kitchens in the showroom. But a low budget doesn’t mean poor quality or plain which is demonstrated in this kitchen which has simple Bardolino grey oak floor cupboards and worktop, which gives a seamless finish, with white oak effect wall cupboards. I forgot to take a pic but the lower cupboard carcasses are also Bardolino grey oak which looks really neat. The sink and all the appliances are white, including the hood which will be changed next week when the traditional style chimney extractor which was supposed to be there arrives  *frowns and takes a deep breath*. The walls are tiled with simple white metro tiles but with black grout to give it a contemporary look. The drawer handles, cupboard knobs and the tap are chrome and white ceramic. The overall look being a modern take on a traditional kitchen.

The Matfen kitchen in Bardolino Grey Oak and White Oak by Browns

The Matfen kitchen in Bardolino Grey Oak and White Oak by Browns

The traditional style white chimney hood by Hotpoint which was supposed to be fitted

The traditional style white chimney hood by Hotpoint which was supposed to be fitted

 

The black grout between the white metro tiles gives it a cool contemporary look

The black grout between the white metro tiles gives it a cool contemporary look

Next alphabet coffee mugs

Yes I did clear Next out of their ‘C’ and ‘K’ mugs

10. The Marilyn Monroe Kitchen

I’ve named this kitchen after the late screen goddess because like Marilyn it’s bold with great curves, and it’s real name is Milton which isn’t half as sexy. This is actually the same colour as my own kitchen at home and we included these colours in the showroom because its so striking and it’s been in a magazine you know *smiles and nods proudly*. The doors have been colour matched to Farrow & Ball Rectory Red and Clunch and look great with the black granite worktop between. The granite has a matt dimpled finish which I prefer to the polished sparkly granites you usually see in kitchens. Ever since we fitted this kitchen people have been doing a double take when they walk past the showroom and coming back for a proper look. We included this door style so that we could show off the great curved doors, and I picked the Moroccan style tiles to mirror those curves. There are supposed to be open oak shelves above the sink and more of those lovely tiles but we just ran out of time….

Milton shaker style kitchen by PWS in Rectory Red and Clunch with curved doors, black granite worktop and Moroccan style tiling

Milton shaker style kitchen by PWS colour matched to F&B Rectory Red and Clunch, with curved doors, black granite worktop and Moroccan style tiling

Curved doors enhance the flow of the kitchen units

Curved doors enhance the flow of the kitchen units

Moroccan style Quintessential cream tiles from Topps with pale grey grout and black Moak granite from the new Sensa range by Cosentino

Moroccan style Quintessential cream tiles from Topps with pale grey grout and black Moak granite from the new Sensa range by Cosentino

Check back in a few weeks to see the open oak shelves we're adding to this wall once its tiled

Check back in a few weeks to see the open oak shelves we’re adding to this wall once its tiled

11. The BEAUTIFUL Kitchen

OK, so this is the kitchen that got the most votes at the weekend and I won’t lie it’s not cheap. If you’ve a reasonable sized kitchen expect to pay £20-25k for one of these, but it would last you a lifetime and give all your friends serious kitchen envy. It’s from the 1909 range by PWS and it is gorgeous. When I originally planned this kitchen it was going to be charcoal and light grey, but then I visited the PWS showroom in Durham and fell in love with Moleskin which is the colour on the floor cupboards and island – if you can’t see the colour in the pics imagine a really good malbec. It makes the veining in the marble effect silestone look purple too which was a pleasant surprise. This kitchen is packed with features; a huge larder with pull out storage, a curved apron front Belfast sink, a mantelpiece with built in cupboards, bookcases flanking the island, champagne and herb troughs in the island and a cloakroom feature. I was concerned that it might look a little stark with the light grey wall cupboards, white wall tiles and marbled worktop so I had the area around the stainless steel range tiled with black batik tiles from Topps which really stand out and look fabulous when you look between the two enormous pendant lights. There were supposed to be three pendants but one arrived broken, and on reflection I actually prefer it with two now. So take a look…..

In-frame slab kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS in Moleskin and Partridge Grey, with Snowy Ibiza marble effect silestone worktops

In-frame slab kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS in Moleskin and Partridge Grey, with Snowy Ibiza marble effect silestone worktops

Black Batik tiles from Topps around the stainless steel Professional Deluxe Rangemaster

Black Batik tiles from Topps around the stainless steel Professional Deluxe Ringmaster – integrated extractor still to be added….

Bookcases and champagne and herb troughs in the island

Bookcases and champagne and herb troughs in the island

Cloakroom feature with more subliminal message for CKC customers

Cloakroom feature with more subliminal message for CKC customers

Pull out storage in the larder unit, which will be backlit

Pull out storage in the larder unit, which will be backlit

Solid brass trowel handles in a satin nickel finish

Solid brass trowel handles in a satin nickel finish

So that’s all eleven beautiful kitchens. We also built two sales areas and a new reception area, but I’ll show you those when I have the pro’s pics.

This has been my biggest commercial project and I have thoroughly enjoyed it from start to (almost) finish. There have been times when I’ve wanted to kill someone. Others have also come close to killing me with my ‘diva designer demands’. My reaction to the wrong white hood in the budget kitchen not being my finest moment….But the comments from the owners, the suppliers, the team I’ve been working with and the customers has been worth it. Here are a few of my favourites:

It doesn’t feel like a kitchen showroom, it feels like a home”

“I wasn’t planning to change my kitchen for a while yet but your showroom has inspired me to start the process now and I’d like your help”

I was going to buy a new car in 2017 but after seeing your showroom I’ve decided to buy a new kitchen instead”

Now how’s that for positive feedback. Keep checking back for pics of the things that didn’t make the grand re-opening….and if you’ve got a mo let me know which was your favourite.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part II

Ready for some more beautiful kitchens? If you missed yesterday, just pop back here to catch up and then come join us. In the meantime I’m going to apologise again for some of the pics, I’m an interior designer not a professional photographer. The pro will do it justice in a couple of weeks but I just couldn’t wait to show you these beautiful kitchens.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part II

5. The Man Kitchen

I named this one on Sunday after yet another fella in the showroom homed in and said it was the one for them because it was ‘manly’. There were female fans too but it was definitely a fave among the fellas, and not just because of the colour scheme, they also liked the pull out larders and the tambour unit with black glass door. If you’re not familiar with a tambour unit it’s basically a cupboard with internal plug sockets and a glass shutter door for people who don’t like having their kettle and toaster on display – apparently big with the fellas. Anyway my intent with the design was to show customers that you can have a natural wood kitchen without it looking old fashioned. The solid wood handleless doors look great against the black laminate worktop and wall panels. Even the sink is black. I particularly like how the grooves used to open the doors are lined to match the worktop.

I also wanted to show how you can lower the breakfast bar to dining chair level which makes it better for small children or vertically challenged people like me who don’t like to have their legs swinging. The Germans love to integrate everything and this kitchen has a very handy rail system below the wall cupboards with a range of fittings available including a knife block, utensil rack and shelves for storage pots or herbs.

The overall look feels a bit Japanese to me hence the faux bonsai trees. We also got a few enquiries about the shelf lights, which were a Homesense find so I’ll need to source something similar that we can offer customers. There should have been a square black ceiling mounted extractor but this was another late delivery….

Schuller Bari kitchen with solid wood doors and black laminate worktops and wall panels

Schuller natural wood and lava black kitchen

Pull out larder storage in kitchen design

Lots of storage in the pull out larders

Wall mounted rail system in Schuller kitchen

Rail system below the wall cupboards – shown here are the knife block and herb pots, both still to be filled (I ran out of time…)

Cinema lightbox in kitchen design

The utensil rack on the rail system, and a little subliminal messaging for Cockermouth Kitchen Co (I do love a light box)

6. The Corpse Green Kitchen

The colour of this kitchen is actually Copse Green but one of the fitters kept calling it Corpse Green, which might be accurate but doesn’t really sell it. When I was doing research for the showroom displays I came across a picture of a dark green kitchen on Houzz with a white worktop and black accessories which looked fab, and there’s nowt wrong with a little plagiarism in the pursuit of beautiful kitchens is there. This has some great pull out storage in the larder and in the corner unit. If you’re wondering why there is a pendant light hanging over dead space at the end of the counter check back in a couple of weeks and I’ll show you the raised breakfast bar that didn’t make it on time *scowls*, and the white glass splashback, also on its way…..

Mornington shaker style kitchen in Copse Green by PWS with white Maple Blanco silestone worktop

Mornington shaker style kitchen in Copse Green by PWS with white Maple Blanco silestone worktop

Mornington shaker style kitchen by PWS in Copse Green

Discreet telescopic extractor, chrome and black leather handles and some more subliminal messaging for Cockermouth Kitchen Co customers

7. The Modern Cumbrian Kitchen

Steve is the CKC tiler and the split face tiles on this kitchen nearly ended our friendship. They aren’t practical in a kitchen, particularly not as a splashback, they’re not easy to fit and they’re not cheap. But god don’t they look lovely? This kitchen design is all about lines. The straight lines in the run of cupboards with high gloss handleless doors and the long in-line hob, the sharp lines of the wide rectangular extractor, and the horizontal lines in the impractical but beautiful split face tiles. The in-line hob is basically 4 cooking zones in a straight line. If you fit it at the back of your counter instead of centrally it gives you extra prep area in front of your hob and also means you don’t have pan handles hanging over your counter – a rather nice safety feature.

Cumbria is a very rural county with a lot of period properties and homeowners here often feel they need to have a traditional kitchen. So I also wanted to show that you can combine an uber modern glossy kitchen with more traditional elements like natural stone or stone effect features, in this case the wall tiles and the slate effect silestone worktop.

Remo high gloss white handleless kitchen by PWS with slate effect worktop and split face slate tiles.

Remo high gloss white handleless kitchen by PWS with Marengo Suede slate effect silestone worktop and split face slate tiles.

Gas lift stools I actually like with curved smoked grey acrylic seats

Gas lift stools I actually like with curved smoked grey acrylic seats

Neff in-line hob and matching chimney hood

Neff in-line hob and matching chimney hood

Beautiful kitchens like this don't need much dressing, just a few high gloss and slate accessories

Beautiful kitchens like this don’t need much dressing, just a few high gloss and slate accessories

8. The Loft Apartment Kitchen

Now this is my favourite kitchen. I love rooms which feature raw materials in their decor, particularly loft or warehouse apartments with exposed brickwork, wood floors and steel girders. So in this kitchen I included wood, brick, metal and leather and it was hugely popular at the weekend because despite the steel features it looks so warm and inviting. People kept asking me if the walls were clad in actual bricks because the tiles which are from Topps look so realistic. The leather door handles were a little like marmite – you either loved them or hated them, but the point was to show people something they might not have seen before. Personally I love them, but then I also love marmite. We also wanted to show people that if you have a narrow galley kitchen you don’t need to have full depth floor cupboards on both sides, you can use wall cupboards on the floor one one side so that you can have storage and floor space.

Gainsborough shaker style kitchen in Portobello Stone by PWS

Gainsborough shaker style kitchen in Portobello Stone by PWS

Apron front stainless steel belfast sink with stainless steel rise and fall pendant light. The wall colour is Mince Tarts by Valspar

Apron front stainless steel belfast sink with stainless steel rise and fall pendant light. The wall colour is Mince Tarts by Valspar

Angled black glass extractor and black and stainless steel appliances

Angled black glass extractor and black and stainless steel appliances

Integrated microwave in the narrow side of the galley kitchen, lit from below by spots in the plinth

Integrated microwave in the narrow side of the galley kitchen, lit from below by spots in the plinth

Tan leather strap handles - I think they'll look better with age, but not everyones cup of tea

Tan leather strap handles – I think they’ll look better with age, but not everyones cup of tea

So what do you think of these? Found a favourite yet? Three more to come and I’ve saved the best one until last…..

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part I

If you’re not already sat down then I suggest you take a seat PDQ because I’m about to show you some seriously beautiful kitchens. It’s been nine months since Cockermouth Kitchen Co was flooded (for the second time sadly…) but their new showroom is finally open and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has achieved. As the designer I’ve been visualising this for months but it has still exceeded my expectations, and the owners. It flows, there’s space, light, colour, detail and personal touches…..but enough gushing, lets show you lovely people some beautiful kitchens, not all at once mind, it’s way too much to take in at one sitting.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part I

1. The Great British Kitchen

This kitchen was actually made in Germany by Schuller but the red, white and blue feels very patriotic hence the name. We had chefs cooking in here over the weekend as part of the Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth and as the display is in the window it was all a bit Saturday Kitchen. It has a high gloss handleless design with a single run of dark blue cabinets behind a huge white island. Most of the appliances are wall mounted so they are easily accessed and cleaned and the ovens have slide and hide doors which I love.  We did order a white ceramic hob for the island but we needed to fit a temporary black 13 amp one for the weekend cooking demo’s… *tuts like a diva*. The worktop is white silestone and includes a moulded silestone sink and a very fancy (i.e. expensive) white mixer tap with pull aerator and light which changes colour depending on the temperature of the water. Completely frivolous but very cool. Although I love the contrast between the indigo blue and white I thought the red accents would perk it up a bit. Please try and ignore the fact that our neighbours across the street are having a sale. At least their sign matches…

High gloss handleless Next 125 kitchen by Schuller in Indigo Blue and White. One of eleven beautiful kitchens designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd for Cockermouth Kitchen Co

High gloss handleless Next 125 kitchen by Schuller in Indigo Blue and White

KWC Eve tap in glacier white

KWC Eve tap in glacier white – RRP £899 (gulp)

Not lots of pics I’m afraid as its really really hard to photograph such a glossy kitchen, so you’ll need to wait till the pro does his magic next month.

2. The Retro Kitchen

The owners were really not happy very sceptical when I told them I was putting a brown and yellow kitchen in their new showroom. To be honest this colour combo usually reminds me of the nylon and knitwear outfits me and my poor sister used to wear in the 70’s so I surprised myself with this design. This is also a Schuller kitchen and the two things I wanted to show in this display were the slab door with unusual moulded edges and the integrated door handles. I picked a brown worktop and sink to match the doors to keep the look simple – there’s enough going on with those yellow doors right? The worktop has a matt marbled finish and is from the Dekton silestone range by Cosentino, and the Cristadur top mounted sink is by Schock. I think its the Ochre Catania tiles from Topps that really finish it off though, oh and my faux lemons of course. Please ignore the chimney extractor, this was a last minute addition when we realised the proper one hadn’t been ordered….

One of eleven beautiful kitchens designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd for Cockermouth Kitchen Co

Schuller kitchen with dark wood effect and yellow slab doors

CDA glass shelf extractor

The CDA glass shelf extractor that should be in the display….

Catania Ochre wall tiles from Topps tiles

Catania Ochre wall tiles from Topps tiles

Matching accessories including a bronze plug socket

Its all in the detail – matching accessories including a bronze plug socket

3. The Shaker Meets Industrial Kitchen

This is the third out of five Schuller kitchens we are displaying and I wanted to show that shaker style doesn’t have to mean traditional so I added a polished steel effect silestone worktop, industrial tiling, reclaimed wood lights and vintage swivel stools. I love the huge wrap around breakfast bar and round cupboard at the end. It also features my two favourite appliances, a dual temperature wine fridge for lovers of red and white wine (is there anyone that doesn’t love both?), and a 90cm wide two drawer fridge which I have at home. I can’t show you a pic of the fridge in action as it didn’t arrive on time so the doors are just hiding a hole right now…

Schuller Casa shaker style kitchen in blue-grey with polished steel effect silestone worktop, and industrial and vintage tiling and accessories

Schuller Casa shaker style kitchen in blue-grey

Polished steel effect silestone worktop

Polished steel effect silestone worktop

A mixture of vintage and industrial tiles, lighting, seating and accessories

A mixture of vintage and industrial tiles, lighting, seating and accessories

4. The Late Bloomer Kitchen

I call it this because nobody in the team was loving this plain mid-grey slab door kitchen when it got fitted. And they didn’t love the polished copper handles when they arrived, “cheap looking” being the phrase most used (how very dare they). But when we fitted those handles they started to take notice. Then we added the polished copper tap, geometric tiles and copper accessories and bam! suddenly they got it. This is now a kitchen with impact. It also has a sleek Corian worktop with moulded Corian sink which is rather lovely.

The Nova kitchen by Schuller in grey with dove grey Corian worktop and polished copper accessories

The Nova kitchen by Schuller in grey

Polished copper kitchen cupboard and drawer handles

The controversial polished copper handles

Dove grey Corian worktop with Designer White moulded sink and Avia polished copper tap

Dove grey Corian worktop with Designer White moulded sink and Avia polished copper tap

Polished copper plug socket

Its all in the details – copper accessories and polished copper plug socket

Polished copper kitchen utensils and a polished copper plug socket

That utensil pot is actually a toilet brush holder – if you don’t tell I won’t….

So that’s all you’re getting for now, more to follow this week. I’d love to know if you have a favourite so far?

The Budget Bathroom Challenge

I’m not ashamed to say I’m a teeny bit competitive……Ok so there might have been an incident at an office Christmas party many years ago when I just might have physically injured one or two colleagues in my enthusiasm to win a game of musical chairs. But what’s the point of playing a game other than to win? Which is why I’m particularly loving one of my current projects. My customer has a budget that most people would use to upgrade their kitchen, but we’re going to redecorate his whole house, including a new kitchen and bathroom. Now how’s that for a challenge?

All interior designers love the big budget jobs, I mean who wouldn’t enjoy spending mega bucks. But (maybe perversely) I actually prefer the challenge of creating something beautiful on a budget. I think it’s because the customer really appreciates the value you’ve added by stretching their budget. And trust me it’s a hell of a lot harder to work with a small budget, which plays to my (highly) competitive nature.

The budget bathroom challenge

My customer has known for a while that his house has needed attention, but a combination of time, budget, overwhelming choices and the work involved has caused him to procrastinate. Then a few weeks ago he slipped in the shower and grabbed the shower curtain, which brought the rail crashing down. So he grabbed the wall, which brought a handful of tiles off. And it was at that point he decided enough was enough. And just to prove I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect here’s a picture of the crime scene.

Before image in the budget bathroom project by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Before image in the budget bathroom project

Most of my customers have no idea what it will cost to update their home, so one of the first things I do is give them an estimate of what I think they’ll need spend to achieve what they want. If that exceeds the figure they had in mind we tweak or scale back their plans. If it doesn’t, job’s a good ‘un and we crack on. I went through this process with my customer, we agreed a budget and how we would allocate this between rooms so we were good to go.

If you have a small bathroom and you’re not able to do any of the work yourself you can expect to spend at least £2-3k, and it can easily exceed that, especially if you want a walk in shower. The biggest element of this will be the labour cost, so the best way to manage this is to find a fitter that can do everything. which can be (to use one of Mr W’s delightful phrases) ‘as rare as rocking horse shit’. But once you start adding up quotes from a plumber, an electrician, a tiler and maybe a joiner or plasterer it starts getting pricey. Thankfully I work with a multi-skilled fitter – the fabulous Ben Butler.

There are a number of other ways you can manage costs:

1. Try and keep the existing bathroom layout

Or limit the distance you move fittings so your fitter doesn’t have to spend lots of time fitting new pipework and electrics.

2. Consider vinyl flooring instead of tiles

Particularly sheet vinyl as opposed to vinyl planks or tiles as it’s quicker to lay. It’s not all nasty sparkly sticky looking plastic these days either, there are some great wood or stone effects, and it’s hard wearing, anti-slip, hygienic, anti-allergenic, easy to clean and quiet underfoot. Check out the Tarkett Homestyle range, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Tarkett Homestyle Basaltina Carbon vinyl flooring

Tarkett Homestyle Basaltina Carbon vinyl flooring

3. Limit tiling to where you need it or use waterproof wall panels

Was there a law passed in the 80’s that decreed that all bathrooms must be tiled floor to ceiling in pastel marble effect tiles with an ornate border tile, or is it just all the ones I’m now updating? If you want to save money just tile in the shower, and round the bath and sink. Or use waterproof wall panels like these brick effect sheets by MultiPanel which are just over £80 for a 2.4m x 1.2m sheet.

TilePanel waterproof wall panels by MultiPanel

TilePanel waterproof wall panels by MultiPanel

4. Keep your central ceiling light

If your bathroom is a few years old there’s a good chance it’s just got a flush or semi-flush light in the centre of the room, and maybe a light over your sink. Now when I’ve got more to spend I usually recommend ceiling spots, lighting over the sink and in some cases other feature lighting maybe in the shower, or around the bath, all on different circuits so they can be used separately. But if you’re on a tight budget just upgrade the ceiling light to something with multiple LED bulb’s so it’s bright enough and save the cost of additional fittings and your fitters time.

Benton Triple GU10 Spotlight Fitting

Benton Triple GU10 Spotlight Fitting

5. Shop around for bathroom fittings

Many suppliers offer bathroom packs which are cheaper than buying individual items, or packs of matching bath and sink taps. Or look on eBay as you can often find second hand fittings that are in perfectly good condition, or lovely vintage items that people don’t care for anymore. I’ve even sold my customers old bathroom fittings to other customers. One mans trash is another mans treasure and all that.

So I have done all of the above for my customer and we’ve agreed on a plan that comes in under £4k for a bathroom thats approx. 3m by 4m, needs plastering and will include a bath and walk in shower. Challenge accepted – challenge met. Work hopefully starts in October so watch this space for what I can confidently predict will be some spectacularly good before and afters.

Oh and back to that game of musical chairs, for the record, I did win.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 13.28.35

Things are hotting up in the kitchen (showroom)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog (thank you lovely people) you’ll know I do a lot of work with Cockermouth Kitchen Company (aka CKC) and have designed their new showroom which is due to open in September *jigs about excitedly*. Getting the layout right was probably the biggest challenge. The main showroom is a massive 175 square metres but we needed to accommodate kitchens, customer service desks, displays for door samples, worktops, taps, handles and brochures, oh and some space for actually walking around….We also needed to use some of the space for the back office which will straddle the main showroom and the rear showroom – another whopping 100 square metres currently earmarked for bathroom and bedroom displays. It doesn’t look much from the street but it’s like the Tardis inside and I’m about to turn it into a retail space to rival IKEA.

Spatial planning is so important in retail as you’re never short of product to display and suppliers are vying to get their goods on show, but the space needs to flow and feel bright, clear and uninterrupted. After much hair pulling (and not just mine) I got there and the new showroom will have 11 complete kitchens, 2 customer service desks and plenty of room for samples.

Floor plan for Cockermouth Kitchen showroom

Floor plan for the new showroom at Cockermouth Kitchen Company

Next major headache challenge was designing the kitchen displays. Now I could have filled it with the top sellers but then it would basically be a white and grey showroom, not exactly gonna to draw the crowds in… But if you go the other way, i.e. multi-coloured mayhem, customers won’t trust you to deliver their dream kitchen. So there has to be balance. Give the displays in the window a little WOW to get them to look up from their smartphones and into the window, then once you’ve lured them inside show them something they’ll like but tempt them with a few other ideas. And it’s all about the complete picture. I go in some showrooms and their kitchens are so badly dressed its criminal. You know what I’m talking about, no lights or tiles, just the obligatory bottle of olive oil next to the hob, a jar of dried pasta and a set of cheap tea, coffee and sugar canisters. Inspiring? No.

This is the image that made me buy my own kitchen from CKC. It’s from the 1909 range that they offer and I just thought, if they can deliver this then I’m in.

Traditional 'pencilled and scalloped' kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS

Traditional ‘pencilled and scalloped’ kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS

Of course my own kitchen looks very little like this as I then got my interior design head on and started racking up a huge bill incorporating features I’ve always wanted. Click the pic to read more on this.

1909 kitchen pencilled and scalloped designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors

The kitchen at Chez Wilson

The average kitchen costs £15k so its a big investment, and why most peoples kitchens are at least 10 years old. But the great thing about kitchens is that you can design a very simple kitchen that won’t date, and then style it with tiles, lighting, seating or accessories that are more easily changed when the time comes for a new look. Coming up with all that for the 11 new kitchens was a lot of fun.

“So what’s it all going to look like” I hear you shout (in my dreams..) All in good time my friends, all in good time. But here’s a sneak preview of some of the things you can expect to see on opening day.

A modern take on the natural oak kitchen - clean lines and simple slab doors. Natural knotty oak by Schuller

A modern take on the natural oak kitchen – clean lines and simple slab doors

A traditional larder with more practical pull out shelving

Traditional larder with practical pull out shelving

Attingham Seagrass Geometric design tiles from Topps Tiles

Attingham geometric tiles – one of the striking tile ranges we’ve chosen from Topps tiles our partner for the showroom

Dekton Trillium worktop by Cosentino inspired by the look of oxidized steel

Dekton Trillium worktop by Cosentino – the finish was inspired by the look of oxidized steel.

A modern take on the traditional Belfast sink - a steel apron fronted sink

A modern take on the traditional Belfast sink – a steel apron fronted sink

Clear 10 light cluster pendant light

Clear 10 light cluster – no longer available from BHS (sob). Every kitchen includes feature lighting.

So that’s enough teasers for now. It’s been a fabulous project. I’ve wanted to kill a few people along the way for omitting to tell me I can’t have certain items when I’ve designed the whole bloody kitchen round said items (you know who you are….). And not having the same floor space as IKEA I couldn’t have everything I wanted. And I keep seeing new things I want which is very frustrating. I saw this idea the other day, a splashblack and breakfast bar made from a quartz that has translucent patches that allow the light from LED’s behind and below to filter through. Bloody genius. *scowls furiously for not being clever enough to have thought of this, and no room in the showroom for it now*

Quartz splashback backlit with LED in PWS Design Centre

Quartz splashback backlit with LED

Quartz breakfast bar lit from below with LED

Quartz breakfast bar lit from below with LED

So the countdown to opening day has started. Keep checking back for updates.

Mirror mirror on the wall

The life of an interior designer is sometimes a little schizophrenic. Right now I’m flitting between period elegance, simple scandinavian, cool contemporary and boutique chic. Different customers, (or that would be one crazy looking house), different styles and different briefs. But the common denominator is the simple mirror. It doesn’t matter what your style or budget I’m always going to throw in a mirror or two. And I’m not just talking about the obvious places, i.e. over the fireplace or above the bathroom sink. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to decorating with mirrors. I’ve also got a list of places where you should not hang a mirror. Interested?

Decorating with mirrors

Art is very personal and it might take years to find something you like enough to hang on your walls that you can afford. It might sound dramatic but you may never find anything you like. Retailers like Next know that, which is why they produce shelf loads of bland canvases in the same colours as that seasons soft furnishings to save you even looking for artwork. But instead of settling for a bland canvas or a stock poster from IKEA why not hang a mirror.

Feature gold sunburst mirror

Feature sunburst mirror – image via Pinterest

If you can’t find or afford a huge feature mirror like this gorgeous sunburst one then use a set. This lovely set of three is £159 from Furniture in Fashion but you don’t need to spend a fortune. You can pick up great mirrors in places like Argos or Wilko for under £20. Like cushions, they don’t need to be the same size or style, just stick with the same colour palette and hang them in  rows or clusters.

Set of three decorative gold mirrors

Trio of gold mirrors from Furniture in Fashion

Or create a feature using frameless mirror tiles. Homebase and IKEA sell packs of 30cm square mirror tiles for under a tenner. If you do have a few quid more to spend Notonthehighstreet.com have packs of 20cm hexagonal tiles for (gulp) £185.00. Very on trend tho.

Hexagonal mirror tiles

Collection of hexagonal mirror tiles – image via Pinterest

I like to mix mirrors in with pictures (and sometime other random oddities) to expand and add more interest to the arrangement.

Gallery wall including pictures and mirrors

Collection of pictures and mirrors – image via Houzz

And if you can’t find any pictures or family photos you like but still want a gallery wall then just use mirrors.

Gallery wall of mirrors

Gallery wall of mirrors – image via Houzz

This is also a great way of breaking up a wall if you want to paint it a really bold colour but don’t have the balls are worried it might be too much.

Gallery wall of metallic mirrors

Collection of metallic mirrors – image via Houzz

Mirror Image

Mirrors are obviously great for bouncing light around a room but if you hang them facing a window or side on they will also reflect the view. So it doesn’t matter if you were last to the dining table or you have to sit with your back to the window to watch the telly you can still see the view.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 22.07.49

Mirrors reflect light and the view – image via Houzz

Mirrors either side of the bed increase the glam factor of even the most glamorous bed, and will reflect the light from your bedside lights – double whammy.

Glamorous bedroom with large mirrors either side of the bed

Uber glam bedroom – image via Houzz

And just when you thought they’d done enough, mirrors can also create the illusion of space, elongating a room or adding height.

God I love this room….the reflection of that pitched roof creates amazing symmetry and you get twice as much chandelier.

Mirrored wall and doors visually double the size of this room

Mirrored walls and doors visually double the size of this room – image via Houzz

So where should you not put mirrors?

  1. On the back of the bathroom door if your toilet faces the door. Enough said.
  2. On your wardrobe doors if you’ll be able to see your reflection when you open your eyes in the morning.
  3. Above the bath, unless its high enough that you can only see your head and shoulders.
  4. Facing the shower, again unless its at head height. Never have a long mirror facing the shower. I bet not even Heidi Klum wants to see herself showering.
  5. Above the bed. It’s not the 70’s and you’re not a porn star.

So the answer is basically anywhere you might catch your reflection when you’re naked and/or not looking your best. Mirrors should be used to decorate and illuminate not kill our self esteem.

Vintage mirrors in bathroom

Vintage mirror hung above the bath in one of my recent projects

So time to chuck out that IKEA poster?

Behold the Boutique-Victorian Mashup Bathroom

That’s quite a title isn’t it? But a grand bathroom like the one I’m about to show you deserves a grand title, and oh lordy what a transformation. Shall we jump right in with a few fabulous before pics?

Bathroom design before images

Dated cramped shower and my biggest pet hate, no alcoves for shampoo and conditioner

Bathroom design before images

More pet hates, free standing storage and cluttered sinks

Bathroom design before pictures

Just two words. Orange bath….

The homeowner has a lovely Victorian townhouse and wanted a mixture of new and traditional in the new bathroom. I actually quite liked the existing sink and toilet and the taps, and they wouldn’t have been out of place in a new bathroom with some traditional features but the homeowner was adamant, she wanted a completely new bathroom, and who am I to argue…. (Cue rubbing of hands with glee at prospect of picking new stuff…)

I love a monochrome bathroom but they can look a little stark, and as I’d just turned the homeowner on to the idea of colour after painting her bedroom pink (see the pink bedroom project) I needed to inject a little colour into the bathroom. I plumped for bottle green after spotting some green glass bottles in a local homeware shop, which got me thinking about peacock feathers, and before you could say wowzers I had a plan with wow factor.

Bathroom design moodboard

The Boutique-Victorian mashup moodboard

The focal point in the new bathroom is without a shadow of a doubt the free standing double ended slipper bath. Now if you’re going to have a fabulous bath like this one it needs to stand out. When I told the homeowner I wanted to panel half the wall behind and paint it all black she was a little shocked but thankfully decided to trust me. So what do you think – was I right?

Bathroom - double ended slipper bath against a black panelled wall and lit from below

Free standing feature bath

The panelling is from an eBay seller who can make whatever style or size you want. It’s made of water resistant MDF so fine for a bathroom and only cost £110 including delivery.

Deck lights used in a bathroom to light a free standing bath from below

In floor spotlights light the bath from below and provide a useful night light

The bath was a real bargain too, only £400 from Bathandshower.com. Look how glam it looks lit from below. Just the right amount of light for those late night bathroom visits, or more importantly soaking in the bath with a glass of wine….We used outdoor deck lights so it wouldn’t matter if water sloshed over the edge of the bath. The guys at my local electrical wholesalers told me I could submerge them or stand on them and they’d still work. If you’re wondering what the lights are above the bath its just the reflection from a row of glass tealight holders sitting on a shelf I got the fitter to fit on top of the panelling. You gotta have candlelight when you take a bath.

Those fabulous Victorian style floor tiles were also a bargain at around £20 a square metre. They’re called Harrow Grafito and I bought them from Roccia (formerly Tile Mart) in Preston. If you’re up that way its worth popping into their enormous showroom for a nosy. (If you see Ben say hi from me).

I decided early on in the process, before I’d even picked a colour scheme, that this bathroom was going to have an antique marble topped washstand. A modern vanity unit just wasn’t going to cut it. And I found a beauty in one of my regular haunts, Old Mill Antiques in Manchester.

Antique marble topped washstand in a Victorian boutique style bathroom

Antique marble topped washstand

I intentionally picked an oval sink and mirror to match the shape of the bath and the sink looks beautiful sat on top of that grey marble. The cut glass accessories are also a great fit. They’re from Homesense (aka land of amazing finds). Oh and see that black leather cube bottom left? It’s an ottoman doubling as a laundry bin, or somewhere to sit your book when you’re climbing into the bath. Assuming of course you have time to read in the bath….It does three jobs and was only £10 (from Dunelm) – now that’s what I call a bargain.

Bathroom - Grey marble topped antique washstand with oval sink, traditional taps and cut glass accessories

Oval sink and traditional taps and cut glass accessories

If I could only give you one bathroom tip (which would make for a very short blog), it would be to always install the biggest shower you can and get your fitter to build a false wall so that you can have alcoves for shampoo bottles. I hate cramped shower cubicles, and I want to cry when I see those horrible metal baskets stuck to the walls, or worse still shampoo bottles sitting in the shower tray…..

Bathroom - Large rectangular shower enclosure with traditional shower and lighting in alcove

Large rectangular enclosure with traditional shower and lighting in alcove

The homeowner was worried the shower enclosure was going to be too big but again she trusted me and was glad she did. I have to give the fitter Ben Butler credit for the light in the alcove as it was his idea – nice touch eh?

Bathroom - lighting in shower enclosure

Lighting in alcove

I also wanted to mention the paintwork as I guess it’s not every day you see black woodwork. But it’s a great way to frame light coloured walls.  I love the black door. The wall colour is called Sleeping Inn by Valspar which is white with a touch of grey. The black paint colour is Downing Street by Valspar, very topical at the moment…..

Bathroom door and woodwork painted in Downing Street by Valspar

Door and new skirting boards painted in Downing Street by Valspar

As Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design”. Which is why I hunted for the right toilet roll holder until I found this one on eBay. It might seem trivial to some but like the washstand a modern one would have looked out of place.

Bathroom - Reproduction Victorian style toilet roll holder

Reproduction Victorian style toilet roll holder

I bought both the vintage frameless mirrors on eBay for a total of £60. It amazes me that these mirrors can be picked up so cheaply as I think they’re beautiful. The peacock artwork is also from an eBay seller. I bought 4 for £22.50 and framed them in black frames from Wilko.

Bathroom - Vintage bevelled edge frameless mirror and peacock artwork

Vintage bevelled edge frameless mirror and peacock artwork

I always like to add personal touches to my designs that the customer will appreciate. In this case it’s these lights I made using battery operated fairly lights from IKEA and cut glass decanters from a charity shop. The homeowner loved them.

Bathroom - battery operated fairy lights in vintage cut glass decanters

Battery operated fairy lights in cut glass decanters

So what do you think of my Boutique-Victorian mashup, is this a bathroom with wow factor?

Come collaborate with me

Some might think its easy being an interior designer. I mean it’s just picking paint and furniture isn’t it? (Raises left eyebrow sarcastically). But I would challenge anyone who thinks it’s easy to design a room for someone they just met and get it right first time.

People rarely know exactly what they want. If they did they wouldn’t need an interior designer. And don’t be thinking their homes provide all the answers. Yes there are clues, but most peoples homes include (a) things they like, (b), things they once liked but don’t any more, (c) things they bought on a temporary basis and never replaced (I suspect this accounts for a large chunk of IKEA sales…), and (d) things they never liked but were either gifts, inherited or came with their partner when they moved in….You all know the conversation, “no no, I want you to feel like this is your home, so of course you can bring your (insert offending item)”. Be grateful if it’s only a novelty phone, and no I’m not telling you what Mr W has inflicted on me over the years.

Novelty Homer Simpson telephone

Novelty Homer Simpson telephone

So a big part of being an interior designer is figuring out what a customer will like and I’m proud to say that so far I have a 100% success rate. But as the title of this blog suggests, I do my homework. After I’ve snooped around their home looking for clues (with their permission of course), I interrogate them ask a whole bunch of questions. Depending on the customer I sometimes use images to draw out what they like, and encourage all my customers to send me pics of anything that catches their eye.

Houzz has a fabulous Ideabook tool which facilitates this process. I recently collaborated with one customer using this tool. Between us we uploaded 20+ images. She added things she liked and I added a range of rooms and colour schemes to test what she’d told me she liked and didn’t like.

Monochrome Scandi style bedroom in Ideabook on Houzz

This image helped me rule out purely monochrome schemes as the customers husband said this room was too grey

We don’t realise how much info we take in when we look at a picture, which we subconsciously judge, categorise and file for potentially future use. When you get someone to really look and pick out what they like or don’t like it and then summarise the findings for them it can often surprise them.

Blue and grey Scandi style living room added to an Ideabook in Houzz

A room my customer liked after telling me she didn’t like blue unless it was her jeans.

I use this tool for elements within a design too. I have one customer who has a split level bungalow and we want to replace the staircases. I know I know, you’re now thinking ‘bungalows don’t have stairs’. Well they do if they’re built on a hillside. The bungalow is all single-storey but you have to climb a few stairs to pass between some of the rooms. I used an ideabook to show the customer images of different contemporary staircases so we could agree on the design.

Lighting on staircase in Ideabook on Houzz

I used this image to show the customer how we could light up their new staircases

Many of my customers have no idea how much it might cost to update their home. When this is the case I help them by putting together an estimate based on what they want to do and the look they are aiming for. We then use this to establish a budget, which I make sure we stick to. This is why I’ll never be the next Kevin McCLoud or George Clarke – who wants to watch a homeowner achieve their budget, or heaven forbid underspend…..

I usually come up with a plan for a new customer quite quickly and will often run this by them to check I’m on the right track, and maybe show them the colour palette I’m thinking of using. If I get a positive response then I’ll start working on the designs.

Colour palette for Scandi style new build project

The colour palette I agreed with my customer for her Scandi inspired new build after collaborating on an Ideabook

Depending on the size or scope of the project it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to pull it all together. When I’m doing full houses I like to start with one or two rooms so the customer can get comfortable with my work. I find that gaining their trust early on speeds up the whole process – no need to keep checking back.

By the time I’ve finished designing a room I’ll have a presentation for the customer which includes a mood board, floor plan, samples of any flooring, fabric etc. and a list of everything to go in the room, where it’s from and how much it will all cost.

Mood board by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd for a kitchen project

Mood board for a recent kitchen project

And then the real work starts.

I book all the tradespeople, order everything we need and then watch it all like a paranoid control freak hawk until the work is done and they’re ready for me to come and add the finishing touches. This is where I  can relate to Mr McCloud and Mr Clarke. Things never go smoothly however organised and efficient you are. Things will break. Deliveries will not turn up. Tradespeople will get delayed. You just need to be ‘on it like a car bonnet’ which fortunately is my specialty.

Now most people would find this exceptionally stressful, but not me, I thrive on it. And the satisfaction when you’re finished and the customer is beaming makes it all worth while.

Customer review for Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

So if you were one of those people who thought my job was easy, do you still think so?