2016 Interior Design Trends

So that’s a big attention grabbing headline for such a small unknown interior designer isn’t it? Don’t worry I’m not going to get ideas above my station and start making wild, outlandish predictions. But as all the big guns in interiors are predicting their 2016 interior design trends I thought I would spend the next few weeks sharing my favourites and adding my two-pence-worth. Some might call that plagiarism, personally I prefer ‘sharing and contributing’.

So I’m a huge fan of interiors journalist and writer Kate Watson-Smyth and one of her top 10 interior design tips is to always add something black to a room. Actually if you read her blog her tip is to add something old, something new, something black and something gold, but it’s the black which she says will anchor the space and bring definition, and I agree. There’s something reassuringly solid and stylish about black, which is why I’m delighted to hear I should be able to get my hands on more of it, specifically black metal.

2016 Interior Design Trends Part I – Black Metal

Some American interior designers think copper and rose gold metal are history, or never even belonged in interiors, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal on what’s in and what’s out for 2016. To quote Los Angeles decorator Lindsay Pennington, “Copper is for pots and pans. Rose gold is for jewellery.” I’m not sure the Brits agree judging by the plethora of metallics available right now. But it seems interior designers on both sides of the pond agree on one thing though – black metal is definitely high on the list of interior design trends for 2016.

Black stainless steel appliances

According to Houzz, the kitchen is the place for it. Apparently in a poll nearly two-thirds of Houzzers say they would consider black as an alternative to chrome appliances. I’m already onboard having installed a black SMEG Victoria Dual Fuel Cooker in my kitchen last year, along with a black microwave, and a black kettle and toaster set by Heston Blumenthal. The toaster has a crumpet setting and buttons for ‘a quick look’ and ‘a little bit more’. I was instantly sold. Just don’t tell Mr W what I spent….. Anyway, if like me you hate cleaning fingerprints off chrome you might want to check out the new collections from Samsung and LG. “Won’t leave smudges, only impressions” is actually one of LG’s straplines.

Another great thing about black appliances is that unlike chrome they work equally well in both modern and traditional kitchens, which means you don’t have to replace everything if you decide to change your cabinets further down the line.

2016 interior design trends - Black Stainless Steel appliance collection from Samsung

The Black Stainless Steel Collection from Samsung

Black bathroom fittings

Another place I would definitely welcome some black metal is in the bathroom. The comments in the Wall Street Journal from LA based, British interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard suggest we should be seeing more black hardware and bathroom fittings but as far as I can see our choices in the UK are still a little limited. But if thats about to change its music to my ears.

I was looking for some black bathroom fittings recently for a Victorian townhouse (see my Houzz Ideabook) and could only find these from Homary. Now I like them but I’d prefer something a bit chunkier.

2016 interior design trends - Black metal bathroom fittings from Homary.com

Black Chester bathroom fittings from Homary

I thought they would look fantastic with a black factory window style shower enclosure, which I’m also struggling to source. I’m sure I could have one made but that won’t come cheap…So I just have to hope that the makers of shower screens spot the black metal trend and start making them. Quickly. If they could have them in the shops by spring I’d really appreciate it…..(sighs loudly).

2016 interior design trends - black metal bathroom fittings

Black metal factory window style shower enclosure on Pinterest

Black metal furniture

Traditionally black metal furniture has been limited to bed frames, unless you count garden furniture. (I’m intentionally ignoring those dodgy wrought iron coffee tables you find in Spanish villas and hotel reception areas). But apparently we can expect to see more in 2016. Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch to these cool black steel and glass side tables designed by Jasper Morrison. At £390 for one tier and £590 for two tiers I don’t expect to be enquiring about delivery costs to Cumbria anytime soon. Thankfully there are already some stylish and affordable alternatives available.

2016 interior design trends - Black steel and glass side tables by Jasper Morrison

Black steel and glass side tables by Jasper Morrison

I recently used this black steel and wood side table from Habitat as a bedside table in The Pink Bedroom project. At £25 its an absolute steal (boom boom – see what I did there). Habitat also does a matching coffee table which is only £20. £20!
2016 interior design trends - Black powder coated steel and wood side table by Habitat

Black powder coated steel and wood side table from Habitat

It worked really well with the black metal dormitory style bed in the pink bedroom, and the wooden fitted wardrobes you can just see in the reflection in the overmantel mirror.

2016 interior design trends - black metal furniture in bedroom designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

The Pink Bedroom

I recently discovered these black steel lounge chairs from Cult Furniture. You have a choice of white or black metal and charcoal or cream seats but I would stick with the black and charcoal option. They would look very stylish paired with a charcoal sofa and at £89 you can probably afford a pair.

2016 interior design trends - Cult Living black powder coated steel and ash Aura Lounge chair from Cult Furniture

Black powder coated steel and wood Cult Living Aura lounge chair from Cult Furniture

So that’s the first instalment on 2016 interior design trends. What do you think? Is there room for some black metal in your home?

The Bijou Bathroom

I lOVE LOVE LOVE designing bathrooms. I think it might be the problem solving element. Firstly, few people have the big bathrooms they’d love so its always an exercise in maximising space. Secondly, the waste pipes are never where you want them to be so you either have to compromise on where things go or come up with an ingenious solution. Thirdly, people often have strong preferences about the types of fittings they like, but this doesn’t come out until you ask whether they want separate or mixer taps and you get a 10 minute rant about the dodgy mixer tap in a hotel they stayed in once that was too tall for the sink so it sprayed water all over them every time they used it……. So take note any newbie bathroom designers, ask a lot of questions upfront and be prepared for a bit of passion.

The bathroom I’m about to show you is very bijou. Less than 2m square. And the homeowner loves a bath so turning it into a shower room was not an option. She has a lovely Victorian terraced house so only one wall was external, which gave us the usual ‘location of the waste pipe’ problem and therefore only one practical layout. She wanted a much bigger window and the door had to open inwards, limiting wall space. The thinking cap was firmly on.

So this is how it looked when the new window went in. The previous one was a quarter of the size making the room pretty gloomy.

Small bijou bathroom before image

And the previous fittings were all standard sizes so squashed together making the room look even more cramped.

Small bijou bathroom before image

After quizzing her on what she did and didn’t like I decided we needed a look that included some traditional elements, a little bit of luxury and some pops of bright colour. So what do you think?

Marble effect wall tiles in small traditional style bathroom with patterned floor tiles

You’re probably wowing at the tiles aren’t you, so lets start there.

Contrary to what most people think, big tiles on the wall actually make a room look bigger. It’s to do with the grout lines and there being fewer to draw your eyes. These luxurious looking carrara marble effect wall tiles have a matt finish and are only £18.75 m2 from Walls & Floors.

I really wanted Victorian style patterned tiles for the floor, but we were working to a budget and I couldn’t find quite the right bright colour. Then I found these Renkli floor tiles also at Walls & Floors. Technically they’re Moroccan in style but the pattern is very similar to traditional Victorian hall tiles. They’re very reasonable at £28.95 m2 and as you can see below they produce it in 3 different print sizes depending on how bold you want the print to be. We went for the largest print size to make it look closer to a Victorian style and to avoid it looking too busy since it’s such a small space.

Renkli Moroccan style geometric floor tiles from Walls & Floors

Next the fittings. The traditional sink and toilet are a set from Victorian Plumbing. The old sink used to hang over the edge of the bath but this sink comes in a narrow 500mm width making it perfect for a small bathroom.

Marble effect wall tiles in small traditional style bathroom with patterned floor tiles

The bath is by Hudson Reed also from Victorian Plumbing. It’s only 1500mm long which gave us 200mm for a shelf at the end – you need somewhere for your shampoo and conditioner – and I HATE those chrome baskets attached to the wall. It’s extra deep (460mm) so she can still submerge herself. Actually she’s so short she can turn over and swim in it……The tiling on the shelf at the end and in front of the bath give it that hint of boutique hotel.

Hudson Reed 1500 x 700 x 460 bath from Victorian Plumbing

The matching Crosswater Belgravia bath and sink taps are from Tap Warehouse.

Cross water Belgravia Basin taps from Tap Warehouse

Cross water Belgravia bath mixer with shower head

We fitted the mixer tap and the shower head in opposite corners of the bath so you don’t knock your knees on the mixer tap when you use the shower. I think it also looks much neater like this.

Cross water Belgravia bath mixer and shower head

The thermostatic shower is also from Victorian Plumbing. FYI – I love using them because they have a huge range at great prices with really quick delivery, and their customer service is excellent. They didn’t pay me to say that, it’s just true. We went for a shower curtain rather than a screen because she’s a bather not a showerer, and screens either make you feel enclosed or get in the way of the taps when you want to top up the hot.

Premier Edwardian thermostatic shower from Victorian Plumbing

The homeowner used to have a large curved heated towel rail behind the door, but it stuck out so you couldn’t open the door fully. I suggested we fit a tall narrow one to the left of the window where it wouldn’t be in the way.

Narrow wall mounted heated towel rail from Victoriam Plumbing

Lastly, she was desperate for storage and used to have a set of drawers next to the bath which made the floor look cluttered so I suggested a tall narrow mirrored cabinet above the toilet.

Being an old Victorian property the ceiling was a little higher than usual which meant we could drop it to add spotlights, and I suggested we leave a gap between the wall tiles and ceiling and paint this whole area a warm gold colour.

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A traditional style loo roll holder, loo brush and mirror and some amber glass accessories and we’re done. So what do you think? The homeowner LOVES it and so do I.

 

 

The first rule of interior design – there are no rules.

This is what attracts me most to interior design, there are literally no rules. Yes, there are guiding principles and building regulations but much of this is just good common sense. One of the things that drove me crazy in my old life was the adherence to pure theory in some areas of the company (project managers you know what I’m talking about), and the way in which management theories were regurgitated, re-branded and slavishly adopted in a way David Koresh would have been envied. I once worked for a guy that would embrace anything that came in a 2×2 matrix, and another that liked anything with 7 steps. I became very skilful in shoe-horning plans into grids and developing acronyms to illustrate my vision and ensure support for my ideas. I am much happier now I don’t need to find a theory to back up my ideas, just using mood boards to illustrate my vision.

Stakeholder management is still important though. You can’t take a customer completely out of their comfort zone without a presentation strategy. I had a situation like this last week when I presented my proposals to a client for her children’s bedrooms. FYI – this is a client who told me she invested a significant amount of time and money in decorating a former home in a range of neutral Farrow & Ball tones, only to have a friend admire her for painting her whole house the same colour…..When I presented the teal feature wall and brick effect wall paper I was suggesting for her sons bedroom, alongside the dark wood and metal furniture she could see how cool it looked but was completely out of her comfort zone. Her husband and son loved it – I’m still waiting to here if she adopts the plan in its entirety….

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Mood board for her sons bedroom. A little bit geek, a little bit rock and a whole lot of cool

My latest bathroom project challenges traditional views that oppose combining styles. I started out with a clear plan for a Victorian style bathroom. But removing the plaster exposed the most beautiful red sandstone, which resulted in a new plan that combined rustic and Victorian styles. All the pipework was diverted to the utility room below to avoid any boxing at skirting level. The lighting plan had to change as the wall lights needed a flat surface and the cables had to be hidden between the stones so new positions had to be found. We had planned a bathroom cabinet but this was no longer practical with such uneven walls so this was replaced with a vintage mirror. The contractors did an excellent job of using pieces of sandstone from the garden to plug any gaps in the walls, and we hid the concrete and brick lintels above the window and door behind some fake aged oak lintels. My favourite feature is the spotlight hidden behind the beam above the cast iron bath which lights it up. I think the end result is striking but you can judge for yourself.

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The final touch will be pictures for the one plastered wall. I’m currently sourcing a painting to match the one below. If I can’t find the right match we’ll stick with the one painting which I fell in love with the moment I saw it – what can I say its my love of chickens….

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Suppliers and contractors:

Milbrook petite cast iron bath from the cast iron bath company, painted in F&B Pavilion Grey. Marble top vanity unit from Bathstore. Toilet from Heritage range. Radiator from Castrads, painted in F&B Cornforth White. Tiles from Walls & Floors Victorian unglazed range. Lighting from Fritz Fryer. Gold taps and accessories from Victorian Plumbing. Plastered wall painted in Dulux Pebble Shore. 

All stonework, plumbing and tiling by J D Osborn Plumbing & Heating Engineers. Joinery by Curwen. Electrics by Cockton Electrical. Decorating by Michael Fulton.

Give your bathroom the Midas touch

Forget being an interior designer. This week I am mostly shivering. Or making cups of tea. Or stomping about the house in a bad mood. Yes the builders are back. I’ve got plumbers ripping out the upstairs bathroom and leaving dusty damp footprints everywhere. I’ve got roofers tearing the roof off the downstairs wet room to fix the leaks and replace the skylight. The electrician popped in at lunch time to drill some more channels in the bathroom because he probably thought there wasn’t enough dust in the house. Knowing my luck the joiner will turn up tomorrow a few weeks early just to get in on the mess.They weren’t all supposed to be here at the same time but if you’ve ever had to wait to get your roof fixed you’ll know why I didn’t turn them away when they rocked up at 7.45am this morning. The word elusive was invented for roofers.

I’m trying to ignore the disruption though and focus on what my lovely new bathroom will look like when it’s finished. As a nation we seem to be stuck in a chrome rut when it comes to bathroom fixtures. You go online and browse any of the major bathroom stockists ranges and if they do have any gold fittings they are limited. Admittedly gold bathroom taps used to have an association with avocado baths and rose pink carpets but I think enough water has passed down the plug hole for us to re-embrace gold fittings. I did start scouring eBay and salvage yards to see if I could get some lovely old antique brass fittings but what I could find was in poor condition and I would have ended up with a very mismatched suite of taps, cistern levers and plug holes. So in the end I decided to give the bathroom the Midas touch and go with bright polished gold, and I think with the soft grey colour palette and the victorian floor tiles it’s going to look gorgeous, particularly if it looks as good as some of these bathrooms…

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This is what started my gold obsession off. I also love the matt blue hexagon mosaic floor tiles
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The fittings may be chrome but the mustard bath is to die for and the moorish arch and tiles are perfect
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I love this 1920’s look – very chic and manhattan
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This helped convince me polished gold with grey was the way to go.

The bathroom should have been a one week job but they need to reinforce the floor joists to hold the new cast iron bath, and re-plaster the walls because they’re too wonky to tile as they are. So it’s turned into a two week job. But hopefully the roofers will finish tomorrow and become elusive once more so I can get a hot shower – with a view of the stars through my new mahoosive skylight!

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Fancy a night out on the tiles?

In my old life I spent a lot of nights in exotic places, in exotic bars, drinking exotic cocktails and avoiding exotic men. These days I spend most of my nights either watching Scandal (totally addicted), or searching for fixtures and fittings for projects I am working on. The last few nights have been spent on (the) tiles and I am starting to develop a fettish on a par with my love of wood and stone flooring. I wanted to share 5 absolute beauties with you to see if it’s just me or if you also find them so lovely you want to build an extension just so you’ll have somewhere to lay them.

#1 Rovere parquet wood effect porcelain floor tiles

These are so realistic its amazing. If I don’t find a customer for them this year I may have to dig up my wet room floor. They measure just under 50cm x 50cm and cost as much as wood flooring (£50 Sqm) but look how beautiful they look…..

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#2 Gosford victorian unglazed clay tiles

I am a sucker for victorian tiling, and just came across the Gosford range. The squares are a little smaller than your standard tiles which gives them that old fashioned feel, and the colours are just right; the white not too bright and the black like coal. The corners, borders and geometric patterns come ready to lay and you buy the plain squares individually. They also have coloured ones. If you have a large room or hallway it can be quite pricey once you’ve added all the squares, borders and corners you need but they are timeless. I bought mine from Walls & Floors who beat a competitors price by 5% after I brought it to their attention. Great company BTW, huge range, good prices, quick delivery, great customer service and they promise to beat any competitor by 5% – what’s not to like.

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#3 Moresque encaustic effect ceramic tiles by Envy

Encaustic painting involves adding coloured pigment to heated beeswax and then applying it to the surface you want to paint. I’ve never seen the results so I’m not sure if these tiles are technically realistic I just know they’re gorgeous. The grey ones competed with the victorians for my bathroom but dropped into second place at the last minute. There are a lot of Moroccan tiles around at the moment but these are a little different with a medieval hint about them. They also come in brighter colours.

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#4 Marble effect ceramic tiles by Vyne in gloss or matt

Marble tiles like the ones pictured below left are beautiful but they can be expensive so these marble effect tiles below right are a more affordable alternative (51p each / £45 Sqm). I came across them when I was considering matching them to a marble topped vanity unit. I didn’t use them in the end because next to real marble the veining is more black than grey but I am thinking about using them in a kitchen next to black granite, possibly in a herringbone pattern. They are only 150mm x 75mm and are not bevelled so have a lovely vintage look.

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#5 Blue gloss hexagonal ceramic tiles from Bejewelled

Just in case you thought I lived in a world of monochrome my last beauty is a bright blue gloss hexagon tile that comes in 300mm x 260mm sheets (£4 a sheet / £52 Sqm). I was actually searching for a dark blue matt hexagon tile like the one in the picture below when I came across these and we are about to fit them in a customers bathroom. The picture below doesn’t really do them justice, the blue is like a caribbean sky and I managed to find some Christy towels that are exactly the same colour – result!

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So that’s enough tiles for the night, time to catch up on Scandal…..