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?

Project Donatella and the metallic movement

Generally I like to think of myself as an early adopter, always on the look out for new ideas and trends, and after a few glasses of wine I might even suggest being a little ‘down with the kids’, (cue cringe) but I confess there are a couple of parties I’ve joined very late… It was a long time before I would ditch my boot leg jeans for skinny ones, but as a curvy 5ft 3.5 you can hardly blame me. When I finally discovered the TV series 24 I had 8 box sets  to catch up on, and I was still toting a blackberry until last summer, although I blame my former employer for that one. I’m ashamed to say it’s also taken me a while to really embrace the copper trend. When it first poked its nose into the interiors world I was convinced it was going to be a one season fad, that would leave the charity shops stock piling copper accessories. But two years on I have to admit it’s probably here to stay. Now I’m still luke warm about polished copper unless its subtle. Possibly because I’m imagining the cleaning required to keep it shiny…… I mean, come on, copper baths? You’re havin’ a larf. But I do love a bit of patina, particularly if it’s got a green hue to it. Industville have a fabulous range of industrial lighting and bar stools and I’m a massive fan. I have their pewter pendants in my kitchen, and I LOVE their vintage copper version. Now thats the patina I’m talking about.

Industrial style vintage copper pendant light from Industville

Old factory vintage copper pendant light from Industville

But for me the best thing about the copper trend has actually been the spin off – the whole metallic movement. We can now choose gold, brass, silver, copper or bronze, plus polished or antique finishes and a million tones in between. Fabulous. Which is why my latest job has been named Project Donatella, i.e. its rockin’ more bronze than Ms Versace after a long Italian summer.

So my client is buying a new kitchen from Cockermouth Kitchen Company, who I have a partnership with. She has chosen the kitchen and work surface she wants but has no idea what to do with the rest of the room and wants my help. She has picked very simple contemporary lacquered slab doors in a matt off white finish, and polished steel bow handles.

INZO kitchen in Porcelain

Inzo kitchen by PWS

The acrylic quartz effect worktop she has picked is grey with specks of white and brown.

MISTRAL IGNEA worktop by KARONIA

Mistral Ignea worktop by Karonia

It’s impossible to form any ideas until you’ve seen the room and the house it sits in, but the minute I did I knew what the new kitchen needed was a metallic touch of the coppery/bronze variety. I ran this suggestion past both the homeowners while I was there and they liked the idea so I was off to a flying start.

Back home, I started with the tiles. I wanted something big for the floor with lots of texture and shades of colour that would hide dirt and paw prints (remember we live in Cumbria – rain and dog central). It was love at first sight when I saw these in Topps. But at £54 a square metre I was going to need some alternatives.

Metalik wall and floor tiles from Topps

Metalik wall and floor tile from Topps

So I found these equally lush tiles suitable for walls or floors at aptly named Walls & Floors who I use a lot as they have a huge range and great prices, and their VIP service for trade customers is top notch. No they didn’t pay me to say that – its just true. These are only £29.95 a metre so a big price difference for tiles that don’t look that different.

Hellion Gold wall and floor tiles from Walls & Floors

Hellion Gold floor tiles from Walls & Floors

and then I stumbled across these lovely bronze armour tiles. You need to sit down before I tell you how much they are……£9.95 a metre – a billy bargain.

Bronze armour wall and floor tiles from Walls & Floors

Bronze Armour floor tiles from Walls & Floors

So floors sorted and onto walls. The kitchen is lacking in natural light, so even though the doors are off white I’m still going to suggest we keep the walls light and limit tiles to the areas around the sink and cooker so we can continue the metallic scheme. Number 2 on my list are these from Topps – they’ve got everything, colours, texture, patina…..they’ve also got a price tag though which is why they’re number 2. We won’t need much for the areas I’m proposing but they are over £200 a metre…

Copper fusion modular mix tiles from Topps Tiles

Copper Fusion Modular Mix tiles from Topps

I toyed with a very simple but chic copper coloured glass splash back for a while, but that was even pricier and it would have needed cleaning every 5 minutes which nipped that in the bud quite quickly. So these are my number 1 choice. Still not cheap at around £150 a metre but mosaic isn’t cheap and with my plan we won’t need much.

Copper mosaic tiles from Walls & Floors

Copper mosaic tiles from Walls & Floors

Next on the list – seating. They are having a breakfast bar which will be 1.4m by 90cm. Sounds big, yes? But they’re a family of 5 and the client would really like 5 stools. So do the math – they need to be narrow. They also need a seat height of around 65cm to work with an 80cm counter, which is 10cm less than a typical bar stool. I was gutted when I saw these beauties from Swoon and realised they were too high…..

Chrome and copper topped bar stools from Swoon Editions

Copper and steel Orson stool from Swoon Editions

So I’m suggesting these Xavier Pauchard Tolix style copper metal stools from Cult Furniture. They’re a little more industrial than I had been thinking about, but they’re the perfect size and colour and are only £69 each which is important when you’re buying 5.

Xavier Pauchard Tolix style copper metal stools

Xavier Pauchard Tolix style copper metal stools from Cult Furniture

Next major decision – lighting. Recessed spotlights are a no-brainer because of the lack of natural light, and there will be in cupboard and under cupboard lighting but I think every kitchen should have some feature lighting, particularly if there is a seating area. The room has the height for pendants, but not so much that I’d recommend one large pendant, and as the bar will have 3 seats on the long side I’m suggesting 3 smallish pendants. Remember how I said I’m luke warm about polished copper unless its subtle? Well how about these smoked glass and copper pendants for sleek, stylish and subtle?

Smoked glass and copper ceiling pendant lights from Habitat

Marlowe smoked glass and copper pendant lights from Habitat

Me being me, it isn’t enough having contemporary and industrial elements in a room I need to add something else. The client told me she wanted a contemporary kitchen but nothing uber modern. They had some really nice antique art deco furniture in their dining room which they’d picked up from a local dealer for a bargain. Both these facts suggested to me they might appreciate a nod to the past in their kitchen which led me to this clock which will match the dark wood window frames and the metallic tones. And if they don’t like the £120 price tag I know I can pick something up on eBay or when I’m out treasure hunting for less – if I’m lucky I might even find something original.

Newgate vintage inspired sunburst clock

Newgate vintage inspired sunburst clock available in John Lewis and Heals

So here’s the final mood board. The client hasn’t even see this yet so you’re getting a proper exclusive.  I’ll fill you in on the rest of my ideas if she gives it the thumbs up. I’m seeing her later this week so fingers, legs and eyes crossed please.

Mood board for contemporary kitchen with industrial and vintage elements by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

In the market for a dream kitchen?

Just a short post today as I have an exciting announcement! I have formed a partnership with Cockermouth Kitchen Company to provide customers with a full interior design service. CKC are a local company with years of experience in designing and fitting kitchens, and they specialise in providing bespoke kitchens at affordable prices. As it’s been my goal from the start to make my interior design services affordable, and I love creating designer looks on a budget, I felt we would make great partners. I also bought my own kitchen from them so I can vouch for the quality of their kitchens and their fitting service.

Customers taking advantage of the service will receive detailed kitchen plans, a design mood board and details of where all items on the board can be purchased.

Kitchen mood board - Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

The cost of this service is only £300 which is fully refundable if you purchase your kitchen and appliances from Cockermouth Kitchen Company. When you consider what an investment a new kitchen is, it makes sense to take advantage of any expertise you can lay your hands on, especially if it isn’t going to cost you anything!

We launch the service next Saturday and I will be in the showroom all day to meet with customers, so come on down and say hello. I’m off now to celebrate – happy Friday!

Bold rustic kitchen with industrial elements designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

My very own dream kitchen

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…..

All the best parties end up in the kitchen

So my personal interior design challenge continues and after 11 weeks my kitchen is finished. Being such an old house a lot of decisions could only be made as went along. We didn’t know what we’d find behind the chimney breast. We didn’t know what would be under the floor that had to be dug up for the underfloor heating. We uncovered original features we didn’t know we had and we had to alter multiple units to make them fit my misshapen, wonky walls. Consequently my plan always had multiple options for certain features so not even I knew exactly what it would look like when it was finished. It’s been frustrating, filthy and sometimes freezing but it has all been worth it. I LOVE my new kitchen. It’s where I eat all my meals, it’s become my new favourite spot to work and it’s where we always end up if we have visitors. It’s like having a brand new room in the house.

The feedback I’ve had has also been very rewarding. Every single contractor that has been involved (and there has been a lot) has commented that they had been unsure about my colour choices, the size of the island and some elements of the layout but once they saw it completed they were sold. So as promised here are some photo’s.

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The kitchen is from a shaker style range called 1909, and I had it painted in Farrow & Ball Rectory Red and Ringwold Ground. The mantelpiece is oak as is the 10cm thick custom made butchers block top on the island. This butchers block is like a magnet when people come into the room, you just can’t stop yourself from running your hands over it because it’s such a piece of craftsmanship. It’s had 5 coats of Osmo oil so far and will probably need a few more yet. We finally have a dishwasher and an in cupboard bin, and I love the pull out wooden trays under the sink. For years I’ve been exasperated by having to store trays on top of cupboards or down the side of a unit. Why has it taken until now for kitchen companies to introduce these into their ranges!

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We made room for the island by digging a hole in the chimney breast to fit a 90cm wide SMEG oven. It was a tight fit and getting an extractor small enough to fit above it and remain hidden was a challenge but the builders came through for me. We even had to quickly source a steel plate one afternoon from a local scrap merchants to ensure there was enough support in it for the wall above. The space above the mantelpiece was perfect for another localised timezone clock (see my post on Murray’s man cave), some vintage ginger beer bottles a good friend of mine bought me when she came to stay, some antique pewter tankards and an hour glass I picked up in Heals years ago and love.

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The island itself houses an 18 bottle wine chiller and a 2 drawer fridge which is fantastically spacious and means you’re not always bending down to peer into the back of the fridge. On the wall behind the island next to the back door is a unit which houses a custom made wine glass rack – no more cramming wine glasses into cupboards or having to store them in the garage!

I bought two pewter finished adjustable height stools from a company called Steel Magnolias for seating, although we have brought another 4 stools in from the summer house a couple of times when we’ve had visitors so we can all sit around the island. It’s also great to finally have enough lighting. The old kitchen was so dingy and now I have multiple options. The pewter lights above the island and the sink are from Industville and are one of my favourite features. It looks so cosy when all the other lights are off.

So with the kitchen complete I am now finishing off the bedrooms and have started the plan for the upstairs bathroom. Another two months and I might actually be finished here…..

So now we have a habitable house we can have visitors again and this weekend Mr W’s entire family descended on us, so many of them that additional accommodation had to be booked in Cockermouth. They normally come in December but as the house was a bomb site we postponed until January which also meant we could celebrate Burns night together. The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth held a fantastic dinner on Friday night, with six courses, a piper and of course the traditional “address to a haggis”. The kilts were out, a few wee drams of whisky were consumed and the minibus home was very rowdy…..

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The host reciting the “address to a haggis” by the famous Robert Burns

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On Saturday night the party was back at Holly Cottage. We’d bought a Serrano ham at Christmas but had been too sick to eat it so we brought it out for the party and created our own alternative to Burns night with the “address to a ham” skilfully delivered by Chris my step-daughters boyfriend. My sister-in-law plays a mean air bagpipe….

And where did all this occur? But in the kitchen of course – where the best parties always end up and this interior designer is happiest.

 

Bossiness aka Project Management, a skill worth paying for

In my old life at 5pm on a Friday you would usually find me in a city wine bar with a nice glass of NZSB (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) blowing off steam with Mr W and/or work colleagues. This Friday night I was cleaning  chicken poop off the floor of the chicken coop. A task made harder by the fact the ladies wanted to go to bed as it was getting dark so lots of clucking and chickens underfoot. Oh how my life has changed….I still say for the better though. A few days before we were due to fly back from Kenya I realised that I was looking forward to getting home. In my old life I can’t remember feeling anything other than dread as the end of a holiday drew near. I used to spend my holidays ignoring the blackberry and forcibly blocking out any thoughts of work until I was physically home, otherwise I just couldn’t relax. It just reinforced my view that I made the right decision leaving work and moving to Cumbria. I’ve never been happier.

Since I moved here Mr W has started to imagine himself as a country gent, with a small holding and a few more animals. To try and make this a reality I approached the owner of the empty field opposite my house with an offer to buy it, and I can safely say that won’t be happening any time soon. I think I’ve found the man the words cantankerous, obnoxious and rude were invented for. Old me would have shared this thought with him. New me just left with a smile and “you know where I am if you change your mind!” Ah well, less poop to clean and it will save having to find someone to donkey/pig/sheep/goat sit next time I need a city fix.

So it’s full steam ahead with the house renovation/redecoration again. If you’re ever starting an interior design project and can’t decide whether or not to pay for project management my advice would be unless you’re unemployed get a project manager. Contractors are notorious for taking on too many projects and juggling to try and keep everyone happy. If you’re not constantly checking in nothing gets done, or worse they make ‘executive decisions’ in your absence which you either have to live with or pay to fix.  I take two weeks off and the roofers didn’t turn up to re-render the leaking chimneys, the landscaper didn’t come and level the ground for the new shed and the electrician didn’t fit the meter box. I get back make a few calls and they’re on site, except for the roofers. You can actually google ‘the top 5 most elusive mammals on the planet’, roofers should be on this list between badgers and ocelots. What amuses me is that in my old life I was surrounded by men and paid to boss them about. These days I’m still surrounded by men, and still bossing them about, only difference is now I’m paying them to let me.

So there’s still a steady stream of re-wiring, plastering and joinery work going on in most rooms but we’ve now started the big job – the kitchen. The old kitchen was ok, but now I have the space and the cash I want my dream kitchen, starting with underfloor heating which is why I’m currently living with a makeshift kitchen in my utility room and no heating and hot water. I’ve told Mr W to stay in London for 2 weeks – no need for us both to be cold and grubby.

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Before: the old kitchen

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Current state of affairs…..

Despite comments in earlier posts about my dislike of roughing it I’ll manage. I have wood burning stoves, thick duvets and I can shower at the leisure centre. I am a bit worried about Scratchy the cat though. He stopped eating while I was away and the vet has confirmed it’s his kidneys. We’re just trying to figure out whether it’s a treatable infection or permanent damage. I’m a little distraught as he’s almost 18 and my companion. The house will be very empty without him if this is the end of the road.

Scratchy
Scratchy

 

 

 

A 50’s style diner and my new pewter addiction

Autumn has arrived in Cumbria….Yesterday mornings rain and 70mph winds kept me firmly indoors, apart from a mad dash to the wood store to re-stock. It wasn’t a bad thing as I have a new client who wants their conservatory turning into a dining area so I spent the morning researching. She’s a bit of an Americanophile (I promise this is an actual word), crazy about Florida, Disney and NFL, so one of the options I’m putting forward is a 50’s style diner with checkerboard floor and retro furniture. I’m secretly (well now publicly) hoping she likes this idea as it would be really fun to do. I have a contact that can make a customised bench seat and I found these great swivel stools on www.whatever.co.uk. Coloured faux leather and formica is easily sourced, as are the retro accessories. Fingers crossed she goes for the idea!

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I also spent time searching online for kitchen fittings. I was getting concerned that my new kitchen design might be getting a little too traditional. I mean I want it to be in keeping with a period house but I don’t want to go all out country cottage. I think the answer is pewter. Chrome is too modern, brass is to twee, but pewter has just the right amount of class with a hint of edginess. And the great news is its everywhere right now. The style of tap I was looking is also available in Pewter (Bayenne duel lever bridge mixer). Second Nature has a great range of solid pewter and pewter finish knobs and handles. And I found these lights and stools online by Industville, a supplier of vintage, retro, antique and industrial furniture and lighting.

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If only I knew what had happened to my Dads pewter tankards after he passed away. He was a morris man and a pewter tankard clipped to the belt was mandatory. I bet I could find a few in my local charity shops, or is this turning into an addiction…..

My island dreams

I have lain on white sandy beaches listening to the rolling surf on many beautiful islands, in the mediterranean, the caribbean and the indian ocean, but these are not the islands I dream about. It’s kitchen islands that float through my head at night. In my most erotic dreams the kitchen island is situated in a basement kitchen with skylights and a dumb waiter (not the two legged variety). I once came close to living this dream in a house in Yorkshire but sadly the house was next to a busy road in a less than salubrious neighbourhood so we had to leave it on the market. But now thanks to the two foot stone walls in Holly Cottage and the extra foot of chimney breast in the kitchen I can push the stove into the chimney and create enough space for an island in my new kitchen. Even greater news is that when I chipped off the wall tiles on the chimney breast the original red sandstone lintels are still in place which I can move up to frame the new stove. They will need grit blasting (she says with a sinking heart as this creates a terrible mess), but it will be worth it as we found when we discovered the original red sandstone fireplace in the living room hiding behind a gas fire and plaster wall (which has to be an interior design crime).

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Sandstone – before in the kitchen, and after in the living room

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So it’s been all kitchens go for the last 3 weeks as I worked on the design and scoured the market (no pun intended) for products. I’ve settled on a painted wood kitchen from the 1909 range. It’s a beautiful shaker style “with a timeless quintessentially British feel” as they put it in their brochure. Perfect for my period property and a style that I can carry through into other areas of the house like the porch and the utility room. The kitchen is a dark room, despite the 2 windows. We have made it lighter by replacing the staircase that leads to the bedroom above and removing the wall that enclosed the previous one, but it’s still a little dingy at times which impacts my colour choices. I wanted to introduce a rich dark red as this colour will flow throughout the downstairs, but the room couldn’t take it so I’ve limited this to the base units and will be having cream coloured units at eye level. I mixed black and white units in an open plan kitchen in London and it was very effective. My local supplier will order the cupboards from 1909 in natural wood and have them painted in my chosen F&B colours.

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Half pencil and scalloped kitchen from 1909 and Farrow & Balls Rectory Red and Ringwold Ground

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It has to be black granite work surfaces as Mr W is a red wine drinker, but I am treating my island to a thick oak butchers block top. I can cope with occasionally re-sanding and oiling a small area but not the whole kitchen. The granite will compliment the black SMEG cooker I intend to pick up at discount at Grand Designs next week in Birmingham. The show is always worth a visit but it is even more worthwhile if you are about to purchase a pricey item and the supplier is exhibiting. Light cream metro tiles will finish it off nicely as you can see in the photo below.

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I spent hours trying to figure out how I could have more fridge space without installing a tall unit as I wanted the red below and cream above design to be consistent and a tall unit would scupper this. Jim at The Cockermouth Kitchen Company, my supplier, suggested a 2 drawer fridge by Hotpoint. No more squatting in front of the fridge for me! I can now put all Mr W’s beer, cheese and chilli products in the bottom drawer and all the useful stuff in the top drawer (i.e. butter and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc). By installing this in the island it will be handy for food prep, and allow me to maintain the triangle you need for navigation between the fridge, cooker and sink. We’re also installing a dishwasher which my current kitchen sadly lacks, and a decent under counter bin. This probably sounds like an obvious comment but after living for the last 4 years with one of those frames on the back of a door that you hang plastic bags on this is probably the thing I am most excited about, after the island of course…

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Lighting has been tricky to source as I really want  a double pendant light above the island but the fixed bars are too long for me low ceilings. But then I discovered David Hunt Lighting at Decorex last month, and they can manufacture bespoke sizes which means I can have this beautiful station lamp altered to the size I need, and get a matching single light pendant for above the sink. With a few spotlights and some under cupboard and in cupboard lighting we can say goodbye to the dingy kitchen.

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The only important feature I need to finalise before I get into the fun stuff, i.e. replacing all the Ikea kitchenware with new, is the taps. I’ve still got a little research to do but I’ve seen a few I like such as this brushed nickel colonial bridge sink mixer tap by Bristan.

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So the order will be placed tomorrow to ensure a pre-Christmas installation. I didn’t think the grit blasting would produce enough mess (!) so I’ve decided to install a wet underfloor heating system which involves digging up the existing floor. But there is nothing nicer than bare feet on warm stone flags, and it means I can remove the radiator to create space for a window seat with a pan drawer below it. So Scratchy the cat also has a seat when me and Mr W are seated at the island I can’t stop dreaming about.

Photo’s to follow when it’s all installed. In the meantime I’m off to scramble some eggs with one of the double yolkers my ladies keep producing. Must be all the treats I feed them. They go mad for corn on the cob. They were all chasing Margo round the hen house last week when she managed to grab a piece for herself. I might have to rename her Usain after her performance.