I’ve been spending a lot of time in the bathroom lately, and I can’t blame my old lady bladder. I’ve got four new bathrooms in progress, have just started designing another, and I’ve got four more in the pipeline. That’s a lotta loo’s. And they all have one thing in common. Size. Or should I say lack of it. Continue reading “How to design a beautiful AND functional bathroom”
I love lighting. I will even stick my neck out and say it’s the most important thing when it comes to designing a space. Yes there is a long list of other things which are important, but your lighting lets you see all those other things, particularly when the sun has gone down, or between the hours of 3pm and 9am if you spend winter in Cumbria……..Perhaps necessity is the reason why I’m such a lighting fan? #lightbulbmoment.
To prove my love of lighting I thought I’d give you a mini tour of the lighting in my house if you’re up for that? But first a bit of techy stuff but I’m going to keep it short before you get all ‘get on with it woman, show us the pics’……
A Quick Guide to Lighting
I’m going to assume you’ve made the smart decision and switched to more energy-efficient LED lightbulbs. Although some of you may still be a little bit baffled by lumens and what size of LED bulb you need to replace your old 60W bulbs… if so here’s a handy little table from CNET magazine:
A quick and dirty way to figure out how much light you need in a room is to multiply the size of the room in square metres by 1.5. For example, a 4m x 4m room = 16 m2 x 1.5 = 24W in LED bulbs. So if this was a living room a semi-flush light with 4 x 6W bulbs should be sufficient, or you could spread the 24W between a ceiling light and wall lights. In rooms like kitchens or home offices where you need more light multiple the m2 by 2.5.
You also need to figure out what colour you want your ‘white’ lights to be. This is called the light temperature and is measured in Kelvins. Here’s another handy little chart. As a guide 1000k is candlelight and 2700k is what our old incandescent bulbs would typically be. Interesting fact – apparently people who live in colder climates prefer warmer white lights, and those living in hotter climates favour more blue or white light.
So you’ve worked out how much light you need and what colour you like so now where to put it?
- Ambient (or general lighting) is your main source of light. It’s what you would put on if you’d lost the back of your earring and needed to scrabble around on the floor to find it.
- Task Lighting would be the reading lamp over your favourite chair, or the light above your bathroom mirror you need to spot those weird long dark hairs that appear overnight on your face, and don’t pretend that’s never happened to you…
- Accent Lighting can be as simple as a couple of table lamps for the evening or something more for visual effect, such as plinth lighting in a kitchen.
My tip would be to have as many sources of light in a room as you can without it looking like a lighting shop. Oh, and put your general lights on a dimmer so you have even more flexibility.
So enough boring stuff – how about some pics?
The Summer House
I’m going to start here in the Summer House as pretty much every seat in here has it’s own light.
Wait there’s more…..
And it doesn’t stop at the door. I also have exterior wall lights, path lights and strings of fairground style lightbulbs around the summerhouse and in the trees. Told you I love my lighting.
Lets pop inside now shall we?
This is a dark room with little natural light so I have your typical downlighters, under cupboard and some in-cupboard lighting and the hob light. But my favourite lights are the large dark pewter pendants over the island and sink from Industville.
The Utility Room
This room is soooo small and dark it is impossible to photograph so I’m just going to make my life easier and show you a pic of the cage lights I have lighting it….
Another dark room and I still don’t think I’ve got the lighting right. For general lighting I went with downlighters because it has a very low ceiling.
The old over picture lights you can see above were too dim and a bit boring, so I changed these to 2-light wall lights with glass shades but these are too bright. I think they need to be on a dimmer.
I also have a large concrete base table lamp, but this isn’t enough on it’s own and I like dim light, so I end up lighting lots of candles.
You’d think being an interior designer and all that I’d have this figured out…..lets move on.
This is a tiny room, which to it’s credit does seat 7 people just don’t come for dinner if you have personal space issues.. There isn’t room for much lighting wise so I just have 3 ribbed glass ceiling pendants over the table and on a dimmer.
Check out the new pheasant wallpaper.
Another tiny room where we watch TV. I have a couple of downlighters for when we can’t find the remote and a floor lamp which serves as a task lamp and accent lighting.
But when I’m watching a movie I like to light a smelly candle and put on this amber globe bulb lamp from Cult Furniture.
I recently changed the lighting in my office and it was a classic case of needing to practice what you preach. I need bright light to work and the room had two 3-lamp ceiling lights which provided that…….but they were butt ugly. I initially changed them to metal coolie pendants which I loved but they couldn’t have given off less light if they tried. So thanks to my very patient electrician I now I have a single 5-bulb cluster light in the centre of the room.
I also updated the desk lamps recently with simple Hektar plug in’s from IKEA. Say hello to Florence the Flamingo.
The ceiling in my Wetroom is sloped with exposed beams and doesn’t really lend itself to any form of ceiling light so I have 4 bright wall lights and the biggest velux I could find to light up the room. I recently replaced the old IKEA lights you can see in the first pic with black and antique gold industrial wall lights I found on eBay.
Much better don’t you think? And yes I do like ducks. The framed prints are by the very talented artist Charlotte Gerrard
Lets go upstairs shall we?
In my bedroom I have an 18th century Czech glass chandler with an old 100 watt bulb which I haven’t got round to replacing *hangs head in shame* In theory I should need twice the lumens for a room of this size but the light reflects off the glass and lights up the room like an operating theatre. I bought it from an antique dealer for just under £500 but you can pick up reconditioned chandeliers like this one up for a lot less on eBay or Etsy.
I also have a couple of lamps in the bedroom with shades from my favourite lampshade supplier Love Frankie
I have another chandelier in the guest bedroom next door which cost £120 from a local antique shop, and a couple of mismatched table lamps. You’ll have to excuse the chintz in this room. I decorated it in 2010 when I bought the house and was a bit giddy about buying a cottage in the countryside which is clearly reflected in the decor…. I really like the wall colour (Farrow & Ball Old White) but I’m not loving the rest so much anymore. I just haven’t got round to figuring out what I want to do in here.
My single guest bedroom is very bijou and has a sloped ceiling so I just have two wall lights for lighting in here, but they turn on and off independently so the one over the bed also acts as a task light and accent lighting. Clever eh?
Although the ceiling slopes in here I still added a couple of downlighters at the highest point for general lighting. Them we have wall lights over the mirror and one on the wall opposite.
I also have a tiny spotlight behind the lowest beam to light up the bath and provide low light for relaxing baths and the inevitable at my age late night bathroom visits….
So the only light in the house I haven’t shown you hangs over the landing
and here you go (I couldn’t get a decent shot so a pic from the retailer will have to do I’m afraid).
And thats the tour over. Hope you enjoyed a nosy round my place. Get in touch if you need any help with your lighting, or anything else in your home for that matter, I’d love to hear from you.
It’s been a hectic year for Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd, aka me. My version of the Twelve Days of Christmas would go something like ‘6 living rooms, 5 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 kitchens, 1 dressing room, 1 dining room, 1 hallway, a pub, a showroom, a shop and an office. Good job I wasn’t approached by a partridge in a pear tree as I’d have had to turn it down.
I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to properly photograph finished projects to show you lovely people. I know I know the before and afters are the best bit. We all love howling at how ugly the old carpet/wallpaper/sofa was don’t we. So I promise to pull my finger out in the New Year….*adds another item to list of New Years resolutions after stop eating so much and start running again*
So although the room I’m about to show you was still missing a sofa and a sideboard when I left on Wednesday, and the pictures and gallery wall will go up in January I’m going to show you some pics anyway ‘cos it’s Christmas, it’s fabulous and it’s the largest single room I’ve ever decorated – I’ve got friends in London with smaller flats. So without further ado I present to you – the Ginormous Living Room.
Now before you start pointing fingers NONE of this was furnished or decorated by the homeowners. They inherited the whole kit and caboodle from the previous owners and have been saving since they bought the property so they could change everything. The challenge though was what to do with such a big room.
The good news was that the homeowners knew the look they wanted, which I call ‘modern country’. And that doesn’t mean Taylor Swift, it’s more about mixing traditionally rustic features with modern elements. You’ll see what I mean if I show you the plans. It took two moodboards the room is so big….
The newly decorated Ginormous Living Room
Now before I show you anything, please excuse the amateur iPhone photography, the sun kept streaming through the windows (what’s all that about in Cumbria in bloody December), so I’ve had to edit the pics to get rid of the glare. Please also avert your eyes from the rubbish outside which we haven’t had time to shift. Sorry, I’ll stop apologising and just get on with it – ta da!
Totally different room right? Bye bye ugly fake beams, antique pine clad ceiling and wrought iron staircase (we don’t even need to mention the carpet do we…). Hello beautiful, and relaxing but elegant living room.
That chimney was just crying out for a stove wasn’t it?
So I’ve given the room two zones – and this is the grown up’s bit for a glass of wine after the little’un is in bed and when they have friends round.
The plan was to paint the lower half of that coffee table in Farrow & Ball Rectory Red, and we might still.
I think the new lighting is my favourite bit.
So this is where the second couch (leather BTW) will go when it arrives. They did promise before Christmas so they still have 24hrs but I’m not holding my breath….
…and this is where the sideboard now sits in the more child friendly zone, i.e. wipe clean sofa, washable covers on the armchair and a very fluffy rug for floor play time. Now that the sideboard has arrived I can work out how big the gallery wall we have planned needs to be. I love that snuggler chair and footstool from IKEA, it’s a perfect match for the Laura Ashley plaid sofa isn’t it?
And just when you thought the room couldn’t get any bigger it wraps around into the dining room (the kitchen is to the left). I wish now I’d taken a decent pic of the new staircase that fabulous joiner Kevin Robinson supplied and fitted, but you’ll see it when I do the final photographs.
So it brought a few challenges – that high ceiling being one for the plasterers, decorator and electrician, and getting the layout right. But what a transformation eh?. I’m chuffed to bits with the result, and I must confess have a little bit of house envy.
Would love to know what you think?
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…
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.
And then I fell in love with these little fellas.
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*
Mia stocks the key pieces needed to get Hygge like the Danes, i.e. scented candles throws and cushions
….and its not all monochrome.
She also has some pretty funky artwork…..
and fab lighting, including these concrete pendants.
The shop is a veritable treat for the eyes, everywhere you look there’s something you want to prod and poke
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?
So don’t just take my word for it get online at http://www.miabode.bigcartel.com/products and take a look for yourself
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.
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….
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…..
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.
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….
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…..
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.
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.
So what do you think of these? Found a favourite yet? Three more to come and I’ve saved the best one until last…..
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…
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….
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…
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.
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?
Don’t worry I’m not venturing into the world of stand up comedy. Anyone who has heard me tell a joke knows that would be a mistake. But I would like to update the joke from how many (insert profession, nationality, gender etc) does it take to change a lightbulb, to how long does it take them. I say this because ‘fess up, how many of you have:
- Left a lightbulb unchanged after it has blown for more than a month
- Put up a new light and stuck an ugly lightbulb in it just to get it lit then never got round to putting a better one in
- Noticed that each lightbulb in your matching pendant or ceiling lights is a different colour or wattage and done nothing about it
- All of the above
I’m an interior designer and I would have to tick option 4.
But today I smacked myself round the chops and sorted out all my lightbulb laziness in one fell swoop. I could tell you that I drew up an inventory of lightbulbs needed, did weeks of extensive research, placed multiple orders and spent half a day correcting all my mistakes, but I’d be lying. Here’s what really happened.
It started with these lovely cage lights.
Image via Amazon
I wanted two for my utility room which has just had a makeover (more on that soon). I found them on Amazon for £20.99 each with free delivery thanks to my Amazon Prime membership, which BTW paid for itself in no time at all thanks to all the stuff I order online. I liked the size, the price and the fact they are hinged so the cage can point up, down, sideways or at a jaunty angle. I also liked how good they look with a filament lightbulb
Image via Amazon
What I didn’t realise though was that I would need a lightbulb that would fit through the cage as the neck of the cage is really narrow. So in the interim I stuck some ugly but skinny LED lightbulbs in (see below…) and went on the hunt for pretty ones.
A lot of the filament lightbulbs available have been designed for restaurants and bars, who want moody or romantic lighting not an airport runway so they tend to be 40W max. My utility room is below ground with one tiny window looking onto my garden path so I needed at least 60W if I wanted to stop mixing my darks with whites. After a couple of evenings on the couch I finally found these beauties on Amazon.
Image via Amazon
LED? Check. Right size? Check. Bright enough? Check. Pretty? Check. Right price? Hell yes. £10.68 for a pack of 6 with free Amazon Prime delivery which works out at just £1.78 each and 3000 hours of bright and beautiful light per lightbulb. Bingo. They’re from KingSo a US retailer but available on Amazon through Lerpby
Image via Amazon
And this my friends is how my other lightbulb mistakes got fixed. I used two to replace the ugly ones in the utility room. I then had a lightbulb moment (I had to get that in somewhere) and put one in the landing light as the lightbulb blew last month. In my defence when it’s light from 4am to 10.30pm its hard to motivate yourself to rummage in the garage for a replacement, carry a chair upstairs to stand on, fiddle with the awkward screws that hold the very fragile amber glass shade in place and change the lightbulb. Apologies for the naff picture. It’s really hard to photograph a lit lightbulb, especially when there’s a window in the background.
As an aside filament lightbulbs look lovely in clear glass but they are in their element (no pun intended) in amber glass shades – see.
I put the last three in my summer house where I had managed to commit all three sins. A blown lightbulb, an ugly lightbulb, and a mix of different coloured lightbulbs (one cool white and two warm white). Now doesn’t that look better.
If this has caused you to look round your home and acknowledge all the broken, ugly and mismatched lightbulbs you own, and you’re considering the filament route Nook London has a great range of shapes and sizes. Most are 40W but you could go for a large globe and lose the shade. Or install a cluster of the same lightbulbs….
Image via Notonthehighstreet.com
or a cluster of different lightbulb shapes or filament styles.
Image via Fritz Fryer
If you can’t find a multi-pendant light you like you can fit multiple pendants or get your electrician to fit them under one ceiling rose. Coloured cable adds a bit of extra impact. Or create a modern chandelier by fitting ceiling hooks and looping the cable through them. If you’re feeling adventurous Nook London have all the accessories you’ll ever need.
Last point before i stop waffling. Don’t think you have to betray your local retailers and shop online to get the best range and prices. Find the lights you like and show them to your local guys, sometimes they can source the same or a similar item for the same price or even less as I found out recently when my local retailer ordered a bathroom light for me for half the price of a major online retailer.
So right go – fix that lightbulb laziness right now.
I have some fabulous customers. They invite me in for a cuppa and a chat when I drop things off, and they give me presents and send me thank you cards. One customer is particularly lovely. She saves her eggs boxes for me, and has given me a number of things for my garden. She recently started saving me the interiors pages out of her Sunday paper for me, and thanks to an intro she made to a local estate agent I have a couple of potential jobs in the pipeline. She even calls me when she spots a new house going up somewhere so I can drop off my business card. I should be paying her. Which is why I’m so happy with how her living room turned out. It is quite a transformation even if I do say so myself but then it was looking pretty tired, see…
A lot of dusky pink and dark wood, and some very dated lights and soft furnishings.
There’s an empty fireplace hidden behind that coffee table and speakers…
But its a good size room and they had a budget that could potentially stretch to a complete makeover if I shopped around a bit.
After pondering the right look for them and their home I proposed an elegant scheme of blue and natural linen colours with a few pink accents for warmth. They were open to the idea of painting all the woodwork white and removing the dado rail, and providing we could do it within budget they also liked the idea of replacing the fireplace and adding a new fire.
So are you ready?
The Blue Living Room Reveal
What a difference eh? I LOVE the colours in this room. The wall paint is called Windblown by Valspar and its a grown up, classical looking, powdery blue (if I can use that many words to describe a paint colour) with a hint of grey which takes it far enough away from looking like a childs nursery but still keeps the room looking light.
The new white stone fireplace looks very elegant, and the white woodwork frames the walls and almost makes their teak coffee table glow. (I’m getting quite poetic tonight aren’t I).
So the lighting is from Laura Ashley as are the curtains, all purchased in their sale so massive savings. They purchased the sofa and armchair after I sent them to look at another sale sofa at a local retailer. Apparently that one wasn’t comfy enough (which is why you should always send customers to test sofas) but this was and the same colours so fitted perfectly. Also in the sale so further savings made.
They used to have glass panelled doors between the living room and dining room but when their son moved back home they replaced them with solid doors to give him privacy as his room was beyond the dining room. They still had the old doors and privacy was no longer an issue so we brought them back which instantly made the room lighter. We carried the dining room carpet through into the living room (not literally obvs, we bought some more), and bought a second pair of the Laura Ashley curtains for the dining room so the rooms now flowed.
We actually finished the room before Christmas but the homeowners then agreed with me that they did need a second armchair so we had to wait for the one on the right to arrive.
They have some lovely traditional paintings and artwork around the house so we re-hung some of it in the living room, and now that the wallpaper and dado rail has gone the artwork becomes more of a feature and looks great against the blue walls.
I’d already planned to include some pink accents before Pantone announced their colour of the year for 2016, which is actually two colours, a pale blue and a pale pink. So the colour scheme is bang on trend,
They’d been against the idea of table lamps as apparently one of their grandchildren likes to do cartwheels in the living room (don’t we all) and they were concerned about accidents. Now I don’t like to be pushy but the room really needed at least one table lamp so I casually presented this little bargain to them when I went round to take the photos (£23 from Dunelm) and they decided to chance it. I also think it needs a rug and when I find the right one I’ll casually present that too….
So what do you think? I think it’s a bit la di da posh looking and House & Garden myself.
As much as I love Cumbria the shopping could be better (and I don’t mean just from the perspective of an interior designer). So I need to head to London occasionally for
a little retail therapy very important business research….. (HomeSense, please please open a store in Cumbria I beg of you). Last weeks jaunt to the London Design Festival was fun and I got a few new interiors ideas but the time I spent trawling around all the furniture and homeware stores and departments was probably more productive as a lot of what is exhibited at these design events is well outside the budgets of most of my customers.
But one day I could land a millionaire customer (we do have them in Cumbria you know) so in preparation I am hoarding things on Pinterest under the heading The Fantasy Pad. What goes inside The Fantasy Pad has to meet one of the following criteria:
- Is way outside most budgets
- Is too big to fit in any normal home
- Is cool but I’m not sure where I would put it
And I’ve found the perfect property for the fantasy pad when my millionaire customer turns up, a £30m ‘fixer upper’ in London! At 6107 square foot (a mere £5k per square foot) there will be plenty of room for all my fantasy items. Having had many famous residents it has all the credibility a fantasy pad should have, and apparently it’s in need of modernisation throughout – perfect!
First item for the fantasy pad will be a pair of Beatnik private sound cocoons. They’re only €5500 each so why not. They’re modelled here by a student visiting 100% Design at Olympia. They’re ergonomic and connect to your laptop, mobile phone, tablet or mp3 player using bluetooth or Apple’s Airplay technology. Perfect for Sunday afternoon ‘don’t disturb me and I won’t disturb you’ surfing, reading and general loafing.
Next through the fantasy door is a bath so beautiful you would never bathe in it for fear of damaging it. I stood gazing at it longingly for so long I made the salesman very nervous. Made of wooden veneers and a snip at £11,000. I might even put one in each en-suite.
You’ll notice I am furnishing the fantasy pad without any thought to overall style. Another indulgence. It is a fantasy pad after all I can worry about style when I meet my millionaire customer.
Next out of the removal van, this rocking day bed, shown here on a stand so it wouldn’t rock. This probably meets all three criteria as it was over £5k and huge, but it fit most comfortably in ‘cool but not really sure where I’d put it’. I mean it wasn’t really big enough for 2 people, getting on it was a bit tricky even on the stand, and you couldn’t properly lie down. I just liked it.
I don’t think my fixer upper has a garden, but lets pretend it does so I can have four of these beautiful pebble seats around a fish pond. They were surprisingly comfortable, very tactile and sort of relaxing to sit on. Made you feel like you were sat on a big rock on a beach somewhere. They were outside my budget which is why they made it into the fantasy pad (from £3k depending on the size you went for) but they’d be perfect in the gardens of a spa hotel if I could just persuade one of my local ones to employ me….. Ben and Jen on the stand were very lovely too.
In the entrance to my fantasy pad I’m thinking about having this amazing handmade glass leaf chandelier. It’s supplied by Gladee who are based in the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour. I didn’t ask how much it was, I was in Chelsea, I already knew it would meet my first criteria. Gorgeous though isn’t it – fits with my autumn vibe.
Last on the list for now is just in case the fantasy millionaire customer is a Dr Who fan or my friend Phil (who is a Dr Who fan and has a birthday next month) becomes or meets a millionaire. £1500 from Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea. Would look great behind the couch…
So I’m closing the door on the pad for now as I’ve got chickens to feed and a dog to walk, but if you had a fantasy pad what would you furnish it with?