The Home Office

If you caught my last post or have been following my antics on Twitter you’ll know that there is a plan (and not much more at the mo) to convert my garage to a new fancy pants studio / workshop. But in the meantime I have been using the kitchen instead of my actual office, but I’ve been evicted by Mr W so have had to upgrade my actual office. Blah blah blah – all caught up?

Yesterday Operation Improve Actual Office commenced at around 1pm and finished roughly 24hrs later. In the hours leading up to this event I felt like I did before my last marathon. Sort of excited but nervous about the inevitable pain. And there was pain. There were flat packs involved. But other than a few terse exchanges it actually went much better than expected. So want to see the results?

First I think you need to understand the layout I’m working with. The room needs to remain a bedroom as we have a lot of visitors, and it has a staircase in it, two windows and a large radiator. Look…try and ignore the ugly lights, they’re going as soon as I’ve found suitable replacements.

Guest bedroom and home office

Guest bedroom and home office

So this is where I’ll be sitting oggling fabulous interiors stuff on the internet doing paperwork, research and making calls

Home office

Check out my new magnetic memo board with a handy pocket for paint charts

Home office

I bought 3 of these headphone wearing skulls for a children’s bedroom project and only used one. I know the grinning me in cap and gown is a bit off putting but Mr W insists I display it as doing my MBA when working full time (and a half) for a slave driving employer was quite an achievement he tells me, and he’s right, it nearly killed me.

Home office

Combing shelves and picture ledges turned out to be a winner as I can have more pics without giving up valuable shelf space. And those under shelf wire baskets (set of 2 for £5 from Dunelm) are genius.

Home office

And this is where I’ll be standing doing the more creative stuff, like testing paint samples and putting together mood boards. I realised today though that I also want a high stool with a back rest so that’s tomorrows distraction sorted. In the meantime I’ve pinched one from the kitchen.

Home office

Love my new wipeboard which I’m using to plot where customers are in the pipeline. These 30 minute or 3 day makeover programmes are a complete illusion, projects never happen quickly. I’m photographing one tomorrow that technically finished in December, but then another chair had to be ordered which only just arrived. Also smitten with my customer specific clipboards. I wasn’t this organised when I had 300 employees.

Home office

And look how witty I am.

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I now have a space for my NYC musical snow globe. When I was 21 I got sent to New York for a week on my own on a business trip. I thought I was the bees knees but I was also terrified as I’d never been anywhere on my own or to America and the subway did look exactly like it does in horror movies. Every time I look at this globe which I bought that week I smile and remember what an adventure it was.

Home office

But this is my favourite bit of the room.

Home office

Nothing in my house is straight or central and this fireplace is a shining example of its irregularities, which called for a little off-centre wall art. The print was an eBay bargain and the clock from Cult Furniture one of my go to places for cool stuff.

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I’m also very happy with my other eBay bargain print. Mr W was not at all sure. He thinks it look like a doctors surgery not an office.

Home office

This was my mantra when I started my own business so it had to have a home somewhere in here.

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And the best thing about this office? Well if it all gets too much I can always have a power nap.

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So in addition to the new stool I also want to change the lights (cue sigh from Mr W). There are really old fashioned (and not in a good way) but I’m struggling to find something with the right look and that will give out the same amount of light. Maybe that’s Thursdays distraction…

So what do you think, could you work in here?

Operation Improve Actual Office

The kitchen is my favourite room in the house, and since installing the island over a year ago it had become my live, work, dining space. I say ‘had’ because I’m being evicted. Now that Mr W lives with me 7 days a week it is no longer practical for me to treat the kitchen as my office and test paints, create mood boards and do all my paperwork on the island. Which is a shame because it’s perfect for all those jobs.

1909 kitchen in rectory red and ringwood ground by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

My kitchen and soon to be former live, work, dining space…..

I do have an office in the spare bedroom above the kitchen, but it was designed for my past life and I outgrew it the minute I started my own business. I also have a plan to convert our garage to an office / workshop. A plan which I hope will be implemented this year but hasn’t yet started. So right now I need a plan B, which explains why I was in Ikea at 8pm last night.

Plan B – Operation Improve Actual Office

So my temporary solution is to improve my existing office. It can’t cost too much as I need to pay for the new office / workshop, and it all needs to be easily removable so that I can relocate it all to the new office / workshop when its ready, and return the room to a bedroom.

So the beautiful but impractical antique desk and leather captains chair will be going on eBay this weekend, and their sale will fund the improvements. The bed is staying as this will be a temporary office and I like having enough beds for our many many house guests, but the bedsides will have to go into the loft temporarily. This will give me enough space for two desks. One to sit at gawking at fabulous interiors stuff on the internet doing research, paperwork and phone calls. The other to stand at test paint samples and create mood boards. My house was built in 1756 so a lot of the decor is traditional or rustic as the house lends itself to these styles. But I’ve gradually been adding other elements to give it a bit more interest. So this time I’m going for a Scandinavian look with clean lines, natural wood and a simple black and white scheme.

Skandi style office

Image via Pinterest

There’s a lot of natural oak in the room so I’ve gone for oak effect table tops with black adjustable legs to counter any problems with the wonky original floorboards. I would have loved one of their BEKANT sit/stand adjustable desks and wasted a good 20 minutes playing with the adjustable height and dreaming. I mean just look how happy these office workers are……or maybe they’re just gawking at fabulous interiors stuff too. But I would have still needed two desks for the extra worktop space so I walked away after making myself a firm promise that I can have one when I get the new office / workshop.

The BEKANT sit/stand desk from IKEA

BEKANT sit/stand desk from IKEA – £445

I would also have loved trestle legs but one of the tables will only have two legs with the back fixed to the wall so that it can wrap around the radiator instead of having to sit in front of it. These restrictions do mean though that I could have two desks with legs for just £115. You gotta love IKEA.

LINNMON / FINNVARD table in grey/white from IKEA

LINNMON / FINNVARD table from IKEA

Thankfully I don’t need a lot of drawer space. So one drawer unit will be enough. There will be enough oak going on in the room now so I picked a simple black one with steel drawer labels.

KLIMPEN Drawer Unit from IKEA

KLIMPEN drawer unit from IKEA – £65

I kept my practical head on just long enough to pick a chair. I damaged my coccyx during my one and only wind surfing lesson (and spent the rest of the week face down on a sun lounger), and am too old to sit without lumber support so ergonomics came first and last on this occasion. Although I did think the wire mesh on this one would go nicely with the wire organisers I planned to find.

FLINTAN / NOMINELL swivel chair with armrests

FLINTAN / NOMINALL swivel chair with armrests from IKEA – £64

And now the fun stuff starts… I’m a huge fan of the HEKTAR range of lights from IKEA. The range comes in dark grey or bronze and includes a floor lamp, pendant shade, a 3-spot ceiling track light and these fabulous wall lights which can also clamp on to a desk or shelf. I’ll take two of those please. I may add another two if  I need extra light on both sides of each desk.

HEKTAR wall/clamp spotlight from IKEA

HEKTAR wall/clamp light from IKEA – £13

I need a memo board for reminders and what not and like the idea of a magnetic one. This black stainless steel one from Master of Boards fits nicely into my scheme and the space next to the window. It comes with magnets and hooks but for an extra fiver I added a pack of 20 additional mini magnets.

Master of boards stainless steel magnetic memo board

Master of boards stainless steel magnetic memo board – £26.99 from Amazon

I’ve bought a whiteboard so I can display where my customers are in the pipeline and underneath this I’m going to have clipboards for each customer for their to do list and latest receipts – check me out, Mrs Organised.

Masonite Clipboards

Pack of 5 masonite clipboards – £8.99 from Amazon

I’ve ordered a couple of shelves and picture ledges for above the sitting desk which Mr W will be fitting. I’m not to be trusted with a drill. I practically whooped with delight when I saw this pic on the IKEA website. What a great way to store the rolls of lining paper I use to test paint samples.

EKBY LERBERG wall bracket from IKEA

EKBY LERBERG wall bracket from IKEA – £2

I’ve ordered some shoe box size storage boxes for business cards, phone chargers, batteries and other paraphernalia which will fit on the shelves. Black obvs.

TJENA box with lid from IKEA

TJENA box with lid from IKEA – £1.25

I’ve written before about my love of wire (see earlier post – Totally Wired) so this is a great opportunity to indulge myself with a few wire magazine holders etc. mostly from Amazon, totally making that Prime membership work for me.

Wire magasine files and wire desk tidy

And after bagging so many IKEA and Amazon bargains I felt I deserved a treat. Every office needs a clock and I’ve been hankering after a sunburst clock for a while. This black George Nelson clock from Cult Furniture is perfect and will look fab above the black woodburner.

George Nelson Black Sunburst Clock from Cult Furniture

George Nelson black sunburst clock – £59 from Cult Furniture

While I was on the Cult Furniture site I stumbled across this cheeky little item and as it was reduced to £7 I just couldn’t resist.

Speech bubble memo light box from Cult Furniture

Speech bubble memo light box – £7 from Cult Furniture

OK so up until now I was doing really well budget wise, well under £500 for everything. Then I got sidetracked. It started with me thinking, ‘ooh I’d love an opticians eye test chart to frame and put on the shelves’. This then led me to eBay and a huge framed vintage print. Which then led me to another framed print the seller had of a phrenology head. £40 each which I thought was a bargain for the size of them. Well that’s what I’m telling myself.

Opticians eye test chart framed print

Medical Phrenology Head framed print

Fabulous aren’t they.

So I’m aiming to get the existing desk out on Friday and the IKEA haul arrives on Saturday so Sunday will be spent arguing with Mr W as is traditional when we have to build furniture or do DIY together, Can’t wait!

Pics to follow.

 

 

The Living room refresh – small changes, big impact

This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. Why’s that you’re thinking? Ugly living room? Difficult brief? Client confidentiality? Far more mundane I’m afraid. A tree branch poked me in the eye when I was out walking the dog and I had to go to the hospital when the chemist refused to sell me eye drops without getting it checked out. Admittedly I did look like a wino with my weeping bloodshot eye. Anyway, its just a minor scratch which should heal in a few days but in the meantime I am partially sighted which makes typing tricky, driving a no no, and chopping garlic equally hazardous as I learnt earlier (almost another trip to A&E…). But it’s been a few weeks since my last post and I really wanted to show you a project I just finished so here I am typing away, just ignore any typos and blurry photos and the earlier version that was posted in error. I’m working with a real handicap here people!

Now admit it, when you hear someone has used an interior designer you probably assume they’ve got plenty of money and are undertaking some big remodeling or redecoration project. And if I told you this customer didn’t want to change the carpet, furniture or lighting or paint the walls you’d be wondering how on earth I was going to make a difference. Well be prepared to be impressed. I’m about to show you that you can still make a big difference without any major changes.

So this project started out as a cry for help. OK I’m dramatising. The homeowner has a huge bay window and asked me to come round and give her some ideas as she didn’t know what to do with it. That led on to a bit of a living room refresh. So lets start with a few before images:

Living room - Large bay window
The huge bay window. Perfect for the Xmas tree but a little empty and uninspiring for the other 344 days of the year.
Living room before images for Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd
Magnolia walls, chocolate brown carpet and leather sofas with purple accent cushions and artwork – all a little dark
Living room before images from Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd
A classic simple fireplace but a mish mash of accessories and bare walls

Shall we start with that bay window?

Window Dressing

You should NEVER block the flow of natural light into a room. Window treatments should frame the window not cover it. This bay is very deep and there is no gap above the window panes so Roman blinds running round the edge were the best way to add colour and texture without hiding too much of the window. We could have used roller blinds but I felt they would have been too minimal. The blinds needed to be made to measure and it’s a big bay so it wasn’t going to be cheap but I use a very talented and reasonably priced lady called Di (Di’s Soft Furnishings). She also came to measure up as I was worried about allowing for protruding handles and the corners. Windows can give me sleepless nights worrying whether I’ve measured accurately….

The homeowner had seen some fabric in Next that she quite liked which had a floral pattern in yellow, ochre, grey and light brown. The brown tied it to the sofas and carpet which meant I could carry the ochre around the room to bring warmth, with some grey accents to add definition.

Mood board for living room refresh by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

So we had the central blind made up in the patterned fabric and used a light grey fabric from Laura Ashley for the four other blinds.

Roman blinds using Watercolour Bloom fabric from Next and Dove Grey fabric from Laura Ashley

Furniture

We decided that seating was the way to go in that big space, but not permanent so there would still be a home for the Christmas tree. One of my objectives in any project is to achieve savings that as a minimum cover my fees. I’d already saved the homeowner £30 by using a 30% discount voucher I had for the fabric from Laura Ashley, but the furniture was where I made the big saving.  The other furniture in the room is solid pine and from Next. They do a matching bench seat for £250 but no table. I found a solid oak Julian Bowen table with matching benches online for £205 including delivery. We got Di to make seat pads in an ochre fabric and used the left over blind fabric for a table runner. It fits perfectly, and the seat pads and runner carry the colours into the room. Immediately the space has a purpose.

Living room - Julian Bowen table and chairs bought online

Cushion scattering

This homeowner loves cushions but like most people tends to buy in pairs. Now thats ok when you only have two cushions in the room but not when you’ve got two big couches to fill.

Before image in living room refresh project by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd
The existing cushions……

The art to cushion scattering (and it is an art) is to keep the same colour palette but buy a mix of sizes and patterns. Remember to leave enough space to sit down though….

Living room - The art of cushion scattering by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

The living room rug

What this room needed more than anything was a rug to break up all that dark brown. And it needed to be big enough to fill the space between the couches. Nothing worse than a tiny rug in a big room, it just looks like you can’t afford the size you really wanted. I found this bargain in Dunelm. Perfect size, perfect colour and floral pattern and even better reduced from £120 to £60 – a billy bargain.

Ochre floral rug from Dunelm

Sorry about the dark image but can you see how it fills that space and breaks up the brown? Now we’re talking.

Living room refresh by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Artwork

Big spaces require either big pictures or collections. I was lucky to find a winner for above the sofa very quickly, but it was in the must unlikely of places at a ridiculously bargain price so I showed it to the customer first to get her reaction before I told her where it was from…..

Living room - Floral print for £10 from B&M Bargains

Could that print match the room any better? Right pattern, same colour palette and some black to add definition. It was such a find we’re pretending she doesn’t know where it’s from so she can say (in a posh voice) “isn’t it fabulous, my interior designer picked it up somewhere”. If you want to know where it’s from message me…..

We added this one from Next (£25) above the telly. Normally hiding the telly is my goal but moving it wasn’t a option and there was a big empty space above it so we needed a picture.

Living room - Foil floral canvas from Next

Continuing the floral theme, we added these two from Etsy to the other side of the fireplace, using black frames from Wilko to give them more definition.

Living room refresh - Art prints from Etsy, frames from Wilko

Accessories

So nearly done people. I didn’t go mad with the accessories as I wanted to keep it simple but elegant. So I focused on glass using a mixture of clear, ochre and smoked grey.

Yellow glass vase from Oxfam with artificial flower
Glass vase £1.25 from Oxfam with yellow artificial flowers and pussy willow stems
Smoked grey glass vases, £10 each from Homesense
Smoked grey glass vases, £10 each from Homesense. The Jo Malone candle was a Christmas present.
Simple hurricane lanterns on the hearth and smoked grey glass tealights on the mantelpiece, all from Dunelm
Simple hurricane lanterns on the hearth and smoked grey glass tealights on the mantelpiece, all from Dunelm
Living room - Another candle on the side table to sit with the existing lantern and Jo Malone candle
Another candle on the side table to sit with the existing lantern and Jo Malone candle

Lighting

Lighting wasn’t in the brief, but I wouldn’t have been doing my job if I didn’t suggest something optional. And these smoked grey glass table lamps and matching ceiling pendant would look perfect. I suspect they may find their way into the room at some point….

Living room - Smoked grey glass ceiling pendant from Dunelm
Smoked grey glass ceiling pendant from Dunelm
Living room - Smoked grey glass table lamps from Dunelm
Smoked grey glass table lamps from Dunelm

So what do you think?

Living room refresh by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Living room refresh by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Living room refresh by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

 

My main objective in any project is to make the customer happy and judging by the review she gave me on Houzz I think I ticked that box too.

“Amelia helped to transform our living room – its now a completely different room!! She has made such a difference. I had a big bay window with which I simply did not know what to do. She came up with some great ideas, was totally open to discussion, was helpful, reliable and a pleasure to work with. I am so pleased I made contact with her – I would happily recommend her to anyone looking for fresh eyes, opinions and ideas. She kept to budge (in fact came in below budget) – even found us a few bargains. Will definitely ask her back to work on other rooms within my home. I am really happy with everything she has done for us. Thanks so much”

Customer review on Houzz.

Happy Easter everyone.

Boutique on a budget

It’s pretty easy to make a room look good if you’ve got big bucks to spend. I’m not saying big spenders don’t make interior design mistakes, you only need to watch MTV cribs or Through The Keyhole to prove it. And I make no apologies for watching these shows, they are house porn in its purest form. But it takes a lot more creativity and resourcefulness to create the wow factor on a budget. Which is why the theme for my stand this week at the Lakes Hospitality show was boutique on a budget. The majority of attendees own small businesses – restaurants, hotels, B&B’s, guest houses and holiday lets, and although the lakes remains a popular destination for tourists they still have to work hard to make a profit, and that’s before the recent floods hit. So I wanted to show attendees that you can create impact without breaking the bank.

Now every designer likes a blank canvas, but exhibition stands bring a whole new meaning to the word drab.

Standard exhibition shell stand at the lakes hospitality association trade show in Cumbria

If I wanted to wow I needed wallpaper but it needed to be high impact low cost. I um’ed and ah’ed for weeks over the right look, and was nearly seduced by three that I’d found on offer at wallpaper direct.com. All usually £35 a roll but reduced to £10.

My first love was this black and gold wallpaper with the back to back usherettes. Great colours for a luxe look and very striking from a distance. But maybe not right for the Lakes…..

Interval from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection

Interval from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection. Image via Houzz

Next I was strangely drawn to this Chorus Line wallpaper. I loved the idea of the black background with hot pink accessories. But again perhaps not right for the Lakes.

Chorus Line from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection

Chorus Line from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection. Image via Houzz

And then I spotted this blush pink and gold Geisha wallpaper. The colours are bang on trend, and its very pretty, but AGAIN perhaps not in the Lakes.

Geisha from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection

Geisha from the Albany Performance Wallpaper Collection. Image via Houzz

And then I found the perfect specimen. A natural looking motif that’s not ‘country cottage’, a striking design that isn’t garish, and a colourway that works with a boutique look. And £10.99 a roll – hurrah. I had sleepless nights over my plan to screw plywood sheets to the stand and wallpaper on site, particularly since its been 20 years since I wielded a wallpaper pasting brush. There were also a couple of attempts to foil my plan on the day that involved getting the electrician to move cables and borrowing a saw to cut two of the sheets to fit but we did it, and I managed a wallpapering job that would have my decorator in tears but looked perfect from a distance of 3ft. Result.

Mr W wielding a sword on the Amelia Wilson Interiors stand at the 2016 Lakes Hospitality show in Cumbria

(A very frustrated Mr W after we realised we’d need to cut two of the board to fit)

The wallpaper is called Whisper by Arthouse and available from wallpaper direct.com – what do you think, enough wow? Amelia Wilson Interiors exhibition stand at Lakes Hospitality show. Whisper wallpaper by Arthouse

Whisper by Arthouse wallpapers available at wallpaper direct.com

I needed  a way of displaying examples of my work without taking up too much room and decided a gallery wall would do the trick. It also fit with my ‘hotel lounge’ idea. A few old frames I found in my garage mixed with a few from my neighbours garage (everyone has picture frames in their garage…) and some recent charity shop purchases and voila! The lovely inky grey paint is called Evening Coat by Valspar and was supplied free courtesy of my lovely local rep Becky in return for a plug (here you go Becky – thank you)

Gallery wall painted in Evening Coat by Valspar and covered in old frames

Gallery wall painted in Evening Coat by Valspar

In my mind no guesthouse or B&B lounge would be complete without a hostess trolley, and look at this beauty I found on eBay for £20. Straight out of my granny’s living room and perfect for my gold and grey colour scheme.

Gold retro hostess gin trolley

A few vintage decanters and tumblers, an empty whisky bottle filled with cold tea (clever eh), some old books from Oxfam and a magnifying glass from Homesense (£7.99) and it looks like its straight off the set of Fawlty Towers…

Vintage decanters, old books and magnifying glass used to style a retro hostess gin trolley  I put a black Biba decanter on the bottom tray which picked up for a tenner in the House of Fraser sale. Looks fab with a few black ostrich feathers doesn’t it?

Black decanter from BIBA and black ostrich feathers used to dress retro hostess gin trolley

The centre piece of my stand was going to be an old console table that used to reside in my flat in London many moons ago. It was originally from Heals and is the Tina Turner of tables (great legs). I wouldn’t normally paint wooden furniture but the veneer was damaged in a few places and couldn’t be repaired so I took a big gulp and painted it Evening Coat grey to match the gallery wall and sealed it with a clear varnish to prevent chipping.

On top of the table I wanted two oversized table lamps. I’ve been scouring Homesense for a while for the perfect pair but to no avail, so in the end I opted for a couple of bases (£15 each) which I sprayed gold, and made shades using kits from Needcraft and some grey velvet and ostrich feather fringing I bought off eBay.

Gold lamp base with grey velvet lampshade with grey ostrich feather fringing

(Re-sprayed lamp bases and homemade lampshades. Total cost around £35 each)

I found the gold mirrored tray below on sale at Laura Ashley (reduced to £30) and added some more charity shop glassware, another Biba vase from House of Fraser (£8) and an old Hendricks bottle. The tray is going in my bathroom when I’ve unpacked….

Vintage glassware, BIba vase and Hendricks bottle use to decorate a mirrored gold tray from Laura Ashley

And the finished effect? Check out the table legs – beautiful aren’t they…

Grey console table with gold and grey table lamps styled by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Now you can’t have boutique without a velvet chair but space was limited. However, I am lucky enough to have a very talented upholsterer friend, who produced the perfect petite piece. A vintage French cocktail chair which she picked up for a few quid on one of her antique market jaunts.

Vintage French cocktail chair before being upholstered by Ilona Hadfield, proprietor of Fandango

Don’t believe what you see on the Great Interior Design Challenge. Upholstery is not easy. And it involves more than just a staple gun. Well it does if you want it to look good and last. I know this because I spent two evenings a week for 6 months trying to learn the skill. There is a reason we pay professionals and thats exactly what Ilona is. She upholstered it in beautiful Designers Guild velvet with contrasting gold buttons and piping. Unsurprisingly it had a few ladies swooning on the day. It’s for sale BTW so message me if you’re interested.

Vintage French cocktail chair upholstered in Designers Guild crushed velvet with contrasting gold piping and buttons by Ilona Hadfield

A tall frothy potted palm plant from Ikea and the stand was finished. What do you think? Could you imagine yourself transported to the Lake District on a cold November evening, in an old Victorian guesthouse, lounging on a velvet chair sipping whisky listening to the open fire crackling and the rain outside?

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OK, maybe I have a very vivid imagination, but it certainly pulled the crowds at the show. Better than some boring grey felt eh?

Kitchen Mystery No. 3 – Kitchen Stools

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since my last post but I’ve got that rather nice problem of lots of work right now. I’ve got a few projects in implementation, including The Swan Inn, which is really starting to take shape. I’ve been pillaging the local charity shops for accessories and dragged Mr W in there last night so he can see work in progress. Well I say dragged….  It was quite entertaining actually, I was like a mystery shopper quizzing all the regulars about what they thought of the changes without telling them I was the designer. Thankfully feedback was good or it might would have ruined my night.. us designers are sensitive about our work you know.

I’ve also got three new design jobs on including a Victorian terrace, a Georgian farm cottage and an already very elegant stone townhouse. And if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy I’m taking a stand at the Lakes Hospitality Association trade show next week. To say the plan for my stand is ambitious is an understatement. It’s been like the Great Interior Design challenge at Holly Cottage, what with me making lampshades and hunting for accessories on eBay (including the fabulous hostess trolley below). Mr W has been painting furniture, papering plywood boards and fixing picture frames all week. Not sure what I’d have done if he hadn’t become my house husband retired.

Gold hostess trolley

We also had some friends stay last week who were on route to Black Sail youth hostel (possibly the most isolated hostel in the country, but great walking and spectacular views).  One of them has been running an amusing series of posts on Facebook entitled ‘Kitchen Mysteries’.

Kitchen Mystery No 1 – Tupperware

Why can you never find the matching lid for the plastic container you want to use? (Check out how organised she is tho, you open my tupperware cupboard and everything falls out).

Kitchen mystery number 1 - why no lids for the tuppaware

Kitchen Mystery No. 2 – Herbs & Spices

Why is it that you can have a cupboard full of herbs and spices but never the ones you need for the recipe you want to cook? (Again, very organised, but she did used to work for Ikea and I think they make you take a course on storage).

Kitchen mystery number 2 - never the spices you need

This week I offer up my contribution, a problem that almost drove me crazy this month when I was working on a new kitchen design.

Kitchen Mystery No. 3 – Kitchen Stools

Why are retailers still selling ugly kitchen stools that belong in the 1980’s, without even pretending they’re retro?

Seriously, google kitchen stools and see the monstrosities that pop up. Like these. Yikes.

Kitchen mystery number 3 - why are there so many ugly kitchen stools on the market

The Kitchen Stool Challenge

The biggest problem I have when I’m designing kitchens and looking for seating is height. There are lots of lovely bar stools on the market, probably because the designers of bar stools understand that there are bar owners that care about aesthetics. But I’ll be honest I’m not quite sure what some kitchen stool designers are thinking. Or maybe I’m just rubbish at my job and can’t find all the nice ones. But anyway, back to height. The difference if you’re wondering is about 10-15cm. If your breakfast bar is the same height as your kitchen worktops then you need a seat height of around 65cm for your kitchen stools, whereas bar stools tend to be 75-80cm. Fascinating eh?

Now you can raise your breakfast bar, which is what our American friends tend to do.

Breakfast bar in white kitchen designed by Kitchen Stori via Houzz

Raised breakfast bar in contemporary kitchen designed by Kitchen Stori, image via Houzz

Then you could have these babies by Zeitraum. Well you could if £579 per stool isn’t an issue.

Kitchens - Morph walnut wood bar stool by Zeitraum, available from madeindesign.co.uk

Morph walnut bar stool by Zeitraum available at madeindesign.com

You can also lower the counter and use dining chairs. Personally I’m not a fan as it always feels a little like I’m sitting at the kiddy table.

Low level breakfast bar in Highgate Kitchen photographed by Paul Craig Photography

Low level breakfast bar, image via Houzz

But these two tone dining chairs from Design Icons would look fabulous, and they come in red, taupe, nougat, mustard, sky blue, black and white so you can mix ’em up if you like. Currently in sale for £137.70 each so a little more affordable than the bar stools above.

Calligaris Jam dining chairs with sleigh style legs

Calligaris Jam dining chairs available from designicons.co.uk

So what I have I managed to find for you lovely people that just want a regular counter level breakfast bar? Well thank you for asking, I’ll show you.

First up these lovely wire kitchen stools by Pastoe and available on Clippings.com. You have a choice of black, white, grey, blue or red. Lovely as they are though, at £270 each they’re not going to be in everyones budget. They also come as a bar stool or a dining chair so very versatile. If I could afford them I think I’d need to add a seat pad. I don’t want to think about the amount of my bum that would poke through the gaps…..

KM06 Kitchen stool in Haze Grey by Pastoe on Clippings.com

Wire kitchen stools by Pastoe and available on clippings.com

Adjustable seats are very handy if like me you’re a short arse. And if you like the industrial look then these from Industville are great quality and at £99 very affordable. I put one of them in the kitchen showroom I designed recently and they’ve been very popular.

Adjustable height industrial kitchen stool from Industville

Adjustable height industrial kitchen stool from Industville

If you need a bit of cushioning what about these glam girls? Available in black or white leather, and in two heights. They’re not cheap at $375 (£260 to us Brits) from One Kings Lane. Unfortunately they don’t ship outside the US but there are some suggested shipping companies on their website. Would look great if you’re going for the luxe look in your kitchen or if you had a retro bar.

Black leather and gold kitchen counter or bar stool from One Kings Lane

Lakeshore stool from One Kings Lane

I’m starting to wish I’d bought something with a backrest for my own kitchen though. I’m too old these days to perch on a stool that doesn’t have lumbar support. So I’m thinking about these beauties made by District Eight Design in Vietnam and available through outandoutoriginal.com. Just don’t tell Mr W as he thinks the kitchen is finished. When will he realise that your home is NEVER finished when you live with an interior designer?

Adjustable industrial kitchen stool by District Eight Design

Industrial kitchen stools by District Eight Design

When I was styling the showroom for Cockermouth Kitchens I bought a couple of these moulded plastic chairs from Cult Furniture. They come in 12 different colours (shown here in olive) and a choice of leg finishes. They are soooo comfortable and only £89 each.

Moulded plastic Charles Eames style kitchen stools with eiffel legs from Cult Furniture

So this is what ended up on the mood board for the kitchen I just finished. The homeowner wanted affordable, adjustable, cushioned, easy to clean and with a backrest. So they might not be your cup of tea but they met the brief (£99 for two BTW) and the customer loved them. Personally I’m not a fan of stools with a gas lift mechanism but I do like the leather and curves on these.  A little Charles Eames-esque

Carcaso chrome and brown leather adjustable height bar stools from www.simplybarstools.co.uk

Brown leather and chrome adjustable stools from www.simplybarstools.co.uk

So logging off now. I’ve got lists to make for the show this week. Can’t get half way down the motorway and realise I’ve forgotten the electric screwdriver or the pasting table…..

P.S I nearly called this post Stool Samples which had me sniggering for ages, but Mr W the professional part of me wouldn’t allow it.

2016 Interior Design Trends Part II – Kitchens

For those of you patient enough to endure my waffle about interiors…..and occasionally chickens and Mr W, you will have seen last weeks post 2016 Interior Design Trends, and be up to speed on my plan to share my pick of the interior design trends the big guns in interiors are predicting for 2016, along with a few of my own ideas and comments. So its week 2, and as I’m right into kitchens at the moment thanks to my partnership with Cockermouth Kitchens I thought I’d make this Kitchens week.

Before I get stuck in, there is a general theme at the moment that applies to both kitchens and bathrooms, which is to design these rooms to look more like living spaces. It’s easier to achieve if you’re lucky enough to have an open plan space that can incorporate dining and lounging areas. But it’s still possible to create a homely feel in a more compact kitchen by adding warm colours, soft furnishings, open shelving, feature lighting, artwork and decorative accessories. I particularly like it when I see old Persian style rugs on kitchen floors like these below.

Kitchens - Melrose Kitchen by Luciano Group via Houzz

Melrose Kitchen by Luciano Group via Houzz

1. Open Plan Kitchens & Larger Islands

So first on my top ten list – open plan layouts, which for obvious reasons continue to be popular They increase light and space, give you multi-functional areas and keep the family closer together (though some may see this as a negative….). Add an island and hey presto extra storage space, but if you have room you can really sweat your asset by adding a sink or hob, a food prep area and seating. Our chums across the pond are calling this a ‘workhorse’ island. The one below even has his and her sinks. Sounds like two places for Mr W to dump dirt dishes if you ask me…..Kitchens - The Cliffs at Mountain Park by Linda McDougald Design via Houzz

Kitchen in The Cliffs at Mountain Park by Linda McDougald Design via Houzz

2. Contrasting Cabinets

Now number 2 isn’t a new trend, t’s just one that’s getting bolder with different finishes now being used not just contrasting colours. I would keep the upper cabinets lighter and play around with texture and darker colours on the lower cabinets for the best effects. My own kitchen is a combination of ivory (Farrow & Ball Ringwood Ground) and deep red (Farrow & Ball Rectory Red) and I love this combination of burnt orange and grainy brown.

Kitchens - Rozelle Cottage by Scott Weston Design Architecture PL via Houzz

Kitchen in Rozelle Cottage by Scott Weston Design Architecture PL via Houzz

3. Porcelain Worktops

I may not be getting any slimmer but worktops are. If you’re a fan of the minimalist look, porcelain worktops are now available as skinny as 3mm, and in a range of colours and finishes including wood, stone, marble and metal effects. They are also more heat, flame and stain resistant than other products on the market which is good news for foodies and red wine drinkers like me.

Kitchens - Slim porcelain kitchen worktops - hot trend for 2016. Image courtesy of Walls & Floors.

Slim porcelain worktops are perfect in minimalist kitchens. Image via Walls & Floors

4. Deep kitchen drawers

According to a survey by Houzz ease of storage is the number one priority for those fitting a new kitchen. Deep kitchen drawers are great for small appliances and the dishes you use once in a blue moon (tagine anyone?), making them more accessible than if they were in cupboards. No more rooting around the back of a cupboard on your hands and knees. Personally I’m not a fan of dividers but these can also be used to organise the contents if you feel the need.

Kitchens - Deep kitchen drawers for small appliances etc by Leicht Kuchen AG via Houzz

Drawers by Leicht Küchen AG via Houzz

5. Black appliances

Tired of cleaning fingerprints off your shiny chrome appliances? Then you’ll love the new range of black stainless steel appliances from Samsung and LG. I covered these last week but they’re uber stylish so deserve a second mention. The sleek lines and mildly industrial look means they work well in both traditional and contemporary kitchens.

Kitchens - New range of black stainless steel kitchen appliances from Samsung

The new range of black stainless steel appliance from Samsung

6. Gold hardware

The interiors metallic movement continues, banishing silver and chrome in favour of metals like bronze, rose gold and copper. I’ve got a bit of a crush on polished gold hardware, it really adds glamour to a kitchen or bathroom. I love this kitchen with its moody green cabinets, dark marble worktop and gold finishes.

Kitchens - Midcentury dark green and gold kitchen via Houzz

Midcentury dark green and gold kitchen via Houzz

7. White kitchens

When I was a kid white was what you used for undercoat and ceilings, but there are now as many shades of white as there are other colours, and all-white kitchens continue to be popular for their simplicity and bright, clean look. But they can look a little sterile so make sure you incorporate some colour. This can be anywhere in the scheme including your tiling, worktop, accessories or even a brightly coloured appliance like this fab orange fridge. I think it might be the Swan Retro Fridge available from AO.com, if not its very similar.

Kitchens - White kitchen with bright orange fridge by Etre via Houzz

White kitchen by Etre via Houzz

8. Creative use of LED lighting

It’s important to have good lighting in a kitchen but you want to avoid rows and rows of spotlights in your ceiling and use different sources. Lighting under your upper cabinets and shelving can provide both task lighting and softer light in the evening. But also consider pendants, particularly over seating areas and wall lights. Low level under cabinet lighting is easy to install using adhesive strips of LED lights. It creates a feeling of warmth and the low light stops you stubbing your toes when you raid the fridge at midnight. Top tip – make sure your lights are on different circuits so you can use them separately, and install dimmers where possible.

Kitchens - Freeman Residence by LMK INTERIOR DESIGN via Houzz

Kitchen in the Freeman Residence by LMK INTERIOR DESIGN via Houzz

9. Raw materials

Kitchens are not pretty, wishy washy rooms, they’re full of heat, light, smells and noise, or at least they are when me and Mr W are cooking together. Which is why I think industrial looking raw materials look so great and are becoming increasingly popular. These materials look best when mixed together, for example concrete worktops with exposed brick walls, wood floors and steel appliances like in this kitchen, although it does look a little like the set of a cookery show….

Kitchens - Channel Island Fort via Houzz

Kitchen in Channel Island Fort via Houzz

10. Feature Tiling

We can’t talk kitchens and not talk tiles now can we, and tiling has definitely transitioned from functional to feature over the last few years, with bright colours. bold geometric prints and patterns like herringbone and chevron everywhere. A trend I expect to see more of in 2016 is creating zones in kitchens and larger bathrooms using flooring, either with combinations of tiles or mixing tiles with other types of flooring. This is a great way to minimise costs if you have your heart set on expensive tiles but can’t afford to do the whole floor. Just use them in part of the room and something more affordable around them. If you put different tiles under your table breakfast bar it can look like a rug which adds to the whole homely look I mentioned at the start.

Kitchens - Evangelist Rd y Martins Camisole Architects via Houzz

Kitchen at Evangelist Rd by Martins Camisole Architects via Houzz

So I think I’m all kitchened out. Off to my own kitchen now to put the kettle on. FYI it’s very cool is my kettle.It was designed by Heston Blumenthal and has half a dozen settings for different teas and coffee. Complete waste of money as I only use one setting but it does look nice…..

My 2015 Interior Design Report Card

Sorry if I’ve been a bit quiet but I assumed you were busy with Christmas and whatnot. It’s been a tad hectic at Holly Cottage too but not with interior design stuff. I’ve spent the past 7 days with Jamie Oliver, and together we have produced some wonderful dishes including Christmas Roast DuckBloody Mary Beef and Rabbit Bolognese. Today we’re collaborating on Chicken Liver Parfait and Roasted Pork Shoulder. It’s the only time of year I have the time and the appropriate number of mouths to feed to warrant such domestic goddesstry, and now Mr W is officially retired I have a new sous chef which helps.

Taking some downtime from Interior Design and cooking with Mr W

Pre-Amelia Wilson Interiors, cooking was essential therapy, and I still find it very relaxing. These past few days when I haven’t been chopping, stirring or flambéing, (that was the chicken livers this morning – goodbye eyebrows), I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come since I started my interior design business a little over a year ago. So this week, instead of homework, I’m submitting my 2015 report card for your perusal.

Overall interior design performance

I’m very pleased with the number of interior design projects I’ve completed this year, and how diverse they’ve been. It’s not just been bedrooms and bathrooms, but living rooms, kitchens, a pub, a shop, a showroom “and a partridge in a pear tree”……. sorry, still feeling very festive. I’m not quite making enough to keep Mr W in the manner to which he had become accustomed, but I probably never will. Please don’t tell him or he might make me go back to London….

What’s really motivated though me has been the positive feedback from every single one of my customers, and from others online. When you hop on the social media train you leave yourself open to (sometimes not very constructive) criticism and I’ve had a couple of ‘not likes’ but I’m a big girl, both mentally and of late physically, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. At the end of the day it’s what the customer thinks, and nothing says customer satisfaction more than “when can you start the next room” which I’ve heard a few times this year. A big thank you to everyone who has ‘liked’ my work though – it really is appreciated.

Gold Stars

I’ve come from a background of team working so being a one-woman band is new to me and working from home can be isolating. So I’m proud of and value the partnerships I’m building, not just with tradespeople and suppliers but also with distribution partners. Cockermouth Kitchen Co is my first and I have a couple more in the pipeline – watch this space.

I’m also chuffed to bits with the new website. I was feeling pretty smug about building the first one in April but after a few months I realised it was a bit dated so I gave it a makeover and I think it looks pretty good. I am officially a geek.

I’m also giving myself a gold star for the effort I have put into maintaining my social media presence and experimenting with various marketing and advertising tools including press, online media, and starting January 4th – Radio! The time all that takes should never be underestimated and is what keeps me up late after I’ve finished actual interior design work.

Nothing to do with my interior design business but I’m also pleased to have kept 8 out of 10 chickens alive. RIP Shakira and Brittney, fingers crossed the mysterious bug that ended your short lives doesn’t wipe out the others in 2016..

Could try harder

Although I did work on three commercial projects this year I haven’t broken into the hospitality space yet. So I’m a little disappointed, but I’ll just have to ramp up the efforts in 2016.

I’m also getting better at photography, but David Bailey I am not. I think I’ve figured out the angles and close up shots, but god help me the lighting in Cumbria is a challenge. Might need to invest in a big flash….

Grades

So I’m giving myself A’s for effort, customer satisfaction, distribution and marketing, a B for sales (need to help maintain Mr W’s new life of leisure), and C for commercial activity and photography. Not bad for a start up me thinks.

I also took a look back at which of my blog posts you liked the most and top of the list was all the best parties end up in the kitchen. I suspect this had more to do with the movie at the end than my interiors waffle…check it out it did make me chuckle this morning.

So thats me done until New Year. My next group of visitors arrives this afternoon and I’m still in my PJ’s.

Make sure you check back in January as I have some more great before and afters to show you.

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.

IMG_4519

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.

 

 

Tickled pink with the pink bedroom

I promised you pictures of the newly finished pink bedroom on Thursday. So lets pretend I was suspense building. Lets pretend I wasn’t just faffing around with my new photo editing software. Because I’m not just blowing my own trumpet here but this bedroom deserves a build up. It’s the interior design equivalent of a celebrity transformation Think Leona Lewis before X Factor versus the sleek, stylish, diva she is now. Think Kylie in Neighbours versus current Kylie the sex kitten. If you didn’t know me you might even suspect it was a different bedroom.

To remind you this is what the bedroom looked like before….

Before picture of clients bedroom

before image of clients bedroom

And without further ado, drum roll please (click here – honest its an actual drum roll), here’s how her bedroom looks now.

Glamorous pink bedroom designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

See what I mean. I wasn’t exaggerating. I’m not sure who is happier with the final result me or LM the homeowner. I almost asked if I could sleep over this weekend…. Apparently her partner has been allowed in but he has been given orders, no shoes and no clothes on the floor. LM’s a police officer so she could probably get him arrested or worse if he doesn’t comply

So lets talk design detail. First the colour scheme. The walls and ceiling are Pink Cocoa by Valspar. When the first wall was painted me and LM did a double take as it looked purr..itty pink, but once the rest of the room was painted it took on that blush colour I was looking for. I knew it would look great with gold carpet and soft furnishings, but I also added black accents as LM lives with her partner Ian so we couldn’t have the room looking too much like a boudoir.

Mood board for pink bedroom prepared by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

We needed to replace all her bedroom furniture so I started by designing huge fitted wardrobes to go where the old freestanding wardrobe had been. I ordered shaker style sliding doors and tracks from Howdens and the fabulous joiner I work with (Curren Joinery) built the frame with cupboards above to match, and all the shelves etc I wanted inside. Filling this space has actually made the bedroom look bigger, and LM says her problem now is she doesn’t have enough clothes to fill the space….nice problem to have as there’s only one solution…..

Fitted shaker style wardrobes in pink bedroom designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

LM likes older furniture so I took a trip to my favourite antiques warehouse in Manchester and picked up two chests of drawers.

Mid century modern chest of drawers in pink bedroom designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

One is actually a Gentleman’s Chest with a lift up lid and compartments for gloves, ties, cufflinks etc. Great for costume jewellery!

Gentlemans chest with lift up lid and compartments for ties, cufflinks etc.

I picked up this dormitory style bed online from UK Bed Store for only £163 including delivery, which looks great with the black Victorian fireplace.

Black metal Victorian dormitory style bed from UK Bed Store

To match it I found this bedside table with a black metal top in Habitat, another bargain at only £25. Note to self, remember to hide wires when taking photos……

Wood and black metal top bedside table from Habitat

A black Victorian style cast iron radiator was a must – this one came from The Cast Iron Radiator Centre. While we’re here check out the lush gold curtains and new black curtain pole. The curtains used to hang in my bedroom in a flat I owned in London, and with minor alterations they look like they were made for this room.

Gold curtains in pink bedroom and black Victorian style cast iron radiator

The Lloyd Loom chair was a car boot find which I sprayed black with dipped gold legs.

Original Lloyd Loom chair sprayed black with dipped gold legs

Next, lighting. This is what she had before.

Before image of small flush ceiling light

Now this bedroom is 4m x 5m with a ceiling almost 3m high. So I knew we could go big. This large Aria pendant light from Laura Ashley is 50cm x 48cm without the chain and needs 6 bulbs. It was reduced from £375 to £262.50 in the sale, which is excellent value for such a large chandelier, and it looks amazing. The room had been so gloomy we actually had to fit it before the joiner could start so he could see what he was doing. We put it on a dimmer so the neighbours didn’t think LM had opened a cannabis farm. We also added a large white ceiling rose so that it would stand out against the pink ceiling.

Large Aria ceiling pendant from Laura Ashley

Large Aria ceiling pendant from Laura Ashley

For the bedsides I found a pair of glass and gold table lamp bases in Homesense for £15 each which look great with these black and gold shades from M&S. (Like the pineapple dish? Also Homesense).

Glass and gold lamp base with black and gold lampshade from Marks & Spencers

One of my favourite things in the room are these pink velvet boudoir cushions with gold tassels from H&M Home. I’m also quite proud of my homemade artwork. I’m not normally a ‘words as pictures’ kinda girl. I usually put them in the same box as wooden hearts on string. But get rid of pithy statements about friendship or love, or orders to keep calm, and I’m in. I bought frames from IKEA and customised picture mounts online and had a local printer print my designs for a few quid. Total cost about £15 per picture. Bargain. As the head of the bed is relatively low, the wall needed some big art and this 2 over 3 formation accentuates the height of the ceiling.

Pink velvet boudoir cushions with gold tassels from H&M home. Homemade art by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

A few more accessories and we’re done.

Pink and purple bowls and purple tea light holder from Homesense

Bowls and tea light holders from Homesense

Round gold picture frames and black and gold pineapple from Homesense

Gold picture frames and a black and gold pineapple I sneaked in – also Homesense

Black and gold scented candle from Homesense. Small candle from H&M home

Large scented candle (looks a little like BIBA doesn’t it?) from Homesense. Small candle from H&M Home

The mirror was a great find in the clearance section of my local Laura Ashley – should have been £300, reduced to £137.50.

Large rectangular Gatsby mirror from Laura Ashley

Gold hurricane style lamp Homesense

So what do you think of the pink bedroom? I’m absolutely tickled pink and so is LM.

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