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Archive for the ‘interior design’ Category

Somehow Rightmove knows that I like looking at properties that I can’t afford and they recently sent a real peach of a home in their weekly email. I have spent rather too long gazing at it and googling it, so I am now passing on that baton to you. It is a glorious Grade II listed converted Methodist Chapel and I think someone has done a great job on the restoration and creating a beautiful and creative dwelling within.

A balcony from one of the bedrooms overlooks the main living area

I love the pendant light which has just the right proportions for the space

A brave and beautiful colour that emphasises those glorious windows

You can just see parasols hanging from the ceiling – I love it!

The Chapel is currently for sale through Strutt and Parker and there is also a website with yet more delicious pictures to view at thechapelhg1.com/

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The February edition of Velvet Magazine is out and it is looking lovelier than ever! Here is a little taster with the contribution from Angel and Blume.

Drowning in stuff? Cate Burren reflects on the ever-increasing number of possessions we have in our homes.

‘I tried hard to resist the temptation to raise the topic of decluttering our homes at this time of year – it seems as big a cliché as offering diet tips or holiday ideas – but then I read a truly compelling article about the average number of things we have in our homes and it has stayed with me ever since. Go on, guess how many (think books, DVDs, shoes, teaspoons, general stuff in drawers – each thing counts) keep going, keep going – ok, I will tell you. 300,000. My initial reaction without really thinking about it was that I don’t have nearly that number of items but when I started to count, I was less sure. In the name of research, I have been testing the number out on those around me and several people have been unsurprised, or guessed a higher number. One of my colleagues was utterly unmoved when I revealed the answer to her and announced that she thought her husband had 100,000 items in his shed alone.

Of course the right reaction would be to think that we can’t possibly need 300,000 items in our homes and the truth is that we don’t, in our modern world most of us have just ended up with too much stuff. Before I move on, I’ll just hit you with a few other eye-openers along the same lines. These are my favourites but there are loads to choose from:

• The average American home has more TVs than people (2.86 sets v 2.44 people) and I’ll bet we are only fractionally behind them.
• British children have an average of 238 toys but regularly play with just 12
• 1 in 10 Americans rent a storage locker, some of which are abandoned and dismantled when the rental invoice isn’t paid. (My husband did this before he met me – twice – and I am ashamed to say that I am far more obsessed with what was in the storage lockers than I am on questioning him about any other parts of his previous life).

Image by Peter Bennett Photography

I think I have made my point. The question is, short of binning much of what we have worked so hard to accumulate, which doesn’t really seem to address the problem anyway, what can we usefully take from this for the future? I have pondered this recently, mainly on the way to the Milton Recycling Centre, and my thoughts are as follows:

1. Much has been said already about the throw-away society we are currently in and I think that this in absolutely true in our homes. Shops like Ikea, Homes Sense and T K Maxx allow us to buy things for our home cheaply, which is good, but does lead to us to not buying the right item in the first place, something which will last, can be repaired/mended in future, that we can to take to future homes and then pass on to others. We buy items on the basis that we will probably throw them away when we find, or can afford, the item we actually want. It is hard to wait, save up, make the right choice and then keep the item for a long time, but it is much the best way to do things. Buying quality and keeping things doesn’t de-clutter our homes but it is ultimately cost effective and better for the planet. It also means that we have something we like in our homes rather than an interim piece which we don’t really like and will probably stay with us for longer than we originally intended.

2. If you have decent quality items (and sometimes even if they are cheap to start off with), you can have them mended when they are worn or damaged. I am constantly amazed and delighted to find craftspeople who can undertake repairs to items that we think are beyond help. In Cambridgeshire alone, we have Restorers, French Polishers, Seamstresses, people who will repair enamel on baths, people who will repair metal work and so on. Just as it is worth buying something you like to start off with, it is worth repairing something you like rather than immediately thinking of buying a new one.

3. I think we often buy something new because it makes us feel better – it’s a treat – but we justify it by saying we need it. As an example, I constantly buy books (interior design books, cookery books, novels etc.) when I have shelves heaving with books of each type that I haven’t read yet. Stopping ourselves before we buy anything – books, clothes, toys, tellies – and asking ourselves if we really do need it or whether we have something in the home already that could be used – may produce surprising results.

4. Often we have things in our homes that we feel we can’t get rid of because they have sentimental value, or because we are storing them for other people (children are a primary example). It is hard but I think you have to be strict on this. The home should be for the people in it, not a place to store items that are not wanted by the inhabitants. Be creative with how you do this to avoid upset. e.g. ‘We are going to sell Great Auntie Margies sideboard that she loved but is not quite our thing and buy a picture we do like to remind ourselves of her’ or ‘We love you and support you but we don’t want to house your childhood teddy bear collection any more – can we help you to move it to your (trendy minimalist) flat?’

5. Don’t immediately bin things – so much can be released back into the wild. Many things can be sold if you take a little time and make the effort to find the right place. It doesn’t have to be Ebay, which is useful but labour intensive, places like The Curtain Exchange, Willingham Auctions and Cheffins Antique sales will all give you honest advice on the item and will do the work for you, for a fair share of the proceeds. In addition, giving decent quality items to charity shops (try think of which charity could make best use of the item you are donating) will make you feel good and will genuinely help others.

I am sometimes guilty of giving advice that I don’t always follow myself (do what I say, not what I do) but I was actually so shocked, and frankly depressed, by what I read about the amount of stuff we have that I am determined to make changes to slowly reduce what I own. I have a feeling it will be rather liberating.’

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We have a whole new format for our classes this year with sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings. We have five to choose from (not including the Christmas special at the end of November!) and if you are able to attend one or all, we would love to see you.

We are covering a range of topics that people have asked us for in the past and areas of interior design that we know are tricky. Things like planning your new bathroom or kitchen, sorting out your lighting, selecting your colours and thinking about how you want your home to look and work.

The classes are being held in our studio at 17 Emmanuel Road and we are only minutes from masses of restaurants and shops so you can make a day of your visit to central Cambridge!

In all areas, we hope to simplify, inform and to have fun. So whether you are planning a minor update, a major project or you are just interested, there are lots to choose from. More information, dates and times on the website.

We look forward to seeing you!

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A very Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a good Christmas break and are settling back well into old and new routines. At Angel and Blume we are all marveling at how clean and fresh everything looks now the Christmas decorations are coming down and with that in mind, I have been starting to think about freshening up our website.

We were very busy at the end of last year photographing a few of the projects we have been working on recently. One of the first to go up on our website is this beautiful central Cambridge home and you can see more images on the portfolio section of our website.

This spacious kitchen dining room has a wonderful view of the newly re-modeled garden and a stylish and practical table and chairs from Joined and Jointed looks great in this space.

The glorious sitting room window is not only a lovely place to sit but is also a huge sash window that pulls up to allow access to the garden – a discovery we were rather thrilled to make!


The clients had some lovely photographs taken by a member of the family and these worked beautifully in the study room along with a statement sofa and rug.


We love designing children’s rooms and this was no exception. Animals were a bit of a theme here including a rather fabulous Love Frankie Leopard Walk lampshade.

Watch this space for more projects to follow as the year unfolds!

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Wishing you all a very happy and restful festive season and a good year to follow, from everyone at Angel + Blume.

KingsRowChristmas-1KingsRowChristmas-3.jpg

Images taken at one of the homes at King’s Row, Ely, a development by Palace Green Homes. Interior design and show home by Angel + Blume. Photography by Peter Bennett.

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Creating your own individual pieces of homeware is a lovely way to get a little bit crafty and give your home something special. I love the idea of using something old, and creating a whole new function for it. I’ve been trawling through Pinterest to find some inventive ways to re-use vintage pieces and give your home that one of a kind feel.

Antique book Display from Stitch Design Co. via Pinterest

Antique books are always a pretty edition to a shelf or display; the old fashioned covers and spines can look lovely lined up together. But if you’ve got a large collection that you’re hoping to do something a bit different with, I love what someone has done above. Take your books, opening them to pages with your favourite quote, or a pretty illustration, and create an art piece of the book montage. Not only will it be an unusual artwork, it’s also a great way to display your books in a new and exciting way, and for you to be able to share favourite parts with friends and guests. It would make a wonderful piece to have in a study, stairwell or a bedroom.

If the idea of using the pages of a book intrigues you, the image below rather inspired me, using the pages as wallpaper. The idea might seem a tad gimmicky, but in the dining room below it looks rather elegant and sophisticated. The trick is to use pages from the same book so that the layout remains the same, so that when you take a step back, there’s a flowing pattern. This could be a great idea for a bathroom, or a smaller room that you want to try it out on first.

Antique Book Wallpaper from Country Living via Pinterest

Vintage prints and charts are a thing of beauty and if you love that style, they make wonderful pieces of art to have in your home. But if you want to get a little more creative than just hanging them, there other ways of making them more of a feature in your space. Fitting the prints into something like a plain room divider will not only dress up the piece of furniture but give your prints a distinct presence in a room.

Vintage Print Room Divider from Comfortably Carried Away via Pinterest

Vintage and antique doorknobs are lovely little ornate things, that sometimes you can’t resist purchasing even if you have no place for them, or that not in that good condition. But there are loads of ways to use a rusty old doorknob as a display piece, either in your home or garden. A lined up in a row, the doorknobs can become great hooks, or here they’ve used them in a garden as a display for some wild plants.

Antique Doorknpb Display from Home BNC via Pinterest

Someone has used old doorknobs to create name card holders for the dining table; this would be a perfect way to make guests feel special at a dinner party.

Door Knob Name Card Holders from Save on Crafts via Pinterest

Mounting plates and trays on the wall is a great way of displaying them, especially as antique trays are so beautifully decorated. If you stick to a particular style or era it’ll create a really beautiful and dramatic look for a kitchen or a wall that connects a kitchen and dining area. I love these different shape and sizes metal trays that really give a distinctive touch to the room. I also like the drama of the black trays placed together in a random order.

Metal Trays from Pinterest

Collection of Trays from Remodelista via Pinterest

Old postcards and photographs are something I love to collect, whether they’re of people you know or random ones you can find in vintage shops, they’re really interesting to look at and read; they can also make great display items in your home, especially if you have a large collection. Often people want to pack away big collections of things, but some pieces are meant to be shown off. I like the idea of using some old drawers of a dresser or chest of drawers that’s perhaps beyond salvage, but using the drawers as open displays for a coffee table for example.

Postcard Drawer Storage from Martha Stewart Weddings via Pinterest

Some vintage photographs of your ancestors can be made into a really special display by placing them in glass bottles to put on your window sill, mantelpiece or shelf.

Photographs in Bottles from Father Rabbit via Pinterest

I love searching for ideas and getting inspired by other people’s creations, thinking about how I can rework an idea to fit into my own space and in my style. It’s these little additions to your home that make it really special and unique to you, so go out and find your next craft project!

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If you’re looking for a contemporary and interesting way to add texture into your home, leather may be a great solution. You might automatically think of an impressive chesterfield when the words leather and interior are placed together, but there are tons of different ways to introduce the material into your home; that can also accommodate various styles as well.

You may not think of leather as a suitable material for wall coverings, and perhaps the term bachelor pad comes to mind, but actually the more leather walls I see the more intrigued I am. I found this image on Pinterest of a fabulously swish and stylish living room with a portion of the double height wall covered in a classic brown leather wall panelling. It works perfectly with this cool bohemian style interior, and gives the room a huge dose of personality.

Leather Wall Panelling from Lush Home via Pinterest

If you’ve got the guts to go for leather, and have the right space to accommodate it, Elitis have a lovely wallpaper which comes in this rather interesting green-grey colour. In the image below they’ve paired the wallpaper with linen, which can be a good way to tone down and soften the leather making the space more liveable.

Anquille Big Croco Galuchat Wallpaper from Elitis available at Houseology

There are some interesting leather lighting designs floating around at the moment which are an unusual and eye-catching addition to a room. This wall light from Lostine would add distinct character to a mid-century styled office space. Contrasted against a mid-tone grey wall colour or going in with an extra oomph of retro style against a dark green colour, this leather light can be a subtle way to give a study some prominent presence.

Ava Wall Sconce by Lostine

Or combine leather with a bohemian style with some like this Pod shade from Who Did That; the woven design softens the material making it suitable for more relaxed style interiors.

Pod Noir Curve by Who Did That

Of course you can find some really wonderful pieces of furniture made from leather, both new and vintage, which are perfect for a timelessly styled interior. But if you’re looking for something a little rarer for your interior, you can find some creative leather gems around at the moment. This bedside table by Julian Chichester is a fantastic way to add texture and colour to a bedroom. The pop of colour will instantly become the main feature of the room.

Seago Bedside Table by Julian Chichester

If you’re looking for something more neutral to fit into a scheme, this faux ostrich leather coffee table from Arthur Lee will add glamour, while integrating into the existing palette but giving that interesting texture to the room.

Faux Ostrich Leather Coffee Table by Arthur Lee

The idea of a pommel horse in your house might be a little strange but it’s actually a great way to add leather into a scheme, and finding a beautiful vintage piece will give a room character. I like the idea of using a pommel as an alternative to a bench for dining room, or as a seating area in a hallway or boot room, or even as a feature in a bedroom or bathroom.

Vintage Pommel Horse Bench from Remodelista via Pinterest

If you want to introduce leather in a small way into your home, finding leather accessories can be a really innovative way to use the material. I love the alternative towel rack, with leather strap to hang it from the ceiling, really making a feature piece out of a practical element of your bathroom. Or the modern shelving with black leather straps, perfect for adding an interesting touch to a minimally styled room.

Hanging Towel Rail with Leather Straps from Heimatbaum via Pinterest

Two Tier Leather Strap Shelving Unit from Grattify

Give some more texture to a seating area with a patterned hair-on leather cushion; which could even be used against a classic leather sofa or armchair to give an exciting look.

Tutti & Co Panelled Leather Cushion from Trouva

Finally, give a room a modern twist on a clubhouse feel with this side table with leather magazine holder. The tobacco coloured leather and the brass body are a classic look, but contemporary design gives an alternative way of using the two materials.

Gatsby Side Table with Leather Magazine Holder from Rockett St George

Leather is a fun and creative material to use in your home, with a whole array of designs and styles that can facilitate it. From classic pieces of furniture to more alternative items, leather can be a great way to add a touch of excitement to your home.

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