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Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

Inviting to look at and still room to sit comfortably. Chair, cushion and delectable fabrics all from Vanessa Arbuthnott.

There is a battle raging in our households and it concerns the quite intense emotions elicited by the humble cushion. Many sane, sensible and fair minded couples that I visit in my capacity as their interior designer can quickly lapse into not only passionate opinions but also surprisingly petty bickering when the subject of cushions is mentioned. I am going to horribly generalise now so please forgive me if you don’t fit into my unsubstantiated gender stereotyping, but seems to me that it tends to be us girls that love cushions and it’s the boys who really don’t.

My investigations into anti-cushion behaviour have found some recurrent themes. The first and most virulent relates mainly to cushions on the bed. “Where do they go at night?” the boys cry “we have to throw them on the floor”. Ok, I understand, they need a place to go when they are taken off the bed and the floor is not it. A simple solution would be a chair, window seat or ottoman at the end of the bed that they could reside on over-night.

The second complaint is normally about the number of cushions on the sofa. “We can’t even sit down without taking some of them off and throwing them on the floor” (are you seeing the ‘throwing them on the floor’ pattern emerging?). It’s a valid point, you need to be able to sit on your sofa, but this very rarely means you can’t have any cushions on it at all. Really, have you felt the comfort a cushion offers?!

Even I have to admit (and on a personal level you may have guessed that I am an extreme cushion lover) that the purpose of cushions in adornment. Some comfort for sure but primarily adornment and is there anything wrong with that? The key really, as with all things interior related, is the balance of style and functionality. A contemporary muted minimalist space will be spoilt by brightly coloured highly patterned cushions but will be enhanced by a limited number of plain cushions adding a layer of texture and comfort. Similarly a room that is verging on the bland can be hugely improved with a burst of colour, pattern, texture and a visual hit of inviting comfort.

Cushions do have an advantage that they are easier and cheaper to purchase than larger items such as a sofa or carpet. However, this does not mean that you should not take the time and effort in choosing your cushions, or that you should opt for cheap if you are not sure. A ‘make-do’ cushion is a waste of money as it is highly likely that you will want to replace it almost as soon as you get it home. If you buy a cushion you really love you may well have it for life so it represents much better value for money whatever it costs.

Contemporary cushions from Andrew Martin bring colour and comfort to a grey scheme.

Fortunately, there is now a very good selection of ready-made cushions available on the market. One tip I would give you when looking for off the shelf cushions is to find a fabric or accessories company that you really like and see what cushions they have on offer. I find that high street store cushions are often incredibly middle of the road and quite depressing because of it, whereas a company that isn’t trying to offer all styles to all people can be a lot more inventive. For example, Chelsea Textiles (www.chelseatextiles.com) have a wonderful range of cushions for those of a more traditional bent and Andrew Martin (www.andrewmartin.co.uk) have lush designs on offer for those of a more contemporary sensitivity.

If you do go down the route of having cushions made (and I warn you now, it is an additive business), you have a world of opportunity at your fingertips. Key decisions include size and shape, fabric obviously but you might want to use a couple of different fabrics, say one on the back and a different one on the front, or a different fabric as a side or decorative panel, and then of course there are trimmings. Trimmings are the interior addicts’ sweeties and are a joyful business to pick and often are what makes the cushion special. The key with having cushions made (and actually any bespoke item) is to find the right craftsperson and make good friends with them. As with many needlework tasks, cushion making sounds very simple but to get it right is always more complicated that you think. You need to find a soft furnishings maker who knows what they are doing, will listen to what you want and has a good level of patience. Thinking through the design before starting is vital and no detail should be overlooked, as cushion disappointment is not pretty.

As I write, I suspect that those amongst us who have yet to realise the true worth of the cushion may be feeling slightly light-headed, if not enraged, by my encouragement for spending hard earned cash on the decorative end of the soft furnishings palette. I would say sorry but I wouldn’t mean it so what I will do is to send a grovelling apology to any man who really does appreciate a cushion. That said, I do believe it is thanks to the female of the species that the cushion thrives. Without us the boys would all be sitting slightly uncomfortably on their sofas wondering why their rooms look just a tiny bit bland.

This article first appeared in Cambridge Magazine, April 2017

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I attended a wonderful brunch event at Catesbys (Green Street, opposite Bills) this morning and the company, the breakfast but most importantly, their current stock, was all a delicious delight. I highly recommend a visit for a browse at their home furnishings and accessories followed up by a restorative visit to their first floor café. Thank you Neil and Jonathan, look forward to seeing you soon. X

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We have a few of these bowls in the office – very handy for sweeties

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I didn’t know before this morning how much I want a pair of sleeping lions

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Stylish dishes

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…and more stylish dishes

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When decorating, and filling our homes with wonderful things, it seems that we tend to lean towards using lighter colours, but I believe that there is an argument to be made from using darker shades, especially black. There’s something intriguingly stylish and timeless about the colour black, and using it within a room helps to frame and sharpen the overall look of a room. Whether you want to go hard and heavy or just have a little play around with the idea, here are some absolutely brilliant black accessories and furniture pieces to be thinking about.

‘Round Copper Art Deco Shelf’

The black metal frame that circulates this shelving unit creates a wonderful contemporary look, especially combined with the copper effect of the shelves. It’s a simple yet intriguing piece that would look stunning as a feature on any wall and is a lovely way to use a small amount of black within your home.

‘Ronde Pendant’ from Gubi

This matte black pendant from Gubi has a certain sleekness that is hard to replicate in another colour. It breathes cool, and is the perfect piece to use in a modern designed kitchen, perhaps using a few in a row for a truly sophisticated look.

‘Black Oak Parquet’ from Kardean

If using black interiors has really taken you fancy, go all out with a bold statement under your feet. A black flooring system really creates a modern, urban feel and will serve as a brilliant blank canvas if you want to add some depth to your scheme with a few colourful or contrasting rugs.

For example, a beautiful black patterned rug, this Paul Smith designed stunner is just the right amount of contrast to make the black on black work together making a powerful yet understated visual look.

‘Arrows’ by Paul Smith from The Rug Company

If you’re not quite ready to take the big plunge into the world of black interiors, a few simple accessories that follow the black motif are a great way to test the waters. This marble clock from Houseology is a worthy investment. Its timeless style means it’ll be well suited to many styles and will be adaptable as you move homes or change your interiors.

‘Marble Wall Clock’ from Houseology

This lamp base from Pooky combines black with pinch of cuteness, especially when you can mix and match with their wonderful patterned lampshades, which will add a bit of fun and playfulness into an interior.

‘Verona Table Lamp’ from Pooky

Another charming home accessory that will appeal to your softer side is this lovely black heart light. It’ll be super effective if you want to warm up a look of a room or space in your home.

‘Small Black Heart Light’ from Graham and Green

The award winning Philippe Starck has designed this stunning dining room chair, available via Houseology. Its sleek design is every contemporary lover’s dream, and would look amazing paired with a glass or white table. If you’re not sure about getting a whole set, then just purchasing two for the heads of the table will also make a wonderful feature piece.

‘Kartell Masters Dining Chair’ from Houseology

The canton collection from Lombok has a particularly elegant look, I especially love this four poster bed from the collection. It’s a simple and classic design, and accompanied by some beautiful bedding will really be the icing on the cake.

‘Canton Four Poster Bed’ from Lombok

Lastly, I had to squeeze in this little marvel from the ever brilliant Julian Chichester. For show stopping pieces Julian Chichester is a must, and this piece is no different. The gilded metal legs give the piece a lighter feel as though it is floating meaning that despite its black lacquer finish, it doesn’t appear heavy or bulky.

‘Twister Cabinet’ from Julian Chichester

If you’re brave enough to go in full throttle, or just want to have a little dabble, there is so much fun to be had and you may find your perfect little black piece of furniture.

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One of the upsides about designing a playroom, nursery or kid’s room in a home is that you’re given the chance to have a little more fun than usual, and create some design schemes that are equally about playfulness as well as functionality. Though the room is labelled a ‘kids room’ the chances are the adults will be spending just as much time in there are the little ones, so why not create a space that both the kids and the adults enjoy being in.

From walls to accessories, whether you want to go all in, or create a space that can be adapted as your children get older, there are hundreds of exciting decorating ideas for your child’s room that are too hard to resist. I’ve chosen some stylish products that’ll make your kid’s room your new favourite hangout spot.

‘Cranes in Flight’ from the Palmetto collection by Harlequin

I’ve admired this wallpaper from Harlequin for a while now and it’s just absolutely beautiful, and perfect for a nursey. The flying cranes and dreamy clouds will create a sweet, tranquil space turning a wall into a visual lullaby. It also comes in six different colourways from platinum to emerald to suit all kinds of taste.

For a robust piece of furniture that can stand a few knocks, this letter head chest of drawers from Loaf can also be a hand learning tool. The style of the finish is ideal if you’re into an industrial or contemporary look and don’t want to interrupt the flow of your interior’s scheme.

‘Letter head chest of drawers’ from Loaf

Another gem from Loaf are these sweet knitted pouffes, great if you want to add some soft furnishings to your play area, as well being a suitable candidate to transfer to a teenagers room.

‘Bug pouffes’ from Loaf

A really easy way to add some individuality to a kid’s room, that won’t break the bank and are easily removed as hobbies or interests change, are wall stickers. There are an abundance of styles around that range from big to small, two of my favourites are these sweet penguin silhouettes from Brume and these enchanting birch trees from Not on the High Street.

‘Penguin Wall Stickers’ from Brume

‘Birch Tree Forest Wall Stickers’ from Not on the High Street

There is always so much fun to be had when choosing lighting for a room, and in a child’s room you can really mix it up. Even if your child isn’t scared of the dark, night lights are a must for the amazing designs alone! This castle light from The White Company is absolutely adorable and would make a wonderful, calming presence perched on a bookcase or chest of drawers.

‘Castle Light’ from The White Company

Another fun design comes from Not on the High Street in the form of this stylish moon light.

‘Moon Night Light’ from Not on the High Street

To outshine the glow in the dark stars that pretty much adorned all bedroom ceilings when I was younger, opt for these show stopping, carnival-esque star lights that will give a fun, decorative feel to a playroom. The bright yellows and blue are perfect to form an imaginative and creative space, or go for the white stars if you want a classic style that will be enjoyed by your child as they move into their teens.

‘Carnival Star Light’ from Not on the High Street

For something a little softer, Lolly & Boo have some sweet lampshade designs in lovely pastel colours. I particularly like this fun elk pattern that will add a bit of whimsy and character to a room.

‘Elk Family Drum Lampshade’ from Lolly & Boo

And finally, I couldn’t resist this delightful cloud garland from The White Company, superb for a nursery and helping your little ones drift off to sleep.

‘Cloud Garland’ from The White Company

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September has arrived and we’re now into the autumn season and whilst the weather in Cambridge has been less then desirable, at Angel + Blume we’re optimistic in the hope that we’ll be treated to a radiate Indian summer in the next few months (fingers crossed!) Following the Boy Scouts code to always ‘be prepared’ we’ve assembled a list of some beautiful accessories and furniture that are perfect for the changing seasons and the arrival of autumn.

As ever Graham and Green have some wonderful products in their collection at the moment and they’re just the thing we’re looking for.

These metallic tealight holders will reflect the flickering light from the candle flames and create a warm, cosy feeling. They’re perfect for using outside on the last few nights of summer and will be equally as good when brought inside.

Pay tribute to the summer with this striking Peacock chair from Graham and Green. It would work both indoors and outdoors and makes for a great statement piece wherever you decide to put it.

Or if you fancy something a little more retro in style try this vintage bamboo Rocker chair from Rockett St George. The addition of some Matthew Williamson fabric turns the chair from Granny chic to just plain chic!

If your focus is something on the ground level take a look at some of these rugs and floor cushions. This gold Chevron cowhide rug will bring a little bit of sparkle to your home when the clouds are grey. The sporadic splatters and stripes of gold gives the rug a glamorous touch without being tacky and will make the room look shiny and new without adding anything else.

These Moroccan tile mats from Graham and Green are the perfect combination of style and functionality. They’re ideal both indoors and outdoors and add a bit of style to an otherwise ordinary house product and will easily jazz up a neutral room.

Or something a little softer perhaps? Try these gorgeous floor cushions also from Graham and Green.

They’re perfect for taking outside and enjoying some sun and returning back inside and settling down in front of the fire for when the nights get a little cooler.

If you’re not ready to embrace the oncoming autumn months and want to celebrate the summer in your interior decoration then have a look at some of these home accessories. This sunflower style wall clock makes both a stylish addition to any home as well as creating a warm, nostalgic memory for the summer months.

Continue to feed your cravings of summer and make your house the home to something belonging in the scorching desert, this fantastically fun faux cactus. It’ll add intrigue to your home and be a fun, playful reminder of the sun and warm weather during the winter months, and it has the plus of having none of the prickly needles the real ones have!

Another accessory I love are these beautiful yet simple placemats.

They’re a simple added touch to a table that’ll brighten up your home as the autumn sets in, and are a contemporary take on the blue and white oriental style porcelain that was popular during the 17th century and onwards in Europe.

So however the weather decides to behave in the next coming weeks, you’ll be prepared to enjoy it no matter what with these wonderful home accessories.

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I am generally a bit of a cold shower where Valentine’s Day is concerned (sorry) but on the upside, I am massively in favour of a little bit of love for your home. There are some delightful and thankfully subtle home accessories that add a little bit of joyful romanticism into your personal space, which will still be welcome once February 14th is done and dusted, and I am a very big fan of these. Here are some of my current favourites.

Gold framed heart by Hello Geronimo

Made up of lots of gold foil hearts on a midnight blue background, this fab collage from Hello Geronimo makes a big loving statement without a trace of schmaltz.

Rockett St George Love Neon sign

Neon is very in at the moment (we have finally got the idea Tracey) and the LOVE sign from Rockett St George looks great against a dark wall. You can also buy KISS and LUCKY – so take your pick!

Cox and cox two heart stools

Angelic and useful, these two heart stools from Cox and Cox are made from limed Mango wood and are perfect for children.

nina campbell china

This delightful bone china tea set made from Nina Campbell was originally produced in the 70s and has recently been relaunched. You can buy the whole set or individual pieces.

Bliss and Bloom two heart shaped bowls

Really useful and elegant as well, these lovely heart shaped bowls from Bloom and Bliss have a flavour of France about them, which is always appropriate on Valentine’s day!

Willow and Stone Tau heart hooks

Hearts seem to work so well in traditional ironmongery and I love these Tau heart hooks from Willow and Stone

Graham and Green Heart backed chair

And finally this delicate and delightful heart backed chair from Graham and Green makes a wonderful occasional chair or in rows around your dining table.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, and may love be present in your homes.

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It would be wonderful to have real flowers in every room all the year round but it is quite an undertaking on both the effort and financial front. Fortunately faux flowers are now amazingly realistic and lovely, so mixing real with unreal is a happy alternative. An initial investment in some really good faux, will stand you in good stead for years to come, leaving you to appreciate the odd purchase (or collection) of seasonal flowers when the mood takes you.

Cuthbertson and Wood white hydrangeas

I think faux hyacinths work particularly well either in one colour or as mix. Try to keep the flowers low in the bowl rather than having leggy stems showing. Cuthberson and Woods via Occa Home

Bloom tulips in Portmeirion vase

Obviously seasonal flowers can be a bit of a giveaway, although I would argue the case for faux and proud and leave these glorious tulips out all year round.  www.bloom.uk.com

An Angel at my Table White Hyacinth bunch

I recently bought these white hyacinths for myself recently and I knew I was on to a winner when I caught a friend of mine smelling them! www.anangelatmytable.com

Abigail Ahern flower arrangement

Abigail Ahern has some fantastic faux foliage in her lovely shop on Upper Street in Islington but if you can’t get there, you can buy then online. She also has some great faux inspirations on her blog. http://www.abigailahern.org/news/flower-power-4/

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I bought these flowers many years ago when you had to travel far and wide to avoid ending up with dusty silk flowers horrors. They have lasted amazingly well and still look good now. Image taken from ‘Secrets of a Stylish Home’ photography by Simon Whitmore. www.simonwhitmore.com

Oka garden rose arrangement

Oka has a good range of faux flowers and this arrangement shows that it is quite possible to pull off a large formal arrangement just as well as a smaller bouquet. They have cleverly mixed white roses, foxgloves, peonies and lilies to create an eye catching focal point. www.okadirect.com

The Nordic House faux pears

And while we are on a roll with faking it, why not have a bowl full of these incredibly realistic faux pears from the Nordic House but be careful where you put them as friends are sure to attempt to eat them!

 

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