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Posts Tagged ‘andrew martin’

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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This blog first appeared on the Cambridge Evening News website.

The August bank holiday is so often ear-marked as a time for home improvements and with this in mind, we have put together a collection of accessories from some of our favourite designers and shops that we hope will inspire you to make those small but effective changes to your home, so that if the big DIY project doesn’t materialise, at least you home will be looking new and improved!

Lighting

Changing your light fittings will make a huge difference to your home. Add lamps where you can and select pendant lights that are beautiful in a room as well as giving the right kind of light for the space.

 

Single glass shades with black fabric twisted flex and dark bronze ceiling rose in purple, smoked olive, sky blue and yellow ochre. £262 www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Rugs

A new rug will add colour, comfort and style to a room and is a great place to add colour or pattern or both. Keep the rug as large as possible and don’t be afraid to sit the sofas and chairs (or other furniture) on it.

Niki Jones Lattice Rug  Hand knotted in 100% New Zealand wool. Available in two colourways, shown here in Ash Grey and Chartreuse Green £1250 http://www.niki-jones.co.uk

Flowers

Fresh flowers are a lovely accessory in any room of the home and will bring a welcoming, well-loved feel to your home.. Try to pick flowers and vases that fit in with the style and colours of your home but most importantly, pick flowers you love!

WildGarden Bouquet in Jug. Forget Me Nots, Anemones and Rambling Clematis. £65 plus delivery www.wildatheart.com

Cushions

I am a very big fan of a cushion or two as I think they add luxurious finishing touch to a space, not to mention a splash of colour and pattern. Try to add a selection of different cushions and avoid over co-ordination of fabrics.

Vintage Daisies and Roses Cushion Cover Approximately 50cm x 50cm, envelope back fastening with chunky shell buttons. £57 www.paleandinteresting.com

Bed linen

A new set of bed linen will not only make your bedroom look ship shape but will also be a wonderful reason to get an early night when the bank holiday weekend is over. I think some colour or texture (or both) in your bedlinen ensures that the bed is the centrepiece of your room but if you prefer plain white, a bedthrow will do just as well.

Andrew Martin Arrowstripe Duvet Covers, Multi from John Lewis

£99 – £125 Duvet cover for the duvet cover www.johnlewis.com

Mirrors and pictures

I am always amazed at the difference that hanging pictures and mirrors make to a room – they not only personalise a space but they also draw the eye upwards from the furniture to make a room seem bigger. If you don’t have a great art collection (or even if you do), well framed family photos, mirrors, prints and wall hangings will dress your walls in style. Think carefully about where each should hanging considering the background (paint or wallpaper), the lighting and the height that each piece is hung.

Graham and Green Grand Daisy Mirror 97 diameter £395 www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Bath towels

A great way to get a bit of colour and luxury into the smallest room in the house is to splash out on some coloured towels. Remember to get a selection of sizes from little hand towels to big bath sheets and check to see if you need additional hooks or towel rails to save them from all being piled onto the towel warmer or radiator.

Designers Guild Saraille Lime Towels £5-£45 www.designersguild.com

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With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, we hope that you are getting that loving feeling, and of course we think it is highly appropriate to show your home some of that affection as well as your sweetheart. Here are some of our favourite products in inject some subtle romance into your home.

This article first appeared on the Cambridge News website

You can’t get more romantic that this ‘Love Letters’ wallpaper from Andrew Martin – up close you will see names and addresses in beautiful hand writing and date stamped in the 1830s. A beautiful backdrop to any interior scheme and unusual enough to make a statement, it would be great to use on all walls in a room, or just inside a wardrobe to make you smile in the mornings.

It’s true! – all you do need is love (and, we would argue, a fab home). These wooden panels will make a joyful statement in the right place in your home – they are very striking so need a neutral backdrop and some eye-catching furnishings to balance them up. And possibly two very cute children to complete the look!

The Rug Company do some truly beautiful rugs and none more so that this Love Heart rug designed by Vivienne Westwood. It perfectly balances romantic and stylish and is an investment piece that will last you for many Valentine’s Days to come and all the days of the year in between.

New bedding is always a treat but these pillowcases make a perfect accessory too and if you want to make a statement this Valentine’s Day, well these should probably do the trick. They come in red, blue, pink, black and cream lettering and are in cotton poplin.

And finally, I just couldn’t resist this Heart Door Knocker from Jim Lawrence – sweet and stylish, it brings just a hint of romance to the entrance way to your home. Beautifully made as with all things from Jim Lawrence, it is hand forged and come in four different finishes.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all at Angel and Blume!

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We have been using lots of wallpapers in our projects recently and we are feeling rather inspired by the beautiful papers that are available. There are a few things to think about when using wallpaper – we tend to use a plain curtain with a patterned wallpaper and make sure that other fabrics in the room don’t fight with the pattern of the wallpaper; we generally choose a woodwork and ceiling paint that blends with the background of the wallpaper and most important of all, if you are considering using wallpaper for a feature wall, make sure there is a good reason for doing only one and if there isn’t, be brave and do them all – it nearly always looks better!

  

Lewis and Wood do some great wallpapers, and whilst they are known for their fabulous character and sporting wallpapers, they also do some really wonderful florals, damasks and toiles. Above is the divine Bolton Scroll (an Angel + Blume favourite) and Indienne which works beautifully with their matching fabric.

 

The Zoffany Gustavus collection is inspired by Gustavian Sweden and contains papers in soft blues, grey and green. It is absolutely beautiful and works well with Gustavian style furniture, or just on it’s own.

These are new papers out from Zoffany and when I saw them I was really blown away by them. They are in the Classic Damask range and whilst the whole range has great grandeur, it could be used very succesfully in smaller residences!

 

Andrew Martin has a super range of really fun wallpapers that work beautifully in boy’s rooms, studies or anywhere an injection of fun is needed. Above is Newton (left) and Pythagoras both in wonderful classy greys.

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