Pick of the Pads: Less is More

'Less is More' article title page in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

Sometimes you look at the exterior of a house and just know you’re going to like the interior. It doesn’t work out 100% of the time, but this is one of those occasions that it does. Perhaps you could say that it even exceeds expectations, we love it so much.

Cover of the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

The house belongs to Jo Weeks who owns interiors shop, Sixty Seven – and is featured in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine. I’m sure wouldn’t want to take all the credit as the house was bought and refurbished by Alex Legendre and Zoe Ellison who also own a homewares shop, I gigi. Jo had the wonderful luxury of moving in after all the hassle and dirty work was over – bliss!

Double bedroom decorated in natural colours from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

The house is situated in the North Laine area of Brighton – a place we know well. We’ve spent many an hour wandering round the North Laine (or North Laines as most people call them now) – browsing the shops, eating lunch and drinking in the many watering holes. In fact, Justin used to own a house there too twenty years ago. We wonder which street this one’s on.

Sitting room with cream coloured wood burning stove from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

We know one thing for sure – we absolutely love what they’ve done with the place – as they say. A lesson in creating a modern home whilst retaining character and atmosphere in bucket-loads.

Eclectic sitting room cum study from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

The colour palette is restful, but never dull. There are many layers of natural tone – and a pared back simplicity which allows spaces to breathe. In fact, there’s real discipline shown so as not to clutter or overcrowd. As the feature title says, “Where less is more”.

Bathroom with roll top bath from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

Many generations have called it home – and there’s a real sense of history and intimacy. Jo is now making it her own much loved family home.

Views of a bedroom fireplace and hallway balustrade from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

Usually, when you read a house tour something irks you a bit – the odd piece of furniture placement, a certain colour, a decorative object. We’ve had a good look – no, there’s nothing.

Three views of sitting areas from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

Rooms appear light and airy. They’re filled with some lovely vintage furniture such as the kitchen seating, the writing desk and the very comfy looking leather club chair. Where a contemporary piece is needed, such as the cream wood burning stove, it’s the perfect choice. Decoration is simple with fresh flowers and the occasional painting (which, surprise, surprise – we love too!). We wonder who the artist is? It’s very much like the landscapes of an artist we know called Geoffrey Key. We had to sell our Geoff Key oil painting to pay for a major operation on our dog’s leg – are you listening Fudge? :-).

Three views of sitting areas from the 'Less is More' article in the May 2016 edition of Country Living magazine

We know from experience that big gardens just don’t exist in the North Laine, but most houses have a small courtyard space. With a bit of creativity, these can be lovely little havens too. Here, the whitewashed space with with overhanging vine and tempting looking chairs offer the perfect spot for an evening G&T or glass of wine. When can we move in?!

Home Tones: All Black

All black bedroomcredit

It’s dark, dramatic all black for this week’s Home Tones. And we’ve chosen images where walls, floors and ceilings are incorporated into the scheme. It creates a cocoon or womb-like space that envelops the occupant. Spotlights and mood lighting have the perfect backdrop to look their best.

There are a wide range of highlight colours that work well. Our personal favourite are those mustard yellows, tan leathers, blonde woods and wicker. It’s also a great colour to display artwork against. Black & white photos sit very nicely – and bold flashes of colour have real impact – a huge abstract oil painting springs to mind. All in all, it’s one of our absolute favourite interior looks.

All black hallwaycredit

All black exteriorcredit

All black living roomcredit

All black home cinemacredit

All black sitting roomcredit

All black home officecredit

All black kitchencredit

Price Points: Smart light bulbs

 Smart lightbulbs | H is for Home

Home tech has come a huge way in the past few years. What used to be science fiction is now science fact. You can get gadgets to control your central heating, record television programmes while away from home… even water the plants.

We have a home security set up whereby we can see, hear and record what’s going on inside the house from wherever else we happen to be via a mobile phone app. It sends us an alert if the front or back doors are opened.

What we’d like to add to our ‘smart home’ is the ability to turn lights on & off on timer or remotely. A great feature if we’re coming home late or forget to turn lights off when we go out. Smart lightbulbs have now made it possible to do this. They are controlled by wi-fi and smart phone or tablet app. They can still be fairly expensive to buy, but prices continue to fall as more & more brands begin to produce them.

The Crenova (#1) works via Bluetooth, allows you to dim and change the colour of the light and even doubles as a speaker. Just link up to four bulbs to your smart phone or tablet and stream your music library. I can see this working great in the bathroom, enhancing a relaxing bubble bath.

The mid-range WeMo is a straight swap for the basic ‘lo-tech’ bulb in that it only emits white light. You can control up to 50 bulbs (which cost around £25 each) via the plug link and an app for your smartphone or tablet.

At the other end of the price range, the Philips Hue. The Hue, as its name suggests controls the colour as well as the intensity of the light created. This package comes with 3 smart lightbulbs, but it still works out at three times the price of Crenova. However, you can add up to 50 bulbs… (which cost around £15 each) your entire house, inside & out!

The bulbs may be expensive, but they last a lot longer than traditional bulbs. I couldn’t find any information about how long the Crenova lasts. The Hue ‘shines’ for 25,000 hours (about 3 years). The WeMo bulb claims to have a life expectancy of 23 years – not bad!

  1. Crenova® BB-02 8W B22 Bluetooth 4.0 dimmable colour-changing LED bulb: £17.99, Amazon
  2. WeMo smart LED light bulb starter pack, bayonet cap (B22): £60, B&Q
  3. PHILIPS Hue wireless bulbs starter kit (B22): £134.99

Cakes & Bakes: Fat rascals

Home-made fat rascals and mug of tea | H is for Home

We were in Ilkley today – collecting items from auction and having a mooch around the charity shops.

flour and cubes of butter in a mixing bowl

We wandered passed Betty’s Tea Rooms, but didn’t go in – the breads and cakes in the window certainly looked good though.

Adding milk to fat rascal dough | H is for Home

Fat rascals are a famous offering from this establishment – and I decided to rustle up a batch when we got home. They’re quick and easy, so a perfect bake if you’re pushed for time (which I was if I wanted to get my Thursday recipe made, baked, photographed and written up in a couple of hours before posting in the evening.

fat rascals dough rolled and sliced | H is for Home

I used a traditional fat rascals recipe from Old Yorkshire Recipes by Joan Poulson (which you can get on Amazon for a penny!). It contained very sketchy instructions, so I checked some of my other recipe books. I found the exact recipe, with the exact, same instructions in Mary Hanson Moore’s A Yorkshire Cookbook. Even though Betty’s and Taylors of Harrogate trademarked the name ‘Fat Rascal’ in the 1980s, the pastries have actually been in existence since the 18th century at the latest.

Uncooked fat rascals on a baking sheet | H is for Home

We love this humble little bake – a bit soft biscuit, a bit rock cake, a bit scone. The Betty’s version is bigger and fancier with its cherry and almond decoration. My fat rascals have a simple sprinkle of sugar.

Home-made fat rascals cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

They’re absolutely perfect with a cup of tea – we found that eating them just very slightly warm with cold butter was our absolute favourite, but all manner of preserves would work well too.

Fat rascals
Yields 24
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz plain flour
  2. 150g/5¼oz butter, chilled
  3. 75g/2⅔oz currants
  4. 37g/1⅓oz brown sugar
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 100ml/3½ fl oz milk
  7.  
  8. Home-made fat rascals ingredients
  9.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour
  3. Add the currants, sugar and salt
  4. Mix in the milk, enough to make a slack dough
  5. Roll out to ½" thick, cut into rounds and dust with icing sugar (I think caster sugar worked better)
  6. Put on to the greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned
Notes
  1. Gorgeous served still warm with butter and fruit jam!
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Miniature woven garden furniture

Toy miniature woven garden chairs | H is for Home

Last week’s quirky item was a vintage miniature organ – this week we’re going even smaller in scale, with this even more miniature woven garden furniture.

Toy miniature woven garden furniture | H is for Home

They’re very 1950s – and very sweet too. The set comprises of a table & four chairs, a bench and two armchairs. To give you some idea of size, each chair stands 9cm or 3½ inches tall.

Toy miniature woven garden table & chairs | H is for Home

We like the lemon yellow and crisp white colourway – and the detail is fabulous. It’s so pretty – we’d happily use it in our own garden if we were 6 inches tall ourselves!

Toy miniature woven garden chairs | H is for Home

Anyone out there with dolls or a dolls house that need garden furniture – or would just like them as a decorative piece in their own right, just drop us a line. There’ll be no expensive furniture removal costs! The eight piece set is priced at £35.00.

Get their look: Double-height hallway

Double-height hallway

We love a proper hallway off the front entrance. Not only does it create a path through to the rest of the house, it’s a place to hang coats, take off muddy wellies & walking boots, deposit house keys and mail. Ours is a bit cramped to say the least. This double-height hallway is the epitome of adult cool. Bright & airy, sophisticated furnishings, clear of clutter and creates an expectation of a great interior ahead. Hopefully, we’ll get a space like this one day.

  1. 50cm x 50cm picture frame
  2. Sector Octo ceiling light, birch
  3. Solange cotton-blend throw
  4. Jojo vase
  5. Fritz Hansen Series 7 chair
  6. Ebbe Gehl for John Lewis Mira sideboard
  7. Odyssey Nestor (Antislip R10) floor tile

Get their look: Double-height hallway | H is for Home