Is this the end of open-plan living?

Interior glazed sliding doors

Over the last two decades, the trend for open-plan living and wall-less dwellings rose faster than you could swing a sledgehammer; however, over the past few years, we’re seeing a complete reversal in interiors trends with home-owners opting for more traditional, segmented living spaces.

There are various reasons as to why this could be. The practicalities of an open-plan living space are not as obvious as you might think. Downsizing all the possessions and knick-knacks you acquire over the years is no mean feat, not to mention the daily struggle of keeping every surface clean and tidy if you have children or room-mates. In fact, families who have previously opted for open-plan living are reverting to traditional, divided rooms as a more practical way of living, according to Jane Green from the Telegraph. Individual rooms provide quiet sanctuaries for homework, reading and watching your preferred Netflix series, and people are suggesting they prefer to cook in the kitchen in peace, without having the constant interruptions from a television that can be seen and heard over the worktop.

circular dining table and turquoise-pained chairs

There is no doubt, it seems, that separate rooms provide areas of sanctuary and quiet which in turn, create cosier, more inviting spaces to spend time to undertake your preferred activity of relaxation. One might even argue that segmented rooms are actually driving families back together in a more traditional sense, since the kitchen and dining room are becoming device-free zones, promoting a healthy appetite for dinner conversation.

Dog on a lap on a sofaWith this in mind, we’re thinking about the more conventional ways you could furnish these individual living rooms without compromising on style. First things first, retrieve that box of ornaments from storage and choose a selection of objects that will look fantastic displayed in a bespoke alcove bookcase by The Bookcase Co. Think about quality curation, carefully selecting objects that work well together based on a specific colour palette, as opposed to quantity.

A slim and stylish desk for homework or working from home is essential. This mango wood version from Swoon is effortlessly chic and compact and will fit in alcoves, smaller rooms or even under the stairs.

Enormous three-seater and corner sofas might work well in gargantuan open-plan living areas; however, smaller spaces call for smaller sofas. Create cosy nooks for books with a two-seater sofa from Arlo & Jacob. The perfect size to snuggle up to someone, or stretch out and make the most of some quality alone time.

Dining table & chairs with a tall cactus in the backgroundA well-placed rug can instantly update your interior, bringing with it warmth, pattern and texture. They also help to create zones, if you do happen to have a room on the larger size and want to break it down further. You’ll find a vast selection of traditional and modern rugs from OKA, with the option of wool and cotton, amongst others.

To avoid areas becoming too dark and closed off, this slender floor lamp by Perch & Parrow is fashionable and functional; perfect to shed some light on those newly created cosy corners of your living room.

Get their look: Tangerine dream space

Tangerine dream spacecredit

I’ve discovered my new all-time favourite modular sofa in this tangerine dream space located in East London. Camaleonda is huge, voluptuous and inviting. The fact that it’s bright orange only adds to its appeal to me.

I also love the large, glass-topped coffee table which appears to double up as useful storage. I couldn’t discover anything about the maker, but Habitat does something that would work similarly. Do you know the designer or manufacturer? Also, can you identify the white, cone-shaped item next to the sofa? Is it a lamp? A water fountain? An ashtray? I’m stumped!

  1. Flos 265 wall light by Paolo Rizzatto
  2. ‘Camaleonda’ modular sofas by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia
  3. Flos May Day universal lamp by Konstantin Grcic
  4. Blyth storage side table
  5. Pietra Serena sandstone flooring

Get their look: Tangerine dream space | H is for Home

Bitossi bull

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Look at this fine fellow!

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

The vintage Bitossi bull was a favourite buy from last week. It was designed by Aldo Londi, the company’s artistic director for over half a century. This piece dates from the 1950s/60s era.

Underside of a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Bold colour, stylised shape and impressed, textural decoration are all classic hallmarks of Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu.

Maker's mark on a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

As you can see, it’s factory marked to the underside – and condition is very good with no chips or cracks – just a bit of age-related crazing to the glaze. It’s a good size too, measuring just over 30cm in length, so a real eye-catching piece. A classic bit of mid century modern home décor! Available to buy in our web shop this week priced at £150.

Designer Desire: René Gruau

Mosaic of René Gruau illustrations | H is for Home

Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.

His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.

Portrait of René Gruau

Additional image credits:

Christies | Gruau Collection

Price Points: Coffee subscriptions

Coffee subscriptions | H is for Home

Last week, we featured online tea offers; this week, it’s only fair to investigate a few coffee subscriptions available. We only drink one or two cups each per day, but we like them to be made using good quality beans. Favourite of ours are full-bodied espresso beans – and decaf espresso beans for evening consumption.

  1. Coffee-Direct: from £5.99 per 227 sample bag (save 15% when bought on subscription)
    Probably the one of the three that has the most choice – there are 16 different Espresso roast coffees alone! Coffee-Direct explain:

    At the checkout you have the option to choose to receive your order periodically, at any frequency that suits you. What’s more, once your subscription is set up, you’re able to amend, skip, pause or delete your subscription at any time.

  2. Coffee REAL: subscriptions – £36 – £328 (3, 6 or 12 month coffee subscriptions, 6 – 52 bags of beans)
    Coffee REAL is a company with a charitable heart. 10% of the purchase price of their espresso blend goes directly to the Born Free Foundation – and, even better, the blend is made from 2 top coffees that originate in areas where Born Free run wildlife projects.
  3. Skinny Coffee Club: from £24.95 (28 day, 8-week and 12-week day/night programmes)
    Well, I never knew that you could drink coffee in an effort to help you drop a dress size or two! According to their blurb:

    Skinny Coffee Club is ideal for those looking to lose weight, fast. It’s tasty, organic and designed specifically to raise your metabolism, burn fat, fill you with energy throughout the day and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

    There’s only 63mg of caffeine and 6 calories in each cup. Skinny Coffee is comprised of ground coffee, ground green coffee bean extract, green tea extract powder, Garcinia Cambogia, Siberian ginseng powder and spirulina powder. I’ve no idea how much like traditional coffee it tastes but there are thousands of reviews on their website posted by satisfied (slimmer) customers!

Strawberry ice cream

Home-made no churn strawberry ice cream in a glass coupe | H is for Home

I was planning to bake a loaf for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post but it’s been sooooooo hot that I couldn’t bear the thought of having a hot oven on for hours! I’ve returned to one of my hot summer favourites – no churn ice cream – this time one I’ve not made before, strawberry ice cream.

Puréed tinned strawberries | H is for Home

It may be mid-June and a fortnight before Wimbledon begins, but none of the strawberries in our garden have even begun to ripen yet. That meant that I had to use shop bought ones… but I may make another batch when ours are ready!

Whipped home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

I’ve used both fresh and tinned strawberries in my recipe – and the result knocks spots off many shop bought brands. I think the secret is in reducing by half the liquid the tinned strawberries are in and adding it to the mix. It really intensifies the strawberry flavour and the sweetness.

Two 1-litre tubs of home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin my recipe for later!

Strawberry ice cream
Yields 2
Ingredients
  1. 1 tin strawberries in syrup
  2. 600ml/21fl oz double cream
  3. 1 (397g/14oz) tin condensed milk
  4. 300g/10½oz fresh strawberries, finely choppedStrawberry ice cream ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Strain the tinned strawberries putting the liquid into a small saucepan
  2. Simmer the syrup until it's reduced by half. Set aside and allow to cool
  3. Purée the tinned strawberries
  4. In an electric mixer using the whisk attachment whip the double cream, condensed milk and strawberry purée on high for 5-7 minutes until the mixture thickens
  5. Gently fold in all but a couple of tablespoons of the chopped strawberries until evenly mixed through
  6. Decant into a 2-litre lidded container (or two 1-litre containers) and sprinkle the reserved, chopped strawberries evenly over the top
  7. Freeze for at least 4 hours - better still, overnight
Notes
  1. Once fully frozen, remove from the freezer 20 minutes before scooping & serving
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/