Archive for the ‘interior design’ Category

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

'Porcelain or Ceramic Tile?' blog post banner

Floorcraft Catlin porcelain floor tiles in a bathroom

Tile is a popular, practical and elegant flooring choice that looks great in virtually any home. Because of its durability, it’s excellent for any room – perfect for busy families and areas of heavy foot traffic. Tile flooring is low maintenance, easy to clean, moisture resistant and flexible. There is also a wide range of beautiful glazes & finishes. Ceramic and porcelain are two of the most popular and common types of tile flooring. But what’s the difference between them?

dark Design Distinctions Pearson Mosaic tiled bathroom

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is formed from red or white clay covered in a protective glaze and fired in a kiln. It’s available in a wide array of earthy tones, vibrant hues and distinctive patterns. It offers lots of creative options for traditional or contemporary interiors in areas where there is light to moderate footfall.

Design Distinctions copper ceramic tile flooring

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is known for its beauty and incredible lustre. It is created under extreme temperature & pressure conditions which enhances the tiles durability. This manufacturing process means it’s denser, smoother and more impervious to moisture than ceramic, making it perfect for either indoor or outdoor settings. Carrying flooring through from interior to exterior – out to a patio, for instance, can be very effective visually – enhancing the sense of space & drawing the outdoors in. With a wide range of colours, textures and patterns, porcelain can add beauty & character to any room. Depending on your preference, porcelain is available in both a gloss and matte finish.

Dark American Olean Siena Springs porcelain floor tiles in a bathroom overlooking a lake & mountains

Perhaps one of the best things about tile flooring is the ability to lay it in a variety of distinctive patterns that immediately transforms a space. Eye-catching designs such as a classic black & white chequerboard effect or installing it on the diagonal are good examples. If you’re looking to add a touch of unique beauty to your home, consider tile flooring.


Upstairs Downstairs

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

'Upstairs Downstairs' blog post banner

white metal spiral staircase

Justin used to have the most gorgeous original Victorian cast iron spiral staircase that he often reminisces about. It was reclaimed from an old workshop and ran through all three floors of his little Brighton house.

stainless steel spiral staircase

There’s something quite magical about them – organic, sculptural & full of movement… and very tempting to climb.

white metal spiral staircase

Obviously, reclaimed antique staircases can be hard to come by & expensive too. Not to mention, you require a bit of luck when it comes to finding one that’s the correct size and of course the knowledge & skills to restore and fit them properly.

white metal and stainless steel spiral staircase

Going with a brand new staircase is often the most practical or only option available.

modern staircase with beech treads

You might not have ever considered shopping around for a staircase online – but Fontanot is well worth checking out.

modern glass staircase

They’re an Italian, family-run company, going since the 1940s,  with a UK-based branch in Rotherham – located just the other side of the M1 from Sheffield’s Meadowhall.

red, white and green metal spiral staircases

They have a huge selection of modern staircases in a wide range of materials – round or square spirals, space savers, modular systems & made-to-measure options.

wooden spiral staircase

They’re robustly constructed from materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, zinc and toughened glass with solid, FSC-certified wood including beech and ash for the treads.

beech and stainless steel spiral staircase

There are a few brightly coloured options too.

red spiral staircase treads

And choices for treads, spindles & handrails.

modern glass stairway

They provide the perfect solution to tricky spaces – and lend themselves well to accommodating a small office, library or reading space in the stair well at the bottom.

under stairs lidded storage box

Fontanot sells a range of shelves & storage systems to make use of this often overlooked space.

under stairs lidded storage box

under stairs coat hooks under stair coat hooks

As well as interior staircases, there’s a selection of attractive, industrial outdoor versions available too.

outdoor industrial metal spiral staircase

We’ve considered an outdoor spiral staircase ourselves. Our home backs on to the canal and we really like the idea of French windows in our bedroom opening out onto a balcony where we can look out on the birds & barges on the water – with a metal spiral leading down from the balcony to the garden below.

modern spiral staircase with beech treads

They look great for starters – and then the thought of breakfast on the balcony, followed by winding down the spiral to have a little potter around the garden is very appealing indeed!


Keep your kitchen stylish yet functional

Monday, January 14th, 2013

modern kitchen with small, square butcher's trolley

Whether you’re building a new kitchen or looking to update and old one, settling on a design can be a challenge for many homeowners. As a potential space for entertaining, you want your kitchen to be stylish and comfortable, but you also want it to be functional when creating meals for your family. Don’t sacrifice style for functionality or vice versa. Create your dream kitchen by following these insider tips:

1) Cover your walls in cabinets

retro kitchen storage designed by Wayne Hemingway and available at John Lewis

Your kitchen’s number one most important feature is its cabinets – no appliance or piece of kitchen equipment can compete with them. That’s because in order to keep your kitchen looking organised and stylish, you need a place to store all of the pots, pans, utensils, gadgets and dry goods you’ve accumulated to keep your kitchen running smoothly and your family fed. As well as being practical, cabinets are a good way to hide your refrigerator, freezer, tumbler dryer, and other appliances so that they blend more seamlessly with your kitchen’s overall design. What’s trending in 2013 is to mix cabinet colours – a cream or grey shade for the upper cabinetry and darker woods for the lower cabinetry.

2) Add an island

modern kitchen with large, oval kitchen island

A kitchen island provides you with two very important features: more counter-top and cabinet space. Unlike other counter-top areas, an island provides you with uninterrupted space where you can do your mixing, chopping, beating, grating, etc. when preparing a meal. You can design the cabinetry portion of the island to suit your individual needs, adding a sink, overhead lighting or trash compost if it will be your main prep area, or bar stools and chairs if the island will function more as a table and informal space for socialising. Keep in mind that turned legs can give your island the look of furniture, and a bold colour choice can help punch up the kitchen’s overall design. If you’re short on funds or space, a wheel-based butcher’s trolley provides a similar function to an island for a lot less money, and can give your kitchen a nice contemporary feel.

3) Get creative with the storage

butcher's trolley on castors with wicker basket storage, drawers, under shelf and horizontal metal bar for hanging utensils or tea towel

Not everything needs to be hidden away in cupboards and drawers in order for your kitchen to look stylish and uncluttered. If you’ve got an exposed wall above your stove or sink, consider adding some hung storage to give your kitchen a more homey and inviting ambience. Instead of buying a pot to store your kitchen utensils, add a rack above your stove where you can hang your spoons, mixers, and spatulas upside down to free up some counter space and provide you with easy access to them while you cook. Likewise, pots and pans can be hung above your kitchen island to help save space, and the family wine rack can be incorporated right into the design of your new kitchen island. Rather than keeping your kitchen items shut behind dark panels, you may choose instead to add a glass window to some of your cabinetry to give your kitchen a more open feel. These creative storage ideas look especially great on a contemporary or country kitchen.

[guest post]

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair ’09

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

We spent a splendid few hours at the launch of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. This year, it’s being held in Manchester city centre at Spinningfields.

There are almost 150 stands featuring the work of top class designer-makers from as far afield as Cornwall, Bristol, Argyll, London… with a strong representation from Greater Manchester and the North West. There was a huge turnout of visitors – many bagging themselves some fabulous early Christmas presents (for friends, family & themselves!).

We couldn’t blog about absolutely all the craftspeople there, so here’s a bit about some of the ones who especially caught our eye…

We were both really taken by these delicate and tactile hand-thrown porcelain vessels from Belfast-based Derek Wilson Ceramics. His display was the epitome of pared back, understated loveliness!

Adelle has a soft spot for colourful & playful jewellery like these felt pieces from Lynsey Walters

…and a well-known penchant for vintage and vintage inspired handbags & purses!

These ones above are from Monica Boxley who, as well as using original vintage fabrics, makes beautiful handmade leather handbags inspired by a 1950s one belonging to her mother. It’s named the Marianne in homage.

As we’re on the subject of bags & purses, here are some lovely natural linen examples below from Teresa Green who makes an array of goods using textiles that she designs & hand prints.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog posts, you’ll know that we love pottery. The timeless slipware made by Hannah McAndrew is just the kind of thing that gets us excited.

Her pieces would sit equally comfortably in both an ultra modern pad as well as well as an antique furnished country cottage.

There’s another Hannah exhibiting who’s work we’ve known & loved for a very long time. She’s Hannah Nunn, a lighting designer based a 10-minute drive away from us in Hebden Bridge.

If you’re ever in the area, her shop Radiance is in Hebden town centre. If not, she also sells online.

Ruth Green Design had a lovely display of eye-catching silk screen prints.

In addition to screen prints she has a lovely selection of linocuts and oil on paper works available on her website.

Tricia Needham is another screen printer whose work caught our attention. She makes these tea cosies as well as cushions, bags, scarves and ties (seen adorning the neck of Jon Snow no less!).

One stand that was getting a lot of attention from visitors on the night was Ingrid Wagner‘s…

Ingrid was encouraging people to try their hand at knitting with her giant needles and huge balls of wool & fabric. Ingrid in fact broke the world record last year for ‘extreme knitting’ – using needles three and a half metres long!

The Fair’s on until Sunday 25th October so get down there, it’s well worth a visit!

Booked Up!

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

We’re excited to announce that we’ve just added an Amazon a-store to the H is for Home website.

It’s full of books & magazines that we find inspirational, informative or both. We’ve divided them into sections such as Guides to vintage collecting, 1950s design, Pottery & ceramics and Interior & style magazines.

Link to H is for Home bookshop (UK)

Link to H is for Home bookshop (US)

Come & have a browse!