Archive for the ‘interior design’ Category

Choosing the right doors to suit your space

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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row of different antique wooden doorsImage credit: anyjazz65

Doors have a huge functional and design impact on our homes. If you’re buying brand new doors, the chances are that you don’t need to worry too much about functionality. All new doors from reputable suppliers will comply with safety standards – though of course you do need to check where fire doors may be required to higher standards.

violet coloured internal doorImage credit: Martha Stewart

The main point to decide when choosing new doors is how well they complement the rest of the interior design of your home. Do they fit with the look you have or are trying to achieve?

ivy clad house with black front doorImage credit: JR P

Wooden doors continue to dominate the market – and it’s obvious why this is. Wood is a beautiful and natural material that has been used by mankind to furnish the home since Adam was a lad. Wood lends charm and warmth to a home in the way that no other material can and with today’s huge choice of natural wood finished available from suppliers like Todd Doors, Door Stop and Howdens for example – there’s something to suit every style of home. Even oak, the most traditional of all woods for doors, can be precision-engineered to give a clean, light and very contemporary feel to the most modern of internal environments.

internal white sliding barn doorImage credit:

No other material really captures the texture and natural beauty of real wood – which is why it’s always such a popular choice with interior design professionals. It’s also so versatile.

antique wooden barn doors

With doors, it’s generally true to say that you get what you pay for. So look for special offers from bespoke and high quality suppliers. It isn’t always easy for the non-expert to see why one door is cheaper than another; but you will once it’s in place, by which time it’s too late if you’ve bought cheaply. Along with the look and feel of the doors, tell-tale signs of quality are revealed when you look at how a door has been made (particularly its joints) and of what material. Also, check whether the supplier is able to offer the 10-year Manufacturer’s Defect Guarantee.

kid's bedroom doorImage credit: Kidsomania

Once you’ve chosen the style of door, you also need to choose handles that will complement the doors and your overall design. Take time in getting this right as the handles really change the look and feel of the door and your whole interior.

orange bicycle outside a building with black double doorsImage credit: Giuseppe Milo

From a practical point of view, if you have any doubts about being able to fit the door – then get professional help. If you live in a modern house, though, this isn’t too difficult a task for those with just a little DIY experience. First – accurately measure the frame. If the frame isn’t “true” then fitting the door will be more difficult. Buy a door that either fits the opening perfectly (being careful to measure the opening very accurately) or buy a door that is very slightly too large so it can be planed or cut down as required.

black internal double doorsImage credit: Stumblehome

Next – enjoy the look and feel of your new interior!


Buying a conservatory: 5 important issues to consider

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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Sun lounge

There’s nothing more infuriating than trying to keep up with the Joneses. You’ve converted your attic into an office, transformed your basement into a man cave and knocked down your double garage for reasons you can’t remember.

Then your smug neighbour waves at you from his new conservatory – he has a glass of wine in hand and a satisfied smile on his face – as you stand in your garden green-eyed and conservatory-less. Damn those Joneses!

Unlike man caves and offices that have long been abandoned, and financial ramifications written off, conservatories are actually extremely useful additions to the home.

But, before you rush out to the nearest conservatory superstore (that’s not really a thing) to wave your credit card at a hapless assistant, there are a few important things you must first consider.

gable front conservatory

Planning permission

According to the government, conservatories fall under the same planning regulations as any extension or addition to a house. This means that, provided certain limits and conditions are met, it won’t require an application for planning permission. To ensure you meet these conditions, though, you should familiarise yourself with the government’s handy Planning Portal guide.

Victorian style conservatory

Check with the neighbours

While it’s not essential you check with your neighbours before pressing ahead, it will do a lot for relations if you keep them in the loop regarding potential building work. It’s also a good time to make them green with envy as you unveil your plans for an all singing, all dancing conservatory that’ll make their own seem like a shoddily erected tent in comparison!

bespoke conservatory

Choose your style

It won’t surprise you to learn that conservatories come in all shapes and sizes. Older properties can opt for a Victorian or Edwardian style, while modern homes can take advantage of more contemporary, bespoke designs. Whatever you plump for, it’s important to make sure it fits with the existing look and feel of your home, lest it sticks out like a very expensive sore thumb.

bespoke Lorimer conservatory

Energy efficiency

We’re all conscious of how much energy we’re using these days. When it comes to buying and installing your conservatory then, this focus shouldn’t waver. As such, it’s important to make sure your new space will be properly insulated and the glass used on all levels has a low U-Value (the lower the better for energy efficiency).

conservatory from the garden


Where you position your conservatory will depend on a few factors. For most, options are limited to the back of the property. If this faces east, you’ll benefit from the early morning sun, with the heat warming your conservatory for the rest of the day. If it faces north, it can be extremely chilly during the winter, while a south facing space means it can be unbearably hot during the summer months.

By Paul Watson

2014 Bathroom Design Trends

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

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white bathroom with Mira shower and Mediterranean blue feature wall

Is 2014 the year you’ll finally chip off those flower petal tiles, rip up the maroon carpet and tear out that hideous avocado suite? OK, so maybe your bathroom isn’t that bad, but if it’s time for an up-to-the-minute style revamp, then read on. With a strong focus on natural materials, soft and fluid edges and a touch of drama and the unpredictable, now’s the time to transform your bathroom into a strikingly beautiful and practical space.

living wall in a bathroom

image credit: Siol Studios

As Nature Intended

The interior design world is moving steadily towards the creation of greener, more eco indoor environments and bathrooms are no different. Exposed wood, slate and marble all feature heavily, with some designers going as far as dividing spaces with breath-taking living walls. Dark wood flooring or beams will bring rustic warmth that will stand the test of time.

Mira Coda Pro Diverter shower

Causing a Scene

Injecting a sense of drama can help liven up any wc. In 2014, we’ll see many spectacular shower experiences created with the growing use of gravity-defying floating vanities and dramatic lighting, as well as the increasing use of mixer showers. Theatrical and stunning fixtures such as those featured on some of the best mixer showers from Mira will give your bathroom an appeal usually only associated with garden fountains and waterfalls.

Mira shower room with blue feature wall

Keeping it Smooth

Moving away from harsh angular edges in favour of soft arcs and fluid shapes is set to make a noticeable appearance in 2014. Think curved and roll-top baths sitting on seamless flooring accompanied by frameless showers and walk-in wet rooms. This sense of softness will be compounded by the increasing use of pastels, pale blues and pinks, which bring an uplifting spirit without the use of bold, sharp colours.

Mira Agile Adept wet room

Every day is Spa Day

2014 will see normal bathrooms become luxury retreats from the rest of the house and the stresses of everyday life. Subtle touches like comfortable seating to dry yourself on and beautifully designed spaces with ultra high tech shower and bath technology will create a sense of relaxation that encourages the individual to take all the time in the world.

black & white monochrome bathroom

image credit: Aspirational Interiors

Monochrome not Monotonous

Introduced by fashion houses in 2012, monochrome is fast becoming a mainstream interior look. Simple variations of the same colour throughout a bathroom create a clinical and timeless look, and one that will also suit all budgets and can be adapted to a variety of tastes. Creative storage and the clever use of ledges will eliminate clutter, while natural wood can be introduced to add warmth to the sometimes cold feeling theme. Monochrome can also lend itself to infusions of colour with yellow and mustard, which are very in vogue this year.

With a range of inspiring trends, 2014 is the year to get your bathroom revamp up and running. No longer will you point disconcertedly up the stairs when visitor asks to use the facilities. On the contrary, guests will be shepherded directly from the doorstep for a tour of the most chic, striking and elegant room in your home – the bathroom!


Porcelain or Ceramic Tile?

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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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

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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!