Get their look: Dramatic bedroom

Dramatic bedroom with deep purple painted walls with orange & purple geometric painted featurecredit

We’ve chosen a dramatic bedroom space for this week’s Get their look post.

The bold colour scheme and geometric lines immediately grab your attention. They’re attained through both painted wall pattern and furniture form – with an off centre ceiling light adding a further twist.

The hard-edged patterns are softened by flowers, oriental floor rug and very comfortable looking bed with its cushions and woollen throw.

It’s a very interesting and clever design when you take it all in.

  1. Rope lampshade
  2. Blur palette from Dulux Colour forecast 2013
  3. Kartell Componibili circular storage unit, 2-tier, white
  4. Link Easy Chair armchair, by Tom Dixon
  5. Cream waffle throw
  6. Tribeca coffee table
  7. PERSISK MIX oriental rug, low pile, handmade

Get their look: Dramatic bedroom | H is for Home

Designer Desire: Lefor Openo

Lefor Openo artwork mosaic | H is for Home

Welcome to our new blog series, ‘Designer Desire’, where we’ll feature one designer per week whose work we love. We’re kicking off with Lefor Openo who we’ve mentioned once or twice before.

Lefor Openo comprised of two French women, Marie-Claire Lefort and Marie-Francine Oppeneau. They met while studying at Lycée Claude-Bernard Paris, and collaborated from 1955 to 1967. They were primarily poster artists; their designs were used extensively by Loterie Nationale (the national lottery of France). They designed posters for Charles de Gaulle – for the 1958 constitutional referendum and again for his 1965 presidential election campaign. They also produced advertising artwork for other organisations and brands such as Electricité de France, Kodak, Singer Sewing Machines. They designed a poster for the 1959 film Babette s’en va-t-en guerre, (Babette goes to War) starring Brigitte Bardot. Apparently, she is the one upon whom they based most of their ‘models’.

As well as posters, very occasionally you’ll come across postcards and tea towels bearing their designs on Etsy and eBay. We’ve also seen evidence of a doll and a couple of pin dishes from the era and we have a tin in our shop which we believe to be one of their designs – we’ve never seen another!

Marie-Claire Lefort died in 1971 and Marie-Francine Oppeneau is now 81 years old. Once upon a time, there was a basic website with information and images of some of their designs but it seems to have been allowed to expire. If you know (or want to find out) anything more about them and their designs, please leave a comment below.

Marie-Claire Lefort & Marie-Francine Oppeneau of Lefor Openo

Price Points: Yoga mats

Selection of yoga mats | H is for Home

Justin has a herniated disc in his spine. The problem started after he moved about 50 large boxes of stock up 2 flights of stairs – culminating in him crawling into the house on hands & knees in tears after shifting something from the car the day after. his back’s never been the same since. So now, after a physically active day, sitting in a bad position or not bending his knees properly when lifting, he really struggles. To date, it’s been a case of rest combined with Ibuprofen gel & other tablets to improve matters. A recent development which he’s finding really useful is yoga exercises aimed at this kind of injury.

We have wooden flooring throughout our house, so a proper yoga mat instead of the seagrass rug must be in order for the poor lad. We might even have to be put down as H is for Home expenses seeing as he did it in the line of duty! Here are 3 yoga mats being considered at various price points.

  1. Yoga exercise fitness workout non-slip mat with carry case: £4.99, Amazon **4.5 stars – 127 reviews**
  2. Pro Fitness blue yoga exercise mat: £10.99 **4.4/5 – 42 reviews**
  3. Premium Marakesh yoga matt from Gaiam: £19.99, John Lewis **4.4/5 – 41 reviews**

Cakes & Bakes: Gypsy Creams

Home-made gypsy creams | H is for Home

We needed some treats for our biscuit barrel so that was the subject for today’s Cakes & Bakes… but which kind of biscuit?

Butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan | H is for Home Gypsy creams dough mixture | H is for Home

Justin started reminiscing about Gypsy Creams – and commenting on the fact that they seem to have disappeared from the shops. I have to admit that growing up in Trinidad, I’d never heard of Gypsy Creams – but they certainly sounded good enough to try.

Gypsy creams dough balls | H is for Home Gypsy creams dough balls flattened with the back of a fork | H is for Home

My numerous baking books didn’t offer a single recipe, but fortunately I found one available online.

They incorporate flour, butter, oats, golden syrup and most importantly chocolate. Two crisp biscuity layers sandwich a moist chocolate buttercream layer.

Gypsy creams biscuits cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Apparently coconut can be added to the recipe too. These are often called Romany Creams, but Justin thinks that the packet Gypsy Creams from his youth had something ‘coconutty’ about them.

Making chocolate buttercream | H is for Home

I have to say that they’re absolutely delicious – and are now a firm favourite of mine having missed out for nearly 50 years!

Home-made gypsy creams | H is for Home

Gypsy Creams
Yields 12
Write a review
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the biscuit dough
  1. 100g/4oz butter
  2. 90g/3oz golden syrup
  3. 50g/2oz caster sugar
  4. 50g/2oz porridge oats
  5. 10g/½oz cocoa powder
  6. 175g/6oz plain flour
For the buttercream
  1. 150g/5oz icing sugar
  2. 50g/2oz butter, softened
  3. 1tbsp milk
  4. 50g/2oz dark chocolate, melted
  6. Home-made gypsy creams ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Set aside
  3. In a large saucepan, place the butter, syrup & sugar melting gently over a low heat, stirring to combine
  4. Sift the flour together with the cocoa powder before adding the oats to the mixture
  5. Add these dry ingredients to the saucepan and mix together well
  6. Leave to cool slightly
  7. Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and roll each into a ball between your palms
  8. Place on the baking sheet leaving room between each biscuit
  9. Flatten each ball slightly using the back of a fork
  10. Bake for approximately 20 minutes
  11. Using a palette knife, transfer the biscuits on to a wire rack to cool completely
For the buttercream
  1. While the biscuits are baking/cooling make the buttercream filling
  2. Put the icing sugar, butter, milk and chocolate into a mixing bowl and combine until smooth
  3. Spoon ½tsp of buttercream on to a biscuit and sandwich together with another biscuit
H is for Home Harbinger

How do cast iron radiators work?

Modern bathroom with pair of cast iron radiators beneath windowscredit

***Article supplied by AEL Heating Limited***

If you’re considering installing cast iron radiators in your home, and deliberating the pros and cons of old and new systems, then you may be interested to get the low down on how cast iron radiators work.

If they’re installed and functioning properly, cast iron radiators can be incredibly effective for heating areas, even large rooms. The downside is that they can be bigger in size than their modern radiator counterparts, so you should always bear this in mind. However, that doesn’t negate from the fact that they’re stylish, efficient and affordable too.

Industrial loft apartment with wall of under-window radiatorscredit

The power of steam

Having been around since the mid-1800s, cast iron radiators have played a vital role in heating homes and businesses throughout the world and come in a variety of different styles and designs. But despite their shape, size or style, the principles behind the way they work are the same – steam power.

By converting water into steam, cast iron radiators will then transfer this heat into the atmosphere through radiation and convection. Although, despite the name ‘radiator’, more of the heat is transferred through convection – where warm air rises and cold air sinks – than through radiation.

The steam system requires a hot water boiler that will be the heart of your heating system; continuously heating the water to convert it into steam. The water boiler uses a heating element inside that brings the water to boiling point to generate steam. This steam is then forced up through the pipes into the radiators by sheer pressure, to transmit heat without the need of a pump.

As the steam passes through the radiators and pipes, it will naturally cool down and turn back into water condensation. But this is all put to good use, as the condensation from the cooled steam travels back down to the water boiler, where it is reheated to create more steam to recirculate through the pipes and radiators.

Small cast iron radiator under circular windowcredit

The technical side

Of course, the steam process sounds relatively simple, particularly when you consider the modern day radiator designs, with their water filled radiators that heat the water, and use a pump to circulate it through the system. However, underneath the exterior of these sturdy cast iron radiators are a series of individual sections that are connected by valves and seals that allow the steam to pass into the radiators, pressurise to retain the heat so it can be emitted into the air in the room, and then allow the cooled condensation to flow back down to the central water boiler.

These valves play a vital role in ensuring the cast iron radiator heating system functions efficiently, as small holes in the seals, or cracks in the metalwork can cause leaks and loss of pressure. This results in steam will escaping into the atmosphere, rather than heating the system.

Detail of gold coloured cast iron radiatorcredit

The reality of cast iron radiators

Having been used in homes and businesses for well over 150 years, there is a lot to be said for the effectiveness and efficiency of using cast iron radiators to heat areas. Although, you should be aware that these steam systems takes longer to heat than a more modern water baseboard system as they need to reach boiling point to create steam, rather than just reaching an optimal water temperature. Thus they may consume more energy in the water heating process, but that being said, the amount of heat that is passed through convection into the atmosphere is often much greater and lasts much longer too.


Abelardo Ruiz

Vintage Abelardo Ruiz candle holder with cacti | H is for Home

We’ve welcomed a new young lady into our house this week. Adelle’s parents were having a re-decorate/clear out and offered us this vintage papier mâché candle holder that once belonged to her grandmother.

Vintage Abelardo Ruiz candle holder detail showing the face | H is for Home

It dates from the 1960s/70s and is the work of Mexican artist, Abelardo Ruiz. We wonder how it managed to find its way from Central America to a small little town in Surrey!

Vintage Abelardo Ruiz candle holder lying on its side | H is for Home

His girls are very distinctive with pretty big eyes and long lashes – quite similar in style to another favourite artist of ours, Lefor Openo.

Vintage Abelardo Ruiz candle holder detail showing the top | H is for Home

Her wide brimmed hat forms the candle holder, but she works simply as a decorative model or sculpture too. She’s very much at home in a mid century modern or vintage boho chic setting.

Vintage Abelardo Ruiz candle holder detail showing the signature on the base | H is for Home

Here are some more fabulous examples of Abelardo Ruiz work we’ve found online.

Abelardo Ruiz mosaic of papier mâché candle holders, clothes hangers and boxes | H is for Home
Additional image credits: Etsy | eBay | Worthpoint | k-bid | Antique Auctions Now | Live Auctioneers