Designer Desire: Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist

Mosaic of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist furniture designs | H is for Home

We’re back in Scandinavia for this week’s Designer Desire subject matter. Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquist (1925-1997) was a Swedish furniture designer and architect.

Arguably, many of her furniture designs have a distinct, feminine feel with their organic, curvaceous silhouettes. For example, her Paradiset range that she produced in the 1950s for department store, Nordiska Kompaniet (NK). The line consisted of Little Eva, Big Eve, Small Adam, Great Adam, Uncle Adam, The Sofa, The Purple Paradise, the Lustgården chaise longue and Fikonlövet footstool.

In the 1960s, she designed the Charlotte dining set for Finnish design firm, Asko and the Skrindan range for OPE Möbler.

A small selection of her work is sold new on the Clippings website and via specialist vintage design sites such as Bukowski’s and 1st Dibs.

Portrait of Kerstin Hörlin-Holmquistcredit

Additional image credits:

1st Dibs | Artnet | Bukowskis

How to create a home office where you’d want to work

Home office

In the 21st century, more and more of us are becoming self-employed – and employers themselves are becoming more flexible about remote working. That means that many people now operate from home. Living and working in the same place can be hard to do – there are so many distractions; domestic chores, family, knocks at the door. To make a success of it, you might need to create a home office where you’d want to work and enjoy spending time. We’ve come up with a few ways that can help you attain this…

Home office desk and chair

Furniture

The first place you’ll want to start is with your office furniture. If you’re going to be spending an entire working day in a room, comfort is paramount. Office chairs should be ergonomic and supportive; sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc with the shoulders, back and spine.

If you have the space, additional office seating such as an armchair or small sofa gives you more options for activities such as reading documents and having meetings etc. It also encourages you to step away and avoid staring at your computer screen for extended periods of time.

Office desks need to be the correct height in relationship to office chairs. Too high or too low and it will affect your posture which could cause discomfort and aches & pains.

home office desk with books and bowl of fresh fruit salad

Lighting

Natural light is the best for working. Have your desk face a window rather than away from it (glare from sunlight on a computer screen can strain your eyes). Besides, being in front of a window can be an effective distraction if the view is over a garden, landscape or cityscape. Staring out helps you think and come up with imaginative ideas!

If natural sunlight isn’t an option, your choice of electric lighting becomes even more important. A desk lamp is the next best thing. It can be positioned to shine in just the spot where it’s needed. If your desk space isn’t large enough to accommodate a lamp, an adjustable floor-standing lamp could be the answer. It is important to choose the correct wattage of bulb – nothing too dim or too bright – something around 50Watts.

Overhead fluorescent strip lights are not recommended as they can cause eye strain and lead to headaches.

Desk with box files

Environment

For you to work effectively, your home office needs to be well organised. As the saying goes, “a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind”. Move mess off your desk and into storage. Install shelves and drawers and put paper into filing trays & boxes. Use a noticeboard Uncluttered, ordered, distraction-free

Keeping your office environment tidy is just the start. Enhance the space with houseplants which purify the air. Keep healthy snacks, bottle of water, tea/coffee maker (just the smell of coffee can boost spirits) to hand.

Finally, you need to think about the ambient temperature. No one enjoys working somewhere where it’s too hot or too cold. There’s no recommended temperature – everyone’s different. However, a YouGov survey found that the average British person says their ideal temperature is 21ºC.

Home office with bright orange feature wall

Colour

There is a psychology of colour, it can subconsciously affect your mood. For instance, blue is associated with feelings of calm, green represents nature, growth and renewal, grey is sophisticated and practical, yellow is warm, energetic and uplifting. You can add colour to your working environment in many ways – a lick of paint, colourful furniture or pretty accessories.

Home office desk with inspiration wall

Inspiration & motivation

We all need inspiration and motivation at work sometimes; getting over the Wednesday hump or when Friday just seems to drag. There are visual and aural methods of improving your productivity – artworks, postcards, photos. Some people need complete silence to work, however, tuning into the radio, playing music or listing to recorded sounds from nature such as birdsong or rain showers can increase your work rate.

Hopefully, by following these tips, you’ll be able to create a home office space that makes you comfortable, productive, happy and healthy.

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Loving our new Frankie day bed

Frankie day bed | H is for Home

The kind people at Happy Beds sent us their Frankie day bed with single mattress to try out this week – and we’re loving it!

Frankie day bed components | H is for Home

It arrived in five well-packaged boxes, each containing the essential components ready for construction. The fact that it comes in pieces will certainly suit those people who live in flats – or have some tight corners or doorways to manoeuvre objects through and around.

Arched slats on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

Putting the day bed together was really straightforward. We followed the enclosed instructions and it was up and ready to go in approximately 1½ hours. Adelle actually loves doing that kind of flat pack construction type thing! Don’t worry if you don’t have a tool box, it comes with its own double-headed (Phillips on one end and standard on the other) screwdriver for assembling.

Detail of the fabric on the Frankie day bed | H is for Home

It’s very solidly constructed and has arched, flexible wooden slats for extra comfort. The detailing and finish is very good too. We really like the fashionable, soft grey, Hessian-like textile. It sits very nicely against our slightly darker grey walls – and also works well as a backdrop for pops of brighter colour.

Frankie day bed with blanket | H is for Home Frankie day bed with fabric throw | H is for Home Frankie day bed with vintage tin side table | H is for Home

We’ve been experimenting with various accessories and soft furnishings to dress it. So far, bright yellow has been our favourite. The grey/yellow combo is a bit of a classic, and was the obvious starting point if you look at the huge painting which hangs on the wall above it.

Frankie day bed with drawer pulled out | H is for Home Frankie day bed with blankets stored in under-drawer | H is for Home

The Frankie day bed has another nice design feature too. The under-bed, pull-out drawer is the exact dimensions as the mattress above. This means that, if you decide to house a mattress in it, you can have two single beds at slightly different heights – a great option if you have people staying over and need to maximise sleeping berths. Alternatively, it makes for great storage. You can get absolutely loads of bedding, clothes or shoes tucked away neatly and out of sight.

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Price Points: Quilted seating

Selection of quilted seating options | H is for Home

Quilted homewares are nothing new. There have a long history of (mainly) women – around the world – getting together to sew, share and support each other as they create magnificent works of art.

Recently, we’ve been noticing a big resurgence in quilted soft furnishings; this time, it’s no longer confined to blankets, bedspreads and throws. Quilted seating is offering up a twist on the classics with all new patterns, colours and materials.

Quilted chairs and sofas are so tactile and inviting – sitting or reclining on one is like getting a big warm hug!

  1. Meritalia La Michetta modular sofa: £1,013.15 – £1,982.24 per unit
  2. Percy armchair: £1,190, Sofa.com (available end August 2017)
  3. Quilt armchair by Established & Sons: £4,131.00

Price Points: Invisible furniture

Invisible furniture | H is for Home

Invisible furniture can be practical, attractive and humorous. Invisible could mean hidden in clear sight, transparent or even camouflaged. The three examples we’ve chosen cover all these bases.

The concealed bookshelves are really affordable and can free up precious wall and floor space. In addition, they’re a great way of showing off your most attractive book spines and covers. The transparent trunk is a useful piece of furniture; great for storage or an imaginative way of displaying something extra special. Have you spotted the HD television in photo #3? It’s masquerading as a framed artwork. It’s such a fantastic way of transforming what is usually a big, blank, black rectangular space. You can choose from a number of different frames and artworks to suit your décor… or even display your own photographs or family snaps!

  1. Umbra Conceal bookshelf: from £10.50, Red Candy
  2. Clear acrylic trunk / coffee table: £1,774.03, Etsy
  3. Samsung The Frame Art Mode ultra HD TV: from £1,999.00, John Lewis

4 Things to look for when purchasing high-quality furniture

4 Things to look for when purchasing high-quality furniture

Not all furniture available on the market will match up to the expectations you have for your home’s interior. Therefore, it’s essential to ascertain if the pieces you intend to acquire have the desired quality and features required.  After all, in addition to providing function, furniture does an exceptional job of reflecting your personality. Here are 4 things to look for when purchasing new furniture.

Walnut extending dining table

  1. Quality of materials

The quality of materials used is an essential consideration – whether it be wood, metal, plastic – or a combination. Wood options can be made of solid timber, composites or veneers. Solid timber is generally the most expensive. Veneers are often a cheaper alternative as the core or carcass is made from less expensive woods. Composite refers to wood mixed with several other materials including plastics, resin and wood pulp. Composite furniture is often the material used for cheaper, mass-produced products and often don’t fare well in the durability or longevity departments. Good-quality wooden furniture looks great and ages well, it offers a range of colours, grains and texture – and can add real warmth to a space.

Metal furniture and fittings have been very much in vogue over recent years providing shimmer and sheen to interior décor – copper, brass and steel being the most widely used. As with wood there are noticeable variations in quality of metal products. This goes for main structural elements of a piece, but also the incorporated fixtures such as screws and brackets. Look for good weight and a nice surface patina.

Plastics are often much maligned but offer great flexibility in colour and form. Modern plastics can provide real quality of finish that should overcome any doubts – and good design will utilise the material to its greatest potential.

Sideboard drawers

  1. Quality of workmanship and finish

Before purchasing furniture, you should assess the workmanship and quality of finish. Pay attention to the drawers, cabinets and so on – a good indicator of quality. The drawer should pull out completely and smoothly, latch properly and shut evenly. Joints should be fitted, stable and secure – and preferably not just simply glued into place. Joints should be neat and flush – as should borders between different materials when used in combination. Also, check furniture edges and corners for a smooth, well finished appearance. When doors are opened, check they remain fixed in that position until you shut them again. In addition to checking the drawers and cabinets, you should also ensure that the handles and knobs feel secure and built to last – they shouldn’t feel loose or jiggle around – and you should feel confident that they’ll stay that way despite heavy use. If you’re purchasing a chair, sofa or bed in particular, you must ensure that the legs are secure and joined properly to the frame; legs roughly nailed on might not be the best sign! You should also make sure that the legs or feet are made of materials that won’t damage your floor surface.

Occasional table in front of a fire

  1.  Size and proportion

The furniture you buy will need to depend on the size of the room in which it is to be located. If you’re buying a sofa for a small box room, an oversized 4-seater example would look out of place and swamp the space. Conversely, an expansive, open-plan living space calls for large sofas, tables and chairs. Otherwise pieces get lost in the space and rooms feel sparse and ‘echoey’. Consider marking out the outline of various furniture options using chalk or masking tape – this really can help you visualise the finished room.

It’s not just the size of the rooms that you need to take into consideration. Always measure furniture before you buy to make sure that it can fit through the front door, around corners, up stairways and through internal doors. It can become a very expensive and time-consuming task having to remove doors and windows to get furniture indoors. Some have to resort to hoisting over-large pieces of furniture up through upstairs windows to get them where they were intended to go.

Corner of a cream leather sofa

  1. What’s already in your home?

Consider the furniture that you already own – will your new piece compliment or clash with it? Some very successful decorating schemes are quite eclectic when it comes to age and style, but this requires care and skill. You can’t just throw objects into a space and hope for the best! And then there’s the age and fabric of the building to consider. Will it suit a traditional, vintage industrial, country or contemporary style?

Read interior magazines or browse websites such as Pinterest for inspiration. Check out the results other people have achieved who live in buildings similar to yours – or have incorporated furniture pieces that you love too.

Hopefully these pointers will help with your choices. For a wide range of attractive, high-quality furniture, danetti.com is the perfect site to visit.

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