Welcome to my design blog, where you'll see posts about anything from my current interiors obsession, the latest fabric and wallpaper collections and 'how to' guides for all things interiors related. I love colour and mixing pattern, but also covet an uncluttered interiors look. I especially love the moment when you see something so beautiful that it makes you take a sharp intake of breath. Happy reading, and if you have any questions, would like to chat about anything interiors related, or share your interiors obsession, please use the contact form to get in touch.

Thank you,

Louise

I'm in Cardiff Life magazine - again!

17 Sep 2019

The front cover of Cardiff Life Magazine issue no.208, Autumn 2019

Now that the summer is officially over and our thoughts turn to cosying up our homes for winter, I'm here to help. If you're in need of some inspiration, you can read all about the interiors trends for Autumn and how to work them into your home in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. Hear what I and other interiors experts have to say on pages 18-22. You can read the digital version of the magazine here.

I've been nominated for an Amara Interiors blog award!

6 Sep 2019

The Amara interiors blog awards voting banner 2019.
Exciting news! My little blog (Design Insider) has been nominated for an Amara Interiors Blog award! I'm so chuffed to be included at all, and not expecting to win, but if you enjoy reading my blog posts then please vote for me. I'm nominated for the Best Interior Designer blog category. Voting is open until the 11th of September and you can vote for me here.

My kitchen project featured on the Artifact Lighting blog!

1 Aug 2019

A view if the contemporary copper kitchen featuring the copper pendant lights from Artifact Lighting.

When I designed the contemporary copper kitchen, I wanted to use some copper elements to add warmth and also to tone in with the pink walls and pale grey units. I found these pendant lights from a company called Artifact Lighting, and they are perfect because they add to the 'warm glow' I wanted to acheive. They also have a vintage look which contrasts nicely with the sleek look of the kitchen units. When the kitchen was finished I sent some pictures to Artifact Lighting, and they liked the kitchen so much they featured it on the blog page of their website.

You can read the blog page here

House of Hackney's first outdoor fabric

26 Jun 2019

A photo of the new House of Hackney Palmeral print for outdoor use.

One of my favourite interiors brands, House of Hackney, who are known for their daring and quirky prints, have just released a new fabric which is suitable for our door use. They took one of their designs, Palmeral, and reimagined it in a fresh colour palette of off white and green. This colour fast and water resistant fabric can be used for anything from outdoor cushions to furnishing yachts (if you are lucky enough to have one!)

My thoughts on the colour Living Coral in Cardiff Life Magazine

31 May 2019

A photo which accompanies the Cardiff Life article about Living Coral
Hear what I and my fellow designers have got to say about Pantone's colour of the year, Living Coral, and how to use it, in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. The article is on pages 84-86, and you can read it here. Do you think you could use it in your home?

Sustainability in furniture design

7 May 2019

A photo of the new Componibili Bio.
Sustainability is something that is becoming more and more important in interior design - not just where we buy items from and how far they've travelled to get to us, but also the materials that they are made from. Kartell, one of Italy's best known design brands, have just released the world's first piece of furniture made from a bioplastic called Bio-On. It's a fully sustainable version of one of their best selling items - the Componibili modular unit, and it comes in four delicious pastel shades. They may be 100% sustainable, but they are also super cute and bang on trend with this seasons colours. You can buy them here

The latest trend in shutters

24 Feb 2019

A photo of California Shutters new range in ash wood.

Forget painted shutters - the new style direction for window shutters is bare wood. These full height shutters made from sustainably sourced ash are the newest product from California Shutters, and are set to be big this year.

californiashutters.co.uk

My new favourite tile!

7 Feb 2019

A picture of the Lampas Marint pattern tile from Topps Tiles

I was searching for some tiles for a client's splashback recently and came across these beauties from Topps Tiles. There's long been a trend for patterned tiles, with lots of geometric shapes and bold colours going on, but I've begun to see more and more tiles with a pattern in the surface of the tile itself. These ones are a lovely example, and the deep blue colour is just stunning. To get a closer look at them, follow the link below.

Lampas Pattern Marine tile

Pantone announce their colour of the year 2019

11 Dec 2018

a shot of a coral reef with the description Color of the Year 2019

Leading colour experts Pantone have annouced the shade which they think will be the colour of the year for next year - Coral pink. It might look very bright and scary, but it's actually quite easy to use. I wouldn't suggest painting a whole room in it, as that might be a bit overwhelming, but I would use it in small doses, such as on cushions or in artwork, to liven up a shceme. Pantone say that the colour is meant to 'embrace us with warmth and nourishment and provide comfort and bouyancy in our continually shifting envirnoment', which basically means it's a happy, uplifting colour, and might just cheer us all up!

My work featured on Homify

8 Oct 2018

a view of the dressed bed, pink walls and blackout lined curtainsMy work has been featured in an article on Homify - one of the leading online ideas platforms for all things interiors. My project is in an article on how to avoid common mistakes when designing a bedroom. The article mentions how important it is to block out light for a good nights sleep - something I addressed by adding blackout lining to the curtains and adding an extra layer of window dressing with the wooden Venetian blinds. To see the article, please use the link below.

Homfy article - Are you guilty of these 8 bedroom design mistakes?

Work in Progress - The colour pop open plan kitchen/diner

This project is still ongoing, but I wanted to show you how it’s coming along so that you can see the changes we’ve made already and learn a little about my design process along the way.

A photo of the sage green wall and Roman blind from this project.

The clients contacted me at the end of December when they were nearing the end of their building work. They had knocked down some walls and taken out part of the ceiling at the back of their house to make a light open plan kitchen/dining/living space. The bi-fold doors and glass roof lights were on order, and the kitchen was partly installed. Here are a few pics of what it looked like when I first when to see the space:

A before photo of the chimney breast and alcoves. A before photo of the kitchen area, half built. A before photo of where the glazed roof and doors are going.

The poor clients had lived through Christmas this way (with no heating in this part of the house). They’d even had to eat Christmas lunch in their bedroom with their meals on trays!

They had some ideas for the flooring, and called me in to help with choosing colours, furniture, lighting and accessories. Their brief was that they wanted something ‘fun, funky, light and fresh’ but definitely NO wallpaper or pink (given that I have two pink projects on my website I can see why they might say that).

We talked through the practicalities - they have a dog in the family who visits often, they wanted the lighting to be flexible, they needed dining seating for 6 and some more storage. We discussed budget too - what it was likely to cost and what they were comfortable spending. They also had an unexpected support beam in the ceiling which posed problems for putting lighting over their soon to be installed island. Here’s the awkward beam we had to fit the lighting around:

A photo of the junction where two ceiling beams meet.

Next, we looked through a digital ‘moodboard’ I’d made for them, showing different looks they could have in the space, and discussed which images they liked and why. The clients liked a ‘mid-century’ or 50s and 60s inspired style, but with more colour. They also really liked some pictures of a small scale herringbone glass tile I showed them, so they were considering using these as tiles for the splashback. Here are some of the pictures they particularly liked:

A digital moodboard showing some of the ideas the client liked.

We then looked at colours and some of the fabric books I’d brought along. They liked green in particular and we found a lovely sage green which they both liked immediately. They didn’t want the whole space to be green and wanted fairly neutral walls, so we agreed that I’d work the colour into the space in smaller amounts, and into the furniture. We also found a fabric (from a supplier called Romo) which they loved and was perfect for the blind they wanted at the kitchen window. They loved it so much they didn’t want me to look for any other fabrics and we decided to build the scheme around it. What I liked so much about the fabric was that it has lots of colours in it, meaning it would add depth to the scheme, and the style was fresh and fun, just as the clients had asked for. Here’s the fabric:

A photo of the blind fabric the fabric book from the supplier.

Starting with the fabric and the sage green which they loved, the next stage in my design process was to pull together a colour scheme. Here are the colours I chose when I went away to finish designing the scheme for them.

A photo of the fabrics and colours I wanted to use in the design scheme.

I then chose all the furniture and accessories, making a scale floorplan as I worked to make sure that all the items would fit and that there was enough room to move around the space and use it comfortably. Here’s the finished floorplan:

A scale floor plan showing the position and size of the furniture in the design.

I also made a model of the room in the software I use called Sketch Up so that I could see how the heights and proportions of everything worked together. I used this model to design the built in storage in the alcoves - cupboards up to fireplace height and floating shelves above, with LED lighting along the edges of the shelving to give a soft glow.

A rendered Sketch Up model of the room with the proposed built in shelves.

Once I’d sourced everything, I put everything together to present the scheme to the client. This included the scale floorplan, a sample board with the paints, fabrics and tiles I’d chosen, and the visualisations I’d made so that they could see what the room would look like. I also gave them a list of all items and costings  - in my experience, no matter how much a client loves a scheme, they will always want to know how much it’s going to cost them before they can give me a definite yes or no (which makes perfect sense to me) so I include as much information as I can at this stage. I also work out things like how much paint and fabric or flooring they will need, so that the clients have a better idea of the overall cost of the project. Here are some of the visualisations I gave to them:

A 3D visualisation of the kitchen area.
A 3D visualisation of the dining table area.
A 3D visualisation of the seating area and built in shelving.

The clients absolutely loved the design and didn’t want to make any changes apart from losing the small pendant light under the glass ceiling because they felt they had enough lighting in this area. We went to work straight away and started ordering everything, the flooring was laid, and things started arriving - this is the exciting bit!

A photo of the finished flooring and the footstool/pouffe which had arrived.

After a visit from my curtain fitter, I arranged for my curtain maker to make the Roman blind in the funky fabric we loved. I then brought in my tiler, who worked out that the tiles we’d fallen in love with were going to be expensive to fit as there would be so much cutting involved, and as the tiles themselves weren’t cheap, we decided to look for some alternatives. I found a few for my clients to choose from, but we all loved these gorgeous ones from Bert & May:

A photo of the splashback tile we all liked on the newly fitted flooring.

The only slight hiccup was when the light I’d chosen for over the island arrived, it couldn’t be shortened to fit the space as we’d hoped - we’d spoken to the supplier about the possibility of shortening it and decided to order it and see if it could be done neatly, but sadly not. So I got my thinking cap on and chose one from Marks and Spencer which was suspended on a chain and could easily be shortened. The clients had said that they wanted some copper in the scheme, so this antique copper finish was perfect.

A photo of the new light from Marks and Spencer.

I went back after a few weeks to see progress and take some pictures. We’ve still got a way to go - we’re waiting for the tiles to be delivered and fitted, and the sofa, rug and chairs are on their way, but it’s getting there. The log burner has been installed and now the clients are arranging for their carpenter to build the units either side of the chimney breast, but I think it’s looking pretty good so far. The clients are very happy and said that they brought me in ‘because they wanted to do the room justice’ and said that I’ve more than done that. I’m very pleased with the room as after the clients had to live through all the dust and upheaval for so long, they now have a (nearly finished) space which they can share with their family and friends.

A photo of the new dining chairs in front of the new charcoal grey bi-fold doors.
A wide shot of the kitchen area with the green wall and colourful blind.

 

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Another view of the Victorian terrace with its two living spaces opened up. The clients were struggling with how to decorate the spaces as they wanted each room to feel like it has its own identity but for both spaces to work together. As you can see each room from the other, we decided that colour was the way to visually link the rooms and took time choosing the right colours. I love the contrast of the lighter pink room with the darker, more cosy snug room in the background. Luckily the clients did too! Another shot of the knocked through Victorian living room. I was chatting to a friend the other day about how I approach design, and I realised that my theatre degree influences me quite a lot. I start with the practicalities first as a space has to be functional and comfortable to use, but then I add the 'show' on top. I like a bit of drama and staging in my interiors, and the sense that everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. Last week when I was in London visiting Decorex trade fair I got the chance to go and see one of my online design projects. I really enjoyed designing this one because the clients just embraced colour and my ideas and just ran with it. It was so lovely to finally meet them as they are such a lovely couple and it was great to see my design in reality. This is a Victorian terrace with the two living spaces combined into one, but each space has its own identity. More pics to follow... Chair detail in my Colour Pop Kitchen project. I love this pop of mustard against the sage green wall, and in front of the wood burning stove it's a cosy place to sit. I have.a bit of a cold today so sitting in front of a fire is really where I want to be, but I've got loads to do so best get on with it. At least the mustard fabric is cheering me up! Another shot from my recent Colour Pop Kitchen project. I think we need the sun and the flowers to cheer us up on this miserable wet day today! 
This client wanted to keep their dining table which is lovely wood and in great condition, but they wanted some more colour. These chairs in three colours were the perfect choice and a touch of something extra to compliment the table. A good way to reuse items you already own and stop them going to landfill. I've just found out I'm a finalist in the very first Cardiff Property Awards! These are some fab new awards to celebrate Cardiff's thriving property sector, and I'm so excited to be a part of it. I'm up against some very good competition so fingers crossed