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

Wallpaper made of cork?

29 Oct 2019

A photo of the wallpaper made from cork, By Monkey Puzzle Tree
Sustainability and concern for our environment are key in the interiors world right now (as they should be). So when I saw that Monkey Puzzle Tree (a brand I admire for their sense of style and creativity) had produced this wallpaper made of cork, I was blown away. Cork is great for so many reasons - it can be harvested every nine years without harming the tree, is grown without the need for pesticides or fertilisers, has excellent sound and heat insulation properties, and is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal. This wallpaper has an A+ rating for emissions so it creates a healthy environment wherever it is hung. Add to this that the design was produced in collaboration with the talented Drew Millward who lives in my home county of West Yorkshire, and that it's called 'Hit The North', I was bound to fall in love with it. You can buy the wallpaper here.

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?

How to use a tester pot to get the colour you want

Are you drowning in paint charts and finding it hard to choose the perfect colour for your walls?

A tester pot is the answer! Why bother to use a tester pot when you have spent time collecting all those lovely paint charts? Most paint charts are printed versions of the colours which can never show you what they really look like. Some paint manufacturers do use real paints on their colour charts, but the paint squares are too small to be useful, and usually stuck on a white background which will change your perception of the colour. So, the tester pot is the only way to go.

a photo of several paint tester pots

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few colours and bought your tester pots - what next? Shake the pot and stir before using - the paint inside will have settled in transit or on the shelf in the shop, and you need to make sure that all the pigments are mixed together properly or you won’t see the colour as the manufacturer made it.

Next - don’t paint directly on to the walls - paint your testers on to lining paper so that you can easily move them around your room and see how the colour will look in both the brighter and more shaded areas of the room. There are other good reasons not to paint all your swatches on to the wall too. If you paint the swatches next to each other the colours will influence each other, so you won’t see how the colours really look. The current shade of the walls will also influence the paint swatches, so again you won’t see a true representation of the colours. You'll also have lots of different coloured swatches on the wall until you finally get around to decorating, which will irritate you until they’re covered up! Finally, when you do paint over them, the swatches will show through and it may take an extra coat to cover, so why make work for yourself?

a pink paint tester pot with a brush

I always use lining paper to paint my tester pots on, as the surface won’t absorb too much paint and the background colour is the most neutral you can get, so you can see the true colour of the paint. If you use white paper you will have the same problem of the colour being influenced by the white area around it - look at the picture of the same paint on lining paper and then on white paper to see what I mean.

Use an A3 sized piece of lining paper (if you don’t have lining paper, the inside of a cereal box will work), as you then have a large area covered in the paint colour, which will really help you to see it properly and decide if it’s the one for you.

Use two coats - you’re likely to use two on your walls so this way you’ll get a truer reflection of the colour.

Write the names of the colours on the back of the lining paper in pencil so you can identify the colours afterwards - there’s nothing worse than finally choosing a colour and then not being able to remember if it was Vanilla White or White Mist!

pink paint on lining paper next to the same pink paint of white paper

Use blue tack to put your lining paper swatches on the walls, as you can remove them without damaging your walls. Another advantage of using blue tack is that you can easily move the swatches around the room so see how they look in different areas of your room, as some are more in shadow than others and this will affect how the colour looks. You can also move the paint next to the other items in the room which it will need to coordinate with, such as your sofa, curtains and rug.

I’d suggest leaving the swatches up for a few days so you can see how the colours will look in different lighting throughout the day. The paint will look very different in the morning sunlight when compared with evening light and with your lamps lit.

the pink paint with a selection of coordinating fabrics

Once you have decided on the colour that you love, you now have a portable piece of paint you can take with you on those trips to shops and showrooms to finish off your room. Your paint swatch will help you see how the colour works with other items you are planning to buy such as cushions, lampshades throws. So, when it comes to decorating, the tester pot really is your best friend.

Click here to see this paint colour in a recent project of mine

the pink paint colour on the walls, in a finished bedroom project

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Another view of the minimal living/dining space. These colourful chairs are the stars here as they are upholstered - so are comfy -  and the colour and texture really add  interest. Just what the clients wanted! The dining table was a great find too as we needed a table that extends to over three metres in a Mid Century style to fit all their relatives around. I think it's going to be earning it's keep over Christmas... The little area I like to call 'sit and look at the garden corner' of this living/kitchen/dining space. The large windows and doors let in so much light and give a real sense of connection to this couple's garden that I thought it was really important to have a chair just for sitting and contemplating, which can also be moved around for extra seating. Although, now that they have a young baby they might not have too much time for sitting down! A close up of the fab coloured glass lighting we chose (from Heals) in my remote living /dining room project in London. These lights were actually the starting point for the design as we all loved them and settled on them quickly. They set the tone for the rest of the.design which has a Mid Century vibe.  I love the simplicity of this style of furniture, and it's worked really well in this room that the couple wanted to keep open and light, but with some colour (of course!) A pic of the living space I designed remotely in London, and went to take some photos of when I was visiting Decorex. The clients wanted some colour but to keep the space light and bright, so we went for off white walls (never brilliant white!) and added colour in the furniture. It's a very simple design (which is what they wanted) but the personal gallery wall and warm colours make it home. Here's a last pic of the Victorian terrace knocked through room. This piece of original art was central to the design as the couple love collecting art and this is a favourite. It was hidden away in the back room, but now really pops against the contrasting pink wall.  I love this piece - it reminds me of those '70s prints of the blue girl and I could look at it for hours. And here is the other part of the 'knocked through room'. The clients were struggling with a use and identity for this room, as happens so often with this middle reception room in a Victorian terrace. It would have been a formal dining room but now we eat in the kitchen we're not sure what to do with it. I suggested some cocktail chairs and a console table and to use the shelves as a bar area, and now they have a place to relax with drinks. The clients say that 'People feel transported into a luxury members club or hotel which is exactly the lux feel we wanted from the design whilst allowing us to use the space in a way that works for everyday'.