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

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?

A weekend Ikea cupboard makeover

Whilst everyone is madly trying to get themselves and their homes ready for Christmas, I decided to finally get around to a little project I’ve had on the back burner for a while now. I bought this cupboard when we moved in to our house over 13 years ago. We needed some extra storage in the hallway, and there was a handy space next to the front door which was perfect. We didn’t have much spare cash (having just bought the house, that and the fact that I wasn’t working as I was looking after our two boys). So, off we went to Ikea, and I found this cupboard which fitted the space perfectly.

 a photo of the cupbaord before I started to work on it

I never really liked the finish of it, as I’m not really a Scandi type girl when it comes to decor, but it did the job and I always thought I would replace it sooner or later. Fast forward 13 years and although I’d completed lots of projects around the house, including a kitchen extension and a new bathroom, somehow I never quite got round to doing anything about this cupboard. It looked even worse when I painted the hallway this gorgeous shade of dark green (Paint & Paper Library's Hunter Dunn) a couple of years ago, as it really made the pale wood stand out.

So, one weekend I finally tackled the problem. I didn’t want to go hunting for a new cupboard, and this one does fit the space well, so I decided to revamp it. I’d had a go at painting furniture with chalk paint before, and that turned out well, so I thought I’d paint it. I also wanted the finished look to be a little more glam (especially as the hallway is now a rich colour), so I thought of combining paint with wallpaper to make it look a little special. I also wanted to change the handles to something a little more interesting.

a close up of the handles on the cupbaord before being changed

The paint I chose to use is this gorgeous shade of blue from Annie Sloan called ‘Aubusson Blue’, and an inexpensive wallpaper from John Lewis called ‘Pavone’ in Teal. I thought the rich blue would look great against the dark green of the hallway, and the background colour of the wallpaper matched the paint perfectly. The gold Art Deco inspired pattern on the wallpaper exudes glam, so I thought it was perfect. You can buy the paint here, and the wallpaper here.

the roll of wallpaper I used, im front of the tin of paint I used

I used masking tape to cover the areas where I was going to wallpaper, as I didn’t want any stray paint stopping the wallpaper from sticking to the wood. I didn’t do this on the drawer edges, or on the parts of the doors which I could just open to avoid getting paint on.

a shot of masking tape over on edge of the cupboard
a shot of the drawers open, with paint being applied around the edge

Next I had to start painting. The first time I used Annie Sloan chalk paint I was worried about how easy it was to use, but it’s SO easy, and as you don’t need to do any prep (such as sanding the wood) it’s great for impatient people like me. There are two ways to use the paint, depending on the finished look you’d like. The first one is to use the paint straight out of the tin, and apply it quite thickly, and then sand it back lightly - this is best for creating the distressed look that the paint is famous for.

The second  way to use this clever paint is to add a small amount of water to it and apply it more thinly, so that the finish is solid and even, for a more contemporary look.

I wanted a smooth finish, so chose the second option.

a photo of the open paint next to bowl of clean water

The best way to add the water is to just dip your brush into a bowl of water before dipping it in to the paint - you don’t want too much water or the paint will get drippy. You don’t need to dip your brush in the water every time you dip it in the paint, but you’ll get to feel when the paint is starting become drier and needs more water. The great thing about using this paint is that it’s very forgiving, so if you add too much water or make a mistake, it’s really easy to sort out - you can just wipe it off with a cloth and start again.

a photo of the paint brush being dipped in water

Dipping the slightly wet brush in to the paint

a photo of the paint brush being dipped in the paint

The painting went pretty smoothly, and was so easy to do.

a photo of the cupboard partially painted

Once I’d finished the second coat of paint (leaving 24 hours to dry in between coats) and it was touch dry, I started to prepare for the wallpaper to go on the door and drawer fronts. I took off the handles and measured the areas I needed to cover.

a photo of me unscrewing the handles from the cupboard

The main thing I had to think about when measuring for the wallpaper pieces, was that I needed 4 pieces (2 doors and 2 drawers) and that the pattern had to match across them all. This caused a bit of head scratching, but I think I got there in the end. To be honest, if I’d considered this before buying the wallpaper I might have gone for a less repetitive pattern!

I then had to cut out the pieces pretty accurately, as I knew it would be hard to make adjustments once the wallpaper was on. I used the stuff I use to make my sample boards for clients, so I already had a cutting mat, metal ruler (to protect my fingers) and Stanley knife.

a photo of my cutting mat, metal ruler, stanley knife and pencil

You could use sharp scissors but it’s harder to get a really clean cut with scissors. They always say measure twice, cut once, so I did make sure I checked my measurements before cutting. I used a metal tape measure as the cloth ones can stretch over time, and give inaccurate measurements. I then labelled each piece on the back, so that I wouldn’t get them mixed up, as they were all slightly different sizes.

a photo of me cutting out the wallpaper with a Stanley knife

Then came the nerve wracking bit, I had to get the cut pieces on to the doors. I had done some research and found that contact adhesive would be the best glue for the job. It’s a spray glue, so easy to apply to large areas, and can bond two different surfaces easily - in this case laminated wood and wallpaper.

a photo of the contact adhesive I used

I had some help to hold down the wallpaper pieces, as this bit needs three hands!

 a photo of me spraying the contact adhesive on to the back of the wallpaper

I put the drawer fronts on first, as these pieces were smaller and I thought they’d make a good practice run.

a photo of the cupbaord with the wallpaper on the drawer fronts

I then decided to take off the doors, as I wanted to make sure I got the wallpaper on straight. I have to be honest and say that the contact adhesive bonds pretty quickly, so there isn’t much wiggle room if the wallpaper ends up going on wonky. I just consoled myself with the thought that I’d bought a whole roll of wallpaper, so I could always try again. Luckily, it went well at the first attempt.

a photo of the doors with the wallpaper on them

Once the glue was all dry, I had to protect both the paint and the wallpaper. Wallpaper is meant to go on walls, where it doesn’t get touched very often, not on a cupboard which is used daily, so could get damaged easily. I'd done some more research (the joys of the internet) and found that you can varnish the paper to protect it. However, it’s not the kind of varnish I was thinking of - the stuff that goes on wooden floors - it’s a decor varnish which is milky white and goes on clear. This is the one I used.

a photo of the Decorquip varnish I used

You need to apply two coats to fully protect the wallpaper, and this is where I started to think that it was all going to go horribly wrong. As soon as I applied the first coat, the wallpaper wrinkled and bubbled.

a photo of the wallpaper on a door, with the wrinkling and bubbling

But I needn’t have panicked, as once it was dry it was perfectly smooth again. The second coat wrinkled too, but I knew what was coming, so just waited patiently this time.

Next I needed to protect the paint - as it’s water based it can chip quite easily (this is one of the reasons it’s so easy to work with - you can just wipe off any mistakes). I used the recommended Annie Sloan wax, which seals and protects the paint from wear. As it’s water repellant, it also adds a layer of spill proofing, and more wax can be added as and when needed down the line. I chose the clear wax because the blue paint is a very rich colour and I wanted it to shine through, but there is also a dark wax available which will change the colour of the paint slightly, and give you a different look. You can buy the wax here.

a photo of me applying the wax over the paint

The final stage was to replace the handles I’d taken off with the some fab new ones. I found these gorgeous ones from Dowsing and Reynolds which were the right shape and size for my cupboard. You can buy the handles here.

 

a photo of the handles having just been opened from their packaging

The thing I love about these handles is their tarnished copper finish. As I mentioned, I wanted the cupboard to have a glam look, but I felt that shiny handles would have been too much bling for me. The uneven, slightly industrial look of these handles contrasts well with the even pattern of the wallpaper, and adds extra textural interest. I also really liked the fact that the two handles on the doors make a circle when put together - another Art Deco reference.

 a close up photo of the new handles on the cupboard

So, here is the finished project! It may have taken most of a weekend, but I really enjoyed doing it, and I think the finished cupboard looks so much better than it did when I started. Let me know what you think, or if I've inspired you to have a go, please share your projects with me, I'd love to see them.

a photo of the finished cupboard in the hallway

 

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Here's a close up shot of the bespoke shelves I designed in my recent colour pop kitchen project. The colour is Sage Green by @littlegreenepaintcompany but it looks really light in this shot. My clients have a thing for gin (who doesn't?) and have collected lots of unusual bottles from their travels. They have so many it was hard to edit them and choose which ones to display. I went for variations in shape, colour and of course height. I wanted to keep some of the shelves empty as I'm not a fan of over styling and think that the pieces look better when they have some space to breathe. Where do you sit on the styling front? When is it too much? A sneaky shot I took on my phone during the photoshoot of the colour pop kitchen project yesterday. Just loving the greens and blues in the rug with the mustard yellow. I can't wait for you to see the whole project on my website but it might take a few weeks as I'm busy designing! These clients have been an absolute pleasure to work with, and it's a shame that it will be my last visit, but what a lovely way to round the project off. Site visit yesterday to check painting progress on a hallway project. The three storey house has a lot of stairs and spindles (the decorator counted 109 spindles!) so the clients wanted a scheme which would break up and zone the different levels. They went for one of my all time favourite colours, Pleat from Little Greene for the top level where the bedrooms are, and a sophisticated scheme of varying greys elsewhere. It's looking fab and the previously rosewood spindles are looking so much smarter. Gorgeous design @cromwell_arms last night. The whole place shared a palette of dark blues, greens and teals offset with pops of yellow and orange. For me it is the perfect mix of rustic, modern country and industrial. Don't you love it when the place you're staying in is inspiring? I've started a new project in picturesque Tenby (I'll post some pics of my visit yesterday in stories) of a Victorian hotel which was converted into apartments in the 1970s. This one has been lovingly looked after by my clients parents, and hasn't changed much since the conversion. These curtains in the bedroom are an original 70s print, and I love them! The whole aim of this project is to modernise the apartment so it can be a holiday let, so sadly they won't be staying, but I might ask if I can keep them... Beautiful tile samples arrived from @claybrookstudio for a reception area I'm working on. They are so lovely I want to use them all, but even I think that would be too much! I love this moment when I start putting things together and the ideas in my head become a bit more real. What is everyone else doing today?