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?

The challenge of dressing a bay window

Like a lot of people in Britain, I live in a property with bay windows. The bay window was a Victorian idea, as it allowed more light into the home, afforded a better view of the street outside, and also made the room appear larger and grander (something the Victorians were all about). Lots of people like houses with bay windows, and developers often incorporate them into new builds as they work so well.

A wide shot of a pink bedroom with a traditional bay window

Living in a house with bay windows can present it’s problems though. Apart from the fact that if you have original sash windows (like me), they can be cold and draughty, bay windows can be really difficult to dress for a few reasons. Unless you live opposite a field, you’ll probably want something to give you some privacy, but finding something that doesn't block out all that lovely extra light can be tricky. You might also want something to help you combat those draughts and to keep the heat in the room. When choosing something for your bay windows, the angles made by the shape of the bay can also cause a few headaches, especially when it comes to hanging your chosen window dressings.

To show you what I mean, I've mocked up a bay window in a room showing you the main options available for dressing bay windows. I've used the same room each time, so you can see how each window covering looks, and compare them with each other.

Roller blinds - relatively inexpensive and easy to put up, they come in lots of colours and are the simplest solution. The downside is that they don’t give any privacy when they're open and can leave the room feeling a little bit cold if they are the only window dressing, but a good choice for a minimal, fuss-free look.

a picture of a bay window with roller blinds on each window

 

Roman blinds - a softer option for bay windows as they are made with gently folding fabric, and they can make a room feel more finished. Like roller blinds, they also don’t give any privacy when open and can be expensive to have made to measure. They do look really elegant when combined with curtains, and one option is to have the Roman blinds made in a sheer fabric, so they act a little like - dare I say it? Net curtains. But much more stylish.

 

a picture of a bay window with Roman blinds at each window

Plantation style shutters - these look great on large bay windows when closed, and also when the frames are closed and the louvres (or slats) are open. I have to say that I’m not a fan of shutters on bay windows, because if you want to really let the light in, you need to open up the frames all the way. This causes a problem as the open frames will always cover the side windows, which kind of defeats the point. Lots of people never really open up the whole shutter frame anyway, so if you decide you are happy with this, then shutters could be a good choice for you.

a picture of a bay window with shutters on each window

Solid shutters - if you have original solid shutters these do a great job of keeping out the cold and blocking out light at night time (good for a bedroom), and they usually have an area in the wall next to the window frame where they can be tucked neatly away. You can get new solid shutters made to measure, and if you get them hinged so that they fold all the way back, you won’t need a space in the wall to store them, and you'll be able to open them up to let the light flood in.

a picture of a bay window with solid shutters on each window

Venetian blinds - these are the blinds with horizontal slats made of either wood, plastic or metal. Venetian blinds are very versatile, as they can be open, closed, or angled to give privacy and control the sunlight (or stop the sun from reflecting off the TV). They can also be pulled up all the way to let maximum light in. All the different types of slats can have a painted finish, which can really make a statement and help integrate them into the room scheme.

A picture of a bay window with wooden Venetian blinds at each window

Window film - this can be applied to the whole window, or the lower half of the windows only, which allows plenty of light in but will still give you privacy. The film can be frosted, blackout or can be made to look more decorative with a cut out pattern or image. Windows dressed this way would still need another layer added, such as curtains or Roman blinds, to stop the room from looking too bare (unless you're going for the minimal look).

A picture of a bay window with window film on the lower half of each window.

Curtains - they are a good choice for keeping the heat in (especially if you choose heavier fabrics or blackout linings), as they give privacy at night, and also add another decorative element to the room. They are good for absorbing noise too, so can soften the acoustics of a room, making the room feel more comfortable.

A picture of a bay window with a pair of floor length curtains

One thing to consider with curtains is the placement of any radiators in the room. Radiators are often placed under a window to warm up the cold air coming in, so if you’d like full length curtains (please don’t have short ones, I beg you!) then you’ll have to keep them open when the heating is on. This can work as long as you also have a secondary window dressing which provides privacy, such as Venetian blinds.

If you opt for curtains, then the next challenge is how to hang them at your beautiful bay windows. As the windows are angled, sadly you can't buy a curtain track or pole off the shelf and then put it up. You can buy some ready made tracks or poles which will bend, but they aren’t usually capable of taking much weight, and if they’re not made to measure, they probably won’t run very well and will become annoying to use (and nobody needs that every day).

The only real solution is having your track or pole made to measure, as it will fit the angles of your bay perfectly and your curtains will run smoothly on it. This can be a pricy option, but after struggling with cheaper fixes for years before deciding to bite the bullet and pay to have poles made, I can honestly say its an investment worth making.

You can also put a straight pole or track across the whole of the bay, but this means you'll block off part of the room when the curtains are closed. This might work for you, and can look beautiful, but it’s worth considering if you can afford to lose the space.

A picture of a pair of curtains hung straight across a bay window

 

Whatever you decide to do with your bay windows, it really is a personal choice, and as long as your window dressing works practically for you, you can choose to make a real statement with your window dressings, or let your elegant windows speak for themselves.

 
On my next blog post I'll show you what I decided to do with my living room bay windows, how I did it, and the costs involved to get them looking and working the way I wanted them to.

 

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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