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?

How I dressed my own bay windows

 

Following on from my last blog post about the challenges of dressing a bay window, (which you can read here) I wanted to show you how I decided to dress my own bay windows, why I chose to do it that way, and how much it cost me.

 

When we moved in to the house the window dressings were left behind by the previous owners, and looked like this (please excuse the photo as it’s taken from the estate agent’s details - for some reason taking pictures when we’d just moved house with a 2 year old and a 9 month old wasn’t a top priority!)

  A photo from the estate agent's brochure of the living room.
 

The curtains were from Ikea (nothing wrong with that, but they didn’t fit) and were made from an unlined off white fabric in a tab top style (meaning they had loops of fabric which slotted on to the curtain pole). The problem with putting this style of curtain heading on to a pole in a bay window is that they can’t be drawn along the pole very easily, or go around the corners, so the curtains had to pretty much stay put. The looked lovely and very floaty, but because they couldn’t be closed and the thin fabric didn’t keep the heat in, they weren’t very practical. We had the same curtains and blinds in both the living room and our bedroom, so I had to think about how I could dress both of these big windows (there are worse problems to have, I know).

  A photo of the master bedroom showing the original blinds and curtains
 

The blinds were also not right for us either - they were the bamboo roll up type (the type that all student flats in the early ‘90s had) and not only did they give no privacy when rolled up, they blocked out the light when rolled down, and could be seen through at night when the light was on - remember we couldn’t close the curtains, so not great for a bedroom!

So, what should we do? As my house has high ceilings and large (draughty) windows, I felt that full length curtains would be the best option. When closed, the curtain fabric would create a kind of barrier to stop the cold air coming straight into the room, and the almost floor to ceiling fabric would be in proportion to the height of the room. I also decided to have my curtains lined with blackout fabric as opposed to the usual cotton sateen - blackout fabric has thermal properties and so would keep out the cold even more (as anyone who’s lived in a draughty old house will know, every little helps).

  a photo of my bedroom bay window with the radiator under it
 

Full length curtains decided, my next problem was allowing the heat in! My bedroom bay window has a radiator underneath it, which meant that when closing the curtains for privacy, they’d cover up the radiator and stop some of the heat from coming into the room. So, I had to choose a secondary window dressing which didn’t cover the radiator and would stop the neighbours from seeing me in my pyjamas when the curtains were open. I chose Venetian blinds because they are so versatile and can be fully closed, fully opened, or the slats can be angled to control the light. Now, metal Venetian blinds make me think of offices and pop videos from the 1980s, so I opted for painted wooden blinds. I also chose one of the wider slat sizes (50mm) as when the slats are open, you get more daylight coming in, and can see more of the view outside. I also think they kind of look like shutters, but are a lot less expensive.

  A close up photo of the Venetian blind slats
 

My next issue was the curtain poles. The previous owners of the house had obviously struggled with this too, as they’d bought straight wooden curtain poles and cut them at an angle on the bay corners, then joined the pieces together. Because it wasn’t one continuous pole, there had to be support brackets either side of the joins, so curtains (with any type of heading) couldn’t be pulled over the brackets. This meant that I had to put up four curtains (as they had). We couldn’t afford to change the poles when we moved in, so I made four curtains for each window as a temporary measure. 

You can see even in this dark picture that the pole isn’t really working, and the curtains are coming off the hooks because they’re not being supported properly.

  a photo of my bedroom bay window with four curtains on the old pole
 

Here are the temporary curtains I made for my living room using inexpensive fabrics (the fabric looked good 13 years ago, I promise - and at £10 per metre, who could fault it?). Later on, when I decided to repaint the walls of the living room in Farrow & Ball's Oval Room Blue, the colours didn't really work together and I knew it was time to find a more permanent solution.

 
a photo of my temporary curtains in the living room with cream wallsa photo of the temporary living room curtains with the walls painted Oval Room Blue  

Eventually, I bit the bullet and paid for good quality, bespoke poles, and decided on my dream curtain fabrics. The fabric I chose for my living room windows is made by Harlequin and is called Cupola from their Momentum Volume 8 collection. It costs £53 per metre, so is relatively inexpensive compared to some fabrics.

  A close up of the Harlequin Cupola fabric I chose for my living room curtains.
 

As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time thinking about which fabric I wanted as I knew these curtains would be at my windows for a long time, and I didn’t want to grow tired of them. Because I’m a designer I see new fabrics all the time and didn’t want to settle on a fabric only to change my mind a couple of months later when a new collection came out! But I really liked the geometric shapes on this fabric, and the colour was perfect with my walls and sofa colour, so I knew it was the one.

 

A close up photo of the new custom bent bay window pole with the curtains hung on it.

 

I then chose these clever curtain poles from a company called Bradley, who make the poles to fit the exact angle of your bay window, and have C shaped ‘passing rings’ to allow the curtain rings to be pulled over the brackets. Each pole cost just under £600 retail - they were quite pricey, but I felt they were a good investment as we don’t plan to leave this house anytime soon.

  A photo of three 'C' shaped passing rings.
 

I also had to pay for made to measure blinds as my windows are tall and off the shelf blinds just aren’t long enough. Made to measure blinds can be really expensive, but if you can measure and fit them yourself, they become a lot cheaper. I chose my blinds from Blinds 2 Go, and went for a painted white finish with white tapes which cover the holes where the strings (or ladders) holding the blinds together go, as I think they look more stylish. The blinds for my living room cost just over £380 for all four, and slightly less for the bedroom ones as the windows are a bit shorter.

  A close up of the blinds and white tapes covering the holes in the slats.
 

Then, even though I chose a relatively inexpensive fabric for the curtains, because the windows are large, lots and lots of fabric was needed -  this added up to £850 for the fabric and lining! To keep costs down, I decided to re-use the curtains I already had in the bedroom, and join them together to make two curtains instead of four.

  A photo of the finished bedroom curtains with two curtains instead of four.
 

Once my new pole was made and fitted, the curtains could be hung. Now, this might sound a bit strange, but when you first hang new curtains, it really helps if you tie them up to help them ‘remember’ their folds. First, open the curtains, then place all the folds or pleats evenly, and then tie the curtains in place with either plastic or string. I like to use an offcut of the curtain fabric as it’s soft and won’t leave any unwanted indentations.

 
A photo of the curtains with their pleats or folds in place. A photo of my curtains tied up in two places with fabric offcuts.

Leave the curtain like this for 48 hours, and then when you use them they will naturally fold back in these pleats and look great when open or closed. Here’s my finished living room bay window, beautifully dressed, with and I’m so pleased with how they look (and how they work too).

  A photo of my living room bay window with the new blinds, pole and curtains.
 

Now, there are many ways you can dress a bay window and I’ll admit that this wasn’t the most inexpensive way to do it, but I waited long enough and really thought about how I wanted these windows to look. I knew that whatever solution I chose would be up at my windows for a very long time, so decided to go for it, and am really pleased with the results.

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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