By Kairen x, Nov 23 2017 05:13PM

I hope that by now our step-by-step approach to planning a room is helping you avoid any expensive mistakes and get the best out of your surroundings and budget. So far we’ve identified and built around our favourite pieces and used them to inspire a colour palette. The third and final question is “do you have a favourite look, style or designer that you want to help create your room?”


We are so lucky today that there are so many styles that are sustainable and won’t fade with fashion – there are very few trending looks that will grow old and become dated. So you have many choices – country, contemporary, classic, boho, scandi,… need I go on?


As you are pondering these options you may well realise that you are not so sure which you prefer. There is a way to be more decisive – it is the ‘make two piles’ assignment. Just go through and cut up a bunch of home magazines and make two ideas piles; one of what you love and one of what doesn’t do it for you (if you are feeling digital you can create two Pinterest Pin boards!). The trick is not to overthink it; just trust your first responses and feelings. When you have two healthy sets study the ‘like’ pile to help you get a more rounded feel for your own tastes. It will help you achieve your style goals!

By Kairen x, Oct 26 2017 04:00AM

Well, the second question is close to my heart – colour. “What colour do you love, what colour do you hate, what colour inspires you?” (ok, that’s three questions). What draws you into a room and makes you happy within? Cool neutrals or warm neutrals, strong colours or a clever fusion? It’s very personal.


Deciding colours you definitely dislike in a setting isn’t always straightforward. You might think you don’t like greens for example but take time to find out what is available. There are greens with grey tones and greens with hints of sunshine, so it is worth exploring colours from the point of view of their background tones as well as foregrounds. I always ask my Farrow & Ball customers their favourite and least favourite colours, and particularly why – this usually turns into a fun conversation and it often helps broaden the options.


The other thing I do is ask if there is anything you have, or have seen recently, that inspires you. What colours are in the favourite piece in the room? It could be a prized picture or personal painting; a cherished chair with a fabric you love. Think broadly; it might be a darling dress or treasured dishes (in a dining room) – you get it! Adored items create inspiration; let them help determine your direction.

By Kairen x, Oct 25 2017 07:00AM

So your thoughts may be turning to a room makeover? Does the prospect fill you with delight or distress? You may look for help but you want your own stamp on it. It’s pretty personal. It’s about you, your family, your personal needs, your likes & dislikes, how you use and live in your home.


Let’s sit back and think about it. Whether you’re looking for help or planning it out yourself there are three questions that need to be answered and we will go through them over the next three issues of Aspire. So the first question: Is there anything you love or hate about your room?


Don’t take a quick glance around and announce that you are throwing everything out and starting again! Thinking through this question will help you understand your own taste better so start making a short list of things you definitely want to replace and one thing you appreciate the most. Looking for a focal point that you love is a great place to start a makeover – the rest of the room can take its cue from an important prime focus.


When you are considering the things you don’t like always bear in mind that “one person’s poison is another person’s meat” so it’s more than possible that someone else in the home might love it! It’s your family home so everyone’s loves, likes & dislikes matter; plus the more you decide to build on the more you keep the re-styling costs down!

By Kairen x, Sep 28 2017 07:00AM

Following last month’s perky ideas let’s continue the season of summer happiness and interior feel-good factors with another list of fresh touches for your home:


Firstly - the wicker way. Wicker comes and goes in interiors, but it currently does have a summer appeal and today old and new designs are working for every room, not just the conservatory. It is genial, with its rounded forms and natural, woody look. Explore more than just a wicker chair; hanging wicker lights have certainly become a summer favourite use of material.


Secondly – glam glassware. Swap out the classics and the boring; go for sipping your tipple out of coloured or crystal encrusted stems – it always makes drinks taste better! A definite punch for your glassware and displays.


Thirdly – sound a blue note. Dark blue’s moody hues are not solely reserved for winter months. Kitchen chairs in deep blue feel fresh when some light wood touches are retained for contrast. And, of course, bathroom ocean blue creates the rich tones of summer in the Caribbean.


Fourthly – sideboard dressing. Dress up any plain sideboard by setting it against a jewel toned wall (look up fabulous ‘Vardo’ by Farrow & Ball). Add a second layer above the sideboard with a metallic mirror. Add a further layer with a leafy green palm plant on the sideboard, then a bowl of seasonal fruit for the perfect, almost decadent, cocktail setting.


So plan to keep your home stunning and feast your eyes on your fresh features!


Picture – Crystal Stem Wine Glass. £8.99 from Capella Home & Gift, Settle

By Kairen x, Aug 30 2017 06:00AM

Summer in The Dales should be in full swing so embrace the rays of sunshine by adding pops of colour and fresh touches to your home. It’s a simple way to reflect this glorious season by having your interior resonate the warm weather mood and ensuring your home makes a stylish statement. So, as part of a two part mid-season invigorating innovation, I’ve put together a few smart, snappy specific ideas that can carry you through to an elongated Indian summer:


Firstly – go for a gilded effect. Gold accents feel fresh and they add an elevated dose of shimmer to any room; a classic case of added glamour. Look around your rooms and consider how you could use this uptown upscale – cushions, sconces, picture frames.


Secondly – pops of pink. Joyful and delightful pink is playful and perky – don’t go too over the top though; you might think of a cushion or painting a tired piece of furniture; positively pleasing!


Thirdly – try neutral gear. A calm, neutral palette keeps your home light and airy during (hopefully) warmer months. Create a feeling of flowing, floating, serene summer by adding a printed rug in neutral hues; it can really invigorate your feel-good space.


So let’s keep it fresh and interesting and enjoy this happy season.


Kairen x

By Kairen x, Jul 28 2017 06:00AM

I love colour and, like a lot of us at this time of year, get the decorating bug. I was musing about the colour of front doors and concluded that, like clothes, interior decor and art, it’s a way of expressing our personality.


It’s the first impression we give to someone who is visiting us so I started to wonder what our front door colour says about our personalities - this is what I found out!


If you choose a bold colour like vibrant orange you’re a social butterfly, have a flair for entertaining and have a mind for a good challenge. A radiant red signifies a hospitable home with a warm welcome. A person with a red door likes a little attention and glories in living life to the full - which again goes hand in hand with entertaining.


Blue door? You are peace loving. You enjoy tranquility and value truth - you are well grounded and true to yourself. Grey they say can hint at indecisiveness - or at least you will look for compromise and take a look at both sides of an argument.


Glorious green suggests that traditional values lay within, but accompanied with simmering ambitions and will to strive for personal betterment. Also good with finances apparently!


Go through a black front door and you are entering into a world of order and control. Simplicity in style, elegant and sophisticated. White is just as it sounds - it creates clean lines and when entering you embark on a journey of clean, organised simplicity.


What colour will your front door be?


By Kairen x, Jun 28 2017 06:00AM

Continuing our theme on a well dressed window – well, it’s such an important part of our home! To recap, we’ve talked curtains, curtain headings and the great benefits of interlining. What else is there?


Well it won’t always be curtains that will be the right choice, so this month we will look at Roman Blinds. As ever, there are various standards and qualities to be aware of. One simple rule is to avoid ones that have been machine stitched from side to side throughout the blind – make it classy with hand stitched. We’ve pushed the boundaries now & then with some pretty huge Roman Blinds but clean, elegant lines are the rewards.


Rather than dominating the room, Roman Blinds can blend in seamlessly, complementing existing décor. Go for quality fittings, an aluminium system with continuous chain operation rather than plastic tracks and messy cords; and of course all fittings have to be compliant with child safety legislation.


So choose your window treatment carefully, styling and colour matching to suit your interior. Roman Blinds can be the best solution for restricted spaces. In bay windows set the blinds in separate segments – stowed at different heights they can create an interesting look. They can also look fabulous together with curtains, so you can really go to town with fabric textures and patterns to provide a breath taking focal point.




So go on, make a stunning statement and think about all the elements of stylish window dressing.

By Kairen x, May 29 2017 06:00AM

Continuing our theme on a well dressed window – well, it’s such an important part of our home! To recap, we’ve talked curtains, curtain headings and the great benefits of interlining. What else is there?


Well it won’t always be curtains that will be the right choice, so this month we will look at Roman Blinds. As ever, there are various standards and qualities to be aware of. One simple rule is to avoid ones that have been machine stitched from side to side throughout the blind – make it classy with hand stitched. We’ve pushed the boundaries now & then with some pretty huge Roman Blinds but clean, elegant lines are the rewards.


Rather than dominating the room, Roman Blinds can blend in seamlessly, complementing existing décor. Go for quality fittings, an aluminium system with continuous chain operation rather than plastic tracks and messy cords; and of course all fittings have to be compliant with child safety legislation.


So choose your window treatment carefully, styling and colour matching to suit your interior. Roman Blinds can be the best solution for restricted spaces. In bay windows set the blinds in separate segments – stowed at different heights they can create an interesting look. They can also look fabulous together with curtains, so you can really go to town with fabric textures and patterns to provide a breath taking focal point.




So go on, make a stunning statement and think about all the elements of stylish window dressing.

By Kairen x, Apr 27 2017 06:00AM

In part one we talked about how curtains can soften the lines of a room and how the different types of curtain headings create style types. Classic soft furnishings can also be made to add a little extra drama, and help with the heating bills! So, in Yorkshire particularly, we need to think about the different types of curtain linings.

I advise most of my clients to get their curtains interlined, either with medium weight domett or the more heavyweight ‘bump’ interlining. In short this helps your curtains have insulating properties – which is good. It will also help if you want to reduce noise coming in through the windows.


This extra layer of fabric is placed between the main fabric and the lining, so if you haven’t heard of it put it at the top of your curtain making requirements. It can transform the overall look as many beautiful fabrics can seem quite thin and lifeless on their own. In some situations it isn’t necessary, for example a very small window, or when the fabric is already weighty.


By adding the magic of interlining the change can be dramatic, oozing a sumptuous quality. So make your soft furnishing investment work for you, keep out those drafts and make your home more energy efficient.


One final word of ‘lining advice’; blackout lining for bedrooms is pure karma for a blissful night’s sleep .. zzzzz .. hope you find this useful.



Kx

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