Your Perfect Perch

Five reasons we should all love a quirky occasional chair:

1.    Choose one with a gorgeous colour and it will elevate any room

2.    Even though they are used only occasionally they are both decorative and functional

3.    If your room is lacking a focal point your quirky chair becomes the star of the room

4.    It welcomes visitors and becomes a source of conversation

5.    Chairs can be romantic, edgy, sophisticated or just absolutely crackers, so go on – show your personality!

When searching for what is to become your favourite chair in your most special space here is a helpful list of styles for you to think about – cube, fan, club, modern club, shell, dandelion, director’s, barcelona, barrel, bergere, butterfly, bubble,chaise longue, cogswell, corner, curule, dante, eames lounge, easy, egg, fauteuil, slipper – who would’ve thought?! (and I could go on)

If you already possess your perfect perch but it’s looking sad and dull then treat it to a makeover; not always the least expensive way forward but a beautiful chair can become a piece of art. 

Whatever your style there is no need to feel constrained when it comes to an occasional chair – it can be your freedom to push the borders and be bold or frivolous. The humble chair is one of the oldest pieces of furniture invented and every home deserves a very special one.

Kx

Retro Mustard Shell Chair
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Andrew Bradley
Very Metal

Each year brings new and exciting interior trends … one of the most interesting and captivating for 2019 and going forward is ‘amazing metallics’ with their alluring, shiny excitement. So here are the 6 best ways to add this touch of glamour to your home:

1.    Surprise! Try a scatter cushion or three. There are many plaid and velvet fabrics that incorporate metallics so there’s a really fresh look scatter cushion theme for you

2.    An occasional table is perhaps a less obvious choice but a metal trimmed or shimmering metal table top will have a big impact anywhere it is placed

3.    Choose a shimmering metal vivacious vase or planter to add a striking statement to any surface

4.    Bring a pop of luxury and superb styling to your table at meal times with Rose or Copper Cutlery Sets (and there are many more metallic kitchen accessories – I could get really carried away!)

5.    Metallic Lighting is nothing new but definitely one worth mentioning as a reminder. With a huge selection of pendants in mixed metals they are timeless and look great particularly in kitchens & bathrooms

6.    Then, to top it all, if you’re looking for a subtle shimmer to add a touch of drama and luxury to your room Farrow & Ball have transformed 9 of their best loved designs in their collection of wallpapers with a selection of covetable metallic prints

So be the subject of amazed glances and go for gold or copper or silver or the latest tone ‘gilver’ (a mix of gold & silver) – Very Metal Vyvian!

Kx

“Farrow & Ball Launches a 25-Piece Metallic Wallpaper Collection” – Yahoo News – available at Capella Home & Gift, Settle & Windermere

“Farrow & Ball Launches a 25-Piece Metallic Wallpaper Collection” – Yahoo News – available at Capella Home & Gift, Settle & Windermere

Andrew Bradley
Blooming Marvellous

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, artificial flowers and plants would conjure up an image of tacky tat that would send shivers down my spine for all the wrong reasons. But in the relatively recent past they have made huge leaps forward and make me tingle for all the right reasons!

They are in fact drop-dead gorgeous – so realistic that we often get asked how often they should be watered – and once you’ve accepted that such gorgeousness and practicality isn’t going to be cheap they actually work out to be very economical compared to their short-lived lookalikies.

Not all of us have green fingers or a lifestyle that permits us regularly to enjoy the beauty of fresh blooms. Faux flowers and plants are no longer second best in looks but exquisite equals in their own right. There are so many routes (or is it roots) you can take; from a flower arrangement you want to design and create yourself to one that’s been pre-made and fixed in its own vase or container complete with faux soil.

They are found in the most inspirational homes and feature in Interiors Magazines and in online Designer Worlds. They can pass the test of close scrutiny so that the most ‘sanctimonious’ of us are crossing over even if just to mix faux eucalyptus sprigs in with fresh flowers to bulk them out. It works and you really can’t tell!

So the general rule of thumb is pay a little more for decent quality faux stems & plants and you will reap the benefits!

Kx

Elegant Orchids

Elegant Orchids

Blooming Marvellous

Blooming Marvellous

Andrew Bradley
Praise the Qualities of Linen

We’re all interested in good food and increasingly in slow grown, organic ingredients – as nature intended. At Capella we were discussing how these developments relate to interiors and we realised that we already had a very substantial foundation stone in place. So we are going to praise the qualities of the linen fabrics we use for curtains, roman blinds, cushions, headboards, window seats, bedding, towels and upholstery all around the home.

Linen fabrics are generally understated but luxurious. It is a humble material but really creates layers of luxury. I personally love and use daily linen tea towels, bath sheets and hand towels – and nothing feels softer to go to bed with than linen bedding. Raw linen dusters really buff your prize possessions – it’s just so unbelievably versatile!

It relies upon the magical properties of flax. This blue flowered plant contains very strong fibres. This strength means that it can withstand all sorts of treatment and yet can be made into soft and supple luxury fabrics. So what can we do best with this earth friendly fabric?

·      Beautiful curtains and roman blinds – we use linen for face fabric and lining – it is light but substantial enough to give privacy and excellent heat retention (nothing looks better!)

·      Styling your table – not to look too formal or overly done but welcoming and instantly warming

·      Towels (a big vote from me). Always nice to the touch as tea towels but think about having them in your bathroom – a chic addition; absorbent and lightweight

·      Bedding! There’s nothing to compare with sleeping in between linen sheets – they keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot

And finally – did you know that apart from being a pretty plant the fibres and fabric are hypo-allergenic and actually moth-resistant. The world’s oldest fabric deserves to be a hit in your household.

Kx

Our Handmade Linen Curtains in our Windermere Showroom

Our Handmade Linen Curtains in our Windermere Showroom

Andrew Bradley
Something Borrowed Something Blue

The Forget-Me-Not hand crafted pendant, earrings and necklace with fresh water pearls by Michael Michaud. Beautiful, natural jewellery that says it all - the perfect forever wedding accessory.

View the forget me not products below.

Want to see more of the Michael Michaud Range? Click on one of the headings:

EARRINGS NECKLACES BRACELETS

Andrew Bradley
What Interior Style Am I?

It’s a good question to ask yourself if you’re a little unsure (and a lot of us are). It can be very confusing as we’re fed with so much information today. So I thought that going into the spring of 2019, when we often start to think about nesting, revamping and spring cleaning, I would throw a few questions at you! You have to trust your first response; I will give a little ‘in a nutshell’ description of each style to help firm up your instinctive direction.

·     Rustic – do you love raw materials? i.e. faded wood, antlers, textures, fresh flowers, cowhide rugs, earthy tones – browns, greens and gorgeous neutrals

·     Eclectic – do you just love to mix it all up? i.e. encompass a variety of periods and styles incorporating your past and present; maybe a mix of travel memories brought together by colour, texture and shape

 ·     French Country – do you enjoy an artful balance touching both earthy and chic? i.e. using soft whites, greens, rusty reds, pinks, blues and of course the French lavender. Toile is a famous French fabric/design emphasising the casual and imperfect – a few imperfections can make perfection

 ·     Contemporary – do you swoon at present day designs? i.e. designs that make distinctive use of strong, visible line, whether straight, vertical, horizontal or curved? Less is more and you showcase individual pieces to stand out and draw the eye.

 …and a final word from Billy Baldwin – “stick to the things you really love, an honest room is always up to date”. Thanks Billy – good advice for all of us.

Kx

 

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Andrew Bradley
Oh My Goodness

…the trending of colour and speed of change is sending me dizzy! We have just washed our paint brushes thick with smokey blues, jewelled greens and earthy greys … in 2019 we are going to be courted by all the interior mags with “interesting neutrals” so flip your palette over now from strong hues to pale pastels.

 

Actually, although it feels like full circle again, the strong and the subtle can cohabit beautifully. Neutrals are kind to the eye, calming and relaxing and we will all fall in love (those of us that nested in the 80s will understand) with terra cotta and chocolate in softer, creamier tones. For today’s eye nudes and beige are back but with a softer focus lens!

 

Think about the Pantone colour of the year 2018 – a strong, brash violet. I’m convinced that the majority of we interior home lovers were not convinced it was the colour dream homes are made of. We will be happier with this year’s soft lilacs, pastel pinks and (as I’ve mentioned before) fleshy pinks – they will look gorgeous not just in your bedroom but also living room and kitchen areas.

 

Going way back to the seventies I recall colours such as peachy orange, celery and avocado (no – never again an avocado bathroom suite!). My mother (Margaret who now lives in Gargrave) had the most trending 70’s lounge ever – orange and green walls – and at the impressionable age of eleven I loved them! This time round the block the 2019 version is going to be retro inspired but with a much softer focus. I can’t wait for the hazy sunshine citrus lemon to brighten up our days and herald “the sun with his hat on!”

 

Capella’s Feather Linen Fabrics in Pleasurable Pastels

Capella’s Feather Linen Fabrics in Pleasurable Pastels

Geometric Pastel Wall Art

Geometric Pastel Wall Art

Andrew Bradley
Christmas Table Inspiration

Having family or friends around? Well it is the time for joy, happiness and sharing so, put your annual favourite recipes to the back of your mind temporarily and let’s take time to seek inspiration for our table setting.

There is a wealth of contrasting themes, colours and looks available at our fingertips but to truly get into the spirit we have to get into our local shops and enjoy the real feel of Christmas - on-line is convenient for commodities and emergencies but we are not robots!! Carefully curating the presentation of your cuisine is a wonderful way to enjoy making your home special for Christmas.

So what’s your approach?

  • The rich beauty of nature and outdoor textures - this is such an eco-friendly and cost-effective table. Think white linen and oversized greenery. Use pinecones to bring the outdoors in - see what’s available in your neighbour’s garden (ha ha - please ask first). Soft white votives and candles bring calm and congress to your table. 

  • Or do you feel fanciful - a touch of opulence maybe? Using dashes of silver, gold and other mixed metallics creates shimmers on your plates, glasses and candle holders - take your styling to a luxurious level 

  • Or a classic Christmas, homely & nostalgic? You can create the comfort with glamorous red bows; then fill a large statement glass vase with mixed baubles. Try music sheets as place mats to add that extra ho-ho-ho! 

However creative your table emerges I wish you peace and happiness and I look forward to talking to you again in 2019

Kx

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Andrew Bradley
Not Much Has Changed But They Live Under Water.

This month’s style fix looks into the future (well at least as far as 2019 – “not much has changed but they live under water”) for a vision of what is going to excite everyone who loves their home.

 

1)   To stay ahead we must look to the stars, and it’s star gazing that top designers have been up to; scrutinising the skies for inspiration with heavenly results! Astronomy and Zodiac symbols will be demonstrated with finesse - arrangements of stars will be propelled into our fashion and interiors by these cosmic geniuses’s’s – ‘beam me up Scotty’!

2)   Bullion & Bush Fringe Trims: Now don’t cringe, you’re going to love it all over again – it’s a throwback to hippy and even to Victorian times. It’s going to embellish its way into your life – on your cushions, curtains (I still love bobbles too much to say ‘good bye’), mirrors, lampshades & throws (give me clean lines please, it’s all a bit fussy for me, but that’s just me)

3)   From the skies to the seas; we’re diving down for some ‘Blue Planet’ effects – scallops & scales – it’s curvy and shapely; a new wave of influence on chairs, rugs, lampshades…

 As well as being fringed and scalloped, look out! – we’re heading for concrete bathrooms, mermaid tiles, warm nude fleshy tones, dark kitchens, brass taps, … what next?! Thankfully glorious velvet, the fabric of life, is on the timeless trending track – I love it.

Kx

Andrew Bradley
Ghouls & Ghosts.

Who needs ghouls & ghosts? No squirty spider webs for me this Halloween – I’m thinking cosy not scary! So I shall be looking forward to chilling out in the homely way, preferably relaxing on a vivacious jewelled velvet sofa.

If you haven’t already embraced the richness, the texture and the warmth this luxurious fabric brings then think now – how can you incorporate it? If you are considering changing your sofa it has to be a warm, rich velvet – strong colours are wow and look fantastic. So look the other way if a beige lounger tricks you into “let’s play it safe”.

If a plush plunge into a velvet sofa isn’t timely then think about curtains for an instant rich vibe; if that’s too much then cushions are the best way forward to get the comfort look.

While we’re at it, stroking our new velvet loves, consider another favourite at this time of year (particularly after such a wonderful summer). Let’s get even cosier by getting the candles out; big, small, tall, fat, wide – it doesn’t matter. It’s all about bringing warmth to our space. So let’s love the new season and sink deep into a flicker of light.

 

Image: Mustard Velvet Sofa from Capella Home & Gift

 

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Andrew Bradley
Bathroom Sanctuary.

Looking to update your bathroom? If your loo and sink are still in avocado green it’s really time to treat yourself. Above all a well designed bathroom is like the dream kitchen … it’s added value, money in the bank! Accept this and you can gain even more pleasure from it!

I read recently that internet searches on bathroom design have increased a massive 269 per cent from last year. Why shouldn't we want a space to relax and luxuriate in our own personal retreat? The emphasis for colour choice is on our well being.. earthy tones , muted colours and texture all help create the perfect bathroom sanctuary.

My advice for a big project is to seek professional advice, then it’s all about the detail. Refresh those old tired towels replace them with huge bath sheets (feel the comfort). Think about enjoying the experience... fresh sea salt or spicy... you can create your own atmosphere with diffusers and candles, shop for the fragarances and toiletries that are going to make you feel good.

If its possible pop in a quirky chair; there are some gorgeous neat designs that don't take up too much space.

Next, ... soften the edges, plants are cosy and did you know they bring oxygen into a room so breath in deeply. Worried about light? Well there is a wealth of faux plants that look like the real deal. If space is a problem, then hang them from a hanging planter.

The message is turn your bathroom into somewhere to relax, not a pit stop to wash and go.

 Kairen x

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Andrew Bradley
Creative British Buying.

There have been plenty of ‘Buy British’ initiatives over the years, more often than not from the food industry and recent developments have made the sentiment stronger than ever. Buying British to furnish our homes can be expensive but there is no denying our manufacturer’s quality standards are high and they endeavour to supply products that last, rather than taking the disposable approach to life.

On the smaller scale of accessories and making your home more personal it pays to seek out creative producers of ceramics, glassware, wall art etc and to look out for small art galleries, local art trails and pop up art exhibitions – they are great ways to make your home more personal and more individual whilst at the same time supporting local talent.

Finding up and coming new talent is a wonderful pastime; try visiting surprising places like Crafts in the Pen at Skipton Auction Mart or set out for the day to The Art Market at Holmfirth, they will supply you with a wealth of originals, or if you are creative yourself you will come away buzzing with new ideas to fill your home.

Investing in British art seems a great thing to do. Whether it’s reviewing catalogues from art galleries or browsing in an auction you are sure to add new dimensions to your home.

 

Image: Laura Bird an up and coming young ceramic Artist available in store and online.

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Andrew Bradley
The Fifth Wall.

Thinking of re-inventing your space? Well look above to the stars and forget about statement walls – it’s all about statement ceilings for 2018-19. 

With all four walls and woodwork the same colour you can transform your ceiling – it’s a growing trend that people are looking up to! Whether it’s wallpapering, tiling, stencilling or painting the ceiling, it makes it the stand out feature in the room.

When you give it a bit more thought it’s not new – it’s been going on for centuries. How is the ultimate in opulence showcased in grand houses? Cherubs and marshmallow clouds! During the war years such extravagance and affluence became unthinkable so from the 1940s it fell out of favour as designers embraced the modern and the minimal.

So, with a different twist, this year is the comeback of “statement ceilings” – they are soaring up in style. Available are bold paint colours and tailored wallpapers so now we can rename the ceiling – the fifth wall.

Painting your ceiling is the quickest way to pack a punch. The rule to remember is that a stronger ceiling colour takes on a darker tone, so bear this in mind when making the colour choice. It will give a slight illusion of lowering your ceiling.

 If you are considering wallpaper then scenic prints can transform and soften a space, creating a more romantic mood. Give it some thought, it doesn’t stop there, but I’m afraid I’ve run out of ‘allowed’ space. I’ll finish with a quote from Vogue Magazine – “When done right, the risk is worth the reward”.

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Andrew Bradley
Alfresco Delayed.

Hurrah! We’ve got some long awaited sun – Alfresco here we come at last. Outside the house is one of our best spaces; part of our much loved home. Whether you have a back yard, a balcony or a classic garden this space can be playful, or even a little daring!

 For design ideas there are no better resources than Google, Pinterest & Instagram – lots of great, creative inspiration to suit anyone’s pocket. So before thinking colour, texture, furniture, planting, hard areas, lighting (all the usual suspects) think for just a moment or two how to get the best out of your space.

You want to maximise its use during the long awaited rays of sunshine so, yes, you’ve guessed it, make yourself a realistic checklist. Here are a few key questions to help you:

·     How are you going to use your alfresco space?

·     Do you think it will be used often?

·     Is it mainly for yourself, or for friends, family and different generations?

·     What time and for how long does the sun appear in the area?

·     And therefore will it be used most in the morning, afternoon or evening?

·     Do you want to use it in winter? (more popular in other countries, and not just the sunny ones!)

·     Are there trees overhanging that will drop leaves or sap?

·     Are there options to be under cover if (when) it rains?

Thinking about practical design questions such as these is the essential first step towards making the most of your well deserved relaxing and fun times.

 

Now where’s my Pimms?! x

Andrew Bradley
Hanging a Picture.

No I’m not talking about the DIY instructions for literally hanging a picture – but it is fair to point out that, as simple as it sounds, you must make sure before picture hanging that it’s going in a safe place and solid enough to cope with whatever size and weight your pride & joy is!

It can be a bit of a balancing act (ha!) but just one picture can transform a room – and, believe me, you don’t need a Old Master classic or a Modern Mogul to give a space the desired look.

The number one biggest mistake I often see when visiting homes is that people seem to hang their pictures too high. Please, don't do this (very few circumstances call for it). The most desirable height from the centre of a picture, assuming there is no furniture below it, is within the range 155 to 160cm. So take time now and do a little checking, adjusting as necessary.

Now you’re well on your way to not only enjoying your art more by enhancing the whole space. If you’re hanging your pictures in a cluster or want a pattern, arrange it on the floor first making sure you’re happy with the spacing – and measure. This way you have a good chance of getting your vision correct the first time.

To prevent pictures being lop-sided (and it’s also a safer way) hang them from two points. They can be very easily adjusted. On a last note trust your eye, stand back and enjoy. If it looks right it is right!

Andrew Bradley
Adding More Character!

Hello everyone. Spring is in the air and it’s feeling fresh … inspiring us home addicts to think some and maybe actually do some!

So, I wanted to enthuse some more about wainscoting, which is a lower third wall treatment made of solid wood; it could be pine, hardwood, moulded plastic or pressed board. It’s not a new innovation but will be trending strongly over the next few years. It fell out of favour in the 1950s but is now having a huge comeback.

It makes traditional homes look more authentic and new homes look richer. It’s very attractive, bifurcating a wall (did I just say that?) and adding substance and texture. Its functional side can be a saviour, covering up holes, scratches and other imperfections you may have inherited on the lower section of your walls.

So it’s both beautiful and practical. It used to be used a few centuries ago to protect lower walls against dampness and minor flooding. When capped with a chair railing it helped protect the wall against chair bumps and other day-to-day knocks and clonks that may disfigure plaster and dry wall.

Once it’s installed (check out your local joiner) you will instantly realise another standout benefit – the chance to use two great colours on your walls! White wainscoting will always be popular but, having said that, strong colours are definitely in vogue and, to be fair, really do enhance the visual interest of this fabulous wall architecture.

Andrew Bradley
Adding Character!

The buzzwords are millwork and wainscotting. They are keys to making a memorable and distinct interior. But first, it’s out with the cringeworthy word art! I’ve never personally been a big fan; I’m not saying don’t do it – just don’t overdo it  – long, mushy platitudes must be avoided! Vintage signs, maps & charts can have real appeal, in fact expressing yourself less literally can become much more meaningful.

So let’s talk millwork. Traditional homes look outstanding with deep baseboards, wide doorways and window casings. Picture frame mouldings and contoured raised panels are an admirable and natural fit. In modern homes we’re looking for cleaner, sharper lines; plain mouldings with more basic detail & shaping create a more graphic approach. Paint the panels to contrast with the walls, go for bold in 2018 and make a statement!

If this is of interest and has got your creative juices going then my article next month will take you further. There is a whole dictionary of millwork and I will take you through it. So whether you’re a DIY decorator creator or you just want to discuss your passion with a professional, it will give you an understanding of the basics required to realise stunning results.

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Andrew Bradley
Trend Spotting!

Woo hoo – 2018 and we’re trend spotting! Here is a collection of random spots:

Well I know it’s not genius to say it’s all about colour – but colours will continue to be bold and strong, gorgeous and rich, with elegant, glowing jewel tones. 

Velvet is a strong style contender and what’s not to love about it? It’s cosy, cool and definitely “in”.

All white interiors are supposed to be passé, however I can’t help thinking I still love a fresh, crisp white or a calm off white – but adding a little organic tone of blue, grey or green is a good 2018 twist. As I always say … “It’s important to stick with what you like” (& I’m only reporting my interiors ‘findings out’!)

 It’s been said for a while that stainless steel sinks are “out” and I agree – keep them in the utility room.

 Accent walls – that’s a bit tricky. The word is they are “out”, but when talking to home doodlers who are still stuck in magnolia world an accent wall is a gentle step forward – so I would say “don’t rule them out!” If you can, focus more on creating texture. Adding character with millwork and wainscoting. Find out more about these fab ways to create well-dressed walls in my March article – it’s so exciting!

 

Picture: Sumptuous velvets & bold colours from the Capella collection

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Andrew Bradley
Ready for Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows?

We’ve hoovered up the last of the pine needles. After Christmas it’s looking all a bit bare! So in this January issue I am thinking of cosy winter decorating and accessorising ideas to brighten up the dreariest Yorkshire weather day – let’s make the cold weather melt away, turn up the style and feel toasty.

Layer, layer, layer; it’s a good tip to remember and doesn’t need to be just in your snug. If you have open spaces, or dare I say a room occasionally sun filled, cosy them up too with luxurious layering. Perhaps a plethora of rugs that can be overlapped. Consider cushions large and small, arranged in a pile on the floor to welcome guests to sit where they feel most inviting.

Incorporate a variety of throws, from sheepys to chunky knits, possibly paired up with a fanciful foot-pouf (yummy). A sense of warmth can be created with shades of any colour, whether it’s whites, greys, golden yellows or deep hues of blue, there’s one for every cosy castle.

A few final tips: create a small collection of books – they evoke relaxation; add a couple of botanicals, real or faux – they soften edges & spirits; remember lighting! – lamps and candles are so easy on the eye and the essence of warmth, relaxation and cosiness.

Oo well, after all that cosy talk I’m ready for the hot chocolate & marshmallows! Let’s enjoy every season.

Image: For wonderful and warm interior ideas check out the book that features our very own Cowboy Kate from her Outpost at Low Bentham

Andrew Bradley
Three Questions That Need To Be Answered - Part III.

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!

Andrew Bradley