Oh Why 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
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

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 at Capella Home and Gift

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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
Three Questions That Need To Be Answered - Part II.

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.

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

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!

Andrew Bradley
Embrace a Touch of Summer in Your Home - Part II

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

Andrew Bradley
Embrace a Touch of Summer in Your Home - Part I

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

Andrew Bradley
What Colour Will Your Front Door Be?

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?

Andrew Bradley
Window Treatments Part IV - What is Trending? Plantation Shutters!

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.

Andrew Bradley
Window Treatments Part III - Going Roman.

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.

Andrew Bradley