Bluebellgray Launch Beach Towels

Are you beach ready? With this glorious weather, we certainly are! So why not bring a touch of feel good design along on your travels with these statement beach towels designed by one of our favourite brands, Bluebellgray. Each design is bursting with an array of vibrant colours and featuring 100% cotton reverse for ultimate beach and poolside comfort. 

In the upcoming new season bluebellgray offers three designs: Wisteria, a signature oversized floral, Lola a geometric watercolour design and Rothesay, a showstopper abstract for spring/summer. 

Time to get Summer ready and bring some colour on your holidays.

From left to right: Wisteria, Lola, Rothesay.

From left to right: Wisteria, Lola, Rothesay.

Available from June on www.bluebellgray.com

Lemon Scented Kale and Quinoa Salad

Now that Spring is well and truly here, it's time to replace the soups and sandwiches with healthy and seasonal salads for lunch. This recipe is bursting with beautiful fresh ingredients and we know you will love it.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

250g kale

200g red or white quinoa or a mix of both

1 bunch radishes

2 carrots

1 apple

40g pumpkin seeds

40g sunflower seeds

1 large bunch coriander, leaves picked

For the dressing:

1 small shallot

100ml extra virgin olive oil

100ml lemon juice

1.5 tsp dried chilli flakes

1.5 tsp flaked sea salt

METHOD:

Put the quinoa in a pan with double the volume of cold water and ½ tsp salt.  Bring to the boil and reduce to a gentle simmer.  Cook for around 13-15 mins until the quinoa is just cooked and the water has completely evaporated.  Transfer to a tray to cool.

Toast the seeds for 7-9 mins in 180’c oven.

For the salad dressing – very finely chop the shallot and combine with the lemon juice, chilli flakes & flaked sea salt.

Wash and chop the kale and massage well with the salad dressing so it absorbs the flavour.  Add the quinoa and mix together.

Quarter, core and finely slice the apple, toss with a generous squeeze of lemon juice so it doesn’t discolour.

Trim the radish and cut very finely with a knife or on a mandolin.

Wash and pick the coriander.  Ribbon the carrots with a peeler.

Gently mix together all the salad ingredients and serve!

This recipe is courtesy of St Clements Cafe a new cafe for Parsons Green, serving fresh seasonal food and fantastic coffee.

Sneak Peek: Bright Bazaar's New Book Dream Decor

Today we are super excited to share with you a sneak peek inside Will Taylor's second book, Dream Décor. Following the success of his first book Bright Bazaar: Embracing Colour for Make You Smile Style, Will, one of the world’s leading interiors bloggers, takes a revealing look inside homes across the globe in his second book, Dream Décor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home Wherever You Live, which offers inspiration on how to translate a stylish look for any home, anywhere.

Will Taylor's London Home.

Will Taylor's London Home.

Dream Décor starts by taking the home decorator through the how-to of fundamental elements that make up any interior design scheme, including pattern, texture, colour, lighting, furniture and accessories. 

Cool Country: Home of Leanne Ford & Brad Shaffer in Pittsburgh, PA.

Cool Country: Home of Leanne Ford & Brad Shaffer in Pittsburgh, PA.

With their decorating arsenal fully prepped, Will then takes the reader on an inspiring and tactile design journey to discover the style that represents them personally. By encouraging readers to look to their surroundings and call on their own memories and personal adventures, Will shows how easy it can be to discover a decorating style, and also how to recreate a favourite look in any room no matter where we live.

Hedonistic Hipster: Home of props Stylist Anthony D'Argenzio in New York City.

Hedonistic Hipster: Home of props Stylist Anthony D'Argenzio in New York City.

With Andrew Boyd’s dreamlike interiors photography and Will’s evocative travel imagery and charming illustrations, Dream Décor dives into fifteen distinct interiors, each one mirroring its environment and epitomising its location. Detailed room analysis is also featured for every space so the reader can easily translate the original ideas and design takeaways into their own home.

Coastal Retreat: Home of photographer Chris O'Shea & her wife Ashby Dodge in Bridgehampton, New York.

Coastal Retreat: Home of photographer Chris O'Shea & her wife Ashby Dodge in Bridgehampton, New York.

Dream Décor is full of aspirational yet accessible design from across Europe and America. From the Hamptons to Tuscany, New York to Paris, Sweden to Spain, Santorini to Miami, Los Angeles to London, a diverse range of glorious interiors and décor ideas are explored in the personality- packed homes Will visited.

Italian Rustic: Home of architect Raffaele Centonze & family in the southern Italian region of Puglia.

Italian Rustic: Home of architect Raffaele Centonze & family in the southern Italian region of Puglia.

No matter whether it’s the Mediterranean Marvel, Coastal Retreat, Curious Collector, Hollywood Chic, Italian Rustic, Petite Parisienne or Scandi Comfort look that catches their eye, with Will’s latest book readers discover what Dream Décor looks like to them and how to bring their favourite look home. With an understanding of how to use the Dream Elements that make up a room along with the vast array of helpful design tips and décor know-how found in the Dream Styles chapters, this book will make readers feel confident in their home decorating projects.

Petite Parisienne: Home of French television presenter Marine Vignes & her family in Paris.

Petite Parisienne: Home of French television presenter Marine Vignes & her family in Paris.

Curious Collector: Home of props stylist Martin Bourne in Brooklyn's Dumbo.

Curious Collector: Home of props stylist Martin Bourne in Brooklyn's Dumbo.

Dream Decor: Styling A Cool, Creative And Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live by Will Taylor, photography by Andrew Boyd, is out 17th May. Published by Jacqui Small (£25). The book is available to pre-order on Amazon now and more information can be found here.

Luxury Student Accommodation in the Heart of Newcastle

Forget everything you've ever known about student accommodation because a brand new development is launching in Newcastle, claiming to be the very best in the city and providing residents with a 'VIP student experience'.

Plummer House boasts a chic in-house bar, with its very own ice machines, sound system and eye-catching décor, other facilities also include a private cinema, on-site gym and games room, and even a 24-hour concierge team to attend to every whim. There is even a 'cold room' which will take delivery of students' online food shopping if they are not at home to receive it.

The original building was built in 1910 and is famous for hosting Tilley's tea dances in the ballroom. The original key period features have been retained including the beautiful dance floor which will provide the foundations for the inspirational new common room, wooden panelling, elegant cornicing, and full-height sash windows.

And making the very most of the original high ceilings, many rooms will benefit from mezzanine levels and the wide variety of room types available range from individual studios to four-bedroom en-suites. Ensuring that there is something to suit each student and their individual circumstances, there is even a Presidential Suite for the truly discerning student!

Priced from £20 per day, Collegiate AC is now taking booking for Plummer House and the property will welcome its first student residents in September.

Win A delicious Champagne Afternoon Tea For Four People With Packhouse

Here at HeartHome magazine we are very pleased to have once again teamed up with Packhouse to bring you another fabulous competition, this time to win a delicious Champagne afternoon cream tea for four people! Simply answer the question on the Packhouse competition page and enter your details and you could be the lucky winner.

Packhouse is a wonderful place to spend the day! Nestled inside this lovely grade II listed building hides a treasure trove of vintage, new and antique finds, for you, your home and your garden. Our delightful Café Fig is where you will enjoy your afternoon tea and then have the opportunity to explore three wonderful floors of nooks and crannies, which are packed full of beautiful and unusual things.

We hope you get to enjoy this wonderful prize, so make sure you don’t forget to enter. Good luck! 

Terms and conditions: The prize draw is open to individuals in the UK residents aged 18 or over. Any person or persons connected with Heart Home magazine or Packhouse, without limit, their families, agents, or anyone else involved in the administration of this offer are not eligible to enter. All entries must be received by 5pm on Friday 3rd June 2016. By entering this competition you consent to share your email, name and postcode with Heart Home magazine or Packhouse who may wish to send you mailings in the future. There will be one winner who will receive the prize above. The prize must be accepted as offered (there are no cash alternatives) and they are non-transferable and non-refundable. The winner will be chosen from the list, at random, on Wednesday 8th June 2016 and the winner will be notified by email or post within 7 days. No correspondence will be entered into. Unclaimed prizes will be redrawn after 28 days of the original draw. Heart Home magazine reserves the right to replace the prize with a product of equal value, if necessary. The winner will be asked to confirm their postal address before the prize is awarded. Details of the winner may be posted on the Heart Home magazine website and Facebook page. By entering this competition, you automatically agree to the terms and conditions above. Promoter: Heart Home magazine, 4 Oak Crescent, Wickford, Essex, SS11 7FF.

 

A Vintage Filled 1930's Coastal Cottage

A shabby cottage on a sandy beach went from a weekend bolthole to a successful holiday let for one business-minded couple.

A family trip to Camber Sands turned out to be about much more than just building sand castles for Rebecca and Mark Partridge and their three young boys, as they instantly fell in love with the area and decided to put down roots. However, it was Mark who saw the business potential in the property that they found to buy, just a stone’s throw from the beach, and he convinced Rebecca that they should let it out as a holiday home.

Rebecca says: “We bought the property after falling in love with the area. I persuaded Mark to buy it, but he said it had to be as a business investment rather than entirely as our second home. We make the most of our time here when it’s not being let, but it’s proving popular with families as a great place to stay at weekends, during the summer and at Christmas.”

Rebecca has worked hard to make the 1930s coastal cottage welcoming and comfortable for anyone wishing to rent it, a mission that has been aided by her other business venture back home in Brighton. Along with business partner Jess Bird, Rebecca runs Nest, a company specialising in vintage children’s furniture.

Her love for all things vintage is apparent throughout the Camber Sands property, as Rebecca who is mum to Tom, Charlie and Rufus, explains: “There is quite a lot of vintage furniture in the house. When I’m out sourcing new products it’s one for me, one for the house and one for the business.”

Now called Sandways, the cottage comfortably sleeps up to 11 people, with three double bedrooms, a children’s bedroom with bunk beds and a further sofa bed in the living room. Outside there is a large decking area and a fabulous garden, complete with donkeys braying in the field that backs on to it. The clean white space is practical yet homely and a far cry from how Rebecca remembers it when they bought it. She says: “It was revolting. I just remember it all being brown, with UPVC windows and just absolutely tasteless.

“We used to come here every weekend to work on it. I thought Mark would never want to come and stay again and that he’d hate it forever but he loves it now.”

Rebecca and Mark restored the entire property, re-wiring, re-plumbing and re-cladding along the way. “The en-suite bathroom was just like a little folly, it wasn’t even built-in, just the framework was there,” remembers Rebecca.

With the hard work complete, Sandways is the perfect base for families looking to make the most of what Camber Sands and its mile after mile of sandy beach has to offer.

“When it’s not being let out we just love spending time here as a family,” concludes Rebecca. “We can invite friends to stay now, whereas at first no-one wanted to come because we’d make them do a job!”

For more information about renting Sandways visit www.cambersandscottage.co.uk.

For more information on Rebecca’s vintage shop visit www.kidsnest.co.uk

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Heart Home mag.

Photographs: Simon Eldon.  Words: Kelly Lavender.

A Modern Home Needs Modern Heating

Modern homes don’t always come with modern comforts, especially if you’re renovating a period property. Squeaky floorboards, peeling wallpaper and single pane windows may just be the start of your problems.

Turning an unloved, period property into a modern home takes a lot of time and attention to detail, especially when it comes to choosing the right shade of Farrow&Ball paint and Laura Ashley wallpaper. You want your home to feel warm and hug you when you walk through the door and heating your home is one of the most important elements in helping you achieve this.

Traditional heating options can be expensive to install and costly to run. If your home is a listed building, you’ll also be restricted by what you can use and how it is installed.

This is where compact electric heaters come into their own.The Economy Radiator Company design and manufacture modern, slim and economical radiators that are designed to fit anywhere in your house - even in your conservatory.

Originally created to replace night storage heaters, these ultra-modern electric radiators are now fast becoming the first choice for many homeowners and house builders. When you look at the benefits, you can start to see why.

Firstly, they are easy to install and do not require a tradesman to undertake the work. All you need is a sturdy wall, be able to drill a few holes for the brackets and an electricity supply, no pipes or boilers needed. They are also maintenance free so the ongoing costs are amongst the lowest of all the heating options available.

Then there is the running costs. How does 1.6p per hour sound to you? That gets you a 1kw radiator running on full power which is enough to heat an average sized room. And remember, with electric radiators, you can heat just the rooms you use so if you’re especially thrifty and constantly keep an eye on your usage, you’ll start to notice a real difference to your energy bills.

So let’s take a quick look at whatThe Economy Radiator Company have to offer in their range of ‘Made-in-Britain’ electric heaters.
The VC Compact electric radiator is one of the company’s best-selling radiators. It’s slim, contemporary design and large display panel makes it ideal for any room of the house and comes in a variety of sizes. It can be wall or floor mounted and offers a remote control device to control it from your armchair.

The VC Compact can heat rooms from 7m2 to 25m2 so more than enough heat for even the grandest of spaces.

The electric radiators start at a weight of just 8kg, so they won’t cause you any problems whether you’re wall or floor mounting them.

The VTR Towel Rail IPX4 boasts a vertical design which makes it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. It’s tall and slim design will look fantastic in any home and offers the same large display panel as the VC Compact.
The The Conservex electric radiator is a low height radiator that is perfect for conservatories. It features a large display panel and one-touch buttons for quick and easy temperature control.
If you’re considering adding additional heating to your home, or even completely replacing your existing heating system then electric heaters from The Economy Radiator Company could be the answer. Visit the website www.economy-radiators.com to find out more.

SS16 Decorating: New Additions from Ross & Brown

This week Ross & Brown introduce a new selection of decorating and storage ideas to freshen up your home for summer. Soft white textiles, glass, metal and natural woven materials are key in these additions to their core collection, which includes furniture, lighting and decorative accessories in a contemporary Scandinavian style. Everything seen here can be purchased on their website from today. For more new additions,

Kuba Rug, £195

A deep pile rug in grey and white, made using the 'Rya' knotting technique that is traditional to Scandinavia. Rya is the word for 'rug' in Swedish, but also refers to the long-piled, heavy rugs used in the fifteenth century to keep Scandinavian houses warm during their bitter winters. 

Pillar Lanterns set of three, £56

A set of three glass lanterns made from glass and antiqued black zinc. Create atmosphere inside or outside by adding tall, white church candles, cut flowers or other small decorative objects.

Woven Baskets, £28 - £44

These handy baskets are woven from thick natural maize with a dipped grey base. With three sizes available they're perfect for your laundry, home storage or packing a picnic for the beach. 

About Ross & Brown

Peter Ross and Gary Brown first met in 2010, when they were both working at an interior design and architecture practice in Kent. A large part of an interior designer’s job is to scour the list of worldwide suppliers looking for product to specify for projects; it was during this process that the two realised that they shared similar tastes. They began to explore the idea of setting up online and becoming a supplier themselves - a destination which interior designers and homeowners would visit to find new and interesting products.

After a couple of years of deliberation Peter quit his job and they set about sourcing Ross & Brown’s first collection, finally launching to the public in October 2014. “We both have to love a product before we list it on our site,” says Peter. “Everything we stock, I would have in my home… and often do! We are essentially designers doing retail, not the other way around.”

Rye-Bread Porridge with Skyr and Toasted Hazelnuts

Extract from The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell.

This porridge, known as ‘Øllebrød’ in Danish, features in the Academy-Award winning Danish movie Babette’s Feast. It is a very old recipe for rye-bread porridge, and was originally a way to use leftover rye bread and drabs of beer, hence the name Øllebrød, which translates as ‘bread and beer soup’. You can make it with a malt beer or ale, but it’s just as nice made with water. Some people eat Øllebrød as a dessert, but I love it in the mornings. I also love not wasting food, and it is a great way to use up end bits of rye bread.

Serves 2–3

 Danish beer and rye porridg

Ingredients:

200 g dark rye bread, ideally not seeded

600 ml water

1 piece of unwaxed orange peel (2.5-cm/1-in. diameter)

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon cocoa powder

40 g tablespoons caster sugar

1–2 teaspoons orange juice

skyr or plain yogurt, toasted hazelnuts (roughly chopped) and fresh berries, to serve

Method:

Cut the rye bread into small pieces, then add to a saucepan. Cover with the water. Leave to soak for at least 15 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).

Add the orange peel, cinnamon and cocoa and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for around 15–20 minutes until all bread has dissolved and you are left with what looks like a very thick gravy. Remove the orange peel. Add the sugar (hold back a little bit in case you prefer a less sweet version). Add the orange juice (you can add a little more, to taste). There may be the odd lump of bread left – I quite like these, but you can push it through a sieve if you prefer a smoother version.

If you have used seeded rye bread, the seeds will still be present. You can pulse the mixture a few times in a food processor if you want a smoother consistency.

Serve hot with a dollop of skyr (or plain yogurt), toasted hazelnuts and fresh berries, such as blueberries or raspberries. If serving as a dessert, add double cream instead of yogurt.

untitled

The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell

Published by Ryland Peter & Small

Photography by Peter Cassidy

Tropical Launch From Murals Wallpaper

Diving straight into the 2016 interiors trend, Murals Wallpaper have launched their Tropical wallpaper collection, and what a collection it is. Flying high the urban jungle flag, this is the perfect launch to update your homes for summer.

Blue and Green Tropical Leaf

Blue and Green Tropical Leaf

Designed in-house by their team of expert designers, these original prints capture all the essence of the summer vibes with a twist of South American flair. Playful, textured and bursting with character, these wallpaper designs will bring your rooms to life and keep you in vogue for the rest of the year.

The wide variety of options showcases different patterns such as the classical tropical leaves and beautiful flamingos that can transform a place into a tropical paradise. The design and styles can fill the interior design and practical needs of any room in the house. For those who need tropical wallpaper, these options are simply great choices.

Blue Flamingo

Blue Flamingo

Green Fern Leaf

Green Fern Leaf

Tropical Bush

Tropical Bush

Mixed Tropical Leaves

Mixed Tropical Leaves

Tropical Murals are available at: muralswallpaper.co.uk/collections/tropical-wallpaper All prints are custom-sized, made-to-order and priced at £23.50 per square metre.

A Pretty, Pastel, Country Style Home of an Interiors Stylist

Interiors Editor and Stylist Victoria Harrison shows us round her 1970's bungalow and answers some of our burning questions on her interior style and tips for creating a warm, welcoming home on a budget.

What attracted you to your home in the first place?
The location!  I actually grew up in this village, and after several years of living and working in London decided I wanted to return to the area to be near my friends and family. By moving back here I was able to afford much more space and I also have a lovely garden. When I moved in the bungalow was structurally sound and had great potential - the previous owners had put a new kitchen and bathroom in 5 years before and had done lots of work to reconfigure the layout which I really loved. But it just needed a total decor refresh. It was a totally blank canvas that I couldn't wait to start decorating!

What improvements/decorating have you done?
I am a big fan of vintage furniture and country style but I also like to keep things simple, so with each room I started off with a simple colour palette of white walls, natural flooring (wool carpet) and white or pale grey furniture, then I added warmth and character with vintage pieces, handmade accessories and art. I added rose pink, soft grey and metallic gold and copper as accents throughout to keep the rooms feeling cohesive. 

But each room has it's own style too. I kept the bedroom quite calm and pared back as I wanted it to feel really soothing, so it has more grey, but the bathroom is bright, fresh white as I wanted it to feel really light and clean. The kitchen has more colour. Because the bungalow is 1970s it doesn't have any period features like fireplaces, picture rails, so I really wanted to add some soul and character and I think vintage furniture and accessories are the best way to do this. 

The biggest job was the living room / dining room. This was a tricky space and hard to create a cosy feel as it is so open on 3 sides (with windows, arches and doors) so I decided to create a feature along the longest wall. Rather than just putting a sofa along that wall I bought an electric woodburner and a mantlepiece (I wanted a white plaster fireplace surround but obviously couldn't afford one so I found a cheap cream plastic one with a faux wood top and I painted the entire thing with Annie Sloane White Chalk paint to make it look like plaster!) I then found the two sideboards to go either side and bought the two small wall lights to put above them. In that way I created structure, symmetry and a focal point along that plain wall.

My best bargain was my sofa and armchair - I wanted an L-shaped sofa but that would have been too big and blocked the room so I found this one which is halfway between a regular sofa and an L shaped one - it's incredibly comfy but doesn't dominate the room or block the view from the dining room. I did lots of research before buying it as my budget was very tight and I eventually found this one in the DFS showroom (the Tote range - now discontinued) - it was an ex-display model and had been on the shop floor for a year so I got the sofa, footstool and armchair for an amazing price. It also meant I could have it delivered straight away without having to wait for it to be made.

I couldn't afford a real wood burner but I wanted the look of a country living room so I found an artificial wood burner that I love - I chose one with an opening door so I could pop some real logs in to make it look as authentic as possible - I was worried it might look a bit plastic - but it does actually look really realistic. It also throws out a good amount of heat and has created a lovely cosy focal point to the room. The mantlepiece and surround was a cheap plastic one form Homebase that I up cycled with Annie Sloane white paint to give it the look of a plaster mantlepiece! 

What was your budget roughly?
Minimal! I spent two years redecorating the house bit by bit (living there at the same time) as I just didn't have any money to do it all at once. Each pay check meant I could paint another room or buy another piece of furniture. I also upcycled a LOT and tracked down a lot of vintage / second hand pieces of furniture or ex-display pieces of furniture.

Do you have any decorating disaster stories?
Plenty! Painting the kitchen was a bit of a nightmare. Not because it went wrong, but just because of the sheer scale of the project. My dream was to have a white, country style kitchen so I painted all the cupboards with white chalk paint, as I really wanted a bright, fresh, Shaker-style kitchen. They were originally oak coloured laminate and there are over 20 doors so it was a huge project as I removed each one, took all the hardware off and gave each door three coats of paint and a coat of wax before rehanging each door. I also had to paint all the cupboard carcasses and shelves. By the end I didn't want to see another pot of paint EVER! But I think it transformed the space and it only cost me about £200.

Is there anything you have made yourself?
Yes, I reupholstered a chair, made several of the cushions, up cycled the bedside tables, up cycled the kitchen clock and hacked the fireplace. I also replanted all of the bathroom cabinets, and obviously the kitchen cabinets too.
 

What is your favourite room.  Why?
My home office is my favourite room, it's a lovely peaceful space that opens out onto the garden. The patio outside is a little sun trap so it's a lovely place to sit in the summer. And it's a really cosy room in the winter. It's such a luxury to have a dedicated working space so I absolutely love it. I have my laptop and sewing machine set up and all of my craft materials and design books close to hand. It used to be a small single bedroom but as guest rooms tend to be used quite infrequently it seemed a waste of the space to have a bed in there so I emptied the room out, painted it white, put new carpet down and slowly bought furniture for it piece by piece. The desk is IKEA and the shelves were inexpensive pine B&Q ones that I painted white. The bookcase was a vintage 1970s one that my parents gave me - it was quite dark wood so I painted it with pale pink chalk paint to freshen it up. ('Antoinette' by Annie Sloane) The bureau was a sale find from John Lewis. It was ex-display and had a few little scratches and ink blots but I quote like that and it meant I got it for a great price. 

You can see more of Vicky's style on her blog Style Made Simple

Buying To Let - What You Need To Know

Buying to let can be a fantastic investment, and can really help your money work for you, as more often the rent is 125% of the mortgage, meaning you’ll net a tidy profit each month. Although the market can fluctuate, investing money into property is a fairly surefire way to increase your personal wealth. When you buy to let, you essentially become a landlord, and once you become a landlord, there are regulations which you legally need to follow to rent out your premise.

As you now have a responsibility for others, there are certain checks you’ll need to make to ensure their safety. The first thing you may need to check is whether you’ll need to obtain a Houses in Multiple Occupation License, which is an essential certificate for properties which are rented to multiple tenants who share any communal areas, for example the bathroom and kitchen. This is obligatory, and you’ll need to contact your council to get the wheels in motion. You won’t need this if one family are sharing the property.

Health and safety is paramount when buying to let, and there are a number of certificates and checks you’ll need to ensure are completed. You’ll need to get a Gas Safety Certificate, and make sure your electricity, boiler and any electrical devices and furniture are checked, ensuring they meet regulation standards.

Gas appliances will have to be checked once a year minimum, and all assessments should be recorded, evidenced and made available to your tenants if required. PAT testing will also need to be carried out on any electrical devices being supplied by you, for example microwaves and kettles, by a professional body who can confirm they are safe to operate.

As well as maintaining the gas and electrical devices within the property, you’ll need to acquire an Energy Performance Certificate for the property, which clearly states the efficiency of the heating, insulation, water, construction and energy of the premis after testing. Again, these will need to be carried out by professional personnel.

You’ll have to make sure the property complies with fire regulations, and that smoke detectors and fire doors are fitted. It is also advised to make a fire extinguisher and fire blanket available. Companies like Oakwood Doors have a vast range of fire doors which are tested and approved to meet industry standards. The higher the FD code, the longer the door will last against extreme temperatures.

Once the property meets all regulations and you’re ready to move a tenant in you’ll have to draw up a contract between you and them. You’ll want to get a professional person to read over this, or alternatively let an agency handle it for you. You’ll also have to put any deposit which is exchanged into a government approved holding scheme, this protects their money for the future, and allows you to dispute any deposit reductions for damages to the property. Speaking of damages, you may want to invest in landlord buildings and contents insurance.

Take Me Away: Margot House, A Secret Boutique Hotel In Barcelona

Located opposite the iconic Casa Batlló and the Barcelona Atmetller House, this boutique hotel, Margot House literally opens its beautiful doors on to Paseo de Gracia. This is not a typical boutique hotel in that the owners want to provide ultimate service, along with the sensation of embarking on a secret escape. The standard boutique or trendy hotel is prone to giving off an impersonal vibe and mass service. But Margot House is a hotel that thrives on catering to a selected clientele, and there is no better proof of this, in that it is located on a main floor of building with no signage. Privacy of its guests come first, and discretion is always practiced by the staff. 

The hotel derives its name by the character that actress Gwyneth Paltrow played in the movie The Royal Tenenbaums. Her character, Margot, is a deep woman with a hidden side to her, giving off a glamourous and almost elusive feel. 

Margot House was created to offer its guests privacy, comfort and exclusivity. A secret corner in the heart of Barcelona with an exquisite interior was the goal of one of its owners, Sandra Durany. A tireless traveler, Durany was inspired by a mix of accommodation from different corners of the globe in order to create a unique hotel with personality, free of any convention. This vibe can is present in every single detail as well as the layout of the hotel. The 9 guestrooms at Margot House are decorated with fine materials such as light wood, and cement micro lamps from award winning designers such as Miquel Milà and other Japanese designers. Thanks to the Durany design, VansKap Studio interiors and Ambit decoration, they have been able to achieve this spectacular result, the Margot House. 

The relaxed atmosphere that surrounds the Margot House has been achieved thanks to the limited number of rooms. It has a maximum capacity of 18 guests, and with a combination of a neutral color décor and the guests can choose their own background music and utilize a common space kitchen, open 24 hours a day for guests. 

Egyptian cotton linens, cashmere blankets and 100% pure cotton towels from Hammam pools of Turkey are just a few of the fine details that this accommodation offers. Guest also have the ability to customize their experience, though choice of access keys to their room, the signage for their room (such as do not disturb one) and the choice of a local guide recommended by their hotel management. It’s clear to see this is outside the norm, and it absolutely distinguishes the Margot House from its competitors. 

Also surprising are the number of other services offered by this hotel: free laundry service, coffees, teas and pastry service 24 hours a day, availability of a MAC in the common area, a selection of books and the best international journals in the library. Guests can also access a sought after collection of movies on DVD to enjoy in the rooms, all equipped with Bower Wilkins speakers. 

The breakfast at Margot House is an appetizing start to the day: homemade cakes, fine pastries, fresh juices, different types of bread, scrambled eggs, or other proposed combinations prepared in the open kitchen on a daily basis. Other touches at breakfast include: fresh flowers, daily newspapers and a beautiful fig aroma that envelops the space, helping to maximize this great time of day. 

Vietnamese Mango Salad with Tiger Prawns

Today's recipe is from Viet Eat Pho & Bun. The restaurant was created in October 2015, with a new concept that aims to revolutionise the offering of Vietnamese street food in London. Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, adjacent to both China Town and Soho, the restaurant carries a new, out-of-the-box design that creates a cosy and comfortable dining environment with distinctively Vietnamese features.

(serving 2 – 3)

Ingredients:

1 hard mango

1/4 of a cucumber

1 medium carrot

1/4 of Iceberg lettuce

10 large tiger prawns

1 tea spoon of salt

2 table spoons of crushed roasted peanut

3 table spoons of chopped coriander

2 table spoons of chopped mint

For the dressing:

2 limes

1 stalk of lemon grass

3 garlic cloves

1 chilli

2 table spoons of sugar

3 table spoons of fish sauce

6 table spoons of warm water

Method:

Bring a pan of water to the boil then add the tiger prawns and a tea spoon of salt to the water. Cook the prawns for 3-4 minutes and then strain the water and put the prawns straight into a bowl of ice-cold water. Once the prawns have cooled down, remove the shells. Meanwhile, peel the carrot, mango and cucumber then use a julienne peeler to make julienne carrot, mango and cucumber. Use a sharp knife and cut the iceberg lettuce julienne like the other vegetable.

To make the dressing, chop the garlic, chilli and lemongrass (only the white part) very small. Whisk the sugar with the water and fish sauce until the sugar is dissolved then add the juice of 2 limes, the chopped garlic, chilli and lemongrass to the dressing and stir to combine all the flavours together.

Use a big mixing bowl and mix the mango, carrot, cucumber, lettuce and prawns with the dressing then transfer to a serving dish or bowl. Garnish with coriander, mint and roasted peanuts and enjoy the salad.

Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection Introduces Cotton White Finish Into Marlborough Range

Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection has introduced a luxurious new on-trend finish to its most popular, Marlborough bathroom furniture range, which combines timeless styling with expert craftsmanship.

Marlborough 1000mm freestanding basin unit with honed granite worktop and vessel basin and mirror cabinet both in new cotton white finish. Shown with the York side action basin mixer. Also pictured is the Bloomsbury high level WC and cistern with black wooden soft close seat.

Marlborough 1000mm freestanding basin unit with honed granite worktop and vessel basin and mirror cabinet both in new cotton white finish. Shown with the York side action basin mixer. Also pictured is the Bloomsbury high level WC and cistern with black wooden soft close seat.

Embracing the trend for pale, neutral colours in the bathroom, the elegant new hand painted cotton white finish joins the existing solid pale oak and hand painted cobblestone finishes already available within the range. Featuring a traditional Shaker design, the classically-styled Marlborough bathroom furniture units incorporate five piece doors finished with adjustable soft close hinges.

Marlborough 600mm freestanding basin unit in cotton white with ceramic basin, pictured with the York basin mixer and illuminated mirror, also in cotton white.

Marlborough 600mm freestanding basin unit in cotton white with ceramic basin, pictured with the York basin mixer and illuminated mirror, also in cotton white.

Helen Shaw, Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection’s marketing manager, says: “Launched in response to consumer demand, the beautiful, new cotton white finish introduced to our Marlborough bathroom furniture range is ideal for those looking to inject another level of luxury into their bathrooms.”

Wallpaper: A Touch of Vintage French

Now that decorating season is upon us, are we the only ones scouring magazines and websites for inspiration? Probably not. Today, we're most inspired by these lovely examples of French, provincial style wallpapers from Scandi Living

Designer Ulrica Hurtig found her inspiration in a book of patterns from the French region Alsace, dated 1845. Hence, all of the patterns in this collection have a striking bohemian and poetic feel. From flowery prints to Toile de Jouy with a pervading touch of patina throughout. What better way to create a romantic backdrop in every room in the house.

The Dining Room

Vintage Harlequin

Vintage Harlequin

Extra Style Tips: Use a fringed shawl in place of a tablecloth. Pick up mis-matched chairs from your local flea market/car boot sale/charity shop and paint them a matching colour. Use a rug under the dining table to ground the arrangement and always, always use flowers.

The Sitting Room

French Lace

French Lace

Extra Style Tips: Restore old furniture with a fresh coat of chalk paint. Matching the colour to the wallpaper creates a calm and restful scheme and adding a tassel adds that extra bohemian touch.

The Hallway

French Roses

French Roses

Extra Style Tips: If you have the space, add a French style bench to the hall. It's a handy place to sit and remove shoes and also to drop a handbag as you walk in the door. Hooks are of course useful but don't overload them. Put away last season's coats and just hang the items you will use on a daily basis.

The Bedroom

Toile de Jouy

Toile de Jouy

Extra Style Tips: There's nothing like a bit of romance in the bedroom but don't overdo the pattern. If you do choose a patterned wallpaper, keep the bedlinen plain. Linen is lovely and cool for the warmer months and you don't have to spend hours at the ironing board. A softly crumpled look will just add to the charm.

Original Style's Odyssey Tile Launch

Original Style launches four new collections into its Odyssey Grande range. From a simple floral corner to complex intertwining patterns – this spectacular range of floor and wall tiles was inspired by various items and places around the world. Odyssey Grande combines contemporary and classic designs, creating striking patterns suitable for use in both modern and traditional settings. Its new additions include: Knightshayes, Pentillie, Lewtrenchard and Saltram. Two existing collections – Epoque and Vogue – have also been updated.

Odyssey Grande Epoque White On Grey

Odyssey Grande Epoque White On Grey

The refreshed collection has four new designs on two new base colours (Chalk and Grey), and two existing patterns in new colour options.

The Knightshayes is a dynamic pattern in two striking colour options – Grey on Chalk and Blue on Grey. This design has softened edges and lines giving an aged, worn effect. The new Pentillie tiles come in two grey versions – light and dark – and have been named after a grand castle perched on the edge of the river Tamar.

Odyssey Grande Knightshayes Dark Blue & Light Blue On Chalk

Odyssey Grande Knightshayes Dark Blue & Light Blue On Chalk

For those seeking more dynamic, modern patterns, Original Style introduced the Lewtrenchard collection – a linear, bold and fresh design inspired by the ornate plasterwork ceiling in the Jacobean manor house of Lewtrenchard in rural Devon. These tiles are available in Grey on Chalk and Denim on Grey. Customers wishing to experiment with bold geometric patterns can choose the Saltram collection. Its clever colour combinations include a pop of bright, warm yellow.

Original Style Odyssey Grande Saltram Black & Summer Yellow On Chalk

Original Style Odyssey Grande Saltram Black & Summer Yellow On Chalk

‘Geometric, dynamic flooring patterns are very on-trend’ Jane Addis, New Project Co-ordinator & Designer at Original Style, says. ‘ Installation options are endless – you can go wall to wall or give your floor an edge with plain tiles to create a rug effect. You can also use borders or contrasting colours to make the pattern stand out even more’. Patterned walls draw attention just as much as floors and can either be used together for a seamless tile transition or separately as focal points and eclectic, patchwork-style splashbacks.

Odyssey Grande Lewtrenchard Denim And Grey On Grey

Odyssey Grande Lewtrenchard Denim And Grey On Grey

The existing popular Epoque and Vogue collections have been supplemented with new – White on Grey - colour options. Continuing with the grey theme, Tapestry wall tiles have also been given a makeover and are all now available in Grey on White as well as Blue on White.

A Characterful Country Cottage Restored to it's Former Glory

Renovating a cottage that dates back 300 years is bound to throw up a few challenges, but for Louisa and Dan Blackmore it also revealed some treasures that give their home a real sense of character.

On the hunt for not just a home but a project that they could really stamp their personalities on, Louisa and Dan Blackmore came up trumps when they discovered a 17th Century cottage nestled in the picturesque village of Blunham, Bedfordshire.

Louisa saw the potential in the property immediately and couldn’t wait to unearth its history. “It used to have a thatched roof and beautiful old render, but it was modernised in the 1940s by putting a brick skin around the outside and a tiled roof - criminal really,” she comments.

With the cottage being in a poor state structurally, Louisa and Dan had a long road ahead of them in order to make the property liveable, let alone homely. But where others may have been tempted to save on the sweat and tears by starting again from scratch, the couple were determined to restore rather than replace. “We totally gutted the old part of the cottage and reinforced the entire structure with steel to keep it standing,” explains Louisa. “As it is not listed, builder after builder told us to knock it down and start again but we felt really strongly that we should restore it. The little cottage has stood there for well over 300 years so it would have been awful to knock it down.”

With Dan away serving in the Army much of the time, Louisa was left to face obstacles, juggle her day job and be mindful of sticking to the budget for the renovation. “The budget we had was £8,000, but we blew through that at a horrendous rate and the entire project cost around £28,000,” she admits. “But we hadn’t, and couldn’t have anticipated having to reinforce the entire house with steelwork. It was pretty devastating at the time especially as Dan was in Afghanistan and I was trying to renovate and run a business at the same time.”

But Louisa has a good support network around her, not least of which has come from the village community. “Most of the trades we used were recommended by locals,” she explains. “While we were deciding what to do, the builder who lives on our lane brought round about 15 acrow supports to keep the floor from caving in, which was a lovely preview of the amazing community spirit in the village.”

Fourteen months into the project and Louisa and Dan have been able to move out of Army barracks and into their new home, while the renovation continues in earnest. Despite blowing the budget early on, the couple have no regrets about their decision to restore the old cottage to its former glory, with Louisa finding much of her inspiration for the interior design from the quirkiness of the building itself. She says: “uncovering the beams in the reception rooms was an amazing find and I wanted to show those off as much as possible so we’ve kept the walls uncluttered and just have a few shelves for art work and photos in the sitting room”.

“The highlight of the whole project was finding the inglenook fireplace behind a gas fire attached to a fake wall. It was amazing – the oak beam mantle is just incredible and many hours were spent restoring it.”

Happily even the potential for disaster has been averted by the fact that the cottage is full of character. “The biggest disaster I had personally was not taking into account the steelwork when I measured up for the staircase,” Louisa recalls. “When they came to fit it, everyone was asking why I’d left a gap around the edge? Was it some quirky design idea? The truth was I just hadn’t noticed it. In the end though, it actually worked out for the best as we were able to build a bookshelf into the recess.”

While the couple still have plans to knock down the 1960s flat roof extension and put in a kitchen and another bedroom and bathroom upstairs, for the moment much of the structural is complete, leaving Louisa to inject her modern country living style on this centuries-old building. “I love mixing antique and vintage pieces with lots of textured materials and pops of colours,” she says.

This feature originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Photographs by Charlotte Murphy.  Words by Kelly Lavender.

Spring Time With The Heart Home Shop

While the weather is still not clearly making its mind up, it's safe to say that Spring has finally sprung. The days are longer and when the sun shines it really does put a smile on everyone's face. Another way to embrace the new season is by decorating the home with lots of pretty plants. They don't have to be real if the struggle is to look after them, in fact faux plants can look great. It's all about bringing the outdoors inside and getting the home ready for Spring.

It's for this very reason that we thought of putting together a selection of pretty vases from the Heart Home shop as the perfect accessories for your plants. After all it's the small details that always make a difference. So lets celebrate new beginnings and time to make/add a few changes to the home.  

Website of the Week: Utility Design

We are big believers at Heart Home that the primary reason we spend our hard-earned money on home furnishings and furniture is to create a living space we enjoy spending time in, whether we’re relaxing, working or entertaining. And isn't it nice when a friend or family member notices your decor and points out how much they like it? It makes you feel like you made the right choice.

Liverpool-based independent retailer Utility Design is absolutely jam-packed with such items. A whole website full of products that will elicit plenty of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ and have people envious of your stylistic eye.

Check out just a handful of the fantastic products on offer …

String Shelving

Unbelievably, this award-winning String Shelving by Swedish architect Nils Strinning was designed in 1949, and it’s never been more popular. It allows for unrivalled customisation, allowing you to choose the number of side panels and shelves and fit them exactly where you want them. The result is a truly bespoke piece of furniture that lets you be as organised or haphazard as you like.

Check out the full range of String Shelving.

Cinema Light Box

Evoking the classic look of cinema exteriors of days gone by, the cinema light box is a fantastic way of personalising your home. It features 69 symbols and letters for you to create your own message, and when you get bored of that one, you can just replace it with something else. It also lights up to really make it a focal point of any room in your house.

Gubi Pedrera Coffee Table

You only have to look at the stunning Gubi Pedrera coffee table to imagine the reaction it’ll get from people. Designed by Spanish architect Barba Corsini, it’s a contemporary classic and one that will instantly improve any living room, especially if you pop a few swanky coffee table books on top.

Wrong for Hay Turn On Lamp

These striking table lamps are part of a collaboration between Danish designers Hay and London-based designer Sebastian Wrong. As well as looking adorable, their killer feature is that you alter the brightness simply by turning the base, allowing more control over the light in your house. They’re also LED lights, meaning they last longer and consume less energy.

Vitra Mariposa Love Seat

Love seats are becoming more and more popular as loved-up couples want a special seat they can cosy up on in the evening, and the Vitra Mariposa love seat is about as good as they get. However, they’re also popular with people who just want a big comfy armchair to relax on by themselves - it’s the perfect mix of chair and sofa and every house should have one.

Be Silly Wall Mantra

Need something to liven up the walls in your house? This delightful wall mantra will jazz up the walls in any lounge, kitchen, bedroom, hallway or even bathroom. It features advice we could all do with observing in our lives and will therefore hopefully bring about a little more honesty, silliness and kindness from all who read it. 

Alessi Dotty Clock

This gorgeous wall clock is inspired by two very different things - the movements of the solar system and those sticky dots you can buy from stationery shops. It’s an odd combination but it works! Available in three striking colours, you’ll be constantly checking the time as you won’t be able to stop looking at this eye-catching clock.

Muller Makeup Table

How stylish is this amazing makeup table? Its elegant design has an almost futuristic aesthetic that will actually have you looking forward to putting your makeup on in the morning or before a night out. This is a real knockout product that will get many an envious look when friends or family pop round.

To see more fantastically stylish products, head over to Utility Design.