The Benefits of Indoor and Outdoor Porcelain Tiles in Your Home

Porcelain tiles have always been considered suitable for indoor use only, due to their vulnerability to water freezing. However, thanks to modern methods of designing and manufacturing, these tiles are now fully suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Porcelain tiles are made of fine clays which are fired at extremely high temperatures. This process makes them less porous and more dense. These types of tiles are less prone to stain absorption and moisture, hence the reason they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

If you choose unglazed porcelain tiles for your garden or patio, you can benefit from their scratch-resistance and slip-resistance features as well as colourful varieties. On the other hand, if you opt for glazed porcelain tiles, they may not have the same colouration, although they are easier to clean and maintain than unglazed tiles. All in all, these tiles are made from natural products so they are less prone to cracking.

There are many other benefits to porcelain tiles when compared with stone or concrete. The designs of these tiles allow greater flexibility when installed in the patio or garden. The following are the many benefits of using porcelain tiles for indoor and outdoor areas:

Recent advances in porcelain tile manufacturing means these tiles can be made with greater thickness. The 2-centimetre tiles are perfect as structural paving slabs and have gained popularity among homeowners. In actual fact, porcelain tiles are more suited for patios than ceramic tiles as they are almost waterproof and benefit from low water absorption. The way these tiles are manufactured gives them a more intricate texture that is identical to stone tiles. Some porcelain tiles look so similar to stone that it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference.

Porcelain tiles can also be manufactured with non-slip textures that can safely be used in wet areas. This is why they are perfect as outdoor tiles, especially for steps. The extra benefit of these tiles is that they come in a variety of colours and just about any size you want.

While porcelain tiles tend to be more expensive than ceramic, they are still much more durable than stone, which makes them ideal for walkways, patios, and gardens. In fact, you could use them anywhere in the house or outside the house. These tiles are known for their low maintenance quality and are ideal for homes with children or pets. Just wash the tiles in soapy water once a year in order to keep them squeaky clean.

With such sleek designs to choose from, these tiles make a smooth transition from one area of the house to another. Because of their tough quality, once you have completed installing them in your patio or home, you wouldn’t need to worry about their colours fading away as these tiles will look beautiful in nearly any setting.

The best thing about porcelain tiles is that they are simple to install. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can complete the project in the fastest possible time. Whether you want to install them in your bathroom, office, garden, driveway, or kitchen, you can be sure of their versatility. As long as the tiles are installed properly, they can last for many years. This will in turn save you time and money in replacement cost. No amount of indoor or outdoor traffic will crack these tiles, but even if damage does occur, they can easily be removed and replaced. In high traffic homes, porcelain tiles are the perfect option as they tend to retain their new appearance. 

If you are considering porcelain tiles for your garden or home, take a look at the wide variety of designs that are available online at www.primaporcelain.co.uk.

At Home With Nina Campbell

Nina Campbell is arguably the queen of 'quintessentially English' style. Her interiors are luxurious, yet warm and cosy. Layered, but somehow ordered. Full of life, pattern and colour, and yet comforting to the eye. Can you tell we're fans?

When we were offered the chance to share with you some photographs of her London home AND share some of her words of wisdom, we said YES PLEASE. Enjoy.

What makes a perfect interior? "You need to have a spark, a flash of something that seems a bit unplanned, all the while suiting your personality and remaining practical. There’s no point in having a showcase as a home – we all need to feel that it’s our own space when we close our door. Entertaining is one of my many passions so my perfect interior needs to be inviting for when I have guests round for lively, lengthy dinners."

What tips do you have for creating the perfect interiors? "Your home is somewhere you can stamp your personality, be creative and make your own. Create the impression of space and grandeur by using some decorative tricks such as strategically placed mirrors, they reflect light and make the room feel larger. My ceilings are rather low, so I lacquered them, it adds an element of glamour to the room and makes the ceiling feel higher."

Alice Chair from £1,836, Nina Campbell

Alice Chair from £1,836, Nina Campbell

What do you like about florals within your interior? "When I use floral motifs in my home, I like to play with scale. Smaller subtle pattern works well with upholstery and pretty decorative accessories. To create a sense of drama I use larger scale prints on wallpapers, pictures and prints." 

Why are hallways important? "The hallway sets the tone of the house and deserves to be considered as a space in its own right. It is a well-used room that people walk through continuously, and makes the first impression to your all of your guests." 

What is the inspiration behind your design? "My focus was on creating a personable living space for myself on the first floor. The upstairs is given over entirely to my bedroom, bathroom and walk in dressing area. I used the Penrose fabric from my own collection on the walls, it’s a very soft pale blue, pink and flowery all over. Not only is this a great alternative to wallpaper, but it adds warmth and texture whilst soundproofing the room."

Millais Chair from £2,026, Nina Campbell

Millais Chair from £2,026, Nina Campbell

What are your favourite parts of the house? "My favourite element would be the chair I have in my bedroom. I can sit there and look through the window that overlooks the magnolia tree in the garden. You can barely see another house, only gardens, which is amazing for central London."

Add Value to Your Home with a Garden Room or Veranda

We all love to spend time in our garden during the summer months. It is the ideal spot to enjoy a glass of wine during the early evening with a good book or for eating lunch with the family. Although the garden is a hub of activity when the weather is warm, when the cold weather approaches many people abandon the garden to take shelter indoors, but this needn't happen. When you add a veranda or garden room to your property, the garden can be used all year round.

The veranda

The veranda is a construction that encompasses a roof and is usually constructed against an exterior wall of the property. You can also buy free standing verandas if you so wish. In the winter months you will still be able to enjoy your garden as the veranda offers shelter from the cold and rain. During the summer you will also benefit from being shaded from the hot sun. The veranda is incredibly versatile in that it can be used for a variety of purposes, including dining, a relaxing seating area or even for installing a hot tub. The veranda does not have any exterior walls apart from where it is fixed to the wall of the property.

The garden room

The garden room differs from the veranda in that it consists of three glass exterior walls plus roof. The garden room is similar to a conservatory but costs much less, very rarely needs planning permission and is easier to construct. Just like the veranda, the garden room can have multiple uses such as providing an extension of your living room, creating a dining room or a playroom for the children.

How the garden room and veranda add value to your property

When you decide to add a veranda or garden room to your property, this creates additional living space which in turn adds value to your property. Although you will have to invest money in order to construct a veranda or garden room, they will ultimately increase the value of your property if you wish to sell. It is well established that adding any additional living space to a property can increase its value from 5 percent up to 15 percent.

The value of adding a veranda or garden room

As well as the financial gains you will see from this additional living area, you will also gain a garden that you can access all year and all at a low price.

Extra living space

Both the veranda and garden room offer additional living space, with the garden room having the additional advantage of being a lockable and secure room. As a room that is attached to the home, you also have the benefit of being able to enjoy garden views.

Use all year round

No matter the time of year, the veranda and garden room allow you to make the most of your garden. In the UK, most home owners do not access the garden for recreation purposes from October through to March. By adding this extra living space to your home, you are allowed to enjoy the garden, no matter the time of year.

The low cost choice

For individuals who require a low cost alternative to the conservatory, then the garden room is a much cheaper option. This is due to low construction costs and manual labour expenses. The veranda is also a much cheaper alternative and can look incredibly attractive with a bespoke canopy.

If you enjoy being in your garden, want to create additional space in your home and wish to do so at the lowest possible price, then installing a veranda or garden room is incredibly advantageous. You will also have the added bonus of increasing the value of your property.

For more information, please visit www.sunspaces.co.uk

Sarah Beeny Inspires New Range of British Made Chesterfield Sofas

Add a touch of stateliness to your interior with The Chesterfield Company’s new range of contemporary leather statements sofas, inspired by Sarah Beeny.

A photo shoot of a classic vintage chesterfield at the TV personality’s home at Rise Hall, influenced the family owned company to introduce four new modern designs to its collection.  

Each sofa is specially developed, with soft, warm and pliable leathers, ensuring all products are unique and comfortable. Each piece is individually hand-made in the UK with an acute attention to detail, quality and individuality. A wide range of colours and styles are available to help you create the perfect piece.

St Edmund Vintage Leather Sofa – The signature sofa, inspired by that found at Sarah Beeny’s house. A classic piece perfect for any elegant and modern interior, offering leather seating that combines a mix of traditional style with a modern twist. RRP £975.00, available in 5 different sizes and 40 swatches of colours, handmade in the UK to order.

The Cromer  - A compact sofa with traditional finishes, such as pulled through cushions, and twin stitch detailing, perfect for bringing a traditional twist to a modern setting - RRP £695.00, available in 7 different sizes and 37 swatches of colour, handmade in the UK to order.

The Bedford leather sofa – With its simplistic lines, popular scoop arm, curving down from the top of the back to a comfortable height at the front, it’s the perfect choice for contemporary interiors. RRP £695.00, available in 7 different sizes and 37 swatches of colour, handmade in the UK to order.

The Melrose buttoned back leather sofa  - with its inviting piped cushions and space saving square arms, this statement piece is the perfect accompaniment to revamp the interior of your home. RRP £695, available in 7 different sizes, and 37 swatches of colour, handmade in the UK to order.

Ryan Mohieddin, Sales Director said: “Sarah’s classic chesterfield must have been 100 years old, and we loved it, so much so it inspired our designers to create the St. Edmund, which we took back to be photographed in Rise Hall in the same study as you can find Sarah’s original,”

Pulled Duck Leg with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Here at Heart Home we're big fans of recipes that require minimum fuss for maximum taste. This succulent duck recipe delivers on both counts. A quick and easy meal for mid-week suppers but special enough for entertaining at the weekends too. Enjoy.

Serves 2

5 minutes preparation:   1 hour and 30 minutes cooking

Ingredients:

2 Gressingham Duck legs

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground paprika

Salt and pepper

200g sweet chilli sauce for cooking and extra for dipping

150g mixed leaves

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC, Fan 160oC, Gas Mark 4

Season the duck legs with salt and pepper on both sides. Then mix the cumin and paprika together in a bowl and rub into the legs. Place the duck legs on a wire rack on a baking tray and put in them in the oven. Cook for approx 1 hour and 10 minutes and take out of the oven. Pour the chilli sauce over the 2 legs and return to the oven on a lower temperature of 160oC for 20 minutes.

Take the duck legs out of the oven and allow to cool for a short period of time. Shred the duck with 2 forks and discard the bones. Divide the mixed leaves onto 2 plates and top with the shredded duck. Garnish with spring onions and serve with extra sweet chilli sauce.

Gressingham has lots of recipes along with “how-to” videos on their website www.gressinghamduck.co.uk

Give Your Home a Touch of Charm with an Eco Electric Radiator

If you’re looking to reinvigorate your dated and tired looking radiators and propel your property into modern day style with a touch of energy saving technology then the latest SlimPro electric radiators from My Electric Radiators will do just that. Eco SlimPro electric radiators showboat a minimalistic all white design complementing interiors of all designs.

Historically electric heating has been tarnished with the ‘cost a fortune to run’ brush which may be true of older electric heaters. Yet during more recent years a leading class of eco electric radiators have firmly established themselves as the go to heating product over conventional gas central heating.

Low cost DIY installation

You don’t need a plumber or electrician, you can easily fit them yourself and very similar to installing a wall mounted television. All you need to do is screw a couple of brackets to your wall ready to hang the radiator on, plug in to your nearest everyday three pin plug socket and you are ready to roll. Yes that is quite literally it.

Cheaper running costs than gas

How are running costs lower than gas you may be wondering? Ok so this is where things get a little interesting. So your eco radiator is now installed, plugged in and ready to use, you decide to set your room temperature to 16 degrees. Each radiator has it’s very own built in digital thermostat which monitors and regulates the room temperature with an accuracy of under 0.2 degrees. Once the intelligent thermostat detects that the room temperature is achieved, the radiator turns on to an eco standby mode, consuming no electricity. Furthermore the radiator will only briefly flick back on to maintain the pre set 16 degrees. From an hours worth of heating the radiators might use at most 20 minutes of electricity. Through saving energy you are effectively trimming money from your energy bills as well as a reduction in carbon emissions which is great for the environment.

Economic

If you are converting a loft, extension, basement, outbuilding the cost of extending pipes can be outrageously uneconomic. Since there are no pipes it means that there are no expensive tradesman bills! Couple this with cheaper running costs than a gas system why go to the expense?

There is also the added benefit of making the most from the in built program settings which can be finely tuned to set a temperature for each hour of the day on a weekly schedule. Out all day? Save money by programming a lower temperature during the day and a more comfortable temperature for when you return, simple.

Neisha Crosland: Life of a Pattern

As Neisha Crosland explains in this, her luxuriously produced first book, creating a good pattern is ‘not simply an act of arranging shapes into a pleasing composition. It is also about making the parts functions as a whole.’

Renowned for her sophisticated and unique colour combinations and impeccable attention to balance and proportion, Neisha Crosland sees pattern everywhere. She is intrigued by its endless possibilities, and her extraordinary eye seeks out symmetry, order and structure wherever she goes: in artefacts, buildings, paintings and, above all, in nature.

Delving into her extensive archives, and featuring superb specially commissioned photography by Misha Anikst, NEISHA CROSLAND: LIFE OF A PATTERN takes the reader on a fascinating behind-the-scenes journey from the first spark of an idea to the finished product, whether that’s a textile, wallpaper, rug, tile or ceramic collection.

This beautifully illustrated book is a personal and revealing account of Neisha Crosland’s own story as a designer but it also draws on conversations that she has had with musicians, mathematicians and other designers. It provides remarkable insights – sometimes technical but always accessible – into the evolution of a pattern, with chapters divided by design themes. These range from Suns and Stars, to Scallops, Scales and Crescents, and Shells, Bells and Waves, and they explore the creative processes behind the development of each motif.

Travelling across continents, cultures and eras – from Mughal India to Moorish Spain and 16th century Japan – and making unexpected connections along the way, this thought-provoking book provides a unique account of the beauty and complexity of pattern. An invaluable source of reference and inspiration in its own right, it will appeal to anyone with an interest in decorative arts and design.

Neisha Crosland is an internationally renowned surface pattern designer. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1984, her work has propelled her to the forefront of the design world. The recipient of numerous major awards including Royal Designer for Industry, Neisha Crosland designs products ranging from fabrics, tiles and wallpapers, to home and fashion accessories.

Neisha Crosland: Life of a Pattern' (Merrell Publishers £100 www.merrellpublishers.com). All images copyright Neisha Crosland / Misha Anikst.

The 'Happy House' in Holland

The freelance photographer, interior stylist and design consultant Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi talks about her property in Eindhoven.

Throughout Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi's semi-detached property in Eindhoven, Holland, is an array of crocheted cushions, blankets and decorations. The freelance photographer, interior stylist and design consultant, who contributes mainly to the Italian homes magazine Casa Facile, started crocheting home accessories when she moved from Italy to Holland in 2009.

A year later, Ilaria started her blog, IDA Interior Lifestyle, where she writes about new trends, DIY tutorials, interior styling, her crochet makes and much more. In fact, following positive feedback to her crochet pieces she started her own Etsy store and this year she launched her own yarn shop.

It was in 2012, in need of a bigger space to pursue her freelance career, that Ilaria and Alberto, her husband, moved from their 75sq metre apartment into the property you see here. “I can't say it was love at first sight – dark and heavy furniture, dull colours, and bland décor. But I saw great personality and potential with a lot of original details, such as the doors and the stained glass windows,” says Ilaria.

The house, which was built in 1928, was in a good state so no structural work was needed. But, working to a small budget of €10,000, Ilaria made some changes to modernise the property. “I decided to change the kitchen and to plaster the majority of the walls to make them flat – they were like ‘wavy’ thanks to the old plastering very popular in the '70s. We also removed the carpet that was on the stairs and in the bedrooms. I decided to go for white laminate ... really, much better.”

Now, Ilaria refers to her home as 'the happy house' as she says it's fresh, young and represents who they are; She called her previous flat 'the blue apartment' because she decorated it in different shades of blue.

The property is located in a residential area near the city centre. “Eindhoven is a nice and quiet city, the perfect size to live in. And, in the past years the city has been improved and now offers design spaces and an interesting cultural life,” says Ilaria.

She describes her interior style is a mix of flea-market pieces, hand-made and design items. She finds interior inspiration through using Pinterest – she says she's a ‘Pinterest addict’ – and by reading blogs and magazines (online and print).

Decorating the property is ongoing. “As an interior stylist I always have new ideas and, almost every week, I change the position of the objects and sometimes I even do big changes. Our friends are always curious to visit us because they know that every time there will be something different,” says Ilaria.

What would she like to alter next in the house? “I’d like to open a French door to the garden from the living room and improve the kitchen by buying new cabinets.”

idainteriorlifestyle.com

idayarnshop.com

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Photographs: Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi

Words: Rachel O’Brien

Ombré Wallpaper Collection By Murals Wallpaper

'Ombré' originates from the French ombrer which means to shade. Ombrer, translated from the Italian ombrare and umbra, literally means ” to shade or shadow.” We've seen the trend translate itself throughout fashion, hair and beauty - and now it finds it's very own place within the world of interiors. 

These ombré wallpapers by Murals Wallpaper will add mood, depth and calm to any room. With delicate gradients and dreamy hues, an all over colour wash contrasts well with solid, modern furniture and decor. Adding impactful yet tranquil pieces like these ombré wallpapers let the walls do the talking. 

The murals, which are designed and sold by Murals Wallpaper, utilise modern digital printing techniques and capure the watercolour effects through HD photography. The prints can then be hung just like normal wallpaper but still make a big impact.

Escape to the Country on a Staycreation Retreat

Yes, you read that right. 'Staycreation' is a collection of long weekends in Devon; where you stay in residential workshops set in amazing countryside locations, crafting and making, whilst enjoying wholesome local food. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Miga De Pan Embroidery

Miga De Pan Embroidery

It's a great way to slow down, be mindful, and re-connect with the body. In a fast-paced world. A craft break is the ideal tonic - not a laptop or iPad in sight. In fact, craft is the new yoga - a modern “make do and mend”. 

The holiday retreats are set in gorgeous venues, from a rural country farm to a Grade II listed property still in the Sir Francis Drake family. You will experience local Devon food, freshly prepared, and each weekend will have a different touch, with participants travelling back home with a personalised goodie bag, together with their own handmade creation.

Anne Kelly

Anne Kelly

Autumn retreats will include Adriana Torres, aka Miga de Pan teaching embroidery and exploring ‘secrets’ from her master class ‘The Dancing Cat in my garden’. This is a rare and incredible chance to get a glimpse into her design philosophy, exquisite techniques and extraordinary talent. The next retreat has a twist, ‘Yarn in the Country’, with London based Allison and Rachel from Yarn In The City. The workshops includes plenty of knitting, yarn dyeing, a few woolly surprises, as well as time for chatting. 

Poppy Treffry

Poppy Treffry

October sees designer Poppy Treffry getting to grips with ‘Free hand machine embroidery’. Poppy will be on hand to trouble shoot as you learn to scribble, shade and stitch appliqué. Don’t forget to bring your Singer if you have one. Finally for 2016, there will be Anne Kelly, a textile artist, who will explore the theme of ‘Folk Tales’ using universal primitive motifs taken from folk and Scandinavian art; you will make your own designs to create a unique wall hanging.

For further information contact:
Mari Wilson
mari@madeonholiday.com
www.madeonholiday.com
+44 (0) 7429 557353

Heart Home readers can claim a discount of 10% on 2016 retreats by quoting HHM16 over the phone.

Made on Holiday will make a donation to the charity Fine Cell Work, for every booking made. Fine Cell Work (www.finecellwork.co.uk), a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework. 

The New Alternative to Canvas Prints: Fabric Wall Murals

Many of us have lovely canvas prints hanging on our walls at home - after all, they’re a great way of showing off our favourite photos or artwork. Well now there’s an alternative to canvas prints, and one that could revolutionise how we decorate our homes - fabric wall murals.

These framed fabric prints are courtesy of a UK company called Transform a Wall who are on a mission to, as the name suggests, transform the walls of homes everywhere. And the thing that sets them apart is that the prints are made-to-measure.

This means that while you can always choose a regular-sized piece of art for your living room or bedroom, and it’ll still look great, you have the opportunity to create an entire feature wall and turn the room into something really quite special.

The frames arrive in sections and the fabric comes rolled up, so once the frame is assembled on the wall, you simply stretch the picture over it and you’re done. And one of the best things about the prints is that they can easily be swapped out for something else, so if you have a frenetic sports scene but want something a little more relaxing, you can just swap it for a serene landscape or beach scene.

The range of pictures you can choose from is also impressive, allowing you to create pretty much any atmosphere or match any decor. Here are some of the collections on offer…

Forest & Trees

There are few things as relaxing as a walk in the forest among the trees, so if you want to create a room that makes you feel at ease the moment you walk in, then a wall mural featuring a forest scene is ideal.

Beach scenes

How often do you wish you could just whisk yourself away to a desert island, lie on the golden sand and feel the crystal clear water lap over your feet? Well the beach scene prints can’t quite do that but it’s probably the next best thing.

Cityscapes

If you’re not much of a countryside person, you may prefer something a little more urban, and there are some awe-inspiring cityscapes available, including New York, Dubai, London and more.

Children’s images

If you’re looking to create an imagination boosting bedroom for your little cherubs, then a giant, colourful wall mural will do just that. Think princesses, cowboys, superheroes and everything between. They might even ask to go to bed!

Traditional artwork

If you’re somewhat of a culture vulture and prefer more traditional pieces of artwork, then there’s plenty of that on offer too. There is pop art inspired images, Monet-esque pieces, abstract art and just about everything in between, so no matter what your taste is, there’s bound to be something you like.


These are only a handful of the collections on offer from Transform a Wall. Check out the full range of images on their website.

New Collection: Tomoko From Scion

Tomoko from Scion: versatile upholstery fabrics inspired by the clean lines and simplicity of Japanese design.

Building on the success of Spirit Weaves, Scion launches a new collection, Tomoko, which means ‘wisdom’ in Japanese. A highly useable collection of small-scale upholstery weaves, Tomoko draws its inspiration from the simple shapes and clean lines embodied in Japanese design.

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Riko Onyx 132079 £30/mtr, Riko Citrus 132085 £30/mtr, Miyu Parchment & Onyx £35 /mtr, Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr; Throw: Makoto Zebra £35/mtr; Wallpaper: Lohko 111291 £49/roll.

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Riko Onyx 132079 £30/mtr, Riko Citrus 132085 £30/mtr, Miyu Parchment & Onyx £35 /mtr, Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr; Throw: Makoto Zebra £35/mtr; Wallpaper: Lohko 111291 £49/roll.

According to Scion designer, Hannah Bowen, “Tomoko focuses on the principles of asymmetry and celebrates the irregularity of small marks and interconnected geometrics. Its motifs incorporate lines of varying lengths, cleverly balanced and overlapped.”

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr, Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr.

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr, Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr.

Comprising 4 woven designs over a number of delicious colourways, the collection contains 30 fabrics: versatile and durable, they are suitable for general domestic upholstery and, in the case of Makoto, contract upholstery.

HIKARI: Graffiti-like, short, vertical ‘scratches’.

MAKOTO: Mark-making vertical lines contained within horizontal lines.

MIYU: Triangles balanced to form diamond motifs.

RIKO: A semi-plain with interest added by its white dots.

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr, Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr.

Sofa: Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr; Cushions: Makoto Zebra 132070 £35/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr, Riko Juniper 132082 £30/mtr, Hikari Citrus 132064 £35/mtr.

Cushions: Riko Blush 132081 £30/mtr, Plains 1 + 1 Fossil 131942 £31/ mtr & Plains 1 + 1 Seaglass 131953 £31/mtr.

Cushions: Riko Blush 132081 £30/mtr, Plains 1 + 1 Fossil 131942 £31/ mtr & Plains 1 + 1 Seaglass 131953 £31/mtr.

The colour palette encompasses calm shades of paper, linen, mink, hessian, blush, fossil, slate, parchment, dove and seaglass, as well as stronger tones such as midnight, citrus, zebra, tortoiseshell, chocolate, juniper, paprika, sunflower, steel, indigo and onyx.

Tomoko will be launched at the end of August via a network of stockists both nationally and internationally.

3 Healthy Snack Recipes to Satisfy Those Sweet Cravings

You know those chocolate cravings you get mid afternoon when all you want to do is reach for something sweet? Well, we're here to help. Leksands (the makers of delicious Swedish crispbreads that use only natural, raw ingredients) have shared with us 3 different, fun recipes, that involve using crispbreads in a way that you may not have previously thought... 

Crispbread Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Leksands normal baked chrispbread

Strawberries

Quark

Vanilla extract

Method:

(1) Crush crispbread finely in a mortar.

(2) Pour half into a large glass.

(3) Take a jar and add half the quark over the crispbread (add vanilla extract to the quark as an optional flavouring)

(4) Mash 1 cup frozen strawberries. (You can, of course, use fresh strawberries.)

(5) Add in half of the mashed strawberry

(6) Repeat with the rest of the crispbread, quark and strawberries.

(7) Keep in the fridge about 15 minutes before serving.

The Power Snack

Ingredients:

Peanutbutter

50g chocolate

Leksands crispbread normal baked

Method:

(1) Spread peanut butter on crisp bread.

(2) Melt 50 grams of dark chocolate in the microwave on low power or in a water bath.

(3) Brush the chocolate over the peanut butter.

(4) Allow it to cool down so the chocolate hardens before serving.

Read the table of contents when buying peanut butter and avoid varieties that contain hydrogenated fats.

Sticky Fingers 

Ingredients:

Leksands mini rut

Chocolate 50g

Sea salt

Method:

(1) Separate the Mini Rut into bars with a serrated knife or by hand.

(2) Melt 200 grams of dark chocolate on low power in the  microwave oven or in a water bath.

(3) Dip the crispbread bars into the chocolate.

(4) Put them on a baking sheet and top with a little sea salt.

(5) Allow to set before serving.

Perfect as they are or with ice cream!

New FAMILJ Collection From Sandberg Wallpaper: A Joyful Celebration Of Family

Sandberg Wallpaper’s uplifting new collection, Familj, celebrates the light-hearted side of everyday life and the sense of belonging experienced within a home. It embraces everyone who is, or has been, a child – big or small, young or old – and exudes joy of life, optimism, energy and colour.

Hillevi

Hillevi

”Although Familj (Family) is a word that looks almost the same all over the world, ‘family’ comes in many guises,” says Sandberg’s designer Hanna Wendelbo-Hansson. “Family means different things to different people, and in this collection we focus on the feeling of belonging, being allowed to be yourself. We see the home as the foundation for wellbeing and believe that playfulness should get plenty of room in life: this has guided us when designing Familj.”

Prisma

Prisma

Familj features quintessentially Scandinavian designs, with vibrant colours on a white or light background. Playful patterns, such as graphic watercolours, colourful botanicals, oversized motifs and gentle, fairy tale worlds, all have their place in this optimistic collection. In addition, black-and-white patterns are available for those who prefer to furnish the room with their chosen accent colours. 

Ture

Ture

Familj was designed in-house by Sandberg’s design team, as well as by two guest designers, including leading Danish designer, Lisa Grue, renowned for her decorative style.

Oscar

Oscar

Photographer and illustrator Jenny Brandt was commissioned to style and shoot Familj, interpreting it in her own unique, playful way, highlighting the joy of everyday life in a home with room for everyone.

Lotte

Lotte

Familj’s non-woven wallcoverings come in multiple colourways. They are manufactured in Sandberg Wallpaper’s own factory in Ulricehamn, Sweden, using a small-scale, craftsman-like production. 

The collection will be available from late August 2016.

A Colourful Penthouse in London's Soho

This is one of the latest projects by London-based Design Company, Studio Ashby.  Inspiration for the design of the penthouse was taken from the surrounding location and reflects the spirit of lively Soho and the modern art scene in London. It's so full of charm and personality we couldn't help but be drawn in.

Interest has been introduced by filling the space with art, books, and personal mementos and by layering objects, furniture and lighting. There's also a liberal use of Liberty fabrics which is very apt as the famous London department store is just around the corner. We love the use of their peacock fabric on the headboard for example which is a great way to create a focal point in the bedroom.

Continuing that thread of the avant-garde style of the arts and crafts movement,  modern art is hung throughout the penthouse. Pieces by Jake Curtis, Brent Baker and Dave Watts add to the eclectic and vibrant interior, creating a sense of a real home filled with beautiful, cherished objects.

Studio Ashby’s founder and creative director Sophie Ashby commented: “We very much took the ‘human approach’ to design to be above all else a home that is both warm, friendly, but full of charisma. We have taken inspiration from the essence of London, especially the buzzing colourful streetscape of Soho.” 

 

Bluebellgray Launch New Wallpaper Collection

We are delighted to share the launch of Bluebellgray’s first ever highly anticipated wallpaper collection with you.  Statement floral and abstract designs make a true design statement with walls of colour!

Big Rothesay

Big Rothesay

Flower Field

Flower Field

A selection of signature floral and abstract watercolour designs are beautifully presented; digital printing captures every brushstroke and walls of colour make a true feel good design statement.

Impressionist

Impressionist

Fumiko

Fumiko

“Wallpaper is something I have been asked about more than any other product- it's something I have wanted to do for a long time. For me wallpaper is like art for your walls - I’m a huge fan of statement walls and bringing colour into your home through wallpaper.” Fiona Douglas.

Available from September 2016 at www.bluebellgray.com

Green Tea Victoria Sponge with Summer Berries

Did you know that the Victoria sandwich cake has a wonderfully regal heritage. It was originally made for Queen Victoria during her incredible 66 year reign when the concept of afternoon tea was created. It evolved and became a daily ritual and a very social event, with ladies dressing in their finery to gather for a cup of tea, and an array of tiny sandwiches, biscuits and cakes.

The addition of green tea to this very traditional cake gives it a lovely subtle flavour as well as making it beautifully moist. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven it is pierced all over and is drizzled with delicate green tea syrup. 

This recipe makes 2 x 8 inch (20cm) cakes You will also need 1 piping bag with a small fluted nozzle.

Ingredients: For the Cake:

225g / 8oz soft butter

225g / 8oz golden caster sugar

4 medium free range eggs

225g / 8oz self raising flour

10ml / 2tsp baking powder

5ml / 1tsp pure vanilla extract a few drops of natural green food colouring (optional)

15ml /3 tsp boiling water

For the green tea syrup:

2 PG tips Green Tea teabags

150ml (2/3 cup) boiling water

85g (3oz) granulated sugar

For the filling and decoration:

300ml / 1 1/3cups double cream

100ml / 1/2 cup mascarpone

2,5ml /1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract finely grated zest of 1 orange

30ml / 2Tbsp caster sugar

200g / 8oz  each of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

fresh mint and fresh flowers for decorating

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. Line the base of each cake tin with a circle of non-stick baking parchment and butter the sides.

3. Either by hand or using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour and creamy in texture.

4. Lightly beat the eggs and add gradually to the mixture with 2 tablespoons of the flour.

5. Add the vanilla and if using it, carefully add the natural green colour, drop by drop, so as not to make the colour too strong.

6. Sift the remaining flour and the baking powder into the mixture, fold it in carefully. Lastly stir in the boiling water.

7. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 cake tins. Spread it out using a palette knife and create a slight hollow in the centre, so that when it is cooked it has a flat top.

8. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until the cakes feel springy to the touch.

9. When cooked cool on a wire rack. After 5 minutes remove the cakes from the tins.

10. While the cake is cooking make the green tea syrup. Pour the boiling water onto the 2 PG tip Green Tea teabags and leave for several minutes. Remove the teabags and transfer the tea into a small saucepan with the sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved and syrup has thickened slightly.

11. Once the cake has been turned out of the tin pierce it all over with a fine skewer or needle. Carefully drizzle (or paint) the warm syrup on all sides of the cake using a pastry brush.

12. Whip the cream and mascarpone with the vanilla and sugar. Wash the orange and finely grate the zest directly onto the cream, fold it in. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small fluted nozzle.

13. When completely cold, fill the centre of the cake with cream and most of the fresh berries, reserving a few for decoration. You can arrange raspberries around the edge of the cake, and pipe a rosette of cream between each one. Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining berries and a few edible fresh flowers. When in season, elderflowers look very pretty! Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

14. This is best eaten on the day it is made, but can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days in a sealed box.

Recipe: courtesy of PG Tips

Which Skirting Board Where?

Skirting boards are one of the little details that can make or break a decorating scheme and choosing the right shape and style for your home is just one of the many decisions that can be daunting for the novice decorator and professionals alike.

They do offer a number of functional and aesthetic benefits of course. They were originally installed to conceal uneven plaster finishes and they do make a good job of hiding the 'expansion gap' round the edges of the room if you have a wooden floor. Not to mention provide a good barrier to stop the vacuum cleaner scuffing wallpaper or paint.

But more than that, they reflect the style of your home and so there are a few things to consider.

Left to right: 327 MDF, 330 MDF, Victorian.

Style

If you live in a period home it's always better to preserve as much original detailing as possible. If you absolutely have to replace the skirting boards, it's always better to replicate the style that was already there.

If you live in a contemporary home, a sleeker and cleaner style will suit the interior better.

Material

MDF skirting boards have the following distinct advantages over hard or soft wood.

1. They can be moisture resistant and are less prone to swelling and warping so they are very low maintenance.

2. The are more affordable compaired to many woods.

3. They can be pre-primed or pre-painted.

4. They have a very smooth surface so are easy to re-paint.

5. They are easy to install.

6. They will last much longer than the average softwood equivalent.

7. They can be ordered with pre-routed channels to hide cables making them more accessible than embedding them in the wall.

Left to right: Bullnose, Chamfer, Torus.

HDF skirting boards have the following advantages.

1. It's a highly moisture resistant material which is stronger and harder than MDF.

2. HDF doesn't swell at all making surface decoration much easier.

3. It's perfect in areas where moisture is present (bathrooms etc.) and where flooring that requires frequent mopping is installed.

The only disadvantage over wood is that MDF and HDF skirting boards have to be painted. If you want a stained or varnished finish you will have to choose between hard or soft wood.

Left to right: Grooved, Abbey, Cloud.

This post was written in collaboration with Skirting World who are based in Birmingham in the UK. They deliver skirting boards and architraves all over the country and promise to provide you with the cheapest quotations without compromising on quality. They have a huge range of profile designs and a wide selection of sizes.

Hibou Home Introduces New Designs From Abigail Brown

Luxury children’s brand Hibou Home is excited to unveil a new range of truly stunning animal sculptures from established artist and illustrator Abigail Brown. Perfectly suited for both boys and girls, the striking collection is the only choice for those looking to achieve a Scandi-inspired interior scheme for their children’s spaces this year. Available in a range of woodland-orientated styles, from the Bear and Wolf, to the Rabbit or Deer, the collection promises to add a playful edge to any kiddie’s bedroom.

Ideal for introducing a new narrative to bedrooms or play-spaces, these beautifully handcrafted sculptures help to turn a humble bedtime story into a new 3D experience for both child and parent alike. Created at the award-winning Cockpits Arts in Central London, each sculpture is meticulously crafted by hand from 100% paper-mache whilst subtly reflecting Abigail’s individual style and command of textile and paper sculpture. Effortlessly blending in with any existing interior décor, the fun range of animal-heads offer the perfect balance of child-friendly design with on-trend Nordic style. Co-ordinating perfectly with Hibou Home’s woodland and animal wallpaper designs, the range of Paper-Mache Animal Heads are the ultimate accessory for those looking to achieve the complete woodland bedroom scheme.

A Beachside Living Room Makeover + Get the Look

Whitney Port is an American television personality, fashion designer, and author, and when she decided to give her apartment near Venice Beach a makeover, the living room needed to be her 'happy place.'

"My home is referred to as an "artists work/live loft space" in Venice. It has an industrial feel with the high ceilings, cement floors and wire railings but since it is by the beach we wanted to add a more bohemian, colourful aspect to the decor. We wanted to make sure the white walls were filled with tons of artwork and that the furniture was cosy and inviting. We wanted to keep the room comfortable but needed to make the space a bit happier and vibrant! It is so gorgeous now. The chairs and couch are quite simple and chic, a bit more reflective of our lifestyle now."  - Whitney Port.

We've chosen a few items from Wayfair to demonstrate how to achieve Whitney's look and Wayfair's Resident Style Expert Nadia McCowan Hill explains some of the key features...

Safavieh Milton Side Table, £194.99. Kelim Cushion Cover, £28.99. Tripod Floor Lamp, £54.99.

The Lifestyle:

"Bringing Whitney Port’s unique look to your home is all about capturing a sense of her lifestyle. With a home by the beach, Whitney’s apartment is filled with colourful, bohemian décor and vibrant touches. This look works perfectly against a light palette, which helps to stop a space from feeling too overcrowded. To capture the look in your home, try incorporating colourful, soft furnishings such as rugs, throws and cushions that offer a bohemian vibe."

Brass Mirror, £69.99. Sideboard, £309.99. Palm Print, £19.99.

The Collection:

"A crucial element of Whitney’s home style is her collection of eye-catching art work and memorabilia from her travels. This paints a story in your home and offers visitors a sense of the people who live there. Without over-crowding your space, add ornaments garnered from your travels to styled vignettes or consider creating a gallery wall of mismatched artwork—this is great for adding vibrancy to a neutral space and helps to inject a sense of your personality into your home."

Solid Beech Wood Arm Chair, £359.99. Blue Rug, £315.17. Screen, £173.99.

The Light:

"The most endearing quality of Whitney’s apartment is the sense of airy brightness. In rooms which don’t have a great deal of natural light, opt for paint in a vibrant colour to bring a splash of life and luminosity to your space. Arrange white furniture against your painted walls to ensure the colour complements its surroundings rather than clashing with them. Botanical touches and fresh flowers are another brilliant way to bring life and luster to your space—display them in a beautiful vase or planter for that extra pop of style."