Friday, 25 September 2009

Yeehah, cowboys! Giddy up for a table that’s got us all giddy…

We’re not sure how we feel about this one, but it’s certainly worth a mention.

Designed for a contemporary home, this leather and cowhide coffee table is almost definitely a guaranteed talking point for your lounge aided by the superb finishing of this piece of furniture.

With a wood base, solid oak feet, and butter soft 100% quality leather reaching up the sides, this attention seeker steals the show with its complementary authentic cowhide topping.

Pick one up in either off-white or black leather and opt for the 6mm deep loose safety glass top to protect the hide from spoiling or else you’ll only be allowing people to look at it rather than use this stunner as it was meant to be.

Coming soon will be the addition of a tan leather version, that we think will be all the more cowboy-esque and likely to disappear quickly.

From £180, you can readily have one in three different sizes, but the craftsmen behind this creation will happily quote you for bespoke pieces too.

Pop along to this site for more details.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Books belong on a bookshelf

How many of us heard those words as a child? Although these are seriously stylish shelves we really don’t mind tidying away for.

Entitled the “SelfShelf”, the books appear to float in mid-air thanks to conspicuously designed invisible wall fixtures that appear as books conveniently named “Ceci n'est pas un livre”, or as the French would say, “This is not a book”.

Well at least it’s honest, even if only with the Francophiles amongst us. You can look smug anyway.

22 centimetres in length by 15 wide, and 2.5 cm deep it’s impressively sturdy for its dinky sized dimensions.

Incredibly strong fittings allow you to stack an impressively large number of volumes on top of the sneaky book in disguise. Or in fact, any other possessions you might feel deserve a loftier position.

What we’re really chuffed with is just how cheap the SelfShelf is; at £22.50 each and coming in red, yellow, blue, white and black, it’s seriously tempting to create a wall display from them.

Who needs bland bookcases?! Our books will be sitting pretty on their own bookshelves. Literally.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Riddle me this…

There’s nothing more infuriating than a dinner party where the attending guests run out of conversation and sit for an hour in pained silence.

Fortunately that’ll never have to be a scene at your dining table if you invest a pretty paltry 30 quid on this riddle tablecloth. 150x50cm, we’ll be placing ours lengthways on a considerably longer table than the one displayed – looks like it has great potential as an innovative table runner.

Printed with 300 riddles that’ll keep you all guessing well in to a fifth bottle of wine (although your guessing skills may have diminished somewhat by that point) it offers a light hearted talking point for both intimate tête-à-têtes and larger group participation also.

Considerately, its makers have left a couple of spaces for you to leave plates on; so you can carry on nibbling without moving the tableware about in order to read all the riddles.

If you get really stumped, they handily provide you with an envelope full of answers, which you may wish to sneak a crafty peek at in advance to fool your friends into believing that you’re oh-so super intelligent. Which we’re sure you already are, but this nifty cloth will only enhance that reputation tenfold!


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Light up your life

If you’re as big a fan of interior design and home furnishings as we are, you’ll absolutely love these innovative lampshade designs.

You could be forgiven for fearing they’d catch fire, but these mohair seamlessly machine knitted light fittings sit snugly over energy-efficient noiseless Compact Fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, cables and sockets for a real homely atmosphere.

Designer Lise Lefebvre from Amsterdam describes them as providing a warm, soft and inviting glow that avoids risk of fire thanks to the low temperature the CFL bulbs provide.

Coming in different sizes and patterns to accommodate different types of CFL bulbs, expect to pay between $30-40. Sales go directly through the designer, who can be mailed here.

Equally, this BÖJA lamp from IKEA is a pretty perfect partner for a cosy bedroom, living room, or conservatory. Each individual lamp features a uniquely made plaited bamboo handmade shade, which when lit casts decorative light patterns on the wall.

Designed by Maria Vinka, the 40cm wide lampshade stylishly comes in either natural or black bamboo with a cast iron base weight plated in nickel.

For under 25 quid we think it’s a real bargain and will be snapping a few up before they all disappear.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sleep deprived? Look at your décor…

Here’s a novel idea; if you can’t sleep and it’s not down to traffic, noise or being tired enough, the missing link in your puzzle could well be your home décor. Sound odd? Read on.

As the most intimate of rooms in the home, the bedroom is a zone of rest and relaxation away from prying eyes and reflective of its occupant’s solace.

Some people manage to keep their bedroom tidy, and others – well, others have rooms that look like a hurricane just hit it. Mine included. With clothes, shoes, coats and bedding strewn around, sometimes the space your possessions occupy detract from the space you require to feel at ease.

It’s a good lesson to learn that just because space is available, it doesn’t mean that you need to fill every last inch of it with home furnishings. You wouldn’t crawl in to a rabbit hutch to sleep so likewise it makes sense to give yourself space within your own room.

If you’re in dire need of decluttering, think about what you want your space to resemble first and then be ruthless. You’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to do this, so chin a couple of coffees if need be, and then get to work.

Anything that’s in the way of clear walking space around static furniture - chuck or move. Throw out anything that you don’t absolutely adore or isn’t a functional necessity – if you won’t really miss it, you don’t need it, at least not in your bedroom.

Give your bedroom the benefit of any natural light coming in to the room and use no-fuss drapes or blinds to help control it. Furnishings should be fairly minimal in a truly relaxed room and built-in furniture can really help in achieving this.

In creating your own sleeping beauty haven, it’s wise to pick your colour schemes carefully. Softer tones will mellow out the space, whites will visually enlarge a small room, and gold can be great for creating warmth as an alternative to red.

Avoiding this tempestuous colour will help maintain your respiratory rate (odd but true) to let you fully relax. All that’s left is to splash around a bit of lavender and you’ll be in the land of nod in no time.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Students with stylish pads

A perennial problem for students is furnishing their often out-moded university accommodation after years of careless occupants and halls parties. Especially when leaving home for the first time, there’s no more important instance of needing to create a home-from-home atmosphere to settle into quickly.

So the question is, how do you do it without incurring the wrath of halls managers or breaking the bank? There’s 5 key tips we believe will help you/or your offspring make the most of the available accommodation and make it feel homely in the process.

First off, pick furniture that will multi-task for you. You’ve not got much space, so having furniture that serves several purposes will make life easier. Pick up a futon or sofa bed so you’ve got a spare bed, a storage ottoman to double up as a coffee table, or a table that can be used for eating or studying at.

Next, opt for clever storage that makes the most of your room’s height. If there’s not much length or width to your personal space, adding in wall mounted shelves or wall hangings will work a treat. As will under bed storage boxes to help to pile up all your necessary knick-knacks.

Clear out the clutter (or at least out of the way) with desk and shelf tidies. These super easy storage boxes will help you focus when working and make it easy to grab bits on the way to lectures! Head to Ikea for incredibly cheap yet stylish options.

Next up, colour. You’re stuck with those drab magnolia coloured walls, but no one said you can’t spruce up your pad with colourful rugs, bedding, throws or other splashes of textiles. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it’s one way to make a big impact with very little money to spend.

And finally, have your own Art Attack. This is your space, albeit for a year, so hang your posters (ask first if blue tack or pins are preferred by the halls of residence management to avoid a telling off later!), put up the photo frames and inject your personality in to the little space you have.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

How to create great kids’ rooms in one easy step

It’s a headache we’ve all suffered when trying to come up with a fun décor and furnishing concept for a kid’s room that there’s never any really inspiring sites around.

We’re just glad we’ve found where you’ll be inundated with great inspiration at a one-stop online shop for concepts to furnish anything from a baby’s room to a high school student of either gender.

Either use this handy site to sift through thousands of décor goodies which they’ll not only ship across the continent to you, but also personally tell you exactly how much the shipping will cost; or, just use the great articles posing questions you’ve probably not considered as a nifty resource to add the finishing touches to truly themed rooms. You can’t ask for better than that!

Take this fantastic cowboy themed concept as an example where you’ll find material swatches to have bedding and curtains made up from, themed furniture and room accessories.
You can gauge just which room features you’d like accents of the selected theme on, and then, if the cost’s too much or you don’t fancy dealing with the shipping just look for the products within the UK.

For example, you’ll be able to pick up cowboy themed printed material from Michael Miller fabrics or even the upmarket home furnishing starlet Cath Kidston.

Go and have a look if your grey cells are lacking in inspiration, you’ll be stumped for choice!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Recession-proofing the home furnishings market

You’d have to be a fool to assume that the recent recession hasn’t had a major impact on the home furnishings and furniture markets, and for retailers to make a come back successfully after the drain on our finances it’s apparent that a “business as usual” attitude will find them quickly sinking instead of swimming afloat.

Looking at the US Department of Commerce’s stats it’s easy to see that recession-scarred customers are withholding approximately 13% of previous years’ home furnishings and furniture retail sales from businesses and keeping the pennies where they’re needed most – in their wallet.

Clearly consumers have altered their financial priorities, a downturn anticipated as far back as the middle of 2007. Strong businesses have stayed the course but it won’t be long before their luck runs out, or rather their financial reserves.

The stats are echoed by revelations that the average amount spent by affluent households on luxury furniture, rugs and other furnishings is down 7.3% from the previous year.

Savvy retailers will recognise that the way to stay afloat in the coming months will be by focusing on the motivating factors for consumers and intelligently strategising their business rather than banking on a new product line to secure their imminent future.

It won’t hurt that Christmas is around the corner, but a key trend will inevitably emerge of “better to do one thing very well than many things badly”, and retailers concentrating on and reinforcing their existing assets should prosper in the face of this economic downturn.


Thursday, 17 September 2009

Boutique Hotels in London

The Telegraph shows us the real meaning of 'boutique hotel'. These are the most fashionable places to lay your head in London these days. They range in price from the reasonable (£80 per night for a large double bedroom at '40 Winks') to the luxurious (£287.50 per night at the Haymarket SW1).

"Fashion editors in the know have been using the interior designer David Carter’s theatrically flamboyant east London Queen Anne townhouse for shoots for years. A recent development, however, has given the place a whole new dimension. A stay at 40 Winks promises a 'home from home’ experience, offering understated opulence in a relaxed setting without the hefty price tag."
Take a look at the photos here and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Portfolio: Mary Barber Fray

I chose this month's portfolio of Mary Barber Fray because of its sense of cohesiveness and modernity. Her solutions seem to accurately solve a brief and go hand in hand with every space's attributes. Please let us know your thoughts.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Selecting Outdoor Furniture

Picking your outdoor furniture is as important as picking it for any other room in the house. Like living room furniture or bedroom furniture, the right pieces for your garden or patio can make or break your leisure time at home. With all the styles to choose from, how do you know which one to choose?

First of all, your garden furniture should match your home theme. This may require you to pick coordinated colors and designs. More importantly though your outdoor tables and chairs should match your preference and personal plans. If you are looking for more comfort than visual appeal for example you may want to settle for a chaise lounge than rigid chairs. If you are intent on entertaining guests, a small bar set or a table with matching seats would be in order.

Your choice of furniture should not only depend on what you want. Choices also depend greatly on space. If you have a small patio, going for a long wicker seat will only cramp the space. For limited spaces, the best options are slim compact furniture such as a round table with high stools.

Durability is another consideration you need to look into. Patio furniture should be specifically built to be resistant to outdoor elements. Among the most durable materials for external furniture is wrought iron. If you prefer a different look though, you may choose specially treated wood, aluminum or even plastic. Despite pre treatment though, excessive exposure to the sun, wind and rain will eventually degrade less durable materials. For extra protection, you may have to buy matching umbrellas or covers.

The wonderful thing about outdoor furniture is that it can add a fresh twist to any dull garden. Its foremost function though should genuine enjoyment, comfort and relaxation.

Tit for tat(too) over a table…

This picture perfect wooden table has been digitally printed to resemble the traditional style of Japanese tattoo artists.
Created from natural grain wood, the unique tattoo surface print manipulates the wooden texture as a natural skin form and catapults this home furnishing into a real statement piece.

Due to the digital nature of the printing technique, each print can be individualised, becoming a unique expression of the owner as an ordinary tattoo would.

The Yakuza coffee table begs to live in your lounge bringing the character and gravitas you might imagine a conceptual item referential to Japanese culture might command.

Prices for the pieces are available on request from Generate Design, who will happily ship this rock steady objet d’art for free in the US, Europe and Canada. Nice.

In its design, the table is treated as a living body and receives its character from a unique tattoo printed on its surface.

The wood texture acts as skin, becoming a platform for expressing a strong cultural and personal identity.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Who are you looking at?!

These aviator mirrors really couldn't be cooler.

The self-adhesive reflectors are tantalisingly in a collection named Narcisse and will happily affix themselves (with a good push from you) to a large flat surface.

Well, for the narcissus complex in everyone, you can't help but admire yourself as you pass by these wall-hoggers.

The two Perspex glass screens span 1.2 metres each in width and 50 cm in depth, so we wouldn't advise putting any pictures up as they'll only be eclipsed by the sheer magnitude of these aviator lenses.

Great for sprucing up a bedroom or lounge in one easy move, you really won't need any another statement interior design pieces as this pair of showstoppers will do all the hardwork themselves.

An absolute bargain we think for £76 including VAT. Bargain!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A ducking good chair

This unusual looking piece of furniture is the creation of designer Jung Myung Taek. Called The Ducking Lounge Chair it is supposed to offer supreme comfort both indoors and out.

Manufactured from walnut and built into a certain degree of curvature, the chair is as classy as it is comfortable. Whether your relaxing with a movie or enjoying a drink outside with friends this chair is certain to become to the talking point.

To the Beach? No arguments from us

Nautical themed home furnishings are always a firm favourite without ever really going out of style.

And that tired, slightly scuffed look it gets as your décor gets older and a little bashed round the edges only adds to the effect.

Which is pretty useful when you think about it, because newly bought nautical pieces will always fit in with your existing decorations.

These rather sweet signs would look right at home in your bathroom, or even the garden by a sandpit for the kids.

Stuff it, plonk a couple in your kitchen or bedroom while you’re at it and you’ll definitely be ready for the summer all year round!

Delicately trimmed, and painted with great graphic text these decorative arrows are certainly worth 10 bucks each.
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