Monday, 1 October 2018

Tips for Making the Best of A Less-than-Ideal Carpet

In this country we use carpets extensively in our properties and I spend many hours discussing them with my clients.  There is a lot to consider - the material, pile, colour, the room and it's use, cost  - and so the list goes on! 

Also, there is the problem of those inherited carpets that wouldn't be your choice but you can't afford to replace.  I have lost count of the many people who have told me that their hearts sank when they saw the carpets.  Even to the extent that it has put them off buying, or renting, a house!  However, as disheartening as this issue can be there are lots of inexpensive tricks and ways of covering up an expanse of unappealing carpet.  Here is a helpful article that I, and few other experts, were asked to comment  on

Rugs and runners are always an easy way to cover up either a worn bit of carpet or distracting the attention away from carpet that you don't particularly like!   I always stock a selection of them including some from a local company, Weaver Green, that are made from recycled plastic bottles.  These are not only hardwearing but thanks to their plastic properties are also waterproof, easy to clean and don't fade in sunlight.   Here is one of my favourites from the Nomad collection.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Glass Panels on Staircases

Staircases using glass panels will turn what is normally accepted as a standard and necessary fixture into more of a design feature.  Glass panels help to give a feeling of space and allow the stairs to be noticed especially if you have a bespoke wooden or stone staircase.  I love them as they really do change the feel of a hallway and give it a bit more of an edge than using standard wooden balustrades.

Recently, I was one of three interior designers asked to contribute to an article dedicated to this subject.  Full of interesting tips and advice, as well as listing the pros and cons of using glass panels this feature will be especially helpful if you are considering installing a new staircase, or want to revamp an old one.   To read the full article please click here

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Fabulous Recycled Plastic Products for the Home

I love Modbury and am particularly proud that it was the first town in Europe to ban the use of plastic bags.  In fact, Modbury has just celebrated it's tenth anniversary being a plastic free town!   A great achievement but one wonders why more towns haven't done the same?  

We, at Dupere, have been trying in a small way to do our bit by stocking products made from recycled plastic, and around two years ago, we discovered a local company, Weaver Green, who make fabulous things from fabric created out of recycled plastic bottles.  Amazingly they feel just like wool and have all the useful properties that go "hand in hand" from being made with plastic - waterproof, mould resistant, hard wearing, fade resistant, easy to clean and suitable for use inside or outside.   Here is a photo of the bags and blankets.

Blankets and bags made from fabric created out of recycled plastic bottles
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And, one of my favourite rugs in a diamond design.

Rug in navy diamond pattern made out of fabric created from recycled plastic bottles.

Also, more recently, we have acquired some wonderful, brightly coloured baskets made by Mowgs from recycled plastic parcel strapping. They are painstakingly handmade and each one is completely unique. At the moment we just stock one design - petal - which comes in three sizes and lots of different colourways.

Handmade basket from recycled plastic parcel strapping.

It would be nice to think that the various campaigns going on at the moment to cut down on the use of plastic are successful. The more we learn about the impact discarded plastic is having on our planet I am optimistic that more alternatives and solutions will be found.  In the meantime, we can all do our bit to help!  

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Back to Black: The Latest in Kitchen Trends

Occasionally I get asked to comment on the latest fashion or trend and yesterday I was asked about my thoughts about the revival of "black kitchens" for the Daily Mail online.  Needless to say, it was all rather last minute but I did manage to pen my personal thoughts.  For those of you who don't feel the need to read the whole article (below) here is what I had to say:

 'I love dark kitchens'
'Black units are a great foil alongside a shiny Aga or range cooker.
'If your kitchen is also your entertaining space and dining room, black units are far less utilitarian looking than the pale colours.
'I have had black units in my kitchen for the last 15 years. The kitchen designer was a bit alarmed and wanted me to go for cream or duck egg. 
'But I love them, black goes with everything.' 

Below is the link to the article which includes numerous illustrations of kitchens that have made use of black units but sadly there are no real "country" kitchens with an Aga or Rayburn.

As you can see this article has sparked a lot of discussion and it seems most people are not keen on the idea!  So maybe this latest "trend" won't take off in a major way - time will tell - but, I for one, am delighted to think that I'm supporting the latest fashion even if my "black" kitchen is fifteen years old! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Decorex & Focus 2016

Visiting these two design shows is always a great source of inspiration with hundreds of stands all beautifully designed and full of things I love - fabrics, furniture, lighting, decorative finishes ...

I particularly liked this hanging lighting at Ochre which would look fabulous above a dining table or in a meeting room.

And, more lovely lighting by Pooky.

These coloured knobs from Haute Deco also caught my eye.

There are always a huge number of fabric designers at Decorex and Focus.  It is a great way to catch up with all my suppliers and view the latest collections which are often launched at these shows. And, very tempting to spend lots on fabric books!  Here is the Titley & Marr stand showing off their new Gujarat Collection.


The decorations for Focus 2016 at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour Focus were AMAZING.  Red Photographic Ltd has kindly let me use some of their images as my happy snaps didn't do justice to the wonderful flower displays and the curtain "tassel" chandelier.

And, this photograph - again by Red Photographic Ltd - really summed up the day for me ..

I felt just like a child in a sweet shop!!  ...  

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Celebrating Two Significant Centenaries!

There seems to be so many grim and depressing things happening in the world at the moment it is nice to find something to celebrate!

I am a great fan of Roald Dahl and spent many happy years reading his books to my children. Quentin Blake's very distinctive illustrations are equally wonderful.  When I spotted The Fantabulous Fabric collection by Ashley Wilde I decided it would have to be added to our fabric collection in the studio.  I can't think of a better way to bring a little bit of magic into a child's bedroom whether they are used for blinds, curtains, a chair cover or just a cushion!   The fabric is 100% cotton - easy to wash and hardwearing.  All your favourites  - Matilda, the BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Twits, Fantatic Mr Fox even Lickwashing Sweets and Whizz Banger spots!

And, thanks to Steven Spielberg we can enjoy the BFG at the cinema this summer!

We have also been celebrating the centenary of the death of the talented William Morris - revolutionary socialist, cultural critic, writer, designer - in 1896.  Of course, it is his work as a designer that I really admire.  His wallpapers and fabrics are still very popular and William Morris & Co are ensuring his legacy lives on by carefully re-creating his designs.  The team at their studio give some of the enduring favourites a contemporary twist and lesser known wallpapers a new lease of life.

This wallpaper and fabric is a reproduction of an early paper - Indian - 1868-70.  Similar in appearance to the block printed original this comes in two colours.

I recently used a new design, Kelmscott Tree by Alison Gee, for some curtains at a lovely renovated 17th century property.   Inspired by Morris's bed curtains at his home, Kelmscott Manor, which were embroidered by May Morris in 1891. Kelmscott Tree has been painted in the Morris studio and adapted into a beautiful embroidery of trees, birds and flowers. 

This fabric is available in three colours.

Two very talented men whose legacies will live on forever - hooray!!  

Monday, 30 November 2015

Hints of the Sea

I often get asked to bring a hint of the sea and general beach life into the home especially holiday homes so I thought it would helpful to create a page of ideas........ so here goes.

Wallpaper and fabrics are a good place to start:

And, these two lovely fabrics by Emily Bond are perfect for a child's bedroom.

Maps and prints .............

Nautical mirrors like this Ship's Mirror ......

Or, accessories in colours that are a reminder of the sea such as this useful jute basket in "seaspray"
Rugs ...... 

Decorative hanging fish...

 A throw .....
 A seashore scented bar of soap or candle 

We all like to incorporate some of our favourite things from outside into the home whether obvious or subtle and living by the sea is very inspirational when it comes to styling .  And, it certainly doesn't have to cost much - a simple piece of driftwood found on the beach or a collection of pebbles in a jar are just as attractive as any bought items.   

Have fun!