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Interior Design Tips – Here Comes Spring!

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The sun finally made an appearance this week and with it a welcome rise in temperatures. With the sight of snowdrops and daffodils in verges and gardens and the clocks going forward next weekend it was possible to believe that Spring is just around the corner.

It might be a little early to turn off the heating but we can certainly think about emerging from hibernation and brightening our homes. There’s nothing like a bit a yellow to lift the spirits so here are a few suggestions as to how to use it in your home.

Yellow cushion with image of two toucan  I love this  toucan cushion from Scion. Not only is it a lovely cheerful yellow but the birds themselves make me smile. I wonder what they are saying to each other!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A knitted throw is always an easy and inexpensive way of introducing colour and texture to a scheme. it will also keep you warm if the temperatures drop. This throw from Dunelm has a pom pom trim and also comes with the option of a matching cushion. Perfect for the bedroom or your sofaBed dressed with yellow knitted throw and cushion with pom pom trim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow background fabric with stylistic image of foxglove

This quirky foxglove design fabric in quince colourway is from Missprint. It would make great curtains or cushion covers. For a kitchen, it would look striking as a blind or table runner. The same design also comes as a wallpaper.

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Word art is a simple way to ring the changes, this piece from Next is perfect for a hallway to welcome visitors but would work anywhere in your home

 

 

 

Spring means wildlife and nature and these make make great themes for a freshen up of your decor.

This bee patterned doorstop is part of a range of homewares from designer Sophie Allport and the beehive shape is perfect.                           Beehive shaped doorstop in bee patterned fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My final piece of advice is to add colour with fresh flowers such as daffodils and tulips Jug of Spring flowers

 

If you would like help with refreshening your home for Spring call on 07745 876182 e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Staging To Sell – Would You View Your Home?

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I watch a lot of property programmes (call it research) including those aimed at selling houses such as House Doctor, Phil Spencer Secret Agent and Selling Homes. The presenter often asks “why do you think your property hasn’t sold?” to which the response comes “I’ve no idea, I just can’t understand it.”  At this point viewers are probably screaming at their television because it’s patently obvious why the property hasn’t sold e.g. the place is a tip, the decor is dreadful, there are unfinished DIY jobs etc. Sometimes the home owner is aware that there are problems and is then asked “in that case why haven’t you done X, Y or Z?”

An explanation that home owners frequently give in this situation is that whoever buys the property is going to want to do their own thing so there’s no point.  My observations on that are:-

  • There is no excuse for not tidying up and cleaning.
  • Yes the buyers may wish to put their own stamp on a property but in most cases they will intend to live in the property while they make any changes so they want to feel that they can move in and live in the property in the meantime. A clean property that has been given a fresh coat of paint and maybe a new carpet gives that feeling.
  • Unfinished jobs, even minor ones, cause lead buyers to worry that there are more serious problems to be discovered and put them off.

Often very simple, and inexpensive changes can make a big difference to the appeal of your property making it easier to sell and achieving a better selling price. Our advice service is a cost effective way of learning exactly what you need to do, read more HERE.

 

 

So if you are thinking of selling, or have been on the market for a while but not sold – ask yourself the question “If I was looking to move would I view my home?” and give an honest answer. If you need help call on 07745 876182 e mail us at info@homestyle4u.com   or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Interior Design – The Role of the Interior Designer

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I recently enjoyed watching The Great Interior Design Challenge  on BBC Two. Some of the episodes got me thinking about the perennial question – to what extent should the designer take on board his or her client’s views? Some of the candidates in the series were totally committed to their design whereas others seemed more open to adapting their design to take account of the client’s feedback.

The process begins with the client’s Brief . The designer needs to listen to the client and understand their wishes. They then need to interpret the Brief and they will bring their design influences and style to their design. The designer then presents their design to the client. As the series demonstrates, the presentation is a very important element of the process and the candidates were judged on their presentation skills.

What was interesting was to see how the different candidates dealt with the feedback from the client and how they handled and any objections. Should the designer stick with their original design or should they make the changes that the client asks for even when they believe that it will undermine the finished result?

For me, communication skills are vital. The designer needs to establish a rapport with the client, demonstrate that they have listened to and understood the client and built up trust. The designer needs to have confidence in their design and be able to communicate that confidence – “trust me, I know what I am doing and I believe that you will love the finished result.” If the client insists that they do not want an element of the design is there a way of taking on board the client’s concerns without spoiling the vision?

At one extreme the designer can say “this is my style this is my design” and at the other the designer can accommodate all the client’s views. I certainly believe that a good designer should take the client out of his or her comfort zone, part of the role is to come up with ideas that the client would have thought of themselves but at the end of the day you want the client to have a room that they love. What would you want if you employed an Interior Designer?

The Great Interior Design Challenge

If you are looking for Interior Design inspiration call now on 07745 876172 email at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the Enquiry Form below. We cover Cheshire & the North West.

NEW YEAR – NEW HOME?

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Well Christmas and New Year are behind us and perhaps moving house is among your plans for 2017. If so you might be wondering whether now is a good time to put your house on the market or should you wait until the Spring? I say go for it and here’s why.

1. The whole process of moving has changed. Whereas previously it might have been the case that there were certain times of year when the market was quiet, these days that is less the case. In part this is because people are more mobile in terms of changing jobs and more willing to re-locate for work. House hunting has been made much easier thanks to the internet so it is easier for people to do their research. Generally society is faster paced.

2. If it is the case that there are fewer properties launching at this time of the year, then that is a great opportunity to steal a march on your neighbours because lower supply increases your chances of selling.

3. It is certainly true that the weather can be less conducive to out viewing but this can mean that those who are out viewing are serious about buying.

All this means that now is great time to sell. Make the most of the opportunity by making sure that your property is presented to its best. Our home staging service gives you the tools to do just this. Click on the link to read more.

Call now on 07745 876182 email info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

 

 

SELLING YOUR HOME – DO YOUR NEED HELP?

SELLING YOUR HOME – DO YOUR NEED HELP?

When we sell we all want to maximise our selling price and usually sell as quickly as possible. Our home is our biggest asset so it makes sense to maximise its potential. Presenting your home to its best advantage is key to achieving these objectives. However, sometimes we get a bit lost when it comes to presentation. Here are two common scenarios.

You may be aware that presentation is important or even know that your home isn’t looking its best, but aren’t sure what you need to do. Perhaps you have painted everything magnolia as you have heard that your decor should be neutral.

Your home has been on the market for a while but not attracted many viewings or any offers and you may be scratching your head as to why this is. In this scenario, presentation could be an issue but you aren’t aware of it. This often happens because we like our homes, they are decorated to our taste and laid out to suit or lives. The problem is that your taste and your lifestyle might not be the same as that of your potential buyers.

In each of these situations our advice service is a cost effective option giving you the tools to do what you need to do.

Our verbal advice option involves a visit to your home with room by room analysis of any issues and solutions. This includes the exterior spaces of the property. We go round together and you make notes which you then implement. This costs £250.

Our written advice option is an extension of the verbal option and has the addition of a written report detailing the room by room analysis and solutions. This costs £400.

So if you are someone who is pro active and happy to get stuck in these are the perfect solution.

Ring now on 07745 876182 to book a consultation. Alternatively, e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

 

Interior Design – Tips For Preparing Your Home For Autumn

Interior Design – Tips For Preparing Your Home For Autumn

This last week has seen some perfect Autumn weather – a slight nip in the air and some lovely sunshine. If you are like me you may have been thinking if it is time to put the heating on (the answer is not yet but I have used the hot water bottle! At times like these we think about how we can create the right feeling in our home – the feeling of warmth and cosiness, that we are snug and cocooned.

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Here are a few easy tips on how to create that feeling.

Colour

A good starting point is to look at the colours of nature. Take a walk in the countryside and take inspiration from the beautiful rusts, greens, gold and reds of the changing leaves. Alternatively, think of the jewel colours such as purple, cerise and turquoise. I like the Atmosphere range of fabrics and wallpapers from Jane Churchill which covers a broad spectrum from gold, copper to teal and purple.

 

Texture

I frequently talk about using texture to create the right ambience in a space. In the cooler weather and with the nights drawing in you want textures that are cosy and will keep you warm and that you can snuggle up with. Wool, velvet and faux fur are perfect for this, they are very tactile and you want to stroke them. A large sheepskin rug is perfect for this and can also be used as a throw over a chair.

Image of a sheepskin rug in a living room

 

 

 

 

Furniture

Ybalmoral-lifestylesou want seating that you can curl up in so now may be a good time to consider investing in a new sofa or perhaps a love seat. I love this Balmoral sofa from Heal’s. It’s covered in Varese velvet in Alchemilla by Designers Guild.

 

 

 

Accessories

Accessories are a perfect way to create the right mood and the good news is they needn’t cost a fortune! Pile up the cushions and add throws but also consider lighting. Use layers of lighting particularly table lamps and uplighters to create a softer feel. Swapping a lampshade to one in a different colour gives a completely different look.

Light scented candles and if you have an open fire or log burner now is the right time to light it. Add a basket of logs for a rustic feel.

If you need help creating the right atmosphere in your home this Autumn call now on 07745 876182 e mail us at info@homestyle4.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire & the North West and we are here to help.

Interior Design – Autumn Trend Paisley

Interior Design – Autumn Trend Paisley

The word ‘paisley’ is known as the name of the teardrop or tadpole shape pattern, used in fashion and across a wide range of everyday domestic goods and gift items. The Paisley Pattern can be traced back to the Indo-European cultures of 2,000 and more years ago. In Britain the pattern is represented in Celtic art, which died out in Europe under the influence of the Roman Empire. In India the motif was first used on shawls in the Indian province of Kashmir, and introduced into Britain by the East India Company in the mid 18th century.

In recent times the image of the paisley design has perhaps been seen as rather old fashioned but it is making a come back both in its traditional folk guise and a more modern twist.  Here are a just a few of my favorite picks

Image of room with footstool covered in paisley patterned fabric

Paisley design fabric in coral colour

The parmir fabric by Nina Campbell is a contemporary take on the traditional tear drop design and comes in four colourways. I love the coral colour which would look great pared with grey. It shown as upholstery on the universal footstool at Multiyork.

 

 

bohemian-printed-hand-towel-matalan This bohemian patterned towel from Matalan represents the folk vibe and the burgundy and navy colours are perfect for Autumn. I can never resist adding to my collection of towels, if you have a plain bath towel then using a patterned hand or guest towel is a very easy and cheap way of making a change

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This butterfly interpretation of the paisley design by Patrick Moriarty is so pretty and continues the trend for butterflies and other insect life in interiors that we have seen for a while now. I also like the blue/ grey colourway

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley patterned wallpaper in turquoise and yellow   The Rajapur design wallpaper from Cole & Son comes in a 11 colourways. This striking turquoise would make a great feature wall or a more neutral shade could be used in a whole room. Codes 66 – 5035 and 66-5039.

Paisley design wallpaper in neutral

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the teardrop shape bowls by ceramacist Tina Vlassopulos. The large version is £80 and the small £25.They loo36cm x 26cm x 9cm Hk good as a fruit bowl as shown but are stunning on their own.

 

 

 

 

 

I have really enjoyed exploring this trend and it has given me a fresh insight into this design. If you would like advice on any aspect of how to create the interior of your dreams contact us now on 07745 876182 or e mail us on info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

Interior Design – Autumn Tidy

Autumn is upon us and it’s the time of year when the garden is beginning to look untidy. The summer flowers are beginning to die off and things generally are beginning to look a bit straggly. Here are just a few tips.

Now is a great time to get out in the garden and spruce up your outside space whilst enjoying the last of the sunshine. Start by cutting the grass. It may be obvious, but it is amazing what a difference mowing the lawn makes – just like having a haircut! Don’t forget to go round with the edging shears to tidy up the edges.

Deadhead. Removing the flower heads that are past their best makes the plant look neater and encourages new flowers.

Clear out hanging baskets and pots, including compost and fill with fresh compost and plants. Winter flowering pansies give great colour whether it’s a complete mix or from one colour palette. I also love cyclamen which look good on their own or combined with heathers. Include some foliage such as ivy or, for something different, create a display purely from foliage plants.

It’s important to give your property some kerb appeal both for your own pleasure or when you are selling to appeal to buyers. Pots positioned either side of the entrance always look good but if they are past their best then they detract rather than enhance so replace. Pretty hanging baskets add colour but again need to be maintained. Replace summer bedding such as petunias and geraniums with winter flowering pansies and cyclamen.

I always think that the exterior of your property is just as important as the interior and you can’t consider the two in isolation, together they make a whole. For advice on all aspects of interior design contact us now on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the contact form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

INTERIOR DESIGN – THE DOWNSIZING DILEMMA

Watching Phil Spencer struggling with buyer Margot in last week’s episode of Location, Location, Location (watch here) got me thinking about the dilemma that faces people looking to downsize. I’ve conducted many house viewings over the years and the episode illustrated my experience – many downsizers simply aren’t ready to downsize. So here are a few tips if you are facing a downsize for whatever reason.

Mindset

In my opinion, this is probably the most important aspect. Frequently, buyers present as downsizers, and this may be their intention, but when it comes to viewing properties they say the property or the rooms are too small. I think this stems from the fact that the buyers have not considered the implications of downsizing sufficiently or at all. Often buyers want fewer rooms but still want the large rooms that they are used to. When they start house hunting they find that the proportions of the properties with fewer rooms are smaller. So if you are planning to downsize then do take the time to do your research and prepare. When looking at properties on the internet pay attention to the dimensions of the rooms. Ask yourself “am I ready to downsize?”

Declutter

If you are downsizing then it is inevitable that you will need to declutter so start early. Read details of our decluttering service here. Decluttering also helps with the move because when your home goes on the market it will make your property appear more spacious, and there is less to move! Not strictly a point about decluttering, but if you are downsizing you may need to replace certain items of furniture such as sofas, dining suites or beds, be prepared for this. I often hear people dismiss a property because a piece of furniture won’t fit. Only you can determine how important an item of furniture but at least be open to the idea of replacing it.

Multi – Purpose Furniture

Following on from the last point, as the property you buy may have less storage than your current home be on the look for furniture that can serve more than one purpose. For example, if you have fewer bedrooms but still want to have guests to stay can you have a sofa bed in the living room or a study. Divan beds are a good option and if you have items that you will only access infrequently I like the ottoman style where the top opens rather than drawers since they hold more. Footstools that serve as extra seating, a surface to put a tray on and which open to provide storage are another great option.

If you are looking to downsize, for whatever reason, I can help. Cal now on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

SELLING YOUR HOME – STAGING ON A ON A BUDGET – PART 1

 

Selling On A Budget

One question I am often asked when I talk about staging a property for sale is “how much does it cost?”. People worry that it is expensive and they may also query the benefit when they are leaving the property and may therefore not get to enjoy the results themselves.

Firstly, you should regard any expenditure as an investment rather than a cost, whether that investment is reflected in the speed of sale or the sale price. What the cost will be in any particular case will depend on what needs doing and your budget. Secondly, the cost is likely to be less than the amount of your first price reduction. Yes, if your budget is restricted it is definitely worth staging, this blog is the first of two on the subject of staging on a budget.

What Are The Most Important Things To Do?
Here are my top four tips which are very effective and need cost very little.
1. Clean – it may seem obvious, but to impress viewers your house needs to be spotless (even though theirs might not be!) It requires little other than some elbow grease and a collection of cleaning products from the local supermarket. Focus on the kitchen and bathroom. If you are not a fan of housework I recommend employing a professional cleaning company to give your property a deep clean, including carpets. You can then have them come in at weekly intervals say or introduce your own cleaning routine. Having undertaken the initial deep clean it makes it easier to keep on top of cleaning thereafter, have a rota.
2. Clutter – after cleanliness I think clutter is the second most important element. Clutter makes a room appear smaller than it is and it can be distracting. Buyers often can’t visualise so they may dismiss your home as being too small. Clutter also sends the message that you do not have enough storage. It can be off putting if your buyers don’t share the same taste as you, it makes it more
difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your property. There are more tips on decluttering in the E Book which you can download from the website.
3. Maintenance – When you have lived in a property for a while it becomes easy to overlook the things that need doing – the dripping tap, the kitchen cupboard door that doesn’t shut etc. The point is that even though these may be very small items of disrepair which can be fixed in a very short period of time it gives an overall impression that the property is neglected. Buyers will worry what else needs doing and that there are bigger issues. Go round your home with a fine tooth comb and make a list of all the repairs and maintenance items that need doing and do them!
4. Decorate – Sellers often make the mistake of thinking that because buyers are likely to decorate then there is no point doing it themselves. Yes buyers will very likely want to put their own stamp on a property and do their own decorating but they may not want to do it straight away A property that is freshly decorated in a neutral shade will appeal to buyers.

In the next blog I will offer tips on where to go for any furniture, accessories that you might need.
There is always a reason for moving and staging helps you achieve your goal.

Contact me now via e mail at info@homestyle4u.com, call us on 07745 876182 or complete the enquiry form below. I cover Cheshire and the North West

HomeStaging – Selling Your Home In The Summer

 

The holiday season has arrived – schools have broken up and people are going off on holiday. So you might be thinking that there is no point in putting your house on the market or, if you are already on the market, that no one will be viewing. Well you’d be surprised – August is a great time to sell read here to find out why.

And if the property market does go a little quieter then that’s great too. Why? might you ask, it seems counter intuitive. The answer is preparation. It is a fantastic opportunity to take stock. If you are thinking of selling you can get ready for a big launch in September. If you are already on the market you can review what has been happening and plan for the next phase. Here’s how.

Not Yet On the Market?

Is your property absolutely ready to launch?  Is it ready for the photos and ready to welcome the viewers? Here are my top tips for being photo and viewing ready.

1. Clean – it may seem obvious, but to impress viewers your house needs to be spotless (even though theirs might not be!) If you are not a fan of housework I recommend employing a professional cleaning company to give it a deep clean including carpets. You can then have them come in at weekly intervals say or introduce your own cleaning routine. Having undertaken the initial deep clean it makes it easier to keep on top of cleaning thereafter.

2. Clutter – after cleanliness I think clutter is the second most important element. Clutter is not only distracting but it makes a room appear smaller than it is. Buyers often can’t visualise so they may dismiss your home as being too small. Clutter also sends the message that you do not have enough storage. It can be off putting if your buyers don’t share the same taste as you, it makes it difficult for buyers to picture themselves living in your property.

3. Decorate – yes buyers will very well want to put their own stamp on a property and do their own decorating but they may not want to do it straight away. A property that is freshly decorated in a neutral shade will appeal to buyers.

Already On The Market But Not Yet Sold?

Has your property been on the market for a while and not received any offers or had many viewings? Then it’s time for a re-think. Have an honest discussion with your estate agent, what has the feedback been? Encourage your agent to seek and give honest feedback, often viewers are too polite to say what they think particularly if presentation is an issue. Consider presentation, could it be an issue? Give me a call, I would be happy to come out and tell you if I think it is and what you can do about it.

For more tips download the free e book by clicking on the image 

If you are thinking of selling or your sale is stuck contact us now on 07745 876182 e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below, we’d love to help. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Interior Design – The Importance of Scent

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Last week I was on holiday staying with a friend. One day was spent helping in the garden. I was dead heading roses, which got me thinking about scent (or aroma, perfume – whatever phrase you like to use) and its role in our homes. Scent is incredibly important in any context and this includes our homes. It is very evocative and can have powerful associations – to loved ones, events or places through our sub conscious. It can also  affect how we feel.

When creating our home we may want to evoke these happy memories or create a certain mood, either in our home as a whole or in particular rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms. There are various ways of introducing scent. There are plugins, room sprays, diffusers and scented candles. One of the best ways of course is flowers and roses are one of the most well known. Lilies have a very strong perfume which can be overpowering and have of course historically been associated with funerals. I like freesia which are a very delicate flower but have a beautiful scent. Apart from scent, flowers have the advantage of introducing greenery into the home which is beneficial to health.

Don’t forget the importance of scent or aroma when selling your home either. An unpleasant aroma such as from nicotine,damp or pets can be extremely unpleasant and put off potential buyers. It is also one of those things that sellers may not be aware of because they are accustomed to it. A pleasant smell on the other hand can be positive and it can be as simple as opening doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate. A strong odour of cleaning products lets buyers know your house is clean but tends to be clinical. I personally am not a fan of plugins or diffusers because they can be overpowering and aren’t natural. Beware, too strong a scent can lead buyers to wonder what you are trying to mask so keep it subtle!

Whatever your preference, scent is an important element in creating the right environment whether for your dream home or sale. For more advice, call us on 07745 876182, e mail to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West

 

Interior Design – Welcome to the She Shed

Image of a she shed with interior decorated in pastel and comfy sofa

 

We are probably all familiar with the concept of the man cave – the shed at the bottom of the garden or perhaps a room in the house that the male of the species disappears to, often for hours at a time, and often just when he is needed to carry out some task. Well recently we have seen the emergence of the female equivalent – the she shed. According to the consumer organisation Which?® there has been a 12 fold increase in the number of such sheds in the last three years.

Figures show that sales of sheds have gone up 50% so far this year. So what is the she shed all about? There seem to be two reasons why women are buying into this concept. One reason is having somewhere to escape to. We lead increasingly busy lives and find it difficult to switch off, a shed is a place where you can go if you want to just have a bit of time to yourself and this is true equally for men and women. It may also be linked to the tendency for open plan living such as the kitchen/ diner. These are great family spaces but this perhaps comes at the cost of fewer rooms that give us privacy.

The second reason is the growth of the home office. 4.2 million people work from home, one third of whom are women. Women are increasingly working at home whether that is to have a better work/ life balance or because they are running their own businesses. We tend to struggle with space in our homes and simply may not have enough room to have a separate office or even workable office space. Having a she shed that works or doubles as a home office could be a much cheaper alternative than moving house.

In each case having that separation between the home and the relaxation/ work space that a shed provides, even if that only involves walking a few steps, can make a big difference to how it feels and how successfully it works whatever its function.

So what does the she shed need to have/ be? The short answer is whatever you want it to. On a practical note, double glazing and underfloor heating mean that your shed will be usable all year round. For me, I would say it should feel like a home rather than a shed so give free rein to your feminine side.  I love the examples below which all have a soft and possibly vintage style. It definitely needs to have comfortable seating, preferably a sofa or daybed but if the space is small a couple of cane chairs and side table are really all you need for an bolt hole. It should have facilities for you to make tea and coffee, maybe a little fridge. You want a desk if it is intended to function as an office or a small writing table. Furnish with lots of cushions and throws and pretty curtains at the windows. The essence of the shed is that it is a personal space so fill it with the things that give you pleasure.

If you would like help creating your very own she shed call now on 07745 876182 e mail to info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We help people across Cheshire and the North West. 

 

 

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Image of the interior of shed furnished with settee and chairInterior of shed with desk and chair

 

 

Interior Design – Form & Texture

Montage of images of textural plants

 

Hang on am I in the right place? – You might be wondering why all the images of plants in a blog about interior design. Well I’ve just returned from a trip to the beautiful St Mawes in Cornwall. During my holiday I was able to visit some of the lovely gardens notably Trebah, Heligan and The Eden Project. Owing to the climate, (and the technology of the biomes in the case of the Eden Project) these gardens are able to grow plants that we can’t grow further North. Some of the plants are large (gunnera manicata – top left), structural (agave – bottom right), have unusual textures (cork – centre) and they definitely have the “wow factor” which got me thinking.

When we decorate our homes we want them to be interesting. There are a number of ways of doing this – bold colour,statement wallpaper, artwork, furniture – these are just a few. Another is through the use of Form and Texture. Adding different textures creates interest but allows you to use a restricted colour palette, a famous example of this is the White Garden at Sissinghurst  in Kent. Incorporate different materials – wood, glass, metal or velvet, fur or silk for cushions. How often have you been in a shop and found yourself stroking a surface or a item such as a throw or cushion. Bizarre as it may sound, when I renovated my current home I actually found myself stroking the freshly skimmed plaster it was so smooth!

Just as you might have architectural plants in a garden, it’s important to have form i.e. statement pieces in your home. These do not necessarily need to be large although a large piece can be used as a focal point in a room that otherwise lacks one. This could be an item of furniture. a piece of artwork, a lamp. One idea is a large houseplant such as a ficus or palm. It’s important to have greenery in your home, so a large houseplant not only gives form to a scheme but brings a touch of outdoors in.

If you would like help to introduce form and texture to your home, or with any other aspect of creating your dream home the contact us. Call on 07745 876182, e mail at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West. We are here to help.

 

 

Interior Design – Summer’s Here!

Last week I took the plunge. I packed away the winter woollies and got out the summer clothes which, as things turned out, was a good decision in view of the lovely weather we’ve been enjoying.

This transformation is just as applicable to our homes. In the winter we want our homes, just like our clothes, to be warm and cosy. We want to shut out the cold and dark and snuggle up. By contrast, in the summer we want our homes to feel light and airy. So what does this actually mean in terms of our interiors?

Start with fabrics. In the winter use fabrics that are warm such as wool, velvet and faux fur. In summer swap those for cool fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk.

Next think about colour. During the colder months go for warmer colours such as oranges, purples and olive green. These help a room feel snug and cocooning. For summer switch to light colours, for example, duck egg blue, sage green and cream.

It is easy to make these changes with accessories such as cushions and throws but also consider swapping your curtains at least in principal rooms, artwork and rugs. Choose prints that reflect nature. We often hear the expression “bring the outside in” and this really comes into it’s own in summer. There has been a growing trend towards opening up our living spaces to the outdoors especially with kitchen/ dining/ living spaces linked to the garden with bi-fold doors and this is great. It works particularly well if you use the same flooring both inside and out. If this isn’t possible can you fit sliding/ french doors that give easy access to your outdoor space?  Introduce greenery to your home with flowers and plants. These are not only good for linking the two spaces but it has proven health benefits. And of course don’t neglect to add some garden furniture, a deckchair, bistro set or, if you have room, a dining table and chairs, sofa and chairs.

Here are just a few picks of items that you can use in a summer scheme.

Image of a window with a voile panel hanging to one side

Image of a bistro set comprising upholstered garden chairs with table        Bird on Elderflower cushion - Izabella peters

 

 

The Zagora Tab Top voile panel is from John Lewis and is perfect for creating that light and airy feel. The bistro set is Jamie Oliver for Hartman and is available at Be Garden Happy, I particularly like the fact that the chairs are upholstered. The pretty bird on elderflower cushion by Izabella Peters is waterproof and mould resistant so can be used both indoors and out and comes in several colourways. The Ombre salad bowl and servers are by Rebu and can be purchased from Wroes. Again, I think they would ideal for both indoor and outdoor dining.

Image of a salad bowl in graded shades of aqua Image of ombre shaded salad servers

 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and found the tips helpful. If you require any interior design advice or help selling your home please contact us by calling 07745 876182 e mail us at info@homestyle 4u.com  or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Interior Design – It’s Showtime ! Part 2

Collage of garden images including plants from Chelsea Flower Show 2016

Last week’s Blog contained a few ideas based on themes that had emerged from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and touched on colour, materials and elements. As I was writing I realised that there was just too much to be contained in one Blog – hence here we have Part 2.

Many of the gardens were inspired by nature and/ or the landscape – for example Matthew Williamson’s God’s Own County – a Garden For Yorkshire, Cleve West’s M&G Garden inspired by his youth in the Exmoor National Park and The L’Occitane Garden which celebrated the company’s roots in Provence. We have seen nature and landscape inspire trends in fashion and interior design too,for example, botanics, tribal and now exotics.The good thing about this is that there is truly something for everyone, from a completely natural feel that suits those who like a more subtle palette to those who love colour.  So here are a few picks.

For those who love colour and want to add a tropical feel then I would head straight for the Amazilia Collection of fabrics and wallcoverings by Harlequin. There are hummingbirds, butterflies and my favourite – Congo,  a stunning mosaic-like tapestry weave depicting tessellated tulips.

Image of a chaise lounge upholestered in bright tapestry fabric   Bright tapestry weave fabric    Turquoise and silver wallpaper   Curtains in butterfly design fabric on white fabric

 

Upholstering a single sofa or armchair in a bold fabric as illustrated above is a really good idea and if the fabric has a number of different colours you can change other elements to create a new look. With this look you can go full on or use the vibrant colours against a plain white background for a totally different feel. If going on for the full on look pick out one or two colours for accessories or if you prefer to create the look through accessories then I am big fan of British manufacturer Poole Pottery. This Volcano purse vase is a very tactile shape and the colours leap out
Colourful round shaped vase in orange, yellow and turquoise              A rug is an easy way to add  interest to a scheme I like this one from Dunelm Mill. I also like this collection of glass bottles from Not on The High Street                                                                                                                                                                                       Floral Rug in shades of purple green and turquoise against a white background           Image four vintage style glass bottles in blue and purple

.If you like your natural to be,well, more natural look for natural textures such as cotton or linen fabrics for curtains and upholstery, sisal or jute or even solid wood for flooring and accessories from materials such as wood and stone. Choose motifs that come from woodland or maybe coastal landscapes and tones of taupe, sage green and soft blues. Use these elements to create a relaxed feel.

This driftwood base and glass topped side table from Dorisbrixham.co.uk is a striking piece of furniture.

side table made from driftwood with glass top   No living space is complete without cushions and throws and there is nothing like the feel of wool, this one is from Bronte By Moon choose from colours such as sage green, heather, beige or grey.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Striped hrow in herringbone weave in sage green

 

TerrStone terrarium planted with a variety of plantsariums are proving a hit at the moment and are an excellent way of introducing greenery to your home. They not only help to banish any winter blues but improve air quality. They are easy to create, low maintenance and require minimal watering so ideal if you are worrying about how your house plants will survive while you are on holiday. This one is the Herly stone terrarium by Rowen & Wren.

 

 

 

 

and finally …. I couldn’t resist this squirrel, rabbit and hedgehog print fabric from Sanderson. Using the fabric to upholster a chair as illustrated is a fab way to inject a little bit of fun into your interior!

Fabric printed a pencil design of squirrels, rabbits and hedghogs

Fabric printed with images of hedgehogs, squirrels and rabbits

 

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these blogs. For advice on any aspect of interior design or preparing your home for sale call us on 07745 876182 e mail at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We’d love to help.

Interior Design – It’s Showtime! Part 1

Collage of garden images including plants from Chelsea Flower Show 2016

This week I’ve been enjoying watching coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and thinking about visits I’ve made to the show in the past. So why I am talking about gardens in a blog about interior design? Well because gardens are an integral part of our homes whether we are firmly settled in our home or moving – or they should be. It doesn’t matter what outside space you have – a balcony, courtyard, typical family garden or acres – you shouldn’t think about the inside without considering the outside. These days there is definitely a move towards integrating the two, this could be through using bi-fold doors to give continuous flow and including using the same flooring material inside and out. Or it could mean using the same colour palette.

You might wonder how you can take ideas from a flower show and use them not just in your garden but also in your interior. So here are just a few ideas that I have taken from Chelsea.

Copper – copper and metallics in general have been popular in interiors for a while and copper as a colour and material is certainly in evidence at Chelsea this year. The dramatic fins in Andy Sturgeon’s Best in Show Garden for The Daily Telegraph are bronze but I like the copper water feature pictured which also injects another element – water more of which below.

 

Hammered copper kitchen island lightThis  hammered copper pendant light is from Rezzeqi.com and is ideal for hanging over a kitchen island or a dining table and has a Moroccan feel.  Metallics work well in an industrial scheme and also a modern contemporary scheme.

 

 

 

Orange – Orange is a popular colour at Chelsea this year and can vary from the neon that we have seen recently to more subtle and warmer shades. Interestingly, at Chelsea we see it combined with pinks and purples. Be daring and combine this fabulous Wilton Library Red wallpaper from Little Greene with Blazer or Charlotte’s Locks paint from Farrow & Ball

Image of damask style wallpaper in red/ pink

Paint orange colour paint     Orange paint

and I love this modern take on the classic houndstooth design woven in chenille from the Tremont Collection by Romo shown in Peony.                                                  Houndstooth weave fabric in vibrant pink

 

 

 

 

 

Water – As usual water is a prominent aspect of the gardens at Chelsea including water features and rills. Water adds a calming element to the garden, imagine sitting listening to the quiet sound of a fountain. Indoors in a large space it is possible to have a fountain in an entrance hall or perhaps a water fall feature but it is also possible to find something for a small space.

 

                                                       Small indoor waterfall feature                                    Image of small contemporary indoor water feature

 

Next time I’ll be sharing a few more themes. In the meantime if you would like some advice on how to create your ideal home contact us by calling 07745 876182,  by e mail at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Interior Design – To Bathe or Not To Bathe?

Recently I was engaging on Twitter with a bathroom designer on that perennial question bath or shower? It’s a bit like those other big debates – milk in first or second in your tea or jam or cream first on your scone. Baths and showers each have their merits and disadvantages of course so I thought I would run through a few pointers.

Shower

Image of beautiful shower

  • A shower is practical – when you are short of time, such as first thing in the morning when you are off to work, it is a quick and easy way of getting clean.
  • A shower takes up less space (usually!) – so is a good option where space is limited. Cubicles come in different sizes and corner versions or dispense with a cibicle altogether and go for a wet room.
  • A shower is accessible – so is ideal if there are issues of mobility. A wet room avoids any steps or opt for a cubicle that has a very shallow tray.

Bath

Bath
Photo Courtesy of PBL Interiors
  • A bath is unbeatable if you want to create a space where you can indulge in some “me time”. The bath can be the centrepiece of the ultimate relaxation space.
  • Nothing beats a bath if you need to soak a weary body perhaps after physical exercise or a hard day’s gardening or decorating.
  • A bath works for bathing young children. Not only is it easier for bathing the little ones but is essential for playtime!

Everyone is different but personally I believe families like a bath, young professionals may well go for a power shower. If you are selling, consider who are your target market and what are they likely to be looking for. Family members may want different options and may want a choice depending on the circumstances. As for me, I tend to use the shower on weekdays and then indulge in a long soak on Sunday evenings. If you want both but don’t have space for a separate bath and shower then go for the over bath shower option. I find a mixer tap with shower attachment is useful on the bath as it facilitates cleaning and hair washing. Taking advice from a specialist bathroom designer/ fitter can give you solutions that you might not otherwise have thought of and be cost effective.

Need advice on your bathroom? Contact us by calling 07745 876182, e mail info@homestyle4u.com or complete the enquiry form. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

 

 

Interior Design Inspiration – Boutique Hotel Style

Mood Board showing elements of a boutique hotel including bedding, towels, a chair, lighting

One of my favourite tv programmes is Escape to The Country. In this programme the presenter helps someone who wants to move from an urban environment to the country. Often the client is looking for a business opportunity which is frequently the opportunity to run a holiday let or B&B.

Perhaps this is your dream but you aren’t sure about how to go about presenting the letting accommodation or the rooms or want to increase the income from the business. If so, I can help. Whether it’s an existing business or you are creating a business from scratch the decor is very important. Maybe it’s because we travel so much these days, take mini breaks or watch travel programmes, but our expectations are very high. So what do I consider are the most important elements of a boutique holiday let or B&B. In this blog I am going to focus on bedrooms and bathrooms but it applies to living spaces as well.

Simplicity

This might sound counter intuitive, you might imagine that boutique means glitz and glamour. Well simplicity doesn’t exclude glitz or glamour nor does it exclude luxury, but more of that later. For most of us when we go on holiday we want to relax, at least at the end of the day. Simple spaces are most restful. To me simple means uncluttered, not too much furniture or unnecessary accesories. You want the room to feel spacious not cramped. It also means that the decor shouldn’t be too “busy”. You don’t want bland but nor you want too many colours or “nik naks”.

Comfort

This is very important particularly when it comes to beds. Perhaps the top of guests’ wish lists is a good night’s sleep so invest in a quality bed, mattress, pillows and duvets. Buying duvets and pillows is a topic in itself so do your research and consider having a selection so that you can meet guests’ preferences. Where possible I would include an armchair to provide somewhere comfortable for guests to sit and read or watch TV. A small table so that people have a place for the laptop or to write is also handy.Don’t forget those little touches that make all the difference such as throws/ blankets and dressing gown.

Luxury/ Quality

You want the room to exude luxury and quality and this extends to the smallest detail. For example, a studio apartment I recently stayed had slate tiles on the walls and floors of the bathroom and as a splashback in the kitchen. Sheets should be soft to sleep in but you need to weigh up laundering properties. Similarly towels need to be super soft and fluffy. Bathroom products should be high end brands.

One final comment is that it is great to use local suppliers as you might do with food, whether for features such as tiles, or wood but also furniture and furnishings, derive inspiration from the local landscape.

If you are refurbishing an existing business or starting a new one then contact us by e mail at info@homestyle4u.com, call on 07745 876182 or complete the enquiry form below. We cover Cheshire and the North West.

Home Staging – What Does It Actually Involve?

Images of fireplace, carpet, blind and paint samples

 

So last week was a busy week, well in fact, the previous week was too and this one,  so I thought I’d share my experiences as an illustration of what is actually involved in staging a home for sale.

The Beginning

The process always involves a meeting with the client to discuss the process with the client, explain the benefits and evaluate whether the property will benefit (not all will). This is followed by a detailed evaluation of what is required on a room by room basis including the exterior. That evaluation is communicated to the client either in the form of a verbal or written report.

The Middle

The middle comprises all the work that is required before the actual dressing of the property. To give a flavour of just what might be involved, on my current project, as the client is not local, this included arranging meetings with various trades to obtain quotes for repairs and other work. On this occasion this included clearing the property and booking skip hire, replacement/ repair of damaged items, decorating, cleaning, carpets and blinds. These tasks have to be scheduled (and in the correct order!) There was choosing carpets, blinds and paint, identifying items required for dressing the property and which of those items were to be supplied by myself and which required to be purchased. Purchasing products as agreed with the client. At all stages quotes are provided to the client and approval obtained. Throughout the work I liaise with the various tradespeople to ensure access is provided when required and attend to check on the progress of the work.

The End

The end is is putting all the items in the property once it is all ready. It’s all about creating the right atmosphere so that potential buyers will fall in love with the property and make an offer. It involves the finishing touches, those little extra touches that you might not register at a conscious level but subliminally act on the sub-conscious to create the “feel”. You know, that sense when you walk into a property and just know it’s the right one.

Now every project is different and not all will require this level of involvement. It depends on the individual property and much the client wants and is able to undertake tasks. watch this space for “before” and “After” photos on the Gallery page.

To find out how I can help prepare your home for sale in Cheshire and the North West call on 07745 876182, e mail at info@homestyle4u.com or complete the Enquiry Form below. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Homestyle 4U