Shop progress

March 22, 2013

Had a sort of evening last night for the first time in a week, well if yo can call sitting down to watch tv at 10pm. To me at the moment that is an evening!! Been working past 11pm most evenings the last couple of weeks. This is not just shop related as at the moment we are seriously busy with projects. It seems like as soon as we signed the lease for the shop everyone decided to go ahead with projects, I’m sure it’s just sent to test us I reckon! we can handle it so bring it on!!

So pleased it’s Friday as just looking forward to chilling out tonight, although I will work a bit over the weekend I always feel weekends should be for family, I think I would go crazy if I worked the whole time, I know some people work 7 days a week but not sure how they do this!

Thought I would talk shop today as it’s all coming along nicely, we have placed loads of orders this week, so sofa, chairs, accessories done! sign is ordered so this weekend it is mainly sorting out the shelving, flooring, knocking down a wall, the list goes on! I so want the shop to have items that you can’t find anywhere else, this is hard when you have small buying power but I’m constantly looking for new suppliers and mixing the suppliers to get the correct look. One of the suppliers we have found uses artisans from around world and strongly promote fair trade and equal opportunity which is important to us. The sofa company we are using are UK made and benefits from kiln dried hardwood, glued and screwed frames and is upholstered by experienced British craftsmen. So it’s not just a case of filling the shop it’s also important to get the right products and how they are made etc.

So off to our first Antique fair on Monday to find some vintage pieces, we may come back with nothing but looking forward to seeing what we might find. Love this eclectic look in Nathan Turners store in the US, hopefully will find a chest of drawers like this at the fair!! (wishing), if I do I will snap it up and you will see it in the store.


Also faux flowers are going to take a big part in the shop as from my experience it’s so hard to get them looking right, I think generally they get a bad rap but It’s all in how they are displayed, as they say presentation is everything right!! so we are going to make up some arrangements with my super talented florist Sarah Tynan and show you that faux’s can be cool and in my opinion totally transform an interior!

ImageThats it from me, no interior tips today, have a great weekend all!


All lit up!

March 20, 2013

What a lovely relaxing morning, decided not to get up at the crack of dawn and start work as  Iv’e been so busy with projects and working on the shop I have been literally working day and night! Except for my quick dart to a spinning class, had such a bad sleep the night before (so much swimming in my head) I sort of didn’t know why I was going to spin! Most spin classes are 45min but oh no not mine, trainer decided to up it to an hour, so in my head I’m thinking I will tell him I need to leave and can only do 45min until he said “I need to talk to you after the class” didn’t think kick enough so bang went my plan! during the class I was thinking please get through this as I don’t want to be the first one to fall off the bike in a heap on the floor! For some reason my adrenaline kicked in! So got back from spin and promised myself to have a bath and go to bed, oh did I heck, I worked on shop stuff! so hence my relaxing morning!!

Enough yabber yabber! So lets talk lighting!! I always say lighting is key, get this right and you are off to a good start! No this doesn’t mean you have to have the most advanced system to achieve this. Many of the projects I work on haven’t got the scope to change the lighting within the fabric of the building, so I go about adding lamps and lots of them! You can never have too many lamps. Years ago I would of been a lot more structured when placing lamps, ie a bit like Noahs ark! lamps 2 by 2! if you see what I mean. I now like mixing it up so it looks like the lamps have been collected over time (and in some cases maybe they have) So no more console tables with 2 identical lamps for me, don’t get me wrong if it’s a living space I often still use 2 of the same lamps but these tend to be much more discreet for instance task lighting next to the sofa, start with this then ad lots more! floor lamps are great near a chair which creates a little area/zone, I always try and create a little reading area within a living room as it creates interest and is a great way to ad a quirky lamp and it can instantly take a drab corner to a wow corner! Then you need to play with scale, a large lamp with an oversized shade works wonders and gives a room a focal point, plonk it on a small table or almost in the way, so as soon as you enter the room it throws you off course which adds another dimension to the room. Then dot around some small lamps which give off a soft glow (tea lights will also create this effect). If you have a pendant light, why not go for an oversized drum shade, one of my signature styles and it’s  fairly inexpensive way to ad drama and also not forgetting a great way to add in a zip of colour! Try dropping it lower, don’t hide it away make a feature out of it. There are lots of local artisans that make bespoke lampshades to your specifications, you can get exactly what you want and get a chance to be creative. You can also use this service to recover existing shades. Now for that oddball piece, if you want to add a little fun into the room, a tongue in cheek piece! Add a something like the Abigail Ahern dog lamps, something we will be featuring in the shop,


it oozes character and will be a great talking point, maybe a bit marmite for some but I love it and trust me something like this will just finish the room off! I know I know some people will be thinking I hate dogs! but it can be a sculture type of lamp or something that reflects your taste and give the room it’s personality or more importantly your personality.

If your thinking what the hell is this guy going on about, take a look at the pictures below as they totally explain what I am trying to say! (pictures from rue mag)



If you can have a more advanced system, take a look at this, lots of soft hidden lighting!


Have a great day!


March 15, 2013

One of the things I’m finding so hard to pick for the shop is wallpaper, I’m trying to find a collection that isn’t over used, the type you see where ever you go! I’ve got my neutral textured wallpapers Iv’e used a trillion times and will keep on using as they are so classic and don’t date but I am after some funky more geometric or patterned papers, the ones that add the fun into a room. Anyway my motto is keep on searching and you will eventually stumble across the perfect company!! preferably within the next few weeks please!!

So, down to wallpaper. Used a lot in interiors and mostly in the wrong way. If I see that B&Q flower wallpaper anymore I think I might jump over the edge of a cliff!. I’m not saying feature walls are necessarily not the thing to do, it just depends what you use for the feature wall. My take on this is simple! Don’t do a feature wall with a standard looking wallpaper, if your going to do it, go all out and really create a feature, a wow, a punch in the face sort of reaction when you walk in the room! Or if you want a more calm feel, opt for a textured wallpaper and do the whole room, and go darker it will transform the room and not make you want to leave. In my kitchen I have gone for a textured, quite dark paper which looks like dragged silk (don’t worry it’s teflon coated and wipeable, one of the reasons I choose it) I decided to wallpaper all the walls and for me it totally changes the room from being a practical space to a room we love spending time in, because the kitchen is one of the rooms we spend the most time in! right!! Pic of my kitchen below.


The other rooms to try out some funky wallpaper is the cloakroom, hallway and a study. Rooms you don’t use all the time and the rooms that get neglected the most. In a study you can easily ad a bookcase wallpaper to one of the walls, this will instantly liven up the room and it’s so in keeping with the use of the room, easy peasy! Now get wallpapering and best room to start with is the cloakroom, take a look at some of these pictures it might inspire you!

ImageOptions above are great for the cloakroom!

ImageIf your not brave enough to do the whole wall, try a strip panel like in the above pic! Cool hay.

ImageHope you enjoy, have a great weekend!

The art of display!

March 14, 2013

Morning! Still crazy here, actually probably more crazy than last week as been making lots of decisions for the shop. So sofa and chair supplier sorted, accessories confirmed and ordered, a few more to add as keep finding great suppliers! Lighting, textiles and pictures to do! I’ll probably think of a million more things that still need sourcing, but that’s all my head can cope with for the moment. I’m so tired I could literally crawl under my desk and have a little nap!! It’s hard to switch off at night as I have so many things swimming around in my head …. Another little idea for the shop, we have found some really nice small chest of drawers which are made out of pine! (Yuk I hear you say!) but we are going to get our regular paint sprayer to spray in a solid colour and offer this to our customers, so they can pretty much choose which ever colour takes there fancy! Good hay! It’s all so exciting!!

Anyway must chat a little about interiors and after last week, where my head was in the commercial interiors ie, coffee shop design.  This week my head is totally in residential as I have been doing so much buying for the shop! So I thought I would talk about ‘The art of display’. When you look at uber cool interiors which take your breath away, break this down and you realise it’s all in how it’s displayed, it’s not always about the items (although obviously this can help if you have the most amazing antiques) for example you could have an old piece of furniture you’ve had for years, chest of drawers is usually the obvious one or a rickety old chair! These items left on there own against a lonely wall would look pretty dull but start plonking some items with it, on top of it, a super large lamp for instance (I know, I know I keep going on about this all the time, but trust me it really does work!) A few pictures lent up against it, overlapping on a pile of books a few little ornaments collected along the way or simple a small vase of flowers and voilá you have your own little art of artdisplay!! Use this rule even when placing furniture, think of how it displays with other pieces, mix and match items and layer layer layer! Take a look at the picture below, this apartment in New York has nailed it, (although white walls are a no no for me)


ImageSee! there you have it ‘The art of display’ Go try this at home, it will instantly transform a gloomy area or a corner of a room, and please please, I know what you are thinking “it’s harder to dust”, I would much rather spend a bit longer dusting and have an inspiring home versus uninspiring and dull!!

Now for the art of, getting on with work!!

Have a great Thursday

Shop shop shop!

March 8, 2013

Oh no! went to the shop yesterday (first time since we got the keys) to meet the carpenters and we have totally changed the layout! so funny how sometimes you think you’ve nailed it and then by spending  a little time their, things evolve and you think of a much better layout! Made me late for the afternoon appointment of viewing candles, seriously didn’t have enough hours in the day yesterday.

So I thought I would talk about shop today, I have to say it’s one of the hardest things picking products to retail, you don’t want to be too expensive but you also don’t want to be run of the mill.  We have managed to find some great suppliers so most products you won’t see else where in Bristol! When designing the shop it sort of takes on the same aspect of designing a house or commercial space, you want to tantalise the eye so when you walk in you don’t know quite where to look! it’s exactly the same with a room in the house, you need enough going on to stop it looking boring and bland, so no pushing furniture up against the wall, fill every wall you can, bundles of pictures and if you get this look right your guests or customers will love it.  Take a look at this picture (Rue Mag) which is actually a shop in america but could also be a lounge! A  little jumbled for me but it totally makes your eye bounce around.. no!


Here’s a sneak peak of some items that we have chosen for the shop.Image

Sofa and chairs, which is still on the maybe list!!Image

Hope you all like, and Yay its Friday, although I think I will be working tomorrow, too much to do!

Crazy days

March 7, 2013

Sorry for lack of posts, it’s been a crazy crazy week,  in the thick of designing the coffee shops which I presented yesterday. When designing you can get completely caught up in the moment and nothing else seems to matter, it almost consumes you I guess! Got back after the meeting to the messiest desk! Sometimes I think being an interior designer is a jack of all trades (sort of). Last week I was at a business event, almost wearing a suit (well a shirt a trousers), then meetings with Hotel chain and a property developer in London, so my professional head was on! Then back to the office and throw myself into the coffee shop designs and now suddenly I’m sourcing furniture, producing layout and doing 3d visuals, then I have to get practical and put the mood boards together. And now we have the keys to our shop which is our latest venture I’m suddenly now a retail buyer. So lots of hats the last week and then to top all this off I’m on site fitting blinds tomorrow! Crazy!!

So back to business, COLOUR, I realised that when designing interiors weather it’s for commercial or residential projects I always get a ping of colour within the scheme. Deep deep down I’m a neutral boy so I always start with this type of colour pallet, when I say neutral this doesn’t mean bland you can still go for darker tones! but restrict the colours to a few. Then you can add some colour, going on the coffee shop designs, we have a team of grey/greens from dark to pale and a really deep red which balances it then just a splash of teal which sort of throws it off, without this colour it seemed to be a bit stale so it only made it onto the board at the last minute and the client loved it, sometimes you never know what reaction you will get as I’ve said before people are so afraid of colour!! Anyway take a look at the picture below as this totally nails what I’m trying to go on about!! (Photo’s courtesy of Lonny Magazine)

using colour in interiors


Also a sneak peak at the coffee shop colour mood board! Hope you like


Now for me, test drive a van, 5k run then meet carpenters on site!!

Have a great Thursday!