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House plants are having a moment….

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House plants Three Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you scroll through Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll see that house plants are having a definite moment. I’ve always been an advocate of them for a number of reasons:

House plants clean the air in our homes. Plants are notoriously adept at absorbing gases and VOCs through pores on the surface of their leaves. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play an instrumental role in neutralizing these VOCs and other pollutants.

They add life and interest to a scheme. Over and above accessories such as mirrors, vases etc, house plants bring a natural element that can’t be replicated by anything man made. They also bring another level of texture, which is always beneficial.

Plants can fill “dead spaces”. A dead space in an interior can be a corner or a space on a wall that needs something. For example, I have used large house plants next to pieces of furniture to “fill” a wall. They also add softness against angular lines or hard finishes, hence why they’re perfect for bathrooms.

House plants Three Interiors

 

Another benefit of being around house plants is that they’re believed to make people more creative and productive, reduce stress and give us overall higher levels of well-being. I think this is because they remind us of the outdoors, when most of us spend a lot of our time indoors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Fake” house plants can still give us the same feeling as real ones. Obviously, they don’t have the same health benefits but if you’re a notorious plant killer (yep, me too) or the room doesn’t have much natural light, then fake can be a good way to go. As with most things, you get what you pay for and it’s best to mix them in with other real plants where you can. Just remember which is which when it comes to watering them! I’ve used a mixture of fake and real plants in my bathroom. Being in the middle of the house means it doesn’t get tons of light, so I had to fake it otherwise I’d just feel like a total plant murderer!!

Three Interiors bathroom House Plants

 

 

 

The Bathroom of Doom…

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Well, it’s not that bad really I just thought I’d start with a dramatic title!

I did think that the first room to tackle in the new house would be Cara’s room, however that needs a bit more planning as it currently has a mahoosive sofa bed in there which we don’t have any other space for at present. She loves it because she’ll be having us sleeping over in her bedroom when we have guests, however I need to sort out the logistics of moving this somewhere at some point! If anyone would like the loan of a sofa bed for a while, get in touch!

Anyway, the bathroom now has come under scrutiny (well I’ve got to have at least one room I can tinker with!). The suite was relatively new and we’ve agreed that we have to live with it for the foreseeable. We have an en-suite and a downstairs wet room (possibly) to spend money on first.

Let’s have a look at it:

interior designer cheshire bathroom before Firstly, no storage. Unless you count the airing cupboard which once it has some towels in it, is pretty much full. The tiling is yuck. The colours through the grey bathroom tiles are quite nice but it’s so 90’s! And the faux slate effect floor tiles are pretty naff too.

And the roller blind. There are no words.

 

 

 

 

interior designer cheshire Three Interiors bathroom beforeThe rather misleading huge airing cupboard in the bathroom. It looks like it provides lots of storage, it doesn’t. There’s a huge water tank in the cupboard at the top and below there’s a cylinder. (Ancient heating system that will come out of the bathroom at some point) It just about fits all of our towels in and Cara’s bath toys are hooked up in a net bag in there. One positive- it’s quite good the cupboard is warm because her bath toys dry out properly!

 

 

 

 

 

interior designer cheshire Three Interiors bathroom before Opposite the airing cupboard is a very small towel rail, this doesn’t heat the room as it’s not big enough, there’s also no heating underfoot so Cara keeps complaining her feet are cold on the tiled floor (we had heating under our tiles in the last house, so she’s used to the floor being warm!)

Also a solitary door hook – you kinda need more when you’re a family, even if there’s only 3 of you!

 

 

 

 

interior designer cheshire Three Interiors bathroom before

The bathroom hasn’t been planned in terms of space well at all. This irks me as I definitely can’t change this. Why oh why would you have a curved bath and the curve of a sink meeting to make a bathroom narrower?! Cara likes the curved bit at the end of the bath as it makes a bigger space for playing in. Bless her, unlike me she’s easily pleased 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh and the decorating that has been done in the bathroom is quite rubbish so I would have had to do some painting at least anyway. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, this needs to be a really cost effective make over. We can’t warrant spending money on a bathroom that a) is certainly not hideous and b) will at some point get a substantial make over (just not yet!) So I trawled around B&Q and Ikea with a couple of ideas in mind as to the look I was going for. (See my bathroom Pinterest board here)

If I was doing a more substantial make over I’d plot it out on CAD and probably do a real life mood board, and certainly when I’m working with a client I’d always do that. However as this is a quick makeover – the bathroom can’t be out of service for long,  I’m working it out as I go.

So what does the bathroom need, that I can do on a budget without ripping out the suite?

1. Storage 2. Decorating  3. Adding warmth through texture and light 4. A bit of up to date styling

So a couple of flooring options. This will probably be the most expensive part of the make over and I do NOT want to have to rip up those floor tiles. (a few others had been discounted as they would have made the step into the bathroom way too high)

1. This is the one Mr B prefers:

 

image3I do like it too, but it’s a bit “safe” for me. The flooring is stick on vinyl! Super cost effective, splash resistant and should be a bit warmer underfoot. The colour has soft and warm grey tones, so does look lovely with the rattan storage boxes from Ikea which have the same tones. This ties in nicely with the overall “background” colours of grey black and white that I want to use in the house too.

With this option, I’d see what colours I could get in tile paint and possibly paint out the grey striped border in a complementary shade, or go with white and paint the walls a nice soft grey or blue. Use white shelving for the storage boxes and a white wooden Venetian blind. A few accessories and et voila, job done. I’ll come back to you on the costs, but I’m hoping under £150.

2. This is the one I want to go for, what do you think?

black-and-whiteVinyl tiles again- I know! They look good for the price- £14.28 a box but I think we can splash out. Splash out, bathroom, see what I did there?!

With this option I’d paint out the grey striped bathroom tiles in white and spray the rattan boxes black. White shelves and black Venetian with newly painted white walls. Accessories that somehow feature my favourite colour yellow and I’m done.

This black and white option gives me the Scandi/Industrial type look I’m going for and also the ability to change accessory colours in the future if I get bored.

 

 

Sold. I’ll show you the finished bathroom as soon as poss, but I’m away in Colonsay next week visiting family, fingers crossed the weather is kind!

Love Angela xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not really Ideal Home Show

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Well after the exciting but exhausting house move, I thought I’d extend my skiving off work for just one more day and go to the Ideal Home show at Event City for a mooch around and I hoped, some inspiration. Well. You know when you get a bit mad after spending time doing something rubbish because you’ll never get that time back? That’s how I felt after the Ideal Home show.

Now, I knew that it wasn’t exactly going to be leading edge. I feared as with most shows of this nature, the better ones tend to be in London; but I was still bitterly disappointed. Plumbs re-upholstery service? A whole (otherwise bare) stand dedicated to enormous horrible black leather sofas? A beauty section? Really??!! I swear I walked past people sat having their teeth laser whitened in this section. After witnessing this, I gave it a wide berth.

The most disappointing aspect was the Ideal Home Show room sets. Why weren’t local designers asked to be involved? They could have still used items from local stores and products from exhibitors, who I’m sure would have been more than happy to lend items. It was just corporate crap with BHS, Next, Dwell and Debenhams doing room sets that were just basically replicas of their shop windows. The Debenhams stand was quite possibly the most uninspiring thing I have seen in a long time, and whilst the BHS stand was quite nice and vibrant, it was that stuffed with furniture and accessories your eyes gave up.

interior designer cheshire next stand at ideal Home show

Next Home (excuse my iphone wobble!) Boring.

 

interiordesigner cheshire BHS stand at Ideal Home show

BHS stand. Quite a lot going on here!

interior designer cheshire Dwell stand ideal Home show Manchester

Dwell’s stand. Hello 2010, good to see you again 🙂

interior designer cheshire Debenhams stand at Ideal Home show

The Debenhams stand. I hope they’re a bit embarrassed.

It’s not like me to be so scathing and I suppose the Ideal Home Show were only catering to their audience who were.. well not me I guess! There were a couple of stands that were ok, the Smeg stand was good and I have a soft spot for Karndean, whose stand was good looking and informative. One of the companies I felt quite sorry for were Jamjar Lights. Not because I didn’t like their products- they were great and I’ll certainly be back in touch with them, but the general audience at the Ideal Home show just did not get it.

interior designer cheshire jamjar lights

Jam jar lights

interior designer cheshire

Wire shades from JamJar Lights

 

I’ll bet that like me, they won’t be wasting their time attending the Ideal Home show again!

Love Angela xx

Garden styles..

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There were lots of amazing gardens and inspiration at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. Worthy Gold Medal winners that were my favourites were A Perfumer’s garden in Grasse by L’Occitane. You can almost smell that wonderful fragrance when you look at it!

I surprised myself when I liked this garden style, it’s a bit more rustic than my usual taste, but it’s just so beautiful, you could imagine yourself sitting there with a nice chilled glass of wine…..

A-Perfumers-Garden-in-Grasse-L'Occitane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I saw a few of the other Gold winners and was impressed with those too- great inspiration and I spotted some rustic elements creeping in to their contemporary garden styles… maybe gardening is becoming a bit more relaxed nowadays, I hope so 🙂

Garden style, RHS Chelsea

Garden style, RHS Chelsea Flower show

This was the Brewin Dolphin garden, featuring towering sculptures and more rustic stone elements and the water feature. Love it.

 

 

 

 

 

Garden style, Chatsworth

Loved this garden by Chatsworth, who’d teamed up with Laurent Perrier. If you’ve been to Chatsworth you’ll know that this garden is as if the best elements of the Chatsworth gardens were transplanted to Chelsea. No surprise they won a gold medal.

The last one from the Gold winners that I liked was the Telegraph garden. Although I did wonder how long this design would stand up, I feel it’s on the verge of being dated now. The planting was fantastic and the water feature was lovely, however very Mies Van der Rohe Pavillion inspired, so not too much original thinking there? They won a gold medal though, so who am I to judge?!

telegraph garden, garden style telegraph garde, garden style Telegraph garden, garden style

I hope you found some inspiration from Chelsea like I did, happy gardening!

Love Angela xx

 

 

 

6 things you HAVE to ask an interior designer!

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6 things you have to ask your interior designer

 

 

 

 

 

1. What experience does the interior designer have in your particular project? It’s all very well hiring an interior designer because you like the look of the living room projects they’ve completed, but if your project is a bathroom or kitchen can they deliver? These are much more technical spaces to design and can involve many more trades, so you want a designer who has worked on these type of projects preferably.

2. What is the general aesthetic the interior designer works to? As an interior designer, my job is to bring a client’s ideas to life with input in the form of some of my own ideas, guidance on technical aspects and the knowledge of what will work for them in terms of budget and lifestyle. However I tend to have a particular style. I wouldn’t take on work that required a lot of antiques and heavy window dressings for example. It’s just not my bag as I tend to be commissioned for, and prefer, more contemporary work. A designer with experience and a portfolio of this type of work is obviously going to be much more suitable.

3. How extensive is the interior designer’s portfolio? Would you entrust your home to a designer who has no evidence of a portfolio detailing similar projects to yours? Now I’m not saying that new designers shouldn’t get a break, we were all there once. However, you and the designer need to go into the project with eyes wide open if that’s the case. Like any industry the longer you’ve been in it, chances are the better the result. This just naturally comes from knowledge and experience.

4. Do you like the designer? This might sound petty, and you may ask yourself if it’s really that important. If you’re thinking of a large renovation project for example, you are going to be working very closely with your designer over a fairly long time period. If you don’t like them, it could end up being a painful process! You need to be “on the same page” as your interior designer and trust that they’ll be instrumental in bringing your ideas to life, whilst enjoying the process too. Interior design is exciting and fun if you’re working with the right team.

5. What budgets does the interior designer work to? Be honest, you cringed at this point didn’t you? No one really likes talking money but there is absolutely no point in engaging a designer if you haven’t had an honest conversation about budget. A reputable interior designer will bring it up quite early on in your conversations, because it’s important. An experienced designer knows whether your budget is realistic or not. They know that if you want a kitchen make over with Gaggenau appliances and marble worktops, you’ll struggle on a small budget! So an interior designer has two choices, to steer you towards what you can afford or if you’re set on your dream kitchen, to educate you as to how much that is probably going to cost.

6. How does the designer charge? Another cringe fest as we’re talking about money again. Aaargh! However there are numerous ways an interior designer can charge, and this will vary from designer to designer. Be upfront about asking the question and expect transparency in the answer you get. Every client and every job is different, but that doesn’t mean that a designer can make it up as they go along! Your designer should have a pricing structure and be happy to provide a detailed written quotation for your particular project before any work commences.

Hope this helps!

Love Angela xx

Three Interiors

Using Pinterest does not a designer make..

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Ever since the advent of the web, it has gotten easier and easier to create “a look” online. You only need to view Pinterest to see hundreds of thousands of boards that public and professionals alike have pulled together.

I’m not going to deny that I use Pinterest, it’s brilliant for collating a number of ideas and it’s really useful for clients too, they can show their ideas all in one place, pretty much unheard of until Pinterest came along.

Now, don’t get me wrong a lot of Pinterest shots are beguiling. Shot by professional photographers, with amazing lighting and “staged” for that particular shoot, they are of course aspirational. I mean they could make a pig pen look amazing! In fact, a lot of interior shots littered throughout Pinterest, Twitter etc. were intended for the pages of magazines where clever graphics people and Photoshop reign supreme!

These pics here, courtesy of Thrifty & Chic help me to make my point. Okay, okay she’s using these images to talk about “how to fake a clean house” (great post by the way) but you can see the difference in lighting and the obvious staging, slightly different positioning etc. she’s done in the after image compared to before. This is (I’m pretty sure) without the use of Photoshop.

After-ps Before-ps

These bright and shiny social media images do put the pressure on your own portfolio! I know when I look at the photos of my work compared to Pinterest images, they look well, a bit crap if I’m honest. Mostly shot by me and making use of natural light where possible, they just don’t have that “almost hurt your eyes brightness” that the social photos do.

However, that’s how you can tell when a designer has used “stock” images to create their look. Buyer beware, these same shiny images seem to be suspiciously popping up on designer’s own websites.

When I created my website, I obviously wanted it to look the best and to showcase my work. After bemoaning the fact that my images didn’t look as good as others out there, a marketing friend of mine suggested I pull my portfolio and use a few stock images through my site. I obviously baulked at this. I reasoned that although my work was now starting to be a little dated (that’s a few years of career break for you) that it was at least MY work and once I started to finish more projects they would supersede the older ones. I’ve also decided that calling in a professional or at least investing in some photographic lighting equipment might be an idea going forward. Everyone (including me) is now used to seeing these beautifully lit, professional images. Anything else is bound to look a bit rubbish in comparison!

So, to make my original point using social media does not a designer make. If you see a website that looks like it’s just fallen off the pages of Pinterest, chances are you might be right! Always call and speak to an interior designer and have a checklist of things to ask. Most reputable designers will be more than happy to speak to you on the phone and come and see you for an initial consultation if you feel the call went well. This is usually free of charge (I’m happy to chat over the phone and never charge for an initial face to face consultation)

I’ve put together a checklist here you might find useful when considering a designer. This isn’t exhaustive by any means, but hopefully it will get you started.

Best of luck

Angela x

Three Interiors

Copenhagen & Design Inspiration….

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As I’ve mentioned, I’ve just returned from a city break with my Mum in the wonderful city of Copenhagen. This was planned to celebrate a milestone birthday for Mum and also provided a whole heap of design inspiration for me. Whilst I love Scandinavian design I’d never been lucky enough to go the Dane’s capital. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I’d love to go again with Phil and Cara.

I always come away from a holiday with tons of pictures and ideas. I’ll be the first to say that not all of them would end up in an interior of mine or a clients, but the feeling they evoke, or their style or finish might.

I also decided to resurrect something that I used to do when studying interior design – a scrap/sketch book for ideas, notes, any design inspiration I might have. Mine will currently be focussed on the ideas for the new house, as obviously that’s at the forefront of my mind right now. I felt I needed to have something on paper- Pinterest and Instagram are great for overall images but I need texture and notes and detail. I got this very “snazzy” little book at my local Sainsbury’s!!

bookLooking forward to filling the pages!

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, back to Copenghagen. The first things we came across on our walk up to the Little Mermaid was two tall pillars, which link the Amalienborg (Royal Palaces) with the Royal Opera House across the water.

totem

Pretty cool industrial look. Love that metal – will say it’s copper as it’s gone green but can’t be sure….

 

 

 

Then the Little Mermaid. Much photographed and apparently quite controversial, I liked the way the light played on the bronze of the statue. Totally touristy but Mum and I decided you couldn’t go to Copenhagen and not see her!

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Not too far away, the Russian church stood out because of the incredibly shiny gold on top! The rest of the church was really dark brick which made these stand out all the more. A pop of metal like this really has the wow factor.

russian-church

 

 

 

 

 

window-2

 

Carrying on our walk, we were admiring the architecture of the buildings along the harbour front. I like the modern window extension, I’ve been thinking about something similar in shape for our hallway/porch extension in the new house. This one must bring in so much light to the room, and apart from the roof right next door, you’d still get a fab view of the harbour!

 

wooden-beamsWe popped back to the hotel and I got some snaps of the enormous wooden beams in our room. Their texture and the iron bolts is something akin to what I’m thinking for the kitchen- not the colour though. It was a bit ’80’s pine coloured for me!

 

 

tapsBit random this one I know, but I loved the simplicity of these taps and the brass. Definitely want something like this in the kitchen, perhaps without the cracked tiles and painted porcelain sink though 🙂

 

 

 

We were staying close to Nyhavn, one of the prettiest ports I’ve ever seen, and a great place for a drink/food with restaurants and bars lining the street. There was also a couple of ice cream parlours. YUM.

nyhavn ice-cream

 

 

 

 

 

I really wanted to go to the Design Centre, however it was shut 🙁 What they’re looking to create looks exciting though, so it’s a reason to come back in 2018! Mum and I cheered ourselves up with cake at the Ny Carslberg Glyptotek  and spent a happy couple of hours looking at art, sculptures and admiring the beautiful building.

cake-at-Carlsnerg-Glyptotek design-centre

 

 

 

 

 

matisse         rodin


 

 

 

Cheeky little Matisse and Rodin

 

glypotek-building christ-blue-bground

 

 

 

 

 

The internal garden courtyard                            Marble sculpture’s not really my thing but that blue is- POW!

One of the things that I really liked was part of the building itself, gorgeous plaster reliefs – some looked almost “free hand” featuring starfish shapes and leaves- even two boys playing, whilst others were geometric in their pattern.

plaster-relief-1   plater-relief-3

 

 

 

 

plaster-relief-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemporary plaster relief can be found at Surfaceform.

Causeway-PANEL-pho  Ace 🙂 and a great bit of wow factor if you’re getting a bit sick of more traditional finishes

 

 

 

 

Well I don’t think this will be the last blog about Copenhagen, I’ve got plenty more snaps to show! Speak soon

Love Angela xx

Three Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ooooooh I love that design!!!!

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The amazing Jim at Designers Up North sent me my logo (it was ahead of time and totally unexpected) and it’s ace. I want to describe what it’s like to work with someone who just gets it, it’s such a great experience. I gave Jim a brief that outlined logos I liked (and why), ones I didn’t (and why) and he produced a number of concepts, some of which were good, some he just wasn’t “feeling”. Then he had that moment where you know that a design is “the one” and had to share it with me.

I totally understand his thinking. I get that you arrive at the design that’s right and you just do the whole air grasp thing and a big Yeeesss!!

I’m also a true believer in outsourcing if your skills don’t match the job in hand. I’m an interior designer. I learnt my craft completely separately to fine art, graphic design or fashion. I therefore believe that Jim’s skills will produce results that will be over and above anything that I could ever produce in a much shorter time frame. I’d assume that Jim would feel the same when it came to designing interiors!

I think the essence of a good designer is that even when you get that “Yeeesss!!!” moment you leave an element that the client can change/amend. We’ve discussed a slight colour change and I’ll get back to him tomorrow –  but the shape and feel of the design is just spot on. I’d visualised something like it in my subconscious, I knew it would have curves and fluidity and it’s all about the 3 but he’s brought it to life and given it form.

I hope my clients have this experience working with me, I know I have the Yeeesss!!! moments and you go into your client meeting with enthusiasm and excitement about how the finished room is going to look, and it’s just total job satisfaction when the feedback is totally positive. However, it’s the clients who will live with your design so you have to be open to small amendments that make the client truly part of that design process and give them the ownership of the look and form of the space. If you’ve delivered on your brief, as Jim did, then you know you’re essentially on the same page as your clients and the design process becomes a creative partnership.

Love Angela x

Three Interiors