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Make an entrance

27 Jun

Get the Look leafy hallway (Angela Fawcett clients -Little Greene Paradise wallpaper)

I recently wrote a feature for Notebook – the Sunday Mirror’s magazine – on how to recreate the look of this gorgeous green leafy hallway. It’s a brilliant modern-meets-retro scheme that would work in a living room or even a bedroom; and I love it so much I thought I’d share it with you, too.

The wallpaper used here is Paradise Feather by Little Greene, £137 per roll. It’s not cheap, but it is beautiful, and as you only really need to paper one feature wall with it, it might just be worth splashing out for…

EXACT MATCH Paradise Feather wallpaper £137 per roll Little Greene

However, if you really can’t stretch that far, Amazonia Citrus wallpaper, £30 per roll from Arthouse.com (below) is a good, far less expensive alternative…CHEAPER LOOKALIKE Amazonia Citrus Wallpaper, from £30 - www.arthouse.com (2)

And here’s how to recreate the rest of the room:

Hallways can be useful spaces – not just somewhere to pass through. Turn yours into a place to relax by adding a mini sofa or armchair in glamorous leaf-green velvet, to pick up the colour in the wallpaper (below left: Lulu 2-seater sofa in Flanders green £599 Made.com; below right: Ritchie mini sofa £299 Made.com). Accessorise with plain green rather than patterned cushions for a feeling of cal

two green retro sofas

Use your wallpaper to cover just one wall, or one side of the hallway, and paint the other walls a gentle off-white (Rolling Fog Pale 158, £21 for 1L, by Little Greene has been used here) to prevent the pattern overpowering the space.

Use plants as ornaments – particularly trailing ivy, punchy blooms and leafy foliage. Think outside the box when it comes to containers – put a pot inside an old birdcage, or arrange flowers in an antique garden urn, to bring the outdoors in. Below, LtoR: Lumio stool £64.69 Maisonsdumonde.com, Tall metal urn £38 MiaFleur.com, Ivory metal birdcage tealight holder £17.75 MelodyMaison.co.uk:

accessories for green hallwayAnd also: Tukang antique green midi birdcage £65 Puji.com :

Tukang antique green midi birdcage £65 Puji.com

Continue the back-to-nature theme with warm wood – on the floor, stairs and furniture. If your floorboards are beyond repair, cheat with engineered wood flooring or even hardwearing laminate – perfect for high-traffic areas like hallways, it’s come a long way since the 1980s and can look incredibly realistic.

Update a cheap junk shop mirror with gold spray paint, such as Rust-oleum Elegant Metallic Gold, £9.49, Amazon.co.uk. For a professional finish, mask off the glass first with newspaper and Frogtape (£4, Homebase), then spray the frame with several light coats, letting each one dry in between. Below: Florence mirror £75 Ayersandgraces.com:

gold gilt Florence mirror £75 AyersandGraces.com

Mix old and new styles of lighting for a stylish, eclectic look – but stick to a colour theme (gold works well here). Hunt for fabulous ornate light fittings in antique shops, then get an electrician to check them over and update the wiring for modern use. Below left: House Doctor Molecular ceiling lamp £189 Ovohome.com. Below right: Boheme 2-light wall bracket £84 Darlighting.co.uk:

lighting

A sideboard isn’t just for the dining or living room. A great way to make use of otherwise dead space, it’ll provide extra storage as well as a display area on the top. Use yours to stash anything from books to shoes. Below: Randall sideboard £449 SwoonEditions.com:

Randall sideboard £449 SwoonEditions.comAnd the finishing touches: Fejka artificial palm £20 Ikea; Parrot ornament £12.99 HomeSense; Photography book storage tin, £19.99 Oakroomshop.co.uk:

Accessories for green hallway 2

Are you sitting comfortably?

24 Mar

purple mid century chair comparison

As regular readers will know, I’m partial to a bit of mid-century design, and I’m particularly fond of a bargain… but even I needed a little sit down when I saw the whopping price difference between these two equally gorgeous armchairs.

The one on the left (the ‘Ritchie’) is from the very lovely Made.com and costs £349. The one on the right (the ‘Ricardo’) is from my new favourite secret shopping destination for chair-buying, AtlanticShopping.co.uk and costs – wait for it – just £159.50. Crazy eh?

Not only that, but just like the Made.com chair, the Ricardo comes in teal, and also in beige too. Perfect for a living room or even a bedroom, at that price, I reckon it’d be rude not to buy one!

blue mid century chair comparison

Nesting instinct

21 Feb

Retro nest of tables Debenhams and Dunelm

Can you tell the difference between the two lovely nests of tables above? Nope, nor can I! The pictures are almost identical.

However… the one of the left – the Saturn nest of tables in American oak – costs £275 from Debenhams; and the one on the right – the Skandi oak lamp tables – costs £119.99 from Dunelm Mill. That’s a huge price difference.

I’ve always had a soft spot for retro or mid-century modern style furniture, so these little beauties are high up on my wishlist. I love the way they sit snugly together, and are just the right size for a cup of tea and a lamp/vase/whatever book you’re reading at the moment.

What’s more, if Debenhams and Dunelm sell out, it’s possible to buy a spookily similar-looking set – the Revival nest of tables – for £149 from John Lewis

John Lewis revival nest of tables £149

…and the Hygena Emmett nest of tables in oak veneer for £99.99 from Homebase

Hygena Emmett nest of tables oak veneer £99.99 Homebase

…or even get the same nest but in darker Walnut wood, £119.99 again, from our friends Dunelm Mill (below). Choices, choices!

Skandi walnut nest of tables £119.99 Dunelm Mill

Cabin fever

29 Jan

LIFESTYLE SHOT Cosy Contemporary NB PIX - ALSO AVAILABLE AS A 43MB TIFF

It’s cold, wet and frankly disgusting weather outside at the moment, so when it comes to decorating your living room, you need a cosy, comfy warm-feeling space you can curl up in and hibernate (but that will still look fresh and stylish in the summertime too).

This was the brief I stuck to when I created the above living room scheme which appeared in Notebook magazine (the very excellent supplement that comes with the Sunday Mirror) last  weekend.

It’s themed around the stunning Nasturtium fabric from designer Julia at Winter’s Moon (visit her website here)…

Made in Britain-Cameo-05_RT cushion close up

Purple, blue and bright orange might seem odd colours to throw together, but they work brilliantly well, adding zing and life to neutral walls and furniture. Using the lovely cushions and lampshade from Julia’s range as a starting point, I used other accessories to pick up the colour theme, including purple curtains, accent cushions and a radio; and orange flowers, accent cushions and a throw to transform the armchair:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain ARMCHAIRI also can’t resist a feature wall, so I faked a log cabin look with wood panel effect wallpaper. And as this look is all about bringing the outside in, I added some nods to nature with a fun foxy cushion, a basket of real logs, a stag’s head wall hanging, and a ‘nest’ print from one of my favourite design teams, Bold & Noble:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain CUSHIONS

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain SIDEBOARD SCENE

I’m really pleased with the way it all turned out, and what’s more, everything used in the shoot, from the furniture, wallpaper and curtains to the log basket, rug and teapot on the table was made in the UK.

GET THE LOOK!

Want to recreate this look? Here’s where to buy everything you see in the room (plus, if you scroll down, I’ve got some suggestions for cheaper versions of some products for those of you on a tight budget!):

Cocktail 4-seater sofa, £1598, Cocktail accent chair, £898, and Cavendish furniture, from £149, all DFS (dfs.co.uk). Polycotton rib pencil pleat Curtains in cassis, from £50, Roberts Revival radio in ‘cassis’, £159.95 and Scion Mr Fox cushion £40, all John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Windowpane check pure new wool throw in tangy orange, £40, woolblanketonline.comLarge square Nasturtium floral cushion, £56, Rectangular Nasturtium cushion, £48 and Bell bottom table lamp in orange with Nasturtium shade, £134, all Winter’s Moon (wintersmoon.co.uk). Large vase, Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, £41.60, Portmeirion (portmeirion.co.uk). Purple and orange ‘Soho’ cushions, £26 each, Heal’s (heals.co.uk). Handknitted teal throw, £160 and Oval basket shopper, £52 both Make The Most Of (makethemostof.co.uk). Sisal rug, £385.70 Crucial Trading (crucialtrading.co.uk). Heather teapot, £58 and mugs, £10.50 each, Denby (denby.co.uk). Circular slate cheeseboard (used as tray), £16, Grey and Echo (folksy.com/shops/greyandecho). Round slate coasters, £22 for four, Just Slate (justslate.co.uk). ‘Nest’ print, £43, Bold & Noble (boldandnoble.co.uk). Cardboard stag’s head, £15, Oh Bother Design (etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign). Artichoke candle holders (used as bookends), £24 each and Cream serving dish with yellow rim, £18, all Velvet Dash (velvet-dash.com). Timber wallpaper in ‘limed’, £69.90 per wide roll, Andrew Martin (andrewmartin.co.uk)

BUDGET ALTERNATIVES:

cosy cabin get the look for cheaper

[Above, left to right, top to bottom] Tuscany sideboard £149 Very.co.uk. Spectrum DABFM Digital Radio £29.95 John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Fox cushion £28, Howkapow.comThe Hamptons chunky knit throw  £18.39 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com). Chenille cushion £8 BHS (bhs.co.uk). Jute natural rug from £35 Next (next.co.uk). Retro ceramic lamp £14 Wilko (wilko.com). Oslo nest of two tables £49 Isme.comPurple teapot £6.48 kitchenhomeware.co.uk. You’ll also find great wood panel wallpaper for around £20 a roll at B&Q (diy.com) and Wallpaperdirect.co.uk.

Push (and pull) the button

31 Jul

55550007-Acrylic-Retro- Button Knob-Red -Vera

I’ve long been a fan of changing drawer and door knobs on furniture to give it a whole new lease of life. However, there isn’t actually a huge choice of little knobs around – you can get a few at Ikea, Bombay Duck,  John Lewis and Oliver Bonas, but to be honest, the selection isn’t that great and they’re often fairly expensive.

So, I was excited (and admit I went a little overboard with my online shopping basket) when I found Trinca Ferro, http://www.trinca-ferro.com.

They sell literally hundreds of different little knobs in a huge variety of shapes and colours (below), for around £2.95 – £3.20 each. Bargain!

My absolute favourites are the chunky Acrylic Retro Button knobs, above. They come in eight shades and are a decent 4cm wide. You could use just one to jazz up chest of drawers; or even change all the handles on your kitchen cupboards for a really quirky look. I’ve got a big white chest of drawers in my bedroom – I reckon a mixture of different colours on each drawer would look amazing!

yellow floral knob

Nothing but the pouffe

15 Jul

POUF LIFESTYLE SHOT handknitted Urchin poufs £470-£795 www.hollys-house.com

POUF handknitted Urchin pouf £470 www.hollys-house.com

These handknitted Urchin pouffes are things of beauty. Soft, chic and woolly, they’re perfect for lounging in front of the telly, putting your feet up on, or rolling out when friends come to visit and you need an extra seat. But at £470 each (from http://www.hollys-house.com), they’re they sort of thing you could only dream of owning…

…until now. Several canny high street stores have recently launched their own, equally stylish versions.

First up is Next, who have small ochre yellow, powder blue or classic neutral cream ‘pods’ for £75 each:

Next small knitted blue pod pouffe lifestyle shot £75

Then there’s Dunelm Mill, whose grey pouffe is an extremely purse-friendly £49.99:

Dunelm Mill grey pouffe £49.99

And finally, Very.co.uk have the Sabichi knitted pouffe, in either neutral or black, for £59:

Very.co.uk Sabichi knitted pouffe £59

PS: Want a pouffe with a bit of oomph? I also love the Estaban pouffe, £109 from http://www.very.co.uk made of hundreds of multicoloured felt pom-poms. Okay, so it’s still a bit on the costly side, but it’s so lovely it’s like a work of art in its own right…

Estaban pouffe very.co.uk £109

Chair and chair alike

7 Jan

Eames DSW chairs various colours

The chairs above are all swanky Vitra Eames DSW chairs – a modern update of a 1950s classic by designers Charles and Ray Eames. It comes in various lovely colours and costs £315-320 from places such as Heal’s, John Lewis and http://www.funkylittledarlings.co.uk

The green ‘Malmo’ chair, below, also comes in white, black or red. However, it’s currently just £49  from Asda Direct (directasda.com). Spot the difference? Neither will 99% of your visitors.

You can buy six of these – SIX – for the price of one of the designer versions. Amazing.

The green and red versions are usually £99, but have £50 off at the moment, so snap ’em up quick. They’d look equally great round a dining table; as a statement on their own in a bedroom or bathroom; in a spare corner in a hallway; or as a smarter-than-usual home office chair.

TENDER SHOOTS Green Malmo chair £59 Asda

 

I wanna cork tonight

31 Dec

champagne cork shaped stool party setting

I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder, particularly when it comes to sentimental stuff. Cinema and gig tickets, letters and postcards friends have sent over the years, old  school bus passes (with cringeworthy photos of my various teenage hair disasters)… I’ve still got them all, in boxes in my loft. I’ve even got a stash of Champagne corks, from my 18th and 21st birthdays; from my wedding; and from memorable past New Years.

Now I’m aware that it’s probably not healthy to keep hold of so much junk, so one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2013 is to have a huge clear out. I’m going to sell stuff such as two of the three tea sets my granny owned; invest in some good photo albums (for all my childhood pix); and throw out all those corks.

And to celebrate turning over a new leaf, I’m hugely tempted to buy one of these amazing Giant Champagne Cork shaped stools for my living room, from www.notonthehighstreet.com. They’re made from quality Portugese cork, are comfy to sit on, and look exactly like mini versions of the real thing. Cool!

At £120 each, they’re definitely not cheap, but they do look awesome, and would be a real talking point. I suppose it just depends now how much money Granny’s teaset makes on EBay…

PS: readers from abroad, you don’t have to miss out! The stools can be shipped anywhere in the world.

6797384792_2c2b78405f_c (1)

Above pic: by Prova Shanty http://www.flickr.com/photos/provashanty/6797384792/

Luxe for less

2 Nov

Last week, I wrote a feature for the fabulous LOOK magazine on how to get designer-look homewares at high street prices. I found loads of great luxury copies (or ‘lookalikes’ or ‘tributes’ if you’re being kind!), including Asda’s amazing fox cushion, as featured on Monday’s blog post.

Anyhow, I came up so many great comparisons that they wouldn’t all fit in the mag. So, here, for your eyes only, are the ones that didn’t make it on the page. There are some spookily good lookalikes here… better snap up the cheap versions quick, before the lawyers are called in!

Above…
Left: Handknitted Urchin Pouffe, £470, http://www.hollys-house.com
Right: Scilla knitted floor cushions, £39.98 each, Colours at B&Q http://www.diy.com

Below…
Left: Deknudt Decora Silver Nugget Mirror, £825 , Heals http://www.heals.co.uk
Right: Home of Style Round Faceted Starburst Mirror, £49.99, Homebase http://www.homebase.co.uk

Left: Large Red Folding Vase, £75, The Conran Shop http://www.conranshop.co.uk
Right: LineaMix Red Vase, £30, House of Fraser http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Left: Bulb Table Lamp by Ingo Maurer, £655.20, http://www.ambientedirect.com
Right: Idea bulb shape table lamp, £19.98, B&Q http://www.diy.com

Left: EyeTest cushion, £25, John Lewis http://www.johnlewis.com
Right: Eye Test Card cushion, £12, Next http://www.next.co.uk

Left: White deer head, £99, Dwell http://www.dwell.co.uk
Right: Porcelain white deer head wall mount, £15, Matalan http://www.matalan.co.uk

Left: Vakash Cushion Cover, £120, OKA Direct http://www.okadirect.com
Right: Orange circles cushion, £20, Debenhams http://www.debenhams.com

Left: Film Lamp, £1,250, http://www.mufti.com
Right: Alfred Tripod Floor Lamp, £139, http://www.made.com

Left: The Small Baroque mirror, £900, Squint http://www.squintlimited.com
Right: Infini Baroque mirror in pink, £89.97, Tesco Direct http://www.tesco.com/direct

Taking a stand

19 Oct

Shopping in one of my favourite stores, Tiger, the other day, I spotted this fantastic black tree-shaped coat stand (top) for just £20. It’s not just great-looking, but usually this kind of thing costs hundreds of pounds.

It got me thinking – maybe there are other bargainous coat stands out there. While most are mega expensive, the high street is finally catching on, and even Ikea has gotten in on the act. It’s stylish Knippe hat and coat stand is just £22:

And that’s kind of it! The only others in the vaguely reasonable price range are from Dwell, below, who have a good selection. They’re riced from £69 to £129, and come in various colours and finishes. The only downside is that they’re almost too nice to cover in bulky winter coats…!

Having a ball

10 Sep

I was recently asked to name my favourite piece of 20th Century design. It could be anything, from an item of furniture to a tiny gadget or even something I’d made myself (hmmn, not sure my origami cranes from last December’s post would quite cut the mustard!).

The problem is, the last Century produced so many amazing designs and designers, how on earth do you choose? I feature at least one every blog post -and that’s just the small-fry, available-on-the-high-street stuff.

There are national treasures like the traditional K2 phone booth (designed in 1920 for la-di-dah Londoners who rejected the concrete versions elsewhere); iconic pieces of furniture such as the Mae West Lips Sofa; and of course, the smaller bits and bobs that not only look good but make our lives easier, from the first iMac G3 to Ikea’s clever Chosigt cheese grater.

But I was told I had to pick one, so I decided to impose my own criteria. It had to be something good-looking, useful, instantly recognisable, durable, colourful, fun, covetable and above all, something that if you owned it, it’d stop people in their tracks, make them smile, and say, “Wow”.

And that’s why I picked the Ball chair (above). Dreamed up by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio in 1966 who made the first prototype himself out of wood and fibreglass so that he and his wife had somewhere to sit in their new home (you can read more about it at www.eero-aarnio.com), it’s still one of the coolest bits of furniture anyone could own.

Aarnio described the ball chair as “a room within a room” and that’s exactly what I love most about it – when you’re sitting in one, you’re in your own private little world. Whether you’re curled up to read, listen to music, make a phone call, tap away on your computer or watch television, you can do so uninterrupted. And if you’ve got a hectic house like I have, that would be amazing.

I say “would be” because sadly, such an amazing design classic comes at a price. A £6,900 price, to be exact (check it out at www.designshopuk.com). Gulp. But a girl can dream.

If you love the ball chair as much as I do, there is one other solution – buy a reproduction. Now normally, I’d always say you should buy an original, but not many of us have a spare £7k knocking around… however, for something this special, you might be willing to splash out a few hundred.

That’s how much good quality copies cost from brilliant reproduction company Blue Sun Tree (www.bluesuntree.co.uk). For £425, you can choose the colour of the fibreglass shell (including pink, pistachio, silver, black and yellow); the colour of the seat upholstery (including dark green, red and purple); and even the size of your ball chair (83cm, the diameter of the original; or 72cm to fit through standard doorways), which will then be made to your specifications.

Then, once you’re the proud owner of a ball chair, you can just sit back and enjoy the compliments. Um, well actually maybe you won’t hear them, cos you’ll be snuggled up inside your own private nest!

This is my entry into Little Greene’s 20th Century Design competition. Find out more at: http://www.littlegreene.com/retro

Natural Habitat

6 Aug

I have to confess, I haven’t been in Habitat for a while. It’s always had nice stuff, it’s just that it’s fairly expensive stuff, and you guys know me – I’m all about the bargains.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see this fab nest of occasional tables from their new collection. Made of good quality steel and solid oak, the nest includes tables in mustard yellow, sky blue and the brilliantly-named Airforce blue, and are a very reasonable £70 for the set of three. The nest is also available in white or white/greys.

Alternatively, you can buy single Kilo occasional tables in green, white, red, blue, black, wine or orange for £25 each (below).

And while we’re on the subject, I spotted a couple of other little gems too. The retro-look Herbert spice jars (which could hold anything really, from earrings to keys to cotton buds) are £4 each (also below); while the versatile Macadam folding chairs – an original Habitat design from the Seventies – come in hot pink, white, blue, black or silver and cost just £10 each (bottom). Wow. That’s so cheap I think I need to sit down!

That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, I really love these Tiger treats!

25 Jul

See these gorgeous bright steel stools, above? You’d think they were at least £20 each, wouldn’t you? Well, they’re A FIVER! I nearly bought one in each colour on the spot!

I’ve written about Tiger Stores on this blog before, but I popped into my local branch the other day and besides these stools, I saw so many fabulous things that I thought I’d update you…

For those who don’t know it, Tiger has come over from Denmark, and is like a Japanese-style version of the Ikea marketplace. They sell so many amazing bits and bobs for the home, and it’s all mega cheap – nothing is over £30. They add new stock regularly and while they don’t sell online (yet), they do have a useful website at http://www.tigerstores.co.uk which tells you what’s just arrived. There are now 17 stores in the UK and they’re opening more  almost monthly.

Here’s what I spied this week:

Ceramic canisters with spoon on the side, £5 each…

Tile coasters, £1 each…

Letter and number mugs, £1 each…

Multi-coloured coathooks, £4 each…

Flowerpot toilet brushes, £4 each…

Pretty notepads, £2 each…

At home on the branch

11 Jun

I first spotted these powder-coated stainless steel twiggy coat hooks over two years ago, in a homes magazine. They’d styled up three of them, in beige, olive and white, on a grass green wall – they looked lovely.

At the time, I was in the process of selling my flat, so I promised myself I’d get a couple for my new place… then I lost the magazine in the move!

I couldn’t find them for sale anywhere – until now. I’ve just stumbled upon them at www.shoponyourdoorstep.com, where they’re £23.45 each for the slim Twig Hanger – not bad for something that looks like a cool  piece of modern art as well as being darn useful, too.

Style them like the mag against any strong coloured wall, or keep things subtle with a white one on a white background,  and let the things you hang on it do the talking.

Whatever you decide, I guarantee it’ll look tree-mendous (sorry!).

What happens Next…

6 Jun

Take a look at the photo above. You’d think it was taken in a  chic French Brocante (bric-a-brac) shop. But in fact, this Aladdin’s Cave of goodies is a selection of Next’s new honewares ranges for this coming Autumn/Winter!

I was given a sneak preview of their new collections and was seriously impressed. Lots of stuff looks designer, and I particularly love the large zinc-edged wooden letters (above); the red miner’s lantern; the cotton reel candlesticks and designer-look light fitting made of four vintage-style lampshades (bottom). How about you?

Prices are still tbc, but as it’s Next, they’re likely to be more than reasonable. I can’t wait to start shopping!

Keep your eyes peeled for the new collections instore and at www.next.co.uk from the Autumn.

By hook or by nook

25 May

Keys, mobiles, iPods, glasses/glasses cases, pens, lipbalm… you can never find things like these when you need them. Which is usually just as you’re trying to leave the house and are in a bit of a flap anyhow.

That’s why I’m thinking of investing in a HookNook – a genius new cubbyhole and coat/bag/scarf hook combined. It’s big enough to hold all those vital bits and bobs, yet discreet at the same time

Why not get one for each member of your household and put them in a line

The Hook Nook by Flip & Tumble is £11 (for the white version) at http://www.junkskull.com or £13.35 (for a green or brown version) at http://www.amazon.co.uk

PS: Like this blog? Nominate it for an award!
If you love my blog, I’d be honoured if you’d nominate it for the ‘Lifestyle Blog of the Year’ in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012. To do so only takes a few seconds – just enter http://www.thetreasurehunteruk.com in the ‘Lifestyle Blog’ category on the following link:
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2012/cosmo-blog-awards-2012_nominate
Nominations close at the end of June. Thank you!

Suit your shelf

14 May

Do you remember those wooden display shelves that grans used to have? They might have looked old-fashioned, but they were perfect for showing off nic nacs.

Now http://www.boonuk.co.uk have brought the idea into the 21st century with these cool Flaunt Shelves. Unlike similar models, which cost bajillions of pounds, they cost just £19.99 for a three-shelf unit, or £29.99 for six-shelf unit. They look equally great on either a white or a coloured feature wall and work in practically any room in the house.

The only problem you’ll have is deciding what to put on them!

One hot desk

16 Mar

I had an email from a reader recently, asking whether I thought she should get a desk from Ikea.

Now, I LOVE Ikea stuff , and would normally have said yes, but one of my favourite pieces of furniture in my house is my Loft desk, £199, from John Lewis.

For just a few pounds more than an Ikea version, you get something made of solid oak and oak veneer, that looks like it was designed by Conran. With an extendable pull-out desk top, it’s perfect for a home office, and easily smart enough for the corner of a living room/bedroom where space is tight. It has five useful cubbyholes, plus a drawer, and discreet holes for computer cables.

It’s available in plain oak or White; or for £225, you can now get the “Reborn” version, which has gorgeous coloured lacquer inside the cubbyholes. Cute!

A big unit

30 Jan

Searching for some extra storage for my bathroom, I came across this little beauty. It doesn’t take up loads of room, fits lots of stuff inside (albeit that big shampoo bottles will have to lay on their sides) and is the perfect height for putting books/mags on when you’re in the bath.

Of course, it’s not just for bathrooms – I’ve seen it in bedrooms and living rooms in Living Etc magazine. And you don’t get much chic-er than that!

The proper name for it is the Kartell Componibili 3-tier storage unit (it’s a design classic apparently) and it comes in red or white for £86 from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com). However, http://www.Next.co.uk also sell exactly the same unit (it’s just called a ‘storage unit’) in white, black, hot pink or purple for £70. And if you’re happy to go off the high street, http://www.componibili.com sell three tier units in white, black or silver for just £44.99, as well as two-tier units and large single units at hugely reduced prices. Bargain!

Pleased to seat you

5 Oct

It’s impossible to go to Ikea and only come out having bought the thing you originally went in for. On a recent weekend trip there (never a good idea, I know, best to go in the evenings when the store is yours) for door handles, I came back with this lovely Nordmyra chair.

It’s a cross between Scandi style and the mid-century modern (a new take on the 1950s) designs that are everywhere at the moment.

Normally, something like this would cost you £80 upwards pretty much anywhere, but as it’s from Ikea, it cost just £29. It looks really stylish in the corner of my bedroom with a little red crochet cushion on the seat; but I bet a set of four (which would set you back £116 – a total bargain) would look amazing round a dining room table.

Paper, scissors, home!

19 Sep

One of my favourite ways to get inspiration for decorating a room is to visit http://www.wallpaperdirect.co.uk and look for their newest designs. They’ve got a really easy-to-use search facility that lets you hunt for specific colours or words (eg: trees, Scandi) or types of patterns (eg: floral, geometric). You can order samples too – the first two are free, and then they’re 60p each after that, including P&P. Rolls themselves cost £5 upwards.

But you don’t have to just use wallpaper for walls – I’ve used it to line drawers of an Ikea chest (paste it to the base of your drawers before you assemble them for the neatest finish, see below) and now I’m on the hunt for something to paper the inside of a boring hall cupboard with.

I adore all things Japanese, so I’ve fallen in love with this gorgeous new design, called Kokeshi, which comes in blue or red. Sadly though, it’s one of the most expensive on the site at £83 a roll (eek!), so I may have to lower my sights a little. Cute though, isn’t it?

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