Monthly Archives: May 2011

What trend is sweeping the interior design world and getting everyone shouting?

It’s fantastic to see interior designers from all corners of the industry really thinking about sustainable design and showing people how they can re-use materials to create not only eclectic pieces to put inside a home or building, but taking a serious approach to their own carbon footprint. Pressure groups and political parties have shouted about eco-friendly living for years, so this new “eco-chic” or “up-cycling” trend which has swept the design world hasn’t just popped onto the scene from nowhere.  Bearing this in mind, I ask, why has it taken us so long to finally care about our surroundings and start to change our habits?

I’m sure some boffins out there have an intricate explanation, but from my point of view, attending shows such as Birmingham Interiors, Ideal Home Show and keeping track of what other bloggers, designers and tweeps are discussing, reveals one major point, people have far less to spend so are forced to make-do and mend.

I know many people and designers, who’ve jumped on the band wagon, using old wood from skips, battered doors, unwanted plastic bottles and vintage suitcases to re-create various pieces of furniture which look immense. Eco designer Sarah Turner, who I met at this years Birmingham Interiors Show, creates lights from used plastic bottles and Hendzel & Hunt who are behind the label “Made in Peckham”, also showcased at BIS, create wonderful rustic tables and chairs from wood and pallets discarded on the streets of Peckham. Watch the video below to see their designs!

Hendzel & Hunt

Sarah Turner

Sarah’s designs also featured in some of the show homes at this years Ideal Home Show at Earls court in London and it’s great to see young fresh talent really pushing through on the eco front, basing their designs around sustainability and setting a positive example.

This years Ideal Home Show followed suit and was heavily based around sustainable living from George Clarke’s Coronation Street eco-refit, that demonstrated how energy inefficient many of the UK’s homes are and how they can be improved, to Linda Barker’s eco-chic styling seminars. As well as interior design celebrities endorsing green living, other areas of the show also showed their support for green living. The stand for the Help for Heroes campaign at the event was kitted out with furniture made from various soldiers uniforms, buttons and hats which I thought was a lovely gesture.

The impact these shows have on people is huge, in one of her eco-chic seminars, Linder Barker showed spectators how to make a cake stand from old plates and glasses. I thought this was a fantastic idea and decided to make one myself and write a guide for others to do the same. To this day, one of the most popular searches I find on The Design Hub, is how to create a vintage cake stand! Okay it’s not on the same scale as investing in under floor heating or compressed insulation, but it’s still making a difference and tackling the “throw-away” culture which we’ve all been caught up in – thank you Linda!

Even Robin, the Finance Director at the National Design Academy, had a go at up-cycling and created a magnificent cupboard from bits of scrap. It didn’t cost him a penny and give him great satisfaction I’m sure, to know that he’d created something from nothing. Interior Designer Karen Lane, who’s based in the East Midlands, often gets old worn furniture from charity shops and restore’s them to sell on – check out her guide!

Which brings me to another important point, all this restoring and up-cycling is really benefitting our charity shops. I think my local one is sick of the sight of me, but I get a lot of pleasure making use of unwanted items and helping others at the same time, so it’s worth having a look to see what you can find.

Like South African designer Katie Thompson say’s, “make something ordinary, extraordinary”. (check out her Suitcase Chair’s they’re a great example of up-cycling)

In these hard economic times, people seem to be more open to all ideas thrown out there that can save money which could be the reason “eco-chic” and “up-cycling” and has taken off.  Those who have redecorated their home on a shoe string are leading the way with chic, rustic, recycled designs that all the home magazines have jumped on. If you want to achieve this look, it’s cheap and easy, just use your imagination and make use of interior design blogs/sites/forums to get inspiration, because they’re all shouting about it in one form or another.

Back to the point, this years biggest trend is sustainable living which like all trends has levels of expense, if you can afford a £2000 chair made from old t-shirts, great, it’s still an appreciation of the eco concept and keeping that designer in business, but if your more towards the make-do and mend end of the spectrum, you have a wealth of exciting and creative eco-friendly options to try. Whatever level, whatever design keep thinking green and you’re already bang on trend.

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Eco-friendly, George Clarke, Ideal Home Show 2011, Kitchen Interiors, lighting, Living room Interiors, News, Periord Ideas, Quirky, Sarah Turner, sustainable interiors, The Designers Block, Up-cycling, www.nda.ac.uk

Design of the Day – The extraordinary Suitcase Chair

Interior Designers across the world are now firmly on the eco-friendly bandwagon and pushing their designs to new environmentally savvy heights. One designer from South Africa has demonstrated how old vintage suitcases can be transformed into chairs! Katie Thompson graduated from Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town with the aim to make the ordinary rather extraordinary.

The “Suitcase Chair” is my favorite of Katie’s designs, I just adore it’s quirkyness and the white linen set against the pale blue case gives this piece a beautiful and delicate personality. Also, the clever recycling of what can be seen as “junk” is a fantastic example to their designers wanting to be more forward thinking.

The chair has a steel reinforced internal structure with the body is covered in 100% white linen, with the buttons draped in floral Liberty fabric. I’m not sure how much this piece is, but going by her other designs which sell from £600 upwards, my guess is that it’s not going to be cheap, but neither is quality.

 

Image source: interiordesignsense.com

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Filed under Katie Thompson, News, Quirky, Soft Furnishings, Suitcase Chair, sustainable interiors, Up-cycling, upholstery

Design of the Day – Bag yourself a light!

We’ve all heard the term “put a bag over your head”, well these designers have taken the concept of covering something unsightly with a bag literally, creating the “Bagalight Old School” light. Created by Martin & Cameron Fry, the shade (bag) is made from paper and card and makes great use of an object people would usually throw away – super eco-chic!

The bulbs are A rated energy efficient which is great news for your pocket and the environment and you can choose from a variety of designs, as well as table light versions to wow your friends.

Yet another great find on the brilliantly quirky Brighton POD website, where you can buy any of these designs for under 30 quid!

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Filed under Bagalight, lighting, modern design, News, Quirky

Update!

Hello folks, I hope your weekend was lush! Just a quick note, I’m currently editing a micro documentary so am rather intensely trying to get it looking great so I can return back to blogging. I appreciate your patience and there is a wealth of articles video’s, event reviews and loads more to keep you occupied.

Kellie Hill

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Blog diary: I’ll be a soft furnishings ninja in no time!

I’m getting rather into a few small hobbies at the moment with the aim to widen my intelligence spectrum, this includes; attempting to cook, making vintage cake stands and other general crafty things. One huge desire which I’ve always had, is to be able to sew, not only that but to make cushions, curtains and clothes.

Today I made the first steps to becoming a nibbled fingered sewing machine, with colleague Tracey, who once ran her own soft furnishings business, kindly giving up her lunch hour to give me my first lesson.

Now I’m a visual learner so having her there to show me what to do was fab! First I tackled the “slip” stitch, which was a little tricky to begin with, Tracey said I was being over critical, “calm yourself down, it’s only your first stitch!”. Noted.

I then moved on to the “ladder” stitch which was a little easier and my favorite. According to Tracey, it’s also her favorite stitch even though, ” it sounds a little sad having a favorite stitch, but we can now both talk about loving the “ladder” stitch and being sad together”. Im feel like I’m finally apart of the curtain gang!

I think this hobby will turn out to be a great success and I’m super excited to find out what I’ll be learning next – watch this space!

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Filed under Bedroom Interiors, courses, Home Acessories, Soft Furnishings, The National Design Academy, upholstery, www.nda.ac.uk

Freelance textile designer Laura Olivia is making waves with her striking prints!

Laura Olivia, never dreamt that one day she’d be supplying her designs to manufacturers all over the world, as well as being selected by Jethro Macey for this years New Designers “One Year On” event in London.

Her colourful designs started off as watercolours, sketches and photographic images inspired by nature. Laura combines digital technology and embroidery to create bright, colourful designs, perfect to lift any mood. In an interview with The Design Hub, Laura talks about her journey from being a textile design student to now owning her own brand and how other people can go about starting their own business. Continue reading

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Filed under Bedroom Interiors, help & support, Home Acessories, Kitchen Interiors, Living room Interiors, News, small businesses, Success Stories, The National Design Academy, www.nda.ac.uk

Design of the Day – Exposed industrial coat rack

A website called Brighton POD was brought to my attention by a colleague today and what a whimsical site it is! Full of eclectic and individually handmade pieces from up and coming designers. What I like about this site is how it acts as a propeller for new designers to showcase their work and also how buyers can contact the seller direct through the website which saves you trawling the internet for their email. To top that, buyers get a 14 day money back guarantee if they’re not happy with a purchase!

Inspired by the exposed piping in industrial buildings, Nick Fraser has created a coat rack which is made from copper pipes and brass fittings that are powder coated in bright colours. This design looks striking on the white wall and almost appears to be  part of a whole system hidden behind the wall. I love the impact this coat rack creates, it’s an instant eye-catcher.

You can buy this or any other of Nick Fraser’s coat racks from Brighton POD, this one will cost you £78 which I think is a bargain for such an origional piece.

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Filed under Art, modern design, News, Quirky, sustainable interiors

Hampton Court Palace looks utterly beautiful in spring

This was my first ever visit to Henry’s Hampton Court Palace and I was taken back by firstly the sheer scale of the place – 7 acres of roof tiling! Then the magnificent architecture and masonry and finally the beauty of the interiors, especially the Great Hall – wow!

We were fortunate enough that the rain held off which meant we could fully enjoy actors playing Henry VIII and his wife Anne Boleyn, addressing visitors in the courtyard and generally causing havoc! I even got the chance to have a quick snap with one of the gate keeper guards who addressed me as “mi lady”!

The Great Hall was simply breathtaking and of course that was its role, to impress and wow guests who arrived at the palace and knew that King Henry meant business! The tapestries on the wall were made from the finest silks and luxury materials which depicted the King as an important religious figure as he’d formed his own church.

Everything was decorated to the extreme from walls painted head to toe, lavish beds and huge great hallways, Henry VIII kitted out his palace in style! Hampton court is designed around the enfilade style which was used to establish people’s social status. The corridors are long and run the length of the building, numerous doors split the corridor to make rooms and the more doors a person gained access to, the more important they were. The aim was to get to the Cabinet at the end of the building.

Below is the great fire the cooking staff used to roast animals. The picture to the right is the ceiling in one of the main halls which has a huge chandelier suspended from the roof. My neck started to ache from staring up for so long, it was fascinating.

The room below was another of my favorite in the palace because of the gold ceiling and the powerful paintings which stretched the whole width of the room. This room I believe was a place of worship and reflection and had a compact secret door in the left corner which was very intriguing! Hampton Court Palace is a must for everyone and this wont be my last visit, I intend to return with a picnic basket in one hand and a fork in the other!

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Filed under Art, History, News, Places to visit

Design of the Day – Rectangular leaf light by Aline Johnson

Aline Johnson’s serene lighting designs have taken my breath away. Specialising in exclusive kilnformed glass vessels and platters, Aline also works with architects and interior designers making site specific lighting designs that have been commissioned for Dune, Covent Garden and the Foreign Office for the British Embassy in Doha, Qatar.

Born and bred by the sea, I just adore how Aline translates her rural roots of Dorset and seaside inspired palette into these beautiful and delicate designs. I’m instantly drawn to the “Rectangular Leaf” light which boast so much colour and positive energy.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Aline’s work , she will be showing off her fabulous designs at this years Tent Show in London – don’t miss it!

Image source: http://www.alinejohnson.co.uk

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Filed under Aline Johnson, Art, Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, lighting, Living room Interiors, Rectangular Leaf light

Sourcing materials for a client brief exercise

As part of the NDA Diploma in Professional Interior Design studio course, students must understand how to effectively carry out a client brief analysis and create a design which meets their need and lifestyle.

These students chose their desired client brief and had the challenge of sourcing appropriate fabrics and materials to use for their sample boards which they will present to the client.

The National Design Academy have a huge collection of wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and carpet samples from various designers, which give the students a large range of choice. However this can make chosing one print very difficult!

The students also had a chance to see how a design practise can be set out and organised, as well as the various ways samples and work can be displayed. James Pilling, Manager of NDA Private Clients Interior Design Service, has a magnetic wall where sketches, images or sources of inspiration can be pinned up for clients to see or as references.

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Filed under courses, diploma, distance learning, home study, News, The National Design Academy, www.nda.ac.uk