a way of life...

Month: October 2015

Pink Accents

I discovered this photograph in a Joules mailing that I had received recently and note that it is also featured on their website. I was particularly struck by the combination of colours, in particular the grey, yellow and pink, as I had recently decided to add some pink accents to my dining room scheme.

The colour scheme, primarily yellow, grey, black and white, seemed a little bleak now that the days are drawing in and I wanted to add a little bit of warmth. I took my inspiration from the pots of geraniums  that seem to have come on in leaps and bounds on the patio as we enjoy a very mild autumn.

Pink dining room pano

This wicker chair snuggles up close to the radiator and is often a place where I can be found in the early morning with a cup of green tea and a favourite magazine.

Wicker chair

To make this corner even cosier I retrieved my favourite pink, red, blue and white check woollen Ikea blanket from winter storage and added this lovely pink felt cushion from Next. The combination of these soft furnishings provides a burst of colour as well as a lovely woven texture.

Joules mugs

It amused me that there is a farmyard theme running through both schemes and I now have my eye on some of these gorgeous Joules mugs and plates to complete the look.

So whether your preference is the romantic look of Comfortable Country or the clean lines of Mid-Century style I think these lovely rich colours can work equally well in either setting.

Visit www.joules.com to see their full range of homeware.

My Lovely Little Pink Box

Blanket box

You my recall that towards the end of the summer I visited the Sunbury Antiques Market where I bought a pot of F&B eggshell with which I planned to paint a blanket box that I have had for sometime. The colour, Nancy’s Blushes No. 278, is described on the F&B website as “our truest pink and can be used in many different ways”. Fortunately, when I opened the pot of paint it was exactly what it said on the tin and in no time at all I had a lovely little pink box!Nancy's pink box The box that I transformed so radically is a small pine blanket box which  had been painted white in a previous life, and the lid varnished. As such, it didn’t require a lot of preparation, and a gentle rub down of the old paintwork with some sandpaper was sufficient. The varnished lid did require a bit more work and having tried a coarser grade of sandpaper I decided the results were not particularly satisfactory. As, is often the case, time was pretty limited so I experimented with a chemical based paint stripping gel as an alternative way of removing the stubborn varnish. This turned out to be a brilliant decision as in no time at all the hard, glossy finish had blistered all over and I could use a small scraper to remove the best part of it. After another coat of stripper, a final scrape, and a rub down with some medium and light grade sandpaper the lid was back to its original finish.

IMG_5254To seal the bare wood I applied two coats of a good quality furniture wax and polished it to a soft sheen. I am really pleased with the end result as I feel the box has a much more contemporary, modern country feel and I am looking forward to putting it back at the end of the bed in the guest room.

See more decorating ideas with Nancy’s Blushes at:


5/6 Connaught Place

MDU’s, or multiple dwelling units, are the last things that you would associate with the seven luxury apartments at 5/6 Connaught Place that have just won my colleagues and I the Crestron Integration Award 2015 – for Best Multiple Dwelling Installation! 

Crestron gong

Crestron MDU award

When we were asked to put the project forward for the much coveted prize we had to research the meaning behind the acronym MDU, something we now realise is much more akin to high-rise apartment blocks. Nonetheless, we were really pleased that our design and installation of the intelligent building management systems (BMS!) was worthy of an award. 

Connaught lounge

Connaught lounge

Based on KNX technology we installed a building wide system that controls everything from lighting, heating, air conditioning, security, Internet connectivity, and telephony, through to the personalised touch panels in each of the residences. 

Connaught TV

Connaught TV

Over and above the base building installation we were commissioned by Redrow London to outfit the show apartments with comprehensive, bespoke, audio/visual systems. 

Connaught theatre

Connaught theatre

Working in tandem with Interior design firm ‘1508 London’ we integrated our equipment in as seamless way as possible. Attention to detail has been absolutely critical. 

Connaught ceiling speakers

Connaught ceiling speakers

From ensuring that speaker grilles are colour matched and paint sprayed to disappear into walls and ceilings, to making certain that every single programmable light switch is fitted absolutely flush and square, nothing is too much trouble. 

Connaught sockets

Connaught switches

I have been very lucky to visit the development now that it is finally finished and each of the apartments on the market. With views over Hyde Park and located in a highly sought after residential area a stone’s throw from Marble Arch these apartments range in price from £8m to £20m. Hence my comment at the outset that the term MDU really doesn’t do them justice! 

Connaught kitchen

Connaught kitchen

Connaught bedroom

Connaught bedroom

Connaught dining

Connaught dining

For more information about this project visit:





Divine Pergola Design

It was with an immense feeling of satisfaction and joy that we completed another garden project in time to enjoy the late summer sunshine that we are experiencing at the moment. With the help of our builder we created an informal alfresco dining area in the shape of this divine pergola design!Pergola1

The inspiration for this project was primarily to create a space where we could enjoy watching the sun go down behind the distant oak trees. Flanked by a three metre high wall to the rear and the warm wooden structure of the black painted barn to one side the area is sheltered from the winds that blow across the adjacent farmland thus creating the ideal place for a relaxed evening meal.

Further inspiration came from the grapevine that we planted against the wall but have failed to nurture as, until now, it hasn’t had any sort of framework to support its scrambling tendrils. We hope that by  constructing this pergola it will not only give the impression of an outside room in close proximity to our kitchen but that it will eventually encourage the vine to take hold and provide a sunny haven for its ripening fruit.Pergola2

I would like to think that we have created a cosy courtyard that has a Mediterranean feel about it. A place where we can eat freshly baked bread soaked in olive oil, washed down with a glass of fruity red wine, or fresh mussels accompanied with crusty white loaves and a cold Sauvignon blanc!Pergola3

I’m pleased to say that are very happy with the outcome. It did however involve a great deal of thought and planning to ensure the pergola was properly designed and built within the confines of the chosen area. For ease and economy we chose to buy a Grange Car Port/Pergola measuring 4.8 x 3.6 x 2.79m, knowing that we could make the necessary modifications to achieve our aim.Crafty alignment

Complications arose when it became apparent that the barn did not sit square to the wall. Fortunately, between us all, we had the foresight to measure and make the necessary adjustments to the angle of the beams before going ahead with the final erection.Stainless steel support

Another small detail that I was really pleased with was these custom made stainless steel “shoe” supports that were designed and manufactured to keep each of the wooden uprights off the ground thus preventing rainwater damage and eventual rot.Pergola

A little bit of France has arrived in our garden in the shape of this lovely pergola.  I’ll drink to that!

Go to www.screwfix.com to see full range of pergolas.



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