a way of life...

Month: February 2016

Laura Ashley event starts today

Today I received email notification of Laura Ashley’s new season in-store shopping event which runs from Thursday 25 until Friday 26 February. Just two days of fantastic offers and complimentary refreshments from 9am to 9pm daily. 30% off everything plus an extra 10% off and a free gift when spending over £75.















Go to www.lauraashley.com to find your nearest store

Hand-Painted Furniture

Painted furniture is by no means a new idea yet it continues to remain in vogue. The advances in paint formulas have virtually removed the need to do any preparation whatsoever, hence the rise in popularity of hand-painted pieces. Effects tend to ebb and flow rather than the concept itself and the current trend seems to be moving away from aged and distressed finishes to that of a more refined contemporary look. (Mid-century pieces are ideal contenders to be brought bang up to date with the use of a strong flat colour. Whether it be chairs, tables or sideboards these can be given a new lease of life with a coat of paint.)

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The pieces I have been working on of late have been inspired by the strong primary colours used by Joules in their range of bed linen. I chose an Annie Sloan chalk paint to overhaul these two antique-pine bedside tables.









The drawers have been painted inside with a pretty pink F&B eggshell that I had in stock and lined with a floral pattern paper which I copied from a Joules carrier bag. I chose to leave the drawer pulls and feet unpainted as I wanted the cabinets to reference the natural pine furniture that they were to sit alongside.









Both units were given a coat of clear wax to add a soft sheen to an otherwise very flat finish; it will also add a layer of protection to the paintwork. Another benefit of using chalk paint is that you’re not limited to the surfaces that can be covered. I have seen it used successfully on wicker and melamine furniture as well as wood. I gather it can also be used on walls.

Moving forward I have a stock of furniture and accessories that I want to paint. I’m keen to experiment with more unusual finishes such as crackle glaze, image transfer and découpage, as well as some interesting colour combinations! I will use this blog to keep you updated with my progress and to post any interesting ideas that I come across in the meantime.

Visit http://www.anniesloan.com for tips, techniques and tutorials on how to update your  furniture and accessories.

Hoxton Hotel Amsterdam

Quirky, English, mid-century, and geometric, are some of the terms that spring to mind when describing the interior of the Hoxton Hotel in Amsterdam. Nestling alongside the canal at Herengracht 255, this, the third of three hotels in the Hoxton group, was opened eight months ago. (The other two are located in London, England).IMG_6272

The first glimpse of the interior is of a stone staircase which (confusingly!) leads to the lounge area, and separately to the mezzanine level above the bar. IMG_6298

The furniture here is a collection of mis-matched mid-century sofas, easy chairs, coffee tables, wall units and standard lamps.IMG_6301Ceiling pendants and wall lights take over from the down-lighters as dusk falls providing a warm and cosy ambience. It’s a meeting place, a workspace; somewhere to break the pace.

IMG_6299The 111 bedrooms are located across five floors of five canal houses. There is a commonality on each landing as they take their vibe from the old London underground and the streets of Amsterdam.IMG_6288

Dim lighting and dark painted walls entice you to explore each corridor as they trace all four walls of each block. By contrast the ground floor is brightly lit with high ceilings and a marble floor.IMG_6292Each guest room is entered via a lovely wide dark wood door. Once inside, although not huge, the “cosy” rooms are furnished with a king size bed and dark wood furniture.IMG_6235Much of the impact comes from the striking paint finishes and the brilliantly apportioned bathroom.

IMG_6200Air-conditioned, centrally heated and underfloor heating in the shower goes a long way to making each room user friendly.
IMG_6230Add to that the soft music emanating from the Roberts transistor radio on arrival and the iconic mustard telephone and you have the perfect weekend retreat.IMG_6287  www.thehoxton.com

Spring Greens

Anthropologie’s botanical garden scene

Is it too early to be talking about Spring, I wonder?The days are certainly drawing out, and as I sit in my office, overlooking the churchyard, the afternoon light is definitely changing. The exceptionally mild weather has tricked the bulbs into bursting into flower in January and I even saw a Magnolia tree in bloom at the weekend.

The High Street is coming alive with new collections as the sale rails are repositioned  into the dark recesses of the stores.

My attention was drawn to this new colour trend by a couple of articles published in Homes & Gardens featuring Farrow & Ball’s new colours for 2016.  There are nine in total ranging from the palest chiffon pink through to the deepest, darkest teal.

Visit www.farrow-ball.com for an up to the minute preview.


Laura Ashley’s spring green fabrics

Marks & Spencer, Laura Ashley, House of Fraser and Anthropologie are all flying the green flag with their new ranges of bedlinen, soft furnishing fabrics, china and glass. The M&S collection of bedding seems to have taken on a Designer Guild style with lots of dense floral patterns and delicate silk butterflies. Laura Ashley have an incredible range of industrial style furniture and lighting which is set against a background of the palest green wallpapers, fabrics  and paint finishes.

HoF's Linea glass collection

HoF’s Linea glass collection

House of Fraser are championing their Linea collections of tableware and bathroom accessories whilst Antropologie’s collection of glazed plant pots and beautifully illustrated books has the look and feel of a botanic garden.

I may be wrong, and it might well snow before the clocks go forward at the end of next month, but in the meantime I am enjoying this brief spell of newness and optimism.

To check out the latest trends visit www.marksandspencer.com, www.lauraashley.com,  www.houseoffraser.co.uk and www.anthropologie.com.

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