Langdon Hyde Design

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Month: April 2016

FCUK Home arrives in Guildford

A midday stroll around sunny Guildford revealed a new addition to one of my favourite High Street boutiques. French Connection, which, until last weekend focused purely on clothing and accessories, now has a small homeware section.

FCUK Home Guildford

French Connection Home Guildford

Its clean lines and minimalist style is very much in keeping with FCUK’s image. In the French Connection Home Spring/Summer 2016 catalogue an eclectic range of furnishings is grouped under headings such as Modern Industrial and Undone Elegance which I feel are valid descriptions. I think there is also an African influence which manifests itself in the geometric patterned rugs, the oversized clay bowls, and the rich dark wood furnishings.

Eclectic Edit

French Connection Eclectic Edit

Very much a low key feel with rugs in muted shades, distressed leather chairs, and antique copper pendants.

FCUK rugs in muted shades

French Connection rugs in muted shades

Parquet console tables and coffe tables exhibit an array of modern accessories. Pots and bowls made from marble/soap stone, hammered metal, and clay, and table lamps made from glass, metal and stone.

Mirrors in all shapes and sizes adorn the walls.

Room with a view

French Connection mirrors and accessories

These stylish furnishings would look equally at home in an office, residence, or even a hotel lobby. The overall styling reminded me very much of the lobby at the Hoxton Hotel, Amsterdam, which I had visited earlier in the year.

To get the look FCUK has a handful of High Street Homeware stores, located in London, Newcastle and, of course,  Guildford. FCUK Home also has an on-line presence at www.frenchconnections.com/homeware.  Their range of sofas can be seen in selected DFS stores or at www.dfs.co.uk.

Royal Connections

The news this week has been both happy and sad. Our Monarch’s 90th birthday was a great reason to celebrate, whilst the passing of Prince, the American musician, was a great sadness.

Apart from these events happening within twenty-four hours of one another the casual observer might not see any commonality between these two great personalities. You might also be asking yourself why I would be writing about them on my blog which ostensibly focuses on interior design.

The answer is PURPLE! A colour that is regarded as regal and one that was championed by the diminutive pop star.

M&S flowers

M&S flower display

Towards the end of my interior design studies I was presented with the task of designing  a flower shop for my Preliminary Final Test. The design process I adopted was to explore various ideas and to assemble them into a sketch book. I loved this particular project and gathered many fanciful images and contemporary news items.

Sketch book - Sarah Raven's cutting garden

Sketch book – Sarah Raven’s cutting garden

Sketch book purple inspiration

Sketch book purple inspiration

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee 2012

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee 2012

Taking inspiration from over-sized flower arrangements that adorned Dutch cafés; from the wonderful Caledonian flower market in London; and many, many stalls and florists in my locality.

I toyed with many different wall and floor finishes from bare brickwork to distressed plaster to stunning Fired Earth tiles and digital imagery. I scoured Toast catalogues for moody backdrops, Sarah Raven sales literature for her extensive range of classic blooms, and Cox & Cox for carnival-like wedding themes. Terracotta pots, galvanised buckets, over-sized gilt mirrors, chandeliers, and chalkboards all had a place in my scheme.

As my research progressed my thoughts turned to the events that had dominated that year, 2012. In late July I was glued to my TV watching the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, and only a few weeks before the country had turned out in force to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee (60 years on the throne). The streets were filled with red, white and blue for both events. Prince William & Kate Middleton were also in the news celebrating their first wedding anniversary. It was a great year for parties!

Flower shop mood board

Flower shop mood board

Quoting from my sketch book I had written: To create a look and feel for this project I have started to think more seriously abut the UK and its unique character. I started to think more in terms of colour schemes to reflect our Monarchy – rather than the obvious colours of the national flag I was thinking along the lines of purple or red.

I developed this theme further and wrote: I started to think about English produce and the benefits of only selling locally grown blooms rather than importing from other European countries or further afield. It would no doubt impact on what we had become used to; no more tulips in the shops at Christmas, instead there would be berries and evergreens, wreaths and swags. The benefits of this would be both ecological and economical. It would reduce the carbon footprint and, without the import costs, reduce prices. This would become the unique selling point of the shop.

Flower shop scale model

Flower shop scale model

So, QUEENS the florist was conceived. With a magnificent purple shop-front and gold lettering spelling out the name it would stand out on the High Street and beckon passersby through the door. Floor to ceiling displays of all types of flowers would provide a clear processional route around the store.

Distinct areas catering for children, husbands/boyfriends, and ladies-who-lunch. Pocket money posies at low-level, conveniently positioned pre-wrapped bunches with self-service check-outs for those in a rush, and a manned counter to make bespoke bouquets at the back of the shop for those special occasions. QUEENS would ensure that there was a budget and service to suit all!.

 

Time In The Garden

Daffodils

Daffodils

I have a love/hate relationship with my garden and I think this is probably true of most people who work full-time and can only spend time in the garden at the weekend. Today is the first full day I have had in the garden this year and, as ever, I didn’t achieve anywhere near as much as I wanted to.

I chose to prioritise the vegetable patch rather than concern myself with the flower borders as time is getting on. I cleared one raised bed and planted onion sets for harvesting in late summer/early Autumn, and planted carrots and peas for early Summer picking. I cleared a second raised bed in preparation for runner beans to be planted next month after the risk of frost has passed.

Helebores

After all of the hard work I took a moment to enjoy my current successes. My philosophy is to minimise work and cost by clever planting. In the Autumn I plant bulbs for the Spring and in the Spring I plant perennials for the Summer. Year after year these plants will self-seed and fill the garden with glorious colour.  I am also a great believer in using ornamental bark chippings to spread on the garden and thus reduce the in intrusion of weeds. Again, this will save time.

IMG_6674

Favourite terracotta pot

For inspiration on planting the perfect perennial border visit  Crocus.co.uk. Here you can choose your style, place an order on-line for the perfect planting combination, and receive an illustrated planting guide. Two years ago I chose the Bees and Butterflies border and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Brilliant!

Although, there are still many hours work ahead to get the garden shipshape for the Summer I still managed to steal a moment to relax at the end of a hard day and enjoy a long cool drink as the sun went down. That’s what makes it all worthwhile!

Gorgeous Godalming

Wattle & Daub

Wattle & Daub

What could be nicer than finding yourself in the heart of a thriving town packed full of wonderful shops. It was my good fortune to find myself in gorgeous Godalming in Surrey this sunny day with time on my hands.The Cornmeter

My task was to source some paint colours for a current project which I achieved by visiting the Cornmeter. This is a wonderfully traditional  DIY shop which stocks a vast array of everyday household items as well as a comprehensive selection of DIY tools and materials. To add to its appeal the whole of the first floor is a dedicated curtain and blind showroom.

Wandering out onto Church Street my attention was immediately drawn to Wattle and Daub with its distinctive graphite exterior and colourful collections of objet d’art. Wandering inside I was cheered by the vast selection of flowers and stunning artwork. For a virtual tour visit  Wattle & Daub.

Re-emerging on to the sunny street I noticed that there were several antique and interior specialists within a few doors of one another. I wandered into 1820 By Design at 18/20 Church Street. Their expansive shop champions iconic style for modern homes and rustic attire for country abodes.

The Little Shed

The Little Shed

As I sauntered back to the High Street again I was distracted, this time by a sign for “The Little Shed”. Turning into a shaded courtyard I saw the home store straight ahead of me. The outside was very deceptive as once inside there are a number of room sets furnished with a mixture of restored furniture and chic accessories. For more information and to shop on-line visit The Little Shed.

Diverting my attention back to the High Street I came across another of my favourite homeware and gift shops, Between The Lines. Previously I have shopped at the Chichester and Haslemere stores and was pleased to find one closer to home.

What had started out as a lunchtime errand turned into a shopping delight. Godalming is a charming town with a wonderful array of independent shopkeepers which ensures you will always find an unusual treasure for yourself or your home. I will certainly arrange a much more leisurely visit in the coming weeks.

From Shabby To Chic

Before

Before

When I bought my first home I inherited a Mr. Toad wicker chair which I absolutely adored. Many years later I still have a fondness for wicker furniture and have an assortment of pieces. Not that long ago I was asked to renovate a very sad armchair that belonged to my friend’s mum. When I returned it to her she was absolutely delighted with her “new” chair which I had transformed from shabby to chic.

Half way

Half way

For this particular project I used a Farrow & Ball water-based eggshell in Brassica™. Using a paint brush to apply the paint it was quite difficult to cover the original shade of red. Applying two coats eventually did the trick. To finish the transformation I used a lovely linen mix upholstery fabric that I had in stock to cover a two inch thick piece of foam to make a seat cushion.

After

After

More recently I wanted to try out a shade of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ so I decided to give my tatty white linen bin a makeover. Again, using a paint brush to apply the paint to the wicker I transformed this little piece of furniture in no time at all.

Before

Before

Inside lid

Inside lid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Graphite for the exterior and Barcelona Orange for the inside of the lid. To bring the colours together I added a silk Linum scatter cushion with a pompom trim.

With Linum cushion

After

With pompoms

With pompoms

A quicker and easier way to renovate wicker furniture and baskets is to use an aerosol spray. Cans of car paint are very effective although the range of colours quite limited. Alternatively, conventional paints can be applied using a spray gun, and although quicker to apply, the necessity to thoroughly clean the equipment after use can be really tedious. For bigger projects this would probably be worth the trade off.

Cox & Cox rattan baskets

Cox & Cox rattan baskets

To achieve a more frivolous look why not cut a stencil and spray a shape onto a piece of furniture. These rattan baskets from Cox & Cox provide ideal storage in a child’s bedroom. For more details go to  http://www.coxandcox.co.uk/home/kids/nordic-star.

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