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Exterior issues: Using paint to refresh the outside of your home

September 19th, 2014

Decorating photo from iStock

There always seems to be somewhere in the house that needs painted – if it’s not painting bedrooms, it’s glossing skirting boards or painting over pen marks on the walls. So the outside of the house tends to get forgotten about.

We have lived in our current house for four years, and one of the things that attracted us to it was that it is easy to maintain. As you can see from the pictures it is a bungalow, so good for my husband who doesn’t like heights, and quite a bit of the exterior is brickwork which doesn’t need painting.

But as I said, we have been here four years and it really was time to paint the outside of the house. As anyone who had done a bit of painting knows, cheap paint is a false economy. You end up having to buy much more paint in order to get the job done and this of course means extra coats and more time spent painting.

So when Crown Paint offered us the opportunity to review its paints we were very happy to do so. If you could ever get away with cheap paint on the inside I don’t think you can on the outside of a house. And since it had taken us four years to get round to painting the house we wanted to do things properly.

Outside house makeover using Sandtex exterior paints

Here’s a photo of the driveway and the side of the house before it was painted. As you can imagine, that garage door gets some knockings from basketballs and footballs being thrown against it.

Sandtex exterior house paint makeover

We used Sandtex 10 year exterior satin paint for the garage door and for the bottom of the house. The colour was bay tree and it is a stronger green than it looks on the tin.

For the rest of the house we used Sandtex Ultra Smooth Masonry Paint in magnolia.

For the guttering and pipes we used Sandtex One Coat exterior gloss paint in pure brilliant white.

Sandtex exterior paint reviewed by Fresh Design Blog

Here is the end result:

Sandtex exterior house paint review by Fresh Design Blog

Here is a close up of the side of the house. It shows you how much it needed doing:

And here it is afterwards. I am sure you will agree it is much better!

Fresh Design Blog review of exterior house paint

The front of the house is mostly brickwork but here is a before picture anyway:

And here is it afterwards:

We were pleased with the quality of all the paints, and with the end results. My husband and I both prefer Crown paints to cheaper brands and this confirmed to us that it is worth paying just that little bit more for a reliable finish.

Product review by Jackie Cosh

(Disclosure: The paints for this review were supplied by Crown Paints, but all views and experiences are those of the reviewer).

Book review: Modern Country interiors by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

September 18th, 2014
Modern Country interiors book reviewed by Fresh Design Blog

If you love the idea of country living and embracing rural traditions and are keen to adapt it into a more modern style, then there’s a new book out today that could be the perfect read for you!

Modern Country: Inspiring interiors for contemporary country living is written by Caroline Clifton-Mogg and published by Jacquie Small. It explores elements of country living, and ways in which the essence of this interior style can be effectively brought into modern homes.

The book is split into four sections. The first looks at different types of country locations, such as rural areas, coastal and mountain retreats. Next up is a look at different architectural styles, including grand country homes, property renovations and other buildings.

There are distinctive materials associated with country homes and properties, so part three looks at materials and finishes, such as wood, stone, brick, plaster and metal. The final section explores country living and looks at different rooms in the home and how they can reflect the country style in a modern way.

The book as a whole is interesting and it’s lavishly illustrated with inspiring images, including photographs from the archives of the exclusive Côté Maison French magazines.

However, it’s the final two sections (Materials and Finishes and Country Living) that offered the most appeal and relevancy to me (the others seemed somewhat more aspirational – great for coffee table browsing, though!). The materials and finishes section, for example, offered plenty of ideas to consider when adding country style to a contemporary home and I loved the range and scope of materials included.

Modern Country book review by Fresh Design Blog

When it comes to adding country style to your home, it helps to have some achievable inspiration, and that’s certainly what shone through in the final section of the book. It’s packed with inspiring photos and ideas that could easily be applied to your home – even if you live nowhere remotely near the country. I love the colour palettes and room ideas, from bedrooms and bathrooms, to outdoor space and kitchens, and the fact that there are small elements you could take inspiration from.

It emphasises the fact that country living doesn’t have to involve a grand country home – you can create your interpretation of country wherever you live, and in as modern a way as you like.

Overall, it’s a well written and very nicely produced hardback book, full to the brim with images and ideas to inspire in the creation of your own modern country home style.

Special reader offer

If you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy of Modern Country at a discounted price, then we’ve arranged a special reader offer for you.

You can order Modern Country at the discounted price of £24.00 including p&p* (RRP: £30.00) by phoning 01903 828503 or emailing mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quoting the offer code APG217.

*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Create a modern country interior in your home

Vote for Fresh Design in the Amara Interior Blog Awards

September 16th, 2014

Vote for Fresh Design Blog in the Amara Interior blog awards

Fresh Design Blog has been nominated in the Best Design Inspiration category of the 2014 Amara Interior Blog Awards. If we’ve ever succeeded in giving you inspiration and ideas for your home, then we’d very much appreciate a vote!

It’s quick and easy to do – just click on the nominee badge image above, or follow this link. Then enter your name and email address into the box provided and, voila, it’s done.

 

Fresh Design Favourites: Cassette tape inspired homeware

September 15th, 2014

Long live the mix tape!

Today we’re feeling a tad nostalgic and paying homage to an 80s classic – the wonderful cassette tape. Loved and enjoyed by a generation, they were the source of many a heartfelt mix tape and the essential companion to recording the Top 40 on a Sunday night.

But despite the demise of this music recording essential, the wonderful world of cassette tapes lives on and you too could have them in your home again. Creative designers have bought tapes back to life in all manner of new guises.

From original cassettes upcycled to form brand new home objects, to furniture, cushions and accessories featuring classic tape designs. Here are a few of our favourite cassette tape themed home products:

1. Kare cassette cabinet, £250 from Urban Outfitters

2. j-me rewind desk tidy, £18 from A White Room

3. Cassette tapes floor lamp, £120 from OOO My Design on Bouf

4. Woouf retro cassette tape cushion, £29.99 from Find Me a Gift

5. Retro cassette tape knitted cushion, made to order for £85 from Nervous Stitch

6. Retro mini cassette tape coffee table, $1499 from Tayble

7. j-me cassette tape design tape dispenser, £14.99 from Amazon

8. Personalised playlist mix tape print, £18 from Sarah Hurley Designs

 

Fresh Design lighting: Fab light ideas from Notonthehighstreet

September 12th, 2014

Fresh Design blog's pick of fab home lighting ideas

If you’re keen to have lights in your home that are both practical and decorative, with an added distinctive flair that makes them stand out or be admired, then there are plenty of excellent options available. In fact, we’ve found a host of fab lights at Notonthehighstreet.com, including designs made from materials such as concrete, wood, metal and recycled old pallets.

Here’s our pick of some of the freshest options:

1. Geometry light, by Jenny Walsh Design

2. Industrial handlebar wall light, by Tony Miles Designs

3. Handmade recycled pendant lamp shade in shades of pink, by FactoryTwentyOne

4. Handcrafted concrete pendant lamp, by Gant & Mania

5. Random wood lampshade, by Randomlights

6. Personalised light box, by Occasional Studio

7. Skull pendant light, by ATTN Studio

Fresh Design colour: Green home decor and product ideas

September 10th, 2014

Decorate your home in fresh greens

If you’re not yet ready to embrace the changing seasons and the autumnal shades that will soon start appearing outside, then why not opt to bring some fresh greens into your home to keep reminding you of lush green fields and trees covered in green leaves?

Cheery, bright, calming and, in some cultures deemed lucky, a green colour palette can work across many rooms in your home. Change the decor by updating your walls in green paint, create a stunning green feature wall with some elegant wallpaper or make some easier changes through swapping pieces of furniture or accessories to those in shades of green.

Here are some home decor and product ideas in fresh green shades to get you started:

1. Kartell Francois ghost mirror in green by Philippe Starck, from £238 at Heal’s

2. Little gems wibble bottle vase, £20 from Dartington Crystal

3. Lucky charms Georgian green wallpaper by Barneby Gates, £78 from Clippings

4. Water stripe leaf green ikat-style wallpaper, £15 from Habitat

5. Bird mobile, £35 from Littlenestbox

6. Green button drawer knob, £3.95 from French Grey Interiors

7. Kilo leaf green metal side table, £25 from Habitat

8. Dino dinosaur lamp, £28 from Next

9. Lacquered steel storage unit, designed by Frederic Gaunet for Tolix, £286 from Made in Design

Top 10 silhouette home accessories for a fresh look

September 8th, 2014

Here at Fresh Design, we like our home accessories simple. The clean design of these monochrome cushions and decorations will stop an interior looking too fussy.

1. Kissing stag coasters, Anorak

Join the stag party with these striking coasters

These coasters from the Kissing Stag range from Anorak uses a simple stag silhouette to maximum effect. Inspired by the childhood camping adventures, of Anorak’s founder and creative director Laurie Robertson, these coasters are  made with a melamine front and cork back so they won’t damage furniture. £13.50 for a set of four, available from Home Candy.

2. Cocker Spaniel mug, Sweet William

This mug will make you smile every time you put the kettle on

How adorable is this mug? Featuring ‘Hugo’ the Cocker Spaniel in a repeat pattern all the way around the mug, it’s the perfect addition to your home or present for a dog lover. Dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s handmade in Stoke on Trent from Cornish clay and has “Lovingly handmade in England” inscribed into the base. £15.95, available from Sweet William.

3. Safari walk animal wall stickers, The Bright Blue Pig

Create a talking point with this safari sticker

Go on safari from the comfort of your armchair with this safari animals wall sticker. Made from self-adhesive low-tac vinyl they’re simple to use and can be removed without damaging the wall when you want a new look. This would make a great focal point in a child’s room or conservatory. £36, available from The Bright Blue Pig.

4. Boy with hoop picture, Greypeg

Add a little retro chic

Originally a calendar illustration from 1937 by Margaret W. Tarrant, this picture features a silhouette of a boy playing with a hoop and a stick in  blustery winds. Framed in solid wood which is hand-painted with a subtle distressed effect in Farrow and Ball paint, it costs £90 from Greypeg.

5. Window silhouette Paris, Spin Collective

Bonjour la France

Keep those holiday dreams alive throughout the year with this sticker showing the instantly recognisable Paris skyline. Available in two sizes and 20 colours to suit any decor, it costs £18 from Spin Collective.

6. Pylon cushion, In-Spaces

This unusual cushion features a bold, structural design

Here’s an ultra-modern cushion that’s a bit different. Featuring the recognisable silhouette of the modern day electricity pylon with its steel geometric forms, this graphic cushion comes in a range of colours including this alumina blue and sulphide grey combination. With a reversible design inverting the colours, the cushion is digitally printed in Britain and made from 100% cotton. It comes with a duck feather insert, and costs £60 from In-Spaces.

7. Birds in flight wall stickers, Koko Kids

Let your imagination take flight.

These birds in flight wall stickers add a vibrant splash of colour to walls. They’d look great in a baby nursery but are also funky enough for teenagers’ rooms. The silhouettes of the birds are created with a combination of Asian-inspired prints and are easily repositioned over and over again. Available in a range of sizes, prices start from £19.95 from Koko Kids.

8. Handmade aviation cushion, Le Cocon

Chocks away!

Add a touch of old Hollywood glamour to your home with this silk cushion, made from 100% pure handwoven Thai silk. It features the silhouette of a vintage aeroplane, comes complete with a duck feather pad and costs £105 from Swanky Maison.

9. London skyline letter rack, Susan Bradley

Don’t let your post go to rack and ruin

This London skyline letter rack is made from pressed steel, and can be free-standing or wall mounted. It’s designed by Susan Bradley, and costs £20 from One Brown Cow.

10. London skyline mirror, Chandeliers & Mirrors

This mirror makes an unusual focal point.

Another depiction of the iconic London skyline  - this time it comes as a frameless, black edged, bevelled mirror, with a  black perspex silhouette picking out the shapes of the buildings. £215, available from Chandeliers & Mirrors.

By Sara Walker

Life’s a beach: Cool, fresh seaside design

September 4th, 2014

Once functional, now highly desirable, beach huts have a long history.

The twin Victorian passions for sea bathing and modesty boosted the popularity of bathing machines, which were little mobile horse drawn huts in which the shy bather could change into a swimming costume before stepping directly into the sea, avoiding the curious gazes of those on shore.

As the rules concerning the segregation of male and female bathers became more relaxed, striped changing tents began to appear on the beaches of the Edwardian era, quickly followed by more permanent wooden beach huts.

Allowed to fall into disrepair during the Second World War, beach huts regained their popularity in 1950s Britain and remain desirable today, with some particularly well-located examples fetching tens of thousands of pounds.

The secret of a beach hut’s appeal is simplicity, with furnishings kept to a minimum and lots of light and space.

To get the look, paint walls, paint or sand and varnish floorboards and use open shelving to give your home a similar airy feel. Use focal points such as chairs made from reclaimed driftwood or brightly-coloured rag rugs on the walls or floor.

Highlight the ocean motif with a single item, such as seashells in a blue glass bowl, but keep accessories to a minimum to avoid a fussy, cluttered look. Here’s our pick of what to use:

Paint: No 249 (Rose Theatre) from Mylands Paints

Mylands paint in Rose Theatre

This pinkish grey has warm overtones that will stop a bare room feeling too stark. Named after the site of the first Elizabethan theatre on the London Bankside, it’s available in a range of finishes. Prices start at £3.95 for a 100ml sample tin, from Mylands Paints.

Walls: driftwood heart by Giggling Hedgehogs

Show your home some love

This heart sculpture is hand made in Brighton from local beach-combed driftwood, and each piece is unique. Measuring 40cm by 35cm, it’s built onto an MDF frame and backed with hessian for durability. Hand crafted to order, prices start from £20 from Giggling Hedgehog.

Floors: blue Andina rug, Alhambra Home

This ‘jarapa’ Spanish rug would also look great as a wall hanging.

This Spanish ‘jarapa’ rug made is from soft recycled cotton, so it’s machine washable. In soft, sea-inspired blues and greens, it would be perfect for adding a seaside feel to a room. Available in various sizes, the 140cm by 200cm version costs £85 from Alhambra Home.

Seating: Henley garden bench, Mobius Living

Add a little rustic charm with this bench

Ideal for extra occasional seating, this handmade, reclaimed teak bench is designed for garden use, but would make an unusual addition to a ‘beach chic’ sitting room. With its open design, it won’t block light and it features a high cross back and armrests for comfort. Priced at £365, available from Mobius Living.

Cushions will dress and soften a wooden bench

These hamman towels made perfect wraps, sofa throws or even picnic blankets.

Accessorise your bench with this French linen cushion with a sackcloth weave, £34.95 from Coastal Home, while this hammam towel, made in India from organic cotton, would look great as a throw over the back. £24, available from Darwin’s Home.

Storage: Tiger shelves, LOAF

Tiger, tiger, storing bright

These ‘Tiger’ shelves, £225 from LOAF, would be a perfect addition to any beach hut. They’re ladder-style shelves, so made to lean against the wall, and the open design and bleached wood finish complement a minimalist decor.

By Sara Walker

 

Contemporary woodland inspired home ideas

September 3rd, 2014

Woodland inspired home decor ideas from Fresh Design blog

“If you go down to the woods today….”

For a contemporary take on a woodland inspired home interior, we think these four pieces are great. Both the modern tree branch style bookcase and wild oak table lamp mix practical use with stylish design, whilst the animal wall vases and Mr Deer stacking cups add a touch of their own unique quirky appeal. Just the right balance of fun and practicality.

1. Walnut branch bookcase, £149 (usual price £199) from Dwell

2. Ceramic animal wall vases, £35 from Graham and Green

3. Mr Deer stacking coffee cups, £45 from Jimbobart

4. Wild oak table lamp base, £78 from Anthropologie

Fabulously fresh fabrics by Yuyu Design Studio

September 2nd, 2014

If you’re looking for fabric designs that are uplifting, zesty and full of life, then check out the collection from Yuyu Design Studio.

Founded by Jules McKeown, Yuyu fabrics meet all these requirements and more. They’re vibrant, colourful and many have retro style influences, with images such as flowers and birds featuring heavily.

The fabrics are ideal for using for various home projects, including cushions and curtains, and many would be well suited to use in children’s rooms.

These designs caught our eye in particular:

Chirpy 1

Chirpy 1

Fiesta Floral

Fiesta Floral

Bloom 5

Bloom 5

Retro Lounge 4

Retro Lounge 4

Bella 4

Bella 4

Bloom 3

 Bloom 3

The Yuyu fabrics can be purchased via Spoonflower, who ship internationally. We’re impressed at the range of fabric choices they offer, from basic combed cotton and heavy cotton twill, to silk crepe de chine and faux suede, and suspect there should be an option for all your home project needs.

 
 
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