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Dwell Coffer industrial style shoe storage cupboard review

October 31st, 2014

How do you store your shoes when you arrive home?

All too often shoes can end up in an unruly pile in a hallway, creating an unsightly look just inside the door. Or if you do have a shoe rack, they’re often an open style design, so all the shoes are still on sight, even if they’re on a rack.

At Fresh Design HQ, the extent of our hall shoe storage is this (thanks to an inherited shoe rack that the previous owners left behind):

Fresh design old unexciting shoe rack storage

Reasonably lined up, yes, but not that attractive a sight. And the nature of the shoe rack means that it takes up a fair bit of room in a small area that could be better used.

We’ve thought for a while that it would be nice not to have all the shoes on view all the time, especially as some aren’t in frequent use and are just stuck there hanging around on the rack. So when Dwell got in contact with details of their storage options, we were intrigued to try a more modern shoe storage system.

The Coffer shoe cupboard offers a more discrete way of storing shoes so that they’re out of sight, yet still easily accessible when you need them.

Fresh Design blog review of Dwell modern shoe storage cupboard

The unit is made of steel and has an industrial style feel to it. In fact, on first impressions, it’s reminiscent of a narrow filing cabinet. The one we tried has four compartments (a smaller version with three is available too) and it arrived fully assembled, so no DIY was involved to put it together (phew).

Unlike a filing cabinet, rather than being drawers that pull out, the compartments pull down, allowing shoes to be lined up inside. There’s a bar to keep them in place, so when you push the drawer back up, they stay in place inside in a vertical position. Pull it back down to open it up and, voila, your shoes are ready to take out and put on.

Fresh design review of Dwell storage rack

Unfortunately you can’t open one compartment at a time – they’re on a mechanism that opens all of them at once. Due to this, the unit needs to be screwed to a wall in order to ensure it remains stable when all of the compartments are filled with shoes and opened.

The product doesn’t come with screws supplied (the type of screw you’ll need depends on the type of wall you’re attaching it to), although there are two holes on the back of the item that can be used to screw it to a wall.

In the interests of thorough research and testing (ahem…) we can confirm that if you don’t screw it to a wall, and open it whilst it’s full of shoes, it will topple over. Not a pleasant experience, so we’d advise the use of screws as essential if you want a fully functioning and safe piece of furniture.

As far as tidying up an area of clutter and providing a neat and compact way of storing shoes, it ticks all the boxes. The unit design is narrow and sleek, so doesn’t take up too much room. In a hallway where space is often at a premium, this is definitely a good thing. Compared to the sight of the old rack, we much prefer the streamlined, minimal and tidy view of the Coffer shoe cupboard.

The guidelines suggest the unit can store eight pairs of shoes – two per compartment. It’s not a lot, but if you’ve got lots of little people (or people with little feet!), then you can squeeze in more.

The unit looks good in a hallway, but if you need to place it in another room in your home, then the white colour is unoffensive and it may just look like you’ve got a filing cabinet in a room.

However, if the white look isn’t for you, never fear. As it’s made of metal, we imagine it would be very easy to customise if you wished.

For example, through painting the drawers on the inside or out, adding labels or numbers to determine which shoes go where, or by using small wall decals to create a patterned look. These industrial style storage units might give you some ideas:

Fresh design industrial style storage cabinets

(Multi-coloured unit previously sold by Pedlars, but now out of stock; five drawer metal cabinet from Bodie and Fou and numbered metal industrial style storage unit previously available from Rockett St George, but no longer in stock).

The three drawer small Coffer shoe cupboard is currently in stock at Dwell and available for £119; other modern shoe storage options are available too.

(Disclosure: Dwell supplied the product to review, but all views and opinions are our own).

 

Baking accessories: YolkFish egg separator by Peleg Design

October 30th, 2014

Great design kitchen baking innovations

You know that feeling when you come across a kitchen or baking accessory that you can’t believe you’ve lived without? Meet the YolkFish.

The YolkFish is a cleverly designed gadget that helps you separate egg yolks from the white in an instant. No mess, no flecks of yolk left behind in the whites and no more unwanted bits of shell in eggs.

Designed by the folks from Peleg Design, the YolkFish uses the power of suction to quickly and effectively suck up all the egg yolk, leaving the white behind. For those of you who are fond of making meringues, for example, you’ll know only too well how even the tiniest speck of yolk can ruin a meringue mixture.

It’s a great idea and an essential kitchen accessory for bakers. What’s more, at only £8.95 this is one kitchen gadget you won’t regret buying.

Here’s the YolkFish in action, so you can see for yourself how easy it is to use:

Focus on daybeds: The perfect guest bed solution

October 29th, 2014

Using a day bed in a spare room or lounge

With high house prices driving people to purchasing smaller, more affordable houses, lots of home owners are looking for ways to maximise space without losing use or quality. If you’re trying to organise your home so it performs as many functions as possible then a day bed might be one solution.

When organising your home, you might find that you’re stuck deciding what function each room should have. Lots of people don’t use dining rooms nowadays, and this might give you an extra room to play with. Common uses for extra rooms are second lounges and extra bedrooms.

Second lounges are often popular as they allow for more space to relax. Often families find that people want to do different things at the same time – having a second lounge allows for this. Younger people who may be more likely to have friends visiting regularly might also find that having a second lounge means there’s more room for the additional people in the house. Extra bedrooms are also popular as they allow for a private space for your guests to stay.

So which should you have? A second lounge or an extra bedroom? How about both?

One way to achieve this would be to have a sofa bed – sofa beds generally fold out to become a temporary bed for your guests. One problem with sofa beds, however, is that the ‘bed’ often isn’t anywhere near as comfy as a normal bed. If you have regular guests then providing them with a ‘proper’ bed would surely be much better… but you still want that lounge space.

Not to worry, there’s a perfect solution that’s both stylish and functional – day beds.

Somewhat glamorous in style, day beds have the air of a chaise longue. They are like a bench that is also a bed – with a proper mattress. This means that you can choose whatever style and comfort level you require (and you can replace it when it gets old!).

During the day you can furnish the bed with cushions for relaxing and socialising, but at night it’s just as useful as a normal bed, with all the comfort and support you would expect from one.

With additional options such as day beds with trundles (for more than one guest), they’re definitely worth considering if you’re in search of a practical way to put guests up, without compromising on style the rest of the time.

***This is a guest post***

Unique home products and gift ideas from UncommonGoods

October 28th, 2014

Christmas gift ideas from UncommonGoods

Have you come across UncommonGoods?

UncommonGoods are a US company based in Brooklyn, New York. They specialise in selling handcrafted gifts and uniquely designed products that are “created in harmony with the environment, without harm to animals or people.”

They stock a great range of products, including items for the home and garden, for dining and entertaining and gift ideas for men, women and kids. As their name suggests, you’ll find items here that you won’t necessarily see elsewhere, which is great when you’re looking for gift ideas. Most of the products are created in the USA and up to one third of their collection includes products using recycled or upcycled materials.

From our point of view, they’re a really good find as their website has ideas for the home that are unusual and unique. And at a time when we’re in particularly looking for Christmas gift ideas, it’s definitely useful to know about (click here for shopping inspiration).

Amongst the products that instantly caught our eye was the Cheese & Crackers Serving Board.

Fab design cheese and crackers board reviewed by Fresh Design Blog

This board is fantastic and a great idea. Who serves cheese without crackers? Not us, for sure! It’s one of those snacks that instantly feels wrong without the other.

The board reflects this idea with a large ampersand (& shape) carved into it. The lines of the & are deep and designed to be used to serve crackers from. As you fill it up with crackers of all shapes and sizes, the ampersand shapes becomes more apparent. Here’s ours in action:

Fresh Design blog serves cheese and crackers

The board is made in Vermont from North American maple, with a teak oil finish, and it’s a good large size. There’s plenty of room around the ampersand for you to pop on your choice of cheeses, chutney, grapes or apples. It’s a good excuse to put out plenty of biscuits and, next time, we’ll be making the most of it with a varied selection of crackers.

When you bring out this board of cheese and crackers at the end of a meal, we’re sure it will be a talking point. It’s a lovely home-related gift and, given the style, design and quality of the piece, it’s well priced at £36.48.

The Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag is another of our top picks from UncommonGoods.

Novelty contemporary zip glass bag bowl

It’s a bit of a novelty item, in that it’s a glass object cleverly designed to mimic an open zip lock plastic bag. But there are plenty of ways you can use it too, so it’s much more than just a piece of art.

We love the idea of having this as a contemporary sweet bowl – wouldn’t it look great on a desk? Or you could serve chocolates in at Christmas, or fill it with nuts or other nibbles.

How to use an unzipped glass zipper bag or bowl in your home

We think it looks good used on display in a living room too. Try filling it with some seasonal items, like pine cones, or  a collection of brightly coloured glass marbles.

At just £12.54, it’s an ideal gift for a hard to buy for recipient (dare we say it, like some men). Fill it with their favourite sweets or chocolates, and you could be onto a winner.

If you’re concerned about ordering from a company based in the US when you’re in the UK, then you’ve nothing to worry about. In our case, our order was placed on a Friday afternoon and the parcel arrived the following Wednesday morning. Pretty speedy, we think. We were impressed by the packaging inside and out too:

Parcel received by fresh design blog from Uncommon Goods

…..and loved the little unusual shaped cardboard pieces that were included inside the box:

Fresh Design packaging from UncommonGoods

Overall, UncommonGoods is a great find. They’ve got loads of unusual and uniquely designed products for the home and have given us plenty of ideas to put on our wish list. Plus, they’re a good source for women’s and men’s present ideas too – why not have a browse of what’s available.

(UK product prices correct at time of publishing).

 

Choosing beautiful doors for your contemporary home

October 28th, 2014

Doors are an important component in an overall design scheme. However they are functional elements too and when it comes to choosing a door, its function is just as important as its style. .

Key door characteristics like size, thermal properties, susceptibility to warping, security, opening direction and transparency are some of the main issues to consider.

In the past this often meant you had to make do with an ugly or unsuitable looking door. Luckily for us this is not the case anymore.

Novel design and advances in materials mean we don’t have to make any concessions and, thanks to the internet, we can find specialist suppliers, compare prices and order without having to endure a hard sell from a face-to-face salesperson.

The Folding Sliding Door Revolution

Softwood or flimsy PVCu was prone to bending, warping and could be insecure. Due to the nature and role of a door, these factors are understandably off-putting.

Now, high performance plastic and aluminium composite doors are affordable, secure and durable.  These doors can transform a home and vastly increase the usability and size of the available living space.

Of course they look fantastic in modern homes and apartments but they work exceptionally well in traditional homes as well.

Fresh Design modern sliding doors

Source: Folding sliding door specialist vivafolio.com

Affordable Interior Doors

Online suppliers have made the door market terrifically competitive. Prices are low, delivery is fast & free and the choice amazing. Modern or traditional, finished or unfinished, glazed, panelled and patterned even printed – the choice is yours.

How to find affordable internal house doors

Source: Doors & More http://www.doorsonlineuk.co.uk/

Easy Inspiration

The internet has also brought us a wealth of free and easy to access inspiration – like our very own blog, Google image searches and the fantastic Pinterest.

These resources let you get a feel for how different colours and styles might look in your home and bring together all the best ideas and designs into one place.

Pinterest collects together thousands of themed pictures, so searches display a page full of ideas and links to dedicated and highly relevant albums. If you’re on the market for updating one or more doors in your house, then it’s definitely a good starting point to get a feel of the type of doors you’d like.

Fresh design home door ideas from Pinterest

Source: Pinterest search for doors

 

A fresh new look at Hallowe’en: Dinner parties for adults

October 26th, 2014

With the influx of ‘trick or treating’ and costumes from the USA, and shops full of children’s themed chocolate and plastic spiders, it’s easy to forget that Hallowe’en started off as a powerful pagan ritual.

The Celts used ‘All Hallows Eve’ to mark the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, and believed that this was the day the wall between this world and the next was at its thinnest, so ghosts and apparitions could sometimes be seen.

This year, why not mark Hallowe’en with an elegant dinner party with seasonal food – and  not a plastic witch’s nose in sight?

What to eat

If you decide it’s not Hallowe’en without pumpkins, try a warm winter vegetable salad made with roasted peppers, chunks of roasted pumpkin, goat’s cheese and rocket leaves. Alternatively, spiced pumpkin soup (served in the hollowed out pumpkin shell); sausage and pumpkin stew or potato, rosemary and roast pumpkin mash as a side dish are all filling and seasonal. Pumpkin pie is a popular pudding, but look for a UK recipe as the US ones tend to be very sweet.

If pumpkins aren’t on the menu, other seasonal foods include apples, which work well in both sweet recipes like crumble and tarts, and savoury dishes like pork and apple casserole. Game including grouse, partridge and pheasant is also in season, so a hearty game pie could take centre stage. For a gourmet meal, wild duck, wild mushrooms and truffles are also available at this time of year.

Create an atmosphere

Our selection of candlesticks and holders will help you create an appropriately eerie atmosphere.

Metal tree candlestick, PUJI

PUJI metal tree candelabra

This attractive metal candlestick is designed to hold four slim candles – use plain black or plain white for your Hallowe’en statement. When the occasion’s over, the tree design means the candlestick would look great in a conservatory or garden room as well as the dining room. £69, available from PUJI.

Kosta Boda still life skull votive, Swedish Art Glass

Kosta Boda skull votive

These skulls may be a little kitsch, but they’ll definitely be a talking point. Each little glass skull is made individually from thick, opaque glass to house a small tealight candle.  Available from The Scandinavian Shop in a range of colours, £26.50 each.

Curve candlestick, Superliving

Curve candlestick

This Curve candlestick is made from hand-turned wood and painted in high gloss varnish, making it look almost like ceramic with a similarly hard-wearing finish. It’s the perfect accessory for the well-dressed Hallowe’en dinner table. Available in a range of colours and made by Danish company Superliving, it costs £24 from Quince Living.

Dress your table

Give your table a Hallowe’en makeover, with these stunning dining accessories.

Deco dinnerware, Biba

Deco dinnerware by Biba

This Deco dinnerware porcelain collection features a 1920s inspired pattern in metallic gold. Available from House of Fraser, it’s currently half price in the sale. Sale prices start from £5, and there’s also a matching range of glassware.

Black champagne glasses, Artland

Black champagne glass

What better to toast the midnight hour than these black champagne glasses by Artland? Hand blown in coloured black glass, the colour will never fade or come off when washed, even though the glasses are dishwasher safe. Available as a single glass at £5.90, or a set of four for £22 from Red Candy.

TUVA bowl, Serholt

TUVA fruit bowl by Serholt

This unusual and delicate metal bowl would make a lovely centrepiece for a Hallowe’en table. Fill with blood oranges or tangerines for maximum effect. Designed by Serholt, Sweden, it costs £40 from Jasmine Way

Six décor looks using wallpapers from Wallcover

October 24th, 2014

If you’re looking to transform the walls in your home and update your decor, then wallpaper is one of the top solutions. There’s a huge range of designs and styles available and you can use it to decorate whole rooms or create feature walls.

One of the biggest wallpaper manufacturers in Germany is A. S. Creation, who create high quality wallcoverings in a variety of styles and designs. A large selection of their products are available to buy at Wallcover and there are lots options for décor styles that you could adopt in your home.

To help inspire your decorating dreams, here are six looks that you could create in your home using A. S. Creation wallpapers from Wallcover.

Natural textures

Wallcovering and wallpaper in natural effects

Bringing elements of nature into homes is a popular trend and it can be particularly effective when using wallpaper. The Dekora Natur 5 collection provides plenty of scope to do just that, and is packed with wallcoverings featuring natural textures.

For example, if you’re creating an industrial style decor scheme for a room and want the effect of a brick wall, without having to do major DIY, then there’s a wallpaper made for you. For a bathroom, textured stone or tile effect wallpapers are a nice alternative to tiling and can be a quicker finish to achieve. Or if you want a modern rustic style, then you could try wooden effect wallpaper or for a contemporary home, why not add a touch of animal print into your design?

Playful prints

Best wallcovering ideas for tweens

Create a feature wall in your child’s bedroom with this wonderful striped effect ribbon style wallpaper. Aptly called ‘Be Happy’, this wallcovering offers a contemporary take on a traditional striped design, using playful colours and dainty motifs. It’s got shabby chic for tweens written all over it.

Tropical décor

A S Creation Bali wallpaper tropical design

Wish you were on your holidays? Get some of that holiday feel back, by using the tropical themed Bali range of wallpapers.

The collection includes prints and plain designs in coordinating colours, including floral and fauna in green, blue, red and pink. The luscious green leaves will help evoke the landscape of tropical climes.

Contemporary florals

Designer wallpaper from Wallcover

Floral designs don’t have to be big and blousy, or small and chintzy. For an elegant living room scheme, why not opt for a contemporary floral design, such as the Fioretto wallcoverings.

The colours and designs of these non-woven wallpapers are based on the colour palette of a traditional Mediterranean Finca. They feature warm tones and sophisticated floral designs which can be complimented by coordinating stripes or plain papers. The warm earthy colours work well in a living room or bedroom scheme.

Marvellous monochrome

Monochrome wallpaper trend

It’s the duo that goes together like salt and pepper – the classic shades of black and white are synonymous with sophistication and style. The colours combine effectively in home décor and can bring interest, pattern and atmosphere to walls.

The Black and White 2 collection contains tempting monochrome wallpapers featuring patterns, circles, dots, stripes, zig zags, florals and even book shelf effects. There’s something for everyone and they’ll work within many areas of your home, from a striking feature wall along your hall or stairs, to an elegant black and white dining room or bold monochrome bedroom.

Hollywood glamour

 How to decorate your home Hollywood style

Fancy injecting a spot of glitz and glamour into your home? Then why not deck your walls in the colours and style of Hollywood.

The Hollywood collection does as its name suggests and reflects the bold, vibrant world of Hollywood. The damask prints, in particular, in their lively colours will add warmth and depth to a room, but there are some subtle wallcovers available too. With papers that are glossy, matte, patterned and plain, there are plenty of options within this collection to add your version of Hollywood glamour to your home.

Find all these wallpapers and more at www.wallcover.com

***This is a collaborative post***

Transform your radiator with a Radwrap cover: Review

October 23rd, 2014

How to cover a radiator with a contemporary radiator cover

At Fresh Design  we are always looking for new and innovative design ideas. So when we were invited to review Radwraps – a new and original way of covering radiators – we were intrigued.

First take a look at the radiator in my daughter’s room. It is a fairly large radiator and doesn’t look too bad, but my daughter, being the arty twelve year old she is, jumped at the chance of brightening it and her room up.

So what are Radwraps?

Basically they are a unique way of covering your radiator, brightening up a room in seconds, with no DIY required. Plus they are easy to keep clean. All you need is a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt.

James Maddocks and his dad came up with the idea six years ago when, having decorated the living room, they found the radiator to be very bland looking. Having considered a few ideas they came up with the idea of Radwraps– magnetic sheets applied to the front of the radiator, with no glue or screws required.

The design allows heat to travel through the wrap, so you don’t lose any heat from your radiator. In fact, they say that this unique radiator cover system is more efficient than a traditional wooden radiator cover.

Now have a look at the radiator with the radwrap on:

It’s good isn’t it?

I can honestly say that the Radwrap was so easy to install. The instructions state that you should clean the radiator first with a warm damp cloth and then when it is dry, roll the Radwrap on to the radiator. You then do any readjusting you need to and within a minute you have your radwrap installed.

The options on the website are excellent and are grouped into categories. My ten year old liked the Machester United Radwrap so that may yet go on his Christmas list. But you can also create your own radwrap by sending in your own design.

Designs are set out in different categories on the website, and are easy to search. A word of warning though – don’t just give the code when buying. We did this and got sent the wrong one. Play safe and give a brief description as well.

We are happy with the product and with the quality. I have thought before about doing something a bit different with a radiator, but couldn’t be bothered with the time and the effort, both in doing it and in changing it later should you get fed up of the design. With the Radwrap if you fancy a change you just take it off – easy enough. Prices start at £39.99 and, in my opinion, would be a good idea for a Christmas present for older children.

Follow RadWraps on Twitter or check out their Facebook page for more information.

 (Disclosure: A radiator cover was supplied for the purposes of this review, but all views and opinions are those of the reviewer).

 

Animal antics: Fresh design ideas for children’s rooms

October 22nd, 2014

Children's room decor ideas from Fresh Design Blog

Do your children love animals? Here are four ideas for bringing animal themes into children’s rooms, through the walls, floor and accessories.

1. Create your own animal wall art, with this set of six fabric animal picture frame wall stickers. Use them together, or space them out around a room. Just peel and stick….and if you don’t like where you’ve placed it, just peel it off and reposition it. They’re £26 per set from Spin Collective.

2. Hedgehog’s aren’t always prickly, as this hedgehog cushion proves. It’s handmade by Robin and Mould and available in burnt orange, or other colour options. It’s £18 from Howkapow.

3. Soft and cuddly, this green elephant cushion, with its floral appliquéd design, will add a touch of comfort and luxury to a child’s room. It’s designed by Matthew Williamson, as part of his Butterfly Home range, and is £18 from Debenhams.

4. Have animals underfoot, with these wonderful felt rugs. Choose from Billie Badger, Finlay Fox or Herby Hedgehog – £65 at Graham and Green

Home Office Design: Choosing office furniture

October 21st, 2014

Working from home is fantastic but your office environment has to be fit for purpose. Home offices tend to be a bit haphazard – mis-matching furniture and recycled chairs or desks are common.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of bohemian shabby chic. But – and it’s a big one – a home office that’s been thrown together from left over and donated bits of furniture can be a depressing place to work in.

It can be hard enough to motivate yourself each day; you don’t want to make it even more difficult for yourself by creating a work space that you dislike. A home office that has not been thought through is also likely to be uncomfortable with irritating access problems.

How not to create a fresh design home office

How not to do it!

So before you just throw something together spend a few minutes thinking about what you like and what you find energising. It can be hard to know where to start so here are some useful questions:

  • What proportion of desk space to storage space do you need?
  • Can you save space by wall mounting PC’s, screens and cables?
  • Do you need lots of wall space for visual lists and mood boards?

Don’t just hit IKEA. Be prepared to go to a few specialist office furniture shops because they will have a bigger range and are more likely to have some clever bits of kit to help you get more from your space.

They are also more likely to be able to provide expert advice and help you with your planning.

A bit of time invested in planning will pay for itself over and over again because you will be more productive and a lot happier.

How to create the perfect home office working space

Successful home offices

Don’t be too utilitarian (or tight). You should make sure your office is a place you think is attractive and want to spend time in.

  • Do you like dark, book lined spaces or do you like clean uncluttered lines?
  • Do muted colours sooth you during a stressful day or do dashes of vibrant colour keep your mind ticking over?
  • Are there posters or pictures you love and have you considered wall stickers?  Refresh or rotate them to keep it interesting.
Finally dare to be different. It’s your office have fun with it!

 

How about an office bar or a beach inspired office?!

 

 
 
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