Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

British design classics: The wonderful world of Liberty print

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Gorgeous Liberty prints from the Liberty London classics collection

(Prints from the Liberty London Classics collection)

Founded in 1875, Liberty of London has been a part of the London shopping scene for over 140 years.

Set up by Arthur Lasenby Liberty using money borrowed from his future father in law, it was inspired by Eastern bazaars and was designed to offer a completely new homeware and fashion shopping experience.

Arthur had judged his market well, and his collection of ornaments and fabrics were popular amongst a clientele discovering Eastern travel and Japanese and Chinese influences.  Celebrity clients included Oscar Wilde, who was responsible for introducing the brand to the American market.

Liberty’s always prided itself on doing things a little differently, and when a new building was required in 1924 architects built the new premises from the timbers of two ships, HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.

The building incorporated a number of small rooms to encourage the feeling of being in a multi-faceted market. Some of the rooms had fireplaces, to create the impression that customers were seeing the goods in a domestic environment. The business blossomed, and Arthur began to champion British designers, developing his own lines.

Always known for its individual prints, in 1939, they started to prove so popular that a separate wholesale company was formed, Liberty of London Prints. Individual, hand printed block designs were made into everything from silk scarves to furnishing fabric. Particularly popular were Liberty’s take on William Morris’ classic designs, were are still popular today.

In 1970, Liberty sold its printworks, meaning that Liberty fabrics can now be printed by other British companies as well as in the Far East.

How to get the Liberty look in your home

Liberty print fabrics tend to be eye-catching, vibrant and richly coloured with an emphasis on floral, paisley, graphic and patterned designs. It’s sometimes possible to buy original Liberty fabric on online auction sites and in vintage shops. The bold designs from the 1950s and 1960s work well as cushions, and sometimes, if you only find a small fragment of material, it looks lovely framed.

Liberty’s themselves still sell many of their ‘archive’ fabrics and other stockists nationwide sell the current range. Liberty prints were so popular that a whole range of fabrics were inspired by them. To create your own ‘Liberty-inspired’ soft furnishings, look for busy prints teamed with strong, contrasting colours.

Liberty blind, Direct Blinds

Stunning Liberty print design roller blind from Direct Blinds

Brighten up your kitchen with this Liberty-inspired blind in azalea. Bold and colourful, it will lift your spirits on the dullest of days. Prices start at £35.15 from Direct Blinds.

Liberty flag garland, Sisters Guild


Decorative Liberty print garland

Add colour to a neutral background with this small garland, featuring flag pennants decorated with classic Liberty floral patterns suspended on shimmering metallic thread. The pack contains one 10 ‘ garland with 30 pennants. £9, available from Sisters Guild.

Liberty Betsy pinwheel decorations, Berry Red

Bring some classic Liberty prints into your home, in the form of these Betsy pinwheel decorations

This boxed set of six individual pinwheel decorations are in a mixture of iconic Liberty Betsy print and plain white with a neon orange scalloped edge. Ideal for adding a little pizzazz to summer parties and weddings, they’d look lovely hanging from the branches of a tree – on a dry night! £11, available from Berry Red.

Liberty cupcake cases, Cake & Candle Ltd


Dress your cupcakes in style, in Liberty print cupcake cases


Bake in style with these cupcake cases,decorated with an assortment of classic Liberty floral patterns. These will add a bit of classic flair to the simplest cupcakes. £5.99 for 100 from Cake & Candle. 

Liberty print basket, At Number 67

Gorgeous basket with a Liberty print edging

A gorgeous basket with Liberty fabric edge and leather handles, this is ideal for those morning trips to the market in the spring, a picnic or a trip to the beach in the summer – or even a spot of light gardening. When not in use, hang it in the hallway with your straw hat and a scarf to add a note of colour. Was £34.90, now £24.90 from At Number 67.

Fresh Design Guide: Industrial style interior design

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Ideal for modern, open plan living spaces or for adding a contemporary twist, the industrial interior design look is all about clever exposure of raw building materials.

The look works by mixing different styles and textures, and juxtaposing sleek with unfinished.

You can ‘go the whole hog’ with exposed pipework, brick walls and concrete floors, or just add some key industrial-inspired pieces to your existing décor.

Retain original features

If you live in a building that’s been converted from another use, such as a factory or mill, then this look is custom made for you.

If you’ve inherited any original features like heating pipes and ducts, brickwork or original doorways, then showcase them rather than hiding them. This not only helps preserve the building’s identity but creates a unique, clean look that’s perfect for modern living.

That doesn’t mean you have to keep every original element, but retaining a few key features will help to create the look.

Exposed pipes can make a ceiling look fussy, so keep paintwork to a plain, pale colour to help them stand out without dominating.

Leave areas of exposed brickwork to help create the look. Image: Pixabay

Source metal doors and windows

Doors and windows with metal fittings will help to create an industrial look.

Look for original office doors at reclamation yards that have metal ‘kick strips’ at the bottom, plain stainless steel handles and push plates; plus windows with metal latches.

If you can’t find anything suitable, keep doors as plain as possible and add your own push plates and handles for a clean look.

Opt for raw industrial floors

The industrial look is all about raw materials, so for floors concentrate on wood, stone, polished concrete or tiles. Keep colours neutral, for example paint concrete floors grey and add colour with bright cotton rugs.

These vintage office chairs are full of character and add an industrial note to a domestic setting. Image: Pixabay

Find industrial style furniture

If you don’t live in an original industrial building, you can still create the look as much or as little as you want to.

For furniture, there are two options, both eco-friendly!

You can ‘re-purpose’ original office and industrial items such as filing cabinets, desks, desk lamps and shelving units.

Look for the best quality you can find, and avoid cheap modern items – vintage office furniture from the 1950s and 1960s is often beautifully made and looks good when mixed with other pieces in a domestic setting.

Re-purpose industrial furniture for your home. Image: Pixabay

Alternatively, seek out artisans who make new items from industrial materials.

For example, cushions made from old flour sacks, tables made from cable reels or bookshelves made with old scaffolding poles will all help to create an industrial look and feel.

Many manufacturers also make pieces that are ‘industrial inspired’ – in particular, chairs, tables and bar stools.

Choose functional lighting

Lighting should look functional rather than decorative, so to keep the effect from being too harsh use lamps rather than too much overhead lighting. Original or reproduction enamel hanging lights are ideal for areas where you need more light, such as kitchens.

Get the industrial look in your home

Keen to create the industrial look in your home? There are plenty of places where you can find excellent examples of industrial style furniture and decor.

Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Industrial metal wall storage, Vincent and Barn

Reproduction industrial wall cabinets, £110

This reproduction industrial style wall unit with a lacquered metal finish looks like it’s straight out of a factory locker room. It’s ideal for a busy family life, as a few knocks and scratches will actually improve it! £110 from Vincent and Barn.

2. Industrial grey coffee table, Alexander & Pearl

Lovely Industrial style coffee table, £280

An industrial chic coffee table featuring a wooden trestle style base with grey painted rectangular resin table top which would look great in any loft-style setting. Was £325 now £280 from Alexander & Pearl.

3. Industrial pendant light in copper,

Gorgeous copper Industrial pendant light, from £130

Perfect for adding a vintage note, this industrial-style light comes in a choice of nine colours and three sizes. Ideal for installing above a dining table or kitchen counter, it’s handmade from metal and costs from £130 from

4. Industrial metal storage unit, Primrose & Plum

Useful industrial style metal wall storage unit that would work in so many rooms.

This industrial style metal wall unit is so versatile. Use it in a study to store your desk essentials and memos, keep it in your hallway as somewhere to pop keys or umbrellas, or use it in your kitchen. It’s only £45 from Primrose & Plum.

5. Concrete design wallpaper, Lime Lace

Very realistic looking concrete design wallpaper

Want to create authentic looking wall features? Concrete design wallpaper is the perfect option. This one is by Dutch designer Piet Boon and looks very realistic. £199 from Lime Lace.

6. Industrial pipe hook, Industrial By Design

Unusual handmade industrial style coat hook or jewellery hanger

Lovingly made to order, these industrial steel pipe hooks are perfect for hanging coats and scarves on, or using as a nifty jewellery hanger. They can even custom make them to your own specifications. £29 from Industrial By Design.


Weird and wonderful upcycled furniture ideas

Monday, June 29th, 2015

If you go down to the Old Cinema today, you’re sure of a big surprise – well, if you look at their upcycled section, at least.

If you love the idea of creating upcycled furniture, but lack the time to it, then buying an already upcycled item is most definitely not cheating.

The Old Cinema London specialises in antique, vintage and retro products and can always be guaranteed to hold some surprises. In amongst their upcycled range today, we’ve spotted these beauties – all distinctive and quirky in their own way and made from some unusual materials:

Contemporary upcycled home furniture ideas

1. Bet you’ve not seen many mirrors like this, have you? It’s made been converted from an old NYC taxi door!

2. This fab table is ideal to use as a coffee table. It’s made from industrial steel and inlaid with a colourful yardstick top.

3. Would you believe that this upcycled chair has been made from none other than seat belts?

4. Why not light up your home with a gorgeous green bottle chandelier, made from glass and old iron.

5. Another unusual chair to pep up your home seating, this time made out of an old Q8 oil drum, by Faye Vermaak

6. An old retro sideboard has been brought back to life with a striking black and white design

7. Moveable storage is always useful (especially when it’s full and heavy!) and this upcycled steel cabinet on wheels looks great with its funky star design.

Heart inspired homeware designs from Cordello Home

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Heart themed home accessories

Do you love heart inspired graphic design prints? Check out this collection of contemporary, innovative designs to freshen up your home.

These products are all from Cordello Home, a relative newcomer to the world of online homeware stores, having launched just last year. The store was founded by designer Kate Shaw who loves graphic design and hearts.

All the pieces in the collection feature bold prints and cleverly use hearts as the basis. In fact, the name Cordello was created from the Italian words for ‘heart’ (cuore) and ‘pattern’ (modello).

The designs feature across a range of products, including cushions, mugs, plates, tableware, stationery and tea towels. You won’t find any chintzy heart designs here – they’re all distinctive, lively, colourful and perfect for contemporary homes.

Here are four examples that caught our eye:

Blue and white Cordello heart cushion, £35

Hearts & flowers bone china mug, £12

Cordello skull print, £45

Queen of hearts plate, £14.50

British weather report: Clouds and rain inspire homeware

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
 Cloud and rain inspired homeware
The great British weather is subject to an awful lot of moans and groans, but we say….if you can’t beat it, embrace it!

So here are some cloud and rain themed homeware pieces that prove that even bad weather can inspire great designs.

1. Light up your home with this contemporary cloud design wall light. When turned on, the metal light creates a silhouette style effect on the wall. It’s made to order and available from Raw Studio.

2. Rest your head on a colourful (and bargain priced) rain cloud cushion, from Tiger.

3. Decorate your walls with this fab cloud design wallpaper. It’s designed by Aimee Wilder and is hand-printed and made to order. The wallpaper is available in three colour options – sonic, storm and sunshine. Available from Wall-Library.

4. Brighten up your wall with this multicoloured rain cloud print, from Showler and Showler.

5. Accessorise your sofa with a delightful cloud shaped screen printed cushion, from Lottie & Gil.

6. Add a touch of neon to your décor, with a neon clouds wall sticker from Nutmeg.

7. Indulge in your favourite cuppa on a rainy day, with this giant mug.

8. Hang your clothes up on these quirky cloud design hangers. They’re a bargain at only £1 for a set of four from Tiger.

9. Rest your mugs and cups on a handmade felt cloud or rain design coaster. They’re sold in a set of four by Pygmy Cloud.

Inspiring objects: Heritage feather design bookmarks by Kosha

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Kosha feathers used as art

Aren’t these feathers beautifully designed?

They’re created by Kosha, a Swiss design studio specialising in creating inspiring objects.

Not just a decorative object, the heritage feathers are designed to be bookmarks. They’re made from a flexible form of stainless steel and come with a gentle curved shape. When they’re placed in the pages of a book, they flatten and sit perfectly. But once you’re done with your bookmarking needs and remove the feather, it will become curved again.

Kosha feather design bookmark object

The bookmark feathers are realistically designed and you can see that the creators have paid exceptional attention to detail. On one side of the piece, there are delicate lines branching out from the central shaft of the feather, reflecting the detail you’d expect to see in an actual feather. The edges of the piece have a sense of movement to them, evoking the feel of the feather being blown by a small puff of air and dancing in the wind.

The other side of the feather is plainer, but benefits from the addition of the rather apt Cicero quote, “A room without books is like a body without a soul,” – something we definitely relate to!

Kosha yellow gold feather bookmark

The heritage feathers come nicely presented in a box, making them perfect to give as a gift. They’re ideal for those hard-to-buy-for recipients and, with the feather theme, could make a good Easter gift for those wanting an alternative to chocolate.

For the Kindle generation, who might not read paperbacks so often or have such a need for a bookmark, the feathers look equally delightful simply used as decorative objects to accessorise your home.

Kosha stainless steel feather reviewed by Fresh Design Blog

Thanks to the flexible steel, they don’t just lie flat on a shelf, table or desk – the tip and bottom of the shaft are curved upwards, giving them a sense of movement and fluidity, like a feather that’s blown in through an open window. Alternatively, either a single feather or a group would look great displayed in a slimline clear glass vase.

The feathers are available in a range of colours and finishes, including the classic stainless steel, green, olive green and rich purple, to some higher quality finishes for that special gift. The red gold feather has an alloy of 16 carat gold and copper, yellow gold feathers 24 carat yellow gold over stainless steel and there’s 9 carat gold and rhodium on the black gold feather.

Kosha’s exquisite feathers are available to purchase in the UK via Amazon. The same design is used to great effect in a range of feather jewellery and in iPhone cover plates.

Gorgeous Kosha gold and silver feathers

***Disclosure: Kosha sent us the heritage feather bookmarks for review, but all views and opinions are our own.***


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