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Valentine style: 10 contemporary home related gifts

February 9th, 2015

Fresh Design guide to valentine love home gifts

Flowers and chocolates are always a safe bet for Valentine’s Day, but this year, why not treat your loved one to something a little more individual? We’ve picked out the top ten buys for a modern home, which will continue to give pleasure all year round.

1. Kubrick armchair in rose red, MADE

Kubrick armchair from MADE

With curved lines and angled legs, this 1960s-inspired take on the classic wing back chair design will add a little drama to your decor. Upholstered in a rose red wool mix, this chair cries sophistication with a retro twist. £459 from MADE.

2. Blossom turned wood candlestick, Applicata

Rose wooden candlestick, Applicata

If you do decide to go down the romantic dinner route, what better way to light the room than this Blossom candlestick, designed in Denmark and manufactured in Scandinavia. Available in three shapes and a wide range of colours, we like this Rose model in Chilli Red. £40, available from the Scandinavian Shop.

3. Rose petal fantasy coffee table, Sweetpea and Willow

Rose petal fantasy table, Sweetpea & Willow

How much fun is this table? It features rose petals trapped in clear acrylic, like a romantic gesture trapped in time. Perfect for a sleek, contemporary interior, and adds a quirky note to any room. £605 from Sweetpea and Willow.

4. Rose bush sticker, Spin Collective

Rose bush wall sticker from Spin Collective

We love this rose bush wall sticker, complete with three hovering butterflies. Ideal for injecting a bold splash of colour into a neutral colourscheme, it’s available in a wide range of colours. £24 from Spin Collective.

5. Red rose photo clock, Kico

Red rose photo clock from Kico Products

Made in the UK this clock features a high quality photo print, Quartz clock movements and the simple black hands that don’t detract from the design. Measuring 32cm and costing £18.99, it’s available from Kico.

6. Red rose canvas print, Arthouse

Rose wall canvas print, Arthouse

This 77cm x 57cm x 2.5cm canvas features an elegant, deep red velvet rose to add a touch of instant glamour to your walls. The photo quality print is so real you can almost smell and touch the flower. Priced at £19.99, available from Arthouse.

7. Marden fabric, Fermoie

Marden fabric, Fermoie

A British brand created by the entrepreneurs who launched upmarket paint company Farrow & Ball, Fermoie has some beautiful, unusual fabrics on offer. If you’d like to craft something special for Valentine’s Day, this Marden fabric in red is an individual, quality choice. Available from Fermoie in three colourways. £96 per metre.

8. Contemporary red glass mirror, Ayers and Graces

Contemporary red glass mirror, Ayers and Graces

This sleek, modern mirror features a coloured bevelled glass 8.8cm border and bevelled mirror glass. It comes complete with fixings, and can be hung in the landscape or portrait position. Measurements 107cm x 66cm. Was £149, now £125, available from Ayers and Graces.

9. Red Dala tray, Jangneus

Round red wooden Dala tray, Jangneus

This tray is an ideal way of serving that Valentine’s Day breakfast or cup of tea. It’s individually handmade from a single sheet of wood with no joins, so it’s dishwasher safe and food safe. It’s made in Sweden, produced from sustainable Scandinavian birch wood and costs £29.95 from Jangneus.

10. Red dove bookmark, The Oak Room

Red dove bookmark, The Oak Room

Kubrick armchair from MADEThis sculptural red dove is in fact an unusual bookmark.  While the bird perches on top of the book, its long string holds it in place marking the page.  Made in Holland using cutting edge 3D printing, it costs £9.99 from The Oak Room.

For more ideas, check out our Lasting Valentine’s Gifts collection on eBay

 

Tile style: how to tile a feature area of a wall

February 5th, 2015

How to tile a wall

Tiles are no longer just functional – you can use them to add areas of texture and interest to almost any surface.

As well as using them in kitchens and bathrooms, you can also create detailing in hallways or accentuate features in dining rooms. If you’re tiling a small, straightforward area with no obstructions, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to make a great job of it yourself – it’s all about care and preparation. Here’s how…

Getting started

Assemble your tools before starting.

You’ll need the following tools for your project:

  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Claw hammer
  • Tile cutter (many tile shops hire these out)
  • Pack of tile spacers
  • Grout spreader
  • Tile file
  • Adhesive spreader
  • Gloves and safety goggles
  • Two wooden battens, screws and drill

Measure the area to be tiled carefully. Your tile retailer will normally calculate the number of tiles required for you, and add around 5% to the total to allow for breakages. Many retailers will take back unopened boxes of extra tiles, so it’s better to over rather than under estimate. Don’t forget you’ll also need sufficient tile adhesive and grout – again, your retailer can advise on quantities.

Simple glass tiles on a plain background are an easy and effective way of adding texture.

Start by preparing the area to be tiled. Strip off any wall paper, fill any holes and make sure the whole area is clean, dry and solid. Next, layout your pattern of tiles on the floor, and use one of the wooden battens to make a tile gauge. Lay the batten by one edge of the tiles, and mark the exact positions of the tiles as they’ll appear when on the wall.

Next, measure and mark out your tiled area in pencil on the wall. Use the tile gauge to see where the top and bottom of your design comes to, and adjust if necessary. Draw lines vertically and horizontally through the middle of the area so you can line up the tiles accurately. If your tiled area is to reach the edge of a wall or door, any pieces of cut tile should be of equal size at both ends of the row or it’ll all look a bit skew whiff.

Mark the bottom of your lowest row of tiles, and secure the batten horizontally to the wall at this level, using the spirit level to make sure it’s straight.

Tiling

Bold, bright tiles create an eye-catching feature on a blank wall.

Scoop  up some adhesive and spread it with the spreader, working in horizontal lines and holding the blade at a 45 degree angle. Only work on a couple of rows at a time or the glue will start to harden before you’re ready. Try not to use too much adhesive – this takes a little practice – as the surplus will squidge out from under the tiles and you’ll have to remove it later with a scraper.

The first tile should be the bottom row, central one. Press it into position and check it’s straight with a spirit level. Add the remaining tiles on that row, spacing them out roughly equally by eye. Working quickly, insert the tile spacers into the gaps and adjust the positions of the tiles until they’re all equal. Then, start the next row until you’ve finished the area of adhesive before moving on to the next area.

Mix and match colours, textures and patterns to add interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clear up any splashes of adhesive as you go along, as otherwise they’ll dry on and be almost impossible to shift.

Once you’ve finished, remove the battens by prising the nails out, and filling and touching up the wall as necessary.

 

Fresh Design home ideas: Seletti Lightthink boxes

February 3rd, 2015

Contemporary home lighting ideas

Feeling in need of a motivational boost? Or keen to funk up your decor? Look no further than these fun and stylish light boxes.

Perfect for all fans of using words and signs in home decor, these Lightthink boxes by Seletti are fun and fab. The`boxes each have a perspex panel with a word of statement on it and they’re made of natural wood. They’re powered inside by LED lamps, which provide a warm glow.

But you don’t just get what you see in the picture above.

Each box comes with four interchangeable panels – three with wording already on them, and one left blank so you can create your own unique light box:

* The medium sized Change your mind box comes with ‘love’ and ‘soul food’

* The  large Happynest box has panels with ‘I have a dream’ and ‘light my fire’

* The small Smile box features the words ‘live’ and ‘Paradise.’

We love the idea and concept of these. The interchangeable panels makes them better value for money and being able to create your own wording too is a major bonus.

Heal’s currently have the three sizes of Lightthink boxes in stock. Here they are in all their glory:

Typography light box designs

Wow factor lighting: Kartell Fly pendant lamp from Kontenta

January 29th, 2015

Buy Kartell from Kontenta

There’s lighting, and there’s wow-factor lighting. Thanks to its design, transparency and size, Kartell’s Fly pendant light ticks our boxes for the latter.

Kartell are well known for designing and creating home accessories and furniture for contemporary homes and their Fly hanging pendant light is no exception. Suspended from the ceiling, it takes centre stage in a room and can be used to help bring together an interior design scheme or add a contrasting splash of colour.

In fact, pretty much whatever colour you’re after is catered for by this product, as it’s available in a veritable rainbow of colours!

The light shade itself is made from a transparent methacrylate that has a lovely sheen to it. The transparency of the material creates interesting effects when the light is turned on and it’s somewhat different to be able to see the light bulb shining through.

If a fully transparent look isn’t for you, then the design is also available in opaque white and opaque black too, which are also equally attractive.

One thing to bear in mind is the size of this pendant lamp. Measuring 52cm in diameter, this is a very large design. Due to its size, it’s best suited hung from high ceilings and in a situation where you won’t get worried that you’re about to hit your head on it as you walk by.

We think it works well hung as a statement light above a dining table, or used to provide colour and light in a living room. Like this, for example:

Image courtesy of Littlefew

(Image credit)

The Kartell Fly pendant is available to purchase from Kontenta, a specialist online retailer of authentic designer furniture. They specialise in stocking popular contemporary brands such as Kartell, Alessi and Paeressini Casa and aim to offer competitive – and affordable – prices.

The Fresh Design verdict

* What we love about the Kartell Fly pendant lamp: The contemporary style and wide colour choice – there’s something for everyone.

* What makes it a wow-factor piece: Its size, transparency and impact.

* Where to hang it: It’s perfect used as a statement light above a dining table.

***Disclosure: We were sent a Kartell Fly pendant light to review, but all views and opinions are our own***

Get your décor mapped out with these map themed home ideas

January 27th, 2015

Wallpaper bedding and decor with a map theme

Hands up who loves maps? Many of us may rely on GPS devices to get us from A to B these days, but you can’t beat the look and feel of an actual good old map.

Today we’re celebrating the design of maps, with some gorgeous map themed ideas for your home, some of which can be personalised to make them even more special.

1. Go to sleep in the Big Apple, with this NYC map design bedding from George home. It’s very well priced at only £12 for a single, £15 for a double and £18 for king size.

2. Light up a room with a map design shade. Sarah Walker, from Art Shades, makes made-to-order ceiling pendant or floor lamp shades, using vintage Ordnance Survey maps. This one features the Scottish Highlands.

3. Let a map of the UK take centre stage, with this neutral toned cushion. It’s a bargain at only £7.

4. Celebrate your favourite locations with personalised Ordnance Survey map wallpaper. Choose from new map styles, such as Explorer or Landranger, or old survey or Victorian street maps. The wallpaper is priced from £135 from Love Maps On and is paste-free and re-positionable.

 

Colour me bright: Top ten colourful home accessories

January 23rd, 2015

10 best home accessories for brightening up your home

With plenty of the winter still ahead of us, now’s the time you might be started to feel that the cold, drizzly, grey weather is starting to grate a bit. Now’s the time to retreat inside and create your own bright, colourful den to banish those winter blues, with our pick of the top ten colourful home accessories guaranteed to cheer you up.

1. Xian fresh rug in bright, Kelaty

Bright stripy Xian floor rug.

A cheerful, stripy contemporary rug designed to lift your spirits and brighten a dark room. It’s available in a range of colourways, designs and sizes, and prices start at £89 from Kelaty.

2. Bright stripe room divider, Arthouse

Bright stripe room divider from Arthouse

Make an impact with this stripy room divider. Ideal for screening off clutter, splitting up a room into two uses or creating some privacy, this will be a real focal point. £75, available from Arthouse.

3. Yellow cups tea towel, Jangneus

Bright yellow tea towel from Jangneus

This cheerful yellow tea towel will bring a ray of sunshine into your kitchen on the darkest day. Made from all natural materials in the UK, it costs £12 from Jangneus.

4. Single letter cushion, Karen Hilton Designs

Bright initial cushions from Karen Hilton Designs

Stake your claim to your place on the sofa or mark your favourite chair with one of these initial cushions in bight primary colours. Handmade by designer Karen Hilton, they’re available in  30cm x 30cm or 42cm x 42cm sizes. Prices start at £18, available from Swanky Maison.

5. Red enamel jug, Gisela Graham

Red traditional design metal jug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add an eye catching pop of colour with this bright red metal jug from Gisela Graham. AT £7, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to brighten a dark corner. Add a bouquet of winter evergreen leaves such as holly or laurel, or use it to display dried flowers. Available from The Contemporary Home.

6. Menu Propellor trivet, The Scandinavian Shop

Funky colourful silicone trivets from The Scandinavian Shop

This award-winning propeller trivet will add a touch of fun to your kitchen counter. Made from silicone, the trivet is heat resistant up to 230 degrees Celsius, folds for optimal storage and is available in a range of colours. £15, from The Scandinavian Shop.

7. Desert cushion, Polly Taylor

Dessert design cushion by Polly Taylor

The Desert cushion is part of the Climate collection, a colourful range of cushions inspired by aerial views of landscapes from around the world. The cushion is 100% cotton twill, digitally printed in bright, contemporary shades. Comes complete with a polyester cushion pad. £38, available from Great British Designs.

8. Green block desk clock, Red Candy

Bright, colourful green desk clock from Red Candy

This bright green table top clock  tells the time using the cut out numbers on the face. Made from powder coated steel, it features a bright green face with a yellow minute hand. Behind the face is an orange hour hand that passes behind the cut out numbers, so the hour is filled with orange. Perfect for offices, bedrooms and kitchens, was £24, now £21.60 from Red Candy.

9. Cornell chair in robin’s egg blue, MADE

This Cornell chair would be ideal for brightening up the kitchen.

A playful take on a classic mid-century design, this retro-style chair is available in a range of bright modern colours. Made from sturdy plywood with a lacquer finish and a curved backrest for extra support. Was £109, now £89 from MADE.

10. Marimekko Pieni Unikko Red Cushion

Marimekko red flower design cushion

This bold Pieni Unikko poppy design by Maya and Kristina Isola will remind you summer’s on its way – and it can’t arrive too soon! £37, available from Cloudberry Living.

 
 
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