Create a gorgeous outdoor space with Harley & Lola

April 18th, 2016

With summer approaching (we hope!), now’s a good time to start thinking about how you could create a relaxing outdoor area.

We’ve teamed up with Harley & Lola – an environmentally friendly homeware and furniture company – to explore how their garden and conservatory furniture could be put to good use for creating the perfect outdoor space. We’ve put together some of our favourite pieces of contemporary furniture and accessories on a Pinterest board, which you can view here:

Follow FreshDesign Blog’s board Harley & Lola Outdoor Room on Pinterest.

When it comes to relaxing, comfort is obviously a number one consideration. In order to relax and unwind properly, you need to be able to be comfortable – whether you’re sitting, lounging or lying down. What a fabulous day bed to use in a garden. It looks so comfy and the canopy is useful for shade.

One of the ultimate pieces for contemporary garden relaxation has to be a day bed and we love the Port Royal Prestige day bed, with its retractable canopy and matching coffee table. It looks amazingly comfortable and can fit one or two people. The canopy is ideal to use when it gets too hot, or you don’t want the sun in your eyes. From a space-saving point of view, it’s good to know that you can store the coffee table inside the base of the daybed when it’s not in use. Super comfy and stylish garden lounger from Harley & Lola

Of course a lounger is a great addition to a garden too, so there’s a matching lounger we’d pair with this, for those times when you just want to rest, doze off and lie down.   In terms of garden furniture, we love pieces that can effectively be used in a conservatory when the weather is poor, then moved into the garden when the weather improves, like this Port Royal Prestige large sofa setLuxury garden or conservatory sofa set

The design and style is perfect for a contemporary home and it gives more a of a luxury feel than standard garden furniture. Think boutique hotel. 

Shade is important too – especially when it gets really hot, or you’re sitting out in the midday sun. We like the look of the Amalfi parasol, as it can be positioned at the side of a table or chairs, rather than simply in the middle, and it looks like it will angle well. 

Contemporary design leaf and tree chairs from Harley and Lola. Ideal for use in the garden or conservatory.

Of course, there are times when you want easily moveable garden chairs too – for example, if you want to nip outside in the sun for a quick cup of coffee, but haven’t got time to be out for long. In those cases, these tree and leaf chairs are ideal. They’d work well inside a conservatory too – the black tree chairs in particular would be excellent as dining chairs. 

If you’re sitting outside in an evening, perhaps following dinner or a barbecue, it can often begin to feel a bit chilly. That’s where having a blanket on hand comes in useful! A snuggly fleece blanket would be super cosy and Harley & Lola have the perfect range available.  

Finally, for the ultimate in outdoor room, we’d have to add in a few extra cushions for comfort (we love these recycled denim and chenille ones), a soft pouffe to use for extra seating or a foot rest, plus a lantern or two to create the perfect ambience. 

So, that’s how we’d create our perfect outdoor room – what would be in yours?

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)  

Decorating made easy: Transform walls with stunning wall murals

April 13th, 2016

Want to create a feature or statement wall in your home? Rather than painting it or using standard wallpaper, why not make the transformation easy by using a wall mural?

Wall murals come in a variety of designs and styles. They can be funky and bright, calm and soothing, modern or industrial. There are options that will bring natural elements, cityscapes, landscapes or sea views into your home, or simply gorgeous patterns and abstract designs. Plus, there are murals for children and adults alike.

Murals look impressive when installed and can bring a whole new vibe to a room. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about it not fitting, or having to cut it to size, as you can order them to be custom made exactly for your wall size.

Here are some of our favourite wall mural designs from specialist company, Murals Wallpaper.

Love this modern geometric triangle design wall mural and especially that it can be custom made for your wall size.

Add a lively modern geometric style to a room, with this multicoloured triangles mural.

Embrace the ombre trend, with this peach and turquoise fade ombre design mural.

Create an instant brick wall effect, with this white paint bricks mural.

Bring a sense of calm to a room, with this amidst the mist forest design mural.

To complete an industrial style decor scheme, add this bare concrete mural to your wall.

Easy way to add a sense of funk to a room - use a graffiti wall mural!

Funk things up, with this twisted arrows graffiti mural.

Help your kids learn to explore the world, using this navigator map mural.

Dreaming of far off places? Transport yourself to New York, with this sunset mural.

These are just a few of the amazing designs available. For more ideas and inspiration to make decorating easy, check out Murals Wallpaper.


Iconic Radiators: Contemporary designer towel rails and radiators

April 12th, 2016

Radiators and towel rails have come a long way in terms of design. They’re no longer purely functional – they can also be stunningly created to be a design statement in their own right.

One company specialising in designer radiators and towel rails is Iconic Radiators. They’re a great starting point if you’re looking for something a bit different for your bathroom. Here are some of our favourite designs for a contemporary home.

Stunning EOS round designer radiator and towel rail - perfect for use in a modern bathroom

Gorgeous EOS round radiator designed by Mario Talin. There’s an oval option available too, which looks equally good.

Love this super slimline modern design radaitor. Wouldn't this look super in a contemporary bathroom?

Perfect for a small bathroom, the Slimline Giuly towel rail is designed by Mariano Moroni

This Lattice design radiator is really cool! Suitable for use in a modern home or office, it would create quite a talking point.

Unusual Lattice designer radiator by Jacek Ryn – sure to be a talking point, this design works when used in a modern home or office.

Love this donut shaped designer radiator, so unusual.

Another fab round design - Zero Otto designed by Francesco Lucchese. There’s even a special holder built into it so you can add your own essential oils to make your towels smell nice!


Spring garden projects and blog carnival

April 11th, 2016

Spring has sprung and suddenly I’m getting urges to be out ‘doing things’ in the garden.

I’ve made a start on weeding, cutting back dead growth and a spot of planting, but have lots more planned and am currently drooling over ideas for all the things I’d like to plant this year.

If you’re keen to get gardening, then here are some ideas for useful garden projects that you might like to get stuck into this spring.

Make your garden bird friendly

Spring is sprung and birds are nesting. Find out what bird box to have for different types of garden birds

Spring is just as important a time of the year to think about birds as the colder winter months are.

Birds are beginning to think about nesting (I’ve been watching blackbirds very busily collecting nesting materials), so you could ensure that there are plenty of suitable nesting materials available for them to obtain. If you have pets, such as cats or dogs, and especially if they’re moulting, you could put their fur to good use after grooming them and fill a bird feeder with it.

Other materials that birds find useful to use in their nesting activities include natural fibres, such as wool and cotton, ribbon, lace and bits of string. All of these can be added to a feeder for them to forage and find.

Now is also a good time to install a bird box or two in your garden or on the walls of your house. Different sized boxes suit different types of birds – sparrows, for example, like to nest in families, so choose a sparrow terrace style box, whereas robins tend to prefer a slightly open fronted box, that can be hidden by a hedge or other plants.

If you’re a dab hand with a hammer and nails, then why not have a go at making your own bird box? The British Trust for Ornithology have a useful guide to box building, including which size is best for which bird.

Plant sunflower seeds

Plant sunflower seeds in spring, for a gorgeous summer display of colour and height

If you’re keen to grow sunflowers this year, then now is the perfect time to start planting the seeds.

Sow the seeds in individual pots to start them off, or dedicate an area of your garden to become the sunflower patch.

If you’re doing the latter, it’s a good idea to use plant markers to mark where you’ve planted the seeds. Not only so that you can keep an eye on their growth and progress, but also so anyone else in your household who might be gardening too knows where they are (and doesn’t accidentally pull up your giant sunflower seedling, as has happened to me in the past!).

Weeding and pruning

Essential garden tools for carrying out weeding, pruning and planting

It’s not the most exciting of garden projects, but if your garden has been somewhat neglected over the winter, now is a good time to get out there and start weeding and pruning. It can actually be a very satisfying job, especially as you can see a real difference when you finish!

Prune back plants such as roses and hedges, as well as any other old growth (I’ve tidied up our passionflower, for example).

If you have fruit trees, such as apple or pear trees, and haven’t touched them since last year, get pruning them too. It’s essential to do so before any new buds start appearing and might help ensure you get a good crop of fruit later in the summer.

Garden blog carnival

This post is part of a blog carnival celebrating all things garden-related for #NationalGardeningWeek. For more inspiring ideas, check out these posts from fellow bloggers:

* Penny has three easy but great fun projects children will enjoy helping with, she has been making miniature gardens, creating a scarecrow and planting wild flowers.

* Catherine from Growing Family has three great family gardening projects, she has been sowing a mini wildflower meadow, growing vegetables in containers and making new plants for free.

* Becky has three lovely garden projects to share, a secret garden, making a herb planter and flower pressing.

* Stephanie at Life at 139a has two posts on how giving your garden furniture a scrub and revamp can work wonders as well as tips on how to repot your houseplants.

* Cathy from Wishful Wonderings has been looking for inspiration and creating a herb box for her small garden.

(Images courtesy of Pixabay)

Design inspiration: Five luxury kitchens

April 6th, 2016

The kitchen is such an important room in all of our homes. Not only do we throw together all of our meals here, but it’s often a hub for family life – where we cook, eat and chat together.

Let’s face it, it’s also the room that many of us would love to upgrade. Whether it’s top of the range gadgets and appliances or the sort of high end interiors featured on How To Spend It many of us dream of going bigger and better in the kitchen.

Let us go through the keyhole into five homes that can serve as great inspiration for your dream kitchen.

Aldo Zilli

Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli was forced to wait eight months to finish his £1 million dream kitchen, such was the waiting list for the bespoke design work that went into the room.

The ‘Fiore di Cristallo’ room features a £26,400 Swarovski Crystal chandelier – which illuminates the £36,850 crystal island centerpiece – as well as solid copper walls, a £5,000 fridge, £6,850 stone worktop and handcrafted German appliance from Gaggenau.

The Mayfair kitchen was crafted by design guru Claudio Celiberti.

Mr Zilli said: “As far as I am concerned this kitchen, the ‘Fiore di Cristallo,’ to me is the equivalent of a kilo of white truffles on my pasta. In other words, Claudio has combined innovative design with functionality faultlessly. This is ultimate luxury at its best.”

Ellen De Generes

US TV personality Ellen De Generes shares a stunning ranch in the Santa Monica mountains of California with partner Portia De Rossi – and the kitchen matches the luxury of the property.

An Italian industrial light fitting hangs above a beautiful antique bluestone table in a room that manages to embrace the traditional equestrian look to the property and deliver a homely kitchen/diner.

19th century American Windsor chairs and a Danish lounge chair help set the mood for a relaxing room.

Lady Gaga

You might expect pop’s queen of the weird and wonderful to have a fairly bizarre kitchen and home to match her eclectic image. Yet you’d be wrong.

Gaga’s Malibu home is classy and traditional, with a top of the range kitchen to match. Its style is a masterclass in how to match chrome, stainless steel, brown and cream in a classy, understated way. Plenty of people get this wrong, but not Gaga.

Steven Klar

Long Island developer Steven Klar may not be a famous face like those above, but his kitchen easily matches those two.

His kitchen is stocked with two sub-zero refrigerators, two Bosch dishwashers, butler’s pantry (or secondary kitchen!) a Scotsman ice maker and a six-burner commercial grade Russell range which features a barbecue that vents outside.

Interestingly he doesn’t cook himself in this kitchen – but it’s a must-have asset and means that he can get in a professional chef to cook from here when he’s entertaining – another burgeoning trend among those in luxury homes and apartments. If you’re going to get in a pro, they’ll need the right equipment after all.

Colosseo Oro

This isn’t an individual’s home as such, more a limited edition installation. There are just 10 available and each features ‘24 carat gold leafing, crocodile embossed leather, Venetian ink-stained gold glass and Sub-Zero & Wolf appliances’ – with those appliances costing £55,000 alone. The look is topped off by Swarovski crystal lights. The whole thing has been designed for those who like to entertain – and impress their guests.

Designer Paul Marazzi said: “I feel a kitchen should have a soul and presence, transforming the room into an emotional experience, a celebration of family life and convivial living, transcending the kitchen into the heart and soul of the home”.

Whose kitchen would you most like to have?

Stunning handmade tree design shelves by Bespoak Interiors

April 4th, 2016

Love this stunning oak tree design handmade wooden shelf by Bespoak Interiors

For shelving that will turn heads and show off your books or decorative accessories in style, look no further than a tree design shelf.

These are handmade in the Cotswolds by Bespoak Interiors, a company who specialise in producing quirky and unusual furniture that stands out.

Clearly they’re achieving their aim, as these shelves certainly do stand out. In fact, as well as a functional piece of furniture, you get an amazing decorative sculpture too.

What a fabulous way to store books, on your very own hazel wood tree!

Each piece is made to order, so you can be sure that you’ll get a one-of-a-kind shelf. They’re fixed to the wall, so you can be sure your tree shelf will be secure and not prone to toppling over.

Choose from an oak tree shelf, a hazel tree or a mini oak tree designed especially with children in mind.


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