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
September 3rd, 2014
“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
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:
Retro Lounge 4
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.
September 1st, 2014
For a while now, my washing machine has been on its last…er…cogs. Odd subterranean noises during the spin cycle and a tendency to tango into the middle of the room on a high speed spin were starting to alarm me, and it was time to look around for a replacement.
Enter the Samsung WW9000 ecobubble touchscreen washing machine, possibly the sleekest, most high tech washing machine I’ve ever seen. If astronauts ever needed something to get the lunar dust out of their spacesuits, this is the machine they’d want installing in the space station.
Touch screen technology mean that all unnecessary knobs and buttons have been removed, leaving a neat control panel and a nice clean design. With a whopping 10kg capacity and capable of running a full cycle in less than an hour, it’s ideal for families or anyone with a busy life, and you can even control it from your Smartphone.
Energy efficiency class A+++ (-50%)
- Annual energy consumption: 119kWh
- Annual water consumption: 11500L
- Spin efficiency A
- Noise level (wash) 46dB
- Noise level (spin) 72dB
- Maximum spin speed 1600rpm
Samsung WW9000 washing machine
The Samsung WW9000 control panel
Despite its space-age functionality, the WW9000 fits well into my traditional, painted kitchen as the design is so neat. The door and drum are larger than usual, but otherwise the machine has a clean, unfussy frontage and isn’t intrusive.
My first thought was that the WW9000 was pretty complicated with its wide range of wash cycles – but I soon realised it’s actually been designed for people like me, who aren’t exactly domestic goddesses.
The secret is to leave the programme set to ‘auto optimal wash’. Once you’ve done that, the WW9000 will automatically weigh and assess your washing (yes, really!) and wash it accordingly. Although there’s a wide range of specialist washes, such as ‘sports’ and ‘wool’, that means I only have to think about it if I’m doing something out of the ordinary.
The Samsung WW9000 intelligently sorts your laundry
If you can use a computer, Smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to use this machine with ease as it’s very intuitive.
Bits I loved
- When it’s finished a load, the WW9000 plays a happy little tune to alert you to the fact of a job well done, which was oddly satisfying.
- The internal drum light seems like a gimmick at first, but is actually great for making sure you haven’t left any orphan socks behind.
- Its large capacity, meaning fewer loads to get the job done.
- The noise – or rather, almost complete lack of it. With my previous washing machine, it was hard to have a conversation with someone in the same room if the spin cycle was on. With the WW9000, you have to stick your ear right against the drum before you can tell it’s running.
The Samsung WW9000, WW10H9600 retails at £1,700. For more information, to order or to find stockists, please visit the Samsung website.
By Sara Walker
August 29th, 2014
If you love the luxurious home interiors by designer Kelly Hoppen, then we’ve got some Fab Friday bargains for you today.
Some of Kelly’s exclusive products for TV and online shopping channel QVC are currently reduced to clearance and last click prices, providing good savings on the original prices. In particular, we like the look of the high thread count bedding options, many of which come in sets of six, so you could kit out your bed in luxury for less.
1. Paisley print velvet throw – now £27.36
2. QVC 20th birthday wide stripe cushion by Kelly Hoppen – now £18.60
3. 600TC Egyptian cotton damask six piece duvet set – now £127.80
4. Egyptian cotton 600TC Hidcote Dobby six piece duvet set – now from £90
5. Floral Egyptian cotton 500TC six piece duvet set – now £58.50
6. Herringbone Egyptian cotton continental pillowcases – now £13.68
7. Stripe design bedspread – now £38.64
8. Set of three bubble paperweights – now £25.20
9. Egyptian cotton 700TC paisley jacquard six piece duvet set – now from £96
August 27th, 2014
It’s no secret that we’re rather fond of the work of UK-based wallcoverings, fabrics and home furnishings company, MissPrint.
They produce a wonderful range of contemporary designs in a variety of colour palettes and we’ve featured several of their designs before. But if you’re drawn to soft pinks, corals and neutrals, here are four wallpaper designs that could work for you.
1. Poppy wallpaper in blush
2. Ditto wallpaper in cocktail and champagne
3. Little Trees wallpaper in copperslip and fuschia
4. Denver wallpaper in blossom
These wallpapers are all in stock at John Lewis, but other retailers carrying MissPrint products include Heal’s, Wallpaper Direct and Liberty.
August 25th, 2014
Take inspiration from the stars and add a touch of star style to your home!
We don’t mean celebrity star style (although that’s fine if you wish), but inspiration from the classic star design. It features in heaps of home accessories and decor and is an image icon recognised around the world.
Here’s just a few of our current favourite home ideas featuring stars.
1. Mini Lena star lamp, £137 from Sisters Guild
2. Branch with stars fabric wall sticker, £28 from Koko Kids
3. Reach for the stars wooden print, £10 from Alphabet Interiors
4. Round star door knob, £3.95 from Graham & Green
5. Trio of vintage map stars wall art (made to order), £85 from Bombus
6. Small fairground star lights (made to order), £74.95 from Goodwin & Goodwin
7. Large hand carved fair trade mango wood stars, £12.95 from Paper High
8. Porcelain star dish, £55 from Stephanie Earl
9. Black star door mat, £35 from Graham & Green
August 22nd, 2014
Looking for an alternative to blackboard paint? This amazing wallpaper has blackboard abilities too and it’s even magnetic….what a great idea!
The magnetic chalkboard wallpaper is a useful alternative to blackboard paint, especially as it won’t require several layers of paint to get your desired effect. Instead, simply choose the size of paper you’d like, apply it to your wall and, voila, you’ll have a functioning magnetic chalkboard feature.
The vinyl wallpaper contains iron particles, and its these that enable it to have its magic-like magnetic ability. You can pop notes on and position them with magnets, or write on it with chalks, then wipe it off. It’s available to buy in three roll sizes (127cm x 100cm, 127cm x 265cm and 63.5cm x 265cm) and you can easily cut it down for smaller projects.
Use it to create a feature wall in your kitchen or study, or get creative and cover furniture or small boards with it to create your own home accessories.
Whatever home projects you’d like to try, the magnetic blackboard wallpaper is available to buy from Sisters Guild.
August 21st, 2014
Here at Fresh Design, we’re all about new ideas, contemporary design and taking a different perspective. But we also like things to literally look and smell fresh too – clean, light, airy and scented. We’ve picked out our top ten accessories for a fresher home.
1. Reed diffuser in fresh linen fragrence, Dartington Crystal
Fresh linen and summer breezes
This pretty, flower-embossed bottle comes with fresh linen fragrance and a pack of diffusing reeds. It would look great on a windowsill, where the light can pick out the clear turquoise colour. Available from Dartington Crystal, priced at £35. A range of other fragrances is available.
2. Container candle in fresh linen fragrance, Sevenoaks Candle Company
Enjoy the scent of fresh washing
Handmade in Sevenoaks, Kent, from 100% soybean wax, this candle comes in a range of three sizes and burns with the scent of clean, freshly-laundered washing. Available from the Sevenoaks Candle Company, these candles come in a range of fragrances and cost from £4 to £8.50.
3. Candle tin in fresh apple fragrance, the Thoughtful Gardener
A clean, summery scent for your home
This pretty candle tin by the Thoughtful Gardener is decorated with vintage-style script and illustrations and burns for around 45 hours with a delicate floral scent. Hand poured in Sussex, it measures 78 mm by 67 mm and costs £10 from Quince Living.
4. Candle in fresh cut grass fragrance, Sophie Allport
Lie back and think of summer meadows with this scented candle
This hand-poured candle is made in England using high quality mineral wax to achieve a long, clean and even burn, releasing the light, summery aroma of freshly cut green grass on a hot day. The candles are available in a range of other fragrances, and cost £20 from Sophie Allport.
5. Scented pendant in clean cotton fragrance, Forever Scented
Scent wardrobes and drawers with a clean, fresh aroma
Here’s a quirky, unusual take on a room-scenting candle. This pendant contains scented wax in a choice of fragrances, and can be hung in cupboards or slipped onto shelves to perfume the room. It’s an easy, no-mess option – just remember not to leave it anywhere too warm! £10, available from Forever Scented.
6. Votive candle in cut grass and jasmine fragrance, Liberty Spring
The fresh scent of a summer garden
This glass votive candle has a printed patterned outer and comes in three different summery fragrances, including this fresh cut grass and jasmine scent. £14 each, available from Berry Red.
7. Scented reed diffuser in green tea and bamboo fragrance, Little Mill House
Unusual and practical
A quirky, unusual addition to your home, this reed diffuser comes in a recycled wine bottle. Fragranced with the refreshing and calming aroma of bamboo and green tea, the scent comes from essential oils and botanical extracts from flowers, herbs, leaves and roots. Available in a range of fragrances, it costs £25 from upcycling experts Little Mill House
8. Citrus bergamia candle, Kenneth Turner
Add a little zing to your home
A beautiful hand poured candle with a clean and zesty fragrance, which will leave your home smelling fresh. With top notes of bergamot, lemon and lemongrass, floral heart notes with a woody base, and green herbal notes of garden mint and peppermint, it’s guaranteed to lift your spirits. £28, available from Sweetpea and Willow
9. Candle tin in The Orangery fragrance, Plum & Ivory
Travel in style with this fresh fragranced candle
This neat little candle tin is great for travelling as well as for scenting your own home. Available in two different scents, The Lodge and The Orangery, we love the citrussy fruit fragrance of grapefruit, white nectarine, jasmine and orange blossom in The Orangery version. £8.95, available from Plum & Ivory.
10. Candle tin in cool cucumber fragrance, Kiss Air Candles
Make your home cool as a cucumber
This candle tin with its refreshing aroma of cucumber, violets and honeydew melon is the perfect partner for a fresher bathroom. It’s handmade in Cambridgeshire, burns for between 25 and 30 hours and costs £8.50 from Kiss Air Candles.
August 18th, 2014
We’re rather fond of the home and gifts range from Urban Outfitters, especially when looking for quirky or unusual ideas. Their shops are great for a browse, but did you know that they also have some products that are exclusively available online and not in store?
Here’s a selection of some of their online exclusives to tempt you. We particularly like the look of the Danish writing desk and chair and other items of furniture that they stock.
Plus, by using the code “WINNER”, if you order online, you could get your delivery for just £1.
1. Danish writing desk and chair, £450 (free delivery to the UK)
2. Marni table lamp in plum (also available in blue or olive), £50
3. Heico elephant lamp in white, £60
4. Geometric block candle holder in gold (also available in copper and white), £18
5. Gallery side table, £175
6. Owl cake mould, £10
7. Heico pug lamp, £70
8. Mirror dot printed rug in blue, £69
9. Bunny stapler in pink, £10