Joseph Joseph contemporary kitchenware: Nest baking accessories

March 2nd, 2015

Nest mix mixing bowl set from Joseph JosephContemporary kitchen baking equipment

At Fresh Design, we’re big fans of home baking, but in order to bake efficiently, it helps to have the right kit to hand.

In terms of baking accessories, some of the essentials include a mixing bowl to prepare all your ingredients in and measuring spoons to help you add the correct amount of ingredients.

Contemporary kitchenware company, Joseph Joseph, founded by twins Richard and Antony Joseph, produce a range of stylish and practical products that are perfect for the modern home baker.

We were invited to test out two new products from their Nest food preparation collection – the Nest Mix and Nest Measure.

Review of Joseph Joseph baking accessories by Fresh Design Blog

Nest Mix is a three piece mixing bowl set with the added addition of a highly useful egg separator. The colourful bowls are in graduated sizes and stack inside each other, so they’re easier to pack away and store in a cupboard. The egg separator clips onto any of the bowls, and makes juggling the yolk between the egg shells to separate off the egg white a thing of the past – hooray!

Each of the bowls also have nicely designed spouts, which makes transferring ingredients from bowl to mixer, or bowl to cake tin, a lot easier. The designers seem to have thought have everything and we’re impressed by the addition of a stainless steel egg cracker rim on each of the bowls, which ensures egg cracking is quick and easy.

The bowls are all lightweight, so work well combined with scales for measuring out baking ingredients. They were ergonomically comfortable to use and work with, plus they washed well too.

Joseph Joseph kitchenware products reviewed by Fresh Design Blog

The Nest Measure set is an equally useful piece of kit. Consisting of eight pieces, the set features measuring cups ranging in size from a tiny 1/4 of a teaspoon up to one cup. In fact, the set seems to cover all the key measurements you’re likely to need. Each measurement is listed on the handle – our only criticism is that on some of the colours, and in some lights, they’re easier to read than others and we wish they were a tad clearer.

We do however love the fact that each piece clips together, so you can retain them all in a neat and compact nest, rather than having a drawer or cupboard full of random pieces. The colours are lively and attractive and help ensure the product stands out easily when you’re delving in a drawer to find them!

The Nest Mix retails for £30 and the Nest Measure for £10. Both are available to purchase from Joseph Joseph.

* Disclosure: We were sent the two products for review, but all views and opinions are our own.


British weather report: Clouds and rain inspire homeware

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

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.***


Fresh Design product review: Polefit bedding by Stylefast

February 23rd, 2015

Here at Fresh Design, we’re always interested in the latest products to hit the market, but we wouldn’t have thought there’d be any innovations in the area of bedding. You can choose your colour, size, type of fabric and whether you want fitted or flat, but otherwise a bed sheet is a bed sheet, right? Turns out we were wrong.

A company called Stylefast has introduced Polefit bedding, which could be the biggest innovation in bedding since Bertha Berman invented the fitted sheet in the 1950s.

It’s a method of stretching a top sheet across the bed, and holding it in place with weighted poles so that it doesn’t wrinkle or come loose. Here’s what Stylefast have to say about it:

“We believe Polefit offers the world’s most superior sleeping surface. It can be fitted easily and retains its super smooth quality from night to night with limited maintenance.  We believe the Polefit™ bed sheet also offers a smart and stylish appearance which prevents the need to hide the bed sheet under additional covering.”

The Polefit sheet package from Stylefast

Polefit: the product

We couldn’t wait to try it, and we had just the place for it. We trialled the ‘Full Monty’ a package retailing at £120.74 for the double size and containing two Polefit™ bed sheets, one set of poles, one set of straps and one base sheet.

One of the beds in our house is a standard double with a wooden headboard and frame, and a very tightly fitting, thick mattress.

We’ve passed many a happy moment trying to stuff the flat sheet between the frame and the mattress, knocking skin off our knuckles and straining our backs – fitted sheets tend not to fit, as the mattress is so thick.

Weighted poles keep the sides of the sheet taut.

The Polefit kit came in two packages – one containing the bedding pack of a fitted base sheet and two top sheets plus a pack of straps, and the other containing the weighted side poles.

The idea is that you fit the straps right under the mattress, then add the fitted base sheet as normal. The small, neat top sheet goes on top, overhanging by only a few centimetres, and the poles are threaded through special pockets to weight the sides down.

The straps then attach to the poles to tension the top sheet and keep the whole thing taut overnight.

Having been a victim of this bed slowly untucking itself overnight on many occasions, this sounded pretty good, and we were looking forward to a life of never tucking the flippin’ sheet in again.

Straps run under the mattress and attach to the poles.

Polefit: the setup

We washed the sheets before use, and they washed well. The small top sheet would have been a comparative delight to iron, but in fact it didn’t need it as it was tensioned – another plus.

The manufacturers say you should allow 30 minutes to do the initial setup. They also recommend that it’s a job for two people, and it really is – we tried it alone and got embarrassingly trapped under the mattress, so wait until you’ve got someone to help.

The finished look

We stripped off all the old bedding and lifted the mattress of the bed completely, before laying the straps over the base of the bed – two crossways and two lengthways.

Stylefast give a table of what lengths to adjust the straps to compared to the size of bed, but the figures didn’t seem to make much sense so we adjusted the straps to their fullest extent before lifting the mattress back, making sure the straps protruded at the ends.

Next, we put on the base sheet which was a really good fit, and plenty deep enough for the mattress.

The poles came in halves, and had to be screwed together with a neat little flexible spring in the middle so that they moved slightly with the mattress.

Once the poles were assembled, we laid the top sheet on the bed and threaded them into position. A small amount of crawling under mattresses had to take place at this point, as the straps were too long, but once adjusted they were wrapped into place round the poles and tensioned slightly.

The top sheet looked as smooth as a billiard table!

Polefit: the Fresh Design verdict

So how did we find Polefit?

The bad bits

The kit was fiddly to assemble. The manufacturers say to allow 30 minutes to set up  - it took us over 60, partly because the instructions didn’t seem very clear and partly because the poles came shrink wrapped in plastic that had to be carefully removed with nail scissors before they could be assembled.

Obviously the set up only has to be done once, though.

We also felt the dark grey straps were a bit intrusive, although they couldn’t be seen when the bed was fully made up.

The good bits

The sheet held taut throughout the night, was comfortable and looked neat.

Changing it was a bit of a fiddle as it involved removing the straps and poles and replacing them, but it was easier than wrestling with a flat sheet. The top sheet was very easy to care for and took up no space in the cupboard when not in use.

All-in-all, a really interesting idea and practical too. Great if you’ve got a difficult-to-fit bed, struggle with fitted sheets or like a slightly unusual contemporary look.

For more information, visit Stylefast. Prices start at £96.98.

Reviewed by Sara Walker

How Adding A Conservatory To Your Home Can Add Value

February 20th, 2015

The original concept of the conservatory was to grow and preserve exotic plants in an enclosed, warm environment. A conservatory style referred to as an orangery during the Victorian era, was designed to grow citrus plants in pots.

Conservatories evolved into a greenhouses with potted plants and furnishings designed to bring the outdoors inside most seasons. Delicate ferns and exotic flowers grew in the glass add-ons.

The conservatory added to modern homes can be used as a place to grow plants, a game room or just a place to relax. The extra light adds warmth although heating can be added as necessary. A conservatory will also enhance the design of a home while increasing its value. The extra room increases square meters in a home with an attractive and functional addition.

Conservatory styles

Victorian style conservatory

There are many different styles of conservatories available in various sizes to complement the design of any home. The conservatory is usually added to the south or southwest side of the house to gain more sunlight. It features large glass windows extending to the roof line of the structure.

The windows are usually on three sides of the conservatory to bring in the light. Windows can be designed in different styles. The conservatory can be a simple rectangular structure or it can be a classical curved designed. The latter design complements Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian architecture. It suggests gracious living in a bygone era.

The base of the conservatory can be stone, brick or wood consistent with the building materials of the home. A solid roof of 158mm insulated material will keep the room comfortable even during the winter. A solid roof can be combined with a partial glass or polycarbonate roof as well.

The roof of the conservatory can extend to the roof line of a single level house. A home on two or more levels usually has the conservatory roof placed at the level of the ceiling of the adjacent room on the first floor. The roof line will also depend on the where the conservatory is placed.

A steep gabled conservatory roof may extend above the level of the first floor ceiling to complement the steep pitched roof of the home. A flat roof may be in order for a contemporary house conservatory.

Conservatory placement

A conservatory can be added to the front of a home facing south. A conservatory entry is a pleasant way to greet guests. The room can have hanging baskets of plants, a coat rack and umbrella stand along with furniture. It eliminates the need for a double entry at the front door.

Conservatories  should take advantage of views whenever possible. Special glazing techniques keep out glare for a south or west view. Trench heating or portable space heaters can keep the room warm during the winter.

A conservatory extended from the kitchen makes a perfect dining area. This can also serve as a family or recreation room. Add a jetted tub to a conservatory for a spa or elegant master suite extending from the bedroom.

Add a conservatory and add value

Extending the living area of any home increases its value. The conservatory is an easy addition with windows in place of walls. This gives an extra feeling of open space to the home. It can extend a living room, dining room or serve as a separate garden room.

Polar Home Innovations works with designers and architects to provide insulated roofing for conservatories. Each roof is unique to the design of the home and its addition to guarantee that each conservatory will improve and increase the value of the home.

***This is a guest post***

Designer focus: Fabulous furniture by Andrew Martin

February 19th, 2015

Fresh Design home blog designer focus Andrew Martin furniture

If you’ve got money to invest in designer furniture, then we’d recommend a look at the work of designer Andrew Martin.

Amongst his work you’ll find iconic pieces, furniture focal points and plenty of wood, glass and metal. These four pieces of furniture are a small taster of what’s in store and all are in stock at Occa-Home.

Top row: 

Are you sitting comfortably? We think you would be in an Andrew Martin Hirshorn spitfire chair. The outside of the chair is inspired by the panels of spitfire planes and it’s upholstered in a beautiful soft leather. Add to that the swivel base, and you’ve got yourself one fabulous chair.

Driftwood takes centre stage in the Aubrey cabinet. The three door cabinet is slender and elegant in shape, but has amazing detailing on its doors, in the form of three driftwood geometric detailed squares.

Bottom row:

The Vernon dining table is one of those wow factor tables that will definitely create a focal point. The double V effect wooden base draws the eye in, whilst the glass top provides contrast against the wood and metal.

Use the Luke side table as a feature piece for your bedroom or lounge. The zig zag style shape helps create multiple storage zones. It’s made from metal with a cement board finish.

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