Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A little bit of Cheshire style with Samuel Charles Interiors

The great thing about writing about Interiors is that I now get to work with some fantastic companies.

I was recently contacted by Samuel Charles Interiors based in Congleton, Cheshire.
The Company address instantly brought back many fond memories. I spent a happy 6 or so years living in beautiful Cheshire after graduating and Congleton was in my ‘patch’ when I started my working life as a land purchaser for a building company. Not all of my memories were ‘fond’ working in what was (and may still be) a very male dominated work environment but I loved roaming the Cheshire countryside with its beautiful villages and towns and I got to know it very well. So much so, I bought and renovated my first house in the county.
Samuel Charles approached me and asked if I would be interested in choosing an item from their collection and then they would put together a mood board and I would take the same piece and do the same.
Before I reveal the results, a little bit about Samuel Charles Interiors, by Samuel Charles Interiors.

Having over 25 years’ experience in interior design, the Samuel Charles Interiors team certainly know a thing or two about fabulous homes! With their finger on the pulse of upcoming trends and an extensive range of designer products, they provide all the components you’d need for amazing interiors in your very own home.
Akin to one big Pinterest board, you’ll find an array of interior elements to pick and choose from on the website. Clicking through embellished soft furnishings, huge regal mirrors and designer wallpaper; you’ll be able to curate the perfect combination of products to totally revamp your whole room.
Combining luxury fabrics, furnishings and wallpaper, they understand how to really bring a room together. Your home isn’t the just wallpaper you use, or the statement wall art that greets your guests, it’s everything that makes up the room! The memories, family portraits and interior elements that you’ve handpicked that make a house a home.
However, if you’re struggling to find the right finishing touch or the right style for your home, their design consultation service could guide you in the right direction. Drawing upon their years of experience in the industry, Samuel Charles Interiors apply their expertise to personal properties and commercial spaces. Working with popular trends to create a space that reflects your own style, the team work with textures, colour and lighting to help you fulfil a room’s potential.
Every element of a room is important. There’s no point in having show-stopping wallpaper if the rest of your furnishings don’t match up. To really evoke the sense that a room is your very own sanctuary you must ensure every aspect works together in harmony. Do you have the right colour palette to suit the use of the room? Will the furnishings offer enough space and comfort when entertaining guests? Does the full setup actually fit your lifestyle?
We often disregard questions like this and buy all of our room elements in dribs and drabs, without considering how they’d look together. Having that extra helping hand from the Samuel Charles Interiors team gives you a valued second opinion from industry experts. Collating your ideas and running them by the team will give you access to a wealth of knowledge that will enhance the overall look of your home.
Or perhaps you want to go it alone to put your own twist on your home? Their site offers one of the biggest ranges of luxury fabrics in the UK, for anyone looking to upcycle old furnishings, create their own curtains, or even your own bedding and throws. Whilst they know their expertise sets them apart, the team understand what you need to really unleash your imagination. Reconstructing vintage furnishings is of course a popular trend in many homes, but you can always put a designer edge on your finished product with these luxury fabrics.

Samuel Charles Interiors and Lottie's Interiors
My choice from their fabulous collection was a Biedermeier Walnut Burr console table.
Elegant, simple, a timeless classic. I can instantly see how a piece of furniture like this could work equally well in a classic or a more contemporary scheme…the mix of old and new. This console would look fabulous in an ultra-modern, all white scheme with pops of colour and elements of shiny here and there as well as with the rich tones in both the classic and more contemporary ideas illustrated below. My idea pairs this classic piece of furniture with contemporary design, with the saffron Ligne Roset sofa, Eijffinger purple and silver wallpaper (a feature wall), and contemporary soft furnishings and accessories. Equally, I love the more classic approach taken by Samuel Charles, illustrating, indeed, what a versatile table this is.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Kitchen a year on.....what works...what doesn't?

The thought behind this post was to look over the year of test driving a new kitchen and to pick out positives and negatives which may help anyone looking at planning a new kitchen.
Over all we are happy with the end result from  both a functional and 'look' point of view. Whilst I played it a little safe and decided against a funky, modern, shiny minimalist design (units), the wooden painted kitchen works for us. I'm not sure how long a sleek, shiny kitchen would have stayed sleek and shiny with 5 year old boy scooting up and down and an 11 year old girl on roller skates whizzing up and down! In our heads we are (sometimes) precious, minimalist, young singletons. In reality, we are a hectic household with muddy boots, clumsy children, pets and everything else 'normal'. The ability to be able to get the paint pot out and touch up knocks is reassuring...even if we rarely do it.
The choice of paint colour was good. The choice of paint manufacturer...not so good, for the kitchen units at least. We used Little Greene and our painter found them difficult to apply evenly and although egg shell, I have found them slightly difficult to keep mark-free. Our previous units were painted in a Dulux paint and I found the finish a far better one.
Tip 1. Consider the practicalities....
The floor choice was a good one. We had endless debate over what to put down, with half of those in on the debate favouring tiled floor and half wood.
Naturally, the debate centred around practicality above look, with those favouring tiles questioning the durability of wood in the kitchen end....water spills, fat spitting, under floor heating effectiveness and general wear and tear. I googled endless sites looking at the pros and cons of both and in the end found no consensus of opinion! Not very helpful. For all of the cons there were pros for both.
We went with oiled engineered oak and so far it has worked a treat. We didn't go for under floor heating and we haven't needed it. The wood feels warm under foot, even in the winter and because our kitchen benefits from being triple aspect, in the summer it is warm anyway. I love the feel of bare feet on wood as well and as I often poddle around with no shoes on this is a bonus.
Yes. The floor has scratched in places but it is fairly light oak and marks and scuffs barely show. Yes. It is advisable to wipe up spills straight away....but wouldn't most people do that anyway?
I've had tiled kitchen floors previously and there is no doubt that they win hands down on durability......but don't discount wood as an option in the kitchen...despite what you may be told. It's warm, looks great and is comfortable.
An oversight on my behalf (I left the workers alone one day....) has been that the carpenter permanently attached the kick boards under the units. Mistake number one. I would not recommend this. I would always go with the clip on variety. I recently had a disaster with my blender and some watercress soup and the inability to remove the kick boards as the soup made for the very slight gaps between kick board and floor means that god only knows what's going on under the units! A case of what goes on under the units stays under the units!
With the general kitchen design, everything seems to be working well. We applied the usual design principle of the kitchen triangle....fridge, stove, sink...but also took some time working out where to have drawers and where to have cupboards. Worth taking that extra bit of time to think about what you need to grab and when when you're in the kitchen!
On a practical level, having a bin drawer is a bonus. I'm not a fan of pedal bins of any shape or size. They are never big enough and you always have to find a place for them which invariably means in front of something if they are to be near to where you're working. Having a drawer dedicated to hiding a bin is great. It's positioned right in the centre of the functioning end of the kitchen, by the hob and chopping bit of the kitchen. We just had a frame built in the draw that was big enough to house a large, plain, lidless bin. Definitely worth considering if you can sacrifice storage space.
The larder cupboard is also a bonus from a practical point of view. Being able to pull out drawers means you can see and get to stuff at the back without fighting your way through the rest.
I appreciate that some of these suggestions rely upon having the necessary space, but even smaller versions of these ideas would work and these are not expensive extras.

Pan drawers are also incredibly practical and perfect housed under the hob.


A couple of additions have been plain and simple roller blinds at four windows in very dark charcoal. These we ordered from www.blinds-2go.co.uk We've ordered a number of blinds from this website. They are inexpensive, made to measure....no frills....speedy delivery and perfectly acceptable for what we required.

White work surfaces are great. The downside is that they show up dust and marks unlike our previous wood surfaces. In general, period kitchens are far easier to keep clean....or should I say, require less pampering than modern kitchens. Clean lines means more cleaning. Definitely a downside!

On to the next project. Moving the entrance hall and staircase from the 60's in to the present little by little. Tune in over the next month to see how that one goes!