Our makeover is long overdue. From choosing a design and development company, to negotiating pricing, agreeing functionality, doing photo shoots, re-categorising the product range and actually building the thing, the work has taken almost two years to complete. (Meanwhile I saw a KFC round the corner go up in under a week).
Inside Out There
Posted August 13, 2014
Posted June 24, 2014
I became aware of the Decor Cafe (an interiors members club) at the beginning of the year when founders Debbie Blott and Emma Mitchell launched Decor Fest. Decor Fest is the Decor Cafe's brand new intimate retail/trade show hosted in a historic school house in Wimbledon. It attracted lots of wonderful creative / crafty types, hosted talks by industry experts and served coffee and cake (so basically a brilliant thing to do on a Sunday).
When I discovered that my friend and super talented wallpaper designer Laura Felicity was due to talk at a Decor Cafe event earlier this month I jumped at the chance to attend. What I didn't realise until the day was that the talk was to be held in a stunning converted town house. What a bonus!
The townhouse had been completely renovated by architect Silvia Alcantara who designed it from scratch and I really do mean scratch (the 'Before' pictures were just unbelievable). It was four floors of contemporary white heaven. Every fixture and fitting had been carefully considered and could be described by Silvia in amazing detail. I love snooping around the pokiest of homes so this Putney palace (currently on the market with Warren) was a real unexpected treat.
Laura's talk was also a treat. I know she creates fabulous bespoke wallpaper but you rarely get an insight into the hard work which goes on behind the scenes of a small creative business. Laura showed us not only her finished products but also the tools and materials she uses, and broke down the process to give an overview of the effort and skill which goes into each commission.
Here are some of Laura's lovely products:
So I have four big recommendations for you this Tuesday!
- For exquisite, luxury wallpaper, cushions and lampshades take a look at Laura. It's a cliche, but her products really are made with love.
- If like me you appreciate interiors, crafts and beautiful properties you will love the Decor Cafe, go check them out.
- If you are ever in need of a world class architect, Sylvia is your lady.
- Finally. Paul Craig's pictures will make your place look like a palace, even if it isn't.
Till next time!
Posted June 13, 2014
As the World Cup loomed I started thinking about how I could capitalise on the big event. The World Cup’s a big deal right? The whole country will be gripped with football fever for two months and I thought it’d be stupid not to jump on the bandwagon. I considered a press release featuring flood-light style floor lamps and personalised red and white shelving units. I thought about changing the site banners, emailing the database and running a ‘Win a World-Cup-Style-Urn!’ competition. I thought about it all. But then I thought, “nah”.
I'm not going to jump on the back of the World Cup in order to promote Out There Interiors. It feels cheap, and I don’t believe for a second that our customers will rush to buy a lamp just because it looks like a floodlight.
No matter how fabulous the lamp is our customers care too much about their homes to do this on a whim, and let’s be honest, football has nothing to do with creating a nice home. It’s all big screen TVs, tacky looking flags and sitting in beer gardens whilst your pot plants get neglected. There’s no link. So I’m not going to pretend there is one.
Instead, for the next two months I’m going to skip the football and spend my time doing lovely home and garden related things.
I’m going to go to all sorts of industry events, fairs and shows, and I’m going to encourage you to do the same by giving away vouchers for Out There Interiors.com at each event I attend.
All you have to do is find me (I have bright pink hair, it won’t be difficult) and say hello. Once I’ve congratulated you on being totally brilliant, I’ll hand you a lucky dip of voucher codes. Some will give you £20 off. Others will give you £50. One will give you £500! (You’ll have to go home and get on the website to find out what yours does).
I’ll be shouting about the events I'm going to attend over the next few weeks (a couple are pictured above) so do keep an eye on our social channels. And I'll be writing about each event and publicising the winners (if you're happy of course) so watch this space for that.
I'm looking forward to seeing attractive things, meeting lovely people and having loads of #footballfreefun :)
Posted June 11, 2014
I have spent the day lost in the world of luxury hair salons. I recently attended a lovely interiors event in Putney with the Decor Cafe (post coming soon) and whilst stumbling back along Lower Richmond Road after one too many glasses of rose, I found myself gawping in the window of Kink Hairdressing.
The interior caught my eye as our Bourgie-style table lamps were all lit up against the darkness, throwing eerie light onto a bare brick wall and a set of fabulous silver mirrors. I started to think about all the hairdressers we have supplied mirrors to over the years, and how annoyed I was I didn't have photographs of these places to prove what a statement a set of ornate mirrors make in a salon.
So today I embarked on a mission to find the some examples, and boy did I get over-excited. In fact, I found so many pictures of our mirrors (and furniture) in luxury salons that I can't fit them all in one post. So I thought I'd do a little series called Salon Mirrors, and kick off with the silver ornate mirror:
This is Kink hairdressing which sparked my much-overdue thoughts. I can't believe we've supplied mirrors for hairdressers for so long without showcasing these places! In the case of Kink we didn't supply the mirrors (in fact I don't know where these are from which is bonkers as I know where everything is from - seriously), but if you want to recreate this look, try our Eugenie mirror which is a really similar shape and (dare I say it?) even nicer than these.
This is Claire Bellamy's salon Belle Toujours in Cardiff. Claire has opted for our Maxine mirror which she has ingeniously placed against black and white striped wallpaper. The heavy ornate frames instantly create a feeling of luxury in this very swish salon. (More mirrors from Belle Toujours featured shortly).
Ornate mirrors don't always have to look heavy. In this example you can see how another of our mirrors (link on way) has been used to create a very serene salon. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the styling. Personally I wouldn't have hung a chandelier into the mirror, or filled the table top with clutter (especially not with all those drawers!) but the image gives you a sense of how a set of silver ornate mirrors can create a very grand yet calming space.
Propped up against pink! Super easy to achieve, this is a really strong, statement look for a salon. We don't sell this particular mirror, but our large Esmeralda mirror will give you the same effect. Whether or not you opt for full length mirrors in your salon really does depend on how much wall space you have. (More on this in a future post).
Posted June 4, 2014
We had a laugh in the office today. A lovely lady desperately needed a 10 seater rattan dining set for an impromptu dinner party this weekend. Upon discovering that the one we sell was not only out of stock but also (upon investigation) a rather tight squeeze, Natalie in Sales Support embarked on finding her another.
Natalie spent almost her entire morning scouring our contacts for a suitable table and chairs. We hadn't realised but genuine 10-seaters are actually really difficult to find. Many manufacturers advertise 10-seaters, but when you look at the arrangement of plates on the table in the pictures you're left wondering how on earth you'd manage to eat your dinner without starting an elbow war with your neighbour.
During the search Natalie discovered that our office chairs are 60cm wide, which, as it turns out is the average width of most of our rattan dining chairs. Armed with a tape measure, she made us roll away from our desks time and time again to be seated around imaginary tables as she attempted to find one large enough for ten guests. Sadly her creativity didn't work. There just isn't a table big enough on the market. However, just when she was about to give up, she found this:
This is a GENUINE ten seater rattan dining set from our high end garden furniture supplier, Alexander Rose. 100% waterproof, you can leave this elegant dining set out all year round. The table is extendable so it needn't take up too much space when not in use, and look at those super slim-line chairs - absolutely no elbow bashing involved.
This fabulous high end dining set will be added to our rattan furniture range very shortly. If you're keen to snap one up quick talk to Natalie on the Sales Support line, she knows all about it :)
02080997443 (option 2).
Posted June 2, 2014
It won't come as much of a surprise to learn that I love pink. As a feminist I am slightly ashamed of this stereotypical girly passion, but I can't hide it. I'm obsessed. In fact, I find it hard not to be 'pink biased' when choosing products for Out There Interiors and commissioning design work. We have a new website in build stages at present and although I was remarkably colour restrained with the design, I couldn't resist a little touch.
I thought I'd take a look at a few of our pink chairs today as a chair is a great way to add a splash of pink into your interior. I advocate mixing and matching chairs so there's no need to overpower the room with it. Here are my top picks:
This hot pink Pelican chair is a firm favourite of mine. I love everything about it, from the deep pink upholstery to its simple, childlike legs. It's cute yet classic, not to mention extremely comfortable.
If you prefer French furniture, Yolande is a fabulous Louis chair with sumptuous pink velvet upholstery. We supply several pink Louis chairs on Out There Interiors but this one is a little more special. It has a solid mahogany frame and a perfect black satin finish.
I didn't really understand the appeal of the Panton chair until I saw this pink one in the flesh. I fell in love as soon as I saw it and am now a huge fan of this iconic design no matter what the colour. Our modern classic factory produces the most glorious shiny fibreglass finish you can imagine. It's much weightier than it looks on screen and the curves look absolutely divine.
I love the deep cerise of this upholstered Tulip armchair. This picture just about gets across the exceptional quality of our modern classic chairs. Although I love mixing and matching, a Tulip table surrounded with these would absolutely rock my world.
Posted May 30, 2014
Today I had a nosy around the website of the utterly fabulous Alexander James Interior Design. Once I'd finished drooling with envy over the houses they work their magic on, I thought I'd showcase some of our pieces which grace these impeccable rooms.
You should always maximise the width of anything you put either side of the bed. It provides you with more storage and has an elongating effect on the room giving it grandeur and presence. We often supply our French chests of drawers in pairs for this purpose, and the below images prove just how effective this look can be.
These are our Jamie chests of drawers, teamed with the Stephanie French bed and matching Greta mirror. They make wonderfully roomy bedside tables, eliminating the need for further storage, maximising space and light.
Proving just how gorgeous our Michelle silver leaf chest is in the flesh. Feminine with a lustrous finish, these add instant glamour and look wonderful in pairs.
This is Estelle. Jet black and totally fabulous. They will look great in almost any setting, from the fairly traditional vibe of the above room to ultra modern chrome and even vintage.
Last but not least, Celine, looking beautifully countrified and sophisticated in this shot. Isn't symmetry wonderful?
Posted May 28, 2014
There’s so much French furniture on the market today at so many different price points it’s really difficult to differentiate between products without seeing them in the flesh. So I wanted to spend today going over some of the differences between one of the cheapest and one of the most expensive white French dressing tables sets on the market today, in the hope of shedding some light on this area. Can you guess which is which?
cheap and expensive french dressing tables It’s not immediately obvious but dressing table A is a far superior piece. It’s not obvious from the image because they are both white dressing tables on uninspiring white backgrounds which result in making both look pretty unrealistic. It’s almost impossible to see what either is like in the flesh from these images. In fact, the lower quality piece possibly looks better due to the light, the angle and the fact that some 'carving' or detail is visible. So how can you tell what’s quality and what’s not?
There are many retailers selling inferior product at high prices so price should not be your only decision criteria, however it does give you an indication of the quality of a product. Dressing table B retails for approximately £360 whereas dressing table A retails at approximately £775. You shouldn’t be willing to part with double the cash on a whim, but it should be the starting point for your questions.
Dressing table A is painstakingly hand carved from mahogany. Dressing table B is manufactured from a mixture of lightweight wood and MDF. The carved sections are resin moulds which have been bonded to the frame. They are not carved into the wood. Impossible to tell from the image isn’t it?
Dressing table A is delivered almost fully assembled. Testament to its hand carved nature, it arrives covered in specialist cardboard wrapping which is secured with hand-tied twine. The packaging is not fancy, but it is 100% authentic. Dressing table B is delivered in an almost flat-packed state. The pieces are packaged tightly in a cardboard box, separated with polystyrene. It is a mass produced, factory product.
Technically both pieces are handmade, but when viewed in the flesh there is no comparison between finishes. Whilst featuring the very minor imperfections of a handmade product, dressing table A has obviously been carefully and lovingly produced. It is hand painted with precision and expertly distressed. Dressing table B is rough on the underside (where pieces screw together) and has been sprayed to produce a satisfactory but far from exceptional finish.
We’ve already discussed material, but what we didn’t mention was the weight of the piece. Dressing table A, in solid mahogany is very weighty and sturdy. It requires two people to lift it. Dressing table B can be carried by one person, even when fully assembled.
Finally, if you want a piece which will stand the test of time it is worth investing in dressing table A. I know it’s difficult to part with the extra money when the images are so unhelpful, but the price difference really is worth it when it comes to this sort of thing. And just to prove the point, here’s an image of Dressing Table A in a real setting. Doesn’t it look worth every penny?
Posted May 28, 2014
Mirrored furniture is our specialist product. We manufacture our own ranges with trusted factories around the world and have been at the forefront of this niche industry for over seven years. We know it quite literally, backwards. I have been to hundreds of factories, seen countless weird and wonderful styles and have handled the very best and very worst mirrored furniture on the market. Put simply, I know what makes it work.
One of the very first things I teach my sales support staff is the secret to quality mirrored furniture. Because in their first week on the Out There Interiors phone line they are sure to be asked: “Is your mirrored furniture made from solid wood?” The customer is hoping of course, for the answer to be “Yes”. I teach my staff to give a resounding “No.”
Wood, solid or otherwise, is one of the worst materials mirrored furniture can be made from. Why? Good mirrored furniture looks goods because individual pieces of bevelled glass are butted up very close together. It creates a glamorous, all-encompassing look. However, if the framework underneath the glass is not completely solid it can cause all sorts of problems on the surface. And wood? It MOVES.
Wood is a porous material and as such is affected by moisture in the air as well as temperature. Imagine a factory in a sweltering Chinese town produces a stunning batch of ‘quality’ mirrored chests of drawers. They package them well, carefully pack the container and send it on its way to the UK, where the temperature is MINUS 3. The chests are distributed to the customers who proudly install them in their homes. And then the glass falls off.
The glass falls off because the ‘quality’ solid wood frame has contracted in the cold dry air, weakening the bond between the glass and the wood. It might pop off in complete panels or (more likely) it will chip and crack around the seams causing you to think your cleaner hit it with the hoover, or your husband whacked it with his keys. In reality it’s done it one its own, because the material underneath is not sound. - I’d just like to point out at this point that the above story is not my own experience. But it did happen to a supplier of ours whose product we returned. (They subsequently went out of business).
So what’s the secret of quality mirrored furniture?
MDF. MDF, or medium density fibreboard is a stable, strong and movement free material. It is resistant to changes in temperature and moisture, and is the product of choice for experienced manufacturers producing durable, long lasting mirrored furniture. It’s not sexy, and does require a bit of explaining. No one wants to hear something is made from MDF rather than solid wood do they? But it honestly is the best stuff.
Posted May 22, 2014
For those who don't know, we're called Out There Interiors because back in the day when we didn't have a studio we used to take our furniture and accessories out into the garden to shoot. For a while it was fun hanging chandeliers from trees and propping mirrors up in rock gardens, but after assembling a super-king size French bed on the lawn on a frosty November morning we decided it was time to move inside.
The name stuck because I liked the quirkiness of an interiors store called 'Out There'. I also thought it worked as we are 'out there' on the internet rather than being fixed in a retail store, and I still find it amusing that we answer the phones "Hello Out There". (Yes, I need to get a life).
Interestingly, most people assume it's because our products are a bit 'out there' (as in, "far out man!") but it's not the case. Yes, it's true that we sell a few quirky things (an electric blue rhino table springs to mind) but the vast majority of our product range is simply desirable and diverse - stuff my hyperactive brain finds attractive; and I've never considered my taste particularly 'out there'. Until today that is.
Today was the last day of Clerkenwell Design Week where EC1 gets packed out with designers, developers and retailers alike checking out the latest trends. Whilst most of my industry friends and acquaintances were oohing over mid-century side tables and ahhing over tasteful geometric pendant lamps, I found myself chewing the ear off the man behind this:
HOW have I gone this long without knowing about the Campana Brothers Cake Stools?
Yes, this is a very large stool made entirely of stuffed animals. Tigers, lions and bears specifically. A quick Google search once home revealed the following bonkers things from the minds of these brilliant Brazilian designers:
It's not very often that I rave about furniture you cannot buy on Out There Interiors.com, but I am pretty sure these are an acquired taste (for 'Out There' lovers only)?
Also, as they retail at an average cost of $30,000 per stool I doubt many of you will rush out to buy one this weekend.
Having said that, I may just have to re-mortgage my flat for this sofa...