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Inside Out There

  • Welcome to the all new Out There Interiors!

    happy place cushionWell, I am delighted to welcome you to the All New Out There Interiors.

    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).

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  • Tuesday Night Recommendations

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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!

    photograph of putney town house taken by paul craig Photograph by Paul Craig.

     

    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:

    lampshades, wallpaper and cushions

    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!

  • Football Free Fun: WIN! At Home & Garden Events in June and July

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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.

    Grow London Flyer Looking forward to Grow London

    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).

    harrogate home and gift banner Harrogate Home and Gift 13th - 16th July.

    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 :)

  • Salon Mirrors: Silver and Ornate

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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:

    silver ornate mirrors against brick wall with design lamps Kink Hairdressing Putney

    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.

    modern salon with black and white striped wallpaper and silver ornate mirrors belle toujours in cardif with our silver mirrors

     

    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).

    a las vegas salon featuring silver ornate mirrors Canyon Ranch Spa Club, Las Vegas

     

    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.

    a large silver mirror propped against a pink wall Mikael & Ludovic, Surrey

    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).

  • Where To Buy A 10 Seater Rattan Dining Set

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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:

    10 seater rattan dining set

    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.

    close up of 10 seater rattan dining set

    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).

  • Four Favourites: Pink Chairs

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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:

    pink pelican chair

    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.

    pink french chair with a black frame

    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.

    pink panton chair

    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.

    purpley pink tulip chair

    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.

  • French Chests As Bedsides

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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.

    white french chests used as bedside tables with matching french bed

    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.

    silver leaf chests used as bedside tables

    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.

    black french chests of drawers used as side tables

    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.

    cream french chests used as bedside tables

    Last but not least, Celine, looking beautifully countrified and sophisticated in this shot. Isn't symmetry wonderful?

  • Save Or Spend: French Dressing Tables

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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?

    high quality and low quality french dressing tables side by side

    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?

    The Price

    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.

    The Material

    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?

    The Packaging

    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.

    The Finish

    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.

    The Weight

    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.

    The Durability

    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?

    image of high quality french dressing table image via http://www.samhaywardphotography.co.uk/

  • Mirrored Furniture Secrets

    portrait of jenny hurren

    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.”

    close up of mirrored panels

    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.

    mirrored chest of drawers mirrored chest of drawers

    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.

  • 5 Reasons To Choose 50ml Venetian Blinds

    portrait of jenny hurren

    I always know what I want furniture wise, but sometimes I need someone to tell me what to buy when deliberating things like window dressing, flooring and paint. These areas of the house can be a struggle which is why once I've found something which works I tend to stick with it. One such thing is the 50ml Venetian blind. I have them in my home, my office and my showroom. Here’s why you should get them too:

    50ml venetian blinds

    They are 100% foolproof.

    A bit like the metro tile, you just can’t go wrong with a 50ml Venetian blind. They always look good. I’m not saying they’re the only option, but if you’re worried about making an expensive mistake with your window dressing, don’t know the first thing about curtains or like to change your décor frequently you should go for a 50ml Venetian. (Preferably white). Don’t be tempted to go for the 25ml, it’s just doesn’t look the same – trust me, I got talked into having 25ml on the doors in my flat as the salesman said it’d look neater behind the door handle. I regretted it as soon as I saw it. When the time came to buy blinds for the Out There Interiors office I squeezed a 50 ml behind the door handle and it’s absolutely fine. Not all doors are the same so do measure before you jump in, but don’t be put off by anyone who tells you it’ll be neater, or more sensible to go with a 25. The style difference is massive.

    They filter light beautifully

    True of the 25ml too of course. Venetian blinds are perfect for controlling the precise amount of light which enters a room. On Sunday mornings when my other half lies in bed with the IPad he infuriates me by asking me to pull the blinds up a bit, down a bit, back a bit until he gets the ideal amount of Sunday morning ambience. (Heaven knows why I entertain it).

    They’ll complement your décor

    50 ml Venetian blinds look great in all settings. No matter what you’re style they will either enhance it or blend in. I prefer white ones for ultimate versatility (I constantly change my decor) but oak-effect and alike look amazing in more traditional settings. Yes, a 50ml Venetian does have a modern vibe, but my flat is full of vintage and I wouldn’t choose anything else.

    They shield you from view above and below

    A perhaps lesser known advantage of having a Venetian blind is that is shields from above and below. Shortly after having a blind fitted in my bedroom I was invited for dinner at a neighbour's whose flat is on the third floor of an adjacent building, essentially looking down on mine. I was shocked to see that from her window she could see partially into my bedroom even with the blind closed. Only then did I realise the benefit of flipping the blades in the opposite direction. You don’t have this control with other types of blind.

    You can pull them out of the way

    Finally, Venetians give you the option of pulling the whole blind right out of the way when you want to flood the room with light or easily clean the windows. And if you happen to leave your massive pair of destructive house rabbits in the kitchen over the weekend drawing the blind up is a very good idea. (Yes, I speak from devastating experience).

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