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The memories that furniture holds

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 10:12:48 BST

Do you hold on to furniture for sentimental reasons?

When my father in law died, my other half (an only child) found it really difficult to empty his house and we have been somewhat over-furnished ever since. To me it seemed a bit inexplicable at the time. Why did that particularly boring and uncomfortable set of dining chairs remind him of his mother? We had some lovely photos and dressing table ornaments, surely they would do the same job.  And why, oh why, did that gold framed oval classical mirror have to have pride of place in the hall? (Incidentally,  I have since come to like this item!) But they are not the half of it. Luckily we have a dry cellar and I made good use of it.

I have never thought that I would understand this tendency but I am beginning to get a taste of what it is all about. My father is about to move to a residential home and his small flat will have to be emptied.

My father has never been particularly interested in furniture. Couple that with over 20 years a widower, and you can imagine that there is not much that is not bashed, uncared for or just plain falling to bits. Yet hidden under the veneer of utilitarian, chipboard bookcases and purpose -built fold up tables in his flat, nestles not only his past, but mine too.

That fire screen that doubles as a card table (completely redundant for decades) used to intrigue six year old me, and knowing how my father loves it, I will never be able to part with it. The bedside table, when unearthed from its rather grubby lace top, turns out to be our former hall table which housed the old telephone. You could never stay on the line too long in case next door wanted to make a call. (Does anyone else out there remember party lines?) In winter you wouldn’t want to chat for long anyway as it was freezing in the hall!

The chest of drawers, once housing my clothes and long dismissed by me as shabby, has the most gorgeous ornate handles which almost make me regret that the matching wardrobe had to go when my father moved into sheltered accommodation.

In his corridor is a glass and wrought iron shelving unit which came from our neighbours, who, being childless, used to enjoy taking me out for the day and buying me expensive presents.

And then there is the three tier cake stand, which Dad has used as a lamp table and general dumping ground for his glasses and pens over the last 20 years. How can I forget the anticipation I used to feel on seeing it in my grandparent’s parlour, full of home-made cakes!

Oh dear what am I going to do? It’s a good job I blitzed the cellar last week as something tells me I am going to need lots more space.

Have you furniture in your home that you cannot bear to part with? Send us your stories.

Article by Liz Higginbottom. Content writer, Out There Interiors.   

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In a wild rush of spring cleaning fervour last week I decided to clear out the cellar. I am not good at binning things and the cellar is full of oddments that I have no use for, but can’t bear to part with. Nestled among this lot, undisturbed for many a year was a little box of German Easter decorations.

My family has never really made a big thing of Easter traditions. Much as I love chocolate, I am not a particular fan of our Easter eggs; the lurid colours and blatant branding have long since lost their appeal. If you have been brought up with painting hardboiled eggs and rolling them down hills, organising egg hunts in the garden etc. I am sure it is fun to carry on these traditions, but I wasn’t. Easter for my family was holiday time, which is, of course, how I came to see what the Germans do in the first place. 

 Image courtesy of berlinfreckles.de

Don’t get me wrong they love children in Germany and they have their own Easter eggs and Easter bunnies but they also have a more adult tradition which is a celebration of the time of year rather than having religious significance. Houses are decorated with an” Eierbaum”.

 

Image courtesy of  4wmn.com

Small ornamental eggs, chicks, birds or flowers are used to decorate a branch of a newly budding tree which has been cut and placed in a vase of water. At first the branch is largely bare with a hint of green and as the days pass the leaves slowly unfurl. Catkins or blossom about to burst can also be used. It is all very natural and fresh and symbolic of new life, much more grown up than a chocolatefest.

Ornaments available from outthereinteriors.com on request 

The effect on an interior can be stunning. Graceful, clean, delicate with the promise of more to come, it just seems the perfect addition to a room at this time of year. I have not often had the occasion to use these ornaments as I have carried on our family tradition of going on holiday, but whenever I have been able to, I have loved the effect. 

Article by Liz Higginbottom. Content writer, Out There Interiors 

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Are your design choices written in the stars?

Monday, 7 April 2014 11:58:09 BST

I am not a great believer in astrology. I largely see it as a bit of fun, but there is one aspect of it which rings uncannily true and that is the personality traits each of the signs is said to possess. My father is the perfect Pisces, my husband text book Taurus and my daughter-in-law classic Capricorn.  I undoubtedly display Sagittarian traits, so there must be more to it than meets the eye. 

Could it go further than personality? Could astrology also dictate our design choices? According to my research it certainly can!

As we are at the beginning of the astrological calendar I decided to take a look at Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac. Here is a room that should appeal to all Arians.

 

Image courtesy of tumblr.com 

Arians lead busy ,active lives. Energetic, efficient, enthusiastic. they spend a lot of time outside the house, so when they are at home they like a functional, unfussy environment that will provide for their needs without requiring a lot of maintenance. Minimalism is likely to appeal to an Aries.

Arians are leaders. They are bound to be the first to try a new trend or a new gadget. They will have an impressive kitchen, the latest technology and maybe a state of the art home gym. 

Artefacts will be few and far between. They are more likely to have one large statement piece rather than a collection. Metal objects are often favoured.

 

Image courtesy of onlybutaglimpse.tumblr.com

Aries is a fire sign so there is often a focus on a cutting edge fireplace or wood burning stove. Candles and interesting lighting all have their place.

Vibrant reds, oranges and yellows may feature in their design choices, perhaps not as a total colour scheme but as bursts of accent colour.

Here are a few items from Out There Interiors which would suit a typical Aries.

 

Are you an Aries? Is your home like this?  Why not send us your pictures.

Article by Liz Higginbottom. Content writer, Out There Interiors 

 

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Topical Tuesday: 4 Reasons Why New Mums Get A Raw Deal

Monday, 24 March 2014 13:27:12 GMT

This Mother’s Day, as well as enjoying the appreciation of my wonderful grown up children, I will be sparing a thought for all new Mums out there. On the face of it these mothers should be having an easier time of it than my generation; paternity leave is now statutory and Dads don’t expect to get a medal if they change a nappy nowadays. Even so, from the standpoint of this Grandmother, new mothers seem to have been dealt a very poor hand. Here are 4 reasons why. 

 

Reason 1: Too many guidelines

I cannot believe how much of the advice on baby care has changed in just one generation and unfortunately all of the changes, seem to have been designed to make Mum’s life harder.

Nowadays, for instance, mothers are told that babies must sleep in the parent’s room for the first 6 months, babies are best fed on demand and not to be weaned until they reach 6 months. Even when it is safe to wean them, life does not get simpler as mothers are advised to let baby lead the process!

 Is this approach any better than what I was told just one generation ago? I have absolutely no idea but what I can see is that this advice, with its total concentration on the baby, is making life very difficult for new Mums.

 

Reason 2: Too much equipment

While trying to keep everything as natural as possible, new mothers are made to believe that they need every piece of kit known to man. And what is more, the equipment is so enormous they probably need a bigger car just to go down to the shops. Mothers cannot accept help getting the eye-wateringly expensive and cripplingly heavy baby buggy into the car because no-one else possesses the magic formula to fold it up. Even during those blissful adult moments when baby is asleep, he never leaves the room, courtesy of the video monitor which allows his every turn and snuffle to receive as much attention as the TV screen. The room temperature must be constantly monitored day and night and elbows are no longer sufficient for testing the bathwater. No-one can move in their living areas for toys to aid baby’s development and stimulate his senses while possibly dulling their own.

 

Reason 3: Too much social media

Mums have always had a tendency to be competitive when it comes to their precious, or could it be precocious, offspring. Now they must spend their valuable spare time tweeting and  posting photos and videos to demonstrate their child’s latest achievements.  And of course, more unfortunately, reading and commenting on the updates from all their new Mum friends. Thank goodness my children were born pre-technology!

 

Reason 4: Too much baby focus

We have become a baby and child centred society. Babies dictate every rhythm of the day, and then, as children, they continue to dictate everything, from what to have for tea to where they want to go on holiday. We want them to express themselves and we have evolved far beyond the days of “children should be seen and not heard”, but haven’t we let things go a bit too far?

 

Time for a treat

Mums are responsible for none of this, it is just the spirit of the times, and yes, it will change, but not until this generation is way beyond the baby stage. 

 

So this Mother’s Day I appeal to all new Dads out there (yes I know you are having a hard time too, but your turn will come in June). It is up to you to make sure that your offspring buys something really special for Mother’s Day. Chocolates and flowers are nice but too predictable. Buy something special, something original. Why not browse through our website; we have loads of lovely things. See some examples above.  If you are stuck for choice give us a ring we would love to help you choose the perfect gift. 

 

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Agonising Over Furniture? Take The Pressure Off.

Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:56:05 GMT

I met an interesting customer yesterday who made me think a little more about the new furniture decision process. In my last post I encouraged you to avoid listening to too much advice regarding interior design, especially if you are not looking to engage a professional.  In my opinion the best interiors are the ones which refect the personality of the individual who created them and I don't think it's helpful to get too hung up on co-ordination.  I really do believe this, but there is one important factor:  My own taste reflects an eclectic, higgeldy piggeldy style.  I like to mix mirrored, French and designer furniture together with vintage stuff and random colourful things. It's what I like. But not everyone likes this. 

We recently had our first lifestyle photo shoot (images coming very soon). I wanted to reflect the interesting things you can do when mixing unexpected products like a bright green egg chair and an antique mirrored sideboard, but I also wanted to showcase our matching bedroom furniture. For this shot we put together a lovely cream and pink bedroom set along with a co-ordinating satin chair and chandelier. Now, I wouldn't choose this style for my own bedroom but I really loved the effect. And I do understand why customers want to ensure the look 'works'. 

The lady I saw yesterday reinforced this thinking.  The room she described in her mind's eye sounded lovely, and did in fact play to my own taste of mixing styles. It was going to be a little bit French, a little bit mirrored and a little bit weathered oak.  But even though the furniture wasn't going to match, it was important that it worked together to create the look she desired. 

I don't want to back track from my previous post, but I do want to recgonise this very real dilemma. If you are creating something from scratch it's unlikely you'll be able to see all the furniture you're considering together in one place before ordering, and it probably contributes to a lot of people playing safe with the choices they make. So what can be done about it? 

The last thing I want to do in a blog post is bang on about how great we are at Out There Interiors, but we do offer a service which works a treat for problems like this. Did you know you can purchase a piece of furniture, put it in position and send it back immediately if you don't think it works? Our delivery staff will (and do) wait whilst you decide whether you have made the right decision.  

We do have to charge delivery, so it's a good idea to be fairly confident before ordering, but it essentially turns an expensive risk of say £500 into a cheap one of £25- £30.  We offer this service because we get so few returns it makes sense for us. And we know it enables you to take the plunge with something that little bit different, which is of course what we're all about. 

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TOPICAL TUESDAY: Hug a Smoker On No Smoking Day!

Monday, 10 March 2014 16:31:13 GMT

In a rare sunny spell last week ,I found myself in my local high street and  apart from the waterproof jackets and boots it could have been midsummer. The café tables were full of people drinking lattes and treating themselves to a muffin. The scene was animated and the feel good factor of the sun was much in evidence.

It occurred to me that this would not have been the scene 10 years ago, because, 10 years ago  there would have been nowhere to sit in the sun. Cafés didn’t dust down their outdoor furniture till well into spring, or sometimes summer. So what is going on here? Who or what do we have to thank?

As we emerge from the wettest winter on record we all know it isn’t the weather. And it isn't the government. Although the previous government banged on about creating a continental café culture in an attempt to reduce binge drinking, their argument was, bizarrely, to do with increasing opening hours, not putting tables in the streets.

No, we only have one section of our population to thank for this welcome development and they are, in general, a much maligned group. They are, of course, the smokers.

Image courtesy of Jiri Jacknowitz Siftar

Since the ban on smoking in public spaces came in to effect on 1st July 2007, cafes with any inch of outside space or pavement have positioned chairs and tables outside to attract passing smokers. When it is freezing, us non-smokers pass these shivering individuals with ill disguised pity, but two-faced as we are, we are not slow to join them as soon as the sun shines.

So if, like me, you love seeing our high streets looking more and more continental with all weather rattan furniture, large umbrellas and canopies,  while you savour your cappuccino on March 12th (hopefully outside) spare a thought for poor old smokers. Non Smoking Day is the one day of the year that you are least likely to see them on the café terraces but it is undoubtedly they who made it all happen.

 

Liz Higginbottom writes  'Topical Tuesday'  for Inside Out There. Liz is an ex French teacher turned copywriter, currently writing from the South Lakes. 

  

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Why you mustn't take interior design too seriously

Thursday, 27 February 2014 13:14:49 GMT

 

I've delayed this post somewhat as it's unfair of me to write directly about a couple I met recently, but a little while back (or possibly yesterday- I'm not disclosing) I saw some customers who prompted these thoughts.

I met this couple twice on two occasions as they deliberated new furniture for their new house. Now, I know furniture is an expensive purchase. It's definitely not easy to part with cash unless you're confident you're making the right choice,  but this particular couple were taking longer than usual.  

I like to leave people alone when browsing in the showroom. The last thing people want is some pink haired loon staring at them whilst they try to make a decision, but with this couple time was seriously ticking and I thought they might need some help.

As is usually (but not always) the case the lady was making the final decision, but she couldn't decide between two different pieces of bedroom furniture. Option A she loved, (more than option B), but her absent friend who was 'into interior design' had insisted that option A was all wrong with the wallpaper they had chosen. Now I understood the dilemma.

We all know a friend who dabbles in interior design don't we? Maybe they did a ***insert crap course here*** or maybe they're just naturally good with colours. Maybe. Or maybe they're just more confident than you when it comes to this sort of thing. 

The problem is that confidence does not equal talent, and vice versa. I have seen countless examples of simply awful interior design created by those claiming to be good in this field. And what's my definition of awful you ask? Rule following. Obsessive fabric sampling. Matching cushions and curtains. Art that 'goes' with the sofa. That's right. All the things you hate (and think you can't do) about interior design are the things you really shouldn't be doing.

 

 

Last week I went to London Fashion Weekend. Did the (alien-esque) models drift down the catwalk in stuff from my wardrobe? No. The ideas were new, and unique- based upon the designers' individual taste. Some of it broke rules. Some of it was weird. Some of it I wouldn't have been seen dead in. But did that mean it was wrong? Not a chance. High fashion = good taste, and good taste is individuality.  Nothing more. 

So, I asked my lady to re-evaluate. Was she going in the direction of her interior designer friend because she identified with her ideas and trusted her implicitly?  Or, was she being forced down a particular route because she thought she wasn't capable of designing the room herself? The latter was true. At which point I encouraged her to take it less seriously. 

 

This beautifully mismatched room is from 'Decorate' by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick, Copyright Chronicle Books. Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau. Photography by Debi Treloar. You can purchase Decorate here.

 

In my opinion the best interiors are the ones which reflect the personality of the individuals behind them, and the minute you start following guidelines or listening to too many "expert" opinions you lose that creative element. Cushions, curtains and fabrics don't have to match. Furniture doesn't have to 'blend' with wallpaper. Why create rules for yourself? There are no interior design police. 

So what am I trying to say?  I'm trying to say buy what YOU like. Buy the wallpaper YOU like. Buy the carpet YOU like, buy the curtains YOU like and buy the furniture YOU like. The result? A unique creation of your own making. And that my friends = good taste.

 

(The customer took my advice and bought the piece she loved. She left a very happy lady.  

 
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If the rain, rain won’t go away……could you?

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 14:39:11 GMT

I have just returned from two weeks winter sun in Tenerife, and yes, I know, I did time it well. Even without English TV (the island was experiencing long- feared  problems with satellite transmission)  I was not unaware of the horrendous, freak weather conditions in Britain that I was fortunate in  missing.

Returning to a dull, rainy and cold Britain after two weeks in shorts and t shirts was a discouraging experience especially as so many people I met told me, “It doesn’t have to be like this”.

 

These were people, who having spent their working years holidaying in the Canaries, had taken retirement as the opportunity to buy a place in the sun and now spent all their winters there. Or they were even braver than that, people who, at a much younger age, had decided to kiss goodbye to our depressing climate and open a business in the sun. 

 
 

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

Now there are many good reasons why this should be the life for me.

 

I love the sun. 

 

I am also in the fortunate position of being able to work wherever I like, as long as there is an Internet connection. So I would not have to be particularly brave. 

 

I firmly believe that we should spend our life where we want to, rather than where accident of birth has placed us and to prove it I have spent the last ten summers in a tiny village in the French countryside.

 

I  would dearly love to decorate and furnish my own sub-tropical paradise.

 

Image courtesy of sunshine.co.uk

 

So what is preventing me from making my escape?

 

It has been hard to put my finger on it because on paper it doesn’t make sense.

At Out There we have a motto which is “Live Yourself” and we believe in it passionately. We don’t ever follow the crowd, or a stupid fashion just for the sake of it. We believe that you have only one life and you should follow your instincts, your gut feelings or whatever guiding star you choose. Just make that one life truly your own.

 

So in my case, however depressing the rain and wind of the English winter, it will not outweigh the things I do love about this country. Whether it be a log fire and a glass of beer down the local, an exhilarating walk in a green and pleasant landscape or a rummage round charity shop or antique fair, the weather will have to get much worse before it makes me leave.

 
 

How do you feel? Would you think of leaving?

 
Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors

 

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Candlemas- a festival shrouded in mystery

Saturday, 1 February 2014 14:14:48 GMT

I have always loved the name Candlemas, yet apart from knowing that it falls on the 2nd February I have never really known what it signified. It just has a lovely mysterious ring to it, conjuring up darkness, arcane rites, superstition  and of course candles.

I decided it was time I knew more.After a fair bit of research I can honestly say that I am not much the wiser, but even more intrigued. There are many reasons for  February 2nd being a feast Day.

 

Origins of Candlemas

 
 
 

Image courtesy of studioblog.com

 
 

Candlemas falls at the the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and as such was a day to celebrate the progressing of the year by the pre-Christians. In warmer climes it marked the start of planting.

Christians celebrate Candlemas for different reasons.

Some say it marks the presentation of the infant Jesus to Simeon in the temple, others the churching (purification) of Mary 40 days after Jesus’s birth. Yet others use it as an opportunity to bless all the candles that were to be used in the church over the year. So that's clear then! 

Modern pagans believe that Candlemas is a Christianization of the Gaellic festival of Imbolc, or Saint Brighid’s Day a festival which involves …sacred flames, holy wells and healing…

Add to all that the fact that it co-incides with the  American Groudhog Day and you begin to wish you had never asked the question!

 

Superstitions 

 

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

As its origins are so vague and varied there are many superstitions associated with Candlemas. 

Some say if you don’t take your Christmas decorations down on 12th night you must leave them till Candlemas. 

Others that anyone hearing a funeral bell tolling on Candlemas Day will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative. 

Yet others say good weather at Candlemas means severe weather to come.

"If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, / winter will have another bite. / If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, / winter is gone and will not come again. 

Sailors are reluctant to set sail on Candlemas Day, believing that their voyage will end in disaster.

  

The best way to celebrate

 

Image courtesy of the artinlife.wordpress.com

 

As you can imagine there are even more ways of celebrating Candlemas than there are origins but I like the French way best.

In France the festival is known as La Chandeleur.  As it is French it naturally revolves around food. On the 2nd February the French cook crepes. [A crepe is said to represent the halo round Jesus’s head.] If the cook can toss the crepe successfully while holding a coin (preferably gold) in their hand at the same time, the family will be prosperous all year.

I know we already have Shrove Tuesday over here but don’t you always say,  after eating your pancakes, that you should have them more often? Well here is your chance.

 

Image courtesy of unetouchederoseeng.blogspot.fr

 

 An additional touch from me. Eat your crepes in candlelight for the full experience!

Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors. 

 

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Is your kitchen making you unhealthy?

Friday, 31 January 2014 14:45:25 GMT

If you have spotted the slogan “ Shake Up Your Wake Up” this week that is because it is the battle cry of Farmhouse breakfast week. This event, which always takes place in January, is part of a campaign to champion the importance of eating a healthy breakfast, a meal which statistics say, 47% of us skip.

Personally, I need no encouragement to eat a hearty breakfast…and lunch…and dinner for that matter, but that is my problem! Perhaps yours is different. The benefits of a good breakfast are well known. Not only is it nutritionally good for us, it also helps us to concentrate and makes us less stressed. It has also been proved that breakfast eaters are slimmer and happier than non-breakfast eaters. It is all the more amazing then, that almost half of us still skip this truly, miraculous meal.

 If you are one of the 47% have you ever thought that maybe your kitchen is to blame?

Here are 5 tips for making your kitchen a breakfast friendly zone.

Tip 1: Create somewhere to sit.

 

Image courtesy of housetohome.co.uk

Image courtesy of msalx.casa.abril.com.br

 You don’t need  a house of…. well .... farmhouse proportions to find somewhere to sit.

 

Tip 2: Don’t leave the washing up.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com 

How lovely to come into a gleaming kitchen in the morning.

 

 

Tip 3: Buy enticing breakfast food.

Image courtesy of thelemonbowl.com

Why think only of cereal or toast?  There are wonderful treats to be found.

 

Tip 4: Make your kitchen a place you want to spend time in.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Perhaps your kitchen is ready for a makeover. There couldn’t be a better time.

 

Tip 5: Invest in pretty pots and pans that you just love using.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

This has to be the best ever justification for retail therapy . Spending money on beautiful pans and crockery can be good for your health! 

Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors. 

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On Burns Night Let's Drink a Wee Dram to Scottish Design

Monday, 27 January 2014 10:37:58 GMT

The 25th of January is  an important date for the Scots. It is the day that they celebrate their National Poet, Robbie Burns.

Burns Night is not a festival that is readily picked up by non-Scots, involving as it does the reciting of poetry in Scottish dialect, music from bagpipes and a meal centred on haggis. No, these are not the most exportable characteristics of the Land of the Brave. The same cannot be said however for much else that has come out of Scotland.

Scotland is a small country that punches above its weight and has made a colossal impact on the world. Inventors such as James Watt (steam engine) Alexander Graham Bell (telephone) John Logie Baird (TV) and Alexander Fleming(penicillin) have literally changed everyone’s lives for the better.

But what about their influence on interior design?

How many of these  Scottish influences can you spot in your home?  

 

Image courtesy of droomhome.nl

Tartan

The universal symbol of Scotland the world over. Traditionally used in kilts and blankets but surprisingly effective as a furnishing fabric.

 

Image courtesy of facebook

Paisley

This gorgeous teardrop design was originally from Persia but during the Industrial Revolution the town of Paisley, south of Glasgow produced so much of this design that the pattern was called after the town.

 

 

Image courtesy of apdinteriors-blog.com

Tweed

Another purely Scottish cloth, tweed is hard wearing with a geometric design. A great choice for upholstery and accessories, tweed usually shows the subtle, sophisticated approach to furnishing fabrics. This particularly successful example shows that it has  its fun side too.

Image courtesy of scotthowardcn.com

Charles Rennie Mackintosh 

Charles Rennie Mackintosh  was one of the most striking designers from the Glasgow School. His style is instantly recognisable and has a distinctive elegance that is hard to beat.

 

Image courtesy of google.com

Archibald Knox 

My favourite designer from the Art Nouveau period! His jewellery is gorgeous and the same style is equally beautiful in the clocks and accessories he designed for Liberty’s.

 

On the 18th September, the Scots will vote whether to stay in the United Kingdom or to strike out alone. Whatever their decision ( and it is not an easy one) let’s make Burn's Night the opportunity to  celebrate the creativity and originality  of this patriotic race.

 

Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors. 

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Bird watching inside and out during Garden Bird Watch.

Friday, 24 January 2014 10:27:55 GMT

 During Garden Bird Watch, this weekend, people are invited to watch birds in their gardens for one hour. In that hour they note all the birds they see. By comparing the results with other years, the RSPB can tell which birds are surviving well and which are becoming less common. 

I live near a bird reserve and often visit the place, not to watch birds, but to sample their delicious cake! You may have seen the presenters of the recent Autumn Watch raving about it. They were not wrong.

While enjoying my massive slice of coffee and walnut, I see people laden with telescopes and tripods, lenses and guidebooks. I see them sitting in the window seat of the tearoom, eyes glued to binoculars trained on feeding blue tits. I hear them comparing notes about marsh harriers and bitterns. I am not, and never will be this type of bird watcher.

 I am happy to sit on the balcony with a good book and look up occasionally to spot a chaffinch foraging under the table, or to watch the patient heron standing on the weir at the bottom of the garden but I never feel the need to go for binoculars. 

But isn’t it a good thing that there are enthusiasts?  Birders, twitchers, ornithologists or whatever they wish us to call them, are doing us all a service.  Left to people like me the bird population would suffer whatever our ungrateful human race threw at it, but I can see that without birds, the world would be a duller place and I applaud those who are going out of their way to protect them. 

Birds have enriched our lives in many ways, not least in the field of interior design. Even in my own limited experience I have had an accent wall featuring peacocks and my first sofa was rattan with a gorgeous pheasant design. It was uncomfortable but I never tired of the pattern.

 I have just ordered one of these delightful wallpaper drawer cabinets for our newly decorated bedroom. I have loved these from the minute I first saw them but have had to wait till we had  time to redecorate.

I am also desperate to buy one of these fabulous peacock patchwork sofas. We have just the place for one in the bay window but I am having to tread very carefully as it will mean removing an old armchair my husband is unaccountably attached to. I am working on it but it may take a little time.

 

I know it is a long time till Christmas (and I have the added misfortune of a December birthday) but if anyone out there is interested I would love these delightful owl bookends.

 

 

 

These fun, fusion fruit plates (cake plates in our house) always get people talking. It is such a quirky idea but why not have two patterns for the price of one?

 

 

Don’t you just love cuckoo clocks? I delighted a good friend recently by buying him one as a wedding present. He has a very modern house and a sense of humour so I bought him the most traditional one I could find! I did tell him I loved it and would have it if he preferred a less ironic choice, but unfortunately for me he wouldn’t part with it!

 

So, I for one will be counting birds this weekend. If you feel like joining us (or even if you don’t) I am proposing you follow up the outside survey with another one.

How many birds have made it into your home?  We would love to hear about them.

Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors. 

 

 

 

 
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7 Of The Best Coffee Cups

Monday, 20 January 2014 08:20:27 GMT

 For many years before the tax avoidance scandal I boycotted Starbucks. It wasn’t because of the ridiculous names they call their coffee, nor for the exorbitant prices they charge, it was purely and simply because I hated their coffee mugs. Those thick, straight-sided mugs made me think of a building site brew up, not a sophisticated, metropolitan treat. I maintain that it definitely affected the taste, or at the very least, the way I perceived the taste.

So perhaps choice of cups is more important than we think and as January 20th is National Coffee Break Day, I thought I would share some of my favourites.

Image courtesy of manfactum.com

1.     My all time favourite is this French green and gold coffee cup. This is the cup of my student days. One could pose for hours on any café terrace with one of these in front of you and the essential pack of Gauloises.

1.       Rather than a strong espresso, I prefer an “allongé” which is a longer, weaker version. For this, vintage style teacups are great. I love the old floral patterns with the gold rims. These dainty blue and white striped cups have the most beautiful, fluting and lovely bone china handles.

 

 

 

1.       Coffee, to most of us, is an everyday essential so I love anything that adds interest or amusement, which is why these quirky wedge mugs and lap mugs, shaped to fit the human body rather than the table are in my top pick.

 

 

1.       The same reasoning lies behind my next choice but the fusion mug offers more. The beautiful East meets West images on these mugs offer traditional symbolism and a sense of charm and mystery.

1.       Another coffee cup that will make you look twice is this ostensibly classical white mug which has been beamed up to the twentieth first century with the addition of a vibrant coloured handle.

1.       I am a champion of the map. Much as I use and appreciate  GPS I love poring over maps planning my next move, so a coffee cup with a map design  is a little slice of heaven.

 

Image courtesy of retropottery.net

1.       Sixties coffee sets.  It is the pot rather than the cups that have the “wow” factor here and yes, I know how useless this type of pot is in the age of pod coffee makers and cafetieres, but there is no denying its style!

Does your coffee break need a new look? There couldn’t be a better time.

 

 

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5 Massive Mistakes People Make with Mirrored Furniture

Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:54:24 GMT

Mirrored furniture is a fantastic choice for your home. We know that and so do our many customers who come back wanting more. 

Today, as another huge shipment arrives at Out There HQ, I'm bringing you five massive mistakes inexperienced people make with their mirrored furniture. 

 

 

Mistake 1: They try to move it on their own

Never try to move mirrored furniture on your own. It must be lifted, not dragged or pushed. Paying a little extra to have it delivered to a room of choice is always worth it.  If you do lift it yourself protect your back as our mirrored furniture is particularly heavy.

 

 Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

Mistake 2: They put it in harm’s way. 

Don’t place behind doors or in any place where it is likely to be banged. It’s only a matter of time until it gets broken.  Is there a risk of anything falling on it? Utilise common sense. 

 

 

Image courtesy of Interior Design client.

 

Mistake 3: They ignore instructions.

Despite clear instructions and warning stickers some people over tighten handle screws causing the glass to crack. Always err on the cautious side. It is much easier to gently retighten a screw which gradually works loose, than it is to replace a mirrored panel.

 

 

 Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

Mistake 4: They forget to tell people.

Good quality mirrored furniture will last years if you care for it sensibly, but there will be people in your life who are oblivious to its fragility and value.  We often repair damage caused by cleaners and children. Make them aware how important it is to you.

 

 

 Image via pinterest.com 

 

Mistake 5: They let it gather dust.

Keep your furniture in pristine condition by dusting it regularly with a soft cloth. You can remove finger marks with a simple cleaning spray or window wipes.

 

 

Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure your furniture stays looking magical.  

  

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8 Surprisingly Attractive Home Gyms

Monday, 6 January 2014 09:21:08 GMT

I have been running for over a year.  I began running to lose weight and I kept it up as I truly believe it is the key to my sanity. It eases my stress, lessens my worries and has the ability to make me instantly happy.

Sometimes, when I am feeling especially gutsy I grit my teeth and dive out of my flat on a cold wet night just to feel victorious over the weather. On other days I want to feel my heart race but I don't want to get cold.  These are the days when I crave a home gym. 

I am forever looking at spaces within my (very tiny) flat with a view to turning them into other things. Can I squeeze a home office into a corner of my lounge?  Can I fit a toilet in my hallway cupboard? Can I put a glass roof on my balcony and make it a conservatory? None of them are very realistic. A home gym is perhaps the most unrealistic of all; however you may find some surprising ideas below. 

 

Image via Houzz.com

Do you have a redundant out-house or a garage full of junk? Do you really need all those jam jars full of screws and nails? Can you sell your lawn mower and employ a gardener? Imagine the possibilities. 

 

Image via in-myhouse.blogspot.co.uk

I love this idea for a small flat like mine. If you can't squeeze in a fancy gym machine why not take your aggression out on a weighty punch bag? The hot pink Tolix stool adds a necessary splash of colour. 

 

Image via ong-oajpairam.com

If your garage is a bit mucky why not go old school?  A work out of this style will leave you feeling ready to take on the grittiest of tasks. Vintage gym equipment can be picked up for a steal in antiques centres nationwide.   

 

 

Image via Pinterest but you can find a similar mirror here

This one is right up our street!  When I do work out at home I do so in front of my bedroom mirror which is similar to this.  I would kill for all this space though. 

 

Image via Houzz.com

A spare bedroom is obviously a great option for a home gym. This spare room has been transformed into a motivational space with a kick ass carpet.  Put a big plasma screen on the wall and use a cupboard to store matching towels. I'd also install a mini fridge full of Evian.

 

Image via Pinterest

I am a huge fan of typographical wall art, but I think it needs to be changed regularly as I find that quotes have a short shelf life. A home gym is the perfect way to indulge in motivational stickers and prints. 

 

Image via Houzz.com

It can be painful to add modern equipment (of any sort) to a rustic or traditional interior. But the worst thing you can do is try to hide it. This traditional space embraces these Cross Trainers, boldly declaring that the space is theirs. The plant adds an important splash of greenery creating a spa-like feel.

 

 

Image via modernhomeinteriordesign.com

Think you don't have space for any gym equipment? Think again. For £50 on eBay you can buy yourself 20 colourful rock climbing holds.  They're obviously brilliant for kids but how about connecting your Bluetooth headset (remember that?) and having a climb whilst chatting to your mother. Now there's a thought...

 

 Article by Jenny Hurren, Director. 

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In The Bleak Midwinter...Brighten Up Your Home.

Friday, 3 January 2014 16:46:47 GMT

This weekend one chore on everyone’s to do list will be to take down the Christmas decorations. It's often a miserable task. It's all too easy to let your mind wonder over recent history- the excitement of putting up the Christmas tree, rediscovering those forgotten baubles, The Pogues playing on the radio...  

In light of this, here are my top interior tips to combat that rather flat and desolate feeling when the sparkle and magic of Christmas are well and truly behind us.

Image via theeverygirl.com

Continue the candles.

Don’t throw away all those half used candles. Enjoy cosy January candlelit meals, create a stunning focal point or add interest to a quiet corner.

 

 

 

Image via gladjeamnen.blogg.se 

Rearrange your furniture.

Take your eye off the empty space left by the removal of the tree by having a complete change of design. (This is also great for rooting out all the pine needles hiding under the sofa). 

 

 

Image via pinterest.com

Boost the light.

January is notoriously dark and dreary. Open blinds and curtains fully. Place a mirror next to a north facing window to reflect the light.

 

 

Image via pinterest.com

Get your clean on.

If you didn’t have time for a deep clean before Christmas, now is the time.  It is immensely satisfying and will make life easier in Spring.

 

 

Image via pinterest.com

Keep the lights up.

Our contemporary Christmas is made up of a mix of Christian, pre-Christian and pagan midwinter rituals which have been added to throughout the centuries. So if you like the sparkle of your fairy lights, be it on a tree in the garden or in an arrangement in the home there is absolutely nothing stopping you from keeping them there as long as you like.

 

 

Article by Liz Higginbottom.  Content Writer, Out There Interiors.

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And will our love of the internet kill off traditional shopping?

Last year, after Christmas, several more of our famous high street names went into receivership, HMV, Blockbusters and Jessops to name but three. Yet, still shopping centres appear bustling, parking spaces hard to find and shops full of choice. We are inundated with statistics about the rise of cyber shopping. We all know how easy it is. Everything conspires to make the life of the retailer more difficult yet we still turn up in shopping centres and high streets in droves.  So what is going on? 

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New Ideas for Decorating Your Home This Christmas

Friday, 6 December 2013 11:54:17 GMT

Christmas is the time of year when creative types can have a ball. If like me however you are not particularly handy with florists foam and glue, and you don’t even possess a sewing machine, let alone the ability to use it, don’t despair you can make a festive display without being an artistic genius or needing to spend a fortune. The trick is to make ingenious use of what you already have. As I write I am contemplating the pumpkin sitting on my kitchen windowsill. So far it has escaped Halloween and the soup pan but its days are numbered; there has got to be a use for it at Christmas….

So read on for some Christmas decorating ideas to make a difference in your home….. 

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Real or Artificial? Know your facts before you choose.

Monday, 2 December 2013 10:13:28 GMT

The debate about real versus artificial Christmas trees is a hardy perennial and one that can arouse heated debates in families.  If you have a strong preference, yet encounter opposition, you need to have a cogent argument up your sleeve.

So here is my interpretation of the Christmas tree debate. 

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Choosing a Christmas Tree: Are you for real or artificial?

Thursday, 28 November 2013 10:08:26 GMT

We are all agreed at Out There Interiors that it is only when the tree is in place (and we disagree about when that should be!) that Christmas really begins. So as December is all but with us I thought I would share some thoughts on Christmas trees.

If like me you prefer a story to a shed load of statistics read my cautionary tale and learn from my experience. If you are of a more analytical persuasion you may prefer my next post which will deal in hard facts!

A Cautionary Tale

It all began three years ago...............

 

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Charles and Ray Eames: a design dream team

Friday, 22 November 2013 10:19:11 GMT

We must all have seen an Eames lounge chair, usually with ottoman, even if we didn’t recognise it as such. In fact I would take it further and say that whether you know it or not, you will have had the experience of sitting in a chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Not only have this amazing couple had phenomenal success with the lounge chair, but also they have had great influence in the fields of office and corporate furniture, and also airport seating.

So let’s take a closer look.

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Arne Jacobsen…A designer of timeless classics

Friday, 15 November 2013 18:40:53 GMT

Do you remember the first Big Brother diary room chair? If so you will be envisaging a beautiful purple upholstered swivel chair. Unlike most of its successors it actually looked comfortable and is one of the only ones of the 13 (yes the UK programme really is 13 years old) which would also look great in a normal home.  

Later I found out that this chair was not a Big Brother one off; it was in fact a chair designed by Arne Jacobsen and it is a tribute to the timelessness of the design that although created in the fifties it was still considered “way out” enough for the ever so cutting edge, Big Brother set . Read on for more information about its Danish designer. 

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Although sometimes confused with his fellow Finn, Eero Saarinen, Eero Aarnio was not his contemporary. Saarinen died in 1961 whereas Aarnio, now aged  81, is still designing today.

Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and opened his own design studio soon after, in 1960. Interested in innovative techniques and the latest materials he could not have arrived on the scene at a better time. It was in 1963 that his Ball Chair was born. 

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The intention was to write about the two most famous furniture designers to come out of Finland in the same post, but research revealed that Eero Saarinen’s contribution to the twentieth century was so important that I decided that he needed an article all to himself and that Eero Aarnio would have to wait!

Eero Saarinen was born in Finland in 1910 but he spent most of his life in America, as his father, architect, Eliel Saarinen moved the family to Michigan when Eero was thirteen years of age.  Eliel co- founded and taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and it was here that Eero began his formal design education. While studying he became friends with Charles and Ray Eames and also Florence Schutz, later Knoll, who all featured prominently in his future career. 

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The Influence of Scandinavian design on Contemporary Living

Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:29:16 BST

While involved in research for the Out There Interiors Modern Design Classics Collection we were struck by the predominance of Scandinavian designers in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. I decided to take a closer look.

I have no idea what the Northern Europeans sat on, ate off or slept on before the twentieth century as it made no impact on the world or even the European scene but since the advent of the more functional approach of the twentieth century, the Scandinavians have certainly made their mark. Emerging from the nineteenth century, a time which majored on Neoclassicism and Gothic revival the Modernist movement struck a chord with, and made its spiritual home in, Northern Europe. 

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Adapting your environment to a new arrival

Wednesday, 9 October 2013 16:48:19 BST

Just when we have the house how we want it, what do we do? Yes you have guessed, we decide to start a family! To us it may not seem the most sensible sequence of events but Mother Nature, of course, would disagree. However evolved we become, the nesting instinct remains alive and kicking.

Whether your new little darling is a girl or a boy there is one thing both sexes have in common. He or she will need a phenomenal amount of STUFF. So here are some ideas to make their arrival slightly less of a shock! 

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Marcel Breuer left his native Hungary at the age of 18 to become one of the first intake of the new Bauhaus design school in Weimar. (See previous post  “A brief history of the Bauhaus and its influence on modern furniture design”.)  Walter Gropius, founder of the school, was quick to recognise his talent and he soon made Breuer head of the carpentry workshop. 

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Discovering a love of Modernist furniture in a most unusual place.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:39:17 BST

Had you asked me 10 years ago what I thought of Modernist furniture, I would have been less than enthusiastic. I would have said it was alright in an office situation or a minimalist loft but not for my French inspired home. That was before I met Nicholas. 

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To accompany our new collection of Modern Design Classics, we thought it would be interesting to research the main designers and share our findings with those of you who like us are captivated by this revolutionary furniture. In the course of the research we found many references to the Bauhaus. Vaguely aware of it as a German architecture and design style, we were surprised to find that it was in fact, the main single influence behind the entire collection. So here is a brief summary of the importance of Bauhaus. 

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Those harbingers of the end of summer, the August Bank Holiday, the Notting Hill Carnival and the Edinburgh Festival are well and truly over. This year, although we may feel sadness at the passing of the holiday season, we can at least be thankful that we have enjoyed a better summer than most and amazingly the long term forecast predicts that we can look forward to bright, warm, sunny weather continuing well into the middle of September. So I thought there was still time to share my favourite recipe of the summer. This recipe came about following a batch of redcurrant jam that almost set…but not quite. 

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The Rise of French Furniture

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 17:17:16 BST

The French are like Marmite (and indeed it is a French word);  you either love them or hate them, so how do we account for our long love affair with French furniture?

French Furniture is easy to live with.

 When contemplating the style of a new room you have to consider your personality. If you have ever made a success of living in a minimalist home I salute you. You are evidently disciplined, organised, completely focused and the rest of us can only look on in envy.  

Glamorous and sophisticated Venetian inspired rooms may be, but if dusting is not your forte or you have young children with sticky fingers perhaps now is not the right time.

Industrial interiors are all the rage, but can you really live with the cold functionality of angular metal surfaces?   

A French inspired home, on the other hand, is cosy and welcoming and invites embellishments. Think of pretty pottery, printed fabrics, cushions and chandeliers. 

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As I explained in my previous post, I am not a natural gardener. So why do I think I can give tips on gardening?Quite simply because I have moved a few times and inherited gardens of all shapes and sizes, and with each new garden my aim has been to keep it looking good with as little effort as possible. I know from experience what works and more importantly what doesn’t. I have never been able to afford a landscape gardener and start from scratch so I have had to work with what I had. So let’s have a look at the main elements in most gardens. 

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I don’t know whether it is just me but the current obsession with gardening is starting to get to me. So many of my friends, seem to have embraced the idea wholeheartedly and now want to wow me with their runner beans, their glut of courgettes and their wonderful home grown tomatoes.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love all the above and am delighted to make delicious dishes out of their bounty but it is starting to give me a complex.

Should I try to compete?

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Do you envy friends who make entertaining look effortless? Read on to discover their secret….

My husband always laughs at me for spending lots of time staring into space and scribbling on bits of paper before I do any entertaining. “It is only a few friends,” he will say or “no-one else goes to this trouble!” Suppressing an urge to ask him how on earth he knows anything about other people’s preparation, I just smile and scribble on. I never rise to the bait, as I know, from experience, that even if others can host a successful gathering without lists, I most definitely cannot.

So what do I think and write about? 

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There is nothing like a good summer to make people feel like entertaining. I love it when we are invited to gatherings of all sizes, so to keep the invitations coming we have, of course to give parties of our own. To be honest, I enjoy entertaining. From deciding how many to invite to clearing up afterwards, I find it all fun. You get a real sense of achievement from a party that people talk about years later but you probably enjoy a small gathering of close friends more at the time. However many guests you decide upon, the secret of success boils down to 2 golden rules…… 

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Things to consider when choosing your first home

Wednesday, 7 August 2013 11:34:39 BST

You will have read a lot of advice. You will have limitations of budget and if you read my previous post you will know, that like relationships, love and compromise play a big part. So why then am I giving you a list of things to consider?

Only because, in deciding on what you can compromise on and what you can’t, you need to have covered all the angles. There is not only one house out there waiting for you. Many will fit your bill. You can easily fall in love with more than one. The following is just a checklist of things to consider, which may make it easier to spot compromises that may have to be made. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

 

 

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If like me, you love anything to do with property, interior design, furniture and furnishings you will be very excited at the prospect of buying your first home. Excited and perhaps a little daunted too. It is a while since we bought our first home and we have moved a fair few times since, so in this post I will recount my personal experience and in my next give you a checklist of things, experience has taught me, it is advisable to consider.

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Working from home ………Would it suit you ?

Monday, 29 July 2013 07:43:44 BST

When Marissa Mayer of Yahoo banned employees from working at home earlier this year she provoked a frenzy of media debate about the pros and cons of home working.

She has since insisted that the ban was brought about because in her efforts to turn around the struggling internet giant, Yahoo, she felt that what was needed was  collaboration between employees and this was only achievable if staff worked together in person rather than at a distance.

For employers to be happy with staff working from home they need to have complete trust in those employees, they need to know for sure that home workers are not spending their days tweeting and surfing or watching C Beebies with their children. It will be no problem if the work is easy to monitor or they are paying by results. It is also important that the work done by the employees is not too dependent on others.

What of the employees themselves however? Would you be happy working from home?

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If you are looking forward to a holiday in France over the summer  and would like to experience more than the beaches, food and wine, try going to a few brocantes.

There is no satisfactory translation of the French word brocante. It is neither an antique fair nor a car boot sale and yet it could appear to be either or both! All I know is that brocantes happen mostly on Sundays and can get me out of bed more easily than anything else. If you like quirky items, bagging a bargain and people watching, “brocanting” could be just what you are looking for.

First choose your brocantes

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The Pros and Cons of Interior Designers

Thursday, 18 July 2013 08:20:16 BST

How can they help you?                      

If you're moving into a new property and contemplating the interior decoration you may be wondering whether to employ an interior designer. We deal with interior design companies, independent designers and those designing their own homes every single day. Here's a little guide to help you choose whether to employ a professional or go it alone.

 

 

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A personal tale before a more serious consideration of the subject

I remember well my first argument with my ex husband. It was about wallpaper. I have no idea now why it caused such friction. All I know is that it wasn’t until we had travelled home (on separate buses) that we could see the funny side of it. Would we have been better with an interior designer?

 

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Strike while the barbecue is hot

Monday, 8 July 2013 13:46:09 BST

As there has been some good weather this year we have managed a barbecue or two. At the last one I couldn’t help noticing that the dining table was looking distinctly worse for wear and that some of the slats on the wooden chairs were cracking. I did a quick calculation and decided that as it had done 12 year’s service it probably was time to pension it off and buy a lovely new rattan set. 

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A few suggestions to make the most of your artwork

Friday, 5 July 2013 15:21:24 BST

One thing people comment on in my home is the pictures. Often it is the placing rather than the subject matter that attracts their attention. The pictures draw the eye because they are low. I didn’t just innately know this. I read an article in a magazine at the dentist’s that said that most people position their paintings too high on the wall and as soon as I started looking around me I realised that it was true. I had a few problems convincing my (tall) husband but even he agrees that it works…So this is my first suggestion for making the most of your artwork.

Read on for more ideas…..

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Need some pictures? Go on holiday!

Thursday, 4 July 2013 10:45:51 BST

When you have a bare wall to fill where do you go?

People with lots of money may buy from exhibitions and galleries. Others with a traditional interior may do the same, or perhaps buy from auctions to save money. If you are a student you can buy posters on line or at gigs.

If, like me, you occupy the  middle ground you could be tempted by a trip to Ikea. You can certainly fill your whole house with good artwork for very little money here. The problem is that so can everyone else and almost before you have hung your work of art, the image will appear everywhere and you will wish you had chosen something less popular. So how do we do it?

We go on holiday…..

 

 Here are three ways to source different, inexpensive art on holiday.

 

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Considering the state of recent British summers you could be excused from thinking that I had gone completely mad in writing an article about protecting your home against the sun. However, if you have a room into which the sun shines directly, there will be times, even in winter, when the UV rays are strong enough to cause damage.

Read on to find out what needs protecting and the best ways to do this. 

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Use Mirrors to Make the Most of your Stairs

Thursday, 27 June 2013 08:37:46 BST

Stairs can often be an afterthought when we are embellishing our walls.  We fill our rooms with pictures, mirrors and ornamentation of all kinds but the stairs can remain bare or often accommodate pictures that  you have tired of in the living area. I think we are missing an opportunity here and that we should be seeing our stairs as a fantastic place to indulge in the beauty of mirrors.

Now, I know that we are not all blessed with beautiful winding staircases, with sweeping, spindled banisters. [These staircases, while making a terrific impact just as they are, look unbelievably fabulous with a large central chandelier surrounded by mirrors on all sides.] On the contrary however, many of us will have a single flight walled in on both sides. I believe that regardless of the type of stairs you have, there is a case for mirrors across the range.

Here are a few ideas :

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Big Brother is back and we were asked to supply several items for the new house which has an eco-chic theme. The designers have done an amazing job. Ornate mirrors and replica Tolix chairs work in harmony with reclaimed doors, wine glass chandeliers and industrial lamps. The piece de resistance? Our storage cow in the kitchen area.

 

 

 

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Natural Selection

Tuesday, 18 June 2013 09:41:02 BST

If, like many, you have chosen to redecorate rather than spend money on a summer holiday, which, let’s admit it, is quickly forgotten as soon as you have posted your photos, you could not have picked a better time. This year’s trends are gorgeous and the choices infinite.

Wall paper is definitely here to stay, so the chances are that, even if you are only going to brighten up an alcove or create an accent wall, you are likely to be selecting wallpaper. 

So what should you be going for?

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Interior design Atlantic coast style

Thursday, 13 June 2013 15:22:57 BST

Les Sables d’Olonne is a superb place for a beach holiday. The curve of the bay is almost as large as Morecambe’s but forget mudflats and perishing paddling, this is perfect golden sand and temperatures to go with it.

Slinking along the promenade trying to escape from the scorching heat, amazed it was too hot for the beach, I was astonished to find, tucked in between the postcards and the bucket and spades, a shop that would have been more at home in Chelsea. The first thing that caught my eye was a fabulous cutlery chandelier. Now, I know this chandelier....

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Reserved Rattan in La Rochelle

Thursday, 13 June 2013 08:40:05 BST

Having just returned from a short break in La Rochelle, one of my favourite places on the French Atlantic coast, I have to report that the Vieux Port looked much the same as I remembered apart from one fact. On every café and restaurant terrace the chairs are almost exclusively, rattan.

This should not of course be surprising given what a fantastic product the new synthetic rattan is! Hard wearing, weatherproof, comfortable, and able to be cleaned with a jet of water … the French may not be the first to embrace a new trend, but they always recognise quality when they see it and make use of it well. 

We sell a lot of rattan furniture at Out There Interiors, so I was interested to view what was selling well in France. I found it a little disappointing.......

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Sell or Stay? Be a Winner Whatever

Monday, 3 June 2013 13:22:58 BST

Do you really want to move but are trapped in a house you can’t sell? Have you decided to stay where you are, as you cannot afford, or are not prepared, to sell at a loss?

If so, you are probably asking yourself what you can do to make your house more saleable. Should you be redecorating, revamping the kitchen, converting the loft? It is not long ago that the answer to all these would have been yes, of course, but it is much less of a given today. In an era of static (if you are lucky) house prices, the advice is to be cautious. The houses that are selling at the moment are the ones that are realistically priced. No longer are buyers keen to pay a premium for the fact that your house is better appointed than the one down the road. Prudence is the name of the game and the cheaper one almost always sells first.

So, what is the best way to cope with this situation? 

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Rising to the challenge of the small bedroom

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 16:43:23 BST

image of small bedroomRising to the challenge of the small bedroom.

Many of us are faced with occupying spaces that we feel are not large enough, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the bedroom. Builders of new homes create small bedrooms in their desire to pack in all the features required by the modern family and still turn in a profit. Even those occupying older homes are not immune as often bedroom space has been sacrificed on the altar of the en suite.

So how do we make the most of this most valuable of assets? We think out of the box of course.

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The Big Move

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 15:39:45 BST

girls driving forklifts

Out There Is Changing...

 
For those of you who don't know, Out There Interiors have been preparing for a big move over the past eight weeks.
Having always had our showroom and offices separate from our warehouse has meant that us girls have been spared the humping of boxes and driving of forklift trucks…. until now. 
 
 
 
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Am I alone in my love of graffiti furniture?

Friday, 18 May 2012 11:45:13 BST

Although I'm often in awe of pristine, sophisticated interiors the child inside will never grow old of rainbow coloured graffiti furniture.  I'm longing for the day I can afford a Jimmy Martin or have something unique commissioned by an admired artist.  The armoire in the top left of the pictures below has to be my absolute favourite piece, it looks so bold against the white wall - the ultimate statement wardrobe by Burke and Hazelden. images of graffiti armoire, sofa and a cabinet with graffiti insideBut there's other ways of utilising street art on furniture. The beautiful white, Louis style sofa above for example, has been given a quirky twist by interior designer Lucy Lonergagan; the back and sides emblazoned with bold, urban graffiti. Personally I love the juxtaposition of classic French design and modern street art, but if it's all a bit too extravagant for you, why not take inspiration from California-based designer Ilan Dei who adds colourful graffiti to the interior of neutral pieces.

 

more graffiti furniture including a lampshade and dining chairsAbove are some more examples of graffiti furniture. The fabulous but extortionate Jimmy Martin cabinet, a couple more armoires by Burke and Hazelden and some other gorgeous creations I found via Pinterest. 

Am I alone in my love of graffiti furniture? If we had some designed to sell on Out There Interiors would it only be me who admired it? Would love to hear your thoughts...

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Patriotic Home Decor

Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:39:38 BST

There really is nothing worse than tacky decorations which appear in abundance at moments of national celebration, and although I avoid them like the plague, I can't help but feel just a tad square when I attend the Union Jack sponsored BBQ that my happy-go-lucky friend throws, rain or shine every St Georges Day.

image of patriotic home accessories

I've never been particularly patriotic, nor am I a royalist. But I am an interiors addict.

And for someone who appreciates colour, pattern and aesthetics, it would be impossible (and quite frankly wrong) for me to disregard some of patriotic accessories which have appeared on Out There Interiors.com over the past few months:

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Happy Friday Mrs Dixon

Friday, 27 April 2012 15:09:50 BST

A smiling Kate Dixon with flowers, chocs and wine.

 

 

 

Queen of Sales Support Kate Dixon was presented with flowers, chocolates and a bottle wine in our showroom this afternoon, by a lovely customer she pulled out the stops for. 

It's not everyday her efforts are so acknowledged, and she was thrilled.  (So were we as she shared out the chocs). 

 

 

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Weirdest Item of Furniture Award

Monday, 21 November 2011 17:58:48 GMT

And the award for the wierdest item of furniture goes to...

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Today we stumbled upon...Racquel

Sunday, 24 July 2011 19:43:22 BST

Fairytale French...

We're forever stumbling upon our furniture in TV and film, adverts and stylish window displays, but today we found a piece in a wedding photograph by Sam Hayword of samhaywordphotography.com. This gorgeous picture depicts a bride sitting at our "Racquel" white French dressing table, getting ready for her big day. We think both the bride and the dresser look stunning, not to mention the cornflower panelling.

Thanks Sam. 

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Introducing...Harper-Seven

Monday, 11 July 2011 14:50:03 BST

 

Introducing Harper-Seven!

We couldn't resist naming a new product Harper-Seven today in celebration of the Beckham's new daughter. And what better product than this awesome silver and white throne armchair from our French Furniture collection.  This large and highly decorative throne chair has a gloss white frame and shiny silver, crocodile print upholstery. The ultimate statement piece. We love ostentatious furniture like this, so go on, splash out on Harper-Seven today. You won't regret it!

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10 reasons to avoid high street furniture stores

Saturday, 1 January 2011 12:57:28 GMT

10 reasons to avoid high street furniture stores this January. 

A new year, a new you, a new home. Many of us get this feeling in January, and with the prospect of all the 'high-street give-aways' out there, run out into the cold in search of that bargain bedroom furniture buying into the hype that we have been force fed since Boxing Day.  But it's unnecessary, uncomfortable and expensive. Here's why.

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Kim Cattrall stars along side Out There lanterns!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010 13:00:13 GMT

Kim Cattrall put on a stunning performance along side Out There Interiors lanterns. 

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We love glass furniture

Monday, 1 February 2010 22:35:46 GMT

About Venetian Mirrored Furniture

Why Venetian glass?

In the Middle Ages Venice was the glassmaking centre of the Western world. By the end of the 13th century the government had moved the glass industry to the island of Murano. The name of this island is synonymous with high quality glass of beautiful design. So not only does Venetian glass have a long and illustrious history, it also embodies style, elegance, sophistication and luxury.

Venetian mirrored furniture

The Venetian mirrored furniture style that is so popular today dates from  the 18th and 19th century. The elaborate ,ornate style that we associate with venetian mirrored furniture has a baroque influence. It is opulent and luxurious making venetian mirrored furniture a striking choice. Whenever a style is revisited a new modern twist is added and Venetian mirrored furniture is no exception. As well as the ornate rococco styles found in the Venetian mirror designs, modern taste also dictates more sleek clean lines (these are evident in our cabinets and console tables)  The combination of these 2 opposing styles is one of the most striking and appealing elements of contemporary interior design.







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A bit of history on glass and mirrored furniture

Monday, 1 February 2010 21:15:30 GMT

An article on the history of Venetian glass furniture

If you happen to be as obsessed with glass furniture as we are, you may be interested in the following article. We explore how glass came about, how it was shaped and refined to fulfil different uses, and finally how the Venetian glass furniture you see today evolved throughout the ages.  It is fascinating to find out how the decorative glass furniture, with which we adorn our homes today, has its origins in the mists of time.

How glass began

A form of glass, created by volcanic action on certain types of rock has existed since the beginnings of time itself.  It is believed that some Stone Age tribes made use of this naturally occurring glass, to make tools and other objects. (Believe it or not they weren’t making glass furniture at this stage, although we like to think there was the odd Gay Stone Age couple boasting a cave full of mirrored furniture).







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