Linking House and Garden by Julie Brownson

How amazing has the weather been of late? This time of year always leads us to reflect on how you can successfully connect your indoor and outdoor living spaces. If budget permits the most obvious way is to continue the floor finish you use inside out on to your garden or terrace at the same level. Porcelain tiles can be perfect -there is an incredibly wide range of sizes and finishes available, often durable enough to be used outside. Advances in digital printing technology have resulted in super realistic natural finishes in these tiles. Concrete can be poured inside and out. Wood? That’s getting tricky, but again there are some amazing porcelain copies of wood flooring now. Whatever you do choose it is VITAL that the outdoor surface is slip resistant.

Ideally access to the outside via sliding doors or bi-fold will be obstruction free by sinking sliding rails into the floor to avoid trip hazards. A company local to us Maxlight are experts at providing a minimally intrusive finish in this regard.

In the UK we have to plan for the weather not always co-operating with our plans… As you can see for this project we built an outdoor kitchen area, covered with a zinc clad roof, complete with lighting and infrared patio heaters built into the roof, the BBQ is gas fed for ultimate convenience and the kitchen worksurface is suitable to use indoors and out. It’s a year round space, but undoubtedly most lovely when the sun is shining. Everything is better when the sun is shining!

Photo (c) Luke White Photography

Photo (c) Luke White Photography

Bookcase Pride by Julie Brownson

Before I became consumed by design I would have scoffed at anyone who did anything to co-ordinate or organise their bookshelves. In my many years working as a lawyer books, for me, were important for their content, not the way they looked. Many years later, and with a substantial library of design books to my name, I totally understand the pleasures of a carefully curated shelf. I don’t mean turn your books around so all you see is the white pages, where is the fun in that and how do you find something to read? Instead take some time to organise your books by colour, there’s no need to be uptight about it, work with what you’ve got. Check under book covers, there may be a beautiful teal hardback hiding under a cover that, if the book is loved, will have become tatty with time. The end results might be pretty as a picture.

Home Futures @ Design Museum, London by Julie Brownson

Off to the Design Museum in always ravishing Kensington, London we go to check out the ‘Home Futures’ Exhibition. It’s an interesting reflection on where we have arrived in terms of our homes given where designers of the past thought we would go. Thankfully we are not living in inflatable, heated and air-conditioned bubbles, but we are arguably living more transparent private lives as technology tracks our every move. It’s a thought-provoking and beautiful as an exhibition. It leaves us, as always, rather confused about predicting trends, which always seem to be mostly predicted after they have happened and fascinated about the process of predicting trends. When does something take root and become a trend? And given the pervasive effect of, and speed of light change in, technology leaves us wondering if we can ever anticipate what is on the horizon and how best we can ‘future proof’ our designs. Our advice? Do your research sure, read and look around widely, your eye and your heart will tell you if a trend or movement is right for you and your home.

Perhaps not the most important questions asked, but one we love; ‘what happened to the garden gnome’? Well, Golden Gordon is alive and well in Studio 152. He doesn’t move much (at all) but always brings a smile, and is great for impromptu awards for all round fabulousness.

Home Futures’ is on at the Design Museum, London until 24th March, 2019.

Golden Gordon (c) Studio 152, 2019

What Can We Do For You? by Julie Brownson

The BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) posed this frank question in one of their blog posts. Clearly anyone can engage in interior design, most people have likes and dislikes and the internet has opened up access to purchasing for interiors widely, and globally, often with great discounts. So we ask ourselves again: What Can We Do For You? Here are some thoughts based on the residential refurbishment projects we are currently working on… We

  • plan space effectively and imaginatively communicated through CAD drawings to scale

  • provide 3D visualisations of spaces so you can see what will fit and how the space will feel when you start filling it with furniture

  • encourage you to be adventurous, not for the sake of it but to add colour, texture and shapes you might not previously have considered

  • ensure cohesion, yes it is good to be adventurous but clashing interiors, or overtly themed rooms, make for a living environment that feels wrong, wrong, wrong

  • communicate your choices and goals effectively to contractors, back to the scale CAD drawings which are drawn accurately and meet widely accepted technical drawing conventions

  • negotiate with suppliers to obtain favourable prices

Eek, listed like that it sounds rather drab! Anyway, read our testimonials and you will get a flavour of what we do and how we work. And be reassured we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t fun along the way and incredibly satisfying to see projects come from the page and into real life.

Below is an image we are loving from Andrew Martin colour, texture, shapes, finishes, genius.

Image (c) Andrew Martin 2019

Image (c) Andrew Martin 2019

Style Clash by Julie Brownson

Blending contemporary furniture, art and decoration with period features can be tricky. In fact blending any distinctive styles is tricky; finding the right balance to embrace aspects of more than one style is the kind of alchemy we adore. The Jeff Koons exhibition at the Palace of Versailles inspired our borderline obsession with this approach to design.

Image (c)  Jeff Koons

Image (c) Jeff Koons

Vogue Living Australia recently featured the home gallery of Thayse Viegas, Casa Canvas, in Brianza 40 minutes away from Milan which showcases incredible furniture, art and design from emerging talents in the setting of a stunning home. We are going forward into 2019 striving to achieve this kind of alchemy combining interior architecture, design and curation with a plea that period features are loving restored rather than ripped out. Happy New Year!

Island Dreaming by Julie Brownson

A favourite hobby is dreaming of building a Mediterranean retreat inspired by numerous happy trips to Corsica and Mallorca. Funnily enough my interest in spending time somewhere with a bit more sunshine peaks at this time of year. I have found just the right pendant lighting for my make believe island home at Nkuku. These black wicker pendant lights strike just the right balance between rustic and modern. Lovely. Image (c) Nkuku

Nkuku Pendant Light

Simply Gorgeous by Julie Brownson

How understated and utterly gorgeous are these ‘Gravity’ mirrors from Ex.t designed by Ex.t in collaboration with London designer Samuel Wilkinson. What’s so special about them? They have a depth to them, stunning curves and a really, really clever small magnified mirror which you can place wherever you need on the outside of the main mirror. All images (c) Ex.t

Hardware Crush by Julie Brownson

We absolutely love the ‘Carlos’ range of lever, cabinet and drawer handles manufactured by Oliver Knights and available at SDS London . They channel industrial design and wouldn’t look out of place in the Energy Hall at London’s Science Museum. More relevantly for the home owner they bridge contemporary and industrial styles meaning they work in a contemporary environment or a period home with contemporary touches. Buster and Punch are masters of this style across all of their ranges.

Image (c) Oliver Knights

Image (c) Oliver Knights