Tips for buying Wood Flooring

FritzHansenImageOver the last couple of weeks I have been helping a client to choose some wood flooring for her converted warehouse apartment. As a result, I have been talking to different experts in the field about this and find that I’ve learnt so much that I wanted to share it with you today. So here are some tips to take into consideration when buying wood flooring which I have found to be helpful and hope you will too.

Beforeyoustart

  • Think about the colour tone you are going for? Do you want grey, brown, yellow?
  • What aesthetic are you going for? Rustic, Contemporary, Industrial, Scandic?
  • Distressed flooring is just a normal floor that’s been beaten up a bit to give it a more aged feel.
  • Do you take off your shoes when at home? If you tend to walk about in bare feet, you should consider a style with less texture.
  • Think about how your furniture will work with the wood. My client has mainly white furniture which she wants to keep, so it was important to not choose a wood that would contrast too much against the floor.
  • Will you be using underfloor heating? If so, Think about the wood that you want to use . A lot of reclaimed wood is made out of Pine. Pine (which tends to be the cheapest) is soft and wont typically work with underfloor heating.
  • Smoked wood makes the grain appear darker.
  • Wider floor panels will make the space appear larger.
  • Labour costs need to be calculated separately and can range between £30 to £50 per square metre.
  • A floating floor is usually cheaper and quicker to install.

AttheShop

  • Always go to the shop and see the wood in large panels, the tiny samples they send to you won’t be enough to get a feel for what the floor will look like.
  • Always take a sample of your narrowed down selection home to view against your furniture and fittings.
  • Engineered wood works best with underfloor heating however what sort you go for is dependant on the type of underfloor heating you have. Some types of flooring will require you to place a layer of plywood between the underfloor heating and the top wood floor layer. Always best to ask about installation requirements and details.
  • Take the panels to the closest window and see them under natural light.
  • Take a floor plan with you or measurements of the space you want to buy for. Most panels are sold in square metres.
  • Always ensure that 10% is added to the total cost of the square meterage you intend to buy for wastage. If the area you are buying for has a lot of tricky area’s to work  around like beams or kitchen islands, then add another 5%.
  • Check with the supplier whether there are provisions for returning any un-used packets of wood. Sometimes you can get a refund.

Do you have any experiences of buying wood flooring? Is there anything else that you would like to add? Anything you thought you would have liked to have known at the time? Please do share, I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Fritz Hansen

Urban Jungle Bloggers – Workplace Plants

JadePlantGood Morning, it’s time for another installment of Urban Jungle Bloggers.

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by Igor from Happy Interior Blog and Judith from Joelix.com. Every month they (along with other bloggers) share idea’s and inspiration to readers on how to create green urban spaces in the home. Each month a different topic is chosen and participants are free to join in with the fun.

This months topic was “Back to School – Plants on the Workplace.”

Those that follow the blog will know that my workspace is a little chaotic at the moment. I am in the process of renovating my downstairs open plan area due to damp, and having swapped office spaces with my husband I am in the process of setting my studio space up. So instead of showing you my very messy and chaotic desk, I thought I’d show you a small part of my kitchen.

My kitchen is also a work area of sorts as I do take a lot of photo’s for Instagram in there. Right next to my kettle, I keep a little Jade Plant. It gives my kitchen a little dose of green and it’s very easy to take care of. I got the plant while I was attending a children’s birthday party with Little J in a local nursery. I was instantly smitten with the knobbly bubbly look of it and it was something that I have never seen before.

Along with cups for my  herbal tea that I have in the afternoons, I also keep vitamins in the little green pots for easy access. The little wooden tray houses my small flower vases. I have a preference for having small bunches dotted around the house, rather than having one large bunch in a single vase. I feel like I’m stretching my money by separating the bunch as I get to see flowers wherever I am in the house.

BottlesCloseup

LandscapeKitchen

Do you have plants in your workspace? If you work from home do you cheer your space up with flowers and plants and if so, what plants do you have? I’d love to know.

Till next time, Doris

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee

Book Review: Modern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

ModernCountryTitleI have to admit that I’ve not always been in love with mixing old and new. Having grown up in Australia, I spent my childhood in a young country relative to other parts of the world. Modern and contemporary was the norm and the grandeur of aged buildings were few and far between.

After I moved to London, I was inspired by the beautifully grand buildings. St Pauls Cathedral and the Natural History Museum. But it wasn’t until I took a trip out to the Cotswolds and saw the beautifully quaint cottages that I fell in love with the charm of rustic imperfection.

Though we have moved on as a society to rely on modern conveniences, it’s nice to incorporate a bit of the history that your home has endured over the decades.

Modern Country written by Caroline Clifton-Mogg and published by Jacqui Small provides inspiration through examples and case studies on how to bring your home to endure 21st Century living while still keeping a nod to the past.

The book is divided into four sections, Country Locations – where different styles are analysed from contemporary rural havens, mountain retreats and coastal escapes. Architectural Styles – looks at juxtaposing the new with the old through conversions and renovations, Materials and Finishes – looks at the use of key rustic style materials such as stone, brick, metal, glass, plaster and concrete and finally Country Living – explores the simplification and slower pace of living in the countryside.

All the images in the book were accessed from the French interiors magazines Cote Sud, Cote Est and Cote Quest.

Here are a couple of my favourite homes featured in the book.

ShephardsHouse

ModernCountryImageCollage

CoastalHome

ModernCountryImagekitchen

ModernCountryImage3

I just love how it provides inspiration on how to fuse the old with the new and I am sure that it will be a book that I will refer to for many years to come to get idea’s and inspiration from.

If you would like to get yourself a copy, it can be purchased from Amazon here.

Please Note: this book was provided by Jacqui Small however the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Image Source: Title – photography by Doris Lee, consequent images from the book.

Interior Styling with Kristjana S Williams – Learnings

StylingKSWFlamingo

I’m still on cloud 9 thanks to the overwhelming support for the styling work I did for Kristjana S Wiliams. It was such a surreal experience seeing the sets in a catalogue that Kristjana’s team produced and my name in credits at the bottom.

As promised in my last post, here is a list of learnings from my experience on the project:

JUST SAY YES AND PANIC LATER – when Kristjana asked me whether I would help her style some sets for her existing wallpaper, I was elated at the opportunity but then stricken with fear when I got home. I let it all sink in, and after some time my creative brain started to come up with a number of idea’s. Sometimes you have to stop fighting that scary feeling inside of you, accept it, believe in yourself and then move forward.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP – one of the best things I did was send an email to my friend Caroline from Trend Daily asking for help. Admitting that I didn’t have all the answers and I wanted to understand how the process should work was fundamental to how I went about pitching the concept to Kristjana. I was nervous about asking but Caroline was very generous in her advice and I was so grateful.

DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THE BRAND AND UPCOMING COLLECTIONS – at first I just knew that I loved Kristjana’s work, but I didn’t actually know about all of her products. When I pitched to her, I focused on the concept and her existing products. I didn’t ask about new products that were in the design process. It was during the pitch that I realised that I should try to incorporate more of her newer products into the shoot, though Kristjana was happy to incorporate a fusion of both old and new.

BE FLEXIBLE AND WILLING TO TRY DIFFERENT OPTIONS – when we were styling the shots with details, we made sure that there were different options and objects available on the day of shooting to ensure we had some flexibility. I found it interesting that moving one pillow from one side of a chair to another for example, could change perspective in a photograph. Taking the opportunity to try different things while the photographer was there was key to getting a shot just right.

THINK ABOUT WHAT THE FORMAT OF THE SHOT – Portrait photo’s need to have height to adjust the added length from top to bottom, landscape shots need objects that elongate across the image. Having the format of the shot in mind while styling helps you choose the objects that will be in the photo.

HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE – this one is personal as I start my foray into the working world while my child goes to school. The photoshoot was delayed a couple of times due to unforeseeable reasons and then finally took place during the summer holidays. Being a parent with a child, I had to ensure that I had a babysitter who was flexible and willing to accomodate last minute changes. I also had the support of my husband who was willing to organise work from home and take days off so that I could manage the load. It would have been difficult without having this support system in place.

As the London Design Festival this week, I’ll be running about London visiting various shows and just getting inspired. Have a lovely weekend.

Till next time, xD

Photography – Leigh Keily

 

Interior Styling – a collaboration with Kristjana S Williams

StylingKSWTitle

When I asked Kristjana Williams earlier in the year to interview for my changing careers post, I never dreamed that the outcome would result with a collaboration and opportunity that I could only dream of.

When she asked me to style some interior sets for her existing wallpaper range, I just couldn’t say no. Though I was nervous and inexperienced, my gut instinct told me that I’d be able to work it out. Perhaps, it’s something that comes with age or having had a career before but I knew that I had to be part of this project and it would be good experience for me.

So after my initial excitement at being asked at all,  I took a deep breath and worked out that I had no idea what I was doing! I realised very quickly that I needed help. I reached out to my stylist friend – Caroline from Trend Daily who gave me the tools that I needed to start. I took her advice on board, created a set of concept boards and pitched my idea’s to Kristjana.

I cannot tell you how nervous I was when I pitched my concept idea’s for the shoot. I was trembling and though Kristjana was warm and welcoming, I was really out of my comfort zone. The idea’s were well received and some changes made to fit the overall vision. Once agreed, we then went about looking for a location to shoot the photographs.

It just so happened that a friend of mine was in the process of renovating her house. H has the most beautiful Victorian terrace and an amazing space in her kitchen were I envisaged we could create a number of sets. After a visit with Kristjana, we decided that the space was perfect for the shoot. You can see H’s staircase and lovely Victorian tiled floor in the shot above.

We started pulling together the items needed for the shoot. Then Kristjana came to me over the summer and wanted to expand the shoot to include her entire Spring/Summer 2015 collection. I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited that I was literally jumping for joy when I got home.  To ensure we got a nice variety of shots, we included Kristjana’s studio into the list of locations to shoot.

StylingKSWOilpainting

Let me tell you first hand that a lot of preparation and planning goes into an interior style photo shoot. Several weeks before the shoot, all the designed products were ordered in preparation. Working together with Kristjana’s team, we spent 2 days before the photographer Leigh would arrive to get both locations ready.

On the day of the photoshoot, I was so nervous, but once the adrenaline kicked in and I started to see the concepts come to life, I found myself in my element. The most important part of the day was the working together as a team. Working with both Kristjana and her colleague Laura we bounced idea’s off each other to create and style the finishing details. And also working with Leigh Keily who was our professional photographer was wonderful. Being a fellow Australian, we hit it off straight away and he was so relaxed and yet professional. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was great to feel part of a team who were as enthusiastic and excited about creating something beautiful as I was and the day flew by without a hitch.

In the end, I can only say that it was a wonderful experience and I am so eternally grateful to Kristjana for the opportunity. It was her belief and trust in me that drove me to make it work. And I am now a firm believer that sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end with both feet together and just see what happens.

StylingKSWWorldMap3

StylingKSWWorldMap

StylingKSWInkMural

StylingKSWAnimalTile

These are just some of the images out of an abundance of shots taken. I learnt so much from the experience that I have decided to create a second post with my learnings that I will publish soon.

In the meantime, Kristjana will be exhibiting at Design Junction which runs from 18th to 21st September where she will reveal her new range of Globes and Pouffes – please go and visit her at Stand G67.

In addition, Kristjana will in conjunction with The Map House be exhibiting: Art Cartography, an explorative re-interpretation  of the Tradition Art of Maps which runs from 18th September – 9th October. Do go and check that out.

A big Thank You has to go to Kristjana for giving me this opportunity to collaborate with her. I also worked really closely with Laura her associate who was wonderfully optimistic and a joy to work with. I cannot Thank You both enough for making this such a wonderfully fulfilling experience.

If you want to check out more of Kristjana’s work – go here.

And last but not least I wanted to say Thank You to my friend H for being so wonderful and letting us use her home for the location shoot.

Till next time, xD

Photography by Leigh Keily

Blog Hopping about My Workspace

MYStudyHello dear friends, I was invited to participate in a blog hop back at the beginning of summer and am in the process of playing catchup. The lovely Alyssa who authors the blog Agnes and Miller writes about all the things that make her happy. In particular, her photography is a feast for the eyes and her blog is full of joy and beautiful things.

So for this blog hop, Alyssa asked me to provide some insight into my workspace, which is quite fitting as it’s in a flux of change at the moment as mentioned in my last post here. So here goes:

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MAKINGS AT YOUR DESK THIS WEEK?

At the moment, my actual desk is located in the corner of the new space that I will eventually call my home studio that is situated within the middle of an open plan living space on the ground floor. As we are in the middle of renovating, I find myself working on my dining table this week (shown in the picture above).

This week, I have had little work at my “desk” as I’ve been on-site for the installation of a styling project that I’m currently working on. Most of the time though, my work does involve being on the computer, I’m either blogging, editing photo’s, finding inspiration or finding new sources to get furniture and finishings. Usually, when I have to put together sample boards I really like to spread out, so I find myself on the floor.

WHERE AM I CURRENTLY FINDING MY INSPIRATION?

I love reading interior books, magazines both in print and on-line.  A lot of the time, inspiration comes to be when I am relaxed and amongst nature. I try to take a walk in our local forest at least once a week where I get a lot of idea’s. I also get inspiration from being in well designed interiors. I love it when I walk into a restaurant and cafe and think WOW this really works. I then spend the next hour trying to take everything in visually like a mental note.

HOW IMPORTANT IS BEING CREATIVE TO YOU, AND HOW DO YOU BLEND THIS WITH YOUR WORK/LIFE/FAMILY BALANCE?

Being creative feeds my soul and I love that tingly feeling that comes through me, when I take a risk with my interiors and they pay off. I’m always waiting for that next “tingle”. Being able to work for myself has given me the flexibility to do what I want when I want. As someone who has come from a corporate career, I have been mindful to try to keep the work life balance balanced. Being able to pick my son up from school on a daily basis, spending weekends with my family and friends and still have a fulfilling and creative career is ultimately what I want to achieve.

Thank you so much Alyssa for asking me to participate in the blog hop. It’s been so much fun!

Till next time, Doris

Photography – Doris Lee

 

Creating the perfect Home Office

OfficetitleMy house and life is in a state of chaos at the moment. After coming back from a lovely 2 week holiday in Cape Cod and Boston at the end of July, I threw myself into a number of exciting projects which I will tell you about when the time’s right. Included in the list was getting the builders in to fix our ongoing damp issue which was discussed in a previous post here.

As a result, the built in storage in our bay window and alcove shelving had to be ripped out. Then in the middle of the mess, my husband, Big J and I made a big decision to switch home offices. He resides downstairs in the Open Plan living area in the middle of our house, while I was sharing my space in the back room upstairs with the laundry. The reason for the switch was the fact that Big J was working from home more and more and needed some privacy during the day whereas I tend to work only when Little J is in school or in the evenings. The switch has meant that our requirements for each space had to be addressed.

For me, the creation of a nice working environment is key to my productivity. So I decided to create a list of the things that I wanted from my space, here they are below:

  • Functional and still beautiful storage with enough space for all my tools, printers and other items
  • A mood wall that I could use for inspiration
  • A place to store samples for current projects
  • A place to keep files on client work
  • To re-use my existing wooden table which I dearly love
  • To create a small area that I can use to sprawl out images and boards onto either on a table or the floor
  • Shelving for all of my interior books
  • A space that feels cosy and warm yet is still in harmony with the rest of the house

So while the work to our downstairs space is still on-going, I am in the process of getting some idea’s on how to create with my new office. Today, I give you some inspiration for workspaces. Enjoy.

TidyOfficeIndustrialElementsLeaningartworkLayeringwith-rugsI promise that I will show you the space once it’s complete. What is your work space like at the moment? What do you find appealing about it? I’d love to know.

Till next time, Doris

Image Source: Title – Brittany Ambridge, 1 – Unknown, 2 – Desire to Inspire, 3 – Pia Jane Bijkerk, 4 – MurrayMitchell.com

A Simple Year

ASimpleYearTitleA Simple Year is a year long on-line course that I’m participating in that covers subjects related to simplifying your life. For the month of June, the topic covered was titled Work, which covered a number of related topics from tips on productivity to how to do work you love. The topic teacher was  Courtney Carver from the well known simplicity blog called Be More with Less.

The topic for this month was of great interest because ultimately we all want to be happy with our work. Being in the process of transitioning careers, I felt that it was important to ensure that what I do for work does make me happy in the long run.

Ultimately, it’s not about just the work that we do to make a living, it goes further than that. To me its about being able to live the life you want and knowing what’s important. I am slowly learning that It’s about finding and prioritising things in life that make you happy. Because at the end of the day, everything in your life is interconnected. If you are not happy in your home life, it will affect your work, if you are not balanced at work, then you affect your health and so on. Like the cycle of nature, our lives also follow a similar path.

So I decided to write myself a list of things that would help make me happy at work. It’s not focused on the work itself but rather a reminder of what I need to do to keep me happy, here is my list:

START EVERY MORNING WITH A PLAN. Every day (including weekends) I wake up, make myself a cup of coffee and plan my day. I’ve found that the consistency of knowing what I’m doing and when sets the right tone for the day. And if I managed to accomplish most of what I intended then I end the day happy.

PLAN YOUR WORK A WEEK AHEAD. At this point in time I juggle a few balls, studying, blogging, design work, playdates with little J & house stuff. I only have certain slots of time when I can do these things. So when I write down a list of what needs to be accomplished for the week, it helps me to prioritise what needs to be done during those slots. If I don’t manage to accomplish everything, I’m not too hard on myself. You can only do so much sometimes.

MAKE TIME FOR GOOD NUTRITION. I’ve learned over time that how I feel is directly impacted by what I eat. When I don’t give myself the time to eat properly I usually feel tired and sluggish. I prevent this by making sure that what I eat is healthy and nutritious. Though I love cake and sweets, I try my best to ensure that I have lots of greens and water throughout the day to balance things out.

DO THE BORING STUFF FIRST. Who doesn’t hate admin. I am terribly irritable when I have to do admin and taxes. It stresses me out! So I make a point to tackle it first. I have what I call “Admin Monday’s” where my Monday mornings are dedicated to getting all the administrative stuff out of the way. I always feel so much better after I’ve done it and then I have the rest of the week to look forward to doing fun things which make me happy.

GET OUTDOORS. There is something magical about working in a different environment. Sometimes when I’ve been in the house for too long or it’s a bit noisy and I need some quiet, I take it outside. In fact, I am writing this post in a local cafe because there was too much going on at home due to school holidays! I’ve been able to get into my writing zone as a result.

MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Do you ever feel guilty when you make time for yourself during working hours? I do this all the time. It’s something I am still getting to grips with, but I find that if I make time for myself, that I am much more relaxed and willing and ready to tackle that next project. Because at the end of the day, life is short. You should enjoy it.

What do you do to keep yourself happy at work? I’d love to know. xD

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee

Finding Beauty in Imperfection

TitlebeautyinimperfectionI’m finding that the more I delve into the world of Interior Design, the keener I am to see interiors that go against the norm. Styled photographs of clean lined furniture against white walls don’t seem to do it for me anymore, and instead my eyes delight upon seeing exposed brick and aged furniture.

I am no longer excited by what is held at my local High St store and find myself seeking products that are crafted with love, slightly imperfect and unusual. Because of this, I am opening my mind to new possibilities and taking bigger risks with my home.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we have damp in our living room. Unfortunately the damp has spread to the entire front of our home, which means that we need to act fairly quickly to resolved it. This has given me the opportunity to bring some imperfection into my home in the form of exposing the alcove and chimney breast bricks. We have no idea what lies behind the shelves and render that currently cover it, but I’m hoping all will be well and we can achieve the look I’m going for.

Here are some idea’s and inspiration for perfectly imperfect features in the home…

RawWoodPanelsAgedBrickworkDistressedDoorsDeterioratedPlasterwork

What style do you prefer, clean minimal or aged imperfect? I’d love to know.

Till next time, xD

Image Source: Title – Edwardsmoore.com,  1 – Elle Decoration Dec 2013 2 – Desiretoinspire.com 3 – Airspaces.com 4 – MilkDecoration.com

Urban Jungle Bloggers – Pots

TitleUrbanJunglePotsUrban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by Igor from Happy Interior Blog and Judith from Joelix.com. Every month they (along with other bloggers) share idea’s and inspiration to readers on how to create green urban spaces in the home. Each month a different topic is chosen and participants are free to join in with the fun.

This months topic was “Creative plant pots – how to dress up your plants.”

A couple of months ago, I purchased the cutest little succulents for my bathroom window sill. They have been sitting there quite happily in their original plastic pots however this months topic prompted me to finally find a new home for them to grow in.

After going to the Chelsea Flower Show earlier in the year, I was extremely inspired by the Artisan Potters Garden and immediately fell in love with the aged terracotta pots used in the display. So I decided to try and track down something similar for my plants.

I tried a few local garden centres without success. Then one fine spring day, I decided to go to Petersham Nursery for lunch. While browsing through their lovely gift shop, I noticed a pile of small pots in the basket on the floor. Taking a closer look, I managed to find the most lovely pots that were worn, chipped and aged. They were perfect.

Here are some photo’s of before, during and after I’ve planted the succulents in their new home…

BeforeUrbanJunglePots

DuringUrbanJunglePots

It’s been a month since, and they are very happy and growing well. Here is a picture taken yesterday.

AfterUrbanJunglePots

I can’t wait to see what the flower looks like.

What sort of pots do you prefer for your plants? I’d love to know.

Till next time, Doris

Image Source: Photography by Doris Lee