Design Blog

Kia is an award winning London interior designer based in the South East. Her studio takes on projects from around the world.

Spotlight On: Lago

Lago offer tons of innovative design solutions at the top of the market. They work mostly from a modular base which can be customised to really make your home pop!

One project that we designed in Notting Hill features many items form Lago and has is a supplier that provides the quality service to match the quality products.

5 Favourite Products:

1. Skin Basin – Wall covering that detaches like a skin

skin basin 1

This cutting edge design is extremely sleek and equally puzzling as the water appears to just disappear. It is available in either resin or mosaic in various colours. Both styles are incredibly elegant.

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2. Slide Shelf - A shelf built on a trapezium-shaped module

slide shelf 2

This geometric style shelf can be put into 6 different Lago compositions, however there are endless combinations to form patterns allowing for ultimate customisation! Each piece has 1 open side and is slotted together to form some funky shapes. Again, this product comes in so many different colours which are made of lacquered metal.

slide shelf 3

Designs can be very bold pulling colours together, or slightly more neutral and complementary. They are the perfect way to break a wall up in a fun way while providing space to store your books, DVDs ect.

slide shelf 1

3. Kinoki Table & Chairs – The warmth of wood and the solidity of steel

kinoki table and chairs

These steel wire framed, wildwood topped items of furniture provide a brilliant light weight addition to a room. The octagonal table is extremely functional seating up to 8 people while executing form perfectly.  Japanese inspired design paired with Italian craftsmanship is a wonderful union.

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The frame comes in either painted white of graphite. The wildwood is extremely delicate at just over 2cm thick mounted on steel of 1.2 cm diameter. The design is also available as a stool.

4. 36e8 Kitchen - lets personal creativity run free

36e8 kitchen 1

Winner of the 2009 Good Design Award, This kitchen comes in so many different formats but is all based upon modular shapes forming 16 different patterns. The name is formed from the grid of 36.8 x 36.8 cm square which is used to form all the patterns. In addition to the variety of patterns, there is an array of different finishes, components, depths, fitting types and colours. Lago also have products which are sold separately designed to enable you to integrate appliances.

B 75837

This kitchen product allows you to show your personality while designing for your needs, and whats more, they all look amazing! And to put the cherry on the cake, you can guarantee none of your friends will have the same one!

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5. Flutta Bed – the worlds first suspended bed

B 40483

This bed gives the illusion of floating (especially from certain angles). It is done by using a single leg centrally positioned to balance the bed and a wall anchor to allow it to support the weight of two (pretty heavy) people.

Baker Street project

You may recognise this bed from 2 of Kia’s projects, Baker Street and Notting Hill. Kia has won many awards for the Notting Hill project, and its clear to see why. The clean lines are nicely broken up by the bed, with all the emphasis put upon it within the room.

Project 3 - Notting Hill - Image 6

Notting Hill project

This product however also comes in a circular variation, which is awesome! Much like most of Lago’s products the bed is customisable, with the choice of headboard available and adjustable height. Its also brilliant for people like me who are constantly bruising their shins from kicking the bed frame since this bed has no exterior frame.

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Spotlight on: Chuck Elliott

Art, some people ‘get it’ some don’t.  For our clients art is extremely personal, it can make or break a project.  Specifying items that pull together a design scheme can be extremely rewarding, we have even had artwork created specifically to pull together the colours of a room (you can read that here, Creating A Bespoke Piece Of Art For A Client)

When a series of number patterns are overlaid and multiplied, the geometry moves in more freeform ways, so there is a sense of discovering more naturalistic sequences, the kind that generate growth in the natural world.” – Chuck Elliott

In order to do justice to these ideas – and to produce effervescent images that ultimately speak to the heart as well as the brain – Chuck has developed a particular printing technique. This involves using Lambda prints (where photographic paper is exposed to laser light) presented in a Diasec mount (in which the print is sealed between an aluminium backing sheet and a Perspex face). The effect re-defines the term ‘pin sharp’.

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There is no artist more committed to his craft than Chuck Elliott. He’s been refining his vision since he jettisoned his design career in 2004 to explore his own unique vision, allowing him to use the digital tools he’d employed in the commercial world in a far more experimental manner.

Today, eight years on, Chuck is at the height of his powers, bursting with ideas, and constantly evolving his understanding of how to realise them. But ultimately, we hope you’ll agree, the images speak for themselves.

 

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Sometimes we build a design scheme around a piece of art and these pieces would be glorious to build a design scheme around some of these stunning pieces from Chuck Elliott.

Mondial, 100cm Diameter

Lucid : RMX

Exhibition catalogue available now

Catto Gallery have published a new catalogue to coincide with the opening, with a foreword by Tim Green. If you’d like to receive a copy in the post, please email Imogen at the gallery, and she’ll send one out to you.
Email Imogen here >

Alternatively, you can view the catalogue online here.
Lucid / RMX exhibition catalogue online >

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3D Visual Aids

Recently, we had a project nearing completion where the clients were unsure of the lighting choices within an open plan lounge/dinning room. Many clients get nervous as things start being put into position in projects as they cannot always visualise the final result. Our job, as designers, is to reassure the clients that once everything is in place it will all work very well together, and if the clients have a larger issue, to find a resolution before the project reaches completion.

In this case, the clients were worried that there was not going to be enough light in the area. The area hosted a dining table with 3 pendant lights hanging above. There was also a dark wood panelled chimney breast and a drinks cabinet in place. At the time that they saw it, there was only 1 bulb in the lights above the table, and no lights in the rest of the (large) room at dusk. We explained to them that the combined light from around the room, paired with the dimmable pendant lights would provide the perfect light for entertaining around the dining table. There would also be a large mirror hung on the chimney breast which would reflect additional light which would make an impact.

I took the floorplan that Kia drew up into Autodesk Revit, and created some 3D Visualisations to show how the area changes with the addition of different factors. The space/items are not exact, but is a good representation, therefore it would help the clients understand how it would all work together once completed.

Dining Layout

Plan for featured section

Firstly an image to show what the clients saw so that they have a point of reference to compare with the completed look:

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What the client saw and was worried by.

I then turned on all the lights above the table so that they could see the impact with no other supplements. This image shows only the lights in this area with no daylight:

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Artificial light for that area only

I then introduced the lighting around the house which would all contribute to the amount of light in area creating a more diffused look. I also added in the mirror which will be hung on the cladded wall which reflects additional light from around the room, in addition to making the space look bigger:

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Introduction of primary lighting and mirror

To show the impact that the mirror can have, I turned all the lights off showing the effect of just daylight. This first image does not include the mirror:

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Daylight without mirror

The second image includes the mirror, you can see how the area appears brighter due to the light reflected from the TV area opposite. The pale walls help with this as it provides a contrast to the dark wood cladding and adds depth to the space:

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Daylight with mirror

Finally an image to show the artificial light paired with the daylight. The space becomes very bright and the reflections upon the table top create a lovely classy affect and the light bounces of the bashed metal pendants:

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Artificial and Daylight combined

These helped to reassure the clients that there would be enough light in the area. 3D visualisations are extremely useful for showing how a rooms look can change at different time of day. For example, the clients were not keen on the positioning of the floor lamp, however we advised them on how it would be useful when watching TV as you do not always want a bright space due to glare. It is nice to create a cosy area using secondary lighting, the images below demonstrate this.

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Daylight

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Both Primary & Secondary lighting

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Primary light only

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Secondary light only

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Why Curtains Are So Expensive

When Kia said she would show me how to draw up and order curtains I thought it would be a piece of cake. I could not have been more wrong. There are so many different things to consider when choosing custom curtains which can make such an impact upon the finished look.

First thing to consider is the rail/track type.

There are plenty to choose from, some of which have various names. The main ones are as pictured below:

Hook rail:

source: John Lewis

Source: John Lewis

Eyelet rail:

eyelet rail

Source: Aspire Curtains & Blinds

Corded track:

Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers

Wave track:

wave track

Source: S-GS

Lath & Fascias / Pelmet:

lath and fascias or pelmet

Source: Merrick Day

There are a few things to consider before choosing your rail:

1. Weight of material

2. Depth of space

3. Heading type

4. Budget

Once you’ve chosen your rail/track type, you chose the position/length.

This very much depends on the window/doors that you’re covering. Most of the time the track/rail will be attached to the wall face, whereas if you were doing full length or recess curtains you may wish to attatch it to the ceiling. You also need to decide on whether the rail/pole will be visible or if the curtains while hide it, This must be taken into consideration when choosing heading type, position and length of material.

The length will normally extend past the window/door so that the curtains can be stacked away from it allowing the light in. Often 1 cm from the wall edge (if it is near a wall edge) is a sensible distance to give it a neat stack back. You also need to consider whether the curtains will stack back to one side or to both sides and this will effect whether you position it centrally.

Often tracks are telescopic and so each has a different range (eg. 200-300 cm). You can also buy curved tracks, however these tend to be more expensive due to custom requirements.

If you’re installing two sets of curtains (for example sheers in addition to curtains) then you must remember the depth of the rail.

Moghul Interiors

Source: Moghul Interiors

You then choose the heading type.

This is where the various different names for the same type of heading come into play. Each heading can create a very different impact and also varies in level of effort/skill to make, and amount of material required.

drapery connection

Source: Drapery Connection

Above are the various type of pleat that you can choose (there are 6 pages of these on the Drapery Connection website) Pleat headings tend to use the most material and are fuller than some of the alternatives.  The most common heading styles are shown in the image below:

curtain-headings - original interiors

Source: Original Interiors

Fullness is determined by a ratio (normally between 1.5-3). Say the Fullness was 2, this would mean that the amount of material needed was the length of the space to fill x 2 (1:2)

Example:

Window size: 2 m

Fullness: 2

Amount of material: 2 x 2 = 4 m

The hem allowance must then be added on which is usually 6 cm.  (2 x 2 = 4 m + 0.6 m = 4.6m)

And if you were to have floor to ceiling curtains, you would be buying material say 2.4 m x 4.6 m. 

This is why curtains can be extremely expensive!

Furthermore, when it comes to buying material, if they drop (height of curtain) is more than the width of the material, it is sewn together in panels so that there is not a horizontal seam. However, if the drop is less than the width of the material, it can be railroaded. This is when the pattern (if there is one) is rotated so that the width of the material can hang vertically. This creates a more seamless hang, so it is often worth looking for double width material if you can!

Stack back.

When the curtain folds back agains the wall, you must consider the space it requires to do this as it means furniture cannot be placed too close to the wall in some cases. In general, Eyelet and wave fold back tightly and neatly.

Eyelet Stackback:

source: dune-mill

Source: Dune Mill

Wave Stackback:

curtain rail suppliers

Source: Curtain Rail Suppliers

Whereas pleated curtains tend to take up more space (both width and depth) and often require a tie back to allow enough light to come through the window when not in use.

French Pleat Stackback:

source: pretavivre

Source: Pretavivre

 Finally, the material. 

Different racks can support different weights of material. Obviously there will be heavy duty variations of the weaker tracks, although these may not be as discrete and have a huge price tag. Sheers work well with both wave and cord tracks and heavier materials work well with pleats.

Sheers & Certains (Double Heading) in one of Kia’s Projects:

kia curtain

Kia Designs – Baker Street

 

 

 

 

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Decorate With Refreshing Flower Prints

Romo Fabrics

Saphira, a beautiful contemporary print collection that comprises graceful, colourful blooms on an indulgent cotton-satin and a versatile cotton-linen. The delicate touch of watercolour creates a montage of hazy florals and striking magnolias in a fusion of colours. Cascading stripes intertwine an array of shades and a luxurious viscose velvet featuring a medley of rich brushstrokes creates a textural sensation.

Harlequin Fabrics

IMPASTO Dramatic, uninhibited and vibrant, Impasto has been inspired by the free, painterly style and light-reflecting techniques of the Impressionist movement. These techniques have been beautifully and sympathetically interpreted onto shimmering silks, cottons and sumptuous eye-catching velvets and weaves. Burgeoning florals, abundant blooms, abstract geometrics, ombré stripes, graceful hummingbirds come together in this thought-provoking, eye-pleasing, sensory delight of a collection.

KALLIANTHI FABRICS Clarissa Hulse is a bright star in the British textile world, uncompromising in her passion to deliver the ultimate combination of colour, print and texture. Her name has become synonymous with beautiful and luxurious home accessories, wallpapers and fabrics.

Clarissa has teamed up with Harlequin to produce Kallianthi, a breathtaking collection of fabrics and wallpapers with a botanical theme which encompasses her trademark style and distinctive handwriting.

View the complementary Kallianthi Wallpapers here

Designers Guild

MARIEDAL FABRICS Powerful digitally recreated pure expressions of flower

Digitally printed florals make an impact unlike any other. The detail and vivacity needs to be seen to be beloved. Some clever techniques are employed here by our studio, such as muted variations which single out key colours and give an overall neutral feel full with subtle and true pattern.

KIMONO BLOSSOM FABRICS, Tasteful painterly prints

Essences of the orient, this collection draws influences from decorative Chinoiserie tradition, often characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary china, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale. This statement collection of printed designs on fine linens and cottons offers original calligraphy and watercolour artwork sensitively reproduced, along with some more graphic floral designs, and a truly sublime digital print. Fresh, modern, and sophisticated.

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Interior Design: Baker Street

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Interior Designers often get known for a specific project, for us it is the Notting Hill Penthouse Interior Design, it’s an extremely striking project with a fantastic back story (that you can read here on Houzz).  We are now going to break down a lesser known project that certainly needs to be given it’s due. Many people know and talk about the Notting Hill Interior Design as it features a show stopping floating bed, however not many know about it in this project even though it also contains the exact same bed. This project shows how it can look amazing in a completely different style of bedroom (if you would like to read about the Luxury lounge design we have a breakdown here for you, Interior Design Baker Street)

Once again the bed is a large feature of the room and really lifts the design. It also allows you to admire the floor since the bed isn’t wasting valuable floor space. There are many aspects to this design which you would not be able to recreate without the help of  an Interior Designer.

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Inset Framed Bespoke French Art

Firstly,  the floating bed required us to build the wall out to allow for the appropriate fixings into the wall so that it would counterbalance and not collapse when weight is put on it. We felt that we needed to find a way to justify this, as it is a lot of work to secure a bed when there are freestanding alternatives. Since the wall was to host a beautifully bespoke piece of art commissioned from France (the artist of which Kia discovered on a trip to Paris) we decided to give this piece a very special frame. The frame is inset so that the art work is set back into the wall. We also inserted LEDs into the corners of the frame which not only creates a beautiful lighting effect within the room, but also enhances the artwork greatly, picking out the depths of the grain.

LED Lit Frame

LED Lit Frame

The colours in the piece complement the rest of the tones in the room which have been brought through from the lounge design. This we especially picked out through the rug which looks so soft you just want to sit there stroking it.  The texture of this rug when the hairs are brushed in different directions complements the artwork surprisingly well.

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Silky Rug & Soft Shadows

The long, elongated shadows cast upon the wooden floor make the room appear bigger as they frame the bed well. These shadows have been softened by the sheers which are brought through from the lounge. The black wire bedsides carry on that illusion of floating by keeping the lower level light weight. A number of different types of lighting have been considered in this room, with light being provided through: bedside lighting, wall lights, frame lighting, floor lamp, fire and pendant light. This allows you to light the room best depending on the task/time of day. The curtains allow you to completely black out daylight if you wish to sleep during the day yet allow light to flood in when open, making the most of the natural light provided through the large windows.

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Beautiful Contrast & Organic Shapes

The organic shapes within the art work have inspired the light pieces which feature rich reflective tones and are pieces of art in themselves. The clothes stand also inherits this organic shape which adds some functionality in a very aesthetic way (when clothes aren’t piled on top of it). They look rather powerful with the contrast created by the windows. To brighten up the right hand corner we introduced a cream round sofa which complements the linen on the bed bringing additional contrast to the room. This is also picked out within the painting which is hung above the fireplace.

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Reading Area

Towards this end of the room we have created a cosy area which would be ideal to sit and read a book. The fireplace wall provides perfect alcoves for wall mounted book shelves on either side. Each is made up of 3 pieces, two walnut and one wenge which is in keeping with the bespoke wardrobes opposite. The artwork above the fireplace we have balanced out on the chimney breast by adding centralised wall lights. This helps to even out the proportions but also light the area so the artwork can be fully enjoyed. The bold frame of the piece also helps to even out proportions in relation to the fireplace, which is helped by the slate which is set in to the flooring where the previous hearth used to sit, it also helps in drawing your eye towards this area.  The round sofa, which has been used in projects since allows for slouching back with a book in the evening, while being lit over head by a floor lamp positioned behind. We chose a round sofa to complement the organic shapes within the artwork above the bed, but also to give the room a feminine touch.

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Bespoke Wenge Wardrobes

The bespoke Wenge wardrobe on the left side of the room work perfectly across this wall. They are full height which not only provides maximum storage space, but also allows us to continue the cornice along creating a seamless finish. The walnut and wenge are featured throughout the design within this room subtlety as can be seen in the frame above the bed. The mirror on the last panel next to the window is not only practical, as it allows you to see your full outfit, but also enhances the light flooding in through the window, and makes the room appear bigger.

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Textures In Perfect Harmony

To bring the room together, we paired a number of textures together that work in perfect harmony. The crushed velvet curtains which are a variant of the ones featured in the lounge work exquisitely with the wenge wardrobes and the rug. The contrast with the round sofa with its raised texture is very refreshing, which is then paired with reflective leather and quilted cushions.

We tailor our interior design service to creative the perfect balance in your home, balancing light, colour and texture to create a scheme that feels like home the moment you walk in.  Want to work with us on your project?  Give us a message to discuss your interior design project now.

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Porta Romana Dedication To Perfection

It costs how much?!!

A problem that Kia said she stumbles on quite often is clients being gobsmacked at the price of certain items that she pitches to them. Often they will have the reply ‘I’ve seen that for half the price in…. ‘ but what the clients are not aware of is the process which that item has undergone to justify such a high price tag.

Porta Romana Gold Leaf

In progress application of gold leaf

 

At London Design Week 2015 at Chelsea Harbour there was a demonstration in Porta Romana as to the process, which was completed to produce one of their hand crafted mushroom mirrors.

Each mushroom mirror is individually cut in sections then given to a team of finishers to apply one of hundreds of different finishes. This particular finish that they were demonstrating, had 6 stages to it and was applied front and back. Each piece would require drying time between each stage, which makes the processes even lengthier. The finishes were not just average varnishes either. The first stage is embossing. Second stage a base coat of special formula developed by Porta Romana themselves description. They then apply a gold foil and stages Four and Five are developing the colour depth. The final stage is shading the corners with acrylic and a soft brush, which is the finishing touch.

Porta Romana Finishes

Some of the final details are truly a work of art

 

All the work that goes into these products by extremely skilled people is why they have such a high price tag. Many high-end products are priced highly for that same reason. A talented individual has put a great deal of time and attention into each item, the finishes are not bog standard, materials are from good sources and the detail is intricate. There are however a few exceptions where you are paying for the name, but they key is to spot the difference between the two so your money is going to the correct cause (which is why you hire an Interior Designer of course).

Sometimes it really is worth paying that bit more for something of quality and value as its going to look 100x better than something you might pick up in Ikea.

 MUSHROOM MIRROR - MAYAN GOLD

The Finished Mirror design

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Interior Design Baker Street

Interior Design Baker Street

Interior Design Baker Street

This project in Baker Street is definitely a favourite of Kia’s and myself. We designed the space to create the perfect place to relax after a days work while still having a touch of sophistication. You would not recognise it from the before photographs if it wasn’t for the beautiful floor and doors which we kept, and used as a starting point for the rest of the design.

Bronze Wall Covering Reflecting Light Beautifully

Bronze Wall Covering Reflecting Light Beautifully

 

We kept the base colours in the lounge warm but neutral which provides a great opportunity for piecing together with bold colours. The large window here floods the room with light but to add some privacy we hung some delicate sheers. The light then bounces off the beautiful wall covering highlighting the shimmery pattern and texture which we chose to add depth to the room. This warm bronze feature wall is complemented by a slightly cooler and fresh light beige on the remaining walls.

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Original Fireplace

The fireplace which was previously featured in this room we removed and replaced it with a more contemporary alternative which really lifted the room to give it that edge. In order to do this permission was required from the council and building management, this is due to the property being in a conservation area and theses properties having been built to specifically maintain a more historic look. The wall was built out to accommodate this and a bespoke bookshelf built around the corner to maximise the utilisation of space. We chose a warm walnut wood as it creates a nice contrast to complement both the walls and flooring.

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Fireplace With Bookshelf

We placed a Eames chair with footstool upholstered with black leather with walnut trim, adding a masculine touch to the room and the perfect spot to watch TV from.  This complements the black introduced into the room through the fireplace.  Each part of the design slows and precisely layers on top of another to create a finished scheme.  The corner sofa beautifully balances out the room providing plenty of space to entertain but also to kick back and relax. It even has electronic head rests that can be worked by a discreet plate on the inside of the sofa arm.

Eames Chair for Ultimate TV Viewing

Eames Chair for Ultimate TV Viewing

 

 

The bespoke rug (designed by Kia) brings a splash of colour into the room elegantly. We felt that it is important that it is such a large piece due to the wooden flooring to partly soften sound so the room so that it does not echo but also to be in-keeping with proportions.

Kia Designs Classic Rug

Kia Designs Classic Rug in Electric Blue

 

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Beautiful curtain texture

We finished off with some beautiful design pieces which provide practical purpose also. The coffee table located next to the sofa catches the light while delicately adding a feminine touch to the room with the organic curves. The wall light casts light both towards the ceiling and the floor which creates softer light, as due to the height of the ceiling, it is important that the whole room is lit. Furthermore, the richly coloured cushions positioned on the end of the sofa bring the textures in the rug, curtains and wall covering all together nicely. The curtains are a beautiful crushed velvet in a warm beige which create a beautiful depth of tone which works that works wonderfully with all the shades within the room. It is also a very luxurious fabric which looks stunning when they are both open and closed. Since they are floor to ceiling curtains we felt it was important to make a statement with them.

 

Dining Table Area with Drop Lighting

Dining Table Area with Drop Lighting

 

We placed the dining table infront of the second window to make the most of the light flooding in.  The dining table is a smoked glass top with a chrome (almost mirrored looking) frame which reflects the light beautifully. The contemporary white leather chairs pick out colours from the wooden flooring and the skirting. We took the texture of the sofa and recliner chair into consideration when choosing the material of the seat covering to bring it all together. This however was practically a good choice as leather is hardwearing. The pendant lights were specially commissioned for this project and suspended from the ceiling add some height to the area to balance it out, drawing your eye upwards. These pendant lights co-ordinate with the floor lamp which is located in the diagonal corner. They also complement the fireplace which is located to right of the table. There is no artwork placed above the fireplace as there are already a number of things the eye is drawn to on the higher level in this area, and so the room may look too cluttered by the addition of a piece here.

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TV area

The TV is mounted centrally on the wall above a large cabinet so that all devices can be stored away out of site preventing clutter. The angles within the room draw your eye naturally towards the TV which will create maximum comfort. The cabinet features smoke glass strips which co-ordinate with the dining table. It also reflects light making the room appear brighter in addition to the white lacquer cabinet which reflects the light also. What I particularly like about this, is how the blue rug is reflected in the glass which adds another glimmer of colour to the room subtly, while also providing the practical purpose of allowing remote signals through so the TV will work without having to expose any additional equipment. The sheers which hang over the large windows provide the perfect level of light diffusion for glare to not be an issue upon the tv. The large leaning floor lamp adds that extra element of  style, softening the corner and adding that extra soft lighting of the evenings.

As you can see, a great deal of consideration goes into every design decision. Everything is done in a certain way for a reason and is something that could not be replicated on a DIY project.

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How Light Can Improve Your Health

After attending a talk at Eco Build 2015 ‘CPD: Lighting and health: What the research tells us’ I was inspired to look further into how the lighting systems that we install in homes and work places can be heavily affecting our quality of life and health without us even realizing it.

 

Florence Lam (lighting designer of the year 2013) who is an expert in lighting design for Arup introduced the relationship between light and physical and psychological factors. She highlighted that the key things people tend to look for in lighting is beauty, eco-friendliness and functionality. However people tend to disregard the health factors which should be tied under the functionality spec.

 

A basic human need is to have exposure to light. One of these reasons is to absorb vitamin D from sunlight, but also to enhance mood. Ensuring that you’ve had a good night sleep can enhance mood. The diurnal cycle (which is the pattern of sunlight that occurs daily due to the earth spinning on an axis) has a key part in allowing this to happen. The effect of this upon humans is called the circadian rhythm. The change in light colour and intensity has a huge effect upon our health. This is due to serotonin being converted into melatonin when the sun goes down, which allows people to sleep for longer.

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www.joshgitalis.com

 Often, in this modern age where people are staring at bright computer screens etc. in the evening, we are tricking our circadian rhythm into thinking that its still daytime, so when we go to bed and wonder why we cannot fall asleep even though we’ve had an exhausting day, quite often this is the reason why. However, we could effectively resolve this issue through the lighting in our homes correctly to assist in allowing our bodies to act the way they were intended.

German Light Institute Lighting

Brian Charman spoke about a case study that Philips Lighting University conducted in the German Heart Institute in Berlin. In this hospital they have installed controllable lighting in patients rooms which have been shown to have improved stress levels and sleep patterns along with hormone release.

‘It is extremely important to us that the patients in our intensive care unit feel secure, comfortable and well looked after – both medically and emotionally.’

– Prof. Dr. med Dr. h. c Roland Hetzer, Medical Director, German Heart Institute

These systems could also be installed in homes easily and at a fairly low cost through the use of colour changing light and dimmer switches. ‘Hue’ by Philips for example allows you to change the colour temperature within your home with a simple controller or phone app and a lightbulb which would fit most standard adapters.

meethue

Philips Hue

These systems could also be extremely useful to those who travel a lot. By adapting circadian rhythm lighting systems, the body can be eased out of jet lag with minimal inconvenience, something that could be potentially very useful to hotels also. There are already alarm clocks on the market (which have been around for years now) that are designed to wake you up naturally, but what the speakers were talking about was taking this a couple of steps further.

Increased productivity has also been linked with correct lighting. Peter Raynham spoke about his research into the improvement in children’s grades within a school where the better and worse lit classrooms were compared. Although his research is not 100% accurate due to additional factors such as the teacher that the children were taught by, the improvement in mood in addition to grades suggest that daylight has a positive impact upon productivity.

Light has always been something that has fascinated me and this knowledge is definitely something that I will take into consideration when designing light in the future, as I’m sure it will be for many others also.

 

‘We now design with light, rather than light designing’

– Joanna Wood, Interiors for Living

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Spotlight on: Ottiu

As a designer we often get approached by a lot of new designers and companies looking to have their designs used in our projects. It can be so difficult going through each of the designers and deciding whether they have products that would not only work with our clients design aesthetic but also their budget and aspirations of quality and luxury.

Ottiu managed to tick all the boxes even on the first glance,  the Swandon sofa (shown above) is one of my favourite pieces as it seems to fuse together art deco with mid-century.  With designs we often find that there is an amalgamation of different design eras, whether this be between partners or simply due to a clients individual style, products such as the Swanson that seamlessly brings together two periods can end up being a pivot piece in a design scheme.

LUNA DINING CHAIR An unusual majestic elegance surrounds the Luna dining chair. The slender and curved solid walnut legs with brass accents join the surprising and memorable wing-shaped backrest. The extreme comfort of the chair, although absorbing, leaves center stage to the seductive feminine lines of Luna.

LUNA DINING CHAIR
An unusual majestic elegance surrounds the Luna dining chair. The slender and curved solid walnut legs with brass accents join the surprising and memorable wing-shaped backrest. The extreme comfort of the chair, although absorbing, leaves center stage to the seductive feminine lines of Luna.

Ottiu describes the above dining chairs as majestic and I couldn’t agree more!  Everything about them says understated luxury and comfort.

LOREN CHAISE LONGUE This new piece, Loren chaise longue comes to enrich this series. Presenting us the most charming persian blue cotton velvet with golden tacks, finished with the superb gold leaf feet, this pure piece was designed for the most personal intimate moments.

LOREN CHAISE LONGUE
This new piece, Loren chaise longue comes to enrich this series. Presenting us the most charming persian blue cotton velvet with golden tacks, finished with the superb gold leaf feet, this pure piece was designed for the most personal intimate moments.

WINFREY BENCH The Winfrey bench has a solid and strong feminine touch. Featuring capitoné upholstery in black crystal velvet, this piece is embraced with a gold plated brass structure adding a special taste and synergy to any striking luxury interior project.

WINFREY BENCH
The Winfrey bench has a solid and strong feminine touch. Featuring capitoné upholstery in black crystal velvet, this piece is embraced with a gold plated brass structure adding a special taste and synergy to any striking luxury interior project.

I always find myself drawn to piece that will make my clients smile, something that will bring them a little bit of joy even on the gloomiest of February days.  For me, pieces like the Andy stool will do that, it is functional but also fun.   The gold plated cage bottom also adds another layer of luxury to a design scheme.

ANDY STOOL With a warm and friendly personality, Andy stool is an artistic combination of a gold plated brass structure and a woolly white fur. This gracious union is the perfect trendy addition to the coziest corner of the house.

ANDY STOOL
With a warm and friendly personality, Andy stool is an artistic combination of a gold plated brass structure and a woolly white fur. This gracious union is the perfect trendy addition to the coziest corner of the house.

 

Contact Information

Sales and Marketing
info@ottiu.com
+351 935 777 611
+351 912 565 722

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Decorate With Sophisticated Damasks

CONSTANTINA DAMASK WEAVES

A sophisticated collection of contemporised damask designs, for classic and contemporary interiors. Alongside silk qualities, new ultra-modern silky yarns are woven and finished using traditional looms and methods with fabulous results. All fabrics are suitable for curtains.

Previously produced as a wallpaper, Malmaison Damask (shown below as curtains) is introduced for the first time as fabric. Two weft yarns are twisted to give a brushed metal feel within the damask motif.

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Brocatello Nuovo

Complex weave effects update this Zoffany classic. Woven in modern silk effect yarns it is now available in a new colour line of soft contemporary colours, including a new exquisite faded coral. This fabric is washable and inherently flame retardant.

Katarina

Katarina is a modern interpretation of a classic medallion damask, with an embroidered effect created by an extra warp. This pretty and feminine design falls into an elegant stripe, with a beautiful drapeability due to fil coupe treatment.

Kira

Inspired by the Zoffany ‘Veranda Trellis’ wallpaper, this versatile, medium scale pattern is woven in a luxuriously fine silk-like quality, and embossed with a classic moiré. It is reversible, with the trellis on the back being more pronounced. This fabric is washable and inherently flame retardant.

Elena

Elena is a modern day interpretation of a Zoffany favourite, ‘Crivelli Damask’. The pattern has been distressed giving it an antique, slightly block printed feel. This contemporary silk mix fabric has a beautifully soft drape, due to the wool and viscose in the weft.

Constantina

Constantina FB Detail_med

Constantina is inspired by the same 19th Century silk damask document used for Fresco Secco wallpaper. The interplay of yarns creates an iridescent feel of beaten metal. This highly contemporised asymmetrical damask has been woven in luxurious silky yarn. This fabric is washable and inherently flame retardant.

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Best of: Yasemen Hussein

Anyone that knows me know’s that I have a passion for feathers, from earrings to tattoos to lighting, if it has feathers on you have my curiosity.  These lights and pieces of artwork have more than my curiosity they have my attention.  They are both light but bold and have a wonderful movement to them.

I am intrigued by the sheer variety of this artists work and especially the horned mask!

 

Recently, Sculptor Yasemen Hussein unveils another new piece of work entitled ‘Birds n’ Branches.’

Inspired by her deeply rooted love of nature, Hussein has produced a hanging chandelier, hand sculpted from up cycled plumbers copper pipe and cast resin birds lit by integral LED’s.  Sprawling curved copper branches writhe and interweave with perched stylized blood-red birds that glow like warm gems.

 The chandelier is on display till the end of February 2015 in the windows of The Mill, a visual effects company in London’s Great Marlborough Street.  Check it out if you are in the area.

Biography:

Some very diverse elements go into the creative mix at Yasemen Hussein’s studio. There’s a mountain of electrical cable, a shelf full of 1970s copper vases retrieved from the windows of local charity shops, some heavy duty welding equipment and… a concrete mixer. “I’m inspired by mythology, the Italian renaissance and poetry,” she says. “Basically – beauty. And that could be Dolly Parton or Aubrey Beardsley.” Her work is as exuberant and fantastical as it is organic.

Hussein studied glass work in Illinois, learned “the tricks of the trade of concrete” in California and now sculpts the most intricate copper pieces imaginable in her converted stable house in south London. Her metal feathers juxtapose elegance and lightness with the heft of their source material and are commissioned to act as light fittings, or interior centrepieces of varying sizes.  She has collaborated on headwear with Philip Treacy, created stagewear for Katy Perry and Will.i.am and fashioned fluid, windswept-looking metal “hairpieces” for Toni & Guy.Her work can be finished in anything from synthetic woven hair to gold, or left raw.

“Everything I do is commission-based,” says Hussein. “I can work at any scale – sometimes it’s making thousands of tiny things to make one large thing, like a gold chain piece I did with Swarovski. But I’ve also cast s

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Mexico Design Inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere but for most of us we are often too busy to see it, we don’t actively notice those design details, those colours don’t really sink in, we often end up seeing a sea of grey.  The one time that our brains are in tune with our surroundings is when we are on holiday.

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We relax, we look around and we often take in a lot more of the environment that surrounds us.  Not just because it’s foreign but because it’s often more colourful then what we surround ourselves with at home.  Everything from street signs to the hotel wallpaper can catch our attention.

A trip to an aquarium shows us the millions of different colours that can surround us and how beautiful each and every one of them can be.  It can even inspire you to create design colour schemes that might be a little out of the ordinary.  A colour scheme based on the amazing image below would be a visual treat, it also wouldn’t be your typical blue which is often used for themes inspired by the idea of an underwater world.

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And it’s not just design that can be inspired while on vacation, it can be mood too.  Mexico is known for it’s bright colours, one of its main festivals that is often recognised around the world is the day of the day, the bright candy skulls being the main attraction as they are both ornate, beautiful and morbid.  Mexico’s graveyards can often be the same, however hidden below the surface of a stunning graveyard (never thought I would write those words) in Xcaret Park is the scene below.

2015-01-23 12.30.05The candles here sit on the bed of many, many years of extinguished candles.  Their melted frames now making the shelves on which new candles sit, the colour a startling white against all the colour and pomp of a Mexican graveyard.  They also create an amazing atmosphere, the warmth of the light and the colours instantly calming you and bringing you to the present.

If we were to use this in a design scheme it would be interesting to take this and inspiration for a home spa, the feel of the lighting, the instant warmth and the sense of renewal would all be a perfect starting point for the design of a spa.

Have you been on a holiday recently that has inspired you? What feeling or mood did you bring back from it?

 

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Interior Designers Flooring Recommendations

Often clients are looking for a large amount of guidance in many different areas, this isn’t because they have no idea what they want, on the contrary it is often because they know what they like style-wise they are just unsure how to get there.  Today we are overloaded with hundreds (if not thousands!) of different options and a lot of opposing information.  You go in to one showroom and the sales assistant insists that if you want quality there is no other option but solid hardwood flooring when another has advised you that laminate can produce the exact same look for a tenth of the price.  It is extremely confusing and overwhelming, and you haven’t even got past your choice for flooring!

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In general in properties we tend to use Engineered Flooring.  So what does this mean?  Engineered flooring is a combination of solid real wood and a substrate or plywood.  This is for several reasons: quality, cost, overall look, installation costs.

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This is an engineered German Oak, it has been laid as a retrofit.  What this means is that it was put in after the build so it needed a trim around the edge of the room (you can see it clearly below).  We could have avoided this by putting new skirting boards in, however that could have possibly damaged the walls leading to us needing to re-plaster the walls, a cost we were hoping to avoid as the property was in fantastic condition.

Trim-for-wood-flooringAnother question we often get from client is regarding solid wood vs. engineered. Solid wood does not automatically mean it is hard wearing, that comes down to the type of wood, finish etc. Engineered wood flooring can often give a more long lasting quality as the wood is less affected by atmospheric changes in temperature that can sometime warp solid wood.

Project 2 - Earls Court - Image 9

It can also be re-finished several times just like solid wood flooring, the flooring above was put in as part of a full refurbishment.  This has the benefit that it doesn’t need to have a trim around the end of the room.  It produces a much higher quality finish as the flooring neatly fits under the newly fitted skirting boards.

Have any questions about different type of flooring? Different flooring finishes? Comment below and we will break them down in our next blog.

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9 Ways To Slash A Design Budget

You’ve gone through your inspiration, you’ve worked out what style you like, what your kitchen should look like, feel like, all the materials, colours and you are over the moon…and then you total it all up. Ouch, you are horribly over budget, here are 10 ways you could possibly bring that number down significantly without damaging the entire design.

We are going to take you inside a project that we recently worked on. The design was for the ground floor refurbishment which included a new kitchen, the creation of a ground floor WC and utility room as well as the creation of a large family room that included a TV area, dining area and two reception areas. We were also re-designing the first floor bathroom.

 

Before we started the cull the design budget was just over £46k for the flooring, kitchen, utility room, WC and bathroom. With some clever cutting we managed to slash the budget by over 20% down to £35k. Here are 10 of the ways we did it.

1. Worktops – changing that central island to wood instead of Quartz has brought the budget down by over £1000 already

Project 2 - Earls Court - Image 7

2. Tiles – flooring is always so important, it becomes part of the backbone of your home and needs to be hardwearing. However, bringing down a wall mosaic from £290 a square meter in the WC on the ground floor to £30 a square meter will save you over £1000

Pres - Meeting One - Kitchen, Bathroom etc.001

3. Reusing appliances – yes, I know this is not always possible. However, if you can these can be items that could be upgraded in a few years time without a huge amount of work. Especially if the appliances you have are already integrated. On a recent project doing this saved us over £2000

4. Changing of Washer and Dryer, especially if these are going in a little seen utility room.  Remember to look at the specifications of the items not he overall look (tough for a designer to say!)

Pres - Meeting One - Kitchen, Bathroom - Utility.001

5. Changing of lighting – wall lights in the WC and bathroom.  Lighting is something that can be difficult to update at a later date, especially in rooms such as bathrooms where installation can require drilling through tiles however, there are sometimes cheaper alternatives to be found.  This doesn’t always mean compromising on the design, it could be that you go for a similar light from a less well known brand.

6. Bathroom Fixtures – Vanity Units. We had originally had put in the budget to design bespoke items for all the bathrooms, however as the budget became strained it was clear that this would not be a good use of money.  We decided on a mixture between bespoke for places and spaces we needed it and to match these in with store bought items.  The look will be similar but the cost will be a few thousand less.

7. No extendable dining table in the kitchen – how often are you going to use it?  This is often a question for clients, extendable dining tables are often over double the price of their non-extending cousins.  If you are considering that it might possibly be used once or twice a year it might not be worth it.  In this project we opted for an extendable table in the dining area and a non extending version in the kitchen as it wouldn’t get used very often (if at all)Dining Layout

8. Wood Flooring – we opted to go for a 13mm board over a 16mm board.  Does this effect the overall quality of the wood flooring, yes.  However, when budgets get strained there is little point going ahead with orders that will make the rest of the project completely undoable.  This 3mm change brought the pricing down by over half.

9. Changing how the bath pours – Taps are expensive.  In this project we swapped out the taps for a central bath filler at a small percentage of the cost, it adds slightly to the price of the diverter you need but the overall saving was very worth it.

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