Monday, 23 November 2015

Brit Decor: 5 steps to the perfect living room with Arlo & Jacob

This was a pretty fun project to work on with the team over at Arlo & Jacob, who (if you don't already know) puts the 'C' into craftsmanship by producing some incredibly stylish sofas and chairs, right here in the UK.

As many of us will be aware, it's one thing to buy a piece of great furniture, but to really get the most out of it - the look and feel of its new home should be given key consideration too. So with five easy steps I am going to walk through how to achieve the perfect living room, with a little help from my friends.

#1 Social
As with any room, thinking about how the space will be used is really important. If you are a social butterfly and love having guests over to yours, consider positioning seating opposite each other for a more engaging atmosphere.

#2 Start Big
It's easier to place the larger items of furniture in a room first, such as a sofa. This will immediately identify how much remaining space is available for smaller items such as coffee tables and floor lamps.

#3 Make an Entrance
This may sound obvious but it's an aspect commonly overlooked in home decor. The entrance to a room is the first and last thing that you and your guests will, so be sure to lend this some creative attention.

#4 Form Follows Function
Say what? before positioning furniture within a scheme, plan the route of walkways through and around the room. Ideally there should be a flow of movement through a room whilst furniture around the path can be used to create natural room dividers.

#5 Layer-up
For me, accessories are just as important as the larger furnishings. These are, if you like, the glue that binds a scheme together and brings the all-important character and identity to a room. I prefer to begin this styling process by introducing textiles such as cushions, throws, and rugs to a scheme, followed by decorative accessories.

If you'd like to find out more about the full Arlo & Jacob range, please hop on over to their website:

Images 1/  Design Milk 2/ Maria Killam 3/ Coco Crazy 4/  Apartment Therapy
 5/ The Design Files  6/ Dreambook Design

Friday, 20 November 2015

Brit Decor: Spotlight/ Furniss & May

Don't you just love that inspired feeling when you stumble across something that, aesthetically, hits all the right buttons? This is exactly what happened when I first caught a glimpse of London-based interior design agency, Furniss & May.

With a pretty eye-catching portfolio under their belts, this design agency headed up by Jayne Furniss and Simon May, has been busily creating incredible interiors for retail, leisure, corporate and residential clients. And not every interior designer can claim they have designed luxury WC's for iconic British store, Harvey Nichols, right?

With a refreshing approach to design and a total of 35 years of industry experience between them, Jayne and Simon created Furniss and May. Based in an industrial-inspired studio (images below), their philosophy is simple; to 'focus on the desired emotional response and work backwards'. 

So with creative inspiration in mind, I thought it was time to catch-up with this dynamic duo and find out more... 

How did it all begin for Furniss & May?
3 years ago Jayne and I decided the time was right (long overdue in fact) to take the plunge and establish our own design practice. We'd worked together before at a couple of places so things like trust and respect were already established. We also discovered we shared common ambitions and had similar ideas about the shape and design business of tomorrow would take. So we went for it. 

Can you walk us through a typical working day?
There isn't really such a thing as a typical day in the world of interior design and that's what keeps it so refreshing. We could be conducting a client presentation, surveying a new site or visiting a live site where works are underway, meeting with suppliers, networking, or briefing our team of amazing designers on the latest project in the studio. There's a lot a hum-drum daily grind too but the high points really make up for it. 

Which part of the design process excites you the most?
Without doubt it's the front end and for us the fun starts when we pick up a genuine lead for a new project. There's lots of stumbling blocks along the way and I see the approach to how we pitch our services and how we sell ourselves as a part of the creative process. All our principles and values need to be on display and clearly understood at this initial stage so that by the time the client is fully on board and the real design work begins they already have a good feel for what they can expect from the journey if not the end result. 

Do you have a current favourite interiors trend?
Every design we create is tailored for each clients individual needs, we research a lot and that can involve exploring emerging and current trends in say consumer habits or materials development, which can begin to feed into our work. So we tend not to follow trends as by their very nature, trends come and go, but take a look at our Pinterest as this gives a great snapshot of the mood boards our design team are currently creating to inspire our clients.

You've produced some incredible designs for Harvey Nichols - what's it like working with such an iconic client?
They're a brand with an amazing heritage and a first class reputation so the weight of the responsibility here is not lost on us. However we like to think we approach every project and every client with the same level of passion, enthusiasm and attention to detail so that everything we touch receives the same first class, tailored service. 

Are there any other iconic clients or buildings that you would love to work with?
I'd love to work with Macy's in New York. They're an Iconic business right in the heart of the Manhattan, offering amazing brands in a building with charm and interest. We'd love to layer some London-cool over all the great things they're already doing. It could be a great meeting of minds. Yup, it's Macy's for me. 

What was the inspiration behind the ultra-cool F&M studio design?
We're big believers in appealing to the senses through design as its a great way for a brand to make a real human connection with its audience. One way to achieve this is through careful consideration of materials, finishes, textures and styles. Old new, hard soft, rough smooth, light dark - we love these contrasts and have used them lightheartedly in our studio environment. 

Can you describe the style of decor in your own home in just three words?
Colourful. Playful. Eclectic. 

What do you hope the future holds for Furniss & May?
More of the same please just a little bit bigger. Clients, projects, opportunities, challenges. We're a young business but we're established now and can't wait to see how far we can take this amazing experience.   


Simpson Carpenter
Photographer: Seb Barros

Harvey Nichols
Photographer: John Stewardson

Hare & Hounds
Photographer: Jack Adams

Map by The Future Mapping Company

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Brit Decor: Meets Function + Form

After a quick rescue mission from my overactive spam filter, I recently discovered that much to my excitement I had been invited to the first ever Function+Form event in London. The invite came from the lovely Annie Kruse from Style Juicer and the amazing Tiffany Grant-Riley, of Curate & Display, who after joining creative forces with sponsors, at{mine, launched what was to be a truly creatively-inspired gathering .

The venue was the industrial-look Forge & Co space at Heals. The concept; a relaxed and informal gathering of creatives from the blogosphere & instagram, along with two very talented guest speakers/makers. Throw in a delicious brunch around a beautifully styled table, and we had all the ingredients for a wonderful Saturday morning of creative chatter.

First up was Potter, Jono Smart who has been on an epic journey of discovery throughout his career and arrived at pottery as his latest creative output, as well as being the perfect antidote to the pressures of everyday life. True to form, Jono's pieces reflect an uncomplicated and organic approach with simple lines and colouring. 

At the event we were lucky enough to see some of Jono's work up close and personal. I loved the very tactile feel of his pottery - each piece had a slightly rough texture on the outside which contrasted with a smooth internal glaze. I need this collection in my life!

Second to share her creative journey with us was one half of Northern Ireland's Enrich & Endure, Sarah Quinn, with her infectious smile. Along with her brother, Lorcan, these dynamic siblings created a beautifully crafted range of 'Makers uniforms' using Irish linen, exquisite craftsmanship and reviving the local linen industry in the process.

The collection of aprons that we viewed and handled at Function + Form, not only looked stunning, but are also made to last - improving with every wash cycle, and testament to both the expert craftsmanship and the superior quality of the linen materials used.

What struck me most about both Jono's and Sarah's wares was how in this age of 'throw-away' they had both clearly invested a great deal of thought into creating products that will endure the test of time and only improve with age.


Images/ (from top) 1,2,3,5,7,10,11&12/ Mike Ahern 4&6 / Jono Smart 8&9/ Enrich & Endure

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