Backyard Living mademoiselle Robot
Read Mademoiselle Robots blog about creating the ultimate outdoor space, with carefully chosen furniture and striking accessories.
Love chic living – choosing a new coffee table
Jen Stanbrook talks about working with us and choosing a new coffee table complete with photos of what it looks like in her home.
Fabric of my life
Have a read of this guest blog entry which gives great advise on breaking up space into zones, for work, sleep and relaxing using great furniture and soft furnishings.
Prepare for guests
It’s time to dust everything off and get your guest room whipped into shape. Hoover the floor, check the mattress and get rid of any clutter so that when your guest arrives, they feel welcome. Take it to the next level and really impress them by adding a new bed. Check out our Buddy extending guest bed with 2 drawers £995. This bed can change from a single to a double, and also offers extra drawers for your guest to keep their things or for you to keep extra bedding.
The chances are that you will be overwhelmed with guests for Christmas and may run short on places for everyone to sleep. A great way to add a bed while saving space is with our wide selection of sofa beds. If you also want to increase your seating area then our Milan corner sofa bed £1599 is the best choice. It offers a large seating area while also folding out into a bed. To top it all off, this sofa bed also includes a nice storage space inside of the ottoman. If you’re looking to add a bit more style but still need an extra place for a guest to sleep, check out our Pisa sofa bed in white £349. This has a stylish, contemporary design and also folds out into a cosy bed.
Let there be light
When placed indoors, white candles, tealights, and lamps will add warmth to your home. Place them near entrances, or in the living room for people to sit and chat the night away as they take shelter from the cold weather. Our Set of 5 mini tealight lanterns £34.95 or Decorative cube lantern boxes £3.95 will look great placed in clusters on stairs or windowsills with twinkling LED candles.
Appropriate dining room space:
Make sure that your dining table is large enough to fit all the delicious food you plan on serving plus the onslaught of festive guests! If you find that it is in sufficient, something to consider is an extendable dining table which can serve as a regular table most of the year while being able to accommodate large gatherings as well. The Pablo extending glass dining table £899 would be a great choice with it’s simple flexibility. If investing in a new dining table is not an option, our ingenious Elevate coffee table £549 raises up to become a dining table in seconds- great for impromptu dinner parties.
Your home will be filled with guests, presents to give, and decorations as Christmas approaches, so it is essential that you are able to store everything away. Take a look at our Wide double door sideboard £499, it offers a large amount of space for storage. Or hide it all away in the Camber sideboard £899 which is a stylish all-in-one storage solution.
Change is for the better
Although tradition is important, try dressing your home a bit differently this year and start your own new traditions. Throw some new colours on that old sofa with our great selection of throws and cushions. Our Cable knit throw in red £69 will brighten up your sofa and add some comfort as well. You can also really get into the Christmas spirit, with our Reindeer cushions in red or grey £15. Or for the more minimalist look, soften up your lounge with our range of Fur cushions in dark or light brown at £34.95 each.
We’ve been trawling through trade shows and interior exhibitions this year, like Interiors Live and Clerkenwell Design Week, to find out exactly what’s hot for 2013. From there, we’ve created 8 great looks that are really easy to create in your home, and to suit any style or budget!
Teenage dreams is a great way to let your inner youth flourish. Expression and individuality is what being a teenager is all about! But who says it needs to stop when you turn 20, or 30 or 40… It can be really simple to create a fun and fresh room with just a few simple additions of colour. Starting on a blank canvas, like white walls is a great start. Accessorising with photo frames filled with colourful photos is a great way to create a flexible colourful piece of wall art. Add hints of bright here and there, so as to not crowd the room, but still keep it fun. This green Eiffel chair is a fantastic way to make your study area more fun. The Multi-pop rug is a bold choice, but will definitely create a whimsical statement in the room.
Every home needs a place for the alpha-male to relax in, so we’ve created the Man Cave. Exposed materials like raw brick are easily contrasted by the distressed leather of the tan Paris range are a great start for creating the contemporary bachelor pad look. Throw some raw materials in there, like natural walnut and clear glass and you have the perfect antidote to the clichéd monochrome look. Metallic rugs in warm colours like bronze will lift the furniture and create an environment perfect for lounging and gaming. Finish the look off with some funky and quirky accessories, like our Spotlight floor lamp, and you have the perfect contemporary Man Cave.
Head over to our website to check out all the signature looks for 2013!
Growing up, it became apparent that not all city flats are like the Rachael and Monica’s apartment in Friends. Modern day flats, especially in areas like London and Glasgow are getting smaller, with more and more people opting for studio flats to combat soaring rents. That’s why there is much more of a push on Compact Living, and making the spaces we live in work around us. Okay, things might not be on Toyko levels yet – but we’re not far off! I’ve had a look at various multifunction products that would make your life easier if you don’t have a lot of space…
A product that serves two functions is always a good start. Take our Rise coffee table for example, it turns from a coffee table into a dining table that can seat 4-6 comfortably. The legs of the table are on handy wheels, to make the rise mechanism easier! Then it’s just the case of swiveling and extending the top – to create a handy dining area. The table can be extended at any height so is extremely versatile and will suit any home. This is a great idea for a home that doesn’t have enough space for a dining AND coffee table – ideal that the two are combined!
Even though your space is small, it’s really important you feel at home there. Just because you’re saving space, doesn’t mean you need to hold back on style! Picking an appropriate sofa to fit your room is really important, as a sofa that is too big will swamp the room and you’ll start to feel claustrophobic. Take our Seattle compact three seater sofa; it’s width is only 180cm, making it an ideal contender for a smaller room. Pick a bold colour if you are brave, this can sometimes be a really good or bad idea – depending on how successfully you can pull it off, and how you accessorise. If you’re confident with the colour, you’ll find you won’t want to redecorate quite so quickly. However, if you like to switch things up, a neutral sofa can be easily accessorised, and this can change your whole outlook on the room!
Finally comes the ever-tricky way to create space in a studio flat. Because these are typically one room, there’s sometimes no getting around the fact your bed is next to the sink. However, by employing some clever techniques – and a little bit of imagination – you should always have a way to find space (even when you think you have none!). I love the idea of room dividers in studios, but who says they need to be boring old boards. Try placing a bookcase? It sounds crazy because most of them are large, but these can generate more storage by utilizing the shelving. Plus, if you employ simple organisational techniques such as colour-blocking, you can create a live-in piece of artwork, that you’ll love having in your home!
If you’ve not read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous story of love and loss, I suggest you do now. Immediately. If not sooner! It’s a fantastic bit of escapism into a time when the economy was in crisis, binge drinking was at an all time high, and people went to huge parties to escape reality… Sounds oddly familiar. The recent revamp of this classic tale is currently in cinemas nationwide, and straight from the creative eye of Baz Lurhmann, so the film is a real feast for the eyes! I loved the grand and opulent interior style in the movie, which has started a whole new trend of ‘Prohibition chic’.
Statement lighting was one of the first things I noticed in the movie, with grand and statement pendant lights dressing the sets in the fictional stately homes of Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby himself. All expertly lit under the watchful eye of Luhrmann, we are thrown into this era through the lavish and ornate lighting features of the period. Check out these huge chandeliers in Gatsby’s main hall, we wouldn’t want to do a Del Boy and Rodney with them, I can imaging they would set you back a pretty penny. With bigger definitely being better in this era. See more of these ideas on our Pinterest.
The parties are another fantastic feature of the movie, and as a Gatsby fanatic, I was excited to see how Luhrmann would pull these off. I remember watching the 1974 version (with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow – who was better in my opinion!), and thinking there was something missing. While I don’t think it was the music revamp, the 3D element of the movie really brought it to life! One of the more memorable features of the party was Gatsby’s champagne fountains. These are stereotypical of parties of this period, and epitomise the kind of lavish, opulent parties that were thrown. A contemporary, and probably a more economical way to bring this into your home would be to invest in one of our Wine glass chandeliers, which contains 31 wine glasses that can be independently removed for use and cleaning! Although, I wouldn’t recommend getting up on a chair to pour alcohol into it…
It’s an exciting week in London in terms of design, with two major events channeling the best the city – and the world – has to offer in terms of design for the home. The Excel centre at London’s docklands was again home to a fabulous show, this time the May Design Series (after last weekend’s Grand Designs Live). Following that, the fabulous Clerkenwell Design Festival covers a huge area between Farringdon and Barbican and there are some fantastic spaces housing some very contemporary designs!
Starting off at The Excel, we hopped on the DLR down to the May Design Series. If anyone’s had the pleasure of riding the DLR before, you’ll appreciate the satisfaction of sitting at the front where we may or may not have pretended to be the driver…
After a short and pleasant journey we arrived at the May Design Series, which is made up of four design districts – including KBB, DX London, Interiors London. Visitors are welcomed into the show by huge cargo containers – filled with amazing pieces of design, by some big names like Thonet for example, and showcased the best in design for 2013. I loved this geometric modular shelving we spied in one of the containers. It might not be so easy on the eye, but it was certainly a talking point!
A key trend we noticed at MDS was the amount of reclaimed and recycled furniture on show, as well as some funky animal prints! One of my favourite stands was from Out of the Dark, who have a knack for taking an old, run-down piece of furniture and giving it a modern twist. In this case, they took a lamp, armchair and sideboard that were not in great shape and gave them a fresh and contemporary look! We also spied a fly-detail seat on one of their reclaimed dining chairs. I thought this was a fantastic touch, and was really on-trend.
Last, but by no means least, I loved the chair designs over in the KBB area from several students from London. There were so many innovative and funky designs here; from functional additions to chairs like adjustable side tables, to detachable storage bags!
My favourites on this stand were the rabbit face, embellishing the back of a dining chair and also the use of an acrylic sheet to cover a chair and make an almost ‘ghost’ design. These were attracting a lot of attention and created quite the talking point!
There’s been a total buzz about this year’s series of The Apprentice, and we’re not just talking about Alex’s eyebrows. As one of the top-grossing shows on the BBC in terms of ratings, we were honored to be featured on this week’s episode! Based around the concept of ‘flat pack’, the teams had to design a piece of modern furniture that is ideally multifunction and would be available to be shipped en-mass due to it’s self-assembly nature. At dwell, we’re known for the multifunction aspect of our furniture and for clever designs that are both space saving, without sacrificing aesthetics – so it was only natural the candidates would come to our store to pitch their designs to our team!
First up was the girl’s team. They had designed the ‘Tidy Sidey’; a side table that had a detachable tray table, contained storage and was portable. While this idea sounds good on paper, I couldn’t help – amongst many other people of Twitter and in the show – that it was just a box with wheels. The girls’ logic was sound, but they didn’t have much in the way of style when it came to the table. Even though the table was in a fashionable ‘battleship’ grey, the table could perhaps done with a *bit* more colour. However, the girls did manage to create the table without the need for glue or screws, which was a feature we liked. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough for us and we had to decline their offer.
Next in was the boys’ team. Presenting the ‘Foldo’ to us, we immediately were drawn to the multifunction aspect of the chair. The back could be folded to create what was almost like a compact console table or desk, or pulled out to create a chair ideal for dining or studying. It wasn’t the most impressive of chairs, but we liked the boy’s pitch and how they presented in day-to-day situations. We placed an ‘order’ for the chairs, but don’t expect to see these in stores soon – it was all for TV. I know, the illusion is shattered.
You’ll see some fantastic examples of multifunction products on our website, like our Convertible coffee table and Genoa 4-in-1 sofa bed! If you want to catch up on this week’s ‘The Apprentice’, you can check it out on BBC iPlayer. Let us know what you liked better, the Foldo or the Tidy Sidey!
It’s been a very exciting week for us at dwell! For the first time, we had a stand at Grand Designs Live – held at London’s Excel Centre. It’s a fantastic homes show, with exhibitors and stands covering over 3 halls of the centre down at London’s docklands. Having been to the show in previous years, the organising team have certainly stepped up their game in terms of the ‘wow’ factor, with a huge atrium between the show’s 4 sections, which greets you as you arrive!
Upon arrival, I made my way to the shows ‘interiors’ section, where our stand is located. A mere 5 seconds walk from the entrance and you are greeted with our ‘loft living’ stand – one of our key looks for 2013. We love the clash of contemporary furniture in old-style locations and we recreated this look with some fabulous statement wallpaper. The ‘fake brick wall’ is a key aspect of our stand and we think it is a fabulous contrast to our statement furniture.
Present on the stand is our iconic Verona sofa, which has transcended the seasons since it’s introduction in 2007. Establishing itself as a design classic within the dwell ranks, the Verona‘s low arms and soft, plump cushions make it not only stylish but incredibly comfortable. Accompanying this was some white & stone gloss furniture, which is a staple for any modern home – as well as our stylish Malmo armchair.
As well as our own stand, we were lucky enough to be included in the ‘Grand Interiors‘ roomsets, which have been commissioned by Grand Designs Magazine to present the best in the UK in terms of interiors. Luckily, we found ourselves in two different rooms, one by interior stylist Jo Bailey, and the other by interior stylish Lizzie Chambers! We loved the fresh approach from Lizzie’s dining room and home office and the cool, geometric shapes of Jo’s lounge. It was an honor to have our furniture included here!
Despite the weather being below average last weekend, I took a drip into deepest, darkest East London again to visit the hidden gem that is Trinity Buoy Wharf. Located adjacent the O2 across the Thames, the once Wharf has become a hub for creatives and businesses alike. Its multicolored appearance and street art is typical of a creative space in East London, but the wharf stands out from the rest for a few reasons – which we love.
Upon arriving, albeit slightly confused at East India station (I didn’t think I was on the DLR for so long I ended up in Asia), the wharf was a short walk through a fabulous bird sanctuary. It was such a nice space, with a huge pond filled with birds that you wouldn’t imagine existing because of its proximity to London City Airport. After a brisk (and windy) walk through here we had arrived!
With street art everywhere, it was easy to spot that we were in the right place. However, probably the most striking aspect of the area was the groups of offices and studios, literally stacked on top of each other! Called ‘Container City’, the spaces are made of old shipping containers, painted in bright colours and given a new lease of life! Talk about recycling… We peeked in a few windows – cheeky I know – and spotted everything from graphic design companies to recording studios. It was lovely to be in such an amazing environment and you really could feel the creativity in the air.
However, the most interesting part of the trip, we discovered completely by accident. The wharf’s lighthouse – originally for guiding ships down the Thames – now houses quite a unique musical instrument. Called the ‘Longplayer‘, it is a series of bowls that resonate sound using an intelligent computer system that can be programmed. Created at the Roundhouse in Camden, Longplayer now resides at the Wharf and has been continuously playing since December 31st 1999. What’s even more amazing, is Longplayer is scheduled to play up until the last day of 2999! Literally a millennium of music is programmed into it. You can take a walk up to the window of the lighthouse and sit and enjoy Longplayer’s music as you take in the panoramic view of the Thames ahead of you, and the O2 beyond.
When it comes to buying a home, for most people their first port of call is a showhome. These are usually fabulously decorated and can show the potential buyer what they can aspire to. Its a great place to seek inspiration, even if that deposit payment is still a long way off! We’ve asked Jacqui Smith of Homesmiths Ltd to give us some insight into how to create the perfect showhome look and what dwell products they love!
What you think makes ‘the perfect room’ that you would see in a showhome? It has to have impact, be aspirational but also most importantly enable potential purchasers to see how the space can be used and lived in. The perfect room has to work as a useable living space and this applies to a show home as much as a residential client.
What is your signature style? I never put a label on my style since all projects are different. I don’t impose “my style” on a client, it’s about listening to what they want and interpreting that. All show homes are different, appealing to a different demographic. What I like to feel that we bring to our show homes is a sense of locality. It’s the little touches that we spend time thinking about that our clients love.
Where do you seek inspiration for your style? Everywhere! I soak in shapes, colour and form wherever I go so it’s hard to pinpoint where a specific scheme comes from. I get a clear picture in my head of how a room needs to look and it all flows from there I guess.
What are your favourite dwell products you have used so far? The flock dog was a real talking point at a duplex show flat we installed last year and the embroidered vespa and mini cushions we used in teen boy’s room for another show home project.
You’ll see in the fabulous photos from Homesmiths Ltd, they love to feature dwell products in their showhomes, and we love to see how well our products mesh in these environments! If you want to see more from Homesmiths Ltd you can visit them here, and we’d like to thank Stephen Mallaby and Barratts homes for this fantastic photography!