One of the absolute joys of belonging to any or all of the main heritage property groups is of course to visit a selection every year. Sometimes I achieve this, but usually I miss their opening dates or just can’t be in that area at the right time. The historic houses group is a favourite of mine because they are fabulous old buildings that families still live in and call home. Most have had to make changes , sell a few of the fine art pictures, confine themselves to the draughty west wing allowing visiting public on open days to wander around the other rooms. I love seeing the wonderful furniture and take in their ancient smells. Wondering what stories these fantastic old pieces could tell us. But then I come home, whack up the cental heating and plonk myself on my very modern sofa or eat at my very modern but sturdy oak table – no draughts, but a feeling of wellbeing all the same.
I was meandering around a strangely old fashioned furniture store – I’d been there several times over the years. Usually to view their end of year clear out sale. I was very lucky to have gone in just as they unlocked the door one particular 02 January. Anyway, I was happily mooching about when my eyes lit upon the most gorgeous sideboard. it was sat in an alcove, no labels or price board on show. I knew immediatey this was from the design sold by a particularly helpful but expensive department store and when it came out about 6 years ago, I lusted after it for months until finally having to concede defeat – the sheer cost would have bankrupted me.
But here is was in an end of lines, end of season sale! The speed with which I purchased this piece of modern furniture cannot be adeuately described. It is still stunning and I still love it, years later!
The wonderful smell of oak cabinets and oak furniture. It’s funny isn’t it, of all the materials in the world that can be used for anything in the home, be it floors, tables, doors, window frames – once you add the oak feature, it becomes something much more special.
This was borne out when I visited a super art deco place in a nearby town. It is stunning throughout, although a little dark for my taste is many of the somewhat bijoux rooms. The ideas were so ahead of their time in the late 1920s. There are fabulous panels in the flooring, tables with beautiful finishes. China cabinets reflecting the movers and shakers of their day. When we want something to reflect how well we are getting on in life, the only way to make that mark is to use a quality product. You cannot get any more quality thatn a good old fashioned peice of oak, whatever it be used for.
Now that spring has truly sprung into life, and the cold dankish winter weather has departed for a few weeks, it is just about the right time to be thinking up upgrading the decor or design in our properties. Maybe that old lounge set up can be brought up to date, or the bedrooms could have new wardrobe and storage units to make them more adaptable to every day living.
Thre are some wonderful ideas out there and the glossy magazines that line the supermarket shelves are full of this scheme or that. As it is around Easter time that families go into overdrive to start thehome improvements, this is a very good time to actually sit and take stock of what we already have and how perhaps a professional company could be brought in to update the home with their expertise and interior design knowledge.
On a recent holiday up to the Peak District, my companion was eagerly describing a programme she had been avidly glued to for 2 hours in the previous week – the final instalment was due to air whilst we were away. I was wondering if the cottage we were heading to actually had tv, neither of us had bothered to check this point as we usually didn’t bother as a rule. The matter of whether there was or was not a tv began to make inroads into the journey.
I am pleased to report that although the tv reception was pretty abysmal, the cottage did have enough broadband internet strength for us to watch bits on tv and the rest on computer. The subject was interior design – making a feature in every room from free existing products and without spending anything. There were great ideas from a professional interior designer and we were enthralled. A good time had by all!
Keeping up with interior decorating trends is a much easier thing to achieve these days. There is a miriad of glossy magazines that line the shelves of the local supermarkets, posh and standard alike. There are more people buying the house improvemet books than ever before. Also, day time tv now has many home improvement programmes throughout the schedules and it is possible to get the most amazing ideas on there and also online.
If interior design changes are due for your house, it can really pay to talk to your local interior design studio. Call them in for an informal chat and they can indeed show how best to use this space or that. The choice of materials will also be a feature they will offer advice on. They know the markets well and will be able to say what is currently a good buy and what will outlast just a trend.
One of the oustanding features of a holiday, be it homebound or any kind of trip abroad, is the ability to see all kinds of buildings everywhere around us. There are so many influences out there that can inform and enlighten our way of thinking when we get back home. When we do return, particularly after a very memorable and immensley happy trip, it’s incredible how soon we start eperiencing a feeling of dissatisfaction with our immediate surroundings. This is often the case when we have been able to visit somewhere really beautiful with stunning interior decor and different furniture displays. Of course, they look absolutely amazing in those situations – they’re right for the position.
We can bring a modern transformation to our own humble homestead by engaging an interior design team to bring fresh ideas and encapsulate what you liked in your holiday location, perhaps downsizing if a little ambitious!
In the early part of the 20th Century, after and as a result of the first world war, there was a change in the demographic of this country caused by the tragic loss of so many young men. Families and whole villages were torn assunder and the traditional roles within household staffing and industrial affairs changed for ever. Since the 1950s once the building works had been put in place to rehouse so many bomb affected families, there has been peaks and troughs in the house building industry. The late 1960s saw a boom in the private estate building and in the late 1990s, larger very comfortable houses were being built for the more prosperous working and middle class family.
These are the houses today that are being refurbished, or in some cases, completely redesigned and rebuilt. Oak is a very popular coice for refitting and refurnishing properties. So reliable a material is ideal for all projects.
Over the years we have bought one house after another, in the old fashioned way of starting with the cheap Victorian terrace, no central heating but with a large upstair bathroom and three bedrooms. The kitchen had already been made very long and narrow by the knocking through of 2 small parlours and the squalid little outside sink area. We never had the money to do anything other than just decorate and stop the place looking too old.
Our idea was to redesign the insides, knock through to add an ensuite on the master bedroom by taking a lump from the second bedroom next door. These pipe dreams never got off the drawing board for us but our immediate neighbours did manage one or two interior design achievements. They were able to engage the services of a professional interior design studio who were absolutely fantastic. They always told us it was their best decision ever taken.
There are so few things in the working year to conjur up a warm soppy feeling of nostalgia than the warm glow of Christmas and other festivals leading up to and beyond New Year. We fondly recall thoughts of all the family happily sitting around the living room, massive tree in the corner, piles of presents in the corner and a roaring fire in the grate. No-one actually recalls last year when there were problems with the windows and the poor old dining room proved toally inadequate for hosting more than a small family and next doors’ cat.
This is just the reason for engaging the services of a professional property and interior design studio to talk about redesignign parts of your house to make the very most of the space available and perhaps make it more ergonomically and energy efficient whilst at it. This will also enhance the sales value, which is critical in these challenging times.