Summer Lazing with Layer Home

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When Hannah from Layer Home first got in touch, I knew that I had met a kindred spirit – someone who had a love of interiors and old things and a lot of energy for a project she really believed in.

Layer Home is currently a website filled with articles about design, styling, and antiques. It is the brainchild of Hannah (a digital guru) and Denise (a property development and expert), a mother-daughter team (even more to love!). We can’t tell you too much, but there are exciting things afoot at Layer, so STAY TUNED!

We caught up with them (in Denise’s beautiful garden) and asked for the pair to share some of their thoughts on design, inspiration, and collecting.

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Denise: These photos are taken in the garden of my house, which is an Arts and Crafts property in a pretty village called Englefield Green, Surrey. The house used to be the old doctor’s surgery, and the original shutters are still on the outside of the house now. I’ve lived here for seven years and still love it.

Where do you find inspiration?
Hannah: Everywhere! Instagram is a constant source of inspiration. Since we launched Layer on Instagram earlier this year, we have been consistently amazed and inspired by so many beautiful photos taken by talented bloggers and photographers within the interiors space.

But we also find inspiration from nature, fashion, shopfronts, people walking down the street – all over the place. Sometimes it’s nice to switch everything off and step away from the online world to give yourself the space to be creative.

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How do you combine style and comfort?
Hannah: Thinking about how the space will actually work and be lived in is something that we believe in strongly. There’s just no point creating beautiful spaces that are uninhabitable or impractical for the people using them everyday (we agree!). We like to think carefully about where everything should sit from the word go – it’s not glamorous, but people forget how important putting plug sockets in the right place can be!

Which are your favourite places in your home?
<Denise: The garden lodge tucked away in a secluded spot at the end of the garden is definitely my favourite place. We built it from scratch a few years ago on a pretty tight budget – but it’s now my oasis of calm to take a cup of tea in the morning and practice some yoga.

Hannah: The courtyard in my house is definitely a triumph! It is very white and light, and when we pull back the full-length doors from the kitchen it really feels like one, really large room. The antique mirrors on the fence reflect back the light and make the space feel even bigger.

Describe the favourite pieces in your home and tell us the stories behind them.
Denise: My favourite painting is by Thomas McGregor who is an artist based in London and it’s an abstract piece called Trees on Park. It’s in a beautiful gold, gilt frame and the juxtaposition of traditional gilt frame and modern painting works fantastically. The blue, pink and green tones work beautifully in my dining room. I’ve just recently started buying artwork as I was quite intimidated by it before. Now I just buy pieces that I fall in love with! This painting was purchased from Mark at Ebury Trading.

Hannah: I visited Ardingly market last week and picked up the yellow and white 1960s woven plastic chair. I just can’t get enough of it! It’s outside in my courtyard now that the weather is nice and it just gives a great pop of colour to the white space. It’s very comfortable and feels quite ‘Mad Men’-esque!

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Tell us about how you use your outside space? What do you love about it?

Hannah: The outside space was something that sold my house to me. In the summer, it literally gives us another room in the house and it’s where we eat breakfast and dinner, practice yoga and less glamourously, dry our washing! It’s also perfect for Friday evening drinks with friends – we open up the doors from the kitchen, light the tealights and get some cocktails going.

One tip for anyone looking to restyle their outdoor space.
 Don’t be afraid to bring ‘inside furniture’ outside. Some of our most favourite events have involved heavy lifting of sofas and chairs and rugs outside, even if only for a short period of time.

You can also buy special outside rugs which really make the space feel welcoming and cosy. They can stay outside in the summer and roll up into a shed for the dark, winter months. Throw some cushions down on them for a perfect spot to relax.

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Best kept secret shops for interiors?
There are too many to name!
Most recently we discovered midcentury furniture dealers Hutch Interiors and House of Twenty. They both have beautiful stock and would certainly be our first point of call for a statement chair or sofa.

We also regularly make the journey to Sunbury Antiques Market and Ardingly Antiques Market (Josie: Take me with you!). They can be hit or miss, but if you pick a sunny day when all of the traders have made the trip over from Europe, there is such a buzz. Get there for when the doors open before everything gets snapped up!

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Thank you so much, Denise and Hannah, for spending time with us and showing us your beautiful garden! Stay tuned for more coming from these talented women at Layer Home!

For more, visit http://layerhome.com/.

(Images by Layer Home)

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60 seconds with… Abigail Ahern

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What is with the weather?? I definitely just about felt comfortable in woolly tights today… Is it because it’s Wimbledon??

We won’t go into any commentary about the sports going on, because it will only end in tears. Too much emotion involved! Needless to say, we are definitely enjoying the start of the summer sporting season, which is only serving to distract us from the blog! Bad things.

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Today we are launching another series to go with the Curious Shop series we already run. It’s a 60 second consultation with a designer or stylist – sounds cool? It is! We’ve lined up some exciting people for you, so look out for the posts. We can’t promise it will be the most life-changing consultation you will ever have with a designer/stylist, because, well… we’ve come up with the questions and you know we are a bit silly! Please, please, please do send us your questions if you have any, and we will try to include them in our next 60 seconds with…

Ready?

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We are so privileged to have Abigail Ahern joining us today. Most of you will know that Abigail is a famous author, TV presenter, business owner, designer… yes, Abigail Ahern is proof that you can do it all (if you are as talented and endearing as she is!). Cited as a “style spotter extraordinaire” by The Times newspaper, Abigail is well-known for her interior design work, including a 42,000 sq ft Grand Spa for the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida. We know!

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Abigail also has a store in London, an interiors emporium you could easily lose yourself in. When she isn’t busy doing all that, she also runs and teaches at an international design school, globe-hopping across NYC, Melbourne, Sydney, and London. We are so grateful Abigail kindly took the time to hang out with us, but we only got 60 seconds in her busy schedule, so ready, steady, go!

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What do you think of open plan style?

I like open plan rooms as long as they are cosy and snug and not bare and minimal.

Which do you prefer, vintage or modern?

Impossible to choose, but if I really had to, probably vintage would slightly win out.

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What are some ways to style a rented bedroom if you can’t paint walls, etc.?

If you’re renting, you can totally lift rooms out of the park with accessories – think about pieces that are tactile and make you want to touch them. Cushions, rugs, candles, art –  I call them the 5 minute face lifts of the decorating world. If you can paint your walls, that’s even better – I would obviously recommend going dark but most importantly  choose colours that you love!

Are ‘posh’ paints worth it?

‘Posh paints’ are so worth it. For the simple reasons they are mostly made from pigments of the earth – rock, clay, chalk – so they immediately have more depth and resonance. You don’t get the same effect with cheaper paints, as they are all made from synthetics.

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Most inspirational city?

NYC

Power shower or rainforest shower?

Power shower! I need to kick start the day.

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Which is your favourite part of the UK?

London

What is the best alternative to wallpaper (if you want the detail/pattern but not the hassle of hanging the paper/removing it, or if you can’t because you rent)?

My sister hangs wallpaper from bulldog clips and one can also paper big panels of MDF in some of the coolest patterns, so I would go that route. It’s not that hassle-y to hang paper these days and if you want that effect of pattern and texture nothing quite beats it!

What is one upcoming trend?

I totally and utterly ignore trends. In interiors especially, trends are a dangerous territory – as soon as something is in, it’s out. I follow my instinct and only my instinct. It takes confidence, but the more you do it, the more confident you get.

Your favourite best kept secret shop?

Santa Maria Novella in Redchurch Street! It sells the most amazing potpourri, incense, and candles on the planet.

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Thanks so much for your time!

Visit Abigail Ahern at:

http://www.abigailahern.com

137 Upper Street

Islington, London N1 1QP

Read her books:

Decorating with Style

A Girl’s Guide to Decorating (both by Quadrille Publishing Ltd)

 

All images courtesy of Abigail Ahern