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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Turn down the lights, it’s time to relax…

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“‘Twas the night before Christmas…” Wait, not yet!! I got slightly confused today about which day/date it was (it’s the short hours of daylight and the multiple naps I’m having this holiday), and may have had a little panic about those last minute bits+bobs to pick up and cards to write. Thank goodness it’s only 23rd December, but I’m guessing you (esp. if you are a parent!) are already counting down to the festive hustle and bustle winding down.

To be honest, it’s too late now to fret about the undone tasks, so you might as well start relaxing. We mean it! We aren’t going to launch into a sermon about Christmas is a time for family+love, and when did it become so rampantly consumerist+commercial, etc.; Christmas is a really important time to rest and recharge before that new year sticks its head into your life (2015, we can just about see you hurtling towards us!), so rest is what we are indulging in this season.

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In that spirit, we thought we’d share one of our current favourite candle vendors – Clement & Claude (C&C). We discovered them through our beloved Closet & Botts, and really liked the amber glass jars+lids that the candles come in (also that cute fox-head logo!). By the way, why are lidded candles are so difficult to find in the UK?? Are our Google search terms just totally incorrect? And why is Illume the only place to go to for candles in cool containers?? Is there nothing in England??

Sorry, digression. We clearly feel quite strongly about the matter! Anyway, Joanna of C&C has come to our rescue with her range of hand poured (in London), 100% soy wax candles.  we’ve currently got Wild Plum going, and before that, she kindly lent us a Citrus Ginger large candle to style and take some photographs with. (Unfortunately, as we were pretty busy with work, we ended up having to take photos at night before needing to return the candle, so please pardon the dodgy lighting…)

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These candles are great for giving as gifts (they come in gorgeous kraft boxes, tied in cotton baker’s twine), or for travelling with. We can’t get over the screw-top lids of the jars – sounds silly but it means your candles stay dust free and fragrant for longer, esp. when you aren’t using them so much in the summer. Also it’s easier to travel with them, if like us, you like bringing a little something from home when on the road.

Enjoy your Christmas eve!xx

For more, visit Clement & Claude at http://www.clementandclaude.co.uk/.

 

Styling/Images by Courage & Dash

Curious Shop: The Future Kept

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Why, hello there! Only 9 sleeps until Christmas day… how quickly the festive season has crept up on us. It’s  been some time since we had a #CuriousShop feature, so here we are, with our current favourite new online shop, The Future Kept. Remember Jeska Hearne from Lobster and Swan, whose lovely home studio we visited here?

Jeska, and her husband, Dean, recently launched their latest project that combines their backgrounds in design, styling, photography, writing, and brand development. The Future Kept is based on the ethos of slow-living, sustainability, and supporting artisans. And you can tell that the two have a clear vision for their brand – from the product images, to the materials to the design and makers, all tell the same story of taking a deep breath and stopping to think about how and why we buy.

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The shop stocks a range of products, from bags to bath products to home furnishings, and the is something for almost every budget. If you are still on the hunt for that elusive Christmas present for the friend who has it all, or the picky aunt, pop on over to the shop for a browse! Oh, and you really don’t want to miss their Instagram feed: it’s gorgeous (@thefuturekept).

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Visit The Future Kept at http://www.thefuturekept.com

See Jeska’s blog at http://www.lobsterandswan.com.

 

Images via Jeska Hearne

The Curious Shop: Bonbon Balloons

Balloons! We love them! Colourful, floaty, dreamy, in all sizes and even shapes: Helium-filled spheres that bob along overhead, weighted foil ones in the shape of dogs, ducks, sheep to walk beside you, oversized cherry-coloured balls of fun to decorate weddings with…

Imagine how smug we felt when we chanced upon Bonbon Balloons up in North London – purveyors of helium goodness, provider of balloon couture…

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In Aug 2011, Rebecca Moyster left her full-time job as an Interior Product Developer armed with her background in textile design, and a desire to run a creative business. Before long, she found inspiration in Tim Walker images featuring very large round balloons – and Bonbon Balloons was born.

“I just thought it was funny how when you usually see or think of balloons you think old fashion egg shaped balloons in a traditional arch style,” Rebecca muses.

“I then thought about the concept of adding something beautifully decorative to the usually neglected balloon string. I immediately thought this could be customised to every clients theme or colour palette.”

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Rebecca then spent months playing and designed lots of different garlands to use with the balloons. It was trial and error getting the weight of each string so it worked with the size of the balloon and helium pull.

It wasn’t easy, Rebecca recalls. “I had never inflated a balloon prior to starting Bonbon Balloons so I have a lot of learning and practising to do!”

Like all good creations, the confetti balloon came about by accident…

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“The confetti balloon only came about the day before my first photo shoot for the website. I had been cutting up confetti to sprinkle on the floor in the images, and knocked a big bag of it off the desk by mistake. As I was picking it up, I thought “this would look good inside the balloon”.

“Three years on this is our best selling balloon type!” Rebecca reveals.

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Since then, Bonbon Balloons have gone on to provide all kinds of joy and make all kinds of dreams come true. Apparently, a customer requested a proposal note to be added within his confetti mix (his girlfriend accepted the proposal!), and another has used the balloon strings to tie an engagement ring for his proposal.

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“When we have worked on an event concept and design for months it’s the best feeling in the world seeing them in action,” Rebecca shares. “For our customers and fans, it’s great sharing these images on social media because it often inspires customers to find ways of using our balloons if they have an event coming up.”

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“Balloons make everyone smile and feel happy,” Rebecca says, “and that’s such a great world to be in.”

We couldn’t agree more!

For more ideas of balloons and ideas of how to use them in your next soirée, visit Bonbon Balloons at http://bonbonballoons.com/.

 

Images: All Bonbon Balloons (Rebecca Moyster) apart from first and last pictures: first from Laura McCluskey, last from Nikos Gogas.

Fantastic Friday: Makegood Festival

Ok. If you weren’t at the Makegood Festival on the Saturday just gone, WHERE WERE YOU?? You’d better have been doing something wildly exciting to justify missing out. It was SO. GOOD.

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Makegood Festival is the platform for students of the School for Creative Startups to put into practise all they’ve learned about managing their creative business and selling their products. It’s a normal retail fair, but held in the cool old Selfridges hotel site (which has been gutted and lined up for demolition, so a very cool venue), and showcasing the newest and latest creative ventures. The reason we love it so, at the risk of overhyping it, is because the festival had such a range of high quality stalls. Plus it had the buzz of a university freshman week fair (can anyone remember what those felt like? We got quite nostalgic).

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Some more established fairs risk feeling samey and predictable after time, but not the Makegood Festival, simply because by definition every Makegood is a display if new creative start ups, i.e. cutting edge, novel businesses.

We were so glad we went and met with such lovely designer-maker-entrepreneurs. It was tough to pick our favourites as there were so many at you would have loved, but we tried, so here are top finds.

1) Ink Bandit (where have you been all my life??)

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2) Pomp Pomp (children’s party supplies – look at the yummy cupcakes)

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3) Fanciful Pages (beautiful stationery, beautiful packaging, beautiful everything…)

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4) Betty Etiquette (purveyor of cards, text, paper… quick fix of stationery goodness, I could go on…)

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5) Suitcase Susie (global travel inspired porcelain range; delicate and stylish)

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6) Salt and Buoy (Cornwall/coastal-living inspired soft furnishings; look at those colours!)

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Sorry to stop at a bit of a non-rounded number, but we couldn’t choose! So here are our top 6. Some of them will be making a reappearance on Courage & Dash, so stay tuned…

Also, well done all of you at the Makegood, we were SO IMPRESSED!!!

Images by Josie (Courage & Dash)