Mosaic panelled bathroom (CAD)

I am DEFINITELY having this in our house when we buy it. It’s still my absolute favourite. It needs to be on a smaller scale than this so there should be space for 4 repeats of what you see here. either that or radiating out in a sort of fractal to smaller and smaller repeats.

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Showroom Reception Desk?

Normal service is now resumed. After the trifecta of personal/family/professional vortices of hospital, school holidays & sudden business success we’re back on the blog and back on the program! We’re in the final stages of preparation for our new website and showroom so I decided to get busy with the CAD-substitute and work up some ideas for inspiration. we’re considering this for the reception desk. Let me know if you like it. Some real pictures of installation coming soon. Will blog blow-by-blow account of the showroom development. Watch this space, we’ll be opening up in London before the end of the year. Yay!


Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Final proposal for Alcove project

This is the proposed look for the Alcove project. I personally prefer the mock-up I did with the blue tiles, but then I’m not the designer!

This is done with the background gradient in Vetricolour and the rain effect in Le Gemme metallic veined tiles. The Le Gemme accents will be in the same palette as the background but because of the programme I use I can’t show that. Serves me right for being a cheapskate I suppose!

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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Mosaic Alcove Project

Our first attempt at DIY CAD!

We’re so chuffed with this! Yes, the perspective on the walls isn’t completely right but it’s totally fit for the purpose of illustrating the effect to designers and architects.

This is for a project we’re working on in Kent with a lovely designer called Melody Savage of Savage Crow. The final panels will be very different from this with the intention to use Le Gemme Bisazza tiles to create a rain-like effect in muted pinks and purples.

We’ll be posting updates as we go!

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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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New mosaic design – Watch the Birdie!





This was inspired by a piece of textile design by a talented designer called Eleanor Grosch. Each bird is approx 50cm wide so it would make a good repeat on a feature wall or lobby area.



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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Bed sweet bed – Linen by Kas

I don’t spend anywhere near enough time at the moment browsing in the bedding sections. I’ve got a bit of an obsession with bed linen and I get inexplicably enraged when the other half changes our bedclothes and uses mismatched sheets and pillows. I suppose I ought to benevolently assume he’s doing it because he understands the whole ‘clashing prints’ trend and is trying to impress me but I have a feeling it’s just because they were first out of the linen basket. Regardless of his intentions though, at the moment we’ve got an unfortunate monkey’s jumble of burgundy and red pillow cases juxtaposed with a duck-egg blue damask duvet cover and a sage green sheet. I’m trying not to consider the possibility that he might just be doing it out of spite.

I’ve always loved my bedroom. It’s the room I lavish most of my furnishing and decorating budget on. When I was working in Buying for a large UK retailer I spent hours perusing catalogues of highly unsuitable suppliers with cost prices well outside the achievable target retail price and I suppose my inclination towards upward mobility in the linen department stems partly from that. In the days I spent stalking the aisles of trade fairs though the best and bravest designs I saw came from Australian brand, Kas. I first met them back in 2003 and I immediately fell in love. They can be a little difficult to come by over here. Fortunately my brother is coming back for a visit soon and is going to bring me a few hundred dollars worth of fair dinkum loveliness in his suitcase!

I particularly like the Nordic style red embroidered set and top left image is almost sampler-like and very naively pretty. The black stylised floral etching would look fantastic in just about any room set – it’s just really versatile but a massively bold statement at the same time.

The faded charcoal with bold pastels remind me of the late 80s but the faded-out aspect means it’s all in a good way. I also particularly like the great textured cushions. Very like that mermaid scale dress I’ve seen in the Tia Maria ad recently which has led to thoughts of a diet. I admit I left the bare-chested outback Aussie in there purely for titillation – I’m lucky enough to have one of my own, but he doesn’t have nearly such good taste in cushions!

The Indigo tie-dye pattern on the left is great for Moroccan or SE Asian inspired looks and I love the understated weave on the geometric pattern bottom left. The tribal print is also very now, although I don’t know if I agree with the stylist in this shot. I’m not aware that the Masai are well known for their love of rocking horses.

These are my absolute favourites for their complete ‘throw your cares to the wind’ exuberance. When it’s raining and blowing a gale outside I can’t think of anything better than a bed that looks as inviting as these do. I’m getting 2 of these and I know it will lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth from my manly man but at least the wild abandom of the colour schemes means that he can pull whatever else he likes out of the linen basket and I’ll probably not even notice!

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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


Minimalism – a rant (or How Open Plan ≠ Human)

We are schizoid creatures. On the one hand we are scientists, driven to explain our environment and broaden our horizons, leading to HD, micro-surgery and quantum physics. On the other we are romantic beasts driven by hormones and the sensual world, dashing into ill-considered liaisons ‘because it feels so wrong and yet so right’ and wanting to hide in caves and make nests.

So to decor – if, on one hand we are scientists and on the other side beasts, where is the beastly side of design? What’s with every single architect inspired house we see being vast expanses of Federer-esque white, glass and concrete? Where is there for the beast in us to hide?! Where can the likes of John McEnroe go to scream his head off in privacy without half the village seeing him?

Nowhere to scream!

To live in a glass house doesn’t just preclude you from throwing stones, it prevents you from any kind of emotional outburst or sartioral faux-pas.

People in glass houses shouldn't.....

You can’t put a foot wrong in a glass box. No bad hair days allowed. The postman has already seen you coming from 200m away… before he’s even rung the bell. When so many of us have an irrational, but primal, fear of the dark, why do we aspire to live in the sort of structure that encourages people to look into and covet your lives? It’s not even as if any would-be stalkers would have to skulk in the bushes. Considering the vast glassy expanses of most of these ostentatious temples to minimalism, they could probably take their binoculars, a picnic and their extended family and have a party a mile away from your posh abode and still be able to see you change your socks.

Stalkers welcome

Yes, we KNOW, you’re making the most of your space and don’t mind showing off your impeccably bought-in taste. We KNOW you probably have a bespoke vending machine providing you with hand-loomed Japanese house slippers every time you come home and that your pet of choice is probably one of those awfully clever, non-deciduous Portugese waterdogs. It’s your money and your life but I’d rather live somewhere where I didn’t have a postcode sized anxiety attack over my fashion choices every time I had to clean the oven. We know you’re trying to say ‘I am transparent, I lay myself bare for your judgement, I have nothing to hide.’ What you’re really saying though is ‘Look at all the posh stuff I’ve got, check out that brand label, it’s real.’

Obviously it’s been around for a while, this obsession with clarity and space. The vogue for glass-walled meeting rooms and offices obviously hasn’t helped. People see the space it creates in what was a pokey work-warren and gasp. What they don’t realise until these structures are inhabited, is that it works badly for people on both sides of the glass wall. Plus-side: the boss can check that the minions are working rather than changing their Facebook status and the minions can see when the boss is coming and make sure they look busy. Negative-side: Everyone can be spectator to the ‘TV on mute’ screaming matches, tears and other unprofessional (but human) tantrums, skulduggery and general unpleasantry that used to be encouraged to be taken ‘behind closed doors’. I for one don’t want to feel as if I live in a conference centre where my performance is being monitored and notes are being taken.

Conference Centre, Sweet Conference Centre

Quite apart from the fact that a glass house (while it might satisfy the socially mobile aspirations of the parents) is a teenager’s absolute worst nightmare made real, we now come to the necessary evils of glass. Do none of the owners of these personal-taste showrooms ever drink? Don’t they have small children? Clearly not, because apart from soiling their white cashmere carpets with red wine or snot they could surely be courting a visit either from the paramedics or social services. Small children have a tendency to run/ride/throw themselves willingly into things. Imagine a 2 yr old in the middle of toilet training in one of these transparent puzzle boxes. The loo itself may well be behind a solid wall but asking a creature who’s logical conclusion is to listen to ones biology and choose the shortest visible path, to navigate glass corridors necessarily encourages accidents, life-long low self-esteem and the need to take out shares in glass and carpet cleaning products.

Seriously, you have to be a complete neat-freak to the point of almost fatal levels of OCD to attempt to live in one of these things. It’s like your own personal version of The Emperors New Clothes except that no-one, apart from those clever architects (whose own homes I find almost invariably contain desks covered in biros, elastic bands and coffee cups and over-flowing bins) has talked you into it. You’ve thrown yourself willingly into a lifetime of polishing, buffing and screaming at your family to please eat with their forks over the table. Your local window cleaner will be rubbing his hands in glee. Do Italians live in these places? I think probably not. Do white carpets and glass walls lend themselves to the eating of pizza, pasta or tomato based sauces or wild gesticulations?

Also, is it just me that has the feeling that glass staircases and balustrades, a huge swarm of which have recently invaded my inbox, might make people who are inclined towards drink and drugs have large scale panic attacks? Can you imagine trying to negotiate a house like this while under the influence? There are several people who I can clearly see in my minds eye clinging to these stairs with wild eyes and white knuckles (that’s if they can navigate the treacherous polished marble flooring).

The drinker's friend

Even for the more sober of us, I’m sure we all have those guilty pleasures of the ‘You’ve been Framed’/’People do the Funniest things’ persuasion which mainly involve people running at full speed into the patio doors (often carrying food/drink). Cue months of entertainment for your neighbours until you hardwire a mental map of your brand new invisi-box.

Set camcorder to 'Stun'

Now, I get vertigo (not the height-o-phobic sort but the one where there’s something wrong with your inner ear) which makes your brain switch off and causes you to spontaneously fall up or down stairs. I normally have to put my hand out to steady myself and this is one of the reasons these houses fill me with fear for the monthly payments on my health insurance.

Vertigo nightmare

When you’re not worrying about where to stand when you need to adjust your knickers you might also want to think about what to do when it gets cold outside and you want to feel cosy. I know most of these places are warm enough but they don’t feel emotionally warm so a lot in colder climes have made a stab at minimalist fireplaces.

Mmmm. Snuggly.

Quite why we now want our houses to have the sort of water-stained 1960s housing estate carbuncle-inspired concrete finish that we derided to the point of extinction in the 80’s and 90’s goodness only knows. This looks more like an industrial furnace for smelting pig-iron than a place for romantic trysts. Best enjoyed with a plate of sharpened Scandinavian crispbread, a glass of wheatgrass and a George Orwell novell for extra post-industrial irony.

So much for the homes of pure scientists and the owners of Mr Sheen.

If you’ve got to be minimal but want to be discrete about it I think this might be just the thing.


Yes, it might feel like you’re waking up in the world’s most un-charismatic bowling alley but at least you won’t have to worry about the duvet having slipped off in the middle of the night!

I know what I’ll be buying next time I buy a home though, and it’s going to involve brick, and small places where I can hide and eat Jaffa cakes under the bedclothes with old copies of Enid Blyton books and where we can sit and watch TV without worrying whether or not it’s socially acceptable to be watching ‘Deal or no Deal’ with a beer at 4.30pm. I want a place where I can use my Wii fit without worrying that someone other than my partner might be videoing my bum. Where my neighbours can’t see where those lost socks are before I do and where I can eat a tub of ice-cream in all my Primarni beastliness and not have to worry about people on the street passing judgement on my friend who will forever be a chav.

Because ultimately isn’t a home about where you are accepted, where you go to be yourself and to hide from the judgements of others who you chose not to share yourself with? To crawl into your cave and be as much of a beast as you like? Preserve the mystery. Don’t expose it all. Your home is where you go to relax, not a public confessional. Everyone wants the world to see them how they would like to be seen I don’t want to see my neighbours in HD. And they almost certainly don’t like the idea either.

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


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