Posts Categorised: Design/Interiors

Interview with BBC 1’s The Instant Gardener Presenter Danny Clarke

If you’ve watched BBC1’s The Instant Gardener, you’ll have seen some amazing transformations made by Danny Clarke and the team. Bringing unloved outdoor spaces back to life and making the owners really happy. I love it. So, who better to answer some gardening questions at this important time of year than Danny himself ?

Instant Gardener BBC1 Danny Clarke

How did you get in to gardening and then television presenting ?

Although I had a passion for gardening, my career in horticulture started by accident. Unfortunately a sales company I ran for many years hit upon hard times. A friend of mine had a landlady who was looking for a gardener to help in her plot one day a week and asked if I was interested in working for her. After meeting Jo I was bowled over by her larger than life character and took on the job while still being involved with my sales business. Jo who had a passion for gardens and gardening had extensive knowledge. She was a great teacher and I absorbed as much as I could. What Jo didn’t know about plants could be put on the back of a postage stamp.

Over a period of time I got approached by people to maintain their gardens and soon I made the decision to concentrate on horticulture and kicked the sales business permanently into the long grass. It was a no brainer really as now I was doing something I truly loved.

I have always had an interest in design whether it be gardens, interiors, fashion or architecture. So I enrolled at Hadlow Horticultural College and did a one year garden design course. This gave me the confidence to design and build gardens along with maintaining them.
The television gig came about as a result of my trading title which is The Black Gardener. I received a random email form 12Yard Productions who wanted a black gardener to present a gardening show ( The Instant Gardener ) which had already been commissioned by the BBC. Someone in their development department googled the name and hey presto my website appeared. I did the screen test which was successful and it all went from there.

Garden redesign Danny Clarke Instant Gardener BBC1

Which have been your favourite projects so far on The Instant Gardener ?

My favourite project on The Instant Gardener was for Shirley who lives in Manchester. She is a gamester who is mad for the Doctor Who tv series. It seemed pretty natural to design a themed garden based on the time lord. I cut three concentric rings into the lawn. We put slate chippings in the centre and middle strip which were contained with aluminium lawn edging to denote the universe. Random planting of round topiarised standard privet balls and small conical shaped yew trees into the area represented planets and rockets.

A wonky five sided arch made from fence posts constructed by AJ  the shows handyman was securely placed in the centre. This was the time portal that would cause Shirley to disappear into another dimension if ever she walked through it. Her shed was painted blue to mimic the Tardis. A narrow strip of the same colour was repeated on the decking by the rear patio doors which became the landing pad if ever the doctor should choose to visit. It was great to get the opportunity to show that gardens too can have humour.

At this time of year, what would you recommend we start preparing in the garden ?

The best time of year to prepare your garden for the coming year is in the winter. It’s a great time to take advantage of the dormancy. This is the season to repair fences, cut back plants that have finished, enrich your soil, prune perennials, weed, divide and plant bulbs. For me it’s the opportunity that shouldn’t be missed otherwise you may spend the spring playing catch up to get your space ship shape.

The Instant Gardener BBC1 Danny Clarke Interrview

What tips would you give to someone with a small garden to give the impression of space ?

When giving a small garden the illusion of space it’s important to think big. By this I mean try and put the largest plants and objects such as pots into the area. This way the boundaries will be blurred and your eyes will be concentrated on whats happening within the plot rather than taken to the edges. Buying one large plant can prove to be more cost effective than several smaller ones. And the same principle applies to pots.

Instant Gardener BBC1 Images Pond Redesign

Equally, how do you make a larger garden aesthetically pleasing ? 

My pet hate is to see narrow borders. Your garden as far as I’m concerned is about the plants. They shouldn’t be lining up like soldiers on duty along the border. They will look and grow at their best placed in the ground further into the garden. This will give your space a more aesthetically pleasing look and will free them from competition posed by a fence, wall or hedge which they will definitely thank you for.

If someone is looking to extend there living space through to the garden, how can they achieve this ?

A simple way to extend the living space into a garden is to repeat or mimic whatever is in your home to the outside. For example the flooring by the indoors can be of similar material to the patio. Repeat colours in your interior walls to a fence or shed. This will give your property a bit of joined up writing by extending the eye line and give the whole property the illusion of seeming larger than it really is. Another good idea is to place the same plants with identical pots in the home and garden.

Which plants and flowers do you recommend  for this time of year to add lots of colour ? 

March is such an optimistic time of year with the promise of what’s to come. A fab way to release those winter blues is to make sure you have plenty of colour in your garden at this time of year. Hellebores, Chaenomeles ( Quince ), Magnolia under planted with Primulas, Ophiopogon ( black grass ), Pulmonaria ( lungwort ) and Heuchera are particular favourites of mine.

For novice gardeners such as myself – which are low maintenance plants ? 

Most shrubs and ornamental grasses are low maintenance. However there are three in particular that will give you stunning season long colour that I would recommend. They are jasmine plants where you have winter and summer options. These only need the odd drink of water in dry spells.

Lavender will withstand the sunniest of areas and poor soil. The only maintenance needed here is a trim after flowering and a spot with good drainage as they don’t like their feet languishing in water.

I’m a massive fan of grasses and Stipa arundinacea is a particular fav of mine. As an evergreen it gives all year round colour turning from green in summer to a yellow and orange with red streaking in the winter months. In August it produces sprays of feathery flowers. If you’re in any doubt what to put next a plant a grass will often do as they provide great contrast to its neighbour.

Danny Clarke BBC1 Instant Gardener

What projects are you currently working on ? 

I am currently working on a garden design and build project near Croydon. It’s been very enjoyable and provided me with work over the winter months. They wanted me to take my cue from their neighbours outside space which has been done to a good standard. So you might say it’s next doors plot that gave me inspiration for the build. The hardlandscaping is almost complete and the plan is to undertake the planting at the end of April. I’m also going to be involved in some more telly very soon for the This Morning show where I makeover a garden for an unsuspecting mum for Mothers Day.

Can you offer advice for anyone wanting to go down the horticulture route ? 

Horticulture for me isn’t a job but a way of life. I love it with a passion. And my advice to anyone coming into it is to make sure you have a real joy for the industry. Particularly as it’s unlikely to make you a millionaire. But then again who knows and cares.

A big thanks to Danny for answering my questions and offering up some great garden inspiration. You can find out more about Danny on his website.

Do you have any extra Spring gardening tips ? Leave me a comment below. Always good to hear from you.

Styling Cosy Colourful Corners with Kleenex®

Kleenex Tissues Box Blue Room Tulips Cosy Styling Corner
Ad – This post is a paid partnership with Kleenex®

This time of year is just my favourite, particularly as Spring seems to have come early. The main reason being that Spring colours make everything feel new and fresh. You can open all the windows and let the lovely breezy air in. Is there anything better ? The light is much brighter and friendlier. Everything seems more vivid. I just love it.

Our home itself is still a work in progress – it probably always will be because I always have my eye on the next room to paint or simply want to move the furniture around. Placing older pieces such as books and beloved pots around the rooms, contrasted with some of my newer items and colourful prints, really helps to create aesthetically pleasing corners with pops of colour and contrast.

Labrador Home Interiors Colourful

But there are some parts of my home that are a constant and remind me of my sentimental side, like pictures of the girls growing up and long-remembered days out together. Of course our gorgeous Labrador, Sandy, is a very precious fixture too. I can’t quite believe that he’s just turned eight – or that we have lived here for nine years now – that’s quite a decent amount of time isn’t it ? He’s practically part of the furniture now !

Kleenex Blue Bedroom Plants Cosy Corner

There are some rooms that we spend more time in, like the living room, and obviously it’s important for bedrooms to feel cosy and comfortable – we spend almost half of our lives in them! I tend to stick the kettle on, make some mint tea in my favourite mug and then plonk myself right on the sofa to watch my favourite TV series and place my Kleenex® tissues right next to me every time. Because as my kids will tell you, I cry at the drop of a hat these days during funny film moments or a good book. Am I alone in doing this? The family find it hysterical. Everyone always turns to look at me with a knowing look, just when they know I’m about to shed a happy tear or two. 

When I really laugh, I often cry, sometimes my eyes water when I’m yawning. It’s because of this habit that I find myself constantly reaching for tissues. So, when I found out that Kleenex® had trendy Collection Cubes with ( gasp ) designs to fit every style, I had to get some.

Blue Yellow Pink Boxes Styling your Home Cosy Corners

I’m really impressed with the colourful designs of the new Kleenex® Collection Cubes – what do you think ? They come in three different patterns and colour combinations. It’s nice to be able to integrate and even style a tissue box to my own decor scheme so that it blends and feels part of the overall look of the room. I mean really, why shouldn’t your accessories and necessities be as fabulous as the rest of your home ?

Blues, pinks, golds – a really versatile combination for interiors. The different designs each suit different spaces in my house. I don’t think I can choose which one I like best, as they’re all really beautiful.

Kleenex Tissues Colourful Home Tulips Blue Yellow Cosy

So, now that I’ve admitted I do love a good cry every now and then – and you’ve seen how I like to spend time with some of my most cherished belongings at this time of year – how do you like to hang out at home ? Let me know in the comments below.

Botanical Inspired Textiles for Spring

Glasshouse Fabric print trend 2019

If we can just ignore the wind and rain for a minute and remember what Spring will look like shortly ? I want to show you some really lovely botanical inspired textiles in fabric and wallpaper form that will fast forward us to a few weeks time.

It seems 2019 really is carrying on the leafy and nature inspired theme from the last few years but it seems to be getting slightly bolder if f these luscious prints are anything to go by.

What I love about Sanderson prints like this Fernery one above, is that is that it’s bold and even with a black background it doesn’t depict at all, just makes the vivd green stand out more. There are a few more of their designs coming up as it was impossible to choose just the one.

Romo Wallpaper Japura Yellow Gold 2019 striking colourful bold Japanese style

This extremely exuberant wallpaper is is an Fenugreek colour way and by Romo. It’s called Pacaya and from their Japura range.

Again, the leaves are the star of the show and they’re really intricately drawn. It feels very retro or maybe that’s just me. Hopefully  I will use this one day in my interior design.

leaf print chair textiles trends 2019

I can always spot a distinctive Clarke & Clarke pattern a mile off. This Exotica Madagascar Forest material on a chair is pretty versatile and would no doubt work well as blinds or curtains, it would blend well with other colours in a harmonious setting or as a statement on its own.

It’s interesting how nature is represented so differently by each designer don’t you think ?

Cactus Wallpaper bold red colour statement 2019 trend

Although this Sanderson Glasshouse Terrarium Wallpaper does come in different shades, I had to share with you the Rhodera version because it is BOLD and I think pretty gorgeous. I am not sure it would work in an entire room but I guess it depends on the size. The detail is fabulous – it comes in fabric too.

Linwood Fabric Green Bird 2019

I’ve been pretty blown away by some of Linwood’s latest ranges and always look forward to one of their emails dropping in to the inbox.

From their Tango collection is Jungle Jive in Lawn Green. the artwork is really stunning. This isn’t a new one for 2019 but I think it needs to be seen again even if you’ve caught it before in magazines. The whole collection gets me every time !

Glasshouse wallpaper Sanderson Trend 2019 Bathroom

One more wallpaper for you now. Howe could I not share this Sanderson with you ? The Ring Tailed Lemur is a tropical print that also comes in a fabric and other colours. I challenge anyone not to smile with this in their home. As you can see here it combines well with tiles and other textiles. Really cute.

Well, I could carry on all day but there’ll be more opportunities to have a look at some others soon.

What do you think of these –  have any caught your eye ?

Image Copyright credits: 1. 4 & 6 Sanderson. 2. Romo. 3. Clarke & Clarke 5. Linwood.

 

Three Stunning Homes For Sale

House Boat London Central

Not so long ago I made an admittance on here that I am a total Rightmove addict. Well, I thought, why not share some of my favourite finds with you every month instead of keeping them to myself ? If you fall in love with them too you can always blame me, right ?

So to start off with I am going to take you on a mini tour this March with an array of what I feel are aesthetically stunning, dream homes.

At the top here is a property that caught my eye as I’ve always had a bit of a thing for houseboats, but this takes things to another level. Designed by 31/44 Architects, it’s such a tranquil space, moored St. Katharine Docks right in the centre of London currently – that’s what I love about them though. You could really live anywhere you wish within reason.

Aucoot Home For Sale Houseboat

Central London.

The boat has one bedroom and is brand new with bespoke handmade flooring throughout made from Douglas Fir Charcoal Grey Valchromat and Tulipwood which is a brilliant wood because it’s strong and doesn’t split like some others.

Houseboat for Sale Aucoot London Pink Wooden Theme Cosy

It has a concealed television, beautiful walls sconces, bathroom fittings are made from Corian and the kitchen units are created from recycled materials by ‘ Smile Plastics ‘. There is hidden storage under the stairs and seating.

Aucoot Houseboat for sale London Dusky Pink Wooden theme

Let’s just talk about the colour palette for a minute ? It’s very calming so blends with it’s surroundings. The natural materials are just lovely with the balancing dusky pink. I want to move in myself. It’s currently up for sale at £290,000 with Aucoot.

Bressingham, Norfolk.

This one is not so far from me. A rural find in Bressingham, Norfolk. Previously a steel framed agricultural barn. Look at the views …

Stunning Home for Sale Suffolk The Modern House Contemporary Cosy White

Sitting on a plot of land that previously formed part of the land of Old Boyland Hall which dates back to the 13th Century no less. Lots of wildlife on your doorstep, a private bridge over a moat to your garden and much greenery but let’s look at the interior.

White Stove fireplace The Modern House Suffolk Home for Sale

A four bedroom property spaced over 2 floors, It seems to have a very spacious feel with it’s large picture windows and double height ceilings allowing in generous proportions of light. 

Very envious indeed of the Carrara marble worktops which suit the homes contemporary theme. It’s a very simple look and I love it. 

House for Sale Norfolk White Room Yellow Spacious

Lots of room to manoeuvre in here. I really do like the white theme throughout. I think this twinned with the picture windows, frames the countryside all around you. Allowing pops of colour here and there inside to add extra character. I would be tempted to not make too many changes colour wise but if you did choose to, you have a great canvas to start with.

It’s not always possible to completely recommend a location but on this occasion – this part of the world is pretty wonderful.

Currently on the market at £799,000 with The Modern House.

Blue front Door

Bath, Somerset.

Last but most definitely not least is a home that really set my heart a fluttering. Not only do you have an exquisite exterior building which is on Queen’s Parade, but the current owners have created quite a feast for the eyes on the inside with the property occupying the second and third floor.

Beautiful Home Kitchen The Modern house

The home has remained sympathetic to it’s Georgian heritage but with a nod to modern day. The house was originally designed in around 1770 by John Wood the Younger.

Really appreciating the classic and gentle colour combinations used in every room with the paint and furniture textiles combined.  

The light is able to stream right in and highlight the structures of the room and accentuates the high vaulted ceiling.

The Modern House Bath colour inspired beautiful home Bath
The Moder nHouse Kids Grey Bedroom Decor Cosy

There seems to be painted wooden flooring throughout and a very cute and cosy room here. When you have a bedroom with eaves (sloping ceilings ) they can be excellent as kids rooms where you can utilise the shapes using storage boxes etc. With the window capturing the city just outside, it’s a win win, really.

Currently on at £770,000 Freehold with The Modern House. There are some more images on their website. Really worth a look. 

All very Pinterest worthy places don’t you think ? Will be adding some to my own boards imminently. What are your thoughts on these homes ? Leave me a comment as ever below…

Welcome to Lucy Gleeson Interiors

Interior Design textiles swatches paint ideas

You many have noticed that I have been absent for a little while ? Well, this is because I took January off and also a few things have changed here. For starters, this website is now called Lucy Gleeson Interiors. Thanks so much for supporting me as Lucy Loves Ya for the last 8 years, I really appreciate it so much – and I will still be blogging regularly so hope you will stay with me as there’s lots to come.

Nothing has changed in that I still love writing about home design, DIY ideas and looking at trends. Definitely still enjoy interviewing designers, artists and brands too.

But, it was time to also add my interior design and styling services which can be found at in the pages at the top. If you are looking this year to make changes to your home in some way or know someone who wants to. Do get in touch. I can offer lots of different options but am also really open to bespoke requests. You can find out more about my services at the top of the blog.

Interior Design Textiles colour wheel hues swatches

It’s an exciting time and there are many plans for this year. Including a book that is currently at the construction stage and I can’t wait to share more of this with you as soon as I am able to.

I will also be running some online courses. Will of course let you know when this is closer to fruition.

So this post is short and sweet. But I will be updating again shortly. It’s nice to be back.