Posts Categorised: Design/Interiors

Why I’ve gone for Consistency with our Flooring

Pink Kids Room Desk Study Area Eames Chair Retro Scandi Floor

So here’s an admission. My name’s Lucy and I’m a Rightmove addict. Ahhh, it feels good to get that out. I trawl the homes looking at all the decor and how people have lovingly decorated and  dressed their rooms. This is also why I’ve gone for consistency with our own flooring.

One thing that particularly turns me on or off is the flooring and this is because when you see a gorgeous home that has different flooring in every room it feels really inconsistent and doesn’t flow. I don’t mean that every single room should look completely uniformed but I just feel it’s much more easy on the eye if it at least there is a running theme throughout ?

Wooden Scandi Floor Kids Room Neon Flamingo LightWooden Floors Quick-Step

This spurred me to choose the same Engineered Natural Oak Wood Quick -Step in for all of our bedrooms including B’s bedroom that I hadn’t showed you until now. A while ago I posted the main and guest bedroom but since then we have had a change around ( are we ever surprised by the amount of abandoned stuffed toys found during these times needing new homes )  and we feel really pleased with it…

Wooden Floor Built in Wardrobe Pink Bedroom

I know you shouldn’t decorate your home to please the next owners – but I do think it makes a bit of sense to consider what might sell your home in the future. How many times have you heard of owners ripping up nice carpet to expose the wooden floors ? Plus it just looks great for right now – which is the main objective.

Kids Den Blackboard wall music room Wooden Floors cosy inviting

Putting down this Quick-Step has made the room feel twice as big. As we’ve put in a new mirrored wardrobe this has also added light and makes the floor look like it goes on forever. But also if you slide back the doors you enter another little world beyond the dresses.

There is a ‘ secret room ‘ ( my sister said one day it will be called the boyfriend room and I said that’s when it will be bolted up haha ) that we’ve also had the Quick-Step laid in and it has transformed a tiny little space and it’s much more inviting now. Easy to wipe too with the chalk dust.

So now all 4 bedrooms are completed. Our room, M’s room, guest room and this one. We laid all of the floor boards the same way again to be formulaic. We’re very happy with the results. If you’re looking to change your flooring then I’d definitely recommend Quick-Step as an option.

To be honest, I’m amazed I even managed to photograph the room over the Summer Hols let alone write the post  – hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Quick-Step – as always all opinions are my own.

Interview: TV Production Designer Richard Drew

Tv Production Designer Richard Drew
Have you ever wondered how a TV set is designed and the production behind it  ? Why are certain colours used in a character’s home and who develops all of this and how ? Well, I have some answers here for you courtesy of my interivew with TV Production Designer Richard Drew who has worked on many shows in his extremely established career including The Inbetweeners, Smell of Reeves & Mortimer, Man Down, Alan Partridge, Ratburger, Walliams and Friends, Sick Note, Stath Lets Flats …the cv is wayyy too long to mention everything.

It seems like the perfect time to chat with Richard and discover some tricks of the trade as he is just about to celebrate his 30th year in the industry …

How did you train to become a Production Designer ?

I studied at Barking College of Technology as a 6th form student doing a Media Course in 84 / 85 – pretty progressive for the mid 80’s in East London. I did O’levels in film, television and theatre design. Then I got accepted onto a West Sussex College of Design course 85 / 86 doing a theatre design diploma, a 2 year course completed in 1. Then finally film school 86 / 88 in Newport South Wales, an HND course in film and tv practice.

I went from school right the way through without a year out and finished my education in June 1988. My first day at work for the BBC in Wales was the 8 / 8 / 88 – it’s my 30th Anniversary next month. 
But it goes further back than just the education, as a 12 year old I stood on a professional stage for the first time as an amateur performer and was totally transfixed. Not so much with the audience and lights but was intrigued and captivated by the mechanics of theatre and how it worked behind the scenes – and I loved the smell of backstage. – I still do. 

 It was my Drama Teacher at school who told my Father when I was maybe 14, that I should consider persuing a career backstage rather than trying to be an actor ( something I thought I wanted to do ) as I clearly loved the theatre and was ‘ good at art ’ but not ‘ good at acting ’ – the single best advice anyone ever gave me. I painted the boards rather than tread them.

Billionaire Boy TV Show

Is there a process when you start work on a new project and how do you decide what the characters’ homes will be like inside ?

It all starts with a script. Reading it over and over, followed by a meeting or two with a writer / director. Then finding a location which will dictate a hell of a lot. I love the back story to a character. Why are they here ? What they do for a living etc. I think about colour themes, age of the charcter… where they shop, I love giving my characters collections of things… maybe a bit of me there ?

If building a set interior I try and go for sets with depth; sexy transitions from room to room, sets wide enough that you don’t need to move walls or furniture to shoot in. It’s a lot easier to make a room feel smaller on camera than make a room look bigger. Lighting is vital, windows are useful and building a room means you can make an alcove just the right size to fit a particular piece of furniture. 

 

Comic Relief ImageDavid Walliams Lady image

Where do you go to find inspiration for the production ?

The art world more than anything I’d say – for a designer of spaces and interiors maybe more than the architecture world, which I guess you’d expect – installation artists like Esther Stocker I really love. The Comic Relief set of 2016 was inspired by her work … a collage piece by Sharon Elphick inspired the Comic Relief set of 2013.

Street Art – I love the trend for doing art with fluorescent tape. Furniture design both good and bad. Shop window displays in general are great sources of ideas. Wallpaper patterns, shadows on the floor, the colour of the sea, fashion. Pretty much wherever you look if you’re switched on that way I think you find it.

 I think a Google image search is a thing of beauty as it opens up so many possibilities that endless library searches may never find. Graphic art is a huge influence – record covers. I’ve spent a lot of money on records in the past based soley on the cover art. I’m a bit of a culture sponge, a hoarder and have the capacity to remember and reference things not really knowing how or why it’s there other than certain things just stick. Something as varied as the typography and layout of a Live Aid poster, the colour of Tom Hanks bed in the film Big or a Tom Ford suit worn by Colin Firth at the Oscars. I don’t know whether that’s a designer thing – or a thing that I just possess – but I’ve always been very visually aware and a bit of a visual magpie ( sorry that’s a very lazy way of putting it )

Sick Note TV Programme

I’d love to know which colours you enjoy working with the most ?

I adore colour – certainly when designing the light entertainment shows I’ve done in the past ( Friday Night with Jonathan Ross – the BBC version , Your Face or Mine, Comic Relief – I’ve always gone for a set with colour – the truth is people in light entertainment particularly are quite scared of colour as there is no get out of jail card. If you have a green set, you’re stuck with a green set but if you paint the set grey and light it green, you can change it to any colour you want, which I think is a cop – out. In designing for scripted stuff I love using colour throughout –  limited colour palletes, certain colours for certain characters etc.

If you watch season one and two of Sick Note ( Sky One Season 2 starts this week ) there is no yellow on the set apart from one character who wears it and has yellow props and a yellow car. It was a decision based purely on the fact that we thought it would make that character stand out – although she’s not a main character she acts as a linchpin to a lot of the story. I once did a kids show years ago which was like a Japanese Anime and the only colours I used on the set were the colours of the Tokyo Subway lines. Just because. I love the meaning of colours and the way they make you feel. I love playing with colour tones also.

How would you describe your own home style ?

Ecclectric ( is that even a word ?) – colourful and spacious.

I’ve got the ubiquitous Tolix Chairs and the G plan Sideboard but its mixed with a bit of 70’s, 30’s ,50’s stuff.. a sprinkling of kitsch thrown in. A solid Ikea Bookcase and Lack Bed have been with me forever to address the balance. I’ve an Eames Lounger and Sofa that was in a famous film ( I really can’t tell you which one, no really I can’t ) and there is fair amount of film posters going on and random signage from various travels or film shoots. Christ it sounds like a hipster wet dream. Car boot finds and skip grabbed pieces fill the gaps  – a £12 1960’s coffee table sits happily on a moroccan rug.

I’ve avoided the trend for house plants as I know I’ll kill them but still have an empty Macrame basket hanging from my ceiling. I’ve got Airfix planes in my kitchen and a 1980’s ceramic Buddha in my hallway. But I love it. Of course it’s a little bit art directed. 

Billionaire Boy - Production Designer - Richard Drew

There must be some pros and cons of working as freelance designer in television production ?

I’ll start with the negatives.

The hours can be brutally long Sometimes in the Art Dept it’s not uncommon to do a 14 hour day – it takes a certain person to want to commit to that. Plus as a freelancer even when back home the phone can ring at all hours – script changes at 10pm or schedule changes. I’ve often thought there should be an acceptable cut off time but when you’re knee deep on a project – it just all consumes you and you live and breathe it. It becomes normal and although we all know that it isn’t healthy we still do it.
I also don’t think that’s unique to the Art Dept. Make-Up, Costume, Lighting, Locations etc etc – we all do silly hours.
It’s often a more physically demanding job that you’d maybe expect, certainly the filming part of it.
I walked 9.5 miles in a studio fairly recenly – a studio maybe a bit bigger than a tennis court. how is that possible I didn’t go anywhere.
I was on my feet dressing a set, back and forth all day but going nowhere. 
Dressing sets / solving problems / construction managing a project takes it’s toll whether you think it does or otherwise – punch drunk in decision making. I don’t suffer fools I’m afraid so working with ‘ chancers ’ or new kids on the block who think they know everything can be very tiresome – I would say I don’t think that’s unique to television though.

Oh and you never know when the phone may ring, that can be both good and bad. I still havent got used to it either way.

The pros thankfully outweigh the cons. I’ve met a lot of truly wonderful people in my career so far. Film shoots on the whole are great environments to spend your day and although hard work, are also fun. A shoot allows you to work in amazing locations and world famous studios – my current project has me putting a set or two onto the stages at Pinewood Studios. I can’t tell you what a thrill that is to say, working at the BBC was also always a real thrill for me too.

I’ve travelled a little bit too – Rio, Tokyo, Warsaw and Beijing – to see those parts of the world from a work perspective rather than just a holiday perspective is authentic and how cities should be seen I think. I’ve worked with some immense talent and spent time with huge stars. I have to stress that this is not why I do the job but sometimes you do have to pinch yourself – ” yes that is Stevie Wonder and yes he is rehersing not 12 feet from me “.  ” Yes I’m standing on stage with David Bowie ” – ” yes I will catch Daniel Craig in my arms on this small stunt fall “…
More importantly in light of equal pay and the ‘ Me Too ‘ movement I’m incredibly proud to say that the Art Dept is a fantastic example of where male and female doesn’t matter. 

Buyers, Set Decorators, Art Directors, Prop Makers, SFX Designers, Prop Masters, Standby Props and Production Designers are just as likely to be female as male – and equally paid too. Its based on ability and nothing more.

Sick Note T V Show

Is there a particular production project over the last 30 years that stands out the most as your favourite ? Why ?

That’s like trying to choose a favourite child !

I’m incredibly proud of the 5 comic reliefs and 4 Sport Reliefs I’ve designed for the BBC. I’m part of that wonderful tv family and the history of that show. Always honoured to be asked. It’s where I’ve got to flex my showbiz muscles and every once in a while it’s a good thing to brush off the glitter and mirrored floors.

The 11 O’Clock Show put me on the map as a Production Designer and was the point I stopped being an Art Director so I’ll always have a soft spot for that show. The Inbetweeners for seeing how a show nobody had heard of suddenly become a show that everyone knew  – and it’s always a nice revelation to tell younger members of a crew that I worked on it. Their eyes generally light up.

Stath Lets Flats TV Show Channel 4 designer Richard DrewCreatively. I’d say most of what I’ve done in the past 2 years on the whole has been some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. Ratburger the David Walliams book for Sky last Christmas was a dream job. I had total creative freedom thanks to trust from Production, Matt the Director and David himself – I was like a child in a candy shop on that one. A Ratburger machine that was part Heath Robinson and part Mousetrap board game. Recently Sick Note for Sky, Stath Lets Flats on Channel 4 , the new series of Alan Partridge due to air on the BBC in January and my current project ‘ After – Life ’ have all been immensly challenging but very rewarding. Building sets and dressing sets is the best for me. Creating something that doesn’t exist is still such a buzz. 

I’m fortunate to still enjoy the job as much as I do.

records vinyl collection

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask you about your huge vinyl collection. Where do you like to go record hunting and who are you loving listening to at the moment ?

I’ve been buying records almost as long as I can remember. Whats the Abba line ? ” Mamma said I was a dancer before I could walk, she said I began to sing long before I could talk ” well that’s me I think, I’m basically Agneta from abba.

 The collection is close to 4000 now and has no desire to stop growing… 
If designing is my love then music is my passion. I’m not someone who buys for value, I buy to complete a set or because I love a partiular track or I just like the cover. There can be a million reasons I buy but ‘ its resale value ’ isn’t one of them. Because of this, my taste is wildly eclectic.
For example last week at a charity shop in one swoop I bought a Hazel Dean hi – energy 12” , a UB40 12”, a Todd Rundgren album a Nat King Cole album and a 70’s album by a French band called Space. Magic Fly is the song you would know – trust me.
Sure I have genres I prefer – disco, dance, electronic, synthwave, soundtracks, brit funk, and indie but that doesn’t stop the Rouge Country Albums and Jazz albums creeping in or a bit of folk. Anything goes to be honest, I’m unashamedly first and foremaost a pop fan. I go to at least a dozen gigs a year, recenly Gary Numan, MGMT and Orbital so of course I’ve been out and bought some of those albums to join some dots. I’ve recenly being listening a lot of Imagination, Tiger and Woods, Roosevelt, Hall and Oates and Faithless.

Could you offer some advice to anyone wanting to get in to your industry ?

No matter what anyone tells you getting a foot in the door is all about timing. Yes you can study at some amazing courses – particular shout out to Lucy who runs the BA Hons in theatre at Wimbledon and David who runs the tv production course at the National Film School but those courses not so much arm you with the tools but put you in the right place to be noticed. Talent sometimes doesn’t come into it.

 I found out fairly recently that the criteria for me getting on my film school course ( over 1500 applicants for 14 places )  wasn’t whether I was any good but whether I was employable – I’ve often wondered what they saw in me and now I know it was simply that I was marketable.. 
So when I say timing I can only say that the last 3 incredibly brilliant Art Directors I have employed have called me just as I was looking for someone – it was only after they contacted me did I check a cv and get references – it was just down luck sometimes
Don’t be  disapointed if you send out 200 cv’s and nobody replies. Send 200 more. Do low budget jobs, do no – budget jobs – put yourself out there. The more people you meet the more opportunities you create. One day it will work in your favour.
 It happened to me – I did a low budget 2nd world war film at film school in my final year. I hired some costumes and got chatting to the Costume Assistant who got me a meeting with a Senior Costume Designer who got me an interview with the Senior Production Designer who got me a 4 month contract fresh out of Film School.

 The film school put me in the position to visit the costume store but the rest was just good timing and luck.

What are your upcoming production projects for the rest of 2018 ?

The shortest answer I’m going to give.

I’m doing a big theatre stand-up show for Jimmy Carr in Dublin in September – a Netflix Special and October will always include work on the annual Halloween party for Mr Jonathan Ross. Which is where I get to flex my dark side. But in terms of scripted stuff nothing as yet. There are a few things bubbling away so for the time being I’m okay. I’ve done a small amount of lectures at Wimbledon Art College and been a mentor at the National Film School – maybe its time to get the mortar board and gown from the loft again ? It’s also a good time to do galleries and exhibitions.

 I try and make the theatre design degree show every year and also the film school degree show, I jokingly tell people I’m only there to steal ideas but I love talking to design students, you know when you’ve met a really good one.

A massive thank you to Richard Drew for such an insightful view in to his work background within production. Wishing him a very happy 30th year in television. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about behind the scenes production on a TV set ? Do stop by and leave me a comment if you’d like to. Always love to hear from you.

Lucy x

If you’d like some more colour inspiration then head on over to my Pinterest page.

All production images copyright Richard Drew 2018: 1. Richard Drew, 2. Billionaire Boy, 3 & 4. Sport Relief, 5. Sick Note, 6. Billionaire Boy, 7. Walliams and Friends, 8. Stath Lets Flats, 6. Richard Drew’s vinyl collection.

Completing the room with our RBM Noor Chair

Grey white scandi office chair wooden legs

I read recently that we spend around 9 hours a day sitting down. That’s how many hours a week ? 63. Probably extra when you are at certain points in your life, like revising for School or working from home. Need to be comfortable for that, right ? This is how we ended up completing the room with our RBM Noor Chair.

Ever since I got hold of my fabulous HÅG and RBM office chairs from Flokk a few years ago I’ve been sold on their seating brands and have kept on eye on what they are coming up with design wise. Furniture geek  – yes that’s me. Their chairs have supported my back so well with all my computer work and sewing that I really want my girls to be as comfortable for their years ahead of studying at their desks.

RBM Noor Chair Scandu White Grey Task Seating DeskRBM Noor Flokk Chair Grey White Wooden Desk

So as you might imagine, when Flokk decided that they’d like us to show you a custom made RBM Noor on the blog, I was pretty chuffed. Mae too. What a treat. With the RBM Noor it’s customisable so you have a choice of model, material and colour. We went for this grey padded seat version with wooden legs and white back to go with Mae’s teal and dove grey colour scheme. But they also produce other styles including a sledge base ( we have this in red ), other 4 leg styles or task style wheeled chairs. Oh and some very cool tables including my favourite  – The Twisted Little Star that fits together with others to form a kind of jigsaw.

Scandi Chair RBM Noor Flokk DeskRBM Seating Noor Chair Scandi Wood Legs

Flokk is a Norwegian manufacturer of several leading high quality furniture brands such as Profim, HÅG, RH, BMA, Offect, Malmstolen and of course RBM. They have their products in more than 50 countries and have been around since 1975 so they are clearly doing something very right.

All their products are made in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. As a brand they are extremely focused on being environmentally conscious so they have 5 criterias that they live by; the chairs are low in weight, very few components, responsible material sourcing, long life span and easy end of life disassembly. More and more I am choosing furniture that will last a long time so designs such as this are perfect for our home. I’m also much more in to minimal living. If it’s not either functional or something aesthetically pleasing these days then it’s gotta go.

RBM Noor Art Chair Seating Scandi Bedroom

Mae will use it for two things – doing her homework and sitting to paint at her easel  – she loves art. The back is flexible so she can move around and use the paints with ease. It is the final piece for her room and it fits right in. She knows what a lucky girl she is to have it and she would definitely recommend it.

Imagine a table full of these in a contemporary kitchen ? Ah, the dream. What kind of seating do you have in your home ?

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Flokk. All opinions are my own.

Making a compact bedroom cosy and colourful

Blue room bedroom plates on wall guest room mid century

If you didn’t know already, we recently changed around our upstairs and decided that it would make sense to have our smallest room as the guest room. Bit of a no brainer really as it’s the least used space but deserved the same amount of love nevertheless. So how do you make a compact bedroom cosy and colourful ?

The views from the window are my favourite and although it’s more compact, it’s one of the nicest areas to sit and relax. It has a really calm feeling, especially in the early evening with the sunsets.

You’d laugh if you saw how different this room was a month or so ago. But as I like to keep the blog looking smartish I think I will leave it to your imagination. Let’s just say when it was my youngest daughter’s room, it was such more ermmm ‘ lived in ‘ …

Wooden Floor Bedroom Design Home Style Blue Plates WallWooden Flooring Bedroom Cosy Oak

The floor needs to be functional and inviting plus continuity in a home ( I will be talking more about this in an upcoming post soon ) so we opted for Quick-Step Wooden flooring in the same as the other bedrooms which is Natural Oak because we have been so happy with it. It’s very low maintenance and I do just love the look of it. Also it adds some more warmth to the room and is lovely to ease on to in the mornings.

The brilliant Master Installer Mark Hughes put the floor in again this time. He is such a good bloke and does a great job each time. I heartily recommend to you in the East of England.

Mood board bedroom colour inspiration wooden flooring style library fabric trims pink blue stripesI didn’t want to overly complicate the guest room with too much going on. This mood board kind of sums up overall what I had in my mind for it. Blues, pinks, wood, gold and a little dash of rainbow.

Blue walls bedroom inspiration white colour

Adding too many strong colours can absorb the light you are working with, making it feel smaller and dark but then just plain neutrals can make it stark. So I chose a blue by Little Greene called Brighton. It’s a really friendly, bright hue and reflects the natural light really nicely.

I had been looking for the right place to put up my plates by Sally Muir and think I found it.

Blue room blinds cosy guest room Fabric textiles trim blind blue pink

I am a big fan of the fabrics from Style Library and wanted something very simple at the window so used their Zoffany Bray in Arctic White which is 100 % linen so it feels amazing, but then also added some Harlequin trim in Lapis  and Raspberry at the base to define the blind and coordinate it with the other colours in the room. Style Library represent other brands like Scion, Anthology and Morris & Co. Their ranges are vast and beautiful.

Lampshade Bright pink blue room Brighton paint

We’ve had this fuschia pink shade with gold lining for a while and I love it so thought it would work with the trim and other shades. It’s silk and I think I will always find a home for it.

Armchair striped retro multi coloured interior home

Our trusted striped armchair has moved in here too and it faces the window. I think the room needed just an extra splash of pattern and it fits neatly in the corner. What do you think ?

Plates Gallery Wall Blue Bedroom Cushions Cosy Scandi

I’m excited about family and friends staying to see whether they enjoy the room. I hope they do.

Have a good week.

Lucy x

I was gifted the fabric and flooring. All opinions are my own.

A review of the Wayfair Nora Mattress

Nora Mattress Wayfair Memory FoamIsn’t it funny how sometimes you can be thinking about something you have to get – in this case a good quality mattress that will last a long time and ensure some good deep sleep and then suddenly an email pops up from Wayfair with an opportunity to review a cooling memory foam mattress. Perfect timing.

It’s from their brand new Nora range and it’s going down a treat here. Betsey has been using it for a few weeks to properly decide what she thinks about it – although when it first arrived she was immediately impressed about the look of it –  her first really grown up mattress.

Mattress memory foam Wayfair Nora

The Nora arrived very swiftly, compressed and rolled in it’s box to enable easy access to the bedroom. No hulking a great big mattress up the stairs with at least two people needed.

Mattress review Nora

We quickly unpacked and rolled in to the bed with no fuss and after an hour or so of us all taking a turn of lying on it and pulling relaxed faces got it ready for Betsey’s first night.

Great success. She looked tiny and so sweet on such a grown up mattress and very contented.

Wayfair Mattress Nora four layers comfy cooling

It has 4 foam layers in total and a cooling cover – two gel infused 3.5″ thermo regulating layers, memory foam and support foam and it’s all encased in cool cover woven with jade gemstone. The cooling cover draws heat away from your body at night and away from the mattress.

I often wonder when I am tasked with changing the beds here at home, how they are meant to stay hygienic for the amount of time they last but in this case the Nora has a removable, washable cover and it’s hypoallergenic. It has absolutely no latex in it either.

Best of all  – you can try the Nora out for 100 nights and if it’s not for you – you can return it. Which is a pretty fair deal if you were to ask me.

Wayfair are offering an introductory price of 20% off the Nora for a limited time. A heads up for you if you’re interested.

I’ve had a few pieces from them over the years and have found their customer services really good. Their broad range of homeware makes it easy to find what I’m looking for. So all in all a positive experience.

Memory Foam Mattress Wayfair

That’s our little review of this impressive mattress. Happy with it and Betsey is looking forward to many more evenings of reading her favourite books on it and restful nights.

Our opinion is that the Nora is good value for money, supremely cosy and very well made.

Have you ever tried a memory foam mattress with cooling foam – how did you find it ? Do leave me a comment :)

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Wayfair. All opinions as ever are my own.