Posts Categorised: News

Jackson and Levine Debut Habitat Collection.

Linen tableware Eclectic dinner party

I have an interview today with Laura Jackson and Alice Levine about their Debut Habitat Collection. Not only do they have their own very successful careers broadcasting on television and Radio 1 respectively. They also run the the very cool London ‘ Supper Club ‘, have also written a book to inspire the perfect dinner party.

I love the Habitat designs and so had several questions for Laura and Alice about their journey together and how they manage it all …

Striped linen tableware retro

Where did you originally meet and how did you decide to work together ? 

It’s a romantic story. We met at a jumble sale about 5 years ago when we had stalls next to each other. We pretty much talked about food non-stop the whole time and became friends following – going to new restaurant openings together and also trying out new recipes on each other. We then decided it would be fun to take on the challenge of setting up our own supper club together – hosting evenings in our apartments that would bring together strangers over food, drink and music. We both work in TV and Radio and this is a great change from what we do day – to – day and is a real passion project. Held every 2 months in a warehouse in Haggerston, we seat 16 people around our communal table and serve up seasonal treats from our kitchen. In the past we’ve made ricotta filled ravioli with deep fried sage, hare ragu and lemon posset amongst other things. We always try and source ingredients locally or celebrate the great produce around us by using neighbourhood bakers and wine merchants.

How did your famous Supper Club evolve in to working on a range with Habitat ?

When we started our supper club, we got a bit carried away on guest numbers for our first event meaning that we didn’t actually have enough crockery ! So we basically approached Habitat with a bit of a love letter email to ask if they would be up for potentially giving us some spare dinnerware that we could use at the supper clubs. We didn’t actually expect them to come back however they did and sent us some beautiful hand-glazed tableware which was a bit of a result ! As the supper clubs have grown in popularity over the last few years, Habitat has helped us out with a few different events and we both love the focus that Polly Dickens, Habitat’s Creative Director, has put back onto hand-crafted textiles and ceramics in the collection. This hand-crafted look has always been a key visual element of our supper clubs and last year we got discussing a potential product collaboration with Polly – and the rest is history !

Supper club essentials relaxed dinner party

What reaction have you had so far to your new Habitat range ? 

We have been thrilled with the reaction to the range – it’s become one of Habitat’s fastest selling kitchen linen collections so we are genuinely delighted! When we started the project, Polly suggested working with a khadi based fabric from India, made using traditional skills that are becoming less commonplace due to mechanisation. This means that each piece is entirely individual – not machine uniformity – and the cloth has a wonderful loose quality that gives a relaxed, informal feeling to it. You can see that human hands have worked on these products and we think this is what people are really liking about the collection.

Did a particular era inspire the range and why ? 

We tend to bring a lot of different ideas to each supper club that we produce – we like to make each one entirely individual so we don’t necessarily have a house ‘ style ’ that defines us – so the whole process began with us producing a mood board that included design inspiration from ornate Chinese wallpapers, delicate 1900’s embroidery and French fashion illustrations to botanical prints and floral sketches. Working with Habitat – especially their Pattern Designer Martha Coates – we started to narrow these conceptual ideas down to focus more on botanicals as we both felt it appropriate as it gives a nod to the foraged herbs we use in our cooking and table decorating.

Were you both involved in the design process?

Yes – it was a really fascinating process working alongside Habitat. We wanted a range of products that would be classic, chic and timeless – products that would appeal to everyone and that were genuinely useful. We wanted the linen to be washing machine friendly, so it could be washed hundreds of times and still retain its shape and beauty. We knew we wanted to have a print – which we worked on with Martha – but in terms of colour, we wanted a cool, neutral base and a stripe to underpin the whole collection – allowing you to layer colour on your table on top. The apron was also a massive triumph for us as we spend most days in the kitchen wearing aprons but we’ve never struck on the perfect design that is simple, stylish and practical. If you’re spending a lot of time lovingly preparing something, then we think you should you have something equally lovely to wear and hopefully we’ve achieved that !

With radio and tv presenting – how do you find the time for designing this gorgeous Habitat collection and running Supper Club ?

Haha – the secret ? A lot of our Rocket Fuel cocktail to keep us going ! It’s been quite a whirlwind year – we’ve just launched our first recipe book  – Round To Ours – too alongside the collection with Habitat so it’s been a lot of hard work but a lot of fun as we’ve done it all together. We both really enjoy the spontaneity of ‘what’s next’ and love being busy – never say no and always say ‘ why not give it a go ? ’

Blue plate for dinner party

If you were holding a Supper Club for colour lovers which pieces from your range would you use and what menu to accompany it ? 

The printed napkins look amazing with coloured glass or a glazed plate in a punchy pigment. The radish, radicchio and sweet pecan salad we created for Habitat is almost too pretty to eat – a total pin up of a plate with all the pinks.

What are your tips for creating the perfect atmosphere when hosting a Supper Party ? 

  • Making the table look striking doesn’t have to cost a fortune – sprigs of herbs as place settings are a lovely touch and make the table smell wonderful. Flowers and houseplants can make a huge impact on a room – we have hung giant alliums from the ceiling, had a regimented row of dusty pink hydrangeas in pots and pressed auburn Autumn leaves to scatter on the table. For something inexpensive – separate out a bunch of flowers into individual stems and place in glass jars or just use foliage on the table for a fresh green look.
  • Ambiance is very important – you want everyone to feel welcome and relaxed. No one ever felt that way by sitting under a 100w central light! Soften the room with table lamps and lots of candles. Music can also make or break the night – if you’ve run out of time to curate the perfect party playlist, stream one of your favourite movie soundtracks or check out the ‘ Mood ’ sections of Spotify.
  • If we’re cooking a menu for friends we’ll always ask what their favourite ingredients are and work up a menu around those. It’s a really nice touch to do this – it shows you care and have made an effort and means they don’t have pretend to love tripe! The same goes for drinks. Find out their favourite cocktail and as soon as guests arrive, make sure they have a drink in hand. In the summer, we make up large jugs of gin, elderflower cordial and prosecco with lots of ice. It’s much better than fussing with making individual cocktails.
  • Don’t get bogged down with the food being perfect – rough and rustic is perfect for a dinner party. Try sharing platters rather than plating up everyone’s portions individually as it really creates a more intimate, shared experience that will make everyone feel part of the dinner. Everyone likes seconds so make more than you think you need.
  • Try not to be chained to the oven – the best way to do this is to have some elements that can be made in advance or that just require compilation. We find serving a cold starter and cold dessert makes life a lot easier. Timing food for big numbers can also be daunting – so try cooking a large cut low and slow. Lamb shoulder or silverside of beef are great ones for a crowd and they just get better and better, so even if guests are little late they will have a melt in the mouth meal.

Can you both describe your style in 5 words ? 

It changes all the time.

Dinner party inspiration food book retro textiles habitat

Will there be any more collections for Habitat ?

Stay tuned! We both loved the process of designing a range with Habitat so hopefully there is more to come next year !

Big thanks to Laura and Alice. It’s made me hungry !

What do you think of the Jackson and Levine Habitat Collection ? Has it inspired you to run your own Supper Club ? It has me.

Do leave me a comment under this post. Would love to hear from you.

Lucy x

Good Homes Course with My Interior Design School

Interior design online course

I’ve just signed up for the  ‘ Good Homes Interiors Design Course ‘ run by My Interior Design School. This is a really creative but also practical course for budding designers.

It seems to be ever evolving for us bloggers. If you scrolled back to my posts from a few years ago I was dabbling in interior design and making things for my home and have always loved design aesthetics but didn’t realise back then just how much I would it would be my every day focus.

Good Homes readers can receive £50 off the total of the course, making it £249 for a whole year’s worth of online learning. Pretty good huh ? But even better – I have a code for you too at the end of this post – so if you’ve ever fancied a go at interior designing and styling then now is a great opportunity.

The very first module is colour. Whoop ! I have my colour wheel template from the course here in front of me and have been playing around with swatches and samples to make up four different colour schemes.

I’ll use a lot of these pieces here to make up some mood boards with paint cards and fabric swatches ( and in this case flowers too ) to work on colour schemes and cement my knowledge on the theory behind the colour wheel even further.

The purpose of the colour wheel is to create ‘ colour families ‘ and is key to making a room work. The wheel was first developed by none other than Isaac Newton back in 1706 and has since taken on varying forms and for interior design it is a visual tool to blend shades perfectly together.

I’ve used blue in each scheme as my main colour today to show you how just changing colours, even slightly can alter a look.

Interior Design Colour

The first is Triadic which are 3 colours equidistant on the wheel.  Blue, red  – orange and yellow. Here is a room using the Triadic scheme which in this case is 40% blue main colour, 30% yellow as a contrast colour and 10% red – orange as accent colour. You don’t have to but ideally use a dominant colour because this is most effective.

Triadic colour scheme Interior Design

I’ve put together these colours and will spend some time playing around with them and studying some images for inspiration they also have a really extensive library of stock photos to refer to on the course.

Interior Design Colours

The second is Complementary which involves two shades on the opposite sides of the wheel.

contemporary colour scheme Interior Design Blue Orange

Blue and orange is quite extreme but it definitely works or you could use blue – purple with yellow – orange . You could also go for green and pink ( red with white ) which is possibly my favourite combination.

Interior Design Colour Scheme

Then there’s split complementary where you go for the main colour and then introduce two neighbouring.

Split Contemporary Colour Scheme Interior Design

So here is blue at 60% and then 30% yellow – orange and 10% red – orange. It makes the accents and contrasts really stand out.

Interior Design Harmonious Scheme

The last one for today is Harmonious putting together 4 colours that sit right next to each other on the colour wheel. Here we have 60% blue, 20% blue  – 20% green as contrast, 10% blue – green and 10% yellow – green. Okay, if you look closely there’s a teeny pop of red but we’ll ignore that for now …

Harmonious Colour Scheme Interior Design

I love this combination a lot. Much fun to be had with it.

There are also Monochromatic and Monochromatic Neutral schemes and I will be working on these next..

I’m soooo enjoying the start of the course and can’t wait to plough on. As I mentioned earlier I have a code for you and it is TEACHMEDESIGN. This will enable the course at the reduced rate by entering it at checkout.

If you are creative or want to become more adventurous then I recommend trying Interior Design School. I have worked on another but I feel this one is right for me as I am more focused on styling although obviously want to learn everything I can about interior design. They also run short colour courses at their HQ in Cheltenham if you’re interested ? You can find all you need to know on their website.

Which is your favourite scheme here ? Do leave me a comment under this post – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with My Interior Design School. All opinions are my own.

Images credits. 2. A Beautiful Mess 4. Love your Home 6. Karen Knox at Making Spaces and 8. LuxDeco. All other photos taken by me.

An Inspiring Afternoon with Oka at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show winner

Last week I had a truly lovely and inspiring afternoon with Oka at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

We started the day with a faux flower arranging lesson with their in house Interior Designer Hilary using Oka’s silk flowers at their flagship store on Fulham Road. It was really fun and I will be showing you the some of the skills I picked up soon here on the blog.

I’ve never been to RHS Chelsea Flower Show before and ironically even though I have worked in TV and know the ropes  – I still imagined it would be ‘ like off the telly ‘ which it kind of was but much, much bigger and spread out than expected.

The show gardens were so clever. The dedication that goes in to each and every one is admirable.

Being a fan of Japanese styles I loved this gold medal winning one above designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara called ‘ Goshi No Niwa Now wall, No War ‘. The way the glass house hides amongst the trees. Stunning.

Tom Raffield ChairTom Raffield lighting

It was really exciting to see Tom and Danielle Raffield showing their ‘ Gwenver Garden Room ‘. You may know that I interviewed Tom recently after their home was featured on Grand Designs. I seem to have learn a lot about steam bending wood recently and I think their house is just beautiful.

Chelsea Floreer Show Gold

To really take in every single design you’d have to spend a couple of days there but I took as many photos as I could. Here is the ‘ The Silk Road Garden, Chengdu China by Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins ‘. Another gold winner..What are you thoughts on it ? I love its uniqueness.

Chelsea Flower Show Structure 2017

There were a lot of people studying this yet another gold winning garden named ‘ Breaking Ground ‘ designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliams. I really like it. I’m pretty sure if my daughters had been there they woulds have wanted to climb it … not sure that would have gone down well !

Garden Inspiration Chelsea

This ‘ Poetry Loves Garden ‘ designed by Fiona Cadwallader won a silver really caught my eye. I’d love something like this in our garden at home.

Boat Garden RHS Chelsea

One from my neck of the woods. The ‘ IBTC Lowestoft Boatbuilder’s Garden by Gary Breeze. It won a gold and I’m not surprised. Are you ? So tranquil.

Green Garden Industrial Inspiration

I wish I’d managed to get a better photograph of this design but wanted to share it anyway. An industrial style space called ‘ Walkers Wharf ‘ by Graham Bodle using recycled woods and materials. For me it shows how you can make a calm area out of pretty much anything. It won a gold.

Mediterranean Garden Orange Tree

 

This orange tree was part of the ‘ Viking Cruise Garden of Inspiration ‘ by Sarah Eberle made me yearn for Spain. The mosaic and spiky arid loving plants. Sarah won a silver this year.

Colourful Flowers Pinks and PurpleBright colours flowers Gladioli Flowers ChelseaIdeas for garden inspiration

Then there were the flower exhibits. Wow. The colours.

It was a fantastic experience and I think I’m hooked now. Can’t wait for next year. Thank you Oka for a really inspiring time.

Which is your favourite ? Leave me a comment under this post  – would love to hear from you.

Lucy x

How to Stop Damage in your Home With The Grohe Sense Water Sensor

Water Damage Home Grohe

This might be of use, if not now but someday  – How to Stop Damage in your Home with the Grohe Sense Water Sensor.

In the past I’ve heard of people experiencing a burst water pipe in a room or a flooded cellar and seen the havoc caused but haven’t ever considered that it could happen to us in our own home .. until now. I had no idea that in fact, every second family has had water damage at least once or that 93% of cases could have been easily prevented. But here is the biggest shocker of all – in Europe the average price for repairing the damage is way over £2000. Yikes ! It hadn’t really occurred to me that a small leak in a home, silently dripping away can cause extensive and long term problems.

But for me – losing any precious memories like photos or artwork by my kids would be the worst as you just can’t replace them. I don’t even want to go there.

Water Sensor for water damage Grohe

The reason I am taking you along this avenue is because Grohe have asked me to review their brand new concept: The Grohe Sense Water Sensor which essentially is an early warning system that is wireless so will work in your entire house. It monitors areas where water damage could occur for example a bathroom or utility room and also checks the temperature plus humidity or frost and instantly alerts via the Grohe Ondus App which you quickly install on your phone if it senses potential issues. Humidity itself can cause mould which is not good for health so all in all I am quite pleased to be trying The Sense Water Sensor out  – anything that makes life easier and cost effective along the way is good with me.

Grohe Phone App Water Damage
Helping to stop water damage

It took me a matter of minutes to download the app by the way – and was self explanatory which helped. You add the room/s that you want to install the Sensor – ( in this case I have used our bathroom to show you ) and then basic information about that room such as whether it’s wet or dry, then place the  Sensor next to the source of water after you have installed the 3 AA batteries ( supplied in box ) which should last for up to 4 years and then … connect !

As you can see the Sensor itself is compact so can easily fit in to a small space and is also reactive to water. As soon as a leak reaches the Sensor it will emit a beeping sound, a red light will flash and the notification will go straight to your smartphone. Even without WLAN connectivity the Water Sensor itself will still work. I tried it out with both the Grohe Ondus App and without.

I reckon it’s a pretty cool idea. How about you ?

Easy ways to stop water damage

Grohe have been developing this product for the last few years and in my opinion the price of £51.99 is very good compared to the potential costs of the unthinkable.

Leave me a comment under this post – would like to hear you thoughts ?

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Grohe. As always all opinions are my own.

A Trip to Ercol Headquarters

Last week I went on a rather lovely day out to Princes Risborough. A 6 a.m start was very much worth it to on a trip to Ercol Headquarters.

The very lovely team invited me along with a few other interior bloggers and members of the press to view their factory and showroom ( check out this lovely ‘ Bosco ‘ bed above ) and see how their furniture is made. it’s an annual Open House that lasts two weeks and is well worth the trip.

Did you know that in 3 years Ercol will have be 100 years old ? They are still family owned having been founded by Lucian Ercolani OBE and now owned by Edward Tadros whom I had the pleasure of having lunch with and Lisa, Ercol’s designer.  I’d just like to apologise now to Lisa, Ercol’s designer for the one hundred questions that I asked her over a superb and tasty lunch about her career – although Lisa was more than happy to answer them. It was just too tempting and an opportunity not to miss …  and to be fair that’s what I was there for !

As a massive fan of their designs it was a real honour to be included in the day and I couldn’t wait to see how they work through their design and hands on manufacturing process  – and it didn’t disappoint.

Luckily for you I forgot to get a photo taken of me in my high vis jacket and goggles on the tour as we made our way around the factory watching as they hand crafted each Ercol piece from raw local wood right up to the finished product.

This smooth pile of table parts were just before they were matched up to ensure the grain and colours are exact. The man who showed us clearly had a strong eye for precision because I couldn’t see any difference but he could see a very slight contrast in the pieces and said they wouldn’t be used together.

My two favourite areas were watching the process of steam bending the wood with precision and then spraying coats of paint on to chairs. The talented craftsmen make it look so effortless –  I’m pretty sure it’s just the years of dedication that gives that impression. It felt very serene in the factory even with all the noise of the machines and the levels of concentration for absolute perfection were impressive.

It was also really interesting to see how different stores ask for varying finishes and palettes. Every part of a design process thought through and considered for their customers.

A little wander around Ercol’s showroom was fun. Feeling the textures of their latest fabrics and learning about their upcoming Autumn collections.

 

With their trademark functional designs – Ercol have produced some beauties this year. Including the ‘ Amelia ‘ sideboard with matching chair and ‘ Teramo ‘ range including this wonderful dressing table.

As ever the classic designs such as stackable stools drew my attention as did the steam bent ‘ Chairmaker’s Chair ‘. Apparently they come in a choice of wood finishes and colours. I really like this blue and the fabric.

All of these collections will be available in Autumn 2017. If you’d like to find out more pop over to www.ercol.com

A really insightful day in Buckinghamshire followed by a very early night !

Are you a fan of Ercol too ? Or is there a particular brand that you gravitate towards when looking for new furniture for your home ?Do leave me a comment  – would love as ever, to hear from you.

Lucy x