Inspire Me – With Furniture Designer Tom Raffield

tom raffield

Just recently I was watching Grand Designs and was mesmerised by this really cleverly constructed house set amongst nature in Cornish Woodland . Built with wood, using the art of steam bending – Tom and his wife Danie spent three years working on their project which would ultimately be their home.

I have to say, I think it is my favourite build so far. The overall aesthetic – and how they attached the new design to an older building. The result is stunning. 

Tom and Danie were also running their business at the same time as well as looking after their young family. Brave. I’m really pleased to have grabbed a bit of Tom’s spare time find out how steam bending wood works, how they held it all together during their building journey and what is happening next with their handmade lighting and furniture …

Tom, you specialise in the art of steam bending. Both in your work, selling your furniture and lighting – and of course building your own home with this technique. How did you first start using wood in this way ?

At university, I had a project on materials and as I had never worked with wood, I decided to give it a go. The obvious question then was how do you bend wood. The rest is history !

Can you explain how steam bending works ? 

Very simple; you find freshly cut good quality hardwood timber, you put it into a chamber which you then fill with steam for a certain period of time depending on the size of the timber, then you pop it out, put it into a metal strap to support it and bend it around a former so it takes the formers shape. You have to do the bending in around 1 minute, so you have to be fast. Then you put it in a drying room for a couple of days and it is ready to use.

Your home and journey of creating it were featured on Grand Designs with Kevin McCloud recently – was it a life long ambition to build your own house ?

Yes definitely. We’d be hunting for the right site for a long time, finding somewhere we could build, live and work, with land and woodland too was quite a challenge. I feel so lucky and although hard work, it was a lot of fun and very satisfying. Danie and I are used to working together but this was possibly the biggest project we’ve tacked to date, we both have a new found respect for each other, and sharing a home we’ve built together is pretty amazing.

What were the high and lows over the period of building and planning ? 

The highs tended to be the little benchmarks like getting the frame up, getting watertight, turning on the heat, then when we took the ladder away and replaced it with a staircase ! The other massive high was when we tested the steam bent cladding on the building and it worked, it transformed the building from quite an austere sharp building to a gentle and tactile form. The lows, well there was a few… the planning took so long and being cramped up in the small cottage with no inside bathroom wore a bit thin towards the end. The tyre wall was a killer and 600 tyres later we will still  never forget the physical ( and mental ) pain it caused.

I loved the overall look of the new build attaching to an older, already established house. What inspired you to fuse the two together ?

It was the idea of creating an architectural timeline… being able to identify which part of the building had been built by the original estate owners and then 150 yrs later the part which was built by us …

Did you manage to stick to the original £100,000 budget ?

Not quite. We didn’t have a clear budget at the start, this was a clever bit of tv editing. We had 100k in savings and knew we had to stretch as far as possible. When the quotes came in we thought we could bring it in for 150k-200k but it ended up going to 160k, so not too bad really. It is all down to doing most of the work and getting most of the materials from your own site  and from your own skills.

Is there any sage advice that you can offer to anyone thinking of taking on the task of designing their own home ? 

It sounds a bit obvious but I tried to treat building a house like making a really complex piece of furniture… I was so wrong ! The skill of the craftsmen is important but it is more about bringing lots of craftsmen and materials together just at the right time… Project maangement  is the most important thing which is usually the reason a project fails to happen, goes massively over budget or ends in disaster.

What wood did you use for your home  – and what do you generally use for the products that you design and sell ? 

I love using English oak and ash but we used whatever we had in our woodland which was felled and available so larch, sweet chestnut, ash, norwegian spruce, beech, oak and sycamore.

How do you manage the business between the two of you ? 

Since having baby no.3 Danie has had to take a back seat and focus on being a mum but it is great to be able to come down to the house and go through things with her as she understands the business so much so is a real help. We also do a lot of the designing together. A part of the business we both love and work well together on this.

Now that we are firmly in 2017 – what are you plans for this year ?

I no longer have the house as a distraction so the business is the focus. It is doing so well but is incredibly demanding; there are never enough hours in the day! That said I absolutely love what I do and feel passionately that through the products we create we are doing something very special and I am proud of that. I think this year will be all about developing new products and ideas based around using wood in ways which defies belief, new products which are based on craftsmanship, provenance and innovation ! We are going to be doing an exciting installation for London Craft week and all of our furniture is launching with John Lewis in the next few weeks which we cannot wait for.

Thanks, Tom !

If you would like to know more about Tom Raffield’s Luxury Lighting and Furniture Designs then you can find everything you need to know here at www.tomraffield.com 

Hope you enjoyed this interview ? Have you ever dreamed of building your own home ? I certainly have ! Do leave me a comment under this post  – I’d love to hear from you.

Lucy x

All images copyright Tom Raffield 2017.

AirBnB and Pantone Create a Greenery Haven

pantone greenery airbnb door east london haven

As a blogger, I get invites to many different events and workshops and I feel very lucky. I don’t attend too many of them as it often takes a large chunk out of the day to attend, but when the opportunity to visit an Outside In House in London pops up. Yes please.

You may have heard about this amazing AirBnB and Pantone collaboration in Dingley Place, East London .. cool front door, hey ?  They have transformed this home in to a plant oasis and project venue based on Pantone’s Colour of The Year  – Greenery – for a family of four for overnight visits.

greenery pantone

I was pleasantly surprised to hear on my tour around the home that one night’s experience in this entire place, so close to the centre of London is only £200 per family. Even better is that every nightly fee is matched by Pantone with all proceeds going to charity.

greenery pantone greenery pantone

This setting of trees was just as you walk in the front door. Apparently it took them two days to convert the whole house, which is pretty impressive.

Maybe because we are a little closer to Spring than when Pantone first announced Greenery, I loved it even more. Such a refreshing and zingy colour and it really works on such a big scale.  The aroma of the herbs planted around the rooms was incredible.

greenery pantone

I’m pretty sure my girls would squeal with delight at the thought of staying indoors in a teepee adorned with fairy lights. This was downstairs below ground level along with the master bed and bathroom. I loved the lawn flooring and continuation of sweet and healing scented plants surrounding the beds.
greenery pantone

greenery pantoneSo serene and hidden away in such a busy and non stop city.

herbal tea pantone airbnb green house greenery pantone stay london design inspiration

screen printing greenery craft london teacher After a tour and a super healthy cup of herbal tea drink we sat down in the dining room / craft table with Walthamstow based, textile and surface designer Daniel Heath, and tried our luck at screen printing on wood surfaces.

pantone greeneryyellow green lemonsGreenery Pantone Airbnb home hotel stay london travel cacti succulents

Daniel showed us the process and then we looked around the conservatory for a plant that inspired us to have a go ourselves.

It was incredibly therapeutic to do and also great fun watching everyone’s stencilling turn in to a cool creation to take home.

Definitely a blogging afternoon to remember !

So, has Greenery grown on you yet if you didn’t love it at first ? Or maybe it was love at first sight ?

Leave me a comment under this post  – I’d love to hear from you.

Lucy x

 

Why It’s Important to Define Your Interior Design Style

interior design style inspiration course

Some time ago now, I told you about my interior design course.

As you’ll know if you read the post before this one, I have been taking it quite easy over the last few months but am now back, ploughing on with it all. If I could be an eternal student, I would. But I really do want to complete this KLC interior design diploma soon and crack on with what I love doing professionally.

For someone who really enjoys playing with colours and indulging in fabric and wallpaper swatches, this part of the studies couldn’t be more ideal. I guess this is how things will be from now on – although much harder and in detail work is coming up and I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping the technical side will be an exciting challenge.

interior design style ideas moodboard

What is interesting at this stage, is that I’ve been really working what my personal style is so I can not only define my vision ( and not confuse it with a clients brief ) but also to look back once I have finished this course and see how I have progressed. I’ve found it harder than I thought because I am in to so many style eras and palettes. It’s a really helpful exercise and part of this curriculum so has to be completed properly. I write key words and have found I am quite often drawn to ‘ quirky, colourful and Scandi looks .. now there’s a surprise.

It’s really handy to have instant photos to pop in to my personal record journey to use as inspiration, so I carry my camera around with me a lot – and I’m forever finding colours and textiles that I love  – so they go in to the book too. This is my passion and I feel really lucky to be doing this now for a career.

fabric inspiration interior design course interior design course inspiration ideas style

As I’m already very much in to interiors, it’s been useful so far to know where to look for ideas but there are so many great companies out there starting up and it has opened my eyes to them. I found a shop called Perch and Parrow who sell gorgeous homeware and I will definitely use in the future and love some of their fabric samples here. The velvet is so lush.

It’s also a great excuse to read even more home magazines. It’s my addiction anyway but I’ve taken it to new levels. Well, it’s all in the name of research ;)

So, that’s where I’m at right now. I am starting to also draw up plans which is the bit I was nervous about so here goes .. I am sure some will appear on my instagram if you follow me.

If you are reading this and tempted to find out about the KLC School of Design then I do recommend them. They run all kinds of interiors and garden design courses at their HQ in the famous Design Centre East by Chelsea Harbour or if you study online then they offer lots of support if ever needed. They do expect a high level of input from their students but in return offer a really good qualification at the end.

Now about you. If you had to describe your own personal style, how would you ? I’d love to hear your thoughts, it’s all great research !

Thanks for reading.

Lucy x

Five Favourite Posts on Lucy Loves Ya for 2016

As we are really close to Christmas now, I am hanging my boots up until the New Year  – although I no doubt will be posting pictures over the festive period on my instagram. I can’t stay away.

I thought you might like to see some of my favourite posts for this year – the ones I have enjoyed making the most. Although actually, I have enjoyed curating all of them.

If you remember way back in Spring, I did up my living room a little and made new curtains, cushions with Designer’s Guild fabrics and put up some new artwork ? Well, this is it again above and you can see it in full here.

 

More and more, I’ve loved trying out recipes in 2016 and sharing a few with you. My Dad is a meeeaan curry chef and passed on his wisdom with a lovely monkfish curry for this post. Omg – it was tasty. Do try it out.

Then there were the moodboards.

I came up with three colour palettes that I really liked for the bedroom. Are you thinking now that I am a huge fan of green ? Well, I am, but check out my other boards – and you will actually see the bedroom reveal early next year ( It was delayed due to some things taking longer than expected ) and I can’t want to show you.

In the Summer, we brightened up the design room with some new paint and and accessories. It feels much more contemporary now and still love the freshness. Unbelievably, I’ve managed to keep those fabrics in the cupboard all pretty neat too .. somehow.

If you’d like a little tour around the room then you can find the post here.

Like I say, lots of things I have enjoyed doing this year – but this is the fifth one I have chosen.

I was asked by The Joy to Plants to photograph some Speciality Orchids as they are Houseplant of the Month for November. It has made me really fall in love with them. In fact I’ve become a bit of a nerd when it comes to looking after them here at home. Such amazing and interesting flowers. I’ve never really been very good at looking after plants but the last year has made me much more aware of their needs and, well, they just look so lovely around the home don’t they ?

So, that’s my little roundup. Have you enjoyed any posts in particular ? Which ones do you like the most .. my days out, recipes, home DIYs or fashion shots ?

Once again this year, I’ve been lucky to interview some really inspiring designers and authors. In January I have another really good one.

I’d like to also say a big thanks to all of you who have added your amazing and colourful photographs to #InspirationIsColour on instagram – we are heading toward 8000 and it’s such a treat to see and share them on my other account @InspirationIsColour.

Have a really Happy Christmas. Hope you get to relax and enjoy some time with your loved ones.

Thanks for reading.

Lucy x

Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 Greenery

Pantone Greenery 2017 colour year palettes inspiration

1.Pantone Nail Polish – Butter London 2.
Vase – Habitat 3. Peridot Earrings – Leif 4. Sofa – Wayfair 5. Bugatti Toaster – Amara 6. Chopping Board – Jospeh Joseph 7. Moroccan Glass – Habitat

It’s been announced. The Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 …. Greenery. I’m so excited. I was hoping it would be green in some form and I love the zing it has – have you noticed it has a hint of yellow to it ?

Unfortunately I couldn’t make the unveiling of this yesterday ( but thanks for my lovely pieces in the post, Pantone !) so instead have put together a collection of products in a greenery shade from some of my favourite stores.

Greenery ( or Pantone 15 – o343 ) is transitional – works in all seasons but I really can’t wait to see it used for Spring. For me it evokes nature and is fresh and full of hope which is most welcome, really.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on it ? Are you happy too or sitting or the fence … or really not sure at all ? Can you see yourself using Pantone’s new colour of the year on your walls or wearing it ? I’m looking forward to using it with some other strong colours  – do you remember my bedroom mood boards recently ? I used a very similar green there.

So, how will we see Greenery feature in 2017 ? I can’t wait to see – I think there will be some bold patterns and bohemian style – that’s for sure …

Lucy x