Kitchen interiors: The Polished Cool Kitchen

The kitchen is often called “the heartbeat of the home”. It is a place where food and drink are prepared, and if large enough, where food can be consumed and good company enjoyed. The best kitchens are those that have a “wow” factor, and yet remain totally functional and suited to their core purpose. Some people call it the polished cool kitchen. It is sophisticated and polished, but not so over the top that it looks gaudy or flashy… just cool!
An example of such a kitchen was a kitchen facing the Pacific Ocean in a house on the west coast of the United States. The kitchen cabinets which used exotic and dramatic high-gloss Macassar ebony with the wood grain running horizontally. There were several frosted glass-front upper cabinets. These were internally lit with LED lighting (cheap and casting only light, not heat) to produce an inviting occluded glow at night and providing a bright contrast from the heavily grained dark wood. The ocean views were complimented by having a turquoise reverse-painted glass backsplash.
The work surfaces (also called countertops) were made from ultra-thick Caesarstone. The kitchen was then kitted out with quality appliances such as a Sub-Zero wine column and a built-in Miele coffee system. Just in case you haven’t come across these I will describe them in more detail:
Caesarstone is a beautiful engineered quartz stone which comprises approximately 93% natural quartz. These surfaces are ideal for virtually any interior work surface, from kitchen worktops, countertops, bathroom worktops, vanity unit backsplashes, and wall panelling. It comes in a staggering 70 colours. As for maintenance, Caesarstone’s quartz surfaces are great to the touch and never need sealing. They require minimal maintenance to keep them looking like new. The surface is hard and non-penetrable so makes cleaning simple and in most cases, soap and water or a very mild detergent are all that are required to maintain its exotic lustre. While it may not be the cheapest material around it comes with a comprehensive 15 year guarantee.
Sub-Zero refrigerators are renowned for their design and superb quality, but they combine them with matching kitchen equipment and storage such as wine columns. They even do a three door matching item which is a fridge on the left, a wine storage area in the middle, and a freezer behind the right-hand door. Nice! So pull out a white wine from the middle section and slap it into the fridge behind the left-hand door two feet away!
The Miele coffee systems are a way to bring your favourite High Street Coffee Shop home to your kitchen. If you love the aroma of a perfectly made cup of coffee this company Miele offer a wide range of exceptional coffee machines, built-in if you so require. While the machines are not cheap, they look superb and are perfect for the every type of coffee connoisseur- whether you classify yourself as the amateur barista, the milk froth fan or the lover of exclusive Nespresso varieties.
So cool, so polished- that could be your kitchen!

Design Hunter loves

Are you a “design hunter”? Do you hate getting furniture, objects, and decorative ideas from chain stores? Do you love seeking out exclusive and innovative new designs, colours, materials and creations? Do you want to make your home as exclusive as your personality and character? Then you are a design hunter. Here are some ideas to set you off. But also go hunting yourself for designs on the internet, and from craft shops and workshops. You’ll be surprised at how much creative design talent there is out there, and it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg!
Pendant lights look great in the right situations. They can be the focal point of a room and change a good-looking room to a great one. Poul Henningsen’s PH range is well known and loved Scandi design classics. We are talking pendant lights in copper, based on Poul Henningsen’s 1920’s drawings.
We should all like ethically sourced home textiles and accessories crafted from natural materials. Urbanara is an online brand that sells these commodities. These include gorgeous textiles, tableware, vases, and art. The company has recently branched out into lighting. The designs are clean and contemporary.
Design hunters should also not be afraid to look out for great material and designs in the area of wood flooring. The minimalism of wood floors combined with its warmth and texture and grain make it a great idea for certain places in your home. Wood flooring has been around for ages, but it never loses its novelty when you walk into a tastefully floored room that uses wood blocks or tiles.
There are a number of woods that can each create an individual flooring ambience. For example rough unfinished and slightly worn wood can give a rustic effect. Darker woods go better in lighter areas of a home. Unless of course you are going for a snug introspective close-the-curtains type of atmosphere in a room- ideal for a study where you want no distractions from your work, computing or reading.
Paler woods like ash that have a softly coloured more uniform grain are a good option for spaces where the aim is to achieve a modern, minimal look. In high traffic areas that are likely to be subject to a lot of wear and tear over the years, go for ash which is even harder-wearing than oak. Ash also looks good in rooms with not much natural light.
There has always been something of a reluctance to have wooden floors in bedrooms- carpeting is just cosy, people say. But with clever use of rugs, a wooden floor in a bedroom, perhaps matching the wood of the futon or bedstead can be eye-catching. Make sure you keep a pair of slippers by the bed in cold winters, although many devotees of wooden floors in bedrooms say that the surface is no colder than a carpet!
Good hunting for your good designs!

Seemingly Floating Bed with Book Storage Space by Lago

While the kitchen is said to be the heart of the home, the fact is that the room that you are most likely to spend the most time in, is the bedroom. Most people spend a third of their lives in their bedrooms and it is important that the room is decorated and furnished in a way which gives you, and possibly your partner if you have one, a sense of peace, tranquillity and an ambience that will promote a good night’s sleep. There’s a well-known expression that one “floats off to sleep”. There is a new bed design which is catching the eyes of design commentators called the floating bed design. A few firms are making these types of bed, the most noted being by a company called Lago.
It’s called a floating bed design because it has minimalist features and because the “legs” are a thick transparent slabs of a Perspex-like material that you can see through. Hence it appears to be floating or hovering above the surface of your bedroom floor. Very science fiction you may think! It’s great for light bright modern bedrooms and shows off its best if the bedroom also is minimalist. In other words not cluttered up with wardrobes, dressers, chest of drawers, tables, entertainment centres etc. In fact if you were to have some hidden lighting, like a coloured LED strip, underneath the bed, the effect created would be sensational!
One of the features that is practical as well as good looking is a book storage space that can be included in the floating bed. This is an important feature if the rest of the room is not to be cluttered with storage items: You can store some books and magazines into storage unit and it does not detract from the floating appearance and the design. The design looks fabulous with a blue headboard, black mattress and pillows, and a light purple bookcase on the lower left angle.
To be sure this out-of-this-world bed is a stylish piece of furniture designed in typical Lago manner. It was first introduced at Milan Design week and was created by Daniele Lago. Will it float your particular boat? In a modern setting, the answer must be- yes! It would not go so well in an older country house type home, or one where there are many original features from an Edwardian or Victorian home. !930s onwards, you’ll have no trouble integrating the floating bed. It also has to be said that in order to appreciate the design and effect of “floating” the bedroom has to be large as well as uncluttered. This is most definitely not suitable for a box room!
One thing is for certain, if you have a suitable room and surroundings, you’ll feel like you are climbing onto a cloud as you get into bed, and this should send you off to the land on Nod in style! And when you wake up in the morning, reach to the end of the bed and grab a book or magazine from the storage part of this clever design.

Contemporary Living Room by Eduard Caliman Depicting a Luxurious Lifestyle

A Luxury Lifestyle is something I guess we all aspire to. A designer called Eduard Caliman based in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, is making a name for himself as the man to go to get your living room souped-up to a level of luxurious. A bit of a bio first:
Eduard Caliman describes himself as a 3D visualizer and interior design enthusiast. Throughout his professional career he has worked at visualization studios in Italy and the United Kingdom where he has had the chance to offer his support and skills to complete many visualisations covering the field of yachts, residential interiors, industrial design and product design. He uses 3D computer generated imagery to produce (“visualise”) his blueprint for an interior design and then develops the process by modelling bespoke furniture and decorative elements for his interior scenes. His design for interiors is not restricted to shapes and space management, but includes materials and surface textures, and environmental lighting.
One of his more recent and much lauded projects has been an intriguing living room project. The luxurious interior was envisioned as having an open layout, with a plus-sized sofa located in the middle, which acted as a visual and physical divider between the lounge area and the dining area. Large crystal chandeliers seem added spice to the room, bringing a touch of regal or royal elegance. Add to this an eclectic mix of other furniture and hey presto, a living room with a unique and luxurious character.
Eduard used elements that belong to the Visionnaire Ipe Cavalli brand collection such as a feathery mirror (Bird) and a console (Gretel) while the large sofa was designed by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia. The lamps and the ceiling lights came from Giovanni Sforza Home luxury Collection and were carefully chosen to further depict a more bright and luxurious lifestyle.
Where did he get these ideas from? Eduard said that he had been a long-time admirer of the Minotti style and he spent a lot of time “in awe” just browsing their website. He said that his admiration for the exquisite visuals that Minotti has produced inspired him to recreate his living room design with space that maintained and emphasized the Minotti look and feel.
The over-sized sofa mentioned above is a Hamilton sofa and he modelled it into his living room visualisation using 3DS Max and Marvelous Designer. Marvelous Designer is a computer programme that is mainly used in creating fashion industry designs, but Eduard used if for designing cushions for his living room project. 3DS Max® 3D modelling software is a sophisticated set of programmes that provide a comprehensive modelling, animation, simulation, and rendering solution for games, film, and motion graphics artists. However its tools can also be used for interior design.
One of Eduard’s passions is using the colours of black and gold to create a sumptuous luxury that reeks of royalty and a lifestyle of opulence. He says that in recent times he has been obsessed with the idea of a classic space where the more predominant tonalities are mainly composed of black and golden details. Perhaps his next client could be members of the Royal family wishing to redecorate one of their stately homes? They could do a lot worse than contact Eduard!

Colour Psychology: Using Teal in Interiors

What is teal you might ask? The dictionary definition says:
1. A small freshwater duck, typically with a greenish band on the wing that is most prominent in flight.
2. A dark greenish-blue colour.”
Why are we interested in teal (the colour, not the duck) is because earlier this year paint giant Dulux names it as the “Colour of the Year for interiors 2014.”
Experts said that this colour tone represents balance, calm, and soothing whilst also being restorative and rejuvenating. Well, in these crazy times, creating a pool of tranquillity in a room in your house using teal sounds like a perfect way to forget about increased airport security checks, a struggling Health Service, and all the other tensions visited upon us as we try to live our lives! It is also supposed to be a colour which is good for contemplation, reflection and focus. It is also supposed to represent harmonious balance- yin and yang if you will, half-way between blue and green. Physically the colour’s light wavelengths require no adjustments for our eyes. The colour doesn’t grate on us.
Teal actually comes in a number of different shades and therefore there’s not one standard colour that you will see in everyone’s bedroom or living room because the glossy magazines have highlighted its colour of the year status. The best thing to do is to get some small quantities of each type of teal, such as Dulux’s “Sea Urchin 1”, one of the lighter shades of teal. That colour is good for rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light. A darker tone would better suit conservatories and light bedrooms and living rooms.
The teal colours combine well with mustard yellows, burnt oranges, ivories and earth-brown tones. Of course whichever colours you use in conjunction with teal, don’t overdo it and make a room fussy with hip multi-contrasts, or you’ll lose the teal’s recuperative properties! Some colours don’t go well with teal, such as bright acid yellows and dark greys.
Because teal is a great colour to use when you wish to relax and unwind and allow you to regain balance and equilibrium after a hectic busy day, use it in rooms such as the living areas, library space, bedrooms. Also think about using it in the bathroom to create that restorative, rejuvenating spa-like feel.
Whatever room you use it in, don’t “crowd out” the colour by having too much clutter around. You should not have too much of anything in a teal-coloured room. In the bathroom, put all those shampoos and shower gels in cupboards and not around the rim of the bath or wash basin. In a bedroom, don’t have loads of lampstands and clothes furniture, let the colour teal breathe and you’ll have a good night’s sleep! Consider some subtle semi-concealed lighting in the bedroom, even a coloured strip of LED’s around the skirting board can create a great ambience.
Avoid using teal in the kitchen- you want a kitchen to be busy and vibrant- a hive of culinary activity, not a place to be drifting off from the food preparation to commune with the music of the spheres or have a spiritual communing with teal!