Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Steam Rooms- Health Benefits

 While the images shown here are beautiful steam shower enclosures, the real beauty lies in what you can not see - water vapour.

For millenniums this planet has offered up great reserves of this vapour that the populace quickly appreciated as having  wondrous effects on the body and mind. Think hot springs, Turkish baths, Roman baths . The Victorians embraced the idea of a Turkish bath, however theirs was full of hot air, and not steam. The Islamic hamman originating in Turkey was steam.

While the recommendation  for steam showers is to be used moderately, 20 minutes at a time is the advice, the benefits are enormous to health.

The effect of increased temperature on the body raises the pulse rate, this allows the blood vessels to expand thereby improving blood circulation.
Bacteria and viruses hate this effect and cannot ordinarily survive.

The pores on the skin open, and toxins are sweated out, thereby having a detoxifying effect unblocking clogged pores.

By the same nature breathing is improved. Endorphins are released which has the effect of reducing stress and relaxing muscles.

Through sweating some excess body water can also be lost.

It is therefore unsurprising that steam was, and still is, popular. While the use of it was largely relegated to communal areas or the enclaves of gyms and spa resorts, it is becoming increasingly more popular within the home. Sealed units with seating and compact generators allow a neat solution in smaller spaces.

For the health conscious family a steam shower is ideal to prevent bacteria remaining in the body, reduces stress and improves the immune system. A small price to pay for good health and wellness.

Ask our recommended specialist for more information.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

More on Gardens

I recently moved house from one with a very mature garden to one which is effectively a blank canvas. My housemate did a great job digging to provide a border and planted daffodils and tulips which look fabulous. He also started on a patch we could grow vegetables, and have a lovely area full of mint, thyme, parsley, chives and rosemary.

It is also that time of the year when plants start to stir and the weeds make themselves known - though some with glossy green leaves may look like lush planting!
While it is too easy to pop along to a garden centre and buy everything you like the look of, a bit of planning helps to ensure your garden looks lush all year round. After all we are talking exterior design, not much different from interior design.

So pen and paper at the ready, sit down and take some time to sketch and identify what you want from your outside space.

The first thing to consider is sunlight. While some plants are happy to be kept in shady spots, others need full sun. Identify where you want your outside seating to be positioned, after all that is one of the perks of having some outside space.

Is there a shed to be built at some point in the future?

Start with the big shrubs or trees. These are your main items of "furniture". Are you happy for all the leaves to fall in autumn, or would you like those shrubs to remain evergreen.

Draw out a basic shape of your garden. This is when you can position paths and areas for planting or lawn. Access to your shed or a path to your table need to be defined. What about a pond feature or somewhere for vegetables. Gardens can take a while to develop so be in no rush if your budget means only some areas can be completed in one season.

While some exposed brick walls look great, some fences may need some covering. Clematis, ivy and vines are perfect. Ivy will stay green all year, while clematis will add leaf and floral colour in summer. They are also not too heavy against fences.

Now the fun part, buying plants. When buying plants opt for ones that are supplied locally as they will generally favour the type of soil in your area which could either be quite sandy, acid or heavy with clay. One tip is to never buy a plant that mostly flourishes 50 miles south if not available locally.

Early spring plants like daffodils inject that bit of colour in borders before other shrubs and plants come into their own. It is always best to group plants for maximum impact. And ask about whether a plant is annual, biennial or perennial - the length of a plan's life.

Consider grasses too, some look green in summer turning a vivid red in autumn. Monbretia is a lovely plant. Be bold with the bigger plants, allowing the little ones to add that little extra pop of colour.

Most garden centres are excellent for those hanging plants or containers. They seem to last all summer when watered regularly.

Will your garden need heating or lighting? Most of the ones used tend to be moveable, although you may want some low level wattage fixed lighting.

The important thing is that you enjoy that space, whether to look out onto, or sit and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Why pay for design?

Why pay for design? That's a good question. While it easy to pick the brains of interior/ kitchen/bathroom designers, architects and plumbers and builders via websites and blogs is there any point paying someone to help.

Good creative people are hard to find. Really. A salesperson easy.

How many times have I seen a client for the first time at home and the first thing they say is "I'm getting rid of everything". Ok, then I need a clue to what they like or want. They have pictures cut from magazines,ok I get the lifestyle thing. Then I say "Right, what is coming back into this room?" After much thought and the reply nothing ,they say "But oh, I love this picture" Race out of room and bring me in something they adore. Now I know where to go with this.

And another wanted an all singing dancing shower with 8 jets, 3 ensuites in house and the inadequate boiler 50 metres away. No decent mains pressure and a wall that would hardly hold a tile. What about getting me in sooner?

How many wall lights do you want? I'm guessing you haven't looked at capacity of mains fuse.

Ok, and today someone was locked out of their house because a friend said someone could change locks- go to a locksmith, that's their job.

My sister in law bought a load of wallpaper , shiny £40/roll and decided she would put the wallpaper up herself. The result was a mess. She didn't even ask me to recommend a decorator who would have done an amazing job.

And that's exactly what I am saying. If you want something done properly, don't cut corners, go to someone who knows.
They will know what lighting is required, before you finish decorating and realise that ceiling light needs moving.

A good interior designer will know whether that shade of stone has green, pink, brown or yellow in it, saving you a small fortune in paint samples/ time and the wrong paint. They'll find that worksurface that will compliment your kitchen units.

Talking to a mate today who was chatting to a couple who have architects in to design and build extension, without having an interior designer on board. So they were saying they wanted this, wanted that... Alright he basically had to plan an area that they had no idea would require the infrastructure to meet what they wanted.

Why on earth do people think interior designers are all fluffy and about colours and fabric? Well maybe some of them are. Some of us are more problem solvers. Getting in early enough to anticipate what the end result/ client expectations are, and properly helping the architect who has one brief.

Pay for good design, it will save you a lot of hassle and achieve what you want.

Happy to now be part of @PoshHour on twitter beginning April Tuesdays 8-9pm GMT

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Furniture Love

Homeheaven were a company I used quite a bit when I had my shop. It's great to get back in contact with them, and to see they are still successful  and trading now as Furniture Love.

They are a British company manufacturing excellent upholstered furniture with a range of 13 core collections as well as a further offer of products suitable for serviced apartments.

What sets them apart from many other companies, is that everything can be upholstered in the customer's own fabric- either directly supplied or sourced through them.

Made of hardwood frames and serpentine sprung bases, even the leg colours can be finished in a range of stains.

There are easy chairs, corner groups, footstools and a selection of sofas in sizes up to 2-39 metres.
The core range is one I recognise from the past, and are truly quality and stylish designs to compliment a variety of schemes.

Be brave with Romo plush velvets or Linwood prints. If your fabrics pass the test for upholstery use they will arrange for the material to conform to fire safety regulations.

Comfort is supplied by their use of soft foam cushions that retain their shape.

With the thousands of fabrics available, your sofa or chair can be as unique as you.

For further information on this fantastic range drop me an email or contact Rachel

You won't be disappointed!