Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tile Trends

It is hard not to be inspired by the selection of tiles at Topps Tiles. Not forgetting the plain white square tiles and limestone effect favoured by developers, there are some exciting designs worth considering for your home.

For a pop of colour the Metro is bang on trend with its brick shape. Purple, red, green  and bright blue will certainly add interest to a feature wall in a contemporary kitchen.

The highly polished finish seems to give the appearance of glass.

The Diamante range is another brick ceramic effect with a popular elongated shape and five exciting colourways which include white, cream, teal, mocha and a deep blue. There are even some textured ceramic bricks which with the right shade of grout will give a stylish industrial feel to wall surfaces , as well as being practical to keep clean. Minton ticks all the interior design boxes too. The range includes plain tiles, contrasts, borders and skirting tiles to create a complete finished look to any room.

The Victorian are a selection of square tiles in red, black and white with co-ordinating borders which look particularly stunning in traditional hallways. Made of porcelain, they are hardwearing and suitable for both interior and exterior use. Geometric shapes were seen in abundance at the Cersaie Trade Show in Bologna this year and Topps Tiles have a great selection of porcelain tiles making them suitable for both walls and floors.. The Hexa range is a great shape and the Cement and Cement Centric among my favourites. For walls The Renaissance Blend is a mosaic mesh with a Moroccan inspired design and made from recycled glass. 

Topps Tiles also have recycled wood effects, concrete, lava and polished wood tiles- and their knowledgable and enthusiastic staff, if Ian, Dave, Tony and Martin at St Helens branch are anything to go by, will advise and help you decide what's best for your project.
For more information and the full range visit Topps Tiles

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Buying Carpets

 With lots of choice available in shops it is sometimes handy to have a bit of a plan- and some background knowledge to make the experience more enjoyable.

Carpets generally will be 4 metres wide, so measure your area from the widest points, and into doorways to get a more accurate size of the room. Some carpets do come in at also 5 metres, and some in 1,2, 3 and 4 metres - these may not always colour match so try to keep to one width if you have a larger area to do.  Carpets with a pattern, even a stripe, will require some pattern matching.

Where once upon a time 100% wool ruled the world, 80% wool took over as the norm with a 20% manmade material to give the wool some strength.

Nylon/ Zylon appeared with stain treatments like the old Antron. A tough material is nylon, but rubbish at stain resistant it had to be treated with Stainguard/ Antron/ Guardmaster and the rest.

Meanwhile polyproylene was advancing. Today it is a fabulous material, inherently stain resistant, well manufactured and keeps its shape.
 Because it is hard to dye, it is also bleach cleanable. Gone are the days when it had an artificial streaky appearance, it looks a lot like wool and once fitted hard to tell the difference.

pictures via United Carpets 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bamboo and Shadows

 The dried bamboo poles in this cafe looked great against the dark background, but also have a look at the backlit ceiling with the leaf pattern.

Below is the exterior of this cafe with a light canopy
with a real leaf pattern being cast as shadow.

While these sticks of bamboo were found all around Cersaie 2014, you have to admit that the radiators designed around this effect by K8 are just gorgeous.

For more info contact Radiating Interiors 

Social Lives in a Built Environment

In an ever altering environment, the need to anticipate social change is crucial to ensuring that the infrastructure that supports individuals as well as communities is in place.  Reading the research material recently published through Adam Urbanism was a reminder how tough the relationship can be between designers, architects, developers, planners and government in creating a positive built environment.

"Tomorrow's Home" ( Lily Bernheimer- Space Works Consultancy and ADAM Urbanism) is a timely reminder about the need to understand and act upon social lives in anticipating and creating flexible and happy work/ home environments. The research predominately looked at the socio-economic changes affecting the Millenials- young adults born towards the end of the last century, effectively an 18-34 age group.

The study looked at the differences between the aspirations of this generation and the previous one.  Where home ownership was feasible based on average incomes, it would seem that this generation will continue to see rental as the only way forward with mortgages and housing stock unavailable.

Workers still migrate towards urban areas with greater employment options, however there is also a greater element of self employed working from home.

There is always the issue of multitasking work and home space.  It appears new housing stock still needs to take into consideration the need for larger living spaces.

While agricultural farms were isolated in many respects, those same families enjoyed social interaction with other farms.

Today individuals, working alone, share their lives with online support , some  via social network groups prompting real interactions.

The creation and development of outside spaces is important. Parks, gardens, areas to gather and chat. The "KIOSK" idea from AJ and various at Bologna Water Design being actually a very good idea.

Great humanitarians and industrialists Robert Owen, the Cadbury family and Lord Lever all created great "towns" for their workers with enhanced living conditions, compared to local housing, in New Lanark, Bournville and Port Sunlight respectively. They considered the needs of their workers first, then realised the environment. Truly front runners of town planning in a built industrial environment.

Now too often town planners meet the requirements of a political party, developers are greedy about maximising units of land in often inappropriate sites ( flood plains eg) , architects are concerned with price they can achieve per square metre to satisfy clients - often compromising the finish to suit the budget - and interior designers are brought in to make impossible spaces work for the inhabitants.

It is time for policy and decision makers to take heed of such information as contained in the Tomorrow's Home report, and properly plan and implement living conditions that will enhance lives and be flexible to support near future generations.