Lust List : Designer BBQs for Al Fresco Dining

Hooked on Furnace Everdure BBQ by Heston Blumenthal

With all the gorgeous weather we’ve had recently, my family and I have been enjoying an al fresco lifestyle that is normally not  compatible with life in the UK. It has given us a taste of what life could be like if we lived somewhere that had a warmer climate. One aspect we have really enjoyed is eating outdoors as we’ve had the BBQ out a lot in recent weeks. Our garden in it’s current state is not really geared up for eating outside as the lawn is quite sloped, but we’re starting our garden makeover in the next few weeks, which is very exciting. (See my garden inspiration post here).

Once that’s done we’ll have a lovely decked area to dine on. We recently bought a new BBQ in preparation, which has prompted me to put together a lust list of designer BBQs for you guys. Now I haven’t tested any of these and I have no idea how well they perform. All of these BBQs have made the list based purely on looks. That makes me very shallow I know. I’m sure my husband would veto most of my choices based on practicality, after all many of these designer BBQs are small table top or balcony BBQs which wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for large family gatherings. But they are so pretty, don’t you think? My favourites are the ones from Everdure by Heston Blumenthal. That orange one is gorgeous. Read More…

Interview : Textile Designer Helen Baker

Helen Baker Home Blue cushion & lampshade designs

When I first found out I was pregnant back in 2013, I couldn’t wait to decorate our baby’s new bedroom. However, I needed to go gender neutral as my husband and I didn’t want to find out what gender our baby was until arrival day. I was almost certain we were having a boy but we decided a gender neutral theme would be the sensible option. (Good job too as we had a girl!) Coming up with a gender neutral design wasn’t as easy as I had initially thought. We ended up going for green and incorporated a woodland animal theme which is really lovely. You can read about our nursery project here.

It’s not all that easy to find gender neutral products for use in a children’s room that look nice, can grow with them and are great quality. This was a problem that textile designer Helen Baker also had. But rather than compromise she decided to fill this gap in the market by designing her own collection of fabrics, cushions and lampshades. The Cornish-inspired collection is right up my street, being from the neighbouring county myself. I love the graphic elements and if I were to redecorate our girls’ room I would definitely consider incorporating Helen’s designs. But for now, let’s find out a little bit more about Helen and her designs.

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Anglepoise Collaborates with Paul Smith

Anglepoise + Paul Smith Lamps - Edition Two 2

Some time ago now I wrote a blog post about how the Anglepoise lamp was my 20th Century design icon. I decided this after having interviewed Simon Terry, Innovation Director at Anglepoise, for an article I wrote for World Interiors News. The story of the Anglepoise lamp and the traumatic struggle that Terry faced in trying to safeguard the future of the company in a tough economic climate is a real inspiration. His efforts to save his family’s business involved bringing in new design talent that would enable him to overhaul the product offering and expand into new markets developing higher-end products for higher-end customers. And this is extremely evident in Anglepoise’s recent collaboration with Paul Smith, one of Britain’s foremost designers.  Read More…

Garden Makeover Inspiration

Outdoor living space featuring a Giant Anglepoise light

City Living showpiece at RHS Chelsea by Kate Gould Gardens featuring Anglepoise Original 1227™ Giant Outdoor Lamp

So now that our kitchen makeover is complete, our next project is our garden makeover. My thoughts at the moment have become totally overtaken by the various options we have for creating an outdoor livingroom. I think this is a big trend right now. Not just creating a nice garden, but an outdoor livingroom. Previously we have seen people having a dining table and chairs outside and maybe a parasol. But lately we’ve been seeing lots more spaces where people are tending to mimic their indoor spaces outside. For example, we’re seeing lots of outdoor sofa sets, outdoor cushions, outdoor rugs, lots of soft and snuggly textiles like throws and sheep skins, solar powered outdoor lighting, and even whole outdoor kitchens or bars. Things are getting very sophisticated. You can see my outdoor living Pinterest board below. I’ve been busy gathering garden makeover inspiration. Read More…

My Kitchen Makeover : Final Reveal

The Design Sheppard Kitchen Makeover featuring a monochrome and geometric design theme

Welcome to my kitchen makeover final reveal. I cannot tell you how happy I am to publish this post today. It’s been such a long time coming. We started this kitchen makeover a year ago and it is finally finished. I honestly couldn’t be happier. It’s such a relief to have a kitchen that I am proud of, and I no longer need to be embarrassed when guests come round. You can read about our kitchen makeover plans here and you can see the project in progress here. I’d love to show you around so you can see just how far we’ve come. When we moved in, in 2013, the kitchen was dark and drab and really lacked storage space. I won’t go into too much detail about why I hated the kitchen as I’ve covered that in past posts. I’d rather focus on the positive change we have managed to create here. We got rid of the black laminate worktop and replaced it with white laminate from IKEA. This has really helped to brighten the space and bounce light around the room. I chose this worktop as I really liked the wood effect trim. I realised, when looking at my kitchen inspiration board on Pinterest, that I really like kitchens that mix white and wood. The trim on this worktop actually matches the units that we already had. I was considering painting the cabinets but once the worktop was in situ I really liked how it worked with the cabinets so we’ve decided against painting them.   Read More…

PREN Lighting by Louise Tucker

Hand woven PREN lighting by Louise Tucker suspended over dining table

As you all know I love discovering new designers to share with you guys. This particular designer came onto my radar back in March and I just know you are going to love her work as much as I do. Louise Tucker is a lighting designer and maker who is based in Cardiff. Her work is inspired by traditional weaving techniques, organic forms and time-honoured methods in textiles. She believes in combining tradition with innovation and enjoys the sensory nature of working with natural materials. Her PREN lighting range is a perfect depiction of how Louise likes to work.

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My Kitchen Makeover in Progress

The Design Sheppard kitchen makeover 5

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to write this post. This kitchen makeover has been in progress for a year…aha, you read that right…a year!! Why, you might ask. Well it’s a long story. We started last April by replacing the hob, sink and worktop and we removed all the kitchen tiles. Then we had an issue with the worktop so couldn’t go ahead with tiling. It took forever to sort the worktop issue and then, as always, life got in the way. We’d got used to living with no tiles and time passed. Realising it had been a year gave me the kick up the bum I needed to get going again. So while we were in Poland on holiday over Easter, we had workmen in to crack on and finish the project, all overseen by my amazing dad. I can’t thank him enough. With dad being our project manager for this kitchen makeover, it meant that we didn’t have to live in the chaos while the work was being done and we got to come home to a kitchen that was very nearly finished. I nearly cried when I saw how different it was. It was like a completely different room in someone else’s home. But for the purpose of this post, let’s go back in time to how the kitchen looked when we moved in.  Read More…

Trend : Bright & Bold Velvet Sofas

Green chesterfield velvet sofas by Darlings of Chelsea

Today, I’m talking a little bit about predicting trends. Interior trends, like the trends we see in fashion, come and go. They are cyclical in nature but they are not always easy to predict. Now I think I’m pretty good at predicting upcoming trends. Some trends, known as macro trends, really explode onto the scene in a big way and create large-scale, sustained shifts in consumer interest. Other trends, known as micro trends, remain quite small and tend to change the behaviour in the short-term. Then, of course, there are fads which come fast but tend to fade away quickly too. When you are immersed in an industry as much as I am, it tends to be quite easy to spot patterns arising.

Suddenly you see lots of plants featuring in interior shoots, then you see lots of botanical artwork popping up, then fabric, then wallcoverings, then you spot ceramics that are covered in cactus prints or shaped like cacti, then candles appear that look like succulents and then before you know it you’re in the middle of a full blown botanical trend that is absolutely everywhere and hard to avoid. Trends take quite a while to go mainstream though. They often start at a really high-end level and then slowly filter down to the highstreet and this can take months or even years. So if you’re in the know, trends are easy to spot. But sometimes, they can appear out of nowhere and totally take you by surprise. And that is exactly what happened to me with velvet!

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Ironing Boards with extras from Brabantia

3 Brabantia Ironing Boards leaning against a wall

It’s been a while since I last posted about Brabantia. The brand has been at the forefront of my mind recently as we have been working on the makeover of our kitchen. They are one of my go to brands when it comes to quality, well-designed, long-lasting homewares. I’m currently eyeing up a new bread bin and perhaps some new food storage jars. It was while browsing the site that I came across the latest additions to the laundry collection. The new range of ironing boards is designed to help you de-stress and get some ‘me time’.  Read More…

Interview : Textile Designer Niki Jones

Contemporary Scandinavian bedroom with dark walls and geometric grey bedding by designer Niki JonesHi everyone! How are you all today? I hope you’ve enjoyed the long Bank Holiday weekend if you live in the UK. Traditionally, this is a time when lots of us take part in DIY and try to get our homes ready for the greatly anticipated summer season. I’m happy to say that I actually haven’t been doing any DIY at all this weekend. That’s because my kitchen makeover, which has been in progress for a year, is finally finished. I can’t tell you what a relief that is. So this weekend we have been mostly enjoying our new space. I will be sharing a progress post with you guys shortly and then the final reveal will follow once I’ve had the time (and good light) to photograph it. So that’s all very exciting!

Something else exciting however, is that I am hosting a fantastic giveaway today, which I am sure you’ll love. A few weeks ago, I received an email from Niki Jones, a fantastic designer who wanted to introduce me to her work. I have no idea how I hadn’t come across her before if I’m honest and that’s why I really love it when people reach out to me. Once I had checked out Niki’s website, I knew she would be a perfect candidate to feature on The Design Sheppard so I immediately responded and asked if I could interview her so I could give you guys a more in-depth insight into her work. Luckily, she agreed to make time for us. So here it is: Read More…

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