A focus on our use of materials for the bespoke elements of our latest interior design project.
Suggested listening (to enhance your blog reading experience)
Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass
We have a long-running catchphrase in our studio that was born out of our mutual passion for RuPaul's DragRace (if you don't already know it, catch up on Netflix) and the fact that there are always samples of interesting new surfaces and materials laying around the place or pinned to the walls. “I love that material, Girl” has replaced the usual pleasantries when our friend pops over to our studio to see what we've been up to.
After our last blog about playful use of materials in product design we wanted to focus in on some of the details of our latest interior design project - in particular, the materials used on the bespoke elements of the design.
We've always loved working with plywood and walnut and Formica (see our Trilby Road project or Stella & Dot) but on this project we harnessed our most inquisitive side and looked to use materials that were new or unexpected. Many of which we have found on our trips to various trade shows and exhibitions and have been waiting for just the right project to use them in.
And these were just the clients - brave, lively, up for a challenge.
We encouraged them to look a little deeper at their surfaces and finishes. The things you touch each day. The finishes you look at. The base structure of a room doesn't always have to be neutral, allowing room for the pieces to sing. Sometimes the materials you use for fitted joinery, flooring, even sinks, can be the star. It just takes a little more bravery.
First up the use of Smile plastics, limited edition, explorer in black and white with the odd fleck of colour or foil to give it life. It's our new favourite material made from recycled plastic and it comes in all sorts of different colours and finishes that are suitable for use in your home.
Here we've gone for a bespoke dining table, made by Lycan Designs. It's a total star piece in this project.
The joinery in the dining room is made from Valchromat (a type of particle board) that is coloured throughout (here we've used blue). Its' the most incredible material, with a subtle movement in the colour that makes it look almost concrete-like.
The built in drinks cabinet has a cheeky treat of a combo inside, to wow the guests with an after dinner cocktail. Check it out!
In the master bathroom, the sinks had to be special and so we went for these bowl-like basins in black by Kast concrete. They are made to order so each one is unique in its patina and placed on this recycled plastic vanity unit we had made, they look so refined, tying the materials from the rest of the house into the bathroom too.
Actual material, Girl! – The fabrics used on this project were commissioned in bespoke colours from a range of designs, more typically used as fashion fabric, by Amelia graham, who you may have noticed in one of our earlier projects (Brixton Scandi). The beauty of using bespoke colour ways here was that we were able to control how this fabric brings different complex colour elements together, as seen in the alcove storage seat in the open plan living space.
Even the artwork has been approached in a different way, painted directly onto a plywood circle, this work by local artist, Supermundane, pulls the whole scheme together with its bold clash of colours and strong form.
So get creative with the skin on the bones of your interior and take another look at materiality rather than material things (although they can be fun too ;) x
We talk to our latest design crush, German Product Designer, Sebastian Herkner about his work/life balance, and get a sneak peak of what we can expect next from him. His designs, especially for Pulpo, always grab our attention with their thoughtful approach to materials and craft. We are sure you will love him too.
You have an ongoing relationship with design brand, Pulpo. How did that come about?
Well, Pulpo and I are now running our practices for about 10 years. I met Patrick and Ursula right at the beginning of our careers. After an inspiring conversation we started the first collaboration together and since that moment we developed new products, always challenging with interesting materials and crafts. Over the years we became more than collaborators. They are friends and important sparring partners. I think this is an important aspect to create unique and successful products.
Do you have a particular person in mind when you are designing?
To be honest, the design process is very personal, kind of intimate. I really just create products I would like to have. It is about my design philosophy and honesty.
What has been your proudest moment to date in your design career?
It is always great to enter a location, if private home or restaurant, and you suddenly find one of your designs. It is also very exciting to see in which context the design is placed, what kind of sofa or lamp it stands next to.
What makes design important to you?
Design is my way to express. The inspiration and concept for a design is based in behaviours of the society, the value of people and their needs. So the fact of Brexit and the situation within EU make the people change their attitude, and at the end this affects also the consumption and the decisions for their interior. Tactility of real materials, the renaissances of traditional typologies of furniture’s like a daybed or rocking-chair are two of these changes.
You are a prolific designer. How do you juggle work/life balance?
I am not thinking in working days and weekends. Design is passion and life for me. It's a privilege to work with so many inspiring and sophisticated people together, collaborating on intercultural projects like my work with the brand Ames. (Soon to be seen in Milan)
You recently got married? Tell us all about it. Did you design the wedding day or did you let you husband go for it?
Actually it was a quite spontaneous decision. We had wanted to celebrate our wedding two years later but we thought now it is the right time. We celebrated the wedding at Badias in the Schirn Museum in Frankfurt. It was an intimate dinner and party with our family and closest friends. We arranged everything, like decoration and the menu, together with the team of the restaurant and got overwhelmed also by some special surprises by our friends. Next day we left for honeymoon safari to South Africa. It was the best decision I could do and to call my boyfriend Manuel now my husband. I think you understand. ;)
What do you dream of doing next?
We will move right after Milano, where we will launch several new products for brands like Dedon, Ames, Pulpo, Kundalini and Linteloo, in our new apartment in Offenbach.
We can't wait to see what you do next and thank you for chatting to us.
Big love Russell and Jordan x
David Hockney, Los Angeles, March 2016 © David Hockney Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima
If you are in need of an inspirational injection of colour in your life, then look no further. David Hockney, master of colour, has been given a major exhibition at Tate Britain covering 60 years of his work and it is the must see, that everyone is talking about, for good reason. Sometimes you need to refill your creative pool and our trip to see the work of one of our heroes did just that.
His use of pinks and viridian greens and bold lush blues is food for our souls. These colours have been a major part of our work and seeing them used in this way gives us life.
Garden 2015 Acrylic paint on canvas 1219 x 1828 mm Collection of the artist © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt
If you remember our Smash Hits project last year, the lines and colour blocking me palette were massively inspired by Hockney. The way he uses colour is just so unique.
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1972 Acrylic paint on canvas 2140 x 3048 mm Lewis Collection © David Hockney Photo Credit: Art Gallery of New South Wales / Jenni Carter
The walls of each space within this exhibition are key to the experience of the colours in Hockney's work. This is not a plain white box experience - each space gives its own unique backdrop to the work with rooms painted entirely in Lilac or Grey or Burgundy allowing the colours to feel all the more vibrant. Proof, if proof were needed, that Art should not be exclusively hung on white walls.
As you move through the rooms, his work goes from dark drawings to stark colourful modernism, Impressionism to futurism, rural to exotic and back again. He moves between different media with a playful excitement that is infectious. He captures moments that can feel so retro and personal but also universal.
A Lawn Being Sprinkled 1967 Acrylic paint on canvas 1530 x 1530 mm Lear Family Collection © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt
Seeing his approach to the nude male form is somehow confrontational because of its honesty. He never shies away, he doesn't care for shame (a big current problem in gay culture), it is unclear whether he intends to be a trailblazer or not, because he just presents himself and moments in his life to you with an honesty that is still so fresh. The clarity is what makes it so powerful.
Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool 1966 Acrylic paint on canvas 1520 x 1520 mm National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery. Presented by Sir John Moores 1968 © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt
The most powerful of all for us was his May Blossom. It brings together many elements of his work in such a beautiful way. It's subject matter is quintessential English rural, painted in an impressionistic style and in such bold colours that belong more to his more exotic work, making it seem like a surreal alien landscape. A futuristic glimpse of life on Mars. Colour can have that strong an effect on the subject.
Woldgate Woods, 6 & 9 November 2006 2006 Oil paint on six canvases 914 x 1219 mm David Hockney Inc. (Los Angeles, USA) © David Hockney Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt
He deftly reinvents himself as technology offers new opportunity, with his work on paper, then canvas, in Polaroid, then video, then iPad. It inspires us to keep moving forward as designers, keep growing, learning and evolving.
Seeing his work all together you see the artists process and progression and it is inspiring in itself to see someone at the height of their game who is still prepared to push their own boundaries and try something new. Always fresh. Always growing. Succeeding more powerfully at times than at others but unafraid to experiment. Remaining playful and inquisitive but always honest.
It's not everyday you get to stroll around an architectural gem with some of your favourite people, followed by a killer lunch all within 15 mins of your front door.
So many of our friends in the design world have told us about Eltham Palace, but it's always harder somehow to take time out and see the beauty right under your nose. When we finally took a moment away from work to stroll around this English Heritage property in southeast London, we felt like we were back in Milan on a pilgrimage to one of our biggest design inspirations, Villa Necchi. (We've told you before to watch 'I Am Love' – do it immediately if you haven't already and you will know what we mean)
As in Villa Necchi, at Eltham Palace the deco vibes are strong. But beyond that, it's a smorgasbord of architectural periods all in one place:
- The stunningly crafted wine bottle dome.
- The Tudor Great Hall that is oh so Henry VIII.
- Edwardian vibes in the garden room.
- The Deco heaven dining room.
- An LA Hacienda lounge that is ready for the Bachelor to walk in.
- Bomb-shelter basement realness complete with fake curtains.
- Cushions on an angle...wait, WHAT!!!? Never put cushions on an angle. Never! Like seriously, NEVER...not even in if you are a Palace...Ok. But other than that it is a veritable feast of interior inspiration.
The central entrance hall is a killer circular extravaganza that's so deco-cool it feels like Tom Ford might film his next masterpiece there. And if you, like us, are deco happy, you will die for the pink and monochrome dining room of delight. With its Egyptian motifs, graphic borders, wooden panelling and deep pile rugs.
It's a big fat yes from us Eltham Palace and who knew you were in our neighbourhood.
Whilst in Paris for Maison et Objet last month (our round up of the hottest finds is still available to check out on the blog) we couldn't resist a little design pilgrimage to our personal gods of designs latest project. Dimore studio has created Hotel Saint Marc and it was top of our list for things to see in Paris. So much so that it deserves its own blog. We think you will agree it is on another level when it comes to interior vibes.
We've been worshipping at the font of Dimore Studio for years and they have had a massive impact not only on our design aesthetic, but also on how we've created our studio. Our own design house project (bathroom renovation coming soon to the blog) was born out of our passion for the Milan apartment that played host to, and no doubt inspired, all of Dimore Studios new designs. We go to Milan Design Festival every year because Italian design is so close to our hearts and each year Dimore completely re-imagine their central city apartment on a theatrical scale. Last year we told you about its incredibly dark and experiential showing that left us breathless and totally in love. Their work is not just about form and texture and glamour - it is about atmosphere. And their latest work delivers on atmosphere in a big way.
There is an austerity about their design for Hotel Saint Marc, a new spa boutique hotel in Paris, which goes beyond restraint or elegance. It has a glamour that is so deep it feels bizarrely pared back, yet dangerous. If Stanley Kubrick had been an interior designer, perhaps he would have been Dimore.
What we love is their mix of unique new furniture shapes with highly decorative fabrics that are painfully crafted. The use of gloss paint on walls and ceiling, deep boldly coloured skirts and no mouldings or cornice. Clean lines and extravagant surfaces. Rich colour and soft pastels combined. And they know how to select a vintage screen.
You feel instantly in love and also a little scared. As if a vampire has invited you to his room and has not yet decided whether to eat you.
Their design is clever and simple with the most original edge that is instantly recognisable as Dimore. Entering one of their spaces, you feel special. Something that is undefinable yet palpable. They are magic.
Dimore, we love you, never stop doing what you do. You give us life and one day, when we grow up, we want to be you.
If you've been following us for a while, or even if you are new to our blog, you will probably know that design is our mutual passion. We are not usually ones for big public displays of affection, in fact the other day someone asked us if we were twins so we've obviously been together for so long that we are morphing into one another. So when it comes to Valentine's Day, love it or hate it, we don't go all out as we try to be lovely to each other all year round - try is the important word here. We don't necessarily succeed all of the time - we are only human.
But now more than ever it feels like love is what we could all do with a lot more of. So this year we are embracing Valentine's Day and the #LoveIsReal campaign by curated online marketplace notonthehighstreet.com.
They've invited us to share what #LoveIsReal means to us and the gift we chose to reflect this. (And hopefully this will help you out with some inspiration too of you are looking for ideas) For us, love is facing the rejections and successes together, growing together and creating together. But that all began with our wedding day 5 and a half years ago. (It was officially a civil partnership back then but we've always called it our wedding)
One of the design gifts we've chosen from the notonthehighstreet.com website is the Metallic Personalised Favourite Song Sound Wave Print, the perfect way to capture a memory in a graphic design gift. It's a visual representation of any song of your choice and can be made to order in various colour options. Here we've gone for pale blue and gold (long time loves). The song we've gone for is Mother's Journey, by composer Yann Tiersen.
Our mothers walked us down the aisle and this was the music that we had played by our friend on the piano. (Feel free to vom or say ahhhhh - it was a teary moment) We've come a long way in the five years since that day and it's good to be reminded of it.
On the subject of time, Making Living Lovely (...one moment at a time) has been part of our brand from the beginning. It's why we do what we do. So we've had it burned into this Monogram Personalised Wooden Watch Box to house all of our watches. We collect them and each one has an important memory - the ones our parents bought for us when we turned 18 or the gold one inherited when one of our grandfathers died. This personalised box with our inscription inside and initials on top is the perfect design item, to keep those timepieces in one safe place.
They look great together and hopefully give you some inspiration for a design led gift that is thoughtful, out of the ordinary and personal. Finished off with a case of our fav seasonal flowers, white tulips, this is putting a big smile on our faces. And we hope it is on yours too.
What does #LoveIsReal mean to you? Please head to Twitter and share your #LoveIsReal moment for a chance to win £150 with @notonthehighst to spend on a thoughtful, unique gift this Valentine's Day.
It's hard to care about the latest curtain fabric when you scroll through your Facebook and see news of two lost boys who have sliced a dogs ears off for fun, or a UN article recommending that the human race needs to give up dairy and meat consumption, or when Trump gets sworn in or when Bowie dies (may you rest in peace).
So what should we care about? What makes home important right now. Well there is nothing more important to civilisation than a roof and walls and warmth and water and let's not forget that most human of needs...JOY. Without joy there is no happiness, no hope, no dreams.
So let's focus on Eco and function - hell yes, it's at the forefront of our minds right now - but let's not for one second assume that joy isn't just as important. Ornamentation can bring that joy and decoration is in our nature as humans. It's passed down through history; it's part of our culture and in our blood. It's how we express ourselves. So maybe that curtain fabric is worth looking into. Especially if it makes your heart leap a little and makes you dream of one day having a little piece of that in your own home or of designing something that wonderful yourself someday. Whatever it is that brings you joy, and for us it's all things interiors, that thing is just a valid and important as the pipes that bring you clean water. Because your soul is as important as the body it is housed in.
So come on Maison et Objet, give us all the joy you've got! We are ready for it!
First things first, that Black and Tan moment that we mentioned in part one, it wasn't just us missing Buckers, it was for real. Black and Tan is a thing in interiors right now. And it is a gorgeous look. As seen here on the stand of our friends Petite Friture and also at Vitra and Ferm living.
Next we arrive at the Rising talents stand where we bump into Seb cox, Giles Miller and Tom Dixon. Great to see British talent represented so strongly on the continent and along with ceramicist John Booth and Materialist, Zuza Mengham, they all represent new craft at its best. Quality.
Another Brit brand making their mark globally, Pinch, is always effortlessly elegant. They are well loved within the design world for their quality craftsmanship and deserve to gain a much wider audience in 2017.
Elsewhere finishes were 'Ribbed for your pleasure'. From fresh quilted cushions by Nomess to Sebastian Herkner's tan tiles used as a backdrop to his stunning bath design. And even out on the streets of Paris in retail design, we saw fluted glass and ribbed cladding at the opulent Le Bon Marche. Glass in general was textured, fluted or wired. Definitely something we will be translating into our upcoming interior projects.
A surprise hit for us was the wonderfully named Wiener GTV design - we are after all proud owners of our very own wiener dog. This furniture brand stole our hearts with their insanely beautiful colour combos, black curvy outlines and rattan details. Definitely ones to watch - a joy to behold.
Next off we go (on recommendation from our pal Seb Herkner) to Le Bon marche - a luxury shopping experience with an incredibly relevant art installation by Chiharu Shirota.
Entitled 'where are we going?' It is a question posed with a web of weightless boats on feathery white strands appearing to float toward the stunning ceiling of the main shopping hall - such a powerful display of the opulence retail environment playing as backdrop for some big questions about where we are headed as a race. The building itself is a joy, full of beautiful interior details. The art installation makes you question your joy in the experience of it all with more layers of beauty that are so strikingly simple that they are an amazing contrast to the setting. Could an artist have hit on a moment more powerfully? The dilemma of consumerism in a troubled world.
As for the numerous halls back at the main reason for our visit, Maison, dedicated to gaudy cheap plastic things that really should no longer be produced. We avoid those halls as, for us, they are the antithesis of Joy. What happens when the sub standard plastic crap starts to take over the market place and the homes of the world? People start to not care about anything because it's throwaway. It has no meaning, no soul, no purpose. Let's keep chasing quality and investing our time and thought and yes money in all that is good. Well crafted, purposeful, thoughtful, beautiful objets. That's got to be what Maison et Objet is about not just making a quick buck. We certainly found plenty of evidence of designers doing the good work and fighting to keep the joy alive, to inspire a better world. Bravo you soldiers of joy! Keep up the good fight, as we need to be bolder than ever right now.
So let's have it 2017! - Off we shoot to Paris for Deco off and Maison et Objet. Big on the design calendar and our first trip of the year to get to know what's out there for our clients and for you to enjoy in your homes. 2016 had its challenges and no doubt some shit is set to hit the fan in 2017, but we still embark with our same hunger for good design and big smiles on our faces.
We will tackle Maison for you in part two of this two part post but for now, our trip begins with a day at Deco Off, a collection of showrooms in two districts of Paris, dedicated largely to all things decorative.
After a day of wandering the streets and weaving in and out of showrooms we are struck by how soulless Deco Off feels this year. There seems to be no fire in the belly. No magic. It all feels like going through the motions. International brands show us their new collections in a half-hearted manner as if they are just waiting to show them properly in some fabulous experiential installation at Milan design week later in the year.
In an attempt to pull some meaning from the mundane of it all we can tell you that mohair velvet is everything, big influences are coming from old school Chanel with bouclé’s and other sartorial fabrics that we felt desperate to turn into new coats. And the surprise colour combo of this trip seems to be Black and Tan. Or maybe we are just missing our gorgeous boy, Buckley, the Black and Tan dachshund.
In some showrooms there seems to be a lack of authenticity, as if showing here is merely box ticking. Except that is for Pierre Frey, where the archive is on show, there is a wonderful bespoke service re-colouring archive designs and a new natural textures range that feels pure 80s. Dedar is also just stunning as always. We also enjoy a trip to Original BTC's huge lighting showroom. They may be a Brit brand that we were already aware of, but they are giving it large here in Paris and for that we salute them.
In past years, we have loved Deco Off and Paris is/always will be dear to our hearts and held in high esteem. But the show so far has left us a little cold, and not just because we forgot to pack some gloves and hats.
Perhaps the current state of world politics has made us all reassess what home means to us and this is having its affect on how we are seeing things now in the design world. So we are holding our breath and hoping that Maison et Objet holds some wonder for us to behold tomorrow. We usually avoid all of the vast halls except 7 & 8 where the creative gems lie. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, our excitement is rekindled as we head off to a glorious dinner with one of our fav French brands, Petite Friture. Having just used their beautiful lighting for one of our residential interior projects, (full reveal on our projects page very soon) we are well acquainted with their range and cannot wait to see what new delights they have been working on.
They do not disappoint, with their friendly hosting and exuberant approach to design. Things are looking up. Here's to a fabulous second day at the main show. Watch this space for more updates and more pics of our fav Paris finds very soon.
Kicking off 2017 at full pace, we wanted to share with you a little behind the scenes action to let you in on our process - A huge part of our work is never really seen. We are all guilty of sharing just the perfect image so we wanted to share a little bit of what goes on at a 2LG shoot! The interior design process is a long one and in this project (we met these clients back in September 2014!) it's no different. It's a four story town house that was split into 4 apartments, now restored to one family home. Working with Architects and contractors as well as joiners, tilers, textile designers and artists to create a bespoke home - we are super proud of the final result. So the shoot is one of the best parts of our work. Yesterday we spent a long day shooting the results and we can't wait to share it with you. But before we do, just to tantalise you, here's how the day went down.
There is no great shoot without a great photographer. We have been working with Megan for around 5 years (http://www.megantaylor.co.uk) we met through a mutual pal at our very own coffee house (we own St .David’s Coffee House in Forest Hill with a dear friend). Meg actually shot our wedding and we found her to be amazing and personable and so easy to work with. We soon became great friends and have since developed an amazing working relationship. Meg has shot almost every project of ours from interior shoots, to magazine shoots to commercial work. She has shot everything from National Trust properties to Mary Berry’s book cover! Having a great photographer captures the vision we had in our mind at the start of the project. We have developed a short hand that means we work quickly, but also have lots of fun and get the best results. Meg, we love you and without your amazing talent we wouldn't be able to share the work that we do!
Before the shoot we always go to New Covent Garden flower market. It's amazing, we love the early morning drive (usually 4am) and it's often a surreal trip! It's by far the best and most affordable way to buy flowers and plants for shoots. You can basically buy anything and if they don't have it they will get it for you - everything from trees to tiny cacti. They can get it for you. If you are going, remember it's a wholesale place so you have to add VAT onto the price they tell you! Doing this the day before means we get the best of the best and at their freshest.
So we have the flowers, the plants and the photographer. The next bit is really dull but so essential. The house or property is given a deep clean to make sure everything is sparkling and there are no signs of ever having been filled with builders! Ironing is next and can take hours! In a house that has four bedrooms that soon adds up... 16 pillows 4 quilts 4 sheets etc etc... but good preparation means good results! In this case we did it the day before just to maximise the daylight on shoot day!
So everything's clean and everything's crisp and we are ready to shoot. This is our favourite part. There are hours of tweaking. Move that cushion an inch to the left, that leaf on the tulips needs to stand up... dongling (that’s what we call using the reflector to get more light) we are often in very precarious positions crammed in a corner or in a bath holding a light but it's so much fun! Making beautiful pictures of rooms and houses is often so different to how they are in the flesh. Something's too close to camera or too far away. We have a very clean look when it comes to styling... we often start with more and keep taking things away. One less cushion, no pile of books with a rose and lit candle, and no tray of hot coffee with a boiled egg on a bed. We have developed this over the last few years and it's important that we are still able to play and experiment when on a shoot. Always allow the opportunity to change and listen to your photographer. But most of all have fun!
Can’t wait to share this one with you and we really hope you love it as much as our clients and we do!
Design isn't just about grand gesture, it can also be about the little things that we touch and use everyday. These things can help us and give pleasure too.
Having spent the last few years knuckling down to build our design portfolio, this year is set to be no different, but we are determined to look after ourselves better. Cue bold new glasses brand, Kite stage left. They got in touch with us to try out their bespoke designer glasses.
As you can imagine, we spend lots of time in front of the computer and our eyes are our money makers so we thought why not give them an MOT with the added bonus of a beautiful new pair of accessories - should we need them.
Thinking about it, had we not been prompted, we probably wouldn't have gone for an eye test and hadn't been for one in the last ten years. Oops. You?
Founded in 2014, with an ambition to wipe the slate clean on eye health with a selection of fresh glasses that they describe as 'playful works of engineering'. Kite is all about redefining how we look after our eyes and the way we look as we do it. With all their designs priced at £150 there is a focus on good design for all and every style is catered to, with a vast amount of options in finest acetate or aluminium. Handcrafted in Italy, with German lenses of the highest quality and endless customisable options. You really can have a lot of fun trying them all out.
Our 'eye guru', Nathan was a particular treat. So helpful and relaxed, it felt as if he truly cared and loved what he did. A rarity it seems in so many showrooms nowadays. In truth, we were both a little nervous of the tests, since it had been so long, but Nathan put us at ease and made the whole experience a great laugh.
We ended up opting for 'his and his' Dean (the name of the shape) in Blue Havana and Matt Camo. And we love them. They are a pleasure to wear. We feel set up to face the year ahead.
You've got to love a young start-up business with such an inquisitive nature and open, approachable manner. They are pushing boundaries but never boastful or aloof. They want to bring good science, eye health and design together.
Sometimes good design is about delivering something that you didn't even know you needed and doing it in style – Kite do this effortlessly.
Sharing the love - Design Highlights of 2016 ...with a big thank you and a sneak peek at what's to come from 2LG in 2017!
Are you list makers like us? We have a bit of a tradition just ahead of New Years. A taking stock of sorts. We make a list of our highlights of the year that's past and our dreams for the year ahead. It's an amazing way of showing gratitude, focussing in on the things that made you happy and proud and then setting your sights for the coming months. This year we wanted to share this with you as you have been such an incredible part of our journey as designers and you are one of our highlights from 2016.
10 Design Highlights
Because sometimes you've just got to count your blessings and be grateful. Hopefully our top ten will help to inspire you for the year ahead with some tips on what we've learned along the way.
1/ Refill your creative pool!
We began our year, un-characteristically, on a beach in Sri Lanka (or Serendipity as it was once known). We found antiques and visited the architectural legacy of Tropical modernist, Geoffrey Bawa. Thank you for the inspiration - sometimes you've just got the get away to get back on it!
2/ #MakingLinenLovely with Secret Linen Store
The best inspiration starts at home! We started 2016 with a bang giving you some bedroom inspiration. Our first ever product collaboration, available to buy online, born out of our design house. What a thrill!
3/ Work/Home life - Stella and Dot x West Elm
Taking a leap of faith out of your comfort zone. We blurred the lines between workspace and living space using our residential design skills in a work environment to give the work/life balance a facelift!
4/ Slow interiors - the best things come to those who wait.
Our Brockley project, or MoKlau as we fondly refer to those particular clients (short for Mohammed and Klaus), was one of our longest and proudest projects. Year in the making it was great to share this challenging project with you and certainly taught us a huge amount. We will be forever grateful for this one. Sometimes slow is best.
5/ Magic of Milan
We brought you the best of what the design world had to offer with our trip to Milan Design Festival. Always inspiring, it keeps your design mind moving and helps you to dream big.
6/ The show must go on
We faced adversity and dug deep to make our installation for London Design Festival a reality. It was a rocky road with Brexit in the middle but we stuck to our guns and delivered Ligne Roset Re-imagined with our long-term pals and collaborators, Custhom.
7/ If you can't find it, Make it! - Floor Story at Design Junction.
We launched a collection of rugs with the amazing Floor Story, born out of the fact that we had always struggled as designers to find rugs that worked in our interiors and so we designed our own. We hope you love them too!
8/ Live local - Cuckooz x Habitat
Living and designing around your locality has always been important to us and this project of 9 luxury-serviced apartments in Aldgate East was a showcase for that side to our design work. Working with young designers and artists but also with a high street brand was so fulfilling.
9/ Be Grateful - Amara Blog Award
For us, winning this award was a validation of all the hard work we put in over the past few years and it was a chance to stop and take a moment to be grateful for what we had and to you for supporting us. Thank you!!
10/ Finding a Purpose - Our Design House
Working closely with Graham and Brown we created a wallpaper collection and showcased it in our home, the inspiration for the designs. To see it featured in the Sunday Times was an incredible end to the year and we can't wait to show you the next evolution of the Design House.
And because we love you so much for all your support (we couldn't have done this without you), we wanted to share with you and exclusive peek at what we have in store for your in 2017.
We will be continuing works on our design house with super exciting Bathroom reveals and possibly even a full kitchen redesign for you. It's going to be something very special. There are also several more product collaborations in the pipeline. But you will have to wait and see those next year. In the meantime, here are some pics from 3 of our residential projects that we will be launching.
A celebrity home renovation
A family farm conversion
A modern art family townhouse
Big love to you! And here's to a fantastic 2017 to us all x
Bringing you a DIY look that you can achieve in your home for modern monochrome impact with added touches of cosiness. If you love grey and those elegant Scandi vibes, but you are looking to give a room some extra wow, we teamed up with Wickes to create a monochrome design for you to try - with lots of styling tips along the way.
We were approached by home improvement brand, Wickes, to create a living room design that looks as if it could have been photographed in black and white. Quite a challenge for us given our extreme love for all things colourful, but once we started researching this one we got hooked and loved trying something new.
It was also surprising to re-look at a brand that we have usually gone to for screws and the odd power tool (yes we really do have our own tile cutter and mouse sander) - and find that there is more to them than meets the eye. The paints, for example, are great value and went on a dream, but more on this later.
The space we were given to transform was decidedly uninspiring, with no real architectural features (essentially a white box). So the inspiration for the design of the room came from searching our black and white photos and also, perhaps more importantly from the floor. Changing your flooring, using the same flooring throughout your spaces is a great way to create a massive change to any space. This flooring (http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Prussian-White-Real-Wood-Top-Layer-Engineered-Wood-Flooring/p/225317 ) was also surprisingly inexpensive, which is always a major bonus. We chose this pale oak flooring from the new Wickes range as we love that white washed Scandi look for floors - it's a great base for so many different looks.
We had one day to pull this look together so before we arrived we had the flooring laid and a base coat of palest grey Falling Feather in Wickes Matt emulsion painted on all four walls. We also replaced some rather dated wall lights with these simple half moon, plaster wall lights because they are paintable so we can blend them in with the colour of the walls. This helps the wall lights to recede into the scheme whilst still giving a gorgeous ambient light to the room at night. Wall lights have fallen out of favour, but they are coming back in and we think the can give a room great flexible lighting options, especially these up lighters. Definitely time to get back on board with the wall light we say.
Next we got organic with a textured ombré wall. This stunning paint effect is easy to achieve in your own home with a little care and patience. (Note: we even had jackets and our fav shoes on and still managed to do the paint effect without ruining our clothes but this is not to be tried at home). But if you do want to give it a go, buy 4 emulsion paints in tonal colours. Here we have used all the greys in stone and metal tones to fit the monochrome look. (http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Durable-Matt-Pewter-2-5L/p/121908, http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Durable-Matt-Nickel-2-5L/p/121906, http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Colour-%40-Home-Vinyl-Matt-Emulsion-Paint--Steel-2-5L/p/122323)
Start from the top and work your way down the wall. Paint your palest base colour all over first. Then apply a band of the next palest shade with a small roller and feather the top edge in with a dry clean brush. You can be quite full on with this, so long as you keep all your strokes vertical and don't let them veer off at different angles.
Apply the next band down, overlapping the first band slightly and again feather the top edge of this band. Apply your final darker band of paint to the lowest part of the wall and feather in the top edge – be sure to clean and dry your brush properly in between different colours. Finally, use the dark shade but in eggshell paint for the skirting board to finish it all neatly.
With the black stained furniture this look gains a Japanese minimalist touch that makes it all very chic. We then styled it up two different ways to give you options and show you how versatile the look can be if you want a look that evolves with you.
So there is a monochrome geometric look with this artwork we made from marble vinyl in a simple black frame and a standout geometric Jaguars weave cushion.
And there is this Scandi Cosiness look that is all about layers of wool with linen and leather and a luxurious faux fur cushion.
The branch was cut from our garden and gives a bit of sculptural form to the overall scheme.
It's definitely a look that we would love to live with and we have even surprised ourselves that we could get so into a monochrome scheme. We love it and hope you do too.
Please share any pics with us on social media if you decide to give it a go - we'd love to see.
Getting the Festive feels with some local shopping in support of independent shops, local craftsmen, designers and artists.
As independent business owners ourselves, we wanted to give a big shout out to the high street. Not only will you be supporting your local economy every time you shop local, but you will be connecting with your community on a personal level. That is something very rare nowadays and it is to be cherished. Up and down the country there are brave souls setting out their stalls and inviting you into their open studios to buy some gifts or decorate your house for the festive season and if you haven't tried it before, it's time to dive in and start living the lovely local life! How rewarding to know the person who made your gifts and to know that your purchase will continue their growth.
So last week we got out onto our local streets and met our local talented makers and artists to show you that you never know who is just around the corner. Wood turners, furniture makers, world-renowned artists maybe just on your doorstep, all you have to do is get out there and look.
We put Buckley the wonder dog in his blue cable knit jumper and set off for our first visit to a long term design crush of our, Michael Ruh, who just so happens to have a studio around the corner from us. Michael is a world-class glass blower and it was such a thrill to meet him in person and see his stunning handmade lighting and tableware. He is passionate about colour, just like us and we left with a few beautiful water glasses to remember our visit. Over the next couple of Sunday's as we near Christmas you can even book in a slot to blow your own Bauble with Michael in his studio. Yes please!
Next it was off to Havelock Walk in our beloved home turf of Forest Hill. Havelock Walk is mews of live workspaces tucked away behind the high street and every space houses a different designer, artist or maker! Track down your local craft community as they often group together in warehouses or a mews like this and open studios are a great way to get introduced to their work.
Our first port of call here is to our friend and award winning designer, Sarah Colson. Her refined and beautifully coloured glass objects and lighting are so beautiful and deservedly getting lots of international attention from the humble beginnings here in South East London. Who can resist their delicate charms?
Havelock Walk is also home to the super talented artist, Super Mundane. We love the bold graphics and colours. With affordable prints and bigger more ambitious pieces on board, there is something for every budget here. We own a couple of prints from Super Mundane and love them all the more knowing that they were created here in our local community. Prints make great gifts too.
You may also want to check out some other South East London talents like, ceramicist William & Co, or Ornamental Grace - a designer/maker of painfully beautiful products with an obsession for jesmonite. Or try gifting a succulent in a stunning concrete creation from ConPot. And you absolutely must check out the crazy talented Jono Smart. His pottery studio is up in Glasgow now, you lucky people, but he started out in Peckham and now has a much deserved and hugely devoted following.
After a trip around the studios, we head back onto the high street to our good friend Syrus in his Framing Salon, to pick up a print he framed for us. His work is pure quality and he loves what he does. Getting something perfectly framed, an old photo or new art print can be a very personal and sometime emotional gift.
We also pop into our vintage faves, Wild Horses and Farr & Wyde, then onto the haberdashers, Stag and Bow to look through their latest selection of broad velvet ribbons for wrapping. Finally it's a visit to friends Ruth and Nathan at our local organic Butchers to pick up something amazing for dinner and a cheeky bone for Buckley. By this stage there is nothing for it but a long black and a flat white to rest our feet at our own coffee shop, St David's. Feeling creatively fulfilled and cosily Festive as a Robin in a nest.
Make the most of your local high street and craftsmen and artists studios for some unique gifts. Community is rare in this world and we want you to nurture yours.
Cherub courtesy of Beep Studio
Interiors, theatre, Christmas, snow, nature - all combine for 'a Night before Christmas' at our favourite place in London to take afternoon tea, Sketch.
Like Narnia if Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior had gone through the wardrobe together to throw a Christmas party. The entrance hall is a thing of wonder - all snow covered trees with drifts on the floor - and we all need a bit of that right now. Sketch has always been a magic place for us with theatre in its heart, but right now, it is extra special.
Last month we went for a birthday afternoon tea and had the most amazing experience in the stunning Gallery, designed by one of our ultimate design crushes, India Madhavi. The now iconic blush pink interior has long been an inspiration for us and eating a beautiful champagne afternoon tea in such a stunning setting is always a treat. The David Shrigley prints add a cheeky edge to the whole thing that remains classic.
By contrast, The Glade is full of woodland nymphs and creatures with Constance spry floral pillars as trees, holding up a canopy of magically interwoven branches and metallic ferns.
And up in the a la carte restaurant, the giant Christmas tree makes a dramatic centrepiece dressed exuberantly in large colourful blooms and gold foliage. Its star is great fun covered in pastel roses.
There really is something different around every corner and it made us very happy indeed. The interior installations made us feel like children again and that is one of the things we love about Christmas.
Homesense, one of our secret pleasures, set us the lovely challenge of doing a design dash in one of their stores to pull together the final styling elements of one of interior projects.
Open shelving in a living space is a great way to create a changeable, personal display that will totally transform a space and bring the elements of a whole scheme together. It's a place to have fun and show off your personal style. The trick is to limit yourself to a palette of colours or materials. Here we've kept it monochrome with tiny touches of gold and teal to bring some of the wider elements of the room design together.
Other than that you can really go for it and pull in all sorts of eclectic pieces. Something that Homesense has in abundance. Like the brass geometric horse or this period style ornate clock. Also, use framed prints or canvases as a backdrop for other sculptural elements, like the collection of vases with brass trim or the faux animal horn. We pulled these shelves together in one trip to Homesense and we love how it's come out. A shelf was made to be filled and it's so much fun to play with different combos.
The home in question is a 1930's property in south east London owned by clients, a lovely pair of young professionals, who had just moved in and wanted to make their mark. Cosiness was key to them and they entertain at home a lot so this sitting room needed to have a whiskey lounge vibe about it as well as being great space to cuddle up for a movie night. We layered it up with different textures to give comfort and a colour palette of tans and teals for warmth and depth. The soft leather and velvet on these sofas from Swoon editions add to the layers with a luxuriously soft, richly coloured carpet underfoot, layered with a beautiful woven rug (all from FloorStory). The final layer of the floor to ceiling made to measure curtains give it a truly cosy feel but still remain elegant in this beautiful natural linen from Ada & Ina. The chimney breast gives edge with its monochrome geometric tile (an inexpensive design win from Topps tiles), nodding to the property's original monochrome tiles on the floor of the entrance hallway. We then used this stunning Zhivago wallpaper from Nat maks keeping the whole look fresh but luxe. Especially with the simple elegance of the Pooky floor lamp and Made.com brass side table and hand blown glass pendant light by one of our Design Crushes, the incredible Michael Ruh. Such an amazing craft piece from this collaboration with Made.com that gives another unique element to the room.
The bedrooms and office space upstairs tie into the scheme, using the same elements from the main sitting room. This begins to tie the whole house together and gives the client a roadmap to carry through the rest of the property when they get around to it.
If this gives you some inspiration in your house, please share your own shelf style pics with us, we'd love to see them.
In 2015 we met rug-obsessive Simon, founder of FloorStory, as we were both exhibiting at Design Junction for London Design Festival. There was a mutual love of each others work and we clearly shared the same fun and passion for what we do. He also gives major bear hugs - It was an instant connection. A plan was formed and, after the best part of a year's work, a capsule collection was created. All designs (Embossed, Moire and Roses) are inspired by our Victorian detached home in South East London - an ongoing design muse. We love the impact a rug can have in a home as floor art or as a luxurious layer in a sophisticated scheme, so we were excited to have the chance to create our own pieces.
As you may have read in previous posts, we're renovating and have discovered endless decorative treasures that influenced this collection. Found textures and patterns from the house were the starting point. We then met with Simon and his team of skilled rug craftsmen to learn more about the processes involved and the boundaries of the different techniques we could use. It is always important to us that there is an honesty in the way we work and if the inspiration for a design meets with a making technique then that is the perfect mix for us.
Our 'Embossed' rug is a great example of this. Old textured wallpaper covered many of the walls and ceilings in the house and left a big impact on us with its period charm and classic technique. Embossed is handtufted in NZ wool with the higher pile crafted from Bamboo silk. The raised design is intentionally off centre to give it our own twist on a classic. It's such a thrill to see this design come to life. In the flesh it feels so luxe underfoot and the subtly different pile heights give the piece just the 3D quality that we wanted for the Embossed design.
You know how much we love colour and we haven't held back here with emerald green, Jade, gold, blush pink and indigo blue. But we've also kept real room schemes in mind so that each piece can fit into your home scheme easily as a beautiful layer. The colour process with rug design is quite tricky. For a start there are so many options and then you need to sample colours on small mockups of the rug designs because there is a vast difference between a tiny tuft sample and a huge rug. This took a lot of time to get right as we are so specific about colour, but it was all worth it.
The Roses rug is particularly special because it's hand knotted with a high knot count that gives the finished piece an insanely soft velvet feel. Made from semi worsted NZ wool and pure Chinese silk and hand knotted using 150 knots this is our finest work to date. It took a long time to sample this piece as it is so detailed, but craft like this cannot be rushed. The detailed floral deconstructs throughout the rug until it ends in plain colour. It's sophisticated kitsch with a feel of pure luxury.
Finally there is our graphic take on a classic silk moire on a grand scale. We found watermarked silk, otherwise known as moire, in a bag tucked away in the old house when we bought it and it felt so right to give this an outing as a rug. We reinterpreted the movement of moire silk as a graphic zig zag pattern and used wool and silk again to give the play of light that makes the piece feel like a giant piece of silk on your floor. When the first sample arrived this one was love at first sight and it's so elegant it could work in so many different room schemes.
We have loved learning about the intricacies of the skilled rug making process and working with Simon has been so much fun because his passion for all things floors is insanely infectious. It's so nerve wracking launching our own designs this year (especially when they have been so long in the making) - we hope that you love them too!
Earlier this year we shared our tips with you on using flowers in your home for spring/summer. But flowers are an all year round obsession for us and this week we are looking at how to keep those blooms looking lovely in your home through the autumn/winter months.
The lovely team at Bloom & Wild flower delivery company came over to our house for the afternoon and we pulled out some of our favourite vases with their flowers of the moment to give you some ideas on keeping your home looking fresh as we transition through the seasons. As the nights are drawing in and skies go grey, the flowers get richer in colour and more densely textured, bringing a luxe vibe to your interior.
The two bouquets we had the pleasure of styling, were their premium hand-tied rose bouquet the Lucie, full of two dozen roses (always a firm fav or ours throughout the year) and fabulous scabious balls. The other Bloom & Wild bouquet we styled, was the Neve, from their letterbox collection and is the perfect autumn-into-winter mix of eryngium, calla lilies and eucalyptus with deep red roses. Eucalyptus brings instant class and the Calla lilies give such elegant form.
Since the flowers are so rich and layered we have used very simple vases with modest clean shapes to let the flowers really sing. Using the right vase for each occasion and each bouquet really can make a big difference.
We first styled the Lucie in a tall blue glass vase. Using a tall vase will make a real statement and can change the look of the flowers and space quite dramatically giving them structure and height whilst keeping a tight formal display that is so luxe. The Blue is the perfect backdrop to bring out the colours in the bouquet and those scabious balls are so delicate and cute. You know we love a sculptural form and these add so much to the look. The tall thin vase with the tightly bulbous display of flowers at the top echoes the natural impact of the scabious.
The second vase we styled was the Neve, in was a milk bottle style vase. We would normally suggest that this style of vase is best suited to a wild flower bouquet. However, styling your flowers in a vase this shape, will give them a more natural and wild look allowing the flowers to fall naturally. The colours are so deeply layered and yet so fresh. It has a Scandi edge that we love and the roses sit so well with our new Floral wallpaper design, 'Joy' for Graham and Brown.
When its this easy to get top quality flowers in the post now, there is no excuse not to indulge your home in some floral accents. They really do put a smile on your face everyday, all year round.
So you may remember a while ago we wrote a piece about our WC of JOY (you can see it here). It's finally here, finished and we couldn't be happier with the results! It's taken sooooo long to finish as we have been super busy with clients homes and our own wallpaper and rug launch that our heads have been spinning!
You will remember that we were working on a bespoke wallpaper design with our pals CUSTHOM. As we developed this further we began to explore fabrics too and resulted in a great collaboration that we showcased at Ligne Roset... the wallpaper is available POA (you can view it here) enough of that for now. Back to our WC or wonder closet as we have re named it! We used the floral design on the walls and the ceiling to give real impact. It's like a little jewellery box! We also added a subtle ombré towards the skirting boards. We opted for a classic Victorian suite in white and traditional brass hardware. All topped off with a stunning 24 carat gold soap dispenser by VILLARI from our friends at Amara Living. It's a little extravagant but actually it's one thing that most people who visit our house will use or see.... that's our story and we are sticking to it! Hopefully now that we have a beautiful loo, our moms will be a little more keen to visit! We hope you like it, and feel inspired to create your own wonder closet!
Jordan and Russell x
Over the past months we have shared with you the progress of our house as we renovate. We think process is such an important element of creating a successful scheme for your home and we are so excited to now share with you the first evolution of our design house. If you have been following this we hope it's given you inspiration and a confidence to do your own home. But for now, sit back and enjoy the reveal of the first phase of our Design House. This blog post is going to break down the elements and show you how we got to the finished look. We've worked with some amazing people and design talents to get here and we want to highlight their work to you to spread the love and inspire.
So, we've broken the look down for you into 9 key layers:
1/ Wall-to-wall Wallpaper – Inspired by the house, what better place to launch our Perry Rise wallpaper collection with Graham and Brown. We've gone all out and put wallpaper not only on all four walls of each space but also on the ceilings. It's a statement look and a wonderful backdrop. There is a calmness and simplicity to using wrap around pattern.
2/ Window Treatments – Go Oversized!
It's a cliché but we do love a bit of fabric, and there is so much out there to choose from its difficult to know where to begin! We tend to use a lot of plains/textures. For several reasons, not least because curtains can be expensive so it's good to pick something that will have longevity. We discovered the most PERFECT and we mean perfect fabric from Designers Guild. It's Called CHIMAY and the colour is Tuberose (it's Anna Wintours favourite flower you know) the shade is a grey pink mauve mash up. Sounds odd but it's beautiful, and the tumbled linen texture screams I don't care but I do... When it comes to fitting we always go large. Curtailing floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall to give the impression of much bigger windows and again a really luxurious feel. We chose elegant and understated brushed brass curtain poles (Poles Direct) from the signature range. Simple and timeless. We have used the same maker for years, Ada & Ina and their quality and attention to detail is perfection. We had a heaven cotton lining for the curtains, this helps them drape well. For the sitting room we opted for Un-lined relaxed Roman blinds. This look isn't for everyone but for us it's the dishevelled look we wanted. Not a crisp Roman blind. Because we went for no lining you get a little light and a lovely play of shadows. Also Ada & Ina have a great selection of hardware so we opted for a matching brushed brass chain to tie in with the poles! We are so pleased with the results!
You can shop the look here:
-Fabric – CHIMAY - Tuberose
-Ada & Ina – Brass Chain
-Poles – Brushed Brass Curtain Poles
3/ Go Bespoke – We knew that we wanted a console over the traditional cast iron radiator in the hall (we aren't fans of radiator covers) as it's a great place for a lamp and objects to give the hallway an inviting feel. As its not a standard size we went bespoke and contacted terrazzo queen, Olivia Aspinal, who we met at Design Junction last year. Olivia does amazing things with jesmonite, the new wonder material that everyone is talking about. It's somewhere between concrete and corian, but easy to use and can come in any colour you desire. Here we tied the colour palette in with our wallpaper and commissioned some inlaid motifs across the surface that nod to our wallpaper design for the hallway. It's a stunning piece and Olivia was a joy to work with. Her subtle mix of colour and texture is beautiful and the piece looks so at home.
4/ Star Lighting – Lighting is like the jewellery of the home and we love to go big on scale and impact. CTO are an amazing new lighting brand that creates architectural pieces with an industrial luxe vibe. Here we used their Mezzo pendants in the hall, Nimbus pendant in the dining room and Sasha pendant in the sitting room with complimentary nimbus wall lights. The glass in these pieces is beyond beautiful like circular slices of crisp snow or ice. They add true glamour with an ethereal edge.
6/ Upholstery Fun – we often see a one-off chair or pair as an opportunity to have some fun and push the boundaries of your interior scheme. You've got your sofa doing the hard work so why not have some fun with your accent chairs. Here we've used Helen Moore faux fur in pale blue. We found the chairs on eBay for next to nothing and used a local upholsterer, Jessica Meek, to give them their one-off new look.
5/ Neon Personality – since way back in our teens we have had an obsession with Michelle Pfieffer's Catwoman in Batman Returns. Specific we know, but sometimes you need to get really specific about your favourite cultural references to bring some personality into your interior design. In Catwoman’s transformation scene (we can quote it for you word for word) she has a neon sign that reads 'Hello there' in her cute apartment and when she becomes Catwoman she smashes two of the letters in her rage and it becomes 'Hell Here'. We've wanted to do this sign in our house for many years and serendipity played its part, as it so often does when we got an email from new LED neon brand, Bag and Bones. They do amazing bespoke signs as well as stock items and we couldn't be more thrilled with ours. It gave the scheme some edge and stops it from taking itself too seriously. It is our home after all. There is also a cheeky little remote so that you can change it from 'Hello there' to 'hell here' with the press of a button. "I don't know about you miss kitty, but I feel... soo much yummier"
6/ New Design Edge – Dining chairs. Earlier this year we went to Copenhagen to visit Norman Copenhagen's flagship store. They were just about launch the Ace Chair by Hans Honiman and as soon as we saw it we knew we needed them! The clever and stylish design. It fits in the smallest box imaginable, flat pack and SO EASY to build. We chose a mix of Dark blue velvet and Lake Blue velvet. They are so comfortable, solid and look amazing. What's not to like! Ava Chair by Norman Copenhagen for £399.
7/ Vintage Soul – Every home can benefit from some vintage and antique pieces to ground the look and bring in some authentic soul. We went to our faves Layer Home to source some key pieces, they are an amazing resource that pulls together the best pieces from vintage sellers around. A stunning white corian dining table with Plinth base; a 1960's hammered brass mirror with floral motifs that echo our 'Joy' wallpaper design and the original floral coving of the room; an 80's coffee table in asymmetric natural stone and smoked glass.
8/ Finishing Touches – Google is Your Friend.
Sometimes you know exactly what you need and as many magazines you look at or Pinterest searches you do, wrack your brains for brands you have seen... You can't find it. We wanted a huge convex blue mirror.... Pretty specific I know. Eventually (don't know why we didn't do this earlier) we turned to Google! We instantly (like the first image) found B & S Glass based in Hertfordshire, a really near family, they specialise in convex mirrors. Any colour, loads of texture and huge! Sheer mirror perfection! They are exhibiting at 100% Design this week so make sure you check them out!
9/ A Little Bit of Luxury Underfoot –
Not everyone gets to design their own rug. Earlier this year we were approached by the handsome Simon from Floor Story about the prospect of developing a small collection of rugs. The popularity of wooden floors means that rugs sales must have gone sky high! People love the practicality of hardwood flooring but can't resist the softness and warmth a rug brings! For us it's all about scale, make them huge, like a giant island for your furniture to sit on. They really do anchor a space. Materials like wool, silk and even bamboo are increasingly popular. This is all hugely exciting to us and fits perfectly with our design house idea of making/creating everything for our home bespoke. We wanted to use texture and florals and a subtle geometric. We are launching the rugs this year at Design Junction but you can get a super sneak peek here in our sitting room and dining room!
Love Russell and Jordan x
Change changes and so does good design. We were invited by Decology to take over their social media and bring you the juiciest design picks and interior inspiration direct from Paris Design Week.
After an early start at 5am, we caught the Eurostar to Paris for a design dash, courtesy of the lovely team at Deocolgy. Excitedly, with luggage and tiny metro tickets in hand, we made our way straight over to the main show, Maison et Objet. With a touch of Brexit in the air the first thing that caught our eye is an ivy clad neon circle beautifully announcing that 'Change Changes'. In a luxuriously appointed room set by star brand Ginger and Jagger this gave a great vibe to start our trip.
As we moved through the halls, showcasing design from around the world, we saw some powerful themes appearing. Inquisitive use of materials, exuberant decoration making a comeback, a playfulness with colour and a desire to improve the function of our lives with good design.
A standout star for us, combining some of the main themes from this years show, was Sebastian Herkner for Pulpo, with his recycled glass made gorgeous as sexy side tables. They looked like natural stone and not only are they elegantly function but good for the environment too. And that is good for the soul.
Petite Fritture also won our hearts with beautiful colours and a whimsical use of sculptural forms in their lighting, furniture and tablescapes. This brand is going from strength to strength and we always love seeing what they do next - definitely ones to watch.
New to us, fresh brand Nomess gave us 'A Beautiful Mess'. This collection of storage solutions and home accessories smacked us around the face with a healthy dose of colour and texture designed to clean up the mess of our day-to-day lives. We are sold and could happily have kitted out our office space there and then. Our studio could certainly qualify as 'a beautiful mess'. Their approach to functional but fun storage was perfect for us and indeed anyone in need of some order in their home.
Launching a gorgeous new collection, one of our favourite Danish design brands, Norman Copenhagen had an impressive stand that was all about rich blues and deep burgundy with interesting new aluminium shelves and storage bowls that had a clean futuristic vibe. Their Ace chair collection is fast becoming a new classic and it was great to bump into 'Ace' designer, the lovely Hans Hornemann to talk to him about his new designs. He wasn't giving much away about what's next for him, but safe to say it's worth keeping an eye on this bright young thing. He's definitely one of our design crushes.
On the lighting front, brands went big, with some wow factor installations, spectacular LED fabric and Artemide making major impact. We love to go big on scale with lighting in our home interior projects, so this was right up our street. Star pieces came in the form of the aptly named Phenomena Lights by Czech brand Bomma. These large scale blown glass beauties in fading pastel colours were the must haves of the show. Pricey but definitely worth structuring into your interior budget as star items to elevate your space.
After a full day of design we were ready for some downtime and the hotel Decology had chosen for us is the perfect place for a moment of calm, decorated entirely in baby blue and white. Le Lapin Blanc had a playful feel with its pleated sheer curtains dividing the room, diagonally laid blue tiles and rabbits tail motifs on the walls. There was a play on form and pastel colour and the huge bed and giant bath in the bedroom gave it a soft luxury whilst still remaining elegant as a whole.
When in Paris another interior has to be visited with a dinner at Le Dome du Marais, our favourite haunt for the past ten years. It's interior has changed a lot over the years and lost some of its rough charm with a very lux redesign, but it still has that wonderful intimate dining room with its spectacular dome. The atmosphere can't be beaten and that is something very hard to create in an interior.
Day 2 and there is time to take in some hidden interior gems on the streets of Paris as we check out the Village Saint Paul - full vintage markets and shops. So much to see and so much inspiration here as always, especially from the bold shop front of our new favourites Bien Fait. Print designers extraordinaire giving major impact with their graphic designs used in unexpected ways – so chic.
Paris this year had a tentative feel - unsurprisingly with the current state of affairs in Europe - but the design scene is as strong and vibrant as ever, leaving us with so many ideas for our interior projects. We hope you can take some of these ideas into your own homes too.
Love Russell and Jordan x
Listening to Bjork's 'Pagan Poetry' as we write this post seems entirely appropriate. It's all about the joy of spending time with nature at the 'Make Wedding Party' of the gorgeous and talented couple Seb and Brogan of Sebastian Cox furniture.
Last week, we were invited to celebrate with them at this very special edition of their annual 'Make Party' in honour of their nuptials – woodworking, making paper flowers and dancing into the night around a campfire. It was so good to leave our studio, get our hands dirty and get back to nature with an amazing group of design lovers. And there are plenty of ideas here to give you some amazing styling ideas for any outdoors parties.
Situated deep in the woodlands that Seb manages and where he sources the wood for his handcrafted furniture, they had created the most magical clearing, complete with handcrafted wedding tent and tables, campfires, candles and making stations offering the chance to get inside the process of some of our favourite craftspeople. Without wanting to sound cheesy, it was enchanting.
Earlier in the year we spent a similarly enchanting if somewhat colder day with Seb and Brogan getting very muddy and sweaty as we learned about Coppicing in this same woodland. Seb shared his knowledge on managing the woods and we in return offered our help to clear some wood for making his beautiful furniture. We left exhausted and wet and very happy. Did you know that it actually helps the trees and general flora and fauna to clear some trees? It was so out of our comfort zone and so much fun. To then be able to use that same wood to learn how to make our own Hewn bench from his collection was amazing. Although our novice attempt was a way off his beautiful piece, we felt so proud that we had a go and we learned some new skills. Who knew that it was so easy to drill through a slab of solid wood with a hand tool! So satisfying. Our axe skills leave something to be desired and our bench legs looked rather more chewed by Buckley than beautifully tapered, but it was fun to get to grips with some serious tools.
Then on to ring making with Workbench. Seriously pleasing stuff as we learned how to carve a ring of jewellers wax with a craft knife to make our own unique ring that will then be made into a solid silver version by the lovely ladies at Workbench and sent back to us when finished. The carving is delicate and tricky to start with and you have to be careful not to crack the wax ring with too much pressure, but the detail you can work into the wax is so cool. We went for organic grooves and facets on our rings, but you can create so many different shapes.
Originally one of our rings was going to be a signet shape and as it reached the point of perfection, the knife slipped in too deep and sliced the edge off the main face of the signet. So it then became a fully faceted ring with out a signet. Sometimes imperfection is part of the process and you just have to go with it. We cannot wait to receive the finished pieces and what and amazing thing to do at a wedding party! If you get the chance to book one of Workbenches workshops we can highly recommend it.
We also dipped into workshops with Foldability; learning to make paper flowers and a Foundry that was melting down recycled aluminium cans to sand-cast any shape you fancy. It was so pleasing and dramatic to see the heat of the fire and the melted metal running into the sand.
Bringing that nature back into your home is having a major moment as we all crave that connection. It was food for the soul and will certainly filter into our interiors work as we see craftsmanship in a new way, appreciating the impressively different skill sets and passions of each of the craftspeople that we meet.
Big love to you Brogan and Seb! Thank you for the enchantment and inspiration.
Love Russell and Jordan x
For the last month we've been in the thick of a big new design project – one of our biggest projects to date. And now that we are in the final stages of installing and styling we wanted to share the process and pics to hopefully give you some ideas for your own space. Especially if you are looking to inject personality and home vibes into a new build white box or rental space.
Homes come in all different forms and sometimes if you are moving around for work or just enjoying time in a different city, it's important to stay somewhere that feels like a little bit of you. So we've been working on a new concept in short term stay apartments with fresh new business, Cuckooz.
We met over a coffee in East London (it wouldn't be a meeting for us without a coffee) and we hit it off immediately. When Charlie, co-founder of Cuckooz along with the fabulous Fabienne, told us that their new apartments were “a home from home for the design savvy traveller”, we were hooked. Having travelled on business ourselves on numerous occasions, it's so important to be able to relax and let your hair down when the working day ends, wherever you may be. So we knew that we could bring something special to this apartment block in Aldgate East.
With bold pattern, elegant curtains, hand printed fabric and wallpaper we gave this blank canvas that unique and personal edge. The key pieces of furniture we selected were from Habitat and they give the perfect contemporary design structure on which to add our layers of personality. Great tip here for any dining area, we've used the outdoor Tico Table in polycrete as our indoor dining table and it looks epic. Paired with the Thalia Dining Chair in black it looks monolithic and lends the room a calming Japanese quality. It's also lightweight and easy to assemble, which is a big help when you have 6 floors to carry it up.
Living local is so important to us and to Cuckooz so we sought out designer makers in the east London vicinity to flesh out our schemes for these 9 apartments. Starting off with Custhom design who handmade the feature wallpapers of offset and igneous in special colour options that we commissioned. The colours modulate throughout the each apartment from soft grey to pale Jade and gold to forest green. Adding pattern and a handmade quality really lifted each space. And we may have mentioned this before, but it's a handy tip to know, Custhom do their designs on removable vinyl if you are renting and don't want to damage walls but are looking to get some impact in your home. Keep it to limited spaces as it has a high price tag but the difference it makes is immense. It's the soul in the sauce.
We then added the layer of stunning curtains by Kvadrat. They soften the hard lines of the new build and give subtle colour and pattern support, bringing some of the graphic, textural and patterned elements together. The Drizzle sheer fabric in all the lounges with its ombré blue into putty colour and sophisticated splatter design is totally off the chart beautiful. The complimentary, but heavier weight, Sparkling fabric in grey ombré adds elegance to the second bedrooms in each apartment and the soft blue grey of the Relax fabric in the master suites offers blackout quality with beautiful textured weave. Ethereal beauty, perfectly complimenting Custhom designs award winning Igneous wallpaper. You simply can't go wrong with Kvadrat, everything they do is Dreamy with a capital D.
Staying in the bedrooms, we used the Lucia grey metal bed from Habitat to give the bones an industrial edge nodding to the Aldgate setting that is thronging with industry and development right now. We followed that through with some star bedside tables, by design brand &new, called 'Robot' in fabulous different colours for each apartment with elegant, gravity defying legs. For the bedding we used our own designed bed linen from our collaboration with the lovely Secret Linen Store giving you something so much more than the expected crisp white sheets of most hotels or short term stay accommodation. The soft colours working beautifully with the strong lines of the grey metal beds.
And on the floor there is a whole world of gorgeousness from our pal Floor Story, also based in east London. We chose these beautifully aged 'fading world' rugs that really ground the rooms. They add a simple eclecticism that helps any space feel more like home.
On to the artwork and we commissioned young upcoming illustrator, Joe Gamble to work from our iPhone snaps of the surrounding scene in Aldgate East. He went above and beyond and created some truly beautiful original artworks for each apartment. We are in love with them and we wish we could keep one all the more because there was a connection to the process of working with Joe. This is another great tip to getting the soul into your space – commission artists and makers and designers. There are so many talented young people out there who want to make work and taking a chance on giving someone a showcase and a leg up can be so rewarding. Again if you are renting, an artwork or a one of design piece is something you can easily take with you when you move on. So the investment is worth every penny.
Invest yourself too! We created some Rorschach artworks using indigo ink and cartridge paper with torn edges, mounted in the gorgeous 'bacall' floating glass frames. Just fold the paper in half and splodge the ink on with some drops of water to get easy colourful impact. Then for the plant pots we personalised them using a large bucket and some watered down white lime wash. But you could also use white emulsion watered down. We dipped each pot in different ways then left to dry and with the different directions of dip it creates a great collection.
The grey swirled concrete side tables with gold hairpin legs on which one of the pots sits was designed and made in collaboration with our new pal, Grahamade. We commissioned the tables and after a sample stage, a design meeting and some tweaks, Graham delivered some side tables that are one of a kind and we are in love with them.
Keeping it real with the recycling, we used cute but functional bins from Binopolis and last but never least, we got the ink arrow patterned cushions from Flock! The design by Lucy Rainbow for Flock is called 'Aldgate East' and how could we not put them in. They are a curve ball that breaks the formality of the scheme and they give big punch for just a little cushion. We've wanted to work with Flock for so long, ever since we first saw a sample of their fabric in Liberty many moons ago and we are thrilled that we got the opportunity here.
This project has been hectic, but it has been full of heart and we loved working on it especially because of all the wonderful people we've been lucky enough to bring together.
The full project with pics of all rooms will be coming soon but in the meantime, if you want to book a night in one of the apartments, designed by us, then go to www.cuckooz.co.uk and use this special discount code INTERIORS001 created just for our readers.
Jordan and Russell x
This is the house that blog built and this latest update is all about preparation, precision and first impressions.
The first evolution of our design house is moving along fast now as we work towards an exciting launch for London Design Festival in September. It's amazing seeing some colour finally going on after months of bare boards and walls. But any good finish is all in the preparation!
With the hideously dusty stage of the plastering and floor sanding out of the way we moved on to staining the floors with a deliciously pale warm grey called Clay in the Mylands Earth stains range. It was a long job but easy to apply with a cloth to keep control of exactly how far you want to take the colour. We applied lightly as we wanted to keep the natural beauty of the wood and then sealed the floor with 3 coats of Matt varnish. It's come up a right treat and we love it.
Then we had our windows refurbished. It's an expensive and tough choice when it comes to original wooden sash windows when you are in a conservation area but luckily the box frames of our windows had been well looked after over the years and we only had to replace the hardwood sills and the sashes. To open our windows has made such a huge difference with the hot weather! Before they were painted shut and now we can get air in and we know that this winter will not be as crazy cold as last year in this old house.
We had the newly plastered walls mist coated with watered down white emulsion to prep them for their specially designed wallpaper (more on this soon). And then came light switches.
When we first moved into the house it had dangerously out of date electrics, so we had the whole house rewired. Now it was time to give the wiring its first round of finishing touches with some beautiful flush fitting, screw-less, brushed brass, toggle switches. What a mouthful. We went online to My Switch Shop for these and they are beautiful. It's so important to get these details right as you touch your switches every day, they should never be ignored.
Next came our front door. And we knew one thing for sure - we wanted our front door to make an impact and put a smile on our friend’s faces. So pink it is.
Our pink door moment was inspired by our trip to Copenhagen earlier in the year where we saw an entirely pale pink house and just couldn't get it out of our heads. So when went to Mylands, their factory is just round the corner from us, to find some paint colours we knew it had to be a pink shade. We chose Soho House for the front door, Fitzrovia for the ceilings and roses and coves and for the woodwork we chose Rose Theatre. The names are all amazing and Rose Theatre has particular sentimental attachment for us as well as being a stunning, pink/lilac grey shade that is so sophisticated and lovable. We opted for their water based matt wood and metal paint and we cannot recommend this enough. It's got a silky feel to the touch that is sometimes absent from other water based wood paints and it is truly matt to the eye giving such a soft look.
For us the glass in the door also had to change. The stained glass panels were not original and not particularly pretty so we took the decision to go for some clear double glazed units in the existing door. Admittedly, this move was largely down to our passion for the sign writing skills of artist and craftsmen, Archie Proudfoot.
We met Archie at Design Junction last year at London Design Festival. Our stands were close to each other and we had admired his wares from afar for the whole week before we got chatting.
When we first approached Archie about being part of our Design House and showcasing his extreme talent on our front door, he was excited about the prospect of the design breaking out from the glass panel above the front door and onto the rest of the glass lower down on the door itself. This only fired us up more to really go for it.
As we went through Archie's amazing Instagram page we became obsessed with the splatter effects and the Matt and gloss gold. We shared some of our top-secret wallpaper designs (launching soon) with him and some of the textures/motifs have been worked into the design of the door glass with the artist’s signature touches to make it truly unique.
So with the numbers boldly moved into the main door, what to put in the fixed glass pane above the door? We came up with the idea to put a silhouette of our very own Design Dachshund, Buckley. Archie ran with it and then his Proudfoot approach led to our cold feet. To Buckley or not to Buckley? That is the question.... would it be too much? In the end you can see the decision we made... as if it could ever have been any other way! It was such fun to watch the precision and beauty of your work in action. Thank you Archie, we LOVE it!
And big thanks to Mylands and MySwitchShop for the beautiful finish of the paint and slick switches. We can recommend them highly.
Let us know how your own renovations or home re-designs are going, we'd love to hear your stories and help if we can. Look out for more progress coming up and some seriously exciting new products we are launching soon – more on this in the coming weeks. ;)
Jordan, Russell and Buckley x
This month we were invited by http://camronpr.com and http://weblogdesign.org for a fun over-night stay in the all new Citizen M hotel at Tower Bridge. An evening of food, cocktail making with http://eastlondonliquorcompany.com/ourstory.html and a great nights sleep were all on the agenda.
We arrived around 6pm (although you can check in from 2:30pm) after a long day of site visits and studio work, and were greeted by what seemed like a feet of smiling faces, all dressed in red. It was like stepping back into the 1990s, in a good way. The Brit pop design with its classic red white and blue, and artworks featuring Robbie Williams was a real nostalgic throw back to that “queer as folk' era we hadn't realised we missed so much!
After a champagne and quick hello to our fellow journalists and bloggers we went on to check out our room. A swift lift ride up to the 5th floor and the atmosphere changed dramatically, the corridors all identical with dark grey carpets adorned with graphic print and rows of doors each branded with Citizen 501, 502 etc reminded us of classic novel “1984” there is a strange comfort in this repetition and the geek in us was loving the feeling that we may have arrived in a future world, where space is a premium and everything is uni-ft.
The movie references don't end there... “Welcome Jordan and Russell” was plastered across the wide screen TV. This only helped to concrete the idea that big brother could be watching! The bedroom felt like we were in the Film, The Fifth Element, as if a flying taxi might pull up outside our vast fifth floor window and whisk us off for a night on the town. There was a giant bed that filled the room wall to wall, (this was incredibly comfortable) blinds at the window that operated at the push of a button to reveal a breath taking view of The Shard and the River Thames. The bathrooms are tiny but incredibly functional. With a massive great shower head and Purple LEDs, what’s not to like!
We freshen up and head down stairs to be greeted with more champagne and a brief talk with the hotel manager who was clearly very passionate about the hotel and ensuring we all had a fantastic time. We then went on to challenge Snapchat with We Blog Design! They paired us off into small groups and we spent the next hour or so creating fun snaps featuring characters from the hotels foyer. The foyer its self was jam packed full of figures and ceramics with everything from gnomes to the slightly clichéd red post box. Lets not forget that for the tourist clientele this will be exactly what they are hoping to see from a London location!
We then headed upstairs to check out some Gin cocktails with the London Liqueur Company at the cloud bar with the sort of views that make you fall in love with your city as if it's the first time you've seen it. With brand values to create delicious affordable gin this was no bad way to start our weekend!
We finished our cocktails and headed back downstairs for dinner – canteen style – shredded pork with roast potatoes and onions was a welcome feast after all the gin and everyone was relaxed as the stress of a busy week slowly fell away and the wine now flowed as easily as the conversation. We finished the evening with more drinks on the roof and really soaked in the amazing views of our beloved city.
Around 1:30am we decided it was time for bed but got over excited by the great selection of movies. We settled on “midnight special” but at 10 minutes in we had all but drifted to sleep. We will now have to rent the movie to see what happens in the end!
Citizen M, we salute you.
Jordan & Russell x
There is always a stage when you are renovating your home where you are in too deep to go back and in such chaos that you can barely remember why you began it. Like the longest bridge in Denmark, where you can't see the beginning or the end from the centre.
There is a bridge between Sweden and Denmark, the longest bridge in the world, and as you arrive at the middle point you can no longer see the beginning or the end. Renovating your home can sometimes feel very much like this bridge.
In our own home, we are currently arriving at that middle point and if you see us around you might notice a trace of sawdust or plaster in our hair and a determined but slightly insane look in our eyes. When working with clients we often call this point the wobble and very few brave souls can escape it. The trick is to embrace the chaos and find the joy in each moment, no matter how testing. You must believe and trust in the process as it really will be alright in the end, even if for now your reality is microwave meals, a hose over a bath and a constant layer of dust over everything you own. It's a small price to pay for the joy that awaits you at the finish line. We are totally trying to practice what we preach here as we plow on with the next phase in our ever changing Design House Project.
Floor sanding hell, wall plastering nightmare, endless paint stripping - it's all just a necessary part of the process and if you persevere you will reap the rewards. This is what we keep telling ourselves. One room in particular has been resistant to change with a dark bitumen-like substance painted all over the floor boards. At times it seemed as if the floor sander was multiplying the black tar in a never ending cycle, but slowly the boards revealed their natural beauty.
Every house is different and every project reveals its own challenges, but they only make it more interesting and, if you listen, help to guide the course you take.
We've plastered our walls (well some of them - the hallway, master, lounge and dining room) and sanded our floors. The next decision was what to do with the ceiling roses and windows as they were so caked in years of paint and barely recognisable or functional.
To Renew or restore? That was the question, one that is a constant conundrum for designers and homeowners alike.
At this years BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) Annual Conference this question was on the agenda and ripe for discussion. For us it's important to let the property inform your design choices and to keep the essence of the original architecture, whatever that may be in your case, whilst allowing the new areas and design features to breath. Avoid faking it. Where it's original and can be saved let your heart decide whether it works for you. Don't be hasty and rip everything out as you may be left with a soulless home. But equally don't be a slave to period features. Sometimes you need to be brave and make an authentic statement by renewing.
We had some original ceiling roses and ornate coving in some areas of the house but not all and so we used Stripaway to take off the layers of old paint. It was a bit of a labour of love to get them cleaned back but we love them so much. Where there is no coving we will come up with some alternative contemporary nods to what might have been there without slavish restoration.
Now to stain the floors, wallpaper the walls, pick the curtains, lights, furniture, handles...let the evolution continue. Watch this space for more updates as we tackle the woodwork and wallpaper next!
Jordan and Russell x
Unexpected ways with beautifully crafted mosaic to give you new inspiration for your home. No longer just reserved for beautiful bathrooms, why not break out the mosaic on your floors or walls with Bisazza bringing out new design collaborations to get very excited about.
We were invited by their wonderful team to the London showroom for a morning of making our own mosaics. So much fun and what a warm welcome.
When someone suggests a mosaic finish, you may think of a bathroom first and indeed Bisazza have a history of stunning bathrooms to their name. This bathroom featuring a blend of 24 carat gold tiles is pretty iconic. Obviously this is going to blow the budget but it's great to see for inspiration. Even used sparingly for accent motifs, these gold tiles have major impact in small quantities if you want a touch of bling for less.
Make no mistake, mosaic is best fitted by a specialist to get the best results that will last you a lifetime. Time and again clients may try to make a shortcut with their own contractor or tiler but we recommend that you don't save here as it can be a false economy. Do it right, do it once, and you won't regret it as the results we be stunning and will last perfectly.
But now there is no limit to where you may want Mosaic in your home, with a whole host of new collaborations released giving the finely crafted tiles a whole new appeal. They work on floors and walls as murals in any decorative setting.
This year, in Milan, Bisazza launched a new collection with one of our favourite design teams, Studio job, and it is a contemporary hit with its playful colours and skeleton motifs.
Other stunning collaborations to take a look at are these beautiful geo floral relief tiles by Marcel Wanders and these gorgeous new cement tiles from Tom Dixon.
Who knows, perhaps we can collaborate in the future and create a bespoke mosaic for our own renovation project, the 2LG design house at lucky number 11 - ideas are flowing, watch this space.
Jordan and Russell x
Having loved his work for several years, we were so excited to be invited to a breakfast with lighting icon, Michael Anastassiades as he launches his latest lamp, Extra, in the UK.
If you haven't heard of him, you will love him and if you have heard of him, you will love him even more because in person he is as warm and modest and inspiring as you could hope. His words are carefully chosen and effortlessly profound. He is kind and generous and let's us into his creative process to give an insight into the finely crafted work he creates time and again.
As he shows us around the stunning lighting showroom of Atrium, where his new Extra light is on show, we see a common thread throughout his work, a powerful simplicity of form. He tells us that "the circle is the most primal form there is and this is why we are drawn to it as humans" and clearly why it is a strong recurring theme in all his work. From his earlier work right through to his more accessible collaborations with Flos - IC, Copy cat, Captain Flint and Extra - the illuminated orb is a signature of his work.
And we are like moths to a flame! His forms are so compelling they are addictive. But they are not props and he would rather they weren't used as such for selfies! He is interested in creating timeless pieces that are built to last so for him the idea of his lights becoming set dressing for the selfie stick generation does not sit comfortably. Perhaps this is almost impossible to avoid since his lights are so incredibly photographable. But we have massive respect for a man who seeks to create objects with lasting power in this all too often throwaway world we live in.
His interplay of shapes has a playfulness that we just love and he happily invites this reading of his work. He even tells us that the first inspiration for the Captain Flint light was the idea of a parrot on a Pirate Captains shoulder, hence the name. Who would have thought that this painfully elegant light, now available in all black, could have such a playful beginning.
The way that the Extra light is made up of two incongruous shapes gently touching is also so pleasing in its simplicity and allows the person looking at it to give it their own meaning. This simplicity comes from a rigorous editing process, the lighting master tells us, and he now happily admits that he has developed a shorthand for this editing process as he has learned over many years to trust his instincts.
We left feeling so inspired by this man. His grasp of modern technology is amazing alone, regardless of the beauty of his forms. The way he is able to, seemingly effortlessly, combine the beauty in his objects with the hidden technical capabilities of his lights is incredible. The object in as much born out of the technical needs of the new lighting tech as it is born out his playful mind, such is his technical knowledge.
As we leave we are left with one powerful word. Tenacity. When Michael Anastassiades saw the opportunity for a collaboration with Lighting Giants, Flos, he did not take no for an answer. After various missed opportunities he ended up taking a taxi with Flos founder Piero Gambini, who didn't have time for their scheduled meeting in the end because of other work commitments. Michael saw his opportunity and seized it with both hands, pitching his drawings and ideas in the back of a cab on a brief journey. That ride led to one of the most successful collaborations in Flos history and certainly one of our favourites. He had vision and he did not let go until he got to where he needed to be and this story of tenacity is something that will keep us focussed and driven for a long time.
A true master and a lovely gent. What more could you ask for?
It's that brief moment of sunshine we Londoners call summer so we are getting our pasty legs out and barbecuing for all we are worth. Giving you our tips on outdoor entertaining 2LG stylee, making those summer parties as beautiful and as easy as they can possibly be.
Foraged flowers, flame grilled halloumi and friends with a bit of paper cutting and jelly making thrown in for good measure. Oh and a certain sausage dog who pops up in various forms.
Night before: we made Jamie's frozen black forest cheesecake and just added the hot chocolate glaze and gold leaf at the last minute.
We also made some black cherry vodka jellies, to pop in the fridge overnight, that were so lethal one was almost too much. Notice there is a cherries soaked in alcohol theme here, a weakness of ours.
On the day: we woke and cut some paper chains based on a drawing we did of dancing Buckley...as you do. It was one of those spontaneous moments of fun - and a perfect excuse to use our new Normann Copenhagen blue metal scissors, fresh from our Copenhagen trip, to cut - where you have nothing to lose except a few sheets of plain white paper and your dignity. So we went for it and rather liked the result. Sometimes simplicity is hard won, so when you find it on a whim you have to let it happen. The vodka jelly we 'tested' may have helped.
Next we put up our hand painted party banner, made from an old white sheet and a tester pot of blue paint then stretched between two fruit trees. Makeshift and all the better for it in our rambling, whimsical garden setting.
We then laid out some colourful woven plastic rugs we got from the Conran shop last summer (if it ain't broke don't fix it) and our favourite hand dyed fold tablecloth by Hay on our vintage gplan dining table that we were lucky enough to find left in the house when we bought it.
Check out the Bronze Age cutlery from Anthropologie still doing us proud after three years of hard service and the vintage pink pressed glass cups we found at our gorgeous local independent shop full of curated loveliness, Stag & Bow, here in Forest Hill.
We then popped to Sainsburys to pick up a last minute BBQ and couldn't resist this rose cake - we have an enduring passion for roses! So when we got home, just in time before the first guests arrived, we put the cake of pink heaven onto a simple plate and then gave it some easy wow factor by placing the plate on a vintage retro vase with deep blue glaze to create our own cake stand.
An oversized neon pink candle says birthday and the sprinkling of fresh rose petals in the perfect matching shade came by pure serendipity from a simple posey we had picked from the garden earlier that week that had seen better days. The perfect decoration and a fitting end for such a beautiful bloom.
Complimented with a whimsical seasonal bouquet from the fabulous Bloomon and the table was ready for our guests. A small gathering of friends including the newest addition to our gang, the wonderful Sarah Akwisombe and her beautiful family.
The weather did us proud as did our foxgloves in baskets by the front door and naturalised in the garden borders, blooming at just the right moment as if they knew we had a party coming. Always good to plant up some lovely containers by the front door to greet your guests and give them a flavour of what's to come.
It may have been a spontaneous whiz round to pull it together and make the most of the weather but it was worth it and let's hope the weather stays for a little longer than usual this year. The most important thing to remember if you are having a party is to relax and have fun, that means with the decorations too.
Jordan and Russell x
This week we are taking you on a tour of the Copenhagen design scene to give you a glimpse inside the design brands that are making waves in people's homes across the world. Aspirational aesthetics grounded in an historic design setting with added pop magic - we can't wait to share our findings with you!
When we were invited by the wonderful team at Amara Living we couldn't have been more excited as you know how much we love colour and clean lines. But we had no idea just how far we would fall for all things Copenhagen.
We began on the first day with a scene setting boat tour of this glorious city, revealing its historic roots with awesome industrial buildings of its shipping days to the vast developments of the past 5 years. It really is a city that knows how to live with one foot firmly in its past and another firmly in a beautifully designed future.
The scene is set, the food is delish, the people are beautiful and we were allowed behind closed doors of 3 top brands to get the scoop on what makes these Danes tick when it comes to how we live in and decorate our homes.
Normann Copenhagen are as forward thinking as ByLassen are steadfastly true to their heritage - both offer quality Danish design with simplicity and refinement that can give your home a simple elegance.
And then there is superbrand Hay, like pop stars with natural flair for quality and playfulness combined.
The style of working and approaches of each brand are so refreshingly different.
Normann Copenhagen are a relatively new brand, unafraid to create some ripples and think outside the box but still looking to heritage designs and the historic architecture around them for inspiration.
By contrast, ByLassen approach all new work as a form of worship for the original design classics in their archive, slavishly recreating pieces from old drawings, one off auction finds and using all their own craftsmen to do so. The resulting work has a simplicity and refinement that is clear to see.
Then there is Hay - perhaps owing more to David Bowie's legacy than that of any particular design scene - with their maverick approach to how we live in our homes that is so infectious.
One thing they all share though, is a passion for putting Denmark, and more specifically Copenhagen back in its rightful place on the design map.
New designers nurtured, problems of modern living solved, archive inspiration found.
Take the Tired man chair, for example, an archive piece re-created meticulously at ByLassen, giving you a bear hug and giving us some serious future armchair goals - with its divine sheepskin upholstery, undeniably pleasing curves, and big price tag to match, demanding its place on our ultimate dream interior list.
Or the new stationary section at Normann Copenhagen making us go wild in the aisles and their freshest young talent, Hans Hornemann, making us weak at the knees for his totally ace, Ace chair.
For that matter we can't get enough of the new Hay Palissade outdoor furniture collection by the Bouroullec brothers and Hay's ever changing Eclectic cushion range is on the verge of turning us into cushion hoarders.
There is something for everyone in this new Nordic design scene, from high end luxury with a reverence to its design roots to an ever changing stationary and ceramic collection with Pop prints and a playful use of colour.
The Danish have already proven their staying power as world class designers and now they are proving that they know how to shake it up and keep moving with the times to keep their products fresh and vital. You will certainly be seeing a Danish influence in our upcoming projects and we think once you see some of the newest designs, soon to be released, you won't be able to resist that Copenhagen magic either. Let's all get Totes Copes!
Jordan and Russell x
Feeling inspired by the Spring sunshine of late we've given our bed linen designs a fresh new look to give you new ideas on how to style them in your home.
The Florence and Mary bedding sets in collaboration with Secret Linens are bang on trend for Pantone’s colour of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity. We think they work exceptionally well for Spring and Summer!
Designed as a trio of textures, here you can see how well the designs of Florence (Pink marbling) Mary (Blue anaglypta) and Moon (Silver speckle) work together when mixed up.
The Scandi styling lends a relaxed approach that makes you want to dive right into that bed and enjoy the soft silky sheets. Touches of brass and marble with plants combine to make a beautiful but achievable look for your bedroom.
The colours are subtle, playing beautifully off one another but working just as well alone. This look is all about using what you've got and keeping it very pared back. Nothing is matchy matchy – it’s all about an air of effortless and understated cool.
The rough texture of the wall adds depth and the low bed made from white stained solid pine is the perfect setting for our bedlinen.
To purchase your set of our 2LG designed bedlinen and give your bedroom a fresh new look please do visit Secret Linen Store by clicking here.
Big love to you all, Jordan and Russell x
More is More this month as we team up again with the Joy of plants to bring you the latest must have houseplants for early summer - Medinilla, Gloriosa and Anigozanthos! These tropical flowering plants are giving us life right now and here's some ideas on how to use them in your house.
We got some simple terracotta pots from our local garden centre and raided our studio for paint sample pots, spray cans and leftover paints. We then got happy with some masking tape, brushes and permanent black marker pens to add graphic detail.
Taking inspiration from our eighties roots we've added some punch to our pots.
This month's hot trio of Medinilla, Gloriosa and Anigozanthos would look perfect in this set up with their colourful and structural blooms.
The plants are the centre piece of this vibrant set up and the styling takes those colours one step further. More is more when it comes to getting your home ready for summer. The colours are bold, the shapes are strong and the patterns are on point - and when you let loose with tropical houseplants you can throw the rules out of the window and enjoy yourself. This look works best when you aren't afraid to mix it up.
If you can't get your hands on Medinilla, Gloriosa or Anigozanthos, you can use any tropical flowering house plants just like we have done below.
Here we've used that old classic, the peace lily, to give a jungle like backdrop for the more punchy specimens. Layering up the look with the fine detail of the tiny white jewel orchid flowers, and the depth of their colourful foliage.
The metallic wallpaper echoes those tropical foliage vibes in the most fabulous way and the powerful orange plinth stool gives a strong sculptural element that grounds the space and adds drama.
Quite literally putting these tropical flowering plants on a pedestal where they deserve to be.
Jordan and Russell x
We hope you enjoyed everything we got up to in Part 1 of our photo diary! If you're ready for a second dose then read on for part 2...
8am After 4 hours sleep we drag ourselves to the cafe on the corner in dark glasses and down 2 double espressos standing up, then devour cheese and ham toasted foccacia to revive our weary bodies as we walk to the Metro and make our way to the Main fair, iSaloni.
Having learned from previous years, we are selective in how we attack this whopping great show and only home in on halls that we are passionate about. It's still insanely huge however and we note some of the big upcoming trends of brick red, limoncello yellow, rough and smooth, clash, chevron, fluted glass and illuminated walls, floors and ceilings.
3pm We end up in Salone Satelite, where we find our favourite designs at the show. Endless new materials and new approaches with soft piano music being played, giving us life and make our hangovers slip away. We are particularly taken with the new eco materials of Henry and Co and the designs of Jonas Lutz.
5pm We head back into central Milan in time to take in a few more showrooms and installations including the Lasvit lighting preview, with stunning brutalist lights by Andre Fu.
7pm Time to head home and change into our gladrags for the big party (luckily next to our apartment). We cram in a disco nap and then get dolled up in silly trousers and glam shoes. When in Milan!
9pm We roll out of our apartment in painful new shoes and arrive at the biggest party in town, Tom Dixon for Caesarstone with Horsemeat Disco. Crammed like cattle we wait for our names to be ticked off then go and take in the amazing setting of the Rotunda Della Besana. So beautiful.
10pm We bump into the Ghostbusters girls again as the Lee Broom Milan Van has pulled up inside and looks particularly sexy at nightime so we ask if we can climb inside and get a selfie in the back of the most beautiful van we've ever seen. Stunning lighting, beautiful mouldings on the walls and a Kubrik-esque illuminated floor.
11pm We are encouraged to hack chunks off giant slabs of chocolate on Caesarstone alters in the main venue with chisel and hammer provided and dance to Tom Dixon's band on stage. Chocolate in one hand, whiskey cocktail in the other.
12am We head home earlyish and realise that somehow we missed food altogether today and that the chocolate chunk was our only sustenance. Perhaps design was food enough that day. We sleep like logs.
10am Dark glasses and a lay in. Espressos taken standing up at the cafe on the corner to take our minds off the pain of our feet. We head to the University of Milan to see the fab Seb Cox and Laura Ellen Bacon as they capture happiness in woven wood with their live installation, Along the lines of Happiness. The setting couldn't be more serene and Seb and Laura are like dry land in a sea of chaos. What a joy. We decide to let this pace and feeling take over our last two days, having hammered it for the first 3.
Midday Lunch with Design Miami Basel in a restaurant overlooking the stunning Duomo. The pasta was intensely delicious, the champagne was surprisingly going down a treat and the chat was so interesting. A great way to ease us into the afternoon on the design trail again.
2pm Ventura Lambrate with our friends Jemma and Nathan at Custhom, freshly back and tanned from their honeymoon. We stroll around with them taking in the industrial scene of Lambrate District.
We pop over to the showroom of Giopato and Coombes to see their beautiful lighting (one of which we are using in our latest project) and then to see Sarah Colson as we promised, showing her beautiful new chandelier alongside Rive Roshan with their colourful woven screen.
5pm Our friends head off to catch their flights home and we head back into town for the Flos party. Great lighting and even greater food and drink. Yes please. Beats chocolate for dinner anyday.
8pm Onto the HAY party and we arrive right on time as it is already getting rammed. We have a fantastic time with our friend Rosie and meet two wonderful ladies from Copenhagen who were trying to take a selfie of themselves but took a pic of us by mistake and then had to have a giggle with us. Only in Milan.
12am Bedtime, flying home tomorrow, can't be too hungover.
9am Our last chance to take in the any shows we've missed and we opt instead to take a walk to the outskirts of town to see Fondazione Prada. And we are not disappointed.
It couldn't have been a better end to an incredible week. The entrance leads us towards an imposing tower clad in pure gold (we are not joking, it's real) and as we take the architecture in there is a feeling of terror about the place.
The atmosphere is cult like and so awesome that it inspires desire as much a terror. It has an unreal power that is so transfixing, it is our top tip and has to be experienced to be believed.
With its bar designed by Wes Anderson, its animatronic philosopher and its cardboard cave that was 3 years in the making, this place will stay with us for a long time as will the whole Milan experience.
4pm Fly home – back to reality, back to life, back to Buckley. Fried brains, shredded feet, but full hearts. Our creative pools refilled after another amazing year at Milan Design Week that felt bigger and better than ever.
Jordan and Russell x
Our epic week in Milan became a design Marathon and we wanted to give you our personal step by step dairy of how it went down. We hope the pics give you some major inspiration. Sit back and relax as we take you through the whole story...
3am - We begin our trip with an early start, then a 2 hour wait on the tarmac in the plane as the engineers fix our plane to Milan. Not the most enjoyable start to our week, but we get in the air nonetheless and arrive safely, if slightly delayed.
Midday - We dump our bags in our apartment and hit the ground running as we go straight to Tortona District to take in our first shows.
2pm - We start with the Lexus installation by talented design duo Formafantasma – amazing futuristic installation, shame about the fish juice in the cup at the end (the less we say about this the better).
Next Citizen watches made a time installation that was rather a spiritual experience of light and music exploring the way we experience time as humans.
We then meet some lovely guys from manchester (@byhandstudio) who had designed an fab drawing table with giant coloured letters – a sophisticated way of feeding your inner child's creative needs.
Then on to the giant human lust molecule, made of pieces of glass by AGC. That's a first. I don't know about the lust part but 'Amorphous' certainly made for a beautiful installation.
4pm - Next we met up with one of our design heroes, Sebastian Herkner, after a facebook catch up last month to book a time.
What a lovely bloke and what an incredible talent. His new Ample chair was the sort of chair that these two large men loved to slink into and it looks great too. Impossibly comfortable and elegant at the same time. A hard trick to pull off.
5pm - we walk excitedly to Via Savona for one of our all time favs, Moooi, and this year with a totally different approach to their showroom, we were blown away by the 3d print carpets and the new armchair, the jackson with its impactful backrest and textured retro feeling fabric.
6pm - We finished our trip to Tortona district with a random stumble upon a group of very friendly Polish furniture designers dressed as lumberjacks who invite us to make a mini chair and share some cider with them. An unexpected treat. Still not quite sure if that part really happened or if it was a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep.
7pm - With our legs nearly giving way at this point we stumble home and rest for a moment in a bar for our first Aperol spritz of the week. We then realise we have an 8pm cocktail party invite across town, but we are close to our tiny AirBnB at this stage and have a marathon week ahead of us. Sometimes you just need to relax in a seafood restaurant with your husband and enjoy the setting, get an early night and live to fight another day.
8:30am Airbnb press 'Makers and bakers' event with sexy party decorations by glorious Bethan Laura Wood and some rather stunning deeply coloured Jesmonite vases by a very nice man called Phil...Phil Cuttance. Nice to make your acquaintance Phil. The food for the event was a delish start to the day at Ristorante Marta and the company was even better as we bumped into so many of our London design pals, including COADG and Fabric of my life.
9am Lee Broom press preview of his insanely beautiful new Orbit lights in his Milan Van with some fabulous ladies giving us Ghostbusters of interiors chic in their grey boiler suits.
10am We leap across town in a cheeky uber to catch Tom Dixon at the launch of his Restaurant installation with Caesarstone in the grandest of settings with huge wow factor and a new set of chrome lights that got us really excited.
11:30am Back to Rossana Orlandi, always a treat and such a special setting. Standouts at this show were the incredible Si light by BCXSY, a bendable lightbulb...yes people a long bendable light bulb! Such fun. We also LOVED the bold colour and grandeur of Scarlet splendour and Se (always so painfully beautiful) new mini whisper boxes. Cute!
Midday Wallpaper Handmade Hotel, San Gregorio district– our good friends Custhom were asked to be a part of this - beginning to get the recognition they deserve - and our new friends BCXSY smashing it with their light forest wall of illuminated slits of wood veneer. So fine.
1pm Frame magazine exhibit with Soderberg Mills amazing light bending glass/crystal disc giving us colour joy and Lucy Hardcastle hitting us in the face with accents of freshest yellow.
2pm Then we spy Pinch Design, our fellow South London buddies just across the street– loving the electric pale orange of the upholstery. You always do your own thing Russell and Oona, and it's always stunning! For this we salute you.
2:30pm We bump into Sarah Colson, Elle deco award winning lighting designer friend whose workspace is round the corner from our house and coffee shop back in our beloved Forest Hill. Milan brings you the sweetest coincidences. We cant wait to see Sarah showing her new work with Aimee Betts later in the week at Ventura Lambrate. Another party invite and then we dash for an uber to get to our next appointment – an Ice cream social!
3pm HEM, the new Finnish design brand favourite with splattered stools by the gorgeous Max Lamb, ice cream to match and the new Bookmatch table by the equally stunning Phillippe Malouin that has no screws and requires the human touch to put it together.
4pm Via Palermo, time for a whizz round the new HAY showroom ahead of the chaos of its opening party later in the week. Never Disappoints and always a firm favourite with our interior clients. Loving the new Uchiwa Chair!
5pm Dimore studio – our all time favourite, more on this another time, too much to say. Interiors as Theatre.
6pm Apparatus studio, via Santa Marta. Lustful lighting from Brooklyn that we have long admired and finally got to see in the flesh. So worth a look.
7pm With painful feet and wishing we had had time to head home and change we head to our first party and it's a stunner – Swarovski. Their new Atelier range is pure glamour, especially the pieces by Raw Edges and Fredrickson stallard. The canapes were like eating blue wax crayons but the champagne was flowing and the chat was too.
9pm Almost dead on our feet but with a second wind after our champagne we walk across town, after an unsuccessful uber attempt to the Wallpaper Handmade party. They run out of champagne but it doesn't stop the design crowd from drinking the Aperol spritz sans spritz. Neat Aperol is dangerous. But we power through.
11pm We end our evening by invitation of the lovely Lee Broom at the legendary designers haunt, Bar Basso. We find chairs and decide we are never letting them go. Luckily we see lots of friends, including the wonderful Dan Hopwood and we relax into a long and fabulous late night of heated design debate over Negronis.
3am Perfect end to an insane day. Hit the sack with throbbing heads and feet.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Milan adventures coming later this week.
Jordan and Russell x
Earlier this year we were invited to a meeting by the lovely team at Jewellery brand, Stella & Dot with the mission to refresh their work space to match the style of their amazing designs. It was the start of something beautiful.
They found us on Instagram – big up to the social media - and when we met them and learned their ethos it was an instant click. Sometimes it can be a lengthy process delving into the psyche of a client to create a design scheme, but this was free flowing and when we showed the team our initial concepts it was clear that this was going to be a fun one.
We wanted to bring out the family, friendly vibe of the team and the aspirational but achievable aspect of their designs. All mixed metals, bold colour and a playfully elegant edge. You know we love to play with a glamorous edge, so that aspect wasn't a huge stretch. The challenge was to make this stark office space more inviting and homely, but still with that glamorous, business side. It had to reflect its roots, with nods to Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade, whilst staying true to its Hammersmith setting.
We did this by using bold motifs of painterly dots and monochrome stripes with a colour palette of pale pink, warm greys and turquoise.
Coupled with brushed and polished brass combos and a decision to use plywood for the joinery, this project was all about juxtaposition of shape, colour and material. Glam meets bare, with plenty of colour, pattern and texture in between.
When it came to furniture, accessories and lighting, only one brand sprang to mind, with its perfect mix of all the elements we were playing with – West Elm.
Since their launch in the UK we have loved what West Elm do, with their glam material choices, bold colours, layered textures and industrial edge. When we approached them about the project they agreed that it was a great mash-up and another huge part of the jigsaw fell into place.
Bespoke elements gave the whole project a special feel. We commissioned a hand-printed, removable vinyl wallpaper by Custhom with a textured gold motif that works perfectly for the rented setting as it's durable and can be removed without any damage to the walls. Added bonus - It looks killer.
Especially next to the broad striped black and white area carpet in the reception lounge, created with carpet tiles and brass trim by our fabulous friends at FloorStory. Who would have ever thought carpet tiles could look so on fleek!
Finally, giving a fresh edge to the bones of the office, we designed bespoke joinery, shelving, dining table, coat rack and office screen to hide some of the more office/ugly elements like the photocopier. We also chose the same materials of pale pink stained plywood and brass formica to refresh the kitchen.
All of these bespoke joinery elements were brought to life by the fantastic furniture and kitchen designer, Lycan Designs. And the brass handles and gold cutlery give that jewellery nod to the whole affair.
We had so much fun on this one and we hope it shows! We will be revealing full project pics very soon so stay tuned...
Jordan and Russell x
Perhaps it already is the place to be and South East London is leading the way.
Last weekend we attended a design friend's wedding. So many creative people in one room and the vast majority of them living on the edges of East or South East London. One fabulous couple, now firm friends we hope, have just moved, in their words “out of town and into Walthamstow”, in a bid to stay on the property ladder in London.
The lines between urban and suburban are blurring out of a necessity for creative spaces and live work spaces at affordable, well, at least semi-affordable prices.
The semi suburbs of Forest hill, Peckham, Walthamstow and the like are flooding with creative talent and even Croydon, dubbed one of the new super suburbs, is getting its creative mojo back.
What counts as a suburb depends on who you ask as creatives claim ownership of London's diamonds in the rough. One of our clients, based in St John's Wood, once asked us what it was like living out in the suburbs. And whilst we felt like putting his postcode snobbery straight, since Forest Hill is very much a part of London, we gave him a happy nod in the knowledge that our little 'suburb' if you will, punches well above its weight. Still a woefully underrated gem in some circles, although not for very much longer. The suburbs are growing in popularity over urban areas as quickly as the new independent artisan coffee culture is taking over from the more established likes of Starbucks and Costa.
As more and more of central London gets bought up by wealthy investors, an increasing amount of people are being forced to think outside the box and reconsider the semi suburban and suburban parts of this great city.
Why wouldn't you want the best of both worlds, city and country, with transport links getting better and better. Just look at rising furniture star, Seb Cox, who happily straddles life in Deptford and Kent, or Dan Heath and Floor Story in Walthamstow, or Elle Deco award winning Sarah Colson, or Billy Lloyd or Custhom or Secret Linen Store or Novocastrian. The list goes on as the momentum of design talent is picking up speed, drawing the inner circles out and out.
In the meantime, we are loving life in Forest Hill. And for those people who haven't yet heard of Forest Hill, YOU WILLl. South East London will be as important to London's design scene as Tortona and then Lambrate in Milan. So watch this space and get down with us Suburbanites before we all get priced out too.
Jordan & Russell x
Plant of the month for April, Peperomia has a restrained simplicity that is effortlessly charming.
It is not the most high impact plant but it's shapely green leaves are perfect for bringing that spring freshness into your home. We've collaborated with The Joy Of Plants to showcase Peperomia this Spring.
We wanted to maximise the impact of the tactile leaves by echoing their shapes in botanical fabrics and our own simple still life drawings. The more naive the better! We used a roll of roughly cut lining paper, some felt tip pens and some washi tape to put them up. It's a simple, fast and effective way to create some seasonal impact in your space based on one of our favourite houseplants.
If drawing is not for you then you might like to try out our Macramé plant hanger made from inexpensive natural garden twine. It's a very humble hanger that's simple to make and it compliments the quiet appeal of peperomia perfectly. We bought twine and watched a YouTube vid to make our own as we are certainly not macrame experts, but we love the result.
Not typically attention grabbing, we've put peperomia centre stage here whilst having lots of fun drawing and colouring in at the same time. And what a personal and happy display it makes. You can't go wrong either. Don't let your confidence about drawing affect you. The shapes of peperomia are so easy to capture and it's simply meant to be fun. Get your pens or pencils out and have a go.
Jordan and Russell x
*This post was sponsored by The Joy Of Plants*
From serving royalty, presidents and casinos worldwide to our very own lovely house, British Institution and world leaders, Brintons Carpets offered us the chance to create our own carpet. We almost feel like we don't deserve it. Almost. In fact what am I saying, after a year living in this house with no double glazing, no heating, bare plaster walls, a leaky roof and stripped creaky floorboards while we prepare for our renovations, we definitely deserve it. And what's more, we are head over heels in love with the history and story of Brintons. It feels like it's meant to be.
So off we headed on a road trip out of London for the day to have an adventure in their archives. which date back to 1790, to pick a carpet to suit the period of our home with a rare opportunity to reinterpret the designs with our own colour palettes.
We did some styling and an event for Brintons last year after they invited us into their 'wonka-esque' factory to see the carpets being made. We were like kids in a sweetshop, dreaming of something soft under foot for our home. This year they invited us into their archive to make that dream a reality and we couldn't feel more excited.
The team there are so lovely, it's like a family and this feeling is heightened by the fact that we were both born in the midlands and one of our mums still lives round the corner from the heart of carpet itself, Kidderminster, where the Brintons factory still runs.
There we meet the lovely Yvonne, the keeper of the keys in the archive. There is nothing this wonderful lady doesn't know about carpet design, and any surface design for that matter. We could have happily spent days in her company just looking and learning but we had to keep focussed and keep our eyes on the two designs we were going to chose to recolour for our design house.
Tangents appear and disappear. Periods pass by our eyes and artistry, craftsmanship and history create a distracting, heady mix as we try to narrow down our search.
We finally set our sights and our hearts on 3 designs from different periods, one of which is entirely Victorian and perfect for the period of our property. We may have found our winner.
So then we begin the process of recolouring and of course we would choose a design that has over twenty colours!
As for the final result, it takes some weeks for the design to be made into the carpet as it is bespoke so you will have to wait and see how the install goes. We can't wait.
It's fair to say that carpet, in all its fully fitted, bold patterned glory is already having a comeback and we are happily making a stand for big pattern on your floors by slamming some in our own home. 300 years of carpet excellence becoming part of the story of our house.
In the meantime, while we wait for our carpet to make it from the fleece to our floor, we will be holding a day of free one on one design clinics during Clerkenwell design week on the 25th of May 2016. Booking will be open soon so keep your eyes peeled on our Twitter and on Brintons.
Jordan and Russell x
In the words of Julie Andrews, let's start at the very beginning - the downstairs WC. Or as we like to call it the WC of joy.
With our enormous renovation project ahead of us it can feel equally exciting and daunting at times.
So, we are tackling our first bite sized chunk of the project, inspired by our mums. Both of whom took great joy in our childhoods decorating their downstairs toilets in ever wilder and busier patterns and one of whom told us that she wouldn't visit us in our new house again until we had a nice toilet downstairs. And by nice, she meant, not freezing, dark and more than a little scary, as it was when we moved in.
It was instilled in us at an early age that the downstairs toilet is a small but important space for guests and it is a space to have fun and give visitors a little treat. A moment of major impact and a bold glimpse of your personality. It is so very British, the idea that you should only really show off your personality in the water closet, and we certainly won't be keeping it just for that room, but while we are working on the rest of the property we are very happy to embrace the idea of small space, big impact.
One of our inspirations was the Marmoreal bathroom designed by Max Lamb for Dzek Dzek (shot by Amanda Moore). Love the boldness and clarity of the vision for that scheme and we certainly want to employ that approach in our space.
As we began stripping yet more layers of wallpaper from the walls and even the door of the existing WC we found a stunner of a ditzy floral from the late 50s underneath. It was so not us at first sight but it has grown on us more and more until we are obsessed. It's like this house has possessed us and we are enjoying the ride.
Around the same time we also made a trip to our friends at Bert & May with a client and whilst there we couldn't help but notice a reclaimed tile that stole our hearts. It stuck with us and firmly became one of the key features of the new scheme.
Then we had to replace the drafty window, re-plumb and re-plaster to get the room ready for its finishing touches. We wanted to stay true to the Victorian period of the house with the fixtures and fittings, so the toilet and sink remain period. But when we show you the reveal (watch this space) you will see that there are some other periods and styles at play too - we just can't help letting those 80s glamour vibes creep in at the moment.
But let's talk about the defining feature - the bespoke hand printed wallpaper that we are designing in collaboration with fellow South East London duo, Custhom wallpaper. We've become friends and worked with them on several of our interior projects as we love the simplicity and authenticity of their process.
Based on the original floral that we fell in love with, the wallpaper we have designed with Custhom will be our modern take on a floral with a fresh recolour. Here's a little glimpse at the ideas we came up with along the way.
We cannot wait for you to see what we've done to the final design. It's something we are crazy excited about as it will be full wrap around including ceiling to give us that major impact with a nostalgic edge.
Here are the mood boards we made for ourselves to give you a sneak peak, but look out for the full reveal and details of our wallpaper launch coming soon!
In the meantime, we hope you are feeling inspired to make your WC a moment of joy and we'd love to see your pics so please go ahead and share with us over on twitter with the hashtag #WCofjoy !
Jordan and Russell x
Are you suffering from interior FOMO? We've all been there. You've just redecorated your living room or renovated your whole house and suddenly the colour of the year changes or your fave designer brings out a new must have lighting range and you simply must have it and now you hate everything you own because you want the newest or the coolest update!
It's enough to make you lose sleep.
We see it in our clients faces time and again. They struggle to find clarity, as they have so many ideas and feel such intense pressure to 'get it right' . So how do you narrow down the options and avoid the dreaded FOMO?
Put down that paintbrush for a moment and breathe. We want to help you to find your Interior confidence.
Make it personal. Respond to your own voice and your surroundings. Time and again we meet people who want to impress their friends or get that wow factor reaction from visitors. But the only person you should be trying to impress is you. Make sure that your interior responds/has interplay with the architecture of your home. And don't be wacky for the sake of it, but actually look inside yourself for inspiration every now and again, not just at what everyone else is doing. It's good for the soul and creates a far more interesting home. So own your personality - if you love it, it's likely to have staying power.
There are whole blogs dedicated to just colour and for good reason. It is so intensely personal and can give such impact or create the most incredible atmosphere. If you hate orange but it's the colour of the moment, don't use orange, it's that simple. Equally, when everyone is saying no to lilac but it just makes you very happy then go for it and the rest of the world will have to catch up. Listen to your instincts.
These will have staying power and create the bones of your scheme. Spend a little more and get pieces that will live with you and evolve with you for a lifetime. This could be a curated collection that you keep adding to over years or a key piece of art or a star piece of lighting. Equally, if you have a hand in custom/bespoke pieces it will give you more connection in a personal way to your home. Don't just let every piece come easy. We are well up for a cheeky high street design find to compliment your scheme but let there be a balance of different elements to create something that has room to evolve. Invest in it and it will reward you and your home richly.
Vintage pieces can connect you to memories. “I remember that day in brighton when we found that vase”. One of our most treasured pieces is Paul the horse, a small royal doulton white porcelain foal that we found in a bric a brac shop and has been broken and fixed many times over the years, making us love him all the more. We also have two danish skipper armchairs we bought years ago that have stayed with us in various different incarnations (original tan leather and electric blue felt) and we still love them.
Don't be afraid of it. The latest, the newest, the trendiest can fit right in if the bones are right. A solid base can give you the chance to showcase any spontaneous new find or cushion or even an entirely new colour palette on your walls that is bang on trend, if that is really floating your boat right now. Get inspired by new directions, but do not be ruled by them and don't let them dictate to you.
So get out there, or stay in there for that matter, and whatever you choose to do, Make an Impact! Don't let fear freeze you and end up living in a non space to avoid committing to your ideas or being judged in the wrong way. Be you and allow your home to reflect that.
Jordan and Russell x
About a year ago the seed of an idea sprouted between us and fellow South-East London based bedlinen masters Secret Linen Store. We are so proud and happy to let you know that this seed has grown into a luxurious, stylish and colourful tree - our first product launch of bed linen, designed by us and available to you. Whoop!
We have always loved textiles, in fact years ago we used to screen print our own textiles designs by hand before our passion for full interiors took over and our private interior client work grew. We still get giddily excited about the design process, so when we met up in our forest hill coffee house with the lovely Molly from Secret Linen Store to talk collaboration, we jumped at the chance to flex our surface design muscles! The coffee was flowing and so were the ideas.
We've been having to keep it a secret until now as it's been a long development/sampling process, but you can take a look at the whole collection here and get an insight into our process and inspirations for the designs. We've also created some room sets to give you some ideas on how you might style it out in your own space.
Appropriately, we shot the bed linen in our home/studio space, since that was the inspiration for the collection. As we began our renovation of this house we peeled back so many layers of wallpaper and were constantly finding inspirations in hidden cupboards. The house has been our muse and the intention is to create a series of products inspired by and made to go into this house. It's our way of sharing our home with you and more importantly sharing our style with you.
Our Future Victorian collection draws inspiration from the found textures in our design house. Influenced by the period of the property and the keen decorator and previous lifelong owner of the house, Mary. More on Mary later... The collections colour palette of pale blue and soft pink with a luxurious lavender edged grey is classic and fresh (and by the way, it's pure serendipity and a happy coincidence that the Pantone colours of the year happen to be in line with our designs).
We wanted to design bed linen that could fit into your existing interior without screaming in your face, but also, that could inspire a new interior scheme if you are thinking of giving your bedroom a refresh. For us we always design a space with layers and elements that come together to create a very special atmosphere. We can also confirm that they are supremely soft and lovely to sleep in as they are made from the finest cotton, selected carefully by Secret Linen Store, and finely woven into a Jacquard sateen.
In honour of Mary, the first is based on the original textured Anaglypta wallpaper that was on almost every surface of the house when we moved in. We fell in love with its nostalgia and gave it a modern twist by reinventing it as a Jacquard bed linen.
Next came our Barbara Cartland moment, with a pale pink, dare we say peach affair based on the marbled papers we brought back from our honeymoon in Florence. Its subtle organic texture combined with the colour is pure luxury with a contemporary edge.
Lastly is a luxury grey texture that verges on silk and yet was inspired by the rough plaster walls we unearthed after many hours of stripping. Named Moon, as it looked luna once the samples arrived. It's classic, but in a futuristic way, and would sit beautifully in any bedroom scheme.
This collection is a bit of milestone for us and we are so thrilled to share it with you. We hope you love it as much as we do.
A big thanks to the whole team at Secret Linen Store and all suppliers who contributed to the shoot:
Crescent table Lamps – Pooky £165 (shades also available at Pooky)
Jordan and Russell x
Flowers make us very happy here in the 2LG studio and no project of ours would be complete without a bunch of something lovely in the final styling. It's very rare that we don't have blooms in our own home too on a regular basis, especially since our home is currently a bit of a metaphorical bombsite, pre-renovation. Flowers can lift a scheme and your spirits and we wouldn't be without them. Shoes come a close second, but that's a whole other story!
So in these cold winter months, as we look forward to spring, we wanted to talk about how we like to use flowers and hopefully give you some ideas too. There is a flower for every occasion, every colour palette and as you know, colour is very important to us in our design work.
Our current garden is a constant source of inspiration as it's previous owner was clearly a keen florist. The once neat, but now overrun potting shed at the end of the garden makes us want to be better gardeners and the overgrown borders filled with carefully curated foliage and flowers are the gift that keeps on giving. So we often take the outside in, literally, in our own home. Cutting armfuls of unknown beauties and letting the seasons guide us on what to fill the house with, except for that one time we had a christmas shoot here in mid summer.
But if you don't have your own garden or if you want more exotic blooms there are lots of other options cropping up lately. Flower deliveries have moved on and we are in love with the new delivery service, Bloomon. If you haven't yet tried them they are off the chart. They arrive curated in their own glass vase and have a whimsical joy all of their own. So individual, they could fit happily into any eclectic interior and hold their own.
If you are more into curating your own collections to fit with your specific look then artificial flowers could be for you. Yes we said artificial...open minds people, open minds. With the likes of the lovely Abigail Ahern championing a new wave of superior artificial options it might be time to shake the dust off your preconceptions and take another look at that bunch of silk flowers. Last week we were invited to do just that by Homesense, our guilty pleasure for home accessories, and try out a flower arranging class mixing their artificial flowers with real flowers to very convincing effect.
The beauty of this approach is that you can collect some artificial staples - the huge hydrangea heads and blousy peonies were our favourites – and mix them in with any choice of real flowers to make a luxurious layered display. Great for a classically decorated space but also nicely unexpected in a minimal space.
Check them out for yourselves and see if you can see the difference. We think it's a great option and a cool way to keep it fresh, so to speak.
And of course there is some eucalyptus in there to give it some clean modern luxury. Sometimes a huge bunch of eucalyptus is enough all on its own. In fact, we often like the clarity of a huge bunch of a single variety to give big impact. This is perfect if you like a cleaner, more contemporary look. It's also easy and gives a room that sense of 'I don't give a shit', while the careful selection of colour shows that you really do.
Somehow a room never seems finished without a bunch of flowers so go heavy with the hydrangeas, get riotous with those roses, prance with your peonies. For us, more is more and, for the moment it seems, faux is on fire.
Jordan and Russell x
A simple little project that turned out to be a beaut with lots of ideas that we hope you find useful.
Our lovely clients wanted to use colour and texture but didn't know how to pin down their ideas. In fact they had rather pinned themselves in circles on their own Pinterest board - an explosion of ideas that needed focus. And that's where we came in.
The client had a great collection of mid century and vintage Scandi pieces which gave us an idea of their personal style and plants were everywhere so we knew they liked natural texture.
This led us to Metallics (a natural texture) and soft blues to give a calm backdrop, with the added layer of matt and gloss tiles, subtly used above and below the dado level taken from the hallway outside to tie the space into the rest of the architecture of the house.
The floor is in the style of stripped original wooden parquet complimented by the industrial lighting.
The pale natural linen window dressing (on the mood boards but not yet fitted in time for our shoot) softens the look and gives that Scandi touch with the addition of the vintage pieces from Etsy, grounding the space and giving it soul.
Concept delivered = Happy clients and excited designers.
Then came the nitty gritty - The refit, this time made all the easier by the wonderful team at Castle Plumbing. It really is true what they say about a good plumber. When you find one don't let go of them.
Though small, this bathroom did require 'the works' in terms of stripping it back and starting from scratch. We put in a new ceiling, had it re-plastered, had the floor tanked to make the most of the tight floor plan, put in underfloor heating to save space on a radiator, all new fixtures and fittings and fully retiled. So the budget had to be stretched and we had to pull some tricks to get the finish we wanted!
Halfway into this process we also had a curve ball as the homeowner revealed they had had some rather exciting news and would be moving to New York. Apart from the obvious moment of extreme "OMG! We want to move to NYC, can we please come with you?!" we then had to work out a plan for the bathroom. Our couple had decided to rent their UK home out so that they had a base here if they decide to return in a year or two. So our brief had suddenly changed. This colourful, relaxed industrial refit was suddenly a rental refit.
By switching the vinyl backed linen shower curtain and custom brass railing for a frameless glass screen, we took the design from boutique bathroom to slick rental with personal appeal in one simple tweak. And luckily we hadn't yet made a start on those final elements. A change in the brief at the mid point of a project needn't be a disaster and often it is part of the fun that keeps the job alive.
1. Vintage Brass Shelf - find similar on Etsy
When we first started out, designing for real clients was a shock to the system as you inevitably invest your heart and soul into each detail and fall in love with each new client. Much harder to bear the twists and turns of the client relationship in that situation as each change can be taken to heart. Experience has taught us to remain open to change whilst still firmly holding onto the heart of a project.
If you remember the story you have set out to tell and stay true to its character, it makes the unexpected plot twists easier to handle and you learn that they are in fact what makes the story what it is.
Jordan and Russell x
In the March 16 edition of Red magazine you can find a living room that we styled using M&S home products for a fresh, spring look. Take a look below!
Over on Red mag's website we're talking through our inspiration and how we pulled this look together in a short video.
To shop this look, you can click here to go through to the M&S website and see the full list of products we used, including this statement cushion and Rhossili rug.
Jordan and Russell x
In our latest Metro Article we're sharing tips to rev up your hallway and solve kitchen issues.
In this month's Gay Times column, we reveal our plans for our own home, a renovation project that has the potential to be our most personal project to date...
Like Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in 80s classic The Money Pit, we moved into our new wreck of a home earlier this year. Leaky roof, no heating or electrics. Draughty old windows. A hose over the bath.
Romantic is what we’re calling it – and luckily we’re still smiling. Paint stripper is our friend and we’ve become very used to stubbing our toes on loose nails in the floor boards.
We wanted to share this early stage in the project with you as it’s something we’ll be working on for many months, keeping you updated on the progress. Right now it’s a bit of a ghost house and we still feel like we’re glamping...
For one of our recent design projects in Balham, we wanted to create a focal point for the living space without opting for the obvious feature wall. We turned to our go-to supplier of murals and artwork Surface View to look for a piece that told a story about the owners and finished the room.
Large scale art provides a moment of impact that we think is a bit more contemporary than a feature wall. Artwork can tell a story through imagery and showcase another element of the owner's personality, which is always our starting point when designing. For this client, the artwork provided a daily reminder of their favourite area in London, Soho. The map of Soho print was the final piece of the puzzle which pulled all of the colour elements in this room together perfectly.
For the hallway area we had been inspired by David Hockney's 'A Bigger Splash', but had wanted a modern take with the same vibe. Slim Aaron's 'Poolside Gossip' had a cool, retro style that the client's loved.
To see the full set of picture from this project, click here.
In this recent House Doctor feature for Metro, we're talking about working with an interior designer, sofa beds and using pattern in your home.
In this Metro feature that we contributed to, we're discussing the best way to make use of your boudoir space with a dressing table.
Click the link below the image to read the full piece.
In today's House Doctor Article we're talking about seasonal bed throws, choosing the right front door colour and vintage drinks trollies.
Click the link below the image to read the full article!
In this House Doctor piece we're discussing the best options for parasols, shower heads and housewarming gifts. Click the link below the image to read the full article!
We were featured in today's Metro newspaper advising on cutlery, carpets and drinks cabinets. Read the piece below:
Hello 2LGers! Here’s a little something we’ve been working on for Out There Interiors as part of their Charity furniture upcycle challenge, #PimpMyFrench.
A select group of bloggers and designers were asked to take a classic french piece of furniture, a hall drawer bench, and re-imagine it to show what can be achieved with a little creativity. The winner to be voted for by you, and the final pieces to be auctioned off for charity. Here’s what it looked like when it arrived:
Our minds were full of ideas and we got to work very quickly planning out a total re-invention of the function of this piece, with several out there sketch ideas along the way:
We knew we wanted to add some elements that were totally alien to the original piece, updating its look, so we thought of metal tubing, a total contrast and modern twist. For this part we invited our friend Primary Grey to meet with us and discuss the possibilities with metal work. And so a collaboration was born. We used scrap brass tubing from his workshop to add a contemporary visual and functionality to the piece and painted it in Dulux Sapphire to give it our signature bold colour stamp.
The final piece is a modern classic. We made a hall set with shoe storage, a seat to perch on whilst you tie your shoes, a plant area to make you smile and a separate umbrella stand made out of the original drawer turned on its side. If you love it then please do head to our twitter, instagram or Facebook to vote for us to win!
Buckley says, “Thanks for voting 2LGers”
I'm like the One Direction of interior design, they didn't win but haven't done too badly!
Last week I became Runner up in BBC2 show, The Great Interior Design Challenge. This week is the beginning of a whole new exciting career in Interior Design.
The response has been overwhelming and people have been so kind and generous with their time and support my feet have barely touched the ground!
A particular highlight for me came just yesterday... Russell and I were perusing the lighting dept in HEALS for a project we have started in Islington, when a rather sheepish lady hurried over to congratulate both Russell and I on our fantastic work in the final. It's so great when this happens and you realise that people really were watching and supporting and that feeling was marvellous.
We left HEALS and made our way towards green park where we had booked tickets to the "Sensing Spaces" exhibition at the RCA. As we passed by the Burlington arcade I heard my name screamed from across the road...I looked for a familiar face but could couldn't see one "CONGRATULATIONS" the voice replied. It was a stranger...congratulating me across a busy road opposite Fortnum and Masons and it almost made me cry...case in point the kindness of strangers.
Anyway enough of the wet stuff.
So since the show has aired we have been inundated with requests and job offers, some incredible and some incredibly cheeky (I'm afraid you can't have our dog, and yes Aberdeen is a little far considering your budget is £500) but I wanted to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your emails, answering questions and now, working on some of your homes.
I wanted to say a huge thank you to the team at studio Lambert for coming up with such a great concept for a show and bringing interior design to the fore. I also wanted to say a huge thanks to Daniel and Sophie, who have been incredibly supportive during and after the entire process.
So Thanks to you all for watching and hopefully some of you will be coming along to the workshop at Daniel's studio to work with Sophie and Sarah and I to help create an amazing space for you!
You can sign up at www.sophieanddaniel.com
We are proud to say 'you heard it here first' Our great friend Tracy Tubb will be appearing at TENT this summer. We commissioned her last year to produce her first ever residential installation you can see it here...
Recent blog post from My Friends House.
"I met Russell and Jordan a couple of years ago, when Meg photographed their first home for The Guardian, and I went along to interview them. Below are a few of Meg’s shots of the flat, which was cute, quirky and overflowing with personality. As I talked to the boys they were effortlessly engaging and full of enthusiasm for the home they’d created together."
Look out for the brand new BBC2 interiors show “The Great Interior Design challenge”
The series starts Monday 20th January 7pm on BBC2. Visit website
The Great interior design challenge-decorate your home with style. The official tie in book is available now to buy from Amazon