• Archive for August, 2011

    Artisan Designer

    by  • 12/08/2011 • Country style • 2 Comments

    Our Decorating team recently visited the Vintage Exhibition at the Southbank Centre, for an afternoon of inspiration. The stand out exhibitor from the show was artisan designer Catherine Hammerton, a textiles graduate from London. Catherine’s unique range of ceramics, hand stitched textiles and screen-printed wallpapers are all designed and made by hand in the UK – giving them a delightful homespun feel. We loved the patchwork tablecloths and the Bottle Garden china collection, perfect to add a vintage touch to your kitchen or dining room.

    Collection tablecloth, from £99, Catherine Hammerton.

    Collection tablecloth, from £99, Catherine Hammerton.

    Bottle Garden muglets, £14 each; Bottle Garden cake plates, £10 each, Catherine Hammerton.

    Bottle Garden muglets, £14 each; Bottle Garden cake plates, £10 each, Catherine Hammerton.

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    Roof garden update

    by  • 11/08/2011 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    After the hot sunshine of last week, we’ve had another battle on our hands in the garden as caterpillars emerged to claim their patch. Found making themselves at home on the cauliflowers and sprouts, they weren’t a nuisance for too long after we picked them off the leaves. We did lose a few of the brassicas to prevent more eggs hatching though.

    It did give us a chance to tidy up the plot a bit, deadhead the flowers, check the tomato vines and put down some more soil to refresh the ground for another sowing of seeds. We’ve got a few odd salad seeds left over so we scattered some of these under the bean canes.

    See our garden photographs from the week so far…

    One of our newly cleared plots, freshly sown with salad seeds

    One of our newly cleared plots, freshly sown with salad seeds

    Some of our resident caterpillars

    Some of our resident caterpillars

    Tomato plants

    Tomato plants

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    New Business Reader Event

    by  • 10/08/2011 • Country business, Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    As you know, at Country Homes & Interiors we’re passionate about supporting small country businesses. If you have an idea for your own company but are unsure how to get if off the ground, then sign up for our New Business Reader Event. You’ll have the opportunity to listen to inspiring talks and take part in practical workshops from leading experts, all of which will help you to learn how to set up your own country business. The date is 20th October 2011 in London. I look forward to seeing you there!

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    House guests

    by  • 08/08/2011 • Country style • 3 Comments

    With the August summer holidays in full swing, we have had a steady stream of friends and relatives coming to stay. For ideas on how to keep them happy, I took a look at the ideas that we featured in our July issue on how to  Turn your home into a guest retreat. I particularly like this Guest goodie bag…

    Make a guest goodie bag with a fisherman's basket and fill with toiletries and toothbrushes

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    Vintage inspired shopping bag

    by  • 05/08/2011 • Country style • 0 Comments

    I love this quirky coastal bag designed by Little Rue Design Co, the latest addition to Retrophenia – an online vintage emporium. Little Rue Design Co is part of an aim to create new and original retro inspired pieces, to complement it’s existing collection of unique and vintage finds. Made from 100% natural unbleached cotton, this fairtrade tote bag is it’s first homegrown product – ideal for days out at the beach, trips to the local shops or just when you need an everyday carry all bag.

    Vintage bus blind panel tote bag, £14, Little Rue Design Co at Retrophenia.

    Vintage bus blind panel tote bag, £14, Little Rue Design Co at Retrophenia.

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    Kitchen garden update

    by  • 04/08/2011 • Country moment • 1 Comment

    Our plans for the garden were put on hold this week due to the super-hot sun beating down on the plot. Watering, and more watering was top of the list instead to keep the crops happy.

    The tomatoes have relished the extra rays though (as long as they were irrigated well) and we’ve seen the first few fruits starting to blush and ripen. We have picked more beans too. Although the crop has been small so far, we’re hoping for more as the plants are still flowering.

    Unfortunately the first sprouting carrot and salad seedlings, planted the other week, couldn’t stand the heat and have withered away. We hope to plant more as the cooler weather returns over the next few days.

    Here’s some of our photographs from the plot

    The garden with tomatoes in the background

    The garden with tomatoes in the background

    Our first ripe tomatoes

    Our first ripe tomatoes

    Some of our runner bean harvest

    Some of our runner bean harvest

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    Display serveware

    by  • 02/08/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. I love the way Jean Kennedy of Fade Interiors has displayed her beautiful serveware and pottery on rustic shelves made from reclaimed elm floorboards. You can see more of Jean’s house in our August issue (on sale until the 3rd August).

    Choose ceramics in soft earthy colours for a muted coordinated look

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    Camping weekend

    by  • 01/08/2011 • Country moment • 5 Comments

    Sartorial elegance went out the window this weekend as my family and I pitched the tent to enjoy a weekend of camping with friends in Kent. Holidays under canvas are the Great British obsession this summer and I can see why – beautiful views from the tent door, staying up late chatting around the Smokey Joe and toasting marshmallows, seeing my kids all snuggled up in their sleeping bags (tired, dirty but blissfully happy), hedgehogs raiding the food crate in the middle of the night! Great fun… but also so lovely to get back home!

    Would love to hear your camping stories…

    Camping attire! It's about being warm...not what you look like

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    The beauty of bespoke

    by  • 01/08/2011 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    One of the many things that I love about my job is finding out about how things are made. Last week I took a trip to see Wesley-Barrell, an Oxfordshire-based maker of classic, quality furniture. To see the process of how a sofa is created – from the planks of birch at the start of the process, to springs being added, layers of padding, stocking and finally the chosen upholstery fabric – is an exciting experience. It’s a true craft that takes time, care and skill to produce beautiful classics that will stand the test of time.

    The company was started in 1895 and is now run by the fourth generation of Wesley-Barrells. The three sisters Isabelle, Eugenie and Juliette are passionate about their business and the furniture they make. Every need of the customer is considered: firm or soft cushions? High or low back? Shape and colour of leg? You can visit its newly-renovated showroom in Witney or at shops throughout the country to ‘test drive’ any of the designs and talk to the knowledgeable advisors.

    Wesley-Barrell

    Pretty summer fabrics on Wesley-Barrell furniture

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