• Archive for March, 2013

    French ticking

    by  • 20/03/2013 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Originally a utility fabric used for mattresses this country classic is back on the radar and never really went out of style. What we love is that new tickings can be mixed with vintage ones and for a new twist mix with grain sack cloth as well as more traditional monograms. In our feature, page 73-77, April issue out now we do our own spin on the style mixing painted french furniture with more industrial pieces to complete the look.

    What is great is that this is the style for frugal times where piecing and patching repairs in upholstery or soft furnishings actually adds to the look and if you’ve got an inherited lace tablecloth lurking away in a drawer get it out! Simply team it with painted dining chairs  updated with loose covers  and a broad stripe horizontal wallpaper.

    Wibbly cushion, £40, Loaf. Vintage sac cushion, £55, Spooner and Puckhaber. Linen Natural tablecloth, £156.95, Cote Bastide at Selvedge. Linen hemp sac, £36; Linen cart cover with caramel stripes, £160, both Parna. Linen grain sac with caramel stripes, £45, Beyond France. Houston trunk, £749, Feather & Black.

    Wibbly cushion, £40, Loaf. Vintage sac cushion, £55, Spooner and Puckhaber. Linen Natural tablecloth, £156.95, Cote Bastide at Selvedge. Linen hemp sac, £36; Linen cart cover with caramel stripes, £160, both Parna. Linen grain sac with caramel stripes, £45, Beyond France. Houston trunk, £749, Feather & Black.

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    Country-inspired kitchen diner

    by  • 19/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Grey is a firm country  favourite and here’s a way to introduce it into a country kitchen with white Shaker-style cabinets and create a relaxed dining area to boot.

    Informal garden chairs are brought indoors and painted a deep slate grey shade, along with the table, to link with the  worksurfaces. A trio of  retro lights are hung low over the table to make a dramatic statement and provide mood lighting. Chalky grey walls, meanwhile, keep the look light and, co-ordinated with grey striped and pale pink seat cushions and curtains, add softness.

    The finishing touch is the weathered paint-effect flooring from Quick-Step, which brings a dash of vintage charm. The result is just lovely…

    Classic Laminate Painted Oak White Planks, finished with a matt lacquer for extra protection, £16.49 a square metre, Quick-Step

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    London Design Week

    by  • 18/03/2013 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    It is London Design Week so myself and the team are out and about searching for the latest looks and styles to feature in Country Homes & Interiors in the coming months. From the King’s Road to Chelsea Harbour we’ll be chatting to our favourite fabric and wallpaper designers and interiors gurus to shortlist the very best for today’s country home. Here are three of my new-season favourites so far…

    1 I love the relaxed beauty of Sanderson‘s Spring Flowers with its watercolour style on a linen mix.

    Sanderson’s Spring Flowers

    2 Inspired by the French impressionist paintings and the lovely shades of the Mediterranean Sea, JAB‘s Provence collection of embroideries, stripes and plains encompasses the freshness and lightness of a new season.

    The Four Seasons Provence collection from JAB

    3 Known for its natural and organic fabrics, Ian Mankin celebrates its 30th anniversary with a multitude of stripes from classic ticking to broader deckchair stripes in an array of candy colours.

    Ian Mankin’s multitude of lovely country stripes

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    Sunday morning make….Doily rosette

    by  • 17/03/2013 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Celebrate St Patrick’s Day and pin a colourful homemade rosette to clothing, bags and accessories to mark the day.

    Doily Rosette

    Doily Rosette, featuring doilies, buttons, ribbons and fabrics all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    You will need

    3 small green doilies

    2 cupcake cases

    1 green button

    Green ribbons – we used 3 (check!)

    Glue stick


    Brooch pin

    Hot melt glue

    Needle and matching green thread

    To make layer and glue the centre of the doilies and cupcake cases together, starting and finishing with a doily at the top and bottom. Taking a length of thin ribbon make a four-looped bow (a normal bow, tied twice). Cut the ends of the ribbon so the bow fits neatly into the centre of the doily and glue in place. Glue a button on top to cover the knot. Gather the remaining ribbons, fold in half and secure together at the loop end with a couple of stitches. Cut the ends of the ribbon to the desired length. Using the hot melt glue, stick the ribbons onto the back of the rosette, followed by the brooch pin. Leave to dry.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. And for more country recipes, crafts and room ideas, why not buy our new Country Home Ideas app?

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    Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with cake

    by  • 14/03/2013 • Country food • 1 Comment

    Apricot, Date & Guinness Slices

    As you’ve probably already realised, this Sunday is St Patrick’s Day. Forgot Irish stew and colcannon – we’ve decided the only way to celebrate is with cake. This delicious recipe is a new take on traditional sticky toffee pudding, adding a truly Irish touch with a liberal dash of Guinness. To make 9 squares, you will need…

    For the slices:
    150g stoned dates
    120g dried apricots, chopped
    150ml Guinness
    120ml water
    75ml whiskey
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    175g Demerara sugar
    85g butter, softened
    3 medium eggs, beaten
    180g self-raising flour
    100g chopped walnuts
    For the sauce:
    75g butter
    75ml Guinness
    75ml double cream
    2 tbsp runny honey

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a 21cm square brownie tin with parchment paper. Put the dates, apricots, Guinness, water, whiskey and bicarbonate of  soda in a pan. Place over a gentle heat until the dates soften and break down, stirring occasionally. This should take about 4–5 minutes. Leave to cool.

    2. Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Fold the flour, walnuts and the cooled date mixture into the egg mix and transfer to the prepared tin. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack. Cut into 9 squares.

    3. To make the sauce, place the butter, Guinness, cream and honey in a saucepan and simmer over a low heat until the honey has dissolved and the sauce has thickened. Serve warm drizzled over the slices. This sauce is also delicious with ice cream and it freezes well too.

    This recipe is by Catherine Fulvio, who runs the Ballyknocken House and Cookery School  ballyknocken.com. For more recipes, see Catherine’s Family Kitchen, published by Gill & Macmillan.

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    Grow your own

    by  • 13/03/2013 • Country moment, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    The ground may be frozen, but now’s the perfect time to start thinking ahead to sunnier times in the garden. How are your plans for the new growing season coming along?

    We’re busily organising our 10th-floor roof garden here at Country Homes & Interiors. This year we’ll be growing veg and flowers side by side, potager style, and looking at ways of making thrifty use of the containers we have in all shapes and sizes. We want to get the most from every inch of available space.

    Luckily there’s a great source of timely gardening advice… The Royal Horticultural Society is running Grow Your Own weekends, in association with Mr Fothergill’s, at all four of its gardens across the country – Rosemoor in Devon, Wisley in Surrey, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in Yorkshire.

    Head along on 23rd and 24th March and RHS experts will be on hand with tips on what to sow now, caring for your plot and generally guaranteeing success with your veg, fruit, herbs and flowers for cutting. Expect cooking demonstrations, as well as family workshops and guest speakers from the gardening community.

    We can’t wait to get sowing and planting and promise to keep you posted – let us know how you’re getting on with your plot, too!


    Bumper, tasty crops to look forward to – we can’t wait!

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    Little daffodils

    by  • 13/03/2013 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    I think Sussex and Kent got quite a surprise with the impressive snow we’ve had this week. The amazing drifts of snow on Romney March were straight out of the Arctic in shape and size. These dwarf daffodils, which I think are called Small Talk, seemed to be taking it all in their stride though – their tiny yellow trumpets bobbing around in Force 10 winds and looking beautiful despite the bitter conditions…

    I love the resilience of these dwarf daffodils

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    Open plan country living room

    by  • 11/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Open plan living is a growing trend and, if you love entertaining and have the space, combining a kitchen and dining area or, as here, a living and dining area, is a practical solution.

    The secret to making this country-style scheme work is to have continuity of colour palette and pattern for a seamless look. Here, powder blue walls set the scene, while mix and match toning chairs in different fabrics, from Multiyork, create an informal look around the dining table.

    In the seating area, a sofa in the same blue floral fabric as the dining chairs extends the theme, while the gingham and floral cushions echo the chairs. A sense of calm is injected with the plain fabric sofa and linen chairs, which anchor the scheme, along with the painted furniture.

    From left: Badminton side table, £315; Verona sofa in Multiyork Serlin Waterfall fabric, £1,635; Badminton extendable dining table, £839; Ely upholstered chairs, from £139 each; Inca sofa in Memento Aqua Marine fabric, £1,679; all Multiyork

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    Sunday morning make…. Mother’s Day mug

    by  • 10/03/2013 • Country craft, Country food • 0 Comments

    Treat mums to a proper cuppa on Mother’s Day in this hand-finished mug featuring black chalkboard paint to write down their drinks requests.

    You will need a ceramic mug, chalkboard paint, masking tape and a small brush. Thoroughly clean and dry your mug. Mark off the top edge and down the side near the handle with masking tape. With your brush paint one even layer of chalkboard paint on the mug. Leave to dry until tacky then carefully remove the tape and leave until completely dry.

    Painted mug featuring chalkboard paint, mug, masking tape and chalk all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Painted mug featuring chalkboard paint, mug, masking tape and chalk all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. And for more country recipes, crafts and room ideas, why not buy our new Country Home Ideas app?

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