• Archive for October, 2015

    Meet Clarissa Hulse

    by  • 21/10/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_Clarissa groupOpulent, tactile and strikingly beautiful, textile designer Clarissa Hulse’s nature-inspired silk homewares tick all the boxes when it comes to elegant country style. She details her journey to becoming one of Britain’s leading textile designers…

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I’ve always loved working with fabrics and studied textiles at university. After graduating, I started up a business, more by accident than design, selling fashion accessories. I decided to print some scarves to sell so I could raise a little money to pay for materials and the space I was renting. Before I knew it I had sold out and had orders in from Barney’s in New York and Liberty in London! I ran the business for 10 years but always wanted to branch out into interiors. I find it less fickle – people buy pieces for their homes that they really love and want to live with for years.

    What’s your workspace like?
    Big, light, airy and pretty messy! We have an office area, a design section and then a big print table for making samples. I use one of the walls to pin up my inspiration and create a huge mood board.

    What inspires you?
    My designs come from the natural world, so no matter how busy we are I make sure I take the time to visit the countryside, coast and the beautiful gardens of the UK.

    What’s your favourite piece?
    I am most proud of the hand-printed scarves that I made when I first started my business. Each piece was a one-off and a real work of art. Having orders from Barney’s and Liberty gave me the confidence to continue designing and creating collections in my signature style.

    Describe your design process.
    All my work is based on photographs of plants, which I take wherever the opportunity presents. I then work on the images back in the studio on the computer, put it into repeat and make silk screens. It’s great fun playing around with different prints and colours. I prefer working directly onto cloth; you get a completely different effect compared with digital printing. It’s much more tactile and painterly.

    What’s next?
    I would love to do a book! In the short term I’m really keen to develop my collection of kitchen textiles. I’m also launching a new collection of fabrics and wallpapers featuring my signature botanical motifs.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Bold, colourful and botanical.

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    Into the blue?

    by  • 20/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    blue country bathroom

    Blue has long been a favourite shade to use in a country bathroom – its watery hue and capacity to create a tranquil and soothing atmosphere giving it long-lasting appeal. But now there’s a new blue around. The deep tones that have appeared on the catwalk are making their presence felt in the home. We love this gorgeous scheme that shows how new blues can be used to create an elegant scheme.

    The hero piece here has to be the statement bateau bath painted in Hicks’ Blue by Little Greene, resulting in a super dramatic look. This is definitely the kind of bath you would want to enjoy a good soak in.

    A classic backdrop, meanwhile, has been created with Stag Toile in Juniper from Little Greene‘s Revolution Papers collection, which signals the return of wallpaper, even in a room where you may not expect it! Inspired by a 19th century English linen, the wallpaper is brought bang-up-to-date with its on trend colourway.

    A dado rail neatly punctuates the expanse of wall, while the mirror with its distressed glass finish provides some vintage charm. Stylish towel storage is a must-have and here an antique stepladder adds a quirky touch and takes ladder shelves to another level.

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    Meet a woodland hero

    by  • 19/10/2015 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    Grown in BritainLast week, saw Grown in Britain celebrating and promoting our native woods and forestry; the people who work in them and use the wood from them.

    Furniture designer, Ted Jefferis, is one of these people. Ted lives and works in an ancient oak woodland in West Sussex and in 2013 he set up his own furniture making business, TedWood, using beautiful British hardwoods to create bespoke tables (see the TipToe table, above), benches and storage.

    Grown in Britain‘When I pick out a dusty board of British timber,’ says Ted. ‘I know that beneath the surface will be wood that is full of character and intrinsic beauty. I also know that by choosing British timber one is supporting a sustainable future for our priceless British woodlands.’

    Check out Ted’s beautiful designs here.

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    Video! Make an outdoor log stand

    by  • 19/10/2015 • Country craft, Country Videos, Modern Country Maker Videos • 1 Comment

    Introducing our brand new autumn series of Modern Country Makes!

    This week, we show you how to create colourful outdoor log stands, beautifully painted in rustic shades of Farrow & Ball emulsion. So easy to make, they’re practical and stylish too; use as a welly boot stand to keep your hallway a mud-free space, or arrange in groups as a pretty garden display.

    What’s more, they also double up as handy outdoor seating, perfect for Fireworks Night get-togethers. Arrange around the bonfire in readiness for roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate and sharing stories – wrap up warm!

    What are you waiting for? Click here to watch the video in full screen mode.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – dark and handsome desks

    by  • 17/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_furniture etc

    This week we’ve been checking out our favourite new website FurnitureEtc to see what’s in store! Brought to you by the publishers of Time Inc’s best-loved homes brands, this curated online marketplace allows you to buy and sell gorgeous preloved furniture – with only our favourite sellers and boutiques across the UK being featured. You’ll find all the styles you love, from shabby chic to divine antiques with everything curated by our super-savvy editors – lucky you!

    To get you better acquainted with the preloved revolution, in this week’s shopping shortlist we’ve rounded-up our top picks of period drama-worthy bureau-style desks – all inspired by the dark and handsome theme of our November issue.

    Give your country home a timeless feel with a classic piece. This lovely Queen Anne Oak Bureau, c1680, £1,650 (above top right), has been sympathetically restored, cleaned and waxed – retaining all of its original character. Dimensions: W91cm x D51cm x H99cm. Condition: Excellent – minimal wear considering its age and background.

    Warm-up your home this autumn with rich woods. This beautiful Georgian-style Antique Mahogany Demi-Lune Pedestal Desk, circa 1920, £695 (above bottom right), features original drawer pulls with working lock and key. Dimensions: W137cm x D68cm x H76cm. Condition: Wonderful – cleaned, wax polished and ready to grace your home.

    Create a focal point with a stylish piece that has a story to tell. This amazing Antique Maple Bureau Bookcase with Display Case, circa 1910 to 1920, £345 (above bottom left), has a fitted interior with burgundy leather writing surface. With multiple shelves and compartments to store all manner of trinkets and treasures – it’s a collector’s dream! Dimensions: W78cm x D36cm x H184cm. Condition: Excellent – original oak backboards, minimal losses to veneer.

    Like what you see? Visit FurnitureEtc to browse and buy more one-off gems to add to your emporium…


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    Head to an independent country cinema

    by  • 16/10/2015 • Country business, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Three of the best country cinemasIndependent cinema is thriving in the country villages and small towns of the UK. A major backlash against the proliferation of the multiplexes, these small, and often privately owned, picture houses are about watching great cinema in unique and interesting spaces. From converted barns and abandoned churches to defunct libraries and Victorian railway stations, film-loving entrepreneurs are resurrecting the pleasures of watching mainstream and art house films locally, as well giving access to live theatre from the likes of the Royal Opera House and National Theatre. Take a look at our favourites in Suffolk, Devon, North Yorkshire and East Sussex…

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    Gooey Chocolate Fudge Cake

    by  • 15/10/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments


    What better way to celebrate this week’s Chocolate Week than indulging in a deliciously moist and mouthwatering chocolate fudge cake?! Find out more about Chocolate Week, which runs until Sunday 18th October and the events going on across the country here.

    275g (9oz) self-raising flour
    3tbsp cocoa
    2tsp bicarbonate of soda
    250g (8oz) dark muscovado sugar
    3tbsp golden syrup
    3 large eggs
    250ml (8f oz) rapeseed or sunflower oil
    250ml (8f oz) milk
    Few drops of vanilla extract

    400g (14oz) dark chocolate, chopped
    450ml (3⁄4pt) whipping cream
    Few drops of vanilla extract
    3-4tbsp icing sugar
    2 x 20cm (8in) round sandwich tins, buttered and base lined

    1. Set the oven to 160°C or Gas Mark 3. Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a bowl. Add the golden syrup. Lightly beat together the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla, and pour into the flour mixture. Beat well until smooth. Pour the mixture into the tins and place in the centre of the oven, on the same shelf if possible, and bake for 25-30 mins or until the cakes have risen and feel just firm to the touch in the centre.

    2. Remove cakes from the oven. Leave them to cool in the tins for about 5 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

    3. To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts – using a stick blender will help to make sure it’s really smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar. Leave the ganache to cool until it’s a spreading consistency – this stage may be speeded up by placing the bowl in the fridge, but stir it regularly and don’t allow it to firm up too much.

    4. Sandwich the cakes together with some ganache. Place it on a serving plate and swirl the remaining ganache over the top and sides. Leave in a cool place for the ganache to set a little before serving.

    TIP Wrap the unfilled cakes in freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost, then fill and decorate with the ganache.

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    Love a beautiful bag

    by  • 14/10/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupWhimsical illustrator Josie Shenoy has collaborated with stylish and sustainable British brand, Talented, to create a beautiful collection of ethically made tote bags, laptop cases and zip purses. Josie shares her story with us…

    Talk us through your design process.
    Research is very important to me as my illustrations are a reflection of my love of story telling. Once I have decided what my theme is and worked out a compositional sketch, I get to work using a combination of detailed pencil drawing, collage and traditional print methods. Everything is done by hand, apart from the very last stages of the illustration, such as cleaning up or adjusting colours on Photoshop.

    What inspires your designs?
    Recently I’ve taken inspiration from the flora and fauna of India, London curiosities, the traditional pattern work of the Arts and Crafts movement, vintage maps and the work of Grayson Perry, amongst other things. My studio is also a very inspiring place, full of busy craftspeople making beautiful work ranging from woven blankets and leather shoes to handmade violin bows!

    How did your collaboration with Talented come about?
    I was approached by Julia from Talented through a friend and was immediately impressed by the quality of the bags. I wanted to work with a bag manufacturer that listened to my input and allowed me to have a say on the whole process. I love the idea of applying illustration to practical items; Talented’s products tap into the imagination and tell a story.

    What makes the collection special?
    Julia and I worked together to ensure everything was perfect before we went into manufacture, so it has been lovingly crafted from start to finish. Two of my best-selling prints; Stag (top) and Hare (bottom right), have been given a little lift with a gorgeous metallic gold colour to give them that extra special touch.

    What’s next for you?
    I am working on some lovely commissions at the moment, including collections for Anthropologie, the British Museum, Hampton Court Palace and the House of Commons. These will all be released in 2016. I’m also finishing new Christmas cards and brand new illustrations ready for our Open Studios at the end of the year.

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Intricate, decorative, narrative.

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    Shades of autumn

    by  • 13/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Autumnal living room

    Who couldn’t love autumn with its roaring fires, toasty throws and scrumptious berry shades and russet tones?

    Here’s a cosy country living room that beautifully combines soothing reds with a cooling contemporary palette of greys.

    An instant way to give a room a warm feel is by painting a feature wall (or more than one if you’re feeling brave) in a muted red. Try a shade such as Eating Room Red, Book Room Red or Picture Gallery Red, all by Farrow & Ball.

    Then create a comfort zone by introducing a practical grey sofa with clean lines for a modern feel (this one is the Oregon from Multiyork, which is super practical as it’s a sofabed, so is perfect if you’ve got guests coming to stay). Ramp up the cosiness with cushions and throws in a mix of autumnal foliage shades and calming greys, and choose a texture-rich rug to soften painted floorboards.

    Pick a mid-century wooden coffee table for an on-trend retro feel. Then light the fire, sit back and relax…

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    Learn the secrets of good garden design

    by  • 12/10/2015 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Learn the secrets of good garden designWant your garden to look this good even in October?

    We’ve teamed up with My Design School at KLC to create and exciting online course that offers an effortless way to learn how to transform your country garden and keep it looking good year-round.

    Successful Gardens, taught by RHS Chelsea Flowers Show medallist Matthew Childs, gives you the skills you need to create the outdoor space you’ve always wanted. The course explores the use of plants, colour and texture in an interactive and innovative way.

    The course runs 2 November- 4 December 2015 and costs just £299 when you book using code CH1015 – a saving £100. Book now and learn something new this autumn!

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