• Archive for June, 2016

    A well-crafted country dining room

    by  • 21/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    country dining room

    Here’s a country dining room with the wow factor – a space that’s full of natural texture, from the exposed stone wall to the beautiful beamed vaulted ceiling and wooden floor.

    Such a setting demands a decorating scheme that epitomises honesty and simplicity and, here, the hero pieces are a cabinet with a mid-century modern feel, an industrial-style chair and artisan-crafted trestle table and ladderback chairs.

    To soften the look, flowing curtain fabrics (Pure Willow Bough and Pure Strawberry Thief from the new Pure Morris collection by Morris & Co) in a pared-back, neutral palette have been incorporated. The collection, out at the end of June, takes its inspiration from the past and William Morris’ values of craftsmanship and iconic patterns to create a collection for modern living.

    ‘Surrounded by the current desire for simple living, of taking things back to their very essence, it seemed like a good time to explore a different viewpoint on Morris’ iconic patterns,’ says Alison Gee, Head Designer of Morris & Co. ‘Re-visiting the archive with this in mind, we were excited to discover monochromatic patterns and wallpapers printed using different techniques such as crushed glass and metallic inks.’

    The fabrics have mostly been inspired by the monochromatic wallpapers from the archive and are perfect for creating dreamy and ethereal escape-from-it-all rooms and schemes with honesty, integrity and craftsmanship at the core.

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    Video! Decorate with meadow green

    by  • 20/06/2016 • Country Colour Moodboard Videos • 0 Comments

    We know how passionate you are about colour so we’re excited to present the latest in a new series of short videos called the Country Homes & Interiors Country Colours Moodboard.

    We take one of our favourite Summer palettes – meadow green – and show you how to build an inspirational decorating scheme for a room with paint, fabrics, wallpapers and accessories. Our starting point for paint was an earthy take on lime green called Mr Toad by Earthborn.

    Watch and be inspired!

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    30 Country Style Icons: the chandelier

    by  • 19/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors is 30 this year! In celebration, we’ve picked 30 of our all-time favourite design classics that have stood the test of time, thanks to their real sense of history, craftsmanship and purpose, to share with you over the coming weeks.

    rt_8_David_Hunt_CAVENDISH_9LT_BYRONThe chandelier
    As the name suggests, this form of lighting pre-dates electricity and points to its origin as an ornate form of candleholder. It has held onto some of its luxury connotations, but can also be very practical. It’s capable of producing more light than a standard pendant and can spread it further too, brightening even the gloomiest space.

    It’s also a very easy way to set the style of a room, which can be especially useful in smaller spaces. But where it really comes into its own is when fitted to a high ceiling. Here, a single light could get lost, while a substantial light fitting such as the Cavendish pendant above (£510, David Hunt Lighting) will fill the space and bring a sense of balance to the room.

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    Craft a tool kit caddy

    by  • 19/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_01The green-fingered amongst you know the importance of organisation when it comes to helping things grow. No gardener should be without this stylish tool caddy, complete with handy storage tins for keeping scissors, seeds and other sowing essentials within arm’s reach at all times.

    To make, start by lightly sanding down a wooden caddy (we got ours from Ebay) and wiping the dust from all the surfaces. Apply two coats of paint, following manufacturer’s instructions. Hold a stencil in place with masking tape and apply paint with even brushstrokes. Once dry, buff the caddy with clear soft wax (we used Annie Sloan’s, £4.95 for 120ml).

    Clean and dry some food cans – we used the 400g size – and ensure any rough edges have been filed down with a metal file. Spray with a couple of coats of metal spray paint and allow to dry. Glue ribbon around the top outer edge of the cans to act as a decorative grip.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – Father’s Day best buys

    by  • 18/06/2016 • Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Ready_NOTHSStep aside ladies, it’s time for the unsung hero in our life to shine! It’s Father’s Day tomorrow, so to honour our favourite chaps we’ve rounded up a trio of thoughtful buys to show them just how much we love them in all of their one-of-a-kind glory…

    Kick-start your favourite gentleman’s day with a full of beans gift! This fantastic Grow Your Own Coffee Gift Set, £44, by The Gluttonous Gardener at Notonthehighstreet.com, is the top choice to spoil any budding barista. Simply sprinkle with a little TLC and pop in a bright windowsill for a homegrown harvest of pick-me-up beans. Each handsome plant is carefully hand-packed in a rustic crate with some tasty chocolate covered coffee beans nestled in for an extra special sweet treat upon arrival.

    Ready_HowatTreat country action men to a practical present that oozes suave and charisma. This beautiful Newbury Leather Stick Stand, £135, from Howat & Hutchinson, is ideal for small corners in the hallway or boot room. Also available in cowhide, it’s just the thing to store all manner of walking sticks, umbrellas, hockey sticks or even the odd golf club!

    Ready_CelticFor the James Bond inspired father on the go, this lovely Hanging Washbag, £55, from Celtic & Co, is a real winner. Made from canvas and leather and with plenty of waterproof pockets and a hook to hang in the hotel – it’s the perfect pick for the organised traveller.

    Go all out and lay on the treats for the day… Pop his favourite roast in the oven and smother him with affection – there’s no denying that these males love the attention!



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    Visit a garden show!

    by  • 17/06/2016 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Garden show | florals | Country style |country daysIf you’re looking for ideas to spruce up your country garden, a visit to a garden show can provide all the answers you need for your project. From plant expertise at Woburn Abbey Garden Show (Bedfordshire, 25-26 June), and lifestyle trends at Grow London (Hampstead, 24-26 June), to statement gardens at RHS Hampton Court Palace (Surrey, 5-10 July), there’s no better way to source inspiration.

    Woburn Abbey Garden Show
    Set against the backdrop of Woburn Abbey, the ‘gardeners’ garden show’ takes place within the estate’s magnificent 42-acre gardens. Amateur and enthusiastic horticulturists can watch demos to pick up tips from plant experts, learn new skills and shop for unique plants and garden products including furniture, handmade crafts, sculpture, tools and hardware. There’s a Q&A with BBC’s garden presenter Pippa Greenwood, a food marquee with a range of artisan gifts and produce from regional suppliers, a biodiversity garden to visit, plus garden tours with the Abbey’s gardeners where visitors can find out more about the recreation of this spectacular Humphrey Repton landscape. From 25 to 26 June, tickets available now.

    GROW London
    If you live in town though have aspirations for country life, this is the show for you. Embracing contemporary gardening and lifestyle, the show is set on leafy Hampstead Heath, sharing solutions to common garden issues and emerging garden trends this year from huge houseplants to concrete planters and innovative ideas. Whether your space is limited to a window box, balcony or patio, the show has all the inspiration you need from a selection of 30 nurseries exhibiting with a mix of popular and rare plants, pretty lifestyle accessories and garden furniture. Look out for feature gardens too including the Serenity Garden and Spa by Matthew Wilson of Clifton Nurseries, or the beautiful Beach Retreat Garden, designed by Francesca Murrell. From 24 to 26 June, tickets available now.

    RHS Hampton Court Flower Show
    Make plans to visit the world’s biggest garden show, set along the banks of the Long Water at Hampton Court Palace. Attracting more than a hundred thousand visitors each year, there’s plenty to see from designer gardens and floral marquees to plant pavilions, demos and exhibits. This year’s gardens feature the RHS themes of Health, Happiness and Horticulture across several garden categories, including Show Gardens, Conceptual Gardens, Summer Gardens and Capability Brown Gardens to mark the landscape designer’s 300th anniversary. Other highlights include a dome where colourful butterflies flutter among tropical vegetation.
    From 5 to 10 July, tickets available now.

    Do you have a favourite garden show to visit? We would love to hear more about it!

    Want more inspiration for weekends in the country? Sign up for your weekly Country Post!

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    Ham hock, leek and cider mini pies

    by  • 16/06/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_Picnic_102For a gourmet take on the traditional pork pie, try these miniature pastries – a tasty addition to an all-out picnic lunch. Shred sweet and tender meat from a ready cooked hock off the deli counter or buy a pack ready shredded. A spoonful of mustard compliments them perfectly, as does a sunny day… fingers crossed!

    MAKES 10

    For the pastry

    300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    140g slightly salted butter, cut into small pieces
    50g lard, cut into small pieces
    1 medium egg yolk

    For the filling

    25g butter
    15g plain flour
    1 small leek, chopped
    175ml medium or dry cider
    2 tbsps single cream
    1tsp Dijon mustard
    180g shredded ham hock
    Beaten egg, to glaze
    Sea salt, to sprinkle

    1 To make the pastry, put the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter and lard until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and enough cold water, about 4-5 tablespoons, to make a firm but pliable dough. Knead lightly into a ball. Wrap and chill while making the filling.

    2 Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leek and fry gently for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and blend in the cider, stirring well. Return to the heat and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes until the sauce is thick. Stir in the cream and mustard, then the ham hock, and leave to cool.

    3 Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 6. Thinly roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 10 rounds using a 12cm cutter (or cut around a small bowl or saucer with a diameter of about 12cm). Use to line 10 sections of a muffin or Yorkshire pudding tin. Press the pastry firmly around the sides of the sections and up over the rims, ready for sealing together with the lids.

    4 Lightly brush the top edges of the pastry with beaten egg and carefully spoon in the filling. Cut 8cm rounds from the remaining pastry, re-rolling the trimmings if necessary and position for lids, pressing the pastry firmly around the edges to seal. Crimp the edges with your fingers and brush the tops with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 40 minutes until deep golden, covering the tin with foil if the lids start to over brown. Leave to cool in the tins.

    5 Once completely cold wrap in squares of greaseproof paper and tie with string. Chill until you’re ready to go.

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    Meet Wiggles & Florence

    by  • 15/06/2016 • Country business • 1 Comment

    Ready_groupSusan Robertson is the artist and designer behind Wiggles & Florence (named after two pet tortoises she and her sister had as children), creating stunning country garden-inspired artwork that features on a range of ceramics, from mugs and teapots to coasters and candles…

    Where are you based?
    In mid Wales on the outskirts of a beautifully quaint little village. The studio is on the first floor of the house overlooking the old walled kitchen garden. It’s south facing so is incredibly light and, being on a hill, you can see for miles.

    What inspires you?
    The walled kitchen garden has inspired a lot of my designs. I love the Victorian way of gardening, as well as old catalogues and seed packets. The hedgerows are amazing around the local lanes, too.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    Cow parsley (above, top) is definitely my favourite. I just love seeing the hedges full of the white frothy flowers, especially at the moment. It’s one of our best sellers.

    What’s next?
    We’ve decided to have the whole tableware range made from English bone china so that it’s a 100% ‘made in Britain’ product. Hudson and Middleton, one of the oldest potteries still manufacturing in Stoke on Trent will be making them all.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    My husband and I are great collectors. We have pieces of furniture from the Art Deco era, including a wonderful bedroom suite we bought at auction in Leeds in the early 1980s for £80! We also have an old petrol pump in the kitchen that’s been upcycled into lighting.

    What advice would you give to new designers looking to start their own business?
    Just go for it. Really believe that what you’re doing is going to work and talk to everyone and anyone about it.

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    A feast of faded florals

    by  • 14/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    alfresco dining area

    Here’s the perfect solution to summertime alfresco dining –  a garden dining room that can withstand the vagaries of the British weather, providing shelter from the rain, as well as shade from the sun, but still gives you a sense of being outdoors.

    And you can transform a space like this into a magical place with a little clever decorating. Choose a large table to provide plenty of room for entertaining, and set the scene for midsummer merriment with a beautiful faded floral tablecloth for subtle colour. Shabby chic vintage chairs (hunt them out at antiques fairs) inject an elegant touch, but don’t forget to add faded floral cushions for extra comfort. Introduce extra seating with a wrought-iron bench stacked with pretty cushions. (All fabrics by Cabbages & Roses.)

    Top the table with candles and decorate the space with lanterns for candlelit soirées, stringing up fairylights to create a magical atmosphere. Then big up the garden feel by filling vases with beautiful flowers so you can enjoy the sweet scent of summer.

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    Video! Decorate with warm grey

    by  • 13/06/2016 • Country Colour Moodboard Videos • 1 Comment

    We know how passionate you are about colour so we’re excited to present the latest in a new series of short videos called the Country Homes & Interiors Country Colours Moodboard.

    We take one of our favourite neutrals – warm grey – and show you how to build an inspirational decorating scheme for a room with paint, fabrics, wallpapers and accessories. Our starting point for paint was the calming Grey Lace by Crown.

    Watch and be inspired!

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