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The Outpost goes Live!

We’ve been in the Interior Design Business for thirty years (has it really been thirty years?!). We started out in a gorgeous little rustic cabin that served as our studio, shop, and workroom before venturing into Ballymena town centre for eight years. Since then, we’ve moved back home and worked out of a stunning converted barn that started out life as a bonafide hen house! Not only is it a rustic, cosy, full-of-character space, but it allowed us to operate our business on our homeland again!

We love home. We love family. We love friends. We love good company. We love BBQ-ing outside when it’s high summer, and we love gathering round a roaring fire when the winter sets in. We love that we get to work and play on this patch of land. We’ve grown up on this land, the family has run a farm off this land, we’ve raised family here, we’ve gathered with friends here, and we’ve amassed decades of memories, stories and experiences here.

It’s long been on our heart to create space here for other businesses, families and communities. We began by creating opportunities for businesses to occupy offices and units, and we’ve since filled these units with small, locally-grown businesses passionate about serving the needs of the communities in Ireland.

But we’ve also been awaiting the opportunity to create space in our converted barn for families and friends to gather, celebrate and make their own memories. Over the last year, we’ve ventured out to test the waters to see if this was something that would work, and something that people wanted. In that time, we’ve had the privilege of hosting intimate gigs, birthday parties, coffee mornings and small weddings! What a joy! And what a success they’ve been.

Hence, we feel now is the time to announce the official opening of THE OUTPOST. We have a three-fold vision built upon what we’ve been developing over the last few years:

  1. To create space for small, local businesses to operate out of.
  2. To create a venue for special occasions and gatherings.
  3. To create space for Men’s groups and Women’s groups.

BUSINESS

We have some incredible businesses operating out of The Outpost. Click here for information about these wonderful businesses which include Yippee Tents, Galgorm Gracehill Fishery and Fitness to Perfection Gym.

OCCASIONS

Our barn-space caters to small gatherings of 60 people maximum. We’ve hosted parties, gigs, coffee mornings and weddings and we’d love to talk to you about how we can cater specifically to your needs, tastes, and number of proposed guests.

Gigs

   

   

We’ve been thrilled to have local bands David C. Clements, Benjamin Hamilton, Brash Isaac and Wanderers play at The Outpost. There’s nothing like an up-close-and-personal, intimate gig; they just have a certain kind of magic that the big arenas don’t have!

Parties

  

Whether it’s an elegant birthday dinner (as seen above), a happy engagement, a retirement, or a party simply for the sake of it, we offer flexibility on how you want your celebration to look and feel like!

Weddings

  

  

We are delighted to open The Outpost for couples who are looking for a small scale, intimate wedding in a venue full of history, charm and character. Whether you just want a simple family-only ceremony or you want more of a knees-up kind of party, we offer flexibility for how you’d like to stage and style your wedding.

Surrounding the Outpost building are blossoming trees and fields of green as far as the eye as see. You can even spot Slemish in the distance! It’s lush and rural and perfect for photographs!

MEN’S/ WOMEN’S GROUPS

Beyond the Business and Occasions ventures, we’ve also been using The Outpost as a place to develop activities and events for both men and women. Thus we created: Men at the Outpost and Women at the Outpost. This is an area very much still in development but we have some exciting ideas and plans for this!

Men at the Outpost

Under the umbrella of Men at the Outpost is Men Pursuing God – a group of Christian men who meet, connect, share and study together. It’s very simple. Men at the Outpost meet every other Friday night and use the reading and studying materials of Ransomed Heart as a basis for discussion and study.

Women at the Outpost

Similarly, under the umbrella of Women at the Outpost is Women pursuing God – women who meet, connect, share and study together. They meet every other Tuesday night and use the material of Ransomed heart as a basis for discussion and study.

Unsurprisingly we are thrilled at this new venture! We’ve spent three decades in the interior design business because we love working with people, we love hearing their stories, we love collaborating with them to create a beautiful, love-filled, happy home full of their personality. Home. Family. Love. That’s what it’s all about to us. It’s such a joy to get to open The Outpost to share our home and story with you; to hear your stories, to work with your families and create space for community and connection and love!

You can see more information and photographs on our website – www.theoutpostballymena.co.uk. If you have any questions, or would like to have a chat about how we can host you, please contact Niel or Catherine:

Niel – 07970 991131
Catherine
 – 07808 959212

 

 

Loft Bedroom Part 2

You may recall from our last post that we’re working on a contemporary open-plan loft bedroom design that’s destined to be filled with character, fun and colour (of course!). If you haven’t read Part 1, be sure to skip back a post and catch up on the first phase as we tore down walls, ripped up showers and sinks and kitted the space out to give extra storage and ensure a better flow for the homeowners.

Since then, the decorators have been busy beautifying the space with paint and a sumptuous array of wallpapers and we’re thrilled with how it’s coming together! You’ll recall that we’re going for a fresh and quirky tribal/Navajo feel by using papers from French Design House Pierre Frey’s delectable new collection ‘Arapahos’. Think colour, tactile textures and fun patterns (because design should never take itself too seriously!) Here’s a recap of our moodboards:

And here’s how it’s all coming together!

      

The stairway leading up to the Loft Bedroom is a striking black and white with the grey woodwork adding a touch of softness and warmth. The stairs themselves will be clad in gorgeous black and white animal print! Hallways and stairways are a great place to make a statement as they’re “passing through” places; where there isn’t the risk of sitting in the space and being overwhelmed by pattern or colour (which is a common fear amongst homeowners!) P.S How fab are the quirky animal faces peeking down as you walk up the stairway?

        

Instead of playing safe and just painting the low walls and sloping roof (which would be very nice but a tad safe), we made use of a mix of papers in very specific locations. Having planned out where the large furniture pieces would sit, we used some of the lower walls and sloping roof panels to inject colour and pattern. Of course it adds fun and whimsy, but it also adds variety and rhythm for the viewer; keeping the eye engaged and moving and avoiding a sense of stagnation. It’s important to pique the curiosity of the people in the space – that makes for a really engaging and memorable space!

          

Details of the roof panels and a peek into the ensuite which carries on the black and white palette from the stairway. The black marble shower unit adds a touch of luxe but the white keeps it fresh, and the pop of red on the window frames adds an unexpected contrast!

     

We’ve placed an unusual paper featuring Indian headdresses and bags right at the end of the space – to brighten up what could easily be a slightly dull corner, and also to draw the eye up the long open plan space; again, keeping the eye moving!

Lots still to be done here – carpet to be put down, light fitting’s changed, a fabric wall installed, cushions and curtains made up and furniture installed! We’re thrilled with how this space is coming along, and can’t wait to see the whole thing completed. Check back for more progress!

As always, if you have home renovations in mind and would like advice, or assistance in making your home a space that’s beautiful, functional and full of personality, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Whether it’s one room or a whole house project, we’d love to help. Phone us on 07808959212 or email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk.

Loft Bedroom: Part 1

We’ve got exciting plans afoot! For the last couple of months we’ve been working on a Loft Bedroom renovation in a beautiful countryside home. The space used to operate as an open plan shared bedroom and bathroom space but now that the boys are grown and out of the house, it was time to reconfigure the space! The homeowners wanted to use the space as a bedroom and bathroom for guests while working in some functional storage space.

The redesign meant some minor building work was necessary to create an area for storage, remove a few non-supporting walls and fill in with dry wall and plastering. Easy! The old bathroom was ripped out and updated with a sleek, more compact shower and fittings.

Pictured is the very unglamorous building work taking place. As lovers of colour and pattern and fabrics, we love bringing a space to life with furnishings and furniture and decorative items, but it’s vitally important to consider the actual design and flow of a space. Sometimes that means doing some less-glamorous work like taking out a wall to open up a space, refitting a tired old bathroom, or replacing worn floorboards. By getting the ‘bones’ of a space right, you’ll ensure a warmer, more sound building, and will also ensure the best flow of space for you and your needs. No amount of beautiful furnishings will conceal critical room weaknesses so get the bones right first! This is a game changer.

      

    

    While the builders were at work, we devised a gorgeous scheme of colour and pattern to bring the open plan space to life! Think sumptuously tactile textures, fun patterns and pops of strong colour against soft greys and whites. This needed to be a space with character; a real homely but stimulating space for guests to rest and relax in. So we brought in the master of colour, pattern and zing: Pierre Frey! One of our favourite designers, Pierre Frey is a fearless French powerhouse designing fabrics and wall coverings that are eclectic, unusual, and luxurious. Here’s the scheme we came up with!

As we speak, the decorators are painting and pasting wallpaper and we can’t wait to see this space finished! Be on the lookout for the next part of the process! And if you’re planning an update or renovation in your home, we’d love to help! Whether it’s one room or a complete house overhaul, don’t hesitate to contact us on 07808959212 or email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk.

London Design Week

Every March sees a flurry of activity from Design Houses and Retailers around the world as preparations are finalised for the release of Spring/Summer collections.

Paris starts the year off with a bang with the iconic ‘Maison Objet’ and ‘Paris Deco Off’; with London picking up the mantle with ‘London Design Week’ at the beginning of March. As ‘the beast from the east’ unleashed its fury across the U.K. and Ireland, we nervously packed our suitcases and geared ourselves up for snow, blizzards, and monstrously high drifts. Thankfully, the snow had cleared up and the sun was even making an appearance by the time we had landed! We dropped our suitcases at the hotel and dashed to the Chelsea Design Centre which was magnificently bedecked in fresh mint greens, soft pinks and lilacs, vibrant foliage, and an abundance of blossom spilling out from every surface, nook and cranny.

       

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Fuelled by an plethora of tea, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and incredible Thai Food, we delved into magical worlds of embroideries, silks, exquisite trimmings, lustrous wallpapers, sculptural light fittings and sumptuous textures over the next three days. So many wonderful companies and products! But we’ve collated some of our favourite companies and collections from the week. Have a look at what’s tickling our fancy this season:

JIM THOMPSON
We’re familiar with the quirky designs of Jim Thompson. He draws a lot of inspiration from Eastern cultures, history and motifs. We love his collection of richly coloured silks but it’s his collaboration with Dutch designer Gert Voorjans that bowls us over. It’s fun, bold and fearless!

              

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PIERRE FREY
We may have mentioned before, but we love Pierre Frey. A total French powerhouse! You’re guaranteed fun, unusual, beautifully made designs and their most recent collection ‘Araphos‘ doesn’t disappoint!

           

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SAMUEL & SONS
We’re firm believers that details matter. What often makes a space really special and interesting are the little details that are often overlooked – a beautifully pleated curtain, a colourful trimming on a cushion, or upholstery stitching in a contrasting thread. Samuel & Sons are masters of beautiful trimmings which create the most beautiful details for soft furnishings. We fell in love with their gorgeous window display featuring their distinctive trimmings!

            

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ETAMINE

Etamine is unmistakably French with a Mediterranean touch. We love the bright, fresh, romantic feel it brings to a space; utilising both soft, dreamy colours and splashes of stronger hues. So versatile! So easy to use and love!

              

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WILLIAM YEOWARD

William Yeoward is a long standing name in Interior Design and we love the eclectic, modern British feel of his fabrics and furniture. It’s superb quality, versatile in traditional and more contemporary spaces, and it always guarantees a sense of wit, fun and colour! It never fails to make us smile!

    

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DESIGNERS GUILD

A powerhouse in Interior Design, Designers Guild is a master brand of colour, pattern and zing! Their iconic florals bedeck interiors the world over; adding freshness, romance and extraordinary colour. They never fail to create a beautiful collection and this season we’re delighted to see their collaboration with American artist John Derian – feast your eyes on that Chaise below…utterly sumptuous!

  

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POOKY LIGHTING

There are MANY manufacturers of light fittings and shades, so it’s wonderful to come across a British born company creating colourful, quirky and whimsical Light fittings to spice up every interior! We’ve posted a few snaps below, but make sure to check out tho whole range on their website! Decorative items add such character to a space so we love investing in unusual pieces!

  

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Phew! We made it to the end! This is just a quick snapshot of bits and pieces that caught our eye during LDW, but over the next few weeks you may see a few other faves pop up here and there. We can’t help it – when we get excited about a fabric design or a wallpaper or a beautiful trimming, we feel the need to share the love! We’ve loved sharing these pieces with you and we hope it’s sparked an idea of something to inject in your own home this season!

If you are planning a renovation – whether that’s a complete overhaul or just a room update – and you fancy some advice or help in making your space more functional, beautiful and unique to you, don’t hesitate to contact us. Send an email Catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk or Ruth-Anne@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk. Alternatively you can phone us on 07808 959212

Five easy ways to update your home.

FINALLY, the sun has made an appearance! It feels like it’s been a long Winter doesn’t it? We’ve wrapped up, hunkered down and tried to ride out this cold, dark and very snowy season; the hope of milder weather, budding flowers and brighter evenings carrying us through! And Winter definitely put up a fight but I think we’re seeing a much needed shift – there’s been blue skies and sun warming our skin. It’s wonderful!

If you’re like us, you may have spent the majority of the last few months under layers of fleece and throws, hesitant to move from the fireside. But it’s March and we’re heralding in a new season! Time to shake off the cobwebs, open the windows and do a thorough Spring clean! An orderly home will mean an orderly mind, will mean an orderly outlook and attitude. So let us help you set your home and your intentions for the next seasons.

1. DECLUTTER

This is an obvious one but one we’re often poor at – clear the clutter! Yes we mean old toys, deflated cushions and ornaments that are on their last legs. But this is also the time to cull the wardrobe and decide what furniture, accessories and décor you can dispose of, what you can give to the charity shop, what needs updated, and what you want to keep. Be ruthless but be clever – what can be updated and repurposed? What things are really meaningful to you and your family that should be kept? (Always remember to dispose of unwanted furniture and items thoughtfully!)

2. LET THE LIGHT IN

                    

This is something we do everyday but don’t underestimate its importance. Draw back curtains, open blinds, clear away obstacles from windows; it can still be dark for the next month or so and it’s easy to feel a bit blue when it’s dull. Light will lift your mood and make things feel bright and fresh.
Also consider artificial light in the house – make sure there’s lots of light fittings in every room. We love lots of lamps and clusters of candles in dark corners, on side tables, lighting up hallways; all adding light and warmth and cosiness.
Another trick is to hang mirrors in dark corners and hallways to bounce light around!

3. MOVE THINGS AROUND

We told you this was easy didn’t we?
A great (and inexpensive) way to update is to consider what pieces of furniture, accessories, and furnishings you can move around – within the same room or to another room. Maybe that chest of drawers that’s hiding in the back room would look fabulous (and would be practical!) in the living room? Move around framed art and cushions and throws. Move an armchair from the window to a corner to create a little reading nook. Moving things around will keep it fresh and may surprise you how much you like the new layout!

4. EASY UPDATES

               

Sometimes a total interior overhaul is necessary, but sometimes you can make quick, cosmetic updates. Here’s some of our favourites:
A pot of paint will instantly change the look and feel of a room (and here’s some free advice: embrace a good dose of colour!)
Change up your cushions and throws to inject colour, pattern and texture.
Hang art and photographs, add a big patterned rug, inject some greenery with plants, change your lampshades, upcycle something to give it a new lease of life.

All easy changes to make but will give your home a fresh new look.
With Spring and Summer approaching now is the time to inject bright colour, crisp whites, fun pattern, uplifting shades and tones to carry the freshness of the outdoors in!

5. MAKE A STATEMENT

            

After all that you should have your house in good order! So let’s be clever and intentional, take it to the next level and give it some ‘wow’ factor. One of the best ways to add a punch is to create a statement – hang an oversized and eye-catching light fitting, use a fabulously patterned wallpaper, hang a striking piece of art, paint the ceiling in a bright glossy colour! Statement pieces add fun and style and lift a nice room to become a WOW room. However, too many statement pieces will fight and become too busy so keep it to just one or two pieces.

There you go! Five easy ways to get going with a Spring clean up and refresh. It will take time and thought but you’ll be so glad you did it! Shake off the dust and cobwebs of winter and let’s ready ourselves, our families and homes for a bright, colourful and warm Spring and Summer!

Should you require any help with Interiors Projects, whether it’s a room refresh, a few furnishings or a complete overhaul, don’t hesitate to contact us: Phone Catherine – 07808 959212 or email Catherine@mcmillaninteriors.com. We’d love to help.

Cosy Transitional Home

Confession: we love Pinterest. Many a time have we have got lost down a Pinterest rabbit hole; swept away by beautiful rooms, thoughtful design, and mouthwatering colour schemes. It’s great when you find that image that inspires a project. But what we really love is the challenge of the blank canvas. As anyone creative will tell you, the blank canvas is scary and intimidating, but with the right approach it can yield surprising results.

What is that approach?….
We play.
Yes, we’ve been schooled in design principles and rules and yes, there are methods and techniques to master, but integral to anything creative is The Creative Process.

Sounds a bit abstract-artsy doesn’t it? Fear not!… basically it’s experimentation and play; it’s trial and error, and taking an idea as far as it can go. Think of your favourite designer or artist… the work they create is the result of many trials and edits and refinements. They sketch, mix, add and subtract, and see where technique and intuition takes them.

In our case, we like to take time in between client meetings and presentations and refining schemes to play. We pair up patterns, and experiment with colour schemes, and mix up styles to create something potentially very cool. Every month we create a bit of a showcase in our studio where we experiment with a new look or a new collection. We’re excited about the approach of Spring and the gorgeous new collections being released, but with winter clinging on a little longer we thought we’d create a cosy-cottage-transitioning-into-spring look. Catchy eh?

Here’s what we came up with:

This look was based on the Sanderson Potting Room collection that was released in the Autumn. We’ve reimagined it for Spring by choosing the fresh white and crisp blue colourway; evoking bright, fresh mornings and blue skies. I’m sure many of us will agree that nature is a huge source of inspiration – who doesn’t feel better after getting outside beside the sea, or amongst the trees and mountains to breathe in the fresh air and behold wild beauty? It’s critical for our health and wellbeing. There’s nothing better than bringing the outdoors in with some gorgeous natural motifs and patterns in your home – we’ve used a Sanderson damson tree and bird paper for the walls of our “cottage” and framed the windows in a complimentary bay tree fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To add fun, pattern and colour we’ve mixed a variety of different fabrics and prints which work to inject warmth, interest and character.

Can you picture beautiful early Spring mornings in a space like this? Pearly light cascading in, softly diffused by natural linen fabrics and awakening mineral blues, citrus greens, splashes of lavender and ochre. Gorgeous! Picture the cosy tartans, houndstooth and heavy stripes offset by blousy florals, sweet birds and sharp geometrics. The perfect transitional look that keeps you cosy while it’s cold but beckons forth the season of light, life and colour!

For your benefit we’ve listed the source of fabrics featured here. If any have piqued your interest, don’t hesitate to get in contact. Phone Catherine – 07808 959212 or email Catherine@mcmillaninteriors.com.

Curtain, Wallpaper, Tablecloth, Floral fabric behind fireplace – All Sanderson

Throw on Chair – Moon Fabrics

Cushions in front of chair – Designers Guild, Sanderson

Fabrics behind fireplace (from L-R) – Sanderson, William Morris, Osborne & Little

Fabrics on Chest of Drawers (From T-B) – Jane Churchill, Designers Guild, Nina Campbell

Throws in Basket – Moon Fabrics, Linwood

Carpet – Alternative Flooring

Trimmings and Finials – Declerq, McCormick Weeks

 

Utility Room Renovation

A few months ago we began work on a utility-cloakroom-bathroom at the rear of the house that needed a refresh. Some of the decor had become a little tired and the homeowners needed better storage and flow.

Before we got to the fun stuff I.e. picking fabrics and papers and paints, the rooms needed minor construction and plumbing work. The old sinks, toilets, and radiators were pulled out and replaced; look at that chunky new black radiator, doesn’t she gleam beautifully?

The cupboards were torn out and replaced with custom made built-ins from Laura Dallat Interiors, maximising wall and storage space. Custom furniture is often a worthwhile investment as it’s tailored to your exact dimensions, style and needs. Doesn’t it look smart?

We love to use local companies when we can and we found gorgeous patchwork style tiles in Tuscany Tiles, Ballymena which would make a striking statement floor throughout the utility room, cloakroom and bathroom. Aren’t they just stunning?

These gave us a base from which to develop a scheme – so we were looking at a fresh palette of crisp whites, sea blues, burnt umber and soft greys. Here is what we came up with:

The Designers Guild marbled paper would be used on all walls while the woodwork would be painted in a glossy lavender grey to pull out those yummy plum colours in the tiles and add warmth. The Designers Guild floral fabric would be trimmed in the blue spiral print from Earthed by William Clarke (an incredible design company based in Northern Ireland who weave with Irish Linen!) and made into a Roman Blind. Finally the built in cupboards would be painted in a soft blue-grey similar in shade to the wallpaper.

Want to see how it turned out?

       

     

We love how fresh and calming the space feels now; whether it’s summer or the middle of winter, this room will feel bright, clean and warm. It’s important that the rooms of your house that you spend most time in are well designed and full of warmth, but this project goes to show that entryways shouldn’t be neglected. How wonderful for the homeowners to enter this bright and calming space at the end of a long day?

For more information on any products featured here, or if you’re considering a home renovation, please don’t hesitate to contact us at McMillan Interiors, The Outpost, Loan Rd, Cullybackey. Phone Catherine – 07808 959212 for an appointment.

The Greatest Showman

Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, it’s hard to deny the sweeping success of ‘The Greatest Showman’, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams. It’s a dazzling extravaganza based on the life of P.T. Barnum and his creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The Greatest Showman

Who doesn’t love a bit of old-time razzle-dazzle? Such fun especially in the midst of a dark, cold and wet winter! I’m sure we can all agree that visually this film is gorgeous. Designers, craftsmen and tech crew have painstakingly created and captured the old world grit and glamour of 19th Century New York City and the opulence and wonder of theatre.

Inspiration comes in many forms and I have found ideas in literature, art, theatre and film to be a huge resource for styling my home. So we’re looking at the old-world glamour of ‘The Greatest Showman’ to inspire some ideas for home styling and decoration.

The Greatest Showman

Curiouser & curiouser!!

Here, we’ve pulled a fabulous wallpaper from Manuel Canovas with a bit of a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ feel to it – bell jars of butterflies, shelves of trinkets, and botanical specimens. Alongside it sits a textured linen paper recalling the canvas of the Big-Top Circus tent. Other fun additions include the world map printed on fabric as an homage to 19th century explorers, a Persian-style velvet hinting at the Magician’s old faithful carpet-bag of tricks, exotic kilims, tribal prints and stripes of course!….we’re in a circus after all! And for a final flourish of quirkiness, we’ve thrown in a hair hide as a nod of respect to the bizarre bearded lady.

What do you think?

We think this is rich, textured, and both fun and sophisticated!

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For a brighter pop of colour, we’ve pulled together another scheme inspired by big-top vintage balloons.

The Greatest Showman

We’ve featured that distinctive Hot Air Balloon wallcovering from Manuel Canovas sitting alongside a metallic and citrus yellow paper for oodles of colour and zing on the walls. Why stop there? Include a bright yellow geometric silk for a curtain and an unusual ombre linen, perfect for brightening up dreary days. To counterbalance all of the yellow we’ve included crisp black and white stripes and geometrics, with a dark green leather for a vintage hit.

Hope you enjoy these visuals. All available separately or as a complete scheme at McMillan Interiors, The Outpost, Loan Rd, Cullybackey. Phone Niel – 07970 991131 or Catherine – 07808 959212 for an appointment.

The Dark Side

Forty years ago, in May 1977, little-known director George Lucas released an epic Space Opera film called Star Wars that would set off a global movement of mania over the daring battle between the Rebel Force and the Galactic Empire.

This December sees the release of the eighth episode, ‘The Last Jedi’ and the saga shows no sign of waning in popularity. Fans, critics and movie buffs around the world have long made their claim over where their allegiances lie – with the knightly Jedi Rebels or the Sith-run Empire. I have my own convictions and I will leave you to make yours, but when it comes to interiors and home style lets consider the debate: are you Jedi or Sith? Light or Dark? Bright and fresh, or moody and muted?

For a few years now, light and fresh Scandinavian style interiors have been all the rage. They typically feature lots of white or lightly stained woods, comfortable fabrics such as linen, wool and shaggy sheepskin, and a palette of whites, greys, and muted shades of blues, greens, yellows. It’s light, airy, fresh, clean, and cosy. It’s contemporary and still very much on trend.

So, hands up…who loves this?

This is a style for those who prefer more of a minimalist look – it’s clean, pared back, unfussy. Furniture is streamlined and often raised up on legs. It features lots of nice lines and is typically tidy and compact. The Scandivanian countries are masters of this style but all do slight variations of it.

To get this style, neutral is key but that doesn’t have to mean boring – play with a range of neutral tones. Choose some natural motifs in neutral colours or some small scale prints with little pops of colour to add fun. Don’t forget to play up texture – choose a range of fabrics such as slubby linens, soft cottons, shaggy rugs and throws and some nice metallics for interest.

Here’s a couple of Scandi-inspired schemes we’ve pulled together:

But maybe you’re less Luke-Skywalker-Jedi-Light-Side and more Darth-Vader-Sith-Dark-Side (confession….I came over to the Dark Side a couple of years ago and have no regrets!)

While the light Scandinavian style interior has been popular for a few years, the dark interior has really only caught momentum much more recently. However it’s showing no signs of slowing down which is really exciting to see! A significant ambassador of the dark trend is British designer Abigail Ahern who proposes that for a really stylish, cosy and character-full space, homeowners should paint walls, ceilings, doors, woodwork and moulding in gorgeously dark, inky colours – browns, blues, ochres, greens, blacks, greys. This creates a cosy ‘cocooning’ effect in the room and actually blurs the edges and corners of the room, thereby making it feel grander and bigger. The Dark Side is the perfect canvas for all the maximalists out there – it’s an opportunity for you to fill those dark corners with lamps and clusters of candles to create cosy puddles of light and warmth around the room.

Texture and layering is key to create visual interest and really to create a bit of fun! Over the last year we’ve seen the arrival – and resurrection – of some really cool textures and finishes which are perfect in a dark room. Interesting botanicals have made a big impact on the interiors scene (e.g. exotic cacti, fabulous succulents, blousy florals, huge monstera plants, fragrant eucalyptus) and we’ve seen some really well-made faux plants appear on the market which is allowing us to create all sorts of interesting spaces and effects. In Fashion and Interiors we’ve also seen the glorious revival of sumptuous velvet in a stunning array of colours – rich chocolates, regal blues, dusky pinks, and vibrant yellows.

Have I convinced you to come to the dark side yet?… If not, here’s a delectably dark scheme we pulled together full of buttery soft velvets, cosy wools, shimmering silks, slubby linens and that fabulous mercury wallpaper. So glam and fun and super cosy.

So whether you’re Jedi -light or Sith-Dark, the key to either style is texture. Inject lots of fun and cosy fabrics into your rooms – home should be a place that is welcoming, warm, and comfortable!

Pantone Colour of the Year

The Interior Design Industry is huge and varied and brimming with gorgeous products and thoughtful designs, and each year we see the release of exciting new ranges to beautify our homes and make everyday life a little more comfortable. More people than ever before are paying attention to trends, design, and capturing a style that is right for them and it’s great to see global brands and independent businesses providing products, solutions, ideas and inspiration for every budget, requirement and style!

While we here at McMillan Interiors dislike slavishly following trends, but rather advocate creating a home that is personal, fun, and individual, there is one company that we love to watch for trend prediction: Pantone.

In December of each year Pantone predict what the forthcoming predominant ‘Colour of the Year’ will be – a prediction based on research, culture analysis, and forecasting trends. Pantone colour experts have been researching and predicting colour trends since 2000 by examining colour influences around the world in business, fashion, the arts, the entertainment industry, tourism and even current events. It’s not a science and it’s not set in stone – rather it’s a guide, a suggestion, a commentary on current cultural flow. 2017 was the year of ‘Greenery’ – a zesty shade of yellow-green that channelled ideas of Spring, freshness, energy, new beginnings, nature and the outdoors.

Certainly we saw a lot of green throughout 2017 but it remains to be seen whether Pantone actually predicted what people wanted. Bottle green, emerald green and leafy green proved popular and will likely remain so throughout the next year. But what colour has Pantone predicted to be big in 2018? Designers, makers, influencers, and consumers all waited with bated breath… and just a few days ago Pantone indulged us with a colour that is a bold and unexpected deviation from the zesty brightness of Greenery.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 is….

Ultra-Violet! (Did you see that coming?…)

Here’s the official line from the Colour Specialists at Pantone:

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet light the way to what is to come.” – Leatrice Eiseman (Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute)

Ultra Violet echoes the artistic genius and individuality of David Bowie, Prince, Jimi Hendrix. It captures exploration and innovation in science, technology, spirituality, mindfulness. According to colour theory, purple is associated with wealth, royalty, ecclesiastical power and interestingly, purple has often been seen in significant cultural changes and shifts throughout history. Clearly the forecast of Ultra-Violet in 2018 is much more than just aesthetic – it’s a symbolic prediction and prophetic statement on what’s to come in the arts, business, culture, science, politics. As Laurie Pressman of Pantone summarises:

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”

Fascinating! We can’t wait to see how this plays out throughout 2018.

So what do you think?

Do you love Ultra Violet?

Hate it?

Are you on the fence?

Personally, when I first heard the announcement I was a little disappointed. This Autumn saw the release of some gorgeous palettes and colour-ways in the new designer collections. Matthew Williamson, Nina Campbell, Designers Guild had some stunning designs featuring sumptuous chocolates, striking blacks and fresh corals. I thought chocolate brown was going to be a thing. I thought we were going to stay moody and dark and sumptuous.

However I’ve really come round to the idea of Ultra-Violet. It’s not my favourite colour in interiors – purples can very easily go wrong and look a bit dated. But I’m really curious to see how it’ll play out over the incoming year and how designers, stylists and homemakers work with this bold and statement-making colour. Despite my initial reservations, I’m absolutely delighted that we’re staying big and bold with colour in 2018! Ditch the beige and inject colour and character and fun into your home!

If you fancy injecting your home with some Ultra-Violet glam in 2018 we’ve gathered up some ideas for some fabulous furnishings below. If this has whetted your appetite please get in touch with us.