It goes without saying that there has been something of an explosion of interest in the interiors world. The rise of Interior DIY-ers coupled with masses of new products and exciting designs (and the accessibility of those products) means that we’re at a very exciting stage in home and interior design.
It’s great that homeowners want to inject their own style and flair into their home!
It’s wonderful that we’re not so enslaved to trends and styles!
It’s great that there’s so much variety and product and choice! From High Street to online, there are endless options!
But honestly, sometimes it can all become a bit too much.
Do you ever take a wander down the high street and get the feeling that everything starts to look all the same? Do you ever excitedly dash around the department store, filling your trolley will a bevy of cushions only to find those same cushions a touch flat and miserable looking a few weeks later? While we love the high street for some things, we’ve found that it can sometimes be lacking in design, aesthetics and quality.
Over the years that we’ve been in the Interiors Business, we’ve built up relationships with designers, design houses and suppliers across the UK, Europe and America who are thoughtfully and meticulously designing and crafting beautiful, unique products. These are companies that we love and trust, and whose designs and quality have been proven over and over again in real homes with real families over the years.
One such company that we’ve worked with for years is British Designer Jane Churchill (now part of the Colefax and Fowler family). There are two strands to the Jane Churchill company – the ‘Jane Churchill’ collections (whimsical/ cottage-y/ a tad more traditional) and the ‘Atmosphere’ collections (sleek, contemporary, urban). Just a couple of weeks ago we received the new ‘Jane Churchill‘ collection, entitled ‘Indira‘ (a Sanskrit word meaning beauty or splendid). We have fallen quickly and irrevocably in love with this collection..it’s unusual, colourful, fun, well-priced, beautiful quality, and versatile (specifically: it can be tweaked to be either slightly more cottage-y/traditional or slightly more eclectic).
Have a look at the promotional shots to see it in situ:
Jane Churchill has a recurring palette of soft and sumptuous colours – warm greys, fresh corals and pinks, rusty reds, soft teals and blues and clean whites. This is such a beautiful collection for a Spring/Summer refresh – imagine the windows flung open and these prints rippling in the breeze? Picture bright sunlight flooding in and illuminating the shapes of foliage and birds and rich embroidery on these fabrics?
As we often like to say, colour and pattern are MAJOR powerhouses in your home. People are so often afraid of colour and pattern out of fear of the space being “too busy” or “too overwhelming”, and while it’s certainly a possibility, we’ve found that homeowners tend to swing to the other extreme and play way too safe in an attempt to avoid the possibility of colour/pattern overload. As you can see from these promotional images, the house features soft and bright whites and ivories, and interest, depth and personality has been added with layers of colour, pattern, texture and finishes. Not everything is matchy-matchy – a mixture of colours and shades and tones have been utilised so it doesn’t look so ‘try-hard’ and creates a more visually interesting space!
We love the versatility of these fabrics – whether they’re hung as curtains or stitched up to become a bed valance, or even adorning a chair – they’re striking and conversation-starting! We just love these warmer palettes and tones at the minute – after seeing so much blue and green in interiors over the last few years (which we love), it’s refreshing to see rusty terracottas and warm oranges; pinky reds and mustardy ochres coming into play.
All in all, it’s a sumptuous collection of intricate embroideries, prints derived from gorgeous hand-painted designs, soft plains, textured weaves, and patterns ranging from wide stripes to mid-size botanicals to small scale geometrics. We’ve already had the opportunity to utilise a selection of fabrics from the collection for a bedroom renovation we’re working on! Have a look at the mood-boards for the scheme:
We love the mixture of patterns and shapes, and the pairing of fresh and cool blues and teals with softer greys, taupes and even a little splash of pinky peach! Yum! Keep your eyes peeled for more on this project in the weeks ahead!
What do you think about the Jane Churchill collection? Is it your cup of tea? Or are you more modern/ minimalistic? Or perhaps you love a bolder, stronger, more glamorous look? We’d love to know what looks, styles and palettes your drawn to! Whatever look tickles your fancy, we hope your home is full of colours and textures and objects that you love. And while we’ll never argue with a cheap and cheerful High Street purchase, we also hope your home has objects and items of beautiful quality – because they’ll last longer and will age well. And in such a critical time – when we must consider the health of the earth; when we must consider things like waste disposal and carbon emissions and the source of our food and products, we must learn to live more sustainably.
Should you need some help or advice with a home renovation – whether it’s just one room or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch. We love to talk and discuss your ideas (and even offer one or two!). You can reach us on the phone at: 07808959212 or by email at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Jane Churchill Promotional Images sourced from here]
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:
- To create space for small, local businesses to operate out of.
- To create a venue for special occasions and gatherings.
- To create space for Men’s groups and Women’s groups.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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 email@example.com.
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:
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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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!
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 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!
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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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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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
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.
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.
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.
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!
For a brighter pop of colour, we’ve pulled together another scheme inspired by big-top vintage balloons.
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.