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Monthly Round Up

Good morning friends and followers! We are hereby introducing a new regular instalment to our blog posts: Each month, we’ll be bringing you a monthly round some of our “Favourites”: products, collections and ranges, new sellers and suppliers we’ve sourced, trends we’re loving, projects we’re working on and whatever else we find inspiring and worth sharing! As designers we’re always sourcing new pieces, exploring collections and brands and keeping our eye on trends across interiors, fashion, product design and the art world. Anyway, enough of an introduction: let’s get stuck in to our favourites from June!

ABIGAIL AHERN: NEW PAINT RANGE

 

We are big fans of British interior and product designer Abigail Ahern who is known for her deliciously dark and moody interiors. Ahern famously paints out the walls of her interiors in rich, sludgey, “bottom-of-the-lake” hues and layers up faux botanicals, textures, art, furniture and decorative items throughout the space to create a very visually exciting, cool and layered space. A true maximalist! We love her style and fearless use of colour. Ahern has been selling paints for years, but just recently released a plethora of gorgeous new shades (some featured above). You can find the whole range here. What’s remarkable about these colours is that they all derive from natural sources, which gives them an extraordinary depth and richness; and creates some gorgeous effects, depending on the lighting in the space. These kinds of effects can’t be created with synthetic paints. The colours and chalky, matt finish will add instant cosiness, drama and character to any room and will play the perfect canvas for you to layer you furniture, decor and soft furnishings in front of!

JIM THOMPSON & GERT VOORJANS

   

     

American design house Jim Thompson has collaborated with Belgian interior designer Gert Voorjans to create a sumptuous, eclectic and striking collection of fabrics and trimmings. Voorjans style is daring, fearless and exceptional – this is a man who isn’t afraid of colour or pattern! He confidently clashes colours, and layers prints and textures to create vibrant, unusual, and imaginative spaces. Collaborating with Jim Thompson – the designer renowned for his use of richly coloured, luxurious silks – is a perfect match! We are in love with the collection, and while it’s certainly not for the faint hearted, it’s a collection sure to make an impression and create a fun, unique and memorable space! View the full collection here

PROJECTS

We’ve had a lot of exciting projects running on throughout June (which of course will be featured on the blog!). But until the grand reveal, here’s a sneak peek of some of our favourite projects from the last month:

   

The Chaise and Rocking Chair are both vintage items that we had re-padded and reupholstered – the Chaise is clad in a gorgeous Colefax velvet damask and Designers Guild lush green velvet. We gave it a new set of legs and can’t get over how stunning it is! And isn’t that Rocking Chair Fabulous? That Linwood velvet Cockatoo print is just perfect for this vintage piece! The Chaise is destined for a bedroom we’re working on and the Rocking Chair will sit in a Sunroom/Orangerie that we’ve designed!

   

For the same client, we’ve recovered this set of chairs in a flamboyant damask in a lush appliquéd velvet from Colefax. These will be finished with a few scatter cushions and will take pride of place in a bright and airy Kitchen we’ve been working on. Colefax fabrics are a real winner for us because they’re so well designed and executed, and are moreishly tactile – you just can’t help put touch and ‘oooh’ over the rich velvets, intricate embroideries and soft silks!

        

We’ve been working on an extension of a house to create a new sunroom, living and dining area, and kitchen for the homeowners. Here’s a peek at the progress of the space. Building work is almost finished, tiles have been laid and the kitchen is being installed. We have a bright, contemporary and sleek scheme planned for this space so keep your eyes peeled for updates on this project! Until then, can we just take a minute to appreciate that gorgeous arched window? Such a statement window and it brings in so much light!

 

This is a brand new project that we’ve just begun work on! This recreational cabin space is being extended and turned into a multi-purpose space; partially remaining recreational while also serving as a working studio. Beams, timber and insulation has all gone up, plumbing and pipes are being installed, and windows are on their way! We’ll be revealing more about this project in the next few weeks.

That’s us for this monthly round up! It’s been a busy month of moving projects forward and we even had a sneaky holiday squeezed in! We’ve much more to reveal and discuss throughout July; it’s going to be a busy month!

If you’re planning a home renovation – whether that’s just one room or a whole house overhaul – we’d love to help! We’d love to talk and discuss your ideas. Don’t hesitate to get in touch on 02825 880012 or email ruth-anne@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk.

 

Colourful Contemporary Family Room

A couple of months ago we began work on a family home that was mid-way through an extension and reorganisation of layout. The flow of the rooms wasn’t working for the family and needed to be reconfigured to fit the needs of work, leisure, and growing children. We came on board to help turn the reconfigured space into a warm, colourful and inviting family home!

The brief was for a contemporary and colourful look that was elegant but practical. Long term the plan was to renovate most of the house, but it would be done in stages. Our immediate priority was a new entrance hallway, a family room, a bedroom, and a games/homework/hang-out den. We have an extra soft spot for clients who love – and want – colour in their home, so it was a real thrill to put together mood boards, colour palettes and fabric swatches mixing bold colour, gorgeous textures and beautiful prints and patterns!

When it comes to sumptuous fabrics and bold colour, the French designers are second to none so we recruited the oomph and clout of design heavyweights Pierre Frey, Boussac, Casamance, Christian Lacroix, and Manuel Canovas. Unsurprisingly, these went down a treat with the homeowners. (FYI: Once you’ve seen and touched beautiful fabrics and products, you’re positively ruined for anything else!)

    

As you can see, the first stage of meeting clients is akin to being like children in a toy shop excitedly perusing all of the wonderful colours and shapes and glossy boxes! We presented our ideas and poured over sample cuttings and began to build a better picture of 1. what the clients were drawn to, and 2. what worked in the space. Sometimes we work with clients who are unsure of their style and what kind of space they want to actually live in, and we like to to give a little direction and prompting without losing a sense of their personality and aesthetic. These clients were very sure of what they liked which made the process much easier and quicker!

After a series of meetings with the homeowners and a few tweaks and changes to the schemes, we began to finalise a plan and schedule of work. We’ll be posting about all of the schemes and plans we’ve made, and over the next few months we’ll keep you up to date with how this project is coming to life.

First up is the Family Room. Here are the finalised moodboards and palette for the space:

    

Did we mention that we like colour and pattern?… As you can see, this scheme POPS and we love it! we’re laying a gorgeous, reclaimed parquet wooden floor throughout the space which will add serious warmth and character to the space. We’ll be using some of the client’s existing furniture and we’ll add a few pieces to fill out and finish the room – a bespoke new sofa, an armchair, a couple of tub chairs and we’ll be using a couple of gorgeously rich large rugs to zone and break up the room. The moodboards show all of the fabrics we’ll be using for the chairs, curtains, cushions, rugs and the paint colours we’ll use throughout the space. With a stunning view of the garden and the countryside beyond visible through the large windows and sliding doors, we decided to play up the green in this space with sumptuous shades of blue-green. We’ve combined it with touches of warm yellow, rich purple, and little splashes of red and pink (which is a tint of red).

 

In Colour theory (don’t worry, we’re not going too scientific or theoretical here!), there are basic techniques for combining colours to create a balanced, harmonious look. What we’ve utilised here is a square colour scheme – which basically means using four colours spaced evenly around the colour wheel. Obviously not all colours are used in equal measure – the blue-green is the dominant colour here and the other three colours appear as secondary colours and accents (again, for balance!). With a square colour scheme, you get variety and a mix of both warm and cool colours (yes, again…for balance. It’s all about balance and harmony!).

Here we’ve sketched the basic floor-plan of the Family Room. It’s a large space for watching TV, reading, and relaxing which leads into a space for games, drinks and relaxing. We’ve “zoned” the room (which is basically breaking a large space up into sections or zones for certain uses and tasks. This helps divide up a large space, ensure it’s functional and allows for some fun dispersal of colour and design elements). There’s a natural divide between the lounging space and the games/hang-out area and we’ve utilised rugs in the lounging space to “divide” it into two areas: the TV area and the reading area. We’ve also grouped little units of seating and tables together to facilitate conversation.

Right now, we’re in the midst of getting the work schedule underway and we can’t wait to show you the next stages of the process! Be prepared for oodles of swoon-worthy colour, pattern, texture and sumptuousness coming your way! 

If you’re planning a home renovation – whether that’s just one room or a whole overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch. We love to talk and we’d love to discuss ideas and plans! We value family, history, personality and lifestyle and are intentional about drawing out your style and personality and creating a beautiful, functional home for you! You can reach us on: 02825 880012 or email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk.

Style School: Art Deco

Let’s talk about Art Deco.

You see, over the last few months, as we’ve dashed around Design shows and Fairs and ogled over new designer collections; as we’ve flicked through brochures and magazines heralding the new interior trends, we’ve noticed an unmistakable resurgence of Art Deco.

Quick history lesson: After the austerity of the war years (1914-1918), people were desperate for a lift. The economic boom of the 1920s (hence why it was called “the roaring twenties“) ushered in a much more decadent, lavish and luxurious era that lasted until the 1950s. The Art Deco style was glamorous, elegant and modern; all about making a statement and oozing luxury and richness. It was characterised by geometric motifs, symmetry, hard edges broken up by curved elements, bold colour, and luxurious materials such as gold, rich woods, lacquer and velvet. Furthermore, the discovery of Tuthankhamen’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 led to Egyptian influences and motifs seeping into Art Deco.

     

[Sources here and here]

Since then, we’ve seen the prominence of Modernism, Minimalism, and Scandinavian styles in late 20th Century/ early 21st Century interiors. Truthfully however, for the last few decades there had been no dominating global “style”; designers and homeowners are much more confident in dabbling in different trends, mixing styles and not becoming enslaved to one particular look. It’s great! We champion individualism all the way!

Nevertheless, a quick look around the high street tells us that styles come and go, and cycle and try to catch on again. We see the resurgence of trends we thought were long dead.. this is especially obvious in fashion: the revival of 70s and boho, and 80s shoulder pads are just some of the things we’ve seen over the last decade. Similarly in interiors, we see styles and trends cycling and resurfacing now and again.

And so, 2018 seems to be the revival of Art Deco, or so the big name designers, influential blogs, and magazines would have us believe! What do you think about it? One design house in particular that is going hard and fast with the Deco trend is internationally renowned fabric and wallpaper house: Zoffany. Have a look at their 2018 collection ‘The Muse

 

“Encapsulating the sophistication and decadence of the 1920’s, The Muse combines modernist style with fine craftsmanship and rich materials..The Muse channels cosmopolitan hotel luxe and symbolises elegance and prestige.”

  

[See the whole collection here]

We’ve worked with Zoffany fabrics and wallpapers for years and they are masters of colour and luxurious products; we love them for their elegance, high quality, and sophistication. While we love seeing their iconic, inimitable colour palette coming through ‘The Muse‘ collection, we must admit that we’re not so keen on this overt Art Deco trend. A very obvious Art Deco look runs the risk of dating quickly and longevity is something we all (designers, homeowners, consumers) must consider. With so much product and options out on the market, it’s easy to get sucked into buying more, more, more! But with each new purchase, something gets thrown out and we have landfills heaving under the weight of our discarded products. A room designed to last years is kinder to the environment and to your purse!

We can picture ‘The Muse‘ collection in an urban, luxurious hotel but we’re not so sure on how the whole look will translate to a residential space. But we aren’t closing the books on this collection or the Art Deco trend altogether. Instead, we think Art Deco motifs, elements and characteristics can be implemented into a space in a much less overt, but much smarter way!

  

[Sources here and here]

We love this glam teal-green space featuring velvet upholstery, gold chandeliers and bold black panelling lined in gold. It’s an homage to Art Deco style: gold, geometrics, luscious fabrics and lacquered surfaces, and yet refrains from being too “obviously” Art Deco. The entrance lobby in the second image nods to Art Deco with it’s glossy chequerboard floor and vintage Chandelier.

   

[Sources here]

One of our favourite fabric and wallpaper designers Manuel Canovas has released a collection this year that is both contemporary and retro; channeling elements of Art Deco and Mid-Century. We love it because it doesn’t sit neatly in one era. It’s a nod to history and yet it’s fresh enough to look fabulous in modern day spaces.

[Sources here]

Or how about a quiet nod to Art Deco with one or two elements in your space? Consider a strong geometric wallpaper in a dining room and pair it with touches of gold to create a little Art Deco glam. Upholster a compact little tub chair in a velvety soft geometric print, or bedeck a bedroom wall in a smart geometric paper and add touches of gold, luscious silks and a large lamp in a faux-lacquered finish.

Finally, we’ve pulled together a few ideas for pieces of furniture and furnishings to add a little touch of Art Deco in your home!

    

[Sources here, here and here]

  

[Sources here, here and here]

For any more information about any products listed here, or if you’re interested in a home renovation (whether that’s a one room project or a whole house renovation), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk or phone 07808959212.

 

 

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.

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.