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The Crinoline

John Sankey is one of our most beloved suppliers of bespoke upholstered furniture. Founded in the 1950s in Longeaton, Derbyshire, it quickly became renowned for its quality and comfort. Almost seventy years on and John Sankey remains a reputable name in quality and comfort; exercising immense pride and skill at every stage of their design process – from the spark of an idea right through to the finishing touches of their lovingly crafted furniture.

The company proudly assert: “Our design process is to look into history, to look at styles and designs from around the world and then bring these influences together; creating new shapes to suit real people who will enjoy them everyday.”

One such design inspired by the archives of history is The Crinoline chair: a charmingly dimpled chair combining a button or tufting detail with gentle pleats.

The Crinoline Chair is so named due to the rounded base which softly billows like a crinoline dress. And what is a crinoline dress? Well let’s embark on a brief history lesson…

A crinoline was a stiff and structured petticoat, usually made from horsehair or a stiff cotton or linen, designed to hold out a woman’s skirt in the 19th century. Over time the design evolved to become a steel structured hoop skirt which allowed women to spread their skirts even wider.

Image Above: A horsehair crinoline from the 1840s – one of the earlier iterations of the crinoline.

Image Above: A later iteration of the crinoline design. It had evolved into a structured cage shape, often constructed from steel hoops.

Across the Western world women of every class and social standing wore crinolines but by the 1870s they were being largely replaced by smaller crinolettes and bustles. Steel cage crinolines were most popular but alternative materials such as whalebone, cane and even natural rubber were used. At its widest point, the crinoline was an impressive 18 feet in circumference!

Over a hundred and fifty years later and John Sankey took inspiration from the elegantly structured form of the crinoline and crafted the John Sankey Crinoline Chair – a beautifully buttoned and subtly pleated armchair with lines and curves evoking the form and formality of the Crinoline cage. There’s no question about it, it’s a supremely elegant chair that hugs but provides robustness and structure.

While it has its roots in history, this chair is versatile enough for the 2020s. It will find a perfect home in a traditional period house or cottage, but it will also provide some much needed character and whimsy to more modern homes. The added bonus of a John Sankey chair is the choice of fabrics at your disposal with which to upholster your Crinoline chair. Choose from over one hundred John Sankey fabrics – ranging from leathers to velvets to flat weaves to romantic florals to create a chair fit for your home, taste and needs.

Tuck it into the corner of a bedroom for a cosy lounging corner. Nestle it next to your sofa and perch a lamp behind to create a lovely reading nook. Let it take pride of place at the end of a brightly lit kitchen or simply angle it just right in the living room for perfect TV viewing.

We’ve used John Sankey furniture for years and it truly has proved itself to be comfortable, practical, durable and beautiful. We’re proud to use their service and supply their products and very soon we’ll have a beautiful selection of their chairs in our showroom! If you’d like more information about the Crinoline chair or any other John Sankey pieces, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would be delighted to dive deeper into luxurious upholstery and find the perfect piece for you.

Contact us by:

Email: catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk

Phone: 02825 880012 

You can also find us on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!

Lounge & Dining Area

Homes evolve over the years; perhaps once the soil in which a young couple begins their life, they grow and evolve to accommodate an expanding family. They hear the cries of newborn babies, the walls bear the scrawls of mischievous crayon-wielding toddlers, the stairs become a makeshift hill for children to sled, climb or crawl down and the bathroom may one day be the echoing innards of a submarine, and the next be a proud pirate ship sailing the high seas. So many stories, so many uses, so much evolving and shifting. And as all parents attest, the children grow up so fast. The house evolves again. Moody teenagers now haunt its hallways and retreat into bedrooms. The teenagers become young adults and wade into higher education or venture into the working world. They begin to loosen the home-bound ties and eventually depart the nest and the home evolves again, coming full circle back to two.

This home has recently seen its brood ruffle their feathers and take flight, leaving mum and dad and a host of empty rooms still alive with memories. For the past few years the homeowners have followed the lead of the house into its newest state of evolution – as a home and working space for two, but as a retreat for the visiting children and their own families. We met with the owners to discuss the evolution of a dining room into a dual purpose dining space for the much loved family gatherings at Christmas, Easter and special occasions, whilst also serving as an informal lounge space for work and leisure.

There were special pieces of furniture that the owners were keen to hold onto and use but otherwise, the room was stripped back to its bare walls and flooring. We created a few schemes for the space and worked with the homeowners to select and finalise a look they were happy with. A draft of the moodboard looked like this:

Tones of blues, greys and neutrals created a calm, cocooning space while carefully curated moments of ochre, raspberry, and pink orchid added colour, variety and interest. That showstopping Matthew Williamson embroidery was set to become a pair of statement curtains wrapping around the curved bay window but an evolution of the design saw the embroidery become a roman blind and a beautifully textured linen become the curtain.

We trimmed the linen curtain in an Osborne & Little wide braid featuring the repeated blues and pinks throughout the room, and we ensured privacy for the homeowners through the use of a textured narrow stripe sheer curtain. As well as ensuring privacy, sheer curtains diffuse the glare of sunlight whilst adding softness and cosiness to a space.

We commissioned bespoke mid-century inspired armchairs and a sofa to update the room and provide luxurious and comfortable seating for visiting guests and to serve as an informal lounging area for a spot of quiet reading in the evening. The sofa was wrapped in a softly textured Linen/Cotton mix from Jane Churchill and the armchairs in a contrasting sunny yellow herringbone from Linwood. Beautiful buttoned upholstery, sharp lines, polished legs, and soft fabrics make for a really interesting, comfortable and durable seating area!

Let’s not forget the wallpaper wrapping the walls in sumptuously soft tones and textures. We set the fireplace against a ground of warm teal inlaid with a semi-abstract floral inspired design. On the rest of the walls we used a plain textured vinyl wall covering evoking the texture and warmth of linen. Some of our favourite collections and wallpapers! There’s just something about the warmth, look, and both visual and tactile texture of luxury wall-coverings – they add beautiful layers of colour, pattern, depth and cocooning cosiness to a space that paint alone can’t quite achieve.

And let’s not forget the bespoke scatter cushions adding more layers of softness to the upholstery as well as splashes of colour, pattern and texture. We carried the Matthew Williamson embroidery from the Roman Blind to the scatter cushions and paired it with a small scale chevron weave in a hot pink and fresh white colourway from Sanderson.

Tucked in behind the lounge area was the dining space; reserved for special meals with visiting family. The existing dining table and chairs were in great condition and remained special pieces to the homeowners. We opted to update the upholstery on the dining chairs by commissioning a beautiful Osborne and Little zig-zag cut velvet echoing the colours throughout the room.

And let’s not forget the foundation (literally!) of every room – the floor! We used a beautiful tawny grey and linen coloured loop pile carpet from Wool Classics London to provide a smart and contemporary base for the rest of the room. The two tone colour adds interest and the loop pile cut is comfortable, practical, and long-wearing. A true luxury!

As a final note, a few weeks after we’d finished and photographed the room, we supplied an area rug to help zone the lounge area and break up the expanse of carpet. We chose a lovely persian inspired cotton chenille rug in various tones of warm blue and it has just lifted the room from amazing to AMAZING!

It was such a joy and privilege to work in this room; to honour the homeowners and their story & memories encased in the walls of this home. It was a joy to breathe new life into this room and repurpose it for a new chapter and for many more wonderful stories to be written and memories to be made in the years to come.

Finally, if you’d like help with redesigning and decorating your home – whether it’s one or two rooms, or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer a service that includes design, supply and manufacture, and fit-out. We’d love to advise, listen to your ideas and make your home fit your needs and aesthetic. Call us on 02825 880012 or email ruth-anne@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk. You can also find us on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!

The Colourful Minimalist

Extraordinary homes require extraordinary quality, and this modern build close to the beautiful North Coast of Ireland was no exception to the rule. It was two years ago that we were approached by the homeowners to supply luxury wall-coverings and advise on colours and finishes for their newly bought home; a stunning modern behemoth of steel, glass, plaster and stone. A lengthy schedule of external and internal construction as well as a demanding redesign of the garden and landscape was in motion but we were excited to get stuck in! We had great rapport with the homeowners and over a series of consultations over the course of a few months, we finalised a cohesive scheme that would inject colour, texture and tactile luxury throughout the interior of the home.

The architecture and DNA of a building often dictate the direction of the interior design and with every project, we endeavour to remain sensitive and discerning to what way the building is “leading” us. This building was modern and clean; a labyrinthine colossus of lines, angles, height and light…it was demanding a clean, structured, unfussy and minimalist touch. Thankfully, the homeowners’ preferred aesthetic was for such an uncluttered and contemporary space.

Our finalised design drew on luxurious, textural and vividly coloured wall-coverings with abstract and organic forms, themes of flora and the natural world, and touches of geometric form running throughout the space. The minimalist aesthetic is often achieved through a restrained palette of monochromatic and neutral tones but with such a large building, taking into account our harsh and cold northern light, and bearing in mind the inhabitants of the home – a young, energetic family – we felt that making use of colour was the correct course to take (thankfully our homeowners felt the same!)

The family have been living in the home for some months now and earlier this year, we got a chance to visit and photograph the interior. It is just a sublime home – warm, bright, calm, stimulating and each room provokes surprise and intrigue. Let us show you around!..

Red is notoriously difficult to get right in an interior – it runs the risk of being too overwhelming and even a touch dated but in this open plan living and kitchen area, it sings but doesn’t drown out other voices. The key is restraint – one wall of red is enough while the surrounding crisp white walls, warm grey flooring, the light tan sofa and the pops of greenery counteract the strength of the red.

Our homeowners had an eclectic and colourful selection of artwork and we were careful to bear these pieces in mind when working on the selection of colours throughout the house; our aim is to complement and not fight with the artwork.

Every room is stunning in this house, but there’s a real spark of joy for a room that is traditionally very utilitarian….the bathroom! Have a look..

This digital and handdrawn urban jungle wall panel from french designer Christian la Croix makes such a statement! You can afford to be bold, fun and over the top with the bathroom….so we did while not venturing too far from the overall aesthetic of the home.

The cinema and games room featured a long stone brick wall in tones of charcoal grey, umber and ochre. Taking our cue from this palette, we specified a textural wall covering in similar tones which echoes the formation and structure of the stone brick wall. Dark, moody and cosy!

Wallpaper and wallcoverings have a depth, texture and warmth to them that paint does not and we love using wallpaper whenever we can! For this home, with so much glass and so much light flooding in, having walls of richness and luminosity was so important.

The bedroom is a combination of a textural cerulean blue stripe, a charcoal grey stripe and a grey tonal textured faux animal hide wall covering. Such a stunning and rich mix! The walk through wardrobe (below) was clad in a vibrant, dynamic multi-coloured diamond design.

For the second bedroom, we ventured a little softer and more feminine by using a beautiful warm grey trailing vine and leaf design featuring delicate doves. A few rooms in this home featured high ceilings and we utilised wallpaper to add pattern and interest to the huge expanses of wall. Again, wallpaper in unique in how it breaks up expanses of wall and keeps the eye moving to create a dynamic and interesting aesthetic.

What do you think? We’re delighted with how this home turned out and we’re glad to say our homeowners are very happy too! We’d love to know your thoughts so drop us a comment below.

Finally, if you’d like help with redesigning and decorating your home – whether it’s one or two rooms, or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer a service that includes design, supply and manufacture, and fit-out. We’d love to advise, listen to your ideas and make your home fit your needs and aesthetic. Call us on 02825 880012 or email ruth-anne@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk. You can also find us on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!