Launched in October 2020,The Cabin is a beautiful and luxurious Airbnb retreat for those who need to get away from it all and recharge the batteries. Clad with beautifully knotted timber and looking out onto Slemish Mountain, it’s an idyllic little haven with a bit of a colourful (literally!) history…
The Cabin began life over thirty years ago as the home of Niel & Catherine McMillan’s Interior Design Studio & Workroom. It was a place to meet clients, showcase homewares, and make up bespoke soft furnishings for homes around the UK and Ireland. However, the business quickly expanded and The Cabin was vacated in favour of a more spacious premises in Ballymena Town Centre.
Meanwhile The Cabin became a Recreation room for family & friends until in 2018, it began another metamorphosis. By this stage, McMillan Interiors had been established and plans were made to turn The Cabin into a compact and cosy Studio for the business. In the Autumn of 2018, after having undergone extensive internal and external surgery, The Cabin officially opened as the new home of McMillan Interiors.
The story could have ended there….but it didn’t! Just over a year later and The Cabin was itching for another metamorphosis. McMillan Interiors Design Studio was packed up and relocated to a spacious converted barn and The Cabin began its transformation into an Airbnb retreat. It was a transformation we were thrilled to get stuck into!
The vision for The Cabin was to create a cosy, moody and super comfortable place for those who needed respite and to recharge the batteries. A place to turn off the phone and hideaway, but equally a springboard for exploring the wilds of Northern Ireland. We prioritised plentiful seating, a decadently comfortable bed, and colour & texture to create a real sense of home comforts. Let us show you around!
We made sure to squeeze in a John Sankey sofa for a supremely comfortable seating experience and upholstered armchairs in fabrics from William Yeoward and Designers Guild for a pop of quirky colour and pattern. A paisley patterned Ted Baker rug creates a lovely moody blue pool on the floor.
Superfast Wifi and a full sized dining table allow our guests a space to work – as was the case for our first guest who used The Cabin as a hideaway for a writing retreat! Alternatively, light some candles, turn the lights down low and enjoy an intimate and quiet dinner with a loved one!
We clad the partition wall with Pierre Frey wallpaper to add character and interest. A quirky bulls head sculpture and faux foliage add whimsy and colour.We also ensured there is plenty of low-level lighting with floor lamps and table lamps to create a lovely cosy atmosphere.
Walls of soft grey wrap around our guests in the bedroom while the headboard partition wall features a soft pink textured-effect wallpaper from Matthew Williamson. Curtains from Chelsea Textiles add whimsical pattern and ensure the bedroom is dark, cosy and the perfect spot for a good night’s sleep.
KITCHEN & WC
Nina Campbell wallpaper paired with a green and grey fitted kitchen creates a soft and bright corner for grabbing a coffee and a light bite. We’re in Northern Ireland so an abundance of tea on hand was a must! For coffee-lovers, a French Press and Nespresso machine will give you the caffeine kick you need!
Bathrooms can be real hidden gems of the home – a space where you can indulge in a bit of bold colour and pattern and it’ll look amazing! In The Cabin, a bright and warmly lit shower room gives way to a deliciously dark WC. We laid patterned grey tiles from local tile supplier J&R Keys Tiles and wrapped the walls in a beautiful navy blue wallpaper from Matthew Williamson featuring hundreds of softly glinting stars.
A final flurry of finishing touches and we were done! We ensured our guests had privacy by fitting ivory sheers and soft grey curtains on the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the cabin. Sitting areas were softened with cushions, the bookcase was stacked with books, the cupboards filled with boardgames and puzzles, and the basket topped up with firewood for a weekend of lounging, reading, and relaxing by the fire!
It would be remiss of us not to mention the private lake and secluded woodland on the doorstep of The Cabin….not the work of our hands but a real draw of this place! Between coffees and chapters, our guests can pull on their wellie boots and stomp around the trout filled lake and lush woodland featuring native Irish trees and wild critters!
Transforming The Cabin for guests to call home for a few days has been such a joy and privilege! At McMillan Interiors, it’s long been our heart & vision to create HOME…meaning a safe and welcoming place that is comfortable, functional, and full of personality. A place to make cherished memories. Our wish is that The Cabin will be this type of HOME for many guests and visitors over the next months and years.
If you have any enquiries about your own home renovations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. At McMillan Interiors our services include product sourcing – including furniture, hardware, lighting, wallcoverings, soft furnishings and accessories – and fitting. We partner with you to make the design and decorating process as simple as possible. Whether you have a room that needs updating or a whole house renovation, we want to help. Contact us by:
At McMillan Interiors, one of our most beloved and trusted suppliers of luxury homewares is British powerhouse Sanderson. Dating back to 1860, Sanderson have established a reputation for beautiful floral furnishings fabrics and a classic countryside aesthetic. For 160 years they have combined influences of nature, beautifully drawn designs, and state-of-the-art craftsmanship & technology to become one of the most renowned and celebrated names in Home Furnishing. At McMillan Interiors, we have proudly used their products in our 30 years of business.
As purveyors of the natural world it only seems fit that Sanderson would collaborate with The National Trust and release a collection in 2020 titled: ‘A Celebration of the National Trust by Sanderson‘; a beautiful range of fabrics celebrating the values of the National Trust and its commitment to caring for our natural and cultural heritage.
The collection features five classic design themes exploring the National Trust’s purpose and principles using documents from the Sanderson archive to tell a beautiful design story through embroideries, weaves and exquisitely coloured prints. Let’s dive into the collection!
“THE SECRET GARDEN“
“The Secret Garden” features intricate stitchwork and fine prints rendered in delicate watercolours to create an elegant scheme that’s influenced by the flowers and fruits found within the walled gardens of countryside estates. Motifs and designs include hand-drawn espaliered pears, canopies of acorns & leaves, embroidered florals, and berry trees.
“Country House” creates a warm & welcoming feel by taking inspiration from the rich wallpapers, carefully tended formal gardens, and stunning embroideries found within the National Trust’s historic buildings. Motifs and designs include bumbling bees, delicate butterflies and abundant blooms on a ground of sumptuous velvet. Scrolling leaves inspired by wood-carvings and chinoiserie inspired pheasants and flowers give an elegant nod to history.
“The Fens” highlight the beauty and tranquility of Cambridgeshire’s Wicken Fen – the National Trust’s first and oldest nature reserve. Motifs include weaving grasses, wild flowers, and fern leaves, with delicately painted bees, kingfishers and dragonflies finishing the look.
“UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE“
Author Thomas Hardy’s Dorset home inspires this quintessentially English countryside theme; namely the blooming flowers and prolific pollinators found in the gardens. Motifs and designs include stylised fruits and berries in delicate pastel colours, painterly floral trails, and beautifully coloured birds.
“The Lookout” celebrates our world-famous 780 miles of stunning coastline and diverse wildlife within the care of The National Trust by capturing a striking and sophisticated coastal look featuring swooping seabirds and rolling waves. Motifs and designs include crisp abstract patterns and lino cut prints all in a palette of rich indigo, navy and teal interspersed with pops of raspberry.
It’s an elegant yet robust collection of beautifully constructed fabrics and accessible patterns and colours which will bring a touch of the natural world to both the traditional and contemporary home. Sanderson employ a colour palette that is easy to use and easy to pair with existing pieces of furniture, decor and artwork. Furthermore, it’s a collection that works in harmony with previous Sanderson collections – collections we’re proud to stock in our studio library. We would be delighted to guide you through our Sanderson collections to create a scheme for your home that is unique to you, beautiful, functional, and supremely comfortable.
We’d love to know what your favourite theme from the National Trust collection is! Are you more coastal or more cottage garden? Do you love the ethereal beauty of the English Fens or the traditional charm of historic houses?
And do you have a favourite National Trust spot? The UK is rife with stunning stately homes, manicured gardens, lush woodland and a coastline teeming with wildlife….and our National Trust is a true treasure in preserving and protecting these special places.
At McMillan Interiors we love the warmth and richness of the “Country House” theme. It reminds us of one of our favourite local National Trust spots: Castle Ward. Located on the edge of Strangford Lough, it’s an 18th Century Mansion famed for its mix of classical and gothic architectural styles. The surrounding Georgian farmyard is arguably most famous for its role as Winterfell: the seat and ancestral home of the Stark Family in HBO’s Game of Thrones.
The Sanderson Country House theme would look right at home in the Castle Ward Interior. Equally, the collection is versatile enough to work in more contemporary homes; creating a warm and welcome country feel, bringing the outside in through the use of nature-inspired imagery, and giving a subtle nod to history through the use of block-printed chinoiseries and trompe-l’oeil style designs.
For more information on Sanderson collections – whether that’s the 2020 National Trust collection or previous collections – or if you’d like information on other suppliers, designers and brands we’re proud to supply, please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the contact details below. For over thirty years we’ve been partnering with homeowners to make their vision of home a reality and our heart remains the same to this day. We’d love to chat and see how we can best aid and empower you in your choices for your home.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 02825 880012. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!
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.
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 email@example.com. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!
French wallpaper brand Braquenié was founded in 1824 and quickly became renowned for its elegance, quality and beautiful taste. It embodied the very spirit of French classicism and appeared throughout the courts of Europe, in the Louvre, the Vatican and even in the home of Victor Hugo. In 1991, Pierre Frey acquired and integrated the Braquenié brand into its own Design House. The original spirit of the Braquenié brand lives on through shared values of tradition, expertise and excellence with Pierre Frey. Under Pierre Frey, designers and artists dug into over a hundred years of carefully preserved Braquenié archives to unveil beautiful textile designs, carpet samples and watercolour drawings which they reimagined and re-released as fabrics and wallpapers for a contemporary clientele.
While a lot of Design Houses create and release collections at least once a year, Braquenié collections are only released every three to four years. Pierre Frey Jr explains why: “We wait until we have a proper theme and lots of archive documents to launch a strong, powerful collection of fabrics and papers.” Spring 2019 sees the much awaited release of Comptoirs d’Orient, a collection of exquisitely embellished prints, silks, embroideries and epingle velvets based on archive documents from the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection is an ode to exoticism – a major theme in 18th century decorative arts – with use of exotic flowers, pineapples and chinoiseries which captured the imaginations of Europeans seeing these imports for the first time.
Pierre Frey Jr explains that they refreshed the original documents – playing with scale, orientation and bolder colour to retain the timelessness of the designs while injecting it with a freshness for a new market. It’s an extraordinary collection, boasting complex textile embellishment including appliquéing velvet onto linen, then embroidering over it, or printing onto delicate raw silk; feats accomplished utilising the best materials and most skilled hands from all over the world. While Braquenié is synonymous with classic, opulent and traditional interiors, both the fabrics and wallpapers of Comptoirs d’Orient are befitting of traditional and more contemporary settings. The best way to showcase such a collection is to refer to the stylistic work of Anne Pericchi-Draeger who imagined, designed, and styled the collection for the official Braquenié promotional material and dressed the Pierre Frey Parisian Showrooms.
Colours include zingy yellow, earthy umber, soft peach, robust rust, teal and raspberry and yves klein blue in patterns ranging from large scale florals, plaids, small scale scallops, diamond weaves, and designs featuring sweet birds and flamboyant pineapples! Fabulously unique and full of character!
Where the collection really shines is in the unusual pairings and clashings of the patterns and colours together as seen below. For those fierce fearless maximalists among us!
Pierre Frey has long been one of our favourite Design Houses, boasting designs that are quintessentially French. The French largely aren’t preoccupied with following trends or being defined by a style or genre, and are eager to use and mix strong colour, a multitude of patterns and unusual pieces to furnish and dress their spaces. French interiors to us shout joy! fun! elegance! fearlessness!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!