January is a funny month – there’s the post-Christmas lull, the cold, short days, and there’s the long stretch to payday! Most of us would arguably skip straight to March and the first blossoms of Spring. Here’s a confession though…at McMillan Interiors, we kind of love January….it’s an exhilarating month in the design world – there’s the big fabric, furnishings, and furniture showcases like Maison & Objet, Formex and Paris Deco Off, and design houses all around the world are launching new collections of textiles, wall-coverings, furniture, flooring, decorative items and more.
There’s so much juicy inspiration and beautifully crafted products to soak up and get excited about…..because after all, art & design is more than just pretty things; art, design and beauty are integral for human wellbeing. It’s why we stop and enjoy a beautiful sunset; or frame & hang a painting; or feel satisfied after a beautifully made film. This value for beauty lies at the core of our “why” at McMillan Interiors: we believe beauty – and beautiful, well made things in our home create a space that is safe, comfortable, functional, full of story, and that satiates the part of us that longs for beauty.
And so every January, we eagerly await the new collections from our favourite fabric & wallpaper suppliers. January 2021 sees the launch of Momentum 07 Wallpapers, Momentum 13 Upholstery and Momentum 14 Drapery from British powerhouse Harlequin.
Taking inspiration from contrasting architectural structures and the elegance of organic natural forms, it’s a collection that fuses man-made with the natural to create a captivating collection of wall-coverings and textiles for the modern home.
Head Designer Claire Greenfield sums up the aesthetic and story of the collection with the following: “From dusk til dawn we’ve looked at positive and negative spaces; transposing, refracting and shattering. We’ve taken close up elements from layered leaves and flowers to add a softer, painterly aspect that contrasts against strong edges and contemporary geometrics.”
Patterns include abstract leaves, modern ikats, and small & large scale geometrics in a palette of Tobacco, Rosewood, Saffron, Ink and shimmering Bronze. For years homeowners divulged themselves with the on-trend Scandinavian aesthetic featuring a pared back palette of greys, whites and blues, and while elements of the Scandi look are still popular, homeowners have been embracing a bolder and more vibrant colour palette in their homes. The Momentum colour palette has tapped into this trend but has also pushed the boat with its exciting inky, rich, deeply saturated tones and colourways. Let’s take a closer look:
Tobacco & Cobalt
The curtain fabric in the images below captures the reflection of refracted shapes in water while the upholstery and additional scatter cushions bring in contrasting architectural shapes. Momentum upholstery fabrics are beautifully cut plush velvets providing visual lustre and tactile texture.
Ink & Gold
An opulent and classic palette mixing masculine inky tones with the richness of gold; balanced here by soft calico on scatter cushions & walls, and silvery grey upholstery. Patterns here are predominantly geometric, but never severe. The stand out fabric ‘Transverse’ – seen on the curtains below features sharply angular lines supported by inky brush marks creating pockets of shadows. Beautifully balanced and so elegant.
Bronze and Tobacco are new ventures for Harlequin and we foresee these tones gaining traction quickly throughout 2021 and beyond. Moody and full of depth, these tones wrapping around walls (as seen below) add warmth and a luxurious glow. Used on upholstery and scatter cushions, the tobacco and bronze plush velvets provide decadence and richness.
Saffron & Rosewood
Coral and ochre tones have been frequently – and boldly – used in interiors for the last few years. But the sumptuous pairing of these hues in such dramatic fashion creates a truly confident and unforgettable interior. ‘Expose’ fabric – hung as curtains below – depicts translucent, layered leaves; capturing the beauty of light and shade. Supporting players include the bedspread featuring ‘Tessen’ – inspired by iridescent Mother of Pearl and ‘Extensity’ featuring corded appliqué embroidery on a sleek cotton-satin ground.
Truly a collection that will inject saturated colour, smart lines, tactile textures and thoughtful nods to history, architecture and nature into the home. Pair with mid-century modern seating, sleek furniture, adequate streamlined storage (hide the clutter!) and vary your materials and textures to create a layered, rich and sumptuous interior.
Contact us for more information on the Harlequin collection and how to best use it in your home. At McMillan Interiors we’re proud to be an official stockist and supplier of Harlequin fabrics and wallcoverings – and the wider brands under the Sanderson Design Group collective.
For more information on our services & to enquire about how we can partner with you to refresh a couple of rooms or tackle a more comprehensive project, email email@example.com. We’d love to talk!
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Houzz, Instagram and Facebook!
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
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 email@example.com.