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University is just round the corner!

Where have the years gone?

The years have flown by and now it’s time for your baby to fly the nest for the first time. We say for the first time, because they WILL be back! The transition to University is an exciting time, and often more daunting for the prospective parents than it is for our kids!

Reminiscing….

It only feels like yesterday I packed my life into the back of my little Renault Clio and followed my parents (their car also looking like a knock off removal van!) all the way up to Middlesbrough to start a new chapter to my life.

I’m not sure if I was more shocked that Middlesbrough was the polar opposite of our quaint little Saffron Walden town (and they had “funny” accents) or, that despite my best efforts to unpack the cars, there was no possible way my worldly possessions were ever going to fit into my tiny dorm room – it was most definitely not the Tardis I had hoped for!

Space?! Argh

When space is at a premium, but your “grown up” child feels the need to keep up to date with trends and life demands, parting gifts can be hard to come by. University means a lots of photos, lots of charging, lots of musics and possibly the chance of some studying! Here are just a few items do not compromise on space nor fashion!

Gift Ideas

Music

Speakers for all budgets, whilst being small enough to carry around to communal areas, wireless and with an awesome sound!

IBomb £25Mi Speaker £45

Lights

On the occasion students do study, if past experiences are anything to go by, it’s usually during the middle of the night and sponsored by energy drinks and coffee! Our desk lights can offer differing light intensities, built in speakers and built in wireless phone chargers!

smart book light large walnut part open design essentials gingkoBook light £65

octagon one desk light maple angled on design essentials gingkoOctagon Desk Lamp £65

Koble Arc Desk Lamp Design EssentialsArc Lamp with phone charger £64.99

Koble Puls Speaker Desk Lamp Design EssentialsPuls Lamp with bluetooth speaker £69

Photo Frames

There will be countless nights out and nights in with selfies galore! Let them save some off their memories off of the cloud and in their rooms with our simple and stylish frames.

Kiko Glass Frame Landscape SmallNkuku Frames £14.95-£22.95

 

Win a FREE blow dry!

We love local businesses

Our latest collaboration is with the talented hair queens of Saffron Walden….Penney’s! They tame my mane every week, and now they’re offering you a CUT & BLOW DRY for just £15! (worth £35).

“What’s the catch?”

No catch! All we ask is that come and say “hi” to us at the shop, and check in to Design Essentials on Facebook. What’s even better, is tag 2 friends and they will be in with a chance to win s FREE Blow Dry worth £20! The draw will take place every Friday and is valid until the end of August.

Design Essentials Love To Chat – Victoria Gray

Meet Victoria Gray, our newest designer to be collaborating with us:

What inspires your work?

Nature has always been a huge inspiration for my artwork for many years. In each project I try to focus on different aspects of nature and make each project individual, but nature is always the main inspiration behind each piece. I am inspired by shape, texture and patterns within nature that can be merged together to create new and exciting artwork.

What has been the work you are most proud of?

The piece of work I am most proud of is one of my latest lino prints. The Fern Lino Print captures the shape, texture and stylisation that I like to work in.

Original Unique Botanical Fern Lino Print Victoria_Gray Design Essentials

What is your most important artists’ tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

Not so much now but when I was studying at Uni it had to be my screen printing tools, screen printing was a massive part of my degree!

What’s the best and worst thing about being a designer?

Best: Being able to have the creative freedom and a passion to create and design something

Worst: Sometimes it’s knowing where to start and how to create something others will enjoy too

Just to indulge me, your favourite Take That member?

Not a fan….sorry!

Favourite drink?

Daytime: Strawberry lemonade

Evening: Pink Gin!

Speakers to suit every budget!

Are you looking to splish, splash or splurge on your portable summer speaker?

We have every budget covered, check our the choices we have for you, all available in store or online.

Splurge: Ovo Speaker £125

Splurge on our Ovo speakers. They have both design and functionality, and not forgetting awesome sound quality. The bluetooth speaker is coupled 10 colour modes and a 10 our battery life. The Ovo has also anticipated our UK summer, and is fully splash proof!

Mooni Ovo Speaker Lantern Design Essentials

Splash: Koble Blok £60

Splash on our Koble Blok. With its portability and built in LED lantern, is it perfect for those camping holidays. Charge your Blok before you leave and it will give you a huge 18 hours of battery life! Play your music loud enough and you’ll never lose your tent with its 10m bluetooth range!

Koble Blok Speaker Lamp Design Essentials

Splash: Mi speaker £45

Brand new to 2019, Ginko brings the Mi SPeaker, This little pocket rocket oozes style, but also is made from sustainable materials. It’s fantastic for saving space in the all important hand luggage, but can also be thrown in a handbag and carried to your picnic destination.

MI SQUARE Pocket Speaker Walnut Design Essentials Gingko

Splish: iBomb speaker £25 now £15 

Splish on our iBomb handheld speaker.  Use the voucher below for £10 off. Coming in 5 vibrant colours, there’s a colour for everyone! Not only does this tiny speaker pump out the tunes, but it can also be used as a remote shutter….get your selfie smile ready! Pop this in your beach bag, hand luggage or handbag, the iBomb really is the perfect compact speaker. If you thought it couldn’t get any better, add the code iBomb10  at checkout and receive £10  off each speaker purchased! (valid until  31st Aug 2019)

The Process of Photograms – Victoria Gray

Whilst Studying Textiles: Innovation and Design at Loughborough University I used a lot of my own photography to gain inspiration and develop my understanding of patterns in nature. As a lot of my work was based on silhouettes of nature I decided to take my photography skills further and explore the process of photograms.

A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing the object directly onto photographic paper and then exposing it to light. This results in a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone. Areas of the paper that have received no light remain white where as those exposed for a shorter time appear grey, while fully exposed areas are black in the final print. This makes each and every photogram ever created truly unique and original as all are complete one off designs.

All of my photograms were created by placing aspects of nature under the unit ready to expose to the light. I then used these to create repeat designs which were either screen printed or digitally printed onto wallpaper or fabric. The original photograms have now been framed and for sale, I hope you enjoy my collection!

Victoria x

Design Essentials are specialists in interior design and lighting.

Original Unique Botanical Black Lines Lino Print Victoria Gray Design Essentials

The Process of Lino Printing – Victoria Gray

Specialising in printed textiles at University mainly involved screen printing however I also explored another form of print designs – Lino Printing. As with all my projects, I was inspired by nature, in this case it was a mix between particular leaves and also mark making which explored the patterns and textures found in nature.

Lino printing is a form of printmaking  where lino cutting tools are used to cut into lino. The lino is then inked, a piece of paper placed over it, and then run through a printing press or pressure applied by hand to transfer the ink to the paper which results in a linocut print. The lino prints that I created are all monochrome and one layer designs, all are mounted in black frames and are available to purchase in store or online .

Victoria x

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Meet The Designer – Victoria Gray

Who am I?

Hello! I’m Victoria and I am a recent graduate printed textile designer. I have just finished four years studying Textiles: Innovation and Design at Loughborough University which included a year out in Industry, and therefore also graduated with a Diploma in professional studies. Having the year out to trial different career paths was an amazing opportunity and I managed to gain experience with five separate companies.

What is my background?

I began the year as an Intern at Monsoon Head Office in Notting Hill where I was based in the Home and Licensing department where I was involved in supplier meetings, design development and was lucky enough to have a cushion and a throw I designed put into production and up for sale on the website.

From then I went over to Chelsea Harbour Design Centre and gained client based experience in one of the interior design show rooms – Pierre Frey. Here I dealt with clients on a regular day to day basis and helped interior designers find the correct fabric and wallpaper samples for their schemes. As I was there during September Design Week I was able to sit in on talks and presentations on future design trends, which made me well aware of the upcoming botanical trend.

Halfway through the year I moved over to Marks and Spencer Head Office, based in Paddington and spent time in two different departments. The first was the Home department where I took on the role of Design Assistant. I assisted print designers in creating prints for Autumn Winter 2018 as well as Christmas 2018 and Spring 2019. I learnt lots of new techniques here and developed my skills with Photoshop and InDesign and learnt new skills and ways of putting designs into repeat. As well as this I helped designers and buyers with mood boards, comp shops, re-colouring prints and designed a set of alphabetical tote bags which were put into production and in stores for Christmas 2018. After this I moved departments and spent time in the Womenswear fabric sourcing team. This was a very hands on experience that involved a lot of admin work and supplier meetings.

The final company I completed work experience at was an independent Interior Design Studio in Cambridge – Sara Slade Interiors. This experience was completely different from the rest as it gave me an insight into a independent company as opposed to a bigger brand. As it was such a smaller environment to work in I was able to be more hands on and worked on several residential projects including an entire show home – design and installation, as well as commercial such as a restaurant design. I was also involved in the design of a room-set for Grand Designs Live.

What do I do?

All of the skills and techniques that I learnt over the year helped to enhance my studio practise in my final year of University. As I specialised in printed textiles, screen printing was a huge part of my degree. In order to get imagery to print onto fabric a lot of drawing and mark making was involved. I liked to bring other creative aspects into my studio practise so I focused on lino printing and photography – especially photograms. This brought together a series of photograms and lino prints that I am now happy to share with you. I truly believe that my designs are a true representation of the current botanical trend and the fact that they are all completely original and unique adds to the quality of each design. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Victoria x

Original Unique Botanical Eucalyptus Small Lino Print Victoria Gray Design Essentials Original Unique Botanical Gypsophila Photogram Victoria Gray Design EssentialsOriginal Unique Botanical Fern Lino Print Victoria_Gray Design Essentials

Design Essentials specialises in interior design and lighting. For more information or an informal chat, pop in to our store or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Ice Cream Trend Design Essentials

Ice Cream isn’t just for eating!

Summer is finally here and the sun is shining! Now, take yourself back to a Miami ice cream palour, circa 1950’s; think vanilla, strawberry and a scoop of mint choc chip, and there you have the latest summer trend!

Choosing your palette really is as exciting and as choosing your favourite gelato. Teaming creamy colours with retro floor tiles, and throwing in scallop and semi circular patterns really allows you to make a statement. Or, stay cool this summer and balance the vibrancy with a backdrop of white keeping it fresh and crisp. If its more of a sophisticated gelato parlour look you’re you’re going for, lush velvet with brass fixtures and accessories will really add finesse to your home.

We enjoyed a fantastic day at Walton-On-The-Naze last week and their cafe (photo above) was the epitome of this look….and their ice creams weren’t bad either!

Botanical Wallpaper Samples Design Essentials

Bring the outside in with the latest botanical trends

Bring the outside inside, blur the lines, be as one, and connect with nature

Offering an easy way to reconnect with nature while satisfying our ever-growing desire to go green. The growing botanical trend allows you to use the revitalising shades and materials of the natural world to create a sense of serenity in your home or office.  This trend as time goes on will evolve more to reflect a growing necessity to save the planet. For the moment though as an Interiors trend we are just demonstrating an affordable way that can transform rooms in your home.

Plants, Plant, Plants!

Energise yourself with additions of plants and foliage.  Not only are they easy on the eye, but they also help to reduce stress and of course help reduce pollutants in your home. Oversized house plants can offer a bold statement, team these with clean lines and effortless furniture and you have added an easy feature piece to any room. If, like us, (in particular Wendy) you struggle to keep your plants from turning a darker shade of brown….opt for smaller succulents or fakes. Easy to care for, and with no additional decorating, will add a pop of colour to what otherwise could be a blank canvas.

Get the family involved!

If you’re feeling more of an overhaul for a particular room in your house then wallpaper, wallpaper, wallpaper! Add flourishing green hues to your walls and team with zesty yellows and golds to really feel the summer botanical vibe.  Not one for wallpaper or large statement pieces? Don’t worry, this trend is so versatile, floral and foliage accent cushions or smaller accessories work just as well. Come in and download your ideas on us we are more than happy to give you advise on what could work to get the look you want. In the meantime start to have a bit of fun with it and get the kids involved during the holidays; have them rummage for leaves and petals and pop them in a simple Nkuku frame. Team your treasure’s treasures with a banana paper backing for a beautiful, on trend, keepsake.  You will feel quite proud of the look and it’s always nice that you have a have a story to tell about your lovely Botanical inspired home.

Our botanical shop front

shop front botanics design essentials

 

Botanical Theme Plant Pot Design Essentials Botanical Theme Vases Design EssentialsBotanicals Design Essentials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enter our fabulous Father’s Day Prize Draw

MI SQUARE Pocket Speaker Cherry Design Essentials Gingko

We’re giving away one of these MI SQUARE Gingko Pocket Speakers to celebrate Father’s Day

 

With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday 16th June , we’re giving you the chance to win a fabulous MI Square Gingko Pocket Speaker worth £45. To enter the competition, you’ll need to pop in to our Saffron Walden store before 4pm on Friday 14th to register.

What’s more, we’ve got loads of brilliant ideas for Father’s Day gifts in store which we’d love to show you. We hope to see you soon x