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What is the purpose of your space?

“Plan twice, three times, even four….but only ever build ONCE!”

When planning a room, think about it’s function and usability. Unsurprisingly, this is more important than colours and textures! Establish the function of your room, space and/or building before anything else. Without forward planning, costs can easily spiral out of control and at the end of it, the space may still be unusable.

Henham interior project November '18“I love the chair, I’m buying it!”

Stop! You love the furniture you’ve seen online, in the shop or wherever…have you measured?! It may well be your dream chair (for example), but is it too big or too small or just right?

Too big, and the piece will become overpowering and an eyesore, or too small and it will look out of place, an after thought and not fulfil its initial function.

“We must have an island in our kitchen!”

You have your heart set on having an island in your kitchen, you’ve got visions of the perfect area for socialising and knocking up mouth watering cuisines, just as you’ve seen in the glossy mags. But the designer (or the other half!) has said “NO!” Ahhhh, my worst nightmare!

There may be good reason. Are you able to open the cupboards and move around them? Can you open the dish washer fully and load and unload it? Are you able to cook without being barged into? Can you turn from the oven with a hot dish to the worktop comfortably? There really is so much to consider when designing a space.

Henham interior project November '18

Keep it timeless

Functionality is key, and we chose the kitchen simply because it is the hub of a household. But whatever the space and function, consider time. Will your family grow or are your babies getting ready to fly the nest? Keep your spaces functional, to your taste, yet adaptable for when these inevitable milestones occur.

Why is natural lighting important when choosing a colour scheme?

Natural lighting

Natural light will alter how colours appear. Darker colours absorb more frequencies of light, whilst lighter colours reflect.

The direction in which the room is facing and from where the natural light is coming will have a massive effect on the appearance of colours.

When is the room used?

What time of the day will you be using this room? Does the room get good natural light if it is a day time room? Or will you light it with lamps and lights because you use it during the evening?

What direction does your room face?

South Facing

South facing rooms have the advantage of warm luminous sunlight, while north or east facing rooms can be attributed with the darker blue light. Because of this, the colours from the natural lighting and their wavelengths will bring out different colour pigments from the colour of your designs,  some will reflect whilst some will absorb.

With south facing rooms, the warmth of the natural lighting will bring out both warm and cool colours at their best. Darker colours will look brighter and lighter colours will show their brilliance.

North Facing

North facing rooms with their blue tinge from natural light will allow bold colours to flourish, and give the feel of warmth and relaxation, whilst lighter colours can appear muted. Nonetheless, lighter colours do reflect more natural light, so the colour choice very much depends on what you’re using the room for, and the feel that you’re looking to create.

East & West Facing

East and west facing rooms have the advantage (or disadvantage) of having the bright warm sun of the south and the blues of the north facing sun; obviously, each at opposite ends of the day. Here’s the next dilemma….what time of the day the room is being used the most?

Botanical Wallpaper Samples Design Essentials

What does an Interior Designer do?!

What is their role?

An interior designers role is to liaise and advise their client to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing design for their space. It’s not all as fun as choosing furniture, lighting, swatches and paint colours, the safety is of upmost importance for their client and is always at the forefront of their minds, especially if designing for a “big change”.

What is the process?

After lots of chatting, and getting a real feel for what you want and need, and of course discussing the budget, the behind the scenes research commences! Options, options, options! Then comes the reveal….but let’s not jump the gun! The reveal is still on a mood board, or in the form of samples. Here really is when the fun begins and the design concept can come to life!  

The final “look”

Once you are happy with colours, textures and finishings, it’s time to put it all together! All you have to do is sit back and wait for the final “Wow” factor!

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.