So we are back! After a month off, (like grey, we didn’t go away, just having a little lie down) Kate and I have returned for another interior packed series of our podcast, The Great Indoors. The team are delighted to be back and to say a huge thank you to our new sponsors Topps Tiles and our ever fabulous producer Kate Taylor. If you haven’t already, you can listen to the full episode here.
In the first episode, we discuss whether you should invest in the Mid-Century trend, cover the hot topic of the moment, sustainability, and share some great tips on how to update the garden this summer.
We have all seen this trend in one form or another for quite a while now, and it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere just yet! So why has it stood the test of time and why are we (or rather most of us) so enraptured with this style?
To start off with – a brief background for you. The style first took hold roughly in the 1930s up to the mid-1960s, particularly in the US as many of the German designers fled there following the closure of Bauhaus due to the war. Clearly distinguishable by the clean lines, organic streamlined forms, and not an embellishment in sight, the look was all about the form and function rather than the twiddly details.
It could have grown in popularity as many of us who remember our parents’ and grandparents’ homes they were usually furnished with dark, ornate and rather fussy pieces, so the light and airy feel of the mid-century style was a welcome relief and a little bit of a rebellion! However, it hasn’t always been such a favourite as I was lucky enough to pick up six Ercol dining chairs for £40 at a car boot sale back in 2006/7 – something you would not be able to do now!
So in summary, the thoughts are that this trend is here to stay (and should stay) due to its versatility:
Other mid-century designers to check out:
Orla Kiely, orlakiely.com
With the recent increased awareness of disposable fast fashion, it has started to creep into interiors too, with more and more high street fashion brands adding furniture and homeware to their portfolio. Kate looked at this subject in more depth on her blog Mad About the House and in particular the disposable side of things and about how we can get rid of the stuff we have to make room for the stuff we want.
As many of us are, I feel the added pressure of how we can play a part in helping with this huge issue. Following my husband’s mission to make a difference, I watched the War on Plastic on BBC One and was overwhelmed by the huge amount of one-use plastic. So what can we do? We need to start asking questions – in particular, the companies we are buying our furniture and accessories from – what are they using for their packaging? If it’s wrapped in plastic would you still want it?
So going forward Kate is passionate to see people thinking twice about the companies they buy from, whether they have good packaging, a good recycling policy or made from sustainable materials. Kate would love to compile a resource for you on what companies are doing to help you weigh everything up before making that all important purchase. This is obviously going to be quite a task so Kate is enlisting your help for any input on some research you may have already carried out yourself. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and please put #DoLessHarm in the subject field.
Now we finally have some sun, it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors! Kate has a bit of pergola envy as it’s her dream garden addition. She is keeping a close eye on Chelsea of @thehousethatblackbuilt on Insta as she has hers built at the end of her garden – painted black of course. Outside timber painted black makes a fab background for your outside space – just think of all that greenery against it.
Probably the easiest way to update the garden is with furniture and as Kate points out – comfort is key! Although be warned you may not want to move back inside for a while! I haven’t quite got there on the furniture front but for me, I simply drag out the odd rug and my multitude of cushions and hang out in my Morrocan inspired den under the willow tree – bliss!
One of the most impressive things I’ve seen on Instagram is how Hayley Stuart transformed her garden by stencilling her plain grey concrete path and patio. Check out her Instagram feed @iamhayleystuart for more pics of this amazing space and you can see her step by step guide on how she did here.
One thing I spotted on our visit to the lovely Fearne Cotton‘s house was the astroturf or as it’s now referred to – artificial grass. It may not have been on everyone’s wish list but the technology has moved on considerably and there are so many varieties out there – although it can be quite pricey!
Another quick and easy surface solution is the Everscape system by Topps Tiles. The exclusive range features tiles in six colours that mimic different natural stones – they hard wearing and stain resistant and there’s no need to worry about laying a foundation thanks to the clever raised paving system.
Kate decided to feature a cliche this week – so not necessarily a crime but it’s those things that pop up everywhere that have become a cliche!
So first up… the gold pineapple despite both of us owning one in one form or another.
Ikea Stockholm rug (which I have) and Kate’s Dandelion pendant!
The Eames Eiffel chair – a design classic but has been ripped off soooo much.
Please do let us know your design cliches in the comments below and we will be back with episode 2, featuring a tour of interior designer Kelly Hoppen’s home on the 25th July
Compiled and written by Luisa Ferdenzi