10 Ways to use Classic Blue – Pantone’s 2020 Colour of the Year

classic blue colour of the year

Rich, deep and oh-so soothing, blues certainly won't be banished this season. Gabrielle Fagan shows how to add a splash of Classic Blue.

Big up the blues at home this year, if you want to be on trend. Pantone, the global authority on colour, has declared ‘Classic Blue’ its Colour of the Year for 2020, which it describes as a “timeless and enduring hue”, and “elegant in its simplicity”.

This bold but calming deep cobalt ushers in a fresh decade on the colour charts, and you’ll definitely be seeing it everywhere as designers and decor companies rush to get on board with blues.

It’s a complete contrast to last year’s choice – a peachy ‘Living Coral’ – but, in reaction to the turbulent times we’ve been living in, this year’s shade is apparently designed to bring “a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit, offering refuge”.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute, who says the shade is “suggestive of a sky at dusk”, explains: “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith.

“It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

We’ve found 10 ways to give your home a beautiful blue injection, to take it from dull to dazzling in 2020 and beyond…

classic blue colour of the year

1. Splash out on a statement seat

“The popularity of blue is down to its versatility. Blues are easy to live with and simple to pair with other colours,” says Charlie Marshall, founder of furniture company, Loaf. “Plus they don’t really ever go out of style, unlike some bolder, fleeting of-the-moment shades.

“If you want to make a real statement, then a sofa or love seat in a blue fabric will add real wow-factor to a sitting room.”

If you’re baffled by blues and its many hues, Marshall advises checking out blue interiors on Pinterest and Instagram. “It will help inspire you and show you how the colour works,” he adds. “Experiment first, before you invest in a large item, by updating inexpensive, smaller accessories like cushions and throws, or introducing an artwork that features a blue palette.”

classic blue colour of the year

2. Take flight with blue

“Classic Blue is a strong, honest colour that gives you a feeling of being anchored when you look at it,” declares Anna Jacobs, one of many designers inspired by this year’s blue palette.

“There’s nothing frivolous about blue,” she adds. “This timeless colour will outlast through multiple trends. It also makes a fantastic base colour for many colour schemes, as it will support and enhance bright colours, while enlivening neutrals.”

classic blue colour of the year

3. Go grand with majestic blue

Bold decorative designs in rich dark blues will add a touch of grandeur that could turn your home into a little palace. “Although it may be considered a bold choice for walls, Classic Blue is surprisingly versatile,” points out Alex Whitecroft, head of design at I Want Wallpaper.

“It can be styled in many ways to achieve different looks. Deeper shades of blue can look regal, so add a splash of opulence to your living space with a quirky feature wall, such as one papered with a Rasch Portfolio Peacock Print.”

Alternatively, for a contemporary vibe, he advises geometric prints with metallic detailing.

classic blue colour of the year

4. Think blue & take two

Splashing out on the home, particularly after Christmas, may not be on the agenda – but you can easily add a fashionable dash of blue by styling up with a couple of affordable accessories.

Give a sofa a smart, new look with a cosy throw, and invest in that most useful of occasional seats – a plush pouffe.

classic blue colour of the year

5. Dream in blue

Colour blocking is another chic way to introduce Classic Blue while creating visual interest, enthuses Rebecca Snowden, interiors style adviser, Furniture Choice.

“Painting a blue band on the lower half of a wall, and having the upper half ivory or white, is super effective” she says. “Take the colour up to less than half the height of the room and paint the larger proportion in ivory or white. This will make the wall appear higher and is ideal for making smaller, low-ceiling rooms look airy and more spacious.”

Blues are perfect for rocking a coastal vibe, she points out. To channel this look, Snowden suggests pairing the shade with light wood and natural materials like rattan or jute, and completing the effect with sea-inspired artwork.

classic blue colour of the year

6. Feast on blue

A deep blue tone brings a summer vibe to any room, which is calming, relaxing and ideal for an eating area.

Combine fresh white and blue with a pared-back contemporary interior, free of clutter, and let the colour sing in the space.

classic blue colour of the year

7. Transform a tabletop

A successful table setting is one which is a visual feast for the eyes, but doesn’t compete or clash with colourful food, allowing the meal to star.

Serve up delicious shades of cool blue in tableware and contrast with a pure white tablecloth, or for a more rustic feel, display on a richly grained wooden table.

classic blue colour of the year

8. Guarantee a blue skies outlook

Add drama and luxury to a room by dressing windows with new curtains in a deep blue shade, reminiscent of velvety blue skies.

“It’s amazing how blue can transform a home, and a sophisticated, deep, dark blue for curtains and Roman blinds will not only be dramatic and striking but will ramp up a feeling of cossetting comfort,” says Susan White, group marketing director for blinds and shutters specialists, Hillarys.

Their Onyx Magma curtain and Roman blind range, in a blue-toned marble effect print, starts from £276, Hillarys.

classic blue colour of the year

9. Make an open & shut case

“Brightly coloured shutters make for a fantastic alternative to a feature wall,” says Chrissie Harper, customer experience manager at California Shutters.

“Full height or solid shutters work particularly well painted in a bold shade, instantly creating a major statement. Classic Blue is striking but not anchored to a season, so the shade will make your home feel cosy during the colder months but bright and open when days are lighter and longer,” she adds.

The company has a colour-matching service, which gives you the option to match your shutters to your wall so you can achieve an impressive all-over look for a room.

classic blue colour of the year

10. Quick step into blues

Interior designers always plan the floor before the walls, because they know the impact it can have on a space. Carpet or flooring in a deep, rich hue could lead your scheme and make your wall colour choice easy, as it should merely complement the floor.

“Carefully considered flooring is the perfect way to introduce blue in a subtle yet stylish way,” says Anna Del-Molino, buyer at Carpetright.

“Using a deep shade of blue on floors, curtains and walls adds depth and interest to a space. To keep the shade from overwhelming your room, complement with pops of softer colours, such as dusky pink, grey, or rich oranges, and reflect the light with gleaming metallics.”

7 New Homes For Sale Hartley Wintney

Hartley-Wintney-Property-For-Sale-Shapley-Grange-header-image

Shapley Grange is an exclusive development of seven 3 and 4 bedroom homes, built to a high specification by Sunningdale House Deevelopments, on a small site in a prime location less than a mile from the village of Hartley Wintney.

Hartley Wintney high street is full of individual shops, a renowned cricket green, a golf club and a lovely village pond. The thriving town of Reading is about 14 miles away, Wokingham about 11 miles and Basingstoke 10 miles. .

Great Hartley Wintney Location

For the commuter, the closest railway station are Winchfield (1 mile) and Hook (2 miles), providing travel in approximately 50 minutes to London Waterloo.

Motorway access is via the M3 at nearby Hook (j5), and the M4 at Reading (j11). Central London is about 41 miles and Heathrow Airport 32 miles.

For those seeking a quality new home in a sought after location with excellent road and rail access, Shapley Grange is a must to view.

Location-Image-Hartley-Wintney-Property-For-Sale-McCarthy-Holden

Plots two and four, are substantial detached four bedroom houses providing just over 2,100 square feet of living space. Prices start from £980,000.

On the ground floor there is a reception hall, cloakroom, a living room, separate dining room, a study, a splendid kitchen dining family room, and a utility room.

There is also a double garage.

On the first floor there is a landing, a splendid master bedroom with en-suite dressing room and an en-suite bathroom and shower, bedroom two features an en-suite. There are four bedrooms in total plus a family bathroom and two en-suites

Plots one and three, are detached four bedroom houses providing almost 1,900 square feet of living space. Prices start from £880,000.

On the ground floor there is a fine reception hall, a cloakroom, living room, study, a vast kitchen dining family room, and a utility room.

On the first floor there is a landing, a generous master bedroom with an en-suite, and there are four bedrooms in total plus a family bathroom.

Plots five, six and seven, are character terrace houses providing just around 1,000 square feet of living space. Prices start from £470,000.

On the ground floor there is a reception hall, a cloakroom, living dining room, and a splendid kitchen breakfast room.

On the first floor there is a landing, a master bedroom with en-suite dressing room. There are three bedrooms in total plus a family bathroom and an en-suite.

To arrange a site visit and view these wonderful new homes, contact our Hartley Wintney branch on 01252 842100.

Next re-open days for McCarthy Holden after Christmas are Friday 27th and Saturday 28th (both 10-2)

 

Highly Individual Newly Crafted House Conversion £450,000

Plot 1 Castlebridge header image

As the centrepiece of the new T A Fisher Castlebrook development, they have converted the Edwardian and spacious Jolly Miller village pub into four beautiful and very different new homes with all the passion and care they are renowned for.

This lovely building has a wonderful heritage. It was designed by architect Arthur J Steadman, who was commissioned by Alton -based brewery Crowley’s in 1908. So successful was his distinctive design it was replicated in a number of hostelries across north Hampshire. Sadly, although many survive none are today used as pubs.  However, every improvement we’ve made has been in keeping with Arthur’s original vision, the character of this spacious and unique building and its colourful history.

So behind the carefully restored and characterful facade, you’ll discover every conceivable contemporary convenience and the high-quality specification you expect to make the very most of today’s busy lifestyles.

When you deserve something special

If you’re seeking a different two-double bedroomed home with en-suite, integrated wardrobes and so much more, look no further than this stylish conversion.

From its own entrance hall, open plan living/dining room and fully integrated kitchen to the family bathroom and ever-handy downstairs cloakroom, this property has it all.

The living space is greatly enhanced by the French doors from the living room to the rear garden, which really help to bring the great outdoors in.

We think it’s perfect for the downsizers or professional couples who like to entertain and would love a home that’s just that little more special.

floor plans plot one Castlebrook McCarthy Holden estate agency

Take a look at the download brochure to see floor plans and specification.

To arrange to view 5 Castlebrook, and the show house at 6 Castlebrook early in the New Year telephone our Odiham branch on 01256 704851

Next re-open days for McCarthy Holden after Christmas are Friday 27th and Saturday 28th (both 10-2)

Property Lifestyle and Boxing Day Event

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Find out about the next big property event on Boxing Day, an take a look at our Pre-Christmas edition of the magazine In The Country & Town, which sets out to showcase some of the most exquisite homes, as well as deliver engaging editorial content and of course comment on the house market.

In addition to some amazing properties, our editorial features includes Cocktails at Downton, Go Anywhere with Land Rover and the new film release The Aeronauts.

Just click on the image below to open a new tab and view the magazine page by page and indulge in some wonderful online reading.

Click the above image to view the full magazine

There are some fabulous properties being showcased in this magazine, in areas such as The Ridges Finchampstead and the Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water

Also of note is a £1.315m. guided Georgian Farmhouse and a £660,000 guided elegant town house in Winchfield, Hampshire.

Our new homes feature runs from page 32 to page 48, and is full of amazing new homes from diverse and individual developers, with prices from around £450,000 to £1.850m.

It’s been nearly five years since The Theory Of Everything co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones appeared on screen together – and now they’re teaming up once again for biographical adventure, The Aeronauts.

The epic – directed by Tom Harper and co-written by Harper and Jack Thorne – tells the tale of two high-flying balloonists, pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher and daredevil pilot Amelia Wren, united in a record-breaking voyage in Victorian England. And nothing says ‘reunion’ quite like filming 70% of your scenes in a confined basket, reveals the British duo.

The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book celebrates this sumptuous costume drama and golden age of mixed drinks.

As fans of Downton will know, the Crawleys’ love of cocktails is well storied. But it wasn’t until season two and three – when Robert asks his mother, Violet: “Can I tempt you to one of these new cocktails?” – that the family adopts the 1920s American customs of an aperitif before dinner, and hosting cocktail parties at home. Now, the Downton Abbey Cocktail Book means viewers can recreate these tipples at their own soirees.

Embracing the adventurous spirit that has defined the Discovery family for the past 30 years, the new Discovery Sport is a striking evolution of the original that does not compromise capability……. new electrified engines include a 48-volt mild hybrid from launch to help reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

If you are planning a house sale or let and would like your property showcased in the New Year edition of In The Country & Town, contact your nearest McCarthy Holden branch and ask for details.

The Next Big Property Event - Boxing Day

Boxing Day property event McCarthy Holden estate agents

Boxing Day – The Perfect Time To Put a House Up For Sale!

According to Rightmove there is a massive spike in online buyer search traffic, between Boxing Day and early January, suggesting an uplift in house buyer searches online on Boxing Day. This is why McCarthy Holden are offering a special incentive to join the next big event in property, the Boxing Day Go Event.

During November and December all a would-be house seller has to do is instruct McCarthy Holden to offer their property for sale from Boxing Day.

You can indulge in all of the traditional Boxing Day activities, happy in the knowledge that house buyers are tapping on mobile devices searching for the right property and, who knows, your house could be top of their list for viewing in the New Year.

Many of our clients have already asked to go live on the Boxing Day Go property launch, so if you are contemplating a house move in 2020 then go to our home page and click on valuation, for a free property appraisal and discover the benefits of being part of the no sale no fee and no obligation Boxing Day Go property event.

Full Time Career Opportunities In Estate Agency

career icon photo at mccarthy holden

Start a new career as a property negotiator / property consultant in 2020, by joining McCarthy Holden at either their Fleet or Hartley Wintney branches in Hampshire.

Positions are available at both of these branches, for either individuals already working in estate agency as an experienced negotiator, or for individuals who are currently in a career sector such as the service industry.

If you are an estate agency negotiation with around two years experience we would welcome the opportunity to meet you and explore the career opportunities at McCarthy Holden. We find negotiators who join us with this kind of experience stay with us, many now for 10 to 20 years so we hope this indicates that the real skill of negotiating is something that is highly valued, as opposed to relying on algorithms and online property portals.

For those of you not currently working in estate agency, the refreshing news is that some of our most successful property consultants moved from careers such in the hospitality, retail and wider services business sectors. A couple of examples are shown below.

Victoria at McCarthy Holden estate agents
Victoria - Fleet branch

Victoria joined McCarthy Holden in 2010, when she left a career in the hospitality industry. She has forged a very successful career at McCarthy Holden and is highly respected by customers and colleagues alike.

Matthew at McCarthy Holden estate agents
Matthew - Fleet branch

Matthew left British Rail in 2015, to pursue a negotiating and client management career at McCarthy Holden. His career in estate agency is now firmly established and just like Victoria he is much respected by customers and colleagues.

We are looking for people with a healthy work ethic, who in return for high property sales performance will bring high salary rewards, and yes there are long working days, with frequent out of hours needs of customers to be dealth with.

At McCarthy Holden we won’t crush your spirit with targets for selling financial services, but instead allow you to care for obtaining the best possible price for our vendors by applying negotiating skills and following though with managing the sale process from start to finish.

Every day will be varied and different, but one thing that will not change is our desire to deliver our services with traditional values of trust, honesty and respect for our customers and colleagues. These values are very important, so only candidates that who can truly deliver on these essential traits should apply.

Excellent communications skills are essential.

Because we are looking for both experiences and career change candidates, the salary / rewards scales are varied so please apply in the knowledge that we aim to match or exceed the market levels in the area of salary rewards.

email sholden@mccarthyholden.co.uk with your cv to apply

Saturday Job Opportunity In Estate Agency

Hartley Wintney Cricket Green McCarthy Holden estate agents

Working in your local community is such a rewarding job, and Saturday work at McCarthy Holden results in a part time job that provides a great mix of meeting customers in the branch and viewings at properties, so the day is varied.

We have several part time positions at both our Hartley Wintney and Odiham branches, so if you are looking for a part time Saturday cover career as a property negotiator in 2020 then please get in touch.

At McCarthy Holden we care for obtaining the best possible price for our vendors by applying negotiating skills as opposed to relying on algorithms and online property portals, so excellent communication skills are essential.

Every day will be varied and different, but one thing that will not change is our desire to deliver our services with traditional values of trust, honesty and respect for our customers and colleagues. These values are very important, so only candidates that who can truly deliver on these essential traits should apply.

Hours are 9am to 6.00pm Saturdays.

email sholden@mccarthyholden.co.uk with your cv to apply.

Hartley Wintney hight street mccarthy holden estate agents
Saturday Job vacancy Hartley Wintney - photo by johnjoe.co.uk copyright
Odiham hight street mccarthy holden estate agents
Saturday Job vacancy Odiham - photo by johnjoe.co.uk copyright

How to Work Colour in your Home – According to the Interior Design Addicts behind Rockett St George

Rockett st George book

The duo behind destination decor brand Rockett St George have delved into colour in their new book. Gabrielle Fagan takes a look.

Rockett st George book

Colour has well and truly invaded our homes. In fact, no interiors scheme is complete these days without at least a dash of a punchy shade!

That might sound pretty scary, though, if you’re still clinging to neutrals and quaking at the thought of plunging into the dizzy array of colours on offer.

Step forward self-confessed colour-addicts Lucy St George and Jane Rockett, the duo behind chic interiors destination, Rockett St George. They’re on a mission to help us transform our homes with a host of hues, and reveal their secrets and personal inspirations in their new book, Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors In Colour.

Rockett st George book

Colour is emotional, says the pair – “Think peaceful pastels, and sexy reds, creative greens and happy yellows” – and it’s important to consider the meaning of colour and how it affects your emotions, if you want to create a home that feels right for you and harbours the right mood.

Rockett and St George visited homes around the world bursting with bright, bold and brilliant ideas, and looked at the colour rules – and how to break them! – for conjuring successful schemes.

Check out their guide to four of the most fashionable shades for rooms…

Rockett st George book

Let the sunshine in

“A splash of yellow will catch the eye, set the heart racing and make you smile”, declare the pair. “Yellow’s associated with feelings of joy, optimism, happiness and warmth. It can lift your spirits like a sudden ray of sunshine and is believed to promote clear thinking and quick decision-making.”

Their own favourite shade on the yellow spectrum is mustard, which they describe as “an earthy hue that’s both sophisticated and a wonderful way to inject an uplifting spirit into your home”.

Work the colour: Black can make a perfect neutral backdrop for strong colours like yellow or orange. “It makes them pop and allows furniture, textiles and artwork to shine through and become the stars of the show,” they explain.

If bold sunny shades seem too vibrant and make you want to reach for your sunglasses, consider opting for more subtle sandy-yellow shades as an alternative to creams.

Considering the effect of light on colour is also key, they caution. For instance, a cool-toned lemon yellow can feel hard and unwelcoming in the colder light of a north-facing room, making it more suitable for south-facing rooms.

Lighten the mood with a flash of yellow

Yellow accessories pack a punch, and Rockett and St George note how a yellow chair or piece of art “brings energy to a room without overwhelming it”.

Rockett st George book

Seduce with pink

Pinks are enjoying huge popularity in decor right now – particularly the soft, pale tones. “The gentler shades of pink encourage calmness and love, while stronger shades, such as hot pink, go hand in hand with feelings of joyfulness and creativity,” enthuse the duo.

Our passion for pink is nothing new, they point out, as the shade has been a constant favourite as a decorative choice throughout the decades, from ice-cream pastel pinks in the Fifties, to the hot pinks of the Eighties.

Rockett and St George took inspiration from earthy pinks characteristic of Moroccan homes for the pink shades in their paint collection for Craig & Rose. Their nude/pink shades include Broderie, Gladstone Grey and Bohemia (Chalky Emulsion Paint, £35 for 2.5L).

Work the colour: For living rooms and bedrooms, the duo recommend “nude and pale pinks with warm undertones to make you feel nurtured and safe”. Work or studio spaces, meanwhile, are the perfect place to experiment with “brighter pinks, which are flamboyant and expressive, ideal for creating impact”.

Sizzle with pops of pink

Declare your passion for the colour with the prettiest pink pieces that will take you from hot to blushing…

Rockett st George book

Go green and gorgeous

“Green is fabulously versatile. Whether you prefer soft sage, rich emerald or deep forest green, this crowd-pleaser of a colour can be adapted to suit just about any style of interior,” the decor-lovers declare.

Green is said to evoke feelings of balance, tranquillity and renewal, and studies have shown that it’s the most restful colour for the human eye. It’s totally synonymous with the ‘green’ movement and eco initiatives that are on the rise right now too.

Work the colour: Dark greens work wonders in living rooms and bedrooms, or anywhere else in the home where you want to relax and have “a little respite”, advise the colour gurus. “Brighter punchier greens are perfect for energising a busy area such as the kitchen or hallway,” they also suggest. “Green accents in the shape of plants or cacti will bring your decor to life and – added bonus – act as a natural air-refresher for the home.”

Bring on the balance with a touch of green

Green accessories can add a sophisticated touch and enhance those soothing vibes…

Rockett st George book

Dive into blue

“Blue is the coolest of all the colours in the spectrum and conjures up feelings of reliability and stability,” says Rockett. “Due to its associations with nature – think of clear summer skies and turquoise ocean – blue can also inspire feelings of serenity and contentment.”

Blue, she points out, is a stress-busting colour with a masculine edge (a recent study found that 42% of men chose blue as their favourite colour), but that doesn’t mean blue is just for boys, of course!

Work the colour: Bold blues, the pair suggest, particularly suit home offices, children’s playrooms, hallways and bathrooms. Darker blues project a sense of sophistication and tranquillity, and can work as the perfect backdrop for art collections and decorative displays.

Splash out on blue details

Give your space a stress-busting edge with one or two blue buys…

Extracted from Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors In Colour by Jane Rockett and Lucy St George, photography by Catherine Gratwicke, published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99. Available now.

5 Things to Consider if You’re Thinking of Relocating for Work

relocating for work

From hidden costs to settling into a new community, there's lots to think about, says Vicky Shaw.

Would you up sticks and move away from your area if you were offered better career prospects or a bigger salary? The dilemma of whether to relocate for work or stay put can be tricky to answer – particularly for those who already have strong ties with their local community.

Among employees who have never relocated, 59% of men and 65% of women say the desire to stay near family is the primary reason they’ve stayed put, according to a new survey by jobs website Indeed.co.uk.

On the one hand, there may be the chance of new opportunities opening up, the chance of a pay-boost and better living standards. But on the other, families also need to weigh up how other members of the household may settle into a new life – and how this may also have an impact on the household budget.

Here are some factors you may want to consider when weighing up whether it’s worth relocating for work or not…

relocating for work

1. Can you afford the moving costs?

The cost of moving home can quickly add up to thousands of pounds.

According to research from Lloyds Bank, home movers across the UK may typically need to budget around £12,000 just to cover moving costs.

If you plan to buy a new home, there are expenses to consider such as stamp duty, or in Scotland the land and buildings transaction tax, or in Wales the land transaction tax. There are also estate agent and legal fees to consider, as well as the cost of a removal firm. And if you’re renting, you may need to consider pulling together a bigger deposit.

2. Can you afford the house prices or rents in the area you are thinking of moving to?

You may be getting a pay rise if you relocate, but consider whether this will be swallowed up by a higher mortgage or rental bill every month. If you’re moving to a bigger town or city, the housing costs may be higher if there is stronger demand for properties in these areas.

It may be possible to find cheaper accommodation by finding somewhere to live slightly further afield, but in popular commuting towns property prices may also be high, and the cost of your journey into work could also be higher.

3. What about schools and childcare costs?

Childcare costs can vary hugely depending on where you live. And if you’re currently close to grandparents who are currently helping out with unpaid childcare, the expenses could increase quite dramatically by moving far away. If you or your partner will be getting a bigger salary by moving, the extra childcare costs may be balanced out.

Also bear in mind that house prices in locations near popular and highly-rated schools can often be significantly higher than those in their surrounding areas. For example, recent research from audit firm PwC found that houses within the catchments of the top 10% of England’s primary schools can cost around £27,000 more than those in the wider postcode districts.

relocating for work

4. Will your employer provide you with a relocation package?

Whether it’s your existing employer who is asking you to relocate, or you’re considering going to a new company, you may be able to negotiate a relocation package, particularly if the firm thinks it may help sway your decision in favour of moving.

Ask the company’s HR department whether they can help with expenses such as moving costs, transport and any temporary accommodation you may need.

5. Is working remotely an option?

New technology means it’s easier for many people to work from home at least some of the time now, although this will very much depend on what your job involves.

It may also be possible to stay living where you are but have a longer commute to work. Three-fifths (60%) of men and 59% of women say they are willing to travel for 30-60 minutes to work, if it meant they could avoid relocating, Indeed’s survey also found. But when it came to longer journey times, men were around a third more likely than women to say they would commute for 60-120 minutes in order to avoid relocating.

Want to Turn your Home into a Botanical Bolthole? Here’s how 3 Plant Experts Transformed a Hotel

botanical hotel into your home

As the UK's first 'jungle hotel suites' are opened, Hannah Stephenson finds out how to turn your own living spaces into leafy havens.

Three designers have come together to show how people can create a horticultural haven in their homes, using tropical flora and fauna.

Award-winning biophilic designer and architect Oliver Heath, This Morning’s ‘Mr Plant Geek’ Michael Perry and Nik Southern, creative designer and founder of innovative plant and florist shop Grace & Thorn, have transformed three hotel suites into urban jungles where guests can stay, in an initiative from the The Joy Of Plants (thejoyofplants.co.uk) and Leman Locke hotel in London.

The buzzword is ‘biophilia’ – the technique of incorporating plants and other natural elements in our homes to reconnect with nature. Each of the suites has been adorned with carefully selected houseplants to help boost productivity, ignite passion, and bring peace and tranquillity.

So, what can we do to create our own biophilic design at home?

botanical hotel into your home

Perk up your productive space

Heath has created a productivity suite adorned with Boston ferns, peace lilies and snake plants – all renowned for their productivity-inducing properties.

Feathery-leaved Boston ferns create a natural jungle look and inject instant energy with their powerful air-purifying properties, while snake plants, native to tropical West Africa, produce sword-like foliage bringing a raw edginess to any environment.

Their distinctive leaves are said to provide protective energies to shield negative Chi, while they also have air-purifying properties. Studies have found they can also help remove toxins such as formaldehyde from the environment.

Heath says: “Research suggests that a combination of sheltered spaces, access to nature and species-rich spaces will create the most restorative environment for a stressed individual, so the tucked-away sofa with a lot of plant fringing is the perfect opportunity for relaxation. Boston ferns and dwarf mountain palms introduce lots of natural movement, which has been shown to help us relax and restore focus.”

botanical hotel into your home

Create a cascading canopy in the bedroom

Southern has created a botanical canopy over the bed, in a heady romantic respite. Imagine enjoying the intimacy that will cocoon you and your partner in a lush green blend of cascading plants.

Signature bedroom plants she uses include Anthurium ‘Black Love’ (Anthurium hybrid), a black-to-dark chocolate-flowering variety which is low-maintenance, and Epipremnum ‘Marble Queen’, an easy-care variety with green and white marbled trailing foliage which creates a romantic vibe.

Southern says: “It might seem ambitious to create a canopy in your own home but there are plenty of hacks to make something similar. You could hang a traditional pulley clothes airer to the ceiling and attach plants with vines such as devil’s ivy and strings of hearts to create a dramatic canopy. Make sure you choose the right planters that will prevent water leaking below.”

Alternatively, create a living love seat in her design in your sofa area, using banana plants and rubber tree plants to create a cosy, intimate area in an open-plan room, she suggests.

botanical hotel into your home

Escape to your urban jungle spa room

Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, has packed his suite with tropical plants, creating an oasis of calm in the city, showing that people can enjoy a forest-bathing experience at home.

His design features houseplants such as bromeliads and a variety of monsteras (Swiss cheese plant), from deliciosa to obliqua, while in the bathroom there’s a dedicated plant meditation space and a clean sleep zone containing the world’s most air-purifying plants.

He says to create a spa room, ideally you want to have the feeling of being completely surrounded by plants. Calming ferns, helxine and fittonia offer jungle vibes while bromeliads punctuate the setting with colour.

Perry says: “Suction pots allow you to easily hang plants from wall surfaces, without creating any fixings and are incredibly versatile. Bromeliads are used to rainforest conditions and thrive in bathroom environments – a quick spritz of water every few days is all the moisture they need.”

He also advises using ferns in low light level rooms but avoid using succulents and cacti in spa rooms, as they prefer a drier environment.

And don’t forget that any potted plants will need drainage, so put in a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot and keep a check on watering.

The indoor plant jungle hotel will be open for bookings until November 10, 2019. To book your stay, email thejoyofplants@lockeliving.com.

botanical hotel into your home

Ask an Expert: How do I Teach my Child the Value of Money?

teaching children value of money

Psychologist and expert Erik Bohjort outlines the best ways for parents to simply explain financial matters to young children.

My nine-year-old son doesn’t understand the value of money. How can I help him grasp the basics of financial matters – or should it be the school that teaches him?

teaching children value of money

Psychologist Erik Bohjort, head of research at the pocket money and chores app Gimi (gimitheapp.com), says: “Schools often don’t teach children about money in a way that’s needed to thrive in today’s society. In our increasingly cashless society, and with pocket money becoming more unpopular, children are often being left out, having not had good money habits instilled at a young age.

“I believe it’s imperative that children grasp the concept of money as early as possible, it’s helping them to become financially independent as they move into adulthood. No matter how old your child is, instilling the concept of earning, saving, and managing money is vital.

“According to a Cambridge University study, children as young as seven have a general understanding of finances and money. The study also showed that even three-year-olds can grasp basic financial concepts, and yet one in four teenagers are unable to make even simple decisions on everyday spending.

“Nine-year-olds are starting to reach an age where their numeracy skills support new and valuable activities. You can even practise these skills together, for instance, you can try to give them regular pocket money, big enough to cover basic wants, but small enough to encourage them to prioritise and save. This can be done with real money or with digital piggy banks.

“Involve them in everyday money management activities, like planning what to buy at the supermarket , show how you calculate the spending or even build a general understanding of household bills. Encouraging children to make decisions about a specific amount of money is a great way to learn about the value of money.

“Giving children activities or day-to-day tasks is not only much more enjoyable for a child, but it helps them become confident about making their own decisions, whether that be about savings, interest rates, or allowances. Start with planning an activity together and then define a budget, for example, £20, and discuss how you’d like to use the money while taking into account what’s affordable. Then, research what you’ll choose to buy, and work out which items may be better to buy (are there any offers available?). Make sure you save all receipts, and then evaluate if you managed to stay within, or broke, your budget.

“Give children a chore, such as emptying the dishwasher. Once completed, parents can reward them with pocket money. This will help them get an understanding of earning money, through positive reinforcement.

“Today, many children learn about money management from their virtual realities, such as playing games with virtual currencies. Remember that gaming can often be a source where they get to practise earning, spending and saving.”

JAY RAYNER: ‘The Best Foods Operate as a Time Machine’

jay rayner

The restaurant critic discusses memory, food and Dairylea with Ella Walker, on the release of his latest book.

“People have this image of me, face down in whatever’s available,” explains restaurant critic and MasterChef judge Jay Rayner, somewhat irked.

He admits that, to an extent, he does play up to that assumption, but beneath all the fork-wielding bravado, he is trying to impart that food “really isn’t just about how things taste. It goes into every part of our lives; it’s about politics and the environment, sex, relationships, family, and history – you can investigate the world through what’s on your plate.”

So accuse him of just stuffing his face for a living and he’ll tell you, “You don’t understand – it’s a subject as deep as the ocean”.

His new memoir-menu hybrid, My Last Supper: One Meal, A Lifetime In The Making, deep-dives into the bit of culinary ocean associated with him; 53-year-old, London born and bred Jay Rayner, father-of-two, radio presenter, jazz pianist, and garlic butter-drenched snails fanatic.

And yet it also asks a very fundamental question of us all: Imagine you’re on death row, what would your final meal be? It’s a question that’s been levelled an absurd number of times at Rayner, yet his usual quip (“I’d have lost my appetite”) doesn’t quite capture what’s really going on.

jay rayner

“What you’re really being asked is, ‘If there were no consequences, if nobody was watching, if you didn’t have to hate yourself in the morning, what would you have?'” he explains. “That struck me as interesting, because actually what you’re talking about is the foods that matter to you, that make you who you are.

“It’s about memory. The foods we love are not just to do with flavour and aesthetics, they’re to do with when you first tasted them and why, and what mood you were in.”

He recalls a tweet someone sent him about their own last meal: “[He wrote] ‘I’d go and knock on the door of what was my gran’s house, and ask if I could sit on the back step and eat a Dairylea triangle’.

“I thought, ‘Oh bless you, that’s absolutely lovely’ – now, is Dairylea the finest cheese in the world? No, but for that person, do they remind him of somebody he loved and who loved him, and loss, and all of that? Yes, they absolutely do, and in a way, the best foods operate as a time machine.”

My Last Supper tracks Rayner as he defines, and then serves, his own last meal – featuring those garlicky snails, as well as oysters and chips (his top five ‘fried-potato experiences are suitably ranked’) – while he is “still in a good enough state to enjoy it”. He takes stock of his life as he goes.

It is by turns exposing (“quite literally so,” he says of an instant in a brothel that turned into a bath-based interview), indulgent, envy-inducing, peppered with recipes, and unexpected – for him as well as the reader.

jay rayner

For instance, the chapter on alcohol and his “appalling booze choices over the years” (Thunderbird made it into his final dinner, not that we’re judging) “was actually about my control issues” he says, while to the consternation of many – particularly his younger son – salad features in what you’d think would be a wholly decadent dinner.

“I realise it’s because it reminds me of who I am,” says Rayner sincerely. “I love having salad at the end of a meal, and also it’s about self-care – which is a term I only came to understand very recently. It’s how you look after yourself, you’ve only got one body and all that sort of stuff.” And yes, you can find him in the gym quite regularly.

When asked what he learned about himself writing the book he pauses, then says, without bitterness or malice, that what “did strike me was that drama and adventure slightly comes to an end when children arrive”.

“I suppose that makes absolute sense,” he says, noting his sons are now 20 and 15. “The first 25 years of my life I did some outrageous things.”

“You need to embrace that period of your life when you are freer,” he adds. “I’m not always sure I did embrace it with enough commitment.”

jay rayner

He mentions his regret over not going to Berlin to witness the fall of the Berlin Wall, “because I was 23 and an important freelance journalist with too many deadlines – for god’s sake!” he says, laughing at himself with a certain amount of despair. “I was quite grandiose as a young man.”

Throughout the book he is frank, both in his recollections and his assessment of his life and tastes. (“The very least you owe the reader is to be honest and to be open.”)

“This is my last supper, it’s not anyone else’s,” he says, to the point of bluntness. “This is not a menu recommendation, and certainly, the last supper menu that comes out of it – please, don’t try this at home kids! It’s an insane meal in many ways, but that’s because it’s mine, it’s made up of my stories and my passions.”

So whatever your own ‘last meal’ might be (and whether or not it would include Dairylea), remember says Rayner: “It’s all so emotional, it’s about neighbourhoods, it’s about the people who feed you, it’s about memory.”

My Last Supper: One Meal, A Lifetime In The Making by Jay Rayner is published by Guardian Faber, priced £16.99. Available now. Visit jayrayner.co.uk/live-shows for My Last Supper live show details.

As Grand Designs Turns 20 Kevin McCloud Shares his Favouite Simple Builds

grand design favourite builds

From an underground bolthole in Peckham, to an eco-build on the Isle of Skye, Luke Rix-Standing discovers them all.

Television isn’t famous for job security, unless, that is, your name is Kevin McCloud. The veteran presenter has fronted Channel 4 property programme Grand Designs since its inception in 1999, and he has no intention of quitting anytime soon. “It’s become me,” he says, “I don’t even question it.”

In 20 years, McCloud has seen plenty of structural success stories, but also his fair share of domestic duds. “The real horror shows are the ones that never make it to the screen,” he says, “out of the 200 or so projects we’ve filmed, there have been maybe eight or 10 that we’ve had to abandon after one day of filming, after investing so much time and money.”

With more projects under his belt than most architects, McCloud knows a thing or two, because he’s seen a thing or two. “People fall down because they fail to prepare,” he says. “The design, the detail, the fine drawing – all that stuff needs to be done before it touches the sides.

To celebrate two decades of Grand Designs, here’s McCloud’s favourite simple builds from his time on the show…

grand design favourite builds

Lucie Fairweather – Suffolk, Season 10

Lucie and her partner Nat McBride bought this plot in Woodbridge in 2006, and were granted planning permission in 2007. Nat was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a year later, but Lucie saw through their shared vision of building a house that was as aesthetically attractive as it was environmentally sustainable.

Kevin says: “I’m really fond of these small, inexpensive projects – they’re more important as Grand Designs, than the big, show-off things people often think of. It’s here that the innovation happens, when people push with small budgets to deliver great experiences.”

“Lucie’s was just fantastic. It was a wonderful story about redemption, and about her taking her late husband’s vision and building a house for her small children. It was tinged with tragedy and sadness, but also with the tremendous friendship of Jerry Tate, a great friend of her and her husband’s. He not only designed the home for her, but held her hand through the whole process.

“It was an exemplary, three bedroom suburban home, but Lucie is a primary school teacher and she didn’t have a lot of money. The takeaway is that it’s not about buying stuff – if she can do it, anyone can.”

grand design favourite builds

Rebecca and Indi Waterstone – Isle of Skye, Season 12

An ultra energy-efficient, 90 sqm home of the Hebridean island of Skye, residents Rebecca and Indi pay just £50 a year in bills, despite the exposed location and the bitter winters. An exceptionally well-organised project, it took them 10 years to fund and just nine months to build.

Kevin says: “I loved this project for a lot of reasons. The Isle of Skye is just beautiful, and when we filmed it, the island was basking in sunshine while the rest of the country spent a summer in the rain. I could drink whiskey, have fantastic food, and see fantastic wildlife – whales, sea eagles, skuas…

“In the midst of it all was this tiny little jewel – an example of how to be sensitive to beautiful landscape, but contemporary as well. It goes to show that if you go somewhere and invest in it – build a house, live there, and make a contribution to the local economy – people respect you for it.

“The Isle of Skye is full of holiday lets owned by people that don’t live there, but Indi and Rebecca moved to live there all year round. Objections to their planning application were from people that didn’t live there, who wanted the place to remain populated by picturesque crofters’ cottages. Anyone who lived on the island loved what they were trying to do.”

grand design favourite builds

Monty Ravenscroft – Peckham, Season 5

A £220,000 home in South London with a sub-subterranean floor, this inventive build features a 10 sqm retractable glass roof, an LED light fitting that doubles as a shower, and a bed that slides away, revealing a bath. Construction wasn’t quick, but planning permission took two and a half years.

Kevin says: “Monty’s an actor and musician, so he’s a bit of a Renaissance man, and he built this very cheap house in South London for himself and his wife Claire. It was a long time ago now – during filming Claire was expecting a baby who’s now a young man.

“It’s a great project about one guy experimenting with all the ideas he’s ever had, with so much excitement. Monty was such a bundle of energy and so lovely to be around. He collaborated with an architect called Richard Paxton, himself a great inventor and a very inspirational man. He sadly passed away, so whenever I think about Monty’s project, I think about him.

“It’s a highly personal project for me, and it demonstrated that you don’t need much money. You need a bit of guts and an inventive mind, and if you haven’t got an inventive mind, find a mate who has. It’s not about reaching for the chequebook to solve a problem, it’s about reaching for the pencil and figuring problems out.”

grand design favourite builds

Theo and Elaine Leijser – Stirling, Season 6

A cedar-clad home in central Scotland overlooking the picturesque Campsie Fells, Theo and Elaine used clever design to funnel all the views from their house onto the fells, and away from a nearby main road.

Kevin says: “This project was all about delivering the experience of big, expensive architecture at a small scale. It was a beautiful, quick-to-put-up little box built onto a hill, and it had this amazing gallery above the ground floor.

“Whenever you were at the front of the house, you saw this fantastic arrangement of landscape and nature, because of the way the building was organised. It had this lovely little corridor from the kitchen that was low, narrow and compressed, and then suddenly the living room released you.

“It comes back to that point about shopping – it’s to do with the building organising your life and your daily activities in a way that brings you joy.”

Kevin McCloud will be appearing at Grand Designs Live at The NEC, from October 9-13, 2019. For more information and tickets visit www.granddesignslive.com

Preview New Homes For Sale Near Odiham

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7
castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

The T A Fisher new homes in North Warnborough will be previewed for the first time on Saturday 5th October, so if you are in the market for a new home around £500,000 then take a look at the quality build available at their Castlebrook site.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

We have been impressed with many aspects of the T A Fisher new homes, and we were most impressed with the architectural detail of the terraced properties plots 5, 6 and 7. Some of the eye catching features are shown above – 1. Distinctive plinth brick course. 2. The soldier course brick detail to window surround 3. The elegant front doors 4. The substantial porch 4. The wealth of attractive tile hanging to the front and side elevations.

Such attention to detail and styling is to be applauded.

The video clip below was taken a couple of days ago  at plot 5, and even though the house is still in the construction stage you can really appreciate the space and generous rear garden.

The above video clip showcases the vast master bedroom at plot 5, which features an en-suite dressing and shower. In addition the views over the rear gardens at plots 5 to 7 are noteworthy.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

There are only 11 homes being built at Castlebrook, and to arrange to see the show house at the preview event on 5th October, please telephone 01256 704851.

castlebrook-new homes-mccarthy-holden-estate-agents-plots-5-to-7

Got a Garden for the First Time? 9 of the Easiest Things Beginners Should Start With

beginners gardening tips

BBC Gardeners' World presenter Mark Lane shares advice for gardening newbies to live by. By Lauren Taylor.

If you’ve never had a garden before, it’s a real revelation when you finally move into somewhere with a patch of grass to call your own – space to potter around in, barbecues in the summer and drinks in the fading evening light.

But for people who’ve never so much as bought a pair of garden gloves and pulled a weed out, suddenly having to care for and nurture a garden year-round can be daunting.

So before the autumn threatens to dump an additional leaf problem on your garden, here are some of the simplest ways you can take control of your new patch of land – and engage in a spot of therapeutic outdoor activity.

BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Mark Lane shares his advice for newbies…

beginners gardening tips

1. Don’t do anything right away

Lane says: “Wait and see where the sun rises and sets, where the shade lies, where the wind blows, and if you are moving into an established garden, what plants come up before you change anything.”

2. Check your soil

The key to a blooming garden is a healthy soil, so what are the signs that it’s unhealthy? “If it looks light in colour and full of sand and is lightweight, or heavy and full of clay,” Lane says. “Check to see if your soil is full of worms. If so, then it’s probably teaming with life, which is a good thing.”

But the easiest thing to do is buy a pH soil tester at your local garden centre. “This will establish whether your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline, to work out which plants will thrive. Magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias all prefer slightly acidic soils,” says Lane. “Garden centres will usually signpost which plants like which soils to make buying easy.”

beginners gardening tips

3. Know when to mow

Looking out onto a neat, luscious green lawn is probably probably one of the reasons you wanted a garden in the first place, so how do you get it looking tip-top? Well, how often you mow will depend on the time of year and the weather.

“If in doubt, mow once a week during spring and autumn, and twice weekly during summer – although once a week from spring to autumn may suffice. Mowing is not necessary during winter, especially not if the ground is frozen,” says Lane. “Aim to cut no more than a third of the leaf blade, and don’t set the mower too low or scalp the turf.”

4. Plant in groups

“Keep things simple and aim to plant in blocks of three, fives or seven of the same type of plant to create wonderful blocks of colour and texture,” he suggests.

“All plants like free-draining soils, which can also hold some moisture. Add homemade (ideal) or bought compost before planting – this will help improve drainage on clay soil and encourage moisture retention on sandy soils.

“Mulch after planting – by covering the soil with a 5cm layer of compost around the base of the new plants. Then water well.”

beginners gardening tips

5. Sow seeds

You can’t go wrong here. “If you’re on a tight budget, sow seeds. Follow the instructions on the packets as to how you prepare your soil, and you can create an almost instant garden for around £10,” he says.

6. Start with easy-to-grow veg and herbs

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a kitchen gardener, Lane says radish, carrots and lettuce are the quickest and simplest to grow.

“Oregano is great for cooking and attracting wildlife, and thyme, sage and chives,” he says. “Generally, herbs like a gritty compost so add plenty of horticultural grit when planting, while vegetables prefer nutrient-rich soils with no stones.”

beginners gardening tips

7. Flowers aren’t tricky either

Don’t just choose whatever looks pretty – there are other factors to consider. “Try nepeta (catmint) as a brilliant alternative to lavender, which can often get a bit woody,” Lane suggests, “Rudbeckia (coneflower) and sunflowers too.”

He says herbaceous perennials (a plant whose growth dies down annually but whose roots or other underground parts survive) like nutrient-rich soils that will not dry out with a pH of 6.5, while wildflowers like low-nutrient soil (i.e. the subsoil) and most will grow with a neutral pH7.

8. Choose these easy-to-care-for shrubs

“Abelia x grandiflora, which flowers from June to September, is a wonderful evergreen shrub,” says Lane. “It’s semi-evergreen, so will give shape and texture even during the winter months and the flowers are also fragrant. Grow it in the shelter of a wall or towards the back of a border.

“Choisya x dewitteana Aztec pearl is fully hardy, evergreen, and flowers in May and often late summer. It can also be grown in partial shade. The leaves get damaged by exposure to strong winds or frost, but this won’t kill the plant.

“Pyracantha, again, is fully hardy and evergreen, with small white flowers in late spring and fantastic berries in autumn that attract birds and wildlife.”

All three are easy to care for and can be pruned to keep their shape. “If a shrub has got too large for its spot, or branches are crossing, dead, diseased or damaged then prune to keep the plants in shape and healthy. You want to have an open middle so that air can pass through the shrub, to help prevent pests and diseases.”

beginners gardening tips

9. Don’t over water

Most people over water, Lane says. If a plant needs water it might be wilting or have flowers hanging downwards. “If in doubt, dig a small ‘pit’ next to the plant and fill with water – see how quickly the water drains away,” he adds.

“If planting a dry garden, which will require less watering, then go for plants that will thrive in dry, arid conditions, such as Achillea, Artemisia, Agapanthus.

“If you’re feeling more adventurous, then divide the garden into different zones and grow plants with similar growing conditions in each zone.”

9 Top Tips to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen

small kitchen tips

Small can be beautiful and - crucially in this case - functional too. By Luke Rix-Standing.

In the modern world of cramped shoe-box flats and sardine-tin apartment blocks, space is a rare and valuable commodity.

Wave goodbye to extended worktops, double-door refrigerators, and luxurious kitchen islands – particularly in urban areas, these are now myths from a bygone age for many of us.

When space is scarce, kitchens are often the first to feel the squeeze – there’s no headline floor-filler in this room, like a sofa or bed – but there’s no need to let that cramp your cooking.

Here’s how to keep livin’ it large, even with the most modest kitchen…

small kitchen tips

1. Purge the unnecessaries

Be totally honest with yourself – do you really need that candy floss maker, that ‘pizza oven’ that’s actually just a small oven taking up half the counter top, or that margarita maker you used once back in 2013?

“It’s the number one mistake people make,” says professional organiser, Vicky Silverthorn (youneedavicky.com). “Putting the contents of a four-bedroom house into a two-bedroom house, and keeping gadgets that come out only occasionally. The fondue set, the avocado slicer, the large dinner platters for people that don’t have dinner parties… Ask yourself what you’d prefer – the space, or the appliance you use once a year?”

2. Think vertically

Floor space is not the be all and end all, and for those blessed with high ceilings, it’s crucial to cash in. Add extra shelves above your cupboards, or use the tops of your cupboards as extra storage space.

Time and budget allowing, you could install a vertical, sliding drawer, which may single-handedly take the place of a pantry. Think of your kitchen like a maths question – you’re calculating the volume, not just the floor area.

small kitchen tips

3. Use your corners

Corners are notoriously difficult to utilise, but unless you’re living in a water tower, every room has at least three or four of them. Wraparound corner shelves are shoo-ins for storage-starved kitchens, while floor lights and tables can be slotted in with ease. In most rooms, corners are dead space; in a small kitchen, they’re an opportunity.

4. Store in adjacent rooms

If your home is relatively spacious, and it’s just your kitchen feeling the squeeze, you can always store non-perishables elsewhere. There’s just no need to clog your kitchen cupboards with piles of pasta and tinned beans, when they could live just as happily somewhere else in the house.

small kitchen tips

5. Keep it tidy

Kitchens are supposed to be functional, efficient spaces, tailored to minimise the inherent pressures of cooking – and to keep a clear head when things get steamy, you need a clear work surface.

“It’s about putting the items that you have in the correct spaces,” says Silverthorn, “and there is no one-size-fits-all. Look out for gimmicky plastic containers that only contain a few tins – not everything needs to live in a basket, despite what Instagram says. Get stackable storage containers, or containers that fit inside each other when they’re not being used.”

6. Clever colours

Just because your kitchen is small, doesn’t mean it has to look small. Consistent colouring helps a room feel fluid, while bright blocks of contrast colour can quickly become claustrophobic (although there are no hard and fast rules!), so consider keeping your scheme to a two-colour maximum.

Lighter colours invariably feel airier – whitewashed kitchens are increasingly common – while reflective surfaces like mirrors lend depth.

small kitchen tips

7. Tactical lighting

How large a room looks is as much about your perception as its actual size. Natural light bathes your kitchen in a vivid glow, imitating the wide open spaces of the great outdoors, while poorly-lit areas very quickly feel poky.

Artificial light is where the buck stops after-hours, and you want to mix up overhead sources with table lamps or wall lights. Accent lighting lends contrast between different parts of a room, which inevitably leaves your kitchen looking larger and more varied.

“I love lights that dim in a kitchen,” says Silverthorn. “It gives the bright, vibrant light for the morning and afternoon but can then turn cosy for when you’re winding down.”

8. Space-saving gizmos

Extravagant gadgetry generally takes up more space than it saves, but there are a few specific products that earn their place. Try a magnetic knife holder – a strip on the wall that holds knives and other metallic implements – or pick up a chopping board that sits atop your sink.

Anything that can be hung should be hung. Hooks on the undersides of shelves are a go-to for mugs, while large utensils can be well catered for with rails and racks.

small kitchen tips

9. Double up

Going back to gadgetry, even seemingly sensible tools can often be economised, and canny buyers can squeeze two tools into the space of one. “Employ multi-purpose kitchen utensils,” says Silverthorn, “you’re automatically saving space.

“I’ve been working with Brabantia (brabantia.com/uk),” she adds, “and their new Tasty+ range is full of them. There’s a spatula that’s also a fork, a skimmer that’s also a ladle, a spaghetti spoon that’s also got a measuring tool in it. You’re instantly halving the utensils in your kitchen.”