French Dressing

Summer is upon us, and we look forward to warmer days, relaxing and enjoying summertime activities with friends and family. We also look forward to a well earned holiday. Many head south to France to enjoy fine food, wine and the countryside.  French markets are a popular destination, and whilst falling in love with the many goods on offer, that we regret travelling by plane with one cabin bag allowance and should have bought the car, or better still a van, so as to take all these wonderful items home with us. Antique furniture, lace and linen fabrics which would look wonderful to create the French style in your home. Thankfully there are many suppliers online and nearer to home of French furniture and furnishings which solves the heartache! Etsy, and eBay are always good for sourcing. Or visit Lille in September when they hold an event selling an array of goods, just take your car!

 

So how do you recreate the French chic style? Keep it simple, pared down with a few well chosen pieces of furniture, furnishings and fabrics. ‘Less is more’ to quote Coco Chanel. French interiors do not look too contrived, but lived in.  Lots of gilding and Baroque interiors may have looked amazing in the French Chateau, but could look rather over the top in a suburban home, so use only on mirrors, picture frames and key items of furniture. Likewise, you may long for a French Boudoir style bedroom. Avoid too much red other wise it could look like the Moulin Rouge.

 

Key Colours – In Provence you will find sunny yellows and bight blue. Elsewhere reds, blues, gentle sludgy earthy tones. Colour’s like French  grey’s and linen are popular, especially in rural areas. These soft colour’s suit the British climate too, always appear calm and are  good base colour’s to start from. Paint your floor boards if you have them a neutral colour to reflect the light and enhance the decor, or leave bare for a more rustic vibe.  Lay a natural sisal or jute carpet for comfort.

 

Sludgy greys and blues
Sludgy greys and blues

Key Fabrics – French linens, gingham, Toil de Jouy and striped ticking in the key colours add to the laid back style. Use for curtains, cushions or upholstery.  Delicate French lace panels to create privacy, and add a feminine feel, and can be added as an extra layer to dress a window.

 

Key Furniture –  French antique furniture like an Armoire for storing linen and spare bedding can be a focal point on a landing. Or fill with a china display in your kitchen or dining room. A statement, decorative bed with simple bedding and accessories with a painted chest of drawers could be all that is required to recreate your bedroom from your holiday. Paint an old or outdated piece of furniture, and perhaps hand gild and distress slightly, which suits the French style chic.

Accessories – Baskets, china and  cushions make decorative  displays of everyday items.

 

Key Lighting – Chandeliers are very French, and suit both the country style and grander interpretations of French interiors. Lampshades covered in plain linen or Toile. For a more contemporary look try a galvanized or metal floor lamp.

Pictures from Pinterest

White Room

‘White Room’ by Cream, The White Album by The Beatles or  ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Pocal Harum were popular songs and album in the 60’s. Indeed decorating with white (along with more psychedelia) was also popular in the 60’s. The songs are still played on the radio, and white is still a perennial favourite used in our homes. White is very versatile, sitting well in contemporary, modern or traditional schemes. As summer approaches we often long for a new freshness in our homes. Throw open doors and windows and let the light in. We long for a brighter (if not sunnier) interior. If lots of bright colour on your walls is not to your taste, or  you are feeling bold enough to splash on a  coat of orange emulsion,  you opt for the safe ‘I’m just going to paint all the walls white’ option. Which white  would that be? Brilliant white, off white, barley white? The list of names and shades of white run into the hundreds.

Choosing the right white White like all other colour changes with natural and artificial light. White also takes on different hues, depending what it sits next to. Think about the aspect of the room, if facing north it will have a colder light, so choose a shade of white with red or yellow based undertones  like Farrow and Balls ‘Pointing’ or ‘White Tie’. Or try Little Greene Paint Company, they have a plethora of whites in all  Likewise a sunnier southern aspect will receive a warmer light, so a white and grey tones in it will not make the room appear cold. Farrow and Balls  ‘Strong White’ or ‘Wevet’.  You can paint the walls in one white and choose toning shades of white for the ceiling, cornices and woodwork creating a calm graduated colour scheme.

The secret of decorating with white so as not to look too clinical, bland or cold is to add texture into the scheme. Instead of heavy, lined curtains at the windows, try hanging a sheer fabric like voile or muslin to filter the light. Many materials have delicate designs woven into the fabric. This may have to be accompanied with a black out blind in a bedroom if you you want to block out street lighting and very early morning sunshine pouring in (if you window faces east).

Fresh, white bedding always brightens a bedroom and looks smart. Team it with a contrasting colour for the bedhead or a white headboard with texture such as a distressed limed wood in white.

White carpets are not a practical choice if you have children,  teenagers or a dog  living in your home. These must be saved for master bedrooms or guest rooms, unless you want to be constantly cleaning the carpet and getting stressed. White ceramic, porcelain or granite floor tiles are easier to keep clean, but will of course show the dirt. White floor paint is another option on floor boards or ‘lime wash’ them to add texture and interest. How to lime wash floors yourself – http://www.woodandbeyond.com/blog/what-is-lime-washed-wood-flooring/

White wall tiles in a bathroom, kitchen or utility room do not need to look clinical, if arranged in different patterns or different shapes and sizes. There is something luxurious about a pile of  white, clean, fluffy towels folded neatly in a bathroom. The opposite effect is of course when they have been discarded in a wet heap on the floor!

The living room decorated in white can take on many guises. It can be accompanied  with glass chandeliers, mirrors, an off white textured rug and formal furniture to create a classic, sophisticated room, or a more relaxed country vibe with rough painted distressed wooden furniture and knitted throws. Or create a Gustavian ambiance with grey based whites of painted furniture.

A dining table set with white china, lit by candle light looks special. White china also displays food well. Collections of white china and ornaments displayed on dressers or shelves look stunning in a ‘white room’, especially if  well lit with directional lighting or lamps.

So opting for white need not be boring, clinical or safe, if used well. All pictures from Pinterest

All Mapped Out

New York map trend from Asda and H&M - ellietennant.com
New York map trend from Asda and H&M – ellietennant.com

With the arrival of ‘Sat Nav’ and ‘App’ technology, you may have thought that disagreements over people’s map reading skills, are perhaps a thing of the past. However, there are times when road,  street, footpath, underground and  ordnance survey maps are invaluable. I spent all day Saturday sitting in the back of a car with a road map navigating over the North Yorkshire Moors in low cloud, visibility – zilch, wind and rain. Oh joy! There can be something fascinating about a map too, providing all sorts of information that a ‘Sat Nav’ or App do not usually supply,  and besides which you may not get a signal! There is something exciting about planning a trip with a map, and keeping the map afterwards to evoke fond memories of the trip. There is a strong trend at the moment introducing maps into your home.  Framed Antique maps and prints, (these can be expensive collectors’ items like  Francesco da Mosto’s recent discovery of a seven  map collection of Alvise Cadamosto worth £1m is anything to go by) or posters of a map from Panem or Neverland,  a wall mural, paper,  globes , bedding, furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories.

Furniture – An old map, wrapping, wall paper  or posters can be used to bring an old item of furniture to life. On a table top for example, or on the front of a chest of drawers using decoupage. How to decoupage –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFyddV7BxUI.  Cover an old tray using the same technique, or buy a London map tray from Ben Pentreath for £70.00 http://www.pentreath-hall.com/  Or buy an oil cloth with a map of the world for your dining table which should spark conversation. http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-world-map-pvc-cut-length-tablecloth-blue/p301356

Try papering one wall with a shipping map as an unusual accompaniment to a nautical themed bathroom or child’s room. ‘Great Harbour’ by Ralph Lauren would be perfect.  Complete wall mural’s in a selection of designs can be used to great effect too as illustrated below.   If papering the whole wall is too overwhelming for your space paper the ceiling.

Bedlinen – Carry the theme into the bed linen. Zara Home have a great design at a reasonable cost. Add a vintage vibe with mini map bunting from Grace and Favour http://www.graceandfavourhome.com/ourshop/prod_1398302-Vintage-Map-Bunting.html or try Esty.

Lighting – Ready made map lighting is another way to introduce the theme. These can be purchased or try covering your existing lampshades with old paper maps or fabric. For instructions go to  http://homeguides.sfgate.com/cover-lampshade-wallpaper-88216.html

Accessories – Introduce map prints to cover storage boxes and notebooks in your home office. There are is selection of available from  LINK PICTURE

Pictures – A set of framed historical maps on wall looks smart, or a map on wooden planking and distressed for a relaxed vibe.

Rugs and flooring inspired by maps used to ‘anchor’ a room.

Fabrics – There is a plethora of fabrics to choose from for cushion covers, blinds, curtains and upholstery. The world is your oyster!

Utility and Boot Rooms

Interior decoration in our main living areas is always top of our priorities. However, have you ever wondered when walking around beautifully staged show homes where you will keep your vacuum cleaner? Indeed if the home does not have a utility room, where you will keep your ironing board, iron, the pile of ironing for that matter, and the plethora of cleaning materials – in the kitchen or under-stairs cupboard? Even the most modest of Victorian terraced homes had an out house or scullery with a sink and perhaps an old copper to heat the water for wash day. Laundry was not generally performed in the kitchen, this was kept for food preparation only. In today’s modern, modest homes the washing machine is located in the kitchen, which means losing valuable cupboard space. The same loss of space if you have a dryer, and associated cleaning materials and tools. If you have the space, then a utility room is a must.

The minimum space required along a wall is 190 cm, this would allow 60 cm width for the washing machine, 60 cm for the sink and draining board and 60 cm for a tall cupboard to house products and tools – even the vacuum cleaner. If you have a dryer this can be put on top of the washing machine. The minimum depth of space required is 1500.  60cm  being the average measurement of appliances and cupboards, plus room to open the appliance and cupboard doors. Layout examples below.

Utility rooms are best located near the kitchen, with it’s own access to the garden. This allows ease of access to the garden for the washing line, and somewhere to leave muddy footwear and hang everyday outerwear. If a separate room is not possible, and you have an integral garage, which does not house your car, but used for general storage, section a partition wall and place your utility area in the garage. Another option is to designate one wall in your kitchen (or elsewhere if space allows) as the laundry area (minus a sink) and hang sliding or bi-fold  doors across the whole lot, so it looks like a cupboard when not in use.

Plumbing requirements need to be planned, hot and cold supply to the sink, cold water to the washing machine and waste from both into a drain. If opting for a dryer too it will need venting through an outside wall. If this is not possible opt for a condensing dryer. Washer dryers are an option too, but these need to be vented.

White Goods -Appliances – Buy the best quality you can afford. Meille being the top of the range.  Consider whether you want integrated appliances, hidden behind doors. If so you need to purchase integrated appliances specifically designed for the purpose.

Cupboards and Storage – A tall cupboard with well designed interior space arranged so that items can be easily retrieved. Think about whether yo would prefer doors or drawers under the sink. A ‘Sheila Maid’ or rack above the sink for drying clothes is useful.

Flooring – Porcelain or ceramic floor tiles are durable, waterproof and are the best choice in utility rooms. If the room is directly off the kitchen, use the same floor tiles as the kitchen as this makes the space larger. Lay electric matting underfloor heating under the tiles instead of a radiator. This frees up valuable space and prevents the floor from being cold.

Rustic hard wearing tiled floor
A hard wearing rustic tiled floor

Lighting – If space, opt for a window as well as a door, if not have a door fitted with glass to let natural day light in. Energy efficient, good quality  daylight white or warm white fluorescent tubes provide the most economic, practical and shadow free task light. Under cupboard downlights, track spot or pendant lights are also an option.

Sinks  – Consider the use of the sink. If used for cleaning muddy football boots the  Butler sink is ideal. If only used for water to wash the floor a stainless steel or ceramic sink will be adequate. A high level mono tap is best in a utility room, so you can fill a bucket or whatever easily. Worktops – Your choice of work top will be lead by your choice of sink. However, laminate is fine, but will not stand up to hard wear and tear. A granite or stone composite is hard wearing and grooves can be cut for drainage, eliminating the need for a sink and drainer set up.

Decor – If the room is accessed directly from the kitchen, use the same wall paint or a tonal shade. If having a splash back behind the sink use the same tiles as in the kitchen if you have them. If not a plain white brick style tile will create a utilitarian feel.

Light Bulb Moment

I have had always had an aversion to a single central pendant light as the only source of lighting in a room. This light creates a dull soulless room, illuminating a non flattering light not only to the room, but to it’s inhabitants. Lamps, whether table or standard, are my preference especially in a sitting room to add warmth and ambiance. The central light only being used when cleaning. My children have either inherited, or most likely have been drilled into the same aversion; To the point that my daughter actually removed the bulb from the central pendant light in a student house she once shared, forcing them to switch on the lamps instead, knowing that no-one would be bothered to replace the bulb. Drastic measures!

Lighting is one of the most important features when designing any room, and should be planned simultaneously and included in the drawings of the rooms intended use and layout. Lighting is intrinsic. It is no good wishing you had a plug socket for a table lamp once the room is completed.Lighting can make or break a completed room.

Lighting is basically divided into three categories – Ambient, Task (function) and Background, each serving a particular purpose. When these three elements are put together it is called ‘Layered’ lighting.

Ambient Lighting is created with lamps and wall lights. The illumination is soft, warm and relaxing.

Task lights which provide light for reading, or cooking – activities. Overhead ceiling or pendant lights, Spotlights

Background lighting is used as under cupboard lights in kitchens, under plinths, or perhaps to highlight a painting or wall texture.

Depending of the uses of the space there is a lighting solution available to suit. This is all very well if you are planning a major re-fit including electrical works, but what about the room you just want to paint and update on a budget? Make the most of the light you’ve got already. Anything to increase natural light into your home is beneficial to save on your bills. If you have small windows try replacing heavy curtains with a roman blind instead. If privacy is an issue consider wooden shutters with adjustable slats or a sheer fabric.

Change your bulbs. How many times have you bought a replacement light bulb and when you get home discover it is the wrong bulb, despite standing looking at the vast array on display, and end up with a drawer full of assorted bulbs which won’t fit anything in your home. If you need one, I’ve probably got one. It maybe you need a bulb of a higher or lower wattage, or a different shape, make or type. A large globe will give a better quality light than a standard bulb. Use a frosted or pearl bulb if you can as they provide a softer shadow free light. Use energy efficient bulbs where you can. This is basic advice, because if I went into all the different types of bulbs here you would certainly switch off! Sorry!

Replace lamp shades.The size, shape, material colour and lining are all key to shade’s look and use.The shade must not only complement the decor but just as importantly directs light in a way you intend.

Add ‘plug – ins’. A plug -in is a basically a light you plug into your socket – a lamp if you like. If plugged in the right area of a room it can add instant drama by high lighting a plant or art work or or light up dead corners or a room.

Then there is outside lighting to be considered too.

There is too much to say about lighting in just one blog, so  lighting will be included in future blogs on room by room designs.

What Colour’s Will Your Home Be In 2014? – Trends

Some years ago my sister was looking for Coral coloured cushions. She searched high and low without success. “Coral must be out of fashion”. she complained. The only cushions available were in  the colour’s of that particular year, and Coral wasn’t one of them. The same problem can arise with clothing fashion, as these colour’s too are mirrored with interior colour’s. “Who the hell decides and dictates what colour’s we should be buying anyway?” My sister continued to complain returning home minus the Coral cushions.

There are a few bodies of people who generally decide. Pantone Colour Institute in America, the Colour Futures Team who make paint for Dulux and Global Colour Reseach who produce Mix Magazine.  These companies carry out research around the globe on popular holiday or travel destinations, , artists and entertainment, maybe future sports events, views on world issues. They capture the mood of the world in colours which they believe reflects this. ( In a previous blog  http://sminteriors.co.uk/2013/10/06/colours/   What Colour Are You Today? I discussed this subject.)

Pantone’s chosen colour for 2014 is ‘Wild Orchid’ as a colour with confidence and warmth and encourages creativity and imagination. Some say it reminds them of cheap bubble bath and nail varnish, far too ‘in your face’. It maybe overwhelming to paint all your walls with ‘Wild Orchid’ for your taste and mood of the moment, but it could be added as an accent colour with soft furnishings and accessories teamed with Grey’s (a perennial favourite at the moment) or a splash of green (think of an Orchid plant).  ‘Sea Urchin’ is the chesen colour of Dulux which is harmonious and natural, a softer shade of Teal. This is a far easier colour to live with and has a calming, restful effect. If painting all your walls this one colour is still too much for you, just paint one wall, and paint the corresponding walls in one of Farrow and Balls colour’s of the year Purbeck Stone or Moles Breath. http://www.farrow-ball.com/?channel=ppc&gclid=CM7J5qW7jLwCFYrjwgodCHMASw Shades of yellow, whether a bright acid or  ochre hue are also included in the trends and lifts blue and grey colour schemes. These could be introduced with bedding, rugs and wall art.

Remember that light in a room effects the colour, be it natural or artificial. Which direction the room faces – North, South, East or West. What times of the day will the room be used, mostly during the day or evening or both?  What is rooms intended purpose? These factors should all be considered when pouring over paint colour charts. Still not sure, then purchase sample pots of paint and paint onto A4 copier paper and stick them to the walls. Doing this avoids any colour’s bleeding through your final chosen wall colour. Live with these, and notice how the colour changes during the day and night. Does the colour make you feel good or ill?

Experiment with the ‘trend’ colour’s of the year and have some fun with them, including Coral which is now ‘on trend’ too!  http://blog.lauraashley.com/at-home/cool-coral-home-story/

Photo’s design-seed.com

Don’t Get Bogged Down

Before you even walk into a bathroom showroom, and walk out, what seems like hours later, laden with product brochures  feeling bogged down, and totally confused about the choices available to you, do your homework first.

1, Measure your rooms dimensions including ceiling height (so you know that the height of your chosen shower will actually fit). Measure the windows and doors.

2. Note where your existing plumbing pipes are, including the soil stack (for toilet waste). Pipes can often be re-routed if necessary, but best to check with a plumber. It would also help to know if you have high or low water pressure. Think how disappointed you would be having the ‘rain water’ deluge head fitted in your shower, to be greeted by a trickle of water.

3. Make a checklist of what you want. What do you want to do in your bathroom? Bath with a separate shower, or do you only have space for a shower bath? Do you want a statement or purely functional bath? Do you want to remove the bath and replace it with a large walk in shower? Do you have room for, or want twin basins?

4. Consider storage needs for bottles, make up, loo rolls and perhaps towels.A vanity unit with drawers fitted with separate compartments could be considered.

5. Lighting – A range of task lighting for applying make-up or shaving. Consider a wall hung vanity cabinet with a back lit mirror and a de-mister pad, with lights hung each side of the cabinet to avoid shadows from being cast onto your face. Recessed LED lights in ‘cubby holes’ ( built in recesses used for shampoo, conditioner and body wash products avoiding chrome fittings) and under units or shelves add ambiance whilst enjoying a relaxing soak.

6. Fittings – This can be a mine field.  What style do you want? Sleek and modern, classic, period. Do you want looks over functionality? Do you want mixer taps, bath fillers (bath fills with what looks like an overflow) plus diverter hand set, or standard ‘telephone’ taps. bath shower mixers or thermostatic shower mixers.Do you want chrome, gold, white or very decorative fittings? Do you have a preference towards a Caronite, steel, acrylic cast iron or other material for your bath? Cast iron is heavy, expensive and virtually everlasting. Caronite is durable, excellent wearing capabilities, mid range in price good quality and very popular. Steel is less expensive than Caronite, is hard wearing but can feel cold. Acrylic baths are cheap, light but are prone to movement. A Jacuzzi bath tends to be great to begin with, but tend to clog up with lime scale if fitted without a water softener.

7. Flooring – Do you want tiles, with underfloor heating, vinyl,or wood?

8. Heating – Do want a statement radiator, or heated towel rails? Do you want the heated towel rails to be dual fuel? (Duel fuel means having a separate electric switch fitted which can be used to warm and dry towels when the main heating is not switched on).

9. What do you want on your walls? Do you want it fully tiled, or only in wet areas? Do you want different tiles  in different areas? How do you want the tiles hung? Landscape, portrait or brick style?

10. Budget – What is your budget? You usually get what you pay for in terms of quality in the product.

Once you have narrowed down your wants, needs and desires, then go to a bathroom show room, knowing what it is you require from your bathroom.

Beat the January Blues

Being the twelfth day of Christmas, like most people, I took down my Christmas decorations and packed them away in boxes to be stored in the loft until December.  Surfaces were dusted, the pine needles and debris from the ivy and greenery I had trailed by way of decoration, now dried to a crisp were vacuumed up. The furniture was put back to it’s original position, which had been moved to accommodate the tree. The rain began to fall yet again and everything looked, well gloomy and bare. No fairy lights to brighten the rooms, no majestic tree, no cards from family and friends with warm greetings, only the lone Poinsettia sitting on a table (which amazingly was still going strong)  left to brighten the home. The Christmas cheer had gone.

A friend called round, who had been doing the same job as me, told me that she had popped into a supermarket and bought herself a bouquet of flowers to cheer both herself and her sitting room up. She also admitted that she had left her fairy lights strung around her dresser to switch on when she felt in need of cheer during the year. Well some people like to have fairy lights hung permanently in their bedroom as decoration. My friend also vowed to burn scented candles around the house all year, and not just at Christmas. Sometimes, all it takes is the small things.

Now devoid all the Christmas trimmings, one occasionally realizes how shabby (in an un-chic sort of way) and dull their home looks and embark on painting and decorating projects. If your financial hangover from Christmas is prohibitive to start any major home improvements, just try re-arranging your furniture layout. I recommend that you measure both your room and furniture dimensions and draw a floor plan prior to trying to lift that heavy sofa into a space where it will not fit, however hard you try. Other ways to cheer you and your room is to hang new artwork or paintings, or replace cushion covers. New duvet covers and towels are quick ways too to add  ‘punch’ into your home. The sales are on and there are great bargains and discounts to be bagged. If an item of furniture you are hankering after is not the bargain you had hoped for, think about learning a new skill of re-covering that old chair yourself, or paint an out dated piece of furniture in an accent colour. (An accent colour is a colour which contrasts and lift a rooms colour scheme, i.e. red, pink, blue, green, yellow in a mainly taupe coloured room). Some people decide that it is time to move home instead.

Spare a thought for all those unfortunate people whose homes were flooded and without power during Christmas and the New Year, due to the storms that thrashed the U.K. Now, they have major home improvements to embark upon, once that is, the insurance companies have completed all the ‘red tape.’

Full of Eastern Promise

The three kings came from the east bearing gifts, so it is written. Exactly where in the east I’m unsure, however, since man began travelling and trading with eastern countries, it has had a huge influence on western interior decor.  The beautiful colour’s and designs of Persian and Turkish carpets the merchants shipped to our shores, were especially popular during the Victorian period, and have stood the test of time as a classic addition to many interiors today.If you own such a rug, it is a great starting point when choosing colour’s for the rest of the room. Ornately decorated ceramics and furniture from China and Japan, carved wood furniture from India and Thailand (Siam) were all eagerly purchased for homes too.

As transport has improved and opened up the world to everyone, people have been inspired by artifacts, furnishings and furniture discovered on their travels to add to their home creating an eclectic mix. Be it a carved wooden coffee table, African masks displayed on a wall or Kelim upholstered chairs. The prices in Antique pieces has soured since the western demand grew. People’s interpretations and uses for old Arabic doors displayed in interiors,  carved Indian wooden screens used as bedheads, window shutters or bath panels. Of course silks or Antique rugs are hung on walls instead of being laid on a floor. Beautifully woven silks, intricately embroidered used for bedcovers and curtains, or samples framed into pictures. The softest cashmere wool woven into snugly throws. The time and skills involved producing these wonderful artifacts are items to treasure forever. I was very fortunate to spend a night at the Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal  http://dwarikasgroup.com/.  The hotel has been made from reclaimed traditional Newari houses using thirteenth century carved timber window and door frames, which conservationist Dwarika Das Shresta saved from being destroyed in the 1950’s.

The Aladdin’s cave of  Souks are an inspirational feast for the eyes, if you dare to look at anything that catches them, for fear of being pounced upon and pressed to buy at the ‘very best price’ offered by the eager stall holder in some countries. I’m constantly being reminded about flight weight restrictions by my husband, especially when buying Christmas presents. How delighted family and friends are to see you bearing gifts from the east, to  receive ‘Singing Bowls’                   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_bowl  for it’s intended use or display, or cashmere scarfs you have seen woven in a mountain village, all of which have stories behind them.

Come Dine With Me

Have you ever been involved in a ‘Progressive Dinner?’ It is a different approach to ‘Come Dine With Me’, and I think, a precursor to the T.V. show ( I love the narrator, he really makes the programme). ‘Progressive Dinners’ usually take place in an area  within walking distance of friends and neighbours. Each person or couple involved prepare and host just one course – a starter, main, or dessert in their home. If more people are included, you can then all go on to another house for liquors and coffee. Each course is at a different home, so after everyone has finished the starter, everyone goes to another home for the next course.

It is a great idea for a dinner with friends and neigbours without having to do all the work and share the costs. It is also an opportunity to have a ‘nose’. I don’t mean in a nasty or rude way, but don’t you just love seeing the inside of other peoples homes? You may have walked past a house loads of times, knowing they were having work done and dying to go and see the finished result, but not knowing the owners well enough to ask. The ‘Progressive Dinner’ is the opportunity to do so and make new friends.

Imagine a road or Cul- de -Sac, or a block of flats, each property from the outside looks similar. The front door might me a different colour, and some may have a pot with plants placed by the door, but all basically the same. Once inside though it is so interesting how differently the properties have been decorated. Some you may love, some you may dislike, some look great, but not what you would choose. You can pick up some great ideas and inspiration too, seeing how the occupants have arranged their space. Some may have added an extension, or removed walls or just left as originally built. Some people love colour, and know how to use it, and those who love colour and don’t know how to use it, and those those that favour neutrals. The different styles whether they be  classic, modern, retro or vintage.  Then there are the people who have no interest in their home what so ever, who pursue other interests. Each home is so different internally, hidden behind the front facade.

The homes are as individual as the people who live in them, which is great.