Trend inspirations can come and go but if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a period property, emphasising the original features with a contemporary design really brings a period property into its own.
The great thing about styling a period property is how original features can offset contemporary design by using style modern styles with heritage aspects to both compliment an older property and highlight your personal taste.
By mixing interior designs with classic features such as backsplash tiles a bare kitchen can be balanced with Scandinavian minimal lighting and a vintage rustic farmhouse style tables to mix-up a heritage layouts with industrial pieces. In stark contrast to traditional elements such as a tiling and ornate boarders, you always have space you play about with lighting, accessories and elements of colour.
Kitchens are relaxed spaces, and this use of contemporary work surfaces and appliances work with the traditional undertones of tiling and sash windows to create a homely yet fashionable space, which works as a functional space whilst looking chic and inviting.
Open shelves, simple storage units and crisp cupboards all make a fantastic backdrop to the small collections memories that make up important parts of your home. From Tuscan bowls to Moroccan carpets, eccentric assortments play-up the notable heritage feature of an older property.
But that doesn’t mean to say your home has to be a homage to minimalist design, with white cube walls and bare furnishings. Unprimed walls, bare frames and dark wood floors show an alternative to the Victorian conversion. The stripped back, raw interiors of this bedroom really highlight the clean interiors by contrasting a back to basics approach with simple elegant modern features making a space both cosy and contemporary.
Victorian properties are built to maximise light. Bay windows, high ceilings open fireplaces make amazing focal points, but there’s always room to compliment them with other pieces. Conversion properties can be electric; they don’t have to be strict to one style or era this makes them a great space to bring together a range of designs.
Images source: Paul Massey, Alvhem, Petra Bindel, Bertrand Benoit
Via Lotta Agaton, My Scandinavian Home with thanks
If there’s one thing that the UK does better than anywhere else on the planet, it’s country cottages. Our rolling dales and stark countryside landscapes just wouldn’t be complete without the dotting of these tiny buildings throughout. They’re like seasoning; we have the salt of the white, more modern builds – and the cracked black pepper of older stone architecture.
Just a quick search in Google turns up a plethora of rentable properties in remote locations across the length and breadth of the UK. Many tourists, homegrown and foreign alike, choose to spend a weekend away in a remote location, guarded by the safety of a country cottage. They envisage nights wrapped up in the warmth of a blanket, sat by an open wood burning stove as the wind and rain howls away outside.
And here we come to the keyword. Outside. For the issue is that many old cottages will suffer from the same problem. Left exposed to harsher elements than seen in the cities, the window and door fittings will often suffer from problems to do with the swelling and shrinking of the wood. Rattling frames, penetrating draughts and, even worse, rain entering the property, can turn a cosy cottage into a snivelling nightmare.
Only recently I went to stay in a cottage down in Devon. It was beautifully serene, right on the coast. The interior was lavish and modern. Perfect. It was only as we cracked open the Merlot at night, ready to watch the flames lick at the wood, that we discovered the timber bay windows were warped allowing a tremendous gale to pour in from the sea. Bitterly cold it went some way to marring an otherwise fabulous weekend.
More often than not the insides of these otherwise unassuming buildings will be furnished exquisitely. From a rustic style complete with exposed wooden beams, to the more modern minimalist approach, their charm is always individual and precious. It is a shame that some properties will allow poor and cheap window installation to depreciate the property’s valuable characteristics.
A good, fitted, multi-layered hardwood frame would have suited that place in Devon down to the ground. The old style bay windows could have been enhanced with some beautifully finished timber frames that would have highlighted the interior’s use of dark Walnut wood flooring.
Perhaps many cottage owners worry that they won’t be able to get windows that will fit their old properties, what with their un-standard dimensions. And perhaps that is true of some companies, but I’d like to think that we go out of our way to make sure that we can help everyone, however we can. The last thing we want to see is a beautiful countryside cottage let down by inferior workmanship.
Image by: Leshaines123
Sustainability is something that I personally care a great deal about. We are, as a species, extremely voracious in our consumption of the world’s spoils but, for the most part, are pretty reluctant to give back.
With global industries turning out millions upon millions of products, from kettles and keychains to chewing gum and chicken feed, we are consuming far more energy and natural resources than the planet can produce. Unless the dinosaurs were themselves running multinationals manufacturing toys for the young’uns, this is something that has not been seen before, with our prolonged jaunt into sapping the soil a worrying walk into lands unknown.
We have no clue what our actual impact is on the planet, with many scientists conflicted by the argument of global warming and our effects on the environment. As far as I can see it, it’s a simple matter of give and take. If we’re going to procure our resources, we need to find a way to do so with minimal damage to the environment and local ecosystems.
One such way we have found to do this is by planting a tree for every order that is placed with us. We see it as a way that we can give back and show thanks for the natural resources that allow us to have this fantastic business.
It’s always been a passion of mine to work with wood. From early childhood I would knock things together, from rapidly dilapidating skate ramps in my mother’s back garden to rickety shelving units. It simply made sense for me to follow my passion and embark on a career with timber and construction.
However, it was when I began studying architecture in college that I was turned on to the fact that as an industry professional you ought to have a firm grasp on your environmental impact. Since then I’ve become a champion of sustainable and conscientious wood use.
So, as I was saying, we plant a tree in Bisham woods for every order, ensuring that our future, not only as a business, but as a society is secured. Trees provide us with far more than just beautiful timber for our bespoke window frames and we want to show the ancient woods, that our ancestors once roamed in, some respect.
Image by PavelP
According to a report released in July this year, London is the greenest capital city in Europe, and compared to others by its size and population density, the third greenest city in the whole of the world!
It may not seem logical on your morning commute, what with the non-stop juggernaut of traffic that sweeps London’s streets, but the actual city contains over 35,000 acres of green public parks, gardens and woodland areas. Rather astoundingly this equals approximately 40% of the whole of London’s surface area. Comparatively, the next great city on the list, Berlin, only has a staggering 14.4% green surface area.
Although central London may in fact be desecrated to the Gods of modern development, and hold court with domineering glass skyscrapers, we still have a wealth of green areas to enjoy in the city. Not only are there the Royal parks such as St. James’ and Regents Park, but out to the east we have the massive Hackney Marshes, and down south west we have the resplendent and gargantuan Richmond Park.
Whilst London is known as one of the most important business epicentres in the world, its green areas are what makes it more than just another city. Visitors can get the best of London’s urban sprawl whilst also finding time to enjoy the verdant scenery and diverse wildlife that it houses. From the deer or Richmond Park to the peregrine falcons that adorn the capital’s buildings, there are sights and sounds that only London can offer.
It may seem like it’s just a good thing for the tourists, and for the locals looking to dip into a little sightseeing, or to take a break from the hustle and bustle, but London’s parks do far more than that! Large park areas and woodlands act as carbon sinks, absorbing the excess CO2, as well as a lot of the other chemical pollutants, that we produce. Our green areas also go a long way to reducing flooding, by absorbing excess rainfall.
With an estimated 4,000 deaths each year caused by poor air quality in the capital, London’s green areas also go a long way towards improving this, and coupled with the introduction of the congestion charge in order to lower emissions, as well as the hydrogen bus, we’re certainly on the right track.
However, we can’t rest on our laurels. With the development of further infrastructure including new road and airport expansion likely to worsen air quality, we need to protect, maintain and expand upon what we have already got.
Image by HerryLawford
Timber is the most commonly used building material that required the least amount of energy to produce. Requiring very little industrial expense in its cultivation, plantations will often do more to combat pollution and climate change than they will to add to it.
Renewable, recyclable and durable, forestry, and by proxy timber production, does a great deal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and thus reduce our carbon footprint. One such way it does this is through the Carbon Sink Effect, whereby carbon compounds will be extracted from the atmosphere and stored in the ‘reservoir’ of the forest, a system endorsed by the Kyoto Protocol.
Forests provide a real wealth of benefits, from the timber that they produce, and their contribution to flood control sustenance (in regards to food and livelihoods) to their uses as recreational areas.
As such it’s important to note where your timber comes from, as illegal logging goes a long way to negating the effects good woodland can have.
Many large high street stores that sell timber products have been caught out by investigations and by various organisations such as Greenpeace, with scandals breaking about the sourcing of their timber. A lot of these companies, it turns out, have been sourcing their wood from overseas in places like Vietnam and South America, where the policies regarding the procurement of timber are relatively slow on the uptake.
At Hugo Carter we ensure that all of our timber has been accredited with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programmed for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) chain of custody certification, and that its production has kept well within the guidelines laid out for ethically sourced wood in the UK. This process makes it easy for us and for you to trace back the source of the timber, ensuring that it has come from a reputable and ethically sound source.
In the UK we have the Government Timber Procurement Policy, which sets down the policies regarding ethical timber, meaning that timber must be sourced from The Forest Law Enforcement Governance licensed companies.
Ethically sourced timber doesn’t only make us feel great about the timber frames we create, as we look to a more sustainable industry, it goes much, much further than that. Purchasing timber from British ethical suppliers drives the local economy and clears the path for new, innovative products. It creates jobs, but not only that; it creates green jobs, further enabling our transition to a green economy as well as global stability.
Promoting sustainable timber also creates an increased public awareness of the importance of ethically sourced materials, which in turn puts further pressure on companies to stick to the guidelines. So if you’re in favour of a green, sustainable future share this article and let others know that together we can make tomorrow a brighter prospect!
Image by DavidWright
Townhouses were historically known to be home to wealthy people living in cities. Most Townhouses were designed and built a few centuries ago and are now becoming very popular with designers and architects who look to jig them up with a redesign, turning them into a more contemporary property.
A prime example of this is a refurbishment of a London townhouse, which was bought by an interior designer and a CEO of a media company. The five story townhouse hadn’t been updated since the early 80s, but it was apparent this was going to change when the two creative individuals moved in in 2011. In 2012 the pair requested the help of Giles Pike Architects to refurbish each floor of the townhouse. One of the steps they took to bring this property into this century was to add a double-height glass extension at the back end of the property. This breath-taking inclusion adds a real touch of class to the house, and features a stunning steel balcony with a fantastic garden view. The sheer size of this extension not only has a real wow-factor, but it also allows for a great deal of natural light to enter the property, which many town houses suffer from due to their narrowness.
Images: Logan MacDougall Pope
Architect: Giles Pike Architects
Orginally found on: http://design-milk.com
I like doors. Doors are cool. They help me get into rooms and buildings and stop the cold air and intruders from getting in. But then, that's mostly all they do. Sometimes I look at a door and wonder what it is that we can do with it. How can we innovate the design? How can we make it more interesting? How can a door become the talking point of a room?
Well, I need ask those questions no longer, as the Austrian Designer Klemens Torggler has answered every single one in serious style. Introducing his new 'Evolution Door', Torggler's designs is truly revolutionary and unlike anything I've seen before.
Employing Torggler's own 'flip panel' kinetic system, it looks like something you might imagine from an M C Esher illustration. Constructed of two square panels riveted by precisely placed rods, at the flick of a finger the door folds in on itself as if it were a flimsy piece of paper.
Having begun creating these rotating doors in 1997, Torggler has created five different variants of the design in total, however the latest is Torggler's cleanest and most captivating design to date.
Perhaps they aren't particularly practical, and I wouldn't rush out and replace my solid oak front door with one of Torggler's designs, but they're really quite captivating.
They may not be the most insulated door,either, but in places where that's not an issue, they could be a great addition. From a design perspective they add a touch of futurism to a room, whilst the moving lines and angles effectively act as a stand alone work of art. Most likely used as a semi-permanent or optional room divider their light weight and ease of use make them a great option.
But don't go rushing out to buy one just yet, as they aren't on general sale. Instead Torggler has treated them as prototypes, although he has a selection of signed models available through art seller Atelier Contemporary.
There's nothing I like more than seeing art meet technology and for now we have to just thank Torggler for his dedication to innovation and changing the way that we look at every day furnishings.
Originally found on: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk
It’s the fashionable thing to do nowadays, with many celebrities jumping on board the crusade to reduce our carbon footprints, and so slow the rapid progression towards global warming. The ironic thing being that many of these A-listers, who have been campaigning for lowering carbon emissions, will do so whilst travelling around the planet on their private jets.
Well that irony hasn’t been lost on us, and at Hugo Carter we are doing everything in our capacity in order to reduce the amount of carbon we create. One such way we seek to achieve this is through carefully monitoring our delivery times in order to find the optimum schedule, so as to save time and prevent excess carbon emissions through burning fuel.
We also try to use as little paper as we can and instead utilise digital systems as much as possible. As we’ve said before we also plant a tree for every single order, another way we have found that we can offset any emissions we do create. As well as using ‘green thinking’ suppliers, we are doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint, but we also want to help reduce yours!
One such way you can do this is by purchasing our energy efficient windows. These modern glass windows offer a marked 30% increase in heat preservation, which saves the average family around £170 on their yearly heating bill. This saving has been calculated to off-put a whopping 680kg of carbon emissions, meaning that you yourself can contribute to lowering the global carbon footprint by replacing older energy loss glass with newer, more technologically advanced panes!
Newer wooden frames can even help to further insulate the house, again reducing heating costs. Compared to the plastic uPVC frames that you see adorning most houses, our timber frames produce very little carbon in the manufacturing process.
Another step we take towards running a green company is to always use water based paints on exterior timber finishes rather than oil based. The latter are responsible for releasing an incredible amount of volatile organic compounds into the air that will catalyse the reaction between nitrogen oxides and UV rays, which causes low-level ozone and toxic photochemical smog.
It’s all well and good that these things are being considered nowadays, with the green movement gaining further media attention. The reality is that we need to start taking action in order to actually implement change in our carbon footprints, by considering our everyday practises. From thinking about how we get around to making changes to our households, we can all do things to help the planet. As we’ve shown you, these changes can even result in a saving for you in the long run, so it’s a total win-win situation.
So, we’re doing our part, but are you? Tell us in the comments what kind of things you do in order to offset your carbon emissions! Hopefully we can all benefit by learning from one another.
Our planet is in crisis. We are polluting our atmosphere at an alarming rate, increasing the global temperature and burning through all of our non-renewable resources. Whilst it's easy to point blame at multinational companies and their large-scale industrial processes that release a great deal of harmful products into our atmosphere, the problem is also a lot closer to home.
We need to realise that we are part of the problem and that there are certain, simple steps that we can take in order to minimise our carbon footprints. But what are the green resources us every day people can utilise in order to make this an idea a reality?
Once an idea of science fiction, or at least something that laboratories in the Nevada dessert might be equipped with, solar panels are now a cost effective and easily installed energy saving device that can help out any household. The initial cost can be considerable, though the government have introduced schemes to help introduce solar panels to the UK. The returns are also considerable, and after a few years solar panels often end up paying for themselves.
An often overlooked resource, this country's forestry goes a long way to combating the problems of pollution and carbon offset. Forests act as carbon sinks, sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere. This not only purifies our air, but works effectively against global warming as a result of green-house gas emissions.
What Can We Do About Our Forests?
There are a great deal of charities which work towards preserving and expanding the UK's forests including the marvellous organisation 'The Forestry Comission'. Contributing just a little every month can help these organisations grow and further expand our woodlands. This not only creates fantastic spaces that we can all enjoy, but also means that we are doing our part towards helping the environment.
At Hugo Carter, for instance, we plant a tree in Bisham woods for every single order placed. It's not only our way to help reduce our carbon footprint, but also a way to give back to the natural world which has provided us with the fine timber we use to make our products.
We actively encourage you to get involved in local forestry charities or preservation. It's a great way to spend some time outdoors and do your bit! If you've got any other suggestions about how we can utilise green resources let us know.
Doors are necessary. Without them we wouldn’t be able to get in and out of things very easily, or have things to attach door handles to, and they’re pretty good at keeping the cold out as well. All fantastic points, but often their placement within a property is a matter of logistical necessity as opposed to aesthetic desire. They often become fixtures because they need to be, and hang like drab sheets of A1 paper on the sides of your room; boring, uninspired, ugly, and with a large turning circle that encroaches into the space you have in the room to begin with.
The best architectural solution for maximising space in a property is to use bi-fold doors. No, they’re not earth shatteringly groundbreaking, but they are often overlooked in lieu of the traditional door and that’s a crying shame.
People often think of cheap MDF closets, but there are high end bi-fold doors which not only maximise space, but do so in a way that is both beautiful and striking. Opposed to the chipboard versions that will make your skin crawl, glass panelled bifold doors, or sturdy oak options will not cheapen the look of a room, but instead add a dynamism to it, a talking point and, fundamentally, value, as your are optimising the available floor-space.
The beauty of internal bi-fold doors is that they can turn one room into two, acting as dividers which will change the functionality of the space you have. Whether you want a long dining room, or a cosy living room, they take up very little ground-space, and can have a massive impact on not only how you view your property but how you use it too.
Architecturally speaking this is heaven-sent. It allows for a fluidity in design and a continuation in theme from one room to the next. It also allows for the clear division of areas too and, for the creative architects and interior decorators amongst you, a real buzzing minefield of ideas as to how you can play with function.
High end bi-fold doors will also offer a decent amount of soundproofing too, so if you did want to divide a living space for your children, or quiet study areas, they can still afford you the silent luxury that internal heavy oak doors can give you without the restrictions of form.
Quite simply when it comes down to maximising space, bifold doors are a real smart move and can be a really unique and interesting approach to interior design.
Have we got your creative juices flowing? Take a look at our range of bi-fold doors to see whether you can get any ideas!
Image by GranitArchitects