INTERIOR DESIGN AND HOME STYLING

The Seaside Boarding House at Burton Bradstock

I was thrilled to be given a sneak preview of the long-awaited Seaside Boarding House – West Dorset’s hippest new hangout – for Dorset Magazine.

SBH dorset mag March 2015

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Pale but definitely Interesting

Much as I love colour, sometimes it’s really lovely to work with a palette of neutrals and textures in a room. Soothing, stylish and done right, very chic. Read on for my tips.

INTERIORS JULY 2014

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Getting it Right from the Start

Buying the home of your dreams is so exciting, and being faced with a blank canvas to start decorating is my idea of heaven. But for many it can be a daunting task of what to do first, where to spend the money, and how to choose from the dizzying amount of homeware now available?

Here’s a piece I wrote for Property Scene magazine, giving my tips on how to tackle a new home from scratch.

Property Scene

A Modern Rustic Kitchen

Modern-Rustic-1

What is Modern Rustic? And how do you ‘get the Modern Rustic look’? Here’s my tips and advice on how to do it.

Modern Rustic

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Putting the Love Back In

Spaces like halls, porches and downstairs loos are often neglected and unloved. Here’s how my take on how to give them a whole new lease of life.
Neglected Spaces

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A Creative Space

Since setting up Velvet & Dash Interiors, I’ve graduated from working at the kitchen table, to a small bureau in the corner of the sitting room (which caused a very bad back) and finally I’ve managed to turf my husband out of his office and make it mine, all mine! Oh the bliss of being able to spread all my stuff around, I can’t tell you! I’m still working on the decoration, but so far I have dark chocolate brown walls (Farrow and Ball’s London Clay) and Zoffany’s wonderful Verdure fabric by Melissa White for the blinds. The dark brown walls are the perfect backdrop for hanging wallpaper samples against – they really pop – and since it’s a north-facing room with not much sun, going dark just makes it feel so cosy yet at the same time glamorous. The blinds, when down, work as a picture or a tapestry. I just love this fabric.

Here’s some of my top tips for making an office space in your home.
home office

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Rhapsody in Blue

If I had £1 for every time I’ve been asked to incorporate Duck Egg Blue into a scheme – I’d be giving Richard Branson a run for his money with my own Caribbean island. Blue is a hugely popular choice for interiors, but beware, because if you use the wrong tone in the wrong room, the result will be chilly and unwelcoming. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do blue.

rhapsody in blue

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The Seaside Boarding House

I recently went to meet the very charming Mary-Lou Sturridge who used to run The Groucho Club. Her new venture is a restaurant-with-rooms The Seaside Boarding House at Burton Bradstock. Since it’s practically on our doorstep, we’re very excited about this super-stylish new addition to West Dorset and I wanted to find out more, plus it was great excuse to have a nose around before the building work kicked off. Here’s the interview with photos by Katharine Davies.

SEASIDE BOARDING HOUSE

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Read All About it!

I have an occasional ‘interiors expert’ column. This is a really fun way to spout about my favourite subject – anything and everything to do with making a home. This column is on vintage and how – used carefully – it brings soul to a home. Curate a collection of pieces you love and inject instant personality to your home. Take a look and let me know if there’s a decorating dilemma you need advice on. CS may 26

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Welcome to the Velvet & Dash Moodboard

First I’d like to draw your attention to the all-new website for which I have to thank Giles Vincent at Kolab Digital for the beautiful design and Angela Vincent for the glorious photography. Putting it together was great fun – well for me anyway – poor Giles had to put up with a world class Luddite (me) but heroically managed to roll his eyes heavenwards only a couple of times! Thanks to them this website reflects the ethos of Velvet & Dash perfectly – timeless, elegant, individual and just a little bit quirky. We will be adding to it over the months with more photography as projects I’m working on are completed, so please keep visiting.

The online Boutique and its collection of wallpapers, glass and ceramics is a really exciting start. I adore shopping and I’ve always hankered after my own shop, so this is the perfect solution! I’m trying to find things that are unusual, talking points and just plain must-haves for your home. I hope to gradually build up the collection as and when I come across things. Please let me know any suggestions or comments – I’d be really interested to have feedback.

And this summer I’ve introduced a new service called Ask Charlotte which may need a little explanation. It occurred to me that interior design can be perceived as expensive and high end, not within everyone’s grasp, and often people just want some advice and a nudge in the right direction. Ask Charlotte is perfect for this. Since it’s conducted wholly via email or post, it’s much more cost-effective, and you can ask me for advice on as much or as little as you need to know. It might be something as simple as, “Here’s a photo of my bedroom wallpaper, can you suggest some ideas for curtain fabric?” Or you might want me to advise on redecorating a whole room. So far it seems very popular, and people really love the idea they can tailor it exactly to their requirements. I hope I can show you what a big difference it can make to repaint, reupholster and rearrange furniture. Maximum effect for minimum outlay – we like!

My passion for interiors started early. At 13 I painted my bedroom black and shocking pink (very Abigail Ahern) – and really got going when I moved into my first, extremely grotty flat aged 19. I spent every evening for the first month painting the floorboards and then stencilling a ridiculously intricate design on them, while my friends stepped over me on their way out to party. I knew then I was hooked! Since then, I’ve been obsessed with building a nest for myself and my loved ones. Until I feel my home is the best place in the world to be, I’m not entirely content with life in general. (Her poor husband you are thinking!) And by extension I love being at home. Pottering, gardening, cooking, hanging out with my husband and children and friends and of course our greyhounds, Velvet & Dash. So this blog is going to be a mix of anything and everything I find inspiring, useful or interesting. I might even throw in the recipe for my killer chocolate cake!

Talking of chocolate (ahem), I’ve spent the last month up to my eyes in dark brown paint for a cinema room I’m designing. “I think brown is your favourite colour Mummy” said my 6 year old, pink-loving daughter rather sorrowfully the other day, as I skewered the lid off yet another sample pot. In a rather desperate attempt to break free from the clutches of Farrow and Ball, I cast the net wide. Talk about Fifty Shades of Grey, this was Fifty Shades of Brown. I tried Zoffany’s Dark Chocolate, Little Greene’s Attic II, De Le Cuona’s no 1, and on and on. But still I kept being drawn back to London Clay. I think it is the perfect chocolate brown. Looks fabulous in new houses and old, you can put any colour against it and they just sing. It’s warm, it’s cool, it’s classic. Thank you Farrow and Ball, I promise I’ll never stray again.

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