Monthly Archives: March 2018

Garden Design Inspiration

Garden Design Inspiration

Garden Design Inspiration Ideas

Once you’ve got the plants and the garden table & chair sets sorted, it’s easy to think that your garden is ready for Summer and up to Chelsea Flower Show standards! Is there nothing you can do better to improve your small garden design? Well I’ve got some news for you…it doesn’t have to stop there! Things like railings and gates can be overlooked in the planning of your garden, and sometimes updating these can add that finishing touch which you didn’t even realise you were missing. Patio tables and chairs from Ironfire will also complement the industrial tmetal theme and you can choose hundreds of different wooden top finish colours to create garden design inspiration

Not only can these increase the aesthetics of your garden but also be useful in the improvement of security and safety. As a mother of young children, the combination of ponds full of fish and frog spawn plus my children’s slightly feral natures put the fear of God into me when visiting a garden with large murky and deep water features. Makeshift pond guards just aren’t the right size of shape, and when the pond is a bit of Grandad’s pride and joy, he may take offence at suggestion about filling it in t. Bespoke pond guards can be inexpensive, attractive and also give mothers of mermaid inclined children that extra peace of mind.

Garden Design Inspiration

  Keeping children out? Keeping children in? Gates and railings for both your own safety but also security from intruders can be an instrumental part of feeling safe at night, but also that the patio and garden furniture, koi carp and other treasures that your garden holds and you have worked hard for kept where they belong. Have a look at the FH Brundle website for loads of ideas about these. Whether you want your garden to be seen by Julie next door who thinks her roses are better than yours, or you want to keep prying eyes out for when the weather is right for topless sunbathing, all options are available. Combinations of timber and steel, but also security graded if you need to have them installed for insurance reasons, bespoke options means that you do not have to worry about them not fitting properly or settling for second best if you can’t decide on one style or another.    

Garden Design Inspiration

Are you lucky enough to have a raised decking or patio area, or even balcony? Railings around these are an obvious buy, but they don’t have to be simply fencing or iron railings if you feel that these don’t fit in with the way that your home and small garden design are styled. Ornate, plain, rustic or modern = there are lots of options available. Glass panels can also look brilliant if you have a modern property, around the span of a balcony area with metal poles and handrails along the tops.

Garden Design Inspiration

Share your ideas and solutions for garden design inspiration with us,

and thanks to Sykes Bespoke Steel for all of the images used in this post.

Garden Trends for 2018

Industrial Style Metal Planter
Inspired by the threat of warmer weather and lighter evenings, March is the time that many people start looking into planning their garden optimistically ready for the upcoming Summer. With websites and garden centres full to the brim of different plants, garden furniture, paving stones and so on, it can be hard to know where to start so we’ve gathered together some of the trends for your outside areas ready to impress your friends and neighbours this year.      
  • Al Fresco All Night – there is nothing quite like eating outside, whether a picnic on the lawn or a more formal dinner, the fresh air makes everything just taste that little better and makes meal times much more of an event (as long as you don’t spend the whole time swatting pesky wasps away!). To take al fresco dining to that next level entirely, why not make the whole experience an outside one? Get bit of a posher Barbecue, or if you want to really impress, we love these pizza oven kits. When the lighting and temperature drops, bring in one of our industrial style firepits alongside plenty of rustic throws and blankets. For long-lasting garden furniture that makes an impact, have a look at our industrial dining tables and industrial bistro tables. Depending on the size of your garden and the amount of people you like to entertain, there are plenty of size and colour options to suit any garden or budget.
 
  • Wabi-Sabi – no, not the really hot pea things that make your nose fizz…this is the ancient Japanese art (much like our shou sugi-ban) of accepting the cycle of growth, decay and death. This is a winner for the lazy gardeners out there, and is about embracing the imperfections (my partner knows all about this!). So let the shrubs grow out and be replaced organically and naturally, and accept them for their imperfect, natural state.
  Industrial Style Dining Table  
  • The Pantone colour for 2018 is purple, and this should not be just used in your interior. Focus the colour across your plants with a mix of beautifully pungent lavender, clematis and catmint. If your fingers aren’t that green, bring purple into your garden with our purple chair cushions or get us to create a custom made purple table top for an industrial style dining or bistro table for you.
   
  • The trend for growing your own vegetables is getting even bigger, and with more of us not wanting to pay out for expensive vegetables in the supermarket that go against our sustainability values by being shrouded in plastic and flown in from other countries when out of season it makes sense to utilise on any space that you have available. Even the smallest garden can have potato bags or window boxes for herbs, and nothing tastes quite as good as your own, in-season, grown from seed veg. It’s a great way of getting exercise, the kids love being involved in the process and you’ll be set up nicely in case of a zombie apocalypse.
  aloe vera image
  • Being in a garden or outside always makes you feel that little bit healthier and optimistic about life, but the trend of healing is going to be big this year. Growing plants which have health benefits and can grow in this climate include aloe vera – simply cut the plant to release the gel to act as a treatment for burns, or as a moisturiser, lavender – sprinkle on pillows once dried to aid restful sleep, camomile – make into a tea to aid sleep and toothache and rosemary which can help your memory and digestion.  Have a look at this website for more information on how to grow them and use them in the best way.
 
  • With companies offering yoga to their staff and children taking part in mindfulness sessions in school, it’s not surprising that this trend has spilt over into the garden as well. Taking time for the moment, appreciating what you have and clearing your mind to notice what is around you are all good for the soul and general well-being, so much so that even the NHS is advocating it. In the garden this can be as simple as gathering your thoughts on your patio before dashing off to work, carrying out your sun salutations on your driveway (I had a neighbour who did this and she always looked really calm so it must work) or even just the simple act of gardening. Mary Berry CBE, President of the National Gardens Scheme, says: “I have long been aware of the therapeutic benefits of gardening and visiting gardens and how being outside in lovely surroundings, in the fresh air, is so good for our wellbeing.” Well, if it’s good enough for the queen of cakes….
   

Small Living Room Ideas

red dining table

We can all do with some small living room ideas as most of us don’t have Downton Abbey size rooms.

There sofas, side tables and rugs are placed around a room with care given to where antiques are going to be put or if one’s butler can navigate around them. In the real world cosy small living areas are of course more common than larger ones and so small living room layouts need to be optimised to prevent overcrowding and furniture claustrophobia. Space can however be filled cleverly, meaning that a room can feel airy and open even if your living room  space is at a premium.

It just takes a few clever ideas and arranging to make a perfect small living room layout.

  1. De-clutter! My general rule of thumb for small space living is that if it hasn’t been used in the past year, it’s probably not going to be used again (unless it’s the Christmas Decs still part of the living room interior design in April). Chucking away an treasured dust gatherer is a great way of not only making the area seem bigger, but also gives you less to clean. (whilst  implementing your new small room ideas it’s always worth checking before you throw away random stuff that turns out to a stone picked up on that first date, “but obviously means nothing to you”
  2. Use a colour palette that is light and neutral. Not necessarily Magnolia all the way, but going light on the colours like mushrooms, taupes and light egg blues. On the other hand other Hadley Mendolsohn over at House Beautiful says the opposite and to go for a darker colour though. https://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/living-family-rooms/g2310/small-living-room-decorating-ideas/
  3. Include mirrors in your wall decor – this will increase the natural light in your room and make it look more spacious (as well as being a basic for the vain). Gallery walls of mirrors look fantastic, help you cheat at cards and work really well as small living room decorating ideas.
  4. Move furniture away from the walls to create a feeling of space, and try to get furniture with legs which also helps. Any furniture that’s multi-purpose, such as an Ironfire coffee table that can be used for storage also) will help save space for that all important lego project.
  5. Be clever with your shelving – leave space on them (easy after your declutter as in point number 1), group the same coloured items together on them, and have the shelving high on the wall. All of these will help make your room feel more spacious. And can keep your copy of Fifty Shades of Grey away from curious children. Here’s a link to the flexible Ironfire shelving range
  6. Colour pop your ceiling – this is a bit of a brave one, and one that I have seen on a house viewing that actually had a studded ceiling – but painting the ceiling a darker colour than the walls can elongate the room, again increasing the feeling of being larger than it is.
  7. Leave your windows bare of curtains, or get them to match the walls. I have blinds up at my living room windows and don’t miss curtains at all, even preferring the more naked modern look. We have a small console table placed in the gap between our two windows which works well too.
  8. If you need a Table in the room? Consider a bistro or cafe table that has a central pedestal not four legs. They are much more efficient for seating people and can be pushed against a wall. Ironfire make them in a huge range of colours in different sizes.

And if all of these really don’t help, just go unconventional – who said you need sofas in a small living room anyway?

There’s lots of advice around, we’ve put some links to our Ironfire Industrial feel furniture and here’s some others who share or have other  small space living ideas!

https://www.idealhome.co.uk/living-room/living-room-ideas/small-living-room-ideas-87905

https://www.houzz.co.uk/photos/small-living-room-ideas-and-designs-phbr1-bp~t_10272~a_30-231

Good luck with your project!

Where to Buy Industrial Style Furniture

industrial style furniture
We sell industrial style furniture; anyone who has seen anything of our website or social media platforms will know that our range of coffee tables, console tables, dining tables, bistro tables, chairs and lighting fit into this category as if it was named for them. The industrial style theme is popular for many domestic and business interiors, having developed from the New York loft apartment trend, and is now seen across living rooms, dining rooms, restaurants and offices everywhere. It complements both rustic and modern interiors, and thanks to the strong metals and wooden materials used to produce it, can have a long life where it will stand up to the elements as well as constant use. If you are looking for your base range of furniture to fill up your home or commercial property, we have a great range for your on our site. For shopfitters and interior designers looking to fit out an industrial property which needs a bespoke colour or size, we can produce industrial lights, industrial tables and industrial racking or shelving to suit any branding. Likewise for your home interior. However, furniture is one thing, accessories are quite another! If you are looking to increase the industrial style decor in your home as a whole, here are some more ideas and where to buy industrial style bits and pieces to finish your interior off nicely!   A great website for inspiration is www.redcandy.co.uk. They offer ideas as well as a great range of complementary and striking pieces such as these…   industrial style clock industrial style wall trellis     Also worth looking at are websites such as Black Country Ironworks who produce a plethora of industrial style bits and pieces such as this cast iron cook book stand. industrial style furniture uk   And for really funky cushion covers to match your industrial style decor, Zazzle has some really interesting collections, including the option to take a plain white cushion and customise it with prints that you have found online. industrial style decor   So if you’re looking for the finishing touch to your industrial style decor and interior, I hope these ideas give you some inspiration! If you need any more ideas, have a look at our website where there are images of all of our products, or give us a call on 01985 878795 if you want to talk through options.      

Mothering Sunday Release Servants and Child Labour

Shou Sugi Ban
Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent and the day from which we release our servants and child labour from their mundane tasks to let them visit their mothering church while picking wild flowers for their own mother on the way there….ahhh we remember the 1700’s well and fondly before a time of taking half an hour to pick the right card (Mum takes offence if the words inside aren’t just right), having to book a table for a Sunday lunch well before the end of January to save yourself cooking (I’m a mother too you know!) and having an inner turmoil over whether flowers are a bit too run of the mill for a gift. Mothers are special for the majority of people (to my children at the moment it’s more embarrassing than special but we’re supposed to be, right?) and without argument need some kind of day to be recognised, as a break from the endless drudgery of night feeds, school runs, taxi runs and child minding duties depending on what stage of childhood your little ones are at. For the Next Star Mums competition, the celebration is for Mums who are special for various reasons that break away from the run of the mill mum-reliability. One of the competition nominees, for example, is Lisa Wells, a local mum from Frome who is raising money relentlessly while fighting cancer to ensure her daughters can be looked after once she has died. (More info on Lisa here). The competition has however come under vicious scrutiny for the lack of diversity across its judging panel which consists of white, slim, middle class women (I wasn’t asked on a pure chubbiness factor). I think though that the arguments surrounding the judging panel, while relevant, have actually overlooked the main factor of the competition. Rather than awarding “Mum of the Year” accolades to celebrities such as one of last years winners, reality TV star Amy Childs, these awards are looking at “real” mums who don’t have a sunny holiday every 2 months, a personal chef, waxer, shopper….I could go on. These are REAL mums who don’t ask for accolades, just simply get on with it – and for these nominees, it is in the face of difficulties. For the celebrity mums, the money they have will alleviate many of the pressures of every day life that most of us worry about, yet the pressures that they feel themselves will be of a different angle in which they can be publicly criticised for the way that they live their lives. So why does anyone feel the need to pit women against each other, when everyone is trying their best to do their best for the children, whether tiny or grown up, in their care? Celebrity, unknown, rich or poor, all Mothers should be celebrated on the same level – which is why we think that all of the mothers in the Next Star Mum awards should be equal winners. And not just them. All of us. Don’t wait for your children to buy you gifts to thank you for doing what you do as a matter of course. Treat yourself – whether flowers, chocolates, a massage or an industrial style coffee table (sorry!). And make the day about the wild flowers that your children have picked as a symbol of appreciation for everything that you do.

The Home Bar for the Antisocial

Less and less people are visiting pubs and bars in the evenings now (data source: me, I moonlight as a barmaid) due to the rising costs of alcohol and possibly the current weather situation (snow. I didn’t want to mention it but it’s relevant right now). Having friends round for food and drink is one of my favourite things to do, keeping social events in-house means a cheaper evening as well as not having to worry about getting home, for me anyway! However, a sticky coffee table or worktop is never a good look, so impressing guests with a well put-together mini-bar as seen on Madmen and anyone else who has kept their house 1950’s style has to be the way forward. It doesn’t have to be an expensive minesweep of the alcohol aisle in your supermarket though – so here are our tips on how to impress your guests before they have drunk too many of your homemade cocktails!  
  • Alcohol. Don’t waste money on random spirits that taste of the 1990’s and are going to end up being swigged out of the bottle come 2am. Stick to the basics of good quality Vodka (Cosmopolitans), Gin (Martinis), Rum (dark, white or spiced, or all 3!) and Tequila (Margarita). From these you have the basis for a LOT of cocktails, plus anyone who drinks shorts or shots will likely be drinking one of these. From here, you can build up your collection in the future based on which cocktails you want to serve, and which of your friends are holding onto their teenage tastebuds! (Taboo and lemonade anyone!)
 
  • Mixers. Standard selection – fat cola, thin cola, lemonade and juices! But don’t forget to stock good quality tonic water for the ever-popular G&Ts (Fentimans won this taste test), and soda. If you want to really impress, you can get an old style soda syphon which is also handy for squirting at any overly loud guests!
 
  • Garnishes. Often missed but can add that extra special touch to a drink! Obviously fresh lemon and lime slices, but different brands of gin will work well with different garnishes, so if you have a Hendricks drinker for example, make sure you have cucumber for their drink. Salt is required for the rims of cocktail glasses and tequila slammers; olives for a martini; ice as no-one likes a warm drink, and if you’re serving Babycham then you need maraschino cherries on a stick!
 
  • Glasses. Highballs, martini, rocks…these are probably the main basis for your drinkers, and the aesthetics of a drink are always improved if they’re served in something a bit nicer than a chipped Father Christmas mug!
 
  • Equipment. Nice cocktail shakers, strainers and ice-buckets can be found in lots of online shops and save you stirring your drink with teaspoons….Also worth investing in a nice cocktail book for ideas and inspiration, although there are also lots of apps you can download to help you with how much to add to what. If you do decide to have straws, try to get eco-friendly ones, such as these from eco-strawz.
 
  • Storage. From the information above, you can see that you can add as much or as little as you want to your home bar, which obviously then will help you decide how large or small to go with your storage of it all. Which is where we come in! (I know, you were waiting for the IronFire link to this blog post!). Our industrial style console tables come in 21 sizes so are suitable for any space whether you are intending to stock only 2 gins, or a full range to rival any gin bar. And if you want to go full pelt, with wines, lagers, the lot, have a look at our racking. Newly developed, we can make multiple configurations for a commercial bar space (this isn’t a recommendation for you to start selling your cocktails to your neighbours – I’m pretty sure you need a licence for this) or a larger home bar.
 
  • Nuts. No bar is complete without bowls of nuts, crisps or similar to soak up the alcohol slightly! I know this may be a bit of a wasted effort, but at least they provide a small amount of sustenance for the barperson!
  Never again will your drinks evenings be full of flat cola and cocktails that fail to impress, enjoy, and don’t forget my invite!