Keeping on top of interior trends as they change on a seasonal and monthly basis is almost a full-time job in itself, but also something that gives great ideas and inspiration if decorating or updating decor in your home. Personally, I use a variety of well researched sources (good reason to spend hours on Instagram: I’m working, honestly!) to keep “in the loop” with the upcoming trends; from interior bloggers to online interior magazines, all of which provide great ideas as well as new places to look for products or just to give me serious home envy! (Most of which comes from seeing homes that do not have muddy footprints across the beautifully tiled kitchen floors, chocolate handprints on the Farrow and Ball painted walls or plump, succulent cushions that are placed perfectly on sofas and not being used as pugel sticks in a rework of Gladiators!). Kicking off 2018, some of the trends that I have seen being buzzed about include bright colour palettes (crayoned walls do not count apparently) against a neutral sage (if I squint hard enough, my bright green kitchen walls almost achieve this) and funky doors, both interior and exterior. Three of the trends that I like the most though are… The crush on velvet as an indulgent texture – something that brings full on glamour to even the most neutral of rooms simply by throwing (placing!) in a few cushions or even going as far as a luscious sofa. Have a look at lounje for some great velvet sofas and materials which just ask to be stroked. Dark, Scandi inspired wood as the movement for natural products heads further away from the light oaks that have been filling homes as standard towards a moodier scheme. Achieve this with IronFire furniture by opting for one of our darker tabletops that have been burnt using our shou sugi-ban technique more than usual. (The beauty being with our tables that when the wooden palette trend inevitably changes again, we can update just the table top for you without having to replace the frame. Clever, no?) Industrial style metallics – rather than the rose gold that has been everywhere recently, these have more of a brushed masculine effect and can be used in accessorising quite affectively, or did I mention that we now do a brushed chrome frame for our tables? Look at us being all 2018!
It’s not often that something that you can use inside of your house will also work outside. The practicality of an industrial style piece of furniture for example, that looks great enough to have in your dining room but also is strong and durable enough to be taken out onto your patio or veranda when the weather is nice enough to entertain the thought of dining al fresco. This is one of the reasons that our industrial handmade furniture has been made to work in both environments. To be diverse enough to look great when you’re entertaining inside, but also with the toughness to be able to withstand the weather so that if nice enough, your dining room table can be taken outside without having to worry about the rain making the top bow and ruining something that is too expensive to be able to replace regularly. The galvanised steel used in the manufacture of our chairs and table bases has been coated with a textured anthracite finish which is robust and will not corrode. The sustainably sourced Douglas Fir used for the wooden tops of the tables can be given a coating of two-part epoxy resin which increases the longevity; and a glass top (an optional extra on all of our tables) will enhance this even further. While the cotton covers of the cushions on our chairs for inside will not be suitable for use in the garden if it rains, the material used for the garden cushions is UV stable so do not have to be kept out of direct sunlight, and are also stain proof and water resistant for times of surprise showers or spillages. We like the idea of taking the inside outside and vice versa, and the industrial design of our furniture always bears this in mind. With the new trend of interior design in the garden simply being an extension of your style inside your home, and bringing the outside inside, (see our Pinterest board for some ideas and inspiration on this) IronFire furniture can help to make this a reality. We can make sure that the size of your inside and garden dining area does not constrain you either. For bigger spaces, our event table is perfect; whereas our smaller bistro table is ideal for a more restricted patio or breakfast room. Both are available in different sizes and colours to suit. Attainable, affordable and without constraints. That’s how to be more IronFire.
What is “fast furniture”? Recent research shows that millenials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than investing it back into anything but essentials for their homes; and other constraints can often mean that the money to invest in furniture is just not available. Due to this, people are looking to mass-produced furniture that is first and foremost cheap and functional. If you are looking for a quick fix, fundamentally there is no problem with this. However, the furniture is not built to last. Cracking when being put together, and not withstanding day to day life (especially when there are children involved!) can mean replacing the furniture within two or three years – so altogether a false economy. To produce furniture at this low cost, wood used is generally not from a sustainable source. Cheap imports from Russian and Eastern European forests are illegally logged meaning the devastation of natural fish and wildlife habitats, and the decline of many varieties of trees including oak, ash and birch. The demand for cheap, Chinese made furniture has started a cycle which is destroying the worlds forests and wildlife at an alarming rate. And surprisingly, a lot of furnitures big players are not impartial to this. Another way of producing cheap furniture is to get it made by a cheap workforce. Vietnamese and Indian children are often employed on a mass scale to produce the parts for the desks and tables, while earning an absolute pittance. Cheap furniture equals child labour: a good reason to buy British. Flatpacking the furniture also keeps the price down – it all allows for more economical logistics both from manufacturer to retailer, then from retailer to consumer. Ergo, it’s down to the consumer to put it together; loose dowells, missing screws (or the extra one at the end which causes panic over the one that you forgot) and maybe even divorce, flatpack furniture is by no means a happy experience. I’m sure you think that the point of this blog post is me telling you to buy expensive furniture. It’s really not. The advice here is to find British made, sustainable goods that can be delivered to your door fully assembled if possible. And this doesn’t always have to be an expensive option. Just well made, good value and environmentally guilt free. IronFire. Affordable, aspirational and non-divorce causing.
Industrial style furniture has risen in popularity over recent years, with the trend for reclaimed materials and the New York loft apartment look really taking off. Whether a rural country home, modern apartment or commercial office, the look can be adaptable and fit in to any environment which explains its appeal. Predominantly, the look will encompass hard wearing steel and wood that has been completed to a hard wearing but almost rustic finish that looks like it will withstand pressure and a lot of use! The look could be described as more masculine than feminine, however this can create a great contrast within a home by styling in a more softer way. Read our blog post on styling an IronFire coffee table here – where we took it on a trip to an amazing local interior shop to show how versatile the industrial look really can be. While it’s original home was in factories and warehouses, the functional yet diverse look of this type of furniture can make it’s home almost anywhere. Purpose built and designed, our furniture can retain that warehouse look while being more suited to use than reclaimed and restyled furniture. IronFire uses a fusion of strong galavanised steel for the frame of our tables, topped with sustainable Douglas fir wood which we either paint, or finish with a technique that combines our own handcrafting with the ancient Japanese process of burning wood also known as Shou Sugi-Ban. Aspirational, adaptable and industrial; but also happy to be in any environment. That’s how to be more IronFire.
Industrial Yakisugi Coffee TableAnother week for IronFire sees another collaboration with a local firm. This time our Industrial Yakisugi Coffee Table went on an outing to Avalon Interiors in Frome. Yakisugi is an old Japanese tradition of burning wood to protect against boring insects. Of course, Avalon is the home of Sarah Hayford and an Aladdin’s Cave of gorgeous clocks, mirrors and all things interior. We wanted to get it right. Also it was was the first time we had tried out this finish. So, we took a Coffee Table in it’s standard size (1400×900). The table top was crafted in our works in Wiltshire using the Yakisugi method and our own style of hand finish. We think that we’re one of the only UK furniture makers using burning on Douglas Fir to decorate tables. Yakisugi is a tradition used to preserve wood from rot and bugs. It also increases the life of wood and, amazingly, it’s fire resistance. At the same time Douglas timber is just about the most rot resistant wood around. Also, our Industrial style rust treated metal frames are weather proof and good for use both indoors and out. And that’s what Ironfire is all about – making things so they can be kept for a very long time and are easily repaired and refreshed.
Avalon Interiors add a special touchSarah took our industrial Yakisugi Coffee table with it’s mix of Japan and Wiltshire, and made it something even more beautiful. It really stood out when she placed it amongst the other room settings in her shop. You’ll find all of the products shown in these photos at Avalon Interiors in the Westway Precinct in Frome, Somerset. Alternatively you can find Sarah via her website. Our Yakisugi industrial coffee table can be found on our products page. The Yakisugi burnt wood example shown in this pages images can be finished in lots of ways. Please email us or call for more info. We are always pleased to chat
We know it’s a bit of a cliché and rolled out regularly, but at IronFire we really do believe in caring for the environment and leaving as small a carbon footprint as we possibly can. Many factors come into play when staying on the right side of the environment, and while all of our products are all designed and built in the United Kingdom thus reducing our carbon emissions, one of the most important things to us is the use of sustainable wood in our table tops. We produce these using Douglas Fir; a strong, British grown tree that has come from a well-managed plantation. The growth of the trees is controlled to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife, and buying from a source like this means that many of the forests in the EU are growing as fast as they are being cut down. Buying sustainable wood not only helps the environment for generations to come, but also means that you are not aiding the disruption of the forests abroad in places like Brazil. The logging in these countries can not only destroy the forest itself but also the habitats of the wildlife and the indigenous people who make it their home. Illegal wood trading can encourage human rights abuse and leave trees on the endangered list such as certain teaks and mahoganies. Moving on from trees to something less green and woody, planned obsolescence is the manipulation of the production of an item to give it a limited lifespan. It therefore becomes broken or useless after a short period of time; the idea being that sales will be regenerated when purchasing the said item’s replacement. The consumer trend for planned obsolescence has caused a rise in the dumping of unwanted, broken products as they break quickly so are replaced due to necessity, or upgraded to the latest model. How many people have a drawer full of old mobile phones or see fly-tipping increasing? I know in the rural area where I live it’s certainly causing a problem with old mattresses, chairs and other unwanted household items piling up on the roadside and in the woods. While planned obsolescence has it’s place as a consumer model, it is also responsible for global warming and waste as products are mass produced and replaced. Therefore, the longevity of a product is also very relevant to it’s impact on the global environment as a whole. So what should you look for if you want your furniture to be environmentally friendly? Sustainable wood from FSC approved sources; something that is made and distributed from the country that you live in; and a product that has been made with quality workmanship and materials to ensure that you will not be replacing it on a regular basis are all factors to be taking into consideration. We like fresh air and we like trees. And we make our products with a craftsmanship that means that they will definitely last longer than your mobile phone! That’s how we strive to be more IronFire.