Friday, 1 July 2016

We're moving to a new home!

Luckily it doesn't involve packing any boxes... Nor does it mean dealing with a removal company... And we certainly won't need to work out what will go where when we arrive.  So what kind of a move is this? It all sounds a bit too easy.

Well, it's actually been a busy couple weeks, but I'm pleased to announce beautiful foundations has a new website!

Be the first to check it out here:

From now on, all new blog posts will come from this website. Don't worry, you will still be able to follow the latest posts as they happen.  Your details have seamlessly moved over to the new site without any need for signing yourself up again.

So stay tuned for more articles soon! And please let me know if you have any comments or feedback... I hope you enjoy the new place as much as I do!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

4 steps to outdoor heaven

As the weather warms up and with the promise of balmy summer evenings ahead, it's time to make the most of being outdoors. But are you stuck for some ideas on how to revamp your outside space? Our outdoor areas are just as important as those on the inside. How we accessorise them and the furniture we choose can evoke a certain atmosphere and ambience. Whether it's a patio, conservatory, terrace or patch of lawn, update your outdoor room and you'll never want to go back inside! Here are 4 steps to create your perfect room with a view:

1) Fill your outdoor space with flowers

Create a beautiful setting with blowsy blooms and sunny displays. But don't worry if you're not very green-fingered, get yourself a few pots and arrange them artfully around the garden. This is a great way of adding some colour and finding out what grows well where.

If you're unsure which flowers to buy, keep to a limited colour palette, such as white and green:

Be creative with your choice of pot too!

Why not try....
These apta planters, produced in conjunction with the RHS, would be a beautiful addition.

2) Let your garden glow

It doesn't have to be complicated, nor very elaborate, but lighting up your garden is the best way of enjoying those summer evenings. Solar-powered lights are fuss-free as are collections of candles and lanterns. Group candles together on a table for flickering light as you eat. Use light strings for illuminating dark corners, whereas individual lamps can be used to highlight architectural features or  hidden away in foliage to magical effect.

Use solar powered or LED planters for drama:

Emphasise the curve of a path or wall with a string of light:

Often the simplest lights create the most beauty:

Why not try...
The Seta Windlight from Lombok is perfect for a collection of candles or containing a string of battery-operated LED lights. Easy to move around the garden too for flexible lighting when entertaining:

3) Indulge in a well-loved theme
When gathering ideas for plants in your garden or for decorating your seating areas, the choice of colour and item can be overwhelming. For this reason it can be much easier to stick to a certain theme.

One colour palette you can't really go wrong with is the classic combination of nautical blue and white. Break it up with  a bit of red or a hint of black. Always works well with wood and can look both elegant and quirky. Seaside chic.

Blue accessories will feel cool on hot summer days and transport you on holiday. You won't ever feel bored of this timeless combination.

These colours also work well on planters, stone work, lighting and flowers in your garden:

Why not try...
The dreamy Nordic Sea tableware by Broste Copenhagen is like looking out to sea:

4) Create a welcoming table

One of the best things about summer and moving your life more outdoors is the entertaining you can do in your garden. No more confinement from four walls, you can throw open your doors and embrace the blurry edges that plants and lighting can create outside. Whether an intimate dinner for two or a party for many, key is to create a welcoming table and atmosphere for you and your guests.

Start by choosing furniture which can stand the variability and rigours of the British climate so that you can enjoy dining al fresco year after year. It's wonderful to have a large table, but if space is not sufficient, don't overlook extending tables and folding chairs which are great for impromptu gatherings and can be safely stored away when not in use.  Be bold in your choice of material too. Wood is always classic, but stone and concrete are big this year and work well outdoors.

Accessorise with comfortable soft furnishings such as cushions and throws to create a relaxed area for dining and socialising. There are lots of home ware items such as rugs and lights which can also be used outside. Continue the decor colours of your house and you'll feel right at home!

Or take advantage of not having to sit on chairs at all and create a picnic or film night!

In terms of tableware, melamine is child-friendly and making a come-back with retro inspired designs, geometric patterns or adorned with fun slogans. Alternatively mix and match with whatever you have around as the variety will bring charm.

Why not try...
To keep you warm as the sun sets, use this lovely orchre Diamond Knitted Throw:
And this Two-Tone Zinc Vase would look lovely as a vase for cut flowers or as a water pitcher on the table:

Friday, 3 June 2016

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

There are so many beautiful objects from the past. Unique items that seem so lovingly made, especially when compared to the mass produced goods we can now buy in the high street shops. I visited some of the antique shops in Rye the other day. (If you've not been, go! An entire town dedicated to antiques and salvaged finds - it's heaven!) Browsing through the wares in the shops, I literally could have bought everything I saw... My husband and the lack of space in our car were the only things holding me back. Sadly.

But I'm not the only one with an eye on these historical finds. There's been a huge rise in popularity in anything vintage or antique. (Apparently the former is anything over 20 years old, whereas the latter is over 100 years old).  In home interiors we value objects that are unique, that have a story of their own and personalise the space within which they live. Finding items made properly and loved by others before, ticks all of these boxes. Running alongside this trend, there is also a growing consciousness among us all about the waste we are creating on our planet. How cheap furniture and home accessories will often get thrown onto the scrap heap once their useful life has ended. In producing items for a mass market we use up a tremendous amount of energy and precious resources. If we can buy something already made, something individual from the depths of time, then this will help cut that waste and make our homes look beautiful at the same time.

These two strands of thought are intertwining to ensure that repurposing old furniture and old household items are now more popular than ever. The generation that lived through the war and its aftermath had no choice but to 'make do and mend', and now this idea has been brought up-to-date and is being embraced in ever more ways by a generation too used to seeing 'made in Taiwan'.

This doesn't mean breaking the bank, as sites such as Gumtree, Freecycle and Freegle have shown. All across the country there are also auction houses which sell an ever changing mix of interesting items and furniture. They're a great (and addictive!) shopping experience. Find your local one here.

So, no excuses! Head out there and get shopping! (As if you needed an excuse!)

But, I know what you're thinking, it's actually tricky to know what to do with these second hand items. Who needs more stuff? What happens if you love what you see, but you don't know what to do with it? This is where you can let your imagination and creativity loose! Don't put limits on yourself, be inspired...

Here are some ideas to get you started...
  • Turn an old tv into a drinks cabinet:

  • A haberdashery or glass display cabinet as shoe storage:

  • Repainting furniture can give it an instant new lift:

  • Use lovely old furniture in unexpected places:

  • Be creative with your lighting too:

  • Car parts can be given a new function - here bar stools:

  • Re-think how you use multiple items, such as these tables stacked on top of each other to create a tall unit; the bottle tops used as a splash-back and old miss-matching doors used for a built-in wardrobe:

  • Take those ideas outside too...

  • Or just go crazy and use that old banger, or errr crutches:

Top tips for buying second hand:

1) Don't be put off with work. If you're drawn to an item but it needs a lick of paint, or if a carpenter needs to work on it first, don't let this phase you! A weekend spent sanding and painting or asking someone to do a bit of sawing will still mean you end up with something much more special (and usually cheaper), than if you bought it from a catalogue.

2) Try it out. It's obvious, but if you're buying a second hand chair, try it out first. Don't be afraid to sit on it and put your feet up. Of course though, remember that you can always get the covers re-upholstered and stuffing re-stuffed! (But this will add to the cost, so haggle on the price...)

3) Be aware of materials. Is it solid wood or a cheaper veneer? Is it sturdy? In our age of knock-offs, be sure you're getting the real deal and not just badly made furniture posing as something a lot nicer.

4) Go with your gut. Even if it's not solid wood, it can still be beautiful, so don't feel bad buying it anyway. Ikea hacks look amazing! Equally, trust your instincts the other way. You may love the look of it, but if there's a pong about it or a strange large stain, you may have to assume that these won't go and perhaps it's best to leave the item alone.

5) Think before you buy. Finding beautiful old objects can become addictive (believe me, I know!), so choose your pieces with care, you want quirky and interesting, not for your home to look like an old salvage yard. Be mindful of where you'd like to put it first. Do you also have the time to re-do it or repurpose it? If the answer is not sure or no, then it's ok to just enjoy browsing, a bit of dreaming and then head off for brunch with friends... You can always go back to the shop :-)