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Homes & interiors

Trends for SS20

Kit kitchen sch must h ware & ave new release s

ild u b f l e S focusfa: mily

m Tips fro building on 4th ject pro

Plus: Bathroom bliss, what’s beneath your bedroom choices, fab ooring & more...

in association with

Homes & Interiors | 03

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph


Spring into action on the home front

36 22



hen it’s not raining, snowing or blowing a gale, the bright sunlight is penetrating the gloom, illuminating every nook and cranny of our homes. It’s time to get spring cleaning. While it’s the perfect time to get rid of all that clutter it’s also an opportunity to take stock of what needs to be moved, improved or removed completely. No wonder it’s prime time for householders to start renovation projects. Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who have recently moved into a new build, the chances are you will have a wishlist of projects and refurbs you’d like to undertake. Check out our pages on living room trends as well as kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms for inspiration. And if you are thinking of going the whole hog and building your dream home, we have suppliers you’ll want to check out as well as tips from the Millar family who have completed three selfbuilds and are currently extending their kitchen into their dining room. Their experience tells them the number one virtue is patience. Of course, if you are merely considering improving where you are, patience is not a requirement but it still pays to shop around and have a good idea of the finished look you are aiming for before you go full steam ahead. Once the main elements of a decorating spree are done, it’s time to put the finishing touches in place. Rugs, pictures, mirrors, lamps, occasional tables and plants all add richly to the overall appearance of a room. There’s something out there to suit every taste and budget and we’ve hunted about to give you some inspiration. Don’t forget to check out art and craft shops in your own area though – original, hand-made work is to be cherished and is often a lot less expensive than you might expect. Show it off and help spread the word about the creative talent on our doorstep. Happy shopping!




6-7 Goodbye gloom, hello spring! 16-17 Muted colours and subtle highlights for a modern classic, Trends that bring SS20 home calming interior 8 5 tips for a free restyle 18-19 Rainbows and citrus hues 10-11 Colour charts: Pale pinks, take a turn on the bright side greens, classic blue and ochre 20 Down to Earth hues and 12 Who’s backin’ black! natural fibres that last 14 Scents & sensibility. Make 22 What does your bedroom say fragrance work in your home about your state of mind?

28 Sleep easy in a bedroom made for relaxation 30 What’s afoot? Flooring dilemmas 32 Help your bathroom become blissful 36 Kitsch kitchenware 48-49 Meet the Millars. After three self-builds, they’re renovating house no. 4 50 Spring to life with plants

PUBLISHED BY: BelfastTelegraph, Clarendon House, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BH | ADVERTISING MANAGER: Jackie Reid, BelfastTelegraph, j.reid@belfasttelegraph.co.uk EDITOR: Fiona Rutherford, Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd, f.rutherford@redni.co.uk | CONTRIBUTORS: Ruaidhri McCarney, Maureen Coleman, Maeve Richardson and Rebecca Petticrew | DESIGN: Robert Armstrong, INM Design Studio, Belfast | PRINTING: INM, Newry


04 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


Our Hagan collection introduces a new colour to the bed range – Rust. The Mini Nature linen set adds a beautiful floral accent.

Herringbone Double Bed, £549, Locker, £199, Chest £599, Makura Linen Double, £40 Hagan Rust Double Bed, £649, Hamilton Locker, £269, Mini Nature Double Duvet, £28


A light, colourful spring ahead from Harvey Norman

Spring is just around the corner – and so is the Harvey Norman Spring Summer 2020 (SS20) collection which will be launched in a few short weeks. Here is a preview of some of our SS20 collection to bring a dash of colour and light as we count down the days to spring...and the Harvey Norman Spring Summer collection Ark dining set, £449

Indy 2.5 Seater, £899 , Nova Medallion Rug, from £70

Our Herringbone Collection brings a timeless yet light feel to a bedroom. The Makura linen adds a touch of calm. Accented with cushions and throws to make for a refreshing and beautiful bedroom.


Our trendy Indy sofa gives you style and comfort and has a choice of on-trend velvet or fabric and a choice of colour. The Nova Medallion rug is a stunning addition to any room.


The sleek and vibrant Isla corner sofa – here in Sky Blue – also has a choice of colour and fabrics so you can find the perfect match. Add the Nova Abstract rug for colour highlights.


Bringing urban comfort to your dining experience, the Ark dining table is bright, sophisticated and extendable. Made from the newest trend in dining materials – melamine – this table is scratch and spill resistant.

Isla Corner Settee, £1,799, Nova Abstract Rug, from £70


All our table lamps in this new collection are the perfect accent to any room with Lustre Ball & Gold, Cream and Brushed Brass, Antique Brass, White Orb & Gold, Watson Table Lamp, Knowle Stags, Jak Touch Table Lamp and Black/White stripe. Harvey Norman Lighting Collection, from £55 Marmalade Doorstops, £20 Lumi Dining Set, £899


Meet the Marmalade gang. These doorstops will bring fun (and function) to your room!

Our Lumi dining set has a striking white marble effect tabletop contrasted by blush velvet seats for a sophisticated and modern design. The ceramic surface – another materials trend we love – makes it scratch and spill resistant.

06 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 Clarissa Hulse Ombre Sunset Curtains from from ÂŁ45.55, www.curtains-2go.co.uk

Goodbyewintergloom, hellospring! The soft, natural colours of the season are right at home indoors

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Looking for 2020 vision for home trends? It’s all in the mix!

Pinks, peaches, yellows, greens and blues have won a place in our hearts and homes in recent years and that’s set to continue. Rather than slavishly adhering to one particular style, throw off the shackles, pick whatever makes you happy and you’ll be bang on trend! Mix old and new, put your personality

front and centre and let your home truly reflect the tastes and loves of its inhabitants. We’ve sussed out some of the direction of travel of home interiors on our trend pages. Whet your appetite but don’t order straight from the menu – pick and mix is the order of the day for 2020.

The simply luscious Spring Tulip Buttermilk fabric from the Grandiflora Rose range at Designers Guild Banbridge linen maker John England this month launches its ‘Hempy’ range of hemp blended fabrics

Huge hues

Earth to earth

Sustainable, natural materials such as bamboo, wood, hemp, wool, linen and stone are thankfully here to stay. That respect for the planet means earthy touches and tones abound – think olive, ochre, wine and woody browns.

Prominent colours for 2020 include classic blue, a pale pink and a gentle light green.

Tropic Sunset Pink Botanical Wallpaper, £85 per roll, Woodchip and Magnolia, www.woodchipandmagnolia.co.uk

Classic Blue is Pantone’s Colour of the Year

First Light, Benjamin Moore Colour of the year

Eye-catching and with a nod to nature, the Bali rattan peacock chair, £245, Oliver Bonas, various stockists

More mono

If you shy away from colour, add oomph with dynamic black and white. Black accents add a touch of drama in many schemes and it’s the go to hue for luxe bathrooms and kitchens as we start the new decade.

Soothing blue patterns from Laura Ashley’s SS20 catalogue Add black accents for drama, Monkey lamp, £50, very.co.uk


If you have loved your accent wall, you may be itching to extend that striking pattern or colour and let it take over the whole room – ceiling included. Wallpaper and stick on wallcoverings are enjoying a renaissance, even making a trip to the bathroom!

Tranquil Dawn, Dulux Colour of the Year

08 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

When it comes to grouping items, three is the magic number. Leona Tripod Marble and Brass Table, £89, Cult Furniture, www.cultfurniture.com

5 tips for a free restyle


here’s nothing like a visit to a style savvy friend or relative’s home to disturb one’s peace. You might have been perfectly satisfied with your lot until you find yourself admiring their picture shelves, huge wall art or new suite and before you know it, the comparisons come crowding in. By the time you’ve arrived home, all you can see is the flaws and failings of what was your favourite place when you got up that day. Don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to improve your space and many of Plants add life to any them don’t even involve getting your room. Mrs. Schultz Ceramic Jar, £13.50, card out. Here are our top tips for Red Candy, www.redcandy.co.uk switching things up for next to nothing.


Clear out the clutter. There’s no point in moving it from place to place. Take a few days and work your way through every room, throwing out what’s broken, giving away what you don’t want or need and putting everything else in its place. By the time

Use mirrors to add style and increase light. Bohemian Brass Beaded Mirror, £24.99, Mint & May, www.mintandmay.co.uk

Experiment with different placements for rugs and artwork. Bailey Accent Chair, £229, Cult Furniture, www.cultfurniture.com you’ve finished, you’ll have rediscovered what you loved about your home before that disconcerting visit.


Don’t improve, move! No, we don’t mean up sticks and relocate – rather try rearranging the layout of your rooms. Why not consider experimenting with the use of a room – maybe your underused dining room would make a relaxing family room or the conservatory would lend itself to a dining table and chairs? Alternatively, simply rearrange the furniture within a room, trying different placements of sofas, tables, chairs and rugs. This is best done after you’ve decluttered. Don’t forget to try mirrors, coffee tables and pictures in different positions. The chances are you’ll find an arrangement that transforms the space into something you love.


Introduce more light. With spring upon us, maximise those uplifting rays by giving the windows, sills and mirrors a thorough cleaning. If you don’t have mirrors in one of your rooms, you’re missing a trick as they not only make any space look bigger, they maximise the light and cause it to bounce about in the most enchanting way.


Get that artwork up. Lots of us have pictures and photos we’ve never got round to framing. The chances are you already have frames that you could use. Get someone to help you with positioning

for a display that will transform a blank space into a spot that’s full of life and character. If you have beautiful books, display them on a side table. When you’re arranging items, groups of three work best.


We’re confident you’ll be delighted with the fruit of your labour but if you’re still lacking something, introduce a new colour with a lick of paint or a new throw Boring shelves can be or cushions. A fabulous transformed with a coat of new or relocated house paint. Fowler tall shelves, plant may be the perfect £299, made.com finishing touch.

10 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


First Light is the uplifting soft pink, selected as paint firm Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year for 2020

Mix pastels together for a soothing scheme. An unusual angled armchair in pastel pink from Ligne Roset Ruche

The Elbert cushion is 45cm x 45cm with an eyecatching geo pattern, £12, Made.com Stripy 3 Tier Cake Stand, £39.50, Bombay Duck, www.bombayduck.com

The large Mary Multi-Coloured Hand-Tufted Pile Rug 170X240Cm, £350, Habitat, www.habitat.co.uk



The big hit colour trends for 2020 are as gentle as they are versatile. From Dulux’s soothing pale greenTranquil Dawn to Benjamin Moore’s soft pink First Light to Pantone’s rich Classic Blue there’s an emphasis on wellbeing and positivity. Add in the other current big hitter, yellow ochre and you’ve got a palette that will have you smiling inside and out. All work well with neutral creams and greys and you can go for stronger saturations for greater impact. GENTLE GREEN

The Moroccan Leather Pouffe in Natural, a traditional leather pouffe design with a contemporary twist, £126, Bohemia Design, www.bohemiadesign.com

The pastel green trend is headed up by Dulux’s grey green Tranquil Dawn but extends to blue or yellow greens as well.

Dulux’s colour of the year, Tranquil Dawn, is warm and versatile Voyage Maison Lotus Leaves Duckegg Cushion, £45, Bridgman www.bridgman.co.uk Green Retro Palm Leaf Glass Pendant Light with brass detailing, £85, Cult Furniture, www.cultfurniture.co

Table Lamp Corduroy Green, Cuckooland, www.cuckooland.com

High gloss Oken folding table with removable tray, £40, Habitat, www.habitat.co.uk

Homes & Interiors | 11 Benjamin Moore’s White Heron is a soft foil to the deep blue cabinetry

Named after one of New York’s trendiest neighborhoods, the Tribeca Table Lamp comes in a choice of woods and shade fabrics, Boca do Lobo, www.bocadolobo.com

Opulent, plush and strokeably soft, this sumptuous dark blue velvet bedspread is handstitched from matte cotton velvet, £100, Soak&Sleep, www.soakandsleep.com For every day use or as an ornament the blue Orca Jug, £35, Sweetpea & Willow, www.sweetpeaandwillow.com

Phones in Dusky Pink and Biscay Blue, £70, Harvey Norman, www.harvey-norman.co.uk

Ivyline Monza Vintage Blue Planter Plant Pot Flower Pot 15cm, £9.99, range of stockists, www.ivylinegb.co.uk


CLASSIC BLUES Blues of all hues are huge and set to remain popular for years to come.

A beautifully detailed leopard prowls among on trend palms and ferns against a dark blue velvet. Leopard in the Tropics Velvet Cushion, £50, The French Bedroom Co, www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

The warm, muted shades of mustardy ochre work wonderfully pretty much anywhere.

Mossi Cone Lamp Shade, Colosseum Base, Blue Portrait, Mindthegap, www.mindtheg.com We love this Vintage Linen Cushion in Nomad Gypsy Ochre 50x50cm, £109, Mindthegap, www.mindtheg.com Geometric patterns add to the appeal of the ochre Villa Nova Haldon Rug, £725, Sweetpea & Willow, www.sweetpeaandwillow.com

If you don’t want to commit to an ochre suite, a throw is a cheap alternative, Tana Stonewashed Throw Ochre £74, Abode Living, www.abodeliving.co.uk

Blue Marble Cushion takes the organic beauty of marble, with all its cracks, shatters and markings, this super soft cushion is stitched from faux suede and can slip in effortlessly alongside your existing soft furnishings. 43 x 43 cm £29.95, Mint & May, www.mintandmay.co.uk

12 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

For the brave and those with rock solid immunity to migraines, how about the Optical Art Spiral wallpaper. Available to order onto a variety of wallpapers including peel and stick. From £29m², Wallsauce.com

This distinctive clock (D 60cm) has a magnifying glass-shaped hour hand and comes from the Dutch design house Cloudnola. Magnifier black and white oversized wall clock, £150, Habitat, www.habitat.co.uk

Who’s backin’ black?

You don’t need to go all out mono to benefit from black accents in a room. Just an edging, a frame, a striking motif and you’re there. A new take on an iconic mid-century silhouette, the black Dexter leather dining chair, £109, Cult Furniture, www.cultfurniture.com

The understated Onza easy-fit pendant has a curved, open frame with a matt black finish for contemporary style, twin pack £138, Dar Lighting Group, www.darlighting.co.uk

Short of cupboard space? This 4 Tier Metal Pan Stand has ornate cast aluminium shelves, steel uprights and cast iron feet. Comes in various colours, 6 or 4 tier versions, from £121, Artisanti, www.artisanti.com

Kitchens are seeing a lot of black action. Accessorise with the Luxe Marble Cutting Board with Leather Handle, £39.50, Mink Interiors, www.minkinteriors.com

The Karlsson Dragonfly Wall Clock, created by Dutch firm Boxtel & Buijs, features a domed glass, a contrasting black bezel and dial with white hands, and large print numerals for visual impact, £39, Red Candy, www.redcandy.co.uk

Get mornings off to a silly start with the Hubert & George Beard Egg Cup Set, £10, Red Candy, www.redcandy.co.uk

Woven in India on a traditional handloom, this 100% cotton rug is available in four sizes. Delphi black and white geometric style printed rug, from £29.99, homescapesonline.com

The Haze Black Rattan Bar Stool oozes ’70s nostalgia, £115, Beaumonde, www.beaumonde.co.uk

14 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Rose Aenigma vegan candle, £35, Le Couvent des Minimes Turkish rose and Egyptian geranium combine in an irresistible, heady scent with a burn time of approximately 50 hours.

Fresh Linens soy-blend candle, £44, Clean Space Bourbon Vetiver sourced from Madagascar releases an earthy, rosy scent.

Scents and Sensibility BY MAEVE RICHARDSON


f you are looking for an effortless way in which to create ambiance in your home then don’t underestimate the power of scent. There is nothing like the waft of a particular fragrance to stir up the senses and set the mood for your day or night ahead. Particular scents are known to promote certain benefits and a little bit of knowledge of how they can affect us can go a long way.

Soothing fragrances

Lavender – this essential oil has long been a favourite of insomniacs and is thought to have a soothing effect on the senses, dispelling tension and creating a feeling of calmness and serenity. Jasmine, like lavender, is also thought

to be calming but has a much sweeter fragrance and may help produce a feeling of confidence, optimism and revitalised energy. Rose is traditionally used to calm and uplift the senses. A favourite of romantics, legend says the red rose came from the blood of the Greek love goddess Aphrodite, and it’s definitely one of my all-time favourite scents. Eucalyptus enhances feelings of relaxation, soothes nervous tension and encourages easy breathing.

Energising fragrances

Rosemary has stimulating properties that help combat physical exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue, the perfect morning pick-me-up. Citrusy scents like lemon, lime or orange

can promote concentration and have calming and clarifying properties that may help disperse feelings of anger or anxiety and reinvigorate the senses. Cinnamon is also thought to help fight mental fatigue and improve focus. Peppermint. This energy booster invigorates the mind, promotes concentration and stimulates clear thinking. So whether the aim is to set the scene for romance, host a fabulous dinner party, find your zen while you meditate or have a restful night’s sleep, there is a fragrance to fit your needs. Although it’s useful to know which scents energise and which soothe, the most important thing is to find the one that you love the most. From candles to diffusers and room sprays, we are spoilt for choice!

Lavender & Musk diffuser, £67, Jo Malone London A Limited Edition Spring Collection (in stores March 2020) celebrates English lavender like never before in a series of colognes as well as this indulgent diffuser.

Calacas body spray, £20, Lush Technically this is a body spray but it also works nicely as a room spray or to freshen up soft furnishings. Zesty lime, uplifting neroli and woody olibanum oil refresh the senses.

Basil, Bergamot & Lemongrass soy wax candle, £22, Tulipmoon A lively, peppery, aniseedy combination to uplift the senses. This fabulous Belfast-based company can be found on instagram (tulipmoonni), Facebook, and at www.tulipmoon.com.

Liquid reed diffuser in Rain, £46, Clean Space Vegan and recyclable, this diffuser features sustainable cedarwood oil, lavender and patchouli, and the aroma lasts up to 90 days.

Coco Loco body spray, £20, Lush If you’re interested in something a little more unorthodox then this tantalisingly coconutty concoction featuring Brazilian orange and lemongrass oils is just the ticket to brighten up your day.

16 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 SS20 accessories from Designers Guild, www.designers.guild.com


For underst ated sophisticatio n, combine m odern classic looks and luxury fa brics like velvet and lin en with a nod to Scandi styling. Soft edges and ro unded shapes create a natu ral, organic fe el while calm shades of blu ing e, green and grey help th stresses dri oses ft away. Flora l or geometri patterns ad c d interest. A little metal lic sheen here , a pop of white or char treuse there and a few well pla ced plants enliven the w hole.

Homes & Interiors | 17 Show off your plant with a Large Vintage Gold Metal Planter, £48.95, Melody Maison, www.melodymaison.co.uk

Stylish and comfortable, the blue velvet Radici armchair, £749, Harvey Norman, www.harvey-norman.co.uk

Geo patterning at its best: Dallas Coffee Table, £250, Kelly Hoppen, range of stockists

Collection Luxe Glimmer Cushion £20, Next, www.next.co.uk

Solid style: Eichholtz Anastasia Mirror, £1294, Sweetpea & Willow, www. sweetpeaandwillow.com Form meets function in the Claes Nesting Coffee Table, £199, Cult Furniture, www.cultfurniture.com

An upmarket take on the beanbag, the Velvet Shell Back Bean Chair, £95, Next, www.next.co.uk

Hummingbird Foil Canvas, £50, Next, www.next.co.uk

This stunning sideboard is from Gallery Direct’s Tate collection at Warden’s Newtownards

Mirrored surfaces are excellent in dark places. Florence Mirrored Console Table, £309, EZ Living Interiors, www.ezlivinginteriors.co.uk Roberto Cavalli Canopy Silk Cushion, blue, 40x40cm, £158, Amara Living, www.amara.com

Harmony Floor Lamp in Oak, £170, Habitat, www.habitat.co.uk

Magnolia Green Grey Triangles pattern cushion, £12.99, HomeSense, tkmaxx.com

18 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020




t’s not only clothing inspiration Northern Ireland’s homeowners are taking from the catwalk this spring as leading independent department store, Wardens of Newtownards, says more people are injecting some directional designs into their homes following an increasing number of high-end fashion brands making a foray into homewares. Siobhan McNeilly, Interior Designer from Wardens of Newtownards, said: “Like fashion, interiors are a way to express personality and style. More and more people are looking for inspiration, modern design and a diversity of styles and the crossover of fashion into the home is becoming increasingly popular. “Materials, shapes, colours and texture are no longer just for your wardrobe but are key things to consider for your home décor too. “Through our Interior Design service, we work with clients to show them the wealth of options available and this definitely gives them the confidence to be braver in their choice of décor. The high-end fashion brands that we stock are playing a key role in this. What better way to add a luxurious touch to your home than with a gorgeous Ralph Lauren wallpaper or Mulberry fabric.” Ralph Lauren was the first American brand to enter the realm of homewares and its signature collection offers the finest

Rainbow magic Bring the spring home with bright, beautiful colours...

Ralph Lauren Spring Summer 2020 selection of stripes in beautiful qualities of glorious linen and smart cotton, alive with the hallmark frontier character of this distinguished fashion house. Mulberry Home continues to draw inspiration from its rich heritage whilst remaining a committed pioneer of fashionable trends. For the finishing touches, Vera Wang has partnered with Wedgwood to create a collection of sophisticated dinnerware, barware, votives, frames and vases in both china and crystal. Wardens of Newtownards was established in 1877 and is one of Northern Ireland’s most vibrant independent stores with seven departments dedicated to the home. To find out about the Interior Design service phone 028 9181 2147.

German artist Mareike Böhmer draws inspiration from Scandinavian design, Berlin’s street art and the natural world. Colourful Stripes 4. Mareike Bohmer, £55, Habitat, www. habitat.co.uk

Vivid Taylor rug, from £24, Kukoon, www.kukoon.com

Show off colourful plants or simple foliage, Rainbow Plant Pot, £22, Red Candy, www.redcandy.co.uk

The Moorish style Taha’a cotton cushion comes in chartreuse or teal, £95, Penelope Hope, www.penelopehope.com

Brighten up your walls with this colourful abstract In Spring tree canvas print in green and pink by Louise Mead. The edges are printed so no frame necessary. Available in five sizes, from 12” x 8” for £45, to 40” x 30’ for £165, www.louisemead.co.uk

Love Birds Trinket Tray, £8, Emily Brooks, www.emilybrooks.co.uk

Squeeze the day! Have spring and summer all year round with a bright splash of zingy colour

Wake up your mornings with this yellow Pantry Clock, £35, Newgate Clocks at Amara, www.amara.com


28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph Perfect for everything from a flowers to Pimms, Emma Bridgewater Pink Roses 3 pint jug, £49.95, Daisy Park and range of stockists

Homes & Interiors | 19

Gallery 1608 meets William Mullan

This talented local artist talks about his inspiration and style


his month Gallery 1608 catches up with William Mullan, an artist that has got both collectors and fellow artists excited with paintings which are reminiscent of great Irish artists like McKelvey and Humbert Craig. Now in his 70s we have obtained works never seen before in public and we are sure you will agree how talented this artist is.

What type of scenes do you like to paint? I like majestic views that have a recognisable landmark. In my paintings you will see places like Dunluce Castle, Ballintoy Harbour, Fairhead, Ballycastle, Mussenden Temple, the River Bann and some of the bridges. What inspires you about these places? I like to paint things that carry the history of the past. For instance, when I paint Dunluce Castle, I am thinking of the MacDonalds of Antrim who built the castle. I imagine what it would have been like when they lived there – as if the painting is vibrating with the history from the past. How would you describe your style? I want to convey mood and atmosphere

and I do that through tone and colour. Rich colours prevent the canvas from being dull or drab. I always use shadows to offset lighter areas in the landscape. I want to paint as close to nature as possible. I do not want my paintings to look like photographs. I keep my style loose and painterly. I want to capture the essence of a place, an impression, which creates an emotional response in the viewer.

Who are the artists who inspire you? The English painter David Curtis, I like his style. As for local artists, Frank McKelvey, I have always liked his landscapes. James Humbert Craig, at his best no one can touch him. I have studied and learned much from these three artists. On a lovely sunny day, where would you set up your easel? Anywhere along the coast where you can get the seas, sand and a rocky headland. As you are facing west as the sun goes down

you get shadows, little tips of orange and yellow toning the landscape. If today were a good day, I might go to Whitepark Bay, looking towards the Causeway head. You get good skies and sunsets there. Gallery 1608, Northern Ireland’s largest gallery, is open seven days a week. 83-85 Main Street, Bushmills, Co Antrim, BT57 8QD T: 028 2073 1324 E: info@gallery1608.co.uk W: www.gallery1608.co.uk

20 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 The Botanist look from Very, www.very.co.uk

Green Berry Leaf and Stripe Ceramic Mug £7.50, The Contemporary Home, www.tch. net

Miller Wooden bead ceiling light shade, £89.99, Very, www.very.co.uk

Helsinki Sunday rug, from £24.95, Kukoon Rugs, kukoon.com White and Mint Wicker Basket, £12.99, Homesense, www.homesense.com

Down toearth

Mini Bone Frames, £5.99, TK Maxx, www.tkmaxx.com Kelso Throw, Spring Green is a luxury textured weave throw in natural cream and green colours, produced from chunky space dyed yarns, £49.50, Shimu, www.shimu.co.uk

Celebrate the colours, shapes and textures of nature as you move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Earthy colours and fabrics work well in any scheme from ‘70s styling to the (ethically minded) global traveller trend, Boho or New Nordic. Look for unpainted wood, hemp, wool, cotton and stone along with shades of green, terracotta, sand and water. Flares optional!

Handmade in Germany, exclusive designer cushions from AN-NA Design, €169, www.an-na-design.com/webseite/

Flower Wire Rattan Bowl, £28, Oliver Bonas, www.oliverbonas.com

Original art is hard to beat. Musical Grooves, hand-printed collograph by Fiona Ingham, £15, Fionaingham.art

Jazzy Bolga Storage Baskets make fantastic planters or paper bins and look great grouped together to make a statement. Handcrafted in Ghana, £45, Lola & Mawu, www.lolaandmawu.com

Marble Succulent arrangement, £18, Sainsbury’s Home, www.sainsburys.com

Habitat Ruskin rug, from £24.95, Kukoon Rugs, kukoon.com

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 Girly glamour: pretty floral prints reflect a romantic personality. Nest of tables, £200, Nora table light, £45, vase, £22, Sakura duvet cover, £45, pillowcases (pair), £20, Penelope pillowcases, £25, cushion, £30, runner, £70, print box £30, Peonies in cube, £35, all Debenhams, www.debenhams.com

All white on the night for a minimalist look. Double duvet, £55. Christy, range of stockists


Clever storage solutions from Sliderobes, www.sliderobes.co.uk

What lies beneath your bedroom cover?


f it’s true that our homes reflect our personalities then the bedroom, given its intimate nature, is the room that most likely represents our true selves. When you’re feeling chaotic; like your life is spinning out of control, your bedroom is likely to reflect that state of mind. Some psychologists consider the bedroom the most important space in the home as it’s where you sleep and allow your body and mind to repair. Clutter can either cause, or be caused by, low mood or energy thus de-cluttering the room can help to de-clutter your mind. A minimalist room consisting of white walls, a bed, bedside table and wardrobe,

can be reflective of a person who likes a fuss-free, straightforward life with no distractions. They see the bedroom as the space to fall straight to sleep. But if the room is stark by design it can reflect a person who likes to be in control. Chaos and clutter would be a nightmare for them. A perfectly presented bedroom that looks like it could be right at home in the pages of an interiors mag or has been inspired by Pinterest could belong to a dedicated follower of fashion, who likes to keep a close eye on new trends. This type of room, with funky artwork, cleverly placed potted plants, clashing prints and bold shades, could also suggest a creative

Bold and bright for a bohemian vibe. Mantis light king size bed, £480, Oak Furnitureland, www.oakfurnitureland.com

and conscientious person. But it could also reflect someone who needs external validation such as Instagram likes. Of course, a beautiful, well thought out room filled with en trend furniture and furnishings could be a sign of someone who just likes to be surrounded by pretty, contemporary things and there’s no real science behind their chosen design. Bedrooms that sparkle and shine with colourful accessories, glitzy chandeliers, fluffy cushions, pink sequinned throws and floral prints are likely to belong to a romantic at heart, someone who has long dreamed of their ideal bedroom and knows exactly how it will turn out. A room filled with personal items like photographs and prints, fairylights and candles and which is colourful but not necessarily coordinated tends to reflect a homeowner who prefers cosiness and character to the Instagram ideal. For them the bedroom is the heart of the home, the room they retire to as a safe haven and where they can kick back and relax. Clutter doesn’t bother them and they don’t mind mismatched decor. A bohemian vibe usually says the owner is quite free spirited, artistic and doesn’t care about following the trends or the crowd.


24 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


5’ Bed Frame £449 A strikingly beautiful collection, the Bergen will bring lasting style to any bedroom. Rich, deep wood and stunning marquetry combine to create this bedroom range of dreams.


4’6” Bed Frame £599 The Walkworth is a great solution to ensure you make the most of your space.This elegant and modern ottoman bed is abundant with storage space, boasting nearly 4 times more than a standard drawer divan can offer.


5’ Bed Frame £529 Create an oasis of peace and tranquility with the beautiful Loire bed frame. Featuring panel detailing and an oak top on both the head and footboard, this stunning piece will bring a beautiful calmness to your bedroom. Pair with the full Loire bedroom range for the complete look.

A bedroom to love

You spend more time in your bedroom than any other room in your home so it deserves to be a room that you love. EZ Living Interiors’ bedroom ranges have something for everyone, from traditional to contemporary designs and brand new fabric bed frames GO PLUSH WITH FABRIC VELVET

Looking to create a showstopping bedroom? Our fabulous range of velvet bed frames give an instant luxury look to any bedroom space. Pair with comfy cushions and fur throws for a truly exquisite bedroom. Late for work? Blame it on your seriously comfy and beautiful bed.


4’6” Bed Frame £649 The undeniably beautiful Embrace is the ultimate in comfort and luxury. Featuring a deep, plush cushioned head board and finished in a soft grey or rust orange velvet, this bed is the bed you never knew you needed until now.




5’ Bed Frame £449 Delivering softness and warmth to any bedroom, the Evie bed frame will suit a wide range of interior schemes. This gorgeous bed frame is upholstered in a chic teal velvet that will remain stylish for years to come.

5’ Bed Frame £399 Simple and understated yet still packing a design punch the Floyd is a stunning bed featuring curved lines, slim tapered legs and finished in a soft velvet. Available in blush pink or light grey, this is a wonderfully versatile piece suiting a wide range of interior settings and styles.

5’ Bed Frame £549 Available in navy or light grey velvet, it’s easy to create a luxurious bedroom with the stunning Ariel bed frame. Resting on splayed, light wood legs, this bed features a large headboard with a slight curve, creating an inviting and cosy space.


We believe that kids should be surrounded by creativity and fun and our selection of bunk beds provide exactly this!


£449 The Louver Bunk Bed offers double the sleeping space for half the floor space, making it perfect for siblings and sleepovers alike. Finished in an on-trend dark grey, this stylish and versatile bed is the perfect piece for your kids’ bedroom.


£599 With the Peekaboo Cubby Bunk your kids can sleep happy at night and let their imagination go wild during the day. Whether it’s used for weekly teddy bear tea parties or as a castle that must be defended from dragons, your kids are sure to find endless ways to have fun with the Peekaboo.


26 | Homes & Interiors

An angled ceiling is no obstacle to Sliderobes


stablished in 1983, Sliderobes has been making bespoke fitted wardrobes for over 35 years. Renowned for made-to-measure luxury furniture, it specialises in high-quality storage solutions that make the most of the space in your home. Sliderobes has fitted over 100,000 wardrobes and no two have ever been the same. Leading the way in room transformations, Sliderobes has introduced beautiful new pieces to the showroom. Stunning, luxury marble-look sliding wardrobe doors feature in the collection of real home room sets. Marble has been a popular interior style in kitchens and bathrooms, and now Sliderobes has created a bold yet elegant look for the bedroom.

Exciting time

“Sliderobes’ new approach is very much about marrying design and storage, making the very most, both aesthetically and practically, of the space available,” said Group CEO Paul Rothwell. “It’s a very exciting time for Sliderobes and for our customers who will benefit from a much greater choice of luxurious products, including matching accessories such as dressing tables or bedside units.” Sliderobes specialises in making the most of your space. They believe that every home is unique and offer an amazing choice for your home. Each wardrobe is made-to-measure with the design created with the customer front of mind. The storage solutions are tailored for each

The new range brings luxury to the home

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

The statement, marble look is unique to Sliderobes

Add luxury to your home with Sliderobes

Choose pulldown clothes rails, hideaway mirrors and clever shoe storage

Luxury, fitted wardrobe company Sliderobes has unveiled its latest trends and looks for 2020 at its flagship Belfast showroom

customer, with a wide range of colours, finishes and accessories to choose from.

Tailor-made designs

Fitted made-to-measure wardrobes maximise space in a room. Sliderobes pride themselves in being able to fit furniture into spaces few other companies will touch. From angled ceilings to alcoves, L shapes to around chimneys – they can do it all. Sliderobes also have great gadgets to make the most of your space. Choose from pull-down clothes rails, hideaway mirrors, clever shoe storage and more. The design process starts with the customer. After a one-to-one consultation, either in-store or in the comfort of the customers’ home, Sliderobes designers use state-of-the-art 3D computerised imagery to bring the design to life. Customers can tailor every aspect of the project and choose the colours, finishes and interior accessories to suit their lifestyle. Sliderobes designers will create a mood board to suit the customers’ décor and show how Sliderobes’ furniture is a timeless and classic addition to the home. Directing Sliderobes’ new interior design-led concept is Head of Design Joanna Azevedo who recently unveiled Sliderobes’ new collection of colours and textures in the Belfast showroom. The beautiful showroom takes you on a journey throughout the home, featuring living spaces, a home office and luxurious bedrooms with magnificent dressing rooms and wardrobes. Taking inspiration

from modern design and industry looks, Joanna has once again ignited a completely new feel and experience.

Add value to your home

“Our new range brings luxury to the home, making your space beautiful,” said Joanna. “The statement, marble-look is unique, and we are excited to showcase our new room-sets in our Belfast showroom. These new wardrobe doors add style and appeal, especially when combined with other modern materials. Their brilliance delivers a clean, classic look that can be adapted to any décor. Not only will you create a classic interior space, but you will also add value to your home.” Sliderobes don’t have a range of ‘offthe-shelf’ products to choose from and pride themselves on being able to offer luxurious, bespoke, high-quality furniture that stands the test of time. Sliderobes are so confident in the quality and durability of their built-in wardrobes that they back it with a ten-year guarantee. Sliderobes’ Belfast showroom is located on Boucher Crescent and is open seven days a week. Call in for a chat and a coffee to experience the new look showroom, and create a mood board to suit your very own style and tastes. Arrange to speak with a designer when you visit and bring your dream wardrobe to life using state-of-theart 3D computerised imagery. Call Sliderobes today on 028 9068 1034 or visit Sliderobes.com.

Sliderobes’ furniture is a timeless and classic addition to the home

Sliderobes’ top tips for adding luxury to your home

Choose furniture that’s stylish, yet practical. Sliderobes wardrobes are designed to make-the-most of your space and they look good too! Design your own wardrobe. Sliderobes can be fully customised – both inside and out. Refresh your soft furnishings. Add throws or cushions in different colours to spice up your décor. Add extra storage to your room with Sliderobes’ beautiful, bespoke beside tables. These can be designed to match your wardrobe.

✱ ✱ ✱

Visit Sliderobes, Boucher Crescent to see the brand new collection. It’s real affordable luxury!

28 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Sleep easy


he bedroom is often the most overlooked room in the house, especially the guest room, which can double up as a laundry room and general dumping ground when there isn’t time for a proper tidy. There are a few universal hacks for creating a bedroom that you want to relax in rather than lock the door and do a runner. Bear them in mind whenever you’re ready to create a sanctuary for yourself, sort out a guest room or style up a room for growing kids.

The Loire Grey 2 Drawer Bedside Table, £179, EZ Living Interiors, www.ezlivinginteriors.co.uk

1. Buy a bed that’s in proportion to the room. You may long for a six foot wide super king size bed but unless your bedroom is 19 feet wide it’s going to dominate the space too much. Leave 3 feet between the bed and large pieces of furniture.

Ziggurat Duvet Set Double Grey £40, Ziggurat Oxford Pillowcase Grey £15, Pet Chevron Grey Throw £35, Shyla Print and Emb Ochre pillow £30, all Harvey Norman, www.harvey-norman.co.uk

2. Choose one the right size for you. Most beds are 6”3 long and you should have a couple of inches at the bottom so that your feet aren’t sticking over the end. Anyone who is over six feet tall is better with a 6”6 king size or larger. 3. Only add furniture that earns its place. Apart from the bed, you need one or two bedside tables, depending on whether you’re single or doubling up, a dresser or drawers and wardrobes. If the bedroom is large, an ottoman at the foot of the bed can be stylish and useful. 4. Keep decorations to a minimum – the idea is to creating a calming rather than a cluttered space.

6. Bedside lamps are essential, preferably posable ones that can be adjusted if you like to read in bed.Try to have a few different sources of light in the bedroom.

7. Dress the window to suit – if you need to block out light for children, black out linings are useful but if you want the option of light or complete darkness, Sophie Allport Bees Throw, £90, www.sophieallport.com a black out roller blind and curtains 5. If your bed doesn’t house work well together. storage and you tend to store items under it, make sure you fit a valance sheet to hide the 8. Who doesn’t love stepping out of bed to a boxes underneath. luxurious carpet? If you prefer a wooden floor,

don’t forget to include rugs to help your toes on those chilly mornings. 9. Avoid bright or clashing colours and patterns. Muted shades of ochre and grey, lilacs, pinks, blues and greens are most soothing for bedrooms. 10. Finally, dress the bed with the best quality bedding you can manage. Teddy fleece duvet sets are all very well for duvet days in the depth of winter but with spring and summer on the way, linen and good quality cotton are much more comfortable. Go for a cotton mix if you hate ironing and when buying a fitted sheet, make sure its sides are deep enough for your mattress.

30 | Homes & Interiors



ne of the biggest decisions when refurbishing a room is what to put on the floor. Often the function of the space dictates whether the best option is tiles, wood, laminate, engineered flooring, luxury vinyl or carpet. If noise is an issue, such as for upstairs bedrooms or the stairs, good carpet or sizeable rugs will keep the decibels down. Similarly, the likelihood of water spillages makes wood more of a risk in kitchens and bathrooms. However, with tiles that look like wood, vinyl that looks like tiles and carpets so hardwearing they can be cleaned with bleach, the goalposts have become much wider. Running the same flooring through from one room to another creates cohesion and opens up a space. If you have an open plan kitchen diner and living room, using large rugs can help create the sense of separate zones. When using a rug in a dining area, go for one which all the chairs can fit on comfortably. Generally speaking a lighter colour will open up a space for you while a dark one will make a wide open space feel cosier. Light reflecting surfaces, like polished tiles, also make a space feel bigger. If you are using pale colours, make sure the base colour doesn’t clash with big ticket items like counters or wall tiles. Beiges in

Placing your dining table and chairs on a rug can help delineate a space in an open plan setting The stylish Halcyon Multi Rug, from £32.95, Kukoon Rugs, www.kukoon.com particular can have a yellow, pink or brown undertone – putting a yellow beige tile next to a pink beige counter will make both look bad. Don’t scrimp on underlay as it more than pays its way in extending the life of your flooring, adding insulation, cutting down noise and making the surface completely flat. More and more of us are opting for underfloor heating to make hard floors more comfortable and bring a touch of luxury home. And when it comes to luxe, who wouldn’t love a fabulous velvet carpet? They positively shimmer and are more hardwearing than you might think to boot. In older homes, if you are lifting an old floor or carpet, have a look at the original flooring as it’s exposed. Sometimes there are surprises waiting to be uncovered, like a Victorian tiled floor or original wood parquet. You may find that rather than forking out for a whole new floor, you’re suddenly in the market for a rug or runner to show off your new found treasure.

Beautiful wooden parquet flooring in a stunning traditional room


28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Step into the latest trends

Whilst ‘trends’ change and evolve, they do so at different paces: some are popular for years, some are only here for one season. Whether you are a trend follower or not, we are always under the influence of the design world and with this in mind, we’ve rounded up the top home decor trends to look out for Spring/Summer 2020.

Homes & Interiors | 31 The Nude rug

Scallops and Scales

A trend inspired by under the sea, from colour to form, fan-shaped fish scale tiles to complex quatrefoils you will fall hook, line and sinker for it. Scallops and scales can be found in furniture, tiles, to soft furnishings and all things curved and wavy.

A distressed style works perfectly in a classic scheme

feel of an old vintage piece without actually being second-hand. They are well placed in classically furnished homes with wooden floors or modern living rooms where they provide an exciting contrast to create an eclectic and considered look.

Dare to go Nude?

For the past few years grey has dominated the neutral interiors palette, but prepare to embrace warm, earthy neutrals. Sandy shades are back and they are anything but boring. This is a trend which celebrates the organic, the hand made; textural earthy jute, canvas, organic wool, live wood and hemp. But for all the lovers of grey, fear not – it is not going anywhere. The natural palette is evolving into a palate which continues to embrace grey as a cooling equaliser.

The Modern Kilim

Kilim rugs have never been so exciting, with modern interpretations now offering a more bold pattern style, new colour options

The Kilim has had a makeover

including pastel shades, pops of neon and monochrome. Kilims may have been around for thousands of years, but they have had a fresh makeover and remain a timeless addition to your home. Adding a kilim will give your home an eclectic edge.

Eclectic Glamour

We love the trend for distressed rugs that is sweeping through our homes. This is a trend which adds a nostalgic and charmingly used look into our homes and reminds us of old favourites. A time-worn

Whether you plan to follow the latest rug trends for 2020 or stick with the timeless classics, Kukoon Rugs have the pieces you need. Our collection spans from antique to vintage to modern. We have both practical rugs for use as floor coverings and beautiful art or investment rugs for display. Explore our selection of antique, abstract, vintage and modern rugs. We accommodate many different sizes, budgets and tastes. The showroom team love a challenge, so if you need any inspiration or advice, then please visit one of our two showrooms - Belfast Boucher Crescent and Newry Carnbane.

Bath rack, £10, Loxwood Oak wooden stool, £49, marble bath mat, £14, Dorma silk blend snow bath towel, £20, Dorma silk blend hand towel, £10, Dorma silk blend biscotti face cloth, £2, geo global candle, £4, lustre pink mug, £2.75, Dunelm, www.dunelm.com

This blue wall certainly makes a statement, with Diamond bathtub, from Maison Valentina, www.maisonvalentina.net


t may not be the heart of the home and is often the smallest space in your property but the bathroom still deserves plenty of TLC. After all, it’s a room most people visit several times a day and though functional, can also be a little haven of peace and tranquility. There’s no reason why a bathroom can’t be beautiful, whether you have cash to splash or are working on a budget. Updating your bathroom in 2020 doesn’t mean a completely new refit; there are numerous ways this sometimes overlooked room can be given a new lease of life.

Metallic bathroom finishes are increasingly popular and this year it’s time for brass to shine. Brass finishes add a touch of opulence to the bathroom, creating a luxury hotel vibe. Not only does brass look expensive and refined but it’s long lasting and durable too. Pair brass with marble to create a look that oozes style and sophistication.

Rich dark hues have been appearing in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms but now bathrooms are going over to the dark side as well. If you want to introduce this trend subtly into your bathroom, try dark coloured tiles in the shower but if you’re feeling bolder, decorate the entire room in midnight

“There’s no reason why a bathroom can’t be beautiful, whether you have cash to splash or are working on a budget.”

Bronx drawers, £65, bear toothbrush tumbler, £8, bear soapdish, £12, bears vanity mirror, £30, all from Next, www.next.co.uk

Bathroom bliss

blue or forest green. The great thing about these shades is that they go perfectly with the other key seasonal trend for metallic finishes.

Think big! Supersized tiles are ideal in the bathroom for creating a spacious feel. Large tiles look striking and open up the room and there are plenty of varieties to choose from in large format porcelain tiles.

For a contemporary, modern look that is cheaper than tiling, why not

go for bathroom wallpaper? Wallpapering your bathroom is one way of introducing colour and marble effect wallpaper is perfect for this small space. Avoid papering behind a basin or bath though.

Urban spas will be all the rage for 2020. To create a calm sanctuary, use a combination of light wood and dark shades or opt for wallpaper with

Monochrome polka dot soap dispenser, £54, Amara

Bathroom wallpaper can add the wow factor. Manhattan Metallic Neo Onyx Wallpaper, £150, Mindthegap, www. mindtheg.com greenery. Lighting also plays a big part so consider adding a skylight or a dimmer to mimic natural light. To bring nature indoors, integrate lots of plants into the décor and calming accessories such as candles complete the spa vibe.

While white remains popular, black is also having its moment. Put the two together and the monochrome bathroom trend looks set to stay. Monochrome can look modern, minimalist or even art deco and monochrome wall and floor tiles really stand out. Finish off with contemporary black taps and radiators.

Freestanding bathtubs continue into 2020 and the bigger, the better. Homeowners deserve a place to wind down at the end of a long day and where better than the bathroom? There’s a move away from jacuzzi style tubs to other large style tubs, with deep soaking, art deco inspired styles particularly popular.

34 | Homes & Interiors


Clever design for a low maintenance en suite


athroom designer Glenn Waring created a sleek, clever ensuite for a Portadown customer recently. Glenn, who is expert at creating bespoke bathrooms for clients of DB Tiles and Bathrooms, explains the process. “The original layout consisted of a 900mm square shower enclosure with lots of glass and metal to clean. Our brief was to make the room as easy to maintain as possible and to add a storage solution.” His starting point for giving the room the ‘wow’ factor were the Burgos Decor Gris 60x60 patterened floor and the Blend Dark Rett 30x60 décor wall. “The 600mm Gloss grey vanity unit was added as a complementary but understated piece of furniture.” “A level deck wet floor was constructed into the timber first floor with fixed glass panels. With no shower tray or moving doors, cleaning of the shower enclosure has become effortless. “With a fully tanked wall and floor system hidden underneath the tiles, the wet area is 100% waterproof.” Keeping everything streamlined, he

added a fully back to wall WC with the fully skirted pan hiding unsightly waste pipes. “Lastly, a lighted mirror with built in demister pad was positioned above the basin to finish off the room.”

The result is an elegant, understated ensuite that’s easy to maintain. To contact DB Tiles and Bathrooms, call Moira on 028 9261 6950, Hamiltonsbawn on 028 3887 9514 or go to www.dbtiles.com

Homes & Interiors | 35

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph Wooden hexagon wall shelves, £34.95, Meloday Maison, www.melodymaison.com

Small white marble shelf, £45, Audenza, www.audenza.com

For a small bathroom, square Prism bath mat in Mojito and other colours, £8, Christy, range of stockists

This rug is worthy of a place on a wall. Mira Rug, rugsociety.eu and other stockists

Finishing touches The right accessories can add style to the plainest bathroom… and in some cases, bedroom!

For those times when you need motivation, personalised bathroom scales, £14.99, www.getting personal.co.uk

With a nod to the stage, the Apollo LED bathroom light, £89, Made.com

36 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Cream cast iron casserole dish, 5.3 litre, £45, Argos

Smeg’s pasta roller and cutter set for stand mixers

Smeg’s cooking centre is an absolute dream for those who are passionate about cooking. The Victoria aesthetic line is dedicated to those who savour the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the house. Boasting two ovens and grill and a gas hob with seven burners in a stylish finish.

Kitsch meets Kitchenware



hether you are a domestic goddess (or god) or a more of a ready meal aficionado, good quality kitchenware is always worth investing in. From basics like toasters and crockery to high end cooking centres, there are many ways to create a dream kitchen, tailored to your particular needs. Black and white monochrome has been a stylish mainstay for kitchen design and looks wonderfully chic but there is no need to fear a splash of colour to insert a bit more character into your home. SS20 design trends for kitchens are starting to embrace more trendy colour choices, particularly pastel tonalities, especially muted greens, from the blue-greens of the sea to greyish tones. Black and white graphic juxtaposition is not going anywhere but is now incorporating wooden or metallic accents. You can choose what part of your kitchen will feature the luxurious tactile session of metallic finishes, from a delicate accent here and there to one central structure that will become a focal point of your decor arrangement. While trends are all well and good,

don’t be afraid to break the mould and choose something that appeals to you. Here is a selection of some of my favourite high-end items that will go the distance and inject a little personality into any kitchen.

Blushing Birds blue teapot, £48, from Pip Studio

I know most hard-core coffee addicts have invested in a coffee machine with all the bells and whistles but in my opinion you can’t beat the simple pleasure of piping hot coffee from a cafetiere. The Coffee Society’s copper cafetiere is a steal at only £25 and adds finesse to function with its stunning metallic detail.

Denby has a fabulous range of crockery with a quartz rose finish. This set of pasta bowls is a must-have and is ideal not just for pasta but for curries or casseroles as well. Denby Quartz rose set of 4 pasta bowls, £64, range of stockists.

Smeg toaster

Le Creuset Stoneware Heart Ramekins, Set of 2, Pink and White £20, John Lewis and other stockists

A crucial item in any kitchen is a cast iron casserole pot. Although they may not appear to be budget-friendly they do last forever, are easy to use and clean, and are ideal for any number of dishes. This Le Creuset Cast Iron Heart Casserole dish, £169, is a gorgeous option.

38 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Le Creu s cookwa et’s new re rang es in shell pin green a k, sage nd pret ty mering ue.

Signature cast iron 24cm, round casserole, £240, Le Creuset

Stoneware cafetiere in shell pink, £57, Le Creuset

Cast iron Signature 16cm saucepan in Meringue, £150, Le Creuset

For keeping food warm or protecting worktops, the Rose and Bee Chef’s Pad, £18, is a stylish item from Aga

Must have…

New products topping many cooks’ wishlists this year are...

French made copper 20cm saucepan with lid can be used on all hobs, £350, De Buyer

Get your dream kitchen


itchens don’t have to be enormous to become the hub of the home. While everyone loves an island, a peninsula at the end of a counter takes up less space and can also serve as a place for family or friends to congregate and chat. A small table with bench seating in a nook is also a possibility. If you want to update your kitchen but your budget doesn’t run to a complete refit, companies like Dream Doors are well worth a visit. With new cabinet doors and worktops, your old kitchen will look as good as new. Go for two tone with the darker colour on the lower cupboards to be on trend. If you need a complete remodel, however, it pays to invest in the best quality kitchen you can afford. Take advantage of the services of the inhouse design team and make sure your measurements are precise before you go along. Boiling water taps, recycling bins and smart appliances are among the many innovations you’ll be waking up to once your dream kitchen is complete.

The heart of the home

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph


Homes & Interiors | 39

Put NordMende at the heart of your home

Build your dream kitchen around the prestigious NordMende range which combines state of the art technology and stylish appliances Beautiful kitchens start with the NordMende Inline range

NordMende HCI901FL induction hob

NordMende’s HCI901FL 90cm induction hob, £609, comes with five powerful induction zones as well as two bridge zones, making it ideal for any busy kitchen. Additional features include a slider control, residual heat indicators, boost function on all zones and an electronic timer. It comes with a three-year warranty.

NordMende SOP525IX5-Series Inline Pyrolytic Oven

New from NordMende’s inline 5 Series, the SOP525IXPyrolytic oven, £499, is a self-cleaning, multi-function appliance that offers 9 cooking programmes and a generous 70-litre capacity. Features include an A energyrating, three-year warranty and sleek black glass, pop-out controls (which can also be set as flush) and stainless steel finish.

NordMende RFAMIW490IXLA+ Fridge-Freezer

New from NordMende, the RFAMIW490IXLA American-style fridgefreezer, £1099, boasts a sleek stainless steel finish and is plumbed for a water and ice dispenser. With fridge and freezer capacities of 334 litres and 156 litres respectively, it provides ample storage. Features, meanwhile, include Super Cooling and Super Freezer functions and Multi Airflow technology. It has an A+ energy rating and comes with a three-year warranty.

NordMende WM1297WH washing machine

Nordmende’s WM1297WH washing machine, £383, boasts an A++ energy efficiency rating, 1,200rpm spin speed and a 9kg capacity. The freestanding machine also comes with a host of features, including an LED display, child safety-lock and choice of 15 programmes, as well as a three-year warranty. NordMende appliances and televisions are distributed in Northern Ireland by AB Distribuotrs and available from leading appliance & electrical dealers.


40 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

A long way from home Jamie and Camille Thompson, of Thompson’s Tea, take readers on a journey from Belfast to India to show us where in the world they source the leaves for their award-winning Punjana, officially Northern Ireland’s favourite cuppa. Belfast Born & Blended

Our story started in 1896 where, from a tea warehouse near Belfast docks, our founder, Robert S Thompson trained in the art of tea tasting and soon became known for his uncompromising devotion to quality. Since then, four generations of Thompsons have been blending and packing our award-winning range of teas in Belfast for over 120 years. As fourth generation Thompsons, we share a passion for quality and take great pleasure in selecting teas from only the very finest gardens. So, why travel all the way to a remote part of India called Assam? It’s important to us to know the people and the faces behind the tea we are blending and bagging each day in Belfast. We find that it also helps to give us a feeling of real connection to the product we enjoy so much creating.

The third and fourth generation of Thompson’s Tea

Ethical Trading

Upon arriving in India, undoubtedly one of the most striking elements is the sheer size of the population! It’s hard to imagine somewhere with a population of nearly 1,000 times that of Northern Ireland, but

Fourth generation, Camille and Jamie Thompson learning how to pick tea leaves

a few days spent in Calcutta will give you some idea. Within this major conurbation there is also unfortunately a visible level of income inequality, with on one hand, high levels of unemployment, and on the other, a luxury Trump Tower offering ‘classically timeless and elegantly modern residences’. Escaping the hustle and bustle of Calcutta, it was reassuring to experience a very different lifestyle for the workforce on the tea gardens of Assam. The tea industry is particularly labour intensive with six whole tea leaves required to make just one tea bag!. Fortunately as a result of this we are able to provide employment for a great number of people. This is of real benefit to a country with a population of over 1.3 billion. The tea pickers are paid a weekly wage, and tea gardens producing high quality leaf are able to provide many facilities and services for the labour force on site. Accommodation is provided free of charge for not just the tea pickers but their families as well, meaning that the whole family can live together, even if only one of them is working in the gardens. They also receive free education for their children and even free healthcare. As a

result of this, their weekly wage is largely disposable income. In short, as we pay a higher price for our leaves, which are sourced from the highest quality tea gardens, these gardens are in turn able to provide the best conditions for their labour force.

Tea Gardens

Arriving at the tea gardens is like diving into a sea of pure, green leaf. It’s truly astonishing to see the uninterrupted acres of luscious tea leaves, growing rapidly in the heat and humidity of Assam. Growing tea in Assam is a way of life! In these gardens, we had the pleasure of meeting people who had dedicated their lives to learning about tea, and it was inspirational to see the true passion that they had – they are truly steeped in tea. To make tea, you need sunshine and a lot of rain… and when we say a lot, we mean a lot! We often think of Northern Ireland as a rainy place (and we would have to agree, it’s not exactly Barbados), however if we tripled the amount of rainfall we have here it still would fall short of Assam’s annual total. The Camellia Sinensis – the botanical name for this most extraordinary


28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

Homes & Interiors | 41

Fourth generation, Camille and Jamie Thompson tea tasting

It takes 6 of these tea leaves to make just one Punjana tea bag

“To make tea, you need sunshine and a lot of rain… and when we say a lot, we mean a lot!” shrub – is indeed a thirsty plant. However, speaking to many of the tea growers, we unfortunately heard that the weather patterns had become very unpredictable in recent years which is having a direct effect on the yield of the gardens. It wasn’t long before we were venturing out into the tea gardens themselves and walking amongst the tea bushes. For most of the year these tea bushes are producing enough leaf to be picked every 10 days and can continue to produce leaves at this rate for over 50 years. Witnessing these leaves being plucked is mesmerising. Thousands of acres of the most beautiful countryside, a carpet of tea bushes reaching into the horizon, interrupted only by evenly spaced shade trees whose job it is to protect the sensitive tea bush from the powerful midday sun. Perfect silence is broken only by the curiously calming sound of many hands plucking tea leaves from the stems of freshly laden bushes. After trying our hand at the perfect pick – just two leaves and a bud from the very top of the bush – we soon gained an appreciation for the tea picker’s craft. Next, it was on to something a little more within our comfort zone… tea tasting!

Tea Tasting

Since life began for Thompson’s Tea in Northern Ireland in 1896, it has always been a member of the Thompson family who has taste-tested and approved each and every tea blend. Even today, we have a grand total of two tea tasters, Ross and

Pour the perfect cuppa at home Of course, making your own brew is often a very personal ritual, an opportunity for calm, relaxation and taking a moment for yourself, so it’s important that people make it however they like it! That being said, there are a few fundamentals that you can follow to get the most out of your cuppa…

1 Third generation, Ross Thompson, at a recent visit to a Kenyan tea garden David Thompson, who together taste and select fresh samples of tea every week from some of the most prized tea gardens in the world. Today, Camille and Jamie can also be found in the tea tasting room, slowly but surely doing our best to pick up the art of tea tasting. During our time in Assam, we learnt how a small sample of each tea is precisely weighed and brewed in special tasting pots for exactly three minutes. The resulting infusion is then examined for flavour, character, strength and colour, ensuring that the teas are free from any taint and that the withering, fermenting and drying stages have maximised the leaf’s taste potential. These are the first few crucial steps to ensuring that a superior cup of tea will be produced; one that produces a brightly coloured infusion with an appealing aroma and a rich, rewarding flavour.


After tasting many teas, what becomes very clear is that a blend of superior quality can only be achieved by selecting teas from the finest tea gardens and at a time when the tea bushes are producing their best growth. With all things it is important to start with great ingredients! This is why our leaves are hand-picked when sunshine and rainfall are in perfect harmony. At this time, the leaves grow more slowly and simply produce a finer taste and flavour. Our trip to India gave us both an appreciation for what really is an amazing industry, community, leaf and drink. I think it can be easy to take tea for granted as it is such an ‘everyday’ part of our lives, and it’s remarkable to think that it used to be the most expensive drink in the world… but when you take in the surroundings of any one of Assam’s tremendously scenic tea gardens it’s easy to see why.

Keep your tea dry! When our tea leaves are shipped from the garden, they are bone dry at around 4% moisture content. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your tea as dry as possible right up to the point that you are ready to make a brew (which is why all our packs are resealable). It really makes a difference.


Use freshly drawn water Never re-boil water. Freshly drawn water every time is important and be careful not to over-boil as this de-oxygenates the water and has a negative effect on its ability to brew.


Preheat the mug/pot The basic premise for brewing a cuppa is adding boiling water to tea – which sounds simple, but if you don’t pre-heat the mug or tea pot with a little boiling water beforehand, then your water will instantly cool and drop below boiling point.


Brew for 2-3 minutes You get the colour (or liquor) from your tea before it shares all its taste and flavour. Have patience and wait just a little longer!

42 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


he pull to build your own home can come for a variety of reasons. It can be a desire for more space for you and your family, or maybe you want to downsize after the kids have flown the nest for good, or perhaps you’re a DIYer itching for an exciting new project to sink your teeth into. Whatever the reason, creating a home tailored to you perfectly is a dream for many – even if it does feel a little daunting. Since it is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll make, do as much research as humanly possible and absorb every morsel of advice you can get before the first sod is dug. To start, get your architect on board as soon as possible. Even when picking out your building site, your architect will spot opportunities or problems the untrained eye might miss. Consider your budget carefully. It can be easy to get swept up in the idea that you will be saving a certain amount by building instead of buying, but costs can spring out of nowhere that you hadn’t considered previously. Professional fees, statutory fees, legal costs, insurance and more can eat into your budget so expect extra costs when you are planning your finances. Keep in mind that you should expect the unexpected. It is very rare that a self

Building a home to call your own build will reach the finish line without a few hitches along the way. The weather, circumstances, people and equipment may all let you down, so patience and flexibility will be a must if you are going to spend the first night in your new home still sane. Alternatively, if you are feeling inspired to create your own living space but aren’t in

the position to go all in on building a brand new home, adding a new dimension to your new home could scratch the same itch. Adding a sun room or a conservatory is an excellent way to create a new personalised living space in your home. It lets the light flood into the house making everything feel brighter and gives the

impression of adding lots of space, even if it isn’t that large. Additionally, if you’d like an extra room upstairs, look into converting your roofspace. It’s not terribly expensive and can make a huge difference to your home, whether it’s an extra bedroom or bathroom you require.

44 | Homes & Interiors


Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


stablished in 1951, Robinson Concrete Ltd developed from its humble origins in Claudy, County Londonderry to fulfil the need for agriculture, house building and infrastructure after WWII. Now in its third generation, the business strives to maintain its ethos of quality, service and value, and prides itself in being at the forefront of concrete and building product supply across the north west of the province. Robinson Concrete has two depots strategically located in Northern Ireland: a main depot in Claudy and another in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. These locations enable it to supply products from Co Donegal to counties Londonderry, Tryone and Antrim. Both depots are equipped with facilities for the collection or delivery of the full product range including ready-mix concrete, screed, Cemfloor, concrete blocks, sand and gravel, decorative stones and wood bark. “Our sand and gravels are extracted from our own reserves and processed using our two modern washing and screening plants. Producing our own sand and gravel allows greater quality control for the grades used within our concrete products. It also allows us to produce varying grades of sand ideal for paving, building, plastering, concrete, horse arenas, animal bedding and cable tracks. We also produce gravels for draining, site fill, crusher runs and our very popular decorative gravel for paths and driveways. “The core of our business is the production of pre-mix concrete and concrete blocks. Our concrete is third party accredited by BSi, with all our concrete blocks carrying a European CE mark. Being part of these schemes ensures the quality of all our products is kept to the highest standard.

LAND ON SOLID GROUNDWITH ROBINSON CONCRETE “The latest additions to our product range are a cement based liquid screed, Cemfloor, and a cement based selfcompacting concrete, Cemfloor HPC (High Performance Concrete). These products provide the ultimate solution for underfloor heating and ‘power floated’ floors. The flowable properties make it easy to install and because the products are cement based, they have none of the issues inherent with other flowing screeds and concretes.” Cemfloor HPC

uses the Cemfloor binder with a 10mm gravel stone within its mix to produce a self-compacting flowable concrete. Using this 10mm HPC mix provides an excellent floor covering for underfloor heating as it provides greater heat retention within your floor slab, for longer. This product is laid by the same method as the Cemfloor liquid screed, giving the benefits of a concrete floor but being much easier to lay. Cemfloor HPC can also be used for garage floors and for a finished sub floor within a timber frame structure. Using the product in these

settings gives a ‘power-floated’ finish without having to power float, saving time and money. Robinson Concrete operates a modern fleet of tracker monitored, company owned trucks driven by experienced and considerate drivers ensuring a reliable and consistent supply of all its products across Northern Ireland.

46 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Lhasa Outdoor Rug, £44.95, Cuckooland, www.cuckooland.com


Advancements in textile production means that plastics can be used to create stunning rugs which look great both in and outdoors. It really takes any outside styling up a notch if you have a rug under your table set up or beside your sofa and firepit, creating an outdoor “room”.

Porto Dining Set, £795, Cox&Cox, www.coxandcox.co.uk


Nothing beats eating outside and modern outdoor tables provide an infinitely more stylish option than balancing a plate on your knee. If you have storage space, an old painted pine table and chairs can look beautifully boho - they will need to be stored somewhere weatherproof if you want to use them for more than one summer.

Coral Rug, £90, Limited Abode, www.limitedabode.co.uk

Transform your outdoor spaces



resh air and sunlight are good for mind, body and soul. Meals are tastier al fresco, games more fun in the sunshine and there’s nothing like an evening spent listening to the ‘dusk chorus’ and watching the light fade with a blanket or firepit to keep you cozy. It might be hard to believe in the midst of stormy, wintry weather but spring is on

Becklen 6 seat dining set, £595, Habitat, www.habitat.co.uk

quick Have a up: tidy e of

as r it’s a c , Whethe hildren’s toys r up c picking d other outdoo a bikes an s or pulling up e rie accesso ds, your outsid e r e o e w m h w c u fe ill be a m space w g space if it’s invitin tidy.

its way. A few carefully chosen items can transform any outdoor space, creating a stylish and inviting place to socialise, play and relax. Treat your outdoor space as an extension of your home’s interior, creating cohesion between the spaces by choosing outdoor furniture and accessories which mirror the style and colours inside your house.

Green Chevron Knitted Throw, £21, Gisela Graham London, www.giselagraham.co.uk

Keep cozy:

Evenings outside can get chilly. Throws not only look lovely, adding colour and texture to outdoor seating areas, they’re also very useful to wrap up in when the temperature drops. A firepit can transform an outdoor space – people love to gather round a fire, the soothing crackle and warmth creating a natural focal point. Whether you’re toasting marshmallows or relaxing with a glass of wine, you won’t regret this garden addition. Festoon Squirrel Lights 20 bulbs, £70, www.gardentrading.co.uk

Rattan Sussex Mocha Sofa, £899, Bridgman, www.bridgman.co.uk


Relax in style with a garden sofa. Go ultra modern with clean lines or traditional-buton-trend with a rattan inspired Tribu Elio Garden Sofa, piece. £2890, Go Modern Furniture, www.gomodern.co.uk

Large Firepit, £99.99, MY Furniture, www.my-furniture.com

Cordless Outdoor Lamp, £495, Salt & Steele, www.saltandsteele.co.uk


Soft lighting creates an intimate atmosphere when the sun goes down. Use outdoor lamps, fairy lights and lanterns to generate an inviting glow.

Black Slatted Lantern Duo, £59.99, Lights4Fun, www.lights4fun.co.uk

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph


Your home, your heating choices

Homes & Interiors | 47 State-of-the-art double-sided gas fire from Element 4


hen you’re building your own home, it’s only natural that you should want the very best of everything to go inside it. Certainly, the best kitchen and the best bathroom. But what’s the best heating these days?

Wiking Mini 2 Ecodesign wood burner comes in four stylish variants including this one with high legs

Hi-Flame R5 Superior with log store – one of the best entry-level Ecodesign stoves

This will depend upon whether you have access to gas or are reliant on oil. Both will be expensive to run - especially if your home is going to be on the large side. This is where the new breed of Ecodesign wood burners come in. These are the only stoves that will be allowed to be sold after the end of next year. Sustainable carbon neutral fuel and ultra low emissions have ensured that they have a bright future in the modern heating mix. Designed for low energy homes, including those with a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system (MVHR), they’re great for that quick blast of heat while you’re waiting for the main heating to do its job. Even when this is at its best,

a top up from a stove is going to be very much appreciated in the depths of winter. It would also be a real shame to miss out on the great warm and welcoming focal point that living flame brings to a home too. If for some reason you can’t install a wood burner then the next best thing is going to be one of the new generation of gas stoves or designer gas fires - these days they’re almost as good as the real thing and actually a bit more convenient as well. The Stove Yard in Newtownards not only has one of the widest choices of Ecodesign stoves and designer gas fires in the country on display at their newly expanded showroom, but no-one has installed more stoves in low energy homes than their team

The convincing Gazco Loft gas stove on Sandstone base of experts. Dealing with Building Control is second nature-to them and they really know their products, so you’ll be in safe hands. “Planning your stove or gas fire from the start could save you money and trouble later. We’re able to provide as much free, friendly advice as you need from day-one. That way you can be sure that you’ll get the very best from your heating choices,” says showroom manager Alan Royle.

48 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020

Not moving, improving


ather than moving again, their latest project has Austin and Hazel Millar partially knocking through to create a connected kitchen/dining area. “We saw the potential for extending the rather small kitchen when we bought but have waited till we were sure we could ‘lose’ the front snug room and make it our dining space,” says Hazel. “In the three years we’ve been here we realised the dining room across the hall from the kitchen was never being used. Instead we were all rather squashed up round the convenient but much too tiny breakfast bar. “Then we had to decide on budget and how much to spend. A full wall removal would have meant steel beams and likely the advice of a structural engineer. So we knocked through a double door space and linked the two spaces with continuous neutral tiling and co-ordinating colours – focusing more on warming the greys in the dining space. “Also, we took time to research and plan what we wanted before we invested. And the big questions always were, ‘What do we personally need most?’ and ‘Will this add sale appeal to potential buyers in the future?’ So it’s not just what we needed but also what we thought today’s buyers would want. “Our kitchen was dark as well as overcrowded and I felt hemmed in all the time so I’ve gone for a minimalist kitchen door – no handles or ornate finishes. And

Hazel is looking forward to entertaining in her new dining room

A double door space has been knocked through from the kitchen

The Rangemaster cooker is a treat

I’ve chosen oodles of pull out drawers for ease and convenience.” The Rangemaster cooker was a treat and bought because Hazel loved the look and

also because she needed to free up worktop space. That and an integrated microwave have avoided the need to have ovens at wall level. “Eco things include built in bins – one for recycling material; led lighting and an induction hob option on the Rangemaster.” The family wanted to support local tradesmen so purchased the kitchen from a local Coleraine company and the worktops are currently being made with silestone also from local suppliers. “All in all it’s a family kitchen that I like to think is highly functional, sleek and hopefully, easy to clean! “We are already using the dining table

and enjoying having room at the table for everyone in the family.” She’s looking forward to entertaining family and friends now. “I am so excited. We have been planning and researching this for the past three or four months and it’s been a massive job. “It’s incredibly hard being confined to a small utility room – and containing the dogs and a toddler grandson in an even tinier space while the workmen have been here has been even more challenging! “However, as they say, it looks like the wait, the unending dust and the constant flow of strangers through the house will be worth it in the end!”

Homes & Interiors | 49

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph

A stylish and functional family kitchen

One of the Millar’s builds almost completed, with just steps and garden left to finish

Life hacks from couple on fourth building project


any of us fantasise about some day building our own home – a place tailor-made for our family. However, the thought of all the preparation and disruption, the costs and lengthy delay between the dream and its realisation, can be off-putting. For most people, self build actually involves employing an architect and getting them to manage the project. You get to have an input into creating your dream home without the nightmare of taking on more than you can handle. Proof that it needn’t be as daunting as it sounds comes from North Coast couple Austin and Hazel Miller. They’ve self built three houses over the past number of years and are currently renovating their fourth

home. They’ve ripped out their old kitchen and partially knocked through a wall to open up a kitchen and dining area. Their aim has always been to have a house that works for their family – building a bigger home to accommodate their children when they started out in Ballymoney and eventually moving to Coleraine to be closer to school for their youngest daughter. For them a home is personal but, ever pragmatic, they’ve always had an eye on the business side of things as well. Hazel says the most important decision is choosing the right location. “I would advise anyone thinking of building to start right by buying a plot in the ‘right’ area as the house you build will one day be the house you sell.” She has the following tips for anyone thinking of building their own home: “Always over-estimate the building budget. It has never gone below budget for us in our three builds! “Build to suit your family needs by all means but again, always remember that the house you build is the house you sell. “Spend plenty or well on the basics of your build, like good plumbing, electrics, plastering, windows, doors and insulation. “A close second is to spend well on bathrooms and kitchen. “And no, you really don’t need four toilets! Less is more. We think one good family bathroom and one good ensuite is wise. Anything more is hard work to maintain. “Four bedrooms are more than enough and anything less than three will be difficult to sell. Again, anything bigger is

Work begins

hard to keep clean and it kills your rates bill. “Wood burning stoves are awesome! They are a cheap and fairly easy way to get loads of heat into the house. Again, invest a bit more and you won’t regret it.” “Whether getting a contractor in or your own team of work men, always ask around and check out their workmanship. Word of mouth is way better than a so-called special deal or price.” “Finally, remind yourself there is only so much you can control in the building process, so develop an attitude of tolerance and patience. And expect delays!”

The family room

50 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 Dripping Gold Concrete Effect Plant Pot, from £21.50, Artificial Calathea House Plant, £78, Frida Kahlo Style Framed Prints, Set of 2, £199, Audenza, www.audenza.com

This striking vase with face detailing is perfect for boho chic inspired home decor. Black Vase with Face Detail, £20.95, Melody Maison, www.MelodyMaison.co.uk

This clever Boskke Sky Planter is made from recycled plastic and has an inbuilt reservoir to keep your plant watered for a month at a time, from £20 for a set of 2 small planters, www.boskke.com

And breathe… Photo by Esther Driehaus on Unsplash



hey’re beautiful, beneficial to the air in our homes and beginning to appear everywhere. Fill a wall with them, hang them from the ceiling or place them on tables, shelves and the floor. Plants are a musthave addition to any home. However, there is a knack to keeping them looking their best. Who hasn’t had a dracaena develop brown tips, or watched in dismay as a maiden hair fern dies back on one side? Before you invest, make sure the plants you’re picking will thrive in the spot you want them for – that twisted fig won’t thank you for placing it in a draught. Over-watering is a common cause of problems, as is lack of light. Most houseplants like a thorough watering about once a week from springtime. Make sure all the excess water has drained away and isn’t sitting in the pot, causing the roots to rot. Smaller plants tend to need topping up more frequently than larger ones which have more soil. If you’re more blackthumbed than green-fingered, don’t fret. There are so many lifelike faux plants out there now, you can enjoy worry-free lush looking greenery all year round.

Style statements Show your plants off with eye-catching planters Cool lighting and lush foliage mingle in this super Plant Pendant Light, £47, Limited Abode, limitedabode.co.uk Metal Hanging Lamp with Plant Pot, Gold and Black brings a welcome touch of greenery with its clean shape, luxe colouring and natural minimalist look, £95, Cult Furniture, www. cultfurniture.com This Black Florence Wall Lamp with Plant Holder frees up shelves or window ledges. Display your herbs or store your air filtering plants, £122, Lime Lace, www.limelace.co.uk

Keep your plants hydrated in style with the Mister & Mrs Plant Set, £14.50, Red Candy, www.redcandy.co.uk

These hand screen printed poplar ply pots come in a self-assembly kit and are best suited to faux plants, Factory plant pot, from £10.50, Ding Ding, www.dingdingdesign.com

52 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020


Pink camellias overhanging a wall Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


he first signs of spring are all around us – time to start getting excited about the garden! Spring bulbs have been bursting into life along with cherry blossom and camellia buds. It’s enough to tempt you outdoors again. Should the weather start behaving, here are some jobs to start getting on with.

2. Begin sowing your hardier summer annuals outdoors if you didn’t sow them in winter – poppies and sweet pea can be sown directly into the soil, along with nasturtiums but if you had those last year, you’re more likely to be gathering seed to stop the spread of this most attractive of thugs than spreading it.

4. Give the earth around shrubs, trees and hedges a good sprinkling of general purpose fertiliser and a decent layer of mulch.

Give your garden a treat with GreenThumb


pring: the season of awakening and new life, the blooming of fresh buds and re-emerging beautiful colour. The GreenThumb NutraGreen spring treatment equips the lawn with everything it needs for a great start to the season: making the grass plant grow stronger and more robust. GreenThumb’s NutraGreen fertilisers are completely unique to GreenThumb and are unavailable to other lawn treatment companies, DIY stores and garden centres. The blossoming of new plants and increased growth of turfgrasses often also means weeds infesting lawns. Not only are unwanted weeds unsightly, but grass will also have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water, air and nutrients. As well as the NutraGreen fertiliser, the GreenThumb spring treatment includes

1. St Patrick’s Day is the date for pruning roses but of course you can start before that. Give them a good feed as they come into growth.

3. Give acid loving shrubs like camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons a good feed with ericaceous fertiliser to help them flower and don’t forget to water them with rain water rather than the tap variety.


5. If your lawn is dry enough, give it the first cut of the season but keep the blades high. And since no gardening season is complete without Monty Don and the gang, you can look forward to Gardener’s World returning to BBC2 on March 20.

weed-control. Because all lawns are unique, GreenThumb customises each treatment to the needs of each lawn. The result, a beautiful, green and healthy lawn, free from the nuisance of weeds. The amount of lawn mowing required now winter is over will naturally increase. It’s important that mower blades are kept sharp or replaced when needed, to avoid causing damage to the grass plant. If possible, it’s best for a lawn to be cut at least once a week, to about 25mm (1”). A little maintenance in the form of consistent mowing will help train the grass to be stronger over time. GreenThumb treatments are tailored with the greatest care for the UK’s lawns: they have the solution to transform any piece of grass, whatever the size or condition – into a healthy, fresh and beautiful lawn.

28 February 2020 | Belfast Telegraph


Homes & Interiors | 53


Tobermore’s Beaufort patio

Relax, it’s EasyClean

fter a long winter, we all look forward to the bright evenings as spring arrives. If you have a garden project in mind for spring, now is the time to get started. A well-planned outdoor area is perfect for dining al fresco, entertaining and for children to play on. However, with outside dining comes the mess, spilled wine, ketchup, animal paw prints... the list continues. With these concerns in mind, Tobermore’s Mayfair paving with sparkling granite aggregates and Beaufort paving with a natural stone effect are now available with EasyClean – integrated stain resistant technology that repels and protects against dirt and stains. Tobermore’s EasyClean is a new concept for the modern home and the first of its kind in the UK. EasyClean Flags are treated with stain resistant technology during the manufacturing process allowing for built in protection, preventing spills from penetrating the surface of the paving and allowing for them to be wiped away with ease. Caring for EasyClean paving is a straightforward process as its coated surface allows for dirt and debris to be washed away without the need for vigorous scrubbing or power hosing. EasyClean paving stays looking fresher for longer and is less susceptible to weathering, moss and greening than traditional paving. At your local Tobermore paving centre we can assist you with designing your outdoor space. Tobermore has a wide range of landscape design services available, contact your local paving centre to book your landscape design consultation today. Visit tobermore.co.uk for more information.


54 | Homes & Interiors

Belfast Telegraph | 28 February 2020 The Solo compact

Grant’s range of modern heat emitters is the perfect choice when retrofitting or building a new home


hen making the decision to build your own home or retrofit your existing home, it is important to choose effective heating technology that will suit both your home and your family’s needs, ensuring an abundant supply of heat and hot water for years to come. Once the preferred heating system has been decided upon it is important to also select the most appropriate heat emitters to evenly distribute heat around the property. “In recent years Grant has invested a lot of time and research into the development of a diverse range of heat emitters that will suit the needs of homeowners across Northern Ireland. Our heat emitters offering currently includes underfloor heating and different styles of radiators which can work with traditional and renewable heating systems,” said Barry Gorman, National Renewables Sales Manager at Grant. “It is a common misconception amongst homeowners that all radiators are the same, however choosing sub-standard heat emitters can lead to reduced efficiency in your overall heating system so it is important to ensure you install the best ones to suit the needs of your home.” Designed and developed with the homeowner in mind, Grant heat emitters support the design and architecture of the space whilst complementing the main heat source, whether that be an oil boiler like the Grant Vortex condensing oil boiler or a renewable heat source like the A+++ Grant Aerona3 R32 air source heat pump.

Uflex underfloor heating

Adaptable and Chic

Whilst the look and feel of typical domestic radiators has not changed much over the past few decades, research and development carried out by the Grant team has led to the development of its Afinia aluminium radiator which is popular for its sleek and modern appearance. Available in a powder-coated finish, Grant’s Afinia radiators are designed to suit a range of installations and include 6 - 20 panels as either standard or vertical radiators. They are compatible with high and low temperature systems and offer excellent conductivity, meaning they heat up faster, bringing a room to a comfortable temperature and maintaining it.

Underfloor Heating

Developed to work with oil boilers and renewable technologies alike, Grant’s Uflex underfloor heating is unobtrusive and creates an ambient warmth under tile and hard wood flooring. Wet underfloor heating systems can either be embedded within the floor construction or fitted on top of an existing floor surface, offering additional adaptability. Grant Uflex underfloor heating is ideal for both new builds and retrofitting and is especially well-loved under tile and hardwood flooring in kitchens, on bathroom floors or even in large living rooms and lounges, warming the room whilst also keeping feet toasty year-round. This technology also operates at lower flow temperatures and allows individual zone control, giving the homeowner maximum control of their heating.

The Solo hideaway suits hard to heat areas This option is growing increasingly popular as families undergo new build projects, opting for a heat emitter that helps to maintain a comfortable temperature for hard floors whilst maintaining the overall aesthetic appearance of the space.

An Extra Boost to Circulating Heat

If your home includes areas which are a challenge to heat, such as large spaces with high ceilings or awkwardly shaped rooms, adding Grant Solo fan convector radiators could be the best solution whilst also helping to boost efficiency. These deliver faster rates of convection than traditional radiators and offer an added boost to hardto-heat areas by emitting heat quickly and offering the ability to regulate heat. Comprising of five different units, the Solo fan convector range are also slim in design, compact, and their adjustable

temperature controls eliminate the need for thermostats or thermostatic radiator valves. These emitters support a sleek look and feel for a space, with minimal disruption to the aesthetics of a room. For further information on Grant heating products, available from plumbing and heating merchants throughout Northern Ireland visit www.grantni.com. Think Heating. Think Grant.

The Afinia radiator range is stylish and adaptable

Profile for Belfast Telegraph

Homes & interiors  

Self-build focus: Tips from family on 4th building project.

Homes & interiors  

Self-build focus: Tips from family on 4th building project.