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Archive for August 2013

Traditional is the New Quirky

Traditional decorating methods are experiencing a renaissance thanks to craft shows like Kirstie's Vintage Home and other instructional programmes celebrating the country's new 'make do and mend' spirit. Old crafts such as decoupage, patterned paint rollers, loose sofa covers, willow weaving and patchwork are helping to individualise our homes - vintage techniques that have been given a fresh charm by modern re-interpretations of pattern, style and quality.

Patterned Paint Rollers


A fresh alternative to paint or wallpaper,  patterned paint rollers are essentially a high quality stencilling method. Super easy to use, the carved rubber designs produce a high quality pattern and can be used to create other items as well such as wall designs,  lampshades, wrapping paper, birthday cards. The best thing about these rollers is their versatility - change the paint, whether that's a smooth matte chalk, a high shine gloss, or simple emulsion, and change the colour, and you have a brand new look. It's worth thinking outside the box as well; consider 'stencilling' wooden furniture, short pile rugs or even the floors (if you own your own home). Resist temptation to roller the cat though.

Loose Covers

Loose covers – also known as slipcovers – have been a traditional craft for generations.  Craftsmen make tailored covers designed to mould perfectly to furnishings like a good suit on a person, but can also be easily removed and washed for freshness and comfort. While big box stores have released cheap covers that have more in common with a draping sheet than a tailor made blazer, the traditional art of tailoring sofa covers is still alive and well. There's a vast selection of colours, textures and styles available if you want a revamp which is more temporary than new upholstery.


Decoupage – a Florentine form of collage – can be edgy or romantic, an eclectic burst of colour or a moody black and white photo-scape. Usually,  papers are combined with paint, gold leaf and multiple layers of sanded varnish. Again the versatility and scope of decoupage makes it popular with young and old crafters alike. Crafters have lined bookcases with art prints, vintage posters and colourful paper scraps; map fragments, flowers and portrait photography have all been popular. I knew an artist who was fond of music; she would scan in armfuls of concert photographs, gig tickets and record sleeves, and use the resulting collage to decoupage tables and ornaments.

If you want to incorporate more traditional crafts into your home, contact Plumbs today for a free no obligation home visit, and get loose covers or re-upholstery today!


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Be Inspired by… The Secret Garden

The classic children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett has been a source of inspiration to children (and gardeners!) since its publication in 1911. The motif of a secret, secluded and private garden, where people are transformed and made happier, is an appealing one. The garden itself could have been labelled an experiment in wilderness gardening; bulbs, wildflowers and trees rejuvenate with a small amount of (non-invasive) human interest. You may not have outdoor space that can be sculpted into a miniature garden of Eden, but you can create a private nook that is just for you.

The Indoor Garden

This is a phenomenon popularised by the space-conscious Japanese, which has been taken up by city bound dwellers who wish to go beyond the usual house plants and herbs, with climbing plants, indoor planters filled with earth and hedges or flowers and some even with water features. A conservatory is often the best place to start if you want to reference this trend, due to the natural light and warmth they are privy to. To get that authentic, 'Secret Garden' look, grow winding, wild pink roses around an indoor arbour.

The Cosy Sofa


Our attractive 'Secret Garden' loose covers feature the trailing flowers and wild beauty that characterised the novel so well, and are fully washable if you want to use them in your conservatory space with indoor garden. This romantic floral can be highlighted to stunning effect as part of a window seat reading nook, and can be matched with curtains in the same fabric.

The Garden Table

An essential ingredient in the romantic, Victorian style idyll is a lacework iron table, either a vintage piece or a good reproduction, to use as a repository for books and drinks. It will complement the fabric of your sofa and the lush roses climbing around your indoor arbour, and the pattern of the metal is distinctive without being obtrusive.

If you want to create your own secret garden, contact Plumbs today for a free, no obligation home visit, or else browse our vast selection of re-upholstery fabrics for a new look today!


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Be Inspired By… Monet's House

French Impressionist Claude Monet was one of the founders of impressionism. The limpid swirls that composed his work – as well as the strong, natural themes – have inspired countless designers, artists and poets throughout the world. His home, and the garden made famous by his Water Lilies series, provided much of the impetus for his work.


Monet's kitchen is a surprisingly beautiful place from which to draw inspiration – delicate blue and white tiles, probably inspired by Monet's love of the Orient; aqua and sunflower yellow paint; accented by polished brass pots, already a byword for chic in 2013. Note as well, the vintage light fittings, and the polished black and gold Aga.

Yellow & Blue

The romantic combination of pale yellow and dusky blue complements exquisitely tiled floors and neutral furnishings. There is an element of the riverboat in this room, with an almost concealed grandfather clock, discreetly overseeing the room, which showcases some of the artist's Japanese prints. Consider referencing this trend with rich golden curtains in our 'Francesca' fabric.

The Garden

Many say the garden is another room of the house, and for Monet this was certainly so. He lavished attention on it, resulting in a landscape of flowers, trees etc. This luxury Spring Blossom fabric evokes the gentle beauty of the artist's water gardens. The fabric, which is perfect for loose covers and features a soft ‘slub’ effect, can also be used in re-upholstery.

Take inspiration from these Monet inspired fabrics and contact Plumbs today for a free, no obligation home visit, or else browse our vast selection of upholstery fabrics for a new look today!


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The Minimalist Guide to Florals

If you hear florals, you tend to think 'busy'. It conjures up country cottage gardens, bric a brac and cosily cluttered living rooms. Yet, like most patterns it can serve hundreds of purposes. You can incorporate floral patterns into a minimalist home; just remember to consider colour, texture and theme in your interior design. Think monochromatic, muted colours

Minimalist Colours

This chic silver grey is a minimalist dream. The elegant colourway ticks the monochromatic and muted boxes with a co-ordination friendly and subtle flower print that is available in loose covers, re-upholstery and curtains. Shown here paired with plain mustard and grey scatter cushions, which highlight the versatility of a good, subtle floral, you can see that this look has potential in spades.  Other great minimalist colours include:

    • White
    • Champagne
    • Black
    • Duck egg blue

Minimalist Accessories


Minimalist interior design isn't about being plain, or turning your home into a sterile white cube. As Leo Babauta, author of the seminal Zen Habits blog remarks, "the key is to remove the unnecessary stuff."

So think about where you can streamline. For example, sell or donate multiple gadgets and digitalise your music and films onto one multi-functional device. If you aren't very tech savvy, you can pay someone to do this for you (or learn – local libraries frequently have free or very cheap computer courses). Purchase dual use storage – such as ottomans and foldaway storage. And in order to incorporate florals, think white; you needn't spend vast amounts of money either.

Minimalist Art

Minimalist art doesn't have to be boxes, or lines, or a dreary emperors-new-clothes style travesty consisting of a scrap of paper stuck to a canvas. Mondrian created some beautiful 'compositions' that reflect the clean lines and orderly processes of the movement, accented by precisely delineated colour sections. Franz Kline, while not a true minimalist, worked in black and white, creating stunningly beautiful, textured abstracts that would grace any minimalist home.

Do you want to embrace minimalism? Then give Plumbs a call today on 0800 019 0505 and embrace a simpler life.


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