Saturday, 21 December 2013

Amazing DIY || Turn Plywood into Wide Plank Wooden Flooring

I know it's now the Saturday before Christmas and this is not really anything to do with Christmas, but I discovered the most amazing DIY tutorial online yesterday afternoon while I was on Pinterest. And lately I've noticed if I leave something, it tends to go on the back burner so I thought I would just go ahead and post it. If you're doing a home renovation or a shop renovation and you're on a budget, this is the most brilliant way to fake wide plank farmhouse style wooden flooring. I just wish I had seen this before we put carpet downstairs in the barn. I found it on Jordan Reilly's brilliant blog Picklee - click here to take a look.

Jordan turned this lot of plywood she picked up at Home Depot (I guess that is like B&Q or Wickes here in England)....


.....into this, farmhouse style wide plank wooden flooring:


Isn't that incredible? All the details and how to are featured on the Picklee blog, including how they spaced out the boards so perfectly, what paint mix she used, and how they attached it to the sub-floor.

Definitely the best DIY I've seen in a long time, and for a fraction of the price of real hardwood flooring. What do you think?

Image Credits: Jordan Reilly / Picklee Blog, produced with kind permission.




Friday, 20 December 2013

The Perfect Christmas Canape

Well it's the Friday before Christmas and I don't know about you, but my mind is definitely focused on all the yummy treats we get to enjoy over the next week. This is my favourite Chrismas canape - bacon wrapped water chestnuts, super easy, you can prepare them in advance and pop them in the oven before your guests arrive.


TIME: 40 minutes (including prep)
QUANTITY: 20 approx.

250g Streaky bacon
225g tin of water chestnut
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp water
Handful rocket

Start by draining the water from the tin of water chestnuts. Don't worry if they are different sizes - you can just use a bigger or smaller piece of bacon accordingly. So take a strip of streaky bacon and with a knife in one hand and the end of the strip of bacon in the other, push the back of the blade along lengthways to thin out the bacon.

Then simply wrap each piece of water chestnut in a strip of bacon. And so on until they are all wrapped.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (foil is not so good as they tend to stick). Secure each wrapped chestnut with a cocktail stick and place in rows on the tray. (You can cover with cling film and put in the fridge at this point if you're making them in advance).

Place in the oven for 20 minutes until slightly browned and crispy. Meanwhile mix together the mustard, sugar and water in a jug. If it is very thick add a little more water to loosen it.

Remove the tray from the oven and brush the chestnuts with the mustard mixture. Place back in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

Place on a serving plate and garnish with fresh rocket. The wrapped chestnuts are always super hot when they come out so do warn your guests if you plan to serve them immediately. Oh and they definitely taste better with a glass of bubbly...enjoy!



I've got a Pinterest board with lots more Christmas entertaining recipes on it - click here to take a look.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Before and After // Mirror Revamp

I thought I'd share with you a great "before & after" of a project I recently worked on for a client. As part of an interior design revamp, I worked with the client to transform her bright gold and black mirror into something more subtle and in keeping with the room's colour scheme. After using chalk paints and sealer as a base, I then mixed a bespoke metallic wax to give the mirror a beautiful sheen.


The client was absolutely thrilled with it and I wanted to share it because it's always good to know you can reinvigorate home accessories which have lost a bit of their appeal over the years.


This is the before version of the mirror. It's so tricky photographing mirrors.


Still tricky...anyway, this is with the chalk paint - it's a mix of Autentico Almond, Pebbles & Linen. I'm still a big fan of Autentico paints and waxes, we use them exclusively now. 


And finally, this is with the sealer and then the metallic wax finish. I was over the moon with it when I finished. What do you guys think? It's a lovely transformation even though my first photograph of it in the sitting room doesn't really do it justice.

I am always happy to work with clients on projects like this (geography permitting!) or if you are interested in learning the techniques for yourself, I will be demonstrating these amongst other things at the advanced furniture painting and restoration workshops coming up in October and November. This one day workshop is available at our studio in Blunham, Bedfordshire and also at The Decor Cafe in London. Click here for more information. Or, if you would like a quote for a similar project, please email info@westegg.co.uk and we'll be in touch.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Decoupage Project: Clipboards

The lovely Steffi from the Ohhh Mhhh blog asked me to put together a quick and easy DIY guide to decoupage as a guest post for her. You can read the original post here and see all the photographs. However, I have re-posted the text below as I know the google translate comes out slightly crazy. I hope you enjoy it.



My studio and workshop is clad in wood and painted white, so it’s great to inject some colour into it with some brightly coloured clipboards. Decoupage is a really quick, easy and cheap way to do this and also gives a really durable finish. You can decoupage pretty much anything – plant pots, box files, furniture – there is no limit. For me, good quality wrapping paper it is the perfect thickness for decoupage and you can source some pretty paper that suits your space.

What You Will Need

• PVA Glue
• Water
• A clipboard or something to apply decoupage to (start small)
• Paper - I like to use wrapping paper
• Several paint brushes (all bone dry)
• Clean cloths and a protective sheet / newspaper
• Scissors
• Craft knife


Step 1 :: Start with a smooth, dry and clean surface

An uneven or dirty surface is pretty much a recipe for disaster if you want to decoupage. If the surface has previously had decoupage applied, make sure this is completely removed before you start. If the surface becomes damp while you are cleaning it, leave it to dry out completely before starting. New clipboards are perfect to start with.

Step 2 :: Use a PVA + water blend @ 1:1

There are lots of "decoupage mediums" available to buy. I personally do not feel they are worth the money when you can simply buy PVA glue from any supermarket and mix it with water. Use a plastic spoon or something similar to combine the PVA and water so you get a good smooth consistency. It needs to be stirred really well, shaking it does not combine the mixture adequately. Mixing in a jam jar or ceramic jug is useful because you can easily wash it out afterwards.

Step 3 :: Apply the medium to the clipboard, then layer on the paper

So, the easiest way to do this is to brush the medium lightly over the surface of the clipboard and then directly apply the paper to the surface. Make sense? If you spread the medium onto the paper first, it tends to wrinkle up really fast so do it the other way round. 

For the clipboards, I always start at the bottom right corner and cut the paper into manageable 15cm pieces, any shape will do. Each time you apply the paper, layer it over another piece slightly and fold over the back. Once you get to the top, use a craft knife to cut around the clip and secure with decoupage medium.

As soon as it is applied, brush over the top with a clean, dry brush to smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 4 :: Sit tight and/or do something else
Once you have covered the front, now is the time to leave it alone. Just leave it alone, no prodding or poking. It needs to dry so leave it a good 10 minutes or so. Once it is dry, you can apply the same technique to the back.

Step 5 :: Apply a thin layer of medium on top of the paper

Using a small amount of medium, brush over the top of the paper as evenly as possible. If it starts to bubble up and wrinkle you are using too much medium or the paper is too thin. You should have a nice even coverage across the paper. And, once you have a thin layer applied, step away again and leave to dry out.

Step 6 :: Repeat, then repeat again

Repeat step 5 around 8-10 times to create a really durable and hard decoupage surface. Each time you apply the medium, be sure to leave it enough time to dry before the next coat.


TOP TIP: Wash out your brush thoroughly with some white spirit after using it, this will protect the bristles and stop them getting clogged up.

Monday, 1 July 2013

How To Make A Roman Blind

I'm really excited that one of the new workshop courses we're offering is How To Make A Roman Blind. Jo Flannery, the super brilliant and talented teacher of the workshop, spent a day with me in the studio, and together we made a Roman blind. My sewing skills are not up to much, but it really inspired me and encouraged me to do more sewing. I need to make up some aprons for our painting workshops so this is next on my list.


The fabric we used for the blind is by Romo Linara - it's quite textured, and the grey is really subtle and fits in with the space upstairs perfectly. I wanted to keep it really simple and not too fussy so I'm really pleased with the end result. What do you guys think? I'm feeling so inspiring to start sewing projects left, right and centre - I've decided to make Roman blinds for the sitting room and dining room in the cottage. Eventually we'll have curtains as well, but they are good cost-effective solution for now. It's really empowering to think I can make them on my own now.


Take a look here to see when our next workshop on making Roman blinds is on at our studio in Blunham, Bedfordshire. During the workshop, students will learn to measure and calculate fabric required, measure up window spaces, receive advice and tips on equipment, learn how to hang and string a Roman blind at home; and then sew and construct a simple Roman blind including cutting, allowing for seams and turnings, and assemble the pieces together.

All fabric and additional blind making materials are included, as well as lunch and refreshments. Everyone takes away a full set of notes. To book your place please click here to check dates and availability or visit www.westegg.co.uk and click on workshops.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

West Egg Wins Best Interiors Blog Award

Wow wow wow. Some of you may have seen a post on here last week about the Prime Location Blog Awards. West Egg was nominated for the User's Favourite Blog Award which is voted for by the people.  I was frankly amazing that we had been nominated. We didn't win, the award went instead to Rentonomy who fully deserved it with the monster share of the votes. You can see the full list of winners here.

West Egg did however pick up the Best Interiors Blog Award which, again, I didn't even know we had been nominated for. It was amazing! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for us and supported West Egg. It is greatly appreciated and a real motivation boost to keep moving the business forward and progressing on every front. Twitter played a massive part in the support we received, especially from fellow design bloggers like the amazing Stacey Sheppard (twitter handle: @StaceyJSheppard) who blogs over at The Design Sheppard. Stacey tweeted about us every day for a week before the voting cut off - way above and beyond what anyone could have expected. It's so lovely and heart-warming to be part of this interiors community that is so supportive and helpful to each other. I love it.

To think this blog has it's own award makes me so proud of West Egg and myself for everything we've managed to do over the last 2 years. So many amazing opportunities and some of the most fun projects I've worked on have come about because of this blog and I think that is a really positive, inspiring and amazing thing.

Image Credit: Pedan + Munk

Lucinda and I were in the car when I found out via Twitter - cue lots of screaming. We celebrated later on with prosecco and a lovely Mediterranean vegetable lasagne recipe from Mary Berry's cookbook. It was perfect and I was so happy to be able to celebrate it with the person who inspires me so greatly. We're working on some new designs for A/W 2013 and I can't wait to share them with you all. Thank you again to everyone for your support of our business.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Choosing a Bathroom for our Cottage Renovation

As I mentioned in the blog post yesterday, my husband and I have been renovating an old cottage for several months now. It has been a fairly large project in terms of the work that we have had to get done. In short, the cottage was completely gutted and put back together with a steel frame. Gulp! So a slightly bigger job that we thought, but I've seen Grand Designs, I know that's the way it goes....not naive at all, not at all...

We're coming to the latter stages now, and one particular room that has had me stumped is the bathroom. Like pretty much everything else, we had to rip it out and start afresh. Only, once you're left with a basic rectangular room, it suddenly becomes a little daunting. Making these decisions is something I thought I'd relish, but actually it's agonising. I talked about choosing tiles yesterday which if you read it, you probably get a sense of how long it is taking me to make a decision.

In the end, I approached it the same way I approached everything else with this project. I researched online using Google images, Pinterest, decorating and renovation blogs like mad about the house and young house love. I looked back through brochures I had picked up at trade shows and when I was away on BlogTourNYC. And as I started to piece it all together, I picked out the common themes of things I liked. For me, it all starts with the bath. 

In an ideal world, and an ideal bathroom, I'd pick a lovely free-standing bath that inspires a deep sense of relaxation. Having blown most of our budget on mere silly things like steel frames, we're now penny pinching and trying to get more for every purchase at lower costs. I was happily surprised at the choices of baths available at some really good prices at Homebase. They have a fantastic range, and while they were too big for our bathroom space, given half a chance we would have picked one of these freestanding bad boys. 


Although we couldn't fit one in our bathroom this time, I've bookmarked them for any future bathrooms - we need one upstairs in the cottage so I'm hoping that will be big enough to fit one. Choosing from the wide variety of bathroom suites is tricky, and simply researching online is never the same as seeing things in real life. I visited several bathroom retailers in person, and spent time wandering around. It's also useful to visit in person, because then when you completely forget about things like shower screens, you know where to go.

I've taken some really hilarious photographs of the bathroom already (one of which you can see here) which show progress, all I need now are the 100% finished "after" photographs. 

This post was sponsored by Homebase, however, all views and opinions are my own. 
For more information on how I work with sponsors, please click on the Advertising tab above. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Metro Tiles for the Bathroom

Did you know I'm renovating a house with my husband? Given half a chance I will merrily wang on about it to anyone who will listen so I'm betting I've mentioned it here before. In fact I know I have. So, now we're all on the same page, renovating blah blah, also on that page is an ever diminishing budget. So when it came to tiling the bathroom, I would have loved nothing more than to employ a highly skilled and knowledgeable tiler (or my Dad, same thing). However, once I'd totted up how much the tiles, adhesive, grout etc would cost, there wasn't much left for the actual tile application. Dad was busy doing other things (like putting the rest of the house together) and I thought, well, I'll have a go. Why not! Why not tile a bathroom when you've never done it before? To prepare for this tiling extravaganza I watched about 25 videos on YouTube of other people tiling, and read a few online guides. Let me share what I learnt with you.

Firstly, tiling is very time-consuming. Anyone who says you can do it in half a day is either lying or an expert tiler. Secondly, it's fiddly, really fiddly, especially behind the taps (try and tile before you put taps in). Thirdly, quick drying adhesive dries really really fast so you need to work quickly which isn't always possible when you're a complete novice and spend huge chunks of time standing in the bath staring blankly at the wall.

In spite of all this, it turned out pretty well. I originally wanted to use the Fired Earth metro tiles because I fell in love with them at the Fired Earth & Aga showroom at Vale Farm last Christmas.


Sadly the Fired Earth tiles were way out of our budget, who saw that coming? I found some really lovely alternatives though at Topps Tiles in Bedford. I didn't have a clue what I was doing and the staff were super helpful, I'd really recommend them especially Tony who gave me a few last minute tips before I started.

I went for the Metro Tile in Blue - after consulting my husband obviously - he was totally involved too :). I did umm and ahhh about going for the cream or white ones because they were so much cheaper, but in the end I thought I'd be brave and go for it. And I'm really so so pleased with the results.


This is before I had properly finished doing the final rub to get the smeary grout bits off. But overall, I'm thrilled all except if you look closely in the corner you can see it goes thicker and then thinner again? That is going to bug me every time I'm in there I think! Corners are really tough.

I'd love to hear from any other DIY tilers out there? I do actually have one last tip I just thought of... I wrapped the taps in cling film so they were protected from the adhesive and grout flying around but I could also work around them. Am I a super genius or does everyone do this? I'll go with genius until I hear otherwise, it's good for my tiler self-esteem.

Anyway, do you want to see what the bathroom was like before? Here you go...


Snazzy shower doors + curtain combo, right?! I'm so happy to have a bath in there now.

Right, I'm off now to my cardboard castle to pack up some west egg orders, will be back tomorrow. Bye!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Top Reading Picks For This Weekend

I've been so depressed this week by the weather, wet, windy, grey, gloomy. Waah waah waah. I can't take any more. Oh, the sun has come out, all is forgiven! If you're reading this and you're in England, I guess you feel the same? Because I've been indoors so much these last few days, I've spent way more time on the internet than I usually do. The positive effect of this is that I've found some great blog posts that are really fun, inspiring and motivating.

About two years ago, when the sun last came out for more than 10 minutes. 

Here are my top picks for this weekend:


That's it, lucky 8. Happy weekend all! 

Louisa x

This Blogging Business

Writing this blog has had lots of benefits for my business, West Egg. That is, after all, the reason I started writing in the first place. If you run an online furniture and homewares store, or any kind of online store, you'll know all about SEO. I didn't really think this blog would last long, because let's be honest, I didn't know what SEO was back in October 2010, or why it was important. I actually remember asking my web designer how easy it would be to remove the blog link on the website in case I couldn't/wouldn't blog properly.

And now look. Blogging has become a really big part of my life, in lots of different ways. I've met so many amazing, inspiring friends through blogging, it's like a whole new group of university friends. I love it. I've heard lots of bloggers say that the friendships they have made through blogging keeps them motivated and inspired and happy. Blogging makes me feel happy! How strange. I'm sure my parents find it strange. I know my dad reads this blog (hi dad), in fact I'm pretty sure he was my only reader (together with my husband) in the early days. Anyway, why am I talking about this? I'm not sure, but it doesn't really matter because this is my blog, my space, my little corner of the internet where I can chat away about things I like, things that inspire me, projects I'm working on etc. It's spontaneous, I'm not writing a book, just a little blog post - it's quick (sometimes), thoughtful (sometimes) and in the moment (always). It's also spontaneous in that I am not a post planner as I know I should be, I tend to write and then post it. I've taken e-courses, attended workshops, meet ups, conferences, all about blogging. I know that I should post more regularly, and more consistently (I'm quite chaotic), I know I need to migrate from blogger to wordpress (scared of the unknown), I know that readers hate captcha verification for the comments (actually, I fixed that one, I turned it off. Tick).

But the thing about blogging, is that it's a bit like renovating a house with no experience (something, coincidentally, I do in my spare time); there is always so much to improve, tweak, fix, change etc. Where do you begin? I know, for me, that chatting to other bloggers and picking up tips and tricks was one of the ways I've made little improvements to the west egg blog over the last 2.5 years.

Image Credit: Present&Correct - Olivetti Valentine available here for £295.

So, if you're still with me, you get that I'm into blogging, right? Ok, so you can imagine I was pretty happy to be invited to the launch of the new independent blog network We Blog Design last week. It took place at the Vitra showroom during Clerkenwell Design Week and the We Blog Design team organised a brilliant panel event all about blogging. And there was fizz too, which is always nice.

Image Credit: Present&Correct -- Cup of Tea Card available here for £2.85.

The event was chaired by co-founder Katie Treggiden (confessions of a design geek) and featured a fantastic line up of speakers who shared their own varied experiences of blogging: Jon Vick, The Art of Bespoke - Making a blog your business // Kate Watson-Smyth, Mad About the House - From print journalist to blogger // Toni Anne Sanderson, Nest.co.uk - Using blogging to promote your business // Katherine Sandford-Anderson, Sandford PR - Getting coverage on blogs.

You can click here to read the live tweeting report from the event which is a great recap of all the tips that were shared. We Blog Design is the brainchild of Katie, Stacey Sheppard (The Design Sheppard) and Yeshen Venema (yeshenvenema.com) and the purpose is to inform, inspire and connect bloggers...
"The intention is for it to be very much of the bloggers, for the bloggers and by the bloggers(!) So we’re hoping you’ll get involved so we can all learn from each other. Blogging is such a new media that nobody has all the answers, but if we all share what we learn as we go, we can all benefit. So join us – and get involved!"
My favourite part is the forum. You have to sign up (it's free) and log in etc, but once you're in, you're in a private space where bloggers can communicate easily to share information, tips, tricks and little bits of know how. 

It's so simple and brilliant, I can't believe it's not been done before. So, for all the design bloggers out there, take a look here & sign up: www.weblog-design.com

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Abnormals Anonymous

Morning! I had a minor breakthrough last night, so I'm feeling pretty upbeat and motivated today. I was lying in bed last night with a million thoughts racing around my head that had nowhere to go except into the dark and murky depths of my memory. It happens every night, and I eventually doze off. I know people say keep a notepad and pen by your bed so you can write ideas down but I don't do that. I always think Oh, I'll definitely remember that! How could I forget that?! 9 times out of 10, I *never* remember.... until it's too late. On my bedside table is a pile of books, some water, and my iphone. So last night I hurriedly typed a lot of waffle type thoughts into the notes section. I went straight to sleep. And this morning, it's all there. Which is great, because I reminded myself to write this blog post about Abnormals Anonymous - have you heard of them? I only just found them thanks to my husband who brought my some interiors magazines back from the US last week and their Spot wallpaper was featured in House Beautiful magazine.

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Abnormals Anonymous are design duo Henrietta and Paco - I can't tell you much more about them because they prefer to remain incognito. What I do know is they met in an elevator in Nashville, and somehow, in that short ride down through 3 floors of the hotel, all the stars aligned and they discovered a shared love and passion for design and wallpapers. Amazing!

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Henrietta and Paco design and make wallpaper from their Los Angeles base which feature all sorts of animals, sea creatures and insects. The wallpaper designs are fun, refreshing and make me smile. Which on a another rainy day in England is extremely welcome.

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

Image Credit: Abnormals Anonymous

What do you guys think of these wallpaper designs? I definitely would like to use the giraffe spot design somewhere, maybe in a spare room or downstairs bathroom - I want my guests to see my fun wallpaper! Shameless I know.

Take a peek at their website for more of their designs, they are also on facebook and twitter so you can connect with them online.

UPDATE: For UK customers enquiring about stockists, you can order the wallpapers from Studio Four NYC and they will ship to you in the UK. Please contact them directly at www.studiofournyc.com. Thank you!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Top 5 Stencil Finds

Morning all. I just wanted to drop in and share with you some really cool stencils I found via Etsy. At the furniture painting workshop I taught last week in London, the lovely Ilaria brought a stencil with her to use on a little stool she painted. It really inspired me so much. I searched a while ago for stencils but totally forgot about Etsy. I just wanted to show you my favourite finds that I discovered this morning.

Antique Metal Letter Stencil

Image Credit: Cultural Pollination

I love the shape of these letters, perfect for personalising crates or signs for weddings and summer parties. These stencils are available from Cultural Pollination - what a cool name for a store!

Linden Tree Stencil

Image Credit: Olive Leaf Stencils

Bringing the outdoors inside, these tree stencils are pretty awesome. I also really like that staircase, it looks like a slide. The Linden Tree stencil is by Olive Leaf Stencils.

HoneyComb Stencil

Image Credit: Cute Stencils

Kind of the bee's knees really, groan. I really like the geometric pattern, it's very pleasing to the eye and calming. This stencil is by Cute Stencils.


Image Credit: OMG Stencils

This is probably a little bit too hectic for me, but I just love the colour and pattern. This one is by OMG Stencils


Image Credit: Royal Design Stencils

This is the stencil that Ilaria used for her little wooden stool. It looked amazing, if you check out the West Egg instagram feed (handle: @westeggUK) you will be able to see some pictures of it in action. 

This stencil is by Royal Design Stencils

Have any of you used stencils before on walls in your home? I think it's quite a cool idea, especially for a child's room. Although, I do wonder how easy it is to cover up with paint in the future? Since I'm currently up to my eyeballs in decorating, it's these types of practical questions that concern me. Have a great day everyone - I have a ton of work to get through this morning and then afternoon I'm going to decorating....again! 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Victoria + Albert Baths

Victoria + Albert Baths, a sponsor of BlogTourNYC, are a British company who create beautiful bath tubs and basins. They use QUARRYCAST® to make their bath tubs which is a blend of volcanic limestone and high performance resins. Naturally white, each item is individually hand-finished by craftsmen at their factory based in South Africa. 

What I really like about Victoria + Albert is that they cover the whole design spectrum for bathrooms with styles ranging from minimalist contemporary to classic roll tops.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Toulouse 

My favourite bath tub from the Classic collection is the Toulouse - it looks wonderfully luxurious. I also love the styling of this photograph with the wooden painted floors, distressed doors to the right, and the delicate cabriole legs of the table housing the wash basin. Definitely my cup of tea.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Toulouse 

Doesn't that look relaxing? I love the exposed brick walls too in the photograph above. Having said that, my eye was also caught by the Cabrits which is completely different to the Toulouse.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Cabritis

Victoria + Albert Baths || Cabrits

The Cabrits bath tub is contoured to fit the body which makes it a very comfortable fit. How do I know this? I tried it out at the AD Home Design Show - fully clothed of course.

Victoria + Albert Baths || we saw their stand at the AD Home Design Show and got to try out the baths!

Victoria + Albert Baths || me and Gem Barton, fellow BlogTourNYC blogger

As you can see, BlogTourNYC is terribly hard work. It was actually lovely after being on our feet all day at the AD Home Design Show to put our feet up - if only for a photo opportunity!

Thank you Victoria + Albert Baths for sponsoring BlogTourNYC and making it a trip of a lifetime. If you'd like to find out more about Victoria + Albert Baths in the UK, there is a showroom in the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour or you can visit their website to find your nearest dealer.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Miele

Miele, pronounced 'Tequila', were one of the fabulous BlogTourNYC sponsors. We had such a wonderful time thanks to their incredible hospitality. Miele, together with Corcoran Real Estate organised a real estate tour on the afternoon of Day 1 which was, frankly, mind-blowing. We were able to view some of the most incredible apartments available in New York and there was one in particular which I completely fell in love with... separate blog posts coming soon. Sorry, there is way too much to cover... you'll thank me afterwards, I promise. 

Anyway, after the tour we were invited by Miele to the Architects & Designers Building in Manhattan to visit their Miele Gallery. There are ten Miele galleries across the US, and each of these inspiring resource centres has its own calendar of events that are open to the public, including, product cooking presentations, MasterChef Classes, Wine Tastings and lots of other events.

We were invited to a special dinner, with chef Joey Campanaro from Little Owl, who used local, seasonal produce to make a spectacular 4 course feast using Miele appliances. For someone like me who learnt to cook on an Aga, it was kind of amazing to see the combi-steam oven in action. With a mind-boggling 100 automated programme settings to cook a variety of meats, vegetables and grains, plus step-by-step instructions as you go, not to mention five specialty Miele MasterChef gourmet programmes which incorporate slow cooking techniques, you can imagine why it was so cool to see it in action. 

Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Joey Campanaro is in the red jacket
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Little Owl serving canapes and drinks - we were so spoilt.
Gem Barton acting as Joey's sous chef, Tina Ramchandani on the right tweeting away.
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - lovely ingredients
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - cooking the first course
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Poached Maine Lobster with asparagus flan, endive and basil vinaigriette
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - BlogTourNYC bloggers Zoe Brewer and Lori Gilder

Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Tina Ramchandani, BlogTourNYC bloggers Emily Blunden and Mike Welton
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - our goodie bags all lined up (told you we got spoilt!)
Thank you so much Miele for spoiling us bloggers absolutely rotten and sponsoring the wonderful BlogTourNYC. It was such a fun evening with amazing company, incredible food and a fabulous chance to see such innovative and inspiring Miele products in action.

Monday, 8 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Du Verre, The Hardware Co.

One of the perks of BlogTourNYC was being able to spend time with the representatives of the sponsors. As a small business owner myself, it is always fascinating to me to hear how others started up. So that is why meeting and spending time with Gina Lubin, CEO and Creative Director of Du Verre Hardware, was such a huge pleasure. Du Verre design and manufacture cabinet hardware. They work with a raft of highly respected designers to create unique collections of knobs and pulls for fine furniture and interiors. I love that the hardware is finished by hand, which means there are small variations in the final colour. So, not only does this add warmth and beauty to each piece, it makes each piece completely unique. 

Images kindly supplied by Du Verre Hardware || Clock-wise from Top Left: TORONTO KITCHEN with Scot Laughton and Heinz Pfleger // POMEGRANATE by Heinz Pfleger // LOTUS by William Harvey // RIO COLLECTION by Gina Lubin 

We got to spend time with Gina at the dinner on our first night at Isabella's. After a long day of travelling, my chat wasn't up to much (when is it ever), but luckily there were plenty more opportunities to catch up. Gina kindly agreed to do a short interview focusing on the business side of things which was super interesting. 

So, I'm always curious to know how others work when they run their own businesses. Can you describe a typical day for you?

My days at Du Verre are quite varied. My office is full of samples, prototypes, hardware, photography equipment, drawings and inspiration pieces. Did I mention computers?! There is always music playing.

On a good day, there is a hum of activity and we’re all in the zone each doing our part. We might be approving a new range of hardware, contemplating new finishes, planning a product launch or trying to figure out the Internet! Our head office is our think tank and laboratory all at the same time.

You personally designed the Rio range (see above bottom left), are you working on any new designs currently?

Yes. We have a new collection coming out very soon. It is another great William Harvey design. It’s all curves! I love it.

As for me, I am always drawing and sculpting. There should be some more original Gina Lubin designs by the end of the year. I’d love to have more of my pieces on offer but work sometimes gets in the way.


When you and Gavin set up Du Verre Hardware, how did you divide up the responsibilities between yourselves?

Gavin is not only my partner but my husband as well. We have worked successfully together for many years. I am the upfront person. He is more behind the scenes.

We both work on the design side. Gavin is our photographer and has created all the beautiful imagery that we use on our website and in our catalogues. I curate the designs, bring the ideas together and transform them into hardware.



What are you most proud of?

I am proud of the hardware that we produce. Sometimes when I see the incredible people and companies that are using our hardware, I am blown away. We are a small boutique firm and yet we have earned the respect of the design community.

What advice can you give to anyone thinking of setting up their own business?

Having your own business is not for the faint of heart but I always knew that it was what I wanted. I guess it comes down to passion and hard work. So, it helps to do something you love. 

My business, while quite small compared to some, has been the most fabulous experience. It has taken me around the world. I have met incredible people and worked in several countries. And, we have managed to do it on our own terms. What more can you ask?

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I found Gina really inspiring and motivating and I hope you have too. She has spurred me on even more with my business West Egg, for which I am very grateful. Thank you Gina so much for sponsoring BlogTourNYC, it was amazing to meet you and I can't wait to see you in London in September! 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Silestone by Cosentino

In my last few posts about BlogTourNYC, I've mentioned Silestone by Cosentino a few times without properly introducing them. Lorenzo Marquez, VP of Marketing, gave us an introduction to this family owned business at the brunch at the Poggenpohl Kitchen Design Studio. Consentino, a world leader in the natural stone sector, have been working with Silestone since 1994. This family owned business originated in Almeria, Spain, is dedicated to the innovative development of kitchen surfaces so it's not surprise they chose to work with Silestone, a naturally beautiful but also durable quartz. 


Silestone is the only kitchen surface made of quartz that also encompasses antibacterial properties. No one else is doing this, I love that. 

Lorenzo talked us through some of the 60 colour shades available. Interestingly, white, which was their 36th best seller a few years aho, is now their No 1. And, Silestone gurantee that White Zeus is the whitest counter top on the market today. 


Neutral kitchen design has always been the safe choice because as everyone knows, kitchens sell houses. And not everyone likes a red kitchen. Now however, with the progression of new neutrals - whites, blacks, greys, there are so many more possibilities to personalise your kitchen space without compromising on the re-sale value of your home. 



I love this kitchen above, the matte finish of the Silestone surfaces are so perfectly modern and fresh. They also offer one more advantage over the polished marble; low maintenance. You just use good old soap and water. Simple. 

Thank you Silestone by Consentino for sponsoring BlogTourNYC. It has been such a pleasure learning about your products and company. 

All images reproduced with kind permission from Silestone by Cosentino.