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Three Eco-Friendly Ideas That Will Transform Your Interiors

Last month DECO magazine Editor Abby Trow joined us at our Chelsea Harbour showroom to talk all things eco-interiors. Just like so many others,  Topfloor is committed to making positive changes to the way we live in order to reduce our negative impact on the planet. Interior design, architecture and product manufacture are major players in our consumption of the Earth’s resources, and as suppliers we have a responsibility to make sustainable choices and provide the best options we can to those who choose to work with us. It’s not just suppliers who can make a difference. Every day interior designers and architects specify furniture, accessories and material finishes to create the environments around us. So what are the options for eco-friendly interiors?

Bamboo, photographed by Omar Rodriguez. (via Unsplash)

Embrace boho-glamour with bamboo…

According to writer Yvette Hymann and material directory goodonyou.eco, bamboo can be a surprisingly sustainable crop. A fast growing grass, it requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots, so it doesn’t need to be replanted. When compared to cotton cultivation, which requires large amounts of water, pesticides and labour, and the deforestation tied to more traditional wood finishes, the advantages are obvious. Creatively speaking, bamboo is a highly versatile material, use for decades for everything from elegant furniture design, architectural structures, decorative items and even wall and floor covering.We use it extensively in our bespoke rug creations not only for its eco credentials but also for its aesthetic and versatility:

 

A few of Topfloor’s bamboo rug textures 

Opt for cruelty-free material…

Bamboo is often chosen as a more affordable alternative to natural silk  which for centuries has been the material of choice for luxury rug and carpet makers. But there is a dark side to silk. Traditionally, silk yarn is extracted from the cocoons of the silkworms by boiling them alive. Recently, we have discovered a new natural silk extraction process developed by the Eris company which does not require the ultimate sacrifice by the worms. We are already using this new silk in our rug and accessory productions and not only does it tick all the eco boxes but the results are stunning.

Close-up of a Topfloor hand-knotted rug in Eri silk

 

New Eri silk fabrics

Our wood flooring studio gets maximum points on the eco scale since all of our floors are certified by FSC and or PEFC. These are the two certifying bodies that ensure the highest sustainability and eco friendly credentials for all forest products materials and their application across many different product sectors.

Topfloor’s FSC-certified ‘Black Oyster’ in a Beirut penthouse by Kelly Hoppen Interiors.

A nightclub-inspired WC designed by Daniel Hopwood, photographed by Andrew Beasley.

Invest in the latest green technologies…

Finally, British interior design + Japanese technology = eco smarts for the smallest room. The bathroom might not seem like the obvious place to start, but former BIID President and interior designer Daniel Hopwood has some wise words when it comes to going green. Hopwood believes that we can transform the carbon footprint of our homes while improving functionality too. He recommends exploring the recently launched NEOREST AC washlet from Japanese innovators TOTO. He explains why going high-tech and avoiding the need for harsh chemicals and toilet paper is a step in the right direction, “Here we are, still throwing chemicals down the pan, as well as the dreaded wet wipes believing they are biodegradable which they are not.  Still lurking in the corner is the loo brush, certainly not an object of desire. What a sorry affair in every home. Last year I took a trip to Japan and saw the blinding light, a TOTO NEOREST AC. Be prepared to be amazed. the water swirling about the bowl is not just any water, its electrolysed water which acts like a bleach killing all germs, but moments later returns to being just water. Genius. A UV light integrated in the lid which combines with the zirconium coating triggers a decomposition process, making a toilet brush totally unnecessary. There is no other loo out there that can meet such environmental credentials.”

Topfloor’s FSC-certified ‘Black Oyster’ in a Beirut penthouse by Kelly Hoppen Interiors.

For The Love of Design: Embracing Sensuality

Design icon Paul Rand once said, “To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatise, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.”

Topfloor Embed rug by Esti Barnes

With Valentine’s Day approaching and romance on our minds, it seems only right to celebrate the deep sensuality of our environments, and to embrace the invitation to narrate the spaces we live in that interior design extends. Our interiors reflect the lives we lead, with every sofa, rug, table and work of art laced with passion, dedication and a love for creation. Whether it be a bedroom, kitchen, hotel, bar or restaurant, each and every space we create serves to indulge the senses and, as Rand so profoundly stated, illuminate, dramatise and amuse us as we go. We sat down with Topfloor co-founder and designer Esti Barnes to talk about the senses, love and rugs…

Toplfoor Caress collection: Roma in 100% merino wool

How do you embrace sensuality in your design work?

Sensuality is often the subtheme when we design– for bedrooms particularly. It can be subtle and seductive like our ENVELOPE rug with its smooth colour gradation. It can be deep pile creamy silk – like the carpet we just delivered for a superyacht, or soft and curvy like our EVENTAILLE rug.

Topfloor Envelope rug: 100% silk

In your opinion as a designer, why is sensuality important in interior design?

Because it helps to imprint the client’s personality onto their home. The hospitality industry is also good at using design to create ‘fantasy’ interiors as part of the 5-star experience.

Topfloor Cancan Rug: feminine and frilled

How can rugs bring sensuality into a home?

We have a lot to play with. We can create sensuality from shape, whether the undulating curves of EVENTAILLE or the coquettish frills of CANCAN. Colour too is an obvious mood-setter. Finally, texture is key and we have so many choices that feel great under barefoot.

What is, in your opinion, the greatest love story from design history?

The Art Nouveau movement is a great source of inspiration to us and of course itself has sensuality as a recurring theme in its artwork, sculpture and textiles. Textile designer and artist Mariano Fortuny is a particular favourite.

Explore the full range of Topfloor rugs and carpets, designed by Esti, here.

Five Ways to Transform Your Interiors with Rugs and Carpets in 2019

A new year always brings a sense of refreshment and with it the enthusiasm to make positive changes in our lives and homes. There is a common misconception that altering the interiors of a home has to be a costly and intrusive process, but that is not always the case. As lovers of beautiful design we at Topfloor have seen first-hand the transformative power of flooring and how one small change can have a profound impact on the feel of a space.

Think seasonally…
The right rug has the ability to add to or develop an existing colour scheme. It is worth considering sourcing two differing styles for your living room: a thin, light-coloured rug for summer and a chunkier, darker one for the winter months. Transforming the mood of your room can be as easy as swapping between the two.

Topfloor Emmenthal rug (for winter)
Topfloor Kaftan Rug (for summer)

Go for a run(ner)…
Not all spaces are created equal. Some are sprawling and generously proportioned, others are narrow and might be short of natural light. When this is the case, or you wish to highlight a set of stairs or a grand entrance, a runner might be the most appropriate option. Explore unconventional forms pattern and bold colour within our GO-GO collection.

Topfloor Spiderman Runner

More is more…
Scale is one of the most important things to consider when designing a room. How your various pieces of furniture and chosen accessories interact with each other can completely alter the feel of a room. Interiors stylist and journalist Cate St Hill explains, “Getting a bigger rug that can be placed comfortably under furniture doesn’t just make the space look larger, it also helps to create a warm, cosy space that you and your guests will want to linger in.”

Topfloor Endless Rug

Get in formation…
We’ve always enjoyed experimenting with different shapes and styles to create unexpected rugs, and interior stylist PJ Mehaffey has great advice for making the most of different forms. “How you arrange furniture can help play up the rug’s shape. For round and oval rugs arrange most of the furniture, like sofas and chairs, just off the edge, so the shape of the rug is really featured.”

Topfloor Endive Rug

Connect with your home…
As Nylon’s digital design director Liz Riccardi explains, everything is connected, “The allure of a rug is palpable because they are something you physically touch—you sit, stand, walk, and lie on them. For me, a rug is the first thing my feet touch when I get out of bed every morning, and I think there’s something about that act that creates a very strong sense memory connection. The best rugs are really works of art. And the thing is, they can totally transform any space.”

Topfloor Venezia Rug

All rugs shown designed by Esti Barnes.

Whether you’re looking for a striking rug, elegant carpet or chic runner, you’ll find something inspiring at topfloorrugs.com

8 Designers Share Their Christmas Interior Decorating Advice

Christmas has something of a reputation for flirting with the wrong side of kitsch, but there’s no denying that, when done well, a beautifully decorated home can evoke feelings of joy. Professional interior designers are well-versed in grappling with bold ideas and turning them into liveable schemes, so who better to take festive decorating advice from. 

Of course, if you happen to own one of Topfloor’s rugs like STARDUST or DRAGONFLY, your Christmas decorating task is much easier because they already set the scene with their festive colours and twinkling lights.

It all starts with a tree…

“I always get a Douglas fir as big and wide as our house permits,” says Thomas Griem, the architect behind T G Studio. He supplements this with “extremely well-made fake fir branches, which I drape over the mantelpiece and staircase”. Foot-high Nutcracker-style soldiers, sourced from Cologne’s Christmas market, perched among the evergreens.

Where there are trees, there is tinsel…

“I like it,” says Niloufar Bakhtiar-Bakhtiari of NBB Design. “It had a bad reputation for a while, but it’s coming back. It shouldn’t be overused, but I put a little on the tree, to bulk it up.”

Keep things fresh…

According to designer Scot Meacham Wood, variety is the spice of the festive season. He chooses to refresh his scheme every year, even putting different trees in each room of the house. He explains,  “My usual first step is to completely discard any idea that I’ve used before, that way, each year is new and exciting.”

Topfloor Stardust Rug

Revel in traditional ideas…

CeCe Barfield Thompson’s go-to decoration is the traditional garland. “They don’t take up much space and can be used in a number of ways that are child-friendly,” she says. “I use two magnolia leaves and tie them together at the top of my mirror so that they look like one large garland.”

Or rethink wreaths…

Have you considered swapping out your more traditional garlands for boxwood wreaths? Designer Amy Berry says she uses them throughout her house — in front of mirrors and tied to furniture. Why? “It’s not nearly as messy as garland can be,” Berry says.

Topfloor Dragonfly Rug

Feed the senses…

We all know the smells of the season, delicious aromas that instantly transport us to the most wonderful time of the year. Designer Frank Bostelmann says not to underestimate it. “Nothing gets that feeling going quicker than a bowl full of clove pierced oranges,” he says. “Or try a mulled wine with cinnamon.”

Throw the rule book away…

Take what you have and make the most of it, and don’t forget to add hints of your own individual style. “There are no rights or wrongs for a theme,” says Tor Vivian of Tor Interiors. “However, it is important to use materials that reflect the interiors – enhancing, not detracting, from your home. There are a lot of tasteless and brash Christmas decorations out there, but it doesn’t need to be like that.”

Topfloor Rock and Roll Rug

The most important thing to remember is that you can highlight the existing headline features of a home. An investment in a bold, beautiful rug adds all-year-round festivity to any scheme. Browse for yourself at www.topfloorrugs.com

Beautiful Hotels for Design-Loving Travellers

“When you get into a hotel room, you lock the door, and you know there is a secrecy, there is a luxury, there is fantasy. There is comfort. There is reassurance.” Diane von Furstenberg summed up, in only a few words, the enchanting art of hospitality. While the glamour of air-travel and cruise ships has been lost in a world of budget airlines and all-inclusive culture, the charm of a beautifully curated hotel stay is as coveted as ever. For design lovers around the globe, booking into a hotel is an opportunity not only to experience exquisite service and relaxation, but to indulge in a new environment, where every fabric, finish and fitting has been expertly shaped to enhance the away-from-home experience.

At the recent British Institute of Interior Design conference, legendary designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi, as well as design directors from Intercontinental and Hilton Hotels, took to the stage to talk about the art of hotel design, sharing some of their insights and favourite destinations around the world. Ahead of industry-leading hospitality design event Sleep, which takes place later this month, we at Topfloor are taking the opportunity to shine a light on three of the great hotels we have had the pleasure of staying in.

Upper House Entrance

 

Upper House View

Upper House, Hong Kong

An unassuming consideration for visual unobtrusiveness makes the experience of staying at Hong Kong’s Upper House undeniably memorable. Elegance and contemporary style are found apparent in ever design detail. Designed by the city’s own design prodigy Andre Fu, the interiors take inspiration from Asian and Western influences, including wonderfully curated site-specific and nature-inspired artworks.

Rambagh Palace

 

Rambagh Palace Restaurant

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

Although it is a flawlessly restored 1835 palace, Rambagh Palace Hotel, even with all its courtyards and pageantry, wasn’t built for a queen. It was in fact built for the queen’s favorite handmaiden. Later used as a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, these days it is considered one of Rajasthan’s most luxurious hotels. The province’s symbol,  the peacock, lends its name to the suite we stayed in complete with four-poster bed, a bejewelled peacock, hand-made silk drapes and fabrics, crystal chandelier, gold-leaf frescoes, and french windows that open onto the gardens and from which we watched a spectacular display of summer lightning.

 

Belmond Hotel Monasterio

 

Belmond Hotel Monasterio

Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cusco

Opened in 1995, the Monasterio broke new ground  in Cusco by being the first luxury hotel to occupy a landmark building. As impressive as any Venetian palazzo, the Monasterio is housed in the 16th-century Seminary of San Antonio Abad — which occupied the site of an Inca palace — it’s a marvel of stone masonry, colonial escutcheons, Cusco-school artworks and arcaded walkways. Discrete background organ music and the rarefied atmosphere at over 11000 feet above sea-level conspire to induce a meditative calm – particularly useful at check-out time. paying the bill. When walking around the hotel feels like a soul-nourishing museum visit, it’s unsurprising that even non-guests pop in to take a look.

Dragonfly runner from the GO-GO Collection

As designers of bespoke rugs, we have worked in collaboration with luxury hotels in New York, London, Paris, China, the Middle East and elsewhere to create unique, high-quality designs that enhance the spaces they occupy. Explore our diverse collections here.

Bauhaus Women Worth Knowing About

Described by Tate as “long overdue”, on Thursday 11 October 2018 an extensive retrospective of textile designer Anni Albers’ pivotal contributions to modern art and design opened at London’s Tate Modern. Albers was a student at the much-celebrated Bauhaus school, and as an alumni of this radical institution, her name sits alongside some of the most influential figures from the worlds of architecture, art and design. However, despite her historical importance, she is often overlooked and this will be the first ever UK exhibition of her work.

Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany | by Nate Robert

Bauhaus philosophy is one that addresses the need for effective, efficient and affordable design. The school’s founding and most-quoted principle is, “form follows function”. This meant that Bauhaus design processes put the function of a product at the top of the hierarchy of needs applied to any piece of furniture, accessory or interior. This helped shaped the utilitarian style of the era that took inspiration from architectural Modernism but made a number of exciting new materials and manufacturing methods available to the masses. Having graduated from Istanbul’s School of Fine Arts, Topfloor founder Esti was lucky enough to have studied under tutors, such as Boris Niemann, who moved to Turkey from the Bauhaus school. Esti explains, “They opened our eyes to contemporary design.” This influential education later became a catalyst for the Metallica collection, inspired by Bauhaus style.

Topfloor Enrich Rug, from the Metallica collection

As Tate prepares to open it’s showcase of one Bauhaus woman’s legacy, here are three whose stories continue to inspire us today.

Anni Albers

Combining the ancient craft of hand-weaving with the language of modern art, Albers found, within this medium, endless opportunities for the expression of modern life. Berlin-born, Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann joined the Bauhaus school as a student in 1922. It was at the school that she rubbed shoulders with key modernist figures such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and it is also where she met famed artist and educator Josef Albers, who she soon married.

Weaving by Anni Albers at Bauhaus: Art as Life at the Barbican | by charclam

While the Bauhaus was radical in its approach to most things, including gender equality, there were still obstacles that meant Albers was discouraged from certain disciplines and began weaving by default. Fortunately, the young designer thrived in this realm and used her craft as a way to tell incredible stories and document the highs and lows of living.

Marianne Brandt

Renowned painter, photographer and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy recognised Marianne Brandt’s unique talent at an early stage of her studies. With his support and encouragement, she broke rank among gender stereotypes and studied in the male domain of the metal workshop, ultimately becoming more successful and influential than many of her peers. Brandt’s metal objects for everyday use are still hallmarks of the Dessau Bauhaus and she is celebrated not only as a pioneer in metalwork, but as a widely recognised woman in an aggressively masculine industry.

Marianne Brandt Teapot | by Matthew Mendoza

She continued her training at the Bauhaus and continued her work in the metal workshop with Moholy-Nagy. By 1926 she had already designed the first lighting fixtures for the Bauhaus Building in Dessau. From the summer semester of 1927, she was in charge of technical experiments in lighting in the metal workshop. From May 1928 to 1st July 1929, she was the director of the metal workshop.

Gertrud Arndt

Undoubtedly inspired by the likes of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, Gertrud Arndt’s ambition was to become an architect, but it was only when we arrived at the Bauhaus in 1923 that she realised architecture classes were not yet part of the school’s offering. Instead, she began crafting geometrically patterned rugs in the weaving workshop. Famously, one of these textile design adorned the floor of Gropius’ own office. In spite of her way with weaving, it was Arndt’s photography practice that she honed outside of the structured Bauhaus workshops.

Topfloor Epicentre rug

Beginning by photographing the buildings and urban landscapes around her, Arndt’s photography skills were all self-taught. She began assisting her husband’s architecture firm, shooting their project sites and buildings, but it was a series of unique self-portraits titled Mask Portraits that ultimately shaped her legacy. The series shows Arndt performing a range of traditional female roles wearing a profusion of veils, lace, and hats and is now seen as a pivotal precursor to feminist artists such as Cindy Sherman.

Read more about Anni Albers at Tate and watch the trailer for her retrospective here.

Design and Art in Paris and London

September is a pivotal month for interior designers around the world. Between Paris Design Week, Maison et Objet, London Design Festival, Decorex International and London Design Biennale, designers from far and wide pack their bags and head to the two capital cities to uncover the latest and greatest materials, processes and themes that will go on to shape the industry.

Place Vendome. Photo credit: Esti Barnes

From artists, to authors, to musicians and photographers, both Paris and London are renowned for their rich history of cultural alumni. Here are the movements and creative legacies that have inspired us here at Topfloor.

Art Deco

Also known as ‘style moderne’, Art Deco was a movement within the worlds of decorative arts and architecture and originated in 1920s Paris. The name was derived from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in 1925 in the city of love. One of the most influential movements ever, Art Deco represented modernism as it transformed into fashion and luxury. Key figures from this period rejected traditional styles and crafted luxury items, as well as mass-produced wares and architectural icons like the Chrysler building in New York. We love everything about this era of design – fashion, jewellery, interiors, architecture and everything that came with it – and its influence can be found in a number of our rug designs.

Topfloor Marlene Rug, Jazz Age Collection

Jean-Louis Deniot

Someone who we both work with and admire is interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot. His academic training translates into narratives that are simultaneously informal and bold and his eclectic, emblematic interiors are celebrated worldwide. When he does contemporary he does it with with a profound use of history and references that infuse with his unique style to produce a timeless yet timely atmosphere.

Topfloor Roots rug, The Script Collection

Hassan Massoudy

Artist Hassan Massoudy – who was the inspiration behind our Script collection – is an Iraqi artist who lives and works in Paris. He has taken calligraphy as an artform and transposed it into dance and performance art as well as more contemporary interpretations of traditional script styles.

The Swinging Sixties

An era that continues to define British culture, the 1960s blossomed as a revolutionary decade where rule-breaking shaped fashion, music and art, and creative industries thrived on a country’s lust for liberation. Youth ruled and experimentation was everything. Bands like the Beatles encouraged younger generations to own their sense of self and there was a shift in socio-economic power that saw the mad men of the ad world challenged to appeal to a new audience demanding revolution.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Home to a permanent collection of more than 2.27 million objects and artefacts and a constant source of inspiration, London’s Victoria & Albert museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. The story of the V&A, which was opened in 1852 and was named after the Queen and her husband at the time, can actually be traced back to the Great Exhibition of 1851, of which Henry Cole (the first director of the museum) was involved in planning. Recent favourite exhibitions have included Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up and Shoes: Pleasure and Pain.

David Hockney

Britain has produced some incredible, groundbreaking artists and one of our favourites is Hockney. His playful, colourful and often thought-provoking style has documented life, love and culture for decades and he was a key contributor to the Pop Art movements of the sixties. He is sometimes compared to Matisse, whose work we also admire, and hails from beautiful Yorkshire.

Find more of what inspires us on Instagram.

HOW THE EXPERTS SOURCE AND STYLE ANTIQUES FOR INTERIORS

As the interiors world moves away from the minimalism of Scandinavian style and is increasingly opting for lavish, 1970s-inspired schemes boasting layers of anecdotal design, many style-conscious homeowners are looking to the world of vintage and antiques for aesthetic inspiration.

Topfloor Dream rug, from the Script collection

We at Topfloor have always enjoyed blending old and new.The Ottomania collection takes inspiration from the 14th century while Script is a direct reference to the centuries-old craft of Arabic calligraphy brought to life in the artwork of Hassan Massoudy.— and although there is endless beauty in the eclecticism that nostalgia brings, there are also a few important considerations required to avoid turning your home into a dust-laden museum or archival blackhole. These leading industry voices have shared their top tips for flawless procurement and decoration:

Sourcing

“Every good home must have at least one old piece, be it vintage or antique, it helps break the monotony of just using modern furniture,” says Interior designer and judge on The Great Interior Design Challenge Daniel Hopwood. “I love trawling through the internet for old furniture and artefacts. For the glamorous and expensive 1stdibs is it, but for more localised sourcing I go to Panomo where I recently sourced a 19th century Venetian bombe commode for my own home. You have to try Ebay too, I found a pair of French 19th century gilded armchairs with perfect upholstery — the cost? £500.”

Interior designer Daniel Hopwood modelling his Ebay finds. Image courtesy of Studio Hopwood.

Mary Claire Boyd, who is fair director of The Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia, argues the importance of making friends. “Build up relationships with dealers. Once they know you and you know them, they will be willing to find things for you based upon your taste and budget. Discovery is often the hardest job so enlist their support as they are most well placed to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and capitalise on their vast expertise.”

Quality Control

“Don’t be afraid to examine a piece thoroughly, even if this involves crawling under a table or examining the back of a cupboard,” says antiques dealer Appley Hoare. “These are good indicators as to whether the piece is genuine or not. Don’t hesitate to question the dealer about any restoration, the item’s age and provenance. Beware of newly painted items as the paint may hide unsightly restoration, badly stained wood, or worse still wood worm.”

Topfloor Kaftan rug, from the Ottomania collection.

Styling

Rebecca Robertson, interior designer and co-author of ‘Collected: Living With The Things You Love‘, has an easy-to-follow rule for those new to styling vintage and antique pieces. “Group objects by colour. This is one of my favourite tricks. Antiques instantly become unified and, unlike a museum, you don’t have to organise by geography or time period — you make the rules.”

A bedroom designed by Daniel Hopwood featuring vintage bedside tables. Image courtesy of Studio Hopwood.

OUTDOOR DESIGN IDEAS TO CELEBRATE THE GREAT BRITISH SUMMER

As the glorious British summer continues to spoil us with day after day of soul-enriching sunshine, we can’t ignore the charm of a life lived al fresco. From early morning coffee in the garden, to late night dining on the terrace, now is the time to make the most of your outdoor spaces, however petite or sprawling. Outdoor rugs are always a favourite when it comes to zoning outside spaces, but what other design ideas can help us create an enticing oasis of our own?

If you find yourself being drawn outside toward the end of the day, perhaps with a salad or cocktail in hand, you might want to consider making sure the space is usable in dusk light, as well as in the midday sun. “Any small garden can be instantly transformed with lighting.” says award-winning design duo Forward Features. “Whether it be outdoor hurricane lanterns lining the borders, candle holders hanging from branches or fairy lights glistening overhead, using lighting can make your garden feel like an extended space and will ensure that even when the sun goes down, the party doesn’t have to stop!”

Image courtesy of Minotti London.

Elton John once said, “I can not bear gardening, but I love gardens.” Sound familiar? While the therapeutic benefits of gardening are something of marvel, it’s perfectly fine if you’re someone who finds the idea of an afternoon spent weeding on your knees less than desirable. If you love the thought of a low-maintenance, lawn-free outdoor space why not go for a more contemporary look with raw materials and industrial finishes such as copper complementing a chic patio or decked area.

Image courtesy of Minotti London.

When it comes to function, remember three key things. You need something to sit on, somewhere to put your glass down and something to keep you warm when the conversation trails into the night. Writing for House & Garden, Tory Kingdon sings the praises of the humble fire pit. “Fire pits look fantastic in a country setting but are also great for city gardens.” she explains. “They act as a focal point, because nothing beats sitting around a fire, and provide warmth, because let’s face it the extra jumper doesn’t always cut it on a British summer’s evening.”

Urban garden belonging to Esti & Russell, as featured in Homes & Gardens.

As a society crammed into densely-packed urban areas, the need to get creative with architecture and interiors is more apparent than ever before. You’re already making the most of awkward corners and impractical box rooms, so don’t forget to apply the same enthusiasm outdoors. As demonstrated by garden designer Kate Gould with her gold medal-winning show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year, urban abodes (and the dynamic developments they often exist as) are a unique landscape where multi-level gardens can be created, softening new-builds with lashings of greenery and using floral displays to frame the facades of classic townhouses. Play with zoning using different types of foliage and plant-life to give each section a unique sense of identity or purpose.

British Institute of Interior Design members share the secrets behind creating a beautiful summer house

After a long winter, we seemed to have skipped spring and jumped straight into a beautiful British summer. As London basks in a warm glow, our minds have turned to channelling the bright colours of these favourite months into summer house interiors. While we love working on interior projects, there’s something rewarding about collaborating with designers and clients to curate outdoor spaces that delight both aesthetically and functionally.

Chris Beardshaw’s winning show garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Marking the start of summer in the best way possible, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show returned at the end of May, and it wasn’t just the gardeners showcasing their creative talents. BIID Registered Interior Designer and founder of Studio Clark + Co Lucy Clark collaborated with renowned garden designer Chris Beardshaw to design a stunning show garden, which was crowned Best Show Garden by the judging panel. Clark champions the importance of creating seamless indoor/outdoor spaces to make the most of the season, and bringing the outdoors in with nature-inspired prints.

The interiors of Chris Beardshaw’s show garden, designed by Studio Clark + Co

“I was so honoured to be asked to design interior elements for Chris Beardshaw’s Morgan Stanley NSPCC garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. When initial discussions took place, Chris wanted to create an interior/exterior space. It was therefore important for us to style the spaces which were both practical for outside use complimenting the garden but also comfortable and inviting for the interior. Introducing rugs to exterior spaces is becoming more and more popular with such a wonderful selection for interior designers to chose from. The rug we used at Chelsea instantly transformed the space into a more cosy environment subtly reflecting the sheer beauty of Chris’ garden. We are currently designing a contemporary extension in Wimbledon Village overlooking our client’s stunning garden with concertina doors and a window seat opening the extension right out into the garden. I have been so inspired by my experience working with Chris I am introducing botanical prints to the window seat and cushions which are practical for exterior and interior use.” — Lucy Clark, Studio Clark + Co

Topfloor Reprise Rug in natural silk

Former president of the British Institute of Interior Design and Tessuto Interiors creative director Susie Rumbold reminds us that it’s important to consider the usability of spaces within a summer house interior, and that intelligent surfaces finishes are key to essential long-term maintenance.

“When designing a summer house, the most important considerations arise from the way people use them. People are on holiday, so everything has to be effortless and easy. People want to be comfortable, relaxed and sociable, and nobody wants to be cleaning. Plus there is much more indoor/outdoor traffic in a summer home so much more of the outside gets trekked in. Surfaces must be easy to maintain, bedrooms need to be comfortable and dark for quality lie-ins, there need to be large squashy seating areas preferably with a real fire where whole families can snuggle up and watch movies on TV. Kitchens need to be open plan and set out so that everyone can lend a hand preparing food and cleaning up. Breakfast bars are ideal for this. If homes are to be multigenerational, and they often are, thought should be given to areas where grownups can retire while the kids go crazy, or the grandparents can go to bed early for some peace and quiet.” — Susie Rumbold, Tessuto Interiors

Topfloor Mulberry Outdoor Rug

Echoing Rumbold’s comments on practicality, BIID Director and interior designer Harriet Forde explains the approach she took to designing her own summer house at the bottom of her North London garden.

“I kept the interior quite simple and Scandi-style (reflecting the exterior) as it’s a flexible space for exercise, work, play and an overspill bedroom. We installed underfloor heating for comfort and an easily cleanable floor, to address the issue of mud being picked up from the garden in the winter.” — Harriet Forde, Harriet Forde Design

Topfloor Cobbles Aquamarine Rug

See more outdoor and rug design inspiration over on Pinterest.