Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

Whilst the whole of the UK is reeling today from the shock of the EU Referendum, I dragged my dazed self out of the office and to The House Fair, on what is a beautiful sunny day in London.

I didn’t go to the inaugural House Fair last year, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect this year. The number of the exhibitors exhibiting in the House Fair bit of the show was reasonably small, but combined with the Spirit of Summer Fair, there was just about enough to keep me interested. So, here are my top finds:

I was delighted to come across Yorkshire based company TurnPost, whose gorgeous four poster beds have recently made it onto my product radar. Their beds are totally customisable, and really beautifully made.

TurnPost

Next is Urban Organic, the trade name under which Kelly Washborune sells her oil paintings as well as throws. It was the abstract art that caught my eye though, especially as I am on the look-out for some pieces for a client of mine.

Urban Organic

Dare & Do produce a range of playful wallpaper, fabrics, cushions, lamps and wall stickers for kids, in a selection of bright colours.

Dare & Do

Talking about kids and art, I was captivated by the beautiful children’s portraits by Nousha. Run by former Royal photographer Lionel Cherruault and his wife Claire, the way they capture the children and families they shoot is just beautiful!

Nousha

Anna Owens Designs had some gorgeous accessories on their stand that caught my eye – little single-stem glass vases, and the most beautiful matt and metallic shot and champagne bowls. Those are definitely on my wish list!

Anna Owens Designs

In the Spirit of Summer exhibitors my top pick is Anna Jacobs whose lamps I have already used in clients’ projects. The colours in her silk lampshades are just exquisite!

Anna Jacobs

From Montes & Clark, I love these striking and vibrant multi-coloured hand embroidered stretched canvas artworks from Mexico. They would make a fabulous accessory to brighten up almost any scheme! A real statement piece!

Montes & Clark

And, if bright is not your thing, then how about the beautiful, natural texture of this handcrafted hemp rug from Northwood?

Northwood

Will any of these items be added to your wish list?



A while ago I was approached by Ronseal asking if I would be interested in collaborating in a DIY project. As I am in the middle of my own home renovation project, much of which I am doing myself, I said yes.

My husband had inherited a mid-century Swedish corner cabinet from his Swedish family that I thought would make a good project. A lot of Swedish furniture is painted but this was plain varnished pine, and the yellow tones and country-cottage feel of the piece didn’t work with the scheme in our home, so I was only too pleased to attack that with paint.

Before

As with most projects, preparation is key. I could have just painted over the varnish but the paint probably wouldn’t have stuck very well and would have chipped off as we used the cupboard. So, the first steps were to give it a good clean with sugar soap and then to get rid of the varnish. I thought the varnish might just sand off but that was wishful thinking and I had to resort to Nitromorse which is not very pleasant to work with.

Products

As part of the collaboration I needed to use a Ronseal product and as Ronseal don’t do a wide range of paint colours I decided to use their undercoat which I had had a good experience with on my office shelves. It is a one-coat undercoat which obviously saves time too!

Then it was time for the main paint colour. After much deliberation I had chosen to use Jazz Cafe from Fired Earth – a rich and gorgeous cobalt blue that will really ‘pop’ in the finished room scheme, and totally transform the corner cupboard from a very bland piece of furniture into something bright and fun. (My mother-in-law thinks the colour is very Swedish which is an added bonus!)

The penultimate step was to stencil a pattern into the panels in the doors. I have long been wanting to find an excuse to use a Royal Design Studio stencil, and this was the perfect opportunity. The pattern we selected is actually a traditional African pattern which links to my African heritage. I painted the white bits in some very matt ceiling paint that I had lying around. I wanted the matt finish to add texture to the unit. And then, to add a final layer of interest and texture, I sprayed on some Rust-Oleum Metallic Bright Gold paint to bits of the pattern to add a bit of pizazz.

After trawling the internet I came across some brass knobs whose size, shape and style worked with the African pattern on the Swedish mid-century unit. They’re a bit cheap and cheerful, but they will work fine until I see something else more suitable.

SwedishCollage

I have put together a video of the transformation process. Please be kind as being on camera is not my favourite thing to do!

So there you have it – a totally transformed piece of furniture! My still plaster pink dining room walls don’t do it quite justice but I have an image in my head as to how it will sit in the finished scheme, but you’ll have to wait a while for those photographs. But in my mind the colour of this unit will be an unexpected pop of colour, and I for one can’t wait to see the whole room come together!

Swedish Unit

What do you think? Do you love it or loathe it?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, in partnership with Ronseal.