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Aging in Place, Bathroom, Bedroom, DIY, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Living Room, Universal Design

Focus on Katie Gibbs: Queen of Home Transformations

May 8, 2017
Katie Gibbs stylist, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, upcycle, kitchen, lifestyle, Next interiors, kitchen makeover, s

Katie Gibbs is a London based interior stylist, art director Next Directory stylist, and an interiors consultant with a wealth of experience in all aspects of interior design. I first worked with her on TV commercials over 18 years ago and I’m still a big fan of how she can bring a room set up to date with just the right on trend details, and how she can transform the space so that you want to step right in and sit down.

“After 25 years in the industry I still get a buzz and derive great personal satisfaction from working with different briefs, thinking up innovative and fresh ideas for my clients that meet both their and my criteria in producing the best possible creative pieces.”

When I worked at GMTV I was busy working behind the scenes when one day Katie popped up in front of the camera! Katie went on to enjoy a career as the GMTV interior style expert. She always succeeded in bringing tired homes up-to-date with clever, simple and very effective makeovers.

Today Katie Gibbs works as a stylist on commissions that include advertising campaigns, TV commercials, retail brochures and catalogues, editorial features and consultancy on residential and commercial interior projects.

Katie, how did you get into interior styling and how did you get started?

“Funnily enough it wasn’t a conventional route that got me into styling. I’d completed a 3 year course in Hotel and Catering after school but didn’t fancy working in the industry and it was my granny who know that I had a creative bent and suggested I shadow a stylist friend of hers. Rosin, the stylist, took me around the prop houses in west London sourcing crockery for her shoot for a food magazine she was working on. I loved her job and I wanted to do the same. There was no Google then, so I bought all the interior and food mags to find the relevant editors to contact. At that time I’m not sure that many people cold called but the home editor on Woman magazine seemed to admire my persistence and invited me on a shoot to help out. She saw my potential, linked me up with a young photographer and I did my first shoot. He had friends fresh out of college who also needed a stylist and I managed to pick up more work through them. Contacts led to more contacts and its been like that ever since!”

How would you describe your style?

“Graphic, not frilly, clean edges but with eclectic mixes. Now that could mean lots of different things to different people as visual cues are not quite as easy to explain by the fact that they are visual!”

Which trend are you most excited about working with this year?

“I’ve just finished working on The Next Directory producing some press shots and a video and I’m seeing a move at Next towards the brights and colour blocking. 80’s retro is getting a revival in fashion and its also happening in interiors too.”

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory, buildmumahouse, makeover, bedroom makeover, clour, airforce blue

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory styling

Which colour combinations are your favourite to work with?

“For a stylist seeing a combination of colours that gel is like listening to a favourite piece of music or eating the most delicious meal. These combos do it for me: Cadburys milk chocolate brown with plaster pink; Airforce blue with emerald green with claret and a touch of lime green”

Which room in the home do you enjoy styling the most and why?

“Probably the sitting room as its relatively easy to make changes that refresh the look. If you start with a plain stylish sofa in a neutral colour and the same goes for the furniture then you can change a wall colour, cushions and accessories and not only has the colour combo changed but you can go for a completely different style too.”

Which 3 objects do you believe have the ability to completely transform a room?

“Apart from walls and changing the colour I’d say: cushions in the sitting room (but change them all); Bedlinen in the bedroom; Kitchen fronts in the kitchen (a little more pricey than a set of cushions I know!)”

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory stylist, buildmumahouse, build mum a house,

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory stylist

What inspires you when styling an interior?

“Styling a home is different from a shoot where you have more freedom to change almost any aspect. However with both there is usually one or, in the case of a home, several items of furniture that have to stay. Its with these items that I like to imagine what my ideal room would look like with these at the centre. I then work back from that. Without wanting to sound “arty and airy fairy” it is a process that kind of grows organically.”

Buildmumahouse is a blog that focuses on creating your forever home. Do you have any tips how to keep you home fresh and on trend without a complete refurbishment?

“I’ve managed to do just that in my own home in East London. When we moved in I wanted neutrals throughout and sleek furniture with non fussy, minimalist accessories. The open plan sitting room had a wallpapered wall in off white damask, the rest were white with a charcoal painted wall ascending to the next floor. The furniture was modern, neutral and a few carefully placed accessories.

All change now and we are feasting on colour. The wallpapered wall is now airforce blue. I made navy blue velvet, drape on the floor curtains to replace the silver venetian blinds and bought and made a new set of cushion covers in gold, green and pink. TK Maxx was a wonderful source of weird and wonderful nick nacks like bell jars and candle sticks. I even painted a large rectangle of plywood pink and have it perched on the sideboard as an art piece with a weathered branch i found in the forest propped up against it.

With all design ideas, whether its for an individual room or for a room on a shoot, the most important process is to create the finished image in your head before you start otherwise you’ll not finish off with a cohesive look and you’ll be disappointed. Pinterest and Instagram is a fabulous source of inspiration and by creating a board of bits and pieces that you like you then get to realise the look that you’re aiming for.”

Katie’s Instagram is always full of interesting knick nacks, colour ideas and shots of upcoming trends, visit her Instagram and follow her at gibbs_katie for inspiration and ideas to transform your home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aging in Place, Bathroom, Bedroom, Garden, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Living Room, Universal Design

How to Make a Mood Board…the EASY Way.

April 25, 2017

The last few days I’ve been feeling full of optimism and excitement to start new projects.. and finish half abandoned ones. A mood board is the first step in any design project.

I’m going to take you through an easy way to make up a mood board using office WORD on a Mac or a PC, an every day piece of office software. If you can’t use Photoshop or Canva or Pic collage don’t worry, follow these easy steps.

Years ago, designers used to cut pictures out of magazines, take photos and cut out the prints and stick them on a piece of white or black board. For this mood board I will show you how to use your phone, Pinterest, Instagram, Google and WORD to put it all together. We’re making an easy mood board. No Photoshop No special software.

A mood board helps you can decide what feeling you are trying to capture in a room or an advert or a piece of branding and helps you share it / sell it to your client. Your mood board builds your design’s story and helps you take your client on that journey reaching a decision and on board with a plan.

I’ve worked in branding, tv design and commercials for over 20 years and I make up mood boards as the first thing I do – before I design anything. The mood board helps you decide on the mood to convey. My clients are looking for a way to express their product’s message and speak to the their audience. Whether you are designing a brand, creating an advert or designing a room’s interior, your thought processes are the same.

If you are making over a room your client might be a paying client, a friend, your family, your partner, your mum. In fact anyone who will use this room and moan about it if they don’t like it!

This guide will help you make up a mood board in WORD easily, you won’t be daunted making up a few versions to give you and your client options and help you get everyone on board.

Print out your boards A4 on your inkjet printer, talk through them and discuss, mooch over with a friend, client, your family or your partner and when you decide on the mood and  colourway take that board round the shops with you.

Remember a mood board when planning an interior is a starting point so that you can all agree this is the direction you want to take.. before you fall in love with that special lamp and you’re the only one who likes it.

Your mood boards will make decisions about how to achieve the feeling your are looking for in a room and actual final decision of what you are going to buy will come later.

Step 1. Decide on the Mood and Corresponding Colour

First question What mood do I want to aim for and in which room?

And the answer: A bright sunny happy family Kitchen.

Start to look around you for inspiration to capture the mood, go for a walk, take lots of pictures on your phone of colourful things that catch you eye.

Go home and look back on your pictures.  Think about what each color means to you and how you feel when you look at that picture. Pick out the best picture of the day and post it to Instagram write a few words about why you like it.

Inspiration, mood board, Buildmumahouse Instagram the day, #happy #Spring #fresh

Inspiration all around me – I posted this on Instagram as my shot of the day #happy #Spring #fresh

 

I picked out a picture of some delicate narcissus because they made me feel full of hope and positive for Spring. Looking back on my past posts I found a similar picture of primroses. Thinking about it the pale soft yellow and the white petals summed up a feeling of gentle happiness, fresh mornings and optimism.

#Spring # yellow #white #happy, Buildmumahouse instagram,

Yellow and White Narcissus #Spring # yellow #white #happy

This is what made me happy. Looking at my Instagram account I noticed that people responded well to these pictures and they both got lots of likes.

I decided that yellow would be my #happy colour. But what kind of yellow? Soft mustard, egg yellow? Taking photos I began to notice yellow everywhere I looked and I began curating my pictures choosing the best and Instagrammed those images.

Apart from my curated collection on Instagram I had taken loads of pictures not only of things in the street but also furniture, I began to notice yellow everywhere I looked: in cafes, kitchen shops the more I looked the more I found yellow things.

Buildmumahouse Instagram feed, #yellow, #happy, Jola Piesakowska, how to make a mood board

Buildmumahouse Instagram feed #yellow #happy

After a few days I could look back on my collection of pictures on Instagram and I could see how I just didn’t like some tones of yellow for my happy kitchen , some were too warm, they sucked lightness in, mustardy was too sophisticated and acidic yellow glowed too much.

Apart from my Instagram pictures, I had taken loads of snaps in shops, shop windows of yellow interiors items

#how to make a mood board #yellow # happy #inspiration

Use your phone as an inspiration note book. Take snaps taken in shops, in shop windows: these give you an idea of what’s available and what’s trending this season.

 

Step 3 Google and Pinterest it

Next step start looking everywhere else and start to focus on your shade of yellow. Make a Pinterest board and do a Pinterest search – “yellow” “kitchens” and pin as much as you can be really free with your pins. The benefit of Pinterest is that you preserve a link to the source of the picture and you can pin lots of pictures really quickly. The down side is that it needs curating to convey the mood that your mood board is going to tell.

Buildmumahouse, HAPPY, inspiration interiors, interiors,

Buildmumahouse HAPPY interiors

Do a Google search based on names of shops. I Googled Next as I know that they have a good selection of homewares, paints and décor. Within the Next website I then searched yellow.

 

Step 4 Create a Folder on your Computer and Use Screen Grab to Fill it up.

I have now decided on your colour scheme- yellow and white

It will be an accent colour to a white kitchen

This will create a happy, fresh, mood. Not overpowering and not too dark.

I made a folder on my computer and started to store screen grabs of my Google searches, of my favourite Pinterest images – kitchen décor items that matched my colour choice and that I really liked. And anything that told the mood story.

 

Step 5 Make a Mood Board in WORD

At this point I decided that I was looking to capture the mood of a happy bright fresh kitchen with a fun family feel. The mood board I was starting was going to tell a story to my client

You know what you thing works now you need to get your client to understand this idea and feel what you feel.

Open a new document.

File    Page Set Up     Landscape

Set the page up to be a landscape image

 

 

 

 

 

Start inserting images: File   Image    Insert.

Keep them small, Crop   Shrink

Start telling the story with your visual prompts:

  • Key words
  • Your inspiration images
  • Examples of items that can help set the scene – cushions, curtains etc etc
  • Keep to your colour pallet and keep to images that support the mood and the story.
  • Keep it simple and to 1 page
  • Compress all the images
  • Save
  • Save as a pdf to make it a smaller file
Made in Word a mood board #happy #yellow #and #white, buildmumahouse mood board, Jola Piesakowska mood board happy

Made in WORD a mood board #happy #yellow #and #white

A mood board is your way of exploring a particular mood and explaining it to other people, your client. It’s a way for telling the mood story and use it before you start to choose what furnishings and decor items you will use.

Use autosave so that you save as you go – images are big files until you compress them down. Make a selection of mood boards in different colours so that you can explore this with you client before you make any décor choices. But most importantly: Make it in WORD and it’s simple and straightforward.

Go over to Buildmumahouse Pinterest boards and look through the selection of HAPPY interiors inspiration. Take a look at Buildmumahouse Instagram for my yellow colour inspiration. Leave a comment if you have any questions.

 

 

Bathroom, Bedroom, Caring for the Carer, DIY, Downsizing, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Living Room, Mobility Aids, Uncategorized, Universal Design

Seeing clearly now: 5 steps to a brighter, lighter home with Catherine Woram

July 31, 2016
jola piesakowska buildmumahouse hallway balham home

What on earth is going on ? I always had pin sharp vision. As a cheeky child I’d giggle as I was the first one to tell my mum what number bus was coming down from Gipsy Corner. Well, that’s not me any more. It all started when my arms weren’t long enough to read the menu in restaurants and then it progressed to squinting at train destination boards.

A rather blunt optician told me a few years ago: of course you need glasses you’re over 40.

Well, I’m over 50 and now I need to find my glasses when I’m hunting for things around the house …and it’s worse in twilight.

I’ve read that as we age, muscles that control our pupil size and reaction to light lose some strength. This causes the pupil to become smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting.

Because these changes continue, people in their 60s need three times more ambient light for comfortable reading than those in their 20s

Ok, so what can we do to make our homes brighter and lighter so that we make things easier for our eyesight. without compromising on style?

I spoke to Catherine Woram about this, it’s in one of her houses that I found the spa bathrooms that were perfect for any age. I love the way Catherine’s locations have a magical sparkling atmosphere, and seem to be about gently reflected light, ambient light and bouncing light.

I asked Catherine for tips on how we can bring light into our homes, beautifully – as we age our eye sight weakens ( and for some people its not age related) and bringing as much light into your home as possible brings clarity into your life while also lifting your spirits.

STEP 1: WHITE

My style has always been about white – for some reason I am obsessed with it and have painted things white for as long as I can remember!

jola piesakowska white bedroom hopton road

“Even when we lived in Australia for a year and furnished our flat from local junk shops I still painted everything white. My husband thought I had gone a step too far once when I saw the trees in Greece with white painted trunks and decided to do the same in our tiny London garden at the time!

I now run three location houses which take up a lot of time. Needless to say they are predominantly white and a mix of my favourite styles – decorative French and Moroccan styles. We have just found a house in Spain that we plan to transform with an awful lot of white paint plus Moroccan furniture in white/silver and gold”

STEP 2: ADD GREY

“White of course in its many shades as well as soft greys – but you have to be very careful with grey as it needs to have a slight warmth to it otherwise it can look like undercoat.

I love carvedjola piesakowska buildmumahouse grey white carved walls furniture of any kind – from pretty French pieces to heavier Moroccan designs – providing I paint them white!”

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse grey and white shades

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 3: OPEN UP TO NATURAL LIGHT

When you are in any of Catherine’s houses you realise that natural light is part of her vision.

“Light is always important and we have always thought carefully about light whether it is putting a roof light in the top landing in a small Victorian terraced house or a large kitchen extension.”

Many of the doors have glass panels, are double doors and very tall how does that open a house up to light? By the way, your double doors and wide doors are great for future proofing a home – entertaining friends and family, children running around, guests and maybe oneself with walking frames or wheelchairs.jola piesakowska buildmumahouse living room doors

“We have repeated the tall glazed French doors in three houses now – I had always wanted internal glazed doors similar to the ones you see in many old Parisian apartments.

We copied the design from a set of garden doors in a Victorian terrace and had a friend from the North East of England make them up in a taller design and opened up the walls to fit them. We repeated the design in the dressing room and bedrooms but used mirror rather than glass in these doors. They are, as you say, great for the home and also wheel-chair friendly as they can both be opened up.”

 

 

Skylight on the landing – HOW DID YOU DO THAT!!!! – it’s beautiful.

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse hopton loft light“The sky light was already there but featured an old Victorian window that we felt wasn’t very safe. I have kept the old window for another project and we replaced it with toughened glass below a large Velux window to light up the hall.

Our next project in the same vein is to open the ceiling at our Ross Road house and put a ready-made conservatory on the top and install a metal spiral staircase to provide access to the roof top as well as lots of light to the landing.”

 

 

 

STEP 4:  KITCHEN BRIGHT, CLEAN LINES

 The kitchen at Hopton Road is clean bright, white worktops but so classy and elegant – how do you get light of a modern kitchen and cross pollinate it with a classic look?

“We reused some of the old kitchen at Hopton and had new MDF door fronts made and mixed them with IKEA cabinets where we were missing cabinets. The long shelves avoid that cluttered look that many kitchens have with rows of wall cabinets. We used IKEA wall brackets for the shelves and painted everything in the same shade of white. The worktop is fake marble – real marble stains badly although more beautiful.”

jola_piesakowska_buildmumahouse_london_large

Catherine’s very modern kitchen in Balham opens up the house to unfiltered light

 

STEP 5: WHITE MATT SURFACES FOR A TRANQUIL,  CALM LIGHT

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse shower

“Glass shower enclosures with white tiles blend with the room while walls in a bathroom block light. I avoid any fitted pieces and tend to use freestanding baths/ antique tables set with basins and ornate silver taps sourced in Marrakesh. Where wall tiles are necessary (as I don’t like them) we use large matt white tiles so that they blend with the walls as much as possible.

Having said that I do love some of the new patterned tiles around and plan to use them…at some stage!”

 

If you would like to see more details of how Catherine has opened her houses up to the light, and to see more of the details that make her style so magical, follow me on Instagram @buildmumahouse or pop over to the Pinterest board on @buildmumahouse.

For more information and to read more about how we can all help ourselves and our families to lower the risks of vision loss follow this link to Bold Blind Beauty for some simple but effective guidelines.

 

Bathroom, Bedroom, DIY, Downsizing, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Living Room, Universal Design

5 tips to Upsize your Downsized home with Marianne Shillingford

July 13, 2016

Downsizing: you’re thinking of it, you’ve done it but how can you maximise your minimal space?

I spoke to Marianne Shillingford from Dulux about this – she has so much experience and love of colour and she explained to me that you can trick the eye and senses and make interiors feel more spacious and welcoming. I love colour but when it comes to decorating I’m so unadventurous- I keep reaching for the magnolia…everywhere! Marianne however, has some brilliant tips and insight to share with us, so here they are

                   5…4…3…2..1

Marianne Shillingford Creative Director of Dulux and Design Director of the Dulux Design Service

Marianne Shillingford Creative Director of Dulux and Design Director of the Dulux Design Service

Tip 1: Creating a guest room/ home office combo

Whilst it may seem difficult to catch the balance between creating a productive home office and cosy guest bedroom it is important to remember that both spaces should encourage serenity.


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Downsizing, Lifestyle, Mobility Aids, Universal Design

Go with the Flow …busting 6 myths about stairlifts

May 24, 2016
Buildmumahouse stairlist stannah stairlift jola piesakowska

There is a load of old twaddle about stairlifts. There are more jokes about stairlifts than any other mobility aid. People love ’em or hate ’em and some people can’t use their upstairs without ’em.

Stairlifts can mean that people can stay living in their home and don’t have to move so that they can reach their bedrooms easily. I installed a stairlift in my mum’s house and built a wider staircase to give it a wide berth, but if you are adapting a home and your staircase is narrow, or has a turn or two in it, there is a stairlift that solves that problem. The Flow 2. I checked it out at the Naidex show so, let’s bust some myths about stairlifts

Myth 1 My walls aren’t strong enough to support a stairlift.

You know what, the trackflow2 stairlift detail that a stairlift rides on is attached to the stairs, the design is safer this way because all the weight is sent downwards. Plus, the brackets that hold the rail aren’t attached to every step and that’s why installation can be done in a few hours.

 

Myth 2 If I leave something on the stairs the stairlift will crash into it and cause an accident.

Stairlifts move slowly and smoothly and modern sensors work to stop the chair well before you get too close to that handbag that someone left half-way up the stairs… And they won’t run your cat over either.

Myth 3 My stairs are too narrow I’ll hit my knees …and my stairs are too steep.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 20.37.42

Have a look at the Flow 2 stairlift, it has a swivelling and levelling motion that means that when the seat rides up or down at an angle it rotates and stays level: making steep and narrow stairs a doddle.

 

 

 

 

Myth 4  My legs are too long and my feet will drag on the stairs, my wife’s a lot short than me.

Sorry, the stairlift chairs are easily and fully adjustable.

Myth 5 It’s easy to be thrown off it

All stairlifts comScreen Shot 2016-05-24 at 20.36.52e with seat belts and the Flow 2  has an extra feature – the armrests are curved so that they wrap around you, you’re are almost cradled in the arms of your chair.

 

Myth 6 The chairs are ugly.

I think the rail on the Flow2 is very nicely designed but when it comes to the seat..Yup I agree. Go for the neutral colour upholstery and it won’t offend.

 

If you aren’t sure about stairlifts and would like some more information about them, drop me an email buildmumahouse@gmail.com. Let’s talk.

 

 

Caring for the Carer, DIY, Downsizing, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mobility Aids, Universal Design

How to make cooking easier and more enjoyable at any age – 5 design features that Howdens Inclusive kitchens deliver on

May 18, 2016

Howdens, the best kept secret in kitchens. If you’re not a builder with an account with them this is how it will stay. You won’t find out that this is a company with a fantastic attitude to delivering well thought out kitchen options across the full range of their designs and to suit your budget.

If your builder doesn’t have an account with them, you won’t find out that when they design a kitchen for you its well designed, delivered on time and if there are any problems they get sorted out straight away. You won’t know that when you, the client, go into Howdens they are really friendly and sort out your question quickly.

So… I’m unlocking the Big Secret for you – they make Inclusive kitchens. Really good ones. In all colours, finishes and prices. I couldn’t get my hands on these until I went to Naidex the UK’s largest disability, rehabilitation and homecare event … and these are the top 5 secrets that I’m sharing with you.

1. Accessible Wall Cupboards

This is my favourite secret, wall cupboards with shelves that come down to you. I took these pictures at Naidex, you can see that if you are in a wheelchair this makes your stuff easy to reach- but this is just as important for anyone who is elderly and can’t reach up to wall cupboards or in fact anyone who finds a step stool a bit precarious.

Standard pull-down shelf 2 wire base baskets with a smooth, adjustable operating piston mechanism. Compatible with 600mm wall cabinets.

Standard pull-down shelf 2 wire base baskets with a smooth, adjustable operating piston mechanism. Compatible with 600mm wall cabinets.

2. Adjustable base unit height.

There are two plinth heights with the Inclusive option, depending, on your needs you can have all of your kitchen lower or higher for easy access.

You can sit with your feet under the hob and you can option to make this adjustable.

You can sit at the hob and cook with ease.

 

The really fantastic features in the base units, though, is the sink and hob. With both of these you can sit down either on a stool or in a wheelchair, put your knees under the unit and get stuck in with the cooking (or peeling the spuds over the sink). Both have an option to be raised or lowered with the flick of a switch- which is good if your family has a range of needs and ages.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Easy to use appliances.

Howdens supply their own appliances range called Lamona, as well as AEG, Neff and Bosch. It’s the easy to reach ovens that really understand what people need. The side opening Lamona oven is ideal for easy access for anyone in a wheelchair, support or elderly. Read my review of electric ovens for more information. Match this oven with the Inclusive tower unit and you can install it at a lower height than usual, and add a telescopic shelf beneath the oven. This shelf is so useful for that hot or heavy dish coming out of the oven – ideal for safe use. Just wish the oven came without a clock. How many carers get the call to go over to reset the oven clock?

And the cooking extractor with a remote control. Simply Brilliant.

4. Door Handles

The kitchens on display at Naidex had integrated door handles. This really isn’t much good for anyone elderly, with a weakend grip or restricted movement in their hands. A ‘D’ handle is ideal, a comfortable shaped door handle for opening drawers and cupboards. Howdens do a good range of handles and the good thing is that the Integrated features can be added to any kitchen in their ranges. But do shop around – I found some lovely well designed, easy to use, well priced ones in Ikea.

5. Good range of bright worktops.

Elderly people or anyone with a poor eyesight will benefit from the definition that a light and bright kitchen worktop will give. I was delighted to see that Howdens have a lot of choice across all the price points and again they seem to have lots in stock with short delivery lead times.

So.. that’s the five big Howden secrets that will help you plan a kitchen for yourself or for an elderly parent, or for someone who wants to remain independent and continue to enjoy cooking and entertaining. You will also find a good list of tips and hints on the Which? website but have a look at my Pinterest boards for more inspiration for a kitchen that addresses mobility issues and is on trend.