Browsing Tag

family home

An amazing spa bathroom for any age

December 2, 2019
Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

I was at a location house a few weeks ago, owned by interiors stylist Catherine Woram and architectural designer Michael Bains. I was captivated how beautiful the entire house was. Every room. But it was the bathrooms that did it for me – I need one of these! Each bathroom was full of beautiful, clever details all in perfect harmony. A perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of the world, your own private spa.

small moroccan bathroom

The flat whiteness of the walls and painted floor are fresh and uplifting. The huge over mantel mirror bounces light all around and by painting the ornate frame white it looks perfect over the basins. The sense of light in this room is perfect for anyone with weakened eyesight: details are crisp and defined.

Catherine Woram has used an shabby and ornate console table as a basin stand. Its fun and its chic. Complementing the shabby paintwork and wooden top is a rustic copper basin.. and a very modern chrome u bend. It looks fantastic and this basin stand is in fact ideal for anyone who needs to pull up a stool when using the sink. Wouldn’t it be perfect if an ornate basin stand like this was wheelchair friendly too!

The basin and tap styling is Moroccan French rustic chateau meets modern, sleek chrome. These levered taps are easy to use for anyone with reduced mobility, the narrow console table/basin stand also means that you wouldn’t need to stretch forward to reach them. This is exactly what Build Mum a House is all about. You shouldn’t need to compromise the look of your home for ease of use.

TAPS AND MIXER

White floor boards, pale flat greys shades, chandeliers, copper basins. I took some photos on my phone to try and capture the magic… and then as I turned to leave the room I noticed the bathroom door lock. Absolutely beautiful, inspired, on theme AND completely up my street.

In 1970 I was 8. I got stuck in a Hayling Island beach car park toilet. As I had gone to leave, the catch on the big brass mechanism was so fiddly, the old penny dropped down inside the brass mechanism.  I was left behind in the locked cubicle. I wailed. Finally, a very kind lady heard me and put another penny in the lock. Released, I ungraciously ran out, humiliated, in tears, to join my sister who had already got back into our parents’ car!

That’s why I like a nice and easy privacy lock on a bathroom door.

It’s not about lack of mobility and everything with being a bit clumsy. I am not alone on this one. I know I’m not.

And do you know what this bathroom features as a door lock? It’s light and easy to use, large handle that is good for a weak grip and very pretty. The lock on the door is a Moroccan Aldrop and latch. No, I didn’t know they were called that either. This is a very nice decorated version of a metal sliding bolt, that you can see when you wander round the souks and admire the ancient Moorish buildings and their intricate front doors.

bathroom lock

Buildmumahouse is all about finding chic interiors that are perfect for age proof living, for aging at home, for anyone with mobility issues, young or old. This beautiful bathroom is perfect, it’s a visual feast and it addresses many practical issues. Proof that a beautiful interior can be ageproof.

If you would like to see more of my photos fof inspirational interiors then follow me and go to my Buildmumahouse Instagram account, click here  And for more well designed and easy to use bathroom locks go to my bathroom Pinterest boards at Buildmumahouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Mobility issues and LIDL- #LIDLSURPRISES

September 19, 2019
wheelchair-checkout-and-trolley-lidl-suprises-buildmumahouse jola piesakowska

Is Lidl the only UK supermarket that has useful stuff for the elderly, disabled and anyone with reduced mobility? Are they tackling mobility issues head on?

Today, Sunday 18th September 2016, I would definitely say YES!

lidl-suprises-wheelchair-and-trolley-at-checkout-buildmumahouse

We’re all queuing up at Lidl checkout, today.

Doing my Sunday shop today, I came across a whole range of mobility aids that are really well priced and really useful. It is fantastic to find these products on the High Street and also to find a supermarket that addresses the needs of its customers. From items that help to open a jam jar, to low mobility exercise kit, these are basic items that are hard to track down and being sold at very pocket friendly price.

 

lidl-buildmumahouse-shower-stool

lidl-shower-stool-buildmumahouse

Right in the middle of the shop – no hiding of ‘disabled items’ in a corner, Lidl’s shower stool is proudly displayed.

This Shower Stool is not great for my mum’s needs – she really does need arm rests and back support, but for a basic Shower Stool, this is definitely Lidl addressing mobility issues – yes its true, #lidlsurprises. The shower seat height is adjustable, it has non-slip feet and would allow anyone who needs a bit of support the chance to enjoy their shower, and even give their feet a good scrub without fear of falling or slipping. When I was recovering from a broken leg, this stool would have been ideal.

Arm and Leg Trainer

The next item that caught my eye was the Lidl Arm and Leg trainer. This is such a good exercise item. From a seated position you can exercise your legs or arms and help yourself keep moving.

  • 2-in-1 effective training device for targeted strengthening of arm and leg muscles
  • Can be used whilst seated
  • Built-in computer with 7 functions and large,
  • easy-to-read LCD display – shows workout duration, speed, distance and calories burnt
  • Adjustable resistance for a range of strength levels
  • Size approx. (cm): W42 x H31 x D38
  • Max. 100kg

arm-and-leg-trainer-lidl-buildmumahouse

Kitchen Aids

My favourite items are the kitchen aids. A bargain at £2.49 and so useful.

lidl-surprise-pricing

#lidlsurprises: My Top Three Lidl Kitchen Aids

Grip Impaired Power Bottle Opener

lidl-bottle-opener-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprise

Didn’t know such a thing existed but this exactly what I need to open screw top bottles of fizzy water. The Power Bottle Opener is ideal if you have a  weakened grip, the extra turning power you get from this gadget makes a huge difference. Also a must for carers.

Grip Impaired Lid Opener

lidl-lid-opener-buildmumahouse lidlsurprises

Did you know a tool like this opens vacuum-sealed jars? For years I have followed the advice of a friend’s granny and I bash the edge of the jam jar lid on my worktop marble slab until I dent it so much the vacuum seal is broken. Well, no more! I now have the Lidl Lid Opener: #lidsurprises again!

The Nail Saver: Ring-Pull Can Opener

ring-can-opener-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlssurprises

What can I say other than no more broken nails and no more bent tea spoon handles. Yes, I bought the Lidl Ring-Pull Can Opener. I also bought one for my mum so that she doesn’t do a Yuri Geller and bend all of her spoons either.

I Didn’t Buy These but I’m Sure Someone Will:

Lidl Key Turning Aid

key-turning-aid-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprises

I bought my mum one of these from an online supplier a couple of years ago. They are great for anyone with arthritis but my mum found them too cumbersome and refused to carry it in her handbag… so when I built her house, I bought a front door lock that has proved to be easy to unlock. But I’m sure someone will find that key turning aids are perfect for their needs.

jam-jar-opener-lidsurprises-buildmumahouse

If you are a regular Lidl shopper you will recognise what’s gone on here – the item has been taken out of the box and I couldn’t find any others still boxed up.

This is a jam jar opener, its a cumbersome, ugly thing but apparently it works.

#LidlSuprises?

I love the packaging design, well thought out, clear and also witty (see how 2 boxes next to each other can make up the image). Pricing is fantastic. Usefulness spot on. It’s great to see such a wide range of simple and effective mobility aids in a local supermarket and not just in a online disabled catalogue.

Massive thumbs up to Lidl, but I do wish these kitchen aids weren’t in blue and white.

Think outside the box! You’ve go the products right. Now give us some COLOUR, Lidl, we want our kitchens and homes to look lovely and personal.

Look no wires! Qmotion Automated blinds.

April 2, 2019

I first saw the Qmotion blinds at Decorex and went WOW! I need. I want. I love them! If you’re into nets and curtains you won’t get it but if you like the streamlined look of a sheer blind in the day or a blackout blind at night, you’re going to get why these are great.

 

c) QMotion

 

I’m 5 foot nothing much and can’t reach the “acorn” on the sprung roller blinds behind the sink in the kitchen. I wobble around bedroom furniture to get to the strings on the side of the IKEA blind. I love the idea of an automated blind system to solve these problems for me.

Qmotion blinds break the mould in automated blinds and shades. These are motorised blinds that are controlled wirelessly and don’t need to be 240v hard wired in for their power.

The Qmotion System

They’re battery powered and designed to be quieter, smoother, more efficient and sleeker than any other automated blinds out there. The inventor Willis Mullet worked in the top end of the automated American garage door industry for years so he knows a thing about smooth mechanics…if it works for all of those little red Corvettes out there it works for me.

This is what he came up with: D cell batteries, mechanism, springs and counterbalances all located in the actual roller part of the blind. Not much fatter than an average roller blind. Quiet, smooth mechanism. Point a remote control or even your iphone at the blind and it smoothly and quietly rolls up and down.

Qmotion demo at Decorex

Qmotion is perfect for me and perfect for anyone who wants easy to use blinds and doesn’t want the hassle and cost of getting an electrician to wire the electrics and then a decorator to tidy up the walls. This is a huge plus for anyone with reduced mobility who doesn’t want the upheaval of a building project just to have some blinds that make their life a bit easier.

Once installed, the batteries powering the blind should last 5 years with average use. The roller has been designed so that once you need to change the batteries you don’t have to remove the roller from the bracket. And if you want to get your hands on the blind there is a manual over ride so you can tug at the blind and it smoothly snaps back to its previous position.

Qmotion automated blinds

Qmotion battery enclosure, the batteries and controls are all inside the roller behind a clip off cover.

So you don’t worry about the mechanism or the installation. You can spend all of your efforts on selecting fabric and colours to match your room, your taste and your lifestyle. On the website there are nearly 600 fabrics to choose from and you can order free swatches either from your supplier or from Qmotion directly.

Some of the fabric choices from Qmotion

My instagram is full of colours go to https://www.instagram.com/buildmumahouse/?hl=en and get inspired!

Go to Pinterest for lots of blinds and shades inspiration and links https://uk.pinterest.com/Buildmumahouse/buildmumahouse-blinds-and-shades/

buildmumahouse, build mum a house, qmotion shades, qmotion blinds, john lewis blinds, john lewis shades, roller blind, motorised roller blind, automatic roller blind, taupe interior

 

 

 

Electronic surveillance systems. Are you spying on your parents or just keeping an eye out for them?

June 12, 2017
Panasonic, iPhone apps, Canary, Jola Piesakowska, Buildmumahouse

A friend’s mum fell in her garden and couldn’t get up, she lay there for hours before anyone knew of her situation.

A workman cleaning a 95 year old’s gutters asked for a glass of water, followed my relative to the kitchen. His accomplice ran upstairs and ransacked the bedrooms.

A family friend collapsed in the shower and couldn’t call for help, her newly renovated home was flooded and ruined. She had to move out.

Very real and frightening stories for anyone who has a relative who wants to stay living independently, at home. And you have a full time job. And you don’t live with your parents.

How can we keep an eye out for someone without being there? How can elderly people keep their independence safe in the knowledge that if something happens their carers can be alerted? I have recently been thinking about this.

Do you remember those baby monitors that you could buy in Mothercare to listen to your baby asleep upstairs? Battery powered, with walkie talkie aerials (and just as crackly). In the 90’s they were the height of techno sophistication, showed off at family gatherings, placed pride of place on the dining table. We would all be suddenly shushed during the meal because sister-in-law thought she had heard a gurgle on the airwaves.

Playskool 1987 baby monitor

We’ve grown up, our kids have grown up and now we’re considering parent monitoring.

In the USA there are service providers of round the clock interactive telecaregiver monitoring

At its offices in Lafayette, Ind., telecaregiver Cady sits before two large computer screens. On one, you can see the Fitzgeralds in Savannah, eating their dinner as Cady chats with them.

There are also thumbnail video images of two-dozen other homes, which Cady will check in with over the course of her shift. If one client signals for help, that image pops up larger. Children of her clients can log into the same video Cady watches and monitor their parents themselves.

Telecaregiver can remind people to take their medication at a certain time. They can alert a relative if someone appears confused or in distress. They can help with the simple tasks of daily life, like the time a client was about to sit down to breakfast.

The telecaregiver zoomed in on the frying pan and said, ‘Maybe you ought to cook the sausage and the eggs a little longer. The eggs look kind of runny and the sausage is pink,’

Fast forward to the High Street of 2017.

I popped into Maplins last weekend and on display there’s so much more than baby monitoring. Just as we had easy-to-use baby monitors, the high street shops are offering home DIY video and sensor monitoring for your home and pets. The new generation home monitoring systems don’t rely on a specialized installer or a contract monitoring alarm system. This is plug and play. Easy to set up technology with audio and video capability is now available at a realistic price.

Home monitoring systems are being sold as a way of protecting your property, keeping an eye on the postman, capturing burglars, seeing what your pets get up to during the day. They are triggered by motion sensors and can even be used to turn on lights or even your heating.

There’s now a vast array of home monitoring systems, linking high definition indoor and outdoor cameras to you mobile phone, computer or tablet. With or without an app. Via wifi or dect. Wired or wireless. Day and night vision.

Video and audio monitoring is now standard, a siren can be activated remotely from your device and some allow a two way conversation between you remotely and the subject of the camera.

Huffington Post summed up how these diy home monitoring systems can be used as  parent monitors keeping tabs on an elderly parent …”

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/how-to-keep-tabs-on-an-el_b_8954044.html

…if your mom didn’t pick up her pillbox to get her medicine or didn’t open the refrigerator door to make breakfast like she usually does, or if she left the house at a peculiar time you would be notified and could check on her. You can also check up on her anytime you want online or through a mobile app…

Looking at the range on display on the High Street what caught my eye is the Panasonic Home Safety range of monitors. Right there in Streatham High Road was everything for carers to keep an eye on parents and allow them to stay living independently at home.

The Panasonic Home Monitoring Display in my High Street

Panasonic Home safety range, like many others on the market has a monitor for windows and doors that alerts you when they are opened or closed. You can use this to check on your parents’ daily routine without feeling that you are invading their privacy. Or you can monitor their house for burglars. All from your smartphone.

There are indoor or outdoor monitors that not only transmit video images and audio to you but this range will allow you to speak to the person in the room or at the outside door that you are monitoring. Panasonic videos suggest you use this feature to tell the postman to deliver your parcel to the neighbours when you are out. With an elderly parent you can install this feature to keep an eye on whose at the front door and what they are up to.

Watch your Pets from Work

There are motion detectors that switch on lights when activated, this doesn’t need selling hard as everyone can do with lights coming on automatically to light the stairs or the path to the bathroom at night.

But for me the key differentiator is the water monitor. This is such a great idea for passively keeping an eye on someone’s home where there is the potential of a flooding risk, perhaps someone with early onset dementia symptoms, or prone to forgetfulness when running a bath or sink or shower. Catching a bathroom flood can save damage to a home or could indicate a fall or someone who has been taken unwell in the shower room. It allows you to act in time.

 

Using home monitoring systems as a parent monitor will transform how we can remotely care for an elderly or unwell person. As the carer you could feel that you have set up a care plan that involves you, is relatively low cost and gives 24 hour coverage.

I haven’t actually tested this system, so I can’t comment on how effective any of this is. None of the home monitoring systems seem to have considered the needs of caregivers in their advertising so for now its all about being creative with making these home systems work for your needs.

HOWEVER,

The video cameras are always switched on and walking around your home you can be viewed remotely, without knowing, at any time night or day.

On-line discussion forums have heated debates about how much we should intrude on parents’ privacy. Certainly all of this should be done with your parents’ consent. I’ve read discussions about carer’s personal experiences about where cameras and motion detectors have been put up. The most popular and the locations that are the least contentious seem to be

  • Rogue callers: by the front door pointing to the opening with a clear view to check on callers
  • To check on falls: low level motion activated cameras in the living spaces, the bedroom or bathroom. Motion activated lighting: to turn lights on to prevent falls in low light- walk past a motion sensor and a light is switched on. Monitoring the garden, looking out of a window to check on falls outdoors in the garden as well as keeping an eye on security.
  • Flooding: Water monitors placed in the bathroom by the bath or shower.

 

5 Points to Consider

 

  1. You need to have wi-fi up and running. Some systems use wifi to relay the data you will have to consider putting your parent on a wi-fi plan if they don’t have one already. This may be a cost that you will need to cover.
  2. Always update to the latest firmware and change the password. “This is to announce that firmware has updated for improvement of the cybersecurity vulnerability. To provide the highest levels of security, we recommend you to upgrade the firmware for your products.”
  3. Respect your parent’s privacy and think and a discussion about where you will position cameras. Alternatively there are some very good systems that only rely on motion sensors and give you a feel for changes to a routine.
  4. Storage. Check out costs of storing the footage. Some systems use a cloud storage for the video and charge for the service, some systems have a memory card in the hub and there will be no extra costs.
  5. Plan and agree on network of people who can help when you need to raise the alarm.

 

But is this amount of monitoring, snooping on your parents, is this an invasion of their privacy? What do you think?

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.

 

 

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.