Report on Trends: Great Design Brings Joy

November 30th, 2017

Look for joy in the design world right now and you will find it everywhere, and I don’t just mean in the run up to Christmas – it’s a lot deeper than seasonal cheer mongering.

That may surprise you when the world itself, by contrast, seems like a disaster zone. ‘So how is this possible?’ you may ask. Actually it’s quite simple – great design is always a response, in some way, to the social climate of the time.

A designer’s creative output is a reaction to what they see around them. So how is that manifesting itself? The common thread that we see again and again from some of the biggest names in design today is the drive to create products that elicit joy in the beholder.

What’s more, they offer us a form of escapism, and why not? It makes sense to cocoon ourselves away from it all with the express purpose of uplifting and re-energising, so that we can go out at the beginning of each day to elevate and spread light.

Here are just a few examples of joyful interior manifestations:

Safari Dance – a joyous parade


1. Wallcoverings:

Where to start? There is a sea of joyous paternation out there – you can even find it in neutral shades. This Cole and Son, African Dance, for instance, has a conviviality to it can only bring a smile to ones dial.






2. Colour

Farrow and Ball, Nancy’s Blushes. The perfect backdrop for ultimate complexion enhancement.

There are countless manifestations of joyous colour examples. But for something that is hot off the press, Farrow and Ball recently launched a colour called ‘Nancy’s Blush’.

Joa Studholm, Farrow and Ball’s colour guru is quick to point out that pink is the most flattering colour backdrop to all skin tones. What’s more it has a positively uplifting effect on one’s mood.

If ‘Nancy’s Blush’ is too punchy for you, have a look at ‘Peignoir‘. It is a more masculine style of pink with many of the same attributes but less clout.


Sophie Conran Portmerion, Honeypot range in Celadon, Mulberry, Sunshine and Pink

3. Product Design

Sophie Conran thought to add a colour pop to her already iconic range of Portmerion Dinnerware. The results are delightful.

The response of the design industry to this bleak and depressing landscape is simple. An interior design installation or an object d’art needs to be a thing of joy.

So make sure that when you and your loved ones head back to your hub you return to a vigorously concocted antidote which has at its heart a heady mix of joy. Why ever not?

Bar design – This drink’s on us!

October 2nd, 2017


Lakeside Bar, New Road, Esher

It is not often that one gets offered the opportunity to add another string to one’s bow, so when the chance came up to design a bar, we jumped at it!

Designing a 7500 sq ft house from scratch gives you the perfect opportunity to get layouts right and to make sure that the floorplan chimes with the family’s every day, and high-day-holiday needs. It became obvious from early on that our clients thrived on, and were very good at entertaining. So, it seemed like the perfect solution, we recommended putting an entrance hall table style bar at the centre of the house, to act as a focal point and a central meeting point for the whole family to convene at come the end of the day. Our clients loved the concept and so we ran the bar development parallel with the kitchen design.

As the bar sits in a large open plan space it also acts as a link between the kitchen, family snug, breakfast bar and dining room; providing a central pivot of sorts. It was important to give the bar a sense of character and style. Here we must give a huge nod of respect to our wonderful client who recognised an early trend when we presented it and agreed to have the bar wrapped and studded in burnished bronze. It is understated, sophisticated and complements the other fixtures and fittings in the space. Importantly, however, it is slightly more edgy whilst still fitting into a home environment. The crystal chandelier above the bar helps to achieve the focal point we wanted to bring about, as do the mirrored cabinets on the back wall which serve to reflect the chandelier, and also store the glassware – all adding to the sparkle and glamour of the space.

Of course you can’t pour the perfect drink unless you have everything to hand, so it has been designed meticulously with internal refrigeration, waste bin, prep sink and endless storage for every cocktail mixer you could ever hope for.

Thinking you might like a bar of your own? Let us pour you a drink first! Sante!

Launching our Kitchen Design to Installation Service – 3 reasons why you should buy your kitchen from us

September 28th, 2017
Contemporary Kitchen in Putney

Lytton Grove, Putney

We have been designing kitchens for 8 years now, but did you know that we can managed every step of the project from concept designs through to installation and hand over?

So what would the benefits of entrusting the whole process to your Interior Designer be?

Rendered visuals. Plans show how Kitchen and Dining Room are linked.

1. The kitchen shouldn’t be designed in isolation. It links to the rest of the house after all and your Interior Designer should be well versed in ‘cracking’ a solution that works harmoniously and links the adjoining rooms. (See how we did this with one of our most recent projects – We linked the kitchen and dining room through removing the wall altogether that separated them and then backed the kitchen cabinetry onto a wall of dining room dresser style cabinetry. This creates a wonderful sense of harmony between the two and what’s more the space feels larger in each as a result because of the central axis that we created between the two.

2. Quality of Installation is key. This is as important as a great design. Whatever you do, do not leave this to chance. There are always design decisions to be taken on site and at the point of installation – make sure that you are in good hands knowing that the installer is both talented at his craft and has an eye for detail. Our installers are proud of their craft and are adept at working with the challenges that inevitably present themselves on site

3. We deliver a premium product at compelling rates. We can do this because we don’t have the overheads that some of our competitors do. That said, we don’t cut corners. Each and every job is costed, ensuring that we have factored in the time that we will need to give every detail the attention it deserves. So if you are looking for a master class kitchen to be delivered by real professionals at every step of the way and at fair rates then why not give us a call?

Masterclass kitchens delivered by professionals at every stage at fair and compelling rates.

Appointed to Revamp Malmsbury House Care Home

September 26th, 2017

Malmsbury House Care Home – the before shot

We are simply delighted to announce that in July we were appointed by the new owners of Malmsbury House Care Home to help restore it to grace. Our new clients wish to see it take its rightful place in the community through its restoration.

We have been tasked with delivering against three key areas; re-naming, re-branding and exterior design modification. This is an exciting sector for us and we are thrilled to be involved in its upliftment. Watch this space to see what unfolds over the next period of time.

Blog attack: news is on its way at last

September 26th, 2017

Blog for the love of the news within!

One should probably never admit to being too busy to blog, but as that is now well and truly a thing of the past, well there you have it – It’s been a very busy time and I have missed writing my weekly blurb! Now, having eked out the time for this most pleasurable task of writing, here we are and we have a constant stream of inspiring design related news planned to stream from our doors in the form of exciting appointments, design reports, project show casings, inspirations, trends, exciting announcements and advice… so, well, watch this space and keep tuned in.

Celebrating Planning Permission Approval – our 10 point guide to success

February 6th, 2017

Making plans for your perfect home

We have just obtained planning approval from the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames on behalf of one of our long standing clients. The project is in leafy Grange Avenue, Twickenham and we have achieved a substantial addition to the house in the form of a side and rear extension. We are thrilled with what this will mean for our client’s future home life experience.
Whilst the application process on Grange Ave was pain free, it can sometimes be a long and arduous journey. A surprising amount of work can be achieved through Permitted Development, but if it’s Planning Permission that you need then our 10 point guide could come in handy:
  1. Prepare for an unpredictable journey. This isn’t always the case, but schemes which seem perfectly acceptable, can be rejected. There is less chance of this happening, of course, if you have a specialist planning applications service on board. Because it can sometimes be unpredictable, you should also allow plenty of time for the process. With so much building on at the moment, applications are taking longer than the usual 6 weeks and that’s not including any challenges that may be discovered along the way.
  2. Be clear what ‘precedent’ really means. Just because your neighbour has a sizeable dormer don’t assume that you are in the clear. Policy may have changed since they had their work done or they may simply have undertaken their extension work through Permitted Development. It could be quite possible that their work was never submitted to Planning. If it has been used over a period of time and no objections received by the planning Borough it could be deemed ‘established’.
  3. Understand local policy. If you like reading, you won’t be at a loose end. Alternatively, you could use a professional. Planning departments put a great deal of time, effort and resource into policy writing, so a quick and easy way to rile your case planning officer is to show little regard for their guidelines.
  4. Provide all the information requested. This seems an obvious one, but there may be some rather obscure requests depending on the zoning or type of building you are working with. For example, if you are required to submit a bat report, make sure you have it covered.
  5. Use the Pre-Application Advice System. This is not obligatory, but it can be useful. Sometimes a lengthy process and can cost several hundred pounds, but can in the long run save a great deal of time and money if you have a good planning officer on the case. It is intended to flag policies considered pertinent to the case. Either a written report or a meeting will be granted to give specific feedback.
  6. Play it by the book. If you are thinking that a crafty strategy might yield you the best result, know it’s more likely to infuriate the planners.
  7. Don’t make it personal. If your proposal doesn’t go through it’s unlikely to have anything to do with your planning officer, more likely to do with inappropriate policy to the context of your site. Of course, what you may need to watch out for is an unreasonable interpretation of the policy, and this is where the appeals process comes in.
  8. Remember to talk to your neighbours. The sooner the better. Apart from being good mannered, you will be living next door to them for years to come and there’s no need for me to make manifest here the benefits of good karma. It is worth noting, however, that an objection from a neighbour, if you are within the boundaries of policy, is highly unlikely to be fatal to your application.
  9. Provide a design statement. This should be submitted along with the drawings at application stage. This should be brief, clear and to the point, referring to relevant policy as necessary. This is your opportunity to explain how your design fits, working with local policy and the attributes and location of the site.
  10. Keep an open mind. Don’t be deterred by the terms ‘Conservation Area’ or ‘Listed Building’. Instead, keep a calm head and appoint a specialist to the job who has experience in these areas and knows well and understand the parameters. If you can remain open you may find other ways of achieving what you wanted to in the first place. There is always a way.

An African Affair

February 4th, 2017

Suavity from the NEW Cole and Son Ardmore Collection

I work in a world where there is much to capture the imagination and much more to feed it. However, you cannot imagine my joy when I came across one of my supplier, Cole and Son’s latest collection, Ardmore Farm.

Ardmore Farm is one of South Africa, Kwa Zulu Natal’s loveliest success stories. I have long been an ardent admirer of their work on many levels. For decades now, this community has produced show-stopping ceramic artworks for a global audience, providing much needed income for the local population.  Colourful, vibrant and quirky, Ardmore ceramics celebrate Africa’s birds, big cats, elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, mischievous monkeys and exotic flowers; as well as the beautiful patterns of Zulu bead work and woven basket ware.

I salute Cole and Son for taking this bold step to launch this iconic range of wallpapers. It is characterful, joyful, imaginative, exotic, tasteful and a little bit out there. It is for the bold and daring. It’s for those who celebrate life every day and I wish Cole and Son many years of success with it.

This is what Ardmore founder, Fée Halsted, had to say about the collection: ‘For 31 years the Ardmore artists and I have toiled away in KwaZulu-Natal creating fanciful ceramics that have provided an income to feed many a family. The fact that Cole & Son discovered and chose our South African designs and artistry to place on their new collection is an honour and we pride ourselves on being the first African designers to have achieved such a prestigious accolade! Working with Cole & Son’s Creative Director Shauna Dennison, has been such fun and for me that is what it is all about.’

Acclaimed as “modern day collectibles” by the auction house, Christie’s, the work of Ardmore’s artists has won them numerous awards.

Their work features in leading galleries and collections in South Africa and abroad, including the Museum of Art & Design in New York, the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, the Ford Foundation, New York and the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts, Florida.

Khulu Vases


Safari Dance

A spot of New Year’s Inspiration

December 31st, 2016

Wouldn’t that be nice? And what do you think would happen were you to kiss under a dream catcher?

As we start to think of the new year that lies ahead we are spoilt for choice with what might be the perfect inspiration to see us on our way.

I came across this poem a few years ago at this time of the year and it was just the right thing at the right time. I learned subsequently that it was written as a requiem for the poet’s beloved Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833. Don’t let that date or the morbidity of the situation put you off; there is great hope in this message.

From all at LRI we wish you every happiness in the year ahead. May your 2017 be filled with love, grace and the time you need to steer your ship on the right course.


In Memorium

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light:

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2016
A very Merry Christmas to you my Dear

Is it that time of year again, my dear deer?

From all at LRI we would like to wish you and your families the most wonderful of Christmas days. If you should find a quiet moment, to come up for breath, in amongst the sea of wrapping paper, then this might be a welcome little dalliance…

‘To live content with small means,
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable;
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, and frankly… to listen to stars and buds,
to babes and sages , with open heart;
await occasions, hurry never … this is my symphony.’

William Henry Channing

I wonder, ‘Is a dear deer more rare than a rare-bit, or is a rare-bit more dear than a deer?’

Wishing you love, happiness, health and prosperity on this day and always.

Christmas Wishes – a quick fix winter warmer

December 23rd, 2016

Home is nothing without the food that brings us all together, and as you no doubt have your Christmas meal all planned out by this stage,  here’s a recipe that will see you through the following winter months with it’s warm and generous spirit. It’s forgiving too in that you can add any apples, pears or oranges that may have been better eaten yesterday! Our last tip is to make sure you only add the ginger in the last two minutes of cooking. This way it will be nicely rounded, with a little bit of punch. Just the way we like most things!

Butternut and Ginger Soup

A knob (honestly, who came up with that?) of butter
2 Large butternuts
4 sticks celery
2 carrots
4 shallots
1 l great quality chicken stock
1 finger length fresh ginger
250 ml crème fraiche
Seasoning and if you don’t have apples, pears and oranges a dash of honey will do.

Sauté shallots for 2 minutes.
Add chopped celery, carrot and diced butternut.
Stir and leave for 2 minutes with lid on.
Add stock and cook till butternut is soft. (Be sure not to over cook.) Add finely chopped ginger and crème fraiche. At this point turn off the heat and just leave it to stand.
Liquidise and heat before serving.
Happy days!

Go on, give it a bash and think of us at your table when you serve it up … please.