I don't know about you, but images like the ones below often look so effortless that it's easy to forget how much work and effort has actually gone into putting them together. Not just in the styling and the photography, but in the design and manufacture of each item.
Of course, a lot of what we buy is manufactured overseas these days, so it's always exciting to come across a home-grown talent. So when the lovely people at Willow and Hall contacted me about working with them, I was intrigued, because I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I'd never really given a great deal of thought into what goes into the design of a sofa. After all - they're all just for bottoms in the end, aren't they?
Apparently, it all starts with sketches and ideas by the Willow and Hall design team, after which there follow a series of meetings with their manufacturer in Wiltshire, where they discuss each different design, including the pros and cons and how each piece might work in practice. Thankfully, the manufacturer they use has over 35 years' experience, so they know what they are talking about!
Once each design has been tweaked accordingly, they build a prototype of each model and jump up and down on them loads test them thoroughly. After this, there is more tweaking and re-designing if the holy grail of design, comfort and style don't quite work together. When the final prototype is ready, it gets sent for a photoshoot like the one above, and gets uploaded to the website.
This whole process takes about four months from start to finish, taking into account the quality of the materials at each stage. Thankfully after that they are ready for bums!
If corner sofas are your thing, then thankfully Willow and Hall have recently introduced those! The corner units come as sofas or sofa beds with the choice of an open sprung, pocket sprung or memory foam mattress, so the whole body can have the comfort experience. If bums are your priority, however, Willow and Hall will also let you order a matching armchair in your chosen range! (I told you they were lovely people).
Isn't it funny how life works sometimes? I've been tinkering with this blog for a good couple of years mainly for my own pleasure, yet as soon as I get a new job that allows me less time to blog quite as often, I suddenly get lots of tempting offers of collaboration... Given my penchant for fantasy shopping, imagine how excited I was that Etsy wanted me to become an affiliate. My only worry was that I would never find enough time to browse their vast collection of unique, handmade and vintage items from independent sellers.
Thankfully, I was up for the challenge!
I was going to try and weave a narrative around this collection of items, but really, it's just an excuse to show you some random stuff that I love. Here, therefore, are a few of my favourite items at the moment:
This Mason Jar chandelier is such a cute colour, and would look great hanging from a TALL ceiling:
Let it not be said that the room description on the website was incorrect when we booked our recent annual London January trip... "Small room", it said, and it was definitely small! This is by no means a complaint, however - after all, it was a perfectly accurate description. Also, I occasionally love staying in a small room as I find the use of space intriguing. After all - not everyone has the luxury of huge, palatial suites in their own home!
One thing that is obvious, however, is that small rooms are not easy to photograph - so I hope you get an idea of how the space has been used from my meagre attempts:
As well as a bed and a small desk, the bedroom itself housed a wardrobe containing safe and tea/coffee making facilities - not a huge amount of space for clothing, but perfectly adequate for one night. I'm in two minds as to whether the oversized headboard makes the room look larger or smaller, but it was certainly comfortable to lean against when you don't have a separate armchair!
I'm also taking tips on small bathrooms - noting the large, light-coloured tiles, and the frugal, rectangular layout - no longer than the total length of the bath.
No matter how hard I try, January always leaves me slightly flat and gloomy after the warm glow of Christmas and the fizzing celebrations that see in the New Year. It still feels like dark December without the bonus of twinkling fairylights, and all it really makes me want to do is hibernate until Spring.
To try and shake myself out of the January blues, I've been looking at colour. Lots of colour. Colours that run contrary to the muted palette I would probably choose for myself, but colours that just scream "happy".
And yes, I couldn't really do a colour post and ignore the Colour of the Year as decreed by Pantone - which of course this year is Radiant Orchid. I confess I have a bit of an aversion to pinkish hues (being the mother of two girls it just makes me break out in hives), but I do love this combination of it to liven up a bit of grey: