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  • Stylish Seating Ideas

    Good interior design is about matching form with functionality. No-where is that more true than in the living-room. The kitchen may have been the ‘heart of the home’ in days gone by, but today it is the living-room that is the centre of most homes. Despite this, it can be something of an after-thought in terms of design. Many people will spend considerable time and money getting just the right look in their bathroom or kitchen, but fail to come up with anything much for the living-room.

    Seating, in particular, is often relatively un-stylish. Partly that is practical: people want a comfortable sofa more than one that is nice to look at (and that is more than fair enough – coming home after a hard day’s work to an uncomfortable sofa is not much fun). It is also partly because of a lack of options: it can be difficult to find exciting, well-designed living-room furniture that also meets the needs of a busy family. It’s difficult, but not impossible. There are a few ways to make sure your living-room is as stylish as the rest of your home.

    Whole-room design

    Putting in a new kitchen generally means ripping everything out and starting again. Very often, that’s not so in the living-room. Sofas and chairs in particular are expensive, so many people tend to make-do with what they already have, even if what they have doesn’t fit their ideas for the rest of the room. If you can’t afford to replace your seating, then try and update it with new covers, or pick out elements in the design of them which you can link to other things in the room (for example, if they have chrome feet, make that part of your theme by bringing in chrome picture frames or a chrome fire surround).

    Statement pieces

    Living-room seating can be a great way of making a statement, so if you are able to bring in new seating, do. Be brave with the designs you choose and make them the centrepiece of the room. The key to finding something that will really act as a focal point of your living-room is to be imaginative. Look a little further than the high street chains: there are many online suppliers and small ‘boutique’ furniture shops which may be able to help supply something that meets your practical needs and looks great.

    Think carefully about the configuration of seating and how it fits the room and space you have. You don’t need to go for a traditional three-piece-suite. A corner sofa or modular system that you can adjust according to how you want to use it can work really well, for example. Another option is to have one large sofa for general family use, and one or two statement chairs which don’t match, but contrast.

    Use your imagination

    As with any kind of design, let your imagination run riot initially. Then consider whether what you want is practical. If it isn’t, then work out ways to compromise. Everyone has their own style, but if you’re struggling to put a living-room seating design together, perhaps these ideas will give you a kick-start:

    -          For sophisticated urban homes limited on space, a leather loveseat combined with a couple of leather chairs can be attractive and flexible.

    -          For a retro, sixties look try to get hold of a second-hand Eames chair or a modern copy. This design classic adds instant style to a room.

    Go for a luxury look with something more old-fashioned. How about an elegant chaise longue? Or a high-backed wing chair? Both can be either understated, or indulgent, with metallic decoration on the feet and patterned fabric.

    -          See if you can make your own seating, or hire a professional to do it. With the requisite carpentry skills and some wood un-used space in a bay window can be turned into a comfortable window seat (make the seat hinged, and you also have some useful storage).

    There are, of course, countless other options. Good interior design is about matching up your lifestyle, aspirations and interests to create something that feels like yours. If you love design, don’t allow your living –room to let you down – put some thought into it and make it somewhere you love to relax in.

     Author: Izzy A. Woods

  • Ecsotype: Style from Down Under

    Christian Pound founded the Ecso Group in 2004. This marked a departure from the scope of his previous work (in photography and graphic design) into the creation of objects, particularly fashion accessories. Marketed under the label Ecsotype®, and taking a "from the ground up" approach, each new design stresses unconventional construction techniques. Christian believes that the foundations of design are liquid. He relishes the journey of shaping his ideas into tangible forms.

    presseSomething new to look at is the Presse, an exciting take on the traditional laptop bag but with added va va voom!

    'Presse' is a mixed leather/nylon utility bag comprising a large internal cell, multiple internal/external pockets and a leather-braced gusset. A shock-resistant divider provides increased protection for laptops and other valuables during transportation and is able to accommodate laptops up to 17".

    Not the cheapest bag you will ever buy but quite possibly the best!

  • Lifting the Lid on Fifties Fashion and Post War Style

    Fifties StyleWith the 50s set to make another fashion comeback next season, author, broadcaster and fifties aficionado Mike Brown has published a book sure to delight designers, social historians and anyone with an interest in this style-defining decade. ‘The 1950s Look: Recreating the Fashions of the Fifties’ takes the reader on a tour of the trends and signature styles of the era – from Audrey Hepburn chic to high school prom queen. Published by Sabrestorm, the book is priced at £16.99 and is available from September 1, 2008.

    Moving forward a decade from his successful book ‘The 1940s Look’, Mike Brown deconstructs the key elements of iconic 50s fashions, as well as shedding light on the origins of many items of clothing now taken for granted on today’s high street.

    Over 144 pages, with more than 300 full colour photographs and pictures, readers can learn about the new synthetic wonder fabrics, the Trapeze dress and the Teddy Boys' quiff, pedal pushers and drain pipe trousers.

    Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously summed up the mood of the fifties when he told the country: “You've never had it so good.” Cinched waists and full, layered skirts celebrated femininity and the availability of luxurious fabrics after the restrictions of the previous decade.

    The success of fashion houses such as Dior signalled the rise of chic Italian and French styling, and this was the decade that denim jeans arrived in the UK from the USA. An eclectic British style began to emerge from these influences, and with it a whole new breed - the teenager.
    Author Mike Brown says:

    The 1950s was a decade of decadence - a rebellion against wartime restrictions and rationing. As people turned their backs on the privations of the drab war years, exciting new fashions and daring styles from overseas found a place in British homes. In the decade of the Coronation, the conquest of Everest and the Festival of Britain, the second Elizabethan age had arrived, and with it came optimism for a bright future.

    Meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated, this retrospective is essential reading for anyone interested in social history and fifties design, and would make a great gift for grandparents to look back fondly at the 1950s. Chapters include: formal and informal fashions; couture house to homemade; hairstyles and make-up; the figure; and accessories.

    ‘The 50s Look’ is available from Sabrestorm (ISBN 9780955272332), online at www.1940.co.uk , Amazon, or through bookshops such as Waterstones, WH Smith, and many more.

  • Get Ahead! Get a Hat!

    helmet hatDanish company Yakkay has developed a new bicycle helmet where safety and style are combined. With four individual hat designs currently available, each using a city theme as inspiration, you can define your own style based on personal taste, location or mood.

    A spokesman for Yakkay said " The main function of your bicycle helmet is to protect your head. But, that doesn't mean you have to compromise your style when wearing it. If you are among those who use your head, you are using your helmet, and if you are among those who appreciate looking stylish - you wear a Yakkay helmet!"

    Of course, whilst this is a new idea for the cycling fraternity, anyone who has sat on a horse will know that helmet covers have been around for a number of years!

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