Interior Design Trends for Autumn

 Aldiss.com – Norfolk’s largest range of home furnishings

This week’s guest blog is from Nanci Gillett of Burhnham Interiors

As the weather changes and we begin to spend more time inside, the interior design enthusiasts amongst us are looking at the small touches we can make to our homes to get it in line with the latest trends for Autumn.

If you’re looking to change things up a little for autumn/winter 2013; here are some top trends to get you thinking.

Wood burning stoves

Stove

These have been around for a while now, but are never far from the pages of our glossy interiors magazines.  Stoves make your home look and feel warm, as well as standing out as a statement piece.

Preppy menswear

It’s not just men’s clothes which have gone all tailored and preppy over the last few years; we’re also seeing a shift into interior design too.  It’s all tailored upholstery, metal accents and preppy patterns.

Faces and cameos

This is a trend we’ve seen creeping in for a few months now, but is set to be bigger than ever for autumn/winter 2013.  You’ll see everything from chairs to accessories, even tables taking on a new persona.

Upcycled furniture

We all know how much of a hit shabby chick has been in the last few years, and upcycled furniture plays on that style, but with a new modern twist.  Rather than keeping furniture looking old and vintage, upcycled gives it a new lease of life.  Think classic wooden sideboards painted with a whole host of bright colours.

Monochrome

iLiv Elements Graphite Bed Range

Classic monochrome black and white is here to stay.  They’ve always gone together and are here to stay for a long time.  This colour combination is a timeless style that leaves room for fun design experiments.

Gold/Brass

Metals such as gold and brass are stealing the spotlight from silver.  Designers love how these metallic’s ooze warmth and pair well with almost any colour.  To really make a statement in your home why not go for gold finishes on your furniture.  Bang on trend for the new season.  With its rich gleam and weight, this metal is experiencing a come back.  With a lot of designers looking to the 70’s, it’s inevitable that brass, bronze and gold will show up more.

Green

Joseph Joseph White/Green Triple Dish Set

Emerald is the Colour of the Year for 2013, but we’re seeing all shades of greens and expect more to come, from bright spring greens to olives and especially lots of different blue-greens and teal.  If a green accent wall intimidates you, go for more subtle touches that incorporate the shade into a larger design, such as an area rug.

Embellished walls

iLiv Shabby Chic Songbird Wallpaper

It is expected that this already strong trend will continue.  There are limitless options from simple grass cloths to hand-painted papers.

Lace

Your grandmother’s tablecloth is now hip.  Already big in fashion, lace is showing up in the home collections of many high street brands.  We will see more of this trend from cushions to curtains.

Neutrals

Ercol Bergere Sofa

Neutrals rule in the sitting room.  A variety of shades of cream, off-white and beige in a variety of textures create calm settings.

Elegant, graceful design

Enough with the plain.  People want pretty and there will be a surge in the demand for classic fabrics.

Homey Kitchens

We’re moving toward a look with warm, modern materials that look vintange: slate, irregular floors, weathered concrete, natural crackle-glazed tiles that look handmade.

Gloss

High gloss! Shine! Polish! Lacquer!

Art

We will be focusing on art as it is so much more approachable these days, with art fairs popping up everywhere.

Antique furniture

People will be looking at period furniture again – beautiful old pieces to mix with modern ones.

Blue

If you are not ready to commit to a room totally coloured blue then try a small pop of blue such as a lovely lacquered blue chest of drawers.

Great American Design

It’s clear from the cinemas that the 1920’s are making a comeback.  We will see a resurgence of the 20’s art deco in homes, influencing everything from walls to furniture.

Raw Style

Exposed elements in architecture and furniture are not to be missed.  Surfaces made of stone and wood that show off natural grains help bring the rustic look of the outdoors into the modern home. Unadorned wood pieces that have a natural beauty and elegance are sneaking into chic houses.  Add neutral accents to give the space a cohesive, tranquil look.

Mix up texture

For an easy way to make over a room, bring together a collection of diverse textures:  Grasscloth on walls, stone tables and a patterned rug work together to create a rich, layered interior.

Graphic

iLiv Charlton Terracotta stripe wallpaper

Vivid patterns have been springing up on walls, floors and accessories and will continue to make their way into 2014.  Stripes are particularly popular.

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Recipe for Apple Crumble Slice

Aldiss.com – Norfolk’s largest range of home furnishings

This week’s guest blog is a recipe for Apple Crumble Slices from Pixie Hall Cakes.

Apple Crumble Slice

It’s getting dark earlier in the evening, the breeze has a chilly bite and the mornings are turning crisp. The kids are back at school and life is going back to normal after the holidays. The summer is coming to an end and we’ve had such incredible weather. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll soon be digging out our boots, hats and scarves and trudging about in wet and windy weather.

At this time of year my mind wanders to flavours of autumn. I think of apples, cinnamon and hearty oats. These flavours may be more subtle than the bright berries of summer but they have an important role; they are warming and familiar and, as the nights draw in and the fires are lit, they fill me with a sense of comfort. In case you can’t tell, autumn is my favourite time of year.

I love the changing colours of the landscape, the trees turning red and gold, and the new flavours coming into season. As much as I love strawberries, there are only so many you can eat without yearning for something different.

It’s been really tough to pick a recipe for this month. I wanted something that was a bit easier to put together than last month’s showpiece. It also needed to be something that would be great tucked into a school lunchbox or enjoyed in the afternoon with a cup of tea and with our favourite autumnal flavours. Not too much of a challenge!

I finally settled on this Apple Crumble Slice. These are pretty easy to put together and are packed full of apples, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. I think something magical happens when apples and cinnamon combine; the flavours are made for each other. These buttery, crumbly slices are the perfect mix of autumn comfort food and they taste amazing. Sturdy enough to be packed into a lunchbox for you or the kids, tasty enough to serve to guests and irresistible with a hot cup of tea; these are a great all rounder.  Let me know what you think!

Apple Crumble Slice

Serves 12 (depending on how you slice them).

Ingredients:

For the crust:

380g plain flour

160g brown sugar

2tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp salt

1 egg

225g butter, cubed

50g oats

For the apple filling

4 medium Granny Smith apples

1tsp cinnamon

2tsp corn flour

Juice of half a lemon

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, line a rectangular tin (9”x13” or 23x33cm) with baking paper making sure it comes up the sides a bit (this will help get everything out later).

2. Peel the apples and, using a standard box grater, grate them into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

3. Mix the plain flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and, using your hands, rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.  This can be a bit messy but it helps if the butter is cold. Add the egg and stir in with a table knife until combined and the dough comes together slightly.

4. Put half the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin and press down firmly with your fingers. Try to get it in an even layer.

5. Squeeze and drain the excess liquid from the apples and then add the cinnamon and corn flour and stir until combined. Scatter the apple evenly over the base.

6. Stir the oats into the remaining dough and crumble it all over the apples. It doesn’t matter if there are some lumps as this adds to the textures.

9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top and your kitchen smells like autumn. Allow to cool in the tin and cut into 12 squares when completely cold. Enjoy with a cup of tea or for pudding with some custard!

Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography


Healthy Homes and Indoor Air Quality

Aldiss.com – Norfolk’s largest range of home furnishings

This week’s guest blog is from Glyn Charnock, Owner of Chameleon Cleaning.  Glyn is also a Director of the National Carpet Cleaners Association.

We all like to think our homes are healthy because we keep them clean and tidy, but do we really know how clean our homes are and is there more we could or should be doing to protect ourselves and the ones we love?

The best measure of how healthy a home is, is the quality of air inside the building.

We spend up to half our time inside our homes, so the air inside the building is what we are breathing day and night. Dust, hair, pet dander, gasses, bacteria, mould spores and anything else in the air we breathe can affect our health. The number of people, especially children, who suffer from asthma, hay fever and other allergies, has been growing for many years.

Businesses spend a huge amount of money ensuring that their employees have a healthy indoor environment in which to work. They install air conditioning with filters to remove particles and bacteria and control the temperature and humidity. They put in place regular maintenance cleaning processes and periodic deep cleaning. But in our homes this isn’t always practical, or is it?

How can we possibly make sure our homes are as healthy as they can be? Well there are few easy things we can do.

Prevent Soil Entering the Home

One of the biggest sources of soil particles (“dirt”) in the home is foot traffic. The best way of preventing this from entering the home is through the use of entrance mats.

Mats should be large enough for people to place both feet on twice before reaching carpets or hard flooring. Is your door mat this big? Not many are, so can you increase the size of your door mat?

The most effective mats are Coir or artificial barrier mats. These mats soak up more soil than, for example, an extra piece of carpet. They should be cleaned or changed at least every 6 months.

Filter Soil from the Air

Carpets are great filters for the air in our homes. They are really good at trapping and holding on to all sorts of soil.

It used to be thought that removing carpets from homes where there were people with asthma or respiratory disease was helpful, but this has now been disproved. Hard floors allow dust and allergens to remain circulating in the air in a home, where carpets will trap and hold on to these harmful pollutants keeping them out of your lungs. Carpets also absorb traffic fumes, soot and bacteria from the air.

Regular Cleaning

Regular vacuum cleaning helps to keep carpets working as air filters, but they fill up with soil eventually. Regular professional deep cleaning of carpets is the best thing you can do to keep the air in your home clean and healthy.

Vacuum cleaning should be done at least weekly. If you can see dust on hard surfaces, the same dust will have settled on the carpets so they should be vacuum cleaned.

It may seem obvious, but spills should be cleaned straight away. See the Hints and Tips page on our website for how to deal with most common spills.

Deep Cleaning

Depending on the type of carpet you have, the manufacturers will recommend professional cleaning every 12 to 18 month. If you don’t follow these recommendations, your warranty may not be valid, but most importantly, the carpets in your home will not be operating as effectively as they should in filtering the air in your home. You may also need to clean carpets more often than this is you have lots of pets, smoke, or live in an area of high air pollution such as towns or cities, or close to busy roads.

Other Fabrics

Other fabrics, such as curtains and upholstery, will also trap and hold pollution from the air in your home, so these items should be vacuum cleaned and deep cleaned as often as the carpets to help maintain indoor air quality and protect your health.

This photo is the dry soil vacuumed from a single cushion on a 3 piece suite which didn’t appear to be very dirty. We captured the soil in a filter just to see how much there was. Used Vacuum Filter

How to Clean

In last months’ blog we looked at whether to use a professional cleaner or to go the DIY route, so take a look at how best to deep clean your carpets and upholstery.

Just to remind you, you can find genuine professional cleaners at the National Carpet Cleaners Association.

For handy hints and tips, see our website . You may find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page helpful.

You can also tweet us @DirtDetectives