Design themes


3
Apr 14

Celia Sawyer talks Grand Design Live and much more with Kevin McCloud

Hello everyone!

I was very excited to interview television presenter, writer and designer Kevin McCloud, especially as he has had such a varied career! We talked design, his housing project Hab Housing and of course Grand Designs Live!

Kevin McCloud Grand Designs Live London

Grand Designs Live is now in its 10th year, what do you think makes it so successful and keeps it returning year on year?

I’m excited about the exhibition, particularly in the amount of new and smaller exhibitors, as well as the larger brands of course it’s important we have everybody; the show is large enough to accommodate everyone, which is what I like.

Is there something new we can expect this year that you’re really excited by?

In addition we’ve got the all-new tech box, which takes a look at sustainable technology so I’m excited about that this year.

What’s your favourite item at the show overall?

My favourite item… with over 500 exhibitors it’s quite hard to pick! I never tell people what my favourite item is as that would hack the other ones off ha!

We’ve heard you’re going to be helping cook in the Live Kitchen Experience, what will you be dishing up? Do you enjoy cooking at home?

There’s a wonderful man called Nigel Smith who for years has helped me and to be fair has taught me to cook at Grand Designs Live. Overall I’m hopeless in the kitchen but I deliberately turn up hoping to cause havoc in the kitchen as I just can’t cook – what I can do is get in the way! Miele are one of our big sponsors and they are great running this really successful live cooking demonstration.

Staying on the subject of food, what’s your favourite kind of food?

I love Italian food, the way it’s cooked and the whole ethos of Italian cooking. I just love the way Italians cook food.

What’s your opinion on going green and eco builds? Do you think there’s enough scope to make eco homes as aesthetic as others or do people have a tougher job going down the eco route? Are you a fan of eco?

An Eco home can look like a 16th century cottage or it can look like a modeled glass walled beautiful building. Making a home ecological, environmentally friendly and low energy is about how you build it not what it looks like. To make a home low energy is how you build it from the inside and what makes it efficient.

 Grand Designs Live Birmingham - NEC Birmingham, Friday 4 October 1

There’s often a new innovation or technology, has anything in the market place particular caught your eye lately?

What you should remember is for every damaging material there’s the equivalent low impact one. In my business Hab Housing we set out to build and we do build houses which are more beautiful, with windows, more space, nicer kitchens,  offering more natural light than your average developer-built house, as a result we sell our houses four times faster – and they are Eco homes!

If you have a choice to have your energy bills reduced, giving you more money for holidays or whatever it may be, drinking beer, it’s a great thing!

Discussing the show, do you have an all time favourite Grand Designs project? Maybe you even wanted to live there!

Well there are actually several I really like, so it’s hard to pick one favourite. For years I used to say the Ben Law house, where he grew his house out of the woods in Sussex, he grew it out of the woods he owned, almost out of the trees, so this really stood out to me, I always felt it was the most beautiful, romantic, poetic show we’d ever made.

For me it’s about the houses that grab me by the heart. Something that’s so magical, they are my favourite.

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On the lines of TV… do you watch Four Rooms that I feature on? Do you watch any other makeover shows as I’m going to judge on a new BBC1 prime time show!

I have seen Four Rooms! I like it, and actually the executive producer of that show is my old producer.

What are your thoughts on home make over shows? Celia is about to start filming a new one for the BBC.

Great I will look out for it. I’m sure it’ll be better than the make over shows of the 90s!

See Kevin at Grand Designs Live on 3-11 May at London ExCel – www.granddesignslive.com

Make sure you follow Celia on Twitter on @CeliaSawyerTV and visit her website www.celiasawyer.com for further information.


18
Mar 14

Behind the scenes of an interior design project

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The build-up to project installations is always a very busy but exciting time. I always plan everything down to the last mm, so that when the big day arrives everything runs as smoothly as possible.

As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on a residence in London and the installation is now well under way!! This is where the fun starts; all the bespoke furniture which has been planned and designed for this particular property is now about to arrive on site. I will be directing each delivery into the right room and working with my team to unwrap the beautiful items – I simply can’t wait to put everything in place!

There is always a certain amount of anticipation before an installation, due to the fact that a large part of interior design is an organic process and not everything can be planned off-site. The way a room changes on each layer installed creates a different feeling and atmosphere in the property at the time, so this is something to be aware of.

This particular house is over 17,000 square feet, so I have a lot of room to play with.  The majority of the furniture is designed by myself, hand crafted in the UK by skilled craftsmen. I’ve worked closely with the architect to ensure symmetry and synergy in each room. Custom made, luxurious fabrics and finishes have been chosen to suit the property’s style, in addition to custom made furniture, often from bespoke suppliers I work with in Italy. It’s really coming to life and looks fantastic I have to say!

The very first day of installation is always extremely rushed. I have a team of people I work with that assist throughout. Various important tasks need to happen such as drafting a map of the property’s interior so those arriving know exactly where to place each item on arrival. The framing of images, arranging of flowers, dressing beds, setting of tables and people putting up specialist items such as heavy mirrors and artwork are all fundamental to the smooth running of any project. I find it’s often the little things that count so everything from cleaning, to washing glass wear and changing plugs all add to the overall experience and installation. These are each very important jobs whilst on site, not to be forgotten!

My main tip for installations is to not work out everything off site. Instead, have enough visits to ensure your items will fit and work in the spaces required. Look at the property at different times of the day so that you can see how the light works for or against you; you’d be surprised how much colours can change from morning to evening. Too many interior designers forget this so I recommend getting to know the property you’re working on as much as possible prior to the installation date.

The next few days are critical to completing this project, so it’s back to work for me! Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about behind the scenes. See you next time…

 

Get the look:

Celia’s recommended stockists this week….

 Zara at Home

   Table Wear

      You can enjoy luxury for less with this modern, white china set. Prices from 19.99

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 Zara at Home

Art Deco, Decorative Glass Bowl £39.99

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Tree Locate

As many of you know I absolutely love using faux-flowers. This may not be the traditional option over real flowers, but you can purchase such realistic ones nowadays and unlike real ones not have to worry about the look being lost with them dying. Faux-flowers are amazing and I use a lot of white orchids and amaryllis to bring rooms to life. I love placing them in large bevelled vases to add a touch of glamour and style – perfect for sideboards I have to say!

One of the companies I work closely with it Tree Locate, who are always on-hand with new designs to suit my work. They stock a variety of planters in all the colours you need.

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I hope you like my suggestions this week, if you have any questions tweet me @CeliaSawyerTV


26
Feb 14

A day in the life of Celia Sawyer…

It’s a really exciting time at Celia Sawyer Headquarters. We are in the final stages of a development project, which is a £26 million property off Bishop’s Avenue in London. It’s been a fantastic exploration of architecture, fabrics and interior design. I have used a lot of bespoke furniture such as tailored chairs and sofas, antique mirrored bedside tables and hand-made headboards, specifically created for my Cool 10 furniture range. They are gorgeous and really add that WOW factor!

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As you know I’m really into my lighting so I’ve had some beautiful lights from Italy supplied for this project by Trudie who looks after me at The Lighting House (www.thelightinghouse.co.uk) For this particular house I used the stunning Estadio lights, which you can see below.

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The Fairways project has focused around lots of crystals, mirrors, lacquered woods, luxurious leathers and silver objets-dart to add glamour and style throughout. We are in our final two weeks and I simply cannot wait to see it all come together and be unveiled to the world!

It’s also been a busy couple of weeks juggling my home life. Due to half-term my two children were off school so we spent a few days taking time out, walking in Dartmouth and enjoying the countryside. I love being with my children, cooking for them, and helping them with homework, so I’ve understood the meaning of being a ‘working mum’ more than ever this last week – juggling family life, work deadlines, keeping fit and all the housework too!

I take my hat off to all working mum’s out there!

When working from my south coast studio I find the sea air and beach views can really inspire me on some of my projects. There is a local seafood restaurant called WestBeach (www.west-beach.co.uk) which I use for my client meetings. It’s a discrete venue so it’s perfect for entertaining high-profile and high-net worth clients to discuss their interior design plans and projects we are working on together. The food, ambience and staff are excellent at WestBeach, which is important for me!

Today, I am meeting a couple brand reps who want to present new collections to me. It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and set them so I love finding out before anyone else what’s coming through for Spring/Summer. I’ve got some exciting PR meetings this week and a visit to a very well known jewellery factory coming up as I have decided to launch my very own jewellery range this year! It is something I have always wanted to do and it will be a reflection of the interior design range; a mix of textures and an element of “cool”. Because of my busy days with the children, keeping on top of my fitness and all the projects I have going on it’s a good job I have Skinade (www.skinade.com) by my side to keep my skin glowing and healthy.

As you can tell it never stops for me in the interior design world but I love what I do and wouldn’t have it any other way. Watch this space for announcements on my jewellery range, you never know what tomorrow can bring… See you in a couple of weeks!

Celia xxx

@CeliaSawyerTV

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17
Feb 14

Eau de Chic

I for one, LOVE candles. They bring a certain something to a room, whether that’s intimacy or warmth I think they are perfect if you’re on a budget and you want to brighten up a room. So I thought I’d treat you readers with my favourite candles this season.

These Floris candles are really lovely and have a great array of fragrances for your home.

http://www.florislondon.com/gbp/floris-for-home/scented-candles.html

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Of course where would I be with out Gucci these are the more luxurious end of the market but smell fabulous and they look great on your coffee table too! http://www.gucci.com/uk/styles/284656J10JT2274#

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These Ralph Lauren candles are elegant and make a lovely gift for someone. Small enough to sit by your bed or bath, with a very Lauren fragrance! http://www.ralphlauren.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4319604

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Their signature Rose collection is wonderfully British and smells great. I’d recommend getting their Mirrored Glass Limited Edition Candle (£22, The White Company) to get an elegant feel.

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If you want something a bit different, The White Company has an English Garden range, fancy your home smelling like Fresh Herbs? Then invest in these fun rustic candles.

 Large Candles (£30, The White Company)

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7
Feb 14

Creating Impact at Home

 I love creating theatre in a client’s home. Whether it is with amazing lighting or elaborate mirrors, a fabulous texture, a really strong feature colour, or fantastic artwork. The key is to create a “wow” factor whenever someone walks into your home.

Great designing is about achieving this, it’s very easy to be safe but creating impact cuts the mustard!

It’s also very important not to over design an area with more than one star piece. If you do this you will create confusion and lose the impact completely.

These strong coloured chairs in this cinema room look stunning with a surrounding blank canvas.

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I particularly love these lights which I recently used in a client’s house. They create a real statement above the dining table and two together create a real wow-factor.

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Impact can also come from using something as simple as a pool table but give it strength by using a bold colour.

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I love these wall lights I put in a client’s home recently, they really make a statement. My recommendation for amazing lights please visit www.thelightinghouse.co.uk.

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Don’t forget mirrors are also a great way of adding impact. I often clad a whole wall of a room especially if there is a great view outside or the room is small or dark. Mirrors are a great way to add light and give the feeling of space and glamour.

For really fabulous mirrors such as this Tiffany Mirror below, go to Simpsons  http://www.simpsonsmirrors.com/bespoke-mirrors-collection/venetian-mirrors/

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Remember to tweet me @CeliaSawyerTV and my website is www.celiasawyer.com

Lots of love, Celia x


22
Jan 14

Neutral dining spaces

 Even if you don’t have a traditional dining room, your space should always be decorated in a glamorous and inviting way. Whether you have an open plan layout or a separate room for dining, it is important to remember that this is your entertaining space and should be designed to accommodate your friends and family in a comfortable, luxurious way.

Neutral, light and airy dining rooms can really open up small spaces, and can be calming as well. It’s important to compliment your colour scheme with good lighting, beautiful lamps or main lighting with the ability to dim the lighting up and down to suit your occasion and mood.

TOP TIP: I enjoy mixing materials and textures whenever I design a dining room to make it look as luxurious and opulent as possible. Plate and table settings should compliment the décor of the room as well, make sure they are the in the same vein as the colour scheme.  Place settings such as large candles are great to make a statement and flowers as well help to give the room a fresh feel.

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Mirrors such as the ones above, add another dimension with reflections of the sea bouncing back into the room. For more information contact info@cool10.co.uk .

Don’t overlook a rug for underneath your table, but choose a practical one that can be cleaned in case of any spillages. This L’amour rug feels lovely and looks great, it’s made from 100% polyamide so is very easy to clean.

As this house is by the sea, I used napkin rings with small sea shells on which look really soft and beachy, but still elegant.

These horn napkin rings from Zara Home are great, elegant and really compliment the table.

Zara Home

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I love chandeliers in dining spaces, in the room pictured above I used a capiz bespoke chandelier for a client who loved the texture and colours and also the reflections given out in the evening light.

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The round black lacquered dining table in the above picture, was manufactured by Jonathon Sainsbury and looked absolutely stunning in this very contemporary home in Central London. The room was square so the round table really complimented the space.

There are some fantastic choices for cutlery around, for example this 58 piece set for an 8 place setting from Debenhams is a real bargain at the moment and will look great on any dining table.

Debenhams 

Remember to follow me on @CeliaSawyerTV and for more information go on www.celiasawyer.com


17
Dec 13

HOTEL LUXURY

I was wonderfully impressed with the hotel I stayed in, in Windsor recently. The Macdonald Windsor Hotel, www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk not only offered fantastic service but I was equally impressed with the brilliant use of space and luxury surroundings in the hotel.

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The hotel used to be a retail store and has a very small entrance doorway through to a very long hallway down to the reception and bar, which is very cleverly designed to lead you almost as a runner, up the aisle to the reception desk and bar where excellent staff wait to greet you. The ambient lighting in this area really works and is very welcoming.

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RECREATE THE LOOK

This is a fine example of how to make a long hallway or entrance inviting. Just because it runs in a straight line, the design has not been compromised and bringing in furniture of different heights and textures and ambient lighting, draws the eye to create interest. You can recreate this look at home by using contrasting level furniture, artwork and lighting, keeping the fabrics tonal but textural. This overhead floor light gives the same feel but for a fraction of the cost of some others on the market.

http://www.milandirect.co.uk/catalog/product/view/id/3123?gclid=CM7nx5HypLsCF fHMtAod9k0AMA

A good shaped armchair is a must and the Sofa and Chair Company have many options, http://www.thesofaandchair.co.uk/collection/chairs/2810-valera
Notice how the different levels of furniture add interest, this low cube could double up as a small table or be simply a footstool http://www.thesofaandchair.co.uk/collection/ottomans-cubes/2234-ono-cube.

Near the reception area is a contemporary fireplace, which draws a hub of people sitting cosily around it. Colour schemes are just great, with warm browns greys and gold (my favourites of course!)

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RECREATE THE LOOK

Keep shapes cosy here, with sofas from Andrew Martin, loose covers can look comfortable and less formal by a contemporary fireplace http://www.andrewmartin.co.uk/cadogan-large-sofa.php
Give your walls a texture with a funky wallpaper, such as this one by Andrew Martin http://www.andrewmartin.co.uk/atlantis-wallpaper.php
Fabrics such as these Zinc Metallic weaves look super glamorous and the colours are fabulous http://www.zinctextile.com/collections/lens

Just around the corner is the restaurant, which is also decorated with lovely muted colours with banquet seating and separate chairs to invite comfortable seating, wood panelled walls and the layout is perfect for atmosphere. This room works both at night and daytime which is important when creating your eating space.

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RECREATE THE LOOK IN YOUR KITCHEN/FAMILY ROOM

If you have the room its nice to incorporate different seating levels into your own kitchen/family space. It doesn’t need to look like a restaurant, but you can add smaller chairs with small sofas or mix your chairs to make the room a bit more casual in feel. Check out Kesterport who have top quality chairs of all shapes and sizes http://www.kesterport.co.uk/retail_chairs.html Leathers and faux suede are always great fabrics for these areas and can be cleaned fairly easily and I love this faux leather from Kravet, which looks glamorous but is still easy to clean http://search.kravet.com/Kravet-Vinyl/Acoustic.21- 400/CoverInformation.aspx

I had a fantastic stay at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, which was not only down to the service and quality of the food and wine, but the hotel has a lovely quaintness yet still high end luxury feel which makes it a great recommendation from me. I will most certainly be going back, I cannot think of anything nicer than relaxing in the lovely bar by the fire with a fabulous glass of wine!

Celia Sawyer xxx

www.celiasawyer.com

@celiasawyertv


19
Nov 13

My top Interior Christmas goodies

This week, as Christmas is not far off… I thought I’d fill you in with some lovely presents for the home, some stocking fillers, some more major in their pricing bracket.

Lovely home gifts are always a pleasure to unwrap and there is a lot of choice out there this year.  Gifts like these don’t have to break the bank and don’t forget to check out your local Homesense, they have lots of great glassware and countless picture frames in different finishes and for really great prices.

As usual I am heading off first to Zara Home, one of my favourites with their interior gifts!

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Stocking fillers such as these skull knobs, brilliant to change the look of your cupboard or drawer, and I do love a skull or 2!  goo.gl/gJ2hYO

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Also feel a bit regal with these Zara Home Crown cushions, very smart for your bedroom which work well with plain white bedding goo.gl/GvBbbK

glass

Pop down to BHS , they have some great items in their sale, for instance these Royal Worcester set of 4 champagne flutes goo.gl/CX681u Great value and a must for Christmas!

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Smarten up a bed with this Harvard Navy chambray bedding set, goo.gl/n8Z0ll

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Debenhams have great Betty Jackson candles, check them out goo.gl/rpzkyF

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And I love this gold faceted STAR vase by Julien Macdonald , very me! goo.gl/8EY2CB

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A bit of luxury, tissue box covers always look smart in your bathroom or bedroom. Head to Aspinal for this great selection of leather options goo.gl/D4rGnV

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Andrew Martin is doing some nice Christmas gifts this year, a great present to send is one of these throws to keep you cosy this year! goo.gl/sb0O0E

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Harrods just happens to be badly positioned very near my office! Cannot resist popping in!  A bit of extravagant fun! goo.gl/67hbmR

Keep to date with everything I’m doing on Twitter with @CeliaSawyerTV


5
Nov 13

Seasons Change, Rooms Rearrange

 Now that the clocks have turned back the winter months have come upon us and now it’s time to get your home cosy for the lead up to Christmas!

 Gone are the days going out the evenings and it’s time to curl up in front of the television, make your sofa comfortable with a lovely faux fur blanket to warm you up on a cold winter evening.

 Zara Home sell great blankets at a great price and would look great on your sofa or on top of your bed for a Ski Lodge feel.

seasons change 1

www.zarahome.com prices start at £99.99

 Marks and Spencer do great Faux Fur Throws as well and they are reversible as well so that  if you want to change your look , you can regularly.

 On sale at £63.20 - http://tinyurl.com/osdocal 

Seasons change 2

Add warmth and texture, as well as protecting your floor with a gorgeous rug from Stepevi. These are really soft and feel lovely to the touch, with warm colours to really cozy up your living room. These sophisticated berry colours are fabulous.

http://stepevi.com/rococo

Seasons change 3

Accessories for the season help transition your home for the winter. I am a great lover of candles and hurricane lamps, I always light them at dusk for that warm and cozy atmosphere.

 Scented candles are really great for creating atmosphere in your room. Depending on your budget, go for either Gucci or Zara Home, they both smell gorgeous and look really stylish.

Seasons change 4 Seasons change 5

Look for lux, warm bedding, thin cotton is not great for winter and opt for comfier duvets with a higher tog to help you get some extra warmth at night. I like the White Company for bedding as they have a really good selection to choose from. http://www.thewhitecompany.com/home/bedroom/duvets-and-pillows/

For that really personal touch, try the Monogrammed Linen Shop for the ultimate luxury http://www.monogrammedlinenshop.com/bedroom/blanket-covers.html

Keep up to date with everything I’m doing via Twitter: @CeliaSawyerTV


22
Oct 13

Lovely Living Rooms

The living room is certainly the most enjoyable room to design. It is a very important room that really says a lot about how you want to be perceived by others. Living rooms are such fun to work on as they should be glamorous, interesting, comfortable and calming and be able to accommodate a variety of activities such as watching television with the family, chilling out after work or entertaining friends.

Seating is key in this room, and is one of the first things you should consider when designing in the space. I always use scale room plans for any design, but it is absolutely essential in this room as you will need to know how large to go with your seating.

Buying your sofa is key as it is the most important piece of furniture for your living room. It has to be the best quality you can buy as it will be used on such a regular basis and probably by many.

It is essential that you plan out your living room space carefully, not only so that you know how large your pieces of furniture should be, but also how the space will flow around your room.

Lovely living rooms 1

 

I wanted to create a modern yet warm environment in this large London home.

Rich, tactile fabrics such as a cross cut travertine for the fireplace surround suede, leather and velvet have been used to build up layers of warmth. The coffee table with a soft ribbed texture, in the same tone as the fireplace surround denotes a chemistry between the two.

Ox blood red fabric was introduced in the chaise and scatter cushions to give the room impact and interest against the ivory velvet fabric used on the sofa and chairs. I reversed the scheme on the chaise and throw to draw together the overall scheme.

See below on how we planned out the layout in this central London apartment, which clearly shows how much space you have to play with and how the room will flow around your furniture.

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Lighting is essential in your living room and this week I’ve looked at what is available on the high street and also when you have extra cash to splash……

TOP HIGH STREET BUYS

Go for this take on the anglepoise lamp at John Lewis, a real contemporary light.

http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-hampton-floor-lamp/p231440374

These ‘Clio’ table lamps are really smart and don’t break the bank from Debenhams!

http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_47733+CL61_-1

SPLASH THE CASH

Beautifully crafted Taylor Llorente  gold leaf art floor lamp. Simply stunning!

http://www.taylorllorentefurniture.com/floorlamp_z360.htm

I also love the look this Deco Torchere lamp gives, it reminds me of a gorgeous silver urn sitting on an elegant pillar

http://www.taylorllorentefurniture.com/deco_torchere_uplighter.htm

 

 

 

 

 

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