Spanish design | Marset

July 26, 2017

Spanish design | Marset | These Four Walls blog

Today I’m sharing more from the ‘Sunny Design Days’ tour of Spain, organised by the Association of Spanish Design (RED) to give a group of international bloggers the chance to experience the best of Spanish design first-hand. As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent the week visiting all sorts of fascinating studios and brands, and one of my personal highlights was an evening at the Marset showroom in Barcelona.

Marset actually started life in the 1940s as a family-owned metal-casting business, but it has since evolved into an award-winning lighting company with a range of refined yet innovative designs, many of which have become contemporary classics.

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Spanish Design | Hotel Alexandra, Barcelona

July 24, 2017

Hotel Alexandra, Barcelona | These Four Walls blog

A few months ago, a rather unexpected and very exciting email popped into my inbox. It came from the Association of Spanish Design (RED), a not-for-profit organisation that promotes Spanish design around the globe. Each summer it runs a week-long tour called ‘Sunny Design Days’, which gives a small group of international bloggers the chance to experience Spanish design first-hand, and I was one of the lucky ones invited to take part this year. Needless to say I replied ‘yes’ within seconds, and so it was that I found myself at Bristol Airport at 6am on a July morning, eagerly boarding a plane bound for Spain.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that it turned out to be a wonderful trip. We started in Barcelona (a city that I will always love, after spending a very happy time living there as a student), before moving on to Valencia, Murcia and finally Madrid – all the while accompanied by a heatwave that saw the temperature rise as high as 43°C. Along the way we visited studios and showrooms, met inspiring designers and innovative brands, and sampled some very stylish restaurants and hotels. I came back with a camera full of photos, a mind buzzing with ideas and a lovely new set of blogger friends – plus a minor case of sunburn, but I only have myself to blame for that.

I’ll share all my discoveries with you over the coming weeks, but I want to start with a look at the beautiful Hotel Alexandra, where we stayed during the Barcelona leg of the tour.

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Review | The GROHE ‘Sense’

July 21, 2017

Review | The GROHE 'Sense' | These Four Walls blog

There’s been a huge growth in ‘smart’ home technology over the last couple of years – lighting which you can control via your phone, heating which you can turn on and off from outside the house, CCTV which you can access while you’re out and about… So when renowned German brand GROHE got in touch asking if I’d like to test out their latest ‘smart’ innovation, I was intrigued.

The exact details were kept under wraps until after the product’s official launch, so I had no idea what was going to arrive in the post. It turned out to be the GROHE ‘Sense’ – a clever little sensor which detects water leaks and alerts you to them before they can cause too much damage. In truth, it’s not the most glamorous product in the world – but the more I thought about it, the more I began to realise it’s a good idea. A really good idea, in fact.

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July 18, 2017

'YPPERLIG' by IKEA x HAY | These Four Walls blog

I have some more design news for you today, as two Scandinavian greats – Swedish super-brand IKEA and Danish company HAY – have just released the first official photographs of their hotly anticipated collaboration.

Called ‘YPPERLIG’, the collection has been more than a year in the making (IKEA first teased us with mentions of it way back in June 2016), but it looks like it will have been worth the wait. The 70+ pieces combine HAY’s signature simplicity and gentle playfulness with IKEA’s focus on accessible design, and include everything from seating and tables to candleholders and lamps. All have been created to meet the emotional and functional needs of the modern home, with a particular emphasis on social spaces such as the living room.

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New furniture & homeware finds | July 2017

July 13, 2017

The latest additions from &tradition | New furniture & homeware finds - July 2017 | These Four Walls blog

As you may have seen on Instagram, I’m currently touring Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid with the Association of Spanish Design (RED). I’m looking forward to sharing all my discoveries from Spain with you when I get home, but in the meantime here’s a round-up of the latest design finds from elsewhere to reach my radar…

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A weekend at Sisterhood Camp, Wales

July 7, 2017

A weekend at Sisterhood Camp, Wales | These Four Walls blog

Returning from a holiday often leaves me feeling strangely frazzled – so much work to catch up on, so many emails to answer, clothes to unpack and wash… But every now and then, I’m lucky enough to experience a break that’s truly refreshing and restorative.

One such getaway came a couple of weekends ago, when I was invited to Sisterhood Camp by the lovely people at Visit Wales. Part of a series of seasonal workshops and events set up by fellow blogger Lou Archell, the camp is a biannual retreat for women – a chance to switch off from work and other commitments, and embrace a slower, more gentle pace of life in a truly beautiful setting.

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Home tour | A light-filled house in London

July 3, 2017

Home tour | A light-filled house in London | These Four Walls blog

I included a couple of photos of this beautiful house in last week’s post about maximising natural light, and I couldn’t resist sharing a few more. Located in Fulham, southwest London, the Victorian terrace has been reworked by its photographer and software-developer owners to create a bright, minimalist family home. It has a distinct Scandinavian influence throughout, along with lots of clever tricks that flood the interiors with light.

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Recipe | Stove-top radish and bacon toasts

June 30, 2017

Recipe | Stove-top radish and bacon toasts | These Four Walls blog

Radish season is in full swing, and they’re one of my favourite summer vegetables. I use them in all sorts of ways: in salads and sandwiches, as a garnish on steaks and soups, chopped up in salsas… But I’ve never thought of actually cooking them – until now.

This quick and easy brunch recipe from Kym Grimshaw of food blog On the Plate has totally changed my perception of the humble radish, and it’s utterly delicious. Heat radishes on the stove for a few minutes and they become juicy and mellow, without losing any of their wonderful peppery flavour. Here, they’re paired with smokey bacon and cooling crème fraîche, with a sprinkling of dill for added summer freshness. What’s more, there’s very little faffing or chopping involved – perfect for lazy weekend mornings, when you want to treat yourself without spending ages in the kitchen.

Read on for full ingredients and instructions…

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Tips for maximising natural light in your home

June 27, 2017

Tips for maximising natural light in your home | These Four Walls blog

Natural light has a huge impact on our health and happiness. It not only aids the release of serotonin, the hormone that regulates our body clocks to help us wake up and fall asleep, but it’s also a major source of vitamin D – something that’s vital for our mood, our bones and our muscles. Yet for so many of us, natural light is an afterthought in the design process.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past couple of months: I recently attended a talk on design for wellbeing by Oliver Heath, which prompted me to look into the reasons why my sleep is often disrupted, and I’ve been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. After realising that I frequently reach for the light switch even on bright summer days, I’m determined to maximise the amount of natural light in our house. For everyone who’d like to do the same, here are a few tips that might help…

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A misty day on the Cornish coast

June 21, 2017

A misty day on the Cornish coast | These Four Walls blog

There’s something about being by the coast that feeds the soul, no matter what the weather. To round off my posts from our recent minimoon in Cornwall, here’s a selection of photos which I took in Mousehole and Sennen Cove on a hauntingly beautiful May morning, when mist shrouded the cliffs, waves crashed on the shore, and we had the windswept sands almost entirely to ourselves…

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