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Posts from the ‘Dorset’ Category

Camping With Kids | Mad or Genius?

Sooo… we did Camp Bestival two years ago with a 5 & 3 year olds. The son shone, our DIY festival trolley worked brilliantly and it all seemed so easy. We realise this was probably a huge fluke but this Summer we’ve already lined up two camping trips in the hope that with 3 kids (we might leave the youngest whose only 7 months with family for one of the trips!) we can recreate this idealistic simple summer pleasure. The two trips planned so far are a Dartmoor trip with a group of friends and the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival.

With this in mind we’ve been researching the best camping hacks which will hopefully help make the whole experience, well, frankly, work! Here’s the first 5 items from practical to just plain fun starting with the tent…

1. TENT

We’ve just bought the Berghaus 6XL in a brilliant pre-Summer sale online which you inflate rather than battle with poles. It comes as one sheet and theoretically you peg out the 4 corners and inflate each section before pinning out the guide ropes. Makes the stress of ‘Now where does this  pole go?!’ a whole less stressful when turning up to the campsite with excitable and impatient kids.

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2. FLAG

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The next item was an unnecessary necessary!

A festival flag to make our tent easily identifiable when we’re headed back after a few too many ciders (and useful for the kids too when they haven’t looked up from playing in a while and get disorientated).

Either helping to mark out the pitch edges for when the kids inevitably break out the ball games it seemed like a fun idea which might prove useful too.

We chose this 4m spectrum flag from eBay which is really tall but folds up super small when not in use. We live by the beach too so thought we’d get extra use out of this for Summer beach meet ups and when the kids are playing outside. Really excited to have this up this Summer… photos to follow!

 

 

 

 

 

3. BEDDING

Next is one for our wishlist at the moment (secretly hoping they do some amazing sale soon as unfortunately they’re a little out of our price range for this year!) these Bundle Beds.

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They unroll into a ready made bed, a mattress you can inflate, a pillow and a duvet. It’s the immediacy of these which we love as a ready made bundle. Turning up, unfurling and sleeping and when at home being an instant handy spare bed in the kids rooms. The mattresses come with a 10 year guarantee, moisture wicking material to stop that damp feeling when camping and it’s just the quality and colour combos of these which are, frankly, just very cool!

 

4. BIO-DEGRADEABLE GLITTER 

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Since Blue Planet II we’ve been feeling very guilty about the glitter pens etc the kids have in their craft cupboard with a mental note not to buy more but there is definitely a magic in sparkle!

The great compromise is Dust & Dance who sell biodegradable glitter for festival faces with 10% of profits going to YoungMinds; a mental health charity.

 

5. ONESIES

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An absolute lifesaver with the kids. We’d put them in their pj’s and put the onesie’s over the top to keep them warm when playing late in the evenings, they even slept in them!

This year our eldest has gone for Chewbacca (the fancy dress theme for this years Purbeck Folk Festival is ‘C’) and we have to find one our middle boy would like still… Crocodile being his preference currently (we did buy him the sweetest cowboy outfit (Woody) but he made us return it!)

 

 

 

 

Next on the list is food (have started a Pinterest board for camping hacks – any recommendations welcome!). Also wondering re: seating is chairs better or those air sofas? The researching goes on!

Anyone else planning some camping adventures?

ecomodernstudios x

 

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Christmas 2017 | Thoughtful Gifts

A little guide to giving thoughtfully this Christmas with a little help from The Wisehouse.

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To the Moon & Back | Koko Kids

Transporting your imagination with wall decals. If you haven't used these before then we'd urge you to try!

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Tiny Trees | Big Memories

If you’re on Instagram then we’re pretty sure you will have heard of ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’. We love this brand for their quirky take on bringing postable greenery into our homes in the forms of seasonal flowers, wreaths and even, well, Christmas trees! Each of the above arrives in a narrow slim box which easily fits through a standard letterbox.

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How the Christmas trees arrive through your letterbox

First up this year is ‘The Drew’ which arrives with a collapsable pot, moss and ribbon. You can choose what decorations you’d like it to come with for a little extra sparkle – be that baubles, fairy lights, deluxe beauty treats (yes really!), robins or jingle bells.

We couldn’t resist the stunning reflective hues of the mini baubles and fairy lights so this was our combo to get started with for a design-led looking mini tree in our kitchen.

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The Drew with shimmering papers and baubles. It’s Christmas in a box!

Kitchens can be tricky spaces for bringing festive cheer to as there’s the safety issue of adding flammable materials to a kitchen as well as the practicality issue of lots of ornaments and banners precariously taped or balanced. The idea of a mini tree which could sit on the worktop, be easily moved and watered once a week seemed perfect. The fairy lights are battery operated making it a really easy portable tree.

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We had an enamel Orla Kiely pot which seemed ideal for this tiny tree in the kitchen

For our kids room we wanted something fun which they could embellish to really make it their own. We opted for ‘The Jack’ with its colourful string of festive jingle bells and fairy lights which when initially decorated by our three year old looked like this:

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The bells jingle which was an added delight for the boys

And was later embellished with lego to look like this..

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It’s a sturdy little tree which withholds the daily redecoration process from the kids!

The great thing about these mini trees is you can move them around their room to set up different festive scenes (sometimes it is also ceremoniously walked to the playroom with new embellishments added). It becomes a living breathing part of Christmas the kids can enjoy looking after.

You might have clocked our first review of a mini-tree last year (if not you can read it here) and we just wanted to update you that we potted it up last year and it’s been very happy. We’ve added a few of the baubles from last year as a welcome by our front door! Once Christmas is over pot yours up and help the little fella grow so you’ve got a Christmas tree for years to come!

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Last years tree still going strong and adding to the outdoor Christmas decorations this year

If you fancy your own tiny tree or want to surprise a loved one to get them in the festive mood (especially if they’ve only got a small space) then enjoy 10% off your first order by signing up to the Bloom & Wild newsletter (scroll to the bottom of their ‘Bloom & Wild flower delivery’ homepage to sign up).

Or for a daily fix of floral follow them on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

For transparency we were sent these trees by Bloom & Wild for the purposes of photography and to share on the blog as part of our Christmas series. We’re huge fans of the minimal packaging, clever seasonal designs and practicality they bring to the flower delivery market! 

Christmas Countdown | The Busiest Time of Year with Busy B Lifestyle

The busiest time of year? Get a diary which is going to work as hard as you in 2017!

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Maze Interior | Tearing Up The Rulebook

 

One definition of the noun ‘maze’ is a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle through which one has to find a way. This helps to sum up the experience of using the playful products from Maze Interiors.

Not, you understand that it is confusing, but rather that their products ask you to interact with them to discover what works best for your home – they don’t come with a rulebook!

 

Recently Wallpaper Magazine described the brackets as ‘mathematical shelving which allow reconstruction at the drop of a hat depending on the collection of objects on display’. It’s this functional flexibility which future-proofs Maze products in order to maximise their lifespan; a refreshing change to the planned obsolescence we often see with consumer products these days.

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Take the brass-coated pythagorus shelving bracket system designed by Gustav Rosen as a case in point. You can arrange them in symmetry, mix and match with different colours or choose how they are hung (there are four options offering visual variety and freedom).

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The beautiful glow of the brass coating was a magnet for us here at ecomodernstudios. We wanted to hang these in our grey and concrete kitchen to contrast the stark functionality with warmth and geometric interest. We had fun thinking about how best to hang the brackets and whilst you can buy the shelves from Maze too we chose to make our own using ply offcuts to tie in with existing shelves. Intrigued about the brand behind these playful products we sat down with CEO Lotta De Visscher to talk about the ethos behind this successful Swedish brand.

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Hi Lotta, the website states ‘Nature in all its splendour is the greatest inspiration in history. It should be only logical to feel driven to protect it’ but what is it about nature specifically which is inspiring your current designs?

The natural geometrics of nature and the exciting variety of natures own materials are inspiring us right now. We find a lot of inspiration in natures own natural geometrics and patterns. The smartness and self-explication of its lines, curves and solutions. As always we enjoy natures vast variety of natural materials, differing surfaces and exciting colours to inform our work.

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The ethos behind the ‘slow produced’ collection is fantastic. Are there household items which have been handed down to you which you treasure? 

I think most of us have our old family treasures big or small, like an old single chair or a wooden kitchen table that we really love and cherish. These items are often filled with a lot of personal history, memories and stories that pass down through the generations and don’t we all love quality materials worn smooth by time and use?

Personally I treasure an embroidered pillow made by my grandmother which she used to have on her sofa when I grew up. A colleague treasures a bat armchair from the 1960s handed down from his parents, which has already been upholstered twice, but is an essential at home – it’s all about good warm memories isn’t it?

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The pythagorus bracket system allows homeowners to be playful and flexible in how they use Maze Interior products. Much of your storage design follows in this vein – how did this approach come about? 

We have always believed that when someone buys a Maze product it immediately becomes theirs to take over and they naturally become co-creators in how they choose to use it, where to put it and how they combine it with other things and furniture in their home. They create their own personal relationship with it. We encourage this as much as we possibly can because when you really add value to our products they become a living part of peoples lives.

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If you could sum up Swedish design in 3 words what would they be? 

Honest, clever and smart

Get social with Maze Interiors on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

In the interest of transparency Maze Interiors sent us the brackets for the purpose of photography to accompany this interview. 

 

 

 

Illustrating Home | Capturing Spirit

When we moved into our 1970s bungalow in Dorset from our terraced Bath Stone 1930s home packed full of character the initial impression wasn’t one of immediate attraction… However we knew that there were plenty of pluses with bungalows. The first being space, the second being all-on-one-level (handy with two tiny children) and the third being detatched. The bungalow was also a 5 minute walk to the beach which was a definite selling point and 3 years on we’re in love with the home we’re working so hard to create. It feels like home.

Here’s a little before & now photo which illustrates our work to date to keep a midcentury vibe but reference its coastal setting with the addition of new window sizes, shutters, cedar wood slatting, a white and grey paint update and tropical landscaping to include banana plants and numerous spiky plants.

 

Our focus has remained very much on getting the back extension and internal renovation finished but next up is to remove the green tile-hung frontage and replace with cedar wood, update the guttering and to relocate the ugly yellow alarm box! Even though there is a never-ending to-do list we can appreciate how far we’ve come and it was lovely when Michelle from Roxwell Press offered to capture our home renovation project with her customised illustration portrait service.

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When the result arrived via post it was incredible to see how she’d really captured the spirit of the place (also kindly future-proofing the portrait with the cedar cladding rather than the current green tiles!). Michelle created the portrait by working from photographs we provided and asked about planting, colours and textures and it was this attention to detail that has ensured such a pleasing portrait which feels like home.

The bungalow always really sings on a bright blue day and it’s amazing to have this captured in the illustration. All that remains is to get it framed and hung. We’re thinking in the kitchen and know it’ll be a talking point!

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The good news is that YOU can actually win a customised house portrait worth £100 by entering this competition which is running until 6th October. All you need to do is sign up with your email address to receive her occasional e-newsletters which feature sample sales, competitions and free hand-designed wallpapers for your screen. There is also currently free delivery on all orders (including a single card) at the moment so do take a look at her website or perhaps get an early order in for Christmas cards (if we’re allowed to mention the ‘C’ word yet).

If you’re not lucky enough to win Roxwell Press will offer a discount code to everyone whose signed up to the e-newsletter for the launch of this new house portrait service or you can skip the queue and pre-order with Michelle@roxwellpress.co.uk.

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Last but not least you might want to follow Roxwell Press on Twitter or Instagram where the winner will be announced early October. Good Luck!

 

 

 

Prep & Pour | DIY your kitchen worktops

SO many people told us we were mad to try and create our own DIY kitchen worktop but what is life if not for a little adventure?

Creating our own worktop allowed us to be flexible with our kitchen design and we love the results. Here’s a little step-by-step photo explanation of the prep and pour phase of creating our worktops. We used a system which enables you to make a bespoke frame to suit your requirements from Z Counterform Europe and we love the fact we created one continuous surface with a story behind it!

Step 1: Create a ply base on top of your units. Z counterform suggest using Durarock but we went with ply. In retrospect the ply repels the water when Durarock absorbs it so it made the mix slightly wetter to work with (which made it messier) but it worked fine!

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Step 2: Fit the plastic formwork to the edges of the worktop and around holes you’ll need to keep e.g. sink and hob. You will need to cut the edges at a 45 degree angle so they sit tightly together which is made easy by the mitre block provided. Duct tape and silicone EVERY joint you can see!

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We bought a few tools but the pack was really comprehensive and included the mitre block, plastic formwork, plastic spacers and screws, glass fibre reinforcement mesh, the dry pre-mixed cement and magnesium float. All we did was buy a paddle mixer and some additional trowels.

Step 3: Roll out the fibre glass mesh to the length you need and overlap the mesh slightly on the corners to ensure the joints are strong. Using lightweight gloves is a good idea as otherwise it makes your hands itchy! You then need to snap off the longer plastic legs of the Z clips which are provided (you only need the shorter legs for domestic use) and attach them to the fibre glass mesh approx every 10 cm in a square formation and lastly adding a central clip to each square. There are 2 grooves in each Z clip to hold the mesh so this ensures your mesh will stay at the correct level when the concrete is poured on top. Using an electric drill is a must when you have so many screws but a good tip is to buy a magnetic tip for your drill if you don’t have one. It holds the screws on the end of the drill when you’re trying to fix down and stops a lot of cursing!

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Step 4: Remove your drawers / cupboard doors and protect your floor and units with lots of plastic (we used packaging from appliances we’d bought which worked fine). We also cut plastic bags and taped them over sockets and the extractor hood to avoid splashing concrete onto them. We covered over the holes for the sink and hob with the ply which we’d cut out from the ply worktop to stop too much concrete seeping in. Be sure to leave holes in the corners though to be able to easily remove once the concrete is set! This worked for us but they took a while to cut around the ply edges as concrete had dripped and set into the joints. In retrospect styrofoam would have been easier and worked just as well from a protection POV with the added bonus of being quick to break up after the concrete was set.

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Step 5: Mix and pour the concrete as per the instructions on the packets. Make sure you mix up a trial amount first to check the consistency and make sure it’s suitable for working with. This process is messy and renders you feeling rather kid-like! It was an incredibly exciting / scary morning! Once the concrete is level vibrate the edges of the formwork by tapping on them with the end of a trowel or by using a sander. We did the latter and this worked brilliantly for us – we have very little holes on the edges as a result.

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Step 6: As the concrete started to set we peeled back the plastic sheeting and wiped the plastic formwork clean. We also used a little trowel to move any concrete spillage from the edge of the ‘holes’ so that it would be easier to take the ply protection out. Tidying before the concrete dries was really easy and we were glad we’d done it when it came to removing the formwork later on.

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Step 7: On Day 2 the concrete had dried a lighter colour and we could take the ply framing out of the holes for the sink and the hob. It required a bit of jiggery pokery but worked fine. We could then test that our fitted appliances would fit snuggly on the new surface.

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Step 8: Break the formwork off – this peels away and is a  very satisfying step! You’ll need to sand the top, edges and corners so don’t be worried about a little bit of excess concrete as shown below on the corner edge.

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This is when it starts to get fun and you can put in a few drawers back in to start to imagine the final effect! We chose a simple square edge formwork frame with a white concrete mix but there were so many options to choose from according to your style which you can check out here.

We posted about our progress on our Instagram account and the most frequently asked question we had was ‘is it possible for an amateur DIY-er to do?’. We would respond – absolutely! We had both sets of our wonderful parents over to help and definitely a little ‘team’ is recommended when little leaks start to spout or the drills overheat as this is a time-pressured activity! However going with Z Counterform meant they provided links to videos which really highlight each stage and this took the fear out of the process for us. If you follow them on Instagram you can see some of their latest projects to get ideas and we found this really helpful for imagining the final result.

Next up we’ll cover the sanding and sealing process so watch out for the next blog later this month… We’d love to hear your comments though on our DIY adventure and thoughts on using a concrete worktop!

In the interest of transparency we received a discount from Z Counterform when purchasing their products but this post genuinely depict the process we undertook to create our first DIY countertop! 

 

 

 

#IBA16 | Voting Phase!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 08.10.34Just a quick little post to share the great news… Voting for #IBA16 is now open!

ecomodernstudios is a place to celebrate innovative fun design and our experiences in design. This year we have been fortunate enough to be included in the Best Design Inspiration Blog category in the Amara Interior Blog Awards. The awards were set up by Amara.com in 2014 and driven by an appreciation of great design – they stock really beautiful designers which include Tom Dixon, Orla Kiely and Kartell for starters!

So, if you enjoy reading the blog please do click on the link below which will take you through to the voting page:

http://www.interiorblogawards.com/vote/ecomodernstudios/

There are some fantastic bloggers in this category so we’re really honoured to be listed, some incredibly well known bloggers and some less so, so it’s definitely worth checking out the list to discover some real talent.

Voting will close on 9th September and only one vote per person is allowed!

Thank you for your support xx

Camp Bestival | Dorset Speed

So it’s the summer holidays and we decided to take our boys (aged 2 & 4) to their first festival. Specifically, a four-day childrens festival in Dorset; Camp Bestival. Headliners are as diverse as Mr. Motivator and Dick and Dom to Fatboy Slim so there is something for everyone! We had a exhilarating bonding experience absorbing the sun, colour and fun and we wanted to share some of the vibrancy of our weekend on the blog…

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 08.54.05This years huge flag designs were by Angus Watt and were dominating and impressive evoking the desired effect of power, beauty and grace against the beautiful blue skies.

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Similarly there was lots of ribbons and material bunting which designated different areas throughout the festival. Streamed up in large swathes they were fun and provided movement and colour as you explored the site.

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Confetti. Lots of it! The kids ran around collecting it and its near on impossible not to burst into smiles watching it rain down on you as Mr. Tumble kindly illustrates here…

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This years theme was space so there were some wonderful space sculptures which were highly reflective and often lit up with help from multiple sources including fire.

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Lasers and glow sticks around the main stage in the warm evenings completed the holiday vibe.

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At night the neon lights led you from one area to the next and it felt like an enormous playground for adults and children alike!

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By far our favourite design was the two spacemen who shifted colour and light looming in front of the castle…. they were enormous and really evoked the spirit of fun, creativity and passion that the festival provided.

As Dorset-based bloggers there was something so pleasing about experiencing such an exhilarating ‘Outer Space’ experience in Dorset. It was quite unlike anywhere we’ve ever been. Perhaps see you there next year!