Simple solutions

From simple solutions to colour confidence, Laura Cartledge asks the experts their tips for rejuvenating your home.

Open plan living has grown from a trend to becoming the norm. However, as Diane Stables from Winchester Kitchens and Interiors explains, people are now wanting it to be about substance as well as style.

Diane and Roy Stables (R), director owners with designer Ben Townsend

Diane and Roy Stables (R), director owners with designer Ben Townsend

“People are realising cabbage smells will drift and children will make noise,” she smiles, “so things like internal sliding doors are becoming popular.“

The key, Diane reveals, is zoning.
“We do that with open shelving or colour,” she explains, “it means you still have somewhere for the computer, a grown up seating area and somewhere for the kids.”
At the same time, with the ‘boomerang generation’ seeing more adult children living at home, Diane says ‘there are fewer barriers’ with a focus on shared space rather than separate.
“The boundaries are blurred between what older people want to do and younger people,” she admits. “Our living space is reflecting that and there is a two-way blend between spaces so kitchens have a contemporary furniture feel with places for people to perch with laptops for example.
“We listen more to the same music, we watch the same television programmes,” adds Diane, suggesting that a media centre helps cater for this. “You have a wall with the storage and then in the middle is space for the flat screen. You don’t have the wires on show and everything is in one place.”
As more homeowners are staying put for longer something Diane often sees is clients keen to utilise and maximise every inch while responding to family’s demands.
“The trick is to look at your space and work out what is not working for you, whether it is under the stairs or a corner,” she advises. “Office space is a big one because they can get cluttered, people use them as a dumping ground.”
Media centres act as a great hub for entertainment (2)Thankfully the age old need for storage has resulted in solutions such as ‘clever beds’ which lift up to provide a home for the likes of extra bedding, and wardrobes with special racks for ‘those things that are harder to put away’ – for instance handbags, hats and gloves.
“They also have integral lighting, so the person who is up at the crack of dawn isn’t getting dressed in the dark and going out with one navy blue court shoe and a black one on – which has happened to me,” confesses Diane. “It also means the early riser isn’t waking their partner.”
Keeping in the bedroom, hotel-style headboards ‘that incorporate bedside tables and lamps’ are also in at the moment. “They mean you don’t have to have stand alone furniture,” explains Diane.
It is not a surprise to learn box rooms becoming walk-in wardrobes are common, but Diane reveals the team ‘then find people tend to run with it and do other things too.’
This Aconbury design showcases a kitchen with space for all the familyTwo places she suggests giving attention to are hallways and kitchens.
“No matter how well you hang things up or place things it can still look like a chaotic eyesore,” she says of the first, adding, ‘a small unit where you can close the doors is ideal.’
In the heart of the home fridge drawers are proving a hit as ‘you don’t want – in the middle of your sleek low level units – to have a big fridge freezer sticking up’.
While owners who have seen the children fly the nest then regularly return for family roast dinners are finding full sized dishwashers that allow you to run part or all of it are ideal.

For more information about Winchester Kitchens and Interiors, visit


Be bold: Experiment with colour

Emsworth’s Suzie Darcel practises what she preaches.


“I always tell my students to be a bit more playful,” she reveals, “in life, in what they are doing and in what they are creating.”
Being open to experimenting means being open to inspiration, something Suzie finds isn’t in short supply locally.
“There is so much around here,” she enthuses, “I took my daughter for a walk to Portsmouth and Southsea and from that I made a wallpaper featuring the swans from Canoe Lake and the ice-cream booths.”
The printmaker also believes people should be confident in having fun with interior design.
“My house has changed drastically over the years. When I was younger it was bright colours but now it is more neutral with bright accents which means I can easily change it,” reveals Suzie. “We often change a wall, change a colour or change the patterns and fabrics – it is a great way to keep up with trends.
“It isn’t always about the trends themselves, but they will mean you might see colour combinations that catch your eye,” she adds. “I do lampshades as well and that is an easy way to make an impact.
“In the past the options have been quite bog standard from certain DIY stores but there is a blossoming market for the stand out pieces now.”


Keen to encourage people’s creativity, and enabled by the fact Suzie screenprints everything herself, means she allows customers to pick the designs and colours they want through Darcel Designs.
“At the moment blue is a fantastic colour and it is very in,” she reveals. “One customer wanted wallpaper made with the Victorian birds in jade green and salmon, it wasn’t a combination I was working with but it looked great.”
The results are eclectic, which suits Suzie just fine as while she admits the geometrics ‘are going to be my new favourites’ she also wants to combine a rather different hobby into her designs.
“I am such a passionate gardener. I would love my life to be more about the plants and the allotment then being inspired by that in my work – so the two come together more,” she enthuses.
“People that support handmade and independent designers tend to like something a bit different.
“At the end of the day it is great to be bold, you don’t have to live with it forever.”


To see more of Suzie’s work, and details of her home studio event in May, visit



admin April 1, 2016 Interiors and Property