PROPERTY
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Rays of colour

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design explains the importance of colour and its reaction to light in the design of any garden.

I love colour. I find accents of strong bold colours uplifting and invigorating, and blocks of cool shades very restful and calming. Colours can set the tone of a story and unify a space, setting the mood of the entire garden – the hot spicy tones of reds and yellows grabbing our attention and lifting our spirits and the cool hues of blues and purples relaxing our minds. Yet nothing is as complex as colour, because colour is made out of light, and its variety of hues and tones changes in relation to the quality of the sunlight that hits it.

Choosing the right colour scheme for a garden is one of the key elements to consider when designing it. But if ultimately colour is the plants’ response to light, then a successful garden design must understand how plants respond to light by ‘lighting them up’ and using them to their best effect.

Growing up in Italy, I was blessed by month after month of relentlessly powerful sunlight and bottomless blue skies and I soon learnt to appreciate the colour enhancing properties of the sun, especially on warmer hues and vibrant combinations. Yet in the harsh light of a hot summer afternoon, these tones would sometimes become overbearing. This extreme light context contrasts with the soft colour combinations of a classic English border illuminated by the gentle diffused light of a misty or cloudy sky; here the subtlety of each hue is allowed to show itself – soft pinks and pastel tones glow, coppery hues are warm under grey skies, while whites gather what light there is and sparkle against the green foliage foil.
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Blue flowers work well in lower light conditions because they are able to absorb more light and appear more vigorous
Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, London garden

This dynamic reaction to light shows just how the process of designing a successful garden must start by observing local colours and the way in which they behave in local natural light conditions in an attempt to recreate some of this magic within the garden. Colours look different in different climates and not all climates support the same tones, so better to be restrained in choosing and using them, like in so many classic Italian gardens or in the famous English ‘White Garden’ of Sissinghurst, where a limited mix of grey, green and white interacts creating sheer light magic based on the principle set out by its designer, Vita Sackville-West: “Any colour, as long as it’s white”.

Attempting to design a garden closely obeying the criteria set out by a colour wheel has often proved disappointing. Of course, adding colourful accents can be fun and can help introduce brief moments of delight, but when this is not connected to the bigger picture, or it’s not bold enough to make a statement, it can appear too harsh and fail to work overall. Instead, I always start by observing how colours behave locally and how they help to form a certain mood or create drama in a specific setting. Once I have gathered this information, I try to replicate some of these aspects within the garden.

By striving to understand the continuously evolving light properties of a specific garden, I can play with light and dark and the full spectrum of hues available within different times of the day, different seasons and throughout the evolution of a plant life cycle. The vivid light shining through a daffodil in the pale rosy morning glow takes on red tones in the evening, while the golden rich tones of the autumn sun make purple asters and the yellow of maturing grasses glow. With the passing of time light changes, and these changes allow plants to illuminate dark corners, bounce light from under tree canopies, shimmer against the evening sunset and look vibrant and alive when backlit.

A silver leaf plant like Salvia argentea, whose woolly leaves shine even on the dullest of days, is capable of radiating light as soon as the sun hits it and therefore is best placed where the sun shines directly on it. A dark leaf such as that of an Asarum will absorb light to make the best of its shady growing condition, but in early morning light its glossy surface will be reflective.

A golden or yellow leaved plant will work in much the same way as a white flower would, radiating light back from its leaves but adding a golden glow. Hackonechloa macra aureola is one such plant, forming a divine mat of luminous golden blades in the under storey of trees or other dry and inhospitable shady spots, which appears magic when the early morning or evening light goes through it. Ferns behave in a similar way too. When such simple and beautiful golden luminescence is available, the plant palette can be kept relatively simple.

Difficult as it may be, designing a garden with these fleeting but wonderful colour and light effects in mind is to try and recreate beauty, and whilst it’s true that plants’ behaviour will somehow always be partially beyond our control, there is a sense of real accomplishment and satisfaction when such moments of joy are achieved.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Countrywide Triumphs

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Countrywide Triumphs with 110 Branches Shortlisted for the ESTAS Awards

Countrywide, the UK’s largest property services group, has had 110 branches shortlisted for the ESTAS Awards. A record achievement for Countrywide, the ESTAS highlight the best estate agents in the UK as voted by customers.

John D Wood & Co. Esher office has been shortlisted in the South East (Surrey) region and will attend the 15th annual ESTAS ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Friday 20th April. Phil Spencer, the TV property expert, will present the awards in front of over 1,000 of the UK’s most esteemed property professionals.

Doug Parks, Associate of Esher branch says “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this year’s ESTAS and see this as a reflection of our team’s hard work and our commitment to providing unrivalled customer service. Customers are at the heart of our business and we are proud to have this recognised at these prestigious awards. We are really looking forward to the awards ceremony on 20th April!”

About Countrywide plc
Countrywide is the UK's largest integrated property services Group, including the largest estate agency and lettings network. Countrywide’s network of expertise combining national scale and local reach helps more people move than any other business in the UK and is structured around four key business units: Retail, London, B2B and Financial Services.

Website: www.countrywide.co.uk

Blurring the lines

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design asks what makes a garden a unique space? Here she explains why location, the brief, the budget and a garden’s peculiar series of opportunities and constraints all play a very important part in the mix.

Perhaps more than anything else one of the key aspects that can give a garden or a space its own unique identity is its edges and boundaries, and the way in which they define and constrain the space and flow within and the relationship with what’s around it.

We often wonder how best to blur the edges between building and garden, and between ‘managed’ garden and ‘wilder’ landscape. And as garden designers we constantly make decisions that manipulate those same edges and redefine them – by blurring them or ‘greening’ them we try to make them disappear, hiding fences and walls; by using indigenous plants we disguise the edge between private garden and wilder location; by creating hybrid spaces we blur the boundaries between house and garden and introduce furniture and other objects that remind us of the indoor, but invite us to be outside.

Some of the gardens we design can only be described through their boundaries and edges, starting with the drama of a window or a pergola leading the eye to the far end – an edge concealed and turned into an intriguing focal point. We like to introduce internal boundaries and edges too, by framing views and forcing us to take a break, by creating different ‘rooms’ with screens and embellishing them with plants, and simply by working with what’s already there, bringing new and old boundaries and edges together, mixing new solutions and restoring or blurring old ones.

Boundaries and edges are there to challenge our senses and our behaviour, and when we design we like to consider ways in which we can do so in an unexpected manner, creating little surprises along the path, pushing us to stop and think and become emotionally involved with the space we find ourselves in.

Front gardens and entrances provide the perfect setting to introduce strong and solid boundaries, but what happens when we challenge this idea and choose a more blurred, flowing and soft divide between house and front garden and street or greater landscape? Does that create an even more dramatic entrance?

A screen is a good edge defining solution, being less strong and solid than a wall, but introducing enough definition to a garden to encourage circulation and discovery. Plants can climb and mingle in the spaces in between, softening the look. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, private Twickenham garden, 2017

A few years ago, at a garden design conference in London, I remember looking at some images of a stunning American garden where instead of creating a clear cut division between road and house, the designer decided to blur the external boundary by ‘moving’ the surrounding forest very close to the front door, with some woodland elements making their way into the porch. By choosing hard materials for the front door, steps and landing, built using the local wood with natural finishes and colours that echoed the neighbouring landscape and by bringing the trees and middle shrubbery inside the house, the house became part of the forest, freed from its own boundaries, unified with nature and the surrounding spaces to establish the perfect flow. At the time everyone seemed fascinated by this concept and liked the idea of dissolving and blurring the edges. And I began to wonder wouldn’t it be useful if we considered boundaries as an essential part of the design brief and process and looked at ways in which we can utilise them to give a garden a more unique identity?

Clearly, blurring the boundaries gives us the freedom to use plants more creatively. Once the harsh angles and edges have gone, plants are the perfect material to soften and conceal. And the best way to achieve surprising results is to throw in the mix different layers, shapes and textures – bold architectural silhouettes with dainty annuals against the sturdy foil of perennials dotted with some ordinary native plants to keep the flow going with the surrounding landscape. Indeed, combining plants with interesting forms and textures is the best way to mimic the intricacy of nature and to soften the transition between edges.

Still, solid boundaries can be useful too, to entice movement and a sense of discovery of what’s beyond, and both planting, hedges and screens are useful tools to create strong layers that entice us to discover what’s just beyond or behind the hidden corner. Sometimes these junction points are there because of specific conditions that exist within and outside each garden, but often we introduce them and manipulate them to create the desired space.

Indeed, as designers, it is our job to constantly make decisions that manipulate and redefine edges and boundaries and our role is to recognise them so that we can respond to them in a way that will make our gardens positively unique.


Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Out of Africa

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Ali Mapletoft is changing the way we view sustainable fashion. With a background in filmmaking, it was a love of luxury goods that steered this natural creative away from the film industry and into the world of ethical design. Ali founded Age of Reason, a luxury fashion and home accessories brand, filling a gap in the market for high-end designs that have a message and purpose. Aimee Connolly caught up with Ali to find out more.

Q Ali, have you always wanted to be a designer and how did you get started in the industry?
A
I was a short film director when I started the brand, but I think it was my upbringing in the Kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa that really gave me a fever for design. My parents are artists who owned a pottery and gallery and I grew up in remote mountains around craftswomen: weavers, potters, basket makers and painters. Our house was full of hand-woven tapestries, rugs and beautiful African pots. I love high quality materials like natural wool and silk: there’s nothing quite like creating something beautiful out of incredible materials.

Q Were there any challenges in starting your business?
A
In some ways ignorance was bliss. As a filmmaker I had a network, so starting from scratch was daunting and lonely at times. It’s a challenge building a brand that people recognise for quality, integrity and meaningful design. There aren’t any shortcuts; I just keep making my pieces as well as they can be, and I gather up talented people on the way to join my team.

Q What is the story behind the name Age of Reason?
A
Playing around with names when starting out was great fun – I wanted a name that was timeless but conveyed a strong message. I chose the name after the Age of Enlightenment because I believe that beautiful, luxurious fashion and interior pieces can be made in a sustainable, empowering way. We manufacture in the UK with a small team using the best materials we can find. Our production line is fairly paid, independent and largely female.

Q Age of Reason is changing how people view sustainable fashion and homeware. What first motivated you to create a brand that focused on ethical and sustainable design?
A
I love buying things with a story, and if the workforce is empowered and thriving I want to know about it. Working in Soho can be dangerous – I’ve done a lot of shopping in London department stores! I noticed a gap six years ago when I found it amazing how very few sales assistants could tell me how or where something was made. I found it genuinely baffling in a luxury environment and it put me off buying on a number of occasions. I wanted to create a brand that sang integrity.

Q What’s a typical working day look like for you?
A
I try to start my day with coffee, reflecting on how I want my day to go. It’s like meditation with caffeine, which suits me just fine. My husband gets the children ready, which really helps.

I head to the studio at about 9am, after breakfast. I never start the day with emails: they come later in the day after I’ve done at least one exciting, creative thing. If I’m drawing, I enjoy listening to singer-songwriters like Patti Smith, or my Mum’s old favourite, Joan Armatrading. I’m a sucker for Nina Simone too. She made an incredible contribution to music. I tell my daughters what her achievements meant then and now as a woman of colour. Women and their histories inspire me – there’s always a moodboard on the wall featuring inspiring women: Florence Welch, Susie Cave, Munroe Bergdorf and Adwoa Aboah are all up there. I’ll always step out to get lunch because I love to walk. Afternoons are for meetings and plotting new paths.

Q What would a tour of your home reveal about you?
A
You’d learn that I love accents of popping colour and texture. I’m not about clutter – I’d rather have a few standout pieces and keep the rest chic and pared back. I love a statement chair with a shaped cushion on it and developed a passion for Street Art from time in London, so paintings by Pure Evil and Eine adorn the walls. I need books in my life, so great shelving is a must and you’d learn that someone in the house played guitar!

Q What three home comforts couldn’t you live without?
A
It doesn’t matter how busy I am, I always take a bath and read a bit at night. I love a luxurious candle to accompany this little ritual – I have a Bella Freud ‘Ginsberg is God’ candle on the go at the moment. I love good tea and coffee, great bedding and more books.

Q If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A
I’d probably be a filmmaker or writer. As long as I’m creating something that has impact, I’m happy. I need joyful adventure, freedom and powerful creation. I think being any kind of artist would give me that.

Q What’s the best advice you ever received?
A
A friend reminded me: “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” I have a great team of people supporting me. I don’t pretend to do this alone.

Q What does 2018 hold for Age of Reason?
A
I’m extremely excited about growing into the brand I’ve always dreamt of. The home interiors range will grow and I’ll be adding more wall art to my collections. There will also be a top secret collaboration with an organisation that champions women – watch this space!

essence info
Website:
www.age-of-reason-studios.com
Website: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Looking ahead

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers to always plan ahead and anticipate any problems and risk when considering a gardening project.

Our job at Alladio Sims as garden designers is to plan and look ahead, to think of as many variables as we can – from design brief to budget, from inspiration to practicalities and to be as open as we can with our clients and suppliers.

In view of the above, for us, producing a programme and looking ahead is a necessity, no matter what size and type of project being considered. This principle applies to house and garden schemes alike, whether a project is small and straightforward, or large and complex.

Anyone who has experienced a house renovation or any rebuild project knows all too well that they often bring a loss of privacy and a level of disruption that are deeply unwelcome for everyone. The distress they can cause is even more unpleasant when it lasts for longer than expected, and although no programme can ever eliminate the risk of a setback or two, it will prepare everyone involved for an easier journey.
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As designers, we understand that we need to be very open – it’s the only way to be. And so we are upfront and communicate from the word go any difficulties we might foresee: perhaps delays in preparing the site, working with unpredictable or poor weather, delays in planning applications, dealing with workloads and previous work commitments of chosen contractors and stock availability from nurseries.

It is no coincidence that two of the busiest times for us in the office are winter and early spring, both good times to start thinking about the process of renovating a garden, when it is still not used for family relaxation and entertainment and when plants have the best chance of establishing themselves. A garden design project starting to take shape in autumn/early winter allows a client the best chance of seeing the project accomplished by springtime, ready for when the weather suddenly turns nice and spurs us to spend more time outdoors.

Of course, no planning will ever take away all risks and unexpected surprises, but the increased awareness for all parties will help prepare for any disruption and create an easier ride for everyone during a garden project.
A designer will always be open and willing to discuss the different elements to include in a comprehensive garden programme – timelines, budget and contingency sums, planning and permits, contractors and tenders, materials and plant supply, site constraints and bespoke elements’ build and supply times, poor weather, quality of contract etc. – these are just a few things to consider when getting started. If well managed through good communication and awareness, any unforeseen issues can be better resolved and a client can feel better engaged in the process and be more accommodating.

Looking outside today, it’s certainly not too late yet: a little bit of forward planning will go a long way.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Colour in the home

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William Yeoward is one of England’s most renowned designers. Known for his sophisticated, elegant and highly individual style, he has designed beautiful products for the home since he opened his first store in Chelsea in 1985. Following the release of his sixth book, Blue & White and other stories, Aimee Connolly sat down with William to talk about his early career and his love of colour in the home.

Q William, before opening your first store in 1985, you worked at Designers Guild. How did this experience help you launch your own brand?
A
It is always fascinating to see the success of growing a brand, as was happening with Designers Guild when I was working at the company. I learnt to enjoy creative energy, which I hope I always encourage at William Yeoward. My job is to find out what a person has a talent for and then develop it.

Q Do you think your background as an interior designer prepared you for product design?
A
I feel that to understand what is required in product design one needs to have gone out looking for it. If, as was so often the case with my decorating work, if I could not find what I wanted, then I would make it myself. It was this that encouraged me to create my own products for the home and I have done so ever since.

Q As a designer of products that are made to last, what do you think of this throwaway culture where interior items are so frequently replaced?
A
I think it is such a shame that customers don’t look in more detail at what they are buying. I like to think that when buying a William Yeoward product our clients appreciate the detail in both the design and execution that make them treasure their purchases. Our planet cannot possibly sustain the quick disposable society that we seem to have become.

Q You’ve recently published a book, Blue & White and other stories. Can you tell us about it?
A
My sixth book, Blue & White and other stories, is a much more intimate reflection on my recent work. The book is a mix of professional photography and a more personal ‘instagram’ approach that to me captures images in a very immediate way and provides a visual understanding of the inspirational journeys that I go on as I travel the world. These journeys do have a vital influence on my work and this book engages with this creative thought process.

Q The book focuses on your passion for colour in the home. What three tips can you offer homeowners uncertain of using colour in their own home?
A
Don’t ask too many friends if ‘you’ve got it right’. If it feels good to you – use it. If it is wrong, then it can always be changed! It wasn’t there until you put it there! Have confidence and know yourself.

Q What is the last item of luxury you bought yourself?
A
A fountain pen! I had surgery recently and I was so impressed by the fact that my surgeon wrote with a fountain pen.

Q What is your favourite room in your home and why?
A
My library. I read. I love log fires and I enjoy closing the shutters and losing myself in a private world surrounded by all of my favourite pictures, books and music.

Q If we were to take a tour of your home, what would we learn about you?
A
I do a lot of shopping and I have a lot of glasses and plates!

Q What does 2018 hold for the William Yeoward brand? Do you have any exciting projects you can tell us about?
A
2018 is always going to be the time to show off our new thoughts and concepts. As I write, I have half an eye on our edit for Christmas 2018. Always look forwards, never back.

essence info
Website:
www.williamyeoward.com
Website: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad
All photos copyright William Yeoward

William Yeoward 13ee

Festive fragrance guide

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The aromas of winter are one of the best parts of this time of year and there is an ever-growing market for home fragrance options in the scents we love to be surrounded with over the Christmas season. Traditional cinnamon and pine are now blended with more tantalising notes to create new and inviting scents as Emily Bird offers her Christmas fragrance guide.

Christmas spice
Perhaps the most classic of festive fragrances. Traditionally cinnamon and clove have ruled the roost, however, as the industry has grown, fragrances have evolved for more discerning tastes. Cinnamon and clove are still keynotes, with more spices such as ginger, cardamom and the ancient Christmas elements of frankincense and myrrh now seen more frequently. These notes are frequently paired with woods or musk to create a rich, refined fragrance full of winter warmth.

Festive forest
Woody notes of pine or spruce have long been firm Christmas favourites thanks to their link to the smell of fresh Christmas trees, either crisp and light or hearty and rich depending on the wood. Pine, spruce and fir tend to offer that classic Christmas tree scent with its crisp undertones, however, log fire inspired scents which are gaining in popularity tend to have rich base notes of cedar, sandalwood and rosewood. Woody notes are excellent as standalone scents or are often used as warm bases to ground other notes. They can be perfectly paired with fruity, spicy or sweet notes to add a sumptuous, sophisticated air to any fragrance.

Sparkling fruits
Fruit and Christmas go hand in hand, from the orange in stockings on Christmas morning, to the candied fruits in Christmas puddings and mince pies. The key fruit is orange as it has long been a symbol of the season and gives any scent a seductive tang. Often found alongside festive spices, fruits add a fresh, juicy hint to traditional seasonal scents, which can be overbearing. Other popular fruits such as berries and citrus fruits such as lemons and mandarins all offer tartness, which is again refreshing rather than overly sweet. A perfect choice for those that love invigorating scents year round, but still want a festive touch for a home fragrance as winter sets in.

Fresh and frosty

In response to a need for fresh festive scents for those that dislike the classic spicy, woody aromas, there has been an influx of fragrances best described as frosty. Reminiscent of freshly fallen snow that glitters in pale winter sunlight, these frost-filled fragrances are often infused with notes of Scandinavian wood, fresh citrus and cool mint. Also becoming increasingly popular are notes of white wine and prosecco which add a sparkling edge to these Christmas scents making them ideal for parties and gatherings. Delicate florals can also be utilised to achieve the desired frosty effect and are perfect for floral fragrance lovers to transition into the winter months.

Sugary sweet
For every person that loathes sugary sweet home fragrances, there is another who simply can’t get enough of them. To cater for those of us with a sweet tooth, there are numerous sweet fragrances to fill the home with scents reminiscent of our favourite puddings and pastries. From classic vanilla notes to warm caramel, these scents are delightfully buttery at the base and many notes are combined with spices to form fragrant representations of favourite sweet treats. Fabulous for kitchens or dining rooms as the dessert course is served, they will infuse the home with sumptuous sweetness this Christmas.


essence info
Websites: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Winter sparkle

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers not to ignore the garden in winter, but to take the opportunity to fill in gaps and enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Good gardens evolve with time and through the seasons, and they become much more open and transparent in winter, once leaves have fallen and been replaced by bare stems and empty gaps. At this time of year a garden really needs its backbone of shrubs and trees – from coloured stems and bark to the reassuring presence of evergreen ‘cushions’. But now is also a good time to take stock of what is there, to savour those often hidden sparkling treasures, and also to establish whether the gaps that have emerged are not too big, leaving the garden too bare and exposed in winter months.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 20.30.19Subtle leaf forms and textures are key in winter, when most flowers are long gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Surrey private garden, 2016

Amongst the surprises that the garden brings at this time of year are the minute frosty crystals sparkling on leaves and stems that shine gloriously on early frosty December mornings.

Dissected and whole leaves catch the frost better than anything else, trapping sparkling crystals in the multitude of tiny nooks and crannies on their surface. Plants such as Alchemilla Mollis, Salvia Argentea or Melianthus Major will undoubtedly steal the show for a few magic days before finally dying down or becoming less prominent for the rest of winter.

Winter gardens bring unexpected surprises for the other senses too, scent in particular being key among winter flowering plants and so well worth a place in any good garden design plan.

One of the joys of visiting RHS Garden Wisley on an early winter morning has always been the walk up Battleston Hill and the sensation of suddenly being hit by the heady sweet perfume of a distant Daphne, tucked away in a sheltered and shady spot sometimes a good few metres away.

Sarcococcas (Sweet Box) is another great shrub for this time of the year, with aromatic honeyed cream flowers creating a cloud of perfume each time someone passes. One would not want to be without them and so we always encourage clients to find a sheltered and shady space for at least one specimen, or better still, we position them by an entrance or a gate, perfect for that welcome back home.

Another fond memory from RHS Garden Wisley is the Paper Bush – Edgeworthia Chrysantha – a truly spectacular sight in the midst of winter, this is a shrub covered in clusters of wholly white and yellow flowers, much like a string of Christmas lights, that light up even the darkest of days. An added bonus is its leaves too, very exotic and architectural once the flowers have disappeared.

Adding to the list of sparkling beauties in the winter garden are Mahonias, despite the love-hate relationship they have always seemed to spark. But how could one resist their yellow plume of early December flowers followed by a cascade of long lasting damson-coloured berries? And if the spiky large specimen is simply too much, then why not settle for its new, smaller cousins, such as Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, with pretty dissected leaves surprisingly thorn free. This is a wonderfully architectural plant with a strong presence that should be worthy of any garden.

In the open gaps under the bare canopies of deciduous summer shrubs and among dormant leafy perennials now is the time to discover the little unsung heroes of the winter garden – candid Cyclamen Hederifolium flowers and the clear, pale blue flowers of Iris Unguicularis, reminiscent of a winter’s sky, the recumbent and discreet flowers of hellebores, the frothy leaves of evergreen ferns and heucheras, the heart shaped leaves of epimediums... so many small treasures!

Without these winter garden beauties a garden would risk becoming too static, and not such an interesting space after all, incapable of evolving and changing its character throughout the seasons. The true mark of a successful garden should therefore also be its ability to stand out in winter, and to create an architecturally interesting space in the dormant season too.

This is the perfect time to take stock of the garden, so go out and take a good look, make a note of any gaps that seem too big, but above all don’t forget to enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

essence info
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ
Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk
Email: hello@alladiosims.co.uk

Style and inspiration

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With an enviable artistic lineage – Bella Freud is the grandchild of Sigmund Freud and her father was artist Lucian Freud – it’s no surprise her creativity is boundless, spanning fashion to filmmaking and most recently home design with the launch of a lifestyle collection. Here Bella talks to Jane Pople about her inspirations, being a female entrepreneur and her penchant for rich minimalism.

Bella Freud’s fashion designs have been a stalwart of British cool for over a decade, with her iconic jumpers adored by the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, her signature style epitomises effortless chic. Launching her own label in 1990, she won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards just a year later.

Q Bella, what first inspired you to create a home accessories line and is it something you have always wanted to do?
A
I think my interest in home wear began with my obsession with sheets. My grandmother ran a small country hotel during the summer months in Co Cork, Eire and she allowed me, aged eight, to help her prepare the rooms, and crucially showed me how to do hospital corners on the beds. In my teens I stayed at the grand house of a friend of my father’s and became entranced by the exquisite nature of the pale blue linen sheets in these much grander bedrooms. That’s where it all started.

Q Do you think fashion for the home is becoming more important to the consumer and how do you see the industry changing over the next decade?
A
I think this area is a huge area for growth and creativity. People are really interested in expressing themselves through the style in their homes, not just clothing. I see fashion brands automatically including home accessories into fashion collections rather than waiting to launch as a separate medium. What needs to evolve is the buying approach so that lines aren’t so segregated: it’s good to see things as a story rather than just themes.

Q An interest in film is evident throughout your career, from your producing of short films to collaborating with John Malkovich. What is it that draws you to film as a medium and do you have further plans to work in the field again?
A
I find I can access and suggest my ideas using film, I can tell the story better. I have a short film idea that I’m working on now and I’m hoping to shoot it soon.
Bella Flats OCT1517688 copy
Q As a leading British fashion designer and female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to young women looking to follow in your footsteps? Do you think it’s still harder for women to make their mark in the industry?
A
The business of fashion is hard generally, but it seems particularly difficult for women to protect their interests. Most of the people in power financially are men and being ‘tough’ as a woman is not respected the way it is with men. It is generally admired as a strength when a man is adamant and demanding, yet when a woman is the same it is met with resistance and often distaste.

Q What is your favourite part of the working week and do you have a particular product you like to work on most, e.g. fragrance or fashion?
A
I particularly like designing the match boxes, I love making the design work in a square shape. It is so simple yet it looks strong and immediate. I enjoy trying to bring a new product into my world. I tend to think of what I long for and then design for it and watch it spring into life.

Q If you could create a home or fashion collection with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
A
Ohhh! So tantalising... Maybe from the past it would have been fun to collaborate with Biba or Coco Chanel on some bed linen and towels. Now it would be with the Vampire’s Wife: we could have a brilliant time creating.

Q How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
A
I like playing with colour combinations and using deep colours against a muddy grey to let it glow. I like a rich minimalism which doesn’t even make sense, but it sounds right. It is minimal in that it’s not elaborate and the unlikely colour combinations make it luxurious. I am just building my home so I have yet to see which will be my favourite room.

Q What is your favourite way to waste time?
A
I don’t really waste time if I can help it, even sleeping is incredibly useful and rewarding. Putting things off is my most common way of wasting time: I don’t enjoy it as I know I’m doing it and know it’s destructive.

Q You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future. What year do you go to and why?
A
I wouldn’t mind going back to 1900 in Vienna, a time of great creativity in the world of music and art. I’d only stay for a short time though as for a woman it was ten times more difficult to be free to be a creator.

Q What’s next for you and your brand – do you have any exciting projects for 2018 that you can share with us?
A
I am working on some really luxurious pieces, one off specials made in beautifully coloured heavy cashmere. And I’m developing my bed linen collection so that when I find the ideal partner I am ready to press go immediately.


essence info
Website: www.amara.com
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

Native need

hisforhomeblog.com

Copper is still the must-have metal of the moment and here Aimee Connolly explores five simple steps to bring copper into the home.


Ever since Dulux named Copper Blush as the Colour of the Year in 2015, homeowners have been embracing the rich properties of copper to create a refined look throughout interiors. The versatile metal brings warmth and character to any space. Seen throughout interiors from the kitchen to the bathroom, this highly regarded native metal has been in the spotlight for the past few years and shows no sign of disappearing. Some of the simplest and quickest ways to introduce the trend into rooms in the home are described here.

Living room

Living rooms can carry the copper trend with bold feature walls and complementing accessories. To begin, take a look at the room space and choose a wall to highlight. As a general rule, the feature wall should be the one the eye is naturally drawn to, and it should be free of windows or doors as this can overpower the look. If a feature wall isn’t immediately obvious, perhaps highlight a section of the room, such as a chimney breast or alcove.

We love Book Room Red by Farrow & Ball or, for a rustic finish, look to Casadeco’s Uni Betons’ wallpaper in copper. Keep the rest of the interior simple by choosing a crisp white paint for the remaining walls, and pull the look together with grey soft furnishings and warm copper accessories.

Home office
Introducing copper art into a gallery wall is an increasingly popular trend. Start by choosing a favourite wall décor, whether paintings, sculptures, posters or wall lights. Mix styles and finishes to keep the look fresh
and introduce colours that complement copper such as blush pink, grey and white.

Anything goes with a gallery wall, they are designed to showcase individual personality. However, ensure roughly three to six inches of space is left between each piece to avoid a cluttered appearance.
Finish the home office with complementing accessories such as a copper desk lamp, letter tray or pen holder to tie in the look and keep the workspace clutter free.
Cropped_copper_bowl
Bathroom
Nothing says luxury quite like sinking into a copper bathtub. Copper brings a timeless look to a bathroom and transforms even the simplest of en suites into an ultimate relaxing retreat.

To create a truly opulent setting, offset the warming hues of a copper bathtub with a dark and moody wall: our favourite colours for this are Hague Blue and Studio Green by Farrow & Ball.

For a subtle nod to the look without investing in a new bathtub, copper accessories such as soap pumps and tumblers are a fuss-free way to introduce the trend. Finish with natural materials such as concrete and marble and invest in a selection of luxury candles to recreate the spa feeling at home.

Dining room
A thoughtfully curated table setting can transform everyday dining into a special occasion.

Introduce copper into a dining room by investing in key accessories that truly transform a setting: placemats, coasters, candle holders and napkin rings. These elements are easily interchangeable and one of the simplest ways to create a detailed scheme.

Copper accessories pair well with a wide range of tableware collections from minimalist whites to the ornately detailed. Our favourite is a mix of old and new monochrome: think black and white graphic tableware juxtaposed with rustic, naturally aged copper accessories. Finish the look with simple, modern glassware, or for a truly opulent setting, invest in Art Deco inspired glassware with metallic detailing.

Kitchen
A set of brightly burnished copper pans brings the country farmhouse look to any interior. Widely regarded as one of the best metals to cook with, copper pans are strong, durable and conduct, diffuse and maintain heat better than any other metal. An obvious choice for any food aficionado, they also double as a statement kitchen accessory when hung above a stove or over a kitchen island.
Copper pans work best in rustic, farmhouse interior styles, but they can also add a touch of warmth to minimalist, modern kitchens. The key is to pair them with other copper accessories such as bowls, tumblers and serving trays with hammered or naturally aged finishes.

essence info
Websites: www.amara.com

This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad