PROPERTY
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Too hot to water

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 19.28.30A gravel garden wouldn’t be complete without some large boulders to form a series of focal points. Large rocks give the garden an instant Mediterranean feel, perfect for a dry garden. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Besiktas International Flower Festival, 2016

Emanuela of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design offers advice on how we can make our gardens resistant to hot summers.

The weather is hotting up and thirsty plants are showing the first signs of strain. Shrivelling leaves, droopy flower heads, browning leaves, stumpy growth… All clear signs plants are suffering and not coping well with summer dry weather.

What to do? Watering is a costly resource, to the planet and us, but there are ways around it, to avoid irrigation. If designing a new garden, why not make it drought tolerant? This month we consider five design solutions that really can make a huge difference.

Gravel gardens – they are easy to install, low maintenance, generally low cost, environmentally friendly and look good all year round. Gravel is permeable and therefore acts as mulch keeping the soil cool and moist underneath so plants are super happy. Gravel offers an instant, perfect backdrop to plants making them ‘pop’ and look good. It’s one of the most versatile materials, available in many shades, so it can be matched to other hard surfaces in the garden and beyond. For a more classic look, choose lighter gravel that blends well with bricks and lighter stones; for a contemporary take, choose grey gravel that looks fabulous against wood, black or brown.

Celebrate shade – shade creates a micro climate within the garden, bringing the temperature down instantly, which in turn means plants won’t bake in the afternoon heat, even the ones with larger, greener leaves. So plant a tree or a series of hedges to create some shade in the garden and carpet underneath with shade and drought tolerant plants that will keep the scheme lush and fresh, even in the hotter months.

Plant more grasses – they look good in winter with their golden silhouettes and moving flower heads and they thrive in the hottest of summers, glowing in the evening sun and softening the transition between perennials. Often native to dry sunny prairies, they are perfect for dry spells and don’t require extra watering.

Create drifts of colour through mass planting of single varieties – tight mass planting of single varieties of drought tolerant plants can create a painterly swathe of colour in the garden that looks great in summer months and minimises water requirement in hotter months. The key to this planting style is as always good soil preparation, so don’t forget to incorporate lots of compost and to mulch with a thick layer of gravel or composted bark so that plants become established well before the heat kicks off.

Choose silver foliage plants – silver and soft furry leaved plants cope very well with drought, reflecting the light and heat away from them to keep cool and very upright, even in the hottest of summer afternoons. The amazing tall candelabra silhouette of verbascum bombyciferum reminds us of wild Mediterranean coastal paths, the silvery foliage of olive trees, teucriums and lavenders is further proof that this is the choice colour to survive the driest of summers.

Hopefully these five steps have demonstrated how easy it is to create a wonderful, drought-free garden that will embrace the summer weather, however dry or wet this may be.

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

Family wonder

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 22.59.18A raised bed is easy to fill with herbs, vegetables and fruits, and a perfect excuse to get the kids involved in the garden. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, RHS Chelsea Flower Show edible displays 2018

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited asks are children and gardens incompatible?

Does a family garden mean a desolate lawn, an ugly trampoline and the paraphernalia of plastic climbing frames? After all, beautiful and perfect flower borders and hordes of frenetic kids cannot peacefully coexist in the same sentence. Maybe they can. Let’s see how.

When we meet a new ‘family’ as a client for the first time we are confronted with a similar list of wishes. Our task is to go back to the office and devise a solution that accommodates most, if not all, of them. It is always a very interesting challenge, and one that we relish, despite the practical restraints that each garden and site provides.

Time and time again families wish to have somewhere for the kids to kick a ball (and maybe, why not, a lovely striped lawn to tend at the weekend?); somewhere for the dreaded, but oh so useful, trampoline to sit (this must at all times be screened from view from the house of course); somewhere for vegetables to thrive happily and abundantly (after all, kids love vegetables – or don’t they? – and a vegetable patch must surely spark a new passion for them…); somewhere for pretty flowers to grow (particularly the kind that one would use to create beautiful flower arrangements); and, of course, somewhere for the kids to hide, play and discover.

Solving these challenges can seem almost impossible at times, but to come up with ideas that will undoubtedly make even the most indifferent child want to explore the garden and go outside is so fulfilling and exciting that we inevitably end up developing a certain fondness towards these gardens.

To help solve any similar dilemmas confronting readers, we wish to share some of the solutions that underpin the majority of the decisions we make whenever we are asked to create a family wonder in a new garden.
Starting with the lawn, as this is a must item in most family gardens, when the garden is really shady or if it will be used to play ball games for the majority of the time, then one might want to consider the option of using artificial grass as there are so many different choices available nowadays and most of them are very ‘realistic’ and long lasting.

Moving down the list to the love/hate item that is a trampoline, if one cannot be avoided, why not consider sinking it below the ground? Be careful to leave enough space for landing around it though, approximately a two metre radius will do. Or just hide a standard trampoline behind a low hedge, a useful solution that will create a sense of wonder in the garden and make the kids happy to be hidden from parents’ view – for a short while at least.

Any good family garden should feature carefully chosen plants, including those that thrive in neglect and withstand impacts – ornamental grasses first and foremost because they are built to allow movement and therefore are much more flexible and understanding, even when hit by a football or two. We couldn’t live without the evergreen soft and fluffy Nassella tenuissima or its very tough and understanding cousin Anemanthele lessoniana, a grass that tolerates practically every condition and lots of abuse.

Another important group of plants to include in a family garden are those loved by insects, bees and butterflies in particular, because they will keep kids amused for hours in the summer and will help them understand how magical gardens can really be. Plants like Verbena bonariensis or Knautia Macedonica spring to mind for being unfussy and for keeping on flowering for months, continuously attracting insects and even birds with their bright and pretty little flowers, enough to keep most kids entertained…

One must also not forget to include plants that actively involve kids – vegetables and fruits, but also a variety of bulbs – these are all very important in a family garden which should be the perfect place to build lasting memories and positive experiences with children. What better way to start than by planting some bulbs together, or picking some fruit to make a jelly or an apple crumble after a generous September harvest? Of course, a small vegetable garden would be the perfect easy first step, especially if kept to a manageable size, such as a small raised bed, and maybe a few fruit trees and colourful pots with spring bulbs could be enough to start with.

Whatever the challenge gardens pose, there are so many different solutions and ways to respond to them, just think creatively.

Thus, the next time someone says that kids and gardens don’t mix, you might just wish to disagree…

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

How to be RHS worthy

Pretty flowers never last forever. Consider how a plant will look after it’s at its best, when the flowers are gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Alladio Sims Show Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 2015
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Emanuela of Alladio Sims Garden Design Limited shares her top ten tips for creating a wonderful garden worthy of an RHS show in our homes.

1 Frame the view: most gardens are viewed from the house and in order to work they need to relate back to it; the key details of the architecture of the house need to be repeated within the garden and the views out need to be nicely framed and lead the eye, inviting you out to discover the garden.

2 Keep it simple: keep the material choices to a minimum, for instance one type of stone used in different finishes for inside and out, or for areas of the garden with different characters, and use repetition in the planting too to create a sense of harmony.

3 Create a private haven: introduce a secluded area that feels intimate and tranquil where a glass of wine can be sipped or it is possible to sit and relax. Introducing vertical elements such as a semi transparent screen, a wall or a tall hedge works wonderfully, creating an unexpected space that breaks down the emptiness of a garden and spurs us on to walk and discover what’s beyond.

4 Create spaces that look good in every season: May and June are the months of the year where a garden looks at its best, with lavender, geraniums, alchemilla, roses etc. all flowering their socks off. Yet these plants can also go over quickly and leave an empty gap for many months to come. Try and avoid planting that fades too quickly and choose instead a good backbone of evergreen shrubs that offer a long season of interest and perennials with pretty seedheads for structure in the winter.

5 Disguise the ugly bits: every garden has a view or wall that should not be viewed. Use plants and paths to lead the eye away, distracting you to look elsewhere.

6 Boundaries are key: use hedging to frame a sharp and clean lawn or a well-defined border. This will produce neat shapes that will help keep maintenance to a minimum and will make the garden look crisp and fresh.

7 Let the plants speak for themselves: don’t overcrowd them but give them space to breathe and to become established. Think about it in terms of layers of vertical interest and bring some taller perennials towards the front to break the mould and create a dynamic border and more interesting look.

8 Be bold: choose more of the same thing, so for instance put together two plants of the same colour (such as bronze fennel and black phormium) to create a good textural foil for the rest of the garden. A similar result can be achieved by repeating similar shapes at different levels (such as round pots, round lawns, allium heads etc.).

9 Don’t be afraid of grasses: grasses add a softness and a texture that is invaluable to any garden and they have very good longevity too, especially the ones with interesting seed heads.

10 Use splashes of colour to draw attention: but keep the overall picture harmonious by restricting the colour palette. The effect you are trying to achieve is pleasing and not a muddled mix!

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

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

CountrywideLogo

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