Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Home improvements

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THE FRONT DOOR SHOP - Out with the new and in with the old!

Brian Thompson, Director of Best Doors Joinery, has been in the door and joinery industry for many years. Over recent times he’s noticed a change in preferred styles – traditional is back.

After detailed research and to mirror current trends BDJoinery decided to design and build its own top of the range front doors. All the doors are built to exacting standards and high specifications by a team using all their experience and knowledge gained over many years in the industry.

BDJoinery is able to justifiably claim that its Premier Range of front doors exceeds the quality of many, if not all others, while remaining competitively priced. This is borne out by the beautiful finished product that is designed to last for many years when correctly maintained.
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Highlights of the Premier range:
 These oak engineered doors are far heavier and more robust than many suppliers’ products. They are designed and constructed to take years of use under direct attack from the elements.

2 The door’s inner core is made from the same oak engineered wood as the outer facia. This makes the doors eco-friendly because the inner wood rather than being scrapped, is used to make the door’s core. Generally speaking the inner wood is not up to facia standard due to its dark colours and occasional knots. By comparison most other companies will use primarily soft wood.

3 On the sides, top and bottom of the Premier Oak Range are 20mm x 44mm grade ‘A’ lippings. This allows for as much trimming as is required to accommodate different sized frames and doorways.

4 The facials veneer is commonly 2.5 times thicker than many companies’ doors and the doors are often thicker than many other firms’ front doors.

These are just some of the reasons BDJoinery stepped up to producing its own doors, due to it’s our belief that the quality of door builds has deteriorated over recent years.
You simply won't find a better designer-quality, bespoke oak door at a more affordable, off-the-shelf price.

“The door, the professional workmanship and finish is excellent. It’s an outstanding piece of work. Elaine and I want to give you and Matt a great big thanks for all you’ve done.”
Billy Byrne from BBC 1’s DIY SOS

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For further advice on the above or prices for our bespoke front doors call
Brian Thompson on 01702 421799 

For every tree BD Joinery use, another two trees are planted. BD Joinery is committed to the environment.

Show gardens of our own

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Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design shares her top ten tips for creating a stunning garden worthy of an RHS show garden in our own homes.

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

2. Keep it simple: material choices should be kept 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 where 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 something that looks good in every season:
June is the month of the year where every garden looks at its best, with lavender, geraniums, alchemilla, roses etc. all flowering and in prime condition. Yet these plants can fade quickly leaving an empty gap for many months to come. Try and avoid planting plants that fade so quickly and choose instead a good backbone of evergreen shrubs and perennials that offer a long season of interest and maybe even some pretty seed heads for the winter.

5. Disguise the ugly bits: every garden has a view or wall that shouldn’t be looked at. Use plants and paths to lead the eyes away, encouraging focus 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 help keep maintenance to a minimum and make the garden look crisp and fresh.
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7. Let the plants speak for themselves: don’t overcrowd, but give them space to breathe and 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 to be achieved is pleasing and not a muddled mix!

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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.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Oasis of excellence

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essence meets Hannah Markland, manager at Moore Place care home in Esher, to discover more about this contemporary residential home.

Ask Hannah Markland, the new manager at Moore Place care home in Esher, what the favourite part of her day is and without hesitation she’ll say that it’s chatting to the residents. “They are a real group of characters from all walks of life with amazing experiences,” she beams. “Spending time with them reminds me how much I love my job at Moore Place care home.”

Moore Place – an oasis
Hannah, who studied health and social care, brings with her a wealth of experience in the care industry which spans 16 years. “I gained most of my knowledge from a nurse that I worked with. She was an outstanding old-fashioned matron who put me through my paces as a young carer, but taught me so much about always achieving high standards and excellent care.” Such ambition, coupled with her great skills, is what has helped Hannah move forward in her new role as home manager at Moore Place.

A modern, high-quality residential care home set in luxurious and stunning surroundings, Moore Place, provided by Anchor Group, offers first class care and facilities, with spacious en-suite rooms in a light, contemporary and elegant setting over five floors. “You certainly can’t beat the views and the close proximity to Esher High Street, allowing residents to remain independent by enjoying trips to the local shops.”

Hannah continued: “We are also situated within the Surrey greenbelt, overlooking the Moore Place Golf Course. Our gardens are beautifully landscaped with colourful flowerbeds and a greenhouse for the green-fingered residents.”

With cosy lounges, a coffee lounge, an activity room, cinema and a hair and beauty salon, residents are never short of anything to do at Moore Place.

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Excellence in care
A big part of Hannah’s approach to care is getting involved and not just sitting behind a desk all day. She enjoys meeting healthcare professionals and building relationships in the local community. “This way I can understand what is part of their agenda and how Moore Place can fit in.”

One of Hannah’s current projects is to focus on the dining experience at Moore Place. “It’s such an important part of our residents’ lives,” stresses Hannah. “Our chefs spend time and effort producing fantastic food and part of the experience is the service of the food which involves appealing presentation and ensuring it is visually colourful.” The environment during meal times is also a huge part of the dining experience. “The dining room needs to be relaxed and enjoyable. We have to remember that we wouldn’t enjoy a meal in a restaurant where waiters were chatting with each other, so in that respect our residents deserve to have a wonderful meal time too,” she explains.

Enjoying events and activities
A recent event at Moore Place that the residents, relatives and staff have taken part in is a screening of ‘The Sound of Music.’ This was following new research from Anchor which revealed the classic film is the favourite family film of today’s over 55s. “The screening was a great opportunity to bring different generations together for something everyone can enjoy,” enthused Hannah.

The summer will see several events at Moore Place, including resident and family barbecues, a staff and resident fun day and a cocktail party just to name a few.

Advice on choosing a care home
Hannah understands that one of the biggest challenges facing relatives today is the anguish and guilt associated with having to place a loved one in a care home. “That’s why it is so important for us to build relationships with the relatives so that we can support them as well as the resident through this transition,” says Hannah.

Hannah’s advice to anyone looking for care is to ask as many people in the home as possible about their experiences: “Everyone will have a different experience of care and you need to hear a range of opinions.” Speaking to the staff is also very important as they will help make an informed decision.

“While a typical day at Moore Place is certainly busy… we are constantly thinking of new ways to enhance our residents’ lives and engage them in the day to day running of Moore Place. Their opinions matter to us – after all this is their home and we look forward to making it as comfortable as possible for them.”

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Telephone: 0808 102 5084

Endless possibilities

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Homewood Furniture, bespoke furniture makers based in Surrey, offer guidance on creating home storage solutions for living areas, home studies and bedrooms.

Bespoke television and audio visual units can transform a living room into a comfortable, clutter free and beautiful relaxing space to unwind. These bespoke units can be designed and hand made to maximise storage space, provide shelving to display sentimental and attractive items and tidy away unsightly wires. Bespoke television units can be made to match existing décor, or designed with something new in mind, the choice is endless.

Fitted home office and study rooms with clean lines and innovative storage solutions can be achieved with bespoke fitted furniture. Maximise the available space, even in the most awkwardly shaped rooms, by fitting bespoke units into a recess, bay window or creating a desk to fit under a staircase. Choose from traditional or contemporary materials and finishes, the look and fit will always be unique.

Why not create a compact study for younger members of the family? A dedicated study space for children can play an important part in their success at school and college. A corner of their room can be transformed with a bespoke unit providing organised space and compact units to help make a more efficient working environment. All necessary equipment can be stored neatly away when not needed, clutter free. Bespoke study units can provide a writing area within a quiet, personalised space and can be made for even the most discerning teenager. These units can be tailor made in a hardwearing finish and to suit individual budgets.

Bespoke fitted wardrobes are tailor made to individual requirements and can help tidy and solve the problem of storage. Using clever design ideas, such as roll out shoe shelves, pulldown hanging rails, full height units for additional storage, compartment racks for ties, socks, scarfs and adjustable shelving, all help to create a flexible and unique space. Hand made by skilled craftsmen in a stylish design and finish of choice: the possibilities really are endless.

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Homewood Furniture produces bespoke home furniture across London, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.
01932 809135

Natural wonder

Bathroom has wall in Paonazzo marble from Elite Stone

Tetyana Kovalenko is the multilingual founder and CEO of Elite Stone, a luxury manufacturer of ornamental stone used in many exclusive interiors. Andrew Peters asked her about her company and her passion for using stone.

Q Tetyana, after studying psychology, you went on to study geology and mineralogy at Rome University. What attracted you to the subject?
When I started to work for a company producing equipment for quarries, I was determined to become a true professional. I took a graduate course in geology in order to understand every aspect of natural ornamental stone, both chemical and physical. During the course of intense study, my fascination with marble and onyx, as well as quartzite, grew stronger than ever.

Q Who inspired you and continues to do so?
I am devoted to luxury and beautiful things, inspired by changing trends in fashion and interior design. Outside our buildings in Verona we have installed a profile of Michelangelo’s David carved in Carrara marble.

Q Can you tell us about Elite Stone and why you started the company?
I have always had the ‘gout de luxe’ (marble has, since ancient times, been associated with glamour, wealth and power). I understood that bespoke design is now de rigueur for those in search of the ‘best of the best’ with gleaming surfaces impeccably crafted in natural stone. The first Elite showroom opened in Rome in 2000, moved to Carrara in 2007 where the company has strong associations with local quarries, and finally established in Verona in 2013.

Q In which countries does Elite now work?
The UK, US, Russia, Israel, the Middle East and Europe are our main markets.

Q Do you work for both private and commercial clients?
Yes, we do, and provide each with the same amount of personal attention and service.

Q The company has recently completed some very high-end projects in the UK. Is it your intention to expand here?
Of course, we have opened our new showroom to demonstrate to clients the creative potential of marble.

Q How does the company push boundaries in the traditional use of natural stone?
Elite Stone invests in research to explore new ways of using marble. One example is in the use of extra thin stone for lining doors, showers, backlit tabletops and panelling. We have a technical department dedicated to solving what are complex technical problems.

Q Which quarries supply the stone used?
Mainly quarries in Carrara: Calacatta Borghini, Statuario, Calacatta Vaglia and Caldia. We also import from other countries, including Mexico and India; wherever we can source superb quality stone.

Q What are the key factors when working on a project to produce a result satisfying to the client?
Discover and understand the client’s personal vision, suggest the right stone for its purpose and ensure each project is meticulously executed.

Q What is the best advice you can provide to a client contemplating using natural stone?
To appoint experienced people with technical expertise who are aware of subtle differences in stone, beyond just good looks. Kitchens, bathrooms, external surfaces: each area needs an individual approach.

Q What is the E-Light System your company has developed?
E-Light is a system of backlighting panels of marble and onyx, developed over ten years by Elite Stone’s technical team. This idea offers endless decorative possibilities to highlight the beauty of natural marble and onyx, far beyond a tabletop or bathroom wall. The E-Light panel is a laminated element, compact, lightweight and durable, with a minimum thickness of six millimetres, formed by a rigid glass support a minimum of three millimetres thick, coupled to a panel in natural marble of three millimetres, or onyx of five millimetres. Each panel can be backlit by a bright LED light transmission system provided by two methods: either dimmable white light or an alternative system offering a choice of 16 colours. The tempering of the rigid glass support procedure amplifies the physical and mechanical characteristics of normal glass by up to eight times.

Q Do you have a favourite stone?
Whites, Calacatta and Statuario are considered the most ‘evergreen’ and elegant types of marble. I believe there is no ugly stone, only ugly installation.

Q What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Creating a new type of stone business where the client is looked after throughout the sale and installation processes. To be able to offer an outstanding choice of materials and design, and contribute to some of the finest interior projects around the world.

Q What projects does the company have in the pipeline?
We have a real variety, including completing 50 St James’ Hotel in London, villas in Como and Majorca, and a spectacular synagogue in Jerusalem.

“True luxury is all about outstanding raw materials and an in-depth knowledge of how to work with them. Marble is like a diamond: absolutely perfect when the colour is right, when it is flawless and cut properly.
When one of these features is missing, it immediately loses value.”
Tetyana Kovalenko

Hammam decorated with an intricate mosaic design, requiring specialist craftsmanship from Elite Stone.
Case study: Surrey basement project
Elite Stone recently completed a sumptuous basement conversion for a Surrey client. The basement spa was specially constructed and comprised an indoor pool, gymnasium, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath (Hammam) looking out over a Zen garden.

Materials for the ensuite bathroom were Paonazzo marble on the wall and floor bespoke Cremo Delicato inlaid with Tuscan oak tiles. Different craftsmanship skills were required for cutting and fitting the different marble types. The ‘book match system’, the outstanding decorative feature, is very difficult to achieve and was constructed in four sections.

The shower wall was clad in Tigers’ Eye, a semi-precious stone, and the spa mosaic uses stone supplied from Noir St Laurent and Pallisandro. Using light, reflective surfaces, achieved with the use of individually selected white ‘book matched’ marble, the team at Elite achieved a cool, contemporary and spacious feel for the ensuite.

The spa and pool area had the opposite effect by using a black and gold mosaic tiling to line the pool with underwater creatures, such as jellyfish, picked out with gold tiling. The effect was completed with a stretched ‘black fabric’ ceiling.

The ‘black’ effect interacted with the dramatic ‘green' of the newly-created Zen Garden viewed through a large picture window at the end of the pool.

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Chelsea - making the wild look pretty?

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Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited describes her experience of creating four show feature installations at this year’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show with her fellow director Jon Sims.

Every year the Chelsea Flower Show is an unparalleled experience for everyone who loves gardens – an explosion of flowers and ideas assaulting the senses the minute you walk through the gate, bursting with colours, shapes and scents, some very brash and bold and boisterous and others more quiet, restrained and soft. The Chelsea Flower Show has something to offer for every taste.

This year Alladio Sims was asked by the RHS to create four separate show feature installations around the show ground. There had been a reduced number of show gardens this year, possibly a consequence of the Brexit vote, as each garden at Chelsea usually requires a high level of sponsorship to bring it to life. Despite this, the reduced numbers made for an undoubtedly more relaxed and leisurely show. Instead of rushing to see the next show garden, this year visitors seemed to slow down, taking their time to enjoy and digest what they saw and making the most of the opportunities to meet and engage with the designers.

The rare opportunity to share the joys and tribulations of the process of creating a show feature at this prestigious event was one Jon and I grabbed with both hands. It’s a treat to display your ideas to so many enthusiastic visitors and to listen to their views on the gardens they see and is one that we as designers relish the most. It is a great chance for us to obtain a good indication of what people like or dislike, and it is so heart warming when our work is able to bring joy to so many people. In creating evocative and atmospheric garden spaces we hope to stimulate reactions, feelings and memories that make a thoroughly engaging spectacle for the viewer. Indeed, we believe the level of visitor engagement is the true measure of a successful show garden.

Venturing inside the Great Pavilion the passion for plants really transpires on the growers’ faces. If you engaged them in conversation they are always very willing to share growing tips and secrets, because they too are in tune with those who share their passion for plants.
What was the real star of the show this year? We think there were two opposing camps: one really bold and almost garish (with bright pink rhododendrons, showy lupins and explosive oranges) and one much more restrained, naturalist and soft, closer to what a natural habitat would look like without any artificial intervention. Needless to say these two camps divided visitors, sparking criticism towards the more unkempt look and equally leaving others unimpressed by the very showy and contrived nature of the more manicured gardens.
Who is correct? Should a show garden only contain perfect specimen plants and highly manicured borders, or should it portray a landscape close to the one where the plants would survive naturally?

We think there is space for showcasing both options: the trick is to give visitors enough information that they can engage with it – if you share the passion, the personal experience that inspired it, and the long journey taken to create it people will, without fail, fall in love with even the commonest plants and the landscape they illustrate.

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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.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Stairway to a heavenly home


With the changes in the housing market essence talked to Paul Jones of Castle Conservatories, Surrey and London’s premier design and build company, about how extending your property with an elegant orangery or conservatory can truly enhance your home and lifestyle providing space, and bringing the outdoors inside.

According to recent RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) statistics housing stock levels are at an all-time low. This seems to indicate that many homeowners opt to stay put adding value to property through home improvements. This can be anything from upgrading windows and doors, improving energy efficiency to adding an orangery or conservatory to extend living space.

At Castle Conservatories we are often asked what is the difference between a conservatory and orangery? Here is our guide to where they originated and why.

Orangeries became popular in renaissance Italy in the 17th Century, when advancement in glass production gave architects the ability to obtain large manufactured panes of glass to use in their designs. Originally built for elegant homes of the day to protect precious citrus fruit from the elements, they were seen as a symbol of wealth and became the room for entertaining on a grand scale. They were the ultimate addition to some of the most beautiful buildings in Europe housing everything from fountains to magic grottos. Owners were thus able to display wealth and status to guests via this means.

The modern orangery is a luxury extension of the natural living space creating a gym, games room or dining area, enhancing a home and adding value to it.

The concept of a conservatory grew out of the original orangery idea. Designed with optimum glass and roof panels to provide the highest light ratio, they were able to open up a residence to bring the outdoors inside.

Conservatories were also developed to house exotic plants and even animals to shield them from the colder climates of Western Europe. Popularity in the United Kingdom was at an all-time high in the 19th century born from the nation’s natural love of gardening. In modern times Victorian designs remain as popular as ever. Famous conservatories in the UK can be seen at Kew Gardens, Chatsworth House, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

So, what’s the difference? A conservatory should have sidewalls and a predominantly glazed roof. Many Victorian conservatories were built using metal and glass and this style still remains popular. Today the use of modern materials such as UPVC frames gives a stylish and more durable alternative.

Orangeries commonly have increased brickwork and utilise tall windows to maximise light. Less than 75% of the roof is glazed and will typically feature as a lantern style roof. Advances in technology have allowed modern designers to create a whole new range of roofing styles. Both orangeries and conservatories commonly add around 7% of value to a property.
Case study
At Castle Conservatories it’s the care of our customers we truly value. Many projects start as recommendations from other clients. We asked Mr and Mrs Sinnet from Surrey to share their experience with us.

In 2015 Castle Conservatories were requested to design and build a substantial orangery for the client’s Surrey home. Working closely with them to project manage the build from start to finish, an in-house team of building experts carried out all aspects of construction resulting in a seamless transition between this and the main part of the property. Careful consideration and consultation ensured the orangery was a sympathetic design matching existing features, brickwork and provided the dream space they were looking for. Warm roof technology maximised light, whilst the unique insulating perimeter fulfilled the prerequisite that the room could be used all year round.

“Our new Orangery has completely opened up the house and we use the room constantly all year round. The room amazes people who visit us and we certainly feel it has the wow factor. We were impressed throughout the whole process of the professionalism of the different teams coming in and how courteous they all were. We had no issues at all and would be more than happy to recommend Castle Conservatories.” Mr and Mrs Sinnett, Cheam, Surrey
Today modern orangeries and conservatories are designed with warm roof construction and state of the
art glazing solutions to really create a year-round
space. Unique roofing systems provide the best of both worlds. Designed to ensure the light of a conservatory and the feel of an extension. A variable depth insulated perimeter ceiling creates a real living space that processes a much greater thermal efficiency in comparison to a standard conservatory.

Castle Conservatories will work with a client to find the best solutions to their needs, project managing a build and offering a complete service that will result in a great extension for any home. Careful, relevant advice ensures all the client’s lifestyle enhancement expectations are met with a minimum of fuss.

Castle Conservatories
Woodcote Green Garden Centre, Woodmansterne Lane , Wallington Surrey SM6 0SU
Contact: Paul Jones
Telephone: 020 8669 1500

Divine wax


Cire Trudon candles have an air of history about them from first glance: there’s something in their design and distinctive scents that emanate years of expertise. Jane Pople found out more about the world’s oldest and most prestigious French wax manufacturer.

Formed in the seventeenth century, Cire Trudon was founded by grocer and candler Claude Trudon and made its name by supplying the court of Louis XIV, as well as many large and prominent churches in Paris and the region. The company’s success has always been attributed to the extremely high quality of wax used, which continues to the present day.

Today Cire Trudon is known as the French specialist in manufacturing perfumed candles, and it enlists the very best ‘noses’ to create perfumes for stories it wishes to tell. Each candle is still made by hand in Normandy, continuing the luxury manufacturing process.

Cire Trudon has created many scents and each and every one is created around historical themes and famous patrons. Choosing raw materials, testing formula in the laboratory and mixing perfume with the wax are some of the steps that lead the way to a scented candle.

Each of the perfumes are created as sophisticated compositions rather than single note fragrances, producing exquisite and distinctive smells. Cire Trudon uses the very highest concentration of fragrance possible within its wax, which ranges from 12% to 14.5%.

Extreme care and years of know-how are demonstrated within each candle. From choosing the raw materials and testing the formula in the laboratory, to mixing the perfume with unique wax, all scent creation processes are completed by experts.

At the bottom of each meticulously crafted glass the wicks are set, ensuring they stay perfectly centred. All the glasses are then aligned on wooden counters before pouring. Straight after the molten wax is mixed with the perfume it is carefully poured, still by hand, into the aligned glasses.

Once the wax is poured, the wicks are softened due to the effect of the heat, and they slightly bend inside the glass. As the wax cools and starts to solidify, the wicks are carefully straightened by hand to ensure they stay perfectly centred.

The candles are then surfaced as the next step in the process, which means the top is carefully slightly melted to make sure the surface is perfectly smooth.

The Cire Trudon craftsmen then cut the wicks to a specific height to ensure an optimal first burning. The final step in this meticulous process is that, once cooled, every candle is inspected, wiped and packaged by hand.

Every wick found within a Cire Trudon candle is made of cotton and they are carefully chosen, depending on the burning characteristics of each candle. The prestigious and historic wax used in each scented candle is the culmination of intense research and years of expertise. It is this special wax that offers the exceptional olfactory and burning qualities of Cire Trudon scented candles. As long as the candles are properly cared for, no smoke will leave a Trudon candle and no wax will be left on the sides of the glass.

Inspired by the shape of Champagne buckets, each glass is unique and carefully handcrafted in Tuscany. The iconic Cire Trudon emblem can be found across every candle and was originally inspired by a bas relief found at the old Royal Wax Manufacture which used to belong to the Trudon family. Situated in Antony, near Paris, it now belongs to the church, and hosts the nuns of the Saint-Joseph de Cluny congregation.

Bring centuries of perfume expertise home with the Cire Trudon range of scents available now at Amara.

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Websites: and

This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Perfect pastels


Catchpole & Rye, purveyor of fine sanitary ware for luxurious bathrooms, offers its ideas for updating the ‘smallest room in the house’ this spring using pastel colours.

Spring is in the air, and in fashion and interiors that means one thing: a proliferation of pastels! When it comes to the bathroom, however, a gentle, muted colour palette is not just for warmer months – it works wonderfully all year round, creating a peaceful, tranquil ambience in a room made for relaxation and indulgence.

Traditionally seen as feminine, romantic and perhaps a little saccharine, pastels are finally showing their more versatile side. Pastels also look fabulous paired with metallics such as brass and copper – another sign that they’re a great choice for bathrooms.

For a gentle introduction to this look, stick to a neutral palette for a bathroom and introduce the chosen pastel as for any accent colour. Catchpole & Rye baths can be painted any shade chosen: powder blue, muted mint, lemon yellow or coral pink, a crisp background will stop the overall scheme from appearing too sugary sweet. The room pictured top looks so inviting – the pale walls and floor create a serene backdrop for the soft blue bath.

Ice-cream shades can help to counter the clean lines and hard surfaces of a bathroom, softening the space and adding a fun, quirky edge. For those who have had their fill of industrial chic, this could be the perfect antidote!

By painting the bath a slightly paler tint of pink than the walls, it is given subtle prominence in a sophisticated scheme.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be the bath that takes centre stage – cisterns and vanity units can also be painted to suit a scheme where pastel tones add a splash of individuality without overpowering the room.

Adding vibrant bright or dark, moody colours into the mix brings pastels bang up to date. As well as creating a strong sense of drama, an atmospheric wall colour adds definition to a pistachio green bath, the contrast heightening the intensity of both colours and giving the paler shade more gravitas. Colour layering in this scheme could have a touch of the tropical about it – perhaps a fearless combination of zesty orange, sky blue and sunshine yellow would feel joyful and full of fun.

See the Catchpole & Rye website for more information and inspiration.

Catchpole & Rye
Telephone: London showroom 020 7351 0940

The secret of great interior design


Interior designer Sophie Paterson talks to Jane Pople about the secrets of good interior design and how she overcame career challenges to be where she is today.

Sophie Paterson has an enviable combination of tenacity and business acumen, coupled with wonderful creativity and a natural talent for style. These skills have seen her rise through the ranks to head her own studio, Sophie Paterson Interiors, and become renowned across the industry. Her portfolio boasts many stunning projects that range from a luxury Chelsea apartment to a sprawling urban family home.

Q Sophie, what is the secret to interior design?
I’m not sure it’s a secret, but I think the key is really prioritising the functionality of the space and not just going for something that will look good in a photo. Having lived in various properties I have designed, I’ve learnt on a personal level how important comfort and practicality can be. Small things like having a table in reach of all your chairs so you can put down a drink, having fabrics that don’t give you a nervous tick every time someone sits on them, sofas that feel comfortable to sit on, rugs that disguise stains, wall coverings that resist scratches and marks. I think if you are designing high-end residential projects and you haven’t lived in one of your designed interiors, you could be tempted to prioritise aesthetics over functionality which is never the correct choice. Every client and every home needs to take practicality and comfort into account in order to be truly luxurious. Otherwise you are just living in a show home not a real home.

Q What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up your own interior design studio?
There were many challenges ¬– obtaining trade accounts is one hurdle that springs to mind – you need trade account references to set up most trade accounts, so convincing the first fabric house to give a trade account is hard work! I remember being interviewed by Zoffany and Andrew Martin for a trade account, which was daunting at the time. Now I look back and think what was I worried about, but you have to constantly push yourself to grow, so things I used to get phased by don’t even register with me now as a stressful situation. When I look back, I think it’s a blessing that at the tender age of 24 I didn’t fully realise everything that was involved in setting up and running a successful design studio!

Q What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Stop worrying about everything that could go wrong and start thinking about all the things that could go right. In reality, you will find a solution to any problem you come up against. If you think about everything that could go wrong, you’ll end up procrastinating or even failing to try.

Q How would you describe your own home style and what’s your favourite room?
My home is classic contemporary with a little rustic chic thrown in. My favourite room is either the kitchen or my TV room because they are so relaxing to spend time in. My TV room has layers of gorgeous textures and comfort; my kitchen is such a great space for socialising. I love the views across the garden from all the French doors.

Q If you could design the interior for any space in the world, where would you choose?
I get asked this question a lot. I don’t have a particularly interesting answer. To me the ideal project isn’t just about the building, it’s about the combination of the building, client, brief and budget. If you get all those things right, then magic happens!

Q What is your favourite type of project to work on and do you have a most memorable project?
I like working on complete refurbishments where you get to see a total transformation, and I prefer to work on whole houses or apartments rather than just a few rooms, as I always feel the rooms that are left feel even worse after you’ve renovated the others to a high standard. One of my most memorable projects was designing the nursery for our Cobham project after the rest of the house. We had left this room earmarked as a future nursery. Unveiling the room to the clients was such an emotional experience. They were in tears, we were in tears and even our builder was spotted wiping a tear away! It was such a special room and turned out beautifully. Another noteworthy experience was the recent handover of a Knightsbridge apartment project. The client was very trusting and didn’t visit the project once in the year’s renovation. When we handed the turnkey project over even their personal photos were in the photo frames, candles lit and flowers in the vases. The client’s reaction was just so special and to see how much they loved it is why we all do this job.

Q How would you spend your dream day off?
If I was in London then I’d either go to Scotts, Zuma or Roka for a long lunch with my husband and baby daughter. Food is one of my passions – often I can be eating one meal whilst planning my next! After that I’d check into the spa at the Corinthia for some pampering. The interiors and treatments there are spectacular.

Q Where is your favourite place in the world?
One place where I really relax and switch off is my in-laws’ home in Ranch Santa Fe in California. The weather, the beautiful location with gorgeous beaches so nearby, the food, the activities (I love tennis, hiking and shopping!) and company is a great combination. I generally don’t like staying in hotels, so this is one of my favourite places to go to switch off.

Q What are your top three tips for interiors in 2017?
Embrace metal finishes such as bronze and antique brass. Not only are they more fashionable than chrome, but this is a trend that has longevity – it’s a classic look so won’t look dated in five years.
Colour wise, I love burgundy red, as well as warm tones such as almond and rust on a neutral base.

Q What would you be doing if you weren’t an interior designer?
Good question. I really don’t know! I love organising things and I’d also need something creative.

Q What does the future hold for Sophie Paterson Interiors?
We are completing some very large projects this year: a multi-unit project in Marylebone comprising a townhouse, an apartment and all the communal spaces within a high end development, a 13,000 square foot new build house in Chelmsford, an apartment in Marbella, a Grade II listed apartment in Knightsbridge, an apartment in Mayfair and a Grade II listed apartment in Belgravia. We are also expanding our team to allow for the large new projects we have lined up for later this year, so exciting times.
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This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,