I have been fairly quiet over the past few months – working away behind the scenes on the blog’s new look, our new house, as well as a new website for interior design.

I have been getting more and more enquiries over the last year or so, which is very flattering, so I thought it time to take the plunge and put a portfolio website together online – the result is LBM Design Studio – I really hope you like it!

To celebrate the launch thought I would take a little trip down memory lane with you. Over the coming weeks I will share pictures of some of the rooms I have enjoyed designing the most as well as some of the rooms that have resonated most online, being shared on sites like Houzz and Pinterest.

First up is this lovely master bedroom in Battersea. It was one of the first projects I worked on and I loved this space so much – the striking wallpaper from Tapet Cafe, combined with Cornforth White paint from Farrow & Ball worked well together to create a lovely calming palette and a serene, elegant space. A calming colour palette is the basis of all bedrooms that I design – I really feel they should always be a luxurious sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.

The Vogue print in the picture above was a personal commission – I asked my talented friend Buzzy to paint it for me and he has since been asked to recreate it a few times after people have spotted it on Pinterest. I think it has been saved over 20,000 times in total, which is just amazing!

I hope you like this selection of images – if you want to recreate a look similar to this in your home, then sign up for blog updates or follow me on instagram, as I will be sharing a ‘Get the Look’ post here soon!

LBM

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I have arrived back from a blissful two weeks in Pollensa with a bit of a thud…we are moving house next week and there is just so much to do! 

I can’t wait to share my holiday posts with you, but as I won’t have time to sort and edit the pictures until after the move, so in the meantime I wanted to share these pictures of a kitchen I designed for a family home in South-West London last year. 

The house was extended by four meters to the rear to create a lovely open plan kitchen, dining and living space – the perfect room for all the family, with fantastic views to the garden. I designed the bi-folding doors so that they were a feature in the room, rather than the simple glass and metal combination – I took inspiration from lots of New England designs that I found on Pinterest.

The kitchen was designed to be elegant as well as functional and the colour scheme for the space was fresh and clean to maximise the lovely natural light. I used furniture and artwork to add pops of colour. I hope you like it – if you’re keen to create a similar look then click on the links below.

LBM
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I am thrilled to have been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2016.
Please take a minute to vote for me here. I would be so grateful! x

{Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden}


Here are some pictures of the most decadent master bathroom that I have designed to date – it also happens to be my bathroom at home! It’s the place where I start and finish my day; yoga in the morning (I’ve recently discovered Yoga with Adriene and love her teaching style) and winding down in the evening after a busy day with a long hot bath. 

Creating spaces at home where you can truly relax and feel pampered is so important. Yes a space needs to also be functional, but there is no reason that function and beauty can’t always go together!

For this room I took a large guest bedroom to convert into the bathroom and create a beautiful and indulgent master suite. I have always wanted to have Victorian-style double doors between a bedroom and a bathroom and this house had the perfect proportions to do so. 

I commissioned a local joiner to make the doors as well as these beautiful wardrobes – it’s a style I had admired for a long time – having mirror panelled doors really reflects the light in this north facing room and the detailing on the doors really helps to create the luxurious feel I was going for.

I am really pleased with the completed look – it really is a truly indulgent and relaxing space to hide away from the stresses of daily life. If you would like to try and re-create the look at home then scroll to the bottom of this post for supplier details.

Have a great week!

LBM
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GET THE LOOK: Victorian style bath and double console basin from Heritage Bathroom, solid oak parquet in Seashell from Fired Earth, Georgica Pond marble tiles also from Fired Earth, joinery from a local carpenter, but similar available from The Heritage Wardrobe Company, reclaimed fireplace from Ebay, Roberts Radio from John Lewis, Vogue print painted for me by a friend, please email me for details, Slim Aarons print above the fireplace, similar available from Surface View, glass orb chandelier from The White Company.

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I have decided after a lot of recent requests to talk a bit more on the blog about what I really do for work. As well as working as an interior designer, my husband and I work with a wonderful team of builders to develop properties. The reason I haven’t blogged about it that much up until now, is simply because I don’t think that the pictures are very pretty and probably not what you want to see. Writing about spreadsheets and mortgage finance has limited interest and I spend most days either paying bills or in Screwfix collecting something that they sadly forgot to deliver!  

This blog is my place to escape and enjoy the prettier side of the property business, but today I will share a little of what being a property developer involves…

  • The first and most important thing is finance as without that there would be nothing to develop…I have had to be extremely creative over the last 18 months about the financing of the projects as lending is incredibly tricky at the moment. My advice to any would-be developer is to either work with an extremely talented and trusted advisor for this, or to do it yourself as I am now doing. It does involve a lot of financial reading and research as well as a lot of time spent in meetings with banks, but it can be done and once your forge a couple of good relationships it all becomes a lot easier.
  • Then you have to find a project. In South-West London where we are working finding any property is a challenge, but finding something that has a healthy profit margin is verging on impossible. There is such a short supply and such a huge demand that most things are coming to the market and going to sealed bids within 48 hours…as a developer it’s even more challenging as you’re competing with people buying for their own home and to them the margins aren’t important, so they will pay more. On average I look at 2-3 properties a week that would be suitable for developing and put in an offer on most of them – the result so far this year is that we have been successful in getting one, which shows quite how competitive it is! We aim to do two a year, but have to look constantly as you just don’t know which you’ll be lucky with and which you won’t.
  • Once the property is under offer and you are close to exchange I then start work on the planning application and party wall agreements. It’s vital to do this as soon as possible – delays of even a few weeks are very costly. Mortgage payments start as soon as we own the property and waiting two months for planning approval, while no work is happening on site, is just not an option. These few weeks are always stressful as until you have the stamp of approval there are no guarantees!
  • Then building can start – we are lucky at the moment that we have a great team, but we have to keep them in work constantly as otherwise we could lose them to someone else and that job could take months, which would really mess things up for us. The building industry in London is booming at the moment and most contractors have spoken to recently don’t even have time to quote for new jobs, so we really need to hold onto our team!
  • During construction it is my job to source all materials, which involves a lot of time in places like Travis Perkins and B&Q – almost all the trades I deal with and source from are men. Building and construction is understandably a very male industry and I often go for days and days without seeing another woman, which is when working for myself and being able to meet up with a girlfriend for lunch or a coffee is a real bonus.
  • Finally all being well {and there are always a few nasty surprises!} the work is done and hopefully within the budget. This is another tense part when you get the agents in to value with all fingers and toes crossed that you have actually made a profit…there are no guarantees in this business!

As you can see from these pictures we have now made it as far as bullet point four on our current project and so far progress is good. We’re doing a loft extension, side return and rear extension as well as a first floor extension and full refurb and hope to finish by September.  Later this week I will show you pictures of one we did last year; exactly the same as this but the finished version.


Have a lovely day.

LBM
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