I’ve taken the decision, for better or worse to talk about me and If you follow any of my social media accounts you will know that as well as a successful interior designer, indeed sole visionary of this business I call Popsicle, I am a Mama, a working from home (80% of the time) Mama. This is a bloody hard position to be in, but a necessary position these days – with nursery bills so high yet still a need for two incomes in most family households, working from home is absolutely necessary.
Back to it being bloody hard though a day in the life of a working from home Mama goes something like this; You get up, get everyone else fed, clothed and cleaned ready for the day. You pick up your work stuff and put it on the dining room table. You then look at yourself and realise, quite frankly, you’re a mess! You drag on some clothes concoction and hope it meets the rest of the playschool parent drop off standard, you get the children in the car for said playschool drop off. On route home you collect the days food, get side tracked by the youngest child demanding something or other… probably a banana! You stop get yourself a coffee and them that banana. You then realise if you don’t hot-foot it home soon you’re going to miss the banana loving little angels naptime and therefore your one hours uninterrupted worktime. So they’re down, they’re snoozing its your time and you… you look at the dishes, you look at the washing pile, you look and you do and you don’t work! You read that right, you don’t work! Then the youngest gets up and they want lunch and entertaining and Mr Tumble, then its time to get the eldest from playschool and they want a snack and entertaining and to play that game on your phone. Then its dinner time for the kids, bathtime for the kids and, thankfully, bedtime for the kids. You sit down and your partner gets home, they vent to you about their hard day, they want dinner, conversation and a box set. Then you realise everyone else is in bed, the kids are snoring, your partners relaxing in bed i.e. faffing about on Facebook and you’re still not working… you are absolutely wiped out, exhausted, you have given everything physically and now to expect anything mentally is just well… crazy, but you do it, you finally move your work stuff back on to the dining table, stay up way too late vowing to use your time better tomorrow and feeling guilty about the washing that still needs to be hung and not giving the children enough attention!
I told you it was bloody hard… but so worth it and I am so thankful to do it, to do what I love working from home whilst my family snooze (80% of the time)!
February is upon us and the property market is thankfully picking up, queue sighs of relief from estate agents everywhere, so to make sure your home is one of the first of 2017 to get snapped up and you are one of the lucky movers, what colour should your home be? Yes you did read that right – what colour should your home be? When purchasing a home all factors pale in comparison to the ‘feeling’ a potential buyer first gets when they walk through the doors and there is no better way to create good feeling in a home then using the right colours.
Contrary to developers and landlords continued belief magnolia and cream are no longer the neutrals to use. Grey is still very much in favour with everyone and with so many tones available you will be able to find one that suits your home. Brown is ‘allegedly’ the big neutral of 2017, and is set to replace the oh so popular grey, because of the sense of warmth and comfort it produces. To give a sense of harmony through your home use the same neutral colour through out, remember though you are still able to choose different shades. Accent your rooms using varying colours on walls, wall art and accessories.
When adding colour remember you are selling your home, yes you have to live with it whilst you are selling so don’t choose a colour that you hate or doesn’t feel right but do choose colours that are light, modern and, of course, that will appeal to other people. Green is a versatile colour that promotes harmony and balance, so will automatically put a person at ease – perfect for selling your home. Pantone recently made ‘greenery’ its colour of the year so using this shade of green will show potential buyers you keep your home up to date. Pantone have also, thoughtfully, put up palettes on their website with ‘greenery’ and its various complimentary colours, use these palettes as a guide to help create a good sense of flow through your home.
Having rectified the interior please do not forget the exterior, you do have to get these potential buyers through the front door after all. White has always been a very popular house colour choice it is; crisp, clean, pure and protects against negative thoughts and feelings. So, like the greenery inside, it will make potential buyers feel at ease and positive about the house instantly.
If you would like any further help or information on colour therapy in the home or getting your home market ready please do contact Rachelle at the Popsicle Interiors Studio:
Mob : 07443229644
Email : popsicleinteriors@
Popsicle Interiors is coming up to its first birthday and as with any anniversary there is a tendency to reassess and reconsider. So of course the question; “Is Popsicle Interiors something that I should continue with”? and the doubt that comes with this question appears in to my mind.
When I think about what I do, when I consider whether I am in the right ‘business’ and whether I am willing to commit time and energy to ‘this’, what comes in to my head is a quote from Letters To A Young Poet by Reilke, which also happened to be used in Sister Act 2; “When you wake up in the morning and you can think of nothing else but writing then you’re a writer”.
When I wake up in the morning I think of Popsicle Interiors, I think about what I have achieved so far with the brand and what the business is going to evolve in to. I live and breathe interiors and style; I am constantly researching designers and products from the mid-century, looking for companies who salvage, upcycle, recycle, looking for people who share the same ideologies as me.
Then I know that I am an interior designer… just not an average one!
There are alternatives to buying new, to throwing away the old, to waste within the world of interiors. There is an ever increasing amount of designers who use ecologically friendly materials and manufacturing to produce items, there are companies who mass produces ecologically friendly paint and wallpaper, there are salvage yards, second hand shops, vintage fairs where you can find the key pieces to place within a clients’ home/office/commercial space.
Designers are looked up to as leaders; we should be responsible for what we promote to those who ‘follow’ us. The only future we have is a sustainable one so be mindful of this… always.
Popsicle Interiors is evolving past its first anniversary into something I am very proud of, so to my supporters, from the bottom of my heart,
Rachelle at Popsicle Interiors
This post is a personal one, having rented in Brighton and Hove for over 12 years I have definitely experienced the bad side of renting in the city and have been out priced of buying in the city, currently having to reside in the suburbs.
The Argus reported today that Brighton and Hove is one of the UK’s least affordable places to live. Lloyds bank has it ranked as 5th, placed only behind Oxford (1st), Winchester (2nd), Truro (3rd) and Bath (4th).
The current house prices within Brighton and Hove are 8 times the national average wage and housing affordability has worsened over the past year as a result of employee wages failing to keep up with the rate of inflation and house prices soaring.
I can use myself as an example of this unaffordability of buying a home in the city. I currently own a four bedroom house with two reception rooms and a good sized back garden just a 15 minute drive or 10 minute train journey away from Brighton and Hove. This home I own is priced the same as a 1 bedroom flat with no outside space in the city.
If you think renting might be the answer to living in the city you would be wrong!
The average rent paid for a home in Brighton and Hove is £1340 per month compared to £953 in Bristol and a meagre £549 in Liverpool.
Brighton and Hove has the 6th largest private rented sector in the UK and has 7 times the number of converted flats. Converted flats, although usually situated in charming period buildings, on the interior often mean a reduction in living space and communal facilities such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
According to the Home Sweet Home campaign many of the renters in the city are actually living in poor conditions experiencing problems such as ‘damp and mould, cold, overcrowding, noise, equipment in a dire state of repair, unfeasibly high fees and arguments over deposits and inventories, and terrible service from letting agents’.
As a response to these figures and the personal ‘horror’ stories from the rented sector in the city the Home Sweet Home campaign (http://southeast.movementforchange.org.uk/home_sweet_home) was set up in July 2013 by a mix of families, renters and landlords all of whom are united by bad renting experience in Brighton and Hove.
The aim of the Home Sweet Home campaign, as set out by its members, is ‘to improve the Private Rented Sector within the city of Brighton and Hove. The campaign began as a way to bring people from across the three constituencies of Pavilion, Kemptown and Hove to improve the quality of Private Rented Sector housing and conduct of criminal landlords and letting agents in the city’.
As stated previously I have been one of the many renters within the city and have experienced exactly what the campaign is setting out to improve. I have lived in 6 different rented properties from 4 different letting agents and never have I received the full deposit back. When considering my last property this was the least of the problems I experienced. In this property I lived with a broken window which was stuck to open and no heating for over a month in winter, these issues were in fact never fixed my tenancy just came to an end.
So why do people put up with high prices, a lack of good honest landlords and letting agents and why am I still saving money to move back?
If you can’t answer this question, you haven’t been to the city of Brighton and Hove and experienced and felt its unique, almost magical, atmosphere!
Whilst I am a fan of using vintage, second hand and upcycled pieces in your home not only because they look good but also because it is a far ‘greener’ way to furnish your home. The style though is not for everyone, but this does not mean your home interior cannot go ‘green’.
Sustainably designed products use renewable resources, have a reduced carbon footprint and are manufactured in an environmentally conscious way. The intention of sustainable design is to make sure there are no negative impacts on the environment by using sensitive, skilful design. This means not using any non-renewable resources, impacting on the environment minimally, and connecting people with the natural environment.
A key example of a sustainably designed home product is the Dirk Vander Kooij’s Chubby Chair. The chubby chair is made from recycled refrigerators and e-waste and created by a repurposed and reprogrammed industrial robot producing precise 3D models whilst generating very little waste.
Some examples of household products not only made sustainably, but also for the purpose of creating a ‘greener’ home are:
The ‘Nest’ learning thermostat. Simply this thermostat learns your households’ behaviour and adjusts all temperature settings to your usage pattern.
‘Replenish’ cleaning product. The bottle is reused and you just by filling up with water and a ‘pod’ of concentrate is replaced on the bottom of the bottle. This keeps billions of pounds worth of waste out of the environment.
The ‘Luci’ light was designed by MPowered to tackle what they perceive as “light poverty”. The light is a solar-powered and rechargeable LED lantern, which is inflated like a balloon to use and folded into a handkerchief when not needed. If the lights solar cells are exposed to the suns’ rays for 8 hours it powers the light for 12 and unlike its kerosene counterparts produces no harmful emissions.
Although not technically a household product ‘Levis’ have launched type 511; a cycle commuter range of jeans. I like the 511 a lot and believe we can get away with including them in this list because of the encouragement it gives to commuters to travel in a ‘greener’ way from HOME to office! Features of the range include a strap for the cycle lock, a nano sphere protective coating that repels water and dirt, interior cuffs and reflective strips.
Whatever your thoughts on recycled design or sustainable design the belief held by many, including me is that the future has to be sustainable if there is to be any future at all.
2014 is being reported as the year of the flat pack home! The UK already has the smallest new build homes in Western Europe. In fact since the 1960s our kitchen size here in the UK has shrunk by a third. The small space is gaining popularity following on from the huge success of George Clarkes Amazing Spaces programme and Kevin McClouds Man Made Home. As well as more affordable these small spaces are also, generally, more ecologically friendly.
Featured in the news recently are two small space home ideas which are essentially purchased by the consumer as a flat pack kit.
The first is Mark Burtons ‘Tiny House Kit’. This kit costs around £6500 to buy from the tiny house website and comes complete with all normal domestic appliances, but not glass for the windows! But when the glass is fitted they are very warm benefitting from full insulation.
The second of the small homes was designed by Dr Mike Page, a lecturer from the University of Hertfordshire. His QB2 or ‘cube house’ kits costs around £10,000 to purchase and it four hours to construct. The 3m x 4m box is split into four areas; a lounge, kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. It even comes complete with a spiral staircase!
The flat pack home is by no means a new concept though; 140 years ago a flat pack 9 bedroom mansion was shipped from Norway to North Tawton, Devon. Fondly known in the local community as ‘Old Norse Lodge’ the Grade II listed home is worth an estimated £500,000 and features hand painted art nouveau decoration, fretted ceiling roses and cornices and a sweeping staircase.
I think it is time I marked out a patch in the garden for my Amazing Small Space!