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Plumbs Join North West Business Panel

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Events

Plumbs Managing Director – Sarah Page joined a panel of two other local businesses to discuss the dynamics of working within a family run business. 

 

"70% of businesses in the U.K. fall under the "family business" bracket"

This was the first event from the North West Family Business Association, and it's great that we could be a part of it. The session was hosted by Penny Haslam (a professional keynote speaker and conference host).

The session began with an introduction to the panel; Sarah spoke about being the 3rd generation within the Plumbs Company, working in each department at Head Office and eventually taking over as Managing Director in 2009.  She began by working with her family on the market stall in the early days of Plumbs history from the age of 10, and briefly training to be a nurse in her teenage years before starting her career at Plumbs.

Next we heard from Kit, who along with his siblings started the Seven Bro7hers Brewery, which produce craft beers.  This passion for beer came from their father who was a keen home brewer, and after Kits career as a teacher wasn't going to plan, he and his brothers decided to take a risk and begin their own company.  Today there are 3 active brothers within the company however he went on to explain that they all still input their ideas when necessary.

 

Image - manchestereveningnews.co.uk

The third panellist was Daniel Turner from William Turner & Son.  Daniel began working with his father at the company fresh from university. He is now the 2nd generation after the company was established in 1969.

Image - william-turner.co.uk

The session went on with Penny asking about the benefits and drawbacks about working within a family business..

The panel felt the main benefit of working for a family business was there was much more freedom to explore fresh ideas. One of the event sponsors - Gorvins Solicitors say this on their blog…

“Flexibility – Notwithstanding the fact that family business often stay close to the core of their business, one of the unique factors of family businesses is their ability to be flexible and react quickly. “

They went on to discuss how the culture of a family led business differs from other companies where the structure and departments may stop new projects and ideas from progressing as quickly.

Maintaining a good work/life balance was seen as the only drawback, as it can be easy to carry on the discussions about the day when you leave the office.  A member of the audience asked if the panel had any tips on how to combat this, Sarah Page expressed that she allows herself half an hour at the end of each work day to discuss any issues and then that's it – her family must switch off from the work and concentrate on home life.

One of the other major topics Penny covered was the route in which they saw their company’s going, and whether they had any plans on succession within the family.  The entire panel mentioned that they hoped their children would join the business (if not already); however it was important not to pressure them about their future.

This morning was an interesting insight into how other business' work and how they plan to grow with their family heritage in mind.  It was also interesting to see how other companies in completely different industries worked when run by family members.

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How to create a dining room that will impress

With the popularity of cookery programmes sky high, the urge to have a dinner parties shows no sign of waning. While you may think the focus should be on the quality of your cooking, how can you make sure your dining room also leaves a lasting impression?

Whether it’s for a family Sunday lunch or a celebration dinner party, your dining area should be as dynamic as the food on offer.

“Just as we wouldn’t serve dinner on chipped crockery or wine in cracked glasses, we wouldn’t want to have shabby curtains and faded seat covers,” says Laura Calvert, Merchandise Manager for Plumbs.

The easiest way to achieve a chic look is with matching or coordinating soft furnishings such as seat covers, curtains, blinds and cushions – all of which can be chosen with the help of Plumbs’ Home Consultant.

Decide whether you like a formal or a more relaxed look in order to stamp your personality on your dining area.

“A look I love is when curtains, blinds, seat covers and cushions are co-ordinated sing a variety of textured fabrics,” says Laura. “It gives a really opulent feel to your interior.” 

Of course, dining rooms have changed radically over recent years. No longer a separate room used on high days and holidays, dining tables are now often being incorporated into the heart of the home – the kitchen. This means your kitchen/diner has to look its best at all times because it is always on show.

So how can you achieve an exciting new look in your dining area?

Plumbs offers a full range of loose seat covers which are practical because they can be machine washed or replaced when you fancy a new look. “With the huge choice on offer from Plumbs, you can match seat covers to curtains or try a coordinating look with blinds and cushions to add interest and variation,” says Laura.

If you’re planning to entertain for a special occasion such as Christmas or Easter, Plumbs’ set of loose seat cushions in seasonal colour fabrics such as reds, tartans and checks can give your dining area an instant fresh look to suit the season, says Laura.

If you have fixed cushions in your dining room chairs, Plumbs also offers a full re-upholstery service so your chairs are taken back to the frames, restored and recovered in a new fabric of your choice. With a huge variety of materials and colours to choose from, there is something to suit every style and impress your guests.

“We have a choice of beautiful plain and semi-plain fabrics that complement each other really well,” says Laura. “For real pizzazz, you can also use contrasting colours for a vibrant and contemporary look.”

Another way to add richness to your dining room or entertaining area is to focus on the curtains. In recent years, there has been a move away from pelmet curtains and towards a cleaner, pared down look among Plumbs customers.

“We are seeing a return in popularity of curtain poles and tracks,” says Laura. “Our most popular look at the moment are eyelet curtains with a metallic pole. This is a contemporary, clean look that works really well when the dining area is part of the kitchen.”

There is no need to compromise on luxury with this look because curtains can be teamed with coordinating blinds to dress the window and add layers of colour and texture.

For advice on how Plumbs can help you refresh your dining room or area, contact a Plumbs consultant to give you free advice and quotes.

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How to create a subtle themed room: Seaside Sophistication

Themed rooms have been around for what seems like forever, and the one that seems most popular is the seaside retreat.  It can be difficult to create a themed look without it looking contrite, so we've put together the best examples of subtle seaside themed rooms to help you create your own.

This look is very paired back, with just a few simple accessories giving a nod to the theme.  The fresh white loose covers give a less formal feel to the overall look, and are a great base for the bright blue striped scatter cushions.

  housetohome.co.uk

This look is all about the accessories.  The white orchids and muted colour scheme create a sense of calming sophistication, whilst the sea grass rug and starfish art bring nature inside. A touch of colour is brought in through the soft blue scatter cushions.

 starfishcottageblog.com

This is a modern take on a coastal themed room, and again we see a colour palette of muted creams, and greys. The wood burner is the focal point in this room, creating a cosy welcoming environment. The seaside element is brought in through the statement boat and white washed floorboards

uniquehomestays.com

Themed rooms aren't always seen as the height of interior design, however with a little careful consideration and planning you can create a look that not only evokes a sense of your favourite beach destination as well as being sophisticated.

If you need any help updating your room, then contact Plumbs today for a FREE no obligation quotation from one of our expert Home Consultants.

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Living Rooms From Around the World

Interior design around the world is greatly influenced by culture, climate and history, which is why living rooms in one country can differ hugely from ones in another.

With this in mind we’ve put together this guide below to help you take influence from the decors around the globe.

Japan

Image: caandesign.com

If its one thing Japan is known for; its culture, this Japanese living room is modern with many cool and tranquil colours and in typical Japanese architecture the room is very spacious with high ceilings and large windows bringing in lots of natural light. The furnishings themselves are elegant, clean and minimalistic with wooden flooring which is very typical of classic Japanese styling and decor.

Moroccan

 

Image: designrulz.com

Moroccan interior design is rich with bright jewel colours and intricate detailing. Moroccans are not afraid to use clashing patterns but keep the look cohesive by using a similar colour palette throughout the scheme as to not overwhelm.  This use of colour reflects the rich culture and aromas of the streets of Morocco.  Woodwork is often carved and highly detailed and is often paired with vibrant tiles and traditional rugs.

Australia

 

Image: correctlydesign.com

Australian living rooms tend to be some of the largest in the world due to the larger floor plan space in their homes. Traditional Australian living rooms are well balanced with neutral colours and statement ornaments to complement the room and give it grand and yet welcoming feel.  The use of outside is often drawn into the living room with large windows and doors, and this theme is often highlighted by making use of natural textures and plants.

Denmark

 

Image: decoratualma.com

Danish living rooms are picturesque with a sense of simplistic elegance. The design of the Danish living room can be typically described a mix of contemporary meets modernism. Making use neutral colours; furnishings are simple and functional and basic decor giving a sense of comfort and relaxation. 

Greece

 

Image: idesignarch.com

This is quite a modern take on typical Greek design; however this living room still uses a colour palette of calming white and intense deep blue.  White is often the most used colour in Greek design in order to create a cool fresh ambiance as a haven from the warm climate. Accessories are usually quite paired back and unfussy, and instead interest is often created with a few statement pieces.  

America

 

Image: houzz.co.uk

When it comes to size American living rooms came out on top, boasting chunkier sofas, bigger mantle pieces and larger statement ornamentation. Traditional American livings rooms tend make use of light colours such as whites, pale blues and delicate pinks. The typical American living room tends to have larger windows capturing lots of natural light.

England

 

English interior design has many influences from all over the world, however traditionally a comfortable sofa is the epicentre of English living rooms. Colour schemes tend to be quite paired back with one or two key colours used. Metallic tones are often used on accessories and fittings to give a feeling of grandeur.

These are just a snippet of the many different styles from around the world.  If you would like any help creating your perfectly designed haven, then why not call Plumbs today and speak to one of our expert Home Consultants. We can talk you through colour and fabric choices for your furnishings and offer any advice you may need.

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Plumbs add Aqua Clean fabrics to range

We have recently joined up with Aqua Clean to bring our customers a brand new range of fabrics which are designed to be able to eliminate the toughest household stains using just water!

 

How does it work?

The Aqua Clean technology is used to cover every single fibre within the fabric creating an invisible coating which stops liquids and stains from penetrating the fabric.  This coating means even the toughest household spills and stains (such as red wine and pen) can be removed by using a little water and tissue.

  

See how easy it is to remove stubborn ink from this sofa…

 

 

 

 

 

 

This technology makes these fabrics hugely practical for busy homes, especially those with small children and pets. It also means you don’t need to wash your removable loose covers as much as you normally would, which in turn will pro long their lifespan.

If you would like more information on this brand new range of fabrics or any other products in the Plumbs range, then please contact us today or call 0800 019 0505, and one of our trained advisors will be able to talk you through the best options for your home. 

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How to change the ambience of your room with these simple steps

Published by Joanna Whitworth in interiors

You’ve spent months looking at paint samples and carefully choosing furniture, but as you stand back and admire your new room something doesn’t quite feel right.  The things we often don’t consider when redesigning a room are the small tricks and tricks that can make all the difference to the room’s ambience.

Here’s our top tips on how to give your home that much needed warmth and style..

1. Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important yet over looked factors when designing the layout of a room.  The right lighting can help change the flow, define different areas and add atmosphere to a space.

Use lamps and fittings with down lighting, as this gives off a soft glow perfect for when you want to create a cosier atmosphere at night.  If you have a dining area in your living room this is a great place to install lighting above. The lighting will help to zone the area away from the rest of the room and is also practical when eating at night.

  

Image courtesy of: decoist.com

 

Image courtesy of: decouvrirlendroitdudecor.blogspot.co.uk

2. Mirrors

Using mirrors to make spaces feel bigger is no new trick but can be an important one none the less. They are not only functional but can also add detail and decoration to the room.

Large ornate mirrors make great focal points in a space and will trick the eye.  A good tip when hanging a mirror is to try and place it across from a window. This will bounce the light back into the room and make it feel much more open.

 

 

Image courtesy of: pinterest.com

3. Textures

Adding different textures to the room not only creates layers and adds depth; it’s also a subtle alternative to using lots of colour.   If your colour scheme is quite neutral mixing textures helps prevent the room from looking too flat, whilst giving the space a sense of warmth and comfort.

Textures are also a great way to bring a sense of nature in doors. Faux fur, plants and wood grain

  

Image courtesy of: hannahblackmorephotography.com

 

Image courtesy of: pinterest.com

4. Decorative Accessories

Candles are a great way to create atmosphere in a room but they work even better when mixed with interesting decorative accessories. When choosing accessories for your home it’s important to think about what they will add to the room.  Avoid choosing things to fill spaces on a shelf or to fit in with a ‘theme’ - chances are you won’t love it and will be tempted to change it at a later date.

Instead it’s best to choose things that you love and reflect your personality.  Think about your favourite plants, prints by an artist you admire or items you’ve picked up on your travels.  

 

Image courtesy of: pinterest.com

 

Image courtesy of: apartmenttherapy.com

5. Add a rug

Rugs are great because not only are they very practical they can also dramatically alter the way a room feels. There are so many options when choosing a rug for your room to consider, allowing you to add more colour or pattern to a room or soften the look of bare floors.

One design rule to consider when buying a rug is choosing a size big enough to slide under the front legs of sofas and chairs in a seating arrangement – this will help zone the area, and the rug will feel more proportional to the size of your room.

 

Image courtesy of: wifeinprogressblog.com

 

Image courtesy of: bloglovin.com

I hope we’ve inspired you to add some interesting and personal touches to your home to bring it back to life!  Tell us your plans in the comments section below…

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Plumbs at the Ideal Homes Show London 2016

We’re back at the Ideal Home Show on the 18th March at London Olympia and we’re excited to announce we will be one of the events sponsors this year!

Over the past few weeks we’ve been busy preparing for the upcoming show, and this year we can be sure that our stand will be the best it’s ever been!  We’ll be bringing some of our newest fabrics designs, as well as offering fabulous deals exclusive to the show. What’s more we will also be running some very exciting competitions.

 

There’s so much to do at this show whether you’re interested in homes, garden, beauty, food, fashion and technology. One of the highlights we’re really excited about this year are the show houses which are great for you’re looking for some innovative design ideas and you may even see a Plumbs fabric in there too.

If you do happen to come along to the show this year, make sure to book a table at the Grand Tea Rooms, we’re sure that after an afternoon perusing the show you’ll need a well-deserved rest. You’ll also get to see the furniture we’ve helped transform - giving the tea rooms a soft vintage look.  

We’ll be at stand L551 in the Interiors section – so pop over and say hello, and if you can’t make it to this show why not take a look at upcoming list of events and find one near you…

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“I don’t like our throwaway culture” – designer Orla Keily speaks out

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Design

Designer Orla Kiely is most recognised for her simple and repetitive floral print which has adorned the likes of tote bags, clothing, and home furnishings for around the last 15 years. 

Dublin born Orla began her career designing hats, which after branching out to bags and accessories also lead her into the world of interior design.  Her retro designs lend themselves perfectly to the Scandinavian style which is hugely popular today.

“Modernism had a huge impact on Kiely, 52. “Growing up in the late 60s and 70s I was very aware of modernism. And as a student in the 80s (in Dublin and London) I was always hunting out modernist vintage, and of course the Scandinavian look.” Rosie Millard from the Radio Times.

 

Orla Kiely expressed that although her designs are featured on numerous products, she hopes people who buy her items will keep them forever.  This philosophy of keeping and looking after the things we buy is something that resonates with Orla “I don’t like our throwaway culture. It’s very sad when you see sofas chucked out on the front doorstep. I love things that last. My mother would have re-covered a sofa. When I grew up, it was always about giving things a new lift. I like that.” . 

This way of thinking is one that we hope will catch on soon, as the latest figures show that around 672,000 tonnes of furniture is thrown away each year, with currently only 17% being recycled.  These figures seem even more shocking when we take into consideration the amount of CO2 needed to produce new pieces of furniture and thus the increasing strain on the planet. (See our infographic for more information)

It’s great to hear people of the design industry with the same philosophy as ours and we are lucky enough to even have one of Orla Kiely’s designs in our Prestige Collection.  Our Amari fabric shown below in Graphite colourway can be made into loose covers or used to reupholster a tired piece of furniture.

If you would like to give a beloved item of furniture a new lease of life then why not speak to one of expert Home Consultants by contacting us today  for a FREE no obligation quotation.

If you fancied seeing how strong your own furniture pricing skills are, then why not have a go at our higher or lower quiz? Let's see if you can spot the furniture bargains!

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How Well Do You Know Your TV Sofas? Find Out By Taking The Quiz!

Published by Joanna Whitworth in

Producing a hit television show is about more than just casting a bunch of great actors to read from a knock-out script. What’s equally important is creating a set and building a unique surrounding that will make a lasting, memorable impression on the viewer. This includes everything from how a mirror should hang, how many chairs are placed around a kitchen table, and of course, the strategic placement of the all important centre of the home – the sofa!

Did you know that, in the Will and Grace apartment, set designers were so committed to creating authenticity that the pieces of mail that sat on the coffee table would be addressed to the characters who lived in that apartment!? It’s a prime example of how crucial set design can be to the making, and success, of a TV sitcom – and the sofa, of course, is no exception.

We spend hours on our sofas, watching people on TV, sat on their sofa. It’s perhaps the most loved, and iconic piece of furniture on the box – chat shows, sitcoms, and drama series’, they all have them. So just how many would you be able to recognise?

TV-lovers – take our quiz to spot which TV programme these famous sofas (and admitedly, a few chairs) are from! 

 

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2016

Every year Pantone will release what they believe to be the colour that will best represent the world for the upcoming 12 months. For 2016, Pantone have done something different; they have selected two official colours.

Their chosen colours are Rose Quartz & Serenity and are designed to be used together to create a balance and a soft and tranquil tone.

Here is how Pantone describe these colours:

“Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

 

How to use these colours in the home

These pastel shades feel fresh and uplifting compared to 2015’s colour of the year – Marsala, which was an earthy wine tone.

Rose Quartz and Serenity work well in the home, especially when used in accessories or accents.  As these colours are designed to balance each other we suggest trying to use equal amounts of each.  Too much pink and the overall look may be too sickly sweet; too much blue may be too cool. 

Image courtesy of Pantone Instagram

These colours when combined together create a soft retro feel, which would work particularly well with Scandinavian style furniture.

Rose Quartz and Serenity will not be for everyone but will definitely add some fun and freshness to a colour scheme.  What do you think of these colours?  Comment below and tell us whether you’ll be incorporating these colours into your home this year… 

If you fancied seeing how strong your own furniture pricing skills are, then why not have a go at our higher or lower quiz? Let's see if you can spot the furniture bargains!

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