Monday, 26 October 2009

Get turned on to feature lighting

As the nights draw in, lighting becomes ever more important in any room we are living in: not only from a practical, but also a decorative perspective. The amount of light and its positioning will drastically affect the look and feel of any room – and during a long winter this can also considerably alter your mood for good or bad. A floor (or standard) lamp is exceptionally important as a lighting option in the home – most notably in general living areas where is can be useful in providing more general light than a table lamp, without the harsh glare often found from overhead lighting.

Uplighter floor lamps feature an inverted shade that, as the name suggests, cast light upwards making a great alternative to a ceiling light, giving a warm glow that provides a softer, more forgiving background for your room. These can be particularly useful in the working environment as an alternative to neon bulbs and may help those who suffer from headaches or eyestrain.
Floor lamps are particularly useful in dark corners or in areas that other lighting may not reach.

The Monochrome Standard Lamp from The Baobab Tree is a great example of an updated corner classic, using recycled lamp bases in black gloss teamed with traditional lampshades recovered with a patchwork of luxury fabrics (£165; – 0845 388 1475).

Where more direct light is needed, they also make practical task lamps: perfect for reading by. To give the best possible reading environment ensure that the light is cast from behind the reader’s shoulder to provide optimum light, with the bottom of the lampshade roughly at seated eye-level to minimise glare.

The Pimlico Tripod Boom Arm from Artemis is a beautiful example of an adaptable, contemporary task lamp. It comes in three metal finishes to suit any scheme and simply oozes modern chic (from £620; contact Jamie Hempsall Ltd for details – see below). For task, with a hint of “tongue-in-cheek”, look out for the 70 year anniversary edition of the Anglepoise lamp in Anthracite Grey. At three times life size it does require a little more room than your standard desk lamp, not to mention a slightly larger bank balance (£1,909; – 02392 224450: pictured at the top of the article).

If you have the luxury of re-planning your electrics consider including some floor recessed plug sockets in the main body of your room. These allow you to position floor lamps away from walls without the trip hazard of snaking cables. Hide your sockets under pieces of furniture for minimal visual impact.

A great floor lamp to use within a room is the Blenheim Wooden Standard Lamp which also features an integrated table top to hold mugs or your current favourite read (£185; – 01473 828989).

Of course, floor lamps can also stand alone as a tremendous piece of lighting sculpture serving no other purpose than to complete your scheme or to add an intriguing talking point. If this idea appeals you should consider the intriguingly named “Light Shade Shade” lamp from Rume. The outside shade is a one way mirror that reflects its environment when not illuminated. However, when turned on it reveals a hidden vintage lamp to give comfort and character to any room (£1,652; – 01273 777 810).

Alternatively, enthusiastic equestrians simply have to adore the Moooi Horse Designer Floor Lamp. At 16 hands it is about the size of a thoroughbred and is sure to keep everyone talking throughout those long winter evenings! (£2,980; – 08456 448022).
Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Interior Design Association and one of the region’s leading interior designers. Visit him at or contact him on 01777 248463.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Key to Successful Monochrome Interiors

Yorkshire Post - 7th October 2009 - Life & Style Section : Homes


Throughout the last century there have been distinct periods when monochrome interiors have been very in vogue.

From the cutting-edge innovations of the 1920s and '30s, through the Woolworth Homemaker revolution in the late 1950s, to the hard lines of "me" generation excess in the 1980s, it's a trend that just keeps coming back. Monochrome might whisper of colour austerity, but it shouts cool, clear success.

This season sees the addition of monochrome designs from a number of fabric houses hinting we are about to enter a new age of pared-down design, offering more simple magnificence. If executed correctly, monochrome interiors offer the householder a chance for simple and subtle sophistication.

Current designs are a lifetime away from the brash 1980s, having a much softer feel to them – evoking the understated optimism of the 1950s.To achieve a successful monochrome interior apply the old adage "less is more". Keep window treatments very simple – use drapes or blinds in clean lines to frame your view of the colourful exterior world. Use plain pelmets to hide tracks or eyelet curtains to provide a straight drop for your drapes that will show off any fabric design at its best.

Monochrome is defined as a picture or painting executed in different shades of a single colour. If working with a black palate, incorporate various shades of grey to enhance the design. Plan your scheme with plenty of space to avoid any feeling of overcrowding – the look you should aim to achieve is light and airy.
The Multimedia range of printed cottons from Prestigious Textiles (; 01274 688448) sets the pace for some of today's designs. It includes a stylised floral, a grand-scale specimen peony and retro-negatives of urban architecture, echoed in a broad stripe and check. They have stuck to simple colour stories, led by the monochrome Granite. Fabrics range from around £9.60 per metre.

Black and white is one of the most recognised and easily executable forms of monochrome. Avoid an overblown scheme with a "visual treat" in your room by adding a feature piece in a strong, bright colour: a vase, cushion or a colour picture on the wall. Ensure this is a definite statement, not a timid hint; pink and turquoise are particularly effective when used in this fashion.Designers Guild show the impact of an additional colour to great effect in the images of their new Darly range which includes Padgett prints (£49/m) and wallpaper (£42/roll) featuring bold geometric designs with a neoclassical architectural inspired motif (; 020 7351 5775).

Black and white pictures look terrific in this environment (with the introduction of a single colour always adding impact – consider the sunflower in the original WI nude calendar): present with plenty of space around them on a bare white wall for maximum impact.Add interest to your scheme by introducing a variety of textures and finishes in both your furniture and soft furnishings.The Manzi collection from the Liberty Furnishing range by Osborne & Little includes classic wide black and white stripes or dog-tooth inspired checks in a pure cotton satin finish a luxurious feel with the advantage of a stain-resistant Teflon finish from around £45/m (; 020 7352 1456).Keep floors bare or covered in a plain colour, avoid patterns, but introduce texture with the addition of a single colour rug.
Remember you do not have to stick to black; brown also works well particularly if you are going for subtle chic (consider Persian Tulip wallpaper from Zoffany at £85 per roll –; 0844 543 4748), whilst red hints at night-time glamour; ideal for a bedroom or spectacular dining room.
Jamie Hempsall is one of the region's leading interior designers, see more of his designs at or contact him on 01777 248463.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Importance of a good brief

At Jamie Hempsall Ltd we know clients come to us because they want innovative solutions that are practical for everyday living and working. A good client brief is essential to guarantee an end result everyone is happy with. However, it can be difficult for a client to write one on their own as they often have little experience.

We find the best way to develop the brief is a collaborative process involving face to face meetings during which we guide the client with a range of questions, resulting in a document they review and amend where necessary.

We start by getting clients to find images in books and magazines that appeal to them. Not specific items, but general views or colours that they “just like”. This gives great incite into their subconscious loves.

We then establish the real use the room will have, both immediately and over the next few years; discussing the make-up of the household, who visits, who will use the room and the sort of things that will go on there. This avoids ending up with a beautiful room that the client dare not let anyone near! It also guides us through choices of finish – young families need attractive, but bomb proof fabrics, whilst more mature households can consider delicate options.

A lot of clients initially want to avoid discussing budget, but being open really helps. A firm budget avoids wasted effort on all fronts. We discuss the overall amount, but also where it should be concentrated. You can still get a great result without everything having to cost a fortune, you just have to be careful how you achieve it and not loose the integrity of the design.

A final signed brief, agreed by all, avoids nasty surprises and, in our fourteen years experience, always guarantees a successful conclusion.

Jamie Hempsall, BIDA
Jamie Hempsall Ltd
[; (t) 01777 248463;(e)]

The company undertakes domestic and commercial interior design projects throughout the UK. Recent contracts have included the complete redevelopment & refurbishment of a 27-room Victorian home in Oldham, the development of a 20 room Aparthotel in Chesterfield, the design of a new bar in Wickersley and various domestic developments throughout London and the local region.

The company is proud to support Macmillan Cancer Support, the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Bluebell Wood Hospice.