Monday, 29 November 2010

Jamie Hempsall Interior Design Wins Top Award

Saturday night proved exceptionally eventful as Jamie Hempsall emerged victorious winning the award for Best Interior Design - North East at the UK Property Awards 2010 in Association with Bloomberg Television.

We won the award for our project "The Beeches" in Lancashire. 

This was a complete renovation project involving 27 rooms and completed over a period of two years. The project transformed an unloved residence with a large number of redundant rooms and a layout more suitable to a family with a large domestic staff into a stylish, modern family home designed to keep the family in easy proximity of each other despite its proportions. The design ensured that flows throughout the property became more logical for usage in the 21st Century and included an eco-friendly pellet boiler to power under-floor heating ensuring the residence remained a warm and ecologically sound environment for its owners.

Jamie collected his award from the chair of the judging panel, Helen Shield – Editor in Chief of International Homes Magazine, at the awards ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Saturday 27th November 2010. Other members of the judging panel included Iris Dunbar (Past President – BIDA) and Diana Yakeley (Former Chairman of BIDA).

Jamie is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design and the interiors columnist for the Yorkshire Post.  Visit him at or call 0800 0321 180.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Time to add some seasonal sparkle!!

It seems too soon for Christmas to be upon us, but shops are now crammed with festive ornaments and decorations. I like to add extra festive sparkle by introducing items around the house to amuse and delight; reminding people that good cheer is a key part of Christmas.

A Christmas wreath sets the tone and this stunning brussels sprout version – the most festive of all vegetables – gives a modern twist to an old classic (£19.99 –; 02392 469400). Unfortunately, the wreath is handmade from paper, rather than the real thing – so has to be hung inside, but it certainly gives food for thought.

Fairy lights are also a Christmas staple. The light is cheerful and welcoming, particularly when every other light source is switched off. To add a bit of extra cachet this year, opt for these ice-cube shaped LED lights which come packed in their own ice tray. They are also perfect for dressing your bar area at a drinks reception (£19.99 -; 0845 226 9110).

As drink is likely to flow a little more than usual over the next few weeks, coasters can help protect all manner of surfaces and avoid any embarrassment for friends and family over where to place a glass. Practical and funky Donna Wilson Snowflake coasters are made out of 3mm thick wool felt to soften the blow of any glass and come in natural, lime, turquoise and magenta (£12 for a set of four – ; 01595 694 644).

I aim to use as many ethically-produced gifts and ornaments as possible to ensure the season is not all about mass consumerism. The charitable and fair-trade offerings now available make these choices really easy as they are not only worthy, but also incredibly well designed.

If you have a penchant for Father Christmas and wish to emulate the Russian theme adopted by Chatsworth House this year then consider a set of six nesting, stacking Santas. The jolly design is hand painted by fair trade artisans (£16.95 –; 0845 0099016).

The same company have an innovative version of an eco-Nativity scene, handmade using recycled paper. Each character is approximately 10cm high so will make an impactful display on a bookshelf or mantle-piece (£19.95; details as before).

It is also the time of year to make memorable gestures and I think a wooden heart decoration by eco-chic designer Emily Readett-Bayley which has then been personalised hits the spot.  The hearts are made by village co-operatives from sustainable wood and personalised by hand in the UK (£12.50 –; 01279 447615).

Jamie Hempsall is an award winning interior designer and member of The British Institute of Interior Design. or call 0800 0321 180.
This article was first published in the Yorkshire Post Mid-Week Life & Style Section on Weds 24th November 2010

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Yorkshire Post Readers' Questions

Every quarter I answer Yorkshire Post Readers' interior design queries as part of my column.  They can ask about any subject at all.  Here is what they came up with in the last couple of months.

Q: We have just inherited a 1960s Ercol dining table, it is finished in light wood and we want to get some dining chairs to go with it that are unusual. SH, Knaresborough.

Ercol was a huge name in furniture in the 1960s, but fell out of favour in later decades. However, prices are beginning to quickly increase as vintage rises to the fore. This furniture is beautifully made and their clean design lines are amazingly contemporary. If you want to avoid scouring specialist shops for a set of matching chairs, I would recommend the new Masters chair by Kartell. This stunning design was created by Philippe Starck and is a reinterpretation of the Series 7 chair by Jacobsen, the Tulip chair by Saarinen and the Eifel Chair by Eames. It is available in red, black or white and at £120 I think it is a bargain that will become a design classic in no time at all ( – 0207 739 9427).

Q: We are decorating our sitting room with an oriental inspired theme, but struggling to find a ceiling light that is not hideously expensive. We have high ceilings so would like something fairly dramatic if possible. TB, Harrogate

I would head straight for one of Gong’s eastern inspired ceiling lampshades. They have a range of light, oversized, interesting silk shades which will definitely complement an oriental theme. There are two different designs available (Lea & Lotus) which come in various sizes. The lamps are hand made in the Far East and covered in silk featuring two layers of fabric so you cannot see the bulbs. The Lotus lamp is available in white silk, whilst the Lea ceiling light (pictured) is available in a variety of finishes with the option of a black trimmed frame. Prices from £95, visit or call 0207 370 7176.

Q: We have just purchased a Period house and wanted to work with a traditional colour range, but are not sure if there are any ranges of paint that are particularly appropriate. Could you point us in the right direction? JL, Skipton

The Little Greene Paint Company has worked with English Heritage to develop a range that reflects the true historical colours used in decoration. The colours are split into five key time periods – Georgian; Regency; Victorian; 1930s and 1950s – which are marked clearly on their colour charts. Every purchase from the range also means a generous donation goes to English Heritage – so you are also helping to preserve some of our nation’s great treasures. The range is available in all of Little Greene’s standard finishes including their Ultimatt Emulsion (a matt finish, environmentally friendly and completely washable paint – ideal for heavy usage areas such as halls, kitchens and bathrooms). Prices from £13.50 ( – 0845 880 5855).

Q: We have a travertine floor which is really beginning to look grubby despite regular mopping. What would you suggest to bring it back to its former glory? BB, Todwick.

If you are seeing ground in dirt you need to get back to basics. Start by stripping off your existing floor coating using the appropriate cleaner which will have a dramatic effect. You will then need to re-apply a sealant to keep this look pristine. Natural floors do require regular maintenance, so I would expect to repeat this every year or so to keep things looking tip top. I prefer the range of products available from Lithofin which includes wax-off, multi-seal and anti-slip; as well as an easy care formula that is great for regular use throughout the year once you have taken the trouble to strip back and re-apply (; 01962 732 126).

Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design and an award winning interior designer. If you have an interior query you need answering call him on 0800 032 1180 or visit


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Orange is the colour for change this season!

The approach of autumn means the gradual changing of our landscapes from vibrant greens to warm browns and oranges.

Orange in particular is also seeping onto our high street as the trend towards a resurgence of all things mid-century develops. Orange makes a bold, bright statement that shouts fun and hints at rebellion.

Unless you have a really strong passion for the colour avoid dedicating an entire scheme to orange as in large quantities it can be overwhelming.

However, orange works terrifically on an accent piece to base a room around (particularly when paired with brown and cream) – or on fun and quirky items to discover as your eyes travel round your home.

1. Bring a touch of autumn warmth to your sitting room with this George Smith Jules chair in Lulu DK Bloomsbury from £2,050 – 01423 563160.

2. Add a touch of nature into your home with these fun Three Owls Wall Sticker £39.95 ( – 01269 822288)

3. A twist on the classic coffee maker, this Francis Francis X1 Espresso Machine in orange will definitely make a statement in any kitchen. £399. (http://www.espressocrazy/. com – 01604 821 234)

4. The Aria Dining Chair, by Bontempi, is the perfect accompaniment to any modern dining suite. Made in Italy, the design will add vibrancy and colour toyour room.

Transparent chairs are also available ensuring that the contemporary polycarbonate chairs will never clash; even with the most outrageous interior design. Bontempi Casa Aria Dining Chair £164 ( – 0113 244 2288).

5. Sugar & Spice Wardrobe in Juicy Orange £595, www.the – 020 7737 7303.

This sturdy wardrobe is excellent value and provides masses of useful storage space from toddlers to teens. It comes in white and 12 stunning colours including Juicy Orange.

Award Winning Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Institute of Interior Design. Contact: www.jamiehempsall. com or 0800 032 1180
Published in Yorkshire Post 27th Oct 2010 - Mid-Week Life & Style Section - Interiors