Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Yorkshire Grand Depart sends Jamie Hempsall Ltd Cycle Crazy

Yorkshire Post Mid Week Life & Styles Section - 2nd July 2014


As Tour de France fever hits the region, Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks at some bicycle inspired pieces to include in your home

Excitement is certainly mounting as the LeGrand Depart of the Tour de France approaches. High Streets are awash with bicycle theming and the event itself looks set to inspire the Region to embrace further sporting challenges in a similar fashion to the 2012 Olympics.

A number of cycling oriented cafes are appearing throughout Yorkshire and the likes of “Amici & Bici” on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield have already experience the positive uplift the Tour is bringing.  Whilst customers are embracing the themed interiors, they also want to take a bit of them home– so the ownership team decided to stock the range of limited edition prints they were using to decorate the walls.  At £35 for a framed A3 print they have been flying off the shelves – the manager reported the last batch sold in a day!

If you fancy incorporating a little bicycle inspired sportiness there is definitely no shortage of interesting products on the market.


Why not set the tone from the outset by welcoming visitors across your bike emblazoned entrance?  The “Bike & Tree” Doormat is a really cute design in classic grey and red colours.  Perfect for coping with muddy shoes after a cycle trip in the woods (£26.00 –; 01386 793240).

Of course, you may not immediately think of a bicycle when choosing wallpaper, but the Ephemera Collection from Linwood could change all that.   The enticing range of simple prints includes “On Yer Bike” featuring busy vintage cyclists in a harlequinade of colours; an ideal backdrop for a teenage bedroom or quirky kitchen.  

The aptly named “The Tour” has a similar design, but in a classic muted grey-green monochrome making it suitable for a wide variety of locations (£79.90 per roll –; 01425 461176).

If you are likely to enjoy the event sat in a favourite armchair, sipping a cooling libation, then a duo of products might just help strike the right tone.  The Bicycle Wheel cushion is a neat 45cm round pad with a hand printed design – perfect for adding a bit of comfort where needed (£38.00 –; 0191 645 4004).  

Team this up with a classic set of laser etched cherry wood veneer coasters for the perfect resting place for your glass of good cheer (£28.00 for 4 -; 01273 748868).

Add a little snack to your viewing occasion and you have to be on to a winner.  The Fixie Bike Pizza Cutter is the perfect accompaniment for those seeking to carb load before a big race.  It can be purchased after a brisk walk or leisurely cycle to Exit Interiors on Parliament Street in Harrogate – surely cause for celebration (£15.50 –; 01423 858 111).

Finally, if you have found true inspiration and are now the owner of a beloved cycle, then why not store it stylishly on the Bull Head Bike Holder (£79 –; 01494 874101).  The UK manufactured Bull Head silhouette allows you to hang your bike up and out of the way (especially useful in narrow hallways) and is available in Jersey Yellow, Blood Red and Pure Black.

Jamie Hempsall, BIID, SBID is a multi-award winning interior designer.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

New season's colour is a bolt from the blue

Originally published in Retford Times - 1st May 2014

Homes & Lifestyle

The big colour story this season is Blue!  Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall explores the resurgence of a firm favourite.

This season we are seeing taupe being cast to the sidelines both in design schemes and on the High Street.  Without a doubt the hot colour for Spring Summer 2014 is that old cool customer – blue.

Designers have been looking for a new background colour to join the ranks of the neutrals and blue is coming out a clear winner. Forget the paler shades of blue we have previously encountered, the story for 2014 is the richer pigmented shades now available.  The absolute joy of blue is that despite being a bold, primary colour in its own right, it has an amazing capacity which allows it to blend into the background where it impressively accentuates key tones.

Surveys frequently conclude that blue is most people’s favourite colour, especially the male part of the population, so it is a wonder that it does not constantly dominate the interiors world. 

Importantly, it is seen as an emotionally powerful colour, which registers very clearly with its observers.   Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period” paintings are perfect examples of this: he used only blue and green tones to enhance the feeling of melancholy within his work.  Picasso recognised the power of the hue when eliminating other colours around it and is reported as having turned to this palate as his mood darkened following the death of his friend, Carlos Casagemas.

Blue also enhances feelings of calm and tranquillity, which makes it perfect as the colour of choice for bathrooms and bedrooms where an element of escape from the everyday world is often essential.

New Carlucci Fraction fabrics from JAB Anstoetz

There is an element of decadence to the use of a confident blue.   This is hardly surprising given that many rich shades of blue were first created using incredibly expensive precious minerals.   For instance, during the Renaissance period ground lapis lazuli was used to create ultramarine, whilst cobalt has been used to colour glass since 2000BC.

It is also interesting to note that, these strong associations and emotions have led to the colour being associated with divinity, particularly in the Renaissance period.

The shades we are encountering now are definitely major statements.   These richer tones have to be chosen carefully, but the overall effects can be breath taking:  ultimately, it is a question of having confidence and sticking with it. 

If you are looking to embrace the new blue, then rich paint shades such as Little Greene’s Deep Space Blue 207 or Sanderson’s Indigo Blue will create the perfect intimate environment in which to relax.  At the same time, they are both wonderful at creating the background for impressive entertaining spaces such as formal dining rooms. 

Despite the intensity of these colours you will need to pay careful attention when painting to attain a perfect finish as every defect is likely to be shown.  We always recommend using three coats of dark paint shades to ensure a more consistent end result.

A selection of the terrific blues from Designers Guild

This season, opulent blue is very accessible in most collections.  One company who you can be sure has the perfect range of blues is Designers Guild – a brand that truly embraces bold colour.  Their Surabaya Wallcoverings and Savio Weaves boast a mass of beautiful blues in confident finishes.  In addition, their Savine Range features a striking indigo carpet, which works perfectly with their cobalt wallpaper.

If you consider a full room scheme might be a little overpowering, then use key accent pieces (such as a chair or even just a few tea light holders) to ensure your home feels relaxing, reassuring and above all “of the moment”.

Set of Four Blue Tealight holders from £14.95

Jamie Hempsall is a multi-award winning interior designer.  For more inspiration, visit him at

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Mirror mirror on the wall, let me have a spacious hall

Originally published in the Retford Times 23rd Jan 2014

In the dull January light, our homes can look a little lack lustre - Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks at putting the shine back.

With the Christmas Decorations packed away our homes can often feel dark and under-dressed at this time of the year.  To avoid the January blues it is important to try and maximise natural light wherever possible.

The ultimate way to bring more light in to your home is to knock down a wall to the outside!  However, you can achieve a similar effect by creating an entire mirror wall (using a mosaic of large mirror pieces to add interest). Visually extending your room not only adds light, but also promotes a feeling of space and wellbeing.

Antiqued glass helps to soften the look to make this feature work well in period homes. Work on a design with your glass merchant for an individual finish and incorporate off-cuts to keep the cost down.
If considering DIY installation be aware of sharp edges and handle your mirror with gloves whilst fixing. Ensure you have well prepared flat walls and only use mirror adhesive. Take your time and let each piece set in place before adding more. It may take a while, but the end result will be worth it.

The most important skill of any mirror in an interiors scheme is to reflect light. Placed opposite an existing window the mirror will introduce addition exterior light into the room. This is particularly useful in rooms with only one good natural light source.  It will also help brighten dark corners at the ends of long rooms. An added bonus from using mirrors in this way is the introduction of a window view on a wall that might otherwise hold little interest.
A light placed in front of a mirror will be amplified, throwing more light back into the room than the original source could give on its own. This light will possess a diffused, more forgiving quality that is useful for hiding a multitude of sins in older properties.
Placing a mirror on a wall opposite a door also increases the perception of space within a room as it immediately draws the eye of anyone entering the room when they see a moving reflection. In turn, they will get a feeling that the room extends beyond the end of the wall that they are looking at. You can use this effect to even out the feel of long, thin rooms (placing mirrors on the walls that are the shortest distance apart will lead people to assume that the room is actually wider).

You can also extent the feeling of a short or dark landing by placing a tall, ideally wide, mirror at its end. Add a contemporary feel by using a large mirror with a thick frame (think leather or high gloss) and merely resting this at an angle against the wall, rather than hanging it up - this also works well in any dressing area, where space allows, as a funky alternative to a free standing mirror.
On a final practical note, old houses always afforded inhabitants the courtesy of a mirror directly inside the front door - allowing guests arriving a chance to check their look was intact and anyone leaving to ensure they can face the world, head held high. These days it may be more practical in a downstairs cloakroom, but none the less it is a mirror worth re-introducing if you do not have one already.          

Jamie Hempsall, BIID, SBID is a multi-award winning interior designer.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Bright Ideas To Beat The Gloom

Originally published in the Yorkshire Post - 15th January 2014

Down in the dumps?  Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall offers advice to give your home a cost-effective spruce up.

Giving your home a mini-facelift is perfect to beat the winter blues so here are ten tips to revamp your home without breaking the January budgets.

1.      Give bulbs a clean

In winter gloom artificial light is exceptionally important and cleaning your light bulbs has an amazing impact.  Safety is paramount, so it is important that you unplug or switch off electricity before attempting this.  Then take a slightly damp cloth and wipe down the bulbs in your light fittings and any glass covers you may.  Wait to dry before turning back on.  It's a little thing, but makes a major difference.

2.      Refresh your paintwork

No matter how clean you keep it, paint colour dulls and darkens with age.  If your paintwork is over two or three years old invest in a tin of good quality emulsion and repaint a room for an immediate uplift.

3.      Replace your sofa or chair cushion inners

If your sofa or chairs are less than comfy, the problem may be your cushion inners.  Speak to your local upholsterer who should be able just to supply a cushion inner made to your required size and requirements, find a cushion filling you like (we prefer foam-feather wrap which gives the comfort of feather with the structure of foam) and order replacement cushions giving your sofa a new lease of life at a surprisingly low cost.

4.      Invest in some new scatter cushions

These are the perfect way to introduce a new colour or texture in your room.  Go the whole hog and add a co-ordinating rug for a total makeover feel.

5.      Add a Feature Wall

Create new interest in a plain scheme by adding a feature wall in textured or patterned wallpaper in a colour toning with your existing room. Remember when choosing to ensure the size of any pattern is not too large for the area.

6.      Clean and Polish Natural Wood Floors

Give floors a serious clean with a proprietary cleaning agent, then re-oil or re-polish dependent upon the original finish of the floor.  The wood will rejuvenate before your eyes, allowing you to fall in love with it all over again.

7.      Re-grout bathroom tiles and refresh silicone sealant

This will help make a tired bathroom look clean and refreshed!  Remember to remove all old silicone before reapplying to ensure the perfect seal and the perfect look.

8.      Invest in new bedding or towels

This is the perfect way to spruce up a bedroom or bathroom - giving it an immediate uplift and some sensory joy.   The Sales are the ideal time to get better quality for your money.  Look for at least 300 thread count to feel like a film star as you slip between the sheets and invest in bath sheets to avoid having to skimp on size.

9.      Re-upholster your headboard

Not only a great pick-me-up, but a great way to introduce new textures or colours into your room.

10.  Repaint your front door

Why just worry about “kerb appeal” when you are selling your house?  A properly and freshly painted door makes a home look instantly loved and should help cheer you up every time you walk through it.

For more inspiration visit