Blog Tour NYC 2013: Miele

Tuesday, 30 April 2013



Even before my trip to NYC, with the bold & the beautiful of BlogTour NYC, I had been on first name basis with leading brand Miele. Every single client of mine, has either enjoyed a rather long term relationship with their Miele products, or they tend to specify it, up front, based on word of mouth.

Amanda Litster, (founder of the lifestyle culinary blog, Mrs Bakemixture), is the only client of mine, to date, who has begun a building project, with absolutely no preference for branded kitchen utilities. But this lack of preference was short lived, once the actual build began. 

Knowing how customer focused Miele are, I thought it would be fun to ask Amanda five questions about her experience with Miele. Amanda thought it would be fun to answer them...

Amanda, baking up a storm...

Q. LeCorbusier, the Swiss German architect from the Modernist era, talked about the house as a 'machine for living'. With you being a semi professional chef as well as facilitating a very busy household, you may recall this phrase coming up, pretty regularly, whilst we were designing your kitchen. Now that you're living in it, what do you love most about your kitchen?


A. My kitchen is the heartbeat of the house and unlike my old one, the energy flows, seamlessly. I know that this doesn't just happen and I remember, discussing with you, at the design stage, that this was my room and I wanted to get it spot on. One of the key things we did, in the beginning, was write down how I used the old kitchen, along with all the things that irritated me, and we sketched out how I would like to use the space.  




As you know, the word 'ergonomics' was never part of my conversational language but it is now! Just yesterday, a friend asked me "how do you keep your kitchen so tidy, I don't even cook like you and mine's a mess?"

"Ergonomics" I replied.  

Project KENT - kitchen progress shots



Back onto what I love: emptying the dishwasher, straight into the draws opposite; having my pans near my cooking space, ready to leap into action; a hob that instantly heats up my old fashioned whistle kettle; a pull out bin to scrap the surface mess into. 



My piece de resistance: the spice drawer you designed, allowing me to see what I have, without opening cupboards. In fact I have probably gone one stage too far, with the spices, by putting them in alphabetical order, but why not! I could go on, but I think you get the gist - it just works.





Q. I remember you had a list of kitchen appliance companies that you carefully researched before making your decision. You were very serious about choosing the best products for the new kitchen. What was your experience of Miele and how did you come to choose their products?

A. I went into the appliance decision making with a completely open mind. I knew making purchases in the past were made for the wrong reasons; availability, price and look and, I didn't want history to repeat itself. The fact that I replaced my ranges every 4 years showed me that I wasn't getting it right. I noticed at my sister's house, her Miele dishwasher, fridge and vacuum cleaner hadn't changed for years. I asked her about them and she said they are built to last so I added them to my list of companies to check out.  

Once I had a short list of companies I spent a few days going up to London to investigate. What immediately struck me about Miele was the breadth and quality of their showroom along with a warm welcome from their staff and the offer of a nice cup of coffee.  I had a rough budget and clear idea of what appliances I needed; a range and a fridge. I asked a lot of questions, was given clear answers and shown various options with no hard selling.  I made an appointment to come back to the store once I had my short list, and purchased the larder fridge, 3 ring induction hob, American sized oven, hod, steam cooker and warming draw. I couldn't quiet stretch to the dishwasher but it's on my wish list!

To round up on my Miele purchasing experience I booked myself into one of the demonstration sessions which meant that I could increase my warranty years cover but, even better, I had a most enjoyable day having a chance to see the products in action and met a friendly group of customers all loving the experience.



Q. A well designed kitchen appliance should work super efficiently (so you don't have to) whilst at the same time 'give good face'. Which of the Miele products do you enjoy using the most - and why?
A. Hard question! It's a toss up between my steam cooker and the American oven. They really do compliment each other, the steamer is such a clever thing. Obviously, it's super healthy as just a steamer but also, as it's a grill, conventional oven, defroster and re-heater, I use all of these functions, regularly.  

The American oven is superb for all my baking and cooking needs, I still get a thrill using the roasting probe, rotisserie and can keep it clean with very little effort using the Pyrolytic setting.  The best thing I did was to throw out the microwave, these two are my working horses.





Q. Whilst I was on BlogTour, Miele treated us to a wonderful evening event where I enjoyed a memorable chat with the effervescent Sherry, who told me that the very first product that Miele ever produced, back in 1901, was the butter churner. Followed shortly, by the washing machine in 1903 - they have very similar mechanisms. What was the first Miele product you ever bought?

A. Until the revamp of the house I didn't own a single Miele appliance but going forward it will be the first place to look.  Ask me again in a years time and I should have the dishwasher closely followed by the washing machine.


Miele know how to show a girl a good night out...


Q. Finally, Amanda, have you seen the latest White range by Miele? (Isn't it gorgeous?!) If you got to do it all, again, are there other products from Miele that you would have bought? 



I like it! Well, you know my plans for the dishwasher, I'm not joking when I say my current one is driving me up the wall.  It seems to have a mind of it's own - maybe it knows the plan so it's rebelling by un-clipping the plate racks and side runners to leave me with a  a vast space that I don't know how to put back together! My kitchen has it's own personality, we work as a team and quite frankly this appliance is not in the same league as Miele.

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 Thank you so much for your time, Amanda - I think I speak for us both, when I say the Miele experience, has been a truly life enhancing one. Thank you Modenus for coming up with the brilliant concept that is BlogTour; it was such a delight to meet the people behind the brands. Above all, thank you Miele for making such wonderful products; you really do set the standard.

How about you, what kitchen appliances do you swear by? And, if you could buy them in a variety of colours, would you? (I would!)

#BlogTourNYC #BlogTour #MieleUSA

Ilse Crawford: the Humancentric Designer

Thursday, 25 April 2013


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She has me at scale and proportion... Just beautiful.

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Love the way the light flows through the space, dancing a different dance, throughout the day...

1_EntranceLounge

Such skillful layering of colour, surfaces areas and pattern...

There are no words for how much I love interior designer's Ilse Crawford's work. Looking at some of the images, she's puts up, online (merely a fraction of what she creates), it feels like coming home, for me. I might as well be looking at old photographs of my beloved grandfather, for the quiet joy, they fill my being.

Do you have a particular designer, or artist, or writer who speaks a language your soul understands? 

Getting to Grips with Du Verre Hardware

Wednesday, 24 April 2013



Anyone who's been reading my blog for a while knows that I prefer to remain autonomous when it comes to products. I only write about products I have, personally, tried and tested and that have pleased me so greatly, that I have to shout it out, or die tryin'...


Last month, I was invited to join BlogTourNYC for a whirlwind trip to meet some of the people behind some of the most dynamic brands in the USA. Although all were based in New York, every brand has an international audience - hence our pretty international group of bloggers.  

It was a fantastic week - I have much to share with you - but what I loved most, were the people I met. Aside from a life enhancing conversation with Veronika Miller, Lori Gilder and Irene Turner, in the back of cab, enroute, I was so taken by how well informed and generously spirited the sponsors were.


One sponsor, in particular; Gina Lubin of Du Verre Hardware, took the time to meet us all, individually. Having been in business for seven years, myself, I was most interested to learn more about the history of Du Verre and what a fascinating history it is.

Gina and Gavin McLean, her founding partner, share a background in architectural glass, retail and furnishings - i.e. they had all bases covered... What I learned was that the reason behind their success is perfectly clear. Being a design led supplier of hardware, they understand the power of narrative. By working with a fantastically diverse range of designers, they invest heavily in the end user experience (much like Apple, do), and what a difference it makes...


As an interior designer - who spends half my life, specifying things for my clients, I was particularly interested to learn that Du Verre Hardware is predominantly made from precision die cast aluminum - which makes shipping a doddle. This process involves some very serious tooling. Die casting produces a high quality and durable casting after which they add finishes to the raw casting by hand. 

Just by looking at them, you can tell how much effort work goes into producing these pieces. What you probably can't tell is how nice they feel, in the hand...


Oh, and all their aluminum is recycled. Now THAT really impresses me.

Too much? [laughs] Probably...


The best thing of all? You can buy any of the above - and more, directly from their website. I love that. To anyone outside the US, you will be pleased to know that these samples where shipped over in a matter of days and I received them just in time for a client presentation. (Do you want to know which ones they picked? You'll have to wait for the next blog post... (coming soon!)

What do you think? Which one appeals to you the most? I love all of the above, but if I HAD TO CHOOSE, it would be... all of the above. Yeah, so kill me...

#BlogTourNYC #BlogTour #DuVerreHardware #Design

BlogTour NYC: The World. Designed.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013



                                                                                            Source: Uploaded by user via Diana on Pinterest


Well, something pretty exciting came up, a couple of weeks ago. I received the most intriguing email from Veronika Miller of Modenus asking me whether I fancied joining BlogTour NYC '13 for an all expenses paid trip to NYC to meet with some of the most exclusive brands supplying - and inspiring, the world of interiors.  As you can imagine, it was a pretty tough decision... 

So, I'll be joining thirteen other design bloggers and designers, from around the world. You may be interested to see who will be there - such an impressive line up, isn't it?


We have a pretty packed out itinerary - yes, we'll be very busy schmoozing with the great and the good from the 19th - 24th March. I'll be blogging pretty regularly, whilst I'm there - there will be so many exciting things going on that I will want to share the experience with you. 

How about you, anything on the horizon you wish to share? 

art deco at your finger tips


Well, well, look at what I just found on eBay... It's it beautiful? Someone in Hungary has got it all going on in the restoration department. What an impressive finish.

I'm curious: have you ever bought something truly special on eBay?

like a hummingbird...

Thursday, 3 January 2013

 

                                                                      simply san-juan 

To the frequent flyers of my blog: you may have noticed, a certain quiet around this part of the woods. I took a break from blogging, whilst I spent time completing projects, traveling abroad and meeting new friends. And now, I'm back, with a new face. I hope you like it...

With 2012 landing nicely on its feet. I am so thrilled to share with you that, in the next few months, we're going to be launching my first boutique range of furniture - all handmade, in London, using 200 year upholstery techniques. This is a long-held dream of mine, and I cannot wait to share more with you - and it's going to be launched in a surprising way...

What is your news? Please, tell me, how have you been and what are you looking forward to?

a thought for the New Year: 2013


 

I love this quote. I wish I'd read it when I first started out in this business because it is so true. Happy New Year, everyone, may your 2013 be light and breezy. x  


“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”


a design assistant's point of view

Monday, 9 January 2012

             Heather Jenkinson Interiors

Hi everyone - I’m Kathryn, Heather’s assistant. I started working for Heather last October, and apart from the fact that we share the same taste in tea ('strong but milky and no sugar, thank you'), what I’ve found most fascinating is seeing how closely Heather works with her clients.

It’s all about collaboration. Remember that classic 90s programme Changing Rooms? Good design works in exactly the opposite way. Giving Laurence Llewelyn Bowen free reign to go mad with MDF may have made for entertaining TV, but back in the real world an interior designer won’t try and impose their aesthetic on your space.

Instead, Heather works hard getting to know her clients. What do they love about their home, and what do they hate? Which pieces of furniture are non-negotiable, and which are they dying to get rid of? Is their home a place to entertain or a relaxing retreat from the world? How do they want their living space to make them feel?


All this information is gathered up before the design work starts. Heather can then add a fresh perspective and some lateral thinking, as well as the experience and ability to see innovative design solutions. That dark poky room can be transformed into a sophisticated reading area. Outdated heirloom furniture can be re-contextualised with the right colour palette and surroundings.



The result is an environment that feels both natural and comfortable to live in. It reflects the clients and their personalities, but in a way they couldn’t have visualised at the beginning of the journey. That’s where the skills lies, and why you might want to hire an interior designer.


Of course, a lot of work goes into interpretation of the client’s ideas. For some practical tips on what to do with two clients that just can’t agree, see Heather’s 2011 interview with the Independent. Or you can read interviews with Heather on Arianna Interiors, and MyDeco for more background.

 
We’d love to know what you think – what’s the best way for designers and clients to work together successfully? 

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(Kathryn used to help run Hidden Art and now, aside from helping keep me sane, she is also the author of a very charming blog called 'Yes, I like that'. I love this post, particularly - isn't she clever?)

UPDATED: Current interior design projects...

Thursday, 8 December 2011


1. Project Primrose: Completion date: December 2011 (8 weeks!) 
 
 all furniture was made bespoke - and designed by us. This 5 drawer console is made out of walnut, leather and brass handles.


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2. Project: Kent:18 months.  Completion date: Jan 2012 (this is a huge project, so much more to come...)




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3. Project Barnes: £private Ongoing


(Wall to wall (ceiling, too!) Penny Black wallpaper in the cloakroom - such a hit!)

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4. Project: Islington:6 months. Completion date: Dec 2011




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5. Project: Middleton Completion: 6 months (and ongoing)

(OK, not such a new one but this project has not been seen yet - brand spanking new website coming in the New Year!)


Hello! We're a little too busy to blog, right now, but how a few project previews? This a tiny collection of the various plates we have spinning but thought you might like to see what we're currently working on... (Who knew that one day Lavender would the hero?!)

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