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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Blog Tour NYC 2013: Miele

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.


 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

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Ilse Crawford | A Humancentric Designer


Matbaren restaurant interior in Grand Hôtel in Stockholm, Sweden
Just beautiful.
TwoTwoSix Hollywood Road by Studioilse  TwoTwoSix Hollywood Road by Studioilse

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

Ett Hem hotel by Studioilse 
 Ett Hem hotel by Studioilse

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? 


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

BlogTour NYC: The World. Designed.

                                                                                            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?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

like a hummingbird...


                                                                      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.”

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