Featured Posts, Inspiration

Utility Follows : Oliver Hooson

17th September 2017

In Conversation with OLVH

In terms of interiors, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in attitudes in recent years. A new wave of young (and not-so-young) creatives have popped up and are blurring the lines between fashion, interiors and product design. They view these not as separate entities but as part of a uniformed “lifestyle”.

Whether it’s influenced by the rise of the micro blogger, the increase in popularity of streetwear in high fashion or the behemoth lifestyle trend ‘Hygge‘ – there is no denying that this growing group are giving more thought to the product they own and the design processes behind them.

One such person is Utility friend, fashion blogger, jewellery designer and all round style guy Oliver Hooson. Following his recent purchase of a Vitra Nelson Bench from Utility, we caught up with Oliver to chat about what it takes for him to part with his hard earned cash.

 

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Utility : It’s probably safe to say that you’re best known for your impeccable taste in menswear but it’s becoming evident that your design eye sees beyond clothing. What is it you consider in a piece, before parting with your hard earned cash?

Oliver : Heritage. I would say the history and journey behind somebody’s work would be the biggest factor in me wanting to invest or not. 

Utility : In terms of aesthetics, how would you describe your home interior style compared to your taste in clothing.

Oliver : Well in honesty, I had fallen into the cliche ‘scandi’ title when I would say I definitely take more influence from the Japanese and their take on minimalism, feng shui, form & function. I like to think this is evident through with my everyday preferences- clothes, living space and inventory essentials.

Utility : You’ve mentioned before that your goal is to one day replace your replica furniture pieces with originals. Why is this important to you?

Oliver : I would like to think that these pieces will stay with me through my lifetime now and I need to know that they will stand the test of time and two, because I have grown a respect for the designers and manufactures which I feel now that I have the cash i can honour.

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The Vitra Nelson Bench was designed in 1946 by George Nelson. The clean straight lines of the table / bench reflect the designers architectural background and it’s versatility allows the Nelson Bench to fit seamlessly into modern applications. 70 years after being designed, it’s great to see that the Nelson Bench has slotted into Oliver’s daily home life so effortlessly.

You can find the Vitra Nelson bench on our website here.

It’s always great catching up with Oliver and it’s great to see our hometown buddy doing well. We highly suggest you head over to his Instagram account and check out what he’s been getting up to – last we heard he was jetting back from America to work with Saville Row’s tailoring big guns, Hardy Amies.

You can find Oliver on Instagram here.

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Psst…Did we mention that we’re nominated? We’d be super grateful if you could take the time to vote for us. You can vote here.

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Time for more? Best Interiors on Instagram | Hygge: The Art of Danish happiness | Utility Follows – Kate Baxter of FabricofmyLife

Image Credit: Oliver Hooson

Featured Posts, Inspiration

Utility Follows | Kate Baxter – Fabric of my LIfe

8th September 2017

If you’re a regular reader of the Utility Design Blog then you’ll know that our ‘Utility Follows’ series kicked off last week when we sat down with Liverpool based interior designer Natalie Holden. Staying in the North West, this week we caught up with Manchester based Kate Baxter from the award nominated interiors, lifestyle & travel blog ‘Fabric of my Life‘.

Kate started Fabric of My Life back in 2009 and has been using it as a platform to share her favourite visual imagery, design ideas, thoughts and musings ever since. Rather than us explaining it further, you can read what Kate had to say about that, her design preferences and more below…

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What inspired you to start blogging?

I started my blog in May 2009 when I was a freelance styling assistant working with UK publications such as Elle Decoration, Living etc and Wallpaper*. Having spent all day assisting other stylists with their creative vision, I wanted to create my own little corner of cyberspace to devote to discovering my own interior passions and personal sense of style.

How would you describe Fabric of my Life?

Over the years it has evolved from what was essentially a pre-Pinterest pinboard into a more editorially led curation of my favourite design finds from around the world with an increasing focus on lifestyle, incorporating food, travel and fashion as well as interiors. I’ve always described it as an online scrapbook of inspiration; a place where I can hoard all my favourite visual imagery, design ideas, thoughts and musings into one big magpie’s nest.

How would you describe your personal style, in your home?

If I have to apply a style reference to my home decor I’d refer to it as ‘scandi-boho’. The foundations (i.e. furniture pieces) are fairly sleek and minimal in design, and I then dress them up with a more casual, relaxed array of textiles, decorative and found objects.

Does your interior style extend to other areas of your life? (Your wardrobe, the places you visit etc?)

I’d say that 90% of the time you’ll find me in denim and stripes, with a flash of chunky gold jewellery. I tend to buy style staples from brands such as Cos, Samsøe & Samsøe and & Other Stories and generally just rotate my jeans and tees on a daily basis! I guess my wanderlust sensibilities follow a similar ‘urban with a hint of boho vibe’; I generally plan packed weekend city breaks to places like Stockholm, Copenhagen or Antwerp, then crave a sun-seeker relaxing escape to a hotel resort like Casa Cook in Rhodes for a total recharge. My all-time fave holiday was a 2-week jaunt travelling around Cuba in 2011 though – I can’t wait to plan a trip back there soon!

Are there any interior trends that make you shudder?

There have been a few Pantone colours of the year recently that have definitely made me shudder (there was nothing radiant about that orchid!), and generally anything that is too floral or flouncy is a turn-off for me.. also: heavy window dressings, an excess of decorative pillows on the bed, and too many clashing colour palettes. I might like a little bohemian flair, but it needs to be restrained and coordinated!

If you could have just one product from Utility, what would it be?

I’m after a reading chair at the moment and the Woud Nakki 1-seater looks to be the perfect mix of sleek minimal design and spacious comfy seat in which to snuggle up with a good book in hand!

Are there any Instagram accounts that you love and think we should be following?

Oh – so many! Instagram is an endless source of inspiration, but current faves include :

@saori.style 
@d097
@allthatshecraves
@borrowed_salt.

Finally, we’d like to do some reading over lunch – which of your recent blog articles should we start with?
My most popular post of late shared my five fave design stores in my new hometown (Manchester), and I’m excited to continue sharing my design and lifestyle finds as I explore my new local neighbourhood further.

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Thanks so much to Kate for taking to time to answer our questions. We highly suggest that you take a look at her website and link up with Kate on social media. Let us know what you think.

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Psst…Did we mention that we’re nominated? We’d be super grateful if you could take the time to vote for us. You can vote here.

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Time for more? Best Interiors on Instagram | Hygge: The Art of Danish happiness | How to Declutter your home

Header Image Credit: Alexander Ward

Events, Featured Posts

Amara Blog Awards | Utility Votes

1st September 2017

Here are the accounts who’ve got our vote this year.

The voting has opened for the annual Amara Interior Blogger Awards and there are some absolutely fantastic blogs nominated. We’re extremely grateful to have actually been nominated ourselves – in the Best Company Blog category.

Since we’re forever sharing our favourite interiors from creatives on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, we thought we’d also share who we’re voting for this year. With so many great blogs to choose from, it hasn’t been an easy decision. We’d like to wish all the nominees the best of luck and hopefully we’ll see many of you at the awards night. Here are the blogs getting our vote in the 2017 Amara Interior Award.

Our votes go to…

Best Colour Inspiration – Emma Jane Palin ( Visit Blog Here )

Best Interior Magazine – Wallpaper* ( Visit Blog Here)

Best Design Inspiration Blog – Hannah In The House( Visit Blog Here ) Cate St Hill( Visit Blog Here ) Design Hunter ( Visit Blog Here )

Best Interior Lifestyle Blog – Nor-Folk ( Visit Blog Here ) Fabric of my Life ( Visit Blog Here ) Lust Living ( Visit Blog Here )

Best Interior Designer – Natalie Holden ( Read our interview hereVisit Blog Here ) Simply Grove ( Visit Blog Here ) SD Interior ( Visit Blog Here )

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Such is the strength of the competition, we’re still unable to whittle our vote down to one per category. We’re off to read some more of each and even if we can’t decide on our winner, we’re sure we’ll enjoy the process!

Who are you voting for?

Psst…Did we mention that we’re nominated? We’d be super grateful if you could take the time to vote for us. You can vote here.

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Time for more? Best Interiors on Instagram | Hygge: The Art of Danish happiness | How to Declutter your home

Post

What’s In Our Backpack? | Back To School Guide

31st August 2017

School Bag Essentials

The sun is setting on another Summer holiday season. Are you preparing for University or getting the kids ready for term time? Take the sting out of going back to school by getting your school bag essentials at the ready. Wondering what to put in your/their backpack for the first day? We’ve got every base covered – check out our back to school check list below.

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Notebook

1. A5 COLOUR BLOCK  – CANDY PINK 2. BAN.DO 17 MONTH CLASSIC AGENDA  3. DESIGNWORKS INK WISHES & WHIMSY 4. BAN.DO  – I AM VERY BUSY 5. DESIGNWORKS INK WORDS OF WONDER 6. DESIGNWORKS INK CHARCOAL  7. BAN.DO 17 MONTH AGENDA 8. DESIGN LETTERS PERSONAL NOTEBOOK 9. HAY LINE DOT NOTEBOOKS 

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Pens & Pencils

1. UNICORN LIQUID PENCIL CASE 2. GEMMA CORRELL PENCIL CASE 3. HAY ZIP IT WALLETS  4. MAGICAL UNICORN PENCIL CASE 5. KAWECO CLASSIC SPORT ROLLERBALL SET 6. ANIMAL SAFARI PENCIL SET 7. 3-IN-1 PEN TOOL 8. HAY BULLET PEN 9. BAN.DO COMPLIMENTS PENCIL SET 10. SET OF 24 ECO PENCILS 11. OH K! TWO COLOUR BALLPOINT PEN

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Desk Accessories

1. OH K! MINI SCENTED ERASERS 2. UNICORN PENCIL HOLDER 3. GEMMA CORRELL DANCING PUG TAPE 4. MT TAPE 5. GEMMA CORRELL PUG POST IT NOTES 6. UNICORN TAPE DISPENSER 7. OH K! MINI PASTEL HIGHLIGHTERS 8. OH K! STICKY NOTES 9. UNICORN DECISION MAKER PEN

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Lunch Time

1. SUNNYLIFE LUNCH BOX – PINEAPPLE 2. SUNNYLIFE LUNCH BOX – FLAMINGO 3. BOX APPETIT LUNCH BOX 4. CHILLY’S BOTTLE 260ML 5. GEMMA CORRELLWATER BOTTLE 6. BOX APPETIT STEEL THERMO FLASK 7. SUNNYLIFE ECO LUNCH BOX – WATERMELON 8. BOTTLE WITH FRUIT PISTON 9.  MINI SUPOON 10. BAN.DO WATER BOTTLE – AFTER THIS WE’RE GETTING PIZZA 11. BOX APPETIT EAU GOOD  WATER BOTTLE

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Have we missed anything? We’re always on the look out for great gifting ideas to add to our product catalogue. If you can think of anything just let us know!

Time for more? Best Interiors on Instagram | Hygge: The Art of Danish happiness | How to Declutter your home

Featured Posts, Utility Follows

Utility Follows | Natalie Holden : Interior Designer

27th August 2017

We love the fact that design inspiration is now more accessible and readily available than ever before. We regularly check in with our favourite online creatives and we’re happy to be discovering new influences daily. In our newest blog series ‘Utility Follows’ we’ll be sharing with you our favourite sources of inspiration.

To kick off series we’ve not had to look far as like us, interior designer and blogger Natalie Holden calls Liverpool home. With her blog currently nominated for ‘Best Interior Designer Blog’ in Amara’s prestigious Interior Blog Awards we thought it was about time for a catch up. We recently caught up with Natalie to talk about her design processes, influences and personal style.

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What inspired you to get into interior design?
I don’t think I ever really knew what I wanted to be when I was growing up, I just knew that I loved art and hated all the academic subjects like maths! My
mum always encouraged me to draw and make things as a child, so I think she was probably the inspiration for choosing a design based career. I kind of fell into Interior Design because it sounded like the most sensible University degree option out of all the creative subjects!

Where do you start when decorating a room?
I normally start with the most expensive item in the room and then work around that. For example, if I’m designing a living room, I will look at sofas initially and go through a process of elimination with all the different brands available. You can start to narrow down the options using these three simple steps.

How would you describe your own personal style, in your home?

I like an eclectic mix of old and new. I love mixing second hand upcycled furniture with bold statement designer style pieces. By budgeting on certain pieces
of second hand furniture, it allows me to spend a bit more on luxury items in my home. You can make something old look brand new by giving it a lick of paint so that it matches perfectly with your colour scheme!

I’m a big believer that your home should tell the story of who you are and what you love. I tend to bring home things from my travels to decorate my home with and I like to think outside the box with my interior, so if like the look of something, I always try to think “is there another way I can use this…other than the most obvious choice?”. In other words, I keep an open mind and don’t just look in interior shops for my home.

Are there any interior trends that make you shudder?

I really dislike the blingy look with crushed velvet, mirrored furniture and diamontes! I think it looks over the top and can often look cheap. I don’t really follow trends and I think you should only buy things if you like it, not just because Elle Decoration or Living Etc is telling you it’s the latest trend.

If you could have just one product from Utility, what would it be?

That’s such a hard question; I would buy everything in Utility if I could because it’s my favourite shop! If I had to pick one item, I’d probably choose the New Works Juliet Pendant Light for my kitchen/diner because that’s the room I’m designing at the moment in my new Victorian terraced house. I love the simplicity of the design! You can follow the journey of my home renovation project on my blog.

Are there any Instagram accounts that you love and think we should be following?

I’m going to give some love to the Northerners!

@n_h_interiors – My blog instagram!
@madebyhaybeno
@interiordesigncollective
@swoonworthyblog
@houseofsloane_uk

Have you got a favourite project that you’ve worked on?

I worked on a triplex penthouse apartment in Mann Island a few years ago. It was such a challenging job working with space restrictions, limited access and awkward angled rooms, however the project was so much fun and the views were impressive overlooking the three graces on Liverpool waterfront.

Finally, we’d like to do some reading over lunch – which of your recent blog articles should we start with?

Diary Dates: Essential Home & Design Events To Visit This Year

House Project: I’m Fed Up; Why Is Getting A Mortgage So Laborious?! 

The Evolution Of An Interior

 

 

 

Time for more? Best Interiors on Instagram | Hygge: The Art of Danish happiness | How to Declutter your home