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Guest Blog Post by Trilbey Gordon, Head of Interior Design at Londonewcastle

As LL cool J once said.... “Don't call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years”.

Thank goodness carpet has made its comeback! I like rooms to feel a little ‘edgy’, I like intense colours, contrasting textures (lacquer, parchment, raffia) and my preferred scale is oversized.

A wooden floor everywhere just feels a bit soulless and empty. For me the wall colour, the carpet and the lighting are the three most important elements to an overall scheme - they are the foundations of a room. Nowadays carpets have big characters, I am using everything from bold patterns, like the ones in the Timorous Beasties collection to sustainable materials.

Right: Golden Effie by Timorous Beasties for Brintons

I like designing bespoke carpets that are almost 3d, shaggy bits layered on top of smooth, ragged wool fringing around some bits and playing with contrasting textures, adding interest as well as some playfulness.

Although opulence is out of fashion , ‘the new luxury’ is all about craft techniques and tactile immediacy, using contrasting materials. Cleverly combined materials, creatively implemented ideas and simple opulence form a new kind of glamour. Colour blocking and geometric patterns have also been huge recently.

I love these in the new Brintons Perpetual Textures collection. While a piece of art or furniture normally serves as the focal point of a room, I have found that what sits underneath them makes just as much of a statement.

Carpet is my canvas, it serves as a backdrop , the wrong carpet can make or break the whole look. Right now I am using a-lot of deep pile silky shag carpets (yes, Shag is back) in all one colour (usually in jewel tones like deep plums, dark lilacs and navys) to add texture- they feel very decadent.

When a room feels luxurious, it creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. For an upcoming Londonewcastle lobby area we are using a deep pile blue velvety carpet beneath 3 huge Venini chandelier’s by Carlo Scarpa. I always use a statement making carpet on entrance hall staircases. I love a bold staircase!

Right: Perpetual Textures Layered Herringbone

By adding a geometric or patterned design, you instantly make the staircase a focal point. If I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for then I’m well known for torturing my poor carpet fitters by cutting up rugs or different offcuts of patterned carpet and placing a different piece and design on each individual stair…it's time consuming but the effect is stunning.

I also like to give a nod to the spirit of the Mods by using graphic black and white striped carpets.

Why Wool is Best

The wool from 1 in 9 British Sheep ends up in a Brintons carpet  - Source British Wool

Wool carpets are known for their quality because wool is naturally tough, giving you luxury that lasts for longer.

British Wool tells us the science behind this amazing fibre.

It might be pouring with rain, snowing, windy or beautifully sunny – whatever the weather, you’ll always see sheep grazing happily in the British countryside. And that’s thanks to their clever wool coats, which protect them in all weathers!

Wool is an amazing natural fibre. Composed of proteins, its complexity provides many features and benefits that man-made fibres could never replicate, offering complete flexibility and superior performance characteristics.

It’s fire retardant. Wool is difficult to ignite due to high water and nitrogen content. If you hold a match to wool, it will smoulder and then go out. It doesn’t melt, drip or give out poisonous fumes. And this means it’s considered one of the safest fibres for flooring and fabrics – the perfect choice for the family home.

Wool is an incredibly complex natural fibre, which means natural attributes that plastic fibres just can’t match. Wool has a left and right handed helix at its core, which works likes a spring, meaning it can continuously resist pressure and flattening. It can be bent many thousands of times and still spring back! And this is why British wool is such a great fibre in carpets.

Wool’s natural oils and scaled structure trap dust and dirt at the top layers of the fibre, so it couldn’t be easier to keep clean with a quick vacuum around! The scales on wool are another amazing feature - they cause liquids to bead up and stay on the surface, helping to keep wool stain free. So if you’re quick, that red wine won’t leave a single mark!

Wool is grown naturally on sheep. They live on and from the land, roaming freely in the countryside, and re-grow their fleece every year. This is in direct contrast to synthetic fibres, which need oil and refineries to be produced. Sheep grow wool continuously, and can be shorn every 9-12 months, meaning wool is rapidly and readily available. As long as there is grass for sheep to eat, wool can be produced.

Wool contributes to healthier air indoors by helping to absorb pollutants, like VOC’s, from the air. Allergens, such as dust, are also trapped in the outer scales at the top layer of the fibre, so instead of floating around and aggravating allergies, they can simply be vacuumed away.

Interested in finding out more?

Follow @BritishWool on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Q&A With Ruth Crilly of A Model Recommends

Not everyone is brave enough to endure such a bold striking pattern in their house but Ruth Crilly from 'A Model Recommends' fell in love with our Timorous Beasties range as soon as she saw it. We chat with her about it...

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Ruth Crilly, I’m a full-time beauty and lifestyle writer and vlogger under the name “A Model Recommends”. I’ve been blogging for over eight years and before that I was an international fashion model for over a decade. I’ve been with my husband, who’s a fashion and portrait photographer, for fifteen years and I’m now a Mum to a three year old girl and one year old boy. We live in rural Somerset with our dog and house cat in a Georgian country house.

What was the inspiration for this room? Have you had to adapt your personal style and design choices to be sympathetic to the period of property you are in?

Well, it’s still very much a blank canvas really – the carpet does all the talking and so I’m working out what will showcase it and not fight for attention. I love that the room has so many gorgeous architectural features so it really doesn’t need a lot else – I want it to feel smart but cosy, elegant but lived-in. The piano will stay here and the books are all moving in, so it’s a matter of finding the right seating. My husband has to constantly remind me that it’s a family home and not a magazine spread so we have little to-dos about my furniture choices and I like to do the same about his choices, so I imagine we’ll still be deciding next year! At least the carpet is incredible – we like to come in and sit on the floor!!

What appealed about the Noir Ruskin Butterfly design?

It’s just magical. Like an illustration from a story book. But a dark one. There’s something very enticing and provocative about the colours and the design and although it’s a massive statement, it makes the room feel very comfortable and less formal and straight than it did before.

How have you found decorating the rest of the room given the carpet makes such a strong statement.

Still working on that one – I think that with a pattern as strong as this, you start with the carpet and put in your furniture and then decorate last. If you’ve got a neutral carpet then it’s not so much of a consideration but with a strong pattern I think that you need to keep everything else quite subdued. In a way it’s far less work! Though I’d like the walls to be a warmer tone, now, so I can see that they’ll get a repaint at some point. I’ll keep you updated!

What home accessory could you not live without?

Apart from carpet? Mirrors. I love how they can completely change a room – bounce light around, increase the sense of space, add interest to a previously boring wall…

Is there a restaurant or hotel whose design you particularly like/admire?

Yes, there's a hotel in Surrey called The Aviator and it’s next to a private airfield so you watch the planes taking off and landing through the triple-glazed, sound-proofed windows. It’s very modern, very smart and has some incredible design features, like the main staircase. I think that hotel greatly influenced our last renovation, actually. I suppose I should think of hotels that I’ve drawn inspiration from for our Georgian house; I like the comfortable style at Babington, I love the pictures that people take of the Artist Residence hotels, the Endsleigh in Devon is beautiful… I have to say though that my friend Miles has the most incredible house in Cheltenham and his taste is impeccable, so every time he posts an Instagram photo I zoom in to see how he’s decorated!

Pantone Colour of the Year 2019

Pantone have announced their colour of the year as PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral. An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.

"Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment."

Pantone says the shade was selected in reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media which is increasingly embedded into daily life. Sociable and spirited, they believe the engaging nature of this colour welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Optimistic and joyful the tone embodies our desire for playful expression.

We've already seen a resurgence in pink tones for interiors so it feels like peachy shades will become the new 'millennial pink' as we move into 2019. While unlikely to be a popular choice for floors we can see it complementing grey and cream shades of carpet perfectly.

Christmas styling ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year so we thought we’d take a look at some different ideas for styling your home for Christmas....

Simple Chic

A contemporary option is to go for a neutral and minimal theme. Tonal decorations in complimentary colours make a sophisticated but stylish statement with clean lines and natural details giving this look a slightly Nordic feel. The key to this interior theme is to always opt for simplicity and make the whole scheme look effortless. Choosing to have fewer items when decorating for Christmas stops the room looking like a grotto and draws attention to key pieces like the tree. Doing this allows you to be really selective and invest in luxurious items that look beautiful and unique. Accents such as the brown paper wrap presents with twine ties and leafy green labels are classy but unassuming too.

Cosy Classic

A stone walled space could easily look quite cold and detached but by including a patterned carpet, contemporary furniture and using metallic accessories to pull it all together it becomes timeless and cosy. The pale wood bench has been dressed for the season with fur, candles and brass accents to update the look while keeping a traditional homely feel. Our Abbotsford Heather Kilgour was used to add cosiness and warmth, something that plaid carpets are perfect for, hence why they are one of the most popular patterns for floors. The great thing with choosing this style for Christmas is that it can easily be mixed, matched and added to as the season unfolds, creating just the right mood you need when entertaining friends and family.

Winter Wonderland

Christmas is a special time of year but you don’t necessarily need to have fairy lights and decorations hanging from the ceilings to create a magical feel. When Jordan and Russell from 2LG styled this room they had only just started their renovations but wanted to create a lounge area with a wow factor. Our Timorous Beasties Midnight Grain du Bois carpet looks great here and adds colour to an otherwise plain space. Glass candlesticks and gold framed paintings added some interest and splendour for the Christmas season was given to the faded backdrop with a giant real tree. It was dressed simply with trailing ivy and white dressmaking fringe to provide interest and glamour. When the greenery looks like this you really don’t need much else!

When it comes to festive decorating you can afford to experiment and be completely over the top with colour, pattern and even novelty accessories. As long as your Christmas styling takes influence from the existing decor and reflects your personality it will work for you.

Q&A With Ruth Crilly of A Model Recommends

We love to see what inspires people to choose Brintons. Ruth Crilly from 'A Model Recommends' talks to us about her latest renovations and why she chose Timorous Beasties carpet for her home.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Ruth Crilly, I’m a full-time beauty and lifestyle writer and vlogger under the name “A Model Recommends”. I’ve been blogging for over eight years and before that I was an international fashion model for over a decade. I’ve been with my husband, who’s a fashion and portrait photographer, for fifteen years and I’m now a Mum to a three year old girl and one year old boy. We live in rural Somerset with our dog and house cat in a Georgian country house.

How would you describe your style?

In terms of fashion – and probably interiors too – I’m quite understated and classic, but I enjoy the odd splash of print and colour. Before falling in love with our Georgian house, we were very into mid century modern and completely renovated a seventies house that was on stilts next to a river. The Georgian thing has been a bit of a change! But I still love clean lines and simple, elegant shapes. I don’t like a lot of clutter, but when you have a small family there’s no point battling the mess!

How has your home needed to evolve as the family has changed and grown?

Well, we started off with glass coffee tables and amazing vintage things and then gradually started swapping over to sturdier, chunkier things that wouldn’t potentially cause accidents! Our main concerns seem to be safety and comfort, so it’s more of a challenge trying to keep any sort of sense of stylishness. The kids climb over furniture, accidentally scrape sharp objects along the paintwork and generally cause havoc so I can’t have anything that we need to be TOO precious over. Or if it’s precious then it needs to be workable and durable.

What made you choose carpet?

We both hate wooden floors! I know that’s controversial, and we’ve kept one that was exposed upstairs, but the racket from things falling on wooden floors! The sound of shoes trip-trapping on them! It drives me mad! Add to this the fact that in our house you could actually FEEL the draught coming up through the gaps in the floorboards and carpet was a no-brainer. Our whole house was carpeted before this, and the one before that too, pretty much. I mean I’d never carpet a kitchen/utility or bathroom and maybe not a dining room because the floor needs to be wipeable but everywhere else is fair game. I’d probably carpet the walls if given half a chance.

We wanted an amazing, striking pattern. The rooms are big, and plain colour just felt like a sea of carpet and very blank, so when we saw the Timorous Beasties collection we were quite wowed. Pattern is also great with kids because they drop absolutely everything on the floor and if you can hide at least some of the accidents then you’re doing well. It’s quite a nervewracking thing to go for pattern, but the pay-off is amazing.

What are your main sources of inspiration for your home?

I love old, grand country houses – comfortable ones with log fires and slightly battered furniture – but I also can’t shake my love of modernist design, so I suppose I constantly look at both and try to find ways of mixing them. So far I’ve done more looking than buying because I’ve been known to make the odd mistake with impulse buying and I’m taking it slowly!

What was the last piece of homeware you bought?

The Noir Ruskin Butterfly carpet for what is going to be a family room/library. I say library because it sounds pleasingly grand but really it’s a couple of walls of books!

Q&A with Kim Stead from Twool

Brintons are proud to be British wool's single biggest user, and work closely with organisations and like minded brands to raise awareness about the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool.

As it's Wool Week we caught up with Kim Stead (AKA "Mrs Twool") and asked her more about her business  'Twool'....

What is Twool?

Sustainable garden twine, woolly bags, hats and dog leads made from the wool of rare-breed Whiteface Dartmoor sheep using British heritage manufacturing.

Where did the idea come from?

The origins of twool start with the frustration of rotting jute twine on raspberry canes in our Dartmoor facing garden. There are 27 million gardeners in the UK and we import over 3000 tonnes of jute in from Asia every year. Wool is an under-used natural resource and was a natural choice for developing a sustainable and ethically responsible all British garden twine.

Why is the rare breed Whiteface Dartmoor sheep important?

This rare-breed has been on the moor since Anglo-Saxon times. They're a big sheep, make good mothers and the most glorious long 'lustre' wool fleece. Declining numbers saw breeding ewes fall to under 1000. Making a use for the wool and a route to market for the farmers, twool hope to be a part of the story of the future for the Whiteface Dartmoor.

What has been your favourite ‘Twool’ moment so far?

It's been a rollercoaster sort of journey, but the highs include our first ever RHS Chelsea Flower Show back in 2013 when, in our inaugural year, we were made finalists for Chelsea Garden Product of the Year. The reality of making the twine and the recognition of others acknowledging the product is something that I will never forget. I'm so proud, because we had the backing and sponsorship of the British Wool Marketing Board and brands like Brintons showcased on our stand too!

What made you choose Brintons?

Fabulous wool carpets! The quality of Brintons, it's history of working with wool and the synergy between their working ethos and ours made them the natural choice when looking for carpets. We've been so lucky and proud that Brintons have sponsored our show stands by supplying gorgeous carpets that complement our product range so perfectly – they really do finish our stand to the highest of standards.

Which is your favourite room in your own home?

Woolly HQ – it's where all the ideas are generated and being able to work at home on Dartmoor is inspiration in itself.

Explain your interiors style to us.

Wool, wood and natural fibres, usually inspired by the natural surrounding of living on Dartmoor.

Inspired by Laura Ashley - Guest blog

Thinking of giving your home a new look but don’t know where to start? The Laura Ashley design service is a fantastic (and affordable) way to inspire you. Their creative designers can give you valuable advice on an existing scheme in your home you might want to freshen up or if you‘re doing a complete renovation/revamp they can advise you all the way through your project.

We asked Kay Cullen, one of the designers at Laura Ashley, to create some inspired schemes from their new range which work seamlessly with the Laura Ashley Carpet Collection:

Florals never really go out of style, and we continue to be inspired by them at Laura Ashley. This season they’re back with a twist. From delicate romantic prints to the contemporary stylised block print leaf, the designs all come in lovely tones to cheer us up this Autumn.

The Malmaison Linen carpet is a favourite of ours from the collection and it’s perfect to use when creating a traditional yet glamourous interior. It complements most florals and in this scheme we have chosen to team it with pale gold paint for an opulent feel and a feature wallpaper in Lilium grey green for a smart, elegant look. The scheme is kept fresh with a contrast of grey green and pretty lighting.

For a more contemporary look we have used the ever popular tones of grey and given a bright injection of contrast in raspberry/pink. The Bell Twist carpet in Steel allows the bolder elements of this scheme to stand out (such as the quirky toucan lamp) while adding a bit of luxury feel underfoot. Laura Ashley have a wide range of upholstered furniture and accessories that help to complete the look.

Whatever your style, the Laura Ashley Design Service is perfect for interpreting ideas and vision into reality to create a beautiful interior. Our experienced designers cover all regions of the UK, Ireland and Europe and will work with you to make the process as easy as possible. They bring along all wallpaper, fabric and carpet samples so you can start creating your scheme together!

Inspired by Dulux Colour of the Year

Dulux have revealed ‘Spiced Honey’ as their colour of the year for 2019. A departure from the grey and lilac themes that have been everywhere of late, we were quite pleased to see caramel tones making a comeback. These shades are perfect to create a warm and cosy room and turn your home into a peaceful and relaxing space.

Dulux’s ‘colour of the year’ is decided by an expert panel of colour designers, design specialists, trend forecasters, architects and editors from around the world who join together to discuss what we increasingly need from the spaces around us. Capturing a universal theme, they suggest a colour that they believe embodies the mood of the moment and will be popular in the year ahead.

Dulux says “As we move forward into 2019, we find this pause has given people time to re-energise and deal with the sense of unpredictability with positive action, optimism and purpose. If the unpredictability of last year forced people to retreat and regroup, 2019 is the time for their awakening. We are ready to “Let in the Light”. This palette is about creating a home where we can surround ourselves with the people and things we love – and also where we can be kind to ourselves. It’s about having somewhere to enjoy time with friends, neighbours and family."

'Spiced Honey' has been identified as a colour that can complement richly pigmented shades like terracottas and reds but work equally well with neutrals too. If you would love to incorporate this colour into your floor then take a look at our carpet selector to see similar tones.

Brintons wins at the National Flooring Innovation Awards

The winners have been announced in the National Flooring Innovation Awards 2018 which sets out to identify products and services that are genuinely new and exceptional within the flooring sector.

We are excited to have been recognised with two prestigious awards:

Marketing - Bring your home to life with Brintons Carpets

“A stunning, room-size 3D model landscape was built from multiple carpet ranges illustrating the breadth of colour and texture of Brintons’ portfolio. The model was centre-stage at the Harrogate Flooring Show in 2017 and led advertising and creative campaigns throughout 2018.”

Design - Perpetual Textures

“A new woven axminster range with eight sophisticated and understated contemporary patterns taking inspiration from natural fibres and textures. Clever texturing techniques including mottles, striés and fades add to the appeal.”

Awards scheme organiser Bridgette Kelly commented: “The first year of the scheme has been a phenomenal success with far more submissions than even we expected and exceptional quality across the board. This industry has an appetite for innovation and that is clearly a strong factor in securing future success.”

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