From beautiful beds for little girls to the pros and cons of the Belfast sink, interior designer Jamie Hempsall answers your questions.
Q: Our 3 year old daughter is ready to move to her first proper bed. She loves all things pink and we want to give her a special place to sleep.
A:Little Lucy Willow has just launched their Jemima Butterfly Bed, the design of which feels incredibly cosy and inviting. I think it could make the perfect environment to transition from cot to bed. The standard upholstery is a Pink Gingham fabric, but you can supply your own fabric for the ultimate bespoke bed. It is finished in a choice of three light paint colours. The bed features two height settings, the first of which is 23cm from floor to slats, so the company considers it ideal for a first bed, but it can grow with your daughter. £645 from www.littlelucywillow.co.uk or call 0846 803 0988.
Alternatively, the Great Little Trading Company has the ‘Dotty Dolls House’ Toddler Bed, which is also low to the ground and features high sides at the pillow end to reassure. The Head and Footboards feature a fetching dolls house roof and window design in pink and blue (from £155; www.gltc.co.uk – 0844 848 6000).
Q:We purchased a good sofa about 10 years ago. The frame is still perfect, but the feather seat cushions are in need of some attention. What would you suggest?
A:The thing about purchasing quality furniture is that it stands the test of time. However, after this period it would definitely benefit from replacing the seat cushions. Any local upholsterer should be able to do this for you at a pretty reasonable price.
If you love the feel of feather, but would like an option that is a little less high maintenance I would point you in the direction of a foam feather wrap cushion. This style has grown in popularity over the last decade and is essentially a foam core with a duvet like wrapping of feather around it. The foam helps the cushion retain structure so needs far less regular fluffing, whilst the feather wrap ensures you still enjoy that all-important luxurious comfort.
Q: We are looking for a Belfast Sink to fit in with our new heritage feel kitchen, but are worried about opting for pot. Are there any alternatives?
A: The traditional Belfast Sink is an incredibly useful size – perfect for dealing with large pans. The pot finish is very attractive, extremely robust and looks good in most environments. The only word of caution is the need to take care when washing up as fragile items (such as glasses) dropped into the water do have a greater propensity to smash; it can take a little getting used to, but is not a major inconvenience.
However, if you want something a little different you might consider a teak sink, which have actually been found in the butler’s pantry in large properties since Victorian times. William Garvey has redesigned the original models with interlocking Teak joints to make them 100% watertight and adapted them for modern plumbing fittings. There is no clatter or breakage and the sinks age beautifully. Prices start at £670 for a single kitchen sink, visit www.williamgarvey.co.uk or call 01404 841430.
Q: Back to school blues? Our son is moving up to Secondary School in September and we want to get him a funky desk to help make homework fun.
For young chaps, an industrial chic desk with its combination of wood and steel should be absolutely perfect. The Blaine Industrial Pine Desk has four drawers and plenty of space for additional storage on the shelves below the desk (£795; www.alexanderandpearl.co.uk – 0208 508 0411).
Alternatively, you make like the Magis Flare Table. The trumpet shaped legs are available in a transparent finish, which you can fill with one of the exotic designs supplied or create your own on a plain set of inserts. Ideal for any budding future David Hockney (£500; www.foundhomestore.co.uk – 01227 277332).
Email your questions
If you have a design dilemma that you would like Jamie Hempsall to answer via this column please write to email@example.com with full details of your query. Answers to reader’s questions are then published in this column each quarter.
Jamie is the winner of UK Best Leisure Interior in the UK Property Awards 2011 in Association with Bloomberg television and a member of both the British Institute of Interior Design and the Society of British Interior Design.