Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Festive fragrance guide

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The aromas of winter are one of the best parts of this time of year and there is an ever-growing market for home fragrance options in the scents we love to be surrounded with over the Christmas season. Traditional cinnamon and pine are now blended with more tantalising notes to create new and inviting scents as Emily Bird offers her Christmas fragrance guide.

Christmas spice
Perhaps the most classic of festive fragrances. Traditionally cinnamon and clove have ruled the roost, however, as the industry has grown, fragrances have evolved for more discerning tastes. Cinnamon and clove are still keynotes, with more spices such as ginger, cardamom and the ancient Christmas elements of frankincense and myrrh now seen more frequently. These notes are frequently paired with woods or musk to create a rich, refined fragrance full of winter warmth.

Festive forest
Woody notes of pine or spruce have long been firm Christmas favourites thanks to their link to the smell of fresh Christmas trees, either crisp and light or hearty and rich depending on the wood. Pine, spruce and fir tend to offer that classic Christmas tree scent with its crisp undertones, however, log fire inspired scents which are gaining in popularity tend to have rich base notes of cedar, sandalwood and rosewood. Woody notes are excellent as standalone scents or are often used as warm bases to ground other notes. They can be perfectly paired with fruity, spicy or sweet notes to add a sumptuous, sophisticated air to any fragrance.

Sparkling fruits
Fruit and Christmas go hand in hand, from the orange in stockings on Christmas morning, to the candied fruits in Christmas puddings and mince pies. The key fruit is orange as it has long been a symbol of the season and gives any scent a seductive tang. Often found alongside festive spices, fruits add a fresh, juicy hint to traditional seasonal scents, which can be overbearing. Other popular fruits such as berries and citrus fruits such as lemons and mandarins all offer tartness, which is again refreshing rather than overly sweet. A perfect choice for those that love invigorating scents year round, but still want a festive touch for a home fragrance as winter sets in.

Fresh and frosty

In response to a need for fresh festive scents for those that dislike the classic spicy, woody aromas, there has been an influx of fragrances best described as frosty. Reminiscent of freshly fallen snow that glitters in pale winter sunlight, these frost-filled fragrances are often infused with notes of Scandinavian wood, fresh citrus and cool mint. Also becoming increasingly popular are notes of white wine and prosecco which add a sparkling edge to these Christmas scents making them ideal for parties and gatherings. Delicate florals can also be utilised to achieve the desired frosty effect and are perfect for floral fragrance lovers to transition into the winter months.

Sugary sweet
For every person that loathes sugary sweet home fragrances, there is another who simply can’t get enough of them. To cater for those of us with a sweet tooth, there are numerous sweet fragrances to fill the home with scents reminiscent of our favourite puddings and pastries. From classic vanilla notes to warm caramel, these scents are delightfully buttery at the base and many notes are combined with spices to form fragrant representations of favourite sweet treats. Fabulous for kitchens or dining rooms as the dessert course is served, they will infuse the home with sumptuous sweetness this Christmas.

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This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Winter sparkle

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers not to ignore the garden in winter, but to take the opportunity to fill in gaps and enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Good gardens evolve with time and through the seasons, and they become much more open and transparent in winter, once leaves have fallen and been replaced by bare stems and empty gaps. At this time of year a garden really needs its backbone of shrubs and trees – from coloured stems and bark to the reassuring presence of evergreen ‘cushions’. But now is also a good time to take stock of what is there, to savour those often hidden sparkling treasures, and also to establish whether the gaps that have emerged are not too big, leaving the garden too bare and exposed in winter months.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 20.30.19Subtle leaf forms and textures are key in winter, when most flowers are long gone. Image courtesy of Alladio Sims Garden and Landscape Design Ltd, Surrey private garden, 2016

Amongst the surprises that the garden brings at this time of year are the minute frosty crystals sparkling on leaves and stems that shine gloriously on early frosty December mornings.

Dissected and whole leaves catch the frost better than anything else, trapping sparkling crystals in the multitude of tiny nooks and crannies on their surface. Plants such as Alchemilla Mollis, Salvia Argentea or Melianthus Major will undoubtedly steal the show for a few magic days before finally dying down or becoming less prominent for the rest of winter.

Winter gardens bring unexpected surprises for the other senses too, scent in particular being key among winter flowering plants and so well worth a place in any good garden design plan.

One of the joys of visiting RHS Garden Wisley on an early winter morning has always been the walk up Battleston Hill and the sensation of suddenly being hit by the heady sweet perfume of a distant Daphne, tucked away in a sheltered and shady spot sometimes a good few metres away.

Sarcococcas (Sweet Box) is another great shrub for this time of the year, with aromatic honeyed cream flowers creating a cloud of perfume each time someone passes. One would not want to be without them and so we always encourage clients to find a sheltered and shady space for at least one specimen, or better still, we position them by an entrance or a gate, perfect for that welcome back home.

Another fond memory from RHS Garden Wisley is the Paper Bush – Edgeworthia Chrysantha – a truly spectacular sight in the midst of winter, this is a shrub covered in clusters of wholly white and yellow flowers, much like a string of Christmas lights, that light up even the darkest of days. An added bonus is its leaves too, very exotic and architectural once the flowers have disappeared.

Adding to the list of sparkling beauties in the winter garden are Mahonias, despite the love-hate relationship they have always seemed to spark. But how could one resist their yellow plume of early December flowers followed by a cascade of long lasting damson-coloured berries? And if the spiky large specimen is simply too much, then why not settle for its new, smaller cousins, such as Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, with pretty dissected leaves surprisingly thorn free. This is a wonderfully architectural plant with a strong presence that should be worthy of any garden.

In the open gaps under the bare canopies of deciduous summer shrubs and among dormant leafy perennials now is the time to discover the little unsung heroes of the winter garden – candid Cyclamen Hederifolium flowers and the clear, pale blue flowers of Iris Unguicularis, reminiscent of a winter’s sky, the recumbent and discreet flowers of hellebores, the frothy leaves of evergreen ferns and heucheras, the heart shaped leaves of epimediums... so many small treasures!

Without these winter garden beauties a garden would risk becoming too static, and not such an interesting space after all, incapable of evolving and changing its character throughout the seasons. The true mark of a successful garden should therefore also be its ability to stand out in winter, and to create an architecturally interesting space in the dormant season too.

This is the perfect time to take stock of the garden, so go out and take a good look, make a note of any gaps that seem too big, but above all don’t forget to enjoy the subtle beauty of winter plants.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Style and inspiration


With an enviable artistic lineage – Bella Freud is the grandchild of Sigmund Freud and her father was artist Lucian Freud – it’s no surprise her creativity is boundless, spanning fashion to filmmaking and most recently home design with the launch of a lifestyle collection. Here Bella talks to Jane Pople about her inspirations, being a female entrepreneur and her penchant for rich minimalism.

Bella Freud’s fashion designs have been a stalwart of British cool for over a decade, with her iconic jumpers adored by the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, her signature style epitomises effortless chic. Launching her own label in 1990, she won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards just a year later.

Q Bella, what first inspired you to create a home accessories line and is it something you have always wanted to do?
I think my interest in home wear began with my obsession with sheets. My grandmother ran a small country hotel during the summer months in Co Cork, Eire and she allowed me, aged eight, to help her prepare the rooms, and crucially showed me how to do hospital corners on the beds. In my teens I stayed at the grand house of a friend of my father’s and became entranced by the exquisite nature of the pale blue linen sheets in these much grander bedrooms. That’s where it all started.

Q Do you think fashion for the home is becoming more important to the consumer and how do you see the industry changing over the next decade?
I think this area is a huge area for growth and creativity. People are really interested in expressing themselves through the style in their homes, not just clothing. I see fashion brands automatically including home accessories into fashion collections rather than waiting to launch as a separate medium. What needs to evolve is the buying approach so that lines aren’t so segregated: it’s good to see things as a story rather than just themes.

Q An interest in film is evident throughout your career, from your producing of short films to collaborating with John Malkovich. What is it that draws you to film as a medium and do you have further plans to work in the field again?
I find I can access and suggest my ideas using film, I can tell the story better. I have a short film idea that I’m working on now and I’m hoping to shoot it soon.
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Q As a leading British fashion designer and female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to young women looking to follow in your footsteps? Do you think it’s still harder for women to make their mark in the industry?
The business of fashion is hard generally, but it seems particularly difficult for women to protect their interests. Most of the people in power financially are men and being ‘tough’ as a woman is not respected the way it is with men. It is generally admired as a strength when a man is adamant and demanding, yet when a woman is the same it is met with resistance and often distaste.

Q What is your favourite part of the working week and do you have a particular product you like to work on most, e.g. fragrance or fashion?
I particularly like designing the match boxes, I love making the design work in a square shape. It is so simple yet it looks strong and immediate. I enjoy trying to bring a new product into my world. I tend to think of what I long for and then design for it and watch it spring into life.

Q If you could create a home or fashion collection with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
Ohhh! So tantalising... Maybe from the past it would have been fun to collaborate with Biba or Coco Chanel on some bed linen and towels. Now it would be with the Vampire’s Wife: we could have a brilliant time creating.

Q How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
I like playing with colour combinations and using deep colours against a muddy grey to let it glow. I like a rich minimalism which doesn’t even make sense, but it sounds right. It is minimal in that it’s not elaborate and the unlikely colour combinations make it luxurious. I am just building my home so I have yet to see which will be my favourite room.

Q What is your favourite way to waste time?
I don’t really waste time if I can help it, even sleeping is incredibly useful and rewarding. Putting things off is my most common way of wasting time: I don’t enjoy it as I know I’m doing it and know it’s destructive.

Q You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future. What year do you go to and why?
I wouldn’t mind going back to 1900 in Vienna, a time of great creativity in the world of music and art. I’d only stay for a short time though as for a woman it was ten times more difficult to be free to be a creator.

Q What’s next for you and your brand – do you have any exciting projects for 2018 that you can share with us?
I am working on some really luxurious pieces, one off specials made in beautifully coloured heavy cashmere. And I’m developing my bed linen collection so that when I find the ideal partner I am ready to press go immediately.

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This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Native need

Copper is still the must-have metal of the moment and here Aimee Connolly explores five simple steps to bring copper into the home.

Ever since Dulux named Copper Blush as the Colour of the Year in 2015, homeowners have been embracing the rich properties of copper to create a refined look throughout interiors. The versatile metal brings warmth and character to any space. Seen throughout interiors from the kitchen to the bathroom, this highly regarded native metal has been in the spotlight for the past few years and shows no sign of disappearing. Some of the simplest and quickest ways to introduce the trend into rooms in the home are described here.

Living room

Living rooms can carry the copper trend with bold feature walls and complementing accessories. To begin, take a look at the room space and choose a wall to highlight. As a general rule, the feature wall should be the one the eye is naturally drawn to, and it should be free of windows or doors as this can overpower the look. If a feature wall isn’t immediately obvious, perhaps highlight a section of the room, such as a chimney breast or alcove.

We love Book Room Red by Farrow & Ball or, for a rustic finish, look to Casadeco’s Uni Betons’ wallpaper in copper. Keep the rest of the interior simple by choosing a crisp white paint for the remaining walls, and pull the look together with grey soft furnishings and warm copper accessories.

Home office
Introducing copper art into a gallery wall is an increasingly popular trend. Start by choosing a favourite wall décor, whether paintings, sculptures, posters or wall lights. Mix styles and finishes to keep the look fresh
and introduce colours that complement copper such as blush pink, grey and white.

Anything goes with a gallery wall, they are designed to showcase individual personality. However, ensure roughly three to six inches of space is left between each piece to avoid a cluttered appearance.
Finish the home office with complementing accessories such as a copper desk lamp, letter tray or pen holder to tie in the look and keep the workspace clutter free.
Nothing says luxury quite like sinking into a copper bathtub. Copper brings a timeless look to a bathroom and transforms even the simplest of en suites into an ultimate relaxing retreat.

To create a truly opulent setting, offset the warming hues of a copper bathtub with a dark and moody wall: our favourite colours for this are Hague Blue and Studio Green by Farrow & Ball.

For a subtle nod to the look without investing in a new bathtub, copper accessories such as soap pumps and tumblers are a fuss-free way to introduce the trend. Finish with natural materials such as concrete and marble and invest in a selection of luxury candles to recreate the spa feeling at home.

Dining room
A thoughtfully curated table setting can transform everyday dining into a special occasion.

Introduce copper into a dining room by investing in key accessories that truly transform a setting: placemats, coasters, candle holders and napkin rings. These elements are easily interchangeable and one of the simplest ways to create a detailed scheme.

Copper accessories pair well with a wide range of tableware collections from minimalist whites to the ornately detailed. Our favourite is a mix of old and new monochrome: think black and white graphic tableware juxtaposed with rustic, naturally aged copper accessories. Finish the look with simple, modern glassware, or for a truly opulent setting, invest in Art Deco inspired glassware with metallic detailing.

A set of brightly burnished copper pans brings the country farmhouse look to any interior. Widely regarded as one of the best metals to cook with, copper pans are strong, durable and conduct, diffuse and maintain heat better than any other metal. An obvious choice for any food aficionado, they also double as a statement kitchen accessory when hung above a stove or over a kitchen island.
Copper pans work best in rustic, farmhouse interior styles, but they can also add a touch of warmth to minimalist, modern kitchens. The key is to pair them with other copper accessories such as bowls, tumblers and serving trays with hammered or naturally aged finishes.

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This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Autumn’s palette

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Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design explains why the seasonal colour shift of shrubs and trees is invaluable to gardens at this time of year.

In recent years, shrubs and trees seem to have gone more and more out of fashion, leaving perennials to bask in the glory instead, with most of us seeking the fleeting and ephemeral pleasures of their short-lived flowers whilst following the latest garden trends.

Yet it is precisely at this time of year that a garden, deprived of its backbone of shrubs and trees, will invariably disappoint by not being able to hold its own and provide the essential structure and colour changing boost needed during the drabbest of autumn and winter days.

Some trees really excel at colour changing, establishing themselves as colour chameleon heroes, so it’s little wonder why we love this seasonal colour shift so much – we should think of the leaves as if they were flowers, morphing into different hues at different stages of their maturity.

One of my favourite trees at this time of the year is the stag’s horn sumach, Rhus Typhina, with its multi-coloured fronds that look like a traffic light, from green to amber to red. Once the leaves are gone it has a good winter skeleton too. It does, of course, like to self-seed itself a bit, but it can easily be kept under control by pulling out any suckers as soon as they emerge.

Acer Palmatums have, perhaps, the most attractive autumn colours of any genus. Often one species can display the whole range of autumn colours on the same tree, and one such wonder is undoubtedly Acer ‘Koto no ito’, whose leaves emerge green with a flush of crimson and then turn from buttery yellow to rich gold and end up in a warm amber tone before falling.

The first time I came across a Cercidiphyllum japonicum was whilst walking in Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming in Surrey. I was suddenly hit with the sweet and delicious scent of caramelised apple cake that pervaded the air in the lower woodland near the lake – the tree stopped me in my tracks and wowed with its golden coloured, heart-shaped leaves, tinged with copper and rosy tips: a real multisensory delight.

Another great specimen providing a dazzling display at this time of year is the Persian ironwood, Parrotia Persica, whose scallop-shaped leaves take on a multitude of individual shades – from glowing oranges to intense reds and rich yellows.
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Even the humble silver birch cannot be forgotten for its striking contribution at this time of the year; the wonderful silhouette of its peeling tactile trunk – available in a multitude of hues, from the more widespread brilliant whites such as Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii ‘Grayswood Ghost’, to the soft gingery tones of Betula albosinensis ‘China Rose’ and the reddish brown tones of Betula albosinensis ‘Bhutan Sienna’ – adds year-round interest to the vivid rich yellow of its falling foliage.

Euonymus, amongst the most invaluable shrubs to have in autumn for their fiery red hues, are one of my favourites for a country garden as they offer the added benefit of being wildlife-friendly – robins in particular especially love their brightly coloured berries.

Of course, grasses are key at this time of year too, bringing soft buttery tones and slender stems that add movement and transparency to an overall scheme, catching the first drops of dew and adding a surprising long permanence to the winter garden. Pennisetums and Miscanthus are invaluable specimens to introduce autumn drama, dotted around the garden and repeated at regular intervals to guide the eye around the space, lacing together the whole composition in a pleasing way.

If I could only make one concession for an invaluable perennial to have at this time of year it would have to be Amsonia hubrichtii, with its golden needle-like leaves that take on rich butter yellow tones. It is one such perennial that doesn’t get noticed at all until it’s ready to steal the show in autumn, providing early season good lower coverage to hide bare stems of roses or other shrubs with an unsightly base. It may take a while to find it, but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Overall, autumn, being so subdued, can be a very demanding time of year for a garden, and it can only truly be mastered if the balance of shapes, foliage textures and colours is right. Shrubs and trees are invaluable elements in this composition and they can really transform a garden in autumn, and make this season sing with drama.

Garden 2Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Profile: Alladio Sims

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Home improvements

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THE FRONT DOOR SHOP - Out with the new and in with the old!

Brian Thompson, Director of Best Doors Joinery, has been in the door and joinery industry for many years. Over recent times he’s noticed a change in preferred styles – traditional is back.

After detailed research and to mirror current trends BDJoinery decided to design and build its own top of the range front doors. All the doors are built to exacting standards and high specifications by a team using all their experience and knowledge gained over many years in the industry.

BDJoinery is able to justifiably claim that its Premier Range of front doors exceeds the quality of many, if not all others, while remaining competitively priced. This is borne out by the beautiful finished product that is designed to last for many years when correctly maintained.
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Highlights of the Premier range:
 These oak engineered doors are far heavier and more robust than many suppliers’ products. They are designed and constructed to take years of use under direct attack from the elements.

2 The door’s inner core is made from the same oak engineered wood as the outer facia. This makes the doors eco-friendly because the inner wood rather than being scrapped, is used to make the door’s core. Generally speaking the inner wood is not up to facia standard due to its dark colours and occasional knots. By comparison most other companies will use primarily soft wood.

3 On the sides, top and bottom of the Premier Oak Range are 20mm x 44mm grade ‘A’ lippings. This allows for as much trimming as is required to accommodate different sized frames and doorways.

4 The facials veneer is commonly 2.5 times thicker than many companies’ doors and the doors are often thicker than many other firms’ front doors.

These are just some of the reasons BDJoinery stepped up to producing its own doors, due to it’s our belief that the quality of door builds has deteriorated over recent years.
You simply won't find a better designer-quality, bespoke oak door at a more affordable, off-the-shelf price.

“The door, the professional workmanship and finish is excellent. It’s an outstanding piece of work. Elaine and I want to give you and Matt a great big thanks for all you’ve done.”
Billy Byrne from BBC 1’s DIY SOS

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For further advice on the above or prices for our bespoke front doors call
Brian Thompson on 01702 421799 

For every tree BD Joinery use, another two trees are planted. BD Joinery is committed to the environment.

Show gardens of our own

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Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design shares her top ten tips for creating a stunning garden worthy of an RHS show garden in our own homes.

1. Frame the view: most gardens are viewed from the house and in order to work they need to relate back to it. Key details of the architecture of the house need to be repeated within the garden and views out should be nicely framed and lead the eye, inviting exploration to discover the garden.

2. Keep it simple: material choices should be kept to a minimum. For instance, one type of stone used in different finishes for inside and out or for areas of the garden with different characters, and use repetition in the planting too to create a sense of harmony.

3. Create a private haven: introduce a secluded area that feels intimate and tranquil where a glass of wine can be sipped or where it is possible to sit and relax. Introducing vertical elements such as a semi transparent screen, a wall or a tall hedge works wonderfully, creating an unexpected space that breaks down the emptiness of a garden and spurs us on to walk and discover what’s beyond.

4. Create something that looks good in every season:
June is the month of the year where every garden looks at its best, with lavender, geraniums, alchemilla, roses etc. all flowering and in prime condition. Yet these plants can fade quickly leaving an empty gap for many months to come. Try and avoid planting plants that fade so quickly and choose instead a good backbone of evergreen shrubs and perennials that offer a long season of interest and maybe even some pretty seed heads for the winter.

5. Disguise the ugly bits: every garden has a view or wall that shouldn’t be looked at. Use plants and paths to lead the eyes away, encouraging focus elsewhere.

6. Boundaries are key: use hedging to frame a sharp and clean lawn or a well-defined border. This will produce neat shapes that help keep maintenance to a minimum and make the garden look crisp and fresh.
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7. Let the plants speak for themselves: don’t overcrowd, but give them space to breathe and become established. Think about it in terms of layers of vertical interest and bring some taller perennials towards the front to break the mould and create a dynamic border and more interesting look.

8. Be bold: choose more of the same thing, so for instance put together two plants of the same colour (such as bronze fennel and black phormium) to create a good textural foil for the rest of the garden. A similar result can be achieved by repeating similar shapes at different levels (such as round pots, round lawns, allium heads etc.).

9. Don’t be afraid of grasses: grasses add a softness and a texture that is invaluable to any garden and they have very good longevity too, especially the ones with interesting seed heads.

10. Use splashes of colour to draw attention: but keep the overall picture harmonious by restricting the colour palette. The effect to be achieved is pleasing and not a muddled mix!

Garden 2
Profile: Alladio Sims
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Oasis of excellence

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essence meets Hannah Markland, manager at Moore Place care home in Esher, to discover more about this contemporary residential home.

Ask Hannah Markland, the new manager at Moore Place care home in Esher, what the favourite part of her day is and without hesitation she’ll say that it’s chatting to the residents. “They are a real group of characters from all walks of life with amazing experiences,” she beams. “Spending time with them reminds me how much I love my job at Moore Place care home.”

Moore Place – an oasis
Hannah, who studied health and social care, brings with her a wealth of experience in the care industry which spans 16 years. “I gained most of my knowledge from a nurse that I worked with. She was an outstanding old-fashioned matron who put me through my paces as a young carer, but taught me so much about always achieving high standards and excellent care.” Such ambition, coupled with her great skills, is what has helped Hannah move forward in her new role as home manager at Moore Place.

A modern, high-quality residential care home set in luxurious and stunning surroundings, Moore Place, provided by Anchor Group, offers first class care and facilities, with spacious en-suite rooms in a light, contemporary and elegant setting over five floors. “You certainly can’t beat the views and the close proximity to Esher High Street, allowing residents to remain independent by enjoying trips to the local shops.”

Hannah continued: “We are also situated within the Surrey greenbelt, overlooking the Moore Place Golf Course. Our gardens are beautifully landscaped with colourful flowerbeds and a greenhouse for the green-fingered residents.”

With cosy lounges, a coffee lounge, an activity room, cinema and a hair and beauty salon, residents are never short of anything to do at Moore Place.

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Excellence in care
A big part of Hannah’s approach to care is getting involved and not just sitting behind a desk all day. She enjoys meeting healthcare professionals and building relationships in the local community. “This way I can understand what is part of their agenda and how Moore Place can fit in.”

One of Hannah’s current projects is to focus on the dining experience at Moore Place. “It’s such an important part of our residents’ lives,” stresses Hannah. “Our chefs spend time and effort producing fantastic food and part of the experience is the service of the food which involves appealing presentation and ensuring it is visually colourful.” The environment during meal times is also a huge part of the dining experience. “The dining room needs to be relaxed and enjoyable. We have to remember that we wouldn’t enjoy a meal in a restaurant where waiters were chatting with each other, so in that respect our residents deserve to have a wonderful meal time too,” she explains.

Enjoying events and activities
A recent event at Moore Place that the residents, relatives and staff have taken part in is a screening of ‘The Sound of Music.’ This was following new research from Anchor which revealed the classic film is the favourite family film of today’s over 55s. “The screening was a great opportunity to bring different generations together for something everyone can enjoy,” enthused Hannah.

The summer will see several events at Moore Place, including resident and family barbecues, a staff and resident fun day and a cocktail party just to name a few.

Advice on choosing a care home
Hannah understands that one of the biggest challenges facing relatives today is the anguish and guilt associated with having to place a loved one in a care home. “That’s why it is so important for us to build relationships with the relatives so that we can support them as well as the resident through this transition,” says Hannah.

Hannah’s advice to anyone looking for care is to ask as many people in the home as possible about their experiences: “Everyone will have a different experience of care and you need to hear a range of opinions.” Speaking to the staff is also very important as they will help make an informed decision.

“While a typical day at Moore Place is certainly busy… we are constantly thinking of new ways to enhance our residents’ lives and engage them in the day to day running of Moore Place. Their opinions matter to us – after all this is their home and we look forward to making it as comfortable as possible for them.”

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Telephone: 0808 102 5084

Endless possibilities

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Homewood Furniture, bespoke furniture makers based in Surrey, offer guidance on creating home storage solutions for living areas, home studies and bedrooms.

Bespoke television and audio visual units can transform a living room into a comfortable, clutter free and beautiful relaxing space to unwind. These bespoke units can be designed and hand made to maximise storage space, provide shelving to display sentimental and attractive items and tidy away unsightly wires. Bespoke television units can be made to match existing décor, or designed with something new in mind, the choice is endless.

Fitted home office and study rooms with clean lines and innovative storage solutions can be achieved with bespoke fitted furniture. Maximise the available space, even in the most awkwardly shaped rooms, by fitting bespoke units into a recess, bay window or creating a desk to fit under a staircase. Choose from traditional or contemporary materials and finishes, the look and fit will always be unique.

Why not create a compact study for younger members of the family? A dedicated study space for children can play an important part in their success at school and college. A corner of their room can be transformed with a bespoke unit providing organised space and compact units to help make a more efficient working environment. All necessary equipment can be stored neatly away when not needed, clutter free. Bespoke study units can provide a writing area within a quiet, personalised space and can be made for even the most discerning teenager. These units can be tailor made in a hardwearing finish and to suit individual budgets.

Bespoke fitted wardrobes are tailor made to individual requirements and can help tidy and solve the problem of storage. Using clever design ideas, such as roll out shoe shelves, pulldown hanging rails, full height units for additional storage, compartment racks for ties, socks, scarfs and adjustable shelving, all help to create a flexible and unique space. Hand made by skilled craftsmen in a stylish design and finish of choice: the possibilities really are endless.

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Homewood Furniture produces bespoke home furniture across London, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.
01932 809135

Natural wonder

Bathroom has wall in Paonazzo marble from Elite Stone

Tetyana Kovalenko is the multilingual founder and CEO of Elite Stone, a luxury manufacturer of ornamental stone used in many exclusive interiors. Andrew Peters asked her about her company and her passion for using stone.

Q Tetyana, after studying psychology, you went on to study geology and mineralogy at Rome University. What attracted you to the subject?
When I started to work for a company producing equipment for quarries, I was determined to become a true professional. I took a graduate course in geology in order to understand every aspect of natural ornamental stone, both chemical and physical. During the course of intense study, my fascination with marble and onyx, as well as quartzite, grew stronger than ever.

Q Who inspired you and continues to do so?
I am devoted to luxury and beautiful things, inspired by changing trends in fashion and interior design. Outside our buildings in Verona we have installed a profile of Michelangelo’s David carved in Carrara marble.

Q Can you tell us about Elite Stone and why you started the company?
I have always had the ‘gout de luxe’ (marble has, since ancient times, been associated with glamour, wealth and power). I understood that bespoke design is now de rigueur for those in search of the ‘best of the best’ with gleaming surfaces impeccably crafted in natural stone. The first Elite showroom opened in Rome in 2000, moved to Carrara in 2007 where the company has strong associations with local quarries, and finally established in Verona in 2013.

Q In which countries does Elite now work?
The UK, US, Russia, Israel, the Middle East and Europe are our main markets.

Q Do you work for both private and commercial clients?
Yes, we do, and provide each with the same amount of personal attention and service.

Q The company has recently completed some very high-end projects in the UK. Is it your intention to expand here?
Of course, we have opened our new showroom to demonstrate to clients the creative potential of marble.

Q How does the company push boundaries in the traditional use of natural stone?
Elite Stone invests in research to explore new ways of using marble. One example is in the use of extra thin stone for lining doors, showers, backlit tabletops and panelling. We have a technical department dedicated to solving what are complex technical problems.

Q Which quarries supply the stone used?
Mainly quarries in Carrara: Calacatta Borghini, Statuario, Calacatta Vaglia and Caldia. We also import from other countries, including Mexico and India; wherever we can source superb quality stone.

Q What are the key factors when working on a project to produce a result satisfying to the client?
Discover and understand the client’s personal vision, suggest the right stone for its purpose and ensure each project is meticulously executed.

Q What is the best advice you can provide to a client contemplating using natural stone?
To appoint experienced people with technical expertise who are aware of subtle differences in stone, beyond just good looks. Kitchens, bathrooms, external surfaces: each area needs an individual approach.

Q What is the E-Light System your company has developed?
E-Light is a system of backlighting panels of marble and onyx, developed over ten years by Elite Stone’s technical team. This idea offers endless decorative possibilities to highlight the beauty of natural marble and onyx, far beyond a tabletop or bathroom wall. The E-Light panel is a laminated element, compact, lightweight and durable, with a minimum thickness of six millimetres, formed by a rigid glass support a minimum of three millimetres thick, coupled to a panel in natural marble of three millimetres, or onyx of five millimetres. Each panel can be backlit by a bright LED light transmission system provided by two methods: either dimmable white light or an alternative system offering a choice of 16 colours. The tempering of the rigid glass support procedure amplifies the physical and mechanical characteristics of normal glass by up to eight times.

Q Do you have a favourite stone?
Whites, Calacatta and Statuario are considered the most ‘evergreen’ and elegant types of marble. I believe there is no ugly stone, only ugly installation.

Q What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Creating a new type of stone business where the client is looked after throughout the sale and installation processes. To be able to offer an outstanding choice of materials and design, and contribute to some of the finest interior projects around the world.

Q What projects does the company have in the pipeline?
We have a real variety, including completing 50 St James’ Hotel in London, villas in Como and Majorca, and a spectacular synagogue in Jerusalem.

“True luxury is all about outstanding raw materials and an in-depth knowledge of how to work with them. Marble is like a diamond: absolutely perfect when the colour is right, when it is flawless and cut properly.
When one of these features is missing, it immediately loses value.”
Tetyana Kovalenko

Hammam decorated with an intricate mosaic design, requiring specialist craftsmanship from Elite Stone.
Case study: Surrey basement project
Elite Stone recently completed a sumptuous basement conversion for a Surrey client. The basement spa was specially constructed and comprised an indoor pool, gymnasium, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath (Hammam) looking out over a Zen garden.

Materials for the ensuite bathroom were Paonazzo marble on the wall and floor bespoke Cremo Delicato inlaid with Tuscan oak tiles. Different craftsmanship skills were required for cutting and fitting the different marble types. The ‘book match system’, the outstanding decorative feature, is very difficult to achieve and was constructed in four sections.

The shower wall was clad in Tigers’ Eye, a semi-precious stone, and the spa mosaic uses stone supplied from Noir St Laurent and Pallisandro. Using light, reflective surfaces, achieved with the use of individually selected white ‘book matched’ marble, the team at Elite achieved a cool, contemporary and spacious feel for the ensuite.

The spa and pool area had the opposite effect by using a black and gold mosaic tiling to line the pool with underwater creatures, such as jellyfish, picked out with gold tiling. The effect was completed with a stretched ‘black fabric’ ceiling.

The ‘black’ effect interacted with the dramatic ‘green' of the newly-created Zen Garden viewed through a large picture window at the end of the pool.

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