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Ten unmissable home design tips from our customers

Practical tips

Ten unmissable home design tips from our customers

On the pages of this journal over the past year, we have shared many inspiring renovation stories from our customers, alongside Pinterest-worthy images of their completed projects. Buried within those stories are some real gems of hard earned wisdom, offering invaluable guidance to those at the beginning of their own interiors projects.

So whether you're planning a big project like a new kitchen this year, or pondering a new look for your bathroom, you won't want to miss this. Grab a coffee and a notebook and read on...

TIP ONE

Find your creative vision

When it comes to interior decoration, inspiration is everywhere, and it’s not unusual to feel a little overwhelmed as you begin to plan a project. In this article, interior designer Jess Weeks shared her process and offered some very helpful advice on where to start when it comes to creating a cohesive look for your home.

Interior designer Jess Weeks shared the process of designing this luxurious family bathroom.

“Pull together images that describe the look you want to achieve – whether on a computer or by cutting and collaging images together from magazines," says Jess. "Next, choose your first design element. You have to start somewhere!"

Pay close attention to the general aesthetic and the atmosphere of the shots you are drawn to, and be sure to look for images that share similar practical characteristics to the room you are renovating – aspects such as the amount of natural light in the space, the size and the age of the property.

Usually, one or two clear design decisions will emerge from your moodboard; perhaps a particular paint colour, a beautiful fabric, or even a hand painted tile. It really doesn’t matter where you begin. Simply start by identifying a key item and build out from there.

TIP TWO

See it in your space

Jess had another invaluable tip for planning your project: take some time to consider everything in the light – literally – of the space you are renovating.

"Visit a tile showroom and collect a sample of each of your favourites. Take the samples into the space you are designing for, and live with them for a few days. Quite soon you will get a feel for what works best in the space. Leave the tile up and do the same again with paint swatches and then with your floor tiles. You may not find the perfect combination on your first try – keep going until you do.”

When designing their fabulous new architectural home, Nic and Sophie fell in love with the handmade texture of tiles from our Kensington collection. But settling on the right colour was a different matter. "We must have been there for hours," Nic says. "On Jamie’s advice, we took a selection of samples home to look at them in the space itself. Seeing the way the light in each room worked with the colours was awesome and really helped us to make a decision."

Our interview with Nic and Sophie is packed with inspiration and advice.

TIP THREE

Mix the old and the new

We were thrilled when art director for Soho Home, Harriet Howarth agreed to shared her bathroom and hallway renovation story with us. As you might expect, Harriet has a great many interior design tips up her sleeve, starting with this one…

“When choosing furniture I love to mix the old with the new to create a cosy atmosphere – something that feels like it has real personality. We approached our whole project this way. It’s the reason we chose these floor tiles: they had a lovely lived-in quality, and felt at home as soon as they were down. Half way through the fitting, someone walked past and asked if they were the original tiles. That was the highest compliment!”

Harriet's hallway and bathroom renovation features terracotta-effect porcelain tiles in Granada from our Andalucia collection.

TIP FOUR

Invest in key pieces

Harriet went on to share another gem: "The greatest challenge of any interiors project is choice. There is so much out there! We started by narrowing it down to a few key favourite brands. You can’t look at too many otherwise it becomes overwhelming. We decided that we would source the tiles from Marlborough, because we knew that whatever we chose, the quality would be really good and they would look special too."

Kayleigh shared, “I tend to spend a lot of time planning and searching for the perfect item before committing to anything. I believe that your home should reflect you – it should be a collection of things you truly love.”

Emma Diaz agrees, “Choose the pieces that will be your focal points, and invest in them. For me, it was the suite and the tiles. But it could just as easily be the bath of your dreams."

Choose carefully and invest in key design pieces that stand the test of time. L-R: Kayleigh's kitchen and Emma's cosy family bathroom.

TIP FIVE

Future proofing

The story of Vivienne Cutler's two-phase kitchen project is full of tips for those in the process of planning and managing large-scale home renovations.

“I would advise anyone embarking on a similar project to take the time to plan everything meticulously before starting work. Give some thought to how your life might change in the future – will your family grow? Will older children leave home? Will the way you use some of your rooms change?

Sometimes budget restrictions mean you have to phase renovation work, and future proofing your initial designs will definitely save you money in the long run. It is much more expensive to go back and make changes once everything has been installed.

Of course if budget allows, it goes without saying that doing all the work in one go is preferable, but bear in mind that you may need additional budget to allow you to move out for a period, depending on the size and scale of your renovations."

The story of Vivienne's two-phase kitchen project is full of tips for those in the process of planning and managing large-scale home renovations.

TIP SIX

Let your home be your guide

We sat down with interior designer Katie McDowell of Poppet Interiors to talk about the renovation of Hathaway Cottage - her small but perfectly formed, quintessentially English holiday home.

Katie generously shared her design approach for the faithful renovation of a heritage property.

“I would have to recommend that you begin by considering the property’s original features - let them guide the overall design and feel of the space. Look to properties of a similar age and feel for design inspiration.”

In this interview, Katie generously shared her design approach for the faithful renovation of a heritage property.

TIP SEVEN

Do it yourself (but plan carefully!)

If you’re tiling a small area such as a panel above a cooker or sink, putting the tiles up yourself is a fairly straightforward task.

Adam and Miranda Carter decided to take on the tiling themselves. “It was quite interesting, and not that challenging in the end,” Adam told us. “I got a lot of advice before we started and hired proper tile cutters. We used spacers and laid out the pattern in advance.”

Emma Diaz agrees, “When it comes to tiling, preparation and planning is key. Be sure to lay out the tiles first and get everything ready so that it’s all to hand.”

Adam and Miranda's beautiful water-themed kitchen features scallop tiles from our Soho collection.

TIP EIGHT

Embrace your own style

In addition to her bathroom project, colour consultant Emma Diaz shared her charming new country kitchen with us, giving us the opportunity to learn about her aesthetic, as well as how she puts together colours and design elements to create such a wonderfully harmonious home.

"My advice is to go with your gut and choose the colours and pieces that you love – even if they’re a bit different," says Emma. "I worried initially what people would think about the green and yellow pairing in our kitchen, but I simply love it and the way it reflects the nature outside our window."

Emma chose a soft yellow and green palette for her kitchen, along with a charming panel of hand painted tiles from our aptly named Emma collection.

TIP NINE

Let there be light

"Lighting changes everything,” observes Harriet. “Ideally, you want a few different levels of lighting, and in this case, wall lights and ceiling lights were a must. If our bathroom were bigger, we would have loved to have a vintage pendant over the bath. You need to be able to dim the lights for evenings relaxing in the bath, and then turn them up for putting on makeup."

Harriet selected handmade wall tiles from our Ullswater collection, beautifully complemented by terracotta-effect porcelain floor tiles from our Andalucia collection.

TIP TEN

Patience really is a virtue

Last but certainly not least, one final piece of wisdom from Kate, garnered from her renovation project at Hathaway Cottage.

"I strongly recommend that you learn from my mistakes and do the dirty work first – things like sanding floors and beams – before picking up a paint brush or installing cabinetry. It sounds obvious, but I made some classic errors when I renovated the cottage. It was a brilliant learning curve!"

Hathaway Cottage, Kate's beautifully renovated heritage holiday home.

A huge thank you to all of our customers for sharing their hard earned tips and wisdom!

If you would like to see your home featured on our journal, simply tag @MarlboroughTiles in your project photographs on Instagram and we will be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.


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“An excellent product and superb service. Many thanks to Grace and Jamie from Marlborough”

Nick Lester, customer

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Ephia Yasmin, customer

“Always visionary and ahead of the times from the outset.”

Ben Spriggs, Editor-in-Chief, Elle Decoration

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Pat Jones, customer

“Marlborough are a trusted collaborator to design unique tile collections which delight our customers”

Rebecca Malon, Head of Design and Product Development Neptune

“Over 20 years, our brand has relied on Marlborough for specialist colour and glaze development.”

Colin Roby-Welford, MD of Fired Earth
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