Radiator covers: quick, chic and easy…

A Bank Holiday weekend, like the one coming up, is the perfect time to design Jali radiator covers. A brilliant way to disguise ugly radiators or storage heaters, they provide the finishing touch to a room in a really stylish fashion. And they come with an integral shelf into the bargain…

Jali bespoke radiator cover in hall

www.housetohome.co.uk

Measuring is simple; if you need help just watch our video (below). The long weekend will mean you’re not rushed and will have plenty of time to check your measurements. For extra reassurance, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to assembly on the Jali blogpost here, so you’ll get a really good idea of what’s involved in the process.

Of course, if you’re up to more of a challenge, there’s always our new dresser designer, which does far more than just design, er, dressers. It’s so versatile it can create sleek sideboards and wizard workstations. it can even magic wonderful wall units into being… Of course, it will take a bit longer than a radiator cover, but if you’ve got a big project in mind, it will give you brilliant results at a fraction of the cost of a similar product anywhere else.

Jali bespoke radiator cover in hall

www.housetohome.co.uk

And, as with all our furniture, it will be unique as well as chic, and fit your space exactly. Which, in a world of compromise, where the truly individual and characterful is ever harder to find, is worthy of a big Bank Holiday celebration… Have a wonderful weekend!

-Annie

Custom-made cupboards for a clutter-free home

On BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this week, there was much talk of clutter, a child’s own choice of bedroom wall colour (orange or dark matte brown, anyone?) and … cupboards. The topic under discussion on Tuesday’s programme was space in the family home and how to make the most of it, something we at Jali know quite a lot about.

Jane Garvey’s guests were interior stylist Twig Hutchinson and author Julia Crouch. Jane had a bit of a rant about the “quite strange, clutter-free homes” she regularly sees in a particular unnamed interiors mag (which she gets “because it makes me laugh”). How did people manage in these often very white and minimalist spaces, she asked – “I don’t know how anyone could live like that… with young children it’s impossible, surely?”

It’s certainly true that interiors magazines regularly feature projects where walls are pulled down and rooms are turned into combined cooking/dining/living spaces. We’ve got used to it being held up as something we should all aspire to. So it was a bit of a shock to hear from Twig, who lives in London with her husband and three young children, that her top tip was not to have an open-plan house. In fact, she said, her friends were all frantically reinstating walls and doors in their homes, just so the adults could get some privacy in the non-stop hurly-burly of family life.

Jali bespoke cupboard with drawers

Now you see it…

When it comes to toys and all the other paraphernalia involved in living with young children, Twig was equally forthright. “It’s very, very difficult. You have to be very disciplined and just basically put stuff away. It’s all right during the day if it’s all out and all over the floor. But I’m a great believer in having lots of cupboards,” because once the kids are in bed “…you just don’t want to see all their stuff.”

This is where we come in…

Jali bespoke toy cupboard, transformed!

…now you don’t!

At Jali, we believe in giving people as much choice as possible – there’s no perfect way to furnish a home. We can see the attraction of both minimalism and a much more lush, decorative approach. So, with our unique design-it-yourself system you can have as many cupboards as you like, wherever you want them. Big, small, or medium-sized, tall or short, plain or exotic, with shelves placed just so, to swallow all the toys, games and other stuff in your life. Fitting seamlessly into alcoves, awkward spaces and against walls, or free-standing so they can be moved from room to room, as needs and circumstances change…

Twigs’ advice also echoes Jali’s top tips for keeping clutter to a minimum:

1. Don’t put it down, put it away!  

2. Never go upstairs empty-handed…

Both tips come personally recommended by Melissa, Jali’s sales and marketing manager. She says they saved her from the tide of clutter introduced into her formerly calm and well-ordered life by the arrival of two small children.

Now, the success of this strategy involves a certain level of commitment. And everyone in the home needs to be involved, age and infirmity permitting. Still, it’s excellent training for kids, even tiny ones (though it’s probably better to wait until they are actually able to walk). It should also earn you the grateful thanks of their future housemates and partners…

Being able to find things and not being surrounded by loads of stuff that doesn’t belong there is, Melissa says, vital to her sanity and wellbeing. Tidiness may not be on quite the same lofty plane as love, but it certainly helps to keep things peaceful on the domestic front, whatever the size of your household…

If you’d like to hear the Woman’s Hour discussion in full (including some frank disclosure of the perils of taking trying to take a bath when your kids also want to use the loo!), you’ll find details on the Woman’s Hour website here.

-Annie

Fabulous fretwork, inspired by travel and tradition

This autumn, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is hosting Fabric of India, an exhibition exploring Indian influences. Focusing on India’s handmade textiles from the 3rd to the 21st century, it promises to be both fascinating and visually sumptuous.

At Jali, we always want to know more about the patterns and techniques of the countries and cultures we visit. Some of those we’ve brought back with us have influenced Jali’s most popular fretwork patterns, such as 2172, used for the decorative shutters seen below.

bespoke Jali decorative shuttersThere’s already a buzz around ethnic influences in the interior design world; this year, the “Fusion” style, incorporating colours, textures, patterns and materials from several countries and continents, has been hugely influential as a design theme.

But there’s bound to be an extra surge of interest when this exhibition opens in October. In the fashion world, the “boho” trend is still massively popular (I should know, I’ve succumbed to it myself!)  and interior design is now subject to the same kinds of seasonal and cultural influence. So if you want to get ahead of the IT (interior trends) crowd, have a look at our fretwork panels (below). The patterns are beautiful and the prices unbeatable…

Jali bespoke fretwork panels in hallwayJali’s beautiful, precision-cut fretwork really is special. Some of our current styles are inspired by the Indian palaces and haveli (private mansions) of Rajasthan, others by Moroccan mashrabiya panels and, though we say it ourselves, the overall effect of all of them is gorgeous.

In fact, the company name Jali comes from the pierced or lattice screens called jali (or jaali in the Indian language of Gujarati) which were used to keep out the sun while allowing people to look through them. Indian architecture has a long tradition of using these screens – the earliest examples were carved into stone, but later the Mughals developed an inlay technique, using marble and semi-precious stones.

Traditionally, jali have arabesque or, more usually, geometric Islamic patterns. Their development culminated in the amazingly beautiful white marble screens found in the Red Fort at Delhi and the Taj Mahal. So if you have a yen to turn your own place into a palace, or bring a bit of mansion into a maisonette, you now have an affordable, easy way to do it… with Jali.

-Annie

 

Shaker peg rails – a fast, easy holiday project

If you’re looking for a quick way to cut the clutter and make your place a touch more beautiful, our bespoke Shaker peg rails are perfect. They’re simple to order, paint and put up – and amazingly inexpensive! So they’re ideal for a fast, easy holiday project: you get immediate results with minumum effort. It’s decorative DIY with real, practical benefits…

Bespoke Jali Shaker peg railsJali Shaker peg rails can be used in any room in the house, from hall to kitchen to bathroom. You can design them in any length from 300mm up to a whopping 3000mm. The minimum height is 75mm, the maximum 300mm. For the ends, you can choose a square, quadrant, concave or convex shape (the photo blow shows a convex end). Combine this with a choice of edge detail: square, a 5mm bevel, an engraved line or a pencil moulding. (The photo below shows a pencil moulding and a convex end.)

Jali bespoke Shaker peg rail with convex endIf you’re planning to wrap your rails around a room, on two or more walls, as below, the square ends are ideal for the corners as you can butt them together. You can also choose how far the pegs are from the end of the rails, which really helps if you’re fitting the rail into a corner.

Jali bespoke Shaker peg railNow decide on the size and number of solid beech pegs. Medium pegs are about 60mm long, while the large ones are about 120mm. (The side view on the Designer will change so you can see exactly how far the combined rail and peg will extend from the wall.) The clever Jali Designer also has an ‘Automatic’ option that selects the number according to the rail length. If you want to change this you can specify the number of pegs yourself; the spacing between them will obviously change when you do this.

When your kit arrives, fix the pegs into their pre-drilled holes using PVA wood glue. Then you can paint both rail and pegs, or varnish the pegs if you want them to contrast with the painted rail. This gives a fabulous, beach-cottage-in-theHamptons look that belies the very modest outlay involved. On a technical note, we recommend water-based paints for MDF for a smooth and durable finish.

Finally, choose the most suitable screws for your particular wall surface – we pre-drill the holes in the rail for you – and fix into place. Et voila! A custom-made Shaker peg rail with a distinctive designer accent and really useful into the bargain… It’s amazing just what you can do on your holidays!

-Annie