Mood board your perfect space with Corian® Design

*This blog post is a paid advertorial with Corian Design*

When we extended and renovated our kitchen back in 2012 I had just given birth to our second son and was about to embark upon a career change that would involve forfeiting two thirds of my previous salary (remind me why I thought that was a good idea again?!).  That meant we were working to quite a strict budget and so there were certain items on my wish list that I had to compromise on.  Worktops were one such item. 

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I had my heart set on marble, concrete, or Corian surfaces but it was a case of champagne taste and lemonade budget. In the end,  we ended up going for wood.  Five  years later,  I still regret that decision.  It is not that I don’t like the wood it is just that I don’t love it and I have been slowly working on persuading Mr. Malmo that it would be a good idea to upgrade the worktops ever since.

The worktop in the holiday home we recently stayed in during a trip to the Netherlands made me regret my original wooden worktop choice!

The worktop in the holiday home we recently stayed in during a trip to the Netherlands made me regret my original wooden worktop choice!

So when Corian® Design asked me to try their new Moodboard Maker tool I jumped at the chance!  I am one of those people who is literally unable to visualise anything using only my imagination so the Moodboard Maker is the perfect tool for me.

Who is  Corian® Design?

Corian® Design is a  designer and manufacturer of high quality Solid Surfaces which are made using a blend of minerals and acrylic and can be shaped into literally any design or size you want.  There are over 100 different colours and patterns available to choose from so whatever your interior style there will be an option that will work for your space. 

The Corian Moodboard Maker

If you are ever having a bad week at work or the kids are winding you up,  forget yoga, pilates or meditation and get mood boarding!  It may be less likely to tone your abs, improve your core or flexibility, but I think it is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic things you can do as it allows you to escape from reality for a little bit and get in touch with your creative side. The mood boarding I have done in the past when planning out room schemes has been of the analogue variety in the sense that it involved pritt stick, scissors and lots of ripped out pages from magazines.  I was really keen to try the much less messy digital version.

An introduction to the Moodboard maker

An introduction to the Moodboard maker

I am not naturally good with technology.  Actually, I am naturally terrible with technology.  I have an innate ability to crash an app at 50 paces and I think the IT guy at work has now started fielding my calls to avoid the almost daily questions I have about how to use Microsoft Excel.  Therefore, when I say if I can use the Corian Moodboard Maker tool, then anyone can. I really mean it!  It is super simple and straightforward.   The end goal is to create a visual mosaic with several  pieces that represent different surfaces, textures and materials to create a design story for your space. 

The first step in the process is to choose a style that you think best represents you. The options include Organic, Minimal, Relaxed, Modern, Refined, Bohemian or Edgy.  The different styles come with a different range of inspiration pictures to choose from. But, you can also upload your own images to the tool quite  easily to give you extra choices and personalization.  I played around with Organic and Bohemian styles but in the end decided on Minimal as I felt it best captured my Scandi-inspired look. 

My kitchen and the existing wooden worktops

My kitchen and the existing wooden worktops

You then have a blank Moasaic shape with several  different segments to fill.  The first step is to pick a Corian® Design swatch that you want to showcase and then you can build the rest of the mosaic around it.  You can select more than one Corian® Design Solid Surface swatch if you are struggling to narrow down your options or want to play around with the look and feel.   I chose Corian® Solid Surface in Silver Gray and Arrowroot because I am most drawn to these two and am struggling to make a decision.

Corian Moodboard Maker

You then fill up the rest of the segments either using the bank of pre-existing images available in the tool or by uploading your own images which could be anything that inspires you, it doesn’t have to be strictly interiors related.  So if you have of a beautiful sunset from your holiday that you really like the colours/feel of then add it into the mix. 

I used a combination of images from my own home (both room shots and close ups on textures such as the front of one of my cupboards) and then also drew upon some of the existing Corian images as they blended really nicely with my own pictures. 

Photo credit Vintage Piken

Photo credit Vintage Piken

I used a picture of the front of one of my kitchen cupboards because I like the distressed wood

I used a picture of the front of one of my kitchen cupboards because I like the distressed wood

You can easily drag and drop images in and switch them around if you don’t think you have the right combination.   Et voila one finished moodboard which you can download to your phone or computer, share on your social media platforms, pin to your Pinterest board for your project or even order a framed print of!  Here’s my final moodboard:

My final mood board created with the  Corian Moodboard Maker

My final mood board created with the Corian Moodboard Maker

Malmo & Moss Meets: Lucy Whitehouse

I was thrilled when my husband agreed to a last minute holiday to Cornwall this Easter. First and foremost because it is one of my favourite places in the world but secondly because it meant I could sneak in a visit to the home of Lucy Whitehouse on the way down.  Her modern Scandi inspired house in Wells is one of my absolute Instagram favourites.  New to the blogging game I was hoping to turn up on Lucy’s doorstep rocking a cool, creative and vaguely Parisian vibe.  Unfortunately the M4 had other plans and after spending 2 hours in a traffic jam in a car with three small children I turned up instead desperate for the loo and rocking a look that was much more frazzled mum than French ingénue.  I also realised when I took off my shoes that in my haste to get out of the house, I had mistakenly pulled on some novelty socks my mum got me for Christmas that had flying pigs all over them.  So far so not Juliet Binoche.  Luckily Lucy was a lovely as her house so I will stop talking about my bladder and bad socks and introduce you to her gorgeous home instead.

After growing up in Edinburgh, going to University in Newcastle and moving to London as a graduate surveyor, Lucy ended up in Wells after meeting husband Paul at an army ball in Middle Wallop whilst he was both dressed as a woman (it was a Halloween Ball I should point out at this stage.) and wearing the same dress as the friend that Lucy was with that evening. Paul is excitingly a helicopter pilot, the kind of profession that action movies starring Tom Cruise get made about as opposed to banking law (my husband's chosen profession) which is more BBC4 documentary about the collapse of Enron territory.   

Their current home was built in the 1930s and used to be a farmhouse to a Dairy but had been badly redeveloped around the Millenium by owners with a penchant for mustard shagpile, peach wallpaper and vertical blinds.  Despite being initially put off by a weird layout and 1970s porn movie set decor, a combination of light spacious rooms and a location staggering distance from Well's city centre won the day and Lucy and Paul moved in just days after the birth of their second daughter.   

All traces of mustard shagpile removed, only "The IG Rug" from LaRedoute to sink toes into now

All traces of mustard shagpile removed, only "The IG Rug" from LaRedoute to sink toes into now

I loved the way Lucy had mixed the texture and patterns of her cushions

I loved the way Lucy had mixed the texture and patterns of her cushions

They quickly set to work renovating the place to produce a more family friendly contemporary open plan layout. During this process the name Fred and the date 1887 was discovered etched into one of the walls and, despite raised eyebrows from the builders,  Lucy has left it exposed to create a talking point in the downstairs loo.  I have to confess i didn't notice it when I burst in there to relieve my traffic jam bladder but that is probably because I was staring in horror at my airbound porcine novelty socks (note to self to ask Hexham branch of Fatface not to admit my mother during the sale as the socks join some cut price fingerless gloves I was also gifted which make me look like an alpine cross between Michael Jackson and Fagin).

The Ercolesque kitchen bench was one of my favourite features of Lucy's home

The Ercolesque kitchen bench was one of my favourite features of Lucy's home

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Despite the Victorian toilet graffiti, the house otherwise lacked period features so Lucy and Paul decided to embrace this and go for a light, modern Scandi look with white walls, pale floors and lots of light flooding in through the huge bi-fold doors in the kitchen/living space. The doors provide access to a lovely big deck and garden which is perfect for their two daughters Mariella (4) and Beatrice (2) to run around in.  Alas for Wells, Lucy has put her student streaking days behind her and whilst at one time she was regularly to be found sprinting starkers down Jesmond High Street after a night on the toon, these days she keeps her Middle Wallop firmly under wraps when out in the garden.   Growing up in the North-East I never managed a streak of Jesmond High Street but did nearly catch hypothermia of the fanny wearing an indecently short miniskirt on a night aboard the Tuxedo Princess in December.

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Putting a brief flirtation with Shabby Chic behind her (well in the garage to be precise) these days Lucy is firmly a Scandi gal at heart with not a distressed pastel coloured piece of furniture in sight.  It is Scandi with a vintage/industrial edge though with e-bay and flea market finds looking right at home alongside the cool, calm nordic colours.  Inspired by an episode of Grand Designs that featured a house with climbing walls, secret passage ways and hidden passages ways for the kids, Lucy has tried to incorporate some of those fun touches into her house, with Beatrice getting a secret reading nook in her bedroom and Mariella a secret fairy kingdom under the stairs.   Although apparently Lucy's west country builders hadn't caught that episode of Grand Designs because the request for the reading nook met with the kind of reaction I would reserve for someone asking me to nail sanitary pads to their front door.  Lucy must have a better #KellyHoppenRestingBitchFace than me because she duly got her reading nook which makes Beatrice's bedroom a brilliantly fun space.

Lucy's favourite places to shop include La Redoute, Maisons du Monde, H&M Home, Rockett St George, Bath & West Flea Market, charity shops, Ikea, Ebay and MonPote Home in Bristol.  I think the Scandi gods must like Lucy because she seems to have managed to track down some really great Ikea finds which I swear have never graced the aisles of my Edmonton local. Although that was the store where someone lost their shit trying to bag a £50 leather sofa on opening day and stabbed another customer so maybe they dare not stock the instagram cat nip weaved baskets for fear of a shoot out.  

I need to find somewhere in my house to have this gorgeous hummingbird wallpaper. am wondering if pencilling footballs onto the beaks of the birds would mean i could sneak it into the boys bedroom

I need to find somewhere in my house to have this gorgeous hummingbird wallpaper. am wondering if pencilling footballs onto the beaks of the birds would mean i could sneak it into the boys bedroom

Whilst I was trying to look like Mario Testino (sans the camera skills, close relationship with the Royal Family and Peruvian accent of course) I asked Lucy to tell me a bit about her home city of Wells.  Pub quiz fact to be stored away, Wells is in fact England's smallest city  but instead of tower blocks and inexplicably complicated one way systems it has a beautiful Cathedral and a Palace with a Moat surrounding it. It was also the backdrop of the film comedy Hot Fuzz.  A term which I discovered when researching this piece that you should be very careful about googling unless you are keenly interested in the pubic hair of Brazilian porn stars as well as the cinematic back catalogue of Simon Pegg.  As the wife of a huge Hot Fuzz fan (to clarify am talking about the film rather than the Brazilian Porn Star pubes now)  I decided to keep this information under my hat so that our brief time in Wells was not spent trying to track down places where Simon Pegg duelled with murderdous village busybodies.   If we had been visiting in Summer I much preferred the sound of the openair cinema and theare events staged at the Bishops Palace.  

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Oh hello parquet flooring of my dreams

Oh hello parquet flooring of my dreams

Food wise, Lucy recommended a great sounding industrial style dive bar called Subhouse that has both great atmosphere and great burgers and helps her to feel like there is a little slice of London in her corner of the West Country.  I also liked the sound of  Da Luciano in Wells which is family owned and includes a welcome from Nonna with your Pizza.  It also apparently serves deep-fried dough balls, a dish which would almost certainly cause Deliciously Ella to have a gluten induced meltdown but which sound right up my quinoa averse street.  

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Further afield Chez Bruce in Wandsworth is one of Lucy's favourites (it used to also feature on my friend's restaurant top 5 until her husband fell sleep mid meal when she was berating him about not putting enough effort into their marriage) and she also loves a pre-dinner martini in Dukes, the Mayfair bar where Ian Fleming allegedly decided James Bond would be a Martini Man.  Before children (BC) when Lucy was being romanced by husband Paul, Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden also used to be a firm favourite for French food in a magical setting full of trees and twinkly fairly lights.  It is also just around the corner from the Royal Opera House should you, unlike me, be able to sit through one without 2 minutes in wishing it was in English and about 2 hours shorter.

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Lucy's bedroom style makes great use of a statement wallpaper and since I visited a new bed has arrived in the spare room so things are looking even more stylish.  Her dream holiday destinations when she can tear herself away from these lovely rooms include Cape Cod, Malyasia and Singapore with the Andaman on the Island of Langkawi being Lucy's absolute favourite hotel.  Having googled it I think it could become my favourite hotel too if I can just persuade Mr Malmo that a long haul flight with 3 young children would be an enjoyable experience instead of right up there with pulling his pubic hair out with tweezers as something he would like to do. 

Having popped my house tour cherry with the very lovely Lucy I said goodbye and went off to find the boys, wondering if I could get away with reprogramming the SatNav to detour past Bristol Ikea on the way to Bodmin without Mr Malmo noticing.