The Transylvanian Manor conjures up all things spooky and gothic, but in this case I’m talking about a collection of designs from Mind the Gap, a delicate and feminine collection, no ghouls or monsters at all. In fact the patterns are rather tame compared to some of their others, but the vibrancy of colour and exotic forms makes them just burst off the page.

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It’s all too easy when you run your own business to make the mistake of waking in the morning with a racing heart, thinking about all of the things you didn’t achieve yesterday, therefore over burdening the ever growing “List”, whose end seems further and further away. Continue reading →






Planning permission duly granted by New Forest District Council, enter Listed Buildings and so begin the nightmare. I am a great fan of listing for buildings or monuments of import, I love old buildings and I think good architecture and history should be preserved for future generations.  However I think they take it too far and refuse to bend rules where they should be bent – eg, whoever designed Elgars Cottage put on a hideous mock Georgian bow window, completely out of character with the rest of the building but which I am now stuck with because of the listing.  Also I am not allowed to put in double glazing because it is not original, even though this “listed” building was a broken down shed less than 30 years ago; so to replace the rotten windows I have had to make replica wooden ones without secondary glazing but in order to comply with building regs heat standards and compensate for the heat loss out of the single glazed windows I have had to take all the plaster from all the walls, which was thoroughly insulated in 1986 and quite beautifully plastered,  and replace it with a marginally different insulation board, then of course re-plaster throughout – note that this only becomes relevant because there are now two buildings rather than one, so they are classed as newbuilds rather than renovation and therefore have to comply with all the current building regs, and had I left them as one building I could just have repainted and no-one would care about the heat loss!  I could even have added double glazing and no-one would have known! Mad.  The plans for Elgars Cottage, Lymington, Hampshire can be seen at the New Forest District Council Planning Portal.  How did interior design ever become so difficult?