Wardrobes for all seasons

It’s that time of year for our wardrobes once again – when shorts, skirts and t-shirts make way for woollies, tights and coats. Although it’s always sad to wave summer goodbye, there are (whisper it) some of us at Jali who actually look forward to this change of season. Because it means we finally get to wear the items we snaffled online while everyone else was focusing on sun protection factors and holiday insurance…

Jali made-to-measure wardrobeIf, on the other hand, you’re dreading the Great Sartorial Switchover, it may be because your wardrobe capacity isn’t all it could be.

But don’t despair: over the past few years we’ve helped lots of customers organise their bedrooms, streamline their routines and save time – and tempers!

Think of a Jali wardrobe as a Tardis for your togs, an organiser for your outfits or just a brilliant way to keep all your attire visible, accessible and in fabulous condition.

Of course, when it comes to wardrobes, everyone’s needs are different. If you have a good long run of wall space and lots of height, our wardrobe Designer could be the ideal answer. You can subdivide the interior with compartments and shelves, have double as well as single hanging rails, plus shoe storage, shelving and drawer units that slot neatly inside, as shown below. Expert tip: If you position hanging rails one metre apart horizontally, you can hang shirts, skirts and trousers in two tiers – a real space saver!

Jali bespoke soft-close drawer uniinside Jali bespoke wardrobeIf your wall space is interrupted by doors or windows, or you plan to take your furniture with you when you move, smaller, free-standing pieces will do the trick.

Jali’s cupboard Designer also makes fabulous free-standing wardrobes, though you will have to fit your own hanging rails. It can also be used to create fitted wardrobes, as shown in our blog here.

As well as choosing the exact size you need, you can also select the kind of style details that suit you best.

If you’re a regular reader/browser of interiors magazines and blogs, you come across all kinds of advice and design themes.

Modern Pretty, Classic with a Twist and Soft Country are three of the “key flavours in bedroom style” that featured in a recent issue of The English Home magazine. They are intended to help you create a bedroom that is an “entirely personall and private [space] seen only by intimate friends and immediate family”. In other words, the aim is to turn your bedroom into a sanctuary, a personal and private haven, where you can indulge your own tastes and preferences without having to worry about what anyone else thinks of your choices.

Jali bespoke wardobe: painted doorsThis is something Jali can definitely help with. You can decide exactly how you want your hanging and storage space arranged. When it comes to how your wardrobe looks on the outside, you have plenty of choice there too. We can provide doors with solid or fretwork panels, or even a combination of the two.

And you can have a mix of painted and veneered finishes when you create units with the wardrobe Designer. For example, a primed or topcoated exterior and oak veneer interior.

However, if you opt for the cupboard Designer, you’ll have to decide between a painted or real wood veneer finish in oak or walnut, for both the interior and outside.

You can also expand clothes storage with Jali drawer units, both inside and outside wardrobes. At the moment you can’t design them with soft-close drawers on the website, but give us a call on 01227 833333 and we’ll be able to add them for you.

And there are other brilliant Jali products on our website that can add to both the practical and decorative side of things in the bedroom, including bookcases, cupboards, radiator cabinets, Flexi shelving, Shaker peg rails, pelmets and decorative shutters.

So if a truly individual and unique bedroom, one that perfectly suits your your lifestyle, fashion choices and available space sounds just the ticket, have a look at our website. Come next spring, you could be enjoying the switch from winter to summer clothes in an utterly delightful and totally bespoke fashion!


Modern DIY – fast, fun and frugal!

It’s National DIY Week (14 – 20 September), and here in the Jali factory you can’t move for champagne and bunting. Actually, that’s not true. But it’s great that DIY is being celebrated, as self-reliance and home-based skills are part of the UK’s – and Jali’s – rich tradition. (A bit like the WI, but with more power tools.)

Jali customised productsIt’s a great goal to aim for. It can save you money, and earn you the admiration (or envy) of friends and family. But not all of us have carpentry and joinery skills. Or want the hassle and expense of setting up a home workshop, or the mess, noise and visits to A&E so often involved in traditional DIY. If so, we have a solution.

First, a reminder of a previous era. Older readers may remember Barry Bucknell, so-called “doyen of DIY” in the 1950s and 60s. (For younger readers, there’s a Youtube clip here; you should be warned that it also includes footage of the millionaire magician Paul Daniels, but then nothing in life is perfect.)

Described as television’s first ‘Do-It-Yourself’ (DIY) expert and home makeover star, Barry Bucknell “transformed DIY from its solitary ‘garden shed’ origins into a fun, fashionable and profitable pastime accessible to all,” says the Science Museum’s online entry on Bucknell. “His 1950s series Do It Yourself attracted seven million viewers, followed in 1962 by Bucknell’s House, a 39-week BBC project to do up a run-down house in Ealing. Millions watched, then promptly followed his example, kickstarting the growth of a multi-million pound industry.”

YH_radcab9Bucknell was always fascinated with design and gadgetry. He served an apprenticeship with Daimler before joining his father’s building and electrical firm in St Pancras, London. He was a conscientous objector in WW2, working instead as a fireman in London during a period which included the Blitz. He also served as a Labour member of St Pancras council.

In the 1960s, Bucknell revolutionised small boat ownership by designing the Mirror dinghy, a popular and affordable boat which made sailing accessible to many young people; over 90,000 models were sold. He also invented a two-person canoe for the RNLI.

Barry Bucknell had originally appeared on TV answering viewers’ questions, but then was given his own slot on About The Home in 1956, “showing Joan Gilbert how to put up shelves or make a tool box.” Women were the intended audience for these programmes,  and seemed to like his unpatronising manner. They were also probably tickled by the mishaps that often befell him – he once applied too much paste to some wallpaper he was hanging; it then fell down on his head.

Bucknell has often been blamed for turning period rooms into bland modern ones by boxing in then-unfashionable features with sheets of hardboard and plywood. However, it has been pointed out that he saved many original fittings. As one online commentator noted, “We really owe Barry Bucknell a debt of gratitude for preserving period features such that they could be easily restored again. Nowadays, DIY ‘experts’ simply rip things out, throw them on the skip and buy the latest fashionable item. Time and again, hardboard panelling has been removed to reveal fireplaces, door mouldings and bannisters – thanks to Barry.”

Jali radiator cabinet being assembledAs his Telegraph obituary put it, “Bucknell was, for the rest of his life, seldom free of enquiries about the correct way to build a tea-trolley or a radiator cover.” Like Bucknell, Jali knows a bit about the latter. And, like Barry Bucknell, we want to get the message out that DIY is not just for rugged, manly types with pipes – women are just as capable, and in many cases more capable, of successfully doing it themselves.

So get yourself over to our website and use our online Designer to customise the perfect products for your home. Fun, fashionable and very kind to your bank balance, It really is the smart, modern way to Do It Yourself. And then prepare to bask in the admiration of all…



Design your own furniture… at festival time!

The London Design Festival is almost here again – it runs from 19 – 27 September 2015. It’s a great event for anyone interested in furniture or interior design, with a wealth of ideas, products, demonstrations and exhibitions to see. Having enjoyed my previous visits, I’ll definitely be going back this year.

The pieces on show range from restrained, refined and pared-back, to the wildest, wackiest and most colourful objects you could imagine – there really is something for every taste. You’ll find more information, including all the events and locations, on the Festival’s website here.

Previewing some of the festival highlights in The Observer magazine, David Nicholls mentions the “current ‘customisation’ trend where end users get the final say on how products they buy actually look.”

Well, we have news for you, Mr Nicholls – Jali has been offering customisation to our end users for 25 years! And for us it’s not just a “trend”, it’s the way we’ve always believed furniture and architectural items should be designed and manufactured.

Bespoke soft-close drawers from JaliUsing Jali’s free online designer, you, the customer/end user, start with one of our product examples and then change length, depth, height and style elements, until you’re totally happy with the result. For extra reassurance, you’ll see the price you’ll pay change in real time as you customise the design, so there are no nasty shocks when you come to pay.

With Jali, you are the designer, with our award-winning, purpose-built, 24,000 square foot factory in Kent at your disposal. The result is furniture that fits… your home, your needs, your lifestyle, delivered directly to your door. No fads, no tricks, no trends, just high-quality products that will make you happy for years to come. You never know, it might even put you in the mood for a wander round a design festival…


Start with a Jali smooth surface, then add texture…

Well, that was quick. Is it just me, or did Summer 2015 feel like a short dress-rehearsal for the real thing, with a few weeks of wintery cold, rain and fog thrown in to make up the shortfall? Of course, we may yet have an Indian Summer, as the Met Office is currently forecasting, though I’m not putting money on it. Instead, I’m cracking open the white paint and brightening up my walls so it will at least look lighter indoors.

Jali bespoke dresserA great way to transform a room from “OK” to “Wow!” is to contrast smooth materials and surfaces with less uniform ones. So I’m going to add some texture, in the form of new cushions (some of which I’m making myself from vintage material bought for a few pounds) plus some other accessories.

From my online research, it’s clear that texture is “a thing” in 2015. For a long time colour, especially paint shades with eccentric names, has dominated the interior design world. So it’s refreshing to see a new element coming in, with lesser-known ways to give some pizzazz to acceptable but somewhat boring schemes.

As a foil to textured surfaces, painted furniture is ideal. By combining the two, you add visual interest and variety, breaking up what could otherwise be a pretty monotonous look. Interior designer Oliver Burns says “Without texture a room will have the same visual tone and tactile feel throughout which can make it feel flat & uninviting. The most obvious way to do this is with fabrics; cushions, throws and rugs in unusual materials and textures like faux fur, mohair, and suede all have a luxe quality to them that begs to be touched.”

Other suggestions are plants and books – click here to read the full post on Oliver’s blog. And his post on Winter fabrics to warm your home has some gorgeous photographs that almost make me welcome the arrival of winter… almost!

2H8A0078As well as being super-practical, Jali furniture is a great – and affordable – starting point for such a makeover. Its ultra-smooth, silky surface is the perfect partner for all kinds of textiles, metals, glass and ceramics. Jali furniture, being made of MDF, has no knots, lumps or bumps to spoil its appearance or feel. And it takes paint beautifully, given the right choice of material and application.

Another of our favourite bloggers, Kimberly Duran, has also been experimenting with texture on her fabulous Swoon Worthy site. She offers some really affordable, accessible and down-to-earth advice as well as inspiring those of us on modest budgets to get out of our ruts and get cracking on the DIY front. A recent post, on styling a bedside cabinet three ways, is  a case in point, and the photo below perfectly illustrates the lift some carefully-chosen accessories featuring different textures can give an interior.


Super-practical Jali furniture is the ideal starting-point for freshening up your décor. Its silky, ultra-smooth surface finish is the perfect foil for all kinds of textiles, metals, glass and ceramics… And for the perfect, time-saving finish, we can now provide top-coats as well as priming – contact us for more information.