Storage space for the presents – and future!

It was so nice to end the year with some good news in the headlines for a change. The Paris climate change deal and the safe arrival of Major Tim Peake on the International Space Station made all of us at Jali especially happy.

When it comes to eco-responsibility, we’ve been championing the need for sustainable materials and manufacturing methods since Jali was founded in 1990 – and we’ve been putting our principles into practice ever since.

astronaut_ice-creamAnd we’re always excited by advances in technology and science – our lovely designer/programmer Jim even spent part of his summer holidays at NASA.

He brought back some inventive and intriguing presents for the team – I got a tube of astronaut ice-cream (left) developed for the Apollo missions, of which more later…

Of course, I don’t need to remind you that another holiday is about to, er, launch itself upon us.

If you’re totally organised and on it – cards posted, lists ticked off, all presents bought and wrapped, menus planned and comestibles purchased – congratulations. Go to the top of the tree. Because, quite frankly, all you have to do now is sparkle.

On the other hand, if you’re not there yet, I’m in your gang. We’ll be fine, honestly. Perfection is such an overrated word…

Anyway, when it’s all over, or if you need some respite from all the mayhem and merriment, our website is open and working all through the holiday.And, if you’re lucky, you may need extra space for all those gorgeous presents you’ve been dropping hints about…

So you can take a good look at those awkward or under-performing areas around the house, have a think and a measure, browse through our products and decide which of them would give you the best storage capacity and style pizzazz for your space.

For example, a wall between two windows, for which a standard size bookcase would be either too wide or too narrow:

Jali bespoke bookcase, from screen to realityPerfection! (Yes, I know I just said it was an overrated word, but there are exceptions.)

If you have any questions, or have an idea for putting several Jali products together to solve a storage problem, contact us via the website over the break – the office closes for the holidays at 5.30pm on Friday 18th December, or call us on 01227 833333 when we’re back, on Monday 4th January.

And don’t forget that you can still place orders via the website over the break; it means you’ll also be first in the queue when we return in the New Year!

In the meantime, thank you so much for your custom over the last year, and for sending us feedback and photos of your projects; it’s fantastic to see what you’ve created. And it’s a real privilege and joy for us to make furniture that goes right into your homes and becomes part of your lives…

The ice-cream of heroes

Oh, I nearly forgot – that astronaut ice-cream. Well, itastronaut_ice-cream was… interesting.

Flavour: Neapolitan (allegedly). Texture: little balls, looking a bit like the polystyrene packing material that you find in parcels. Crunches if you bite it (not usually a feature of ice-cream.)

Not cold (also an unusual feature) but it’s apparently real ice-cream, freeze-dried into tiny drops, so it could be sent on long-haul spaceflights, such as to the Moon, and to reduce the weight of the water and oxygen normally found in food. Sweet, does melt in the mouth. Nothing crackles or fizzes.

Yes, it may be ice-cream, Jim, but not as we know it. And one question still nags at me: in zero gravity, wouldn’t all those tiny ice-cream balls go floating about the cabin? And rounding up that lot up would make the average post-Christmas lunch clear-up look like a piece of (Christmas) cake…

However you’re spending it, have a wonderful holiday!

A very merry Christmas from all of us at Jali!



More great design secrets – unlocked!

It’s been a great week for coincidences – and design ideas! After posting last week’s Jali blog, which included tips on the art of grouping objects in interiors, I popped over to the lovely Swoon Worthy for some Christmas décor inspiration. (Last year, interiors blogger Kimberly Duran dressed her home, including her Jali radiator cabinet (below) with real panache.)

Jali bespoke radiator cabinet with Christmas decorations by SwoonworthyWell, you could have knocked me down with a gorgeously-marked feather. I was amazed to see Kimberly had also posted a blog last Friday along very similar lines to mine. (She also went down with flu’ last week – glad to see you’re feeling better today, Kimberly!)

Swoon Worthy is a site we’ve recommended before –  we love Kimberly’s  work. So do have a look at How to Create Eclectic Style in your Home – it’s full of great advice, including lots more tips for grouping, matching and contrasting all kinds of interior design elements with confidence and verve. And if that were not enough, there’s a lovely shot of the Jali radiator cabinet too (below)…

IMG_3736And if that were not enough, there’s a lovely shot of the Jali radiator cabinet too (above)…

The real key to happiness…?

This week’s final coincidence – Amy, the newest member of the Jali team, told me that one of our clever customers had sent in a photo of her boot room, complete with a “super group” of different Jali products she’d put together to make a unique storage combo!

Jali bespoke cupboard, bookcase, flexishelves, skirting in boot roomChristine told us how pleased she is with her new ensemble. “I am so delighted with the solidity of your products and that your website was so easy to use that the three items – cupboard, book case and Flexi shelves – all fitted together so well.”

Jali bespoke boot room cupboard drawingShe’d asked a handyman to add tongue and groove to the back wall, plus metal hooks for coats mounted on a length of Jali skirting. And she bought an oak surface to use as a seat.

Christine told us she will definitely be using Jali again.

“My ‘Work in Progress’ folder is filling up! Many thanks for the great service and the quality products.”

Her next project is a kitchen dresser – “Can’t wait!” And, she added, “I’ve always been teased by friends for saying that storage is the key to happiness.”

Well, we think Christine is definitely having the last laugh, as well as being on to something really important. We love the way she has used the simple but powerful online Jali Designer to group her chosen products together. As well as specifying the height, number of shelves, compartments, etc, she was able to match the fluted uprights, mouldings and other details, so the finished piece is a seamless and integrated whole.

To solve your storage problems in a practical but stylish way, look no further than Jali. Don’t forget that we can often adjust your design to make it even more elegant – for example, by making you a single front plinth to “tie together” a run of different, side-by-side units. Just contact us to see what’s possible – and to get your hands on the real key to happiness!


Interior design secrets we can all use!

Jali bespoke dresserHow to decorate like an interior designer? It’s something lots of us would like to know, including the auction house Christie’s. It recently put the question to Max Rollitt, who reveals some of his decorating secrets in the interview here.

Mix, mingle and meld…

At Jali we love a man who appreciates a breakfront bookcase, so were fascinated to know more about Max’s decorating style. It is, he says, “deeply eclectic and layered, immediately comfortable to the eye, amusing and joyful. Objects and furniture drawn from a 400-year span of world art, melded with my own unique range of traditionally inspired soft furnishings, each design given my individual twist. My style is a curious mix of classically influenced post war interior designers, such as Christopher Gibbs, David Hicks and Robert Kime.”

Dare to be different

Although most of us lack the means to indulge in the furniture and objects Max favours, we can all be braver in the way we decorate. Our homes should look the way we want them to – our tastes, hobbies and interests reflect who we are and where we’ve come from. So although it’s really helpful and inspirational to see what other people have done, they’re not living in our houses and flats – we are!

Jali bespoke radiator cabinet

Photo by David Merewether

But if you’d like a bit of help in making your place “comfortable to the eye, amusing and joyful”, Max does have some great examples on his website.

I think his interiors are so successful partly because he has taste and knows his history, and because he has the confidence to put together things from different countries, styles and periods. (Yes, I know – the fact that he has great contacts and his clients have very large budgets also helps!)

The thing I really admire about Max is that he can spot a connection between objects – a similar shape, texture or colour, say, so the result doesn’t look like a junk yard or random assembly of old tat. There are great examples on Max’s website here (also note the bold use of colour on wall and furniture) and here. Oh, and here too – shape, colour and texture….

It’s something that gets better with practice, and your “collections” don’t have to be expensive to look good – many of my own finds are from charity shops and vintage fairs and cost very little… But I have chosen them all for a reason, and it’s a great feeling when you bring them together – and it works!

And the next big thing in design?

Max was asked what he thought the next interiors look would be. “Opulence and grandeur — I envisage interiors becoming richer with more colour and ornament” was the reply. That brings joy to our hearts at Jali, as we offer products with sumptuous decoration and features (see our BBC Good Homes exhibition room-set, below), as well as simpler lines.

Jali room-set at BBC Good Homes ShowAnd we we love nothing better than creating big and beautiful pieces for our clever customers! Try our new dresser designer for furniture with really sophisticated detail and a luxury look.

And we’ll let you in to another secret – when top interior design magazines like World of Interiors urgently need some gorgeous, ornate decoration with authentic antecedents, they come to us. We’re the only people who can do it, quickly, beautifully and inexpensively.

You can order your furniture primed and finish it yourself, maybe in a bold colour for maximum impact, or use our new top-coating service. You can choose from a range of Jali colours from demure to dramatic… Contact us for more details.

Of course with Jali you don’t have to start from scratch – using our existing examples, you can play with features, elements and proportions until you get exactly what you want and need. And we’re currently working on ways of improving the way our system works.

Top tips – and a secret worth knowing

Finally, Christie’s asked Max, what is your top tip for collecting/decorating? “Get educated; study the form. Buy from the heart – if you fall in love with it you won’t regret it, even if it hurts your wallet!” At Jali we love learning about things, and the “buy from the heart” bit is our mantra too – but luckily our furniture is so reasonably priced it won’t damage your purse, wallet or under-the-matress stash. And it’s also practical, which is a BIG bonus…

So forget expensive antiques and pricey cabinet-makers; Jali is the real secret of unique and adorable decorating… and you heard it here first!