Get a fresh view on furniture this Bank Holiday…

If you’re lucky enough to have a long Bank Holiday weekend coming up, chances are you’re looking forward to spending time outside. A few hours pottering in the garden maybe? We’ve known for years that gardening is good for you (it can actually burn more calories than a gym session) but it now seems that for mice, and very possibly for us, grubbing about in the earth may have real benefits for our quality of life.

Apparently it’s all to do with bacteria commonly found living in soil; last week expert gardener James Wong was enthusing about them in a Guardian article here. And anything that can make a mouse happy gets my vote every time.

Jali bespoke decorative shutters in real oak veneerA lot depends on the weather, of course – after all, this is the UK! But even indoors there are ways of enjoying that fresh, natural look (and minus the risk of dirt under the fingernails – just saying). Against smooth pale walls, and white-painted or stripped-back wood sills and frames, our decorative shutters in real wood veneers look truly fabulous.

We’re always happy to send you free samples of fretwork, so you can see the quality of the veneer for yourself. Just ring us on 01227 833333 and tell us which fretwork pattern you’d like us to send, and your choice of oak or walnut. But please note that, because our veneer is a totally natural product, cut from individual trees, each length is unique and a sample is therefore only a guide.

Jali bespoke wardrobe in real oak veneerThe joy of veneers can also be yours in our made-to-measure wardrobes; imagine the scent of real oak or walnut on the inside, as well as a fine-grained finish on the outside. Yum. There really is nothing as good as wood. Just ask any mouse, but don’t let them near your lovely new Jali furniture. They should be out in the garden, playing with the Mycobacterium vaccae and getting their serotonin levels raised…

Have a happy holiday weekend!


Luxury looks even on a modest budget, with Jali

With Jali, you can get luxury looks even on a modest budget, but we do know that our products are used by many celebrated and successful interior designer for some very prestigious projects. We had news in this week of a Georgian townhouse conversion in Edinburgh with a Jali connection. Siobhan Mooney – one of the Telegraph‘s ‘Best 20 interior designers in Britain’ – has used our fretwork to stunning effect in the A-listed house, for bespoke doors, just seen below on the right.

Obviously no expense has been spared overall to achieve a luxurious finish. But this is an idea anyone can steal, as part of a major makeover or a quick, one-room refresh. And, crucially for most of us, it won’t break the budget. You can either choose Jali made-to-measure doors with fretwork insets, or use our fretwork panels as part of the joinery work, as Siobhan’s team has in the A-listed town house.

gc2id[1]750You can see other views of the Georgian conversion on Siobhan’s website. Using fretwork in doors, such as those in the cloakroom above, is perfect for combining decorative pattern with just enough privacy. It’s also ideal for areas where ventilation is essential, such as boiler/heater enclosures.

Here’s a just-cut batch of fretwork panels I snapped in the Jali workshop, in a variety of sizes and patterns (not something most people would want to try at home, I’d imagine):

Jali bespoke fretwork panelsYou could also use textiles, such as silks or velvets, as a backing for doors with fretwork panels. This can work beautifully on wardrobes or bedroom cupboards, for example, to create a really sumptuous effect with very little effort. Stretch the fabric taut, then use textile adhesive or staples to hold it in place. And if you change the décor, just switch the fabric – simple!

Jali panels have been used as screens in restaurants, film sets, stage designs museums and exhibitions, as in the specially-commissioned installation at the British Library below:

blscreenThe possibilities for luxury looks are endless, even without a whopping budget. Lots of our customers have already used panels in all kinds of imaginative projects, and without spending a fortune – we’d love to hear about yours!


The personal touch – for storage that suits YOU

i127banner750After last week’s blog on our wish to be individuals and not have the same stuff as everyone else in our homes, guess what? A Japanese artist, Yuko Shimizu, said pretty much almost exactly the same thing in an interiors feature in The Observer Magazine on Sunday. You can find the feature plus photos here.

When it comes to furniture, the article says, Shimizu decided to challenge herself to a “No Ikea rule.” ‘“It’s pretty hard because they have some great stuff,” she says, “but the problem is, whichever country you go to, everyone has the same furniture and it feels wrong.” So she tries to buy original items, either on Etsy and eBay, or when she travels.

She is a collector of both “junk and expensive things” – from figurines of Chinese dictators to Fornasetti pieces. “I like to support artists,” she says, “and often that means I can’t immediately buy the thing I want [because it’s too expensive], but that’s OK. One day I might be able to.”’

i12livingYuko lives in Manhatten, so she sadly can’t take advantage of Jali’s brilliant design-your-own furniture service, which, let’s face it, is the nearest thing to heaven for anyone on a modest budget who wants bespoke, individual pieces.

(We regularly get enquiries from the USA, but shipping costs and distances wipe out any hope of it being a sensible prospect at present.)

Pausing only to renew our subscription to Mind Readers’ Weekly (they were expecting our call), I looked for more springtime inspiration in May’s interiors magazines such as Good Homes and Ideal Home. And spotted something quite strange on their respective covers. See if you can:

IMG_2135-750Yep, they have both found exactly 987 ideas for improving your interiors. What are the chances of that?

Once I’d banished the images in my head of stylists in Burberry trenchcoats breaking into publishing offices at dead of night, it was time for a different kind of information gathering.

And what I found were some excellent projects that could be recreated using Jali products.

dressers750Take the dressers on either side of this fireplace, featured in Good Homes. Below is a shot of the matching pair:

IMG_2102a750This is exactly the kind of furniture we excel at; use our online dresser designer to create your own version, made bespoke to fit your alcoves exactly, even if they have different measurements.

Short of storage for small spaces? This kind of shoe storage cupboard is another natural for Jali: imagine this cupboard with our gorgeous fretwork in the doors:IMG_2110_2750IMG_2124_2350And over-the-door is a cinch for us: contact us on 01227 833333 if you’ve a mind to maximise your space in this way… Our Flexi shelving is versatile enough to fit almost any space, and can stand on the floor or be wall mounted according to need.

We’ve been making amazing, individual, personalised furniture for years. And we like to think we’ve got rather good at it. It’s also a great privilege to have our products go into people’s homes and lives, into the heart of the family.

And we love it when our customers do something unusual or daring. As Yuko Shimizu says, “Your home is your space and is where you can take risks. It’s a bit like my work,” she adds. “I don’t need everyone to love it.” We agree – as long as you love it, nothing else matters.


Unique self-assembly furniture, with no hacks needed…

You can find ‘hacks’, or ways of changing self-assembly furniture after you’ve purchased it, all over the web. Largely intended for products from a well-known Swedish superstore, hacks normally involve a fair amount of faff and fuss. And the results may be less than wonderful. OK, let’s admit it, sometimes they’re just plain hideous.

Often a hack is an attempt to make furniture look built-in and bespoke. Or more decorative and individual. The words “embellished” and “beautification” are frequently used, with no apparent irony. And all this effort is dedicated to transforming furniture that isn’t necessarily well-made or durable in the first place.

i274At Jali, we want everyone to have self-assembly furniture that is individual and bespoke, without paying a fortune or spending time ‘hacking’ it afterwards.

I remember a friend telling me how fed up she was seeing the same items, from the same retailers, in all her friends’ houses. She wanted her home to reflect who she was; her choices, her taste, her personality.

She was tired of looking for products that would fit her rooms, and her plans, and not being able to find them.

Jali furniture is perfect for people like my friend. We give you almost unlimited scope to design pieces that fit even awkward spaces exactly. And we put all kinds of great design options at your fingertips, to ensure your furniture is unique and personal to you, right there at the start, in the design process.

Of course, we’ll be delighted if you want to add your own touches once you’ve assembled your furniture – we just want to make sure you don’t have to! In fact, in a recent post, I featured just such a project, which was incredibly successful. (We had a lovely mention and thanks from interiors blogger Kimberly Duran – find it on the Swoon Worthy blog here.)

Jali bespoke furnitureFor example, you can have dressers or cupboards with doors made with our beautiful fretwork, then match or contrast them, as above, with decorative shutters, screens, radiator covers…

There is another advantage to buying Jali products. Because they are so well-made, they last much longer than some other self-assembly furniture on the market. And we keep all the data on the pieces you order on our system. So if you do eventually decide to update them, we can provide new parts with exactly the same measurements, so they’ll fit perfectly –and go on delighting you for many more years.

This means a new lease of life for still-usable furniture, and reduces the amount going into land-fill. You pay much less for a fresh new look, with the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing by the planet. Not so much a hack as a heck of a good thing all round, I’d say…