Chic AND cosy homes, with Jali interior design

Jali bespoke kitchen dresserStylish or cosy – do you really have to make a choice when it comes to interior design? Some time ago, I mentioned the Danish concept of hygge (you can find the post here). At the time, it was relatively unknown, but now it’s all over the media, from The Guardian to the Daily Mail to BBC4’s Woman’s Hour. (Congratulations to Woman’s Hour, by the way – 70 years old today!)

Usually translated into English as ‘cosiness’, a state of mind as much as a material condition, hygge is probably more welcome than ever, as a refuge from an increasingly unpredictable and noisy world.

‘Cosy’ can mean many things; curling up on a sofa cradling a mug of hot chocolate; sharing food – and good memories – with close friends; velvet cushions, throws and candles… Cosy, yes; tatty or scruffy – definitely not recommended!!

Jali bespoke Flexi shelvingSo how do we tap into this huggable, tactile trend without going all über-hippy on our loved ones?

One great tip is to create warmth and visual interest, to gladden the eye and the soul in one fell swoop.

And don’t be afraid of colour. If it makes you happy, go for it!

Contrast softer textures and textiles with streamlined, smooth-surfaced furniture that also shows off the objects you love. (Or hides the ones you don’t love quite as much.)

So often nowadays you find that fashion trends are closely linked to interior design ideas, and velvet is a case in point. (Frank disclosure: I’ve already succumbed – on the clothes front, vintage 30s and 60s velvet has already been liberated from spare-room storage and is definitely influencing thoughts of home décor.)

So for your first hygge rush, why not start with some shelving?

Depending on situation, space and needs, our bookcases and/or Flexi shelving provide the most versatile, stylish and capacious made-to-measure storage on the planet. And without costing the earth…

For chic. asymmetrical shelves and compartments, like the unit above, Flexi shelving is the way to go. And, in the Jali Designer, you can specify a freestanding or a wall-mounted unit, to fit any space or situation.

Next on the list: cupboards, to hide away the essential things you don’t want to look at all the time. Choose your ideal height, width, depth, sections and shelves. Storing stuff behind precisely-fitting doors has never been so easy, or pleasurable. You’re in charge. In fact, you rock!

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Jali bespoke radiator cabinetAnd don’t forget the difference a Jali radiator cabinet can make to a room.

A steel radiator may be doing a great job of keeping the temperature comfortable, but can be really jarring and ruin the look of an otherwise stylish room.

So why not turn ugly into elegant, make your heating more efficient and get yourself an extra shelf into the bargain. Yet another example of having it all, dare we say?

Whatever you choose, we can’t say it often enough – your home, your space, your rules. But we’re here to help and advise; just contact us by phone on 01227 33333 or via sales@jali.co.uk Happy hygge hunting from Jali!

-Annie

Use fabulous fretwork for wonderful weddings!

front-summer-coverIt’s marriage season! And surely there is nothing to match the sumptuous spectacle and splendour of an Asian wedding.

 Khush is a luxury, UK-based Asian wedding magazine, providing inspiration, ideas and sources for everything needed for the perfect Big Day. When the editor was looking for backdrops for a bridal beauty feature recently, he came to Jali.

And our beautiful fretwork panels, in pattern 2172, did the job perfectly. The summer edition of the magazine is available online at www.khushmag.com but we’ve had a sneak preview of the results – and they’re gorgeous!

Khush magazine spread showing Jali fretworkAnd this is another double-page spread from the same issue:

Khush magazine spread showing Jali fretworkWedding designers are also using our fretwork to create arches and other decorative structures, to make this summer’s ceremonies even more special and memorable. One customer is using 10 panels of the design below, in pattern 2152, to create an outdoor arbour for a midsummer wedding:

Jali fretwork panel in pattern 2152As it’s just for one day (and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for balmy weather!) our moisture resistant MDF will be just fine outdoors. You could also use a similar structure inside, of course.

In fact, with all this talk of nuptials and customers ordering panels and telling us their plans, the Jali team has been playing around with more ideas for using fretwork. Amy suggests using a fretwork panel as an alternative either to a long tablecloth hiding the front of the top table or the kind of ruched or swagged ‘pelme’t effect that is often used by caterers. Think of the kind of ‘modesty panel’ you often find in office desks, but a lacy and decorative version. Add some tiny LED lights and flowers and it would look absolutely gorgeous…

Yes, at Jali we’re a bunch of romantics at heart. It’s lovely to play even a small part in people’s big events, so if you have an idea that you think we can help with, please don’t hesitate to contact us

-Annie

 

Get designing, and avoid those year–end queue blues!

We’re always amazed and thrilled to see what our clever customers are designing with Jali. Some of you launch several ambitious projects at the same time (go you!) and really impress us – not to mention friends and family – with what you achieve with our products.

I revealed a couple of great projects a while ago, but the same customer had another spectacular result to show us. And it’s this:

Jali bespoke cupboardA window seat with a secret: built-in storage accessed by the series of neat double doors on the front. So how was it done? Firstly, our customer designed a long, slender cupboard using the Jali Designer. It obviously needed to be of limited depth because of the shape of the window bay.

A semicircular wooden top was then fitted, with appropriate supports, against the wall and above the cupboard to provide a seat base. In this case, our customer provided his own, but you could design something similar using our custom MDF shapes.

Jali bespoke cupboardJali bespoke cupboards in alcove and as part of wndow seatIn the photo on the left you can see the end of the cupboard on the right, showing just how shallow its depth had to be to fit snugly into the semicircular bay.

This project, along with the others this customer has completed, shows really well what can be achieved with imagination, planning and the brilliant Jali design process.

So if this has given you ideas, and you think you can solve your own storage and design problems with Jali, it’s time to get cracking.

We do get very busy towards the end of the year, so why not use these longer, lighter days for thinking, planning, designing and ordering?

You’ll jump those annoying end-of-year queues that often mean longer waiting times for manufacture and delivery.

And you’ll feel organised, in control and fully prepared to welcome visitors for the festivities – and to receive all those compliments on your cleverness and great taste!

-Annie

 

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.

-Annie

Home improvement made easy

Getting on with it, making things look, feel and work better – we humans seem to have an inbuilt urge for many kinds of positive action, including homne improvement. Self-help or self-improvement became “a thing” in the Victorian era, while home improvement had to wait until the 20th century to really get going. Sadly, some of the DIY skills needed on this front are looking a bit, well, lacklustre at present. As are many bank balances.

Jali bespoke furniture(By the way, is ‘Lacklustre’ the name of a paint colour yet? Can only be a matter of time…)

I’ve been using the term “Modern DIY” a lot recently, as I think it sums up the Jali way of doing things. So I was curious to see what other versions were out there. I must admit I got a bit of a shock.

There are some extraordinary, nay, terrifying images and finished projects on the interweb, under the banner of DIY. For a taste of what I mean, have a look at 101 DIY Projects How To Make Your Home Better Place For Living (Part 1). You’ll need to scroll down for the full impact…

A quick Google search will throw up hundreds more, including thousands of ideas for reusing pallets, and covering rhubarb leaves with concrete to make garden stepping stones…

Now, I’m sure these transformations have been done with love, pride and sincerity, and are giving their owners a lot of pleasure. Each to their own.

But if you’re looking for home improvement that’s a little less, er, extreme, Jali has the perfect answer to those “I can’t stand this any longer – we HAVE to do something about x, y or z, WITHOUT spending a fortune” blues. We give you the (online) tools to do a brilliant job of designing your own fabulous, bespoke furniture. Just like those 101 DIY projects, it’s your choice, your dimensions, your taste.

Jali bespoke decorative shutters and sideboardSo what else does a Jali project mean? No more weekend fighting to get into the car-park of a retail giant (whenever it rains, my local one gets flooded, just to make it that bit more challenging). No more heartsick realisations that cabinet makers and joiners need to actually come into your house and build stuff, there, on-site, so they have to, quite properly, charge you a lot for their skills, labour and materials. (And, as I say, come into your home. Quite a lot.)

To get started on your own easy home improvement project, just visit the Jali website. Browse our products page, mooch around your place and see what would work there. Our products solve so many problems, look gorgeous and will make you as proud as any of those pallet-users and rhubarb concreters…

-Annie

 

Storage that’s romantic AND practical!

 

white Jali dresserAh, dark, velvety red roses! Yes, we’re a romantic bunch at Jali. Any excuse and we’re ready with the flowers, the fizz and the favourite restaurant table.

Now before we all get carried away, I’ve never believed in the idea of ‘soulmates’. We are all individuals, and believing the opposite can lead to the wearing of matching jumpers – and much, much worse. (More mature readers will remember Howard and Hilda, and shudder. Younger ones will find the evidence here; please use this information responsibly.)

white Jali dresserTolerance of a partner’s fads and foibles can go a long way in creating a harmonious household. So a well-judged gift of some stylish storage, customised to suit a loved one’s hobbies or collections, is our top tip for a truly thoughtful and yes, romantic, Valentine’s gesture.

Jali customised cupboardWhether you create a large dresser with storage space, as in the example on the left, or a stand-alone cupboard, bookcase or some Flexi shelving, you can customise your products so they fit your space, and needs, exactly.

(Or the needs of your loved one, obviously. To do this, it’s a good idea to get their ideas and input. Mind-reading is an overrated skill, in our humble opinion.)

The same goes for our brilliant wardrobes; these can even be designed to go round corners if required. For fashion addicts, there is nothing more wonderful than having space and to spare for copious collections of frocks, bags, skirts and shoes.

Recent events in my own family have convinced me, if I needed convincing, that kindness is the essential element in our relations with each other. Recognising the need we all have for a space in which we can keep treasured things is a big part of that. And it acknowledges the right we all have for our own interests and ideas to be respected. For me, it’s an aspect of one of the words the Greeks have for love: agape, which I’ve always understood as meaning “to want the best for other people, to make them happy and fulfilled”.

Given that, I’d like the Valentine’s effect to extend to everyone, partnered-up or not. So let’s go to it – and there’s absolutely nothing to stop you designing and buying one for yourself, is there? Thought not – race you to the Jali shopping trolley!

-Annie

Time to bring back cupboard love

Jali blue cupboard with fretwork doors and real oak veneer topAt Jali, we do love a nice cupboard. I thought the interiors magazines would be full of them at the moment, as their articles urge us to smarten up our act, and homes, for the coming year. (Actually, the magazines themselves are causing their own problems. I was seduced by a supermarket magazine rack promising foolproof ways to get lean, serene and organised in the new year. Having fallen for their blandishments,  I’m now surrounded by even more magazines of the kind I’ve been trying to get rid of in a bid to declutter and be more serene and organised. Oh well…)

Anyway, back to cupboards. or rather the lack of them. As I said, I assumed they would be part of the “declutter, then go out and buy a ton of new stuff to accommodate what’s left of the old stuff” advice we always hear at this time of year.

But no. Cupboards seem to have disappeared from the scene; even in a long feature on “storage solutions” (how I hate that term) there was only one vaguely cupboard-like “solution”. And that, predictably, was intended for a kitchen, so it doesn’t really count.

But cupboards are so versatile and useful they deserve a comeback, and a whole lotta love, all over the house. And with Jali you can of course make ’em as tall, small, wide and handsome as you like, so they will – literally – fit anywhere.

Jali customised cupboard with real oak veneer topYou can also decide how many sections and shelves you have inside. You can choose slab, Shaker-style or fretwork doors. Plain or fluted uprights? Veneered in real wood or painted? Half and half? You’re the boss. And if you don’t fancy any of the handles Jali supplies, there’s a whole world of choice out there, to suit every possible taste (and grasp.

Yes, shelving and bookcases are brilliant, and often they are the perfect answer to your storage needs… (sorry, slipped into ‘marketing moron mode’ there). But a well-made cupboard is a wonderful thing, and deserves a better place in the home hierarchy. After all, not everything we own and use deserves a place on an open shelf. A lot of it is, frankly, just not that attractive. Isn’t it great to just pop it in a cupboard and close the door till the next time we need it?

So let’s hear it for the cupboard. Yes, let’s by all means rescue the ones our grannies used, and lime-wash and chalk-paint them till they glow again. But a brand-spanking-new, designed-just-for-you Jali version? Now that, my friends, deserves a whole lot more than cupboard love…

-Annie

Unique furniture, designed by you, for you…

I was leafing through the latest edition of the CoolBrands® report for 2015/16, when an article jumped out at me. (Since 2001, CoolBrands® has been compiling “an independent survey of experts and consumers to produce a yearly barometer of the coolest brands, people and places in Britain.” We’re not in it… Yet.)

Written by Sam Oxley, Managing Partner at House PR, the article was about the challenge to find truly original ideas – not following the herd but creating things that are different from everything else. You can find it as a blogpost here.

Today’s consumers are on a search for the new, says Sam. She goes on: “the most creative people I know, or am inspired by…. live and work in a field in Kent”. Well, the Jali team works in a field in Kent (below), so we’re delighted to be in such good company!

Jali factory in poppy field, KentAt Jali, we’ve always believed everyone has more abilities and talents than they are aware of. And we’re all individuals – our homes, tastes, needs and budgets are all different. So why should we put up with such restricted choice in the furniture we buy? We’re faced with the same products and furniture, made to standard sizes, just because it suits manufacturers and makes their lives easier.

So the way we do furniture manufacture is original and different. It puts you in control, and gives you the power to create not just ideas, but actual, unique products you’ll love to live with. And be very proud of, because you designed and assembled them.  At Jali, we think there’s a designer inside everyone. And our job is to set that designer free, by giving you the power to make your home uniquely your own.

Jali bespoke work stationBut Sam also makes the point that real creativity can’t be forced or prescribed, and we often get the best ideas or solve a problem when we’re doing something not connected with the task at hand.

We can be inspired by something we come across online, she accepts, but we also need time away from our devices and screens, to be free of distractions so we have time to process and reflect.

In other words, we need to learn to disconnect, as well as enjoy being connected. And if you’ve been smart enough to create unique furniture like this bespoke Jali work station (above and right), you can do both just as easily. You can create one of your own using our latest online Designer, available free at the link here.

Jali bespoke computer workstationHowever, if you’ve “disconnected” from a Jali design that you made some time ago, that’s still sitting in your “Work in progress” area on our site, why not go back and finish it now, then send your order through to us?

That way, you’ll soon get all the benefits of a Jali radiator cabinet, bookcase or any other product that you’ve chosen from our wide range.

And if you haven’t started, there’s no better time than now. You’ll beat the Christmas rush and in a couple of weeks, be enjoying beautiful, practical new furniture, delivered direct from our factory in the heart of Kent (yes, that field again!) to your door.

“Brands can and should be bolder and braver when it comes to developing new ideas” says Sam. “In an era of data and tracking, it’s more challenging to do things differently, go with your gut, be the first to innovate. But that’s what many of the brands we admire most do – they buck the trend, they go their own way and they maintain their integrity.”

At Jali we’ve always aimed to do all this – and we always will. It can be a tough way to go, but as somebody once said, if a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well… And quite honestly, we’d rather be right than cool!

-Annie

Bookcase and dresser, for now and forever!

Despite changing times, fashions and technologies, there are some things we humans have created that just, well, work. Take the bookcase, for example. Recent doom-laden reports on the death of the printed book, at the hands (digits?) of the Kindle and other e-readers, have proved far from accurate. So it looks as if the traditional purpose of bookshelves won’t disappear for a good long time yet. Which is nice.

Jali customised painted bookcaseHaving said that, the bookcase has always had many more uses than its name implies. It makes the perfect storage for things you don’t want to hide away in drawers or behind doors. And it also provides ideal display space (see above) for all your treasures, collections and bibelots…

At Jali, we’re also very partial to a dresser. Again, despite the almost total domination in recent times of the built-in kitchen, it’s become a timeless classic, combining cupboards, shelving and drawers in an amazingly useful, freestanding, all-in-one format.

With Jali’s unique dresser designer, you have a very powerful online design tool to use whenever you want to, for as long as you like. It helps you create exactly the right combination for your space – and your stuff. And there’s a huge choice of style details and finishes, to ensure you really will own the dresser of your dreams…

Jali white-dresser with left-hand insetThe Jali dresser above was made for a customer who designed it with an inset that extends outwards on the left-hand side, so that it will fit snugly against a side wall with no gaps. Creating an inset on one or both sides is just one of the Jali options that will give you a truly professional, “looks exactly like expensive bespoke joinery” finish.

This latest, brilliant Jali Designer also creates smart and stylish sideboards, wall units and work-stations. In addition, you can pick the full flat-pack DIY option, or have your unit part-assembled before delivery, if that’s more convenient. And you can also have a primed unit or one finished in a top-coat in one of the 24 fabulous Jali colours. Contact us to discover all the options.

Bookcase and dresser – two brilliant, timeless, storage problem-solvers. To get yours, just get measuring!

-Annie

With a fresh pair of eyes…

This week, I had a message from Jackie, our customer in the Netherlands who loves her new and extraordinary home-town of Heusden (below) and her Jali decorative shutters – I recently wrote about all of them in my blog post here.

april-b30fd78aJackie has returned the compliment in her “Pancakes and Poffertjes” column column in the Eindhoven News.

“Seeing with a fresh pair of eyes” is a lovely piece, full of wisdom and insight into the joys – and challenges – of living in a new place and a different culture.

One of the satisfactions of working for Jali is the contact we have with so many fantastic people like Jackie. It’s a great privilege to help make their ideas reality – Jackie and her partner have been renovating their house and it’s great to have had even a small part in that exciting but exhausting process. We wish them much happiness there; who knows, we may even meet up in person in the not-too-distant future!

-Annie