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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

Filtering by Tag: plants


Sommer Pyne

House Curious (Photography by Michele Sinclair)

House Curious (Photography by Michele Sinclair)

Home bar

When we first told people that we were putting in a home bar the reaction was mixed. Some thought it was genius and others thought it was a bit over the top. I love the idea and I love sharing it with my friends even more. The home bar trend seems to have caught on and no matter how big or small your space is you can create your own home bar. Think bar carts, drinks cabinets or even a side table with your favourite tipple, decanter and glasses. The thing I love the most about a home bar is that it’s all about socialising with friends, and that my friend can only be good.

House Curious (Photography by Rei Moon and Sommer Pyne

House Curious (Photography by Rei Moon and Sommer Pyne

Plants are my go to accessory

Styling your home with plants is a great way to add life and warmth to any space or home. Plants are an instant mood booster and will lift any dead space. No matter if you like the minimal style or more eclectic look there will always be a plant to suit your style. Plants also have lots of health benefits from eliminating harmful toxins to helping with mental health. Caring for a living thing gives us purpose and is rewarding — especially when you see a living thing bloom and thrive.

My favourite place to buy plants is the New Covent Garden Market but if you don’t have a car then Patch Plants have a home delivery service in London.

House Curious (Photography Gavin Smith) and Le Riad Yasmine

House Curious (Photography Gavin Smith) and Le Riad Yasmine

Get creative with tiles

You can have so much fun with tiles and this exactly what we did when we designed our bathroom in the basement. The powder room, a little tongue in cheek and always a good conversation starter. Our inspiration came from classic tile mosaics you might find in hotel foyer, bistro or subways from cities like New York, Paris and London. I always think it’s nice to come up with something that’s original or personal to you. I’ve seen people copy exactly what I’ve done and that’s fine, but I think it’ll always mean so much more if it’s personal to you. Here are some images to get you started…



Clock wise starting at the top right : Nicole Ramasy @melissaambrosini, House Curious, Merry Little House, Total Beauty, @ethnicity_soul

Clock wise starting at the top right : Nicole Ramasy @melissaambrosini, House Curious, Merry Little House, Total Beauty, @ethnicity_soul

Wellness centric home

Wellness is more than just exercising and eating well, the environment in which we live can also have an huge impact on the way we feel. My home is like a sanctuary to me and I designed it to encourage good habits and a place where I can feel energised or calm. Each room was designed with how I want to feel followed by the functionality of the room. As part of creating a wellness centric home think about creating a zone where you can unwind and clear your head after a long day. You can create a corner dedicated to this or if you have the luxury use a whole room with this in mind. Add books, yoga mats, meditation cushion, musical instruments, salt lamps, essential oil diffusers. Low lighting and candles are great to help you get in the mood. Remove all technology like TV’s, laptops and phones.

House Curious

House Curious

Spa bathroom trend

You only have to look at Pinterest to realise that the spa trend isn’t going away and it also plays into wellness within the home. If you’re renting or not in renovating mode here are few things you can do to easily create that spa like feeling at home.

  • Have all your beauty products on display by your bath in a tray for that hotel look. This will also encourage you to use them.

  • Hang a bunch of eucalyptus in the shower and when it steams up you will get a wonderful fresh smell of eucalyptus.

  • Burn candles and add essential oils to your bathroom.

  • Bring the outside in with as many plants, the more the better in my opinion. Hang them, place them on stools or in pots. If you’re limited on space hanging them from the ceiling is a great way to incorporate some greenery.

  • Add warmth and textures by adding luxury bathmats and fluffy large towels.

  • Place hand soap and hand cream by basin. Our favourite is Grown Alchemist


Sommer Pyne

As promised here is the follow up blog to our Instagram Live garden tour last week. A big thank you to those of you that were able to join us. If you missed the tour head over to my IGTV to check it out now.

I was joined by our Garden Designer Shelley Hugh-Jones who shared her wealth of knowledge and answered all your burning questions. Shelley has kindly written a blog post below sharing some of her insider tips, explaining why it's important to get a garden designer, plus the plant list with all those tricky plant names. 

Photo Credit - House Curious

Photo Credit - House Curious

Why use a garden designer?

An experienced garden designer will have the creativity and perspective to assess the existing garden and come up with fresh ideas, identifying solutions that run in line with the available budget.

They can help with everything from planning the entire garden,  from solving privacy problems, to selecting the most suitable plants for beds and borders, and in doing so avoiding potential costly mistakes. Their expertise in planning an outdoor space will also maximize the potential of your garden and add value to your property.

As well as plant knowledge, a garden designer also should have specialist knowledge, regarding local guidelines and building regulations regarding driveways, fence heights, tree protection orders, conservation areas, levels and slopes, hard landscaping etc.

They can take responsibility for all the design work, specifications and appointment of contractors, as well as act on your behalf in any discussions regarding the actual build.

Photo Credit - Shelley Hugh-Jones

Photo Credit - Shelley Hugh-Jones

When to get garden designer involved:

Do this as early as possible.  If you are working with an architect or builder, a collaborative approach is key. Decisions regarding the space planning are made together so that both inside and outside are unified.

Practical issues such as where the outdoor tap will be situated, gas if running a gas pipe rather than using bottled gas, lighting cables and light fittings on the house wall all effect the position of feeds from inside the house etc. The electrician also needs to leave enough capacity on the system for enough circuits, two at least, for the garden. Feeds for outdoor speakers also need to be installed early on.

Conduits under patios etc need to be left for electrical cables and irrigation feeds.

Photo credit - House Curious

Photo credit - House Curious

Briefing a garden designer

  • Give them as much info as possible regarding your likes and dislikes.

  • Show them around your downstairs space or show plans of how things will look inside. Discuss interior colours, flooring, work surfaces etc.

  • Introduce them to your builder/architect/etc. as early as possible.

Considerations when planning a garden

  • How you want to use the garden, dining, cooking, relaxed seating, play areas- trampoline, climbing frames, football area, etc real grass/ artificial?

  • Privacy issues.

  • Likes and dislikes in terms of materials and plants if you have them.

  • The direction the garden faces, soil type, whether you are in a conservation area as there are planning rules within these areas.

  • Budget

  • Draw up a list of requirements and how you want to use your garden.

  • First of all use your existing internal décor style/colours etc as a starting point, (specifically of the room that adjoins the garden) in order to create a good flow from inside to out, these two spaces should work together. Look at the flooring material or colour and repeat this outside, kitchen surfaces, chrome or brass hardware etc. All this can be reflected in the garden.

  • The façade of the house also is very important, type of brick, render, colour etc and the position of doors onto the garden.

  • Divide up the space to make the garden appear larger even if it is a small garden this can be done to a lesser extent. Use planting or other focal points along the garden length so that your eyes track from side to side rather than just focusing on the back border.

  • Lay paving widthways to make it appear wider and lengthways to appear longer.

  • Evergreen structure in a garden is key and the first thing to be considered.

  • Planting can divide up the space, add structure, act as focal points, provide privacy, add colour, texture and form plus year round interest.

  • Very important to use plants that will thrive in the conditions specific to your garden, sunny, shady, soil quality, clay, sandy etc.

  • Consider the eventual height and spread as the plants mature also important to consider and how the garden will look in years to come.

  • Speak to your neighbours before the work starts as boundary issues especially in London often rear their head.

Photo Credit - House Curious

Photo Credit - House Curious

How I work with clients:

After an initial visit and discussion of the brief I draw up an initial proposal and outline of ideas plus design costs and details of how the design process works.

I create a Pinterest board for the project to which all parties can contribute. It’s a good way of exchanging ideas and getting inspiration.

The garden is surveyed.

I draw up to scale 2-3 ideas for the layout and an outline of the planting and after discussion with the client a lead design is chosen and a detailed building specification is prepared. Landscapers can then quote on the same design and specification making all the quotes comparable. .

Regular site meetings with the landscaper and client while the build is in progress take place which allows for discussion regarding and any decisions or changes that have to be made that all are in agreement with.

The planting plan and plant lists are discussed with the client and ordered ready for planting at the end of the construction period.

Photo Credit - Shelley Hugh-Jones

Photo Credit - Shelley Hugh-Jones



Allium 'Mont Blanc'


Trachelospermum jasminoides


Asplenium scolopendrium

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Polystichum polyblepharum

Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group 'Herrenhausen'

Dicksonia antartica


Hakonechloa macra  (down lhs and down to the basement)

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’


Prunus lusitanica 1.50-1.75m

Euonymus japonicus 


Allium schoenoprasum

Rosmarinus officinalis

Thymus 'Doone Valley'

Thymus x citriodorus



Pachysandra terminalis


Rosa ‘Generous Gardener’ -climber

Rosa ‘Spirit of Freedom’ -shrub rose


Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’ (Annabelle Strong)

Ilex crenata Single

Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'

Paeonia lactiflora 'Shirley Temple'

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'

Viburnum tinus


Multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarkii (in front of pergola)

Standard Viburnum lucidum (behind pergola)

Standard Catalpa bignonoides ‘Nana’ (rhs and lhs)


We hope you found that interesting and useful. Please do take the time to comment below with any feedback or questions.