Working in Partnership with 1st Choice Stairlifts

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DESIGNATE has formed a working partnership with 1st Choice Stairlifts as the owners - Coral and Colin Affleck-Major - are committed to Inclusive Design and strongly believe that people who have difficulty in climbing stairs are entitled to dignified and aesthetic solutions that reflect 21st Century aspirational living.

 Many people who have difficulty climbing stairs consider stairlifts to be ugly and a solution only for ‘old people’. Coral and Colin are aware this perception has arisen from limited knowledge and advertisements that generally feature brown or beige stairlifts that look drab and clash with décor.

Determined to dispel this myth, Colin and Coral have designed a showroom that has level access and beautiful décor and lighting. 1st Choice Stairlifts is an independent stairlift provider and the showroom features stairlifts from several manufacturers.

All the stairlifts are working models showcased in a variety of colours and fitted to short flights of stairs that reflect a variety of staircase styles enabling visitors to able to try each type of lift in a realistic stetting.

1st Choice Stairlifts are committed to customer satisfaction and work closely with Occupational Therapists. Following a full assessment of the clients’ home and installations are carried out by a team of expert fitters. Colin has a wealth of experience in stairlift installation and is on hand for advice. If minor building work is required as part of the installation this is carried out tidily and to the highest standard.

Working in Partnership with Total Bathrooms

Elaine with Peter Hirsch

Elaine with Peter Hirsch

Peter Hirsch – Owner of Total Bathrooms in Bath is committed to Inclusive Design. He shares Elaine’s belief that in the 21st Century everyone is entitled to enjoy style and aspirational living and to have a fabulous bathroom and so DESIGNATE and Total Bathrooms in Bath have developed a working partnership

The new showroom at Total Bathrooms has level access, and is fully wheelchair accessible, including the toilets. Peter has installed two fully functioning Geberit toilets with bidet / dryer functions so that customers ‘can try before you buy’. In the showroom you will not find any plastic fixtures and fittings or utilitarian products such as those featured in disability –specific catalogues but instead beautiful Designer sanitary wear. There are grab rails on display but these combine form and function, and give customers opportunity to personalise their grab rails to compliment chosen décor, transforming assistive devices into desirable and decorative bathroom accessories. Amazingly most of the items on display in the showroom are suitable for use by everyone including people with functional and mobility difficulties!

Peter and his team of sales staff are highly knowledgable providing not only expert advice on the entire range of designer products but also a standard of customer service that is second to none. Elaine gives customers advice on Inclusive Interior Design and also uses her Occupational Therapy skills to risk- assess the products on display ensuring customers with mobility difficulties can use them safely.

Total Bathrooms aims to provide a one stop shop for all customers. By working together Elaine and Peter have developed a service that they believe makes Total Bathrooms in Bath unique in South West England and possibly in the UK.

Come and visit Total Bathrooms – we would love to see you and help you to design the bathroom of your dreams –one that is future-proofed and beautiful not clinical! 

Book an on-site consultation with Elaine at Total Bathrooms by telephoning the showroom

Tel: 01225 462727 or via our contact form.


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I visit a lot of homes where the rooms have plain walls making them look unfinished sterile and lacking personality. When I remark on the absence of any type of artwork typical responses from clients are ‘Never really thought about it’, ’pictures are dust traps’ ‘Why bother’?
In response to the latter I tell them that as an Interior Designer I consider there are three main reasons:
Artwork ‘pulls a room together’ and immediately transforms it from a bleak dull space into a place of interest.
Colours featured in a much-loved picture can provide inspiration when choosing a colour pallet or a theme for the room.
Pictures are a great talking point.

Many people associate Art with paintings and photographs but Artwork comes in other forms e.g. posters wall art metalwork and glass to name but a few. Choice is always dependent on individual taste and generally gives an insight into the owner’s personality.

So where to start? My main tips are:
It should be interesting and meaningful to the owner.
Buying a piece of artwork can be a good financial investment for the future but always seek expert advice before purchasing.

The artwork featured in this blog is called “Golden Years #1”.

It is a limited edition print and is an homage to David Bowie.
The sounds of one his most evocative songs have been visually mapped as golden cubes.
Designer Posters is a collaboration between 3d digital illustrator David Newton and brand designer Andy Paterson-Jones.
They have joined forces to create original wall art for stylish homes and offices.
The poster is available in a glass mounted A2 frame for £150.



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Colours: Green for 2017

Pantone are great influencers of interior décor and recently announced their favoured colour for 2017 is Green. This may seem to be a strange choice as green is a colour people either love or hate, so often associated negatively with envy, jealousy and superstition. However, all colours have both negative and positive effects. If used skilfully in a design, green can enliven a space, or make it feel restful, peaceful and tranquil. Green is a popular choice to use in homes and offices.

It is the colour of nature–imagine an English landscape and how impoverished it would look without green. The beauty of flowers and fruit is enhanced by their green leaves. The many hues (shades) of green make it versatile and able to partner with vibrant and pastel colours.

Green is an excellent colour to provide the elusive ‘wow factor .When used as a block of colour on a feature wall in a lounge or shower it will give a dramatic impact. A simple green glass splashback will look stunning in a white hi-gloss kitchen. In general, whatever the choice of colour pallet, the use of green accents and accessories will ‘complete’ a design.

In praise of the Tub Chair

I am a huge fan of the Tub Chair.
Although it is unclear who invented the chair it is thought to have originated in Europe.  According to records the chair was personally favoured by Louis XV. In the late 18th Century it was exported to America and given the name Tub Chair, by the famous designer Charles F Montgomery, due to the chair back resembling that of an old fashioned bath tub.
In Victorian Britain the Tub Chair became a favourite item of furniture in gentlemen’s clubs and wealthy households.
Iconic in design the tub chair is timeless. It has retained its popularity through the centuries, its success doubtless due to its comfortable shape and ability to evolve, accommodating fabrics, fashions and architectural styles of successive eras.

The Tub Chair is perfect for 21st Century Inclusive Design as this style of seating is safe and suitable for any user with head control.
Fully upholstered the chair is supportive, but enables the body to relax. The overall shape maintains good posture and gives the occupant a sense of security. The backrest is firm, the seat is comfortably padded and the sides enclose but do not uncomfortably restrict. The armrests enable alignment of the upper limbs and are at a height that assists the user to move safely from sitting into standing.

The Tub Chair can be upholstered in patterns, plain, light or heavyweight fabrics, enabling it to be bespoke, used as a ‘statement piece’ or to blend seamlessly into its surroundings. This versatility makes it suitable for use in domestic and commercial settings and a ‘must have’ item of furniture for 21st Century Living.

The Well-Dressed Bed

It has been medically proven that sleep is essential in maintaining good health. As most people spend between 6 -8 hours (and sometimes longer) each day resting and sleeping in bed it would seem reasonable to classify the bedroom as being one of the most important rooms in the house.
I visit a lot of houses and I am constantly amazed when I regularly discover ‘neglected’ beds covered in an assortment of blankets lumpy pillows and ancient discoloured sheets. Not very enticing!
In any bedroom the bed is the most important item of furniture as apart from its obvious purpose it is invariably the focal point of the room. A well- dressed bed provides a ‘quick fix’ for a room requiring redecoration as it successfully diverts the eye from shabby décor.
All styles of beds including simple divans and those with expensive frames will be enhanced by coordinated or ‘themed’ bedding. Even hospital beds can be transformed from ugly ducklings into swans. The ‘wow factor’ is mainly achieved by colour coordination, and adding pillows cushions and Throws and these can be expensive or inexpensive according to your budget.
Try these tips:

  • Choose a colour and use this as your base line.
  • Discard and replace lumpy pillows and cushions with new ones.
  • Invest in a duvet – this gives the bed a smooth and even surface.
  • Purchase coordinated sets of duvet covers and pillowcases or try pillowcases in a contrast colour
  • Use a single colour duvet cover with patterned pillow cases and cushions
  • If you prefer a bedspread to a Throw imitate the look of a Throw by pleating the bedspread into approx 55cm wide folds and placing at the bottom end of the bed (widthways).
  • Add cushions – 2 – 3 maximum – and position them at the bottom edge of the pillows
  • For powered beds – A detachable valance will disguise the underside and controls

The sales are on – so why not go shopping, treat yourself to a little luxury and buy some new bed linen. Your bed will no longer be simply a place to sleep but instead a place where you want to sleep!

Bathroom Accessories

We all enjoy pampering ourselves and there are so many Body Lotions Shower Gels and Shampoos to choose from, in an unending array of fragrances and colours. We all love a bargain so manufacturers use large plastic bottles, in a variety of shapes, to package their products but although moneysaving these are sometimes difficult to handle and balance during use especially for those with weak wrists and painful hands.

There is a solution. Most product bottles, especially the plastic ones, are unattractive and the colour may not suit your colour scheme. So, try decanting the contents into a more stylish container.

Oil pourers and dispensers with plunger tops are ideal. They can be purchased from most department stores supermarkets and catalogues in a range of styles and materials. Glass ceramic or acrylic, and patterned textured or plain, the choice is endless. As an added bonus you will be able to buy your favourite fragrance confident the container will complement, and not clash with, your bathroom décor!