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Norfolk by Design: Little gems

PUBLISHED: 12:08 07 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:08 07 June 2016

The sofa was especially designed with slim arms to maximise the seating area. Picture: Sylvaine Poitau

The sofa was especially designed with slim arms to maximise the seating area. Picture: Sylvaine Poitau

Sylvaine Poitau Photography 2016

Small can be beautiful, as interior design specialist Lanassir Lawes of Swank Interiors shows with her latest project

Different textures and complementing colours bring the room together. Picture: Sylvaine PoitauDifferent textures and complementing colours bring the room together. Picture: Sylvaine Poitau

We have finally reached summer and are looking forward to some lovely British sunshine. Currently I am putting the finishing touches to a coastal holiday home, so I hope the weather is fine for my clients’ first stay. Holiday homes and guest annexes are always lovely projects to do as the spaces are often compact (although I have designed holiday homes to sleep 12) and the spaces are multifunctional.

When a property is less than 600sqft I tend to think of the space as a luxury hotel suite, opting for a simple colour palette that runs throughout, creating a relaxing environment that is easy to maintain and has a homely ambiance.

The guest annexe pictured is in an outbuilding that underwent a full renovation. There are large expanses of glass along both sides of the open plan living space and, with the client’s preference towards blues and greys, it was important to add lots of texture to make the annexe cosy for all year round use. The easy-to-maintain stone floor has a lovely matt, uneven finish that sits really well with the reclaimed brick wall that forms the backdrop to the contrasting sleek, white kitchen. When a property is used by several people, open shelves can be a good idea in the kitchen to save lots of cupboard opening to find a cup, but will take a little more dusting! The slate grey sofa upholstered in a deep velvet was designed with narrow arms to maximise the seating as the width of the room restricted the size of sofa that could be used.

The compact but beautifully designed bathroom. Picture: Sylvaine PoitauThe compact but beautifully designed bathroom. Picture: Sylvaine Poitau

When a building is timber-framed, I try to choose other finishes for most furniture but add a couple of pieces to tie in with the building - in this case the sitting area has chrome-framed tables with glass tops that reflect the light and make the room appear more spacious, while the dining table and floating shelves in the kitchen area are oak. Similarly I find that wood furniture on a wooden floor can look too heavy and would generally choose a different material or put a rug between the two surfaces to break them up; another alternative would be to paint the base of the table while leaving the top wood.

The bathroom is compact but we have managed to fit in a statement bath, the wall-mounted taps are an ingenious way of keeping a small space clutter free. Tiles that look like the reclaimed brick in the kitchen have been applied to the window wall for continuity and the blue stripe blind has the same warm feel as the other fabrics in the home and gives a pop of colour.

More photographs of this project and many others can be seen on our website,

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