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Spring Picks from Toast

The promise of Spring might still seem like distant dream but dream we can. A guaranteed way to lift your spirits is to look at the Spring/Summer 2014 offerings that are beginning to filter into stores and online.

One that has particularly caught my eye is the new House & Home collection from the lifestyle brand Toast. The beautifully styled lookbook has me daydreaming of sunnier climes thanks to the punchy hits of bright colours that compliment the muted greys and blues. Here are some of my favourite picks from the new collection.

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Looking Good

Getting ready for the world 'out there' is a serious business. So here's another returning piece of classic furniture that reminds us of the importance of creating dedicated areas for our daily rituals.

Early modernism meets luxury with this 'Vanity' dressing table by Canadian designer Martine Brisson. Wenge wood complemented with strip steel and mirror glass are used to great effect to produce a visual joy of negative space and geometric construction.

Classic modernists such as Gerrit Rietveld and Eileen Gray would surely have approved.

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Monochrome tranquility in Paris

There's something calm and almost zen-like about this beautiful Paris apartment designed by Joseph Dirand. With its pared back aesthetic and peaceful palette of black, white and nurturing neutrals it seems almost imbued with a sense of tranquility.

But judging by the irreverent typographic poster it's a design scheme that doesn't take itself too seriously.

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Corner Collection by H

The classic sideboard returns as a bold statement for the modern living room. Designed by H, a new London based design company with Mexican origins, this fabulous monolithic piece forms part of their latest 'Corner Collection' recently launched at IMM Cologne. A stated aim of theirs is to 'embrace contrast and celebrate difference', and with its optimistic bright yellow finish and 45° chamfered edges (that literally take the edge off what could easily have been just another big storage unit), this is a piece of furniture with understated attitude.

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Urban Perspectives - architecturally inspired textiles

These striking weaves by textile designer Clair Whyman, caught my eye recently at Interiors UK, where they were shortlisted in the fabric category of the New Design Britain Awards.

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Treat Yourself

So we've nearly managed to get through the first month of the year which definitely deserves a pat on the back. Thankfully, for most of us, the first payday of the year has arrived and to celebrate I thought I would pick out some of my favourite finds to help brighten the final days of January.

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A wall leaning side table

The new SS14 collection from Menu includes the wall leaning Yeh side table - a versatile and strikingly minimal design that lends itself perfectly to use as a bedside table or as a resting place for magazines and a cup of coffee beside the sofa.

Designed by Taipei based Kenyon Yeh and made from powder coated steel and tube, its circular tabletop folds at a right angle into a point that clings to the wall to prevent the table toppling over.

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Interview: Cara Holland of patternbooth

Not everyone follows a traditional linear route when it comes to making career decisions. When I worked in design education I couldn't help but notice that, for a large number of people, deciding to follow a creative path wasn't something they chose (or perhaps felt able) to do straight from school. Sometimes forging out that path comes later, maybe even having a different career.

I've followed patternbooth, the blog of Nottingham based designer Cara Holland, for some time now and have enjoyed reading about Cara's journey to launching her first homeware collection. I was also intrigued by the following line in her about page.

"I have a long standing love affair with art, design and pattern which began as a teenager and has brought me on a long winding route to now making my own range."

Cara presented her debut collection of boldly coloured, geometric cushions, wallpaper and lampshades at Home earlier this month, and so it seemed like an ideal time to ask her more about her own journey.

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