Blog Archives

Posts from July 2013

An interior designer’s secrets revealed

July 31st, 2013

After recieving such great feedback on the 'how to plan your dream space' series, I thought we would continue the theme and asked interior designer Kim Pearson if she would share some of her wealth of knowledge with the Bowerhouse tribe; being the beautiful person she is, she jumped at the chance! Today, Kim talks us through the design process on one of her favourite recent projects in the hope that it might inspire the inner designer in you!


Words - Kim Pearson
Images - Jayga McMullen (Photographer), Kim Pearson (design/production/styling)


Always start with something you love - It's honestly the best way to start any decorating project!

In this case its the teen's favourite colour PURPLE.

  • Now look at different shades and tones of this colour.
  • What other colours look good with it?
  • How much of it do you want in the room - remember sometimes less is more.
  • How can you use it - don't just think of a feature wall (careful with those!).

In this case, a teenager's bedroom, we used many shades of purple - lavender, lilac, plum, aubergine, violet and amethyst, we used it with deep pink, garden green and tangerine. Against a warm white background with walls, wallpaper and bedlinen to keep it light, fresh and contemporary. What we wanted to avoid was any too literal interpretation of purple and risk travelling down the sad bordello/emo/goth route.


  • We started with the headboard - a stunning print of riotous, hydrangeas in a textured linen/hemp.
  • Curtain fabric - embroidered heavy linen in jewel tones that will last well into her 20's and beyond when the room turns back into a guest suite.
  • Bedlinen & upholstery - checks, stripes, plains and patterns inc. a stunningly witty twist on a traditional toile in fuschia and orange
  • The fabulous 'hand drawn' frames wallpaper acts as a backdrop for the room - hugely personal & dynamic, a sophisticated inspiration board for her to personalise, fill & swap out with invitations, paper flowers, notes from friends, pics of cute boys, cards and tear sheets from mags - the ultimate teenage installation.
  • We then added layers of warmth & texture and pattern in cushions, rugs, ottoman, chair & footstool in a mix of silk, cotton, linen, velvet & chenille - All super soft, comfy & inviting, lots of cosy spaces to curl up with a book or sleepovers & girly chats with friends.
  • We retained the original wool sisal carpet - in excellent condition as the room had originally been the rarely used guest suite, the warm golden oatmeal was picked up in the natural linen cloth of the curtains.
  • We placed a cute pom pom rug down to anchor the bed and give a soft floor sprawl option for girly chats.
  • Storage/ practicality was also key, so we added a large antique painted French desk for work, a mirrored chest of drawers for a touch of glamour, out of shot is a large bank of bespoke built in robes we designed to accommodate a growing collection of clothes, shoes, bags etc & there's also a divine French antique glass fronted cabinet out of shot for her to display her favourite shoes, bags & precious bits and pieces.

Kim Pearson is an interior designer and visual stylist, FOLLOW HER decorating adventures on Facebook & Instagram. FIND OUT more about kim and her beautiful work here.

Warming tagine recipes….

July 24th, 2013

My family are big fans of the tagine in winter and I thought I would share a few family favourite recipes...

My go-to tagine to impress guests has to be Nigella's Lamb and date tagine with red onion and pomegranate relish - this is seriously good and you cannot skip the relish, the sweet and zingy flavours of the relish cut through the richness of the tagine perfectly - I serve with fluffy cous cous and it always delights!


700gsm Beef or lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
2 tbsp coriander finely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika

400g can tinned chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup hot water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cumin
4 tbsp coriander chopped
4 eggs

Place lamb, onion, garlic, herbs and spices into bowl & mix well. season with salt & pepper and roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
Heat oil in a large lidded frypan OR Tagine and brown the meatballs (in batches in needed) for around 5 minutes.
Once meatballs are browned, simply pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, cumin and water pop the lid on and let simmer on low for around 20 mins.
After simmering, carefully break the eggs into the tagine and cook with lid on until just set.
Sprinkle over with chopped coriander leaves and serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices


Chicken pieces – I like the breast but use whatever parts you prefer
Jar of morrocan simmer sauce or paste – preferably organic/preservative free
If using a paste add a tin of tomatoes
1 diced onion (dice onion in bulk and freeze for convenience mid-week)
Tin of chickpeas
Bunch of kale, spinach, silver beet or chard

Brown the onion in a large lidded frypan, tagine or slow cooker and then throw all the other ingredients in except the greens - cook on a low heat for at least an hour, (or longer if you have the time) for very tender chicken, add greens in around 10 mins before serving. Serve with cous cous or basmati/brown rice.

The Bowerhouse guide to travel inspiration for the home…

July 18th, 2013

I have spent the last week in beautiful Indonesia, catching up with my suppliers and checking out my upcoming summer production. I am back feeling inspired by the vibrant streets and quaint colourful houses and shacks of the villages we visited. I love to see how other cultures live and decorate their homes and I like to take away ideas to use in my space.

Below I have shared some of my recent instagram travel pics and my top tips for injecting your home with exciting travel inspiration...

Before this, I thought now would be a good time to let you know Bowerhouse does not work with large/mass produce rattan manufacturers, I am proud that our rattan pieces are handcrafted by expert craftspeople living in the villages of Java, I am proud we are keeping the dying tradition of hand woven rattan alive and supporting small family businesses.

I believe in paying a fair price to my makers for the best quality materials & workmanship, a beautiful piece made with care that is ethically produced is something my customers can treasure and feel good about having in their home.

Take photos...
My number one tip to inspire your home with travel - photos of street scenes and houses can inspire a colour palette; pics of hotel rooms, bathrooms and bars can give you great practical ideas or ideas for finishes or styling. Print your favourite pics when you get home and they are ready to be added to moodboards. (you might have a gem that could be framed as beautiful art!)

Buy a special piece from every city you visit...
No matter how small or inexpensive, I bring something home from every city I visit - it could be a length of fabric, book, piece of ceramic, flea market find, photo frame, a tin of local tea, handmade paper, or a found stone, shell or feather! Dot these global treasures around your home to be reminded of special holiday moments every day.

Fun ways to incorporate travel souvenirs to your home...
A pretty map could be framed, a silk scarf too pretty to wear could make a stunning wall hanging or collect colourful bar coasters on your travels to create a fun mis-matched coaster collection for home - a reminder of wild nights in far flung parts of the world.

Sibella Court...
The ultimate stylish global nomad who injects travel inspiration into all her interior design work - her books are like works of art in themselves and full of images and ideas to take away and use in your home. Although her style is more layered and bohemian than mine, I own all of her books and regularly reference them for inspiration - highly recommended!

Natalie x

The ‘no stress’ guide to choosing furniture for your space…

July 17th, 2013

Today I am sharing another step when it comes to putting together the decorative elements of a room. This is the stage we are at for our new build and we are really getting to see how our priorities differ! (eg TV size vs the colour of bathroom towels!)

To help choose furniture & decorative elements I like to create storyboards for each space, its a bit of fun and really helps to visualise what a space will look like with the furniture, rugs, artwork & decor items. You will see if your planned pieces will work together or if they are clashing.


Above: Our upstairs lounge/kitchenette furnishings storyboard Legacy Art - Bowerhouse, Feature tiles - Jatana Interiors, Antique chinese cabinet - Gumtree, Charvi kantha quilt - Bowerhouse, Cutwork cushion covers - Coming soon to Bowerhouse, Sofa - Ikea, Bench - George Nelson, Drum stool - Bowerhouse

You can photograph pieces you own that you might want to re-use and put together with images of any new desired pieces from store websites and put together in a collage. Again you can do this on a program like Picasa or simply print the images and put together in a collage with magazine & store catalogue cuttings.

If you live with a partner, this is also a great way to visually communicate to them the style and look you are going for - I cant tell you how many times I have gone crazy over an amazing piece only to have Ben look at me in complete bewilderment (although some of the time he is right, and the piece is beautiful but completely impractical), there are times when I know once he saw the piece in the space he would love it (or at least grow to love it ;) With a storyboard you can see if your ideas will work together and reduce the chances of being 'that couple' storming out of Ikea on the verge of throttling one another!

Dont forget to keep going back to your original moodboard & colour/finishes scheme to help you make the choices for your furniture/decor items to help you stay true to your original desired style!

Happy shopping!

Natalie x