Monthly Archives:June 2014

Fill your home with gorgeous natural materials

25 Jun 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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Here at Greenstone Design, we’re a bit in love with natural materials.

It’s not just the colour – greys, browns and reds of exposed stone, the countless warm brown tones of wood or the fascinating weathered look of metal – the texture and feel of natural materials are second to none, and we’re wild about them. If you would like to fill your home with long-lasting, high quality materials, we’re the designers for you.

Getting the most of out natural colour is a matter of careful polishing and treating, to ensure that the fibres are protected. We can advise you on how to care for stone, wood and other natural surfaces to make sure they last as well as possible. On the other hand, there is something really lovely about aged surfaces, too. If your house is old and you’re not sure how to show off it’s vintage features, we can help you to bring out the character without losing the cosiness. For example, this image shows how careful use of warm lighting, a gorgeous open fire and lots of natural light bring out the warm tones in wood and brick.

Natural materials don’t just look good, they feel much more interesting than synthetic ones.

The scratchy feel of a rug made from coir, jute or sisal is wonderful underfoot first thing in the morning, while there’s nothing quite like high quality polished wood under the fingertips. Interesting textures bring a whole new, exciting dimension to your home.

If having natural interiors isn’t going far enough for you, you could even think about going for a new build or extension in sustainable, eco materials. We can help you plan a straw bale building, log cabin or stone build that will make you feel completely at home. Take a look at these weird and wonderful eco houses, all built from natural materials, for inspiration – there’s sure to be something to interest you! Just pop in or call us to get started on your new, natural home.

Distinctive, beautiful garden furniture

18 Jun 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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How often have you seen an old bench in a garden, plonked in a corner and left to moulder?

Garden furniture makes a huge difference to your outside space but unless it is carefully chosen, it’s all too easy to spend lots of money on something that never gets used. Greenstone Design can help you choose unique, distinctive pieces that will complement your garden and call out to be used and loved.

To get the most out of garden seating, we’ll help you need to identify the best location for it.

You want somewhere where it will not get in the way, but will provide lovely things to look at all year round. Perhaps there’s a good spot under your favourite tree, tucked under a wisteria with beautiful fragrant blossoms or next to your wildlife pond so you can spot water lilies and frogs as they develop. If your garden is on the small side you might want to prioritise privacy – finding that perfect spot where your neighbours can’t see you or you are shielded from traffic noise. We can help you build screens and choose plants to create peaceful, comfortable nooks for chilling out.

If you’re not keen on messing around pots of sealant and stain every few years to protect garden furniture, companies like Kedel offer British-made recycled furniture that looks brilliant and will last a lifetime without any painting, storing or splinters! On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more characterful why not consider using wood grown or reclaimed locally? There’s a real sense of connection with your local area if you know your seat grew in a nearby wood, or is crafted from railway sleepers which led the way for countless passengers. We can help you find local craftspeople to make just the special piece you want.

What do you want from your garden furniture?

Whether you are in love with traditional design or go weak at the knees for something modern and metallic, there is something out there perfect for you – but it might not be in your local DIY store! Why not look through Decomag’s ideas about the different options available and give us a call to discuss your needs?

Office design that inspires new ideas

11 Jun 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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There’s a breath of fresh air breezing into UK office culture.

Inspired the workplaces of snazzy tech start-ups in the Silicon Valley, more and more businesses are realising that a well-designed environment gives them the edge in recruiting and keeping the hottest talent. So, what’s the secret? It’s all about fun. Take a look at Business Bee’s round-up of the latest office designs to get the idea.

Office environments can be so stuffy and straight-laced. Of course, it’s important to be professional but increasingly businesses are finding that a certain air of playfulness helps them engage with customers, develop new ideas and work more flexibly. It’s harder to come up with a daring new idea in a dull grey environment.

Design to unlock potential

So what does a modern, playful office look like? The Capital Factory in Austin, Texas is a good example. Workers each have a white workstation with their own personal storage units. It all looks modern but unexceptional until you check out the ceiling – up there it’s a shiny space-age spaghetti junction of silver pipes and wires. Bright, clean and fun.

The conference room looks normal enough too, but its entrance is hidden behind a bookcase. A great way to grab the imagination of a new client before a meeting has even started. The lunch room looks great too – the open design makes it look welcoming and there is a mix of different types of seating, so you can choose to sit alone or with a group. So much more inspiring than a ham sandwich on a windy park bench!

This kind of design doesn’t just make everyone in the office feel more positive, it has solid business benefits too. Some of the best ideas come from people in different departments putting their heads together to solve a problem – with a cheerful communal lunchroom where colleagues can meet, the ideas will soon be bouncing off the walls.

Attention to Detail

Don’t have the budget for a full-scale office refit? You can still inject a bit of fun into the workplace by focusing on small but important elements. Transform a windswept weedy yard into a lunchtime games haven by adding a ping pong table or swingball set. Liven up a boring meeting room with a new colour scheme and a blackboard wall. At Greenstone we’ll take the time to understand the character of your business so we can make sure the design hits the right note.

Contact us today to give your business a boost.

VACANCY: Architectural Technician

10 Jun 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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We are seeking an architectural technician to work on a diverse range of projects, from residential extensions to new build developments, including educational and commercial projects.

Greenstone Design is a small, busy and growing practice with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. This is an opportunity for the right person to develop an active role in the organisation. Initially, this will be a freelance post, with the possibility of a long-term contract after 12 months.

The successful candidate will demonstrate the following skills:

Minimum two years’ relevant work experience in UK Building Regulations and Construction Packages
Proficient in AutoCAD
Excellent communication skills
Strong presentation skills
Ability to work individually and as part of a team

Interest in ecological and Passivhaus design
Working knowledge of SketchUp
Working knowledge of Photoshop

Please send your CV, including examples of your work, your salary expectations and your availability, to:

Michelle Gaffaney, Director
Greenstone Design Ltd, 10 Rochdale Road, Todmorden OL14 5AA
01706 813777

Deadline for applications: 29th June 2014

We apologise, but we will only be able to contact successful applicants.
No agencies.

An inspirational school library

04 Jun 14
Michelle Gaffaney
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If you’re looking to give your school library a fresh lease of life, Greenstone Design can help you.

It’s tempting to think the way to encourage children to use a library is by having lots of bright colours, cartoon characters and funky furniture. As this picture shows, what works best is somewhere calm, welcoming and friendly to read and learn. Too many bright colours can feel a bit hectic and distracting, making it harder to concentrate.

Getting the balance right for pupils

School libraries tend to be a bit dark, with tall bookcases and dingy lighting. By opening things up and rearranging books, this important learning space can be made much more inviting and child-friendly. Why not consider an extension to your school to add a new library – you could include a glazed wall for lots of natural light and plenty of hard-wearing, comfy sofas. Flexible seating like this can be moved around for groupwork, meetings and even parents evenings and performances. By combining the library with an exhibition or gallery space, you can create a sense of excitement and pride in the school.

Call us for help in making the most of your unloved school library. It doesn’t have to cost the earth – simply changing lighting and choosing a new colour scheme can transform a space. This library uses muted natural tones of brown, green and blue to echo the trees around it. Take a look at Architecture Week to see some more inspirational school environments.

Whether you want to start from scratch or redevelop an existing library, Greenstone Design is sure to be able to help. Call in or email now to get started.