Exeter Life Magazine Advertorial – March Edition 2017

A Creative Partnership

The husband and wife team at Ashton House Design have clocked up 25 years in business together.

It takes more than a little luck to survive in business for some 25 years! Husband and wife teams are proven in business – the skillset that ensures a successful partnership in both marriage and at work is like no other.

Simon Bantock and Caroline Palk do not take any of this for granted, however, and feel blessed to be in a career that they are passionate about. It’s a great way of life. In between bringing up their lovely daughters, they live and breathe the world of interior design – visiting the London and Paris shows regularly, poring over magazines and trade publications, and catching up with the latest trends and forecasts at every turn.

Simon and Caroline’s perspective on family life often proves invaluable when considering criteria within the home , and they regularly find themselves involved in family home projects.

Caroline’s professionalism has been recognised several times by the BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) with awards that she is extremely proud of. Being part of this pre-eminent professional organisation for interior designers in the UK is of utmost importance – for both the interior designer and client alike – offering recognition of the designer’s capabilities, and the reassurance that professional standards are maintained.

Ashburton has proved to be a fantastic location for Ashton House Design. Simon and Caroline put their belief in this town some 25 years ago with townhouse premises. However, business should never stand still.

A move out to a business park on the outskirts of town has served them well for over a decade but the focus of their business has always been project led and a former brewery proved too tempting as the new home for their stylish design studio. Within  this entirely refurbished property in the heart of Ashburton, project managed by themselves, they continue to offer an exclusive fabric and wallpaper library that showcases both familiar and rare brands, alongside a selection of furniture and lighting from some of their most talented partners.

Offices on the first floor overlook the charming rooftops and church spires whilst an inviting design studio showcases only the very best of their furniture, furnishings and lighting.

Their appetite for interior design is insatiable. The detail of each individual project, and their ability to source the appropriate products globally, leaves them free to source from wherever and whoever they so wish – as they’re never tied to a specific supplier or brand.

The service element of their business is crucial and has been the key to their continued success.

With an impressive back catalogue of projects completed over 25 years – the proof is evident on their website – and with a capable team that blends youth and experience, Ashton House Design is as strong as ever.

ashtonhousedesign.co.uk

What’s cooking good looking?

Our kitchens tend to be at the very heart of our homes – and there is no room that we ask more of. It has to be functional for much of the grunt work that keeps the household ticking over; we want it to be a social space where we can gather to cook and eat – and we want it all wrapped up in a good looking package to show off our taste in design as well as food.

“With many of us enjoying open plan living, kitchens need to fit with the overall interior design of our homes,” say Caroline Palk from Ashton House Design (ashtonhousedesign.co.uk). Never before have the finishes and lighting needed such careful consideration.

“The island continues to be pivotal to most kitchen layouts – with surfaces incorporating heating elements, extractors that appear out of nowhere, fabulous finishes – and presents an opportunity to include must-have stool seating. What is a kitchen if not an area for family and friends to congregate where they can engage, carry out a useful chore or two, or simply entertain the chef at work! An interesting mix of materials that sees a contrast of textures – timber with zinc, glass with copper, marble with steel – will elevate it beyond a workplace.”

My new favourite thing is bespoke fused glass splashbacks. Many artists working in glass will create something totally unique for your kitchen, turning a mundane practical necessity into a thing of beauty and turn your cooking space in to the room’s focuspoint (so make sure you keep your range spotless!). Alternatives are tiles, mirrored splashbacks or off-the-peg toughened glass panels.

Technology has transformed how we use our kitchens – and no where is this more illustrated than with the once humble tap. Today’s tap can supply ice cold filtered water to drink, boiling water for your teapot and everything in between and they have spray hoses and swivel as standard. Turn it on with the touch of your hand (or even foot, if your hands are full). “Some manufacturers are now offering clever technology that prevents the tap body, including the spout, from ever getting hot, thereby ensuring no scalding,” says Kelly Everest from GROHE UK.

Technology really has revolutionised our kitchens. Karen Chugg is from Exeter’s Intelligent Abodes (intelligentabodes.co.uk) who will not only install the latest technology – but teach you how to use it. In her smart kitchen, technology helps ensure the temperature and lighting is always right – long before you enter. Whether it’s warming the room or the automatic blinds which rise with the sun (and the children) or cooking dinner. “I can switch the oven on from my smart phone knowing it will be beautifully cooked when we all get home starving,” says Karen. “We select ‘all on’ lighting mode as we clear the kitchen and stack the dishwasher, then we adjust to ‘TV’ mode and settle down to watch a family programme on our Aquavision TV which is neatly flushed to the wall.

“In the evening, the kitchen becomes a peaceful haven for me and the other half to enjoy a glass of wine, listening to our favourite music from the discreet speakers, dimming the lights and shutting the blinds from the comfort of our cosy chairs with my smart phone.”

My favourite kitchen design tip comes from Ashton House Design. “Always include soft seating where space permits,” Caroline Palk adds. “At the very least upholstered bar stools offer a comfortable perch or two. Add sofas and swivel armchairs – they’re bound to be among the most popular seats in the house. Soft furnishings that include fabrics, hides, throws and scatter cushions add texture and acoustic benefit to an otherwise hard surfaced and potentially noisy interior.”