AD­VICE

Our ex­pert Celia Rufey an­swers your in­te­rior de­sign ques­tions and dec­o­rat­ing dilem­mas

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS -

Celia Rufey an­swers your queries.

WHERE CAN I FIND UN­USUAL BUT­TONS? I’ve made a set of silk cush­ions that I’d like to fas­ten with but­tons. Can you rec­om­mend stock­ists with a more in­ter­est­ing se­lec­tion than those found in depart­ment stores? LS, Ripon, North York­shire.

For a child-in-a-sweet­shop mo­ment, try To­tally But­tons, 01403 598014, to­tally­but­tons.com,

where Julie King stocks more than 3,000 de­signs for both prac­ti­cal and dec­o­ra­tive pur­poses. For your silk cush­ions, you could be­gin by look­ing at the glass and shell but­tons. There’s also Aus­trian Swarovski crys­tal, as well as the more un­usual wood, co­conut, leather, metal and horn. Prices range from 10p to £6.50 for a di­am7cm nat­u­ral shell but­ton. For an­tique and vin­tage of­fer­ings, visit the on­line vin­tage­but­tonem­po­rium.com.

Owner Sarah Al­ney sources her se­lec­tion from an­tiques fairs and auc­tions, and up­dates the site ev­ery week. Among the cat­e­gories, you’ll find art deco, collectible glass, mother-of-pearl, dec­o­ra­tive metal and ce­ramic but­tons; most cost be­tween 30p and £2 each, while quan­ti­ties of each but­ton vary – some­times there’s only one.

HOW SHOULD WOOD FLOOR­ING BE LAID OVER CON­CRETE? We’ve re­cently bought a house with con­crete floors that are cur­rently car­peted. What is the eas­i­est and most eco­nom­i­cal way of in­stalling wood floor­ing? PA, Lyme Regis, Dorset.

There are two meth­ods, de­pend­ing on the type of wood floor­ing be­ing laid. For fit­ting par­quet-style floor­ing or solid wood boards, use a wood floor­ing ad­he­sive that’s suit­able for fix­ing to con­crete. The best are sol­vent-free MS Poly­mer op­tions, such as Sik­abond T54 or Bona R850. These are ap­plied di­rectly to the con­crete with a notched trowel and then the wood is laid on top. If us­ing en­gi­neered boards, it is usu­ally prefer­able to float the floor. This means fix­ing the in­di­vid­ual planks to one an­other, rather than to the floor be­neath. Be­cause there is no ad­he­sive to ac­com­mo­date small im­per­fec­tions in the sub­floor, an un­der­lay should be in­stalled first. There is lit­tle dif­fer­ence in the cost of these meth­ods, as they take about the same amount of time and the cost of the ad­he­sive and the un­der­lay is sim­i­lar. If you are look­ing to be able to change the floor­ing in the fore­see­able fu­ture, float­ing is prob­a­bly the best op­tion, as it is eas­ier to re­move a floated floor. If you are think­ing long term, glue will give a more solid feel.

WHERE CAN I FIND WIN­DOW BOXES TO FIT? I have two win­dows that face the gar­den, but the sills are too nar­row for stan­dard win­dow boxes. Does any com­pany make a range of depths? JM, Bath, Somerset.

Gar­den Req­ui­sites, 01225 851577, gar­den-req­ui­sites.co.uk, sells hand­made wire­work win­dow boxes that are de­signed to be fixed to the wall and project beyond the sill. The smaller stan­dard size mea­sures H25xw104xd25cm, and costs from £175. The wire­work can be used alone to hold plants in pots or can be or­dered with a gal­vanised liner, from £150; be­spoke sizes of both are also avail­able. Arthur Jack & Co, 01299 827059, arthur­jack.co.uk, has re­sponded to re­quests from own­ers of Ge­or­gian and Vic­to­rian houses for slim win­dow boxes and now makes these in gal­vanised steel in two sizes: H18xw85xd15cm (be­low), which costs £170, and W110cm, £185.

WHICH SHELV­ING IS BEST FOR BOOKS? We’re mov­ing to a Vic­to­rian house with high ceil­ings and need to ac­com­mo­date lots of books: pa­per­backs, cof­fee table size, plus some files. A one-size-fit­sall style isn’t go­ing to work. Any idea what will? AN, Lon­don N12.

It de­pends on whether you are in­ter­ested in a sys­tem that you assem­ble your­self or are look­ing for a com­pany to build a be­spoke book­case. For the for­mer, try Shelf­s­tore, 01628 782642, shelf­s­tore.co.uk. Its on­line De­sign Wizard will cre­ate a 3D draw­ing of your pre­ferred lay­out and give a full parts listing and cost­ing. Also highly flex­i­ble is String shelv­ing from Haus, 020 8533 8024, haus­lon­don.com. For be­spoke, The Book­case Co, 020 8870 7707, the­book­caseco.co.uk, and Neville John­son, 0161 873 8333, neville­john­son.co.uk, both de­sign in­di­vid­ual book­cases and li­brary rooms. Book­cases are also one of the spe­cial­i­ties of Built in So­lu­tions, 01865 575579, builtin­so­lu­tions.co.uk, which of­fers wall-mounted book­cases (above).

PRO­FILE Celia Rufey has been the Homes & Gar­dens dec­o­rat­ing ex­pert for more than 30 years. She has a wealth of in­te­ri­ors knowl­edge and has also de­signed her own range of fab­rics.

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