Oh! Goody for Googie!

Retro, vintage, mid-century modern…today we often hear these rather ambiguous terms bandied around to describe almost any style of design that has even the merest whiff of the 1950’s… but in some minds these terms conjure very specific thoughts of an architectural and interior design style that originated in mid-century America and was most notably seen in the diners, drive-ins, and the gas stations of the era. Yet, few remember the name that was once put to put this very familiar and iconic style.

 

“Googie” or “Doo Wop” architecture has always been a somewhat controversial but much loved aspect of suburban Americana. This odd name was coined after the popular “Googie’s Coffee Shop” located on Los Angele’s ever famous, Sunset Strip. Googies was designed in 1949 and was one of the principle businesses that was responsible to putting this one and a quarter mile Hollywood boulevard on the map. It was popular hang out spot for likes of James Dean who was photographed there bringing the world’s attention to the little known coffee shop. Natalie Wood, Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen were also regular customers ‘back in the day’.

 

The architect behind the design of Googies Coffee Shop was interestingly John Edward Lautner, once an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous American architect. Wright was known for his organic, ‘bringing-the-outside in’ nature based architecture, but Lautner, conscious not be classified as “Wright influenced,” developed designs that were anything but organic! Although historians claim that Lautner was not the first architect to conceive of this ‘new’ style, it was certainly the Googie Coffee Shop that brought it to the forefront.

 

This exciting futurist design style took hold in America bringing with it a sense of optimism and progress as the world propelled itself away from the war years and into the space age. Inspired by the hot-rod car culture, the rise of jets, international travel and prospects of the atomic age, Googie featured a bold use of neon, steel, glass and often rock and it balanced geometric shapes with sweeping curves. There was a strong focus on the element of motion. Everything had fins! In 1952 when describing the uniqueness of the  Googie Coffee Shop, Douglas Haskell wrote. “…but suddenly it breaks for the sky. The bright red roof of cellular steel decking tilts upward as if swung on a hinge, and the whole building goes up with it like a rocket ramp.”

 

With its beginnings rooted in the Streamline Moderne architecture of the 1930s, Googie Style was influenced by, and very much took on board the ‘new’ air, sea, ground, and space travel and often depicted dynamic design elements such as boomerangs, flying saucers, parabolas and the iconic starbursts. The buildings took on a gravity defying concept, which made them appear to be ‘hanging from the sky’… and similar aesthetics rampaged throughout the interiors of these fantastic, futuristic creations… all the while proclaiming an exciting if somewhat chaotic hope for the future.

 

Things did not stay hopeful though after the space race. Growing questions about the ecological impacts of nuclear energy hampered peoples perception of ‘progress’ and with this Googie very quickly fell out of style. It became ignored by architects and designers, who deemed it kitschy, out of touch and too flashy. The whole movement was quickly shelved and many of the Googie structures were replaced in the 1970s. They were seen as culturally insignificant. Sadly the original Googie Coffee Shop was also demolished in1989 but its influence has lived on.

 

Many have recognized that Googie was a silent staple of the mid-century aesthetic and architecture… a style that has made many comebacks over the years, so-much-so that designers now deem mid-century styled pieces as ‘classic’.  Today we are seeing another revival of this look, which although nearly seventy years old now still retains an irresistible and vibrant ‘modernness’. We are once again seeing starburst ceiling lights, wall mirrors and clocks and space age floor lamps. Vintage style teak furniture is very in vogue now, as are the  bright and cheery colours of the era…in particular orange, aqua, yellow and lime green.

There is a lot of interest in vintage inspired patterns on throws, scatter cushions, accent chairs, wall papers and curtains. Many of these designs are available today but you could also compliment your ’new’ finds with authentic ‘used’ finds from auction websites, online market places or flea-markets.  Some pieces may need a little elbow grease but with a good wood polish or even some paint or stain, you can turn a classic piece destined for the tip, into the perfect mid-century treasure that your friends and family go “Googie” over!

 

At Peter Green Furnishers we have a huge affection for the Googie style. After all, our business came into being during the movement’s hey-day and some of the very first pieces of furniture that my father sold in his small shop in Eastliegh had their roots very much based in this fabulous style. And like an old friend it has come back again today and we love it as much as our customers do! It has not lost its glamour, its charm or its energy and still boasts of a fantastic future. It is truly inspirational. Come see for yourself, because amongst the ‘Great British Brands’ that we are known for, you will find the starbursts, the parabolas, the bright colours, the vintage inspired designs, the chromes and yes, the teak of yesteryear.

 

Forever modern Googie is back in town!

Oh! Goody for Googie!


School Flooring Shouldn't be Boring!

Part I: School Carpeting

 

School flooring shouldn’t be boring, far from it – it should be both inspirational, uplifting and fit for purpose. The options for school flooring are surprisingly broad these days and a reputable contract-flooring company can walk you through the ABC’s of what might be best suited for your school.

 

The heart of the school is the classroom and the flooring choices that you make for this situation will depend largely on the age of the students and the activities that will take place in that space. Classroom floors must be safe, slip resistant, easy to clean and in some cases waterproof. Remember students are tough on floors, their shoes track in grit and dirt, things get spilled and desks and chairs are pushed and pulled around the room and rearranged. This all has an impact on the life of the floor, so durability is a major concern when considering classroom flooring.

 

Carpets and carpet tiles are an ideal choice for floors that need to be comfortable, especially with younger children where some periods of time might be spent sitting or playing on the floor. Carpeting is warm, slip proof and insulates the floor well. It is also softer underfoot which is a consideration if you have teachers who are on their feet all day. The softness of carpeting puts less stress on the joints and is consequently less tiring to walk on and more comfortable. It is an overall healthier choice for the teacher.

 

Carpet tiles are easy to install and can be laid in one colour or you could choose several colours to create a pattern or a define certain areas of the classroom… and if a carpet tile should happen to get damaged you could keep a few extra tiles to hand as they are easily replaceable. Some tiles are available in eye-catching patterns, which bring interest and can look striking in large spaces. School carpets can also be woven at request to incorporate a logo, or school crest or any other bespoke design, which can look really impressive in a hallway, entrance or school auditorium.

One of our key partners at Peter Green Commercial Contracts is Heckmondwike. They are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of fibre-bonded carpets and carpets tiles which are extremely popular in schools because they are robust and able to stand up to the wear and tear of all those little feet. The Heckmondwike collection has a range of five different carpets which are suitable for schools, each with different qualities making them suitable for different situations.

 

Wellington Velour: Combines a soft velour texture with high-traffic performance.

Iron Duke: Allows for multi-directional cutting for the creation of shapes and patterns.

Hobnail: The cobbled texture makes it suitable for the toughest of school environments.

Broadrib: Has wider ribs and acoustic properties for superior noise reduction.

Supacord: The number one carpet solution for schools, also comes with acoustic backing.

 

Heckmondwike also make a range of entrance and transition area carpets and carpet tiles which are perfect for areas with high foot traffic, such as a school reception or corridor.

 

These long-lasting carpets have anti-ravel and anti-scuff properties and are cost-effective, making them perfect for most school situations. They are available in a wide range of of colours and can be mixed with areas of hard flooring which might be a practical solution in a multi functional classroom situation.

 

Although carpets and carpet tiles are perfect for many classroom situations it goes without saying that they are not a good choice for places such as a science lab setting where there is the potential for chemical spills or an art room where paints, clay and plaster might get spilt and trampled. We will cover flooring that is suitable for these situations in the following installations of ‘School Flooring Shouldn’t be Boring!’

 

Coming next…

Part 2:   LVT for schools

Part 3: Safety flooring for schools

Part 4: Eco flooring in schools

Part 5: Make the best colour choices for your classrooms

 

If you need to know more about school carpeting the Peter Green Commercial Contacts Team is always on standby to help.


A Deep Sleep Begins at the ‘Sleep Shop’!

In 1956 my father, Peter Green, opened his first furniture business in the small railway town of Eastleigh. His ‘Sleep Shop’ was located on Leigh Road almost opposite the bandstand and in the beginning it sold only beds.  Peter Green started his business with £150 capital, a number of years of experience as a furniture representative and bags of enthusiasm. It soon grew into one of the region’s biggest independent furniture superstores. Sixty five years later Peter Green (the business) still has a soft spot for beds and we know the importance of a good night’s sleep.

 

Deep sleep is as vital for your mental wellbeing as it is for your physical health. Without it life can become pretty miserable. Often the answer to a restful sleep lies in the mattress you choose.

 

Some years ago hard mattresses were the vogue, then the pendulum swung to products that moulded to your form. Confusing….right? The upshot is that really everyone is different and that is why, when you are searching for a good night’s sleep, you must come to a bed specialist like Peter Green and try the beds out, with a little expert advice thrown in to aid you in your decision.

 

We have all the top brands in our bed studios but here is a rundown of three of our favourites…

 

You can count on sheep when you sleep on a Somnus bed. The interiors are filled with sumptuous layers of wool, mohair, hemp and flax grown on their own farm in the Yorkshire Dales. Natural fibres create resilience, breathability and aid temperature control. When combined with SomnusSensa intelligent pocket springs you have the perfect solution for a nourishing night’s rest.

 

In contrast Mammoth’s medical grade foam mattresses, designed by a leading physiotherapist to improve the wellbeing of Olympic athletes, provide advanced support technologies that deliver both comfort and rejuvenation, by mimicking the support of pocket springs without the weight and expense. You can also sail into a ‘zzz’ filled night with Vi-Spring’s revolutionary, handmade pocket-sprung mattresses. Pioneered in 1901 and still a market leader in the industry today for innovation and technologies, Vi-Spring beds graced the opulent cabins on board the Titanic and other luxury liners of the day. Today Vi-Spring’s handmade-to-order beds lovingly crafted in their Devonshire workshops, recreate a modern version of the luxury of yesteryear for a ‘first class’ sleep. Peter Green Furnishers has a huge range of beds and a very knowledgeable team of Consultants. So rest assured (another bed brand we deal with!), that when you visit us we will have you waking up on the right side of the bed, every morning!

 

 

Seven Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

 

  1. Healthy Immune System – Lack of sleep can increase your likeliness to catch a virus and affect how quickly you recover from an illness. Stay healthy through the flu season by making sure to get a full 8 hours.
  2. Improve Memory – A good night’s sleep allows the brain to retain and process memories and skills we learned throughout the day. Healthy sleep improves mental clarity, alertness, and helps to strengthen memories.
  3. Soothe Inflammation – Poor sleep, either too few or too many hours, can lead to inflammation caused by immune system suppression.
  4. Improve skin health – Beauty sleep is real, a good night’s rest can improve cell restoration causing less wrinkles, and fewer blemishes.
  5. Keeps you at a healthy weight – Sleeping for less than 8 hours a night can lead to increased appetite and hunger, causing one to turn to calorie dense foods to stay awake.
  6. Reduces Stress – While stress can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult, sleeping is a wonderful way to manage stress. Stress and poor sleep increases cortisol levels which raises alertness and blood pressure. Healthy sleep can regulate cortisol and help with problem solving and mental clarity, in turn reducing stress.
  7. Boosts Mood – Poor sleep puts one at risk of emotional difficulties or depression, because lack of sleep does not allow the mind to properly process negative emotions.


Staging your Home for a Quick Sale!

We know that everybody has different taste when it comes to furnishing our homes and many of us spend a lot of time and energy giving our living spaces personality. We fill them with the things we love that tell a story about who we are and what we are like. 

 

But what if the personality of your house conflicts with that of a potential buyer? In other words is it possible that your personal taste can put people off wanting to buy your home?  Well the answer is yes! It doesn’t matter how beautiful you think your home is, if you are planning to put your home on the market this summer, you need to think about ‘staging’ it for sale.

 

Home staging is a popular process these days, which involves adding or more often taking away decor, rearranging furniture, and dressing up your property to appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers. Staging prepares your home to look stunning for those listing photos, virtual tours and walkthroughs. If you get it right even the most dark, drab space will feel bright, energetic, and well… just like home! 

 

This form of visual merchandising can turn around a property that is ‘getting stuck’ on the market or it will ensure that your newly listed property will have a greater appeal and therefore sell more quickly, allowing you to fetch maximum price. Now what could be wrong with that? So before you list your home it might be well worth your time to consider a few home staging ideas. 

 

There are many professionals that can help you prepare your home for sale as they know the house markets well. An expert estate agent or a professional staging company should know everything there is to know about staging your house to sell. Whether you decide to do your own staging or hire a professional company… here are a few pointers as to what the process will entail.

 

The eight ‘Ds’ of home staging are to declutter, depersonalize, desaturate, deep clean, define spaces, deodorize and dim the lights! But remember not all rooms are created equal when it comes to selling, so you should turn your attention to the important spaces. The rooms that will have the biggest impact on the potential buyer are the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, dining room and the master bedroom. You needn’t spend as much time focusing on the rooms that have less influence, such as guest bedroom or children’s bedrooms. However, don’t forget the outside… you want to encourage those drive-by’s to come in!

 

Decluttering: Getting rid of clutter is important as clutter can detract the buyer from the beauty of your home and it also makes spaces feel smaller. Removing clutter will give a more airy, spacious feel and allow potential buyers to appreciate the ‘bones’ of the property. Too many items on coffee tables, pillows on chairs and art pieces will make a space feel cramped. Half full cupboards and closets give the illusion that there is plenty of storage space. Remove rugs as they tend to make a room look smaller. If you really can’t part with your things consider putting them in storage for the duration of the selling period.

 

Depersonalizing: You want your buyer to be able to envision themselves living in your home. So it helps to remove personal belongings such as framed photos and memorabilia. Same goes for your clothes, cosmetics and toys. Put them out of sight to provide a clean canvas on which the potential homeowner can draw up their own ideas as to how the house might look when that move in. Furniture with too much personality can be off putting, use simple pieces with clean lines in neutral colours. Make sure the furniture fits the room and one piece does not dominate. Sectional sofas such as corner-groups can make a room feel small, go for smaller sofas pairedwith occasional chairs. Add one or too monochrome cushions and maybe a single throw for cosiness. Same goes for the master bedroom… use good quality bed linens to really show the room off.

 

De-saturating: Many wallpapers and strong, custom paint colours are very personal choices. It is best to remove any paper and paint the walls in de-saturated shades such as grey, beige, pale cream or blue. Clean, newly painted walls in neutral colours are a great plus to a new buyer who probably will not want to have to immediately redecorate their new home as soon as they move in. 

 

Defining spaces: Ensure that each room has a single purpose and that the spaces within each room also has a function. This way you will show your buyer how to best use the square footage of your property. Make a converted attic into an entertainment room, playroom or den for example. Turn the junk room into a guest room or office. Show buyers how versatile your space is.

 

Deodorizing: It goes without saying that bad smells are off putting. Make sure your house smells fresh and inviting. Old cooking smells, pet odors, and the smelly damp bathrooms can kill a sale. Overly strong airfreshners can also be repelling and raise a red flag as to what lies beneath. Instead do a little baking, apple and cinnamon pie or chocolate chip cookies always smell good. Splurge on a good quality scented candle, vanilla is the most alluring to most people. Fill vases with flowers which will both smell and look fresh! Smell is everything.

 

Deep Cleaning: A clean home shows potential buyers that you’ve taken good care of it. Clean from top to bottom, floor to the ceiling and everything in between. Make sure appliances are spotless, your bathrooms sparkles and even clean the spots where you don’t think anyone can see. Your goal should be to make everything look new. Give a spar atmosphere to your bathrooms with beautifully folded fluffy white towels, chunky scented soaps and a few candles.

 

Decorate: Window treatments are important but should be non-fussy. Hang a venetian blind at a window with a ‘not so wonderful’ view. Put ceiling to floor curtain panels either side of the windows as this will add height to your rooms. Replace flooring where needed and polish wood floors. You can get whole-house flooring deals at most flooring retailers for much less that you would imagine and it may be worth it if your floors are in poor shape, adding more value than the expense of replacing them costs in the first place. Again choose beige or grey. Hang wall art sparingly…the bigger the better in most cases to make a statement and it will make the wall seem larger. Again choose de-saturated colours… abstract art tends to have the broadest appeal.

 

Dim the lights: To show your property off to the best advantage it must be lit properly… but bright is not always right.  Update old ceiling fixtures and fit a dimmer to tone down the central lights. Invest in good looking table and floor lamps to set the mood and illuminate dark corners. Mirrors both amplify the light and visually double the square footage of any room. It is a good idea to hang a collection of mirrors opposite a window which will reflect the incoming light as well as the garden view.

 

Staging your home for sale may well turn out to be one of the most lucrative projects you ever undertake. Potential buyers are not just looking for a building to inhabit—they are looking for a place where they can realize their dreams and improve their lifestyle. Staging your home properly before you put it on the market can create a more emotional purchase for the buyer, which will ultimately can generate more money for you, the seller.

Good luck with your sale!


The Hidden Assets and Secret Lives of Multi Faceted Furniture

One. Hidden storage and space saving solutions from Hypnos Beds

Two. The Fawley Monk’s Bench

Three. The Minster Storage stool and the Gaia Ottoman

Four. The Natuzzi Alberobello Editions Table

Six: Skovby Model Sm32mb

Seven. The Fitzroy Collection 150 by Parker Knoll

Many small homes lack good storage solutions. If you are in this situation multifunctional pieces of furniture are a wise pick for you! Furniture pieces that can double up on tasks and save space at the same time are definitely a good buy. Just a few multifunctional pieces like this can have a big impact on your living space and compared to the cost of more visible wall storage and the space it takes up there is no comparison. We would like to share with you eight pieces of furniture that we all love at Peter Green. Each one has a  hidden secret that we think you might like to know about.

 

One. Hidden storage and space saving solutions from Hypnos Beds: Under the bed is a very underutilized space in most homes. In others the space between the mattress and the floor is crammed with plastic bags and boxes making it difficult to get to vacuum and creating an ideal breeding ground for ‘dust bunnies’. Hypnos are perhaps the masters of many bedroom secrets! Hypnos offer an array of hidden storage solutions with their divan bases. Their Easystore™ system provides a practical way to store items which are in regular use with heavy duty, easy pull drawers, fitted into the divan base. These unique drawers maximise storage space by using all available space under the bed and at the same time are upholstered with the divan base fabric so they remain concealed. As well as the Easystore™ system, Hypnos has many other hidden storage combinations as well as offering a concealed lockable metal safe built in beneath the bed rendering it out of the sightline of intruders and almost impossible to steal. Hypnos also have a range of Ottoman beds that are hinged so that the whole platform swings up revealing a huge space beneath to store all those winter woolies and ski gear. This solution that is probably the most  economical in terms of space but less convenient as everyone needs to be out of the bed before the storage can be accessed, which might be a little problematic in some households.  Hypnos as a company is very open to suggestions and some years ago a member of our own buying team worked with them to create the ‘super-storage base’, which was purpose-built to house one of our colleagues’ skis when out of season! Here, discreet weighted valances lift to reveal a huge storage area in the reinforced base under the mattress, with no moving parts necessary! The Trio Guest Bed by Hypnos is single bed, with a second bed hidden in the base, which pulls out and pops up to make up a double bed when needed…now thetas ingenious!

 

Two. The Fawley Monk’s Bench: This rather ecclesiastically inspired piece of furniture in our exclusive Peter Green ‘Hampshire Collection’ is both a bench chair and a chest of drawers all in one. Made with solid oak and fine oak veneer this piece will last a lifetime. Placed in a hallway, bedroom, conservatory or orangery it provides a place to sit and tie your shoes or put on your boots or as extra seating. At the same time the drawers below can be used to store your gardening tools and apron, winter hats and gloves.

 

Three. The Minster Storage stool and the Gaia Ottoman:  Storage foot stools or Ottomans are great! They can turn your chair or sofa into a recliner so that you can put your feet up and get comfortable with a book or while watching a movie.  They can also double up as a coffee table or extra side table when you put a sturdy tea tray on top. They can also provide a little extra seating when friends are over. But ottomans are doubly great when they have a lid and can be used as a storage box too. This is a wonderful place to store throws, toys, magazines and remotes, all those things that clutter your living room. Ottomans make tidying a breeze. We have a wide range of storage Ottomans of all shapes and sizes upholstered in vibrant, easy care, velours that will make a wonderful accent in any room.

 

 

Four. The Natuzzi Alberobello Editions Table:

Q: When is a coffee table not a coffee table? A: When it is a supper table of course!

The Alberobello neatly falls into the supper table category. Posing as a very stylish coffee table when closed, one end of the table can slide back to reveal a hidden storage compartment beneath with enough space to store a whole stack of magazines and a whole collection of remotes…but wait! Thats not all! The other end can be raised up too! Revealing more hidden storage space… and if that is not enough for you… get this! The raised top then forms an elevated surface or ‘desk’ on which to place your lap top while you are working on the sofa, or to have supper while watching a movie! Hence the name!  We love this clever table which comes in a handsome walnut finish with angular chrome frame!

 

 

Five. The Southwick Smart Desk: Is a must for your multi- media home office! Fully fitted with hidden charging pads and speakers which save desktop space, leaving your work surface clean of equipment and messy wires. The Southwick Smart Desk is packed with all the conveniences of modern life and has a sleek mid century modern design with elegant pin legs and comes in a variety of finishes that would be desirable in most homes. We love this little desk and so do our customers as it comes with quality Smart Speakers™, a wireless charging pad for your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, plus two USB ports. Whether you are listening to your favourite music or charging your phone whilst working from home, this desk brings your home office up to speed while at the same time saving on much needed space. BTW there is also a bedside table in this range which comes with similar built-in functionalities!

 

Six: Skovby Model Sm32mb.This exquisite expandable circular table has three hidden self storing leaves. Rotating the table top in a circular fashion mechanically opens the table to reveal three expansion leaves hidden inside the central pedestal! This design is unique to Skovby and they have been making this popular table for many years. Even vintage ones hold their price very well. The modern version has an ultra Scandi look and comes in a variety of finishes to suit most homes. When the leaves spring up from their hiding place in the central pedestal they open out like the petals of a flower, increasing the size of the table two fold. What a clever space saving idea!

 

Seven. The Fitzroy Collection 150 by Parker Knoll: Handmade in Britain by the finest craftsmen and women at Parker Knoll who offer a huge range of contemporary recliners through to luxury classic upholstery designs.  But perhaps our favorite piece and arguably the most versatile piece in their range was first designed in the 1920’s. The Fitzroy Collection comprises of two sumptuous tub chairs and a footstool exquisitely upholstered in a combination of Art Deco fabrics (your choice) and reminiscent of the era of when this collection was first produced. The 150 Collection was brought back a few years ago as a commemorative piece honoring Parker Knoll’s 150th  anniversary. Made originally for the ocean liners of the 1920’s the collection was made with space saving in mind. Used separately the collection forms two comfortable chairs with sweeping backs and a bolster for support with a footstool on which you can rest your legs or place a tea tray. But put all three together, with one chair on each side of the stool, and Hey Presto!…they form a wonderful day bed or chaise designed for total relaxation! Back in the day Parker Knoll was commissioned by Cunard to furnish all the rooms of the ocean-going liners from the sofas and chairs, to beds and occasional furniture. The elegant Fitzroy chair and footstool combination was used in the common rooms, bars and lounges of these magnificent ships to provide seating and a place to take a few quiet zzzz’s far away from the madding crowds. What an amazing idea and what an amazing story! Thanks Parker Knoll!

 

Eight. The Ballatta Drinks CabinetThis stunning cabinet in pale oak is part of a range of flexible modern pieces from Ercol that will work in any choice of location in the home. This wonderful little cabinet has two discreet windows with a shelf on which to display your favourite glassware…but open up these doors and below you will find an Aladdin’s cave of shelves, drawers and a magnificent wine rack, with room to store liquor bottles, cocktail shakers and other bar paraphernalia. Behind the pared down timeless look of the Ballatta cabinet lies hidden all the playfulness and fun of the fifties, a time when entertaining at home was all the rage… and a little bird tells us that those days are back again!

 

Well there you have it, eight wonderful products… all with hidden features from Peter Green. Do visit us online or in store at our Chandler’s Ford Showrooms and we will gladly share more space saving secrets!


There is Nothing New About New Builds!

Ever since we opened our doors 65 years ago my Father did the furnishings and flooring for most of the new homes in town as well as the existing ones. In those days there weren’t so many new homes being built and furniture stores like ours did not have special account managers designated to ‘new builds’. The late 1970’s, however, saw a massive movement of the population to the South Coast and consequently, new housing was in high demand. Developments sprang up everywhere as anyone who has lived in this area during those years will testify. To meet the new demand for homes, housing was being built and sold quickly, complete with flooring and sometimes furniture too! In response to the new need Peter Green opened our Commercial Contracts Department in the early 80’s catering to the needs and wants of construction companies, not just in this area but with a radius that included London, much of the South Coast and of course the Isle of Wight. The Peter Green Commercial Contracts division has always been a busy facet of our furniture and flooring trade and we have long established relationships both with the bigger and well known contractors as well as much smaller builders who construct well appointed bespoke homes. We are experts at flooring and have a fantastic team of fitters who are specialists in carpeting and hard flooring of all kinds.  Our flooring ranges are exhaustive, but no worries, our skilled account managers can quickly guide our clients towards the floors that are perfect for their budget and their prospective home owners. It does not however end with flooring, we also supply furnishings to new home owners including sofas, dining sets, beds, rugs, window treatments, soft furnishings, wall art and accessories. We have fitted out very many show homes over the years with the quality of furniture that is expected of Peter Green, at the same time offering a variety of attractive furnishing packages for new home owners expressly designed to meet different price points.

 

The popularity and success of the Peter Green Commercial Department is fundamentally based on the ‘back to basics’ values of our founder, Peter Green, who believed that pleasing the customer was all important and that quality, value and service was central to a good business. It was this philosophy that enabled the company to grow from a small shop in Eastleigh to the massive showroom that it now occupies in Chandlers Ford. Peter Green knew that if you base a business on that criterion then people will keep coming back for more.

 

Our company is still family owned and run and in more recent years we have often heard it being referred to as an ‘icon’! Of course this is the kind of praise we love but it does not come easily, it takes many years of honest trading to earn an accolade like that and we are so proud that people view us in that way. We are one of the few independent furniture and flooring suppliers around now and we feel that this plays in our favour, as people love the time and attention that we are able to devote to their projects. We understand the needs of the builder and the needs of the new home owner in this area because we have grown up with them and lived amongst them. We have seen the area change and develop along side us. Right now, we are witnessing a renewed interest in smaller, regional businesses like ours as people opt to ‘shop local.’ People know that to shop with us keeps the money in the community and since lockdown we have had many new customers in the building, health, education, retail and real estate sectors choose us for their furniture and flooring projects because we are a respected, family run and local company.

 

However you feel about it, the building boom in the Hampshire area has not stopped yet. The current tight supply of existing homes on the market is helping drive new construction, and more and more land is being released to house the growing population. The 55+ market, which almost perfectly fits the baby boomers in the mid-fifties to mid seventies age range, is growing on the South Coast as are the young single and young family sectors. Production builders are moving swiftly to serve the growing population with multi-family and single-family dwellings in both luxury and affordable housing sectors and with this we too are seeing changes. The construction industry in general is much more interested in eco-friendly products that will not be detrimental to the future occupant’s health. We are also now being asked for more luxurious products in terms of carpeting, hard flooring such as LVT, and wood is very popular at the moment. Greys and blues are replacing the standard beiges for flooring and we see furniture trending towards the very popular retro and mid-century modern look, with a little more colour than we saw a few years ago, and in some very exciting combinations too! Prints are ‘in’ especially combined with solids and velvet upholstery is very hot at the moment. All these changes have made our designer’s work much more exciting and we are always up for the challenge!

 

If you have never visited our Commercial Contacts Department or for some reason have never heard of us, we would love to meet you. New builds are only a small part of our business which runs the full scope from hospitality, retail, housing, education, clubs, religious organizations, care homes, offices, health care, letting agents through to sports facilities and student accommodation. We have every flooring type imaginable including non slip products, pet friendly products, eco friendly products to name a few. We can have carpeting woven to your specifications including an image or logo or in any colour you choose using computer matching technology. We can even hard flooring digitally printed with maps or graphic images of your choice. We have many, many styles of furniture at our finger tips too and as a team we possess a wealth of knowledge between us to help guide you through those difficult but exciting choices.

 

If you have not visited us before please do. You will be glad you came!


Lucian Ercolani the 'Old Man' Behind a Mission!

We all love Ercol furniture but did you know that the story behind this Iconic British Brand brand actually began in Tuscany? 
The ‘Old Man’ as he was affectionally referred to in the industry was responsible for creating designs for two other well known British furniture companies, which later became Parker Knoll and G-Plan before he branched out and started in his own company. It can safely be said that the imagination and creativity of this talented designer has had much to do with shaping the landscape of British furniture today. 
Lucian Randolph Ercolani was born the son of an Italian cabinetmaker and picture framer in the picturesque hill top village of La Marche, Italy. In his spare time his Father was a lay preacher for the Salvation Army and reportedly was a common sight ‘spreading the word’ from his bicycle as he rode the village streets. Apparently his activities  upset some of the locals such that they raided his workshop and threw the poor man’s tools and equipment into the river, an act that caused the family pack up and head for London.
As a student of the Shoreditch Trade School, Lucian Ercolani was obsessed with the works of Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton and in 1907 he built his first piece of furniture, a magnificent music cabinet inlaid with mother-of-pearl. His sketches for this piece were published in the British trade magazine, The Cabinet Maker, and won him a job in High Wycombe, the home of the Windsor Chair.
The Windsor chair has a history all of its own, and there were typically three types of craftsmen involved in its making. The process started with the chair bodger, an itinerant craftsman who worked in the woods and made just the legs and stretchers, on a pole lathe.. The benchman worked in a village workshop and produced the solid wood seats and  backsplats and the framer gathered together all the parts and assembled them into the finished chair. The Windsor chair as we know it, made its first appearance in Buckinghamshire and the industry centered itself in the forests and villages around High Wycombe. It is thought however that the original design was based on the stick back chairs of Wales, Ireland and the West Country that had been made by wheelwrights in their spare time since the 16th century, who turned the spindles in the same way that they produced the spokes for cartwheels. In the 18th century, steam bending laminated wood was employed to produce the characteristic ‘bow’ that we recognize today.
Lucian Ercolani absorbed the methods of these craftsman and in 1920 he set up his own factory, later to be known as Ercol, where all three of these processes were gathered together under one roof. His factory greatly speeded up the process of chair making, at the same time retaining the touch of the craftsman. During the second World war however Ercol’s chair making essentially ground to a halt and the factory was commissioned to make tent pegs and munitions boxes for the war effort.

 

It was after the war that Ercol very much came into its own, when the company was asked to be involved in the National Utility Furniture Scheme. With timber in short supply a request was made for designers to produce strong, well designed furniture that made good use of scarce materials. For this Lucian Ercolani used his Italian eye for design and knowledge of the craft to create Ercol’s famous 4a Kitchen Chair which won a place in the 1943 Utility Furniture Catalogue. The chair had its roots very much based in the designs that had been produced by the craftsmen of the Chiltern forests for many years, yet it embraced the requirements of ‘modern’ life.
In 1944 a request  was made by the Board of Trade for 100,000 chairs of low cost. Ercol took up the challenge and mechanized their factory in such a way that they were able to produce their kitchen chairs for just 10s 6d each, winning them a spot in the 1946 Britain Can Make It Festival with their Windsor Collection. Ercol’s collection based on the traditional techniques of the region blossomed in the nineteen fifties to include loveseats, tables, arm chairs and the iconic Studio Couch, which has become a much loved part of the British Furniture Landscape. 
The Studio Couch was first produced in 1956 and one of the first designs Peter Green had on display in their original shop in Eastliegh, which opened in the same year. We are very proud of our sixty five year relationship with the Ercol Company and consequently have one of the largest Ercol studios in the South of England. Of course the Ercol collection is quite extensive today but the original and much loved ‘retro’ designs based on the classic Windsor are still dear to our hearts and are still available today with an exciting modern new twist! 


Sticky Fingers and Muddy Feet - Kid Safe Furniture Do’s and Don’ts

Once those toddlers begin toddling your whole world gets turned upside down, well at least the household does. Drinks are spilled, yoghurt is splashed, play dough is trampled, crayon marks turn up in the strangest places, and the whole place could become a horror show of potential accidents! With a little forethought, knowledge and care when you buy, many accidents involving both your furniture or your children, grandchildren or dependents can be averted. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to bear in mind when buying furniture for a household where children are a normal part of the landscape.

 

Do… check that the furniture you select is sturdy and well built. Delicately constructed pieces will be easily destroyed and might well cause a nasty accident in the process. When you buy furniture ask yourself, “can this piece be pulled down or knocked over by a small child?” If the answer is, “yes” then it is not for you… at least not at this stage in your life, put that thought on hold for when your nest is empty!

 

Don’t… neglect to anchor furniture such as bookshelves, wardrobes, tall cupboards, and entertainment units to the wall or floor to reduce the risk of them tipping and injuring someone. To ‘little minds’ a bookshelf looks like a ladder to be climbed, and cupboard doors are lovely to swing on, such activities have caused serious and sometimes sadly even fatal accidents. A good retailer will strongly recommend that you use anchors and will supply them with the furniture. If this does not happen or you have existing furniture without these safety measures in place, please shop for some today, either in a hardware store, online or at your local furniture dealer. 

 

Do… consider your window treatments carefully. If blinds are your ‘thing’ then opt for cordless ones, they are so much safer. If you have blinds or curtains with cords tie them up out of harms way to reduce the risk of strangulation.

 

Don’t…refuse the care and protection plan. Berries, juices, chocolate, and ice cream are just a few of the heavy arsenal of stain producing weapons has each child has at their finger tips. Most care plans or ‘warranties’ you will be offered will give you protection against not just common stains but also accidental damage, breakages, scratches and structural defects of your cabinetry, upholstery, floors and bed. The service will clean or repair your furniture to bring it back up to standard, some policies these days even offer ‘no quibble like for like replacement’ if the item cannot be made good. Make sure that you read the small print of the policy you are being offered so that you understand exactly what is covered and not covered. This will prevent any disappointments. In most cases however you will be very glad you did protect you new furnishings with a good policy.

 

Do… know your glass. If you chose furniture with glass tops or doors double check that they are fitted with toughened safety glass. British Standards BS 7449 or better is a pre-requisite. Ordinary, or ‘annealed’ glass, will break into dagger-like shards, and is not suitable for use in a home with children. Toughened glass is put through a heating and cooling process which increases its strength but should it break it shatters into relatively harmless cube-like fragments referred to in the trade as dice. Box specifications or your furniture dealer should advise you on the type of glass that has been used in the furniture you are purchasing. Putting stickers on glass cabinet doors at eye level can be used as an extra measure to warn running children that the glass is there.

 

Don’t… buy furniture with sharp edges or corners. If you already have furniture that fits this description move it away from areas where children run around, like hallways and near doorways. If you can’t move the furniture, then bumper pads are a good next move. Foam corner protectors will also do the trick while the kids are small.

 

Do… ask about safety mechanisms on any furniture you buy that has moving parts. Tiny fingers, legs and feet can easily be trapped in mechanical recliners or electric lift and rise chairs. Many are fitted with cut-outs and other safety mechanisms to prevent this from happening. Make sure this is the case if you require ‘action’ furniture that fits this description.

 

Don’t… go for loose woven linens or delicate cottons for your upholstery, instead choose more robust fabrics like a microfibre or canvas. Chenille and silk are also no-gos unless you get a special performance variety. Low pile fabrics such as the synthetic velvets that we are seeing a lot of these days are quite good and a spill can be sponged off easily if you catch it in time. Microfibre, also known as microsuede, is a dream when it comes to muddy feet and sticky hands, it is resistant to stains, hard to rip and lasts for a very long time. Aquaclean is a modern fabric that is soft to touch, hardwearing and wipe-able/washable using just water. Combine it with a hygiene protector such as Safefront and you have all round protection against viruses and bacteria and mites as well. Leather is a pretty good choice too, it’s easy to clean, can be periodically wiped down with a damp cloth but avoid untreated aniline leather which although gives the most natural look, will show every mark and scuff (unless having a pronounced a patina is your thing!) and instead steer towards treated pigmented leathers, which are more durable. Be aware that ‘split’ or re-constituted leather, common on less expensive pieces and from many catalogues, is much less hardwearing than the top grain hides found on better quality pieces. Man made ‘faux leather’ is also a great way to go.

 

Do… consider solid wood over veneers, which are delicate and easily damaged. A hard wood is better than a soft wood like pine, which can bruise. Even an activity like drawing with a pen on a piece of paper without padding below can leave a horrible imprint in soft wood. Most likely the best way to go is to choose a plastic finished product such as melamine which is wipeable, tough, crayon resistant and repels most satins as long as you don’t leave them too long. There are some beautiful digitally printed melamines around today… you don’t just have to settle for white or faux wood finishes anymore.

 

Don’t… pick slippery floors. Carpeting is good as it is softer in the case of occasional falls and has good traction. There are some fantastically hard wearing ranges that are very good looking too! Avoid ceramic tiles which are can be slippery and can potentially cause head injuries and instead opt for a LVT (luxury vinyl tile) which mimics the look of tile, stone or wood. Wet messes and muddy foot prints are more easily cleaned from hard flooring. Choose one with a texture that will give a little more traction, LVT is a quieter choice, too. More fragile solid wood floors are noisy, vulnerable to scratches and can stain easily unless you have a strong protective finish applied. Rustic planking, in either real wood or synthetic, is an excellent choice… it’s on trend, less slippery and the scratches will blend right in. Rugs are nice but can be a common trip hazard especially with speeding kids. If you like hard flooring with rugs then use a gripping pad below such as ‘Foxi Rug-Stop’ which will prevent it from slipping. Available from all good flooring specialists.

 

Do… choose patterned prints or textured fabrics for your furniture because they make marks harder to spot. Opt for darker colours and neutrals like navy, black, grey and brown and of course you should avoid white at all costs! An application of stain protection will help guard against the most beastly of pet marks. This can be provided upon request at most good furniture stores.

Don’t… dismiss the environment. Considering products that are sustainable and friendly to the environment is a good example to set for your children. Eco products are also healthier to live with and cut down on allergies, helping you to breath more easily. Enquire about products before you buy. Where were they made? Is the product ‘green’ in its harvesting and production? Are the materials recycled to help save the Earth’s resources? What has the product been treated with? Here are some products to look out for – bamboo flooring, reclaimed wooden floors and marmolium… Sustainably produced or upcycled wooden furniture… Mattresses made from recycled bottles or those made from all natural fillings and materials… Natural fibres such as jute, hemp and seagrass which can be found both in flooring and furniture… Wool carpeting… Cotton or wool rugs…

There is a huge interest in eco friendly product right now and the response in our industry has been equal to the challenge for there are plenty of choices to be made!

 

Do… enjoy your nest while it is full with the patter of tiny feet (and even when they get a little bigger) and relax knowing that you have made all the right choices to keep everyone happy and safe. We hope these tips have been helpful. If you do need more detailed advice guidance don’t hesitate to come and see us, we have a wealth of information to share with you!


How about a little Feng Shui in Your Bedroom?

The ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui is governed by a series of rules designed to optimize the flow of Chi energy in your home. Good Chi is said to promote happiness, enhance your romantic life, and improve your quality of sleep. 

 

‘Feng’ is the Chinese word for wind, and ‘shui’ means water. These two elements together symbolize the flow of life that we should aspire to have in our homes. The placement of furniture and the type of furniture that you choose are all important to maximise the flow of positive energy in your bedroom and promote good Chi. Good Chi makes for a good night’s sleep and helps you take on what life has to throw at you. Good Chi is created through balance, harmony and symmetry. It helps give you confidence, purpose and direction which in turn influences your health, wealth and happiness.

 

Feng Shui divides the world into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element is considered to have either Yin or Yang qualities. Yin, means “female” or “moon,” and represents darkness, femininity and passivity. Yang means “male” or “sun” and represents light, masculinity and activity. Wood and fire are Yang. Earth possesses a balance of Yin and Yang qualities. Water is Yin. Metal can be both Yin or Yang depending on its malleability. Complicated huh? Well no worries, the work has already been done for you… just follow these Feng Shui tips to ensure your energy flows in the right direction and you will be on your way good night’s rest!

 

Position of the bed: Doorways are considered to have a strong flow of unwanted inward energy which can be too active and unsettling when you are trying to rest. Avoid placing the bed close to or directly in line with a doorway. The head of the bed should be North facing if possible, which will allow for a quieting of the mind, self-introspection and restorative deep sleep.

 

Windows: Good Feng Shui design would never place the head of the bed directly under, parallel to, or across the room from a window. There is way too much energy flow going on which will decrease vitality and potentially lead to health issues. If you cannot avoid this then layer the windows with curtains and blinds and always keep window dressings closed at night. Good curtains drawn while sleeping can form a ‘wall’ and calm the room. The best place for a widow is at the side of the bed. 

 

Bedside TablesPlace a nightstand at either side of your bed to create balance. Declutter your nightstand. Your aura field is about an arm’s-length all around you and whatever is in your energy field will affect your sleep. If you have phones or paperwork on your bedside table you will wake up and immediately start thinking about them. Keep these items away from the bed to create calmness. Only a book that you are reading, a lamp and perhaps a glass of water should be there. 

 

Under the BedThe energy field beneath your heart and your head should remain clear. If you store things under your bed move them all to the foot end so the space where you are thinking and feeling is open. When you wake up in the morning your brain needs to be totally clear to have a successful day ahead. 

 

Avoid White Walls: White walls can create a depressing space to sleep in but bright colours too can be problematic. Red, which represents fire is too much energy to try to go to sleep in. Blue is a water colour and puts you in survival mode as if you were drowning and green is both a day colour and is not conducive to for romance! Avoid these colours in large amounts, although they can make very nice accent colours in smaller doses. Instead plump for earth and metal tones or soothing muted tones… silver, gold, grey, browns with a little dusty pink and pale yellow would be really Zen and help you catch those ZZZZZ’s.

 

Wall Art: Avoid water images above your headboard… pictures of rain, lakes or sea can create feelings of vulnerability. Wild animals are also a Feng Shui no-no. Pick landscapes, beautiful quotes or abstracts in soft tonal hues which are more calming and restful. The image across from your bed is important too. It should be something inspiring or something that makes you happy as it will affect the rest of your day.

 

Mirrors: Be careful with your placement of mirrors, they reflect way too much energy when you should be sleeping. Do not place mirrors above the headboard. If you need a mirror in the room just make sure that it doesn’t reflect any portion of the bed and you will be fine.

 

FlooringEvery object has a Yin (female) or Yang (male) energy, and one of the most important aspects of Feng Shui is balancing these two. Hardwood floors have a very “Yang” energy, so balance that out with softer elements, like curtains and rugs which have Yin energy.

 

Lighting: Avoid lighting directly above your head but instead try to place wall lights above the nightstands. Make sure the central lighting is dimmable to induce quiet thoughts. 

 

Furniture: You should also aim for rounded edges when you choose your bedroom furniture. Furniture with a live edge or with organic shapes would be fantastic. Aim for wood or wood and metal but do not choose mirrored furniture, melamine or PU plastic.

 

The BedFeng Shui the very heart of your bedroom with the right beds and bedding. Choose natural materials over synthetic and muted colours over bold. There are plenty of beds made by good manufacturers today that fit this bill. Many of whom ‘grow’ their own fibres to be used in their mattresses, so there are ecological and personal wellbeing benefits to choosing these brands too. You can ask a good bed specialist to point you in the right direction. Headboards are also important, as they represent stability and support in your life, and this is especially significant for your romantic relationships. The best headboards are solid wood which is an element that promotes good Chi, just make sure it does not have any perforations of any kind. Upholstered and padded headboards are great for a Feng Shui bedroom especially if they have rounded corners. Anything pointed in the room should be removed.

 

The bedroom is not just a place to sleep but a place to get re-energized. You need to connect with your bedroom and feel that it is sacred space where you can feel safe. If your bedroom doesn’t feel quite right just follow the suggestions above, make sure you have a good balance of elements in the room and you will be off to a great start. Why not enjoy a little Feng Shui in your bedroom?

 

Sweet Dreams!


Commercial Flooring: Buy British… Shop Local

When it comes to flooring Britain has it made. There is a plethora of flooring manufacturers right at our finger tips producing anything from the on-trend multitudes of natural fibre flooring available for commercial use, to the lesser known almost 100% natural marmoleum, whose popularity over old fashioned ‘Lino’ is increasing hugely with the need for sanitized floors. 
 
Buying British is probably more in our focus this year than it was last. When you take into consideration the disruptions in the supply chains caused by the Pandemic and now at check points in Europe due to Brexit. Lead times for products have become uncertain and product orders are cancelled at last minute. With a carefully planned project and all your contractors in place, the last thing you want is for the whole thing to be held up because your floor is on a slow boat from ‘somewhere.’ Most British manufacturers can supply hard flooring, carpets and rugs for your project usually within days and at the very most a couple of weeks… unless of course you are going for something extra special like a bespoke carpet design woven to your specifications where the design element will add a little to the order time rather than the manufacturing. Buying British therefore means that your rush job can be expedited in time for you to open you doors on schedule.
 
British businesses are world renowned for providing excellent quality control in our factories and warehouses. Keeping everything within one country means quality can be monitored and checked continually, shipping can be tracked more easily and manufacturing problems can be solved more quickly.
 
Some of the British products that we will show you for your projects are not only crafted in Britain but the raw materials are also produced in Britain. We have several carpet manufacturers who actually ‘grow’ their own wool on their own farms using different breeds of sheep to produce a selection of natural wool colours and textures, which are then blended and woven to produce a wide range of natural fibre carpets. Natural flooring is ‘all the rage’ right now in the new ‘health conscious’ office designs that have been springing up since the Pandemic.
 
It doesn’t take a lot to realize that buying a product produced in Britain not only cuts down on the time it takes to get to you but it also stimulates the economy providing jobs from the farm hands who care for the sheep, to the weaver who produces the cloth and the driver that brings it to our door. Commercial companies on the whole are becoming much more aware of the environmental and social factors surrounding the products they use and so buying British would make an excellent choice if this is where your company mind set is. It will serve to lower you carbon footprint too, due tosignificantly reduced transposition costs. 
 
The same goes for ‘shopping locally’ only on a smaller scale. Using a locally ‘grown’ company stimulates the economy in the very region that surrounds and supports you.The Pandemic and Brexit has not only disrupted distribution but also the local economy with jobs being lost, businesses closed, while the big online companies and multi-nationals eat up the competition and market share. In the end this will come back to bite us on a local level if we don’t pay attention.
For your next project why not consider using a smaller local company? A local company will naturally use local suppliers and local contractors all of whom are there to stand by their products. For instance a multi-generational company such as Peter Green has employed thousands of people from Southampton/Chandlers Ford area over the sixty five years since it’s inception. Not only is the company multi-generational but so is the staff! Daughters have followed mothers and likewise grandsons their grandfathers. The advantages of using a company like ours is that you are only ever one person away from the owner and so the service you receive will be top quality and attentive. Our staff care because we are all part of one big family and as such we will treat you with the time and respect your project deserves, which brings this story right back to the beginning, because we use many of the British manufacturers mentioned above with which we have held trusted relationships for over six decades. So why not try ‘Shopping Local’ with our skilled and creative Commercial Contracts team and ‘Buy British’ with us at the same time!