Well buildings are good for your health

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There was a lot of talk some years ago about “sick building syndrome”. But now architects and designers are moving forward through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

It launched a movement to address issues regarding health and well-being within the built environment (issues which are somewhat overlooked by existing standards). From this the WELL Building Standard™ was established, with the aim to provide architects and designers with guidelines on how to make a real and measurable difference to how we function within our urban spaces. And even if your project doesn’t aim for certification the WELL standard offers an inspirational model when considering a human centred design approach.

The concept is known as biophilic design, and there’s a recognised accreditation (https://www.wellcertified.com) which I’m working towards.

Biophilia at its most basic is the love of life or living systems. It’s our inherent human connection to the natural world. In an urban world of technology and industrial architecture, this fundamental connection can sometimes feel all but lost. Biophilic design  is an extension of biophilia. It incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, views out and other experiences of the natural world into the built environment.

Cedar Manor look up

It’s all about sustainability, the fundamental values behind biophilic design being the emotional connection that people and places have with nature.

And it’s good to see that developers are increasingly engaging with architects on these principles when formulating a brief. By consciously including nature in interior or architectural design, we are unconsciously reconnecting; bringing the great outdoors in to our constructed world.

Seven concepts must be considered and fulfilled in the scope of a design: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Why does this matter? Why do we need “positive spaces”?

Biophilia: where nature meets art, at the Cedar Manor in Windermere

Biophilia: where nature meets art, at the Cedar Manor in Windermere

Designing with people in mind is a growing topic that can no longer be overlooked; the Human Spaces Report found that a third of global respondents stated office design affects their decision of where to work.

With over half the world’s population now living in cities, chronic illnesses are becoming increasingly prevalent. Globally, research shows, 76% of employees report a struggle with wellbeing, and work-related stress costs the US approximately €255 billion and Europe €550 billion annually. These issues indicate a clear need for healthier spaces.

Better indoor air quality can lead to an 8-11% improvement in productivity. Better nutrition leads to a 27% reduction in depression, a 13% reduction in stress, and overall better mental health. Being closer to windows makes us more productive, especially if there is a view onto nature. And adding plants into the workplace significantly reduces stress, health concerns, and sickness absence. When you think about it, it all makes sense.


Everyone Needs A Tree……Inside


We love trees. Ok so we are fortunate to live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the world – the English Lake District, and let’s face it we are surrounded by them up here.

Architects and Designers regularly talk about ‘bringing the outside in’ and adding a tree into an interior can dramatically change the dynamics of the space. Trees are not just organic and calming to look at, they can be very versatile and used in so many different ways such as structural elements, space dividers, sculptural pieces, screens, light filters, textures, patterns and even as sound absorbers.

How cool are these?…

Turning legs into art. These culptural trees form the legs of the dining tables in this canteen.

Trees used as table legs in contemporary canteen

‘A Cantina’ in Spain by Estudio Nomada


This contemporary dwelling is literally built around the trees in a forest.

Corallo House by Paz Arquitectura

Corallo House by Paz Arquitectura



Here tree ends are being used to create texture, pattern and order.

Tree used to create texture and pattern

Fabbrica Bergen by Tjep



A sculptural and alternative way of hanging coats.

Wishbone coat hanger by Frost Design

Wishbone by Frost Design

We used this lime green coat stand in our Town House project and then carried the tree theme through into the guest bedroom with a bespoke printed fabric on the headboard and digitally printed wallpaper for the en-suite. Fun, funky and unique. Bringing the ‘outside in’, in a very different way.

Town House Master Bedroom

Town House Master Bedroom

Town House Project - Ensuite

Town House Project - Ensuite


Trees are great. Go hug a tree and bring one into your life today.




Dish washer safe chandelier


We love thinking outside the box and finding things that make life easier…

Da Vinci’s new Swarovski Crystal Chandelier designed by Schonbek is the world’s first dishwasher-safe crystal chandelier. That’s right ….. simply put it in the dishwasher and the result is a sparkling and clean chandelier like new.  Easy.

What a great idea!



Fidget wins world’s ‘Best Hotel Interior’

Wow! What a fantastic time we had at the International Hotel Awards night at The Savoy.

We were delighted to win the UK ‘Best Hotel Interior’.

But completely amazed and speechless, when they announced we had won the International ‘Best Hotel Interior’ award! Needless to say large amounts of champagne were consumed.

We love living in the Lake District and we are so proud that we have been able to bring this recognition for our work at Cedar Manor Hotel to the world stage. It’s a great big feather in the cap for northern creatives.

Thanks to Caroline and Jonathan at Cedar Manor for giving us the opportunity to work on the projects and to my team for all their attention to detail!


For more photos of winning project click here:

The Coach House Suite at The Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere

The Cedar Manor Hotel

OR sit back, relax, turn the volume up and watch the video.




Surviving the current recession!

“To stay out of recession is to make money. To make money you need to up your game.”

Investing in good design can reap big rewards. We have a proven track record of helping businesses boom!

VeeVa! Coffee House

Mitchells, one of the oldest North West auction houses, needed diversification of business by providing cafe facilities for a wide spectrum of patrons. We created a contemporary interior, using a digitally printed wallpaper frieze with stylized line drawings of antiques, together with an eclectic mix of furniture and dramatic sphere lights. Our client was delighted with the results and business is booming.

“We gave Ally a tough brief and a tight budget to work with.  We wanted a design that would both connect the coffee shop with the Auction Saleroom next door yet also feel really contemporary.  The idea of hand-drawn silhouettes of antiques, digitally printed onto wallpaper, was a masterstroke. People still think it’s a hand-painted frieze round the walls. The concept of all-white furniture with a mixture of chair designs looks very original too. But the icing on the cake for us is the lighting.  Ally’s “jewel theory” has worked a treat here – those huge Italian chandeliers have such a wow factor and have become a real talking point in the town.  They still draw people into the coffee shop like a magnet!  Thank you Ally for creating a truly unique interior.”


Elaine Wise,  VeeVa! Project Manager, Mitchells Auction Company, Cumbria


Cedar Manor Hotel

‘Best Hotel Interior’ by the International Hotel Awards.

We have yet to find out if it is a ‘Highly Commended Award’ or the top ’5 Star Award.

Cedar Manor is regularly number 1 on trip advisor for Windermere and Cumbria for both the hotel and the restaurant. And so it should be…. its won 2 AA rosette awards for its food, awards for service and now awards for the interiors.

Design work for this boutique hotel is on going with a structured refurbishment program. Our client was keen to retain the charm of this former gentleman’s residence. Inspired by the Victorian Gothic style of the original house we used block print wallpapers and stylized floral prints with a modern twist.

The stats for the room occupancy has significantly increased and feedback on tripadvisor is fantastic. Our clients are very please with how we have helped them improve their business.

“Fidget Design managed to interpret our “wish lists” for every room that we are refurbishing and present us with exactly what we are looking for every time. Brilliant!

Fidget Design offers a professional and friendly approach. In our experience of refurbishing a hotel, they interpreted our needs and delivered the perfect room time after time!”



Caroline and Jonathan Kaye, Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere, Cumbria


More to follow……







This is our first Blog ever!

We have always been so busy creating fabulous interiors for commercial and domestic clients, but in view of our recent exciting news felt that perhaps it was time to start.

“A blog needs to have a “reason why” and be interesting so people will want to read it, otherwise there is no point.”

So here goes…

We’ve won an award or two…but this week we’re off to The Savoy to collect an award for ‘Best Hotel Interior’ from the International Hotel Awards sponsored by Bloomberg Television for our Cedar Manor projects.

But will it be the “Highly Commended Award” or the “Top 5 Star Award”?

We’ll let you know after Wednesdays big glitzy award night. Allyx