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Trending: What's hot for homes this summer

Latest styling advice for home-sellers, a garden to visit after hours and flowers and fragrances to bring the beauty of summer inside

Style Counsel

If you’re planning to either sell or rent a property, have you considered using a home styling service? Promising to present a property in its best light, to encourage both a speedy sale and a better price, it was popularised in the States and Australia - and is fast becoming popular in the UK too.

Formerly marketing manager for Greene King in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk’s Tash Crotty was inspired to launch her solo home styling venture, Styled Home Design, having prepped her own properties for sale and reaped the rewards. Combining her marketing background with a personal passion for architecture and interior design, “I realised my love of styling homes was more than just a hobby,” she says.

Offering three core services - Home Staging for home-sellers, Show Home Staging for property developers and Styling for Photography to help with marketing a house - Tash visits properties across the region for a consultation and to create an action plan, tailored to the client’s budget.

“I visit a client’s home, viewing it through the eyes of a buyer,” she explains. “The action plan then includes a range of staging and styling techniques, including de-cluttering, de-personalisation, furniture layout, items to remove, replace or add, lighting, colour palettes, room styling and accessorising.

“People can then follow the action plan themselves or we can help with it through project management of any repairs or recommended works, sourcing suggested furniture, rented or purchased, soft furnishings and accessories.

“For companies, for example, a solution to transform empty properties to a show home standard is using rental furniture and home accessories.”

According to the Home Staging Association, of which Tash is a member, staged homes spend, on average, half the time on the market than non-staged homes and sell for more than 8% above asking price. Tash has also qualified in the field through the CHSSP - Certified Home Staging and Styling Professional network. A consultation for homeowners starts at £175.

“I believe every property has the potential to inspire, sometimes they just need a little help,” she adds. “Each home should tell a story, be unique in style, and maximise its full potential.”

For more visit styledhomedesign.co.uk

Garden Party

Of all summer’s alfresco events in Cambridge, few are more atmospheric than Sounds Green, the open-air concert series held at the city’s Botanic Garden. As the heat of the day starts to ease and the sun to drop, illuminating the garden’s famously beautiful trees and borders with its low glow, the Main Lawn becomes a concert stage.

With the audience invited to spread out a rug, relax and enjoy the music, Sounds Green runs every Wednesday evening in July, with the line-up including British folk duo Honey & The Bear (July 6), Prime Brass (July 13), Camilla George Quartet (July 20) and Classico Latino (July 27).

While visitors are welcome to pack up a picnic, food and drink will also be served by the on-site Garden Cafe, a roster of street food vans and Jack’s Gelato.

“There’s something very special about listening to music in such peaceful and beautiful surroundings,” says Professor Beverley Glover, director of the Botanic Garden. “It’s a joy to see everyone relax and unwind to the wide range of music and bands and there’s quite a unique atmospheric buzz in the Garden! As it stays open late, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the Garden in the evening light.”

* Music begins at 6.15pm each Wednesday through July, lasting approximately an hour, and visitors are welcome to enjoy the Garden till gates close at 8.30pm. For more information and to book go to botanic.cam.ac.uk

Flower Power

Taking inspiration from “a sun-drenched image with serious summer holiday vibes”, the latest collection from Shida, the preserved flower brand based in Bury St Edmunds, is guaranteed to lift both your space and your spirits.

Spanning two hand-ties, the large Sienna (£42) and mini Suvi (£28), both set pops of hot colour against cool greens and neutrals. Says head of design Helen Ellis: “I was really looking to saturate the first of our summer collections with some energetic and bright colours: I believe ‘more is more’! I love the look of pairing orange with hot pink, as seen on the catwalk, and then layering with blue or purple, neutrals and greens.”

On a mission to revolutionise the floral industry, making it more sustainable and environmentally friendly, while also extending the time people can enjoy the beauty and mood-boosting properties of having blooms in their home, Shida’s flowers are picked at their peak and preserved by replacing sap with 100% plant-based glycerine, allowing them to retain their colour, texture and form for up to a year.

View the full range and order at shida.florist

Sleeping Beauty

Glasswells, the home furnishings superstore in Bury St Edmunds, has won the National Bed Federation Award for 2022 in recognition of the quality of products and service it offers. Known as ‘the voice of the UK bed industry’, the Federation has rubber stamped Glasswells as a trusted retailer, providing customers “with beds and mattresses which are sustainable, durable and most importantly, only contain the materials and components that are specified, so that consumers can make an educated choice”.

Says Paul Glasswell, managing director: “During the 75-year history of Glasswells, we have always strived to put our customers first and ensure we provide them with the best customer experience we possibly can. This internationally recognised award has proven just how hard all of our team work to meet this service culture.”

See glasswells.co.uk for further information

Scents of Summer

From sea and sand to sun-warmed soil and flowers in full bloom, summer is the most headily scented of seasons. Velvet finds four home fragrances which bring summer’s beauty from the outside in

Skin Solace Lordliness Aromatherapy Candle, from £11.43, skinsolace.co.uk

Founded by psychotherapist and mum-of-three Natalee Onyeche, the power of self-care is at the heart of British aromatherapy brand Skin Solace, with every face, body and home product formulated to boost wellbeing while it works. The Lordliness candle is a calling-card example of this: layering citrus top notes over a herby heart and floral base, it’s scented with essential oils chosen not only for their fragrance, but also for their ability to salve stress and encourage calm. Made from soy wax and fitted with a wood wick, the candle’s flickering light and sound are soothing too.

Lush Orange Blossom Candle, £12, Lush, Lion Yard, Cambridge

Best-known for producing bath and body products which smell as scrumptious as they are to use, it was only a matter of time before eco and ethical cosmetics company Lush turned its attention to scented candles. Following the success of the festive limited edition Snow Fairy, it’s added a trio of candles to its core collection: Sleepy, The Olive Branch and Orange Blossom, a fresh-yet-warm combination of orange flower, neroli, bergamot sandalwood. Palm, paraffin and soy-free and 100% vegan, the coconut and castor wax candles are scented with essential oils selected for their mood-improving properties and ethically sound manufacture and supply chains, all of which makes them smell even sweeter.

Melted Flames Plum & Rhubarb Diffuser, £22, meltedflames.com

Balancing sweet and sharp to delicious effect, this diffuser is the embodiment of summer fruits, swiftly filling a room with notes of plush plum and zingy rhubarb. Hand-poured using finest fragrance oils, it promises to last well, too; use five reeds for a lighter fragrance, six for a stronger, and rotate them whenever you need an olfactory boost. Founded amid Covid lockdowns, British brand Melted Flame is also home to a wide selection of artful moulded candles, taking every form from geometric shapes to human torsos, which, like the diffusers, are made from top-quality raw materials: coconut and rapeseed wax, fragrance oil and a cotton wick.

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