Cover – Self Build and Design magazine

This month I happened to spot the cover of Self Build and Design magazine – they featured a thatched roofed house in the New Forest that I shot earlier in the year. A good read and a fantastic house.

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Wallpaper

I love Wallpaper. A bit of everything cool in design.

I came across this article on the Artist’s House by Gumuchdjian Architects, taken in September. Take a look and if you have the money, employ these architects!

www.wallpaper.com/architecture/the-artists-house-by-gumuchdjian-architects/5010

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Artists’ Houses

Don’t you just love them?

The holy grail of interior photography is shooting houses that just work; and artists’ houses always have the right balance, I find. I recently visited Gumuchdjian Architects’ project that won the 2010 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize. It’s a fantastic remodelling of a 1950s house. The architecture is awesome: a concrete extension that draws Todd Longstaffe Gowan’s exotic garden inside; a sweeping top-lit staircase and a continuum of spaces that flow seamlessly in architectural heaven. The interior has that laid back harmony and effortless chic that I just love.

Meanwhile in Brighton another artist’s house exudes a cool character. It was the brainchild of Barry Surtees: an artist, design aficionado, motoring devotee and great guy. I heard of the house from Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs, although seeing it in the flesh is another story. It is an assault on the senses, in a fantastic way. Whether it’s the Ducati 916 on the wall, the kaleidoscopic Roche Bobois’ Mah Jong sofa or the stunning 75ft bedroom pod, you can’t help but be amazed. Enjoy!

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Open House

Well it’s that time of year again, Open House or Open City as it’s now known, opens this weekend in London. For those unfamiliar with the event, over 700 locations across the capital are opened to the public – a great way of discussing architecture, design, planning etc and of course having a nose at some fabulous architecture. This year I’ve shot for the architects 3s, who’ve worked their magic on a fabulous house in Wimbledon – 78 Church Road. It’s a period house with a superb entertaining space and glazed side extension – check it out if you’re in the area! Here are a couple of preliminary shots, although it’s destined for an interior magazine soon.

I’m also shooting this weekend for Open House, so fingers crossed for some blue skies or moody weather.

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Printer woes….

Oh the joys of technology.

First it was the transition to digital photography. We had to learn about megapixels, pixel pitch, bayer arrays, moire, noise, colour management, profiling, RIP systems, unsharp mask….the list goes on and on. No more dropping velvia off at the lab and grabbing a pint; nowadays the professional photographer has his own professional printer for folios, proofing and client samples along with laptops, digital backs, lights etc. It seems so long ago that I’d leave with one camera and one lens. That’s because it was.

So, Monday I decided to print some new work to add to my folio and to do some prints for some architects that I work with. Turn on the Epson 3800, my trusty A2 printer. Oh dear, after lots of power cleaning, head alignment and nozzle checking I realised that I had a big problem….a blocked nozzle – of course Epson could assist me to the tune of £300……so, in my usual ‘have-a-go-at-anything’ approach I surfed the net looking for assistance. If you have ever had a blocked nozzle and you’ve spent 1/2 day wasting ink trying to flush the head  you’ll know how annoying this is. To my disbelief I actually managed to do it and avoid the Epson bill :-) So, if you too have an Epson 3800 try this….Firstly, get some Isopropyl alcohol and pec pad non abrasive wipes. That’s all you need. Secondly, turn the printer on, put some A4 normal 80gsm in the sheet feeder and print a nozzle check pattern from the console. As the print head moves immediately pull the plug out of the printer. This will release the print head and enable you to move it along. Next, wet two pec pad wipes (others have used paper towel but I think it can block the tiny nozzles) and fold the wipes so that they sit in the channel where the print head runs along. They mustn’t ride up the sides as when you move the print head, it will just push the wipes out of the way. You can actually rock the print head slightly to gain extra clearance. Just move the head over the wipes from left to right. You should find lots of ink coming off and onto the wipes. If 2 folded wipes isn’t sufficiently close to the print head, try 3. Once the wipes are covered in ink, use some new ones and do the same again. Keep doing this until each pass over the wipes reveals less and less ink. Eventually once you think you’ve removed the dried ink, wet 2 new ones and ‘park’ the print head over the wipes for a few hours. Then come back to the Epson, move the print head and remove the wipes. (One advantage of using pec pad wipes is that they won’t fall apart and clog your printer like paper towel could). Ensure that nothing is left in the channel where the print head runs. Now, plug the printer back in and wait for the inks to recycle. Now, do a head clean (not power clean) from the utility software and then print a nozzle check pattern. If you’re not all clear I’ll be very surprised. If this is the case, then you’ve not got the isopropyl alcohol close enough to the print head. Go back and repeat. This worked for me and my printer is as new again. Give it a try but it’s at your own risk – be careful and good luck. I’ll be turning mine on every week from now on, even if I’m not making prints…to ensure that the print head is kept lubricated…

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Commercial interiors…

Oops. I’ve not really got the hang of this blog. That’s called being busy I suppose!

I’ve been shooting lots of commercial interiors recently, for CBRE and Bandstand London. Some very exciting stuff! Ok, if you’re into buildings…..I personally love the variety, one minute in Gucci’s headquarters then next shooting the offices of hedge funds…or shopping centres or retail outlets. Yes, as an interior specialist I cover all bases. Just check out that Portland stone staircase. Fabulous!

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The net…

What I love about the net is that you never know where your work might appear. That can also be annoying as a photographer. However, when you find that others have enjoyed your work, it comes as a pleasant surprise. Today I stumbled across the site www.desiretoinspire.net and found that design fans had been poring over some of my interior work  http://www.desiretoinspire.net/blog/2010/6/7/alistair-nicholls.html.  They particularly liked the shots that I took in Richard Rogers’ Montevetro Building in Battersea, London. The fabulous riverfront pad was styled by Meriel Scott from Precious McBane and the architects behind the interior were 3s. Both are fab designers and great to work with. My favourite was definitely this one with the power station in the background…

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London: Inside

In the 7 years I’ve been an interior photographer, I’ve covered a lot of ground in London. My main focus has been residential interiors but I’ve also shot lots of commercial interiors. With such a library of images, it’s fascinating to follow the development of design: from neutral palates to bold patterns, from minimalism to cool clutter, from modern to retro, from oak to walnut, from limestone to marble.  The modernist glass box is now the thing to have. The garden shed has made way for the ‘garden room’. And the home became an ‘investment vehicle’.

Some interiors stand alone. They don’t get too carried away with trends; they are proactive rather than reactive. They express the individuality of their owners and their confidence to follow their own ideas. These are the holy grail of interiors. It is with these spaces in mind that London: Inside was born; to reveal London interiors that inspire others to create rather than copy; to develop rather than follow. The end result will be an exhibition of images that empowers and invites individualism. If you have a space that is as individual as you are, I’d love to hear from you!

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New Site…

At last, the new site is live.

The difficulty can be choosing favourites.

I’m drawn to contemporary architecture but often you can’t beat a shabby London townhouse interior or a country house with that kind of aged charm that makes you just want to sit and relax. I recently visited the home of interior architect Louisa Tubman. Her home oozes cool clutter, modern design and pays homage to its Victorian roots. I can’t wait to shoot it. Here are a few images from her last house…

This month I also visited a fantastic Oak framed contemporary home, the work of Western Design Architects. It was stunning: a triple height entrance hall, Bulthaup kitchen, cinema room and the latest from B+W. Have a peek…

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Here we go….

After a hectic few weeks of shooting, editing and scouting, I’ve finally made my first post! Been to some cool places yet again. Lots of inspiration from London Architects 3s (www.3s-ad.com) who were responsible for a refurb on a house in Twickenham that I shot in this month’s Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms (www.kbbmagazine.com). With the weather finally improving I’m looking forward to shooting some fab seafront homes for Architectural Digest and commercial architecture for the property firm, CBRE. Of course, if I can get the camper van (yet to be named) up and running, it’ll make waiting for the right conditions all the more palatable with a warm drink and a comfy seat! Ok, it is a 70s VW so it’s not that comfy. But cool. I love this 70s sales picture….

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