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Take rough with smooth to get the soft loft look; INTERIORS With creative stylist Claire Hornby In association with.

WE all know what loft living looks like - even if we're not lucky enough to own a live-in warehouse, we're familiar with the style from glamorous movies and TV shows.

It's all about bare brick and exposed ducting, isn't it? But wait a moment - this season, loft life has gone all soft, and it's revealing a gentler side that mixes the rough with the smooth to create a relaxed industrial style.

The Soft Loft look is chic yet appealingly textured - you wouldn't want to throw away what makes the loft look distinctive, after all. So I've set sumptuous fabrics against rustic timbers and laid down thick rugs to swathe bare floorboards.

It's got a little bit of surprise and a great deal of comfort. And if you don't have a loft, don't worry - you can still get the look! Sand your floorboards and chop back a feature wall to the brick; don't worry if the finish isn't perfect, as this look works well when it's a bit distressed.

Once you've created the right kind of backdrop, it's time to shop for chunky, industrial-style furniture combined with buttery leather and chalky fabrics.

My starting point in this lovely room was the centrepiece - the gorgeous Rye bed. It's made from reclaimed and recycled wood given a new lease of life with a warm silky sundried wheat finish - the chunky flared legs and robust shape give it a visual strength that's absolutely perfect.

All that strong wood needs to be suitably softened, so I've piled the bed up with luxurious accessories including the 100 per cent cotton Toulon bedspread in grey.

I find sweet dove greys and pinks are perfect for this design scheme, because they contrast well with the warm and ruddy tones of all that dramatic brick and timber.

To complement my bedspread, I've piled on cushions. Who could resist the Aquilla sequinned gilt cushion? It's a witty nod to super-luxe living, with a gentle sheen that provides a further contrast to the matt of the walls and the bleached wood.

You can use accessories like the Aquilla to add extra texture to your room, because you wouldn't want this look to become too smooth. I love the grey Kubu laundry basket, which would make a robust and attractive feature in any room and also provide useful storage.

Soft Loft is a highly-adaptable look that lends itself well to dining areas, too.

I've chosen the Salisbury dining table in solid European rustic oak, and its matching bench - but I've combined them with luxuriously-buttoned Kipling dining chairs, upholstered in linen, to provide a contrast. Soft cushions on the bench add necessary comfort for long dining sessions, and the Merle copper hurricane lantern provides perfect mood lighting.

So can a room be both rugged and elegant? I think we've proved that with Soft Loft. It just shows you really can take the rough with the smooth - and the results can be stunning.

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Pictured left are the Grey Kubu square log baskets while Merle copper hurricane lantern is pictured below and Aquilla cushion, below left. Pictured at the bottom of the page is the Salisbury dining table in solid oak. The picture on the opposite page shows the Dakota bed
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 1, 2014
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