Interiors Insights: Heat mapping your home

As interior designers our goal is to help our clients make the very most of their home interiors. To do this we analyse and graphically illustrate how space is being used – often very unequally.

Over-used vs. unloved interior spaces

It’s inevitable that we will over use some spaces in our homes and under use others. The kitchen has earned its status as the heart of our homes because it draws us there multiple times a day. Spaces adjacent to the kitchen get drawn into its vortex though – and we find that by the end of the day we haven’t really moved through the other rooms.

I remember working with one young family on their beautiful Victorian terraced home a few years ago. When I peered into the front rooms on the raised ground floor I saw packing boxes near the windows. I asked whether they had just moved in, and the answer really surprised me. They had lived in the house for several years! They just didn’t use those rooms, preferring to watch TV, play & eat on the lower ground floor … near the kitchen.

We embarked on a heat mapping exercise of the house, using very 101 tools … different coloured highlighters and a few plans of the house to show the different use patterns of the house from week days to weekends.

This interiors exercise is a simple one:

Break the day down into chunks.

Understand the main things you do everyday and give them a colour.

For this young family we used TV, ENTERTAINMENT, PLAY, WORK, EAT.

I would also want to be adding things like EXERCISE, RELAX, HOBBIES, GARDEN.

Look at the plan of the house & then give each function a stripe each time you perform an activity in a particular room.

At the end of the day, and at the end of a weekend day, add up the activities per room & analyse which of the spaces are hot (over used) & which are cold (underused).


From this exercise you quickly start to see the possibilities of how the house can be used more equally. We so often see that the dining room & guest bedrooms are given the best geography in the house; but only used very occasionally. A home office is crammed into eaves of the roof, or hidden away downstairs when we know that more & more of us are going to work from home. There are so many options for hidden-away desk solutions that can be combined into the guest bedroom or dining room to even out the heat map.

With my family and their unloved raised-ground floor interiors we ended up taking the main TV and the home office away from the kitchen area and moving these activities (or possibilities of) upstairs. We made the dining room the centre of the space with a child-friendly dining table top that could withstand daily use & abuse. And a lovely play room that opened up onto the garden. And that was it. No more functionality crammed onto that floor.

Click here to view entire project

When I visited the house a year after we worked on it I saw the results of our changes. My client was playing with her new little baby upstairs, making the most of the light-filled room while her other child played downstairs just before lunch. The changes to the raised ground floor with its living room and home study had evened out the way they used the different floors. The living room was beautiful but not too formal for everyday use. We had changed the heat map – and changed the way the family enjoyed every inch of the house.

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The Sunday Times chez Tollgard

Britain’s love affair with all things Scandi has been a cultural phenomenon, from crime-thriller box sets to midcentury furniture, Ikea and the cosy cult of hygge. Step into many a middle-class London home and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Stockholm. But what does the British home of a Scandi designer look like?

Staffan Tollgard, a Swede who has lived in Britain since 1996 and runs an interior design firm in Belgravia, has brought a bit of Scandi style to his family home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, but he’s avoided the clichés. “The stereotypical Scandi look is blond wood floors, white walls, contemporary art and a few design classics, such as Hansen’s Wishbone chair or Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7 chair,” says Tollgard, 46. “And you’d have a white kitchen with simple tiles. Scandi is a good aesthetic — everything looks right — but it doesn’t celebrate individuality.

I love that, in London, you can see a man walking down the street in a yellow suit. That would never happen in Stockholm.” Tollgard’s home is certainly a true original. Designed with his wife and business partner, Monique, 42, it’s a six-bedroom, three-storey house that was built in 2014, which makes the couple part of a rare breed: designers or architects who don’t live in a period house. They bought it in 2015, when they were living in Bayswater, west London; they wanted their two boys, Leo, 11, and Elliot, 8 , to grow up outside the big smoke and close to their maternal grandparents, who live nearby.

The interiors also set them apart from the crowd: they’ve done the impossible and made a grey colour scheme look fresh. There’s no Elephant’s Breath on the walls — it’s a Dulux custom blend. And the grey is a canvas for dazzling jolts of colour: acid yellows, cherry reds, royal blues. The sofa is an enormous grey L-shaped number by Living Divani, an Italian manufacturer, but it’s dotted with cheery cushions in midcentury-style graphics by an English designer, Eleanor Pritchard. Behind it is an Anglo-Scandi burst of colour: four abstract lithographs, all dots and stripes and primary colours, by the young British artist Mark Francis, which was created at Edition Copenhagen studio. “We’re bold, but not brash,” Tollgard says. “Brash is shiny and bling. We’re humble. We don’t like interiors that try too hard.” Another design achievement: they have made the grey interiors feel warm and cosy.

There’s a woodburner and the floors are dark wood, rather than Scandi blond. But don’t call it hygge, the hard-topronounce Danish aesthetic. “Hygge is candles, blankets and cable-knit, and an open fire,” Tollgard says. “We do have the fire, but we’ve thrown in colour and our art frames are in Perspex boxes.” Monique, who is South African but knows her Scandi design, chimes in: “Hygge is a sameness, lots of layers, but without anything popping or being too different.” Nor is their style lagom, billed as the Swedish successor to hygge. “Lagom is not a design term, it’s more a cultural sensibility,” Tollgard says. “It means not too much, not too little, don’t show off.” If the Tollgards have an aesthetic, then it’s industrial craft. There’s lots of steel.

The kitchen cupboards are finished in a cloudy bronzed steel by the Italian firm De Castelli. A Modo ball chandelier, all black ironmongery and filament bulbs, feels vintage industrial, yet is new. “We love American lighting,” Tollgard says. “Companies in New York and Philadelphia are producing fantastic new designs in old industrial styles. This is raw steel done in a bold and beautiful way.”

To read the full article click here

Hygge interior design

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Spring Sale – Up to 75% Off!

Welcome to our Spring Sale where we have a range of items with up to 75% off; trust us you won’t want to miss this one!

Take a sneak peak at some of our items on the spring sale list:

spring sale

Biri Cabinet C03 by Ghyczy: A high wooden cabinet. The cabinet is made of solid oak made from 150 year old trees and dried for 3 years outside for a natural drying process. The Biri frame is made from Finnish stainless steel mirror-polished by hand.

From £3884.40 down to £972

spring sale

Karakter Copenhagen Office Desk: Designed by Danish architect, professor, and designer, Bodil Kjær. The iconic desk, designed in 1959, was the first of its kind with its pure and simplistic design, almost floating mid-air. Bodil Kjærs’ design has been called ‘The most beautiful desk in the world’ – or, the ‘James Bond desk’ as it was featured prominently in three early Bond movies.

From £11418 down to £5709

platner lounge chair, interior design

Platner Lounge Chair: In 1966, the Platner Collection captured the “decorative, gentle, graceful” shapes that were beginning to infiltrate the modern vocabulary. The iconic lounge chair is created by welding curved steel rods to circular and semi-circular frames, simultaneously serving as structure and ornament.

From £5400 down to £1350

The Yoroi Sideboard from DeCastelli:

spring sale

Like the hard metal sheets that identify the armour of a samurai, the scales on the skin of this piece define its appearance. A dynamic shape, taking on the evocative strength of Art Deco furnishings, plays with the essentialism of an ellipse and modular repetition, balanced between minimalism and marvel. With a natural oak frame covered in De Castelli metal, this secretaire opens unexpectedly: it conceals a roomy drawer, two more, while the sides contain curved doors.

From £15360 down to £5380

spring sale

The GP01 Sofa By Ghyczy: A sofa that seems to float. The GP01 allows for action with a back designed to move with you. The backrest is adjustable in the sitting depth. With options in patina finishes and textile combinations, the GP01 has the ability to seamlessly adjust to any interior style.

From £8888 down to £2222

To view any of the items on the spring sale list please do come and visit our showroom at Grosvenor Waterside, Gatliff Rd, London SW1W 8QN or simply email

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Country & Townhouse: The Top 50 Interior Designers

Country & Townhouse have recently published a list of the top 50 interior designers to follow & I’m happy to announce that we at Tollgard Design Group have placed in that top 50.

Country & Townhouse

Husband and wife interior designers Monique and Staffan Tollgård admit to being staunchly functionalist when making design decisions.

‘We ensure that our clients’ homes are fit for purpose; using every square inch we can carveout,’ says Monique, head of the design studio. ‘

We believe in longevity of materials, the joy of colour and the importance of drawing the outside world in.’

Their diverse current projects include a heritage apartment in Copenhagen; the headquarters for a fast-growing tech company in London and a villa in Jordan. Yet Monique’s seminal experience was working on a Grade II-listed building just off the King’s Road. ‘It was a crooked house with a perfectionist owner who wanted to square every inexact corner.

Country & Townhouse

Over the course of two years it taught me everything I needed to know about the workings of a period property; how to squeeze every modern convenience under the skin of a traditional home without losing its charm.’

Original Excerpt taken from Country & Townhouse – Read Full Article Here

Country & Town House launched in 2007 as the only monthly luxury magazine to target the increasing number of affluent ‘double lifers’ who enjoy the very best of country and city living. Celebrating the best of British living & luxury; it covers the finest houses, interiors, arts & events, food & travel, fashion & style, as well as relevant features and interviews.

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Country & Town House : Staffan & Monique Interview

Country & Town House

Welcome to the House Guest podcast, where Country & Town House Interiors Editor Carole Annett chats with experts from the world of interior design and decoration, the people behind the houses and hotels you see in glossy magazines. And if you’re in the middle of your own building project or restyle, we hope you’ll pick up some tips. Enjoy!

To Listen to the Country & Town House podcast click here

In this episode Staffan and Monique discuss all things design. Some of the people and places mentioned during this episode:

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Ceccotti Collezioni Chelsea Harbour


Following a long-standing mutual admiration; Ceccotti Collezioni & Tollgard Design Group have joined forces to refurbish & reopen Ceccotti’s showroom at London’s prestigious Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour.

ceccotti collezioni

Founder Staffan Tollgård has been a long-time fan of Ceccotti’s commitment to craftmanship & sustainability; consequentially he jumped at the chance to partner with the renowned atelier. The wood used for Ceccotti products comes from plantations strictly controlled in accordance with the life cycle of trees thereby supporting the necessary recycling & reforestation. The timbers contain no formaldehyde. The brand is committed to recycling wood waste recovered after processing the raw material to produce heat & reduce energy costs. Ceccotti works solely with suppliers that have obtained environmental certification such as membership of the SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

ceccotti collezioni london manager
Peter Phan

Peter Phan is manager of the company’s Chelsea Harbour showroom.

As part of the UK Interior Designer Community for over 20 years, including 13 years as manager for Andrew Martin International; he has an enduring passion for promoting and selling quality interior design products.

Background information on CECCOTTI COLLEZIONI:

Ceccotti Collezioni

The Ceccotti Collezioni story heralds from Ceccotti Avier, a company founded in 1956; specialising in the production and supply of quality residential and commercial furniture to leading hotels chains; such as the Sheraton Group. Based in a small Italian town called Cascina; nestled between Florence and Pisa; designers and skilled craftsmen were drawn from the local ‘School of Art’, and an artisanal culture in furniture making and wood processing grew.

Ceccotti Collezioni

Ceccotti Collezioni has shown the character & quality of a company that has never deviated from its vocation to luxury craftsmanship. Subsequently; it has been able to translate its vision into new products with a contemporary interpretation.

Ceccotti Collezioni

Franco Ceccotti alongside architect Roberto Lazzeroni collaborated on design. As a result they developed a critically acclaimed collection known as ‘Dedos Tenidos’; which experimented with new shapes & materials & was influenced by the eclectic & surrealistic world of Gaudi, Mollino, & Scandinavian designs of the 1950’s.

Ceccotti Collezioni

Ceccotti Collezioni is unique; being recognised all over the world in the field of interior design for their ability to create ‘products of the author’. Original in their constructive complexity and designed without ostentation ; without aesthetic frivolity and ultimately with the scope of reconnecting objects to a tradition and to a history.

Visit the Ceccotti Collezioni showroom at Chelsea Harbour click here

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Gandia Blasco’s Latest Collection of Outdoor Furniture Has Landed!

Introducing Gandia Blasco’s latest and most vibrant outdoor furniture collection to date!

As the creative director and president of Gandia Blasco S.A. – José A. Gandia-Blasco has steered the company into producing beautiful architectural pieces for now over 2 decades; a family owned business founded by his father in 1941 that now encompasses brands such as GandiaBlasco, Gan, Diabla and two more brands currently in development. It is he whom is also responsible for a great many of the outdoor furniture collections within those brands.

José also came up with the structural system using aluminium profiles and polyethylene that characterises GANDIABLASCO; highly resistant weather-proof materials that had simply not been used before in outdoor furniture.

This revolutionised the market and acted as a perfect compliment to contemporary architecture. In this interview extract José talks about some of the aspects of the construction system that has continued to evolve whilst exploring new creation possibilities.

‘’ Aluminium has always seduced me for several reasons; one is the colour, but also because it’s a modern material, its freshness and lightness. It couldn’t be any other material. And white is my favourite colour. The mixture of both has always really appealed to me ‘’ – Jose A. Gandia Blasco

Gandia Blasco are renowned for their neutral, contemporary furniture that compliments the blue tones of the neighbouring Mediterranean.

Gandia Blasco Outdoor Furniture

Having presented us with their most recent collection of vibrant chromatic tones we feel that they will compliment beautifully many of their existing neutral-toned products effortlessly. The new colour palate which pairs tones like wine-red and salmon-corals was brought out just in time for the bright summer months and we highly recommend the new range!

In conclusion the Gandia Blasco outdoor furniture aluminium based structure and weather-proof components make these uniquely crafted pieces an incredible addition to any warm summer gathering.

For more information about the Gandia Blasco range please click here

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Weaving The Red Thread

Staffan and Monique’s home is for sale through Domus Nova. Below is an excerpt from their interview of Staffan.

Click here for the full article and to see the home.

What was your route into design?
Although a baptism by fire, I am very grateful to the Inchbald for helping me translate a passion for design into a tangible and very focused education. I emerged with a strong insight into how to create functional and livable spaces, and the foundations of the language of design that an Inchbald education gives you.

Although a baptism by fire, I am very grateful to the Inchbald for helping me translate a passion for design into a tangible and very focused education. I emerged with a strong insight into how to create functional and livable spaces, and the foundations of the language of design that an Inchbald education gives you.

How does your background in film translate into or influence your work now?
Both Monique and I came from the world of film. That’s how we told stories. Now we tell our clients’ stories. They have chosen to live in a particular place, in a particular kind of architecture and in a very personal way. They have probably travelled and brought back important memories of times and places with them. We want to bring these together to tell a simplified, single story that binds environment, architecture, function and character. It’s important to tell one story; to choose from the many clues and influences the single, important strand that can run through a design.

We’ve evolved a short hand for this, the ‘red thread’.

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