Tag Archives: interior design dubai

Butterscotch Baby | Redesigning my children’s rooms with one of my favourite interior designers, Leigh-Ann Steele | Her handmade bespoke linens are just stunning | We speak to Leigh-Ann herself about her business and how she created a collection for each of my children

Photography by Alex Jeffries Photography Group.

Interior designer, Leigh-Ann Steele, launches her own bespoke high quality handmade linen collection, Butterscotch Baby, for babies and children in Dubai.  Leigh-Ann moved here to Dubai in 2010 from London where she worked as an interior designer for many years.  Although her move to the land of sunshine had its initial challenges, she still describes it as her best one yet.  She worked for Hacker Kitchens as a Senior Designer before leaving after 6-years with them to launch her own design consultancy collaborating with other designers and to focus on Butterscotch Baby, a family-based business in South Africa.  Leigh-Ann has kindly created a bespoke linen collection for all my children, and it is just utterly divine with top quality linens with the highest thread count   She tells us more about Butterscotch Baby and how she designed each concept for the children.  It was perfect timing as we are transitioning as a family out of the baby phase now, and wanted something a little more sophisticated for the children.  However, for expectant mums, Leigh-Ann can also create the most magical nursery too.

#Can you describe how the whole concept of Butterscotch Baby Linens was created?

Butterscotch is a bespoke baby and kids linen brand. It was started by my family in South Africa 8 years ago. It was still a relatively new concept which has steadily grown worldwide.

It isn’t always possible to find the exact design that you have created in your mind’s eye and that’s where our designers come in to guide and support. Alternatively, some of our clients don’t really know what they want but they do know that they want it to be unique!

I have worked in the interior design industry for many years. As such I always admired the beautiful linens that were being created by my Cousin and Aunt in their very successful business based in Johannesburg.

I had mentioned to countless friends that it would be a great idea to bring this product to the UAE…. And then one day it dawned on me that this was going to be my next career. And so Butterscotch finally arrived in the UAE. It has taken a lot of time and hard work but worth every minute!

#What makes the linens so unique and where are they actually manufactured?

All our products are manufactured at our studio in Johannesburg. This ensures that each item is meticulously made, and quality checked before being shipped.

We have just completed a project for a very creative mum, who wanted her own hand drawn images and her little girls name in her individual handwriting on her linen. It came out beautifully and is totally unique to her.

We only use 100% cotton and 300 thread percale linen. It washes very well and lasts a long time.

We can do any fabric combination from a range of 100s of different designs in our range. If we don’t have it, we will find it. We also collaborate with a very talented artist from time to time. We can create a bespoke fabric design which we print to order if the client wanted something completely different.

With the UAE being such a melting pot. We have clients from all four corners of the globe. This means different furniture and linen sizes. We can create practically anything in terms of the design, size and specification.

Some people don’t really know what they want at the outset, so we take them through the design process and create really beautiful linens for them. From clean and contemporary mono chrome to whimsical and bright.

#For mums wanting to order a linen collection, what is the full process of ordering a bespoke collection?

It is a very easy process.

#1 Contact

Send us an email, call us or request a call back.

#2 Design

If you know exactly what you would like we can supply a quote immediately.

If not, we are happy for one of our designers to visit you at home to look at fabric swatches and put together a combination and range if items to suit the nursery or kids room.

#3 Order

When the order is agreed with the client, we will do a fabric swatch mood board and sketch to confirm that everything is correct.  We then send it off to our Studio in South Africa to go into production.

#4  Production & Shipping

Once it has been produced and gone through a rigorous quality check we ship it to Dubai.

 #5 Delivery

It is then delivered directly to you either in person by your designer or via courier.

It really is a simple process!

#How long, on average, will it take to receive the linens in Dubai once the collection has been designed?

Our lead times vary between 4-8 weeks depending on the order and time of year. This may seem a long time compared to walking into a retail outlet and buying off the shelf, but it is important to note that this is a fully bespoke item and made to order on an individual basis. You won’t find your bespoken linen in a shop.

We find that most of our expectant mums start planning the nursery very early on. In some instances, we get the call just after their 12-week scan and big announcement to friends and family. So, this leaves more than enough time to plan and deliver their beautiful linen.

They can also add items along the way. We keep a record of all our designs for each client so in a years’ time if they wanted to add to the scheme we can easily do that with very little fuss.

#Does Butter Scotch only cater for bespoke collections or do you hold a small collection of items here?

Our current offering is completely bespoke and made to order for each client. We are however in the process of creating individual ranges for a few Baby boutiques and retail outlets. These will still have their own unique theme, but you won’t be able to personalise them with things like your baby’s name or a quote etc…

We are very excited about these collaborations as there are lots of clients looking for a last-minute gift or mums closer to their due date. This is an excellent option for occasions like baby showers that are still unique and beautifully made.

#Apart from linens, what other items can people choose? I understand that you have a new collection of sleep pods too?

Our sleep pods are amazing and come in a range of suggested colour combinations. We can also personalise them in all our fabrics to match the nursery design. They come in 2 sizes. Small- birth to 6 months and large- 6 to 18 months.

Our Elly feeding pillow is so popular and can also be customised accordingly.

We do a range of bath time accessories including towels, face cloths and mini bathrobes, as well as, changing matts with removable covers and nappy bags.

We can easily incorporate soft furnishings to compliment the theme. Lampshades, bunting and curtains tend to be the most popular to bring it all together.

We also do beautiful mosquito nets in any length depending on the room ceiling height.

#For my daughter and son Leonardo who share a room, how did you blend their colours together so beautifully?

Their room was an absolute delight to plan. We used a blue and aqua colour palette for Leonardo. For Sofia we did the same blue & aqua and added pinks in the same fabric design to her linen.

Mixing the same pattern in alternative colours really brought the room design together, still being individual and brining out their personalities. It became apparent very early on that Sofia likes girly things but not everything needed to be pink!

#Sofia loves the drapes, such a clever concept. How do you suggest co-ordinating the styles and colours of drapes for children’s four poster beds?

We used a muslin voile for the curtain drops and added ties to the top of them in all of the fabrics used throughout the room. We also made them slightly longer to give a more luxurious feel to the way they hang. I’m really pleased with the way they turned out. We did them on all four corners so if she decides to hide away from her brothers for a few minutes this is her own special place!

#Luca and Lorenzo share a room, and love their nautical concept, how did you make each design personal to them?

For the boys you already had great furniture, so we just added to the nautical theme.  We used the same linen combination for the duvet covers and pillow cases. With red and blue embroidered details on the main pillow cases in different designs.  Each of your boys has their “favourite thing”. This in mind, we added planes to one and cars to the other. We did a small embroidery on the back of one of each of their scatter cushions to differentiate. We called it their secret! Each scatter cushion was done in a different combination, allowing them to be reversed to show a different pattern every day.

 #Are you able to cater to a wide range of budgets?

Yes, we can cater to a range of budgets. Within our fabric ranges we have different price points which does affect the final cost.

My opinion on the design process is that we should explore every option to begin with and create something fabulous. If we need to economise we will. There are various ways of achieving the same look and feel on a lower budget with different fabrics and combinations. It is important to get the design right first. We don’t exclude ideas because of budget constraints at the outset.

In terms of cost- We are on par with most good quality off the shelf products at the higher end of the market. However, it is important to remember that our product is fully bespoke and made to order. Each piece is handmade & quality checked before leaving the production stage. Our clients appreciate that our linens wash well and stand the test of time. If you look at this over the lifespan of your linen it will more than make up for the difference if any.

#Are you able to also assist in the design of the entire nursery or children’s room as a professional interior designer as well as designing bespoke linens?

We offer a room design service which we charge a set cost for depending on the scope of works. This will include introductions to other suppliers for furniture and accessories. The client can then decide how much or how little they would like to invest in the project.

We introduce contractors to undertake decoration work and carpentry if required. As well as a full room design and build option. This means we will work with you from start to finish to achieve the final product. POA.

Our introductory offer includes a in home consultation with one of our designers. If the client decides to purchase linen we will do a free room design including paint colours, furniture, and accessories. They will receive a mood board and buying details for each item and can implement it all themselves.

For more information email hello@butterscotch.ae or call +971 50 2813577


10-minutes with Hacker’s Senior Interior Designer Leigh-Ann Steele | How to upgrade your kitchen on a budget

We are currently living most of this summer without a kitchen, and it has not been easy with young children, and thank goodness the team at Hacker and Roseville have tried to make it as painless as possible but I am hoping that when school starts, it will be finally done. 

At some point, we will all face wear and tear from heavy usage of our family kitchens and some will need a temporary or permanent facelift. It is always so satisfying when renovations are finally complete no matter the scale of the project but it is also a big commitment especially if you are on a tight budget, short of time or have young children and not everyone is up for dramatic changes.  

So if you need ideas to make worthwhile cosmetic changes to the kitchen without ripping the whole room out, I sat down with Leigh-Ann Steele, Senior Designer, from Hacker Dubai to ask her advice on affordable tips on making effective changes.

 Change the worktops

There are lots of different materials that you can use for worktops. They each have pros and cons and varying price ranges.

Laminate- The most cost effective material and quite readily available locally. There are some really nice new laminates available that have textures & funky colours. They aren’t as cold to the touch as marble granite or quartz material. They are easily installed by a skilled kitchen fitter too. The drawback is that they never look like a natural stone or quartz material.

Marble & granite – These are natural materials and come in many colours with unusual textures and veining which are different in each slab. This is the beauty of using natural stone. You can visit a stone yard and choose the exact slab for fabrication. The fabricator can do varied thicknesses by mitring the edge to make it appear that the stone is thicker than the slabs actually is. The can also do under mount sink cut-outs with polished edges all round. If you have an under mount sink with drainer grooves cut into the stone you give the illusion of more counter space as there is no need for a large sit on sink with an attached drainer.

Quartz– this looks and feels like a stone worktop but it’s a manmade material. There are many different manufacturers of quarts material. They are not all made of the same quality though. Be sure to go with a reputable supplier of the stone and a really good fabricator who cuts worktops regularly, or you may be disappointed! A well-produced quarts will not stain as it is completely non porous. Even if you were to leave turmeric on it overnight, as long as you scrub hard enough it will come out. Be sure not to use anything acidic though as this could harm the surface. It comes in lots of different colours that you wouldn’t find in natural stone slabs. As well as solid colours. Solid white is very popular at the moment as is anything in more neutral colours- cool greys, taupe & light brown. It also comes in a volcano finish which is a roughened texture to see and touch but still very practical in a kitchen. Suede finishes are also popular as they have a matt appearance   The fabricators of quartz material can do all of the things listed above with regard to the sink cut-outs and overall worktop thickness.

Wooden worktops– These are not that popular in the UAE as they are a natural material which is susceptible to climate changes. If the AC is switched off in the warmer months they can begin to warp. Water and heat damage are the most common problems. If you were to leave a glass with a rim on the surface overnight you would more than most likely see a permanent ring on the top as it will have penetrated the surface. They are not suitable for wet sink areas for the same reason. A hot plate or bowl will also mark the tops quite easily. The tops will need to be oiled every few months to keep them in tip top condition.  So although beautiful the maintenance and day to day use can be tiresome. 

Change the splashbacks

Natural stone or quartz- if you are replacing your worktops you may want to consider having the splashbacks done in the same material. The beauty of a single piece of stone is that you won’t have grimy grout joints appear over time in cooking and wet areas. The cost is going to be substantially more than a mid-range tile would cost.

Glass- you can have a glass back painted splash back. Again you will need to find a really good company as a template needs to be done. Cut-outs for plugs etc.. once this is done the glass needs to be toughened for safety reasons. After this it is painted and has a film applied. The supplier will then come and install the glass onto your wall with a silicone adhesive. The drawback of this is that if the glass is even a few millimetres out it cannot be re cut. Once the panel is toughened that’s it. You can’t change it or cut it anymore. Be sure to check that the paint work is perfect before they install. Again as it is behind the glass there is nothing you can do to touch up badly finished areas or rectify bubbles etc…  

Tiles- there are so many trendy new tile shapes and finishes available from Hexagonal marble to slithers of natural stone. Of course the cost range on these can vary greatly. If you didn’t want to break the bank there are options which are reasonably priced and can easily be installed by a contactor. The downside is of ours the grout lines. These may get dirty over time in your cooking and sink areas especially. Make sure the contractor who installs uses a waterproof grout.

Change the flooring

Some properties in Dubai are looking a little tired especially the flooring- there is a great product called LVT which is perfect for use in a kitchen. It has the appearance of a very realistic wooden floor. It is only 6mm thick so can be applied directly over your existing tiles. The surface is waterproof making it the ideal choice for a kitchen area and running it through the rest of the villa or apartment. This will also give the illusion of the space being a lot larger with eh same finish. The installation is fast and clean. No need to lift the existing flooring.

A resin or concrete floor can be applied over your existing tiles in a number of colours. This is a very thin layer in a multitude of colours giving you a more industrial look throughout. Again it is quick and won’t require you to lift the existing tiles which is a very messy job!

 Change the lighting

Bad lighting is one of the most common issues in a kitchen. It can make everything look dull and unappealing.  Changing the ceiling from those awful tiles to a freshly painted flush plasterer board finish could be just the answer. You can get warm coloured lighting which can be movable ( I call them rock and roll lights). You can angle the lights to highlight the features. For instance if you have a funky piece of art or furniture in your kitchen. Make it a feature. Under cabinet lights make a huge difference as they bring a different light source into the mix. You can switch them separately for mood lighting when the kitchen isn’t being used to cook or do anything that requires full task lighting. 

Re-decoration & internals

Clean freshly painted walls in neutral colours are always good. If you wanted to do something a little different there are lots of paint effects offered by Jotun that can transform a wall into a feature wall and really make it stand out. From a texture brick finish to something that appears as a hessian look and feel. These won’t break the bank.

If you use wall paper in a kitchen make sure that it is suitable for areas with a high moisture content. Try not to put these anywhere near the coking or washing up stations. Wall paper and water or  steam don’t mix.

You can change your knobs or handles on the kitchen doors. Just be sure that you line up the holes. There are handles available that have a flat back plate and would cover any existing holes from with a single knob or handle with 2 screw holes.

Clever storage solutions inside the cabinets-re organise your cabinets internally with baskets and additional shelves- plan in advance what you’re going to store in each cabinet and crate spaces for items to fit in.  

Replace the sink  and tap. By replacing an old dull sink and tap you can make the entire space feel clean and more user friendly.

Calin a steam cleaning company to give your existing cabinets a good once over. They will come back to life and feel fresh. Even if they aren’t brand new! They can also steam clean the appliances. Your oven will look & feel brand new!

The Hacker Showroom in Dubai is located on the Sheikh Zayed Road between The Change Initiative and Al Zahra Hospital. 

For more information go to www.hacker.ae