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All I want for Christmas

Christmas 2020

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…just maybe not quite like any Christmas we’ve seen before. In 2020, it’s likely to be a time for small gatherings at home with close family rather than a boozy hedonistic festive season!

So perhaps this year we’ll have more time for homely details, creating new traditions, and making special memories with our families. With that in mind, this month’s blog is all about Christmas touches for your home, ideas to entertain your little ones, and alternative décor inspo.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

When you’re talking festive decs, the most iconic is the traditional Christmas wreath. There are heaps of tutorials available online for making your own (we love this one from A Piece of Rainbow), or you can of course pick up a ready-made version when you buy your tree. A stunning wreath deserves a beautiful front door complete with an ornate knocker. Mix and match a reclaimed oak front door and a modern knocker, or take a look at our stunning exterior door with stained glass detailing.

There’ll be (intimate!) parties for hosting

Dining room chairs

Perhaps the greatest joy of the festive season is spending time with family. Create a special ambience this year with restored dining room chairs. Strip down the wooden frames, then paint, stain or wax and add upholstery or simply a cushion. We love this vibrant collection of mismatched chairs in bold colours. Complete the look with candles, a festive centrepiece, and of course, the obligatory crackers!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire


There’s nothing like an open fireplace to conjure up images of dreamy family Christmases. Preparing whiskey and mince pies for Santa and carrots for Rudolph, carefully hanging stockings ready for Christmas morning. Snuggling together with hot chocolate and Love Actually. And this year reassuring the kids that Santa will be able to travel, pandemic or no pandemic!

At Dorton we have a vast range of fireplaces, inserts and surrounds, repro and original wood burning stoves, and reclaimed tiles to recreate a period feel.  Add details like this gorgeous fire basket for a truly traditional finish.

Rocking around the Christmas tree

Christmas tree

Ok so you’ve bought your beautiful tree and the front room is looking bauble-tastic. Now, why not create something different for the kitchen or dining room? This alternative Christmas tree is a fabulous and decorative alternative using wood offcuts – check out this tutorial to recreate it in your own home.

One more sleep til it’s Christmas

Advent calendar wooden

Get creative this season with an alternative advent calendar.

We’ve found this lovely countdown to Christmas using reclaimed wood (scaffold boards or oak planks would work perfectly). Add numbers and hooks, and drape with Christmas ornaments that can be hung on your tree each day.

In this year like no other, everyone at Dorton would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued custom, and wish you a happy and healthy Christmas and new year. We’ll see you in 2021!

Stay safe.



Wreath on front door The White Company (via Pinterest)

Dining room chairs Deco Lover

Fireplace Inside Stylists (via Instagram)

Alternative Christmas tree BLDG 25

Shutter advent calendar Country Living

Reclaimed wood advent calendar All Things Thrifty (via Pinterest)

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5 ways to bring a little hygge into your home


The Danes are said to be some of the happiest people in the world, and as the nation that brought us the concept of hygge, it’s easy to see why. As winter draws in, and we potentially face another locked-down few months, we thought we’d explore how to bring a little hygge philosophy into your home.

In The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking describes hygge as being “…about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe and we are shielded from the world…”

The closest English equivalent is ‘wellbeing’ but hygge goes further, evoking cosiness, warmth, and enjoying the good things in life with good people.

We’ve chosen five key concepts to consider in your pursuit of hygge: cosiness, warmth, lighting, natural materials, and who you’re sharing it with.


Browse Instagram and you’ll find thousands of photos just like ours, complete with cosy knitwear, chunky socks, hot chocolate, candles and blankets. You simply can’t get hygge with it if you’re uncomfortable, distracted or cold! So, stock up on blankets, select a great book, dig out your sweats and put on the kettle.



As far as we’re concerned, hygge starts with a luxurious bubble bath accompanied by a book and a glass of wine. At Dorton, we have a huge range of reclaimed baths, including Georgian roll-tops and cast iron models. We also stock Belfast and butler sinks and a selection of pedestals.


Whether you’re bundled up under a blanket, or wrapped up warm in your garden, hygge conjures feelings of warmth and wellbeing. A wood burning stove or beautifully restored fireplace is extremely ‘hyggelig’ (hygge-like) – so pull up a comfy chair and enjoy a good book in front of your roaring fire. No space for an open fireplace? Choose a vintage radiator instead.



For lighting to evoke a feeling of hygge, it needs to be soft and subtle, not harsh and bright. Alongside your candles, add a repro lamp or statement light fitting and add a soft bulb or dimmer switch. Outside, why not string up some fairy lights to create some hygge magic?

Natural materials


Hygge is a Danish concept and many of the subsequent décor trends incorporate an element of Scandi design. As Meik Wiking explains, “the reason for the Danish obsession with interior design is that our homes are the hygge headquarters”. Choose minimalist colour schemes, stripped and waxed floorboards, wooden shelves and flagstones to create your own slice of ‘hjemmehygge’ (hygge at home).

Someone to share it with


Whilst hygge can be an insular and solitary delight, it’s also a concept that celebrates friendship, gatherings, familiarity and companionship. Think a dining table stacked with delicious, warming, comfort food. Baking homemade cookies with your kids. Playing board games with the family. Helping to prepare a beautiful meal.

Hygge is a way of life, a celebration of the simple things in life. You can’t buy hygge but you can learn to live your life with some hygge-inspired qualities. And especially in this strangest of years, we think there’s a lot to be said for closing the front door, locking out the chaos, and enjoying some peaceful, hyggelig time at home.

Don’t forget, if you’re on the lookout for something in particular, give our friendly team a call and we’ll do our best to help.


The New Yorker – Lead image

Glossy Box – Bubble bath

Shop Hygge Box (via Instagram) – Lighting

Interior Design Box – Living room

The Culture Trip – Dining table

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How to create a blissful nook

under stairs desk

Nook (n)

A small quiet place or corner that is sheltered or hidden from other people.
Oxford English Dictionary

Also described as a corner or recess, especially one offering seclusion or security, this month we’re talking about how to transform an unused area in your home into a cosy nook.

Whether you need a place to work from home, a cosy reading area, or some extra storage space, we have ideas a-plenty to inspire you to clear out your clutter!

Working from home


During Covid times, many of us have found ourselves working from home and this new way of working has partly inspired this month’s blog; as flexible working becomes a more definite reality for many people, why not ditch the dining room table set-up and convert your under stairs space to create a neat little work environment? And while we can’t quite describe working at home as blissful (!) we do think it’s possible to carve out a beautiful work environment.

We love this retro example from Curbly – by installing some simple shelving and a built-in desk, they’ve repurposed a formerly cluttered and underused area of the house. Recreate a similar effect with timber sourced from Dorton. If you like a warmer, more natural look, stripped and waxed reclaimed scaffold boards would also look incredible.

Here’s another example, this time using a standalone dresser to great effect to create a chic yet practical workspace.

under stairs desk

Boot room

Boots room

Sticking with under stairs space: if you have a busy household, why not create a boot room to accommodate all your wellies, wet weather gear and hats and scarves? Complete the look with some unique coat hooks and perhaps even some retro lighting options.

Landing area reading nook

Landing space nook

This landing area between floors could have been boring and unused, but has instead been reimagined as a chic French-inspired reading nook. At Dorton, we often recover beautiful old pieces that can be brought back to life with some love and attention. After something specific? Don’t forget our pre-claim service – sign up and you’ll be the first to hear when we find new, exciting pieces.

Bathroom storage and furniture


Turn that hard-to-deal-with teeny tiny bathroom into a super cute space with the use of some shelving and a clever choice of colour. Complete the look with a traditional sink: at Dorton, we have a huge selection of sinks and pedestals.

Wood burning stove

wood burning stove

As the nights begin to draw in, indulge in some hygge cosiness with a repro or original wood burning stove. Add to this dreamy nook with a thick rug, candles and lots of blankets – then all that’s left to do is grab a good book, set the fire roaring, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate!

Our friendly team is here to help you, so feel free to call us or visit the yard and we’ll help you find what you’re looking for!


Curbly Under stairs working space

Better Homes and Gardens Under stairs working space (dresser)

Instagram (my_best_laid_plans) Boot room

Designthusiasm Landing area reading nook

Instagram (andyandcandice) Bathroom storage

Nordic House Wood burning stove

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Blue is the colour: Pantone colour for 2020


This month, we take a look at Pantone’s colour of 2020 and explore how its influence can be seen in interior design.

The Pantone system is the world’s leading colour reproduction scheme, providing a simple way to classify colours. Created in the 1960s as a method of ensuring accurate printing and reproduction, Pantone is now the go-to language of colours amongst designers, printers and producers.


Pantone launched their first Colour of the Year in 2000, and over the following 20 years it has become an important moment in the annual industry calendar. Pantone’s experts analyse trends across the world looking at areas that impact colour – from areas as diverse as fashion, films in production, politics, activism, art, and even cultural events that capture the zeitgeist. Pantone draws on this ‘colour intelligence’ to forecast the hue it believes will sum up the world in the year ahead.

Pantone colour of the year 2020

Pantone has chosen Classic Blue (19-4052), which it describes as a “timeless and enduring blue hue…elegant in its simplicity…Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking [Classic Blue] highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era”.

Think calming, dependable, trustworthy, timeless…the concept behind this year’s colour is that the world moves on at breath-taking speed, with new discoveries (and uncertainties) at every turn, and whilst this is exhilarating, we also yearn for calm and serenity.

Of course, Pantone’s colour experts couldn’t have known what would unfold in the world during 2020. However, it’s interesting to note that they describe technology as “racing ahead of the human ability to process it all”. Perhaps it’s also true that as we attempt to process recent wholly unexpected and distressing events – and move towards a new society post-lockdown – we will crave the ‘dependable and stable foundation’ evoked by Pantone’s Classic Blue.

How to use Classic Blue in interior design


Feeling bold? Create a feature wall in Classic Blue and pair with a show stopping mirror.


Embrace the colour trend of the year by upscaling a reclaimed dresser or cupboard. Don’t forget, you can sign up to our Pre-claim service to be the first to hear about our most interesting discoveries.


This designer has balanced a Classic Blue theme with rich mahogany wooden flooring, original oak doors, and a beautiful fireplace. Look carefully and you’ll see a contrasting pop of orange in the Aga.


Explore how to harmonise Classic Blue with other colour ways with Pantone’s Palette Explorations where you’ll find colour palettes including “Desert Twilight” and “Exotic Tastes”.


We adore this traditional blue surround with Belfast sink. The use of brass taps, matched with softer wooden tones creates a striking yet comfortable feel.


Give us a call to find out what’s new in stock, or come and visit us at the yard. We’re open, with strict new social distancing measures in place to protect our customers and our staff, and we’ve also introduced delivery/click & collect services.


Pantone Classic Blue 19-4052: Pantone

Wall with mirror: Trend Book

Dresser: Digs Digs

Kitchen: Houzz

Blue with pink accent: Home Guide

Belfast sink: Remodelista

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Unique Vintage Period Cupboard Restoration

This unique vintage period larder/cupboard was about to come to its end of life from a property that was being demolished by Dorton Group. One of our customers decided to bring it back to life and shared their work with us. I’m sure you’ll agree that they have done a great job and the finished result looks amazing. Here is how they did it.

“My eye caught the period larder/cupboard and I thought it deserved to be restored and have a second life as a quality distinctive piece of furniture. I began by gently sanding back the years of wear and tear.

Painted in the Farrow and Ball Railings charcoal grey colour to match my good find of Cast Iron Radiators also from DRE.

To complete the restoration I decided to add a piece of luxury and managed to salvage a piece of Ivory Marble from a very large broken piece from the demolition job of the Palace Hotel, Torquay, Devon which is at present being demolished by DRE.

To turn a portion of this broken marble into a distinctive piece, I got a Stone Mason to polish and reshape to size to fit according.

For the final finishing touches I sourced reclaimed vintage style hinges and spray painted in Chrome Colour paint to complement the cupboard and door handles.”

Here is the result

Purchase of Unit £50
Paint £10
Marble £40
Stone Mason £55
Fittings £10
TOTAL £165

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How to…build your own raised beds

During lockdown, one of our team members has been building new raised garden beds, so we thought this was a good opportunity for a step-by-step ‘How To’ blog!

There are many reasons why a wooden planter can be a great addition to your garden. Perhaps you’re short on space, and want a more flexible alternative to pots? Do you want to encourage your kids to learn to grow their own food in a vegetable patch? Or maybe you’re looking for a solution to improve your soil quality and suppress weeds?

The process is fairly simple – create a boxed wooden structure, line with plastic sheeting, add drainage (as needed) and then fill with a mix of topsoil and compost. Depending on the size of your beds, be prepared for some hard labour, but the end result is worth it!

1. Preparation

You will need:

Wooden planks

Upright blocks for reinforcing (small fence posts or timber offcuts work well)


Heavy duty metal tacks

Plastic sheeting (we used a mid-thickness tarpaulin sheet, cut to size)

Drainage and weed suppressant measures (see below)

A mixture of topsoil and compost

Scaffold boards

2. Choose your wooden frame

Railway sleepers or scaffold boards are ideal as they are heavy duty and can bear the weight of compacted soil. At Dorton, we have a wide range of sleepers, and new and reclaimed scaffolding boards. We also often stock oak beams and reclaimed hardwood. Consider how high you’d like the beds – most plants need at least 12 inches depth to thrive – and you’ll need the beds to be deeper if you are adding drainage. Two standard scaffold boards stacked on top of each other measures about 18 inches. Bear in mind that reclaimed boards or sleepers may have been treated in the past, which can allow toxins to seep into the soil – you’ll need to line the wooden frame with plastic sheeting to avoid this.

raised bed 2

3. Drainage

Depending on where you’re building your raised bed, you need to consider drainage options. If the bed will sit on grass then you probably don’t need drainage – however, we built directly onto a paved yard so we incorporated a layer of rubble at the bottom of the beds to aid drainage. At Dorton, we stock stone products which could work for this purpose, or talk to us about other rubble options we may have available.

4. Weed suppression

If you’re building on top of your existing garden, remember that weeds will find their way into your new beds. Control this by adding a layer of landscaping material (available at DIY stores) to suppress the weeds.

raised bed1


Construction is fairly straightforward – cut your boards and your upright reinforcing posts to size, and bolt together. Create the strongest junction possible by bolting directly through the wooden board to the upright.

Next, line the interior of the frame using plastic sheeting or tarpaulin that’s cut to size. Secure this with tacks at regular intervals (we also reinforced with gorilla tape).

rasied bed 3

6. Filling your beds

This step is by far the most labour intensive, but it is a simple process – fill the beds with a mix of top soil and compost. We used a mix of roughly 70% topsoil to 30% compost.

Consider that once the soil becomes wet, it will compact significantly, so over-order slightly as you’ll need to add more over the next few weeks.

raised bed 4

7. Planting!

This is the fun part. Create a vegetable patch, plant up a beautiful cottage garden or produce your own spectacular herb garden – let your imagination g(r)o(w) wild!

Whatever you choose, whether it’s quick and simple, or plotting how you’ll take over the horticultural world with prize-winning specimens, we’re here to help you with the essentials, so give us a call.

Stay safe.



Square raised bed, purple flowers

Cottage garden raised bed

Herb and salad beds

Vegetable garden and planters

Vegetable and flower planter