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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

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Bathtubs and beyond

Roll top Bath

In this month’s blog, we’re focusing on bathtubs – one of the simplest pleasures in life is a bath filled to the brim with bubbles, accompanied by candles, a good book and maybe even a glass of fizz. But as renovation enthusiasts, we know that there’s even more to the humble bathtub than that, right?!

We’ve rounded up some fabulous ideas to transform a bath into something really special for your home or garden. We’ve got quirky, we’ve got unusual, and we’ve got gorgeously traditional.

Beautifully Restored Roll Top

There’s only one place to start of course, and that’s with a beautifully restored roll top freestanding bath. We have a great range of original baths that are just waiting for some love and attention to bring them back to life.

Baths for Planters

Bath planters
Summer is upon us and in these strangest of times, people across the nation are making the most of being at home to upgrade their gardens. We love this collection of planters made from reclaimed bathtubs and troughs. A butler sink would also work really well as an unusual and eye-catching planter.

Roll Top Chaise Longue

chaise longue
Create a stunning focal point in your living room or bedroom with a chaise longue created by carving up a reclaimed bath. Paint in bold colours, then add cushions and throws for an ‘art deco meets modern chic’ look.

This method is also great to create a bucket sofa (or even two chairs if you split the tub in half).


Poor Man’s Hot Tub

outdoors hot tub
Now that’s what I call glamping. For the really adventurous, why not move your ‘tub outdoors? There’s something rather romantic about this ‘poor man’s hot tub’ idea, although sadly we can’t provide the panoramic views!

Transform Your Bath Into A Nirvana for Wildlife

Bath pond
With some time and effort, you can create a fish pond in your garden. This step by step guide walks you through how to transform an old tub into a nirvana for wildlife!

Whatever your project, we’re here to help.

Dorton Reclaim is open, with strict new social distancing measures in place to protect our customers and our staff. We have introduced new delivery/click and collect services to encourage customers to stay at home where possible, and we’re able to help source items if you call and describe what you’re looking for. Read our COVID-19 company statement for details.

Image references

Roll top bath: Magnolia

Bath planters: Conde Nast Traveller

Chaise longue: DIY Enthusiast

Sofa: Architecture Art Designs

Outdoor tub: Domino

Bath pond: Empress of Dirt

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Home improvements in lockdown

Fire pit

We suddenly find ourselves in a different world, with worries and restrictions we couldn’t have imagined even six months ago.

There’s no doubt that the world is changing and we have a long way to go before things return to what might be a ‘new normal’. Perhaps though, we can take some comfort from the familiar, by spending time caring for and updating our homes. This unexpected extra free time could also be an opportunity to tackle a project you’ve never found time to start. Whatever motivates you, we are here to help.

Dorton Reclaim is open, with strict new social distancing measures in place to protect our customers and our staff, in the hope that we can help you navigate these stressful times with some normality. We have introduced new delivery/click and collect services to encourage customers to stay at home where possible, and we’re able to help source items if you call and describe what you’re looking for. Read our COVID-19 company statement for details.

We’re all in this together, and if there’s a silver lining to be found, we’d like to help our customers find it. With that in mind, in our first blog of the lockdown we run through our top 5 most popular renovation projects for summer.

1. Fire Pit

Fire pit

We’ve been lucky enough to have a run of great weather, and there’s nothing lovelier than gathering together to spend the evening in front of a fire. Build your own fire pit with reclaimed bricks – read our previous blog for tips on how or try this great step by step blog from Vintage Society.

2. Rebuild a wall


3.Wooden shelves


We have a great selection of scaffold boards, which can be transformed into bespoke, elegant shelving for your home. Take advantage of the great weather to sand down your boards outside, then cut to size, and treat with varnish and oil.

4.Raised flowerbeds

Raised flower beds

Create your own raised flowerbeds with railway sleepers. It couldn’t be easier – lay out the sleepers to create your desired shape (according to space and design), fix them together with nails, add a plastic membrane (optional) and fill with soil. If railway sleepers aren’t your thing, you could create beds with other types of wood (ask us what’s currently in stock) or even bricks.

5.Laying a patio


Transform a corner of your garden with a brand new patio. Whether it’s to create a safe space for your kids to play, or a tranquil retreat for an evening beer, now is the perfect opportunity to tackle this project. We stock flagstones, pavers and bricks – contact us to order a delivery or find out more about our click and collect service.

Whatever you choose as your first lockdown project, give us a call – we’re here to help.

Stay safe.


Image references

Fire pit Vintage Society

Brick wall The Art Garden (Jocelyn’s Garden)

Shelves The Indigo House

Raised flowerbeds Lovely Greens

Patio Backyard Ensley Journal