Top tips for creating your own home cinema or media area.

Netflix, Spotify, Sonos, Amazon Prime, Sky TV – many of us will be familiar with all or some of these products and we’re finding more and more of our customers wanting to equip their homes with the latest technology to enjoy new films, binge-watch the latest box set or listen to their favourite music.

But how do you do it in style and ensure your home still looks great? The answer is to consider installing a dedicated media area or home cinema – something that’s becoming increasingly popular amongst our clients.

As we always like to be prepared at Bluebell, we asked our experienced designers and in-house installation team what the most important considerations are when planning a media area or cinema room – here are their top tips:

  1. If you’re looking to build a media area, consider the acoustics. Hard floors and glass windows can cause sound problems so have a think about introducing carpeted areas too. You can also install acoustic plaster board and floorboards to help with sound quality in a cinema room.
  2. Look carefully at the technology you need for your media area and plan, plan, plan! Will there be a SKY Q box and a Sonos or Bose speaker system? what about a BT box? Where will you store accessories if it’s going to include a games console too? Hidden storage options are great at disguising all those nasty wires and controller so think about shelving and cupboard space.
  3. Think about the position from which you’ll watch your TV or screen – you don’t want it too high or too low so work out what chairs or sofa you’ll be using before finalising the position.
  4. Will you be using a TV or Projector? Why not consider having both so the projector can be lowered for film nights or big games and retracted for more casual TV watching.
  5. Think about the sound effects for you media area. 5:1 is the rule of thumb for speakers to subwoofer – no-one want a base that’s too heavy or too weak and don’t forget to incorporate them into the design so they are well placed or discreetly hidden!

The most important thing to remember throughout the process is to plan it carefully. Our team has been tasked with creating some fantastic designs and you’d be surprised to know that a media area really doesn’t need to cost the earth. With some clever planning and a little help from the experts, you really can take home entertainment to the next level.

 

 

 

Introducing our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa

This year, we are proud to share with you the story of our Charity of The Year – Act4Africa. As a local business, we are lucky enough to meet lots of interesting people from the area and were introduced to Altrincham-based Act4Africa by friend and business mentor Lily Newman of Morgan James Consulting. Their story really struck a chord with everyone at Bluebell as their philosophy is to help change the future of young girls across Uganda and ultimately their wider families.

So, what is Act4Africa all about and how did it begin, let us tell you more…

The Act4Africa Story

In 2000, co-founder Kathy Smedley returned to Uganda, having worked in East Africa as a young teacher many years before. She was shocked and saddened by what she found. The effects of HIV/AIDS were everywhere and whole communities were being devastated without any hope. Having lost a young, close friend to the virus in the early 80’s, Kathy and husband Martin’s personal experience of this dreadful disease meant they couldn’t just stand by. They decided to try to do something, something which used the talents and capabilities of the local African communities themselves. Back in the UK, they gathered a small group of friends and started raising funds through cake making, car boot sales and sponsored events. They raised enough to start to train a small team as health education community youth leaders in Jinja, Uganda – and Act4Africa was born.

Martin, himself a trained actor, recognized the perfect fit of Theatre for Development (TfD) as a means of communicating Act4Africa’s messages to the rural communities it served. A series of TfD programmes were developed, and the charity’s youth leaders began taking them into communities and schools, educating and informing about HIV/AIDS and stigma.

In 2006 Act4Africa started providing mobile HIV testing and counselling services, and in 2010 they began to address a cornerstone of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: gender inequality.

Their work is increasingly focused on this issue. They believe that by educating girls and women about their rights, their health, the value of their continued education, we can change not only their lives, but those of their wider peer group, family, and community.

In August 2014, co-founder Kathy Smedley sadly passed away at the age of just 65. Her legacy and inspiration continue at the heart of what they do, and they are proud to be raising funds in her name to create a lasting legacy in the form of a multi-functional community health and education centre in Mayuge District, Uganda.

Kathy’s Centre, Uganda

As they look forward, focus has turned to a number of projects. Their ‘Grow a Girl’ programme connects you, our supporters, with Ugandan teenage girls who need sponsorship to be able complete their secondary education, whilst our HEAL project is helping the women of Mayuge District to establish savings groups and work together to create small businesses. They have been recognised for our efforts in sexual and reproductive health with a USAID award for our STRIDES project, and their teams in Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania go from strength to strength building on this success.

Gladys The Goat

We have a number of fundraising events in the pipeline at Bluebell, from swear boxes in our factory, cake sales to our goat Gladys which we sponsor over in Uganda, and we hope you’ll  join us in supporting them by spreading the word and perhaps even donating yourselves.  We’ll be sharing out fundraising and more information on Gladys the Goat in the coming months.

You can sign up for a newsletter of inspiring stories about what they are up to, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter – or of course, donate to help us continue our work changing attitudes, transforming communities, and saving lives. Click here for more details: http://www.act4africa.org

Alison Reuben with Act4Africa Founder Martin Smedley and Marketing Executive Sarah Istephan.

 

 

 

Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

Media Areas – Stylish, Contemporary and Affordable

If you’ve passed our showroom on Washway Road in Sale recently you may have noticed a rather beautiful media area in our window.

This stunning media area was designed and installed by our talented in-house team and we always enjoy watching people admire it as they call in or pass by.

As a company who makes everything by hand, it’s sometimes difficult to put a simple price tag on our furniture as cost can depend on so many different things (the material chosen, additional lighting and features, the time it takes to fit it into the space). But to give you an idea, a media area like the one in our showroom window can start from just £1800 (that’s less than some TVs!).

If you’d like to discover more about our Media Areas, click here: http://bluebellfittedfurniture.co.uk/studies-media-lounge/

Our Silver Anniversary – The Birth of Bluebell

A lot of people ask us why we’re called Bluebell – and as we celebrate our 25th year, we’re on a mission to share more of the story of our family business with our wonderful customers.

Many years before fitted furniture and family, our founder, Alison was a member of the Bluebell Girls, the legendary dance troupe led by the inimitable Miss Bluebell – Margaret Kelly Leibovici. Alison was lucky enough to travel extensively with them. She visited Paris and Seoul in South Korea as a Principal Dancer and Buenos Aires, Argentina as Captain of the Troupe. This was an amazing honour and she met a wonderful group of women who, along with Miss Bluebell, inspired her to truly follow her dream to be a dancer.

It was these experiences, which shaped her as a person, and as Captain of the Troupe, helped her develop her keen eye for detail and fostered an entrepreneurial spirit, which she then used to set up Bluebell Fitted Furniture.

Model Behaviour by Dennis The Dog

Our family dog Dennis has been hard at work again modeling for Aldi UK. This time, Dennis has been showing off their new pet beds and has recently been featured in store and online for the famous supermarket brand.

As you can imagine we’re delighted with Dennis’ new career and we’re even considering him modeling some of our own Bluebell designs – what do you think?