Have you noticed how the idea of a ‘soiree‘ or ‘salon‘ has been emerging as a way of bringing together like-minded people in the worlds of art and interiors? Talks by specialists, dinners with gorgeous ‘grammable’ tablescapes all put together with small groups of people who are, of course, networking – albeit in a much more subtle way. I have to say I didn’t hesitate when PR Georgie Pridden invited me along to meet a group of extremely interesting guests for a Midsummer Night’s supper in June. As a special one-off for Georgie, the venue for the evening was Howe’s achingly stylish showroom in London.
There are two Howe showrooms, one concentrates on their fabrics and wallcoverings and the other on furniture (both old and new) and interior design. The showrooms are in a part of Belgravia which has become a must-see destination because of its cluster of exquisite interior design showroom and window displays. If ever there was a perfect recipe (and food is very much part of this) for running a successful interior design/antique and furniture-making business, then Howe hold many of the key ingredients.
In collaboration with Plain English design company, Howe have installed in their Pimlico Road basement showroom a working kitchen with a studpendously long dresser and a row of pantry cupboards. It’s the sort of dream kitchen that TV/film script writers like Julian Fellowes have unwittingly embedded into our 21st Century design psyche!
Howe to begin?
I don’t know where to begin to talk about the many facets of Howe’s design business or in fact the evening I enjoyed there but I will start by saying it was one of the most special and enjoyable interiors events I have been to in a long time.
A Midsummer Night’s supper
Georgie, who lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, cut her teeth working in the London art world for Christies and for art PR Cawdell Douglas (now trading as Golden Squared).
Howe’s friendly Bear
Christopher Howe and his daughter Holly (who is his partner in the business – both studied art at Goldsmiths) made us feel so relaxed and welcome. The group of 20 or so guests were a cross section of people connected with design from an illustrator/art school lecturer, to journalists, interior designer, antique and textile experts, a builder who specialises in decoration as well as a bespoke joiner, an artist, an embroiderer/ex museum curator and an owner/designer of a lifestyle brand.
Holly says that the menu was ‘so effortlessly put together by Georgie’ (who had come down that day from Yorkshire) in the Howe kitchen/pantry. Respect. We had a lovely summery supper of homemade quiches (from Tom Parker Bowles F&M cookbook – illustrations by Edward Bawden) with vegetables and salad that looked like they had just been picked a few minutes before. The piece de resistance was Georgie’s homemade Summer Pudding with clotted cream – really never had such a yummy one!
As well as dressing the long table with stone jars full of daisy flowers, Georgie had also run up on her sewing machine some bespoke napkins/place cards out of fabric for the evening. The homemade and the handmade always stands out for me – it is extremely personal and thoughtful.
Thank you so much to Georgie, Christopher, Holly and to you for reading!
I hope you are enjoying or finding ways of surviving this extraordinary summer heat? It certainly makes me think about how we might wish to decorate/insulate our homes for the future.
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