Every which way you turn, exciting new retail possibilities are popping up in the UK. Much of it is in the hands of ‘the people’ – by that I mean, artisans, antique and vintage enthusiasts, independent shop owners, charities, artists and people just simply having ‘yard sales’ or posh ‘car boots’. With this new diverse (and sometimes hidden) retail landscape, the blog gives you an inside guide to where all the chic shoppers are heading this Christmas…
No stone was left unturned this week as I dived in and out of showrooms at The Design Centre for Focus 19. I had the pleasure of attending talks from top interior designers, interviewed creative directors and textile company owners discovering along the way that more than just a handful are several generation family owned. I even managed – on neutral territory – an undercover meeting with the Interior Spy.
In its second year, The London Interiors Show (15 – 17 September) at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel offers interiors companies who don’t have a presence at The Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour a very welcome three-day opportunity to present their new collections to press, interior designers and the trade. Complete with camouflage of West London uniform of tea-dress-and-trainers, I have hot footed it around the show to share with you some interior design highlights…
Ever since it lost out to ‘blond’ wood in the early 90s trend for Minimalism, interior stylists, journalists and antique dealers have been proclaiming that ‘brown’ (antique furniture) is back. I know, because I have been one of them. For interior designers, who don’t tend to pay huge amounts of attention to trends, the notion that it ever went away is frankly considered a bit of a nonsense.
I am thrilled that the blog has been nominated for the prestigious Amara Interior Design Awards for the third year running, this time in the Best Interior Design category. The hosts for the awards night will be TV presenter and interior designer, Sophie Robinson with journalist Kate Watson-Smyth who writes the award winning Mad About The House blog. Voting has now opened so I would be most grateful if you and your dog (or any other pet that comes to hand) could please vote. Just press the voting button below for the blog to be shortlisted!
In our house, it’s written in stone that Sunday nights are spent watching the latest period drama or film. When The English Home magazine asked if I would like to recreate three rooms from Downton Abbey to coincide with the forthcoming feature film, you could say it was a bit of an open and shut case – albeit of the vintage prop variety.
One of the sweet spots of the summer season is the moment when our calendar gets filled with dates to visit gardens open for charity on behalf of The National Garden Scheme. More exterior than interior I suppose but fairly inextricably linked for floral/botanical design inspiration and for the patterns found in imaginative landscaping. These are usually private gardens and there is often exceptionally fine, freshly baked cake from precious family recipes. If you are lucky, proper tea cups and saucers with the odd plant to buy and a bit of bunting. Heaven really.
Textile design is as much about storytelling as it is about design for me. The storytelling is important because I want to know how the design came about and from whom. When it comes to the plot, the quirkier, the better. Especially when the protagonist has not only worked as a set decorator in the world of film, for at least two of Britain’s most treasured interior brands, but whose debut fabric and wallpaper designs for Lewis & Wood are currently lining the walls of an interior designed shipping container in the Cumbrian Hills.
Watlington is a small Oxfordshire market town that is blessed with that rare species – a thriving independent high street. Nestled amongst farmland at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, it has ‘a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker’. The butcher is called Tom, the 14-year-old baker (as featured in The Sunday Times) regularly creates queues halfway up the street for her pop-up bread sales, while the candlestick maker has show-stopping designer lighting. Oh, and the town is also about to launch its first Art Week.
As the film adaptation of Jennie Rooney’s novel Red Joan (directed by Trevor Nunn) opens across the UK this weekend, the blog has an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with talented set decorator Tanya Bowd. The blog gets the low-down on the locations, where the film props were sourced and how the set team did a crash course in nuclear physics. All in a day’s work for Tanya who has worked her magic on many top film and TV series including The Crimson Field, Victoria, Howards End and more recently for The New Pope starring Jude Law.