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.
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.
I am no Mary Berry but if there is even a hint of an excuse to bake a C-A-K-E, then the oven is on and the cake tins are lined before a single egg has been cracked. Not only is it another styling opportunity but you can eat the props when the photographic shoot is done. When Berkshire Life magazine came to photograph our house to do a story on Styling Box (my new affordable interior design service) for their April 2019 issue, it seemed the perfect time to indulge in a bit of Easter baking and share with you some interior styling ideas that aren’t just for Easter…
Whilst the cost of high street rents is changing the way vintage and antique furniture is bought and sold in the UK, it turns out that Madrid is a city with a thriving retail secondhand scene. Last weekend, with just over 48 hours to spend in Spain’s capital, I came across the El Rastro street market (La Latino metro) with more vintage and antique shops than even I could speed-prop my way around! Here’s a few that caught my eye along the way…
Have you ever wondered what City lawyers, bankers and TV journalists do in their lunch hour? Well, it seems more often than not, they are to be found perusing once sunken treasure as well as other ancient artefacts such as the captivating turquoise hues of 12th Century Persian ceramics. These carefully curated treasures are to be found amongst the antique vessels and furniture that make up Hilary Fisher’s antique shop in Gray’s Inn Road, Fisher London.
Christmas is the time of year that sends interior stylists into overdrive (even though they have often been decorating for Christmas several times over since July). We can’t resist it! However, nothing quite compares to the effort and scale that has gone into decorating Castle Howard in Yorkshire this Christmas. Respect goes to the three weeks of non-stop decorating that completed months of planning by Charlotte Lloyd Webber, Bretta Gereke and their team of 6. The blog’s Christmas present to you this year is an edited highlights tour of Castle Howard’s celebration of The 12 Days of Christmas.
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A perfect storm of social and political events took place in the early 1980s that completely changed the way people lived and dressed. It was the era that waved goodbye to Mid Century to 1970s furniture and beckoned in a national love affair with traditional Country House style. Peter York and Ann Barr wrote the Sloane Ranger’s Handbook and Min Hogg was the launch editor in November 1981 of The World of Interiors magazine. Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, Brideshead Revisited was on the telly.
Continue reading “Is 80s interior decorating back?”
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.