Join me here in explorations of the places and people who inspire my passion for interiors. I’m always on the hunt for outstanding design, ancient, modern, natural and crafted.





January 1st, 2014


My Top 5 “Interior Design Titles” for 2014 – reading list for a rainy New Year’s day

Was your annual New Year’s Day walk scuppered by mud and rain? If ever there was weather to inspire us to pay more attention to the world indoors, it’s this. I’ve put together a design reading list for a rainy day. Now is the season to curl up on the sofa and start planning your spring renovations.

First on my list for you is…

1)A Living Space” by Kit Kemp – Santa kindly delivered me a copy and it has not disappointed. I first came across Kit Kemp several years ago at a “Homes and Gardens” lecture and can’t resist popping into the hotels (whenever in London with a spare moment) that she has designed for the Firmdale Group co-owned with her husband. Kit was also responsible for the design of the entrance to Decorex this year.

If you are looking to experiment with colour, scale and pattern, but are maybe nervous of making an expensive mistake, this is a must read.  Her signature style also mixes contemporary elements with antiques and junk-shop finds, luxurious fabrics with printed wallpapers and hand finished detailing with collections of simple objects that create impact. “She avoids taking design too seriously”. The images below will give you a flavour of what to expect.

"A Living Space" by Kit Kemp

“A Living Space” by Kit Kemp

One of the drawing rooms in the Soho Hotel by Kit Kemp

One of the drawing rooms in The Soho Hotel by Kit Kemp

2) “Inspired Interiors” by Suzanne Kasler

It is probably fair to say that Suzanne Kasler is less well known in the UK, but I refer to her work over and over again for inspiration with “trimmings”, “dressmakers details” and the way she works with paint – I have only seen her use wallpaper once!

"Inspired Interiors" by Suzanne Kasler

“Inspired Interiors” by Suzanne Kasler

Use of trimmings and dress-makers details by Suzanne Kasler

Use of trimmings and dress-makers details by Suzanne Kasler

3) “Design & The Deocrative Arts” – Georgian Britain – one of the V&A Publications

For anyone looking to renovate a period property (preferably Georgian!) this is a great read as are many of the others in the series… and for any KLC students out there, about to embark on their History of Style thesis, it’s invaluable.

Design and the Decorative Arts -  Georgian Britain, part of the V&A series

Design & The Decorative Arts – Georgian Britain, part of the V&A series

4) “The Iconic Interior” by Dominic Bradbury

This is a mine of both inspiration and information- it features 100 of the world’s “most influential spaces” frequently by artists, designers, architects and fashion personalities etc… Every conceivable style is represented and for me it’s a great reference if you are looking to stay true to a certain style or genre. It also proves that established taste and genuine creativity can stand the test of time. Here are a couple of my favourites; the Coco Chanel appartment in Paris and the Fornasetti Residence.

The Iconic Interior by Dominic Bradbury

The “Iconic Interior” by Dominic Bradbury

Coco Chanel Apartment / Paris, C. 1920

Coco Chanel Apartment / Paris, C. 1920

Fornasetti Residence as shown in the "Iconic Interior" by Dominic

Fornasetti Residence as shown in the “Iconic Interior” by Dominic Bradbury

5) Finally, last but not least, I shall be adding the 25 year celebratory edition of “Elle Decoration” to my library. I’m sure I’ll still be reading this in 25 year’s time and loved the feature on some of the editorial team’s favourite stories from the archives.

"Elle Decoratio"Elle Decoration" 25 years collectors edition

“Elle Decoration” 25 years collectors edition

 

"Elle Decoration" 25 years collectors edition - a selection of features from the archives - this one depicting the trend for Chinoiserie in June 1997

“Elle Decoration” 25 years collector’s edition – a selection of features from the archives – this one depicting the trend for Chinoiserie in June 1997

October 1st, 2013


Top 5 trends at London Design Week

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of trade shows including Maison et Objet, Decorex and Focus 2013. It has taken me several days to absorb everything and here are some key trends that I see leading the Interior Design world into Autumn/Winter 2013.

1. Taking inspiration from historical designs and styles

Last season the link between Fashion and Interior Design trends was extremely strong. This season many of the fabric and wallpaper houses have looked to the past for inspiration and reinterpreted historical designs with a contemporary spin.

My clear favourites were the new  “Historical Palaces” wallpaper collection by Cole & Son. As the name suggests the fourteen new designs take inspiration from The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.

Cole & Son Historic Palaces wallpaper

New “Historical Palaces” wallpaper collection from Cole & Son

In a similar vein Zoffany have based their new “Tespi” and “Curzon” collections on the “grandeur of Venice in bygone days”…

The new "Tespi" range from Zoffany based on historical Venice

The new “Tespi” range from Zoffany based on historical Venice

Zoffany

The new “Tespi” range from Zoffany based on historical Venice

2. Grey is here to stay (or is it?)

No one can dispute the current predominance of grey. Paint specialists Little Greene just unveiled their new range of colours at Decorex, twenty eight new shades of grey, and Farrow & Ball have also included five very useful shades of grey in their nine new colours for the Autumn.

The new "GREY" range from Little Greene

The new “GREY” range from paint specialists “Little Greene”

Nine new colours from paint specialists "Farrow & Ball".

Nine new colours from paint specialists “Farrow & Ball”.

New range of "grey-based" wallpapers from Nobilis

New range of “grey-based” wallpapers from Nobilis

However, with the grey British winter imminent, I was secretly relieved to read in Ben Pentreath’s influential blog that he is considering painting his dining room a very bright shade of purple/pink! – I quote “And even more controversially. Check out what I’m doing in the Dining Room. Guys – I’m bored of tasteful greys. THEY ARE OVER.”

Proposed new colour for Ben Pentreath's dining room - is grey here to stay?

Proposed new colour for Ben Pentreath’s dining room – is grey here to stay?

Here is an image of the colour and Ben is very influential so I’m intrigued to see if we will all be abandoning grey when I write again on the trends for Spring 2014…

3. Metals and metallics  – Bronze is the new Black

Trend number three has to be the re-emergence of metallic finishes, most noticeably in fabrics, lighting and also in ironmongery and bathroom design. In terms of the latter I was impressed by the new range from Samuel Heath. It’s called FUSION and literally allows you to combine two or more of their finishes (e.g. bronze and chrome) into a single door fitting. The bronze and chrome work very well together.

New "FUSION" range from Samuel Heath allowing customers to mix and match different finishes

New “FUSION” range from Samuel Heath allowing customers to mix and match different finishes

Samuel Heath

Selection of finishes from the new “FUSION” range from Samuel Heath which can be mixed and matched to make an interesting combination for door handles etc…

4. Pattern and colour are holding their own and technology is enabling some stunning results

Pattern and colour are still featuring strongly in many of the showrooms, although in a more restrained way than earlier in the year. Lewis & Wood won the Homes and Gardens “Best Printed Fabric” award for their boldly patterned “kimono” fabric.  I liked this new range from C&C Milano  as it enables you to introduce pattern and colour in  a fresh and subtle way that will not date.

"Kimono" by Lewis and Wood, winner of the "Homes & Gardens" Best Printed Fabric award

“Kimono” by Lewis and Wood, winner of the “Homes & Gardens” Best Printed Fabric award

Fresh new collection from C&C Milano

Fresh new collection from C&C Milano

In addition, modern technology and printing techniques have enabled fabric house Romo and artist Jessica Zoob to collaborate and transform her paintings into a collection of printed fabrics, wallcovering and cushions – the reproduction detail is excellent. I love these, will be buying some soon for my sofas!

New Jessica Zoob collection of fabrics, wallcoverings and accessories for Romo

New Jessica Zoob collection of fabrics, wallcoverings and accessories for Romo

New Jessica Zoob collection in conjunction with Romo

New Jessica Zoob collection in conjunction with Romo

5. Iconic and quirky designs with a retro/metro feel

Last, but not least, the ongoing need to differentiate with such a vast range of products on offer frequently leads to some clever and unique designs – “Velvets” by Kirby Design being a very good example this season.

"Velvets" by Kirby Design

“Velvets” by Kirby Design

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground, Kirby design collaborated with Transport for London to recreate five iconic designs originally used for seating fabric across the underground!  Whether or not you want to be reminded of the London Underground in your home, the end result is both eye-catching and original.

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